Are you tired of hearing about my living room yet?

We are continuing to make more changes to the living room.  It’s STILL not complete, but sometimes I feel like no room in my house will ever be 100% complete.  I just thought I would share some of the updates since my last post

Before I begin, please excuse the junk on the coffee table and the large cardboard boxes behind the sofa in the top photo.  These big furniture deliveries always seem to come with HUGE amounts of cardboard and shipping materials.  We have broken down SO many boxes for recycling over the past few weeks, and obviously we still have a few more to go.  Also, on the coffee table are the components for some shelf lighting we purchased yesterday for the tops of the bookcases.  Apparently we need some kind of adapter for them, so we can’t install them yet, but Tadd was still in the process of sorting them out when I took that picture.

Yes, we added an armchair!  It’s so nice to have some extra seating.  We needed something small-scale that wouldn’t take up too much room, but I also wanted something that either had an ottoman or footstool.  This chair we ended up with is actually a recliner!  So it takes up even less space.  I love that it doesn’t look like a recliner.  We ordered it at

We finally got the baskets for the bottom shelves of the sofa table!  I love it…SO much storage.  One of the bins holds a small collection of household tools that we want to keep handy just in case (most of Tadd’s tools live in the garage); a hammer, a nail/wall hanger set, some basic screwdrivers, flashlights, etc.  One will hold spare vases.  And the rest is room to grow for now, until I decide on something else I want to store.

Ever since seeing this post by Thrifty Decor Chick, I have been wanting to buy a tillandsia (also known as an air plant).  I finally found one yesterday at Ikea for $6!  These are supposed to be really easy to care for…they don’t even need soil!

In addition to the tillandsia, I have been working on adding more decor (and color!) into the room.  I bought the little ceramic fish planter filled with succulents at Lowes.  The daisy plate and yellow/coral candle holders were from Hobby Lobby.  And the framed bird postcards were from Ikea ($0.99 for the entire pack of 5 postcards and $2.99 each for the pre-matted frames!)

Still in the plans for the near future:

  • Installing cabinet knobs on the bookshelves (we have the knobs, just need to install them).
  • Installing the cabinet lighting we already bought once Tadd gets the adapter he needs.
  • Paint/treatment on the backs of the shelves…still trying to decide exactly what I want to do with that.
  • Spray paint some of the existing accessories to match the new color scheme.
  • Curtains…Already found the panels I want.  Just have to buy them and a curtain rod and install.
  • Lamps…I want one table lamp for the sofa table and one floor lamp for over by the armchair.

And lower priority plans for a little bit further down the road:

  • Looking for a piece of furniture that we can use as a small bar near where the living room transitions into the kitchen.  We actually have a very small bar already (it was  formerly the ONLY storage piece in our living room and held all my candles), but it has been broken for years.  I would like something much larger, but it can’t be too deep because we don’t want the entrance to the living room to feel cramped and narrow.
  • This is technically more in the kitchen then the living room, but while at Ikea yesterday, we saw a small shoe rack/bench combo that would be PERFECT for the area of the kitchen that transitions into the living room.  That tends to be where our shoes pile up, and I thought the bench would be a nice place for me to set my purse down when I walk in the door.

By the way, now that we have been really living in it for a week or so, I can say that I am completely, totally in love with my new living room.  The new layout and furniture are doing exactly what I had hoped they would: provide a feeling of coziness, and an amazing amount of storage.


Master Bath Update…and a new project!

For some reason, summer puts me in house project mode.  It happened last summer too, when we updated our kitchen island.  And the summer before that, it was our powder room makeover.

We are still working little by little on the master bath refresh.  I showed you previously some of the items we had purchased.    I also used up some of my birthday giftcards to get a few more random things.  I picked up an oil-rubbed bronze vanity mirror from Bed Bath & Beyond. Similar to this one, but with a square base.

And just last night I went to Hobby Lobby and got some wall decor (a big iron leaf/feather that I have been eyeing for years)…

…a decorative basket that will live on the tub corner (to hold bath products), and this owl statue and lotus tealight holder:

Between BB&B and HL, I spent about $7 total out of pocket.  Love using the “shopper’s trinity” (sales, coupons, and giftcards)!  We also went to Lowes and picked up a hanging shower organizer and an over-the-door hook for our water closet.

I just have a few more items I would like to buy and/or install before I show you the final product.  I don’t have any before pics, because it was a disorganized wreck, and honestly the “after” pics probably won’t be all that exciting, since I didn’t do anything drastic like paint or replace fixtures (although we ARE seriously thinking about replacing the vanity lighting).  But we are both really enjoying the new set up so far.  It’s nice having a well-appointed, functional, refreshed space that is just for us.  And it was also nice having a low-key project that hasn’t taken much money to feel a big difference.

And our latest project is…a new living room!  Well, same living room, new furniture.  The plan (so far) is to replace our 8.5 year old red American Signature sectional sofa with a beige 2×2 Ektorp sectional from Ikea.  I love our red sofa, but it’s looking pretty worn and it’s just not easy to really clean red microfiber.  One of the things I love about the Ektorp is that it’s almost totally machine washable!  Great for pets and clumsy husbands!  And if you need to, you can just totally replace the slipcover and have what feels and looks like a whole new sofa for a couple hundred bucks.  Some of you may be skeptical about Ikea furniture, but I have done my research and it seems to be almost universally loved by many, many, many home bloggers out there.  I also love the look.  Reminds me of Pottery Barn’s classic slipcover sofas, with a MUCH more reasonable price tag!

Here is a pretty terrible picture of how our living room is configured now:

Unfortunately, it’s the only current pic that I have on hand.  This room is fairly large and opens to the kitchen.  I think my biggest problem with it is that the (obnoxiously huge) TV being at an angle like that takes up way too much space.  And we also have a lot of wasted space between this seating area and the kitchen.  My plan is to move the TV so that it is centered on the wall with all the floating shelves and flank it on either side with tall bookshelves.  I would like the kind that have cabinet doors on the bottom and open shelves on the top, like this:

The floating shelves we have on the wall now will obviously have to be moved elsewhere, but I am sure we can find some great spots for them.  The new sectional will be oriented with one end of the “L-shape” under the window that is just to the left of the TV in the pic above.  The other end will be with the back facing the kitchen.  I plan to put a decorative console table behind that end of the sofa, and if there is room, maybe an armchair against that right-side wall that the sofa is backed up to now.  I hope this will allow the room to feel bigger and will allow us to use more of the space effectively.  There will also be some additional new accent tables, perhaps some curtains, and definitely some new throw pillows for the new sofa.  If we get the bookshelves above with the cabinet doors, I would want to get some pretty decorative knobs for them as well (Hobby Lobby has a ton of really fun ones!).

So stay tuned!  Lots of house updates to come this summer!

Another sewing project!: Reusable Coffee Sleeve

I just finished another sewing project.  And although it definitely isn’t perfect, I do feel like I am learning more and more as I go.  And even if it’s not perfect, it’s definitely usable, which I suppose is the important thing.

I am thrilled to say that this fabric (which I absolutely love) was found amongst the shelf of random clearance fabric remnants at Hobby Lobby.  I think it was 7/8 of a yard for $3 or so.  Can’t beat that!  And I have plenty leftover, as this project obviously only used a smidgen of fabric.

I used this fabulous tutorial at The Cottage Home blog, which I found really clear and easy to follow.

This post was shared on The Shabby Creek Cottage’s Transformation Thursday, and Drab to Fab Fridays at Sugar & Spice!

A little more holiday decor.

I thought I would share a few more photos of my home all decked out for the holidays.

We don’t have a fireplace, so we have to get creative with hanging our stockings.

A little “Ho Ho Ho” for the top of the TV (not sure why the walls look SO unbelievably bright yellow in this shot…the actual shade of yellow is much paler  in real life).  This stuff sheds glitter like no one’s business!  But it’s worth the annoyance, because I think it looks so cheery and festive.

I added little touches of Christmas to our wall of shelves.

My favorite part of the wall of shelves is this little Santa boot I got during the after Christmas sales at World Market last year!  Once we put it on the shelf, it just needed SOMETHING, so Tadd filled it with red Target Dollar Spot plastic ornaments.  Cute!

I don’t really go too overboard in the kitchen.  Just some green garland across the top of the back cabinet, a couple of finial-style tree toppers, and my little star-shaped wreaths on my dual pantries.  The plate in the plate holder on the right is a brand new purchase.  Found it randomly at Walgreens for $1 this past Saturday.  It goes with the red bird/cardinal holiday theme I am starting to see take shape in my recent purchases.  Ignore all the crap on the counters…I was getting ready to host a Christmas party when this pic was taken.

A closer look at my new $1 plate.  Cute for only a buck, huh?

Moving onto the foyer & dining room.  My little foyer shelf is always decked out for every season.  This year I used my trusty apothecary jar, filled with cheap ornaments.  The snowflake topiaries are from Hobby Lobby (50% off!).  The silver tray and candy dish are from Dollar Tree.  More cheapie ornaments on the tray, and a frosted cranberry candle, which was a gift from a friend.

The dining room is home to my new second tree!  The table is dressed simply with my snowflake table runner, my homemade Dollar Tree hurricanes, and some smaller Dollar Tree tealight holders, along with my regular year-round green & brown centerpiece.  Yes, I would say that almost half of my seasonal decor comes from my beloved Dollar Tree!  I think since my dining room is already green, a little bit of red goes a long way to make it look festive for Christmas.

And a few more shots of my trees, since they make me happy…

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of my home.  Happy Holidays!

A tale of two Christmas Trees!

My whole adult  life, I have always wanted two Christmas trees.  One for my sentimental hodge-podge of ornaments that I will ALWAYS want to display year after year, and a second tree just to look pretty, possibly with some kind of overriding theme.  But I never had two Christmas trees, nor did I have the space for two Christmas trees until we moved into this house.  I found a 6.5 ft white pre-lit tree for $19 during the after-Christmas sales last year, and I decided to make my little dream come true.

So this is the first year for me having two trees.  I will be honest, that my new decorative tree is sparse, and I don’t even have a tree skirt yet!  I have been picking up ornaments here and there over the past few weeks, but don’t really want to spend too much right now.  This tree is in my dining room, where I have a brown/green/tan/white very natural scheme already, so I decided that this tree will have somewhat of a natural/woodland theme.  I was thinking pinecones, woods, birds, little woodland creatures, etc.

Without further ado, this is my traditional/sentimental hodgepodge tree, which is in our main living area:

And a few of my favorite ornaments…

And here is our new white tree in our formal dining room (note the ornament on the floor at the bottom left…darn cats!):

My lovely mother-in-law purchased these cardinal ornaments for me while she was in town last month.  So beautiful!

I also bought these cardinals at Dollar Tree (two for $1!).  The red wooden bead garland was a Garden Ridge find.

I love these little sign ornaments from Target!  I bought three for this tree, and I love how simple and slightly vintage they look on my tree.  The other two say “Peace” and “Ho Ho Ho” and each design is slightly different, but in the same style.  You can also see the pine cone glass ornaments I picked up at Hobby Lobby early in the season.

Linking this post up with Thrifty Decor Chick’s Holiday Home Christmas Tree Link Party!  I love seeing everyone’s trees!

Fall Door Decor…And a little friend!

Just a quick post to join in for the second of the It’s Fall Y’all link parties!

Today’s party is hosted by Rhoda of Southern Hospitality, and it’s all about door decor.  And to be honest, I don’t have much up yet.  I have some spider silhouettes that I meant to put up in the smaller windows on either side of my door, but I haven’t gotten that far yet.  But I do have a smidgen of door decor to share.

I bought this jack-o-lantern bucket wall-pocket-thingie several years ago at Target for like $10.  Previously, when we lived in our apartment, I wasn’t as much into the whole go-all-out holiday decor thing, so I would just hang it on our door, plain and empty.  But the fact that it was a bucket shape meant it was really crying out to hold something…like flowers!  Last year, being the first full fall season in the new house, I decided to jazz it up a bit by adding two large bunches of silk flowers I found on sale at Hobby Lobby.  I also hot glued the plaid ribbon across the top rim of the bucket, and tied a matching bow at the top of the bucket handle (you can barely see it at the top where it meets the wreath hanger).

Now, I am very well aware that it is sitting off-center on my door, and I meant to center it better before I took the picture…but something stopped me.  Can you tell what it is?

A lizard was hanging out just beneath the wreath hanger!  I couldn’t move it without either #1) risking him jumping right on my head and #2) squishing him between the hanger and the door.  So I just left it off-center and left the little guy alone.  I will give him some time to find a new hangout spot and go back out and re-center it later.

See the fun stuff we get to deal with here in Florida?!  Are you non-Floridians jealous?  Ha ha!  In all reality lizards like this guy are not a big deal.  It’s the snakes, alligators, palmetto bugs, brain-eating amoebas, and gigantic hairy wolf spiders that freak me out.

A fall/Halloween non-mantel!

I am very excited to participate in the It’s Fall Y’all link party series hosted by some of my favorite DIY bloggers!

Today we get the party started with a Fall Mantel party  hosted by Layla over at The Lettered Cottage.  However, I must confess that I very regretfully do not have a mantel.  I live in the sub-tropics and very few of the newer homes down here come with fireplaces.  So sad!  Although we may not need fireplaces for practical purposes, I feel like I really miss out on the architectural interest and charm it would bring to my home.  I make do by treating my small foyer table in almost the same manner, so that is what I am going to show you.

Now, it may not be the most stylish or interesting or creative arrangement, but this vignette is truly filled with some of my favorite items.

The apothecary jar is something I bought at Homegoods back when we first knew we were buying our house.  I think it was one of my very first home decor purchases with the new house in mind.  Most of the year it is filled with artificial lemons, but during the fall, I fill it with some pretty Dollar Tree leaves.

I’m pretty sure the smiling-pumpkin-on-a-pedestal is my favorite singular Halloween decoration I own.  I found it randomly last year at Hobby Lobby and couldn’t leave it behind.  Not sure why I am so drawn to it, but I am.  I think it’s fun and whimsical.

The other touch of fun and whimsy in this vignette are my Boney Bunch pieces!  I love, love, love my Boney Bunch candy dish.  It’s my favorite of all the pieces in my collection.  You can also see my spider tealight holder next to the apothecary jar.

Below all of the items are two felt leaves that I’m sure many of you have seen at Dollar Tree.  I also have red and green felt ornaments that I use in a similar way at Christmas time.  And of course, I added some real baby pumpkins to add a touch of natural to the vignette.  Who doesn’t love pumpkins?

And there you have it!  My fall non-mantel!

The Lettered Cottage
Also linked up to:

Halloween-ified Vase!

Months ago, back when Hobby Lobby first put out their fall decor (which I think was June?), I was walking in the silk floral section when a display of fall-colored grasses and flowers caught my eye.  I saw these vibrant orange grass bunches with yellow & orange feathery-leafy things on the ends.  For some reason I HAD to buy one, so I did.

I decided it would look great for Halloween in a tall, skinny black vase.  So I set about looking for one.  I looked EVERYWHERE!  Nothing was quite the right shape or color or look.  Eventually I gave up.  When it came time to put out the fall/Halloween decor, I was forced to come up with SOMETHING to hold my pretty orange grassy-thing.  I asked Tadd to go to where we kept the vases (the cabinet above the stove) and just see what we had that could work in the meantime while I figured out what to do.

He came up with a cheap bud vase that was just the right size, but it was clear, so really not what I wanted.  But at least I was able to display my pretty Hobby Lobby find.  I eventually kind of pushed it to the back of the vignette on the top of my bar cabinet, behind a Dollar Tree raven and ceramic pumpkin to attempt to downplay the vase.

Then, I stumbled across this great idea from Better Homes and Gardens 100 Days of Holidays and it just clicked!

These are just four dollar store glass goblets, spray painted black!  I actually loved the clear stripe along the rim too.  So I immediately knew what I needed to do!

I taped up the top with some painters tape…

…turned it upside down, and went to town.  First with some primer, then with two coats of black.

Due to the various grooves and details on the vase (and my lack of patience), the line separating the black from the clear was not super clean.  But that wasn’t a big deal because I had something already in mind to fix that.

I just used some of that same spider web ribbon that I used on my Spoooooooky Dollar Tree tray project!  I didn’t even glue it in place yet (because I ran out of glue sticks!), just tied it tight around the vase, right where the transition point is between black and clear.  Worked really well!

Viola!  The finished product!  Cost to me: $0!  I already had the vase, spray paint, and ribbon!  And it works PERFECTLY with my orange grassy thing!

Sorry about the quality of pics in this post.  They were all taken by my phone, since my regular camera is being repaired.

Linking up to Shabby Creek Cottage‘s Transformation Thursday!

A spoooooooooooky Halloween craft!

As I mentioned yesterday, I finished my little Halloween craft and I am really happy with how it turned out.  As a matter of fact, I am thinking about making another one so I can have a set!

I started with this little wooden tray I found at Dollar Tree.

Which I spray painted with a few coats of black.

At Hobby Lobby, I picked up a little wooden sign with sparkly letters that said “SPOOKY” (they also had “CREEPY”, which I may use next!) and some spider web scrapbook paper.  I already had spider web ribbon and purple ribbon that I knew I could use.   I think if I were buying ribbon just for this project, I would have picked green or orange instead of purple as the accent ribbon, because it does blend in with the black a little bit.  But I wanted to use what I had.

I cut the scrapbook paper to size so that it fit inside the tray.

You can use spray adhesive or whatever you want to glue the scrapbook paper onto the tray.  My can of spray adhesive was dead, so I used a small amount of hot glue.  Probably not the best thing to use on paper, but it’s what I had, and it worked.

I then took the “SPOOKY” wooden letters and used my glue gun to affix them to the inside bottom ledge of the tray.  Then I took the wider purple ribbon and glued one end of it, starting on the outside edge of the tray, underneath the “SPOOKY” letters, pulled it tight all the way around the outside of the tray, and glued the other end on top of where I started.  I followed this up by doing the same with the spider web ribbon, on top of the purple ribbon, only I used a small bead of glue all the way around.  I just drew a straight line with  my glue gun down the middle of the purple ribbon, and then very carefully pressed the spider web ribbon down over the glue, making sure to keep it centered on the purple ribbon.

In the end, it looked like this all around the outside of the tray:

I then took another small length of the spider web ribbon, and used a regular stapler to staple it into the back of each side of the top of the tray, so I could hang it from a hook or a nail in the wall.

I remembered I had a bunch of bright colored plastic insects that I bought last Halloween.  So when Tadd got out my boxes of fall and Halloween decor yesterday, I was thrilled when I saw the plastic baggie full of bright orange spiders and green centipedes (and purple cockroaches…to be honest, those kind of freak me out!).  I hot glued a couple of them onto my sign for one last creepy touch and my project was complete!

I’m hoping I can make it back to both Hobby Lobby and Dollar Tree in time to get another tray and the “CREEPY” letters so I can make a second one

I had so much fun turning this boring little $1 wooden tray…

Into this fun, festive little sign!

Anyone else doing anything to get in the mood for fall and/or Halloween yet?  Or is it just me?

I am linking this up with Thrifty Decor Chick’s September Before & After Party!

Also linked to The Shabby Creek Cottage’s Transformation Thursday link party!

Kicking fall off a little early.

I know it’s super early, but I already had Tadd pull out the fall decor boxes…

and got to work!  We didn’t have anything else planned today, so it seemed like a good way to pass the time doing something productive.  The house is starting to look quite festive!  I finished the Dollar Tree tray craft I have been talking about all week and it is looking cute!  I hope to show you what I did sometime this week, so stay tuned for that.

We also went to Bath & Body Works, where I got my fall/Halloween handsoaps (I am a total sucker for them…especially the seasonal ones).  Look at the cute purple & black spider pump topper!

The scents they have for fall are REALLY good this year, old classics and new ones too; sweet cinnamon pumpkin, green candy apple, orchard leaves, sour drop, marshmallow, caramel apple, creamy pumpkin, cranapple crisp, cinnamon raisin cookie, and pumpkin caramel latte.

Oh, and as promised, this is the wall art we bought for the kitchen from Hobby Lobby for $25!  I love it!  Although now I am thinking this corner of the room needs some red to be incorporated somehow.  It’s all looking a little too neutral for me.