The Week in Review | March 17-21

I’ve been absolutely obsessed with plans for our yard this spring and summer. No giant changes as far as adding a deck or shed or anything but an overall cleanup is in order and I am so so so excited to start an edible garden in our yard. Growing up in a yard that was so small we mowed it with a weed whacker and then living in apartments for the last decade has definitely left me pining for land. Not a greedy amount- but an efficient amount. And our yard is more than sufficient to grow a decent sized edible garden and still have room for a big harvest table. It’s our very own urban homestead!

So while I dream of dirt, take a look at these incredible transformations from the blogosphere this week…

Week in Review

 

  1. Unfortunately for Dana at House Tweaking, this is a before picture. This awesome chair had a little mishap with the gas fireplace screen. No one was harmed but this chair may never be the same. Sorry Dana!
  2. Erin at Elements of Style is also dreaming of yard time. She had her patio refinished last year and plans to take full advantage of it. Want some company Erin?
  3. Got to love an upcycling project and this one is so fabulous! Made + Remade‘s Samantha Pattillo turns a Craigslist credenza into a mid-century masterpiece!
  4. I’m not usually one for wallpaper but these woodland walls showcased on the Inspired Room may be my exception.
  5. Another amazing makeover happened over on With Heart. Check out her page to see Jen’s incredible before sofa. Maybe Dana should give Jen a call to fix that chair!

Hang in There

In honor of the first day of spring, we’re hanging our coats up. Well, not for good. It’s still quite chilly. But we did get a brand new coat rack for our mudroom!

This row of anchor hooks from Pottery Barn is super sturdy and goes nicely with all the greys in our mudroom.

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We’re able to fit five coats comfortably, which in my opinion should be sufficient enough for everyday use. Our coats when guests come over along with off season coats will be kept in the closet we intend to install directly across from this rack in our mudroom.

It’s the perfect addition to our mudroom and looks great over our still sort-of-new bench!

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Master Bedroom Touchups

I love our master bedroom. It’s so bright and clean. I know a lot of people like dark bedrooms but I would never want to live in a cave. Give me fresh! Give me breezy! Give me heavy white linens to rest my head on every night and glorious sunshine to wake me up each morning. I want to feel refreshed in a bedroom. Restored, renewed, revived!

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And this bedroom is just that. So when I think back to where it started, it really doesn’t seem like the same place. See this? Shag carpeting, yellowed wallpaper, and a drop ceiling. Oy vey.

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Since the first floor received the bulk of our attention (and budget) I made it my mission to make the best of this bedroom. We weren’t going to remove the horsehair plaster or the dented old trim or even redo the flooring. This was a total patch job. But if I do say so myself, a really eff-ing great one!

My Dad skillfully repaired dents in the walls after Jared and I tore down all the wallpaper. And my Mum and I tackled that drop ceiling. Hard to even look at this again…

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But after all the patching and cleaning, paint was the saving grace in this room. If you recall, I painted the trim and walls a lot but once they were as perfect as they were going to get, we turned our attention to the floors. There was no saving these hardwoods in terms of sanding and staining and I know they are so imperfect but I just adore these wide boards with their occasional creek.

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So a putty grey paint transformed them into beach house chic floors.

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The only problem with painted floors is that they get chipped. Especially when moving furniture. So the floors have kinda looked like this since we moved in last September.

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Fortunately, it’s an easy fix. A spot here, a spot there, and voilà!

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They will never be perfect but I love them with all their cracks and flaws just the same.

Steamy Sunday

Steamy because I was positioned about two inches from every radiator in the house painting the poles that run into our basement. It’s one of those little projects that tends to get forgotten after a big renovation.

Our radiators were very dark and dingy but painted a shiny metallic before we moved in. But once they were put into place it was pretty obvious that those pipes that lead down to the heating system in the basement needed some attention. See this one in our living room still caked with some foam insulation? Ick.

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So we broke out this Rust-Oleum Aluminum paint again, laid down some newspaper, and got real cozy with the radiators.

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It didn’t take long and seems like such a small task but it really made a big difference. Check out these before and afters.

In the living room…

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In the front entry way…

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Tucked behind the treadmill in the mudroom…

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And up in our bedroom…

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The bedroom one really drove me crazy because the room is so light and airy and that nasty pole was the last piece of transforming that room. That and touching up the floors but more on that tomorrow!

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The Week in Review | March 10-14

Are you itching for spring as much as me and my fellow bloggers are? There may still be snow on the ground but rejoice in these bright and airy springtime posts!

Week in Review

  1. Another Julie over at Coordinately Yours shares my love of white flowers. She’s full of spring decorating ideas this week including this lovely pitcher full of tulips.
  2. A sunny day and succulents? Yes please! Jenni from Story of My Life shares some simple pleasures.
  3. Is this not the most light and fluffy lemon meringue pie you’ve ever seen? Get the recipe at Eat, Live, Run.
  4. Sarah M. Dorsey Designs offers a free printable download of this sweet sentiment.
  5. And Jen Flores from Rambling Renovators guest blogs this DIY springtime shadow box over at Brooklyn Limestone.

 

What are you doing to prep for the vernal equinox? Hope it’s not shoveling! Happy weekend!

Cleaning Tools & Gadgets

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It’s the final installment of my Cleaning House Series and today I’d like to share my arsenal of favorite cleaning tools. I can go green all day long with homemade cleaning products but you sure-as-shit aren’t going to see me on my hands and knees scrubbing a floor. No, I like my shortcuts and modern conveniences as much as the next gal.

And my favorite convenience with out a doubt has to be my iRobot Braava. I’ve gushed about him before but since he came into my life last September, I think I love Braava more and more with every swipe.

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Braava comes with two microfiber cleaning cloths that get tucked on to a bottom flap that locks with a magnetic seal. The cloths are fantastic for trapping crumbs and scrubbing floors but with our dark floors, I tend to send Braava out every couple days. And on those quick dust sweeps, I gear him up with a basic Swiffer dry cloth which works just fine.

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Where does all that dust come from anyways? And hair! Lord, I could make myself a wig!

Sorry, that way gross. Let’s move on…

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Where Braava takes care of our wood floors, my Shark vacuums take care of our rugs. Ever since I went off to college with my teeny Shark Dustbuster, I’ve been in love with the Shark brand. They’re so light weight and powerful… plus they’re freakin’ adorable with their sleek design and lovely lavender color!

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With the Shark Navigator upright vacuum and the Shark cordless Dustbuster, I’m invincible! The vacuum is really light weight with a nice handle on top for getting up and down the stairs. The attachments work well for upholstery and the clear canister in the center is super easy to detach and dump into the garbage.

The Dustbuster comes in handy often. I love that it’s cordless and charges in this perfect little docking station. It’s perfect for cleaning up small messes especially all our small construction projects. Sawdust is no match for the Shark!

If you’ve been holding out on cleaning technology, try one of these happy helpers and I guarantee you won’t miss the dustpan!

Clean without Chemicals

For week two of my Not-Quite-Yet-Spring Cleaning Series, I’d like to focus on the gadgets and products that I use to clean my home. Cleaning House

By now, you may have realized that I take cleaning seriously. Cleaning extends into every area of my life including clean eating and more recently a clean, chemical-free lifestyle.

Chemicals have made their way into everything from the milk in the fridge to the shampoo in the shower and no where are chemicals more prevalent than in all those cleaning products. Allow me to scare you for a moment…

Butyl cellosolve, a chemical common in all-purpose, glass, and other types of cleaners, damages bone marrow, the nervous system, kidneys and the liver. And yet you spray it on your counter where you prepare food!

And what’s even scarier- no law requires manufacturers of cleaners to list ingredients on their labels or to test their products for safety. It’s up to you to make sure your home is a nontoxic environment. So let’s take some initiative and try making some perfectly effective cleaners from safe products you probably already have in your home!

First, can we start with getting rid of anything that says WARNING, DANGER or POISON? I mean, that’s just common sense people. OK, now on to the mad scientist ingredient mixing fun!

The Power of Baking Soda

Baking soda’s cleaning power is mostly physical- acting as a mild abrasive to gently wear away stains. But there is chemistry involved too! Baking soda reacts with the grease found in many stains to form glycerol, a common cleansing ingredient in soaps. Mix it with vinegar to create carbonic acid which will boost the corrosive action of the vinegar. This concoction also releases carbon dioxide which enhances the scrubbing effect. And bonus! As a weak alkali, baking soda neutralizes acids in odor molecules to eliminate strong smells! Use baking soda to remove rings around the toilet, sink, and tub, the film that builds on shower doors, and vinyl surfaces. I always have an open box in the fridge to absorb any stinky odors that may linger.  

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Vinegar: Not Just for Dying Eggs!

Distilled white vinegar can be used as a deodorizer, disinfectant, mild acid, and preservative. Vinegar’s acetic acid will dissolve calcium build-up found in coffee pots, sinks, showers, dishwashers, and windows. Vinegar also cuts through dirt, grease, mold and helps to carry away foul odors as it evaporates. Every month or so, I like to fill my coffee maker with half a pot water, half vinegar and send it through a brew cycle without the grounds. It disinfects and cleans my most precious morning appliance with minimal effort.

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When Life Hands You Lemons, Use Them to Clean!

Lemons are arguably one of my favorite things in the world! I love the smell, I love the taste, I love their bright, happy yellow color! Fresh lemon juice contains citric acid which can deodorize, remove stains, brighten whites in the laundry or kitchen, clean glass, inhibit mold, and disinfect toilets to name a few. One of my favorite lemon cleaning tricks is removing stains from food storage containers. Just squeeze the juice into the containers, rub with a little baking soda, and let sit overnight. No more tomato-sauce-stained tupperware!

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There are countless ways to cut chemicals in your cleaning routine. Check out these recipes from Good Housekeeping. They have a homemade potion for every product from stain remover to brass cleaner. Happy (healthy!) cleaning!

The Week in Review | March 3-7

So many bloggers are getting a head start on St. Patrick’s Day! My goodness was there an explosion of green in the blogshpere this week! And all the crafts with the word LUCKY. Super cute but I can’t help but read them all in the Napoleon Dynamite voice. “Luuck-iieee!” Anyways, here are some pretties that caught my eye. Hope you enjoy!

Week in Review

  1. This St. Patty’s project is one I could get behind. The Glitter Guide posted this Pot of Gold Punch for those of you not partial to Guinness.
  2. I am so impressed with this furniture makeover from Sarah M. Dorsey Designs! Proof that slapping a coat of paint on something isn’t always the best route. It’s those fine details that make a DIY project truly spectacular.
  3. Show me a barn door and I’m as happy as a pig in mud. Michael from Inspired by Charm installed his long awaited barn doors this week. I’d say they were worth the wait!
  4. Rachel Hollis from The Chic Home shares some great ways to store blankets. I’m a big fan of the dangling throw in a crate or basket. Chic and so practical during this frigid winter!
  5. Cottage and Vine showed off reader Tracy’s beautiful bathroom with gorgeous wood tiles. Plus, do I even have to say it… white subway tile! Love it!

Purge & Merge

Back for more? Woo hoo! Let’s clean!

Cleaning House

Yesterday I told you about my Purge & Merge method. Getting rid of unwanted items and grouping like things together. I use it when approaching any project from packing up a whole house for a move to tackling the pantry. Let’s use the latter as a for instance.

Does your pantry look like this? By the way, you have no idea how much anxiety this photo gives me.

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Start with the purge. This should be easy. Expired food? Gone! Unhealthy choices? Chucked. Cans with the labels off? No one likes surprises when hungry.

OK, that was easy right? On to the merge. Think of your pantry as your very own grocery store. Baking aisle, canned goods, snacks, international foods, etc. Group like items together and you’ll never have to wonder just how many jars of peanut butter may be lurking.

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And while you’re grouping, baskets are great tools to corral loose packaged items like granola bars or oatmeal packets. I like to put the small containers like baking powder, vanilla extract, and food coloring together. The basket comes with me to the counter when I’m ready to bake! And I love all the snack tips from the Mommy Blogs. Kids can basically pack their own lunches when the options are there for them!

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There’s really every canister and container under the sun for pantry items. Have fun with labels or colors but in the end, when organizing the pantry the Purge & Merge works every time. Happy cleaning!