Fun with Chalkboard Paint~

I'm sure most of you have seen this idea...but I thought I'd share it with you again!

I am enamoured with chalkboard paint! It is just so much fun! I had seen chalkboards made from silver trays, and although I have a couple of silver trays that I rarely use, I was hesitant to actually paint one of them. Then when I was at the dollar store with the kiddos, I found this little "silver" tray. I loved the beaded edge, and thought it would make a fun chalkboard. So I snatched it up.

Like my reflection? Yeah, I'm kind of a geek that way!

The tray was really easy to paint... and I didn't bother taping it off because it had a ridge which formed a natural guide (and I was able to easily scrape away the couple of spots where my hand wasn't as steady as I'd like.) TIP: before using a painted chalkboard...make sure you "season" it by rubbing the entire surface with the side of a piece of chalk and then washing it off. This allows the surface to be written on smoothly without "holding on to" individual lines.

It sure turned out cute...and I love the little bit of "elegance" that it adds to this little grouping on my kitchen counter!

Don't miss a fabulous giveaway from Lewa's Designs over at Kimba's blog today! Really fabulous. Seriously!

AND Don't Forget The FRUGAL FRIDAY LINKY PARTY is TOMORROW!! Come link up and share your great Frugal Decorating Ideas!! I can't wait to see what all my talented readers come up with this time!! Hope to you see you all there!~


Inspire-Me Tuesday

I'm sure you all know by now how much I adore numbers....on pillows and chairs in particular! But what I love even more is when one of my ideas inspires someone else! One of my dear readers, Tiffany at Happy Day shared a project that she made which was inspired by my numbered dining chairs...

Photo from Happy Day

Isn't this ADORABLE? It makes me want to go find an old school desk just so I can do the same thing! She has some other cute numbered projects as well. You can see her post here.

And I had to share with you all the inspiration behind my numbered bar stools. (above)

Photo by Lulu &Co.

Simply FABULOUS! Lulu at Lulu & Co. found this great "bench" on a recent antiquing trip. If you've never been to Lulu's blog, you better hurry on over. She always has something inspirational to share!

And Don't Forget the Frugal Friday Linky Party this Friday, May 29th!! Meet here and share your Frugal Decorating Genius!!

Have a great Tuesday~



One of my favorite things about having an Etsy store is getting to create special one-of-kind items for people. Even better than that is when these people share the stories that inspire their special requests.

Recently I had a customer request one of my custom pillows with "3%" on it. Her story was just lovely, so I asked her if I could share it with my readers. Lynn and her husband were struggling with infertility and had received news that they only had a 3% chance of ever being able to conceive.

In her words...

"Going through infertility is still such a big secret we all keep. I think that is why when some women (like myself) go through it it is quite lonely. We had gone through numerous treatments and three IVF's. All failed - zero fertilization - egg issue. To get that 3% news was beyond devastating. Fast forward a few years and what I thought was a bad case of the flu turned out to be me 12 weeks pregnant. Took the pregnancy test and heard his heartbeat all in the same day! Zach is 3 1/2 now. There is not a day that goes by that I don't just look at him in awe that he is ours. I feel truly blessed and I am a very thankful mom! "

She wanted the pillow because whenever anything seems impossible or difficult for her and for her husband, they look at one another and simply say "3% chance."

Having struggled with infertility for about 5 years prior to the birth of our first child, I related in a very real and personal way to this story. It meant the world to me to be able to create something for this family that has such a wonderful story behind it.

Thanks Lynn!

Isn't life wonderful?~


Frugal Friday~

Today's Frugal Friday post celebrates the magic of spraypaint! I know. I know. Not much new about spraypaint...but wait until you see what it did for this pretty wrought iron bed. If you have been reading my blog for long, you might remember this brass and wrought iron bed that I inherited from my sister-in-law.

Such pretty lines, but sadly in need of an update.

So out came the spraypaint. Krylon ivory satin finish. (Three cans). And voila! The finished headboard!

Such pretty details!

It really adds a certain je-ne-sais-qoui to the Princess' room, don't you think? And don't I sound all fancy using my high school French? ha ha!

Okay, granted the headboard was free, but the project grand total came to just about $8. Not bad for a "new" headboard!

And, I've been thinking that it's high time to do another Frugal Friday Linky Party!!! So let's all meet here next Friday, May 29 and share our Frugal Decorating Know-How!!! I was so amazed at all your ideas last time...I can't wait to see what you all come up with this time...

Have a great weekend~



Last week, my intrepid sister-in-law Alissa and I decided to go to the Brimfield Antique Mart with four (yes four!!) kids in tow. My two littlest and her two littlest (4 kids, 4 years and under...yes, we may just be crazy!)But the kids did great and she and I did some much needed junque-ing.

Because of my recent toddler-related camera catastrophe, I didn't dare bring my D60 along. AND since I am on a budget, I reigned in my desire to by almost everything I saw. But never fear! I did find a few small treasures to share!

We happened by an architectural salvage dealer whose prices were amazing! I snatched up a few old newspaper print blocks and some old door rosettes!

I had to "blow out" this photo so you can see what the blocks spell...

Here is how they look in my cute little bird tray (a gift from my dear friend Trisha - ah! she knows me well!)

Here are the chippy, timeworn rosettes...I have a great little plan for these...stay tuned.

And if you want to look at some drool-worthy Brimfield photos (and who wouldn't?) check out this post over at Antique Therapy!

Join me tomorrow for Frugal Friday...

Have a great Thursday~


Flora and Fauna~

Today we're making our semi-annual trip with the three boys to see our Pediatric GI docs at Children's Hospital for their Alpha-1. Please keep us in your prayers that all is well with the boys and that their bloodwork numbers are good!

Now on to fun stuff~

It's been a while since I've posted photos for the sake of photos. But since my little camera is back, I've been snapping away....thought I'd share a few images to put us all in a spring-y mood.

These were taken in Maine over the weekend...

And I had to share this portrait of my doggy-niece Lola (she belongs to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law)...isn't she lovely? A natural in front of the camera!

To come this week...
  • A wrought iron bed makover and
  • Treasures from Brimfield
Stay tuned...

Have a great Wednesday~


Life's a Beach~

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh... Maine was wonderful! One of our favorite places on Earth. Just wish we could have stayed longer. A lot longer.

In honor of the coast, I'm sharing this project which I admit was directly "borrowed" from one of my favorite blogs. Problem is, I didn't save the link, so I can't remember which one. If this project was on your blog, please don't be shy about letting me know so I can give you proper credit. (Edited to add: I've had two commenters who have mentioned that they saw this project at My Romantic Home. They're right! Here's the link. )

So simple, but so striking! I love the beachy feel. Just a little starfish, glued on some linen and framed up in a shabby frame. It makes me smile EVERY time I see it. And it took less than 5 minutes...seriously. Great Gift Alert...I gave one to my mother-in-law for Mother's day. She loved it too!

And remember this little beauty. My cutie-patootie niece. Hop over to my little sis' blog and check out some other darling photos of this sweetie and her uber-cute big sis taken by Holly's talented friend! They'll make you smile!

Have a great day~


Numerical Order~

Okay, so I'm a little obsessed with numbers. I love to use them around my house. You all may remember my numbered dining chairs.

Well, that wasn't enough for me. I decided I had to number my barstools as well. Only this time, instead of handpainting, I went to visit my sister-in-law Alissa who owns a Cricut. Oh yeah! If you haven't used one of these babies, you don't know what you're missing. We took a little sticky-back vinyl and cut out these numbers (and some more that I will use in a future project!) And here they are! I just love them! (I cut out a number 4 too because one of these days we're going to buy a 4th barstool. Mr. Three has decided that he is old enough to sit at the bar with the big kids instead of using a high chair. sigh.)

And speaking of numberd, I also made this fun appliqued number pillow. I'm going to list it in my Etsy early next week. Love it!

We're packing up and heading to Maine this afternoon for a weekend getaway! Can't wait!!

Have a great Thursday~


Look What I Did~

Okay, so first of all, I have to tell you that my dear Nikon D60 is back!! Healed and ready to par-tay! I got her back yesterday and ran around snapping photos of all of my accumulated projects! Hooray!!! New photos to come!!!

Now on to today's fun...

Do you all remember this shower curtain from Target?

I promised that I had something in mind for it... Here's what I did...

I made curtains for my Master Bedroom by cutting the shower curtain in half because I have two windows in my room, cutting the bottom 18" off (it wasn't long enough and I had something else in mind) and adding some of this great linen that I used for my n0-sew bedskirt pictured below.

This is my reading nook...doesn't my crown pillow look so Shabby Cute on my white slipcovered chair? (but I digress.)

So what did I do with the 18" I cut off, you ask?

Why I made more pillows OF COURSE!!

My master is getting closer to being finished!! Oh what a little shower curtain can do.

Have a great Wednesday~



One of my favorite things to collect is dishes! They are a great addition to the designer's bag of tricks! Dishes can add dimension to just about any style. They don't have to be relegated to the kitchen or dining room either. You can use them in the living room, in the bedroom or in the bathroom (yes! I really did say the bathroom). They add warmth to table displays. They can be used as "catch alls" on a dresser. They are, simply put, amazing!

And the best way to find inexpensive dishes is to thrift them! Tag sales, thrift stores, or discount stores like TJMaxx and Marshalls are some of my favorites.
My suggestion for being successful at collecting dishes this way is to pick a color scheme. My personal scheme is white or cream. These are easy to use in table settings and can have more colorful pieces added to them to create a variety of tablesettings or displays. Other popular color schemes include red & white, blue & white, or brown & white. Don't fall into the trap of feeling like the patterns you purchase have to match. If you stick with a color scheme, all your pieces will work harmoniously together and will give you many options!

Do you like to collect dishes?


Frugal Friday~

I know you all have seen this picture about 100 times, but for today's Frugal Friday, I wanted to share my boys' upholstered headboards. Let's face it, headboards can be expensive, but they really give a room a deliberate, decorated look. So what's a girl with Frugal OCD (Obsessively Consumed with Decorating) to do?

When we moved into our house two years ago, I was faced with the decorating dilemma of putting three boys in one room. I knew that I wanted the two beds that would be in the room to match (no, we didn't make Mr. Three sleep on the floor...he's still in a crib), and I knew that I wanted them to look more timeless and sophisticated than cutesy. But I couldn't spend a lot of money.

Then I hit on the idea of upholstering my own headboards.

Here's the process in a nutshell...

What you need:

  • Get yourself some plywood...figure out how tall you want the headboards to be, and cut the plywood to size. If you don't have the tools at home, they can do this for you right at the home store or lumber yard.

  • Get yourself some batting...

  • Get yourself some fabric...the fabric I chose was only about $4.99/yd at JoAnn's. (Trick is to find inexpensive fabric that just looks pricey.)

  • Get yourself a staplegun.


  • I know people who will tell you to use spray adhesive and affix the batting to the plywood before adding the fabric. Not this girl! Nope. I just wrapped the batting around the plywood and stapled it on the back. Then I did the same with the fabric making nice hospital corners. In my case, I also wrapped the fabric all the way up the back so that it completely covered all the plywood... this is not necessary, however.

  • I wanted a touch more sophistication for my headboards so I added these great monograms. This was as easy as cutting the letters out of white felt and adding them to the headboards with fabric adhesive. Easy Peasy!

    Two headboards for under $40 is what I call a deal!

    Have a great weekend~



    Well, I"m certainly no celebrity, but my mudroom is!!! It was featured in the summer edition of BHG's Creative Home magazine!!! I feel just like a proud stage mom!

    I'm not sure if you can read this scanned page or not (you should be able to if you click on the image to enlarge it), but my mudroom is the feature called "classy closet". They only made one little error when they said that we put up wallpaper. It is actually beadboard. But you know, I"m not going to be picky. I'm just so excited for the press.

    It's such a lovely publication. They're on the newstands now just chock full of decorating goodness.

    Have a great Thursday~



    These pretty little pillows are waiting in my Etsy store for someone to give them a good home. Just thought I'd share some of their "beauty shots" with you! Any of the artwork that you see on these pillows are actually my very own drawings. (Yeah, I know, shameless self promotion.) The typography is not my own handwriting, however. (Ha ha!)

    Hop over to my Etsy (on the sidebar) and find these little guys a home of their own. They are so lonely. ;-)
    I have some new appliqued pillows that are going to be listed soon....just waiting for my camera to return so they can make their appearance. Stay tuned~


    The Power of Paint...Stripes Save the Day~

    First, I wanted to start by thanking you all for your wonderful and supportive comments about my boys and their Alpha-1. I am amazed by all the brave and wonderful mothers out there in blogland who deal with similar difficulties. All three boys go for their 6 month checkups at Children's Hospital in a couple of weeks and we're hoping for good numbers on their bloodwork. Thank you for all your prayers on their behalf.

    Second, my camera should be repaired within about a week and a half, and the projects have been building up like crazy around here, so look forward to bunches of new (and hopefully inspiring) posts when good old Olivia Jayne (yes, I named my camera) returns from her absence!

    And now on to the decorating stuff...I shared part of this post over at Blissfully Domestic back in September, but it bears repeating so I hope you all enjoy...

    This room is shared by my three boys. It is long and rather narrow. In order to create a sense that the room was wider, (so that three beds didn’t seem too overwhelming) we added this large horizontal white stripe about 2/3 of the way up the wall around the entire room. Since there is only a single stripe, it causes the eye to follow it from side to side around the room creating the illusion of width. It also gives the eye an easy resting place that is at the perfect height to display art.

    In the Princess' room, the stripes serve three (yes THREE!) purposes. The first is to add “architectural” interest. At first glance, the stripes look almost like columns and create the illusion that the ceiling is higher than it is. The second purpose of the stripes is to incorporate her desire for a multicolored room. Call it creative parenting. She requested a pink, purple and blue room. The idea of these stripes was inspired by a striped grosgrain ribbon. It incorporated all of the requested colors without being unbearable. And the final purpose is to make small art pieces seem substantial. The little shadow box frames are given instant punch by placing them on the stripes. A lot of bang for the buck. And it was all painted in less than an hour!

    And here's a little painting tip for stripes...once you have your stripes taped off, "seal" the tape by painting over the edges with the same color as the main wall. Let the base color dry thoroughly before painting the stripe color. This will keep the stripe color from "bleeding" under the tape and will create cleaner edges!

    Now go get painting~



    My regular Frugal Friday post will return next week but today I have something important to share...

    I don't normally post personal things on this blog, but the month of May is Alpha-1 Awareness Month, and because this disease is very much a part of my family's life, I felt strongly that I want to share a very personal story with all of you.

    This post is going to be wordy, but I hope that you will take the time to read it, and to learn a little bit about my family and about Alpha One Antitrypsin Deficiency.

    Alpha-1 is a relatively common (but fairly unknown) genetic liver disease affecting an estimated 100,000 people in the United States although to date only about 10,000 people are officially diagnosed with Alpha-1. I will explain more about the details of the disease as I tell you my story.

    Mr. Three at 6 months

    All Pictures by the Hubby

    Almost 3 years ago, the Hubby and I learned that we were expecting our 4th child - a boy. My pregnancy was normal and the delivery was fairly easy. Shortly after delivery, however, things changed.

    Just before the hospital was going to release us to bring little Mr. Three home, the pediatrician-on-call came into our room. He informed us that Mr. Three had jaundice. Jaundice in and of itself isn't necessarily scary, so I wasn't particularly worried at the news. He then proceeded to explain to us that there are two kinds of bilirubin (the cause of jaundice). The first is indirect bilirubin. It is the common cause of infant jaundice and isn't usually something to be overly concerned about if kept in check. The second is called direct bilirubin. Whenever there is an elevation in direct bilirubin, it is an indication that something more is wrong. The cause of Mr. Three's jaundice was an elevation in his direct bilirubin, so our doctors were concerned.

    And the testing began. Test after test for what seemed like an eternity. Poor Mr. Three didn't have anywhere on his little heels that didn't have a tiny scab from a heel prick for bilirubin level testing. He wasn't gaining weight even though he ate constantly, and we went to the pediatrician daily for weigh-ins.

    One of my more painful memories of this time occurred one Sunday as I was changing his diaper in the Mother's room at our church. A little girl who was there with her mother stared at him for a long time, and said finally, "Your baby is REALLY skinny."

    "I know" is all I could manage to say back.

    Everyday I looked at him as if I were willing him to gain weight, and hoping that his eyes would look less yellow to me. And everyday he was just as skinny, and just as yellow.

    And still the testing continued. What I considered to be the scariest of the tests was one they performed for a condition called Biliary Atresia which would have required almost immediate surgery. They strapped my poor, tiny, yellow baby to a huge table and gave him something (it's been two years and I'm fairly good at suppressing painful memories, so I don't remember what it was) through an IV, then put him in what I think was an MRI machine (suppression again) to watch and see if it passed from his liver into his intestines. After two hours, barely any of it had passed through. But "barely any" was enough. And one of our amazing GI Docs called as soon as he heard the news to relieve us. He was relieved too.

    But, then the diagnosis came from a simple blood test and even though it didn't require immediate surgery, it wasn't any better. Alpha One Antitrypsin Deficiency. And not only that, but the most severe version of the disease - a type known as ZZ (referring to the genetic code on the DNA).

    "WHAT? What's that?" We'd never heard of it, and I bet most of you haven't either.

    Alpha-1 is a genetic liver disease that must be inherited from both parents. Alpha One Antitrypsin is a protein that is produced by the liver. It's function is to protect the lungs from the body's own enzymes. So the disease can actually effect both the liver and the lungs. If there is not enough Alpha-1, the body can't adequately protect the lungs and they suffer from increased problems with COPD, emphysema and other related illnesses. There are two reasons why Alpha-1 can be deficient in the body. Either the liver doesn't produce enough of the protein, or it produces a deformed version of the protein that gets trapped in the liver causing liver damage.

    Many times, the disease isn't caught during childhood because the person doesn't have difficulties with their liver per se. The fact that we discovered this diagnosis in Mr. Three during infancy gives him an increased chance for cirrhosis and possible liver transplant because obviously his liver isn't working as well as it could.

    As scary as this was, it got even scarier when our GI docs urged us to have our other three children tested. Prior to Mr. Three's diagnosis, my husband and I were not even aware that we carried the gene for Alpha-1. So at this point, we weren't sure what to expect. Of course, statistically speaking, the likelihood of our other children being anything but carriers of the disease was low since neither my husband nor I showed any signs of the disease, and we already had one child with a confirmed diagnosis.

    But, then the results came back and we learned that our family is an anomally. BOTH of our other sons also have Alpha-1 - with a ZZ allele. We were devastated. We learned that my husband and I are each only carriers of the gene, however, because although there is no known gender link, our three boys all suffer from this disease while somehow our daughter escaped without even being a carrier of the gene.

    Mr. One at 18 months

    Mr. Two at 1 month

    Right now, all three of my boys are fairly healthy. Our wonderful docs have told us to simply treat them like any other children. But, sometimes I worry. Okay, I worry a lot. I look at their beautiful angel faces and wonder what this disease will mean for their futures. I worry that their impending liver biopsies will indicate cirrhosis. I worry that although they are healthy today, liver transplants may loom in their futures. I worry that even if they make it to adulthood without much liver difficulty, they still have the possibility of lung problems. I just worry.

    Right now, Alpha-1 has no cure, but research continues. Here is a link to the Alpha One website. Please take a minute to go to the site and learn what you can do to help.

    Everyday I look at these little faces and pray for a cure. ~