Friday, July 30, 2010

FLowers on Friday: Bathroom

A teeny tiny bouquet for the bathroom, is this weeks flowers. I've enjoyed having this little 'yella fella' in our bathroom all week. Brushing your teeth seems much more elegant around flowers. The bouquet is composed of white and yellow Alstroemeria. Alstroemeria is my favorite flower to use in little bouquets, because it is so fluffy, it looks like you stuffed the vase but really this one is only 2 stems. Total cost: $1.50 (1 white stem and 1 yellow stem at 75 cents each).

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Budgeting for the Manor

It sounds kinda crazy but I love to budget! I don't know why, I'm kind of a control freak so maybe it's because I feel totally in control, but I love it. I even do it for family and friends who ask  who mention they don't have one who make the mistake of mentioning budgeting in front of me. 
I can't explain  how much peace of mind a budget rewards us with.
Being a stay at home wife, we live off of one income, and since Lee brings home the bacon it's up to me to divide it up and make sure there's enough bacon for today, tomorrow and 40 years down the road.
Here's the formula we use:

 We have used this formula for about 5 years now and it's served us well. It helped us get out of debt and now that we are out of debt (except for our mortgage) it's helped us stay that way.
Housing 35% includes, your mortgage or rent payment, home repairs (necessary ones, apparently a new deck is not a home "repair") property taxes, utilities and insurance.

Savings 10% personally I think 10% is a little low, but the idea is to pay off all debt then take the 15% you would spend on debt repayment and add 10% to your savings and add the remaining 5% to whatever you like.

Other Living expenses 25% include Food, eating out, entertainment, vacations, gifts, clothing and other variable expenses. A variable expense is an expense that you have control over, your mortgage is set, heat and electricity are set (although you have a some control over how high your bill is). You can control variable expenses, you don't have to buy those new shoes, no matter how cute and one of a kind they are and how you could were them everywhere and everyone would stop and say how cute they are you don't have to take that vacation even if you could take those perfect one of a kind shoes with you and people would stop and say how skinny you look because the shoes make you look 10 lbs lighter moving on. . . . . . . 

Transportation 15% This includes any car payments you might have, car insurance, repairs, gas, parking or public transportation. This category is a bit lean even for us. We don't have any car loans for any of our cars and we are at 12% with just insurance, gas and repairs. And we both drive very fuel efficient cars my SUV gets 500km to a $45 tank and Lee's car Gets almost 750 km for the same price.

Debt 15% self explanatory, credit card debt, line of credit debt, loan shark debt (hopefully not) and loan debt you might have, student loan, car loan. If you have no debt you can always bump up your savings or another great idea is to start adding that 15% against your mortgage.

And don't forget all of these percentages are based off of your net income (the amount you have after taxes). This chart is also open for interpretation if you have excess in some area's and run over in others, move the money around. The chart is just a good starting point, a general idea of what you can and cannot afford. 
Disclaimer: I am no money guru by any stretch of the imagination, but this is what works for us!
If you're looking for something simpler you could always follow the 50/30/20 formula
50% on Needs
30% on Wants
20% on Savings
Sweet, simple and to the point!

So this is how we budget, if anyone has any budgeting tips or methods I would love to hear them. I'm always excited to learn more about  how other people deal with and manage money.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Billy Bookcase all trimmed out!

I love to read and as soon as you enter our home you can tell. The first thing you see on our main floor is all of my books. We use Ikea Billy Bookcases to store the book bounty I have collected. They are holding up well, but they still looked very unfinished to me. Lee had installed some track lighting in front of the case, normally I'm not a huge fan track lighting but the effect is lovely enough to overlook the  track.
After the lighting was installed they still looked like 3 bookcases pushed together. So clearly Trim was needed. A quick trip to Home Depot and we had our crown molding and base board. A quick chop, and some finishing nails later, voila Built in Billy Bookcases. Oh, and caulk, I  almost forgot the caulk. Lee finished all the seams with caulking and they looked fantastic.
We painted the trim the same off white color of the bookcases and I couldn't be happier with the look.

 Before: Yes I did pick the ugliest possible picture I could find for the before!


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Great Deal Alert: Recycled Glass

I have been coveting these drinking glasses made from recycled glass for along time now. They have a beautiful pale green color to them and are made from 100% recycled glass. I first saw them in The Bay for $24.99 I grabbed a box of four and carried them around the store, for fun apparently. I couldn't bare to shell out the 25 bucks for only four glasses, no matter how in love with them I was.

 My patience was rewarded by the shopping gods when I strolled into Home Outfitters this weekend and when I saw MY glasses on sale for $10 a box (for 4) I had a tiny heart attack. When I saw the 30% off last ticketed price sign, I was legally dead for a second.
That's right I got four glasses for $7.00, so naturally I bought two boxes. I now have eight glasses for a grand total of $15.68 (tax included). I'm still smiling!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Full Disclosure: Under the Bathroom Sink

And now by popular demand, underneath our bathroom sink. . . . . . .  okay so maybe only one person asked to see how I organize under our bathroom sink, but it was the first time anyone ever asked to see something specific about our home, and I was more then happy to oblige.
It's not the most beautiful organization I've ever done, but it functions like a dream. We only have the one bathroom cabinet to store everything a bathroom needs to store so I had to sacrifice a bit of style for a lot of function.  One day when I find the perfect yellow storage bin and shelf liner I will re-do this area but for now I'll show you the current look.

The blue bin on the left holds extra's like cotton balls and q-tips. The bin on the right holds hair styling tools, my straightening iron (I would give up my left arm for this priceless piece of equipment), hair dryer and curling iron. The clear bin between the blue bins hold extra contact paraphernalia, solution, contacts, cleaner, case etc... The clear bin at the top is what Lee commonly refers to as my "Lady Container", it's pretty clear what's inside that, moving on. The clear bin on the left holds rasors, shaving cream and soap (we go through a lot of rasors, bald husband and all). And last but definitely not least the adjustable shelves that everything sits on. It adjusts around the plumbing and really squeeze's every possible inch of space out of the cabinet. If you are looking for one you can find them almost anywhere, including My Amazon Store under Bathroom.
Then there is the two tiered lazy susan we keep everything from vitamins to lotion to cleaning supplies on. We bought it from Target and it is fantastic!

and if you haven't already seen the drawer we organized with Ikea Godmorgon acrylic boxes here it is.

To see more bathroom organization follow the link.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Flowers on Friday: One large, one medium, one small

Lee has done it again, although he spent a little more then he should have ($14 instead of the normal $10 we allot for flowers) but we had lots of celebrating to do. So because the bouquet was a little larger then normal I was able to squeeze 3 good-sized arrangements out of one bouquet.
The main bouquet is still huge, and will live the remainder of it's life on our dining room table :)

Then there's the bud vase with the gerber daisies. If you saw our Living Room Coffee Table Chic you would have seen it already.

Then a little carnation, daisy and filler bouquet, it lives on my night stand.

So there's my three bouquet's out of one!!

Hope everyone has a great weekend! See you Monday!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Doggy Frame

Our upstairs hallway is a bit of a family gallery.  And what kind of a family gallery would it be without a picture of our beloved pooch, Max.
If you've scrolled back far enough in my posts you would have seen our family gallery,  if you haven't already seen it you can check out the post here, but here's a quick peek.

Now to the goods,  we needed to add our puppy Max to the gallery.  I thought I would add a little whimsy to his frame. Clearly he would out cute a plain frame :)
First an Ikea Ribba Frame found here, they work great for this project because they are like little shadow boxes. They come in a few different wood finishes, so you could match the finish to your room.
Next came the little elephant, if you have kids you've seen these little guys in the kids section of ikea. They run around 75 cents each. We picked the elephant because Max reminds us of a tiny elephant, he's four pounds but walks louder then Lee.

A simple little project, really so simple that you can barely call it a project, but it's nice to see Max up in the family gallery.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I won a fridge!! Style at Home

A couple months back I entered our computer room in a contest, if you haven't seen the room yet you can see it here, and I won Editors Pick!!! The contest was an online contest through Style at Home Magazine. I haven't won a contest. . . .  Ever! It was a contest about your best organizing tip, mine was CONTAIN, CONTAIN, CONTAIN! I thought the computer room best represented this sentiment.
The Prize is a bottom freezer fridge valued at $1529 WOW!! Now if only we needed a fridge. Either way I am over the moon, and so is Lee, he keeps busting out with, "you won a fridge!" at the oddest times.
Thank you Style at Home
and thank you Lee, who deserves more then half the credit as he did the bulk of the work on the computer room!  (try as I may, I am no good with power tools).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bonsai Tree

I've always loved the idea of a small library, with a big leather couch and huge wood desk. The entire room lined with leather bound books, a small bonsai on the table with one of those small rock and sand gardens on the desk. You know those little sand boxes you rake with the tiny rake. Well, I don't have a library, and I can't think of a place to put a sand box, so for now I have a Bonsai!

They are very hearty and very affordable. We took a trip to a specific bonsai store, we probably paid a little more for our bonsai then we would have if we bought it from a big box store but we get a bunch of extra's that we wouldn't have gotten from the big box store. For one, free re-potting for life, two, if our bonsai gets "sick" they will take it in and revive it and three, we have free trimming for life. Another bonus of going to the big box store was we got to pick out the color of our pot and the color of the rocks to make sure they matched our decor.

The cost was very reasonable:
The tree was: $12.99
The pot and tray: $9.99
The rocks: $2.99 (for added drainage in the tray)

The tiny Hut: $0.99
Total Project Cost: $26.96

 I Love house plants and this little guy is my new pride and joy. He's our new  beautiful, Green, air purifying accessory. You can't get much better then that.
Side note: Juniper Bonsai's thrive during warmer months outside. So for now our little fella is spending his time on the deck but come early fall he'll be making his appearance indoors.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Coffee Table Chic!

If you missed our Living Room Re-Do you can catch it here. If you've already seen it, you would have noticed our hit of green from our coffee table decor. It wasn't easy deciding what to use and in our house there is always a plethora of accessories to choose from.
One of my tricks to decide whether or not something looks good is to take a picture of it in place (thank goodness for digital camera's). So I thought I would share the 8 different looks we went through to find our hit of green.
First is our Natural Yellow choice. Two Yellow gerber daisy's in a bud vase, some yellow books for added color and a piece of "coral" (fake out).

Next is Chrome Plane Yellow. Same Yellow gerbers and books but with my favorite chrome accessory, Lee's plane.

Next is our Rustic, French Yellow  coffee table decor. Same Yellow gerbers, same yellow books but we added a rustic crown-like flower pot with the cutest little fleur de lis.

Then we have our Yellow Birdies look. Same yellow gerbers, same yellow books, but with the sweetest little white ceramic birdies. I love all thing white and ceramic so this was a huge contender for me.

Last yellow look I promise, Same yellow gerbers, same yellow books but with a little model airplane. During the winters Lee likes to build models (withdrawal from working on motorcycles and cars). I love this little plane he built and with the little  yellow accents it fit in perfectly with our last yellow look.

Next is our Greeny Yellow airplane decor. Same yellow books, different flowers! This little bouquet added some more white (something the living room didn't need anymore of) but also added some nice greenery. Same little plane (I love that little plane).

Then I kind of just gave up a bit and put a big bouquet on the coffee table. It looked very nice, tied in the orange color of the fireplace but was way too big and made it difficult to see the T.V. Lee was not happy!

Last we have the look we went with, Green. Since we just did the mudroom in green and the living room is the first room we see coming up the stairs from the mudroom it seemed like a natural choice. And we could use the beautiful orchid I bought 3 months ago. ($12 from  Home Depot for the Orchid $6 from Home Depot for the pot).

It was so much fun coming up with different looks for the coffee table, even if most of them involved the same yellow flowers and books. Once our orchid kicks the bucket we'll have to choose one of the other looks to grace our living room. Any help deciding would be very appriciated!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Flowers on Friday: Candle Holder

Today's Flowers on Friday is a little different, since we just re-decorated the entire living room we thought it wise to save money on flowers this week. So I thought I would share with you my favorite candle holder. You've probably seen it before, they seem to be everywhere, including my coffee table.
There are so many versions of this tea light holder we found ours at Homesense for $4.99 but you can find them almost anywhere, I saw a very cute lotus flower version at Target not too long ago!
Hope you enjoyed this take on Friday Flowers! Have a great Weekend See you Monday!

The Manor was featured on Apartment Therapy!

Thanks so much to Beth of BNEATO, who spotlighted our  new Mudroom Re-Do on Apartment Therapy! Although it seems Max stole the show, our mudroom got many nice reviews. It was so exciting to see it on Apartment Therapy! I'm a big fan, it's the first blog I ever followed!
If you've got time check it out:

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Our NEW Living Room!

While no room is ever really "DONE", design is ever evolving, ever changing, especially in our house (much to Lee's dismay). But the living room is now as "Done" as the rest of the rooms in our house.
It's a huge departure from the red couch, but those of you who have ever had a red couch know that you can only have a red couch for a certain amount of time, my limit was 3 years. I so desperately craved less color and more white, maybe it's because it's summer or maybe I'm just a little crazy (Lee thinks it 's crazy) but I'm very happy with the calmer, more serene palate that now graces our living room.

I don't know how long I will bask in the neutral glow of the room, but maybe come Fall a quick throw pillow change will give the room some much needed color.
So here it is and if you read my last post you will notice that this wasn't just a couch change, the ripple effect took full form and new drapes, blinds and carpet were "needed".

The couch was a craigslist purchase costing a whopping $500! It's nearly new, in great shape and very good quality, Stylus custom made. When I told my mom about our new couch and told her the brand she said "gee that sounds familiar" Lifted up her couch cushion and sure enough it was also a stylus custom ordered sofa too, and my parents have had that sofa for the better part of a decade. Bonus: the couch came with these two cushions for free, and I love them!.

The blinds were a purchase that we weren't expecting to make. And as we found out a very expensive purchase we weren't expecting to make. We wrestled with many choices. We thought of the rustic bamboo blinds I love the look but try find bamboo blinds that fit glass sliders. Then we wrestled with the idea of having them non-functional and just for show, but in my head the old shaker saying (I love shaker sayings) "Beauty rests on utility!" so that killed the bamboo blind idea. Then naturally we made the move to wood blinds (no tacky metal venetian blinds here). We went to home  depot with no ready made blinds long enough to cover our glass sliders, we consulted the blind consultant. That was over as soon as it started, with a quote of $507 for just the glass sliders we thought blinds were out of the question.
A trip to JYSK, a Swedish furniture company, and a very handy husband (thanks hunny) and we had blinds for all the living room windows for $200. Yay!! 

 So that's pretty much it! Oh yeah and during this whole living room re-do Max the dog had and "episode" (eating too much grass at the park episode) and I'll spare your the details but we needed a new carpet :).

I hope you like our new living room, I was hoping to make a more refined calmer version.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cabinet Cork Board

I love this project, and so much do I wish I could take credit for it, but alas it comes from those Young House Love Kids (I say "kids" lovingly,  they are both older then I am). They did a larger version of this Cabinet Cork board two years ago, I loved the idea so much, but I couldn't think of a cabinet I could fit full 12" X 12" cork tiles on to. So I filed the idea under "To do in another house" that was until I was at Michaels Craft Store with my 40% off coupon and saw these little cork tiles.
 They were the perfect size to fit on the tiny door to our container cupboard. It was also perfect because the cabinet door opens so that I can see it perfectly from my prep space. We now use the tiny cork tiles to hold recipes I've cut out from magazines and a couple favorite go to recipes from my mom.
Total project cost $6.00 (with one extra cork tile).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sneek Peek : Living Room

We've all heard of the ripple effect. You make one tiny change and it sends out ripples of change.  There are two instances where the ripple effect is most deadly, time travel and decorating.
This happened in our living room. If you've been reading since the start you know we've been saving for a new couch. We've found one!!! And that was the rock in the water causing the ripple effect.
The color of the couch didn't match the curtains, so new curtains, then the room looked Blah! So new blinds. Then the dog barfed on the rug, so new rug,
not really part of the ripple effect but a living room change non the less.
We are still working feverishly on the living room but I thought I'd send a sneek peek your way.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Our Hat Rack/Pot Rack

As you probably already know we have a small kitchen. It's no secret, you've seen the pictures it's small.
We needed somewhere to store our pots and pans, with no available real estate left in the kitchen we decided on a pot rack.
There are many reason's we didn't go with a traditional pot rack:
The cost, traditional pot racks can be very pricey.
The depth, with Lee being so tall we had to consider how far off the wall the pots would hang, as it would sit above our sink.
The Length, our kitchen window is fairly large and a little pot rack would look tiny against the window.
And, we simply wanted something more streamlined.
We chose the Ikea BJÄRNUM Hat/shoe rack, and with the addition of some S hooks (also purchased from Ikea) it was perfect!
It's narrow so it dangles the pots in front of us and not over our heads, or in Lee's case into his head.
It's sleek and modern, and the cost was just right!
Normally I wouldn't choose to block natural light, but a girls gotta eat, and call me crazy but I prefer my food cooked, so pots and pans were a complete necessity.

Quick note: We purchased the Old Ikea Bjarnum Hat rack, it was slightly longer then the new one is, if we had bought the new one we would have purchased two so that it was the same width as the window.


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