Brady’s Furniture is Done!

Hi Everyone! I am SO happy to report that Brady’s furniture is finally done! I’m not going to lie…this was a tough one and if this project had a theme song it would be “Patience” by Guns N Roses. So, go ahead and hum that song to yourself while I share the details.

First, here’s a look back at what his furniture looked like before…

I won’t bore you with a step by step tutorial.  You can Google how to paint furniture and come up with a hundred different sites explaining the various ways to paint furniture.  I will tell you that I chose to sand, prime and apply 2 coats of paint to all the furniture.  And, it was a pain in the neck…literally!  After one 8 hour painting marathon I woke up the next day unable to move my neck!  It took me a week to recover!  Who get’s injured while painting?

Here’s a look at the furniture before I sanded it…

Do you see all those slats on the bed?  Twenty four to be exact!  I had to individually sand and paint each one!  I also removed the old hardware on the dresser and nightstand drawers, filled in the holes with wood putty and drilled new holes for the new hardware.   I removed all the drawer fronts to make them easier to paint.  One cautionary note for you if you ever decide to paint furniture…make sure you label all the drawer fronts before you remove them!  I didn’t and had a heck of a time trying to figure out which drawer front belonged to which drawer.  You wouldn’t think it would make a difference, but believe me, it does!

Here is the furniture with the primer applied…

I decided to hand brush the paint onto the furniture rather than spray it with a paint sprayer for two reasons.  First, I had tried spraying my younger son’s furniture last year and had less than satisfactory results.  I kept getting little, tiny air bubbles in the finish.  I never was able to figure out what I was doing wrong and I didn’t want to repeat that with this project.  Secondly, I really didn’t want to move all of the furniture out of the room.  When you use a sprayer, paint gets EVERYWHERE!  So, I hand brushed everything.  Did I mention there are 24 slats on that bed?  It took FOREVER!

After painting the room Navy blue, I knew we were going to have to choose a light color for the furniture.  I thought we would do white, but Brady really had his heart set on a light gray, just like the New England Patriot’s helmets!  We chose Coventry Gray by Benjamin Moore.

Here’s a look at his furniture now…

I am very happy with how it all turned out!  Even though it took weeks to finish and a whole lot of patience, I think it was all worth it.  And, Brady was right…the gray is really cool!

I am so close to being done with his room!  I just have to hang some art work and shelves, replace the door knobs & hinges and replace the light fixture.  Hopefully I can get all that done in the next week.  Stay tuned!

Easy Window Cornices For Brady’s Room

Hi Everyone! I’ve made some great progress in Brady’s room this week and I want to show you the window cornices I made for his room. These were SO easy (and cheap!) to make.  I apologize upfront for the poor quality pictures.  I never said I was a photographer!


Foam Insulation Boards



Utility Knife

Glue Gun

Staple Gun & Staples

Straight Pins

L brackets

Here’s what I did…

First I measured the window and determined how wide I wanted the cornices to be.  Brady’s window is 33.5 inches wide and I wanted the cornice to extend 2 inches on either side of the window, so I measured and marked the board at 37.5 inches.  The board was 13.75 inches high and I decided I liked the height as it was.

Next, I used a utility knife to cut the board along the markings I made.  I’m not going to lie…this part was messy!  I had little bits of Styrofoam flying all over the place and sticking to everything!

I then determined how far out I wanted the cornice to stick out from the window.  I decided on 3 inches.  For the top piece I measured another board at 37.5 inches wide and 3 inches high and cut the board long my markings.  For the sides I used a leftover piece of board that I had cut from the other boards.  I measured 2.25 inches wide  and 13.75 inches high and cut 2.

I then used my glue gun to attach the sides to my cornice board.  One cautionary note…if your glue gun gets too hot it will melt the Styrofoam.  Yep, it happened to me!

Then, I glued on the top.

This is what the cornice looks like after you’ve glued on the sides and top…

Next, I cut the fabric and batting to be big enough to wrap around my cornice.  I placed the fabric on a flat surface, then the batting on top of the fabric and the cornice on top of both.

Using my staple gun, I pulled the fabric and batting up and around to the back of the cornice and stapled it into place.  I continued to pull the fabric tightly around the cornice and staple it into place.  I did the bottom first and then the top, taking care to keep the fabric straight and smooth.  When I got to the corners I played around with the fabric and folded it into place until it was neat and stapled it into place.  Along the edges I found that using straight pins were easier than the staples.

Here is what the cornice should look like when all the fabric and batting is stapled and pinned into place…

I hung 2 L brackets above the windows.   The cornices are so lightweight I didn’t even bother with wall anchors.

Lastly, I slid the cornice over the L brackets.

I LOVE how these cornices turned out!  Honestly, the pictures don’t even do them justice.  They look super sleek and modern and finish off the windows perfectly!

These things only took me a half an hour to make and only cost me about  $30 in materials!  I would call this project a success!

Next up, refinishing the furniture.  Wish me luck people!  This is the project I’m most worried about!  I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

P.S.-Did you notice the new wall color?  I’ll tell you all about that soon!






Make Over Plans For Brady’s Room

Hello! Anybody still there? It’s been a long time since my last post and I’ve missed being here! I wish I had a really good excuse for staying away for so long, but really it’s just life with two kids. When things get busy (and let’s face it, things are always busy) my creative endeavors just seem to take a back seat.
Somehow, the beginning of the school year and the return of Fall have a way of motivating me to get back to what I love. Perhaps it’s the nesting instinct that takes over when the temperature starts to dip and I can envision a long winter indoors. I have the desire to make everything cozy and homey. Or, maybe it’s just that the kids are out of the house for a good chunk of the day and I finally have time to do the things I want to do! Whatever the reason, I am back tackling another project. I don’t know if anyone out there in cyberspace actually reads this stuff, but it feels darn good to be back!
We had a big change this year…My oldest son, Brady, started high school! What? How did that happen? Am I even old enough to have a kid in high school? Wait, don’t answer that! Anyhow, I realized that Brady’s room hadn’t changed all that much since he was in kindergarten. It is still a shade of baby blue, he still has Lego creations displayed on his shelves and he still has the little red bookcase I got him when he was a toddler. It’s time for him to have a more grown up room!
Here is what it looks like now…

This is what I plan to do…
-New paint! I would love to paint it light gray, but Brady want’s navy blue. I do love a navy and white color scheme so I may go with his choice.                                                                           -Refinish the furniture.  At some point in the past 9 years my husband and I got new bedroom furniture for our room and Brady inherited our old furniture.  Surprisingly, the furniture is still it excellent condition so we’ll just give it a new finish. I’m not sure yet if I’ll paint it or stain it a darker color.  I guess it will depend on what color I end up painting the walls
-A new furniture layout.  The current layout is not really working.  It’s very crowded so, I think I’ll remove one of the dressers. He doesn’t use it and I would love to make room for a desk in there. He has a desk in another part of the house and it’s always a mess. I think if I can contain the mess to his room and just close the door I’ll certainly be happier and he’ll have a quiet place to study.
-Something different for the windows. I don’t dislike the curtains he has now, but he suffers from really bad allergies. The curtains are just dust magnets so I plan to ditch them. I have been looking up how to make window cornices and I’m thinking maybe I’ll try that. It will dress up the windows without collecting dust.
-I’ll add other finishing touches like new door hardware, a light fixture and artwork.
I haven’t decided what to do about the bedding yet. I bought the current comforter a couple of years ago and Brady still really likes it. I would love to do white bedding, but who am I kidding? It would be dirty in 2 seconds. The only reason I’m contemplating getting something new is because the comforter is not quite big enough. It’s a full/queen and the bed is a thick queen mattress. I don’t like that the comforter doesn’t quite cover the box spring. I’m thinking that I could just put a fitted sheet on the box spring and call it a day. I guess I’ll see how it all looks after I finish the other items on my to do list and then decide what to do about the bedding.
OK, I think that’s all for now. Wish me luck and check back in with me next week to see my progress!

I’m Baaaaack!

Hi Everyone!

It’s been several months since I posted about my kitchen plans.  Since then, I enjoyed the summer, welcomed a new puppy into the family and made it through the holidays.  Although it’s been stressful at times, I am so happy with how everything has turned out!  I still have a few things to accomplish, but I’m ready to show you all the new updates!

First, let me remind you what my kitchen used to look like…

And (drumroll please!), here is how my kitchen looks now!

Can you believe how bright and open it looks now?  What a huge difference the white cabinets have made!

I am so thrilled with how it all turned out!  But, it certainly was a crazy process!  After many discussions with my husband, he convinced me that I should call a pro in to do the cabinets and backsplash.  I called the painter that I’ve used many times throughout the years and he told me that although he would be happy to do the work for me, he was worried that I just wouldn’t be happy with the results.  He encouraged me to contact a cabinet re-finisher rather than paint the cabinets.  So, that’s what I did and I am soooo happy I followed his advice.  Even with the pros doing the work it was a lengthy process that left us in total chaos for a couple of weeks.

My husband also brought in a friend to do the backsplash and, again, I’m glad I didn’t try to tackle the job myself.  Although I think I could have handled a straight forward tile (like a subway tile), the herringbone pattern was a challenge even for someone with experience.

Ok, so I have to admit that I’m not a naturally gifted cabinet painter or backsplash tile expert, but I did do the barn wood shelves myself!  Now that has to count for something, right?  After doing some research I found out that not only is real barn wood hard to come by, it’s crazy expensive.  I decided that I would try to recreate the look of barn wood on my own.  I bought 2 x 12 x 48 pieces of wood for $10 each from Lowes.  Then I took my palm sander and really roughed up the edges of the boards.

Next, I stained the boards.  I first tried using a gray stain and it was just too light and gray. You can see in the photos below the gray color between the darker colors.  So, I went back to Lowes and bought three more colors to try; Dark Walnut, Provincial and Jacobean.  I layered the colors over the gray and I loved the way the gray showed through to create an aged look.  I really liked all three of the colors, but ultimately decided to go with the lightest one,  Provincial.

I bought rustic, steel shelf brackets from Etsy and we just mounted them to the wall with heavy-duty bolts and wall anchors.  Considering how much it would have been to get authentic barn wood shelves I am super happy with the outcome of my knock offs!  Here’s a look at my inspiration photo and then my version…

Not bad, right?  I truly love being in my kitchen now!

We also added new hardware to the cabinets and I painted the walls a soft gray-green called “Horizon Gray” by Benjamin Moore.  I am obsessed with the paint color!  It changes from green to gray to blue depending on the light.  We also got new bar stools from Wayfair that really tie in with my modern farmhouse feel.

So, after everything we’ve done so far, here’s what I’ve learned…Be flexible!  Even the best thought out plans can be turned upside down!  I originally thought I would paint the cabinets and do the backsplash myself and have a contractor do the shelves.  I ended up doing the reverse!  And, since I paid to have the cabinets done, I think I will try to re-finish our kitchen table myself instead of buying a new one.  Well, that’s the plan for now anyway!

So, that’s all I have to report for now.  I still have to pick new light fixtures and there has been some talk of getting new flooring.  So EXCITING!!!  I have a lot of other fun home improvement plans and projects swirling around in my head so I promise to keep you posted with everything going on here!  Until next time…Happy New Year!



Kitchen Plans

Hello!  I have been in Maine a lot in the past few weeks and have been enjoying the long days of summer with the family, but it has given me some downtime to dream about my kitchen project!  I thought I’d share some of my thoughts with you and show you what my kitchen looks like now.

Well, first things first.  Here is a picture of what I WISHED my kitchen looked like…

Cape Elizabeth Kitchen traditional-kitchen

I love the white cabinets, the black countertops, the dark hardware, the pretty light fixtures and even the unusual paint color.  It’s just the look I’m going for…modern farmhouse!

Here’s what my kitchen looks like now…




It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just not “me” anymore.  When we first moved into this house (almost 8 years ago!  What?!?), I was blown away by how the previous owner had decorated.  It was everything my old house wasn’t…sophisticated, grown up, elegant; almost museum-like.  I LOVED it and went about trying to copy her style.  I even saved the pictures from the MLS listing to try and duplicate the feeling she had created.  But, as the years have gone by, I have become increasingly dissatisfied with my results.  I receive a lot of compliments, but I’ve come to realize that my house just doesn’t reflect my personal style.  I’m really just a California girl at heart…relaxed, laid back and fun!  THAT is what my home should be like.  A casual place you can feel comfortable putting your feet up on the furniture and not worry about messing anything up.  A place where pet hair on the sofa is no big deal and no one is too worried about spilling on the floor.  A peaceful place my family can retreat to at the end of a long day.   So, with that in mind, I’m ready to lighten up and refresh this space!

When we first moved in I told my husband that the backsplash was the only thing that I really needed to change right away.  That was the one thing about the house that I really didn’t like.IMG_1638 Well, it’s still the same backsplash that was here 8 years ago.  So, that is the first thing I plan to change!  Even though I LOVE the inspiration kitchen, I’m not entirely sold on the backsplash.  It’s a classic, white subway tile.  For some reason I just haven’t been able to jump on the subway tile band wagon.  I’ve seen it in plenty of kitchens and it looks lovely, but it’s just not for me.  I guess I just need a little more color or pattern (or both!).  So, after plenty of hunting in tile shops I think I’ve found a winner!!!


This tile by Cosa Marble is absolutely gorgeous in person!  It has shades of gray, soft blue, sage green and white.   And, I am in love with the herringbone pattern!  I am thinking this is going to look great in my kitchen and will tie in nicely with the rest of my décor.  I plan to install the tile myself, so I’m doing my research!!  Thank goodness for Google!

Next, I plan to paint my cabinets white, just like the picture.  It’s really, really dark in my kitchen and I’m SO excited to see how fresh, white paint is going to change the space.  I am also toying with painting the island a different color.   I am loving the color “Sea Glass” by Benjamin Moore.  It’s a soft gray green and I think it will look great with the backsplash.   This is why I’m practicing my painting skills on various pieces of furniture throughout the house.  I’m still trying to get it right, so I don’t feel quite ready to tackle this part of the project yet.  I’m hoping by August I’ll be ready.  hmmm,  we’ll see!

I plan to leave my countertops as is.  They are currently a classic, black quartz.  I love how easy they are to care for and they are practically indestructible.  I think they will be a great contrast to the white cabinets.

For my cabinet hardware I plan to go for an oil rubbed bronze cup-style pull on the drawers and simple knobs on the cabinet doors, similar to these from Lowes…




On this wall I plan to make some big changes…

IMG_1629We never use the desk, so I plan to add a cabinet to the space under the drawers.  Then, I (by “I”, I mean a contractor!  I’m ambitious, not crazy!) plan to rip out the top cabinets and install open barn wood shelves similar to these I found on Pinterest…


I am in LOVE with this look and I think it will be a really cool place to display some of my knick knacks and plants.  By the way…I love the bamboo shades on the window, too.  Hmmm, something to think about!

I would also love to change out my dining table and chairs for something more rustic.  How great would this table and chairs be from Boston Interiors?


Lastly, I plan to change out the light fixtures.

IMG_1641They aren’t bad, I’m just ready for a change.  The problem is that there are SO many pretty fixtures to choose from out there.  Here are just a sample of some that I’m loving right now…


UGGGGHHH…Decisions, decisions!  Well, there are worse things in life to have to figure out, I guess!  Which one would you choose?

The next few months promise to be exciting (and perhaps frustrating) in the Quinlan kitchen!  I’ll keep you posted!!!




Practice, practice, practice

Hello Everyone!  I have been very busy these past couple of weeks with end of the school year activities, jury duty, projects around the house and a trip to Maine, just to name a few.  But, I wanted to share one of the projects I completed last weekend.

In preparation for my upcoming kitchen project, I wanted to practice using a paint sprayer on something other than my kitchen cabinets.  Did I mention before that I plan to paint my cabinets myself?  Well, now you know!  So, I decided I would practice on Gavin’s dresser and night stands.  When I started this project I was thinking, “How hard can this be, really?  All I need is a little time and patience!  I’ve totally got this!”  All I have to say now is Hmmph!

Here is what Gavin’s night stand and dresser looked like before…



In preparation for painting I read many, many, many tutorials, blogs and online articles.  In general I followed the advice I found on Young House Love, a favorite blog of mine.

I used Jasco Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser (found at Lowes) on all the surfaces.


Then I filled all the holes from the drawer pulls with wood putty and sanded everything.


After I wiped down all the surfaces with a cloth I sprayed the dresser and night stand frames and drawers with the first coat of paint.  I used Benjamin Moore Advance paint in White Dove.  The folks at the paint store assured me that with this paint I did not need a primer, so I skipped that step.


After I gave the first coat ample time to dry, I sprayed the second coat.  I did NOT do a great job.  Wah, wah, wah.  I had drips on the sides of the dresser and night stands and most of the drawers had thousands of tiny air bubbles that dried into the surface.  So, after that coat dried, I used a fine grit sandpaper, sanded everything and applied a third coat.  Although I avoided drips this time, I still had tiny air bubbles on most of the surfaces.  I again repeated the sanding and painting process without much success.  By this point I had run out of paint and I was pretty frustrated.  This was not how this was supposed to go…I was SO sure that I had an inner professional painter gene just waiting to be unleashed!  I guess I have some more practicing to do.  Oh, and there was this…


I’m still trying to get the paint off my feet!

So, after running out of paint and patience I decided to call this project done.  It is NOT perfect, but it’s good enough…for now.  That inner perfectionist is screaming some pretty choice words right now!  But, here’s the finished product….

IMG_1658 copy-2

IMG_1657 copy-2

IMG_1652 copy-2

So, In the next few weeks I plan to practice some more on other things in my house.  Although Gavin’s dresser is good enough, it is not good enough (in my opinion) for the kitchen cabinets.  I am going to try priming my next project first to see if that makes a difference.  I think I’ll also try adjusting the pressure setting on my sprayer and maybe thinning the paint a little.  Hopefully I get this dialed in so I can attack the kitchen.  I’ll keep you updated!



Another DIY Project Completed!

Hi Everyone!  This weekend I finished another DIY project that was waiting patiently for me in my laundry room (somehow that’s where all my half-completed projects end up, even though I have a designated craft space elsewhere in the house…Don’t ask!!).

A few weeks ago I bought this mail holder at Michaels for half off.IMG_1572I loved the shape of it but didn’t have a need for a mail holder.  I bought it anyway not knowing exactly what I would do with it or where it would go.  That seems to happen a little more frequently than I’d care to admit!  But, as I was dreaming up ways to spruce up my mudroom, inspiration hit!  I decided it would be a perfect plant holder for an empty space I had on the wall of my mudroom.  I hung it up just like it was to live with it a few days and decide how I wanted to alter it.  Even though I liked the blue color, it didn’t exactly fit the vibe I’m going for, which I guess I’d describe as modern farmhouse (is that even a real style???).  So, I decided to “age” it.

First I removed the silver name plates and filled the holes with wood putty.  Then I grabbed my handy dandy palm sander and roughed up the surface a bit.  After that I cleaned it well with a soft white cloth.IMG_1579

Next I raided my ever growing collection of paint samples and half empty paint cans in the basement and came up with three colors; Benjamin Moore Advance paint in White, Benjamin Moore Aura paint in Coachman’s Cape and a Benjamin Moore sample in Calypso Blue.IMG_1604

Once I had my paint I just took a brush and haphazardly brushed the colors onto the holder.  I didn’t try to cover the entire surface, just brushed the colors on here and there, allowing each color to peak through.  This wasn’t a time for precision painting, however I tried to keep all my brushstrokes going in the same direction.  After the paint dried I went over the holder again with my sander to rough up the edges and take off any excess paint that I wasn’t happy with.

And, Voilà!  Here’s the finished product!IMG_1592copy-2I really love how it looks with the plants in it!  I’m now looking around the house to see what else could use a little “aging”.  Anything but me…time is taking care of that all by itself!

I still have a few other updates I’m planning for the mudroom, but I’ll be sure to keep you posted with my progress!


Meet Bernadette

Hi Everyone!  I am busy planning my upcoming kitchen makeover and I’ll update you about my plans in another post.  In the meantime, I wanted to share some of the other things I’m working on.

IMG_1497- copy 2

Part of my kitchen makeover preparation is finishing up all of the other little projects I have going on around the house.  I think for the sake of my family’s sanity I need to finish at least some of what I’ve started before I tear the kitchen apart!  I tend to have a dozen things going on at once and I think it sort drives some people (ahem…my hubby) a little cuckoo.

So, without further ado, meet Bernadette. IMG_1479-copy 2

Yes, I named my plant.  My theory is that if I name it, I won’t kill this one!  My husband likes to joke that when I walk into a nursery all of the plants run and hide in the corner.  I really love plants, I’m just not so great at caring for them. Well, I’m determined to keep this one alive!

I first came upon Bernadette while shopping for a Fiddle Leaf Fig.  In case you were wondering, Fiddle Leaf Figs are super pretty plants that are supposedly easy to care for, so naturally I thought that would be the perfect plant for me.  But, I couldn’t seem to find them anywhere.  None at Lowes, Home Depot or a handful of other locations around town.  So, I stopped into my local nursery and sadly they didn’t have them either.  But, I struck up a conversation with one of the girls that worked there and asked her what type of plant would be good for someone with a brown thumb.  She mentioned a few different plants and showed me some samples but nothing really grabbed me.  I asked her if she had any Swedish Ivy…I once had one and kept it alive for several years!  She asked me to follow her and then pulled the weirdest looking monstrosity out from under a table in the corner of the shop.  Apparently, it wasn’t doing well under their care and was headed for the dumpster out back.  She told me that I was welcome to have it for free if I wanted to try and nurse it back to health.  Well…I RARELY back down from a challenge!  THIS was the plant for me!

Here is what Bernadette looked like when I brought her home….20160427_143624

Some of the leaves were bright green and healthy, but some were pale and resembled lettuce in size and color!  I immediately got to work Pruning her.


I put the cuttings into water so they could grow roots.  And then I waited.  And waited.  And waited…About four weeks!  By the way…the cuttings lived in my bathroom during this time.  Pretty strange!

IMG_1520-copy 2

Finally they were ready to plant!  I bought some inexpensive clay pots for about a dollar a piece and painted them with some leftover chalk paint I had.

IMG_1510 copy 2_edited-1

Then I decorated each one with chalk and planted the cuttings.  I am now the proud grandma of six new baby plants!  Admittedly, the plants still look a bit like an alien species, but I think with time they will fill out nicely and grow to be beautiful (or at least interesting)!  The pots were SO easy to make and I think they would make a cute teacher’s or housewarming gift.

IMG_1531-copy 2

IMG_1527-copy 2

IMG_1553-copy 2

IMG_1550-copy 2

So there you have it!  My plants are doing well and I think some of the babies are ready for adoption.  My advice…name your plants!

P.S. I finally did find a Fiddle Leaf Fig!  His name is Bernie!

A Few Words About Clutter

20160501_181430I was recently talking to a friend about all the things going on with my house and my new blog and we got on the subject of a project I recently did in my kitchen.  It was my newly decluttered baking cabinet that I painted with chalkboard paint.
She said I would die if I saw how disorganized her kitchen cabinets were.  I assured her that I would certainly not die if I saw them and I completely understood…I’ve BEEN there!

People tend to not believe me when I tell them I’m a messy person, which I guess I should take as a compliment.  But, it’s true; I am a messy, disorganized person at my core.  I’ve had to work REALLY hard to get to where I am now.  I’ve been messy my whole life.  My mom loves to say that she always knew when it was time to clean my room when there were no more dishes left in the kitchen.  Well, I think that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea.

My lowest point was when I was newly married.  My husband and I were both sick with terrible colds and the house was a total and complete disaster!  Dirty dishes were piled in the sink, bowls of half eaten chicken soup were on the coffee table, medicine and thermometers and glasses of Gatorade were everywhere!  And, (I don’t even like to admit this) we were throwing our used tissues into the fireplace because we were too sick to get up and throw them away and we figured we could just have a fire that night and burn the evidence.  The problem was that only about half of them actually made it into the fireplace and the rest fell short, littering the floor in FRONT of the fireplace.  GROSS!!!  Well, I was in the other room when I heard a knock on the door.  As I ran to make sure my husband did NOT answer the door I saw I was too late (he apparently didn’t know the rule about pretending to not be home when your house looked like an episode of Hoarders)!   There, in our living room, stood our neighbor.  I honestly don’t know who was more horrified, him or me.  I apologized profusely, but the damage was done and my secret was out…I was a slob!

I’ve come a long way from that terrible day and thank goodness for that!  But, I think people should know that I totally get it.  I get having a cluttered house and piles of laundry that need washing.  I get dirty dishes in the sink and dog hair on the sofa.  I get pee on the toilet seat and homework left all over the kitchen table.  I even get mounds of used tissues in front of the fireplace.  I GET IT!

I have also come to understand the power of getting rid of clutter and cleaning up your house.  Clutter is a time killer, an energy zapper and a peace of mind stealer.  Clutter makes it impossible to clean efficiently, find what you need when you need it, and decorate your house the way you want.  I HATE clutter!

I’m not going to pretend that I have it all figured out and I still have a long way to go, but here are some things that I’ve learned that I hope will help those of you who struggle with the same problems.  And, if you’re one of those people who are just naturally organized, well, we hate you!  Just kidding!  Please, share your tips with us in the comments section!

Do a little every day.  This concept has really helped me.  When I was pregnant with my first son, I was finally ready to get my house in order.  I scoured the internet for tips and “how to’s” and came across “The Fly Lady“.  This website helped me tremendously!  Her philosophy of just starting with cleaning the kitchen sink and slowly building from there really resonated with me.  I have been using her tips and cleaning routines for almost 14 years now.  I even use some of her cleaning tools.  If you are really struggling with clutter I would highly recommend checking out her site.  She is a big advocate of decluttering for just 15 minutes a day.  I was skeptical at first, but I tried it and I am amazed at how much you can get done in a small amount of time.

Don’t keep anything you don’t use or love.  I think a lot of people struggle with this.  We hang on to way too much stuff because we are afraid we may need it some day or because someone special gave it to us.  I used to have trouble with this, too.  But then I began to challenge myself by getting rid of stuff that I didn’t use, even if it felt uncomfortable to do so.  And, you know what?  I rarely, if ever, have regretted getting rid of something I was on the fence about.  I have personally found that if you need an item that you got rid of, you can borrow it, improvise with what you have, or just replace the old item.  The peace of mind that comes with having less stuff far outweighs the cost of having to replace something a year or two from now.   If you are reluctant to part with something that was given to you by a loved one, think of it this way…You are not honoring that person in any way by having the item stuffed away in a closet, cabinet or box in the basement.  Let it go live with someone that will love it and be happy that you are increasing someone else’s joy.20160518_125427Case in point: This lovely Easter decoration I found in the basement.  It was made by my beloved Grandma Bryan.  I will be donating it to Goodwill and I can just imagine it gracing some little old lady’s wall.  I am sure she will enjoy it far more than I would!

Don’t procrastinate.   I know you’ve had a long day and you’re super tired, but just do the dishes and do a quick straightening up before bed.  It’s hard, I know.  But, you will be so happy in the morning when you get up and have a nice clean kitchen to welcome you.  Your morning will get off to a much better start if you’re not staring at a mountain of dirty dishes and no one can find their shoes, keys, and other important stuff while trying to get out the door. (By the way, having less clutter helps with this, too!) During your day, try to check off a few things on your to-do list that you have been putting off.  You will feel great at the end of the day, I promise!

Go easy on yourself!  I think this may be the hardest one of all for me.  I tend to really beat myself up when I look around and see messes everywhere.  But, I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect and that girl who seemingly has it all together with the perfect house?  I guarantee she’s not perfect either!  I have fallen off the clutter wagon many times.  But, I keep clawing my way back on and each time I learn something new and get just a little bit closer to my goals of having an organized, pretty home.  So, no more apologizing for messy homes and disorganized kitchen cabinets!  Let’s just get going with pursuing the home of our dreams!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a basement to clean up.  YIKES!  See…I TOLD you I was messy! IMG_1451 I need a work space for all my upcoming projects.  I have BIG kitchen plans that I can’t wait to share with you!  Wish me luck people, I’m going to need it!!!



My First Post!



OK.  Take a deep breath.  I did it!  I’ve started a blog!  Now what?  Well,  I guess I need to start writing!

So, here’s my story.  I am a 40 something stay at home mom who has always been passionate about home decorating.  I pour through magazines, watch all the home improvement shows and I’m a frequent stalker of home blogs.  So, my house must be beautiful, right?  HA!  Not quite!

You see, I am a messy person and a bit of a perfectionist…a strange dichotomy, I know!  I have never known how to organize and keep my house clean for long.  The perfectionist in me wants, well, perfection!  But, if I have 10 minutes to spare I don’t use it to start cleaning up because the job won’t get done completely.  And, I’m never exactly sure what needs to be done.  So, I decide to do nothing.

When it comes to decorating I have three obstacles.  The first is I am afraid to fail.  I am so afraid that I won’t make the right choice about furniture, accessories, etc. that I become paralyzed by that fear.  So, I decide to do nothing.   The second obstacle is that I want everything done right now.  I’m not very good about being patient with the “in process” stage of decorating.  I’m a perfectionist, remember? So, rather than take baby steps toward my dream home, I decide to do nothing.  The third obstacle is that I can’t really start decorating projects when my home is so cluttered and messy.  So, I decide to do nothing.  See where I’m going with this?

Well, this year I have decided that it’s time for a change.  I am tired of dreaming about beautiful rooms and deciding to do nothing.  I am tired of strategically closing doors when friends come over for fear of them seeing my mess and hoping that they don’t need to use the bathroom because I’m pretty sure it hasn’t been cleaned since my son peed on the toilet seat!  I’m ready to stop being afraid of failure!  I’m ready to start enjoying the process of decorating and being a little more patient.  I’m ready to start making my house my dream home!

This is my journey…

PS…The perfectionist in me totally did not want to hit the “post” button on this blog.  I know it’s not perfect and I know next to nothing about website design.  But, this is the new me, right?  So, bear with me….This blog, like me, is definitely a work in progress!