Training sabbatical


I am currently away for training and will return in mid-March. During this time, the blog will continue to be updated with fresh content, including some amazing features from a few of my favorite fellow bloggers. Thanks in advance for your patience, as I will have limited access to email and social media while I’m gone. I look forward to reconnecting with you in March … energized and ready to tackle some thrifty spring projects! 

Favorite thrifty projects of all time (Part 1)

This week, I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane and share with you a few of my all-time-favorite DIY projects (so far). These projects have stood the test of time; they’re ones I still enjoy looking at; ones that still work for our family; and ones that have saved us real money versus buying already-finished products or hiring people to do the work for us.

1. Master closet build for under $250


2. Master bathroom makeover


3. DIY hickory floors


4. Budget-friendly backyard patio renovation


5. Exterior lights makeover 


It’s so enjoyable to go back and reflect on how much work has been accomplished around our home so far. I am excited to see what thrifty, DIY projects lie ahead for me this year! :)

What is your favorite DIY project you’ve ever accomplished?

Living room makeover with light and color

Getting enough light into the main floor of our home has always been a problem. We live in the woods and our downstairs windows are shadowed by porches on three sides. Also, I’m not sure why, but the contractor who built our home never installed any ceiling lights in the living room. Floor and table lamps provide our only source of light at night. My husband has even complained that the lack of light may be giving him headaches. (Or could it be two cranky kids whining for snacks before dinner? Hmmm.) ;)
Our plans are to someday add recessed lights in the living room ceiling. But since we have a two-story home, that project will likely be complicated. In the meantime, I discovered a quick, easy and inexpensive way to add more light in the space without tearing holes in the ceiling or calling an electrician.
GE-Reveal-halogen-bulb-packagesI recently picked up enough GE reveal® halogen bulbs to replace all the light bulbs in our living room lamps. These bulbs are designed to filter the dull, yellow rays of traditional soft white bulbs and illuminate your home with clean, beautiful light. GE reveal® bulbs claim to make colors and patterns pop, enhance the look of wood grains, and make whites appear whiter.
So I switched out all the light bulbs in our dark, dingy living room with GE reveal® bulbs and I was pleasantly surprised at the results. Check out the comparison photos I took below. The light bulb on the left was a CFL that was in our lamp before. The one on the right is the GE reveal® halogen bulb I replaced it with. (No photo enhancements were done to either picture.)
GE-Reveal-transformationI replaced a total of five bulbs in our living room. My husband commented when he got home from work that it seemed brighter in there and that the lighting looked more natural, and less “yellow-ish.” I especially love how these bulbs light up the special reading nook in the living room, where I get to snuggle our toddler every day. 

In addition to my quick and easy lighting makeover, I decided to add pops of blue in the living room to balance and “cool” the yellow and brown tones of our wood flooring and living room walls. I typically like to keep my furniture, walls and flooring neutral and then add color through the decorations. This allows me to completely change the look of a room without a lot of hassle and without spending a lot of money. For example, I incorporated blue into the living room through my rug, pillows, artwork and throw blanket.


Can you spy my Pottery Barn knockoff DIY birch candles on the mantel? Find out how to make your own here.

Living-room-blue-decorations Living-room-decorations-fireplace-2014

I can’t believe how much difference changing out my light bulbs and incorporating an accent color make in this room.


I added my DIY driftwood candleholder to our side table. This is one of my all-time-favorite thrifty projects. Check out how to make your own here.

Driftwood-candleholder-and-lamp Picture-display-in-living-room

Now let’s take a stroll down memory lane and see what my living room looked like before the light and color makeover.


And, just for fun, here are some photos of the way before, back a couple of years ago.

BEFORE living-room-spring BEFORE Fall-mantel-environmental BEFORE new lights and blues Neutral-living-room

What a difference a few, small changes can make in a room! In the comments below, tell me what you want to reveal in your home with GE reveal® lighting for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card to complete your own #100reveal.

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion using #100reveal; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3. Blog about this promotion using #100reveal, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. 

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 1/19/2015 – 3/1/2015.

Be sure to visit the GE reveal® Lighting brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts!


Special thanks to GE reveal® and BlogHer for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions – and sweat equity – are 100 percent mine.