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Sunday, March 10, 2013

My New Blog is Up!

If you are reading this through email, you're probably able to get through all of this post.  If not, then you should be immediately re-directed.   I just wanted to let you all know that my brand new site is now live!  There are links now to take you directly to the site, in case you click on my old Blogger one.  I hope you'll hop over and see it soon.  I LOVE IT!!

Please add to your blogrolls so that we can stay in touch.  I look forward to talking to you all there now!


Friday, March 8, 2013

New Blog Design

Happy Friday y'all!!  I spoke in my February Goals and Challenges about a new design for my blog, and it’s alllllmost time to roll it out.  I've been working for several weeks with a very talented web designer, who happens to be a friend of mine.  What a blessing this has been!  He’s been doing this for many years, developing and managing websites for a huge list of clients:  celebrities, large and small companies, other bloggers…and the list goes on.  To say I was excited when he agreed to do this for me is a complete understatement!

The new design will be much sleeker and more organized, and I look forward to my readers having greater functionality and ease of navigation. AND I’ll have my very own logo.  I’M SO FLIPPIN’ EXCITED!!  I will also have my very own domain and will be switching from Blogger to WordPress.  Normally this kind of thing would be quite tricky; but since it’s in the trusted hands of a professional, I get to just sit back and watch :)  I can’t imagine all of you that do it on your own…more power to you!

I will alert everyone via blog post before the big switcheroo.  Can’t wait to finally share it!

Have any of you ever made a switch like this?  Any tips/advice?


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

We're Buggin'

It's official:  the whole Manor has been bitten by the stomach bug.  It began early Saturday morning, with Ian, continued with me on Monday, and now with my Mr.  Needless to say, we haven't done much of anything around the house the past 4 days.  Nothing past sleep, tv, and laundry.  Lots and lots of laundry.  I saw on the news that Queen Elizabeth has had a stomach thing too, so I guess this wicked virus has made it's way across the pond!

I hope to get back on everything soon, including some sweet little projects we have in the works.  Stay tuned friends!


Friday, March 1, 2013


We had something really exciting happen this week--something that we've been wanting for months.  We found renters for our old house!!  They are a sweet, young couple who are looking for a place to settle for a few years, especially since they are expecting their first child.  As mentioned in my About the Manor page, our old house is located beside our new one.  So we basically were able to handpick our own neighbors.  I'm especially excited that they're expecting, since I love having babies around!  We're not quite ready for another, so this should give me a nice, temporary baby fix :)

I don't blog about our old house, since most of our time is spent doing projects around our new home.  But if you have read my About the Manor page, you'll see that our old house was a complete DIY project.  We did alllll the renovations ourselves--sheet rock, plumbing, electrical, flooring, painting, etc.  I always knew I was a "DIY" kind of gal, but my interests towards anything DIY were heightened after this massive reno with my amazing love!  

I'll be honest:  the sentiment towards the house hasn't set in until this week.  It's been vacant for almost 6 months, and I guess it still felt like "ours".  Of course we still own it, but it is now going to be occupied by someone else--a family that is going to make their own memories in this house.  Make it their home.  

We finished up some painting and other small projects on it over the weekend, and the emotions hit me as I began the final clean.  I kept going through the rooms, calling them by their former names.  Heath would say something like, "It will always be Ian's room, won't it?", and I'd feel my stomach drop a little.  We've been in such a craze to just get it done and get it rented, that I haven't stopped to think about it.

Yes, it will always be our first home.  The place we spent a year and a half of our dating/engaged lives renovating.  Where we began our married life together.  Where we brought home our sweet doxie, Bailey shortly after we wed because I just HAD to have a puppy.  Where we brought home our son, Ian on a rainy, February night in 2010, and watched him grow by leaps and bounds for 2 1/2 years.  Where we hosted friends and family for meals, parties, and holiday gatherings.  Where we celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, and promotions.  Where we mourned the deaths of family members and friends.

We wouldn't be where we are today with that house.  And for this, we will be forever grateful.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pinterest Challenge: DIY Bookshelves

I have a reeeeeally hard time saying no to certain challenges.  They’re kind of hard not to accept, especially when:

A.  They deal with DIY projects.
B.  They’re given by some of the top bloggers in America!

John and Sherry Petersik from Young House Love blog teamed with Katie from Bower Power Blog, Michelle from D├ęcor & the Dog, and Megan from The Remodeled Life to host 

Actually, Sherry and Katie’s adorable made-for-each-other tots announced the challenge on a video, that’s just too cute for words!  If you have a minute, click the picture above to watch it.  Who can resist saying no to such sweet faces?!  Not this mama!

Since we’re re-doing Ian’s big boy room, I have several projects in process that have been inspired by things I've pinned from other blogs.  I finished one recently, that I actually blogged about the afternoon after the challenge was posted.   So I’m blogging about it again, for the sake of the challenge.

It’s no surprise that we love a good DIY project.  A total DIY project, i.e. building it from scratch, is an even bigger thrill for us.  Especially one that we can do in a matter of hours, at a very small cost!  I’ve already shown you our DIY Distressed pieces for Ian’s room; and while they’re perfect for storing small books and toys, we needed another solution for his bigger books.

I’ve seen some cool things around the web, such as turning spice racks into bookshelves.  Jen at IHeart Organizing used these in another "big boy room" remodel for her friend, and I just loved the idea of these to hang on the wall!  I actually loved everything about this bedroom, since we're going with the whole tractor theme for Ian's bedroom.  I had pinned this image several months ago here, but just recently had the time to do the project.

See the little green racks by the window?  I wanted to use something similar, and I began discussing it with Heath one afternoon, showing him the above picture.  I had planned on finding some small racks and just repainting them, but he said we still had some smaller pieces of wood left over from construction--probably enough to build 2 racks.  This is why communication is so important, people!

I wanted to have 2 shelves and for them to be shallow, like a spice rack; and that they needed to be 18” wide to accommodate even the widest or oddest shaped book.  We headed down to the basement and decided on which boards to use.

Board Sizes:
1”x6” board for the bottom and sides
1”x2” board for the front and back pieces

He cut the boards down to the size needed, using our miter saw, and connected them all using wood glue and 5/8” Brad nails.

Bottom piece is 18” wide
Side pieces are each 6” tall
Front and back pieces are each 18” wide

Once all the pieces were connected, he used an electric sander to smooth out any rough spots and edges.

We used some leftover paint primer {also from our build} to apply a thin coat to each shelf.  The reason for this was to help give us a good base for the final paint colors.

I wanted to paint one green and one blue, which are 2 of the basic colors in the scheme for his room.  I went to Lowe's to get paint for the shelves.  Thankfully, a few of their brands offer trial sizes at a great price ($2.94 each) that contain plenty of paint for small projects!  I chose Olympic paint, purchasing one in the color Globe Artichoke and one in the color Indigo Blue.

Since the new paint was so dark against the light primer, we wanted to make sure there was full coverage.  Using a disposable foam brush, we applied 3 coats of the green and blue to each shelf, making sure they dried well between coats.

He used one of our favorite tools, the Skil laser level, to shoot straight lines on the wall.  It's neat because you can clamp it to just about anything, for vertical and horizontal lines.  We paid $50 for it this past summer, and it’s been worth every penny around the Manor!  

Then drilled screws through the back pieces and into the wall, centering them between the adjacent wall and the window frame. 

These new DIY shelves are another great addition to Ian’s “big boy” room, and they offer plenty of space to add many more books to his collection.

Although I enjoy being crafty on my own, I love collaborating with Heath on projects like this; and he never ceases to amaze me with skills.  Handy husbands certainly are priceless!  Since we already had most of the materials, the total cost of this project was only in the paint, at a whopping $6.23.  We only used about half of each jar, making this even more cost-efficient since we can use it on other small projects around his room.  Maybe frames?  Art work?  Canvases?  Oh, the possibilities!

Thanks for checking out our project!  Please head over to the hosts blogs to check out their Pinterest-inspired projects, as well as the many, many other bloggers that have linked up!

Linked to:  A Bowl Full of Lemons; Home Stories A to Z; House of Hepworths; Live Laugh Rowe; The Crafty Blog Stalker; Create Craft Love; The Shabby Nest; The Taylor House; Young House Love


Monday, February 25, 2013

Office Overhaul: FINISHED!!

I am breathing a major sigh of relief that our office cove is done!  I've shared the progress for this space, which you can see by clicking in the links within the body or at the bottom of the post.  If you've been following along you've already seen it, but for newbies—welcome!   This space makes me, as Phil on Duck Dynasty says, “Happy, Happy, Happy”!  We love that show, especially Jase and Si.  I digress.

“Before” shots of the cove.  I promise I did nothing before shooting these pics.  It was that bad.  The sad part is that it stayed this way for a few weeks while we moved.

I explained in the Intro that we have limited space in this area, but after cleaning out our file cabinet and desk and after moving all my crafting items down to the guest room closet (can’t WAIT to tackle that space), I was surprised with how much room was left.  You can find the details of the sorting phase on this post.

And now the “after”.  Can you guess my favorite color?  You could say our office has the blues :)

The desk isn't large, but it fits perfectly in the space.  The items we use the most reside in and on it:  laptop, printer, calculator, stationary, sticky notes, extra checks, and some other office supplies.  We already owned the desk chair, which is still in almost-new condition.

I purchased this adorable blue lamp at Target for $20, and I was all but dancing down the aisles when I spotted it!  The shade is white with floral inside, so it looks like this when lit.

It’s kind of vintage—don’t you think?  It doesn't give off a lot of light, but it works just fine in the cove since the ceiling is sloped.

This picture was given to me back in college by my mom, who was a victim of my morning mood for many years.  Maybe that’s when my love for color blue began?

The bright blue boxes are from the Martha Stewart Collection at Staples, and they hold regular computer paper and white cardstock (used weekly).

The file cabinet rests on the floor beside the desk, which is almost hidden at a quick glance but still easily accessible.  You can see how we utilize it to its full potential here.  Maybe one of these days I’ll “pretty it up”, but for now it’s purely functional.

The boxes on top are also Martha Stewart, and they hold magazines and action items that come up from our Command Center.  The vertical file folders in the action items box are, what else--Martha Stewart!   Labels {from my label maker} identify the contents and help to keep incoming papers organized.

The bookcase holds the Storage Box, mason jars with writing utensils, most of our binders, some truck catalogs, smaller books, and boxes for labels and sheet protectors.

That’s it, folks!   We packed a lot into this area, but it all is organized and functional for our needs.  The way we can keep it this way is to file papers immediately, to put everything back in its place, and to not buy more things we don’t need.

What do you think of our cove?  Do you have any favorite tips for offices, or just small spaces in general, to share?

Links to all the Office Overhaul posts are also below, if you didn't click in the links above.

1.  Intro
2.  Sorting It Out
3.  Storage Box Makeover
4.  Repurposed Microwave Cart (Bookcase)
5.  File or Foe

Thanks for checking out our space!

Note:  I played with some setting on my DSLR to try and get the best pictures for this space.  Considering there is zero natural light, it was quite a challenge.  I tried my best, and I hope to get better and better with it as time passes!

Linking to:  IHeart Organizing; Home Stories A to Z; A Bowl Full of Lemons; House of Hepworths; Live Laugh Rowe; The Taylor House


Thursday, February 21, 2013

How Organizing Paid Off

Remember when I mentioned at the end of my Organizing Tax Documents post, that I hoped the extra steps I took this year would pay off?  Well they did!  I won’t go into the details of our actual return, but it was beneficial financially to have all of our statements correct and ready to be entered into their system.  Our tax accountant was thrilled that I had all my statements in order and could quickly refer to one when necessary.  She also loved that I had a spreadsheet with totals for all my expenses, rather than just a bunch of receipts.

This all saved her time and us money, since she gave us a great discount on her rate to do our return.  Yeah, buddy!!  We were all smiles that evening :)

I'm not guaranteeing that this would happen to everyone, as it depends on who does your taxes; but it certainly is something to consider if you haven't already filed and plan on having a professional do your return.  It certainly won't hurt to be prepared beforehand!

Hooray for being organized!  And for saving money!  And for being done with our tax return!

Have a great weekend!

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