Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hallway Redo!

Today I'm very excited to be finally sharing a home decorating project!! 

We've decorated a large portion of our house since we've moved in, including painting, hanging decorations, etc. It's really done a lot to make it homey and updated! We never quite got to the hallways, however. They seemed to be outdated, crummy walkways leading to the other nicely decorated areas of the house, but were definitely not places that offered anything pleasing to the eye. I really usually tried to walk quickly through them so I wouldn't notice the beaten down old wood trim or the bland egg-shell walls.

Well, the past two weeks in between work, school, and a lot of yard work, we've finally been able to get the halls decorated! And the great news is, since we used a lot of materials we already had, we spent less than $75 total. That's pretty great if you ask me. I love to reuse and recycle when I can (but not in a green-freak, hippie kind of way).

So here is a before of the up and down halls...see what I mean by old and boring? Whoever lived here before us abused the trim in this house big time. It's all tore up!

This is midway through the project. The red wall and dark trim together made the hallway look very short and dark. But we fixed that up by painting the baseboards and trim too.

And here's an after!

We used leftover paint from other projects for the walls, frames that I had bought for next to nothing at Michael's at one of their Christmas-time sales, and painted the trim instead of replacing it. And the little round chalkboard in the picture is actually a wood slice left over from our wedding that we painted with chalkboard paint.

The only thing we really invested in was new hand rails, since the ones we had before were so sad. We could have just redone the ones we had, but there were chips in them and so we decided to splurge on some fancier ones. We did re-use the hardware though, and just repainted it.

A great technique for anyone trying to paint things along their carpet...get packing tape and tape it along the floor with just a little bit climbing up onto the baseboard/wall. Then take a butter knife or something similar and push that little edge of the tape between the baseboard and the carpet. There were still spots we had to touch up, but we hardly got any paint on the carpet this way and that's what matters, right? 

The only thing left to do is to stain each of the doors and replace their hardware, which we'll do a little at a time. We're going to do a java/espresso stain and brushed nickel hardware. We might try painting the hardware first, but if it doesn't work we'll have to replace it! When they're finished, they'll look something like this:

So, for less than $75, I'd say this project adds another dimension to our humble home. I just love it!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ants on the Floor, Food on the Table

I'd like to warn you ahead of time, this post contains complaining as well as *gasp* references to God! Oh boy, I've gone too far this time. 

Now that spring is here, we've been graced with the presence of colonies of ants in our flower beds and now in our kitchen. They've slowly grown in number despite cleaning ferociously, keeping food and dishes put away, and spraying them to death with kitchen cleaner every time I see a group of them conversing on my cabinet face. It's so bad that I can't even do the dishes or use the counter next to it to cook without getting them on me or God forbid in the food! We've seen them on the cabinets, the counter, in the sink, and even in the dishwasher! It's really been driving me up a wall, since I'm type A with cleanliness and just really don't like being crawled on in general. We've laid down traps and sprayed outside, so we'll find out soon if they were just stopping through or going to be the most annoying permanent house guests ever.

Ok, rant over, I promise. Who knew a few millemeter long critter could cause such a ruckus!

Before I continue, I'll just say that anyone who knows me knows that I'm a Christian. Even though I don't go to church, I do read and watch Joyce Meyer's podcasts (I really recommend her books and broadcasts! She really knows how to tie the Bible into everyday life in an entertaining but complete way. You can find out more about her here). Conveniently enough, one of the topics I've listened about in the past week is COMPLAINING. Me, a complainer? No way!

Ok ok, I shouldn't lie either. That's probably worse than complaining if I had to guess.

So I heard the messages about how to be happy with where you are in life, and how to not complain and give the devil a foothold in your life by holding on to negativity and letting little things get under your skin. Well, with those ants they weren't under my skin but were certainly on it!

And while they were on my skin, graduate school was definitely getting under my skin, and it felt like maybe setting up permanent residence there! The schoolwork and classes can be disorganized at times, things come up that change the schedule around (which, for anyone who knows me, drives me BONKERS), and then we're told we have to pay even more than we had thought! The reason? The university changed the amount of credit hours we need to graduate the program, so we could either give them money for more credit hours without getting anything back, or we could pay the same amount to take more courses and have an even heavier workload. All they want is more money! It has nothing to do with my education!!! It's such a horrible trap, that I really wish I hadn't even gone to college some days just so I could say I didn't get sucked into their overpriced, overvalued educational machine. But alas, with 17 years down and only one to go, it's a little late for all that.

So I can't decide which is worse between the ants and the school situation, and then I hear Joyce talk about how life just isn't easy. How there are challenges every day, and how if we set out to do something the devil will surely step out to try to hinder us before we get more than a few steps. He tries to make the blessings seem small and the annoyances/problems seem like Goliaths. And the only way to fight him is to recognize our blessings and what's positive in our lives, and build it up so tall that there's no way the devil could match it.

Here it goes....

Graduate School may be tough, and it may at times be frustrating. It may seem like the school and some teachers could care less about us. But the positive is that in just one year I will be able to be free from the educational system, and go out and help people become better communicators and lead more quality lives! And be able to show them that yes, someone does care about them, even if it's only while they're my patient.  Not to mention then having a good income, and being able to go to a LOT of different types of facilities! Trudging through the unpleasant parts will really make it something special once I get to the other side.

And the ants? Well...a morbid positive, but they will all be dead soon (hopefully), and while they may be on the floor we still have food at the table, and all the other basics that we need to get by and be comfortable. And I'm thankful for that.

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"
Matthew 6:25-27