Friday, April 17, 2015

The Organize-a-thon


Aby is hosting a weekend organiz-a-thon at Simplify 101.

My task is not difficult: but it is daunting. I intend to get most of  this:

Back into this:

and this:

Just trying out an idea.

Since I am working Saturday and a half day on Sunday, we'll see how far I get by Monday.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

ORC Week 3: The Agony of Decisions

This week I bought a chair, hung my curtains, and looked at light fixtures.

Along with more than 100 other linking participants, I am scrambling madly to completely make over one room in my house in five short weeks. (Six posts, but five weeks if you start on the day of your first post. Fortunately, I started a bit before that--but not by much!)

I am doing over my dining room/study.

The plans for this room are here in week one: The Befores and a Vision
The adventure that is week two is here: The Painted Room

The chair was easy. I knew I wanted something comfy for reading in this room from the start. In fact, that's one of the reasons I took on this madness.

I decided on the Ikea Byholma.

With the Byholma flipped over upside down in my cart and on my way to the cash registers, I came across this little beauty.

Obviously, she came home with me. It's called Lacko, but I cannot find it on their site, strangely enough.

The curtains were a bit more complicated.

Also from Ikea, I bought a set at the same time I bought the chair. The next day, I realised I had bought the longer, more expensive curtains. So, I returned them. (I would have kept them, but I already had two panels of the shorter length.)

I washed both pairs and then set about to hang my curtain rods higher.

Did I measure the curtains?

No. (You can see where this is going. Why didn't I?)

I wanted to hang them high, so high I had to enlist my husband's help. While he was watching a movie.

That did not go over well.

Then, I realised we had hung them too high.

I wailed. So, no pictures. Taking pity on me, hubs drilled a couple more holes just below the first ones. Not low enough. Tempers frayed, we had a minor argument about the wisdom of doing projects late at night. And went to bed with lots of holes in our walls.

We tried again a couple of days later.

sorry, the cabinet is still dark. It just might stay that way. I haven't decided, yet.

Meanwhile, I searched the internet and brick and mortar stores for an overhead light fixture. I looked at thousands of lights and visited five stores.

I got a lovely lesson in design from a wonderful saleswoman on size and scale.

From my internet reading, I'd figured out that my light fixture needed to be the diameter of my room length and width (in feet) added together and expressed in inches. So, for example, my room is 10.5 feet by 11 feet. Thus, my light fixture should be at least 21.5 inches in diameter.

But then she asked me "What colour is your table?"

Here's why:

The size looks OK: but doesn't it look odd? There's no balance at all.

Here is a dark table and a dark chandy:

So delicious.

When I told her my table top was white, she said I should be looking at silver fixtures. (brushed nickel, chrome, etc.) I recoiled.


But we did agree it should be lighter in visual mass. Airier.

Something like this, I would imagine:

However, I am not so sure my table top is staying white. I'm giving serious thought to building something like the above (galvanized pipe painted grey or off-black and a "natural wood" top).

or this:

Dark metal legs and a lighter "driftwood" coloured top.

Decisions, decisions.

But I won't be doing any of it late at night. 

Catch up with the inspiring projects from the professionals here and the wannabees, like me, here.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

ORC Week 2: The Painted Room

This week, the second in the One Room Challenge hosted by Linda of Calling it Home was all about the paint. 

I am the world's messiest painter. 

But before we get into that, I need you to know something.

I fell in love this week.


Isn't she beeyootiful?

Both my husband and my daughter said it was "too modern" (my son said it was boring) and when West Elm converted American dollars to Canadian (adding about 30% to the price) plus the shipping, what was barely affordable (and on sale!) became out of reach.

so, I let it go.

I am sad.

For the first few days after we painted, I wondered if I'd done the right thing going with the barest off-white instead of a happy blue-green. I had been going back and forth on it until I saw that Jonathan Adler--of all people--has light white walls.

Then I was happy again. No more goldy yellow!

(Though my husband and I both agree this is a very odd colour in this room--sometimes it looks pink, and sometimes like cantaloupe.)

What was once the desk wall now sports a rather nekkid Expedit,

and where the Expedit once was is now a random assortment of my leftover furniture.

Actually, I loved the colour when I first painted it--it was an excellent choice to bring together my white Ikea furniture and my dark walnut china cabinet.

Yes, I painted that old pine door black. I am going back and forth on that, too. And we painted the baseboards. No waffling on that. Best. Thing. Ever.

Because now, I am wondering what to do about that china cabinet!

It's a nice piece. I like its straight forward lines. But it has always been just a tad too precious.

But, how about painting it....say.....Tardis blue?

Or, dark blue--with a different colour inside?

I cannot tell you how much I love this emerald green:

I love this grey? blue? and coral combination:

Of course, there's always the option to go white with hidden depths:

I have no idea what I'm doing or where I am going. 

I am researching (affordable!) options for a table, a light fixture, and a comfy chair. I'm also keeping my eyes peeled for a rug (which I may paint). I don't really have a to do list for this challenge or a pre-set direction. I am willing to let things come together more or less organically. So far, I am enjoying it.

But, there's a really strong chance this whole laissez-faire approach is going to bite me.

Catch up with the professionals here and the gate crashers here.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

ORC Week 1: The Befores and a Vision

It's time to crash the best party in town!

Yes, the ORC, (One Room Challenge), hosted by Linda of Calling it Home is back--and she's invited some wonderful designers and decorators to participate in transforming any room of his or her choosing for the next five weeks. That happens on Wednesdays. On Thursdays, any old riff raff like me can link up.

This my third time. The first, in the Spring of 2014, was all about my Mom's bedroom.

The second, last fall, I focused on my own living room.

This time, I am tackling my home office/dining room/study. I had been going to do a different area of the house, but Nester offered a course in decorating that runs concurrently with the challenge--so I am happily combining both web extravaganzas.

The last time I made over this room was in the Fall of 2007. It took us ten and a half weeks.

My husband and I transformed the room--painting it from red to a lovely muted golden yellow was only part of it. We bought and assembled new furniture, and sanded and painted and stained stuff we already had. We added things to make this room work hard for us. Mostly, we put up a lot of shelves.

This time, we're subtracting. We no longer homeschool--so I don't need quite so many shelves. I work on a laptop--so the desk isn't really needed either.  But, more than anything, I've been seized by minimalism--a radical idea that there should be nothing in this room that isn't absolutely needed for what we do in here. Well, that's the ideal. The reality is--some things need to be stored that aren't exactly needed just here: but here is where they will be because they have to be somewhere. Yes, I am thinking of my scrapbooks. But not, this time, of my scrapbook supplies.

I am quite excited to see what I can do to create an airy, light library/study/dining room.

Here are the official before pictures.

When you enter the room from the hallway, the first thing you see is my giant Expedit.

Turning right there's my desk (which serves as a buffet when this room is turned into a dining room).

That door leads to the kitchen which I revamped last fall as part of Apartment Therapy's Style Cure.

To the left, the north facing window wall, I have a folding table from IKEA over thirty years old.

Turn and face the China cabinet, and we are back at the pine door with more vintage IKEA beside it.

And here is something of the direction I want to go. Essentially, I want to capitalize on its libraryishness.

Here are the key elements:

Table and chairs by the window with a bookcase nearby.

I may go for a nice strong color on the walls.

I would choose a lovely blue-green.

(Then again, I may not.)

I love the idea of including a larger chair for reading.

Maybe, instead of the monster yellow library chair,  a rattan chair would do?

(Note the rug: love the stripes!)

Love the texture of wrought iron and natural wood together.

I would love to figure out how to do this with the table I have.

Lastly, I want a new light fixture and a rug. Given my budget, I'll probably have to make both myself.

Here is where hubs and I were at before dinner yesterday:

Stay tuned!

Here's a chance to see what all the other party crashers are up to: link.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Friday, March 27, 2015

Becoming a Cozy Minimalist

When the Nester announced she was offering a decorating class, I jumped.

Even though I am taking two other courses.

Even though I am helping my Mom both recover her health and renovate her house.

Even though I plan to tackle my back hallway and stairwell (starting next week!) as part of the One Room Challenge.

I just may have become that tablespoon of peanut butter one is "allowed" on that diet toast and spread myself a bit thin.

But then, I never do anything by halves.

I've decided to work on the dining room.

I want to paint the walls the slightest blue-green.

I want to replace the light fixture.

Replace the table with something both bigger and smaller.

Put a reading chair (which would also be an end chair) by the window.

And paint this ugly pine door--and possibly remove this bookcase entirely.

The course is six weeks long--and the first assignment is to "quieten the room"--take out everything tht isn't nailed down. I am allowed to keep what makes this room function for us.

Of course, Easter--one of the three times we actually use this room as a dining room--is right around the corner.

Instead of the Easter bunny, the men in white coats may just show up on my doorstep.

I don't know why, but I feel scared to death.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Goals: The February Review and the Rest of March New

Obviously, I am a bit late with this! But, I didn't do it--and I feel like I must do something to feel like my life is my own again. Plus, it is incredibly helpful to get back on track!

Let's review:

Yearly Goals:

1. Weigh less
--no idea.

2. Owe less
--as of today, yes!

3. Exercise
--not doing it.

4. Fix bathrooms

5. Decorate front and back hallway.
--Coming in April!

6. Sell books in garage
--see June and July

7. De-clutter/Organize basement storage area.
--in progress. (see link below)

8. Declutter and Organize basement pantry and laundry room area

9. Two new recipes per month.
--I was focused on finding a few vegetarian recipes. Lately, I've been focused on finding recipes I can make ahead and freeze. 

10. Begin the process to wire the house properly.
--um, does putting up a new light--and then taking it down because it interrupted all power to my daughter's room count? 

11. Spend one on one time with each child once a month.
--My son and I made plans but they fell through. 

Goals for February.

1. I enrolled in a life-coaching course called "Re-discovering You." It's a 28 day challenge in self-improvement. My goal is to do all my homework every day.

I did not do my homework everyday. I don't know why, but I just couldn't get into this course at all.

2. Sea Change (Leo Babauta's course) switched focus to healthy eating.

1. I quit drinking diet Coke for the whole month. 
2. I tried to keep a food journal every day. That did not go well. I only managed 10 days.
3. I introduced more fruits and vegetables to my diet and ate fewer potato chips and pie. That was good.

3. A Simple Year, another course I am enrolled in focuses on "Busyness" this month. My goal is to do all the reading--and only those assignments I feel may be of value to me. I do not feel like my life is over-busy. (At least, not right now. It will be a different story starting in May through to September!)

Wow. I have no idea how I did on this. Everything spun out of control so fast.

3. Laundry seems to be a huge problem. I am not sure what it is. Are we not doing laundry frequently enough? (likely) or do we have too many clothes? (also likely).

1. I started doing all the laundry on my days off. That seemed to help.

4. Clean the basement!
The first area I need to address is the laundry room.

1. Yay! I did it.

5. Paperwork.
Ugh. I have been stashing papers in a drawer of my desk for, oh, about a year. I don't mind doing this at all: I know where papers are if I need them. BUT. It is getting full and a lot of them are likely no longer needed. This is good prep for taxes, too.

1. See March.

6. Complete all homework assignments for Joshua Becker's decluttering module in A Simple Year.
  a. declutter car See March
  b. declutter two living areas in your home.
            bedroom's done! Dining room/study is done. (for now).
  c. clear all functional surfaces. done. 
  d. implement a "living with less" experiment.

I removed as close to 29 kitchen utensils as I could.

  e. begin tackling a hard to declutter room or area. (the basement.)

7. Take one small step towards writing my Canadian History curriculum for children.

1. I didn't do this. I won't do this. It is time to get rid of everything I've collected over time related to this, I guess.

The Rest of March:

There are only two weeks left.

1. A Simple Year is focusing on a module called Travel. I am skipping it.

2. Sea Change:

The focus this month is decluttering. I am not doing well at all. The instructions are to declutter ten minutes every day: I have only managed 7/15 days so far. I am so sorry to miss this! I suppose I can always start fresh and aim for 16/16 days remaining.

3. Paperwork.

I started on the drawer. I have to make up some files and then I'll be ready to collect papers for yet another year.

4. Paint Canvas in Dining Room/study.

Yes, I bought one! The plan for the dining room is now to paint the walls Blue-green and paint the canvas an even deeper blue green.

5. Choose colour for walls in Dining room/study.

6. Start new Bullet Journal and transfer items.

7. Begin planning in earnest for ORC challenge, starting April 2nd.

8. Declutter car and have it detailed.

9. Do dishes every evening before bed.
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