Sunday, November 9, 2014

Give Thanks... our Thanksgiving decor & some holiday inspiration!

Turkey Day is fast approaching, and I can hardly contain my excitement for the upcoming holidays! There is just something about this season that makes everything feel magical. 

I recently posted our Fall Home Tour (click pic below to view) and this weekend we added a couple of Thanksgiving-inspired decorations to our living area. 

The director at my preschool started the cutest little shop to help support our school called the Blue Bird Market. People donate vintage and industrial decor and housewares, and they also have a contract with Pottery Barn to sell overstock items. This weekend I went in and immediately spotted this "gather" pillow cover that I had been pining over in Pottery Barn catalog. The zipper was broken, but it was $5 people! I brought it home with me and with a little stuffing and sewing machine love, it was the perfect addition to our living room.

You can get yours here for $19.50 (marked down from $39.50) so we're all winning!

Since Thanksgiving is so close to Halloween and Christmas, I didn't have the time or energy this year to do much decorating. I did bring in this old window frame from the garage and made these super simple GIVE THANKS banners to add a little somethin-somethin:

I just cut out triangles from burlap big enough to fit my letter stencils. Then, I used black acrylic paint to stencil the letters on and hot-glued them on black ribbon. Thankful my easy project turned out pretty decent. At least Sadie approves.

On another note I am itching to get out the Christmas decorations. Hubby says I have to wait until Black Friday :( . Maybe he won't notice if they sneak upstairs a few at a time. I may have done a little shopping today on the way to get supplies for our business:

Reindeer stocking holders- Kohl's ($10 with coupon in e-mail!); holiday ribbon- Sam's Club ($7 each); kitchen towels, mercury glass ornaments, & throw- Marshalls

Run, don't walk to Marshalls & check out all their holiday items...think rustic decorations, mercury glass christmas trees, & silver reindeer everywhere!

I'm off to watch The Walking Dead with this guy (currently plying him with margaritas so he doesn't notice all the new holiday items). Enjoy your Sunday evening!

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Wow, Fall is flying by! As we trade in our Pumpkin Spice Lattes for Skinny Peppermint Mochas, I thought I would share a little fall home tour before the pumpkins go into hibernation. Fall is one of my absolute favorite times of year, and it was our first chance to decorate the new house for the season.

Front Porch Sources:
  • old window frame & galvanized bucket- flea market finds
  • pumpkins- local pumpkin patch
  • mums- Aldi ($1.99!)
  • wooden crate- Wal-mart ($11)- I stained it to get the look I was going for
  • front door letter- Karamel Kreations ($30 last year)
  • pumpkin topiary-see below
  • garden flag- Modern Rustic Girl on Etsy ($30)

Here is a zoomed out shot of our front porch, you can see our baby boxwoods  starting to grow.

 My house numbers pumpkin topiary was inspired by this fabulous diy from At the Picket Fence. It may be my all-time favorite Pinterest creation so far (for a grand total of about $25), and you can use it year after year!


  • craft foam pumpkins- Wal-Mart ($6)
  • house numbers- Wal-Mart ($1 a piece?)
  • dowel rod- Lowe's ($5)
  • moss- craft section at Wal-Mart (already had it)
  • barrel planter & rocks to fill it- my grandmother's garden (similar found here)

Let's step inside!

Entry way sources: hello Fall chalkboard-diy from an old picture frame; white barrel- flea market; pumpkin candle holder- Pier 1; pumpkin decoration on table- Dollar General; monogrammed table runner- Etsy; I love my Dog basket- Marshall's
Coffee Table- I love to cozy up with a good book & my Pumpkin Pie candle from Target!
Here is a view of our living room & mantle...we went really simple with the topiaries, candle holders, rustic trunk, and silver pumpkin & I love having the reminder to SIMPLIFY.

P.S...we don't really have a fireplace but we like to pretend that we do :) 

I found this little cabinet at Hobby Lobby & it was the perfect addition to our  foyer. Stacked with my favorite decor books, industrial & mason jar accents on bottom, and the painting & pitcher were auction finds. Added the pumpkin candle holder for a little touch of Fall. It reminds me of Cinderella's pumpkin carriage ;)

 I recently found this farm fresh eggs sign at an antique store. It had all kinds of crazy farm animals hanging from the bottom, so I cut them off & brought them for my preschool students to play with. The glimmery silver pumpkin came from Target, orange one & initial sticker came from Hobby Lobby, wreath from the dollar section at Target ($3 this year), and I believe the white fake pumpkin also came from Target.

I love this little corner of our main room that separates the dining area from the living room. The only new addition was this Happy Harvest basket from Wal-Mart ($6- this season). 

Here is our dining area that looks into the living room. I love our new sofa table that was a gift to hubby from his mom (you know you're getting old when you want furniture for your birthday)! I added a burlap pumpkin from Dollar General and the little white ceramic one came from a local secondhand decor shop. In our Pottery Barn antique silver serving bowl(NOW ON SALE HERE!), I added some sparkly pumpkins I found at the Dollar Tree and some various Fall-ish balls (what do you call the ones that look like they're made out of twigs?) from Hobby Lobby.

On the dining table, I added some mini real pumpkins & gourds and a galvanized bucket to hold some of them. I am still loving my Pottery Barn antique silver salt & pepper shakers (now $20!) & mercury glass candle pillars we got as wedding gifts over a year ago.

I hope you enjoyed the tour, we are finally starting to feel like things are coming together in our little casa. Come back soon for our Holiday Home Tour!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

What I'm Loving Wednesday (home edition)

We moved into our new house a few months ago and while we're finally settled in, there are a lot of touches & changes (already!) I'd like to add. I have really been digging farmhouse decor lately and thought I'd share some of my current decor cravings.

1. Pendant lamp- I think this would look really good over our island or rectangular dining table. A pretty good deal at $250!

2. These wall hooks for our mudroom bench... would be cute for each person in your family to have their own personalized hook.
4. I am really wanting some industrial chairs/ barstools for our dining area. Here are some various priced options I found:

Industry West, $155

Pottery Barn $269

Target, $100/set

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Weekend Project: Mini Map Chest

Today is the last day of our school's Spring Break, where did this week go?! I did get to enjoy my last day off work and managed to get a few projects done that I wanted to share. 

The first one is this before and after of a sweet little chest of drawers I rescued (see before pic). She was a little roughed up and covered in mud, but I knew she had potential. I am right on the bandwagon with the current old-school globe craze, and thought it would be cute to incorporate the trend when I saw an old atlas in my dad's truck.

First, I sanded the piece with medium grit sandpaper & gave it a good cleaning. Then, I used a primer for a base coat (even though I was using chalk paint, I wanted to be on the safe side). After letting it dry overnight, I used my homemade chalk paint recipe to give it two coats today. Mix together these ingredients for a super simple recipe that has given me great results so far:
  • 1 cup latex paint (I chose a gray by Sherwin Williams that was left over from choosing colors for our house)
  • 1/3 cup plaster of paris (get out all the clumps first)
  • 1/3 cup water
I used an angled Purdy brush and the paint spread really well. I decided not to distress this piece too much, I liked how it looked after the second coat of paint. So I just let it dry and then used a spray Poly to seal it. 

Next, I cut apart some pages of my dad's Atlas that he graciously let me tear out (after I reasoned that he would probably not be driving around California or Connecticut in the near future, especially without MapQuest) and Mod-Podged them to the top of the chest/nightstand/mini-dresser...I'm not sure what you'd call it exactly.

 I thought it turned out really cool! Hubby and I are currently debating wether to keep or sell it.

Another little craft that I did today was giving this little $2 clearance vase from Wal-Mart (spy it in the cart...what would you call that, mauve?) a makeover. I have been coveting this vase from Anthropologie for months, but couldn't quite justify its' $28 price tag. When I saw this little treasure in the clearance isle, I already knew just what to do with it!

A couple of coats of acrylic paint later (still need to seal it), this is what I came up with: 

$28 vs. $3
I'm thinking these wastebaskets would make cute pendant lights...

Between coats, I was able to sneak away to a flea market in a nearby town. We are thinking about setting up there next weekend, so I wanted to scope it out. Here are my flea market finds of the day:

1. Ceramic pumpkin $0.25- I always like to grab cute seasonal decor that can be used for staging for future markets.

2. Horse bookends- I was seriously about to order some very similar to this for $50, glad I came across these for $2!

3. I know they look funny but I have a plan for using them in our master bedroom...stay tuned!

Sunday, March 16, 2014


I have been reading and loving the book 7:An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. Jen is an awesome Christian writer/speaker/blogger and if you don't know about her yet, you will love her!

Simplifying has been on my mind a lot lately, and 7 has been really inspirational. In this book, Jen chronicles her experiment with cutting back in 7 areas in her life and how it brings her closer to God and opens her eyes to helping others in new ways. In the first chapter, she chooses only 7 foods to eat for a month. In the next, it's 7 items of clothing. The third month, she and her family give away 7 possessions every day. And thats about all I've read so far...

My favorite thing about Jen and the book is that she's a suburban woman/wife/mom who realizes how much she and her family really have in the grand scheme of things. It's so easy to compare ourselves to the images of society or look at what others have and want it. But in reality, many of us are in the top 1% of the world financially. If you are reading this post, you're probably at least in the top 5%. And yet we aren't satisfied.

One quote that I love from 7 is: "If we raised others up instead of raising ourselves a little higher, there would be few needs left on earth."

I think that one way we can begin raising up others is to first simplify our own lives. If we let go of our love for material things, maybe it will free up more space for loving others. I am definitely no expert and love my "stuff" just as much as the next person, but here are just some ideas on how we can simplify:

  • Food: I love food and think it would be really hard to choose just 7. But one thing we are working on in our house is cutting way back on processed foods. A lot of times I'll buy fresh produce trying to be healthy and then let it go to waste while we eat all the junk in the pantry. One way you can prevent this is to cut down on your grocery list. Only go to the grocery once for the week and get a few specific things. That way you'll have to use the fresh ingredients, they won't go bad, and you'll feel so much better and more satisfied. You could even use the money you saved on processed junk and get some things to donate to a local food pantry. 
  • Clothes: Count the number of items in your closet. Wow. Are you as shocked as I was? What about the items in your drawers? Shoes? Purses? Find a good charity to donate everything you haven't worn in the last year. Look around at your newly-purged closet. Take a deep breath, soak  it in . Doesn't that feel good? Now to not go out and replace them...
  • Stuff: That's what I like to call my possessions. Things that we want but don't really need. Things that we see, buy, and sit around until we finally throw away to make room for more stuff. What stuff could you give away to a new home that would appreciate it? This week I was out running errands and realized I had a few "wants" not "needs" in my cart. I decided to put them back & instead get a few items for my friend's ministry that is giving out baskets of household supplies to those in need this Easter. Another way to simplify is instead of going out and buying something new, what do you have that you could recycle into something new? Or what does someone you know have that they want to get rid of? 
  • Budget: Simplifying and saving money kind of go hand in hand. By cutting back on what you buy, you will see your bank account grow. A budget plan is always a good idea and lets you see where your money is going. There are lots of good budgeting apps or you can do a budget binder like we do. I also get updates from Chase on my phone so I always know how much I have and what I've spent $ on.
  • Precious Time: One of the most important things for me is simplifying what I do with my time. With Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Bloglovin', etc. it's crazy how much of our time is spent on social media. I catch myself reaching for my phone out of boredom or habit constantly. By cutting back on things like this, you can free up time for the more important things in life that really bring you joy. For me: family, friends, reading, bible study, exercise, crafting. Doing the Paleo diet has forced me to spend more time on preparing meals, but it has been really good for us in that we appreciate the food more and spend time together enjoying it. What can you spend more of your time on that will make you happy in the long run? What about serving others? Could we cut out something else (shopping, facebooking, etc.) and spend just an hour of our week serving others? This is one of my goals for this year. 
Here are some things that help me simplify:

This budget binder helps us focus on where we're spending our money. You can get the free printables here.

Lara bars: Sometimes it's impossible to cook fresh & all-natural for every meal. For on-the-go clean eating, these are awesome because they have natural ingredients. They are even paleo-friendly!

This book I am reading with my Life Group girls. It takes you through the bible in chronological order, so much easier to understand! I am loving carving a little time out of my week to spend on the story, and then talking about it with girlfriends.

This planner by Emily Ley is amazing! They are all sold out of 2014 but the 2015 will be available to order in the Fall. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Coffee Table Books

One Kings Lane is having a great sale on coffee table books right now. Here are a few I would love to add to my collection:

Love the poster-art style illustrations and collages in this book! Who wouldn't wanna tour New York City from their living room?

This 20th anniversary celebration of Kate Spade represents the brand fun!

Anyone who knows me knows my obsession with the Kennedys. THIS BOOK...want.

Do you have A Passion for Blue and White?

I love mixing traditional and modern elements...this looks like a great design book.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Moss Easter Egg Tutorial

Project #2: moss Easter eggs to go with my Spring mantle:

  • plastic easter eggs
  • hot glue gun
  • moss (we used the kind in sheets)

This was a super simple project, but it did end up being really messy! First, we would cut a square of the moss sheet big enough to cover an egg. We covered the bottom half of the egg first and wrapped the moss around it, then stretched it over the rest of the egg & hot-glued as we went. Our method required a lot of cutting and fitting pieces in, so it might be easier to use the loose moss instead.

And here they are: sitting pretty in their little basket, waiting for more Springy decorations to join them. 

No craft session is complete without a little girl scout cookies & milk!