Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year’s Eve! Today I am resolved to take down the Christmas decorations (even though traditions dictates this should not be done until New Year’s Day – what can I say? I’m such a rebel!) and reflect on some goals I’d like to accomplish in 2010. I’m not big on making resolutions, because keeping them hasn’t exactly worked out for me in the past, but I do like to stop every now and then and set some goals. So, in no particular order, here are a few of the things I’d like to accomplish in the coming year:

1. Re-organize the bookshelves. My very first blog post ever focused on reorganizing the shelves by grouping books by size. During the summer I added to this by making newspaper baskets to hold all our DVDs. But when I look at the shelves, they still bug me. They look more busy and cluttered than I’d like. So, one of the first things I’d like to do in the new year is tackle these shelves once again!

2. De-clutter the counter top and the office/craft room. I really have no idea how to accomplish the counter top clean up. I’ve already removed little used gadgets like the coffee grinder and can opener. Still, it feels like the counter top looks more like an appliance and jar police line up than a pleasant workspace. Any suggestions would be great! Just don’t ask me to store anything else in a cabinet, because it’s already more congested behind those doors than 95 on the day before Thanksgiving!

3. Save like insane people for our future house. I’d really like our dream house to be perched behind us in this picture. Unfortunately, while the low interest rates make it a great time to buy a house, they also make it a rough time to save money to build a house. Our “high interest” savings account has plummeted so much that pretty soon they will be making us pay them to hold our money. We really need wisdom in this area as we try to make the best financial decisions and have patience.

4. Have more people over. I really enjoy playing hostess. I like cooking, and setting the table, and fun game nights with friends, but we only had a couple of people over for dinner all of last year. To be perfectly honest, this is mostly because Brad and I have really struggled to find friends our age in our area. After college, most of our close friends scattered all over the state, and only a handful of people we know actually live within 30 minutes of our home. We would really like to meet other couples who think it is fun to discuss cabinet hardware and paint swatches, and enjoy competitive games of Apples to Apples, and would rather have dinner at someone’s home than go out on the town.

5. Learn to sew and complete a big project. I think my ultimate goal is to become a confidant seamstress and make a slipcover for our plaid sofa. I’ve had the slipcover tutorial from Pink and Polka Dot bookmarked for a year! Now that I have a machine, I hope to actually tackle this sucker.

6. Make fancy cupcakes. My mom gave me a Wilton kit for making filled cupcakes with swirly icing, so I’m hoping to make the ultimate cupcake.

Ok, that’s enough for now! I’m sure I’ll think of many more things to add to my list as the year goes on. How about you? Any big resolutions or goals for 2010? Do tell!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I just have to do a little show and tell today, because I’m super excited about some new toys I have around the roost!

The day after Christmas I scooped up this retro glass jar (with a RED lid!) at target. It’s now happily storing our sugar and looking mighty cute.

My twin soul and fellow blogger, Tracy, gave me this awesome carafe for Christmas. She knew I’ve been searching for one to hold the mouthwash in our tiny bathroom.

It works perfectly, although it seems I need to add mouthwash to the shopping list!

My dear, sweet, precious husband gave me two wonderful gifts that will certainly be getting plenty of action.
A sewing machine! I’m slowly and cautiously learning to use this beauty, and I’m happy to report I’ve already finished one project (coming soon to a blog near you.) Brad also gave me a new camera. It’s slightly difficult to take a picture of a camera, but it’s a twelve mega pixel Olympus. It has twenty million different settings, so I’m still figuring out how to get the best shots. So far, it seems like no flash on the cuisine setting produces the best close ups. Needles to say, it’s already getting plenty of use!

So, how about you? Any presents that have you or your home grinning from ear to ear?


Monday, December 28, 2009

Give me some sugar

Happy DIY Day! I hope you all had a very merry Christmas! Today, I thought I’d share a very special recipe with you all. If you love sugar cookies, you MUST try this recipe because these are the absolute best sugar cookies I have ever tasted. I am not kidding. Plus, this recipe does not call for the dough to be chilled, so you don’t have any of that pesky waiting around.

I made Christmas shapes, but now that the holidays are over, you could make snowflakes and snowmen or hearts for Valentine’s Day.
Roll-Out Cookie Dough

1 cup butter (I used smart balance 50/50 blend with no problem)
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. This is a job for your mix master or other electric mixer. Beat in egg and vanilla. Add baking powder. Mix in flour one cup at a time. You will need to mix in the last bits of flour by hand as the dough will be very stiff. Divide dough into two balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a circle about 1/8 inch think. Cut into shapes and bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 6 to 7 minutes or until very lightly browned.

Tips: These are great plain or with sprinkles. I fill a cookie sheet with only one shape at a time. This keeps smaller shapes from burning. Check the first batch after 5 minutes as baking time really varies depending on your oven. This is my most favorite cookie to have with a cup of tea or coffee! Enjoy, but be warned, these are addicting!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

wrapping things up

A very merry Christmas Eve to all of my sweet readers! In case you are a last minute present wrapper (like me!) I thought I’d show a few wrapping ideas I’m digging this year. I was inspired by an article in BHG that suggested using two or more types of paper on each present. It really adds a little extra pizzazz for very little extra cost. I also decided to use gift tags over gift stickers; I think they add something special.

For these gifts, I wrapped the presents as I normally would, and added a band of coordinating paper around the middle. I used my fun wavy scissors to add a little kick. Whenever possible, I tried to use leftover scraps of paper for the extra bands of paper, so I didn’t have to use up any more paper than I normally would.

On this gift, I ran the ribbon the opposite direction of the paper band. I’m not sure which way I like better!

If you want to save on how much real ribbon you use, you can criss cross a coordinating paper across the wrapped package.

You can also save by using a band of real ribbon and a pre-made bow, as it takes sooo much real ribbon to make a fluffy bow.

Who says a bow has to go in the middle of a package? For this tiny present I used simple twine to tie a bow across the top of the present and let the oversized gift tag take center stage.

For this gift, the card is front and center and tiny bands of ribbon hold it in place.

Awkwardly shaped presents don’t have to be resigned to gift bags. This gift is surrounded by simple white tissue paper and a band of pretty paper adds a little fun.

For this gift, a bow conceals the folds of paper on the top of the cylinder, while scraps of paper add several bands of color.

For me, the wrapping and opening of gifts is half the fun of giving!

If you are planning on hitting up the day after Christmas sales, by sure to stock up on lots of white tissue paper, wrapping paper that isn’t necessarily “Christmassy,” and plenty of solid colored ribbon. These are all great stand bys for wrapping beautiful presents throughout the year!

I’ll be taking the next few days off to spend time with family and friends, but I wish you all a Christmas full of love, peace, and joy!

God Bless!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Colorful Blessings: Purple

Two things before I kick off the last Colorful Blessings party: 1. I’m so sorry this post is late! When I got home from Christmas shopping last night, Brad was hunched over the laptop, frantically clicking and typing. It seems our internet quit for no reason. He finally managed to fix the problem, but I was fast asleep by that point. 2. I admit that I purposefully started this party with red, because I had no idea what I would post for purple.

All week I looked around the house for purple blessings, but other than my can of Aussie Mousse, I came up empty handed. While I’m thankful for anything that tames hair frizzies, it seemed like a lame way to end a series of posts that has been so meaningful to me. I googled purple to see if any creative inspiration would come my way, and I found this great description from “Purple is royalty. A mysterious color, purple is associated with both nobility and spirituality.” Ah-ha! After reading this I realized that our home is full of purple, but it is invisible.

Jesus is the king of our hearts and our home, and his spirit is the only way we experience love and peace and joy in our little roost.

2009 has not been the easiest year for our family. I lost an uncle and a granddad and Brad lost a cousin. We have experienced anxiety at work with slashed budgets, less resources, and more duties. Within three months all of our new couple friends moved away due to jobs. It has been an unsettling year for us, but we have had things easy compared to so many people we know. 2010 is a great unknown. Brad and I have no idea what it will bring for our jobs, our home, or our family. But we do know that for us it brings hope. Our hope comes from the knowledge that the King of Kings is in control of our lives, has a plan for our futures, and loves us more than we can grasp. So in this Christmas season, I am thankful for purple. Thankful that a baby born in poverty was and is the greatest king this world will ever know.


p.s. This year I am also thankful for blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.

If you’d like to join in with your own purple blessings, add the link to your post, making sure that your post links back to this one.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The crafty best of '09

With Christmas right around the corner and my trusty camera locked away (long story that involves snow, a car stuck ¼ of a mile from our house, and using sleds to transport only essential items – groceries not cameras – from the car to the house) I didn’t have the chance to make or photograph anything for DIY Day. Luckily, a little trip through the roost archives turned up five easy projects from the first few months of this blog. All of these are easy and would make great last minute gifts, if like me, you are far from finished with your Christmas shopping!

Five minute pop art – Do you know someone obsessed with a product? Save the wrapping and create some Andy Warhol fun on the cheap.

Fun with clip art – the magic of grouping/ungrouping in Word helped me create tea party invitations that perfectly matched the plates (because I am that kid) but this idea could be used to make custom stationary or even t-shirts.

Tiered catch-all – This project is 100% free and super customizable to whatever supplies you have on hand. It would make a great gift for anyone in need of a little organization.

Framed scrapbook owl – I made way too many bird related projects this year, but this cute little owl is pretty high on my favorites list. You could use this pattern for appliqué, gift tags, or frame an owl of your own.

Bookish tray – I still smile every time I pass this tray on my way out the door. It was super easy to make, but it just looks so handsome! A great gift for any décor enthusiast on your list. Am I correct in thinking that we would all be delighted to own another tray, even if we already have a ton?
I hope these little projects spark your creative spirit, and maybe even give you just the idea you needed for the last person on your gift list!


Saturday, December 19, 2009

The weather outside is frightful, but we hope the wedding’s delightful!

Right now Brad and I should be at the wedding reception of our dear friend Sarah, but instead we’re sitting in his parent’s living room by a roaring fire. Here’s how we ended up there instead of Durham.

4:00 Friday afternoon – Sweet Freedom! School’s out for the holidays and I’m headed home to enjoy two weeks of vacation from teaching. Brad and I plan to throw a few things in a bag, hop in the car, and drive to Lake Gaston to spend the night with his Maw Maw. In the morning we’re going to head down to Durham for the wedding. The forecast is calling for a pretty significant snow storm, but we’ll be headed south of the storm and should miss it by a few hours.

4:20 Friday afternoon – a few flakes of snow begin to fall. This is earlier than expected, but the flakes are very light. I’m not too worried because the temperature is above freezing.

4:45 Friday afternoon – I arrive home, rush in the house, and gather everything we’ll need for the trip. The snow is coming down faster, but it’s still very light.

5:15 Friday evening – Brad starts the car and we head out, noting that a white dusting has covered the driveway since I arrived home.

5:30 Friday evening – After a brief stop for gas, we hit the interstate, confident that the salt put down earlier in the day will make the road conditions just fine.

5:35 Friday evening – The snow is coming down quite heavily and the roads are already rough. It does not appear that the salt is doing diddly squat.

6:15 Friday evening – We’ve crawled far enough east to merge onto another interstate heading south. I am starting to get a not good feeling in the pit of my stomach.

6:30 Friday evening – We’re still over an hour and a half from Maw Maw’s house, under the best of driving conditions. A van in front of us is sliding all over the road and we seriously doubt the wisdom of continuing this trip. If we turn around, it will take us at least an hour to get back home, but we are only a few miles from Brad’s parents.
We decided to spend the night at the in-law’s and reevaluate the situation in the morning. At 7:00 this morning we woke up to this:

Brad cleared the snow off our little car, but the neighborhood roads looked like this:

(this is the backyard, but the street looks pretty much the same).Nine inches of the white stuff as of nine this morning, and it is still snowing. So, we are staying put by this

And wishing this sweet and beautiful couple a very merry winter wedding and a wonderful life together.

Congrats to the new Mr. and Mrs. and to all a good night!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Colorful Blessings: Blue

The Colorful Blessings party is winding down – only one more week left! This week we’re celebrating all the blue blessings in our homes.

I’m thankful for my easy and meaningful DIY art. These frames were one of my first blog projects, and I still enjoy reading the message of peace everyday.

I’m also thankful for my yard sale tin buckets. I use one to hold magazines and this one keeps my brush and hair dryer corralled, but within easy reach. Believe me, I’m even more thankful for this convenience when I’ve hit snooze one too many times and I don’t have to think about where I last put my flat iron!

Finally, I’m really thankful for this dress. I searched for weeks for an affordable dress for a friend’s upcoming wedding but came up with zilch. About a month ago I stopped by Ross on a whim, and this beauty was waiting for me. It even has pockets – so super additional thankfulness is in order! I can’t wait to wear it.
Now it’s your turn! Add the link to your own blue blessings post. Be sure to include a link to this post in your own post. I hope you’ll take the time to share; I’d love to see what you’re thankful for this season!


Monday, December 14, 2009

Pillows and P.J.s

Since Christmas is almost here, I thought I’d use this DIY Day to share a super fast and easy holiday project. If you stopped by yesterday on The Nester’s tour, then you might have noticed this new little pillow.

Here’s a closer look.

I made this Christmas pillow cover from a pajama top my mom found at Goodwill. She knew I’d be able to make something fun out of fabric this cute.

To make the cover I turned the top inside out and placed an old throw pillow inside the shirt.

Because the shirt buttons up the front, it made it super easy to turn into a pillow cover. I pinned the shirt all around the edges of the pillow and simply sewed around the pins, sort of like making a sofa slipcover.

Because I like the look of off center buttons (and let’s face it, I’m a lazy hand sewer) I pushed the pillow all the way over to one of the shirt’s side seams, so I’d only have to stitch around three sides instead of four.

Here's a shot of what it looked like after the pillow was stiched inside of the shirt and the extra edges trimmed away.

Once I finished sewing, I unbuttoned the shirt, turned it right side out, and reinserted the pillow. Once the pillow was back inside the shirt, I just buttoned it right back up again.

Although this idea is cute for Christmas, you could apply the same idea to any kind of button down shirt. I’m thinking buffalo check plaid would be cute for winter and dotted swiss would look great in the spring.

Happy sewing! Don't forget to check back Tueday night for the 5th week of my Colorful Blessings Party. This week is all about blue!


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Tour of Homes with the Nester!

Christmas Tour of Homes with The Nester

It’s finally time for The Nester’s Christmas Tour of Homes! I am so excited about this! I got a bunch of good ideas from her Price my Space parties, and I’m sure this party will be no different. Be sure to head over to The Nesting Place and check out all of the tours, you won’t be disappointed!
For my little tour, I’m going to focus on the two rooms I spend the most time decorating in the roost, the living room and the kitchen.

When you head down the steps to the living room, you’re greeted by this cheerful banner. All it took to put this together was a pretty ribbon and a few sheets of vintage patterned scrapbook paper.

I love our willow creek nativity. My dad built the stable and my family has gifted us a few pieces every year since we’ve been married. The simplicity and sweetness of this nativity really appeals to me.

Our stockings reflect my love of all things red and vintage! I think the iron star hangers blend in nicely with the nautical art. I do have to admit that I’m secretly freaked out that one day the heavy hangers might topple on someone’s head when they’re innocently sitting on the sofa, so I’m still deciding if they are going to stay in this location.

I wanted to keep the coffee table really simple because we’ll be clearing it off every time we play games with guests. I just stacked up a few Christmas colored books and added a vintage nativity set to the top of the pile. I kind of like this set kept in the box, because the many tiny pieces always seem lost when they’re set up on a table or something.

I made this Christmassy throw pillow on Saturday, check back tomorrow for the super easy tutorial.

Here’s our tree. It doesn’t have a specific theme; just ornaments with special meaning that have been collected over the years.

When I look at the tree it brings back memories of all kinds of family events. The sea shells I gathered at Nags Head as a little girl. Golf ornaments to celebrate Brad’s favorite hobby. A bride and groom Mickey and Minnie we purchased on our honeymoon. Etc.

The lights are a compromise. I love white lights but Brad prefers colored lights. When we found a set of white, frosted, and red lights at Target, they were the perfect solution!

A little group of snowmen snuggle under one side of the tree….

…and Santa watches out for naughty or nice behavior from the other side. The tree “skirt” is a wadded up tablecloth. One day I’d love to have a real tree that actually sits on the ground, but with limited space and baseboard heat, our smallish artificial tree works for now!

When the tree and nativity are on display, all of our framed photos get shuffled around the room. They aren't particularly Christmassy, but a little snow bear helps them blend in a bit more.

A few red and green books help dress up the rest of the frames.
Now, on to the kitchen,

I had to go retro in the kitchen because I wanted a silver tree so much! To learn how I made the ribbon card holders, go here.

Matching tinsel ornaments add a little vintage glam to the windows, since candles weren’t a practical option. It was snowing the day I took this picture!

I threw together a few things I already had on hand to make the centerpiece: two plates, a fishbowl, a red febreeze candle, some good smelling vase filler and a Christmas candle ring.

I made the little snow scene right after Thanksgiving.

It only took me a few minutes to throw together the tea light holders and the merry pinecone wreath.

Here's one more shot of the kitchen.

I hope you enjoyed spending a few Christmassy minutes in the roost! I really enjoyed decorating this year because I kept things simple and I only spent a few dollars for some new ribbon. Have a merry Christmas and thanks for stopping by!