Monday, June 27, 2011

2011 Goals – How are you doing?

Can you believe we are only a few days away from the half-way point of 2011? The first six months of this year have just flown past way too quickly. Summer is officially here and it won’t be long until another holiday season will be upon us. Yikes!

At the beginning of the year I participated in The Nester’s 2011 Home Goals Party. I am guessing many of you did too. You may remember instead of making a laundry list of things to buy and projects to complete around my house, I choose to create seven simple goals which focused on appreciating my surroundings and using what I already had to its fullest potential.

Since half the year is gone, I thought it would be a good time to revisit these goals to see how I am doing. More importantly, I also hope to inspire you to do the same!

Here is my list with an update of my progress:

Plan my garden before planting
I am happy to say this goal has been achieved. Instead of randomly buying plants as in years past, we have designated sections of the garden for herbs, vegetables, and ornamentals. It was worth the small amount of planning and I will continue to plan before planting from now on.

Use the herbs I plant
This one is in the “kind of category.” I have used some basil and a small amount of the oregano. The dill, cilantro, thyme and parsley, however, have been neglected. Time to get cooking!

Be a tourist in my own town
This is the goal on which I have made the least progress. I hope to remedy this during the coming summer months by taking advantage of all the local things my home town has to offer.

Organize and clean out
I have been doing a pretty good job. I started the year off with a bang by cleaning out a lot of unused items but have slowly let things return to normal. I need to regain my enthusiasm and continue where I left off.

Learn how to use my sewing machine attachments
I have played around with some of the attachments but as you can see from the picture above I definitely have a ways to go. I have to admit it has been fun seeing all the different stitches this old machine can sew!
Learn how to use my camera settings
My photo taking skills have improved as I have moved beyond the auto setting and I am now playing with the aperture setting. Next on the list is learning how to adjust the shutter speed.

Continue to remember a house is just a house. It is the people who live inside and the friends who come to visit which are most important.
I consider this to be my most important goal of the year. I try to remind myself daily to remember what is truly most special in my life.

There you have it. Overall I believe I am doing well but have room for improvement. Luckily there is still time as there are as many months ahead in 2011 as have already past.

So, how about you? How are you doing on your 2011 goals? I would love to hear the goals you have accomplished and the ones you need to start focusing on. Thanks for sharing!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What I bought for $1.98

Like many of you, I enjoy seeing all the wonderful garage sale and thrift store bargains people purchase. It is amazing to me what can still be found with patience, a little bit of luck and imagination.

That being said, since I do not have a shop or an established way to resell, I try to only buy things which I can use and truly love. To me, a bargain isn’t a bargain if you are just buying something because of the price. So in all honesty, I do my best to limit yard sale and thrift store stops. However, every once in a while I do visit the local Salvation Army. Most times I leave empty handed but a few days ago I was lucky and found a few great deals.

Here is the brake down of my purchase - two silver-plated utensils at 10 cents each, one milk glass vase at 79 cents, and a large vintage ironstone platter for 99 cents. My grand total for the day was $1.98!

Not bad if I do say so myself!

Have you found any great bargains lately? If so, I would love to hear about them.

Linking up to:
Frugalicious Friday at Finding Fabulous
Show and Tell Wednesdays at Blue Cricket Design
Whatever Goes Wednesdays at Someday Crafts

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Dreaming of Built-in Bookcases

Country Living

I have always been a fan of built-in bookcases. So much so, that when we built our house we planned for a matching pair on either side of our family room fireplace. Unfortunately many things – including the bookcases – had to be deleted due to our budget.

Beautiful Homes

Ten years later, we have finally reached the point where we might be able to make this dream a reality.

Traditional Home

Beautiful Homes

The picture below of our family room is probably familiar to many long time followers.

Women’s Day Budget Decorating / Photographer – Michael Partenio
Stylist – Donna Talley, Regional Producer and Editor for Meredith Publications

What you can’t see in this photo is the built-in television cabinet on the left side of the room.

Up until about five years ago, this space was occupied with an antique wardrobe which we used to house the television. We were lucky to have a very talented local carpenter create this beautiful custom cabinet and are thrilled he most likely will be coming back to build the bookcases as well.

The space on either side of the fireplace is about 52 inches wide and our plan is to once again match the other architectural elements already present in our home.

I have been searching my files and have come up with two inspiration photos of fireplaces which are very similar to ours.

Source unknown

The preliminary sketches include a matching pair of cabinets with glass front doors. The top of the cabinets will sit just below the bottom of the large molding which makes up the top part of the fireplace. We have requested cut outs in the tops of the cabinets in which to feed electrical cords through to reach the existing outlets. The shelves will, of course, be adjustable and removable.

Country Living

One of the details which have not been finalized is the type of glass for the doors. I have been considering three options - seeded glass like the kind found in my kitchen cabinets, regular glass which I have in most of the other display cases in my house, and simple leaded glass panes.

Since this decision does not have to be made right away I would love to know your opinion. Which would you choose? You always have the best advice so I am looking forward to hearing what you think! Thanks in advance -

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chalk Paint Table and Chalk Paint Observations

My second project using chalk paint involved a roadside freebie table (shown below) from the master bathroom.

This table was a perfect candidate for chalk paint as I did not want to spend a lot of time removing all the old paint – at least four coats - and sanding. Although not required, you can tell from the picture I did give the piece a light sanding to smooth out the surface a bit. I also scraped off much of the paint from the top as it was chipping. I used Annie Sloan’s Paris Grey (the same color I used on my mirror) with a top coat of Minwax for light colored wood.

One coat easily covered the old paint and the wax deepened the color - giving the table a beautiful, hand rubbed finish. If you look carefully at the picture above you can see the difference in color between the left side of the table which was waxed and the right side which was not.

This is certainly a big improvement from the formerly high gloss black paint this table used to wear.

Chalk Paint Observations
Now that I have completed two projects using chalk paint I have to say I am definitely a fan. It is easy to apply and most, if not all, the brush strokes disappear once the paint has dried. I know many people find the cost to be high. My take is that because there is no need to sand or prime you save not only in supply costs but time as well - time being the biggest bonus in my mind.

This paint covers well in just one coat, however, I did notice the mirror and table turned out to be slightly different colors. I am guessing this is due to the color paint I was covering. I am thinking two coats might be needed to achieve a more consistent color.

If you have any questions about using chalk paint I highly recommend this post written by Shauna at Perfectly Imperfect Blog. Shauna is a pro at painting and shares a great video and advice on her experiences using chalk paint.

Oh! For those of you who are curious, yesterday, I finally told my husband I painted the mirror in the kitchen. The verdict – he loved it but he liked the mirror the other way as well.

So, have you tried chalk paint yet? If so I would love to know your opinion!

Linking up to these parties
Metamorphosis Monday
Transformation Thursday
Open House Thursday

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

June Blog of the Month – A Delightful Design

The Red Door Home June Blog of the month is just as the title says - delightful!

A Delightful Design is written by Abby Manchesky, an interior decorator and owner of M. Interiors. Abby began her business after years of helping friends and family with their homes.

Abby's son's room (old house)

One of my favorite features of Abby’s blog is her “Dear Abby” column in which readers are invited to submit photos and questions of their decorating dilemmas. Abby answers these questions with detailed advice, pictures and sources for all of her ideas on the best way to solve the problem.

To get a sense of Abby’s style, take a look at this pretty design board she created for a little girl’s nursery through her e-design service.

Her client recently shared the beautiful result photos shown below.

The newest happening at A Delightful Design is the recent sale of Abby’s house.

Of course I loved the red door!

Her family purchased a new home and Abby has already started renovating and redecorating. I am looking forward to following along!

To visit Abby at A Delightful Design click here. I am sure she would love for you to leave a comment to let her know you stopped by!

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