People are not kidding around when they talk about pregnant women nesting.

I’ve always heard about it being related more towards the end of pregnancy – the urgent feeling that you need to get everything ready and clean for the baby…but apparently there is just something inherent in me that makes the need even more strong, because it has begun, my friends. For the past couple of weeks now I have had this incessant feeling all the time that I need to be doing something to the house. I want to fix the floors, I want to change the curtains, I want to paint the walls, I want to clean the cabinets, I want to give the WHOLE HOUSE a makeover!

Yeah…Corey’s thrilled with this development.

I’ve resisted most of the urges because, as I mentioned last week we recently decided to cut back significantly on our “fun” spending. For being such tiny little humans, babies seem to need a lot of things, and it adds up quickly. Between that and Christmas coming up, we’re trying to be careful about what we spend now so that we aren’t feeling crunched when we’ve got Christmas, last minute baby purchases and, you know, hospital bills and daycare all rolling our way at once. So, needless to say, funds to satisfy my nesting urges have been temporarily cut off. Boo.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t work with what I’ve got, right?

So, this weekend, in a blind rage-y moment of nesting, I decided to tackle our guest bedroom. I say this like I was doing something that didn’t really need to be done, but let’s be honest…this room was a wreck.

It turned into a disaster zone when we started working on the nursery, because I declared that anything that wasn’t going to return to the nursery could no longer be in there…and we didn’t exactly have a home for half of it. Between that and a manic cleaning episode I had a few weeks ago (where I did some crazy organization and decided to get rid of a lot of things…but never actually got rid of them) the room was looking like a hot mess.

This room honestly doesn’t get used too often since we don’t have many house guests, so for the most part we’ve been able to close the door and just pretend like the mess wasn’t there. But since my weekly bump update photos are taken in this room every week, it meant that every week we had to climb over the craziness to get in the room and even though I’m smiling in the photos I am straddling about 18 different random pieces of crap and trying not to scream at the chaos.

So, yeah. It was about time I did something about it.

I started by just clearing out all of the trash and stuff to be donated. That’s always a good first step that actually makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. Then I just systematically began finding homes for everything – and anything that was going back into the nursery ended up in the guest bathroom upstairs because that has become the dumping ground for all things waiting to go back in there (and no, you don’t want to see photos…it isn’t pretty).

I also decided to tackle moving the artwork. The furniture in here used to be arranged differently and one day a few months ago I got a wild hair and decided to move everything around, but the art stayed where it was…and it looked kind of crazy. I took down a few things (like our silhouettes – they weren’t updated anymore since we have a third dog, and I want to re-use the frames in Monster’s room for something else) and added a few more – like the two large prints that used to be in the reading room (now the nursery) that we didn’t have another home for. They don’t exactly work super well in here, but it’s a good place to store them while we figure out what else we want to do with them. Better than shoving them in a closet, right?

And now? My blood pressure doesn’t rise when I walk in the room and my eye doesn’t start twitching.

It doesn’t look perfect – this room never quite made it out of the “in progress” phase, and now it’s been pushed so far down on the priority list that it’ll probably look very similar to this for the next few years until it eventually gets turned into a nursery for baby #2. But I’m not complaining – it’s clean! And if I have guests randomly decide to show up tomorrow, I won’t be completely mortified to show them the room.

There are still a few things out of place in here – like the tripod, which will be staying in that position for the next several months as I refuse to put it up and get it back out every week for out photos. There are also a couple of boxes of Christmas lights on the floor next to the dresser…they were supposed to get put up in the attic back in, like, June to await their debut at the end of November when we decorate for the holidays, but they never made it up there and now it seems silly to put them away only to get them back out in a couple of months.

And I’m lazy, so there’s that.

Not a huge change, I know – I cleaned a room, look at me go! – but this was a good reminder for me that sometimes when you’ve got the urge to do something to improve your home and not a lot of money to spend, you can find something to do without spending a cent. Sometimes all it takes is a good deep cleaning and re-arranging some decor and you feel like you’ve made a difference in your home – and that’s really the point, isn’t it?

What have you done lately to update your home for cheap or free?

Paper Lantern Love

Over the past couple of months, Corey and I have been slowly but surely updating our guest bedroom. We got a new bed, painted some stripes on the wall, added some bright (temporary) night stands, and made some easy-but-awesome DIY silhouette art. Last time we chatted about it, it was looking like this.

Notice anything particularly awful about the room? No, I’m not talking about the bedding that totally doesn’t go in the room at all (though that needs to be fixed, stat). I’m talking about that awful, atrocious, so-ugly-it-hurts-my-eyes ceiling fan. It’s bad, right? I don’t even have anything against ceiling fans – I live in Texas, so I straight up love ’em. I refuse to have a bedroom without one, and we rely very heavily on the ceiling fans in our house throughout the summer months. But this one just had to go.

Thankfully, this room just so happens to be right across the hall from our AC unit and has the shortest duct line to get to it, so this room stays very cool throughout the year. Meaning, I could actually have a room in my house that doesn’t have a ceiling fan! When Corey and I began working on this room, we quickly established that a ceiling fan was not going to be necessary and that we’d just replace it with a small table fan somewhere in the room. Once we’d decided that we were going to ditch the ceiling fan, we had a whole host of options open to us – but we quickly narrowed it down to nothing too feminine (most of our guests are either single males or couples, so guys need to be able to be comfortable in here too!) and something relatively light and airy to balance out all of the graphic black (and green) accents that we plan on incorporating throughout the room.

What did we finally decide on? These super cheap, super cute Väte paper lanterns from Ikea.

(Väte paper lanterns, via Ikea)

They don’t actually come with any lighting, but with a few quickie light kits (also from Ikea), it was no problem to turn them into exactly what we wanted.

The light kits from Ikea came with ceiling hooks, so all we had to purchase were the paper lanterns and three light kits to go along with ’em. I will give the disclaimer that our method for this project is not the safest, smartest way to go about it, but it is the cheapest. Please don’t attempt this one for yourself unless you’re confident you know what you’re doing with light fixtures and you’re relatively comfortable messing around with the electrical side of your home. Corey and I have installed and tweaked enough light fixtures that we were comfortable taking it on this way, but if we hadn’t known exactly how to make it work, we would have coughed up the extra cash for a light fixture that is intended to be hardwired (as opposed to the cheap-o Ikea ones, which are technically plug-in light kits).

Now that I’ve given my little public service announcement, let’s get on with how we actually did this. We started off by playing around with the configuration of the lights until we figured out approximately where we wanted to place them on the ceiling. Then, we screwed in the hooks that came with the light kits and temporarily hung up the lights (without altering the light kits at all yet) so we could measure where we wanted to cut.

(Apologies for the awful lighting, we were scrambling to finish this on Monday evening so I could post about it today!)

Once we knew exactly where we wanted everything to hang, it was time to chop off the extra cord (making sure to un-plug any light fixtures you may have plugged in, of course!)…

And expose the inner wire. Corey did this by cutting back the black insulation very carefully with a knife, and then stripping the coating off of the inner wires so that the actual copper wires were exposed. He was very careful to wrap any areas that he might have nicked with the knife with electrical tape so we could be positive that it was all protected. When he was all finished, it looked something like this.

From there, it was just a matter of hanging the light fixture like we would any other. Black wire goes with black wire, white wire goes with white wire!

And then? We had finally gotten rid of the ugly, straight-from-your-grandma’s-house fan and upgraded to something much more fitting for the direction the room is going.

I’m so happy to finally be rid of that fan, and I think these add a fun, unique touch to the room! I love that they’re slightly industrial, thanks to the exposed black wire, but the bright white color and soft texture add a softness to it that fits in the room nicely.

The room as a whole is looking a bit feminine as of right now, but once we add in some non-floral bedding, a few black accents, and some more graphic art, I’m hoping it will turn out to be a nice mix of girly and just plain comfortable and inviting.

Oh, and here’s a shot of the room with the lights on, so you can see how nice and pretty the glow is. The light bulbs we currently have in the lanterns are way higher than we’d like them to be – all we had in the house were 60 watt bulbs – but we plan on switching ’em out for a much lower wattage so the lighting isn’t quite so intense.

I’m pleased with how the room is coming together so far! I find it slightly sad that the most completed room so far in our home is the one we spend the least amount of time in, but at least our guests will be happy!

Have you ever altered a light fixture to make it exactly what you want? Anyone else ever work more on a guest room than any other room in your home?

Revisiting the Old Apartment

I just wanted to pop in this morning to let you know that I’m over at Hyphen Interiors today talking about how much our style has changed from the old duplex in College Station to our house now. It’s pretty insane to look at the photos next to one another and realize how incredibly far our design sense has come!

Be sure to check it out, and while you’re there have a look around at Kristy’s blog – if you haven’t read all about her painted chair, then you NEED to see it! It’s one of my favorite projects I’ve ever seen!

Guest Post – Jennifer (my sister!)

Okay, y’all, I was totally planning on coming back and posting today, but I had asked my sister to write a guest post for me and she came through in an amazing way. I didn’t want you guys to miss out on her awesome projects, so I had to share! I’ll be back tomorrow, but until then I hope you enjoy this post and leave my sister lots of love, because she doesn’t have a blog you can visit (although she absolutely should)!

Hey Love & Renovations readers – my name is Jennifer and I’m so excited to be guest posting for Amanda today! She’s pretty amazing (but y’all already knew that) and I’m lucky to call her my sister and BFF.

Now I need to be up front with you guys and lay it all out on the line. I am NOT a blogger. I am an avid blog reader, and I love me some DIYs and I absolutely LIVE for Before and Afters. However, the process of recording what I do on a daily or even weekly basis with actual pictures and words and stuff …. Yeah, fail.

So, while I was honored when Amanda asked me to do a guest post, it made me kinda nervous, too. You see, I have completed a bazillion projects around my house in the last 6 months, and I could walk around and take pictures of all the Afters, but to me it never means as much unless I can see the Befores. I began the process of digging through my camera, photo folders, and cell phone to try and see if somehow I managed to capture ANY of the work I’ve done along the way. I did come up with some things, but here comes the part where this non-blogging girl begs your forgiveness for the grainy, un-staged mess of pictures I am about to present. I totally give props to y’all for the effort it takes to get this stuff put together. And am laughing to myself about that one time I had an urge to start my own blog …



… and then I came back to reality. Today’s post will have to suffice.

First up, I have this desk purchased from my love, Craigslist. (Seriously Craig, I know I say terrible things about you sometimes and curse how hard it can be to find what I want, but I heart you. Xoxo)


It was my first refinishing project *evah* and I totally love how it turned out. We sanded, primed , and then spray painted the desk with Krylon Bauhaus Gold. The handles were spray painted with a gloss white and then we put a nice coat of satin poly on the whole thing. Now it serves as a nice home for my sewing machine. Sigh. Still in love with it after all this time.


Next we have my dining room table and chairs, which are by far the worst example of before pictures ever taken in blogging history, but it’s one of my favorite afters, so it got included.


The table is shown without any of the leaves and I was actually taking the picture of my chevron rug to send to Amanda. Luckily the recently acquired table made it into the background of the pic. There is also a close-up shot of the chairs which were HIDIOUS when I got them, 50+ years of grime and grossness. But that SHAPE – couldn’t resist!

Once again, we set in with the sanding, priming, and painting. And in the case of the chairs sanding, sanding, crying, cursing, sweating, sanding. Honestly, they were such a pain. But worth it …. I think ….. okay, maybe I shouldn’t revisit how much trouble they were. After all the refinishing was done on the chairs, I replaced the cushions and recovered them in a faux-ostrich for easy clean-up.

And here is the AFTER:

And last but not least is my copy-cat chair. I saw this chair on the Crate and Barrel website and fell in love with the Dwell
Studio fabric it was covered in.

Thanks to (seriously the BEST) I scored a few yards of the exact same fabric and then began hunting for a
chair to cover with it. Good old Craig came through for me again with this beauty –


It was in great condition and the style was similar to what I was looking for. I’m kind of obsessed with the mirrored furniture trend, but don’t want to deal with the possibility of breakage or fingerprints – not to mention the fact that I might be totally over it next year. So, after I stripped the old fabric, I sanded the wood and followed it up with a coat of gray primer. Then, I used a silver metallic glaze over the gray to give me the bit of bling I wanted without any risk or commitment. I finished it up by recovering with my Dwell fabric and sewing a new seat cushion cover.

And here is the AFTER:

Thanks so much for letting me visit the world of blogging, and while I don’t have a cool site to direct you to, maybe my sis will let me visit every once in a while. *wink*

Guest Post: Mandy from Married Up With Wine

Happy Friday! I hope your week was wonderful, and I hope you’ve enjoyed all of these guest posts! Today’s the last one, and it’s an amazing Friday Finds post from my blogging BFF, Mandy (at Married up with Wine). Mandy’s blog is incredibly well-written, humorous, and just all around awesome. I was so happy when she said she wanted to do the Friday Finds post, because I knew she’d come up with something amazing, and she absolutely didn’t disappoint! Enjoy her post, check out her blog if you haven’t already, and be sure to meet me back here Monday when my blogging break will be over! :)

Hey everyone! I’m Mandy, otherwise known as Mrs. Socks on Weddingbee, and I’m so happy that I could write this Friday Finds post for Amanda. I’m now writing on my blog Married up with Wine about my adventures, travels, and upcoming move to Spain! Every Friday, I’m blown away by some of the pieces that Amanda finds on Craigslist. Generally, I’m not the type that likes to hunt for things (keep me away from the bargain bins) but I wanted to give this a try to see what I might be able to find if I just looked a little harder for “diamonds in the rough.”

I was pleasantly surprised with some of the finds I have to show you! All of these were taken from Philadelphia’s Craigslist since that’s the area where I live. If I weren’t moving so soon, I might snatch up one or two things myself!

Teak Table & Chairs: $200

I really loved this table. I think it’s beautiful & simple, but I could probably do without the chairs. Also, I think the awesome wine rack that the people have in their house is what attracted me to the picture ;)

Rustic Armoire: $250

I could just see a farmhouse style kitchen having this armoire as a china cabinet. It looks incredibly solid–probably quite a chore to physically move it to its new home!

Mid-Century Chair: $65

I found myself incredibly attracted to mid-century items that had clean lines & simplicity in function. This chair definitely fits that bill.

Card Catalogue: $400

Okay, maybe its just because I’m a book nerd, but a card catalogue?? Amazing! I can see this being used as a knick-knack drawer, a space to fit craft supplies, or even as a cool jewelry/accessory case for those girls who have accessories overflowing from every surface ;)

Everything in this picture is for sale: Chair, side table, owls, lamps, etc: Price unknown

Okay, this woman seriously needs to just open up a vintage store, STAT. She has an awesome vintage collection (see the post if you don’t believe me) and I’m very tempted to make an appointment to see some of her items in person. I particularly loved this high-back chair & the owl figurines. The pheasant/turkey fabric might not be my style, but I think it’s kitschy and fun!

A closer look at the side table: Price unknown

Here’s a close-up of that side table in the previous photo. Isn’t it gorgeous? It’s one of those pieces that I have no idea what it would cost…it could be $200, or it could be $700! It makes it difficult to commit to going to see it if I don’t know the price range of some of these items.

Vintage Chaise Lounge Chair: $700

Okay, this one deserved a mention because I can tell that if it was reupholstered in a fabric that didn’t make you want to claw your eyes out, it could be a very cool piece. It’s visually interesting, but perhaps a tad overpriced.

Mid-Century Wooden Desk: $700

I dug this desk in a major way: again, the simple lines and functionality of it drew me in.

70′s Pop Art Dresser: $400 

Okay, I saved the best (most interesting?) for last. I ADORE this dresser. I don’t think I’d use it in the bedroom, and it definitely doesn’t go with anything in my house, but I think I could find a place for it in my dream house ;) I could see it as a cool TV stand, an entry/foyer table, or a buffet in a very hip dining room. Seriously. Love this.

And that’s all for you today, friends! I had a very fun time writing this post & I learned a few things about the kind of furniture I’d be more likely to look for the next time I’m furniture shopping. I’m hoping that I get to do some decorating in our home in Spain so I can start building a collection of pieces I love, rather than just the big-box warehouse type furniture we currently have. Feel free to follow along with our adventures on my blog Married up with Wine!

Have a happy weekend!