Sunday, December 15, 2013

Red and White Nordic Christmas Tree

In the midst of all of our painting and floor laying and fixing up of the new house, we did manage to get a tree up and decorated.  Since we plan to be moved into the new house by Christmas that's where we set it up.  It's the only part of the house that looks clean and normal.  : )

Y'all know I love me some red, and the red and white color scheme of the Nordic style has appealed to me for a few years now.  So last year I decided that I wanted to do a red and white Nordic style tree this year.  So as I packed up our ornaments from last year's tree, I set aside any of them that would fit with this theme and packed them away separately.

I bought a few new things on after Christmas clearance sales, and found the tree skirt on Etsy. 
 It's actually a vintage tablecloth.

The rocking chair is the only piece of furniture in the house so far, and my antique quilt was already there from my son using it to take naps on while I'm there working.  The little ladder was there for functional use for painting and things, but I commandeered it for these pictures.  The little red trees were found at Goodwill.

I am loving this tree!  Any time I need a break from the house projects I come sit in here and enjoy looking at it.

Let's take a little closer look at some of the ornaments.

These ornaments were bought at after Christmas clearance sales.  The snowflakes like the one in the top right picture are some of my favorites of the new ones.

These adorable mitten ornaments were not on clearance, I found those this year at Sears. Aren't they just the cutest?!?

There are quite a few of these red and white snowflakes all over the tree.  They're actually felt coasters and they were also a clearance find.

These letters were another Christmas clearance buy and I was so excited to find each of our initials.  They'll be used every year from now on I'm sure, regardless of the theme. 

I had several Santas in my collection already, here are just a few of them.

I also already had the primitive looking wooden icicles in two different styles, as well a few handmade ornaments that my sister gave me years ago.  I also already had the wooden cranberry garland.

The quilted star ornament is another favorite, and was actually the inspiration for this whole tree. 
 I found it at a thrift store.

Along with the beautiful theme appropriate ornaments, there are plenty of meaningful and memorable family ornaments mixed in as well.  

Hubby's Craftsman toolbox ornament even made it on!  : )  See that bear ornament in the background of the bottom right picture?  I've had that since I was about a year old, and it's that one ornament that is an absolute must on the tree every year.  It's not Christmas until the Avon bear ornament goes on the tree.  It used to be scented and I think it still smells good, but my family thinks it stinks, lol!

So there you have it.  That's our tree for this year, a red and white Nordic farmhouse Christmas tree.  

I hope you're having a blessed Christmas season and remembering that Jesus is the reason for the season.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

New House Update #2

Just popping in to give another quick update on where we're at with the new house.  Things haven't changed looks-wise for over a week now.  Caulking, spackling, sanding, priming, etc. has proven to take f.o.r.e.v.e.r.  BUT....Hubby has now finished scraping ALL the ceilings of their horrible popcorn.  He's got them all spackled and sanded too.  Can I get a woot woot!!  

The ceilings in the kitchen and dining room have already been painted, as well as the front entryway and what we've been calling the "Christmas tree room."  (It's this odd little extra room that we don't know what to call, but that's where the Christmas tree is going.)  All the upper trim in the kitchen and DR is finished, and Hubs put up a light/ceiling fan.  Later on I'd like to find a nice chandelier style light to go in here, but since I don't know what I want yet, we just went ahead and put this up for now.  The walls are all spackled and sanded as well and ready for paint.

I've been testing out paint samples.  I wanted a light tan to go along with the white trim.  The color on the left is what I tried first.  It looked great on the paint chip, but up on the wall it took on too much of a pink tone.  I think I'll be going with option #2 on the right.  It's Natural Linen by Glidden.  The plan is to paint all the main rooms in this for now just to get rid of the current colors.  Dining room isn't that bad, but the color in the living room makes me cringe and it must go.  Later on if I decide I want more color then I can change it as needed.

Notice any changes here in the kitchen?  (Other than the fact that it's an absolute dee-saster.)  There's a big ol' empty spot right there in the middle where the island used to be.  Yep, you heard that right, we took the island out.  I can hear you now, "WHYYY o' why would she take a perfectly good and functional island out?!?"  Lol!!  Well...lemme do some 'splainin.'  

  All the cabinets are way too builder grade and matchy-matchy for my liking, it needs some more character in there.  We knew that the flooring runs under the cabinets, so I told Hubby that, guaranteed, that island was coming out at some point down the road and getting replaced with something more junkified that could be repurposed into an island.  So to avoid ending up with a section of flooring that didn't match smack dab in the middle of everything (because the dimensions of whatever thing I come up with to use probably wouldn't be the same as the previous island) he went ahead and pulled it out so the flooring can be laid. We'll use my current rolling island cart there for now.

Today Hubs will be picking up our laminate order and bringing it to the house.  That will give it a week to acclimate before he starts laying it next Saturday.  My job will continue to be paint paint and more paint.  Finishing up doorway trim in the kitchen and dining room, as well as starting to cut in and edge with the linen colored paint to get the walls ready for rolling.

Onward and upward we go!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Laminate Floors Have Finally Been Chosen!

After weeks and weeks of agonizing and analyzing and debating and stressing and literally dreaming about it...I finally chose and ordered the laminate flooring for our new house.  I had no idea it would be such a nerve wracking experience!

I knew in my head what I was looking for, something warm and rustic to bring that old farmhouse feel.  I knew I definitely did NOT want something orange-y or 80's honey oak colored.  I wanted something that was brown/tan, not orangeish or reddish.  I also knew I definitely did NOT want anything shiny and smooth.  I wanted texture and rusticness and something that looked realistic.  Basically I wanted hardwood, but at a laminate price.  : )  Let me tell ya, this is not that easy to find apparently.  At least it wasn't for me, because I tend to be v.e.r.y. picky.  Plus, our bank account made some immediate decisions for me on ones that were lovely but just too expensive.

You might remember this picture I shared a few weeks ago asking for everyone's opinions.

There was a big variety of opinions and each option had lots of people who loved it, though I think #4 probably took the lead.  We ordered samples of these, but when they came they weren't what I was looking for.  They had that waviness to them that some of the handscraped style laminates do, and that is something else I don't care for.  Not really sure why that is, I just don't.

So...those were out.

Then I shared this picture with my Facebook followers.  It was of 3 options we found at Home Depot.

Again, a wide variety of opinions were shared, some even said they didn't like any of them, lol!

Ultimately I decided the one on the far left, though beautiful and rustic, was just going to be too dark.  The rooms where this will be laid don't get very much direct sunlight and I was afraid it would end up being too dark and suck the light right out of the room.  Plus, everyone's comments that dark floors show every bit of dust and dirt kind of worried me.  I don't like cleaning very much.  For realz.

I also decided the one on the right had too much orange in it for my liking.  So, I thought the middle one was looking like my only option, but even though I liked it I just wasn't completely sold on it.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine that I went to high school with posted a picture on her Facebook page of her kids playing on the floor in her house.  Her kids are adorably cute, guessed it...I noticed her floors.  They were gorgeous!  I immediately shot off a nosy message asking her what kind they were and what color.  She told me the color (Historic Oak Charcoal) and said that they love their floors.  They're beautiful and easy to clean and hardly show any dirt at all.  Ummm...sold!  I immediately started Googling.  I found it and promptly fell in love.  But what I also found was that it was way out of our price range.  (They had gotten a great deal on theirs since they knew the owner of the flooring store in their town.)

I finally decided that I would just have to come to terms with the fact that I might not find the perfect one in our price range, and that I would just have to settle for something and learn to like it.  I even prayed about.  I told the Lord, "I know that this is such a tiny inconsequential thing in the grand scheme of things going on in this world, but this decision is pretty important to me right now so I'm asking that you'll please just help me to choose the right flooring that I can be happy with."

So...I continued the search.  I visited a couple of local stores right here in our small town, but nothing was jumping out at me.  I knew there was a flooring store about 40 minutes away, and they just so happened to carry my dream floors.  I decided, "I've got nothing to lose, I'll just call them and see what kind of price they have on those floors.  Never hurts to ask."  Surprisingly, their price was not nearly as high as the other place I had checked!  I began to feel a spark of hope.  It was still more than we could afford, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had originally thought.  I remembered seeing this flooring on one of those discount flooring websites and decided to give them a call and do a price comparison.  (All of this was while sitting in a CVS parking lot while my kids climbed like little monkeys all over the seats in the back of the van.)  Turns out, they were having a Cyber Monday sale and their price was even lower, like ''we could afford that" lower.  Woowhee!  My heart was pounding!  At this point I had only seen pictures of it, but had not looked at any samples in person.  So we took off and drove the 40 minutes to the smaller store so that I could look at it in person and make sure that's really what I wanted before I placed any order.

And it was gorgeous, exactly what I had been looking for all along, and I fell in love all over again.

The people at The Floor Store were so nice and extremely helpful and knowledgeable.  I told them about the sale from the discount flooring site, but said that I would much rather support a local small business than a huge online store and asked if they could do any better on their price.  Not only did they do better, they actually beat the online store's sale price!!  I could not believe it!  I was so extremely happy and excited!  I was amazed at the thought that God cares about the little things, and that He cares enough about lil' ol' me to not only answer my prayer but to give me the desire of my heart.  He is amazingly awesome!

So, if you've made it this far then I'm sure you're dying to know what I ended up choosing, right?
Well, without further ado, here it is. (This cell phone picture doesn't do it justice!)

It's called Historic Oak Timber, and it's from the Restoration Collection made by Mannington (100% American made I might add!)

It is the perfect shade of brown I was looking for, no orange undertones there!  It's rustic and it has texture and beveled edges, and and and.....I just love it!  I cannot wait until it comes in and we can get it laid.  It will go a long way in making a doublewide feel like an old farmhouse.

Not only am I excited about it, I'm also glad to have this decision behind me so that I can quit stressing over it and move on to other things to stress about.  : )


I've received several questions from readers wondering how we ended up liking the Mannington floors so I decided to add an update.  After 2 years of having these, with 3 young kids, a dog, and an indoor/outdoor cat, I can honestly say that we still LOVE them!!  They've held up really well, we've had no major issues with them, and they almost always look clean!  They hide dirt so well.  The only minor issue we've had is that if something sharp or extra heavy has been dropped on them we've gotten the occasional small chip in the surface.  I don't think they're a big deal though.  I just simply color in the chipped area with a brown Sharpie marker and it blends right in with the worn character of the laminate.  The beveled edges do tend to catch crumbs, but it's nothing a quick vacuum can't handle.  I would definitely recommend these floors if you're considering them.  In fact, I hope to get them installed in our living room and piano room someday soon!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New House Update #1

I haven't had much time to just sit and relax the past few days.  Things have really started moving along at the new house, but today I had a little bit of time so I thought I'd share a quick update on how things are going. 

*Warning - these are not fancy pictures at all, just quick cell phone shots (and some are a little gross, consider yourself warned.*

Here's the dining room "before."  Still has its popcorn ceilings and original paint and trim.

Here the popcorn has been scraped off, but no painting yet.  Well, a tiny bit in the corner, but then I remembered to snap another picture.  : )  See how much better the light is reflecting off the ceiling already?  That popcorn junk just drains the light right out of a room.  I hate it I tell ya!  Absolutely despise it!

And here you can see I've got the upper trim coated with primer.  Doesn't it make the room look bigger already?  

I don't have pictures, but the ceiling now has its first complete coat of primer/paint.  It needs a little more work before we can add the 2nd coat.

The other thing I had to work on was the refrigerator.  It did not get cleaned out and left open when the electric was turned off.  A year later and it looked like this when we opened it.

There was year old McDonald's sweet tea in there, an exploded energy drink that had basically turned to a jello-y plastic on the shelf, and lots of mysterious crud and mold.  Yuck!!

The job of cleaning it fell to me since my dad and Hubby were scraping the popcorn ceilings.

This bottom section of the freezer was the worst.  The wire basket is actually covering up the worst of it, it was completely black with thick sludge and gunk and I don't know what!

A couple of hours later (and LOTS of bleach) and almost all of it looked sparkling clean!  A few stains remained in the bottom of the freezer where it had been the worst.  No matter what I tried I couldn't get them out.

So I bought a a can of appliance spray paint and after a few coats of that it was looking right purdy again.  

And I had to share this one last picture with you, a comparison of the kitchen "before" and now in the middle of things.  A complete and utter disaster, lol!  Good thing we're not trying to live there yet.

Now I'm off to make supper and then we'll be right back at it as soon as Hubby gets off of work.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

It's My Birthday...It's My Birthday!

If you follow me on Facebook then you know that a birthday present from Hubs came in the mail the other day and I was excited to open it.....but he wouldn't let me.  Not until my actual birthday.

Well, that's today!  I'm the big ol' three three today.  So I just wanted to share really quick what the super cute present was, you know, since I promised to do that and all.

(picture via Amazon)

Aren't these coasters kee-UTE?!?  
I saw them featured on another blog and just had to have a set for myself!

They're made in the USA from 100% recycled rubber.  They're made by Flox and this is the Numeros set.  They have lots of other super cute designs as well, but this was my favorite.  I can't wait to get the new house set up so I can start using them.

Here's the link if you're interested in some for yourself, or think they'll make the perfect Christmas present for someone you know (because they really are incredibly nice).

(affiliate link)

Now I'm off for a day of removing popcorn ceilings and scraping moldy gunk out of a refrigerator that didn't get turned off and left open properly.  Happy birthday to me.  : )

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fall Pillow Cover Tutorial

  We've had our couches for about 5.5 years now I think.  For a long time I loved how the plaid pillows looked with the gingham fabric and had no desire to change them up.  But...then after a couple of years I began to tire of the same ol' same ol' all the time.  At some point I bought some coordinating floral fabric and covered one of the pillows using basically just a gift wrapping technique held together by fabric tape. (Mad skills right there!)  Later on, I added a smaller pillow that I had made a faux grain sack pillow cover for.

But I what I really wanted was a set of covers that I could slide over the pillows and change up for the different seasons.  With 2 kids, and a dog who loves to lay on top of the pillows to sleep, they get dirty quick.  The idea of being able to easily take them off to wash them really appealed to me.  Plus, if you just have covers they can pack flat in a storage box and take up no room at all.  Trying to pack away a tub full of pillows that are just for fall or just for Christmas takes up way too much valuable space.

  This is something I've been wanting to do for over a year, so finally I just went for it.

I found a "before" picture and cropped it down so you could see what the pillows looked like.  By themselves they're just fine, but add in a vintage wool plaid blanket with fall colors and it began to clash horribly (or look kinda Christmas-y when you're going for an autumn look).

A few hours of sewing later and I had this. much better!   A lovely change.

Now let me share how I made these, because I'll be the first to tell you that I have very minimal sewing skills.  I wasn't about to attempt anything that needed a zipper or a button hole sewn in.  But these envelope style covers are as easy peasy as it gets I think.

I followed {this video tutorial} for the cover itself.  It's explained very well and SO simple to do.  I actually didn't sew it completely at first though.  I did the hem on the short ends and then sewed my leaf pattern on before I finished sewing the cover.

For the leaf, I printed out an image with the shape I wanted.  It actually wasn't quite big enough so I ended up tracing around it to make it bigger.  Then I laid it over the wrong side of the fabric and traced it pushing down firmly so that it would leave an imprint on the fabric.  Every few inches I would carefully lift the paper and trace the impression left on the fabric with a pencil.  (There may have been an easier way to do this, but I couldn't think of one at the time.)

Here you can see the pencil outline.  I edited the picture so that it would stand out more.  After that I cut out the shape, laid my tan fabric over the pillow so that I could see where to position the leaf, and then pinned it in place.  (After the fact, I realized that it would have been much easier if I had sprayed the back of the leaf with some spray adhesive so that it held in place smoother and more tightly.)

Then I got to sewing.

You know those pictures you see on Pinterest of dreamy craft rooms that are as big as my entire living room and kitchen combined?  You know the ones that have a scrapbooking table, a sewing table, and tons of adorable organization going on?  You know, something like this...


Yeah....that's not mine.  I could only wish for something like that.  Here, on the other hand, is my "craft room."

Yep, that's reality folks.  We had to eat supper in the living room that evening.

Anywhoozy...I sewed the leaf on leaving a space at the edge so that the fabric would become raggedy after washing.  I also clumsily sewed some "veins" on the leaf as well.  I've never attempted anything more than a straight stitch before so this whole leaf sewing thing was a new adventure for me!

I followed the same tutorial for the smaller brown checked pillow, just using different measurements.  I added the strip of tan before sewing the cover shut just like I did with the leaf, and left the edges of it raggedy as well. 

 I assumed I was going to have to wait awhile until I could get to a big craft store to find cute buttons to put on it, BUT on a whim I decided to just check and see what our Walmart in town had and low and behold they had these adorable buttons!

Don't they look like little crocheted doilies?  SO cute I tell ya!!

I have enough fabric left that I plan on making another leaf cover for a 2nd pillow, only using a maple leaf design this time around.

 If you've been wanting to attempt pillow covers, but aren't sure because of a lack of sewing skills or some other such fear, I'm here to say, "If I can do it, you can do it."  Just go for it!  Mine aren't perfect by any means.  Some of my stitches are a little wobbly, and my envelope flap actually ended up the wrong direction, but you probably wouldn't have known that if I hadn't told ya.  And neither will anyone else if you make some.  Find some cheap clearance fabric and do a practice run with that first if you need to, but just go for it.  It really is quite simple and you'll be incredibly happy with the new look and so proud of that fact that you made it!

If you'd like to see the rest of my fall decor you can see that {here}.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Guess What?!?

Exciting news!  

We closed on our house yesterday!!  

We are now officially first time homeowners!  
We are thanking the Lord for His kindness in allowing us this privilege.

The hard work of scraping popcorn ceilings, painting, and putting in flooring begins tomorrow and we hope to be moved in by Christmas.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Day Dreaming!

I can't seem to stop dreaming about how I'm going to decorate the new house.  It's SO exciting!  

I had so many things floating around in my head I just had to jump on and "put down on paper" the look I've been dreaming up for the dining room.

I call it Vintage Industrial Farmhouse.

Of course, I could never afford the kinds of prices they have listed for each of these designer and name brand items, BUT...I hope to pull off something very similar on a small budget by shopping yard sales, thrift stores, etc.  The most important thing to remember when working with a small budget is to be patient!  The right item/deal will come along, you just have to be willing to wait and pull it all together over time.  If you want it all instantly then it's going to cost you an arm and a leg to make that happen.

I quite like my arms and legs (and my savings account), so I know this will take some time to all come together.  It's just fun to dream!  It's also nice to have a vision to work towards.

So what do you think?
Would you be brave enough to try and mix vintage, rustic, industrial, AND farmhouse styles?  Are you the patient collector type or the "gotta have it now" type?
I'd love to know what you think!

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