Cozy Nook Inspiration

December 10, 2014 at 8:26 am (Inspiration) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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So calm, clean, and cozy. I’d love to work from this spot for the afternoon. Via House Beautiful.

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Yard Work And Such

April 4, 2012 at 8:35 am (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We inherited a lot of yard maintenance to take care of from the previous owners. I mean A LOT. With six acres I am sure that some of that is inevitable, but this is just over the top. The must have never done yard work once while they lived here. Never. The weeds, even in the close to the house areas, were over my head. The trees had split and grown funky many years ago. The rock garden was more like a dirt pit scattered with rocks. Need I go on? So, point being, this is our first spring here and we have been putting in a lot of hard work out there. I can’t wait to get a new shipment of rock and show you how the “for now” patio area is coming. But, for right now I thought I would show you just how much tree trimming we accomplished the other day.

Here is the shot looking back at the house and you can see how the rock beds are coming along and things are even turning green now!

And that is only the front! Hey, we have neighbors! 🙂 There were many other trees like this all over the property, not to mention weeds that had become their own trees all around the house, barns, and outbuildings. We have even uncovered some things we didn’t know were there when we moved in!! No joke! The other day we found an old metal lawn chair set up by a cattle shoot. They had made a shooting range down there and we couldn’t even see it! We found an old wheel borrow with what used to be flowers planted in it, various pieces of junk, both useful and non, and even learned we have an old hand-pumped well! And it works! Yea, so anyways, on to the fun part. With all of this hard work I just knew there would be some enjoyment in the end. Trimmed branches and a wine bottle…

Just a touch of spring, for the yard and for the house! Just in time for Easter. Gorgeous! 🙂

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Home Offices

December 29, 2011 at 12:59 pm (Inspiration) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I have been pining away at lots of beautiful home offices lately.  There’s a reason… I finally got a job in Iowa! Not only am I completely stoked to be officially living in Iowa full-time, but also, this job allows me to do a lot of my work from home! 😀

This is the perfect set up for me.  It will allow me more spare time to get projects done, and we also have the office space set up for me to do it!  But, currently our bright red and semi-cramped office space is needing a major spruce.  So, enter blogland inspiration. 

Some photos of offices out there are gorgeous.  However, social work doesn’t allow me to be glamorous or clutter my work space with pretties.  That leaves me fewer options.  I need a functional space that I also feel comfortable and like myself in.  Plus, we are hoping to leave the futon on the other side of the room and use the space someday for a partial play-room as well.  Oh, and did I mention that I can’t change much as far as items because I am working with a non-existent budged!? Let’s see if I can pull this off…

Here are some faves for you all!

I love the bookcases in this photo.  It utilizes the space well, which is what I really need to do!

http://www.elementsofstyleblog.com/2011/12/nooks-and-built-ins.html

This office also has great shelving for storage, while also remaining a bit feminine and glam.  I need an office that can work for me from everything from my personal business, to kids and family projects, to social work moments.

http://www.unplggd.com/unplggd/home-tech-tours/maegans-unabashedly-feminine-home-office-tech-tour-154482

I also like having my desk in the middle of the room or at least facing outwards instead of towards a wall.  It helps if I need to meet with clients.  Here is another one like that.

http://with–this–ring.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-09-08T08%3A14%3A00-05%3A00&max-results=5

I’m not a huge fan of green walls, but I love the black frames in this office.

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=green+home+office&view=detail&id=8AC0BFD450BA352A92F8C704D6E1FDBA970925DC&first=0&FORM=IDFRIR

This office has been my dream office for years now and was the inspiration for the office in my last house being light blue.  This one might end up light blue as well, with the addition of the red items. Again with the black frames!

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_3gk_XdcOr78/ShNziQmi-LI/AAAAAAAAA2M/E5HorshZ4dU/s1600-h/House+of+turquoise.com+-+Designer+Mary+mcdonald.jpg

Another blue office.  Reminds me of mine with the couch.  Something so sweet about this one!

http://www.centsationalgirl.com/2009/02/inspirational-images-gallery/

This one is so sweet and has that touch of glam I’d love.

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Well?  What do you all think?  I’d love suggestions for my new home office!

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Junking!

June 29, 2009 at 7:36 am (Inspiration) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I had just the best weekend ever!  Tony and I decided to go to the flea market that isn’t far from us.  Not only is this always a fun trip for me, but on the way there Tony decided to take country back roads.  What a great idea!  We just happened upon the first antique and junk yard I have ever seen near us!  My squealing had him pulling over immediately.  And of course I didn’t have a camera! 

Let me tell you all, this place was amazing!  There were three barns filled to the brim with old wooden chairs!  I mean stacked and tossed and piled all the way to the roof tops!  It was just incredible.  There was a huge field of every type of amazing junk you could think of.  And, when we asked about a few things the lady was so sweet and her prices were perfect!  Now I have a few more projects to work on.

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Everything here cost me a few dollars!  The old gas can is for we borrow Tony’s dad’s lawn mower.  The little orange lantern will be painted and set on the front porch with a candle.  Doesn’t that look just like the $80 one they have at Pier 1 (for $1!)!?  And the elephant- he is my favorite- was an old lamp base!  But, with a coat of white paint he will be a plant stand for the back yard. 

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These little guys were another awesome find.  They are Acro window tacks from the 40’s.  I have special plans for them and a nail head chair or bench with a bit of a number theme…

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And, of course we couldn’t come home without a search for some dice!  We found these at the flea market when we finally made it there. 

Overall, an awesome day and a couple of dollars got us some awesome stuff!  Next time I promise I am taking my camera!  Oh, and stay tuned, because there are already many more projects in the works!

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Fire Pit Finished

June 8, 2009 at 7:55 am (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I picked up a few bricks yesterday and we finally got to work on finishing the fire pit.  Yes, we are short by exactly one brick (not a bad guess!), but that will be taken care of next weekend.  The bottom two layers which we laid a while back were now settled in mud and ash since we have been using the unfinished pit.  After much digging and playing the mud we finally had them all arranged and neatly packed in.  We cleaned out the bottom and laid a few rocks.  What a difference!  And, grass is poking up where we put grass seed already!  We were so excited!  Maybe there will already be some green out there in time for the party!  I’m hoping it is strong enough be then so we don’t crush it all! 

Yes, one quite obvious brick is missing! ;)

Yes, one quite obvious brick is missing! 😉

 

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And here is the new chairs and table that we picked up over the weekend.  They will be getting a special paint treatment…soon!

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At first I was disappointed to not have found two of these style chairs that match, but we now think it will be fun to do them indifferent colors and embrace the uniqueness!  (Plus, I couldn’t beat the price we found these for!)

Overall, it was a very productive and fun weekend.  And, our softball team won our first game!

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Yard Progress

May 28, 2009 at 5:20 pm (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

A lot of work and a few sore muscles, and we now have a usable yard.  The backyard, as I have mentioned before, was three lots of mounds of compost.  An unusable waste is what I call that.  Compost is a great idea, but an entire three lots full?  No thanks.  So, I set out to get the yard summer-ready.  We are finally almost there. 

I started by pulling the massive amounts of growing weeds out of the compost piles.  Once fairly clean, my options for the compost were to either give it away to people who used compost or to spread it out evenly.  Upon further inspection I realized that the compost was old and mostly now decnt soil.  I decided to spread it and make level ground around the fire pit area.  This took an entire day and I was definitely sore after all the work, but it was well worth it.  We sprinkled grass seed on the raw dirt areas and are hoping that something other than weeds sprouts by the time we have our backyard engagement party. 

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These pictures look boring after the rain, but it was much cuter the other day (and will be when we have company over!).  We have moved the picnic table out near the fire and have a table cloth for it.  We also have a large hammock and fun pillow ordered for in between the trees.  The large log near the fire is actually a seating area.  We are using it as-is right now, but will form it into a bench later.  We also have some cute red paper lanterns to go in the trees and a few buck candles to go around the area.  I think it will all come together well.

We also worked on the side of the house near the alley.  We have a hard time finding keys and getting into our kitchen door in the dark, so we added a few inexpensive solar lights to the walk-way.  They really make a boring area look homey.  The former residents of the house also left an annoying pile of rocks near our parking area.  We have no idea what they were meant for, and they are now growing weeds.  So, we dug in and Tony arranged them where my car goes.  There is only one slab on cement and a lot of mud where I park.  This may not be the cutest solution, but it definitely helps and now its all ready for when we get more cement poured (or better yet-a garage!).  Didn’t Tony do a nice job making the rocks look neat and even!?

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And, on a prettier note, our peonies are in bloom!  Another bush of pretty pink flowers is also in bloom, which I think might be a kind of roses.  Here is a shot of the rose bush and the bouqet we cut for the table and even some for the bathroom.  They smell great and you gotta love a free touch for the home! 🙂

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So there you have it, our yard progress.  Not super exciting, but it has opened the way for us to work on a few more diy projects for the yard.  We will keep you updated!

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Progress- The Kitchen!

April 14, 2009 at 9:05 am (Home Changes and Additions, Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We have been hard at work painting those kitchen cabinets.  Not finished yet, but getting close.  I just thought that we would update you on some of the process and the progress. 

Here are some before shots of the dark, mismatched, and very worn cabinets:

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I started by using a palm sander to sand the stain off of all showing cabinet surfaces.  They then looked like this:

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Next, I removed all of the old hardware and filled the existing holes with wood putty.  I did not need to fill the holes from the hinges, however, because we were lucky enough to purchase new hinges that fit in the old holes.  But the handles are completely different sizes and shapes, so these holes and to be filled.  I also swiped some of the putty across any cracks and dents I found.  By the way, the new wood putty they have out there is more of a foam than putty. It is super easy to use.  I sanded the putty spots down once they were dry.  For the larger holes I puttied and sanded a second time so that they came out very flat with the wood.  Here’s a shot of that step before sanding (after sanding they look much smoother):

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I then started the painting process (the lengthy part!).  I decided to start with only the bottom cabinets.  There would not be enough floor space to paint all of the doors at the same time.  I taped off walls, trim and floors with painter’s tape.  I also taped down papers on the floor.  (Actually, this is kind of weird, but I taped down puppy pee pads.  We had a bunch left from when the puppy was still having accidents.  She never liked to use them, but instead of throwing them out they made great drop clothes!) I then applied to coats of Kilz primer. 

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You can see that the first coat goes on kind of streak-y, but the second coat covers much more evenly.  We now have the bottom cabinets painted with two coats of white semi-gloss paint, and we are hanging the hardware and doors tonight.  More updates to come… but isn’t it starting to look gooood?! 🙂

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My Office and Easy Tips

April 6, 2009 at 12:14 pm (Inspiration, Tid Bits) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We did do work at home over the weekend, really.  But, the snow on Sunday (snow!?) hindered us from accomplishing too much.  I will have a few things to show you later on in the week, but for today I am going to show you my work office. 

When I started at this job one of the first I thought about was how to dress up my first personal office.  I wanted to create a fun and unique work space without spending a bunch of money.  Of course I was not about to go out and buy new furniture, but I do have a few simple and very cheap ideas for dressing up the drab office.  Although you may not be able to produce your dream office with a space that you don’t own, you can make it a comfortable and productive space!

1. Posters.   Not the priciest artwork, but good enough for a work office.  I hung the Keep Calm poster as you enter my doorway (Yup, cliche maybe, but I still love it!).  I also hung an inspirational quote from Muhammad Ali on the opposite wall.  These were so fitting as I work in a hospital as a medical case manager.  And, they give me some color, but stay in the basics I love!

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2.  Use your printer.  I made these blah magnets cute by printing a sheet of white paper with a paisley pattern.  I cut the sheets down to the size of the magnets and glued them on.  I then covered them with clear plastic tape.  I also used paper to fill the letter opener magnet.  The other side of the desk is a sheet of paper I printed with the Chinese symbol for “happiness.”  I have a few printed quotes around the office as well.  These are cheap enough to switch out once in a while too!

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3. Paper flowers.  I wanted to add some brightness to my office, but am horrible at caring for plants.  So, I made paper roses with tissue paper.  I stuck them in a thrift store vase and now have flowers all year round. (the candy is a crowd pleaser as well)

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4. Organization!  Staying organized is the simplest, cheapest way to keep an office space looking its best.  I have some open shelves that I make sure are always orderly.  This is also a good time saver.  I always know where things are and never have to hunt!

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5. Personal but professional.  A nice touch to an office space is something personal.  But, remember to keep it professional.  Too many pictures or tchochkes can make an office space cluttered and unprofessional.  I have some pictures hung and framed in my office, but only ones that I don’t mind if clients see.  I have a magic 8 ball on my desk for those real tough decisions as well ;).  My desk top is also an example of keeping organized.  And, the calendar is a free printable version from calendarsthatwork.com.  I love these, as they look cute and are simple instead of busy!  Also notice my mouse pad and pen.  Little touches that were inexpensive!

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Hope these simple ideas help you with your office.  Mine is just like my home, always changing.  Enjoy!

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Mini Bar Makes More Progress

March 24, 2009 at 8:15 am (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I think the mini bar project is almost done (the mini bar we made out of a re-purposed vintage TV armoire).  We are going to leave the wood as-is, at least until we see what it looks like next to the black desk (which is still in progress).  We are planning on changing out the handles, but haven’t found the perfect Hollywood Regency looking pair yet.  Yesterday we got the mirror for the back and the glass for the bottom cut and installed.  We also hung a stemware rack under the top and I lined the drawer with some fabulous material.  I would like to find a very simple mountable wine rack to hang under the top on the other side, so if you have one of those to recommend…!  So, here it is, looking gorgeous!

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Our Backyard

March 23, 2009 at 8:07 am (Home Changes and Additions, Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Our yard is a mess.  The landlord kept it full of leaves, twigs, branches, logs, compost piles and even garbage.  We are tearing all of this up.  Slowly but surely we are cleaning up the mess we inherited, and making a pretty, and useful yard.  So, over the weekend we plugged away at the daunting yard.  We have, of course, started by picking up and disposing of his garbage and old broken items.  The other items such as old pots, tools , and yard items were collected and stored neatly away in the already packed shed.  Here was where the real fun began.  We had already started to rake and remove the massive amounts of leaves from the back yard, but so much more remained. 

This weekend is when we started working on a fire pit.  This way, once this chore is finished, we can move onto the chore of burning the branches and debris that remain.  Tony dug a very nice, large, circular hole, and we started with placing the first ring of bricks.  We then layered the bottom with rock (the landlord also had much random rock to be picked up from the middle of the yard!).  The pit is unfinished, but looking gorgeous already!  Here are some pictures:

Here is some of the mess left in our yard.

Here is some of the mess left in our yard.

 

Here is a bit more of the mess.  We are removing all of the compost, which is those lumps, and the twiggy looking trees are going to be moved from the clump he planted them in.

Here is a bit more of the mess. We are removing all of the compost, which is those lumps, and the twiggy looking trees are going to be moved from the clump he planted them in.

 

Here's the start of the fire pit.  This project is going to be a fun one for the summer!

Here's the start of the fire pit. This project is going to be a fun one for the summer!

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