...because home doesn't happen overnight.

I am so happy to share a design e-book that Lauren and Courtney over at Kelly + Olive included me in today!

The e-book, Ideas You Should Steal, features “17 fun projects submitted by top home, craft, and lifestyle bloggers from all over the web.”  {Those are their words, not mine.}  Not only does it benefit anyone looking for a quick and easy design project, but it also benefits the non-profit organization Dwell with Dignity.  Dwell with Dignity is a group of interior designers and volunteers who work to create soothing, inspiring homes for those struggling with homelessness and poverty. Their goal is to expose less fortunate families to nurturing home environments with the hope of helping them maintain a standard of living they can be proud of and thrive in.  So when K+O contacted me a while back about participating in this project, I didn’t have to think twice about contributing.  Who doesn’t want to see everyone live in a home that is inspirational and conducive family life?

Without giving too much away, the e-book features several well-known design bloggers along with step-by-step guidelines for the project they contributed.  I was completely shocked to see my headshot included alongside such savvy bloggers and designers!  It’s an honor to be included in the mix.  If you wanna see it all for yourself, then follow this link on over to K+O and make a small donation {$1 is the suggested amount} to receive your own download of the e-book. It just might make a difference in two lives – yours and a Dwell with Dignity beneficiary!

Oh, and if you’ve never heard of K+O, now’s your chance.  Kelly + Olive is the name of the design biz/blog that two Chicago gals run.  Ironically enough, their names aren’t Kelly and Olive at all but Lauren and Courtney.  And they’re pretty rad.  They offer professional advice on choosing a color scheme, furniture, accessories and styling techniques for interiors…online or in real life if you’re lucky enough to live near the windy city.

With all the chaos going on internationally over the past several weeks, I’ve been reminded of my gratefulness for our safe and healthy home.  Many people, including children, aren’t so lucky.  I’ll admit to getting caught up in decorating, painting, DIYing and just plain homemaking…but there are moments in time like this that make me appreciate all that I have and have done…it’s very humbling. Maybe design won’t save the world, but caring people like Lauren and Courtney can make it a better place to live.  100% of the proceeds of this e-book go directly to Dwell with Dignity. Thank you Lauren and Courtney for such a great opportunity!

Here’s to an inspiring, humbling, healthy and safe weekend.  Give your significant other, kid, baby, pet, parent or friend an extra hug.

images:  all linked within

03.23.11 / Near & Far

Do any of you remember the Sesame Street skits with Grover painstakingly demonstrating the difference between ‘near’ and ‘far’?  I kind of feel like that’s what I might be doing here today.  So, if you wanna laugh, feel free.

If you haven’t heard by now {How couldn’t you?  I mention it daily.  Are you tired of it yet?}, we’re downsizing and trying our hand at selling our current home by owner.  As in, we’re not listing it with a realtor at this time, although we’re open to paying a buyer’s realtor commission.  A few things we’ve done to market our home is to pay for an MLS#, list on fsbo.com, and DIY a listing brochure. Each of these marketing strategies pack more punch when pictures are included.  So, I devoted an entire day a few weeks ago to taking pictures of our home to be included with all the listing info.

Some of you have asked for advice and info on selling your home…whether by owner or with a realtor.  And while I feel that offering up go-to advice would be premature at this point {our home hasn’t sold yet but we did sell our very first home by owner}, I would like to mention that taking pictures of interiors for selling purposes isn’t exactly the same as taking pictures for designing purposes.  Let me give you an example.

Here are a few vignette images of our bedroom that would be suitable for H*T.

And here are the ‘home for sale’ bedroom images.

In the listing images, I was more concerned with showing the size and layout of the room as opposed to the things in the room.  You can see that the room offers two large windows that let in lots of natural light, plenty of space for a sleeping area along with a sitting area, a vaulted ceiling and an on suite bathroom.  Those are the things I’m trying to sell, so that’s what I capitalized on in the images.

Now do you get the title of this post?

Is it overly apparent that I took that ‘Grover’ picture of myself after being outside *makeup-less* on a verrrry windy day and used a stack of cookbooks as my makeshift tripod?  {Notice how I’m explaining with my hands.}  Ok, good.  Because that’s soooo what I wasn’t going for.

Somebody buy my house before I make a fool out of myself.

Oh, wait.

images:  1) slightly altered image from MGTOW {which I do not read…just used their image}  2-6) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

03.22.11 / Grocery List To Go

We have a sliver of wall next to our refrigerator that I painted with chalkboard paint.  It’s a great place to jot down needed grocery items, daily reminders, inspirational quotes and fun little notes to each other.

Normally on grocery day, I’ll just copy the grocery list from the chalkboard wall onto a scrap piece of paper and stash it in my purse.  But since things have been crazier than ever {with trying to sell our home and downsize} and because a list that includes items like “toilet paper, deodorant, tampons, boys’ undies, birth control” isn’t exactly appealing to potential buyers who may be viewing our home, I’ve discovered a way to save my list quickly…without transferring anything to paper or losing my list all together during a hasty wipe down right before an impromptu house showing.

Have you figured it out yet from the not-so-high-quality image above?

That’s right.  I take a picture of my grocery list with our old point-and-shoot camera.  {You could also use a cell phone camera but mine isn’t that great.}  This newfound idea has been wonderful. You see, most grocery days fall on one of the days that I work…because I happen to work as a part-time pharmacist in a retail grocery store.  I work my 10-hour shift and get groceries afterward. Lately, though, mornings are hectic and I honestly don’t have an extra minute or two to copy my chalkboard list onto paper.  One said morning when I was retrieving my cell phone from its charger {see how I DIY’d a charging station here}, I happened to notice our old point-and-shoot camera at the back of the charging drawer.  The lightbulb in my head went off.  Why not take a picture of the grocery list on the wall and throw the camera in my purse for grocery shopping later?  Fast and easy!  Great for crazy work mornings when I’m trying to get two kids dressed, fed and transported to the bus stop/sitter before I have to be at the pharmacy.  So that’s what I did.  It works so well, I’ve been doing it for a few weeks now. We’re pretty diligent about adding items to our weekly list. That’s key.

This method of documenting our list has come in quite handy when showing the house too.  Before I rub down the chalkboard wall with a damp cloth, I’ll take a quick pic to save for later.  No more trying to remember what the heck was on the list after the showing.  This method also makes me the weird lady at the grocery store, glancing from my camera to the shelf then back to my camera. Oh, I’ve gotten some looks. But I’m saving time and paper so let the eyebrows raise!

How do you guys make your weekly grocery lists?  Anybody do the corkboard inside a kitchen cabinet trick?  Any other ideas?  Maybe you’re not a listmaker at all.

I, for one, adore lists.  I usually make a small, doable to-do list every day.  Just to keep me on track.  Even if I don’t cross off all of the to-do’s, I feel more focused when I have a list.  I was recommended this listmaking book by a fellow blogger several months ago and have yet to buy it.

Anyone out there ever read it?  I think I may just bite the bullet and order a copy.

Happy listmaking!

BTW – I used to write up little weekly posts that included an image of my chalkboard wall and pertinent wordage.  That’s where the first image hails from.

images:  1 & 2)  Dana Miller for House*Tweaking  3)  Amazon.com

03.21.11 / 6 Springy Ideas
6 springy ideas

Here are a few things I’d like to try this spring.  {As to whether or not any of them will actually pan out, we’ll see.}

1 – Amy Butler’s Soul Blossoms Laminated Passion Lily Fern This patterned laminated fabric would make a fun shower curtain, raincoat or set of wipeable placemats for the kiddos.

2 – Steel Circles Boot Tray Spring means rain {at least in the Midwest} and rain means wet, muddy shoes.  I could keep my floors clean and dry with this store bought boot tray or a DIY one.

3 – Potted Wheat Grass Not only would it look great adorning a table or windowsill, wheat grass could improve my health!  {Or so I hear.}

4 – Fabric Rosettes Since we’re maybe moving, I don’t plan on planting any flowers this spring. I’d like to try my hand at these DIY fabric blossoms instead.  I’ve got a blah lampshade that could go ‘dressy’ with a few of ‘em glued on.

5 – Lemons These faux ones are pretty convincing but I prefer the real thing…for freshening up my glass of ice water to deodorizing the garbage disposal to livening up a vase display.  Nothing sour about any of those ideas!

6 – DIY Easter Baskets I’m bored of plastic baskets and shiny Easter grass.  I should totally make these for my boys and help save the earth while I’m at it.

What projects do you have in mind for spring?

images:  as linked within