Sneak Peek

I mentioned that I was up to my eyeballs in DIY projects.. I’m getting to a point where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for some of it. Here’s a sneak peek into what I’ve been working on.

Three projects I’ve got going on right now that are ALMOST ready for unveiling.

And then the other part that’s super exciting is that I have found SO many great DIY Christmas ideas.. not the cheaping out DIY ideas that just get me out of Christmas shopping with the mobs of crazies (I’ve figured out how to do all my Christmas shopping on Cyber Monday from my computer on my couch anyway 🙂 ).. but the kind that is super personal and unique! I’m so excited!

First Christmas present to arrive!

I’m the worst at taking on too  many projects at one time.. is that how you handle them too? With the invention and craze over Pinterest, I imagine that may be how it is for a lot of people… or women anyway. 🙂

So the stakes are high..

Well it’s Monday, again.

Monday means the beginning of a new work week [for most] and, if nothing else, drives you to do SOMETHING to be productive. Weekends are for being lazy, relaxing, etc. Mondays are for work.

So, that being said, I’ve been thinking about an important concept here lately. Most of us expect so much from ourselves and don’t allow ourselves to obtain the tools to do the job right. Much of this concept centers around money and guilt. I can relate, I’ve been obsessively trying to pay down some credit cards and get back on track by putting some money into savings, all the while try to build an online presence for myself in *hopes* of finding a full time job that will allow me some financial relief/peace of mind. But I’m still trying to utilize my free time in decorating our house and making it our home. I’m realizing that, with my recent 25th birthday, I am not letting myself BE the person I can be because I’m limiting myself by feeling guilty about spending any money at all on myself for things that I need or tools that I could greatly benefit from.

ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE YOUR BEST SELF

I’m not saying toss your good sense out of the window and go empty your bank account, charge up those cards and fill your car with purchases. But if there are legitimate things that you need or things that would help you work harder – those might be worth buying, and viewed as investments.

Money invested in yourself, is money well spent.

You also need to know yourself. Me, I’m a list maker. For every thing I do, everywhere I go, every project I take on.. there’s a list.

Blog post planning list

Immediate running to-do list that sits on my desk

Current meal options after our latest grocery trip

to-do list on my phone

I know I think in lists. Since I’m a girl, I like pattern and color. Why not give yourself the colorful, pretty, creative options to do the work that needs to be done? I know I have to have lists, so I give myself lots of different ways to keep lists to stay on top of everything going on.

I should probably say that I ADORE pattern and color. Your life and the things you use [to do work or to play] don’t have to be cookie cutter and dull.

My power organization tools

Take a little time, add a little TLC, and maybe spend the extra couple dollars if it’ll lift your mood and inspire some creativity.

After all, it’s the details that matter.

Happy Monday!

Design Your Mind Space

So, a few weeks ago I posted a general post about what kind of stuff we had going on around our house. I mentioned our home office. A home office was one of the main features we were looking to be able to add when we were looking at prospective places to move into a few months ago. Our cozy one bedroom apartment (which I did love and it did work for me most of the time) afforded us the option or having the desk in our living room, right next to the TV. In this set-up, the most self-controlled individuals out there would eventually cave and turn to watch the TV show [or commercial] interrupting actual work trying to take place at the desk area. We did cave and pegged it as an efficiency problem in our home. So, our search for a new place was focused on a 2-bedroom house in order to create a home office.

Mind Space

Have you noticed how you tend to work better in an area specifically designated to do work in? All the books and magazines tell you not to do work in your bedroom because of the work-mind-relaxation associations and your brain will get mixed up and you could end up feeling tense in your bedroom, in a space that should be solely for resting.

In the process of moving, everything gets boxed up and then you have to find a new place for everything that you already had. Then you find that you have a different space with different design and style challenges and need different things. I’ve been processing all of these details and have got our place just about set up. (I just don’t believe people when they say they moved and a week later, everything is done. Halfway done maybe.) I knew that our home office needed to be a place that was organized and a place where my man and I could both work harmoniously and not trample on each other’s space. We also have different tastes. He prefers plain, simple and what I would consider ordinary[/boring]. Me, I’m drawn to jewel tones, prints/patterns and want to DIY on everything. A few weeks into unpacking/organizing I had an epiphany. He was right, we need 2 desks.

After a weekend of desk hunting and coming back empty handed (desks are waaay overpriced! plus he’s picky), we ended up falling into a situation where a desk was given to us. As was mentioned somewhat previously with photos of a desk in pieces… we had trouble getting the desk into the office area (it’s the back bedroom and just couldn’t take the 90 turn in the hallway), but eventually did get it through in several pieces. After putting it back together, (amazingly it holds) we were able to set up a definitive his and hers office space where we can both organize our own papers and items and work independently, albeit in the same space.

The photos I posted a while back are of it in a messy state. Little by little, we’ve been working on it and, while I would like to add more graphical elements on the walls and remove some elements (like the toolbox in the corner 🙂 ), it’s functional for us and that’s a big WIN! So, here’s the update on what I’m calling our Mind Space.

Our Mind Space

Includes his/her desks, lots of organizational items such as rustic wire baskets to get folders/papers/notebooks off the desk, a personalized Pinterest-inspired weekly calendar to keep both of us up to speed on events, and a cheap bookcase that I (with lots of help!) did some work on to give it that extra edge.

His Desk

Your typical large style desk with a hutch and drawers and cubbies to store things.

Her Desk

Much less “typical” desk design with mobile mini file cabinet type drawers extended on both sides of the desk and wire baskets flanking a customized bulletin board over the desk.

Let’s talk a little more about my desk. Like I said, I like color and pattern and DIY. I actually designed this desk myself from the 2×4 ft. dimensions of the desk top to the mobile drawers that can be sat underneath the desk like most desks or can be moved outside of the desk to hold a printer and lamp, like mine currently do in this photo. It was originally painted a dark brown, a nice neutral. I got bored with it so I painted most of the desk an eggplant purple and painted the drawers a goldy-yellow color and added colorful knobs. (I was pulling colors out of these two paintings that were hung about the desk in our old apartment, but I’ll probably repaint those desk drawers because I’m still not sure if I like that yellow.) I also made curtains to hang under the desk so that I could hide the ugly tangle of wires/cords underneath. This was an especially awesome feature when this desk was a main feature in the living room.

As seen in a BHG magazine, I made curtains for my desk to hide all of the ugly wires/cords underneath.

Now that we have a separate office space, I don’t NEED the curtains anymore but they make a tent-like environment and the babies like to play from time to time. 🙂

Peekaboo!

All my life, I’ve had desks that allowed me to put a piece of plexiglass over the top. For years, I made collages and put them under the plexiglass as my desktop design but as you take new photos, you get bored with the old ones and always want to switch out the pictures. I got bored with a plain purple desktop though too, so I bought a stencil from Michael’s Craft Store and a few different metallic paints and set to work. It took me a week or so and I kept layering the same stencil with different colors until I was happy.

A stencil layered in several different metallic colors on a desk top combined with fun office supplies makes a personal and creative work space!

Our weekly calendar

Pinterest-inspired weekly calendar that offers personality and keeps an entire household up to speed on all events coming up in the next week.

I found this group photo frame at Ross and pretty cheap at that, for about $8. I selected different scrap book prints and stickers and labeled each pane a different day. We simply change the dates every week and write our personal events for the weeks so that we both know what’s going on and what’s due.

Bookcase Makeover

When we moved, we knew we would need a new bookcase. We threw out the old one that we had been using because it was falling apart. I’ve had it since I was a kid and it had made 3 moves, the 4th probably would’ve been the end of it. So, I scouted my options and ended up picking a bargain priced bookcase from Target. It’s a 6 foot bookcase with 4 shelves for $30 bucks. I didnt want to spend $100 bucks on a book case because I had found a Pinterest idea to cover the back of it with fabric and have a pop of color coming through from behind. I reasoned that even if it wasn’t the nicest bookcase, with a little work – it would be great.

So, my amazing man locked himself in the office for probably 2 hours and put this sucker together. I was so happy that he took it upon himself to do that but so frustrated by how CHEAP and ugly it looked.

Can you see the back? Is that not ridiculous? I understand it’s only $30 but if you’re going to use that kind of backing.. why can’t the box be bigger so that it can lay flat and not SHOW all of the creases?!?!

cheap, cheap, cheap.

So, I tried to begin the process of “fixing” it.

That stinkin thing had about 100 nails holding the back on, and then I found that the back was in TWO pieces of crap. It took a while to get it all back off. Josh was NOT happy with me when he walked in and saw me taking it back apart. What I thought was a one person job, turned into a 4 person job. If you’re handy and a one-man show, by all means I encourage you to take on this kind of project by yourself. But it was MUCH easier when my mom and dad plus Josh took pity on me and all worked to help me put it back together. 🙂

I found some turquoise floral patterned fabric at Joann’s Fabric for $1.50 a yard, BARGAIN.

$5 bucks later I came home and cut the fabric into two pieces to cover the two corresponding pieces of backing for the bookcase. I ironed each piece and attempted to staple them. Don’t do that. It ended up being MUCH easier to hot glue the fabric edges to the backing, as it was really only glorified poster board anyway. But it did take 3 of us to add the hot glue and pull the fabric taut over the board, so if you’re planning to replicate this project – make that note.

After covering both pieces of backing with the fabric, the men hammered it back onto the book case and we set it back up right. I’ve added all of our books and trinkets that have been living in cardboard boxed for 3 months now, back where they belong and voila!

A pretty patterned fabric pops out of the black book case, giving it a customized look and hiding the ugly backing that came in the box.

Book cases don’t just have to hold row-by-bow books. Feature some of your favorite books in a stacked style  with a few trinkets and you’ve got a book case full of personality.

If you have the option, take the time to make a space where you can think. Everybody means to get things done but alot don’t. If you give yourself the opportunity to think and a place to be creative in, you might surprise yourself by what you come up with. 🙂

Until next time, thanks for reading!

-LRL-

Practicing Pinterest in September

It’s Tuesday, back to work after a 3-day holiday weekend for most folks. (Not me, of course – I work in the restaurant biz while I search for that perfect FT gig) but nonetheless it was quite the lazy day til 5:00 rolled around and it was time to go to work. Tuesday is the day to get back to work, and for me that means catch up here!

A few days ago, I mentioned an idea that I stumbled upon that I am coining Practicing Pinterest. So many of us are guilty of wasting hours on Pinterest pinning so many unrelated things saying “gosh why have I never thought of that?!” or “I could make that!” We pin and pin and pin.. but let’s face it, what is your pinned to actually made ratio? Mine’s not very good, haha. But I’m making an effort to be better. It occurred to me that maybe a schedule would benefit my efficiency when it comes to Pinterest. Maybe a few days should be for browsing and a certain day or two should be for reviewing and making a game plan on actually doing some of those DIY projects. This past Labor Day weekend, I did, in fact, do just that.

A Trio of Frames

Besides Pinterest, I also troll Etsy quite a bit.I look through for different ideas and make a wish list of things and favorite shops. But I also look at some of it and think about how I could duplicate some of it myself, for cheaper. This project was one of those instances. I came across an Etsy shop with a listing for 3 large picture frames painted a bright turquoise color (which is my favorite color, by the way). I did note that the grouping of the three photo frames did give it somewhat of a wow factor. I did move recently, and this made an excellent idea to add to the Practicing Pinterest list because I’m trying to turn this house we moved into almost 2 months ago look like it’s our home and give it the love it deserves.

So, I went out to find three 5×7 frames (I took 3 photos that I love and tweaked them a bit in iPhoto to add that extra special factor and by doing so, Walgreens informed me that if I blew up my photos any more than 5×7 I wouldn’t be happy with the print quality). 5×7 worked perfectly actually up on the mantle over the fireplace.

As you can see, we needed something on that mantle, as it’s looking pretty naked.

Our naked mantle

I found three frames at Hobby Lobby, for 50% off. (Seems like their photo frames are always 50% off – but that works for me!) I picked three white frames because I figured it’s probably easier to spray paint over white rather than black, right? My frames were priced at $11.99 each, but half off meant that I got all 3 for just under $20. I mulled over a spray paint purchase for quite some time though, and finally selected a burgundy color. I usually gravitate towards burgundy and turquoise and grays.. but after we moved from our last apartment, I swore I was going to have more of a theme of colors rather than everything that I like. 🙂

Three simple 5×7 Hobby Lobby Frames $11.99 each

I took those to my back porch and gave them a few coats of the burgundy spray paint and they started to come to life.

Even the pups were interested in my project.

This is the baby, Brooklyn.

I let them dry for about a day. Then I added my newly finished prints also (with an older photo in the middle frame so that I had some dimension with my frames and not all 3 on a horizontal layout- plus I’m still enamored with the print in the middle so it can be the rockstar on the mantle :).) Here’s the finished product:

A trio of frames all spray painted one bold color for instant glam – easy DIY project to add some WOW to your home.

Anthropologie-inspired Flower Vases

My next project from this past weekend was something I saw on another blog, (It’s Overflowing), about replicating ideas that you see other places on a DIY scale. She saw a flower vase at a store, that’s also a favorite of mine – Anthropologie. I’m guilty of walking in Anthropologie and just looking at everything and trying to find ideas that I can replicate at home, because it is a bit on the pricey side. I love the style there though, and they say imitation is the more sincere form of flattery.. don’t they? 🙂

So, like Amee from It’s Overflowing, I took a shot at recreating a vase like those found in Anthropologie. Amee’s post about her adventures can be found here. I found 2 vases at Michael’s Craft Stores ON SALE

Originally priced, these little things were $8.99 each. They were marked down to $4.99 each and I had a $5 off $10 coupon. I bought something else too, but these little vases worked out to being 2 for about $3. SCORE! I already had some flowers at home that I’ve been collecting for another project. I selected two cheery, very different flowers and hot glued those babies onto the vases.

Voila!

Anthropologie-inspired mini vases to add a splash of color in the home. Easy, inexpensive DIY project!

I’ve got another project in the works but I don’t like to show things until they’re finished. Hope this inspires the creativity in you and that you get a grip on your Pinterest account and start making time to do some of those projects you’ve pinned too. You can follow me on Pinterest here to see more of my style!

Thanks for reading!

-LRL

Latest goings on in our home

Our lives have been a bit of a mess the last couple months. I don’t mean to say that we’re ever overly organized or ahead of the power curve, but lately it’s been extra crazy. You see, I moved into a one bedroom apartment about two years ago. I LOVED that place. It wasn’t super fancy, and it sure wasn’t brand new. But it was the first place that I had ever totally called my own place. Me and Asia (my older pup) made it home sweet home. I painted everything a turquoise color and I loved it. Probably 5 months after we moved in, I felt that Asia needed a buddy to keep company when I was working all day and so I adopted another dog, Brooklyn. I am a huge fan and supporter of adopting pets, and try to keep up with our local shelters in town. If you’re looking to add a forever friend in your life, there is no better way to find the love of your life than adopting a shelter baby. For whatever reason, these animals have been dropped off and they know that they’re being given a second chance at life and it shows in their demeanor towards you. You want to know what unconditional love is? Just visit a shelter and they’ll steal your heart.

So, it’s me and 2 dogs at this point and we were doing pretty well. A little while after that, I met my boyfriend Josh. 6 months after we started dating, he moved in with me as well. In less than a year, we had DOUBLED. But it worked for a while. About a year later, we started truly realizing that we just didn’t have enough space. That fact and our little apartment was old and everything was starting to fall apart.

Our little one bedroom. This is the largest space, our living room.

So, I began the search for another place to live. I’m slightly type a personality and started scouting out places 4 months before it was time to move. People laughed at me for starting the search so soon and everyone told me it was too early to be looking. Probably a month into looking, I lucked into a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom garden style apartment that has a townhouse feel, only one level newly renovated with updates for only $50 more than we were paying for our one bedroom! To everyone who said I was jumping the gun, TAKE THAT! 🙂 It was a good thing that I had found it so early, I had alot of work to do at the old place. See those turquoise walls? I loved them, (my boyfriend, not so much) but MAN were they a bear to repaint back to white!

It was a slow, painstaking process but I got all the walls painted back to that glaring white (I hate white), we got everything packed up (you’d be surprised how much this little one bedroom held) and MOVED! It’s been about a month now and we are mostly settled but now it’s time to start putting the home touches on things. I am between jobs, so to speak, meaning that I am seeking a full time position related to what I have a degree for. But I have a serving job that I work in the evenings and I freelance on the side. So I have the time available to put some love into the new place, but not necessarily an overabundance of funds so it’s one thing at a time. The first thing- the office.

I know you can’t see it in that photo of our living room, but what I was standing in front of what I snapped that picture, was our desk. I tried everything I could think of to pretty up the desk. I painted it, I added pretty hardware, I added curtains to hide the ugly cords underneath it. But still, it was a desk in my living room. So one of our first decisions in the new house was make the second bedroom an office. The boyfriend is pursuing a criminology degree and desperately needs a place to sit down and be able to focus without distractions. Me, I am determined to increase my online presence (via this blog, for example) and work on my own personal brand and make more connections to pursue my own career and would benefit from an efficient office space as well.

Unfortunately, this is what I’m working with right now:

Why this desk is in so many pieces is a long story.. but basically boils down to the way the male mind functions differently than the female mind. I don’t know any woman who would say let’s demo the desk in order to get it through the narrow hallway and around the 90 degree sharp turn corner and then glue it back together.. but that’s his desk, so go for it babe.

That’s his project. It’s taking alot of prodding and reminding that you can’t walk through that room..and slowly, piece by piece it’s getting put back together. But we’ll see if it stays together. Anyway, behind this nonsense is my desk.

My desk area

I started looking for inspiration about a week ago. I’m not really into that whole typical office-type furniture and organization pieces. I would much rather find more interesting pieces and put them into places where they can be functional. Those great little baskets hanging on the wall are my latest find. I was browsing Home Goods and found these little blue, rustic metal baskets. For $12 apiece, I feel like I couldn’t have gotten anything to serve that purpose from an office store anyway. I hung them on either side of the desk as a his and hers way to keep our notebooks and papers OFF the desk so that we can work ON the desk. But then we decided we needed a second desk and the mess that ensued. I’m okay with keeping both baskets for my use. 🙂

Notice how there is a space in between the baskets? I had an idea for that as well. It would be too easy and too boring to hang a plain jane bulletin board up there. I did happen to have one of those that had made it through the move in one piece just stashed in one of the closets though. So with a couple trips to Joanns Fabric and Michaels craft stores, I have been putting life into a new bulletin board to orchestrate organization.

I took a plain bulletin board and painted the edges a slate gray to begin.

I found a great light seafoam colored pattern fabric at Joann’s Fabric (for $9/yard – didn’t quite realize til I got to the counter but oh well.) I also found some fabric gluesticks for the hot glue gun. Hindsight thoughts, much more difficult than one would have originally thought. But the gluesticks DID do the trick. It was just a little messier than I had anticipated.

A Pinterest inspired touch for the bulletin board was to include a piece of sheet metal on the board. This would allow dual functionality and give the option to pin reminders as well as use magnets to hang items without adding holes. I just happened to have a piece of punched tin that I had ordered from Ebay several months before (that I hung with two-sided tape on the inside of one of my cabinets to hold reminders, menu ideas, etc.). Of course, I needed magnets as well in order to utilize the sheet of metal. An easy quick way to get custom magnets, is to go to your local craft store and pick brads or embellished items and buy magnets and glue them together.

I opted for a sleek look and picked small heart metal stickers. I added surprisingly strong magnets (for how small they are) to the backs and voila!

The finished product

I added a bit of ribbon around the edges of my board and maybe to hide some uneven edges that I hadn’t cut quite clean enough and all that’s left is to hang it in that open space above my desk!

That’s it for today, but don’t you worry – I’ve got a new challenge for tomorrow.

Thanks for reading! -LRL-