Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with Strings.... These are a Few of My Favorite Things!

The Nester is having a favorite things party and I don't usually participate in these, but it sounded like fun!  They all have to be items under $30, so they are all affordable items.  And if you know me you know I am a tightwad thrifty, so it's not hard for me to make a list based on those credentials.   So here we go.... these are a few of my favorite things RIGHT NOW.

The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection- I only wish there were more songs!  "Christmases when you were mine" is my favorite, and I have Emmy addicted to "Last Christmas".  These days Emmy and I can often be found hand in hand singing that song loudly.

A Good Inexpensive Malbec- I am not picky!  These Argentinian wines are my favorite though- full bodied and wonderful.  My only prerequisite is that they have to be under $15.
Bodega Colome Amalaya 2006 Bottle

My favorite hat, which Chris got me last year from Hot Topic.  It was inexpensive to begin with, but I get a nice employee discount, too. :)  They don't have it anymore, but here is a picture from last year when I had it on...

If you are not local, my apologies in advance because you are missing out on the next one...
Peppermint Stick Ice Cream from South Mountain Creamery.  At $8 for a half gallon it is hardly inexpensive when it comes to ice cream, but trust me that it is worth every penny.  Heaven in a cup.

J.R.Watkins lemon body lotion.... smells amazing and works well!

And Sara from Modern Country Style has gotten me in the mood for The Holiday, so when I saw it at Target the other day for $5, I couldn't resist.  I watched it that night and cried of course.  Love it.
The Holiday Poster

There you have it- some if my favorite little luxuries.  Did you notice this list was not about things I like to use for furniture, or for other people, but it really was all about me.  It was kind of nice to think about for a little while- happy and affordable indulgences!

Veneer Repair & Some Awesome Holiday Link Parties!

Howdy!  Today, I am over at the DIY Club sharing how I repaired some lifted veneer on Emmy's old dresser..

I also wanted to let you know that we, the gals of the DIY Club, are hosting 12 Days of Christmas with a new party every day!  Each party will have a different color theme, and of course there will be prizes!! Here is all the details info, but please not that Kimbo and I have swapped dates, so the gray party will be next Monday and the sparkle party will be in Tuesday.   Each party will be open for 24 hours and you can link up as many projects so as many parties as you want!

December will be a fun month. We will be having our normal monthly contest party but we are also doing a fun Holiday Event-the 12 Days of Holiday. Each day the party will take place at a different blog.

12 days

12 blogs

12 colorthemed parties


Get those projects ready and head over to enter starting Dec 1.

1. Each of the 12 parties is open for 24 hours, from 12:01 am to 11:59pm, on the dates indicated.
2. Link up one or more project tutorials that correspond to the color/finish for each party.
3. You may link up multiple projects to multiple parties.
4. Be sure to include the party button in each post that you link up.
1. Must be an original project tutorial created by you.
2. Must involve the use of paint.
3. Must involve the color or finish indicated for each party.
4. Must have the party button in each linked post.
  • After all of the parties are closed, we will post a TOP 12 finalist list here at the DIY Club on DEC 16.
  • The winner will be announced on Dec 20.
  • One winner will win 2 gallons of Dutch Boy paint and 6 cans of Krylon spray paint.

Hope to see you there! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Piece of Work Wednesday Furniture Link Party Number 64!

First of all, THANK YOU all so much for your sweet and supportive comments on yesterday's post.  I am so thankful to you all for your kind words, and for sticking with me, whether there are 3 furniture makeovers a week or one or none.  You are the best!

Of course it is time for Piece of Work Wednesday, so I made sure I finished a small project for you this weekend.  I bought this mirror at a church yard sale last Spring for $3.

Don't be deceived.... it looks better in the above picture than it was.  The gold paint appeared cheap and was flaking slightly.  I sanded it lightly by hand, and spray primed it.  Then I was so excited to put to use some of the Farrow & Ball paint I won in a giveaway from Sarah at Modern Country Style.  I received 3 sample pots, one of which was a color called "Blue Gray".  It is a gorgeous color, but definitely appears a little more green gray to me.  Either way, I love how it changed the mirror.  After I painted it, I distressed it and rubbed a stain over it to give it an antiqued look.  Here it is now!

It definitely doesn't look so cheap anymore, and has a classic European appeal! Can't wait to try the other colors I got!

What have you been working on?  Please remember to follow the rules.

1. Must be a follower of my blog.
2. Must be a FURNITURE redo or build.
3. Must be a new link to one of my parties.
4. No Etsy shops.
5. Place my button or a text link in your post or sidebar.

And please leave others some comment love!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

What is Your Favorite Thing About Christmas? (and stepping back a little)

I didn't plan to write this post today, but it's been on my mind, and then I came across this post at Three Pixie Lane today and it just spoke to me.  Here are the words I read...

If I had my child to raise over again
I'd build self-esteem first and the house later
I'd finger paint more and point the finger less
I would do less correcting and more connecting
I'd take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes
I would care to know less and know to care more
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites
I'd stop playing serious and seriously play
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars
I'd do more hugging and less tugging
I'd see the oak tree in the acorn more often
I would be firm less often and affirm much more
I'd model less about the love of power
And more about the power of love.

~Diane Loomans

Back to my question- it's a simple question, really, but the answers aren't always simple.  I asked my kids this question the other day as we drove home from my parents house after Thanksgiving.  The answer I got back was "PRESENTS!"  Granted my kids are still small and get so excited about Santa, the answer still disappointed me.  Not in them, but in me.  What was I teaching them if this was the answer?

I then listed all of the things I love about the holidays- baking cookies, giving gifts to all the people we care about who make a difference in our lives, picking out the tree and decorating it, decorating the house, singing Christmas songs, and just spending time with family and friends.  They thought for a moment and both told me those were some of their favorite things, too.  But clearly, I knew I wasn't doing my job if that was only an afterthought to them.

So Saturday, while Chris was laying in bed sick, and I was decorating, I made sure to also talk about the spirit of Christmas with the kids.  They helped me make an advent calendar I will share later this week.  This year the calendar is not about getting treats each day.  I have also been making them a big part of the gift-making this year.  Sawyer said he wanted to make a tree for his teacher.  I saw the idea of making jar "snow globes" over at Sweet Something Designs and let the kids each decorate a mini tree and we put them in the jars with some fake snow.  Here are their designs.... And as you can see, I let the kids do what they wanted, so these are very colorful trees.  Sawyer loves red, so his is the one on the left. :)

They had so much fun with this simple project and are so excited to give them as gifts, and Sawyer loved that he came up with the idea to give trees.  Now they have a long list of people they want to make more for.

I felt like that was a step in the right direction.

Along these lines, I have some thoughts to share on my own business, as I have been mulling it all over for the past month, and have been stressing myself out unnecessarily.  You all know we moved a month and a half ago into our new home.  The move was for a shop I was going to share which fell through.  And I have to be honest, I think that may have been the best thing that happened to me.  We love it here- it's a little bit of a slower pace, and I have been reflecting on my life and my family.

Back in our old home, I could crank out the projects.  I could still be mom, but it sometimes meant I was stressed out, trying to get it all done.  And why did I want to get it all done?  So I could make money, so I could be a little more financially comfortable.

Two weeks ago, I was so stressed out.   I had been looking for pieces to refinish and coming up empty-handed.  I felt like I was shopping on craigslist and wasting time.  I told Chris I was getting stumped and burnt out and losing any desire- it was not fun anymore.  Creative jobs are fun, and when that excitement is gone, so is the creativity.   I didn't want to lose that creativity, and I knew I needed to just step back.  I finally talked to Chris about how I was feeling, and he hugged me.  He said "It's OK.  Jutst keep being a great mom and wife- we are fine."  It was exactly what I needed to hear, and I just relaxed and let it go.  Next year Emmy heads off to kindergarten and at that time I will have more time to shop for pieces of furniture and work on projects and I am sure I will feel the itch again. But for now, I want to just be mom and wife, and enjoy all the little things that I was missing a little of before.

What does this mean for you?  Will there still be furniture projects?  Will there still be POWW??  Yes and yes!  The blog won't stop, the party won't stop- I love that party and all the inspiration you guys bring to it!  I will still be sharing projects, and still be working a little, but just at a much slower pace.  I will still be sharing all sorts of projects in the new house.  I will still have furniture projects to share as I am working on a custom order, and will be redoing pieces for my own house, too.  There is still going to be a lot going on here at this ol' blog.  I just wanted to get all of this off my chest and let you all know how I had been feeling.

I have seen all too often over the last year how fragile life is, and how quickly it can be changed dramatically or taken away.  I only have one chance to be me, and I want to be the best possible version of myself for my kids.

So next Christmas, when I ask them "What is your favorite thing about Christmas?" the answer won't be presents.  It will be something else that I can only teach them by example.

Thank you all for reading this post- I know it was long, wordy, and only had one picture.   As a blog post it is a failure, but the words all come from my heart.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

You Mean You Forgot Cranberry, too? and Christmas comes to the Dining Room

UPDATE: The winner of the Mikarose giveaway is......
Maury from Life on Mars!!!!!  Yay, Maury!

This post has nothing to do with Cranberries, but does have to do with special Christmas wrapping, which makes me think of the song of that title...  Come on and sing along!

Ok, moving onto the actual gift wrapping I wanted to talk about!  I am over at The DIY Club sharing a special way to wrap up the candles and magnets I am making for gifts.  Here is a little peak...
 You can find all the rest of my DIY Club projects by clicking on the button on my sidebar!

Aside from working on gifts this weekend, I have been working on decorating as well!  Unfortunately, Chris has been hit pretty hard by the bug and spent all of yesterday in bed, so I was hanging with the kids all day while decorating which can be fun but also a little challenging! :)  We obviously have put getting our tree on hold for now, too and will get it next weekend.  For nowI have at least the dining room completely decorated for Christmas and wanted to share!

In all the opening of Christmas decoration boxes I realized something.  I have too many decorations, for starters, but also, that I wanted to keep the decor a little on the "less" side this year than I have done in the past.  I still put out quite a bit, and there are certain pieces that will always go up for sentimental reasons. I have been working on the whole house, but the dining room is the one place where it's decorated exactly how I want it this year; I am perfectly satisfied.
 This bunting you see is my Advent Calendar I created with the kids yesterday.  More on that will be coming this week.
 A simple tablescape features some vintage mirrors, PB reindeer I purchased on sale a couple years ago, milkglass compote filled with glittered silver and blue pinecones, and a pair of milk glass vases I am using as taper candlesticks with aqua candles.
 The bench by the window is decorated in whites and shimmer....
 This tinsel tree is adorned with beautiful glittered sand dollars I won from my friend Yanet last year.  I love that it serves as a reminder of the friendships I have formed through this blog.  At the top of the tree sits a feathery white owl my parents gave me for my birthday.  And next to him is a deer I upcycled last Christmas.

On the other side of the bench sit some bog mercury glass swirly orbs from Crate & Barrel's post Christmas clearance sale two years ago, and a snowman my parents gave me.

A new addition to the dining room yesterday is this chalkboard.  It actually is my ikat artwork.  I just flipped over the Ikat side and painted the back with chalkboard paint so I can use either side.  I hung a tiny tinsel wreath on the corner.

That's all for now! Chris is hoping to feel better to day so we may still be able to get our tree.  Fingers crossed!!!

Sharing here:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

POWW Faves and Last Chance for Mikarose Giveaway!

Just a reminder that my Mikarose Giveaway ends tonight at midnight EST!  Go enter if you haven't already!

I am still recovering from eating too much, but have had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my parents and friends who are family to me.  My mom cooked a delicious meal and made my favorite pumpkin cheesecake!  The kids and I slept at my parents Thursday night (Chris had to work yesterday so could not).  My mom and I planned to stay up and hit Target at midnight together.  We watched some Christmas movies with the kids, put them to bed at nine and started a movie and some coffee for ourselves.  Then around 10, I said, "I'm thinking we just stay home... sleep sounds so much better!"  So we did.  I wanted to relax and enjoy my time with my kids and parents and not rush around  And I was glad I did.  We got up when we were good and ready, had breakfast, and headed to Homestead gardens to check out the train display.  The kids love seeing that every year and I love seeing the store beautifully decorated!  It's always so inspiring!  But of course it always leaves me confused about how I love to decorate for the Holidays- do I love the all whites? color?  blues????  I don't know!!!!  So I end up with a little of everything. :)

Ok, let's check out those POWW faves!

You know I love me some stripes, and this dresser from Modern Cottage Company had me swooning!

More stripes!  This time, Jacqueline from Simple Home Life nailed it with the stripes on the knobs of this dresser for her son... love the wood drawers, striped knobs, and twine pulls- perfect mix!

Michele's husband Nate over at Decor and the Dog BUILT this awesome table.  With his hands.  And wood.  And tools.  And I want one.

This sofa table from The East Barn caught my eye, too!  I just love the finish on it and the color palette!

And lastly, Karen always nails it with her retro inspired upholstery projects, and these chairs don't fail to impress me and tug at my heartstrings!

Happy Saturday!  We are going to spend the weekend decorating the house, hanging lights, and perhaps getting our tree if the kids and I can talk Chris into it.... he wants to wait til next weekend.  Wish us luck!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday Guest: Kristy from Libbie Grove

It is BLACK FRIDAY!!!  I am sure so many of you are out shopping right now, or maybe sleeping after hitting the malls at midnight???  Whatever you are doing, I hope you get had a wonderful Thanksgiving and spent it with people you love.  I know I did!

I wanted to let you know about a new link party my friend of Megs of Meg & Mum's is having on her blog starting today!  It's a furniture and room makeover party that will run weekly!  Click on the button to head over and link up your projects!

I have a wonderfully talented guest for you today, as I know there are many of you avoiding malls today as well.  Welcome Kristy from Libby Grove Design!  Her girls room she is about to share is what originally caught my eye and brought me to her blog, but the rest of her blog caused me to click "follow"!  She has a fabulous eye for color and design, as seen in this awesome vignette....
Entry Way

That image just makes me so happy!  I know you are going to love her!  So keep on your pajama pants or unbutton your jeans (if you were able to even button them after yesterday!), because it's time to relax, let loose, and lose yourself in some great design.

Hi!  I'm Kristy from Libbie Grove Design....

I was thrilled when Cassie asked me to share my girl's bedroom!  My family and I recently moved to TX, so for the past few months I've been decorating each room in our house with a hope to provide a fun, comfortable (and functional) living space for my family.... my girl's shared room was no exception.  We just made sure there was tons (and tons) of pink!

The girls love the color pink and we always seem to have plenty of pink things around the house, so we only needed a few extras (and plenty of work) to bring it all together.

Girls Bedroom

Girls Bedroom

For the bedding, we used tiny floral sheets, a pink blanket and a white duvet cover from Ikea that I dyed pink using the powder form of Rit Dye.  For the bottom of the bed, I glued a teal ikat fabric around the box-spring and propped the frame up on wooden legs (no more constantly adjusting a bedskirt!)....

Girls Bedroom

Near the top of the beds, I piled a few pillows....

Girls Bedroom

Girls Bedroom

And in the place of a headboard, I opted to make one wall stand out.... I created a stencil out of heavy cardstock, traced the stencil, then painted inside the lines using pink paint (same as the ceiling). 

Girls Bedroom

On the adjacent wall, I added Ikea curtains to the window and trimmed them with black grosgrain ribbon, then added a gallery wall... a mix of photos, fabric, a silhouette, a mirror, a painting and Made By Girl's LOVE print in the bubblegum color.....

Girls Bedroom

Girls Bedroom

One of my favorites in the room is the chandelier.... it really makes the room sparkle when the lights are on....

Girls Bedroom

And I love that I can see the chandelier again through the mirror resting on the dresser....

Girls Bedroom

And now for the best part, my favorite... the before and after!  Here's the girl's bedroom before....

Bedroom Before

And after....

Girls Bedroom

I'm sure the girls are dreaming in pink!  Thanks again to Cassie for having me today!!!  I invite you to stop by Libbie Grove Design anytime to see what's new!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

Did you know that I am one of the lucky ones? Not because I win giveaways or anything like that, but because when writing my list of things to be thankful for, it's hard to put the pen down and stop.  My life is full of blessings, everywhere I turn.  And I think if you look around, you will find yours is also full of many wonderful things.

I am THANKful for....

two sweet, funny, and curious yet insightful children who look at me with nothing but love in their big blue eyes.

one husband who loves me even on the bad days, and allows me time to just be me.

parents who care about me as much as i care about my own kids, and that is immeasurable.

a brother who stays connected with me, even though he lives on the opposite coast, (and is one heck of an uncle!), and his keeper of a girlfriend who loves our entire family as much as we love her.

in-laws who love and care for us and are always there when we need them.

two hound dogs: jake, who is my morning walking buddy and follows me around the house all day letting me know he is always there; and charlie, an old man whose big brown eyes still show the puppy he once was.

friends who are like my family-  you all know who you are and i love you and am so glad you are in my life.

the health of my family- i can't be thankful enough for that.  life is fragile and sometimes too short.

a house that was home to our family from day one.

a wonderful new community and town with tradition and history and love for one another.

a blogging community i have grown to know and love, and returns that favor with open ears and arms.

old friends, traditions, and favorite pastimes.

new friends, new hobbies, new beginnings.....

Wishing you and your family all of those blessings and many more this Thanksgiving.  Cheers!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Piece of Work Wednesday Furniture Link Party Number 63!

Happy Piece of Work (Almost) Wednesday!  Hope you are all doing well!  I am on the mend, I believe, and felt much better yesterday though my throat is still sore.  Are you all ready for Thanksgiving?  I am!  But that's because we are going to my Mom's and she told me to even worry about bringing a side (either because she is wonderfully sympathetic to the past week I have had, or because she has had my cooking.)  Ha ha!  Chris and I had a mini Thanksgiving last night though with cornish hens and sweet potatoes... I didn't realize how silly that was until I was writing this post!

This is going to be a wordy little post, so be prepared.  I had it scheduled to publish and came across something I wanted to add that I got in an email from West Elm Today.  They are trimming trees for charity and you are invited!  Here are the details, but I thought it was worth sharing...
you're invited to... trim a tree for a cause. Thursday, December 1, 6-9pm. Spread cheer and help out your community this year. Stop by your local pop-up store for a chance to give back. Find something for everyone on your list and contribute gifts and ornaments to the tree we're donating to a local charity. Find Your Local Store.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and well wishes for Sawyer.  He went back to school yesterday and was excited to see his friends.  I was very nervous however because what the doctors did not warn me of was that his speech would be impaired for some time.  He sounds different and is harder to understand and I was so worried kids would make fun of them.  I know kids can be sweet and surprise you sometimes with their empathy, but sometimes they can be mean and cruel towards things they don't understand.  So I worried, and chewed my nails and worried some more.  When he stepped off the bus with a big grin and a new beaded necklace a classmate (who also recently went through much more invasive surgery) made him, I was so relieved and so touched.  So this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my wonderful family and friends, their health, and the kindness of strangers and children.

Emmy is also doing well and she and I made a pinecone turkey and an owl yesterday.  I planned to take the turkey to my parents' house as a little gift.   I did take pictures of them to share thankfully, because when we returned home from dance class, we found shreds of feathers and pinecones all over the dog bed.  Mental note that next time I do this project, I do NOT use peanuts or any other food product for a nose.  This is what they did look like as of 4 pm yesterday.

They had a short, but happy life.

Ok, let's get to furniture, because I do have a piece to share with you.  despite being ill this weekend, I wanted to get a piece done to share with you!  I bought this dresser a week or so ago for $50.  Here it is sanded, so not a total before...

I wanted to go funky and bold so decided to use the leftover orange paint from my bookcases.  It was a Behr paint/primer in one and worked beautifully on the sanded bookcase backing without primer.  So trusting it, I went to work painting without priming because i didn't want any primer to show through nor did I want to buy any tinted primer.  It worked fine on the body but the laminate top, even though it was sanded, scratched right off.  So I scraped the entire top off and primed it before repainting the top.  The moral of this story is that I have used that paint brand before and not really liked it.  I love Benjamin Moore, and have never had problems.  So Behr, I am leaving you for good because Ben and I are back together forever.  Next time going with Aura paint and primer in one that won't leave me feeling disgruntled.

ANYHOW, after all that extra work, I ended up putting 3 coats on the dresser, then distressing it and using Minwax Golden Oak over it to blend the primer in the top areas a bit, and then sealed it with polycrylic.  It was a ton of frustrating work, and I won't use that paint again, BUT, I am happy with the overall look of the piece.  Pardon the picture setting, but it was rainy all day, so I had to leave it in the garage. :)

So now let us see your piece de resistance!
1. Must be a follower of my blog.
2. Must be a furniture makeover or build project.
3. Must be new to this party.  If you have already linked it to a party here it will be deleted.
4. No etsy shops.
5. Place my button or a text link in your sidebar or post.

Leave others some comment lovin'!
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Domestically SpeakingUndertheTableandDreaming