Simple, budget-friendly mom hacks and must-haves your grandma would be proud of.
This post is sponsored by Cascade pure essentials. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
My grandma Edith lived one of the most simply abundant lives I’ve ever witnessed. Having lived through the Great Depression, my grandma lived a life that many consider trendy and novel now. She reused. Recycled. Upcycled. Ate from her farm and garden, and prepared meals from scratch. Dried clothes outside on the line. Many of her cleaning products were homemade… and her potpourri was, too!
This past year has been all about simplifying for our family. Inspired by my Grandma Edith – I’m sharing some easy tips for bringing spring indoors with simple, budget-friendly mom hacks and must-haves.
Many of my readers started following me for my home decor content, but I’ve really fallen behind this year on updating my home as much as I would like. I plan to change that in 2018 with some updates I have planned, with no more indecision to stymie me!
For now, I’m sharing a small home update in the form of a Christmas Home Tour.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EverydayCraftMoments #CollectiveBias
You may have noticed I haven’t yet refreshed my dining area as planned.
My usual design paralysis took hold, and I couldn’t stop thinking about Thanksgiving. What do the holidays have to do with home design? Well, everything.
The more I thought about it, the more I couldn’t come up with a wallpaper and concept that I was confident I’d love year round. As it turns out, I’m content with my minimalist dining area for now, and I think it really shines when I decorate for a gathering.
I decided to set the table for an inexpensive and easy, but glam fall meal.
I set the table with items I already had on hand: some gold chargers, white dishes, and leftover white pumpkins from Halloween.
I then added eucalyptus branches and pretty fall florals to add a pretty pop.
Hi Friends! So, I’m doing something a little a lot crazy. I’ve always wanted to take part in Calling It Home’s One Room Challenge – a design challenge for bloggers to make over a room within six weeks. However, I’m jumping in right in the middle, which means I want to try to complete it in just three weeks!. Can I pull off a feature wall and redesign in 3 weeks? We shall see!
It’ s been awhile since I’ve shared on the blog. I ran out of steam there for awhile, but I’m back with a project I’ve been planning for some time, and finally got around to: my self serve sign for the kitchen.
We’re slowly but surely making some changes to our builder grade home, like a new back splash that we love. Still, I thought the kitchen needed a little more character.
There are only two weeks until Easter, and I kicked off the season with a casual Easter lunch for the kids.
The menu was very fancy: PB&J, applesauce, string cheese, and milk.
The table was a little fancier. We used their Easter baskets as centerpieces, and filled them with some Easter things we bring out each year: books, little stuffed animals, bunny ears, and some (empty) plastic eggs.
I recently posted an Instagram photo of a “rose” I’d created out of fall leaves. I had several of you message me to ask how I’d done it. It’s easy! However, I can’t take credit for this idea – I saw this in my Facebook feed one day and decided to follow it:
Photo tutorial c/o Nicole Duke – unfortunately I can’t find her to link you to her online.
Collect around 10-15 of the prettiest fall leaves you can find, ranging from small to large. I put the kids in charge of this. Starting with one of the smallest leaves, fold the “points” or tips of the leaves down, making sure the colorful side is on the outside.
Then, roll it from left to right into a tight tube, with the stem pointing down. Take your next leaf and do the same, but this time wrapping it around the first leaf. Repeat this over and over, wrapping looser with each leaf.
With your final 3-6 leaves, leave the points up and wrap them around the outside. Doesn’t it resemble a beautiful rose?
I recently posted a photo of our family room on Instagram and got lots of notes asking me about the space. I had friends tell me it looked like something out of a magazine. What a compliment!
I was really surprised by the reaction I got, though. The truth is, anyone can make a space look amazing in just one photograph. Our home is a work in progress. Most of our home is not decorated. I finish little areas of a room and wait to finish the rest of the space as inspiration strikes me. That means there are uglier areas of the room that don’t get shown in photos – like the comfortable, oversized, slightly worn leather chair the corner where it doesn’t quite fit. The lamps that don’t quite match but that continue to live on in the room until I find the perfect lights that fit my budget.
I’m not very confident as a decorator, so I just go by my gut feeling. If I put a rug in the space and I find that I don’t feel comfortable, it’s not the right fit for me. If I put a wild throw pillow on the couch and it makes me want to sit down and enjoy the space – it was the right design choice for me.
Here are the design tips I follow in my home:
Start with high quality, neutral furniture This means a great neutral couch with clean lines, a high quality rug and furniture in the space. Keep the colors neutral so they can last – both in structure and in design taste – for many years. Like all things in life, when you get the foundation right everything works much better!
Bring in texture In our home, we add lots of texture with mixed leathers, deep rich woods and distressed reclaimed woods, too. It means sleek cool mirrors and hard metal vases and decor juxtaposed with wild flowers and dried wild grasses. We use fabrics with varying textures, too – but they must always, always be comfortable and soft! Make sure your throw pillows are filled with down, too. They will look 100% better and will be more comfortable, too.
Add pops of color For me, this means bold colors and patterns, as you can see with our throw pillows. I love all of these colors and patterns, and somehow when I mix them all they come together perfectly to me.
Personalize This is my most important design rule. Nothing makes an environment more sterile than lack of personalization. I like to decorate with lots of pictures. Some I keep in their frames forever for nostalgia. For our main wall, I use updated family photos every year.
Keep it versatile One of my favorite tips when buying mats and frames is to buy square or symmetrical frames, and have the mat cut to the size of photos you plan to use. Here’s why this is genius: if your favorite photo this year was portrait – oriented, inevitably you’ll one day have a favorite that is landscape – oriented. Instead of buying a new frame and re-hanging the photos on your wall to fit, you just turn the frame on its side, and you’re in business. See how I have examples of both portrait and landscape photos on my wall?
I love exchanging “favorite things” with my girlfriends, and I love the idea of passing those things along here on the blog. I’ve tried all of these products personally, and my recommendations are not sponsored by any of the brands represented.
Here are just a few items I’ve been loving lately – I hope you find some new favorites!
Wet Brush I love this brush for my own hair, but I bought a second one when I realized it was the ONE way I could brush my daughter’s hair without tears. I even got the travel size! I wash and condition her hair in the bathtub in the evening, and then brush through it with this while it’s still wet. The next morning her hair is still mostly tangle-free, and I’m able to brush through it again easily. If she has any bad tangles when it’s dry, I’ll actually wet the brush or the area of hair to get the tangle out.
PopSugar Must Have BoxI just love opening presents, and with this service it’s like getting the most amazing box of gifts from my BFF who knows me SO well each month. Seriously, this is a little luxury subscription that has introduced me to so many fabulous things in the past. I’ve shared this with many friends who have subscribed and feel the same way! When you sign up here, you can use one of the following referral codes to get $10 off! ABX17YZ or B213YMZ. (PS The upcoming October box includes Mindy Kaling’s newest book, “Why Not Me?“!)
Here’s a look at one of the recent boxes I loved, valued at more than $100.
Gap 1969 Denim Sateen Jogger These are the most comfortable pants I own. I think I’ve been complimented on them every time I’ve worn them (and hurry, they’re on sale now!).
Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar Kit This one might seem a little random, but I love these Advent Calendars because they not only work great as a gift, but they also work great for inexpensive Star Wars party favors that are a HUGE hit each year (check them out here, along with more Star Wars favor ideas!). That’s just $1.66 for each favor that your party guests will actually use! Hurry though – these always sell out way before December!
Quick Pouch Lego Storage Bag Speaking of Legos, I love this storage solution. True story: my mother actually made this exact thing for my brother in the 70’s and we still use it for Dub to this day. For those who aren’t so lucky to get such an heirloom, there is this inexpensive, durable solution. I also bought a mini version for Dub to take on-the-go when we travel.
Roomba 880 Okay, so I definitely consider this a luxury item, but now that we live in a home with dark wood floors and three messy children, I don’t want to know a life without this little machine. We set it to run automatically overnight while we’re sleeping, and in the morning, our floors look great! That’s no small feat in our home, so we feel it’s been worth the price. Something to note for this vacuum though, when placed on a rug with bold black/white stripes/shapes as in this image, the vacuum gets confused. It uses variations in color like this to detect ledges and doesn’t work as effectively. If you have lots of rugs like this in your home. the Roomba isn’t going to perform as well for you.
Photo Triggers As a photography hobbiest, I’ve started realizing how few images I have with me in the shot. I want to remember myself as part of the family memories in this stage of life, so I’ve tried to get in the photo more. That means triggers. I have two:
HISY Trigger – This trigger works with your iPhone for on-the-go photos anywhere. It’s small, so tuck it in your purse or in your car so you have it when you need it.
Canon Wireless Remote – I use this with my Canon DLSR camera, but you can use this remote for your Nikon DSLR. I have an older model of this remote that I’ve used for years, and am just starting to get use out of.
So now, I’m getting more images like this. How else would I capture painting my baby’s piggies for the first time?
Expo Disc Speaking of photography, this thing has changed my photos for the better, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long to get it. I used to struggle with getting a good custom white balance I could trust, which lead to more time consuming post processing. With this, all I do is get my settings, place the Expo Disc over my lens and take a photo of the light source, then, remove the Disc, set my custom white balance as usual, and go! This company has lots of great video tutorials on the product to make it even easier. I highly recommend it!
Command Picture Hanging Strips Since moving to our new home, these babies have been a life saver. My husband hates hanging photos and leveling them. I “have trouble visualizing” which leads to more picture hanging…and holes in the wall. That’s not good for a marriage, folks. So, I buy these in the large packs and hang photos at my every whim. The best part is that If I don’t get it quite right, I just lift it off the wall and reposition it, as long as it still fits on the strip on the wall. If not, I just take them off the wall and start over again. Easy breezy. I’ve never had any trouble with these, but I use the strips that hold up to 16 lbs., just in case.
Photos hung in marital bliss thanks to Command strips.
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Our Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker gets used all. summer. long. We’ve tried and love nearly all the recipes that come with it, and also use it to whip up a few of our own exclusive homemade recipes, as well. Buy it along with the extra freezer bowl at Williams-Sonoma now for just $56 with the 20% discount!
While you’re at it, pick up one of these adorable functional Tovolo Ice Cream containers (that is, if you ever plan on having leftovers!).
On the topic of frozen treats, we’re big fans of these Sunsella Mighty Pops silicone popsicle molds. I like that I can make a healthy frozen smoothie that the kids can have in the car on the way to school or to pack in their lunch box. In the summers, we love to make popsicles and other frozen treats. One of our recent favorites is a refreshing Strawberries and Cream Lemonade Pops recipe that can be found here.
RMS Living Luminizer. This is the holy grail of fresh dewy luminizing makeup – perfect for your summer makeup routine.My skin is dry, and I find that when I stay hydrated and moisturized and use this product my skin looks its best. Just apply a small amount on your cheekbones, brow bones and temples.
Old Navy distressed RockStar denim. These are part of my summer uniform lately. They are the perfect blend of lightweight, stretchy denim that look great with a casual tee or dressed up for GNO – and the price can’t be beat. Remember to size up 1-2 sizes with these!
Last but not least is the Rosy Outlook Planner. No matter how advanced technology is, I still need a paper planner to map out my lists, meetings and reminders. Once I saw this planner I was smitten. It’s only July, but I’ve already pulled the trigger on this 2016 planner laced with inspirational messages, cute stickers and the week by week layout I prefer.
Thanks for stopping by to see what I’m loving lately!
I was dreaming of a very feminine, girly-girl look for the girls’ shared Jack and Jill style bathroom when I stumbled across these gorgeous Anthropologie Keepsake Brooch Knobs. They were perfect! But as I did the math, I just couldn’t justify spending $120 for seven pulls (including shipping and tax) in this particular room.
I searched high and low and found a few options for less. If you’re not the DIY type, these are great options for getting this glam look for less.
I like these (smaller) jeweled pulls from Hobby Lobby. Pair them with their weekly 40% off coupon and the patience of a saint and you could score each of them for $4.20 each before tax.
Or how about these, much more simple, rhinestone knobs? You just can’t beat that price – only $1 each!
I wanted to try to replicate my inspiration knobs from Anthropologie as much as possible for quite a bit less, and came up with these.
Aren’t they lovely? Here’s how I made them. I bought these pretty rhinestone brooches – the closest match I could find to my inspiration knobs – just $2.25 each, total.
I then bought these inexpensive drawer pulls for $1.28 each. It is important that the diameter is close to the size of the brooches – not only to make it easier to affix, but for the long term durability of the knobs. I’ve seen other bloggers attempt to affix a brooch to a much smaller knob or pull, which significantly impacts long-term durability. The aim is that you will naturally pull using the knob and not the brooch. I was able to achieve that with this combination.
I then used some Marine JB Weld epoxy we had on hand to attach the brooch to the knob. Since these fit so perfectly together, we just hooked the brooch pin over the knob for simplicity, and then used the epoxy. I’d originally planned to remove the pin fixtures from the brooch and then affix the epoxy around the outer diameter of the knob, but this way was far easier and worked just as well.
If you’re not familiar with JB Weld epoxy, it’s a product that works as a chemical weld. It’s meant for marine purposes and is water proof. These babies are not coming apart any time soon!
The grand total for this project was just shy of $25 for seven knobs – that’s just $3.50 per knob. I saved nearly $93 compared to my inspiration hardware!
Here is what they look like installed. I think they add the right amount of sparkle to this shared little girl bathroom.
It’s incredibly hard to get a photo because they are in the narrow Jack and Jill bathroom that gets no natural light. Pictures don’t begin to do these beautiful fixtures justice!
I’m slowly going room by room and decorating where inspiration strikes. That only happens to be working in the kids’ areas, but I’m embracing it!
Next up is Dub’s bathroom. I love the idea of making it an all-boy kind of space – I absolutely love decorating really boyish spaces – but I want it to be somewhat neutral since it will be shared with overnight guests.
I railroaded Dub into the blue color for his room – I’d rejected the crazy bright aqua color he really wanted (I just couldn’t…) so I let him choose the paint for this space himself.
I tried to convince him that a steel blue color would be great. I go for neutrals everywhere else, so I was hoping this would be a room with some color. However, he really liked the idea of a silvery gray for the space. Out of 5 grays, he chose Sherwin Williams Gray Screen because of the slightly blue tint and light tone. Nice choice!
Here is the working Mood Board I’m using to inspire the makeover.
I designed artwork to add some color to the otherwise neutral, rustic space. I’m not 100% sure on this scheme, but since the artwork is free (I already have the IKEA RIbba frames on hand from a failed attempt to use it elsewhere), I’m going with it for now.
And just because I couldn’t decide…I’m sharing a few variations I worked on:
What do you think? I’m hoping this inspires others to add some color to their spaces, so I’m making several of them available to you for free!
We recently made the decision to sell our “starter” home and build a new home that better accommodates our growing family. We bought this home just months before our wedding, had three babies here and many, many precious memories as a family. We’re ready for the next chapter, but this sentimental mom is feeling a bit emotional about it, as well.
The moment we signed the papers to build our new home I was immediately motivated to take on a project I’ve been meaning to for a long time – make a family growth chart that we can take with us – wherever we go. Our former growth chart was done the old fashioned way – with pencil on the wall of our kitchen (that I still can’t bring myself to paint over even since I’ve made this beautiful new chart).
I’d once tried my hand at an embroidered chart that was supposed to be cute and charming, but didn’t end up looking quite as polished as my inspiration. I also found that I was too lazy to embroider once a year. My laziness factor is high.
So I moved on to those cute reclaimed signs I’ve seen all over Pinterest.
I started with a 3/4″x7″x8′ piece of cedar lumber that I purchased at Home Depot for less than $9. First, I enlisted Dub to weather it for me. I gave him chains and a hammer and let him have at it. I stained it with leftover stain that I used on our stairs for our garage makeover.
From there, I had to get measuring – my least favorite part. Our family is really tall, so I cut my board to 6′ tall and painted 1′ white stripes using leftover paint from the garage makeover. These are some terrible progress photos, but you get the idea.
I actually liked the way this looked when I was done, but I went ahead and sanded it to give it a more distressed look.
Then, I used my silhouette to create the measurement marks. I barely use my Silhouette but I used it for this, figuring it would make the measuring much easier for me. I measured it on the computer, cut it out on the Silhouette and then used transfer paper to stick it right on the board without having to re-measure.
I’m super happy with the way that it turned out! I can’t wait to hang this measurement chart in our new home next year. I can see keeping this chart in our home forever, and measuring little grandbabies someday.
Postscript: after completing my chart, I stumbled upon this cute version by Handmade Charlotte
If I had to do it over again, I think her way of painting the numbers would be a lot cheaper and easier. However, I’d still want to make the measurement marks so that I could tell visually exactly how tall the kids are. Everytime they get measured they want to know EXACTLY how many feet, inches and centimeters tall they are. Because that matters to 4 and 6 year olds.
What do you think? Do you have a family growth chart in your home?
Last weekend I had the DIY bug – I was really in the mood for a project but didn’t want to spend a lot of money. We’re planning to sell our home within the year and don’t want to invest much more into this house. We landed on a garage to mudroom transformation.