New Years Goals

New Years Eve…what better time is there to go through what all you’ve accomplished in the past year? Since we bought our house in May, we have done a fair amount of work…but there’s still soooo much to do! Here’s a review of some of the house projects we’ve accomplished this year.

Removed wallpaper from kitchen and master bathroom

Painted interior of house (ceilings, walls, trim, everything!)

Knocked out a room in the house.

Re-carpeted 2 rooms.

Installed a sink in the garage (hooray for messy paintbrush cleanups!)

Set up a dog pen in 1/4 of the garage.

Installed reverse osmosis water filter in kitchen.

Installed cabinets in the laundry room (errr…closet).

Installed new light fixtures in 2 bedrooms, kitchen, and guest bathroom.

Installed wood privacy fence on the side of our house.

Re-finished metal clothesline poles in backyard.

Replaced knobs on 2 closet doors

Replaced toilet seats.

Tiled guest bathroom floor.

Added pulls and knobs to kitchen cabinets.

Painted exterior of house- cedar siding and shutters.

Planted 6 fruit trees, 8 berry bushes, 11 grapevines.

Re-landscaped front garden beds (extended beds, dug up old plants, planted new plants).

Pruned tree in front yard.

Painted cabinets in guest bathroom and added knobs.

Painted guest bathroom countertop.

Made frame for guest bathroom mirror out of trim moulding.

Installed new satin nickel bathroom hardware in guest bathroom.

Caulked exterior of house.

Caulked bathrooms and kitchen.

Hung new curtain hardware, bamboo blinds, and curtain in living room.

Refinished second-hand metal file cabinet.

Here are a few things I would like to accomplish in 2010:

Install crown moulding on half wall around dining room.

Take out banister in entryway and build a ledge with crown moulding in it’s place.

Renovate master bathroom (install new floor tile, make a mirror frame, new light fixture, make shelving unit, polystain the cabinets, add cabinet hardware, make a concrete countertop, replace faucets)

Tear up wood laminate in kitchen and tile the floor.

Make concrete countertops for kitchen.

Make daybed frame.

Buy used real wood master bedroom furniture and refinish.

Re-paint storage barn in backyard.

Re-seal pool deck.

Replace all doorknobs in house.

Replace entryway chandelier and hallway chandelier.

Build fireplace surround/mantle and install wood burning stove insert.

Re-finish old bench for front porch.

Install exterior door (with a doggie door) from dog pen in garage to side fenced-in yard.

Run phone line from the kitchen to the living room (through the attic/walls).

Paint lots of art for house.

Look into new flooring options for dining room, small living room, and 2nd and 3rd bedrooms.

Make GIGANTIC vegetable garden in backyard.

Re-finish piano and buy or make piano bench.

And I’m sure so much more…

Happy New Year!


Christmas Tree: finished

I’m back with the post on our very first (and cheap) Christmas tree. After much debating and online inspiration searching, I decided to go with a green and white themed tree with punches of brown. Not sure why that took much debating; pretty sure that’s what most of my house is. Green and brown are to me what white is to YHL.

First things first: the garland. I knew I wanted to use some sort of sheer, wide ribbon flowing from the top of the tree instead of traditional garland. And maybe a little bit of a sheer green ribbon in between the white. After searching through the Christmas ribbon at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, Wal-Mart, Meijer, Target, and maybe a few other places, I couldn’t find the perfect ribbon. Then, while at Hobby Lobby, it hit me. The wedding aisle! Lo and behold, there was the perfect ribbon (actually tulle), and at a much cheaper price! They also had the perfect green wired ribbon, score.

Next came the ornaments. I wanted our tree to look finished without spending an arm and a half on ornaments. I decided that I wanted each ornament to be less than $1 apiece.

My first idea came at Michael’s. They had tiny poinsettia garlands on sale for 40% off, so for a whopping $6, I scored a garland of white poinsettias. I popped the poinsettias off of the garland, took some needle nose pliers, and squeezed ornament hooks onto the back of them.



Still not sure how many flowers there were on the garland, but I used about half of them before I decided that using any more would make my tree look like a giant cone-shaped flower.

Next, I knew that I wanted some traditional glass ball ornaments in green and white. I found these at Target’s website and calculated that it only costs 29 cents an ornament (and I can use the red ones around the house for other Christmas decor). I also picked up a few snowflake ornaments, white and green pine cone ornaments, glass icicle ornaments, and white reindeer ornaments for well under $1 apiece. I found and fell in love with some green, white, and brown striped ornaments at Michael’s that I got for half off, making it $2.50 for 6 of those, and got a box of 6 punchy brown ornaments at Hobby Lobby for $2.


All this would have been more than enough, but I completely and utterly fell in love with these rustic woodland creature ornaments from Crate & Barrel. Somewhere between $4.95 and $6.95 apiece, they completely blew my ornament budget, but were so worth it. I justify it in my mind since all my other ornaments were so far under budget. And they have gotten so many compliments already! I love em to death.

For the tree skirt, I grabbed a green and white plaid fleece throw from K-Mart for $3 and threw some pine cones around the base of the tree (from the Michael’s fall clearance section- only $1 for an entire bag of em!)

And here’s the result:


(Note: I have since fixed the strange bare spot on the bottom left part of the tree!)

In a previous post I mentioned that I was going to make my own tree topper. Well, partly out of laziness and partly out of “this isn’t turning out the way I had imagined it,” I made a simple white tulle bow for this year. We’ll see if the topper turns out later on…who knows, it may look great in the end! Right now I really like the way the bow flows into the rest of the tree and doesn’t steal all the glory.

So happy to have the tree put all put together- it really puts some Christmas spirit in the house!  Special thanks to my sister who helped me decorate the tree the weekend before Thanksgiving!

Your turn: any of you who DIY’ed your own Christmas ornaments to save money (or just because it looked better)? Do tell!