Today’s topic: Go for it or sleep on it?

When it comes to tackling home projects, Rolan and I could not be more different.

All good things come to those who wait print

When we start talking about something we’d like to do to the apartment — whether it be a purchase or a project — Rolan is the one who is ready to jump right in head first and do it do it do it now now now. I, on the other hand, am the one who wants to slow it down and think it through. Think what through, you ask? Oh, only Every. Single. Little. Detail.

My gun shyness probably drives my trigger-happy boyfriend crazy. Heck, it drives me crazy sometimes! But I have to give things time to “marinate” in my head. I want to think everything through. I like to consider all the options. I need to know if an idea is actually good or if it’s just good right now and tomorrow I’ll hate it.

What are you waiting for? print

But it’s actually a perfect combination, Rolan’s impulses and my lack of impulse. Just as in most areas, we balance each other out. If I were on my own, projects might never get accomplished. Rolan is the push I usually need to just… start. But my meticulous planning is usually the catalyst to a lot of project pieces that may never have surfaced.

So I’m curious. Who are you more like when it comes to home projects? Are you like Rolan — wanting to dig right into projects and get them done ASAP? Or are you gun shy like me, having to think things through and take time to let everything “marinate”?

There are definite pros and cons to both approaches. Which one do you identify with?

 

Images via Etsy.

  1. All good things come to those who wait Print by evivart
  2. What are you waiting for? print by MeganRene

 


10 DIY sunburst mirrors

I completed the Netherlands trifecta last Friday. I biked for 30 minutes in the rain to a thrift store. I feel like I should’ve been awarded a Dutch residence permit right then and there.

But all my effort wasn’t for nothing. I rode there with a purpose — nay — a destiny.

Thrift store circle mirror

Ever since I saw it and passed it up, I had been thinking about it. What had I been thinking passing up a large circle mirror for only €5? The thrift store gods were smiling down on me and I just snubbed my nose at them.

Apparently, the gods considered my long wet bike ride a worthy sacrifice, though, because the mirror was still there almost a week later. Phew!

When we got it home, I promptly took a razor to it since the prior owner hadn’t taken much care when they painted it and there were little spots and flecks of brown paint on the surface of the mirror. Also, that price tag needed to come off. Why they don’t put those ridiculously-sticky price tags in more inconspicuous places I will never know.

Razor to clean mirror

So now that it’s all clean, I just have to figure out what to do with it. It’s really large and heavy, so we can’t add anything that would make it much heavier on the wall. I’m thinking sunburst mirror, but there are hardly any ideas about how to DIY those.

Haha, of course that’s not true. There are tons. It seems you can take just about anything and arrange it into a circle around a mirror.

Here are 10 things you can make sun- (or star!) burst mirrors out of:

10 DIY sunburst mirrors

  1. Plastic spoonsHow to Make A Decorative Chrysanthemum Mirror out of plastic spoons!
  2. Wood shimssunburst mirror DIY
  3. Dowel rodsDIY Starburst Mirror
  4. ClothespinsCircle Mirror
  5. Poster boardHow to Make a Sunburst Mirror
  6. BBQ skewersMy Sunburst Mirror
  7. Paint stir sticksDIY: Paint Stick Sunburst Mirror
  8. Tree branches: A Sunburst Mirror Project
  9. CardboardRecycled Cereal Box Sunburst Mirror
  10. Forks, butter knives and spoonsA Starburst Mirror for the Dining Room

We’re gonna do something a little bit different with ours, though. She’s all taped up and ready for action!

Thrifted circle mirror


A week’s worth of wandering

Friday finds

  1. The perfect Fall sweater
  2. Watermelon slicing for ninjas
  3. How many times have you needed one of these?
  4. A clever candy store
  5. A “Man Table” to end all man tables
  6. What a happy home!

Oh! And guess what came in the mail today!

Ludovico the cat with Ikea 2013 catalog

No online page will ever compare with cuddling up and thumbing through a colorful catalog. Snuggly sleeping kitten is an added bonus.

Happy Labor Day weekend to my friends stateside! It’s not a holiday weekend in Holland, but we ARE going to a BBQ tomorrow! What are your plans?


August Rush

I wish this blog post had the same budget as that movie! Alas, this is not a feel-good Hollywood drama.

However, this post is supposed to make me feel good by reminding me of all the progress we’ve made on our home despite the financial setbacks. Bring on the Hollywood ending!

It did feel really good to open up here and be honest about the job snafu and all the trials that come with expat-riatism (should be a word!), so I will definitely be doing that more. I hope that writing about my experience will make some new expat feel better by knowing she is not the only one struggling with immigration issues.

Anyway, you want to know what never fails to turn my sad face upside down? This happy one:

Our kitten Ludovico

Yes, that’s an updated picture of our little fuzzball Ludovico. He’s made such an impact on our lives already — I actually okayed a scratching post the other day saying “I guess that doesn’t look so bad.” If you want to see A LOT (okay, too many) pictures of Ludo, I post them on my Instagram almost daily. You should follow me!

Ludovico was a big change for us, but a lot of the updates we made  this month were small, affordable ones like adding some hooks and hardware in our toilet and bathroom, thrifting some kitchen necessities, and splurging (well, as much as broke people can splurge!) on a designer clock.

Ikea Grundtal toilet paper roll holder

I didn’t blog about this, but it bears mentioning that you can make a stuck-to-the-wall toilet paper roll holder much prettier by running some acrylic caulk around the edge and smoothing it out with a paper towel, like so:

Ikea Grundtal toilet paper roll holder

See? No more gross see-through holes!

We did make a couple of big changes this month. They were just ridiculously cheap! We added a bunch of hand-me-down furniture to our living room.

Living room

And ain’t nothing wrong with this discounted Pax wardrobe:

Ikea As-Is Pax wardrobe

Well, that is, until we broke it.

Ikea broken Pax wardrobe

Womp womp. That’s okay. “We can rebuild him…we have the technology.” More on that later.

This month, we also added a thrifted chandelier to our living room, lovingly spray painted white, the rainbow’s most forgiving color.

Thrifted chandelier spray painted white

Funny story, I am in the process of repainting it. Yes! It’s true! Maybe this month has been a wash.

Ah well, at least we got some relaxing in before the summer ended.

Bosbad Amersfoort


Putting some POW! in the powder room

The toilet room is where I get my best thinking done.

Okay, that’s not true. I get my best thinking done in bed when I should be sleeping. But the toilet room is where I’ve had my latest and greatest idea.

powder room

The toilet room is the only room where the walls are sort of normal. Not covered in wallpaper. Not tiled to the ceiling. Half of the wall is a wonderful blank canvas, albeit a popcorn-covered canvas. Ha! YOU THOUGHT I HAD A NORMAL WALL! Not so!

So I was looking at some of my favorite powder rooms and noticed they were all covered in black and white graphic wallpaper. Such a bold statement in such a small room! It packs such a punch!

Black and white powder room

Bam!

Black & white powder room

Pow!

Hinson's fireworks wallpaper

Ka-blammy!

But all of those inspiration pictures use wallpaper. And as much as I’d love to drop a couple hundred euros to make my powder room go BOOM! when you open the door, I’ve got that popcorn situation going on, remember?

So then I remembered a project I’ve been working off and on for awhile, which was basically copying the idea behind this art but using some of our inside jokes in place of rap lyrics:

Rap lyric art

(I can’t find the original source for that picture, so if you know whose genius idea this is please let me know so I can give credit where it’s due.)

I thought, hey, that’s black and white and graphic. And printing some sheets of paper would be way cheaper than wallpaper. Plus, this way I could use frames and create something of a gallery with it.

So what I’m really saying is stay tuned because that is so happening soon.

(Images link to original source where I could find it. All images can be found on my Pinterest board.)


Clocking in

Yesterday I posted about how I behaved myself and didn’t buy the basket light of my dreams, but today I’m here to tell you that we actually didn’t go home empty-handed on Sunday.

At a little general store in the city, we happened upon another big sale with items discounted up to 70%. That is where I made the mistake of picking up this clock and showing it to Rolan.

We could see that it was a designer clock (Arne Jacobsen) and well made. We did need a clock, but with the discount it was still €30. So I made Rolan put it down and marched him out of the store. But Rolan was not phased. He turned to Google. And when his search led him to find this online shop where they are selling the €30 clock we just passed up for €215, he marched me back into the store.

So we bought it. We reasoned that even if we decided not to keep it, we might still be able to sell it online for closer to what it’s worth and thereby make some money.

But who are we kidding? We are smitten with the thing! Designed by one of the most influential Danish architects/designers of the 20th century AND at a 70 percent discount? Yeah, I guess we’ll take it.


You win some…

… and some wins you have to give away.

Notice I didn’t say “you lose some” because, when it comes to home design, I count a lose as an ‘it wasn’t meant to be’.

Rolan and I enjoyed an afternoon bike ride through our new city yesterday and were pleasantly surprised to find out that the shops were open. (They are usually closed on Sundays here.)

I noticed that one of the home design shops, LifeStyle, was moving its store across the street and selling everything off at incredible discounts.

We are on a major spending freeze given my current lack of employment, but I tugged Rolan’s arm in that direction anyway. I’m a glutton for punishment.

Really awful, terrible super bad punishment.

We fell in love with these globes, but couldn’t justify the purchase since we don’t have anywhere to display it.

We watched the store disintegrate before our very eyes. People were snapping up deals left and right. I started thinking maybe our spending freeze wasn’t the only reason we would go home empty handed. Pretty soon there wouldn’t be anything left to buy.

But then I looked above the cashier station and gasped. The most beautiful basket pendant lights were just hanging there with a 70% off sticker and nobody was grabbing them.

It’s actually the same light as seen in one of my favorite office inspiration pins:

But even with 70% off, that beautiful baby was still way out of our price range. So I closed my eyes, grabbed Rolan’s arm and politely asked him to escort me out of the shop.

Just as we were heading out I saw another young couple examining the light. I just hope whoever got it loves it as much as I do.

If you love it too (and your budget is bigger than mine), I found it on their web site – still on sale!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.