Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Liebster Award


Ah, the Liebster award…it seems to be going around the internet again, and I’m finally playing along!!

The Liebster is an award for bloggers with 500 or less followers as a way to get to know each other and build a blogging community.
Here are the rules:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you. 
  • Answer the 11 questions you're given. 
  • Nominate 11 other new bloggers with less than 500 followers. 
  • Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer. 
  • Tag you nominees and leave them a comment on their blog so they know that you nominated them.

Talented Ashley, from The Honest Room, nominated me (thank you, thank you!) and posed a few questions I’ll attempt to answer here.

  1. How long have you been blogging?  I started blogging in 2011, but only really got into posting regularly in the fall/winter of 2013.
  2. Why did you start blogging? Has it turned out to be what you expected? I discovered the world of DIY/home blogs in 2009 and loved being a spectator then, but as time went on and we had lots of projects going on in our home, I wanted to join the community!  I also wanted to journal our home and life for me.  As far as expectations--it has taken longer to feel a  part of a community than I thought it might, though a lot of that was due to not really commenting on others’ blogs and not joining linky parties (I didn’t even know what a linky party really was about until long after starting the blog).  It is really fun to get to know other bloggers!
  3. What's the story behind your blog name?  No real story, I picked it because my initials spelled EAT and and I thought Create would encompass a lot of creative endeavors from home décor to food to family traditions. 
  4. What has been your most popular post?  This may surprise anyone who hasn’t seen the stats (and, quite honestly, me), but my absolute most popular post is the one on How to Make Paneling look like Drywall.  There must be a lot of people out there with awful paneling!!
  5. What is your motto or tagline?  What is your favorite blog to read and what draws you to them?  Hmm.  I don’t really have a motto or tagline…I probably should but I think I’ll procrastinate on that a while!  My favorite blog????????  You mean, I have to pick just ONE???  ; )  I think my absolute most favorite blog, for years now, is the blog My Child I Love You.  It is not a DIY blog but a mother’s blog for and about her children.  It is simply beautiful…I get inspired every time I visit there to see my kids as the amazing precious persons they are.  As far as DIY blogs go…I really love Vintage Revivals and View Along the Way…AAACCCKK!…it is so hard to pick just one or two!   Basically I love those two blogs because Mandi and Kelly seem so real and really creative and they are super entertaining to read!  But I have many other favorites too.  : )
  6. What is your decorating style?  I know it when I see it, but I couldn’t tell you in a concise way.  I once took a Home Goods style quiz and they told me I was New Country with a touch of Classic which sounds more like a music genre than me!  I love vintage (but not chippy), earthy tones, crisp white frames, and wood with rich character. 
  7. Gold or silver? Silver, but not a hater of gold!
  8. Name one of your bucket list items.  Grow an intricate boxwood hedge like you see in the English gardens. 
  9. How do you spend your weekends?  Wishing I could sleep in!  Well, that and taking care of the small people, spending time with the hubby, visiting with friends and family, and working on projects. 
  10. Where do find most of your home decor inspiration? (store, blog, magazine)  Definitely blogs…I rarely step foot into any store more fancy than Target (Goodwill is more my speed) as I generally have the kids in tow.  I also think a lot of inspiration comes organically from the limitations of our homes, lifestyles, finances, and time.  You really have to think outside the box to reach your goal and create the look you’re going for within those constraints, and that can be a really creative state of mind. 

Thanks so much Ashley for nominating me!!  What fun! 

Well, we don’t want the fun to stop here…so I’m awarding the Liebster Award to these deserving blogs:

Little House of Four

Joie de Vivre

being Sarah Marie

Average but Inspired

undercover DIYer

(I know it’s not the 11 I’m supposed to nominate but let’s just pretend, shall we?  : )

Here are my questions (with a few borrowed from Ashley):

1.  How long have you been blogging?

2.  How do you balance life and blogging?

3.  If you could have a dream house, how would it look? 

4.  What is the story behind your blog name?

5.  What is your favorite season?

6.  What has been your most popular post?

7.  What was the first blog that you ever followed?

8.  Why did you start blogging? 

9.  White or wood trim?

10.  Have you ever gotten a strange reaction to people finding out that you blog?

11.  Do you have a celebrity look-alike? 

Tag!  You’re it!!

; )

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How I save money on gardening—part 1 of a series—seed starting


It is finally sloooooowwly warming up here!  We still have lots of snow to melt so it will be a while before we see all of the ground, but I feel like there is some hope for spring to finally come at last!  I am eagerly awaiting the time when I can go and scope out the yard and see if any plants are starting to poke up out of the ground.  : )  Can you tell spring is my favorite season??

I’m going to share with you today the first of my favorite ways to save money when you garden.  If you’ve ever been to a garden center and picked out some plants (or maybe a shrub or two), you know how quickly they can add up when you get to the checkout.  Ouch!  Especially if you go somewhere that has higher quality plants…then you are really in for a painful moment at the register!  And you may give hubby a heart attack if he happens to be with you!!  (Kidding!!)  Whether you are planting perennials in the ground or annuals in hanging baskets or vegetables, there are ways to make it cheaper. 


Probably the most obvious way to do this is by starting seeds yourself.  I try to start as many plants from seed as I can.  Some years this works out better than others—for example, in our previous house we didn’t have as much natural sunlight so the plants didn’t always grow very well.   Depending on where you live, late winter is the perfect time to start some things ahead of spring.  I love to see those little green tops poking up out of the soil—it just makes me happy.  : )  I know a lot of people start tomato plants ahead of time…but you can definitely start more than just vegetable seeds.  I have hollyhocks, marigolds, delphiniums, sweet williams, bells of Ireland, zinnias, and some other annuals and perennials planted in trays right now, and my mom even plants petunia and impatien seeds.  A packet of seeds is generally pretty inexpensive depending on the type and where you buy it…most of the ones I got this year were around $2 each, though I do buy them from a seed catalog so it is cheaper than buying them from the store. 

There are a lots of good resources out there for starting plants from seed; here are a few I found:

Seed Starting 101 from the Empress of Dirt

Start Seeds Indoors from Organic Gardening

Seed Starting for Beginners from The Kat’s Garden

And, to make it even more thrifty, you can save seeds from plants you already have (after they flower), dry them, and then plant them the following year!  I haven’t been organized enough to do much of that, but I plan to change that this year. 


The kids are loving seed starting too…we learned about how seeds grow a couple of weeks ago and watched a number of time-lapse youtube videos of seeds sprouting and growing…then I let them plant a few bean seeds in glasses so they could watch the sprouting/rooting/growing process up close and personal.  Every day they check to see how their beans are growing—and they are growing—they were pole bean seeds so they are a now a couple feet tall and I need to figure out a support system.  : )  Fun!!



If you look on Pinterest you can find multitudes of ways to start seeds very cheaply…some people use egg shells or empty egg cartons or TP rolls.  I don’t have an elaborate system and it seems to work ok for me, though I’m sure the plants could do with a bit more light. 

A lot of our backyard is currently under a few feet of water or snow, so it will be a while before those seeds/plants will go into the ground, but they certainly make me hopeful for springy weather and green grass again! 


Linking up with Remodelaholic’s Anonymous Party, Tatertots and Jello’s Link Party Palooza, The DIY Showoff’s That DIY Party, Home Coming’s The DIYers,

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Style SOS


So…most of the time when I’m thinking of non-life-essentials my brain is churning with all sorts of ideas for around the house, what will look good with what, paint colors, diy plans, you name it.  You know what I am not bursting with ideas for? 



I don’t know if it is the loooonnng winter or what, but I’m feeling like I have nothing to wear when I look in my drawers/go in the closet.  Maybe it’s just because I’ve been wearing the same stuff for 6+ mos, but almost everything I own feels incredibly frumpy when I put it on.  Ugh! 

I’m not naturally talented at putting outfits together, which is not helping in the least.  I feel in many ways I need to fill in some basic outfit staples I have been lacking that would make it easier to mix and match.  Oh my, I’m a grown-up for goodness sake…I should have this together!  A lot of my clothes are garage sale finds that look great at the sale, but when I get them home and try them on, they don’t fit well or don’t go with anything.  I like to be thrifty but sometimes that doesn’t work out as well as I would like. 

I’m always inspired by the outfit posts Rosie and Lisa put together, and the style tips on Maskara…and I’m looking for more!!  If you know of a good guide to building a wardrobe (or have written one yourself!) please let me know in the comments!  I would love to find other blogs with outfit posts or style series too.  Or, if you know of some great clothing sales going on, let me know too.  : )  I’m sending out a style SOS!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My quest for a dirt-proof runner…victory!


I’ve been looking for a rug solution for our hard-working back entry/laundry room for a few months now…pretty much since the start of winter and all that mess that wet boots and snowsuits bring.  I nearly pulled the trigger on a jute runner from Rugs USA that looked very similar to the big rug in our living room but was woven and not braided—it was on a great sale but I just wasn’t sure if the color would withstand the dirt and also how much it would shed.  I just kept on looking, without success.  I tried to remedy the situation with a few rugs that I keep for rug emergencies…and to keep in the car for when I haul stuff.  It helped, but was certainly lacking on charm.


(Please ignore the painters’ tape on the wall…procrastinators unite!!)

Sometimes it happens though that if you wait long enough, something falls into your lap when you are least expecting. 

I was at Target today and, as I often do, I look down the home décor area’s aisles to see if there are any of the red sale or clearance stickers waving at me.  “Come buy me!!  I am on clearance!!  I complete you!!” 

There were lots of them in the rug aisle, so I popped in to see what was there.  And by popped, I mean grunted and groaned to maneuver my huge mega-boat-cart with three child seats and a load of diaper boxes and swinging monkey-children without crashing into the nice lady who was also looking innocently at the rug selection.  : )  Keeping it real, folks. 

I spied a number of rugs that were on sale, including one 2X3 WHITE one that I knew would not be coming home with me.  Then I saw that some of the Threshold runners were also on clearance, down from $39 to $27.  And yes, there was one that looked as though it could hide a whole lot of dirt and still look pretty.  Winner!  I grabbed it before any more cute monkeys broke containment and figured I could always return it if it didn’t look right. 


When I got home I tried it out, after giving the area a good sweep. 


Much better, don’t you think??  I may need to put a rug pad under it to make sure it doesn’t slip around, but I’m calling this particular rug hunt to an end.  I really like the nubbly texture and diamond pattern:


I’m not sure if it was just my particular Target or what, but there were lots of rugs on clearance and lots of rugs on sale too…so maybe if you’re in the market for a rug you should go check and see if yours has any deals! 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Storage Woes


Have you ever watched Storage Wars?  When we had cable it was one of our favorite things to watch.  Sure, it was staged and the characters were zany and generally inappropriate, but it was always fun to see what they found in those lockers they bid on.  I can certainly identify with the thrill of not knowing what you might find…could be something amazing, could be somebody's old dentures.  Kind of like garage saling or thrifting, right?!?


My storage issues are nowhere near as soap-opera-ish as that show, but I certainly have a few.  I have been procrastinating on a big one in our basement storage room.  When we moved in we put all the boxes down there that we weren’t quite sure where they would belong, and there they stayed.  Oh, and they magically seemed to multiply overnight!




You can see why I have been procrastinating on cleaning this out.  Yikes!!  (And no, I am not a hoarder.  Though, now that I think of it…why did I keep the dingy lace curtains from our old house???  : )


It is actually a pretty large, though oddly shaped, room.  It is also a utility room so the furnace, water heater, etc. have to fit in there too.  The previous owners built the shelves which really maximize the amount of storage and I am so glad!  A lot can fit here!  Obviously though, we were not making good use of the space.  Stuff was stacked everywhere!  I really wanted to go through everything to see if we even wanted some of the stuff anymore while I cleaned it out. 


I’ve been working on this for the last week, off and on, and while it still isn’t a pretty space (and certainly doesn’t have to be!), it is now a LOT more usable and organized.  Oh, and I boxed up a bunch of stuff that is either going to Goodwill or will be for a garage sale this summer!  Yay!  We can actually see the floor! 




Now I can actually do projects on the counter!!  (Hmmm, like maybe painting the shelves for the bedroom cubby??  Trying to get myself psyched up for that project!) 


There may not be hidden treasure in this room, but at least we no longer feel we need to hire a dumpster to deal with it.  : )  I love projects like this that cost nothing yet make such a big difference in the function of our house…especially when we need to find something! 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Checking things off the list…headboard done!


After planning to make (and having most of the supplies for) this headboard for around 2 (!) years, it is done!


I don’t know why I waited sooooo long.  It really was pretty easy, apart from wrestling with the fabric around those curves.  There are so many tutorials from various blogs for making one of these that I won’t write an in-depth tutorial, but suffice to say I mainly used this one from Thrifty Décor Chick and this one from Pneumatic Addict to create this.  I started with a piece of MDF measuring 76X35 (we have a California King) and cut out the corners plus a gentle curve across the top.  I then laid it out on the kitchen floor.


(I use this old waterproof tablecloth for everything…you can see some paint from the living room stenciled curtains still on it!)

Then I used the board as a template for cutting the layers of foam.  Two years ago I snagged these new XL twin foam mattress toppers from Goodwill (originally from Target).  I sandwiched them together and then cut them.  I have heard of people using an electric carving knife to cut the foam but I don’t have one (do people really actually still use those for cutting meat??) and I improvised with a cheese knife.  It worked SO great!  Now, this wasn’t just any cheese knife…this was one my husband got me for a present and it is super duper serrated with areas cut out of it.  Here it is in action:


Then I stapled batting around the foam and board:


and started stapling the velvet.  I was originally going to use a dropcloth that I had bought ages ago for this project, but then when I brought it up to the bedroom to visualize how everything would look together, I realized that it was almost exactly the same color as the wall and would blend right in!!  Oops!

That kind of put a damper on my enthusiasm…until I was out thrifting last week and came across this drape that was originally from Target and was still brand new in the packaging.  It was a navy velvet blackout drape.  It was more than I normally would spend on thrifted things but it was just perfect so I splurged.


As I got to the curves, it became rather difficult to make the fabric look good on the front of the headboard as the velvet had absolutely no stretch or give to it.  I had to take it out and re-staple several times to get it to look good.  In the end I think it looks fine, especially after I got the tufts put in it.  Then I used quarters to decide where I wanted the tufting to go, and marked those places with chalk. 


I used the tutorial from Pneumatic Addict for this part…instead of tufting with a needle and thread, I used screws and washers to make the little indentations.  I simply put the screw through the washer, poked it in the chalk mark and through the foam, and screwed it in until I liked how the tuft looked.  It seemed to work great, though I wish I had used larger washers (the ones I used were only 1/2 inch or so).  I covered some buttons (from a kit from Joann Fabrics) with more velvet and glued them on over the washers/screws with E6000 glue. 

I made little legs for it out of other pieces of MDF as it is pretty huge and heavy and covered them with leftover velvet and attached them to the headboard. 


Then it was time to see how it looked!!!  (My favorite part!)





It is also reading-husband approved : )  I like to read in bed too and it so much more comfortable now to do so!! 


I am really liking how much more grown-up looking our bedroom is with the headboard!  This is the bed before


and now!


(Please tell me I’m not the only one who procrastinates on projects for years before finishing them!!!)


Linking up with Home Coming's The DIYers, House on the Way's Twirl and Take a Bow Party, DIY by Design's Winter Blues Party, Savvy Southern Style's Wow us Wednesdays, Remodelaholic's Anonymous Party, The Idea Room's "Party Bunch Linky Party, and Tatertot and Jello's Link Party Palooza, Be Different Act Normal's Show and Tell, The DIY Showoff's That DIY Party,