Friday, April 24, 2015

Two-Story Entry Hall, Goodwill Haul, and a Realtor with Gall

Woo, what a week. Things looked promising at the beginning, and even though we now know that it wasn't meant to be, it's still frustrating and disappointing.

Shall I explain?

As many of you know, we've been house-hunting for 9+ months. Our first home we made an offer on was a short sale, which took 2 months to hear anything from, and then the bank was unreasonable and we had to walk away from it. The dead of winter brought no new homes on the market, so it wasn't until last week that we stumbled across a foreclosure we liked.

It was a 1940 cape that had almost everything we had been looking for and then more besides, such as this amazing foyer!

We were smitten. We learned on the same day that we were making an offer that another offer had just come in, but as long as we also sent our offer that day, they'd consider both.

The only pitfall with the house was that the SDS revealed it had not been hooked up to the public sewer, which was necessary in order for any new owners to possess the house. The selling realtor told us that the bank was aware of it and already getting estimates.

Since it sounded like the bank was already acting on it, we added a contingency that the bank hook the house up and with fingers crossed and a prayer, we made our best offer and waited.

The selling realtor came back two days later saying that our offer was the strongest, but that the other offer hadn't mentioned the sewer hookup. Therefore, they would only accept our offer if we assumed responsibility for the sewer to be hooked up. They said they'd been quoted $7,800 for the job, but as many know, you can never trust an estimate - unforeseen issues can crop up. Not to mention we had already given our very best offer manageable, because there were many other updates needed in the house (such as a water-damaged and falling-down ceiling in the garage).

When we asked how they'd even be able to (legally) sell it to the other buyers without proper hookup, he flippantly said, "it's only illegal if it's caught".

Cue me wanting to give that realtor a good swift kick in the you-know-where. These are people's lives you're messing with here, buddy.

It was an underhanded move of the bank and realtor in our book. Neither our realtor or we felt comfortable with their idea, so we stood by our original offer and basically said to take it or leave it.

They left it and went with the other.

I can only imagine the terrible surprise those new homeowners are going to get now. I truly wish I had a way of contacting them before they accepted the bank's offer.

Alas, another home we fell in love with bites the dust. We're taking comfort in the fact that our house is still out there somewhere, and I'm trying to not be impatient and tell it to hurry up and show itself. It's a struggle sometimes, especially as the market still hasn't really picked up.

Going back to house hunting, I just had to share these two...unique...features of some homes we recently found during one day of touring several before finding the 1940 cape, such as this pendant lamp complete with gingham patterned wallpaper on the ceiling:

...and this coat closet that was also turned into a partial bathroom...gross (can't say I've ever seen that before).

We're still getting rid of stuff by the bagful in preparation of decluttering before moving. Here was my most recent trip to Goodwill, with stuff in the backseat and front seat not pictured. We've probably donated 40-something grocery-sized bags to Goodwill in the last few months. Feels so good.

Oh, and despite the bad headcold I've had the last 48 hours, progress has been made on the piano bench!

Hopefully I can knock off this cold over the weekend and be good to finally reveal those side tables next week that I've been forever working on.

Have a great weekend, y'all!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Piano Bench Project

Hi guys! This will be a very quick post, but wanted to share this piano bench that I came across this past weekend.  

Look at those legs!

I have some delicious plans for this stylin' piece. I definitely want to make it a tufted bench. It's been almost a year since I've done my headboard tufting project, and a first for trying a bench, so it'll be a good learning curve. 

However, there is one hangup with it:'s a storage bench. Which is awesome. But I had to now come up with a way to cover it with fabric without messing with the hinges or the gap necessary for opening and closing the lid. Hmmm....yeah....Not sure how to do that whatsoever...

I tried to find tutorials for doing a tufted storage bench on google and pinterest, but didn't have much luck. ...and this is why I love Instagram so much. I posted a pic of the bench with an S.O.S. on my profile for how to do a project like this, and in no time with the help of a great gal who wanted to do a similar project, we both got answers. Huzzah! 

With that hurdle out of the way, it was on to design! For fabric color, I'm thinking jewel tones, specifically a rich emerald green such as the pic below: 

So pretty!

As for the legs, I briefly debated a regency look with gold, but I'm leaning towards a white-washed or reclaimed wood style. 

I have a few more projects in the wings that need their finishing touches, and then I'll be free to get started on this bench! Can't wait!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

5 Minute Natural Laundry Detergent {Borax Free!}

Hello! Hope you all had lovely weekends. After a full week of gloomy weather, seeing the sun out again this weekend was a very welcome change! Our weekend was a busy one for us with visits with friends and social gatherings, but it was good to see folks.

I've been wanting to make and use a natural laundry detergent for years now, but was deterred by every recipe I would come across containing Borax. So imagine my excitement when a few weeks ago while perusing a link party I found a mix created by the awesome Amanda from Dwelling In Happiness that was exactly the concoction I'd been waiting for!

I like the idea of using a homemade laundry detergent because:
  • it's all-natural
  • you can pick the scent (or have no scent)
  • it's cheap and easy to make
  • especially great for infant/children's clothes, as children tend to have sensitive skin and the chemicals/products used in store-bought detergents can cause rashes, eczema, and even hives.

(Do check out Amanda's blog showing the making of the detergent. She gives lots of pretty step-by-step picture instructions and more information about each of the ingredients used in this detergent).

I wanted to also share my own experience of making and using it, and give another reference for a cost breakdown, so here we go!

Amanda's mixture makes 2 gallons, but here are the measurements for making 1 gallon like I did:

For the Detergent:
  • 1/4 cup Super Washing Soda
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 6 tbsp castile soap (I used Dr. Bronner)
  • 15 drops essential oil of choice (lavender, lemon, jasmine, etc. are all nice aromas for the detergent)

  • 1-2 gallon (clean) container or bucket (I bought a new $3 bucket from Lowes that'll be solely used for making detergent)
  • long spoon (or anything that you can use to stir the mix with - I used a wooden paint mixing stick)
  • A glass jar sized for 1 gallon (I found my 1 gallon mason jar at Walmart), or several wide-mouth canning jars

To Make:

  • Pour the super washing soda into the bucket. Add warm tap water to just cover the soda and mix until dissolved.
  • Add the baking soda and also stir to mix it in.
  • Pour in 1 gallon of hot water.
  • Drop in the 6 tbsp of castile soap/Dr. Bronner.
  • Add 15 drops of your choice essential oil.
  • Pour mix into jar/s.

That's it! It literally takes 5 minutes to whip up a batch, and it gives you a lot of loads.

To Use: 

Before each use, give it a quick stir as some of the contents may sit at the bottom. 
Use approximately 1/3 of a cup for a full load of laundry.

Back when I was researching natural detergents, I saw some worries from others about the possibility of oil stains on their clothing, but I've had no problems whatsoever. I've done both white and color loads with this detergent, and each have come out clean and fresh. 

Here is how much I paid for each "ingredient" used:

Cost Breakdown:

Super Washing Soda - $2.99
Baking Soda (1 lb box) - $0.59
Lemon oil - $4.99
Dr. Bronner liquid castile soap - $7

This jar lasted me a little over 3 months! I did about 4 loads/week, give or take, and was pretty generous with how much I used each load (lil' more than 1/3 cup). I got about 50 loads out of it - not bad! At approx $1 to make a gallon jar (rough estimate),
that comes to $0.02/load!

Even better, I recently became the owner of a HE-detergent washer and have had success using this detergent in it. Awesome, because those special HE detergents ain't cheap! :)

Bonus: With past detergents, we always had an awful, almost rotten-egg smell from our previous top-load washer during and after it being run. We tried airing it out, switching detergents, and making sure there were no build-ups in the pipes, but nothing seemed to work. However, ever since using this homemade detergent, I can walk into the laundry room while the machine is running and actually breathe in. No smell whatsoever in our laundry room anymore! Truly a wonderful development!

{Pin It For Later!}

Shared On: dotelltuesday, totallyterrifictuesdayoutsidethebox, creativityunleashed

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Creative Struggle

Hi, all! I ran across this little article on Buzzfeed and wanted to share this bit of it that resonated with me, because I think it is something a lot of us creatives struggle with or relate to.

"Creative people wake up every morning, fully aware of the need to grow and push themselves. But there is always the fear, Resistance as Pressfield calls it, that they don’t have what it takes. No matter how successful the person, that fear never goes away. They simply learn to deal with it, or not."

Sometimes, it's good to have something like this spell out exactly what you feel. I love learning new things, trying new colors and tools, and pushing myself to go beyond what I think I'm capable of.

It's hard too though. Letting yourself mess up is not always the easiest thing to allow. I know I've put off a certain step to a project for days because it's something I haven't tried before and I'm afraid I'll ruin it. But more times than not, it turns out to be easier than I thought, and I've just learned a new skill.

It's a great feeling.

I just want to encourage y'all to not let the fear of failure stop you from trying that project you've always wanted to tackle. It's a new day. You're smart. You're plucky. You may be finding your decorating style or know it to your core...

...What's important is to keep growing.

Try new things.

Have new experiences.

Keep plugging away, and in time fears will lessen as your confidence increases. Free yourself to create.

Be bold. Have fun. Don't hold back; you are capable of more than you know. :)

Go create!

Get updates about our old home restoration, DIY tutorials, and project ideas to your inbox!