what "intentional" looked like in january...

as each month of this year draws to a close, i'd like to make the time to think a bit on what intentional  looked like for me that month and how it actually fleshed itself out into action.
i want to be able to look back and chart tangible progress,  see concrete goals met.
i want to be able to recognize how it changed my life.

january was focused on being intentional in decorating and housekeeping.
this month, intentionality had one major influence on me.
just one.
but that one was big enough in itself.
in january, i was spurred to action.

i'm all for rest...relaxation...renewal...
i even had a weekend for that around the time of my birthday this month.
but i think, every so often, a good kick in the seat of the pants is in order.

we all work hard.  we do.
and sometimes we can get into such a habit of i deserve to rest...
i deserve to sit and take a break...
i'm just going to take it easy this evening...
and before you know it, those take-it-easy evenings have stretched into weeks, weeks into months,
and we wonder why the needle-less christmas wreath is still hanging on our front door in april.

so, for me, january looked like a lot of DOing and not much sitting around and resting.
a time for everything, right?
well, this wasn't the month for relaxation, let me tell ya.

january looked like an evening, after an exhaustingly long day of homeschooling, spent moving our mail center into my blogging/business desk in the living room.
it was after 7:00, i was waging the mental debate over curling up with a steaming hot cup of coffee and a good book--after all, i'd earned it right?....
OR moving my mail and bills and papers and other not-so-fun sounding stuff.
the thing is, i knew the pay-off would be worth it.  i knew the sense of accomplishment would be greater than the enjoyment of hot java and a few chapters.  i knew i'd be able to cross something off my january goals list.
but still, the inner struggle was very real.  
and that's what i want you to know.
it's not like oh, but this is easy for her...she likes to organize! 
yes.  true.  i do.  but i also enjoy sprawling out on the couch after a rough day just as much as the next person.
in the end, of course, i opted for relocating the communications center.  
and i'll be honest...i really didn't enjoy it at first.
but i kept going, knowing that getting it done would be its own sort of fabulous reward.
and it was.  i was pleased with the way everything fit together...so happy to still be able to use beautiful pieces that i love for practical purposes.

january looked like sewing a feedsack pillow one evening...

it looked like sewing sweater pillows on two other evenings...

january looked like handmade billy balls, and felted wool wreaths and arrows, and homemade vintage-style school posters, and felt-blossom branches, and extra-large-pom-pom garland.  
january looked like many photos added to the #dontjustPINitDOit hashtag.

and january looked like A LOT of fails, too...
it looked like a fabulous woven-wool rug that i hauled home from the bestie's house {after un-giving it to her...kind-of-sort-of-not-really}...only to find that i really liked my old rug better.
it looked like screwing cup hooks into approximately sixteen different places in my new coffee corner, only to figure out that hanging mugs just won't work for us in that space.
it looked like having a fabulous lamp...and then whitewashing that lamp because no matter how fabulous it is, it isn't fabulous if it doesn't go with your decor.  and then after whitewashing it, discovering that now the shade looks terrible on it.  so the shade gets spray-painted.  and covered with three tiers of ruffles.  handmade ruffles.  torn-from-vintage-sheets ruffles.  and then the newly-ruffle-bedecked shade gets put with the formerly-fabulous-freshly-whitewashed lamp, and all you hear inside is womp...womp...womp.  yah.  it looks like that, too. {and if your charitable self is tempted to say awwwwww! it looks good! please. don't.  please trust me that it looks way worse in real life than in that photo above.}
of course, then, it looked like driving to no fewer than seven different stores, searching for the right lampshade for said lamp, before finally conceding that perhaps our match was not made in heaven and maybe this lamp and i were just not meant to be.

it looked like trying approximately eight different newly-thrifted baskets for tea bags in my coffee corner before discovering the berry baskets i'd had in my basement all along.
it looked like more returned picture frames and lamp shades than i care to remember.

but all in all, january looked like a lot more DOing than thinking about doing...
or talking about doing...
or pinning about doing...
or sitting and relaxing and wishing someone else was doing.

january looked like a lot getting off my bootay and getting it done.

if i can carry even a fraction of this motivation into the upcoming months, i'll be elated.


so, many of us choose "a word for the year"...
but here's where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.
we are 28 days into 2015...
how has your word for 2015 changed your life?

did you choose a therapeutic-sounding/spiritual-sounding/wisdom-inducing word without giving it much thought?
are you wishing you would have chosen a word with more applicable meaning in your life?
it's not too late!  we are only 28 days into 365!!!  choose a new word!
for that matter, choose a new word each month if you feel led to do so.
the important thing is that is spurs you to change.

maybe you made the right choice on a word, but by 19 days in it had completely slipped your mind?
consider this your call to action, to renewal.
write it on your hand, tattoo it on your forehead {not really, please}, embroider it on a hoop {or order one from me}, put post-its around your house...
let your word seep through every fibre of your being until it's manifested through tangible results in your daily life.

this is my call for dialogue.
let's chat.
i want to know about your word...
tell me how it's changed you already...
or how you have changed it already...
or what your plans are to change beginning today.

talk to me, friends.


our little coffee corner

today, i finally get to show you the accomplishment of the first goal on my january goals list!!!

back in december, i got the hair-brained idea that i'd like to create a special corner in our kitchen exclusively for our hot drinks--coffee, tea {which i'm drinking a lot more of lately}, and cocoa.
when i'd visited my friend natalie in november, i'd quickly fallen in love with her coffee bar; but just hadn't considered it as a feasible option in our home...you know, the whole that would never work for me sort of thing.

when january rolled around with its theme of intentional in decorating and housekeeping,
that pesky idea of a coffee station just wouldn't let go.
and now, i'm glad it stuck around!!!

i'm so excited to show you our new little coffee corner!!!
when i finally conceded to the idea and began considering locations for the coffee corner, there were two cabinets that came up as possibilities.
this cabinet was already an open, display-style cabinet, which is what i was specifically wanting; while the other cabinet would have taken a considerable amount of work to get display-worthy.
i'm not saying it couldn't have been done, but when all the factors were considered, this was by far the more favorable option.

my hubby and i have been french press people for ages now, not owning a coffee machine of any sort.
while we didn't want to ditch the presses completely, we did want the convenience of an electric coffee maker.
my budget was limited for this project--limited meaning, as inexpensive as possible, while still maintaining quality workmanship and products--so i employed one of my favorite money-saving techniques--phone a friend.
we have a neighbor down the road that shows up here for coffee several times a week--i asked him if, by any chance, he had a spare coffee maker sitting around {lots of folks do, you know!}...and he commented that he had this espresso maker tucked under his counter that he had never even used!!!
he brought it down the next day and gave it to me!!!  free is my favorite price, y'all!
another friend saw on IG that i was considering buying a keurig and offered me her used model for $15.
it's just a one-cupper, and our coffee needs will quickly outgrow it, but it buys us time.  and that was well worth the $15 to me.
my husband works for nestle and can get a great corporate discount on their nespresso machines.  ultimately, that's what we'd like to get.  we're just doing our research and saving our pennies first.

the little yellow tea pot was a gift from natalie.  the sugar and creamer were gifts from my best friend, denise.  shine on art {by evie ivy} was in my swag back when i attended whatever craft weekend in 2013.

in one of the drawers beneath the counter, i store all my boxed teas--the kind with the bags not individually wrapped.

i've collected antique ransburg canisters in various colors throughout the years, and was thrilled to be able to use some in this little nook.
the large white canister holds my hubby's coffee--he can drink the jet-fuel, hi-test, real coffee...
and the smaller green canister holds my coffee--decaf--because i'm a total caffeine-wimp.

i had already purchased the have a cup of cheer print {from this shop} before i decided to create the coffee corner.
including shipping it was only $12, but i don't think that should really have to enter into the coffee-corner-cost, do you?
i mean, since it wasn't expressly purchased for this project?

i already owned the round red clock...
and as an avid thrifter, my mug collection is ever-evolving, but none of them count toward the cost of this project.
the wooden tray was a {gulp!} brand-new target purchase, and i almost choked at the $20 it cost me,
since i'm suuuuuuuuure i'll see one in goodwill next week.
but alas, i searched several thrift stores and just couldn't find a wooden tray, and this one did meet my needs perfectly.
so there.  a few more $$$ on the cost tally.

i bought this beat-up old bread box up in ontario, wisconsin, last fall when we were up there for our yearly pilgrimage to uncle tom's cabin {our uncle tom, not theeeee uncle tom}.
i think i paid $5 for it and even second-guessed myself paying that much.
the handle had fallen off and it was pretty scuzzy.
when my color scheme for this corner started including a bit of yellow and green, i remembered this relic tucked away in a dusty corner of my laundry room.  i dug it out, scrubbed it up, fixed its handle...
and now, needless to say, i'm thrilled that i plunked that lincoln down for it!

the bread box holds a bit of overflow from my tea collection.

cake stand, vintage yellow tea pot, and small green metal shelf are all thrift finds that i've had for ages, recruited for this new purpose {remember my mantra, friends--shop your house!!!}
small white berry baskets hold my individually-wrapped teas and were purchased on special last summer from one king's lane. {they have great specials...and if you sign up via my link above, you'll receive $15!!! off your first purchase!  and i'll get a $15 credit, too :)}
happy flags are from natalie's etsy.
and last but not least, that adorable little cross-hatch jar is theeeee smallest one i've ever found {and only one i've ever found that small}...i paid a whole dollar for that cutie up in amish country, too.

this isn't the prettiest picture of the bunch, but because i am always curious about this detail {and because a lot of posts leave it out}, i wanted to show you how this area fits in to the rest of our kitchen.
if you read yesterday's post, you'll notice that i still haven't hung that berggren bread board.  my bad.

so that's that!
according to my not-so-scientific calculations, i put the cost of this project under $40!!!

one little note that i think's worth mentioning...
i tend to put a lot of links in my posts.
some blog readers don't want to follow links...give me the post, the whole post, and nothing but the post, so help me God.
others like to jump around, following links here and there.
i'll give you one guess which category i fall into.

if you're of the former sort, feel free to just skip over all the links...
believe you me, i'll let you know if something is truly a matter of life or death.

so there.
i've felt like getting that off my chest for a while.
and now that i've said that, i want to say this...
this little project...this project that i was at first convinced wouldn't work at all in our space...
this little nook makes me smile sooooo big every time i see it.
please, do yourself a favor.  if you haven't already, take the time to read last friday's post.
and yes, that's a link you should click.
it may convince you to paint that cabinet white!
it may convince you to build a pallet headboard!
hey, it may even convince you to create a coffee corner in your kitchen!


if you give a woman a paintbrush...

saturday marked exactly one week left in this first month of 2015, and tonight was the first time that i've gone back and looked over my january goals for decorating and housekeeping.
i'll admit, there are one or two on the list that had somewhat slipped my mind; albeit, not entirely forgotten.
but for the most part, i'm over-the-moon thrilled with what i've been able to accomplish over these past 25-ish days.

goals 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, and 10 are completely finished...and by "completely finished" i mean no loose ends, no "well, i just need to do this one thing and it will be perfect"...
they're finished.
goal met.

i wanted to take the time to sit down and plot out exactly what i'd like to finish in this final week of january.
it's not that this month's focus of intentionality in decorating and housekeeping will come to a screeching halt on the 31st as i transition into next month's theme; but naturally, as my emphasis shifts, so will the drive, motivation, and somewhat-sense-of-urgency.
i want to close out this month by knocking out as many of those remaining goals as possible, and maybe even wrap up a few things that have come up along the way.

so, for this week...
{red numbers indicate "leftovers" from that original post}...

1.  i need to get a lampshade for this guy {the owl, not the cat}.
for the longest time he had theeeee coolest shade that i made from an old lampshade frame and vintage christmas balls.  i left it on him year-round...but again, this is one of those things that is just due for a change.  
this lamp is big.
i'v shopped at a few places for a shade for him, but to no avail.
hoping i maaaaaaay find one this week.

2.  {2 on original list, too} tv is still in our bedroom, still not working.  this is one of those things that this totally-tech-illiterate girl has to rely on her hubby for.  he's been so good about helping me out with some of my other projects, but with a full work week ahead of us, i'm wondering if this is one that's going to actually get checked off or not.

3.  this is one of those that wasn't on the original list, but it's made it on to the final-week list...
i'd like to get one or two things hung back up on this wall.
my walls were empty...blank...bare...for 26 days.
i've been very selective with which items i'm hanging back up, and there are a few oldies-but-goodies that simply must come back into this space.
this week.
{sidenote: the photo that i originally intended to post here included the entire wall, all the way to the corner.
which means you would have seen my whiteware cabinet in the corner--goal #7 on original list--which is done!!!!
can't wait to show it off to you--along with all the other finished projects--later this week!!!}

4.  {5 on original list} while the mail center has been successfully moved into my blogging/business desk area, i'd like to get that blue cabinet of shipping supplies tidied up and a bit more orderly before i consider crossing this one off as done.

5.  another one of those silly little things that's cropped up, but one i'd like to finish, nonetheless.
i need to finally decide whether or not to re-hang this vintage berggren bread board on this little patch of wall.
i'm leaning toward yes...just haven't actually done it yet.

6.  {6 on original list, too} of all the easy things on my list, making a weekly housekeeping schedule has somehow fallen to the bottom.  i sat down to write out a list of duties and regularity with which they need to be done, and my mind went ______________________________.
i know i clean this house.
i know i do!
but somehow, i couldn't come up with what to write on that list.
i found this on pinterest today, and it was a godsend.  so simple, but exactly what i needed to spur me to get this one done.
i plan to finish this early this week.

7.  glass-door cabinet in living room--see original post--nothing has changed.
this is simply one that i just haven't gotten to yet.

if there's one thing i've more than learned this month, it's that home improvement projects breed home improvement projects.
my original list of goals had ten items on it.
i accomplished six of those and i still have seven left.
the math doesn't add up right.

it's like the if you give a mouse a cookie books.  if you paint the walls, you'll move the furniture.  and if you move the furniture, you'll try the floor lamp next to the chair rather than the sofa.  and if you move the lamp over to that side of the room, then you'll decide that maybe the sofa would look better on that side of the room, too.  and if you move the sofa, then you'll rearrange the entire living room.  and if you rearrange the entire living room, you'll discover that now there's a spot that needs a new lamp.  and if you need a new lamp, you'll go to approximately 2,143 stores before settling on the perfect lamp.  and if this is what happened in the living room, multiply it times 100 when you consider that i did little projects in nearly every room of our main living areas.
if you give a woman a paintbrush...my new bestseller.
look for it to be released in june of 2016.
not really.

hey, you'll be hearing from me a lot this week.
be ready for it.

...but that would never work for me

i'd love to have a coffee bar, but my kitchen is too little.
that would never work in our house.

i'd love to decorate with whites and neutrals, but i have boys/dogs/too many kids.
{boys/kids/dogs = all the same thing, right? ;)}

i'd really like to have my counters clear, but i don't have enough storage space.
it just won't work in my kitchen.

i wish i could make those pillows, but i don't know how to sew.

i don't have thrift stores like that near me.
i just don't have the creative flair.
i don't have the money to redecorate.
i don't have the time.
i don't have the room.

...and on and on the list could go.

the reasons we tell ourselves why we can't do some thing...any thing.

if there's one thing that this month of "intentional in decorating and housekeeping" has taught me, it's that i need to take a second {and sometimes third and fourth} look at all the "i can'ts" i've registered in my log of doable feats.

early this month--actually it was late last month--i had the idea cross my mind that i'd like a coffee bar area in my kitchen.
i quickly dismissed the idea because...
we don't drink coffee enough...i mean, for pete's sake, i can only drink decaf!
we don't have enough room...all our cabinets are full.
we don't even have a coffee maker...we've been french press people for years!
but the idea kept popping up.  and the more i pondered it, the more i craved such a space.
and once i eliminated the option of dismissing the idea, i realized that there were actually two spots in my kitchen that just might work for the little drink station i had in mind.
you'll have to wait for the reveal post to see what i came up with, but i'm super-pleased.
and most of all, i'm glad that i quit listening to my "that'll never work" mentality.

i remember, years ago, when my mom bought her first white couch.
i thought it was one of the most ridiculous, impractical decisions she'd ever made.
fast forward ten-ish years later, and i have a white sofa...with the matching white armchair and ottoman.
my how time changes things, eh?
and i can't tell you how many comments i've received, from real-life friends and internet friends alike--about how they could neverrrrrrrrrrrrr, ever have white furniture {see reasons in diatribe at beginning of post}.
people.  look at me.  would i ever lead you astray?
no.  the correct answer is no.
people, if you saw theeee pure filth that's wrung from these gloriously white slipcovers every time i throw them in the wash machine, you'd think twice about your permanently-upholstered germ-trap that "is so good at hiding dirt!"
mind you, in no way am i discrediting your sofa choice; but please, believe me when i say that no amount of kids {we have four}, dogs {we have one}, or cats {one, also} could convince me to go with an un-wash-able sofa ever again.
it's amazing what hot water, krud kutter {i get mine at menard's}, a washing machine, and a good soak can do to keep whites white...even in the most challenging of surroundings.

i could go on...this post could go on.
my point is not to address every last little excuse you have for why you cannot do that which you want to do.
my point is to get you to question the "i can'ts."
we get an idea, an idea we like...
and then, so suddenly, so easily, so naturally we fall into default mode of i-can't-ness.

think twice {or thrice or four-ice}.
and ask yourself if there's a way.
is there any way for it to work?

i have my coffee station.
my living room is rearranged into a totally different configuration.
my counter is cleared.
my mail center is moved.
i'm decorating with a shadow box my dad built ages ago.
i've painted my walls white.

all...capital ay-double-ell...ALL of these projects are things about which i out-loud expressed an "i can't."
but guess what?
one friend gave the nudge i needed to paint my walls white.
another gave me the idea for a coffee station.
and yet another gave me the not-so-gentle push to rearrange my living room.

so that's what i'm here for today.
allow me to be that friend for you.
consider this your idea-booster...your nudge...your not-so-gentle push.

and when you do whatever it is that you've been wanting to do forever and "couldn't" do,
by all means, contact me and let me know!!!
there's little more satisfying than accomplishing something--no matter how little--that you've been convinced you "can't" do.

it's the weekend...
get out there and do it!

happy friday, y'all!


birthday weekend...a healthy dose of r & r

early last friday, my best friend and i ditched the hubbies, the kids, the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, and all the other chores that fill our days and headed an hour or so north to lake geneva, wisconsin.

each year, around the time of my birthday, we try to sneak away for a few days of r & r.
denise has seven kiddos...i have four...
it's nice to be able to get away and thrift and craft and eat and simply converse without being interrupted multiple times by multiple kids with multiple needs.

we thrifted...
and ohhhhhh my, how we thrifted!
denise has always been a big lover of alllllll things white; and recently, with my neutral-ish decor re-do, i've been leaning more toward the soothing palette of whites.  her eye is more trained to find the white treasures, but she was generous enough to share many of them with me.
we hit up a goodwill that's always on our "must-go list," along with three of our favorite antique shops.
it's true that many antique shops are full of over-priced relics, destined to collect dust while their too-steep price tags fade over the years.
however, if you're willing to dig {like we are!} and really search, you can usually come up with some reasonably priced pieces.
we both found a trove of antique ironstone, stacks of white vintage hardcover books {for decor purposes}, sweaters for crafting, and numerous other goodies.

we ate...
and ohhhhhh my, how we ate!
neither of us wanted to gain ten pounds over the weekend, so we only ate out for one meal each day--waistline-friendly and budget-friendly!  plus, it afforded us more money to spend while treasure hunting!
but those meals that we did eat out were well worth every calorie consumed.
wisconsin-style all-you-can-eat fish fry...
sumptuous beer cheese soup {hello! wisconsin = cheese!  of course!}...
curd burgers {yes, more cheese}...
and "the mobster" pizza...
oh.  yum.

and, in what i'd venture to say was the highlight of the weekend for both of us, we crafted.
we hunkered down in our jammies, binge watched episodes of gilmore girls, sucked down lattes and copious amounts of dove chocolates, and cut and stitched and hot glued to our hearts' content.

most of the crafts we made are for our valentines mantels...
denise had been pinning project ideas on a "birthday weekend" pinterest board for weeks before our trip.

it's all-too-easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of everyday life.
it seems that often, we as mothers, as the family caregivers, neglect to take time for ourselves.
sometimes it feels selfish...all sorts of wrong...like there are so many more important things that we could be doing.
but i'm here to argue that sometimes taking care of me, taking time for me is the best thing i can do...
for me and for my family.
my days at home are so full and so rich...
and sometimes i just need a break from all that...with a bit of quiet.
and that's exactly what i came away with...
my spirit refreshed and renewed.

do you have any special traditions with your girlfriends?
times of rest and renewal?
i'd love to hear about them!


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