Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Dried Orange Slices


We love to keep Christmas as simple as possible so we can focus on the important things.  We've decided this year we want to have an old-fashioned Christmas! Most of our Christmas totes won't even make it out of our attic this year and I'm not sad about it at all.

One of the ways we are implementing an old-fashioned Christmas feel is by making our own ornaments.  We started with dried orange slices.  These were way easier to make than I imagined they would be.

The orange slices must be sliced as thin as possible, otherwise they will never crisp up all the way.  Lay the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Sprinkle powdered sugar all over the slices.  I'm not sure why, but Martha Stewart says to do this so I did! I also added 1 drop of Cinnamon Bark to each slice for scent. Pop them in the oven (200 degrees) and bake them for 2-3 hours.  Be prepared for your house to smell amazing!

Once they are done, let them cool on a paper towel before decorating with them.  We made most of ours into ornaments using thin jute string. 

Once they are on the tree they really sparkle! We also used a few slices to make a garland for our hallway.

Next up on the list is cinnamon salt dough ornaments and a popcorn garland! Have you made these before? I can see this becoming a yearly tradition in our home! 

Have a BLESSED day,

Monday, April 9, 2018

Farmhouse Hutch Makeover - A Quick Pick-Me-Up for Tired Furniture

Sometimes we desire a change in our home, especially with the changing seasons. When I'm ready for a fresh look, I like to take inventory of what I already have and go from there.

I love this hutch that sits in our kitchen.  We bought it when we bought our house. I imagine it's been in this kitchen since the house was remodeled in the 60's.  Although I love it, it was starting to feel a little tired and dated.

I had this wallpaper sitting in my Amazon cart for over a year.  I was so drawn to the soothing colors and floral pattern. Something about it is so calming to me. Once I knew exactly how I could incorporate it in our home, I took the plunge and bought it.

I'm certainly not an expert on wallpapering, but I will tell you that having these tools on hand made things so much easier.  I found the adhesive and the smoothing tool at Lowes. This wallpaper requires paste.  I was leery of this at first, but now that I've used it, I will tell you it's so much easier to hang than the kind you have to wet.  I will never buy that kind again after using this.

 Once I found my rhythm, the process went by pretty quickly.  I was on a roll, so I didn't get any in progress pictures.  The instructions that came with the wallpaper were very simple to follow.  The main thing is to make sure that the surface is very clean before you begin.  A quick wipe down with my Thieves cleaner did the trick.

The most difficult part for me was trying to get the pieces the correct length without wasting any paper.  I'm terrible at measuring, so I ended up eye-balling it.  I wouldn't suggest doing it that way.  I used a paint brush to apply the paste to the back of the wallpaper, this worked really well.

If you look closely you will see that I still need to trim the excess pieces, but I'll get to that one of these days. I need to buy a sharper blade for my utility knife.  I was way too excited to start filling the shelves to wait.

I love the way it turned out - the perfect touch of vintage charm. This is such an easy option for sprucing up tired furniture. I think wallpaper would be fun to add to dressers, tables, doors, and more.  With so many styles to choose from, you can really get creative!  Have you used wallpaper in your home? I'd love to hear about it!

Have a blessed day!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Back to Basics - in the Kitchen

Back to basics.  This has been the theme to my un-decorating journey I talked about on Instagram.  You all know how much I love to decorate and freshen up spaces through out our home.  I truly believe it's an important part of homemaking.  When we create spaces for our family that are welcoming and inspiring to be in, we are blessing our family and all who enter.

Over the last year I feel like our house went through a bit of an identity crisis.  It sounds kind of funny, but it's true.  When we first moved here, I was all about farmhouse style everything - and I still love it, but I've found that I love other styles too. I was drawn to so many different styles that our home became a bit of a cluttered up, confused mess.

I just didn't like it. I decided I had been over decorating. I had fallen back into the habit of buying something because I thought I liked it, rather than carefully planning out our spaces.  It's so easy to fall in to the trap of trends.  It really is.  We are constantly being bombarded with new trends and fads in home design and it can make one feel the need to constantly keep up.

I decided enough was enough and put a new plan in place for the way I wanted our home to look and feel.  I put together a list of what I love and my vision for our home.  I de-cluttered like crazy and got rid of so much stuff that didn't fit my new list.

I'm definitely not a minimalist, but I do desire simplicity in our home.  Every item in our home should be something we truly love, enjoy, and use for a purpose.  When we can find items that serve a purpose and bring us joy at the same time, that's even better.  An example of this for me is my cleaning supplies.  I enjoy cleaning so much more when I love what I'm using to clean with. Making my own cleaners and using pretty glass bottles is fun for me.  I also purchased a new broom, dust pan, and duster and I have them on display in my laundry room.  They are both useful and pretty to look at. My old plastic broom used to drive me batty because it was such an eye sore, yet I needed it out all the time.  This is so much better!

My vision for our home:

Light, neutral, and cool toned back grounds (walls, curtains, bedding).  I found a neutral shade of gray paint that I really like and I've been slowly but surely painting each room of our home this color, with the exception of the kid's rooms.  I've found that I like when all the rooms in our home are cohesive and painted the same color.

Contrast.  I really love contrast.  I love the combination of bright white and rustic wood.  I love the combination of our painted dining set and our wood hutch.  Another example is our painted cabinets paired with the barn wood surrounding our island.

Natural texture.  I've realized I have a thing for baskets,  jute rugs, and woven shades.  These things are constants through out our home.  Old baskets, new baskets, I love them all!  I also love that they serve a purpose and they look nice.  I've found some really amazing baskets at thrift stores and yard sales.  Baskets and wood pieces here and there add warmth to our cool toned home.  These items help our home feel cozy despite all the white.

Meaningful and unique decor.  Some of my most favorite decor items are things that have been passed down to us or items I've found at thrift stores and yard sales.  I really love a home that looks as though it was carefully pieced together over time rather than a home straight out of a magazine ad.  This kind of thinking also keeps me from impulse buying things I know I don't really need or won't enjoy for years to come.

Pops of blue.  I'm not a huge fan of tons of color in our home, but I do love pops of blue here and there.  Our antique blue mason jar collection is one of my favorite things.  The canisters that sit out on our counter were a gift from my sweet Audrey, and you will notice a few of our doors have been painted a happy shade of teal.  These are a few ways I like to add in subtle color to our otherwise neutral palate.  I love the idea of choosing a color that speaks to you and sticking to it, in various shades, through out your entire home. This is a great way to add to the cohesive flow in your home.

Now moving forward, I stick to my list. I finally feel like our home has found it's identity, and I've realized that it doesn't exactly fit a specific style.  I like that.  Do you have a vision for your home?  I would love for you to share it with me!

Have a Blessed weekend,

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Creating a Homemaking Routine

Creating a routine for my days has really saved my sanity, but it did take some planning to get there.  I would love to tell you that this idea was my own, but it wasn't.  This method of homemaking dates back many years ago, in fact, Laura Ingalls wrote about Ma managing their home this way in her book, Little House in the Big Woods.

I want to share with you a couple of resources that really helped me figure out a routine for managing our home.  Large Family Logistics is an amazing book full of useful and practical information.  Don't let the name fool you, the principles found here apply to families of all sizes.  We are a family of 4 and I loved this book! There is even a newer version available now.

The second resource I want to tell you about is my friend Stacy's homemaking e-course.  This course is what really helped me put all my new knowledge into action and actually formulate a plan I could stick to.  Once you buy the course, you have lifetime access, and you can go at your own pace.

 This is not about creating an unrealistic schedule that is difficult to follow.  This is about creating a routine - a flow to your days, that allows for unplanned and unexpected things to pop up, because let's face it, it happens.  A schedule doesn't allow for those kinds of things.

find recipes here
The idea is to create a few "must do" daily maintenance tasks and then assign a more specific chore or task to each day of the week.  This way your housework is evenly spread out through out the week instead of hitting you like a ton of bricks on the weekend! Not fun.

On Instagram, I did a series of videos to share how this looks in our home. 

Here's a quick run down of my routine.  Keep in mind this is not about perfection, rather it's a system to keep us from feeling overwhelmed.  I promise, it works.

I like to accomplish certain things each day to help things run a little smoother and help me have the right attitude for the day.  I call these my daily maintenance tasks.

Daily quiet time
Work time
Overall house tidy/pickup
1-2 loads of laundry (start to finish)
At least one kitchen task

Each day of the week is assigned a different task, as follows. 

Monday - catch up day 
Tuesday - errand day 
Wednesday - upstairs cleaning day
Thursday - downstairs cleaning day
Friday - office day 

Creating a routine for my days has really helped free up more of my time. We all know housekeeping is a never ending job, but when we divide it up into bit size goals, we can feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Since I began working from home, I've found it's really hard for me to be intentional with my time if I don't have a plan.  I found myself feeling very scattered and out of sorts.  I felt as though I was working all day, yet nothing was ever really "done".  Have you ever felt like that?

These same principles apply even if you work outside of the home.  I always say if you have a home you're a homemaker, and regardless of what your job is, you still have to manage your home and it can get overwhelming pretty quickly.

Tackling certain tasks each day, either before or after work, or a little bit of both, will allow for a much smoother week and a more restful and fun weekend. Your day off may not fall on the weekend, but whatever day you have off, this will keep you from having to spend that day taking care of all your housekeeping tasks.

I know it seems a little daunting at first, but once you get into the rhythm, you'll be so thankful and relieved that you have a plan in place for your days.  Creating a routine for your home creates freedom.