Last weekend, I posted this picture on Instagram, leading my followers to wonder what I’m up to.
I’m going to go ahead and tell you that this project will take several posts, and I’ll be talking about it for the next few weeks…but I’m happy to scratch the surface today.
This absolutely lovely antique mantle has been in my garage for almost two years. I knew what I wanted to do with it but just couldn’t find the time. Story of my life. I knew I wanted it done by December so I felt compelled to stop dragging my feet and just do it.
Then, there was a whole lotta strippin’ going on, and not the sexy kind. At least this kind of stripper doesn’t smell bad. Just brush it on with a paintbrush and wait thirty minutes. Then, scrape that paint right off. You may have to repeat the process, if there are several layers of paint to remove. I had to do this three times.
Plus, the stripper gives everything a pinkish hue, which is also lots of fun.
I used low grit sandpaper and a plastic putty knife to scrape away the paint. I’ve almost got all the paint off.
And if you’ll tune in next week, I’ll show you the second installment. Come see us next Tuesday to see what I’m doing with this mantle.
This is the time of year when many of us resolve to do something better, or to be better at something. We commonly desire to do different things, like visit a new and exciting vacation destination, or stop worrying about something, or the ever popular “lose weight.” While I have some personal resolutions this year, and I will share those, I have some resolutions for my home and for my blog. Some people would just call these things a “to-do list,” and that’s accurate as well. Whatever you want to call it, I’m more than happy to share them with you.
Personal and family
A healthier, more mindful, and better me
Things have not been the greatest on the homefront. I’ve struggled with mental illness and it has taken a toll on everyone. This year, I’d simply like to learn more about my anxiety and depression, and work toward finding a healthier balance. I’m journaling a lot, I’m reading a lot, I’m in therapy, and I’m learning to handle things through a different lens. And it’s helping, but there are a lot more bridges to cross.
I was in a good place with my diet and fitness journey, but my recent bout of bronchitis and pneumonia really took a toll on it. This year, I’d like to work out at least 5 days a week and get back on my Trim Healthy Mama journey. So far, I’m doing well. My oldest daughter has become my biggest cheerleader and my running buddy.
I’m also working to make more time for what’s truly important: my family and myself. I am practicing saying no and trying to do less. I’m working toward not worrying so much about the trivial things in life- the messy rooms, the dirty laundry, and the crowded to-do lists- and enjoy the little girls who made those messes and that dirty laundry.
And lastly, I’m spending more time reading. I’ve always loved to read and I often find that I’m reading things for work and things to my children, but I rarely read for my pleasure anymore unless it’s summer break. I’ve created quite the list of books I’d like to read in 2019. Will I read all of them? Probably not. My goal is to read at least 75 books in 2019.
Home and blogging
So. many. things. I. want. to. do.
First, I plan on sharing the things we NEED to do, and then I’ll get to the things I WANT to do. Doesn’t it seem we are always sharing our wants and needs, and trying to distinguish between the two?
Finish our bathroom refreshers (WANT)
Currently, we have already started a small remodel/room refresh on our master bath. Last year, I installed plumbing pipe shelving, and changed out the builder grade mirrors and light fixtures for two mirrors and farmhouse style lighting. This year, we plan to change out the faucets and begin planning for our next big bathroom project: new flooring and new tubs. We also may entertain refinishing the vanity. We may even change out the mirror, lights and faucets in our hall bath this year.
2. Replace some of our lost landscaping (WANT)
We lost about ten plants in our front foundation gardens and in our backyard to the crazy, overly rainy weather we experienced in 2018. We will be replacing them this year with something new and colorful.
3. Washer and dryer (NEED)
Our washer and dryer is on the blink. We looked at several different ones this past spring, but never truly lit on one we liked. Plus, we figured we could get a few more months out of ours. Well, we did, but we can’t push our luck much longer. So, we’ll be buying a new washer and dryer soon.
4. A living room refresher. (NEED/WANT)
This one fits into both categories. Does out living room function well now as it is? Sure. But…we are still using the same furniture we bought before Emorie was born, and she is now almost 8. It’s taken a beating from both these baby girls, and it’s time to replace it. Plus, I’ve had this gorgeous antique mantle in our garage for over a year now, and I’m dying to have it installed in our living room. This should be happening soon.
Now, for the things I want to do. This list will be far less detailed.
Gather quotes for new bath tubs and bath flooring
Gather quotes for new kitchen cabinets
Finish our built in bookshelves in the office and convert the office into a playroom
Convert the current playroom into a formal dining room
Screen in our back porch
Do you see now why there are two lists? I’m not saving we will do all of these things, but each year I like to decide what I want to do and what I need to do, and try to balance out the lists.
We’ve been blogging here for a good five years now, and in that time, we’ve had a lot of questions from readers. One question we’re often asked is this: “You all seem to always be doing something to your house. How do you do so much?” Today I’d like to share how we prioritize our projects.
1. Do projects a little at a time
We just did a small remodel of our master bathroom. We replaced mirrors, hardware and light fixtures. We eventually plan to replace the bathtub and surround and flooring as well, but it simply isn’t in the budget right now. So we started with the cheapest, easiest items on our “master bath to-do list” and we completed those.
2. Find cheaper options for the things you want to do
We love carriage house garage doors, but we neither need nor want to buy a $2,000 garage door at the moment… so we took to Amazon and ordered faux Coach house door hardware and a faux window kit for $50. We spent far less money something that looks like the real deal.
3. If you can DIY it, do it.
Custom closets are expensive, but my dad and I built this closet organizer ourselves for $100. It only took one day and it was a fairly simple project. We saved a lot of money by doing it ourselves AND it was a lot of fun.
4. Before you do any part of the project, ask yourself these questions:
1. Who will it benefit?
If it’s something that will benefit everyone in the home, bump the project up higher on your to do list.
2. Can I do the project in phases, or must I do it all at once?
If a project must be done all at once, but it’s small, it’s probably OK to raise it on your list. If it’s a big project and you can’t do it in phases, it’s probably expensive and should be lower on your priority list.
3. Do I need to do it, or just want to?
Projects that you want to do, no matter how much you want to do them, are never as important as the projects you need to do.
5. Save money for the things you can’t afford right now
Even if you can’t afford the things you want at the moment, save money until you have what you need.