Sunday, November 29, 2015

I just wanted a couple of square wreaths!

'Tis the season!

I did not leave my house on Black Friday, so yesterday I had some serious making up to do!  I was on a mission - two square dried boxwood wreaths, stat!  However, they were nowhere to be found.  (That didn't keep me from finding a bunch of other stuff that I DIDN'T need, though!)  Five stores and more money than I'd like to admit later, I just about gave up.  Then, at Michael's, as I was in the line that stretched back to the floral department, the angels were singing.  On the rack in front of me, four square boxwood mats.


Now, I'm not sure how anyone would use a full square mat of boxwood, but they were intriguing. I stepped out of the ever growing line to get a closer look. One was a little brighter green than the others, so I went for two that were closest in color.  Ok, ok, they're not dried boxwood, they're plastic. But when I flipped them over and saw the back, my heart dropped a little because I wanted to hang them in the kitchen window. 


Then I realized that if I used two to make one it would look OK from the outside too, so I grabbed all four and headed over a couple of aisles to grab some floral wire.  Though they were plastic, they looked easy enough to modify. They are made of super soft, pliable plastic, so I didn't even need wire cutters, scissors did the trick.  I started by leaving "two rows", but when I got that done, I realized the opening wasn't big enough, so I ultimately left only the edge and one row of squares.


Once the center was removed, I went in search of the floral wire I picked up, but it was nowhere to be found.  I guess I'll find it in about April of next year. No problem, though, strips of green vinyl would work just fine.  I just cut little strips and wrapped one around each side of the wreath.


I added a bow and a little twine to hang them from Command Window Strips, and at about 3:00 this morning after putting up and decorating the tree, I was all done and had my two square boxwood wreaths!


I wish they were just a little bit bigger, but I'm pretty happy with them!


What do you DIY for the holidays?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Out of control dresser drawers get put in their place

Guys, I have to confess to something... I have a little addiction.  It's got massive control over me.  It's caused tension with my husband.  I've worried a bit myself at times.

You see, I can't walk into Target without picking up a couple of Merona tank tops.  Ever.  I mean, they're perfect to wear alone, layer with each other, layer with sweaters, T-shirts, really, anything. They were overtaking my laundry.  I could never find the blue one I wanted because all the others were in the way, and my dresser drawer pretty much always just looked like this:


... and because that's how it looked, besides never being able to find what I wanted, everything always had to be ironed (ha - anyone who knows me knows that's not true! - let's be real) thrown in the dryer for a minute - before I could wear it.  So when I went to put laundry away for the first time in a few weeks this weekend, it was time for an overhaul.

If you've read much of this blog, you know I travel a bit for work.  This means I've become pretty savvy with packing, and the #1 tip for packing well?  Roll it up!  I decided to apply that theory to my tank top drawer.

The only thing was, I had to find just the right size for the tank tops to not be too tall or too short so that I could stand them up to be able to actually see them all. I had some baskets I wasn't currently using that just happened to fit perfectly in the drawer, so I started trying different rolls until I found what worked for me - the triple fold and roll.


The tanks fit perfectly, they're neat, and now they'll be wrinkle free too!  By using the baskets, I was also able to be all OCD about it and seperate solid colors, prints, strappy tanks (true cami's for those of you who are wondering what "strappy" means), and paint covered project tanks.


This ended up leading to the rest of the dresser, including vertical storage in the T-shirt drawer, and cleaning out the closet too!

Wanna place bets on how long it all lasts?

Saturday, October 17, 2015

New floors equal... Redone laundry/bath room?

Why anyone would ever have carpet in a beach house is beyond me - particularly white carpet and especially in living areas - but that's what was here when we moved in last year. Couple that carpet with some pretty slippery tile that I've busted my butt on a couple of times, and it was an easy call to redo our floors.  What I didn't think about was that there would be someone who needed me and the dogs to just stay out of the way for about 8 days.  But every moment was worth it.  This is what we were dealing with and this purposeful photo was taken the night before that old tile was to be ripped up, hence the taped up cabinets and oven:


And here's what we have now - completely better and even much more fitting for island living, right?


Welcome, porcelain plank tile that looks like wood!  It's got some texture, like rough barn wood which I heart, and it replaced the three different kinds of flooring in our laundry/guest bath, breakfast nook, kitchen, living room, and hallway.  It's beautiful and I'm so glad we took the plunge!

Anyway, this post is not about the floor.   It's about one of the projects I spontaneously decided to do because of the floor.  

So, one day while the contractor was here, I realized the laundry room was empty with no floor to mess up if I dripped paint - we were down to bare concrete.  What better time for a little refresh, eh? I had redone the laundry room in our last house a couple of years ago and actually liked spending time in it, so why not give it a shot here?  He said it would be at least a couple of days before he was ready to work in the room, so I ran straight to Home Depot for some paint and spent the next couple of evenings brightening things up.

Full disclosure - I wasn't planning on redoing this room, though I didn't love hated the dark cabinets, peach paint, and flower light shades.  There's also a stand up shower, but we don't use it, partially because the tile work around it was pretty shoddy, so our guy fixed that too. It's sort of the broom storage closet for now.  

Now, here's the kicker... I was so excited and it was so spontaneous... that I forgot to take many before pictures. I have exactly two.  This first one was from the listing when we bought the house:


...and this is the ONE that I managed to take as a little "teaser" - but any fellow bloggers reading this know - I'd already started when I took this.  What do you see?


I wish I had more to share of the before - but just look at that light above the mirror and sink.  I truly despised those shades.  I looked and looked for a new light because I also didn't completely get all warm and fuzzy about the light itself - it has petals for goodness sake!  And the cabinets - whew... I wish I had before pictures of these cabinets.  They looked like they were, not a second or third thought, but maybe an 18th?  They were very dated and had many layers of ick and grime.  (Yes, "ick" is a thing.)  The contractor actually had to help me cut one of them out because all of the hardware, including the bolts to the wall, were so rusted.  That little snafu, however, left me with the perfect blank spot for something even better. Here we go!

Being close the the beach, I like to have a casual feel without, as one of my friends put it, "the tacky beachiness."  I hope I've accomplished that here by removing a full double cabinet, brightening everything up with paint (with no real prep, just a wipe down), hanging brackets and a shelf to hang laundry straight from the dryer, adding some wire baskets like those you might see at a raw bar, a photo of a sandpiper looking out over the ocean in a frame that reads "Life is Better at the Beach", and some fantastically scented Seaside linen spray from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

We had a board that had been painted black leftover from a previous project, so my super hubby cut it down for me, I slapped on a couple of coats of chalk paint, and abracadabra - we have a new shelf for the brackets.  The door was removed from one cabinet to leave space for a little decorating, and the other cabinet with doors was spruced up inside a bit too - just because it has doors didn't mean it shouldn't be pretty, too,



If you've read this blog before, you might recognize that pattern on the shelves.  It's the same fabric I used for the Craft Closet project - and I had just enough left to Mod Podge to two shelves for this!

On the bath side, those awful light shades got chucked, some coral art was re-hung that I had in the room before, and my "driftwood" painted shelf was loaded with glassware and pottery.


Did you notice that light?  Same fixture, new shades and I love these ones.  Not only does it bring in a little bling, but it's still flowery without being hideous.  Now, they're just cotton puffs, or whatever kind of flower grows in a perfect sphere.


That's it!  That's the finished - wasn't planning on doing it - laundry/bath!  Isn't it crazy that some of us want to make our laundry rooms nice - even pretty?  When I was a kid, it was in a dark corner in the basement.  We've come a long way!

Here's the breakdown:

Wall paint:  Home Depot - Behr Marquee Silky White in eggshell - two coats
Cabinet paint (outside):  Home Depot - Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint in Primitive - again - just two coats with two coats of satin Polycrylic for protection.  
Cabinet paint (inside):  Leftover Benjamin Moore in Decorators White in satin and two coats of Polycrylic for good measure.
Tile: Florim USA porcelain tile from the Pier line - color is Cocoa, grout is Prism in Light Smoke
New light shades: Lowe's
New flush ceiling light over washer and dryer (not shown): Restoration Hardware outlet
New cabinet pulls and brackets for the shelf:  Home Depot 

Decorations:  
Michael's - baskets on top of cabinets  and "T&J" letters 
Pier One - Photo frame, mercury glass candle holder, and clock 

...everything else I owned and shopped the house!  

This was such a simple project that I likely never would have tackled if someone had not moved the washer and dryer for me.  I'd love to hear about your accidental projects!  Let's get a conversation going!

linked up:  http://www.carolynshomework.com/2015/10/the-inspiration-board-creative-party_20.htmlCarolyn's Homework Inspiration Board

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Kindness Matters

Have you noticed how inconsiderate we have become?  Seriously... just walk down a busy city street, travel, go to a concert, or visit your local market.  People walk in front of you without an "excuse me", push through when they want to see what you're looking at, and blast each other on social media. It's frustrating for those of us who pride ourselves on our love for fellow humans.  There's one thing I know for sure:

(this is a picture of one of my favorite t-shirts)

Kindness really does matter.  Whether it's your partner, friends, family, colleagues, or strangers, kindness matters.

We've all seen stories of how a seemingly minuscule act of kindness has saved someone from killing themselves or has helped people who find themselves in the depths of despair.  Who wouldn't want to do that for another human being?

When I originally thought about writing this piece, it was very sarcastic in my mind, and maybe even witty.  When I started actually typing, it became too important to just write it off as a funny.  This is serious stuff, people!  So below, I share some common sense tips and hope that even just one person takes this as a friendly reminder.  Many of these are as simple as "step to the side."  It's really simple.

With your loved ones:
  • Say thank you.
  • Be grateful and share your appreciation.
  • Think about your words before you speak when you're angry or frustrated.
  • Make eye contact and have real conversation.

In the workplace:
  • The people who work around you are people too.  They have feelings, and lives, and families just like you do.
  • If you can't make a meeting or a conference call, for the love... let someone know.  Don't just not show up.
  • You don't have to boost yourself at every given opportunity.  Let your work speak for itself sometimes, and boost those around you.
  • Say thank you.
  • Be grateful and share your appreciation.
  • Think about your words before you speak when you're angry or frustrated.
  • Make eye contact and have real conversation.

In public:
  • Put your phone down while you're walking.
  • Don't crowd the train/tram/plane train/elevator doorway to get on.  I promise, it's timed so that people can step off and there will plenty of time for you to get on.
  • Never, ever, under any circumstances stop at the top or bottom of an escalator or at the end of a people mover.  Not only inconsiderate, but dangerous.
  • If you're not sure where to go, step to the side, get your bearings, and proceed.  Please don't just stop in the middle of the walkway.
  • Say thank you.

Pretty simple stuff, right?  What would you add?


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