Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to All!

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Wishing you all every joy of the season this Christmas from our house to yours!



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Favorite Free Christmas Art

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I’m back for a quick round-up of my favorite Christmas art that you can print from your computer and immediately frame on your wall.  ‘Cause at this time of the year…everything needs to be quick right??  At my house right now, if it isn’t quick, it isn’t getting done. 

Without further ado:

1.  The Graphics Fairy. 

100 Free Christmas Images


I’m sure many of you know of her already and all the fabulous free vintage goodness that can be found on her site, but it is just so awesome that I can’t not remind folks about it.  : )


2.  This Chalkboard Art

FREE Christmas Chalkboard Printables at Nest of Posies[1]


So cute, and just a click and a print away!

3.  This Free Printable Giftwrap


(via liagriffith.com)

Now, I know this isn’t really technically art…but I think any of these would look good printed and put in a chunky white frame!  And while you’re on her site, check out her free printable woodland gift tags!!  I know I’ll be printing out a few of those sweet babies.  : )  Talk about talented!

4.  This Hand-Lettered-Look Verse:

Free Christmas Printable — Unto You Born This Day

(via shewearsmanyhats.com)

So pretty!

5Bright and Colorful!


(via sassywifeclassylife.com)

She also has one with a little more traditional color palette too!  This one fits a little better with my living room though.  : )

I’m sure there are many other great sources out there too!  Do you have any favorite free art this Christmas?  Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A House is not the Most Important…

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We found out today that some good friends lost nearly everything they owned in a house fire this morning.  Thank God the whole family made it to safety, but it really drove home to me how really unimportant and trivial our possessions are.  They made it out with the most important things they needed…each other.  It could have ended very differently.  I am sure it is very difficult to lose everything (especially, as a mom, to lose photos and keepsakes of the kids—I cannot imagine!!) and the foreseeable future will be challenging with Christmas coming on and the huge task of rebuilding a home.  But I know they are incredibly thankful that it was only the house that burned to the ground! 

(via Etsy)

I know I can be easily obsessed with all things house—making it pretty, picking paint colors—worrying when chocolate gets on the couch—etc.  This was a good wake-up call for me to realize that all those things I can easily get caught up in are only superficial.  Sure, a home is so much more than four walls and a door…a home is a nurturing place (and I’m sure this family misses their home greatly tonight!), a place of comfort, and so much more.  And I have no intention of ceasing to make our home more “homey” and beautiful for us and our guests.

But making your house beautiful at the expense of your family?  Not important enough. 


(And I’m not even talking anything serious here…just painting when one should be making snacks, ogling Pinterest instead of reading stories, eating breakfast with the kids while checking email.)


Wishing us all a Christmas season centered around who lives in our homes and around Who is coming.  : )


For those that may be concerned about this family, their immediate needs have been met and I know many (myself included) are waiting to find out how they can help in the upcoming weeks and months as they rebuild their home.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Our Christmas Living Room


Well, I have finally done a little bit of decorating in our home for Christmas!



I know a lot of the blog world is already decorated, but we traditionally start putting up decorations a couple weeks before Christmas and finally get the house completely decorated (well, at least as decorated as it is going to get!) a couple days before Christmas.  Then we leave it all up for at least a few weeks after Christmas. 

This year since the music room has french doors I am toying with the idea of making that our “Christmas room” and perhaps even cover the panes in the doors and open them dramatically Christmas morning for the children to rush in and see their presents under the tree.  Hmm…I don’t know if I could be that disciplined however!!  It would be a magical memory-maker for the kids though…can you just imagine the anticipation???  Ahh, to see Christmas through the eyes of a child again!


Back to our living room—since our new jute rug arrived on Monday I was able to deep clean the room before putting it in there, and then today did a little more to Christmas-ify it.  I generally stick to simple because I am lazy BUSY and after Christmas I don’t really enjoy taking everything back down again.  I went out in our yard and snipped some free greenery (which is so exciting to me because this is the first time we’ve had evergreens in our yard!!) and spread it around a little until it looked pretty.  : )



(This dresser was actually the first piece of furniture I ever re-finished!  My mom bought it when I was a teenager at an auction (I think??) and I stripped it and re-finished it again back then.  My mom had it in their farmhouse bathroom until this year when they gave it to me for my birthday!!)



My husband and his dad cut some slices of wood a few weeks ago when they were clearing out some brush on our property…I love the natural elements!  I thought they looked vaguely like a tree when I stacked them so I deemed it appropriate for the holiday.  ; ) 




Our oldest and I cut some paper snowflakes and strung them along with some ornaments on good old acrylic yarn and I looped it over the curtain rods for a little extra something. 




The whole room…




The star is from Ikea and it is one of my favorite decorations (besides the sentimental ones).  It lights up and is especially pretty at night!




Oh…and here is the new rug in it’s natural element.  I’m still really liking it!




Now that I’ve got the ball rolling hopefully I’ll start on the rest of the house.  : )

Monday, December 9, 2013

A New Rug

I am just a leeeetle bit excited today!!  This morning my husband showed me a tall rounded package leaning up against the sidelight on our door (basically covering it).  Not only was I glad that the UPS man arrived and left without getting stuck in our driveway (we have a good sheet of ice and snow on our sloping driveway!) but also because that package was our NEW RUG!!!!!
(Just indulge me for a moment.  I have never bought a big huge new rug before!!)
I got it in one of the Black Friday sales that was happening around the internet.  It is from RugsUSA and though I am a little leery of them due to some sketchy pricing practices (Sheena alerted me to this and yep, it is true!!  I checked and rechecked for a few months on the prices for this very rug just to see!) it was the best deal I could find on a rug like this.  I looked in brick and mortar stores and around the web and it was definitely a good deal.  Most of the rugs were way out of our budget or too small for the space I want to put it in.  It came with no problems at all and I reeeaaaallly really like it so we’ll see how it holds up to three little kids!! 
This little guy was only too happy to try the rug out…
It is BIG.  At least to me…it is 8’X10.5’ I think.  The natural jute is gorgeous and it is actually soft!  I was pretty worried that it would be rough and scratchy but it isn’t at all.  I anticipate some shedding both on clothes and on the floor but to me it is no biggie.  I’m excited to add this to our living room!
(Speaking of which, I’d better get cleaning in there so I can put the rug down!)  : )

Monday, December 2, 2013

Picking a Good Gray

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If you look around the internet you’ll find loads of blog posts about picking the perfect gray.  I know, I’ve been scouring the internet for the “perfect gray” for the past couple of months!  I’m finally nearing the stage of painting the big room that houses our kitchen and dining area…plus the hallway that goes into our laundry/garage entry door.  I knew I wanted something different than the pastel purple that it was painted when we bought the house:
IMG_6364This color may have gone great with the grape vine curtains, but a huge area painted this color is just overwhelming!!  The color does nothing for the cabinets and floor either. 
The past couple of weeks now I’ve been looking at paint samples and a within the last week I’ve been painting samples all over the walls in here.  After painting a foam board in Benjamin Moore’s Moonshine, I quickly learned that the lighting in here tends to make that particular gray look very blueish.  And while I like the color, it just made the floor and cabinets look even more orange/red than they are. 
I didn’t want white as I’d like some white shelves and my white hutch to “pop” in here, and I didn’t want anything too dark as this side of the house doesn’t get a huge amount of sunlight. 
So, I went and got some paint chips and then samples in these Benjamin Moore colors:  Balboa Mist, Collingwood, and Silver Satin. 
Here they are on the wall:
They all look veeerrrry similar in this picture, but in real life Balboa Mist and Collingwood are pretty similar and Silver Satin is a lot lighter/whiter than the others. 
Here they are on another wall (the lighting here is terrible…but then again these colors will have to look good in any lighting situation so I suppose this is a good test!):
Again, in real life Silver Satin is much lighter than the others, but you get the idea.  Oh, and you can probably see what I’m talking about when it comes to Moonshine…a pretty color but in here much too blue-ish.   
I was going to show one more wall but they just looked all the same in that picture…I guess that’s what happens when the colors you choose are so similar! 
And the winner is…
Collingwood!!  It is a nice soft gray-meets-white-meets-a tiny bit of beige (notice I’m not calling it greige here!!!  for some reason that word gives me the heeby-jeebies…I’m weird I know :).  I felt the white of the frame just blended right into Silver Satin and Balboa Mist wasn’t much of a contrast either. 
I guess the moral of the story is…always always buy tester sizes for your paint, especially gray colors!!  It can read so very differently in each particular lighting situation.  I thought that Balboa Mist would be the winner…and I really love the pictures I’ve seen of it…but in this room I really felt Collingwood was more ‘right’. 
Now off to the paint store…

Sunday, November 24, 2013

TV Corner Gallery Wall

I (finally) took pictures of the gallery wall I just finished in our living room.  This is how it originally looked in its boring past:
And here is how it looks now. 
Certainly still no bombshell with the pale purplish wall color, old TV, and orange-ish trim--but an improvement, no? 
I ditched the aquarium stand that the TV was originally standing on in favor of a white cabinet I had down in the basement that was serving no particular purpose.  My thrifted (but brand new) Ikea storage boxes fit perfectly in the bottom which I took as a sign that this was meant to be.  :)  Don’t you think the outlets/light switch/thermostat blend in so much better now??  I do!
I’d still like to hide the tv in a cabinet or something, but until I find one that is petite (a huge one would dwarf this space) this will have to do. 
The gallery wall is mostly a mixture of free printable art and family photos.  I found soooo many wonderful sites with free art!  (If you’d like me to share where, let me know!)
Here is a local antique map (found free on the internet!)—I just love the colors!  (Why aren’t maps so pretty anymore??)
And I just love this painting of a little girl in winter:
A little mushroom art is always appropriate…  (I can’t really read French but I think it says they are edible mushrooms)
And this free printable from the Pleated Poppy is just lovely…and great for November (or a good reminder for anytime of the year)! 
It is just so hard to get a good representation of the wall color.  This is the color that the living room was painted when we moved into our home a few months ago so most likely I will be painting it another color.  I don’t hate it, but it’s just a bit…purple or pink or something for me. 
Yes.  Definitely a bit too something.  :)
Here you can see the layout of the room a bit more, looking on the right into the entry and music room and on the left into the dining room/kitchen:
And this is one of the other sides of the room (with my DIY stenciled curtains)
I don’t have the other side of the room arranged in a way I like yet, but here’s a sneak peek:
So, there you have it folks!  Our corner gallery wall (TV included!)
Linking up to That DIY Party (DIY Showoff), Remodelaholic’s Anonymous Party, Show Me What Ya Got Party (Not Just a Housewife)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I’ve been working slowly on the living room corner gallery wall.  SLOWLY!  Like maybe one picture every week  :)  It has been fun though to find a variety of things to incorporate, both personally meaningful and inexpensive.  There are still a few spots I need to fill and a couple frames that need photos or artwork, but I’m getting there.  Oh, and it has gotten quite cold here so I’m waiting for one last warmer day to spray paint a few frames! 
Here’s a very little sneak peek…the mirror may be changing though—I like it but maybe not in this space. 
I have found an amazing amount of nice free artwork from the internet.  So fun!  Still, this is taking a lot longer than I thought it would.  :)  I should know by now to think of a reasonable time frame and then multiply that by 10 for the real time it will take me. 
I also found a couple of pieces of artwork at Goodwill today that will go well in this room (hopefully!  It is still in the bag so I’ll have to try it and see later…)
In other news…I have been working like crazy on our Christmas photo card, so fun!  Hopefully I will get it done early this year and not at the last minute like other years. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Enough Time

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Bamboo Octopus Clock: Wood Kids Clock Ocean Nursery Baby
I don’t have it. 
Do you?? 
I bet not.  Few if any of us do. 
Time to do all our daily tasks and then what feeds our souls and minds as well?  Forget about it.  It is a constant battle for me, both externally and internally.  With three kids I’m split multiple times a day between this child and that child, this task and that child, this task and that task.  I think I must look like a crazed mother hen running all over the house yet getting very little done.  But, the crying child must be comforted.  Those dishes, they aren’t going to wash themselves.  That Mount Doom of laundry??  It will not get miraculously clean and back in dressers without me. 
I’m sure it’s even more difficult for those who work outside the home too. 
Then there is the internal struggle.  When, at the end of the day, I have a few minutes of peace to myself…what should I do??  Oh yes, I really should read that book I started a while back for my book club.  But I’m feeling a bit frazzled and I just need something light and oh look, one of my favorite bloggers has just put up a new post!!  Down the rabbit hole of blogs I go.  (It is a fun rabbit hole!) 
Or, maybe I’ve been thinking all day that I’d love to work on a project but by the time those free moments come I’ve lost my inspiration and creativity for the day.  There is a pile of (clean) laundry on my coffee table and I could fold it while watching some Netflix or perhaps even a movie with the husband if I’m lucky.  I can’t face tomorrow with those clothes on the table.  The toddler will certainly only pull them off and scatter them about the floor if I leave them.  (Don’t tell me mine is the only toddler with this obsession!)  I’ve been wondering what is going to happen to Miss Stewart in this episode of Foyle’s War anyway. 
Anddd…I really should spend some time in prayer or start reading that mother’s devotional book again.  But once again I’m hopping into bed and only  have a few moments to say a few quick prayers and a quick “sorry God for anything I haven’t done my best today” before falling asleep the second my head hits the pillow.  Because in a few short hours a toddler will awake waaaay too early and not want to go back to bed. 
Octopus Art Print Clock - Kraken Nautical Decor - Modern Wall Clock - Office Desk Accessories - Chevron Art
My internal struggles with time often crop up during the day too when I have just a few minutes here and there to do something that fuels that creative outlet.  (For me it is generally house beautifying creativity, but I’m sure you could fill the blank with your own version of creativity or relaxation—writing, reading, knitting, cleaning (I’ve heard there are some people out there who see cleaning as relaxing!!  Who knew!!), etc.  I get wrapped up in my ideas for this and that (or perhaps even a small project or part of a project) but am snapped back to reality by cries of hunger for a snack.  It gets discouraging time and time again to start something and have to put it away again and again especially if you need lots of tools or supplies for it. 
Why am I writing this?  Oh, I don’t know.  Perhaps you’ve had a day like this and you need to know that someone else has days like this all the time.  Not bad days…just days that there isn’t enough time to “do it all”.  My mind is bursting with ideas for this and that and wow, that pinterest recipe looks really really good…but that’s not happening today.  I’m a work in progress on being contented with the amount of time I have to get things done every day.  I love making our house a home and reading how others do so and seeing their projects and I like to share my little victories too.  Keeping up with other bloggers isn’t my job…being a wife and mother and making a home is. 
And sometimes I need to shout, shout, let it all out and realize I have enough time for what I need to do and not necessarily what I want  to do.  :)
(All the octopus clock pictures are dedicated to my husband, who wants a playful octopus clock more of like this except with waving tentacles in our bedroom:)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Spotlight on Navy (Lamp Redo!)

A few weeks ago I was perusing our local Goodwill when I spied a pair of matching gold table lamps. 
(I have a feeling a large percentage of my posts start with the same sort of scenario.  Ha!) 
I had been on the lookout for matching lamps for our nightstands so I was excited…though that emotion quickly turned to more of a “meh” as I picked one up and saw the price.  They were $7 a piece, and it was more than I was willing to pay for lamps that would need some updating so I passed.
Fast forward to the next week, when I was back to Goodwill for the next tag sale day.  (All blue tags were $1.49 this particular day.)  You know where this is going…I was again checking out my favorite sections of the thrift store when I looked in the infamous lamp section…and yes, the lamps were still there!  I checked and sure enough, they were blue tags!!! 
I grabbed them super fast.  :)
(I can’t believe they were still there.  It was meant to be!)
A few months before I had seen the lamp redo that Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick did and was really loving how the glossy navy looked on her (formerly) brass lamps.  I had the same navy spray paint in my stash so I tried my  hand at it. 
Behold, the brassy befores!
IMG_7264 (Night lighting in the garage.)  How do you like my paint can stands??
They were very very brassy.  Almost blindingly so, in fact.  I primed them with some spray primer I had on hand and got to work with the navy.  I immediately loved how they looked.  The glossiness and the color really brought out the contours of the lamp and made them look much better in my opinion. 
Here is one of the pair today (I promise the other looks almost exactly alike):
Again…I really like how they turned out!! 
I ended up covering some lamp shades that I had on hand with fabric from my stash (so great to use some of it!!).  I used this tutorial  for cutting out the fabric and then the tutorial for covering the shades from the Young House Love book that I borrowed from the library recently.  It was really really easy.  I kind of feel like recovering all the lamp shades in the house now.  (Don’t worry honey…I won’t.  ;) 
My sister came and helped paint our bedroom a couple of weeks ago so it is really looking a lot more fresh in there though it could use some accessorizing (and non-old-lady bedsheets…though that is another post :).  I feel like I’ve done enough “starts” of projects lately without a “finished” post so I’ll spare you the master bedroom plan for now. 
It’s great to have a little pop of color in there now! 

Monday, October 7, 2013

My $4 Stenciled Curtain Panels (from tablecloths)

I started this project about 2 years ago…for a different living room. 
Now, I finally finished it for our “new” living room.  Cause these curtains just weren’t cutting it for me:
IMG_6459 (You can see more of our lovely curtains here.)
It is no secret that I like to be thrifty.  So when (in our old house) I wanted to get new curtains for our living room windows, I looked everywhere for curtains or fabric, hoping to score a deal.  I checked Ikea too and came up with nothing.  The trouble was, I really like purple and at the time fabrics (and curtains) that had purple in them were hard to find.  Any that I liked were really expensive, much more than I wanted to pay per panel.  So I put that idea on the back burner for a while, until I was at a event/catering supply sale a couple of falls ago. 
This sale was a liquidation sale of items used by an event rental company--they have them every other year or so.  The sale is mostly tablecloths that they are not using anymore, chargers, draping, candleholders, silverware, cloth napkins, etc.  Some of the tablecloths might be stained or damaged but most are just fine.  At this particular sale I noticed that they had a big table full of “catering cloths”…white or black linens that they use for draping over things, skirting tables, covering tables, etc.  A miscellaneous type of cloth.  I looked at the dimensions of the cloths and realized that they would be perfect for curtains. 
Now, they were nothing fancy…a poly/cotton blend I’m sure, not light blocking or anything special.  I dug through the table and found six that appeared to have no stains or damage.  The best part…they were $2 each!!  Score!!  Since the tablecloths were $2 each, I’m just guessing that I spent around $8 total in extra supplies specifically for the curtains.  Paint, folders for stencil, fabric medium, etc. 
I bought them and then they sat for a few months while I thought of how to make them into curtains.  I knew you could buy stencils but the ones I liked were pretty pricey…around $50 for one stencil.  Then I saw this tutorial over at All Things Thrifty for making your own stencils so I found an image on the internet (from here) to use for a template (tracing it first as you can see below) and cut the stencil out of clear plastic folders (as Brooke recommends) with an Xacto knife to make a stencil.  It was a bit time consuming but I found it rather cathartic while I was watching a movie (I’m kind of a detail person so I enjoy these types of things.  :)
I then bought a bunch of craft paint in varying shades of purple.  Some more violet than others.  Looking back, I think I should have just gone to Lowes or somewhere and bought a couple sample pots of regular paint tinted to the exact shade that I wanted, but oh well!  (It would have saved me the time mixing them together and getting all the paint out of those little containers!)  I also bought Martha Stewart fabric medium to add to the paints to make them softer and washable. 
I mostly followed this tutorial for stenciling curtains except I didn’t use quite as many products as they did.  I ended up using a fine foam roller to paint the curtains and it worked out great. 
IMG_4103 (the first curtain panel on our old living room floor)
The first curtain panel (that I painted almost 2 years ago) took for-ev-er to paint…I believe around 3-4 hours!  I think that was primarily why it took me so long to do the rest of them.  At that time I would have had to do 6 panels as we had three windows in our old living room.  It was definitely not a motivating thought!  A lot of that time was just spent in finding something to cover the carpet in our living room so that I had a hard and protected space to paint in.  The three panels that I painted last weekend took about that much time for all of them (we now have only two windows in our living room and laminate floors…so much easier!).  The painting is not perfect…there are a few smudges here and there but you would never notice unless you spread the curtains out and really scrutinized them. 
When I finished painting the curtains/tablecloths I draped them over the rods that I had installed to see where I needed to sew the pocket.  The beauty of using tablecloths is that they are already hemmed (see below) so I decided to take advantage of that and not hem them again. 
I know it is a small hem but these are lighthearted curtains (not drapes) and I wanted something fast and easy.  :)
I marked the spot on the curtains where the pocket needed to go, took them off the rod, and laid them on the floor to pin across them so I would know where to sew and the curtain would be even. 
I decided I wanted the pockets to be 2” down from the top so I pinned several inches apart across the width of the curtain and sewed it to make the ruffle. 
I then measured another three inches down and cut across the extra fabric on the back of the curtain (as you can see in the zoomed out photo above, I had quite a bit of extra fabric after I folded the panel over for the pocket…so I just cut away the extra in this step).  While I slowly sewed another line across, this time just eye-balling a 2” distance from the first line, I folded the extra 3/4 of an inch of extra fabric under to make a finished edge.  It really is very simple…I just made it sound super complicated.  :)
Then…time for ironing to make sure the paint is permanent!  (This was recommended on the fabric medium label…I almost skipped it as I had already hung the curtains to admire, but I guilted myself into this step even though it meant taking the curtains down again temporarily.  It was tough!)
And finally hung them again…cue triumphant trumpet blasts!!
I know not everyone’s thing is purple…and not even sure if trellis is still considered cool (?) but two years later, I’m really loving my new, easy, and super cheap curtains! 

Linking up to these parties:  Not Just a Housewife, Made by you Monday (Skip to My Lou), Metamorphosis Monday (Between Naps on the Front Porch), That DIY Party (DIY Showoff),