In case you haven’t noticed, we just adopted another dog! She’s totally worth it, but we hadn’t exactly planned to adopt one so quickly. Chloe had already been spayed, microchipped, and caught up-to-date on puppy shots by her rescue organization (a process that we know from intimate experience costs way more than you’d think for such a little animal!) so we didn’t even blink at her adoption fee. I was blinking (a few times, at least) as we wandered around PetSmart picking up her crate (what are these made out of, solid gold?), collar ($2-off coupon, phew), and tag (splurging on the pink sparkly one because that’s how we roll). We signed her up for puppy obedience classes – which are the greatest thing since sliced bread – and even with a $20/off coupon it’s $89 for the 6-week course. We’re also taking her to our vet for a check-up this weekend, in addition to having Emma looked at because she’s been scratching her ears a lot, and might have an infection. And then, when we take Emma to the vet, our doctor is going to remind us to get her teeth cleaned… I’ve been putting her teeth cleaning off because she has to be unconscious for the procedure and it ends up costing $100+. Dogs aren’t cheap!
What I’m trying to say is, I’ve spent my Spring decorating budget on the dogs. But – but – but…this is a DECORATING blog! I have to post about decorating projects! Or else everyone will get bored and no one will read my posts! (Yeah I’m using my blog as an excuse for *having* to decorate my home…think The Hubs will buy it?) I have to ask, if I were to only post pictures and stories about the dogs – literally every post was about dogs – would you get bored and stop reading? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Don’t worry though, this momma might love her pups but eventually she’s just got to PAINT something!
I’ve taken a few days to brainstorm and have had a brilliant idea. I can still do projects, but they have to be cheap! I’ve come up with a list of fun Spring projects to get you (and me) moving around outside, refreshing your house, and seeing things from a new, daffodil-filled perspective. But you know me, I like to make things difficult for myself, so…
I, Hannah Christiane, challenge myself to complete the following projects on a budget of $20 per project.
(won’t this be fun?)
1. Paint a closet.
Painting the inside of your closet is a great way to add “kick” to a room – I went so far as to remove the doors of my closet, but leaving them on doubles the impact because the color hides where you least expect it! As much as I adore the peacock blue in my vintage-glam closet, I want to paint over it with leftover Edgecomb Grey from the living room project. Lightening the color should lighten the whole bedroom, and instead of focusing on the wall color, my clothes & accessories become the focus. Plus, while the paint is drying it would be the perfect time for you to go through your wardrobe and rotate out your winter clothes. Two birds, one stone!
2. Refinish a piece of furniture
I’m refinishing my chipped & peeling $60 Craigslist dresser. I’ve lived with the hot mess for a year and I’m finally getting around to fixing it! Once I borrow a sander from my parents and spend $15 on a can of stain + top coat from Lowe’s, refinishing this pretty dresser will be a piece of cake! After emptying drawers and dragging it out to the back deck, all I need is 2 sunny days to get it looking good as new. Instead of buying new hardware to replace the missing knob, I’m going to remove the other two knobs so the drawers match. Also, when I take the hardware off to sand & stain, I’ll follow this tutorial online (using only boiling water, baking soda, and lemon juice) to return the vintage beauties to a brassy lustre.
3. Pay attention to your porch ceiling
Outdoorsy people love accessorizing their porches with outdoor rugs, pots of flowers, comfy furniture and windchimes, not even thinking about the biggest blank canvas in the whole space – the ceiling! This Spring, pay some attention to your porch ceiling. I don’t actually have a picture of our porch ceiling at the moment because, well, it’s fugly. I think the previous homeowners were going for a white beadboard look (which you know I love!), but there are gaps, uneven areas, and plenty of places for creepy crawlies to hide in waiting. My plan is to give it a good scrubbing with hot vinegar water to remove most of the scum and cobwebs, and then follow with a liberal application of caulking. After a layer of “haint blue” paint (which I’ve talked about before) it will look like a brand-new porch ceiling, perfect for the upcoming Spring & Summer. Also, I want to add (& paint blue) 3 plant hooks the hanging planters I’m getting soon. Estimating $5 for the caulk and $10 for the quart of paint, I’ll have enough left over for a paint roller and the hooks before hitting my limit.
4. Clean your home’s windows & siding
If your home is anything like mine, it emerged from a long damp winter with a layer of green mildew. Our home’s mildew just along the back of the house, in a 15-ft section, right along the bottom. With a little elbow grease you can scrub that gunk right off! My plan is to create a cleaning solution with hot water and laundry detergent and scrub the siding – all around the house, as high as I can reach – with sponges. While I’m doing this I’ll also soap down the outsides of the windows. This will get the dirt & loose debris off and let me see where the real damage is. Then, following this tutorial, I’ll saturate the mildewed siding with a bleach solution and scrub it off with a stiff scrub brush. After everything is rinsed off – dirt, soap, bleach – I’ll clean the outsides of the windows with vinegar and paper towels. Water, laundry detergent, vinegar & bleach I have on hand, so after spending $5 on sponges and a scrub brush I’ll come in under-budget!
(To be honest, Project #4 sounds exhausting. In addition to the aforementioned expenses, I’ll also need a steady supply of Pop radio, coke icees, flip flops and a sunny, 70-degree day)
5. Replace a light fixture
Okay….that’s not really $20. But, another really easy way to update a room for Spring is to consider your light sources. Do they mesh well with the room? I absolutely adore this style of “schoolhouse” light fixture for our kitchen and it’s all over the internet, ranging from $40 to $150. I prefer the brushed nickel finish, but this chrome-finished fixture is on Amazon for only $27! It even has free shipping. The kicker is that it’s considered “used”, with damaged packaging. Who needs pristine packaging that’s just going to be thrown away? Not me! So this $27 light fixture is on my list for sure. I’m planning to paint over the chrome bit, probably with leftover grey paint. And honestly, anything will be better than the swirled glass & grey metal boob light up there right now!
6. Change your artwork
This is arguably the easiest thing to do to update a space for a new season. If you have access to a color printer, it can even be free! Do a Google image search for whatever strikes your fancy, and limit the images to the size you’re after (meaning, don’t expect a 4×6 picture to blow up to a 8×10 size without pixelating out. If you need an 8×10, search for one!) I’m going to change out the artwork that we have sitting on our mantle right now. I do love the Andy Warhol lifesavers print, but I’m bored with the pink. Poster prints are cheap to have printed up at Walgreens, and the Walgreens photo center usually runs awesome coupons. I can definitely get a 16×20 poster printed for less than $20. I think our mantle artwork needs a cow painting, don’t you? Remember, don’t throw away your old artworks! Keep them in the frame behind the new one, you never know when you’ll have a hankering for that old print again.
If you’re wondering which one of these $20 projects I’m going to tackle this upcoming weekend, the answer is…*drumroll*…
Sorry to disappoint but we’ve got LIFE happening this weekend! There’s vet appointments scheduled at 10:30AM, I’ve got Saturday afternoon art with my kiddos from 2-4, and Chloe’s first puppy class is at 5PM. Somewhere in there we’re starting a bonfire in our field and feeding it all weekend, burning as much of the ginormous brush pile as possible. The forecast for this weekend is a high of 67 and mostly sunny, so I’ll probably be dancing through a meadow in a sundress picking dandelions at some point, too;) If I feel ambitious, I *might* start washing the windows. Or I might not. Besides, right now I’d rather spend my $20 getting my nails done! In daffodil yellow, of course.