Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Master Bedroom Semi-Makeover

This isn't a true "before and after," because that would imply our master bedroom is done, and it most certainly is not. So it's more like a "before and during."

For about six months after we moved in, this is what our bedroom looked like:

Hideous, I know.

This is the only "before" picture I have, but it's cringe-worthy enough on its own. The mish-mash of sad college furnishings didn't exactly scream "master bedroom." So when we were doing some harmless window-shopping at Oak Express and found out about a 5-year/no interest deal, we jumped on it. It was kind of a spur-of-the-moment decision (apparently our favorite kind), but we ended up buying a whole new bedroom set -- dresser, chest of drawers, two nightstands, and a headboard. It was the first time either of us had ever had a real bedroom set, so as silly as it sounds, we finally felt like "grown-ups!"

We also upgraded to a new comforter set (from Target) that coordinates much better with the aqua paint color, which I don't plan on painting anytime soon. (But I'm already getting tired of the bed... now I think there's too much brown.) Oh, and in case you were wondering what we did with that awesome animal print quilt, it got moved to the guest bedroom (which desperately needs a makeover as well, but that's taking a back seat to some other priorities). So now I present to you our matured master bedroom!

The silver frames and mirror were a wedding gift that we didn't even get out of the box until well over two years later! I actually didn't think I'd like them, but they worked out pretty nicely in here. I put photos from our wedding and honeymoon in the frames.

The sexy new lamp definitely helped improve the ambience!
I also have two wall sconces I purchased 6 months ago that are still sitting on the floor. Someday, I'm going to put them up over the headboard or on the wall next to the bed. My only excuse for not doing it by now is that I can't decide if there's a better spot in the house for them.

Ok, so the room still leaves a lot to be desired -- mainly some real window treatments. I've been debating whether or not to try making my own, a la Sara's No-Sew Curtains or perhaps the Drop Cloth Curtains over at The Brick Cottage... But the way things are going right now, it would be awhile before I got around to that!

Also, there's a lot of potential with the ceiling. I'm not sure what type of ceiling this is... it's not coffered, but I did some Googling and the closest I can come up with is a tray ceiling? All I know is, it helps make our small room feel much bigger.

(Old picture, pre-move in)

Anyway, I'm thinking I could either paint the "inner" part a different shade, or even utilize the space to put up one of those wall decal quotes. Although the ceiling fan is actually pretty decent-looking, I wouldn't mind switching it out for a fabulous chandelier light fixture (like my sister did), but it would probably get way too hot in here then. Boo.

My biggest annoyance with the room now is that there's not a lot of flexibility as far as re-arranging, which I like to do. The placement of the windows and the big furniture is kind of limiting. But with a little creativity, I know I can still make some major improvements in here!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Real vs. Fake

I admit it. 

I'm a faker when it comes to flowers in the house. (What did you think I meant?)  But in my defense, I do try to buy the ones that look as realistic as possible -- usually from Hobby Lobby.

I have some in little vases...

The above two "bud vases" are empty reed diffusers!
This little arrangement was on sale at Pier1 for $3.50!

Another use for votive holders

And some in bigger vases... 
Yes, I realize the glass beads scream "FAKE!"

In fact, I rarely ever buy fresh blooms for the house, although it would be lovely to have a real bouquet and that wonderful floral fragrance on a daily basis. But in general, I don't splurge on the real deal unless it's for a special occasion. Yet another reason to get some more flowers planted outside our house...

So where do you stand on on the great floral debate? Are you a faker too, or do you "just say no" to faux? Let's hear it!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Dyson: It sucks.

When my sister told me she bought a Dyson several years ago, I remember asking her, "You spent HOW much?!" Being the cheapskate I am, I could never see myself spending hundreds of dollars on a stinkin' vacuum cleaner. I mean, is it really worth it?

Well, that was before we bought a house. And acquired a cat who loves to leave a little bit of herself behind everywhere she goes. Up until a few months ago, this is what we were cleaning our house with: 

Sure, it worked fine for the 800 sq. ft. apartment (with mostly concrete floors) that we used to live in, but this little Eureka was not made to handle a whole house. Even after vacuuming with it, the carpet still felt matted down and grungy.

So when Black Friday rolled around last year, I found out that Best Buy was going to be offering the Dyson Absolute Animal DC17 for a mere $350 (about $200 less than regular price). As much as it pained me, I knew we needed the upgrade desperately. After all, a $350 vacuum that lasts for years and years (or forever??) is cheaper than buying a new vacuum every few years.

After a few months of using this baby, I can safely say the Dyson a good way! We could tell a big difference in the feel of our carpet the first time we used it. It was much fluffier and you could actually SEE that the floors had been vacuumed. Obviously, we only had a very inferior vacuum to compare it with, but I'm fairly certain this thing could suck the stripes off a zebra. In fact, I think it's still sucking up new carpet fuzz, which means it's either a very powerful vacuum, or we just have cheap carpet (probably a little of both). I also use it on our hardwood floors.

Mr. Eureka doesn't stand a chance.

The Dyson came with the Zorb carpet powder (which I haven't tried yet), and other attachments including a mini turbine head, which is great for cleaning up pet hair (I'm talking to you, Phoebe). I usually don't mind cleaning in general, but vacuuming is definitely much more enjoyable now! The only frustration I have with it is that the wand is so long, it can get a little awkward using it. (Unless there's a way to shorten it that I haven't figured out yet.) On the other hand, the long wand can come in handy in some situations.

Are there any household items or appliances you've discovered that are worth the high price (painful as it may be)?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Signs of Life

This past week has been especially draining at work (hence my absence from blogging), so I was extra glad when the sun came out on Friday and the temperature skyrocketed into the 50s this weekend... maybe even 60. Balmy! It's amazing how the weather can lift your spirits. I've definitely got me a case of spring fever. 

We worked out in our lawn a bit this weekend, moving some limestone rocks around for our landscaping (more on that some other time). I also watered all the bushes and shrubs we planted last fall, and imagine my excitement when I saw this: 

I have no green thumb by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm pretty sure these are little buds on our burning bush?! After several months of paranoia that none of our plants would come back in the spring, this was a big relief.

Then, I was even more thrilled when I saw these:

Last Easter, my mom gave me a pot of tulips and a few months later I planted the bulbs next to the sidewalk in front of our house. I had read that potted tulips don't always grow once they're transplanted outside, but I figured I'd give it a shot since I didn't have much to lose. I had almost forgotten about them, but now we have ten little tulip plants that have started to sprout! They're only about an inch tall right now, but I haven't ever really grown anything from a bulb before, so I'm pretty proud.  :) Any tips for growing tulips, or are they pretty low-maintenance? I'm thinking I may have to transplant them somewhere else because their current location gets a lot of shade.

I have a few more projects in the works that I hope to post about soon, if I can ever get motivated when I get home from work! Maybe now that winter finally appears to be on its way out, I'll be a little more productive!


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