Thursday, June 13, 2013

Laundry Room Reveal

I have never really enjoyed doing laundry.  I don't mind it, but I don't love it either.  I do love the fresh scent of clean clothes and I LOVE the feeling of finished laundry- where everything is clean, folded and in its proper place.  Even though that only lasts usually less than thirty minutes, I savor those moments all the same.

When we moved into our new home, I didn't realize how much I liked my old laundry room until I began to try and "use" my new one.  Granted this is a total first world problem.  I have to say that before I go any further, because I get it.  However, I'm going to show you what I'm talking about anyways.

In our old laundry room we had shelving, storage, cabinets...just an overall smart use of space.  I did not realize how much I had stored in there until we got here and there were no cabinets. only one awkwardly high shelf and a small set of hooks.  I knew after only living here for a few weeks that updating this room was on our short list of projects that had to be done ASAP.  Our new next door neighbor is a contractor and is super nice, so we hired him to help us install a new deeper kitchen sink and faucet and to help us upgrade this room.

Here is what it looked like when we moved in...(we took out the bar in this photo, but there was a drying bar normally below the shelf)

I'm tall and this shelf was very high and awkward to reach even for me!  The room was painted a dark blue, green color which made the small space seem even darker, kind of gloomy and closed in.  When I think about laundry, I think about bright, clean, fresh and airy...and this room was kind of the opposite.   When we got all of our stuff in there,- the stuff that used to be in our old laundry room- where now there was no storage for it anywhere, well...the small room quickly became a dumping zone and a complete mess all the time.  

Here is what it looked like after we moved in.... (warning- raw, real and messy photos here!)

Sometimes our dryer was piled so high with stuff that we could not even see what we were turning the dials to when we turned it on! But there was no place to put any of that stuff- even the floor was full!

Seriously- it looked like this 24/7 and it was a nightmare to not just do laundry but you did not even want to think about doing laundry when it involved spending time in this crazy small, cramped, unhappy space...

Lily did not seem to mind though...she loves to help me with whatever I'm doing...  What a cutie!

Here is our laundry room today! 

After hours of researching online photos of laundry rooms, I decided that the ones I was constantly drawn toward were the ones with Tiffany blue walls and black and white accents.  I knew we were not getting rid of our washer and dryer, so the color scheme had to work around them, which was fine with me.  I have long loved the color palate of Tiffany blue, black and white, so once Joe was on board, we set about to make it happen!  Again, our budget was small, so we got our upper cabinets from Lowe's, for about $80 a piece.  Joe purchased the shelf over the washer and dryer from Home Depot for a few dollars, the little upper shelf was left over from another project and cut to size.  We took off the old metal Levolour (sp?) blinds that seemed a bit corporate and dated for our taste.  Letting all of that natural light into the room really gave it some life.

The black and white artwork was all stuff we already had, I just gathered it all together and added it to this room to give it a happy home.  I purchased the 'laundry' sign for over the window at Hobby Lobby on sale (at the top of the post).  My mom made our curtains out of material she used for a table cloth for my dad's retirement party and I painted the walls.  We had a real box from Tiffany's, so I took that in and Home Depot color matched it to the exact color of the box (which was awesome, I did not know they could do this!) so that saved us a bunch of money as well.  We obviously had to prime and paint which took the better part of a weekend, but the results were worth it.  All of our ceilings are 10 feet high, so it took some reaching and stretching to get into the corners, but it all worked out.  Someday I'd love to add a black and white checkerboard floor, but for now, that is not in the budget.  Overall, I LOVE how it turned out.  LOVELOVELOVE it.

Some might say it is really bright, which it is- but it is also super cheerful, bright, clean and happy now compared with how it used to be.  I love being in there and it makes me so happy when I walk by on my way to the garage. It's amazing what a little paint, some cabinets and some organizational elbow grease can do! Laundry room = happy place to be!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Gratitude on a Monday...

Last summer I got into the habit of posting about some of my gratitude gifts I had been counting along my path and I loved it.  I felt my eyes and heart were always searching for the beauty of the moments, the gift of the heart's eyes and ears were ever open to hear the divine whispers that were just for me.

  Then somewhere, somehow along my way through this past year, my pen slowed, my eyes lost their perspective and my heart I'm afraid, ever so gradually began to close and harden.   It was very difficult for me to seek and find beauty amidst my struggles and so I simply quit trying and I allowed some pretty ugly things to take beauty's place in my life.  Things like discontentment, frustration, impatience, anger, bitterness, unbelief, fear...  you get the idea.  

I've been thinking a lot about how this is not the perspective on life I'm designed to carry or convey.  God did not design me to be the woman I've allowed myself to become and thankfully, I do not have to be or stay this way!  I've been reminded by the Holy Spirit in my heart that I was designed for more than what I've been experiencing...that God is longing to restore and redeem those not-so-beautiful parts of my heart.  

I have recently been thinking a lot about how our hearts and lives are like fields where whatever we choose to plant or allow to take root will grow and bring forth a harvest- whether that be anger, sadness, bitterness, disappointment, or beauty, hope, joy, faith or love.  We choose- and I have been choosing poorly.  Even though I know God was still offering goodness and beauty and whispering my name, I have been choosing to ignore Him and I hate to think of all I have missed as a result of my stubbornness and prideful wallowing.  

It is a choice, friends.  We each have it to make every day, every hour, each encounter, each minute, each season, each breath we are given.  We can choose to see and search out the good and the beauty or we can choose to spin, wallow, weep and ignore wondering why life is so miserable.  When we choose the harder way - the intentional seeking of the good, lovely and true in the middle of our struggles- we cannot help but notice that ever so gently a harvest of gratitude and wonder will begin to take root in our hearts. 

As I have slowly been re-training the eyes of my heart and re-establishing this good habit of noticing these past few weeks,  I also notice how my heart feels full and for the first time in what feels like forever, I can sense a cleansing spiritual rain washing fresh this desert heart of mine.  And I'm so, so grateful.

631.  A beautiful tea in the company of many dear heart-friends.

632.  The delicate, hand-stitched details on a beautiful napkin

640. The jackpot and joy of getting the pink car cart at the grocery store

635. A quiet moment of reflection in the church where we were married 

636. Witnessing God's goodness at a long prayed-for wedding

643. the way purple flip flops and baby legs make my heart flood with love and deep joy

637. Having a wonderful date with my favorite guy

639. A ladybug who flew into my car

645. the annual tradition of the library book sale and dinner with a dear friend

Have a wonderful week friends! 

Today I'm linking up with Ann.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Lily's "New" Room

Her name over her door

We moved into our house about almost nine months ago which is hard to believe! At the time, we made the decision to get settled in before tackling any home related projects and I'm super glad we did!  Back in January, it was finally time to begin working on Lily's "new" room.  We had set her up across the hall in her temporary room until we could get her real room all decorated for her.  We knew it would take some time, so we just settled her in across the hall and she did not know any different.

Lily in her temporary room...
Joe's creativity at work as he sketched out his idea for the new mural...
He had some help from a really cute little helper

...who LOVES helping her daddy!

Here is a before picture of the corner where the tree is going to go.

A before picture of where the rocker is going to go

A before photo from the corner where the rocker is looking toward the bathroom door and the door to the landing
A before photo from the corner where the tree is going to go toward the bathroom and her closet

We knew we wanted to do another mural for her and so Joe set about designing another beautiful cherry blossom tree, but this time, he added some little creatures for her as well.  I spent some time looking around online for potential room colors and we eventually settled on a bright green color.  We had a lot of pink things already, so we wanted a color that would go well with what we already had since we were on a pretty tight budget and the bright green ended up being perfect.  It is a cheerful color that really makes the pink 'pop'.  (We used all Home Depot paint, they color matched a Benjamin Moore color called Stem Green for me for the walls and then we used paint samples from Home Depot for the blossoms and creatures).  The color appears almost neon in some of the pictures, but it is just a bright, cheerful green.

The room was originally a lighter shade of green and I initially thought we would keep it, but as we got going, we decided to paint the walls, deepen the color and brighten the room up and looking back, I am super glad we made the choice to paint the walls.  You can really see the contrast in the two colors here.

my helper...

We painted the room, and then began chalking out the design on the wall.  If you have never painted a mural, I would really recommend using chalk to draw it onto the wall- it works well and is easy to wipe away when you are finished.  We had a little color swatch on the wall to see how the colors we picked out for the various creatures and blooms were going to look.  This process took us several months. Literally.  Not because it was so difficult, but more because we just worked on it every now and again...a little bit here and there.  We realized that with no deadline (ie. new baby being born) we did not have as much motivation.  But then, my dad's retirement party emerged on the horizon and we wanted to be done with everything before then, so that became our goal.  So as that date approached, we really kicked things into high gear.

Our color swatch.  Lily would run in daily and practice her colors...
some blossoms and the butterfly mobile- a gift from Jessica
One thing Joe and I love to joke about is our levels of attention to details.  Joe, when it comes to the creative process is HIGHLY detailed oriented.  This is a very good thing.  It takes him a while to get things finished, but they always look excellent when he is done.  Me on the other hand, I have the vision part down and I want to get to the "making things look pretty" stage of the program, that is where I shine, so we are a good balance when it comes to projects like this and we work well together.

Lily's initials "carved" into her tree...
a little love bird...
two birds in their nest
As I mentioned, Joe did all of the design work, I painted all of the walls and then we both painted the mural together.  Joe with his steady hand did all of the creatures- which turned out so, super cute! I did all of the blossoms and all of the finishing touches on the room.  

two love birds...
Daddy owl, Mommy owl and Lily owl
A little squirrel who hangs out by the changing table
We LOVE how it turned out, and more importantly, Lily LOVES her new room!  We moved her bed into the room as one of the last steps in the process and she immediately began running all around gathering her books and throwing them into her bed and saying "Up!" over and over again- she wanted to just get right into her crib and hang out and read some books. It was so cute! We laughed because had we known she was going to want to spend almost an entire hour in her bed, we would have moved her bed in MUCH sooner to contain her while we worked!

Her little pink bunny who lives beside her bed
beside the door to the landing...

Looking in fron the door toward the window

As I mentioned, we were able to use a lot of the stuff from her nursery in the other house for this room as well (which makes sense!)  For example, her moon is hanging up near her changing table, the letters pictured above were from her old room and are hung over her bathroom door in her new room and we used the same curtains.  Some of the baby themed artwork is no longer hanging in her room and we opted to not re-hang her little shelf over her mirror around her changing table.  That may make another appearance later in time, but for now, with Lily being such a wiggle worm, we could see her trying to hang on the shelf or pull it down or something along those lines, so it did not make the cut.  The pink rug on the floor in front of her crib we purchased using a Target gift card.  It was fun to add a little pop of color.

We have been asked a lot how Lily adjusted moving to a different room and she has done amazing with that.  I think it helped that she saw us working on her room and could see the changes as we made progress and was excited by each and every little thing she noticed.  We would talk with her about her "new" room and she was very excited that it was going to be for her.  So I think that when the time finally arrived and we started moving her stuff across the hall, she was ready and very excited which made all of the difference.