Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Simple Way To Put Away Christmas

Most years, putting away Christmas decorations makes a huge mess...
We bring up all the plastic containers from the basement, take the lids off and proceed to take down the decorations from all over the house. 

This leads to a lot of running back and forth between rooms to the containers and decorations and pretty soon, there are 10-15 open, unorganized boxes everywhere. Of course, someone ALWAYS seems to drop by right in the middle of all this mess and it takes more than a day to do it, so this year I'm taking down Christmas a little differently. 

I brought everything to the dining room table and organized it by what box it goes into.

I put all the angels together, the stockings and pillow covers together, pinecones, etc. Here I have all the vignette decorations that will be stored in one box. Then, I bring a couple of boxes up at a time when, pack them up in an organized fashion and take them to the storage room.  

Taking down the Christmas decorations (not counting two trees) took me less time than it took for the washing machine to wash a load of laundry. Gotta love that!

lf someone happens to come over in the middle of all this, only the dining room table is cluttered. The rest of the house is de-Christmasfied and neat. I didn't have enough time to put it all away in one day, but we don't use this room on a daily basis anyway. 

I left our little tree decorated and will take that down New Years Day. 
I will leave up our nativity until Epiphany on January 6th. 

After all the decorations are put away, the containers will go on the shelves in the basement storage room. If you missed my "How To Store Your Stuff" post, you can see it HERE.

Are all your Christmas decorations taken down and put away?  If not, how long do you leave them up?

Happy New Year to all!!!


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

So are you ready???
December flew by so fast this year and Christmas Eve is finally here. 
There are just a few things left to do around here; a few presents to wrap and some food to make and that's just about it.

It's time to relax and enjoy. I hope things around your house are calm and without stress.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Yummy and Easy Dessert - Chocolate Caramel Oreo Pie

Had to share this yummy chocolate dessert Mr. DIY made for our Sunday evening group last night. 
It was our turn for dessert and he wanted to make something special. He found the recipe on Pinterest and knew he had to make it. 
You're going to want to  pin this yummy treat so that you can make it too!

To his surprise, the pie only has five ingredients.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Mantel 2014

Happy Christmas Season to you!

I decided to simplify things this year and limit the Christmas decorating and was able to get almost all the decorating finished by the weekend after Thanksgiving. 

That was great since it would let me get everything else finished earlier and not be rushed that last week before Christmas.
You know the saying "the best laid plans"?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas In The Breakfast Room 2014

There is one room in our house that I love to decorate and change up all the time and that room is... 
The Breakfast Room

Christmas, Breakfast Room

The neutral paint (Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore), the three windows 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Tablescape

 Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Before Christmas decorating begins, I wanted to share with our Thanksgiving tablescape with you.
Mr. DIY brought me a colorful Fall bouquet and I used those colors to inspire my table.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Take Time Now- A Lesson From the Season of Fall

I grew up in Southern California and lived there for  most of my adult life and never really experienced Fall. We barely had any change in the seasons. With the exception of some cooler days in Winter and a few rainy days a year, most days it were sunny and warm. You could pretty much go hiking or go for a bike ride or go to the beach most days of the year. 

That's not the case in North Carolina since we have four distinct seasons. It's COLD in the Winter and some years we might even get snow. Summer, on the other hand, is really hot and humid. 

seize the day, fall colors, mountain road

After living with four seasons a couple of years, Fall taught me a very important lesson. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Making Lavender Soap

For many years, Mr. DIY  said he wanted to make soap.  I'm not sure why, but he did.

A while back, he finally made some.

After watching a lot of Youtube videos and finding a recipe on Pinterest, Mr. DIY ordered some supplies that he needed and gathered some out of our pantry.

If you make soap according to how he made his, do so at your own risk as some parts of the soap making process can be dangerous.

Here's are the instructions for how he made the soap:
Mr. DIY's Awesome Soap
         16 oz. Coconut Oil
         16 oz. Palm Oil
         13.5 oz. Olive Oil
        16 oz. Distilled Water
         6.5 oz Lye

         1 oz. Lavender Essential Oil - optional

    1) I measured all of the ingredients by WEIGHT, not volume. 

I then mixed the Palm, Coconut and Olive oils together after measuring, in a stainless steel pot and heated it to about 100-110 degrees then set aside. 

2) Only distilled water should be used. City water often contains chlorine which can chemically alter the way  soap saponifies and it may not set up.
I put the water in another stainless pot (do not use aluminum as the lye will eat through it fast) and while stirring with a wire wisk, I poured in the dry lye, and mixed until it dissolved. Wear gloves and safety glasses. A caustic solution splashed in your eyes can blind you. When lye is added to the water, it will immediately get to 180 degrees in a second, and the fumes are hard to breathe, so I do that part outside. It takes maybe 20-30 minutes to cool down to 100-110. DO NOT ADD WATER TO THE LYE. It will react violently.

3) Once both oils and lye solution are at 100-110, I added them together. I used a stick blender to mix them and blended them until they got to the “trace” point, which is when it thickens. Once it was like pudding, I added  lavender essential oil. If  the lavender is added  before trace, it can do weird things and not set up properly. 

I lined my wooden mold with waxed paper.

4) I poured the soap mixture into the mold, then let it sit overnight to harden. 

The next day I took it out of the mold and sliced it into bars. 

Soap with lye in it must sit/cure for several weeks to allow the pH to drop and the saponification process to complete. The soap will continue to harden as time goes by and a couple more weeks will make the soap lather a lot more. 

Aren't they pretty? They smell so good too!

Mr. DIY has now made 3 batches of soap and has plans to make more. I highly doubt I will ever have to buy soap again. His next batches will be coconut mint and a rose soap. Can't wait!
Is there anything you've always wanted to make, but you just never get around to it?
Would love to hear about it.


Monday, November 3, 2014

A Simple Mountain Cottage Bedroom

The downstairs bedroom at the Mountain Cottage has come a long way. It's not 100% finished yet, but it's starting to come together nicely. 
mountain cottage bedroom

The room was really dark with the country blue wallpapered walls and frilly ruffled curtains covering most of the windows. If you'd like to see what steps we went through to get that wallpaper off the wall, you can see it HERE.  

The vintage ladder holds Mr. DIY's sarape. 

After taking several weekends to paint the closet doors,  they were finally installed in the opening. It's amazing how much bigger the room feels now. Before, the doors were stained a dark brown. 

We moved the little vintage cabinet into the corner. A little lamp was initially put on top, but it didn't look quite right. We plan to put a small flat screen inside the cabinet. 
mountain cottage bedroom

I found two of these night stands on Wayfair.com. They were a great price and two of them will fit on either side of a queen size bed on this small wall, but it will be tight. I'm thinking of painting them a slate gray.
The rug is a new addition and I love how it makes the room feel a little more cozy. I ordered the rug from Rugs USA.com

Even though this bedroom is small, it will eventually get a queen size bed. We aren't quite ready for guests yet, since most of the Mountain Cottage is still a construction zone, so for now, a twin will do. 

The lamp with the blue lamp shade looks better on the vintage cabinet.  In my last post, I showed you how we fixed the inside of the cabinet and replaced a missing piece. You can see it HERE.

Mr. DIY couldn't resist changing up the vintage ladder vignette and making it his own. 
lol. Looks more like the wild, wild west with the sarape and rifle. 
Slowly things are getting checked off the list. Still need to make a trip to Ikea for some curtains and I think I have the perfect artwork for above the bed.  
Hope your week is off to a good start!

PS: I found the little cabinet and ladder at Kiki's Kottage in Pineville, NC


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fixing Our Vintage Cottage Cabinet

I found this cute vintage cabinet finished with an Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and distressed waxed finish way back in April of this year. I knew the minute I saw it in the showroom that it was perfect for the downstairs bedroom at our mountain cottage and that it was coming home with me.

 It looked super cute in the showroom and I didn't notice it was missing something. Do you see what it's missing?

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Sweet Gift And A New Vintage Dresser

Happy Monday Everyone!

Hope you had a nice weekend.
Had to share something sweet a neighbor did for me. 

The doorbell rang the other day and I thought it might be a neighborhood kid selling a fundraiser of some sort.  It took me awhile to get to the front door, but when I went got there, these little lovelies were on the door mat. 

I knew there was only one person who could have left them, so hollered out "Thank you Sydell!" 
My neighbor was still outside and walked back over and we talked for a bit. She's growing these beauties in her yard and sells them to a  local retail shop. 

I put these gorgeous dahlias in a pretty crystal vase and set them on the table in the Breakfast Room. 

I thought they'd look prettier on the vintage dresser that came to live with us last month. The dresser was Mr. DIY's when he was a boy. Mr. DIY helped his mom move into a smaller apartment and she was downsizing to one dresser, so he brought it home. 

I love the detail on the dresser. 

Originally the dresser had more flowery details like the one the coordinating tall dresser that my mother in law kept, Both dressers were purchased from a garage sale way back when, but Mr. DIY's mom scraped off the frilly flowers since it was going into a boy's room. Mr. DIY took photos of the detail with his cell phone and sent them to me. 

Sorry this is blurry. 

The dresser is missing a knob, so I think I will try to find some crystal ones and put those on the top drawer and move the other knob down the the bottom drawer. 

I've been enjoying the beautiful dahlias on our "new" vintage dresser. Wasn't that sweet of my neighbor to share the flowers with me?


Tuesday, October 14, 2014


With all our trips back and forth to the mountain cottage on weekends, packing has become a regular activity around here. Packing and unpacking can be monotonous and can eat up a lot of time before and after a trip, but I have a secret something that has really simplified packing and just might make your life easier too...

...and it will keep you organized...
(am I the only one who gets excited over being organized?)
Had to start off with a photo of the beautiful Craigslist find again. This is where my secret something gets tucked away...

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


I've used a steamer on my floors for many years mainly because I love that I can have clean floors without using any chemicals.
That's why I was so excited when HomeRight said they were going to send me a SteamMachine Plus to review.
I was definitely the person for the job since I've had a couple of steamers before this one. The first steamer I owned had a really loud vacuum cleaner, as well as a steamer, but the steamer part broke, so I found an inexpensive, lightweight, upright steamer, which was a little flimsy and takes forever to heat up.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A Fall Vignette In The Foyer

Hello friends!

Yesterday it finally started feeling like Fall around here. It was cool in the morning and evening and it was sunny and warm without the humidity in the air. 
But, there were still a few mosquitoes buzzing about.
Makes me wish for the first hard freeze.
Did I say that?

Now that it's feeling like Fall, I thought I ought to bring out a few Fall decorations and set up a little vignette on the dresser in the foyer. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Hello everyone!

Who couldn't use more storage in a bedroom? 
Especially, in your kids bedrooms?!!! 
When our girls were little, they always seemed to need more space for their stuff than they had even though we purged and cleared out stuff regularly throughout the year.

If you're like me, you like to keep organized and while having space in a basement or attic is wonderful to store your stuff, sometimes it's much more convenient to have space available right where you need it. 

That's where a double duty storage bed is awesome to have. (Mr. DIY and I made one for the upstairs bedroom our tiny mountain cottage...you can find it HERE if you missed that post)

To see the rest of the post, click on  "Read More" below.