Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I recently purchased this chalkboard at my local Goodwill for $2.50.

I had been looking for a chalkboard or something that I could make into a chalkboard to cover a hole from a large built in intercom/stereo in my kitchen. When we first moved in the stero was a dark brown. At some point, I hung newspapers and covered everything with drop cloths in order to spray paint the stereo white in hopes to make it blend into the wall more. Painting the stereo white did help to make it less noticeable, but because we have an undercabinet radio and the intercom was not functioning on the unit, there was no reason to keep it.

I knew that I should have taken a picture of it before I unhooked the stereo, but in my haste to remove the ugly intercom and hang up my great find, I totally forgot! This picture shows a similiar unit that used to be in our master bedroom.

Right after removing the stereo/intercom, I hung my new chalkboard. My husband walked through the kitchen as I finished hanging it and said, "That's great, but what are you going to do when it is not Christmas?" (referring to the snowy scene that was modge podged to the chalkboard. I shook my head that hubby does not know me better than that and explained to him that I would be removing the Christmasy picture and replacing it with something that would better match the decor in my kitchen. I immediately peeled off the Christmas picture using a kitchen scraper and my nails. Once it was a clean slate I dug through my scrapbook stash for some apple paper that I adore. I cut it to size and modge podged it in place using a cotton makeup applicator since I did not have any brushes handy. The applicator left some strings behind, which I just picked out before going over everything once more with a fresh applicator. I left the chalkboard hanging right on the wall to dry.

Now I just need to purchase some chalk!

Fall Decor

Though I have had my fall decor up for about 2 weeks, I finally decided to take a few pictures and show it off.

This little guy greets you as you enter our driveway. He was one of my first seasonal decor purchases. Though he has lost his legs, he is still so cute!

This runner was a gift and was quilted by my mother. The runner fits perfectly on the buffet in our dining room. My mom lives about 2 hours away and I don't see her as often as I would like, but this runner and other things throughout the house remind me of her and make me smile!

This wall hanging found a place on our dining room table. It was also a gift that my mother quilted. Though it is really Thanksgiving, the colors go really well with my fall decor and then I get to enjoy my mother's handiwork a little bit longer.

Finally, I removed the red, white and blue ribbons from my Summer wreath and wrapped it in a brown ribbon. I added a few sticks with pumpkins and gourds purchased a couple years ago at the Dollar Store. Using the sticks allows me to easily remove them and change it according to the season.

I have a few things that I would like to make to add to my decor, including another wreath for my front door and some cute little pumpkins. I also need to make another pumpkin topiary.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall Freshening Up

The deck on our house is wonderful and we use it on a daily basis. The kids and I play and ride bikes on the deck everyday.

We also enjoy using the deck for entertaining our friends and family. Though we love to use the deck, it is a little worse for the wear. The railings are all peeling paint, many of the deck boards have popped up, and the floor is almost black with dirt. Over the summer I had planned on powerwashing and repainting the deck, but there was always some excuse to put it off. Finally last week, I pulled out a paint brush and the brown exterior paint the previous owners left in the basement and got to work on freshening up the deck. Here is a picture of the railing before:

A few hours later (the kids were constantly fighting and interrupting my work!) the deck looked so much cleaner and well-kept.

I attempted to clean the deck floor with some soap and water and a push broom, but it just made a mess out of the siding. I have decided to save that part of the project until I can borrow my FIL's power washer and do the job right! My husband also screwed down a few of the loose deck boards. Though it is still far from perfect, it is amazing how a few deck screws and a little paint could make such a big difference and help to camouflage some of the remaining imperfections!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Fall Topiary

I used my day off today to set out some of my fall decor. I absolutely love everything about fall, from the weather to the colors and holidays (Thanksgiving is my favorite). I also used some time to create a new piece of decor to add to my growing collection of fall items.
Last year around this time I saw some pumpkin topiaries in blogland (specifically from a post by Michelle at From House to Home) that I absolutely fell in love with. We were living at my in-laws and in the process of moving, so the topiaries were not a priority at the time. The other day while reading the paper I came across the Michael's ad and saw that all the faux pumpkins were 40% of and decided that I needed to make the topiaries. I ran out and bought 3 different sized pumpkins for a total of $25. I knew I could have saved a little more if I waited for them to not be on sale and used a 50% off coupon, which is why I only bought one set. I plan on making another one to have one on each side of my front door. The next day I cleaned up a terra cota planter that I had in the garage:

I then pulled out my scrapbooking supplies and cut some circles out of contact paper in 3 different sizes. I stuck the circles randomly around the pot so that it would appear polka dotted after spray painting.

I painted the planter and while it dried, I worked on preparing the pumpkins. I cut the tops out of the two pumpkins for the bottom so that they could sit flat on top of each other. I used a regular kitchen knife and cut right around the stem in order to leave most of the pumpkin intact.

I then put hot glue around the top of the biggest pumpkin and placed the medium sized pumpkin on top. I repeated that process to attach the smallest pumpkin to the top. I then affixed some black scrapbooking stickers to the fronts of the pumpkins to spell out, "Boo!"

When my planter was dry, I removed the contact paper circles to reveal my polka dotted planter. I placed the pumpkins inside the planter and attached a ribbon around the stem of the top pumpkin. Love it!

Unfortunately, I decided to add some sand to the bottom of the planter to weight it down a little (there has been an unbelievable wind over the past 2 days and thought it would blow over and break). While carrying the planter back inside after filling it, I only had ahold of it with one hand. The weight was too much and the planter crumbled in my hands:( I was unable to photograph it in it's rightful spot by my front door. The final reveal will have to be made once I finish the second topiary and place them where they belong. Hopefully I will have the rest of my decor up at that time as well!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Buh-Bye Brass

Another thing that we took care of immediately upon moving into our home back in October, was removing all of the brass outlet covers and cabinet knobs. The day we were to sign the papers for our new house, my husband and I spent the morning running errands and getting a few of the necessities that we would need to clean up and make the house our home. Our first stop was to JCPenney for a flat screen television (guess who thought that was a necessity?) and brand new vacuum cleaner. Afterwards we went to Menards and bought outlet and light switch covers and cabinet knobs to replace the brassy and dated ones. I actually went through the house the night before on our final walk through and counted how many we would need! Here is a picture of the door knobs and outlet covers that used to accesorize our home.

After seeing what existed in the house before, can you blame me? Really?
After signing the papers for our new house, we immediately drove to the house to check it out. Soon after, we returned to my in-laws, loaded the cars up with stuff and returned to the house with my husbands entire family. While everyone perused the house and talked about all of the things we could do with it, I unloaded the contents of the vehicles into the house. Finally, I got exasperated that everyone was standing around and not helping and assisted my husband in escorting them out. My husband left with them and returned with another load before going back to spend the night in a nice comfortable bed at his parents house where we had been staying for the previous 3 months. I had already decided that I would sleep on blankets on the floor (if I slept at all) so that I could get as much done as possible. I was breastfeeding my son at the time, so I decided to keep him with me at the new house. I figured he would go to bed around 10pm like he usually did and sleep until 6 or 7am and I would get more done not having to worry about stopping to pump. Unfortunately, he got his first tooth that night. He was up most of the night screaming and crying and I had nothing to ease his pain (tylenol, ice, teething rings, nothing!) I ended up rocking and walking with him until he fell asleep. After about 45 minutes of work (changing out outlet covers, putting away boxes and cleaning) he would wake up. We repeated the process until about 5am, when I finally laid down and tried to get some sleep with him. When we awoke at 7am, I was still exhausted but driven to get as much done as I could. I took my son to spend the day with his grandmother and sister and got back to work. Thankfully, my mom arrived late that morning and helped me to get most of the kitchen and bathrooms cleaned and organized. The biggest difference though was in having all of the ugly outlet covers replaced with newer bone colored ones. Someday I hope to change all of the outlets and light switches from bone to white. Is that crazy?