The Couch Isn’t the Only Thing Floating

We’ve lived in our little corner of Suburbia for 5 years. 

During that time, we have renovated most of our house. We’ve replaced the flooring, painted every room, reconfigured the floor plan and survived a kitchen makeover.
And we are still married and not completely broke. 
But I’ve never moved my couch.  It’s been against the one solid wall in our living room since we moved in. 
Before
The other day on Twitter, I read The Nester’s tweet that she rearranged her furniture and moved her couch. I responded with couch-moving envy.
Before
I’m pretty sure she nearly fell out of her nest when she learned that I hadn’t moved my sofa in 5 years! (And I won’t go into detail about the items found under the couch. Let’s just put it this way: I should be ashamed and pictures will not follow).
So, with her encouragement and while my kids dug a hole to China in the backyard, I did it. 
I moved my sofa to the center of the room (termed: floating), facing 
the fireplace:
After
I grouped the chairs together and put the lamp table between them, next to the fireplace:

After
I used our table with toy bins as a sofa-table and put it behind the couch. 
I love the way this little corner feels now:
Here’s a view from the second-story landing:
How about you? Are you a mad-furniture-mover? Or are you boring like me?
We do most of our living in our family room (former formal living room):

Don’t ask me how long that couch has been on the wall….
Hope you enjoyed my little living room tour! Check out Kelly’s Korner for more.

My Frugal & Festive Holiday Tips

December is my month.

I was born the week before Christmas. I got married two days before the day I was born. I had my first baby eight days after the end of Christmas month. And my third baby was born one day before the day I was married and three days before the day I was born.
Got all that?
It’s a busy month for THAT family. And my hubby? He doesn’t have a chance. He starts fretting about gifts in the summer. But he always comes thru (i.e. kitty door).
When I think of Christmas I think of Jesus. There’s that, of course.
I also think of presents. The giving and the getting. Call me carnal.
But in these economic times, I want to be as frugal as possible. Join me every Tuesday in the month of December for my ideas on creating handmade gifts for friends and family.

Here are my tips for a frugal, but festive holiday:
  • Start as early as possible. I don’t think you can prepare too far in advance. My favorite time to Christmas shop is after Christmas. Yes, you read that right! I set aside a little money and shop the deeply discounted Christmas decor after the holidays. It’s such a thrill to find things 75-90% off and to rediscover your deals 12 months later! Christmas toys are also generally marked down to at least half off after the holidays and I shop for upcoming birthdays for the New Year. I just rediscovered these adorable nutcracker stocking holders that I got for $1.49!

  • Shop smart: Target reduces their holiday decor 50% the day after a major holiday. 5-7 days later, the remaining merchandise is reduced to 75% off. Around January 2nd or 3rd, all leftover Christmas items are marked down to 90% off! I call the store and ask. {Please note: if you live in my area, I have been known to get aggressive with a shopping cart}.
  • Shop used: Garage sales and thrift stores are a great place to find Christmas decor. Since decor is only used once a year, you can find some great treasures! (I started a nesting Santa collection from thrift and garage sales!)
  • Go artificial! I love for my home to smell good during the holidays. But since the kitchen isn’t my forte and since we use an artificial tree, I depend heavily on yummy smelling candles to do the job. Yankee candle is my favorite, but they are costly. TJMax, Marshalls and Ross stores, carry the Yankee brand at just a fraction of the price. And if you don’t have one of those stores, here’s a recipe for some pretty amazing stuff I like to simmer on my back burner.
  • Shop for the unexpected on the clearance aisles. Most stores have them and I keep a cabinet in my house full of discounted items for birthday parties, stocking stuffers, and treats. It’s so great to pull out a small gift when something comes up unexpected or my month is longer than my money.
  • Shop nature: We live in a wooded area with tall pine trees. Our family loves to collect pine cones, red berries and even branches. I display them in vases, on the mantel and throughout the house. Here are some fun pine cone projects.
  • Be creative! Make gifts for family and friends (check back on Tuesdays in December for easy, frugal projects!) But here’ s one, if you just can’t wait: Love to cook? Create your own recipe book. Love photo gifts? Here are some great ideas!
  • Shop your house for decor. Use candlesticks and plates as a cake platter to display a special ornament. Re-purpose glass vases to hold pine cones. Fill a glass bowl full of shiny ornament balls.
  • Write down a gift budget. I do this every year, usually in the fall. I write down everything I’ve already bought (like toys from the clearance aisle or books I bought in July) and I set a budget per person. We also do a certain number of gifts for our kids and since they are still pretty young, I try to make that number even. Here’s a printable holiday budget form.
  • Get it together! Partner with family members for BIG gifts or draw names for extended family members. Buy a family gift: one gift for the whole family: membership to the zoo, family movie pack, skating night for four.
  • Think about it: Suggest having your extended family gatherings after Christmas (the week between Christmas and New Year’s) and benefit from the last minute shoppin
    g.
  • Practical stocking stuffers can still be fun-character socks and underwear, fun toothbrushes, hair clips/bows, Chapstick, be creative and fill it with things they will actually use after Christmas morning!
  • Go sentimental...I love giving sentimental, heart-felt gifts like a Blurb book to grandparents, a family tree with collected photos or silhouettes of your children. I think handmade gifts are appreciated and you can save so much money!
  • Don’t go overboard or into debt on any of it! Kids usually end up with too many toys and we have to un-decorate whatever we put up. Keep it simple. Use what you have. And remember, the best message we can teach our kids is that it’s really about Jesus and others.

Grab my cute button and I’ll see you back every Tuesday in December!


It’s Hard Work Being Me

Today, I thought I’d be productive.

But this is why I don’t touch up my scuffed, smudged, lived-in walls very often.
I know my living room paint has the word sand in it.
I found these four cans in my garage:

*sandstone
*spitsand
*sandy tan
*whitesand
Which is exactly why, I’d like to bury my head in the sand.

You Had Me at Porch…

I love me a good porch.

Y’all know I wanted to buy this old house, just for the porch. 
This is mine:

Not exactly my dream.  But I make do.
This is the porch I dream about every Fall:
 
I see I’m not alone in my unhealthy affection for pumpkins.
I like this one too. It brings out my inner farmer:
And wouldn’t this look smashing on a porch?

To see more great porches, visit The Inspired Room.

A Good Place to Dream

I have always dreamed of a beautiful bedroom.  And my dreams-they are not lofty. I didn’t even dream of the finest furnishings or the most gorgeous decor, because who am I kidding?  I have three accident-prone kids, two cats who don’t like each other, and a messy hubby living with me.  
I just wanted a bedroom that spoke to me and felt like me.  And one that didn’t have padded walls and straight-jackets on hand.  I’m just saying.
I love old things.  But I didn’t want an old bed because I knew it would likely be another decade before I had money and my hubby’s consent on such a project.  
So, we shopped the scratch and dent section at a nearby furniture store and smiled pleasantly at the eye-rolling sales people when we bought mismatched bedroom
 furniture.
We painted the walls chocolate brown and I found that quilt for $40! (I always be king for my queen bed, so it covers more. Plus one of the people who sleeps in that bed is a cover-hog. Ahem).
Above my bed:
Our slightly scratched furniture didn’t include a dresser mirror. So, I saved the one from our old worn-out furniture (which I sold in the newspaper for $300!). I’m mixing up the colors of the wood here. But I love it!

My favorite part of the room, is the bench at the foot of the bed.  I drug my hubby through a flea market for two days until I found it.  Because I’m a thrifty bully.
I squealed when I stumbled upon that rug.  It’s the reverse print of my quilt.  I didn’t embarrass myself though because the employees at TJ Maxx know me.  (Although that embarrasses my hubby!)
Old stuff from my in-law’s farm and photos of my kids complete the top of the armoire.  
The antique (replica) laundry basket holds the pillows I throw off my bed at night.
I found this curio cabinet at a garage sale!
And this old door?  Yes, it speaks to me.
So, does the $40 leopard print chair I bought off Ebay!

Check out Kelly’s for some inspiring master bedrooms!