Oh my goodness, the Gieses have been some kind of busy for the past month! Normal busy, of course, with the holidays, wrapping up the fall semester (taking classes for me, teaching classes for Ben), and typical work and family stuff. But we’ve also been making some progress with the house! I mentioned when we moved that we chose this house in particular was because all of the big things (kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, layout, etc) were exactly our taste, meaning I just get to dig into fun projects that reflect our style and make the house our home. The past few weeks have really allowed me to flex my DIY and décor loving muscles. Before getting into the updates, here’s a reminder of what the space looked like a week or two after we moved in. I also posted a video tour here of our whole house this summer after we had done a little more. I’m so happy with the changes we’ve made from there, I just wish I had the time to tackle this stuff more quickly! I am absolutely loving school and feel so at ease in the choices I’m making with my education and future career. This is honestly a weird feeling for me because for years I was so uncertain about what my core interests and strengths were and what to do with them. I have to say, it feels damn good to be making concrete progress toward something I’m passionate about. The downside is that being enrolled full time doesn’t allow a lot of free time to devote to the things I love to do just for me—writing, creating, watching Real Housewives…the really soul filling stuff. Okay, so maybe not the last one, but it’s a guilty pleasure and I regret nothing. I read The Fringe Hours, which is a game changer, and listened to a hefty number of podcasts on the subject of self care and I’m finally buying into the idea that it actually does need to be a priority if I don’t want to turn into a crazy person. I think sometimes we fall into the trap of believing that if what we’re doing doesn’t serve a greater purpose or someone else that it’s a waste of time. What we have to understand is that a dry well serves no one. We owe it not only to ourselves, but to those we love, to make sure we are nourishing our curiosity and doing what sparks us. In case you missed it, that was your permission slip to go do something you love for no other reason than you love it. Get down, girl.So, as part of my dedication to making time for me, I decided to take advantage of my break from school and focus on some fun DIY projects! For me there’s nothing more satisfying than creating something that I can use or see and enjoy every day as part of my home. In the past few weeks I installed a shiplap accent wall, built a desk and two picture ledges, hung a new gallery wall, made and hung new curtains, and refurnished/rearranged our living room. I made a mess and had some fun with it, and it was just what I needed to recharge. I’ll post more about some of these projects over the next couple of weeks, but I was just too excited not to share a little bit of what I’ve been up to!
First up is my shiplap wall. This was a super simple project in term of complexity, but did take a bit of time with attaching it to the wall and cutting the planks to size. I still need to caulk by the ceiling and the baseboards and I’ll also be repainting it a slightly warmer shade of white to match the trim more closely. Overall, call me obsessed. I would cover my whole house in this stuff if I could. Next up is the gallery wall. I moved most of the pieces that used to live on the plank wall to this new arrangement and I love it! I’m trying to hunt down a thrifted buffet to put under it that is narrow enough to leave enough room for the chairs, but this is working for now. Also, the blank pieces of wood on the gallery wall won’t be blank forever. I may try out some hand lettering on the big piece of barn wood and will probably try something more abstract on the little piece. I’m totally open to suggestions for a quote or a word to put on the big piece! I’ve been toying with “gather” since it’s in the dining room, but what would you choose? We also rearranged and refurnished! After trying out a couple of configurations and thinking about how we really use the space we decided that a big comfy sectional was the way to go. We actually got the same one as our best friends/neighbors because we loved theirs so much and it was one of the few options that fit our budget. Sectionals are expensive, you guys! I’m a copycat and there is zero shame in my game. We also moved the mint dresser (aka my favorite piece of furniture ever in my life!) to be the TV stand. These curtains are the easiest little project I’ve ever done. Ever. It took me less than 10 minutes to go from naked window to wintery-ikat goodness. I used this tablecloth from Target, cut two rectangles, folded to the top to fake a seam, and hung those suckers up. I still have plenty of fabric to make a table runner and probably a throw pillow cover! I was joking with a friend that this collection at Target was made for me…mint + gray + navy + ikat = all the heart eyes. Last, but definitely not least, is the desk and picture ledges! Ben has declared this his favorite project of mine to date. There’ve been a lot of projects over the years, and while he has a famously unreliable memory, that’s a pretty big declaration. Both of these were super easy and I’ll post more about them later this week, but I’ll tell you now that including shopping, building, painting, staining, and installing all got done in about 5 hours. I love DIY with a quick turnaround time, so this was beyond satisfying. I hope you enjoyed this update and maybe got some ideas of your own! I can’t even tell you how energizing it’s been to get all this done and get creative again. Self care has to be a thing. The world is better when we’re not frazzled and insane, okay? It just is. Don’t forget about that permission slip I gave you earlier! Consider it your personal invitation to invest in your joy. Do something you love today, friends.