Friday, 11 January 2013

January Motivation

With 2013 in full swing, and my resolutions staying pretty strong so far, I thought I'd share a few of the January home decor/organizing/cleaning resolutions that I've seen on the interweb that you might be interested in participating in. Philip will be back for his regular Friday post at some point in the future, he's just really busy writing for the church's drama these days so we're giving him a little break. Plus he'll be sharing his resolutions on Tuesday so that's something to look forward to.

1. Apartment Therapy: The January Cure

Apartment Therapy has provided a calendar for January with tasks to do each day that are related to reinvesting in your home (buying flowers and hanging artwork), purging (using an outbox to help collect things throughout the month that you're ready to part with), and cleaning in general (this past weekend they tried to force me to mop and vacuum my floors - but I didn't have a mop handle after painting my ceiling and breaking two of them - so I fooled them!).  I've tried to follow along with it, although a few of the things weren't as applicable to me or I wasn't interested in doing them, so I've sort of tailored it to fit my own lifestyle/needs. For example, instead of buying flowers this past weekend since I didn't want to spend the money, and I am a plant killer, I rearranged my mantle post-Christmas with beautiful  new things that I was gifted and that make me happy. 

2. iHeart Organizing: Home Office Challenge

Jen at iHeart Organizing is planning a monthly challenge throughout 2013, each month focusing on a different area of the home. January is the Home Office, and it's a great place to start especially as tax time approaches and we want to get our paperwork in order. We finished renovating our office, but now there is stuff everywhere. Hopefully this challenge can motivate me to organize all our paperwork this month. I started the other day with a warranties/instructions binder to house all of the paperwork that comes with the furniture/electronics/appliances that we're buying for this new house. Once it's done I'll be sure to share it! 

3. Real Simple: Organizing Challenge

This challenge is a lot more open to your own ideas, basically you just send in a photo on instagram of the space you organized. This month is the kitchen, and they give a few suggestions as to what you can organize. Not sure if I'll participate in this one (maybe!), but I am a bit of a Real Simple fan and a subscriber, so I thought I'd share it. 

4. Home Storage Solutions 101: 52 Weeks to an Organized Home

I did subscribe to this one, but am unfamiliar with the site. We'll see how it goes, but I can always use weekly motivational reminders of projects I should be doing around my house. Especially as a new homeowner, I can let things slide just from even not knowing how often something should be done. The first week was making goals (did that), and the second week involves some kitchen cleaning that I will try and do tomorrow! 

Is anyone else participating in some internet challenges to help them stay motivated? Any interest in us running something like this? I'm considering a series in March or April on Spring Cleaning/Purging - I'm not a cleaner, but I am an organizer/purger so hopefully that could help me to get better at cleaning, and maybe I can motivate some other people to do something I'm passionate about - which is get rid of all the extra stuff in your house that someone else could make better use of. Let me know what you think of that in the comments, or even send me an email at with ideas for the blog. 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Doesn't It Give You Nightmares?

Yes, that is a question we were asked about our new bedroom ceiling light fixture, and no it doesn't - we LOVE it! 

The light was one of the main things influenced by our original bedroom inspiration, we wanted something interesting and textured, and we definitely got it. 

Philip actually found this light online and I was excited about it automatically after seeing it in the master bedroom of my I-know-them-but-they-don't-know-me best friends the Petersik's.

The Maskros light from Ikea is looking fabulous with John & Sherry's gradient dresser!
The light is huge, 22" in diameter, and the little paper flowers cast shadows everywhere. That's one lesson that we learned - while the Rona bulb we slapped in there to save us a trip to Ikea was a lot brighter than the Ikea bulb, it made our bedroom look like a teenage girls disco paradise. 

John & Sherry provide great step-by-step's for their light fixture assembly process so definitely go check that out if you're wanting to buy this light from Ikea. The only thing that we did differently was we didn't cut the wire to hang it shorter. Philip apparently inherited a mom's ability to pack everything into the suitcase efficiently, because he got that wire coiled up in there really easily and it seemed to make more sense if we ever move the light fixture to a different room or want it hanging lower for some reason. We had to hang it fairly high, which also makes for more shadows, and I learned this morning that it prevents me from doing a nice duvet wave when making the bed. There is no lifting up and flapping onto the bed nicely anymore, have to go around and arrange it all because I will hit the light. Last night I kicked it by accident too, but that's okay just have to be careful! 

Our bedroom doesn't look that put together in this photo,
but just pay attention to the light!
The shadows are a bit much, but since switching out the bulb
it's a lot more tame.
Loving our new light fixture! We have a few things left to complete in that bedroom before we can do a final reveal, so look forward to that! 

Anyone else have the Maskros light? Love it or hate it? I think it's one of those things that you can either really like or cannot understand how anyone would like it. I guess because it's so big and crazy. We already decided if we decide we don't like it after a while it would be cool in a kids room or something, so that's always an option. Light fixtures are a nice and easy upgrade for any room, it didn't take that long and it wasn't crazy expensive. 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Bathroom Planning

We're getting ready to renovate that brown tiled gold shimmer bathroom of ours, and we thought we'd share some of the things we've planned. 

One thing that we've appreciated about this home renovation is that we've taken our time and in doing so have been able to think of the best ways to use the space as we go. Often I'll be working on something in the laundry room, kitchen, etc. and think of an idea for when we renovate. Sometimes the ideas are a little crazy, and others work their way into our final plans after I convince Philip that every idea my mom has is awesome. 

The first thing that we did was measure. Measure everything, the walls, the doors/windows, where the plumbing is located. Philip put this all into his computer so that we could virtually plan out the layout for our bathroom design.

We ended up deciding to go with Ikea cabinets, after Philip made this drawing in Adobe Illustrator and we could see how efficiently planned our bathroom could be with their stock cabinets that are a lot cheaper than some of the more custom options. 

Our virtual bathroom, we should probably have a "don't use toilet" sign like they have in show homes. 
That took care of planning our cabinetry. We'll also have some cabinetry behind this view, where the linen closet was previously, but we're going to wait until after we gut the bathroom to decide what will fit best there. We toyed with a few different designs, but in the end this felt like the best use of space and most cost effective. The freestanding unit is also something that can come with us when we move which is a good idea, as well as the freestanding unit we'll put in the linen closet area. 

Another thing we've begun to plan is electrical work. We'll be fully gutting our bathroom, which allows us the chance to add some new electrical features. A few ideas we're throwing around are an outlet in the cupboard to the left of the vanity, since the vanity doesn't have much counter space it would be a nice place to plug in toothbrushes and such and have them out of the way. We're also hoping to install an extra light fixture above our new shower to add some extra light into the room. 

That yellow is a placeholder, we still haven't decided on a paint color, or flooring. Philip wants yellow walls, but I'm not quite there yet. I do like yellow, but I'm just not sure if I like it with the high gloss gray vanity

Any other ideas for us? We're definitely still in the planning stages but are quickly coming up on the actual doing of things so any tips are helpful! Anyone else renovating a bathroom?

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

What the New Year has in Store

As you might have learned by now...I'm a big list person. I like to make resolutions, although I'd consider them more of goals (Philip says that's the same as a resolution), maybe they're more "yearly tasks/accomplishments".

One note made on the poll last week by Christine Steendam was that a lot of people don't make resolutions. While true, something to know is that you're 10 times more likely to make a change in your life if you make a 2013 goal. According to Real Simple anyway. They also recommend making your goals public, so while we share a couple of ours on this blog, feel free to add yours in the comments. We're back to polling through our site, the Facebook poll was not as well liked (didn't realize that it would show who voted for what - making it a little more public). We'll extend the same poll question this week so more of you can have a chance to answer. I'll share my resolutions for the big 2013, while Philip shares his next Tuesday.

I typically make a list of resolutions, addressing different areas of my life, and then in order to make them more achievable I break them down by quarter/month/week...that kind of thing. This year I kept it simple and I made a one page list of resolutions (color coded), followed by a break down of a couple things I can do in January to work towards accomplishing each of the goals for the year. We'll see how January goes, and then I'll work on a February list. In the interest of keeping things a bit briefer than Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, I'll share just one goal in each area of my life that I highlighted (this kind of got long, but hopefully sharing most of my goals keeps me accountable this year!)

The categories that I divided my resolutions into were: God Related, Philip Related, Health Related, Blog Related, House Related, and Finance Related. 

God Related: In addition to getting back on the Scripture-reading routine that we started out strong on when we first got married and have slowly fallen off of after moving, I really want to make sure to go above and beyond in the areas in which I volunteer at our church. That means doing a great job with my 4-year old Sunday School class, as well as in leading our care group.
In January, that means grabbing a devotion book that I can read each day - we were doing a chronological Bible reading plan and we were probably almost done but it became a little bit of a chore and so I wouldn't mind mixing it up for a little bit with something else. Any recommendations? 

Philip Related: Hopefully our new Date Jar will help with the resolution to have at least two intentional date nights a month. With a home renovation and a lot of other commitments, these can easily slide. 
In January I'll have to make sure we get those two dates in (I've already marked days I think will work on our calendar). 


Health Related: One thing I've noticed since I quit my job back in March, and especially since Winter has come around, is that it's really easy to go a day or two without getting any sunlight. It makes me really tired and so one of my goals is to get outside for a bit each day. It's definitely a goal that haunts me as I look out my window at all the snow and neighbors in their winter jackets. Philip will like it though because it might mean coming home to an already shoveled walk, or more snow women to keep Concetta company (somehow she's still going strong). 

Our snow woman is still hanging out in our yard after over a month.

Blog Related: I am full of dreams for this blog, so hopefully 2013 will be an exciting year in this department. One thing I want to get better at is writing posts ahead so I'm not scrambling at the last minute, and so there is more time for editing and making posts as great as they can be (so bad at this one - but maybe I'm getting there - it's Friday and this post is for next Tuesday!). I also want to improve in things like Photoshop to make my posts better, and hopefully line up some special blogging series, posts about some other homes that inspire us, and maybe even some guest posts. If you have any ideas on how we can improve this blog, or would like to contribute in some way, contact us! Our information is on the About Us page and we'd love to hear from you!

House Related: You've already seen our ambitious To-Do list, and know some of our house goals for this year. The main thing that they all add up to is having a main floor that we're happy with and feel settled in. We know we likely won't get to the kitchen and living room for a year or two, so for now we want to finish the back part of the house (bedrooms and bathroom), and organize the living room and kitchen to be places that we feel content with for now. 

Finance Related: Philip shared our budgeting tool a little while back, but the one thing it requires to work is us entering receipts and expenses regularly so it's actually up to date. I'm almost caught up on the pile of receipts we'd let slide, and then I want to keep it up every day and review it together once a month so we know where our money is going and can save up for more renovation projects! 

That's it for me this year! If I can accomplish the above, I think I've had a pretty successful year. Is anyone else this crazy about their lists? Have you ever fully completed a resolution?

Monday, 7 January 2013

A Family Tradition & Quick, Easy DIY

This is a super easy project, and can even save you money if you are a gift tag person. It's a great thing to do as you clean up your Christmas decorations.

Philip's family has a long-standing tradition of reusing the gift tags on their gifts. There is always one gift under the tree with a gift tag on it from my father-in-law to my mother-in-law which has been around for all 35 years of their marriage. It's a neat and simple tradition, but my problem was that I didn't want to buy a bunch of gift tags as these gift tags are going to be around for years, you don't want them all to be the exact same or it would be kind of boring.

I decided to cut gift tags out of my Christmas cards to use next year. It made me feel less bad about recycling the beautiful and thoughtful cards we'd received from friends and family this year, and it saved me money on gift tags. Also there were some really lovely Christmas designs on them, so I have a ton of unique gift tags for next year now! I'd recommend cutting out the pretty snowflakes or ornament decorations, rather than a picture of your close friend smiling with their dog...but it's really up to you - you have all the creative license on this one.

Just realized that I already packed them up and they're at the very bottom of my Christmas I don't have a picture for you, but I bet you can imagine it.

It was definitely one of the easier Christmas-clean-up projects I worked on...on Friday while cleaning up Christmas decorations I broke one ornament, and while washing dishes the same day smashed a glass in the sink. #getmeawayfrombreakables

When did you put away your Christmas decorations? My aunt had them all put away by the time her kids woke up on Dec 26, while I procrastinated a bit more and put them away on January 4. Maybe you still have them up and are enjoying the Christmas cheer a little longer.