Sunday, November 18, 2012

Junk + Love = Treasure

While out thrifting with some friends we came upon this ugly coffee table from the 1970's.  I didn't even notice it at first honestly.  But when my friend said she wanted to bring it home I was suddenly jealous!!  Like I missed out on some fabulous purchase!  Oh no.  (Not sure what my problem was)  
Anyway,... at the last minute while we were standing in line to buy it (for $7) she changed her mind and decided not to take it.  YES!  It was mine!  Ha ha.  
 I decided I wanted to transform this ugly coffee table into a bench.
First things first:  Paint WHITE.  (my trademark color these days)
 Next I went to Joann's to get some fabric to make a bench cushion.  Unfortunately all the fabric that I liked was over $20 a yard and I needed 2 yards.  Ugh.  Couldn't explain that to my husband.  Buying a $7 coffee table to transform and end up spending another $40+ on fabric alone.  Oiy.
I had no choice.  I had to make my own fabulous fabric.  I bought plain gray duck cloth for $5 per yard and this cute stencil for $1.99.
 Then I went to town!  How cute is this??

 Love!  :)
 Next I took my 3 inch foam that I had cut to size at Joann's ($10 after 50% off coupon)  And layered my $6 plywood on top.

 I wrapped the fabric nice and snug and used my staple gun.
 Ta Da!  :)  I am in love with it!  And an added bonus:  I didn't permanently attach the cushion to the bench, so if I need to use this as a coffee table again, no worries.  Just remove the top and we're good to go!
 Not the best picture, but just wanted to show how big it is!  I think I may use it for extra seating when my family comes for Thanksgiving! :)
Ok... so all the totals so we can make sure my $7 thrift store purchase was worth it:
Coffee Table- $7
Primer- already had!
Paint- already had!
Fabric- $10 ($5 per yard)
Stencil- $1.99
Wood Board- $6
Foam- $10

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Importance of Pruning

No... this isn't a jungle. It's supposed to be my cute container garden.

Not much "contained" about this at all.

I knew my tomato plants were growing out of control.  But I kept procrastinating on pruning the plant.  Tonight, as we took a stroll around our neighborhood, I couldn't ignore it any longer. Started trimming...

Then I got on a roll...

As I was pruning, I couldn't help but to be reminded how important this practice is.  If you don't prune, not only will you have a horticultural hot mess but the fruit of the plant will not get as much nutrients and water because all the other branches of the plant are fighting for the same things.

Cutting off the branch without any flower buds or fruit

How true is this in our own lives?  Everything is competing for our time, money, resources, and energy.  If we don't prune the excess out of our lives, then the important "fruit" in our lives won't get the full benefit of our resources.  Tonight was a good reminder that I need to take the time and prune different areas of my life- whether it be clothes I don't wear to useless tv shows to household items I don't use.  That way I'm left with more time and energy to redirect to the important things in my life.

Here is the "after" shot:

Less jungle. More cherry tomatoes!

What can you prune in your life that would give way to more priorities in your life?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Pencil in some YOU Time!

Today I was feeling overwhelmed:
  I have work to do.  I have bags to pack.  I have outfits (for rehearsal/wedding) to plan for this weekend.  I have food to prepare.  I have a(n adorable) dog to walk.  I have toilets to clean.  I have laundry to do.  I have presents to wrap.  I have e-mails to write.  I have friends to call back.  I have trips to plan.  I have a basement to unclutter. 

I could go on... but that wouldn't be fair to waste your time any more than I already have!

It seems we always have a long list of things to do.  We check things off one by one, but then more gets added on to the bottom so we never get to wipe the slate clean.  I have a tendency to physically not sit down until I have achieved as much as possible in my day.  Often times at the end of a day off when I sit down to dinner I realize that other than sitting in the car, it's the first time I have been off my feet all day.

I have learned (with some gentle encouragement from my husband) that sometimes I need to force myself to take some Me Time.  Me Time is sitting on the couch.  Reading a book.  Going to Starbucks (he he... just kidding!  Matt would NEVER recommend that!) Not checking e-mail.  Not working on a mosaic.  Not preparing dinner.  Not washing dishes.  Not doing laundry.  Literally being unproductive.

What I have come to realize is that Me Time isn't about me at all!  It actually refreshes everything inside of me to be more helpful to others.  It helps me to be a better friend.  I can listen better with an uncluttered mind.  It helps me to be a better wife.  I'm less frazzled and can focus on the moment and be more supportive.

So today- I encourage you to go turn your cell phone ringer off 
and put your feet up and make some YOU TIME!

p.s. I bet you're wondering what's with the photo!  Well,... you can't have a post without a photo!  (boring!) 
And I wanted to show you why I need Me Time.  It's to try and be a better KeRRi for my favorite boys.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Power of a LIST

Hello my long lost friends!
Sorry about the MIA status for a while there.  I have no good excuse. But, I'm back. :)

This post on list-keeping may seem super simple to some of you guys.  It may seem almost so simple that it's not necessary to even discuss.  But I am going to have to disagree.  I have found that once you have the right kind of list that works for you, it will change your life!

A few years back Matthew and I were looking for a cabinet to add space to our small kitchen.  We wanted something that didn't leave a huge foot-print and yet held a lot.  We totally lucked out when we found this fantastic tall cabinet from IKEA (of course!).  When we brought it home and set it up we realized that since the doors are made out of glass it's also the perfect surface for a giant message board.

So along with the occasional love note we leave for one another on it ;) this message board serves for the LIST keeper of any items that we need to share. 

We keep our menu plan for the week on the left hand side.
Our daily "to-do" list is on the right hand side.
And Matthew's work out schedule is on the top so that I know when/where to find him! :)

When we were visiting some friends this weekend we found that they have a very similar system that they share in their kitchen (sorry for the bad quality photos... I snapped them real quick on my phone).

On the coolness scale this chalkboard wall rates so much higher than our glass wipe board.
When they bought their house last year they decided to devote an entire wall in their kitchen to be their chalk board.  They keep two main lists going: One for upcoming projects and the other for their monthly overview.

Ok... now on to my personal favorite and the list keeper that truly changed my life
(and no, unfortunately apple is not paying me to say this!)

In November I got my first iPhone!  There are so many amazing things about it that I love so much!
But honestly I think my very favorite thing is one of the most SIMPLE features. 

Every iPhone comes preloaded with a little yellow app called "Notes"


When you click on it it brings you to a list of any "note" that you have started.
I personally don't use them for anything other than a place to keep all my lists. 

Before my iPhone I had a list on the refrigerator for groceries. 
...and a scrap paper list in my purse for groceries. 
...and a torn off piece of journal list by my bed for groceries.
...and a post-it note list in my work calendar for groceries. 
...and possibly another scrap paper list in my car for groceries. 

Then when I actually went to the store to buy groceries I had no idea what I needed because my lists were scattered everywhere!!!  I would end up buying things I didn't need and then forgetting things I did need. 
I was a hot mess.

Now when I think of something I should add to the grocery list I simply grab my phone.  It's the ONE thing that is ALWAYS with me.  When I'm at home.  In my purse.  When I'm in bed.  At work.  In my car.  It's always right there when I think of something to add to the list.

Some of the other lists that have been really helpful for me to have nearby are shopping lists, my personal wish list (for when someone asks me what I want for a birthday/Christmas and I would normally have no idea), Matt's wish list, upcoming jobs, things to remember to bring home when we travel and items to freecycle.

I'm sure every one's most important lists are different.
And everyone has their own style for what works best for their list-keeping.
But make a plan and start using your lists more efficiently today and it will make your life so much easier.

I also totally recommend this take on list-keeping if you're up for some more reading!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Heart Freecycle

I hate to waste.  It's one of the qualities that I pride myself in but it's also one of my biggest downfalls.  In the spirit of non-wastefulness, I hold onto things thinking that I'll one day be able to make use of it.  I'm sure that most people could relate to this on some level.

If you find yourself in that dilemma where you know you won't use it but it's too wasteful to send to the landfill, I've got your solution.  Enter Freecycle. is a great site to offer things that you don't want anymore to those in your community.  It's also a great way to reach out to your neighbors if you are also in need or something (I wish I had joined before I bought a punch bowl. Honestly! How often can you use a punch bowl??)

Here are some snapshots of stuff that I'm in the process of freecycling...

Someone is picking these 2 items up tomorrow!
Yep...a diaper genie refill for my non-existent diaper genie (I was getting rid of this for a friend... but that was a year ago) and a rice cooker that was abandoned at my house from my sister (over 2 years ago).  Please don't judge me. I swear I don't belong on that show "Hoarders".

Here are some other items that I'm looking for a home for.  Island-themed drinking straws, votive candles, men's cologne (that my husband NEVER uses), and filters for a water pitcher that we don't have anymore.

Here are some things that I already gave away in just less than a week:  an OLD digital camera, carpet cleaner, nail polishes, 5 bottles of baby powder.  The turnaround time has been quite impressive.  Everything went that day or the following day.

It is seriously addicting.  The feeling of euphoria to be freed from the bondage of these items is pretty amazing.  It's a feel-good project.
1. You feel good because you're not wasting but you're getting rid of "junk".
2. You feel good because someone else is going to make good use out of something that would've otherwise rotted in your house
3. You feel good because your bathroom cabinet once filled with junk now looks like this.

Not the prettiest picture but looking at this makes me so happy!
And 4. You kinda feel like a rockstar when all these people start emailing you wanting your stuff.  (I've ebay'ed before.  There's a lot more feelings of rejection in Ebay.  It's not for the weak of heart.)

I encourage everyone to look into freecycling their unused stuff.  It's really quite exhilarating.  I read a quote once that everything in your house should be either beautiful or useful.  Now that's quite a challenge!

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope we can all kick off the year on the right "uncluttered and simplified" foot!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Glitter Makes Everything Better

I had a fabulous peacock-shade nail color on but sure enough after 2 days it was looking not-so-fab and lackluster (and even some nails chipped).

The dilemma? Take the polish off (which seems so wasteful after only a few days) OR keep rocking chipped polish.  Honestly, the latter pains me. (I'm so dramatic)

The solution? GLITTER! Good thing it's the holidays and you can get away with ridiculous and shameful amounts of glitter.

The result is a fun new color that extends the wear of your current polish, the glitter actually hides the chips.

Some Like It Haute by China Glaze

close-up of the different size glitter pieces.

I love it. And it turns out Kerri had the same idea on her nails! Except hers was Trophy Wife by Essie with the glitter on top.  Great minds think alike!

Have a glittery and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Making New

If I had told myself 10 years ago that I would be buying THRIFTED clothes/shoes/books/household items on a REGULAR basis when I was in my (upper) 20’s… I would have flipped a lid!  USED?  Eww!!

That’s for folks who:
  1. Cannot afford new
  2. Have no sense of taste
  3. Are hippies ;)
Come on!  Why would I buy USED?  Great question… and I now say “why not?!”

I have had more fun searching out ‘lightly used’ items for a fantastic price than I have ever had after paying full price for a brand new original price item.
Something about knowing it’s ‘one of a kind’.  I won’t run into someone at a wedding wearing the same dress.  I won’t visit a friend’s apartment to discover they have the same mirror in their bathroom or same piece of artwork on their wall.  And what a great sense of satisfaction when showing off my new item!

If I shared with you all of my amazing finds this blog post would be so long you’d never read it, so today I will just show you my most current discovery and thus latest project!

I have been fighting with a trouble wall in our living room for quite some time.  It sits adjacent to a wall with a giant photo collage.  And it sits opposite of a clementine orange accent wall.  I needed something just the right size and just the right color.

I was really hoping to find a piece that had a nice frame to finish it off as well.

While visiting my favorite thrift store a few weeks ago I did a stroll by the mirrors and artwork.  I was hoping that I might be able to find something the right size for my space so I could re-finish it my own style.

Matthew cringed when he saw what I came home with!  This bad boy measures 32”x50” (great size!) and has a beautiful frame with a linen matting.  I hung it on the wall to ensure it was a good fit for my space.

Over the next week and a half while I started thinking about what I wanted to do with it I had a lot of funny comments from friends ranging from: “Wow… is that new?” to “Interesting,… that’s not really what I would picture as your style!”… basically all hints at why in the world did I buy it this thing and hang it on my wall??

Well I decided that what I needed in it’s place was some abstracty black, white and grey birch tree trunks.  I thought it would look fun and modern with a nice simple design.  I set out to work.  I popped the picture out of the frame so that I could change the gaudy gold look to a nice clean black to look more our style. 

I started by painting a coat of white for a primer

Then I did a nice background grey to set the scene

Then added a few white ‘tree trunks’

Added some black details

And popped her in my freshly painted black frame

VOILA!  It’s a finished piece.  We love it!
…. Or do we?  We sat on it for a few days and it’s not that we don’t like it…. It’s just that we want to love it!

Ok… so back to the drawing board… I think the problem was we like COLOR!  And that side of the room is already lacking in color with the black and white photos, the plain couch, etc…

I got the primer out and painted over the birch trees:

Then while poking around online I discovered this fabulous retro Dunkin Donuts logo.

It has just the right color for our room.  Matthew is OBSESSED with DD.  And to top it all off I actually “owed” him a piece of DD artwork after I hung up this bad boy in our kitchen:

So… I sketched it out and started painting:

And HERE is our finished piece!

Sure it took about a day and a half of painting all together, but here’s how the break down looks for the money we actually spent on it:

Old painting: $24.95
Primer: already had in basement
Paint: already had in basement
TOTAL: $24.95

For some inspiration from others click below: