Saturday, December 31, 2011

Have a Happy New Year!

Hi everyone. I can't get over the fact that 2011 is just about over and done with. Where the heck did it go? Whew! How time seems to speed up each year.

I wanted to make a short post and wish you a happy and bright new year. I want to thank each and every one of you who might read along and post comments and support me. It means so much to me. I wish you the best in health, love and laughter and hope you have wonderful year in 2012.

Cheers to a wonderful night and be safe everybody!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So You Want To Be A Blogger

I used to think blogging was the goofiest, most narcissistic thing ever (I even knocked the word "BLOG") until one day when I was hunting around the Internet in search of a particular decoration project. I was online looking for ideas and came across Thrifty Decor Chick! I started reading her blog and kept going back to see the latest and greatest. I couldn't believe how cool and informative a blog could be. I had the impression a blog was more like someones diary that just shouldn't be shared with anyone. I loved reading and seeing pictures on this one blog. I started reading other blogs and kinda sat back and thought to myself, I can do this. I love it when I have time to roam and look at blogs to see what other people do. I have been told I have the gift of gab(not sure if that is always a great thing but it does help me avoid writer's block!) plus I have a passion for page layout and design. So the blog emerged!  

Blogging to me is challenging yet a wonderful hobby. With young children at home, it's a huge creative outlet and it forces me to do the projects I want to do around the house because I feel like I need to be accountable as far as sharing my ideas to anyone who may be reading. It pushes me in a way I like to be pushed. I'm wired not to sit still. Can't help it, I get it honest but I LOVE doing home projects!  

If you are at all interested in blogging I encourage you to take your time to learn as you go. I purchased a book that really helped me get started. Try and get as much information as you can at first. I am certainly no expert and am still learning a lot myself!

Here are a few things to consider for starters!

A) Come up with a main focus for your blog, whether the subject be finances, homeschooling, couponing, crafting, etc. Put some serious thought into it and go for it. Write like you talk! Enjoy it. OWN it! Make it what you want because it's all YOU!

B) Spend time thinking of a name, a screen name if you want one, the arrangement of your blog and the design. 
C)Research and patience are key! Research the different blogging templates. Try and make a lot of the design decisions up front. At first I spent a lot of time adding things to my blog because I thought it was cool to see how things worked. Over time I have changed so many things about it. There are so many resources out there to help you with this.

Remember that it may take you a while to learn to do one thing, like making a button for your blog, etc. If you're anything like me you might find that each and every little thing feels like a major accomplishment. It's a great feeling for me to make something work. If you are blogging for money, patience! Hopefully it will come with time. 

Best thing about blogging for me is making friends, learning and watching the blog grow slowly and just enjoying being productive. It's an awesome outlet!

If you are at all interested in joining a "newbie" blog hop, please come join some other newbies at

The Kids Are Grown, Now What?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why Do I Do This To Myself?


I just can't sit still! It's Christmas break and I have done it again! I've started a couple new organizing projects while the house is in total disarray from Christmas day. Hey I rhymed! I just don't know how to do one thing until I have it complete and it is driving me absolutely bonkers! I wish I could hit the rewind button and clean up the house first now!

I want to go through the toys and make a pile to donate. Toys are EVERYWHERE! GRRR!

It may not look that bad to you but I didn't take pix of each room so you could see how FAR toys are scattered. What a messy mess!

I also started going through the kids' closets to weed through their clothes so we can get all the things they've outgrown OUT! UGGGHHH! 

Piles are EVERYWHERE I tell you! I must learn how to relax on days off. 

How do you relax? Do you go crazy doing tons of projects and things at once OR are you good at prioritizing your many tasks of the home??? Would love to hear any of YOUR tips and tricks of handling the aftermath of the hectic Christmas day with little kiddos!

Your friend,
who is drowning in STUFF and eating her words of trying to Keep IT Simple today.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Snow Ball Arrangement

What's up? How are you? Things are pretty good here. I'm in a humbled, sort of reflecting kind of mood tonight just thinking about how this day turned out. I try not to share too much personal info but I guess I'll talk about my day a little. 

Today started out good. My husband and I were both off to try and work and get some things done around the house in preparation for Christmas. Things have been very rushed so the kids went to their child care center and I did my grocery shopping "kidless" for a change. While I was at the store my husband played Santa, assembling the toys that needed to be put together so Christmas Eve wouldn't be such a late night. When I got home from the store I walked in to find that my husband was lying on the couch in severe pain. Come to find out he pulled his back out when he was putting something together. We spent two hours at Urgent Care and until today I have never seen my husband in such a helpless state. I pray I never see him like this again. It makes me very thankful that it was as minor as it was, even though he is experienced such pain. With all the hustle and bustle over the holidays, this experience brought both of us back down to earth, so to speak. It reminds me that in the grand scheme of things, family and close friends are utmost important in life. It reiterates the true meaning of Christmas! All the other stuff is just shstuff and not that important. Whew! I am so glad my hubs is okay but what a whirlwind of a day.

Having said that I did get crafty today with some material items because I needed a little release. :)  YAY for crafting and YAY for releases. This project idea evolved from an adorable decoration I saw over the summer when we went browsing in a Christmas store at the beach. What I saw was a bunch of sticks with Styrofoam balls that had red OR green sparkly swirls of paint on them. Each bunch of these cost nearly $20.00, which was quite pricey but they were WAY adorable, hence the need to replicate!

To do this project, all you need is:
Decorative sticks - I used glittery white ones from Dollar Tree - they came in a bunch
Styrofoam balls of different sizes. I used three packs, two from Dollar Tree and one from Hobby Lobby. 
Acrylic paints or glitter glue
Paint brush
Tooth picks to hold the ball when painting and to let dry 
Styrofoam square- as a drying rack

I mixed blue and white acrylic paint until I got the shade of blue I wanted. I covered the balls and let them dry overnight. 

Next I pushed the sticks through the balls and arranged them neatly in a vase. Now I have a contemporary decoration that blends well for Christmas! 

It's Overflowing

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Display Christmas Cards On A Wreath

I did it! I got my Christmas cards made, printed, stuffed in envelopes and stamped to mail out tomorrow. Yippie! I was beginning to think I wasn't going to send them out this year but I'm psyched that they're done! I love sending cards and receiving cards and hearing from friends and family. We got one today from a friend we haven't heard from since last year this time so that was pretty cool! 

I normally put all my cards in a basket or some type of container but the cards aren't displayed that way, which is a big thumbs down! This year I discovered that I can use the mirror over the mantel as an extra decorating spot! I discovered the hangers you use with the removable tape! It's pretty sweet stuff! So I was able to easily attach the wreath to the mirror! Lots of exclamation points!

I had an extra straw wreath from my parent's garage and I wrapped it with thick velvety red ribbon leftover from making window wreaths. I hung the wreath and used push pins to hang the cards on the wreath. I just cover as I go or as I receive cards. :) I love it because it's a nice simple way to display the cards without having to take up a lot of room. The cards are confined to a nice small area on the mirror which is nice and neat!  

Monday, December 19, 2011

Frame Wrapping Paper

I've been wrapping presents for the past two hours and came up with an easy decoration! First off I am in total Christmas mode now! Don't tell my boss! Seriously though I am a little annoyed because I can't seem to find a few packages of gift card holders I bought. I stashed them away and managed to hide them from myself. Hmm. Maybe if I quit thinking about them they'll turn up! Here's hoping because they were just adorable!

Do you like to wrap or would you rather us a gift bag? I like wrapping because I think it's more fun opening a present that was wrapped. Anyhow I finally ran out of the numerous rolls of TARJAY aka Target clearance Christmas wrap so I broke down and bought some at Wally World aka Wal-Mart. I love looking at that kind of stuff. This year I wanted wrapping paper that looked fresh and colorful!

The space above the cabinets in the kitchen needed some color so I used these two frames that I picked up from Ikea and cut my two favorite wrapping paper patterns out and framed them. I turned the one on the left onto its side to offer a little contrast with the one on the right.

These framed graphics make a fresh and modern decoration. After Christmas is over, you can reuse the frames for something else! Or next year you can add a different paper in place! Keep It Simple! I'm sure you'll love it! 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Frosty The Candle!

Wow how the weekend flew. One week until Christmas! How are you doing? I'm definitely in the spirit this year but I have felt way behind this year in all my errands and traditions. Today one of my best friends took some family photogs of us for our Christmas cards this year. We went to one of our favorite places with the kids. Of all the shots taken I don't think we got a single picture where we were all smiling and looking at the camera. It was fun though and my friend has the patience of a saint! Ha ha! I'm thinking that they might get to friends in family by New Years! : ) 

So this week I'm going to be cramming in as many last minute holiday craft projects of home decor and gift ideas as I can fit! Below is a quick tutorial on adding a little wintry mix to make a candle look frosted!

I got this tall blue candle as a Christmas gift a few years back. It came from World Market and I love the color of blue it is. I have a thing for snowmen and so I thought this would be a fun thing to pair up with a snowman tea light holder I have! 

Using Mod Podge I took a brush and swept the glue all around the candle to cover it!

Next using my hand I rubbed Epsom salts on the candle to cover the candle. It didn't take a lot. I let it dry overnight and shook off excess salts!

I think they make a cute pair on one of our end tables!

It is so easy and it will freshen things up with the lavender scent! If you don't like lavender, get the plain Epsom salts and add your essential oil of choice! 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Shake 'N Bake Pine Cones AKA Scented Pine Cones!

As Opposed to Shake 'N Bake Chicken! 

I like bringing nature inside. Let me rephrase that. We have recently had signs of a mouse in our house and I do not like that one bit. I'm terrified of hearing a mouse get caught in a trap. Yuck! Anyhow, I like bringing things inside that make me think of the outdoors for simple decor. It's cheap, easy and more personal.

Did I tell you that we went to the beach over Thanksgiving? It was a wonderful break from reality. I certainly found my share of sea shells (no sand dollars - so surprised aren't you?)  but that isn't all I collected this time! The house we stayed in was surrounded by tall pine trees and there were beautiful pine cones sitting all over the ground. I collected a bag full to try and get crafty with them! 

Above are the pine cones I gathered. They're prickly suckers so careful with your fingers!
First I put them in the sink and soaked the pine cones to clean them. Next I baked them using a throw away pan I bought and never used for anything else. I baked them at 200 degrees for thirty minutes to kill any critters. After they came out of the oven the pine cones looked like they shrunk up a good bit. I was disappointed but I let them dry for a couple of days and they were back to their regular size. After they dried I prepped them and did the shake down on them!

Once dried I painted on a mix of Mod Podge and water covering the pine cones.

I mixed Cinnamon, Pickling Spice that I ground myself and Ground Nutmeg in a  Ziploc bag.

I shook each pine cone separately in the Ziploc bag and added more spices as I went.  

I let the pine cones sit overnight and gently shook off excess spices before displaying them in a bowl. 

They smell great and make for a warm centerpiece for any room in your house. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Glowing Exterior!

Even the exterior of our house has evolved over the years... I used to do nothing but the old school big snoopy colored bulbs. I'm sure they were fine but I started getting nervous about the lights because they got so hot. So for the past two years I've worked to freshen things up a bit.
Yay for WREATHS! I have always wanted to put wreaths on the windows! I love they way they look on other houses so I got wreaths for each window on the front side of the house and hung them up. I toyed with placement of the wreaths. I just LOVE the simplicity of a wreath hanging from a ribbon! If you have the type of windows that fold in for easy cleaning, you don't even need hangers to hang your wreath. Simply stand inside and open your window and hang the wreath through the window where you want it on the outside. When you close the window(still holding the wreath by the ribbon) it will hold the ribbon in place. I did take out my screens to do this by the way. If your window lock is in the middle of the window then the lock will puncture through the ribbon but that is okay because the window is locked and your ribbon is secured.

Here is one of my porch trees. The pot is covered in burlap and I put a red bow on top.I would have shown you both porch trees but my front door has all kinds of kid hand prints that need cleaning. ;)

More windows! I love the way everything came together. It's so elegant with the clear lights and red ribbon! Oh I don't have a picture of it yet but I also put some artificial poinsettias in a planter outside. I'm ready for Christmas except that I'm not!

Did you decorate the outside of your home? I want to hear what you did!

I'm linking up to The Blog Entourage this weekend. Come check out some other bloggers with me!

The Blog Entourage

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The NEW Tree With Ornaments ON

How was your weekend? Did you get to do anything fun or relaxing? Hopefully a little of both. It was a busy weekend here. It was one of those that was such a blur that I hardly remember what we did. I did get the house mostly decorated for Christmas though! I feel like I can relax more and enjoy things better.

I said I would show you our tree so here it is. :) Don't laugh! I think it's is elegant but also looks like it grew up through the house the way it touches the ceiling so Dr. Seuss comes to mind too! My mother-in-law saw this one in a store and sent me the link and I'm so glad she did. I got a pretty good deal on it and it's very pretty in person, oh and came pre-lit = heaven not to have to add lights! It's slimmer than our old one so it fits in the bay window very well and doesn't take up much room. Gosh I could be a sales person for this tree company! :)

I normally put a silver star on top but since this 9 footer hit the 9 foot ceiling I couldn't. Way to go buying a 9 foot tree with 9 foot ceilings. Not the smartest thing I have done lately but I can take a section off and use it at 7 1/2 feet too. I actually folded down the top of the tree to fit it in the room. Whoops! I added a very wide bow to the top as you can see. The walls in this room are a reddish/brownish/sometimes give a terracotta look, and the blue and silver accents on the tree contrast nicely against the walls.

Now that the tree is done I can focus on other things too. I will be sharing some homemade gifts I am working on and some super simple Christmas decorations anyone can do!

Hope you have a great week!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Giveaway Time!

I just love giveaways and anything to do with simplifying things. I found an awesome giveaway to share with you that offers some great ideas to make things simpler.

Jenny at Home-Keeping Hearts is offering an exciting giveaway now thru December 5th. You still have time so don't miss out.

Enter to win two prizes!
1. A lovely book with several craft projects 
2. A subscription to an inspirational magazine

Hurry so you can get in on the fun! YAY!