Friday, September 30, 2011

A Spare House For Sale

One year ago last week, we closed on our forever house.  I can't believe that we have owned this house for a year now.  It really has been a wild ride.  As we venture in to our second year with a huge list of house projects, we are burdened with the fact that we still own our old house.

When we decided to buy this house, we truly believed that our old house would sell quickly.  It is in great condition, well cared for and in a desirable neighborhood/area of town.  The only negative, is that house backs up to a major roadway.  Now, we lived in this house for 8 years and really, never noticed the noise, but the perception is there.  We believed that the house, features and neighborhood would diminish this location issue. 

Unfortunately, the market is rough right now.  Loans are hard to get and many people are upside down on their current homes which makes it impossible for them to move at this time.  In our market the high number of foreclosures and short sales has resulted in market flooded with more houses than buyers.  These foreclosures have also driven down the average sale price.  Grrrr.

We have given some thought to renting it out and waiting for the market to come around, but really, we have no desire to be landlords.  Having rental property in our minds is a lot of headaches.  Will they pay their rent?  How much maintenance will there be?  Will these renters care for "our" home in the same way we do?

We have decided to give one last push to sell this house in the next 30 days with an aggressive pricing strategy.  Oh yeah, and I am praying to dear St. Joseph every hour!

Wish us luck.  And say a little prayer if you have a minute!  And if you are looking for a home in the Tucson area, let me know - I would be happy to send you the MLS listing!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fall Wreath

As promised, I have updated our front door for Fall.  I found an old wreath in the garage from several years ago.  It was a pre-made wreath, nothing special.  I cleaned up the leaf garland, fluffed the bow a bit and added some of the gold, red and brown sparkly wire garland from the dollar store to give it a bit of pizazz.  Simple, quick update. 

Do you have an old wreath that could use a quick and simple update?  Remember, we don't ALWAYS have to start from scratch.  We can re-energize a old favorite.

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DON'T FORGET -  Check out the awesome Michael's coupon at the top of my blog.  50% off one item, expires 9/17/11. 

Fall in Chocolate Printable

Fall in Chocolate Free Printable
Submitted by Our Forever House

I love the colors of fall, chocolate and being creative.  I am learning to use my camera and photo editing programs and am very excited to share my first free printable.  I love how it turned out.  I hope you do to!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Falling for Fall

I cannot deny, I am falling hard for fall this year.  Maybe it is the melancholy feel of this season, maybe the dream of cool, crisp air and the ability to be outside without melting!  Whatever it is, I love it and love to see the touches of fall in my home!

This weekend I have been working on a couple more fall decorations.  Today I want to share a couple of these projects.  Clearance and the dollar store are rampant in these projects.  I really do think I have a problem.  I swear my car just goes there on its own (oh, that and the dollar store is right next door to my grocery store).  And really, who can go shopping without checking out the clearance rack or area?  Not me!  I love a bargain.  I also love transforming something very simple, into something amazing.

My first project this weekend was this awesome mini-pumpkin topiary.  It was just $4 for the vase and 3 pumpkins.  Alone, I have to say, the pumpkins looked a bit cheap.  However, using this fun topiary idea, they really look more expensive and maybe even a bit more realistic.  I actually would love to try this with some real mini-pumpkins once I start seeing them in the grocery store.

This project started by taking a plain, footed plastic vase from the dollar store and spray painting it with oil rubbed bronze spray paint.  (I love this stuff.)  Since I was just going to use this plastic vase for a "dry" arrangement, I didn't worry about priming it with a spray paint for plastic.  I probably should have but, well frankly, I wanted to make this project and I didn't have any paint specifically for plastic.  I went for it and after a couple of light coats it turned out great.

Then I used a wood skewer and pierced it through the pumpkins and laid a few fall leafs between them to fill the space and give the topiary some depth.  Then I simply placed a small piece of Styrofoam into the vase and pushed the skewer down into it.  I love the height of the vase and the topiary.

To continue with my love of oil rubbed bronze spray paint, I transformed a summer lantern that I picked up on clearance at Lowes into a great fall centerpiece.  After a quick coat of paint, I added a candle and some candy corn. 

Boring and a bit dusty!

Rich and delicious!

Tomorrow I will share the wreath I am revamping for the front door. 

DON'T MISS OUT!!!!  There is an awesome add for Michael's on my blog for the next 10 days!  Check it out for some awesome savings!!!!

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Magnetic Board Updates

Every kid should have a bulletin board to keep all those cherished memories.  You know the ones - the photos with friends, the movie ticket stubs, special notes, pictures from magazines, invitations, etc.  I will admit, I had many a picture from the latest issue of Teen Beat hanging in my room. 

When we were working on the desks for the kids rooms, I knew that we needed to give them each a bulletin board.  I love some of the cork board updates I have seen, HOWEVER I didn't feel that my 4 and 6 year old needed to have push pins in their room.  I had visions of ME stepping on them amongst the other toys and "stuff" on the floor.  A magnet board was the perfect solution.  We picked up a couple of simple boards at Ikea.  Perfect for the kids rooms.

Of course, plain does not cut it with kids.  This project we were able to get the kids involved.  I picked up some pink and green polka dot decals at The Dollar Tree for my daughters project and we simply used green painters tape for my sons board.  They helped put them on which helped them both take ownership of their projects.

Both projects were completed in under 30 minutes and gave the rooms immediate impact!

Have you used a simple item like tape to add immediate impact to an otherwise plain object?

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Back Entry {Landing Zone}

I was so excited when we bought this house!  I envisioned this awesome mudroom with little lockers and baskets to store back packs, jackets, shoes, etc.  The only problem with this vision - the laundry room, which is right off the entry from the garage, is a whole lot smaller than I realized.  Once we put our washer, dryer and upright freezer in there, there was barely enough room to open the machines and do laundry.  There was no room for storage.  Bummer.

So, I moved to the hallway.  It is narrow but I knew that we could squeeze in some hooks and a small command center.

I decided the wall between the powder room and laundry room was perfect to offer a small landing zone for backpacks and coats.  I had picked up some simple brushed silver hooks at Ikea.  From experience, I knew that these hooks would take a beating so the board they were attached to needed to be adhered securely to the wall and studs.  The studs in our home are 16" on center and most of the installation holes for the pre-made hook racks I looked at were closer together than that.  So by stretching the rail from moulding to moulding across the entire span of this space, I could take advantage of the studs to hold the rack to the wall.

Over the weekend, I got my husband to help me out.  I painted up the board, figured out the measurements and spacing and manned the power tools.  After pre-drilling the holes, we secured the board to the wall and the hooks to the board.  The screws for the hooks were long enough to go through both the board and drywall which will hopefully make them more sturdy.

The kids were a great audience watching Daddy use the drill.  They were very impressed.  They were also excited to hang up their bags!  Hopefully that enthusiasm lasts and they remember to hang up their bag and coats (if we ever need them here in beastly hot Arizona) every day and I don't have to hound them.

Above the hooks, we hung a small command center that I found at a thrift store.  It will allow us to hang our keys and post notes and reminders as we are walking out the door.  With the alarm keypad right there, we shouldn't miss any reminders.  Again, time will tell!

I am very excited about this new landing zone.  Since it is right next to the door to the garage it should be easy to use and help control some of the chaos before we get into the main living area.

I know, a Mom can have a dream!

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Overcoming Fear

Last week I took on a huge fear of mine ... sewing something from a pattern.  Yikes!  I have had these patterns and the fabric sitting here for several months and I finally got the courage up to give it a try.

I have opened the envelopes several times, unfolded the patterns, read the directions and then neatly and quickly folded them up and put them away.  I couldn't do it.  Until last week.  I wanted to make some flannel pajamas for my kids and decided the worst that could happen is that I hate them and go buy them jammies!

Guess what?  I love them!  And I have {somewhat} overcome my fear.

Ignore the fact that my children were having a serious case of the sillies when I tried to take these photos.

This whole project started with a piece of pink cat flannel that I picked up at a yard sale.  My daughter LOVES kittens, obsessed really so this fabric was "purr"fect (sorry, I couldn't help myself).  I laid out the pattern and realized that I didn't have enough fabric for sleeves so I ran to JoAnns and found a great pink stripe to use for sleeves.

After a quick phone call to my friend Heather from No Business Like Sew Business to coach me through the cutting, I made the first cut!  Phew!  It was easier than I thought.  She gave me a couple of tips and reminded me that I can do this.  Fortunately, the pattern was pretty straight forward.  I headed to the machine and within an hour I had a completed nightgown.

I can't wait to make a few more night gowns and some pajama pants for those colder evenings.  Speaking of pajama pants and confidence.  Since this first attempt at sewing with a pattern was a success, I opened up another pattern.  I know, crazy!

My son saw the nightgown and wanted something too - so while we were at JoAnns picking up the striped fabric, I let him pick out a piece of flannel for pajama pants.  We found this awesome Cars flannel.  I loved the bright blue with our favorite characters - Lightning McQueen and Mater!  It was a match made in heaven.

As soon as we got home he couldn't wait for me to start.  Of course, I had to pre-wash the fabric and that took awhile but as soon as the dryer went off he was pulling it out and begging me to get started.  The pants were a breeze - 4 pieces, quick sew.  The biggest issue I had is that I made the size Small and really should have made the XS as they were rather large.  Although after washing them once, they already seem to fit better.  He is SOOOO excited about his pants. 

While we were at JoAnn's I found a couple of these gray t-shirts on clearance for $1.99.  I want to put an applique of Lightning McQueen and Mater on it so it looks like a matched set.  We also picked up a piece of fleece to make some warmer pants too. 

After fearing the pattern - I overcame that initial haste and put a scissors to the fabric and am so glad I did.  By no means am I ready for anything too fancy but I now know, I CAN DO IT!

P.S.  Thanks Heather for giving me the courage to make that first cut!  You are amazing!

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Monday, September 5, 2011

Student Desk {Girl}

As promised, we finished up the girl's student desk this weekend.  We got it hauled upstairs, accessorized and it has already been christened (as in, it has marker on the top already).  Last week I shared the desk project that started last November with the purchase of 2 "vintage" student desks.  I spray painted my son's desk brown.  My daughter has white furniture in her room so I brushed on white paint for hers.

I used a white flat paint and put on several coats with a light sanding between each coat.  I really liked using the flat paint as it does not show the sand marks like the satin spray paint did.  For this desk I put 4 coats of paint on the top and drawers in order to offer a strong finish since these areas take the biggest beating.

I followed up the paint with several coats of polyurethane.  In hindsight, I should have used poly-acrylic which offers a clear finish.  The polyurethane created a yellowish tint to the desk.  At some point I will probably go back and redo the finish but for now it is fine.  Again, I put a couple of extra coats on the top to better protect this surface. 

Ultimately, I would like to have a piece of glass cut to fit the top of each of the desks.  Not only will the glass protect the surface, it will allow the kids to put pictures and notes underneath like a scrapbook.  Note, when putting glass in a kids room, it should be tempered glass.  In the event that it breaks, like safety glass, it does not make as big of a mess and is safer by not creating the sharp, jagged edges.

I lined the drawers with another roll of Target Dollar Spot wrapping paper.   My daughter loves the polka dots.  I also added some fun, pink acrylic butterfly drawer pulls that I found in the dollar section at Michael's awhile back.  The knobs fit a bit close to the drawer so I put a white pony bead on as a spacer.  This makes the drawers much easier to open.

Of course, we had to accessorize.  For my girl, we hung a white Ikea magnet board and some kitten pictures from a calendar I picked up at the dollar store.  Target had some cute kitten buttons in the dollar spot.  I added a magnet to the back and they make great "girly" magnets.  I also used a couple of pink and green mini-buckets from the Dollar Spot for markers, pencils, etc.

Again, I am still on the search for the perfect chair for both kids desks.  After having the desks in their rooms, I am thinking we will paint the chairs a fun color - pink for the girl and blue, red or even green for the boy.  I hate to have their furniture too matchy-matchy and the punch of color will be fun. 

I look forward to both kids getting a lot of use out of their desks over the years!



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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Introducing...{31 Days to a Functional Kitchen}

I am so excited to share my first ever 31 Day series. Last month,  The Nester introduced her annual 31 Days series for 2011.  She blogged her first 31 Days series in 2009 with 31 Days to a Better Dressed Nest and followed that up with her 2010 series 31 Days to a Less Messy Nest

This year her topic is 31 Days to Charming Imperfection. Throughout the month of October (31 days) she blogs daily about her specific topic. Last year she invited 7 of her blogging friends to join in with a 31 Day series of their own. I loved each and every one of them and learned alot. I especially liked the amount of depth they were able to give to a single topic with so many subtopics. Each day was an adventure.

This year, she has invited back her friends but has also challenged other bloggers to join in the fun. Well, I am always up for a challenge, so I am in with my very own 31 Day series. Introducing...

I gave it some thought and decided that I wanted to tackle my kitchen for this challenge.  This seems to be one of those rooms that always seems to need attention.  Especially when it comes to function, style and organization.  I look forward to sharing tips and ideas about how I have organized, cleaned, DIY'd and decorated my kitchen to make it more functional for the way that our family lives.

Each and every day throughout the month of October I will be sharing my tips, tricks and favorite finds to create a beautiful and functional kitchen. My goal is to inspire you to take a fresh look at what is arguably the most important gathering place in the home...especially ours!
I have been busy working on these posts already but would love to hear about any topics you may be interested in hearing about as well.

Make sure you are following Our Forever House so you don't miss a thing. Don't forget to LIKE us on Facebook too! I will be sharing bonus ideas, inspirations and recipes over there!

I am so excited! I better get to work!
to be continued...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fall in Chocolate {Free Printable}

This week I have been working on bringing in a few Fall vignettes at my house.  I am sort of obsessed with orange right now so I have been introducing it in several places throughout my main living area.  Yesterday I shared my orange split pea trees.  Today, I have a fun, free printable for you.

I came across this awesome saying on Etsy ... "Forget love, I'd rather fall in chocolate".  Immediately I started dreaming about the Fall themed candy I have started seeing in the stores.  While the saying isn't specifically "Fall", it seemed perfect to use the Fall colored candies to make a free printable. 

I headed to the store in search of the Hershey Kisses autumn mix.  Alas, after going to two stores with none to be found, I decided that the autumn M&Ms would work just as well.  I hurried home, ripped open the bag (shoved a handful in my mouth) and poured some out onto my black flat top stove.  After doing several food photo shoots in my kitchen I found out this makes a perfect black background, just like the professionals. 

I snapped a few pictures, opened up Picnik and got to work.  I love how it turned out and am so excited to share it with you.  I created this as an 8x10, however I left ample framing so that it can easily be cropped to a 5x7 or 4x6 or even up-sized to a 9x12 or 11x16.

Click here to download.  Once in Flickr, right click on the picture.  Select the size you would like to download, I recommend at least the Medium 640.  Click Download and save to your computer.  If you use this printable in a blog post, please link back to this original post.  Thank you.

Excuse me, because I need to go hide the rest of the bag of M&Ms from my husband and kids!  Hee hee!

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Touch of Fall

Oh, how I long for a chill in the air!  Alas, here in Arizona we can't look forward to that for at least another couple of months.  While the weather is still screaming summer, the calendar is saying fall and I decided it was time to get in the mood.  It is September after all! 

For a while now, I have felt that this little vignette on the fireplace hearth needed a little face lift.  You may remember the split pea cones.  They were so wonderful, fresh and Springy when I made them last February.

However, they have become faded, almost yellow and the kids have knocked them down a few too many times which has made more than a few hundred peas flake off.  They just did not have the "life" in them anymore.  Of course, the thrifty in me couldn't just throw away two dollar store cones covered in an 88 cent bag of split peas.  Oh no.  Not this frugal girl.  All they need is a touch of paint.  My first thought was to use some craft paint, but then as I was walking the aisles of Lowes the other day guess what caught my eye -  Valspar La Frontera Copper spray paint - the perfect harvest orange, not too bright, just right!

I popped them on a skewer, took them outside and gave them a nice coat of paint.  Beautiful, but it was missing something, some depth.  So I grabbed a can of oil rubbed bronze spray paint and gave it a very light dusting.  It was great, however a couple of spots got a bit thick, so I dusted it again with the copper.  Perfect.  Don't you just love the texture of the split peas.

To change up the look a bit, I pulled out some fall leaf foil garland I picked up at the dollar store a couple weeks back and made another tree.  I gave my Styrofoam cone a light coat of orange spray paint and then started wrapping the garland.  It is a wire so I simply poked the end in the cone and started wrapping - first the gold, then the brown, then the red and repeat.  After I was done, I fluffed it up a bit, pulling the leaves out from under the wire.

I only had two of the wood candle sticks so I grabbed a small glass one from my stash.  I dusted it with orange and then the ORB.  I love the speckled effect in this application.

To balance out this new display, I pulled out my orange candles and placed them on the candlesticks on the side table along with a bit more of the garland.

Have you started decorating for Fall?

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