Yard renovation complete!

A month ago, I contacted a local landscaper to talk about getting our yard looking nice. Because it looked terrible.

The lemon tree had died, and was now just a scrubby bunch of spiky shoots. There was no grass, only weeds and dirt. There were soccer balls everywhere, and a big ugly shed, and a few bushes we planted a few years ago when we put in the patio. There was also a chunk of sidewalk from when a house used to be in our yard. (Well, I mean, it wasn’t our yard then, but there used to be a house between ours and our neighbor’s, but it was torn down at some point and now we have side yards.)

Before: (this is embarrassing)

Anyway, they ripped up the sidewalk chunk, removed the lemon scraggle, leveled the yard (including the unsightly mound in the corner that was made up of the dirt we excavated for the patio), squared off the patio, cleared out the weeds, planted plants, mulched, put gravel and sand down, moved the shed, and finally placed artificial turf down.

Seventeen years ago, when we bought our house, we planted a tiny tree and had a pretty nice grass lawn. Since then, the tree grew 20+ feet, we got a dog and three kids, and bamboo grew up from the neighbor’s yard. So it’s nice and shady, but not exactly conducive to grass growing. Hence the artificial turf.

LOOK AT THE GLORIOUS AFTERS!

The boys like it too. 😀

Oh, I have to do one of these fun sliders:

The boys’ updated room {ta-da!}

Finally! We are (almost, nearly) finished with the boys’ room makeover. Since there wasn’t going to be on a vacation this summer, I figured, why not spend that money on sometime more tangible. And the boys’ room was ripe for a makeover. The last time I did anything substantial to their room was 7 years ago when their beds were built.

Now. If I could go back in time, I’d tell myself NOT to paint the room dark navy and the beds dark gray. (Well, one would hope I’d use my time travel for more important purposes, but trust me, this weekend there was nothing more important.)

Let’s get to the good stuff first…before and after pictures. I admit, their room was in quite a state when I took the before pictures. But if I’d waited for them to clean it up just so I could take before pictures, well, I wouldn’t have paint in my hair right now.

Okay, so I didn’t do a great job taking pics of the same angles, but you get the idea. Here are a few more:

Here is what we did:

  • painted the walls Alabaster (Sherwin Williams) and the trim (beds included) ultra reflective white (SW.) I wish I’d gone with Behr paint, but SW was having a sale. I feel like the good Behr paint covers better and is about the same price as Sherwin Williams Cashmere on sale. Oh well.
    Aside: on the advice of a friend, I got a paint sprayer and it really helped the primer go on quickly. And it was fun. But I didn’t want to put expensive paint in it (it has to be thinned) so it didn’t get as much use as I would have hoped. But it’s nice to have.
  • got these LED lights. This was basically what the room was designed around. They wanted light walls to show off the LED lights better. Ha!
  • got a rug from Amazon. It’s soft and squishy and was super cheap. We don’t do rugs in our house, so I didn’t want to spend a ton in case it didn’t work out.
  • removed all of the posters and (sniff, sniff) stickers from the walls. The original theme of the room (when the boys were 3, mind you) was “under the sea” so there were sea creatures everywhere. Linus was particularly sad to have to remove these Easter stickers he got from his preK-4 teacher.
  • took down the ratty “curtains” that have been up forever (really just pieces of fleece on clips) and got light blocking 2.5″ faux wood blinds.
  • put a set of their cubicles that were next to the old dresser into the closet instead. IMG_7192
  • bought a new dresser! Real furniture! The one that was there before was a hand me down from a friend. I really think this was the first piece of furniture I’ve ever bought that didn’t have to be put together. (I mean, I love IKEA, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted something a bit more grown up, and that I could see in person first.)
  • used some of the 46 zillion soccer jerseys the boys have to decorate the wall behind the dresser. Hung their team scarves on the walls around one of the windows.
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  • moved the TV and Xbox to the dresser so the desk can be used for school, since it will be at least partially virtual this year.
  • got a butterfly chair from Target to make it more comfortable to rot their brains.

There are still a few things left to do, but I am burned out, so they’ll have to wait a bit.

  • install hooks on the back of the door for coats and jackets
  • re-hang a shelf with hooks in the desk nook for all of their medals and whatnot
  • hang the soccer team photo

I think that’s it? Overall, we are all very happy with the updated room. But I swear, I am never painting again.

IKEA to the rescue!

When Kristina was visiting, Mary Catherine came over to consult with her on the mess that is my house. After looking at my teeny-tiny closet that was stuffed full and the two random dressers stuffed full and covered in more stuff (so much stuff!) Mary Catherine declared that I needed to get rid of the dressers and get a wardrobe instead.

 

I loved this idea and hopped on the IKEA website and planned and eventually ordered a PAX wardrobe.

The space I had to work with was just about 66″ wide, and I was able to pretty much fill that area perfectly!

So what I needed from this wardrobe was lots of hanging room (well, more than the 25″ I had in my closet) and more drawer space than I had in my two dressers. That seems like a lot, but I was able to accomplish it with the use of pull out baskets and shelves. The fact that I was working with the 93″ tall PAX frames helped a lot.

(Also I didn’t realize how tall 93″ is. It’s TALL.)

Here’s what I planned on the IKEA website and how it turned out IRL:

Doors open:

Doors closed:

I’m especially excited about the mirrored door. It’s the only full-length mirror in the house! Up until now I had to carefully balance my phone on the mantle and take a picture of myself if I wanted to see what an outfit looked like.

Putting it all together wasn’t easy but it wasn’t too bad either. Probably the worst part was just the sheer size of the thing and the lack of space in the room to put it together. But it all worked out in the end, with help from Linus and George.

Oh, and my old tiny closet? I got a shoe rack that basically takes up all of the closet floor space and then got some hanging cubes for now to put fabric in. It’s a temporary solution until I can get built-in shelves.

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Much better! (Really!)

My grownup room:

So that is the story of my wardrobe. Now I can sew more clothes! Yay!

 

Things other than pictures

While I’ve been posting a ton, it’s just been the daily photos, really. So I haven’t posted updates or anything. So let me get all caught up on that.

I posted about Lisbon already…

Kristina came to visit! We were chatting on the phone and I was expressing my stress about being overwhelmed by the mess that is my house. I didn’t even know where to start with getting it organized and decluttered. I swear this wasn’t my plan, but within hours she had booked a week-long trip to visit and help me out. I took some time off work, and we organized and cleaned and ate delicious food and also took a road trip with the boys!

The road trip was to Alexandria for Linus’s archery tournament, and then we drove another hour to Natchitoches because why not? We were so close!

Linus did really well in the archery tournament, especially considering he had only practiced a few times. He got the third highest score from his school!

I’ve signed the boys up for summer camp at LSMSA, which I’m very excited about. Less exciting is the thought of making the 8 hour round trip twice in a week.

Coming soon: Posts on my new wardrobe (like, the furniture, not clothes) and the Mardi Gras dress I made.

 

02/24/2020

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All of the clothes are out of my teeny tiny closet and in my new wardrobe. Final reveal of that will be soon – but I need to get the doors put on. For now, my shoes have a nice rack at the bottom of the closet, and my best fabrics have a new home. The hanging fabric shelves are a temporary solution – hope one day to get real shelves put in.

02/23/2020

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A break from Mardi Gras festivities today, and an IKEA delivery! Now to put together this massive wardrobe. (I really had no idea how tall this thing was going to be when I ordered it.)

02/19/2020

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I know this doesn’t look impressive, but this is the “before” picture of this corner of my bedroom/sewing room. Just wait…

02/11/2020

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Look! You can see the floor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s always so nice to have a neat sewing area. I got rid of a trunk that was where my ironing board is now, and I love being able to tuck it in that space.

02/10/2020

One of the three carloads of stuff we brought to the thrift store. Getting rid of all this stuff feels SO GOOD!

02/05/2020

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Look how organized my shelves are! Kiki and I worked hard to get the dining room in order. I really don’t even have before pics of what a mess it was because I avoided taking pictures of this area – it was so cluttered. Now I have all of my Starbucks mugs on display!

2019 in review

This year sure went fast!

I read about 100 books. (I didn’t keep track, but I think it’s safe to say 100.)
I sewed a million things. (Who knows? I also didn’t keep track.)
I went on 3 trips. (Serbia, Virginia/NY, Orlando)
I worked out at Orangetheory 85 times.
I wrote 46 blog posts (shameful!)

In 2020, I hope to read just as many books, and I probably won’t keep track of them. I’ll keep sewing, and hopefully I’ll get better about keeping track of my makes. I’m definitely going to travel more (Lisbon this month, Vienna in the spring, hopefully the UK in the summer, and Orlando again in the fall – all but one are work trips.) I have a goal of averaging 3 OTF workouts a week, but let’s say 150 workouts throughout the year. And since I’ve started another 366 project, my blog post count should definitely go up!

2019 in photos

January:

Was on sabbatical! Turned 44! Kristina came to visit!

February:

Still on sabbatical!

March:

Mardi Gras! Bought a new car! Sabbatical ended, went back to work.

April:

Went to Serbia for work! Took the boys to Natchitoches!

May:

Ran a 5K with the boys, sewed things, soccer ended (for the spring), went on a field trip.

June:

I made a bunch of shirts for Isa’s quinceanera! Soccer again!

July:

Road trip to Virginia and New York!

August:

The boys started middle school! Uncle Evan and Ellie came to visit! I sewed a dress for a friend!

September:

Went to Orlando for the Grand Meetup!

October:

Hmm. Soccer? Yeah. Also I sewed stuff like Halloween costumes.

November:

Aunt Jenny and Uncle Rob and Emily and Andrew came for Thanksgiving! The boys started school soccer! I sewed a cool jacket!

December:

The boys turned 12! Christmas! We closed out the year with a bathroom flood!

01/01/2020

Ten years ago, I started a 365 project, and kept it up for three years. That’s a photo a day, every day. I think I’m going to try it again this year. (Admittedly, I had a few failed years after that, so let’s hope it doesn’t end up unsuccessful again.)

Yeah, this is our ceiling. New year, new ceiling. (Thanks to a toilet overflow in the upstairs bathroom.) I hope (but don’t promise) that future photos will be more exciting.