Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Laundry room re-do


One of my favorite smells in all the world is clean laundry.  Doesn't it stand to reason, then, that I would like to do laundry?  And that my laundry room would be a lovely space?

Not so much.

As ashamed as I am to admit it, here's how my laundry room looked just a few weeks ago.  Ugh.



Several years ago I re-did this space and added a number of decorative elements.  Actually, there were too many decorative elements.  The room was cluttered even when it was clean.  My friend Becky from Organizing Made Fun wrote a post emphasizing the need to de-clutter and explaining how she does it.  That gave me the kick in the pants I needed to clean out this mess.  With Becky as my online guide, I de-cluttered this space.

My laundry room is the smallest room in our home, and it had become the most maligned space.  Pretty much all I ever did was to complain about how small and inadequate it was.  Then one day I was flipping through some magazines from the World War II era (a favorite pastime of mine), and I realized that rather than complaining I should be grateful for this light, bright, well-equipped space.

That exercise in thankfulness led me to want a more vintage look for the room, just to help remind me of my blessings.  So here's my laundry room today.




Now, when I first realized that I wanted a new look for this room, there were a couple of things standing in my way.  I had no money set aside to spend on it.  And I had very little time to work on it.   Still, I wanted a new look!

I began with gathering inspiration online.  But to be honest, most of the "inspiration" photos I gathered ended up depressing me rather than inspiring me.  Custom cabinetry, expensive countertops, chandeliers--those were all beyond my reach.  Then I ran back across this post from Kim at Sand and Sisal.  Kim's laundry room is rightfully famous--it's gorgeous and it's been featured in a magazine--but it was her philosophy about laundry rooms that helped me the most.  Quoting Kim here, "The room had to be a happy color. I didn’t want a sophisticated neutral color, I mean who the heck feels sophisticated while doing laundry?"

Thank you, Kim!  You inspired me to go for what I really wanted and needed.  Here are some photos of my unsophisticated but very happy laundry room.


The sorting and folding station I created several years ago.  It's just two baskets (one for darks and one for whites) and a shelf that I mounted directly to the wall.  Not fancy, but it works.  I found the clock on clearance on Target; it's perfect for this room.  The rug I've had for years; I was so pleased that it works with the new decor.

 

Last week I shared the wall I art I made from pieces of a vintage tablecloth.  The rest of the tablecloth I used to create a café curtain for the window.  I simply cut the tablecloth in half, sewed a simple rod pocket into one side, and threaded a café rod through the pocket.  Instant window treatment!  Now I can keep the blinds open for natural light but still have privacy.  Love that!  And with this cheerful fabric as my principal feature, I didn't need to re-paint.  The wall color is Benjamin Moore's "Blue Hydrangea."





You can read here how I created the clothespin sunburst mirror for just a few dollars.  It's a great accent piece for a laundry room!





My "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster is a reproduction of the original created by the British Ministry of Information in World War II.  I purchased a reproduction "Keep Calm" poster for just £3.60 directly from Barter Books, the bookshop that re-discovered the poster.  It's perfect for my laundry room--the wartime era poster goes well with my vintage fabrics, the red is just the right color, and the sentiment is spot on!  When I feel overwhelmed by the amount of dirty laundry, I just try to keep calm and carry on.


To frame the poster inexpensively, I bought an off-the-shelf poster frame at a craft store with a 50% off coupon.  That made the frame less than $15.  Then I simply had custom mat cut at a local frame shop, which cost about $12.  I framed it all myself, and I have a just the look I wanted for very little money.


I like having a lamp in the laundry room.  Sometimes we keep our doggies locked in this room when we have company.  I turn off the overhead light and turn on the lamp; the low light helps them to stay calm.  This lamp was a Goodwill find; all I did was to hot-glue some rick-rack onto the shade for a fun retro look.  Along with the lamp, a plant, an antique iron and a housekeeper's box I've had for years complete a pleasing countertop vignette.   Now maybe I'll keep this counter clear rather than stacking it with junk.


A few little touches and tricks I use in this small laundry room:

I found this little galvanized bucket in the One Spot (the $2.50 part) at Target; it's a great place to keep socks whose twins have gone missing.  I used to have a big basket for this purpose, but I found that I was just filling up the big basket and never actually getting around to matching the socks.  No more!  If matches don't show up pretty quickly, I'm going to consign odd socks to the rag bag.


This tiny galvanized tub holds clothespins and loose change on top of the dryer.  This was also a One Spot (the $1.00 part) find.  I like the way it looks like an old washtub.  I like to keep clothespins close at hand.  All other laundry supplies are tucked away in the cupboards above the machines.


There are hanging rods on either side of my washer and dryer, but sometimes I need another place to hang an item.  I placed a wreath hanger from the dollar store over a closet door in the room; it's just right for hanging odd things such as a belt or empty hangers.  It's strong enough to hold heavy things, too.  Two of these hung a few inches apart would make a great hanger for an ironing board.  And you could paint them a fun color or simply paint them the same color as the door; maybe I'll get around to that some day.


There's a bit of space between my dryer and the cupboard beside it; I've found it's an excellent place to store flat items such as posterboard.  This is also where I keep the whiteboard I use for photo shoots.  


Total spent on this makeover: about $60.00 for the poster, clock, frames, curtain rod, and buckets.  For all other items I shopped the house.

Just for fun, here's one last look.  We went from this:



To this:



What do you think?  What's the state of things in your laundry room?

I'm joining these wonderful parties:

Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style



Saturday, April 27, 2013

Just when you need a laugh


Some people own gift shops.  Some run booths at antique malls.  Some sell their items online.

And some, apparently, simply use restroom stalls at gas stations to display their wares.  Stalls in the men's room, no less.

An actual photo snapped by my husband
Gotta admire the entrepreneurial spirit, right?

My favorite part is the availability of a layaway plan for large items.  What's yours?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Grace at Home No. 56


Welcome to this week's Grace at Home party!

One of my friends encourages me to look for "evidences of grace" in my life.  That's easy to do, if you stop to think about it--every good thing comes to us as a gift from God.  This party is a place to celebrate the ways we imitate God in making our homes places of grace for all the people in our lives.

Here are a few of my favorites from last week's party.

Carol from An Oasis in the Desert wanted a bench to fit in her home's narrow entryway--so she and her husband made one!  Doesn't this extend a cheerful spring welcome?


Shenita from Embellishments by SLR brought a bit of springtime to her decor simply by adding flowers.  So easy but so effective: thanks for the reminder, Shenita!



Laura from The Turquoise Home has been re-doing her living room.  She shares the final reveal of this beautiful room here.



The clever Denise from Denise in Bloom shared her top 20 favorite springtime uses for vinegar.  Honestly, what would we do without vinegar??

20 Uses For Vinegar

Angela from Hickory Trail shares a recipe for a homemade lemon facial scrub.  I can just imagine how good this smells!


Patti from Old Things New compiled a collection of beautiful images of places for prayer and meditation.  You'll want to read this soothing and encouraging post.  It's good for the soul!


Those are just a few of my favorites!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured this week (or in a previous week), feel free to grab the "I was featured" button from my sidebar.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

 

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Please take a moment to include a link back to this party in your post--that will be a great help to me!  And please visit a couple of the other party participants--link parties are great ways to find new friends!



Wednesday, April 24, 2013

DIY Custom Wall Art


Lately I've been busy making little changes all over the house.  I just finished a fun little project for my laundry room, and I'm eager to share it with you!


My poor laundry room had reached the point of chaos, so I've been working on a budget-friendly redo.  The room is small, and this back corner of my laundry room is just big enough to hold laundry baskets and a small shelf for folding clothes.  But I want it to be a cheerful space.

Inspired by images from the mid-20th century, I decided to go for kind of a retro feel in this little room. I found the red clock on clearance at Target; it was just what I wanted.  To go with the clock, I used a vintage tablecloth that had gotten a bit too ragged to use as a tablecloth to create some decor.

For this wall art, I simply spray-painted and distressed a couple of pre-packaged frames from the shelf at Costco, where the twin pack cost around $15.  They were originally black, but that look felt a bit too heavy for this room.  Distressed white is just right.

Then I cut and starched a couple of pieces from the tablecloth, taped them to back of the mats, and popped them into the frames.


If you look closely, you can see a small stain that couldn't be removed from this panel.  But I don't think anyone is going to be looking that closely at the art in my laundry room!


Aren't they cheerful and pretty?  And the best part is that they cost me nothing other than the cost of two inexpensive frames, a bit of spray paint, and a little time.


Now to finish the rest of the laundry room so I can show it to you.  Ahem.  Since this will include finding the mates to about 50 odd socks, this may take awhile.

For now, I'm so happy with custom art pieces!  What do you think?

I'm joining Amanda at Serenity Now for Weekend Bloggy Reading
and the Framed Fabric Ditto DIY Challenge at Fieldstone Hill Design.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A shared story


One of the loveliest traditions of our church is weekly communion, particularly because our practice is to have members serve communion to one another.  We all line up and proceed to the front of our worship space, where our fellow members offer the elements, murmuring "Christ's body broken for you" and "Christ's blood shed for you."  It's a beautiful time.

This week I was talking with our Associate Pastor about last Sunday's service.  He told me that he'd asked a lady to serve communion who at first demurred, "Oh, I don't think I could." Puzzled, he asked why.  Her answer: "Because I have a prosthetic hand."

Turns out that her prosthesis was not an impediment at all.  This beautiful lady held the cup steady as worshippers took communion.

But she was surprised that the pastor didn't know about her prosthetic hand before Sunday.  He told me that she'd said, "I just assume. . . "

And before he told me, I could finish her sentence.  I knew what she said.

She said, "I just assume it's the first thing people notice about me."

Of course.

I know that feeling all too well.  That's exactly the way I feel about my birthmark.


Oh, how I wish this were not so.  I'd certainly never noticed the lovely woman at church had a prosthetic hand.  The pastor had never noticed.  Almost nobody had noticed.  Yet she assumed we'd all seen it.  She was certain it's the first thing we saw.  But it's not.

She is not defined by her prosthesis.  I'm not defined by my birthmark.  And despite our self-consciousness, those attributes are not the first thing that people notice.  It's not that people don't notice us; it's just that they're too busy looking into our eyes, listening to our laughs, hearing our voices to see the imperfections that seem so glaring to us.

The truth is, some people know us well and never notice.

Now, I say "the truth is," but I'm still learning that it's the truth.  Last May I wrote a post about dealing with both the ugly and the pretty about myself.  Imagine my surprise when a woman I'd known years ago contacted me about that post.  I knew her well.  She was my junior counselor at camp, which meant that we worked together and played together and slept in the same room together.  We did everything side by side during that time at summer camp.   There's no telling how many times we changed into our swimsuits right there in that room.  Yet when she wrote to me, she told me that she just couldn't remember that I had a birthmark.

Honestly, I still have trouble believing that.  But I know she's a truth-telling woman, so I'm trying to believe it.

Turns out that a lot of us have trouble believing the truth about ourselves.  This week I saw the video called "Real Beauty Sketches" produced by Dove as part of its Real Beauty campaign.  I wept as I watched it.  If you haven't seen it, I urge you to watch it.



And please tell me: is this part of your story, too?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grace at Home No. 55


Welcome to this week's Grace at Home party, where we stop to count our blessings and to share the ways we make our homes places of grace for those we love.

Here are a few of my favorites from last week's party:
Heather from Friendship, Life, and Style shared her home's new decor for summer: very coastal and chic!



Cindy from Cottage Instincts is blogging regularly again after some time away.  She shows us great before and after shots of her daughter's kitchen.



Calista from A House and Yard turned an old dresser into a TV stand.  What a great piece for less than $20!

Melissa from Daisy Mae Belle offers a peek into her lovely back yard--and shares a great tip for killing weeds!
Backyard Firepit @ DaisyMaeBelle

Jessica from Designers Sweet Spot shares a look into her inspiration notebooks--and includes a tutorial on how to create your own cute notebooks from dollar store supplies.


Kathy from Miss Grace-Filled Life shares her favorite beauty-on-a-budget products and tips.  Kathy is a lovely woman, so I'd say these are tips worth trying!



Betty at Southern Grace shares 12 reasons she's grateful to live in the country.  An inspiring list!



Those are just a few of my favorites!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured this week (or in a previous week), feel free to grab the "I was featured" button from my sidebar.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

 

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Please take a moment to include a link back to this party in your post--that will be a great help to me!  And please visit a couple of the other party participants--link parties are great ways to find new friends!


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dining room changes


A couple of weeks ago I asked y'all for your opinions regarding my dining room, and I really appreciated your help!  Nearly all of you voted for me to leave the top of the china cabinet OFF and to use the base as a buffet.  Obviously, it's not as tall as a traditional sideboard, but I think it works.

So here's what I've done with that large wall.  I love the way this big mirror shows up against the blue walls!


From the side, with the lamps turned off (where you can also get a great view of the return air vent!):



I know the mirror is very gold and the lamps are mostly silver, but I think I'm fine with the mixed metals look.  The lamps are actually mercury glass, so there's a lot of gold flecking in them:



And you can see a bit of the chandelier in this photo, which is bronze.  Lots of mixed metals!  I think I like that, but I'm still not quite sure.  Do you think it all works together harmoniously?



You might recognize the big mirror as the one that used to hang on the wall of crosses in my living room.


At the request of my husband, big changes are underway in the living room.  I actually hired professional design help for the very first time, and I'm excited about giving that room a whole new look.  I'll be sharing those changes soon!

So what do you think of the mirror in the dining room?  Do you think it works?

I'm joining these fun parties:
Kim at Savvy Southern Style for Wow Us Wednesdays

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekend fun in the springtime


Hi friends!  Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

Take a look at what's blooming around here:



See the wisteria hanging just above the azaleas?



And just look at this perfect dogwood blossom:



There's a price to pay for living in such a lush locale as North Carolina, though.  The pollen is absolutely choking.  I wiped off the table on my screened porch (or tried to)--and here's my cloth:



Now it's coated even more thickly than before.  Sneeze, cough, sneeze.

Just for fun, I'll share this photo my husband snapped last night with his iPhone:



We went to a gala to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House at the North Carolina Children's Hospital.  Such a good cause!  As you might guess, the theme was The Wizard of Oz.  Aren't the characters cute?  Yes, there was a yellow brick road that we followed to enter the ballroom.  Such fun.

Lots of us were wearing black, though, and when went out onto the patio, the staff warned us not to lean up against anything.  Black dresses and tuxedos don't look so great with pollen smeared all over them.  So today I wore a chartreuse dress to church--I figured if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

What have you been up to this weekend?  Has spring arrived in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Grace at Home No. 54


Welcome to the weekly Grace at Home party, where we pause to celebrate all the ways we make our homes places of grace.  I am so grateful for the community that surrounds this party! 

Here are a few of my favorites from last week's party.

Janet from Rosemary and Thyme revealed her new guest room.  Don't you want to go stay in this beautiful room?


Sheila from Beyond the Portico shared a room makeover as well--a bathroom that is, as she puts it, "almost black."  Lovely, isn't it?


Casey from Living a Cottage Life discovered a new way to use beadboard wallpaper--to cover previously ugly ceilings!  What a great idea!


Sweet Penny from Penny's Treasures shared a special gift from a friend--these gorgeous vintage tablecloths.  Aren't they stunning?  I have a project in the works using a vintage tablecloth; this post makes me wish I had a few more!

Every week we have at least one recipe shared at Grace at Home.  This week there are two that I'm going to try.  This one is from Shannon at A Cozy Place Called Home: Mushroom Artichoke Chicken.  I think my husband would love this.  


And this one from Kari at A Grace Full Life looks like a lot of fun: Four Ingredient Meatball Pockets.

  

Those are just a few of my favorites!  I'm so grateful for each person who links up each week. If you've been featured this week (or in a previous week), feel free to grab the "I was featured" button from my sidebar.  I'd be so proud if you displayed it!

 

Now for this week's party!  Grace at Home is a place for you to share anything related to making your home a place of grace. I invite you to link posts about
  • DIY projects
  • decorating
  • recipes
  • hospitality
  • homemaking tips
  • parenting
  • marriage
  • faith
  • self-care
  • soul care
Whatever you do to make your home a place of grace, I'd like to hear about it.  Please take a moment to include a link back to this party in your post--that will be a great help to me!  And please visit a couple of the other party participants--link parties are great ways to find new friends!