Posts Tagged 'decorating'

Found the Christmas Ornaments!

Okay, so with four months between posts, I’m sure it seems like I died. I’m still alive and kicking–just too busy with family and homeschooling to keep up with the blog. But I did want to come out of hibernation to post a follow-up to last year’s Christmas decorating post!

Several of you asked where we got our Christian symbol ornaments, and I was unable to provide any links or information, because I could not find the book that came with the ornaments. I had no name, no ISBN, no nothing. I Googled and Googled to no avail. I hoped I’d find the book when we moved, but no success there, either.

Then, today, reader Jen M. dropped me a line to say she thought she had found them. Sure enough, she did! The ornaments are called “Adorenaments” and are available from the Christian Stories website. They come with a book that explains the illustrations used on each ornament–symbols that teach us about Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection.

So, thank you to Jen for letting me know she’d found these. We’ve enjoyed them since they were given to us several years ago. They are on our tree now!

Blessings to all of you for a wonderful Christmas and Happy 2010!

The Contest Results!

img_budgetmakeover_1aThank you all for your patience during our busy weekend and the crazy ER trip day! It has been really fun to see your budget remodels — you beat DIY all hollow! A few ladies didn’t post their entries as comments but emailed them, and, though I wrote to ask them to post, they never got around to it. If those of you who emailed want to repost even now, you’re welcome to do so. It’s just fun to see what you’re able to do!

Rather than forcing you to go back and find the posted re-dos in the comments, I’ll put them here so you can see them all in one place. First I’ll share mine:

  • Knobs – $4.36 (4 @ $1.09/ea on eBay)
  • Cup pulls – $15.42 (6 @ $2.57/ea on eBay)
  • Light fixture – $39.99 (on eBay)
  • Faucet – $24.99  (on eBay – Someone bought it after I saved the link, though!)
  • Frame – $24.95  (on eBay)
  • TOTAL: $137.19

I didn’t include shipping, nor did I expect others to do so. If I added in all my shipping, I’d come right in around the $190 mark, though. Now, here are the other entries…. First, the winner!

Sibyl’s $160.47 remodel:

Congratulations, Sibyl! That was almost $30 under budget — and almost $740 under DIY’s budget! Woo-hoo!!! You’ve won a year’s subscription to Mary Jane’s Farm!

Now for our second-place winner:

Sandy’s Redo:

Great job, Sandy! This comes almost $20 below my top end and $730 under DIY’s!
Finally, here’s our third-place winner, who would have come in first except that she linked to a quart of paint rather than a gallon — multiplying out the quarts is what killed the win. OUCH! Still, this remodel is almost $14 under my $190 limit and beats DIY by almost $725! Fantastic!

Michelle Z’s $176.23 bathroom redo:

This was so much fun, I think we’ll have to do it again sometime with another remodel challenge! Maybe a kitchen refresh on the cheap? Thanks so much for participating!

whitekitchen1

Don’t Miss This Fun Contest!

If you haven’t seen my April 4 post, be sure to check it out! I’m having a budget remodel contest — see if you can beat DIY Magazine’s bathroom remodel budget. The winner gets a one-year subscription to the wonderful Mary Jane’s Farm magazine. 🙂

A few ladies have already posted their entries in the comment sections on the April 4 post (that’s where to enter). I’m keeping the entries private until the end of the contest, and then I’ll reveal everyone’s finds and their bottom line budgets!

A few things to keep in mind:

1. Make sure the links to each of the items you find works — we need to be able to verify your finds.
2. Be sure you pick bathroom-grade paint rather than run-of-the-mill paint. It makes a difference!
3. It’s perfectly kosher to check eBay, Craigslist, and Freecycle for your bargains!

Have fun!

Warmly,
Amanda

This is a “budget” remodel?

Anyone who’s followed my blog for even a short time will know I’m big on bargains and remodeling on the cheap. I love do-it-yourself features in magazines and online, so I immediately clicked through to an article titled “Budget Bath Makeover” in the latest DIY newsletter. There I found a photograph of a very pretty master bath that had been remodeled on a budget:

img_budgetmakeover_1a

And here are the first couple of paragraphs of the accompanying article:

This master bath had many advantages: a separate tub and a shower, a window, and clean white fixtures. The effect, however, was cold and impersonal. A color cure and pretty accessories much improved the look.

Instead of damaging (and then fixing) the wall by removing the plate mirror over the vanity, the homeowner hung an antiqued flea-market frame in front of it. Then she switched out the contemporary light fixture for a classic three-bulb affair; replaced the basic faucet with a porcelain-handle Victorian-style model; and ditched boring cabinet pulls for brushed chrome knobs and cup pulls.

Okay, so far I’m all there. I’m all about painting, replacing ugly pulls, updating light fixtures, and repurposing antique frames. But here’s where the jaw-dropper hit:

The total cost for the room redo: $900.

Wait a second. Was that nine-HUNDRED dollars? Surely you mean a hundred and ninety dollars, right? Um, no. In the alternate reality of today’s crashing economy, it seems there are “budget” remodels and then there are BUDGET remodels. I wouldn’t class spending $900 on a few bathroom fixtures as a real saving accomplishment. In fact, I feel a challenge coming on! I bet you that any one of us could re-do this room in the exact same way for under $190. Wanna try?

Okay, here’s the challenge: Get online and see if you can price out this remodel for under $190. That means finding bathroom paint (one gallon does it for this size room), pulls similar to the ones used in the photo, a three-light fixture, vintage-style faucet, and a frame to go around the mirror (antique or otherwise–just see what you can find). Post links to your finds as well as prices and your grand total (no need to figure in taxes, as we’re all in different states) in the comments section. Whoever gets this remodel done at the lowest price wins a year’s subscription to Mary Jane’s Farm Magazine.

I’ll play along with you and post my BUDGET remodel on April 10. That gives you six days to get cracking! Invite your friends — pass along this post. The more, the merrier! I bet we can show DIY Magazine a thing or two about real budget remodeling!

PS (4/7/09): I’ve removed the current comments with their running totals and will wait until the contest is over to reveal everyone’s finds. That will make it more fun and won’t discourage anyone from trying. Keep the budget challenge going!

A little inspiration…

Country Living featureWhat really got me thinking hard about living beautifully in a trailer was this wonderful feature in a back issue of Country Living magazine. When I saw how an antiques dealer had transformed her double-wide by painting the interiors white and bringing in lots of salvage items to liven up the rooms, I knew it could be done. Now, my tastes don’t really run to rusty painted iron or all-white rooms, but I saw that it was really possible to think outside the box when it came to making things pretty in a mobile home–vinyl walls and all!

My husband’s tastes and mine run along mainly traditional lines with a dash of French Country thrown in for good measure. We don’t like things to be so stiffly formal that guests are afraid to sit down, so we don’t go for straight Federal/Georgian style (though we both love the architecture of the period). We both love rooms that are open, airy, and inviting with a couple of cozier rooms (like a library with shelves all around) when you just want to curl up and read. When I looked around the double-wide, I knew I wanted to open it up and give it a bigger feeling with the use of light and pale colors. Chopping up the rooms with lots of different colors would have made the place too busy and would have given it a crammed feeling. The darker blues and reds we love would have made things too dark in a small home. So I went for buttercream and white–the former for the living room, kitchen, and sunroom walls; the latter for all the trim (including the beadboard), the kitchen cabinets, and the doors. Here’s an example of how light, airy colors can make a small room live large:

Pure Elegance from Better Homes and Gardens

While this image doesn’t showcase my favorite furniture style, it does show how effective a light color scheme can be, making the room both relaxing and cheerful. The photo is from Better Homes and Gardens, which has thousands of ideas and how-tos for any number of projects.

But before I could get started with painting, I had to wash down all the vinyl wallcoverings. Some sites recommended using ammonia mixed with water, but I didn’t want to deal with the fumes. I kept reading around and found that plain, ordinary Dawn dish detergent would do the job. A nice, warm, sudsy bucket of Dawn would cut any grease and leave the walls prepped and ready for primer. I did toy briefly with the idea of removing all the batten strips between the sheetrock panels to create a totally smooth wall. It can be done with spackling tape, DAP’s DryDex, fine sandpaper, and lots of elbow grease. But that was just far more work than I was willing to put into a trailer! So, after washing down the walls and letting them dry, I laid down my dropcloths and prepared to prime the entire living room at once–trim and all, since everything needed primer. While we were at it, my husband painted over the popcorn ceiling (which was looking a little brown from years of catching dirt) after we ran the dust mop over it. He used the largest, fluffiest paint roller available (meant for rough surfaces). Just so you know: ceiling popcorn can come off if it gets damp (this is how it is removed, in fact), so two passes with the roller were all he gave each section. Worked like a charm, and the ceiling is now bright white and beautiful.

I didn’t manage to get any photos of these steps, so next time I’ll talk about refacing the kitchen cabinets and show the results!


About the Queen…

Amanda Livenwell is the pen name of a stay-at-home mom who shares the adventure of living large on one income in, yes, a double-wide trailer! Join our family as we say goodbye to suburbia, trim down, and start saving to build our own home. We're going to talk about doing it yourself, living beautifully on less, making do or doing without, and counting it all joy in the process. We'll cover prep-work and painting, refacing kitchen cabinets, flooring on the cheap, tiling over laminate, upholstering furniture, and just rolling up our sleeves in general. If you love home improvement, this is the place for you. Let's get cracking!

Favorite Frugal Helps!


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What Inspires Me Most!

"She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms. She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness." ~ Proverbs 31:13, 17-19, 27

"Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings;he will not stand before unknown men." ~ Proverbs 22:29

"The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich." ~ Proverbs 13:4

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