Browsing Category "Abode"
20 Jul
Posted in: Abode, Craft
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Thrifted Watercolor – Before and After

Last week I found this cute watercolor at a thrift store for $3.50. I snatched it right up, as I really liked the colors and it’s an actual painting (not a print). What I didn’t love so much was the sage green mat and faux bamboo frame. So I bought a new glossy white frame, and since the mat was a custom size to fit the piece, I spray painted it white as well. Below is the before and after. Grand total for artwork and frame: $7.50. Not bad.

thrifted artwork

23 May
Posted in: Abode
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Brown Mable

Mother’s Day morning, I woke up foggy. I’d photographed a wedding the day before, and the day after photographers frequently come down with “wedding flu” – a mix of exhaustion, achy feet and legs, and a general feeling of did-I-get-hit-by-a-bus-ness.

Anyway, I had nearly forgotten it was Mother’s Day when my lively kids crawled into bed with us in the early morning. Evan told them to tell me what they got me. Mason replied, “A brown tree!” Evan whispered in his ear a more specific description, when Mason told me they got me a “Japanese Mable.” I think that little exchange is more precious than the actual tree.

I’ve long been a fan of the Japanese Maple. Their delicate leaves, their little tree with a big tree heart proportions. But we’ve been slow about working on our landscaping (to put it generously) and this is the first year where I have at least three blooming plants in my landscaping – that I planted last year! Success! So while I’ve always admired the Japanese Maple, my frugal self wouldn’t let me purchase one. So my husband (ahem, kids) did it for me.

Last night for kicks I went out and sat my camera on a tripod, with a long exposure, then lit the tree with the tiniest flashlight we had, using a technique called light painting. I think it’s lovely. Then I let the kids play with the flashlight and “draw” whatever they wanted. Brilliant!


30 Apr
Posted in: Abode
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The Long Walk Home

The song Roll Away Your Stone, by Mumford & Sons, is one of my favorites. As in, if it’s a sunny day and the windows are rolled down in the car it will make me cry kind of favorite. If you aren’t familiar, listen here.

Last fall, I shared with our house church how much I loved this song, and mentioned a particular lyric that was especially meaningful to me.

“It’s not the long walk home
that will change this heart,
But the welcome I receive with the restart.”

We exchange names for gift-giving at Christmas, and our friend BJ got my name. And THIS is what he made me! He took vinyl letters and placed them on the canvas, painted over them (turquoise! and gray!) then removed the letters. I love it.

What song lyrics get you every time? Or what songs make you cry on a pretty day with the windows down (or is that just me – surely it isn’t just me).


19 Apr
Posted in: Abode, Life
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Stick it to me

When I first started this blog, I wrote a little piece called The Whittler, about my great-grandfather, and his propensity to whittle. Given our culture’s current fast pace (and I live in West Virginia where the pace is at least a few miles per hour slower than most places), I find it incomprehensible that someone would just sit around on their front porch whittling. So that little whittled stick was one of my prized possessions, not only because it was made at the hands of a man I so admired, but also because it reminded me to breath. Slow down. Rest.

Then last year one of my kids grabbed it off the shelf to play with. Then the dog chewed it to pieces. I cried.

Fast forward to this Christmas when somehow my grandmother got word of the destroyed whittle stick and wrapped up a new one. It was her father that was responsible for the works of whittled art, and I have to admit this one is even more beautiful than the first. As soon as I opened it, I cried again.

Who knew my favorite Christmas present would be a stick! I keep it on a higher shelf.

Slow down. Breathe. Relax.

Perhaps I should get familiar with a pocket knife.

9 Aug
Posted in: Abode, Great Clean Out
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Great Clean Out – Daisies and Vase

At one point during my life I had these silk daisies on a table somewhere in this house. Since then they’ve been hanging around in a cabinet. I have no idea how they lasted so long. But they’re really cute, if you love orange and pink.


5 Aug
Posted in: Great Clean Out
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Great Clean Out – CF Cards

I have two 2.0 GB Compact Flash cards that I no longer use. I have plenty of larger cards, and because I shoot in RAW, a 2.0 card won’t hold enough for me to need them. However, since most of my blog readers shoot in .jpg from your cameras, you can still get plenty of use out of them. I’ll send these together, so comment if you want ’em!

4 Aug
Posted in: Abode
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A Greener Clean

I have not often had requests for posts here (although I enjoy it!), but this week, John Withum tweeted with the request that I write about my cleaning products. Specifically:

What are your favorite Method/Seventh Generation/not awful for you cleaners/house products and why? Also when/where do you find them cheap/on sale?

I had written about this once before, a while back, but have changed some of my products and feel like it’s worth an update.

First, my favorite greener/better for you cleaners. There are a few brands that come to mind, primarily Method, Seventh Generation, and Mrs. Myers Clean Day. I am the first to admit that smell is a huge motivator in my cleaning products purchases, and both Method and Mrs. Myers offer fantastic scents in their lineups. These brands have become more mainstream over the last 10 years and I find them regularly at Target, Kroger and many other local stores.

A short list of what I use:

Furniture: Method Wood for Good, exclusively. It smells like almond, which is my favorite scent, ergo I am terribly loyal.

Windows: Method Glass + Surface – a great glass cleaner that smells like mint.

Bathroom: Method Le Scrub for harder-to-clean areas like my shower, Seventh Generation Tub & Tile Cleaner for the tub, sink, and counters. Also, we have a problem with mildew growing around the hardware of our shower, so I do keep a bottle of a bathroom cleaner with bleach only for use on these areas.

Kitchen: Method All Purpose Cleaner for surfaces (in cucumber, a personal favorite), Mrs. Myers Clean Day Surface Wipes for quick cleanup, Mrs. Myers Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner for, well, anything. This is a great diluted cleaner and a great money-saver. Just buy a $2 spray bottle and use it all over the house. I use Mrs. Myers Clean Day dish soap, when I can find it. Mrs. Myers has a basil scented line, which wins me over. I also love J. R. Watkins All Purpose Natural Cleaner, but can’t find it around here, so I pick a bottle up when I’m out of town.

Floors: Mrs. Myers Clean Day All Purpose Cleaner is great if there’s a mess, but my workhorse is my Haan Steam Mop. LOVE it – it cleans so quickly, sanitizes, and uses no chemicals (with the exception of water, which IS a chemical, no? Isn’t everything, really? I digress).

Laundry: I’ve been pleased with Method’s laundry detergent’s cleaning power, BUT I’m attached to the scent Tide. So don’t follow my example here. I do like Method’s Dryer Cloths.

Reusable Cleaning Supplies: I keep a drawer full of microfiber cloths, and have a microfiber dusting wand (think swiffer, but reusable), many of which I found at the dollar store. The steam mop uses washable microfiber pads, and I use dishrags in place of paper towels. These changes made a huge difference in the amount of paper towels I go through. I probably used  one roll every couple weeks before, and now it’s one roll every 2-3 months. This alone has resulted in some major savings.

How I find these products on sale/discounted:

First let me state that I did not one day decide to throw out all my “bad” cleaning products and go purchase “good” replacements. I figured that the cleaning products were no better down the drain or in the landfill than they were to do their jobs here. So as I finished, say, a bottle of window cleaner, I just purchased a bottle of Method’s window cleaner to replace it. I went through some trial and error (learning I’m not a huge fan of Method’s dish soap or tub and tile cleaner), but I started replacing our products about five years ago, so I’ve had time to learn. By making the change gradually, it didn’t bust our budget, as most of the greener cleaners are less than a dollar more than their non-green counterparts.

With that said, there are a few things you can do to save money. First, sign up for Method’s People Against Dirty – it’s a great way to get coupons and product samples. Second, sign up for coupons from Target – they occasionally have discounts on some of these specific brands.

Finally, comparison shop. Once I found Method Hand Soap for $1.50 at Kroger on special – half off. Another time I found tons of Method and Seventh Generation cleaners at Toys R Us (of all places) on clearance because they seemed to be getting rid of all cleaning products not specifically related to babies. I cleared them out, and still have some products in my cabinet from that great find. Any time I find the items on a good sale, I purchase ahead and store the items.

I had flirted with good-for-you cleaners for several years, because I liked their philosophies, scents and design, but once I had little ones, that put me over the edge. I like knowing that if my toddler opens the cabinet and chugs a bottle of Method’s cucumber cleaner, they might get a belly ache but won’t die. And once you go green, it’s hard to go back!


I hope this helps, John. Best of luck!

2 Aug
Posted in: Abode, Great Clean Out
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Great Clean Out – Jade Plants

A long while back, I wrote a post about an amazing jade plant I received as a gift. The thing is constantly dropping heavy branches, which I make starters from. I currently have three in little pots (that could probably stand to be transplanted soon) that I’d love to give away. Luckily I have three little guys just waiting for a new home, so the first three commenters each gets one! Best of luck!

2 Aug
Posted in: Abode, Great Clean Out
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The Great Clean Out – Intro

I’ve never struggled with hoarding (with the notable exception of my fabric collection), and on a regular basis I get frustrated with the abundance of stuff in my house, load up the trunk, and make a trip to Goodwill. I’m having that itch now – big time – and have been collecting things to take. I regularly keep a pile in my office closet of things to go to Goodwill. Anyway, I thought it might be fun to use my blog (which I’ve horribly neglected) to give away some of the more desirable items that no longer need a home at the Dailey house. Here’s how it’ll go:

I’ll post items regularly through August. To claim, you must:

1. Be the first to comment on the post.

2. In the comment, tell me why you want the item.

3. If I see you on a regular basis, you can get the item from me. If not, I will happily mail it and you can pay actual shipping cost.

Who’s in?

10 Apr
Posted in: Abode
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Far Place

A few years ago, Evan ran across a ventless gas fireplace at Lowe’s. Regularly priced around $500, we got it on clearance for about $175. We had known for a while we’d like to install a fireplace – not only for looks but also for assistance with heat when 1) it’s really cold, and 2) our power goes out, which happens more often one would think. Because we built our house planning to turn it into a garage, but decided we liked it and have instead just kept adding on (and on, and on – really another post), there are plenty of things we’d have done differently, or would like to add to our house as time permits. Such as this fireplace, which sat in our garage. For four years.

I really can’t blame Evan. We had a large CRT TV housed in a large entertainment center Evan had built in college that he was unusually sentimentally attached to, and didn’t want to give it to just anyone. So when we got a flat-screen TV as a Christmas gift (thanks mom and Dave!) and his sister was able to take the entertainment center off our hands, project fireplace was a-go.

I am totally thrilled how this came together, although I had no doubts. Is there anything my husband can’t build? I’m starting to think not. It looks like it’s been there the whole time. I especially love the mahogany mantle he made with wood we picked up wholesale while on vacation. Thanks, dear husband.

What do you think? What projects are you tackling this spring?