DIY Counter in Laundry

So Jay’s been busy building some tables that we’ve actually been selling on craigslist (woo hoo for handy husband’s with carpentry skills!) and while he was fiddling with those, I asked him, pretty please if he could create a counter top for the laundry room since we’ve had virtually no storage in here for the past 18-months. It was time, as Rafiki would say. He’s a wise baboon, no? (I blame my 2-year old for any Disney references on this blog)

Y’all saw our current laundry room (and upstairs hall) in last week’s post, but here is a quick snap shot in case you’re like me and forget anything that didn’t happen in the last 30 minutes.

Laundry_Closet_Design_Ideas

So while Jay was building away, he crafted this little counter, which has a few notches in the back to account for the electrical and plumbing behind the washer and the dryer.

These are just 10″x10′ pine boards y’all – to the tune of $9 each at Home Depot, so this entire project was under $30. Woot!

DIY_Laundry_Countertop

So although we DID account for the notches we had to make in the back, apparently we did not account for the fact that there was a wall on either side of this sucker cause y’all – ummmmm – our walls be looking rough after we got this thing (finally) wedged into place. We probably should have just taken it downstairs and cut an 1/8th inch off the side but I (true to form) was rearing to go and wanted this in place without hauling out the saw (again).

Luckily it was mostly just scuffing (there was a staple on the end of one of the wood pieces, doy!) and with some paint touch up it looks fine, but I was a bit stressed out about it during install. Jay can attest to that 😉

DIY_Laundry_Room

We used a vinegar and steel wool concoction that is a natural way to age wood quickly. We just used this tutorial and overall, we’re super happy with the way things turned out.

DIY_Pine_Counter_Top

This did require a lot of experimenting, and I’d highly recommend testing it on scrap wood before you go ahead and put it all over your entire finished piece. It’s a bit of a science experiment, and will come out different each time you do it (based on how much steel wool you use, and how long you let it sit, etc) so test it out before hand. You can always dilute it to get a slightly less dark look.

DIY_Pine_Countertop

And a wider angle view so you can see some of the color variation on the counter.

Inexpensive_Laundry_Updates

Over time I’d love to add some shelves but it took us a year + to get around to the counter, so don’t hold your breath on an update any time *too* soon in that department 😉

Pine_Counter_Top_DIY

Super easy, darn cheap, and heyo – chic too! Pretty happy with this upgrade for a weekend, a saw, and thirty bucks!!

One last look at the improved space.

Farmhouse_Laundry_Room

And the before!

Renovating Small Laundry Room

Farmhouse Table + Flowers

Our house was pretty landscaped when we moved in a year ago, and with a 2-year old, and an interior I wanted to get cracking on, we’ve literally done nothing – like nothing – to the outside of the house. Well I guess Jay did trim the bushes once last year – ha! But that’s been it! Oh and he’s built this table, which I’m obsessed with. Plan from Ana White, here.

Farmhouse Style Table

So this planter and been growing away over time … by now, it’s a bit overgrown. We had some basil in there that we transplanted into a small planter we keep in the kitchen for cooking.

Brick_Planter_Landscaping_Before

I’ve always loved the look of houses with tons and tons of hydrangeas all over the place. That or peonies but now that I have a kiddo and ants like never leave my life (ummm food crumbs all the time), the thought of a plant that attracts ants is not something I’m mojoing for too much.

We have a tiny little courtyard around our house, so I’d really like to give it a bit more of “us” character over time, and get rid of some of these tall wacky trees we have planted all over the place.

Tall_Bushes_Landscaping

These are some of the images that I swoon over when thinking about designing our backyard space.

Couryard_Patio_Plantings

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Do you think I could get away with turning our house into a tree, a la the photo above? I think Jay might fa-reak out 😉

Or what about turning the house into a bush, like this photo? Maybe I should just paint it green with a faux finish 😉 Something about that ivy/plantings growing over the wall just makes a space look old and lived in, I think. I love it!

Courtyard_Plantings

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Or this one (that table is a bit too weathered for my liking), but the droves of hydrangeas is definitely something I can get behind. And that charcoal shed tucked in the corner – mmm hmmm. Nice. Hydrangea_Backyard_Courtyard

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So one small step toward this oh so lovely vision was to turn our planter introduced at the beginning of this post, into a small spot for some hydrangeas to grow. We picked up two from Home Depot this weekend, and y’all I am so excited to watch these babies grow. Down here in NC things do grow pretty fast, so hopefully they take off quickly!

Hydrangea_Bush_Starters

I’m desperately hoping I don’t kill these beauties – I found this article helpful – and others attempting to grow hydrangeas may as well!

Next up, a porch swing (?) and some dark navy paint perhaps a la this photo. It hurts my heart I love this photo THAT much.

Outdoor Porch Swing

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When I Feel Like Spending Money I Do This Instead

Frugal_Living

So I thought this would be a fitting follow up to the post last week on our financial goals because y’all, the biggest secret to staying on track with our money goals is hands down not spending money. I know – it’s not super exciting and it’s rather straight forward, but that’s the long and the short of it.

I mentioned in the last post that I’m a firm believer that there are seasons in your life and I think we all know – some are more expensive than others. Not going to lie, the day when my first born starts kindergarten will be a bittersweet day. I mean, my child will be five – he will be more than a quarter done with his days living under my roof – but he will also be out of daycare, and yo, that place is expensive. Seasons where we’ve spent more money than others include: renovating our houses, moving across the country, birthing and raising our children – but I’ve looked to all of these as investments – one way or another, they all paid off in spades.

I’ve learned that there are a few ways to set yourself up for success with money and there are ways to bite it. I’ve actually turned the challenge of not buying things into a bit of a game. Sure – I could go to Chuckie Cheese and make the kid go coocoo for coco puffs or I could go to the park and play basketball with Henry! Sure, I could go out and buy a special dessert for tonight since the weather is so beautiful and it feels like the best idea EVER, or I could look around our cabinets for ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies. Or, I feel like my house needs something, I want to go out and buy throw pillows – but instead I’ll wash the floor (lol – does this just make you judge me? Legit, y’all I KNOW if you read this blog that you know that I sometimes go out and buy those throw pillows) 😉

In all seriousness though – it’s truly about finding ways to be happy with what you’ve already got, and challenge yourself and ask – Do I really need X. Or even, do I really WANT X – and the answer to each is totally fine if it’s yes, because truth be told, y’all – I enjoy shopping. I like get a little buzz like the rest of America when I go out and get things. It’s fun! But saving money is super fun too, and there are ways to stretch out your dollar as far as possible by being critical of every purchase you make. Give yourself 24 hours to wait it out for anything that falls into the category of non essentials. And if throw pillows fall into the category of essentials any given day – y’all – I do not judge. 😀

Here is a list of 40 things you can do, without spending ANY money. Get it girrrrlll (as my best frugal friend, would say xoxo)

  1. Go outside! Walk/run/stroll/skip – enjoy your surroundings
  2. Clean your house
  3. Call your mother. (just do it)
  4. Find something fun to eat/make with ingredients in your house
  5. Explore a new part of your city
  6. Go to the library
  7. Learn how to make something new
  8. Talk to your kids
  9. Write down goals
  10. Do yoga (youtube has free yoga!)
  11. Organize your closets
  12. Weed your yard
  13. Read a book
  14. Find a frugal blog and get inspired
  15. Change the oil on your car
  16. Go window shopping (but don’t buy)
  17. Ride your bike
  18. Purge items you don’t need
  19. Call your dad! (just do it)
  20. Scan pinterest for DIY ideas
  21. Play with your child (get down on their level and PLAY!)
  22. Go through/clean your coat closet (check pockets for goodies)
  23. Organize your garage
  24. Think of ways to make money – write down 5 ideas
  25. Walk the dog
  26. Build something
  27. Do a family plank challenge
  28. Dust the furniture
  29. Organize your junk drawer (you never know what you might find!)
  30. Look around your house for things to sell
  31. Volunteer
  32. Sip Wine on the Porch (does this count as spending money – probs – I cheat when it comes to wine)
  33. Do 20 squats (werk off that wine, y’all!)
  34. Meet your Neighbors
  35. Build Something
  36. Try a New Hairstyle
  37. Clean your fridge
  38. Plan a Frugal Vacation
  39. Write in a journal
  40. Meditate

Library Lights

So for all of you with an eagle eye, you probably noticed that although our dining room is much improved from before, that there are still something missing from the picture below:

Built_In_Bookcase_Dining_Room

If you noticed that a million dollars sitting out on display on our fine new buffet line was missing, I noticed that too, but alas this is not the item from the picture that we’re talking about replacing on today’s post. Bummer.

It’s the light sconces missing from above the bookcase. Notice it? Yeah, those fancy electrical boxes chilling up above our new crown.

I’ve hunted high and low and up and down for some good old library lights so our joint could look snazzy, like this picture. Swoon.

Builtin_Bookcase_with_Grasscloth

Or this one… wish I had the guts to paint our trim dark blue – amazing (but perhaps a tad darker would be even better – more charcoal?)

Blue_Painted_Builtin_Bookcsae

So since I’ve looked all over this green earth for lights, I thought I’d share with y’all some of the best (and most affordable) options I stumbled across during my hunt. I noticed that two of them popped up over $50 (must have been on sale when I started the search), but these are all super affordable options compared to some of the fancier brands out there where a library light can run well over $300 (!)

Affordable Library Lights

Electric LeClair LightVintage Retro Cage LightIndustrial Edison SconceClear Glass Shade Swing Arm Sconce | Brass Finish 1-light Wall Sconce | Modern Vintage Industrial Loft Sconce 

Right now I’m leaning toward the 5th one. Any thoughts/votes? I want it to compliment our existing light fixture in there, and I like how it would bring out the brass details! Decisions, decisions! Help me decide!

Drum_Chandelier_Dining_Room

 

Navy Blue I Love You

Poor Henry. Poor us, lol. That kid shared a room with his parents for his first year of life and man am I ready for him to have his own pad here in the new house. See when we sold the house last fall, the babe was still sleeping in a pack and play – thinking we would only be in our new apartment a few months, we opted for a great location and a SMALL space. 1-bedroom. So, the baby slept with us.

Which was fine – until it wasn’t. The last month or two living in the apartment we slept on the living room floor so he would sleep through the night and not wake when we’d come in each night. Ahhh, the things you do for love – and a full night sleep.

So this is a long story – which has a happy ending. Mr H has his own room now and after a painting blitz a few weekends back with Behr Night Club, it’s now lovely and dark and dreamy and perfect for my little one. Literally, I think this may be the perfect navy blue paint for a room. Love. It.

Dark Blue Baby Room

It’s definitely not finished but it is DEFINITELY better than our starting point.

In all honesty, since the baby is a crazy monkey that pulls things out of their places and just want to run around generally anyway, we probably won’t add a ton more to the space. Right now it has a reading nook we use each night before bed.

Dark Blue Boys Room

Henry loves reading Little Blue Truck each night, lol. We ride bikes over here, so not sure where his love for this truck book came from. He must like all my highly authentic animal noises 😉

Dark Navy Baby Room

I love the way this little blanket looks draped over the side of his bed against the navy blue walls and it actually helps me to escape (most nights) unnoticed after we tuck him in. 🙂

Ikea Lenda Curtains

He had this book shelf in his last room. We still need to add some accessories to it, but for now, it’s a good placeholder for our night time reading books.

I’ve also had these Lenda curtains (from IKEA) stacked away for over a year. I’m so glad they finally have a home. Need to be hemmed still, but H loves using them for peek-a-boo whenever he gets the chance 😉

Inexpensive Linen Curtains

Items still on my short list for this room include getting a ceiling fan for his room. This 90’s builder grade classic is just not making my heart skip a beat – and let’s face it – if your light fixtures don’t make your heart go pitter patter, why have them. YOLO man.

Ceiling Fan in Child's Room

I also got this lamp base at my favorite local thrift shop. Still need to get a side table for next to the chair, but I think this will look really cute in the space once we have a shade and everything for it.

Thrift Store Lamps

Here is a close up of the sweet constellation photos we had up in his nursery, before we sold the last house. I LOVE these!! True story, my OCD self has a hard time when these get knocked around and slightly out of place though. Especially that bottom row that’s right at Henry’s reach level – ha ha!! Yep, they’re not straight very often.

Constellation Prints Childs Room

And a final view, from the hall with the navy blue walls up against the white trim. It’s a dark room man, but I love it! (Color is Behr Night Club, for anyone looking to recreate the look)

Night Club Behr Paint

 

 

 

Pale’s in Comparison

Our new house is pretty open concept. Much more so than past houses in the sense that one wall color, more or less, covers most of the downstairs area. I had my heart set on going really dark in the dining room this time,  but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that would clash with the Living Room wall it connects to a bit too much. Likewise, when thinking about the Living Room color, we had to pick something that would work nicely with the Dining Room.

We landed on Pale Oak (Benjamin Moore).

Open Concept Living Room

We used this color in our bathroom remodel in the last house and I knew I wanted to also use it in our next house. It’s a great color with a slight gray undertone.

You’re probably noticing some other changes in the room as well… Y’all – craigslist is my bff as of late. You’re looking at a Pottery Barn Sectional that I snagged for $450 right there. It’s in immaculate condition – like brand new. This thing retails for $3,500. SCORE.

Open Concept Living Room

It’s super comfortable and fit our room just right. I also splurged (for me) on a quality chair that was recovered in a restoration hardware velvet upholstery for $300 on craigslist.

Restoration Hardware Upholstered Chair

This guy is so comfortable! The cat I’m afraid loves it, so it’s normally covered in cat hair (hence the blanket, ha ha!)

It’s the perfect addition to this corner, since it helps us hide H’s toys a bit!

Restoration Hardware Club Chair

And the final new addition to this space, are some sweet pillows I scored on clearance at Target. I’d been eyeing these beauts for 6+ months, but couldn’t justify spending $25 each. Well low and behold, I found them on clearance last week and along with a cartwheel promotion, I got them for $5 each!

Threshold Throw Pillows

Here is one final view of the room – first a before shot:

Family Room off of the Kitchen

And … progress!

Benjamin Moore Pale Oak

Organizing the Obsession

Ok, now that I know my little fetus has boy parts I’ve been a little gung ho in the clothes buying department. Like, every few days, I’m coming home with another bag full. Shamefully bad, I know.

BUT – my obsession thus far has been centered around a marvelous little thing called the goodwill quarter bin. Which is a bin, where you get baby clothes, for a quarter.

I know, right? 

How to Save on Baby Clothes

I mean, you have the look. A lot of it is stained, or ugly, or girl clothes. And don’t get me wrong, I’m so tempted to grab the super cute girl clothes, ya know – just in case I have a little lady some day. I mean – it’s a QUARTER!

But for now, I’ve trained my mind to focus only on polos and plaid, since I’m looking to stock up this little guy’s wardrobe on the cheap.

It’s really,  more or less, become a giant game for me to see the swaggest baby gear I can find for a 4th of one georgie porgie.

Buying Baby Clothes for Less

Your eyeballs are not deceiving you. That’s a Lacoste Shirt (retail value $40), some Tommy Trunks, and Polo board shorts. Man, Henry, you’ve got it made, kid.

Not that I’m really a huge name brand wanna be or anything, but ya know, I’ll take it!

Michigan Sleeper

Jaybird is a Umich grad, so when I spotted this sleeper, I had to add it to the bundle. Disclaimer: I’m NOT a Michigan fan (au contraire, GO GREEN!) so this was actually a sorta big deal. Made my man smile though, so I guess it was worth the twenty five pennies I spent 😉

So, as I’ve added to this collection, I’ve realized I need a way to organize the madness, and keep everything ready to go for when little boy gets here in Spring.

I came up with this system to organize all his clothes!

Organizing Baby Clothes

I just sorted out all the clothes I’d found by month. Nice and folded, laundered and ready for our little guy.

When it gets to be a few months out, I figure I’ll load up his closet with 0-6 months, so that everything is ready for him to wear. Depending on how big of a chunk he is, we’ll just rotate out to the new gear as he grows.

How to Save on Clothes

Mama’s first little guy really liked this activity. I think it had something to do with warm clothes out of the dryer and big boxy bins to jump into 🙂

Kitty Helper

Truth be told, I loved this activity so much, that I went out and bought another bag full 🙂

Buying Childrens Clothes

For now, the skyscraper of baby clothes sits in the corner of our room, just waiting for my next haul.

Organizing Baby Clothes

Any one else have any tips and tricks for finding little people clothes on the cheap? Do share!

Chandy Candy

Seriously, is there anything more chic than a chandelier? I mean, a pulling out all the stops, stop in your tracks and look at me chandelier.

Even though I know little Henry is most definitely a boy, I’m totally playing the “I’m the Mom” card and beautifying his nursery with some feminine touches 😀 I mean, it’s the age of the gender neutral baby, right? Sorry kid, no tonka truck borders in this room 😉

Which leads me to a chandelier I’ve been obsessing over. OBSESSING. This beauty is way the heck out of my price range, but my love for it goes to the bottom of the ocean and back. Doesn’t it just remind you of a fancy pantsy pair of chic earrings?

Favorite Chandelier

 

Chandelier // Earrings

I mean, of course, of course this chandelier is over $1,100. So, long story short, if I want it, or anything like it, to grace the halls of chateau de Sell anytime soon – it will have to be a DIY effort. Bummer dude.

But you better bet my wheels are already turning on how to get a look for less version rocking in this joint. Think this ceiling mount, and a craigslist chandelier spray painted go to along?

In the mean time, here are a few of my favorite chandy finds while on the hunt to light up our life a little more in the room of our little tot.

Best Brass Chandeliers

Eastview // Reina // Sofia // Elk Lighting // Ramona // Feiss

During my hunt for the perfect chandelier, I found a pretty stellar look for less, as well. I know I can’t be the only one obsessed with the Thomas O’Brien chandelier from Visual Comfort, right? Well check out this nearly identical one I found for $199!

Look for Less

 

Swedish Obsession

When we lived in Michigan, we were 15 minutes away from an IKEA. The things we take for granted mi amigos, the things we take for granted. See – now the closest IKEA is 2+ hours away. Did I still convince Jay that it was a good idea for us to cart our booties there last weekend? Why yes! Yes I did 😀

I had a specific checklist of baby room items I wanted and there was an added bonus. It was the spend more money than you should, and EAT FOR FREE day at IKEA! Never heard of it? Well those tricky little Swedish marketers came up with the idea that if they could persuade you to spend $100 or more on home furnishings, that you could eat all the swedish food your heart desired. To a knocked up women and a man that puts over a hundred miles a week on the open road burning calories on his bicycle – this sounded like a splendid way to spend a Saturday.

And so … off we went … on our Saturday adventure, where this happened.

Eat for Free at IKEA day

Yep, that’s food for just the two of us, well the three of us, if you’re getting technical. I think Jay likes to pretend he’s growing a baby too, since his spread out paced mine by a few sides.

I’ve gotta say, between the food (oh, the food!) and the splendid array of wonderment that lay before my eyes, this was one fun IKEA trip.

Best IKEA Furniture

My favorite item – BY FAR – was this little sofa that was just way too chic for it’s own good. And by it’s own good, I mean mine, because I’ve obviously got to make it mine.

IKEA Stocksund Sofa

As much as I lovey dove IKEA, I’m not usually a furniture shopper there, since the swedish lines are a bit more modern than I typically jam with. I’ve got a house chock full of their baskets and picture frames, but this sofa man, that really stopped my heart a beating for a quick second.

It’s even got a matching ottoman, to boot! Want, neeeed, must haveee ittt allll.

IKEA Stocksund Ottoman

They’ve actually got an entire collection (of armchair and sofas) so you better bet I’m saving my simolians to buy one of those beauties down the line.

Here are some of my favorite new picks I spotted on our most recent trip. I can’t wait to show you what we picked out for the nursery! (we’ve even got a paint color up in there!)

Best Things From IKEA

Stocksund Sofa // Dorthy Pillow // Pjas Basket // Himalayamix Plants // Graslok Planter // Stocksund Ottoman // Ryssby Table // Magga Basket // Ribba Picture Frame

Farmer Jack

First off, can I start off by saying that I love the fall. Like want it for breakfast, lunch and dinner can’t get my fill – bring. it. on. Something about 70 degrees and sunshine down here is just too much for me to take some days. Perfection.

So, adding to the list of things this lady finds perfect – y’all – check out this farmhouse table Jay built. Disclaimer – online it said this plan would take you 8-12 hours, it took us like 8-12 days. Now it really wasn’t that hard, it was just tedious. And had lots of steps. And my husband liked it a little too much – ya know – like he would go out there and tinker for an entire evening and I would be all like, awesome!! so, it’s ready for stain tomorrow, right? And he’d be all, well actually no, I cut a board and sanded it. What can I say, the man found some peace and solitude out in the garage and now he’s a bonafide table maker. Our neighbors even stopped by and asked Jay to make them one!! Ha ha (that went right to his ego)…

DIY Farmhouse Table

This table, makes this wifey, very happy. See, we’ve been sorta slumming it in the dining room category. We, eeerr I, made an executive decision that the old table just wasn’t working in the space so I went and sold it on craigslist. I figured, sell the table, pay for the supplies on the next one, right?

DIY Farmhouse Table

The thing that makes me the happiest about this table is that we can sit six people at it! That’s legit entertaining category right there, y’all!

Up close, it’s got a super nice, subtle stain on it. After some failed attempts, we landed up going with minwax golden oak.

Golden Oak Minwax Stain

It’s the stain we used on the floors in our first house and ever since, I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for it.

Now the arrangement is nestled to the right of the room (as you look at it from the kitchen) so the chandelier needs some … reconfiguring. I’m also thinking it needs some spray can action.

Moving Chanelier

I got super excited about styling up this room so I decided to add in a few more accessories.

I’ve actually been having some fun rearranging our living room (more on that later this week), so I grabbed the bamboo chairs we had in there previously and added them to either side of the doorway. Lil’ cuties.

IKAT Pillows

We’re also artless in this corner of the house, so I grabbed some of our dollar finds from thrift stores up in the mitten and popped them right in.

It’s a lady, and a pig. I may or may not have made up a song to accompany these two fine fellas for serenading every time I pass them 😀

Folk Artwork

So overall, we’re chalking up this DIY as a big fat win. I’ll have a play by play post on building the table up soon!

Here’s another close up shot of the beauty to feast your eyeballs on in the mean time. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be doing some crazy hair waving head banging. It’s feels good to be back in the dining room business.

Farmhouse Table