bedroom refresh plans

Bedroom refreshMy brain must be in hibernation mode, because I’m paying attention to my house again (beyond the weekly upkeep, I mean). Just when I thought I was content with everything (with extra touches courtesy of Hurricane Hannah), I realized our bedroom needs some love. It’s sad. Everything is mismatched due to the light blue walls I chose (too hastily) LAST November, and I never picked new bedding, curtains, etc for the winter months. The room also houses our elliptical machine (and will for a while); but I am determined to make the room feel a little cozier.

Our budget doesn’t allow a complete redo, and my husband might kill me if I say I want to paint again, so I am planning to work on creatively making our bedroom nicer over the next few months without buying much. This means mostly using what I’ve already got, possibly working with the coral-ish bedding/shams I have, as well as the bench I upholstered in a random purple pattern. I made the mock up above to tie it all together, but I’m not sure I love the color combo. Any feedback? I normally have no problems making colors “work” but that light blue is stumping me completely. I do NOT want an otherwise neutral palette just to make the wall color work. I need color! Ideas are appreciated.

a fall wishlist, just because.

Fall is nearly here you guys. Can you sense it, too?

Fall is absolutely the season that makes me want to have new (or new-to-me, anyway) things. Is “back-to-school shopping season” ingrained in my psyche? Or is it just that I love everything about fall, and want to feather my nest for hibernation? I don’t know what is it exactly. So I’m “window shopping” the things that are cozy, comfy, and make me smile for the upcoming season.

Fall WishlistOn the list:

  • Justina Blakeney’s book “The New Bohemians“, which has been on my wishlist as a pre-order for months. I just LOVE everything she does.
  • Wine making supplies and a kit or two. This is my next homemaking/self-sufficiency hobby, possibly this next winter or spring. I can’t wait to try this out!
  • A cute owl mug would make me smile every morning!
  • I love tunic dresses, and I would love a couple for fall/winter. I’d probably wear them daily. So comfy and practical. With leggings and a headband, I’d be ready in 3 minutes flat and look like I actually tried to care. Ha!
  • Alegria clogs and Keen crisscross shoes – comfy, cozy feet season! I actually NEED something like these. I already have some Alegrias I love, but they are a bit on the snug side (my feet grew a little during pregnancy and didn’t shrink back down to size so most of my shoes are a little snug:(..).
  • Love this rainbow rug from Urban. (I hate that I love their rugs so much because I try to avoid shopping there – or even wanting to shop there.) Basically if I ever won the lottery I’d spend a few grand on rugs and save the rest. They are the luxury I’d love to splurge on.
  • A pretty throw blanket. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Novica. Check them out. It’s good shopping karma.
  • These nesting bowls are so pretty, cheerful and practical for the camping trailer. I’d want to keep them in the house and use them daily, though, because they are so fun!

Any extra money for the next couple months is/was allocated to finishing the basement kitchenette, a new car seat, and our Yellowstone trip. Window shopping it is! But it totally gets it out of my system. It’s a strategy that really works for me! What are you wishing for for fall?

styling a black leather couch

It’s a true First World problem, I know, but about every other week I want to scrap our big black leather sofas for something different. They just aren’t my style, and they aren’t even as comfy as the ones we test-sat in the store years back. In fact, they’ve deflated rather than broke in. It’s a bummer, because we spent a good deal of money on them (besides our bedroom set, it’s the only furniture we have that isn’t either hand-me-down, refinished, or from IKEA.)

There are plenty of good reasons to keep them – mainly that they are already paid for, but also they are kid and pet-friendly. So I’m trying to convince myself they are more versatile that I’m giving them credit for by coming up with some different ways to style them. A living room makeover isn’t in my near future, but it’s fun to dream anyway. Really, I just like making collages in my insomnia. 🙂

1. Eclectic and Jewel Toned.

Leather Couch 1Rather than downplay the dark bulkiness of the couch, I could just embrace it with lots of deep, moody colors and patterns. I love an eclectic global vibe with a mix of patterns. I scout Turkish rugs on Ebay constantly just to torture myself, but maybe one day I’ll find an amazing deal on the perfect thing and it will just bring the whole thing together.

2. Traditional and Earthy.

Leather Couch 3This one’s definitely a bit masculine due to the earthy tones. I like the idea of using different wood tones, woven items, and metals. Lots of textures kind of makes the couch recede into the background, which I like.

3. Light and Airy.

Leather Couch 2This isn’t my style, but I think it’s pretty. The idea behind this one is just to pretend the black leather doesn’t exist by layering white, cream, and metallic items around it. Very feminine and classy (and not at all kid-friendly). I think I need more shiny things in my life.

4. California Bohemian.

Leather Couch 4This one’s probably the most budget and kid-friendly. And it’s actually my favorite because it’s livable. The dresser, side table, and rug are some IKEA favorites. The curtains, terrarium, and art are easily DIY ideas. The black and white with pops of color is really easy to recreate, isn’t limited to a certain palette, and easy to change out. Plus every item is something that could work elsewhere, which I like since I love changing things up regularly.

I’m inspired, so some use-what-I’ve-got rearranging is in the plans for the week. Which is your favorite?

happy earth day!

IMG_1730Happy Earth Day, everyone! I went to my town’s Earth Day celebration last Saturday with Hannah and my parents and it was really fun. That’s Hannah and her grandpa enjoying the weather at the Ogden Nature Center for the Earth Day celebration!

Today I will be celebrating this lovely planet in a laid-back way; taking Hannah for a nature walk along the river trail, taking some photos, getting the hummingbird feeders ready, and making a yummy vegan feast (sweet potato and chick pea curry).

I may even work in an eco crafty upcycle if I find the time. I was inspired by these posts: 100 Ways to Repurpose Everything and 221 Upcycling Ideas That Will Blow Your Mind (I love a good round-up).

And since I have been thinking earth-y this week I rounded up some of my favorite ways to be eco. 🙂 Hope you think it’s fun, too.

earth day faves1. Reusable shopping bags. These are the best because there’s obviously less waste than plastic bags, but they hold WAY more stuff, so there are less bags to carry in from the car. I have been using the same set of 6 Envirosax for many years and they hold up great and are machine washable.

2. Composting. Between cooking, gardening, and feeding a toddler (who likes to throw things on the floor), I generate a lot of scraps. Hardly anything gets thrown away: it either goes to the dogs, the chicken scrap bucket (they eat all the veggie peels) or the compost bin.

3. The local library. Checking out books, music and movies at the library reduces our consumption as consumers (and saves us money). We go every week or two and Hannah gets a stack of books, I get a couple books and cds, and we rent a movie or two to watch throughout the week after Hannah’s in bed.

4. A nice recycle bin is awesome, because you can keep it conveniently in plain sight so it’s not a chore to separate and hide recyclable items. My brother-in-law built me this one for Christmas a few years back and I love it!

5. Mrs. Meyer’s (Basil) and Dr. Bronners (Almond) are my fave green products. I use them for so many things!

6. Cloth diapers. YES they are more work, but I love saving all the money and landfill space by using (mostly) cloth diapers. BumGenius are the best. We also love our toilet-mounted diaper sprayer. It makes it really easy, so it just fits into the day like it’s no big deal.

7. Gardening. It makes organic food cheap for the family, it provides exercise and therapy and fresh air for me, and it’s good for the planet.

8. Soul-flower.com is my favorite shop. I want everything. I love my Neverland crops and Earth Medallion tank and all the other things I’ve purchased from Soul-flower. It’s all eco and fair trade and great quality.

What are you doing to celebrate Earth Day?

updating our spaces (planning post #2)

I mentioned we are finishing our basement (it’s really close; I need to get some things cleaned up and take photos!). The space will actually be a temporary home to my brother-in-law and his family of 5. They are in the process of selling their home and will be building a new one (so fun/stressful!); while they are building, they will be staying with us. It will be chaotic to be sure, but I love them and I know we are going to have a blast and just enjoy being one big ol’ family for a while.

Jonathan did ALL the work himself which saved a bundle, and we definitely are going with budget-friendly options, but it still added up. It’s actually kind of perfect to have a span of time that we can’t do anything with our basement so we can recoup some money from the finishing expense. It also gives me a lot of time to plan.

I’ve been so excited to plan out the little play area we are going to incorporate into the family room. I love designing kid spaces, it turns out! Or at least I love the idea of designing them. So much less anxiety. Kid spaces can be so bright, and you don’t have to worry about perfection. Just practicality and fun. I actually feel like this is a lesson to just go with my gut on the whole house (it can all be fun).

Here’s what I’m eventually envisioning for the play area:

Playroom board

  • It WILL have a black and white (indoor/outdoor) rug. It just will.
  • I have a play kitchen my dad built me when I was a toddler (ahhhhhhh!). It’s really adorable, but needs modernized. I will figure out a way to incorporate it. I love the colors of the one above (just a cheapie from Amazon, but good paint inspiration).
  • Chalkboard. Either painted directly on the wall or a big framed-in version mounted to the wall.
  • Cute storage. I’ll probably just spray paint some big baskets or paint a cheap crate or two. I like the mustard yellow.
  • Bright bunting or something else I can DIY to liven up the corner.
  • Not pictured, but I want a cute little reading chair as well (or maybe just a pile of bright floor cushions). There will already be a large bookcase in this corner, the bottom two shelves or so will be dedicated to kid toy bins and books.
  • The play area will be right outside what will be the office/craft room. Hannah will get a little art desk area in there as well (where I can supervise the messes).

Hope to post an actual basement progress post soon!

thrift shopping is my fave.

thrifting1

You guys.

Hannah’s finally old enough that 1) she enjothrifting3ys getting out of the house, even for shopping. In fact, some days, she really really needs to get out. And 2) she’s had all her vaccinations and I’m much more confident about bringing her to public places. Even though I go through many-a disinfecting wipe on shopping carts. {yeah. She’s trying to escape because I have my phone out to take a picture and she wants it. :)}
I haven’t done a lot of real thrift shopping since Hannah was born, except a few pop-ins to browse baby stuff. But actual pawing through the racks for stuff for myself.. it’d been a minute. And I have been jonesin’ to go for months. This week we hit up two in my quest to update my spring wardrobe a bit. I’ve got the Frumpy Momdoms going on. And while I am trying not beating myself up for that lingering extra belly squish, I’m not exactly wanting to show it off in my still-too-small pre-pregnancy clothes. Sigh. thrifting2
I scored a few new tops, a purse (I didn’t need one, buuuuuut) and some like-new TOMS (!!). They are these hippie rainbow ones. They are the perfect thing to wear around the house because they are comfy and warm. This might be in my top-ten best thrift scores evah’.
I know it’s easy to want to skip the shoes, but sometimes there are some real gems. I will only buy secondhand shoes if they look like they’ve barely been worn. I’m not above buying used and Lysoling the crap out of them, but even I have standards.
I know there are some expert thrift shoppers out there, and I am not one of those people by any means. I don’t have a great strategy, I don’t haggle. I mean, if there’s a defect I have been known to point it out in hopes I’ll score a discount, but otherwise I am content to pay the already tiny price tag for something I like. But one tip I have, is to avoid getting overwhelmed by hitting only certain areas or looking for (kind of) specific things, rather than browse the whole store (unless you have the time!). It’s easy to get sucked in to certain departments and then leave with nothing you went in for because you lost track of time. These are the items I always look for because I *almost* am always guaranteed to find something good:
my favorite things to find at thrift stores
On my list:
  1. Cool tee-shirts in the little boys section.
  2. Frilly, silky camisoles.
  3. Work-appropriate basic skirts and pants (you’ll find a million pencil skirts).
  4. Basic sweat shirts and sweats.
  5. Pajama pants. My local thrift shops always have tons of Old Navy and Victoria’s Secret pajama bottoms.
  6. Baskets for organizing the house. I have a LOT of baskets and almost all came from thrift shops. This is one of those things I don’t feel like I have to have an immediate need in for in mind to justify buying. I will ALWAYS use another basket.
  7. Tiny plates and dishes. I use these for spoon rests, soap dishes, under plants, to organize jewelry and other small stuff, under candles, etc. I’ve found them for as low as $.10.
  8. Teacups. I don’t have a collection, but I’ve picked up cute ones for organizing. Or you could make fun candles or bird feeders.
  9. Plant pots and pottery. I like to give little potted plants away for gifts in cool pots I find at thrift stores and yard sales. If we exchange gifts and I haven’t given you one as a gift yet, it’s only because I haven’t known you long enough. 🙂
  10. Books. I buy cookbooks and reference-type books, but not many paperbacks, as I would rather borrow and return to the library.
  11. Pyrex. I just recently started to collect and though it’s not super easy to find in thrift stores anymore (people sell on Ebay instead) I’ve found a couple pieces.
  12. Frames for projects. It’s not easy to find perfect as-is frames, but there are a ton of paintable ones or nice frames without glass you can do something with.

Are you into thrift shopping? What are your favorite scores and tips? After writing this post I am anxious to go again!

updating our spaces (planning post #1)

There have been a lot of changes in-work at our place. In November we recarpeted the house, repainted the formerly teal bedroom a soft, smokey blue (I miss the teal walls, but it works better with our black furniture), and J updated our fireplace with a new tile surround and mantel. We are in the process of finishing our basement (!!), which will eventually serve as our family hang-out space, play room, and office. That requires a whole separate post another day.

A new basement family room means that eventually we will be moving our living room couches, chair, end tables, ottoman, and tv downstairs. We will have a completely blank canvas upstairs to design! With the dark walnut mantel (I just stained it last week), and (eventually) darker cabinets in the kitchen, I will want to keep the furnishings light and airy, with the bigger purchases very neutral. I like to be able to switch up the pillows and art and not be too limited by anything.

I am a very visual person, so I like to create little boards on Polyvore when I’m making decisions for a space. That way I can picture how the things we already have can be best incorporated. It helps me focus and best use our budget. So while I can’t use the exact items I’ve got, I can still get a good idea of the feel of the room with similar items and colors. It works for me. Below is kind of my ultimate plan mood-wise:

living room ideas..
 Of course, this is just for a general idea/vibe I’m going for, using a lot of what we already have. As the budget is tighter than ever, picking a couch gives me anxiety! With dogs and a toddler, I have to be practical. But we also need to think budget-friendly. I am thinking sofas with slipcovers are the way to go. I am really interested in the IKEA EKTORP line of sofas (pictured above). Does anyone have an EKTORP, and would you recommend it? What about slipcovers in general? (BTW I am not anti-laundry. I have white IKEA curtains in most rooms, and we cloth-diaper! But I don’t want to spend hours every week actively maintaining a sofa.)
  • We already have the LACK coffee table and the LACK side tables I modified into a cube table; they have been collecting dust in the basement until we had a room for them.
  • We also already have some glass ball lamps we are using in the bedroom, which I’d be happy to switch up into the living room.
  • The purple chair above represents my fave thrift score that is currently in Hannah’s room. It is a nice small chair perfect for reading and additional seating.

I’ll be on the lookout for:

  • The perfect basic couch. The one above is the IKEA EKTORP but I haven’t decided for sure what I want to get.
  • A hutch for the wall where the tv currently sits. The one above is the IKEA REGISSÖR, which I like size-wise, but will more likely keep hunting for a used piece I can paint. Most of the media in our house will be in the basement, but we will need a place for a few books and toys upstairs.
  • Great curtains. I love the ticking stripe above from Anthropologie, but they never gonna happen. It would be simple enough to add my own pom poms to some stripey curtains if I could find something similar, or sew my own panels.
  • Not pictured, but more seating on the other side of the room. Probably a love seat, but I could be flexible since this will no longer be a lazy tv-watching space. (I want it to be comfy in there, but the seating doesn’t need to be as lounge-around-all-evening-friendly).

The kitchen/living area is all one big open area, so it needs to coordinate. We have some kitchen sprucing in the near-future plans as well. We are going to stain the now cherry alder cabinets a darker walnut color, and paint the island white. Here’s the idea I’ve got in mind for the mood of the kitchen area:

kitchen idea
 The blue rectangle with a chalkboard represents our pantry door, which I would like to paint a fun color. Really, paint and stain are the only required expenses for the kitchen area. I would like to find a great rug, but I am happy with some others I’ve got for now so it will only be if I find an amazing bargain that I will worry about that. I just threw that on there because I like the pop of color. I could work that in anywhere.
I made a board for our dining area a couple of years ago, and though it doesn’t look entirely inspired by this look, it does have a sort of similar mood, in my opinion. I still really like the look of this board, and think it ties nicely in with the living room and kitchen space I have worked up above.
dining room update
You know what is so hard for me? Figuring out what my style is. Even with creating those little collages to capture the look I want, it’s hard for me to not get too easily inspired by other styles. And I’ve been trying to decide what my style would be called. It’s a little boho (but not messy), a little farmhouse (but not country), a little Scandinavian (but not minimalist), a little traditional (but not matchy).