10 Minute Ceiling Fan Upgrade

Upward and onward folks!  After we had the kitchen all spruced, both the surrounding living room and dining rooms really made it feel out of place.  It looked fantastic, they…well, not so much.  Things are changing though, starting with the living room.  I painted it a few weeks ago and started tweaking with decor and I’ll share all of the details soon but first, tilt your heads to the sky…ok, not really…just keep reading.

The ceiling fan in the living room of this little house is the saddest one in the whole place.  The metal parts are shiny gold and their days of gleam and glam are gone (lit and fig) as rust and rough spots have nestled right in.  We’re not going to replace the ceiling fan in a house we’re renting though so I made a couple of quick changes to it last week to make it way more appealing and it only took me about 10 minutes and five bucks.

Here’s the sad thing before:

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You can’t really see the rust spots in the picture but you will be able to when we get a little closer later.  On top of those, the blades had some really awesome, gold, scrolly designs on them, typical of older fan blades and those glass shades…doozy’s.  The way they flared out at the ends really injected me with a dose of motivation to whip this thing into shape asap.


PRK Surgery: My Experience

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Hey there!  Even though we’ve got a much-changed living room over here, I’m going to sideline home progress and DIYs for a hot second to discuss PRK – the eye surgery I had a couple of weeks ago.

I’ve read and heard several bad experiences with PRK in the past few months.  For one, an Instagrammer I follow had it done and wrote about her horrible experience.  Then I read a bunch of the comments on her post and a lot of them were similar experiences.  I also reached out to an aquaintance right after I found out I’d have to have PRK vs. Lasik and was told that “the first few days [after PRK] were excruciating pain”.  Eep.  That all made me a little nervous.  Just a little though.  I really have thee best doctor in the whole world and in him I placed all of my trust.  In the end, I was glad to read and hear how hard of a recovery it can be because I was fully prepped for the worst on the day of my surgery.  However, in saying that, I made sure not to go out seeking stories because I knew my horse might bolt if I did that and I’d be stuck with glasses forever thanks to that pesky little thing we all know as FEAR. 

If you were born with perfect vision like my lucky husband, good for you.  You have literally saved thousands of dollars.  I’m praying hard our kids got his good vision genes.

Then there’s me.  I’ve been in glasses/contacts since fourth grade.  At the time, I was dying and wishing and hoping for a pair of glasses.  I thought they were the COOLEST!  (WHAT WAS I THINKING?!)  My vision wasn’t horrible and I could see the wipe board at school but I remember telling my mom I really needed to get my vision checked because things were “kinda” blurry.  She took me to an optometrist and he told her my eyes weren’t really that bad and that I could probably get away without glasses but if it made me feel like I could see better, he’d give me that super low prescription I needed.  Did I ruin my vision forever by begging for them?  I don’t know.  Either way, fast forward lots and lots of year to when I ran out of contacts last December.  If you are a wearer, you know that they can be expensive.  I was blessed with an astigmatism on top of my poor vision so I have to wear special contacts that cost even more.  Yay!  It costs me about $200-250 a year to wear contacts.  I prefer them whole-heartedly over glasses because I hate feeling like I’m looking through glass at all you people like you’re an animal at the zoo.  I know it sounds dumb but I really just hate the barrier.  And I hate how they slide down my nose all day long and knock my kids in the face when I’m going in for a cuddle.  And on a superficial note, I hate when I get all dressed up for something and then I get to top off my rad outfit with…glasses.  Fantastic.  Anyway, I digress.  I ran out of contacts and luck had it that we had just paid off a bunch of loans.  So my next thought was, well, I could buy another years worth of contacts or I could put that money towards surgery.  That’s the great thing about getting your vision corrected btw, you’re going to spend the money either way whether it’s on doctors’ visits (mine were $150 a pop) or on glasses/contacts so why not just spend the money to fix your eyes, right? 


DIY Spice Rack

Let’s spice things up around here, huh?  Literally.  We’re diving into spice rack details today.  I keep calling our new spice rack a ‘rack’ but really, I should be calling them spice shelves.

My entire, home-owning existence, I’ve always stored our spices in an upper cabinet right next to the stove.  It was habit and because, usually, I was at the stove when I needed them so it just made sense.  In this little rental though, we only have one, quite narrow upper cabinet next to the stove and it’s stocked full of other things that I usually keep near the stove – large salt and pepper refill containers, corn starch, cocoa powder…basically all of our cooking and baking dry ingredients.  There’s zero room for spices.  So into a basket on top of the microwave on the opposite wall they went.  Not ideal.  Therefore, putting up this pair of spice shelves was gloriously satisfying.  For one, I can see all of our spices without having to move any around and two, they’re within arms reach when I need them.   

Another really great thing about these spice shelves is that you only need a handful of easily attainable and easy to use supplies to build them.  I still haven’t mastered using any of our big power tools so Anthony is always holding those reigns during any of our building projects, but this one I did all by myself.  It’s that easy.  Here’s what I used:

diy spice shelves

DIY Pendant Light from A Vase

Alrighty.  There are only two more things to write about in our “new” kitchen and then I’m done talking about it.  Promise!  I’m ready to move on to the next room too!  Today though?  Lighting.  Specifically, the ceiling fan and the new pendant over the sink.

Here’s a shot of the kitchen sink area with the header still up, hiding the simple, little light fixture behind:IMG_7312
Once we took that header down, even though I didn’t really mind the existing light, it wasn’t substantial enough to fill in that space.IMG_7348


So, we bought this pendant light kit* in antique brass and used a thrifted vase to make a new pendant.

How to “HIDE” A Dishwasher

This is a post all about a white elephant.  Not the Christmas party kind and not the circus kind.  It’s the kind in a room.  A kitchen actually.  And did I mention it wasn’t an elephant at all but a dishwasher?!  No?  Let me tell you all about it.

Our landlord so kindly installed a new dishwasher in this little house for us before we moved because we are first-world, spoiled peeps who can’t not have a machine that does the dirty work for us while we wrangle four kids post-dinner.  *eyeroll*

So awesome, right?  Right.  So, now we’ve got one and we’re SO thankful because, as you probably know, it really does make life just a little easier.  Well, I got a few comments on how great the dishwasher looks painted after the big kitchen reveal and those words were music to my ears because that’s what I wanted everyone to think.  But, listen.  I am not inconsiderate enough to think I should go and paint a dishwasher that isn’t technically mine.  But I really hated how it stuck out of our pretty green cabinets like a rowdy toddler at Mass.
  IMG_8042I sent the above picture to my sister right after I finished “tiling”.


The Big (Little) Kitchen Reveal!!!

Well, this has been FUN, hasn’t it?  Taking our little rental kitchen from what it was to what it is really had me going…for six whole weeks.  I’ve never gotten an entire room finished in six weeks!  It’s kind of a big deal.  And you know what else is kind of a big deal?

OUR KITCHEN!

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Subway Tile Wallpaper


ORC
It’s week FOUR of the One Room Challenge and that means that I’ve been working solely on this kitchen for five whole weeks.  Maybe that doesn’t sound crazy to you but I’m a jumper – I jump from room to room with projects and never spend more than a week or two in one so this is kind of a big deal for me.  While it feels so good to have an entire room almost finished, I have to admit, I’ve been feeling a little antsy and am excited to move into other rooms.  One more week…

One more week for me and for all of the other featured designers and guest participants.  I’m really excited to see all of those final reveals!  I have a date with an ice cream bowl and a studying husband to sit and browse one night next week!  :D

This week in our kitchen, I brought the boring backplash to life.  When I say “backsplash” what I really mean was a four-inch countertop lip and a painted wall.

IMG_7897This was taken in the midst of painting upper cabinets a few weeks ago.

Here we are today:

Five Favorites

Workout edition…

Which is comical since this mom is NO workout guru…not even close.  For the first year of my kids’ lives while I’m breastfeeding, any semi-intense cardio makes my milk supply drop like it’s hot so I get my arms toned by lifting babies and my legs toned by walking to the toilet after I hear “ALLL DONE MAMA!!” a thousand times.  My grandma gave me a step-counter and it’s still buried in my nightstand which is still full of stuff I put in there to move BUT before we moved, I wore it during a few average, stay-at-home mornings and no joke, I was up to 3600 steps by noon…in my own, small house.  Who needs a gym?  ;)

Anyway, I thought it’d be fun to write about something other than our mini-kitchen reno that’s going on at the moment so why not a Five Faves post?  It’s been awhile and I’m due to share some stuff I’ve come across that I genuinely like.

So…


DIY Pot Rack from Towel Bars

You say pot, I say rack…

pot…

pot…

YES!  That’s it!  Let’s get excited over here!  We are the proud owners of a neeeewwww pot rack!

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Having a pot rack hanging on our kitchen wall wasn’t something either of us has ever desired.  But then enter small kitchen, very little lower cabinet space and oh, looky here, a big empty wall.emptywall

One Room Challenge–Week 3

Hey hey!  It’s week T H R E E of theORC
and over here, things are looking UP!!  No really, they are.  I got all of the upper cabinets painted this week and, oh my, it is CRAZY how much more light bounces through what I already thought was a fairly bright kitchen!

Check this out:IMG_7417


And then take a look at the same area pre-move:IMG_6824
The Almighty said it best with “Let there be light!”  Have you ever gone white in the kitchen (or any room really) and experienced the added light?  It’s great, right? 

I’ve written a few posts on how I paint cabinets in the past and time around the paint can wasn’t much different in the way of technique but I did use a new-to-us paint than I have in the past and got a little smarter as far as set-up goes.


One Room Challenge!!!


ORC


You’ll never know how excited I was when I found out that the One Room Challenge just started on April 4th!  If you don’t know what that is, check it out here.  Basically, you take on a room (entirely redo, refresh, remodel, whatever have ya) and you get six weeks to do it.  I’ve always seen it come up on Instagram and other blogs but I’ve been always the spectator and never the participant.  Not this year though!  I’ll be linking up and following along with other guest participants here

I’ve got until May 10th to take our kitchen from old to gold-winning and ironically, I started ripping down the wallpaper in our kitchen a week before I found out the challenge was happening so I’m right on time.  But *gulp* I’ll need every single one of those six weeks since I’m on a serious budget and I don’t have the luxury to just go out and buy what I need.  I’ve got to find it secondhand, on clearance, or on mega-sale…you know how I do.  Oh yeah, and I have four little kids running around. 

You might be wondering why I’m tackling a kitchen in a rental house.  Why waste time, energy, and money on something you’ll be leaving in a year or two?  Valid question.  Answer?  Because I love doing this stuff.  As a stay-at-home mom, daily life can get a little monotonous.  It’s a beautiful life and I’d have none other, but getting out my paint brush and planning decor is the equivalent to going out and getting my hair or nails done for me.  It’s self-care – getting to expand my diaper-changing and feeding horizons to project beauty onto the space that I’m changing diapers and feeding in.  I think it’s important to love the space you’re living in too so spending a little bit of money to make that happen here is well worth it, in my opinion. 

With that, here are the plans for the kitchen:
-take down the wallpaper
-paint the walls
-paint the cabinets and replace the hardware
-make a pendant to replace the light over the sink
-redo the fan shade
-repaint the rug (maybe?)
-hang a pot rack
-hang a spice rack over the stove
-install some sort of backsplash

The budget:  $150
Total spent so far:  $18

Here’s the a picture of the kitchen I ran in and took one day before we moved in: IMG_6823 Too bad I didn’t think to actually step farther into the kitchen to get a picture.


Ikea Mackapar Hack

I’m baaaaack!!  But still not unpacked.  Ack.  It’s ok though because we’ve done a hack and hung a rack.  So hopefully you’ll give me a little slack. 

Ok, ok, I’ll stop before you feel like you wanna whack me.  ;)  The girls and I have been doing rhyming in homeschool…

Ahem…

We have a situation.  Our back door is our most used door and therefore, where we keep all of our most-used shoes…haphazardly (usually) set on this little shelf (previously a bookshelf in Sebastian’s old room).IMG_7269

It looked a mess because it was kind of a mess.  Our closets are small and lack space for lots of shoes plus I like the idea of shoes being near a door for easy access so this was our situation.  I feel like entry ways should always be clean and uncluttered since they’re the first things you walk into when you come home.  They could make or break a mood, ya know?  When ours is cluttered and messy, it really makes me happy to be home.  So inviting.  Like, welcome home to your peaceful abode…ooh!  Watch out for that little shoe!  *trip and an ankle twist*  Ok, so maybe I’m being a little too dramatic but really, first impressions do count, right?  That can somehow apply here.

Anyway, the wall next to the door was begging to be a functional one so we had to come up with something.Image-1 (4)

Slow Moooovin’

Well hey there!  *she waves*

I wish I was popping in today to show you our latest and possibly greatest diy feat of all time but N O.  That idea is laughable at the moment.

What’s also laughable AND cryable is this moving-in thing we still have happening over here.  I never imagined it would take me this long to get us unpacked and settled but yet, here we are, still not settled and still not completely unpacked.  All of that is due to the fact that we moved from a bigger house to a smaller house and I’m still trying to figure out what actually has a place here and what we need to bid adieu.  It’s been quite the experience, one that’s perfect to go through during Lent, lemme tell ya.

Doors ‘O Color

Well, I guess the fact that this post is up is proof that we survived our move.  Hi.  Yep.  We’re alive and living in another house.  But what it’s not proof of is the fact that moving after you’re already moved with kids once is NOT easier.  We are still living amongst boxes (being almost a week into the actual move) and let me tell you, that is hard…for me.  I thrive in organized environments (even if they’re a little messy), where everything has a place.  Clutter drives me crazy (unless it’s out of sight…hello all those extra picture frames I stockpile in an extra closet…that drives Anthony crazy…hehe).  Anyway, while I’m busy doing the box + razor blade dance, let me divert your attention from our chaotic, unorganized casa to Crystal’s beautiful house:corg



Two Things We’re Glad We Didn’t Buy Full Price

*Sigh*  This is a sad tale about a rug and a table and also, let it be a cautionary one.

If you follow along with us on Instagram, you may have seen the story I posted a couple of weeks ago about the $20 mid-century modern table that I scored at my fave, Dirt Cheap.  Ever since I spotted this table:

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…a Project 62 beauty only sold at Target, I craved it.  Those legs had me at first click.  We bought our current dining room table and chair set at a thrift store shortly after we were married 10 years ago for $100 and it was the price we loved, not so much the design.  But, it served us well and is still going strong but gosh, a girl can dream about better, right?  At $400, the Project 62 table wasn’t in our budget so I just said a prayer that one would trickle in to Dirt Cheap in the future and kept my eyes peeled there.  And guess what?  One did.  Actually, they got six.  (For those of you not fortunate enough to have a Dirt Cheap by you, they sell lots of things from lots of retailers and one of those retailers is Target.  The Target stuff they sell is new – clearanced stuff that never sold, damaged stuff, and customer returns.  In one word, it’s amazing.)  Anyway, they had six of these tables and they were all pretty beat up on top.  Scratched, stained, dented…usable but very imperfect.  They had them marked down to 50% off the original price.  So, $200.  Still too much for us, especially in the condition they were in.  Our plan was to scrap the top and make something better.  Anthony and I made a deal to ourselves that we’d watch them and grab one if they ever came down to $30-40.  Honestly, I figured they’d get gobbled up long before they ever got that low but once again, a girl can dream.

So the first time I spotted them at Dirt Cheap was about two months ago.  I go there almost once a week and you bet your bottom buck, I counted how many were left.  A month ago, one got away and there were five.  And there were five up until a couple of weeks ago.  The way that pricing works at Dirt Cheap is by percentage…things come in and they’re marked anywhere from 30-50% off the original price right off the bat.  Then, what doesn’t sell gets marked off by higher percentages every so often.  I’ve scored a few things there for 90% off so I was just waiting for that number to reach those tables.  Well it wasn’t, at least not fast enough, and so I casually asked one day how much they’d give me one for considering they were still there and had little interest.  Well apparently, a girl with four small kids and a husband looks like she needs more than one (slash they were really desperate to get rid of them and free the space) because they told me I could have one for $50 or all five for $100.  Ha!  What would you do? 

Home Sweet Next Home

I have a confession to make.  I’ve been withholding some info and updates on our next housing situation from you but, in my defense, I wanted to wait until everything was “official” before blabbing to the internet just in case things didn’t go the way we’d thought and planned and I’d then have to insert my seven-and-a-halfer.  It’s a little more than a story of having a contract on a house in which we could share the process as it progressed…or maybe didn’t progress since we’ve been there once already in our house hunting.  Settle in and I’ll tell you the whole, crazy story, seashell version.  Well, maybe ‘crazy’ isn’t the right word?  Ironic maybe?  Or, maybe a spinkle of both.  Yep, I think so.

A month or so before we put our house on the market and while we were in the midst of looking for the next place we could settle into, we came across a little house that was in the exact area we wanted to be.  P R I M E location, I believe is the saying.  The problem with the area that we longed to be was the price.  Most homes in that area were well over the budget we wanted to stick to.  But this little house we thought might just be within our reach a) because it looked pretty small in comparison to others around the area and b) because, as far as we could tell from the outside, it probably needed a good amount of updating.  Problem was, it wasn’t on the market.  *womp womp* 

I’ve heard of people writing letters to homeowners in hopes that they might consider selling their house and moving elsewhere but I really didn’t think we’d ever do it.  But then the interest in this little, what I’ll call from here on out, ‘prime locale’ house, gave us a wild hair and then we did.  We wrote a letter to the owners of this little house, asking if they might be interested in selling their home because we might be interested in buying.  I stuck a stamp on it and away it went, never heard about again. 

The end.

Kidding.

Ripped Off

Hey y’all!  I have been spending all of my allocated blogging time (which translates to post bedtime once in awhile) fixing all of the links on my Projects & Ideas page!  I haven’t changed anything…just fixed the links after a technological error and user agreement change on behalf of Photobucket (don’t ever use them Baring teeth smile), but it has taken me hours and hours here and there to get them all up and running again.  Phew!  I still have a few to fix and they’ll eventually find their conclusion but I wanted to pop in quick with a tiny story and tutorial before I get back at the virtual housekeeping.  :)

I’ve been trying to up my collection of dresses recently, on a budget of course, and so you can imagine my delight when I found this shift at Dirt Cheap for $10:  IMG_6856
It adds a little pizzazz to my winter white skin and ashy knees, doesn’t it?  And the pink elastic around my wrist set for Phia’s noggin’ was the perfect accessory.  Clearly, I was made to be a fashion blogger.  A n y w a y, the dress hails originally from Target (the brand is A New Day) but it doesn’t look like they sell it there anymore.  If you likey too, you can find it here on Blinq (for $10!…though I’ve never shopped there before) and I found some ‘used’ on Poshmark but they’re almost retail price.  #dumb

Well, all was great until I slipped mine on for church one morning and noticed a big rip…right in front. 

The Tobin Family Trip

Anybody ever watched Daniel Tiger and the “Tiger Family Trip”?  Well, we have (about 197 times) and if you have too, that title up there goes pretty well with the theme song.  Hehe…  We sang it about a hundred times before and during our little Christmas road trip. 

Now, I know how exciting it is to read about other people’s vacations while sitting in the comfort of your own home…not on vacation, so let me spice up your present state and tell ya about ours.  ;)

Last summer, we got this fantastic idea to go to through Nebraska to Denver for Christmas…and by go to, I mean D R I V E.  With four little kids.  23.5 hours.  3300 miles.  Yep, like I said.  Fantastic.

trip


Well, we were all gung ho and making plans when Thanksgiving rolled in and we drove to my sisters in Florida…a seven hour trip.  The drive was absolutely awful.  We’ve done it before and it’s never been the easiest thanks to some antsy pants in the backseat but this time was the worst.  Cecilia is a master road-tripper and will sit for hours on end with nary a complaint.  Seraphia always complains that her rear hurts about an hour into any drive and every hour after.  Sebastian asks the age-old question “Are we there yet?” about a thousand times an hour and Gianna just really doesn’t like to sit still for very long which leads to lots of strapped-in tantrums.  Fun, fun.

So as we tumbled, drive-worn, into our house at the end of the Thanksgiving trip to Florida, our feet got frostbite with the thought of doing a trip more than three times that long in a month.  Why would we put ourselves through that again?

Merry Christmas!

Happy 10th day of Christmas!!  Those Lords are sure a-leaping, eh?  And so is Santa me thinks… 

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I’m sorry I didn’t get you a virtual Christmas card sooner but we took a holiday trip to Denver (3300 driven miles!) and I didn’t spend much time on social media nor did I bring my laptop.  It was awesome to be unplugged and able to be fully present.  More on the trip later.  For now, Merry Christmas to you, all of my dear readers!  I appreciate all of the commenting, reading, and support truly, truly, truly…and madly and deeply too.  ;)  I hope 2017 was good to you, all of the ups and even the lessons and beauty in the downs and I hope 2018 is even better!

God bless you!