What I’ve Been Up To Lately

I mentioned in my Anticipating November blog that I’ve been working on a few projects.  Mainly, it’s been a bunch of purging, but I’ve also been updating a few rooms.  One of those rooms is our library/my office.  Just last year, we turned my office into a library, but I took it a step further this month and now it’s more library than an office.





All of the new furniture is from IKEA.  The chair is Ecktorp and the bookshelves are Billy. I love curling up in that chair and reading a book.  And, there is room to grow and room for some of Sam’s toys (because we spend a lot of time in here). The puzzle that I did a month or two ago is now framed and above the chair.  I still have a few things to put on the wall, but I’m really happy with the way it all turned out!


House Project #2: The Floors

A couple weeks ago, we completed a second major house project that has been on the books for a couple of years.  We got the majority of our floors replaced.  And by we, I mean we hired a company to do it.  Between busy season and baby season, if we tried to DIY this one, it wouldn’t have gotten completed.  But we are really happy with the result.

So, first, we wanted to replace/remove the carpet in our living room downstairs.  The rest of our downstairs is this ceramic tile.  Since I started fostering dogs with the SPCA and pet-sitting, I have wanted to get this carpet out of here.  It’s just easier to maintain when I have canines all over the place.



See?  There is even a dog in this picture.  The carpet has got to go!



I love this floor.  It’s a water-resistant vinyl.  And, by removing the tile in front of the fireplace, it has really opened the room up.

The second major project was to remove and replace all of the carpets upstairs, including the stairs.  It’s all the same carpet upstairs, but it’s super soft and a little darker than the previous carpet.  I will use the stairs as an example of the change.



Well loved and used carpet.


The guys hauling away the old carpet and bringing the padding upstairs.


The new carpet being hauled upstairs.



We love the fact that this took literally two days to complete, both the living room and the upstairs.  Of course, the upstairs is still in a bit of a disarray because only a few days after the project was completed, I was in the hospital, so I don’t really have any of the rooms to share with you.  I mean, I just got the books back on the bookshelves today.  It’s going to be a process.

It was really nice to have this one marked off the books.  As for other house projects, we have a few here or there that we might get to, or we might put them off for later in the year.  Right now, the baby is starting to take center-stage, so we are focusing on that!

Final Summer Projects

The last few summer projects that I wanted to complete this year were not as creative as my jewelry holder project.  And they weren’t as big as turning the office into a library.  But they have been on the back burner for so long, and they needed to be done.

First, I had a couple of pillows to repair.  The first was a pillow for Valentine’s Day that I bought on Amazon.  It stayed out a bit longer than it needed to and developed a hole on the side.  So, I pulled out my sewing machine (literally dusting it off) and repaired the hole.


The second pillow was in disrepair because a dog (ahem, Teddy, ahem) chewed the buttons off.  Thankfully, he didn’t swallow them, but the buttons were chewed up goners. So, I went to Joann Fabrics, bought a new set of buttons, and sewed them on.  RedPillow

And finally, I received a beautiful lighthouse from my mother-in-law that she had in storage, so it had a thick layer of dust everywhere.  I used dusting spray and a cloth for most of the surfaces, but for the delicate wire on top, I used a dry toothbrush to get the dust off.  It looks all shiny and new, perfect for my little nautical corner of the bookshelf!


So, they weren’t major projects, but they have been hanging around for quite some time.  I’m glad to check them off my life (and get a little more space in my closet!).

Have you ever had small projects hanging over your head like this before?

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!


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).


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!


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!


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?

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.


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.


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


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


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





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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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).


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


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


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).


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.


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!