Archives For budget

Little Office Design

June 15, 2015 — 4 Comments

Well, hello blog. It’s been a long time.

While this blog may have been dormant, I certainly have not been. I’ve done a few projects around my house and hopefully I’ll catch a second wind one of these days and write about them, but for now here’s a project I did outside of my house.

The company I work for recently moved to a new building and I now have my very own office. I have a door! And windows! And a super random fireplace! As you can imagine, getting my own office is a big deal, not just because I got my own office, but because I got to decorate it as well. Considering I have this blog, you can imagine how exciting it is for me to have a new space to decorate.

Here’s my office pre-makeover. Well, technically I did already have some influence on the space prior to these photos. The owner was repainting anyway so I was able to choose the paint color, it’s Sherwin Williams Gauntlet Gray. It’s a great dark gray (grey???).

IMG_7124_1024 IMG_7126_1024 Why yes that is a random fireplace in my office. This office was at one point an apartment so I got what, I can only assume, used to be the living room.  IMG_7129_1024 Here she is post me getting my grimy hands on it: thumb_IMG_8205_1024 Anyone else weirdly obsessed with taking pano photos on iPhone? They are so weird and useless and also look sort of distorted, but I still take them because sometimes you just can’t get the whole scene in a frame. thumb_IMG_8199_1024 I love the free ‘Dress Your Tech’ wallpapers from Design Love Fest, I highly recommend checking them out. thumb_IMG_8189_1024 The desk and rug are World Market. The desk is probably too small for an office desk, but I couldn’t handle the idea of having a big boring (albeit super functional) desk. Of course, lots of cords because, you know, it’s a functioning workspace. thumb_IMG_8058_1024 The painting is from an auction and I’m obsessed with it. Soooo beautiful. It’s by a local artist and was painted in the ’30s. I got it for $50! Chairs are from the Container Store.

IMG_7280_1024 2 Two boxes of Pantone postcards from Amazon and a lot of tape and I got this super cool (and super affordable) wall art. IMG_7186_1024 For my birthday last year my two best friends got me this awesome Rifle Paper travel calendar. When I was trying to come up with something to put on the walls in my new office, this calendar came to mind. Frames are from Hobby Lobby and I spray painted them gold (naturally). One of my brothers said it looks like a travel agent’s office, but I’m okay with that. The long white bookshelves in the background are actually metal ones I found on craigslist (obviously). $30 for both of them! They were a total b to paint though. I tried spray painting them but that got out of control so I used a roller to paint and seal them. A total hassle, but overall a very affordable solution. Most of the stuff on them is stolen from my house. It was kinda fun to “shop” my house for things to bring to my office.

I’m sure I’ll continue to tweak it because that’s just what I do, but for now I love it.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate the word ‘sofa’? I also hate the words ‘swag’ and ‘sneakers’ in case you are wondering (Apparently, I hate words that start with an ‘s’).

Anyway, the point is there are tables which go behind couches and they are often called ‘sofa tables’, but since I just can’t call them that, I’m going with ‘behind-the-couch table.’ Just go with it.

My living room is long and skinny which makes arranging it interesting. I’ve found that a table behind the couch not only “shortens” the distance between the couch and the rest of the room, but it also gives me a place to display cool stuff. The one I found I wanted was from IKEA and it cost $170 (It is now discontinued). So since I couldn’t afford it at the time I created my very own behind-the-couch table!

I used empty tubs and boxes to create the “table” and then covered it in fabric.

P1080945

It was like this for almost a year before I gave it a makeover by adding another layer of tub lids to make it sturdier. I also changed the fabric to a clean white sheet.
P1120392

This version lasted another one and a half years. It was always on my to-do list to build or buy something more permanent, but the temporary version worked so nicely it wasn’t a major priority.

But the temp solution definitely wasn’t flawless. Of course, it all comes back to Bob. As you know, Bob sucks. He regularly sits on this “table” meaning it was starting to buckle under his weight. Last week, when he got particularly riled up about a cat/squirrel/mail person he knocked over one of my plants. Thankfully he didn’t break the planter but it looked like this:

P1130650

If this were a solid surface I could easily wipe off the dirt, but since it’s a sheet it requires removing all of the things, washing the sheet, and then putting back all of the things. And I’m super lazy. I’m so lazy that I would rather build a table than just wash the sheet. I guess maybe that doesn’t make me lazy, just weird.

So I just did it. I followed a few tutorials (this one and this one). Here is what I bought to make a 75″ long behind-the-couch table to fit behind an IKEA Karlstad couch:

2 – 23″ tall 12″ x 2″ boards

1- 75″ long 12″ x 2″ board

4 – corner braces, size 4″

1 – 15 quantity box of 1.5″ wood screws

4 – 3″ wood screws (I had these on hand)

Honestly the most difficult part of this whole thing was buying and having the lumber cut. It was stressful because I’ve never done it before. Also, loading and unloading the lumber to and from my car and then into my house was a little sweaty.

I connected the “legs” to the main board by using the corner braces. I pre-drilled the holes which made it really simple and fast.

P1130654 P1130656

When I stood the table up (quite a bit more difficult than you would think) it was a bit wobbly. I decided I’d rather lose the smooth top surface for sturdiness, so I drilled four (two on each side) 3″ screws to further stabilize it. Since this step was unplanned, I just used what I had on hand. I was lucky enough to find 4 – 3″ screws but they unfortunately didn’t have a flat profile. Ah well, it wasn’t worth a trip to the store so I have no regrets.

P1130664

Next came my least favorite part, painting. I can’t seem to go a weekend without painting something. If I believed in purgatory, I’d venture to say it involved an endless painting project.

P1130666

As you can see, I’m so lazy, I didn’t even bother to paint the underside. Future Jasmin may be annoyed at this decision, but present Jasmin is very pleased with the choice.

P1130670

I am not the best at being patient so I should have sanded more, should have put on a second coat of primer, should have bought a clear sealer, should have should have should have blah blah blah. You should do all of those things. Do as I say, not as I do.

I tried my hardest to wait a full 48 hours so it would cure, but I only made it about 30 hours. Again, do as I say, not as I do. Seriously.

P1130672

P1130674 P1130676

A power strip and router are hiding under the table.

P1130679 P1130681 P1130684

P1130682

Not bad if I do say so myself!! And the best part is it only cost me $41 and one afternoon. If you are nervous about building a simple piece of furniture like this here’s my public endorsement: You can do it!*

*As long as you have a power drill and a vehicle big enough to transport the wood. Oh, and $41.

This is my second bedroom as of September 2013, enjoy!

Little House Design: Simple guest bedroom Little House Design: Simple guest bedroom Little House Design: Simple guest bedroom Little House Design: Simple guest bedroom

All photographs are courtesy of Ashley a. Photography, thanks Ashley!

Photographs of my Bathroom

November 6, 2013 — 1 Comment

This is my bathroom as of September 2013, enjoy!

Little House Design: Bathroom with hex tile and hanging crates Little House Design: Bathroom with hex tile and hanging crates Little House Design: Bathroom with hex tile and hanging crates Little House Design: Bathroom with hex tile and hanging crates

All photographs are courtesy of Ashley a. Photography, thanks Ashley!

Photographs of my Bedroom

October 24, 2013 — 1 Comment

This is my bedroom as of September 2013, enjoy!

Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser Little House Design: Bedroom with bold blue walls and campaign dresser

All photos are courtesy of Ashley a. Photography, thanks Ashley!

Living Room Photographs

October 22, 2013 — 4 Comments

This is my living room as of September 2013, enjoy!

Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room Little House Design: Eclectic, vintage style living room

All photos are courtesy of Ashley a. Photography, thanks Ashley!

As much as I love IKEA, I haven’t been to an actual IKEA store in over a year. The closest one to Indianapolis is in Cincinnati which is not close by. It is definitely a day trip plus you have to have the right vehicle to be able to bring home furniture. But despite the fact that I haven’t been in a while doesn’t mean that I don’t online window shop at IKEA all the time.

I’ve previously listed out all of the things in my home from IKEA (it’s actually still accurate even though it was written last August), so this is a list of the things I love from IKEA that I would buy if I had more money and space (and a big enough vehicle to bring it all back from Cincinnati).

Originally this was just going to be one post but I found that I liked way too much stuff so it became a two parter!

I have a great front porch and nicely sized back yard but I have yet to invest in any patio furniture. I like this classic wicker deck chair. Perhaps four of these chairs around a brightly colored round table would look nice? Available here for $34.99 each.
I am one of those people who go through dish towels like candy. I use a new one like every day, mostly because I do not like soggy towels. For this reason, I am always on the look out for a cool new dish towel. Available here for $2.99.
I only have curtains in my dining room but lately I’ve been considering them for my entry way window and even in my living room. I’m still on the fence but these subtle grey linen ones are lovely. The pair is available here for $49.99.
Is this rug too crazy? I kind of love how crazy it is. I also love how super Swedish it is. Available here for $49.99.
I’m not an artist but if I were I would want this rolling filing cabinet. I guess you wouldn’t have to be an artist to use it but I can just imagine using it for large pencil drawings or something equally cool. Available here for $119.00.
I actually have this lamp in the floor lamp size but I think the table lamp size is adorable. Available here for $29.99.

Large graphic prints are definitely my thing so this bold striped throw is right up my alley. Available here for $19.99

My West Elm shower curtain is still my favorite but this simple black and white shower curtain is lovely too. Available here for $14.99.
I am always on the lookout for a good light fixture because there are still several in my house that I would like to replace. I love the bold yet simple look of this light fixture. Available here for $69.99.

This mod pendant is so delicious, I want to lick it. It is a massive and bold piece that would be a great statement piece in any home. Available here for $49.99.

I’ve been thinking about replacing the credenza in my dining room for a while now. Maybe this simple yet unique locker cabinet would be a nice upgrade? Available here for $99.00.

I’m not normally big on patterned curtains since they can look dated fast but these curtains may just be cool enough to change my mind. The pair is available here for $24.99.
This light fixture is probably a little bold for most people but I think it is so cheery! It would look awesome in a bathroom or a closet. Available here for $14.99.
I’ll be back Thursday for Part 2!

You know I bought a house which is an awesome thing to be able to do, but there are things I didn’t know when I bought a house. Okay, let me rephrase that, there are things I didn’t think about before I bought a house. How I would care for my yard was one of those things.

I bought my house in January so yard work was very far from my mind when I signed all my paperwork, but spring came soon enough and I found myself with an overgrown yard and no tools to care for it.

I started to research lawnmowers and checking craigslist for used ones, but nothing was catching my eye so I decided to buy a new one. After much internal debating I decided to buy an electric mower as opposed to a gas powered one. I make a lot of bad environmental choices (I drive an SUV), but I try to do my part in other ways like recycling so I figured buying an electric mower would be an easy way for me to be conscientious.

I decided to buy this one:

It is a Task Force 12-amp electric push mower (available for purchase here). It was $169 which was by far the most boring $169 I have ever spent. Despite how annoying it was to pay that much for something, I seriously love this mower. I don’t particularly love mowing the grass but it’s not that bad really, it just takes a lot of time. The reason I love this mower is because it is lightweight and easy for me to maneuver  The limit to using an electric mower is that you are literally tied down with a cord so this only works for smaller lawns. My lawn is about 4,000 square feet which is just about the perfect size to use an electric mower.
I honestly don’t remember how long the cord I got is, but I think it’s like 100 ft or something.
Once I got a lawnmower I felt empowered about what yard work I could accomplish so I got more yard tools!
The next item on my list was a weed wacker. I decided on this one:
It is a Toro 8″ cordless trimmer (not sure what the 8″ refers to… the length of the plastic string maybe?). It was $49.99 (available here) and it was the most boring $49.99 I’ve ever spent. But even though it was boring money to spend I do like this trimmer. It has a chargeable battery, so it’s cordless which is very convenient. It may not be powerful enough for a guy but for me it is the perfect size and amount of power.
After I bought these two large and expensive tools I was tapped out but then after a few weeks I decided I needed a few more things.
It is probably overkill but I actually find it satisfying to sweep my porch and sidewalks after I mow. I feel old-timey.
I do not rake up my grass clippings because that is insane. But I do use my rake a few times a year after I trim the front bushes.
This is the trimmer I got a few weeks ago:
I wrote about it here. While it is helpful to an extent, this little trimmer was definitely not worth $49.99. I am still debating about whether or not I should return this tool, but for now I still have it.
So those are all of the yard tools I had to buy. It was nearly $300 worth of merchandise that I totally didn’t even budget for. Yikes! That is my big piece of advice for the day: If you are new to homeownership don’t forget to budget for yard tools!

Do you feel the same way I do about buying yard tools?

How to Make a Terrarium

September 21, 2012 — 2 Comments

How to make a terrarium:

1) Go shopping and buy:
a) A glass or plastic open container. I got mine at HomeGoods for $15.
b) Rocks (I wish I could have just gotten these from my yard but it’s amazing how few rocks are in my yard).
c) Activated charcoal… this one is a little hard to find but they should have it at any nursery.
d) Soil. I buy Miracle Grow: Moisture Control, but pretty much any kind works
e) Succulents. It may help to have your container with you so that you can see how your plants will all fit inside. My particular container is about 15″ in diameter and I fit three succulents in it.
d) Miniature animals because it’s a terrarium and it should be awesome.

2) Put a layer of rocks on the bottom of your container (I saved a few to put on the top layer). This is for drainage.

3) And then a layer of activated charcoal (about an inch of the charcoal). This charcoal, as far as I understand it, is for smell. I guess these terrariums can get moldy so this charcoal is supposed to keep the mold and moldy smell away.

4) Add soil (I filled my container about half full)

5) Plant your succulents!

6) Add a little more life to it. I added rocks and teeny tiny baby deer that I bought on Etsy.

7) Take care. Terrariums are very low maintenance but that only applies if you set them up right to begin with. Also, I can’t stress enough how much terrariums need sunlight. If you forget to open your blinds even a few days in a row these little babies will start to die. On the other hand they can go weeks without water. I sprinkle, emphasis on sprinkle, them with water every 10-14 days.

I made this terrarium about a year ago and it has kept well. One of the plants died which was my fault because I left it too long when I was on a trip without sun or water, but like I said earlier if you do a few things they should keep for a long time. I don’t remember the exact amount I spent to make this but here is my best guess on how much this project cost me:

Container: $15
Deer: $5
Soil: had on hand
3 Succulents: $16
Rocks: $5
Activated Charcoal: $8
= $49 … yes, that is expensive but have you ever tried to buy a pre-made terrarium? They are over $100! Like this one and these.

Here are few ways you can save on terrarium expenses:

– Use dirt and rocks from your yard… why not??
– Use coupons!
– Use a container you have on hand. The only real criteria involved is that they are usually clear (but don’t have to be) and they should have an open top (closed top terrariums require different care). I have a couple of shallow vases right now that would work.
– Share actived charcoal with a friend. I only used a small amount so there is no need to buy a whole bag… go in with a friend and have a terrarium making party!
– Buy plants on clearance. They may look a little sad but nothing a little repotting and love can’t fix.
– Use little miniatures you have lying around or make your own.

Happy terrarium making!

White Box Challenge: Updated

September 17, 2012 — 3 Comments

A few weeks ago I filled you guys in on my very own White Box Challenge. Just as a reminder I was given $20 and this room:

The goal being to create a happy and safe place for 3 years olds to play. I’m not saying this is my best work, but considering my very lowly budget and the constraints (no painting, etc) I’m happy with what I’ve accomplished so far.

The good news is that the kids enjoyed playing and had no complaints about the room. They also really liked having their artwork hung up on the twine with clothespins. I’m sure the room will evolve over the course of the year but I’m glad I spent some time making it look a little better.

I went to Family Dollar and bought the following things for a total of $16:

– 5 packets of tissue paper and ribbon to make these pom pom flowers.

– A packet of colorful printer paper (not construction paper) to make these zig-zag streamers and for other uses (the memory verse on the wall and for extra coloring paper).

– 3 small and 2 large bright green buckets for crayons and playdough.

– twine and clothespins for hanging the kids’ art

Thanks to those who shared their ideas of what they’ve done in similar situations. I hope to add the following in the future:

– more garlands (pom poms, bunting, etc) if I can figure out how to get stuff to stick to the ceiling (it’s impervious to thumbtacks)

– get a large branch that the kids and I can decorate

– if I get a budget boost I’d love to add a large blackboard or dry erase board for the kids to draw on and a more colorful and comfortable rug for the kids to sit on

– add larger posters or craft paper that the kids can color over the course of the year

I’ll keep you all updated and thanks for the input!