Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dining Room Update & Lantern Chandeliers

After what has seemed like an eternity, I've been tackling a few projects around the house.  While we don't own this home, it is still our home now, in the present day.  And both the hubby and I agree that while we won't be pouring tons of money into this house, we do think we can and will make some adjustments to make minor additions, especially when they are inexpensive and really simple to do.  When we first moved in, I noticed this sad little light in the dining room right away.  I mean, c'mon...we couldn't spend a little money on a simple hanging light?  I get it.  It doesn't need to be grand or extravagant...but anything besides this light would have been better.  

As I thought about what light would work in here, I knew that I wanted something simple and casual to go along with our dining room table and chairs.  The room has a lot of wood and so I immediately thought of this lantern light from World Market.  I love the simplicity of it and the scale of it is not large at all, which is perfect or our small dining room. I even managed to snag it on sale for only $80! That's music to anyone's ears, I'd say.

Here's a little before to remind you where we started....

And twenty minutes later.

The change is small but significant, but a nice change of scenery from that sad hall light lost a midst our vaulted ceilings.  A few more things are still in the works for this room including: curtains, artwork, and new slipcovers for the end chairs. So we're still a ways from finishing to say the least. While I feel this room would benefit from a few canned lights, given the fancy light I got from Home Depot really doesn't give off much light. I'm looking for a bulb that is specific for exposed lights but packs a much stronger light output.    

And to share, I've rounded up some really awesome hanging lights that start at just $99.  There really is something for everyone and for every budget, so don't be scared about the price tag.  Lighting really is important to a home and doesn't have to be completely utilitarian.  They help to set the tone of the room and can be an incredible focal point.  

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

House Pics

The past few months have been busy, to say the least.  What with school, packing, moving, and then being's definitely not been slow.  To bring you up to speed a bit, we moved out of our apartment in February.  It was a much needed move for our family and we are so happy with the decision.  We are still in the same city, since we absolutely love it here and the school's are wonderful, especially their Autism program for Benjamin.  

What made our move even more eventful was the fact that Benjamin actually got sick the Saturday before we moved, so packing was extra difficult.  And to top it all off, I got sick on the day we were moving.  Super awesome, right?  Chills, aches, and being lightheaded are not a winning combination when moving your family.  But I did what I had to do, and we got it done.  The rest of the week I spent laid out on the couch, hacking and coughing, thinking my chest was going to break.  The only silver lining I can take away from it all was the fact that Benjamin and I were sick together which made it easier for me to be sick (I think I'm crazy).  But he has ADHD and Autism, which keeps him going like the energizer bunny--which means mommy can not be sick.  But with us both being knocked out together and not feeling well, we spent the rest of our first week here sleeping on the couch and watching endless amounts of Netflix.  Good times.  

So here we are now...a month into being in our new (to us) home.  It's a great little home, with nothing extravagant about it.  It's three bedroom, two baths, living, dining room, and kitchen.  But the biggest take away is the backyard. We even have grass!  While I'm still in school full time, I've had little time to really get things decorated.  I've barely begun getting our things really organized in the house and doing some much needed purging.  Moving is great for that!  So to get down to business, I thought I'd show you where we are.  A few 'before' shots of the house first and hopefully in time I can show you the progress and changes we're making.  

The first shot is the front door which opens right into the living room.  I love the vaulted ceiling, it really makes the space seem so much larger.  And the light...oh, the light!  We get so much light in here and most windows are South facing.  We get lots of light but don't have the blaring sun beating in on us, which will be a big plus when summer hits. 

The front window in the living room is lovely.  I'd always imagined having a bay window when I was younger and I'm tickled that I get to enjoy one now.  I'm already thinking about Christmas.  Ha!

While I'm not much for cooking or being in the kitchen, I really love our kitchen.'s nothing spectacular.  But when you're coming from an itty-bitty kitchen with say--no cupboard space and no pantry.  You jump for joy when you get those things back.  And the light?!  Yes, that again.  It's a beautiful thing.

There are things I'm not too fond of, but I'm not one to focus on the I take it as a challenge to myself creatively.  How can I make this work?? The house has a lot of potential, even as a rental.  I've got a few projects in the works and things to add, pulling things out that I've had stored away that will finally have a home.  I'm super excited to get started and add a few new things that will make it more personal and homey for us all.

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Things that Matter

Happy Weekend friends!

We've been vegging out these past few weeks, trying to clean up after the Christmas mayhem and getting things back in order.  After the holiday season, I especially like to clean things out and see about purging items that I just don't want to come back out, ever.  For Christmas I received a very special gift from my mom...a picture of my father, a photocopy of his journal, and a few other copies of past ancestors.  It was different not having him present during Christmas, but with this being the first of many, the simple photograph and journal was a great way to have him present during our Christmas morning.  

After my dad's passing last year, my mom allowed us to take anything of his we'd like.  And at first I couldn't think of anything I'd actually want.  We had our memories and I had pictures of him that I'd taken myself growing up.  But over the course of the following months I would come across items that had a story and thought would be wonderful to pass along to my children.  

I found this Bible while going through a back room filled with books on history, war, and religion.  All of dad's favorites.  I found this one to be particularly interesting because it was given to him by my late grandmother and there was an old receipt still inside.  It's dated 1957, for someones rent at $70. (Awesome, right?) And I'm not even sure of the name on the receipt, I'll have to ask my mother about that one.  

Dad's photo sits out with our other family photos now, as well as his Bible which reminds me of how much I want the things in my home to reflect my life and what's important in my life.  The book itself has seen better days, while it's pages are intact, the cover is worn and the binding has almost fallen to pieces; sometimes almost a direct reflection of how our lives are.  I am not a perfect person and I certainly do not live in a perfect home.  My children play and make messes, furniture is chipped, sometimes things break and we clean them up.  I don't refrain from decorating or furnishing my home just because I'm afraid of something getting ruined.  Life isn't about staying in one piece.  My children have pieces of me and I share myself with others when I can.  I think that by having pieces of my dad's life in my home makes me whole in some way.  So while he isn't here physically, little reminders of his life help me to remember his life, his voice, the long life lectures at the breakfast table, and to share them with his posterity.  


Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 in Review...and Looking ahead to 2015.

The beginning of a new year is so refreshing and full of possibility, with hopes of renewing ones goals and starting new ones.  As I've mentioned in past New Year posts, I'm a live-in-my-moment-kind-of-gal and think that every day is a chance to start fresh and set a new goal.  But I still like the idea of beginning a New Year with goals and aspirations, and reflecting on the past and looking ahead to plan for something better.  The other day I came across a blog post from Meg, where she posted this little questionnaire to reflect on the past year.  I love this idea and think it may even help me to think intentionally about my new goals for the New Year.  And so, here are my answers to Reflect on 2014...

No. 1 
What was the most important thing you learned about yourself in 2014?

This year, in comparison to the past few years, haven't been any more difficult, although challenging it was not more so than the years prior.  This year proved to me that I have more value than I actually give myself credit for.  Between 2010 and 2013, I dealt with a lot of crappy stuff.  Things that made me reevaluate myself and who I was.  And in 2014, I felt a larger sense of self-worth. As a teen I was taught all about self-worth and how important this concept was to one's self, but I hadn't really gained that perception of myself.  I think we all gain it at different times in our lives, hopefully we all realize it sooner than later. But in 2014 I began to recognize the worth I have in this world and life and it truly helped to change my perspective and outlook in life.  While I know I can't change everything in this world, I do have the power to influence and make things happen in my own life.  

No. 2
What did you make / create / build this year?

Not only did I attend school full-time this year, I even happened to finish a few projects on the side.  At the start of the year, I refinished a mid-century credenza that had been sitting in my garage for the past two years. Another fun little table from Craigslist was refinished and given a new Lime Wash. I also participated in my first One Room Challenge (ORC) hosted by the lovely Linda at 'Calling it Home'.  While it was certainly fun to participate, it was a bit stressful trying to get everything finished before the end of the six weeks.  

No. 3
What did you overcome this year?

So help me, I did something this year I never thought I could ever achieve.  I actually overcame the impulse of buying things I don't really need.  Really, I did!!!  I know what you're thinking...she's lying.  No woman in her right mind could ever do that.  But I'm telln' ya.  I did.  It took me a few years, but I can honestly say that I did so well this year.  Years prior I'd buy anything because it was "cute" or because I thought I just had to have it.  But this year it was like I'd grown super powers and was finally able to find my inner, "Just say, no" button.  This one is definitely for the books.  Go me!

No. 4
What were your daily habits and rituals?

I hate to say it, but the only thing that was a daily habit was going to bed way too late and not drinking enough water.  My life pretty much has been just about trying to stay afloat with school, the kids, the kids school functions, remembering to feed my kids, and taking a shower.  I think 2015 needs to include doing something good for myself and my family.  Okay wait, I guess if there was one ritual I did have was that as a family, we did family prayer every night before the kids went to sleep.  We rarely if ever missed a night when we didn't say prayers I think that's something.  Right?

No. 5
What book or movie had a deep impact on you?  Why?

Heaven is For Real.  I lost my dad on Easter day, 2014. He was only 63 and he had a short battle with cancer before it took him.  Funny thing is, I grew up in a religious home, was taught about where we were before this life and where we'd go after.  I have a testimony of Jesus Christ and believe that there is something beyond this life we live here on earth.  I wish I could say that I had read the book, but sadly I did not and went with the quicker version of the movie.  It was pretty profound and made me think of my dad.  Maybe it was more about me missing my dad, but it gave me an overwhelming sense of faith and hope that we will be together again someday.  

No. 6
What did you focus on most?

This past year, I tried to focus on my family and myself.  I think like most what with social media bombarding my world, I would tend to get sucked in to the whole, "what are they doing?"  And forget that I had a life to live over here.  While I love getting inspiration from others and seeing what family and friends are doing on Facebook, I tried to focus on my own life and my own thing.  Because at times I'm sure I spent way more time than I'd like to admit looking at what other people were doing...and what kind of life is that?  Not one I want to have---that's for sure.

No. 7
What was your favorite compliment you received this year?

It came from my daughter, who is 6.  She said that when she grows up she wants to be an artist like me.  And while I consider myself no artist, it was the most genuine and sincere compliments I have ever received.  She steals my heart.

No. 8
If you could go back and change something, what would you do differently?

 Nothing.  Pretty insightful, huh?  

No. 9
What did you do for the first time this year?

This probably sounds really silly, but I actually had lunch all by myself this year.  Again, it sounds a little nutty and kind of stupid, I mean who cares, right?  I mean, I didn't actually go and eat at a sit down restaurant, but I did buy my lunch and eat at a table all by myself with no one there with me.  It was a little intimidating at first, but then I realized it wasn't so bad.  I actually was able to have some peace and quiet without my kids and someone constantly talking my ear off.  It was kind of liberating and yet I couldn't get the FRIENDS episode of Rachel eating by herself and people thinking she was a freak for eating alone out of my head. 

No. 10
What was the best purchase you made this year?

It would definitely have to be our new sofa.  I had been looking for an affordable English roll-arm sofa and we came across one that was not only comfortable but that was on sale too!  It was a match made in heaven, I tell ya.  We didn't have to put it on credit which was another huge plus and it was much larger than our previous one.  Definitely worth every penny.

I'm excited to see what the new year will bring and I have a few new goals I need to write down, but for now I'll let my little questionnaire simmer for a bit.  Here's to 2015!!

Happy New Year!!