Category Archives: home decor

Forcing Spring Indoors

It’s hitting the forties this week! Very exciting! One of the things I like to do in March to make it feel more spring-like is to find some forsythia branches and force them to flower indoors.

You know forsythia- that shrub that blooms bright yellow as the first signs of spring?

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It looks like this in late winter:

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They look like most other shrubs and bushes at this time of year, mostly dead, but they have a slightly yellow-green hue on the new growth. Snap off some branches, or if you’re fancy and can find your pruning shears, use those. I grabbed some from the edge of a parking lot (I asked first!) and used my kitchen shears.

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Take those branches, stick them in some water and the warmth from your home and the indirect sunlight will cause those little buds to flower anywhere from one to three weeks. I’m hoping for an Easter bloom! The flowers last a week or two, and then they turn into little green leaves.2015/03/img_3076.jpg

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If you don’t have anywhere to be a secret-ninja-garden-pruner like me, you can head down to Maureen’s Wholesale Florist in downtown Buffalo. They have some forsythia branches in stock but most local florists that I have contacted will not have branches until April. Maureen’s also anticipates having cherry and dogwood branches later in the spring. I’ve never tried those, but I think I may this year!

If you have forsythia in your yard, give this a try! It’s not hard to do, just keep water in the vase and you’ll have signs of spring inside as we await the great thaw. Give me a shout if you have some too- I’ll come and prune your shrub for free 🙂 The more you trim, the more it’ll grow back!

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Washi tape tree

We have a relatively small tree, it was perfect in our quaint abode that we lived in for five years when the kids were very tiny. But with more ornaments, and a higher ceiling in our new house, I wanted more hanging space.

The Mr. said “no” when I presented the 100 dollar 10 footer I found on craigslist. He said I already had a tree in the living room and one on the porch, so a third wasn’t needed. I backpedaled, trying to think of a valid reason why the purchase was needed.

“There are three persons in the trinity. So obviously we need three trees,” I said.

So. Lame. I know. I totally lost the discussion.

But I really do need some hanging space, particularly for the beautiful ornaments the children have been making each day this advent.

Enter in a double pack of washi tape I found on sale at Michaels, for something along the lines of two dollars.

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It’s repositionable, so it will make it easy to hang our card stock ornaments!

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I did eight rows of tape and it took me about five minutes! I bet this would be a cute way to display Christmas cards too.

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I love easy Home dec crafts! It makes me feel so good to check one item off my insane list of things to do this week!

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Mirror to Chalkboard

We have a mirror that I love, but it doesn’t work in our new place. All the reflections were weird.

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It reflected half ceiling and half wall. I tried it in other rooms with no success either.

Since our family room is as bare as it can get, and because we haven’t found any artwork for over the mantle, I figured painting the mirror was worth a shot.

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First, I taped some black cardboard to the mirror to test out the idea. Keith wasn’t so sure it would work but I am getting a little antsy to have some prettiness up in this house so I dove in.
It took several coats of paint applied with a foam roller brush before I was confident that the mirror was sufficiently covered.

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I let the paint cure for a week (or I was too busy/ lazy to do something with it this past week, your choice).

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Savannah helped me “season” the chalkboard this afternoon. This is a necessary step to prevent “ghosting” on a new chalkboard surface.

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I had all the intentions of googling some chalk art ideas but my daughter decided she wanted to write a note to Keith for him to come home to.

I’m happy with the way it turned out!

My next task Is to figure out what else to put on the mantle!

Progress is good!

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Family Command Center and Entry Organization Progress

School starts in a few short weeks and we’ve been working on organizing our lives house in hopes of smooth and happy mornings.

Our side entry door is the door we use 95% of the time and it is usually 100% responsible for a sudden negative change in my mood when coming in or out of the house due to its’ tiny-ness and clutter. We also had a need for a family calendar/ command center somewhere in the house and adding a wipe off calendar to the the wall here has seemed to be a good solution.

We worked on shoe organization down in the basement to keep the 3 by 3 foot area clear. We had the hooks on the wall, but they tended to be overrun by everything and our terrible habit of not putting things away.

Adding individual labels for each member of our family (dog included!) has helped keep the chaos at bay and our door can ACTUALLY open all the way! I used photos and images to label so my non-reading preschoolers can put things away. Plus, I like looking at their cute little faces.

The calendar is one part of our in-progress family-calendar project. This is a 4 month at a glance wipe off calendar that I had from my college days. We use color coordinating dry erase markers for each family member’s activities/ appointments. I saw another calendar somewhere that said “Our Busy Family” and I changed it to “Our Purposeful Family” to remind myself to not be just BUSY with things to do, but to try and be purposeful in our schedule.

We’ve been using Google Calendar for a few months now to keep our family calendar. I chose this calendar because I am able to send my husband invites to swim lessons, doctor’s appointments, social events and it works on his work calendar (Lotus) and shows up on his blackberry calendar. This is really helpful for us because I can just send Keith a quick invite to something and get a response right away, instead of trying to remember to talk to him about it after he  is home from work.

What are your calendar ideas? What works? What doesn’t?

 

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Filed under DIY, home decor, home life, Household Helps, organization

Big Boy Room Progress

My little man is growing up.

He runs, he jumps, he swims, and he climbs (out of the crib). It’s time for the Big Boy Room.

We’ll be needing that crib for the baby soon enough. For the time being, Sydney’s in a basinette in our room.

I found an inspiration room on pinterest and made my own twists on it. We’re going for the “hunter/ explorer” theme and this is the progress we’ve made so far:

Bedding- I bought the bedding from (gasp) Pottery Barn. Honest, it’s the only Pottery Barn purchase I think I have ever made. It was crazy wicked on sale, so I don’t feel too guilty, and making a quilt myself at this current juncture of having a new baby in the house would probably send me to the nuthouse (so said my loving and level headed husband).

I made the throw pillows with some duck cloth I had on hand and stuffed them with an old pillow cut in half! I used my Silhouette and freezer paper to create the name and antler stencils.

Window Coverings- I saved some money by NOT purchasing the coordinating valence from Pottery Barn. I just made my own with $5 worth of fabric.

Organization- I used my Silhouette to make hanging labels for the drawers for organization (more on household organization next week!).

Some things we have left to do:

  • Wall Mural- We’re thinking an acacia tree of some sort. I have a board on Pinterest if you want to weigh in on the candidates!
  • Hanging decor
  • Bear rug- I saw this on the Cabella’s website and decided it was too expensive, so I am going to DIY a bear rug for a fraction of the price.
  • Storage
  • Reading Nook
  • Lighting

Good thing we’re not in a huge rush to get this all done. Slow and steady wins the race!

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Filed under crafts, DIY, home decor, recreate, sewing, Silhouette Projects, Upcycling

Dollar Store Crafts Part 3 of 4- Shoe trays

I’m crazy about Dollar Store cookie sheets. I’ve used them for a dinner board, an art gallery, and now for shoe trays! I wonder what else I could make with these!

I have a smallish cape, with a teeny tiny side entry that also doubles as a death trap. Seriously. It’s a 3 x 3 foot area with open steps down to my (unfinished) basement. Many a person has fallen down the death trap stairs and I hold my breath every time I try to get my brood inside the house, shoes off and up the three steps into the kitchen safely. Because of this chaos, we tend to chuck our shoes down the stairs and they scatter in every direction, or end up in a giant mismatched pile at the bottom of the stairs. Sometimes, against all logic, we leave them in the microscopic mudroom, which doesn’t help the situation at all.

I am trying my best to create organized areas for everything in our house since we are so messy our shoes, so we can have all nine square feet to stand in the micro mudroom and can easily retrieve PAIRS of shoes when we are headed out the door.

I cut some scrapbook paper to fit the trays and mod podged it to the cookie sheet. While the mod podge was still wet, I glued gem stones (also a Dollar Tree item!) down with just regular sticky tak glue in a design that had my childrens’ first initial.

It holds about 3-ish pairs of shoes, which is perfect for my crew in the summer. Sneakers, sandals, and crocs. Sometimes rain boots. I try to keep the shoes out that I know they will wear, and I toss the sandals in a nearby bin with the rest of the family’s.  My favorite part about the whole project is that both of my children now know where their “shoe tray” is and can follow instructions to put their shoes there or retrieve them from there. It’s also nice to have a specific area to keep the shoes contained to, instead of them eventually overtaking the basement.

Our new routine coming in through the death trap side door is to come in, shoes off, and then one person brings the shoes down to the basement and puts them away.

Cost breakdown:

Cookie Sheets             $2

gemstones                      4

Total                               $6

Ahhh… less chaos. Always working on that!

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Dollar Store Crafts Part 2 of 4- Artwork Gallery

I am mom to a 4 1/2 year old and 2 1/2 year old. We do a lot of crafts and they also create seven thousand pieces of artwork a week between afternoon craft time, preschool, and Sunday School. We’ve tried various ways to display said artwork, which inevitably ends up with a zillion papers on the side of my fridge, taped all over the walls, or way too many clipped on a holder. I was looking for an idea that would make my children’s creations look important and treasured, while at the same time encouraging the rotating of “exhibits”. The haphazard-taped-all-over-the-place was driving me nuts.

So I decided to once again use some sweet stuff from the Dollar Tree and add a little TLC!

I picked up 3 cookie sheets and 2 pizza pans. I spray painted them in two different Rust-o-leum colors that we had in our basement- Kona Brown and Nutmeg. The frames were then hung using those 3m Command Strips so I would have to worry about drilling holes through metal and putting nail holes in the wall. With any luck, just a little paint touch up will be needed someday when we move from here into our dream home (stillllll dreaming).

The quote is from Picasso and I cut it with my Silhouette on some repositional vinyl that I had on hand from another project. I love it! I hope my children remain artists at whatever their art is for their whole life. I know I enjoy my own “art”! If you can call craftiness art!

The cost breakdown is as follows:

Cookie Sheets       $3

Pizza Pans               2

Spray Paint           free  (already had it)

Command Strips   $3

Total=                       $8

Someday I’d like to make little bubble magnets with the kids’ names on them but for now, any magnet will do to hold the artwork to the frame.

I’m really happy with the way it turned out. Especially since it cleans up my house a little bit. Every bit helps when you’ve got the chaos of kids at home!!!

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