Tag Archives: decorating

Empty walls

It’s been almost a full year since we bought our house (can you believe it?), and I STILL have nothing on my walls. You think I’m exaggerating, but sadly, no. Literally, the only thing I have hung on my walls is a television (it became evident that our TV wasn’t going to be able to stay on a table shortly after Judah started walking) and a dry erase calendar in my kitchen. No art, no pictures, no shelves. Nothing.

In my defense, we have been “going to paint” since we moved in. Our walls are plaster, so I didn’t want to deal with filling in nail holes and moving things around when we finally painted. But now that the living room, dining room, and kitchen have fresh paint, I’m starting to feel more guilty every day about my empty walls.

On a recent trip to IKEA, I bought a ton inexpensive photo frames, and I have so many great pictures from our travels and Judah’s first year that it should be a cinch to decorate my living room walls with family photos. But every time I think about it, I just get overwhelmed and put it off for another day. I need to choose which photos I want to include in the gallery (out of literally thousands), make prints in the right sizes, and then decide which configuration to hang them. I’m usually pretty decisive, but when it comes to this sort of thing, I second guess myself until it makes me crazy.

The kitchen and dining room are not so easy. I don’t want family photos on those walls, but that leaves me wondering what to do instead. I don’t typically like store-bought art (not at the prices I can afford anyway), but I sort of like the idea of cheap framed prints. Here are some ideas I’m tossing around.

Framed post cards

I’ve bought post cards for each of the cities Tony and I have traveled together since we started dating, and I want to frame them and hang them somewhere in the house. I don’t know if they’ll fit in the dining room, and definitely not the kitchen, but I might hang them in the hallway or den? We still need to paint the den, so I’ve got some time to decide what to do in there.

Kitschy kitchen prints

I found these kitchen prints on Pinterest, and I love them. They’re available for free download in these colors, and customizable through the artist’s Etsy store for just $5. I have a tiny bit of wall to fill between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling, and I think they might look cute there.

All You Need is Love prints

I think these cute prints will work nicely in the dining room, and since we’re big Beatles fans, it’s even better.

Kitchen conversion chart

I am in love with this measurement conversion print from Chasing Delicious (available for purchase for just $24!), but I don’t know if the red will work well in my yellow kitchen, and I’d also like it to be a bit bigger than the largest available size (11×17). I’m on the hunt for a similar large print in colors that will work better in my kitchen.


I’ve seen ideas all over Pinterest with framed maps, and I’d like to do something like that with the three major cities where we’ve lived. I want something more creative than just framing the maps, though, so I’m still hunting around and thinking it over.

I want creative but cheap wall decor, and it’s turning out to be much harder to find/create than I expected. Frames alone cost a fortune!

What ideas can you share with me? I’m dying to know what’s on your walls.

Spring fever

I’ve been struggling with the adjustment now that I’m a “working mom.” Aren’t we all “working moms,” though? Whether you chase your kids around all day or clock in at an office, being a mom is hard work.

My classes started at the beginning of March, so now I’m balancing my responsibilities at home with responsibilities to my students. I’m still so thankful to have the opportunity to earn income and still “stay at home” with my son for most of the day, but that means I do a lot of my work at home. Trying to work with an active toddler running around presents its own challenges. The only time I can “work” is when he’s sleeping — during his short afternoon nap, and then after bedtime.

Unfortunately, the time change pushed his bedtime back to 8:30 p.m. (Grumble, grumble.) Squeezing all of my extra class work into my busy days has taken some adjustment — which is why this blog has been a little quiet lately.

It doesn’t help that just as I’ve become busier, we’re entering the season when I feel the urge to be most productive. This time of year is when I come out of my winter haze and start noticing all the places around the house that need to be scrubbed, organized, and decluttered. Add to that the three rooms we still need to paint and all of the decorating things I want to do (we’ve been in the house almost a year, and there’s still nothing on the walls), and I’ve got a pretty unreasonable to-do list on my hands.

Right now, I’m working on taking my own advice. I’m breaking my to-do list into pieces and prioritizing. If I can take it one thing at a time, I might finish everything I want to do by the end of … the decade? The century? I’d love to finish by the end of summer, but that’s probably a pipe dream.

Since my list includes tasks in pretty much every room of the house, I’m breaking it down by room. Our plan is to work on one room at a time cleaning, organizing, decluttering, and decorating. I won’t bore you with the point-by-point breakdown of what we need to do — it’s ridiculous. I will say, however, that when I think about it one room at a time, I feel significantly less overwhelmed. I think if I can focus on just the to-do list for a room at a time, it’ll be easier for me to keep track and stay motivated. I plan to share with you what we accomplish as we work on each room.

I’m still deciding where I want to get started, but at this point, I’m leaning toward starting in Judah’s room. Before he was born, my nesting instinct was in overdrive, and everything was neat and tidy and in its place. Now? It is overrun with toys and clothing, and the bottom drawer of his dresser is so broken it’s no longer functional. I feel a knot in my stomach every time I fold his laundry, because I know I’m going to have to wrestle with that stupid drawer. The closer he gets to climbing out of his crib, the more nervous I feel about having a heavy, full-sized dresser in his room, so I’m looking for an alternative method to store his clothes.

What’s on your to-do list this spring? I’d love to hear how you’re tackling your spring cleaning and organization lists!


This is where he’ll sleep

Last week, the crib and nursery furniture finally arrived. Over the weekend, my mom was kind enough to come for a visit to help Tony and me FINALLY set up the nursery. The baby could be here as soon as a month from now, so I was anxious to get his space set up.

And now, a tour.

This is the dresser where we’ll keep the metric TON of clothing we have for him. The items on top of the dresser are favorite stuffed animals from when Tony and I were kids. I carried that teddy bear around with me for YEARS, and unfortunately, he’s in need of some repair after several run-ins with my family’s Great Dane. Tony’s elephant, however, is in pristine condition. I imagine he lovingly spot cleaned it each night before tucking it into bed. As for the airplane, it was built and painted for Tony by his grandfather, and I am in love with it.

To the left of the dresser is the manly diaper bag we chose so Tony won’t be emasculated while carrying it for me. To the right, the Boppy pillow I can’t wait to use. There’s also a giant photo collage frame behind the dresser that I’ll eventually do something with.

To the right of the dresser is the crib. It’s incredibly simple, which I love. No drop sides, of course, and no frills. The bumpers will be removed before the baby actually sleeps in the crib, but I’m enjoying them now while I can.

His bedding (affiliate link) is absolutely adorable, even though I know he won’t really be able to use the fluffy comforter.

To the right of the crib is the changing table, which I’m using predominantly for diaper storage. Right now the changing pad is holding a bunch of miscellaneous toys and bath things that don’t have a place yet. The middle shelf is currently holding cloth diapers, diaper covers, and small items like nail clippers and teething rings and things. The canvas storage bins came from Walmart, and they’re so cute and functional. The bottom shelf has our stash of disposable diapers (about a month’s worth), which he’ll wear for the first few weeks until he’s big enough to fit into his cloth diapers.

You can’t really see it, but the view from the window is a pretty little creek where several deer live (one of whom has only three legs). I can’t wait to see how pretty it is when it’s covered in freshly fallen snow.

We moved an old bookshelf into the closet for extra shelving. It’s currently holding blankets, extra crib bedding, towels, pajamas, and new clothing that need to be washed before he can wear them. Not pictured: three giant boxes of clothing sorted by size from 0-3 months to 12 months from Tony’s garage sale-ing grandmother. It’s organized so I’ll easily be able to find what I need as he grows into new sizes.

Since our apartment is pretty small, we have nowhere else to keep our giant bookshelf. So the baby will be sharing his room with books. This makes his English professor father endlessly happy.

And now my favorite part of the nursery. Tony has always been a huge fan of the “Calvin & Hobbes” comic strip by Bill Watterson. He has several best-of compilation books that he kept from his childhood. I asked him to choose four or five of his favorite Sunday strips (since they’re bigger and in full color) to frame for the baby’s room. We cut them out of the books, and Tony carefully matted and framed them using $5 frames. The fourth one is the final comic strip in the series. I absolutely love how they turned out.

It’s such a relief to have everything ready for him. I can’t wait to bring him home!