Missing…..

Missing………

……..NEW POSTS FROM WHITE PICKET BENTZ

LAST SEEN:  FEBRUARY 20, 2012 (GONE FOR 2+ MONTHS!!!)

 

That’s right, to the whole handful of you who actually follow this little ole blog of mine, you may have noticed I have disappeared with no new posts since February.  The reason?? I have done absolutely NO home or decor projects since my cozy sweater pillows I shared here.  None, nada……zilch.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a HUGE list of projects (and garage full of projects) that I want to work on/finish, and with the on-and-off nice weather we have been having, my spray painting/paint something/build something/update my decor mojo has been working overtime!!  However, at this point, no more projects are being completed on the Bentz house.  You are probably asking why!?!?

It’s because……I’M MOVING!!! That’s right. Due to life’s twists and turns (and blessings in disguise), I am almost the proud owner of my own little humble abode.  The deal is almost done, with one potential hiccup that I am waiting on. Fingers crossed this puppy gets finalized and my moving date gets set!!!  

Will I miss my “new construction” townhouse that I have been so proud of?  Yes. But will I be even more proud of my own little house that is ALL MINE??   HECK YES!!!!  EXCITED GIRL RIGHT HERE!!

And lucky for my “wanna spray paint something/knock holes in something/upholster something” self, this little ole 70+ year old house needs some definite cosmetic lovin!!!  It’s not too bad though. Not enough that I ran out of the house crying on first entry (that may or may not have happened at one or two other houses I looked at……).  Everything major is in awesome shape, but the decor styling of a couple who have owned the house for 38+ years is much different than what I want to live in!  I am inheriting some awesome built-ins, but also a TEENSY kitchen that has cabinets just BEGGING to be knocked out to open up for more natural light.  Can’t wait to get my sledgehammer-ing on!

I have a few projects that have been done completed around the “old house” which I still have to write-up and post, and I might as well put up an “old house” tour before I go, but new projects are going to be very few until late summer when this girl is gettin busy at the new house!

Now, because I can barely contain my decor excitement, I have whipped up a little mood board for my new, all mine, girly, wonderful bedroom.  Here is what I will be moving in to (minus the furniture)…..

There are no real good pics yet (I will be snapping away at my home inspection coming up) but the bedroom is painted a really pale, baby pink with a pink and blue stenciled border around the top.  I’m sure the stencil took a lot of hard work and arm strength to complete, but it will be painted over!   Here is what I hope this fab space will become…………

The entire board was generated based on the new bedding I am longing for in the bottom left corner.  Right now the bedroom at the “old house” has tan walls with white and light green bedding. I’m itching for some bright and sunny color, but still with some subtle-ness going on.  You may recognize the chandelier from my closet makeover here.  There is a standard 1970’s “boob” light in the center of the room which will be swapped out for this lady-like fixture which will be removed from my closet when moving.

The dresser here is from IKEA, but I have a similar one that just needs a darker coat of stain…..PROJECT! I LOVE long mirrors over dressers and right now only have a lame-0 square one.  This is from IKEA and will be a definite early purchase for the house.  I am still dreaiming of which paint color I want on the wall……this girl is finally branching out of using tans on the wall for once (SCARY!). I am leaning toward the lighter, “Misty Aqua.”  Both colors are Glidden which I will color match to Olympic no VOC paint.

Right now my teensy bed is just a bed frame. I have all the materials necessary to build an awesome upholstered headboard, but now I have changed my mind and I think I REALLY want to build a farmhouse bed like the one blog-pro Katie Bower and her hubby built.  This is a DEFINITE project and I am itching to move JUST so I can get my build on. No sense building it now and having to move it! Who am I kidding?!?! I won’t be doing much of the heavy lifting…that’s what the guys are for….HOWEVER, I am nice and will save them one more heavy thing to move!

The rest of the stuff is just coordinating accessories that I love that will help round out the space.  I found the chair over at Joss & Main and I really wish I could stop drooling over looking at  it every 10 seconds!  Although its “on cheap” at $222.95 (down from $299) I can’t justify buying that right now with all of the other new house expenditures coming up.  Housewarming gift anyone (wink wink!)?!?!?!?

I really love the plan to use dark and white wood in the room for contrast.  The bed will probably be white, and as I said above, my dresser is going dark. Not sure about my current nightstand which will be getting another definite makeover. Maybe white like the bed? Or maybe a fun coral color???? NOW THERE’S AN IDEA!!

I have spent a considerable amount of time daydreaming about the rest of the house but the master bedroom is the only space that I have mentally ready to go! Want a sneak peak of some of the other spaces??

This is the 2nd bedroom………of course it has a full corkboard wall and baby blue ceiling fan……..why wouldn’t it?!?!?!  🙂

But it has awesome built-ins, begging to be painted.  Who wants to be the first to say in this cork-filled wonderland?!?! Oh, and it has blue carpet in this room…my favorite!!!!! SIKE!

That’s all of the sneak peeks for now. Hope I didn’t jinx myself and this potential one hiccup comes around and rears its ugly head, and then this place is only a fond memory of what could have been! CROSS YOUR FINGERS PEOPLE!

OH! One more thing…..White Picket Bentz will no longer be White Picket Bentz……as soon as I can come up with a new name. Anyone have any good ideas?!?! Lots of changes coming!  Who’s excited?!?!?!

 


New….

Just a warning….I’m going to get a bit serious in this post!!! And a bit wordy!  No decor here!

Alright, let’s continue…..

So, earlier this week during my normal blog surfing, I came across The Lettered Cottage’s Word of the Year link party.  In short, Layla teamed up with blogger/designer Ali Edwards who, yearly, selects a word for herself to represent the upcoming year and to focus on throughout the entire year.

Normally, when surprise ideas like this pop up, I typically shrug them off thinking “oh, it’s too late for me to start doing this” or “January is already half over, I should have started January 1st…too late” or “(SIGH) now I need to figure out something to work with.”

However, this time, I decided to embrace the challenge….who cares when I start….its my word and my year!

Source

If you haven’t guessed based on the title of this post, my word for 2012 is going to be….

Let me give you some details on how I chose such a simple word!  In looking at some of the links for inspiration, some people had words that really encompassed one thought, feeling or goal.  I started thinking deep and trying to find a deep, complex word to represent what I hoped the upcoming year would be.  However, just as Ali Edwards said in her advice over at The Lettered Cottage, I realized my word was exactly that…..MY word. It didn’t have to be complex. It could be as simple as I wanted and it only had to represent MY meaning. Not what everyone else thought it should be.  So, the word “NEW” kept popping up in my head.  Simple right?

For those of you that don’t know me personally, and for those of you that do, I have always been the “good kid” doing what everyone expected and what they thought I should be doing, living my life measured up against some set plan for how this “good kid” should live and how life “should” be.  I began this “expected” life right out of high school, through college, and continuing right out of college.  I had a life plan, and it was on course.  However, I learned an important lesson at the end of 2011.  There is no such thing as a set life plan. No matter what my personal life plan is/was, God has something bigger and better in store for me, even if I didn’t think so at the time. Just because I had a plan for my life and some 5 & 10 year goals, it didn’t matter. Sometimes God’s goals for my life aren’t the same as what I had chosen. I learned this the hard way, but can only rely on my Faith that God’s plan is bigger than mine.

This realization led to my NEW plan for 2012.  At the end of 2011, I started a new job, still in accounting, that I love a  bajillion times more than the job I had before. I am actually thinking I could MAYBE enjoy a lifetime career in accounting (ACK! Still trying to stomach that realization!!!) as this was something I didn’t think was going to happen, 4 years out of college.  This new job has brought me so many new experiences in 1.5 short months and I am learning so many new things, that for once, I am excited to get up and go to work every day!  This job change was not planned, however, and not part of my immediate life plan back in 2011!

Realizing that MY plan for life wasn’t really what God had in store for me, I am still going through a bit of a shock.  I am a bit of a control freak, not liking surprises, and like knowing what is coming up because I made the plan!  My life plan, and who I have been over the past 10 or so years, has defined who I was and who I thought I would be!  Now, due to life circumstances, having no set plan, I have almost lost my identity.  I need to create a NEW life plan.  However, this plan has to be something that is molded along the way. Not something I am going to come up with today, January 18, 2012, but something that evolves throughout the year and the years to come. Letting go and letting God help with my life plan is something I need to figure out.

This year, I am going to focus on this word NEW as I figure out who I am….the NEW me with a NEW life plan. This will involve NEW experiences, NEW activities (Saturday morning Zumba rather than sleeping late), NEW people and NEW friends, NEW decor projects (including some new skills…like sewing…that were things I could not do before!), NEW challenges, some NEW changes for the blog (hopefully) and visiting NEW places.

Admittedly, thinking grand scale, realizing that I am figuring out a new me……….scares me. So, to make it easier, I have determined that each month, I am going to do something NEW…..go somewhere NEW, meet someone NEW, try something NEW, etc.  This will force me out of my comfort zone (the comfort zone created by my former life plan). As I experience these NEW things, weeding out what I do and don’t like, the NEW me will evolve and God’s NEW plan for my life will start to take shape. Focusing on these little things will allow me to step back, release control of the overall plan, and let things fall into place.

LUCKILY the year has 12 whole months (well 11 1/2 at this point) giving me plenty of time to learn as I go.  Reading back over this, it all sounds like butterflies and rainbows! However, already 18 days into the year, this isn’t as easy as it sounds!  It will be a challenge, letting go of the past, my past that I created and shaped, and figuring out a NEW future.  But life is a challenge and going through challenges makes people stronger in the long run!  I am choosing to embrace this NEW challenge, with all of its inevitable ups and downs, to be a stronger, better person in the long run! I just have to remember to take it slow. I can’t figure it all out today.  Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will the NEW me!

So…..I am embracing the One Word challenge for 2012.  Anyone else out there want to join me? No matter that it’s half way through January! Challenge yourself! And you don’t have to decide right away. It’s your word, on your time, let it come to you! Anyone want to share their word of the year???

Alright, enough with the serious….back to the projects at hand!! I have some projects in the works and on the list to start.  Hopefully I can get them done to share soon!


Pop-Up Resolution (and project sneak peak!)

Happy FREEZING 4th day of 2012 everyone!   As I mentioned in my New Year’s Eve post, I don’t typically make New Year’s resolutions.  If something comes up during the year, then great!  2012 started without any concrete resolutions other than working out regularly (which isn’t really a resolution…..more of a demand to my internal laziness!)  However, standing in the customer service return line at Target, generated a resolution for me!

source

As I was waiting in line to exchange a holiday gift I gave to my niece, an older woman in front of me just turned around and started talking to me…….about the high quality karaoke machine she bought for a friend’s grandson.  “IT JUST SO HAPPENED, he received TWO karaoke machines for Christmas and wanted to keep the other…….despite this one being higher quality.”

What could I possibly say to this woman about the karaoke machines??  Maybe….”I like singing too? Only in the car, the shower, around the house. No public karaoke for me?”  Instead, I just kindly smiled and said “oh no!”  At this point, I was intently staring at the Target customer service people thinking “Please hurry and call this woman next so she stops talking to me!!!”

She continued on about how she hopes they will accept her return without a receipt.  So……..feeling like Target should be paying me for handling customer service questions…..I kindly responded that if she “paid by credit card, they could look it up in their system.”  Seriously, if accounting doesn’t work out, I have a definite future in Target customer service!!!  The color red complements brown hair nicely!

Now…..I was not in a good place this day…..grumpy, overwhelmed, and just generally irritated at the world.  At this point in her conversation and my half-hearted attempt to listen to her, she turns to me and says, “Do you know you have absolutely beautiful teeth?”  In my grumpiness and irritation, this totally caught me off guard (one of those awkward movie moments where 3 seconds feels like eternity while I’m just staring at the woman trying to comprehend what she just said).  My irritation faded and I just smiled brightly, said thank you very much, and wished her luck with the karaoke machine issue as she was called next in line.

This woman’s kind comment was just what I needed to brighten my definitely sour mood. I brightened up and finished my Target trip with smiles for strangers rather than scowls!  This lady taught me a definite lesson that day.  Although I was irritated and annoyed with her, she didn’t realize that her kind comment was just what I needed to brighten my mood.  As I thought about it more, I realized maybe she was in a bad place too….lonely and needing someone to talk to, maybe she had troubles in her life…(not that I was going to become her therapist, but sometimes just a smiling face for a few seconds can help brighten someone’s day). I should have just been nice and listened to her without being completely irritated, realizing I had nothing better to do while standing in line at Target.

My spur-of-the-moment, pop-up resolution for 2012 is……..when these situations come up, where a stranger or even an acquaintance strikes up a brief conversation, if time allows, I will do my best to not be irritated and try to give them a few minutes of kindness. Remembering that everyone has things going on in their life….trials, heartache, sadness….and sometimes only a brief act of kindness or a smile can help brighten a little part of their life.  This really shouldn’t be a resolution, but really a way for everyone to live to help make little tiny bright spots in the world!

This year I have also resolved to put a serious dent in my project to-do list around the house (after slacking off for a few months!)

First up, EXPANDING THE MASTER BEDROOM CLOSET!! I started this on my New Year’s Monday off of work and can’t WAIT to finish it up and share the final reveal with you.  This is going to be a definite “low budge” project, but one that is definitely needed for my overall sanity!

For now, here is a sad, disgraceful before shot……..

I hang my head in shame even sharing this with you….but hopefully it will keep my motivation up to get ‘er finished and ready for sharing!

Anyone else have any spur of the moment resolutions? Any major decluttering/organization projects happening in these first few days of 2012??


Festive Treats for the New Year!

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!!!  Looking back, 2011 was a year of definite change and transformation (full of ups and downs) here at White Picket Bentz….the year even gave birth to this here little ole blog!  I haven’t started my list of New Year’s resolutions, not sure if I will even have any!  I like to just roll with the days and see what pops up during the year!

This year I will be ringing in the new year with friends, dressing to impress (= lots of sparkles!) and looking forward to all that 2012 will hopefully have to offer!  I know its a little late but I wanted to share a quick recipe with you that is sure to help ring in the New Year at any party!

I found these Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Butter Cream icing on the always fabulous Pinterest (original source here).

They are mostly easy to make (unless you always end up battling the mixer, ending up with sugar and butter all over your kitchen – like me!)

Ingredients

For cupcakes (makes about 24 cupcakes):

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup champagne – the sweeter the better (I used Verdi spumante sparkling wine – it was a gift and what was in the house!)
  • 6 egg whites

For icing:

  • 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter – room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp champagne (again, I used the spumante sparkling wine)

How to

Cupcakes:

  • In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy (not so easy when its flying all over the kitchen  🙂  Be safe!
  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt together and blend into creamed mixture of butter/sugar, alternating with champagne
  • In another large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form (mmm…I just mixed for a while, no peaks, so I just gave up and moved on).  Fold 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten, then fold in remaining whites.
  • Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full (decorative/festive liners are always recommended!)
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean)

Icing:

  • With electric mixer (my enemy) beat together sugar and butter on low until blended, then for another two minutes on medium
  • Add vanilla and champagne.  Beat on medium for another minute

A fancy frosting bag and decorative pearls add some more fun to these festive treats!

If not for New Year’s Eve, these are great for family dinner gatherings on New Year’s Day!

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and an even more wonderful 2012!! Hopefully 2012 will be a year of new beginnings, more joys than sorrows, and lots of promise and prospects for everyone!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!


Saturday money making….tips for a successful yard sale!

Happy weekend everyone!!!  So, my mom is selling her house….or trying to at this point.  The house she has lived in for over 30 years…..the house I lived in my entire life, until college.  This impending move means there is 30+ years of stuff that this sentimental woman has held on to.  The realization has dawned on us (including her) that if we don’t get rid of stuff, it all needs to get packed up, moved, and fit somehow into a smaller place when she downsizes……not happening!!!  We figured we had to get rid of most of it, but before donating it, we decided to have a yard sale and see what would happen!

In the 50 degree weather today (= no flip flops [sad face]), we had a neighborhood yard sale!!  Overall, a success!! I typically HATE yard sales for several reasons:

  1. You have to get up early – the Bentzs are NOT morning people!!!
  2. You have to schlup all of your junk out for people to manhandle pick through, tell you you’re overpriced, and then walk away anyway
  3. Then when it’s over you have to schlup all of your junk BACK into the house, or find some other method of disposal that won’t break someone’s heart (i.e. in the trash!)

BUT, I kept an open mind…..the goal = make as much money as possible and end up with the least amount of junk!!

After a successful day, I have come up with my tips for the most successful yard sale possible.  I’m sure some of the more professional yard sale-ers out there have better tips than this, but its amateur hour at the Bentz house tonight – humor me! (Disclaimer – sorry for the lack of pictures – I was a lean, mean, selling machine today….not much time for pictures!)

1.  If possible, make it a family/friend/neighbor affair……the more junk treasures you have, the more people will come!  We had the yard sale in my mom’s neighborhood, with about 5 of her neighbors, as well as some family members. There was a plethora of treasures to choose from!  The shoppers were excited at all of the possibilities!

2.  Location, location, location!!! As with selling real estate, opening a business…..pretty much anything…..selling your stuff works best in a good location. You aren’t going to get much business without much traffic or possibility of being seen….by people other than the occasional passing cow or postal service worker.  My mom lives on a busy thoroughfare through town, so there was lots of traffic, both from pre-advertising, as well as general passer-by! Which brings me to my next tip……

3.  Get the word out!!!  Advertising ahead of time will help drum up early business (those that plan ahead) to help keep the throngs of random passer-by shoppers coming out.  The more people they see, the more they will think they are missing out on an awesome find!  Advertising on Craigslist helps get the word out (for free – SWEET!).  Also, when having multiple families, sharing the cost of a newspaper ad is also economical.

4.  Signage.  In addition to advertising through various media outlets, signage is important….especially when its pretty and attention grabbing!!!

The pink was definitely the way to go!!  Pertinent details including the date, time, address (blocked out to protect the innocent – my mother) and other key facts (multi-family) is obvious.  Shaun was in charge of hanging these at key places in town, including busy corners with stop lights where potential customers would be sitting waiting for stop lights.  Him hanging the signs drew questions from people passing by, and he just sent them on down to the sale!  He’s lucky this is all he had to do….I could have made him stand out on the street in a chicken costume, waving at drivers with a yard sale sign on…..but I’m nice.

5.  Organization is key!  The best way to get items sold is to organize your junk treasures into “departments.”  This was where I became the boss key player of the show…..we had housewares/decor, holiday fare, kitchen items, electronics, office supplies, purses and “man stuff” (tools, snow blowers, row boats – seriously, the row boat is still for sale…..any takers?!?!?!).  This worked well and kept customers focused on their options and kept items moving out the “door”!

6.  No one likes to give their money to a grump!!   #1 above in my list of reasons I hate hated yard sales – getting up early.  Getting up early makes me sad…..(“eating fiber makes me……sad” name that commercial……..) HOWEVER, I gave each and every person that strolled into our sale as much of a bright and perky “Good morning – how are you today?!?” as I could muster on a Saturday morning.  In return, I got lots of smiles and money flowing as treasures were being carted away to new homes!

7.  Prevent as few questions as possible.  You are going to be asked eleven-dy BILLION times if this Elvis shaped waffle maker still works (just kidding…….none of these were present at our sale!), so why have a million and one questions about price???  Taking the time (no matter how torturous the night before) to price everything ahead of time will keep the day moving along and keep the transactions flowing!

8.  The price is right!!!  Probably the hardest part of selling 30+ years worth of fun at a yard sale is deciding at what prices to part with things.  I  (who made the most money – ah thank you!) found that the lower you price things, the less people will try to talk you down, the more willing they are to buy additional items, and the easier it is to get that stuff out the door!  HOWEVER, in addition to having these lower priced items, having a few key pieces – priced higher (video game systems, keyboard – sold to our most interesting and enthusiastic customer of the day – serenading us with a song even, and a futon) helped round out the total earnings from the sale.

9.  Goodbye junk!  We were selling stuff, obviously, because we no longer wanted it…..so why bring it back into the house?  Everything that was left when we were finished was donated to a local ministry thrift store, grown-up books to our church book store, and all of my BabySitter’s Club books (TONS) were donated to a reading program at one of the local schools.  Not only did we clear out my mom’s house, we made some money in the process, and were able to help others….warms your heart!   You can search for local organizations (Salvation Army, veteran’s homes, etc) that will come pick up donated items after yard sales, saving additional treks to various drop off locations.

Overall it was a successful day! Most of the key items sold, with a decent amount being donated to local charities.  I am PUMPED at the money I earned…….I have already been deciding which upcoming home project it will be “allocated” to – SUPER EXCITED.

However, the saddest moment of my day was when my mom sold my baby stroller……..although I have laughed endlessly at her for still having it around after 26 years.  Seeing it stroll off to another home left me a bit nostalgic (and worried because I wasn’t sure if it was even up to modern day baby codes!)  I even asked the woman to wait a second so I could take a picture (I was laughed at quite a bit for this!)

Pictures take up much less space then keeping crazy items around for sentimental reasons….so they can laugh at me all the want……I’m the smart one…..and the one who made the most money!!!

So there it is……the Bentz method to yard sale-ing.  It was a money maker, but this is NOT going to be a regular occurrence.  Waking up before the sun on a Saturday morning is not our idea of a good time, but earning money for new projects (and having donuts – Shaun’s incentive) will definitely garner our consideration……maybe!