5.31.2011

NestKeeping: Monthly Recap~

Hello out there in blogland.  I'm so glad you could join me today, because today I am starting a new feature here at The Shabby Nest.  I'm calling it NestKeeping, and basically it is going to be a recap of  my blog posts from the past month that I think had the best ideas, were the most informative, or offered the best inspiration.

I'm hoping that by featuring these links all together in one post at the end of each month, you, my dear readers, will  have a go-to resource for the best of The Shabby Nest!  (That's what I'm hoping, anyway!)

So without further ado,  here is my Monthly Recap for May...

Idea-filled posts to get you ready for summer-

An Easy Summer Centerpiece:  These candle-filled mason jars are so simple and pretty, you'll see why I love them so much.


Cowboy Caviar: A favorite summer recipe that you'll want to make again and again.


My Beachy Summer Mantel:  Putting those Easy Summer Centerpieces to work as focal points in my summer mantel decor.


Informative posts to help you get organized (and make some great art.) -

Since we are getting ready to move, I've been decluttering.  And this month I shared some of my best decluttering tips .


I also shared the way I keep my blog organized and running smoothly with my Blog Notebook.


Want to make a sentimental piece of art that is also chic and stylish?  Try Personalized Subway Art.  This month I offered a tutorial on how to create your own.


Have a great day~

5.28.2011

Around The Web~

Here are a few places you can find me around the web right now...

Over at Jennifer's fabulous blog, Style Your Life, I shared some Tween Room Inspiration.


Okay so this little guy isn't a Tween, but this room would work well for one...
and it's one of my favorite boy's rooms ever!  Photo via Houzz.com
 At Fifth Room Living, I shared 5 tips for Making Your Guests Feel at Home.


Finally, over at Little Black Dress/ Little Red Wagon, I shared my Subway Art Tutorial.


Have a great day~

5.26.2011

Frugal Friday~

Welcome to this week's edition of Frugal Friday.  So glad you come to visit me here every week to share (and get) some frugal inspiration!

Here's my Frugal Round-up from last week's party...

First, That's My Letter shared her take on Ballard Design's Patchwork Prints.  What a fun project!



PRIMP shared her pretty farmhouse table redo.  Love the finished product...especially with that turquoise bench.



Conspicuous Style shared her BEAUTIFUL kitchen panelling project!  LOVE. THIS.



Finally, AKA Design shared a fabulous living room redo.  So fresh and pretty!


Now it's your turn!!

You know the rules.

1. Please link directly to your post and not just to your blog.
2. Please link back to the Shabby Nest. ( You can grab one of my shiny new buttons from my sidebar!!!)
3. Please leave comments for the authors of the posts you visit...help our participant "feel the love!"

I reserve the right to remove any post that is not in keeping with the spirit of Frugal Friday including, but not limited to, those posts that link to your link party, your shop or giveaway, and those posts not linking back to the Shabby Nest. Thanks for playing fair!!


A Beachy Summer Mantel~

Because we are getting ready to move, I wanted to keep my summer mantel clean and simple.  I opted to go for a serene color palette of sand and white, and to use beachy details to give me that summer on the beach feeling.



I started by using the summer lanterns that I shared in this post.



Then I just added in my jar full of seashells, and a few starfish.




Really that's all there was to it.  I really like the understated look.  There's no doubt that it celebrates summer, however.  Nothing like seashells and starfish to create a summer-y statement. 


Linking up to Layla's  Summer Mantel Party.


Have a great day~

5.24.2011

A Favorite Summer Recipe: Cowboy Caviar~

This chunky salsa-style dip is a perfect addition to your summer menu.  It has been a favorite of my family ever since my cute sister-in-law introduced it to us a few years ago... I have a feeling you're going to love it too.

Cowboy Caviar

Ingredients:

1 can corn  - drained
1 can black beans - drained
1 can black eyed peas - drained
1/2 green pepper - diced
1/2 red pepper - diced
1 bunch green onions - chopped
1 container grape tomatoes - cut in halves

Mix packet of Good Seasons Italian Dressing according to package directions.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and pour dressing over top.  Can be served immediately, but marinating overnight is recommended.



We like to serve it as a dip with corn chips, but it is also FABULOUS served over green salad or with grilled chicken or fish. 

Bon Appetit!!

Linking up to Rhoda's Summer Recipe party!

5.23.2011

Decluttering Tips~

It's crunch time.  T minus 5 weeks until our move.  Now that we're starting to pack, it's the perfect time to declutter.  Moving is a great time for a fresh start,  a great time to get yourself clutter-free.  But you don't have to be moving to get that clutter out of your house.  In fact, it's much easier if you declutter a little bit at a time instead of having to do it all at once like me.   If you want to get rid of some of that clutter (and who doesn't, really?)  here are a few of my go-to tips for decluttering your house.



A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

1. Declutter for a few minutes at a time.  Let's face it, the prospect of spending hours going through your closets and cupboards is enough to keep you from decluttering all together.  So make it easy on yourself and declutter for 10- 15 minutes at a time instead.  Take time and clear off one shelf, or clear out one drawer at a time.  This makes the process less daunting and more doable.

2. Finish decluttering one room at a time.  Continue working in one room at a time until that room is clutter free.  The next time you take your 15 minutes to declutter, move on to the next drawer or the next shelf from the one you worked on last time.  This way you won't have random clean drawers or shelves strewn throughout the house.

3. Set aside a weekly time.  Or if this works better for you, try scheduling a time weekly to declutter.  It could even be part of your weekly cleaning routine. 

4. Multi-task.   Rather than sitting while you chat on the phone, try cleaning out the junk drawer.

5. The clothing rule.  If you haven't worn it in the last year, get rid of it.  I finally convinced the hubby to do this.  He holds on to his clothes for.ev.ah.  But last week, he finally did it.  Went through his clothes and got rid of tons of old (and unworn for years) clothes.  He was actually smiling...and couldn't believe how good it felt.  Really.  Mission accomplished.

6. Deal with paper immediately.  Now, I must admit, I am a bit of a paper hoarder.  I have a hard time parting with paper.  But nothing builds up clutter quite as quickly.  So even I, who looooves my paper, have had to implement a system.  I have three boxes:  a bills box, a to-do box, and a file box (you can see them on the shelf in the photo above).  When my mail comes in, I deal with it immediately I put bills to be paid in their box, other papers that need dealing with in their box.  Then once I either pay the bills or deal with the paper it goes in the file box...and gets filed weekly.  (And for those bills that can be taken care of online - I do that.)   The rest gets shredded or goes in recycling. 

Except magazines and catalogs.  This is my real weakness.  But I am trying to be better.  I have been going through my old magazines and tearing out the pages that inspire me.  It was a bit challenging for me at first, but it feels good to get rid of them.  I will admit, that I do keep some of my favorites in tact, but I try to limit myself.

7. Donate and Recycle.  This brings me to my last tip.  Donate or recycle.  It's much easier to get rid of things when you don't just trash them.  Take your clothing, old toys, books etc. to your local goodwill.  And recycle all that paper!  Knowing that you are doing your part to be green is always a good thing.

Are you feeling inspired to organize?  Try these websites for some great decluttering and organizing ideas:

FlyLady.net

Organized Home

Get Organized Now

Okay, now that I've preached my little sermon on decluttering...I'm off to do as I say. 

Have a great day~

5.19.2011

Frugal Friday~

Welcome to this week's edition of Frugal Friday.  I want to first thank you all for your sweet thoughts and prayers on behalf of Mr. Two.  His surgery was a success and he is home and resting comfortably. (Mostly comforably I should say.)  And I am exhausted.  I think I was running on pure adrenaline today.  Such a relief to have the surgery over. whew!

Now on to my frugal round-up from last week.

First up, Fab Rehab Creations shared her be.au.ti.ful pair of rehabbed chairs.  I simply adore them!

Next, The Sunset Lane shared her fabulous bathroom rehab.  The before-to-after really is a jaw-dropper.

Abby's Paperie Garden shared her Paper Bag Pretties.  These little outfits are so charming...it's really hard to believe they're made of paper bags from the hardware store!


Finally, A Creative Beginning shared her pretty, spring mantle.  I just love all the textures and the subtle color scheme...just lovely!
Now it's your turn!!

You know the rules.

1. Please link directly to your post and not just to your blog.
2. Please link back to the Shabby Nest.  ( You can grab one of my shiny new buttons from my sidebar!!!)
3. Please leave comments for the authors of the posts you visit...help our participant "feel the love!"

I reserve the right to remove any post that is not in keeping with the spirit of Frugal Friday including, but not limited to, those posts that link to your link party, your shop or giveaway, and those posts not linking back to the Shabby Nest. Thanks for playing fair!!

Simple Outdoor Mood Lighting~

It's been rather dreary here for the past few days.  Rainy and cold.  But I have big plans for outdoor entertaining this year...if the weather should ever warm up. ;-)

I thought it would be fun to share with you one of my go-to, outdoor, summer centerpieces.  It's extremely simple to make, but it adds tons of ambience to any gathering.  Canning Jar Lanterns.




To make these pretty lanterns, simply gather up some vintage canning jars.  I like a variety of sizes...it just adds to the impact.  Then get some candles...I use larger pillar candles for the big canning jars and votives for the smaller jars.  You can use any color candle you want, but I prefer to use white.  Clean.  Pretty.





Fill the bottom of your jars about 1/4 - 1/3 full of rice...or sand...or coarse salt.  It's really up to you.  I used rice in these because I had it on hand.  Sand is especially pretty, and coarse salt is lovely because it reflects the light.  But really any of these pale colored fillers will do. 





Then just pop the candles in and light.  Group your canning jars for more dramatic impact.  So simple and pretty.  (Please make sure you don't leave candles unattended or let them burn all the way down to the filler...as that could be a fire hazard.)



Happy Entertaining!

Oh...and  last but certainly not least,  I hope you love my new blog design as much as I do!  Thanks to Ellie G at Announced Greetings for her spectacular redesign!!  Love.  Love.  Love.

5.18.2011

Longing for a Normal Day~

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return."  
                                                                                                     -Mary Jean Iron

I ran across this quote the other day, and rarely has a quote struck me with such intensity.  I feel like I  haven't seen a "normal" day in ages.  A day that is just a day.  A day without worry, or fear, or crisis, or craziness.  I wonder if they even exist.  Of course, wonderful things happen too...and those sorts of "not normal" days I can handle.  But right now, the stress is a little much.


And I apologize to you,  my dear readers, for the lack of fun projects and DIYs on the old blog of late,  but since we are getting ready to move, home projects are obviously on haitus. 

Also, and more importantly, Mr. Two, my 5-year-old has surgery scheduled for tomorrow.  It's outpatient surgery, and fairly typical procedures, but still, when it's your baby that's having surgery, it's nerve-wracking.  I haven't had a good night's sleep in days.  Since we have such a wonderful corner of the blogosphere,  may I ask you to please remember my little guy in your prayers.  I would really appreciate it! 

Thanks and much love!
Wendy

May's Silhouette Deal~

This is the week for the May Silhouette promotion.  And I hate to admit it but, my uber-fabulous, amazing project that I was going to share with you, has yet to be created. (ahem.)   But for anyone that is interested I don't want you to miss out on this month's great deal...

So here's the Silhouette Promo for May...

  • A Silhouette SD cutter
  • 3 Rolls of heat transfer material
  • All for only $219
That's a saving of over $125!!

Simply go to this link to purchase, and use the code "SHABBY" at checkout for your discount.

If you already have a Silhouette, you can still receive 25% off all heat transfer material!

And just for a little example of what you can make with heat transfer fabric, a few  months back, I made these darling shirts for my kiddos using Silhouette's White Flocked Heat Transfer fabric.  They're so fun! 


May's Promotion runs from Now thru May 25th!

Happy Crafting~

5.16.2011

Nature Center Outing~

I just love to discover fun, new places to go with my family.  And if they're educational, that's even better (especially when the educational part is slyly disguised as good old fashioned fun.)

A couple of weeks ago, a group of bloggers in my area was invited to discover the Ogden Nature Center,  152 acres of preserved  land just 25 minutes from our house.  There was so much to see and do, and my kiddos had such a good time that they've been asking to go back ever since.

The Nature Center had a trail filled with birdhouses made from recycled and found objects.  The kids just loved seeing all the creative ideas!

 They had a chance to make some fun paper snakes...

And even got to pet a real one...

My little boys discovered this "cave" and they didn't want to come out.

Mr. Three (my 4-year-old) thought this mask was pretty funny.

There were a few turkeys wandering around the grounds.
My kids loved seeing these big old birds up close. 


 These were some happy kiddos! 

Here's a little photo of me (just to prove I was actually there - ha ha!) with Meg from Brassy Apple.
Photo Credits:  1st photo from Ogden Nature Center,  All Other Photos are mine.

Thanks to the Ogden Nature Center for inviting us up for the day.  It was such fun! 

From their website:
Visitors enjoy 1.5 miles of walking trails, picnic areas, tree houses, bird blinds and an exhibit of live birds of prey.  Two of Utah's greenest buildings are on site to teach about sustainable structures. A unique gift shop is located in the Visitor Center. The Ogden Nature Center offers a wide variety of classes & workshops for all ages including art, photography, birding, wildlife in Utah, outdoor recreation, conservation, sustainability, summer camps and more.
 I'm always grateful to find a hidden treasure. Do you have one in your area? 

5.14.2011

Last Week's Frugal Round-up AND Lisa Leonard, Picaboo and Simplee Vinyl Giveaway Winners (How's that for a title?)~

Hello out there in Blogland!!  Since Blogger was down from Thursday until Friday afternoon...Frugal Friday went live this week without my Frugal Round-up.  But never fear!  I am not one to pass by a Frugal Round-up - after all, the inspiration is what linkies are all about, right?

So here are a few of my favorites from last week's Frugal Friday...

First up, I Design shared her uber-fabulous DIY wainscoting.  I simply adore it!




Next, Inspired By You shared her lovely reupholstered settee.  Brown velvet....mmmmmmmm.

Three Pixie Lane shared an adorable vintage party hat tutorial.

And while we're on the subject of adorable, vintage parties...check out this darling 1st birthday party by The Tomseth Family.  I just love children's birthday party inspiration!


And now for the giveaway winners...

The winner of the Lisa Leonard gift certificate is Kim Webb!

The winner of the Picaboo Gift Card is Leslie from Nobody Gave me the Instruction Booklet!

And the winner of the Simplee Vinyl Gift Certificate is Jenny from L.O.T.s of Love!

Congratulations ladies!  Please email me and we'll get you set up with your fabulous prizes!!

Frugal Friday is still going on...go ahead and link up your latest Frugal Inspiration post..you know you want to.

Have a great day~

5.13.2011

Frugal Friday: Better Late than Never~

I'm sure you're all aware of the fact that Blogger was down most of yesterday.  Well....it's finally back up.  Yahoo!!!

And in an effort to get Frugal Friday  up as quickly as possible, I'm just going to post without  my Frugal Roundup for now.  Look for it on Sunday!

Now for the fun....

You know the rules.

1. Please link directly to your post and not just to your blog.
2. Please link back to the Shabby Nest.
3. Please leave comments for the authors of the posts you visit...help our participant "feel the love!"

I reserve the right to remove any post that is not in keeping with the spirit of Frugal Friday including, but not limited to, those posts that link to your link party, your shop or giveaway, and those posts not linking back to the Shabby Nest. Thanks for playing fair!!

5.12.2011

Staying Connected~


Thank you to Yahoo! Mail for sponsoring this post about staying connected. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.





See those two beautiful ladies in the photo with me? Those are my two sisters. Women I simply adore, and couldn't live without. Well, for 7 years I lived all the way across the country from them. And although I loved living in Massachusetts...being away from my sisters - my lifelines - was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.

We would talk on the phone...but it could be challenging. With 13 kids between the three of us, conversations were often interrupted by little ones demanding our attention. (Have you ever noticed that kids have a built-in radar that alerts them the minute mom picks up the phone?) But we tried.

Then one day my sister, Kelly (the one in the blue), hit on the idea of email. OH YEAH, email! Hello? We don't live in the dark ages, you know. Technology to the rescue!!

And so we would email...daily...sometimes multiple times daily. And we were able to keep in touch. We were able to keep up on one another's lives. Probably even better than we were able to when we tried to talk on the phone. Because, we could form coherent sentences that weren't interrupted in the middle by a kiddo who needed to have his nose wiped. Well, actually they may have been interrupted for that very reason...but the recipient of the email would never know. ;-)

And since my other sister Holly (the one in the middle) still lives two states away, email is still a vital form of communication for us. And, to be honest, even though Kelly and I now live in the same state, we still email one another constantly too.

It's amazing, isn't it? The ability we have to communicate with someone by typing out a message and pressing send? Thank heavens for email...and for sisters who are smart enough to use it.

I just wanted to share this cute video because it reminds me of me and my sisters...

5.11.2011

The Blog Notebook: Organizing my Bloggy Stuff~

Do you blog?  If so, is blogging a casual past time?  a serious hobby?  your job?  

For me, blogging is serious business.  It started out as a casual hobby...but then the obsession set in.  You know about that, don't you?   Oh, I think you do.  When you are sitting at the park watching your kiddos play and blog posts are floating on the periphery of your thoughts.  When you are walking through a store, and project ideas keep popping into your head...and you are composing blog posts in your mind to go with each.  Oh yes.  It's true.  It wasn't long before I was head over heels in love with blogging.

And before I go on, I have to say, that although I love my computer...and use it for soooo many things, I also love paper.  Yep, good old fashioned paper.  I'm a list maker.  An idea jotter-downer (yes, that is a technical term.)  I have notebooks...lots of them...where I keep track of just about everything.  And the notebook thing worked well for blogging -  for a while.  Until I started to not be able to find the idea or list or what-have-you that I needed, when I needed it.  So I knew I had to come up with a better plan.   And it still  had to be on paper.  (Couldn't give that part up.)

So I came up with the Blog Binder.  Okay, so some of you are probably way ahead of me on this one.  "Welcome to the club, Wendy!"  you're thinking.  "Slow, much, Wendy?" you're saying to yourself.  Well, maybe.  But now I have this great binder to keep my blog in order, so I wanted to share it with you...

First up,  I wanted to make it fun and happy so I chose a pink one. Why not use a happy color?  Then I had to think up the categories that would work best for me...

Here's what I came up with...


1. A Blog Calendar.  Once I started blogging in a serious way, I found it essential to plan out my  posts in advance.  So, I needed to use a calendar.  I used to  list them in my planner (yes, I use a planner...paper-using list-maker, remember?) but I wanted a place just dedicated to blogging, so a calendar in my binder worked well.  In the calendar I list not only posts, but linky-parties I'm going to participate in, when I need to remove ads from my blog, when I need to send invoices, etc.  In short, anything and everything solely devoted to the blog.

Here are some links to some great FREE blog calendar printables.  This one from Living Locurto (which I used in my binder) and this one from Evelyn Kate Designs are weekly.  A weekly calendar works well for me because I have lots of stuff I need to keep track of.  This one from Blogging BookShelf is monthly.  If you just want to track posts, something like this would work well.

2. Brainstorming.  Let's face it. Coming up with fresh subject matter isn't always easy.  Brainstorming for your blog is important.  So I have a section just dedicated to that.  When a random idea comes to me, I start a page for it.  Then when I have some time (ha ha), I brainstorm the topic to come up with ideas.  I also keep lists of projects I'd like to do that could be blogworthy, or single post ideas that don't need to be fleshed out, so that I can refer to them when I'm not feeling very creative.

3. To Do's.  I have a section in my binder for to-do's.  This is where I can keep notes on any projects that I am working on that I will want to blog, so that I can have all of my "stuff" in one place.  I like to list sources, ideas, fabric swatches, paint colors, you name it. 

4. Business.  Now, I must preface this by saying that my blog is my job.  So I have a lot of stuff on the business end of blogging that I need to track, including the dates for ads to go up and come down (that I can then transfer to my calendar), information for product reviews or posts of that nature, and other miscellaneous stuff.  Having all of the nitty-gritty in one place sure is helpful.

5. Inspiration.  This is one of my favorite parts of my binder.  In this section, I put magazine tear-sheets or photos or other things that inspire me that I might want to incorporate into the blog.  Some I choose just for the color, or a word, or the feeling.  Inspiration can come from just about anything.  But organizing inspiration (at least for me) is important. 


6. Finally, I have a folder (pink again!) where I can keep loose odds and ends that I need on hand...like these paint chip cards. 

So there you have it...my blog brain in hard copy.  A portable version that doesn't require wi-fi.  The Blog Notebook.  Hope it gave you a little inspiration... 

Have a great day~