Friday, June 11, 2010

‘Round the House

Anyone that knows me well knows that I am a hard-core penny pincher.  I tend to go with the mantra of: Buy it used, make do or go without.  With that said, our homes have never been fancy, but instead they’ve been sort of a mish mash of “throw it together” and “yard-sale chic.”  For the most part, I’ve been ok with that.  Jay and I rented for the first 8 years we were together and there really wasn’t that pride of ownership to inspire us.

Recently, I’ve actually been inspired to start doing little things to make our house a little bit lovelier. Doing this while sticking to my penny-pinching ways is challenging, but I’m taking baby steps.

It all started with a sweet and plain table that we found at a yard sale.  There was a small wall in our living room that sorely needed some sort of table.  Many years ago, I used to keep up a Nature Table (a la Waldorf) and really liked the aspect of having a place to display some seasonal items. When I saw this table for, I think it was $20, I went back and forth but am glad we decided to get it.   It is perfect for the space and I love the clean and simple design.


Again, it’s not fancy, but it works well for the space and gives me a place to set a plant, a few seasonal objects (in this case, eggs for nesting season) and some flowers from our yard.  I like it.

About a week after we got the table, I was having the girls go through their closets and drawers to pull out clothes they won’t wear. We have family closets in our bedroom which keeps the mess of laundry from going up to the girls’ room and also make the chore of laundry much easier. Before I knew it, I was hauling all sorts of things out of our bedroom, rearranging everything and doing a hardcore deep cleaning.  Our bedroom had started to become a catch-all room.  With three large closets, slowly they became the landing spot for all manner of random items.  I had a bin in the corner of Spring and Summer clothes waiting to be sorted, and a pile of other “stuff” that was growing by the day.  In one four hour cleaning marathon, I sorted, purged and organized the WHOLE room and reclaimed it as our sanctuary. Ahhhh, it felt great.

I was then inspired to take on a project that had been rolling around in my head for months. After seeing the shadows of leaves and branches dance across the walls a few times, I started to think that it would look nice to paint trees on our walls.  I had seen some wall decals online that had a similar look, but I wanted something permanent. I bought a quart of paint that was one shade lighter than our wall color. (We rented for years and our walls were always neutral.  When choosing out wall color, I went for something COLORFUL and really love it!) With a deep breath, I took the first brush stroke and after that it was a lot of fun.  So far, two trees are done, as well as a couple of birds. 



I still have to paint some birds perching on top of the window and also plan to paint another tree or two.  I love it, though.

I also did something I have NEVER done before.  I bought a brand new bedspread to go with the room.  We’ve had 2 new bedspreads since Jay and I have gotten together, both were gifts and very nice. The one my Mom gave us has since gotten threadbare and holey and the one on our bed in the pictures is nice, but doesn’t really go with the room very well.

I found this quilt for $25 and while my tightwad side tried to talk me out of it, I did end up buying it with the rationale that I will likely go at least another 8 years before I buy a new bedspread. lol The set even comes with a matching tote bag.  Bonus!

To wrap up this looooooong post about what’s happening on the home-front, I recently created a Home Management Binder which has been extremely useful. It is one of those things where I keep thinking, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

If you Google, you will see what all of the buzz is about.  Until I looked it up, I had no idea that the trend even existed.  A friend of mine told me about these free, printable calendar sheets at Organized Home. They have a whole section devoted to the Household Notebook with plenty of free printables.  These binders are something you can personalize to fit your needs. I am a no-frills sort of person, so mine is pretty plain.


I picked up a green binder at an office supply store along with a pack of page protectors.  I had dividers already here at home. The pocket on the left usually has letters I’m working on for our Compassion International children. The first page in the binder is the most current calendar page, printed from Organized Home. The first section of the binder is for Scheduling so it has calendar pages through December 2010 as well as my Chore List. I don’t put the calendar sheets in page protectors because I wanted to be able to add events to them easily.


The Chore List is in a page protector. I have listed most of my Daily and Weekly chores on there and can use a dry-erase marker to put a spot next to the things I’ve done each day. I also have space for a post-it with the additional to-do items for any given day.  For some reason, having my to-do list in front of me helps me to get everything done throughout the day.

The rest of my binder is divided into these sections.

  • Tender Hearts Homeschooling Co-op: I keep any papers I need for planning, administration and upcoming events for our co-op as well as the contact sheet for all members.
  • Activities: I keep all paperwork and schedules for activites such as Summer Rec program, Summer camp, Library programs etc.
  • Compassion: I keep papers needed for Compassion events I am working or planning.  I do not keep our sponsor children’s info or letters in here, that goes into a separate binder.
  • Church/Sunday School: I keep any papers or info pertaining to church or upcoming lessons I will teach for Sunday School
  • Meals and Groceries: I keep a list of our most common meals so that I don’t repeat too much.  Some like to keep a calendar with a meal plan, but I’ve found that doesn’t work for me.  Some days I am inspired to cook something that requires more work and planning and some days I just want the quick and easy salad and grilled cheese. lol

Some people also have things like Homeschooling, Bills, Home Maintenance etc. in their binders. In our home, Jay does all of the banking and bills (thankfully!) and keeps track of expenses, budgets, and home maintenance.  I don’t track all of our homeschooling activities. I do have a notebook where I write down what Nico does here, but that is more for communication between her Mom and myself. Co-parenting and homeschooling in two households has made that necessary so that everyone knows what was covered at what house.

Phew, that was a LONG post!  Now I need to hop on that To-Do list and check some things off!  Have a great day!


pink and green mama MaryLea said...

This is great -- I've been wanting to do some kind of a binder for the house but was overwhelmed trying to figure out where to start -- this is a great beginning. Thank you!! Love the bedroom color and the new quilt -- it's the same color I "tried" to paint our downstairs bath this winter but it came out more of a Robin's egg Blue and less of a Peacock Turqoise. I still like it though and am too cheap to buy more paint.

So glad I found you through Val's blog.

Have a great weekend.

pink and green mama

Raquel Carlson said...

Thank you so much, Michelle, for your comment on my blog post! It's encouraging to meet another person so passionate about Compassion! God Bless you!

And the pictures of your house are beautiful! I love the tree on the blue wall :)

Chenning said...

Love it all!
If you have the time and inclination, may I trouble you with a request? I remember on aw you have shared your tofu recipe and your spinach pie recipe... Both of which we love over here. Could you pretty please share some more of your regular family-approved recipes from the that section of your binder?

Twig and Toadstool said...

Love your bedroom with the tree embellishment! The colour is wonderful! I'm thinking my bedroom needs a good coat of paint as well...and a tree in the corner with little birdies painted on it couldn't hurt!!
maureen :)

Michelle said...

Chenning, are you on Facebook? I've shared a few family favorites over there. Honey Baked Lentils and Shepherd's Pie are always hits. Now that the weather is warming up, though, I lose inspiration to cook. lol We eat a lot of salads, quick meals like fajitas and quesadillas and grilled veggies and veggie-burgers.

Deeann said...

Such a great idea--thanks for sharing!

Chenning said...

Sadly, no not on FB yet. I am already so busy keeping up with other stuff, I fear that FB will push me over the edge! I love the honey lentils, too - I saw that one on AW as well.

mamabear said...

Love the trees! Wish you could come to Ohio and paint some in my master. Our room is a catch all for junk too. My baby is 18 months and a real handful, so parking the junk is the best I can do now.

Love your blog look, too!

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