Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

I get bored easily.

Especially when I am not busy painting a new project.

It gives me too much time to look around and want to switch something up.

Even in a perfectly good room that we remodeled less than two years ago.

I don’t think this trait is on my husband’s top ten list of things he loves about me.

It may have to do with spending money.

Or cutting into football watching time.

 

So when I started thinking about the rooms I wanted to make changes in, it happened to be the first three rooms that we completed when we moved it.  And as I disclaimer I still love them, but they all needed a little freshening up.  And to of course on a budget (see above).  The three rooms are the dining room, family room and office.  And while the office and dining room are still works in progress, the family room’s minor changes are complete.  And they are just enough to keep me happy with the space.

And I am happy to report that no football watching time was infringed on for any part of it.

The Family Room

Issue #1- Too Much Brown

  Since we bought the bookshelves, I have been trying to convince Derek to let me paint the back.  Or apply pretty fabric or decorative paper to give them some pattern and pizzazz.  Just something to break up the boring brown. 

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But that idea got vetoed.  Maybe because he knows my propensity to want to change things and anything permanent would not bode well for the solid wood bookcases.  I could day that we could just add built-ins when I get tired of them but I don’t think that would help my case.

So for two years I let it go and tried to enjoy the brown.

Then one day it hit me…..what about spray paint?  It is cheap and easily re-doable and who needs to touch the bookscases?  Why had I not thought of this brilliant idea sooner?

So I spray painted the lamps a blue gray and got new drum shades.  Then the brown tray got a coat of silver.  And I thought I would love it and it would solve of my brown problems. IMG_2947

But a couple of weeks later I am still not sure.  Maybe the blue is too shiny?  Maybe it is too much contrast with the brown bookshelves?  Maybe the lamps are too skinny?  Maybe I should just go with gray instead of blue-gray? Maybe I am just feeling fall-ish now and this is just reading a little too springy?  Maybe I way overthinking this and just need to be happy that is not brown and get over not painting the interior of the bookshelves?

Anyways….

Issue #2 It Just Doesn’t Feel Done

There is another change in the family room that I am 100% in love with….the rug.

I was a little iffy on adding an area rug over carpet.  But the space was not really unified and I wanted some more modernish touches in the room to make it flow more with the adjoining kitchen.  So I got out one of our 5x8 area rugs that we were not using and see what I thought of the idea.

It was love at first site….except the rug was way too small.

So that led us on a rug search.  It had to be big.  And cheap.  And modernish.  And good colors.  And not solid brown (see above). And not matchy with the walls.  But not too orange either. And not too busy.  Basically perfect.

We went everywhere in the city that carried rugs and came back with nothing.  It may have had something to do with how picky I was being.

Overstock had some great and cheap ones, but the colors and sizes were not matching up.  I then stumbled on Rugsdirect.com and found a couple that met all of my criteria.  And free shipping and returns. 

It was a very exciting day.

We ended up with this one.

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And I am amazed about how something so simple can complete the space.

Some friends commented that it was brilliant that the circles of the rug complemented the circular coffee table so well.

Ummmm….yeah.

I was totally thinking that when I picked it out.

Issue# 3 Throw Pillows

You also may notice we now actually have some throw pillows on the couch and chair.  There are still some more half finished in the sewing room, but we at least have some color on the sofa.

But I have a confession to make.

I asked you opinion on throw pillows a long time ago.

About whether I should use the home dec fabric I already had or go with more modern cotton prints.

And the majority of you said to stick with what I had.

Well I didn’t.

Sorry….but I did listen on your advice on the kitchen curtain color, so you can’t stay mad.

Right?

 

So what do you think?  Hopefully I am not the only one that gets the itch to change things up.   But I think I am satisfied with the space and will be able to enjoy my time hanging out in there and not thinking about what I want to change.

For now at least.

What I Brought Back From My First Time

I know most people do not detail their IKEA purchases.  Because they go all the time and it could get really boring really fast.

But unluckily luckily for you, I am not one of those people.

Being that it was my first IKEA trip, and I am still 8 hours away from one, I just have to share.

The fabric was the first thing that went into the bag soon to be cart. 

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I had heard about the great fabrics at IKEA from my modern quilting guild friends and was really excited to see what they had.

And I even I had purpose in mind….those shrunken office drapes.  I wanted something more modern and washable and cheap because I needed a lot.  And before IKEA I was coming up with nothing.  A whole lot of nothing that was not over $20 a yard.

IKEA!

Of course as soon as I got the bolt home I had to hang it to make sure I loved it as much as I thought I would.  Not sure what I would have done with it if I hated it, but it turned out OK because I think they will look perfect. When I finally get around to sewing them of course. 

The next purchase I really  had no plan for.  I knew I wanted rugs for  the entryway, kitchen and possibly office.  And that black and white would look good in all those places.  So I bought it thinking that we could make it work.

So it was unrolled and tried in the entryway…

IKEA!

 

IKEA!

Ehhh not my favorite there.

Office?  Nope does not fit under furniture without covering up vents.

Kitchen?

IKEA!

(Imagine flowing white panels on all the windows)

IKEA!

(At least we have the rods up)

Even without the curtains I think we have a winner.  Which is good  because I was out of options besides Craigslist.

My final purchases were a pretty (and cheap) silver bowl that I am thinking about using in the dining room.

IKEA!

And the classic white pots which I am thinking will house herbs in the kitchen in the winter.  And an aloe plant which came highly recommended by Kim.   It had a couple battle scars from the car ride.

IKEA!

I could have bought a lot more….especially in the fabric if I had unlimited time to browse.  But I think for my first time I got a nice collection of things that ended up working out great.  And crazily enough not one of those items required any assembly.

Now if I can just become a curtain making machine……

The Creative Connection

Take two people who have never met in real life and put them in a car together for 10 hours and then make them share a hotel room and three days together.  How do you think that will turn out?

Well some of my co-workers were worried but fortunately for me…..fabulous.

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Kim at NewlyWoodwards emailed me last spring after she had won tickets to the Creative Connection in Minneapolis and wondered if I wanted join in the fun.  Sure, we had not met in real life but had emailed and commented frequently on each other’s blogs and thought we would get along great.  Right?  So after phone conversations to make sure each other were not 50 –year-old men we signed up for classes.

We took fun classes like quilting with Camille Roskelley….

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Creative Connection 2010

Creative Connection 2010 

And felting with Betz White……

Creative Connection 2010

Creative Connection 2010

And met of tons of fun creative people…..

Did I mention that the Pioneer Woman was there?

Creative Connection 2010

Everyone was a little excited.  And in our excitement, Kim and I were one of the first in line for the luncheon (insert joke here).  So we got really great seats to hear her speak. 

In our beeline to the front, we somehow found ourselves at the famous person table.  So while the Pioneer Woman was speaking, this was our view.

Creative Connection 2010

Don’t worry we tried to played it cool.

And then Ree and I enjoyed wine together.  Note to self: slip off the nametag next time.

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All the meals at the event were so well decorated and creative.  Amy Butler and Mary Jane Butters spoke at dinner and I would share those pics but the lighting was really tough and they are blurry.  AKA I have a lot to learn about photography.

At dinner this giant burlap bag of amazing goodies was at our chairs.  Paint, fabric, glue, modpodge, jewelry etc. provided Kim and I an hour of ohhing and ahhing at the hotel.

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But our fun did not end at the event itself.  We also enjoyed a little shopping of course.

Kim scored some great finds for her new old house at an salvage/antique shop.

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And then we went to a place that I had been dreaming about since I knew I was going to be in Minneapolis.  A place that most of you will not understand my excitement about because you do not live 8 hours away from one with their very limited online shopping.

IKEA.

We met up with some other fun bloggers (Cindy, Allison, Suzanne and Allison) and had a great time together on my maiden IKEA trip.  I think my text messages to my husband were anxiety provoking to him in terms of the bank account that night.

“this just might be the promised land”

“i am thinking about a road trip to denver/austin/chicago/minneapolis with a large car could be fun”

“now we are off to the mall of america”

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I will save my purchases for another post, but let’s just say Kim’s car looked like this on our way back to Des Moines.

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I am happy to report that Kim and I were still chatting away when we pulled up at my car 5 hours later.  We had an amazing time together and I can’t wait to meet up again.

Maybe denver/austin/chicago/minneapolis ?

Finally

I have been promising this for awhile, but the outdoor space it finally ready.  But next time I want to finally get an outdoor space together, I need to actually make progress before August when it is too hot to be outside even at night….. and when all the flowers and herbs are looking a little wilty….well because they are hot too.

Anyway it would not be an After without an Before. So he is the unofficial before (stolen from the raised beds how-to).  Basically when we moved in we plopped a table in the middle of the deck with cheap plastic chairs and hung lights very very straight on the pergola.  Oh and Derek  installed outdoors speakers as soon as the wire was discovered.  Priorities.

Here we are now:

Outdoor space 8/10

I swear I did not have Winter pose…that is where she was laying when I walked out with the camera.

The other side-

Outdoor space 8/10

My reading corner-Outdoor space 8/10

The umbrella gets moved frequently to shade the plant and the sectional.  I can’t decide if I like it better with or without….hmmmm.

Outdoor space 8/10

The long view.  Yes I am aware that it leans.  I swear this is the only angle you can tell.  A couple of people have given us ideas about how to fix it but frankly none of them sound that fun and we have not cared enough to pursue it yet.  10 points if you can spy the shell pink mini blinds in the ugly master bath in this picture.

Outdoor space 8/10

On a daily basis I use our rolling cart for gardening stuff, but it multi tasks for entertaining or BBQing-

Outdoor space 8/10

Some herbs and the grape trellis.  Hopefully the grapes will be higher than the first level and able to be seen next year.  Outdoor space 8/10

And at night (without a tripod obviously).  I like how the sectional area is less lit but still bright enough.

Outdoor space 8/10

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And to prove they were not nearly so cooperative the entire time….

Outdoor space 8/10

In case you are wondering, here is where I got stuff (on a budget of course):

Tile-Top table and umbrella- Lowe’s or Home Depot years ago on clearance

Sectional: Wal-Mart (blogged here)

Rocking Chair- Jo-ann’s (blogged here)

Outdoor Rug: Home Fabrics and Rugs (blogged here)

Garden Stool: Homegoods (here)

Blue side table- hand me down transformed with the power of spray paint

Outdoor Pilliows-made by me

Rolling Cart- made my Derek (tutorial here)

Painted Pots -another DIY project (tutorial here).  The non-painted pots are from Homegoods.

And the final DIY project- the canvas panels on the pergola (here)

So what do you think?  Now I am starting to get the itch for fall and cooler weather so we can start spending time out there again.

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Spring Steals

So I am taking a big step and taking a personal day today.  I have never taken one before, but I am so proud of myself for taking a day to myself and all the projects waiting to be completed. 

Well let’s be honest…..half a personal day.  I have things scheduled at work in the morning but I will get out of there by noon.  Promise. 

Small steps.

While I use my extra couple of hours to work on the ten different spring projects that are partially done, I wanted to share all my great spring buys that I have found recently.

First, has anyone else noticed how expensive outdoor furniture is?  Ouch….especially when you are looking at comfortable outdoor sectionals.  Even at all of our favorite cheap places were were looking at least $1000.  Sigh. I will admit I was frustrated and thought that our outdoor space would be bland and not as functional for another year.  And what fun is that?

But then Wal-Mart.com came to the rescue with this-

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Any guesses on how much?  Under $500.  Yeah, so it probably won’t last a million years and become a family heirloom but oh well.  A couple of summers of enjoyment is all we are asking for.  It was also free to ship to the store. 

The box barely wedged into my small SUV.  And by barely I mean we had to take out the carpet in the back for that last centimeter and actually take the sectional out of the box piece by piece while it was in the car because it was so snug in order to extract it.

I am in the process of buying fun fabric for pillows to make it more summery and bright.  Because the throw pillows it came with were pretty ugly. Add that to the project list.

And did anyone spy the other thrifty find I scored this past week?  I will give you a second to scroll up in case you missed it. 

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Yep a garden stool for 20 bucks at Homegoods.  I am thinking to use it as a little side table right now but as the outdoor space comes together we will see where it ends up.  Anyway I love it.  And the color.  And the price.

I can’t wait to put together all the details and make our deck an extension of our house.

But in the meantime I will pretend that I am going to spend my afternoon of freedom stopping and smelling these-

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(and because of my spring fever I not able to resist at least one flower pic in every post….it will pass soon I promise)

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Homegoods Happy

Hope everyone had a great Halloween and are enjoying the leftover candy! Since we have no self control when it comes to sugar, Derek and I have a strange way to resist temptation. Since we both have nut allergies (yeah our future kids are screwed in the genes department), all we buy is peanut butter candy. So it is really easy not to eat it because we literally can't. Even though at this exact moment I am craving some chocolate and just maybe the thought has crossed my mind about the possibility about just taking a lick of the just chocolate with the epi-pen next to me.

Anyway, back on subject, we had a very busy DIY weekend and the bathroom is almost done. The last thing to do is finish accessorizing, decide on a shower curtain (might need your help with this one as I am stuck) and oh yeah get the toilet out of the tub. But other than that minor detail everything else is a go and I can't wait to share it. My grand plan was to share some details and/or a how to today but we were so busy that I did not get a chance to snap pics until Sunday evening and they did not look great in artificial light....so stay tuned for tomorrow and hopefully this daylight savings time things allows me to snap a few before it is dark.

I did make a Homegoods run and of course they did not disappoint.....




And I may have had a two cart trip there last weekend when Derek was out of town. Maneuvering two carts through the store and onto the parking lot by myself is not easy and usually gets some weird looks but is always worth it. For example look what followed me home (safely buckled in with a blanket of course) after that trip (for $30 by the way)-
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But I did not buy everything that caught my eye- like these lacquered tables that I was thinking about for the entry (sadly they are too big)-
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It just might be my favorite store.....

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Two Pieces of Paradise

I am not usually a big houseplant person but ever since I saw this picture years ago I have been in love with those plants. Of course now years later I have no idea where/who this picture is from...I believe it was someone on the Nest if I had to guess. I also saw a similar picture (same room, different angle) on one of the blogs I read regularly a couple of weeks ago. But now as I am writing this post I cannot find that post anywhere. I know, my Internet research skills suck.

But anyway, I started to hunt for this plant last winter for the kitchen. Of course I had no idea what the name of it was. I went to a nursery and all their indoor plants were way more than I was willing to pay for a single plant. Nothing at Home Depot either. But then I found one at Lowe's for under $20 and this baby has been growing beautifully in my kitchen for the last couple of months. (It is called a Bird of Paradise in case you were curious).

So when our master bedroom was needing something with height, presence and you know earthiness I went out and bought a bird of paradise mini-me. (This time only $8.50 whoo hoo)
The Houseplant family

Here it is all ready to grow in its new big pot.....

I think some more miracle-gro is in order to achieve that height and presence thing....


All the pots for the plants are Homegoods scores. I could never bring myself to drop a hundred bucks on a ceramic pot but I found the big pots at my favorite store for 39.99 and the smaller one for under twenty. They are glazed ceramic and weigh a ton (which is why we put the wheely thing on the one on the carpet) so if you are on the hunt for nice large pots check it out.

I Love These Chairs!

I love the designer Angelo Surmelis on HGTV's Rate My Space. He does great designs and on top of that he seems line a genuinely great guy. His show is on my DVR list. Also, his blog is one of the ones on my Google Reader and last night he posted about his new furniture line here. I love it! The pieces are so stylish but affordable. Here is one of my favorites:
from Design Geek Blog-lots more pics on his post

According to the post they will be available this summer on Overstock. I really wish that these would have been an option when we were looking for a piece for out master bedroom. I wanted something with a pattern but everything we saw was either an ugly pattern or too expensive. I love this entire line and really appreciate his commitment to making them inexpensive. He is very talented and I hope that his new line will be very successful. Go check it out over on Design Geek!

New Home Store Find

I never thought I would say/type these words but....

I might have found a store that ranks up with Homegoods in cool home stuff and price.

I know, I can't believe it either but let me give you the scoop. I was driving to a different Wal-Mart this weekend in search of a final curtain panel for the master bedroom when I saw the JCPenney Outlet Store. Now I have seen this store before but assumed it was just clothes so I had not ventured in. But for some reason on Sunday I noticed that there was a line of cars in a pick-up area to load. Hmmmm...people would not be pulling up pick-ups and SUV's to get clothes. The parking lot was packed but I ventured in. The inside did have a lot of clothes but the back had a lot of housewares and there was a whole side area with furniture and accessories. Was it as nicely organized and presented as Homegoods...no. But they had so much stuff laying around-beds, patio furniture, desks, chairs, mirrors, lamps, tables, armoires, sheets, rugs etc. This stuff was moving fast. I found a mirror I liked and by the time I circled it was gone. I also was eyeing a modern desk (while hearing Derek's voice in my head saying "where are you going to put that") when a another girl walked past me and sat on it. So if you are going to get deals get there early, bring a buddy to stake your claim and be prepared to spit on/lick things if you want to reserve them.

I did score a new light fixture for our guest room. Is it exactly what I envisioned...no. But it was just 30 bucks and for that price I can make a few modications to make it what I want.

The box (the price says 29.99 in case you can't see it)

The previous light fixture, a single can light.
The new (cheap) light fixture
Since it was a recessed light, we had to put on an adapter to put a normal light fixture back up. I am thinking about covering that with a ceiling mediallion. Also we had to take the top portion of the light fixture off because it was hanging too low. I am also thinking about changing out the shade to a straight drum shade in white and possibly spray painting the metal chrome. But I am going to live with it awhile before making the decision. Even with modifications, 30 bucks was a steal.

And I will be back JCPenney Outlet store, next time with reinforcements.

Homegoods Score

I have a slight obsession with Homegoods. Luckily one is within walking distance in case I need a fix. It is not unusual that I need multiple carts in order to get everything out to my car. You know you bought too much when you have to make more than one trip to get everything in the car. On a recent Homegoods excursion I found these sexy lamps for the master bedroom.



Lamps are one of those things that are always more expensive than you would expect them to be (like faucets and rugs) but at 49.99 I think these babies were a score. I think they will look great in our newly painted master. It was very difficult to get a good pic of them but the white base is glass with a swirly pattern.


More pics to come of the master bedroom renovation (with the lamps) as soon as new furniture arrives!