Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Home Sweet Home

from here.

My head is in the house planning zone again.  We're still waiting for the loan to go through so we can start grading the house seat out.  But I am the type of person who likes to be prepared ahead of time.  We aren't even moving dirt yet and I am already picking out paint colors and trying to figure out furniture arrangements.   As a matter of fact, I have quite a bit of my decisions already made, it's just a matter of getting to that point. 

There is, however, one thing that keeps nagging at me.  It's the fact that I tend to save a lot of images of white walled interiors as inspiration, yet, I have no intention of leaving any of my walls white except in my work room.  As much as I like white walls in theory, I never can seem to live with them in real life.  I feel like the room isn't "finished" if there isn't color on the walls.  I know this is silly.  Some of my very favorite inspiration spaces have white walls.  Other people do white walls beautifully.  But me?  I just can't commit. 

from here.
What I can commit to?  A perfect, warm, inviting, unobtrusive, not-exactly-white.  I don't like the words beige or greige or khaki or tan.  But if you call it something pretty, like white sand or halo, I'm all for it.  As a matter of fact, Benjamin Moore's white sand is the color that will be adorning my main living area (kitchen, dining, living room), adding just enough warmth to contrast with the white trim. 

Now, as for the rest of the house......?  Well, you'll just have to wait and see.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Fantasy

from here.
I never get tired of seeing such beautiful places, even if it is just in pictures.  I guess that's why I call these posts Friday Fantasy instead of Friday Reality.  But some of these places speak to me in a more personal way than others and this is one of those.  Sometimes it's more of a feeling than anything that draws us to something.  And the feeling I get when I look at this picture is indescribable.  It's akin to homesickness and a yearning for the unknown.  Odd combination, yes, but I never claimed to make any sense of it.  Just to share it with you. 

Click on the link above to see the rest of this paradise.  Which is beautiful, indeed.  But none of which speaks to me quite like this one shot.  Happy weekend, friends.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Soul Sharing

from here.
It's been one of those days.  Those days when you just want to lie down and give up.  Or scream and throw things, in my case.  ;)
There is a lot going on in my world.  There are personal family issues that are weighing heavy on my head and heart.  I feel like I will never be ready to take this contractor's exam.  And between trying to study and dealing with everything else, I don't think I'm going to have my Etsy store re-vamped by the start of May.  Not having an income is taking it's toll on me, too.  I keep telling myself to be patient.  Once everything comes together (if it does) I will have an income to rely on. Starting a new house isn't helping the money stress, either.  And despite my best efforts, I just can't keep up with this blasted pain in the ass of a dog.  I love Gus dearly, but I swear, most of the time, he is the straw that breaks the camel's back.  My house is covered in dirty paw prints and chewed up bits of toys and blankets.  So, today, unable to hold it all in, I sunk into my expensive mud-covered couch and cried my eyes out.  I feel like I have lost any bit of control that I had in my life (not that I actually had any to begin with) and that I just can't take the necessary steps to move forward.  But I'm trying.  And regardless of all the things I don't get done today, tomorrow will still come and I will have to carry on again.

And that is where I am right now.  Just trying like hell to carry on.  Because no matter what tomorrow brings, I still have so much to be grateful for.  And even though I don't know where it will all lead, I know that everything is going to be all right.  I have no idea where I came across that quote up there (do you?), but I read it when I'm feeling down and it makes me feel better.

 The sun rises in spite of everything.  
 It always does. 
 And so must I.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Wardrobe Detox

Are you ready to clean out your closet?  And anywhere else that you happen to be hiding clothes, shoes, and accessories?  Well.  Put on your best fitting bra and undies.  It's time to play dress-up.  {the guys can feel free to skip the bra.}  I'll try to keep this one short and sweet. {yeah, right!}
from here.
The first rule when it comes to cleaning out your closets is, you must be in the mood to get rid of stuff.  If you are feeling all sappy and clingy you will not succeed in cleaning out anything.  But if you're ready to cleanse yourself of unwanted clothing and accessories, then, by all means, please proceed.

I say to put on your best bra and undies for a reason.  I know it isn't the most fun in the world, trying on clothes that you already own, but it is a necessary evil.  If you haven't worn it in the last month, you have to try it on.  No ifs ands or buts about it.  And be really honest with yourself.  Just because you love a certain item, doesn't mean that you will wear it.  Keep these things in mind:

*Be brutally honest.  If anything is ill fitting or unflattering, toss it. That sweater with the weird twisty sleeve?  You know what I mean.
*No false hope, people.  A pair of jeans that you have been hoping to fit back into for five years?  Get rid of them.  You are dressing the body you have right now!  
*The old "one year" rule applies to the majority of your wardrobe.  If you haven't worn it in the past year, you aren't going to.
*There are, of course, a few exceptions.  A classy evening dress or tux, for instance.  But, it's even more important that you try those items on, being that you don't wear them on a regular basis.
*Totally fell for last season's fad and hate it now?  Don't feel bad about it.  Just move it out and move on with your life. 

from here.
Don't stop at the clothes hanging in your closet.  I'm guessing you have more of them in your dresser drawers and maybe even in storage boxes.  A true wardrobe detox includes flushing all systems, including lingerie, accessories, outerwear, and shoes.  Once again, I'm telling you.....try everything on!  Every pair of knickers.  Every slip.  Every belt.  Every tie.  Every scarf.  Every piece of jewelry.  Every pair of socks.  And every. single. pair. of. shoes.  And if you try it all on at once, please send me a picture.

Now that you know what you are keeping and what you are flushing from your wardrobe, it's time to do a little maintenance.  It's always nice to start fresh, and what better time than now to catch up on all the little chores that you tend to put off til the last minute?
*Anything that you would want dry-cleaned before wearing, do it now.
*Alterations that you keep forgetting about; go ahead and get it done.  Hem those pants.  Fix the unraveling hem on that dress. 
*Clean your jewelry.  Chances are, some of it could really use a good polishing.
*Shoes, too.  Spiffy those babies up now and you won't have to worry about it when you want to wear them. 

This is also the perfect time to replace the things that need replacing. { Like you needed an excuse to shop, right? } Seriously, though.  Take out your notepad and write down the things that you need to look for.  If you are throwing out eight pairs of worn out socks, you probably need to buy a few more to take their place.  Same with undies. 
There should also be nothing in your wardrobe at this point that doesn't have something to go with it.  What good is that pretty blouse if you don't have anything that you would pair it with?  These are things that you need to add to that list.  Give yourself a time limit to make the replacements and find the other items that you need.  Otherwise, you are just going to be dealing with the same thing next year when you do this again.  ;) 

from here.
Now it's time to put it all back together. 
Don't just go at it haphazardly.  Really put some thought into how you want your wardrobe to look.  Do you need to buy new hangers?  Paper liners for your dresser drawers?  Organizational items like baskets, dividers and hooks?  There is a plethora of amazing inspiration out there!  And, in most cases, you don't have to spend a fortune to make your closet look beautiful.  Get innovative.  I use tiny little metal hooks that you can find in the home repair section of just about any grocery store,  to hang jewelry on.  And I have an old bookcase that has been cut in half horizontally, to get more vertical space for my shoes.  {if anyone is interested, I'll share pics.  just ask.}  But the most important thing about how you store your clothing and accessories is that it serves your needs properly. 

Sit for just a minute and think about how you put together an outfit.  Seriously.  Do you choose a certain item first and then build off of that?  Do you go straight for whatever color is tickling your fancy that day?  Do you build your look around accessories or shoes?  Do you work around certain styles? 

How you build your outfits should dictate how you house your wardrobe.  For instance: I tend to choose the pants I want to wear before I choose anything else.  Therefore, my jeans and slacks are front and center in my closet.  Shirts and jackets go to the left of my pants.  Dresses go to the right.  Work clothes are folded on the shelf.  (remember.  I don't wear suits to work.  I wear worn out jeans and tees.)  Earrings are the most worn jewelry items in my collection.  So the hook earrings are displayed on a votive cup on my dresser, studs in a shallow dish on my bathroom counter.  Get where I'm going with this?  If you are a color fanatic, organize your clothing by color family.  If you are different character every day, organize by style.  Working girl, sporty spice, trippie hippie, glamazon.  Get it?  Got it.  Good.

Now.  Last but not least.  Let me say this.
I know that many of us have emotional connections to our clothes.  There are memories tied up in those threads.  And lots of us have clothing that has been passed down from family members that we treasure deeply.  Don't feel like you have to part with every piece of clothing that you don't wear.  But give your treasured items their own special treatment.   If you don't store them away in a safe place, consider displaying them in your home.  My mom and her siblings had a shadow box made for my grandmother that has their baby clothes displayed along with some other trinkets.  It is absolutely beautiful.  The same grandmother has several quilts that are cut from family member's clothes.  {and she can tell you exactly what each piece came from.} Who says that your favorite clothing or jewelry can't serve as art? 

I know I get quite lengthy on these cleaning posts.  And if you actually make it to the end of one, I will be thrilled.  But I hope that maybe you found something useful in all of my rambling.  And if you have any tips of your own, please share them in the comments.  I always like to hear how others clean and organize their homes.  As always, thanks so much for stopping by.  And thanks even more if you take the time to comment. 
Hugs and Sunshine and clean closets for everyone!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Fantasy

from here.

Ahhhh, Friday.  Not much different from any other day around here.  Haha. 

The temperatures took a nose dive this week, here in the mountains.  The warm air that we were getting used to turned bitter cold and frost has curled the most delicate blooms that were confidently basking in the spring sunshine.  I am hoping and wishing for the warmth to return.  And while I'm waiting, this perfect pink patio is reeling me in with it's enchanting ways.  I'm feeling particularly girly and the classic combo of pink, green, and white is proving very appealing right now. 

I can just feel my bare feet against the warm brick pavers.  Now, if I only knew how to use that surfboard. 

For those interested in what has been grilling my brain this week, here it is.  I have been studying to take the exam to get my contractor's license.  I went to an eight hour seminar Monday, and let me just tell you, information overload is an understatement.  I have been nose down in a pile of eighteen books that I have to be quite familiar with before the exam.  Eighteen books! They range from business to excavation to steel beam construction. 

As most of you have already figured out, I have been working for my brother's construction company since I quit my job last year.  It's been on and off.  Nothing full-time or very consistent.  But hopefully that is going to change.  I'll let you know more about that situation as it unfolds.  But, for now, I have to keep my nose to the grind to try to earn my contractor's license. 
Wish me luck!

Have a great weekend, friends.  And, as I mentioned yesterday, there is a closet cleaning post in the works.  Please come back and do some cleaning with me! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I told you this week was going to be crazy!!  I haven't even had time to catch up on your blogs, much less to make a decent post on mine.  But I promise to fill you guys in on what's going on.  It's a good thing.  I promise.  If it all goes as planned, anyway.  ;) 
I also really want to do a closet cleaning post this weekend.  I know that's odd timing, but it just keeps rolling around in my head.  I need to get it down in writing.  So, if you're in the mood to clean your closets out this weekend, stop back by.

Much love and sunshine to all of you darling blog readers out there. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Mental Overload

I'm suffering from waaaaay too much information on the brain.  I'll explain later.  For now, I'm not sure I know what the heck I am writing. 


Friday, April 6, 2012

Happy Easter Weekend

from the sartorialist.
Next week is gonna be a killer.  So I'm looking forward to some quality time this weekend spent with the hubs, the family and our friends.  Already colored some Easter eggs with my niece today.  Let's hope the weather is good for hiding them come Sunday. 

You have probably already seen this photo, but I am just so smitten with it that I had to share it with you.  The lighting is beautiful.  And this gorgeous gal's laid back style is just pitch perfect.  I love everything about it.  Well, maybe except for the shoes.  But we'll ignore that fact. 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and a beautiful Easter. 
Hugs and Sunshine to you all.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Grown-Up Grilled Cheese

from here.

I made myself a version of this for breakfast this morning.  Yes.  Breakfast.  I used ham, swiss, and tomato on mine.  It was pretty darn yummy.  I suck at making grilled cheese sandwiches, if that is even possible.  Must be too impatient.  It didn't matter, though.  This right here, my friends, is a winning combination. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring Cleaning 101 ~ Step 2

 Hello, again, boys and girls.  I hope you're still in Spring Cleaning mode.  Last week I talked about getting rid of all your unwanted and unneeded "stuff" that is cluttering up your life.  This week I'm going to talk about "deep cleaning" your home. 

from here.

When it comes to any major cleaning job, I seem to work best when there is a certain order to getting things done.  In most every case, once I do my initial "clean out", the next step for me is "deep cleaning".  What exactly am I talking about?  Well, I'm talking about all those things that you don't do in your every day cleaning routine.  Those things that you dread and try to forget about.  But once it's done, you feel so much better about things!  So, roll up your sleeves.  It's time to get your hands dirty. 

from here.

There are a few different ways to go about this.  First choice: you can do one room at a time, completely finishing one before moving to the next.  Or Second choice: you can do one task at a time, completely finishing that particular task for the entire house before moving on to the next one.  I personally prefer to work a room at a time to avoid getting side-tracked (which easily happens to me.).

Now.  Once you have chosen your plan of attack, we can start from the top.  Literally.  The top is the place to start.

* Begin with ceilings.  Vacuum or sweep down any cobwebs.  If you have washable ceilings, such as wood, use a mop to clean them thoroughly.  Now, light fixtures and fans.  Come on, you know how much yuck accumulates on your fan blades. While you're here, replace any burned out light bulbs.  And you may as well check your smoke alarms, too. 

*Down a few inches to door trims and window sashes.  This is a task that I try to do several times throughout the year.  Whenever I am toting around a cleaning rag, I simply wipe the tops of my door and window trims off.  All those tiny surfaces gather dust.  Don't neglect them just because you can't see them.  For those of you who aren't bothered by using chemicals, a diluted Clorox solution works wonders on white doors and trims (just remember to wear gloves).  If not, grab up some Magic Erasers.  They really are magic.  Another tiny surface that makes a big impression is your switch plates and plug-in covers.  There is nothing pretty about grimy switches. 

*As for washing the windows....now is the perfect time to do it.  But windows are a major job.  If you are working a room at a time, go ahead and do the windows as you go.  If not, you may want to reserve a separate day to do your windows, depending on how many you have.  This is a great place to recycle newspapers, as they are pretty great for cleaning glass.  Just wad them up and use like you would a paper towel.  Another thing to keep in mind: are there any other chores that are going to dirty up your windows that you need to get done first?  I always wait until after my pest control guy comes to do my spring spraying.  Also, if you plan on pressure washing the outside of your house, hold off on the windows until afterwards. 

*Now for bigger surface cleaning.  Tops of cabinets.  Top of the fridge.  Shelves.  Storage boxes.  Etc. Etc. Don't make me tell you again.  Don't shortcut!  Take everything off of the surface.  This is also where I get down to the nitty-gritty.  Wipe down all those trinkets and things that also catch dust and grime.  Especially in the kitchen (but there will be a special post just for the kitchen.).  Perfume bottles.  Toiletries in the bathroom.  Appliances.  Tops of books.  And all other furniture.  Always start from the top and work your way down.

*Baseboards.  Let me just say that dirty baseboards can ruin the look of an otherwise pristine house.  Not washing your baseboards is sort of like washing your car and neglecting to wash your wheels.  It just looks bad.  This is another place where Magic Erasers work like a charm.  Once you scrub those babies clean, a little upkeep can go a long way.  In the rooms that I mop (kitchen, bathrooms, laundry) I always catch the tops of my baseboards with my mop.  It only adds seconds onto my regular mopping job, but makes a big difference.  In other rooms, I simply use the brush attachment on my vacuum to do regular touch-ups. 

*Don't forget your walls.  Bumps and scratches and dirty fingerprints.  Address the issue now.  Clean any spots that can be cleaned and touch up any spots that are missing paint or stain. 

From this point, I would like to do a room by room breakdown.  Stay tuned for kitchen, bathroom, closet, work space and other more specified cleaning posts.  (Can you tell that I'm rather enjoying this?)  But before I go, I want to give you a few notes on cleaners and such.

~I adore Magic Erasers.  And, as you can probably guess, the cheaper off-brand kind works just as well.  However, they do leave a gritty, milky looking film behind.  So, I always carry a damp rag around with me when using an Eraser to wipe the surface after scrubbing it.  Works just fine.
~If your fiberglass tub is in really bad shape and regular cleaners don't seem to lay a hurtin' on it, try an S.O.S. pad.  I know that sounds crazy, but it works.  Just be easy with it.  Don't go scrubbing like you are trying to remove the black plague. 
~There is a plethora of new natural cleaning products on the market these days.  I like Mrs. Jones Soapbox and Bon Ami products.  But it's hard to beat a good old fashioned vinegar water solution.  If you need some extra oomph, simply add a little bit of baking soda and lemon juice. 
~I like to take blinds down and scrub them with a scrub brush and a multi purpose cleaner.  This works best on a porch or patio with a garden hose handy.  But you can also do it in the tub.  Just let them soak a bit before scrubbing and then shower them off.  The same process works great for window screens, too. 

Happy Cleaning, dolls.