The Outcome Of My January 2020 Creativity Challenge

Hello! First, I want to say thank you for all of the support and compliments in regards to the kitchen renovation I shared last week! We’re so happy with how it turned out and so grateful to have a beautiful and functional kitchen that we use all the time. Like I said, it was a ton of work, but still completely worth it!

Today I wanted to share the results of my Creativity Challenge that I did last month. First, I did do it – and finished it! There were a couple days throughout the month where I had to play catch up a little bit, but overall, I was able to stay on track and do at least a little something for it each day. If you remember, my challenge this year was to design one new print every other day (as opposed to every day last year), and on the “off” days, to find new inspiration. I ended this challenge with 15 new prints total.

 

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the results of this challenge. I’m so glad that I didn’t push myself to design a new print every day, because I truly believe that I would have ended up with a lot of garbage prints, like last year, unfortunately! Because I had more time to focus on each print, I ended up with more high quality prints. Out of the 15 total, I’d say that I love about 5, like about 10, and probably won’t do anything with the remaining 5. Not a waste overall, that’s for sure!

 

 

You will soon be able to see my prints added to my Spoonflower shop, but here’s a little preview of a few of my favorites!

 

Now to keep up the creativity for the rest of 2020 🙂

Our Kitchen Renovation

For today’s post, I’m thrilled to finally share our kitchen renovation! It was by far the biggest house project we have ever undertaken and WILL ever undertake. It was an enormous project, a ton of work, super disruptive, and yet still- it was totally worth it. Here are a few common questions that I’m asked and their answers – then scroll down to see all of the before, during, and after photos!

 

-How long did it take? This answer has multiple parts. The main answer would be ten weeks, because that’s how long we were without a functioning kitchen. This was the time between demo and the installation of the cabinets, sink, and countertops. At that point, we started using our new kitchen (yay!), but it was still very rough. Two months after the initial ten weeks, it started to look more finished. And eight months after we demoed, almost exactly, we passed our final inspection received our occupancy permit.

-How did you manage without a kitchen? It was hard, but not impossible! We set up a temporary “kitchen” (fridge, microwave, and table) in our living room, and for ten weeks we ate a lot of crock pot (liners are the best!) and instant pot meals, along with some grilling, and went through a lot of paper products. The worst part was washing dishes in our tiny bathroom sink!

-What exactly did you change about the kitchen in your renovation? Short answer, everything but the floors (they are already hardwood)! Long answer: new cabinets, new fixtures, new countertops, new sink, took out the wall between the kitchen and dining room and added a peninsula, added a coffee bar in the dining room, added a backsplash, added a new window facing our backyard to bring in more light, took out the soffits (more on that below!), painted everything.

-Wait, you did all of this yourselves? Almost – yes! My husband worked so, so hard on this project, both taking time off from work and putting in late nights after working a full day at his job. He also received a lot of help from his father, which we’re so grateful for! The two of them did all of the work except for the drywall and countertop installation.

-What was the hardest part of the renovation? Without a doubt, all of the structural work. You see those lovely (gag) soffits below in the old kitchen? Those had to be knocked down, and because the one on the outside wall had a supporting beam in it, my husband and FIL had to (1) pour a new concrete footer (2) install twelve new joists running the length of the ceiling and (3) put up a new supporting beam in place of the old one they’d taken out. The structural work was a TON of work, I cannot emphasize that enough! I had no idea all that had to be done until I saw how much they were doing and all of the time it took. It was insane.

-Was it expensive? Yes, you better believe it! But we did save tens of thousands of dollars by doing it ourselves.

-Do you love it? YES YES YES. I love it so much! We use it all the time and truly, it is night and day from our old kitchen. It is so much lighter, which was the #1 complaint we had about the old kitchen (it was terribly dark). It’s also so very much more open, and I love that you can see across our entire downstairs now. I love the granite countertops, farmhouse sink, new window, and coffee bar!

-Do you ever plan on undertaking a project of this magnitude again? That’s easy. NO! 🙂

BEFORE:

 

 

DURING:

 

 

AFTER:

Toddler on the loose! 😉

            

 

Seven Winter Coats That Will Spruce Up Your Wardrobe

Hello from chilly (but not all that cold currently?!) Ohio! As we still have a couple solid months of winter ahead of us, I thought it would be a good time to browse for a new winter coat. (Tip: never buy a new winter coat until after the holidays, that’s when they really go on sale!). Here are a few I’m loving right now, each one on sale:

 

January 2020 Creativity Challenge

Hello and happy new year! (I can say that as long as it’s still January, right?) I hope your holidays were as wonderful as mine were. I loved having a lengthy break from normal routines and truth be told, wasn’t feeling super excited about getting back into them. This creativity challenge helps me with that a little bit.

What is my January Creativity Challenge, you might ask? Well, I did it for the first time last year (read that post here) and essentially it is a structured way for me to spark creativity as a designer by making sure that I design/do something creative every single day of the month. If you read my post at the conclusion of the month here, you’ll see that I designed (by hand) 31 prints. So, overall, last year’s challenge was a success. I completed it! I made a bunch of prints (which are still hanging in my office)! Except……

It wasn’t fully a success because, well, a lot of the prints are useless. I’m better at designing prints by using software on my computer than by hand (like, a lot better!) and so right off the bat you know all of my hand-drawn prints won’t be that great. On top of that, since I had put pressure on myself to design a print every single day of the month, I ended up with a lot of bad prints because I was in a rush and didn’t even both to look for inspiration for moth of them. Yes, bad. So it’s hard for me to call last year’s a success when all it turned out to be was a fun little wall decoration that will forever be destined for my office and nowhere beyond that.

To change that this year, I tweaked the rules of my creativity challenge. Instead of designing one print every day, I’m designing one print every other day – and spending the day in between to search for more inspiration, which is a key part of designing quality prints! Another change is that I’m designing all prints on my computer, instead of by hand. Like I said, I’m much better at that!

My hope is that at the end of this month, in addition to sparking creativity, I’ll have 15 usable and high-quality prints – which is better than 31 prints that are kind of all duds, if you ask me!

 

Stay tuned for the results of my challenge after the conclusion of the month! Are you doing anything creative this cold month?

Signing Off For 2019

I’m swinging by here today to share that I’ll be stepping back from blogging until after the holidays are over. Be sure to check back here at the beginning of 2020 as I’ll once again be doing my January Creativity Challenge (last year’s was successful and it gives me a reason to actually look forward to January) and a photo tour of our extensive kitchen renovation!

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve blogged a little less during the second half of this year. That would be due to me typically spending my limited free time (hello, naptime!) either designing prints (you can view a few of my fabric prints at my Spoonflower shop) or focusing on my Beautycounter business. I’m really blessed to have multiple creative outlets and will always choose the one which is most inspiring me that day – so it varies!

 

Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s with the ones you love!

Three Cheers For Pom Poms

If you’ve stepped foot outside at all this season, chances are you’ve noticed that pom pom hats are everywhere. Isn’t this such a fun trend? I can’t help but smile a little when I see someone wearing one, because of how cheerful and fun they are. I’ve seen them on everyone, from skipping little girls, to businesswomen bundled up against the elements, to grandmas pulling a wagonful of grandkids. There’s no age limit to wearing a pom pom hat! My suggestions when selecting one for yourself: choose one with some color, and when it comes to the pom pom, go big or go home! Here are a few of my favorites to help you stay warm and cozy: