September Results are In!

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The first month of my School Year Challenge has come and gone and I’ccomplished* the 3 main projects I wanted to get done!

(You can read the post The Beginning for how the School Year Challenge began.)

Finally, FINALLY, I turned some of my thinking into doing and can walk into my bedroom without looking around and seeing unfinished projects!

Lining curtains, hanging them and a framed print, rearranging furniture and exchanging pieces from other rooms in the house, putting stuff away, donating items we no longer wanted, and actually dusting flat surfaces and cleaning the floor have resulted in a sense of satisfaction and contentment that I haven’t felt in a long time when it comes to any room in my home.

When I read a book in my favorite genre (romantic paranormal/suspense) by an author I don’t know, I always read the ending first to make sure the heroine and her hero end up together to live happily-ever-after. If they don’t, I won’t read it…I want my books to have happy endings!

So, let me show you the happily-ever-after results of the first month of my School Year Challenge. Then I’ll share some details on what I did and how I stayed under my budget of $100.

September 30 – A happy ending for the master bedroom!

Sadly, I didn’t think to use the panoramic view on my camera to take a shot of the entire room BEFORE I started making changes.

Thankfully, I did take before shots of each section of the room! I also took after pictures of the same areas so there can be a comparison of what was iccomplished*.

Reflection on the Process:

During September I put accountability pieces in place in an effort to keep me from scrambling around at the last minute to iccomplish* my projects for the first month of the School Year Challenge.

Even with taking the time to create them, I still spent most of Saturday, the last day of September, finishing two of the three projects I wanted to get done…so there was some scrambling. 🙂

I can’t say, though, that those accountability pieces – the note cards on the wall (my version of The Chalkboard Method) and the handwritten calendar outlining project tasks – were a waste of time.

The note cards kept the master bedroom projects a constant presence in my mind and not so easily dismissed to, “Oh, I’ll get to that later.” and then never do it. Which has been my usual MO. (See the post Where Does the Time Go? for details on what I used for accountability.)

I crossed off the tasks as I completed them.

I will definitely use the note cards again and hang them on the wall for October’s projects.

The Changes:

FIRST…The Corner

September 1 – Caramel’s crate and my nightstand
September 30 – A chair from the living room, Alvin’s trunk, floor lamp, and my nightstand

Money spent in this part of the room = $0.00. I moved Caramel’s crate to the part of the room where the green chair had been, but that chair was too big for this space. So I exchanged it with a chair I had downstairs in the living room.

This chair is one my husband and I bought for $5.00 at Goodwill about 10 years ago. The comfortable looking shape appealed to us, but it was covered in filthy, well-used, yucky fabric.

At that time, I had been wanting to try my hand at reupholstering so we thought it was a great deal. We figured if the cushions and batting were stained and gross (they weren’t), we wouldn’t be out very much money.

This was actually a project I did fairly quickly for me (within a few months of buying the chair). The success I had with the chair was the beginning of the love affair I have with chairs, footstools, and unique sofas…many that I have purchased and all needing some work that is waiting to be done.

Alvin’s trunk had been the side table by the green chair but it works perfectly as a footrest.

The floor lamp was also by the green chair and it is a wonderful alternative to the lamp that had been on my nightstand. I now have more room to stack up books I want to read!

The rug that was by the bed is now under Caramel’s crate. She didn’t sleep on it like I thought she would. In fact, she used to lay by my nightstand all the time. Since we got the rug, she has slept more at the foot of the bed or on Douglas’ side…where there isn’t a rug.

NEXT…The Bed

September 1 – bed
September 30 – bed

Money spent on the bed = $0.00. The dust ruffle was one my mom had found at a garage sale. It has a hand crocheted scalloped edge attached to muslin. Several months ago, Caramel had a digging frenzy by the bed and caught some of the decorative edge, tearing it. I had pulled it off the bed with the intent to mend it, but never did.

Even with my last minute scrambling, I took the time to mend the tears. I was feeling so good with how the room was coming together, it became important to not put an unfinished project in the bedroom.

The quilt on the bed is from my mother’s house. She is constantly creating quilts and frequently is working on 2 or more at a time! Her quilting skills and sense of color and design are amazing!

I am very fortunate because she recently moved across the street from me and my sister (who lives next door to me). So whenever I want a different quilt, I just run over to my mom’s house to shop in her closet.

Mom’s quilt closet

I selected the quilt on the bed because the shape of the design is very similar to the print hanging over the dresser.

NEXT…Douglas’ Nightstand

September 1 – Douglas’ nightstand
September 30 – Douglas’ nightstand

Money spent on Douglas’ night stand = $45.75. My original plan was to refurbish the green nightstand: remove the peeling veneer, replace it, and paint it with chalk paint. So I bought two colors of chalk paint (to layer then sand), brushes, and wax all for $45.75. For a reason I cannot verbalize, I didn’t even think about the veneer. I bought the supplies about mid-month and they sat in the bag until September 30.

THIS was the project I left until the last day…should have done my research earlier! Taking off the veneer was a chore. In fact, I didn’t even finish before I started thinking, “What is involved in replacing this stuff?” I stopped to do some reconnaissance on YouTube and quickly realized there was waaaaay more involved than I was prepared to take on during the last day of my challenge.

So I looked around my house for tables that could be used for a nightstand and asked Douglas if he could use one of the end tables by the sofa. He said it would work, but asked if I was I going to paint it like I had planned for the green table.

You see, the end table was another flea market find…great bones covered in an old brown stain. Another project waiting to be done!

Earlier in the month, I told a friend about my School Year Challenge. She offered to let me borrow some chalk paint and brushes she had left over from projects she had done so I could experiment before I used the paint I had bought.

I used a tan color of hers to cover up the stain. I forgot to take a before picture because I was in such a hurry to get started with the painting, but you can see the original stain on the legs.

End table before its makeover

Douglas and I love his “new” nightstand and I am thrilled with the success of my first chalk painting experience!

NEXT…The Window Wall

September 1 – Curtainless windows, shelving unit, dresser
September 30 – Lined curtain windows and quilt armoire

Money spent on the window wall = $20.35. Lining and hanging the curtains was actually the first project I did in September.

I bought the curtains several years ago from IKEA because I loved the whimsical birds perched in the trees. The curtains let a lot of light in because they are fairly sheer so I purchased the lining over a year ago from Hancock Fabrics when the location near me was having a going-out-of-business sale. I found two inexpensive curtain rods at Walmart for $6.43.

I removed the shelves and metal shelving components. Then looked on YouTube to find out how to remove the bright green anchors that supported the entire unit.

I found a short helpful video and spent $13.92 on razor blades, spackling, and a sample size of paint that I had color-matched to the paint already on the wall. The process demonstrated in the video was easy to follow and I successfully removed the anchors, filled the holes, and painted the patches.

With Douglas’ help, I rearranged more furniture by switching the dresser and armoire. Moving the armoire away from the door, gives the room a more open feel.

FINALLY…The Last Wall

September 1 – Green chair, Alvin’s trunk, quilt armoire
September 30 – Caramel’s crate, dresser, framed print

Money spent on the last wall = $4.30. Caramel’s crate now sits on the small area rug where the green chair and Alvin’s trunk used to be. The dresser and framed print are where the quilt armoire used to be. My fun book turnstile has a prominent place on the dresser…I do love my books!

I dreaded hanging the framed print because it has two hanging loops attached to the left and right sides just slightly above the mid-point. The framed print weighs 13 pounds and I figured I would have to find studs or put in anchors. These details played into this being another project that I did on the last day.

Because he knew I wanted to do everything myself, Douglas suggested I use Monkey Hooks. They were $4.30 for a package of 10 and their packaging says “No tools! No studs! Installs in seconds! It took me a little longer than seconds, but after using them, they are going to be my go-to picture hanger…and I have 8 more left!

I didn’t get the bonus project done (it was the dresser), but that is okay. I iccomplished* 3 major projects that have been in my head for a loooooong time!


By accepting the time challenges I face by working full time, not beating myself up when I didn’t meet weekly deadlines, and setting realistic goals and persevering to the very last day on project tasks, I achieved success during the first month of my School Year Challenge!

It has been 4 days since I finished the projects in the master bedroom and the room still looks as good today as it did 4 days ago.

Caramel is still getting used to the changes in the room…

…and I have spent some time relaxing in the chair, reading my book, and drinking a small margarita from one of my favorite vintage jelly glasses.

I am confident Caramel will soon learn to love our room as much as Douglas and I do!

Read the previous post in the School Year Challenge.

Read the next post in the School Year Challenge.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle…I’m really excited about how the room turned out! I think the room looks like it is glowing in the after pictures even though the only difference from the before pictures is that the floor lamp is on. I like to think the room is happy too!

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