Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday Ramblings

Our simple Christmas wreath made with leftover garland that I floral wired to a grapevine wreath and embellished with beads, floral picks, and a bow I had leftover from last year. Easy peasy!

Just wanted to pop in and wish you all a Merry Christmas!!! We decided to do Christmas today in case Little Girl decides to come early. It was so fun! I love soaking up quiet, family days. I even made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and a full Christmas dinner for 9 months pregnant. Who da mom?! What What??? Hahaha, just kidding. Of course, it helped that Hubby washed the dishes and I bought a premade pie and frozen rolls... Massively pregnant women are allowed to cheat. Oh, what am I saying? Anyone is allowed! :)

I also wanted to update you on what this blog will look like for the next couple months. I may post a random post here or there when I'm up to it, but otherwise, I will be taking a hiatus from blogging until after Little Girl is born and we are in some kind of rhythm again. I will miss blogging, but will definitely still be keeping up with all you bloggers--probably at 3am when Little Girl is hungry. ;)

We already have a big project planned for the new year, plus a few smaller ones. Can't wait to get started on them after the holidays and new baby craziness slows down! Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Nursery Gallery Wall

Well, friends, I'm officially full term in this pregnancy--just over two more weeks until my due date. Of course, this made me panic and start nesting like a crazed woman because Little Girl could come any time, right?! Haha! Thankfully, the added pressure helped us finally finish hanging her gallery wall. It's small and nothing fancy, but we like it!
(Yes, the door frame was actually built into the house crooked. Don't even get me started on that!)

Obviously, we need some newborn pictures of Little Girl to add to the frames, but you get the idea.
Frame Sources: Both small frames are from Target. The large frame is from Michael's. The shaped frame is actually a cheap wooden plaque from Michael's that I picked up for less than $2. I used Modge Podge to attach a piece of cardstock to the front to give it some color. I'm either going to use those little photo corners or double sided tape to attach a photo to the middle. Easy and so cheap!
Artwork Sources: The letter C is from my friend Heather's shop, What is Perfect. I LOVE it! The watercolor is a print from Katie Daisy's Etsy shop that I've been swooning over. The Bible verse is just something I typed up in Google Docs and added an inexpensive bird clip art to the bottom from Petittatti's Etsy shop.

All that is left to do in Little Girl's room is hang the ceiling fan, change out the gold hardware and off white outlets and switches, and hang the curtains. My mom made Little Girl's curtains and is bringing them with her when she comes to see Little Girl. Can't wait to show them to you!

That's all for now! Have a great afternoon!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

This is our second year getting a real tree and I LOVE it! I'll never go back to fake! Of course, our old fake tree was the most pitiful tree on Earth, so it's not much to compare. ;) 

Last year, we got our first real tree from Home Depot. It was not really a very romantic experience to dig through a pile of trees, but we were afraid of killing the tree and wanted the return policy. Haha! 

This year, we went to a Christmas tree farmer and had a great time picking out a tree. This tree is so full and fresh! The farmer had just cut it down the day before we bought it!
Over the years, Jeremy and I have come to a good comprimise on how to decorate the tree. I love matchy matchy and he loves random. We've hit a good middle ground that we both love with silver ornaments and red garland, plus lots of sentimental ornaments. We love the mixture!
I saw this Christmas tree skirt at Lowe's and loved it! It's the first tree skirt I've seen that I loved and thought was absolutely perfect and exactly my style. I stewed over it for a month, then finally decided to spend the money on it. So glad I did! I was able to repurpose our scalloped tree skirt for our advent tree. 
Every year, we purchase a new ornament that represents the year. Love this one from the year we bought our first house. :) 
These snowflakes are some of my favorite ornaments! They were my grandparents and have hung on their tree ever since I was a little girl. My grandma gave them to me a few years ago and I love hanging them up each year. 
Every year, my hubby plays this little game where he sneaks his Darth Vadar ornament up to the top of the tree when I'm not looking. He insists on it being the highest ornament on the tree. He only gets his way because he's over 6 feet tall and can reach higher than me. Haha!
One of my favorite things is to turn of all the lights and snuggle under a blanket with some hot cocoa and admire the lights on the tree! Only 13 more days until Christmas! 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Simple Christmas Dining Room

I've shown you the fireplace mantel and our advent tree, so figured I'd continue the Christmas tour of our home. :) Today's stop is the dining room!

I kept it super simple because that's what I like and what is comfortable to live with. We eat dinner in our dining room, so I knew whatever I put on the table needed to be easily slid to the side while we eat. I also tried to keep it pretty neutral since the dining room has a lot of soft greens and blues. Here's what I came up with! 
The centerpiece is a simple white pitcher and platter with Christmas tree clippings and silver holiday picks leftover from a wreath I made last year. 
I love the joy sign! I found it at Target on sale this year and it was my only purchase for this room. It came in a faux vintage finish, but it didn't go well with our home, so I taped off all the little lights with painters tape and my sweet hubby spray painted it with silver glitter paint. I love how it turned out!
I used some extra garland to decorate the buffet and added a few leftover ornaments to fancy it up. 
I don't leave the table set with plates and silverware, but I just had to play with the place settings. So fun! For everyday, I just put the napkins with the ornaments and tree clippings directly on the placemats.
We hung the gallery wall in Little Girl's room today, so I'll be back soon to show you pictures of that! 

Linking up to Hi Sugarplum and Thrifty Decor Chick!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas 2013 Mantel

I'm so so so excited to share our fireplace mantel with you! It may not seem that exciting to you, but let me tell you, I'm ecstatic about it!

If you read this blog, I'm sure you've gleaned that we try to be very frugal. We will wait..and wait and wait and buy things until we have the cash saved and it makes sense in the priority order in our budget. I've had a vision in my head for years now of how I want our Christmas decor to look. Little by little, we've slowly purchased different elements to make that vision come to life...almost always on after Christmas sales where we scored some killer deals. One year was the star for the tree, another year was the beaded garland, another year was a giant box of silver ornaments, and so on.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, this year, all of the elements we've been collecting for the past few years came together and the vision I had in my head came to life. It's exactly what I wanted and was worth the wait!
I just love it! The antique window is by far my favorite part! We tried to make a window frame with super cheap wood last year, but the wood was too cheap and wouldn't cooperate. It kept splitting and ended up going in the trash. Lesson learned--don't be too cheap when buying lumber. :)

My friend Julie mentioned that I should check out a nearby antique shop and see if they had any window frames. She, my friend Amy and I met at the antique shop and found this awesome window! All of the glass was in tact and it was only $15! My sweet hubby spray painted it white for me to freshen it up because the paint job was pretty beat up. I plan to keep it up all year and change out the wreath according to the season. I love it!
I made the Christmas trees last year and stored them in a closet inside the house during the year. They held up really well! The boxwood wreath is from Trader Joes and was only $10! Thanks to Chelsea from Two Twenty One for posting about them on her Instagram feed! I've been wanting a boxwood wreath for years, but they are usually around $40! This will be an everyday wreath for in here, even after Christmas is over.

I found the stockings after Christmas at Kohl's last year. I love the cozy cable knit! They actually have an initial on them, but Kohl's only had a couple letters left and not the ones we needed. Since the letters aren't really our initials, I just turned them around. I wasn't too worried about the letters being correct because these are just for decoration. Jeremy's mom cross-stitched our names onto stockings and those are the sentimental ones that we use.
The vase with flowers is an after Christmas clearance steal from Pier 1 several years ago. The sparkly frame was a cheap Michael's find from last year. We picked up the garland where we bought our Christmas tree and added a strand of lights. I love twinkle lights!
So cozy! Love it!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Advent Tree

I'm so excited it's finally Christmas time! It's my favorite time of year! We picked and decorated our tree the day after Thanksgiving and have been busily decking out the rest of the house in Christmas decor! Love it!

Now that our little man is getting older and understands what Christmas is all about, we've been able to start some new traditions. SO exciting! One tradition we started this year was an advent calendar. I've seen a million cute and creative ideas I like from wooden calendars with little doors, hanging fabric calendars with pockets, garlands with 25 little bags or buckets hanging down, etc. So many choices! I also noticed two completely different themes to advent calendars. Some are Scripture based that tell parts of the Christmas story each day. Others are more of a countdown to Christmas with little treats or activities each day leading up to Christmas.

We decided we liked the advent trees the best, so while we were at the Christmas tree farm, we picked up an inexpensive miniature tree. I cut down the scalloped tree skirt I made last year and made it into a mini tree skirt for the advent tree. Then, I just took heavy cardstock and cut out 25 tags for the advent activities. I numbered and decorated them with metallic markers and tied on silver strings to hang them. Easy! I lightly decorated the tree with some ribbon and a few mini ornaments from the Target dollar spot. I kept the decorations simple, though, since we'll be adding so many tags to the tree.
We decided to do the countdown to Christmas style of calendar, so each day Little Man gets to put a tag on the tree and do a special activity. The hardest part was thinking of 25 different activities to write on the back of each tag. Haha! I put our list of activities at the bottom in case you're in need of some ideas, too! :)
I love how it turned out and Little Man has had a great time adding a new tag to the tree each day! And yes, it really is only December 2nd. I added a few extra tags so you could get the picture of what it will look like. Don't panic--you still have 23 days of shopping and prep time left! Ha!

Here's the ideas that we came up with and/or found online. We tried not to put too many specifics on the tags so that we could reuse the tags each year. For example, we just put "Do a Christmas Craft" instead of naming the specific craft. That way, we can change the craft from year to year without having to make a new card.

Day 1: Decorate outside
Day 2: Welcome Elf on a Shelf
Day 3: Decorate your bedroom
Day 4: Read a Christmas book (this one is repeated a couple times because we have multiple books to read)
Day 5: Act out Christmas story (with nativity set or in person)
Day 6: Help someone
Day 7: Donut Day!
Day 8: Eat at a special restaurant
Day 9: Send Christmas cards
Day 10: Drink hot chocolate
Day 11: Read a Christmas book
Day 12: Do a Christmas craft (this one is repeated as well)
Day 13: Make a Christmas treat (I can't wait until this day! Buckeyes! YUM!)
Day 14: Bring treats to neighbors
Day 15: Family movie night
Day 16: Sing Christmas carols
Day 17: Make Christmas cookies
Day 18: Do a Christmas craft
Day 19: Read a Christmas book
Day 20: Drive around and look at Christmas lights
Day 21: Special breakfast
Day 22: Make gingerbread houses
Day 23: Family game night
Day 24: Read Christmas story
Day 25: Merry Christmas!

Our schedule may not make sense to most, but we were working around weekends and trying to get in things like treats for the neighbors early in the month in case I go into labor early. Exciting times! ;)

Happy Monday!

Linking up to Thrifty Thursday, Hi Sugarplum, and The Humble Brag Link Party!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sweet Little Bird Mobile

I finished Little Girl's mobile! Woot woot! I really love how it turned out and am loving how all the little details in her nursery are coming together!
I've seen a lot of paper mobiles around Pinterest that are just beautiful. I combined a few of the mobiles I had seen to create my own version. Of course, mine is more simple and less fussy than most of the mobiles I have seen, but that's just the way I roll. I love simple.

I started out with four sheets of cardstock paper in the colors of Little Girl's nursery. I drew a bird on a piece of scrap paper and cut it out to use as a stencil. Then, I just traced and cut out several birds in each color. I did a dozen of each color, but ended up only using about half of them. For the wings, I made a heart shaped stencil with scrap paper, then traced and cut out 2 dozen wings per color. Again, I only used about half of them, though. If you have a heart shaped paper cutter, it would save a ton of time! I folded my cardstock in half lengthwise and cut half of the heart along the crease so the wings came out pre-folded and I only had to cut half as much. Overall, it was 2-3 hours total of scissor work. Thankfully, it was pretty mindless and something I could do while watching tv.
To hang the birds, I laid out a long piece of transparent thread and placed it down the middle of each bird. I put a bead of hot glue on top of the thread and placed a wing on top. The wing allowed me to hide the glue nicely. I alternated the direction and color of the birds going down the thread. After the thread was glued on, I flipped my birds over and glued a wing on the back of each bird (with no thread going through). I did one thread with five birds, three threads with 4 birds, and three threads with 3 birds.
I purchased a thin, wooden dowel and a wooden quilting hoop from A.C. Moore to hang the birds on. I pulled out the solid hoop (I tossed the hoop with the screw), then painted the solid hoop and dowel light green. I cut the dowel to make two rods for the center of the hoop. I made them into an X and hot glued them to the inside of the quilting hoop.
After the paint was dry, I tied my strings of birds onto the hoop. Originally, I had planned to put strings of birds around hoop, on each dowel rod, and in the center. However, as I started hanging my birds, I realized that would be too many birds for the medium sized hoop I purchased. I ended up using the string of five birds down the middle, then alternated the strings with 3 and 4 birds around the hoop. Tying the transparent thread onto the hoop was surprisingly difficult because I was trying to hold the mobile upright so the strings didn't get tangled and tie knots at the same time. My hubby rescued me and held the mobile up while I tied. I ended up putting a bead of hot glue on the inside of the hoop and sticking my thread to it to hold it in place, then tying the thread on. That kept the thread from sliding all around and generally causing chaos. ;)
To hang the finished product, I tied four strings around the hoop and then gathered them at the top and tied them together. Mine is actually temporarily held up by the transparent thread and a thumb tack. Classy, I know. But, later this week, I am going to replace the threads I used for hanging the mobile with some stronger fishing wire and attach the fishing wire to a hook hanging from the ceiling. Just making sure it doesn't come falling down! :)

This entire project only cost me about $7! Definitely an economical project with a big impact! You could easily change the colors and animals/shapes to make a mobile to match any nursery!

A non-nursery related post is coming up next. Can you believe it's almost Thanksgiving?!

Linking up to Thrifty Decor ChickWork it Wednesday, Thrifty Thursday, and The Humble Brag link parties!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Etsy Love

I'm finally getting the hang of Etsy! I know, I'm a slow learner. There's just SO much on Etsy that it seems overwhelming. Here are some of my recent Etsy purchases for Little Girl's room:

I mentioned my friend Heather's Etsy shop called What is Perfect a long time ago and have been drooling over her yarn wrapped letters ever since. I asked Heather if she could do a flat letter that I could hang on the wall and here's what she came up with. She did a fabulous job! I love, love, love how it turned out! It's one of my favorite things in Little Girl's room! The bird kills me with cuteness!

The print I ordered from Katie Daisy's shop called The Wheatfield came and I couldn't be happier with it! Such happy colors and great quality! Now to stop myself from ordering everything in her shop... Both the yarn wrapped letter and this print will go on Little Girl's gallery wall.

We were looking for a cute basket for the end table that would corral all the middle of the night feeding essentials. We were immediately sold when we saw this basket from Hip Baby Boutique in the adorable urban zoologie bird print! Even Jeremy thought it was perfect and it got a "cute" out of him, which is a lot for a man when speaking of girly decorations! Haha! :)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Painting and a Prayer

Hi again, friends! It may seem like I've disappeared lately. We're in the middle of four different projects right now and everything is half done. We're chipping away at them, it's just taking for-ev-er! Good news, though! I finally finished one project! Hooray!

I've been searching for artwork to go above Little Girl's dresser. Because of the board and batten, a shelf seemed a bit much. I didn't want to do a collection of anything because the opposite wall will be a gallery wall. I was getting pretty frustrated because walls are not the easiest thing for me to decorate.

Thankfully, I remembered I had an extra canvas on hand that has endured 3 moves and still had nothing on it. It was a good size (16x20), so I decided to do a painting for above Little Girl's dresser.

Jeremy and I picked a couple meaningful verses for Little Boy's nursery back when we were pregnant with him and loved having them on the wall to be reminded of and to pray over him. We've been stewing over verses for Little Girl's room and finally decided on two. Painting one of the verses on the canvas seemed like a no brainer decision! We settled on a paraphrase of 1 Peter 3:3-4:

"Let your adornment come from the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is very precious in the sight of God."

When I read this verse, I instantly think of my friend Julie. She displays this verse so well with her life and I learn so much by watching her live it out. She is strong and hard working all while being servant hearted, a great listener, thoughtful, kind, considerate, and gentle. She respects, loves, and considers her husband well, is not attention seeking, knows when to speak and when to be silent, and serves her family and church self sacrificially without complaint and without calling attention to her service. I'm so thankful to be in her community group and pray that God will work these things in my own life and in Little Girl's life.

So, on to the painting! First, I used wrapping paper to make a stencil of how I wanted the center of the canvas to look and traced it with pencil onto my canvas. I originally tried to free-hand it, but couldn't get the shape as symmetrical as I wanted. I used wrapping paper to make the stencil because it was the biggest sheet of paper I had around the house. By using paper to make a stencil, I was able to fold the paper in half, draw on the design, then cut it out, insuring that both sides were the same.
I painted the border of the canvas white to freshen it up since my canvas was old and yellowed and had a lot of pencil marks on it. Then looking at a picture of Little Girl's crib bumper, I lightly drew some of the patterns and prints onto my canvas with a pencil. I wish I had taken a picture of this step, but I was yapping on the phone. Real life, people. ;)

I filled in all of my drawings with acrylic craft paint and good paintbrushes. I did one color at a time, allowing each color to dry before starting the next color. With something this precise, you really need a good liner brush and round brush. No snitching your kid's paintbrushes for this project! Use a decent brush. It'll save you lots of frustration!
After the border was complete, I painted the inside with two coats of green. Then, I went back and added a blue border to the center shape to make it stand out. I drew on my text with a pencil, then used a liner brush to paint on the words. I wanted the center words to stand out, so I used a paint pen to draw them on first, then painted the blue over the white to give it a shadowed effect. (Thanks, Amy and Jeremy, for helping me decide on background and text colors!)
Excuse the sun glare!
And here it is, all finished!
I love how colorful it is and love how it looks against the pink walls. And did I mention, because I already had the canvas, green, blue, and white paint on hand already, this project only ran me $3?! All I needed to buy were two shades of pink paint and a white paint pen. The paint was on sale for 50 cents a piece at Michael's and I used a coupon for the paint pen. Score for cheap artwork! If you are planning to do something similar and have nothing on hand, it is still very inexpensive and would probably run you about $15 between the canvas and paints. Still not bad at all for a large piece of art! 

Hope you all have a great weekend! 

Linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick and The Humble Brag link party!
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