Monday, March 30, 2009

Do Something That Makes You Smile

I am a firm believer that every day you should do a little something that makes you smile. If I am happy there is more of me to give to my family and others. But, sometimes, in an effort to do things that make me smile I fall into a rut. Am I the only person who does this? Let me give you a personal example. I find it very easy to decorate the more public areas of my home. That makes me smile. But, every morning I wake up in a bland and cluttered bedroom. In my rut I think nothing of this---my thoughts are, "I spend most of my time in that room with my eyes closed, so it doesn't matter." But in reality it DOES matter. This is something in my life that isn't consistent with what I desire for myself and my family. And because of that, my life feels out of balance. So, this weekend I tackled the task of finding balance, as well as doing something that makes me smile. In the midst of organizing my office closet, I began another task (can you say, "Attention Deficit"?). I decided to take one corner of my bedroom and do just a little something that would make me smile. I didn't run out and buy a lot of stuff. I used what I had. I used my trusty black spray paint to update the two shelves. And I treated myself and my hubby to some inexpensive fresh flowers. Now I have something that makes me smile every time I walk by.What little thing can you do today to get you out of a rut and make you smile? It doesn't have to be decorating your house, maybe it's just adding a little something extra to your recipe for dinner tonight. Or lighting that beautiful candle you've been saving all these months. Or how about wearing fancy earrings while you're cleaning the toilet? Go ahead! Do something that makes you smile!

OH! another thing that makes me smile....reading all the comments you left on my giveaway post. You are all so sweet!
And now I'm really smiling because I get to announce the winners....
PRIZE A- the burlap monogram goes to Tammy at Tinsel & Co.
PRIZE B- the chalkboard was won by Carlie at The Bird Nest
PRIZE C- CJ's Mommy*Kimberly gets her choice of two prizes
Ladies, send me an email at joysofhome@gmail.com. I need your color choices and addresses.

I really wish I could have made a prize for each and every one of you! My hubby says that's because I'm Obsessive Compulsive. Oh my! I'm ADD and OCD---no wonder I have to find something to make me smile every day!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Nest Eggs

This year I'm on a quest to change up my existing decorations for little to no money. I've had these little egg candle holders for years. They're sweet, but I thought with the help of some styrofoam, moss and a hot glue gun they could become spectacular.I just glued the moss around the foam to make it look like a little nest.Then I took it one step further and plopped them on top of a candle holder.My little nested eggs now get the attention they deserve among my other Easter decor.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Treasured Storage

I am elbow deep in a storage overhaul. Our office/computer room was originally a bedroom. It had a closet with one shelf and a rod---not the ideal set-up for storing office and craft supplies. Up until last week we used this make-shift system of metal shelves and plastic bins (currently sitting in the hall). The shelves are so far apart that we (okay, I) would pile things one on top of another. It was hazardous to come near the closet, let alone open the doors and search for something. You think I'm kidding? When I asked one son to clean the room, he backed a chair up to the closet in effort to barricade anyone from getting close to opening the doors.
Finally I'd had enough and this closet moved to priority status on the to-do list. Here's what it looks like now.
I've been organizing the big supplies using my grocery boxes.For the little things, I've decided to nix the plastic bins and use some of the treasures I've gathered while thrifting.
My office tags look pretty in this wire basket.
The school teacher in me HAD to buy this this vintage school tote when I saw it. Now my scissors look so pretty and organized. My husband rolled his eyes when I brought home this restaurant condiment tray. But, it's perfect for organizing all those little office supplies.I still have some work to do, but it's a lot more fun to organize with my thrift store treasures.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Read All About It

Oh My, Oh My!
There were Four Hundred and Seventy comments
on the giveaway!

Thanks so much for entering!
I'm going to find the three lucky winners the old fashioned way---
I'll be pulling them out of a hat.
The winners will be announced on Monday.

I have some exciting news!
I was interviewed by
Decor-Medley Blog.
I was asked some really
great questions.
Go here to read the interview.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hoppy Hoilday

Don't you just love holiday decorating? It's so exciting to unpack items that you haven't seen for a year. As I pull out each decoration I try to think of a new way to display it. I want my home to look different than it did the previous year. I like the challenge of changing, improving, and doing something new using the same old decorations. There's no need to buy new things every year when you can make the old items appear new.
Here's a picture of my mantle at Easter last year.This year I challenged myself to use pairs of items
in an asymmetrical
display.
This is my Easter mantle decor today.
DON'T FORGET
Today is the LAST day to enter the giveaway.
Scroll down to Friday's post.
Remember Only One Comment and Only One Choice.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Toting A Design

Look at the beauty that
I've been enjoying all weekend!

A local grocery store sells these wonderful cardboard totes. It's their effort to reduce the use of plastic grocery bags. When I saw them I knew they would be coming home with me. I planned to use them for something other than my groceries. I thought they would make fabulous organizing/storage containers. I've always loved a good cardboard box! There was only one problem, how to hide the store's logo.A little bit of pretty wrapping paper and some spray adhesive and now they look like a designer tote with a price tag of less than $1.50 each!
I must tell you a funny, yet humbling story. After taking the picture of this stack of totes, I left them sitting in my living room. You've read my blog so you have a good idea of what my living room looks like. I have layers of decorations! Yesterday my son had some friends from Russia come to visit. They sat there in a room filled with totes stacked neatly and collections and displays galore. After a while one of them asked my son, "Do you live in a store?" He chuckled and said, "No, my mom just likes to collect a lot of stuff."
Needless to say, I took time to appreciate and reflect upon my abundance, of not just decorations, but of home, freedom, and blessings.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A, B, or C

HOORAY!
IT'S TIME TO CELEBRATE!
I appreciate all of your ideas for the giveaway.
My favorite suggestions were for you to fly me
to your home for a design consultation.
OH! I would LOVE that!!!
Speaking of love. . .
Don't we all love giving gifts that
we know the recipients truly enjoy?
I know I do.
So I've made this gift giveaway
a bit different.
YOU get to choose the gift.
Here's what you need to do.
Decide which gift you want to win.
Then leave me a comment on THIS post.
Specify Prize A, Prize B, or Prize C.
You can only pick one,
And you can only leave one comment.

Are you ready?

PRIZE A
is a Custom-made Burlap Monogram
measuring 2 feet by 2 feet square.Frames for BOTH Prizes A & B will look like this one
made by Mr. J.of H.
and I'll paint it the color of your choice

PRIZE B
is a Custom-made Chalkboard
measuring 2 feet by 2 feet square

PRIZE C
is your choice of TWO of the following:
3 Moss Balls
a Custom-made Monogram Plaquea Small Chalkboardor a Custom-made Family Name Plaque

REMEMBER:
Only One Choice & One Comment Per Person
I'll accept comments until
Tuesday March 24th at 10 PM MST
GOOD LUCK!
***Edited to Add:***
Time is up!
Thanks for your comments

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Weekend Plans

I've got some wonderful plans for this weekend.
No, it doesn't involve a trip to Paris----
although wouldn't that be divine!
I do think that I may put on a little French music
while we add a little of this
to this.And while I do a bit of this.Then I will be using these to finish it off.What are your weekend plans?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's Personal

On this date last year, I posted my very first photo.
It was a picture of my suitcase stack.
Just over a year ago I found myself in an interesting place in my life. I'd had multiple opportunities to help people design their homes. I loved making their homes beautiful and personal. I loved being involved in the design process. I loved that people were looking to me for "expert" advice, and I really enjoyed the fact that I was being well paid for something that I loved. I felt a very strong desire to go back to school to get another degree. I had earned two degrees in education earlier in my life, but now, I really wanted a degree in interior design. I felt that I needed a design degree in order to validate myself. However, with our family and financial situation, the ability to go back to school was not a possibility. . . the sacrifice would have been too great. I was at that point where blocked creativity and total frustration collide.
I had talked for months about starting a blog. I thought that maybe I could showcase some of the work I had done in my clients homes, as well as my own home. My husband had even bought me a digital camera to show his support for my decision. I had spent hours and hours looking at, and being inspired by many designers blogs. I noticed that several mentioned that starting a blog was one of the best things they had done.
So, after months of talking, late one night my daughter helped me start my blog.
I thought that if nothing else, blogging would help improve my computer skills. I hoped that blogging would give me that extra push to complete a few of the hundreds of home improvement and craft projects that I constantly have running through my head. Blogging could serve as my substitute for higher education until the time was right. Interestingly enough, I chose to tell very, very few people about my blog, only a couple of my closest friends. I needed my blog to be my very personal outlet; the place where I could create with words and pictures without the fear of being judged by people I knew. . .whether good or bad.

Today I celebrate one year of blogging.
This is a photo of my suitcase stack today.
There have been subtle changes in that stack, and in my life. What has happened over the past year? Well, I do have a few more computer skills, although not enough to mention on a job application. I have been able to complete several projects. However, the amount of to-do projects running through my head has actually increased. Still, to this day, very few of my neighbors and extended family know that I have a blog, only those who have happened upon it through other sources. There have been other changes though. Changes that I never would have expected when I began this journey a year ago. I never would have expected that ANYONE would have ever been interested in what I had to say or do. I never would have expected that people would take time from their busy lives to leave kind, uplifting, positive, and friendly notes to me---someone they have never met and yet have a connection with, and they do so without expecting anything in return. I never would have expected to wake up every morning wondering what I could say or do on my blog so that someone I have never met might be inspired to enjoy their home and their life just a little more. And now, after a year of blogging I understand what others meant when they said that blogging was one of the best things they had ever done.

Blogging truly has been a life changing experience for me. I have each and every person who has ever read or commented on my blog to thank for that.
I am deeply appreciative to YOU
for being an important part of my life.

THANK YOU
from the bottom of my heart!


And, if you are wondering, I'll be throwing a party this Friday to celebrate this one year journey. I hope you'll be there. I'll even have a few prizes to give away.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Forcing The Issue

Aahhh, the weather here is finally warming up. Spring is just around the corner, which means flowers and fragrances galore! I spent some time planting some pretty little pansies in my urns. That's about all I dare to plant right now because we'll likely have another snow storm before long.One of my favorite sights of spring is the early-blooming, bright yellow flowers of the Forsythia bush. I'm fortunate to have several of these bushes. Their blooms are still a few weeks off, but I'm anxious for flowers so I thought I'd force them along. I cut several budding branches and hammered the ends. Hammering the ends gives more surface area for the water to come up the stems. You can do this with any branch that blooms, even fruit trees.
Then I placed them in a vase of luke-warm water inside my home. They'll be fooled into thinking that the warm days of Spring are here, and soon those stems will have an abundance of gorgeous bright yellow bell-shaped flowers.
I can't wait!

Monday, March 16, 2009

I Found Some Finds

Thank you so much for all of your suggestions of
what I could giveaway!
It seems that the overwhelming response is the monogram burlap or a chalkboard. Both were made with frames I bought at the thrift store.
So that meant only one thing. . . .
I HAD to go thrift shopping!
(Thanks for the excuse, by the way!)
I must report that I did NOT have any luck finding any wonderful frames. It seems that when I go thrifting with a specific item in mind, it usually takes more than one trip to find it.
Is that what happens to you too?
But I did find some other goodies. Actually, I found a whole cart full of treasures, but I had to narrow it down to those few items that seemed to take my breath away and make my heart skip a beat when I saw them.
I just can't seem to pass up a beautiful footed silver tray, a lovely aged basket, a fluffy, textured down pillow, my favorite cream colored pottery, and a bouquet of realistic faux tulips.

I do have a Plan B for the frames. I'll tell you in a few days.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Suggestions Please

Next week my blog will be one year old!
I'd love to do a giveaway.
I'm thinking that the prize could be something
that I've done a tutorial on this past year.
I could make one & personalize it just for you.
I want the gift to be something you would like.

I'D LOVE ANY SUGGESTIONS!!!

(To review my tutorials just click the tutorial label
at the bottom of the page)

Shelving Memories

I finished decorating my bookshelves. I did use a few books, mostly vintage ones that I've collected with wonderful titles like How To Be Happy Though Human, Rest And Be Thankful, How To Live. And books with foreign titles that I would love to be able to pronounce.I packed the shelves full of mementos from foreign places; places where family and friends have been, places I hope to one day visit. I wanted each shelf to tell a story. This may be too much visual clutter for some, but I love it!
There are remembrances of Germany, where my husband spent two years on a mission for our church, and of Russia, where my middle son served. There are souvenirs that my daughter brought back from Africa, where she volunteered at a school for the deaf.
Tokens from Holland, Denmark and England are under a cloche, safe from toddler hands.There's keepsakes from the time my daughter spent serving the people in Argentina. One shelf has things from France. When I was in junior high I took French for two years and dreamed of touring Paris. This shelf keeps the dream alive.
I added in photographs and paintings and even old silver trays. The silver trays reflect light back into the room and are a great place to add more personal photos and postcards held on with pretty magnets (the next thing for me to do).
I thought about adding small lamps, but since my boys and their friends spend a lot time in this room, I knew it wasn't practical. That's why there's no pillows on the love seat. The pillows just got their way and ended up on the floor. Instead of letting it make me crazy, I just removed the pillows.
Decorating should include your family's lifestyle. It should be comfortable, inviting, inspiring, stir positive emotions, and create wonderful memories. That's my goal when I decorate. I think I achieved it in this room.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Regal Pair

I've been trying to get some spring rearranging done. I love to rearrange things to help motivate me to clean and dust. The shelves in our office/computer room are in need of a new look, so I emptied everything out. I've never posted about these, so I thought this would be a great time to do it. We made two of these handsome bookshelves from old doors cut in half. They flank each side of the leather love seat and our huge map on the wall.We made them mirror images of each other, with the doorknobs facing opposite the love seat. They're topped with big, chunky molding that's meant for the exterior of a home. They're tall and lean and the details are reminiscent of a castle turret. I love how they give such presence to the room.
Now, I'm off to find some wonderful items around my house to fill them up.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

That's A Wrap

Here's an inexpensive, quick and easy way to wrap small gifts. I've been doing this for years because it's done with materials I almost always have on hand. All you need is newspaper, a paper lunch sack, twine and a stapler.Send the newspaper through the paper shredder to get your sack filler.Place the gift inside. Fold the top of the sack, accordion style, about have way down and then staple the middle. Pull the two ends together and staple.Cut several lengths of twine and thread them through the small opening in the fold. Wrap the twine around the sack and tie. That's it! You have an inexpensive, cute gift wrap idea that's very versatile. To make it fancy, you can use a white paper sack that's been embellished with stamps or scrapbook decorations, and then tie it with colored raffia or pretty satin ribbon.
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