New Header Love

I had a little fun the other night and made myself a new header following Mrs. Masterful Mama Monsters little tutorial.  I like. You like?  We all like together!

Just as the tutorial says, I made this header in ten minutes using this vintage wallpaper pattern that I turned black and white.  I think I spent more time looking for a paper that I liked then the actual time making it. 

pretty vintage wallpaper...I like it in color and in b&w
Rounded the colors and made the font color like my shelf.   I'm loving gray, white and chartreuse right now.  Oh and gold.  Lots and lots of gold.

I felt it needed a little pizazz so I added the stamp because I thought it looked kind of snowflakey-kindofsortof doilyish. 

I likey, like it.  (Sorry for the loopy talk.  I take after my Dad and when I get tired and/or sugared up, I start talking loopy.)

It's so simple, it will be fun to change up here and there.  Eventually, I would love to learn some real header making skillz, but in the mean time, this suites me just right.  So go on, make yourself a new header for the new year!  And come back and tell us about it too!


Neon Pickle?

I'm pleased as punch to have finally finished the painting in the kitchen!  It's only been three years of procrastinating for only a few hours of work.  Mental note, next time, just get 'er done! Front room accent wall is done too, just a little more painting in the hallway and I'm done!  Pat, pat, pat...pat myself on the back. 

Feeling victorious, I decided to take on the bookcase that I've been wanting to paint since the day I brought it home from the thrift store "last night".  "Last night" as in the way my three year old explains time.  Example:  "That Valentine's party we had last night was fun."  Apparently, I need years to complete simple painting tasks.  'Nuff said. 

Smartly, I used child labor encouraged my childrens' creative side and they primed the bookshelf while I primed the kitchen walls.   And they did a good job!  My little guy there had the whole side done in no time at all.  Maybe I should employ their help more often?

I thought and I thought and I thunk some more and finally, thanks to my friends fun color choice, found a color for the bookcase.  What does one call it?  Chartreuse?  Yellow-green?  Grellow?  At first, I wasn't so sure of it since at night it was kindly referred to as neon-pickle colored. 

oooo! neon pickle!
Stay tuned to find out what I did do with this neon pickle shelf.  Dun, dun, duuuunnnn.


All I Want For Christmas...

Dear Husband,
If it's not too late, I would love a kitchen like this for my Christmas gift. 
With lots of loves,
Your honey
photo from Caitlyn Creer
The darling Caitlin is at it again.  I love all the transformations that they have done in their new home, but the kitchen is the icing on the cake.  I ripped out a page from an old Martha Stewart magazine years and years ago that looks just like this.  White cabinets.  White subway tile.  Marble counters.  So pretty, fresh and clean.  These pictures prove to me that modest little homes can be super stylish and functional. 

picture from Caitlin Creer
Beautiful work!  Find all the details about it here.



Merry Christmas!

I'm so happy to announce that I'm all ready for Christmas!  Presents are wrapped and ready to go.  I even had time to help a friend finish making her gifts.  It was fun to do!  Now, we are enjoying each others company, watching holiday movies and playing in the snow watching it rain.  Looks like we won't be having a white Christmas this year but rather a really wet, muddy and leaves strewn about Christmas.   So festive!

Since posts aren't fun without pictures, here's some photos of some of the Christmas tassels I made this year.   Photos aren't great since I always am hurrying to finish them up before they are due, but still I thought they turned out pretty cute.  (Hah!  These are the only photos I have of the ones I made this year.  If you are reading this and you bought a new tassel this season, will you send me a picture?)

doesn't he look like he's popping out the chimney?

custom made to hang on a festive cross stitch
I hope your holidays are merry and bright!  Merry Christmas!


Holiday Favorites

Since I drastically cut down on my decorating this year, I thought that I would document what made the cut this year.   

Something old:  These little Santa and Mrs. Claus salt and pepper shakers were my Grandmothers.  They were given to her by my brother and I when we were too little to know better.  I even have the box that was given to her. 

Speaking of Grandma, all these elf ornaments were hers.  This year, I decided to showcase them on their own little tree.  I think it would be really fun to add to this collection. 

And an original Elf on the Shelf that was also Grandma Retas'.  (Interesting what I took from her belongings after she passed away since I was only 12.)

Something sparkly:  My three favorite silver trees given to me by my brother-in-law that I'm pretty sure really came from my fabulous sister-in-law.  And the wooden "Merry Christmas" blocks made by me a few years back. 

A large sparkly, jingle bell snowflake hanging from my armoire.

And something new:  This adorable paper wreath designed (which she taught in Portugal no less) by my ever so talented friend Tiffani.  We had a good time staying late after work putting them together.

Of course the kids favorite stuffed Santa.  He's played with constantly and is happily resting now on Daddy's old rocker enjoying the soft light of the tree and smiling at wrapped gifts eagerly wrapped by the children of the home.

All that was decorated in the family room was the mantel.  One of the only Santa decorations I kept made it along with a pretty metal tree that has a tree tassel hanging on it that I made just this year. 

I still really like my banner I made for this spot last year even though I didn't bother to iron it.

And that, my friends, is it.  Much simpler this year which has been so much better!  

Merry Christmas!


Same ol' story

We all know that this time of  year is busy, busy, busy.  Of course, this year is no exception.  With holiday parties, holiday work hours, a birthday for my littlest, dance recital, choir concert, deadlines, my work closing (sniff), working overtime, motherly duties and never ending housework, time just flies by.  Doesn't it know that I need more time this year?

And even though my days are busy, I still wanted to approach my Christmas a bit differently this year.  I'm not in any hurry this year.  Simplicity was desired, if not completely needed.  I cleaned out my Christmas bins and donated a trunk full of decorations that weren't loved like they should be.  I only put up what I loved and didn't put it out until after the 4th of December.  I completely changed my tree without spending any money.  I put out my decor in different places.  I made a point of making sure a Nativity was out. 

My goal is not to be tired of my decorations by Christmas day.  And even though there are few decorations that I know will be put away the second the day is over, I am in love with the simplicity and warmth of my home.

Walking down the stairs to the front room at night, I am greeted by this inviting, softly lit view. 

I love my tree this year.   It's soft and neutral adorned in champagne, brown and a touch of weathered silver.  The tiny glittered birds, my metal silhouette ornaments of my children, the champagne glittered sprigs and weathered silver locket are some of my favorites about my tree.

My children helped decorate the tree and the front room.  I love this little tablescape that my oldest boy put together.  He was so proud of himself and I think it's adorable.  Those nesting Santa dolls get played with everyday.

Our book basket is full of Christmas books, some still waiting to be read.  Our sofa is full of soft pillows that are welcoming.  We are almost ready for Christmas and that is okay by me.  In the meantime, I think that I will enjoy the warmth of our room with my littles all snuggled around reading a Christmas story together.  Of course, it's not perfect, but I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Happy Holidays to all from my home to yours.


Mama’s Holiday Wish List Meme

This would be a dream come true for my little family!  TodaysMama  and GameStop  are giving away a sleighful of gifts this holiday season and to enter I’m sharing this meme with you.

1. What is your holiday wish for your family?

This year, my wish for my family is that they can feel the joy of giving and feel the real spirit of Christmas.  That magical feeling that I felt when I was little. 

2. What is your Christmas morning tradition?

We line up from youngest to oldest before we go down and check out what Santa brought us.  A picture is a must!  It's something that I've done all my growing up Christmas's too.
3. If you could ask Santa for one, completely decadent wish for yourself, what would it be?

A new kitchen!! 

4. How do you make the holidays special without spending any money?

We enjoy listing to holiday music while making salt dough ornaments.  Holiday movies are top on the list too!

5. What games did you play with your family growing up?

I remember when my older brother got a Nintendo 64.  It was so cool!

6. What holiday tradition have you carried on from your own childhood?

On Christmas Eve, the kids each get to open a new pair of pj's.  Then we snuggle in to read the story of the birth of Jesus, hang our stockings and then send the super excited kids off to bed.
7. Where would you go for a Christmas-away-from-home trip?

Hmmm....good question.  I think that a snuggly warm and cozy cabin would be delightful.  With access to snow runners and skiing and good home cookin' food. 
8. Check out GameStop  and tell us, what are the three top items on your GameStop Wish List this year?

We would love to have DSi's for the kids, a Wii and the Kinex looks like a lot of fun too!
Crossing my fingers and hoping for good luck because any one of these prizes would make my oldest son so excited, over and beyond the moon excited!


Advent Calendar Ideas

Why is it that I always find myself on December 1st without an advent calendar?  I'll tell you why.  It's because I don't want to think about Christmas before December 1st and even then, it feels a bit early.  Yes, I'm one to go about happily ignoring the Christmas in the stores that have been out since August.  I just don't want to think about it any earlier.  A hefty dose of good ol' procrastination.  Consequences are, no handmade advent, yet again.  Curses to my procrastinating ways! 

There are so many darling advent ideas out there.   Here are a few that stand out to me. 

Pretty layered stamped snowflakes and numbers make this festive paper envelope advent.  I admit, I would love to be the lucky recipient to eat all those yummy looking chocolates packed inside.

How cute is this house

birdie advent simply adorning a pretty branch.

This pocket advent would be simple and quick.  And even cute made out of festive scrapbook paper. 

I regret missing out on the advent calendar sew along that homemade by jill has done. My favorite is the wreath.

I've loved this envelope advent ever since it first came out in 2007.  That's the year that I first discovered blogs. 

I realize now that if I don't make it now, it's not going to get done next year either.  Tis' the season to last minute craft! 

But do not fret that my children aren't enjoying an advent!   This year, I'm happily indulging my children with their own classic chocolate advents.  Proud of myself for buying it ahead of time so they could enjoy it from day one and dare I say that possibly, they'll love it even more then something I made.

Soooo....did you get an advent made this year or are you a procrastinator too??


Give Thanks!

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for my family, friends and home.  I'm also thankful for my wonderful customers on Etsy.  As a thank you gift to you, I'm happy to announce that from now through November 29th, you can enjoy 15% off your entire purchase in my shop.  Just enter the code THANKS1 in your checkout for an immediate discount. 

Thank you!


Hurdles jumped

Last night, a monumental feat was overtaken.  Something that has been three years in the making.  Something that I have known I needed to do daily.  Something that seemed like such a huge project that I didn't even think I could stand to look it in the face. 

I finally stripped the last of the wallpaper off my three little walls in my kitchen!  And filled the holes!  All 137 of them! 

Can you believe it?  I am so proud of myself!  I'm not exaggerating on filling the holes.  I counted them as I filled.  And it really has been three years since I painted the first half of the kitchen.  What stopped me?  The three layers of stubborn wallpaper and thought of filling all of the holes that appeared when I was stripping the paper. 

But no more people!  I'm free from the bondage of my own procrastination!  The walls are cleaned!  To be sanded and primed today!  Yeeeesss!!

A big ol' pat on the back for me.  pat, pat, pat, pat, pat



I FINALLY got my holiday with matthew mead today! 

I can't wait to read it! 
I have to go work now. 
But when I get home, wahoo!

Tell me, did you order one too??


I've conquered my fear!

I feel like shouting from the roof top because I finally conquered my fear of skinny jeans!!  This was a huge hurdle that I've jumped.  Just the term "skinny jeans" would send me running in the other direction.  Skinny jeans mean  you need to be linear and skinny.  I've got what is nicely refered to as curves;  curves all the way down to my (c)ankles.

This fall, I've been determined to find my skinny jeans that look good with my non-size skinny self.  It wasn't easy.  There were many a pair that looked like a was sporting mom-jeans or so tight, I couldn't even think about moving.  My trick was to find a pair that was just inbetween straight leg and skinny.  Don't be afraid to try on different sizes and if you've got hips and and a bootie, keep your skinnies dark with no extra details like whiskering or extra pockets at your hips. 

Here's what I found and like:

Target's Converse Skinny jeans - these are a little less skinny and little more straight.  They do have a little bit of wiskering detail, but it's not too noticable.  These were the most affordable option that worked for me.

Gap Always Skinny - these were the first pair of skinnies that worked!  I had heard the praise of these, but tried out all of my less expensive options first.  Also, as a former Gap employee, Gap's dark wash jeans stretch out a ton.  Always get the pair that feels too tight in the store because they will stretch and stay that way until you wash them.

AG Stevies Cords and jeans - LOVE these!  The cords are so soft and comfy and the jeans are cute.  Too bad that these were the most expensive option for me. 

I can't wear skinnies with just a t-shirt, layers are a must do.  But, it I did it!  I can now confidentally wear skinny jeans!  I like to wear my skinnies with flats but now that the weather is suddenly cold, I'm in need of some cute winter shoes.  Actually, I don't really have winter shoes unless you count my old Uggs or my dressy boots I wear for church.  So now I'm on a new quest to find something cute and warm to wear with my skinnies that are not Uggs.  Suggestions welcomed.  So how about you?  Do you rock the skinnies?

PS:  This is a good read about how to be a mama rockin' the skinnies.



They say that children laugh on average 300 times a day and adults laugh on average less then 15 times. When did we lose the ability to laugh unconditionally?

Here are two things that made me laugh today.
  • Seeing this photo that I took of one of my son's Star Wars battles. He sets them up anywhere and this time, it was my messy craft table.

  • These goofy girls that thought it was hilarious good times to stomp down the leaves in the garbage can. Did they not realize that they were in a dirty ol' garbage can? And why did they all jump at the chance to be the one that stomped the leaves down?

So thank you kids for giving me more reasons to laugh during the day with your sillieness!



I like this site
I like their recipes.
I want to eat some of those recipes right now.  
I want that potato soup
I make a mean broccoli soup that my kids adore.
And ask to eat the leftovers for breakfast.
It's not like their recipe but their's looks good too. 
But I am awesome because I make my own
and my kids love it.
That is all.


Enter gushy title here!

I can't think of a title for this post that isn't 100 words long and gushy.  As I mentioned before, I was one of the lucky gals that got to go on a personal shopping trip with the lovely Reachel from Cardigan Empire.  May I tell you that I highly suggest you do this!  It was so much fun! 

Reachel was adorable with her perfectly pattable baby bump dressed to impress.  She first asked me about my goals and how I wanted to dress.  What I liked and disliked.  Then we were off to play!  She pulled this and that and one of these and some of those.  I just followed like a little puppy because honestly, I have no clue how to put things together.  If I was to do this on my own, I would of been in and out of the store in 10 minutes because this fantabulous store just doesn't have anything that fits all this frumpiness of mine.  Back to Reachel...she had an armful of what I thought were random bits of clothing but when we reached the dressing room, she did this most amazing thing.  Out of the piles of lovelies, she made outfits.  Really, really great outfits!  And they weren't too shabby looking on me either.  I was as happy clam.  Best trick I learned from her, try on more then one size.  She gave me mediums and smalls and I ain't no small/medium gal.

The lovely Jill was just next door to me.  I couldn't help but go and visit her often.  It was fun to see her cute outfits too!  We played and played and played some more.  Thankfully, Reachel is easy going since we were there a bit long. 

loved her necklace and yes, I bought that shirt and sweater
We got to meet her darling Coco and her gracious Mother too.  I bought a few things and can't wait to wear them.  I can't tell you the last time that I have been excited about something I bought for myself.  I always just make do with whatever and tend to wear the same things over and over.  So thank you Reachel and Mr. Baby and lovely Coco for blessing me with your talent!  I had a great time!!
After I skipped out of Anthropology with new purchases in hand, I decided to stop in quick at the Gap.  I was on the phone telling the babysitter that I was done and heading back when I made eye contact with Stephanie Nielson.  I smiled and waved at her like she was my BFF!  After I got off the phone, I went and introduced myself to her.  She was lovely and gracious with all my gushing.  I'm sure she gets it all of the time, but I'm just so touched by her and her life.  I've prayed for her and her family, cried for her trials and thought about her often.  I've read her blog for years ever since my sister sent me a link when she was doing blog posts about the Proclamation to the World.

All in all, it was a wonderful day and I feel so blessed to be able to have done it.  Thank you!


Looky, looky!  I got to be on Reachel's blog!  Don't you love all of those outfits?  I really loved the gray dress with the floral sweater and belt.  And that cute pregnant gal in the blue dress.  So cute!


Break out the paint!

via apartment therapy

I swear I have project ADD because when I start to near the finish line, I feel like I am walking through molasses and get distracted easily because I can't stop thinking about all the other projects that I want to do.  Like when I wake up in the night and obsess over what the heck I'm going to do about the kitchen floor.  Yep, I'm the kind of person that says "heck" and lays awake thinking about stupid projects.  Is anyone else in that boat??  (phew- that was a tangent)

Annnnnywhoooo...where was I?  I've got a crazy little tug-o-war going on in my brain over weither or not to paint some furniture or not.  Paint!  Leave! Paint! Leave! Paint! What color? Leave it alone....argh.

via apartment therapy

So while perusing Apartment Therapy last night, I found this tasty tidbit about colorful painted furniture.  I'm sold and back on the PAINT! train. 

via apartment therapy

Seriously just need to do it so I can stop the crazies.  It's just scary to paint unpainted wood.  Also, one of the furniture projects needs to be painted with oil based paint.  Never done that before.  Yikes!


Who likes giveaways?

I DO! I DO!!

Everything Etsy is doing a whole week of giveaways this week.  Today, you can enter to win one of two printers and 10 prize packages!  Ka-bam! 

I even have a giveaway or two coming up soon!  Wahoo!


Happy Halloween!

First of, I am so super-de-dooper excited that I just won a consultation from the lovely Reachel of Cardigan Empire.  It includes a 30 minute consultation at Anthropology, 3 fashion cheat sheets, photo shoot and a sample of Crest 3D white strips this week!  Happy, happy day!!  I'm super thrilled, but oh-mylanta-me, I'm not photogenic.  How do I fix that?

Happy (official) Halloween!  We celebrated on Saturday in the pouring rain.  The kids were so excited that they didn't even care. I win worst parent award for only taking two pictures of the kids in their costumes.  I snapped a quick picture of my two little ones, but I wasn't quick enough to catch a picture of my eldest son before he dashed off to trick-or-treat with his friends.  I think that I just might convince them dress up again just for a photoshoot.  

Here, for my dear sister that lives too far away from me, are a few photos of some of our favorite Halloween decorations this year.  The kids and I had quite a fun time decorating outside, upstairs and even downstairs. 

entry dresser table

favorite little ghosts

shelf in the kitchen - that pumpkin man makes me laugh!

the witches boots and pumpkins

had that witch for years and she still makes me laugh
Hope you had a wonderful Halloween yourself!


It's all about....the shoes!

This  year, I thought it would be fun to get my sisters and mother together for a crafting day.  I set about to find a project that we could make together.  I enlisted the talented Ms. Jodi to cut some wood for us and voila! cute witches boots for all.

We quickly paused for a delicious fall lunch of homemade butternut squash soup with freshly baked garlic breadsticks.    Mmmm!  Delicious! 

We were having such a great time that my sisters wanted more, so I taught them all how to make their own bat chandeliers.  Glitter was flying, tulle was tying and laughing and talking all around.  I highly recommend having a crafting day with your best family and friends. 

My boots ended up on top of my armoire with a little grouping of pumpkins with fancy witches hats and handmade mask. 

A fun day indeed! 
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