[Old] Backyard Upgrade

Searching through hear archived posts really is kinda fun. A little reminiscing on a random Thursday morning.

This is the time we updated our back “porch”. I use the term lightly because it was just a small slab of concrete when we first started, and grew into a real outdoor hangout space before we left.

For Christmas one year my dad got with Stephen and the guys built a pergola for us. It was something I had talked about off and on and my dad followed through with my words and made it happen!  The ONLY downside to that amazing gift is that we couldn’t take it with us when we moved…  Thinking about it now, our new home really could use a little outdoor oasis upgrade


Digging the post holes was quite the workout because of the rocky soil we had in our yard.

Do you see that muscle in my left arm?! Wowza! I wonder what I was doing back then…

-cutting, building, you get the idea-

The pergola of homestead drive – before I cleaned the gross porch floor and we added a swing and expanded the porch to the left with concrete and added a table and chairs. I really miss that back porch, it was used all the time.

(From just before we moved, when we listed our house in fall of 2014)

We had to cut down the giant oak tree because of a lightening strike that killed the tree and was rotting/dropping branches, and the girls loved playing on the leftover stump!

I love me a good outdoor expansion project. Especially when it involves my hubby and dad making it happen ;)

122 & 123 | 365

Project365 (122 of 1)

Project365 (123 of 1)

122 & 123 | 365

I mentioned a bit back that we made a recent big change and sold our first home and moved to a new one. This is our new homestead.
While it was a confusing and weird change for the first few weeks, we are finally feeling like this is home and making it our own.

This is a photo from 2 days because I wanted to make sure we got a photo of the entire house, hence the different clothing in each ;)
(sidenote-if you click on the photo it will open up larger in a new tab, just in case you didn’t know)

New Room

Just before Elanor was born we decided to switch Sarah’s room and Stephen’s office. 2 cribs and 2 kids, it made sense to move them into the bigger room. My sister helped me paint a simple tree on the wall, changing up the plain walls just a bit for a more kid room feel.

Well, it turns out kids don’t spend much time in their room in the first few years. It’s just more space to make a mess and throw all  the clothes out of the dresser drawers.

When Stephen changed jobs last month, oh ya by the way, Stephen changed jobs last month, we decided to do yet another switch-a-roo. It was a great decision because he will be working from the home office when he needs to do computer work and phone calls. One recent a Thursday I dropped the girls off at a friends and spent the afternoon making the swap.

Well, I guess before I show you a photo or two of the girls new room setup, I could share some pictures of the room they’ve shared the past year and a half.

This was their room before all the crazy (read: messy) switching around.

From the hall you walk in and see Elanors bed straight ahead


This is a panoramic view from the door


Sarah’s bed and a pile of unorganized clean laundry



Closet and coat/dress-up hooks


Now there’s plenty of storage for Stephens work equipment and a lot less children-having-fun noise from the other side of the house.

This project made me realize that
1) We have too much stuff, and
2) I need to dust more often

Here they are the first night in the new-old room


Then Sarah pushed Elanor’s mattress over so they could sleep together, which is super sweet, so I obliged.
this is actually how they sleep most nights


That photo is actually very similar to what they look like right now. Sleeping soundly…zzz… until I crawl into my bed, then Sarah will almost instantly wake up and tell Elanor to wake up so they can both come into my bed and sleep OPPOSITE of that photo above and somehow take up my entire queen size bed between the two of them. #parenthood

The rest of the room is empty except for a stack of books I need to get rid of and their white dresser in a corner. It’s nice how much I was able to get rid of while making this transition. Bye bye massive pile of girl clothes 12 months and below. I have more than 1 car load worth of stuff to donate, and it sure feels good to clean out unneeded clutter. I sure enjoy a good cleanup.

The Girls Room: Step 1

When looking over saved posts I found this little doozie that I thought I had posted months ago. I know it was months ago because my sister and I completed this project before she started back at work in August. Oh how time has flown!

Since we are having another girl we have decided to switch them into the bigger spare room and make Sarah’s bedroom into a play/craft room. We stuck with the tan walls and are adding some personal touches to spruce it up a bit. Before we move any furniture in we needed to decorate a bit and a wall accent was step 1. Here it is.



Ri and I had a few ideas we found online and free-handed it from there.


We drew it on with a pencil and then painted it in with some leftover primer I had on hand. After all, a free project is my favorite kind :)


That’s the view from the far wall. The tree is on the left and front when you come into the room.


I FINALLY bought some curtains this week, so hopefully we can move the bed in there and get Sarah used to the new space so she’s plenty comfortable before Elanor gets here.


Hope you like it. I’ll be sure to show you how it looks with the curtains up and the furniture in place. If we’re lucky I’ll get that done in the next few days… (cross your fingers!)



A Wall Makeover

Surprise, its a house-rated post! I know, I know, its been a while, so you better soak it in because who knows when I’ll be back again ;)

I’ve got a little bedroom update for ya…

Here is the before:



And the after:




I decided to move this piece into our room, since I took it down from the living room a few months back.

I’m quite happy with the results. The wall has been bare since we moved in (that’s over 2 1/2 years people!) and since I’ve been doing a room-by-room cleanup in prep for Elanors arrival I figured what the heck. Now I only have 2 more walls in this room to decorate!

Oh, I guess I never mentioned how the room got painted. Where has the time gone?

While Sarah and I were out of town a few months ago Stephen painted our bedroom. He didn’t tell me, hint to it, or anything. He went to the store, bought some paint and completed his project. The man was on a mission and he definitely shocked the who out of me!

He also stained our dining room table that same weekend!
I sure scored a super awesome man to spend my life with :)

Okay, looks like its snack time. After that, laundry and dishes.
Have a great day!


The Pressure is On

Last week I got to work on something I’ve been wanting to do since we moved into our house. It’s funny how when you buy a home you have all these projects in mind… each time I mark something off the list I seem to find something to add. Stephen isn’t particularly a fan of my lists. I don’t blame him.

My parents graciously lent me their pressure washer and I got to work on our back porch. Now before you look at the pictures you should know that I had no idea how disgusting and grimy the thing was until I started spraying it down.

So, you have been forewarned, prepare yourself for some rapid color change!

Here’s a side-by-side. On the left we have the after and the right is the, rather obvious, gritty before.



I didn’t know bricks could get so dirty until we cleaned half of them. That is a nasty 40 years worth of grime…


Another side by side


and for a little fun, name graffiti :)



Who would have guessed a pressure washer could work such magic. It was totally worth the hand cramps and unintended arm workout.

Has anyone else used a pressure washer lately? Those things are beastly. I sure wouldn’t want to get in the way of one, that spray is fierce!

I do hope you all had a wonderful valentines day. Wanna know something funny? At first I wrote “hope you all had a wonderful thanksgiving”, instead of saying valentines. My brain has been on the fritz the past few days while working through some nasty bug or virus of some sort.

Speaking of Valentines, it’s time to hit up the store to buy some clearance candy… love myself some discounted chocolate :)



The Table

After my post about our new dining room setup I discovered, via a comment from my brother, that I never showed you our newest furniture addition.

Back at the end of December we went to Biloxi for a family Christmas Party and while there we visited a furniture store. We had been on the hunt for a new kitchen table and picnic tables and benches for almost a year but just couldn’t find something we were sold on. That was, until we laid our eyes on this beauty.



It fit all the needs and wants on our list

  • – Seat 6, check
  • Solid wood, check
  • Bench on one side so the table can be pushed against the wall, check
  • Comfy on the tookus, check
  • Last us the rest of our lives, [pre-determined] check

The chairs will be perfect for a booster seat when Sarah gets to that point


I’m a huge fan of the chairs. The lines are a combo of smooth, semi-curvy, & sturdy

This is the view from behind the kitchen counter



I felt like I was photographing a model with this angle… I’m such a big fan of this table



Despite the fact that the kitchen is all setup, we still have some work to do. The table needs to be stained. We got the table in the winter while I was almost 7 months pregnant so staining it indoors wasn’t an option because of the fumes, and we don’t have a covered outdoor space that will work. Over the past 9 months we did find a stain we both like (procrastinate much?!?). Now we just gotta figure out the when & where so the table can be completed. We should probably do that soon since this is the table we plan on having for the rest of our lives. It should definitely hold up that long and longer. Perhaps if she likes it (and her future-friends don’t damage it too much) we will will it to Sarah for her family one day :)

And that’s the story of our [belatedly new] kitchen table. (your welcome, Matt) ;)


Small Improvements

About 2 months back I went with my mom to a home liquidators store because she was in search of a bathroom sink. While there I spotted something I’ve been looking for; a floating shelf. Not only was it the same color as our kitchen cabinets, but it was also on clearance for $15! I immediately snatched it up. To top off the experience the shelf rang up for $12. Double score!!

Fast forward 2 months later and the shelf was sitting in the kitchen still waiting for a wall to hang on. I know, it’s a sad visual. Well on Monday my mom came over to see the little lady and we finally got one of my kitchen walls decorated! It’s amazing the work you can get done with an extra pair of hands!

Let me start by showing you what the kitchen looked like when we first moved in.



The much different after


I’m pretty happy with the results. Here it is from the view in the den.




Looking at this picture actually makes me aware that we need to paint some walls up in this house! Sarah’s nursery is the only room that has been painted since we moved in (which is coming up on 2 years soon!)

I figured it was high time I shared a recent project. Hope you like it :)


Framing the Walls

This past week I completed a long-overdue project and figured it was time to share it with you. Aren’t I nice ;)

Okay, this is how it all began…

(please ignore the beautiful Caricature)


After letting all of it sit on the kitchen table for a few days we moved our work to the floor for more space.


After rearranging frames for almost a week I got the final layout figured out and decided it was hanging time. Thanks to the internet I found the most BRILLIANT way to hang pictures…

It looked something like this


Here’s an up-close look of what your frame will look like:

( click on the photo for the how-to )

Using this method with all the frames made it so ridiculously easy to hang everything exactly where I wanted it. It made the process go by crazy fast.

Gotta love tips from the internet :)

So, after doing this method with all the frames I ended up with a brand new looking wall.

Here is the finished product

Our new and improved living room!

What do you think? Now that I have both these projects completed and hanging I almost want to swap which walls they are on. However, that would be way too much work so it’s definitely not happening!

It only took me a year and 8 months to get something on the walls. At this rate I should have our home decorated in about 6 1/2 years.

Hooray for goals!



Filling in the Walls

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have got so many blank walls in my house, and because I don’t feel like painting all of our off-white walls, frames and wall art are the next best option. However, if you have looked around you know that that stuff can get expensive, fast, especially if you want something big to take up a large space.

Well back when I was pregnant with Sarah I saw an idea of how to make wall art using toilet paper rolls. I had been saving them for a while but when it came down to it I didn’t get to use them for the nursery. I recently decided that I would still do the TP project, I definitely have a lot of rooms where I can hang it. I have blank walls everywhere, and this could be a fun and creative way to fill up some space.

One of the most expensive purchases for wall decor is buying a canvas. Those suckers are expensive. Well thankfully I had just the thing. Back when Stephen moved to Orlando, the store he managed opened in an old Kay Jewelers location. Well they left behind a lot of their wall advertisements. They looked like this:

Real attractive, right?!

I’ve been making fun of Stephen for over 4 years for keeping these things, threatening to throw them away when he isn’t looking. Well thankfully he stopped me, because when you turn these big boards around they are the perfect blank canvas.


On a recent Saturday I decided to take the time to finally cut the TP rolls into strips so that I could get this project started.


I finished my measuring and cutting while watching the show ‘Raising Hope’. If you haven’t seen this show you should, it is absolutely hilarious!

I don’t know why I took a picture of us watching tv… I can get a little over zealous with the camera during projects ;)


Next I glued the TP strips into a pattern. I choose a flower/star’ish design that isn’t too girly. After all, this thing is going to be hanging in our living room.


My friend Kim suggested that I paint the backdrop of the canvas. I hadn’t even thought about doing that, but I’m SO glad she suggested it because a white board on an off-white wall wouldn’t have stood out too well.

So, I got out all the paint samples I’ve collected over time (thanks to my mom keeping hers when they re-painted) and went to choosing a backdrop color. This step was a lot harder than I was expecting, so I recruited some help…


You can do like me and simply bribe your sister with a cute niece, then put her to work ;)


Then give your child a washcloth and hope it entertains her longer than 90 seconds…


Then, Voila, you are done!


After we hung the piece my mom and I decided to try switching some rugs around…


It was a great decision. The rug and canvas play off each other real well.

I will say that the canvas isn’t near as blue as the picture makes it look. It’s much softer and lighter in person. It has a more grey-pale blue look, rather than the baby-blue that I see above.

One last shot for your viewing enjoyment:


Overall I am pleased with this $0.00 project. I mean, it seriously didn’t cost me a dime, and I think it looks really good above the couch. It is such a big wall to decorate, and I think this is a good start. I’m trying to decide if I want to add anything to the sides of it. Some frames perhaps?! Or shelves?! I haven’t quite figured it out yet… I would definitely be open to some suggestions.

How about you? Has anyone else completed any DIY projects lately? If so, have you recycled things you usually throw away like TP rolls, or paper towels?! Maybe you found a good deal on some wall art that you’d like to share with me?!? My ears and eyes are wide open!


p.s. This is the site where I got my inspiration.