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Posts tagged ‘art’

Backed Up To Dos & Laundry Room Refresh

My to-do list has seemingly exploded this past week. Beyond the basics of keeping a house tidy and organized, I worked all 8 of the last days. My little bits of graphic design work has kept me humming along designing ads for local businesses. Then there is carving out time for my art, which I consider ‘a job’ and the days when I’m not busy working downtown I ‘work’ at my ‘painting job’  the same hours I’d work if I were at my job outside of the  home. It’s an interesting balance, but if I didn’t consider my time in my studio ‘work’ I’d never be able to justify painting over housework like laundry and mopping. So it is work then. Without the quotes.

Just this past Sunday I was approached and asked to create a painting for the church’s Easter service, so some time today will be spent researching for that painting and sketching.

A few more design ads are popping up in my docket, and of course there is the pressure of creating enough of my own works to enter into art galleries.

I can only imagine what the work/life juggle would be like if there were kids in the mix!

In spite of today being a work in my studio day, I will do a bit of laundry because clean clothes and sheets are always a positive thing, and the bright shiny newness of the paint in the laundry room is calling my name. Elevating the monotony is always a good thing right? We started with this awful green room. Peeling blue-green linoleum, monster green walls…it was gross. Lots of vacuuming, removing linoleum and painting later and we have a pretty decent space to do the laundry in. It’s certainly not a finished space, but it is much brighter, lighter and less depressing to do the laundry in the updated space. The stark whiteness was a bit…dull still, so a navy stripe wraps it’s way around the room now, jogging it’s placement at the corners of the room. Besides adding a better light, or painting the exterior of the laundry sink to cover up old paint smears it’s a much nicer room with no money invested in it. Thankfully I had the sample of navy paint leftover from testing colors for the garage doors, and the white paint is just flat ceiling paint. Bryan and I both hate painting ceilings, so if we don’t have a lot leftover than we won’t feel like we need to paint many of the ceilings, right?laundry

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Guess I don’t quite have that work/life balance down yet. I can’t quite seem to let go of my feelings that the running of the house is my solo responsibility even though we both work outside of the home, and Bryan is independently insistent on helping out (with no solicitation from me)! It’s just ingrained in me I guess.

How do you achieve or in my case ‘trick’ yourself into a work/life balance? Does anyone have it down to a science?

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Poppies

Well it’s about time I catch up with what’s been happening around here…over the last long long while.

In November, in  a fit of frustration I was working on loosening up my paintings. It only lasted the one painting and I’m right back where I left off with my tiny brushes, but I really enjoyed creating this painting, ‘Resolution of Poppies’. To let you in on how ‘slacking’ I’ve been on the art front, Bryan built the cradled panel for me when we were engaged in August of 2011. Yikes. I started an underpainting in our apartment in 2012, but packed it away when we moved and didn’t pick it up again until after the lure of the beach in the summer time had passed.

Well to get back to it, I’d spent a week or two on the painting and was really happy with it. Just in time for the Christmas Show at Studio33 Art and Frame Gallery so I took it in and asked Sara, the owner, if it was something she’d be interested in. She was and the next day at work we hung the show. Of course, I’d only spent a few weeks with the painting, none of them when the piece was finished and hanging anywhere I could see it and I wasn’t really ready to sell it. So rather than listing it for a price that was suggested by Sara, I decided to go a bit higher. After all, if it was priced higher than it probably wouldn’t sell and I’d bring it back home with me for a few weeks. Of course, things rarely work out the way you expect them to. Before the show officially opened, just a few days later a client walked in and bought it on the spot. I got a call it had sold while I was busy prepping food for the opening later that night. Never even got to see it with the classic sold mark on it, the red dot. So much for bringing it home after the show and enjoying it!

The colors are rich orangey reds, buttery yellows and cool blues. The movement, texture and translucency of the petals build over the soft pixelated background.

Measuring 20×23 inches with a thin poplar frame wrapping around it the piece was up for sale for $495. photo

 

Commissions are always welcome in paintings and graphic design work. Check out my in progress portfolio tab for more examples of my work. Keep in mind that I am available to teach art lessons as well in a wide variety of mediums. Email courtney@bottledsunshine.org for more information!

November Updates

Short sweet and to the point (I wish, more happened than I thought this month, how does 2000+ words sound?!). Slight recap, slight update. Slight amount of photos. Apologies in advance.

On visitors: Bryan’s parents came to visit this past weekend and we had a blast. Momma T and I hung out (after I worked on Saturday) while Bry and his dad trimmed out that window we replaced back in August. Yup. All those months ago this window has been bare, but there is finally a ready-to-finish inside. You know like caulk, spackle and paint. Wohoo. Maybe this winter we will actually do something with the office/library/study. Plus they took us out for a post birthday dinner which was a nice treat. Visits never last long enough, but they are so enjoyed.

New window installed:photo 3

Progress with the trim:

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I love how this picture shows the nice wiggles in the walls that come with old houses. Just to show how little we have done with this space…that turquoise blue swatch on the wall? It was where one of the electric heaters used to be…we never filled the holes, painted, or got rid of the wiring. At least we have those wire nuts on the ends. Safety first and all. Unfortunately or fortunately this room is way down the totem pole in terms of importance. Sanity, inspiration, and budgets all need to be in line first. More on budgets later.

On trees: You know that last post I wrote, about how excited I was that the big tree behind our house was coming down? Well I should have probably waited to write until they were finished with their work. The tree didn’t come down, just the three massive branches that overhung our roof. So, while the tree is still there the big cantilever over our house is gone and with it the weight that would pull it on top of our house should it decide to fall, so that is a subconscious burden removed. As an added bonus no more squirrels can fall down the chimney so there won’t be a third animal in the house any time soon.

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On productivity: When Bryan and I were looking for a house last summer/early fall we had quite a few things on a list of ‘wants’. We wanted somewhere I could set up my art stuff without it being in the way every time we had people over, on display in the front room like our apartment, or in some dark grungy place like the warehouse in college. We also wanted a house that had a bedroom for us, one for guests (since we live 4 hours from home) and one for the probable, eventual child we may have one day. That eventual child room could easily be an art studio for now so we were looking for an affordable 3 bedroom house with a garage and air-conditioning somewhere in the zip code we were already renting. The commute was short for both of us and the proximity to the water and amenities were great.

When we finally decided to walk through this house (the one we bought) we were impressed. The photos did it no justice (not that it was all the great to look at anyways) and the layout is quirky, but there was not only a dedicated room for us, guests, and future possible baby, there was a fourth smaller room for an art studio. Hooray for that!Especially because if/when there is a little Bryan running around I can still have my paints.

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Of course the set-up for the art studio was minimal to start. Other living spaces and guest rooms were way more important. But finally, about a month ago we realized we’d done most of the spaces in the house enough to live with for a while but the art studio wasn’t a fun place to be. The window shutters were painted over a million times, the walls were a weird woven textured wallboard, to paint in the mornings (when I’d usually paint) meant taping up a curtain over the bottom half of the window to block the blinding sun, and it just looked pretty darn ghetto.

So I needed to remedy that, but I knew fixing it up alone wouldn’t really help the problem. Since I currently work normal hours part-time as well as two evenings a week and Saturdays until 2 I wasn’t really going to want to spend time that both of us were home up in my studio alone unless Bryan had something to do as well. By productive I don’t mean housework or yard work, I mean tinkering around with tools, aquariums, or electronics.

So Monday last week I went down to the basement to look around. There were 8 large wooden sliding doors closing up an awkward to use closet and the furnace /water heater closet. I ripped those down to open it up, and make the shelving in the closet more functional. This had the added bonus of making the room seem larger, about 5 feet of space is now visible, plus the large doors. Something could be done with those large doors.

Bryan has since worked his magic on four of them. Two became a double-tiered work bench under the window in the basement, perfect for large tool storage and a nice workspace. One became a Murphy bed type work bench coming straight out of the awkward closet to give more table space. One was moved upstairs and placed on top of the old dresser that was left behind in the house that holds a lot of my art supplies. And with that simple re-purpose of things we already had around the house Bryan has a really functional warm and toasty workspace, and I have a much less prison like, smaller studio upstairs. Perfect division of assets for our two very messy pursuits.

My textured wall board in the art studio is the perfect surface to pin things to, since it’s an art studio and rather than replace it with nice drywall, I might as well get some real use out of it. The carpet, though very very clean isn’t that pretty and would be replaced before we would use the room for anything else anyways, so I can paint in there not worrying about the occasional drip. The addition of a large palm plant (saving it from getting dug into by the cats) adds so much needed life up there, and the relocation of my computer from the office/library/den means I’m motivated to get up there and use the space.

So without further ado the ‘reveal’ of our two work spaces. Just in a brief snapshot each since they are literally works in progress, and hold works in progress. (That nifty white cord running along the ceiling of Bryan’s workspace is the clothes line. He’s got classy digs down there.)

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On Goals: You may not be aware of this, but Bry and I are in a race to pay off our (his) college loans as soon as possible. Payoff started in November of 2011 when we were engaged and Bryan was living out in Waynesboro, PA. The loans at that time were around 54,000.00.  That winter he lived in an apartment with the heat barely on because he was manly. I think he mostly lived on chili and salad. (relatively cheap and healthy!) He certainly could have had the heat on higher, I know his mom and I both encouraged him, but he was saving up some money so we could go on a honeymoon, and he was determined. He was paying more than the minimum on the loans because he didn’t want to be stuck with them forever and that same payment slightly higher than minimum continued into our first months of marriage.

Not long into being married were we mentally over renting. So we started looking for a house, and bought this one. That winter, rather than living in a 55 degree apartment we turned the heat up (I’m not manly). Still while making payments on the loans, though we cut back to the minimum due since we really had no clue what the budget would need to be to cover house expenses.

The house came along, and with it a new budget. Within a few months the money we had for repairs around the house would be spent on improvements like new sliding doors, updating some out of code electrical, new hot water heater, furnace repair, new paint, furniture, lighting fixtures, new wood floor, etc. Rather than stop fixing things I elected to get a second job to bring in a little more income (both jobs together were less than 40 hours so don’t think I was overworking myself).

Around June, four months into home ownership we had finished all of those big major things and were down to smaller projects. That’s when we decided a financial change was in order. Rather than keeping on with the improvements to the house at light-speed we would instead do one small project a month (Plus we were out of concrete ideas we wanted to do for sure) and everything we had left over we would dump into college loans. Bryan had loans to three different organizations, and 9 loans together (4, 4, and 1). To more accurately tell what we actually had available to dump we switched from putting everything on the debit card to a credit card with awesome rewards. Paid off in full each month we know exactly what money we need to have on hand a full month in advance, all the more easy to dump exactly what we can afford.

We have a budget worked out until December of 2014. All known bills and expenses are taken out, along with designated fun money we can each spend on absolutely anything without feeling guilty that it isn’t going to the loans. In a spin-off of Dave Ramsey we are doing a debt snowball. But rather than tackling the loans from smallest monetary amount to largest, we are tackling the highest interest to low-interest loans. So far we are down several loans and should be completely out of all debt but the mortgage by November 2014. That’s not accounting for any pay raises, or a tax refund. It’s very exciting to think that a year from now all we owe would be the house.

It isn’t fun to click the loan pay-off button each month and know that money that could be spent on other more fun things is getting used for something practical, but it is fun to watch the numbers in red go down. Watching the numbers in red go down is almost fun enough to keep pushing that button. We have ways to go. But there are ways of keeping on. We have a huge carrot dangling in front of our nose, and that is a trip abroad that will happen once we’ve paid the loans off. The cherry on top? All of the expenses we’ve been putting on the credit card each month will cover the flights. And that will just be even sweeter.

The whipped cream on the cherry? Bryan just got promoted last week. We had just mentioned to our small group we were lookng for guidance about my second job. The hours were unfortunate when compared to when Bryan was home and we needed to reevaluate. The very next day Bryan was given a promotion and raise that balanced out what I had been making at the second job. So I gave my notice effective the end of the year, and will be back to one job. We are both much happier about this new change, and my boss at the second job is thankful for the notice. A win all the way around.

You may be thinking ‘but wait, you are aiming to pay off debts sooner wouldn’t it make sense to keep the second job?” Technically it does make better financial sense to keep it. We could pay the loans off three weeks sooner if I kept the job. But would 11 months of 14 hours a week be worth those three earlier weeks? Not really. The amount on interest at that point would only be on a loan with 2.5% interest and our time together is much more valuable than that.

So in an insane amount of words you have been fully caught up on things going on around here. More things are coming though, like I’ve actually been very busy in my studio and have several pieces in a show that opens this weekend, Christmas presents are being bought and worked on. Thanksgiving is around the corner and I’m so excited for family time and delicious food. What’s going on with you? I apologized if my word explosion has caught you off guard!

I’m so thankful for God’s provision and blessing in my life. The good friends and support system I haven’t left behind just because I live four hours away, the awesome family that has multiplied by two since our wedding and of course Bryan. What are you thankful for today?

Disclaimer: What has/is working for us is not a guide for others. I am not a financial planner nor do I play one on tv. Before you decide to put anything on a credit card be sure you have the ability to pay it off and not get sucked into debt.

1 John 4:4

 

A month of silence! Woah. I’d say I’ve been busy working on projects, but I haven’t. It’s been so nice to not have a million things to do. (Not that there aren’t things to do, but we haven’t been working on them this month.)

October brings on of my favorite seasons, my birthday, and a friend’s wedding in Nashville, so not only were there the usual things going on we spent 4 days in the heart of Tennessee. We really enjoyed walking around the Hermitage – Andrew Jackson’s home – but other than that and the wedding, well Nashville isn’t really our scene. You see, Bryan and I hardly listen to music, and when we do it’s Miles Davis, Cole Porter, Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby. Ah well, it was fun to celebrate the wedding of friends. Congrats Ab and Lee!! ❤

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More recently (i.e. today) I was working on another one of the Bible verses that were requested in a graphic printable. This verse in particular speaks to the differences between ‘me’ and the world, and since the dear friend of mine/girlfriend of my youngest brother-in-law goes to college just outside of Philadelphia, I thought that beautiful skyline would be a great signifier for the world. It’s not always just the large mass of green and blue, but the people who surround us who make up our world as well.

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Where is your world? Like the other bible verses I’ve turned into printable, feel free to click and download, or email me at courtney@bottledsunshine.org for the files sent straight to your inbox.

 

Isaiah 61 1-3

I have a new found section of favorite verses. Thanks to my cousin Emily I’ve spent quite a while exploring Isaiah 61: 1-3. She was the first responder to my offer of creating a free printable Bible verse, quote, line of a song, etc. SO I was quick to get to work. Purples, whites and grays and crown. Seemed easy enough, if there was to many words then only verse three.

So I started reading. I had to make sure my design uplifted the words, drew attention to the key points, made it hit home. I knew it was going to be wordy. There was no way I could get rid of verses 1&2. So I needed to come up with some sort of unifying background. Something I knew would fit my cousins modern aesthetic, with clean lines and a little bit of ‘royal’ flair. She had asked for a crown after all.

That brought me to this:

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and now it’s free to you as well. Feel free to save the file and print it off. Keep a little reminder around to strive to be an oak of righteousness!

Happy Monday!

New Painting Release

New London these days is all a buzz with the release of the New England Lighthouse Stamps later this month, featuring one of our very own, New London Harbor Light House. To commemorate the occasion every Saturday from this one until September 7th are festivals, special events, tours and boat rides in and by the lighthouses, and more. This lighthouse is the oldest and tallest in Connecticut, and even on Long Island Sound. Built under the command of Thomas Jefferson, well you know it’s gotta be old!

In preparation of the lighthouse events my boss at Studio 33 asked me to paint some lighthouses. You might remember that I mentioned that a few weeks ago. Somehow I’ve managed to get two done, and I’m working on the third. Who knows, maybe I’ll get another sale.

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Here is a small 5×5 inch painting of oil on canvas. I named it Sunshine, New London Harbor. For sale for $50 dollars. A portion of the proceeds will go to the fundraiser to repaint the New London Harbor light, which needs it badly.

The second painting is of the Mystic Seaport light, which is a working light replica of a Branford Mass light, if memory serves me correctly. In spite of it not being used for navigation it’s such a cute mini lighthouse, and a big part of the seaport nearby.

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This one is called, “Blue Skies, Mystic Seaport”. It’s an oil on panel, is 8×8 and is for sale at $195. I love this painting and will be sad to see it go, if it goes, which is why the price is a tad on the high side for something this size, though it’s still $50 bucks under priced other paintings of similar size.

So now that I’ve reached a lull in my to-do list something else gets added, wedding programs for my brother and almost sister in law. I got the information for them last night and managed to whip out four variations on one program yesterday, clearly love is a great motivator since I’m not the biggest fan of sitting in front of a computer staring at pixels, but I’m pleased with them. Once the wedding is over ill give you a view 🙂 in the mean time if you or anyone you know is interested in having invitations designed, signs or menus for a wedding, advertising for your business or special event…I’m your girl. I have loads of samples of my work, just need to get on uploading them. Clearly I’m not that motivated to promote myself. Ah well. I’m fine with that.

Guestbook Tree: Complete

In the last few posts I revealed how behind I was on my checklist. I told you, what probably is so true in your own life, that the checklist never gets smaller and at times it can be overwhelming. I resolved to get the closet tidied up, the kitchen pantry organized and paint, both the house and some paintings for a festival. After I did all that I was going to leave the house projects to the rainy days and enjoy myself.

Well, you ought to be very proud of me because I did just that. I’ve also peeled more wall paper, had revolving weekend house guests (every weekend either has a wedding or house guests from Memorial Day Weekend until the end of July) and managed to work too. It’s crazy. A good crazy. I’m so blessed to have people in my life that want to make the drive to visit us, and I’m so glad to host them.

I put off this post about the guestbook tree because I wanted the wedding to be over so I had some ‘finished’ photographs of the tree, and so the guests at the wedding would have all seen it already.

It all started at a wedding when Maria (the bride) asked if I would paint the tree for their guest book. I was pleased and shocked and very excited, since I’d never done commissions for anyone but family before. I sketched up some samples and she chose the look she wanted and I got to work. Based off their wedding invitation I knew they would like something a little vintage, old-fashioned and charming. The sketch came out surprisingly easy, but the painting became difficult. I got a base coat down easy enough but the letters (my handwriting is atrocious) and the detail in the paint job (I wanted it to look realistic but a bit whimsical, slightly like a classic children’s book illustration) gave me grief, and like all paintings I got nervous and upset with it right at that turning point where to finish it, it often looks worse before it gets better.

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The first coat is down on tree. Go ahead and laugh at my hand-drawn letters. I persevered though. I wanted a script lettering for their names, something romantic and swoopy without going to nuts, and for the date I wanted something with a serif, a permanent marker for the date. the flat pink in the date though bothered me so I painted it as if it was raised lettering, infinitely increasing the time involved, but making me much happier with the progress.

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From there I spent a long while, and countless episode of the Lizzie Bennett Diaries (YouTube it) polishing the tree, adding details, and tweaking the painting until I was satisfied.  Just in time for a nerve-wracking drop off at church the Sunday before they got married. I really wanted even the bare tree to be a happy looking tree. Before any thumbprint landed on it, I wanted it to still be a tree that was ready to celebrate. Here’s some shots of what it looked like at that point. photo 1 copy

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Thankfully the bride, her parents, and her sisters all said they loved it. Success! Now all I had to do was wait the five days until their wedding (which was so sweet and like every ceremony made me cry happy tears) and then we went to the reception in an old carousel house along the beach in Rhode Island. What a fun event! The bride and groom looked lovely and happy, and we were so pleased to celebrate with our friends, but I was even more pleased because I had been asked to paint their guest book tree, something that hopefully they will have for a long, long time. It was such a great feeling to know I had given them something which exceeded their expectations and melded so nicely with the feel of the wedding.

So I’ll leave you with a few ‘finished’ shots of the tree. I was so proud of it I could have popped. (Or maybe that was from the food, that salad was Ahhh-mazing!

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Seriously I could burst. I don’t think the ‘leaves’ could have turned out better if I’d done them myself. My good friend Abby (sister of the bride, one of the two maids of honor [two sisters]) made a point of telling a ton of people I painted it, which was slightly embarrassing yet still really exciting and I had people coming up to me all night telling my how much they liked it. And it was really fun to paint. So I’m officially telling the world that I’d be glad to paint you a guest book tree, or whatever idea you have for your wedding, housewarming, people who visit you and your new baby at the hospital, you name it. Just let me know if you are interested and we can go from there. If I’d thought about it before Maria asked me to do this I would have painted a caricature of our house and asked the friends that came to leave their mark on our new house. To bad, but I’m sure I’ll do one for myself for a different occasion.

Distracted Me

I didn’t post yesterday. And I may be a bit sporadic in the next few weeks (think a few times a week instead of the daily post I had been doing the last few weeks).

Here’s why: Some of you may know that I work at an art gallery. A small gallery in a ‘city’. It’s the biggest ‘city’ around and there’s a lot to do in the area; we get a lot of summer tourists. Sailfest is a big weekend long festival type event with the largest display of fireworks in New England, or so I’ve been told.

What’s that got to do with me? Well the art my boss let me display in the shop is completely sold out. There is nothing left, and with the influx of tourists for Sailfest come an inundation of people looking for souvenirs, nice ones to take home. To account for this I was instructed to paint up a storm in preparation. My boss needs more of my paintings. How cool is that?

So every morning I’ve been getting up earlier so I still have my time to laze about, and then painting for an hour or so before work, and an hour or so after dinner. All this on top of working, making dinner, laundry, wall paper removal in the master bedroom (peeled off the outer layer, still need to attack the glue), and generally keeping myself busy.

As if this wasn’t enough though, one of the weddings I was blessed enough to be invited to this summer (1 of the 6!) asked me to paint a guestbook tree, you know where the guests stamp their fingerprint and the couple has a keepsake to hang up in their house rather than stash an old book somewhere? How cool is that? It’s my first non-family commission. (Meaning they aren’t just asking because they feel bad!) Here’s an example from Etsy.

Needless to say I’ve been a bit distracted. I’ve left the door open to my studio one to many times, and with oil paint laying around…well Gingersnap stepped in it with her paw. I hope she didn’t try to lick it off to much and ingested poisons…guess this means I’m definitely not ready for kids yet. Darn! (Sarcasm).

So, now you have the upfront explanation of where I’ve been, or will be.

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see the paint on the little paw?

no?
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how about now? *headdesk*

 

p.s. no time to edit today, so feel free to either point out my errors and I’ll fix them later or just content yourself with the fact that I am busy painting, as these picture took forever to upload and I missed out on 30 minutes of precious painting time.

Master Bedroom Updates

So, last week I was talking about all the things on my to-do list. And how before company comes we always flip into high gear and simultaneously our to-do list becomes a mile long. Well this past weekend it was only family, but thankfully (yes thankfully), the list still kicked into gear so we could get a lot done. Especially since it was the first time my dad/brothers came to visit and I wanted them to like the house. Of course, the wall paper I started stripping wasn’t even completely done, but at least the deck got pressure washed. The house was clean, and the sun broke out of the clouds here and there, so all in all it was a great weekend. We saw the sights, got rained on, enjoyed the beach, went out to eat and just spent time as a family again, something we haven’t been able to do with all of us since Christmas. It was time.

Since the pressure washing was really on Bryan’s to-do list, and getting the wall-paper down in time and re-painted wasn’t feasible if we wanted to sleep at night (we did), I tackled things like actually getting some decorations up on our walls. Welcome to the slightly decorated, definitely in progress, master bedroom.

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First up you can see the wallpaper removal in progress, a pair of new lamps (anniversary present from my parents, thanks Mom and Dad!) and matching side-tables, originally my great grandparents passed on to me from my Aunt. Things that still need to change? Hm, the wall paper has to go. Maybe we could move some of the outlets? There are a million of them and they are spread out to fit a king bed in between them. Hence the ridiculous amount of wires and cords hanging around. Something’s gotta give. Thankfully we are getting pretty good at dealing with outlets and moving light fixtures, just remember to turn off the power!

Did you notice the lovely hooks that are hanging at super crazy heights? I have no idea what hung there, but they will too be coming down. Then all those holes will be filled and we will be on our way to a better bedroom. We need some sort of eye-catching feature behind the bed. Something to help fill the space and make the large room, with our proportionally too small bed, seem right. Curtains? A painting? Who knows. We have our eyes peeled though. Our cheap eyes peeled. This is to be a cheapie renovation.

Next up? That fan on the floor? The noise it gives off helps me get to sleep at night. But it’s not a visually appealing fan. Maybe we can do something about that. And the gray board you can just see behind the headboard? We ripped it out of the closet and are going to cut it up and re-use it in there. We took it out because it was chopping the longest hanging area of the closet completely in half height wise and hanging clothes there was impossible. (I needed all the hanging space, yikes!) But we still have a 4 foot section of the closet we can’t really use. We are both too short to reach the high bar and could use more shelf space. So for now, to prevent further damage to the house walls, we are just living with it where it is. And when we have some time to saw it up and make some brackets to support it (in the next few weeks) it will be going back to the closet.

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This is the wall of doors to our bathroom and closet. Yes I know, you haven’t gotten to see photos of the bathroom yet, but you aren’t missing much. Think dated fixtures, wallpaper, and bad grout. It’s ok though. We bought the house knowing we would want to fix it up. This way we can save up our pennies and fix it the way we’d like. Oh, and ps, the door that’s you can just tell is open at the far left is the door to the office/library.  Anyways, back to the wall as it stands now, we have some wall sconces, a wedding present from Bryan’s cousins, a needlepoint from a sweet lady from my home church in PA, and the present I gave Bryan for our anniversary. I’ll have to write-up more about that later. The hamper doesn’t usually stay there and we still need to take out the electric baseboard on the left hand side of the wall as the furnace in the master works and it’s not needed anymore. Not to mention the lovely crack from settling that has been there for eons…there are at least three colors of wall paint trying to cover it up in the closet, bizarre. You’d think spackle would be a better way to fill a crack then paint, but some people are crazy.

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Next up is my dresser. I’ve had this dresser (and the entire bedroom suite) since I was a little girl, luckily it expanded from a double bed to a queen so we saved a little money that way. Maybe someday we will actually decide on a suite for ourselves and move this to the guest room, but for now, it works great in our room and isn’t so feminine that Bryan doesn’t like it.
Back to decorating the dresser, I really like hats. Did you notice? And I realized that rather than living with the dresser empty and barren of anything interesting, I needed some art. And what’s better than free, no-effort art?

What was my solution? Hats. I only grabbed the bigger, statement hats and added a few framed prints from Home Goods of fashion drawings featuring girls in hats. It certainly adds some life and interest to an otherwise dry side of the room. Plus, it helped that part of my anniversary present from Bryan was the vintage hat box on the left, it totally adds some vintage charm to the room. To fill in the rest of the space on the dresser are some cherished photos from the wedding, and pre-wedding shots of me and my parents at their favorite places (mom with the beach, and dad with the ski slopes). Of course my precious moments cake topper/nod to my beloved mommom, and my perfume bottle collection are cherished mementos I couldn’t bear to stash away. Along with my happy green fern, that side of the room feels so much more homey. All it needs now is fresh paint, a comfy chair, maybe more plants? Or more hats. I just love hats. It must have been all the ones Mom put me in as a kid. Eventually. (that’s my new motto).
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Here we land on Bryan’s dresser. I stashed one of his favorite engagement pictures, in a dark ‘manly’ frame on top of the pewter ‘James Bond-esque’ tray that holds his sunglasses, cologne, wallet, watch, and Blistex. He’s never without his Blistex. A man that loves sailing and the water as much as Bry has to have some nautical things on his dresser too, so an old compass we picked up at an antique store fits the bill perfectly. His sorts of plants are the aloe vera and the orchid that adds some height to the otherwise flat display on top of the dresser. We have to at least hang the framed photo but we will get there before next year I’m sure.

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I can’t talk about the small changes we did in here to get ready for my parents without talking about the one big, expensive change we have made to the room so far. Also on the wall with Bryan’s dresser, at the foot of our bed, are these new fabulous glass sliders. The doors that came with the bedroom had lost their thermal seal, were very foggy, and made the room fluctuate so much according to the temperature outside. Our energy bills thank us. And so do our wallets. I have plans for these curtains though. The cats love to try to climb them, and have succeeded in bending the support bars down just enough my OCD eye notices them. I’m planning to screw the brackets into the ceiling, and sewing some coordinating fabric onto these curtains to make them fit the space better. Then the curtains on this big 8 foot slider, and the two tiny 2 foot wide windows we have on either side of our bed will relate better. (Those curtains will be getting edited as well!)

These little changes took hardly any time, and since all of it was stuff we owned pre-purchasing the house, except the gifts (came from a different budget) and the two pictures from Home Goods, our grand total for money spent on decorating this room so far rings in at $20. A number like that makes this budget-conscious girl happy. And that’s a perfect number when a pair of newlyweds (yes I’m still clinging to the term) saved their pennies, and the gifts they received from the wedding to buy their first house, a house that may be more than a ‘starter’ home. A house we can pour our blood, sweat and tears into (and already have!) A house that needs work to get it to where we want it, but we are happy to do it. To take this crazy, contemporary house and make it a home, something most contemporary style homes struggle to ever become.

What do you think? I think it’s come a long, long way. There still is a long way to go. But the journey and the progress makes us happy. Thrilled actually. To save your fingers from scrolling, here is a soon after we moved in picture (with the addition of our furniture, curtains from the rental bedroom, and the kitchen fan which we swapped out with the dining room esque light in here. Oh, and a cat.)

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Yikes am I glad we have moved on from here! What’s your bedroom style? A calm, warm, relaxing haven (what we are trying to accomplish)? Or an anything goes, it’s my bedroom and the guests hardly come back, here the door stays shut, function over form approach? Something in between?

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