Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Home

Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Home

Spring cleaning sounds great, but it can also be overwhelming.  I think it looks different for everyone.  We all have our own routines and standards when it comes to cleaning our homes.  For me, as long as the kitchen sink is empty and the counters are wiped down, the whole house feels clean.  I think it’s time to raise the bar…at least once a year.

Let’s get started…

1.   Open the windows.  ok, duh.  Honestly though, there is truly nothing like fresh air on a sunny spring day.  If you are like me, take your allergy meds and leave those babies open all day.

2.   Rearrange your furniture.  I am never more motivated to vacuum, than after I move a large piece of furniture.  The things that accumulate under a sofa, for instance, can be down right appalling.  Changing your furniture layout can also freshen up your perspective on that particular room; and when that happens, I am much more motivated to keep it neat and tidy.

3.  Box up your winter clothes and decor.  Put away all those big fluffy blankets…ok, maybe leave one or two out to snuggle up with on the couch.

4.  Clean out your fridge.  I’m talking about all the dressings, sauces, leftovers and whatever else is hiding in there.  When you’re done, wipe down all the flat surfaces.  You will be so happy you did.

5.  If you are the “deep clean kind,” give yourself a month for each room.

  • 1st weekDeclutter (sort through and give away anything you no longer need)
  • 2nd weekOrganize (for more detail, keep reading)
  • 3rd weekVacuum under large pieces of furniture and Dust
  • 4th weekWash baseboards and walls

 Let’s get into some practical ways to declutter and organize:

I enlisted some help in coming up with some simple ideas to declutter, organize, and freshen up for spring!

My mom is pretty inspiring when it comes to cleaning.  She’s not a “scrub every inch” kind of person, but a more “make it organized and functional so you don’t have to spend all your time cleaning” kind of person.

Here are some of the tips she’s given me:

“The biggest issue with cleaning is having too much stuff. Less is more.”

What’s the solution?

Define It and Confine It

Define –

In each Room, ask yourself these questions…

  • What belongs here?
  • What do I do here?
  • Why is this here?
  • How long has it been since I’ve used it?
  • Do I need more than one?
  • Why am I keeping this?
  • Can I give away the thing I don’t love and keep the love of the person who gave it to me?  (this one has helped me time after time when I have felt guilt about getting rid of something that someone I care about gave me)

Confine –

Once you decide what belongs and what does not belong in each room, it’s time to confine it.

This is where you are going to utilize things you already have.

  • Ice cube trays –  in a drawer for earrings, beads, eyeshadows, etc…
  • Ziploc bags – for puzzles, batteries, crayons…
  • Drawer dedicated to “memories.” There’s no way I can keep every masterpiece my precious children create. Make a goal to keep one thing a month per family member, and chuck the rest.  Keep those extra special works of art, letters, etc. in a dedicated memory drawer.  Ours is in the hutch in our kitchen.
  • Over the Door Shoe Oragnizer – I cannot say enough about this one.  My mom introduced me to a shoe organizer on the back of my bathroom door.  Amazing.  If you don’t already own one, I highly recommend getting one with clear pockets. You can find one here. We use it for Qtips, hairspray, deodorant, toothbrush, perfume, curling iron, lotion, razor, etc…
  • Shoe boxes – for legos; doll clothes and accessories, medicine, etc.
    • Use multiple boxes to sort medicine. Label them:
      •   Sinus and Allergy
      •   Digestive
      •   Pain Relief
      •   First Aid
      •   Vitamins

If you are interested in learning more about organizing and decluttering, my momma has recommended “Confessions of an Organized Housewife” by Denice Shoefield.  An oldie but goodie.

Let’s get to work.

Happy Spring Everyone!!

Stephanie

 

 

 

How to Wax Painted Furniture

 

Furniture Wax Tutorial

I’m not the kind of person that “babies” my furniture.  I have my hands pretty full just trying to stay on top of how much water my kids have drank today…and has it really been that long since they’ve had a bath?  Don’t worry, they are safe and loved on…but sometimes that means other things get ignored.  I don’t own a single coaster.  So, when it comes to keeping my painted furniture safe from zooming matchbox cars and sticky fingers: wax is my go-to. But let’s be real, nothing hand painted is going to be indestructible.  Let’s take a collective deep breath and decide not to fret over scratches and chips.  That’s the beauty of distressed home decor.  The more wear and tear, the better.  It adds character and reminds us of the beauty of messy kids and real living.  With that said, do some preventative care to keep it in the best shape possible… and to reduce the necessity of those “deep breaths.”  Let’s talk about how to wax painted furniture.

If you missed Parts 1 and 2 in this series, you can find them below:

Part 1 – Painting your piece

Part 2 – How to distress painted furniture

Part 3

First, I would like to point out that there are different types of furniture wax.  We will discuss two kinds today: Clear Wax and Dark Wax.  Clear Wax is going to deepen the color, protect and seal your piece; Dark wax is used to “antique” your piece.

Materials:

Annie Sloan Clear Wax

Annie Sloan Dark Wax

Wax Brush

Lint-free Cloth (Muslin, an old t-shirt, etc.)

 1. Clear Wax

The following steps are for applying Clear Wax.

Steps:

  • Make sure your piece has completely dried.
  • Dip the tips of your brush (you could use a wax brush or a regular paintbrush) into the wax.  Seriously, less is more.
  • Work your wax into the paint in circular motions.  Work in small sections as it dries quickly.
  • After each small section (no more than 3 min) wipe/rub in with your lint-free cloth.  You want a very thin layer.  It should absorb into the paint, not sit on top.
  • Continue until the entire piece is covered.  You will be able to notice if you missed a spot because the clear wax deepens the color.
  • You can leave it as is and it will have a matte finish, or after 24 hours, you can buff it to a shine with a soft, lint-free cloth.

*Just as a side note, furniture wax works really well with porous paint, like chalk paint.  It will not work as well with latex paint.  If you used latex paint, I would recommend water based polycrylic.

2. Dark Wax

Dark wax is a whole lot of fun because it can really take your piece to the next level.  Although, it’s certainly not necessary.  There are some pieces that look fantastic with just clear wax, but if you are trying to create a truly aged and antiqued look, dark wax is your new BFF.

Some helpful hints before you start:

*If you are new to dark wax, you may want to practice in an inconspicuous place on your piece as it takes some getting used to.

*Apply dark wax after clear wax.  If you do not use clear wax before you apply the dark wax, it will stain the actual paint color, and it is much harder to spread around.  On the other hand, if you like the color that the stain produces, by all means, go for it.

*You can mix your dark wax with some clear wax to lighten the color.

The following steps are for applying Dark Wax

Steps:

  • Dip the tips of your brush into the dark wax. I’m talking a teeny, tiny amount.
  • Apply in small areas and immediately wipe off.  You can do this in crevices and detailed sections (think dirt collecting over time), or all over for a patina effect.
  • If you find that you have used too much, apply clear wax to that section and wipe off.  It’s kinda like a dark wax eraser.
  • This is definitely a technique where you need to be constantly taking a step back to analyze if you are getting the look you are going for, until you get the hang of it.

I know that some of you are probably visual learners, so you can find a video tutorial for using clear and dark wax here.  Just know that she has used milk paint, that is why the paint is chipping.

It is also helpful visiting an Annie Sloan stockist.  They have wood samples with every paint color option, and you can see how that color will look by itself as well as with clear and dark wax.  Search here to find one in your area.

Have fun with this, and give yourself plenty of grace.  Waxing takes a little practice, but is worth the effort!

 

Stephanie

 

How To Distress Painted Furniture

It’s old news that “distressed” is “in,”  but then again, was it ever “out”?  I think people gravitate toward distressed and aged decor because they can relate to it.  At least I do.  I want something that has seen some hard times.  I want character…and character doesn’t come from perfection.  It’s the nicks, scratches, and bumps along the way that can create something truly special.  It’s the same with life.  This life can leave you battered.  I’m so thankful for a God who sees past my scars, and pours his love and grace into my brokenness.

In part 1 of this series, we talked about how to paint a piece of furniture.  Here, in Part 2, we are going to discuss how to distress painted furniture.

distressed chalk paint

Part 2 – Distressing

There are several techniques you can use for distressing, but this is one of my favorites because you have a lot of control over how much and where the distressing happens.

Materials:

Fine Grit Sandpaper or Sanding Block

Technique:

  • Let your paint dry overnight
  • Take your sandpaper and rub over the places that would wear down naturally. This could include: edges, near handles, drawer openings, etc.
  • Gently sand until you see your wood color peeking through.

distress closeup

  • This is where you take a step back to see how it looks…sand some more…and repeat until you’ve reached your desired look.
  • Try not to distress in random patches… you don’t want it looking spotty or unnatural.

It’s as easy as that.  Stay tuned for a tutorial in Part 3 on how to antique, wax, and finish your piece.

 

Stephanie

 

Upcycled Baby Changing Table

upcycled changing table 2

I love rethinking and repurposing pieces that I either have, or get for a great deal. It keeps things unexpected and best of all, cheap.  I scored this baby changing table for free from a neighbor. What a steal! It was in great shape, and had nice detail, for a poopy diaper station.

unfinished changing table

 

This upcycled baby changing table tutorial will be broken down into 3 different posts:

Part 1 – Painting

Part 2 – Distressing

Part 3 – Waxing

 

 Part 1 – Painting Your Piece

Materials:

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint – Olive

Paintbrush

Steps:

  • Remove Hardware
  • No need to prep – Chalk Paint does not require sanding or priming.
  • Paint 1st coat.
  • The first coat will give you a heavily distressed look.  You could stop here, but if you want full coverage, paint a second coat. I prefer to do two coats and then hand distress where I want.

changing table 1st coat

After 1 coat

 

  • Let the paint dry for 30 minutes.  (Put the lid back on your paint while you wait as chalk paint can dry out quickly.)
  • For your second coat, lightly dip the tips of your brush in water before you dip in the paint each time.  This slightly dilutes the chalk paint, allowing easier application and stretches your paint.  If you are having coverage issues, skip the water.

chalk paint 2 coats

After 2 coats

 

  • If you are loving how it turned out at this point and want to skip distressing, that’s totally fine.  You can jump to waxing.  If not, stay tuned for how to distress and antique.

Happy Painting!

 

Stephanie

Upcycled Sweater Ideas

You know that sweater that’s hanging in your closet right now that just doesn’t “do it” for you anymore? We all have at least one.  Either it’s out of style, doesn’t fit right, or you’ve just realized you shouldn’t be wearing clothes from high school…even if it still fits!  But, for whatever reason, you just can’t part with it.  Here are some of my upcycled sweater ideas to help you move on.

4 ways to upcycle an old sweater

The Candle Cozy

diy candle cozy

Seriously, this couldn’t be easier.

  • Cut off the end of one sleeve, and pull your candle through.  Done.

Utensil Holder

diy sweater utensil holder

I love this utensil holder made from an old Quaker Oats can.

  • Take an empty oatmeal can and remove the label
  • cut your sweater fabric to size, and hot glue it on there!

I have been using an oatmeal can to hold my utensils for 3 years now.  Those Quaker Oat cans are no joke!

 Teapot Cozy

teapot cozy

I didn’t know teapot cozies existed until my aunt showed me one she has from England. I still don’t exactly know their purpose besides looking adorable.  Quick tip: use this on your teapot, not the kettle that goes on the stove.  I don’t think sweater and burner go well together.

  • This project is for you if your sweater sleeve is large enough to stretch over the teapot.
  • Cut a hole for the spout, and hot glue some mismatched buttons for major cuteness.

The Sweater Pillow

sweater pillow

1. If you have a sewing machine, and don’t mind lugging it out from wherever it’s hibernating, by all means, use it. If you prefer a no sew method, use iron on hemming tape instead.

  • If you have a throw pillow to cover, measure out two equal squares/rectangles that are about 1.5″ longer than your pillow on all sides.
  • Sew (or use hemming tape) the two pieces together inside out (the parts of the fabric you want to show should be facing one another), leaving enough room to squeeze in your pillow.
  • Turn right side out, stuff pillow, and finish sewing the last seam.

Have fun!

Stephanie

Cheap Boxwood Wreaths

DIY Boxwood Wreath

Boxwood wreaths are beautiful year round, and add a touch of freshness to any style of home decor.  Cheap boxwood wreaths are even better, because I don’t know if you’ve looked into buying a preserved one, but they can run you anywhere from $30-$150.

I also love them because they are near impossible to kill.  If, for some reason, we were no longer able to buy food at the grocery store and had to live off the land….I would not survive.  I cannot sustain plant life in my home or in my garden.  Take these daffodils for instance…

dead flowers

I won these beauties at a Bunco game.  Who knew that the person in last place gets a prize too?! Anyway, I was determined not to kill them.  I even enlisted my 5-year-old daughter to remind me to water them every day.  I don’t know where I went wrong, but until I figure it out, I have this beautiful, DIY, cheap, not-gonna-die boxwood wreath.

DIY Boxwood Wreath

You can achieve this look 2 ways

The Hanger Wreath:hanger and leaves

What You Need:

A wire hanger

Leaves  (I’ve linked the leaves I used from Michael’s, but if you have a boxwood bush, as spring approaches, please grab your pruning shears and cut some beautiful fresh leaves! You can find a tutorial to preserve your cuttings here)

circlehanger

Floral wire

What to do:

Stretch out your hanger to form a circle.

Start securing your leaves to the wire at an angle to create the desired width.  Keep securing all the way around. Repeat for  second layer.  Be sure all the leaves flow in the same direction.leaves on hanger

 

 

…………………………………………………………

The Grapevine Wreath

What You Need:

10″ grapevine  (also found at Michael’s)

Leaves

Glue Gun (or floral wire)grapevine

 

What to Do:

Start hot glueing your stems all the way around the wreath.

Make sure all the leaves are going in the same direction.  Keep glueing until the wreathgrapevine is no longer showing.  It’s really as easy as that.  Finish it off with some burlap ribbon and you are good to go.

This project cost me around 12 bucks with my Michael’s coupon.  It would be even cheaper if you have a shrub you can hack to pieces.

Enjoy!

 

Stephanie