Sunday, December 12, 2010

Heirloom Furniture

I am a lucky lady. Not only did I marry a very, very good man, I got a very talented grandfather-in-law as well. (And lots of other great in-laws, but he is the featured relative for this post.)

When Papa retired he took up furniture making as a hobby. He has become quite the talented artisan over the years. I thought I'd show you some of our beautiful pieces just for fun.

Our wedding gift:

Notice the beautiful detail on top. We store our Rock Band equipment inside.

The most recent table he made us-
This one is especially neat because it is made from wood my husband bought him when his grandfather gave him his truck at 16. Mind you, he made him haggle hard for a fair price before telling him it was a gift :)

He's made a couple of sweet pieces for our kiddos.

This cabinet was just because. Isn't the carving inside beautiful?

This piece is in our dining room, he gave it to us when we moved to Georgia.

And this piece he made just for me because I mentioned I liked the one in his house. Pretty isn't it?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Are we crazy! YES WE ARE!

Or should we go the Bob the Builder route instead? Can we do it? YES WE CAN!
We have started a new remodel project. Don't worry, the bathroom isn't done yet ;)
My husband works from home, however, and hiding in the bedroom is not a workable solution. So last weekend he began framing in the basement.

He, his dad and his grandfather got this all done in two days. Yeah men!

If you are wondering, these are soffits to contain the HVAC ducting, gas and water pipes, etc. Insulation and drywall start this week. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Window Solution

I am so thrilled to have solved some major light problems in our house for cheap cheap cheap!

We have just moved our daughter's bedroom because her former room was too cold due to being over the garage. The new room has high ceilings and a pretty window arch.

Pretty? Yes. Problematic? Yes. I did not want to pay for a custom wood blind to fit so I have been trying to come up with a DIY solution...PVC, fabric, maybe?

Then I found Readi-Shade. Got it for $17 on Amazon, though it's available at Macy's or Bed Bath and Beyond for around $25. A paper fan shade with peel and stick strips. Just cut with a blade and stick. It was cake, and look! Not too bead for seventeen bucks.

FAR MORE problematic are the two-story windows in our living room. We thought they seemed nice, let in lots of light. That they do. So much light in fact they are bleaching out my couch, make our living room uninhabitable several hours a day and heating my house up to the point mid-day that I have opened windows when it is 40 degrees out to cool the place off.

Ideally, I'd like motorized blinds, but they run about a grand a window. I just ordered a 6-pack of Redi-Shades that will fit for $25. Feeling very excited to see the result for such a minimal price!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Master of Disguise

Our new home has two stories. This has caused some formerly unexperienced toy dilemmas.

I dislike having our public living areas crowded with toys, but dragging them up and down the stairs is impractical. I go to great lengths to keep things close at hand but hidden away.

Case in point: Riding toys.



How do you deal with this?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas time is here

You know how when you know exactly what you want, you can never find it? Not today! Look at this fantastic star!!!

I am psyched, can you tell?
In the move my angel mysteriously disappeared. I love a pretty angel - I find most have creepy faces - I was sad.
So I set my hopes on a star, but I wanted something that would be big enough and bling enough for our 9 foot tree. Then I found it. Granted, it was not intended in any way to be a tree decoration, but it had holes, so why not. And it was only $15 at Marshalls!

Another piece of Christmas decorating that I am quite pleased with is my snow display. I really appreciate like-themed groupings.

Do you have a holiday display that makes you happy? We'd love to see a link, send it my way!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dining Room Complete...Finally!

It has been almost five months, but the dining room is finally complete. Or close to it. I still need curtains and a larger scale picture on the back wall.

Just a refresher on where we have come from:

I feel like I need a drumroll here. But instead, just a few pictures. Notice the new light fixture as well, I love it!

So, so??? What do you think? I can tell you this, if you see a painted piece of furniture and think "No problem, I'll just strip and refinish it." Pause for a moment and make sure you are leaving yourselves a few months :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shame on me!

My Christmas cards went out...tomorrow. After all that high hoping on November 3rd. At least I started collecting my addresses then.

I decided to use Not nearly as original as I would like, but I have a 1 and 2 year old, so lets face it: I needed easy easy easy. They addressed them for me, gave me a template and even paid for my stamps. Use the promotional code HOLSTAMP to get free stamps, thats 44 cents a card!

I used this card, half way between an update letter and a photo card, don't you think?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Christmas Greetings...already?

I am suddenly aware of the urgent need to get my Christmas card plans in order. Already you ask? Well first we'll start with my confession- we moved in July and I never sent moving announcements, not so much as an email. So I figure, if I want to receive any Christmas cards myself, I had better get some out so people have our new address.

So here is the question...what kind of card do you enjoy getting?

I have cute little monkeys, so it's tempting to me to do the typical photo card to show them off. I found this etsy store where you can have her design your card for $15 and then print them yourselves through a local shop.

Aren't these beautiful?

Of course, then we have to get some pictures done!

Generally though, I prefer a card with room for a note. I also recognize that if I commit myself to writing in every card, they will likely still be sitting on my counter in February.

What do you think about the update letters people send? I did an email version one year at the new year with pictures and a few updates since I missed Christmas cards altogether. But...I never know how they are received. Some people seem to love them because they are more than just a picture, some seem to feel like they are an ego trip. Would love your thoughts.

Any pretty paper shops you are looking at for your cards?

Saturday, October 30, 2010


What are you doing this Halloween? Something fun I hope.

My little man is oh-so-sick. I keep hoping he'll turn the corner so we can participate in the fun. On my list of plans...

-A Fun Halloween Menu

Mummy Pizzas

Bones in a Graveyard
(ie. breadstick bones over spinach artichoke dip)

Mummy Dogs

Ghostly Ghoul Punch

-Super Cool Homemade Costumes

My daughter and nephew are 3 months apart and about the same size so I made them Pebbles and Bam Bam costumes. I am so thankful for the return of cooler weather but I must admit they would look so rad if their chunky little diapered selves could wear these without the warm gear underneath.

My son is going to be a cowboy if his health improves, I made him this fun DIY hobby horse from an old pair of blue jeans. You can find instructions here.

So here's to treats and not tricks. Be safe and have a blast.

Friday, October 22, 2010

What can I say, I had a coupon. Buy a bag of apples, get a tub of dippin-caramel for free. Then dove chocolates went buy one get one free at Publix (plus I had a coupon.) It felt like fate.

So I made these amazing masterpieces.

First caramel. Then milk chocolate. Rolled in walnuts. Drizzled in dark chocolate.

I'm just going to be honest with you here. I made five. I planned to give away four. I gave away two and ate three.

If you try these you should know that the best way to eat one is to slice it in wedges with a very sharp knife. I also suspect that they will come out prettier next time when I allow time for each layer to harden in the fridge.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

10 Year Photo Shoot

First- sorry I've disappeared!  We'll work it back up slowly.  You a joyful - but imperfect way ;)

I have come across a few blogs that feature photo shoots of couples in their wedding attire some time later, a year, three or ten.  

First of all, looking at these I can't help but think women really do age beautifully, and come into themselves more at 30 or so than they do as blushing brides in their early twenties.  Okay, okay, I know lots of women wait to marry until thirty, but I married at twenty and I'm coming up on thirty, so a little bias is allowed.

Secondly, I wasn't thrilled with my wedding pictures.  What a chance to try again to get more of what you want?

Thirdly, though I don't think I can reproduce the genuine unending smile I wore on my wedding day, I would relish the chance to take our time and do an extended photo shoot without worrying how long the guests have been waiting. 

And lastly, don't you love these backdrops?!  I think they are amazing, and IF IF IF I can talk my husband into this, I want to do it somewhere totally un-weddingy.  No gardens.  No churches.  I love the old machinery look, or a big city.  Do you trash the dress?'

***None of these photos are mine, check out to links to see more or hire these amazing photographers.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Nursery Project #3

For this next project, I wanted to add something personal to the room and what Southern girl doesn't love a monogram, or some derivative thereof? So I decided to paint the letter 'S' to match the nursery decor.

Here is the cardboard letter I picked up Joann Fabrics:

First I painted the entire letter with white craft paint. I took my several coats to get a solid application with none of the brown peeking through. Next, I used those little round office stickers (What are they used for anyway? Mine were left over from a garage sale.) and covered the letter like so:

My end goal was to have polka dots, but I knew I wouldn't be able to paint them on perfectly, so I used these dots to achieve the look I wanted. Also, since I wanted white polka dots on a blue background, I thought painting the letter blue first and then painting white dots wouldn't work out too well: I would need to do multiple coats of the white to cover the blue, which only increased my chances of messing up my dots. There may have been an easier way to do this, but I didn't know of one.

Once I had my dots attached, I used pale blue craft paint that I already owned to cover the S. I only did one coat, but applied it very thick. As I worked my way down the letter, I removed the stickers as I went. I simply painted over each sticker then made sure my fingers were clean and peeled the circle off.
I was really happy with the end result:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Project Quilt Update

After getting all my bricks cut, I began the process of laying them out on the queen-sized bed in my guest room. This was the biggest space I had to lay them out that wasn't in a high-traffic area (like somewhere on the floor in the kitchen/living room). My husband pointed out, though, that maybe I should have taken the multi-colored quilt off the bed before laying everything out to really give me a sense of how all the colors would look together. Yeah, that would have made more sense. Oh is how we're looking right now:

I'm pleased with how all the colors are going together and, even though they don't match perfectly, I feel like there's still some harmony between all of them. Laying them out was a lot of fun, too. I feel like if I had it to do again, I would probably get something completely different than what I have now, which is kind of fun.

Also - whoa. This quilt looks huge! This is laid out across a queen bed. I know it will "shrink" some with seam allowances adding up, but still - it's going to be a decent-sized throw. You can also see that I had a few bricks left over. I will save them, of course - I love fabric too much to throw them out!

P.S. The quilt on the bed is from Pottery Barn several years ago, in case you were wondering. I now appreciate it so much more, now that I understand the time and labor that goes into making a quilt!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nursery Project #2

I have another wall decor project to share with you. This one is a bit more involved, so I tried to be mindful and take step-by-step pictures along the way. Basically, I wanted something sweet but also unexpected for her walls. I decided on teapots for this project because they are girl-y without being cutesy (if that makes sense?). To start, I did a Google Image Search for "teapot silhouettes" and printed off what I found. Then I used a photocopier to enlarge the two images I wanted to use. (You may be able to skip that step, depending on how large the images are when you print them off or where you get your images - maybe you're more artistic and can just draw freehand?) So, this is where my pictures pick up.

Here are my materials for this project:

(Black poster board, scissors, Exact-o knife, pencil, extra paper, frames and fabric - you could also use scrapbook paper, but I couldn't find any that I liked so I used fabric instead.)

First I took my enlarged images (you can see in the picture below how small they started off and how big I blew them up to...I think this is, like, 200% magnified) and cut them out, then traced their outlines onto my white paper. Once they were traced, I used my pencil to fill in where the original outline did not provide the best edge and to make the outline...better? (I hope this makes sense - please ask me questions if you have them!)

Next, I cut out the newly-drawn and improved images using scissors and my Exact-o knife (to cut out the handle).

Then I traced the white image onto the black poster board and cut it out using my Exact-o knife. Since that black poster board is what you will use for the outline of your silhouette, you want to be very careful with this step to ensure you get a nice, clean edge. So I figured out which direction I wanted my teapot to face, and then traced the image on the opposite side of the posterboard and cut it out on that side as well. That way, the other side had a nice, clean edge to it, without visible pencil marks or scratches from the knife when it goes "outside the lines" in the process of cutting out the shape - which it will.

This is what you get:

Next I laid the black silhouette face-down and layered the fabric face-down on top of it, followed by the frame's back:

I turned the whole thing over so I could affix the cut-out "handle" onto the fabric using double-sided tape (still holding to this day). Then I put it all face-down into the framed glass and re-attached the frame. (You could skip the step with the tape and just put everything face-down directly into the frame, if you don't need to fill in any "holes" from your silhouette.)

Here is your final product:

You'll notice the one on the right is not the same silhouette I showed of my photocopied, enlarged images. It was too blob-like so I went and found an outline that I liked better. Then I when I was through and put them side-by-side, I felt like the one on the left suddenly looked less like a teapot and more like a genie bottle. But it works and it's fine!

I think this project has a lot of potential and you could go a lot of different ways with something similar. I have an idea for an entire series if I ever have a playroom one stay tuned!