...because sometimes all you need is a little inspiration...

Monday, January 9, 2017

Kitchen Re-do

Welcome to my kitchen.  While it's still a little off from what I would have choosen had a built my home, it's come a long, long way from where it once was.

My favorite thing about it is probably the wall color.  I hemmed and hawwed over many other paint colors in my house, but this one I always knew.  It's Benjamin Moore Wickham Grey and for me it was love at first site.  
Funny story, though.  When I was buying the paint I asked them to maybe just put in a little more blue because I was worried it wouldn't be much of a color, and the girl looked at me and said, "there's no blue in it..."  I was a little shocked and worried, but stuck to my gut and boy am I glad I did.  I love it!!  It's a pretty pale french blue.
And it plays really well with the Benjamin Moore China White we used on the cabinets.  Kind of a French Country vibe.

Anyway...this is what the place looked like before: 
Sort of cave-like.  And dark...and ugly.  I don't hate stained wood, but something about this stain made it milky...like it was laid on too thick or something.  So it all had to go.  I originally thought it really all would go, but we actually ended up keeping a lot of things... 
One thing I was certain of was getting rid of that awful drop box florescent light!  Ugh.  Couldn't wait to see that thing gone!  We replaced it with four recessed lights, and sometimes I wish I'd been able to talk my husband into the six that I wanted, but once the pendant lights are shining 4 does the job nicely. 
Which brings me to the pendant Tiffany lights we had in here...
Aren't they just lovely??  Someone thought so because they sold pretty well online! haha.
I did make my hubby move one of the pendants over about 6 inches because they were just too close together... 
I got major eye rolls for making him do this, but ...it just needed to be done. 
See?  Look how pretty that ceiling is now!  It came a looong way!! 
When we walked through the house listing off what needed to be changed, I opened the fridge door, which opened up against this corner wall, and realized that because of the handle, the fridge could only open up about a foot wide...how ridiculous!?  So, next on the list was switching places with the fridge and the pantry.  It was a pretty big ordeal especially since we had to replace the crown molding because it didn't work in reverse...
But all's well that ends well, am I right?  And it all works so well now that it's switched around.  I can open both fridge and freezer as wide as they will go.  Perfect.
Surprisingly, once it was all painted and finished, I didn't hate the backsplash so much...and the countertops really popped where they hadn't before.  We also replaced all that tile flooring with laminate wood planks that look like old hardwood flooring.  Gorgeous!  No regrets there.
We also ended up keeping the knobs and pulls and even the hinges and everything looks and works great.
And then it was all about finishing touches.  Most of the items on the top of the cabinets were thrift store finds.  Love that.
These copper molds belonged to my mother, and bring me back to my childhood every time I see them.
I got the grand idea to put sugar and flour in huge canisters like this from a friend of mine.  They are SO much more practical than the tiny canisters that come in a set like the one I got at my wedding.  Those things never hold an entire bag of flour or sugar so it's always been a problem for me, because it's not a real storage solution.  Anyway, these are from Target and I love them. 
The window by the sink is one of my favorite spots.  I love looking out those windows.  They were covered in ugly blinds, which I quickly threw away.  I ended up replacing those with these little tension rods that happen to fit really snug once I took the decorative balls of the ends that met in the middle.  It almost looks custom.  Perfect.  And these flowy little curtains were a wedding gift from long ago.  They work perfectly here.

Lastly, I put this sign up above the doorway connecting this kitchen to the formal front room.  Words to live by...found at Hobby Lobby.

So, there you have it.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Homemade Laundry Soap - 1 year later review and updated recipe

So, a year ago I adopted this laundry detergent recipe.  It says it will last a whole year and it really does!  And I love it!!  I just made a few changes this year.  So, here is my updated recipe: 

Here are the ingredients.  
And here are the things I changed: 
First of all, I miscalculated the size of the canister I'd need, so I upgraded to this larger size.  I really love these canisters from {Target} and I use them to store flour and sugar as well. 
The other thing I changed about my recipe is that instead of using a normal cheese grater to grate the soap, I decided to try a zester to get the pieces as small as possible.  It worked like a charm.  I set up my bucket and grater like this and my third time doing this was definitely a charm.

The reason I made this change is because sometimes my washer had a hard time disolving the larger soap shavings, especially on a cold water cycle.  The smaller pieces seem to dissolve much easier.
Once the soap was grated, I just threw all the rest of the ingredients into the bucket and mixed them all together.  And it rubbed my hands raw...so next time I'll be wearing gloves for that step. 
Anyway, the result is a wonderfully beautiful detergent that looks and smells like summer. 
I ended up using the smaller canister to store my Oxiclean White Revive which I add to loads of white laundry in place of bleach.  I really love that stuff.  It does the trick without ruining anything! 
There you have it!  All in all, this laundry detergent costs about $20-$30 to make, and it lasts for a whole year!!  That's a pretty good deal, if you ask me.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Designing a Dance Studio

My sister in law recently asked me for tips regarding her dance studio:
 She wanted to know what I would suggest to make it pop.
 So, I thought for a minute and decided that all the coolest dance studios have brick walls:

 It doesn't really matter what color the brick is.  Brick just brings an urban feel into the space which ups the cool factor by a lot!
I'd also suggest doing something fun with the ceiling.  Either making that woodwork pop, or painting it white...
Or even lining it with tin like this one.  Wow!
 The other thing that can take a dance studio from dull to amazing is the lighting.  While florescent lights are very practical, they don't provide the best light.  They're not very flattering to skin tone or texture, and their light is really flat and cold.  
These globe lantern lights are kind of fun.  
But, I would definitely suggest recessed or pendant lighting as well. 
 There's something magical about dancing in and out of pools of light.
 It's so pretty and moody.
Especially spilling down a brick wall:
 And let's go back to my favorite dance studio:
I really love how they used twinkle lights around the floor.  Isn't that just so fun!!? 
I mean, you could even go crazy and use twinkle lights to line the windows if you wanted to!
 Throwing a marquee light like this (just maybe not quite so huge) up on the wall would take it up a notch as well.
The only other thing I'd suggest is using benches around the walls.  Vintage benches, or handmade wooden benches.  
I think they're not only cute but practical and can seat more people than individual chairs can.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

My Boys Room

This has been a loooong time coming.  When we bought our house, this room had clearly been a nursery because it looked like this:
And believe it or not, our Real Estate agent almost cried when she heard us say we were going to paint over this masterpiece.
  Our kids did, too, but they just had to deal because I had the most perfect room in my head and this just didn't go with the vision I had...plus, I had found the most perfect paint color and couldn't wait to get it up on the walls.
Valspar Woodlawn Sterling Blue
I may have hemmed and hawed about some of my paint colors, but this room was always this color, I knew I would love it, and I totally do.  It's perfect.

So, once painted and moved in, it honestly took a long time to just sit down and finish everything I wanted to be in this space.  And then it took a while to find the right moment when it was actually clean enough to photograph...but without further ado, here is my little boys room:

Shall we take a little tour?

It all started with this bedding I purchased long ago when my first child was graduating to a big boy bed.  I thought it was very normal bedding and didn't think I'd have a problem finding something close enough to match it.  I was wrong.
So after a pretty extensive search, I finally decided to go to goodwill and buy a bunch of plaid shirts that went with my color scheme.  That's right, I did.  I cut them all up into squares and ended up with just enough to make a quilt and pillow sham to "match" the set I had.  I am totally ecstatic with the way it turned out!  At first, I was a little unhappy with the way the stitching pulled the fabric in some areas, (I should have used a walking foot, they say) but it all looks great to me now, especially since I never get too close. :)
Top bedding was purchased, bottom bedding was made.  Tada!  You love it, right?

Moving on. 
This wall took the longest of all to figure out.  I kept getting random things and trying new ways to group them together.  I feel like I finally figured out a configuration that pleases me.  I ended up painting a few pieces: "Life is a Highway" just happens to be one of my son's favorite songs, so that ended up there along with the licence plates of where we've lived.  Found the map and route 66 sign at Hobby Lobby!  The airplane print I found on Pinterest, as well as the "Bring the World His Truth" printable which I love, and I might reprint to try to make it darker. 
The other two I painted.  I'm really in love with the Peter Pan quote at the top.  Just painted it right on an old piece of wood from our yard.  Love love love.

Right next to the beds, we put our old entry way bench.  It's kinda perfect for storing cars in, and also makes a great seating area for the books which happen to hang just above it in our pallet bookshelves my husband made. 
Aren't they the best!!?  They stack the books so kids can actually see them.  And not only that, the kids can actually stack these books themselves.  Regular bookshelves are just so hard...  They only thing I think I would have done differently is I would have left the wood unstained.  I like these, but I REALLY love the shelves on the other side of the room, and they make me wish we'd left these natural too.  Oh well.  Still great and cute and completely functional.

On the dresser, I have an awesome globe, their treasure chest that actually does have all their money in it.  And a few things they're proud of.  For one son it's a soccer trophy and a block he got from church, for the other it's McQueen and Mater.

This wall just makes me happy.  I am in love with these pallet shelves!  They could not be more perfect in my eyes.  I love the way they look, and the rustic style they bring into the room.
And I had all these things just waiting for shelves to sit on, so I was very happy when my husband threw these together for me one Saturday.  The Cougars printable is so great for our family since we are both BYU grads.  We hope our kids choose to go there someday as well.  The bear sitting next to it was a decoration from my room when I was little, so it has a special place in my heart as well.  
The dinosaur was from a great aunt, the lantern is from Walmart - it's one that actually works and was super cheap compared to the ones at decor stores!  Those suite cases have been with us for a while.  They are old and tin and totally falling apart from use, so now they're a decoration.  Winnie the Pooh, one of my favorite books, sits behind a wooden truck that their grandfather gave them.  Then there are the rocks they've collected.  can't forget those! 
 I made that airplane art piece using a frame, a piece of paper, and one of those wooden plane cut outs that I painted.  Cheap and easy and goes great with the biplanes I found at Ross.  The Mickey music box is from a great aunt, and the boys love it!  That tiny canister has been with me since my son's nursery needed decorating.  I actually painted those blocks when my first child was born, and I sell sets of these painted blocks in my {Little Craft Shoppe}.  I'm in love with this mission printable I found on Pinterest.  We are encouraging our boys in many not so subtle ways...  The firetruck is another music box I found at an antique store to round out the shelf.  And there you have it.  Decorated shelves!
This little nightstand didn't really have a place by the bed in our rooms, but we found a place for it in the wall between the window and the bathroom door.  It's kinda necessary because it holds all our dress up things.  I never thought I'd have so many dress up clothes with little boys, but I sure do!  These curtains I sorta made.  I found some ready made navy curtains and wanted to add a stripe to give them some character, so I bought a valance from the same set in a different color and cut the navy and sewed in a stripe of the khaki - no need to hem the edges down the side cause they already matched.  I love it when it's easy like that.
This little wagon I found at a thrift store and it's a perfect little decoration my kids can actually play with.  I've seen a few rooms with children's blocks displayed in clear canisters and when I found this plastic one at Walmart, I knew right away what I would use it for.  I think these blocks are such a cute decoration! 
Last, but not least, is my ABC wall.  When I created this in my last house, I had visions of it adorning the wall in my future playroom.  I guess that dream is still alive and well, but for now they adorn the playroom that is also my boys' room.  I really love it.  But, alphabet walls are hard.  It took a long time to collect all these letters and make sure they all worked well together!  I had to spray paint a lot of them and it all turned out well, but don't be fooled, it took a while.  Below that is just our toy box where we like to keep our toys "organized" because momma's OCD.

Anyway, it's been a long road, but I'm really happy with the way it all turned out! 
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