Wednesday, January 16, 2013

the power of after

I'm pretty impatient when it comes to home improvements. And that's not always good considering most home improvements take time. But, I've discovered that some of my favorite projects are those that take very little time and produce dramatic results.

We all know what paint can do for something worn out, drab and dull...

Exhibit A:
The above chair was in desperate need of some TLC, but what about those things lying around the house that are just boring and in need of a quick overhaul?

For instance the Fox's outdoor porch light. Not necessary on the list of "if we don't do this we are going to die" list, but more on the "could use an update, but not gonna make or break the curb appeal" list.

We were walking through Lowe's for another fixer-upper that's far to boring to share, and passed by some clearance light fixtures. We didn't see one that we had to have, but we decided we'd check out their full-priced selection just to see what they had. Again, nothing really struck our fancy, especially since it wasn't a "must do" project, so we decided to move on....but then....ENTER another clearance section! One lonely little light sat on a shelf, begging for our attention. What was a DIY couple to do?

Well, my fellow bloggers....

BAM! This is what we did. For less than $30, we scored this super cute fixture and in about 15 minutes, we had it off and reinstalled with no problem at all. It was that simple! And it instantly gave an update to the porch! Those are the kind of projects I'm talking about.

Other things I've done recently that have taken about zero time and money? New knobs for the Fox's desk:

Kinda hard to see, but the old ones were on their last hinge. Literally. And of course, not something that needed to be done, but when you're in a store and you find pretty cool ones for .98, you can't pass them up. It gave a whole, new-world look to the desk! Love it!

Now I've lived in my apartment for a year and 1/2 and never had curtains on my living room windows. And I love curtains, but those things can be so darn expensive! Thankfully, on one of my recent yard saling adventures, I came across 2 sets of Pine Cone Hill sheers. I think the lady used them for her little girls room, but I thought they would be perfect in my living room...and I was right! They gave a whole new life to my room in just a few minutes. It's amazing what fabric can do to soften the mood of a room!

It's so exciting to see that a little can go a long way. That's always been my passion and it will continue to be. I love making things better, especially when it can be done on the cheap and quick. :)

If you love before and after shots, check out the website Better After. She features before and afters from all kinds of bloggers and I'm mesmerized by what people can do and by their imagination.

I hope you'll take 2013 to challenge yourself and think outside the box. There is a whole different world out there if you just look beyond what's in front of you. Good luck!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

deck the halls a little or a lot!

The holidays are such a fun time. Not only is food a plenty, but family and friends are (usually) on their best behavior and everyone just has a good time.

Probably one of my favorite things about the holidays is decorating! Now, I don't go all crazy, but I like to do a little here and there to get my home into the spirit.

I decided to forgo the evergreen this year. Not because I really wanted to, but mostly because of the following reasons:

1. I live in an upstairs apartment with LOTS of steep stairs. It's bad enough bringing groceries up those bad boys, so I decided that a Christmas tree was better viewed from a distance.
And 2. The Fox was donning his own tree, so I figured it could be "our" tree for this year.

But have no fear! I didn't become a scrooge. I merely shrunk my spirit into a mini size - just enough for me :).

I don't have a mantle in my itty (but very spacious) apartment, but I do have this super awesome piece of furniture that I kinda, might have, sly-ly stole from my dear ole mama, but none-the-less, it acts as my mantle :).

I found this tiny, white plastic tree at GW one day and though it would be the perfect size for what I needed...and it was!

I just love my vintage ornaments, too.  I've collected them over the years and even inherited (didn't steal these) from my mom. They are so unique and old-timey, that they just scream Christmas to me. 

I took the cheer into my kitchen this year as well. Since the Fox and I spend so much time in there, it only seemed appropriate. I used some plastic, gold evergreen, and stuffed it in a vase with some sticks. Then I decorated it with a couple of vintage lightbulbs turned ornaments and spruced up my magnet board.

 Also,  I may have gotten just a bit out of control with my giving this year...

So, it wasn't too overdone, but it was just what I needed. But, if my home didn't have enough, I could always head down south to my rents' place. My mom always does a kick butt job on Christmas. And even though the last few years she's toned it down, I always like her simple, but elegant decorations.

Here she mixed some real and fake greenery in old milk jugs as centerpieces.


Then, if that weren't cute enough, she decorated her mantle with pictures of our grandparents when they were little. Totally Pinterest worthy in my opinion :).

Her festive food table. There was no food at this point, but believe me, there was no shortage. Our menu ranged from oysters to a roast and almost every finger food imaginable. Like always, the Thomas Family Christmas was delicious!

And again, clearly we don't know when to stop with the gifts! We are truly a blessed family with lots of healthy bodies.

Well that's my Christmas! It's such a fun time to be able to show your creative side. And really, anything goes! There is the super colorful, then there is the low key. Either way you do it, I just hope it reflects you.

Merry late Christmas everyone, and best wishes for a happy and safe 2013!!