The Coffee Table Quick Fix

If you remember from my post two weeks ago, the search was on for our next coffee table. Since that post, I thought I found the perfect coffee table at Ikea but when we went to pick it up, they were out of stock… wah wah.

The table I found was the Hermes white coffee table. What I love about this table is that it is solid pine, has a bottom shelf, it’s square and it’s white! Perfect!

After checking a few times since last weekend, it’s still out of stock ::sad face:: So in the meantime, BJ and I have been shopping around and looking at our options until either, Ikea gets this table back in stock, or we find something better.

Until we buy our new coffee table, I decided that we needed an interim solution to solve the problem of walking around the couch. While I was cleaning this weekend, I came across two side tables we bought over a year ago to hold various items in our bedroom and my office. I borrowed the side tables from their current homes and moved them into the living room to their new temporary home.

Here is my quick fix our coffee table conundrum:

The side tables are a little higher and they allow you to walk around the couch without stepping over them. Now if only they weren’t so dark. They would be perfect if they were white… and solid pine 🙂

Organized Bliss

The pantry is finally finished. When you open the door, it is easy to find exactly what you are looking for. I love it!

Before I started working on our pantry this was my inspiration.

Dream pantrypantry pantry

And now our pantry looks like this, the top view:

And the bottom:

We have a lot more food in our pantry than the first inspiration photo and we also have a mix of boxes and vacuumed sealed containers. But for us, this works.

Before our pantry looked like this:

It was chaos. I also had trouble with the cans on the bottom shelf. They took up a lot of real estate and you couldn’t really see what was there. We decided to solve that problem by looking for something that we could put under the bottom of the pre-existing pantry shelves. We found this stacking shelf system at the Container Store and it works perfectly.

I also took our organizing one step further and labeled the majority of our containers. And because I am a Weight Watchers Lifetime Member, I have all the serving sizes and PointsPlus values written under the name of each product. For the baking and cooking products, I just labeled them with their name.

So our pantry is finally organized and hopefully it will stay this way for a long time. I love opening the door and finding everything I need without digging around. And because we used vacuumed sealed containers to store much of our food, we don’t have to worry about food going stale quickly. It’s a win-win!

Green Living

BJ and I try to do our part to try to make our slice of the world a little greener. A few months ago, I put together a list of how BJ and I “Go Green” for an initiative at work.

Here is our list of what we do to save energy, reuse items and recycle:

  •  Recycle glass and aluminum cans
  • Use coupons on my cell phone to avoid printing them.
  • Use fluorescent and led light bulbs in our house.
  • Use led tealights and instead of burning tealight candles and throwing away the metal container.
  • Keep our thermostat higher in the summer (76) and cooler in the winter (68).
  • Open our windows in the fall and spring and use the house fan instead of running air conditioning or heat.
  • Use reusable cloth bags at the grocery store (FIY: Target gives you 5 cents for every reusable bag you use).
  • Keep our fish tank lights on a timer so they are off during the day until we get home.
  • Buy milk in glass bottles and return the bottles to the store.
  • Cook with an induction cooktop which is more efficient than gas or electric.
  • Switched many of our bills to paperless statements.
  • Recycle motor oil from oil changes on our cars.
  • Our cat has an automatic water fountain that continuously runs cool water for her. It uses electricity to run, but we do not have to dump out her water as often and she always has fresh filtered cold water.
  • When we forget our reusable bags, I reuse the plastic bags from the grocery store for cleaning our cat’s litter box.
  • Our kitchen appliances are Energy Star appliances.
  • When we were planning our wedding, I picked centerpieces that I could keep so that we could reuse them after our wedding. I chose lanterns from Ikea and vases with a few fresh flowers (unfortunately, I couldn’t keep the flowers) for the tables. Each table either had a lantern or vase. After our wedding, I incorporated all the vases and lanterns into our home decor. We also chose wine bottle stoppers as our favors for the adults so guests could take something home with them that they can reuse over and over! I also kept some of the other decorations we used for the escort card table so that we had minimal to throw away.

And a few months later, we are still practicing what we preach and then some.

Since we moved into our house, we’ve been switching out the incandescent lights bulbs installed by the builder to fluorescent and led bulbs.

In our master bathroom, we often leave the light on at night so that Zoey see to eat her food and use her litter box. To keep the cost of running the light down by drawing less power, we switched the incandescent to an led bulb. The up front cost is more than a traditional light bulb, but the savings over time will add up and make it worth the price (about $30)

The led bulbs in the bathroom use about 13 watts versus the former incandescent bulbs which drew 60-70 watts.

We also installed led lights in the table lamps by our bed.

And we have led rope lighting installed above our kitchen cabinets.

Another way we go green and try to save a few pennies is by using reusable grocery bags. We do a great deal of our grocery shopping at Super Target and as I mentioned above, they give  $0.05 back for every bag used.

Occasionally, we will leave our reusable bags at home so we can save the plastic bags to clean Zoey’s litter. We keep all of our plastic bags in our handy-dandy Simple Human bag organizer.

In our kitchen closet we keep bins to recycle glass and plastic. Once the bins are full, we take them to a recycling drop off center at our local park. Looks like it’s time for a visit to the park!

So those are just a few of the ways we go green. How do you  go green?

Fall is on its way!

It’s starting to feel like fall again! The weather is back in the 70s, college football season is among us, pumpkin lattes are being served and the leaves are starting to turn a little less green. It’s time for football games, sweatshirts and hot chocolate.

Fall officially begins on September 23 this year, but today certainly felt like autumn weather to me! It was a gorgeous 65-70 degrees!

The forecast for this week is going to be awesome! Only getting into the 80s one day (courtesy of weather.com):

If you search for “Fall” on Pinterest, the boards are literally buzzing with inspiration for home decor, fashion, photography and more. I love it! Fall is one of my favorite color palettes with the deep oranges, reds and yellows!

To help celebrate the coming of Autumn, I changed the scents in our wallflowers to fall scents and I started decorating for the chiller months.

Since it’s not officially Fall yet, I decided to only get out a few of my autumn decorations. I still have more stored away in our spare bedroom closet and I will continue to bring them out over the next few weeks. I didn’t want to go to crazy this weekend. After all, I’m one of those people that complains about retail stores decorating for Christmas before Halloween.

Thanks to a long holiday weekend (Happy Labor Day everyone 🙂 ) I had some time to work on projects and get the house cleaned up for friends and family that will be visiting us later this month. On Saturday, I picked up some square frames for a project I’ve been wanting to do for years, but just never got around to it. I’ve had some fabric remnants siting around and I thought it would be great to use them as wall decorations. This weekend, I finally completed my project!
If you’re interested in doing this project, you will need four square frames, four fabric remnants and scissors.
From the fabric remnants, I chose four pieces that I liked and cut them to fit the frames. Pretty easy!
The finished product turned out bright and colorful:
I chose the bright colors to go against the purple wall in my office. Later this evening, we are going to hang the Ikea shelves in my office. I’m excited! Once we get them up and I get everything organized on them, I will post with pictures of the finished project. More to come soon!

Reusable wedding centerpieces

Getting married? Just married? Or looking for centerpieces ideas that you can reuse later? When choosing centerpieces for our wedding, I wanted them to be fun, beautiful and most importantly… reusable.

My husband and I got married last year in a beautiful restored barn that was completely decorated in french country-style and didn’t require much work when it came to picking out the centerpieces for our wedding. Below is a picture of our hall sans flower centerpieces. I came to find out after the wedding that our florist didn’t arrive until around 1:30 (she said she would be there around 10 a.m.). Our wedding was supposed to start at 2:30 and our centerpieces were not finished. Thankfully, my mother-in-law quickly ran around and completely our centerpieces before everyone arrived. These little things happen on your wedding day, but the result (as long as you do not panic) can still be beautiful. And no one even knew… including me! But I digress, back to the centerpieces…

photo credit: http://www.bensphotos.com

Unfortunately we didn’t get any photos of just our centerpieces at the venue, but they turned out beautiful. For half of the tables, we chose tall clear glass vases with glass beads and added with fresh-cut gerbera daisies to them. On the other half of the tables, we placed white lanterns with tea light candles. Our colors were bright pink, bright yellow and bright orange with splashes of green and blue. Below are our bouquets. They incorporated three of our five (yes five) colors.

photo credit: http://www.bensphotos.com

At first, you might be overwhelmed by the thought of using five colors, but I tried to bring them all together in subtle ways. All of the colors reminded me of a bright summer party and that is why I chose them. To incorporate all of our colors together in each of the fresh-cut flower centerpieces, we filled tall clear vases with blue and green glass beads and then added two or three fresh-cut gerber a daisies in pink, yellow or orange. In the vases, we also added glass fish to make it look like there were fish swimming in the bottom. Because I ultimately couldn’t decide if I wanted just flowers or just candlelight, or both, every other table had a white lantern with star cutouts in the top. To create candlelight, we placed a LED tea light inside each lantern. We used the LED tea lights to keep the lanterns from being too hot to touch and the tea lights were reusable. Win!

It was completely intentional that I chose centerpieces that we could use later. The purpose behind the centerpieces was definitely the usability. I wanted them to be both fun and functional. They also played really well into our the atmosphere of a fun summer party. Now the centerpieces serve as decorations for our home, so and every time I see them, I am reminded our how much fun we had celebrating with family and friends on our wedding day.

Since our wedding, I also added a red lantern and a green lantern. Here are a few of the lanterns in our home:

Because we had sixteen tables, I had plenty of leftover vases and lanterns. I’ve used every vase and lantern somewhere throughout our house. Here are a few of my favorite ways I reused the vases:

I also put together some DIY arrangements for our escort card table. I arranged miniature pinwheels like flowers in brightly colored pails filled with floral foam. After I arranged the pinwheels, I covered the floral foam with leftover green (paper) easter grass and then found little white flowers in my stash for making floral wreaths. The finished products now sit on top of my office bookshelf:

Finally, we chose favors that we could use later if we had extra. We picked daisy wine bottle stoppers in our colors and gave them to each adult (each guest under 21 received a package full of Jelly Belly jelly beans in our colors). Now when guests come over to our house to enjoy a bottle of wine, we get out our wine stoppers and sometimes we even send them home with their own stopper.

Designing everything for our wedding was so much fun and I love that we can continue to enjoy pieces of our wedding everyday. It was also my own little way of being green :). The only thing we didn’t keep and incorporate from our wedding were the fresh-cut flowers. Everything else is somewhere in our home!