Alice Robertson-May Guest Blogger
Alice Robertson recently created Tidy Home as a place to share the great cleaning and organizing advice she has developed over the years. Alice loves helping others, and she knows having a clean, organized home can do wonders for stress and mental health.
As the world has recently found out, it is entirely possible for some industries and positions to go remote without a significant decrease in productivity. And many professionals, including those in creative services and information technology, may find that they are more efficient when they are not distracted by the constant clamor of the office. If you’ve found yourself suddenly working from home, and your home is a small space, keep reading for ideas on how to make your home office the best room in the house.
In light of the recent disruptions in our regular schedules and temporary adjustments our hope is that Dave and I can spread joy and help you create meaningful memories during the coming days with your family. We feel this is an opportunity, not a crisis, or a need to panic but a chance to bond and connect at home with our four teens. We hope you will too.
Along with our teens at the onset of our quarantine we created a very long list of things we could do no matter if we were stuck at home or not. We’ve been checking them off each day and it has been so fun. You can find our list here.
As I was searching ideas I pulled up our “kiddos” board on Pinterest. This is 10 years worth of this mama, a lover of arts, crafts and learning pinning, pinning and pinning.
With so many friends with younger kiddos I wanted to share some favorites from the collection. Almost all our ideas for our Covid-Quarantine family learning fun can be found on our board but we are creating a list of those links for you here too to make it easy peasy.
We spent the greater part of last summer interviewing cyclists and motorcycle enthusiasts alike. Why? Well, after countless individuals approached us saying they missed steak nights and looked forward to a ride on the RRVT or the backroads to Adel to enjoy an inexpensive evening out with some fun and entertainment to boot, we gave it careful consideration, rallied some of the best collaborators and STEAK NIGHT was resurrected.
I love Thanksgiving and look forward to creating an unforgettable experience for our guests. These entertaining tricks will help make your Friendsgiving insanely fun and easy to create. If you missed the article in the Living Magazines here you go! Plus photos for some inspiration!!!
I have a confession. I have an aversion to using traditional colors when decorating for fall, but changing the color scheme each year can get pricey. So I include DIY projects that are quick using what I have on hand in my design plan. This month I’ll share 3 easy projects to infuse fall into your home for just a few dollars.
This year I chose a color palette of navy, pink, gray, ivory and hints of caramel. I dug out last years painted pumpkins I bought at the dollar store, picked up a $3.98 can of pink spray paint and transformed dozens of pumpkins to work into my plan.
I pulled the stems out before painting and when the pumpkins were dry I tucked a piece of jute underneath the stem and continued to hot glue it around the stem.
Styrofoam pumpkins Spray Paint
Jute & glue gun (optional)
As school gets back into full swing this month I find myself at least attempting to get my ducks in a row. I was perusing our Clean and Organize Pinterest board for inspiration and stumbled upon many timesaving hacks we’ve tried and tested that I thought I’d share them with you. They work!
Mid-Century Modern architecture speckled post-war suburbia throughout much of the 1950s and 60s and beyond, Architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, credited as the driving force behind the movement, designed homes flat roofs, expansive windows, and multi-functional aspects built into the interiors.
You can see Wright’s work across Iowa, including the Paul J. and Ida Trier house built in 1958 in the heart of Johnston. The Usonian style home, coined by Wright as a simple, stylish, small house designed for the middle class is a perfect example of clean lines, functionality and creative uses for every usable space.
Freddie Mercury may have the best definition of the Boho design style we will explore this month. The word bohemian originated in France in the early nineteenth century and defined the lifestyle of Gypsies. Writers, artists, and musicians often made up this group. Rebelling against social norms, they embraced living a more easy come, easy go, vagabond lifestyle for their art.
I have to admit I was a skeptic when I heard all the hype about Keto diets. How could you possibly lose weight eating all that FAT? But sure-o-nuf it works. One of my favorite resources is I Eat Keto. This guy is Keto-King in my opinion. Honestly, this site and Suzanne Ryan's book Simply Keto were my go-to for research on the why and how of Keto. The bonus is there is page after page of tasty and easy recipes in both places.
**UPDATE: Ladies, to compliment Suzanne's book you may want to check out Keto For Women by Leanne Vogel. She really nails the entire benefits and options for anyone wanting to try a Keto lifestyle. You can buy it here or check it out on the link below.
I’ve tried various diet plans to no avail but living a Keto lifestyle works for our family and me. I am not a lover of counting macros in detail, but I do keep track of my net carbs per day and try NEVER to go over them. This one is non-negotiable, and while I seem to comfortably stay within my calorie range, the challenge to date is reaching my daily goal for fats.
It’s a work in progress. Here is a little peek into my journey.
Last month we talked about identifying your design style. We promised to focus on popular styles over the coming months to help refine the look you aspire to achieve.
If you answered the style quiz and found you are drawn to warm, calming, neutral colors Prefer clean lines mixed with cozy elements. If you find happiness and comfort by blending the old with the new, while combining practical function, then the modern farmhouse style might be right for you.
We are a busy family on the go juggling two households, in two states, with four kids. We believe in shopping local whenever we can and we do. But sometimes we just need help! And we know we aren't alone.
So this year Dave and I committed to simplify. In just about as many ways as you can dream of we are doing it. If you haven't read our blog on getting ORGANIZED, check it out. It's a real glimpse into what I'm talking about, and how I personally kicked off the year...from Chaos to Calm! We all need it. Right?
I don't know about you but I'm loving these paint colors for sooo many reasons. First, I've just about had it with below zero temps so I'm focusing my attention on visualization. Visualizing spring romance, calming colors, flowers, green grass, and warmer temps. If you are from the midwest you can feel my pain.
After creating this palette, I started perusing Pinterest for some cool pins using these colors. Wow! Look what I found. A little inspiration to brighten up our day and get ready for a spring restyle. BTW, if you don't follow Restoration Harmony on Pinterest, hop on over right HERE and follow our boards-- it's inspiration overload that we love. You can never have too much!
In total self disclosure I was a crazy lady on a mission yesterday! Well that is probably true of many days, but yesterday I was particularly crazed. If you happened to read my previous blogs like this one on hosting guests, you have probably already surmised I'm a little over the top when it comes to organizing. I realized long ago that my consistently inconsistent tendencies were cause to compensate, thus adapting OCD behaviors.
It's true, all those personality assessments I've done over the years prove it. I've learned to accept and LOVE that I have gained a talent for and a love of the saying "A place for everything and everything in it's place."
It's why Dave and I have made it our goal to create the biggest, bad ass pantries and closets in every one of our home renovations so homeowners can organize til their little hearts desire.
There....I'm glad I got that out on the table! Now.....back to the story.
Do you have a room that is your albatross and you don’t know where to start to make it feel like home? One of the things stymieing homeowners is getting hung up on defining the style they want. Whether it is industrial, farmhouse, mid-century modern, bohemian, shabby chic, or traditional design styles that inspire you, it’s easy to achieve the look while still keeping core pieces that fit into many categories of design.
Photo via Build Force
There is nothing more meaningful than a show stopping wedding favor to have guests ooo'ing and ahhh'ing about your day. And we are especially fond of really cool gifts for groomsmen and your bridal party too. So, we've rallied some of our favorite recommendations together. If you are lacking in the idea department check out these cool finds.
Want something personalized? We are partial to these adorable OLIVE YOU favors by Emilia. But if that isn't your thing, check out her Etsy shop. She can do just about anything. And who doesn't like something personalized?
I found these awesome chalkboards online and decided I needed to create something fun for Christmas. I loved the idea of combining a wreath and some handwriting but dang pre-made wreaths are expensive. I had some garland lying around from another project and thought why not? As it turned out I got 3 wreaths out of one garland and a little extra left over for something else....I'm not sure what yet. Here is what you will need to create the entire project.
“You flip houses? I want to do that. How do I get started?” We are asked this many times over. The question is usually followed by a knowing smile between Dave and I. Our response begins with the word “flip". The definition of flip, meaning to turn over, upturn, or capsize is the most inaccurate definition of why we do what we do. People don’t buys sticks and bricks, they buy a feeling and we carefully choose houses that we can restore (not flip) into someone’s forever home. One they feel connected to. If you are considering investing in a real estate renovation, consider these 10 tips.
It's the time of year when I start combing through my “must read” list getting ready to curl up next to the fire with a great novel. As an avid reader and author I’m a bit addicted to books. I must credit my Grandma, Mo who bought me my first series of Little House on the Prairie books, and all the babysitting gigs allowing me to fund the purchase of the entire series of Sweet Valley High books. Mostly, the credit goes to my high school English teacher, Ms. Reidler for helping encourage my love for reading. She made me work hard to find the meaning behind the words. That was a priceless gift.
Its Back to School Time… Every year as summer comes to a close I hear rumblings from parents, myself included, uttering comments such as, “I think it is time for school to start” accompanied by the “you know what I’m talking about” look.
Shortly thereafter the Schrads’ find ourselves in this vortex of things to do. School physicals, shopping, meet the teacher, and the list goes on. Just when we think we have checked off everything on our list, WHOMP! Head slap! Something sneaks up that we completely forgot. Sound familiar?
I found myself wondering why it feels like this EVERY year. Perhaps we are in denial that summer flew by once again at warp speed and we are desperately trying to capture one more day of fun? Quite possibly it is the fear of losing the freedom to spend our days as a family on our terms? Filling our calendars with only activities, vacations and parties we plan…well, for the most part. And then it dawned on me!
On a recent summer morning before the kids had stirred my girl friend and I spent 2 glorious hours on the deck casually drinking coffee without it getting cold or left in the microwave while we tended to one of the “Mommy, Mama, Moooommm” requests. Just she and I catching up. We laughed, we cried, and shared all that has been happening in our lives. TWO hours before jumping into mom and work mode.
And that was my “Aha” moment. As parents we need to carve out time for ourselves! And, I know I need to practice what I preach. I have awesome intentions but when my internal clock goes off at 0500, I’m compelled to catapult out of bed and start checking off my mental checklist. Because quite frankly its quiet and “I am woman.. hear me roar” at that time in the morning. Inevitably, just when I feel accomplished and have time for that first cup of coffee, my kids are up and ready for my undivided attention. And I give that to them. But wouldn’t I be a better mom, more focused and attentive if I just took 20 minutes to enjoy the morning air and my cup of coffee lost in my own thoughts, not lists? Absolutely! And I’m positive that as school gets underway I’ll be more calm, relaxed and ready to solve those last minute morning emergencies more efficiently. I’m giving myself 20 minutes.
Into our second cup of coffee we launched into the excitement and fears our kids have about starting school. Between us we have 7 kids, so the range of emotions and feelings were abundant. We shared stories of planning for the school year. Clothes shopping with two teen girls (God really does give us patience and understanding when needed), a very comical backpack debacle and finally, we as parents trying to gain a semblance of organization as we start the new year and our own fears about our kids next new beginning.
I discovered we all have some version of anxiety. How we cope with it is unique to each of us. But the truth is, we all have it. As the old saying goes if you are afraid of the dark, turn on the light. Maybe, taking 20 minutes for ourselves before the day gets underway is the adult version of that.
We would love to hear about your experiences. Shoot us a comment, an email or even a text! Make today a great one.
…And we are in full sweet corn mode. Sweet corn is an almost nightly summer treat at our house. We love trying sweet corn from around the state and decided WE WANT MORE and we want it all year long.
Canning wasn’t in the cards so we opted for a simpler approach at preserving those golden kernels and enlisted the pro I know, my mother in law, Donita. Freezing corn has been a long time family affair. An entire day with all hands on deck was spent “putting up” corn for their family of 8 each summer. Her simple recipe is a great way to reserve those yummy kernels to be used in any recipe you wish throughout the year. And as you can see, Dave is a pro. In full disclosure this day in the kitchen was all about my husband. I served as his sous chef and official gopher.
Airbnb has taught us a LOT. Explore some fantastic tips on how to save time and stress less when hosting your next guests.
“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me”. Ahhh! The words of Lee Greenwood get me every time. The 4th of July is one of our favorite holidays at Restoration Harmony and decorating for the holiday gives us the chance to show our patriotism and how much we LOVE AMERICA and all of those heroes who have fought for our country and each of us. It is also time for us to gather with family, host a grill out, eat, drink and enjoy fireworks and all things SUMMER…think watermelon, corn on the cob and a big ol burger! YUM! If you are planning a 4th of July bash I’m SERIOUSLY going to make it easy for you with these simple DIY décor ideas, and red, white and blue themed apps and drinks. Enjoy!
Okay so how adorable are these? Our girls LOVE to dip chocolate strawberries, add a touch of sugar sprinkles and voila! You look like a pro and your guests will gobble them up.
You don’t have to be a professional to restyle your home. Jump start your summer refresh without breaking the bank with these helpful hints.
As spring turns to summer we get the itch to refresh our homes. And, we know you get all itchy too, as requests for us to redesign and restyle your homes increase in May and June. It goes something like this.
Shop your home. It’s free! Pilfer from other rooms in your home. If you have a lot of energy, completely empty the room, leaving only foundational pieces. Then slowly gather furnishings and décor that work with your master plan. Repurpose with what you already have. That serving tray taking up space in your pantry, placed atop your coffee table with a few vases filled with greenery, is a great example.
Set a budget and shop for pieces that will create a layered look. Varied textures and textiles create warmth and help ground a room. Don’t be afraid to mix metals, woods, plants, and fabrics. Hanging macramé planters, along with wall art and pillows seems to be popping up everywhere. Who knew they would make a comeback? Add galvanized photo frames, a favorite heirloom coffee table, cream accent lamps and accessories next to a well-used leather sofa tricks the eye into focusing on the contrasting hues instead of that sofa you used to loathe. Image by Birch Lane
Lighten your bedding. Buy a duvet cover in a light color to replace your current comforter. Add pops of color with throw pillows for a crisp look.
Speaking of pillows, don’t ditch your old throw pillows. Search for vibrant pillow covers instead.
Add an accent wall. Contrasting hues draw the eye to a focal point. Accents walls distract from imperfections and highlight your home’s best features. Paint is always an easy solution. But what about shiplap and barn wood on the wall? Both are hot trends right now. LVT (luxury vinyl tile) found in most box stores, comes in thousands of styles, is inexpensive and relatively easy to install, even on a wall! Check out this example from Wayfair.
Consider updating cabinet hardware & outdated fixtures in your kitchen and bathrooms.
As you embark on your summer edits, consider the words of Salvador Dali: “Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it”. Instead, have fun and resist overthinking. Shop yard sales, thrift shops, auctions, and local retailers for fun and unique finds. The hunt for that perfect finds can be just as enjoyable as the end results.
Need some more inspiration? Check out some of our work.
A Dream Design Challenge
In every home we do, we fall in love with certain aspects of our renovations. Our entire family agreed this beauty was one we could all just snuggle into and be perfectly happy. All four kiddos even claimed their own room! It was a design dream come true. We hope you stop back and check out our Devonshire story on one of our next blogs.
Go ahead, take a peek at one of our most fav home designs. And stay tuned for some great blog posts featuring before photos of this and other renovations on our sister website Restoration Harmony or click here to see what we have been up to.
Angela and Dave Schrad
DIY to décor, get inspired by their ideas, resources and projects.
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