When I was making the wall art display for our baby E’s nursery, I designed some religious themed artwork to frame and hang on his wall. I included the two Bible passages that inspired me the most during my pregnancy as well as a very inspirational quote from one of our favorite saints, St. Francis of Assisi. You can see how I integrated them into the design of his room here. I wanted to share them with all of you in case anyone else finds inspiration from these quotes as well! Click on the images below to be brought to a printable pdf version of each image. If you decide to use these, feel free to show me pictures of how you used them in your home!
Yesterday’s post explained a little about how I got out of my creative slump a few months back, despite being on pregnancy bed rest. I originally had plans to design our baby’s room in a woodland style theme, with a large tree mural on one wall. However, once I started looking at pictures of baby rooms online, I realized that so many people seem to have had that same idea recently and I got pretty discouraged. Our neighborhood is named after all of the large mature pine trees here, and that is our favorite thing about this area. When we first saw all the trees in this neighborhood, we both instantly knew that this would be our home. 🙂
I wanted to create a nursery design that would reflect our love of the outdoors, and still show my unique design style. The idea of a tree mural had to be scrapped since I could not paint a wall while on bed rest anyway. My challenge was to find ways to reflect the look that I wanted, via projects that I could create while lying in bed. Normally, sewing and painting projects would be my first go-to option, but since I could not sit up and sew anything until recently, I had to use other methods of creating for most of the decorations. Even more of a challenge: I primarily had to use whatever supplies I had on hand in my craft room since I could not go wander around any craft supply stores for quite some time. In the end, I went with a nature/outdoors/garden/forest kind of theme, with a little inspiration thrown in from The Lorax (the mobile over the changing table has my version of truffula trees!).
Despite all of these restrictions, I absolutely love the end result. My husband did an amazing job redoing the walls, adding insulation to the exterior wall, and creating a custom frame for the window trim. We wanted to replicate the look of the trim in our old craftsman rental house. You can see the before pictures of this house here.
Some interesting items worth noting…the tiny rocking chair was given by my great-grandmother to my mom, then to me (I sewed the little “Rockin Cowboy” cushion). The hamper was a baby shower gift from when I was born. 🙂 I found the changing table for free on Craigslist and was originally planning to use it as a plant stand in my patio area outside. When I realized it went well with our crib, my husband sanded it down, repainted it, and made new shelves for it. The daybed was originally intended for our living room, but that didn’t end up working as well as we had hoped. I wanted to make sure that I have a pet-free bed to nap in after feedings, so we moved it into the nursery. The needlepoint pillow in the middle of the daybed was embroidered by my grandma, and sewn together by me.
The framed wall art is a mix of items. I found the vintage Winnie the Pooh prints at a thrift store a while back (actually during my first pregnancy just after we got married). I have been hanging onto them since them, waiting to be able to use them. 🙂 The owl prints were a free printable that I found via The Handmade Home. I sculpted the cross and made the yarn covered “E”. The round empty embroidery hoop on the wall is left intentionally blank for now. Once he is born, I will be making an embroidery design with his name and birth date. The prints with the Bible quotes and the quote from St. Francis are printables that I designed myself. They will be coming soon to the blog as well!
I am so happy with the finished room, and can’t wait for the little guy to join us in his room! The cats love the room so much that I have trouble keeping them out. 🙂 Two walls were intentionally left fairly empty to leave room for all of the photographs that we are bound to take of our little guy. In the next few weeks, I will be posting tons of DIY instructions on many of the various projects I made!
I actually finished the makeover on this hallway a while back, but since I hadn’t unpacked the curtain rod that I wanted to use with the curtains, I hadn’t blogged the transformation yet. You can see the before pictures here. This is the hallway that leads from our entry room into my office and studio area. I use the vintage trunks and suitcases to store photo props and blankets. I added some of our favorite photos and some touches from our wedding decor to personalize the small little space, including our floral monogram banner that I made. The hallway is also most likely going to end up being where we keep the baby’s stroller. 🙂
We recently went through and made a few updates to our entry room to get it even more organized than it was before. 🙂 You can see more details on the previous post here.
Here is the new layout…a few items were shifted around to make room for the armoire, and a few new smaller items were added as well.
I had this white armoire in storage at my parents’ house, and we realized that it would be perfect in our entry room since there is no coat closet in this house. At first I did not think it would work out well in this room since the floor is sloped (to allow the house to be handicapped accessible – the entry room used to be a porch with a step). However, my husband was able to use some shims to keep the armoire level, and we love finally having a “coat closet” in our entry room.
Inside the armoire, I put my box where I keep all of my gloves, and other miscellaneous items that I always seem to be looking for in a hurry when leaving the house. On the same shelf is my hiking backpack, with all of our supplies for us and the dogs when we go on a hike.
The armoire is the perfect spot for my husband to hang all of his black jackets as soon as he gets home, which has been helping keep them pet hair free. I also hung an old sweater organizer that I was no longer using, which makes a great organizer for shoes of a variety of sizes. The similar hanging shoe organizers never seem to work for me since they only hold standard size shoes. Using the sweater hanger allows us to fit in all of the shoes that we use the most often, including a couple of pairs of small boots.
The cross is something I have had for a long time, and was excited to find after it having gone missing for a couple of years. 🙂
I added a couple of things to our entry table organizing: hand sanitizer for every time I come home from running errands (my immune system has gotten very weak after so many months of bed rest), earplugs (my husband always seems to be looking for a pair when he is working on loud projects), and sunscreen in the basket (he is bad about remembering to put some on before he goes out).
Umbrellas, a parasol for sunny days, rain boots, and my gardening boots.
I found the little cream scalloped box shelf at a thrift store, and it is the perfect spot for my husband’s sunglasses when he gets home. We put up a cute hanger to hold my favorite sunglasses. We have started using the chalk boards to keep track of our to-do lists and lists of projects around the house. We keep all of the important lists in our organizer app (we use Cozi on our phones and online), but it really helps us keep motivated to see the lists of projects written out right on the wall. We love crossing items off the list. 🙂
More room tours coming soon!
I am slightly obsessed with keeping our house clean, organized, and as healthy and toxin free as possible. The past several months were very difficult since I was on bed rest and not allowed to do any cleaning (you can read more about my pregnancy journey here). My husband cleaned as much as he had time for, but since his time is so limited (and he doesn’t know my normal routine), our house was never as clean as I usually keep it. We considered hiring a cleaning service, but things were in too much of a state of unpacked chaos, with a bunch of half finished projects all over the house.
Since I have been off bed rest, I have made it my main goal to get this place unpacked, cleaned and organized. We bought the house just a short time before I got pregnant, and then all the pregnancy complications brought much of the unpacking and organizing to a complete standstill. It has been just under two weeks, but we have finally been able to get pretty much everything unpacked, and I went on a crazy organizing spree. I also did a thorough seasonal deep cleaning of the entire house. It took me much longer than normal since I am just slowly regaining my strength, but it feels so nice to have a clean, organized house again! It has not felt like this at all the entire time we have lived in this house.
One of my favorite resources to make sure I do a thorough cleaning job on a regular basis is Martha Stewart’s collection of cleaning checklists. I have them all printed out and in sheet protectors in the floral binder shown above. I used to have the daily checklist posted on the fridge, but by now I have it memorized and it is part of my regular routine. The weekly cleaning checklist is great, as are the monthly and seasonal lists. I actually put in my weekly, monthly, and seasonal cleaning days in my organizer app (we use Cozi), scheduled to repeat regularly, so I never forget which list to use and when. Since I have really bad dust allergies, I usually add in another mid-week mini cleaning or two, to try to keep the dust at a minimum. That also helps with the crazy amount of pet hair that our family tends to generate. 🙂 You can find all of Martha’s cleaning checklists here. I also recently found a daily cleaning checklist that I love on A Bowl Full of Lemons (available here). This one is definitely going on the fridge and becoming part of my new routine! So far, it is really helping me keep things maintained and clean!
Many women get a strong nesting instinct while pregnant, and want to get their house really clean before the baby arrives. Since I have been doing so much cleaning lately, a number of people have asked me if that is from my nesting mode kicking in. I don’t think the baby is coming in the next couple of days, but I am just so happy to be able to catch up on my normal routines! I am a strong believer that your house is not actually clean if all you are doing is replacing the dirt with a bunch of toxic chemicals. I don’t use any “traditional” cleaning products in my house, and I can guarantee you that on a regular basis, our house is just as clean or cleaner than any house you can find that is cleaned with the “strong” cleaning products. I do not use products with bleach, ammonia, or other harsh ingredients for the safety of the environment and our own health.
When I was a kid, I started using Simple Green to do the cleaning for my chores since I was a very environmentally concerned kid. While I still use Simple Green on occasion for really deep cleaning jobs, the scent is honestly not my favorite. These days, I vary between using homemade natural cleansers and store bought natural cleansers. If I have the time, I love referencing the cleaning recipes detailed in the book shown above, Lemons & Lavender. I make good regular use out of homemade lavender oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and baking soda. Other times, I love using the products from Method. I seriously love the way they smell. 🙂 They have a wide range of products for a variety of needs. My favorite is the cucumber all purpose cleaner. I use that for almost everything. I also love the fact that they have naturally disinfecting products for the kitchen and bath…no harsh chemicals needed to sanitize things!
Also in my cleaning caddy is Bon Ami. I love this for scouring the sink, showers, really dirty pots and pans, etc. It has been around forever, is super cheap, and non-toxic. I always save the mesh bags from potatoes, garlic, and other produce since these make great (and free!) scouring pads. You can see my little stash in the caddy above (the red thing is a bundle of mesh bags).
If a particular pot or pan is dirty beyond the scrubbing point, and the Bon Ami is just not enough to get off some kind of burnt, caked in mess, I put a mixture of water, baking soda, and vinegar in the pot and boil it over low heat. This always gets the impossible to clean tough stains off my stainless steal cookware. It may take a little scrubbing after boiling for a while, but this method has never failed me. I never use anything that may scratch the surface of the pots and pans to get them clean (no scouring pads, etc.).
Instead of cleaning with paper towels, I keep stacks of rags on hand for dirty tasks. I also keep a microfiber cloth on hand for mirrors and windows. If I still have streaks after that, I use the tried and true method of a crumpled piece of newspaper to get rid of any remaining streaks.
My two favorite sponges are a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (great for so much!) and the Scotch-Brite Greener Clean Sponges. These are also great to use in place of paper towels as well since they are absorbent! Once a week, I wet all of my sponges and heat them in the microwave for 30 seconds to kill any lingering germs.
For dusting, I love using the pink microfiber mitt shown above. It fits on your hand like a big mitten, and makes it really easy to dust surfaces. I am very short though, and that limits my range of what I can reach easily. As a solution, I attached the mitt to an old Swiffer stick with a rubber band. I love the ease of use of using a Swiffer, but feel so wasteful using them since they have to be thrown out so often. For me, this is the perfect solution!
With so many pets shedding so much fur all the time, keeping our floors clean is a big task. I start by sweeping each room with a regular broom and dustpan to get rid of the dirt, pieces of cat litter, and whatever else has been tracked all over the house. Even though the floors may look clean at that point, I have come to realize that we still always seem to have even more pet hair lingering after that point. I then use the Mr. Clean microfiber dust broom shown above, which picks up the rest of the pet hair and any lingering dust bunnies. I am seriously obsessed with this dust broom/mop combo. It is one of the best things I have ever found. One side has a dust broom, and the other has a mop attachment. When I finish with the dust broom side, I go through and use the mop side. Since the mop is made out of detachable fabric, I love that I can take it off and give it a really good rinse in between each room. When I finish with the whole house, I can take off both attachments and throw them in the washing machine with all of my dirty rags and towels. It is so easy and so efficient!
The caddy shown above is my whole house caddy. I also have a second container of bathroom cleaning products that I keep under the bathroom sink in our master bath. One of my favorites for the bathroom is the Method Daily Shower Spray. We give a quick spray every day after our showers, and it helps keep the grime down between cleanings.
I hope my guide has inspired you to consider using some healthier, more environmentally friendly ways to keep your house clean! I am not going to go into detail about why the traditional cleaners are horrible…there are plenty of other resources online and in books about why those cleaners are bad for the environment and your health. None of the products or references listed above have requested to be listed or provided sponsorship…these are just my honest tips about what I have found to work best for me! 🙂
My husband started building these custom cabinets for the empty space in our laundry room to serve as pantry space quite a while back. Unfortunately, thanks to a really slow in-store delivery of the slide rails for the pull out drawers (and no phone call once his order had arrived!), the project got delayed for quite a while. The pantry cabinets are not finished yet, but functional is major progress! We no longer have food stacked up in corners throughout the living room, which is very exciting! Besides painting the pantry cabinets, he also plans to make doors for the pantry cabinets that will coordinate with the look of our kitchen cabinets. Eventually, when we get around to replacing our big bulky heater unit with something that can go in the attic, the box around the heater will also turn into more storage (which I am really excited about). Just like with our kitchen, there are a lot of finishing details that need to be finished (mostly trim work and outlet covers), but those details will come later once we are less stressed about everything being so disorganized and dysfunctional for so long.
I am very happy to have an organized laundry space again. We got this fold down table at Ikea to serve as a space for me to fold laundry. I love that the table folds down to save space when it is not in use.
All of my laundry supplies are organized on a shelf that was actually salvaged from elsewhere in the house! I have a basket for dirty rags, one for clothespins, one for miscellaneous laundry and shoe care supplies, and all of my laundry care supplies in a vintage fruit crate from our wedding. 🙂
Below: the slide out pantry drawers he built, some extra shelves above the almost-wasted area thanks to the strange location of the electrical panel, and my lost socks clothesline. I keep the socks that are missing their pair pinned to the clothesline until we confirm via a deep cleaning of the house that the mate is indeed missing. The missing socks usually turn up somewhere before then (I think one of the pets likes to use dirty socks as a toy).
You can see better below how we utilized the space in front of the electrical panel that otherwise would have gone to waste. It makes a perfect little nook for our vacuum, vacuum accessories, and the ironing board. Also, I have a perfect spot for my cleaning caddy, with all of the cleaning supplies I use on a regular basis.
Close up of one of the pull out drawers, with all of my baking supplies grouped together. I organized the pull out shelves with the heavier items since the rails will support up to 100 pounds. One drawer has all of the vegetables and fruit that I canned myself from our garden, another has regular canned goods, one has all of my baking supplies, and the last one has other cooking supplies like oils and vinegars.
In the pantry cabinet on the left, the space was smaller so he just installed shelves there. I found some plastic bins that fit these shelves well to organize the remaining food items.
In the plastic bins, I have the food separated into small baking supplies, cereal and breakfast supplies, dinner sides and pasta, snacks, and spices. We are both so happy that we finally have an organized pantry! It makes it so much easier to find everything we are looking for.
I am currently on pregnancy bed rest, so unfortunately my involvement with the projects around our house has come to a temporary standstill. My husband on the other hand has been quite busy working on a number of projects. Currently, he is working on building some pantry cabinets for the unused space in our laundry room, and a major project with the bedrooms.
The bedrooms all have gross popcorn ceilings, so while he is doing a massive reorganization of these rooms, he is taking the chance to first scrape the popcorn off the ceilings. Luckily for us, the popcorn ceilings were actually recently applied by the previous owners, and one of the inspectors tested them to show that they are not the asbestos based popcorn ceilings that were so popular in decades past. Which means he can safely remove the popcorn himself, without having to hire a team of professionals. Before he started, he laid down paper floor tarp to catch everything he scraped off. Next he will start repainting the rooms.
He also recently did a major overhaul on the bedroom that will be the baby’s room. Since our house has literally no insulation, he opened up the wall and added insulation, made new trim for around the window, painted, and more. Eventually, he plans to do the same for the other bedrooms as well, but in the interest of time (the baby will be coming soon!), the other rooms will be fine with just a new coat of paint for now.
I apologize for the cell phone only pictures. I am not allowed to lift anything at the moment, which includes my dSLR. “Real” pictures of all of the rooms will be coming as soon as my doctor says I am allowed to start walking around/lifting things again! 🙂