Getting Settled

It seems like moving takes twice as long when you have two littles to take care of amidst the chaos.  We’ve been “moved in” since Feb 2nd, yet I still have stuff everywhere. Sheesh!

Boxes are still waiting to be unpacked, but there has definitely been a big improvement in the stuff area.  I have taken a carload to Goodwill, and I am working on another one. We have filled up our big trashcan several times. I have stuck to my promise that nothing comes into the house unless it has a purpose and a place.  That doesn’t mean we still don’t have a ton of “stuff”, but I’m hoping it is far less than where we started on moving day.

house1We absolutely LOVE this house (ok, my love does not refer to the exterior paint colors but definitely everything else)! I know some people still think it is weird that we choose to rent instead of buy, but I love the flexibility we have AND that we have a home we can love.  The space in this house is incredible compared to our last one.  And the backyard…it is my favorite part of this house.  There is a door off the dining room/playroom that opens right to the deck.  Jonah can run in and out as he pleases.  I can be playing with Penny inside or getting dinner ready while Jo plays in my view right out back.  It is such a blessing.

I’m trying to focus on getting one room done at a time, but I have so many ideas and just want it all done at once.  It is overwhelming at times, but as of now we are living and playing and eating and sleeping.  Here is where we are at the moment:

  • Lucky Penelope is the only one with a “finished” room. She has all her furniture in place and art on the walls.
  • Jonah’s room is basically set up, but we want to add some more big boy furniture and fun art.
  • Our room is liveable, but I need something on the walls. I haven’t quite decided what I want to do in there.
  • The living room is in desperate need of furniture! We are couch hunting now and hope to make a decision soon.  We purchased a new tv stand in February, so we are excited to add to that.
  • The kitchen is functional but needs art and some more organization.
  • The playroom is finally coming along after a couple weeks of chaos and toys everywhere. We have a rug, some toy storage, and a fun wall treatment in there already.  I need to work on adding an art area and more storage.  I’m hoping this room will be the next one “finished”.

So, we are getting there.  As hard as it is to sit in unfinished spaces, I have to keep reminding myself that making a house “home” takes time.  I like to live in the space and see what works best.  Of course we can keep changing things as we go, but for the sake of our bank account, I like to try to make long-term decisions.  I’ll post pictures as rooms get more finished because right now, I promise, there isn’t much to see.

ps: Penny turned 7 months old last week.  I think I still may be in denial.  Did I mention she can sit up alone and she has started eating foods?! Where did the time go…


Ah, Much Better

I’ve been making some much needed updates to our master bedroom this month.  It has been so nice to finally focus on our space in the house and make it more functional and beautiful.  Up until this month, our bedroom could have been described as blah, chaotic, and impersonal.  But now, I am seeing the light as a few more changes have been made.

As far as my to-do list goes, here is how I am doing:

  • get matching, bedside lamps
  • find/make curtains for large window
  • hang up art above bed for focal point and needed color
  • find/make new pillows and add a light colored blanket to change-up bedding
  • hang mirror above desk or dresser??
  • recover ottoman at foot of bed
  • add personal/sentimental art to make the space really special

Before you see the results of those checked off items, here is how the space was looking before, with only a new addition of side tables.

And here is how we are looking now:

Much better right?  (These pictures were taken at night, by the way, so please excuse the crazy lighting.)  Anyways, as you can see, I added bedside table lamps, which were much needed.  They are from Target.  I added the two abstract paintings above the bed (see how I made the first one here).  The wall was just too big for one.

I also bought new cream-colored shams (from Anthropologie) and added two homemade pillows that I made from fabric remnants to lighten up all the gray bedding.

I’m definitely loving the changes.  It is already such a happier room to walk into.  What’s funny, though, is comparing it to my inspiration bedroom:

Besides the fact that we both have birds on our pillows, the rooms are way different.  I ended up using bolder colors and more modern lamps and tables.  The room has less of a polished, pretty feel.  However, I absolutely love my room the way I made it.  I just find it interesting how what inspired me isn’t what I actually want to live with.  This room is much more “Josh and Angela” and makes us both really happy.

Does that ever happen to you? Is your finished product much farther from your inspiration than you thought it would be?   There is still more work to be done, and between Jonah and Christmas I hope to find some time to wrap this project up.  I’ll keep you posted!

The Advent Calendar is Done

So, I may have started it almost a month ago, but I have finally finished my Advent calendar for Christmas 2011!  It is even hanging up.  I’m that ready.  With a little more red paint, some ribbon, and a list of 25 Christmas-related activities, the calendar is good to go.  Here is the finished product.

Not only do I think it came out really cute, it was also completely FREE! I just used burlap, felt, and paint I had lying around the house.  It may have taken some time, but I saved $35 (if I would have bought its inspiration instead).

This Christmas, and for the past couple of Christmases, we have tried to focus on giving more and spending less, hence the free calendar.  I try to use this time of the year to live out the true meaning of Christmas: giving, loving others, and celebrating Jesus’ birth.  One great resource I have used is Advent Conspiracy for inspiration and ideas on making this holiday meaningful and not focused on gifts and getting.

Advent Conspiracy centers around four simple ideas: worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all.  We try to purposefully incorporate these into our Christmas. One way I do this, is by using the Advent calendar to have a special activity each day that, hopefully, focuses on one of the four ideas.  Some of my activities are more fun than anything, but what is Christmas without joy and celebration? And even though not all of the activities are baby-friendly, I want to try to include Jonah in as much as possible.  I truly believe that a child of any age can learn something during this season.  You just have to try things and see how they go.

Anyways, here is my list of Advent activities, in no particular order.

  • mail out Christmas cards
  • make ornaments with Jonah
  • buy a gift from the World Vision catalog
  • drink hot cocoa by a fire
  • wrap presents
  • visit a nursing home as a family
  • watch a Christmas movie
  • make Christmas cookies for neighbors
  • read the Christmas story from the Bible
  • donate a toy to Toys for Tots
  • play with fake snow (we live in Louisiana)
  • donate to the food bank
  • drive around and look at lights
  • invite friends over for a special dinner
  • research and try a French Christmas tradition (we love France)
  • take family Christmas pictures by the tree
  • read Christmas books in our jammies
  • leave a gift for the mail carrier
  • visit Santa at the mall
  • buy coffee/meal for a stranger
  • make a gingerbread house
  • attend a Christmas eve service
  • leave an anonymous gift for a friend or neighbor
  • exchange gifts on Christmas morning
  • attend a Christmas concert

I wrote out each activity on a piece of cardstock and placed it in an appropriate pocket on my calendar.  I am going to try to let Jonah take out the card each day.  I am also thinking of putting a few small gifts in some of the pockets that he will find and take out.  We will see how that goes. :)

I can’t wait to get started!  Are you ready for December 1st to start your countdown? Do you use an Advent Calendar like I do or do you just check off the days? Any other fun ideas for my list? I’d love to hear them!

Abstract Attempt

This week has been pretty crazy, but I have managed to get some items crossed off my list for our November bedroom project.  I’ll save the updates for tomorrow after I pick up a couple more things today, but I will treat you with a little art project I worked on for above the bed.  There is nothing above our bed at the moment, and the wall just feels so bare.  Art was on my to-do list, so the other day I got really creative.  I mean really, really creative.

I am fine with painting letters, words, and simple images.  But when it comes to actual art, I’m better at picking out what I like then actually making it myself.  I have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to abstract painting, and this was my first attempt at making something that resembled real art.  Just a quick note to all the actual artists that may be reading, please don’t hate.  I did this for fun, and I’m not claiming to know anything about this genre of painting.  Ok, with that out of the way, here is what I made.

I was inspired by a painting in my aunt’s house–the house where Josh and I were married.  We had a few pictures of us with said painting in the background, so I used those as a guide.  Not only is the painting beautiful, but it reminds us of a very special day.  I like for my art to be meaningful and nice to look at, and I feel like I captured both.

Here’s how it all went down.  My painting began with a board of MDF, which I painted white.

Yes, that doesn’t make sense. Yes, I should have used a canvas.  But the MDF was already in our garage, sitting unused.  It wasn’t super thick, so I’m not worried about it being too heavy.  Plus, it is a really smooth wood, so paint goes on really well.  Once I covered it with two coats of white, I added a little gray for depth. (That sounds like I know what I’m talking about right?!)

Honestly, at this point, I had no clue what I was doing. I just did it.  Next, I picked out the colors from my stash that most closely matched the actual painting (wish I could show you pictures of that, but I don’t have digital copies of them).  I took my brush and just went for it.  I would just keep referring back to the inspiration painting to have something to follow.  After that got tiring, I just filled in spaces with what I thought looked good.

I’m kind of in love with the finished product.  You may not like it, but I’ve learned that art is a super opinionated thing.  If I love it, you may not, but you also don’t have to sleep in my bedroom.  I asked Josh if he liked it, and he actually does! Yay! So we are happy with it, it was free, pretty quick to make, and reminds us of our wedding day.  What could be better?  Now, if I can just figure out how to hang it up… I’ll keep you posted. :) Update: I have found the artist who made the original painting.  Her name is Helene Pfeffer.  Unfortunately, I still can’t track down an image of the actual painting.  :(