02 March 2015

Final House Tour

I want to start by saying thank you for the sweet and supportive comments and emails I've gotten since my last post. The decision to stop writing this blog hasn't been an easy one, but I feel really good about the reason why. (If you missed it you can read it here.) But I'm sad too, to not be doing this anymore. So the very kind responses I've gotten have meant a lot.

As promised, I have photos of the house in Minneapolis that we just moved into. 

It wasn't the easiest down-sizing for a second time. This house is actually not that much smaller than our last one- that one was around 2,000sf and this one is around 1800. But it's 1800 split between three levels, so each level feels tiny. Like every move, before this one we had a yard sale and got rid of a ton of stuff, but after moving in there are still boxes of things that I have stored in closets and the attic because they just won't fit anywhere in here. I'm fine with the wait for most of the stuff because once I open it up again it will feel brand new and be really fun to be able to use again in a different house. The one thing I am sad about is our DIY dining room table, which barely even fit through the front door, and had absolutely no way of fitting anywhere in the house. But since it's my dream table and cost way more to make than I could hope to get for it on Craigslist, it's currently wrapped in plastic and being stored in our garage till we move to a bigger house. 
It's funny though that after getting rid of so many things before we moved, we then had to go out shopping and buy a ton of new things just to make this house work. There were no window treatments, which made our first couple nights a little unsettling. There also was no storage what so ever in the main floor bathroom so we had to go out and buy a cabinet. All of our rugs were too large for the living room so we had to buy a new one. And a new couch because we gave the old one to my sister. Oh and a new table because the kitchen table from our old house was also too large to fit in here. 
We made about 15 trips to Ikea in our first two weeks here, and I never thought I'd say this but I actually got tired of going there. Give me a few more weeks though and I'll be ready to go back. But anyway, all that was just to say that for us at least, it turns out down-sizing isn't always the more economical option. But I'm glad we found this house because it's in a great area and we're close to everything we need. And I'm THRILLED with the amount of light this house gets. Our last living room drove me crazy with how dark it was, and this one gets tons of light. Really, in the summer I think I'll tan in here. And the house meets everything on my list that I wanted to find here: Neutral paint colors, an updated kitchen, at least two bathrooms, and a decent amount of natural light. 

I'm going to describe everything in more detail than I normally would in a house tour so that family who is interested can kind of get the lay of the land in here since they're too far away to see it for a while.

So here's the house, beginning with the entry area and living room.

This first photo is the view when you walk through the front door.

I am obsessed with the gallery wall. I wanted to keep it mostly neutral or muted colors with just a couple bright pops of color to wake it up, so I used the pom poms on the pouf as my color inspiration and included a couple pink paintings done by the kids. Then I made sure to have a few small hits of pink on the other side of the room for continuity. 

Couch, rug, and drapes are Ikea. Ottoman is a diy; it's fabric is West Elm. Side table is Target. Moroccan wedding blanket pillows are Pottery Barn and gold leopard pillow is West Elm. 

Between the living room and the kitchen is a little hallway that leads either up these stairs to the second floor, or to another tiny hallway (where I was standing when I was taking this shot) with the master bedroom, second bedroom that we're using as a home office, and a bathroom. 

This is the bathroom that came with zero storage so we got the tall cabinet in the corner from Ikea so that we'd have somewhere to put all of our bathroom stuff. After one shower in here- where you have to huddle in the corner to try to stay under the spray and simultaneously kick the water down the drain because the floor slopes in the opposite direction, turning the shower into a bath- was more than enough. Now everyone uses the shower in the basement. At least this one will always be clean. 

Directly across the hall from this bathroom is the master bedroom. It's really small and thanks to the placement of a wall/floor vent required off-centering our dresser in a way that now the closet door can't close. The closet itself is tiny so Rob generously said I could have it for my clothes and he'd hang his in the closet next door in the office. Because the bathroom doesn't have much storage (or a counter) I keep my makeup in our bedroom and get ready mostly in here. Even though the room is tiny I was able to figure out a way to make everything fit and it works. 

The headboard and upholstered bed frame were from West Elm and my favorite Christmas gifts ever. Actually they are pretty much my favorite things in our house. (Duvet cover and matching pillow shams are also West Elm.)

I'm using one of the bookcases from our last house to hold makeup, jewelry, purses, shoes and clothes that don't fit in the closet. 

The dresser is Ikea and we really like it so far. My plan is to eventually replace all the knobs for something prettier. 

So back out of the hallway and up the stairs is the second floor, which isn't actually a "true" second floor- it's really an attic that's been finished so they called it a "half" floor on the rental listing. 

Up here is just this little open space, and then through the door is the bedroom where the twins sleep. (I'm not bothering to show it because it's still kind of a mess.)

Back down the stairs and to the left is the kitchen. 

The table is our newest diy- and it took all of two minutes! The top is from Ikea; it's actually made to be a desk top but it was the biggest size we could fit in here and still be able to walk around to get in the room. Rob just screwed the legs from our old kitchen table to it. (We'd gotten rid of the top before the move and just brought the legs with us.) 

It's pretty tight to sit in here. Only the kids can fit in the chairs up against the wall since they can't pull out from under the table very far. But it works, at least for the five of us. The kids may find themselves eating on the floor if anyone else comes to dinner. 

I'm not crazy about the cabinet color (although it's not as orange as it looks in photos) but I am so very happy that this kitchen was updated. 

This blank wall next to the refrigerator looked really ugly and just felt like dead space. So I chose to make it the Instagram wall and now it's so much better to look at. 

Around the corner on the far side of the kitchen is the door we use when we leave the house and come home.

The view of shoes from the kitchen kills me but it's necessary. I'd forgotten how dirty things get when there's snow on the ground.

Since these photos we went out and bought one of those industrial rugs that's big enough to fill most of the space in this corner. It's hideous but it's saving me from the tedious, three-step process that had to happen to the kitchen floor every time we came home- dry mop the mud and melted snow, then sweep up the dirt, then swiffer. It sucked.

So directly across from this door are the stairs that go down to the basement.

The basement has an open area that we're using as a playroom, and there's a bedroom where our oldest sleeps, and a bathroom.  It also has an unfinished section which is where the laundry is. 

The doorway to the unfinished part of the basement was just open, so I used a tension rod to hang a curtain across it (just a shower curtain that we weren't using), that way we don't have to see in there all the time. 

The playroom has a pretty awkward layout, and because of a heater vent that spans a good amount of the back wall along the floor, I couldn't lay things out in a way that looked decent. I just had to shove things along the walls any where they would fit. But it's fine because obviously I'm the only one who cares about that; the kids love it and they spend tons of time down here. 

And that's the house! We're a little too cramped in here to be comfortable for a long amount of time, so this definitely couldn't be a long-term house for us, but for finishing up school it's perfect. And I've kind of enjoyed the challenge of making it work. 

So I guess this is where I say goodbye.
I am really going to miss writing here. 

I forgot to mention in my last post how much more DIYing I was able to do during my break from blogging at the end of last year and beginning of this one. It was really eye-opening for me. It's been a whole lot easier to carve out time to decorate and up-cycle things when I don't have to also photograph every step and write out a tutorial. But I've absolutely loved those parts of my blog; they were actually my favorite posts to do, it's just gotten harder and harder to do them. But every time I make something now I find myself thinking of the easiest way to explain how to do it. As time-consuming as project tutorials are, I'm going to really miss writing them.  

And if I'm being completely, shallowly honest, I'm also going to miss the extra money! It's been fun to see things I want and know I can get them for myself without any guilt about dipping into the grocery fund or something. And without standing around in a store isle, desperately trying to think of what holiday is coming up in a reasonable amount of time, then buying what I wanted, bringing it home, and then cheerfully telling Rob that I've just done him a huge favor and he no longer needs to stress about what to get me for Valentine's Day because I've just picked it out for him. You know, just to make his life easier. 
I guess I'll have to resurrect that tactic. And Mother's Day is just around the corner....

I have lots of dreams about going to school and becoming a designer, and even having my own design business someday. And my blog became a part of those dreams. But there just isn't enough time in the day to pursue every dream, at least not right now. 

And my kids were my first dream. They are the real dream. 
So for now, I'm letting go of something that's good so that I can have more time for something that's better. 

I love you guys for reading this. It wouldn't have been nearly as fun if I'd been writing to the sound of crickets. 

It's been a blast. 


20 February 2015

I'm Back

 ....in Minneapolis. 

It was just over two years ago while living in Minneapolis that I wrote this post about how we were going to have to leave. We'd come up here so my husband could go to law school but after a year and a half of school, his business back in Florida was struggling with him being so far away. So he got a leave of absence from school and we moved back down to Florida, hoping that we would eventually find some way to get back up to Minnesota so Rob could complete his degree. 

Like I said, that was a couple years ago though, and we quickly got very comfortable back in our normal life. Work got really good again, life was really good, and school started feeling like this unrealistic dream that we talked less and less about. We were making plans to buy a house in Ponte Vedra (a pretty little beach town near where we lived in Jacksonville). Florida was once again feeling like our permanent home. 

Only something about all that just wasn't completely settling with us. There was always this tiny, nagging little thought that we didn't actually want to give up on this goal that we'd started years ago when we'd packed up our life and headed over a thousand miles away to start law school. For one thing it would feel like all of that had been a waste. And more importantly we didn't want to shut the door on any possible opportunities that that degree could open up. 

So, here we are. 
We talked, we planned, we prayed...then last month we once again packed up our life and headed back up to Minnesota so that Rob can complete the degree he started out to get. 

It feels kind of crazy to be back here. We're quickly remembering all the things that were kind of a drag about life as a full-time student. But we're really excited that we will be able to complete this goal that we set. 

It also feels kind of crazy to be back here, sitting in front of my blog. My break was longer than I'd planned but with the move and everything it just took longer than I'd anticipated to get back here. I know I said when I left that it wasn't goodbye, that I just needed a short break. And at the time that's what I thought. But being away gave me time to really step back and think, and realize that all the reasons why I'd wanted time away in the first place are all still there, so as hard as it is I've decided to make this break a permanent one. 

I started this blog exactly four years ago this month. My oldest was in Kindergarten, my twins were 3 months old, and it seemed fun to have something that was just kind of for me. I feel like I kind of stumbled into blogging- before starting mine I had a blog to update family members on what was going on with us, but it was private and I updated it like a handful of times a year. Blogging about a hobby of mine never crossed my mind. But a couple times when we visited Rob's family my brothers-in-law talked with him about blogging for work and stuff, and I listened to them talk about how to start a blog, and how to get it noticed and just different things, and I was thinking to myself, "That sounds fun; I think I could do that." So one day months later I just did. {So thanks James & Jason- you guys inspired me!!:)}

I can't even begin to describe how much I have loved having this place. It has been so fun to discover that I'm not really as crazy as I've always thought, and that there are a ton of other people out there who are just as nuts as I am about decorating and interior design. I'm far from "making it" as a blogger- as blogs go, mine is small stuff. But to me the opportunities that I've had have been really exciting, because they are things that before starting this I'd never have thought I would do. But I think my very favorite thing about this blog is that it feels like an accidental journal of my family's life for the past four years. Because even though it's mostly just me prattling on about the latest looks I'm loving or what I'm lusting over or what I just bought for our house, my real life is always in the background. The house that we're living in, the projects that we're working on, and just what our everyday life looks like. It's something that I'm going to treasure having. And it's the thing that makes this the hardest to walk away from. 

But it also represents the biggest reason why I am walking away. 
Something happened over the summer that made me realize that as much as I'd love for my family to grow, there's a good chance it isn't going to, and that probably these next few months will be my last ones with small children being at home with me all day. The twins will start school this fall and then my days of having kids at home constantly will be over. That sounds equal parts thrilling and absolutely heart breaking. 
And I don't want to spend those last few months that they are at home all day with me, sitting behind a computer screen. 

There are other, smaller reasons too. They aren't anything big and on their own they wouldn't be enough to make me stop, but they are just kind of the extra benefits of quitting. 

The negativity that goes along with sharing your ideas on the internet isn't awesome. As amazing as blogging is, it does have a dark side, and that part I'm not going to miss. Honestly I've been really lucky that I haven't had to deal with that very much. Most of the people I've been able to associate with have been incredibly nice and most of my experience with blogging has been very positive. I've had just enough experience with the not-so-nice side of blogging though that it's been an unexpected perk of being away. It just kind of feels like I've shed some unnecessary negativity from my life. It's felt pretty freeing to be able to just do whatever I want around my house without wondering if anyone is going to have some problem with it. 

Also, just between me and you guys, my coat is getting tight. And our windchill the other day was like -31. I need that thing to zip. So it will probably be good for my waistline if instead of sitting in front of a computer for hours a day, I like, I don't know, do some sit ups. Or take a walk. Or eat some vegetables instead of my favorite food- Krispy Kream glazed donuts with chocolate sauce. 

This got long, I'm sorry. It probably doesn't really matter though. I've been away for so long that probably the only one reading by now is my mom. And she likes when I'm wordy. 

This isn't my last post- I took some photos of our new house so I'll share them before I go for good. 

Be back in a few. 

30 October 2014

Going On Break

This is likely my last post for this year! After almost 4 years of writing this blog, I am taking my first big break. Honestly I'm a little scared to because I'm worried no one will be here when I get back. But if my sporadic posting lately is any indication, a break is really needed. I have a lot going on lately and am feeling a little overwhelmed, but the only thing I can realistically clean from my plate is my blog. So I'm letting my stress levels win this one and stepping away for a couple months. 
This isn't goodbye. It's just, see you in 2015. 
So, Happy Halloween...Happy Thanksgiving...Merry Christmas…Happy New Year……...and see ya in a bit. 

And as always, 

It always is. xo

29 October 2014

Paper Flowers

My kitchen sink area is looking like spring time thanks to these pretty pink flowers, and the best part is they'll never die. 

These are really easy to make. Here are {almost} all the supplies:

-crepe paper streamers
-scissors with scalloped edge
-floral wire
-floral tape
-pen or pencil (for attaching petals)
-cotton ball

The only thing not pictured is the glue. I've used both Elmer's and hot glue and both work great. The little circles with the scalloped edges I cut out of the crepe paper streamers. Those are the petals. 

I glued a cotton ball onto the end of a floral wire and then wrapped the bottom half of it and the wire with floral tape. Then I attached the paper petals to the top half of the cotton ball by sticking each petal over the end of a pen and kind of wrapping it around like this:

Then I put a small amount of glue on the bottom of the petal (which is the part covering the bottom of the pen) and then used the pen to push the petal onto the cotton ball. I repeated this until the whole cotton ball was covered. 

So pretty and I love that I can't kill them! 
That is unless I splash them with water…which I find sort of ironic.