Happy Thanksgiving!! I wish you all happiness and contentment!
While I was going through all of our little keepsakes and deciding what to donate and what to keep, I came across our collection of tiny toys. Hubby was an avid Lego kid and I loved anything Star Wars or cutesy. We have some fun memories of these little treasures, so I decided to display them in a glass cylinder vase:
There are everything from my set of jacks to some toys from a few European Kinder Eggs brought back by friends to a cute little flying pig from my niece and nephew. It's just a fun, colorful little collection in the Studio that sparks some joyful memories.
Sitting next to an old globe that I refurbished, it just makes us smile and remember where we've been. Instead of hiding them in a box, we can now enjoy some colorful fun!
Happy Thanksgiving!! I wish you all happiness and contentment!
After a busy week and some stress that is in definite need of release, I felt a bit uninspired this weekend. Perhaps it was just a need for some downtime to recharge my batteries. I always try to keep going - keep up on my duties at both work and home, keep my Hubby and my Niece first in my mind, keep in contact with family and friends, keep up on my health and workouts, keep the cat semi-happy (but what cat ever shows true happiness anyway? Ha!) , etc., etc., etc… Every once in a while, a little voice in my head says, “You need a break from your life!”
But this is MY life. It is not perfect and it is not what I always imagined it would be. However, it is the happiest I’ve ever been because I DECIDED to be happy. I made a conscious decision at the beginning of 2014 to take my life into my own hands and to do whatever I had to do to make myself happy. No more letting my happiness hinge on everyone else’s behavior and attitudes.
For too long, I allowed certain people to treat me badly and disrespect me. The simple act of deciding to NOT allow their behavior to affect me made a huge difference. You may think to yourself, “That is not simple at all!” Well, you would be right - it is complicated, but I cannot explain it fully. Maybe I had had enough. Maybe I had matured to a point that I could put all the hurt past me. Maybe I finally realized that by just being happier myself, that I would make people around me happier. Whatever the reason, I endeavor every day to smile at someone and laugh wholeheartedly, even in the midst of pain. A smile with tears is still a smile after all…
Life is not linear - it is a circle and everything comes back around to meet you at some point. Isn’t it better to put out into the universe happiness and positivity rather than judgment and negativity? Because, when you retrace your steps in that circle of life, what will you be stepping back into? Think about it…
We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.
- Dakota Native American Proverb
If you can make any decision this week, I hope it is a decision to just be happy!
While designing the Studio layout, I knew I had quite a lot of items to contend with when it came to workout equipment. The largest item, of course, was the behemoth elliptical:
I was delighted to realize while measuring the space, that it would tuck right into the corner of the small room and still be easily accessible on a daily basis. I do at least 45 minutes of cardio a day on this wonderful machine, so it was paramount that it was accessible and had a good view of the TV across the room. I also lift my 2 and 5 pound dumbbells on a regular basis and an old basket spray painted white next to the elliptical is the perfect perch for them. I made the little footstool years ago and just made a quick little slipcover to match the room:
There was also the conundrum of the ballet bar and the other various and sundry workout items that are used on a regular basis. The space behind the Studio door served as the perfect spot to organize those items. Here is a shot of the door open:
And below, a shot of the door closed. My ballet bar, yoga mats, workout shoes and monogrammed bag with everything else fit perfectly:
The ballet bar was sort of an eyesore, so I bought some fabric to match the wall color, sewed a slip cover and voila! It blends into the wall so well, my camera's autofocus couldn't even focus in on it! This is what it looks like without the slip cover:
See what I mean? Eyesore. :-) But a useful piece of equipment nonetheless...
My monogrammed bag of tricks has everything from my yoga blocks & strap to workout ball & DVDs:
Oh! Hello kitty slippers! Hehe...
Since the season of overindulgence is bearing down on us, I have started to amp up my weekly workout plan. I have added additional time on my morning elliptical routine as well as 30 to 60 minutes of yoga in the afternoon. Sometimes it can be hard to fit so much workout time into my schedule, but it comes down to how much better I feel when I just do it. I will also throw in a ballet bar workout here and there so I don't get bored. What have you been doing to prepare for the holiday stress? Whether you are a cardio fiend or a meditative guru, I hope you enjoy some kind of stress-relieving activity! Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK my peeps!
Have a great weekend everyone!
I showed you my minimalized Halloween/Fall decor here a few weeks ago. Well, I removed the Halloween specific items after Halloween and changed up the front door decor for Thanksgiving:
In the interest of time savings and my sanity, I made this wreath an easy change-out. With a quick switch from a cute ghost to a cute turkey and simple ribbon banners made with ribbon & scrapbook materials, my fall wreath is a multi-tasking winner!
I love my little fuzzy-headed, google-eyed turkey! He's adorable and makes me smile. He perches in my wreath with a few T-pins, easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy! Are you all ready for the annual Thanksgiving binge?? I am, but I also have an amped up workout routine in mind to offset the impending overindulgence. I'll show you my workout area and storage coming up soon...
Have a wonderful week everyone!
What a great week we had! We got to enjoy such great times with friends, that all the days started to run together! Don't you just love when that happens?? Wednesday was a Spanish wine tasting at the local yacht club to which we've never been. What fun!
It isn't the great big pleasures that count the most;
it's making a great deal out of the little ones...
- Jean Webster
I also got to spend the day with my Bestie on Sunday planning a redesign of her daughter's adult bedroom. Seriously, the princess stuff has GOT to go... ;-) Our college girl needs some new digs...
Simple pleasures of hanging with friends, even if you are just sitting around chatting, mean so much to me. I wish you all a week filled with meaningful little pleasures!
I have always loved photography and have made do with whatever camera or camera phone I've had in the past. However, with the recent gift of the DSLR camera from my Hubby, I have accumulated A LOT of photos in a very short time. While they are great photos, I had an itch to create something a bit more artistic. Being the frugal person I am, working with software I already have on my laptop is always a goal. I find that MS Powerpoint is a pretty powerful piece of software. Heck, I do most of my photo editing in it! Today, I wanted to give you a taste of what you can easily do with a photo in Powerpoint.
Below is a photo I took at the waterfront park 2 blocks from my home:
Here are a few steps to easily create a watercolor-like piece of art from a photo:
Now that you have your desired area of the photo cropped, here is what you do next:
Pretty, isn't it? Who knew you could do that with a few clicks of the mouse?? (Well, I'm sure many people knew this, but, hey, I'm new at it!) You could just print this on plain paper or photo paper, but what fine art is created on copy paper? :-)
I inserted a piece of acid free, medium weight, cold press watercolor paper into my ink jet printer, clicked print and this is the result:
It turned out even better than I had hoped! I am all for getting out the paints and brushes, but this process was just as satisfying to me. I took the picture, I got digitally jiggy with it and I got a beautiful piece of art - cheap, easy and quick. Now to sign and frame it...
I hope you try this simple technique for creating some personal and frugal art of your own.
Have a great weekend everyone!
So, I showed you the finished flooring in the hallway and living room, remember?
What I didn't show you is that the thresholds weren't installed yet. I know, sneaky! Ha!
Hubby has been working on getting the oak thresholds cut, sanded and ready to go into all those doorways for a few weeks now. Time has not been on his side, obviously... This weekend he finally found the time and good weather to get outside and prepare all of the thresholds for me to finish them. The only nice thresholds we could find were unfinished oak from Lowes. They didn't match the new flooring AT ALL, so I broke out the acrylic paints and mixed up a pseudo-stain to match the oak to the new flooring. Here is what I used:
Hubby gave me a scrap piece of threshold to use for my samples and after 2 tries, I had the color close to perfect! I just brushed the mixed acrylic paint onto the wood, wiped down with a paper towel and let dry. Basically a grey-wash, if you will. Two coats of Polycrylic for protection and this is what I had:
They match the flooring pretty darn well! Here are a few before and afters - first the kitchen/living room:
And below is the hall/studio and into our bedroom door in the left background:
The oak thresholds worked out great and took the grey-wash very well. It can sometimes be difficult in smaller, older houses like this with all of the different flooring types and levels to transition from room to room. These oak thresholds are versatile and tough. We used them in our last old house and after 13 years of heavy use, they still looked new. Someday, we dream of having a house where the same beautiful hardwood floors blanket the entire level of the house with NO thresholds! The struggle is real ya'll... :-)
I hope you are all having a great week!
We had a bit of a chill this weekend, but it was still pretty beautiful! Time to break out the sweaters & boots and enjoy the brisk air - keep warm everyone!
Let your mind be quiet, realizing the beauty of the world, and the immense, the boundless treasures that it holds in store.
- Edward Carpenter
I hope you all have a wonderful week!
My Parental units are celebrating their 43rd wedding anniversary this year! Wow! I am truly proud of them for fighting through many trials and tribulations to stay together. I decided to break out my card making supplies and make them something handmade and from the heart. Here is what I used:
I simply cut out my sentiments and the green sheet to the proper sizes and glued them together. I also made a small bow with the ribbon and glued it to the front. I just went into MS Word to create my text boxes to print:
Same goes for the inside of the card, but instead of just signing the card (that would just be too easy, right?) I used a few stamps to give our initials a bit of flair:
I have had Hallmark card software for ages, but sometimes I want to make something extra special. I think my Parents' anniversary is pretty darn special!
Here we are in 1975 - Oh, the hair and I am rocking that coat! LOL!
I know I always joke that I was an "accident", but I think I was pretty lucky to be born to two people that would literally die for me. They both taught me a lot and I will be eternally grateful to them. Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad! Love you forever!
P.S. Mom & Dad, if you see this before you get the card, Sorry! It's on its' way! I really did mail it! ;-)
Ok, this will be painful. Well, painfully funny if you have our brand of humor... If you missed the first installment of Remodeling Time Machine, you can read about our first house bathroom remodel here. Of course, we couldn't remodel that bathroom until we had another bathroom in the house to use, right? This is the story of the little basement bathroom that could...
The previous owners of our 50-plus year old house must have had a pretty sick sense of humor as well, because this is what we were left with in the basement:
Images of Sweeney Todd come unbidden to my mind, You? What you wouldn't guess is that behind that brown door is the most disgusting "2nd bathroom" for which you could hope. It had a toilet on a raised concrete slab concealing the plumbing and that's it. There seemed to have been an attempt at putting in a shower, but it was just - YUCK. Notice the sewer line is above the basement floor? Yeah. We'll come to that soon enough...
First I wanted to give you a peak at why you set up an escrow when buying an older home to cover unforseen "events"...
Less than 2 weeks into home ownership and the drought ended that summer of 1997. Guess where all the water went?? Yep, right into many, many cracks in our poured concrete foundation. Awesome. We promptly took care of that issue with said escrow cash and had the foundation fixed. Not so promptly did we get to the basement bathroom. This next picture is February 2004. We jackhammered the concrete floor out to rough-in our bathroom plumbing (FYI - jackhammers are fun!):
Because the sewer line was above the concrete floor, we had to install a sewage ejector to defy gravity. Above you can see the sewage ejector basin at floor level. It didn't stay there willingly, hence the bags of sand and bucket of rocks. That basin had to go 30 inches below grade which is deeper than the sump pump basin. Hydrostatic pressure is a b***h. Just sayin'...
Hubby, Dad-in-Law and I worked for hours digging out that hole only to hit a boulder right in the middle of it. Trying to wrangle a jackhammer in a 30 inch hole full of water is not what you would call fun. There were many F-words uttered, including the first I ever heard from my Father-in-law! LOL! When we did finally manage to crack that boulder into enough pieces to get it out of the way, we stuck the basin in the hole, threw some heavy stuff on top of it and went out to eat dinner. We were just DONE at that point...
Well, when we returned home after a nice meal, that damn hydrostatic pressure had pushed the basin up out of the hole WITH 2 bags of sand on top of it. Many more F-words and three of us stomping on the thing later, it was back down and bolted to the concrete floor. Phew. Let me tell ya, there is nothing like bonding over an ornery sewage ejector basin! :-)
Above is just to give you an idea of the layout of the soon-to-be basement bathroom. Oh, and to showcase my awesome concrete finishing work. Apparently, I have quite an aptitude for floating concrete... ;-) Below is September 2004, studs finally going into the basement!
I am including the below pic from February 2006 just for fun. This is the final laminate flooring going into the basement and I am sitting in that chair toasting the new floor! BTW, that is NOT coffee in that travel mug... Ha!
As you can see, we completely finished the basement and it was a GREAT party space. More on that another time... Below are the last pictures of the finished basement bathroom before we sold that house. (Sorry, old pics in this post as well!) We installed a new corner shower unit, cabinetry, ceiling vent/heater/light, sconces, flooring - well, everything!
It was a wonderful bathroom to use while we gutted the one upstairs! We also installed a heated towel rack in this bathroom. It was worth all of the work (and profanity!) in the end! That bathroom saw many parties and guests and was a vast improvement over that so-called 2nd bathroom we started with... EEEWWW, it creeps me out just thinking about it!
That does it for another Remodeling Time Machine. I'll have to decide what to show you next time - does anyone enjoy bricklaying?? :-)
I hope you are having a great week!
P.S. We just have to thank all of our family members and friends for their help with this house at various times over the years. If it wasn't for them, we may have just turned the gas on and lit a match... ;-)
Hi There! I'm MJ, a 40-something professional woman with a love for art, crafting and decorating. Here I hope to share my experiments and inspire others as they have inspired me...