domestic arts & diy

Full disclosure here: I am NOT the best housekeeper ever! I am always aiming to do better by finding more efficient and frugal ways to keep our home as clean and cozy as possible. I do love making my own cleaning, home-care, and personal care products with basic household ingredients and essential oils and am always excited to find a new recipe to try. I am also a knitter (although not a very productive one) so whenever I actually get a project done, I am excited to share it with everyone!

Living in a peaceful and visually pleasing environment is important to me, so I'm constantly on the lookout for new ways to spruce up our home while spending as little as possible. We live in a nearly-century home that was a cosmetic nightmare when we bought it (the previous owners had lived here for 48 yrs and had not done much to it since the 60's by the look of things).We've lived here since 2003 and have been (very) slowly fixing it up as our budget has allowed. Thankfully my husband is a DIY kind of guy, so between the two of us we are pretty resourceful!

Frugal Household Management:
Clean, Green - and Cheap?!?
My Successful Soapnuts Experiment
Six Natural and Cheap Ways to Freshen Up Your Home
Five Ways Decluttering Saves You Money
My Top 5 Frugal Successes of 2010
A Tour of My Frugal Fridge
Food Waste Fridays
"Good Enough" Solutions
Use It or Lose It

Natural Living
I like to use natural options whenever possible and I'm always looking for ways to do so inexpensively. Here are some resources for frugal and natural options for health, personal care, and household uses: 

Make Your Own All-Natural Lip Balm for Less Than 25 Cents a Tin!
Clean, Green, and Cheap?!? (personal care products)
Six Natural and Cheap Ways to Freshen Up Your Home
Energy Medicine: Frugal and "Green" Self Health Care
How to Make Your Own Menstrual Pads in Five Minutes
Do-It-Yourself Spa Night
Seven Natural (and Cheap!) Ways to Calm a Cold

Home Renovation Projects Completed: 
Our $75 Deck Makeover (2010)
Sprucing Up Our Side Entrance (2010)
My Free Perennial Garden (2010)
Front Entranceway Makeover Part 1 (July 2011)
Front Entranceway Makeover Part 2 (January 2012)
Front Entranceway Makeover Part 3 (January 2012)
Front Entranceway Makeover Part 4 (February 2012)
Creating Maximum Curb Appeal on a Minimal Budget  
The back yard:
Budget Backyard Transformation, Part 1 (Summer 2011)
Backyard Transformation Update (late summer 2011)

Current Project (early 2013):
Start the repurposing of our second and third floor rooms.
First step: Redo the closet in this room from a clothes closet to a storage closet (floor to ceiling shelves)
This will involve removing all current fixtures and shelves, stripping wallpaper, doing any needed wall repair, priming, painting and installing shelves.

Ongoing and In the Works for 2013:
This list is almost totally carried over from 2012 as the only major project we completed was the front entranceway makeover (see above for links to detailed posts on that project). We still need to complete basic cosmetic upgrades in every room on the main floor (living room, dining room, kitchen and office) plus our plans for repurposing all the bedrooms on the second and third floor, as well as finishing off the rest of our backyard transformation.

First floor:
Back and side entranceways:
-Paint doors
-Replace ailing metal screen doors with wooden ones
-Sew curtains for windows on doors

-Build counter under window
-Replace countertop
-Install tile backsplash
-Replace ceiling
-Install new overhead lighting
-Paint open shelving above cupboards
-Install new window frame to match originals

Dining room:
-Strip wallpaper, repair walls and paint
-Install new overhead lighting
-Rebuild back window frame to match originals

-Install new ceiling and overhead lighting
-Remove paneling and drywall
-Prime and paint walls
-Remove current built in bookcase and create a smaller version in a different area of the wall
-Redo window and door frames to match original frames in the house
-Install a built-in, two-workspace desk across the back wall
-Install new flooring
-Paint existing table 

Living room:
-Strip wallpaper and paint walls
-Remove existing fireplace mantel and install new mantel (we have a curbside find that looks to be an original mantel from one of the neighbourhood houses!)
-Convert wood burning fireplace to gas
-Install overhead lighting
-Build a fancy drop ceiling to hide hideously cracked plaster ceiling
-Purchase new sofas and ottoman

[This will definitely be the most expensive room for us to redo!]

Second floor:
Bedroom #1:
-Redo closet from clothes closet to storage closet
-Remove wall-to-wall carpet and do any needed restoration to hardwood floor (hopefully it will just need cleaning!)
-Strip wallpaper and repair plaster walls
-Prime and paint
-Purchase new window coverings
-Install new overhead lighting
-Restore couch and chair for this room (sturdy wooden furniture received for free from fellow homeschoolers)

Bedroom #2:
-Redo closet from storage closet to clothes closet (includes reinstalling door!)
-Strip wallpaper and repair walls
-Prime and paint
-Install ceiling mouldings
-Move electrical outlets
-Install new overhead lighting

Third floor:
Attic bedroom:
-Install beadboard on walls and paint
-Rewire/move electrical outlets
-Refinish pine plank floors
-Rebuild window frames to match style of originals
-Install new overhead lighting and ceiling fan
-Replace doorway to attic with French door (we have one stored away that we got for free, it needs to be resized for the doorway).
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