One of my favorite spots and bloggy love for my mudbench

This is the Portland Headlight in Maine. Isn't it lovely? I decided to share these photos with you in celebration of the Labor Day weekend. This beautiful lighthouse always looks patriotic to me with its fabulous red roof against the blue ocean. Hope you all have a lovely holiday weekend. Join me here Monday for what I hope will be the grand reveal of our laundry room/half bath makeover! That is if the Hubby and I get to work like we should !!!

A little side note: I recently found out that my "wicked awesome mud room" project has been featured on both Ohdeedoh and Organizing Junkie! Wow! Who knew? Thanks guys. I'm glad that my little idea has given inspiration to others :-)


Back to School

I'm sure by now, many of you have heard of the terrible airplane crash that befell Nie of the Nie Nie dialogues. I have been following her blog for a while, it is beautiful, and I love her ideas. I was deeply saddened when I learned of the accident. Even though I don't know her personally, I feel a connection. We share the same faith, the same number of children that are similar in ages, and the same love of life. It has been wonderful to see how the blogging community has rallied around her and her family during this difficult time. So when Gabrielle from one of my favorite blogs, Design Mom, designated today as Nie Nie day, I thought I'd join in.

Since I now have two kiddos in school, I was looking for a fun new tradition to send them off in style. I planned this back to school dinner for my kiddos after seeing Nie's post about a similar dinner she had for her girls. I waited to post about it until today so that I could make it a part of Nie Nie day. (Give credit where credit is due, I always say.)

So on to the festivities...

I love pennant banners, so I made this cute one out of scrapbook paper and raffia. It's hard to tell what it says in these photos...even though I took pictures of it from all different angles...but it says "happy first day". I cut the triangles out of 12 x 12 paper (I was able to get 3 out of each piece). Then I printed out the letters and cut them out in circles (boy, it really made me wish that I had one of those giant circle craft punches or a scrapbook circle cutter.) Finally, I punched holes in each flag and tied them with raffia. It turned out really cute!

I don't know about you all, but the beginning of the school year always feels more like a new beginning to me than the real beginning of the year in January. So, borrowing another idea from Nie, the Hubby and I decided to introduce a new family theme. Our theme for this year is "kindness begins with me". And as long as I was stealing, ahem, I mean borrowing ideas, I decided to make a similar table top banner to the one she made. I used a piece of ribbon that coordinated with the pennants, and some sticky letters to spell out the theme.

Finally, I'm all about paper crafts, so when I saw this cute little idea in this month's Family Fun magazine, I was all over it! I used the leftover paper to make these tiny three dimensional stars. They added a really fun look to the table - and they were easy-peasy!

Our menu was not overly fancy, but consisted of some of my kids favorites...parmesan chicken, lemon pudding salad, and a green salad (not their favorite, but necessary to get in those vegies!)

After dinner I presented the kids with new backpacks full of school supplies AND their nifty new clipboards! It was so much fun! And by the end of dinner, the kids were EXCITED to go back to school! This will definitely become a new tradition at our house.

For those of you that saw yesterday's post...did you "spy" the baby food jar votives and the chalkboard? Yes, I really do use them ;-)

And look at this! As I was cleaning up after dinner I put the little stars in this jar...don't they look cute? I think I'm going to leave them like this.

Thanks Nie for all of your wonderful ideas! I wish you and your husband a speedy and successful recovery. I know many of the blogs participating in today's Nie Nie day are offering silent auctions with the proceeds going to the Nielson family recovery fund so I urge you to check them out! Gabrielle at Design Mom also has links you can use to find other ways to help the Nielson family. Thanks for visiting!

Update: It came to my attention that the link to the clipboards I made for the kids wasn't working earlier...I have fixed the problem. ;-)



One starts third grade today - the Princess has orientation this week, but doesn't actually start kindergarten until next Tuesday. Sooooo, we were busy celebrating last night. Join me tomorrow and I'll show you what we did! Until then, I'm leaving you with a couple of photos you've seen before. These items show up somewhere in tomorrow's post. That way you can play I Spy...just like my kiddos!

Y'all come back now, ya hear?


Keeping Keys

I can't take credit for this cute little idea. My ultra-crafty sister-in-law made this. She had one in her house, and I complimented it often enough, that she made me one for my birthday (or maybe it was Christmas) a few years ago. It's on the wall right between the back door and the mudbench. We always know right where our keys are - as long as we remember to hang them up when we walk in the door! ;-)
The project was actually pretty simple. She took a piece of wood, cut it to size and routered the edges (I'm not sure if that is the right spelling because woodworking is the Hubby's department). You could also buy a premade plaque at a craft store. Then she drilled a hole in the center and bolted the old door knob on. After she painted and distressed it a little bit, she screwed in four cup hooks, added a couple of old skeleton keys and voila! It's great just as it is, but because I love words, I've been toying with the idea of adding some vinyl lettering at the top that says "welcome" . Cute, huh?


Yard Sale Treasure

I was on my way to a service project at my church Saturday morning so I had some rare time without my 4 kiddos, when I saw a HUGE yard sale at our town common. I HAD to stop. This was a rare (and I mean rare) opportunity. I only had a minute to look since I was on a schedule, so I hurried up and down the aisles scanning everything as quickly as I could. And then I saw HER. She was beautiful. And only $5. I personally think that is quite a steal.

Don't you think she'll look lovely with some "autumn-y" soup like pumpkin or squash in the center of a buffet? I'm so excited! Now I'm off to find a place of honor to display her.


Toile + Barn Stars = True Love

I am officially out of Back-to-school posts. So I had to share this little project that I did last week. I have been wanting to decoupage something on a barn star for a long time. I have looked endlessly at scrapbook paper, but I just couldn't find the right thing. Then I remembered this beautiful toile wrapping paper my lil' sis wrapped my birthday presents in this year. When I saw it, I was instantly in love. I unwrapped my gifts very carefully and tucked the paper away waiting for the perfect project. And here it is...

I cut each section of the star's rays separately (next time I try this project, I'll only cut out one large diamond for each ray rather than two triangles) then Mod Podged them on. I sealed it with a coat of Mod Podge as well. It turned out beautifully and now hangs proudly across from my mudbench.

Happy crafting~


Back to school part 4

I love children's books! And it is important to me to foster a love of reading in my children. What better way than to make reading easily accessible...and hopefully fun? I have children's books stashed all over my house...mostly in baskets, so that with any luck, my kids will just grab one and curl up to read.

They can find books...here

and read them here...

How do you get your kids to cozy up with a book?


1, 2, 3 posts for back-to-school week

So today's post is on bulletin boards. Yea!!! I can hear the resounding cheer across the blogosphere! (Hey that rhymed...I really didn't mean to make a poem.) I love having places to put photos, papers etc. and so do my kiddos.

In the boys room, I thought it would be fun to make one of those modular bulletin board walls with each board upholstered in a different fabric, but there isn't enough wall space. Since I really wanted to tie in the brown velvet and denim that I have used throughout the room, I decided to make this "patchwork" board. I was going to do it the "right" way and sew the pieces together, but then I remembered FABRITAC! I glued them! Then I pulled out my handy staple gun and stapled the fabric to the wood frame of the bulletin board. But it was missing something (that, and the glued seams didn't look quite right to me) so I added upholstery tacks and ribbon. That was the finishing touch it needed. Not bad for about 15 minutes of time!!

I made this board quite a while ago when One and the Princess shared a room. I just hot glued the green check fabric over an existing bulletin board. But when we moved to our previous house, the Princess got her own room and I used the green check as an accent so I had to pretty-up the board! I love the look of ribbon boards so I just pulled out some pink grosgrain and tacked it on. I've toyed with the idea of gluing flowers onto the tacks...maybe someday.

This is my finger. When I was trimming the fabric off the back of the boys' bulletin board, I trimmed my pinky finger! Yes, those are the Princess' Barbie bandaids! I could tell you that I used them because they were the only bandaids I could find in the house. It's not true, but I could tell you that. One of my little quirks is the fact that I like using my kiddos' bandaids when I get a "booboo". They make me take myself less seriously (especially Two's Spongebob bandaids!) Why do I tell you all of this? Because I never realized how hard it is to type with a bandaid on your pinky finger! This post has taken me forever! ;)
Happy Crafting~


Back to school week continues...

Next up, the desk.

My neighbor came over a week or so ago, and asked if we might be interested in a little roll-top desk. She said her daughter had outgrown it and she thought the Princess might like it for her room. It is so cute. I love the bin pulls. Trouble is, I'm not much of an oak person. I've made over my fair share of furniture in my time, but I'm a little bit worried about how to tackle this one. The furniture in the Princess' room is mostly cream in color, and so I thought painting it might be nice, but I'm especially worried about painting the roll-top. Then I thought of all my new friends in Blogland and I decided to ask you all. What do you think my dear readers? How should I tackle this?


Back to school week...

This is the last full week of summer at our house. And this year I have two kiddos going to school. One will be entering third grade and the Princess is heading off to kindergarten. In honor of back to school week, I thought I would post some (loosely-based) school related posts. You're going to have to humor me here, because this is primarily a blog where I share my decorating ideas, etc. so I stretched my definition of school related just a little bit. I'm hoping you enjoy...

First up...Cute clipboards

I don't know about you other moms out there, but keeping homework papers and school notes corralled, but handy, can get to be a little bit challenging. Last year, One's weekly homework assignment pages ended up posted on the refrigerator door. Handy, but ugly. So this year with two kiddos in school, I decided I needed a better plan. I hit upon the idea of clipboards. But plain old brown clipboards would not do...not in this house...nosiree! So I cutified them. (Okay, I KNOW cutified is not a word, but it is clever, huh?) I took the kiddos to the craft store and let them each pick out some scrapbook paper they liked (without telling them what it was for) I then picked out a coordinating paper to make them a little more exciting. What do you think? I'm going to give them to the kiddos the night before school starts at our family back to school dinner. Then they'll go on the wall by the back door to keep everything handy!
Happy crafting~



I have been a big fan of The Nester since I discovered her blog a while ago. I love the idea of "mistreating" because I am all about getting a lot of bang for a minimal investment (of both money and time!) She's hosting a party and so I thought I'd join in the fun and share a couple of "mistreatments" from my house.

This is the door to my boys' closet aka the clubhouse/reading area. This might not qualify as a true "mistreatment" because I did actually use the sewing machine on it (yikes!). I sewed the brown velvet to the denim...but in true "mistreatment" fashion, I glued the ribbon on with fabritac to hide the seam, and then I used upholstery tacks to fasten it right to the door moulding! (My apologies for the quality of the photo...I tried to take a new photo of this treatment this morning and it was just as bad...just can't get the lighting right for this area of that room!

This, on the other hand, is a true "mistreatment". I used left over fabric from a cushion I made for my mudbench. The window is right across the hall in the laundryroom/ half bath so it matches! I just folded, layered and tacked it to the wall! It probably could have used a little more fabric for a little more "poof" but I loved the way it cozied up my laundry room all in about 15 minutes!

Thanks Nester for letting me join the party!


The Dining Room

Okay, so we don't really have a "Dining Room". Our house is pretty open concept, so it's really more of an eat-in kitchen. We didn't really do anything to the room aside from paint it Cathedral Gray. And it could still probably use a little something. But I thought y'all might want a little peek. So here she goes...

I guess I lied. When I looked at this picture I realized that we also replaced the chandelier. When we moved in, there was a "lovely" mauve-colored-stained-glass-and-brass fixture. It had to go. Our table is actually a Pottery Barn piece that we got at a scratch and dent store for 1/2 price!

We need to buy new chairs! We only have three chairs that are still usable (is that a word?) so we use a bench that the Hubby built on the other side of the table. It actually works great as we can squeeze three (or more) kiddos on that one side. But it would still be nice to have proper chairs!

Here's a closeup of the awesome pot. I filled it with silk Japanese Lanterns that I found at Pier 1. My theory is if you're going to use fake flowers...it's better to spend a little more and have them look realistic. These look quite real and they give an autumn-y feel to the place! Oh, and that box in the window seat...I've got my olive oil and balsamic vinegar bottles stored in there... since I'm not much of a cook, I guess it doesn't matter if they go bad sitting in a sunny window (they're actually more of an accessory than anything, I've had them for almost two years, and they haven't even been opened yet ;-) )

I made these throw pillows...love the toile!

Another chalkboard...another chance to post a favorite quote!

Don't you just love this old cupboard! The Hubby and I rescued it from his parents' house. They were tearing down an old shed where it had been for years! We brought it home, cleaned it up, painted it and VOILA! Extra storage! (And it's beadboard too... I love beadboard!)

Finally, had to show you this cute magazine rack...I put a nail right into the old cupboard and hung it up there...it holds all my current catalogs!

Hope you enjoyed this little tour! Have a lovely weekend!


Outdoors In

I just love garden statuary. I use it everywhere...especially inside!

Don't you just love these sheres? They're gorgeous. Look at all the detail!

I love the little angel, an adadptation of one of the cherubs on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. And the urns? They're lovely...I like to fill them for the seasons - with fall leaves and gourds, or Christmas greenery and berries. These sit on top of my black entertainment armoire. I love the contrast!

I just had to include this last one of the little urn...love the fact that it looks timeworn. I'm all about character.
I looked in the mirror this morning. Wrinkles add character, right? Just tell me I don't look timeworn. please.


Wooden Boxes

While I'm on the subject of boxes (see last post), check out these antique beauties.

Both the Hubby and I love old boxes. I admit, the Hubby is a little more enamoured with them than I am, but I really love these two!

The paint on this trunk is just beautiful! I love the faded green.

It has this great old calendar illustration decoupaged to the top, but....

We covered it with this other fabulous old box. Look at the dovetailed sides. Aren't they exquisite? We picked this up at a little antique store shortly after we were married...it's lived many places with us and served us well.

I topped both boxes off with this basket of seasonal children's books. I adore children's books and (more importantly) I have a houseful of children. But since I can't stand kid clutter, I wanted the books to be accessible to the kiddos while they are in the living room, but I didn't want them (the books not the kiddos) to be a focal point. We use the boxes for extra storage (DVDs, games etc.) and they look like a kind of sculptural furniture piece. Do you have any creative solutions for extra storage?

On a side note, I have had some people asking about how we painted our cabinets. So I thought I'd take a minute and give y'all a quick tutorial (the Hubby should really be the one to do this but y'all are stuck with me. )

The first thing we did was remove all the doors. Yup, all of them. Then the Hubby used his trusty palm sander to sand them down. And boy did he sand. For a looooooong time. I got the "fun" job of using sandpaper to sand the cabinets themselves. Then we used a primer. The primer is really important for the paint to adhere well, and to avoid chips. (We painted both sides of each door. At first, I thought it was a waste of time, but the Hubby insisted. I'm glad he did because when I open the cupboards they look like they are meant to be cream...not like they are painted.) We topped them off with two coats of cream paint. Yes, even though we used primer, we still used two coats of paint. We used an eggshell finish because we wanted more of a matte finish, but still wanted the paint to wipe clean (and it cleans wonderfully...trust me...it's had a workout!) Hope this helps all you who are looking to paint your cupboards...it's a lot of work...it is...I won't lie...but it's worth it!