Resolutions: Already Ruined

Happy New Year!

Did you make any resolutions this year?
I did - maybe you saw my project to do list, but I also made a couple of project resolutions as well.

One: Work on one project at a time until complete, before starting another large project.

Two: Take time to enjoy the results of our hard work, as outlined here.

Well, it's January 3rd and it's safe to say that I have failed at both resolutions already.
Kind of sad, really.

During our self proclaimed week of rest, we:

 Attempted to get organized by packing up, organizing and storing most of our Christmas decorations.

 Added a new project to the Big Girl Room (which has delayed the big reveal).

Stripped a bit of wallpaper (yup, that's two layers of paper - gotta love it).

And did a little painting.

I guess this is what happens when your husband has the week off work and wants to get involved!
Stay tuned as all the details unfold!

Fencing It In

Have you finished your outdoor fall clean up yet?

We're making progress, but not quite there yet. Probably because this project suddenly became a lot bigger!

We decided to replace our broken down, missing sections, all around terrible chain link fence! A great idea, but it has taken a lot of work. Check out some of the steps below:

Removal of one big tree that hung over the driveway, brought down part of the fence and practically hung on the roof of our home. Check out how much more light we get now!

Lots of overgrowth had to be cut back and removed to go from this....


to this...

to this...

and finally, to this...

And most importantly this...

The future home of my raised bed garden!

Obviously, still work to be done, but I am thrilled with the progress thus far. Next step, staking out the raised beds to be built before full flung Winter hits.  My compost is composting and it needs a new home!

Anyone have any advice? I'm all ears.

Mom Cave Basics

Phew, yesterday's Mom Cave (aka the laundry room) reveal was a tough post to write - initially the requirement was 100 words or less! That's not easy to do and because of it, I now feel the need to elaborate. Besides, I am sure you are curious, right?

I wish I had a photo of the TRUE before, but this will just have to suffice.

Prior to this there was: no drop-ceiling (just exposed pipes and holes leading to nowhere), one bare light bulb, no drywall, no cabinets, a non-painted floor, and windows that were old and leaking - needless to say, not a place anyone would want to spend any real time.

When we first moved in, I would literally put my wellies on at the top of the stairs and make a run for the laundry room. I should mention that this was proceeded by a pep talk about how I shouldn't be afraid of my own basement! I know, kind of pathetic.

A vast improvement over what we had started with - the laundry room stayed in this condition for almost a year.
But I filled the storage pretty quickly, mostly because it was never properly organized and then I started this blog...and I needed A LOT more storage and work space ASAP!
Some of the basics:
1. New knobs on the cabinets and drawers - your basic .99 Home Depot variety, but what a difference in terms of ease of access! Round Cabinet Knob - Polished Chrome

2. Baseboard - vinyl, self adhesive baseboard for a more finished look. (notice them in the below images) m d building products 2-1/2'x20'BGE Cove Base cove base self-stick

3. Storage - since additional storage was the name of the game, I splurged a bit to get what I wanted and really needed.

In this space, I used to have a rolling wardrobe rack, ironing board and drying rack. It monopolized the whole wall and was very rarely all being used at the same time. So, I consolidated with a shelf wardrobe.

Now I have room to meet all my laundry needs, but it's much more organized and streamlined. And the biggest advantage of all is how much space it freed up for additional storage!

Open shelving holds all my wrapping paraphernalia, gifts, ongoing or upcoming projects, as well as seasonal storage. Plus, there is room to expand, which is essential; I'm sure I'll manage to fill it with something!

And now I have a open counter space - room to create, organize and enjoy!

Ah, space for my Mom Cave!

Tomorrow I'll share how I organized this space.

See, I told you there was still so much to say - 100 words or less, please!

Big Girl Room: the dresser accessorized

My progress on the Big Girl Room has been fast and furious as of late. I found a lamp for the dresser and have finished accessorizing it (amazing what I can get done now that my little one is in school a couple of hours a week) .

Here's the 'from a distance' shot:

I kind of struggled with this area, I feel like I might have gone too grown up; at the very least, it's something that she will grow into.

The 'up close and personal' shot:

I've chosen a muted lamp in a shade of green gray from HomeGoods for this space; I debated on a turquoise or yellow lamp but ultimately thought they would be a bit too garish. The clock and plant have been repurposed from other locations around the house; I love how all the grays work together. The tray is from Pier One ( I like the vintage feel and the antiques cream base color goes so well with the distressed dresser) and will be essential to keep the millions of barrettes, bows and silly bands contained!

Only a couple more projects remain for this room - those pesky bedskirts, which I plan to embellish with ribbon and a cork board for above the book shelves.

Then it's just a matter of getting the little lady to transition to this room, which might prove to be the hardest part of the whole project.

PS. I almost forgot to mention that the cute artwork featuring the Big Girl's name was a gift and painted by an artist from MI, Lyn Kostus. Look her up on Facebook if you'd like some custom artwork (or email me directly at and I will pass along her details).

PPS. I'll be off next week; check back a week from Monday to see what I've been up to.

The Simple Life

I have to admit that adjusting to American suburbia has been a bit of  a challenge. Part of me really enjoyed life in London: the more laid back attitude, the attainable countryside, the family oriented Sundays - to name but a few.

I've never really wanted to live in a big city or the outlying suburbs, sure I had my brush with it post college (who didn't?), but ultimately I always imagined myself living somewhere more rural. That being said, I am completely aware that I have a very romanticized version of that type of lifestyle (think Jimmy's farm in the UK and The Fabulous Beekman Boys here in the US).

Beekman Mansion

I'm not sure what it is about this lifestyle that intrigues me: the farmhouse, keeping animals, food from my own garden, land in general, or the lack of the competitive big city hustle and bustle; but whatever it may be, I sum it up as 'The Simple Life'.

In my quest to start a Simpler Life in the here and now, I am taking the advice from a friend who actually grew up on a working farm and now lives here in the suburbs of Chicago and loves it. She said to me, "Maybe you should start with a really nice garden". Now that is attainable; what good advice! I'm thinking edible items - fruits, veggies, herbs, etc, as well as flowers - this is me we are talking about after all - it does have to be pretty!

Vegetable Garden from the film, "It's Complicated". Based on a French Potager Garden.

Realizing that, sadly, Winter in Chicago will be here before I know it - now is not the best time to plant a garden. So I am thinking about starting from the very beginning with compost. Does anyone have any suggestions that are low maintenance? I don't want to have to be stirring the stuff in the dead of Winter every time I add some new coffee grinds!

This is the one I have been looking at online:

Thoughts? I would love to know if you are a composter and if so, how is it going? Any advice? Hopefully, if I get this going now I'll have some lovely homemade compost for my new 'Simple Life' garden come Spring time.