Monday, August 30, 2010

Bedroom Makeover: Nightstands

Fifteen years ago, we were given these nightstands.  Made by Thomasville, they are sturdy and serviceable, but the ’80s look wasn’t floating my boat, especially with the changes we’ve made to the rest of the room.



Originally, I was just going to paint them and change the hardware.  While that would have been an improvement, the clunky proportions would have remained.  Craigslist to the rescue!  One day I spotted a tall, slim nightstand with legs up to there for only $10!  I’m not for sure on the age of it, but to me it has kind of a 1940s vibe.  Forgot to take a true before pic.


I needed another one, and a few days later I found this one at a nearby antique store.  Similar look, similar era.  After paying so little for the first one, it irked me to pay $46 for this one, but I’m glad I did.


Several coats of primer, Heirloom White, and protective top coat later, here they are:


Craig’s has lots of pretty detail.



I like that mine has an open space for books, and only one drawer (enough to hold my chapstick, lotion, and ponytail holders, but not big enough to collect 15 years’ worth of stuff like the old one). 


There are other areas of the house that need makeovers too, but I’m so glad we decided to go ahead with the bedroom first!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I Want…

I need to preface this whole thing by saying I am not ungrateful.  I’m grateful for my home and I’m grateful for my wonderful husband who works hard and is content to have me stay at home.  Our home is pretty and comfortable, and I enjoy the challenge of making it that way on a budget.  Because being a one income family means, that while we lack for nothing, we have to watch our pennies.

All that said, every once in a while I get in a little funk, and I start “wanting”.  I want an IKEA Ektorp sectional, because the one I got for a good deal on craigslist 18 months ago is not holding up well.  Let’s just say chenille and pets do not mix.

I want a finished basement, because while our house is a decent size, it’s not huge, and we could use more living space.

I want a deck, because we have a walkout basement and a very sloped backyard and right now no convenient way to get out there, so we never use it.

I want Emeco navy chairs for my dining table because I think they’re cool.  I’d even be happy with knock-offs.

Heck, if a McDonald’s in the middle of Podunk, Illinois can have (genuine!) navy chairs, why can’t I?  Saw these while we were on vacation and had to take a photo no matter what they thought of me.

I want hardwood floors instead of a houseful of builder-grade carpet and vinyl that aren’t aging well….and they’re only 2 years old!
sterling 046  Not my kitchen!  This is the model home.

I want satin nickel hardware on all the doors, rather than the metallic yellow that passes for brass.

As a matter of fact, since we’re talking about doors, I finally got a house with white six-panel doors instead of flat hollow-core, and now the thing is two-panel doors.   And I want ’em too!
white_kent2panel But I would paint the trim white!

Sigh.  The thing is, folks, “I want” can go on forever and never be satisfied.  So I try not to go down that road.  Sure, I see things I like.  Sometimes I try to copy them, sometimes I might have to save up, and sometimes I just have to be content that it will never be mine.

Just for fun, and not to promote discontent, is there anything that you particularly want?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Lakeside Collection

Sounds kinda swanky, doesn’t it?  It’s not (swanky), but it is fun.  The Lakeside Collection is a catalog I get 4 or 5 times a year that’s filled with inexpensive stuff for you and your home.  A lot of it is pretty cheesy (toilet mug, anyone?), but there are some goodies in the mix.
On Monday I mentioned their document boxes; they also have CD boxes, magazine files, and photo boxes, all for $4.95 for a set of 5.  That’s a decent price; I realize they probably aren’t as sturdy as some, but for $1/ea they’ll do the job.OZZ_MN
I’m seriously considering ordering these monogrammed coasters.  They look nice, and are only $5.95 for 4 coasters and a holder.                            
These melamine mixing bowls are cheerful, lightweight, and have a handle and a pouring spout.  While I love my vintage Pyrex bowls, I’m a weakling and have trouble holding one up with one hand while scraping with the other.  It can get messy.  I think these would fix that problem. 
Think of the adorable birthday cakes you could make with this mini tiered cake pan set!  It’s only $7.95 for 6 pans and a decorating kit.

I’m for sure going to get some of these vinyl siding clips (maybe the brick ones too).  Putting a hole in your siding is a big no-no, so I haven’t been able to hang anything on the front of the house.  I have seen these elsewhere for more money; LC is selling them for $6.95 for a set of 4.
Fullscreen capture 8242010 110753 PM.bmp
Christmas will be here before you know it, and you may be able to find some gifts in the Lakeside catalog.  Last year, I made Snug-EEEs for my kids, but these ones are really cute, and only $6.95 each, which is not much more than I spent to make them.
In 2008, I made them sock monkeys.  I like that they’re handmade, but Lakeside’s monkey’s are adorable.  For those of you who don’t want to sew, $6.95 each is not a bad price, and a heck of a lot easier.

So, want your own catalog?  Order a free one.  And no, I’m not getting any compensation for this commercial!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hummingbird Rescue

Yesterday morning when Pinkerbelle was taking out the trash, she noticed that a hummingbird was stuck in the garage.  The little creature had flown in, but could not find its way back out.  It flew around frantically up at the ceiling, never getting low enough to realize that the wide open garage door was the ticket to freedom.

Occasionally it would rest for a few seconds before buzzing around again.  I had no idea they could cling to the side of a wall like that.

I attempted to use the broom to gently encourage it out the doorway, but that was not at all effective because I was too short to reach it, and I didn't want to risk injuring it by swinging at it.  So I left the garage door open all morning, hoping it would eventually fly out.  It never did; I checked on it a few times and it was always still beating its head against the ceiling.

At one p.m., it was still in the garage, but appeared to be exhausted.  It would land for longer periods of time, looking, I thought, quite discouraged.  I could hear it peeping, and decided I had to do something.  Firstborn and I taped a fish (aquarium) net to the end of the broom, and next time it landed on the wall, I gently placed the net over it and pulled it down.

It did not try to escape the net, which I realized was because the tiny little claws of one foot were caught in the fine mesh.

I set the net down on the grass, hoping it would be able to fly away.  It just laid there with its eyes closed.  I did not want to pull at its foot for fear of breaking it right off. 

Somehow I managed to assist it free of the net, and then it just sat in my hand.  It was a beautiful iridescent green, and so unbelievably tiny!  I even saw its tongue dart out of its beak a couple times.

After recuperating for a couple minutes, it finally darted off and landed in a tree across the street.  I'm sure it was relieved to be free, and I was relieved that it appeared to be unharmed, and grateful for my uncommon encounter with this tiniest of birds.

Some hummingbird facts, from How to Enjoy Hummingbirds:
  • because a hummingbird can rotate its wings in a circle, they are the only bird that can fly forwards, backwards, up, down ,sideways and  hover in mid air
  • hummingbirds are the second largest family of birds with 343 species
  • hummingbirds can beat their wings up to 80 times a second during normal flight
  • a hummingbird has a heart rate that can reach up to 1,260 beats per minute

Monday, August 23, 2010

Preserve School Memories

It's that time of year again.  The kids are back to school, and the paper blizzard has begun.  In the first three days I received approximately 30 sheets of paper of varying levels of importance.  Some went directly into the recycling bin.  Some went in after the child was out of the room, had forgotten all about it and wasn't there to witness the act.  (Does that make me a bad mom?)

No matter how ruthless I am, there are always some papers that need to be kept.  Important notices, or things I want to keep as memorabilia. What to do with it?  Last year I started a standing file system.  Each child had a section, and each section had several file folders (homework, to keep, classroom info, etc).

 It sits on the counter next to the fridge, hidden from view unless you're right in the main kitchen .  It worked fairly well for me, although as you can see I started to get sloppy and just shoved things in the file box, but not necessarily in the correct folder.  I'll clean it out and start fresh again this year.  A really organized person would have done that at the end of the school year, but I'm not that person.  In fact, I still have stuff from two years ago that I need to sort through.  Most of this is the stuff I don't want to get rid of.

So here's my plan.  I saw this in a Family Fun magazine 2 or 3 years ago.  I bought the boxes, but never did anything with them until now.  One box per child per school year, labeled with the pertinent information, and holding school papers, photos, small artwork, anything worth saving that will fit.

Now that I've started on it, I realize that these particular boxes are a little too small for my liking.  They just snugly fit an 8.5x11.  These were Duck brand mailing boxes; a package of 3 costs about $5 at Walmart.  I'm going to look for a bit larger size, or go with something like this:

 I saw these in The Lakeside Collection catalog:  five 12x9 document boxes for $4.99.  That's a pretty good deal!  I also saw similar document boxes at Walmart in the office supplies section, but they were sturdy cardboard (good!), and $6 each (not as good).  So, I've got choices.

No matter what I choose, they will store away easily in a larger box.  I'm picturing a bankers box or two for each child, filled with these capsules of his or her school years, easy to pull out and look through occasionally, and one day to send with them when they move out for good (sniff!).

Oh to be so organized in all facets of life!  If I can pull this off, there's no telling what I can do!

Some related posts that may interest you:
Ways to use paper that doesn't need to be saved:   

Show off kids' artwork:   

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bedroom, Before and After

Our master bedroom is still a work in progress, but we have accomplished quite a bit, and I’m enjoying what we’ve done so far.
Here is the before:  builder beige walls, old beat up bed, garage sale lamps purchased in 1998, tired four-year-old quilt.
 After:  Behr Ultra Burnished Metal on walls, new “adult” lamps from JC Penney, new duvet cover, IKEA pillows, bye-bye bed.  Also, much less clutter.  One of the first things my sisters did was help me sort through all the extra stuff in my bedroom.  I didn’t even show you the stacks of magazines and books and baskets full of clean laundry that were there before!
 Before:  no window treatment, awkwardly placed mismatched chair.
After:  new IKEA curtains and rod, chair moved.
Wendy recovered the chair for me, and we moved it to the other side of the room, where a cluttered old bookcase used to be.  We had a hard time finding fabric in the right color gray; this was the best we could find.  It has a little too much green in it (though I think this picture exaggerates it).  It’s still a vast improvement.
I have another element that I’m working on and hope to have done in a day or two.  After that, I need a headboard, a new bedskirt, artwork, a bench or something better scaled to the end of the bed….
In the mean time, we’ll enjoy our new clutter free retreat!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fortress of Solitude

Has Blogger changed the photo uploading overnight?  It looks and acts differently, and isn't working for me at all.  So no pictures today. 

The sisters left yesterday.  Bummer.  One flew 800 miles southwest, and the other 800 miles northeast.  My sisters were 11 and 7 when I was born, and were out of the house when I was still quite young.  Now that we're all adults, we've become good friends, but there's a little bit of mothering me that goes on, too, and I love it.

Today is the first day of school for Skippy and Pinkerbelle.  The school day was lengthened by 30 minutes this year, so they leave earlier and I'm assuming will get home later.  I will be homeschooling Firstborn, but we haven't officially started yet, and this morning he went to the office with Craig to help with some filing and stuff.

What that all means is that after a busy summer and an exciting past week, I suddenly find myself alone.  I"d gladly have my sisters stay much longer, and I have great kids, so it's not that I wanted them all gone.  But I do thrive on quiet and solitude, so this is bliss!

I will hopefully have picture capabilities tomorrow.  The girls helped me did quite a bit while they were here, and I want to show off my bedroom.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mystery Fabric

Several readers asked about the fabric in the previous post.  It is actually the reverse side of a duvet cover from  When I found it, they only had twin size, so I ordered two and Wendy sewed them together to fit my king-size down comforter.  My bed is a queen, but I use a king comforter for full coverage.

Anyway, I see that overstock is completely sold out now.  Sears has the pattern in a comforter set, but I've been unable to find the duvet cover anywhere.  Sorry I couldn't be of more help!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hard at Work

My sisters are busy mothering me.  Love it!

I will have bedroom makeover stuff to show you soon!

Monday, August 9, 2010

House Stalker

Okay, one last post from our vacation, but this isn't about us.  Just some gorgeous houses.

In St. Joseph, Michigan I spotted this charmer just about a block from the Lake Michigan.  Isn't it adorable?  Craig didn't really want to stop the van to let me take a good picture, so these are just drive-bys.

It even has charming shingles!

In a different little town, also close to the lake, was this one.  There was too much foliage to get a good shot, but I think you can tell from the wrap-around porch that it's fabulous.

And on the same road, even closer to the lake, was this.

Back in February I posted photos of this house from the real estate listing.  It was listed for $2,350,000.  I guess it sold.  There is public beach access just one house down from this one, and we have been there several times, so I've seen this before, but I didn't realize that when I posted about it.

Here's down on the beach looking back up to the cabana and deck I highlighted.

Last time we were here, the public had pretty much free access to the whole beach.  There may have been "private" signs posted; I don't remember.  This time the public beach was roped off on both sides to keep you out of the private areas, leaving the public only about 50 yards of beach.  Kind of sad, really. 

In other news, my sisters are going to be here this week.  Last year they helped me with my dropcloth drapes and dropcloth upholstery.  I'm working on a "possible projects" list for this visit, but mostly we're just going to have fun.