Monday, March 12, 2012

Who I Am

Lately I have had a couple of people say things like how I seem like such a normal every day down to earth kind of gal. And while I appreciate the sentiment, it made me stop and's because I AM a normal every day kind of gal!

I live in a normal house. It looks large from the outside but it's 1,600 square feet. So yes, we do have five bedrooms but they are teeny tiny! 
We are renters with a fabulous wonderful landlady, and we hope to buy it from her one day. But currently we can't afford it.
 {View of the back of the house last summer}

My husband has a normal job. With normal pay. And by normal I mean we live off of $30,000 a year. 

So when I show you my crafts, rooms, finds, and projects BELIEVE me when I say 9.9 times out of 10 it was an *extremely* budget friendly project. 

When I show you something like my $90 gift wrap, it's because I saved mad money for a year before I was able to make a purchase like that.

Do I find great stuff often? Yes, but it's because I am looking all the time, not because I can afford to run out and go all willy nilly buying whatever strikes my fancy. Heck I don't even shop Ebay anymore because they've gotten to expensive for me!

I am not afraid to strap on my junkin shoes and pick through trash for a find. 

Ok ok who am I kidding....let's be honest here, some of you may have heard this already or know personal style is "homeless chic". Most days I am dressed like a bum in sweat pants and a ratty paint covered tee shirt. In my defense, you never know when you might have to haul home a heavy dirty vintage door or something from the side of the road. And really, who wants to dirty up their good clothes doing that? 

I have normal kids, ages 4, 7, and 11. 
They play video games, dig in dirt, eat ice cream, and sometimes throw tantrums or whine. Ok, ok again who am I kidding? My almost 4 year old...she throws tantrums ALL the time. This is why I call her the tiny tot terror. It is also why I now only have to give her "the look" and she puts herself in a time out corner. 

I take normal photos with a cheap point and shoot. Sometimes they look amazing......sometimes they look like crap. What you see usually is the one out of 50 that turned out good. Sometimes I post the crap because I couldn't get good lighting and just give up. 

Sometimes I have crappy lighting AND I make silly faces....
 I drive a vintage beat up Ford pick up truck because it goes great with my business....ok....again who the devil am I kidding? Of course I love my truck, but I drive it because it was cheap and I can't afford to buy something that I will have to make payments on.
Yes, I ordered the sticker just for my truck. People need to know who they can turn to in the event of a zombie outbreak!

My living room may look like this...
 But it started out looking like this....
Clearly, I wasn't born with good taste. 
The lack of money means it's taken a lot of time to collect each of the pieces I wanted to make my rooms pretty. It DOES NOT happen over night. It took two years to go from the before to the after.

So if it *seems* like I am a normal every day kind of gal, it's because I am. I have struggles both personal and financial. My life isn't all roses and butterflies, but I try to have fun with it and enjoy and appreciate everything I do have.

I know sometimes it is easy to get down on yourself when you are looking at magazines or other blogs where people have the luxury of spending what they want to achieve the right look. 
{Trust me, they may have the money, but they have struggles too, just like the rest of us}
Or when you hear about "budget" friendly make over of around $1,000 and think what planet are they on where $1,000 is budget friendly?

Me, I am just going to go on doing what we all do and hope that someone somewhere is inspired....and if not, at least I had fun!


  1. Thank you for this post!! I am a new blogger and I am in awe of many other bloggers. I know you think you're income/budget is "normal" but trust me, where I live, you'd be the richest person in the city! We live on about $7,000/year here in Greece and that's pretty normal for our area. So I am right there with you with the low low budget. Your house is gorgeous! My dream is to have a house like that someday :) Thanks for sharing this side of you!

  2. This post just made you more awesome in my eyes! Making do with what you have where you are and being happy about it is life's best challenge (other than raising children, which is ALWAYS a challenge and work in progress)

  3. Great, great post! As we travel around blogland, sometimes it is easy to forget that real people are actually behind all these beautiful things. Thank you for sharing more about you. You have a beautiful home and have worked hard for it!

  4. LOVE this post and it is SO US too Nicki!! I drive a 2003 Taurus and hubby is STILL driving a 1995 ford ranger. Some days we laugh hysterically at his truck...ever since he bought it years ago the windshield wipers will come on at will and may go back off and may not. For awhile he was driving around with a stick in his truck and if it wouldn't start he would pop the hood and poke something so it would start. Finally got that fixed. A few weeks ago he woke me up and told he he had to take the car to work because his gas tank was falling off. Got that strapped the bed of the truck is leaning to one side kinda. We just look at it and laugh!!! It has become a game now to see how long this truck will actually last, but truth be told we have put more money into the car than we ever have the truck.
    We are one income too and can't begin to afford many things others have, but I am very content and thankful that God is good!! We need to get together and celebrate our NORMAL lives!! ha ha!!

  5. Thank you for your post. I am a 62 year old grandmother, have been married for 45 years. We never had it easy either. But I think I appreciate things more because of it. I probably now could afford to go out and buy things new, but now I love the hunt and refurbishing so much that I just keep doing what I have always done.
    Judi @ Loving All Things Romantic

  6. Nicki, I've always been drawn to you and your style. I thought it was because we were so alike, now I think it's because you're honest!!! Brutal honesty is a quality I love in any person!!! I rent, my house is 900sq feet, and both my cars are old...but paid for. And, sometimes we laugh hysterically to keep from crying...but we're a close family and appreciate the little things in life!

  7. Wow, what a great post, so honest and direct! It is hard sometimes to look at all of those blogs out there even though I think I have a fairly nice home. I hear you on "budget friendly"...$1000 is not budget friendly in my eyes. I love your truck! I used to drive an old Ford truck with holes in the floor and no air conditioning (in Utah that is not good!) and have since graduated about six years ago to a car...a 1995 Lincoln Mark VIII. It's in beautiful condition and it's paid for and I love it! Still, I have people say that I should get a new car because mine is so old! Hello? It's in lovely condition and it's paid for...just because it's a 1995 I should get a new car? Some people are crazy! LOL! Really enjoy your blog...have a great day! ~Stacy~

  8. I loved this post! Girl, I need to take some notes from you, your home is gorgeous and you do it with THAT income??!! You are amazing and I need to learn some better frugal skills for sure. $1000 is not budget friendly in my eyes, either. Your living room is so serene.

    Have a great week!


  9. This was such a wonderful, uplifting post. I'm always looking at these wonderful crafting projects (mainly card making and jewelry making) from several blogs and I'm always asking myself how in the bleep can they afford to do these projects several times a week? Crafting supplies are ridiculously expensive.

    It was so refreshing reading such an honest post, so thank you.


  10. Ok, this post just cracked me up. LOVE IT! Especially the comments on the photos! That's so me also! I admire your ability to put yourself out there like that. It matters not one lick how much money you make, the kind of home you live in, or how you's about you and your family and what truly matters is that you are happy! I often find myself getting a little worked up looking at all of the amazing bloggers and facebookers out there...comparing myself to them and trying to keep up. You just can't do do what works for you, put your best foot forward and it all works in the end.
    Thanks for sharing such a great post!

  11. This post made me laugh out loud! I have always thought that you were a down to earth kind of girl and this post confirms it. I got to say out of all the pictures you showed, the truck is my favorite. I love old pick up trucks and I love your zombie sticker! I love your honesty and ability to say it like it is. (But I got to tell you, I am still trying to figure out the ex-husband/current husband situation cause girl that is crazy!! LOL!!!) ;)

  12. I'm with you on the difficulty in taking decent pictures. My camera was 3 pixels until yesterday when someone loaned me a 7 pixel. Lighting is non existent in a tree surrounded house. I do my best to show them how I did a project and leave the vanity shots to those who have the equipment and know how. Actually, I like your pics! ~ Maureen

  13. Good for you! Being yourself and doing what you can with what you have is wonderful. I know, though, that sometimes it can be difficult, too.

    Like you said, we all have troubles - my hubby was forced to retire from his job nearly 1 year ago. Our NEW income with social security (his) and his retirement pay was about 1/3 what we were used to having. Somehow...we have made do, too. I had begun a complete re-decorating project of our house at that time and it still continues today. I am making changes to what I'm doing and doing alot more by myself. It will be a while before it's finished, but it's turning out great and I'll have photos when it's finished. BUDGET? Whatever I can eeek out of our finances, which isn't much.

    Jan ♥

  14. Amen Nikki....wait til they see my Van...I had a moment Friday, Because there are so many things that need to be done in my home But just got a dentist bill for 1,700 that I thought was going to be $800.00 and wondering how the heck I'm going to pay for that... Love ya your a great woman..


  15. Bravo Nikki!!! I really needed to see this post - it makes me feel so much better to hear that I'm not the only one on a serious budget!!! Living off of one income in Los Angeles is tricky and you have to learn to budget in all the right ways! Especially if you have a fixer like us - that's why projects are sort of sitting there until the right funds rolls around! :) Anyway, thanks for being the down to earth lovely person that you are!!!


    P.S. Your home is awesome!!! Love it all!!!

  16. Ok, I'm pretty sure i love you... I'm a dump diving, scavenging grubby girl too,... I totally get the 30 thou budget deal... i drive an old small suv that i absolutely love, i can't afford a car payment either, plus i'm always flinging stuff in the back of it. I don't need a perfect clean fancy car. And..... I'm really really glad to know who to contact in case of a zombie attack!


  17. Hi Nikki,
    Just love your house and your decorating philosophy...bring on the junk! I am so glad I found your blog and will be following along on your adventures from now on!

  18. Love this post! I thought I was the only one that broke! You inspire me--you do have good taste or you wouldn't be able to create such beautiful rooms on a small budget. I love your house! How lucky to find such a cute house to rent. I hope you can buy it someday soon. You are inspiring a lot of people with this post. Thanks for sharing such honesty and personal information. It makes people realize they aren't the only ones struggling--and that beauty is still attainable!

  19. This is the best post I have read in quite some time!!! It IS easy to start looking at my surroundings and get down in the dumps after viewing some of the fabulous homes and pricey antique furnishings we see featured on a daily basis. And may I say, your house is one of them!! The fact that you have done everything yourself for practically nothing is truly amazing! Your house is a wonderful family home and I hope your wish to purchase it comes true.

  20. this post and agree with everything that has already been said! I am such a thrifty, budget friendly, junkin, if it's's for me kinda gal!!!! I had much rather follow your blog and what you do with your fab finds than some of the other bloggers that have no problem spending $200.00 on a lamp!!!! I have actually quit following some blogs that I loved their decor, but they are way to rich for my blood.
    Keep...keepin on!

  21. Love love love this post. Thanks for being real and honest,so many blogs are by people where money seems to be no object.

  22. Nikki-

    thanks for sharing your heart with us! By the looks of it-- you've got an appreciative reader base. I have to fall in line behind these ladies too. We have similarities in our lives as well.
    We live on a little over HALF your yearly... but do what we can to get by. That's why I decoupaged my bathroom floor~ because it was ugly and I needed a cheap fix. It looks great and makes me feel so much better when I go in there and see it~

    enjoyed reading your post today--made me feel 'normal'. You'd be surprised now a days ...I think there is a NEW NORMAL IN TOWN~ Pat

  23. Well, you are in great company here, we love thrifty, my friends who don't get me think I am cheep! Yep, you are just a normal gal with a lot of talent and a darling house!


  24. I can't tell you how much this post resonated home with me. I knew there was a reason I was so drawn to your blog. Kuddos to you for all you've done and will do. I have to agree this IS the best I have read in a long time. I only wish I lived closer. Thank you for sharing:)

  25. I really enjoyed reading your post. I know where you are coming from. I've just about quit watching HGTV because I'm getting sick of all the budgets for remodeling a room that are more than we paid for our entire home. They use to have very helpful decorating shows. Are we the only people realizing that we are in a depressed economy? I just found your blog and as soon as I finish this comment, will be joining as a follower. Looking forward to diving into your past posts and seeing all your ideas. If you ever have a free minute, come visit my blog. It sounds like you're a pretty busy young women. Your new fan and follower, Connie

  26. I love the post I felt like I got to know more about you.

  27. Hello Miss, I love your house. You are down to earth, I must say. I will be checking your blog more. Smiles toy ou and yours, Susie (She Junks)

  28. I love your blog, because you are so "real". Reading your post made me feel like, Wow, I am not the only one that lives in the real world. Thank you so much for sharing. Karie

  29. I adore you for sharing this post!! Love your truck, attitude, dress attire, I was on a single mom budget12000 a year if tips were good with two children and a tote the note car for years and a good look with yard sale finds can be done on any budget! I would love to go pickin with you if we were in the same town!!

  30. what a great post! I love everything especially that truck! I'll be visiting often-you have a wonderful blog...:) chris

  31. I don't think there's anything wrong with your 'before'. And your after is fabulous! You do pretty good with 3 kids on your husband's salary. There's no shame in anything about are normal...right along with the rest of us! :o)

  32. Amen Sista Girl! Friends always think when I say I have no money that it is just some figure of speech, but I mean I literally have NO MONEY!! I work from home doing various things to make money to supplement our income and I LOVE to barter. I adore our house, but part of why we bought it was becuz it's a 2 family home and it would bring a regular income for us. Once we started having children we took stock in our lives and realized that the rat race could live with one less rat (me). I wanted to raise my boys myself and enjoy the experience of it, and now it has just become a way of life for us. We have "used" vehicles, becuz we can't afford payments as well. I'm a pretty creative person, so I'm not sure how normal I am, but we definitely lead a normal life with all the struggles, love and happines that comes along with it. I love that you wrote this. Thank You! :)

  33. You are a hoot! Refreshing and inspiring. You should move to spearman we have free trash pickup and it's cheap to live here


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