When inspiration strikes

It’s difficult to predict where inspiration will invade. And honestly, I’ve always believed it is less about the source and more about being receptive to the influence. This week I have found inspiration in two, rather traditional, places.

While browsing the new bookshelves at my neighborhood library, I picked up the book Young House Love by Sherry & John Petersik. Beautiful, full color photos with clear directions for turning your house into a home. The projects are often inexpensive and easy yet look finished and chic. Truth be told, this book looks like my DIY board on Pinterest but there is always something better about having a book to reference (that is probably just my inner librarian trying to break out of this new mold I have stuffed her in). There are several projects I am itching to try!

But first…

I need to get organized! Last year we donated an incredible amount of clothing, furniture, and other household miscellany. It was liberating and at the time it felt massive. Six months later it feels like more could be done. Scratch that… MORE CAN BE DONE! As I begin the second year of trying out this stay-at-home-mom thing, I feel crushed by my home and all the stuff in it. It is also time to take a look at what my future might be and let go of the things I think need to be kept for that uncertainty? eventuality?

31daysbutton2

While cruising Pinterest this morning I happened upon a blog with 31 days worth of posts to help get organized. It is probably the most practical organizing blog I have come across (and trust me I’ve read a bunch of ’em). The suggestions are not only practical but cost efficient and look great, not cheap which is exactly the direction I am hoping to head. A few of the posts helped me to rethink my hoarding tendencies and what I’m teaching lil’ A about the accumulation of stuff.

With this guide I feel confident I can begin to make our home more of a useful, comfortable place and then feel ready to tackle to room by room decorating that I’ve been dreaming about.

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Roaring ’20s Inspiration

Saturday we are heading to a 1920s themed murder mystery party. I am beyond excited to get all dressed up and play pretend for a little while. Of course like the good little obsessive-compulsive that I am, there has been plenty of research!

1920s evening dress by Coco Chanel

1920s evening dress by Coco Chanel

Since I’m pretty confident The Met isn’t going to loan me the above gem, I need to get creative to find the best ensamble possible! The character assignment I received suggested to dress as a flamboyant flapper so I’ve decided to make a simple flapper style dress. My hope is to find fabric and embellishments that give the dress lots of flare.

Flapper dress pattern inspiration

Flapper dress pattern inspiration

This basic style will serve as my template. I’m hoping to find blue and sparkly fabric to work my magic. I’ve never made a piece for me to wear so I’m a touch nervous but it can’t be too difficult to make a boxy dress with an uneven hemline, right? The drop waist and headpiece will either be black or silver depending on the fabric I find.

I am convinced that this outfit will be made in the styling… hair, make-up, and accessories.

Classic finger waves with headpiece

Classic finger waves with headpiece

Bold eye makeup

Bold eye makeup

Red lips and pearls

Red lips and pearls

Half-moon manicure

Half-moon manicure

Today lil’ A and I hit Target and the Goodwill where I made a few purchases to get started.

T-strap heels, fishnet stockings, and three long strands of pearls

T-strap heels, fishnet stockings, and three long strands of pearls

I would love to find arm length gloves but that might be more of a challenge this time of year. Tomorrow I plan to hit the fabric store and a second Goodwill (still piecing together K’s costume as well). More to come!

Project Porch

Next month we will mark 6 years in our house. This is the longest we have lived in one place during our 11 years of marriage. We are happy here and I hate the thought of ever moving. One of the few negatives with the home has always been the front stoop. Stoop is the wrong word. We had a front slope. The concrete sunk away from the house. We probably could have negotiated it to be repaired in the contract but we were getting a helluva deal and didn’t want to press our luck (plus after looking at 20+ houses and having 2 houses slip through our fingers, we were ready to be done).

Adding a front porch has been top of our list of home improvements and thanks to my amazing father-in-law, that item can be crossed off!

Digging begins! K works to dig holes for the frame.

While digging, a broken beer bottle from 1977 (the year the house was built) was found. Looks like someone had a digging party!

A Princess with power tools!

The frame for the porch goes up on day 1!

Moxie, the supervisor, inspects the site.

The porch, without stairs, was complete on day 2! Lil’ A suggested a slide rather than stairs.

After the rain cleared up on day 3, the frame for the stairs went up with ease.

Complete! My brand new front porch complete in 3 days!

There are a few finishing touches still left to complete (lattice along the bottom, stain for the stairs) but now I can wait comfortably for the school bus to drop Lil’ A off after Kindergarten. I am in love, Love, LOVE! I’ve been scouring Pinterest for decorating ideas (stay tuned) and can’t wait to get crafty!

We made our first Craigslist purchase to furnish our porch. We scored a table and 2 chairs and while they are not an exact match, the $25 price tag was a steal! The chairs will be easy to paint if that’s what I decide.

My new favorite reading spot!

I’m feeling reenergized to dive into to some other projects around the house!

Get Fit {Thinking Positive}

Positive thinking goal 3 of 5 is already underway. For the first time, I really do feel positive about getting my eating and exercising on track. In March of 2011, I started seeing an acupuncturist and nutritionist. There were many wonderful things about my 6 months under his care but it was incredibly frustrated. Part of my treatment required me to keep a food log in an effort toward a clean diet. I was to cut wheat and sugar due to an intolerance and switch to all natural, all organic everything. Every week I was chastised about something. Don’t eat this. Don’t eat that. Things I thought would be on the approved list were bad and vice versa. By the time I got it all figured out I was almost afraid to eat anything.

My super clean diet and exercise did help me lose 25 lbs and feel better than I ever have as an adult but there was nothing positive about the process. I was miserable and once a few huge stresses entered my life, everything I had worked on fell apart.

So now I am committed to…

Get Fit!

I’m making better choices and moving and seeing results far quicker than before. I’m not hungry all the time like I was and I don’t feel as if I’m sacrificing everything I love to eat. I’m learning about portion sizes and eating snacks. But the major difference is that I have the support of a good friend to get me through the tough parts. Plus K is also making the same changes and we are able to encourage each other.

I know that getting fit will help me with my other goals by giving me the confidence and energy to face each challenge head on!

Tomorrow… I think positive about getting involved.

Get Organized {Thinking Positive}

Getting organized has been an 11 year battle. When we got engaged in August 2000, I moved home to save money and my whole house full of stuff went into storage in my great-grandmother’s garage. A few months later, in April 2001, she passed away meaning I had until the end of May to move it all into a storage unit. Added to my possessions were some substantial pieces of furniture that K and I were inheriting and many surprises boxes. These surprise boxes were all the items that my grandmother and aunts either didn’t want or didn’t know what to do with (I just opened the last of the surprise boxes a few days ago).

When we married and finally moved in together in August 2001, we put my stuff, his stuff, my great-grandmother’s stuff, and all the wonderful gifts we received as gifts into a tiny 2 bedroom apartment on the 2nd floor. One bedroom was floor to ceiling unopened boxes. Fast forward 2 years and we move into a tiny cottage that had been his grandparent’s home for 50 years. We gained a bedroom and a sunroom and lost a bathroom. The sunroom became storage central. We were never really organized in the 3 years we lived there and unlike at the apartment, we couldn’t just shut the door to the chaos.

I had high hopes of finally getting it right when we purchased our house in 2006. This time we had 1,600 sq ft of space! No reason we couldn’t get our shit together. This time around it wasn’t space that got in our way but everything else and we let it. We closed late and moved in a week behind schedule. For some crazy reason we had agreed to host a surprise party for K’s mom now only 3 weeks from move-in day! Ack! 6 weeks after move-in we learned I was expecting Lil’ A. My pregnancy was awful and I spent all but about 4 weeks sick. Very little was accomplished during this time and really only things related to baby. Then it was baby and focusing on careers and now 6 years later I’m finally in a position to get organized.

Phew… with all that background out of the way…

Here is my first of five think positive goals

Get Organized!

I have been working on Project Basement since last week. The goal is to purge, clean, and organize. I want to be able to use this space rather than it be dedicated solely to storage. There will be 4 distinct areas… a play space for A, a sitting area with a tv that can double as sleep space for guests on the hide-a-bed, a studio/crafty space for me, and a laundry/storage space. There will also be plenty of room if K decides to move the home gym system from the garage.

Pinterest has been a huge source of inspiration! I’m almost down with the purging and cleaning stage and can’t wait to get started setting up and organizing.

Craft room inspiration!

Once Project basement is complete, I plan to finish organizing the rest of the house. The former nursery will cease being a playroom and become an actual guest room/dressing room for me. I’m excited about the ideas I have for this room!

Guest room inspiration                       LOVE these colors!

So now I have to stop thinking about how much work all this will be, how exhausted it will make me, how little help I’m getting from K, and the fact we have no money to do everything I’m dreaming.

I will think about how less stressed I will feel because the clutter and overwhelming presence of stuff will be gone, how useful this will be for my family, how much more comfortable my guests will be while visiting overnight, and how I can finally get to all the crafty projects I’ve been itching to do.

Happy thoughts!

Tomorrow… I think positive about getting paid.

Screw hard work

Image by Studio Mela

Let me begin this post by saying that I am a skeptic by nature. I take almost nothing at face value or just on faith. I question everything. I read the fine print. I seek out the evidence. If it sounds to good to be true, it always is. Period.

So I’m lounging in bed enjoying a little time with Pinterest, when K bounds in all a twitter about something he was watching. He couldn’t remember what it was called but I just had to hear him out (because he knows I’ll be rolling my eyes in about 90 seconds). This show was all about the secret to the universe and how by simply thinking positively I could attain anything I wanted. The universe would sense it and the laws of attraction would just make it so. He was gaga over this concept. I was laughing and rolling my eyes.

Me: “Is this show called The Secret?”

Him: “Yeah! Yeah, that’s it!”

Me: “This was on Oprah like 5 years ago and everyone wanted to check the book out from the library.”

Him: “It’s amazing stuff! Do you think you could do it? Imagine what it is you really want over the next 6 weeks. Think positively without letting in the negative. Could you do it?”

Me: “So screw hard work and just think positive?”

Him: “YES! Essentially, yes. Could you do it?”

Could I?

Forget that I find all this to be a giant crock of shit… Could I think 100% positively over the next 6 weeks about something I truly wanted?

I want to say that I could. I really do. However, while I am essentially a happy person, I am also internally a very negative person by nature and nurture. I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I plan for the inevitable disappointments and betrayals. I try to have a back-up plan. My successes have been because I worked my ass off not due to some misguided belief in luck. I am such a Capricorn.

By approaching life this way am I just setting my self up for eventual failure or protecting myself from the way of the world? Am I doing it wrong? Should it be about more than just hard work?

While discussing my new get healthy goals, Nikki mentioned that something she did was to create a dream board of goals she wanted to reach by the end of the year. I like the idea and it might make me change my mindset to be more positive and more positive in HOW I accomplish my goals.

So my new challenge is to establish 5 goals I want to focus on and think positive about over the next 6 months. Over the next 5 days I will blog about each goal and what I hope to accomplish. Positive thinking AND hard work… NOT looking behind my back for the next zombie attack… Being conscious of how my actions effect those around me while reaching my goals…

The last 7 months have been brutal and I’ve been standing in my way of moving forward. Recently, I’ve made some baby steps toward emotional healing but I have a long way to go. I hope this effort toward positive thinking will help me begin to mend my spirit.

P.S. I still think it’s baloney that universe would just hand you what you want just because you packaged the thoughts with rainbows and kittens.

Love, The Faires

A portion of yesterday’s serious discussion on faires included fairy etiquette. According to Miss A, fairies always leave thank you notes and a treat to all who believe. *Hint, hint Mommy*

I couldn’t possibly allow this moment to pass without inspiring a little magic. I want my girl to be a dreamer, to give into her imagination and allow it to flourish. I deeply desire for her to frolic in whimsy and the magic of childhood for as long as possible. And if there is anyway that I can help make that happen, by golly I’m gonna do it.

So here’s a note from the faires…

Dearest Ava…

A thank you treat!

A surprise pouch sprinkled in fairy dust.

Love, The Faires

When she awoke she found this surprise waiting on the edge of her bed. After hearing what the note said she exclaimed, “I knew it!”

I simply adore these moments.