Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New ideas from the barn

If you haven't seen the fall Pottery Barn catalogue, here's just a hint of what you're missing.

I love this catalogue, not just because I'm a fan of the furniture, but because it's always full of such creative decorating, organization, and display ideas. I would never have thought of using hooks to hang baskets from a shelf, but how stylish is this? This idea could be used in a mudroom to store umbrellas, gloves, etc. Or, how about in a bathroom to store rolled up towels?

This picture inspires me to think about using floating shelves in new ways. I love how the two shorter off-centered shelves in the middle add visual interest, while still keeping things balanced.

I really like everything about this scene. I was initially attracted to the idea of using a bench as a coffee table (the fact that it's red is not hurting anything either) but the use of texture and color and the playful whimsy of the art won me over completely. Some room should just be fun!

How cool is this idea of framing maps? I think arranging them from nearly floor to ceiling actually adds height to the room.

I am loving this funky architectural molding. Without it, the headboard and wall would blend together into a world of blah, but the addition of the earthy molding adds just enough oomph (that's a technical term) to make the room really special.

Finally, I know in real life this would be an impractical dust catcher, but this little clothes line of simple black and white images is so sweet. I think it would work well as a seasonal decoration.

What's inspiring you these days?


Monday, September 28, 2009

painted pumpkins

Happy DIY day on a brand new day! Make sure you check out all the other great pojects over at A Soft Place to Land.

When I found these little guys at the Dollar Tree last week, I knew they would be the perfect candidates for trying out this faux mercury glass spray paint trick I found over on the DIY Show Off.

This is one of those projects that looks really simple and easy when you see it on someone else’s blog, but in reality becomes a little more complicated when 1. You don’t really know what you’re doing, and 2. You don’t have the all the supplies used in the tutorial. Considering those two little details, I’m pretty happy with the way my fake mercury glass fruit turned out.

Now, If you’d like to hear all the harrowing details of making these, including how I got brown paint in my eye ( I kid. I technically only got it in my eyelashes.) Please keep reading.
Step 1. Acquire cheap fake fruit.

Step 2. Jab a bamboo skewer into the bottom of the fruit and stick it in some old floral foam.

Step 3. Go nuts with silver spray paint. I used Rustoleum Bright Coat Silver.

Everything was going fine until this point.

Step 4. While the silver paint is still wet, splatter the pumpkin with some kind of brown or metallic brown paint. I only had brown acrylic craft paint on hand, so I used that. I figured I could use an old tooth brush to splatter the paint. Ha. I know that splatter painting is one of those elementary school crafts that kids do all the time, so I didn’t think I needed to find any instructions. Twenty minutes later, after I successfully splatter painted my hair, face, and clothes, and only managed to land about three drops of paint on the apple, I seriously re-thought my decision to tackle this without instructions. I wish I’d gotten Brad to video tape the whole process, because I looked pretty hilarious covered in brown paint, shaking a tooth brush at a bunch of silver fruit. Eventually, I managed to get some paint to splatter on the fruit, but I could have saved myself a lot of trouble if I’d read these helpful hints first.

Anyhow, despite my acrylic freckles, I think I like my new little centerpiece, and I’d even do it again – but I’d read the instructions first! I hope y’all enjoy these pics of the fruits of my labor (ba bum ching! I couldn’t resist!)


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dollar Tree Treasures

I had to show y'all the treasures I found at our local dollar store!

First, I spotted these chic white pumpkins. I think they look they could have come right out of a Pottery Barn catalogue. I can't decide if I'm going to use them in the living room, kitchen, or hallway.

I thought this little floral pick would be perfect for adding some color to a fall wreath or arrangement.

I picked up a faux pumpkin, pear, and apple to try my hand at the spray paint mercury glass effect that's been all over blogland. I worked on that little project this afternoon. Let's just say, I need to work on my splatter painting skills. My efforts are drying as we speak, so I'll show you how it all turned out tomorrow.

Yay, for the dollar store!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fresh Fashion Friday - wedding wear

Brad and I are at the point in our lives where we go to weddings. A lot of weddings. This is awesome because I love everything about weddings. I love the ceremony, seeing the dress, the first kiss, catching up with friends, dancing, etc. I love that Brad always grabs my hand during the vows and does the special three squeeze "I love you" that I taught him when we were dating. The only thing I don't love about weddings is wearing the same two dresses over and over. One of my college roomies got married last weekend, and I was determined to change things up a bit.
I've worn this yellow dress to three weddings (it was even my getaway dress at my own wedding) and I still love it ...

... it just needed a little "tweaking" to make it perfect for an early fall wedding. Oh, and in case you are wondering about the strange posing going on, we sometimes like to do pretend J. Crew photo shoots at weddings. I never claimed to be normal.

Moving right along, I decided that my brown sweater and a few new accessories were just the things to refresh my yellow dress.

I kept the cardigan open, pushed up the sleeves, and used the bronze ribbon from the dress to belt around the outside of the sweater. I also added a yellow seed necklace my sister brought me from her missions trip to Brazil.

So from top to bottom we have:
- yellow seed necklace - Brazil
- yellow sun dress - h&m
- brown cardigan - h&m
- tan flats - Target.

I think I look ridiculous in this picture, but it gives you an idea of what the back looks like and the shoes, so please pardon my tree hugging.
Anyone have any fun outfits to share this week? I'd love a peek at your fashion creativity!


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fall Centerpiece, take 3?

I think y'all know the drill. Thursday means (drum roll, please)...

So make sure you stop by Kimba's and Gina's to get in on all the fun.
This week's little 'ol project is a big 'ol work in progress. I have been trying to put together a new fall look for the kitchen table. Trying is the operative word here.

(I am so embarrassed because I didn't take these in the daylight, and yes I know I really, really need to iron the tablecloth - OK, moving on.) My first attempt involves my simple white tablecloth, a pretty balsa wood bowl, and fresh apples.

I felt kind of "eh?" about this one, so I brought in a little more oomph.

I added my little red and green condiment bowls with apple green votives. Only one problem...

I felt like the bowls were kind of lost. The scale wasn't quite right either. What to do?

Why not make a little fall leaf runner? I REALLY wanted to use felt for this, but I couldn't actually find any non-primary colored felt. So, out came the construction paper and glue.

On the one hand, I kind of like it because I think it grounds everything a little. The yellow, green, and brown leaves also help to tie the yellow in the apples to the brown in the big bowl to the green in the little bowls.

On the other hand, it's not exactly the textured felt runner in muted colors that I had in mind.
So, what do y'all think? Is it worth ironing the tablecloth and keeping things as is? Should I add a few more lines of leaves to make the runner wider? Do you like one of the other looks better? Should I just scrap this idea and try for something else entirely? Clearly, I have a lot of questions!
But ya know what? The times you drive yourself a little nuts trying to get a look just right make you appreciate the times everything comes together with no effort at all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vintage Goodness

My mom picked up a vintage ABC book last weekend at a thrift store. Guess what occupation illustrates the letter "L"?

So, it's stereotyped and goes against just about everything I learned in Library School - but...

It's vintage, it's red, and it features a librarian. That's a triple word score in my book! I want to frame it, but I don't have a place for it right this second. I guess I'll just save the file until I have a library room in our dream house. In the mean time, I might print it out on transfer paper and put it on a tote bag or something cute like that.

I scanned two others that I thought might appeal to some of you.

I guess this last one applies to all of us bloggers, even though most of us aren't men!

Don't you just love those shelves and roaring fire? If y'all have any creative ideas for using these, do tell!


Monday, September 21, 2009

two minute fall love

Hey y'all! I'm linking this post up to Gina's Transformation Thursday and Kimba's DIY Day. Be sure to check out all the other fun posts!

I'm slowly adding little touches of fall to the roost. Today I put together a little two minute project to add some fall color to the kitchen.

Step one: gather some branches from the yard.
Step two: glue a smattering of silk leaves from the dollar store to the branches.

Step three: arrange your pretty branches in a simple white pitcher. Step back and enjoy! I'm sorry that these pictures are a little weird, something is wrong with our camera - I sort of dropped it (twice). Brad has already put in several hours of Internet research into finding a perfect new camera for us.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

How do I love tea? Let me count the ways...

Ya know ya love my puntastic post titles! I was thinking today about the things that make a home a lovely place to be, and I decided that first on the list is coziness. Coziness is one of those things that hits you the moment you walk in the door. It's sometimes hard to pinpoint what exactly is causing those warm fuzzies, but when it's there, you just know it. For me, coziness varies by season, and as soon as the weather turns the least bit crisp, a warm blanket and a hot cup of tea are primo coziness factors. I've found a few new favorite teas lately that I wanted to share with you, so put the kettle on and join me for a virtual tea party!

Heaven in a cup. I am crazy about Trader Joe's Jasmine Green Tea. I've gotten in the habit of having a cup of this after dinner each evening. It has just enough caffeine to keep me from crashing before prime time TV, but not enough to keep me up past the ten o'clock news. if you're a fellow teacher, you understand the importance of this timeline!

Yum! This is a very sweet and delicate tea. You might even like it without any sweetener. I like it as a snack with a few butter cookies.

This is the first green tea I found that I liked. I'm not a fan of plain green tea at all, but the addition of a little lemon grass gives this a citrusy zing that's really refreshing and nice. This is a good one when you've had an awful day and need a little pick me up.

This is my go to breakfast tea. I love black tea in the morning for the kick of caffeine and strong flavor. The cool thing about red rose tea, is the inclusion of a tiny figurine in each box. Some of them are cheesy, but once and awhile I get a cute one that I keep.

While I'm talking about breakfast, I thought I'd share my favorite healthy breakfast. This is fast, cheap, and under 130 calories. You can't beat it! I have my cup of tea, (of course!) and I toast up a Thomas' Better Start Light Multi-grain English Muffin (longest name for a food product ever!) .

These babies have 100 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 8 grams of fiber. That means they stick with you to keep you feeling full all morning, but they don't stick to you!
Instead of butter, I top these off with a swipe of Trader Joe's Organic Fruit Spread. I rotate between the blueberry, strawberry and superfruit flavors.

Isn't fall yummy? What's your favorite tea? Favorite breakfast food? Please dish!


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Winner, Winner, Chicken dinner!

We have a winner for my 100th post giveaway!

To choose a winner, I put every person's name in's list generator twice, since all of you are followers. It gave me this list:

List Randomizer
There were 12 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
1. Tim and Tracy
2. Cara
3. Carol
4. Julia
5. Carol
6. Amy
7. Strand family
8. Tim and Tracy
9. Julia
10. Strand family
11. Cara
12. Amy
Timestamp: 2009-09-19 13:26:23 UTC

Next, I used's random number generator to pick a number 1 - 12. It came up with:

Result: 9 ( It wouldn't let me copy/paste the whole widget thing. Bummer, because it looks cool!)

Congrats Julia!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fresh Fashion Friday - old is new again

Fun fact: Libraries are cold. All of them. I start each school year in denial of this fact, but now that I've been back for almost a month, I'm ready to admit that wearing a skirt everyday is not an option unless I'm willing to experience goosebumps on top of goosebumps. So, I bring you the first Fresh Fashion Friday featuring pants! And another first, almost everything I'm wearing is several years old at least. The challenge I gave myself was to use one newer piece to bring everything else up to date.

I decided to use a long t-shirt to add some freshness to my old shrunken sweater. Since chinos are fairly classic, they work with just about any look. I put two necklaces together to tie together the blue/brown sweater and shirt combo. I'm also wearing brown satin flats the same shade as the t-shirt.
Here is the breakdown:
-blue beads (Target Dollar Spot) intertwined with vintage brown beads (Bygones)
-Baby blue cable knit sweater from Abercrombie by way of Rugged Warehouse purchased eight years ago during my freshman year of college.
- Brown t-shirt from Forever 21
- Tan chinos from Banana Republic by way of Goodwill. I don't know the exact age on these, but the tag is not the one they use currently.
I little close up of the intertwined beads and the sweet cable details.
Trying to get a good shot with my camera's timer feature, I manged to get about fifteen really great butt shots. I kept this one in the post because it shows the little ties on the sweater sleeves. I love them!

Happy Friday everyone!
p.s. I'm thinking of adding a mclinky to my fashion posts in the future, if enough people would be interested in linking up. Thoughts?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Brain Food

I'm stepping outside the box a little for this DIY Day post and bringing you my new favorite dinner recipe. Way back in January I shared my super easy and cheap salmon recipe, which we still eat almost once a week. After repeatedly hearing how good fish is for you, Brad and I decided we should try to eat it twice a week (OK, I decided and Brad said he would eat it.) but we knew we didn't want to have the same meal both times. A little research into the fish with the best health benefits and lowest mercury risks led us to tilapia. Tilapia is a mild, almost sweet fish with only 100 calories per fillet ( I am not kidding!) that has been described as the fish for people who don't like fish.
Here is my super fast, super easy, super cheap tilapia recipe:

You will need
- Tilapia fillets (Wal-mart sells a bag of 4 - 5 fillets for just under four bucks)
- Pam ( I like the organic olive oil version)
-Garlic salt or garlic powder
- Italian seasoning
- About 2 -3 Tbs. butter ( I like Smart Balance 50/50 blend)
- A handful of fresh parsley or a few shakes of the dried stuff
- A squeeze or two of lemon juice if you like it with your fish

Here's what you do:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Lightly coat a baking dish with Pam. Season both sides of each fillet to taste with pepper, garlic salt (or garlic powder ) and Italian seasoning.

Bake for eight minutes. While fish is baking, melt butter and add parsley. I do this in my Pyrex measuring cup with a spout.

Pour butter/parsley mixture over fish and return to oven for two to five minutes or until fish flakes with a fork.

Add a squeeze of lemon if ya like it, and serve with your favorite side. We like smashed baby red potatoes with a little low fat shredded cheese. I am NOT a food stylist, so believe me when I say this tastes way better than it looks! It is super yummy and my very, very picky husband loves it! Plus, it does not make your house smell fishy.
Don't forget to enter my giveaway before midnight on Friday!