General Mom

Mom-of-5, building a home in California, step by step, with Faith and Feistiness ~ by General Mom Contractor

Tag: DIY

Decorating a Shared Room with Coral and Blue

I was beginning to think I would need to repaint the girls shared bedroom. Afterall, it was light yellow with straw yellow carpet. It was basically blah, blah, blah and very monochromatic.

I started the transformation with these adorable coral and white striped drapes at TJMaxx for $29 for the pair. I was surprised that it totally changed the blah room to wow!

Then, I found these Cynthia Rowley blue ruffle comforters at TJMaxx for $35 each. The coral monogram initials came from Kirkland’s above their beds. They actually only had an “M” but I needed an “N” that the hubs had to jig saw off the extra leg and dremel it smooth. I touched up the sanded spot with acrylic paint to match. And now we have an “N”! These layers of colors really started to transform the room.

I already had the antique hutch which holds folded clothes and books that I transformed years ago during the black furniture rage. I considered painting all the pieces again. Would love your feedback if they should stay black or change to blue or coral!

I found this old record cabinet years ago and it is bright red inside with a built in switch. I lined it with white shelf paper so that folded clothes can hide inside. A cute coral scripture hangs above it from Hobby Lobby that was 90% off making it $4. All the artwork was the same discounted awesomeness.


I pulled out these antique mirrors that look cute in a grouping with some added ribbon to match the bedding.

There we have it…avoided painting the walls, added lots of color and found decor at big discounts made for a fresh, fun shared bedroom.


Decorating Inspirations: Paintings

I get a lot of designer magazines every week. So I gather up inspiration for how to style or decorate and also ideas of what to hang on the wall. One major problem with these magazines: the price. So DIY here we come!

I’ve been thrifting old ugly canvases and reprinting them for about 8 years now. Seeing past the ugly art is the key. I usually look for a large format canvas that are fully wrapped around the back so you don’t see the staples.

I had a 9′ blank wall to decorate in my dining room and I found two large 30″ square canvases at Burlington Coat Factory in the clearance section for $15 each.

Here is the dining room bare with the ugly art leaning in the background.

They had a glossy gesso finish on them with lots of texture that I loved. So I bought white gesso from Hobby Lobby to cover it up and so the new acrylic paint would bind to it.


My little guys even got in on the fun and some paint on their PJ’s. So I had to to a break before I even got started!

Here is the inspiration photo from Ballard Designs wanting $300 for each painting (which is likely printed and gloss gesso put on top).

I liked the circles and especially liked the arabesque patterns. I have a lot of that pattern in my house. Do you remember the Craigslist marble backsplash story? Well I traced the marble behind the stove and made a template out of a cereal box.


IMG_0837.JPGThen I used an ice cream container for the circles and a shower squeegee for the dragging the paint.

Isn’t art so fascinating how it comes together. It’s a mess for a while and you keep working it until it just feels finished. Or the kids bug you for lunch…either way.


And here is the side by side inspiration on the left and my creation on the right. Not bad for $30!


Bath Shelves and Trim

Why does finishing a project make us so happy? My hubby installed the nook shelves and trim in the master bathroom this weekend. When our countertops were installed, I had three shelves cut out of the left over pieces. So, the hubs cut three pieces of primed shoe molding and nailed them under each shelf. He still wants to add left over pieces of walnut from the kitchen island as an apron across the front.

These were my inspirations on Pinterest.


And here is what my master bath shelves look like now. I think the walnut trim will really complete the look with the cabinetry.


The hubs extraordinaire added the walnut trim to each shelf and it really does add architectural cohesion to the cabinets! I love it!



I’ve Got A Golden Ticket!!!!!!!!! (a signed permit card is gold!)

I keep singing “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because the County Inspector just signed the Final Inspection on my Gold permit card! That means we are officially DONE!! Yippee!! Jump for Joy!

Since it’s summer break from homeschooling, I plan on posting more on design process tips and pictures of the interior with linked sources for you.

Bottom line, if a mom with five homeschooled kids can build a house in 9 months (21 months total) in one of the toughest counties in California then you can!

Be sure to put your email in the bottom of this page and new posts will come to you directly without spam.

Time for General Mom to have a cup of coffee!


House Building Requires Weakness

In order to enjoy house building, you have to understand and embrace your current home’s weaknesses. Meaning, whatever is “broken” in your current home whether that be lack of functioning space or poor design, make a list and design your home to fix these problems! Certainly you will need to depend on God’s grace for the new weaknesses that arise and the personalities to match.

I am a 20 year veteran recruiter. I’ve asked, heard and rehearsed my own responses to, “So, tell me your strengths and weaknesses.” The trick is knowing your weakness in an interview and spinning it into a strength! Same for house building!

Kitchen Weaknesses
With a growing family of 7, I cook with industrial sized kitchen pans and have to plate 7 dishes three times a day. So one of my weaknesses is clearly space in the kitchen. I need a large cooking surface and plating area/ serving spaces. The 1500 sq ft. rental we were in for a year and a half emphasized how great of a need it is to get the new kitchen space correct.

I designed a large 48″ range and counter space on both sides of it. I can plate the dishes and my food runners (i.e. 5 children) can set the table. Problem solved. The picture shows my baking weakness/ strength on the left with a pantry with pocket doors. My mixer, blender, toaster are hiding behind the pretty doors!


I also put three large sinks in my kitchen! Hubs objected and snickered for months, but, the weakness showed itself at our rental and I had solid proof that my new system would be optimal!

Sink #1 , the main sink, under the kitchen window with the view from God!

Sink #2 , the island sink for huge pots and pans. My rental kitchen sink looked like a pan graveyard overflowing with soaking pans and lids. You can’t even rinse dinner dishes it’s so daunting! Right behind my new cooking area is this island sink which is dark brown, 33″ Granite composite.

IMG_8233.JPGSink #3 is our beverage and snack station sink. It’s a 24″ Granite composite Blanco white sink. It is perfect for the espresso machine, wine fridge, lunch making area and kids fruit basket area. Problems solved.

The battle of dirty dishes, clean dishes, and arguing to put dishes away was huge. The main sink, is for rinsing dishes and houses a cute metal basket hiding children’s cups to be reused. I put a dishwashers on either side of the main sink for this weakness….dirty dishes/ clean dishes/ putting away dishes nightmare. We go through an entire place setting at every meal. Since we homeschool, we go through 21 dishes and silverware and cups a day. So the crazy cycle was creating strife and I’m solved it with one clean dishwasher, one dirty dishwasher. Rarely putting away dishes. Just go and get the clean dishes out all day. Use them and put them in the empty dishwasher. Run it at night and that’s the new clean dishwasher. It’s genius!

So many more weaknesses that are now strengths that I want to tell you but then this would become a novel! I’ll show my laundry room weakness turned strength soon! Stay tuned by putting your email at the bottom to get posts emailed! Feel free to ask questions too. I love chatting house talk.

As Holey As It Gets

I get so geeked out by each step of this housebuilding process and I have the videos of dirt being pushed around and holes being drilled to prove it! If you come over for a visit, you’ll likely see a video or two.

Today, I was very enthusiastic for the 10 foot holes being drilled all over the house site. 76 holes to be precise. I had a moment where my stomach turned over thinking about the enormity of this project in Northern Cali. that this Midwestern Momma with 5 kids took on. Did your stomach just turn too?

You would have thought a baby was being born today with my full-on photo and video taking mode. I got to witness the last four holes being drilled!! I even posted a photo of the last little baby hole! See…I’m a total geek. I was excited and relieved! We never hit boulders or rocks during the two days of drilling which is a huge blessing!

Now, we wait for the structural engineer to come out tomorrow to inspect the holes with the custom made steel cages in them (we thought we had to go down 8′ but actually had to extend them to 10′ on site). The Geotech also comes out to inspect the depth of the soil. Oh wait, the county comes out to inspect the holes and cages too. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Too many cooks in the kitchen!! It’s a complicated matter to build in this area, I tell ya!

But today was another victory! 76 holes in the ground! All glory goes to God for such a wonderful blessed day! Next step, concrete!



You Have To Step Out On A Limb To Get The Fruit