Category Archives: House

Home Sweet Home

Well friends, I have a bit of a big announcement.

I’m coming home.

Permanent style.

Home to family. Home to friends. Home to Speedway.

HOME.

The land of corn, beef and Runzas.

Gosh I’ve missed you.

And you know what’s crazy? Now I’m going to miss Colorado.

It’s the place that I learned how to pick myself up and dust myself off after falling (literally and figuratively), the place I learned that kitchen knives really were worth the investment, that you should never cover oil on the stove and that keeping an organized bathroom closet is so fulfilling.

I found out that outdoor adventures weren’t so bad (especially if you didn’t end up covered in mosquito bites), living frugally can still mean living fully, all things are possible with a good GPS and that you really can survive away from home in a town where you don’t know a soul.

I’ve found the kind of friends that enjoy cuticle care as much as I do, the type of friends that will drink red wine out of Oliva Pope inspired wine glasses WHILE watching Oliva Pope (love of trashy tv is a universal language!) and the type that just show up on your doorstep carrying cartons of Chinese food (or heck, even McDonald’s, don’t judge me).

Not to mention, I discovered some pretty great coworkers. The kind that say ‘Bless You’ after every sneeze, the ones that laugh with you at your daily frustrations and, my favorite, the ones that will steal away with you for a coffee when you need me a pick me up and refuse to drink the office sludge (I’m sorry Young Life, but seriously, sludge).

And these coworkers might even name the area you sit in after you when you leave.

Are you dying over how great that is? Because I am. Totally and completely.

Are you dying over how great that is? Because I am. Totally and completely.

Magical.

The land of skiing, climbing and crunchy granola crazy hippies.

Whom I’ve come to love.

And I will miss terribly.

Guess I’ll just have to come back and visit. A lot.

Especially for one super smart, super adventurous ginger. Don’t worry, I’ve developed quite a few frequent flyer miles in the last two years, I’m happy to have an excuse to use them. And if that supportive, loving, infuriating Boy isn’t just the best reason, I don’t know WHAT is! Heck, you may even see him appear in the great state of Nebraska a time or two…

So, hard to leave? Yes. But am I smiling and giddy running around the house punching my fists into the air knowing I’m headed back to the midwest? To a place where my life is full of dirt tracks, street rods and car shows?

Yes.

A thousand times yes.

The Good Life. Life is Right. Nebraska Nice.

I’m coming home to you. Get excited.

I know I am…

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My room. AKA Mary Poppins Closet.

 

I call it Mary Poppins closet, simply because there’s more in here than anyone could predict. In all actuality, I’m in awe it’s all in here. And that it fits.

But when The Roommate came to move in… I needed to combine two bedrooms of stuff… into one bedroom. Had you asked me if it was possible. I would have told you no.

But I would have been REALLY wrong. With the exception of my beautiful chalkboard desk (which, happens to fit nicely in The Roommates room – bless her), everything does fit.

I’ll just bet you’re wondering how? Right?

Great news… I took pictures.

We’ll call this before. Moving in a bookshelf, an ‘armoire,’ a full closet worth of clothes, half of bathroom worth of stuff… and all of the stuff one would store in an office.

IMG_3976

So. Much. Stuff!

We can call this the middle:

Attempting to fit everything in the place it's going to stay. Oh-so-full.

Attempting to fit everything in the place it’s going to stay. Oh-so-full.

And… for now… the end result:

 

Everything has a place!!

Everything has a place!!

I’ll just bet you’re thinking “Betsy, if you cram it all into the closet on the floor… it doesn’t count!”

Well kids, buckle your seat belt… because even the “closet” is in order!

 

Everything is in order... even the HATS have a place!

Everything is in order… even the HATS have a place!

Sure. Some of the extra linens went into the creepy cellar for storage… but other than that. Stuff is in place and organized. Huzzah!

And I owe you all sorts of stories of new furniture, hanging things in the wall ALL BY OURSELVES and a few recipes. Let’s be thankful that tomorrow’s Friday and I’ll have some time to play catch-up this weekend on the blog!

Happy Friday friends. Hope you all have a brilliantly wonderful weekend!

 

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How to Meet Your Neighbors

The answer is simple.

Throw a garage sale.

No seriously, that’s all you have to do.

Keep in mind that throwing a garage sale means: having enough stuff, advertising it, putting up signs, standing in your front yard for like 9 hours and then having a plan for what to do with the stuff that DOESN’T sell. OR you find someone else with enough stuff, let them do all the pre-work and clean-up work and you just provide the yard. Which is the path I took.

And stuff there was!

Stuff. Stuff. More stuff.

Stuff. Stuff. More stuff.

I’d never experienced the joy of haggling with all of the really random strangers that come to the front yard. It was great.

But truly – the best part was meeting my lovely and adorable neighbors. They were all SO nice. Wanted to know my story (which I LOVE) and generally cared about making sure I enjoyed my time on the street. And now, every time I leave the house, I can say hello to them when they are out and about in their front yards. Which is the BEST. FEELING. EVER.

And one of them invited me over for wine on her front porch.

Which, is just about the most wonderful thing in the whole wide world. SOMEONE WANTS TO BE MY FRIEND!

And after the garage sale, I had only about enough energy to shower, throw on leggings and a t-shirt, drive to get a slushie (always an instant pick me up) on the way to the boys house and then nap. Because just standing in your front yard talking to strangers and moving things around – is EXHAUSTING.

So to those of you that do this whole garage sale mess on the regular – hats off to you.

And to those of you that are alone-ish in a new city and want to feel like you have protective people surrounding you. Get out there. Meet your neighbors. Throw a garage sale! Or, go the traditional route and bake them something.

You know, whatever works!

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My Wardrobe is a Problem

I’ve made some strange wardrobe decisions throughout the course of my life.

And my hair. And anything “fashion” related really.

Practical clothes seemed overrated. I wanted that peasant cropped top everyone else had. Which I appreciate sounds gross now, but really, I swear it was a thing, they were cool… You can’t explain fashion. And normal belt? Why would you buy a normal belt when you could buy a seat belt with soda tabs on it, because they were so freaking cool. Again, it was early 2000, I have no other excuse.

What brings this up? Why am I living through all of my fashion nightmares again?

Simple answer: I’m a hoarder.

For years, I’ve heard that I have plenty of clothes and I don’t need more.

For years, I have fought back. No way Jose, if there’s room in my closet, then there’s room for new clothes. I can buy another dress, what’s one more dress… every once and awhile… (ahem: read – weekly).

Then I moved states. And I had A LOT of clothes to get rid of, to finally say goodbye to, because a hoarder never gets rid of anything. Examples:

  • Things that I’ve had since college Betsy and let’s face it, I am no longer college Betsy. By size… or by style. Not even close (this is a good thing because no self respecting semi-professional woman wears sparkle sequin tube tops to work – don’t judge me).
  • Things that I’d gotten and worn once because they were hideous and I have no idea why I thought a see through hot pink shirt with a bow on it was ever a good idea even if it was on sale at Von Maur.
  • Things that had my sorority letters all over them. Specifically the ones across my backside. You only need so many pairs of sweat pants with greek letters across your rear… And shirts. And sweatshirts. And… on and on and on.

And I felt awesome. My closet was cleaned out. Everything fit into my apartment closet. Life was good. I officially am no longer storing that pop top belt and I no longer owned any more cropped peasant tops. Praise the Lord. Ain’t nobody need to see that.

And then I moved into a little house and life got real.

Because kids – apartment master closets aren’t the real world. Apartment closets are like this halfway place between normal world and utopia closet land. They are massive. And have lots of places for storage. And SO MUCH HANGING RACK.

Old little houses should be the standard. And what I now know is that Betsy’s clothes don’t even fit into… not one… but TWO old little house closets.

Oh, you’re wanting photo proof? Phew. Good thing I have a camera phone:

My bedroom closet. AKA The place where most of my normal clothes hang.

My bedroom closet. AKA The place where most of my normal clothes hang.

Then:

The other bedrooms (soon to be TV rooms) closet. Where all my dresses and costumes hang.

The other bedrooms (soon to be TV rooms) closet. Where all my dresses and costumes hang.

But because EVEN THOSE TWO CAN’T HANDLE IT:

My $10 clothing rack from IKEA. Now placed in my dressing room area where my "frequently used" clothing is hanging.

My $10 clothing rack from IKEA. Now placed in my dressing room area where my “frequently used” clothing is hanging.

Yes. It is all color coordinated and sorted by frequency of use. Which, I’m fairly proud of.

BUT IT’S THREE CLOSETS WORTH OF CLOTHES.

For one person.

I still have a problem. Maybe we consider it a ten step program and we just say I’m halfway there? Step five maybe? Improvements been made, but there’s still a looooong way to go. A hard road ahead.

So, if anyone’s in the market for a dress, turns out, I have one (or twenty) you could borrow… and then take. And never return.

Oh and if you’re looking for shoes… I might have a problem there too… but I suppose we could save that for another post…

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A PARTY IS ALWAYS AN INSPIRATION

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could just snap your fingers and have all the mess in your house put magically in it’s place?

You’d be a cleaning ninja. Everyone would want to be your friend.

Including me. Because I FOR SURE don’t love cleaning. But I do love a good party.

And new dresses. Those aren’t too shabby either.

So why not use party throwing and pretty dresses as your motivation to get everything done?

Sounds like the perfect cleaning motivation to me. Sold!

So I decided to throw myself a housewarming cocktail party. Cocktail attire. Fun summer drinks and appetizers and wonderful people.

And here’s my best showcase of why this was important:

The room BEFORE the party.

Don't judge me.

Don’t judge me.

The room the DAY OF the party.

Tada!

Tada!

And of course Kate crashed the photo.

And all this effort took was a few new pieces of furniture, a few loads of stuff into the creepy furniture cellar… and a little extra special navigation to coax everything where it needed to go.

Example:

This is probably why people tell you that you need to measure before committing to something...

This is probably why people tell you that you need to measure before committing to something…

Thanks Water Boy for your help. As it turns out, it’s really just not possible to move a desk on your own. Or an armoire.

Noted.

And then, the house was clean, and the friends came over, and there was merriment and smiles all around.

And even better, the next morning, I woke up to a clean orderly house. And my internet got installed by a fantastically humorous cable guy.

So now the house is well put together and I can blog about it from the comfort of my own bed.

I would call that a win. Absolutely. Any other great cleaning motivations? I’m willing to find another cleaning muse!

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THE MIRACLE OF SPRAY PAINT

I used to look at ugly old beat up furniture, wrinkle my nose and think “who would want that?!”

Now I look at old furniture and think “what could I do with that!?”

It’s a subtle change, I’m not really sure when it happened. But I’m oh-so-grateful it did. Because when you realize your new place has no linen closet… and you’ve finally got room for a desk – it’s time to thrift shop.

I mean, my first inclination was to run to the Pottery Barn website and drool over this amazing little vanity desk…

I mean, come on.

I mean, come on.

And it would only set me back a cool $499 and tax. Cough, sputter, choke.

Yeah, that’s no longer happening.

So thrift shopping I went and I ended up with both a fully functional (and FUN!) desk, an armoire type piece and a vision.

All that was included in the vision was some spray paint and a piece of glass.

So after enlisting the help of my friends with a truck (although I had high hopes, the armorie was just too big to fit in my small SUV) who could also help me get the pieces in my back yard, I was ready to sand and spray!

One note: when I sprayed all of the furniture in my bedroom, I had used Rust-oleum Primer/Paint and it was amazing. This time I tried another brand first and was more than disappointed. So if you’re painting anything – I’d absolutely advise the Rust-oleum brand of spray paint. It mentions on the bottle it has two times the coverage (which is completely true), it’s only $.10 more than the other brand AND the push nozzle is so-much-better. Which sounds ridiculous, but if you’re about to go through 6 bottles… your finger gets tired and you run the risk of putting your fat finger in front of the spray stream. Trust me. One can of primer for the first layer. Then as much as it takes for full coverage on the rest of it.

And this is what a few hours of work and a whole lot of spraying accomplished:

It's amazing what a can... or 8... of spray paint will do.

It’s amazing what a can… or 8… of spray paint will do.

Shiny white pracitcally new furniture.

Oh – and the top of the desk, I experimented with chalkboard paint. Thanks to the lovely Water Boy for the suggestion. I’m in love with how it turned out.

Isn't that just adorable?

Isn’t that just adorable?

And since I know you’re thinking “I’m sure with all of those extra supplies – you probably could have bought that amazing and incredible Pottery Barn desk” I’ll let you in on a little secret – I did all of this for practically a quarter of the cost of that fancy little desk.

Cost Breakdown:

  • Desk: $20
  • Armoire: $30
  • White Spray Paint: $30 (including the bad decision kind)
  • Chalkboard Paint: $4
  • Glass Piece: $50

Total spent: $134. Now, I appreciate that I didn’t need the glass. Or the chalkboard paint. Or really probably even the white paint… but that adds a lot of fun and character and it looks great with my already white book case that’ll also be sitting in that room!

Once I get everything moved back in the house tonight, I’ll be able to organize the back room a little bit – and I Can. Not. Wait. for things to have a “place” that they belong to.

The goal is to have everything in a place it belongs in by Friday. Go ahead and say a prayer for me!

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SOCK IT TO ME

This is a little embarrassing to admit.

But I think I’m a sock hoarder.

I know everyone talks about the monster that must come in and steal the matches to their socks. But I honestly didn’t think that monster existed. Because I haven’t matched my socks since I moved out of my parent’s house 10 years ago. Sock liberty! Freedom! No one cared if my socks looked nice in the drawer anymore.

And frankly, not that many people saw the socks on my feet (and how often do girls wear socks?!) – so who even cared if they matched?

Plus, what’s the harm in having a messy sock drawer? Nothing.

Until it becomes TWO messy sock drawers. And it’s even worse if you still think you only have one messy sock drawer… and then you open a mystery drawer and realize that that drawer is also full to the brim with socks.

That, my friends, is when you have a problem.

A sock problem.

Which is what I realized last week. I have limited storage. And my extensive t-shirt collection (darn sorority) is already taking up a shameful amount of that valuable drawer space. So I made a goal for April – CLEAN UP YOUR DRAWERS. I thought I’d purged plenty when I had to pack up everything and move states. But apparently I have plenty of room to go still. Yikes.

And then I tried to wait. I really did. But those messy socks were taunting me (again, who have I even become?!) and I couldn’t help myself. So late one night, I turned on Beyonce  and rocked it hard – while dumping the entire contents of both drawers on my bed.

Bam.

 

Thank you PicStitch for making it easy to show small glimpses of each drawer in one cute little square picture.

Thank you PicStitch for making it easy to show small glimpses of each drawer in one cute little square picture.

 

I own a disgusting amount of socks. I don’t think I’ve gotten rid of a sock in ten years. And they’ve just multiplied. So I paired all of those socks off. I sorted by color, I sorted by cut… and then I organized my dress socks/tights/leggings/camis in one drawer with all of the the ‘other’ socks in the other drawer.

Which yes, still leaves me with two sock drawers… for now.

But progress has been made! And now I smile when I open my sock drawer (s). And can we talk about how great it is to just open a drawer and pull out a MATCHING PAIR of socks? It’s incredidble. No more digging until you find two similar looking ankle cut socks. Open drawer. Grab pair. Shut drawer.

Who knew?

(Let’s not think about all of the time wasted over the last ten years searching for matching socks. That just gets depressing.)

And yes, I had about 40 socks without a match. So if anyone has a genius idea of what to do with 40 unmatched socks, you just let me know. Surely there’s some sort of Pinterest project for that…

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For serious. Look everyone.

Did we know that KitchenAid made these?

Look! Look! Look!

Look! Look! Look!

It’s ridiculous. I know. Because it’s so impractical. And how many kitchens does that fit in?

BUT IT’S AMAZING.

That is all. Just had to share.

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DIY – Making My Map!

I dream of being a DIY house blogger. Please tell me you’re all reading Young House Love. They are amazing. Incredible. I adore them.

My catch? I’m really not very DIY myself. I love the idea – but in the past I haven’t had the time or the patience to start a project and finish.

With the exception of my map.

Photography is maybe not my thing. Also I live in the bat cave. Just know, this is huge and looks awesome in real life!

Photography is maybe not my thing. Also I live in the bat cave. Just know, this is huge and looks awesome in real life!

My beautiful, incredible, amazing map. And honestly, I think the reason I ever finished is that I told the guy I liked that I was doing it – and he kept asking about it – and I HAD to finish it. You know, to show him I’m awesome. Looks like it worked out for me… even though now he knows me better than that. But that’s another story!

It began with the thought that I needed at least one piece of artwork in my house. As I had none. No judging. And I love those maps with pins in them that show you everywhere you’ve been. I love to travel. But here’s the thing. I didn’t want an ugly map. I wanted a cute map. With buttons. Surely I could buy one… right? And so the great map search of 2011 began… and failed. Until I stumbled across the amazing A Girl’s Eye View blog. Scroll down a bit – because this girl MADE HER OWN. With scrapbook paper of her choosing. It was adorable. And I wanted it. Enough to be crazy and try it myself.

And just think – making it myself would save me money – right?

Silly Betsy.

But I didn’t want a dinky little map. I wanted a MASSIVE map. So I started by purchasing a massive map – a children’s toy foam puzzle map. Thank you Amazon Prime. You’ve saved me once again. And I picked a variety of shades of red (I’m a red girl – I can’t help it – I blame the Huskers) in scrapbook paper. 7 different papers – and then looked at the map and strategically picked with state would be in which paper. To make sure it was nice and spread out and all meshed well together. And then I started tracing. Keeping in mind that this is a children’s puzzle – my state lines may not have ended up the best. And don’t always fit together when I attempted to free hand around the puzzle parts.

What I really really really want you to know is, as the blogger suggested, YOU SHOULD LABEL THE STATES ON THE BACK. Why? Because although you think you’re the bees knees and you have all of your states down… you’re not that smart. Jumble those suckers up and how do you know what’s Colorado and what’s Wyoming? Not to mention – that although when you look at a map – you might be able to name all of the states – having to actually piece them together is incredibly difficult. Trust me. Especially when they don’t really fit. Which – don’t let it get you down – it’s part of the overall beauty of the finished art!

Luckily my mom had an extra-large massive canvas lying around (lucky me) so I painted that sucker – and then being super crafty, I tacked some linen fabric onto it (stick with the paint – the fabric collects hair and that’s just gross). Then I laid out the states and started to modge podge over them.

Heads up. You’re going to want to hot glue the middle of the states down before modge podging, so they stay in place. Because nothing makes you want to cry quite like getting all of the states in place and then disrupting them all with a sticky paint brush. Nothing. Okay, the legs of the table going out in the process and dumping the whole thing on the ground is a bit depressing too. Maybe don’t use a folding table either.

The buttons. Oh how I adore the buttons!

The buttons. Oh how I adore the buttons!

After getting everything STUCK DOWN (it may take you a few attempts, don’t let it depress you) I took out a hot glue gun and a real map and started gluing buttons to the places I’ve been. I had some gold buttons, some wooden buttons, some red ones – all of different shapes and sizes. Half the fun is getting to go through your button pile and find the right one for each state!

This map has been an INCREDIBLE conversation piece. People love to look at the buttons of where you’ve been, talk about their own traveling adventures and it absolutely accomplished it’s purpose of having SOMETHING on my walls. What it didn’t do – was come super inexpensively. The amount of time, the cost of bags of buttons, scrapbook paper, modge podge, fabric, brushes, hot glue and a glue gun… probably would have been easier to buy something from Gordmans. But – then there wouldn’t be the pride nor would it be half the conversation piece it turned into being.

DIY Project for the win.

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Real Life… I’m a Cat Lady

I had some friends in town this last weekend. It was delightful… but they made me realize something:

Having a cat litter box in your bedroom isn’t okay.

Of course, as good friends tend to be, they were right.

I’d been pulling the “I live in an apartment, where else do I put it excuse” – which – I still find mainly fair – but – I have a bathroom. And the litter box needs to go there. Plain and simple.

But here’s the thing, litter boxes aren’t pretty. I was sacrificing my bedroom corner (highly unseen) to allow my much more public bathroom to remain nice looking. But this could be no more, which is how the ‘Great Litter Box Solution Search of 2013’ started. I’d like to claim that I’m super inventive and thought of this idea all on my own… but really – I knew that surely there are other cat ladies out there that have DIY bones in their body and wanted to create some sort of nice looking surround for these unsightly boxes. And boy oh boy was I right. A few searches in Google later and I’d found something. Or about 2 million somethings. Apparently cat ladies have a lot of time to on their hands to browse the interwebs? Hmm… Interesting parallel… Anywho, Amazon had just about the purr-fect (I mean, come on, I couldn’t help it) option here – but it was $90. That’s ninety bones for something the cat uses as her toilet.

Not happening.

After consulting my DIY friend the southern gentleman from the dog park – we’ll just call him Mr. Southern Gentleman from here on out – he was absolutely sure that we could either 1) Build one or 2) Take a piece of furniture and convert it.

Excellent.

Also, he spoke of a glorious place here called the ReStore. Immediately a lunch outing was scheduled. Mr. Southern Gentleman, my other accomplice Water Boy* and I piled into the car and headed to the most amazing place. It was filled with reusable treasures… windows, glass, tile, carpet, wood… and these gems:

Well, if that doesn't look like the future amazing cat cabinet... I don't know what does. Espeically for ONLY $20!

Well, if that doesn’t look like the future amazing cat cabinet… I don’t know what does! Especially for ONLY twenty smackaroos (translation: $20)!

I just couldn't do the long dangle knobs on the current piece and these suckers were a whopping $.50 a piece.

I just couldn’t do the long dangle knobs on the current piece and these suckers were a whopping $.50 a piece.

Who else knew you could take a drawer, put some slats in it and call it a spice rack?! Genius boys. Genius.

Who knew you could take a drawer, put some slats in it and call it a spice rack?! Genius boys. Genius. Also, photo bomb provided by Water Boy. Thanks bro.

Okay, okay, so the spice rack was an accidental purchase. But it’s the best accidental $1 I’ve spent in a long long time. Plus, Jillian Michaels (my friend, not the actual person) will be SUPER proud when she visits next week, because now my spices will always face label out (organization win!).

And this is the story of how in the last week I’ve spent an excessive amount of time thinking about cat litter boxes… and why I think it’s fair that you can probably call me a cat lady and I shouldn’t be offended. Great news though, I officially have a new project on my hands. The real question – to paint it blue or white. Decisions decisions. Stay tuned friends. This is happening.

*In a sad sad tragedy, Water Boy became Water Boy before the blog was created. My new coworker was nice enough to agree to join me for some Christmas shopping errands (because who wants to go Christmas shopping alone?) and then we dined at Panera. Unbeknownst to him, I talk with my hands. And I’m a klutz. Poor guy didn’t know to move the GIANT water filled glass, full to the brim, from in front of me. He never saw it coming. Maybe five seconds after sitting down, I knock the entire glass of water down and all of the water goes rushing… right at him, his meal, and mainly his pants. The guy was soaked. And it was about 5 degrees outside. And his sandwich was soggy. And I couldn’t stop laughing. Because seriously Betsy, how are you going to make new friends when you’re just dumping water on them all of the time? Sigh. Good news, apparently our friendship didn’t suffer. And he still hangs out with me. But now he knows when I’m near to move any full glass from out of my reach… and his nickname will forever be Water Boy.