Thursday, December 30, 2010

Skating through life

My mom had told me one day "if you ever see a pair of skates while your out and about, BUY THEM!" She had seen a skate decorated for the season and really wanted to make one for herself. Well I was at a thrift store one day and saw this brand new pair of skates for $7! I was so excited. I brought them home and decorated one for me and one for mom. I just used branches, pine needles and some berries. Mom had bought some jingle bells on a stick that we had to pry out of little man's hands but once we did they give a great jingle to my boot. Right now I have it hanging on a door knob but it will become a front door decoration once we move. I know its a little late for Christmas decorations but when you don't get around to a project until Christmas day that's what happens :)

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

I'm Distressing!!

I was driving down the road the other day and saw a pile of junk by the side of the road. There was a free sign by it.  JACKPOT!! I turned that car around so fast it would have made your head spin! :) I found a little wooden shelf in need of some help. But hey, it was FREE!!

I brought it home and began painting. The poor thing had been badly spray painted a goldish metallic horror.  It was quite wobbly.  I didn't imagine that just a coat of paint would fix that so I actually took it all apart, painted it, and put it back together with wood glue and screws.  I painted it the same color as our trim, kinda creamy color. Then I did my first ever distressing job.  That is really fun!! There is nothing like getting something all painted and taking a big ole piece of sandpaper to it!  I couldn't be happier with how it turned out! I was actually planning on selling it until I dressed it up for the picture and fell in love with the idea of having all my cookbooks on it! I have always had them on the counter in a basket but this is so much tidier!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Shiny Helpful Hint

I have really come around to loving a clean home! When I was younger, I remember my mother trying to get me to pick up my room. She would ask "don't you feel better when your room is clean?" I would always answer "no!"  I was never a slob, but I was a typical teenager.  As I have grown older, I have begun to see the mess that before was hidden from my eyes.  It seems that once it is your own house you see the mess. When its someone else's house, you can walk by a mess and never see it. Now, I would never ever claim that I have a tidy house at all times.  I find many days that I have the house completely spotless and one act, like cooking dinner, can completely undo a whole days work. My husband also has so many items that he brings home with him that land on the kitchen table every night like his hat, name tag, and keys.  As you know, once items find a place to land they begin to multiply.  More and more items seem to be drawn to that spot and before you know it the whole house is in shambles again. My new philosophy: have one- three rooms that you can keep up with and forget the rest!

About two years ago we remodeled our bathroom. This is one of my "clean rooms".  Thank goodness (your thinking).

Yes I know you are loving the olive green counter top and the terrible green paint on the walls....
You may be wondering "why would you ruin such a masterpiece by remodeling???" haha this bathroom made you want to cry every time you walked into it!
 Ahhh can you hear the angels singing? The best news was that we did this whole remodel with about $ $800 I have ever spent.

I was always cleaning that room because I wanted it to stay new FOREVER! I love that "new bathroom smell" :)  After only about three weeks, I noticed the brand new faucet was showing water spots.  It is a brushed nickel faucet that we splurged a little on.  I wanted it to look brand new still!! I tried Windex...didn't touch the spots. I tried cleaner....didn't help at all. It would always look great when it was wet and when it dried it would be spotty. I hate spots!! I finally found the spot cure...Baby Oil! You just get a paper towel or rag, douse it in oil, and wipe it down. You would think it would leave the surface oily but it doesn't! 

So for all of you out there with Christmas guests on their way, you don't have to fear any longer! They won't have to see your spotty faucet, and Christmas will be saved :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

New Chandelier and Christmas ideas

Well I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! It really seemed like the holidays snuck up on me this year. Usually I am prepared, but not this year! I have been thinking of hosting Christmas at my house for my side of the family, but it is always such a huge production I just am still not sure if im up to it with a 4 month old! I am so excited to have decorated for Christmas anyway!

With this being little mans first Christmas I knew, no matter what, we had to have a Christmas tree up in the house! Our living room has a shrinkage problem and there was NO place to put the tree this year, so the tree got ostracized to the dining room. It is a little cramped but still looks beautiful.  I love walking by and seeing those sparkly lights.  This year was the first year I have used decorators mesh.  I LOVE that stuff!! It really fills the tree in without a whole bunch of ornaments. I love the color themed trees, but I  have so many ornaments with memory attachments that I still have a somewhat miss matched tree.  I love it though. We have an ornament from our honeymoon in Maui and one from our recent trip to Dixie Stampede and so many more.  I love looking at the memories.  This year I found the cutest candy ornaments from the dollar store.  I may have to keep little man from trying to eat those next year!
Mom and I went to a cute gift shop that specializes in Christmas arrangements.  We found one with this bird that we loved...but didnt love the price!  So we looked it over and came home to make something similar.  It is mounted on a big piece of hand-picked bark...thank you hunny!
I decked out my new dollar store arrangement for the holidays too :)

Its beginning to feel a lot more like the holidays around here.  Possibly because you can't feel your toes when your outside now :) I decided to get one last project in before the winter weather hits.  I went to the Habitat for Humanity restore and found the ugliest GOLD chandelier.  I knew it had "good bones" as they say and it was only $5. So I searched around for some glass globes there in the restore and also even found black spray paint for $1.  So I left with all my goodies and ran home to start painting.  I hate how excited I get because I always forget to take before pictures!! About halfway through the project I remember. 

Well you all have seen the brassy gold fixtures...this one was just that ugly. Now I love it! It really adds to the dining area.  Heres the before picture with the light fixtures that are up close to the ceiling and yes....have the glass bowl with the wheat on it...ugh!
and After!

After this one went so well I also did the one in our adjoining laundry room to match
Loving it for $10!! I am becoming the $10 queen and thats ok by me :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

heres a little better picture..

Stealing from the Dollar Store...ok it feels like stealing cuz its so cheap!

So I have to admit, I stole this idea :)  I have been reading Thrifty Decor Chicks blog and she mentioned these candle holders that she found at the Dollar Tree!! First of all, Dollar Tree is quite possibly the best dollar store around! This is where I have bought almost all of our Christmas decorations since "everything is just a dollar!" I remember when we were first married in our new home, I was dying to have the Christmas of the magazines on a college student budget (so thankful to be done with that part of my life by the way).  I went to Dollar tree and was in LOVE.  They have so many things that, with a personal added touch, look so good!  Anyway... back to the candle holders.  She said "run don't walk!" to get one of these glass candle holders and a glass candlestick to make a beautiful hurricane lamp!  So that's exactly what I did.  The next day despite a sore throat ( you have to go for deals no matter what!) I ran to the store and picked up THE LAST candle holder.  I set it carefully in my cart and guarded my new possession (hands off!!!).  Me and little man then went to the park where Aunt Debbie had found some great wild Missouri pecans.  I picked up a whole bagful...little man just went right along with me each time I bent down.  That's quite a workout now that he is getting so big. So we raced home (well after a quick stop down the road to get my cell phone from off the top of my car...oooops got lucky there!!)  He decided to take a nap so I started to assemble my treasure.  I had found the last large candle holder but there were many of the small candle holders of the same shape.  All I did was hot glue the glass candlestick to the bottom of the large candle holder and wallah!! Beautiful arrangement for $9 silver tray included :) I made the mossy decorative balls also included in that price.  I just am so happy every time I walk past this!!
I really wish I could figure out how to make the flash on my camera not make everything look ghostly. 

Saving money is the name of the game, and I really enjoy doing it. Here lately I have started paying all our bills online.  Saving that stamp is even exciting!
Next project may include a little more money. I need idea help if your willing!  Our couch cushions have cracked and they basically drive me crazy!

Here is my inspiration:

The frame of our couch is in good condition and the arms are ok so I'm thinking of making large pillows for the back cushions?? Some kind of fabric that brings together the recliner, ughhh which I hate the look of but I sit in more that I would like to admit, and the "leather" of the frame.  So do you think it would look weird if I left the seat cushions leather? Just trying to save myself some fabric cost...and time :) I am planning on using the stuffing from the existing cushions to stuff my new pillows to also save on cost a little.  Let me know what you think!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Curtains anyone????

Since I have graduated with my Bachelors degree in interior design, I have been itching to design!  It truly is what I love to do. I am so blessed to be able to stay home with my son and have some time to create things for our own home.  But as I was searching for things to decorate my nursery with, I discovered that there aren't very many styles of curtains out there for the little folk! I ended up making curtains for my sons room and was very happy with how they turned out.  I got to thinking....maybe everyone else out there is also frustrated with the curtain market?  So I made a few things, and we will see how much interest it generates.  I would be glad to meet with you and create your own perfect curtain design for your child's room...or whatever room you would like help with.  Sometimes you can't buy the perfect look, you must create it!

I understand now why little girls clothes and decorations are more abundant...they are just so much fun to make! First I made a balloon shade of hot pink fabric and a sweet rose print fabric for the ties.  You can adjust this shade to whatever length you prefer.  This is a light filtering shade meaning that it will not completely block out light like a blind would.  The dimensions are 28-42" wide.  You can adjust the width by either gathering it at the top or leaving it flat.  The length is also adjustable by tying the bows either higher or lower.  The longest length you could get would be about 48" still giving it a gather at the bottom. The balloon shade goes for $30.

The next design could be for a baby's room or it could also go for the teenage girl.  I made these panels with a bright color block pattern at the bottom.  The stripes are pink/orange/lime green.  The pair of panels go for $40.  If you are interested, I could repeat the stripes in a valance to accent the panels.  The dimensions are 43" x 84" each panel.

I am selling on Craigslist for now and plan to get an Etsy account as well!  If you are interested in one of these items, or in creating your own personal design just let me know!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Notes that are fun to look at

When I was remodeling our office, I was searching for extremely inexpensive items to decorate with.  I could have gone out and spent a ton of money but it is almost more fun to have a challenge!  I created the fabric boxes to hide our clutter and wanted something to match them for the wall decoration. Well Martha Stewart always has the answer!  Martha is one of those people that you either love or hate.  I personally LOVE her!! If I could spend just a summer with her, I would be so happy!! She does it all.  She runs many businesses but still manages to keep her old fashioned ideas of keeping a happy home.  I love that she even has the perfect way to wash a window.  If I ever want a really great craft idea, I just open one of her books.  There seems to be a great idea on every page!  I found this note board in one of her books. 

 I adapted it so that I could do it a little more affordably.  I simply purchased 1/4 yard of 4 colors of the cheapest fabric I could find. Then I purchased 1/2 yard of the "base" fabric (the color I wanted to see most). Then I purchased a piece of foam core. I simply ironed the hem into the top of each  strip of fabric and overlapped them on the front of the foam core.  I put pins into the foam core through each of the colors to hold them in place while I flipped the entire piece over.  I hot glued the fabric to the back making sure to pull it tight.  I hot glued some of the strips down on the front as well making fake pockets. I bought pieces of paper that matched my color theme and made cards to put on my note board.  Since it is foam core you can put pins in it for real notes too.  This probably cost me $5 all together!! A great cheap piece of art :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Laughs and giggles

There is just something special about a baby smile that immediately melts your heart.  There have been many times that I have been rushing along at the grocery store and look down to see my baby just grinning from ear to ear!! I immediately go into that high pitched baby talk and try to make him squirm with laughs.  He hasn't laughed out loud yet, but I am so looking forward to that day!!  I don't think I could ever get tired of seeing him smile at me. There is also a certain joy of seeing how happy it makes other people when he smiles.  I was in the grocery store and just talking away to Ethan like we do at home, when a lady passed by. I could feel that she had turned around to look at the baby in the carseat, and when she saw his big smile she started to laugh herself.  What an effect!! To be able to make others happy with a simple expression is quite a gift. Family members love making Ethan smile, and you almost feel a sense of accomplishment when you get him to.  I love to watch family members making the funniest faces at him trying to get that one little grin.  What is it about a baby that makes you not care what you look like for that moment?  I hear myself talking to him whenever we are out in public and think...wonder if this looks funny?  But I really dont care.  He is my world, and he likes to hear me talk to him so why would I care what that stranger thinks?

Since I have been home with him I have found that my stress level has decreased dramatically!  Of course, there is some stress when he is having a crying time that I can't seem to fix immediately, but overall I feel like a much more sane person.  I find myself being able to laugh so much easier these days! I will read a funny article and just laugh out loud!  Before I was always guarded with my emotions and would only let out a proper chuckle, but now I just feel free to let loose a good laugh!  I think baby smiles are the answer to lifes problems.  Wouldnt it be a better world if we all could innocently smile? I think of little Ethan and how he thinks this world is so funny.  I wish we all could look at the world through an infants eyes :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hiding life's unsightly truths

We have been trying to sell our home since our new addition has arrived. We have three bedrooms but still the house doesnt seem to have enough room to support all of us.  Before Ethan arrived we had "our bedroom," "my bedroom," and "Justin's bedroom." When I found out I was pregnant, we debated on who had to give up "their" room :)  My room was bigger, and I knew that little person was going to require a ton of stuff!  So we created the nursery in there. I was really happy with how it all turned out on the limited decorating budget.  We decided to go with beautiful conversion furniture that cost more up front but should last him until he leaves our nest.  His crib will convert into a full size bed and his dresser/changing table will become a storage place for all his goodies.  When we moved into this house, I began taking it one room at a time as far as decorating goes.  I was pretty happy with the kitchen, our room, bathrooms, and now nursery...but one bedroom remained. Our office was in shambles! It had collected all of the unsightly items thrown from the other rooms.  I would walk in there and think....ugh what do I do? 

We have limited furniture in the office. We have a desk that was given to us that I had painted.  We also have two black $15 bookcases that were starting to overflow with junk!  Yet, most of the junk we wanted to keep.  I have a bunch of art supplies that will come in handy for rainy days with a toddler, and Justin has all of his fishing equipment. The bookcases looked terrible so I decided to inexpensively give them a face lift. I have seen fabric organizational boxes at stores but you usually have to spend at least $10-$20 per box/basket.  I really didnt want to go out and drop $50-80 on baskets so I decided to make some!  I bought 3 yards of fabric for about $17..  I also bought a roll of iron on hem tape that was about $2 and 5 sheets of posterboard $3.  Now I decided to use poster board because I just needed a little bit of firmness for the sides of my boxes so they look pretty.  If you really want these to hold up to use, I would use cardboard.  If I would have had cardboard laying around, I probably would have used it! 

First I cut out my piece of posterboard. To get the size I needed I measured the space I wanted to
fit the box in. One of my spaces was 11x9. I measured the height...about 8".  So I made the middle piece 11x9 and the side pieces 8" high by either 11" or 9" all out of one piece of posterboard.

Next I laid out my fabric under the posterboard and pushed a pin down into the carpet to hold it while I cut around the posterboard.  On the small sides I cut right to the poster board except for a 1" allowance at the top of the soon to be side. I left about 2" all the way around the large sides for hemming with.

Now I ironed the fabric and assembled the box with simple painters tape/masking tape. As you can see my poster board wasnt big enough so I added a piece and taped it on as well. 

Now to add the fabric.  I placed the box down on in the middle of the fabric and brought up the fabric on the sides.  You cut a piece of hem tape the length of your box side and lay it on the inside rim of the box.  You bring your fabric up and fold it over the edge of the box on top of the hem tape. Now iron that in place. Repeat this step on each of the four sides.

Now to finish the four corners of the box.  I had cut extra fabric on the long sides of the box so you take that piece and fold it under to create a hemmed look.  Take another piece of hem tape and place that under the folded edge and iron it down to the end of the box.  Sorry my camera wouldnt take a very good picture of this. You can kind of see the edge of the fabric on this box corner. Repeat on all four corners and any loose fabric can be glued down with fabric glue. 

These boxes only took me about 15 minutes to make and they really enhanced our bookcase by hiding our clutter!!

Heres the before picture..

and heres after!! No more takle boxes!!!
With the 3 yards of fabric I was able to make 4 large boxes. I didnt take the time to line them but it would be easy to do!  

So here is my office makeover.  I will be sharing how to make the note board next time. Now how to cover those unsightly computer cords???  But for now Ethan needs me to come rescue him from the swing :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Its already beginning to look alot like Christmas!

I wanted to begin a blog just to share thoughts about life and ideas for the home that I come across with family and friends.  I am hoping that you find inspiration and maybe a smile or two from our experiences in the Gage home.  We brought little Ethan Wayne home in August and life has taken a very busy but wonderful turn.  I want him to have the most wonderful childhood that I can possibly give him.  He has already made our lives so full of meaning, and I want him to always know that he was number 1 on my priority list. For the last two months, I have only been away from him for all of maybe 3 hours.  During those hours, all I did was think about my little man.  I had left him with Daddy so I could go to a Dr appointment.  I saw all the women with their babies that never seemed to be around before I had my own child.  I am amazed at how many kids I see now!  I look at two year olds and wonder "is Ethan going to be that much of a handful?!"  He already is proving to be somewhat of a handful.  He is the most well tempered baby if you are holding him.  The minute I set him down he seems to know that Mommy isn't as close as he needs me to be :)  So usually I hold the little guy most of the day and the minute Daddy gets home he gives my shoulders and back a much needed break.  That is when I try and have a little creative time just for me....along with getting the house picked up and doing the laundry that looms (least favorite chore).

This week I have really been getting into the holiday mood.  I have been looking through cookbooks and planning new treats that I want to spoil my little family with.  Whenever we get out, I love to look down all the holiday isles that are bursting with  beautiful treasures.  We were a lowes and I found these beautiful spiral topiaries that I could just imagine on either side of our front door.  I flipped over the price tag and about flipped over myself!  $118 each!!!  Even if we were super rich, I cant imagine spending that kind of dough on a holiday decoration!!  I decided to make my own the shopping began.  I price compared everywhere and found the best garland at lowes for $10 each.  Then holiday ornaments at the dollar store amounted to $16.  The base is a flower pot I found on clearance for $5 each at Walmart and spray painted them for about $4. The stick in the middle required a family outing to Me Maw and Paw Pa's woods and Daddy even climbed up a dead cedar tree for just the right stick :) He is such a good husband.  I had the Christmas lights already so the total project cost about $55 for two topiaries...I can stand $27 a piece...much better!!!