Our Home Story

In 2011, I decided to follow my heart and take a job as a faculty member at a university. I love higher education and had been working at a small private college for 11 years, but it was time for a change. It was with great fortune that I landed my dream job in a beautiful rural area in the same state. We are surrounded by hills and trees with tons of hiking trails, national parks and great resources the university provides.  Our new home town is a quirky little place with an eclectic mix of people from all over the world, but the housing leaves a lot to be desired.

My daughter and I moved here first and rented the only thing available that wasn’t student housing and fit our budget. We lived in a tiny “cottage” rental with snakes in the ceiling, spiders in the bathroom, and mice scurrying through the living room on occasion. It also came with a lovely elderly landlady who we came to adore. Mr. Shallow Pockets stayed behind for a year while we drove back and forth on weekends.

Mr. S.P. eventually quit his job and moved to be with us. We lived in a rental while we looked at houses and for a job for him. I forgot to mention that I got pregnant in 2012 and gave birth to our beautiful little Hazelnut while making this transition. A poorly timed blessing. Mr. S.P. found a job here in February 2013 but our lease was running out by June 1st. Our landlord wasn’t willing to extend our lease because we were leaving at the best time for him to find new renters. We had to find a house STAT! We scoured the listings and looked at anything our realtor could show us. We looked at approximately 40 homes and had one heck of a time finding a house. Homes in this town are expensive, dated, and sell fast. Every house we liked and made an offer on were always sold to someone else the same day! This area did not go through a housing recession like most of the country. Then a house down the street from our rental (in an awesome neighborhood) became available at a slightly higher price than we wanted to pay. The house also needed a lot of updating, new windows and the basement needed some foundation work to the tune of $16,000! Knowing how much work the house needed, the family (it was an estate sale) accepted our offer with a 16k reduction. This time, we were the first of three offers made and the owners liked that we had kids so they stayed with our offer all within one month of our lease reaching its end. It was tight! But here we are two years later and very happy indeed. So let me introduce you to our “diamond in the rough”.

These don’t include photos of the downstairs bathroom or the three bedrooms down there. I will get there. Tell me, have you ever seen so much paneling?

Front of houseMaster Bedroom Living Room Living room Laundry Kitchen   Family room Dining room old

One side of the the dated basement

One side of the the dated basement

Other side of the basement

Other side of the basement


I disappeared for awhile. Although this blog was fairly new when I stopped working on it, so no one probably noticed. Regardless, I am stepping back into the ring of the blogging world. I’ve missed it.

My life has changed drastically in the past few years. I got a new job and had to move. When I say “job”, I can’t quite call it just a “job”. My new path is as a lecturer at a university. This is one fantastic gig. It’s fantastic because it leaves me with ample amounts of free time which means thrifting, yard sales, and auctions!  Boom! The life I had always dreamed of. Along the way, I picked up another kid. Okay, I gave birth to this little nut so I have to claim her. She is 2 and quite the character.  We also had to buy another house. This one is older than the last and needs a TON of updating which is awesome for me as I get to be creative and have loads of fun redoing this diamond in the rough. Since I have so much time and lots of creative ideas rolling around in this noggin’ (and pilfered from the blogosphere and Pinterest) , I thought it was time to get back to work sharing some of my finds and ideas.

Hope I pick up a few readers and friends along the way.

Art and Trash?


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This weekend I didn’t get to do anything to creative.  I spent the weekend at bridal shows with my sister who is getting married next year.  I did see tons of cool stuff we would like to make for her wedding.  We are going to try to do a lot of it on our own.  I will probably start posting quite a few of “wedding on a budget” posts in the upcoming months.

Anyway, I didn’t do a whole else this weekend except look for examples of art made from soda and beer cans online.  I have seen all types of can art displayed in museums and online.  I think it’s really cute and fun.  Etsy sells a lot of cans that are cut into new items like jewelry shaped like animals and flowers, etc.  My sister has a beautiful flower on her wall that is made from many different cans that have been cut into petals and then painted various shades and designs.

I keep coming across this Charles Kaufman who does paintings on crushed soda cans.  I find them to be very fun and whimsical.  Check him out here at http://www.ToonToonz.com.

Isn’t this cute?  His can painting are mostly all cartoonish characters.  I adore them and decided I would try my hand at painting some cans a few weeks ago. I have a few more that I am working on, but here are two I did…

My tree is a little too fat on the one, but that was my first one and I got a little too crazy.  The other one is a design of my little girls.  She drew this picture on a piece of paper and I copied it onto the can. It is really funny and cute.  Now we have something fun to put on our fridge since I attached magnets to the back.  I am working on some new ones, but haven’t finished them yet.  I will post those later.

Here are some cute soda can flowers found over at Naptime Crafts http://www.naptimecrafts.blogspot.com

I love all of the different found objects that can be used as a backdrop for art.  If you like to paint or create new things, try looking around at your trash.  It’s amazing what can be done with some junk.  I have written about furniture trash that shouldn’t be overlooked, but there are a lot of other items that shouldn’t be overlooked either. Just let your imagination run wild!!!

Some other fun websites:

http://www.greenopolis.com – make a pinwheel or flower out of soda can



http://www.craftstylish.com – how to turn a soda can into a spring flower brooch – One of my FAVORITE websites!!

Cheap Art


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My husband and I just painted several walls in our house.  I originally had two canvases hanging on my wall with one of my first attempts at abstract art (I am giggling to myself because this was nothing near abstract art).  I also had some paint samples leftover from painting our bedroom and great room.  We had purchased several samples in the attempt to get the color just right.  Glad we did because it saved us a lot of money, time and headaches.  The old paintings didn’t match the new wall color and I have had a few snow days with my little one who wants to do art on her days off.  I took two sketches I had done awhile back of a butterfly and of a flower.  I painted over the old art with another paint color we had leftover from another project. These are my attempts to create inexpensive art for my walls.  I think they are pretty fun and incredibly easy since I was doing more of an abstract version of my sketches.  Plus, I had a good time doing them.  Anyone can create their own fun art on a tight budget if they are so inclined.  I took my sketches and tried to imagine how they would look if I simplified them.  I think they turned out well.

Curbside Treasure

Sorry for taking so long to post again.  Life has gotten away from me and I am just about sick of snow!!!!  I thought I would just share this desk that I found a few years ago on the side of the road in the pouring rain with a free sign on it.  It was a hideous piece of junk when I found it.  It had a laminate that was peeling up.  I usually follow a rule of never bringing home anything with laminate because it is so difficult to remove or repair.  In this case, I decided to bring it home anyway.

This is NOT the best photo, but I can not seem to get a better one.  Anyway, I was with a few of my co-workers and I made them stop to check it out.  We ended up grabbing all of the drawers and throwing them in the back of the van we were in to discourage anyone else from picking it up.  I then went back with my poor father who brought it home for me.  My husband was saddled with the fix up, but he took off all of the laminate, gave it a good cleaning, refinished it and it is now a great desk for our basement computer.  I think he did a great job.  Just wish I could show a better photo of it.

The point of this post is simply not to overlook items that others have thrown out.  You never know what a handy husband or father can do with a piece of junk.

Should We Paint the Kitchen Black?


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These are my current kitchen cabinets.  Layout is fine, but I hate absolutely LOATHE my cabinets.  They are the same inexpensive cabinets used in every single solitary house on my street!  In fact, my parents live next door and they (of course) have the same cabinets!!!  I hate them.

I tend to paint everything black these days so I thought…why not paint the cabinets black?  I mean seriously!  I came home with this in mind and it was only a day or two later that my husband exclaims that he has found his ideal kitchen on television.  He had recorded it for me and lo and behold…it was a black kitchen!  It was gorgeous.  So, we went to our favorite place for tips and advice – YouTube and found an instructional video on painting cabinets.  My husband did a test and painted the island and then distressed it slightly to go with the rest of our home.

I LOVE IT!!!!  But now, he is freaking out about painting the rest of them!!

I figure we have already done the island so why not go all the way!  I should also mention that we have a great room and it is very light and bright during the day so black wold not be overwhelming in my opinion.

To top it all off, he thinks he can get white tile for our backsplash for FREE from a family member.  The only thing we would eventually have to change out for any cost would be our flooring.  If anyone has any suggestions on how to change the floors for next to nothing, I would love to hear from you.  I would love to have wood floors, but not sure this is in our budget for a long while.

Anyway, what’s the verdict?  I say we go black.  How about you?

Another Use for Old Fabric


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Okay, the bedspread has found yet another use.  I made this little fabric pumpkin from the bedspread from my last post and the stem is from denim fabric that I found at the same thrift store.  I am still learning how to make these little pumpkins.  They are SUPER cute and simple.  I realize they are more suitable for fall being a pumpkin and all, but they are too cute not to keep out.

Here is a tutorial for making these pumpkins found at Thompson Family-Life –  http://thompsonfamily.typepad.com/thompson_familylife/2009/11/fabric-pumpkin-tutorial.html Her’s are funky and fun.  The fabric she used is for some of her pumpkins are vintage retro fabric.  Use your imagination.

Now check these little beauties out.  Fabric tomatoes!!! Aren’t they cute?  I love, love, love them!!  I found them over at Vand Co – http://www.vanessachristenson.com/2009/10/tutorial-garden-fresh-fabric-tomatoes.html.  Head over there and see all of the other cute stuff she has listed.  I will be trying to make some of these tomatoes later on.  Too freakin’ cute.

What else can be done with an old bedspread, clothing or old fabric you might have lying around?  Try cutting it up and turning it into a pillow, skirt, apron, placemat, purse, etc.  I will be on the lookout for great new projects for old fabric and I will share them as they come along.  I hope to eventually have enough visitors to this site to get people to leave their ideas here.  I would love to hear how other people are reusing their old stuff.  I work with a lot of college students and I am certain they would love to learn this stuff too.  I want to find more ways to spread the knowledge.  So if you are on here and have a great idea – PLEASE share it!  Thanks a million!

From Shutter to Headboard


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I have mentioned that my dad is super-creative when it comes to old junk.  Everyone gives him stuff they want to throw away.  Stuff they consider to be absolutely worthless (In a future post, I will go around my house and photograph some of that worthless stuff).  My husband is no slouch in the creative department either.  My aunt had some old shutters in her barn that she offered up to my my husband and father.  My mom and I had been wanting new headboards, but we have different tastes.  My parent’s style is more cottage country.  My style is more of a mix of french country and modern.  Two different headboards were called for and this is what they came up with…sorry for the poor picture quality.  I have got to get a new camera!

The first photo is my dad’s version.  It is a really tall headboard.  I will have to go back and photograph the footboard to show you as well.  It is just a smaller version of the headboard.  Isn’t it lovely?  It seemed really high to me when he first made it, but I really like it now.  It’s beautiful in the plum colored guest room.

This is my husband’s version.  He painted our’s black, didn’t add any trim to the top and even added a lighting feature in the back.  I loved it.  Unfortunately, he made it right before we decided to buy a larger bed.  So, he is planning on adding trim and/or columns to the sides to enlarge it.  Please ignore my oversized bed!

These headboards were not overly complicated to make.  You can easily do a search on the internet about how to make shutter headboards.  You can do something different with them.  Turn them sideways, upholster part of it, put a shelf on top, do whatever you want with them.  Let your imagination run wild.  When painting, use any color that strikes your fancy.  Try painting them red, blue, brown, grey or any color you can imagine in your room or any color that would bring you joy.  These shutters were free so we could have done anything with them.  The rest of the shutters are going to be turned into some other projects.  I will post those another day.

I you have some old shutters needing new life and don’t need a headboard, head over to RoboJunker.com – http://www.robomargo.com/shutters.html  They have an endless supply of shutter project ideas.  Check it out!

Table Transformation


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I had this sofa table that didn’t quite go with anything else in my house and then there were the letters that my child scratched into it when she was 4.  We tried covering it with table runners and other items, but it was just about to be thrown into storage. I didn’t want to totally get rid of the table.  I purchased this from a furniture dealer at a flea market when my husband and I first moved in together (memories) and I absolutely hate wasting good furniture!  So a makeover was in order.

My house has more of a french country feel and so I tried painting and distressing it.

I just love how it turned out.  I started out only lightly distressing it, but then I just couldn’t seem to stop!  Some may think I overdid it, but I love it.   It really pulls my great room together now (although the great room still needs a lot of help).

You don’t have to get rid of something because it no longer fits your style.  Try freshening it up.  You could paint and leave it alone or you could paint it and distress it, stencil it, or apply contact paper to the top.  Add fun new knobs and maybe a skirt to an old table.  Let your imagination run wild and save that old piece of furniture from the landfill.  There are times when no matter what you do the piece just isn’t going to work in your home.  Don’t keep it, but don’t toss it.  If you live in town, set it out by the curb on a nice day.  I guarantee someone will grab it in no time.  I have gotten some really cool pieces from curb shopping.  If you don’t want to do that, stick it in a yard sale, give it to a friend, put it on Craig’s List or freecycle.org, but don’t throw it out.  It will work great for someone else.