Friday, January 31, 2014

Five Friday Faves

Hellooooo, lovelies!

It's Friday and that means we're staring another weekend in the face, and I hope it's a good one. It's going to be almost 50 (!!!) degrees here on Saturday and Sunday so that is super good news. 

To my friends in the South: hoping you and yours stayed safe and warm during the storm this week. This weather is crazy!

Also: it's the last day of January. What the what?! This month felt super long (thanks to the crazy weather, I think), but holla back for getting on with February already!

It's also time for my Five Friday Faves, so let's get down to business.

This was my drive to work on Wednesday. I was a little disgruntled that I had to go to work, but the drive in was beautiful. And it took twice as long as it usually does. And if my dad is reading: don't worry dad, I came to a complete stop and put the car in park before I took this photo.

Because of Target (errr...or because of my rampant shopping addiction at Target) my bank cancelled my debit card and I've had to go to the bank every other day if I want money since I STILL haven't gotten my replacement. This would be enough for other people to be angry at Target, but Target--I just can't quit you. Especially when you have tables like these.

I want to cover everything I own in gold polka dots, but this mug will do just fine. Plus, it's handmade. Win-win-win.

Ahhh, Valentine's Day. I know it's coming. My blog has been woefully devoid of any sort of Valentine's Day mantel/decor because to be honest, we are really not Valentine's Day people. I mean, we exchange cards and gifts, but I've never been one to decorate. I do have a fun gift guide series comin' atcha next week, though.

With that said, I could totally picture this marquee sign in about four different spots in my house, to stay up year round.. Which means I must own it soon.

Yes, it's $900, but I need to find a way to get this in my bedroom ASAP. Love it. So much.

A happy and warm weekend to you, friends! Maybe I'll actually paint something this weekend.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014 Garden Plans -- Old School Style

It's cold.

There has been snow on the ground almost every day this month.

It is cold. Too cold to paint anything, even in the garage with the heater on. Any planned projects are currently at a standstill until I can use my garage without getting frostbite.

We still have to get through February and March. And I don't like it.

I'm trying to get out of this terrible winter slump and fight those doldrums that are taking over, so I figure it's a good time of the year to start planning Springtime activities.

Namely what I'm going to do with my gardens this year.

Actually, the month of January is a pretty good month to start garden planning. Seed catalogs are out, and it's kind of fun to sit down and plan out your outdoor spaces.

I have very fond memories of my parents' gardens growing up. They had a vegetable garden with tomatoes, pepper, cucumbers, and melon. My mother planted a beautiful butterfly bush by my bedroom window, and had some gorgeous rose bushes on the side of the house. I also have not-so-fond memories of weeding all these gardens, but I really don't mind it now.

Last year, I had some pretty good intentions. I started a few seeds inside during the month of March (before we even FOUND our home), and then forgot about them. With the excitement of moving, I left my poor seedlings in their starter cells a bit too long, and I wound up with leggy, sad plants with severely stunted growth.

I transplanted my tomato seedlings as a last-ditch effort, and wound up with plants that started producing woefully small fruit two weeks before the first frost. My cucumber seedlings never even made it into the ground. Cue the sad trombone.

In my front garden, we inherited some terribly invasive shrubs which we kept, but wrestled with all summer. I was able to successfully transplant some calendula seedlings (which did VERY well), planted Astros from seed (which also did VERY well), planted Morning Glory which started off slowly, took off mid-Summer, and then died two weeks after flowering for the first time (RAAAGE). I planted a daylily and the foliage did great, but no blooms. I'm hoping for some flowering out of that plant in the Spring

And those super invasive shrubs? We tore those out in the Fall, and they put up a good fight (broken shovel and all). You can check out that post here.

So what do I have going into the new growing season? A beautifully blank slate, that's what.

This year, I also have time on my side. I was able to spend late Spring and all Summer paying attention to how the sun moves and which parts of my yard gets the best sunlight, which part gets the best shade, and which part gets the best of both worlds.

My house faces slightly northwest, and there are still quite a few trees remaining in our backyard. With that said, we get the best sun at the front and southern side of our house. Everything else is either partial sun or shade.

This year I plan to make a 6x12 ft bed along that southern side of the house for vegetables, including: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, peas, beans. The beans and peas will be directly sown sometime in mid-March, the cucumbers and melons will be directly sown in late April-early May, and the tomatoes and peppers will be purchased as starters and planted after our frost date (May 10).

To help create some rhyme and reason, I busted out the pencil and paper and drew a totally-not-to-scale drawing of what I was picturing in my head:

Complete with shadows. You're welcome.
As for the front, I was able to harvest seeds from my Calendula, so I am looking forward to planting those again. The Astros did amazingly well being sown from seed, so I'll give those another go. As I mentioned before, I'm hoping the daylily will decide to take off this year.  I picked up some other types of perennial seeds at my local garden center while they were 50% off this month.

As for my evergreen elements, I think we're going to grab a couple dwarf boxwoods. It might look tiny and pitiful this year, but I'm hoping in the next couple of years everything will fill in nicely.

I know you're curious, so here's the again not-to-scale diagram of how I'm thinking the front flower beds will go down:

On the right side of my drawing, I wrote down what I would like to see planted, how tall it is, and then translated that into my layout--taller plants in the back, my shorter plants in the front. Underneath my sketch are the dates I'm thinking I'll be planting (starting seeds, sown directly, or purchased already started).

Based on my research, some of these plants are tricky to start from seed, but I think I'm up for the challenge.

Oh! And my Aunt and Uncle graciously offered us their Knockout Roses, which we'll be digging up and transplanting sometime in the Spring.

Also on the list of things to do: sod. One day. I can only hope.

Anyone else get started on some garden planning? What do you have growing in your gardens? I'd love any tips or suggestions!

Wanna see where I party? Click here for an awesome list of link parties I participate in..

Also linking up to:
Coastal Charm
Savvy Southern Style
Imparting Grace
Jennifer Rizzo

Monday, January 27, 2014

Easy Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup

If you checked out my last edition of Five Friday Faves, you might have read that we had a bout of yucky illness running around these parts. Last week, Peyton had a slight case of bronchitis, and this week we're battling RSV. Happy day, and hooray for kids being walking germ factories! Just kidding. But seriously, Peyton can't even look at me without me shrieking "COVER YOUR MOUTH!" I think she's got it now.

So, what's a mom to do when there's sickly-ness about? Make some homemade chicken noodle soup, of course!

And what's a better option to provide for optimum snuggle time with your little than making it in your crockpot?

There is no better option, in my opinion.

Here's my recipe, which is super easy, requires about five minutes of prep work, and can be customizable based on the veggies you have on hand. After a few hours in your crockpot you've got yourself some delicious, good-for-you, warms-you-to-your-toes soup.

And a warning: food blogger I am not. I wish I could take pretty photos of the food I make, but the light was not on my side.

Here's what you'll need. You can change the amount of broth you need based on the size of your crockpot:

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts (Fresh or frozen. Mine were frozen and I had no problems.)
2 cups peeled and sliced carrots
2 cups sliced celery
1 cup diced onion (I married a man that hates onion, so I threw a whole one in for the flavor so he didn't have to fish the diced pieces of onion out of his soup. Because he would.)
1/2 tbsp. thyme
1 tbsp. parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 tbsp. pepper
8 cups chicken broth (I skip the canned stuff and use my own. Check out how to roast a whole chicken AND make broth in your crockpot)
4 cups noodles (I used spaghetti, broken into pieces)
3 cloves garlic, minced
**I didn't add any salt to this, but it definitely needed salt when I was done. Better to under-salt than over-salt. Of course, you can tweak any of these measurements to fit your tastes, or even add a few new ones!**

Veggies, herbs, and pasta.
Throw your chicken breasts in the bottom of your crockpot, followed by the veggies, the herbs, and your broth.

I set my crockpot on high for 4-5 hours. You could also set it on low for 7-8 hours.

Engage in serious snuggle and nap time.

via Instagram. Those eyelashes are unfair.

About a half an hour before your set time is up, throw your pasta in and shred your chicken into bite size pieces and throw it back into the crockpot. You can prepare your pasta separately, but I had no problem with mushy pasta here.

I was going to throw in a bag a frozen peas at this point too, but I forgot. Ooops.

101 reason why I am not a food blogger.

And serve!

The best part is it is Peyton approved. She hasn't had much of an appetite these last few days, but gladly ate some carrots and celery and drank some of the broth. And of course, I had to add cheese (I guess everything is better with cheese?)

Best bed head ever.
Also, that mess you see in the background is some serious craft show prep work.

Easy peasy.

Feel free to pin and share! Happy Monday!

Wanna see where I party? Click here for an awesome list of link parties I participate in..

Also linking up to:
Coastal Charm
Savvy Southern Style
Imparting Grace
Home Stories A to Z
Jennifer Rizzo

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five Friday Faves

It's Friday, friends!

Hope everyone had a great week and stayed warm! Jersey is currently experiencing its second round of the POOOOOLAR VOOOORTEX, and it is damn cold. It is also making me exceptionally lazy. I won't lie.

The tiny child came down with some yuckyness this week, so we've been battling that. Add in a "snowstorm" that was supposed to dump 12 inches of snow on us that really only dumped two inches and's been a longggg week.

But fear not, friends! It's Friday and that means we have the weekend to look forward to!

And here are a few of my favorite things to kick off the weekend shenanigans:

Hello, you sassy bar cart. My head is telling me there is not a spot for this in my house, but my heart is telling me it belongs in my bedroom makeover. Bar carts in bedrooms, why not? Oh Threshold, you make me want to buy all the things (so I guess good job, Target).

Twizzlers. I actually forgot that Twizzlers were a thing. And then I realized that my office keeps them stocked in the kitchen. And now I have rekindled my love with Twizzlers.

This was the snowstorm that was supposed to give us OMG A FOOT and instead we got OMG TWO INCHES. Needless to say, I was not impressed but the roads were icy, and so I took a vacation day. Good thing, because the peanut woke up with a fever so we got to snuggle all day long. And it was glorious.

This child amazes me. Even sick, she has such a sense of humor. This is before she got sick, but she makes me laugh every day and I am just so in awe of her.

Also, our little girl is starting pre-school next week! Sure, it's one day a week and only a half day, but still--pre-school! I cannot.

This iPhone case. My birthday is in April. That is all.

Have a great weekend, friends! Home Depot and I are about to get reacquainted. I haven't been there since before Christmas--that's insane.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Project Paralysis...I Have It

You guys.

What do you do when you have so many project ideas in your head that you can't decide which one to start first?

This is what is currently ailing me.

There are five projects I'm wrapping my brain around, but I can't decide in which order I want to tackle them:

  • Finish the mudroom. It's painted, I just need to upholster a bench, add a coat rack, and DIY some some decor. I'm thinking rustic wood accents and antique brass touches.
  • The closet under the stairs. I've got plans to turn it into a play area for Peyton. This one would require the most planning and I'd be starting with a completely blank slate.
  • The pantry. I want to gut it, paint it, and reorganize it.
  • The craft room. It never stood a chance since it turned into the catch-all room for our crap. It needs a chance to start over. Badly.
  • Plank a wall. I keep saying it, but we still haven't done it.
The question...which one do I start? I'm equally excited about all of them and they'll be pretty straightforward projects, but I am suffering a case of paralysis on getting moving on any one of them.

I've been surfing Pinterest and Google trying to get some inspiration on which direction to take, but I keep getting myself excited about everything and then I'm right back where I started. Lame-o.

How do you handle making decisions about where to go next in your home? Anyone have an opinion on which direction I should go first?

My husband and I are itching for a project and are torn. HEEEELP!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Shop Update

It's Tuesday, and I thought I'd share a shop update with you! I've been super busy making new inventory for my upcoming craft & vendor fair, and I think I'm most excited about these babies:

Aren't they cute?! I'll be rolling them out this week in the shop, starting today! 1/2" covered button earrings on surgical stainless steel earring posts. I'm slowly upgrading all of my earrings to surgical steel, starting with these. I think the gray ones in the middle are my favorite. Which ones are your favorite?

We're about to get positively dumped on with snow today. How's the weather in your area? Anyone ready for Spring? I think I am...and these earrings might be proof.

Check out my shop, Whimsy Renee Handmade, throughout the week for new additions!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Why Are Generators So Expensive?!

**Please note, this is not a sponsored post. Just a home-related escapade we are considering undertaking and I thought I would share my thoughts and feelings on the matter. Again, this is not a sponsored post and I was not compensated at all from anyone. Also, this might be a little boring. Forewarned is forearmed, friends.**

We have this issue.

Our power goes out. A lot.

Like, I can count on two hands how many times I've come home from work and appliances are blinking at me.

A pretty hefty gust of wind? Power's out.

Thunderstorm? Power's out.

Snow? Power's out.

This is particularly troubling to me, because we have a little one and it's currently winter. And a pretty freaking cold winter at that (POOOOOOOLAR VOOOORTEX. That is all.).

So when the power goes out, that means no heat. We are sometimes lucky that the power goes out for only an hour, but the last time it was out for three hours in the middle of the night when the temperatures were below freezing. Mama no likey.

We are also particularly scarred for life due to the derecho that blew through here in 2012, resulting in no electricity for a week, having to throw out hundreds of dollars of food, and fleeing our home because it was 100 degrees inside.

And then there was Hurricane Sandy. She was a real piece of work.

If this isn't a first world problem, I don't know what is. It's also rather eye opening, since I have totally realized that these simple things I take for granted are so scarce in parts of our country and throughout the world. I apologize if I sound like a big whiney baby, because COME ON, there are people out there that have it way worse.

But I still don't like it when the power is out.

That's why we started discussing having a backup generator installed in our home, the kind that is outside and tied into the existing gas line and turns stuff on in your house when your power goes out.

We had a contractor come out over the weekend to give us a quote on how much it would cost to install one of these bad boys:

That's a 17kW generator. A transfer switch is connected to it and would be mounted in our garage, which would sense the loss of power from the street and trigger the generator to turn itself on and make the magic happen. Once the power goes out, it takes about 12 seconds for the generator to kick in and BOOM...everything is back on. When the power at the street is restored, the transfer switch flips the power source back to the street from the generator and your generator chills out until you need it again. It keeps itself charged by running a cycle every so often and the oil needs to be changed every two years. It's pretty low-maintenance.

And pretty convenient, right?

The cost to have this installed is about the same as it would cost to buy a small used car. The unit costs about $3,500, plus the contractor says there are about 37 manhours that goes into installing the generator, and then include all the permitting that goes into it, and holy moly those costs add up.

This is certainly no DIY job, either. It requires re-routing gas piping and electrical switches and things that can make your house blow up and no thank you.

In the long run, I think we'd kick ourselves if we didn't do this but yowza, the price made my eyes bug out of my head. We have a lot of plans for the Spring/Summer that we've been saving for (sod/fence/gardens/general prettyness/etc.), and installing this would eat that money plus some. But it would increase the value of our home (not that we're planning on selling it any time soon), and would relieve some of the "what ifs" we start panicking about every time a storm is forecasted and we find ourselves trying to figure out where we can go if it gets too cold/too hot to stay.

I guess we'll call around for more estimates and references, but in the meantime I'll put it out to the internet: Anyone have one of these? Do you think it's worth the up-front costs?

Please feel free to let me know what you think. I'd love to hear!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five Friday Faves

It's that time again...time to kick back and relax, because it's FRIDAY!

We've got quite the weekend lined up. Tonight I'll be making inventory until my fingers fall off or I fall asleep--which every comes first--and then tomorrow we've got a company rep  coming out to give us an estimate on a whole-house generator (we're pretty much scarred for life thanks to the derecho of 2012 that left us without electricity for a week).

After the rep leaves, we'll be heading north to visit with my dad and his girlfriend and her mother to FINALLY celebrate Christmas with them. Three weeks late, but hey, it's kind of fun to bring some of the Christmas spirit into January, right?

I'm hoping to provide you guys with some fun weekend updates on Monday, but for now let's get down to the Five Friday Faves.

1. Lately Peyton has been grabbing me by the face, bringing it thisclose to hers, and firmly stating that I "need to be nice" because "Santa won't bring you any presents!" Why did this not work on her BEFORE Christmas, but she's using it as a tool against me NOW?! Toddlers are crazy.

2. This rug for my living room. I want to let it brush my hair and tell it all my secrets.

3. This lamp for the master bedroom. Actually, two of them. Yes, I know they're from The Land of Nod and definitely located in the Kids Lighting section, but I need it. Just look at it and tell me you don't love it. There's a 95% chance that you'll be lying.

4. The DIY Nautical Knot Rope Necklace tutorial from Handmade in the Heartland. I love all things nautical and if I was able to have a nautical themed wedding at the yacht club my in-law's belong to (which I was planning, but the club was sadly damaged by Hurricane Sandy and they are slowly but surely repairing), you can bet I would have made this to wear. With my dress. And it would have been awesome. All of Angela's projects are awesome and her blog is absolutely lovely.

5. This jewelry box from Target. It's from the Threshold line (which automatically means I will love it) and really just perfectly perfect and I want one for every room in my house. I got a couple to give out as Christmas gifts and didn't think to pick up one (or 10) for myself, and now getting back to Target and tracking these down has suddenly become a crazy priority.

What are your plans for the weekend? Anything fun going on?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

25 Things About Me

In the name of being completely honest and transparent with you, I thought it would be best to admit that I'm still planning out fun crafts and projects to share here. I am chewing on the idea of making over my pantry, finishing the mudroom, finally getting some planks up on a weird wall in my kitchen, and making a fun new wreath for my front door.

So many ideas, so little time, unfortunately. With the craft/vendor fair coming up in T-24 days (eek!), a lot of my time has been delegated to making sure I have enough to sell (which also means slowly creeping closer to my goal of 100 items listed in the shop by the end of the month--high five!)

Because I have no crafty or DIY related goodness to share with you today, I thought I'd share some things about me so that you have an idea of the crazy, scatterbrained person behind this blog. Hope you don't mind!

25.) I loved to dance when I was younger and dreamed about becoming a dancer on Broadway.

24.) I was a total and complete overachiever in high school. GPA over 4.0, involved in so many extracurricular activities, and was rarely home from school before 9 PM. In a lot of ways, I still like to be busy all the time. Down time makes me itchy.

23.) I was also a huge band geek. I performed in my high school's color guard, went on to coach at the youth organization level, and then eventually put a year in coaching at the high school level. That was so hard, but totally rewarding. I only wish I had started sooner because I would have learned a lot more about coaching at the competition level.

22.) I currently work full-time in a construction and engineering office and while I (secretly) love getting out of the house every day and having some adult time, I often fantasize about staying home and being able to have dinner ready by 6 PM every night and NOT have to spend hours on end on Saturdays doing one big clean up and tackling mountains of laundry because I would be able to clean a little every day if I stayed home. Plus, all day toddler snuggles. Love that.

21.) I never in a million years thought I would have kids. Or LIKE kids. Peyton was our happy surprise, and I love her to pieces and am grateful to her every day for changing me in a way I thought wasn't possible.

20.) I was a complete party animal in my early 20s. My reputation precedes me in the family. Wanna have a good time? Call Brittany.

19.) Thankfully, that reputation has faded, and instead of sleeping in until 11 AM or noon on Saturdays, I wake up before the toddler does to start my day and get stuff done. I love getting stuff done.

18.) Unfortunately, I like to get too much stuff done at once and often overwhelm myself with "to-do lists."

17.) My husband and I are opposite in so many ways, but we make a great team and support system for each other.

16.) I think it's absurdly funny when people fall down.

15.) As a matter of fact, I think a lot of inappropriate things are hilarious.

14.) My middle name is Renee. My mother's middle name is Renee. My cousin's middle name is Renee. My daughter's middle name is Renee. Hence the blog and shop name.

13.) I have a lot of clothes, but I do wear it all. Or most of it. Or, let's just let this be a reminder that I need to clean out my closet soon and make a donation.

12.) My sister is my best friend. Ever. We are 16 months apart and I used to tell her she was an accident, but she knows it's all in jest and I love her to pieces.

11.) My freshman year of college during Biology, we extracted our DNA and put it in little vials that we could wear as necklaces. I still have it. Denny thinks it's weird.

10.) My favorite color is green. Followed closely by blue. But not royal blue.

9.) Laundry is my enemy. I can never seem to just get it all done from start to finish. I can throw the clothes in the washer, then into the dryer, but I can never seem to get past that point of actually folding them and putting them away.  I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I am left with mountains of laundry by the time I actually have time to do any of it and that it is just out of control. Maybe another goal of 2014 is to actually do a load of laundry from start to finish every night.

8.) I could eat chicken every single day of the week. Unfortunately, my husband disagrees with me on that one.

7.) My birthday is April 7. I feel like it always falls on a Monday and that is a massive bummer.

6.) I have two tattoos. I like them. I am contemplating getting a third one.

5.) I majored in Political Science in college. I love a good chat on politics. But you'll never see it on my blog.

4.) I enjoy baking and LOVE making cupcakes. I made about 150 cupcakes for our wedding. It was awesome and stressful.

3.) I don't watch much TV. However, I am BEYOND excited for a new season of 24. Oh man. I love me some Jack Bauer.

2.) Re-reading the same books over and over is something I can do on the regular. I love Harry Potter and partially ashamed to admit that I enjoyed The Twilight Saga and 50 Shades of Gray (cringe).

1.) My family is everything. I love spending time with Denny and Peyton, and I love our Sunday gatherings. Sunday afternoons we visit with Denny's family, and then we do dinner with my Family on Sunday nights. These visits are my favorite part of the week.

And that's it out of me for the day. Happy hump day and may the rest of your week be speedy!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Shop Updates

Helloooooo, friends!

A little later on Tuesday than I planned, but I haven't shared any updates with you lately and I figured it's about darn time!

I'm slowly adding items for Valentine's Day, and that will really be my focus this month. While I am working on a slew of different items (and just placed a preeeeeetty big supply order last night), red and pink are the name of the game as I prep for the holiday of L-O-V-E.

Hot Pink Rose Stud Earrings - $7.50

Red Rose Stud Earrings - $7.50

Crochet Heart Bobby Pins - Set of 3 - $6.50

I'm also tickled to announce that I signed up for my first fair! I'll be sharing the details in the next week or so, but I've been a busy bee planning inventory and display. This is something I've been saying I want to do, and I'm so glad I'm finally doing it!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Soft White Muslin Ruffle Trees for Winter

So, my Christmas decorations are down.


Something about taking the Christmas decorations down makes my house feel empty. But obviously it's not, because life did, in fact, exist before I put my Christmas stuff up. You know, because I have furniture and stuff that can be put back after re-configuring for THE CHRISTMAS TREE AND ALL THE CHRISTMAS THINGS.

I think it's just the fact that the house gets so cluttered (as much as I hate to admit it) with Christmas decor that when my home finally gets a chance to breathe again and calm down it seems downright bare.

After I finally took everything down yesterday, I breathed a sigh of relief to Denny that it was done. The decorations were down.

"I thought you loved this Christmas junk?" He asked me, sort of in shock (I am married to Scrooge, by the way, thanks to the nature of his job).

"I do love this Christmas junk," I replied, "But I'm also glad to see it go."

To be honest, I kind of like this blank slate that's left behind. Especially since this is our first winter in our home, we get to experience each of the different seasons and what type of look it brings. And this is our last season of new-ness (unless we can count Spring again since most of last Spring our living room was inhabited by bean bag chairs, then YES PLEASE let's count it again).

For winter I think I'm going with simple, but cozy. In the coming weeks I'll share with you a couple crafts to help your house keep that cozy, warm feeling we all crave during these cold months (PS: just a friendly reminder that our days ARE getting longer, in case you have the doldrums like I do!), but takes advantage of all that simplicity that comes with taking down all of your Christmas decor and having that wonderful blank slate of goodness for the new year.

First, I give you my Soft White Muslin Ruffle Trees:

I feel like everyone reaches for whitewhitewhite during the winter, but I've always been wary of pure white (unless it's on kitchen cabinets, and then by all means it's on) because it's so harsh. I get it, because winter is harsh and snowy and white.

But I also crave warmth.

Also, when I use white I always gravitate to gray as well, which to me just reads dirty snow and ick.

So when I was boo-hooing last week over my lack of a.) money and b.) winter decor for my home, I was looking around and then tee-heed over the fact that I still had a good yard and a half of muslin left from the napkins I made for my Thanksgiving table. And it wasn't pure white, but a lovely off-white that just seemed so much warmer. So I grabbed it and ran with it.

You'll often see these tree for Christmas, but I figured snow-covered trees are still a central part of the landscape in winter, so why not?

To make my tree shape, I took a piece of cardstock (really a big piece of poster board from Michael's) and rolled it into a cone. Nothing perfect, because I don't have the patience for perfect when it comes to paper that I'm going to glue stuff on.

And then I taped it closed. Because I am always about simple.

I took my muslin and ripped it into strips ranging from 1" to 2" wide and however long my fabric stash was. Ripping the fabric gives the edges a nice, soft frayed look as opposed to cutting it, during which the fabric would fray in time with handling (instant gratification, helloooooo). I had already cut most of the fabric into 18" squares for me to make my napkins, so I was working with a lot of really small strips--but I am also all about working with what you have. Just so happens I had plenty of fabric, just in really small pieces. Obviously, if you buy your fabric in a two yard length, then obviously you'll have nice long strips to work with. And lucky you.

Hello, small ruffles.
 Basically, you'll make a running stitch up one side of your fabric strip, gather it into a sassy little ruffle, finish it off, and repeat...leaving you with lots and lots of ruffles.

Then you'll take your ruffles and hot glue them onto your tree form, overlapping just a smidge to cover any bare spots, but not enough to have to go through lots and lots of strips.

I think they're sweet and pretty simple. They are hanging out on my buffet right now, but I'm planning a few more for my media center in the living room and demilune table in the entry hall. I kinda dig how each one is different based on how tightly I gathered the strips into ruffles...each is a special snowflake.

Snowflake...winter...GET IT?!

Oh man, I cannot with myself right now.

Happy Monday, everyone! May your week be filled with "see-what-I-did-theres" every day.

Wanna see where I party? Click here for an awesome list of link parties I participate in..

Also linking up to:
Coastal Charm
Savvy Southern Style
Imparting Grace
Jennifer Rizzo
Party Patisserie
The Life of Jennifer Dawn

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five Friday Faves

Hellooooo, Friday.

Today marks the end of the first full work week I've had since the week of Halloween. Seriously, I could give this Friday so many hugs right now.

If you missed out, this week on the blog was a week of looking back and setting new goals. Next week I'll unveil my Winter Whites & Neutral decor (once I, um, make it?).

I also have something to admit. You guys, don't judge me.

But my Christmas decorations are still up.

I know, it's horrible. I have so much shame.  My husband has the sads. 

That will change this weekend, though. Hooray for progress, albeit late and wrong.

Anyway, moving onto my five faves on this glorious Friday. I'm thinking with the new-ness of 2014, I'll be switching up my usual Friday love-fest, and instead of just pins, I'll be focusing on things I love in general--it could be on Pinterest, or it could be from any of my lunch break window shopping binges, or some intangible thing like how Peyton is currently sporting the most amazing mullet ever until the front of her hair finally catches up with the back of her hair (okay, maybe that MIGHT be a tangible, but you know what I mean). 

There has been a lot of chatter lately about Pinterest and it's worth (or lack thereof?) to bloggers and while I still love that site with all of my being and enjoy using it as a tool to grow my blog, using it for my Five Friday Faves is getting to be tedious. I often find myself getting misty-eyed over the perfect pin and then raging because the image takes me to the wrong site, or (EVEN WORSE) the image takes me to a broken link or spam. And if I can't properly find the source to the image to properly link to it, I don't post it. And that gives me the sads. 

And with that, this week will be the last of the fully Pinterest-fed Five Friday Faves. Next week the sky is the limit around here!

Please pin from the original sources, which I've provided to you.

Have a happy weekend, friends! Hopefully some of you will be putting your Christmas decorations away finally too, which would totally make me feel better about my slackerness.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 Goals

I don't know about you, but I am STOKED for 2014.

While I don't necessary jump up and down at January weather (three more months of cold, yuck!) I do love the possibilities that January brings. It ushers in a brand new set of 12 months to get stuff done! It makes me positively giddy.

I thought I'd share some of my goals with you for 2014. Some are personal, some are blog-related, some are shop-related. It'll be fun to check back this time next year and see how I did. Hellooooooo, accountability!


  • Be a better wife and mother. 
  • Put the phone DOWN, already.
  • Get healthy. Originally, I said I wanted to lose weight. Then I said I wanted to get in shape. I'm changing it to "get healthy," which I feel encompasses losing the weight, getting in shape, and making healthier food choices. I'm not one for extreme diet changes, but I know working out and making smarter decisions about what goes into my mouth can make all the difference. Plus it would be nice to fit into those pre-pregnancy jeans I've been hoarding for the last two and a half years already.
  • Fight the mom frump. I feel like this has a lot to do with the above goal, but is different in it's own way. I will buy myself some new clothes (for once) and take the time to go beyond the usual ponytail-and-quick-coat-of-mascara that I'm so accustomed to.
  • Start a morning routine. No more rolling out of bed at 6:45 and flying out the door at 7:15. I find this sets a really hasty, negative tone for my day and waking up 45 minutes earlier would give me time to actually wake up and prepare for the day a little better.
  • Join a local Mother's Club for playdates and socializing.
  • Keep my car clean.
  • Make sure hubster and I get a date night at least once a month.
  • But at the same time, make sure I give myself some quality "me" time.
  • Wear red lipstick.
  • Manage my time better (2014 is shaping up to be a busy one).

  • Install crown molding on the first floor (maybe repaint?)
  • Install board and batten in the entry hall, and finally nail down a paint color.
  • Plank a damn wall already.
  • Refinish the stairs
  • Make plans for a 2015 kitchen reno (and maybe starting a baby reno in 2014)
  • Make over the master bedroom. It's so sad and barren right now.
  • Give Peyton's room a much-need big girl makeover.
  • Focus on making the craft room functional and pretty.
  • Find a decent rug for the living room.
  • Finally talk Denny into building me a farmhouse table.
  • Start a vegetable garden and not let it die.
  • Plant some evergreen shrubs and perennials in the front garden beds so they aren't big dirt patches anymore.
  • Get sod in the back yard. FINALLY.
  • Get over my fear of power tools (seriously, saws scare me).


  • Re-vamp the blog layout (headers, buttons, etc. etc. etc.)
  • Learn more about coding so I can do the above.
  • Focus on growth.
  • Build great content.
  • Bulk up my posting schedule and flesh out an actual editorial calendar (instead of writing things down or saving them in my iPhone as it comes to me).

  • Push for 100 listings by January 31.
  • Sign up for at least four craft shows (Spring, Summer, Fall, Holiday)
  • Start prepping for holiday sales in July and market, market, market!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Top Five of 2013

Happy 2014, friends!

Did you miss me? While my brief hiatus was totally necessary, I sure did miss my little section of the interwebs. There is something super cathartic about coming here and talking about the things that would usually bore the pants off of anyone else (seriously, Brittany, no one cares about finding the perfect shade of navy blue for ONE WALL in your bedroom, or wants to hear for the 1000th time how you are going to get rid of that awkward island in the kitchen. But really, that island does have to go).

During my break, I had some time to regroup and decompress and enjoy the last couple of weeks of 2013 without feeling like I was working myself into a corner. Most importantly, I took a look back at the year and was able to think forward about what to tackle in the New Year. That list is actually pretty big (that's the overachiever in me), and I am looking forward to sharing that with you later this week.

What's happening today is that I am talking a walk down the memory lane of 2013 and giving you my top five projects of the year, according to good ol' Google Analytics.

Only five because I only started seriously blogging in June and I feel like five is a nice place to start.

Who knows, maybe 2014 will have ten?! Oh, the possibility.

And without further ado, here we are!

From top right, moving clockwise:

Ruffled Burlap Wreath - This is my most popular project of the year, which makes me giggle because it almost wound up looking like a burlap turkey. Glitter makes everything better, right?!

Powder Room Makeover & Reveal - Personally, this is my favorite project of the year, most likely because this room remains the first and only room that is "complete" (cough cough, hubster, unless you want to put some crown molding in there, cough cough) in our home. Looking to change that in 2014, though! Stay tuned, friends.

The Buffet Makeover - My first taste of that high you get when you realize that people are actually reading and liking what you have to say. This is the project that got me hooked on blogging the progress in our home. Not to mention, this is still one of my favorite pieces of furniture in the house. Also, this is before I actually started taking the time to edit my photos of stage them pseudo-nicely, so it needs to be documented for posterity.

How to Fake a Reclaimed Wood Sign - What started as an "oops" during the building of our shelves in the power room turned into a very happy accident.

Easy Christmas Wreath - I was tickled that everyone like this project so much. This is a simple project that anyone can do with a wreath form, some hot glue, tinsel garland, and five minutes. I do still hold my stance that tinsel does not go on Christmas trees, however.

There are my top five projects of 2013. I want to thank you for stopping by my little neck of the woods and letting me share these things with you. My first year of blogging was a whirlwind and I'm hooked!

Here's to a productive 2014, and a longer list of top projects in December!

Wanna see where I party? Click here for an awesome list of link parties I participate in..

Also linking up to:
Coastal Charm
Savvy Southern Style
Imparting Grace
Jennifer Rizzo