Dorm Room Space Savers

It’s officially August and the “Back to School” countdown has begun.  Ok, maybe not quite yet for everyone, but college students for sure.  There’s something exciting about a dorm room.  It’s the first taste of what it’s like to live on your own.  On the flip side, it’s pretty small and you have to share it.  So, to keep everyone happy, it’s important to keep your stuff in order.  So here are just a few dorm room space savers to try:

1. Over the Door Shoe Organizer with Clear Pockets  

  • I’m a huge fan of these organizers.  They are cheap and can be used for a number of different things.  We use one on the back of our bathroom door for any and all toiletries, hair tools, lotions….and anything else you might need in a bathroom.  It keeps our counters clear which makes me happy. For the dorm room, it can be used for cleaning supplies, pens, jewelry, hair ties, bobby pins, snacks…and of course, shoes.

2. Multifunctional Furniture Pieces

There is only so much room, so make your furniture do double duty.

  • For example, use a chair as a nightstand.  This will allow you to have an extra seat when you need it.
  • Also, if you have room for a coffee table, use one that could offer you storage as well.

3. Laundry Bag Instead of a Hamper

  • This is kind of a no brainer.  Laundry bags can fold, squish, and hang. While hampers just take up space. Enough said.

4. Put Your Bed On Risers

  • Under-the-bed storage bins are fantastic.  Just add a bed skirt and you are good to go.

5. Add a Tension Rod in the Closet

  • If it fits, add a small one in the window as well.  If you add shower hooks you can hang scarves, purses, small baskets, etc.

 

These are all ideas you could also use if you are tight on space, or just want more ideas on how to get organized.

Good Luck to all you college newbies! It is a wonderful season of spreading your wings. Be wise and learn all you can!

Have a great week!

Steph

Friday Finds: Huge Sale at Michael’s

I’m on the email list for Michael’s, which drives me crazy sometimes because they send me stuff at least every other day.  But I haven’t “unsubscribed” yet because every once in a while I’m glad I’m in the loop about what sales are going on.

This week I received a notice that they were having a 3-day 70% off sale on all their summer stuff.  Everything from beach balls and coastal decor to flowers and candles. In addition to that, all of their MAKE Market line is 70% off. I believe the summer deals end Saturday, so you may want to hurry if you have been eyeing something.

*Side note: There is also a 50% off regular priced item coupon on the Michael’s app.

So tonight, I moseyed on in to see what I could find:

michaels 2

michaels 3

michaels 4

michaels 5

michaels 1

For some reason I’m drawn to these rustic horses.  I don’t think they were on sale, but I had to include them!

Check it out this weekend and leave a comment if you find something awesome!

Have a great weekend!

Steph

 

 

The Beauty in Getting Your Hands Dirty

My Grandmother is like no other woman I’ve met.  She is a Texan through and through.  She’s ridden bareback through the desert, killed rattlesnakes, and dug up too many Indian arrowheads to count.  She is one of the hardest workers I’ve seen, and generous beyond my comprehension.

omie

 

One thing I love about my Grandmother is that she is one of the people who inspired me early on to find beauty in things that didn’t seem beautiful at first.  She can find a use for almost anything.  Here is a picture from her garden. Yes, that is an old smoker holding those lovely plants. It was my grandfather’s.

smoker garden

The past few times I have visited, I have been totally inspired by her work ethic.  She literally does not sit down.  If you change your clothes, you’d better believe it’s gonna be washed, folded, and sitting on your bed in 2 hours.  And dirty dishes?  They don’t stand a chance!

I don’t think I have ever appreciated how hard of a worker she is until the last few years. Now that I have my own dishes and my own house, I understand the sacrifice she makes…and know it’s done out of love.  I’m thankful that I’ve had to get my hands dirty because it helps me see others who get theirs even dirtier.

There is something beautiful about those who sacrifice themselves for the good of others out of love.  It’s sometimes hard to put your finger on when you see them.  It’s like a radiance.  An inner beauty that overtakes the person.  I think some of the most beautiful women I have met have been significantly older than me.  They have persevered through years of sacrifice. There’s no amount of makeup, exercise, or youth that can create that in someone.

So here I am. Sitting late at night, with a sink full of dishes, and thinking about tomorrow’s mountains I’m gonna have to climb.  Thankfully, I really believe it’s all worth it.  Staying at home with my precious kids means there’s always a mess to clean up, but it also means that I have my dream job.

I don’t deserve it.

I pray I become half as sacrificial and beautiful as my grandmother.

Have a lovely week.

Steph

 

 

 

How to Hang a Print

map tutorial 6

This is an easy project that can be done with any print, but I’m especially fond of maps.  When I was antique shopping, I came across an assortment of various maps.  I spotted a world map with lovely muted colors, and at $4.95, I couldn’t pass it up.

I brought it home and it sat for a bit while I tried to figure out what to do with it.  I had a few ideas, but none of them really triggered any excitement in me.  I ran across this botanical hanging print tutorial and was totally inspired. So here’s my version of how to hang a print.

DIY Hanging Print

 

map tutorial 1

Materials:

print

2 wooden dowels

staple gun

2 eye hooks

twine

wood stain or paint

Steps:

  • Measure your print before you head to the hardware store for your dowels.  You will want to have them cut to size.  Measure the length of your print and add an inch (you will have a 1/2 inch extra overhang on each side of the print). You can ask the lovely folks at the hardware store to cut it for you.
  • Once your dowels are the correct size, it’s time to make them look pretty.  You can stain them if you want, but I didn’t.  I had some brown acrylic paint that I watered down and used as a wash over the raw wood.  This worked really well because since it was thinned out, it allowed the wood grain to show through. Let it dry.
  • Next, you need to attach your print to the dowels. Lay the dowels on a flat surface, then lay your print face down on top.  Make sure the print is lined up with the dowels in your preferred placement. Once everything is lined up, go ahead and staple it in place.  I used a staple on each end, and one in the middle.

map tutorial 2

  • Once the top and bottom dowels are secure, you can add your eye hooks.  I just screwed mine in by hand.

map tutorial 3

  • Next, you can measure your twine, and tie each end to the eye hook.

map tutorial 4

  • It’s ready to hang and enjoy!

map tutorial 5

 

This entire project cost me around $12.  If you don’t have any fun prints lying around, check out the graphics fairy. She has a ton of images that you could print at Staples – you can print something poster size there for around $5.

I hope this project inspires you as it did me. I’m already thinking of other things I could print and hang!

Have a great week everyone!

Steph

 

 

Friday Finds – Amazon Style

So if you haven’t heard, Amazon is having a huge one-day sale for Amazon Prime members on Wednesday, July 15th. Word on the street (and Amazon themselves) said that it will rival Black Friday sales.

If you aren’t a Prime member, no worries, you can click on the image below to sign up for a free 30-day trial.

Amazon Prime has been a good thing in our house.  Free two-day shipping, streaming for tons of movies, hours of shows to get sucked into…ok, maybe it’s been a little too good.

So, in honor of “Happy Prime Day,” I thought I would compile a list of some of my Amazon favorites…and who knows, maybe they will go on sale!

Printed Flour Sack Dish Towels


I think these would be great to frame or to staple to canvas, and hung in a kitchen.  They could also be sown in pairs, and used as cafe curtains. Of course, you could always just use them as dish towels!

An Orbital Sander

So this one is actually on my wish list.  I have several projects that would seriously benefit from a good sanding and refinishing.

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint – Arabesque

I have been wanting to redo my daughter’s dresser with this shade.  I think it would be precious with some gold knobs!

Starry String Lights 

I love decorating with string lights. Who says they are only for Christmastime? These are different than your typical Christmas lights.  They are fairylike lights with a warm glow, on a flexible copper wire.  They can be used indoors or outdoors, so the possibilities are endless.  My favorite places would have to be on a patio, in the kitchen, or in my bedroom.  Bonus – They are currently on sale!

Cell Phone Tripod

Ok, so this probably seems overkill.  First selfie sticks, now a tripod?  But for me, it’s worth it.  All the pictures I post when trying to sell a piece of furniture, or for the blog, are taken with a cell phone.  They come out so much better when the phone is not being held.  There is no way to keep my hands completely steady for some reason.

I hope this was helpful.  In the spirit of keeping it simple, I will offer one piece of advice.  Don’t buy something just because it’s a great deal.  Use this opportunity to get things you need, or if you want, get a head start on Christmas shopping.

Happy Prime Day hunting!

Steph

 

*this post contains affiliate links

Finding Contentment in Your (Not So) Dream Home

cottage

My dream home is a small, cozy cottage with a screened in porch and a huge backyard. Just enough room for everyone to be comfortable, but not so big that we don’t ever see each other. It’s in walking distance to shops and restaurants. The crime rate is low, and so is the traffic.

Guess what!

I live in a three level town home, with no backyard, and tons of traffic.

There are days when my attitude about it just down right stinks.

But, what if I lived in my dream home? There’s a part of me that thinks I would finally feel satisfied…but I think that “part of me” is actually lying. I’m sure there would be a countertop that needed replacing, bathrooms that needed updating, and of course – dirty dishes in the sink are a given!

The truth is, I believe the majority of us are not living in our “dream home”…or if we are, there’s still that one thing we would change if we could.  Don’t get me wrong.  I think dreaming, updating, and decorating are wonderful, and actually healthy.  But, there is a difference between dreaming, and being just plain discontent.

Discontentment (noun):  a restless desire or craving for something one does not have.

Restlessness is not something that I want describing my life.

I want my life and my home to be characterized by peace.  Before I got married, my mom gave me the book “Let Me Be a Woman” by Elizabeth Elliott.  In it, she says,

“You can create a climate for him (the husband) according to your attitude…The home you make and the atmosphere of that home is the world he comes back to from the world of his work. Let it be a place of beauty and peace.”  

This quote was huge for me.  I realized that my attitude made the biggest difference in the temperature of my home.  I could choose to make it warm and inviting, or cold and harsh.

I think there are some practical things we can all put into practice daily in order to gain correct perspective.  Here are a few:

  • Begin each morning thanking God for your home. It only takes a few minutes thinking about the rest of the world to realize how blessed we are.  I recently read that the average american household is wealthier than 93% of the world.
  • Invite friends into your home regardless of how messy it seems. I was told early on that when people come over, they don’t remember the mess, they remember how you made them feel.
  • Find one tiny space in your home to be your haven.  Maybe it’s your favorite chair.  Go there when you are feeling overwhelmed by laundry, dishes or just need “you time.” Light your favorite candle, grab a fluffy blanket, and start thanking God for the little things that happened that day. It’s amazing how gratefulness can completely brighten your mood.
  • Get enough sleep, if possible.  There is nothing like sleep deprivation to get me on a rant about everything I dislike about my house.  Sometimes a nap is all I need!
  • Focus on the parts you love.  I love that I have a fireplace in the kitchen.  I love that our kids get along and like sharing a bedroom.  I love that we have a ton of natural light.
  • Embrace the things you want to change, but can’t.  I grew up with a yellow bathroom. The sink, the tile, the toilet, the bathtub…everything was yellow.  We did not have the money to renovate, but instead of complaining, my mom went to work making that bathroom as cute as can be.  She created a beautiful space out of something that she would have loved to change.

Are you struggling with discontentment with your home?  I feel ya.  I have to choose contentment daily.

For me, when it comes down to it, my hope and contentment is ultimately found in Jesus.  He is the only one who truly satisfies.

Have a great week everyone!

Steph

 

 

Friday Finds in Time For The 4th

Loving these summery inspirations this week. Check em’ out:

potted plants

  1. I have fallen in love with the colorful potted plants pictured above. They are right by our local splash pad, and I get to enjoy them while I sit under an umbrella and my kiddos run through bursts of water on a hot day. It’s delightful.
  2. I stumbled upon NeeSee’s Dresses this week. I love how modest and feminine their clothing is.  It’s nice to have something that covers everything when you are tryin’ to look cute and chase kids around all day.  As an added bonus, their 4th of July inspired clothes are 30% off right now.
  3. Are you in need of an awesome last minute side dish for a 4th of July picnic? This tomato tart recipe is absolutely delicious.
  4. And then make these s’more bites for dessert.
  5. Finally, some bright colored upcycled furniture ideas to inspire you!

Happy 4th of July!

Steph

 

 

How to Make a Framed Chalkboard

wreathframe

 

There is something about chalkboards that I just love.  They are rustic, and can be dressed up or down. Chalkboard paint seems to have taken the world by storm, and for good reason. Just slap it on pretty much anything, and boom! You’ve got yourself something cute and functional.

I’m loving chalkboards that have pretty frames right now, which is great, because they are incredibly easy.

When I first set out to create the look, I had an image in my head of what I was looking for.  This beautiful frame was my inspiration.  I searched long and hard, and ended up finding one at goodwill.

My trick for finding a great frame for an even greater price is looking at goodwill, thrift stores, yards sales, etc., and picking one with a dated and unattractive print/picture inside.  Disregard what’s on the inside, it’s gonna get covered up.

Make sure your frame has glass.  That is what you’ll be painting.

Materials:

  • Frame with glass
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Paintbrush

Steps:

  • Lay your frame on a flat surface. No need to remove the print behind the glass.
  • Use the painter’s tape to protect the frame where it meets the glass.  Do not put tape on the glass itself.
  • Dip your paintbrush in the chalkboard paint and start painting the glass.  You can also use a small roller to get a smoother surface. You will probably need at least 2 coats.
  • Let dry.  Follow the directions on your chalkboard paint.  Some take a couple days to cure and don’t recommend using chalk on them until that happens.

So, next time you see a crazy looking picture in an awesome frame, give it a chance.  You might be pleasantly surprised with what it can become.

Have a great week!

Steph

 

Friday Finds: What I’ve Loved on Vacation

beach trip 1

We have been on vacation for the past two weeks and have absolutely loved it. As our kids get older, we feel like quality time with them just gets sweeter. Since we are wrapping it up, I want to highlight some of my favorite finds from this vacation. Here we go!

  1. Coconut oil for your sunburn.  As if I needed another reason to love coconut oil! I will say, aloe vera is still my go-to to ease the initial pain, but coconut oil is great for the next day to hydrate and heal the skin.
  2. Fisher’s Popcorn.  If you have had the pleasure of visiting Ocean Ciy, MD, you have probably come across the amazing Fisher’s Popcorn.  They’ve been cookin’ up gooey caramel popcorn on the Ocean City Boardwalk since 1937.  You’re in luck if you get there when they bring out a fresh, hot batch.  Our new discovery this year was getting the caramel and cheddar popcorn mix.  Holy cow, you’ve gotta try it.  Salty and sweet goodness at it’s best! Click here if you want to check out their website, or just mix up a batch of your own caramel/cheddar combo.
  3. Playing Games. My mom brought this adorable game to play with the kids, and it was so fun watching them run around the living room searching for their ants to pick up with their velcro anteater noses.  Melissa & Doug does toys right.
  4. Biking on the Boardwalk.  This was the first year I have done this, and I think it will have to become a tradition.  My husband rented a regular bicycle with the other men in the family, but the kiddos rode with my mom and I in the 5 seat surrey.  It was a blast.  Next time, I plan on getting up extra early when the boardwalk is a ghost town, and enjoying the wind in my hair, cruising down the boardwalk before breakfast.
  5. Family dinners around the table. Seriously, it is one of my favorite things. No one is in a rush. We could literally sit there for hours and reminisce about the past, dream about the future, and laugh through it all. I saw this quote this weekend: “Family is like the branches of a tree growing in different directions yet our roots will always remain as one.” -author unknown. This quote is a good reminder that no matter how far away my family lives, we can still stay connected and close. I’m thankful for that because I know it’s not a given, it’s a blessing.

beach trip 2

beach trip 3

beach trip 4

I’m so thankful for time to rest, recharge, and bond with my most loved ones.

See you when I’m back in real life!

Steph

 

*This post contains affiliate links

 

How to Refresh Your Home the Cheap Way

I’ve been married and decorating my own space for almost 7 years now, and I’m amazed how much my personal style, and what’s “in style” has evolved in that short amount of time. My space doesn’t need a complete overhaul, but rather, some refreshing. So, here are some of my ideas on how to refresh your home the cheap way:

  • Spray paint your curtain rods
    • Black is classic and will go with any decor. However, if you are feeling trendy, gold is really in right now.  Check these cool rods out.
  • Lighten up your walls by changing to a neutral color
    •  This is a great update because once you do it, you can probably leave it for decades to come.  Neutrals are never out.  My absolute favorite neutral wall color is “Navajo White” by Sherwin Williams. Check it out here.
  • Rearrange furniture to create conversation areas
    • Instead of having the focus on the TV, allow furniture placement to encourage face-to-face time. Click here for ideas.
  • Less is more when it comes to decor accessories
    •  Pick only your favorites to display in your space. If you are having trouble parting with some of your precious pieces, read my post about How To Get Rid of Your Stuff.
  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match
    •  Eclectic is in.  This is great news for the DIY enthusiast because it’s inexpensive, and you can make it your own. A few rules to pull this off:
      • Try to stay in the same genre.  For example, 2 end tables that are different, but are both modern, cottage, or mid-century in style.
      • Stay in the same color palette. Do you have hand-me-down night stands with mismatch wood tones? Paint them both the same color. It’s a great way to tie your room together without breaking the bank. Check out this post for some beautiful examples.
      • Be cautious when mixing patterns.  In general, the simpler the better.
  • Consider open shelving
    • This is a beautiful and practical update to make.  Here are some examples.
    • If you don’t want to go to the hassle of installing shelves, try removing the doors on a hutch. I love this hutch makeover.
  • Switch out your colored dishes for white ones
    • This mainly applies when you are displaying them on your open shelving. I filled my hutch with all white dishes from the dollar store. They are perfect for the look I was going for.

Have you refreshed your decor lately? I’d love to hear your ideas.

We have been having a wonderful vacation, and look forward to a few more days of relaxation before heading back into the pace of real life.  It has been a great time of rest and bonding as a family.

Take some time for yourself and your loved ones this week!

Steph