A New Mud Room

June 9, 2021 at 7:26 am (Home Changes and Additions, Our New House) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Check out this horrible mud room!

I know it doesn’t show it well, but behind the open back door is a small closet and then a sink. Yuck.

It is an old farm house, so once upon a time the sink had a purpose. Now it was just wasting space. Valuable space. We knew this room could be better utilized. Little did we know, we would, as usual, open a giant can of worms…

We thought we’d tear out the sink and old paneling, paint, add barn doors and call it a day. No.

The walls had to be redone down to the studs. A new false wall had to be added above the closet, since we were taking out the drop ceiling. Then we found that the paneling went behind the flooring. This removal ruined the flooring (not sad about it) and in removing the tile we found we had a rotten spot and needed to even replace subflooring. The house is 1862, but still, whew!

We did make the closet go all the way across the space and Jason built custom barn doors and trim. Gorgeous!

Look what we found under the flooring! Lots of these old papers from the 40s!

But now… she’s about done. (I say about, because we do still have an antique flag we are making a custom frame for to hang about the coat rack, but still, very close)

What do you think?! I think I love it so much that I need to add a chair for company. Come in further and you will see the dining room and hallway that we need to do the same too. 🀣

XX,

Jess

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Deck Updates- Easy Ways to Make Outdoor Spaces Cozy

June 6, 2021 at 8:04 am (Home Changes and Additions, Seasonal Decor) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Summer is finally on the way! And we’ve been getting the deck and yard all ready.

Last year getting the deck built was our project. This year making the deck cozy and entertaining worthy is my mission. So we added a few things. Not done yet, but progress!

Plenty of cushions and a new rug make it cozy! Rug is from Mark and Day, our favorite rug place! (You can still use my code at Mark and Day too- JESSI10). AND, they are doing a free rug pad promotion right now too!

Some cushions and Walmart and Dollar General, but old, and the two darker green are new from Target Dollar Spot. Scotch Guard them to keep them longer, and I take in or put in a deck box when weather is bad. πŸ˜‰

The other cozy trick is to add little areas. When we have company, chairs can get pulled anywhere, but they start out set up in cozy little spots. These stackable chairs we got to have extra seating, are from Best Choice Products. Different rugs also help tie different conversation areas together.

Another easy thing to add for coziness is plants. Plants bring brightness and life to spaces, and same with outdoor spaces! You don’t have to have a green thumb, mine mostly isn’t πŸ˜‰, even fake plants do the trick.

I like my plants colorful! Plus, remember the rule of three, add a centerpiece, and outer plants that will grow and hang and you will be potting like a pro. These were all recently planted, but will soon be big snd overflowing! 🀩

One more cozy add is lighting and sound. This can be super simple too. My lanterns are all inexpensive and have solar lights in them. We also added this umbrella light from Brilliant Evolution recently and it adds such a beautiful glow in the evening! You can use code JESSICA15OFF on their lighting too!

The quickest, easiest DIY to up your outdoor game!

Right now I use a simple Bluetooth speaker sat on the table too, but we are in process of installing a whole system with speakers on the house wall. Either way, tunes add to the vibe!

What else would you add?!

XX,

Jess

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School At Home

November 10, 2020 at 8:07 am (Home Changes and Additions, Tid Bits) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

This year has been a wild one, that’s for sure. It’s been so different from the norm for many of us. But, one things remains the same. We want our kids to learn, and we want them to have the best opportunities possible. So, no matter what type of schooling you are doing, these ideas can be for you!

We are doing online schooling this year. Classes are via computer, but mom facilitates. Optimal? No. But we are making the best of it. My best tip so far? Find a space and make it for learning. Boundaries and expectations help learning go well!

You don’t need a whole room, maybe a corner, or a table, or even a certain table cloth, and when it comes out, its time to learn. I had always worked from home a lot and happen to have space in my office that I was able to convert to a learning space. Don’t worry, even if your space is much smaller, these ideas can help you too!

I have several tips for routine, but this will just be about supplies for today.

My second?! Keep it fun!! Third tip?! Get a map!

Look at how we combined both with this animal map canvas from Photo Wall! How cute is this thing?!

Photo Wall is amazing for any Wall decor really. They make wall decals, framed prints, posters, and canvases. You choose the art, the size, the material, and can even customize it! These would be amazing in kids’ rooms and nurseries, or even as an awesome accent wall!

Its details like this that really make your learning space fun and keep kids engaged. We knew Brantley needed a map for a lot of his Social Studies work, and looking things up on the computer really wasn’t cutting it. This map not only shows what he needs, but keeps his interest with the animals and details. He’s taken such an interest now! I plan to add a few more maps like this now too! And of course, you can fit them to your space.

Human anatomy? Plants or leaves? Turn them into a fun canvas or poster to make the learning fun!

Tip 4 & 5- Have your supplies accessible, and keep them organized. Again, your space doesn’t need to be huge, but if you can find your supplies and access them easily, you will be more likely to do so. Hands on activities teach concepts so much better. Like using the scissors, ruler, markers, paints… engages and sinks in. It could even be a tote of supplies that comes out with the table cloth when learning time is happening!

I’m no pro yet, but I can tell you that I’m learning right along with the kids. You can do it, and even better with some simple tweaks!

And back to my gushing about this map canvas, because it really is my pride of decorating the classroom. πŸ˜‰ Here is my map link. And use code makemineeclectic25 on your purchase from Photo Wall too! Your walls will truly thank you, in a classroom or not!

What tips would you add for schooling at home?!

XX,

Jess

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Deck Reveal

August 31, 2020 at 6:22 pm (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Its been a two year wait since moving into this house and several weeks of work this summer… but she’s finally done! We have a deck!!

Now mom has a spot to relax and watch the family magic happen! πŸ˜‰

Yes, its huge! The land directly behind the house used to be another house attached. This left the ground hilly, dead, full of bricks and glass, and in general, useless. So, cover it up we did. We filled in two giant cisterns and started a deck slab. Next year we will add a pergola to the blank spot of house where the table is now. We will put a pool in down below and then the following year add another piece of deck to half wrap around the pool. It will be the ultimate dream area when we are finished.

We do still want to add trellis to the bottom to keep everything out, but that will happen this fall.

One thing that was super important to us when adding the deck was having some shade, as we have very little from the one small existing tree.

My favorite umbrellas?! From Abba Patio! (You can use code La10 on your order with them too!) The 11 foot red stripe is gorgeous! And so easy to use. We custom installed it with brackets we made, but it can go on a table or a base as well. This keep it so much cooler in the shaded areas!!

Next I need to find some outdoor rugs to tie in the different areas. Suggestions?? I’m being so indecisive!

Also, looking for an outdoor sectional. Maybe a hot tub?! 😜

The table and chairs are from Menards. The wood lantern is from Walmart, along with the orange striped pillow and turquoise planters. The beach bag below is from Amazon.

The kids table is Step 2 and an awesome thing to have if you have littles. We use it all the time!

Tip- use a beach bag or tote like the one below to hold your deck or patio essentials. We take it in at night and bring out each day. Super helpful to keep things corralled while not getting ruined being left outside. We keep sunscreen, bug spray, santizer, sunglasses, beach towels, a speaker, and anything we want for the day inside. So handy!!

XX,

Jess

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Muscatine Iowa Area Sightseeing

July 13, 2020 at 8:12 pm (travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Summer is here! We’ve been quarantined long enough, so we are off to see all the sights, but distantly! So, we thought we would round up some of the things to do and see outside and at a distance, here in Muscatine area, Iowa. Enjoy!

1. Wilcat Den and Saw Mill- this is one of my family’s favorites in the area. Its historic and beautiful and there is plenty to do here! You can camp or stop for the day, hike the many trails, and explore the historic buildings. There is a school and an old church and even a mill. The old bridge over the stream at the mill is a gorgeous sight to behold. PLUS… you can swim in the stream and go up to the waterfall! Its an amazing experience and the whole family loves doing it!

2. Weed Park- one of the best parks I’ve found, anywhere. Picnic areas, pavilions, historical plaques and sights, gorgeous views of the Mississippi, beautiful landscaping, and a pond with ducks, geese, and fishing for kids. Plus, they have two playgrounds that are awesome. And once back to normal they have a waterpark. Totally worth a visit for everyone in the family.

3. Discovery Park- during normal times, they have an indoor center to see interactive wildlife features and even take classes. Currently, you can still see all they have to offer outside. There are numerous trails to walk, most paved, through gorgeous views, wildflower patches and even see wild animals. They have a butterfly garden and owls outside to view too. They also have a pond where you can fish!

4. Muscatine River Front- plenty to do down here, even distantly! You may not be visiting the pearl button factory museum right now, and even the splash pad is not turned on yet, but it’s still a beautiful, relaxing, and even entertaining area of Muscatine. You can walk the gorgeous river front, even stopping to read the plaques about the city history. You can play at the play ground. You can even take photos with the clam digger statue. And there are a few downtown restaurants up the block that offer outside dining!

5. Swinging Bridge- you have to drive about 15 minutes out of town for this one, but worth the drive. The Swinging Bridge in Columbus Junction is a sight to not miss. We visit each year for the views and a photo. Read about the bridge’s history, walk across if you dare, snap some photos, and even hike the lower trails. You will love this one!!

While you are out in the Columbus Junction area, you can see the historical marker for Convict Highway! πŸ˜‰ Just a super old road, but you can read about how the convicts of the time built it!

Muscatine also offers several parks with awesome playgrounds, a skate park, and a disk golf course. Plus plenty of sites indoors once that is safe again!

We also love to camp and boat. I can recommend places for that too! Enjoy! πŸ˜‰

XX,

Jess

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Bathroom Update

March 25, 2020 at 6:47 am (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I thought we were going to live with the 85% bathroom update for a while. But we got a little shove to take it to 98% done now. 🀣 What this means is that we redid the flooring! Yay! And we added a mirror and a couple more custom shelves in the laundry room.

We used snap-in wood and vinyl flooring and it was super easy! Except for dealing with the uniqueness of an antique house with crooked walls and missing trim, etc, but we managed and it’s been amazing and seems super durable already. We ended up going with large quarter round as trim because we need to hide some of those flaws from a very old house. But I love the look here!

The ONLY thing left is to replace the faucet. Soon. We are going to live with the sink and counter top for a while, but I can deal with that.

How cute are the little shelves holding laundry items?! We made them the same way, with plumbing pipes and hand whitewashed boards.

Remember, this is a mini refresh, (see the before shots, yikes, 2 posts back!) not a total overhaul, so this girl will still have to dream of one day having a stacking washer and dryer and wall cabinetry. This is gorgeous to me for now! πŸ˜‰

Xx,

Jess

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Bath/Laundry Room Update

February 11, 2020 at 8:38 pm (Home Changes and Additions) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We knew we wanted a fixer-upper, and we sure got it with this one! But we are enjoying putting in the work and making it into what we want for a home. The bathroom was no exception. We can’t afford a complete gut and overhaul of every room (I wish!), so this is a little refresh.

Before:

After:

We will put a new faucet in soon and plan to redo the bath and laundry room floors in a few months. But for now, wow. Its clean. Its peaceful. I’m in love.

We made the bathroom hook boards because in old houses you are at the mercy of where the studs may or may not be when hanging things. Attach the hooks in the spacing you want and then attach the boards to the wall where the studs allow.

We also made the shelves ourselves and hand “grayed” the boards by smearing white paint with fingers. Tedious but so worth it. The brackets are plumbing hardware and can be found at Mendards. We painted the parts with a light oil rubbed bronze spray paint.

We made the jar light fixture by painting the old silver fixture with oil rubbed bronze paint and adding the jars. We took solid jar lids and made holes in them to fix the jars to the fixture. Once it’s all painted you can’t see what method you used to attach them.

All on a budget for a quick fix up. We did add a new shower, as ours was a walk in when we bought the house and we needed a tub for the kids. Paint and curtains, and especially shelving, make a huge, but affordable difference!

Here are some fun detail shots.

A few detail links:

Curtains

Towels

Light fixtures

Amber jars

Wood laundry sign

Laundry rack

What do you think? Any recommendations?

Xx,

Jess

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Quick and Easy Valentine’s DIY

February 6, 2020 at 8:53 pm (Projects) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I made these fabric hearts last year and loved them so much I put them out again this year!

It’s so simple that it doesn’t require much instruction, but a fun project for anyone because there are so many possibilities! I used scrap fabric that I had on hand, making this super inexpensive too! I picked a couple fabrics that complimented one another and had a rustic vibe. You could use anything at all! The only other supplies you need are liquid stitch (always handy to have a tube on hand!) and some stuffing. You can get both of these at your local craft store or a Walmart. The stuffing sold here at our Walmart was in too large of a bag and I knew I didn’t want a ton. So, quick fix was to buy a small pillow insert at Walmart. This was about $4 and I have plenty left for more projects.

Start by drawing a heart on cardboard. Try a cereal or cracker box! Then trace this heart onto the backside of your fabric. Do sets of two hearts in matching fabric. Then run a bead of the fabric glue around the heart. Leave a few inches unglued. I left a quarter inch or so around the edge. I used a few binder clips to hold these while drying. You could also set a book on them. When they are dry, stuff fabric into them. Doing it in this order allows you to fill them full and puffy without ungluing. Now add glue to the last few inches and clip to dry. You could always add sequins, embellishments, ribbon, or any extras too.

The other little white heart was super simple too. I used a cardboard hear, made little cuts around the outside, and wrapped yard around the heart. The cuts helps hold the yarn in place for the first layer of wrapping. Wrap all different directions. Glue with the fabric glue. Simple!

Viola! Hope you enjoy this quick and easy project!

Xx,

Jess

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