28 April 2009

recap or what I've been doing the past two weeks

I have been doing and not blogging, that is for sure. Tons of projects, totally overestimated the amount of time in the day, the amount of energy I have and underestimated the amount of snuggles a teething 10-month old needs. I haven't even had time to check the blogs that I haunt as a reader. Yikes!

So, here is the update:

First, the Spring Cure - almost totally derailed by garden/chicken coop building, visiting family and a wonderful weekend getaway with friends.

A month or so ago I called my mom, begging her to come for a long weekend to help me with some projects. The boy has been working hard on some exciting, but time-consuming projects and so has not been available. Mom is super handy and easy to work with and we always have fun. So, she came over Saturday morning and stayed through Wednesday. As I said in the intro, I have a horrible habit of underestimating how much time any project will take and overestimating the number of projects that I will be able to complete in a given time. This was totally the case here. So, no painting in the living area, no small repairs. Here is what we did get done though:

This corner of the yard had been fenced off for a dog run. The grass and weeds were waist high and there were giant holes in spots. The soil, however, was amazing, the product of composting nature and neglect. That's my cute mom in the corner by the shed.


And here is what it looks like now. A glorious chicken coop, raised garden beds and a side by side compost bin. The posts will soon have fencing attached to keep the dog (and hopefully deer) out and the chickens in.

And another angle. The weather has been nasty since we finished up so I haven't been able to get decent shots of the coop interior. I will post those soon, I swear. To fill the beds, we picked up a yard of top soil from a local landscaping place and then topped it off with about 1/2 a yard of aged manure, compliments of my coworkers horse farm.

Finally, we blew insulation into the attic of our house. When we bought it, the attic only had rolled fiberglass insulation, much of which appears to have been the bed for a very large cat. The R value was almost nothing. We bought a pallet of "green" insulation from Home Depot and got the blower to use for free. Mom ran the blower and I sat up in the attic for 3 hours, filling it in so that our house will be comfortably temperate this year. That's is the giant truck I got to drive around all week, making me feel and look much tougher and more capable then I probably am.

Needless to say, we were wiped out everyday, in bed by 9:30. No time for blogging. Now, I am spending my evenings this week, getting in my cold weather vegetables and putting the finishing touches on the coop. I will pick up the chicks next Wednesday, bright and early. Yay!

Next, the Spending Hiatus- I ended quite well and have done a good job of sticking with things. Although tonight, I did do the thrift store run, looking for summer items for the wee bean. I spotted a dresser that would be perfect to replace the bedroom one, but I am so used to being thrifty, I passed it up. I may go by tomorrow to see if it's still there.

My thriftyness also translated nicely into last week's projects as the chicken coop and beds were made almost entirely of reclaimed lumber (except for a few 2x4s my dad bought to get us started). I was able to get everything for just over $50. A bargain. It also helps that the renters who preceded us left a bunch of random scraps behind, including the pieces I used to make the big door to the run and giant rolls of pig wire that I used on the coop and will use to fence the garden off too.

The one item that has moved from non-essential to essential is a new camera. Look at these photos...gads! The focus is getting worse every time I use it. Sometimes it just dies. Note: I only paid $60 for it in a shady deal with an 11 year old right before I started this blog, so I am actually surprised it lasted this long. So, look for some better photos soon.

And speaking of better photos, tomorrows post will feature some shots of the amazing house we used as a rendezvous with some of our dearest friends this past weekend... for free. Stay tuned!

17 April 2009

still here...

I just wanted to pop in and say that I am still here! We have been curing up a storm around here, painting, purging and organizing. My mom is coming this weekend and we will be building garden beds, a chicken coop and working on a few other fun projects. Stay tune next week for some photos and the play by play. Also, I will get in a final "spending hiatus" post to bring you all up to the end (Yes, this was the final week) and a week 5 cure update.

Happy Friday!

(from the Library of New South Wales' flickr photostream)

09 April 2009

grey + gold

I have been trying to find the perfect color to offset some of the wonderful gold that I found for our main living area (living, dining, kitchen). I've always been a brown girl, but suddenly grey seems to be the color that is calling my name. I have avoided it because it always seemed so cold. I am learning that their are warm greys, with more of a brown or orange tinge. I have several chips taped to my wall right now, but I wanted to see some of the combo in action. A little flickr search pulled up some fabulous options:

(from Coco+Kelley's flickr photostream)

(from atexski's flickr photostream)

(from inspiringdecor's flickr photostream)

(from blueprint mag, c/o coco+kelley's flickr photostream)

(from revolutionarygirl's flickr photostream)

(from {kay}'s flickr photostream)

So, what do you think? I think I'm ready to pick up some new paint!

08 April 2009

a winner and some rockin' cleaning ideas

So finally, we have a winner for the Wednesday giveaway. Honestly I will be more organized next time. The winner is Nici over at dig this chick! At first I felt kind of silly because I know Nici and see her all the time. But the random number picker does not lie, so congrats sweetie. I will drop it in the mail so you have it when you return from your adventures! Everyone loves fun mail!

Now, onto a must have resource. Real Simple sent a link to this incredibly helpful, extremely thorough list of all natural cleaners. Many of them are things we have around the house anyway and their tips for using them are fabulous. I got some great new ideas from this.

Another quick cleaning tip I picked up while looking through some old issues of domino: To get out stains on old linens, try Fan Chinese Laundry Soap. Has anyone tried this? I may order some just to give it a try.


07 April 2009

The Spring Cure - Weeks Two and Three

First, a quick update on the giveaway. Silly me forgot to state a deadline, so all comments posted by noon on Wednesday, 4/8 (MST) will be in the running.

(some inspiration for my potential living room palate, courtesy of domino mag)

So, first a confession. After week one I have done more improvising and less following the cure steps to the letter. Clutter was less of a problem, boring and uninspired decor was the real culprit. So, here is my week two list:

Bones:
Fix one thing- Check! I oiled all of the squeaky hinges. This wasn't on my original list, but it was driving me batty so it was promptly added and attended to.

Clean your kitchen from top to bottom- Check! You know how when you first move into a kitchen, you think you know the best place for everything, but then, after a while, you realize you had it all wrong? Moved things around, removed things and made it function much better.

Buy a water filter - No check... It seems silly when we have good water here.

Breath:
Run hands over all the walls - again, no check... just didn't feel like doing it. However did start to paint, so I have been paying much more attention to all of our walls.

Clear space for an outbox and use it - kind of check. As I said, clutter isn't a huge problem, but I have started using a corner of my office to put things I am not sure what to do with or things in transition.

Heart:
Buy fresh flowers. Check! I forgot how much I loved having flowers in the house and daffodils are only $2 for 10 right now so they add instant color for little cash. They are just so cheery. Soon the farmers market will start and I will get my fix there.

Determine your style. Check? I feel like I'm still working on this but I would have to start with something like "eclectic cottage traditional". Somewhat nebulous, but I am certainly not modern. I like soft comfy furnishings, but I definitely gravitate towards traditional elements, with an updated funky, eclectic feel. A little bit bohemian, a little bit grandma's hand-me-downs, a little bit thrifty kitsch.

Head:
Find a new recipe and cook at home one night. Easy Check! We cook a lot at this house and I love trying new things. I did a nice light lemon, rosemary chicken as my assignment meal.

Choose a date for your house warming. Still working on this! We have some crazy weeks coming up so I am trying to find a good time. I want to have a girls cocktail night with a little dress up and some great drinks and nibbles. Right now i am thinking May 15th or 16th.

Week three is where it gets a little bit fuzzier. This week was about clearing your entry and getting rid of junk mail and paperwork. This is an area that I have a good handle on so I took this week to work on a few other fun projects. Here is the list though to begin:

Bones:
Vaccuum, dust and mop. Check...try to do this every weekend so it doesn't get too bad.

Clean your entrance and coat closet. Check... not a lot to do here, as I said.

Arrange to get all of your repairs taken care of. Check... mom is coming over for a week of house project fun so we will do the repairs then.

Breath:
Declutter your entrance. Check..easy-peasy.

Move old mail and catalogs to outbox. Not neccessary, already in recycling.

Look into creating a landing strip. Check...I have come up with some things to look for over the next month or so at garage sales and thrift stores. I want a narrow console table or dresser to sit either behind the couch or along the wall in the entryway. I also want to find a couple of nice wicker trash bins. One for mail that needs to be shredded and one for mail that can just be recycled. I also want to get a new basket for the dog's toys and accouterments which are kept by the door.

Heart:
Identify cool and warm rooms. Check! I have been doing this and playing with paint colors. Most of the rooms in my house have large spots of paint on the walls.

Use the 80/20 color rule. I am having a hard time with this. I really like colorful walls, but I am trying to balance it with some good neutrals. This is especially hard in the kitchen, living, dining area, which is one big open space. I have a deep, golden yellow that I really want behind the fireplace, but I can't find a corresponding color to use on other walls to break up the space. I definitely don't want a giant room of all yellow. Too much. I have just started to consider grey as an option. Will look into this over the weekend...

Head:
Cook two meals at home. Done... cinch.

Design party invitation. I didn't do this. Want to use some cute, ready made ones just to save time and sanity.

(the invitation for my fabulous, post-Cure soiree; outside and inside)

01 April 2009

today...

this says it all...


check out shelli's other amazing prints. i want them plastered all over my house reminding me of all that is good and wonderful and joyful in the world. and while your at it, be sure to read her profile. the bio at the bottom is priceless. AND...if you read her blog, you will fall more in love with her and wish she could be your new BFF. happy humpday!