Friday, January 21, 2011

     I really love a clean house. Nothing makes me feel more relaxed and peaceful than order and cleanliness. Unfortunately, real life doesn't lend itself to perfectly clean houses seven days a week. The laundry seems to multiply overnight in the baskets, dirty dishes appear out of nowhere, cheerios that were supposed to find a home in a certain little belly somehow are sprinkled generously on the floor, great mountains of miscellaneous things loom on all surfaces and no one seems to know how they got there, and...well you get the point. I cant be the only house in the world that seems to be in a never ending cycle of chaos!
      My method of retaining at least partial sanity is to do at least these four things every day. None of them take very long at all, but instantly make the house feel, at the very least, tidy.
  1. Make the bed.
  2. Clear the counters and table of dirty dishes and clutter.
  3. Sweep the floors.
  4. Straighten the cushions on the couch. 
     I think cleaning the focal point in each room helps to make the entire room feel clean. In my little house these four things cover it nicely. I can't do a deep cleaning everyday or have a spotless house every day, but it can be kept under control.
     What do you do to keep your housework from becoming unmanageable?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A new use for clothesline

     When we moved into this house a few months ago, I painted our bedroom walls a deliciously dark shade of brown. It looks like coffee beans or melted chocolate (two of my very favorite things) and I think it's wondrous. To contrast with the dark walls I have a lot of white in the room. However, my old lampshade was a dark brown and didn't look oh so lovely against those walls. So what to do. I needed to recover the thing and I knew I wanted it to be white, unique looking, and have texture. Enter a wad of clothesline I found laying around. Perfect! I hot glued it around the lamp shade and voila! White, unique, texture...check, check, and check. It would have been free too except that I ran out half way through and had to go buy another roll. Still it was monstrously cheaper than buying a new one. I'm quite pleased with it.

     You can see how dark my walls are in these pictures, but to be fair to them, I did take these pictures at night. During the day they don't look quite so cavernous. Here is a close up picture.

      I was thinking of embellishing it with some flowers or something, but decided to leave it. I like its simplicity.
     I have another one in the living room that needs doing. Hmmm maybe I'll use sticks this time. Ha! Kidding!
linking this to Someday Crafts: Whatever goes Wednesday party and Tea Rose Home: Link party

Thursday, January 13, 2011

sew a simple boy's fleece ski mask

     As much as I adore fixing up furniture and tinkering with things about the house, I love to sew even more. For Christmas I made our nephews each a fleece ski mask. I used a generic size chart I found online since they all live several states away and measuring heads wasn't an option. I got the size too small for one of them, so today I whipped up a replacement to send him. If this one doesn't fit I had better just stick with making things that don't require specific measurements!
     When I sew I don't use patterns. For some reason my mind just cannot comprehend how to make them work. Some of us are just dull like that.  My method is to measure, draw dots, connect the dots, cut out and then sew. For a ski mask you need to know the head circumference and how long from chin to top. I put my two pieces of fleece together and then measured half of the circumference across. It would be ideal to have this on the fold so you don't have a seam in the front. I didn't have enough material to fold on this one. Add about four inches to your length and mark that on the cloth. At this point your markings should look like a large rectangle. When you cut it out you will round out the top and angle in slightly toward the neck. The cut out piece should look something like this.

Now about an inch inch or so below the top cut about a three inch rectangle for the eyes. I like to round the corners. It should look like this.

     Now just turn inside out and sew around all your edges. Hem the eye part. I like to do a double hem so that its more sturdy and looks more finished.
     This is how the finished product looks from the front. ( I used a pillow as my model!)

And here is how it looks from the side.

     I don't know what the boys thought of them, but my hubby they were great fun. He wants one, but I say no. He'd wear it to to town and embarrass me or constantly be jumping out from behind doors to scare me just for the sheer fun of it! Not all boys need one, just the ones that live several states away.
     Linking this to Tea Rose Home: Link Party No. 38

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

baby steps in the nursery

     I didn't make as much progress as I'd hoped in the little one's room last weekend. She got a nasty cold and we got some super cold rainy weather. Neither is very conducive to painting or much of anything that requires two hands. However I did manage to get two book shelves up that I finished last week.
     I saw the idea for these here. I didn't use her directions but the concept is the same. Basically you want two boards to form an "L" shape with a smaller board forming a lip in the front. I nailed mine together because I like fast and easy, but it would be more professional to screw them together. The idea is for it to look like this when you are done.

     I made two, sanded them and then painted them white. I would suggest using wood filler to smooth out any knots that might be in the wood. I didn't think of that until I was done, so mine are a bit, er, rustic, looking. Then all that needs to be done is to hang with your choice of hardware. They have made a world of difference already in a room that looked like this.

     Doesn't that make your eyes start twitching and your hair curl? I. hate. mess. So now we at least have this small spot of order.

     They are just right for little hands to take one and also to return it. Although we are still working on the return part! The sides are just open, I don't think it would be too hard to add a small block if you needed to.

     These pictures make the walls look very yellow, its a lot softer of a yellow in person. At any rate, these cost just under $10 a piece to make. I'm loving them! Here's a peek at whats coming soon for the rest of that mess in there.

     Hope to have more progress to report soon!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

making storage act as decor

     I have an itsy bitsy house. Its as cute as can be, but oh so very small. Now mind you, I'm thankful to have it!  However, it has been a bit of challenge to create an open homey look without it being cluttered. One way to do that is to create hidden storage, or plainly put, make your decorations act as storage. To give credit where its due, I only thought of doing this after I read this post. Here are a few ways I do it in my home.
     These two fruit baskets sit above my fridge. The one on the left holds hot pads and baby bibs. The one on the right holds dish wash rags and place mats.

     One thing I must admit, I have a serious love of old crates and wooden boxes. They make divine storage and look oh so charming and rustic while they are at it! This one holds my rice, dried beans and noodles. Bet you cant guess what the little black basket on top of it holds can you! I'm subtle what can I say.

     This crate holds my table cloths.

     This crate sits in my pantry space and holds my dish towels.

One note about my pantry. Its just a built in shelf in the wall, completely exposed for all to see. I prettied it up with a collection of garage sale baskets and chalkboard labels. It still needs some work, but these things take time you know!

    Then I have some not so subtle storage. My cooking spoons are kept in a spray painted flower planter.

This old candy jar holds hot coco mix (mmmm my fav!) and snacks.

This is my all time favorite. Whats more appropriate to hold tea bags than a vintage tea pot! And just in case anyone doesn't catch the connection, I offer a helpful tip with the vinyl letters. I do amuse myself sometimes.

Well that gives you a pretty good idea of some different ways to make up for lack of cabinets, room for extra furniture, etc.
     Hopefully by Monday I'll have some progress to report on some storage for my munchkin's little attic room. Now that is a room that needs some storage! Before I break my silly neck trying to walk in it!
     Linking this up to Funky Junk Interiors Sat Night Special

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Christmas cleanup

     I just love Christmas. However, about the time that New Years rolls around, I get a little Christmas claustrophobic! It just seems like all the extra decorations start to get stuffy. And besides, when your tree starts growing cobwebs, and dropping a blanket of needles if you happen to look at it funny, its probably about time to take it down. Don't ask me how I know that! My mission this week has been to send it all back to its cozy little home in the attic until next year.
     I redid my mantle this afternoon. I wanted to keep the warm and comfy feeling since it's still winter and we'll still use the fireplace a bit more. I changed it from this very simple Christmas look.

To this, also simple, comfy look. It spells relaxation and hot coco to me.

     Decorations don't have to be anything special, just special to you. The book page wreath I made out of a one hundred year old book I found in a junk shop. The pages were so fragile they crumbled if I bent them at all. The pages have a lovely aged look. I didn't use any tutorial to make it, but these are all over the Internet. I'm sure there are multitudes out there. The lantern we used camping on New Years Eve the first year we were married. The scale, pitcher, and window were junk store and garage sale finds. The books are just off my shelf tied up with jute. The vine is the best inside plant know to mankind. I have three of them and they have survived lusciously for two years so far. I'm a horrible plant keeper so that is saying a lot for their tenacity! Underneath it all is a bit of grapevine like stuff I found at a craft store a while back. I like to use it for extra texture.
     Now if I can just figure the rest of the house out we'll be in good shape!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome 2011!

     I cant believe we are already in a new year! I'm starting to think every year goes faster than the one before....and now I sound like I'm old or something so I'll just stop now. Our way to bring the new year is to go camping...unless its pouring rain, which it just so happened to be last night. So we compromised and cooked our dinner over a very smokey little fire out back of the house and called it good.
The best memories are made when things don't go according to plan. What are your traditions?