Making a House a Home

Do you make every space you live in your home?

I’ve avoided doing this for years.

In our first apartment, we were newly married, still finding good jobs (aka poor), and in debt. I spent very little time and money to make our apartment look homey. In fact, I can remember 5 things I bought to decorate:

1) & 2) – two black frames from Ikea for wedding pictures

3) a silver clock to hang with the wedding pictures

4) & 5) two frames to hang our diplomas

That’s it!

In our first home, we initially were house poor because, of course, we bought at our outer limit of affordability. Then within 8 months of moving in, we knew we wanted to move. Sigh. So I had no ambition to decorate a house we didn’t want to live in. Near the end of our stay, I started to fix it up, but really didn’t put much effort into it. We finally sold our house and looking back, I regret not putting more effort into the house. It took forever to sell, and we lived there for over 3 years! Why didn’t I put more of an effort to make it homey?

Moving on, our second apartment we knew was short term. We packed 90% of our belongings from our 3 bedroom house into a 1 bedroom apartment. It was tight! I was in love with decorating at this point so I did put some effort into decorating, but let’s be honest, how homey can you make a living room with 3 couches, a work bench, deep freeze, TV, filing cabinet, and miscellaneous stuff shoved in a corner?

On to the next home! This is the one we are currently in. I know we’ll be here for several years, and I’m determined to make it as lovely and homey as I can!

My project this week was pictures. I’ve had a stack of frames leaning against the hubby’s dresser for, oh, six months or so. I guess it’s time to get them on the walls! I also had a couple spaces that could use some sprucing up: the side table in the nursery and the counter next to the refrigerator.

The Befores:


Before Pictures (5)_smallKitchen

Before Pictures (14)_small


Before Pictures (10)_small

Before Pictures (8)_small

The nursery and kitchen were easy. Just print some pictures and plop them into frames.

After Pictures (14)_small

After Pictures (19)_small

Question. Bowl or no bowl? Is it awkward?

After Pictures (18)_small

The hallway was a little more tricky. First I laid out all of my frames to find a good layout.

During Pictures (4)_small

Then I picked the middle-ish one and hung it on the wall at eye-level.

During Pictures (5)_small

Then I worked my way out from that frame…

During Pictures (10)_small

Never mind the helter-skelter-nothing-is-level-ness, it gets better. Slightly. I’m flawed, folks. I only care so much to make things perfect. I’m actually a little surprised Dan hasn’t rehung all of these yet. 🙂


After Pictures (5)_small

After Pictures (3)_small

I’m still working on the placement of the photos and swapping out a few more. So I’ll have to update when those are finished.

Both Dan and I love the gallery wall. It is such a welcoming, homey sight when we go upstairs. Woot! Decorating for the win!


Function in the Nursery

Jack’s changing table has been in need of some adjustment to improve functionality and the longevity of his dresser.

We use cloth diapers and wipes, so there is a small container of water always sitting on his changing table. I have all of his necessities, including this container of water, held in a wire basket. The basket is very convenient for me to carry all the necessities to and from the bathroom for bath time. It also restrains some of the clutter on his changing table. Some.

The problem with this arrangement is the drips which inevitably come from squeezing out each wipe before using it. I really like Jack’s dresser, and it is in very good condition given it’s age. The top is especially free from blemishes, so in an effort to keep the water drops from harming the dresser, I wanted to get a cheap tray to hold all the diaper stuff that would also catch the drips.

Enter Exhibit A from one of our local thrift shops. Lovely, eh?


I even got it half off, a whopping $1.50 for this beauty.


I almost had to pay full price. I stopped in at said thift shop because their sign was advertising 50% off housewares. I found this gem and snatched it up, so happy to find a tray for so cheap. When I got to the checkout, the lady told me my total was $3.18. Moral dilemma ensued in my mind, how do I mention that the item should be 50% off?

It’s a donated item. They are making 100% profit.

Profits go to buying Bibles for foreign countries. Do you really need to snub them of $1.50?

I feel like I’m robbing Jesus.

The cheapskate in me wins out. I timidly ask, “Aren’t housewares 50% off?” The lady looks at me and rudely ask, “Is this a houseware?” I’m taken aback by her response. I just stutter, “Ummm…” I turn around to look at the store. There are signs on the ceiling denoting the different areas of the store. They’ve got Housewares, Clothes, and Toys. Um, yep I think it’s a houseware.

While I’m contemplating what to say, thoroughly mortified that I’m stealing from Jesus, even though I’m not, she says, “We’ll I guess we can call it ‘housewares.'” Ah, the guilt! She thinks I’m stealing from Jesus!

Then, icing on the cake, she turns to the employee behind her and asks, “Bob, would you call this housewares?” He gives a duh expression, “Um, yeah.”

Whew, redemption! I’m not stealing from Jesus!

I happily hand over my $1.59 and run for the exit. 🙂

Back to our regularly scheduled programming…

First things first, remove the ugly picture.

Looks like someone was proud of their work. Sorry, Chris.


I gave it a quick sanding because the wood was quite rough, then I broke out my tester paint left over from the house.


Hmmm….it should be gray…I’ll give it a little stir…


Nope, it’s ruined. Note to self, don’t let paint freeze. Lesson learned. 🙂

Run to the basement for another can of paint…


and get the first coat on. Wow. SO MUCH better!


My plan for water proofing, or rather water resisting, was to glue scrapbook paper to the bottom of the tray and cover it with a few layers of mod podge. This wouldn’t be truly water proof, but I’m just trying to keep a few water drops from reaching the dresser, so I think this will be good enough. And my tray cost $1.50, if I ruin it, oh well!

After the first coat of mod podge…


You’ll notice my paper bubbled up. I think this is due to the paper not being thick enough. Or I should’ve let the glue underneath (also used mod podge) set first before going over the top. I decided it wasn’t worth fixing so I forged ahead with my other coats.


Here’s the finished product!


Now for the before and afters…are you ready to be wowed?!?!





Wha, wha, whaaa…I know, I know, not much of an after. It looks pretty much the same and just as cluttered. BUT it’s more functional for the dresser! All of my necessities are still present but I did loose to wire basket. Oh well, you win some you lose some.


Working on any projects lately? Fun or function?



So I want to start blogging again. My boy is 5, almost 6, months old. I’m finally settling into a routine so I’d like to get to decorating/fixing up my house again and blogging about it.

I’m not sure how it’s going to look. I doubt I can post everyday. I’m wondering if I need a strict scheduled (never tried that before!) Or just fly by the seat of my pants (definitely tried that before…). Should I use one or two days a week for a project, one for editing photos, and one for writing the post? Then take the rest of the week off? I’m thinking, while that sounds minuscule, that might be more realistic than trying to do a post everyday or even every other day. Just thinking it loud here…

Memorial Day 2013

Memorial Day brought the whole “Rumley” clan together. It was a GREAT weekend!

There was fun around the dinner table…


Mexican train…




Games of catch…


With the most precious little pitchers camp ever…


Migration to a baseball diamond…


Where even the uncles got to take a few swings…


Then it was family picture time!

The patriarch and matriarch…


With the youngest who still live at home…


Eldest son and fam…


Eldest daughter and fam (woot!)…





Next oldest daughter and fam…


Next oldest daughter and hubby…


The whole gang!


The female nieces…


(We attempted an all nieces/nephews, but that was a failure due to missing nap time!)

The little miss who was freezing her buns off during the picture taking.


Good times! I love my family!

George in the New House

George hasn’t gotten a post all to himself in a while. I’m sure he feels slighted.

George loves the new house. No, not quite. George LOVES the new house. I feel like he was visibly relived and less anxious immediately upon move-in. Now this could possibly be that we left him every night for 6 weeks while we cleaned, painted, carpeted, and knocked out part of the kitchen in the new place. Maybe. But there’s no hiding the fact that he did not like the apartment. It did nothing good for his anxiety, but he stuck it out like a trooper.

Here’s what he does most days at the new house.

(1) Watches the neighbor kids.


(2) Sleeps on the deck while Dan grills/BBQs (there is a difference you know!).


(3) Hangs out in the sun in the house.


(4) Hangs out in the dirt when the sun gets too hot.


He is one happy dog!

Laundry Room Cabinet Reveal

I was sure I had taken official “after” pictures of the laundry room cabinets. I told Dan my dilemma/baby brain moment, and he promptly told me that I hadn’tr taken any pictures. Oh poo. I guess that’s good I didn’t forget or delete them accidentally.

Without further ado, I give you the laundry room…



Woowzers! It’s so white and bright!

Honestly, it’s maybe a tad too white in there now, but I have plans to warm it up! 🙂

Now I did make some boo-boos on the back of the doors. I had a REALLY hard time getting this paint to cure (this has been a chronic problem throughout the house). So I ended up leaving some residue on the back side of the doors from the boxes I had the doors resting on.


Also there are plenty of dirty finger prints…wonder whose those are??

I took a magic eraser to it, and voila! Clean doors!


The magic eraser even took the little bits of cardboard off! Such magic stuff that magic eraser.

Oh and I did a little something else…



I made a little valence! The material is the same as the new ironing board cover (which I plan to hang on the opposite wall). The fabric was leftover from a curtain at our apartment, so the only cost to me was the tension rod which was $4. Woot! Cheap decor!

I will point out that it is too small. I didn’t know what proportions to go with so I picked 1/3. I think I should have gone for 1/2. It’s a little puny to me. Thoughts?

Let’s see some side-by-side comparisons…




I still have more plans for this room. It still feels unfinished when you are in it. Here’s my list so far:

1) Add a mirror above the sink and some homemade shelves above the toilet. The room is very bottom heavy on that side.


2) Hang the ironing board.

3) Add some art. Not sure where yet, but add some pretty to the room.

4) Add functional/pretty storage above the cabinets.

I’ve got materials for some of these things and some Craigslist possibilities for others. Can’t wait!

Laundry Room Project – New Ironing Board Cover

Inspired by this look at Young House Love (our ironing boards look shocking similar. Do we shop at the same yard sales??) and this tutorial I found on Pinterest. I decided to make myself a new ironing board cover so that my $4 garage sale ironing board could act more like decor in my laundry room. I mean, that’s all it’s good for right? You don’t expect me to actually USE the ironing board do you?

The tutorial was extremely simple: roughly cut out a piece of fabric the shape of your ironing board, sew a simple pocket all the way around, thread elastic through the pocket (most time consuming part!), then tie the two ends together. Easy. as. pie. Even me and my ghetto machine that doesn’t sew too straight (anyone know how to fix that??) could handle it.




View from the bottom. The rats nest in the corner is my tied elastic. I had miles too much. I’ve never used elastic before. 🙂 I just shoved it up in the corner. Also notice I just put my new cover over my old. Lazy.


The finished product!


Now all that’s left to do is hang it on the wall. I’m actually having trouble finding a hook that’s big enough (and cute enough!). I have an idea to hang it that will also go along with decor above the toilet,  but that’s for another day. The nifty little ironing board is just hanging out behind the door for the time being.

Laundry Room Cabinets

The painting of cabinets has begun! In the laundry room that is! If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll know that the kitchen is started too. Shhhh! Don’t tell!

I started in the laundry room about a month ago for a couple reasons (1) small space, (2) I had leftover trim primer and paint (not enough or good enough for the kitchen), and (3) a smaller, less noticeable space to test out my cabinet painting skilz.

Let me remind you where we started in this room:

IMG_4498_small and in the other direction…


Eee gads!

The cabinets are nice and solid oak, but the previous owners had spray painted the exterior (and only the exterior, thank goodness!) black. Not just any old black, cheap, cheap, CHEAP black spray paint. The kind that rubs off with a rag and water/vinegar. Ask me how I know.

Prior to move in, we had cleaned, painted the trim, and painted the walls, leaving us with this:



Whoops, sorry folks. Looks like I didn’t take “after” pictures after the painting. I had a lot going on at that time. This is going to be a common theme of all updates going forward. I’m sure I’m missing tons of photos.

The trim is now white (save the window…that will get there someday). Three walls are a light blue/aqua, and the wall behind the toilet is Marblehead Gold (Benjamin Moor color matched to Olympic). Kind of odd colors, you might say. Well, technically this is the odd-ball-here’s-the-colors-we-have-left room. However, I do have a plan to bring it all together. Ha, we’ll see how that works out…

Ok, so that bring us to where we are today (minus flooring which again, no pictures, sorry!)….er, where we were prior to starting the cabinet painting.

First I sand the cabinets down. It didn’t take much elbow grease as I mention, water/vinegar could remove the spray paint.

619_small 623_small

You can’t see it in the pictures, but there is as fine black dust covering everything. It was gross. The bottoms of my feet were BLACK. Yuck!

Just because I know you’re dying to see it closeup:



On to the cabinet doors! I removed the old hinges and gave them the heave-ho. One tip I learned from Kristen, who does cabinet work all the time is to replace the hinges when you paint. Old hinges will make even a good paint job look worn and old.

I sanded each side twice: once with a 120 grit sandpaper and once with a 220 to make sure everything was nice and smooth. After cleaning off all the dust from sanding, I rubbed both side down with deglosser (liquid sandpaper). I did this step because I know I don’t get into the cracks of the moulding good enough with just sand paper. Also, I figure a little more roughing up couldn’t hurt. Right?

We are ready for paint! I mean primer!


Oh yeah, and I filled the holes from the old hinges and sanded those down as the new hinges didn’t quite line up with the old holes.

Oh here are my tools, in case you are interested. I LOVE the brush. A very good investment, if you ask me. However, I wish it came in a smaller size. Both the width (2″) and the handle are a bit much in my opinion.







Now just to get that handsome hubby of mine to help me re-hang those doors!


Oops, cats out of the bag. He already did. I really thought I took finishing photos too, but I can’t find them. I blame that on the pregnancy. I’ll take more soon and post the after pictures!

Skim Coat

Remember the kitchen and dining room?



That lovely burgandy paint is mixed with sand. That’s right, sand.

What does it feel like, you might ask.

Why, it feels like sand paper, just like you’d think.

My first thought is Stoochinski falling and hitting the wall and coming up with the worst rug burn you’ve ever seen. This stuff is rough!

We thought we could just sand it off, but apparently, you can’t sand sand with sand. Get that? Basically, it’s not gritty enough. You couldn’t get a sand paper gritty enough to actually take the sand off the wall. Who knew?

So our next best solution: the Skim Coat.

This is a very thin layer of drywall compound wiped over the entire wall then sanded smooth. Due to time constraints and our general lack of skill/knowledge in this area, we hired it out!

Best decision thus far in this process!



A. Maze. Ing.


The rooms are so much bigger already!


This made a HUGE improvement to the main floor. It opened up the space and made way for easy painting!

I’ve seen tutorials on how to do this yourself. It is possible, but it is super messy and time consuming. I think it was worth it to hire someone to do it right in as little time as possible.

Exterior Tour

It’s been a long time coming, but here’s the outside of the Fixer Upper. It was raining this morning, so I had a hard time taking good pictures. Sorry for the graininess!



The side and back yards are pretty sad when it comes to the condition of the grass and landscaping. This side has a fair amount of grass, but you’ll see the other two sides of the house below. It’s just dirt!




Oh heavens…the dirt! The stumps!



The deck looks ok from this angle….


Except it’s dirty and kind of shabby! The porch is mostly sturdy (except the stairs which you’ll see below), but look at the mildew/moss/mold!




Here’s the stairs…notice the handrail pulling away from the stairs? We’ll need to get that fixed before too many kids start hanging out here.


And the other side yard…also void of grass…


That’s all, folks!  (Anyone remember the closing screen of looney toons…aww….good times!)

She needs a lot of work, but we’re ready to do it….we think!