November 28, 2010

{ christmas spirit }

It is finally looking like Christmas around here!
Nice and snowy outside (personally, I prefer the snow to stay in the mountains, where I don't have to drive in it, but it does make it look much more festive and it helps it feel like Christmas!), warm and cozy inside!

We usually break out the Christmas decor on Black Friday (after shopping all morning!), but this year we didn't get around to it until tonight.  (and apparently in the blog world, you are supposed to decorate like a month early...whoops! Newbie here :)

Since it was pretty late when we finished, there was no chance of getting pics in nice, natural light, so I just snapped a couple real quick to give you a little sneak peek.

That little lamp project took waaaaay longer than it should have and cost me a couple burnt fingers.  Luckily, I finally outsmarted it and love how it turned out!  We don't have a mantle, so I decorate the top of our entertainment center.  This little lamp really warms it up and brighten up the room.

I absolutely LOVE nativity scenes.  I think it's because my mom has always loved them and collected them, so growing up, they were always a staple in decorating our house for the holidays. 
Sadly, this is the only one I own (I totally wish I had this WillowTree day, right? :), so I display it proudly on our dining room table.  It's just a little one piece nativity, but I love it's simplicity.

I'll take pictures of everything else we put out tomorrow when my light is back.  This is the most I've ever done for Christmas, and I'm loving it!  I've always wanted to decorate more, but it's taken us some time to build up the Christmas decorating stash!  Stay tuned for more pics!

Show me your holiday decorations!  Any easy, festive ideas I can steal replicate from you?  I am always on the lookout for a new project!

November 19, 2010

{ entertaining: the little touches }

I am a firm believer that special events or occassions are really made special because of the extra effort you put into it.  Maybe it makes me a little more stressed out or anxious beforehand, but I don't mind.  I really think it's worth it.  To me, it shows that the person we are celebrating is important and our guests are important.

When we blessed my daughter a couple years ago, I made a fruit bouquet for the luncheon afterwards.  I had never done something like this before, but thanks to the infinite wisdom of those on the internet, I was able to do it...
(shocking, right? :)

And here's a little close-up for you.  You're welcome :)

So, when we blessed our son a couple weeks ago, I knew I had to make him one too.  Only, since it's November, it was hard to find good fruit in season.  Luckily, after going to 4 different stores, I finally found strawberries ( was ridiculous!)
With Taelie's, it was REALLY top heavy -- I was so nervous the whole time that if anyone bumped the table, the whole thing would tip over, so instead of doing a tall crystal vase, I went with a crystal bowl this time.
I underestimated how much fruit I would need to make it as full as I wanted, but it still works.
And, wouldn't you know it -- the crystal bowl was the one that ended up breaking. :(  Not at the luncheon, luckily, but I was pretty sad when it happened.  Gotta love irony, huh?

I actually quite enjoy making these fruit bouquets.  I like spending the time to put them together and give myself a little bit of time to just focus on the arrangement and the person that I'm creating it for.  I turn up the music and just zone out in my own little creative world.

Have you ever made on of these?  Or any other edible centerpieces?  I love finding new creative ways to share food, so I'd love to see your creations! Share 'em with me! :)

November 15, 2010

{ and three years later... }

We have shelves in our master closet!

This was one of those projects.

You know what I mean -- the kind you always plan on doing, but it takes a gigantic kick in the rear to actually get moving -- right? (or maybe I'm the only one that procrastinates like that...)

Before we bought our condo, um, THREE years ago, we knew we wanted to add more storage.  But, in between babies, and moving every year, it just wasn't a priority.  Well, when we had our second little bundle of joy this summer, adding storage got shoved right up to the top of the list.  We have a three bedroom home, and I wanted our kids to have their own rooms right now so they don't wake each other up and maybe because I wanted to decorate them for each kid.  Maybe. 

Anyway, Broox's room has been a junk room of sorts...okay, that's a total lie.  It's been an absolute DISASTER.  We always kept that door closed because it was overflowing with crap.  We'd clean it out about, oh, once a year, and it would stay that way for maybe a week.  Then it got buried again.  Awesome. 

So, we knew it. Was. Time.

With my hubs being home so much now, we decided to tackle it.  (and by "we", I mean, I told him what I wanted, and he built it for me :)

Here was our closet before:
One shelf all the way around the top of the closet.
I had one of those canvas shoe hangers from Wal-mart, but even still...
 the floor usually looked like this.
 I didn't get a shot of hubby's side, but it was pretty similar.  Clearly, shoe cubbies were a must.  As were additional shelves.
This was before we painted.  We were so exited to get organized and not have our clothes strewn all over our room that we put half of our stuff back up and painted the closet it halves.  Note to self: next time, be a little more patient and paint beforehand.  Man, those cubbies were a ridiculous pain!
 Broox's closet was STUFFED wtih boxes.  We still have to go through them (again), but for now, we decided to just move them into our room so we can get his room set up as quickly as possible.  This is only a fraction of the stuff we moved out of embarassing.  :)
 Moving the storage stuff in.
 Shoe cubbies! Love, love, LOVE them!  I actually put my shoes away now!  Something my hubs is particuarly excited about...haha!
 Plus two extra shelves!  Perfect for storing Christmas presents, Christmas trees...etc. :)
 My Mister's side -- he organizes his clothes by color/style because I get all stressed out if it's not that way -- It doesn't bother him one bit if they are all mixed together.  I get hives just thinking about it.  Sweet guy to do that for me. :) 
 I think I may be completely a teensy bit obsessed with organization...
{sigh} Love it!
It feels soooo good to have this project done!  Plus, it means we are one step closer to getting to Broox's room -- which is SUPER exciting to me.  I just love being able to check projects like this off our list -- especially because then we can move on to the more fun ones.  It is amazing how much more storage we have now, and it doesn't make our closet feel any smaller at all -- just utilizing the space better.  And, we have been hanging shelves in other rooms of our house like crazy, so we will have plenty of room to grow for the next little while.  I love it!

Do you have any projects like this -- that you dread doing, and then once it's done, you could not be happier?  What are your storage secrets?  I love finding new ways to make the most of our space! Share your ideas with me, I'd love to hear them!

November 9, 2010

{ my first ever sewing project }

I guess to be perfectly honest, I DID complete my 8th grade sewing class...because it was required.  But even that was pretty sad. 
I was one of those girls that thought sewing was SO NOT COOL.  And I wanted nothing more than to NOT be domestic.  So, with my awesome 14-year old short term thinking, I absolutely avoided ANYTHING that could be even remotely related to domesticity.
I never learned to cook.
Or clean (until I lived on my own.  Then helloooo neat freak!).
Or sew.
Or budget.
I think you get the picture.

When we found out we were expecting our daughter (and had gotten past the "danger zone" of miscarrying), I started looking around at bedding.  NOTHING was jumping out at me.  And the stuff I did like was SOOOO expensive.  So my sweet hubsters, Ben, suggested I make it myself.
Um....what the wha???  Do you not know me at all?
We'd been together for 8 years and yet you haven't realized I can't sew a straight line?

But he had confidence in me.  So I thought I'd give it a try.
Not by myself.  Not that brave.  But my sister-in-law's mother is uh-maze-ing!  So, I got her to figure it all out help teach me the basics. And lo and behold, I COULD do it!
Who woulda thought?! (certainly NOT me)

Well, now that my baby girl is almost 2 (seriously? It's crazy!), it's about time to get rid of the crib, so I thought I'd post some pictures of my first ever sewing project (that I was secretly SO proud of myself for creating) before we get it all changed out.

Her adorable little crib:
 The bumpers.  Um, can you believe I didn't know that people MADE piping?  Yeah, I might have been pretty excited about that... :)

Inside of the bumpers.  I did not make the sheet though - that's all Target, baby!

Crib skirt.  Obviously it doesn't really poke out the slats like that.  Just pulled it out to show you the detail.  I'm nice like that. :)

The window valence. This is one thing I will definitely do differently in the future.  My Taelie-girl needs it dark to sleep, so her window had been covered up with a blanket for the last two years.  A blanket that I take down in the morning.  And put back up for nap time.  And take down after nap time. And put back up for bedtime. It's ridiculous.  But otherwise it's either too dark or too bright.  New curtains will be a MUST for her new room.

Her rag quilt.  Probably my favorite item in her room.  After she got bigger, I moved it from her crib to the armchair in her room.

A little close-up :)

Terrible picture, but this is where we hung all her bows.  I added horizontal strips of ribbon across it and attached her clips.  It is defnitely too busy, and I will be making something new for her hair stuff for her new room.  I'm just not loving it, but it worked for awhile.
We painted the entire room and installed the faux board and batten.  We had no idea what it was called when we did it, we just liked how it looked. Yeah, we're decor-savvy like that.  It's pretty tall too, as you can see from the pic -- sits above the light switch.  I wanted it to peek out above her crib, and I love it.  :)  We still have that glider, but are planning on selling it, it never worked with her room, and we never used it, so I never finished it.  Her dresser is in it's place now.

I wanted to do the traditional name sign, but change it up a little bit, so I made hers out of the same fabric using a tutorial.  I love the font -- sooo adorable!

Close up of the letters and the adorable knobs I got to hang them from.  They were originally pink, but didn't stand out enough on her wall, so they got a quick coat of spray paint!

And finally...the view from her doorway. I know it's hard to see, but the chime hanging in the corner I brought all the way over from Ukraine, and saved it for years before it found it's home in her nursery. I want to add sparkle too it or even make it brighter pink, but I am worried about messing it up since I can't exactly run out and buy a new one if I do. Any pointers?

Whew! I'm pretty sure this was the longest post in the history of the world!  ha!  It's crazy to look at these pictures and see how much has changed and evolved since we first put this sweet little nursery together.  I will take pictures of the changes so I can document it and remember it after it "grows up".

This is still my favorite room in our home.  I wanted to be a mom for so long that the first time I was able to cuddle my baby in her own room was a monumental occassion for me.  Everytime I walk into her room, I'm reminded how lucky I am to be a mother.  Her room totally symbolizes that to me. :)

I am SO glad I got passed my "fear" of domesticity!  Now I love all things having to do with it and only wish I would have learned earlier because now I am desperately trying to make up for lost time!  I should have listened to my mom when she told me one day I'd want to know how to do these things.  Moms seriously know everything. :) (Hopefully my kids feel the same way one day.)

What is your favorite room?  Have you ever taken on a project like this, having no idea how to do it, and loving the results?  I'd love to see your creations!

Linking up to:
Between Naps on the Porch:Metamorphosis Monday
C.R.A.F.T's:Making Monday's Marvelous

November 2, 2010

{ love me some color }

I don't care about resale value.
At least right now, anyway.  We don't have any intentions to move anytime soon, so why should I worry about what future owners will think of my home?  Since we are the ones living here for the next foreseeable future, we paint and decorate for US.  We don't worry about what others will think of it.  If/when the time comes that we decide to sell, if we need to, we can always slap some paint around. 
But for now, our home is for us.  :)

I had always wanted a bright, fun bathroom.  I feel like bathrooms are one of the rooms in the house where you can really go crazy with color and fun.  It took some convincing (2 years!) to get my husband to agree, but, I was finally successful, and even better, he is happy with the results too!

Here is our guest/kid bathroom before:
(please ignore the inspiration studio lettering on all the photos, apparently I deleted my original pics (ah!), so this is all I had to work with)

Nice STARK white walls...

Don't you LOVE how the shower curtain blends right into the wall? :)

I had known what I wanted to do in here for a long time.  A long looooong time.  Once the hubsters was on board (okay, okay, even before he was completely on board...), I got all gung-ho over this project.
I may or may not have started experimenting with paint colors all over the wall while he was at school one day.  Obviously when he came home and saw the wall all splotched up like that, we couldn't just leave it.  People see this room, for crying out loud!  So, clearly, we had to paint it.  That night.  :) (Ah, I just love that man! He puts up with so much! :)

Just a few hours later, we had taken the blindingly-white, boring-beyond-belief bathroom to this little beauty:

Ack!  Could you just die?  I LOVE it!

Since I just kinda sprung this project on my husbad, we were trying to keep it at low-cost as possible.  So we took the towel rod, hand-towel holder, and toilet paper roll holder, light fixture, and some accessories all down and spray-painted them a nice sleek black.  Then, using extra paneling from when we did faux board and batten in Taelie-girl's room, we fashioned a quick frame around the mirror and glued it right back onto the mirror.

Hung the same decorations back up.  But with the new wall color, it makes a WORLD of difference!  Look how that shower curtain pops now!  It's hard to tell from my spectacular phone pics, but the green stripes match the rest of the green in the bathroom perfectly!  And, when I couldn't figure out the best way to fix that annoying fun little gap above the shower curtain, I had a sweet suggestion from a fellow blogger to add some trim to the bottom of the curtain and raise the whole thing up.  Genius!  Of course, I have yet to do it, but I can definitely visualize how awesome that will look when I get to it. 

Also, I am 99% sure I am going to paint the ceiling too.  My hubs wasn't convinced that we should, so we agreed to live with it for a little while and see how we felt about it.  Everytime I pass it though, I can't help but think how much better it will look without that obvious contrasting line between the wall and ceiling, so I'm itching to get 'er done! (I am totally a tiny bit nervous about it, although I've seen many others that have done it and it's looked awesome, so I'm trying to be brave. :)

So, once again, the boring before:

and the beautiful after:

What do you think?  Have you gone big and bold with color before and loved it, or do you prefer a neutral palette?  Are you a "go big or go home" kind of decorator, or does the sight of bright purple bathroom leave you shaking your head?  Share your thoughts, I'd love to hear them!

Linking up to these awesome parties:
Thrifty Decor Chick's Before & After Party
It's a Hodge Podge Life's Hodgepodge Friday
Between Naps on the Porch's Metamorphosis Monday
C.R.A.F.T's Making Monday Marvelous
Domestically Speaking's Power of Paint Party

Head on over there and check out these super talented bloggers!

November 1, 2010

{ thankful it's mine - a place to call HOME }

With so many decor blogs out there, and so many talented and amazing people running them, it's totally sometimes it can get a little overwhelming trying to do so many projects and get your home into a "perfect" state.  It's easy to feel like everyone is so much more talented or has so much more time or money or whatever it is to deck out their home the way you want to.  I'm sure many of us feel like our home is never up to par.  With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I fee; like November was a fitting month to express appreciation for what we DO have.  No matter how big or little our space, or how much (or lack of) money we may have, we can ALL find things we LOVE about our home. 

I feel  so lucky to have a place I can call HOME:
Welcome to the A's home! 

Here at Number 10, we laugh, cry, love, argue, tickle our kids, play fetch with our dog, watch movies, host dinner parties, clean, decorate, refinish furniture, paint, work, study, relax, and most of all, just enjoy being with each other.

Number 10 is many things to me:
* where we brought our children to from the hospital after birth
* where we brought our dog to when we were told we wouldn't be able to have children (take THAT doctors!:) )
* the first space we bought together
* where we curl up on the couch to cuddle for a good chick flick (pretty much the only movies I watch -- my hubs puts up with a LOT!)
* where our daughter learned to crawl and later, took her first steps
* where we get to come back to after a long summer away for my husband's work
* where we spray paint and refinish furniture on our 12x5 foot deck
* a place that (hopefully) says, "classy, with kids welcome here!" :)
* a place just for us

And above all, Number 10 is the place we call HOME.

It doesn't matter if you own, rent, whatever, if you have a place that you feel comfortable in, that you can breathe a sigh of relief when you walk through the door, then you have a place to call home! That one little fact alone makes us very, very lucky. 

What about you? What do you love about your home?   

September 12, 2010

{ in total awe }

When I saw this transformation, my eyes about bugged out of my head.  No joke.
This kitchen should totally be in a magazine.

Erin from Rare & Beautiful Treasures took this tiny rental kitchen from this:
to this:
 for less than $100!

And you'll never guess how she did it!  You seriously need to head over to her blog to check it out.

I was honestly amazed at her ingenuity.  I don't think I EVER would have thought of it.

Isn't that such a wonderful thing about blogging?  Finding so many new and awesome ideas from all the millions of people out there who are SO much more creative and talented than I am!  I LOVE it!

My favorite part about her new kitchen? 
I adore how she strung up pictures with clothespins! 
Such a fun, easy way to make a bold statement.

Remember this little awkward area in my kitchen?:
(I'm talking about the small weird space between my cabinets and counter next to the fridge.  Sorry, wish I were home to take a better picture!)
Wouldn't a line of clothespin pictures look fabulous there? 

I cannot wait to put some candid ones up! 

Thank you Erin for inspiring me with your gorgeous re-fab!

September 10, 2010

{ fall wreath obsession }

Um, I love wreaths. 
Like, totally, completely, 100% love them.

and when I found this wreath over at Dream Home, I almost freaked out.
Okay, okay, I totally freaked out.  But how could I not?  I mean, look at this beauty!
 It is simply GORGEOUS!

I LOVE the simplicity of it.  Oh, and those adorable rosettes.  To. Die. For.
When I get back to Utah, I'll be replacing my store-bought wreath (which I do still love):
with a knock-off of Kasia's adorable wreath!

Any other wreaths I should be checking out and swooning over?  Point me in their direction, and I'll gladly come drool over 'em!

September 9, 2010

{ i had a baby }

Which is why I've been MIA for so long.

That plus moving from Maryland back to Utah to have the baby, then back to Maryland, and now to Pennsylvania for my husband's work equals VERY little time for crafting projects.

Also, it has taken me awhile to get the hang of two kids.  Cause, you know, they outnumber me now.
I feel like I am finally getting there though.  Course, since I'm in Pennsylvania for the next couple weeks, so my projects will be severely limited.  But I'll be here, lurking around. (um...not in the creepy way that that sounds though :))

And while I wait to get started again, I'll be enjoying giving mucho smooches to these two lovebugs.
sorry for the quality...crappy phone pic

Ah! Love those two. 

I will be back shortly with some projects to show you.
Until then, thanks for continuing to inspire me with all your crafty genius.

July 16, 2010

{ window treatments: the before }

I love my mom.
She doesn't "get" my passion for decorating, but she totally "gets" me and since I love it, is totally supportive of me.

We were talking about all the changes I am in the process of making to our condo (does the list ever end? :) and she mentioned that she has been wanting new curtains in her living room and kitchen for the longest time but just hasn't found the time to make them...

Enter me.

When she asked me if I could help her with some new window treatments, I think I about squealed out loud,  I was so excited.  Here is what we are starting with...

Window over the kitchen sink -- overlooks the backyard

Three bay windows looking into the side of the yard

One large window looking into the backyard

and two patio doors

I am so excited to get to work on these and have been scouring the internet looking for some sample pictures to show my mom.  I want the room to reflect their style and be comfortable.  Also, my parents have 13 (almost 14!) grandchildren, so it has to be very kid-friendly.

Any ideas for window treatment styles I should look up would be greatly appreciated!

July 15, 2010

{ fabric loooove }

I have a problem.
I love fabric stores waaay too much!

Seriously, as soon as I walked into the shop, I wanted to not only get fabric for baby boy's room, but re-do my daughter's nursery and every other room in the house.  Those places are dangerous.  Seriously.

Luckily (for my husband), I restrained myself and ONLY purchased fabric for the nursery right now.

Do you have any idea how hard it was to find "boyish" fabrics that were still cute?  I am picky too...I wanted cute, but not "cutesy".  I'm weird like that.    After weeks of searching, I found some fabrics I loooove:
Oh! Could you just die!  I am LOVING them!  They are bright and fun and just what I wanted in baby boy's room!

I wasn't originally planning on using a brown, but it seemed to work well, so I went with it.  And I love it with the other colors.  Seems to tie thm all together, don't you think?

I love the stripes on this one...I think it just screams boy but in a cute way.  Maybe that doesn't make sense, but in my head it totally does :)

And my all-time favorite!  I adore the pattern on this fabric.  So fun!  I knew I wanted squares, but I love how these are not all perfectly lined up.  Perect, perfect, perfect!

All this time, I've been planning on painting his room green, but now I'm wondering if that would be too much...any thoughts or opinions?  I know I could always go the traditional blue for his room,  but I'd like to do something a little different if I can make it work.

I feel like I can breathe so much easier now that I have the fabrics picked out and in my possession!  Anyone else feel that way when they finally get what they've been searching for?  I feel like the hard part is over, now I can just put it all together the way I see it in my mind.

Any thought on wall color?  Also, I'm planning on getting dark bamboo shades or his room.  My babies tend to wake up to light (Um, I guess it's just baby, since I only have one child right now!), and I like to sleep in, so anything that helps with that, I am all for!  Any suggestions on where to get those? The window in his room is 59"x47" they sell them that large?  Any suggestions are greatly appreciated!