If you haven’t been able to gather from my absence in the virtual world, life has been a bit hectic in the Wallace household. I feel like this entire month passed by with the snap of a finger and yet surprisingly for having felt completely exhausted almost the entire month, I still managed to accomplish the majority of my goals. Here are some of the highlights of my month of well-being:
- I loved reading Drop Dead Healthy by AJ Jacobs. Not only did the book make me laugh out loud on more than one occasion, but it reminded me that being healthy isn’t just how you look on the outside, but how your body functions on the inside. It also served to remind me that health is holistic. While exercising and eating right (when I’m not in cookie monster mode) is a big part of my life, I also need to give equal attention to my mental and emotional health. If anything, I got a few ideas from the book on what to include in my own health regimens and I’m excited to start incorporating them into future monthly goals.
- The inspirational bedroom transformation is not complete but is certainly coming along. Not only did the room get a complete paint re-do, but I’ve been working on some decor projects as well. I bought a bright, cheery, and super fun rug that adds a healthy dose of spunk to the room. I also started a craft project that turns wooden block letters into yarn art (sounds weird, but looks way cool). I will admit I have yet to finish this particular project particularly because my loathe of crafting gets in the way of me actually finishing it, but considering some of my goals for April I figure I can carry this process over into next month. I’m also teaming up with a painter friend of mine who does phenomenal, original work for a reasonable price. The room needs a little bit of art in it and she’s my go-to girl so this particular item will be another thing I carry into next month as well. I keep having to remind myself that evolving is about relishing in the process and not always marking things off my to-do list. But while I like this rule of thumb for my year of self-improvement, I sometimes think I use it as justification for procrastination (more on that later).
- Between all the hustle and bustle, I still managed to carve out a lot of friend time this month. In particular, I hosted a couple of girls nights, a St. Patrick’s Day themed game night dinner party. and a few Skype dinner dates with my friends who aren’t close by. I have to say the friend love (and booze) was definitely overflowing this month for which I am extremely grateful.
- Also super exciting in the name of friend love – since I started writing more hand-written notes to my friends and family, I’ve been getting letters in return. This month alone, I’ve received four letters and I LOVE getting mail.
- Meatless Mondays have been my new favorite health regimen and something I’m going to continue to do. It usually means I end up going meatless for most of the week (no wonder there are health benefits) but I love that it makes me get outside my comfort zone and experiment in the kitchen a bit. Plus, it adds content for the blog and I can’t complain about that, especially considering my lack of other substantial content lately.
So there you have it – another month bites the dust! I almost feel like I could continue well-being part deux into April, but now that Spring is finally in the air I’m getting into nesting mode, which means I need to take advantage of the organizing and purging mood I’m in. Stay tuned for April goals!
This month, I made it one of my goals to craft an address book as a way to meet my intention of finding joy/fulfillment in creativity. I’ve been searching tutorials for the kind of address book I want, which is basically a card file, but the process seemed convoluted and like it required a lot of stenciling, which also means investment in new tools that I most likely will never use again. By the time I started calculating costs for crafting my own card file address book, I decided I might as well just buy one. So, I am. Now that that was off the table it was back to the drawing board.
When I got a new follower from the blogging community, I saw that one of her resolutions was to do the 365 day photo challenge, where you take one picture a day to chronicle a year in the life. I thought it was genius, especially since she paired it with the preface that this year she wasn’t making any resolutions except one, to live her life. They say pictures are worth a thousand words so what better way to document your adventures than through photos? By the time I had read this particular post, there was no way I could pick up and do the 365 day photo challenge. And to be honest, I don’t even own a working camera except for the one embedded into my iPhone. I will also admit that I’ve never been one to take a lot of pictures – it’s like pulling teeth – so I doubt I could keep up with a photo a day. I have entire trips I spent abroad in Central America where I took only a handful of photos. It’s pitiful, really. Borrowing from said follower, I opted to do a 52-week photo challenge instead where I take one photo a week chronicling the adventures of my one-word mantra for 2013: evolve.
In lieu of crafting an address book I decided to craft a photo album for the 52-week photo challenge, which seemed to me much more manageable. I found a cute photo album on Etsy that I really enjoyed so decided to give it a try myself. Since I’m particularly fond of burlap, lace, and lavender I chose to use that as my color scheme. Supplies were simple; I bought a $4 black photo album from Target and picked up fabric, burlap and purple ribbon, and a fake white Gerber daisy – my favorite flower of all time – at Hobby Lobby. All of this took me 40 minutes to pick out. Isn’t that ridiculous!? When it comes to making crafting decisions I get so tied up in the details of how things will mesh together that it’s hard for me to make decisions, which is why I took Liz with me in the first place. Poor girl had to traipse back and forth with me all over Hobby Lobby – and in heels! God love her for her patience.
I ended up not taking any pictures of me actually crafting the photo album (are you really that surprised?) but I did find a fabulous tutorial on YouTube which I basically used as my guide. The only major hiccup I ran into was the type of fabric I bought – it was super thin so I had to use a lot of it to make sure the black of the photo album wouldn’t show through. If I end up making any more of these, I’ll definitely go for a thicker fabric like canvas but here’s the final product. I love how adorable it turned out!
The total cost of making the photo album was $15, which is a lot cheaper and much cuter than any photo album I could have bought at a store. You really can’t beat that and it fits my tastes to the tee. Plus, I’m even thinking it would make a fabulous gift for all the ladies in my life!
Now that Christmas is over and the recipients have received their gifts, I can finally blog about my two crafting ventures over the past month!
Because I’m poor, Christmas is always hard to do exactly what I want for everyone which means I have to get pretty creative. This year, I wanted to go the sentimental route in gift giving and since part of my December goals is about trying new adventures, I decided to craft them. When Liz blogged about this as a gift for her parent’s anniversary, I knew I wanted to try something similar – it’s just too dang cute!
It was a bit of a struggle to find the size of frame I wanted, but I made do with a 3-piece frame I found at Hobby Lobby. I got particularly frustrated once I took apart the frame though. What I thought was a sticker on the outside was actually an imprint of a stamp on the inside. Thanks to google search, I found the right combination of windex and rubbing alcohol that made the imprint come off pretty easily on all but one of the frames I used. Since I didn’t want to invest in an atlas and preferably wanted street names and location holders, I decided to use google maps which worked perfectly. I printed the street maps in color, cut them into heart-shapes, pasted them onto card stock and then taped them to a white back splash of paper I inserted into the frame. For the lettering, I just used some basic thicker scrapbooking letters and did variations of the places where people met, went on their first date, got married, or where their first baby was born. When I finished the first one, I was so ecstatic for how well it turned out that I couldn’t wait to start the next one!
And that wasn’t it. When I spotted this date night jar on pinterest a few weeks ago, I cooed to Liz about how I wished I was dating someone just so I could make one. I think it’s a great idea for people who have babies, especially in keeping the romance alive and making time for each other. So when I started crafting Christmas presents, I thought it would be a cute gift for my parents and brother/sister-in-law.
The craft itself is really simple. I purchased a couple mason jars and some colored popsicle sticks at Hobby Lobby. On each of the popsicle sticks I wrote down a date night idea and plopped it in the jar. I put enough popsicle sticks in the jar that ensured at least two date nights a month, ranging from going out on the town to simple stay at home dates. I tried to tailor each jar specific to the couple so that it was comprised of dates each of them would be interested in, but I also threw a couple in there to make them get outside their comfort zone and in touch with their youth a bit. For the outside of the jar, I just used the left over thicker scrapbooking letters I had on hand. Here’s a few of the date ideas I put together and the culmination of the final product. I love it!
Considering I’m not a crafty person, I’d call it a Christmas success!
Since I finished my last final on Tuesday, you would think I’d take the opportunity to relax and enjoy some downtime, but I’ve actually done the opposite. In fact, the productivity level I’ve hit in my work and personal life this week has hit an all-time high.
I spent Friday night and Saturday crafting Christmas presents, which I am dying to share details on once they’re opened on Christmas day. I am so proud of the culmination of the final products and hope everyone enjoys and appreciates them as much as I do. I really wish I could be there in person when they’re opened up but because home-made gifts can be somewhat of a hit or miss since your style may not necessarily suit someone else’s tastes, it’s probably best I’m not there given the anticipation. I think what I enjoyed most about crafting is that my mind went completely blank. And considering I spent 10 hours crafting this weekend, I had a good chunk of time where I didn’t worry or stress about anything. It was so nice! In fact, I found the process kind of cathartic and I feel better knowing I’m giving something sentimental to someone I care about rather than just purchasing a gift card. Money is so boring (although that’s what I asked for for Christmas so who I am to talk…).
I also finished the first Wallace family christmas newsletter and had photo greeting cards created to go along with it. It was a struggle to find the kind of holiday newsletter paper I wanted but I think I’ll take a lead from Liz and her family and design my own next year when I have a little bit more time to plan what I want to do. Since my family has never done christmas newsletters before, I was kind of at a loss on what to include but once I got on a roll I had a blast reflecting on everything that’s happened in 2012. It’s been a full and happy year! I got the majority of the letters/cards out today so I can’t wait for you all to see it. Just in case you haven’t made it on the address list, though, here’s a quick photo-op of the greeting card.
I did take a break from all the crafting on Saturday to spend some quality time with my step-mom and little brother. One thing I haven’t done in ages is just drive around to see the christmas lights. I don’t know if my memory just sucks, but it seems like people decorate the outside of their homes less every year. I miss that. By far the coolest places we visited were Candy Cane Crib (my brother Ryan’s house, who is a Clark Griswold in the making) and the Magic Tree. They were beautiful and it was a great time!
And, to top off a fabulous week, Liz and David came over on Sunday night for a potluck dinner and christmas movie night. We tried a new recipe for pork tenderloin and paired it with some homestyle sides I’d been craving for ages: green bean casserole and mashed potatoes. David even made a homemade berry strudel which was delicious and also very filling. I was so stuffed by the end of the night that I didn’t even make it through our holiday movie (but let’s not kid anyone here – I always fall asleep in movies). One of my favorite things in this world is spending quality time with family and friends and I find the best way to connect and celebrate those relationships is over potluck dinners, game and movie nights. It was a great way to end a productive week/end and kick-start a new one!
After a weekends worth of work, I can finally say my guest room is complete (sans home accent furnishings). Yeah!! Last night, my Dad came over to help me hang the headboard. I was also able to talk him into staying a little bit longer to install curtain rods and replace my outlet sockets (thank you again by the way). After three hours of work, we got it all sorted out and I’ve spent tonight putting together the bedding, rug, curtains, etc.
Out of this whole process, hanging the headboard had to be the most challenging and frustrating part. It took drilling over 11 holes in my wall to finally find a stud we could hook the screws in the back of the headboard to. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered (not just in this room) that in my house, a stud finder lighting up doesn’t really mean there’s an actual stud in the wall. We finally got a groove though and a combination of using a stud finder and knocking on the wall to look for hollow spots finally allowed us to find the right place to screw in the hangers. I know I couldn’t have done any of this without the help of my brother Austin and my Dad, but I had a feeling of such accomplishment when it was finally on the wall. It was a moment of giddiness – I love those types of moments.
While I was finishing up the room, I started thinking about how much effort and work were put into making this room over. For being on such a tight budget, it’s hard to renovate your home the way you want and finding ways to do home improvement projects within those budget constraints sometimes make you think the amount of effort and work you have to put forth isn’t worth it. Well, I can tell you that I am extremely happy I decided to go with the flow. My budget was $200. My final breakdown of costs to re-do this room are:
- Headboard: $7 (free wood, free labor, only paid for the yellow spray paint)
- Curtains: $16 (4 curtains at $4 a piece)
- Curtain Rods: $40 (2)
- Paint: $38
- Supplies: $0 (all donated)
- Rug: $40
- Pillows: $20 (on sale)
Total cost: $161…almost $40 under budget!
Not only am I happy that I was able to save a little bit of money, but I am so proud of how well the room turned out. Less really is more in this uniquely laid out room. It used to be jam packed with all of Miley’s things, extra blankets, a dresser, an 8×10 rug and a bed. It was just too much. I prefer this feel and layout much more. It’s warm and inviting and at the end of the day – I kind of wish it was my room! It’s a room sans home accent furnishings (wall art, etc.) but that will come with time. For now, here is the final product!
Filed under crafting, DIY, home
Back in April, I mentioned that one of my goals over the next couple of months would be to start working on some home improvement projects. I love my cute little bungalow home but it’s small on space so in my quest to live minimally, a lot of my focus has been how to utilize the most space with the least amount of furniture. In particular, I find a ton of inspiration from one of my favorite home improvement blogs, House Tweaking. I absolutely love this lady’s style so when I came across a DIY “love” headboard, I decided to make-over my guest room.
The headboard was made from old barn wood I was able to take from a friend’s farm. Since I’m not very handy, I gave my plans to my Dad to build it for me and he did a great job! I was surprisingly impressed and I love that he gave it a more rustic feel by off-setting the boards so they weren’t perfectly aligned.
I was almost tempted to leave the headboard as is since it had so much character, but for the feeling I’m going for in the guest room, I’ve decided to go ahead and paint “love” in yellow. I bought some chalk and some spray paint. Still needs a few more coats, but here it is so far.
And since I hate painting, I hired my little brother to come over and do the job for me. The original room I got inspiration from used a dark charcoal gray as the wall color. Since my guest room doesn’t get a lot of natural light, I didn’t want to go too dark so I went for a more light and airy gray. I spent two hours at Lowe’s and finally decided on Valspar’s Bonsai. When presented with a million and one options, it takes me awhile to make a decision but I’m so glad I chose this color – I absolutely love it! It’s versatile and I’ve realized I have endless amounts of color combinations I can use for accent pieces.
The only thing left to do in the room is paint the base boards and do a little touch up. I get more accomplished early in the morning for some reason so I plan on finishing that up tomorrow and putting the final yellow coat on the headboard. Hopefully everything will be dry in time for my Dad to come flush mount the headboard to the wall tomorrow and all will be D-O-N-E! On the to-do list for tomorrow: home accent shopping. Yeah!