Category Archives: DIY

I bought some new boots – must be September…

I realize that September in Texas = summer type weather, but STILL.  I want to buy all the Fall shoes!  Sweaters? Not so much… but give me a pair of super soft suede or worn leather booties any day.  Next week I’m in Michigan (and Canada – yes, Canada for a tiny bit) so I plan to bust out those suckers.

Anyhoo, we have been sucking up every last second of summer lately. We’ve completed a few projects around the house, I went on a Girls’ Trip to South Carolina, and school is back in session.

It’s ironic that I went back to find the post about our laundry room and it was the first post of September last year. ha! I had plans back then to do a slight makeover on the laundry room in the next couple of weeks…well, it took a year. Not sure why we never got around to it, but we just didn’t.  I got up a few weeks ago and I was like… “hmmm, I think I’ll start the laundry room.”  Here’s where we started.

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And where we ended…

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I had to paint the walls, paint the trim, paint the cabinets and replace the hardware.  We bought a new light, new baskets (we stores tons of off season stuff in those baskets), a drying rack, and a rug.

It was nice to take all the old junk off the walls.  We now only have the drying rack, broom hooks, and a set of hooks for our ironing board.

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I put up the faux subway back splash and Matt built that shelf (I love it!!).  It’s nice to just use the under cabinet lights at night for a night light in the hall.

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So that’s it – a quick weekend refresh.  We’ve been discussing some more big home projects lately but I just can’t decide.  I’d love to do a complete kitchen and master bathroom remodel but then my next thought is “nah, let’s just sell in a couple years and buy what we want…” I go back and forth. And after the issues of remodeling the pool/backyard, I’m not sure my nerves can take it.

So onto a much MORE FUN topic – our Girls Trip to South Carolina!  Renee and I flew to Charleston, SC to visit our good friend Kelly who lives in the area.  I’ve known Renee and Kelly for longer than I have not – since we were kids.  We went to grade school together and then have kept in touch.  It’s so fun that we can just pick up where we left off – even if it’s been years.

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The only thing we did more than gab gab gab, was eat and drink! I can’t wait until our next get together!

Let’s see…what else?  Cady started back to school…

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She drove herself…I can’t decide if I love it or hate it.  Okay, so I love it when I need chocolate and don’t feel like driving to get it.  But it makes me a little sad that she is already so grown up.  We have it on our calendars to go shopping for a homecoming dress this weekend.  She has a boyfriend and is REALLY excited about it this year.  sigh…

Milo also started PreK.  I’m not sure why I didn’t take a pic on his first day, but he’s been doing great.  His favorite thing is reading and he is constantly reading to Matt and I.

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He and Matt also got “back to school” hipster haircuts.  Adorbs, right?

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Gage’s internship ended at the end of August and he already moved out. waaaaah!  I miss him so much and it’s just not the same… I’m holding his and Alyssa’s cactus hostage though, so I know they will be back soon enough.

So are you ready for all the pumpkin stuff to start?  Fall leaves and football and flannel?  I’m not actually ready, but time marches on.  We’ll enjoy it when it gets here.  Until then I’m going to cling to the last bits of summer sun…in my new booties.

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Until next time, thanks for reading!

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2 SUPER easy DIYs (Aromatherapy Garland & 60s Child’s Chair Makeover)

I can’t believe I am going to sit down and blog something beyond a family journal entry with recent pics taken from my phone!  I thought I’d take a few minutes to blog a couple of really simple projects I’ve done over the last couple of weeks.  EASY QUICK projects because lawd knows evening and weekend time is precious lately.  Things are about to really pick up at work with new projects and travel, and school is starting in a few weeks so goodbye summer free time!

Essential Oil Felt Ball Garland

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The first one is this cute little felt ball garland.  You can actually make your own felt balls from unspun wool.  I’ve done it, Martha Stewart has a few tutorials and it really is easy – Milo can do it.  But this time I found a multi-colored variety pack on Amazon for super cheap so I went with that.  So for this project, this is pretty much all you need…

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Yep, your felt balls and a needle and some embroidery thread.  You can use whatever color of any of those you’d like – a cute fall colored one would be fun for the autumn.  And obviously if you want to use essential oil, you’ll need your choice of that.

Milo put them in appropriate order (ROY G. BIV of course…) he is such a cute assistant, right?

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And then he handed them to me one by one and I strung them on the embroidery thread.  You don’t even have to knot them, the felt and thread are thick enough that they stay put.  You can rearrange them and space them correctly once you get them all on your string.

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It literally took us about 10 minutes.  And most of that was Milo deciding what order to put them in and then knocking them all off the table and insisting on starting again…with no help.  Last step is to add a few drops (I just chose random balls) of essential oil to a “few” of the balls – adding oil to all balls would be WAY too much.  I think I added one drop to maybe 5 balls.  Then I replenish as the scent fades.  Adding the oil is totally up to you but I knew mine was going to hang in my cubicle at work and I wanted a way to have some yummy scents that also served a purpose.  I think it would be great for a nursery or other types of rooms where you don’t want to use candles or strong scents.

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The blend I chose is called “uplift”.  Something I need each afternoon!  It’s a “synergistic blend of Grapefruit, Orange, Cedarwood, Ylang Ylang, Frankincense, and Lavender“.  I’m thinking of making another one of these for Milo to hang near his desk with the “focus” blend.  And no, I’m not one of those essential oil salespeople.  You can get them anywhere (Target, Whole Foods, Walmart, Trader Joe’s – way cheaper than independent sales and they work just as well IMO – especially for something like this)…  If you want to skip the oil on your garland, feel free.

Here’s mine hanging on the wall of my cute little cube at work.

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And yes, I’m still getting used to working in a cube.  I’ve worked in an office/classroom for the last… I don’t know… 10 years? So having a cube again is different.  But, I hafta admit… I kind of dig it!  It’s so nice to be around people again! ha!  And I sit next to the Benefits Dept. so I get to hear all sorts of interesting phone calls from people.  LOLOL, just kidding – not really.

I’ve had to make my little space homey if I’m going to be spending a lot of time there, so a nice smelling fuzzy garland helps.

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The next super quick DIY I worked on was this little mid century child’s chair I picked up at a thrift store.

60s MOD Child’s Chair Makeover

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When I first picked it up (for 5 bucks) I wanted to keep it as is.  I actually love the vintage vinyl and colors.

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But after we got it home and I knew it was going to “live” in our downstairs family room, I decided it needed a bit of love.  I tried my darndest to get that rust off but there was some corrosion and pitting… Which meant it wasn’t going to get better.  And I also thought I could get the marker off the vinyl seat but that didn’t happen either.

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No worries though.  I consulted the internet and the nice guy at home depot and discovered I could use a rustoleum spray paint and it would stop the rust damage and prevent it in the future.  Since the chair was going to stay in our living room I went with an oil rubbed bronze – still metallic but updated and would blend well with our style.  I also went to hobby lobby and picked up that red and white material and then found CLEAR vinyl to put on top and it makes it look like the vinyl material that was used in the 60s! I love it!  The original orange and brown vinyl is still under the new material.  I wanted to save it for prosperity sake.  Now our little chair can last another 50 years!

It mostly hangs out in the corner of our family room…

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But it’s small enough and easy enough for Milo to pull it over to the coffee table for snacks and coloring while he watches TV.

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So those are the two quick (really inexpensive) DIYs I’ve done lately.  I need to post about our backyard makeover.  That was not a DIY and cost us over 20K and we are now dealing with contractor issues… ugh – like to the point where we might have to get an attorney involved.  Pray for me because I’ve nearly lost it a few times over the last week.  I’ll leave that story for another day though.  I know in the end it will all work out.

Thanks for reading!  P.S.  Can you believe it’s August?  Yikes!  Slow down 2016!

Kimberly

On the first week of Christmas…

Do you know all the words to the 12 days of Christmas?  I’m totally good with the first 5 but then I start getting a little confused.  Is it 10 Lords a Leaping or Ladies milking… Oh wait, it’s Ladies Dancing?  See?!

Hennyway…we are finishing up our first week of advent 2015 and it’s off to a great start.  In my last post I shared our simple little advent calendar.  The first night of advent (I’m pretty sure it’s the same every year…) we opened Christmas jammies.

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I love soft new winter-themed jammies!  You can get them every year at a steal from Old Navy.  I’m pretty sure I now have at least 5 pairs of reindeer jammies.  This year I changed it up a little and got myself bunny jammies with little santa hats. ha!

Day 2 of Advent had all of us meeting up at target to pick out our annual ornament.  Each year we pick an ornament that goes on the “family tree”.  The best part of this tradition?  Going through the ornaments each year and talking about why we chose them.  There are some very funny stories and you can definitely tell what the kids were “into” that year.

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We haven’t decorated our “family tree” yet.  But I did decorate “my” tree.   Haha – mine is the one with all matching ornaments that is downstairs.  The family tree is a real tree that we purchase each year that lives in the game room.  A photo of my tree…

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Day 3 was all about crafting… Cady and I love the crafting activities.  The boys go along with it because they know it makes us happy.  This past week LaLa was here visiting and she is super into crafting too so she enjoyed helping us make a Christmas Paper Village.

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I love how it turned out.  It’s one of our favorite things in the house.

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This past Friday night was Day 4 of our Advent and we headed up to our city hall for the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree.

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Saturday morning (the 5th Day) we started a new tradition.  We drove an hour away to a small Christmas tree farm.  It was so much fun.  We walked around for a while and finally found the perfect tree.  Matt cut it down and we drug it back to our truck.  We also took lots of pics.

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And then last night we decided to start making decorations for our new tree.  We didn’t get the tree all the way decorated but we started making old-fashioned candy and popcorn garlands.  This was Day 6 of our Advent activities.

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Hopefully, we’ll finish up our tree tonight.

We’re off to a good start!

Thanks for reading,

Kimberly

P.S.  The announcement that I was waiting to make was that I have decided to leave corporate world for a while.

Believe it or not, this is in fact NOT my first badge pic with my company. This one is only about 10 years old.

Believe it or not, this is in fact NOT my first badge pic with my company. This one is only about 10 years old.

My company has been having layoffs on and off for the last decade it feels like.  I’ve been working in corporate telecom for 20 years and I felt it was time to move on to something new.  Thankfully my company was VERY generous with it’s severance package and I don’t have to decide any time soon what I’d like to do next.  We have prayerfully made this decision and although it feels like a HUGE change for me, I think I will settle in to a more relaxed lifestyle in no time!

A Simple Advent Activity Calendar

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I love the tradition of having an advent activity calendar.  Some people do candies or gifts each day, and I think those are fun too.  We, however, decided a few years ago to start activities.

In the past we have used little envelopes stamped with each day’s number…

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But I’ve noticed that it seems like everyone does the envelopes and tiny clothespins now…so I put my thinking cap on and tried to come up with something unique.  I have been inspired this year by old-fashioned homemade decorations.  In fact, one of our advent activities is to head to a Christmas tree farm this weekend then make decorations for the tree.  Think popcorn garlands and candy ornaments!  Fun, huh?  I’ve noticed that lots of homemade decorations are made from paper, so that’s where I started.

I headed to Hobby Lobby and picked up 8 pieces of scrapbook paper (I figured I could get 3 trees from each piece of paper).  I looked for patterns that had sort of a vintage Christmas feel.  They were .25 each.  I grabbed a branch from our scrap pile out back and decided to hang the mini paper trees from it.  Hanging a branch in your house and adding ornaments is not a new idea.  I’ve seen it a few times.  I just thought the idea would be good for our little advent trees too!

I had already thought of all our activities.  My suggestion on this is to start by looking locally for Christmas activities that you’d like to do. For example your town’s Christmas tree lighting, visiting Santa, a charity event or play/concert you’ll be attending.  I also have a couple “extra” activities just in case on the day we are supposed to do an activity something comes up and I need a quick change.  Here is our list…

  • Christmas Jammies
  • Christmas Craft
  • Make a Lego Christmas Scene
  • Choose an Ornament
  • Tree Lighting
  • Christmas Tree Farm
  • Decorate Tree
  • Give a Toy – Toys for Tots
  • Christmas Music Concert
  • Visit Santa
  • Christmas Craft
  • Read the real Christmas Story
  • Watch Elf
  • Visit Heard Natural Preserve
  • Make edible decorations
  • Carriage Ride
  • Go Look at Christmas Lights
  • Candlelit Dinner with Records
  • Family Movie Night
  • Family Game Night
  • Christmas Puzzle
  • Make Christmas Fudge
  • Watch Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Bake Christmas cookies
  • Chinese Food!
  • Read The Night Before Christmas

You can see that I have 26 things listed above but I only needed 24.  The extra two are the ones I’ll use if something needs to change due to weather, etc.

And here is how I made our simple little “trees”.  I already had stamps and the christmas twine (I’ve had both for forever – good investments.  That Christmas twine has lasted years and there is still a ton on the roll!)  I printed our list out and cut the activities into strips.

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I created/cut a template for a tree then traced it on the paper.  the template is a shape like a triangle with a rounded bottom.

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Then I taped the activity strip on the inside.  I also taped a piece of string to the “top”.

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Then I folded the paper together to form a tree (cone) and taped it.

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Finally, I used my stamps to add the number for the day the activity would be opened.

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Then I tied the paper trees to the branch.  The kids can easily untie them on the day it will be opened.  The branch is hung by the same Christmas twine from the bottom of our mantle with command strip hooks.

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So simple and cute!  And it cost me about 2 bucks…  I knocked it out in less than an hour while watching one of my gazillion Hallmark Christmas movies.  I’m obsessed with Christmas movies!

In addition to our family advent activities we also spend a few minutes each Sunday night working through our family advent guide.  It has a scripture and stories and songs and is a wonderful way to remind us of the reason for the season.  We also light the weekly candle.  This year we decided on simple mason jars to hold our candles instead of our more ornate usual advent candle holder.

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I’m looking forward to sharing some of out activities over the next few weeks. This is, after all, the most wonderful time of year!

Thanks for reading!

Kimberly

Cotton Ball Sheep…Kid Stuff (Me and Martha Series)

To read all of my Me and Martha posts, click here.

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Each Wednesday during this series, I’m dedicating a post to Kid Stuff… as in crafts, learning, costumes, etc.

This week I’m featuring another craft from Martha Stewart’s Favorite Crafts for KidsThe cotton ball sheep craft can be found on pg. 25 and it is ADORABLE!  It reminds me a little of the cotton ball ghost craft Milo and I did last year.  Milo loves gluing stuff so I knew he’d love this one!  This is how Milo’s face looks when I’m like, “Let’s sit at the dining room table and do a craft!”

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Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • black card stock
  • cotton balls
  • glue
  • string (I used my favorite twine that I use for wrapping Christmas presents.)
  • We also used some wooden craft sticks.  I tied the sheep to them and made sort of a mobile.  You could easily just hang them however you like.  I think they’d even make adorable ornaments as well.
  • You’ll also need scissors and a hole punch… or just scissors if you don’t have a hole punch.  lol

First step is to draw a sheep onto the card stock.

I just free-handed this. I wanted our sheep to be real fat like the ones in the picture in the book.

I just free-handed this. I wanted our sheep to be real fat like the ones in the picture in the book.

Cut your sheep out and then trace him a few more times – depending on how many sheep you want.  We made 4.

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Punch a hole in the top and thread your sting thru. Don’t forget this step. I actually forgot it on our first sheep and had to redo it.

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Then start gluing.  Milo follows directions well but I think this craft is great for 2 & up.  For the first layer I let him dip the cotton ball and choose where to put it.

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After the “round” part of the sheep was mostly filled in, I would put a small squirt of glue on the bare spots and Milo would squeeze a cotton ball in those places.  Then as a last layer (there are a few cotton balls on top of the other cotton balls) I would squirt glue directly on the cotton ball and tell him where to put it.  You could use a combination of all those depending on how well your kiddo glues, follows directions, etc.  An older kid could probably do all of it on their own.

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Once one side dries…turn the sheep over and do the other side.  Don’t press too hard when gluing because you don’t want to flatten the cotton on the other side.  That’s it!  We tied ours to the wooden craft stick.  Martha says “hang your flock in a doorway or window to display”.  LOL! I cracked up at the word flock.  I keep calling ours a flock now.

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I’m dying at the adorableness!

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Here’s a pic after we hung it in Milo’s window.  When the air from the vent comes on and it wiggles around a little it reminds me of sheep jumping, you know, like counting sheep?

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This was a super SIMPLE craft, but it turned out so well and everyone that sees it thinks its so cute.  So get to it, go make you a flock of sheep!

An office update that we really weren’t even working on…

This past weekend was relaxing yet productive as well.  It was kinda quiet with most everyone gone all weekend except tiny & me.  Gage was at Disney World for a conference.  Cady had homecoming game Friday night then all sorts of “HoCo” activities Saturday and then the dance that night.

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This was Matt’s weekend to help lead worship at church so he was gone for the most part too.  Milo and I enjoyed the slow rain on Saturday morning and even took the opportunity to play in the puddles and break in his new wellies.

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I also finished up an ongoing project that has lasted nearly a year…framing in the shelves in the office/craft/music room.  I just looked and it is almost EXACTLY a year since this POST about our “office”.  And don’t get me wrong, the space worked pretty well.  The issue was the desk placement.

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You always see beautiful office pics with desks backed up to windows like this. Well, um… I actually work from my desk all day and I’m here to tell you, unless you have some sort of blackout curtains the glare from a window (even with blinds closed) is too much on your computer screen.  So I ended up always working from a different place in the house at certain parts of the day.  Months ago I finally turned the desk around and I used it like this for a while…

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You can also (barely) see that in the above pic I painted my desk white.  I’ve wanted a white desk in here for a while, but I was afraid to take the plunge.  I finally did and I love it.  I wasn’t crazy about the placement of the desk but it worked until I could change things up.  Finally a couple of weeks ago we decided to build in the bookcases.  This consisted of 2 things.  1. applying a wider “facing” to the fronts of the shelves where they meet vertically  2. adding crown to the top.  There are a million tutorials out there on how to “build-in” billy bookcases so I’ll spare you the step by steps, but allow me to share a cute pic of the boys buying the crown moulding at Home Depot…

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Since we had to do some moving around at this point, I decided I wanted to actually nest my desk “in” the shelves.

Here it is today:

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I really like how it turned out.   And that blanket on the chair isn’t “styling” – it’s functional, it’s freezing in this room for some reason.  ha!

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This room really does function as a work room for us.  I work there all day.  The kids play piano, cello, etc in there.  And it’s also our craft room.  So the shelves are full of all our craft supplies.

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I think having the desk against the wall opens up the space more.

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And of course we still have our chalk board craft table (that converts to a much larger table when you fold out the sides) on wheels so it can easily be rolled into the middle of the room if several of us are working on a project.

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There are still a few small things that I need to do to finish out the room.  I want a new light/chandelier.  I would generally never take a ceiling fan down in Texas, but as I mentioned before – this room is so cold!  I’ll probably DIY something cool for the light.  I also ordered a really cool large typographic sign for above the piano from a friend’s etsy shop.

I’m thinking about putting our Christmas tree in there this year as well.  That bay window opens to the front of the house so it would be pretty.  Plus, I love love love looking at the Christmas tree so having it in my “office” where I can stare at it all day seems like an amazing idea.

Wait, it’s already September? Chopping trees & upcoming laundry room project…

Geez, bye summer… 😦  Don’t get me wrong, I like pumpkin lattes & sweaters & fall décor and all that good stuff but I don’t like that our summer went by in a flash.  I’ve learned to not wish for the next season but instead to savor the current one but dang…I think that makes it go even faster.

Last weekend I had a VERY SHORT to-do list… It consisted of finishing up our concession stand in our media/game room and going to the library/half price books to get some readers for Milo.  We did neither, because in true Matt & Kimberly fashion we decided on Saturday morning to cut down 3 trees.  Yes, that’s right, cut down three trees.  Initially we were going to trim them.  Then we decided we needed a chainsaw.  Then a trim turned into chop them down to eye level.  Then our neighbor wanted us to trim the branches that hung over in to her yard… so in the end, we cut down most of the three giant bushes (red tips) that resided in our side yard and it took ALL WEEKEND.

I don’t have any before pics from the weekend, but I dug thru a few old ones to give you an idea of where we started.  This was the side yard when we moved in…

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The old owners had used it for a dog run, a place for their storage shed and stacked firewood.  We removed the metal chain link fence, moved the shed, moved all that firewood, seeded the area and it became Milos play yard.  Here is a pic from a few months ago.

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Looks great, right?  Except this was the issue.  We are replacing that fence in the background behind the trees (that’s actually the front of our house) and the trees needed to be cut back.  The shade from the trees was also nice, but unfortunately, the shade was so great the area under the trees couldn’t grow grass and it would also stay constantly wet – causing a breeding ground for mosquitos.  We also keep our rain barrel back there and the extra dampness was causing the mosquitos to hang out there too (even though we use the water tablets).  You can also see from the above pic that the tree on the right hangs way over into our neighbor’s backyard.  So they were having issues growing grass in that area too.  So down they came.  Here is what it looks like now…

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Those trees were so freaking tall.

Those trees were so freaking tall.

Here’s a close-up – it’s so ugly… 😦

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But we do have a plan…  We’ll be working on the new fence over the next couple of weeks.  We are removing the landscape pavers and I’ll be tilling and seeding the area.  And trust me, I’d love to have the trees totally removed and have my garden there next year but since I don’t have an extra $1500 (yep, that’s the correct number) laying around to have the tree guy take them out they’ll be staying.  Next year the trees will come back and provide the right amount of shade and we’ll have to keep them trimmed going forward.  Next summer it will look great but for now.. yuck.  Milo doesn’t seem to mind though and now that it’s dried out and the rain barrel has been treated again the mosquito issue will be mitigated.  And now our neighbors across the street can clearly see into our backyard/pool area from their upstairs.  hahaha  Sorry neighbors!

Next project that we’ll be starting this month is our laundry room.  I’ve been wanting to change it up for a while so a LONG time ago I said, “let’s put that on the list for next fall.”  And here we are… September.  Anyway, it will get done in a few stages.  This is where we are starting:

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It’s not awful – pretty typical actually.  It’s hard to tell, but it’s painted a dark gray.  And  has no windows.  Not sure why someone would paint it dark gray when there is NO natural light in there and it’s a tiny room but anyway.  And here are a few pics of the direction I’d like to go:

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See the bottom right one?  That’s what I’d really like ours to look like.  We are keeping our floor and W/D (they still work great and I just can’t justify getting rid of a perfectly good washer/dryer).  When we do eventually replace them I’d actually like to get stackables.  The stackables have come a long way and aren’t just for tiny apartments anymore.  When we get new ones I’d like our laundry room to look more like one of these:

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But for now, like I said, we are keeping our current ones.  We are also keeping the existing cabinets.  The cabinets will get a makeover.  We’ll also paint and get a new light fixture.  Matt will be building shelves on one side and above the w/d for extra storage.  Should be fun! 🙂  More on that as the month goes on.