Things I’ve learned lately: HOME

There are so many things I love about the feeling of Home. I am very introverted and love, love, love to be home. It’s the softest place I land, the space that holds me in, lets me go, and serves as my favorite dance floor.

So, home is really important to me. It serves as all of the above, but it (hopefully) also welcomes anyone who enters it with the same kind of love and attention. We’ll cover this more in the Hosting section but even though I’m extremely introverted, it’s also very important to our family to be the open house. To let others in, to share what we have, to feed the masses and to be social without actually having to enter the world.

Let’s get to it, then.

BOOKS

Beautifully Organized, Wild At Home, Cozy White Cottage, Made For Living, Poetry Of Place, Half Baked Harvest Cookbook, Half Baked Harvest Super Simple, Kitchen Sconce (Khaki).

These are not affiliate links (I’m like 80% sure they’re not and if they are it is by wild accident because I have no idea what I’m doing anymore.)

These books, however, do know what they’re doing. They serve as amazing inspiration and beautiful coffee table books to have out for anyone to browse. Our kitchen is forever in favorable rotation with Half Baked Harvest, and the lights were something we added when we reimagined the space … which leads me to:

REIMAGINING SPACES

As I confess in the About me section of this site, my superpower is being able to see through walls. To envision spaces and flow. We gutted our previous home and it was so much fun, but a lot of work. When we were looking for another house, I was adamant that I didn’t want to do major renovations again. Updating, sure. But knocking walls down? Nopethanks.

Essentially all a room actually needs is structure. Walls, wiring, fixtures. Are those things available? If not – start there. We lived here for a few months and then hired an electrician to please come in and add, subtract or change the electrical. How do you want to live in the space?

That’s it. That’s all you need to ask yourself to reimagine a space. What’s missing, and what do I want out of this?

Then, get to work on pinterest, in real life, in magazines and coffee shops. Hotels, friends homes, and places you love visiting. Pay attention. Take photos of spaces that make you feel comfortable. Notice how you feel walking into rooms, whats in them?

When I feel ready to make some changes I go back to the photos I’ve saved and look for repeats. I might see a pattern in the “feel” of a room, or the colors used. I might be really drawn to bold art or soft textures. Most of the time, I’m not looking at the structure of the spaces … but the feeling of what it might be like to be IN them. (And, other times I am ONLY looking at the structure. We’re currently remodeling our primary-suite bathroom and the structure of the space is the most important right now, so I’m only paying attention to walls and angles and layout and built-ins and walkways.)

The advice sticks, though, no matter what problem you might be trying to solve. What reflects you in a space? Below on the right (pictured) is our half bathroom when we bought our home and on the left (pictured) is still our half bathroom … now. Reimagined. We added wallpaper, found the new vanity on wayfair, and changed out the light fixture. The bathroom already had hardwood floors, a toilet, electrical and the plumbing was ready to go.

Wallpaper is great for small spaces and big impact. Play with it. If you hate it (and it’s ok if you do) it’s only wallpaper. You can take it down! Don’t marry all of your ideas. Stay flexible because you are going to hate some of it, or change your mind. Totally normal!

THINGS I LOVE

Who’s still with me? Mom?

We made it this far in this gigantic post today so I have some funsies for you in absolutely no particular order:

These pull-out cupboard shelves are, literally, the best purchase I’ve made this year. They’re spendy, I know. Shut it. I am in the kitchen for hours every single day. Every day! These make re-using our kitchen cabinets look like the best idea I’ve ever had. I bought 6 of them – 5 of them in our pantries and one in side cabinet that utilizes otherwise wasted space. I can’t get over how much I love these. They’re SHELVES. And I am undone about them.

This canvas-style bag for carrying logs. Handles. It has handles. We can take lotsssss of wood from our outdoor pile (which, elevation wise, is 2 stories below where we need to bring the firewood) to our hearth without swearing all of the swears we know out loud.

Sweet and Spicy Tea. I know you think drinking tea is like drinking hot water while someone whispers the herbs and flavors used from another room and I’m sorry you hate tea this much. But have you had this tea? You will like this one. It punches you right in the face.

These under-the-chair-things are like “money in the walls” but for your floors. You’re welcome. We refinished and added more wood flooring to our house, unlike our last one where we added plywood … I want these to look real for as long as possible. Because they are. They are real wood floors, take your shoes off.

These unfinished wooden handles are the sisters and brothers to many other unfinished wooden handles we’ve been using in all of our projects lately. We did buy new cabinets for the island in our kitchen (a painted cabinet to offset the oak) and the unfinished wood handles are like … cream for the eyes. That’s weird and I know it, but I stand by it. I love them. We also have unfinished wood handles/knobs (I know I’m saying unfinished wood a lot right now and I just need you to keep your eyes up here for a few more seconds) in our laundry room and the library. Everywhere, I tell you!

These sheets are a good idea. Sheets that I can’t touch before I buy them? I understand, it’s risky. But these are possibly the best sheets we’ve ever owned. And they’re not a million dollars.

Souper Cubes! I saw these on Shark Tank, like I see many things on Shark Tank, and this was the only item I’ve ever purchased before the pitch was over. Correction: this is the only item I’ve ever purchased that was featured on Shark Tank, ever. Revolutionary. These people are geniuses. Why didn’t I think of this?

Young House Love has probably influenced me more than any other blogger with influence. I almost always buy the things they suggest (when it fits my needs) because they are NEVER WRONG. So, yea. I’m a bird lady. I watch birds and I feed birds and I have (you guessed it) books on birds. And now, I can see birds right next to my chair. Because of this.

We’ve been married over 18 years, my husband and I, and in all of those years he has had the same alarm clock from his middle-school ages so I found him this one, instead. It’s from this century but it looks similar enough to his oldie and AND! I don’t hate it. Did I mention you can turn its lights off? All the way? And the volume isn’t 100 devils crying a beepbeepbeep in bright red in your ears every morning?

Lastly, I give you our espresso maker. When the quarantine started and everything shut down, we had to re-engineer our morning habits. So we ordered this espresso maker and never looked back. It’s so fun, looks great, is so easy and we love this little guy. He’s the real MVP of our house.

That’s it. I have a lot to say sometimes. Thanks for checking in. And please, please … add your must haves, house hacks, ideas and questions to the comments. I really love having the conversation with you.

xoxo

Jodi

7 fun ideas for Spring

Perhaps, like me, you collect ideas and go back every once in a while to tackle one. (I’ve talked about my idea obsession before)

There’s some really fun stuff buried in the archives here – so for Spring 2012 I’ve found seven of my favorites for you.

How to make nutty paddle pops

{how to} make nutty paddle pops!

DIY Shoe Pallet

{how to} make a shoe pallet

How to create Quiet Boxes

Quiet Box

I Spy: Underwater

Picture 2

How to build a fort kit

{how to} build a fort kit

How to make a ribbon curtain

{how to} make a ribbon curtain, no sew!

How to make mini pinata’s

{how to} make mini pinata's!

Things We Love To Do

A few fun things to do, give or make.

Free Compliments: I might just hang this on my mirror or randomly tape it on a box of cereal in the grocery store, to a telephone pole at a busy corner or in a public restroom. My fav is “Terrific Tattoo”.

Pretty sure it’s time for my daughter (less than a month from being seven!) to journal. Fill in the blanks is a great way to get started.

Great for long trips in the car, an afternoon that needs an activity or a waiting room: Fabric I Spy Book.

Flavored Tequilla: a great stocking stuffer, hostess gift or reason to throw a cheese party. Yes.

Need something new in your hair? A little indie maybe? Hair sticks.

I am always losing my earbuds. Not anymore.

Another way to use your toilet paper rolls – make these New Years Eve Surprises.

Babies to buy for? These are adorable felt booties.

Birthday Crowns: LOVE THESE.

Pinwheel wreath: I know just the girl to make this with.

Things We Love To Do

Wedding cake reveal coming soon – it just requires a few hours of uninterrupted time on the computer processing photos and writing about it. So you know, probably at midnight tonight.

In the mean time here’s some lovely for you to ponder:

T-Shirt bracelet your first crocheting experience. Dazzle! My daughter was a steel trap when it came to telling us what she did at school all day and most of the time we just let it seep out in bits and pieces as she was willing to share. Then she came home with a “year book” and all these photos of her doing amazing things. Like sewing. I’m thinking this will be cake compared to a needle and thread and quilting. Not joking.

Canopy bed such a fun and cheery way to brighten up a room. Even for apartments when permanent fixes aren’t always on the list of things to do.

Succulents are all the rage so make them pop with a creative planter. Oversized sea shell? I knew you’d come in handy.

Make stuff from driftwood Like a heart, maybe?

Seashell lights bring the beach to your backdoor. Pull the sand box up to the bottom of the deck steps and you’ve got yourself one heckova satycation. (Pina Colda’s not optional)

Lap duvet lets be honest – who knows what this is? Me either, it sounds lovely though and the fabric is stunning so of course I want one.

A car food caddy if I have to spend another 75 cents on a high powered vacuum to suck up cheerios, fries or sprinkles I might just also lose my mind and suck up the entire interior of my car – pennies, hair ties and little figurines not withstanding. Yes, yes I would love a dedicated food caddy.

Cobbler’s light I’m constantly running into old timey stuff like this at thrift stores and flea markets. The design of them and the fact that they were never meant for everyday decorating makes me smitten with them. I love using industrial objects or trade-wear objects in my decorating because it’s never expected and it always draws the eye as a conversation piece.

DIY coke icee 7/11 no longer needed.

S’mores on a stick a perfect take along to any bbq.

Wooden Logic puzzle both of my kids are engineers in a kids body. They love mazes, figuring out how something is put together and puzzles are for a light snack on the brain waves. Imma gonna make them sweat.

Fourth of July watermelon everyone always brings that cake with strawberries and blueberries in the shape of a flag to the 4th of July bbq. My shark will eat it.

Lemon coolers perfect for a summertime pool party, after playing at the beach or for that park picnic you have on the calendar.

Make homemade dot candy a favorite when I was little – because there was “more” candy to this strip than just a chocolate bar. My hoarding skills were honed early.

Ribbon wand I’d make a bunch of these to keep in the car – something fun and different to have on hand when a quick trip to grandma’s turns into a 45 minute family ties reunion. Your children weren’t prepared to sit still and there’s a mound of grass thats begging them to climb. A ribbon wand and a smile later – everyone’s happy. (Also great to have for playdates when the last 15 minutes are usually riddled with “Moooooom! They won’t let me swing!!!! Mooooooom!!!! When can I have a snack!!!!! Moooooom???”)

Red bandana sticks good for labeling all kinds of things.

Tissue paper pompoms LOVE!

Retro garden stakes What are you growing this year?

A little something special for your shoes I’m not cool enough to own Toms yet. Although I’ve been browsing the website, it’s hard for me to shop online for my feet for all kinds of reasons but this makes it worth the effort because I feel like I could get extra use out of an every day shoe with a little pizzaz.

Wood bud vase with salt There’s something about a salt dish on the table or near your cooking station that makes everything feel just a little bit classy.

Printable: Rainbow Our house is colored Rainbow every day because my daughter is in love with the pattern, color scheme and the rhyme that goes with it. She’s our expert sunshine maker šŸ™‚

DIY hot air balloon for barbies, snails and their rock collection. Set it off in style.

Things We Love To Do

Fort Building kit! With summer approaching I love this idea as an alternative to the endless backyard camping trip. I see this as a good end of the school year gift, which will inspire many-a-days building and imagining.

Rainbow printable Love the colors and the saying.

Shortcuff links for dad I know men (our dad’s or the father of your kids) are pretty difficult to buy for year after year. Another tie? Really? I’m not full of inspiration on the upcoming day yet but in the past have done “experiences” as gifts. Like renting a boat for the afternoon, having a lobster cook out (his fav) or maybe this year? Hot air balloon? An afternoon at the skate park (his fav)? I find it easier to gift a memory than a thing … and these cuffs could be the way we deliver it to him.

Burlap coffee bag art a how-to for your wall. I am a little bit obsessed with burlap.

Tea Caddy this is great as it is, but I can also see making the pockets a tad larger for a car caddy (kids toys, paper, crayons etc) or for the never ending pile of misc stuff that just ends up between the front two seats. Clean it up in there.

Flour sack heaven how to use the vintage (or recreate the effect) of flour sacks of yesteryear.

Industrial side tables Love these. Clean, simple and a taste of the factory look with the steel and wood.

Cardigan chain Jewelry is the new down-vest.

Mustache mug I’m still not over the mustache thing. šŸ™‚

Martha does it again Free downloads for BEST DAD fathers day labels. Loving the block type style.

Make a paper house! Adorable. Love.

Knit some tube sock leg-warmers or sew/hem some old tube socks INTO leg-warmers. I don’t knit … yet.

Necklaces out of found objects I’ve seen these before and I’m always drawn to them. I love their shapes.

Envelope surprise I want to do this! Not sure how or why yet, but I can’t wait.

Knot front shorts classic!

Honey comb shelves – Old painted cabinets turned hive-haven? So much happiness.

Teacher Subway art I’m thinking of passing this along to my daughters teacher as our thank you gift for the end of the year. I don’t do Teacher Appreciation week or anything (gasp!) but I love gifting a little something at the end of the year. (It’ll fit nicely into an IKEA frame, too)

Make your own stamp brown bag I think I would love letterpressing. No?

Motivational poster free download. We have “House rules” in our house that go pretty much the same as these. All about our family values and how we want to grow as people, together.

Coodie catcher I can’t wait to play this with my daughter – I think it’ll be a great summer activity that can spark some time well spent.

Make your own mid-century house numbers some day when I have a house number all my own again. Some day.

Ice cream cupcakes Ahh! So cute.