Thursday, September 11, 2014

Living Room Bookshelves

Behold, my beautiful bookshelves! I have to admit, I am really pleased with how these turned out. 

I'm not completely finished with them, I hope to add some molding to make them look more like built-ins; kind of like my original inspiration, as can be seen here and here. But for now, I am satisfied with how they look.

I used 5 Ikea Billy bookcases, 2 of the wider bookcases on the ends and 3 of the slimmer bookcases in the middle. I decided on these sizes because I wanted the length of the bookcases to be as close to the length of the wall as possible. As you can see, it's pretty close to the full length of the wall.

After I first assembled the bookcases, I just threw some books and knick knacks on there with the intention of organizing my books.....and then it stayed like this for 2 months. 

But then I had some people coming over and had to make it look more presentable. That's when I had to decide how I wanted to style them. All over Pinterest and home blogs, you find tutorials about how to style bookcases/shelves, but I find that those tutorials usually only include pretty knick knacks and pictures and maybe a couple of decorative books. However, the whole reason I got these bookshelves was for the purpose of actually holding my books (I have a good many), so I definitely wanted to utilize the function of the shelves and not just use them for decorative purposes.

But just because they are functional doesn't mean they can't also be pretty. While perusing Pinterest, I saw that a new trend has been to organize books by color, like here and here, so I thought I would give it a try.

It was easy enough, I just hauled all of my books in and started dividing them by color. It probably took me about 30 minutes. I also decided that I didn't want to split up any series that had more then 3 books. So I divided my Hunger Games series by color, but my Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie series stayed together. 

Then it was just a matter of putting the books on the shelves. The top row is where I organized the books by color, starting with the lighter books on the left side and then growing darker towards the right. On the second row is mostly my book series that I didn't want to split up. All of the brown boxes and magazine holders I got from Ikea when I got the bookshelves. They hold things like stationary, video game accessories, and other miscellaneous things. 

With regards to how I styled everything, it was just a matter of moving things around until I liked how they looked. I didn't really have any kind of method, I would just move items around and take a step back to see how they worked in that space. Really my method was move things around and take a step back. I'm quite happy with how everything looks. 

I also have some pictures leaning on top for now. I have one of our engagement pictures, a canvas of our wedding party, and my 2 Lindsay Letters canvases. I'm planning on hanging some picture ledges above the bookcases (I have them built, I just need to paint and hang them! It's on my to-do list for this month.) I also think I would like to get 2 lamps to place on top of the bookcases. We need more light in that part of the room and I think they would look nice. I really like these.

So, that's our living room bookshelves! What do you think?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

What I Liked Last Week

These elegant glass domes couldn't be easier to make! Click through for the simple instructions.

I love cake domes but they can be so expensive! This DIY seems super simple but also makes a big impact. The wooden ball on top is a little too modern for my taste, but I feel like it would be easy to swap it out for something else.

The Well Stocked Pantry via lifeingrace

This is a great post by Edie about the staples that should always be in your pantry. You know those nights when you go into the kitchen and have no idea what you're making for dinner? I think if you have these staples on hand, you won't have any problem coming up with something. She also provided a handy shopping printable.


I don't have many faux flowers in my house. I feel like sometimes faux flowers can start to look like something you would find at a Grandma's house. But I have noticed during my trips to Michael's and Hobby Lobby that fake flowers these days are really starting to look more realistic. I think the flowers in the photo above look beautiful and the "water" at the bottom really add to the realistic look. I think I'm definitely going to have to try and make this.

autumn-essentials printable free-download

I love this printable from Emily at Jones Design Company. I actually printed it out and hung it last year, but I don't know if it's quite time to pull it out again. It might need to get a little bit cooler first. I'm hoping to finish building my picture ledges soon (it is one of my September goals after all), and that would be the perfect place to display this print. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 2014 Goals

I feel change a'comin. Maybe it's the slight coolness we've started to feel here in the south. Or maybe it's the fact that I have so many plans for this coming month. Or maybe it's because I know fall is right around the corner.

Fall apple picking
source unknown

I'll be honest, I have always been a Spring kind of girl, but over the past couple of years, fall has started to find a special place in my heart. I think a big part of that has to do with the fact that we were married in the fall. On those sunny autumn days with a chill in the air, I'm instantly transported back to our wedding day and it makes me happy.

So the last time I posted a monthly goals list was all the way back in March, so I'll just recap that goals list.
  • Style bookcases in living room. Check! I am so pleased with how they turned out! I'll definitely have to do a post with pictures and a little tutorial on how I decided to style them. 
  • Build raised bed and plant garden. Check. But sadly my garden did not do too well this summer. But the good thing about raised beds is that they are really easy to plant year after year, so I can try again next year and hopefully have better luck.
  • Celebrate Lent. I give myself a half a check for this one. I did attend Ash Wednesday services, but I was not consistent in observing through the 40 days. 
  • Wash all of the windows (this one scares me). Nope. Still scares me. 
  • Hang shelves in Dining room. Check! Finally! This one took me so long to actually complete, but they turned out exactly how I wanted. This is another project that I owe you a post about. You can see a sneak peak here on Instagram. 

September Goals:
  • Finish picture ledges to hang above the bookcases.
  • Write a post about the bookcases and the shelves in the Dining room.
  • Clean out the spare bedroom.
  • Have a Yard Sale!
  • Make and stick to a monthly budget.
  • Start doing research about a possible new project.

Oh September, I have so many plans for you, I've got to make every day count! What about you? Do you have any big plans for this month?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

New Living Room Curtains

One of my February goals was to sew curtains for our living room windows. I decided to sew my own because I couldn't find any pre-made curtains that were long enough (we have pretty high ceilings).

Here is a picture of our living room before. I think the word you're looking for is BROWN. In my own defense, almost all of this was already here when I moved in after we were married. The only thing I had any say about was the picture above the mantle, the pillows on the couch, and the blanket in the basket on the hearth. Everything else was chosen by my husband.

As you can see, our living room is rather small, but it gets great natural light from those windows. I was worried that adding curtains might make the room darker, but without them, it seemed kind of unfinished.

And here is the after. Not a complete transformation, but I do think it helps add some coziness to the room. The material I used for the curtains is a linen/cotton blend so it's a little stiff, almost like burlap but not quite. Because the material is thicker, it doesn't hang quite like I would like it to on the bottom, but I think it might loosen up over time. I decided to hang them above the window frame, but not all the way to the ceiling. I think they look fine at this height.

I used this tutorial for sewing the curtains, it was easy and straight-forward, but I didn't add a liner, since the material is so thick, I didn't think it was necessary. But now that I've lived with them for a few months, I think I hemmed them a little too much. They kind of look like high-waters :) I didn't want them touching the ground because I thought they would gather dust, but now I think they would look better if they were longer.

You might have also noticed that I got a new rug for the space. I went back and forth about whether or not I wanted a rug with color, but I couldn't decide on what color I would want. So I finally decided to get a neutral rug and I can bring in more color through pillows and artwork.

I also updated the fireplace by removing that ugly brass cover, but I don't have an updated picture of the space since doing so. It only took about 3 minutes to remove, but it makes a huge difference. Thanks to The Nester for the tip!

I still have a few more things I want to do to get the living room looking how I want, but I think this is a good start. Below I've made a list of some of the things I would still like to do, including working on a space I haven't yet shared on the blog, the wall behind the couch.

  • Remove ugly brass cover on fireplace.
  • Hang curtains.
  • Get new rug.
  • Build and style bookshelves.
  • Hide loose cords under TV console.
  • Find a chair, floor lamp, and artwork for empty corner.
  • Hang gallery ledges above bookshelves.
  • Get new colorful throw pillows.
  • Find two lamps for top of bookshelves.
  • Style mantle.
  • Find another solution to keep recliner from scratching the floor (that little rug is not pretty).
  • New fan.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

101 in 1001 August Update

Taken this summer in Nantahala, NC

I feel like it's been forever since I posted anything on this blog! I was being so consistent and then work got really crazy and the blog just seemed to fall by the wayside. But I've missed it, truly, I have! Lately I've found myself feeling starved for some kind of creative outlet, so I thought I would begin blogging again.

As my first post back from my unofficial hiatus, I thought I would do an update on my 101 in 1001 list. I actually have some things to check off!

13. Do a pull-up.
No, I cannot do a pull-up.....yet. The first week of July, I started a new work out routine called Jamie Eason's LiveFit 12 Week Trainer. I knew I needed to get serious about being healthier and working out on a regular basis and this program seemed like a good starting point. I am currently in Week 6 of the 12 week program and I have definitely seen a difference in my body. I haven't lost much weight (which was discouraging at first), but I have gained strength and toned up. I haven't followed the meal planning part of the program (which might be why I haven't seen much weight loss), but I have followed the work out routine, which up to now has been mostly weight training. Maybe at the end of the 12 weeks I'll be able to do a pull-up?

33. Visit 3 places that I've never been to before.
I can't cross this one off completely, but I did get to visit 1 new this summer. Last month, Geoff and I traveled to Baltimore, Maryland to see a Major League Baseball Game at Camden Yards. Although the game ended after 5 innings because of rain, it still counted as a win for the Orioles against the NY Yankees. Too bad I didn't have "Attend a Major League Baseball Game" on my list!

56. Plant a vegetable garden.
Check! Although I have to admit that my garden didn't turn out quite like I was hoping. You may have seen in some of my other posts about the raised vegetable beds that I built. Those turned out great, but unfortunately, our plants weren't as pleased with them as I was. So far this summer, all we have gotten from our garden is two little tomatoes. Granted, they were really sweet and yummy, but I'm disappointed with the lack of produce. I'm not giving in just yet, I'm going to try and tweak some things and hopefully we can get a few more things before the end of the season.

59. Build something designed by Ana White.
I think I can give myself half a check for this. I've completed the building portion of the project, now I just need to paint it. I'm really excited to see the finished product and I'll definitely post pictures on here to share!

71. Make some kind of preserves.
I preserved something all by myself and they turned out pretty ok! :) I used this recipe to make homemade strawberry preserves. I was so proud of myself and kind of felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Things I want to work on in the coming months:

23. Memorize a psalm or prayer.
I know I need to work on my scripture memorization. I think a psalm would be a good place to start.

66. Make a fresh flower arrangement for every season.
I made an arrangement during the spring, but I would like to try and make one for the summer before the summer flowers are gone.

72. Bake my own bread.
Bread (and all of it's many delicious variations) may just be my favorite food. I definitely need to try and make my own. It doesn't seem too hard #famouslastwords

95. Plan and execute 5 special dates with Geoff.
My dear, sweet husband, he's so good to me. He deserves a thousand special dates, but I'm going to really try and plan a good one in the next couple of months.

I've definitely got some things to keep me busy. I'm also looking forward to posting on a more regular basis and sharing some of the projects I've been working on.
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