Turning the Office Into a Library

I have always had a list of things that I’ve wanted to do in our house.  Lately, Michael and I have been watching seasons of Fixer Upper since it showed up on Hulu, and that has sparked some conversations between whether or not we wanted to move or focus on renovating in our current home.  After a lot of thought, and a lot of time on Zillow and Houzz, we decided to stay where we are for now and focus our energy here.

So, Michael told me that I need to create a bucket list of things I want to do to the house.  A lot of it will require some research and planning, but one thing was just going to require some elbow grease and rearranging.  And that was moving the bookshelves upstairs into my office and creating a library.

This room has gone through a lot of transitions.  First, it was my office and craft room.

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I don’t know what I was thinking with the camo walls.  I also had a little library there in the original room.

In 2013, we decided to combine both of our offices, and I took that opportunity to do a complete overhaul.  I painted the desks white, the walls gray, and I covered the chair to match the new office space.  016.JPG

I actually wrote more about this transformation here, and there is a video room tour.

But what I’ve always wanted was a library.  Originally, the downstair front room was the library, but with Michael’s growing aquarium hobby, it was getting a bit cramped. Michael hasn’t worked from this desk upstairs in over a year, so we decided to forgo that office space and turn my office into more of a library, giving Michael more room downstairs for his aquarium things.  It’s the best of both worlds!

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So, I didn’t start taking pictures before I had already done some of the work.  I moved the chair and my office chair out of the room and began wiping down the baseboards and vacuuming as I moved things around.  Wiping down baseboards make such a difference to me.  It makes the room look clean, even if the baseboards need to be touched up (and they do, but that’s a different project and a much bigger one since all of our house’s baseboards probably need to be touched up).

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You will also notice that I have an oversized crate in the picture.  I use that crate for various things like behavior fosters from the SPCA or the occasional pet-sitting client (Depending on what that dog is comfortable with.  Sometimes, they come with their own crate or sleeping arrangement).  The crate was moved downstairs into a new space, and Michael’s desk chair and the white bookshelf moved out of the room altogether to make space for the new library.

And here is the finished product!

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I moved my desk in front of the window so that it helps with any video conferences I do (like the summer bible study I’m doing right now).  I also hope to make more spontaneous videos in the future and I know that this will enable to do that because I don’t have to work out some weird set up for lighting.  I can just make it at my desk!

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And I love my little reading nook.  In April, one of my goals was to organize my books.  I got rid of a lot of them, and Michael was surprised that we actually don’t have a whole lot of books.  None of the bookshelves are extremely full.  That’s not to say that it will stay this way, but for right now, I like the way it all turned out.  Very happy with my new library!

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Do you have any house projects that you completed this summer, or are hoping to complete?

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Jewelry Hanger Project

One of my summer goals is to get three projects accomplished that have been on my list forever.  One of those projects is creating a hanger board.  Originally, this was for the baby’s room, but in the meantime, I plan to use it for my jewelry.  It’s a versatile enough piece to do both.

And I’m not kidding when I say this has been in the works for a while.  I bought all of the knobs from Anthropologie back in 2012 (I still had them in the original bag with the original receipt!).

 

I wanted to use some reclaimed wood of some kind, and I sort of did.  My husband built a stand for his aquarium, and he had some wood leftover, already stained!  So now it was just a matter of putting all of the parts together.

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First, we measured the wood for the bolt holes, and we measured each knob’s bolt to make sure we weren’t making the holes too big.  One of the bolts was actually smaller than the others.

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Then he widened the holes in the back to accommodate the nuts.

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We placed each one, and then he sawed off the extra bolt parts from the back of the wood.

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And after adding some hanging fasteners, voila!  I now have a jewelry hanger for my room!  Project #1 done!

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Making Candles

For one of my March goals, I wanted to use a candle making kit that Michael got me for Valentine’s Day to try my hand at making a soy candle.  He got it from Candlewic.com, and I’m not sponsored by them at all, but this will also be kind of a mini-review of their product as well.

In my research, I found that this kit was the least expensive kit for what was included in it. And from start to finish, the only things I had to provide were a pot to boil water in and a spoon to mix (and technically the newspaper, although they did have packing paper included that was thick enough to use.

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So, first, I used a glue dot to attach the wick to the bottom of the container.

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Then, I poured one bag of one pound of soy wax into the pouring pot, and then placed it in the pot of boiling water, to act as a double boiler.

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Once that melted, I used the included thermometer to measure the temperature.  I was impressed with the quality of the thermometer in this kit.

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Then, when it reached 175 degrees F, I added the green coloring included in the kit.

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Once it cooled to 140 degrees F, I added the Agave Nectar fragrance.

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The fragrance was pretty strong.  We have an open floor plan and I could smell it in the living room, but it wasn’t so strong that it would give me a headache.  After the fragrance was added, I poured it into the container with the wick (at this point, I realized that I could easily fill two containers, so I made another container with a wick before I started pouring).

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I then used one of the bow tie clips to hold the wick in place as it dried.

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And then, a few hours later, I checked on it and it was solid.  I cut the wick down.

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And they even included little stickers to put on the bottom of the candle with safety warnings (like don’t leave a candle burning unattended).

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Clean up was very easy, and that’s saying a lot for a clumsy, messy girl like me.  I only had to clean up a few drops of wax around where I poured, and cleaning the pouring pot was super easy as well.  I loved the kit.  The instructions were straightforward and easy to follow, and I have three more scents and colors to try!  Honestly, I put this off because I thought it would be time-consuming, but it really was easy to do!

Have you ever made candles?  Have you tried a kit that you love?

The Fall Season

Last Thursday was the first day of fall, or autumn depending on where you are from.  I celebrated as I always do with my first Starbucks salted caramel mocha.

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This week, I have enjoyed cooler weather.  By Texas standards, it’s cooler weather anyway.  I’m just happy when the lows drop to the 50s and the highs stay below 90, so this was a wonderful week.  I wouldn’t mind for it to be a little cooler than that, but it’s a start.

The beginning of the fall season is my favorite time of year.  It’s easy to fall in love (see what I did there) with the scents of this season and the colors.  I have already been using the Scentsy Welcome Home scent in the kitchen.  Michael came home on Monday and exclaimed with a big smile on his face, “It feels like fall outside and it smells like fall inside!”  And I changed our bedding to deeper colors as well as the placemats on the dining table.

I realized that these rituals are a part of what makes fall such a wonderful season to me.  I don’t give the other seasons as fair of a shot, to be honest.  I have a few things I do – I change the bedding and the placemats in the spring, I also have different decor for the major holidays throughout the year that tends to be in season-based colors.  But I don’t have scents or drinks that I attribute to each season.  I want to change that.

Because I realized that these fun little traditions I have to welcome the fall also help me appreciate the small joys in my life.  One of the ways I deal with my grief is identifying the tiny gratitudes in my day, looking for God’s presence in my present.  So, I want to be more intentional in identifying small joys in the seasons, months, and weeks of the year.

I can be intentional about this in many ways.  Having particular things I do each day, celebrating holidays (even the silly ones), remembering anniversaries, celebrating the beginning of the seasons, participating in activities or traditions that happen around a particular time of year.  Each of these things can help me appreciate the passage of time as well as be aware of God’s blessings in the small things.  And especially be aware of God’s presence in my journey, not matter what season I am in.

What is your favorite season?  Do you have a scent or something you eat or drink to celebrate that season?  I’m looking for ideas for the other parts of the year!

 

Decorating for Spring

St. Patrick’s Day was yesterday and the first day of Spring is right around the corner, so I thought I would share a couple of my favorite pieces of decoration for this time of year.

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All of my pieces were DIY projects that I have made over the years.  The framed Irish blessing was the first thing I made to decorate for St. Patrick’s Day.  And the jar covered in burlap and lace was the last thing I made (I think it was one or two years ago).  Funny that the first and last things I made for the holiday are my favorite!

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Speaking of firsts, I believe this is the first wreath I made for our home.  It was super simple and held up well over the years.  The coloring isn’t perfect in this picture, but the yellow V goes well with the green burlap of the wreath.

Do you have any favorite spring time decor?  

Are you ready for the spring? I kind of wanted a little more snow (or any for that matter) before springtime came, but I can’t complain for the really nice weather we have had this winter!  It’s been great weather for hiking and spending time outside (despite a few weeks of rain here or there).

Valentine’s Day Decor

I can’t believe that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.  It feels like we just celebrated New Year’s Day.  This January has been way more busy than I’m used to.

But whether we have a busy January or not, I still don’t usually remember to put out the Valentine’s Day decor until the day before.  So I’m pretty proud of myself that I’m a whole week ahead of my usual schedule.  Here are a few of my favorite pieces.

 

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This is a door hanger we got from Hobby Lobby, of course.  That place has amazing stuff!

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I made a heart chain a couple years ago using zip ties.  I hang them with some rose lights I got a few years back as well.

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But by far my favorite piece of decor is this heart shaped box and bear because when I received this gift, an engagement ring was sitting in the bear’s lap.

Do you decorate for Valentine’s Day?  Do you keep sentimental pieces to use as decor for the holidays?

Finally Done!

So, for one of my new year goals for 2015, I wanted to finish some projects in my master bedroom.  And now I’ve finally finished and taken pictures to show you!

So, the first thing I completed was my drawer organization.  I bought all of the baskets from Target, and I organized the sock drawer, underwear drawer and pajama drawer20151217_123843.jpg

The next thing I worked on was updating the bedding for our bed.  My pup is nicely modeling for us as well.  I finally got a duvet insert and cover, something I have been wanting to buy for years.  I also got holiday pillows for the bed.  I plan to get another cover for the spring and summer time, but that will be something for next year!

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This is the final project I worked on.  Each picture represents a year we have been together.  I had fallen behind on the frames the last couple of years, but now I’m all caught up and have a plan for the next ten. 🙂

Did you accomplish any goals/projects this year?