Living Space | Creating Home

Alright, folks! It’s been a while and I have been quite busy since my last blog post to you all. Our family has moved to a new apartment and I have been cleaning, unpacking, organizing, and setting up a new space for our family to call home. It’s been a lot of fun, a lot of work, and (unfortunately) a lot more money than I hoped to spend on the endeavor! All this to say, I am excited to give you all a tour of the space and share a few projects we have been excited about!

Space #1: Library and Family Room

The first two spaces I want to show are our Library and our Family Room. My husband and I love reading, and he has curated a beautiful collection of books from our favorite authors. We were so excited to be able to unpack them for the first time in 2 years and display them in a way that they deserve!

We have been trying to be dedicated to having less traditional furniture in order to encourage healthier movement and posture habits. Having our own new space that we can design in a nontraditional way has been a dream come true! Some of the”furniture” we have collected includes:

Our “floor couch” made from 2 extra large, firm pillows that we found at our local thrift store for 25 cents each:

Other assorted cushions (also 25 cents each) for the floor or the window seat. Our 2 gorgeous bay windows are our other “couches.”

A reading chair which allows for no slouching and provides awesome lumbar support (thrifted for $30):

An oversized steamer trunk that we found at a yardsale for $10 provides a place to lean on for a moment or a place to do a puzzle:

We have a day bed, gifted to us for Norah’s enjoyment by my high school best friend and her family. We love having a day bed instead of a traditional bed because it allows for many more lounging positions and encourages us to move around more. It is also a trundle bed, allowing us to have more seating for movie nights if we need it once we find a mattress for the trundle!

A table was left by the old tenants and it was bigger than our previous table! I decided to keep both tables so one can be used on our porch, for morning coffee breaks and outdoor meals!

Space #2: Norah’s Bedroom

Norah’s bedroom has been fun for me. I never had the opportunity to set up a nursery while I was expecting with her, and we have been longing for a room for her to have to herself for a long time now. I have a few favorite parts of her room.

Her closet is a particular favorite of mine. I found a expandable closet rod at walmart for just over $10 which allows her to be more involved in choosing her daily outfit. I simply move the choices that would be appropriate for the day to the bottom rod and she decides which is her favorite that day! Her socks and pants and pajamas are in bins on the closet floor, which lets her be part of that discussion too! Best of all, I can then close the closet door and not worry about her taking each item of clothing and scattering it about the entire upstairs floor of the house!

We have kept her floor bed and continue to enjoy the way it allows us to do middle-of-the-night cuddles with her when she wakes up scared or upset. Her nightstand allows us to (theoretically) keep her books in one place (but realistically, they are scattered around the floor of her room daily.

Space #3: The Playroom!

The Playroom has been an ever-changing space since we moved in. The current setup is working well so far, but as she grows, I am certain that it will evolve with her. Currently, there are a few stations set up in the space. The first area is our reading corner, featuring a thrift edge globe and a wooden puzzle of letters:

The second area is her Train Station. We live right next to the train line and Norah loves to race to her window and climb up onto the chair to watch the freight trains and passenger trains go by. She has a wooden train set that she puts together and pulls around the room joyfully once the train has passed.

The third area is her homemaking space. She loves taking care of her baby doll, and this is where Baby lives at the moment. She loves putting her to bed and singing her to sleep, or dancing with her in this space. She has a bucket of bowls and teacups with a tea kettle which she plays with here too.

The fourth area is her sorting and counting area. She has an abacus, a shape-sorting puzzle, blocks, and a small chest of drawers (thrifted for $1!). In the chest of drawers, she has a whole bunch of buttons that she likes to take out and admire before we put them away. Sometimes they end up sorted by color with a lot of help from mom! The mirror actually really helps her focus on her task, and lets me see her adorable concentration face while she plays. The letters were a gift and I have stuck them on the wall with command velcro strips so that she can take them off the wall and manipulate them.

The fifth area is a music-making corner complete with a xylophone (not in the photo), a wooden drum, and a bag of assorted instruments (thrifted for $2). Her current favorite is the harmonica!

The last area is an (in-process) art gallery at her eye-level to begin to encourage her to look at works of art. A small mirror is here to represent that she is a work of art as well!

I have enjoyed the process of homemaking in this past season and I am excited to be back in this online space to report about my progress! I welcome any questions or comments below!

Living Space: Organization with a Toddler

Between the blizzards and the rounds of family sickness, March was a month filled to the brim with cabin fever. I am glad that Spring has finally arrived, and with it, mobility and outdoor outings!

March wasn’t all bad though, as the cabin fever helped me accomplish some spring cleaning tasks that I would otherwise not have prioritized (because sunshine and fresh air!!)

One of the projects that I want to share with you all is my solution to the piles of toys and board books that were taking over my living and dining room. I’m sure that at least some of you can relate to this struggle, and hopefully my solution will work for you as well!

My first step was to bring ALL of her toys and books and put them in a pile on the couch. Then I sorted out toys that were too old or young for her developmentally and put them in a separate storage bag. While doing so, I also sorted out toys I would rather donate than store away and bagged them up to bring to the thrift store.

Next, I cleared off a thin bookshelf and reset the shelves to fit two cloth bins. I had just a little space left after refitting the shelves, so I used that space for less durable books and toys that I prefer to supervise her with.

The last step was to put all the toys into one bin and the books into the other.

Playtime is super easy now! I just take out the two bins, and then when we’re ready to clean up together, we throw the toys in one bin and stack away her books neatly into the other… And voila!

The bins go back on the shelf and the living room is spared from the lingering mess that playtime had become.

Living Space: Floor Bed Play Area

For the past few months, my husband and I have been feeling more and more uneasy bedsharing with Norah, especially when she is napping alone in our bed during the day. However, despite my best efforts, she has always been averse to sleeping in her crib. Many of my mommy friends have expressed similar frustration.

Last month, I came across A Gallery of Children’s Floor Beds, and this Montessori-style sleeping setup appealed to me! It wasn’t until last week that I really started considering how I could make our space work for us this way.

Today I found some motivation and took apart the crib that has occupied our bedroom corner for a year now. I am thrilled to have that space opened up again!

After scrubbing the floor and baseboards and window sills, I put the crib mattress back down and set to work making the corner as cozy as I could. I stacked some wide plastic drawers that were stored under the crib to create a makeshift wall to keep her in her space. I was not so keen on losing the practicality of keeping her penned in that the crib had provided!

Here are some photos of her space now:

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And just because she is the cutest, here is a picture of Norah with pigtails.

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100 Things Every Homeowner Must Know: Book Review

I read through a great book this evening that I am excited to share! 100 Things Every Homeowner Must Know, by The Family Handyman (a Reader’s Digest publication), was an informational schmorgasboard! I read it on recommendation from my grandfather in law, and I was not disappointed. 

100 Things is packed full of tips on how to save money while improving your home!  There is an abundance of problem-solving techniques that had me exclaiming with awe. I had more insights reading this book than I’d have in an hour browsing Pinterest! 

First of all, I was impressed with the format of the book. It kept me reading with helpful professional insight, high quality photos and graphics, and the occasional pun. From how to keep your appliances running smoothly to how to get the simplest home security to how to clean the sink drain, this book has it all! 

I suppose I should mention

that my husband and I bid on a HUD house and were accepted this past weekend! God has definitely blessed us with this house. When we went to walk through it last Thursday, we knew that this was the one. We were filled with anticipation and were anxious about deciding on a bid. 

We sat on my mother in law’s living room floor and prayed for a number to offer. Each of us wrote what we felt was the wisest choice after silently reflecting in prayer. When we showed our papers to each other, we were amazed that our numbers all matched! We prayed for God’s favor in the process of closing on the house, and we gave thanks for this opportunity. 

On Monday when we were waiting for the answer as to whether we won the auction, the daily verses from Sunday and Monday spoke peace into my anxious heart. 

O LORD, I will honor and praise your name, for you are my God. You do such wonderful things! You planned them long ago, and now you have accomplished them. Isaiah 25:1

Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words! 2 Corinthians 9:15

When we found out from our agent that we won, we were overcome with Thanksgiving and I am blessed by the way that the season has coincided with this major life event. I am so excited to bring our dreams of starting our own intentional community house in Rochester to life.

After two years of searching and hoping for a house of our own, we are finally in the process of closing on our first home. So get ready for a whole lot of project updates, book reviews, and mental processing as I get this house ready to be our home. 

So in light of this event,

I was (obviously) enthralled by this book about being a saavy homeowner! If not this book, I would recommend reading a similar handyperson book to anyone who is interested in learning how to save money by doing some basic things yourself… and how to know when to call in the professionals! 

Keep it Simple: Book Review

The next book on my interior design kick is Keep it Simple:A Guide to a Happy, Relaxed Home by Atlanta Bartlett and Dave Coote.

This book is all about upcycling and how it can be effectively used to create a stunningly individualized home design.

Keep it Simple is written in three parts. The first part, The Simple Mindset, explores the basic elements of the early design process and encourages us to think about what home means and the likes and lifestyle of your family.

The Simple Mindset presents us with the opportunity to:

  • Ditch fashion
  • Declutter
  • Save money by retro-fitting or upcycling
  • Take inspiration from nature, and
  • Relax and enjoy the process!

I can definitely get on board with these objectives! I constantly find myself on a decluttering rampage and I absolutely love thrift shopping and finding secondhand treasures. One of the ideas given on the Declutter page was to follow the 10-10-10 rule daily which means to find 10 items to throw away, 10 items to donate, and 10 to put back in their place. I will have to try this!

In the second section, Making it Happen, the authors introduce the aspects of interior design and give lots of tips and tricks to maximize function and to create a uniquely personalized interior landscape. The following features are discussed:

  • The “Bones” (windows and doors, walls and paneling, floors and ceilings, lighting, layout, and architectural details)
  • Color (tonal, harmonious, and contrasting colors, as well as how to use neutrals, vintage pastels and bold accents)
  • Furniture
  • Fabrics (texture is a useful thing!)
  • Detail and Accessories

The book quotes Charles Eames, who says, “Details are not details. They make the design.”

The third section, Living the Dream, offers ideas and ways to make a house a home. All of the ideas include “a little imagination, a bold eye, and a pile of salvaged materials.”

I could definitely get behind all the concepts in this book. I enjoyed reading through the pages and looking at the really unique ways that the photos showed the ideas being put into practice. As remarkable as the photography in the book was, I could tell that all of the people living in those houses were artists to the core! I couldn’t picture myself in many of the spaces. In a way, this allowed me to think outside of the box and inspired me to push the limits of what I would think of as furniture or decorations. For that, I am grateful to the authors of this book!

Farrow & Ball’s How To Decorate: Book Review

This is the second post in a series of book review posts about interior design and decorating. If you are wondering why the sudden interest in this subject, it’s because I went to the library last week and checked out a stack of interior design books to peruse! So far, they have all been informative and fun to read through!

This second book is Farrow & Ball’s “How to Decorate” by Joa Studholme and Charlotte Cosby. First off, this book is comprehensive. I have been thinking about where to begin with summarizing the immense amount of helpful information for a few days now.

I still don’t know exactly how to convey my appreciation for the knowledge I have received by reading it, except to say that anyone who is thinking about repainting any part of their house should read this book before continuing their planning process! I took copious notes which have been useful as I am currently designing and implementing a project at the house I live in (post forthcoming!!).

5000005How To Decorate is a practical guide to painting a house to maximize the spatial illusion and mood of a room.

There are tips from how to create flow throughout a house to what pattern size on wallpaper does to the illusion of space in a room. This book is written in three parts, with abundant inspirational photos and design ideas. It is a definite must read!

Each part was helpful, but I especially got a lot out of Part Two: The Manual. This is where the authors talk in depth about the specifics of paint design. Creating flow, shape & feature walls, accents, floors, chair & picture rails, cornicing & moulding, ceilings, children’s bedrooms, wallpaper, and exteriors are mentioned, and essential information is provided about each topic. If all of this information still didn’t satisfy your yearning for knowledge, the section also addresses eras of design and provides specific instruction for how to paint as well as—my favorite part—how light affects color.

Wow.

Did I mention that all of that is just part two? You can see why I am recommending this book!

Parts one and three are also lovely, addressing “Where to Start” and then giving “The Directory” which goes into color combinations, types of paint finishes, a brief history of paint, and details about Farrow & Ball as a company. There is also a glossary and index at the back of the book for easy referencing, as well as a pocket on the inside of the back cover for holding paint swatches or room designs or anything else inspirational to your process!

I am definitely considering adding this book to my collection as an invaluable resource for interior design!

Coming Soon!

Hey! Thanks for exploring my web site!

I am working diligently to fill up this blog with as much information as possible, and I have only just begun. Follow my blog and check back often to see if I have updated these categories!

For more information about Bullet Journaling, visit bulletjournal.com and search #bulletjournal on Instagram.

For more information about Homeschooling, there are many other blogs that are farther along than I am! Elle Garrels of thenewdomestic.org has a Homeschool Helps page, which was actually my inspiration for starting this blog!

And as for Organization, I plan to implement the research that I am doing as soon as is reasonable!

Furniture Makes The Room: Cursory Book Review

Yesterday, I went to the library and checked out an awesome book! I read through the book “Furniture Makes the Room” by Barb Blair pretty quickly today, and I absolutely loved it. It’s a wonderful book that has a great layout and is an easy to follow guide to upcycling furniture. Blair gives some basic tips on choosing furniture to upcycle, and planning out your project by collecting inspiration, choosing details and sketching. She then outlines several DIY projects that she has completed.

But what makes this book special is not only does she show how to create a similar piece to hers, she also spends several pages after the instructional page showing pictures of the piece of furniture in several rooms of a house, with differing functions in each space.

This was super inspiring to me, and made the projects much more appealing, because they were all multi-functional and could easily be moved around a house if a room was repainted or re-purposed. She also has chapters devoted to:

  • Tools needed to complete the projects given,
  • Basic techniques, and
  • Advanced techniques

This is awesome, because at first as I read through the book I noted the necessary techniques listed in each project description. When I saw that this was really in order to cross-reference later in the book, I was very excited. There are 15 furniture upcycling projects given within the book–I was really interested in 4 of them!

Spurgeon: Milk Paint Pew

“Church pews–often seen as stiff or stuffy–actually make for unexpectedly versatile and comfortable seating. Once you add a nice soft cushion, the pew becomes a lovely bench…”

Shikoba: Feather Decal Armoire

“As we rethink our homes to make them more livable and sustainable, pieces like this little armoire become increasingly more desirable because they are durable yet multifunctional.”

Everly: Chalkboard Bed

“All you need is a few coats of paint and some chalk.”

Beaufain: Map-papered Dresser

“I loved this unique black-and-white map design and envisioned applying it all over a piece of furniture to create a graphic look that is not what you typically get with traditional maps.”

Blair did an incredible job with this book, and I will definitely be making a trip back to the library when we have spaces of our own to be furnished!