My favorite projects

Friday, May 30, 2014 0 comments

Hello and happy Friday! It’s the unofficial start of summer for us – I’ve never been so ready!

I can’t believe it’s the end of May already – time is passing by so fast. Fall will be here before we know it. (If you saw my FB or Instagram this week you know Hobby Lobby already thinks it’s here.) ;)

It’s been a few months since I rounded up some of my favorite recent posts so I’m combining March, April and May into this one!

I got a ton done in the master bedroom earlier this year – it’s coming along so well! The first big project was beefing up the baseboards without taking off the old ones:

thicker baseboard without taking off the old

I LOVE THEM. It makes a huge difference in the room!

I continued the chunk with new DIY craftsman door trim as well:

craftsman door trim


Because there wasn’t enough new wood on the walls, I covered the wall behind the bed with a wall treatment in a dark gray:

gray wall behind bed

I’m SO pleased at the progress! I kind of pooped out on it a month or so back so I need to get going on the rest of the plan now.

It’s been a couple years since we finished our basement – I’m so thrilled we were finally able to do it. I went through the process and how we had it done on a budget in this post:

built in cubbies

I have a big plan for that TV wall – I may work on that this weekend. :)

I shared a few of my favorite online resources for free art in this post: online resources for free art

And made some fun new art for the kiddo’s bathroom with scrap wood and wavy FrogTape Shape Tape:

DIY nautical art

So preppy, I love it!

I made a very simple pet food tray with more wood from the garage pile and showed you how here:

DIY pet food tray

It’s such a little thing but it works SO well. No more water or food messes on the floor!

Our mud room got some pattern and texture with the DIY (no sew!) cushion I made for the bench:

DIY bench cushion

This is another space I stalled out on, but I hope to get more done in there soon. It’s so functional though – that bench is awesome!!

I got a HUGE project done in our master closet -- you have to see the before pics to see how far it came:

closet storage from kitchen cabinets

I took down all the shelving, filled hundreds of holes, installed the cabinets and then painted them and the walls. It was a ton of work but I did it for way cheaper than what a custom closet system would cost! And I love the dusty purple color, so pretty.

Our living room got a couple updates too – this space is one that has always bugged me and I’m determined to change it up this year. I did a DIY project I’ve wanted to try forever – replacing the window sill so I could install the thick trim: craftsman wood trim around windows

Can you find the smushed cat? :)

And moving this small bookcase to this corner opened up the room a ton!:

etagere with cut outs on side

I’m starting to really love this space. Slow but sure. :)

I shared my spray paint “taste test” – and there was a clear winner:

spray paint reviews

The results even surprised me!

I shared my experience with HomeGoods furniture in this post:

bench at kitchen table

I don’t have many large pieces from there but I counted quite a few HG chairs in our house. ;)

I’ve been back outside for the past few weeks and it’s been glorious! I created a “front porch” where there wasn’t one:

adirondack chairs in front of house

We sit there at least once a day – again, a little thing that I’m so glad I did!

And last weekend I moved some things around on the deck and patio and it feels like a brand new space!:

outdoor sectional

Finally, I showed you the results of my biggest personal project over the past few months!:

weight loss tips I’ve got more work to do but I’m thrilled with how far I’ve come!

Those are just a few of my biggest projects from the past few months! May has been busy for us so I’m looking forward to things calming down now that school’s out. So happy to see summer!!

Did you miss any of these projects? I think the gray wall in the master is my favorite. :) Hope you have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday for the June before and after link up!

Two ingredient scrubs

Thursday, May 29, 2014 0 comments

Well hello all! Are your kids almost done with school? We’re done tomorrow – whoot! I am SO grateful we didn’t have to go an extra week this summer with all the snow days we had this winter. Most of our school systems nearby added some time onto each day to avoid that.

Today I’m gathering some goodies for the teachers and bus driver as a thanks. I like to include something handmade if possible, along with what they really want (a gift card and a handwritten thank you). :)

I’ve seen so many great hand and foot scrub recipes over the years – some complicated and some incredibly easy. I’m going with the latter today.

These are all easy, quick scrubs that only take two ingredients each! I love the first one because it makes a great lip scrub as well. Cause you can eat it. :)

It just takes sugar and honey:

honey sugar scrub

I’m not going to give exact measurements here and I know that will stress some of you out – but I found you just mix till it’s the right consistency. You really can’t mess it up!

I just did a small batch for this one as a lip scrub:

honey sugar scrub

You’ll want to make sure it’s thick and pasty but not too dry. This is a great hand scrub as well! I know honey can get expensive though so I think this one is best for the lips.

My sister came over a couple weeks ago and whipped up this super easy scrub for Mother’s Day:

homemade coconut sugar scrub

Again, only two ingredients! I LOVE coconut oil and use it all the time when cooking, but it’s great for your skin as well. I added a few drops of lavender oil to it as well.

Coconut oil isn’t cheap either, so this next one is the cheapest version I’ve found and it works GREAT:

DIY hand foot scrub

Just mix sugar and dish soap. Done. Extra points if you have pink soap! :) I just used what I had so the slight color was a bonus. I used one cup of sugar and just poured and mixed the soap till it was the consistency I wanted. Test it out as you go to see if it’s just right.

SUPER simple and super cheap! I love this one because when you use it with water it foams up just a bit.

I found two glass containers in my stash and then used Target dollar spot goodies to label the scrub: two ingredient hand and foot scrub

I simply cannot walk away from the cute craft stuff in that aisle so it was nice to put the little stickers and stamps to use:

letter stamps

So there you go! Three easy scrubs with only two ingredients each!

I’ll combine these with gift cards and some other goodies for the teachers:

two ingredient hand and foot scrub

And at least this part of the gift was free! If you don’t have dish soap and sugar you’re looking at less than five bucks to make quite a few of these. This would have been perfect for my boy’s preschool days when we had six or seven teachers to buy for!

Do you do anything special for the teachers at the end of the year? Are you ready for summer?

Outdoor living

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 0 comments

Hey hey! Hope you had a WONDERFUL holiday weekend! You can tell summer is approaching in this household – it’s getting harder and harder for us to get up in the mornings and my posts are getting later and later. ;)

This weekend was just gorgeous and I’m just so thrilled to have nice weather again! I worked on the deck and patio quite a bit this weekend -- moving things around, planting and working on little projects here and there. Loved it.

I got a bug to move some of the outdoor furniture around the other night and I love how it came together. I’ve mentioned before that I rarely move furniture around inside because our house layout just doesn’t allow for much of it. But it was so fun to tackle the outside – we’ve had it the same way for nine years now.

First of all, let’s have a moment of silence for our beautiful gazebo that used to be on the deck:

gazebo on deck

Sniff. It was so darn pretty.

Then this happened:

We got that dissembled last year and then things got boring. :)

We left the furniture over there with the fire pit and it’s been like that since early last year. We didn’t want to replace the gazebo just yet because I’m afraid the same will happen again. I’d like to do something more permanent like a pergola, but we’ll leave it as is until we figure out what we’re doing with possibly expanding the house.

So. This is how it looked Saturday morning:

deck with different levels

Not bad! I was just craving a change. I’ve always wanted to move that table over where the gazebo used to be but never did since we liked having the seating area under there.

We built the deck in three sections that are on different levels – not sure I would do that again. But it does add some interest and makes the areas feel like different “rooms.” Since we don’t have any structures to work around now, I went for it and moved the table and chairs over to that bigger area and I LOVE it:

deck with outdoor eating area

The old rug used to be red and white and now it is just…beige. ;) It didn’t hold up well so I grabbed a new one at Lowe’s. It’s a bit boring but I looked at Garden Ridge, Lowe’s and Home Depot and didn’t see a great selection of outdoor rugs this year. I figure it’s a good backdrop for more color anyway:

deck white railings

I LOVE having all that space around the table! Oh my goodness. The kids always play around the table and it always worried me in that middle spot before – with the chairs pulled out there wasn’t much room to walk around it.

Now I’m considering moving my DIY potting bench over next to the table since we use that to serve food and drinks at parties. I think it may work better up there and there’s plenty of room.

I was just going to move the furniture that was over where the table is now over to the middle section, but remembered the whole thing could make a big sectional. We never had it as one sofa under the gazebo – I realized it would be a perfect fit on the patio if I put it back together:

outdoor sectional

There’s still so much I want to do out here! Beyond some new plants and small projects I want to sand down that tabletop and restain it – the sun has not been kind. (You can see how I made that table here.)

But I really dig that sectional there – it’s a perfect fit!

I moved the sofa that was down on the patio up to the middle section on the deck with the fire pit:

square firepit

It works so much better. I don’t worry about the kids now – especially over by the wide stairs going down to the patio.

Here’s a better look at the different levels on the deck:

deck with different levels

I feel like this layout is so much more conducive to socializing and it flows much better out to the patio:

deck and patio

Every time we are out on the deck or patio one of us says how much we love it out there. We are so lucky to have this little peaceful oasis for our family.

It’s ready for summer and so am I!:

large deck with living areasI think moving furniture around (inside or out!) is the cheapest way to make a space feel brand new. Do you have outdoor spaces that you’re prepping for the summer? Is it finally warming up where you are?

I shared my favorite “staycation” spot over at my friend Kate’s blog last week – can you guess where it is? ;)

If you visit: Race weekend!

Friday, May 23, 2014 0 comments

Goodness. Four more school days people! I’m not sure we’ll make it in this house! Even the dog was moody this morning. We are so looking forward to the long holiday weekend!

I’m a proud Hoosier and this is a HUGE weekend for Indianapolis because of a little race called the Indy 500. :) I find many people visit Indy and are surprised with what we have to offer – it really is a fun city. When we hosted the Super Bowl a few years back I shared a few of my favorite spots. Those were mostly indoor activities and restaurants, but the trees are green, the sun is shining and if you’ll be in town with kids this weekend our zoo is a great spot to visit!

We LOVE our zoo. I’ve not been to many others so I can’t compare it much, but we think it’s pretty awesome. There are two sections to the Indy Zoo – the White River Gardens and the animal exhibits. White River Gardens is one of my favorite spots in all of Indianapolis:

white river gardens Indy

Throughout the spring and summer you can see the butterflies at the Hilbert Conservatory, along with hundreds of tropical plants.

That building itself is pretty awesome, but then you walk out to the gardens – my favorite: white river gardens Indy

white river gardens Indianapolis

It’s three acres of some of the prettiest gardens. There are fountains, shade gardens, gazebos, beautiful stonework, a lily pad pond, (yes, complete with frogs), and flowers! So many flowers!

It’s just gorgeous:

white river gardens Indianapolis

It’s a large space but they break it down into little “secret” gardens – all so beautiful. You just want to bring a book and sit on a bench all day:

white river gardens Indy

white river gardens Indianapolis

There are a ton of little statues throughout – our favorites are the spitting frogs:

spitting frogs white river gardens

I took most of these pics a couple weeks ago when things were still growing in. It’s even more stunning now. There are flowering vines throughout that grow thick and cover everything so beautifully:

white river gardens Indianapolis

We were there to catch the tail end of the tulips in bloom: white river gardens Indianapolis

white river gardens Indianapolis

At the end of the gardens is a huge lawn where weddings are held:

white river gardens Indianapolis

The pergola wraps around and is covered in vines in the summer – it’s one of my favorite areas in the gardens! I have a lot of favorite spots in there, if you can’t tell. :)

The zoo itself is full of fun stuff as well, but the big event this weekend is the opening of the new orangutan exhibit – we’ve been watching it go up and were so excited to finally get inside:

orangutan exhibit indy zoo

It opens to the public tomorrow but members got to see it a little early. I’ve never seen anything like it! The orangutans are able to go outside and climb up onto poles that go around the whole exhibit – they go across the wires right above you. There’s also a gondola ride that you can take around the whole thing – I’m sure it will offer some awesome views of the city! (And you’ll go right by the orangutans!)

This guy was going back down into the exhibit:

orangutans indy zoo

It is seriously SO cool to see them just hanging (literally) right over your heads! It’s fascinating to watch.

Inside you can get up close and personal with them:

orangutans indy zoo orangutans indy zoo orangutans indy zoo

It was so cool to get that close to them! I don’t know their temperament but from where we were standing they seemed like very calm, sweet souls.

There are so many spots outside to see them too – windows everywhere:orangutan exhibit indy zooIf you’re in our lovely city for the race this weekend or live nearby and want to do a quick trip, don’t miss the zoo! It’s fun with the family or not. :)

I’m so proud of our city – there’s so much to do in Indy! Are you visiting for the race? Have you ever been? If you are coming into town be safe and have a blast!