Love where you Live

When Charles and I got married, we were living in a house that he purchased when he was 21 years old. It was a cozy, wonderful little house where we had fantastic memories, but everything other than a few decorations that I had brought from my old apartment belonged to Charles. We knew we wouldn’t live in that little house off Grand for more than a few more years, so one random day, just for fun, we started looking at some houses for sale in Fort Smith {just to get an idea of what we might want} – and we found the perfect house. Charles said it had “potential” which typically scares me {he loves a good project; he is his father’s son}. Was it everything we wanted in a house? No. Was it a great location and an even better price? Yes!

We decided to just go “look” at the house to see if we would like it. Even though it was years before we had planned to buy our first home together, we ended up deciding “we’ll just throw a really low offer out there that we doubt they’ll accept and see what happens.” We never in our wildest dreams thought that they would actually accept it. So there we were, buying a house, not having a set budget, just on a whim, years before we planned.

Looking back, that was a really rash decision, and probably not the most mature thing to do. But in the end, it all worked out. The only thing was, we didn’t have any leftover money to purchase new furniture or decor for the new house, it was all of the items leftover from the old house, so we ended up having a lot of “empty space” in the new house. We slowly started trying to fill up some of the empty space by buying some cheaper items that we could afford at the time to fill some of the void, but it was never anything we actually liked. There was no consistency, no theme, and it drove me insane!

We have lived in our first co-purchased home together now for almost 4 years. We have put in all new appliances, knocked out walls to open up our space, added a dining room, replaced fans and light fixtures, added a shop in the back, planted flower beds, etc. but we have just now started to give the house a much needed interior design makeover, primarily focusing on the living room area to start. Let me tell you a bit about what we have done:

Ø  Charles redid the hideous orange tiles around the fire place with rock, and added a granite hearth and a mantle {this was done a few years ago, but still, it was an update}

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Ø  We removed the two larger “conversation chairs” from the corner of the room by the window and moved them into guest bedrooms. They took up a lot of space, and we didn’t even realize it until we moved them!

Ø  We added the blanket ladder {can you insert squeals of joy into a blog post?}

Ø  We replaced the LARGE area rug {pause, we bought this area rug from a coworker right before we moved for $50 and it was a HUGE rug. Fit perfectly in the room, but it was never the color scheme or anything we wanted}. We replaced this rug with a real cowhide rug {insert praise hands here} from ecowhides.com and for an amazing price. It is a Brazilian cowhide and we looked and MANY rugs before deciding on this one.

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Ø  We replaced our $300 sectional that we bought right before moving. I got to choose the couch I wanted from Hank’s {the most beautiful saddleback leather couch with power recliners on the ends and a USB port…swoon} and Charles got to choose the chairs he wanted. He ended up choosing two red recliners from La-z-Boy. Growing up, Charles parents {as well as his Aunt Donna and Uncle Richard} had a set of recliners. One was his dad’s, one was his mom’s, and they always sat in “their” recliners. Charles decided he wanted “his” recliner. He sits in it every day {I spend most of my time on the couch, because it’s wonderful in every way..} And can we TALK about those STUDS? The studded detail on the edge of the couch just sealed the deal for me, and it’s what I’ve been getting most of the compliments on!

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Ø  We had Charles’ brother make us our dream farmhouse coffee table. Y’all, I have wanted this coffee table for longer than I can remember. When I envision what a coffee table should look like, this is EXACTLY what I picture in my head, to a t. I fought tooth and nail to get this coffee table built for me, I was very patient during the process impatient while waiting for my dream coffee table to be sitting in my living room. The thing was, without the coffee table, the giant cowhide rug looked incredibly out of place in our living room. It looked like we were trying to mix western with vintage industrial, and it was. not. working. I knew that once the rustic coffee table with a few industrial looking metal baskets was complete, that it would tie the room together, I just needed to see it. The coffee table is {almost} completely finished, and BOY OH BOY, it’s better than I could have envisioned. Even Charles, who was a bit of a skeptic about what I had in mind at first, cannot get over how amazing it looks. Now, all I need to complete the room is for a smaller scale and slightly taller version on this coffee table to be made for a “tv stand” to hide some cords around the TV. I added in a few baskets from Target to make the farmhouse table look a bit more “industrial modern” and I’m quite thrilled with how it tied it all together.

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We aren’t completely finished with our living room, but it’s coming along swimmingly, and I’m extremely happy with the progress we’ve made thus far. I’m anxious to get my hands on a few other rooms in the house at some point in the future, and I can’t wait to decorate our new living room for the holidays!

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Ignore those pesky cords, I just need to get the console table built and then we will be FINISHED with this room

Now if anyone has any tips on how to get your husband to keep his dirty socks off the living room floor, please comment below. I may just have to let this one slide and learn that the second I wake up, I should walk over to his recliner and pick the socks and shoes off the floor and put them where they belong..I don’t think this is a battle women will EVER win.

I can’t wait for the holidays, so I can show you how we will decorate our new space for the season!

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Let’s get crafty – Blanket Ladders!

Ok, confession time. I’ve had a crush on blanket ladders since we started seeing them pop up, but every time I got online to purchase one, my heart would sink. Most blanket ladders on the market are expensive and a lot of them didn’t have the weathered, rustic look that I sought. I was honestly starting to think that I might as well just give up on having a blanket ladder.

Maybe it was a spark of inspiration when my husband and his brother were building the new shop in our backyard, or maybe the desire to own a blanket ladder just got too strong for me to handle, but I thought, you know what? I can make one of these all by myself.

Let me first point out that I have zero knowledge in how to build things. Just ask my husband, I decided a few months back to rearrange some photos on the wall and hang some newly purchased decorations {while he wasn’t home for supervision…} and well, let’s just say our walls now look like swiss cheese in select places. I’m not sure why I thought I had the ability to build a blanket ladder, but here I am, nailing it {did you see what I did there?}

I thought I would share my blanket ladder knowledge with all of you ladies out there who are yearning after a new blanket ladder at a fraction of the cost. I spent around $20 on supplies {maybe a bit less actually..I can’t remember, but we purchased paintbrushes which a lot of you already have on hand.}

Supplies used:

  • Two 6 foot boards {you can use whatever size you like, 2×2, 2×4, 1×2, whatever suits your fancy}
  • Two dowels {I used 7/8 x 48in popular, but again, there’s many to choose from, get creative!}
  • Sand paper {make sure you use a fine grain}
  • Stain! There are so many pretty stain colors as well, but through recommendation from Pinterest, I chose Minwax Special Walnut. I was skeptical of how the color would turn out {it doesn’t look so pretty on the packaging} but people on Pinterest really seemed to love it, so I went for it {and LOVED it}
  • .screws? I’m not sure. One of these two.

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Ok, so first, we shook things up here. Charles decided he wanted to hop on the blanket ladder bandwagon, got pretty hyped, and decided that I needed to make my tall boards {the sides of the ladder} with a rounded edge. This step is not necessary. However, I let him have his fun {and I was so glad that he did!} He got some funky looking tool called a router and away he went. I’ll show a picture below of the differences in what they looked like with regular edges and then the rounded edges. Charles comes in handy, ladies. Sorry that I scooped him off the market! Again, if you don’t have a Charles on hand to route your boards for you, it’s completely unnecessary. BUT if you have your very own Charles or husband that compares to Charles, then you might want to take the extra time to do it!

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Moving on, now it was time to sand the boards on all sides, and then I made sure to thoroughly wipe off all of the little sand dust before I started to stain the wood, because stain is incredible sticky, y ’all. It’s no joke. I actually found that the dowels dried a lot faster than the larger boards, maybe they are different types of wood? I’m not sure. Things to think about. I decided to let mine dry overnight just to be on the safe side.

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Now comes the whole “putting the ladder together” part. Let’s talk about the dowels. You can make the rungs of your ladder as long or as short as you want them to be. Some people want very small blanket ladders, some want very wide, but I wanted a middle compromise. Just make sure all of the dowels are cut to equal sizes or you’ll find yourself in quite an irritated state because then you’ll have to go repurchase more dowels, re sand them, re stain them, then play the cutting game all over again. Who has the time?

Finally, nail, screw, whatever your dowels into your boards. And voila, your very own blanket ladder has made its debut. I’m already loving the way it brings our living room together, and it was so inexpensive to make, and barely took any time to accomplish.

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I hope I’ve inspired you to create your own blanket ladders!

Spring Cleaning + a DIY!

I don’t really know how I feel about Sundays. I really like that I get to be at home..sipping coffee, working around the house, & watching Netflix, but then there’s that impending moment where you realize “I don’t get to sleep in tomorrow!” and “It’s going to be 5 more days before I get this bliss again.” I’m currently caught between the two emotions, but I’m more on the happy side. The sun is shining, it’s beautiful outside, my sweet sweet nephew is coming over this afternoon, and the handsome husband is coming home in a few hours from the lake. And a happy Sunday to you!

I stayed home this weekend while Charles went to the lake for a few different reasons. First, I had a hair appointment on Friday afternoon that I was NOT going to miss. Second, our house needed a good cleaning + we needed groceries, etc. The plan for me was get my hair done on Friday afternoon, meet some girlfriends for dinner, and then Saturday morning, wake up and start re-organizing the kitchen, scrubbing everything, cleaning windows, cleaning the clutter in the guest bedrooms, wash the sheets and all the laundry, etc. I had lofty goals and I was in the right mindset to accomplish them. It’s so much easier to get things accomplished when your husband is out of town. I know you feel the same way.

This plan was on track until I woke up at 3 am on Saturday with what I believe to be food poisoning. It. Was. Miserable. I didn’t sleep, I had a headache, I was sick to my stomach..you name it, i had it. PLUS it was dreary and cold outside which didn’t help matters. Luckily I managed to get out of bed for short periods at a time in the morning, and was able to get all of the laundry done / sheets washed. I even managed to go later in the morning and stop by the local farmers market for some nice flowers before picking up some soup for myself. And look at these vintage taper candle sticks that I found for .99 cents at a thrift store? I was SO pleased. Luckily, we live in a day and age with Walmart to go groceries, so I even ordered my groceries from bed and all I had to go was pick them up. DIdn’t even have to get out of my car, & I went in my pjs. Luxury!

I did manage to finish all of the dishes, most of the dusting, washed the insides of all of the windows, cleaned the bathrooms, etc. I even felt well enough last night to go sing at church and go to dinner with my parents. I woke up this morning feeling SO refreshed and ready to go {I know..why couldn’t i have just felt this well and motivated yesterday?}

I want to share a quick DIY with you for something that helps me when I’m cleaning, and I hope it will help you, too! It’s DIY Toilet Bombs! There are literally the easiest things you’ll ever make, and they work SO well. I use these when I’m cleaning the toilets and it greatly extends the amount of time I need to go before I have to scrub the toilet again. It’s a busy time of year, one where you’re having BBQ’s, cookouts, bonfires, friends over, etc, so what better DIY is there to help with the increased bathroom traffic? I actually use these as garbage disposal cleaners as well. They are all natural, reduce odor, and clean + prevent dirt. Here’s how to make your own!

Here’s the cast of characters:

  • 1 + 1/3 cup baking soda {reduces odors, keeps clean}
  • 1/2 cup citric acid  {all natural! This is found in the fruits that we eat and causes the “fizzy” sensation of the bath bombs. It can be a pain to find..I found it by the mason jars in Wal-mart, but it took me three stores to find some!}
  • Essential oils of your choice  {I used a mixture of grapefruit, lemongrass, and lavender!}
  • Spray bottle of water  
  • Some sort of ice tray / silicone mold   

First you start making the bombs by mixing together the baking soda and the citric acid in a bowl. Mix well!

Next, take your spray bottle of water and add in your essential oils. You don’t need to add three, I only did because I love the way these smell. You really only need one! Don’t be stingy with the drops! You need between 30-50 drops of oil total. Shake well in the spray bottle of water! {added bonus, you’ll end up with leftover water + essential oil mixture..I recommend using this as a pillow spray to help you relax at night! I use this mixture on my pillow and can instantly feel myself relax and fade away into a fast and peaceful sleep!}

Next, spritz the citric acid + baking soda mix with the water {I used a small bottle and spritzed about 10 times at once.} IMPORTANT: make sure you don’t spritz more than this at one time, or else the citric acid will all fizz up and won’t work with the toilet bomb. Mix up well, and then repeat the spritzing and mix again. You’ll end up doing this for about five minutes. You know you’re done when your mixture has the consistency of wet sand.

You should be able to take a handful of the mixture, squeeze it in your hand, and have it stick together like below. That’s how you’ll know you are ready to go.

Once it’s reached this consistency, you’ll begin placing the mixture in your ice cube trays or silicone baking molds. I searched HIGH AND LOW in Target for some cute silicone ice molds {pineapples, hearts, ANYTHING} but all I could find were these regular ice trays. But get creative!! This can be SO fun. Make sure to FIRMLY pat them down in the trays, and don’t fill the trays too full, because this mixture will rise. Let sit in the trays for about 6 hours or less if they are hardened, and then remove.

Toss a “cube” into your toilet and let the fizzing begin! I swear you will fall in love with this DIY, you’re cleaning routine will thank me!

Green Thumbed Alley’s

Does anyone else have two days in a row that are just so utterly opposite of each other? Because this is happening to me at the present moment – so please tell me I’m not the only one!

The past two days, I’ve felt like I’ve had it all together – I’ve gotten to work early, had successful days at work, watered all the plants and vegetables and moved them into the sunshine, taken walks at lunchtime and then taken the dogs on 2 mile walks after work, gone to the gym, prepped dinner, swept + mopped all the floors, had all the dishes done, and been in bed at reasonable times. I felt like I had been nailing this week.

This morning I woke up and drove halfway to work before realizing I was still wearing my UGG slippers, then when I got to work, I got off the phone and instead of hitting “end call” on the phone, I turned off my lamp. Some days, you just can’t win.

That being said, I want to share with you a marvelous weekend that Charles and I had last weekend {the weekend before Easter}! My husband and I have been focusing on curb appeal for the house, and we have been having a blast in the process. A few weeks ago, I shared with you the two small flower beds that we fixed up on both sides of the garage, and we are loving how much such a small change created such an impact to the appearance of the house. Sunday was all about tackling the swampy pit of grass and dirt that sits in front of our guest bedroom window. All that was there was a dead tree that blocked sunlight from the house and the dead limbs sprawling everywhere actually made the house look smaller! Needless to say, it had to go. My husband and his handy friends Chad & Matt got to work to remove that tree last week! I am so pleased. Since the tree was finally removed, and the ground was finally dry enough to create the flower bed, Charles and I took full advantage and started our next curb appeal project.

Let me just show you the “before” picture {sans tree..I forgot to take a before picture while the most hideous tree known to man was still there..what kind of blogger am I?}

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We set out to Lowe’s as soon as they opened, coffee in tow, to get our supplies. They ended up not having everything that we needed, so we got what we could and off to Southerlands we went.

PSA – Are you a member of Southerland’s text message “Garden Club?” If you aren’t…you are missing out on 25% off trees and shrubs every day!supplies2supplies1supplies3

45 garden paver stones, 35 bags of top soil, 9 bags of compost, 12 perennials, 6 boxwoods, 3 bags of mulch, 4 succulents, 2 adorable little purple plants, 2 lavender plants, 1 cute little plant that I’m not sure what it’s called, 1 elephant ear, 1 aloe vera plant, and 1 weeping willow later, we were finally ready to start our flower bed.

It took us about 7 hours total for this project, including shopping for supplies. Here’s some pictures of the progression / after:

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Doesn’t it look about 50x better? We were both so pleased with how much of a transformation this made to our home. And it was fun to do together! We laughed, listened to music, enjoyed the sunshine…We even ended up having enough rock left over to make small flower beds around the mailbox and around a tree in our front yard. We haven’t planted anything yet, but hope to this week sometime.

 

In addition to planting flower beds, we used two of the succulents, one of the lavender plants, and the aloe vera plant and planted them in the cutest {and most inexpensive} terra cotta pots from Wal-Mart, of all places. I think the mossy green color pairs perfectly with the orange, rusty colored pots. I’m actually quite surprised at how much I love having these little guys inside the house, it just makes the kitchen feel more homey and bright.

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We also re-potted some of our vegetables that we have been growing, since they need bigger homes! The tomatoes, cayenne peppers, jalapenos, and green onions are all re-homed into their bigger pots, and the mint and lavender are starting to sprout now, so they are still in their little homes.

 

I have to tell you, Charles and I are both loving having our own little garden and nice flowers around. I enjoy going home at lunchtime so that I can take a walk around the neighborhood and put the vegetables and plants out in the sunshine. I enjoy going home after work and watering all of the plants, then taking the dogs on a walk. It’s been my routine these past few weeks, and it’s become more something I look forward to than something I have to do.

 

I can’t wait to show you a few more things Charles and I have been working on for around the house to make it feel more like “us.” It’s supposed to be a cold weekend, so who knows what all we can accomplish to the interior of our home this weekend..Stay Tuned!