Daily Life, House & Home, Pictures, Reviews

Welcome Home: The Entryway (Part One)

Since my husband and I purchased our first home four years ago this summer, we’ve been thinking of ways we can give our space a little more personality. My husband has been tasked with finishing the basement (which is taking significantly longer than either of us could ever have anticipated) and I’m working on several small projects upstairs. So far, I’ve completed a mini kitchen transformation and a living room re-do. Most recently, I decided to tackle the entryway to our house. It’s the first area people see when they step inside and it’s the first impression people get when they come over to visit. I don’t know why I put it off for this long but I’m so happy that I decided to do something with the space.

We own a split level home (meaning when you walk in the door you have the option to go to either the lower or the upper level of the house) and so we have a very large (multi-story) wall right when you walk in. Up until a few days ago, we hadn’t done much with the space. To be entirely honest, I was a little intimidated by it but I had a clear vision of what I wanted the space to look like whenever I got around to working on it. I have always loved canvas prints but I’ve never ordered a custom one because they tend to be a little expensive. I happened across an Amazon Local deal that offered them for half the regular cost and so I figured I would take the opportunity to try it out.

Before I show you what it looks like, I want to take a minute to talk about my experience using Canvas Focus. I’ve purchased things through Amazon Local before and had always had good experiences with their vendors…until I ordered these prints. To make a very long story short, I ordered five canvas prints back in November with guaranteed delivery by Christmas.

Three of the five prints that I ordered arrived on December 14th and I was so happy with how they turned out. When I went online to check on the status of the remaining two, I couldn’t get any information. Their online system is appalling. You can’t see information about your order and they don’t provide tracking/shipping information for their customers. You would think, given the price of their products, they could do a better job at allowing their customers to track their orders. When I called to check, Canvas Focus told me that one of my two prints had been delivered (it hadn’t). They couldn’t provide me with any information about where my product had been shipped. I was told by the associate who “helped” me that they would re-print my order. I exchanged several emails back and forth trying to get information about my order with limited (at best) and un-helpful responses from Canvas Focus.

After Christmas (read: after the date of guaranteed delivery) I finally got an email from their production department about the other print. Apparently, they needed approval from me for the picture before they could send my order out. We got that squared away but I was still waiting on the missing order. I called Canvas Focus again and was told that the agent who had helped me a couple of weeks before hand never bothered to submit the paperwork for my reprint but I was assured that it would be taken care of and that I would receive my order at some point in the near future. At that point, I also inquired (again) regarding the whereabouts of the missing package. The associate told me it had been delivered to someone in Florida.

Not once did anyone offer me anything other than lip service. I was never contacted by anyone other than the production department and there was never any follow-up from Canvas Focus. It’s not that I expected them to do anything special for me but I was shocked that a supervisor never reached out to me and nobody ever apologized or tried to make it right. Having said all of that, if you’re reading this Amazon…I would think twice before contracting with this company again. I know I won’t be ordering from them in the future. Now for the good part…the pictures!

Welcome to my home!

Canvas Print Art

Canvas Art

Canvas Photo Art

Canvas Photo Prints

Canvas Prints

Canvas Wall Art

Wall Decor

I got the two white shelves from Target for just under $30. Despite my negative experience with Canvas Focus, I am so happy with how this project turned out. It’s nice to finally have an entryway I can be proud of.

Daily Life, House & Home, Pictures, Reviews, Uncategorized

Our New Living Room (with pictures)

If you’ve been following my blog for the last couple of months you already know that we’re working on finishing our basement. It’s a (slow) work in progress that we’ll hopefully finish at some point soon. In the meantime, I’ve been working on some projects upstairs and finding new furniture for the living room was part of that. We purchased our first couch together in 2006 when we were living back East. Since then, it’s gone through three moves, countless parties, animals, and a toddler. Needless to say, it’s gotten a lot of use (and it shows) so when we decided that we were going to go ahead with the basement project, we knew we wanted to move the old couch down into the new space once it was finished.

Here’s what our living room looked like before (I don’t have a picture of the entire living room for some reason so these two will have to do):


This monstrosity is called a shrunk and this particular one has been in my family since the 1980s when my parents bought it while we were living in Germany. It’s hand crafted and made of solid wood and so I’m very lucky to be able to keep it in the family. Whether C likes it or not, she will have this one day and I hope she’ll enjoy it as much as I do. One of the downsides to having such a massive piece of furniture is having to figure out where to put furniture in the room. Our living room looks significantly larger now that the Shrunk is downstairs. I think it will look great against the long wall in the basement when it’s done.


You’ll have to forgive me for this photo. The only picture I could find of our other sofa (the ottoman is in the corner) was from C’s first birthday party in February. The couch looks better in the photo than it does in real life but you get the idea of how the room was set up. Since we had selected such large furniture we were pretty limited when it came to placing it so it was pretty obvious when we had our carpets cleaned (more on that in a couple days) where furniture had been and where the high traffic was in our space.

Let me be the first to tell you (in case you don’t already know): Don’t order new furniture until you’re CERTAIN that you’ll have a place for your old pieces. When we placed an order for our new set (purchased from Nebraska Furniture Mart) we had already given ourselves a deadline to complete the basement. That deadline came and went and we had to move our existing furniture into the garage until it’s finished. I’m less than thrilled about it but, at the end of the day, it is what it is and there’s nothing I can do but suck it up and learn from the mistake.

All that said, this was the first time I’ve ever owned an actual living room set and we were so lucky to get such a great deal at NFM. Not only do they provide interest free financing (for two years) for their customers but they also have great discounts year round. We were able to purchase the couch, love seat, coffee table, two end tables, and two lamps for under a thousand dollars including delivery fees. Take a look:

Living Room

This is the Ashley Buttonless Tufted Loveseat in “Lagoon”:

It's An Ordinary Blog

Here is the sofa:

It's An Ordinary Blog

Here’s the Ashley White Coffee Table with Storage Drawer:

*”Storage drawer” is not really an accurate description since it has doors that open on each side (which is fine, I love it).

It's An Ordinary Blog

Here’s the Ashley Square End Table in White:

It's An Ordinary Blog

And the lamps:

It's An Ordinary Blog

Here’s a closer look at the pillows. This fabric is my absolute favorite:

It's An Ordinary Blog

Once the holidays are over, we’re planning to move the tree and get a small bookshelf and toy storage bench that will go where the tree is. Then we’ll probably buy this blanket in either cream or this orange-red color I saw in the store (which is STUNNING in person) once it goes on sale at Target. I’m also planning to work on an inexpensive large print inspired by something I saw on Pinterest. That will complete the living room project (look out for a tutorial post once I get it done).

I’m so thrilled with our new living room. It’s a comfortable space we can be proud of and I love it.

Updated Living Room

Daily Life, DIY, House & Home, Pictures, Tutorials

The Kitchen: Final Pictures

It’s been a little while since I posted about our kitchen makeover  (you can find the other posts here and here) and I promised pictures of the final product. Well…here you go! You may notice the cream-colored curtains that replaced the purple curtains from previous pictures…they’re now in their new home in the living room (more on that tomorrow). I actually really love the cream color, I think they brighten up the room.

Decorated Kitchen

Kitchen Makeover

Kitchen Makeover


Kitchen Decor

No Sew Curtains

Before I sign off, I want to talk about these “curtains”. They were SO, so easy to make. When I found the fabric (which is an oblong tablecloth from Target that I got on clearance for under $6) I was elated because I just love the color. I purchased two of them (one to use on the table and one to use for the window). To do this, you’ll want to buy a small tension rod. The one I bought (in the bathroom section) works perfectly for our window and it was $5 at Walmart. The rings have a clip on the end of each that help to hold the fabric in place. I folded the table-cloth in half and hung it on the curtain rings. It’s cute, functional, and inexpensive. The whole window treatment cost less than $20. I think the privacy is priceless.

Daily Life, DIY, Pictures, Tutorials

The Guest Bathroom: A Quick Fix

I should start by saying that our guest (/primary) bathroom wasn’t bad before but I’ve been wanting to do something to make it a little more user-friendly. We live in a 3 bedroom 2 (soon to be 2 1/2) bath house that was built new when we moved into it in 2009. We love our house but we’re finally starting to turn it from a house into a home. We started by painting and adding a chalkboard backsplash in the kitchen and are making progress in other rooms in the house (we’ll be finishing our basement in November). All that said, our “guest” bathroom (which is the one used most often in this house both by our family and by friends and family who visit) is pretty small and I wanted to utilize what little wall space I have better. Take a look:

Here’s what it looked like before…

Please excuse the cookies on the toilet we’re trying to introduce potty training to our toddler (I’ll post a blog about that down the road).

What I wanted to do was put up a couple of baskets on the wall above the toilet to hold extra bathroom tissue and guest towels in addition to introducing a little more color in the room. I tend to be a little nervous when it comes to putting things on the wall and so I wanted to be careful to find a way to hang baskets without damaging the area. I came across some great little Command damage free hanging hooks at the store that were (I think) a good price.

I got a set of 6 hooks for just under $9.00 and already had the baskets on hand. The set of towels and bath mat was about $22 total so this entire project was pretty cost efficient for me.

The hooks fit in really nicely on the back of the baskets and, even though it’s probably a ‘no no’, I went ahead and attached them onto the basket before putting the hooks on the wall because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to afterwards.

The instructions said to wait an hour before use and so I took that time to give the bathroom a deep clean (which, as it turns out, was much-needed). I hung up the new towels and placed the new bath mat.

Here’s the end result: