New Year's Goals

Just by writing this blog post, I am meeting one of my goals this year: to blog more.  And, I have also blogged more in 2016 than in 2015 just by posting this today.  Some of you may notice some differences with the look around here.  During our snowy weekend, the husband updated my logo and all the graphics on my site and social media.  I've wanted a new look for awhile now, and I finally convinced him to show me what I wanted. Because, I don't know that I knew it until I saw it.

So, moving forward into the year and my goals/plans/dreams for it.  I like to call my resolutions "goals."  It sounds more fun, less tedious.  I think that resolutions have such a bad rap of being discarded around February.   Goals, however, seem like something fun and challenging.  Something you want to do.  I usually pick a few books that I want to read.  Or,  a new food I would like to try.  We typically all do this as a family on December 31st.  That way we can help each other along throughout the year.  Most years I do pretty well.  Last year I didn't make my goal of sewing a quilt, but it is on my list this year.  Mind you, it may be a super small quilt.

This year, I want to do better with houseplants. I never realized how much I was drawn to them until I looked back through some of my pinboards.  I am constantly pinning rooms with tons of houseplants.  And, I am not a successful house plant mother.  I am either over or under watering.  I can kill even the unkillable.  So, this may be a bit of a lofty and expensive goal, but there you are. I hope to have such lovely and bountiful houseplants that it will be necessary to hire a houseplant sitter should we go out of town.

Throwing a pot on the wheel has always been one of my goals.  I remember being little and looking through the JCPenney Christmas catalog and seeing that potter's wheel and wanting it.  This year though, it made the list and it was one of the first things I did.  A friend and I signed up for a class and these are from my first night.  Now, I didn't end up being this pottery prodigy like I was (not so secretly) hoping to be.  I really wanted to sit down and just become one with the clay.  Like it was this missing link from my life for so very long.  That wasn't the case.  It's not like I thought it would be easy, but I was hoping I would just have this natural skill for it.  Each time I seem to make a bowl.  Even though I was supposed to be making a mug.  But, it is challenging and I am making something that is useful... for copious amounts of cereal. 

Other things I want to make this year are a black and white marled sweater... really soft. I would like to try my hand at spinning some wool. And, I do want to give quilting a shot as well....maybe...if someone will come do the cutting for me.  I also hope to blog more and maybe get some decent photos of our new old house.  What are some fun goals you have set for yourself?

Vintage Junky Christmas 2015

2015 has come and gone and I think I only managed one blog post last year.  How can that be?  I am sure I can come up with lots of excuses.  The big one being the word "go." I didn't choose a new word for 2015, but I think one was chosen for me and it was "go." And did we ever!  We traveled so much with the husband's job.  It was amazing!  We made so many memories this year.  Some great and some not so great (I'm looking at you "spending the night in the Detroit airport" and "flu in New York.")

This year we made a some great new friends and saw almost all of our old ones.  We adopted a puppy after nearly 7 years of being dogless. My boy and I survived our first year of homeschooling and decided to take on another one.  We had a great 7th geology birthday party (why didn't I blog that?!?) 

Other than visiting family, we stayed home in December.  We did almost all the usual traditions for our family and added a few new experiences.  It was great!  I will have to carry that around inside now that it is actually cold now and the twinkling lights are packed.

2015 was a year of us going and learning and trying new things.  It was a year of firsts: first grade, first cookie decorating parties, first knitted sweaters (and second and third.) It was a year of finishing (mostly) the interior of this little bungalow that I love so.  It was a year of celebrating and puppies and water balloon fights and bonfires.  2016 you have a tough act to follow.  Even if we don't get the flu.  Or spend the night in an airport.

p.s. Thanks to all of you who have commented on past posts or emailed  to check in since I have been noticeably absent from my blog this year.  I hope to blog more in this coming year, but even if I don't, you can usually find me on Instagram.  My handle is thevintagejunky.  Rumor has it the pup has her own account too.  *wink*

Thoughts on Living with Less

Happy New Year!  I loved having up my Christmas stuff, but  was anxious to get it packed.  I am always pretty excited about a New Year and a tabula rasa.  Plus, we had such a here or there, gogogo sort of year last year with the move.  So, I'm ready to start this New Year.  Before we moved, we knew we were seeking a smaller home.  So, we purged and sold and donated what we didn't truly love.  After physically moving to a home that is smaller (by about 600+ square feet,) we are still editing.  I'm having to be so picky about what I keep and sometimes it is hard.  But, other times, I feel so free!  It is so much easier for me to pass up some cute vintage piece (with a great price) when I know that I will have to give away something I already love to make it fit.  A "one in, one out" philosophy, if you will.

We aren't just living with less vintage stuff, but with less small appliances and what not.  When we started ripping out the kitchen, we decided that in order to execute our grand scheme of centering the sink under the window, that we would have to leave out the dishwasher. Now, I had already not used the dishwasher in our old house for over a year, so it wasn't a huge sacrifice.  And, honestly, I will complain about doing the dishes whether I am loading them  or doing them by hand.  We also decided that we didn't really need a microwave after we took the  one over the stove down to rip out the old backsplash.  We replaced it with a simple range hood.  Not only do we not miss these things, but that is 2 less appliances to replace when they inevitably stop functioning.  I also gave up my coffee maker for a simple Chemex and a kettle.  My old coffee maker would have taken up a fourth of the total counter space in the kitchen.

Our last home had 2.5 bathrooms.  This one has 1.  As today was my bathroom cleaning day, I can tell you that I do not miss an extra toilet, sink, or tub to clean--not one bit!  And, since we have exactly 7 rooms, I only have to clean one room a day.  I'm technically not even cleaning our ***Room of Requirement yet since I can barely walk in there, let alone vacuum.

Living with less house has been better for us. I know that our house is still huge to some.  And, that we have a long way to go in simplifying.  We don't miss the extra space at all.  I think with some well placed built in shelves that it will work even better than our previous home with more space. And, it frees up time to do things we enjoy (besides compulsive vintage shopping!)

We aren't completely finished with anything in the house, but here is a little before photo for comparison to the first photo.  I'm going to pretend my kid didn't just tell me that this red kitchen looks better.  We need to have a little talk about keeping certain thoughts to ourselves.

Here's to a simple New Year!

***affectionately named since if you can't find a place to put something, it goes there.  If you are looking for something, it is probably in there.

Vintage Junky Christmas 2014

Two sleeps until Christmas and I managed to pull together my first blog post in months.  I have been sharing progress on our new old house on Instagram  quite a bit and Facebook as well.  I just haven't had the whole house photo ready when it has been decently light in awhile.  Usually, we have our dining room table covered in books and projects which is okay.  I, for one, would rather see a semi clean room.

One of the best things about moving is finding new homes for your old stuff and loving it all as if it was new again.  And, it was no different pulling out our Christmas things.  I had purged a lot of extra stuff last year, so I didn't have much to sort. 

The place got snowflaked as usual.   I made a few new things, but I really tried to keep things super simple.  It is easy to overwhelm this smaller space with stuff.  

We weren't near my favorite place to buy mistletoe this year, so I made a little felt kissing ball to hang in the arch between the living room and the dining room.

I made some new stockings this year.  I loved our old silhouette ones, but I also love change! I recently learned how to knit socks, so I decided to knit some giant socks!

I bought very little to decorate with this year.  The poinsettias and the tree were just about it.  I foraged the yard for red berries and some cedar clippings to put in beakers and birch pots.

 We finally managed to use our drum over a tree stand.  It wasn't easy.  It wasn't pretty getting it up.  It may be tilting ever so slightly at the moment, but my whim was fulfilled.

I made some letters out of felt for the wall above the mantle and I also made some slightly larger ones to pin on our stockings.  I "borrowed" or "shared" the magnolia leaves from an empty house on our street in order to make the wreath around the letters. I like the way the green has faded now.

I decorated the kitchen just a bit and the bedrooms too, but I haven't been able to get a good photo of them.  I will post more progress house updates after the New Year.  I have to be honest, Instagram is my outlet of choice right now, since my Mac has been under the weather.  We have done a lot to the house, but there is quite a bit to go, especially the small details.

I hope you all have a wonderful, cozy holiday!  Happy Christmas Everyone!


Wow!  I really haven't been keeping up with this old blog and there has been so much to write about lately.  We have been making updates to our new old home.  Some, like our new counters, were planned.  Others, such as the new heating and cooling system installed just yesterday, were not.  So many things have been surprises in this house.  We don't feel that the previous owner did much upkeep.  And, while I try to keep my blog positive, this has been frustrating to say the very least.  It has slowed us down to to the things we really want to do.  Right now, we are working on the back splash in the kitchen and I hope that will be finished really soon.

We have (ahem, the Mr.) has been installing the lights that I picked out and had rewired or purchased new.  It is so hard to get a clear photo of this one.  The actual fixture is new from Schoolhouse Electric, but the globe was found in a vintage store in Knoxville.  The detail on it is so pretty, but the hallway is pretty dark.  I will see if the Mr. can use his camera and knowledge to get a better photo.

 Our room is newly painted and it nice and light!  I framed a collection of bird prints that I received for Mother's Day.  Now, I just need to repaint the peeling trim in here and find a bed or headboard.

All the windows in the house were covered in wood, stainless steel or pleated blinds.  I've slowly been taking them down and hanging drapes.  I had some great linen Roman shades made for the windows and doors that I didn't want to install drapes.  My friend Annie from My Swallow's Nest did a  wonderful job and they are so much lighter than the dated wood blinds.  I did decide to leave the wood trim unpainted throughout the house.  I am only painting over previously painted trim.  The wood really grew on me and it just suits the house and our style right now.  Plus, thinking of painting all the windows made me crazy!
We have had some other changes around here as well.  We have made the decision to cut out many animal products from our menu and our life in general.  We had already limited our meat intake earlier this year and we try to eat very little processed food. Becoming vegetarian is something that has been on our hearts in differing degrees over many years.  We have been doing this for about a month.  We bought a few cookbooks and we haven't been hungry or missing meat.  We are focusing on our meals being primarily vegan, We have had a very limited amount of milk from a local dairy that we have contacted and asked many, many questions about the cows. We aren't currently getting rid of clothing or furnishings right now.  We feel better using them up and wearing them out and not repurchasing leather items.  I know that this can be a controversial subject, but I feel so at peace with this decision.  So, we have been playing around with some of our very favorite recipes and making them without animal products.  Shh... not all of them are made with lentils and quinoa....

 And, for our next change... we took the big leap into home schooling our son.  We have always planned on sending him to public school and that helped influence where we decided to move.  He was even part of a program in a public school last year that we all loved.  But, after much discussion and research, we decided that home schooling will fit our family's needs best, at least for this year.  We have a huge community here that home schools and offers great classes and field trips.  And, while some days are more difficult than others, I can see he is learning so much already.  Right now, we are filling up a nature notebook with drawings and leaves and taking frequent trips to the library.

So, that's what has been going on our way.  Hopefully, I will have some decent after photos soon.... I will get the Mr. to take them with his camera instead of me just snapping!


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