Tuesday, December 31, 2013

     I've discovered I really enjoy blogging. It pushes me to get things done, keeps me accountable, and helps me look at my home in a different way. I hope through reading about my experiences it motivates you to look at your house in a new and exciting way, and perhaps try something you might have been putting off. 

     I can't say I plan out what I'm going to blog about each day or even if I'm going to that day. I just kind of let inspiration hit me and if my wallet can follow. I have been giving some thought as to what I'd like to do here. I have a wide variety of interest. I love to cook, occasionally bake (even from scratch), decorate, I love (imagine a giant red heart) clothes and things that sparkle, shopping (but that goes without saying), DIY, making crafts with my children, and home organization.   I probably should do a little more of the latter. I'd add on exercising and although I do, do it, it's not exactly enjoyable to me. I still can't understand why we can't just deduct the calories and fat from the foods we say no too? 

     If you continue reading my blog, you will see some changes. At times it might appear all over the place (and it will) but really it's me being true to who I am and pursuing all areas of interest. 

     I've been seeing a lot in the blog world about a 100 item purge. I'm sure I can find a lot more than that, but not only do I want to purge items, I want to organize what I keep. That takes time and sometimes expense, but in the end a well organized, functioning household is a must for me. I'm looking around and trying to decide where to begin. 

     Tonight though, I'm going to partake in a buffet style menu brought home as a surprise by my husband, finish eating, curl up on the couch with the family and watch a movie. I'll be asleep well before midnight. 


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Meeting Miss Mustard Seed....

Today I got to meet my Blogging idol Marian of Miss Mustard Seed, actually go inside her house and purchase a truly beautiful piece of furniture. It will be hard to top a day like today. 

I tried to sneak peeks of course and I can tell you it's more beautiful in person. She truly has a great eye for decorating but more than that it FEELS like a home, which as a Mama of 3, I'm looking more for cozy and less magazine editorial. As you can imagine her and her husband are both genuinely nice, and my husband was relieved to have someone help him carry out the huge antique hutch I purchased. Her ironstone collection is to die for. I have a lot of catching up to do! 

Don't you love when you purchase a piece of furniture or artwork and you get to play around with it?  I feel like such a kid in a candy store and enjoy shopping my own house to accessorize with. I'm not sure I will ever be able to say I'm finished, which Honey if you are reading this then "I'm sorry....,well just a little bit". Actually, he's pretty supportive and very active with the behind the scenes types of things.  It was nice he could relate with Marian's husband on this. Like a true fan I brought a copy of her book to sign which she did so graciously. 

Okay, onto the newest addition to my living room, but if I switch things around it just might end up in my dining room. Again, never really finished. 

This hutch was possibly made in or around 1830, has its original hardware, adjustable shelving, 2 deep drawers and all it's original hardware. The glass is also the original bubble glass, which is possibly one of my favorite features. 

Originally in its place I had a bookcase I painted white and papered the interior. I still love it but it was looking a little lost in the room. My plans are to repaint it and find a new paper for the interior. It's going to be moved to my son's room for all of his sports trophies and books. His room is somewhere on the to-do list, but I'm still stuck on the girl's room and have just a few finishing touches for my room left. 

I managed to move most of what was on the original book shelf over to the hutch. I will have to at a later time adjust the shelving a little more to make some of my larger pieces fit. For now it's done! 

I have lots of magazine holders from Ikea, the ones not labeled were picked off by my 2 year old. This Mom loves her labels. 
I need to purchase more photo albums from Exposures catalog. They're a little pricey but I want to protect my pictures with something of quality. I have a couple of my ironstone pieces tucked in there. On the third shelf up I have a couple of ceramic urns I bought years ago from a consignment shop. The silhouettes are of my two oldest when each of them was three years old. We got them at Disney and it just so happens we are taking the kids again when my youngest will be 3. I swear it wasn't planned that way.  The top shelf contains some of my wedding china made by Spode, titled "Pearl River".

A close up of one of my appetizer plates. 

The small gold tray is where I usually put down my cell phone so I don't have to hunt it down. Everything needs a place! 

I actually have 2 crystal  bowls here, both wedding presents I cherish. 

Here's my little bowl of chestnuts....I think it's time to roast some of these but in the oven and not the open fire. 

Here's a link to Miss Mustard Seed, she also offers a great milk paint line as well. missmustardseed.com/

Friday, December 27, 2013

Making my list, and during the year checking it twice.

     On my list to accomplish this year.

1.  Finish my girls room in the next 6 weeks.
2.  Create a more streamlined and unified command center.
3.  Paint the kitchen cabinets.
4.  Paint the interior of the outside door and purchase new hardware for it.
5.  Create a new tradition with the family.
6.  Commit to daily fitness and overall general good health.
7.  Get back into a book club.
8.  Re-do my son's room from top to bottom.
9.  Completely transform the upstairs hallway as well as the stairs.
10. Find a ceiling treatment for my bedroom to give it a little "pop".
11. Cook and bake more with my kids.
12. Register for the Fall my littlest to attend pre-school. :-(
13. Purchase a new winter coat and have my old one cut up and made into a pillow.
14. Sign up for a workshop offered at a home improvement store.
15. Laugh every single day.

Have you made a list of to-do's? 

Where I am going to put all this stuff?

     It's to dark right now to take a picture of my mini-van filled to the brim with Christmas gifts and purchases made after the holidays.  I'm not sure I want any reminders in the future as to how spoiled my children really are.  Each year I'm always left scratching my head as to where all these things are going to fit?  Don't get me wrong,  I haven't forgotten just how lucky I am, but still a house can only hold so much stuff without looking like it should be on an episode of "hoarders".  I did manage to get some purging done before going away for the holidays so that will help with some of the things.  My question to all of you is "What do you do with the toys your children receive but don't seem interested in playing with, or that you feel they already own something like it?"  That's what I'm deciding on currently. 

     I'm also behind on taking some time in reflecting on this past year.  All of it, the good, the bad, and the just ho-hum.  Grateful for experiencing it all, and hoping to have gotten a positive message from it.  I'm thinking about starting a new tradition for myself and my family.  Maybe coming together once a month and sitting down to write about an event or a moment, or a laugh we might have had during that particular month.  It would be a nice way to end each year by remembering all those big and small moments that we have shared throughout the year.  I also need to sit down and make a list of all the things I would like to accomplish next year, like possibly running my first and no doubt last marathon.  I have lots of house projects I'd like to see get done but I need to be more realistic.  Hey some girls dream about shoes, I just happen to dream about which color I should paint the walls or use wall paper instead.  But I need to keep those favorite heels of mine grounded as it's not really realistic to think I can re-paint my entire house, walls, ceilings, and trim as well as get done the other projects I would like to see happen.  I should mention both inside and out.  I'm a little hesitant about getting any major landscaping projects done.  I have kids that I WANT to be tearing up my yard, and not yelling to them to get off of it because I just planted grass seed.  I seriously need to get better at sucking up the fact it's hot out and get my weeding done during the summer months.

     Here is something I am going to give a real try too as well.  If you haven't heard of (but I'm sure you have) the amazing blog A bowlfull of lemons.  She covers just about every area you can think of, from budgeting, to decorating, to organizing as well as cleaning.  Part of my anxiety is not wanting to become overwhelmed with stuff. 

     I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow, but Sunday if all goes well *fingers crossed*, I will be meeting my blogger idol as well as purchasing a truly beautiful piece of furniture as in not from Ikea.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The loot from Home Goods and TJ Maxx....

     As promised here are the amazing deals I couldn't say no too. I could spend the entire day just perusing each aisle. I can't wait to get back to Maryland to start putting everything away and trying it all out.   I still can't get over the deals I found, starting with TJ Maxx, here's what I got. 

     I grabbed 2 of the ceramic garden stools. If you remember in a past post I purchased a white one at full price. I got each of these for a sweet deal of $40 each. The light blue one should go perfectly in my kitchen and the white one I have a few places in mind. The ceramic ginger jar is a favorite find. I love the look of it and the size. I'm thinking next to my fireplace but again I will have to wait until I get home.   I have wanted for a really long time, for my front porch a couple of the chrome lanterns but could never find them at a price I felt comfortable with. I grabbed 2 different sizes and with 2 different handles. I plan on finding some ribbon to tie bows on the handles and adding candles (probably battery operated) and seasonal items in the interiors. I think I'm going to have fun dressing these up. 

     Here's my Home Goods stash. The large basket is going to hold my recycling. My family is in the bad habit of piling our recyclable materials on the kitchen counter. DRIVES ME CRAZY. This basket should be perfect!  The round basket is a perfect catch all to mail or I can see it filled with fresh fruit. For $7 bucks I wasn't about to pass it up. I should mention I got the large basket for only $25. I grabbed 2 small rugs. The sisal is perfect for the back door. It was just $7, and the geometric design one is 3x5 perfect for my kitchen as well. It was marked down to $40. 

In the next couple of weeks I'm going to be really changing things up. I'll be meeting my blogging idol, traveling to her home, and purchasing a really amazing piece of furniture from her. 

Leave a comment and let me know what you found after Christmas? 

Temptation all around me...

Every year after Christmas I head straight to 3 stores. Home Goods, TJ Maxx and Marshalls. I go armed with a coffee in one hand to give me energy and Christmas money in my wallet. I look for things I don't need but can't say no too, things that will help me better organize, and things I've seen in magazines or online that I have fallen in love with. I also look for pieces that I can change or repurpose at the right price. Well, I can tell you none of these stores has ever disappointed me. Here's a teaser of what I said no too. 

The only reason why I said no is because I have no room in the car. I have a ton of Christmas presents to bring back to Maryland. Can you believe it was just $199 and I'm pretty sure I read a sign for additional discounts.

I have no need for an ice bucket but I fell for the design. I dream often of having a bar cart set up but with juice boxes and bottled water.

Talk about a great way to get organized and look completely charming. Sadly, I put it back because you have all seen my multiple command centers. 

I love this color. It's so rich and luxurious, but I have no where to use this tray. Oh well.....

Leave a comment and let me know the items you found tough to let go. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas y'all

     Christmas is a blessed time of year.  I'm thankful for family, friends, good food and health. It's a great time to sit with family and talk about all the highlights of the past year. I'm off to church to listen to my niece sing in the Church choir.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Designing and decorating a little girl's room

     Today I spent the day compulsively scrubbing the entire house.  It looks really great but I know it won't last long.  While I cleaned, my husband managed to injure himself, put together an Ikea bed, realize that after Christmas he has to take apart the bottom of the bed, and to top it all off he did tons of laundry.  What a great guy! Anyhow, I'm trying to ready the house for the onslaught of new stuff coming in.  I did manage to give away a few things, tried to sell others, and had to toss some things that were missing pieces.

     Progress is being made in my girl's room.  For starters the bed is together, well sort of.  After putting it together, my husband realized he installed something backwards but it shouldn't be a big deal to correct it (or so he says).  We purchased the twin size mattress at Ikea, but after the holidays we will be getting her a better quality mattress.  We still need to get one more bed for daughter #2.  

     I wish I took before shots.  We've been in our home for 7 years, but in the 6 years it's been her room, it's undergone a few makeovers.  Her nursery was shabby chic, her toddler room was Lilly Pulitzer, and now this room is a little more grown up.

     Here's her crib converted into a toddler bed, which is the best investment ever. 

I took the bedding off and placed the baskets on top, just so I could mop the floor.  

Here's the new bed.  I don't iron sheets as you can tell, actually I don't iron at all.

As you can see the drawers don't quite line up...oops.  I was pleasantly surprised with how much the drawers can fit.  This will be perfect as the girls get older.  We are also going to be upholstering a head, foot and side board for this bed as well as the other one.  I haven't fully committed yet to a fabric.  More on that later with no doubt, a "how not to upholster these things". :-) Here's a look at what my inspiration page looks like.

 The owl is being moved around as well as many of the other pieces of furniture.  The room is in an L-shape which makes things difficult as well as having this one odd wall. 

The print on the wall is her initials.  It was a free printable I found online.  Wish I still had the link.  I made 2, 1 for each girl and hung them in frames I already owned.  I'll be adding more artwork to the walls over time.  I've found some really wonderful abstract paintings on Etsy with the perfect colors. 

This is one of my favorite DIY pieces I have ever made.  I used hot pink vinyl cut outs of various breeds of dogs from craft cuts.  I put them on melamine plates I purchased at Target over the summer and hung them with command strips.  The original inspiration came from here.  This project took less than 10 minutes to do once the vinyl came in and was around $40 for both the plates and the cut outs. 

You will notice I used the same vinyl cut outs here as well.  And yes I moved "Hootie" once again.  I still need to dress up the hardware, unfortunately the new pulls came with the wrong size screws.

Inspiration for this piece was found here.

Check back this week for a part 2 on the progress.  I just have to keep reminding myself that the room will come together eventually, and I am making a space that is truly lovely and unique for my special little girls.

Have a wonderful Holiday with family and friends!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Command centers

     I'm not at 100% but I have a working computer and things still need to get done around here.  I was motivated today to clean out some of the arts and crafts things.  I'm sure more are coming in, but still some progress was made. I posted in my local community's Facebook page "free to good home". It feels great to purge.  I'm also working on a "command center" as well.  I need to put in place a good system for all the school papers that come home, dates to remember, and things that need to be saved and others that need to be tossed.  I find I am more at peace with my home when things are organized, or at the very least neatly piled up. Here are some of the command centers that I have pinned on Pinterest.

Right now this is what I have, but it's scattered around my kitchen with no clear definition.  

Nothing needs to be decided tonight.  I can keep pinning away until something really strikes me, or combine different elements that will suit my needs.

I'll leave you with my all time favorite Christmas song.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Santa, Rudolf and Henry

     Sorry for not posting much this past week.  I wish I could blame it on projects or last minute Christmas shopping, but alas it just comes down to being a little under the weather.   I did manage to snap a few pictures I'd like to share with you all. 

My grain sack fabric came in. I'll start that project in the New Year! It's feels so wonderful and should be an easy material to work with. I have to remove all the tacks from the ugly sister chair, sand all the wood and paint it. I'm leaning towards a red to give it some pop. This chair will go in my son's room, which is somewhere on my to-do list. The blue stripe against the red wood should be a nice contrast. 

The owl from Urban Outfitters came in, in record time. This is such a fun little side table for less than $40 bucks.  My goal is to finish the girl's room by the middle of February. We shall see! 

A neighbor sent me a message asking if I wanted all her decorating magazines....um yes please. I've been flipping through them all, tearing out inspiration sheets and recipes, I'd like to try. 

And then, it seems our naughty Elf on the Shelf has a friendly little battle going on with Santa and Rudolf. I think Henry is on the losing end of things but I'll let you decide. 

Marshmallow snow ball fight. 

Not a chance Henry! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gooey cookies and cream bars

      It feels more like a day to bake than do any kind of home improvement projects.  I decided today to surprise the kiddos with a yummy looking dessert for tonight. It's a recipe I pinned months ago and always meant to make.  I still can't get over how quick and easy it is.  It's called "gooey cookies and cream bars", and only requires just a few things. 

  List of what you need:
  1. Cake mix box of Devils food cake
  2. 1 large egg
  3. Package of Oreo cookies
  4. 1 stick of unsalted butter
  5. I package of chocolate chips 
  6. 14 ounces of canned sweetened condensed milk 

For the complete recipe you can find it here.

Here's a look at what I used.

As I type this up my house is beginning to smell heavenly. Here's a look at what I did. 

I mixed one cake box mix, 1 egg and 1 stick of unsalted butter. 

The recipe called for 14 Oreo cookies broken into pieces. I threw them in a gallon size bag, grabbed my meat tenderizer and gave them a few whacks. Place the cake mix in a foil lined baking pan 9x13 that's been sprayed with no stick cooking spray. Spread out the cake mix and top with the crushed cookies.  Once you've done that, evenly spread out the condensed milk, top with 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips and bake for between 23-25 minutes. You will also want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Can't forget that step!!

Your house will begin to smell delicious in no time at all.....and you will end up with this...

I must resist until after the kiddos come home. I can see its going to be a LONG day for me. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Boxwood wreath DIY

     I anticipated a lot of snow this weekend, which meant being stuck inside.  I ran to Joann's on Friday night and armed myself with crafts for me as well as the kiddos, complete with chocolate lollipop molds ;-).  I figured what a great way to spend the weekend, doing crafts and watching holiday movies.  Well the snow wasn't that bad, but we did stay mostly stay at home.  

     Our only "to-do" was to have breakfast with Santa. For the last 7 years we have been going to the Church around the corner for their annual craft fair and star attraction of Santa.  Breakfast is yummy pancakes and sausage, and they have a fabulous organist playing Christmas tunes.  In the gym they have homemade, donated wreaths.  It's nice to walk around and see the creativity. My husband surprised me with bidding on and winning a wreath I said I really liked. He did the same thing a few years before on a Disney wreath. I did have to promise my children that Mickey would remain on our front door, despite getting a new one.  

I changed things up on my mantle and placed the new wreath here.  Funny enough on Friday I decided to make a wreath and grabbed all the materials.  I was inspired by this picture.

I added a ribbon because my plan is to hang it in my kitchen window.  You can find more here.  Instead of a garland like the tutorial, I found a square with detachable boxwood stems.  On Friday I purchased 2 of these, but ended up going back on Sunday to grab another one.  I could have easily used 4, but began to space them out a bit more at the end.  Price wise it added up to what a preserved one would cost, and this is a long project, but I love making things myself.  I just put a Christmas movie on while doing it.  Here's what I used to make this.

Not shown is a glue gun, you will definitely need this.  Also, I didn't use a toothpick to poke holes like the tutorial.  I took a pen and removed the ink from inside and used that to make my holes.

Here's what it looked like when I ran out, but trust me once I finished it, I was happy with the results.

Yes, that's a Spongebob chia pet, don't judge.  I'm a Mom.

As for my list I made here, I didn't manage to cross off really anything.

This weekends to do list.
  1. Touch up all the paint spots in the girl's room.
  2. Finish the chair by adding gimp.  I already got an email that the rugs should arrive tomorrow.
  3. Put together B's new bed.  I measured everything out, but it helps me visually when I can see things in place.
  4. Get the necessary parts to glam up the dresser with what's in that mystery box.
  5. Make some DIY Holiday decor.
  6. Take a nap!!!!!
I managed to cross off #2, #3 is about 80% finished and that took 4 hours to get it to that point, and I am about 50% finished with #5. Sadly, no nap for me this weekend.  Oh well....

Did you cross off anything on your list this weekend?