Quarantine Ideas

April 28, 2020 at 6:36 am (Family Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We remind the kids every day that we are “safe at home”, not “stuck at home”. And truly, we are blessed. But, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming having everyone here full time. I want to keep them all entertained, educated, occupied, happy…

Here are just a few ideas that may help during this time!

1. Follow my craft idea board on Pinterest! I add ideas to it as I see them, so check it out for some of the things we have tried and some we still hope to try!

We have loved some of these! One true favorite was shaving cream art! Smear down shaving cream in a pan, add drops of food coloring and swirl them in any pattern with the end of a paintbrush. Lay a thick piece of paper on the colored cream and press. Lift up and scrape cream off the paper with a spatula. Look what it leaves behind!

2. Educational apps that make learning fun! I know we all try to limit screen time. But we all need a break and a little help too! There are several we love, but one that the 6 year old can use by himself is Book Prunelle. It’s an ebook platform for kids , featuring powerful stories to inspire them to become the next generation of conscious kids. They tackle challenging topics in an entertaining and child-friendly way to help kids grown mindful and kind-hearted. Cool, right?!

You pay for a subscription by month or year, but right now you can try the first month for free! And you can use the code JESSIMARIEL5 off of either subscription too!

They have books like this one explaining the Corona Virus in terms kids understand!

3. Read with Dolly on Thursdays! The boys both loved this for some reason! Dolly Parton reads a story live on YouTube every Thursday and saves it to her channel to watch anytime. The boys were glued. And mom cleaned the kitchen! πŸ˜‰

4. Duo appto facetime anyone. Maybe you knew about this? I did not, but was so happy to learn! With this app, any type of phone can video call one another. Now the kids can video call with grandma and grandpa!

5. Neveo journal making! Neveo lets you add photos all month to an app and at the end of the month they put together your pictures and captions into a journal to be send to grandparents, friends, etc. So helpful for keeping up with some of those seniors that can’t get out right now! Use the code SUPPORT for two free months of 50 photo journals!

I hope these little ideas help even a tad bit. Hang in there. Give yourself grace. We’ve got this.

XX,

Jess

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The Landing Strip

April 20, 2020 at 1:29 pm (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A landing strip, a command center, the drop spot. No matter what you call it, every house should have one. It’s a place for all the family “stuff”.

I call it a landing strip. In this house we actually have it split up a little, but it’s whatever works for you! When you come in our backdoor, we have hooks for each family member. Bag and coat go there. There’s a little hook station for car keys. And we have a small rack holding bug spray, sunscreen, sunglasses, wireless speaker, etc. But there’s still other “stuff” that accumulates. What do you do with it?! Enter our landing strip.

He we have a stash spot for everything else so that we stay organized and don’t lose important things! We use the chalk board for calendar notes and grocery lists. And each of the boys and mom and dad have a basket. We put bills in ours. The boys put homework and such in theirs. I keep a pen jar on the shelf. Here is stash stamps, a candle lighter, a marker, and pens. If you need more than that they you have to go upstairs to the office. πŸ˜†

The antique mirror got a metal insert painted with chalk paint. The little chalk marker tray below it is an antique door stop out of an old barn. The baskets are from Hobby Lobby. The shelf is a custom design I requested from Jason. He added and welded the flourish at the top of the brackets.

Here’s my tid bit of advice. Have a place for the “stuff”, whatever you may call it. I truly believe in “a place for everything and everything in its place.” Even if you don’t organize that far, at least set up a zone with a calendar and pens and notepad. Have a spot where you put mail and homework. Always put your keys in the same location. I promise you that these tricks will prevent you from losing important things or searching frantically for the lost items!

And just for fun, here’s a shot of what it looks like more often than not. πŸ˜‰

Anything else you would add?

XX,

Jess

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Frame Hanger Project

April 15, 2020 at 12:09 pm (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I love old picture frames. All kinds. I’ve got a hallway of empty ones upstairs. Sometimes I fill them. Sometimes I paint them. And sometimes I do something fun with them…

This frame I once painted black with a silver line. Years ago. I was over it. (Ignore the ugly paneling in the upstairs hall we hope to rip out soon)

I wanted something lighter and brighter for my office. And I needed a place to hang some of my beautiful Parabo Press photos. (If you haven’t ordered from them, you must. They are gorgeous)

So first I lightly sanded the frame. Then I painted it white. I used wall paint for this project because it’s what I had. And its quarantine. And this step wasn’t super important for this project. It took 2-3 coats, but doesn’t need to be perfect.

Then I sanded with a foam sanding block. I scraped the edges and roughed up the centers. Go slowly and start lightly. Keep going until you love it.

Then, because I wanted just a little something more for this one, I used a small brush and “dry brushed” on some charcoal gray paint. This means I dipped a tiny amount on the brush and then swiped most of it off onto a paper plate. When the brush is almost dry, wipe it on the frame. It will give you just a tiny bit of paint and give a smudge-y look. I used a paper towel to rub this in as I added it too. It came out nice and weathered.

Then to add some wire. You could use twine or ribbon, or whatever you have. I had some picture hanging wire from a hanging kit. I cut it slightly longer than the width of the frame, maybe a half inch extra on each side. Then I pulled it tight across the frame and used a staple fun to staple it in place. I twisted the extra ends into a little ball to help keep it in place.

You can get tiny clothes pins on Amazon.

And viola!

I’ve also done this before with chicken wire…

What do you think?

Doing any quarantine projects?!

XX,

Jess

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Bathroom Update

March 25, 2020 at 6:47 am (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I thought we were going to live with the 85% bathroom update for a while. But we got a little shove to take it to 98% done now. 🀣 What this means is that we redid the flooring! Yay! And we added a mirror and a couple more custom shelves in the laundry room.

We used snap-in wood and vinyl flooring and it was super easy! Except for dealing with the uniqueness of an antique house with crooked walls and missing trim, etc, but we managed and it’s been amazing and seems super durable already. We ended up going with large quarter round as trim because we need to hide some of those flaws from a very old house. But I love the look here!

The ONLY thing left is to replace the faucet. Soon. We are going to live with the sink and counter top for a while, but I can deal with that.

How cute are the little shelves holding laundry items?! We made them the same way, with plumbing pipes and hand whitewashed boards.

Remember, this is a mini refresh, (see the before shots, yikes, 2 posts back!) not a total overhaul, so this girl will still have to dream of one day having a stacking washer and dryer and wall cabinetry. This is gorgeous to me for now! πŸ˜‰

Xx,

Jess

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Bath/Laundry Room Update

February 11, 2020 at 8:38 pm (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We knew we wanted a fixer-upper, and we sure got it with this one! But we are enjoying putting in the work and making it into what we want for a home. The bathroom was no exception. We can’t afford a complete gut and overhaul of every room (I wish!), so this is a little refresh.

Before:

After:

We will put a new faucet in soon and plan to redo the bath and laundry room floors in a few months. But for now, wow. Its clean. Its peaceful. I’m in love.

We made the bathroom hook boards because in old houses you are at the mercy of where the studs may or may not be when hanging things. Attach the hooks in the spacing you want and then attach the boards to the wall where the studs allow.

We also made the shelves ourselves and hand “grayed” the boards by smearing white paint with fingers. Tedious but so worth it. The brackets are plumbing hardware and can be found at Mendards. We painted the parts with a light oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

We made the jar light fixture by painting the old silver fixture with oil rubbed bronze paint and adding the jars. We took solid jar lids and made holes in them to fix the jars to the fixture. Once it’s all painted you can’t see what method you used to attach them.

All on a budget for a quick fix up. We did add a new shower, as ours was a walk in when we bought the house and we needed a tub for the kids. Paint and curtains, and especially shelving, make a huge, but affordable difference!

Here are some fun detail shots.

A few detail links:

Curtains

Towels

Light fixtures

Amber jars

Wood laundry sign

Laundry rack

What do you think? Any recommendations?

Xx,

Jess

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Quick and Easy Valentine’s DIY

February 6, 2020 at 8:53 pm (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I made these fabric hearts last year and loved them so much I put them out again this year!

It’s so simple that it doesn’t require much instruction, but a fun project for anyone because there are so many possibilities! I used scrap fabric that I had on hand, making this super inexpensive too! I picked a couple fabrics that complimented one another and had a rustic vibe. You could use anything at all! The only other supplies you need are liquid stitch (always handy to have a tube on hand!) and some stuffing. You can get both of these at your local craft store or a Walmart. The stuffing sold here at our Walmart was in too large of a bag and I knew I didn’t want a ton. So, quick fix was to buy a small pillow insert at Walmart. This was about $4 and I have plenty left for more projects.

Start by drawing a heart on cardboard. Try a cereal or cracker box! Then trace this heart onto the backside of your fabric. Do sets of two hearts in matching fabric. Then run a bead of the fabric glue around the heart. Leave a few inches unglued. I left a quarter inch or so around the edge. I used a few binder clips to hold these while drying. You could also set a book on them. When they are dry, stuff fabric into them. Doing it in this order allows you to fill them full and puffy without ungluing. Now add glue to the last few inches and clip to dry. You could always add sequins, embellishments, ribbon, or any extras too.

The other little white heart was super simple too. I used a cardboard hear, made little cuts around the outside, and wrapped yard around the heart. The cuts helps hold the yarn in place for the first layer of wrapping. Wrap all different directions. Glue with the fabric glue. Simple!

Viola! Hope you enjoy this quick and easy project!

Xx,

Jess

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Boys’ Room Reveal

August 8, 2019 at 7:22 pm (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I’ve worked on it for a year and I can finally say it’s as done as it’s getting right now. 🀣 When we moved to this house a year ago and I was pregnant, we decided the boys would share a room. This way I could have an office, and the office would double as a play room/workout room, so that kids could be in there while I worked if needed. I also knew that I wanted an outdoors-y theme that could work for both a baby and a young boy. Brantley already had a farm theme as a baby, with many pieces we wanted to incorporate, and he asked for camo bedding in his new room. If you’ve been here before, you also know that when we moved to this house it needed a lot of work. A lot. We ripped carpet out of this room, added electrical outlets and a light fixture, painted… and we still have more to do…eventually. But for now, here it is!

Each of the boys has a bit different theme on their side of the room, but with light gray walls, tree curtains, tree decals, and some animals throughout, it seems to flow for now.

Barrett’s baby shower theme was woodland animals, knowing that I would use the animal and nature idea for his room.

Brantley has kept some of his farm theme and added the camo to just be plain outdoorsy!

I made both of the boys’ mobiles, which Brantley has outgrown the need for, but are both too cute to get rid of for now.

What do you think? The way we organize clothes will change as the boys grow and we remodel some more. The room currently has no closet. Thanks, old 1862 house. It’s an evolving work in progress. But the boys love having their own space and even love sharing for now. πŸ˜†

XOXO,

Jess

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Teen Bedroom Redo

November 9, 2018 at 10:10 pm (Home Changes and Additions, Our New House) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

So, I’ve mentioned that this new-to-us old house is in pretty ugly shape and that we have been redoing all the rooms bit by bit. One of the rooms that hadn’t gotten any love since we moved in was Jordin’s room. Check out these dingy, bland, old lady looking photos:

We hadn’t even hung anything on the walls because we knew we wanted to paint. Poor girl! Plus, the rooms all need to have more outlets put in (how is one outlet nearly enough?!) and overhead lights with switches added (hello?!). Needless to say, she was not thrilled in her set up. But, enter her 16th birthday, and we had the perfect excuse to make ourselves get the room beautified and surprise her with completely glammed out digs. Annnd… after:

Ta da! Total teen girl. Her jaw dropped. Win!

This was the mint turquoise color she had picked for her bedroom at our previous house and she was really wanting it again. It is super pretty, and not quite as bright in person. She also loves pink and peach. I added some navy to calm and tie the colors in and some gold hints for glam factor. Sounds busy. Totally goes.

Some old, some new, plenty of Hobby Lobby help. She wanted a little girly and a little rustic. She also wanted “fairy lights” so fairy lights she got.

We can’t change the brown furniture (it was her grandmas), and new carpet isn’t going to happen just yet, so working with what you’ve got sometimes has to just work… but…

Truly I love how it turned out. Dont tell her but Santa is thinking about a rug and a chandelier, along with new knobs for the drawers. 😍

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Where Have You Been, Girl?!

September 24, 2018 at 1:03 pm (Our New House, Tid Bits) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Hi all! Yes, yes. It’s been forever. BUT, I am back. And with lots to share.

One more kiddo and a new (to us) house have kept us very, very busy. But this new house has also given us a TON of new projects to show you while we go. So, I’m back and full of fun stuff to document.

The house. If you have been following along here for very long, you know I love me some old houses. And old projects. And old antiques. Everything with a story. Let me tell you, this house had lots of stories. Built in 1860, and sadly remodeled in the 70’s, we have our hands full, both with old stories and new ideas.

So, here she is. All potential and boring right now.

Pretty cool, right?! And a ton of work, a few headaches, blood, sweat, tears… and love. I’m excited to be getting all creative again. As the new little one allows, of course. πŸ˜‚

As many of you know, this space was created years ago when I got my first house to document and share all of my remodeling and decorating ideas, trials, errors, and adventures. This is where a plan to keep most of my focus now that I am back with plenty to keep sharing. But, I also plan to share some family, kids, health, and even personal stuff. Let me know if there’s something you would like to see!

And finally, I haven’t shared about myself in a very long time. So, my name is Jessica. I am a social worker with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Forensic Psychology. I love to be outdoors, camp, and travel, decorate, refinish and repurpose furniture, and and hunt for bargains and hidden gems. I live in Iowa with my significant other, Jason, my 15 year old step-daughter, Jordin, my 5 year old son, Brantley, and my 4 month old son, Barrett. Oh, and our little growing crew of pets. Every farm needs chickens and goats, right? We not only love making our new old house a home, but we also love trying out new things along the way. I hope we can inspire you!

Glad you are here! It should be fun, and a little new, so stick around!

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DIY Wreath

January 7, 2016 at 11:41 am (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Winter makes me a little stir crazy. Luckily Pinterest has many many cures for that! Enter my new wreath project. Bonus: I love a project that has quick and easy payoff! πŸ˜‰

I picked up a wire wreath form at Joann craft store for a few dollars. I also grabbed a remnant of burgundy fabric and a pack of colored leaf print fabric squares. I cut tons and tons and tons of fabric strips about 5 inches long. Then I tied the oodles of strips in knots around the wire wreath form.  I also added some strips of burlap to give a rustic look. Simple.

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Here is a close up of my strips of fabric.

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I also painted a wood letter T to hang in the center if I choose.

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And for the winter season I hung a seasons greetings basket in the center that I already had. Cute, no? πŸ™‚

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