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Archive for the ‘home decor’ Category

This week was Kitchen Week, but my kitchen is far from finished for a couple of reasons.

One, I never planned to do the whole thing this week because there weren’t enough days/categories for me to go through everything (I have a lot of dish ware I want to go through).

Two, John has been watching me, y’all.  He was inspired and asked me to help him go through his half of the closet and bedroom.  I had to strike while the iron was hot, so three day of Kitchen Week I was actually back in the bedroom helping him.  We still need to minimize his part of the bathroom and then maybe I will post pictures of the whole thing.  It looks wonderful!

We made a trip to Goodwill this week to drop off the fruits of our labors:

kitchen 14.jpgI already have another bag ready to go!

Now I’ll show you what we (that is Lorelei and I) did manage to do in the kitchen this week.  On the first day, we did the pantry.  We have a closet we call a pantry, and then a cabinet where we keep food, so we did both of those.

We got rid of a lot of things in the pantry and rehomed others.  There wasn’t really a lot to get rid of in the cabinet but at least we straightened it up!

The next day we did refrigerators.  Yes, that was plural.  Is it crazy that we have THREE?  Two were given us when the house burned down, and then when my father upgraded and gave me his nice one, I moved one of them to the garage.

I got rid of a few things from each fridge, but more importantly I relocated things in a way that made more sense to me.  So the one in the kitchen has things we use every day, and the freezer has as much of the meat and vegetables and such as it will fit, which is sadly not too much.

The garage refrigerator is near the kitchen, so I like to keep extras of things there, like second bottles of ketchup or steak sauce.  I also keep baking things I don’t need every day there, like vegetable shortening and stone ground corn meal.  And right now there is a bunch of beer and sodas left over from our Christmas party there.

I don’t seem to have gotten a good picture of the freezer but what I have put in there is mostly ice packs. 🙂

Finally, the downstairs refrigerator is mostly used for its freezer capacity.  That’s where I put bulk meats, which means right now it’s full of steak.  Emily keeps a few things in the fridge because her room is down there, but mostly when I stash something down there to make room upstairs, I forget what I’ve done and whatever it was goes bad.  As you can see, I also put some of the leftover party beer down there.

On the third day, it was time to tackle the junk drawer.  I don’t know what I thought was going to be so hard about that.  We ended up throwing out almost everything in it!  I did have Lorelei go around the house testing out all the keys we found.  We labeled the ones that fit something and threw the rest away!

I am pretty proud of that! Isn’t it awesome?

Last day was spent cleaning out under the sink.  We got rid of several vases, and discovered a leak requiring the assistance of a plumber!  If it hadn’t been for minimalizing who knows when I would have found it!

We will be coming back to the kitchen eventually to do the cabinets we didn’t get to this time.

Want to see more?  Here is Week One, here is Week Two, and here is my explanation of Catholic Minimalism.

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Well, it’s been a WEEK, y’all.  And what a week it has been.  Three of us (including me) had the flu, and school was closed three days for snow and super-cold (for Tennessee) weather.  Staying on task under such circumstances was challenging.

But it’s supposed to be a Challenge, right?  So I persevered, with Lorelei’s (somewhat less enthusiastic) assistance.

This week was bathrooms, of which we have FOUR. However, one of those belongs to Emily (that is to say, it’s the one she uses and it’s full of her stuff, even though it’s also the one on the main level that gets the most use overall).  I can’t minimize someone else’s stuff (at least, not an adult someone’s).  I hope she will be inspired by my efforts and do it herself some time soon.  The other bathroom is in the basement, and was Jake’s domain before he moved out, which means all the drawers are still full of his stuff.

So we worked on the two upstairs bathrooms, the master bath and what we call the kids’ (i.e. Lorelei and William) bath.

It was super time-consuming to make all those before-and-after pictures I used last time.  So I’m not doing it, especially since I am already behind posting this.

KIDS’ BATHROOM

bathroom 13bathroom 25

Well, that’s the overview and I don’t blame you for being confused because not much happened there except rearranging things.  I wish I could have convinced Lorelei that we don’t need that Christmas bear to remain on display at all times but “it has always been there” is hard to argue with.  Anyway, the meat of this project was the drawers and cabinets, which I had been wanting to tackle forever but had avoided thinking it would be such a pain and take SO LONG.

Y’all, that took 15 MINUTES, tops.

We threw almost everything away.  I’ll bet we had 20 packages of unopened dental floss in there, just for starters.  (What that says about Lorelei’s dental hygiene shall go unremarked upon.)  Anyway, what wasn’t garbage was either relocated or organized and then it was on to the master bathroom.

MASTER BATHROOM

bathroom 1bathroom 10

Right away you are going to notice two things:  one, there’s not a huge difference; and two, I’m only showing you half of the bathroom.  I’m already fairly organized about my bathroom and all that stuff on the counter is more-or-less regularly used.  I like it out there where I can see it and don’t have to worry about putting it away all the time.  So the biggest change was getting rid of the coffee maker, which was purely aspirational as I have not used it ONCE in the six years it has been sitting there.

As for the other side of the sink, that is John’s side, and it desperately needs minimizing, believe me!  But he is going to have to buy in, and we are still working on that.  However, drawers and cabinets are ALL MINE, so see below:

bathroom 7bathroom 11

There is another cabinet and three more drawers but as you can tell from the picture above I am already pretty organized about the bathroom so there just wasn’t much of a change–not enough to justify pictures, anyway.  Am I oversharing by letting y’all see all that motel lotion I have collected?

I’m really pleased with this last little bit–the area around the bath, which required a little trip to Target. 🙂

bathroom 6bathroom 8

A little more detail:

bathroom 9

And that’s a wrap!  Next up, the kitchen!

Read about Week One: Master Bedroom

Read about Catholic Minimalism

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I mentioned in my most recent post that I was embarking upon an eight-week challenge to declutter my home.  As I was taking my before and after pictures this week I thought it might be fun to share the process with you.  Maybe you’ll be inspired to join in!

Week One was the Master Bedroom.  I followed this order (one project each day for six days): Closet Clothes/Shoes; Closet Accessories; Closet Storage; Dressers; Books; Everything Else.

This was an easy week for me because I don’t have a lot of clothes and have not allowed much personal clutter to accumulate in the past six years since I suffered the forced minimalization of our house fire.  The books were the exception, but I’ll get to that.

These aren’t the kind of pictures you’re used to seeing from me, y’all.  They are purely utillitarian with bad lighting and indifferent focus.  But they should serve the purpose.

Day One – I went through all the clothes and shoes in my closet.

Day Two – I went through my jewelry.  I didn’t get rid of any earrings so that drawer is not shown here.

Day Three – I went through the luggage and the ridiculous collection of tote bags and whatever other random things I had in the closet.

TotesLuggage

Day Four – I went through two dressers.  I don’t have a lot in my dressers as you will see, but I do have two “sentiment” drawers, one of which I put every card I think I want to keep, and I was able to get rid of some of those, as well as some things I had saved for sentimental value but could no longer remember what they were supposed to remind me of!

Day Five – OK, y’all, this was the hard day.  One thing I’ve learned since the fire is what “things” are truly important to me.  I can tell what they are because they are what I have accumulated a lot of in six years as opposed to everything else I have refrained from acquiring.  And what they are, mostly, is BOOKS.  So whereas I finished the tasks on the other days in less than an hour per day, the books took two hours and lots of help from Lorelei (she helped most of the other days too!).  Anyway, I was very proud of myself when we were finished!

Before (1)

Day Six – This was easy, a cedar chest and a couple of piles of books so I didn’t take any pictures.

In the end, we removed two miscellaneous bags of clothing and accessories and two full boxes of books that will all leave the house, and we relocated a few items to other places (where we will face them again when we get to their new homes at the appropriate time!).

Next up:  Bathrooms! I am so excited!  I’ll try to post another update next weekend!

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post, y’all.  But as always, compensated or not, my opinions are my own.

I don’t buy many things for me or for my home.  Losing everything when my house burned down forced me into a minimalism that I’ve found hard to shake.  But as we move closer to buying the house we’ve been renting for almost six years now, I find myself wanting to add a few touches that reflect my own taste and personality.

I hate going shopping and buy almost everything online–and so I’m excited to have learned about Uncommon Goods, a company that can supply all my decorating needs.   I love candles, and so my first purchase is going to be one of their Literary Candles.  I also love the Homesick Candles (although there isn’t one for Tennessee yet!).  And I think the various tea light troughs would look great on my mantel.  Actually, I love almost everything in this section and if you like decorating with candles you will too.

Now let’s talk about their collection of decorations for the garden.  It’s no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I love gardening!  My eventual plan for this yard is to go full on cottage garden with no grass in sight.  So I will be needing more garden art in the future and now I know where I can find some unusual conversation pieces.  I’m especially captivated by the sea serpent and the octopus, and the gnome be gone tickled my fancy as well.

Finally let me say a little about decorative accents for the home, of which Uncommon Goods has pages and pages (and of which my actual home has very few).  Here I found myself captivated by the various bookends and fanciful switchplates.  The choices really are uncommon, and you can tell just by looking that they are well made.

Which brings me to an interesting point–who makes the products we choose to spend our money on?  Uncommon Goods products don’t come from big factories or giant corporations but rather from artisans and small business owners.  In many case you can click to read more about the actual person who crafted the item you are bringing into your home.  Uncommon Goods really is an uncommon company with values that are incorporated into its business model.   The company strives to be environmentally friendly and socially responsible.  They offer health insurance to all full-time (and most part-time) team members and provide a fair wage.  They  feature products that contain recycled components and sell only products that do no harm to people or animals. They give back by allowing customers to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation at checkout.  You can read more about the company and its mission here.

I feel really good about recommending Uncommon Goods to you, and I am excited about purchasing some of their products in the future.

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So, y’all, I am WAY behind in my reviews for US Family Guide (I am always behind).  I received this product in December in exchange for my honest review.

Here is the company’s description of their unique nightlights:  3DLIGHTFX 3D Deco Lights are the perfect gift. They have a full range of comic book, super hero, Disney Princess, sports and car lights that look as though they are popping right out of the wall! They are battery operated and cool to the touch so you can place them any where in the room! Your kids will love having these in their rooms and they’re also the perfect editions to a den, family room, man’s cave or office!

So, I was pretty excited about this because I requested the Darth Vader light, and John has kind of a thing about Darth Vader.  He already has a 2.5 foot high model that talks standing on his desk.  So this seemed like it would be a great addition.

But then it arrived and we were just kind of underwhelmed.  To be honest, I don’t think I really understood this product completely before I saw it in person.  You are supposed to attach it to the wall and it comes with a transparent sticker to look like it’s bursting through and the wall is cracking.  Which might be cool in a kid’s room but we really didn’t want to do that.  And the mask is asymmetrical because it is supposed to look like it’s only partway through the wall I guess, but since we are not using the sticker it doesn’t make a lot of sense.  It does have light up red eyes but it doesn’t talk to you in Darth Vader’s voice or anything if you are into that sort of thing.

So I guess what I am saying is that there is nothing at all WRONG with this product.  It’s just that we did not like it as much as we were expecting to.  And keep in mind that there are many other options and they may be more appealing to you.  You can check them out right here.

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Growing up, I spent every Friday night at my grandparents’ home, only a few blocks away from my own.  And we were often in and out of their house during the week as well.  Like as not, when I walked in, I’d find my grandfather sitting in the living room in his favorite chair.

My grandfather wasn’t what you’d call a smiley man.  His resting face was grim.  But he’d beam when I entered the room.  “Hi, Granddaughter!” he’d say.

Always I remember him in that chair, his ash tray stand to one side, the table with the reading lamp and the clock with the numbers that flipped on the other, his feet propped on the ottoman while he watched the nightly national news, or Lawrence Welk, or his soap operas, or as he read Time, Newsweek, or U.S. News and World Report.

Sometimes I’d watch t.v. too, with him cautioning me not to sit too close to the big cabinet television with the record player in one end of it. “You won’t be able to have children when you grow up,” he’d warn me.  Sometimes we’d play checkers on the ottoman.

Granddaddy died on September 24, 1980.  It was my first encounter with death.  I remember entering the house for the first time and dreading the sight of that empty chair.

Granddaddy's Chair 2

When my grandmother decided to relocate to a retirement community, my mother moved into the house, and the furniture Mima couldn’t take was given away.  My little sister got the chair.  I took the Naugahyde recliner from the basement (which I believe was the predecessor of the chair I’m writing about).  It didn’t last long–my kids have always been hard on furniture.

I love old things and I love family things, and over time I had filled my house with items from my grandparents’ house.  I was the one who took that cabinet t.v., even though it didn’t work anymore.  I had the oil pastel portraits of my grandmother and great-grandmother, the Seth Thomas clock that used to hang in the living room, and so many other treasures that I took because I appreciated them and had room for them.  When our house burned down almost five years ago, I lost it all.  And felt guilty for being such a poor steward of family heirlooms and memories.

We’ve lived for five years in a house furnished by the love of friends and family.  We’ve even added a few heirlooms from John’s grandmother’s house.  Over time, the furniture has become ours, safe and familiar.

My sister moved at Christmastime.  She decided she didn’t have room for Granddaddy’s chair and she asked me if I wanted it.  She knew how much it would mean to me to have it.  It found a new home in our family room.

I had visions of spending time sitting in it, but honestly it isn’t a very comfortable chair, at least not for me.  Emily sits in it sometimes, but more often than not it’s inhabited by cats.  Still, it makes me happy whenever I see it.

 

Graddaddy's Chair 1

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Rosalie 1

Y’all, isn’t that just beautiful?  The verse comes from one of my favorite passages in the Gospels, the one that ends: “Neither be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.  Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”

Isn’t that a message we could all use right about now?  How would you like to have this beautiful watercolor print to remind you of God’s constant love and care?

Well, maybe you can because this is a giveaway! But first, let me tell you a little about the artist.

A former atheist turned Catholic, Rosalie Contrite now strives to live for the Lord and spread His love. She works from home, blogs and podcasts professionally, and homeschools her children.  She sells the print above and many more via her Etsy shop, Contrite Catholic Shop.  You can also visit Rosalie on her website and on Facebook.  I know her via a Catholic Bloggers Group of which we both are members.

Her work is just beautiful.  In exchange for hosting this giveaway and promoting her shop, I will be receiving a print of my own and I had a terrible time deciding which one to get.  This is a picture of the one I chose:

Rosalie 2

Now’s your chance!  You can enter by visiting the link below:

Rosalie Contrite Print Giveaway

The giveaway will end on Sunday, July 24 at midnight.  U.S. entries only, please.  I will contact the winner to get mailing info and Rosalie will ship the print directly.  Thank you for entering!

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