Tag Archives: design

Friday Design: Spring in My Dining Room

It’s Spring in my dining room! As most of you know, I’m an architect by training. So when we moved into our apartment here, I was SO excited to actually have some space to decorate. I absolutely love bold colors so I was pretty bummed when I realized that we couldn’t paint the walls. Instead, I’ve learned to inject color into a room through wall art, dish ware, rugs, etc.

I found a deal at our local grocery on a dozen roses ($5!) and used them to bring Spring into our home. It’s still pretty cold here but the sun in shining and it’s putting me (and everyone else) in a great mood. Not to mention my Happiness Project is actually working 🙂

photo 2^ Pretty flowers in my new vase …

And, if you’ve checked out my tagline (“braving the world with no money in my pocket and a smile on my face”) you know that we can’t put much money into making our apartment beautiful. So here’s the breakdown:

  • Gorgeous Fire/Water painting – moving gift from a very close friend. You could probably do a simple, impactful painting for about $50. As a word of advice, shower praise on the artists in your life. There’s nothing better than a gorgeous piece of art that actually means something.
  • Table set with cool, high-back chairs (I plan on refinishing this) – Craigslist $80
  • Striped rug – TJMaxx $65
  • Plant – bought it as a seedling – Loews $10
  • Recycled tire pot – Unclaimed Freight Store (check for one in your area) $10
  • Yellow vase – Unclaimed Freight $3
  • Green and blue swirl fruit bowl – hand painted by me! $25 (but worth the experience)

photo 1Everything in this photo= $188

And now we’re at the weekend. YAY. Au revoir until Monday! I hope you all have a relaxing couple of days. Love and hugs – Ash

 

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Friday Design: Christmas Cards and Snow!

I haven’t mentioned Christmas much in this here blog. That’s because everyone celebrates different holidays in different ways and I want to continue to deliver information for health no matter what the season. However, today I am just TOO excited! In fact, it’s 6 am. I’ve been awake for an hour. After 5 hours of sleep, I woke up and can’t force myself back to bed. Thank goodness for blogs! A few reasons I can’t sleep:

  1. The world didn’t end, so that’s cool.
  2. Mike and I leave for San Diego today.
  3. I get to see my family for the first time in 6 months!
  4. This will be Mike’s first time meeting my very rambunctious siblings and my wonderful Gran and Grandpa. Should be interesting.
  5. I haven’t packed yet and still have a full work day ahead of me.
  6. We had a blizzard in Peoria yesterday and the city is so beautifully coated with snow (see below). I am SO thankful, though, for the dedicated people that wake 5 hours before me to plow and shovel it all out of our way.

FirstSnow^ check out our back porch.

Ok so! This year I decided that I wanted to do some Christmas cards. Somehow I have managed to live my life in a such a way that a lot of my very closest friends and family are scattered all over the world. China, Britain, and every corner of the US. How do I tell them I love them without spending a fortune? Handmade Christmas cards!

ChristmasCard

These babies took me about an hour each. I made 13 of them. [I’m not sure these have reached everyone yet so if I love you and you haven’t gotten one yet, hold tight] Aside from the card, I also wanted to give them a gift. Something that everyone could use, something healthy, and something easy. Mulling spices! I made my own mulling spices, packaged them up, and put a satchel in every card.

I love these cards. I put a lot of heart and effort into making them. But JEEZ they took a long time. Also, they ended up being rather expensive to mail because they count as a “package” rather than a “letter.” Obviously my loved ones are worth it but they may be getting something a little less bulky next year.

Anyway, that’s my story for today. I’m completely exhausted but totally giddy. I get to see my family today!! I hope you all have wonderful weekends planned. Keep on smiling, they’re even more contagious this time of year 🙂

Friday Design: Remember the Love.

I have piles of Birthday, Christmas, and Graduation cards from loved ones. You know the cards that they’ve really put some effort into writing? The ones that you can’t bear to throw away. I thought of a solution!

This is in our hallway, across from the bathroom door. It’s great at taking up wall space without seeming too imposing. Our hallway is tiny and this fits just right.

^ This is the literal version of Pintrest! Pinned to it are lots of special cards, postcards to remind of places we’ve been, and happy photos of us. I smile every time I look at it.

^ Just some hemp cord, wooden clothes pins, and thumbtacks. All bought at Kmart!

I hope you’re all having a happy Friday. Even if you don’t have room for this, take a look through your old cards, its sure to put a smile on your face.

Our Office (corner of the living room)

There is one space in our apartment that, after six weeks, I finally feel is finished. Our “office.” Before we moved in I had three goals for whatever space we decided to put our desk:

1) A library! I think it’s so interesting to look through other people’s libraries and I’m proud of my book collection. Also it really encourages me to read instead of watch TV.

2) Two distinct spaces for Mike and me. We need our space when we’re working and I didn’t want this to be something we resent each other for.

3) A secluded area to focus completely but with enough natural light to stay awake during the day. I do a lot of my real job work at home so it’s important that I feel encouraged to work.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of the blank living room corner before we populated it with stuff but I can assure you, it was a definitely a blank living room corner. Our living room is huge (compared to what we’re used to in Boston) so it was the perfect opportunity to develop a little space tucked away in there.

^ It’s in the corner between that wall on the left and the door.

We bought a ton of our hardware and basic needs at Menards. I had never heard of this place until moving to the Midwest but its AMAZING. Its like Home Depot, Lowes, Target, and Best Buy all rolled into one much, much cheaper store. On top of all that, the people that work there are so nice. I think they may actually enjoy their jobs. Its pretty much heaven. One of our purchases there was the shelving. Which cost about $40. It was steep for us but that and the picture frames for our degrees (Menards-$8 each) were the only things we bought for this space!

Everything else:

– Table = My contribution from a previous apartment. Perfect for our two individual spaces. And so easy to fold up and move.

– Plastic drawer set and computer monitor = free from the previous tenant in our last place and free from Mike’s parents!

– Two Red Lights = Free from a great friend of mine who moved to China the same time we moved here. When we finally decided to move, I sent out a blast email to all our friends in Boston asking to check with us before they threw anything away. This particular friend donated almost her entire bedroom. Her stuff is scattered throughout our apartment. They’re plastic too which is extra cool.

Anyway, here are the photos. I’m pretty stoked on the space. Definitely accomplished all our goals for a total of $64. Heck yes.

^ The overall look. I wish that we could afford nicer, matching chairs and non plastic drawers but I think it still looks pretty put together.

^ The “library.” The only negative about this is we want to buy more books! The positive is that if we do we can adjust the shelves and add another one.

^ It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s the miraculous folding desk! Love this thing. Expensive when my ex and I bought it back in 2011 but so worth it. Solid cherry, comes with 4 folding chairs that store in the middle, and has wheels. What more could you ask for? FYI, we bought it on Amazon as a Valentine’s day present to ourselves. $300. Thank goodness he gave it to me when we broke up because I’m in love with it and could never afford another one!

^ Just a little detail but makes all the difference. Now my cords don’t get lost when I unplug them from my laptop!

I feel like this post was full of exclamation points but I just love this stuff! !!

Hope you’re all having good days. And don’t forget to smile, they’re contagious.

Time for Design!

If you’ve checked out my “About Me” page, you know that health is not my only passion. I recently got my Masters in Architecture and I love anything to do with design. Building, furniture, walls, structural, ANYTHING! So when my boyfriend and I moved to our new apartment in Peoria, I was pretty stoked to decorate. Our only restrictions were that we couldn’t paint the walls and we had almost no money (which was a problem since we also had no furniture).

Over the last several weeks we’ve been scouring thrift stores, garage sales, and soliciting free stuff from friends and things are turning out pretty well. I’m also really proud of how creative I’ve gotten with a lot of the spaces we had to inhabit. So I’m gonna post every once in a while about design, maybe it will inspire some of you!

^We drove from Boston to Peoria on a budget so we had to sleep in the back of the car. I put down a foam mattress topper and it was surprisingly comfortable!

^We literally had NO living room furniture, aside from Mike’s giant new TV.

^ We picked up this awesome IKEA bed and mattress for $200 from a friend back in Boston. Then sold my old, ugly one on Craigslist for $220. Profit!

Stayed tuned on how all these rooms morphed over the last several weeks.

ps. Keep smiling! They’re contagious.