Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Change Is Good

I've been working on a little project for my office closet. Let me rephrase that...I've been getting incredibly frustrated with a project that I thought would be little, but is turning out to be a gigantic pain. At first I wasn't going to post about it, but then I figured that there is a lesson to be shared.
Do you see these pretty red boxes I found at the thrift store?
For some strange reason I decided that I wanted them to color coordinate with the other storage boxes in my closet. So I painted the lid of one using craft paint. Fortunately, I stopped at just the lid because after it dried, all it took was the scratch of my fingernail to take off all of the paint.
Then I got another great idea. I tore up pieces of craft paper and scrunched them. Then I applied the craft paper to the box using watered down mod podge. The result looks great, kind of like leather. But it took almost two hours. TWO HOURS for one little box and I still have two boxes to do! I just don't think this is worth my time. I mean really, it's not like my closet is going to be featured on the cover of some nation wide magazine.So the lesson to be learned?
Give yourself permission
to change your mind!
If something isn't turning out exactly as you planned, it's okay to reevaluate and make some changes.As I was taking this picture my youngest son asked if I was going to decorate the other two boxes. I told him no because it took too long. He asked, "So do you regret doing it?" My answer, "No, because I learned something. There are no regrets when you learn a lesson." I tried something that I've wanted to do. I will probably try this technique again, on something bigger like an old trunk.
This lesson can be applied to almost ANYTHING in decorating. If you're half way through painting a room and you absolutely hate the color, it's okay to change your mind. It's just paint. If you loved your couch five years ago when you bought it, but now you think it's an eyesore. It's okay, make or buy a slipcover for it, or sell it and use the money to buy another one that you love (new or used). If you thought you'd love a house with a country feel, but find yourself not feeling at home in your own home, then change the decor.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with going in a different direction than you first intended as long as the end result is a home that you love and feel comfortable in. Because really, shouldn't that be the main goal all along?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Be My Guest

This may look like a continental breakfast for house guests but it was just a little Sunday morning treat for my family. I thought it would be nice to spoil them a bit and treat them like guests.
Embracing a beautiful lifestyle
doesn't have to cost a lot.
All of the food was bought on sale. All of the serving dishes came from the thrift store.
I enjoyed giving my family a little surprise that was easy, delicious, and pleasing to the eye. Their reaction? One son told me he was disappointed because there wasn't any waffles. Did I let his comment take away from the happiness that I received by creating the treat? No, but next time I'll know who to assign the task of making waffles.

For those who wanted to know how I made the monogram wreath on yesterday's post, it was made with the leftovers from this wreath. I just wired them onto a wooden form of the letter A.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Inspired By Nature

I've been putting together a few vignettes inspired by the great outdoors.My dining room shelf/mantle is brimming with nests resting amongst electric candles. The apothecary jars are filled with faux nature elements.
Flowering bulbs Moss and fern fronds from the dollar store.
My foyer table displays a sweet little girl garden statue that I brought inside, along with a small birdbath filled with bleached moss, both resting on a silver tray.
With indoor displays inspired by nature, I can enjoy the beauties of springtime no matter the temperature outside. For another idea inspired by nature click here.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Labels

I've been adding a few finishing details to my office closet. One very important detail are the labels. I adore labels for organizing. With labels I never have to hear the words, "Moooooommmmm, where's the _____?!?" or "Honey, where do I put this?"Labels don't have to be office supply ordinary. It's always an enjoyable touch to turn the practical into the pretty. It gives you even more reason to smile when opening an organized closet.Interestingly enough, my husband and I had a discussion about labels a few days ago while out on our morning walk. We didn't discuss the labels that help keep us organized, but rather the labels we tend to give ourselves. We all do it. Unfortunately, personal labels aren't always as wonderful as organizational labels, although both can serve as a means to contain. Have you noticed that often the labels we give ourselves are not positive and character building? In fact it's the negative labels that truly do keep us contained and boxed up. Personal negative labels keep us from growing and experiencing all the good that life has to offer. Negative labels can also keep us from giving the best of ourselves to others. I realize this daily in my own life and I'm trying to break out of my boxes with negative labels. It's definitely not an easy thing, especially when the labels have been there for years. But I know that if I am to become the person I am meant to be, I have to remove the stifling negative labels and replace them with encouraging positive labels.
Spring time is a time of change and renewal in nature. It's also a excellent time to make changes in ourselves. Will you join me and think of a few positive labels to describe yourself and then daily work toward those attributes?
The incredible thing about giving positive labels to ourselves is that it can become contagious and before you know it, you'll find yourself giving those around you positive labels too.
Why don't we all start
a positive label epidemic!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Simplicity At It's Best

Sometimes it's the
simplest of things
that make you smile.Moss and rocks from the yard
in a pretty little white dish,
resting on a book with a great title,
with a motivational thought
thrown in for good measure.
If you want to make your own fork easel,
just click here for directions

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Les Fleurs

Don't you love it when you go to the grocery store
to buy something practical and find
something pretty on clearance.
Th
ese beauties haven't even bloomed yet,
but they were clearing them out.
I brought them home,
plopped the disposable pots into real pots,
and then placed them into my "fleur" cart.
This cart has been part of our lawn art for years; it's even served at a few wedding receptions. Several years ago, inspired by an old wagon wheel, I designed this cart. My hubby took my design plan and made it work. It's weathered, crooked, cracked and chipped,
but it's a little something that
makes our home unique to us.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Basket Case

Have you seen these
vintage baskets
?
Aren't they wonderful!
They have a similar look and feel
to the vintage grain sacks
that were the inspiration for my framed burlap.
Of course I needed to make my own version.
I found an old laundry type basket at the thrift store for two dollars (apparently I deleted the "before" picture off my camera, so imagine the generic light colored, light weight basket). I painted the basket. When painting any basket, it's good to soak it in water first, and then dilute the paint a bit for the best coverage.
Then I dry brushed over it with lighter and darker colors to achieve a more worn appearance.
After the paint was dry, I painted on the numbers.
Now I have a unique big basket
for storing all kinds of things.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Featured Inspiration: Laryssa Herbert

As I said yesterday, I want to occasionally feature people on my blog who have discovered their passion. My hope is that it might inspire us all to cultivate and develop our own talents, creativity, and passions and gain the confidence to follow our dreams.

I am so pleased that Laryssa Herbert agreed to be the first in this series of featured inspiration.
Laryssa is a fabulous artist. You may have seen her work on other blogs or at her Etsy shop.


I hope you enjoy my interview with her.

*Laryssa would you tell us a little about yourself and your art.

I'm a Christian, stay at home mom. I've been married for 11 years to the sweetest man on earth and we have two beautiful children that I homeschool.

*How and when did you discover that art was your passion?

I have enjoyed art all my life, even as a child I loved to draw and paint. I took some art classes while I was in school. (I was homeschooled from third grade through high school.) I have continued painting throughout my adult life, but just for myself or for gifts. I always wanted to have my own business, but didn't know where to start.

*What gave you the confidence to sell your work and start your own business?

I opened an Etsy shop last fall to see how my artwork would sell. It did okay. This was before we bought the special equipment to produce our own prints, so I was painting every one by hand. It was a lot of hard work and I couldn't price them high enough to make much profit.

Last November I emailed Nester from Nesting Place and I ended up being one of her ad partners. When we introduced the first special edition egg and feather prints, all fifty sets sold out in 24 hours!

My husband and other family members have always encouraged me in my art business. My husband also helps me with the technical side of getting the prints to market.

*What would be your suggestions to someone who is thinking of starting their own business?

If you have something you are passionate about, then I believe you can make money doing it. Start small and don't give up. I've been trying to have my own art business for almost 10 years! I feel like I'm just now getting where I've always wanted to be, business wise.

When you think of some ideas for your own business, try a few of them out and see which one works the best. I had tried to sell paintings in local shops and it was never profitable, but selling paintings online is working.

Make every effort to keep your business debt free. We had to use some of our personal money to get the business off the ground, but now it's running with it's own funds and I've reimbursed our family account.


Inspirational Scripture- Bluebird With Berry (print)

*How do you find balance in you life?

How do I find balance? Wow, what a question. To be honest, sometimes I don't. I have a lot going on, so I paint while my kids are with me and they are watching a quality video. I also work while my youngest is napping or at night after they are in bed.

My first passion is taking good care of my family, so my business sometimes has to wait.

*What are some important lessons you've learned and what advice would you give others?

I guess the most important advice I'd like to give, is to not be afraid. Just start, if it doesn't work at first, just keep trying! If you are doing something you are passionate about, something you enjoy, then it's okay if things take a while...because, you are having fun!


Thank you Laryssa for giving such a great interview!
Triple Egg Print
To see more of Laryssa's art
just click on the L. Herbert ad button
at the top of this interview


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bottled Memories

After more than a year of writing posts, I find my blog evolving. No, it's not because I have run out of projects. I doubt that will ever happen. It's because of your comments and emails (Thank you so much!). I've decided that I want my blog to be a place where you come to get inspiration not just for your home, but also for your life. I'm excited to announce that I will be including two more labels to my posts. Tomorrow's label will be "Featured Inspiration." I've asked an artist to tell us a bit about herself. I'm hoping that these occasional features will help inspire you and give you courage to follow your dreams and passions.
Today's label is "Embracing a Lifestyle." These posts will include those little things in life that we need to take time to stop and appreciate. I find myself some days spending a lot of energy wanting the magazine cover home and lifestyle. But when I stop to think about my life, it's really the messy, noisy, simple, far-from-magazine-cover things that are the most meaningful. Here's a wonderful example:
I have this little bottle tucked away in a drawer in my bathroom. Every time I open the drawer and see it there, it warms my heart and makes me smile. I know it may not look like much to you, just a dollar store bottle containing some faded, folded construction paper pieces. But to me this little bottle is a cherished possession. Years ago my only daughter organized her three oldest brothers, and each of them wrote me a little note. They folded those love notes, stuffed them into this bottle and presented it to me. It's one of the sweetest gifts I've ever been given. Each time I see it I think of my beautiful children and of how time has passed so swiftly. I wish I knew then how quickly the years would fly. I think I would have treasured the days and the moments with my children a little more. I am thrilled that I have this bottle of memories.
Isn't is wonderful how something so inexpensive can be so priceless. I think that it's a good reminder that the best gifts really can come in small packages. Maybe one of the blessings of living in a time when we're all needing to watch our finances carefully, is that we can get back to giving simple gifts that are heartfelt and meaningful.
Have you given or received a gift that cost little but meant a lot?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Quick Makeover

It's been a while since I posted a
black spray paint makeover.
So here's a little BEFORE
(A thrift store find.)
and AFTER
(A perfect fit for my cloche.)
A whole new look,

thanks to black satin spray paint
and some Christmas garland.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Stealing Green

While out on a walk yesterday I noticed a pile of freshly cut boxwood branches lying in the street waiting for the trash. I've always admired
beautiful boxwood wreaths
so naturally I saw that pile of trash as a treasure-in-waiting. The problem was, I don't know the people who live in the house with the freshly trimmed boxwoods. What was I supposed to do? Knock on their door and introduce myself and then ask if I could have their garbage. They would probably have the police on the phone within seconds, telling them that their was a crazy lady on their porch.
So I did the only thing I could think of. I waited until it got dark and then I walked slyly up to their trash pile and began loading it into a plastic bag.
Am I the only person who thinks that there is something a little exciting about taking another person's trash under the guise of darkness?
Maybe I really am a crazy lady.
I asked my hubby to build me a square form out of scrap lumber and then I began to layer the boxwood branches on, securing them with florist wire.
I think it turned out beautiful!One man's trash
really can be
a crazy lady's treasure.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Finding Treasures

Saturday was such a crazy busy day! We spent the morning helping with a neighborhood clean-up. Then I had groceries to buy and last minute Easter goodies to purchase. It seems that this year every store sold out plastic eggs, which meant, because I am a procrastinator, I had to go to more stores than I had planned. I prepared items to bring to a big family dinner that evening. Once we returned, there was house cleaning and more holiday and dinner preparations for Sunday. It was a very busy day! But would you believe that I actually found some time to stop in the thrift store? Yes, I did.
I have these wonderful treasures to prove it.
There is another treasure I found at the thrift store, but I can't show you. It isn't something I purchased. Saturday I found myself getting grumpy. You know how it is when you feel like you have to do it all and be it all, and with a holiday it seems those feelings are multiplied. Well, I decided that I wanted to break
the grumpy mom cycle.
I knew that the reason I had the uglies was because "the well" was getting dry. By that I mean, I was so busy doing for others that there was little left for me. So I took a few minutes to
"fill the well."

Do you do that?
Do you take time to give to yourself so that you have more to give to others. It's taken me YEARS to learn---aahhh, I'm still trying to learn that when I take the time to
do something special
that makes me feel good, it's much easier for me to do things for others to make them feel good. It doesn't have to involve spending money. It can be as simple as closing the bedroom (or bathroom) door for a few minutes of quiet time alone, going for a walk, or sitting on the lawn reading a favorite magazine.
We all know what makes us feel better, those treasures that refresh our souls.
I hope you take some treasured time today,
and everyday,
to fill your well.

Friday, April 10, 2009

IFS

What if you could have the
HOUSE OF YOUR DREAMS
in the home you're living in right now.
How would it look?

Most of us have a list of things we'd like to do to improve our home. I don't think I know anyone who lives in their ideal home.
But, do you find yourself saying "If only..."
If only I had hardwood floors, then I would be happy with my home.
If only my appliances were beautiful stainless steel, then I'd have my dream kitchen.
If only the furniture came from a high end furniture store instead of a thrift store and hand-me-downs, then I'd love to entertain.
If only my walls weren't decorated with children's hand prints and the floor with toys, then I could decorate my home with beautiful things.
If only my house was bigger, then. . .
If only we had enough money to make home improvements, then. . .
The problem with the "If only's" is that you choose to delay your happiness and miss out on JOY you could be having right now.
If you learn nothing else from my blog, I hope you learn that every day you should do a little something to find the JOYS of home. That's my goal. Let me illustrate with photos of my own home.
Our main bathroom looks picture perfect. It's not! The tile floor has cracks, the top drawer falls out if you pull it too far. The cabinets are low end wood laminate and the sinks have rust stains that cannot be removed.
I could have chosen to live with the "If only's." Instead, I
painted the cabinets, replaced the hardware, and stocked the linen closet with fluffy white towels.
The flooring in our home was not pretty, at all. If I lived in "If only" land I would not have torn out the ugly carpet and tile, painted the subflooring and personalized our stairs. Would I love to have beautiful hardwood? Of course! But look at the creative opportunities that I would have missed. The kitchen has the same cheap cabinetry as the bathroom and the appliances are white. It had the ubiquitous U-shape of the 1970's until we decided to tear it apart and make improvements on a budget of a thousand dollars. The "If only" attitude would have robbed us of wonderful memories of working together and of preparing our turkey on top of the washing machine because hubby was installing the sink on Thanksgiving morning.The beautiful fireplace I told you about yesterday is still not finished. It's missing the surround on the firebox. No one notices because I painted the whole thing black and loaded it with pretty candles. Would I love to have a finished gas burning fireplace? YES, but I can enjoy it this way until our finances allow us to finish it. Our master bedroom has painted subflooring and a master bath that needs major work. The furniture is from the thrift store, the draperies are drop cloths, the walls are painted with mistints. But it can still be beautiful and on a budget.

With an "If only" attitude I would never have discovered the depth of my creativity. I would not have had the opportunity to help others design their homes, and I certainly would never have started a blog.
Don't let the thief "If only" rob you from the JOYS of home that are at your finger tips.
Please stop living with the "If only's" and do what you can, with what you have, to find the JOYS in your home. This weekend would be a great time to start!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ad Inspiration

Almost every time I post a photo of my fireplace, I get comments about how much you like it. Did you know that it's not the original fireplace? I looked through a gazillion photos and can't seem to find a good "before" picture, but I can give you a good idea of the original fireplace.
This is a photo of what the front of our home looked like before I redesigned it.
See that wall of rock? Now, imagine that exact same rock wall as a fireplace. What you may not be able to see is that some rocks jut out so far that my boys would literally rock climb the fireplace (as well as the front of the house). There was no mantle, and because of the strange rock formations we couldn't hang a picture. I managed to hang a huge wreath off one of the protruding rocks, but it wasn't centered in the middle. It also had an over-sized, rock covered hearth that stuck out an additional two-plus feet into the room. Just getting rid of it gave us a lot more usable space.
We tore that monstrosity down all by ourselves. Our three youngest sons did a lot of the work. It was our practice run for tearing down the rock on the front of the house. It was a HUGE, dusty job! We re-purposed all of the rock into a dry stream bed in our back yard. We hired a friend to put up sheet rock and then my husband and I built the mantle. We used this picture, that I had torn out of a magazine, as our inspiration.
Do you do that? I can't throw a magazine away until I've gone through it and torn out anything and everything that interests me. Right now I have three stacks waiting to be sorted through and torn apart. Magazines are a wonderful idea source for making improvements in your home.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Am I Alone?

Please tell me that I'm not the only one
who continues to add layers to holiday vignettes
up until the day of the holiday.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fancy Eggs

While I was on an egg roll (pardon the pun), I thought I'd take some ordinary paper mache eggs and make them fancy. First I gave them a quick coat of paint, then I tore some scrap book paper into pieces and applied it using mod podge. They seemed a bit plain so I applied more mod podge and covered them with sparkling crystal glitter.
The glitter looked so pretty that I covered the remaining eggs using only sparkling silver glitter. Once dry, I placed them into a tarnished silver basket along with the chalkboard eggs.

Who says Easter eggs only look good in pastels?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Eggs-ellent Idea

I saw this idea on a local TV show
and immediately thought,

"Why didn't I think of that!"
Just because I didn't think of it
doesn't mean I can't share it with you.
Although I really should have thought of it
because it involves eggs and
black spray paint.
Don't do this with boiled eggs you'll eat.
Use wood, or ceramic eggs,
or hollowed out real eggs.

There is only one thing better
than a spray painted black egg . . .

a spray painted black chalkboard egg!If you don't like them in black,
chalkboard paint can be tinted almost any color.
Wouldn't these be wonderful
for place settings at Easter dinner?
Now, you're probably saying,
"Why didn't I think of that!"
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