Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekend Progress Report

Wow- what a busy weekend. I was finally clear enough (no football or romanic holidays in sight) to focus on some of my goals this weekend!

I was able to tackle items 1 and 3 from my priority list. I skipped number 2 because I need to wait until just before the party so the carpet is as clean and fresh as possible for the party.

I made the first pass at cleaning the pool. I leaf-raked, scrubbed and vacummed until I could do no more then I doused it with chemicals. This will be a work in progress for a few more weeks.

I had more fulfillment from completing my pantry re-organization. Here are the before and afters:

I don't expect it would cut the mustard with the neatest of neatniks but I am pretty proud of my accomplishment. I removed everything in the pantry closet. Then I removed the shelves and all of the old hardware. Next, I patched all of the old holes and then I installed the new shelves. I re-used a few of the old, deeper shelves and added some new shallower ones (It can be hard to get to the back of the deep ones). All in all, I think the result is good- my shelves are no longer bowing under the weight of canned goods and I gained a new shelf to boot!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Slide Into Home

Forget everything I've said about my house. I want this one instead.

Organizational Inspiration

Paperwork heck is still dominating my dining room (though it is mostly dominating paper boxes). Newer mail and paperwork typically pile up in the kitchen on the breakfast table. I need to find a better solution for this little papier-plague before it spreads again.

I think a solution might be creating a workspace that includes functional as well as asthetic components. I like the way that this catalog set-up their station:

I plan on going in a slightly different direction but there are some things I will use such as a mail/letter station and key hooks. I will add some simple shelves for decorative items. I would like a steel magnet board to display my kiddo- art because magnets will not stick to my refrigearator. I also want a cork board for notes, menus and photos. Since I am on a tight budget, I plan on plan on picking these two items up at Ikea because they have each of these for under $10. I have stainless steel appliances, so I am torn between leaving the magnet board natural or covering it in a fabric to add a  little pattern.

My kitchen features textured stucco walls, cherry cabinets, and black accents. My design will need to be natural and somewhat rustic. Several years ago, I visited Tuscany and I find myself going back to that asthetic over and over. I may go in that direction again for this room- though the lines of the various components are likely to be sharp and angular. It may be a challange to blend the two, but I think I am up to it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekend Progress Report

This was another weekend where I didn't get to any of the items on my list(s)- at least the ones posted here. I did get to some much needed to-do items but they mostly involved dusting and laundry. Not anything interesting enough to take a picture of!

T-minus 6 weeks until the pumpkin-monkey's first birthday. I really need to hunker-down and get these things done, otherwise I will be embarrased come party day.

The good news on that front is the theme is selected which just leaves the supply gathering and invitation sending. I think I have two weeks before I need to get those out.

In the order of importance I think I need to tackle:

1. Pool/Backyard: Though it will be too cold to swim, I know it is where most people will be hanging out as long as the weather is nice.

2. Living Room Carpet: Need to get this cleaned and maybe pick-up one of the area rugs from my last post! This is important, but it may wait till week 5 to keep it fresh and clean.

3. Pantry: Not many will see this, but it is dismal.

4. Front Yard: General clean up. Hopefully I will have some pretty flowers by then!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Carpet Bomb

 I have a lively 10-month-old son. He is constantly hungry and always on the run (crawl). As I mentioned in an earlier post, he spends most of his time in one room which is the family room or den. Whatever you would like to call it. It is where we play, watch TV and just hang out.

So, like I said, he is always hungry and into everything which mean that there are Cheerios, puffs and whatever else baby hands can get a hold of, everywhere. By everywhere, I mean mostly in the carpet. The mostly-white carpet:
So I think I need an area rug to both camouflage the mess that is only going to grow with a burgeoning toddler as well as add some color to my rather large, rather TAN room. This is the wall color:

And I have a large sectional that looks like this: 

But is this color:

So to summarize, tan, tan and... tan:
 Yes- I need to liven up this palette and do so on a budget. I have been scoping out some discount stores and other avenues trying to find something that will suit my needs and tastes.
At first pass, I found these three options:

I can continue to go with the existing color palette:
 I could integrate the existing colors and add some pops of bolder colors that do not yet exist in the room:
 Or I can throw caution to the wind and go really bold. I could see this as a fun family room option. I could add throw pillows in blue, green and orange that would replace the color-matched throws that came with my couch:
There are other options out there that I like more, design wise, but the family room is pretty casual and has these existing large tan areas I must work with... the hunt is on!

Oh and if you are wondering what happened with the pantry- no progress yet. I had a busy Valentine's Day weekend. I'll see if I can give it a go this weekend.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Weekend Progress Report

In addition to the plantings this weekend, I also ran a few errands and did some cleaning and organizing.

I was able to at least consolidate the paperwork heck in my dining room. I trashed a lot of old expired coupons, catalogs and junk mail. All the paid bills and important paperwork made their way into a paper box for later sorting. I usually go through this process this time of year because I need to organize all of my tax-related goodies. This is something that needs to be done far more often than once-a-year around tax time. The last time I touched this mountain was this Summer. Bad me.

I also went to the home improvement store to buy some shelving for the pantry. That was an adventure- who knew there were so many options. I did buy some things but I am not sure what direction it will go in yet. This is my before shot (don't judge!).

Unfortunately there isn't an after yet. I hope to have one this weekend.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Testing the Green Thumb

Plantings aren't really high on my priority list. Nothing I plant will fix my organizational problems which I think are part of what is getting in the way of my -beautifully decorated dream home- but in the mean time, I know I need to plant bulbs now if they are going to be pretty, colorful flowers come Spring.

So today I spent some time picking out and planting my Spring and Summer color.

I bought two large planters and several types of bulbs. The pictures of the flowers are from the packaging:

 Ranunculus (mixed)- aren't these cool? They are a little rose like but a little more unique.

Alliums (Purple Sensation)- Sticking with the cool theme, these little puffballs are pretty neat. They remind me of purple dandilion puffs.

Gladiolus (Blue Lagoon) - I love Gladiolus' tall stalks. I like them so much, I got two types...

Gladiolus (Traderhorn)- Beautiful purple and white verigation in these.

Crocus (Mix)- The crocus blooms as soon as the first warm days come signalling Spring isn't far to follow.

I also planted some mixed tulips. The pacakge didn't have a picture, but we all know what Tulips look like, right? To add some greenery, I transplanted some existing Hostas I already had in pots.

So here is the finished product! I know... there isn't much to see yet. You'll have to come back in a few weeks to see how they turned out.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

First Things First

So this is my basic layout of the house as-is. I am not an architect or draft artist, so this is not perfect or to scale:

Before I start my list, know that I bought my house as a flip. Not mine, but someone else's. Some things were done well (or appeared to be) others were performed by a jack of all trades, master of none. So I have a lot of things that don't make sense in the house.

The first issues I will attempt to fix are more organizational than aesthetic. The big problem areas I would like to tackle first are:

1. Pantry: This is an organizational NIGHTMARE. There are four deep wire shelves. Problem is they are so deep and not well supported. They all bend with small amounts of canned goods on them. It's a little scary.

2. Garage: This is really my fault. When I moved in, I put off unpacking. I really have a lot of stuff and I never unpacked a lot of said stuff. I have tried to fix this little by little by adding utility shelves and peg board organizers. My boyfriend pointed out that this was not a very good effort (hey- way to go with the knock when I am trying, mister). Granted, I do need to find permanent homes for the rest of the items that are still there. Many of which (1/3 or so) are afore-mentioned mister's belongings *ahem*.

3. Dining Room: This is home to paperwork heck. I have sorted and boxed it several times a year, but this begs for a better solution.

4. Pool: Just needs to be cleaned and treated. My super brother offered to help with this as my Christmas present. With the ice and bad weather we have had so far, it hasn't been possible. However, I hope to cash in on this soon.

5. Yard(s): These just need a little polishing. Maybe a little color. I also want a garden this year. I had one for 3-4 years but last year I didn't want to tend one with the big belly getting in the way.

All of these items I hope to rectify before the pumpkin-monkey's first birthday in April. I would like to have some people over and although I can hide the messes for visitors, I would rather fix them.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Utter and Complete Lack of Design

So I claim to be creative.

I claim, but my house has little to back this up other than the masses of art and craft supplies that litter various rooms and hidey-holes. Sure I have a couple of my own paintings here or there but that is about it. Why? Why.

The reason is, I hate my house. I really do. Again, why? That is hard to explain. By all means, I have a very nice home. It is a two-story traditional home with three bedrooms and two and a half baths. It has two additions- a very large great room and a sunroom. I have about 3/4 of an acre of land, a pool in my back yard and the house is in a good location.

Why did I buy it? All of the above. Why do I d i s l i k e it so?

1. I have a pool.

Pools are not as fun as they sound. I have spent about $6,000 on mine since I bought the house a little longer than two years ago. I am fair-skinned, so I don't sun-bathe. I like to swim but I have been in the pool maybe 10 times. Last year when I became pregnant, I couldn't clean the pool effectively, so at this time, it is little more than a happy, green pond for my froggy friends.

Now that I am no longer pregnant and I have a child on the verge of walking, the once "fun sounding" pool now becomes my mom-nightmare.

2. I am on a steep hill.

There are pros and cons to this... I guess.

I could probably survive a flood.
I can get a pretty good workout running up the 45-degree incline.

It is a real B to mow the front yard.
When the weather is bad, it is nearly impossible to drive up the darn driveway.
Now that I have the afore-mentioned child, I have visions of him taking a step out the door and tumbling down to the street below (I am sure people in San Francisco and Colorado and those other hilly places are calling me a real wuss right now).

3. I am near a large creek.

If I could get past the issues with #1 and #2, I still have issues with interesting wild life. They seem to find their way to my house no matter what precautions I take.

4. I have inefficient doors and windows.

I might as well not have doors or windows. I have single-pane windows throughout my house, save one set of replacement windows in the kitchen. I also have FOUR sets of French doors and the main entry, garage and garage entry door. All of these have a one centimeter to one inch gap around them. Not exactly the best for energy conservation or for keeping baby footsies warm and toasty.

5. I have trees.

Lots of trees. So, so many, very large trees. Good, yes? No (now the New Yorkers are mad). To fix this, I would need to pay at least $1000 each to fell these green giants. Heart-breaking to my green readers, I know. I can't grow grass or a garden. I can't keep up with the yard work these leafy monsters provide. Though, on the bright side, I am sure they assist with my energy bills in the Summer due to point #4.

Oh, I am sure I could go on but I think my point is getting lost. Bringing it back around- I hate my house, so I don't decorate.

This is a shame because I love decorating, renovations and interior design. I have refused to buy anything for this house because I keep thinking I will move. Well, I guess I would if the housing market would improve, I won the lottery or recieved some grand inheritance from a long-lost relative. Since none of these things are likely to happen (at least any time soon), I decided to suck it up and start to improve what I've got.

I need better art on my walls, better organization and storage. NOT TO MENTION, my house lacks my touch and personality. It is fairly vanilla and that will not do.

So I start my journey. You are welcome to come along for the ride.