New Laundry Room Storage

The storage over my washer and dryer looked like this


for months.  You can see that in addition to not being sturdy, that shelf wasn’t pretty either.

I’ve been searching for cabinets for a year now and haven’t found any second hand that I liked and I’m too cheap to pay full price for new so I lived with that shelf.

My dad has been in the hospital in Denver for the past few weeks undergoing his last cancer treatments (hence the sporadic blogging-sorry!) so I have been making a lot more trips to that side of the state.  One day while I was hanging out with him he told me to go find some cabinets.  I searched for thrift stores around the hospital and set out.  I couldn’t find any of them.  Some were closed down and some were only donation sites so I found myself driving further and further from the hospital in search of a thrift store.  I didn’t find one.  But, if you follow me on Instagram, you know I found IKEA.  🙂

And at IKEA, in the “as is” section, I found this:


I was willing to throw some elbows to get that thing but luckily that wasn’t necessary.  I looked it over and it was in excellent condition (and already assembled!) so I bought it.

I really wanted two cabinets over the washer and dryer but there wasn’t another one like this so I went looking for another solution.


I cracked open the box and found that this cube was white so I bought it too.  So, for $30 I found my solution!


You have no idea how hard it was to hang these alone.  I was sweating like I had run a marathon-between holding the cabinet up, keeping it level and getting the screws into the studs, I was ready to give up!  I had to walk away several times and call my dad for advice but I finally got it!

The cabinet didn’t have a shelf with it so I had to buy some pegs and cut down a board I had.


I did that!

It took me longer to style that cube than it took to hang it.


No, not right.  I hate that you can see the screws on the back and it just seemed off.


So I dove into my scrap booking paper stash and found this navy blue stripe.  I just stuck it up there with some clear tape and it seems to be holding!


I got the aloe plant from Trader Joe’s and I think it’ll be okay up there.  I’ve had other succulents that seemed to be happy in my laundry room so I have my fingers crossed that this will be too.

The frame has this printable.  I wanted a little something on that shelf but didn’t love any of those cutesy quotes that are all over Pinterest.  I really love it-and I’m hoping I’ll use it and save some of my clothes!


And here’s a view of the whole laundry corner now!  The cube needs to be moved up slightly (but I need another set of hands to do that!) and I need to replace that light bulb and I need to actually shorten those lights and finally get rid of the zip ties!

But for now, I’m just going to enjoy the hard work I’ve already done!



Garden 2015, What Went Right

Last week I showed you the bad and ugly, here’s what worked in this year’s garden:


Jalapenos, habaneros and poblanos


Oh man, I can’t wait to roast and stuff those!


Cherry tomatoes and tomatillos.


Cucumbers, beets and nasturtiums.


I’m so excited to pickle these!


Beans (the first harvest has already been pickled!)

I even had some success with non-edibles this year!


This container of geraniums and morning glories are by my back door


and they’ve almost reached the roof!


Finally, the sunflowers growing along my side fence are huge!


I already have big plans for next year-some things will stay the same (sunflowers, peppers) and some things will move (tomatoes, pumpkins) to some new raised planters.

I’m waiting for some free time so I can build the new planters and I still need to post about all the other projects I’ve been doing around my house…hopefully I’ll be able to find the time soon!


Garden 2015, What Went Wrong

I tried to have a garden last year but it just didn’t work out so you can imagine my excitement when things started growing this year!

I started a bunch of seeds inside and then moved them to the garden in May.  It rained everyday in May so everything grew like crazy.  Just a month ago I had high hopes for my garden but fast forward to this month:


By the beginning of August I had lost one pumpkin plant to squash bugs.

This week:


They’re both gone.

So I ripped them out


I was really sad to lose them.  I had big plans for those pretty blue pumpkins in my fall decorating plans.  Next year, I hope.

Of course, my squash and zucchini plants weren’t safe either:


Gross.  I did a lot of research on squash bugs and decided that there was no way for me to get rid of all of them this year so I ripped up the squash and zucchini too.


Next year I need to stay on top of these-this year I really should have cut off all the leaves that had eggs on them and I need to go out each morning to kill any adults that I missed.

I did bag all the plants in thick, black trash bags, sealed them tight and took them right out to the trash in hopes that no bugs (or at least not as many) will winter over in my soil and come back out next spring.

Any other advice?  It’s so sad to invest so much time growing stuff only to have little bugs take out everything!

Tomorrow I’ll show you what I (by some miracle) did right this year!



This weekend I went to Durango for a reunion at the college I went to.

Because I always seem to, I got stuck in traffic.  Three times.  


Luckily the longest stop (30 minutes!) was in a spot that I still had cell service so I wasn’t bored.  The third stop was on Red Mountain Pass which is equally beautiful and terrifying.  You should drive it at least once!


I haven’t been back to Fort Lewis College since I finished school in 2009 and it has changed so much!  I worked as an RA for the housing department there from 1999-2003 and then came back as a Hall Director in 2006.  I loved, loved, loved living and working on campus so when the Alumni Association announced that they were hosting a reunion I knew I had to go.

dgo24We had people from the 1960s all the way up to the 2000s represented!


It was wonderful to see people I had worked with and hear stories about other people’s experiences working in the same buildings where I lived more than 30 years later!


A small group of us stayed in one of the residence halls and I’m so glad we did!  I had already forgotten how small our rooms (and those beds!) were!  (The room above is an RA room so it’s smaller than the rooms for residents.)


The college is on a mesa above Durango and on Saturday morning I couldn’t resist walking out to the rim to see the clouds around the mountains.


We spent Saturday walking around town and doing some shopping.  And I took tons of pictures of old things!




My friend went into a bookstore and I followed her.  And I regretted it.


The whole store was like that.  I was overwhelmed and immediately had to go back outside.


The yarn store?  Amazing!  Beautifully organized and so colorful-just what I needed to recover from the bookstore!


We ended Saturday wit a BBQ on campus, some storytelling and a gorgeous sunset.

On Sunday I met up with another friend, got a much needed pedicure and enjoyed catching up and relaxing!

I took this week off from work and since there was a Home Depot in Durango, I stopped by and picked up lumber for a couple of projects I have planned.


Because you can take the girl out of her house but you can’t take the house out of the girl!


What I’ve Been Up To

I covered for our usual graveyard guy at work for the last two weeks.  Working while everyone is sleeping is really hard.  While I still only worked 8 hour shifts it felt like I had no time to get things done around my house-let alone take pictures and blog.  So, sorry about that.

To catch you up, this is what I’ve been doing:

1.  Mourning the loss of one of my pumpkin plants

4Squash beetles.  I hate them and I’m currently researching how to get rid of them (fun fact: one article says to put something big and yellow somewhere in your yard away from the squash and pumpkin plants-they’ll go there and stay away from your plants!)  I’m afraid my plants are goners for this year but I’m determined to make sure this doesn’t happen again next year!

2.  Turning a dresser into a bench

1My friend just moved into her dream home which has huge walk in closets in every room so she gave me this dresser.  And I’m turning it into a bench for my laundry room.  My lack of a table saw has me stalled here….I think I need a table saw.

3.  Small craft projects


The above friend has two teen aged daughters and she wanted pinboards for them to hang stuff on in their rooms.  She (and I) loved these from Pottery Barn but holy price tag!  I was confident that I could make something similar so I’ve been working on those.

4.  Small decorating projects

6When I redid my mantel I had my big old window that needed a new home.  I wanted to hang it over my bed but it’s really heavy.  And I like my head so I had to make sure it stayed where I put it so I screwed right through the frame and my hand.

3Okay, through isn’t exactly accurate.  But it hurt(s) and bled a lot.  (PS-anyone read palms and want to tell me my future??)

5.  Car shopping.

My beloved Jeep has finally broken for good so now I’m on the market for something new.  Luckily my parents have loaned me a car so I don’t have to rush but my goal is to be in something new by September.  Right now I’m thinking a Rav4 or a Jeep Patriot.  Any opinions?

6.  Loving my new trashcan


Yep, it’s pink (but you would already know that if you followed me on Instagram: @awize)  I traded my standard grey one with my friend’s son.  He didn’t love the pink.

7.  And cleaning.  And sleeping.  And keeping up my lawn and the plants in my garden that evil little bugs haven’t eaten.  And getting ready for a trip to Durango for a reunion next week!


Big Picture Redo

Way back in November 2013 I made a big picture to put over my mantel.  It was nice to have something up there and I still love the picture, but I wasn’t loving how it looked up there anymore.

After several changes my mantel has looked like this for the last couple of months:

p1Not terrible but I just wasn’t loving it.

I decided to attach the picture to a piece of plywood and then build a frame around it.  All with stuff I already had.  And I didn’t have any plywood.

Improvisation #1:


I had a piece of bead board left over from my bathroom project that was slightly bigger than I needed it.  I still don’t own a table saw so I used a combination of an exacto knife and a hand saw.  Luckily it’s not really wood so it cut pretty easily (although not cleanly.)


Originally I was going to stain the trim around the edges but I had to use a combination of pine and redwood (improvisation #2) so I had to abandon that plan.  I had also planned on setting the picture down into the frame a little bit but since the back board wasn’t real wood I couldn’t nail into the edge so I just set the board on top of the frame and nailed it together (improvisation #3.)

Once everything was fastened it looked like this:

p4I caulked the edge between the board and frame and once that was dry I got to painting.  p5

First I sprayed it wit an aqua spray paint (obviously this was after I had already started to position the picture.)  Once the spray paint was dry I rubbed on a coat of Jacobean stain and let that dry.

Then I put it over the mantel!

p7I love it!  I’m looking for a frame in a size between the one holding the picture of me and Henry and the little one.


I really wish I had done this sooner!  It was so easy and looks so much better!


Oh the Patio

First, I love my patio.  I love sitting out there in the evenings surveying my land (ha!) and watching Henry cavort in the grass.

But it was sadly neglected while my whole house purge was going on.  Now that that’s over and all my extra stuff has either been sold or carted to the thrift store I finally had time to focus on getting this outdoor space back in order.


The lights wouldn’t stay up

patio5there was sawdust

patio6chairs and dog toys everywhere.

I started with the lights and found that the problem seemed to be in the way they were hung.  Before I had them running vertically from the house to the planters and the wind just kept taking them down.

patio2This time I ran twine from the house to three hooks on the planters and then ran the lights across them.  We’ve had some awesome storms the last couple of days and they’ve stayed up so far!

lightsAnd at night?  Well, perfect!

patio7After the lights were up all I had to do was spray off all the sawdust and put all the furniture back.

patio8Now I can sit in any of the chairs without getting covered in sawdust!