Welcome to Southern Comfort!

Hi, I'm Elizabeth and I invite you to grab a glass of sweet tea and join me as I (along with my husband, John) renovate our love nest. We're both born and raised in the south and love to share with you some of our favorite recipes, stories and our life. We hope you'll come back often!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Using what you have to redo a room and not fight it

That has to be the longest post title to date.

In the last post, I showed you this picture of our new rug.

Luckily, it was free, but in case you missed it, you can read all about it here.

Ok, so here is where we get a little tricky. With the addition of the new rug, came the task of getting everything to "match". Now, when I say match, I mean look cohesive. We don't really have a "style" for our house. It's a modge podge of hand-me downs along with a few items we've been gifted and some we've picked up along the way. The magic is trying to get them all to look natural to the space for a layered look that stays in tune with today.

Now, that that's out of the way. Let me go back a little further. Our living room in our apartment was bright, airy and hauuuuge. We called it the 'football field'. Because it was so bright I could afford to put dark colors in it and the room still looked bright and airy. However, when we moved into this house, our living room is small. I really wish it were larger, but without knocking down walls, adding more sq. footatge to the house and taking out a construction loan, we're just going to have to work with it.

Remember last year when I tried to make it a little more bright by painting the fireplace? And adding more Spring-like colors? I loved the look, it was great... until Fall came around. Then I was stuck once again trying to fit in colors and elements to match the season and what I was feeling with the weather. This process nearly killed John. He doesn't like furniture being moved all the time. But I just wasn't happy yet. It wasn't speaking to me like I wanted.

So off to the drawing board again. Sigh. I needed to change the room so I could let it flow seamlessly with the seasons. I needed it to be comfortable. I needed it to be us. Why was I fighting this so much? Finally, it hit me. Elizabeth, use what you already have and works! Duh. It was a lightbulb moment.

So, with one last urge and pleading with my husband to help me move furniture again it was accomplished.

I wanted symmetry on either side of the fireplace, so I moved the desk that was on the left side of the couch over to the right to balance the bookshelf. 

(Pickle really does try to get in every picture)

Then I added the pair of black lamps.

(Can you find Pickle in this one. I swear it's like Where's Waldo around here)

Now we're getting somewhere.

I needed a table to go where the desk was. I've mentioned it before, but this is my side of the couch, so I need a place to put the laptop and my sweet tea. Priorities first :) So I pulled a side table (that matches the coffee table) we'd been keeping upstairs to put in this spot. I don't love it, but it will work until we find something we love.
I apologize for the horrible wobbly picture above. No matter how I tried I couldn't get this shot to turn out, but it gives you an idea.

Nothing really changed in this corner of the room, but I added my little Goodwill lamp to the table.

There are still some things I'd love to change/add to the room.

1. We need a new couch. Desperately. The one we have now is a hand-me-down and it's so comfy. We have yet to find one we can both agree on, but we're working on it.

2. We need a new coffee table. The one we use now is cheap. I bought it (and 2 side tables, one is still upstairs, the other is beside the couch now) on Craigslist right before we moved into our apartment as we need something then and for $15 for all 3, the price was right.

3. New pillows for the couch. This is a really simple fix. The red ones on there now are actually left over from Christmas and never got put away. Oops. I'll be on the hunt for some cute napkins or fabric so I can make new ones.

So there you have it. We're done with the living room for now. Other than a few tweaks here and there :) I'll be getting to some new and fun projects coming up, with some never-before-seen rooms of our house. I know, EXCITED! But that's the great thing about a house, they evolve with you. I love watching ours change as we've settled into the space and how we live.
Hopefully I've inspired you to change what you don't like. Keep what you love. And enjoy the process.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Living Room Rearrangement... Again.

I know, I know. It's getting quite ridiculous how often I show you pictures of our living room. I promise, we do have other rooms in our house. Pinky swear. But because this is the one room where we spend most of our time, it means a lot to us to make it ours.

After we had our floors put in, we used a scrap piece of carpet (really, it was a piece we cut into a square) and put it in the middle of the room as our "area rug". It did the trick for a while. Then, it started fraying, getting dingy and thanks to our newest addition, Pepper, it started looking a lot like a rag doll as she would grab pieces and run with it, watching the rug unravel as she went. Awesome. So we were in need of a new rug.

(picture from last spring)

Problem #2 was we didn't have a whole lot of moolah to put into said rug. I try really hard to put natural materials in our home. Curtains (showers included), I prefer all cotton or linen. Bed linens, all cotton or flannel, and for rugs, wool, cotton, or jute. I don't trust the off-gases of cheap, man made materials.
Let me explain why.

I've never mentioned this on this dear blog before, and I dont want to make a big deal about it, but my mom was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis) 9 years ago. Along with her diagnosis, came a lot of changes to our family. And a BIG one was getting rid of and not putting anything (within reason) into our bodies that isn't 100% natural. No Splenda. No aspertame. Fresh fruits and veggies. No artificial flavors (except for the occasional Cheetos, good golly, I love some Cheetos). And surrounding ourselves with only natural materials. The reasoning behind this is that there really isn't a lot of long-term research showing the effects of man-made chemicals. Cancers, lead poisoning, asthma, COPD, and many other health issues can be directly linked to the materials you bring into your home.

So when it came to our rug situation, we were stumped. We needed something 6x9' or 8x10'. And a rug that size that's comfy, natural AND a bargain is few and far between. Enter Mom. My hero. Mom and Dad went to a neighborhood yard sale last fall and found a rug. They purchased it (for 15 buckeroos!) thinking that Annie, I, or themselves would one day need a new (to us) rug. It was in great condition and who can pass up a 100% wool rug? Luckily, when I mentioned to Mom our delima, she had it solved for us in about 5 minutes flat. Yea Mom! And it looks a heck of a lot better than our scrappy carpet :)

 I have to say, I'm loving how our living room is evolving into one of our favorite spaces. We are still moving things around and I'll give you an update on all our re-arranging in the next post.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Free Paint Sample from Valspar

I think I must be the paint spokes-person now. After being asked by Divine Color to test out their product, which you can read all about here, I've now been contacted by Valspar. The good news, is this time it benefits YOU!

Over the next month, Valspar has paired with Genevieve Gorder (you know her from HGTV and Trading Spaces) and will be giving away 1,000 paint samples every day! No shipping, no taxes, just free paint delivered straight to your door! I requested my paint sample, and it arrived just the other day. I can't wait to get some color on our walls :) You can choose from Genevieve's favorites or one of over 3,000 colors from Valspar's collection. Consumers just need to visit Facebook.com/ValsparPaint and click “Like” to receive their FREE postage-paid paint project starter kit.

Along with your paint sample, they provide a mini paint tray kit (with roller) and a 5$ off coupon for your next gallon of paint. All for FREE. That's the kind of price that fits my budget.

Be sure to let me know if you request one from them. I'd love to hear about your choice of color! Now that it's Spring, get some color on those walls!

Happy Painting!

Gorder Invites Consumers to Sample Fresh Hues for Spring—and Any of the More Than 3,000 Valspar Colors

Discover the Transformative Power of Color with Fresh Paint and a Fresh Attitude for 2011


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Getting Back on Track

Hi friends!

Shew! We're home (well, we have been for over a week now, but have just now gotten around to putting the luggage away) And now that we're unpacked, the laundry washed, the kids fed (and loved on), it's back to reality.

Things flew back into high-gear once we arrived back home. John's job is both very demanding of his time and attention at the moment, so I've had to tackle a lot of the house stuff myself here recently. Unfortunately, a lot of it is just cleaning and nothing exciting. Boo. I could write posts about the mounds of laundry, the piles of pet hair, or the stack of pots and pans in the sink, but I didn't think you'd like to hear too much about that. Am I right?

But I wanted to take the time to talk about projects. The good, the bad, and the ugly. The good news about DIYing is that we get a lot done on a strict budget. The bad thing is it's all done on our own time (which we love doing) but it does take a while, and some projects take longer than others. And the ugly? Well, we've got plenty of ugly. Either things don't turn out the way we intended the first time, or they just don't get completely done. Our problem is the latter. We have a LOT of projects that we've started and just haven't gotten around to finishing.

We have full intentions to get the job 100% done, but we get side-tracked. We're both at fault.  Take for instance, our floors. We started this project last April, and here it is nearly a year (wow!) later, and we've still got that last 4% left to finish.

Or the paint job in our master. I painted this room the first week we owned the house and never got around to finishing the last little crevice in the doorway.

Or how about the white doors downstairs? We prepped and primed two doors to get them ready for their white makeover, but that's as far as it got. We've been living with a modge podge of wood vs. white for over a year now.

It's not that we're lazy. We're not. But things get in the way of intentions. Like with the doors. Yes, we fully intend on painting ALL the doors in the house. But after priming 2 of them with spray paint (which gave us fabulous coverage) not only did our trigger fingers kill, but we decided it would save us much more money and time to buy a paint sprayer and do the rest of them all at one time. I look forward to the day we can have all our doors and hardware match.

But I'm guilty of another problem (and I know I'm not alone on this): After a while of looking at the same unfinished project, the thought of finishing it becomes a chore. It starts with wanting to complete it, but then the weather turns cold, the holidays arrive, and from there the excuses continue to build. And now, it's a chore to complete. It's more fun to start a whole new project with completely different results than it is to finish the one you started. I hate it, but it's the ugly truth. The DIY truth.

So with the ugly out there, for all you to see:
I vow, that by the end of this year, to wrap up all the unfinished projects around our house. I know, I just said it. I've now committed myself. But that's a good thing. It will keep me honest and (hopefully, let's keep our fingers crossed) make me get my butt in gear and back on track to our original vision for our home.

What do you have in your life that's incomplete (DIY or not)? I'd love to hear from you.
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