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Breaking Free From the 9-to-5 Life

Breaking Free From the 9-to-5 Life

Transitioning to working from home has been easy for the most part. But there are still a few areas that have been hard for me to shake. I’m guessing that a lot of people who make this transition feel the same way I do.

Get Rid of Non-Productivity

With my old job I was paid strictly based on the time I was in the office. This included bathroom breaks and making my morning tea and chatting with my coworkers, along with my actual time working. Now, I am only paid when I am actively doing work for my clients. My metric of productivity is having to change to a model based on actual work time instead of office time. It’s a transition for anyone who starts working at home.

Get Rid of Self-Doubt

Whenever anyone transitions to a new job, their skills need to flex. It’s even more relevant when transitioning to virtual work. There is also a lot less training available for someone who works at home. I’m having to constantly remind myself that I have the skills to perform well and the ability to learn quickly. It’s okay when I don’t know things! It only means that I need to research (which I’m getting very good at.)

Get Rid of Work Week Blues

It’s so easy for me to get bummed out when I’m faced with a new week. It’s been instilled in me since I first started school when I was five! I don’t need to dread Monday anymore, even if that is my ingrained reaction. I love my job and the freedom it gives me! It’s going to take a while before my automatic reaction to weekdays is changed to excitement, but I’ll keep reminding myself.

These are relatively minor distractions in my day, but still important to talk about. Have you felt similar feelings in your transition to working at home? Do you have any suggestions for me?

3 Areas for Easy Orchid Care

3 Areas for Easy Orchid Care

You have probably heard it said that orchids are hard to grow. Maybe you have even had an orchid die while in your care. It can be very frustrating. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be as difficult as everyone says it is! I’ve boiled my orchid care down to three main areas: potting medium, watering, and sunlight. If you can get these three areas on lockdown, then you can care for your orchid!

Potting Medium

The best potting medium for an orchid is bark, since it can hold a little water, but is also loose enough that the roots can breath (which they like.) My first orchid died because it had moss packed too tightly around its roots so it was never able to dry out. The roots literally rotted away. I learned to replant any moss bound orchids as soon as they were done flowering. You can find orchid repotting mix at any home garden center, I’ve included a link to the equivalent I found on Amazon.

Watering

Watering can also be another concerning thing in orchid care. I’ve found a really simple way to do it once the orchid is potted in bark. Once a week, bring your orchid to the sink and run water over the bark. I usually let the water start to fill the pot before I set it aside. Be careful not to let any water sit in the base of the leaves; this will also rot your orchid. Use the corner of a paper towel to mop up any extra water. Then you let orchids drain before putting them back.

If your orchid is still in moss, I would use the ice chip method. Put enough ice cubes to cover the surface of the moss and let them melt. This means less water is being introduced to your orchid, so it has more of a chance of drying out between waterings. I wouldn’t use this for orchids in bark because the water won’t penetrate down to the lowest roots.

The lighter color on this leaf is scarring from sunburn. I’ve learned my lesson!

Sunlight

Orchids are finicky with light. They like a lot of sunlight, but if they spend a ton of time in direct sunlight, they will get sunburns (yes, plants can get sunburnt.) The key is to find a place where it’s bright a lot of the time, but the direct sunlight is low. In my current house, I have the orchids on my desk in a window that gets a lot of light in the morning, but because of trees, doesn’t get much of it directly. Look around your house for a window that gets light for hours a time, if anything, you can put up a sheer curtain to offset the light.

Once I figured these three areas out, I started collecting more orchids. I have five in my care right now that are all happy! Of course, that wasn’t without trial and error (I’ve also killed two orchids to learn these tricks.) If you have any questions about caring for your orchids, please ask them! I have a Pinterest board dedicated to plants if you want to check that out. Happy growing!

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Questions to Ask to Keep Yourself From Buying Things You Don’t Need

Questions to Ask to Keep Yourself From Buying Things You Don’t Need

We all do it. We enter a store looking for one or two items and end up leaving with way more than we intended. This not only hurts our wallets but can lead to owning too many things. I’ve developed four questions that I ask myself whenever I start to divert from my shopping list, so I only go home with things that I actually need and can afford.

1. Do I need this item?

This is pretty simple, is this item something you need or something you want. Toilet paper and lettuce could be things you need. On sale wrapping paper or a cute pencil holder could be things you only want. I use this question to gauge if it’s something I forgot to put on my list or a passing fancy.

2. Have I been wanting to buy this for a while?

Have you been wanting to buy a new bathmat for months and you just found one on sale? Maybe this is the time to finally buy it. But you haven’t been thinking about buying that glassware set, in fact, you don’t really need new glasses. Skip it, even if it’s on sale. This gives you the freedom to take up low prices, but only on items that will actually help you.

3. Do I have the money for this?

This is the big one: can you afford it? Even if it is something you need and it’s on sale, you can still not have enough money at the moment to buy it. This is particularly true for pricier items. However, if you check out the price and realize you have that extra money in the budget, go for it!

4. Will I (or my spouse) be disappointed I bought this in a few days?

Even if you answer yes to the first three questions, you can still say no to this one. Maybe you have been craving a new video game and you just found one you’ve been wanting to play on sale! Then you remember that your spouse has been complaining about needing new work shirts. Sure, there might be yeses to the first three questions, but you know your spouse will be disappointed to wait another paycheck before getting new clothes. So you pass on the offer.

Only you can answer these questions truthfully and use them to help your spending habits. Usually, I only get to the first question and put the item back. Remember, there will be a time when you will have more disposable income, but until then, learn to recognize the difference between what you want, what you need, and what you can afford.

What are some of your tricks to curb your spending? Do these questions help you?

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How to Refresh a Decorative Globe

How to Refresh a Decorative Globe

Lately, globes seem to be all the rage in home design, with good reason, too! I have a globe that I have had since I was a child and Santa brought it on Christmas morning (lame at the time, but super cool now.) I seriously love this globe, but I really hate the way it looks with my current home decor. The tan, slightly metallic looking paint on the brackets doesn’t match anything and looks dated. So, I decided to paint the brackets. (And prayed that I wouldn’t accidentally paint the globe.)

I did this project in a lot of different parts in several locations, so please forgive the disparate backgrounds in all of the pictures. This was a pretty simple project, but it still took me a long time to complete. Other than the ugly color, there was also some of the equatorial tape that was scraping off. Other than that, the globe was in really good condition.

There is no easy way for me to take the globe off the bracket (like seriously), so I opted to cover the globe in paper and spray paint the bracket. My dad helped me to cover the globe by cutting slits in the paper and over lapping those slits to better conform to the curved shape. I didn’t actually tape any of the paper to the globe. We tried that and my dad ended up ripping off part of Canada. Oops.

I then went outside to spray paint the bracket. When I was deciding on colors, I wanted something that would go with any decor I chose. I zoned in on glossy black. It was a little nerve-wracking as I painted the globe. I was really unsure if the paper and tape we had used to cover the globe would really work. I crossed my fingers and hoped I wasn’t damaging it.

To my great surprise, the globe had absolutely no paint on it. And it also looked amazing. There were a few spots, especially in the hard to reach places, that hadn’t been painted thoroughly. I sprayed a little paint onto a plastic bag and used a Q-tip to apply it to those missing spots. At the end, I’m very satisfied with my paint job.

The last thing I needed to fix was the equatorial tape. I used some glue and a tiny piece of tape to bring it back into place. This really puts the finishing touch on the globe. I also used a little glue to repair what I could of Canada. The final product is something I’m really proud to see in my home. Do you have any questions about this projects? Or any tips that could have made it easier? Please comment!

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How to Reupholster a Dining Room Chair

How to Reupholster a Dining Room Chair

I’m a thrift store rat. If I need any new furniture, I go to my local thrift stores and find something that I can transform into whatever I need. I did this when I needed new dining room chairs. However, these chairs had hideous fabric and I realized that the fabric I chose for them is also not desirable. It’s time to reupholster them.  This can be a really great way to get cheap furniture that can also work in the space you have.

There are materials that you need in order to reupholster a chair and there are materials that can be helpful.

Materials You Need:

Material You Could Need:

  • Scissors
  • Staple Remover

Step-By-Step

1. First, take the seat off of your chair. Flip the chair over on to a table and unscrew the seat. It’s usually pretty obvious which screws will do this.

2. Next decide if you need to take off the old fabric. You can use a simple staple remover for this. I did this with the fabric I put on initially, but I left the original fabric. It depends on how thick the fabric layers are on the back and whether you can actually get the fabric off. Whoever put the original fabric on my chairs did such a good job that I literally cannot get the staples out (oh, well).

3. Next, cut your fabric to the right size. You want it to cover the top and go over, around the edges, and to the back by a few inches. This gives you enough fabric to secure it to the back of the seat.

4. Now comes the fun part: stapling the fabric on! You can put the seat either on a table or on the floor. I had to use the floor so I could put my whole body weight behind it because I’m weak :). Pull your fabric around the edge keep it snug along the edge, and put a staple in. I usually put the staple in about a half an inch to an inch from the edge. Start working around the seat.

5. Corners can be a bit of a pain. I just folded it together until it looked okay and then stapled it in place. I know my old fabric had the corners cut out to make it easier to staple on. Just play with the corners until it looks good to you. The corners are also the place where you want longer staples. I used 1/4″ for this chair and it was tough to get through when the fabric was thick around the edges. Get a longer staple (1/2″) and this won’t be a big problem for you.

5. Once you’ve finished stapling, flip over your work and make sure it looks right to you. If you notice any weird bunching take out the staples and redo that section. As long as you’ve been pulling the fabric taut it shouldn’t be a problem.

6. Now you can put the seat back on your chair using the screws from before. The screw should go right through the fabric into the same holes. Now you’re done and have a much happier chair than before!

I can’t stress enough how nice it is to have updated fabric on these chairs. It completely transformed the way our dining space feels. Please tell me how your own reupholstering projects go and don’t be afraid to ask any questions!

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4 Tools Every Crocheter Needs

4 Tools Every Crocheter Needs

When I first started crocheting, I thought that all I needed was yarn and a hook. I quickly realized that there are a lot more tools that a crocheter needs (and promptly went out to buy them all.) Here are the top four that a new crocheter might not think about.

1. Scissors

It’s pretty impossible to crochet without some sort of cutting implement, unless you are making a single color piece. Once you start getting into pieces that have multiple colors, you need to cut yarn. I started by using whatever scissors I had lying around. Then I upgraded to a small pair of scissors that fit in my bag better (affiliate link). Then, as I started forgetting to bring my scissors with me when I was out of the house, I bought a pendant (affiliate link). It’s something I can keep on my key chain, so I always have a yarn cutting implement with me (and it just looks cute.)

2. Stitch Markers

These nifty little gadgets have a lot of different uses. They can be used to mark the first stitch when you are working in a round, it can mark the number of stitches when you are working on a blanket, and it can mark stitches when you are working on a complicated pattern. It’s basically a little reminder for later. There are typical stitch markers that are used in crochet and knitting (affiliate link). I use safety pins because I have a lot of them after running a bunch of 5ks. Basically, you need anything small that won’t fall off the stitches (I learned the hard way that bobby pins don’t work.)

3. Yarn Needles

The best way I have found to weave ends in is to use a yarn needle. It’s a large needle with a dull tip and can be used to weave ends in or sew two projects together. The first time I got some I got plastic ones but I would recommend getting metal ones in a few different sizes (affiliate link). The metal ones tend to work better through projects and don’t break as easily.

4. Hook Book

As you get more serious about crocheting, you’ll notice the amount of hooks you own grow. It can be hard to keep track of all of them. This is why you need to buy something to store all of your hooks and all of the supplies that go with them. There are a lot of different styles of hook books. The first one I had functioned a lot like an actual book and the one I have now rolls out to show all my accessories (affiliate link). Basically, find a book that will work for you, at a price point that works for you. It will save you a lot of lost hooks.

Crocheting is such a wonderful hobby to have. I love being able to create beautiful and useful pieces. Of course, I need all of my various supplies in order to get it done. Do you have any tools you absolutely need when you crochet? Please share or ask questions!

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How To Refurbish Ceramic Lamps: All They Need is a Little TLC

How To Refurbish Ceramic Lamps: All They Need is a Little TLC

I don’t want any waste any time with my first project post of The Life Refurbished. Let’s launch right into what the content of this blog will be about: refurbishing all aspects of life. This includes, for a big part, refurbishing furniture.
This leads us to the lamps.
before
I got these lamps for free from someone I work with. It was apparent that they needed some TLC. The person I got them from even said “Imagine them with new lamp shades before you say no.” I, of course, said yes (after the imagining, of course). I immediately put them in my car and started pondering ways I could improve them.
The most needed change was the lamp shades. They really, really had to go. I went to WalMart and browsed their lamp aisle. These shades are similar (affiliate link.) They’re white, so they can match any decor and the shape looks a little less last century.
shades
Next, I pondered the color. After asking my boyfriend and my roommate, I decided that the red really wasn’t that bad. However, I noticed that it was inconsistently colored and it wasn’t a color that was easy to match with most decors. I also really like painting things (you are going to learn this). So, after several days of staring at them, I decided to repaint the lamps to a uniform navy color.
This lead me to two cans of spray paint and my parent’s basement. First, I taped the bulb socket and the electric cord, so no paint would get on them. I used plastic sandwich bags and plastic wrap, also.
pre-paint
Then I painted the lamps with primer. This allowed me to uniformly cover the red and not have that color influence the upcoming blue.
primer
I let them dry for about 20 minutes and then applied the blue. It only took one coat to get all the surface painted.
painted
However, I’ve learned this is the wrong way to do it. I would recommend putting on two or three thin coats of paint and allowing dry time in between. That way there will be no runs or unsightly lines.
Make sure to hold the spray can at least a foot away from whatever you are painting and don’t worry if you miss a few spots, you can always go back in and touch up once the initial coat has dried. I’m still learning this lessen; I tend to get a bit paint happy.
In the end, the lamps both turned out wonderfully and very much better than when I first got them. I have no room for new lamps, but gosh I really want to keep these. I’ll try selling them on Craig’s List to make a few dollars off of a project I really wanted to do.
finished
 What do you think of this transformation? What would you do differently?

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