Category Archives: Home

Home sweet home!

Valentine’s Day Inspiration

Valentine's DayI’ve rekindled my love affair with Pinterest lately, and I decided to share some of my latest favorites. Is it just me or is Pinterest the best place to look when you need a hefty dose of inspiration?? With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite finds.

These nails are what started my Valentine’s Day pin collection. The pins of elaborate art on nails are fascinating, but I’d never attempt such a feat. However, I think I can handle this one!

I think this pillow is adorable! I recently ordered some wall art for my office from Michelle, and this pillow is on my wish list. It’s great for year round decor, but I think it’s perfect for Valentine’s Day!

I really, really want to make some of these heart trees. It looks like such a cute and easy project! You could also do a similar version for other holidays.

I love this tutorial for making a heart cake. I don’t own a heart shaped pan, and this would be soooo much easier than trying to cut out a heart shape. Genius!

This post had some simple but good Valentine’s Day date ideas. Of course, I think you should show people that you love them year round, but there’s nothing wrong with using this holiday to do something extra special.

Feel free to browse my Be My Valentine board if you’re looking for more Valentine’s Day ideas. Plus, you can see my quick and easy heart wreath from last year here.

Have you seen any fun Valentine’s Day projects or decor that I should add to my list? Please share!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas CardMerry Christmas from Matthew & I! We hope everyone has a splendid holiday season and thoroughly enjoys time with family. We love you all!

Follow along with some of our Christmas activities with #petruschristmas on Instagram!

This year’s card was designed by Christina over at Lacey Fields on Etsy. She did a fantastic and prompt job and was a pleasure to work with. You should look her up for next year’s cards, party invitations, etc!


DIY Fall Wreath

DIY fall wreathI’m working on building a wreath collection for our home. This fall, I had several different wreath ideas that I wanted to try and finally decided on combining a few ideas I collected on my Pinterest.

One of the main things I’ve been wanting to try is making a wreath from a pool noodle. I saw this idea somewhere on Pinterest (Sorry, I didn’t pin the link!) and thought it was genius! I picked up this pool noodle from the Dollar Tree (You guessed it, just $1.) and couldn’t wait to try the technique. To be completely honest, I bought this back in June with the intention of making a 4th of July wreath, but that never happened. Don’t judge.

DIY fall wreathDIY fall wreathSo, since I still had this pool noodle on hand, I chose a fall wreath plan that could use these supplies. You begin by using duct tape to attach the two ends of the noodle, creating your round wreath shape. Note: it’s very important to make several rounds with the tape, taping approximately 4-5 inches or more on either side of the connecting point. (The photo above is NOT enough tape.) You don’t want to come back to your wreath to find that it’s popped apart. I’m not speaking from experience here. Ok, maybe I am.

DIY fall wreathAfter I created my wreath, I chose to wrap the whole thing in fall colored yarn. Word to the wise: this process took a lot longer than I anticipated. I also ended up tangling the yarn more than a time or two. Nonetheless, I pressed on and didn’t set the whole project on fire like I may have wanted to at some points.

The day before I started working on my wreath, I saw Rachel’s fall wreath and thought it was adorable! I really liked the felt leaves so I decided to try to work those in. My original plan was to use fall-colored, silk flowers around the initial, but I thought the felt leaves would compliment the yarn I used. This project took on a few different looks before I actually completed it, as you can see from my supplies photo above. Those flowers didn’t make the cut.

DIY fall wreathI couldn’t make her leaf layout look quite right with the initial, so I opted for creating a flower of sorts behind our “P” instead. I painted the letter orange, distressed it a little with some brown craft paint, and adhered all of the pieces with hot glue. I also added a burlap bow, which if you notice was on my last wreath. It was also on the one before that AND on one of my Christmas trees last year. Talk about versatility!

DIY fall wreathWhat do you think? Seen any fabulous fall wreaths this year? Share a link! Cool wreaths are my fav!

I’m Thankful: My Backyard

I want to start a series of posts about things that I’m thankful for. These won’t be things that I go around and look for. Instead, it will be more like me choosing to elaborate on things that I suddenly realize. All too often, we overlook and disregard the little (and sometimes big) things in our lives that we should be grateful for. This series is my attempt to celebrate my own gratefulness and maybe inspire others to see and acknowledge things to be thankful for in their own lives.

That being said, today I am thankful for my backyard. The past few months have been a tad stressful, and I often find solace in sitting on our patio and listening to the sounds around me. I’m learning that I really love to be outdoors and get an astonishing amount of peace and relaxation from it.

I’ve noticed over the past several years, that when I get upset, stressed, or even angry, I immediately want to go for a walk. I never put much thought into that tendency until recently. Turns out, just being outside in the sunshine for a few minutes each day has a dramatic improvement on my mood and mental state.

flowersflowersSo why I am thankful for my backyard? It’s certainly not the tidiest, largest, or nicest yard in town. As a matter of fact, my husband cringes at the greenery overload that came from neglect over the years. (We are renting, and the owner of the home hasn’t focused much on landscaping.) However, there’s something that I can’t help but love about the privacy the overgrown greenery adds. Regardless of the state of the landscaping, I’m thankful for this space because it’s the first time in years that I’ve had an outdoor space to revert to. It’s a nice, private area where my neighbors aren’t in clear sight. We have comfy patio furniture with new cushions that I love. The patio area is easily accessible, and I can walk out in my (or Matt’s) slippers. Even if some of the trees are covered in vines…everything is green, vibrant, and inspiring.

Matt's slipperspretty cushionsOur backyard is a place where I can go and wind down. A place where I can sit and write or read. A place where I did a lot of studying for my real estate exam. It’s a place where I can relax and think about who I want to be and what I want to become.

So today, I am thankful for this space….our perfectly imperfect backyard.

my backyardIf you have an outdoor space, I encourage you to get out and enjoy it. Multiple studies show that spending time outdoors can dramatically improve not only your mental state, but your physical health as well. Let’s all enjoy this beautiful world around us!

What do you have to be thankful for? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Little Changes, Big Differences: Scarf Organization

This post is the beginning of a series of posts called “Little Changes, Big Differences” where I’ll show how tweaking small things in your home can make a big difference.

My first project for this series is tackling my scarf storage. Owning a boutique where we’re known for our scarf selection means one thing: I have a ton of scarves. One of the main questions we get in the store (after how to tie scarves), is how to store them. Here’s how I’m currently storing mine, beginning with a before picture.

Bad scarf storageI mentioned before that I turned a spare bedroom into a giant closet. This project is still a work in progress, so it’s not exactly the fashion oasis that I’m hoping for, but we’re getting there. As you can see, my scarves are hanging on rods on the wall. I like to hang them so everything can easily be seen. I love seeing how pretty they all are, and I like the color it adds to the room. Even if you don’t have a closet room like I do, you can still hang scarves with a rod on the back of a closet door or back or side wall of your closet.

To hang these scarves, I used silver bars from Ikea. As you can see from the picture, the system wasn’t working. The problem was that the bar wasn’t far enough off of the wall for me to be able to easily hang the scarves. The thicker scarves barely fit through there, and when I was in a hurry (always), I wouldn’t have time to fight with them. In turn, the scarf wall ended up look like this crazy mess. Not good.

If a system or storage function isn’t working in your home, CHANGE IT. Spend a few minutes thinking about what the problem is and usually a small amount of effort and/or money can remedy your problem and makes things work more smoothly for you.

Since I determined that the bars were too close to the wall, I decided to replace them with actual curtain rods. We’ve used curtain rods on a wall at Salt & Pepper before, and it worked wonderfully. I already had these rods so this update didn’t cost me anything, but you can get similar ones at Ross for under $5. These were $3.99! After installing the new curtain rods, I have more room to slide the scarves in, making it much more feasible for me to keep it tidy.

(Shopping tip: I actually get most of my curtain rods from Ross, because they have really nice ones for amazingly cheap prices. Obviously, the ones that I’m using for this wall aren’t the “really nice ones,” but I needed smaller ones with a yellow tint for a different project, and they’re coming in handy for this project too.)

New scarf storagenew scarf storageAgain, making a small change, such as this one, can sometimes make a big difference in the overall function of a space. If you’re looking to make your home less cluttered and more functional, be on the lookout for areas like this where you can make a small adjustment and in turn create a better environment.

Do you have any areas that aren’t working for you in your home? Tell me about them…I might can help!

See more from my closet room here!


A Quick & Easy Spring Wreath

It was past time for a new, spring wreath, so I finally reserved some time to throw something together. I snagged this green, berry wreath at Hobby Lobby after Christmas for less than $10. (It was $60 regular price.) Even though it was a holiday wreath, I immediately thought of spring when I saw it.

Green berry wreath

floral fabricI decided to tie on some springy, floral fabric to spruce it up a bit. To do so, I cut a small 1″ slit and then pulled both ends of the fabric to tear long strips. I could have cut the strips, but I wanted it to look tattered and irregular. Then, I just cut 4-5″ pieces from the long strips to tie to my wreath.

tearing fabric into stripsstrips of fabricfabric for wreath I also added a burlap bow and ribbon. I used a zip tie to attach the bow, because I like to be able to take bits and pieces off and reuse them for other projects. (This bow came from my January/February wreath.) To add the ribbon through the wreath, I tied one end of the ribbon to the back side and hid the knot behind the bow. After weaving it through the wreath, I tied the other end on the other side of bow and tucked it away. After securing the bow and ribbon, I tied the strips of fabric on in alternating colors to fill the empty spaces around the ribbon. Finally, I tied a piece of spare fabric for a hanger.

zip tie for bowtying ribbon to wreathfloral fabric on wreathhidden wreath hanger

New Spring Wreath!And there you have it! After hanging it on the door, I think it might look a little too much like an Easter wreath. I’ll give it a week or so of hanging there while I decide if I it needs to be reworked or not. What do you think??

Homemade Laundry Detergent: Take 2

Detergent Supplies

I’ve made a few batches of this laundry soap and decided I just wasn’t crazy about it. I liked that there wasn’t any grating or cooking involved, but I just felt like it wasn’t cleaning quite enough, and it didn’t have a prominent enough smell.

I have a few version of detergent recipes pinned (Don’t we all?), so I thought I’d give another one a shot. I sort of combined this recipe with this one to create my own version. I liked the first one because it included essential oils, which I figured would make it smell good, but I didn’t want to make such a huge batch without trying it first. So, I used the second recipe and combined the Fels-naptha soap and essential oil from the first. Lets hope that was a good idea!

Here’s what I used:
3/4 bar Fels-naptha soap
1 cup Arm & Hammer washing soda
1 cup Borax
Lemon Essential oil
2 gallons water

Detergent SuppliesHere’s what I did:
Obviously, you start by gathering supplies. Sometimes people have a little trouble finding the borax. TP Outdoors carries it (and the Fels-naptha) if you’re in the area. The essential oils were equally tough to find. I finally found mine at Fiesta Nutrition. Some article suggest to not use supplies from your kitchen, so I dug a pot and grated spoon from the garage sale pile.

Grated SoapYou begin by grating your soap. I bought the Betty Crocker grater from the Dollar Tree, specifically to make this soap, but it grated the soap too finely so it was taking FOREVER! I ended up pulling my hand grater from the kitchen and using it instead. One of the recipes suggested using just half of the bar of soap, so the detergent wouldn’t be too thick. I wasn’t sure, so I went the middle of the road and used 3/4 of the bar. However, the detergent ended up being too thick for me, so I’d suggest only using 1/2 of the Fels-naptha.

Cooking soapAfter grating the soap, you add it to the pot with one gallon of water. I also read somewhere that you have better results from using distilled water, so I purchased two gallons from TP Outdoors, as well. (Turns out that distilled water makes it thicker…that may be another reason mine was too thick.)

Heat the soap and water until the soap melts. I cooked mine over medium heat. Warning: this process took much longer than I expected…approximately 10-15 minutes.

Once the soap is melted, you add in 1 cup of washing soda and 1 cup of borax. I also added 4-5 drops of lemon essential oil. (I chose lemon because I like the smell, and because they say lemon kills bacteria, etc.) Mix these ingredients together and bring to a boil. This process took much longer than I expected too. However, when it started boiling, it almost immediately started to boil over, so I’d keep a close eye on it.

Boiling laundry detergentOnce the mixture starts to boil, remove from heat and add the other gallon of cold water. (I put the second gallon in the fridge to chill earlier that morning.)

Ideally, your pot should be able to hold the 2 gallons of water so you can stir them together comfortably. Mine only held approximately 1 1/2 gallons, so I split the remaining water between the gallon jugs, stirred the mixture in my pot, poured it into the jugs, and shook vigorously to mix in the remaining water.

pamelapetrus (4)I saved the gallon jugs, so I used a funnel to pour the mixture back in to the jugs. You’ll want to do this over the sink. I made a huge mess and wasted a good bit! Had my pot not been so full, it would have been easier to pour.

Homemade laundry detergentSo there you have it! The process was less intensive than what I imagined, with grating the soap being the hardest part. You use 1/2 cup per load of this recipe. I am doing laundry today, so I’ll hopefully have an update soon on how well this recipe works. I really like the idea of making my own detergent, so I hope to find a recipe that I like.

If anyone has a recipe that they love, please share. Furthermore, if you try this recipe and love it or hate it, please let me know how it goes!

Spring Cleaning.

I was reading this post about spring cleaning, and the writer challenged her readers to blog about their spring cleaning goals. At first I was reluctant because just the thought of all of the things I need to do made me instantly stressed. But, I decided to bite the bullet and thought that an actual list (and blogging it) might give me a starting point and some accountability. So here we go!

One of the most important things about setting goals is to make them achievable. So, I made an effort to really think about specific things that I felt like I could knock out this month. Here’s to hoping that this list will help me make them happen!

My Personal/Home Goals for April:
1. Build a curtain rod and hang new blinds & curtains in my closet room.  (Yes, I have an entire room for my closet. I talk a little about it here. More to come soon!)

Ugly windows in closetOur house had these hideous, yellowed  blinds from 1940, and we’ve changed all of them except this room. I’ve had the curtains and blinds for a while now and just haven’t gotten around to changing them out. It’s time to make that happen.

2. Clean out the third bedroom.

Messy third bedroom
This is just one corner of the room. I’m embarrassed to show how messy it is!

I had to take a deep breathe before even writing this one down. The third bedroom –AKA The Dungeon — is a terrible place. I hate it’s darkness and outdatedness. (I seriously doubt that’s a word.) It has paneling walls and the most hideous carpet in the world. On top of that, it’s filled to the max with stuff. It has boxes that haven’t been unpacked from when I moved in, boxes of Matt’s things from when we got married, excess furniture, holiday decor, and loads and loads of other JUNK. You would be amazed at the amount of stuff crammed into this one space. I’m talking a couch, bookshelves, entertainment centers, two beds/mattresses, and boxes galore…that’s just to name a few. All of that being said, cleaning that room out has been on my to-do list for months. I need to make it happen now because we want to….

3. Have a garage sale.
Garage Sale ItemsOnce I get #2 taken care of, the next big goal is to have a garage sale. We could likely furnish an entire second home with the excess stuff we have. If you’re in our area and need some stuff, come by our garage sale. There’s no telling what you’ll find.

And now for a more fun goal:
4. Switch closet over to spring.

Yellow wedges
Love these shoes! (Available at Salt & Pepper, of course!)

This is one of my favorite tasks of the year! I love getting out all of my clothes & shoes that I’ve forgotten about. Even though I love it, I always tend to put it off because it’s a hefty task. Nonetheless, spring is here and I know there’s a ton a cute sandals waiting to show off my newly pedicured toes. I’m going to knock this one out soon.

And lastly…
5. Do at least a little work on the bedroom decor.
MasterbedroomOur bedroom has taken on a few different looks since we’ve been married…a little over 8 months now. (We’re on our 3rd comforter if that tells you anything.) On my birthday, my sweet husband surprised me with this lovely Anthropologie duvet that I’d been drooling over. He also hung that shelf and threw those decor items up there. And it hasn’t changed…I haven’t done one single thing in there. It looks exactly the same as this picture from January (except for a few pair of earrings that have collected on the shelf.) I’ve been very excited about decorating our bedroom, but it keeps getting replaced with “more important” things. This month I hope to at least make a tiny bit of progress in there.

I almost got carried away while making this list. It’s so easy for me to let my mind run wild when thinking of all the things that I need to do. However, I knew that I needed to keep myself in check. I need to finish my real estate class in the next 2 weeks. I will also need to study for/take the final test and the licensing exams. This is in addition to regular home upkeep/cleaning and my lofty Salt & Pepper to-do list. Time is a valuable commodity around the Petrus household.

All things considered, I think I’ve set some pretty obtainable goals for this month. Most of all, I’m hoping that actually making this list and sharing it with the world, will give me the dedication I need to make these things happen. (Thanks Elsie for the push!)

Maybe you should join me! What would you like to accomplish over the next month? If you have a blog, write about it and then share a link in the comments. If not, just share your goals here in the comments section. I’d love to hear about them! And maybe, just maybe, we’ll all get a little more done by creating accountability for each other.

Here’s to a productive April!

Living Room Sneak Peek

I plan to do tours of our home soon, but I’m still working on getting things squared away the way I like it. For now, here’s a peek into our living room.

Living Room_Gallery Wall

(Photo frames: Hobby Lobby, TJ Max, and Ross. Star burst mirror: Paul Michael Company. Turquoise “P”: Hobby Lobby. Old mirror: vintage, gift. Empty oval frame: vintage from Salt & Pepper.)

This gallery wall is possibly one of my favorite parts of our home. I love random collections of things! For this one, I really like the mix of old and new.

This was my first gallery wall to do, and I must say it’s a lot tougher than it seems. Mr. Petrus and I spent well over an hour sorting through things and deciding what looked best where. (In reality, Matt gave up after about 15 minutes and came back when I said I figured in out. Haha.) Once I picked a layout, we laid down some sheets of large white paper, kind of like butcher paper on a huge roll. We traced out where the items went, and then taped the paper to the wall. We also made marks on the paper where the hangers were, so it was much easier to know where to put the nails. (I saw that trick on Pinterest.) I definitely suggest laying everything out on the floor and playing with it a bit before deciding where each piece will go. Plus, you’ll want to do something to mark where they’ll go on the wall to keep from ending up with unnecessary holes.

We installed this gallery wall before our Halloween party in October. (Of course…when else would a Halloween party be??) After several months, I’m still in love with it, so that’s a good sign!

What do you think? Do you like gallery walls?

Cleaning Out Your Closet

The night we came home from Memphis, I unpacked my suitcase and went into beast mode in my closet. My darling husband convinced me to turn an extra bedroom into a closet (Why wouldn’t I marry him after that?!), but I’ve spent months trying to get it set up properly and more efficiently. Something on the ride home made me determined to make it happen.

This room is a work in progress, so I’ll be sharing more about it as I go along. This post is about cleaning out your closet. (That could also be about cleaning negative things out of your life, but I meant it in the literal sense.) You must clean out clutter before you can get an area organized.

Honestly, it’s quite sad that I had an entire room for a closet, and I still didn’t have room for everything. Every area was spilling over, and it felt like I could never get everything squared away. I decided that I needed to get rid of more stuff. This is the 3rd time I’ve “cleaned out my closet” in the last 4 months. Even though I’ve already gotten rid of a ton of stuff (3 storage tubs and a big box full + a few garbage bags), I still felt overwhelmed by the amount of clothes crammed into one room. Somehow I still managed to purge 2 full garbage bags of stuff.

Garage Sale PileThere are tons of suggestions on the Internet for how to clean out a closet and I’ve tried a few of them. After all, this is a very daunting task for me…I hate getting rid of anything! So here’s how I finally did it.
1. One of the most important things to think about while cleaning out a closet, is to get rid of anything that no longer fits well, isn’t flattering, or is damaged. Don’t keep a shirt with a hole in it even though the tear could be covered with a jacket. If it’s stained, throw it out. Period. Even more importantly, don’t keep anything that you don’t feel great in. One of the most common bits of fashion advise that I give is to only wear things that you feel great in. If those jeans are just a little too tight and give you even the slightest muffin top, get rid of them! If that shirt fits just a little too tight across the midsection and makes you uncomfortable, don’t keep it! It’s much better for you to wear the same flattering pieces over and over again (in different ways of course), than to wear things that don’t make you look your best. Being brutally honest with yourself in this area will help you to get rid of things that you shouldn’t be holding on to. It doesn’t matter what brand it is, how pretty it is, or how much you paid for it. If it doesn’t make you feel like a million bucks…get rid of it!!

A purging hindrance can often be weight fluctuation. You don’t want to get rid of things because you might lose/gain weight and be able to or need to wear it again. This is another area where you have to be brutally honest. And let’s face it, thinking about your weight can be brutal. It’s a good idea to keep a few pieces in a size up/down from what you’re currently wearing, especially if you fluctuate regularly. However, do not make a habit of keeping things that haven’t fit in years.

2. The second strategy that helped me was to pick a storage area for certain pieces and get rid of any that wouldn’t fit there. For example, there is no reason that my yoga/lounge pants shouldn’t fit in one drawer. So, I picked the best place for them to go and narrowed down the collection until they all fit. (Remember, you don’t want any drawers, etc. to be too full or you’ll be less likely to keep things in order. Nothing is worse than trying to cram things into an overly full drawer.) When I realized how many would fit, I got rid of a few of my least favorite pair to make it work. Realistically, why do I need more than two pair of black yoga pants? I always gravitate to the same two pair anyway.

Folded Storage
Storage tip: fold items and store them this way rather than on top of each other so that you can always see your options. I’m also a fan of color coordinating…it just looks more attractive!

I’m going to share more about closet organization soon, but you must start by getting rid of extras that you don’t need. Don’t forget rule #1. If you wouldn’t wear it on a day when you wanted to look top notch, then don’t keep it in your closet.

Anybody have any tips that’s worked for them? This is a constant battle for me, so I’m always open to suggestions!