8 Ways To Improve Your Curb Appeal In A Day

curbappeal I’m no expert, but curb appeal can say so much about your home. Even if you can’t put a lot of money into your outdoor spaces, there are a few things you can do, for cheap or free, that will make a big difference. And as always, a little elbow grease goes a long way.

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1. A Little Paint Never Hurt Anyone.
Dig in your stash (if you have one) and find something to paint! IMG_4726[2]web Even if it’s not your desired color at the moment, a nice, fresh coat of paint can really make things sparkle. Obviously not literally sparkle, my husband would have none of that. :) frontdoorfinal If you don’t have much to pick from for paint and are looking to update smaller outdoor projects like your front door, hit up Lowes and pick up a small sample paint in the color you want. It’ll run you $2.50, and will get you a good solid coat on any regular sized door, or a couple of coats on smaller projects. Paint a doormat at your front door, paint your steps, paint your window boxes, mail box, window trim, outdoor furniture, the possibilities are endless. It doesn’t have to be a permanent solution, because you can always just paint over it!

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2. Add Some Potted Plants.
This is a very cheap way of adding life to your outdoor space. If you don’t have any flower pots, for under $5 you can buy a simple clay pot, and a cheap annual flower. Paint your flower pot for a pop of color with some paint you have at home, or craft paint for .69 cents each at Michaels. Succulents are also very cheap($2-3) and super easy to care for. You only need to water when the soil is dry. Or you can plant from seed. The wildflower seeds we planted came free through the mail. The dollar store would be a good place to look for clay pots for very cheap. plants[2]

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3. Think Lighting.
On top of the outdoor lighting you may already have, garden solar lights, and lanterns are a cheap way to add charming ambiance to your exterior at night. lanterns[2] Our DIY lanterns were so simple. We bought light fixture covers for $2 each at Lowes, and $3 tiki oil lights. Wrapped craft wire around them, and hung them up! You can do this with mason jars as well. There are also very cheap moroccan lanterns for under $10 on Amazon, which we bought for the back patio for a different feel. If you’re looking for solar garden lights, a lot of grocery stores carry $2-3 ones, which is usually cheaper than buying a box of 8. outdoorlightsweb Shopping in the Target clearance can yield great finds like these $2 candle holders. You can get a similar look by punching holes in a regular tin can. Blue Diamond almond cans would be perfect for this as they are not variegated on the outside and would give you a clean look. Plus you can paint them any color you want!

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4. Wash Windows & Power-Wash The Exterior.
There’s nothing worse than the continuous battle of the never ending dirt that accumulates on your windows, and exterior of your house. But, the battle must be fought. Or should be. I’m no queen of clean when it comes to the outdoors, but when your windows get so dirty the sun no longer shines through, you know it’s time to clean them. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything… And assuming the dirt doesn’t just gather on your windows, you can be sure the rest of your house is covered. *sigh* A little power wash once or twice a year will help your house look it’s best, and extend the life of your siding. Windows should be washed more often. Whether or not that happens, is another thing. I wont judge you if you don’t judge me. :) IMG_4776[2]web

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5. Trim The Hedges & Mow Your Lawn!

And don’t forget to pull those stubborn weeds. It’s the worst job in the world, but it’s the most rewarding. While you might not actually be adding anything, taking away things can really add a lot to your curb appeal.
mowyourlawn You can have cute potted plants, outdoor decor and such, but if your landscaping is out of control, it makes everything else look like a mess. Even if your landscaping isn’t how you want it to look.. if you have weeds, or an annoying ivy plant that multiplies by the minute, or even straight up trash that blows in, cleaning that up will make a huge difference.

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And speaking of taking things away…

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6. Clean Unwanted Debris Out Of The Yard.

Nothing makes a yard look subpar like dead trees, plants or shrubs. Even if you don’t have anything to put in it’s place, it’s a step in the right direction, and cleans up that clutter. april2011mtlaurel
This spot in our yard has never been able to keep any tree of ours alive. We’ve lost 3 trees to this hole. It is the black hole of the botanical world. So we haven’t replaced it yet, and are considering other options. No shrub is better than a dead shrub. If you’re looking to replace right away, Craigslist is a awesome place to look. A lot of times you can make a deal.. if you do the work of digging up the tree or shrub, you get it for free. There’s that elbow grease I warned you about.

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7. Create A Border With Things You Find In Nature
When we first moved in, we talked to our new neighbors who had also just moved in, and they told us of some large limestone rocks that were dug up in the new part of the subdivision. They had gotten us permission from the construction manager to take some, so that’s what we did! It’s subtle, but nice.
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To keep the weeds and grass from growing through the cracks, we just spray with Roundup. You can create a border around other things besides a front flower bed. You could border your driveway, or trees as well. Any way you do it, free is your friend. And as long as you aren’t stealing or trespassing, nature is full of free things.

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8. Go Green. Install A Rain Barrel.
See how we did it with our tutorial for a DIY rain barrel here. IMG_4760[2]web While this wont directly improve to your curb appeal, indirectly it will help improve your curb appeal by supplying great rain water to all your greenery and keep them flourishing throughout the summertime. A rain barrel will save you a lot of money in the long run, but requires an upfront cost. Your cost will be dependent on how you go about acquiring your barrel. Maybe you have a 55 gallon barrel lying around that you can use, maybe you don’t. We didn’t have a barrel, so we checked out Craigslist and found someone who makes and sells rain barrels for $40. That’s very reasonable considering what you will be saving.  IMG_4762[2]web For us, it was necessary to beat our summertime water restrictions here in Texas. We can keep our grass and plants from dying without making our water bill sky-rocket on the days we can water, and still complying with the restrictions. We can water everyday if needed. Replacing your landscaping can be an expensive undertaking, so this is a very good long term savings plan, and also environmentally responsible!

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These are just some things I’ve been successful with in making my curb appeal just a little better. Even if you don’t have a lot to work with, you can have decent looking curb appeal that wont break the bank by simply polishing up what you already have, and adding some cheap accessories. You just have to know where to look, how to prioritize what you need, and do the work yourself. Hey, we all could use a little calorie burning activity once in a while. :) Plus, you will be that much more proud. Now, get out there, stop thinking about what you’d like to do, and just do it!

Not brought to you by Nike.

Getting Down And Dirty

I can’t believe I’m baring my dirt to you.

We all have dirt, so I’m trusting you with mine.

Let’s just say, carpet is a nasty thing to have in your main living area.

It’s taken me having my own home to really realize that carpet might be a thing of the past for clean freaks, like myself. Carpets in bedrooms I’m still on the fence about. It can be cozy, and helps with noise, but matted down carpet from high traffic areas is never an attractive sight, and that’s inevitable with carpet. At least the cozy, short shag kind.

We purchased our house brand new just over 4 years ago, and from the day we moved in, we knew we had really cheap carpeting. Most homes in our community had the option to upgrade to all tile in the living areas, but since ours was a short sale, we didn’t have that option.

While I was home in Minnesota earlier this year, Pete surprised me by cleaning the carpets as a birthday gift to me. Best birthday gift ever! And I totally love him for it.

BUT…

The machine he used must not of had enough suction power because it left lines in the carpet. I’m guessing it’s where the dirty water between the scrubbing brushes didn’t get sucked up.

He was so proud, I didn’t have the heart to say anything until we just recently decided to clean them again. Sweet boy.

By the way, we do not recommend renting The Rug Doctor. Your carpet will end up looking like this..
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Do you see the lines? I thought it was just the way the carpet was laying, but after vacuuming multiple times, against the lines, I realized it wasn’t.

Here’s a shot of the lines from the other end of the room.
carpetbefore Pete worked so hard to surprise me, but The Rug Doctor failed miserably. At least it was somewhat cleaner than before!

It wasn’t that he did it wrong.. He went as far as to boil all the water he used in the machine, so it was crazy hot to maximize it’s cleaning capabilities. And he went over the carpet in all the rooms twice, nice and slow.

Our carpet is shot, regardless of how clean it is, and we just need new flooring. But, we work with what we got, and I like a clean house, so that’s how we ended up here…
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Rented from Ace Hardware, this ancient professional carpet cleaning machine did an AMAZING job. Boiling hot, soapy water goes in on the right, and dirty, hot, soapy water sucks back up on the left.

Before we really get down and dirty, lets view all of the before pictures.
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How about that area rug? You know.. the one that didn’t come up when I rolled up the real rug. Oh wait… that be clean carpet underneath! Let’s take a closer look shall we.
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Ah yes. There she is. How gross is that!

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Talk about embarrassing. My VDL is showing (visible dirt line).It’s like that one episode of Roseanne where they move the couch for Jackie’s wedding and find out what the actual color of their carpet is! Barf.

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Matted and gross. I cannot say gross enough. And that’s after I vacuumed.

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Okay, let’s get on to the slightly cleaner part.

Since Pete did it the last time, it was my turn.
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This machine didn’t have any scrubbers, but it still did an amazing job. You spray the hot soapy water over an area, giving it enough time to sit for 20-30 seconds and then go over and suck it all back up. I went over it too many times to count. And that was completely necessary, especially in the dirtiest areas.

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This was after my first pass starting in the corner and working out in front of the entertainment center. It wasn’t a super high traffic area which makes it worse. GROSS!

Let’s do it again. :)

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After too many passes to count, just in the couch area around where the rug left it’s mark, and in front of the lazy boy, we made it here. It was a solid hour to an hour and a half before we made it this far. I took a break, and Pete demonstrated for us. The blue hose sprays on the hot soapy water when you pull the trigger, the other one sucks up the gunk. Pete worked just as hard keeping water boiling all the time, and constantly refilling and dumping the water in the machine so I could keep going.

LOOK at this line.
IMG_4180[2]web Clean vs. Dirty, which side do you want to be on? You must think we are horribly dirty people! I vacuum regularly, and we never wear our shoes in the house, but we have two dogs. Of course they can’t be blamed for all of this, but I don’t wipe their feet every time they come inside. Dust and dirt happens I guess!

Here they are watching from a safe distance.
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Doing more cleaning in the higher traffic area, we ended up with this hairy mess.
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And I had vacuumed just minutes before we started.

Want to see how dirty this one was?

I know you do.
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It was so gross, yet so rewarding. That much less dirt was on our floors. If this isn’t personal, I don’t know what is.

Let’s view another Dirty vs. Clean…
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This is the area between the bar on the left, and our dining room table on the right. A major high traffic area. Ew!

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Here he is, pouring the soapy, boiling water in like a boss.

Now, prepare yourself for the next image. It is the worst side by side Dirty vs. Clean picture I got.
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This is our highest traffic area in the house, and this 20 year old machine completely made my carpet new. Granted, I made 5 passes over the whole entire area, but clearly it was necessary.

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So, I finished the living room, and then we took a break. 4 hours in and the living room was done, and my back was breaking. After my break, I did our master bedroom, and then I was done. I couldn’t push myself anymore, my limbs had become noodles. So Pete took over because it was 11pm, and we still had the office, the guest room, and the landing area between the two rooms left to do. We shared the rental with our neighbor, who came by at 1am to pick it up to bring back in the morning on his way to work. This was an alllllll day thing. I could of had it for two days just to save the back breaking time frame, but it was worth it to get it done in one day.

How about some after shots now?!

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Do you see an area rug line? NOPE! (chuck testa) Sorry, I had to. :) We even pushed the couches back about 6 inches to clean a bit more in that part.

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So fresh and so clean clean!

Oh, and I almost forgot. We cleaned Chloe’s chair. Pete cleaned it the last time he did the carpets only 4 months before, but had forgotten to do the back of the chair.
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Who knew that was dirt and not the color of the fabric.

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The machine had a handy smaller attachment which made cleaning the couches in the garage, this chair, and the lazy boy really easy.

Well, all in all I’d say this was a successful attempt at cleaning the carpet.
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The doggies love it.
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Before…
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After! About 4 shades lighter and 100 times cleaner. Right up my alley. I’ll be doing this again in a few months to keep it up.

I’m going to rub my face on my nice clean carpet now. Thanks for letting me air my dirt. And thank you for not judging.

Come And Knock On Our Door – Picking The Right Paint Color

Isn’t the front door of a house the most fun (and easiest) to makeover?

It’s such a quick fix, you can nearly change it with the seasons.

It’s also the first thing you normally see when you come to someone’s house. It sets the mood before you even get inside.

When we first moved in, the mood was gray. Literally. A dark and and uninviting gray.
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At the time I wanted to paint it a color that matched the brick, so that’s what I did. I found myself a color, orange in this case, and took to the door.

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It was an improvement for sure, and I liked it for a while until it struck me that contrast and complimentary are your friends, and matchy-matchy is not.

So, away to the store I went. Blues are complimentary to oranges, and since our brick color wasn’t going to change, I hit up the blue paint swatches and picked out the first one that caught my eye.

I don’t have any photos of the painting process because I wasn’t thinking, and it was 1am. But here she is in all her bluish/turquoise afterglow.
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It’s modern and fun, and plays really well off of our brick color.

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It’s growing on me! And you can totally see it from the street. Before you couldn’t see anything down this short, dark hallway.

And see what I mean about the pillar color? Needs to be darker. Maybe I’ll go drastic and pull color from the darkest tone in the brick. The dark brownish/gray? That would be a statement!

You Clean Up Nice, Curb Appeal: A Timeline & An Armadillo

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Let’s talk curb appeal.

In the 4 years we’ve lived in our house we’ve sort of just worked with the curb appeal we’ve been given. Besides adding a few annuals here and there, these over grown bushes were put in by the landscapers that were hired to landscape our brand new home back in 2009.

Here’s a little shot of them back then.
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March 2009: Ha, just kidding. Here we have NO curb appeal/landscaping of any kind. Our overgrown bush convention we have going on now doesn’t look so bad compared to this.
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April 2009: Ah, there’s those baby bushes.

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June 2009: There’s the grass. The stone border we put in ourselves when the new section of the subdivision was still in the “breaking ground” stage. We went (with permission) and grabbed a bunch of limestone rocks to line our bed with.

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March 2010: Starting to fill out. I’d like to note, about 1/3rd of these bushes didn’t make it.

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April 2011: A whole year later from the last photo, the bushes are thriving and growing faster than a weed. Although this photo actually is showing Tree fatality #1 during the replacement process. In the flower bed, just right of the shovel is our baby Mountain Laurel who isn’t so much a baby anymore. It’s a little over 4 feet tall now.

Now jumping ahead to June 2013.

Just a mere 4 weeks ago we hired someone to cut our grass(since our weed whacker was out of commission) and we had him trim up our bushes while he was at it. Then they looked like this…
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The big bush on the right used to be half ways up the pillar.

Skip 4 weeks ahead to now… here, we have every hedge trimmers dream. Or demise. However you look at it, it’s.. bushy. And in a rather short amount of time.
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Here’s a front view. Or a rear view, in Pete’s case. :)
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It appears we may lose the house.

You’d never know we have a front porch..

Or a sidewalk. These were taking over our valuable walking space, and apparently had gotten Chloe! Ruby got away just in time.
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Time to trim those suckers up!

But first…

The main reason we quickly jumped on trimming the bushes.
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Do you see what I see?

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We had a visitor the night before last who was hanging out under our bushes. We were out, just enjoying the 70 degree weather on the porch. All of a sudden this thing came out of nowhere, ran after the dogs, hissing and making a thumping noise and generally freaking us all out. Because of the hissing, we thought it was a cat at first. It was pitch black out and I was barefoot.. you could hear it’s claws ticking on the driveway as it ran all over. *shiver*. Nope, not a cat. I had one foot on the chair ready to get to high ground when I was instructed to get my camera. This was all I could get of the little bugger.

This is the first alive armadillo I’ve seen in Texas. Normally they’re roadkill by the time we cross paths.

My in-laws scatter moth balls around the foundation of their house to keep these little guys away. They will dig big holes around your house if you let them. We didn’t want to resort to those right away… the smell can be quite intoxicating, and not very welcoming. Thinking about it now, it may weed out more of those dang solicitors!

So today we took to the bushes with the trimmer. Clearing away all the branches around the base, and attempting to not provide these critters enough of a hiding spot to come back. Hopefully.

They could just be laughing at us too.

At least that’s how I feel when we come outside most days to this mess on our porch…
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Rawr. On to the trimming!

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AH, I can breath! Or… the bush can.

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I would just like to say I didn’t just stand around and take pictures. :) I raked while he did the bulk of the trimming, and then I did a little shaping afterwards.

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We have to clean out our bushes a few times a year with how much trash blows down the street and collects in them. BK anyone?

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2 big bags of trimmings later and the bushes look awesome!

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It feels like we just trimmed the mustache of the house. Yep, just said that.

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Much better! Now our ground covers need to start taking off to fill in that void in the middle. IMG_4406[2]web

But in a month it’ll be back to this..
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One last ‘before’.

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After.

Let’s hope this keeps the armadillos away! If not, we’ll have to figure something else out. But for now, the progression of our landscaping sure is drastic. We’ve had these bushes since they were babies, and now their out of control teenagers. Gotta keep them in check.

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April 2009

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July 2013

Now, who wants to help tackle all that bland cream trim?! I tested the privacy wall gray color on the pillars, but I think the gray needs to be darker. We will have to see if the white trim makes a difference first.

DIY No Soliciting Sign – For Reals

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Today we had a solicitor come to the door. We don’t get them too terribly often. Once, maybe twice a month. That’s still too often for me.

I never answer the door, because they are never worth my time unless they are cute little girls who sell thin mints. :)

Today’s solicitor was too eager and obnoxious.

The first (yes, I said first) time she came, she woke Pete up around 1pm. Pete works 3rd shift from home, 11pm-7am, and if work goes late, he sometimes doesn’t get to bed until 9am.

Not only did she ring the doorbell, but she waited a solid 20 seconds before she proceeded to pound on the door.

Strike one.

Early evening around 5pm she comes back. The doorbell rings, and then the pounding. I had just gotten done with my workout and wasn’t going to open the door all sweaty.

Strike two.

The same person, twice in one day. That’s a new one for me. I’ve never had a double hitter like that. You only get two strikes in my house.

About 3 years ago after the first time I was sick of dealing with our new neighborhood influx of solicitors… nearly 3 a week, I bought a vinyl sticker and had serious intentions of sticking it on a plaque of some sort. Well I couldn’t find a plaque the right size to save my life. And I didn’t want to stick it directly to the door because I wanted to be able to bring it with when we move. So it got shoved in a drawer and forgotten. I bought the vinyl sticker on Etsy about 3 years ago. I just looked and it doesn’t seem to be sold on there anymore, and I was unable to locate the store either. Sad. So sorry I’m not able to give you a link!

I dug that sucker out around midnight (yawn), and slapped her onto a piece of wood in haste with frustration fueling my rage.

Okay, so not so much, but slightly.

It was midnight.

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You can kind of make out the cut out letters. No Soliciting. For reals.

I’d also like one that says, No Soliciting. I’m Serial. (You know.. like “serious”)

Or not.

Anyways, I had leftover wood from my privacy wall, so I cut my board down to size, and got out my paint. A sample of a color from a while back, and Martha Stewarts Metallic Paint from Home Depot. It has awesome coverage.

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First a coat of gray to prime it.
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Then the metallic..
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After the paint dries, I grabbed a spoon and got busy.

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I pressed it on there as best as I could, and then peeled off the areas I didn’t want.

After I stuck the letters on….
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I was able to save the pieces I didn’t need, so I can use it on another plaque, possibly the one I have been searching for, and not this out-of-desperation plaque. :)

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I stuck it back on the sheet it came off of, and used my blue painters tape to tape it down so the little pieces wouldn’t get lost.

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It’s all ready for another time!

I then got out the mod podge and sealed it.
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I let it dry, and stuck a few command strips on the back, and wham bam, straight to the door!
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I’m curious to see if solicitors will respect this sign. Of course around Girl Scout cookie time, I will hang an exception sign just for them. :)

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Oh by the way, I have a new door color! This last photo most accurately depicts the current hue. Stay tuned for a post about that, and the painting of the porch ceiling!

Here is a shot during the day.
IMG_4355[2]2 If you don’t have time to order a sticker, you could totally print off what you want your sign to say on a home office printer, or have Office Max do it. Then do a print transfer to wood, as shown in some tutorials from Pinterest. Check out this Pinterest board for more ideas.

Hey Slim, Where’s My Shoes?

We had a serious problem.

It was taking over our lives, and tripping us up daily.

Yes, it’s true. Shoes were slowly taking over our home.

Apparently they accumulate over time if you don’t give some the boot. Haha, punny.

Exhibit A:
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And this is my “organized” version. I counted 13 pairs lined up in the hallway last month. This photo only has 8. Only.

We are only two people.

It became an apparent problem when I brought home 4 new pairs of shoes I got for my birthday from my last trip to Minnesota. I guess it is the year of the shoe.

We have 10 imaginary house guests staying with us 24/7.

You believe me right?

Okay, I don’t even believe myself.

The time had come to face the music. This wasn’t working for us anymore.

So I hit up Google to find out what my options were for styles. I didn’t really like anything I saw. When you google “shoe rack”, most of the results are actual racks with metal bars. Although, I did happen upon a post on one of my favorite blogs, Young House Love, and found the best idea ever! Leave it to Ikea. Plastic recycling bins that can double as shoe storage!
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Via Young House Love

How perfect those are… not at all deep so they wouldn’t take up a lot of space.

I hit up Ikea a little while later and found a set of 3 drawers for $39.99. That was a little more than I had wanted to spend that day so I passed.

And I’m so happy I did!

I searched Craigslist to see if anyone was selling what I needed and couldn’t believe my eyes, I found something better!

This gem! Also from Ikea, but no longer sold there.
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Hello, Slim! Where have you been all my life?

I love the furniture piece feel vs. the simple white bins, but I really would have been happy with either. Turns out the extra drawer was needed because we have way more shoes than I thought. Time to get rid of a few pairs I think!

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It fits snugly behind the laundry room door.

I almost forgot the best part, it was only $35!!!

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At a modest 6.75 inch depth, it’s the best space saving and space utilizing piece I have in the house! I’m slightly sad it’s hidden behind the door and I can’t show it off.

I’m guessing the original price was over $100 because the 2×2 version of this was $99.

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Had to make sure there would be room for the washer door to open, and then we bolted it to the wall with an L bracket the previous owners had used on the top. You cant see it… or at least my 5’4″ frame isn’t tall enough to! Thats all that matters right?

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Peek-A-Boo!

Now let’s get to the whole reason I bought this!

For this clutter….
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And especially for this clutter in the bottom of my closet. They say bins help you organize…. perhaps you need more than one? IMG_4105[2] Yep… all full of shoes. I take full responsibility.

I may also have a slight purse problem.

Don’t judge me. Too much.

I grabbed up all those shoes, and threw them into the new shoe cabinet.
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They all fit! With the top drawer left to spare! Because I’m too short to actually see in the top drawer, that was left for last.

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Ah, organization. A weight has been lifted off this house. It was only a matter of time before they got a mind of their own and turned all Bed Knobs & Broomsticks on us.

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Clean, beautiful, and organized, just how I like it.

As for the hallway, let’s review…
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I’m sure guests were wondering, “How many feet do you have!”, and/or “What a pretty display of shoes…?”

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Ahh….I don’t know about you, but I feel more relaxed. Sandals, left out appropriately for the summer. My husband informed me there would be at least one pair of shoes left out because he wasn’t THAT trained. I like the assumption he was already at least partially trained. We will continue to let him think that. It may become true one day!

Harmonious DIY Artwork

My ever changing gallery wall has finally reached maximum capacity!

For bigger frames, I don’t usually just jump on any old artwork to fill the space.

Artwork with meaning is my favorite. If it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling when I look at it, I know I’ve got it right. The kind of artwork that makes you dip into your memories for a split second as you cruise by during the day is what your home should be filled of!

Call me sentimental, but sometimes I just stare at my gallery wall. It makes me smile, and helps me keep focused on what’s most important.

If you move around a lot, you could focus your art around your memories and good times. My thinking is it would be easier to get less attached to a certain ‘place’ knowing that the things you are really attached to, your memories, some in the form of artwork, can be taken with you where ever you go, and always preserved.

I’m not just talking about photographs.

OKAY! On to my quick DIY.

I’ve been holding out for the perfect idea to fill my last frame. I had seen so many personal artwork ideas on Pinterest and decided on one I knew I could do with things I had at home.

My most favorite song from my wedding was the one I walked down the aisle to.

Waltz For Zizi from Cowboy Bebop. You can listen to it here.

Ahhh… warm and fuzzy.

I found the sheet music online, and carefully pieced it together in photoshop.
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I was too excited to wait and have it printed, that I printed it off at home on 4 pages, meticulously cut and taped it together, and threw it into my frame as quickly as I could.

And, I love it.

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It’s so classic and simple.

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It’s perfect!

For another idea on personal artwork, you can see my simple map artwork DIY here.

Now if I get asked about this piece I can tell a quick little story of where it came from and what it means, and relive it all over again. :)

 

Wood You Be My Neighbor? DIY Modern Privacy Wall

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In the back of my mind I’ve been searching for a way to create some privacy between our back patio and our neighbors kitchen window since we moved into this house 4 years ago. I figured any solution would cost us an arm and a leg, and didn’t seriously look into it until about a month ago.

The only thing dividing the barely 25ft distance between our house and neighbors was the fence. Visually, there was no detatch. Don’t get me wrong, we love our neighbors, but we feel privacy doesn’t have to be a favorite pastime! And this is very much needed when it’s possible to see the spinach in their teeth while they’re eating dinner.

Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration.

What isn’t an exaggeration is how well we can hear amazing piano playing coming from their house when they practice. True story.

Searching (you guessed it) Pinterest, I found this beautiful gem.
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via The Brick House

Holy smokes! How gorgeous is that privacy wall. I’m totally digging the modern/art deco feel of the exterior. It’s so crisp and clean lined, but that wall warms it all up. A total exterior focal wall!

Me likey.

It didn’t take too much sweet talking to convince my husband either. :)

We decided to paint ours. We LOVE the natural wood look, but for our house, which is brick and painted siding, we felt it needed to be painted as to not detract or conflict with the brick. But it may have looked nice either way!

I knew we could accomplish this and spend very little money doing it.

First, we did a price check on some things at Lowes to make sure we could swing it this month. Finding the 1x3x8’s we wanted to use at only $1.26 a piece, that sealed the deal.

Hello impromptu weekend project!

Let’s view this lovely “before” shot.
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Welcome to our sad patio.

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IMG_3667[2]2 It’s very neglected, rarely used, and embarrassing. It’s a virtual frying pan in the heat of the Texas summer. No shade by trees. No protection at all from the heat. The sun sets to the west, which is this side of the house, so in later afternoon it gets roasty-toasty from the sun. It really warms up the main living area of the house too. No thank you!

Not only was the sun a big issue, there was also this little thing…
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Oh, hello!

I like my neighbors as much as the next person. We’ve made some pretty awesome friends! But in an attempt to make our “little box” fit our lifestyle, this privacy wall falls very much under the “need” category. The closeness of our houses is so tight that if we both stand outside on our own respective patios, it’s very awkward to try and continue doing your own thing, without feeling like you have to say hi every time. Welcome to the suburbs.

<<< >>>

We cruised to Lowe’s, and grabbed up 4 contractor packs of 1x3x8’s (6 in a pack), and had them cut down to 81.5 inches. IMG_3678[2]

We started above the molding at the base of the pillar, made sure it was level, and nailed both sides into place. Then from there we used a 2×4 to keep the spacing equal. It was really smooth sailing! Without stopping, it took under an hour to hang all the boards. That’s including going back and putting in second nails, counter sinking them, and changing out a few boards that had flaws.

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Luckily we didn’t have to worry about attaching the boards to brick since this nice trim piece was there. It lined up perfectly parallel with the outside of the pillar.

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Can’t you feel that shade relief already?

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Done! Now I just have to paint!

Since it was getting dark, I left the painting for the next day.
It is no joke when I tell you those little boards made a HUGE difference the next day as the sun beat down on the house all afternoon. I was able to leave that window shade and the door blind open all day. The kitchenette corner of the house wasn’t 10 degrees warmer, nor was it radiating heat if you happened to walk by it. AND the porch was a little cooler. I’d say it’s a complete WIN.

I bought Valspar outdoor satin paint in Garden Stone. Which is also my guest bathroom color. Apparently that color is no longer in their system, but thanks to a little number on my old can, they were able to mix it up manually! IMG_3714[2]

It’s a nice soft gray color. Nothing too flashy, and will blend nice with the rest of the house. I will be using the leftover paint to paint my front porch pillars too!

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We used 20 boards at $1.26 a piece which is $25.20. The paint was around $30 for a gallon which will be used around the exterior in other places(front pillars, front entry way walls, back patio door(?)…). I only used about 1/5th of the can on the privacy wall. So $6 worth of paint, brings my total to $31.20.

Here’s a quick before and after shot of my patio chairs. IMG_3733[2]
We bought these two chairs with a matching table, a 3 piece set, as a floor model from Lowe’s last year. They came with these striped cushions… sat on by many, faded by the sun, and ugly as the day is long. They had to go. I’m ashamed to say it’s taken this long to replace the cushions. I got 2 new ones for $13 a pop at Home Depot! Not too bad! Then I added these colorful yellow chevron outdoor pillows I found on Amazon.

And of course you need accessories…
IMG_3798[2] Pillows are from here, and the lanterns, here and here. I got the fish from Michaels last fall on super clearance for $6! The candles are from a friends wedding, and the round placemat was from the holiday decor at Bed Bath & Beyond.

IMG_3772[2] Here she is in all her glory!

Private, shaded and cool(er).

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Now, to add some more accessories.

More plans for our little outdoor space:

  • New light fixture(maybe remove existing and install a ceiling fan?)
  • Hang an outdoor decorative thermostat on that bare wall
  • Maybe hang some little bud vases above the table
  • Paint the door (Gray? Yellow?)
  • Paint all the trim white (as well as the rest of the house)
  • Build a planter from leftover wood and plant ivy to climb the privacy wall.
  • Install a sun shade for more relief from the sun
  • Landscaping around the patio

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This awesome rug we bought on sale last summer. It is made out of recycled bottles, and cost only $30 for a 4×6! You can get it here, although it isn’t on sale anymore. From afar, it looks like it has so many colors, but the weaving is only blue, green, red and yellow. It reminds me of spot printing, where CMYK spots are printed so close together it gives the appearance of a different color. Such a trick for the eye, its amazing!

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What neighbors? I need to get some vines started to really fill in this wall.

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One step closer to an outdoor oasis in the middle of a Texas heatwave!

One more before.. IMG_3667[2]2

 

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After

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Guest Room Do Over (what what!) & DIY Tufted Headboard Tutorial

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Firstly, so terribly sorry to anyone who reads my blog, I’ve been absent for quite some time. Family emergencies are never expected and I was gone for a good 4 months since around Christmas time. But all is well again. I’m just now getting back into the swing of things at home in Texas.

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I’ve been having some fun with decorating again. Moving accessories around, playing a process of elimination with ideas that I have, and then changing it around again after I stare at it for a week. Takes me a few tries before I get it right!

No one said I knew what I was doing!

The Home & Garden channel helps too :)

So we’re getting ready for some guests!
And, in thinking about what I like and want in a guest room… being a guest in someones home, the first thing I hope for is comfort. An inviting space you can be comfortable in, and a bed you can sleep well in away from home. If you’re a couple visiting someone, you most likely appreciate sleeping in the same bed. Well that wasn’t an option at my house. A nice big couch and a day bed with a trundle was what was in my guest room. And the mattresses weren’t comfortable at all.

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Here is the room after it’s first time I had to throw together a guest room. This was way better than a storage room with no floor space, and white walls. :) That little sewing table is now out in my living room.

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photo-12[2] Working with things I already had in the house, it really wasn’t horrible. But I eventually got sick of it because it really wasn’t what I wanted, and now that we have guests coming soon(we don’t get many of those!), I decided now was the perfect time to switch it up!

So, I sold the daybed and couch on Craigslist. $400.00 for both, which means I had that to spend :) They both sold within one day of posting! That was really helpful in getting this room on it’s way to being done on time.

I’m always selling things on Craigslist. You might look around and wouldn’t think you have anything to sell until you start asking yourself, when was the last time I used this? Or, am I going to really miss that? That has really helped me get as far as I have with my home decorating. I usually end up selling something in the house first, so I can make room and get the money I need to get what I really want. When we first moved in, we needed a kitchenette table, so we sold Pete’s Grandma’s outdated dining room set on Craigslist. A few days later, we bought a very cute, antique pub style kitchenette table for the same amount we sold the his Grandma’s table for. An even trade, and we got something we would use. We went out and purchased a dining room table we both liked a few months down the road. Moral of the story, sell the things you dont need, for the things you do! I didn’t need a couch in my guest room taking up space and never being used. So I sold it, and the daybed to make the guest room of my dreams… or the dreams of whoever sleeps there.

Provided we share the same style.

And love of burlap.

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After those big items were gone,
the room looked like this…

IMG_3350[2] About a month ago we got a new dresser from Ikea on the cheap-izzy, so we put our old one in here. It really is quite a small room which is why I can’t get a wider angled shot. 11’2″ X 9’11”, just barely enough room for furniture, let alone walking space. It’s definitely a challenge for me.

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AHHHHHHH MESS! It cannot stay like this, thank you.

So I took down the wall decor, and moved everything to the middle of the room.

Then I painted. $0.00 spent.

I mixed together 3 different colors I had left over from other parts of the house, and came up with this soft, warm gray color. I hate paint going to waste. And I’m cheap. I also have a very large cabinet in the garage filled with leftover paint and wouldn’t have been able to fit one more paint can in there.

I may need to go to paint can counseling. No one needs 13 cans of different colored house paint.

A girl needs options I guess.

So anyways, turns out a coffee can works great for mixing paints together. I was able to do the whole room with one coffee can full of paint.
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A person can do a lot of thinking while painting.

So sleeping arrangements were in the back of my mind the whole time. We had a queen bed in this room once before but my husband was dead set on getting rid of it because he didn’t think it fit. So we got rid of it.

Men.

We really couldn’t make it fit the last time. I also was against putting it in front of the window then. My style has changed quite a bit since… I’ve become a little more enlightened on what you can get away with. Well guess what. I wanted that queen bed back so I could stick it in front of the window. BAM!

So I hit Craigslist. I lucked out and found a very clean, nearly new queen sized bed and boxspring. The owner had purchased it 2 years before for $2,200, and was selling for $450.00.

Heck no, I didn’t pay that! Crazy crazy.

They needed to get rid of the bed by May 29th because they were moving. I emailed and said if they didn’t get rid of it for the price they were asking by moving day, I would take it off their hands for $200.00. They agreed, and sure enough, the bed is now ours!

I gotta say. I’m certainly impressed with how nice of a mattress it is. Comparable on the comfort scale to our sleep number. Which is a tough act to follow.

Obviously buying a secondhand mattress from someone you don’t know can be sketchy, especially on Craigslist. But they lived in a rich area of Austin, and the owners appearance and apartment was very clean, so I wasn’t too concerned. Gotta do some profiling when it comes to this stuff. :)

I washed the mattress cover with bleach on the sanitize setting, and sprayed the bed with lysol.

Done, and done.

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This photo was taken after I gave the lamp a makeover, here, and painted the cute little end table, here.

The lamp makeover was $0.00. I had the jute rope, and the lamp already. The lamp was bought at Walmart last year for ten bucks.

The endtable, with the cute wood cutouts, was on Craigslist listed at $28, and I got it down to $22.00.

A metal bed frame didn’t come with the bed, so we had to find one. We lucked out, and found one at a garage sale and got it for $10.00! Everyone else on Craigslist was selling them for $25 and up.

The total up to now:
$400.00
-200.00
–  22.00
–  10.00
———-
= $168.00 remaining!

NOW, on to my most exciting project for this room!
The HEADBOARD!!

It’s amazing, and a total beaut.
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Here’s the story,
of a burlap fabric,
that was waiting for just the right spot…

But really, how gorgeous is it!

5 items are needed for this project.

  • 1. Plywood. For a queen bed, cut down at Home Depot/Lowes to 62″x35″, and two legs cut out of the scraps. $20.
  • 2. Twin mattress pad, $13 from Target.
  • 3. Fabric of your choice. My gray burlap fabric that I had was $7 a yard, and I used about 2 yards.
  • 4. Upholstery nails. I used extra long silver ones. $1.30 for 20 at Home Depot. I used about two packages because they kept bending when I would try pound them in.
  • 5. A staple gun and staples.

Total spent: $35.00

$168 – $35 = $133 left!

IMG_3400[2] Lay everything out like this.
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Staple down the pad first. Don’t worry if it looks like it wont fit. They have a little stretch to them, and will wrap perfectly around the sides, just pull tight!
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Then staple the fabric. I didn’t use batting like I maybe should have, but it really wasn’t missed.
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Once you’re done stapling, flip it over and find the center of the headboard. That’s where you will nail in your first upholstery nail.
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I marked the first one with tape and a sharpie, then nailed it in. Now work out from there.
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From the center nail, I measured the middle point between the first nail and the edge, but just on the short side of the headboard. Do not do this for the long ways, because they will be staggered, and that will screw up your pattern. To work out from this point, I measured the center points between each nail and the nail to the edge. In this case it was half of 8.75″, so 4.325″ roughly. From those center points, I measured out either side 8.75 inches, and that’s where I tacked in my upholstery nails. Maybe this illustration will clarify what I mean.
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Keep with that measuring system until your finished!

Your measurements might be totally different than mine as far as where you place your upholstery nails. This is just what I liked visually. I didn’t just pick a distance between nails out of thin air obviously, that’s what I kept finding the center, and it worked out.

Because I had burlap, I was able to poke the nails through the weaving which made it easier to line them up before I nailed them into the wood permanently.
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Continue on your merry way until you have this…
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TA DA!

Now, at this point, I grabbed my hubby and had him help me put the legs on. We made it so the legs fit into the metal bed frame, so we can bolt it to the frame itself. IMG_3424[2]

IMG_3436[2] It’s so rich looking! I’m in love with a headboard and I’m not afraid to say it!
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Now, to get my bedding I ordered from Target. Waiting very impatiently on it!

Anxious to take final pictures :)

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*One small update already! June 4th
Snagged this chair off Craigslist on the cheap! It’s probably the biggest splurge besides the bed. It was posted for $50, and I got him down to $40. It’s so cozy and cute. Don’t you just want to curl up with a book and a cup of coffee?
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It’s the perfect size for the small corner.

From before, we had $133.00 left over to spend. Minus $40.00, leaves me with $93.00!

Stay tuned for an update to this post with final room pictures!
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FINISHED GUEST ROOM PHOTO UPDATE & GRAND TOTAL SPENT! June 10th

It took longer than expected, but my bedding finally arrived! No sooner did the boxes hit the front step, they were whipped inside, unpacked, and in the washing machine. I was antsy waiting for those few loads to get done so I could fit everything together in its place. It was already set in my head, but seeing the finished product was going to be the icing on the cake.

By the way, this room makes for very good naps. We’ve tested it :)

First lets start with the Grand Total!
Starting with a $400.00 credit from items sold on Craigslist…

$400.00 Credit
-200.00 Mattress & Box Spring
–  22.00 End Table
–  10.00 Bed Frame
–    0.00 Paint
–    0.00 Lamp
–    0.00 Accessories & Wall Art
–  35.00 Headboard
–  40.00 Chair & Ottoman
-129.00 Bedding (Sheet set, down comforter, 2 sets pillow cases, king pillow, and skirt)
———-
= $36.00 out of pocket!

Now if that doesn’t say “SCORE!”, I don’t know what does.

On to the photos.

Here is a quick collage I threw together since I couldn’t get the whole room in one shot.
guest room
Click to see larger.

IMG_3522[2] I liked the eclectic feel and asymmetrical look of the mismatched side tables/lamps. I felt it was okay because the square black framed print on the left, balanced out the square black floor lamp on the right. It also could be looked at from a gender point of view.. more masculine on the right, more feminine on the left. Either way, it’s asymmetrically balanced. And that seems to be more pleasing to my eye than something so perfect, it’s one half is a mirrored image of it’s other half. I also need to accessorize that floor lamp a little.

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At the other end of the room we have the little chair. The quilt I have on the bed really pulls together the room with the accessories I already had. The print on the wall pulls from the quilt. Do you see the connection between the pillow and the quilt? The smallest similarity like their right angle design is all you need to have them go together. And it works!

IMG_3512[2] This watercolor, Pete’s mom painted for us as our wedding present, and I’ve always loved it! It’s been in our guest room since we’ve gotten it, but now I feel it’s really set off by the rest of the room. It’s more showcased, instead of hidden in a room that had a lot of distractions which is what it felt like before. 

IMG_3506[2] And of course, a little pull of color on the little end table with some framed art and a little greenery.

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I
‘ve learned over time that it is very much okay to mix patterns. I also learned, you need a solid neutral to mute it and to break up the patterns so it doesn’t become a busy mess. Which is why I chose to do gray stripe pillow cases, the simple patterned pillow cases that came with the sheet set, and a pair of crisp white pillow cases. You still get the great look of the patterns, but the white pillow cases and white comforter is a break for the eye.. gives you a chance to relax before looking on to the next piece of eye candy. Make sense?

IMG_3560[2] On to the other side of the room! My plans for this dresser are eventually changing out the knobs. As you can see one is missing. Maybe some glass knobs, or even a pop of color! As for the mirror collage, I was debating on spreading out the smaller mirrors to other parts of the room, but putting them together makes the room feel less cluttered, and I love how the collage makes it feel like one big mirror.

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IMG_3581[2] I may re-accessorize the dresser, but this will work for now!

Once more with the before shot..
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After
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guest room

The best $36 bucks I’ve ever spent!

 

Lamp Lamp Revamp

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Fo fanna fanna fo famp.

 

So there’s this lamp.

It has a really nice bod.

It’s totally up my alley.

But, I’m so over the blue.

*sad face* Sorry Lamp.

IMG_3374[2] As you can see, my idea was to wrap this jute rope around the whole lamp base.

I was inspired by this adorable lamp from Target. Mine is just a heck of a lot cheaper!
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I whipped out my hot glue, and got down to business.
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The process was tedious at first because it had to be glued the whole way around the very bottom to keep everything in place. But there were areas I could just wrap and wrap and wrap without much glue and it was just fine!

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I love the texture it adds! Pottery Barn-esc

IMG_3390[2] So cute, and much better than the blue color.

That’s all she wrote! Super easy. You can get different colors of jute rope online. JoAnn Fabrics has a big roll of it for $7, which is what I bought. I only used half a roll for this whole lamp!

Cheap, and rich looking!