Fall Cleaning

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I know it’s not even September yet but here I am talking about Fall Cleaning. Fall Cleaning is like Spring Cleaning except obviously in the fall. I have found it makes the most sense for me to try to do a deep house cleaning at the change of every season. Cleaning everything really thoroughly four times per year helps make everything easy to maintain and the more often you do a deep cleaning the easier and faster it gets each time.  After trying out lots of methods, reading different books and articles about organization I have come up with a plan that works quite well for me. I use a combination of the Marie Kondo method and Jan Dougherty method of cleaning. I reviewed both of their books earlier this year. You should definitely check them out if you have a chance.  Here is the rundown on how I do my big quarterly house cleaning. It takes me about a week working a couple of hours everyday. I hope to get it things to the point where I can get it all done in a weekend.

I start at the back of the house and work my way towards the front. I choose a different room to work on each day. Bathrooms, then bedrooms, then the hallway, laundry room, kitchen, dining room and living room and that will bring us to the front door!

I start each room by removing the curtains, blankets, pillows and anything that can be put in the washing machine. Those get washed first. I then go through all the cabinets, dressers, closets and cupboards and remove everything. I clean out the shelves and wipe down everything one by one as I put it back. Anything that doesn’t “spark joy” gets donated or tossed. Seasonal cleaning is a good way to go through all your clothes and get rid of  (or pack away) anything that you won’t be wearing the next season.

Once all the cabinets and closets are cleaned out I remove anything from the room that isn’t bolted down. Picture frames, lamps, tables etc. If it’s too heavy to move out then I at least try to pull it away from the wall.

After the room is mostly empty I vacuum and dust the area where the walls meet the ceiling. Major dust and cobwebs! Then I work clockwise and wipe down all the walls working one arms length at a time, top to bottom.  Then I wipe down all the big pieces of furniture and add back all the accessories and art that I want to keep, wiping each one down as I put them back. By then the curtains and pillows are cleaning and dried and I can put them back.

I finish off with vacuuming and mopping the floors and then I plug-in my oil diffuser with a little eucalyptus essential oil and add a fresh-cut flower or two from the garden.

One room a day and I am done in a week. Some rooms take longer than others. I can do both bathrooms in a couple of hours and the bedroom ended up taking two days. I save the kitchen for the weekend since it needs the most attention.

I take the trash out daily and put all the donation items in my car right away so that they are completely out of the house.

Boom. Clean and tidy house for a least a little while! Like I said, it’s still August but I have the time right now to work on these types of things before school starts again in September.

What projects are you working on around the house?

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Attack of the Hornets

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I have been working on my backyard landscaping for some time now. Slowly (and I mean really,really, slowly) things are coming together. I have been trying to save money on plants so I have been purchasing what I can from the clearance section at Home Depot and Lowes. When I was working on the front yard garden I dug up some ferns that were growing naturally on our property and moved them over to my yard. I decided to try to save more money by digging up more ferns for the backyard.

On Friday evening, since I had a scheduled day off from work I went out the woods behind my in-laws house with a shovel, some bags and my sidekick Luna the yellow lab. I found a section of ferns a little off the beaten path and started digging up a couple of the plants. I started working on a third when I noticed some buzzing. Then really loud buzzing. I looked down and saw a swirl of hornets near my feet. I had dug into a hornets nest! Then I felt the stinging begin… The hornets flew right up the back of my shorts and started stinging me all over my bum! I dropped my shovel and started running out of the woods like a bat out of hell. Luna had been far enough away to escape the wrath of the hornets. We ran down the path towards home and I could feel the hornets continuing to sting me repeatedly while I ran. I dropped my pants a little and tried to get the hornets out of my shorts but it didn’t work. I have never run so fast in my entire life. I ran into the house, ripped off my clothes screaming and got in the shower. My husband came over to see what my fuss was about. “Bees!” I screamed. There were several hornets still alive in my clothing and were flying all over the bathroom. Rob swatted them to death and then got me some water and Benadryl.

I layed on my side on the couch for the rest of the night, an ice pack strapped to each butt cheek with an Ace bandage. So. Much. Pain. Thank goodness I am not allergic. Upon further inspection of my booty I realized that I had been stung nearly 20 times all over my bum and a couple on my shoulder. Not fun. Not even a little bit. On Saturday morning we were supposed to take part in the Bubble Run in Everett, about an hour drive away. So we woke up at the ass-crack of dawn (pun intended) and ran 5Km through a soapy foamy bubble pit in Everett. My butt was on fire and feeling terrible the entire time (I’m talking about chaffing, y’all) but I did it. And so I have learned my lesson, I will be buying the rest of my plants from the actual nursery. Now excuse me while I go get some fresh ice packs for my butt.

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Summer Pinterest Contest

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There is only about a week left in August. Fall is around the corner and it’s almost the time of the year when Pumpkin Spice Everything takes over the world. I really enjoy this time of year. The weather is starting to cool down just a little bit but the never ending rainy season of the Pacific Northwest hasn’t started yet. I think it’s time to do another giveaway from my jewelry line Crafty Little Gnome. Allison was the winner of the last giveaway. She chose this custom necklace:

Evelope locketThe last Pinterest Contest I did was so successful I want to do another one. It’s simple to enter and you have three entries possible.

One: Pin this contest to Pinterest and help spread the word.

Two: Pin the item you would like to win from my shop

Three: Pin your favorite blog post from this blog.

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Leave a comment with the entries you are entitled to and be sure to leave an email so I can get a hold of you if you win!

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Good Luck!

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August Gardening

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I finished up summer quarter at college on Monday. Now I can get back to some of my projects around the house. I am trying to get as much gardening done as I can while it is still nice out. I have added lots of plants to the front yard and managed to keep everything alive through this heatwave/drought we have been suffering through in the Pacific Northwest.

auggarden8This garden bed is in front of the house under the windows. The front yard is still going strong from the big overhaul we did last year. All our grass is dead because we don’t waste water watering the grass. Everything else is growing and filling in nicely.

auggarden9I added this garden bed in the front yard along the picket fence. There are roses, Brown Eyed Susans.  Blueberries, Purple Cone Flower, some grasses and a few other flowering perennials.

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auggarden4Here we have the shade garden in the front yard. It is to the left of the walkway up to the house.  I planted rhodos, boxwood, hostas, ferns and coleus.

auggarden7In the backyard I added a small veggie garden next to the back porch. It will look better next year when I add more veggies earlier in the season.

auggarden2One of about a million cherry tomatoes!

auggardenA sunflower about to bloom. I had no idea how easy they were to grow. I plan on growing a ton of them next year.

For the next month or so I will be plugging away at the rest of the backyard. I will have some pictures to show you soon!

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Pretty Peony Display

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A while back I got a free bouquet of peonies at work. One of the places we pick up packages at sells flowers and the drivers got to bring back some free peonies. Since I am the only female who works in the office at night they gave some of them to me!

I decided to make a little display in the dining room. I used some wine classes and clear glasses and trimmed down some of the flowers.

peonies4peonies3peonies2peonies5Peonies are one of my favorite flowers. I don’t have any in my garden yet. Seeing how pretty these little arrangements look I should probably grow some!

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Summer Fun

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Hey Friends! I have had a very busy couple of weeks. I started school at the beginning of July and it’s been a lot of work but also really enjoyable. I am learning a lot of really good information in my business classes. With only 3 weeks left in this quarter and 99% in both of my classes  I think it’s safe to say I am doing really well! In addition to school and work I have lots of summer time fun going on. A of weeks ago my husband and I participated in the Wipeout Run in Puyallup Washington. It’s an obstacle course 5K run based on the T.V. show Wipeout. It was a lot of fun.  We have a few more 5K runs coming up this summer. The Bubble Run in Everett, the Color Run in Bellingham and then the Mud to Suds in Ferndale.

This past weekend was pretty packed too. My daughters second birthday was on Friday, then Saturday was my 6th wedding anniversary and Sunday I went to a friend’s wedding!

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The wedding was in Victoria BC so Chloe and I heading over to Vancouver Island with my mom and sister for the day to see my childhood friend (who also happens to be named Adrienne) get married! It was a beautiful day and the wedding was really lovely. Good times!

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I will (fingers crossed) have a little extra time on my hands this week so I want to get some yard work done, get back on track with exercise and hopefully more time for blogging.

Ciao for now!

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Try Out Trends with Homestyler Interior Design

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Interior design requires plenty of creativity. An imagination strong enough to visualize your ideas coming to life, and to see if this beautiful new couch will work well with your current wallpaper but without actually buying anything and lugging it home. It’s one of the reasons why, for most home designers and DIYers, the first few renovations can be hit-and-miss, but not anymore.

Thanks to the rapid growth of the mobile app market, we can now see our ideas come to life right from our mobile phones. As explained by the people behind mobile website Pocket Fruity, growth in mobile internet is among the strongest trends on the internet landscape to date. The number of smartphone users has grown from 1 billion in 2012 to nearly 2 billion this year. There are over 1.5 million apps on Google Play and the iTunes App Store, and many offer solutions to some of life’s most basic problems, including home decoration.

The Homestyler Interior Design app is possibly the crème de la crème – the very best of interior design apps out there. Available on both the Google Play Store and the iTunes App Store for free, the app has been repeatedly hailed as a “can’t-live-without” app for designers. It has a myriad of features that are perfect for the struggling home decorator, including a stream of ideas from other users, which you can comment on and “heart” – similar to how things work on Instagram – as well as articles on design tips and how-to’s. Its most prominent feature – and the one you will probably use the most – however, is the one that lets you take a snapshot of your room, and then use realistic virtual items to customize it.

As you can see, you can even adjust the color of the paint on the walls, add blinds, floor lamps and rugs. There’s a great catalogue of items on the app, and even if you’re not planning on redecorating any time soon, it’s fun to experiment on different looks and try to come up with your next great room design. Most of the items on the app are also branded, so you can recreate your plans on the room just as you want them. Once you’ve created a design you like, you can share your room to other users as well, and get comments and feedback so you can further refine your style. The app can even put you in touch with professional designers in your area, should you need additional help with your designs.

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This is a guest post from Joan Oliver

Joan Oliver has been obsessed with reading decorating blogs since she bought her first apartment — a boring 1-bedroom with tacky wallpaper and a hardwood floor. She’s since learned to experiment with what’s in her budget and make her living space truly her own, inspired by the current trend of refurbished lofts in London.

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Summer Time!

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Hey Friends,

Things have been a little quiet around here lately. I am doing really well since my appendix surgery (feeling 100% better) and have been surviving this crazy heat wave we have been experiencing in the Pacific Northwest.

A while back I decided that I wanted to go back to college. Right after high school, when I still lived in British Columbia Canada I did one year of community college and then decided to go to school for cosmetology. Fast forward 10 years later I live in Washington state and  work part time as a supervisor at an international courier company and don’t do anything related to cosmetology! Go figure!

My employer has a program for tuition assistance. I discovered that if I go back to school they will pay 100% for my degree! It’s too good of a deal to pass up so I registered for classes at the local community college in Bellingham and I am on my way to get my associates degree in business administration. Since a lot of the credits from my first go at college years ago will transfer I can take classes online, part- time and get my degree in 2 years. I decided to start this summer with two classes, intro to accounting and intro to business. Classes started at the beginning of the month and so far I am doing well.

For the time being school, family and work are my priorities which means less time to devote to blogging and other creative hobbies but I will still do my best to stay active on my little blog here.

I’ve got some fun activities planned for the rest of the summer. My husband and I are participating in a few 5km races and we are hoping to get away for a weekend in August. I’m looking forward to some relaxing summer nights!

How are things going with your summer?

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Tile Trends 2015

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When we moved into our little house 6 years ago we knew right away we needed to replace the flooring. 20 year old nasty green carpet covered all the floors except the bathroom and kitchen. Broken and cracked ceramic tile covered those floors. We decided to use vinyl tile on all the flooring. It was cheap and really easy to install. The only room that we still need to update the flooring on is the bathroom in the master bedroom. The original tile is cracked and broken in a few spots. I’m trying to decide what kind of tile to install in the bathroom. There are so many options to choose from. If you want to give your bathroom a fresh look, updating the tiles is a great place to start. You can choose from a myriad of tiles, in a variety of shapes and styles.

If you need some help deciding on a tile theme for your bathroom you can click this link to get some inspiration. You can see all the latest tile trends and find something to suit your décor.

The latest style in mosaic

Mosaic styles can transform your bathroom from ordinary to memorable. One of the most popular mosaic trends for 2015 is metallic finishes for glass tiles, which have expanded the range of mosaic tiles on offer.

Away from glass mosaics, multi-shaped stone mosaics are very popular. Shapes available include hexagons, triangles and ovals. Natural stone mosaic patterns can add a hint of luxury to your bathroom. If you want to highlight the pattern it’s a good idea to use a grout that complements the color of your tiles. For a more subtle effect use a grout that matches.

Softer tile textures

There will always be a place for high gloss tiles in a bathroom, but in 2015, matte and semi-gloss tiles are popular. They are useful if you want a softer feel to your bathroom environment. Following the same theme of mellower styles, there is a current trend for textured tiling. These textures include the look of wood, the look of fabric or a brushed finish.

Opting for a fabric look in your tiles is an excellent way of achieving the soft vibe of wallpaper in your bathroom. Tiles that look & feel like wood can give you a warm and natural feel on your bathroom floor. The techniques used in producing these tiles have advanced so much that it’s often difficult to tell them apart from real wood, from an appearance point of view.

The pop art look

You can show your personality by opting for a pop art design on your bathroom tiles. Designs include those inspired by the work of Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. Other pop art tiles are adorned with patterns including camouflage and an array of bright colors in a brick shape. Any of these pop art tiles can be used throughout your bathroom, or to make a feature wall really pop.

Bathroom tiling is always going to be subject to individual taste, and there’s nothing wrong with opting for a timeless scheme of white or neutral tones. Although exploring the latest trends can be interesting and fun. When you find a theme that really grabs your imagination you can adapt it to turn your bathroom into the beautiful space that you’re aiming for.

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Goodbye Appendix :(

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Hey Friends, how are you doing?

My week started off really great…until my appendix decided that it didn’t want to live in my body anymore!

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling just fine. I went about my day as normal, doing chores, playing with my daughter and then after lunch my stomach started to hurt a little bit. I didn’t really understand why because I hadn’t eaten anything weird but I felt an indigestion burning sensation and discomfort all over my belly. It’s not too uncommon for me to get an upset stomach. I often get heartburn and indigestion for no good reason.  I had an appointment for a haircut at 1:30 which I went to and by the time I got home I decided I should lay down for a while before I had to leave for work at 2:30. As I lay in bed my pain got worse and I felt more uncomfortable. I had taken some antacids but they didn’t help at all.  I pressed on my belly and the left side didn’t hurt but the right side was painful to the touch. I started to worry because I knew pain in your lower right abdomen can be appendicitis. At this point I was supposed to be leaving for work but I told my husband that I was worried I might have appendicitis. Should I tough it out, hope it went away and head to work or go to the emergency room instead? Rob told me that I should  go to the ER because if your appendix ruptures it’s really dangerous and life threatening. I had him call into work for me and I headed to the ER. My pain wasn’t debilitating at this point. It only hurt if I twisted my torso sharply or poked my right side. I drove myself to the hospital since Rob had to stay home with our daughter who was napping.

Lucky for me the ER wasn’t busy and it was a short wait to see a doctor. I was still able to walk around and the pain wasn’t horrible. The doctor examined me and also thought it seemed like I had appendicitis. Before I knew it I was in a hospital gown, hooked up to an IV and given pain killers and anti-nausea meds. They took my blood and a urine sample and ordered a cat scan. It was only 4 pm- just a couple of hours after the pain had originally started. The cat scan wasn’t conclusive. They couldn’t get a clear picture of my appendix ( it likes to hide behind the small intestine) My white blood cell count was high so they knew that there was some kind of infection but it wasn’t totally obvious that it was my appendix. I didn’t have a lot of the other symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea or even a fever. The pain wasn’t even as bad as I thought it would be. It hurt, but since they gave me pain meds right away it wasn’t too bad at all. The doctor and surgeon were trying to decide if they should send me home with pain killers and meds and have me come back in 24 hours to be re-scanned. They decided to an ultrasound first to see if anything showed up.

The ultrasound tech had a hard time getting a clear picture of my appendix as well. She had to use 3 different cameras and was poking around my belly hard. It hurt pretty bad. I got carted back to my room and was expecting to be told that they were going to send me home and have me come back the next day. Instead they told me that I had appendicitis and I was going to have surgery in one hour!

At this point it was 8pm and my friend Denai was sitting with me in the hospital. I was really scared of having surgery. I get pretty bad anxiety and the thought of being put under during the surgery freaked me the eff out! They gave me some “I don’t care medicine” to relax me and then I was whisked off to surgery!

Rob rushed over to the hospital but didn’t make it in time before they started my surgery. The front desk staff didn’t know where I had been moved too so he missed me by about two minutes but he was there when I woke up. I was feeling pretty terrible when I woke up. My whole body had started to shake really bad and the doctors  heated my body up with a hair dryer and bundled me up with blankets. By the time I was put into post op for recovery I was way too warm and felt like I was burning. I could barely speak because my throat hurt so bad from the breathing tube. All I could manage to say was “too hot, too hot” over and over until they took off some of my blankets. I had laparoscopic surgery which means instead of one big cut over my appendix they use three small incisions and stick cameras down into my belly and cut out the appendix that way. It’s less invasive and the healing time is supposed to be quicker. I stayed over night at the hospital and was released the next morning. I have been at home trying to take it easy and relax. Hopefully I will be back at work next week. I can’t say I’m in too huge of a rush to get back but sitting at home not being able to lift more than 10 pounds isn’t exactly fun either. My pain at the moment is tolerable. They gave me some Percocet which helps a lot. I am hoping to get down to just ibuprofen in a few days so I can drive and go back to work.

Anyways the lesson in my story is this: Listen to your body, if something doesn’t feel right get it checked out and if you are in doubt just go to the doctor and have them diagnose you. Better safe than sorry!

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