Monday, August 16, 2010

Makeover Monday - New Life to an Old Dresser

Today I was going to post the "after" results of my bedroom dresser makeover, but something has come up and I'll have to post the results on Wednesday. Tomorrow is my Mother's birthday and making her feel like a queen has taken precedence (:

Each day this week I'm doing something to make her feel special. Sunday was a pedicure and foot massage at home - she wasn't feeling well and getting out wasn't an option so I brought the pampering to her. Monday was simply cooking a meal and enjoying a good chat and I'll post Tuesday's treat once it happens (:

If you have a loved one who's birthday is coming up, try making the entire week an event. Love notes around the house one day, a little pampering on another, a special meal the next and my favorite...a handwritten letter that shares what you cherish the most about that person. The key is to give something from the heart. This week is to let that person know you've really thought about them.

It doesn't cost much to make the birthday queen or king feel loved and appreciated, just a little creativity. So give it a try and start a new tradition of week long birthday celebrations...the memories of this gift of love will last a lifetime (:

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Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Homesteading Cottage Dream

I’m a firm believer in declaring your dreams and releasing them into the world. Sometimes it’s so easy to hold tightly to the desires of our hearts, but never allow them to grow or become real. So today I’m releasing the dream of a homesteading cottage.

Over the years I've compiled lists, photos, ideas and goals, but decided it was time to keep everything in one place -"The Homesteading Cottage Notebook." While researching home plans and frugal building options, I came across some the most beautiful plans called Katrina Cottages and had to share them with you! (All of the photos in this post are specific to the KC 910 plan)

Marianne Cusato and a team of designers have partnered with Lowe’s to bring a collection of compact and efficiently planned designs along with material packages that are affordable and quick to build. Originally designed as an alternative to the FEMA trailer, the Katrina Cottage has evolved into a nationwide sensation finding popularity as affordable housing, guesthouses and small vacation homes hailed for their design, durability, versatility and affordability.

The cottages range in size from 308 to 1807 square feet and many of the designs have “grow options” that allow smaller cottages to be expanded over time as more funds are available. The plan I've selected costs around $45/sq ft, but the price for materials will vary depending upon size, style and current commodity prices.

I made a few tweaks to the plan above to make the living room and kitchen more open and windows were also added to break up the huge roof line. Below is the landscaping blueprint for the first phase in my "Homesteading Cottage Notebook." I'm visual and having a plan keeps the focus on the dream (:

The KC 910 plan starts out at 910 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 1 bath with the KC 1185 plan (the second phase) expanding the home to 1185 square feet with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a study. The KC 1807 plan converts the attic space into two more bedrooms and another bath for a total of 1807 square feet in the third phase.

The Katrina Cottage materials package from Lowe's includes all the products you'll need for the house from the foundation plate up. Studs, wall panels, insulation, fixtures, electrical, plumbing, even appliances are included. The homeowner need only supply the foundation, HVAC system and furniture...and of course a contractor to build the home if you're not a do-it-yourselfer.

This type of build allows the flexibility to pick and choose supplies which helps to keep costs low. Kitchen and bathroom cabinets come with the package, but let’s say you have some great trash-to-treasure finds and opt out of the cabinets included in the package. That’s a good chunk of money saved! Do this to enough and the savings can really add up!

The blueprints will run you $700, but purchase a minimum of $15,000 worth of materials from Lowe's and you'll receive a $700 gift card for additional materials to offset blueprint cost.

The Katrina Cottages caught my eye not only because of their versatility and frugal nature, but it was the way the square footage was embraced. Each and every nook and cranny has a purpose. I don't believe that living large really has anything to do with the space we's a state of mind.

My goal is to create a 10 acre homestead filled with fruit and nut trees, raised planting beds, solar panels, a rain water collection system and the studio of my dreams (: Going green isn't really the focus, but being a good steward of God's beautiful earth is. It just so happens, one thing blesses the other (:

I'm ready to get back to the basics my grandparents and parents held so off of the land and embracing the blessings that nature has to offer. I'm ready to be in a place of quietness where the crickets and frogs sing lullabies at night and the rain on a tin roof becomes a soothing whisper to the soul.

And so I cast my desires out into the world knowing that the time is coming closer...but until then, I'm happily living in my little homesteading apartment, preparing for the day when my dreams come true (:

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Frugal Friday - Hardware on a Budget

This is my inspiration from Pottery Barn. Isn't she lovely (: As I continue to complete projects in the bedroom makeover, frugal ideas are plentiful (: The dresser is getting a face lift, which includes white paint and replacing the wood handles with new hardware. Hopefully the end result will resemble the chest below...

Being frugal is just in my nature, so I'm wanting to use anything I might have on hand instead of buying new. Many of us have these brass knobs and mine are in pretty sad shape. Shiny brass hardware of any kind isn't my reminds me of the 80's. Is it just me?

When I found brushed steel knobs on sale for $0.75, I immediately changed out the brass knobs in my kitchen. With the switch, all of this extra hardware was just sitting around waiting to be used (: I couldn't pass up the chance to transform these little guys into something better.

The solution? Why paint and Mod Podge of course! I simply applied 3 coats of black acrylic paint in a dabbing motion to give an iron or hammered texture...nothing too severe, just something subtle.

Then three coats of Mod Podge to seal the deal (: If you're trying this, make sure to add a little water to your brush during the Mod Podge application so it won't leave any brush strokes behind.

If you want this to be permanent I suggest a base coat of Kilz primer first. Then after the Mod Podge phase, use a sealer of some sort. The reason I'm skipping these two steps is because the brass knobs belong to the apartment I'm renting. When I leave, the knobs stay.

After a few days of soaking in hot soapy water, the paint comes right off, yet it's strong enough for everyday wear and tear. Pretty neat, huh? I did this in my previous apartment with great results!

Here's my sweet dresser sporting her lovely new "iron" knobs. She's a little distressed from the many years of use, but her coat of white will be completed soon enough (: Don't forget to stop by on Makeover Monday for the final results!

If you're wanting to change your hardware but don't have the funds, get frugal and grab your paint brush! Great results are only a few cents away!!

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Linking up with Frugal and Fabulous Design...stop by and see more great ideas!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Legacy of my Father

This is absolutely one of my favorite photos of Dad. The gentleness and love are so abundant (: Today is my Dad's birthday. He passed away a few days after his birthday three years ago and I can't believe it's been that long. It seems like yesterday we were talking on the phone about politics, church happenings, favorite TV shows and life in general.

We didn't have the best relationship, but I was gifted the blessing of a Father who had a heart for change in the later years of his life. Click here if you'd like to read our story of restoration.

He loved his grandkids and they loved him so. Jacqueline has Dad's same creative spirit. For Christmas one year he made an art box for her which included tons of supplies that any crafty girl would love (: Then each Christmas after he would add items to the box that he had collected the year round. It was so fun to go with him as he was on the hunt for new supplies.

Christian has the same gentle spirit as Dad. That gentleness can sometimes be consumed in the rough world we live in, but the way these two would reach out to the heart of others is something to see. Christian so cherished the times Dad would play games with him...especially UNO (:

There are favorite books that Andrew and Matthew love to read before bed. One is a book given by Dad. Even though these little guys only knew him for a short period of time, he made quite an impact. They love to hear the inscription Dad wrote in the beginning of the book and it's just not the same without it (: They know he's in heaven, watching over us and loving us still. Happy Birthday're missed more than you'll ever know (:

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Makeover Monday - Bedroom Redo in Process

Last Monday I posted photos of an inspirational room makeover that reminded me of my own bedroom makeover. The first two photos are what I started with in the space...

I'm half way through the process with a few more tweaks to go and the fully completed project will be posted next Monday. Originally this was to be my studio, but the placement of the other bedroom was much more appropriate for working so a transition was made. It's quite small at 11 x 10.5, but that just means it will be cozy (:

The purple on the wall is a mixture made from leftover reds and blues. I prefer to use what's already available instead of buying more, especially when it comes to paint. Keeps it out of the trash and makes my frugal spirit happy (:

The frames above the bed are hanging from an architectural piece found in an old barn. Old antique keys are mounted on textured paper and serve as artwork inside the frames. I'm thinking of replacing the small frames with two or three large scale pieces, but haven't decided on what that might be yet. As with any room redo, changes are always inevitable (:

The table on the left was reclaimed from storage and the right side table was made by my Grandfather over 50 years ago. I like how the dark woods work together. One day I'll replace these with small mirrored dressers, but for now they work just fine. I've had these lamps for years and think I paid $15 for both. Can't wait to change these out as well (:

The linens are ones I had on hand...a few pieces from one set and some from another. The purple and white striped quilt at the bottom of the bed will one day be replaced with a chocolate and white damask duvet...that is, once I make it. Haven't found a print that speaks to me yet, but it will find me one day (:

The photo below was taken before I started painting the dresser. It still needs another coat of white and the brass knobs are getting a coat of hammered metal black. I can't wait for you to see it next week!! My Grandfather made this dresser for Mom when she was a child. I love using family heirlooms. It adds a warmth and connection to the space that no store bought piece could bring.

After seeing the photo above I realized this area REALLY needs some tweaking. It's amazing how different things look through the lens! It seems a little naked or off it just me?

I'm thinking of hanging two mirrors resembling windows on either side of the centered dresser and hanging the same curtain panels that will dress the real window. It'll add tons of light and fill the wall. I held off on hanging the curtains because there might not be enough fabric to make six panels. Still thinking on that one...

The space is very small, but I would love to keep a seating area. Mom saved this chair from the garbage when her office was redecorated and a slipcover left over from my old dining room set fit perfectly! I'd love to be able to have it in the room, but not sure how it will work with the two new windows. Maybe a bench under the window instead? The pups would appreciate that. We'll see (:

I replaced the gold round closet door knobs with glass ones that match the bed. If it sparkles, I LIKE it!!

So this is my tiny room. It may need some more tweaking, but isn't that just the process? Nothing is perfect right out of the gate, but it's cozy, comfy and makes me smile...mostly because of the cherished items inside, but also because it's a product of my own making.

When you create a space with your own hands, you leave a piece of yourself behind that naturally reflects your true spirit. You feel warmer and more comfortable in that space instantly! So give it a try...redo your space and add a little of "You" to your home (:

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Frugal Friday - Carpet Cleaning

Well, last Friday I posted a ton of make-your-own cleaning supply recipes only to discover another one to add to the list...carpet cleaning solution! If you own your own steam cleaner or rent one from time to time you know the cleaners for these machines can be quite expensive, especially if you use it as much as I do!

With an aging dog, accidents do come into play sometimes and my oldest is 18. There aren't many, but it only takes a few to make the freshness disappear (: I tried everything! Carpet cleaners especially made for pet odors, industrial ones made specifically for the steam cleaner I owned, even ones that incorporated oxyclean in the mix. Nothing seemed to get the lingering odors out.

Then a few days ago I decided to research online and see if there might be any homemade concoctions to answer my carpet woes and low and behold a recipe was found! A solution made from liquid laundry detergent and water! I was a little concerned at first because every machine I encountered said to only use the cleaner made specifically for the steam cleaner...can we say money maker for the ones who make the machine (: But after reading many reviews from those who used it themselves I was willing to give it a shot.

I'm so glad I did because it worked!!! Not only did the odors come out, but it softened the carpet too!! I usually make my own laundry detergent, but used liquid Gain for this application. Great smell and gives at least 64 cleans per bottle, but I'm sure any laundry detergent will work. Try several until you find the one that works best for you.

After cleaning with the laundry detergent solution, I add an additional step. Fill the water chamber with cool water and 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar to remove any residue the soap may leave behind on the carpet. If all the soap isn't totally removed out of the carpet, it will attract dirt and we don't want that (: This process not only gets up the soap residue, but also adds another level of odor neutralization and cleans your machine at the same time!

Here's the recipe...
  • Fill the laundry detergent cap to the first line and empty into steam machine water chamber. (Every laundry detergent has measuring lines within the cap and just go by the lines of whatever laundry detergent you decide to use.)
  • Fill the water chamber with water and make sure you get it as hot as possible. The heat will help work with the detergent to release dirt from the carpet.

Now you're ready to steam clean away! Make sure to do the vinegar rinse for the best results. Good luck!

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Makeover Monday - Bedroom Ideas

This is a great bedroom makeover from and was the perfect inspiration for my own bedroom project. It was a catchall space transformed from a junk room into a bright and fun bedroom using many items that were already on hand.

The reason this particular makeover caught my eye was the wall color, dresser and headboard. The lavender they used is very similar to the color chosen for my bedroom and the dresser is almost the same wood tone as the one that I will be painting.

I'm not a big fan of gold mirrors, but love the ornate style! A simple coat of paint brings whimsy to a traditional look. I'm more partial to white frames, but the purple works in this particular application and adds some fun.

The bold flowers in the bedding, dresser and chandelier offer a modern twist. It looks fresh, light and comfortable.

Now here's my space....the catchall room that originally was going to be the studio until plans changed and the studio then morphed into a bedroom. Small space, but lots of potential (:

Some of the MDF from those huge storage shelves was recycled for the living room makeover. It provided plenty of material to make the fireplace mantel, TV component stand and shelves to house baskets for storage.

The rest helped to create worksurfaces in the studio, but that's another post for another day (: I love it when items can be reused for other projects!

As previously mentioned, the walls will be a rich purple, curtain panels have already been sewn (who are we kidding...iron-on tape was involved) and the cedar dresser my Grandfather made many years ago is just waiting for a lovely coat of bright white paint and some knob changouts!

All of those boxes to the left are blocking a closet with double doors. I'm not sure if you can see them amongst the clutter, but the doors are sporting a "lovely" pair of round brass doorknobs. Those have been replaced with some glass knobs ($15 for the pair!!) to match the Claudia headboard purchased from Pottery Barn (got it on sale for $199!!!!) as seen below...

I absolutely love these colors, but I'm trying to utilize items already on hand to cut down on cost. A beautiful green matelasse coverlet and lavender striped quilt with dainty flowers will grace the bed. Of course "art work" for over the bed will be made by moi and I'm still debating whether or not beadboard will be added to the bed wall.

Maybe you guys can help with that one after photos are posted next week. I can't wait for you to see them, so make sure to check back next Monday for the bedroom makeover!!

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