Cheapskate Project

Another small project from this semester involved finishing and furnishing a small home with a $10,000 or less budget. It was a fun way to shop around online and use my imagination! :) Many projects included used furniture and appliances from Craigslist! It's cool to see how inexpensive it could be to furnish a home with used furniture. You'd have to have a lot of time for refinishing or at least be willing to pay someone for their time! But it's possible! The soft goods came from mostly Walmart. Other finishes from Lowes. I decided to use up the majority of my budget and came right in at $9,946 including flooring, kitchen cabinetry, finishing materials and waste, furniture, finishes, appliances, and fixtures.




Renderings

So honestly, I haven't hand-rendered too many projects until now. I usually use Revit because I really like the real-life look of CAD renderings. But, I've recently discovered that it's quite meditative to hand render. I'm not that great at it. And I'd like to be better at it. I like the color layering and how true hand rendering is more artistic than precise lines. I love shading and bringing the drawing to life if I can. That will come in practice! But so far the practice I've had, has been fun and relaxing. I'm sure that once I'm trying to make a deadline with a rendering, I'll be singing a different tune. All I'm saying, is if I spend over $3 on each marker we've had to purchase for this, I'd better try and do my best! Until then, here are some practice runs from this week...






Regreen Project

What a cool project to be involved in! At the beginning of the semester we plunged into a four week project of Regreening a space in the historical downtown district of our city. It was a great experience! Regreening is not the LEED process or anywhere near the intensive process as LEED is, however, it's still a great way to design. We design and specify in an environmentally friendly way. Recycled glass countertops, low- VOC finishes, Eco-friendly construction materials, etc. We also incorporated as many materials and existing items as we could! Example, the owner saved many of the original tin decorative tiles from the ceilings. We specified to refinish and use the tin for the backsplashes.

All in all, It was very intense for 4 weeks and a definite learning experience designing around the historical preservation committee regulations and certain structural and egress laws. Without going too much into detail, here is a small part of our end result.

Overall Floor plan

Apartment finishes

Office finishes 

Southeast Design Program



Southeast Missouri State Interior Design Program is officially an NKBA accredited program as of last May! It's a big deal for our school and students in the program! Especially for those of us who may pursue kitchen and bath design. This basically means that top dogs at NKBA came and inspected our program and work after months and months of preparation and approved that we were overachievers of how the NKBA wishes students to be taught. They decided that we were exceptional and a program for others to model after. It definitely encourages us. 

Ten years ago, the design teachers in our department sought this accreditation and an even bigger accreditation by CIDA (Counsel for Interior Design Accreditation). Our teachers and students are working diligently towards CIDA. We will supposedly achieve by hopefully next year! It's a pretty big deal...  As this will be the only program within the area of course with the accreditation. Future employers will see the CIDA accreditation as a big deal.

Strawberry Lemon Rice Krispies

I love this change up of basic Rice Krispie treats. Our family loves fruit and this was a perfect addition for a great low calorie dessert. We recently made these for a coworkers' birthday. We made them gluten free by using the gluten free Rice Krispie cereal. I just used the regular cereal this time. If you want these to have more color to them, you can add beet juice or red food coloring. But I like the natural look!




3 TBSP of unsalted butter
10 oz. Marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispie cereal 
1.5 cups dehydrated strawberries; crushed
1 lemon- zested (for a stronger lemon taste, add lemon extract; NOT lemon juice as the cereal will get soggy.)

Make just like normal Rice Krispie Treats, adding strawberries and lemon zest with cereal. 



Mix and Match


How adorable are these? The best way to shop for toddler clothes and make your money go further - instead of buying complete outfits, buy clothes that can be mixed and matched in all different combinations! Old navy, Gap, and Target are the best places I've found for this! Also, I constantly check sale racks at Target. There are usually hidden treasures for only $3-4!

Summer table decor

So here's my dining room table decor. I finally pulled something together a couple months ago after going so long with nothing. I've collected all of this over a period of time and then gradually pulled it together.


The table runner is from Target! My favorite colors are grey and white. Especially when they are put together in a design. I think the runner was only $12! 

I found the candle holders at TJ Maxx. I liked them as soon as I saw them. I paid $3 and $6 for the pair.

I found the candles at Target. They smell so good and I loved the mint color for summer. I believe they were $2-3 a piece. 

The white cake plate is Martha Stewart and it was a wedding present three years ago. I like to use cake plates for different functions. So it works as a magazine holder! 

The kettle was also from TJ Maxx. Another fun find! I think I paid $9.

The coasters were another wedding gift! They are from Anthropologie! My favorite coasters by far. 

Elaina's Toddler Room



Here's my daughter's toddler room! I've honestly had no time to really do anything too fun with her room. And though her room is cozy with the sloped ceilings, it can also be tough to place furniture. Especially since we've had to add an armoire for her clothes. We don't plan on living in our house for too many more years so I haven't invested in anything or built something pricey. But her favorite color is purple, she loves to read, and she loves jewelry, beads, and knick-knacks. So I wanted to give her a fun room to go with what she likes.
I've added a few things to her room to make it more toddler friendly and fun. First, we've had the bookshelves up for a little while. They are the perfect height for her to grab whatever book she wants. I made a teepee tent out of canvas for her and her stuffed animals. And then we've displayed a few knicks knacks of hers and some pictures. There's not a whole lot of wall space for frames or anything just yet. And again, I haven't wanted to put too many holes in the walls of our temporary home. :)
The purple and pink sequined pillow is pretty much her favorite pillow ever. I found it online at Forever 21 for $8. She likes to take it with her when she gets up from naps and touch all the beads and sequins on it. :) And I randomly found a small blanket to somewhat match at Kohls. The frames are from Target. I found them in the clearance aisle. :) The lamp is a favorite of mine. I found it on Amazon after looking for a long time! And the ruffle curtains are from Amazon as well.
I can't wait to someday be able to design and maybe spend a little more on her real big girl room! 

Getting to the Going

Here I am! Back from my "summer break." Well, more like recess. It's not that I didn't have plenty of inspiration for my blog; I just had to take some time from constantly working on projects. There has been plenty of work around my house, but not the fun blog kind. Do you ever feel yourself slip into a 1-2 month long "funk?" I usually do when we've got a slew of family functions, parties, vacations, etc. I love family time and it's hard to really "be there" when I'm constantly working on projects and even little cutesy miscellaneous finds. I think it can be healthy to just step back and rest and live in the moment instead of trying to constantly put something together. Plus, I'm a mom! I love to just hang with my toddler and lounge with her on the couch or take her fun places. This is gonna sound pretty lame, but I also find that I can rest my brain best by watching old season reruns of my favorite shows on Netflix, playing that silly Candy Crush game, and digital scrapbooking. Wow, I just put that out there...

Surprisingly enough, I'm not really a fan of summertime. Everyone knows that I'm a whitey. :) I'm no longer cool with the long term effects of fake baking (plus, who wants to lay in their own sweat for 15 minutes) and spray tanning is not worth the money for long periods at a time. I like to embrace being pale. But let's face it, summertime is not a friend to the pale-faced girl. While I like cute sandals and dresses; I love boots, scarves, and cardigans. So I think, without sounding too superficial, that feeling good and dressing cute can help me keep going. It's most likely part of my "funk." End of summertime rant.

But now I'm hoping to be stepping out of my "rest" and into the hot summer days to get back in the swing of things. Despite how much I love and need brain rest, I feel downright unproductive. So for my sanity I've gotta get going. Especially with school coming up fast!

Upcoming projects:
Finish painting our upstairs foyer and stairwell, and Elaina's art area. {I also have a great idea for displaying Elaina's artwork up there}

Paint downstairs foyer.

Finish Elaina's baby book once and for all! {I'm almost done with September 2012 which gives me only three months of pictures to go!}

Work on 2013 Family Book

Work on projects and invitations for Elaina's 2nd Birthday party!

Baby showers! There are so many for my sister-in-law and a bunch of friends that I want to help plan and help out at this fall! End of story!

So I'm thinking that's a majority of what I'm currently getting ready for. Next week I have a hair appointment too! Nothing like a fresh haircut and color to get yourself motivated! 

I'm happy to jump back into my hobbies. I'm happy to share on my blog for those who even care to read. But mainly for myself, I've got to get going! So I'll be sharing some of things I came across this summer and maybe some newer stuff. 

Sausage and Cream Cheese Croissant



This is probably one of my favorite recipes. Though, I usually make it as a casserole type dish. I was asked to bring a breakfast type food for a church reception. So I wanted to make this as a finger food instead of needing a fork and plate. I thought that using the mini muffin pan for the crescent rolls would be a great substitute! I made another batch for our family this evening. :)

Normal Simple Recipe:
1 lb of sausage (my favorite brand is Country Boy) 
1 pk of cream cheese
2 tubes of crescent rolls (Great Value brand has no trans fat) ;)

Preheat oven to 375. 
Cook sausage in skillet. Pat down with paper towels. Toss in bowl along with cream cheese. Mix up well. Lay out one tube of crescent roll dough in bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Put dish in oven for a few minutes to let bottom layer begin to cook. After a few minutes, take out dish and spoon sausage and cream cheese mixture onto crescent dough evenly. Add the next tube of crescent roll dough over mixture. Bake according to crescent roll instructions (usually about 11-13 minutes).

On lazy days, I make the sausage and cream cheese mixture, then bake biscuits and we serve the mixture in between biscuits. 

For the finger food alternative, roll out two crescent roll tubes. Cut into squares. Fit dough into mini muffin pan. Bake according to pkg instructions. Fill with mixture. :) 


A Decorative Throw

Is this throw pillow not the most fun thing? I found it at Forever 21 for $8!!! I'm working on an adorable little girls room with this pillow as the possible inspiration... ;)
I can't wait for it to be delivered!

Toddler Water Bottle

How adorable is this toddler water bottle? I've been looking for an easy clean one for Elaina. She loves drinking water! I scored this for $3.99 at TJ Maxx! They had little boy ones too! :)

My favorite homemade cleansing cloths



So here's a great alternative to buying facial cleansing cloths. I probably won't buy brands ever again. And all the ingredients are so simple and while it might be a little pricey initially buying these, you'll definitely save in the long run. These are awesome because they remove hard core and waterproof makeup, as well as cleansing at the same time! Then even after rinsing, the coconut oil leaves your face moisturized.


Wipes container: my favorite is the Huggies container. It has a rubber middle that catches and holds onto wipes. Maybe this doesn't matter to anyone else. But I like it. :)

Favorite cleanser: I have to admit, I probably wouldn't use a cheap face wash in this, but that's because I try to keep my face wipes as natural and gentle as possible. I use several wipes every night so, I don't want to dry out my skin. But if you have a favorite cleanser then go for it! Otherwise, Dove has some gentle face cleansers. I'm using the wonderful DDF brightening cleanser.

Coconut Oil: Found in the baking aisle at most grocery stores! This one can be tricky though. You may want to experiment first. Some people's skin doesn't do well with refined coconut oil. If not, then you may want to try unrefined coconut oil. As for me, my face has done great on the refined one. Though, it's always best to try to find an unrefined jar, as refined oils can have deodorizers, etc added in.

Baby wipes: Here's another preference product. My favorite wipes (and the wipes we buy for our toddler) are the target sensitive skin brand wipes. They don't tear easily like Parent's Choice and Huggies do for me sometimes. But they also aren't too slick like Pampers have been for me. Again, it's just preference. Choose what your favorite is. Though I will warn you that certain Huggies and Parent's Choice can be too rough and sting your face while washing. Also,  I only use half of a refill pack. I don't like to let my wipes last too long for fear that something will mold.



To keep everything super easy, I fill a plastic cup up about a third of the way with water. You can do more if you like. 
Next, I scoop out my coconut oil. I love working with coconut oil! It's awesome to see and feel it go from a solid to a liquid in your hands. And that's what I do, I put a tablespoon full in my palm and close my hand, holding it over the cup. In seconds, the oil with melt and drip into the cup of water. 

Next, I add my cleanser. Several squirts. 

Stir well to make suds!

Pour all over top of wipes. The wipes will absorb the mixture pretty quickly.
IMPORTANT!!!!: I repeat the process with the water, coconut oil, and cleanser one more time. I flip the wipes over and pour a second mixture on top. 

There you have it! You can decorate your wipes case. Something I plan on doing soon. :)

I typically use 1-2 every night. They do have cleanser on them so, yes, you will need to rinse your face afterwards. 

The Dapple Project

Finally! The Dapple Project is done. The semester is finished! And as you know, I love to share my work both good and bad. Here's the final product from the project. The only change I wanted to make after I took these pictures was to add matte board to the actual house plan board as well. I also felt like my inspiration board was a bit too small. Next time, I'll go bigger.
So of course, we had more to do for this project throughout the semester with a culture research paper, programming elements, product specification schedules, finish schedules, a scaled NKBA kitchen drawing (took half of the semester to complete and doesn't even get the privilege of being in the final project), image boards, presentations, etc. But this class was really just a studio class. So almost everything was hand drawn to get the techniques down. Of course, it was turned into a project. :) But it's done now and received an "A!" So here's one for my portfolio... 

Other news: This semester our teachers and students successfully achieved NKBA accreditation! In fact, our review was so great that our program was told that we would be made as an example for future programs in how to achieve accreditation on an excellent level. Moving on to CIDA accreditation soon!









Simpatico Bubble Bath

Recently, I've been stressing out. So what better way to deal with my stress than a good old fashion bubble bath! Well sort of. I got this bottle of bubble bath from my dear sister for my birthday. Thanks again sis!! I believe she got it from Renaissance (a favorite store of mine) located downtown Cape. I love the smell! It's not too strong but it's enough to really perfume the air and also your skin. I have to admit that it wasn't too bubbly. Unless I just didn't add enough. I did add more a minute or so later with a bit more results. Though I'm thinking this is supposed to be a more natural bubble bath mixture for softening skin and fragrance. BUT, I actually liked it that way. My skin did soften up and and I also didn't have to worry about rinsing as much as I would typically. I could mix this with my Burt's Bees bubble bath and I'd be in heaven!

A thoughtful gift

My first hard hat! My husband picked this one out on his own! No help or even a hint from me! But I had thought about getting one very soon anyway! Can't wait to use it for years to come!

Prismacolor pencils

These beauties are some darn good colored pencils. :) At $2.00 a pop they better be!

Image Board

Okay this is an almost final of an image board I've been compiling for a school project. The project has been mostly by hand, however, we are to include an image board to give our client an idea of where the project is going and what inspiration and ideas we are incorporating. I've included a few of the finishes for the home, but not all of them. There will be added fabric finishes to give the board more dimension. This is the same project as the hand drawn kitchen elevation I posted. What do you think?


The White Kitchen

This is one of my favorite kitchens I've found yet. Just for my style personally. I absolutely love the open shelving and cabinetry. I love white. I like how white cabinets and can give you a blank canvas in the extra finishes and decor of the kitchen. Many people don't care for white and complain that it doesn't stay clean. While that is true, I'd be willing to sacrifice. We currently have white cabinets in our kitchen. And honestly, even with a one-year-old, they aren't bad at all. I probably wipe them down every few weeks. But that's not even because they are dirty.
White can also not work with certain rooms. Especially if they are planned poorly. Personally I love earth and grey tones. You can see that the side wall of the kitchen shows the paint in the room with a very light misty blue. I definitely think it works. So I would probably use a very light paint in the connecting rooms. Anyway, not wanting this blog to drag, here it is! My dream kitchen! I've already begun collecting dishes and appliance to go with this idea of a kitchen in mind! My white Food Network serve ware, white Kitchen-aid, and my Fiesta dishes! Someday I will see it all come together. :)

DDF Brightening Cleanser

So here's a sample bottle of DDF brightening cleanser that I've been using lately. I love this stuff!

Here's the low down:
"Even when you don’t have blemishes, there are other complexion nuisances to deal with—namely, sun spots, acne scars, and age spots. Instead of just concealing them, call in this gentle gel cleanser. Developed by a leading dermatologist, the targeted formula uses a team of natural skin brighteners, including licorice root and mulberry bark, to even out your complexion and lighten discolorations. Over time, you’ll have noticeably smoother, brighter skin. Now you just need to hold up your end of the bargain by using it every day."

So I've been using this for about a week and not only does it lather well, but my face seriously feels clean and super soft after using it. My complexion is clear and I don't even have to use as much face moisturizer as normal. And I really like the smell of it too!

Everyone's skin is different so it may not work on the next person as it does on me. My facial skin is generally pretty easy to care for. I get dry patches in the winter and then it's of course a little more oily by the end of the day in the summer but mostly not bad. I can't complain. I get two to three bad pimples (persistent and mark leaving) a year, so I can't complain about that. But I've really liked using this cleanser. AFTER using my homemade makeup remover towelettes first of course. I'll post the instructions on those soon!

Anyway, this cleanser came in a Birchbox a little while back. So you can get the full size at Birchbox.com. Though it's for a hefty price at $38 a bottle. Worth it? Depends. I love it, but there are many other cleansers out there for a cheaper price. I'm not sure I'd spend that much consistently on cleanser unless I had tried many other products with no success. But my face tends to work with many cleansers. But I love the sample and its lasted me awhile at just this size.

If you're interested in the brand but not the brightening cleanser, Birchbox.com has more of the DDF brand with different cleansers for different skin types.

Elevations

So here's a little sneak peek at a project I'm working on! :) It's an elevation of part of the kitchen for a Greek family's American vacation home I am designing... The entire home/project will be drawn by hand. Why yes, that's a wall brick oven/fireplace! What do you think??

Fun toddler skirts

So on a recent trip at the mall, I had found quite a few cute summer clothes for little Elaina. Most of you know that I mainly shop for toddler clothes at Old Navy and Target. Great deals and they last a long time in wear and sizing. But I just happened to decide to stop into Children's Place this time. I was so glad I did! Look at this adorable skirt I found! It was around $12! (Excuse the messy toy room. It's pretty impossible to get pictures of toddlers without toys in the background.)

A Place for Polish

It's been awhile since I posted a Pinterest shot of this idea! My sister originally showed this one to me. And we loved it! We wanted to make them quite a bit smaller though. We were minutes away from going to get all the material for ourselves to build them when my dad chimed in that he could easily make them that same day for us out of material he already had! Of course we didn't refuse him! And sure enough he came back with four of these suckers made! He helped us paint them and there we go! So here's the final product! I haven't found a place to hang it yet, but someday I'll figure that out. Until then, it sits nicely on my vanity. Excuse the crappy unorganized nail polish. I had limited time and crammed a bunch of bottles in! I can't wait to get new colors and organize it to be pretty! :) Thanks Dad!!! :)



Sinful Colors

I have to say. I love me some nail polish. But it is sooooo pricey now! Essie and OPI can be like 8 bucks a pop now days! Or more if they have a fun new feature to the polish. And I'm sorry, but I just have no time and no desire to spend a few hours (and $30) EVERY week to get my nails done. I've been shopping around for good quality and cheap nail polish. And I think I've found it. Maybe I've been blind. I don't know how long this brand has been out, but I love it! It can be found at Target and Walgreens for $1.99!! And they have awesome pale pink matte colors, new seasonal colors, and glitter colors. It dries fairly quickly and it lasts about the same as any other polish. Called... Sinful Colors
There could be more of a variety of colors to really sell me 100%, but so far, so good! These are the few colors I grabbed. And I paid like $6 for all three. :) if you know of any other great kinds, feel free to comment below! I'd love to hear!

Mint

Mint- The color of Spring

For those of you who don't care to follow these things then you're warned.

I, for one, love to know popular colors for the seasons because, well honestly, when I wear the colors that tend to be people's choice for the season, I tend to feel more in the spirit. For example, with mint being this seasons prime pick, I've picked up a few statement items in mint. Call me crazy, but when I wear them, I feel like Spring is here and well, just content.

Mint, though, seriously. I always liked the color but never loved it. And honestly, it does depend on the shade and tint. If you do follow these things then you have noticed that if a certain shirt comes in multiple colors and they offer it in mint as well. Most times, the mint is gone and sold out! And I'm always behind on my shopping. So I almost always miss out. :) I really love mint in a scarf or jewelry. I haven't really thought about buying any mint colored jeans because that article of clothing is strictly fad. Im sure next year, no one will be wearing them. Not that that is a bad thing. I try to at least focus on buying clothes that won't go out of style quickly and then accessorize with fad items. It's a lot easier on the pocketbook. :)



What's Inside?




My next review is this awesome toy box that E got from our cousins at Christmas! This has to be one of hers and my favorite toys. It's a What's Inside? cloth box by One Step Ahead. The box of course has the hole in the top, sensory tags, and appliques on each side on the exterior and then a bunch of fun soft sculptured toys inside. E was lucky enough to get the eight toys that come with the box already AND the extra five add on toys that you can order separately. They are all so cute, all stitched and appliqued. E loves to pull them all out and of course we name each one when they come out. Her favorite one is the rocket ship  I can't blame her. It is a pretty cute rocket ship  And she loves when we pretend that it's blasting off for space. :) Everything is machine washable which gains it another mommy gold star point. What I also love about this box is that we use it for other things as well. E will choose different items from around the room and put them in the box to play with. I'm sure we'll be using this one for years to come!

Here's where you can get your own!:
http://www.onestepahead.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=535356

Preschool Prep Company


Are all my friends tired of hearing me talk about these videos? Probably, but you're gonna hear me talk about them again for my first baby/toddler product review on this blog. I'll be attempting to post more on my favorite baby/toddler products.

Any parents looking for great educational DVDs should think about investing in these! www.preschoolprepco.com

These videos are awesome! Elaina has loved them since the first time we put them on. A couple years ago, I used to babysit an adorable little girl for friends. They had these DVDs and she loved them. I thought they were great too especially after watching her look at words and read them correctly as a young toddler! We would go over colors and shapes and all kinds of others and she had them all down like it was second nature to her. After that, I always thought about these videos and wanted to keep them in mind for the future. So about five months ago we bought a set. I found a great deal, as these can be very pricey. Look on Amazon and Zulily.com for great deals! We have the colors, shapes, letters, numbers, and the first three sight words DVDs. These are the only shows that keep Elaina's attention. The sight words are used for later. But the colors, shapes, letters, and numbers are great for 9 months and older!

Not a fan of using television for babies, toddlers, kids, etc? Okay, I don't like plopping my kid in front of the t.v. just as much as any other mom. But in all honesty, these videos are not very long. You can view them in segments if you want to use them for very short periods of time. We turn them on for E in the morning when I'm getting ready. John is already gone to work and I have no option for E except for putting her in a playpen with toys. And that never goes over well. So when she loved these videos, I knew that was my plan. Also, I DO NOT encourage these as kids primary way of learning. They are great and I'm sure they would certainly teach kids if they were used as a primary learning tool. But we only use these as a supplemental tool. Again, mostly during a time when I have to get ready and I can't have E right there on my lap in the morning. All of her other learning goes on through the day with her grandma and her dad and I teaching her through actual play.

All of that being said, there are tons of different packages and supplemental products. You can get these digitally for your iPad, tablet, iPhone. And they have fun apps for on-the-go learning and fun. I definitely recommend them for any parents who would like an extra boost for learning or for parents who simply need 15 minutes to... wash their hair? :)