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Ripping Apart My House

15 Aug

Now that my summer Master’s classes are finished and I have a few weeks off before the fall semester starts, I finally have a little extra time. And I know EXACTLY what I’m going to do with that time… rip my whole house apart.

I hate clutter and I feel like our house has just been getting more and more cluttered every month. I anticipate taking loads of stuff to the local thrift store and probably a load or two for a dumpster too.

I can’t wait.

I especially can’t wait to be able to open the front closet without being smacked in the head with a rogue suitcase!

Over the weekend, I started in the kitchen. I organized my recipes into a binder and also replaced a bunch of half-empty boxes in the pantry with nice organizers.

I bought the Rubbermaid Flip Top Cereal Keeper for $7.66:



And the Rubbermaid 8-piece modular canister set for $15.97:



I love looking in my pantry and seeing matching organized stuff!

I told my husband over the weekend that we won’t just be cleaning stuff out, I want to go through the house like we are listing it for sale (we aren’t). I want to attack the kitchen cupboards that are overfilling with dishes/cups/travel mugs, the front hall closet that will barely close because it contains too many coats, the playroom closet that houses my husband’s (unworn) clothes, and the basement that contains boxes unopened from our move over FIVE years ago.

So yeah, I have a pretty exciting few weeks ahead of me.

Do you get weird and giddy about organizing and throwing stuff away?


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I did a Paint Night & It Wasn’t a Disaster

14 Aug

Overall, I’d consider myself a pretty crafty person. Over the years I’ve done some cross-stitch projects, whipped up some pretty snazzy stained glass windows and even threw some porcelain on the pottery wheel. While I enjoy painting stuff like furniture and walls, I’ve never really been artistic in the way of being able to draw things. So, whenever I’d see someone post about a Paint Night event I’d think it was cool but knew that my painting would be the worst in the bunch.

Also, what would I even do with a terribly painted picture of a random flower or sunset? Probably just hang onto it until I decided to throw it in the fire pit…

A few weeks ago I saw that they were doing a Maryland-themed paint night event at the Columbia Arts Center.  So, I decided to suck it up and try it out for myself. The class was taught by Mark Russo from Mark Russo Creations and he provided the paper guide to our design, a reclaimed wood pallet, all the paint and measuring materials needed… and the moral support.

I was actually surprised that there were no stencils involved, just a sheet showing you how to divide up the sections of your design. Oh, and I could have done a few different designs such as a Maryland crab, Black Eyed Susan (the Maryland flower) or the Maryland Flag (with or without a crab added) and I decided to stick with just the flag design.

I started by sectioning out the pallet penciling on all the lines that I would need to make the design of the flag.

Then, I used the paints they gave me to mix up some custom colors and started on filling in the guides that I had drawn.

I did two coats of each color and finished up by adding on the black and then white to cover up some of my pencil lines.

And BOOM, I’m done! It took about 2 ½ hours but I did this 100% by myself and I’m thrilled at how awesome it turned out!

Now that I’ve successfully completed my first pallet painting, I’m thinking about doing another one. I have the guides for the Maryland flag, so I might try to do my own Maryland flag beer openers on some blocks of wood, like on Mark’s Instagram page. If I can figure them out, the will make awesome Christmas gifts for my siblings!

Have you done one of those Paint Night classes? What did you make?

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Grown Up Stuff: A New Fridge

24 Jan

I bought my first house when I was 24 years old and basically outfitted it in yard sale finds and Ikea furniture. Now that I’m on owned house number two and 15 years have passed… well, I still have a lot of Ikea furniture. However, I also occasionally buy something Nice.

Yes, with a capital N on that bad boy.

And let me tell you, most of the time it is not very fun to buy things for your house. Dropping  a bunch of money on a hot water heater or heat pump is certainly not as exciting as putting that money towards a trip to somewhere warm and beachy. Having hot water in your shower and heat in the winter IS pretty nice though. When I sold my townhouse a few years ago, I basically shined that turd as much as possible before listing it. One of those ‘needed improvements’ to get it sold was to replace all the kitchen appliances with new ones with stainless steel finishes.

I actually didn’t/don’t even like stainless steel appliances, but everyone else that was looking for a townhouse apparently did. So I spent a bunch of money and upgraded it all. Which SUCKED. Because after spending a bunch of moola, I didn’t even get to enjoy it.

So, one of the things that Travis and I decided when we bought our current home was that if we wanted to upgrade something, we’d do it while we still lived there… rather than doing it for the next owner. Within the first couple years, we started slowly buying new appliances for the kitchen. They were all old with mix-matched finishes, so we replaced them one at a time with new models with black finishes. The microwave was fine, but we ended up buying a new dishwasher and also a new stove.

I really, really wanted a new refrigerator too… but ours still worked fine and new fridges are SO EXPENSIVE. Every time I’d be tempted by one, I’d think about how that money could go towards a trip to Disney. Or just look really sexy sitting in our savings account.

Little things started to really bug me though. First off, our fridge was so old that we couldn’t get filters for the water/ice maker. Travis didn’t really notice it much, but I could not stand the smell and taste of our ice. Also, every time I’d go in the freezer to grab something the skinny door would try to shut on me and suck me in. One top of those issues, the width of the freezer was so small that when I’d make treats for the holidays I couldn’t even fit a tray in there to freeze up (a necessary step for chocolate pretzels and also for snickerdoodle dough). It was SO FRUSTRATING, but every time I looked at the beautiful French Door refrigerators of my dreams, my brain pretty much exploded at their prices.

We happened to be wandering through Home Depot after Thanksgiving when we saw it. A super cool French Door refrigerator with a ‘black stainless’ finish. There was a ton of space inside with all the bells and whistles, and it was the right height and width for our kitchen. It was exactly what we were looking for, if we had been purposefully looking for it. The best part was that the original price was over $2,000 but it was on sale for $989 and had hundreds of online reviews that rated it 4 ½ out of 5 stars.

And now, I have my dream refrigerator. Because that’s a grown up dream if I’ve ever heard of one.

Isn’t it pretty?!

Is there a grown up thing that you’ve been wanting forever? Share in the comments!

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Kid’s Play Area: Growing Up

22 Sep

Disclosure: This post was made possible by Lamps Plus.

It has finally happened. Jack FINALLY has started growing out of the ‘everything huge and plastic’ stage of toys. For years, it has been huge plastic baby jumper here and super-sized plastic ride-on item there. But now, I feel our house can start looking like adults live here!

When we originally moved into our house, I had the idea to set up a play area behind our couch in the living room. It was the perfect spot for all of Jack’s toys – I could see him from the kitchen while making dinner, he could go and play after meals while Travis and I finished up at the kitchen table, and it was mostly hidden behind the couch. Over the years it worked out really well, but lately I’ve been itching for a change.

Mostly because…this:


The toys just multiplied and this was what the area typically looked like. Of course, I’m a bit of a neat freak, so a few times a week I’d get it cleaned up. But it still looked like this when everything was “put away” properly.


BETTER, but not great. Although the tool bench was still really fun, I decided that it was time for it to go up to our designated playroom. We also needed to weed though some of the millions of toy cars and trucks, and donate a few (dozen) of them. But the biggest thing I REALLY wanted was a reading nook.

I had met a fabulous lady from Lamps Plus when I was at the BlogHer conference, so I did a little clicking around on their website when I got home. I didn’t realize that Lamps Plus has a million things other than lamps, including seating, tables, and home accessories. And, of course, all the floor lamps you could imagine!

I was pretty much salivating over all the amazing options. I basically clicked and pinned, clicked and pinned, and click and pinned some more. You can see my House Décor pinterest page here that was totally overrun with options for our living room space: Pocketful of Joules Home Decor.

After a ton of clicking (and pinning), I narrowed down my chair choice to the Tivoli Bella Ink Velvet Tufted Armchair. It looked like the perfect size for our spot, and I loved the blue velvet and silver nail-head trim. To me, it looked both classy and like something that I could cuddle up in. I also decided I needed this Forest Oaks Americana end table. You can’t see it in the pin, but the top of the table is super fabulous (spoiler alert…keep scrolling down to see it!). I finished up my order with a bronze torchiere floor lamp with a reader arm and a pretty bonsai plant that I can’t kill.

I posted a sneak peek on Instagram a week or so ago:

Ready for the big reveal?

First, a quick refresh of the “before”:


Now, the “after”:


So much better, right? By moving everything around and paring down Jack’s toys, I was able to keep it super kid friendly, but added in a little class too. The chair is super comfortable and so pretty too. Here are some closer looks of the new space:




I absolutely love the change and surprisingly Jack loves it too. In fact, the past few times I’ve gravitated to my new velvety chair with my Kindle in my hand… I found that Jack was already there with HIS Kindle.

A huge thank you to Lamps Plus for making this post possible!

What is your favorite part of the new reading nook? Are you like me and totally infatuated with that shade of blue velvet?


Disclosure: I received furniture from Lamps Plus in exchange for writing about it on my blog. All thoughts and opinions are my own and if I hated anything I would totally tell you guys. As it is, I really love the new look of my reading nook and hugely appreciate my friends at Lamps Plus for the opportunity to work with them on this!

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