Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Decor: Dining Room

Here is another peek into our shoebox home.
Here is our dining room all decked out for Christmas!
Our home for the Holidays is usually a red & white theme with some accents of green.
We go for good ol' Classic Christmas.
No fancy gold, burgundy or trendy colors here.
More like candy canes and white lights.

I re-used our Fall centerpiece of Mason jars, tea lights and I swapped out the glitter pine cones for red ornaments.

Very cheap!

I used our ever-practical white dishes layered with red to give them a festive look.
I used cheapo red placemats, red chargers and red napkins for a frugal new look!
I bought a fresh wreath from Lowe's ($7.97) and some fresh greenery ($3.97) for our home. I used the greenery all around the house and laid two branches next to the centerpiece with picks from Michaels laying on to ($1.60).
I really like how it looks!
Our hutch is filled with family treasures.
The stained glass angel on top was a wedding gift from a family friend.

The cook books were from my husbands family.
The Santa Claus' were carved and painted by Mr. Free's grandparents.
They had quite the carving studio and every year they would give each family a new Santa at Thanksgiving for the Holidays.
So there you go!
I really love our home all decorated.
It makes me smile when I walk in the door!
Is your home decorated for the Holidays yet?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree....

Mr. Free and I (OK....sometimes just me...) usually shop til we drop on Black Friday then set the house all up for Christmas when we get home.

Needless to say we relax all day Saturday....

Over the next week or so I will show you little glimpses into our decked-out-for-the-holidays home.

I thought today I'd start with our tree.
She is just 6 ft. tall.
She isn't pre-lit.
She was just $15 four years ago.

We have adorned her with decorations from the $1 store.
She is outfitted with
white lights
red garland
red ornaments
red bows
candy canes
special ornaments
with a
big bow and star on top

We decided to start fresh with our 'married tree' and not hang up our childhood ornaments.
We still have them though.
So our tree has an ornament for each of our animals

As well as an ornament for each Christmas we've had married.
Our first year ornament is the snowflake with our wedding picture in it that is in the top picture.

The second year ornament is the Peanuts classroom. This is the year Mr. Free went back to school to be a teacher.
We are now both teachers.
Music and Art.
We are hippies.

The third year ornament is one of a cat and dog.
Because we love our little furbabies.

And this year I got a dove that says 'hope'.
It just seemed very, very appropraite for the year we've had.

Our first year married my mom got each each an ornament to reflect us.
I got a treble clef.

And Mr. Free got a fireman Santa.
Our first year married Mr. Free had just graduated the Fire Academy and was volunteer firefighting on weekends.
He obviously has had a career change since then.
So there you have it.
Our little tree for our little home.
Want to know a secret?
We don't trim the tree every year.

We put a big bag over it, decorated and all and simply put it down in our storage room.
Fully intact.

Each year we just bring it up stairs, take the bag of and voila!

I don't know if it's genius or trashy......

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I've wanted to make this for a long time and I finally ran out of my massive Costco container of laundry detergent.

It was really easy and very inexpensive.

Here's what you need
I found all of the ingredients at Hy-Vee.
Grocery stores seem to carry these things more than like Target or Wal-Mart.

Here is the recipe

1 c. Washing Soda
1/2 c. Borax
1 grated Fels-Naptha bar

1. Combine the Washing soda and Borax
2. Grate the soap

3. Mix all three ingredient in large bowl then pour into pretty container!
Put in pretty container!

We went ahead and tripled the batch, but only used 2 bars of soap since no more would fit in our container.

For use:
Light load- 1 tbs.
Larger load or heavier soiled- 2 tbs.

Why make your own laundry detergent?
Because it's cheap!

Let's break it down.

Up front, here were the costs:
Arm and Hammer Washing Soda $2.48
20 Mule Team Borax $3.97
2 Fels-Naptha Bars $ $1.66 ($.83 each)
Total: $8.11

Per batch, the total comes out to $1.40 which makes 40 loads.
That is $.04 per load!

My Costco container of detergent costs $11.99 for 160 loads.
That is $.075 per load!

Nearly half the price!

So there you have it, I can cross that off my 101 things to do!
Please let me know if you try it out!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Wrapping Center

Bring on the holiday wrapping!
I'm ready!

I decided that with our spare room I wanted a designated and peaceful space for wrapping gifts.
Wrapping on the floor or clearing my pretty tablescape was getting old...

I decided to use the sewing table in 'Otis' Room' as the wrapping table.
I used a cute trash can to corral my wrapping paper.
I used another container to the right of the table to corral my big bags, boxes and tissue paper.
For above the table I knew I wanted to make a pretty board to hang all the wrapping necessities.
I started with this
Cork board: $3.99
Fabric: $2.50
Glue gun

Then I glued the fabric to the cork front
Then added ribbon trim to the edges
And after....
I hung scissors, pens, ribbon, gift tags and small gift bags

For the 'wrap' to the left I started with $.50 chipboard letters
Then spray painted them yellow

Easy peasy!

On the table top I have my roll of tape, my container of additional ribbon and my grandmother's serving piece with a plethora of bows.

So there ya have it!
I actually can't wait to wrap!

What do you think?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

101 in 1001

I decided to embark in the '101 things to do in 1001 days'.
The rule is you have 1001 days to do 101 measurable goals.
Here are mine:

1. Write a letter to myself for the end of 1001 days
2. Get a pedicure
3. Get my a1c below 7 (6 months and running!)4. Lost 20 lbs.
5. Eat clean 90% of the time for a month
6. Wear a bikini (and look good in it!)
7. Get a new hairstyle
8. Begin writing a weekly note of encouragement to someone
9. Buy and wear high heels
10. Read a fiction novel
11. Be able to do the splits
12. Play with photoshop
13. Drink 6 cups of water daily for a month
14. Get 100+ followers on the blog
15. Practice the piano
16. Do the laundry I've neglected
17. Keep a journal for a month
18. Invite someone over for dinner once a month
19. Sew an article of clothing
20. Floss daily for a month
21. Have family over for dinner
22. Make a meal for someone who could use it
23. Write a thank you note
24. Host a dinner party
25. Finish my Portfolio
26. Finish my Master's
27. Plan a surprise party
28. Pay off student loans
29. Pay off car
30. Don't complain for a week
31. Learn to knit/crochet
32. Take a video of Mr. Free and I everyday for a week
33. Do 5 random acts of kindness
34. Spend an entire day in my pj's
35. Comment on 5 new blogs
36. Write a song
37. Wake up before Mr. Free everyday for a week
38. Pay for a friend's meal when they don't expect it
39. Find a great pair of jeans
40. Find some black boots that are flattering (12/27/10)41. Tip 50% (12/21/10)42. Go one week without hitting snooze
43. Eat at a Waffle House (11/18)
44. Host a Christmas Cookie Swap
45. Go to a flea market
46. Talk positively about myself for a week

47. Have a baby
48. Or two.
49. Go on a vacation
50. Go on a date twice a month
51. Go to a marriage retreat
52. Write notes to Mr. Free
53. Get a couple's massage
54. Do a couple's devotional
55. Go on a weekend getaway
56. Plan a surprise for Mr. Free

57. Get rid of 100 things
58. Organize basement
59. Paint inside of kitchen cabinets
60. Install recessed lighting
61. Grow pumpkins
62. Make my own Lara bars
63. Make a cheesecake
64. Make spaghetti sauce from scratch
65. Make bagels
66. Paint the screen door
67. Organize/finish guest room
68. Paint something with chalkboard paint
69. Make a big breakast. At breakfast time.
70. Have overnight guests
71. Make homemade frosting
72. Make chocolate truffles
73. Make homemade laundry detergent (11/28/10)74. Paint back porch
75. Decorate back porch
76. Fix up laundry room
77. Get all our paperwork filed
78. Create a gift-wrapping station (11/25/10)79. Get a food processor (12/31/10)
80. Get a kitchenaid stand mixer (12/24/10)

81. Go ice skating
82. Go geocaching just Mr. Free and I
83. Plan our trip to England/Europe
84. Make a soy candle
85. Go to a musical at my old high school
86. Go sledding (1/20/11...tried snowboarding too!)87. Try 5 new local restaurants
88. Go to the observatory
89. Go on weekend road trip
90. Plan something fun for the nieces
91. Play disc golf
92. Go to Weston in the fall
93. Send a package to friends in England

94. Teach VBS
95. Share my testimony
96. Help others who experience miscarriage
97. Read the Bible cover to cover
98. Read 3 new 'godly wife' books
99. Join MOPs (after having said babies)
100. Serve at a soup kitchen
101. Make a Christmas box

So there we go.
My deadline date is September 8, 2013.
I will update periodically to let you know how I'm doing.
I'm excited to spice up my life a bit!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another tab....

^ Look up ^
I added another tab.


I am in NO way an organizational guru.
I am a real woman and wife who struggles with organization.
So I wanted to be a real example.

There are some amazingly talented naturally organized women.
I wish I was one of them.
But if you struggle in the area of organization, I can totally relate.
Hopefully as you click through my pictures and posts about organizing your home, it'll give you a little glimmer of hope or inspiration to organize your own home.

Please check it out and let me know what you think!

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.
Proverbs 14:1

Monday, November 15, 2010

Landing Strip & Coat Closet

I've read time and time again that every home needs a 'landing strip' to manage efficiently.
A 'landing strip' is a place to set your keys, the mail and your bags.
Each item has a place.

By the way...don't google image 'landing strip'.
Learned that the hard way.

Anyways. The Free home doesn't have the space by the door for a landing strip.
So I had to think outside the box.

I thought....why not use the hall closet? We really don't use it for anything productive!

So I took it from this

To this

Much better.

Here's what I did
First, cleared out all the junk. Got rid of things that didn't belong there.
Then, I pulled in an old bookcase from the guest room that I didn't want in there anymore.
I already had the two lime green baskets and they fit in the shelves perfectly.

The top basket is for gloves, hats, etc.
The bottom basket holds batteries and light bulbs.
On top of the basket I placed one of Mr. Free's ceramic dishes to hold keys and cell phones.
The back basket I snagged from the linen closet (it wasn't being used) and it will hold mail to be dealt with.

On the top shelves holds my everyday purse (finally a place to put it once I get home vs. the dining room table!) and our gym bag.
The top shelf holds a basket. An empty basket! That is a first in the Free house.

So there you have it.
A $0 make over that is making a big impact on our home!

What do you think?
Do you have a 'landing strip' at home?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I saw a celebrity today!

That's a big deal in Kansas City!
And she was one of my favorite celebs for a long time!
My mom and I went shopping and found out she was going to be there!
So here she is:

And yes that was me sing-talking "Hi Jessica".
I'm a dork.

I used to watch The Newlyweds all.the.time.

Nick and Jess were so cute together.
And I loved how messy she was.
It made me feel better about myself.
: )

So that was my day.
How was yours?

Friday, November 12, 2010

I need your opinion....

Mr. Free and I recently spray painted all our interior door knobs Oil Rubbed Bronze.
You can see how we did it here,

However, last Spring Mr. Free and I saved up and purchased a new front door with shiny new hardware.
At the time, we thought we wanted all our hardware to be brushed nickel.
So we purchased this lovely set for $90.
We have loved it.
BUT.....we decided we love Oil Rubbed Bronze more.

So now all our hardware is Oil Rubbed Bronze but our front door.
We really had to save up for this set, so replacing it isn't an option.
I'm having a hard time deciding whether to spray paint it to match, or leave it as is.

Here are the options:
Leave it as is
Spray paint just the interior side Oil Rubbed Bronze and leave the exterior Brushed Nickel
Spray paint the interior and exterior Oil Rubbed Bronze

Help me decide!
I made a poll on the right side of my blog.
Please vote on what you think is best!
It'll be up for a week.
If you have any other options or ideas, please leave me a comment!!!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

I love after season sales!

Mr. Free and I were wandering around Michael's when I stumbled upon a 70% off Clearance display of Fall items.
Fall decor isn't even over! Woohoo!
I bought another leaf garland for the top of our fridge and this pretty little basket.

It's made out of pretty yellow string.
It doesn't even look fall-ish.

Here is where she currently lives.

I know she'll be constantly be moving around our lil' home.
Right now she is holding dish towels in the kitchen.

But isn't she pretty?!
Best yet....she was only $1.24!

My frugal tip: Keep an open mind with decor. I never have a master 'decor shopping list'. I just let items 'speak' to me, then find a place in our home for it. Especially if it's over 75% off!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To Mr. Free....

Today is not our anniversary
Or any sort of special day
But I'm writing to you
Because I want to say
Just how much I love you
And what you mean to me
You've been my rock these last few months
It hasn't been easy
You have such an amazing faith
And loving spirit too
You never once questioned God's plan
And so I leaned on you
Thank you for holding me
When I hurt so bad
Thank you for making me laugh
It helped me not be sad
I feel so privileged
God chose me for you
I truly hope that you see
What a blessing you are too
I love you so very much
And am thankful for each day
God keeps us together
To love, work and pray
He has big plans for us
Though we may not see
This is just the beginning
For you and me
I hope that I can be
A blessing to you too
Though I'm messy and silly
I strive to help you
We're in this together
This journey God has planned
And as we travel forward
We will be hand in hand

I love you babe.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's all in the details...

I was blog reading the other day and Jenny at Little Green Notebook mentioned that living in a small space means you need to pay special attention to the details in your home design.

It was like a lightbulb went off.

She showed a picture of a drawer that had a contrasting color on the inside. It looked awesome.
But it got me thinking, I should add more special touches to my home!

Which got me thinking about the interior of my kitchen cabinets, which are currently unpainted, though the exterior is painted white.
This is a perfect cold weather project!

I'm debating.....should the inside be yellow or blue?

Help me decide!

I'm definitely leaning one way over the other, but you may convince me otherwise!