Category Archives: home decor

A Few Drops of Christmas Cheer…

Weekend after Thanksgiving = Christmas Decor! Am I right? By that time I am done or mostly done with my Christmas shopping and ready to jump into making the house festive. This year I was feeling pregnant, overwhelmed with work, and more eager to get to baby prep mode (which I told myself was fine to wait until after the holiday season and heavy workload ended). So I looked at this Christmas decor with a simple eye. I wanted to pull out favorite things but not to get too crazy. So here are a few drops of Christmas Cheer!

Remember those gold floral things from last year’s Christmas mantle? I just dropped them in these three ceramic jars for an easy dining room centerpiece.

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On the dining room room shelves a few of the breakable items found their home higher than toddler fingers can reach. Down lower, Isaac’s Little People Nativity Set that he got for Christmas last year. At one point we had lost Baby Jesus and his mom and dad. Mom and baby have made it back the manger, but Joseph is still MIA. cmas dec 7In the kitchen is a spattering of some more favorites…
cmas collage 1And the memo board turned into the perfect display for all our picture holiday cards. Isaac loved receiving each one as much as I. He will point to his friends and say their names and even says to himself in our picture “I like your bow tie!” We also hung up his crafts from school and home. Look at those big boy mistletoes!  cmas dec 2

cmas collage 2In the Living Room, I set up my Nativity set. I was surprised Isaac was not interested in it all. He liked his much better and that was fine by me. 
cmas dec 9Stockings from the mantel, some Christmas stories at his reading spot, and a Santa hat. cmas dec 18

On the mantle this year, my nutcrackers, lights, and sleigh. cmas collage 3

I love the ambiance of the lights. Yes, fire nights are simply glorious!
cmas decor 17Last but not least is our tree! Isaac got to help decorate it this year. It actually ended up being a great way to do it. I could hang 4 ornaments to his 1. He would reach as high as he could, meaning I knew where the “line” was. All the sentimental ones went higher than his line. The first few days he was interested in taking the ones he could reach on and off until he found his favorite – the plastic magenta ball. Then he just went for that one each time – on and off, and on and off. He assured me it was purple and his “fay-ber-it” and who am I to argue?! I think we only had one minor casualty when a trolley who lost it’s ladder.

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There is just something about a Christmas tree at night… am I right? You don’t have to answer. I am right. (Well worth the two trips to Target to get replacement lights).

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New Year’s day all the decor but the tree came down. The tree got to hang out a few more days. Isaac adored the lights as much as I and we had a sick house. The poor kid is still asking for “more presents” days after the parties ended. I couldn’t take his “Kiss-mas” tree away too soon.

 

Isaac’s Nursery

Isaac’s Nursery was really fun to design. We did not find out our baby’s gender until he was born, so a majority of the room was gender neutral until… “it’s a boy!”. Of course I did have a boy concept and girl concept in mind. So below, were fabric options I found from babybedding.com. It is a fabulous website where you can order bits and pieces of bedding, and yards of fabric if you wish. I ordered samples of the fabrics I was interested in so I could see the coloring and feel the texture in person before purchase.  I loved mixing and matching fabrics instead of buying a crib set with items I would not use – baby comforter and bumper. I love the site.

We bought 3 yards of the white and green polka dot for curtains, 2 changing table covers in the greens, a white dust ruffle, and one sheet in the green circles, with plans to buy another. After Isaac was born I added in the animal print fabric with the blues, since he was a boy. I ordered a crib sheet the week after his birth. If Isaac would have been Isabel, that would have been a pink, red, black and white bird themed fabric. 
nursery coll 2So, I played of those blue colors, especially the navy, to add the accents to this mostly lime and white room.
nurs8The crib was a gift from the family I used to nanny for. We have had it for years in the basement and it brought me great joy to share it. I spent a lot of sweet moments with their cribs and I loved passing on to my own boy. We bought a new firm mattress. I hand-painted these animal silhouettes after pencil drawing them on. I simply printed out some pictures then used a table lamp to shine/enlarge the image on the the canvas. Then I painted. They still need a 2nd coat… maybe I will get there. Maybe.nurs7 The adorable curtains were made by our friend and fabulous seamstress as a gift. I LOVE LOVE them. The only major piece of furniture bought new was the Ikea Hemmes dresser. It was a gift from my dad. We did buy the matching night table figuring it would be good by the chair and eventually as a night table. Both will grow with Isaac and could easily be in a kid, tween and young adult room. Besides storage, the main function for the dresser was as a changing table. I like a longer dresser to work with. After a kid is 12-18 months their feet start to hang over… I wanted room to grow and room to work: lay supplies, clothes, etc on the dresser. nurs1 nurs13 I used a basket (I think we got it as a gift basket years ago) to organize some basic stuff I wanted easily accessible. Everything else lives in the drawers. nurs14 I made simple art out of things we had. I bought some frames from Ikea. The “loved” art is actually cut out from a gift bag. Under that, Isaac’s hospital wristband with a fabric sample behind it. I framed some of the cards I liked from showers. The hooks are from Pier One, bought 12+ years ago. For the locals it was way back when the Panera on Beechmont was a Pier One! Not sure how much I paid for it, but I remember loving it and wanting it so I probably did not get a great deal. This is another item that never had the perfect home. It very functional to hang clothes for the next day, Isaac’s wet towel, a jacket, etc. It is right next to the changing table, again, for function! nurs4 The bookshelf was an old goodwill find. It used to be black and sit in my apartment before Doug and I were married, circa 2003. I certainly got my $15 out of that bookshelf. Doug gave it a fresh coat of white paint for the baby. nurs2 The angel music box is one of the few things I have that was my grandmothers’ and I had to put something of nanny’s in the room. More fabric, cards, newspaper from Isaac’s birthday on the wall. The navy lamp is a cheapie from Target. nurs3 A friend made this sweet owl, and my aunt made the blanket behind. The lamp I have had for over 15 years. It was given to me and never really matched anything. But in this room, It finally goes! On the side table: a clock, ipod with baby music, a bible and some toys and puzzles. It was so nice and neat before Isaac was mobile! murse9Over the chair is a framed onesie. Since we did not know the gender we had family and friends guess and write their names on a boy’s or girl’s onesie. This represents everyone who was right.
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Overall, I am happy with how the nursery turned out. We spent very little and repurposed many items. A few additions (not that noticeable in pictures) were extremely important to us. Those were an overhead fan with lights and blackout shades. Temperature and light are very important for little babes!

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One thing we were missing back then was a rug. Once Isaac was using the floor we added a navy rug, another free item! It definitely toned down the green. If I had one thing I would go back and change…it would be buying a bigger more comfortable chair for this room. We now spend lots of time reading and the glider is just not that great. Note the messy side table now filled with books? It is well used.

This room will definitely go through some changes as baby #2 comes along. I will keep you posted. Here is what I foresee:

  • Add a twin size bed for Isaac, maybe on the floor at first.
  • Buy twin bed linens that coordinate with the room.
  • Get rid of the chair to make more space available. We will have room to read on the bed! 
  • Change layout to make sense for 2 beds. Thinking and planning as we speak!
  • Clear a side of the closet for Baby Boy’s clothes and gear.
  • Change out the art and pictures, maybe add their names somewhere.
  • Add a mobile for the baby? I never got to this one for Isaac.
  • Put a 2nd coat on the animal canvases, if they get to stay (I might lose the animal them all together).

Fall Hits Home

I do love fall. It is for sure my favorite season. And although I don’t enjoy the cold weather that is to come, I love the colors of the leaves, the crisp smell of the air and the feeling like change is coming. I am not a huge fan of Halloween, but I love me some Thanksgiving. Probably the best holiday of the year in my opinion. I feel like Thanksgiving is what Christmas is supposed to feel and be like before America ruined it with things like extravagant gifts and Black Friday. Anyway, a holiday where you think about all you have to be thankful for, gather with family, eat mashed potatoes… well those are pretty much the best things all in one day.

So welcome to my fall decor and thankful home…
th decro 10 th decor 8 Meet Whiskers the Turkey. He is an old whiskey bottle that belonged to my Papa. My Nanny had kept it many years and when Doug noticed it one day at her place she told us the story. Nanny is now gone, but I hold onto anything that would keep her memory alive. Papa died when I was 8, but I have a few things that were his as well. This turkey is probably a collectors item but in this house he found a home in the seasonal decor. Th decor 9 th decor 11Here is the Thankful Paint Chip Banner I made this year. Isaac’s school-made turkey is hanging in the kitchen too so he can see it each breakfast and say “Gobble, gobble”.
TH decor5 I have a few leaf shaped bowls and plates that sit around the house in different places. TH decor1
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Th decor 6Above the stove are some crafts that Doug’s grandma has made with the nursing home she volunteers for. (They also made the pumpkin on top of the refrigerator and the “Give Thanks” sign sitting on the mantel). TH decor 4 th decor 7TH decor 3

I love this little half book. A super-craft-woman I know was making pumpkins out of old books and one of them split in half. I I got to take it home. I think it makes a great little stand. It was empty for weeks until Doug’s employer sent us a holiday card. Perf. TH decor2So, though the decor is simple and basic it makes me smile. I am reminded to be thankful each day for all the blessings the Lord has given me and our family. He is so good to us.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, from Project Momma.

“Thankful” Paint Chip Banner

I soooo wanted to make a “Thankful” banner this year… and I thought maybe it would be great for the fireplace mantel. Time got away from me. I did not have a plan or pin so I pulled the use-whatcha-got strategy. Enter paint chips. Th banner 8I had a bunch of paint chips from a visit to the local home improvement store that had been sitting in a project box for months. I picked out the most fall-ish colors that I had. These are the large, one-color only paint chips. I made a rough letter outline on the back and began to cut them out. TH banner 1 This worked for most of the letters, but once I got to the “N” I realized it did NOT work for the unsymmetrical letters. It was backwards. Duh. At least I only messed up one letter. TH banner2 I wrote and cut the letters chunky and imperfect… on purpose. I didn’t want them to look even.TH banner3Here is how the banner turned out. I hung the letters on my memo board in the kitchen with mini clothes pins. I had not updated the decor since I made it back in February. Now it happily greets me when I walk in.
TH banner4Pretty great for a free naptime craft!paint chip banner

 

DIY Gold-dipped Vases on the Cheap

Each year I host a celebration during National Nanny Recognition Week. The goal of the event is to celebrate our local nannies. I love for them to leave with something, but since anything extra comes out of pocket I try to come up with an inexpensive but thoughtful gift. This year, after seeing this on Pinterest, I thought a simple vase and rose would be nice. vase6 I picked up some frappuchinos (on sale with coupon) and emptied them into a pitcher.  I cleaned, peeled and scraped the labels and glue off. It was pretty easy after they soaked in the sink for an hour. vase1 I bought this Liquid Leaf from Micheal’s along with a foam brush. I thought it would be easier to just throw it away afterwards rather than use a good paintbrush. vase2 I had planned on actually dipping the glass into the  paint in a bowl, but I would have had to use (and waste) the whole jar of the Liquid Leaf. So, first I tried just painting it on to give the “dipped” look. It worked well and was super fast to paint and dry. vase4 I did put 2 coats on to make sure that it completely covered. One thin coat would leave the glass looking like this (below). Which is fine if that is the look that you are going for. vase3 Here sit all the vases after painting. I did the “dipping” at different heights. I thought that it would look nice on the table. They were each unique. vase5I am super happy with how they turned out!
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DIY Gold-dipped VasesI cannot wait to try the Leaf Liquid with some other projects. I have some Christmas present ideas up my sleeve! Stay tuned.

The Bathroom

Our bathroom, yeah. The one and only in the house. Well, all I can say is the sink, toilet and shower all match. When we were house shopping back in 2009 we saw so many fixer uppers (because I have a handy man). We always marveled at the gems we would fine. This bathroom is super out-dated, but at least it was matching. bath1 While I am not a fan of the honey wood so much, I played with it and the green and off-white tile with the colors in the shower curtain. This shower curtain was one of my first purchases for the house and I was SO excited when I found it at TJ Maxx for $15-ish dollars. It had the greens, golds, tans that would blend with the colors settled in the room and also gave me the idea to bring out the chocolate brown and orange also found in it’s stripes. bath2 The window shade was made for us from a panel of curtains that hung in our rental house’s living room. It was from Target but repurposed into a Roman Shade, by the talented Janet Garner. As a housewarming she blessed us with making some window coverings in a few rooms. I love the texture and it went perfectly with the shower curtain. That was total luck and cost us $0! bath3 I purchased 2 chocolate chenille rugs that same day from TJ Maxx and later found chocolate towels, hand towels and washcloths from Pottery Barn outlet. Best. Towels. Ever. And, so worth the extra couple bucks. At the outlet they are pretty reasonable, but I can’t remember what I paid. Doug and I both really like the old tile. The color is good and it has character, but notice the unfinished concrete trim next to the tub…that is not so pretty. photo 2Sorry for the poor picture, but you can see the architectural detail above the shower. We like that.
photo 1We hung this picture with greens, orange, and deep brown. It was done by an artist in The Philippines. A dear friend who lived as a missionary brought it back for me. Candle holders were clearance from Target, candles also grabbed there.
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I’m not too into crosses hanging on the wall, but I like this one. I think it was from Pier One. In the picture above you can see all towels holders and outlet covers are that nice honey wood. A LOT OF WOOD in this bathroom.

The bathroom is small and simple but works. I am happy with what I’ve done with what I had to work with, but that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t love to make a lot of updates. We will likely gut the whole thing and start from scratch as budget allows. Here is my list for the future:

  • New toilet, sink, and tub in white.
  • Build a long but narrow open sink cabinet in dark wood, something like this or this or this. This needs to be open to be longer so it doesn’t block the vent on the lower wall next to the vanity.
  • Put a large mirror on the back wall without a medicine cabinet.
  • New light fixture
  • Lighten up the space with greys and white, bright tile, new towels and some bright artwork.
  • Clean out and organize the closet with pretty labeled baskets. (Notice I did not show you a picture of the inside of the closet :)

Cheap Bouquet Inspired Fall Mantel

So, confession. My mantel has looked like this since spring. Not bad you say? Look a little closer…mantel1 Those are baskets, Easter Baskets! Yes, they are part of the decor I bring out before the holiday, and if you looked inside the yellow one you’d see a plastic easter egg that never made it back to the basement storage. I justified that they match the living room and baskets can be part of decor all year round, but when I look at them I see spring/Easter decor. Ehhh. mantel2 Doug did a random grocery run and returned with these! Kroger flowers. Actually this is only part of them – the best of the wild bouquet. I am super appreciative of the thought, but sometimes those cheap bouquets have a lot of filler with the pretties. Do you know what I am saying? So I pulled out all of my favorites an put them in my tall favorite vase. Gorgeous. Happy. Smiling in our kitchen to greet me each time I pass through.mantel3 mantel4 I had a plan for the other un-matching basic flowers that had been thrown in with these original beauties. The mantel! Yes, it was time, and why not spread the flowers a bit further. Truth is I pinned this picture the day or so before.

9ade170fe3a9983a3cbfdd5181c261f8The mismatched vases with different flowers were adorable (source)! When I saw my cheap bouquet I thought, “I can make those flowers go a lot farther!” I went searching through my stash to see what I had to use. Most of my vases are too large for this look, but then I came upon the vintage punch glasses that accompanied my broken punch bowl. They were actually in my goodwill pile, but found their “Christmas Destiny” (name that 90′s TV comedy).
mantel7mantel 5mantel6I was excited to bring these cups back to life and utilize flowers that were just filling space instead of drawing attention to themselves. One great thing about this set up is that as the flowers die, I can discard and move the cups around. The gerbera daisy on the end won’t make it much longer.

Ahh, the first signs of fall in our home!
mantel logo

The Dining Room

I am starting to add pictures of our home to the blog. Eventually we will have a “House Tour“! dr 11Right off our kitchen is our dining room. It is actually officially our 3rd bedroom. When we bought the house 4 years ago, we didn’t need a 3rd bedroom, especially one right off the kitchen. So we made our great room into an extra large living room, and made this room our dining room. The room used to have wallpaper and 80′s shag carpeting. We peeled walls, pulled carpet, painted, and added trim to this room.

In our previous rental house we did not have a dining room. I was also spending more time in the kitchen preparing meals for my man. So I was really excited to have a place to sit and eat and enjoy meals together.
dr 4The table was a hand-me-down from Doug’s aunt and uncle. It used to be a blond wood but Doug spent a lot of time sanding and staining this bad boy. He chose the stain color to match the bench. We only had four chairs passed onto this, but the bench was another “hey do you want this?” from Doug’s grandma. The highchair was handmade by Doug’s dad for Isaac. Isn’t it awesome? It is super sturdy! Doug stained that to match as well.
dr 1On the wall behind the table are a few Pottery Barn shelves. Maybe the only thing I have purchased from the actual store, not on sale! They were my birthday present our first year married. I still adore them. The black base cabinet was a $10 purchase from goodwill about 12 years ago. It once was a TV stand in my apartment; I painted it black way back then, but it is due for another coat.
dr 5I used to store service ware, glass dishes and vases, etc. until Isaac became mobile. Then the glass went bye-bye. I would love to get doors on this friend so I could use it for safe storage again. In fact we even bought the hinges and have spare wood for the doors in the basement. Gotta make my way onto Doug’s project list! dr 7

The dining room has two entries, the other connects to the hall that leads to the other bedrooms and bathroom. From this view you can see the dining closet (also known as my office) and the built-in bookshelves! I love them. They are so fun to decorate, but I admit that they have not seen much love recently. Again, once Isaac could reach, things migrated closer to the ceiling. dr 2 The shelves are pretty cluttered with household items that needed to take another step on the stairway to heaven. On my project list is to de-clutter and prettify these shelves…again. You can see that the lower shelves hold some of Isaac’s books and a toy. When he was smaller he used to sit and play in that corner as Doug and I would finish dinner. So I kept a stash of toys and would rotate items in there to keep it interesting for him. That was a mom trick so Doug and I could eat and catch up. Isaac now eats with us and then is “all done”. He rarely sits and plays there anymore. dr 3 Our fourth chair sits in the corner near the kitchen. Since we have a small kitchen, no mudroom  and congested entry from the garage/basement I have created a little nook here. This is a place where Isaac knows he can find his shoes and jacket. We will also put anything he needs for the next day – lunch bag, backpack, snack for class, etc. We can send him to grab his stuff, which sometimes is really helpful! dr 10So there you have it. Our plain jane dining room! It is very functional for us right now. As time and budget allows, I would love to do some updates in this room:

  • Paint the room a new color, maybe a medium grey
  • Purchase a rug to break up the wood in this room. Must be easy to clean
  • Construct doors for the cabinet, and repaint
  • Artwork for the blank wall
  • Update curtains
  • Paint or add decorative paper the back of the built-in
  • Hang a really fun light/chandlier over the dining table
  • Update/move around decorative items

March Madness Arrangement

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It’s March Madness time, friends! And though I am not a super sports entusiast, I am all about the college basketball tourney and filling out my bracket! It must the part in me that loves to complete a worksheet. This project was designed for a work party that I helped throw for 120 volunteers. The goal was for our volunteers to feel appreciated and loved.My goal was to hit the “basketball team” theme without it looking kiddish, stay on budget, be pretty but masculine and of course have the “wow”-factor.

mm1Step 1: Basketballs
I purchased 3 large bags of cutie oranges. I planned to use about 5-6 basketballs for 12 centerpieces. I googled basketball images to make sure I knew how to draw the lines correctly.  I used a regular black sharpie. The sharpie did rub off on my hands but stayed on the oranges well. I let them sit overnight before putting them in water.  The lines aren’t perfect, but the water is very forgiving.

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Step 2: Daisies
I had a florist deliver this bulk order of 60 stems. I used about 5 stems for each arrangement.  After filling the glass fish bowls half full I dropped in the basketball. I cut the daisies to sit right above the rim of the bowl. I tried to leave the daisies attached in clusters to help the bouquet look full. I aimed the daisy stems to the middle of the floating cuties.

Here is another view fo the arrangement from the side:mm4 with .comThis arrangement would be fabulous for a March Madness party! Make a cluster of multiple glass vases for a large dining table.  Use a tall cylinder vase with long-stemmed Gerbera daisies for a more extravagant display. One fun surprise is the citrus fragrance the oranges expel in the air after a little time in the water!

Have you ever made a bouquet with fruit or veggies? Limes and lemons are next up in my house this spring!

Window Shopping: Pottery Barn Spring ’13

pb8I often shop at Pottery Barn, or should I say walk through Pottery Barn. I do love their stuff, but to be honest I can’t pay the price tag. I always feel good while I am there. The colors and textures feel warm and cozy. It feels like home to me.  So, even though I rarely make a purchase, it is a great place to get inspired. (And, the outlet is only an hour drive.)

As I approached the store, I saw beautifully hung baskets and words that practically called me by name…
pb7Why, yes, I think that I will come in! Thank your for the kind and personal welcome! Here are some items that caught my eye as Isaac and I took a stroll through the store.

1. Golden Side Table
I loved the size and shape of this table. The gold color was warm and would fit nicely in our living room. I could keep my eyes open for a goodwill find and work my spray paint magic again. I have been dying to get into another spray paint project.
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2. Burlap-backed Banner
Though it’s not for sale, this happy simple banner would look fabulous in our house. Pastels just don’t work with our color scheme. It feel’s very festive with the crisp white and faint green being grounded in the dark tan color of the burlap.
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3. Simple Clocks
Isaac was a little inspired, himself. We spent a few minutes looking at the clocks, watching the hands move and looking at the numbers. “Clock” was one of his first words and he still points them out often. So, I was inspired to put a clock in his room. Why I have not done this before? The clock itself should be simple, with clear numbers and maybe large. Isaac would enjoy that. Maybe I can add it into his framed art wall, like I saw a few weeks back on a blog I love.
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4. Accordian Hooks

I fell in love with this item. It did spark a memory of seeing an inexpensive and lighter-weight piece made of birch wood. Now I just have to remember where I saw it. Maybe at a craft store? I could utilize this in my bedroom closet for scarves and accessories. I think that I will be on the lookout for something similar. I have black paint leftover from my Memo Board project. This is also one of those items that may just make it to the outlet. Let me know if you see it there.
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5. Fancy Bookends

I have noticed a trend of brightly painted bookends, and I secretly desire to have some hot pink animal heads supporting my books. But, alas, that is another trend that won’t work in our house. Though, now that I am thinking about it, it may be a fun prank to play on Doug! This bookshelf with the dark, bronze globes and horses gave me the idea to go dark with the idea that trend that I am fond of.  Add bookends to the thrift shop shopping list!
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6. Chunky Faux Plant

Hi, my name is Greta, and I am a plant killer. Yeah, even those plants that people say, “you cannot kill this plant”… I killed one of those too. I like plants. I really do. I love the deep and dark colors of the leaves of this faux plant. It looked so real that I had to reach out and touch it. Totally fake. I cannot remember the price, but it was more that I would pay. I was, however, intrigued with this real looking, fake plant.
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7. Floor Lamps with Textured Shades
Our floor lamp in the living room broke about 8 months ago. Though we’ve needed a replacement we have kinda been OK to put it off not sure how Isaac would treat the new one. Did I mention that he shook the last one and that’s why it stopped working? Our cute little baby, barely standing at that point went all King Kong on it. There was some total ‘daddy-regret’ for teaching him that he could tap it and make it turn on. I really like the look of both of these lamps for our living room space.
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Thanks for window shopping with me. I don’t get out to the stores too often, but I promise I will take you along when I am inspired.

My Recent Obsession

So, I have tried not to get all worked up about it, but I just.can’t.help.it. I want to scream it from the rooftops…. I LOVE WASHI! Washi tape, that is. I kept coming across bloggers and crafters with this colored tape and finally I was like “what is this stuff and what do you need it for?” I actually googled it, because nobody uses the dictionary any more. Well, except my husband. He actually made his baby name list from a 1970′s dictionary. But anyway…

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Washi tape is basically pretty masking tape. It’s not super sticky, so you can use it for decor and crafting and change your mind! You can stick it to pictures and walls and not feel like you have to marry every decision you make with it. And since I like to be able to change my mind to an updated look or a better system, I have quickly become all about the Washi tape.

1 week ago I bought 5 rolls, thanks to the Michael’s 25% off sale. I have already taped many things around the house. The possibilities are endless and I have barely touched my 10 yards per roll. MWAH-ah-ah!! I have used it for…

Hanging lists inside the kitchen cabinet:
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Attaching a temporary picture to the outside of frame:
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Binder label:
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DIY Planner (covering the brand on a notebook):tape7

Clothes storage label:tape3

Cute-ify a list:
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…and I am just getting started.

There you have it cyber friends, proof of my obsession. I cannot deny it. And, I have been hungering for more. In fact, by the time you read this post I would have rolled myself back to the tape aisle at Michael’s for some more, thanks to this week’s 50% off one item coupon. And, this time I plan to share! Tomorrow. Giveaway. Free stuff. Don’t miss it!

Pinterest Challenge – My Long Awaited Memo Board

winter-challengeIt’s Pinterest Challenge Time! I am joining with bloggers all over the country who are taking the challenge to actually DO WATCHA PIN! Welcome new friends and thanks for stopping by! And, don’t forget to give all of our hosts some love: Young House Love, Bower Power, The Modeled Life, &  Decor and the Dog.

org5For almost 4 years this wall behind our table in the kitchen has been blank, empty and just sad. The wall has a plug in the middle and a vent at the top, so I haven’t been able to decide what I wanted to put there. I almost hung a few small shelves but changed my mind.  I knew I wanted something artistic and functional, but not too busy for our small kitchen. It has stayed empty for far too long!!!

In true Pinterest-addict form, I had been pinning some DIY options for this space. I loved the idea of art that could be switched out depending on the season, or my mood. Here some pins that I had been contemplating:

7c14ff52434a5b091ec99ad70d2c5af5 93dd7c8cfed077c52b3d9e412544b21f 6e4fc3291f6ab0427f83974ac31c6f2c




 

 

…… and at my last thrift shop outing, that I told you about here, I found this old framed picture for $6.25. I knew at first sight that the frame was a great size for the bare wall. It sat on the kitchen table for a few weeks waiting for it’s reincarnation…and my butt to find the other supplies I needed.

memo0Then, last Wednesday, Young House Love posted their Pinterest Challenge which was just the push I needed to get this project in gear. I had waited 4 years for this wall to find it’s destiny, and now I had one week to make it happen.

I stopped at Lowe’s on my way home from work, THAT day. I knew that I needed spray paint and chicken wire. The paint was easy, but I wasn’t sure of the measurements of my frame. The chicken wire ranged in price from: $8 to $41! I was nervous that the 24 inch wasn’t going to be wide enough and the 48 inch way too wide. I had not actually measured the frame, so I thought I would wait to do that before purchasing. I snapped some pictures for reference. I also hoped that maybe Doug, my construction-carpenter husband had some laying around. Fingers crossed.

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The frame turned out to me 28in X 36in. So bad news was Doug did not have any, AND I needed at least 26 inches to make it across the width. Ugh. I couldn’t to spend $41 on a huge roll of chicken wire that I wouldn’t need. My blogging friend, Lindsey (hildagotrocks) suggested posting an ask on Facebook. She is genius! A crafting friend said come on over and pick it up. Yes! Free! She was familiar with chicken wire and said that her 24 inch width would stretch just enough to fit my frame; it would actually be good to have it stretched tight. Total score on the free chicken wire and the tip! Woo to the hoo!

Later that night it was time to get started, finally. I was super giddy about it. First, I removed the backing and the picture with mat. I was thinking about trying to leave the wire across the back, because it was so old it had frayed pretty badly. But, the glass was too hard to get out with it still attached, so I removed that. I ever so carefully pulled the glass out. Picture me with oven mits shimmy-ing this thing back and forth. The glass was really thin and I was super scared I was going to shatter it. Whew, that was the hardest part of the project. memo1Next, I laid out some newspaper in our garage (with the door open and light on). Isn’t this what all my neighbors are doing at 9:00 p.m. on a Saturday night? Hey, I gotta project when I can (Can project be a verb?). Husband was at a hockey game and my baby was snoozing, so it was the perfect opportunity to spread some paint fumes into the winter air.

memo2I used Rustoleum Universal (for any surface) in flat black. I have to say that I have a new affection for spray paint. It provides such a fast transformation, it really is exhilarating (and I am only kinda exaggerating). I am not yet as daring as my friends at Young House Love, but maybe one day I will spray something bright red.

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After an hour, my first coat was dry to the touch. I was able to move the frame before Doug came home. Can’t you just see him backing over this beauty? I often set the oven timer to remind myself of these kinda things. The next day, I applied a second coat, making sure I got the inside lip of the frame.

Once the frame was dry and I had to make a decision on whether I would hang it horizontal or vertical. The air vent could not be covered, but frame would fit both directions. It is just a matter pf preference.  I decided horizontal was the way to go. Of course it would be hung, not just leaning.
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Evening number two with my project…time for chicken wire! This time I had the Oscars, my husband’s tools, and an extra hand to help me out.
memo6Doug helped me pull the chicken wire tight as we could and I used a staple gun to staple each of the sides to the frame. His hands were a little stronger than mine, so he did the last side. It was pretty easy, just had to watch out for the sharp edges of the wire. I only had one minor flesh wound.

Here is a close up of the back of the frame, you can see that we folded the edges of the cut wire so that it wouldn’t poke out and scratch the walls or my hands.
memo8I did have to get 2 more things. These mini clothes pins were $2.99 at Michaels but with a 50% off coupon they were only $1.50. I may spray paint these black like the frame sometime in the future… maybe not.  I used Sawtooth Hangers ($1.89) attached to the back of the frame, to hang it.

bought clipsNext it was time to hang this baby. Usually Doug does the hammering in this house, but I was anxious to get this baby up for some styling. So, I used my measure with newspaper method. I simply laid the newspaper on top of the frame and taped it together, then measured and drew a large dot with a sharpie where the nail would go.

I hung it up the template doing just a little measuring to make sure that it was centered. Then I hammered the nails into my markings. And, I didn’t even wake the baby!
paper upAnd after a little styling, here we have it…
close upClipped to the board are a few inspirational quotes, some pictures, our meal list, a Charley Harper art piece called “Lovey Dovey”, and a 4 year olds art piece. Just a few things that I love and make me smile. I know that I will be changing these out and updating this often! Another spot to put a hints of holidays.

done 2I am so happy with how it turned out! No more blank wall.

If you are stopping by from Young House Love, you may be interested in the first challenge I participated in – The Macklemore Thriftshop Challenge. Speaking of that, my little pokey pineapple that sits on the tray on the kitchen table has found his purpose. He is secretly holding the mini clothes pins for the memo board! Perfect correlation.

clips homeOnly 2 days until the official launch of this Project Momma Blog! 

GIVEAWAY:
Stop back on Friday when I’ll be giving away FIVE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS!

DIY memo board - banner

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Free and Easy Valentine Banner

Valentine’s day… such a quick little holiday. To decorate or not? To be honest in the past I have put out a little candy dish and that’s about all. Now that I have a kid in the house, I want to be more festive, but I don’t really want to spend a lot of money. Ok, I never want to spend a lot of money.

So as I was Pinteresting the other day… (I can use that as a verb right? Even though only my two fingers are moving as I scroll down through the pins?) Anyway, here are the pins that were inspiring me. (Click here for the links: 1, 2, 3, 4)banner CollageI loved the natural colors and deep red. Also oved the burlap and especially the sewn hearts! But, let’s be honest, I don’t have a sewing machine and I was trying NOT to buy supplies. The book pages were so clever, and they had me wishing I had picked up some old books while at St. Vincent DePaul for the Young House Love Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge. I was not about to rip up my books for Valentine’s Day. We heart books here at Schraeradise (#seewhatididthere). So, to stay on my budget of $0, I thought I might try to fashion something similar.

I started with newspaper. photoI cut out a shape that I thought would work for the banner.  I really just eye-balled it, figuring that I had a whole paper to work with if I messed it up. 
photoI did check the size with my mantle, tried to picture what it would look like… It had to hang high enough – higher than toddler hands could reach. The banner would stand no chnace against my Isaac George.

photoLooked good for me, so I cut out about 10 of these pennants and punched holes in them.

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Now, I just needed to figure out how to hang them. I had 2 options: A white ribbed ribbon leftover from gift wrap and a plastic pearly-ball chain like thing. I have no idea where I got the pearly chain, I have had it for years. After trying them both through the holes, I went for the pearls. It is like they found their Valentine Destiny (#friendsreference). I thought they added a little bling to the newspaper and some texture against our painted wood mantel.

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I strung up 8 of the pennants and this is how it looked!

photoNot bad at all. So this is where real life happens and  the baby wakes up; I have to pause. It did give me a little time to contemplate what I would put on the banner. My first thought was X’s and O’s maybe mixed in with hearts. Then I thought of Isaac… at 17 months I thought hearts would be best. So later that night, after he was tucked in and hubby was asleep in the Lazyboy at 8:30 on a Friday night, I finished her up. I did have plans with my galfriend, but we decided to cancel, and I was challenged to do some things for myself. (Read about that here). So, I enjoyed a decaf and biscotti, then back to the banner!

I originally was going to paint my hearts the newspaper, but because the paper was super thin, I thought it might make the paper buckle when it dried. So, I opted for the super easy answer!

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I had a few colors to chose from and ended up choosing the red crayon and magenta marker for the colors of the hearts. I layed the banner on the floor and used a cookie cutter to make some perfect hearts. I thought the exact same heart might make the banner a little nicer.

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Have I mentioned how easy this was? Time to hang it up.

photoCute right? I was please with how this little thing turned out. I thought the pearls were a great compliment to the paper. The colors on the hearts blended well with the other decor in the living room. I placed a few colorful books on the mantel to help the colors stand out.
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I liked it and thought I would use the newspaper in a couple other frames that were empty. Why not? This large frame is in our living room and needs our latest family pics. I added a simple love quote. True.

photoAnd, in our kitchen I used my crayon and marker again to draw an XO on newspaper in put in this frame. There sits my pineapple and hiding in the back is my next DIY adventure #photobomb. So excited about that one. photoAnd since we are talking decor, here is some decor that I already had, so that was free to. This “love” sign I found at TJMaxx a few years back for $.70! That has to be the cheapest item I have ever bought there. 
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In the dining room, some fabric from Isaac’s weekly pictures sits under a glass heart-shaped bowl. I’ve had the bowl for years; it was also a TJMaxx find. 

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On the bookshelf in this room are some items that I let Isaac get his hands on. He likes to carry the pig around and hug him saying “Awww”. I guess I say that when he hugs me. The “A You’re Adorable” book was a gift from his Philly friends. He LOVES this book, I actually can quote it form memory and I recite it to him in tune.

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We are more festive this Valentine week than we ever have been before. Lots of love to celebrate I guess. And, I have to admit I LOVE my banner. It is cute and it was free! Double win for sure. What are you DIYing for Valentine’s Day?

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YHL’s Macklemore Thrift Shop Challenge

I enjoy a good stroll through the thrift shop every now in then. And, by now and then, I mean more “then”. Since the little man came along I’ve cut back on real shopping. Shopping with a toddler consists of snack, songs, pointing, talking to strangers. I though I actually really enjoy being out with the baby… it’s harder with a kid. So when Young House Love encouraged me to get back out there, I took the challengeMy blogging bff HildaGotRocks was taking the challenge too.

So, there is this Thrift Shop song. Have you heard it? It’s silly. But, it is rather catchy. Consider yourself warned.

Oh and as you can see below, something about the challenge has me making weird-mouth-high-schooler-selfie pictures and throwing peace signs. I think that Sherdog’s RAP-piness is spreading like a virus. Got my dough, baby in tow, and ready to go.

thrift shop challengeStep #1. Go to a thrift shop with – just as the chorus of the song says – “$20 in your pocket”and take a picture. 

Step #2. Spend that $20 any way you’d like and photograph your spoils

Step #3. Find one item (or more) referenced in the song and snap a pic.

I went to Mt. Washington St. Vincent DePaul and here are some of the things that got my attention…

A pokey little pineapple. Something about this reminded me of Sherry. It opens too.
photoLotso lamps just dying for makeovers. I felt bad for them all wanting a home.
photoThere had to be 5987 baskets which had me thinking about Easter. My boy will need a proper Easter Basket and I would like to fashion one up for less than the Pottery Barn cost. photophotoThis dollhouse has so much potential, but needed some deep DIY love.photoThese clean white trays were so pretty, I wanted to take home all 6.photoThese duck bookends would look great in a kids room painted a bright color! photoThough Isaac enjoyed the stroll down toy lane, most of the items were too dirty to stop the cart. The only possibility was this bead maze in great condition.photoSo, I piled all my maybes into the cart then took a minute to contemplate my purchase.photoBefore I tell you what I took home and if I succeeded in my first YHL challenge, we have a little unfinished business of Step #3. Oh Step number 3, you have me taking more selfies! And…here comes another peace sign peeps, right next to a CASIO keyboard. Oh yeah points scored for a picture with a broken keyboard. (Lyrics: “They had a broken keyboard, I bought a broken keyboard”) 

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More points for… stealing your grandpa’s style…the velcros!  (Lyrics: I’ma take your grandpa’s style, I’ma take your grandpa’s styleNo for real, ask your grandpa, can I have his hand-me-downs?…The sneaker heads would be like “Ah, he got the Velcros”)
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And Isaac wanted to get in on the fun but I wouldn’t let him listen to the song. He thought the glasses were cool. Even tried on 3 different pairs.
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OK, so let’s get down to business. Here are my spoils…

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1. Bead Maze Toy – $1 (half off from $2)
2. Large ‘Easter’ Basket – $4
3. Silver Pineapple – $4.50
4. Mini Purse – $2.50 (half off from $4.99)
5. White Dish – $1
6. Mini Orange Skillet – $2
Grand Total: $15 + tax

So I didn’t spend exactly $20 bucks, but that wasn’t really the point. Here is how I plan to use the items.

The little orange skillet (that is half tacky half adorable) is living on my kitchen window sill. When I saw it I knew it would match my kitchen accents and be the perfect drop spot for jewelry while I cook or do dishes.
photo See? Perf. photo  After a thorough Clorox wipe down, the bead maze made it to the dining room shelf. Isaac  likes to sit and play in this corner while Doug and I talk after dinner. I am sure, though, that it will make it’s way around to every room in the house. photo The mini purse was too cute. It was like a canvas on the outside and bright pink lining – very clean! Once I saw it I knew that it would make the perfect gift bag for a little girl gift I already had to give. It is for a 2 year old, so I knew that she would love her own little thing to carry around. Isaac does this all the time my his lunch bag.

photo Just had to fancy it up a little bit. The strawberry footie PJs rolled up perfectly inside. photoThe white dish is currently on my night stand as another jewelry holder. Can you tell I am worried about losing my wedding ring? photoI think the basket will be a perfect Easter Basket. I love how high the handle is. It is clean, sturdy, and still soft to the touch. I’d like to fashion some kind of removable lining for the inside. Here I show a folded yard of fabric on the inside. I see Pinterest research and a project on the horizon. I will make sure to tell you how it turns out. photo Last but not least is the pokey little pineapple. It is sitting in the kitchen right now so I can see it often. I am sure that it will bop around the house until I find a good home for it. Doug hates it by the way. I think his reaction was “WHAT is THAT?!” And later in the evening he said, “How many treasures do you have hiding around the house?” to which I responded, “just a couple more.” photo

So, there you go. Done. Accomplished. Winning!

The challenge made me realize how much I miss shopping alone, including thrifting. I love getting a lot for a little. I think I will be going back out really soon….without baby. And, without silly rap songs in my head.

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My Shiny Angel Christmas Mantel (and more)!

I love the holidays and there is something that I’ve been looking forward to all month long… a decorated mantel! I blame Pinterest. I had hoped to DIY some things, but time got away from me. I ended up just winging it with what I already had in the house. So here is what I call – My Shiny Angel Christmas Mantel!

Below is what our mantel looks like normally. Simple and I admit kinda boring. Thus, my hopes to get some fun decor up on this bad boy. The mantel is one of the areas that my son cannot reach. So I can put pretty and delicate things up on my adult mantel and he cannot destroy it!  And that, my friend, it is a luxury that I should be taking more advantage of!!

BEFORE: 
photoSo, I started with a clean slate. This helps me focus on what could be as opposed to what was just there. I kinda had a little plan in my mind, similar to what I had up there last year.

photo I knew that the clock would go back up, we use it and would screw with our minds if it wasn’t there. Since I am lucky to have an outlet on top, I thought about laying lights the length of the mantel.  Unfortunately, the only lights I had were green wired icicle lights. I thought that would look just plain bad, but I wanted some evening ambiance. So I used the glass hurricanes that were on the mantel with candles in them. The lights fell down inside so I just used a few pieces of scotch tape to hold the lights up and the glass hurricane to make the lights a little higher inside. (This picture is pre-tape. Too clumpy and low, right?)

photoI like the stockings hung off the mantel. I used command hooks to hang them with ribbon. In years past, I took cues from off the deep red and hunter green colors for ideas for the rest of the mantel. I love my Nutcrackers. I danced in the Nutcracker Ballet for many years as a child and teen, so they are something that I love to pull out each year. The last few years they have been on the mantel, so that is where I started…. and got stuck. photoThen I found these gold branch and berries that I had picked up from Michael’s earlier in the week. I was not sure where they would end up in the house, but I think they were $1.30  per clump. I had the small green vases in the Living Room and just popped them up there. I really liked the glittery shimmer as the shine from the Christmas lights bounced off the gold glitter.  It needed some height, so I put the gold vases that are usually on the mantel back up there. Hmm, could I do something with the glass vases? I have tons of these in different shapes and sizes. Still a tad boring. I needed more gold or a theme…. thinking….

photo…That is when my son woke from his nap. I went in his room, changed his diaper, then saw this angel music box that sits in his room. I love it because it belonged to my grandmother; she passed away about 6 years ago and we were very close. This angel is very special to me. I loved the idea of bringing it out to the mantel. I had my theme! photoSo, I went digging in the Christmas decor for more gold and angels. I found this set of 4 angel ornaments given to me by a friend. Perfect!
photoThey are each unique, playing a different instrument. They added sweetness and individuality to the decor.photoI found another ceramic angel given to me by a girl I used to care for. She was 7 years old at the time and I am pretty sure that she bought it from her school Christmas sale. You know the kind… where you give a kid $10 and they come home with 10 gifts? It is special to me though, because she thought of me and wrapped it up. She is now 22 and probably has no idea that I still have it. I forgot to get a close up of it though, sorry!

I also found some simple gold ornament balls that I plopped into the glass vases.

photoSo here is the finished product. I really enjoyed how it turned out. Not only festive and free but angelic and sentimental. We also got rid of the baby gate and replaced it with a fire! We are living on the edge people.

AFTER:

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Decorating this year was harder than is has been. Isaac is now 15 months and into everything. He is so curious and smart and we cannot be with him every second. Below, you can see him in his daily activity of investigating the tree lights.

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So, we limited the decor we put out and even skipped ornaments on the tree. Counters and tabletops were safe!

Here are a few other easy decorations…

Ornaments in  glass bowl and star tablecloth on our Dining Room table.

photo Some kid friendly objects on the bottom shelves of this bookshelf in our Dining Room…photo…and, the other gold branch and berries found a home in a vase on our kitchen table.
photo This gifted reindeer basket has been the card catcher for the last few years, though I’d love to make something clever to display them next year. Check out that cutie in the card in the front – - easily my favorite card this year! (That is one of Isaac’s girlfriends. Her mommy blogs over at hildagotrocks.)photo…and I am sure you are wondering where my Nutcrackers ended up. They are on the Living Room buffet. You also might recognize that red velvet box of from the angel ornaments? I used it to add color and height to my disply. Use what you got, right?  (The candy dish was swapped out later). The frame usually hangs on the wall with a family picture, so I just emptied the frame and hung the wreath with ribbon. Easy. photo

Well, that is all I got. I hope you enjoyed as much as I did! Now it’s time to enjoy that fire.