Saturday, January 19, 2013

week three: kitchen sink cabinet

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Before: how does this happen?
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After: bins set this space up for keeping this cupboard organized long-term
Here's a little organization project for Week 3 of Operation: Make This House a Home (I'll get the page up and running this weekend). The cabinet below our kitchen sink had been taken over by paper and plastic shopping bags (even though I use our reusable shopping bags everywhere!). The really exciting part of this project is that it cost me $7.99 and 15 minutes of my time. That 15 minutes included taking everything out, a trip down to the recycle bin, wiping down the entire cupboard, taking photos, and putting everything back. 15 minutes??? Yeah--there are just no more excuses for getting things done.

That 15 minutes was followed by 60 minutes in Home Depot gathering supplies for next week's project!

What projects have you been working on this week?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

week two: painting the office

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The office is finally painted! I can't believe that it took me over 6 months to choose a color and finally get around to cleaning out and prepping the office for paint. In general, I am a very decisive person. It took Justin and I about 20 minutes to pick out a mattress. We pick out our Christmas trees in about 15 minutes. The moment I held Chloe at the shelter, I knew she was coming home with us (it took a little bit longer to convince Justin on that one). But, for some reason, when it comes to the house, my decision making moves at a snail's pace

We didn't paint the closet yet because that is a whole mess that I just couldn't deal with last weekend. Justin talked me into just painting the rest of the room and dealing with the closet later (he was probably afraid that it would take another 6 months to paint the room if we didn't just start it at that moment). Sometimes we must just do what we can do.

All of the furniture is still in the center of the room and the drop cloths are still down because the next project in this room is to paint all of the baseboards and trim, then install the shoe molding. Then we can buy a new bookshelf, then maybe a rug, then...You get the idea--could probably come up with 52 projects in this room alone!

Changing the subject completely, did anyone watch the opening episode of Downton Abbey last Sunday? Any thoughts? I am so excited that the third season is finally upon us! Also, I saw Les Miserables last weekend. Amazing. If you haven't seen it yet, it is definitely one to catch in the theater!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


After Christmas I reached the bottom of my box of thank you cards which lead me to search for something new to replace them. 

Of course, the search for the perfect thank you cards rabbit holed into stationary options and even business cards. I love this trend of stamps for stationary and business cards-it adds a nice personal touch to these items. Stamps make having custom stationary very affordable. There is also a huge convenience factor in having a few stamps, some fun ink and pretty paper around the house in order to always have a perfect card on hand for any and every situation. It streamlines and simplifies which is one of the ultimate goals, right? I also found a printable option as well as some beautiful traditional cards.

Thank you cards:
Source: Wit & Whistle
Source: Besotted Brand
Monogrammed stationary:
Source: Besotted Brand

Source: Besotted Brand
I also love this for note cards:
Source: Orange & Park
And finally some great business card stamps:
Source: maemae paperie
Need some tips for writing charming thank you notes? Check out this article from Southern Living.

Of course, you will also need some pretty postage to go with your shiny new stationary. My favorites can be found here and here.

 What are your favorite sources for thank you cards and stationary?

Friday, January 4, 2013

operation: make this house a home

Lately I have really been feeling the need to pull our house together. Our home will never be finished, but I would at least like it to feel together. The fact that there are so many projects that I would like to/need to do around our house takes up a lot of space in my mind on a regular basis. It's time to free up that mental space for grander pursuits. Last year I had every intention of sticking to the William Morris Project, but it just didn't happen. So, 2013 is going to be my year where I complete one project around our house each week with the goal of making our little condo feel more like home.

I set up this page to track my progress. I'm going to set up 52 little blank squares to fill in throughout the year. I am a total perfectionist (who may have some slight OCD tendencies), so I am going to use those little as a form of accountability since it will drive me crazy to leave any blank.

This week's project was kind of lame, not very exciting, and not very well documented. I cleaned out our home office, put some paint samples up on the wall, [finally] picked a color, and prepped for painting THIS WEEKEND! I have been talking about painting the office for about 6 months now, so I am so excited to finally be getting this done!

Care to join me in Operation: Make This House A Home? If enough people are interested, I would love to have a little link up once a week so that we can share all of our projects and hold each other accountable throughout the year. Leave a comment and let me know if you would like to join in on this little project!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


source: t/f

I have to admit that I was not at all sad to say goodbye to 2012. While there were some definite highlights and I feel that I made some progress on my 2012 resolutions, I feel like I let myself down in some ways. I spent a lot of time feeling completely inadequate. I let a lot of items sit around on my to do list, and I didn't push myself. At all. It was just a stagnant year for me in a lot of ways.

Don't get me wrong--2012 was not a bad year. It was the year of friendship. After living in Southern California for 2 years I finally made some friends. I reached out and spent some time outside of the office with some girls from work which has been wonderful. I also finally joined a small group/Bible study in our church which has just been amazing. I can really see God's hand in placing me in just the right group at just the right time. I have also re-connected with some friends from the past who live in the area. In that regard, 2012 was a great year.

Justin and I also did a little bit of traveling--we spent our anniversary weekend out in Palm Springs, and we spent a week up in Seattle where we crossed one more baseball stadium off of our list and had a wonderfully refreshing week together away from "real life."

New Year's Day might just be my favorite holiday. I love the clean slate. I love the retrospect and introspect. I love the planning. I love the hope.

I've been spending quite a bit of time thinking about my goals for the year. I am keeping all of my goals from last year and simply adding a couple of things to it.
  1. Be more joyful. A couple of weeks ago, one of our teaching pastors spoke on joy, challenging us to make 2013 the year of joy. I am so good at focusing on where I am lacking instead of thanking God for all that He has given me. Shouldn't I be one of the most joyful people out there, a light in the darkness? I remember my mom once referring to my sister as a little sunbeam in a room. I want to be like that.
  2. Be a good steward. This been on my mind a lot lately. I want to be a good steward of all that we have. Our finances, our home, our vehicles, my body, my mind, my time, my relationships. Instead of wanting more, I want to take good care of what I have.
  3. Push myself. I want to push myself creatively, intellectually, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I am not satisfied with the status quo in my life--I want to push myself to be all that I can be in every area of my life. I want to be constantly learning and growing and challenging myself. 
  4. Be a woman of action. I need to make Nike's motto my own personal mantra: Just Do It. Make things happen. Get things done. 
  5. Spend with meaning. I am so tired of getting rid of things. I love getting rid of things, but I don't want to have so many things to get rid of--quality over quantity. This year, one of my spending priorities is for our home. I really just want to pull our house together so that I can focus energies elsewhere. Last year I set up a little spreadsheet to track all of our spending. This year's version is even better, and I am excited to reduce our spending, save more, and get a financial plan.
  6. Be more gracious. I definitely made some improvement on this in 2012. But, it is definitely an area that will probably be on this list for the rest of my life. 
  7. Be more giving. This is another area where I made some improvement in 2012. And it is definitely another area  that will probably be on this list for the rest of my life. I still haven't found a place to volunteer my time which really disappoints me. That is going to change this year. 
  8. Streamline and declutter. My life, my home, and my body. I want to get rid of the things in my schedule that don't really matter to me  so that I have time for the things that do matter. I want to have only things that we "know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful" (William Morris). I want to eat cleaner and get rid of the extra weight on my body. Basically, this resolution is all about prioritizing.
  9. Live greener. Use less energy, create less waste. My biggest priority again this year is to waste less food. We did a decent job of this last year, but there is definitely room for improvement. Last year we started participating in a local CSA program which has been great--I look forward to continuing that in 2013. Since we only get a CSA box every other week, I want to do a better job of shopping at the local farmer's market on the off weeks. I'm also going to monitor our energy and water bills to work toward reducing those usages as much as possible.
I believe that 2013 is going to be a great year.

What are your goals for the new year?