Friday, March 29, 2013

An Easter Memento

It can be hard to find meaningful crafts for Easter. So I thought I'd share this one for anyone that's looking for something to do. ( me saying this is meaningful, I am in no way saying I'm against the easter bunny, cute egg-decorating, easter baskets, etc...I am against peeps, though...just sayin)

At my church, LifeQuest, we do our Easter service a little different. In the main sanctuary, we have four tables set up along the walls. Each table represents a different station of Jesus' journey...from the time he was arrested in the garden, to the trial and torture, to the cross and finally to the resurrection.

During the service, there isn't a message given by our pastor, but it is mostly a time of worship, prayer and meditation as everyone is encouraged at their own time to visit the tables. This expression of observing Jesus' journey to the cross is known as the "Stations of the Cross" and is widely practiced by the Catholic church.

Each table we set up has a color representing the journey. Green, for the garden. Black, for the torture. Red, for the cross. And white, for the resurrection. We liked the idea of each person being able to take home something tangible to remind them of the night and what it meant to them.

That brings us to this simple little can use this for churches, kids, yourself, whoever.

First, I purchase colored sand representing each the above mentioned, black, red and white. I purchased mine off of Amazon...not too pricey. It might of been cheaper at a local craft store (maybe not) but I am just loving the beauty of ordering something online...not having to drive anywhere...and it's at your house in 2 days, free shipping. (gotta love Amazon Prime!)

Then I also purchased these adorable little bottles. (also from Amazon, but not currently available...but there's others available)

Yeah, they're cute...and very tiny. Perfect for collecting sand from various beach vacations or for wedding favors with a little message in it...

Excuse my claw-like hand. Cute, though. Right?

So then using the smallest funnel we could find (and by "we" I mean my sweet husband is helping with this)...we just layered the colors one by one. Since the bottles are so tiny, you do have to play with it a little till you get the measurements right.

The cork is pushed down enough that it's not going to fall no worries about the sand spilling out.

Overall, I think it's a sweet and meaningful memento that you can truly hold onto. Have at your desk at work, or on your dresser...anywhere.

Happy Easter weekend to you all. I'm entering it with a full and thankful heart.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

My Favorite Home Decor Stores

When looking for home items, there are a number of home/decor stores that I tend to visit online pretttttty regularly. So I thought I'd make a list of my faves and share.

Ikea - This is typically my go-to place for frames, window treatments, some furniture pieces and little accessories here and there. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world when Ikea came to our city...and we're only 5 minutes apart. True love.

West Elm - Ah, West Elm. I love this store. I know their items like the back of my hand. Comical thing is I have yet to buy something from them, lol. I have plans to though, trust me. I consider West Elm to be a higher-end Ikea. It's also not as flashy as gives me the feel of cozy modern, as opposed to modern modern.

Urban Outfitters - One word...Curtains. This is my place that I love to look at their curtains. I love that they're more unique, with a variety of patterns and colors. My curtains from our living room are from here. They also have some random accessories, rugs and furniture.

Anthropologie - Pricey, but for those who are on tighter budgets, this place can be good for small things like a-dorable knobs, hooks and hardware, table linens...lots of little things here and there.

Target - Target continues to impress me with their home stuff. I typically walk the aisles while in the store, however they have a large amount of online only items as well. They have an array of accessories, dishes, linens, lamps. Nate Berkus also has his own line. Currently, I'm loving their Threshold collection.

The Land of Nod - This is Crate and Barrel's line for kids, but I've gotta say, there's a number of items that can work outside of a kids room. I was obviously turned on to it while decorating Finn's room, but ended up finding some really neat artwork, rugs and accessories. It's even a cute place to buy gifts for kids...their stuffed animals are adorable. there you go. Some of my favorite places to shop. Or, mostly just dream. I never was one that spends right away. I tend to let design plans mull around for a while...and for funds to be available.

Any other stores you shop at? Or dream at? Mmm...Crate and Barrel and CB2...out of my price range, but lovely to dream at...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spring Cleaning Challenge! Week 1

I don't know about you, but sometimes I need a good push. Especially when it comes to deep cleaning and organizing. With spring arriving, I thought I'd challenge myself to complete a cleaning/organizing project each week through the month of April. That's a total a seven projects...eek! And even though spring doesn't technically end till the end of June, I think committing through April will suffice. Don't wanna get too crazy!

So whether the project is big or small, I'm ready to tackle a few areas of my home that I've been overlooking and have caused me mental anguish far too long. Okay, maybe I'm being dramatic, but seriously, it's time for me to do something.

So without further ado...

Week 1:


Yep, I decided to tackle this horribly unorganized crazy cabinet in our kitchen that Rob and I call "the abyss". You would never know what was lurking behind these cabinets...

Nothing really, just a bit of a mess...

Yep, this is not my proudest moment. Rob even asked me a few times if I was sure I wanted to share this, lol. We're so ashamed. You see, I absolutely H A T E when there's clutter on the kitchen counter. It might be because when Rob and I first got married and moved into a little baby apartment above a garage, we had one closet in the entire house. ONE. And it was our bedroom closet. There was no linen closet, or broom/mop closet, nothing else but a bedroom closet. So through that experience of having no storage, I learned that clutter can drive me bananas.

That might sound like a joke after viewing our abyss, but we all know how crazy junk drawers cabinets can form. Quick clean up. Out of sight, out of mind. The best part about our abyss is we just throw random stuff, mail and pieces of paper (things we can't just throw away) up there and it's gone and forgotten. But it adds up fast. With Rob being a writer, he writes down ideas on little pieces of paper all the time, so I can't just go all rogue and start tossing things out. It takes thought.

Believe it or not, this is my third attempt cleaning this guy out. But somehow, things always sneak back up there. No idea how. And with our sweet Finn...

...adding to our world, we could probably make better use of the cabinet space. (does blogbomb even make sense? lol)

So my first mission was to obviously clear this big boy out. Rob joined in on the fun while Finn was taking a nap. We had one bag that we tossed all the papers in to be sorted later. Then all the other random stuff we placed on the counter, sorted and put away where it belonged. So here's the cabinet all cleaned out. There's so much space!

We even profitted off of this little project. It didn't cost us any money but we certainly came out in the green! Yep, a whopping $5.30 and two treasure pieces...

...along with FIVE knives (boys...) and so many apple devices/accessesories (not all pictured) we've determined we need to have an electronics drawer.  

We're now able to declutter other areas of the kitchen and put our oatmeal, cereal, chips and other items in here. The only non-food related item we're allowed to place in this cabinet is our speaker station for our iPhones.

Feels good. We also are aiming our sights to organize our toaster/microwave situation as well. Looking for a butcher block type shelving unit to place these on preferrably with a lower bottom cabinet for more hidden storage.

So there you go, cleaning challenge - week 1 tackled and conquered. No idea what I'll do next week, but let me tell you, there is plenty of areas to choose from. Anyone else doing some spring cleaning of their own? Anyone have as embarrassing of a junk drawer cabinet as we did?

Oh! And guess what arrived in the mail today??

Mmmm, Benjamin Moore paint colors. Living room, here we come. Happy weekend to you all!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Searching For The Perfect Paint Color

I'll be the first to admit that I've made many mistakes when choosing a paint color. Prior to moving in, I did the right thing and bought testers of all the paint shades I wanted for each room...yet in the end I tested only ONE. The story is, I had only one paintbrush and after I put one tester on the wall I went to rinse off my brush for the next color and discovered our water hadn't been turned on yet. So I just said, heck, the colors will be fine...and bought the gallons of paint the following day. Only to end up loving 3 out of the 5 colors.

My lack of patience can be laughable sometimes...

So besides the obvious tip of buying a few testers (they're usually less than $3!) and actually using are some other tips to avoid that smack your head moment when you realize you made a big...sometimes expensive...and most certainly time consuming, boo boo.

Benjamin Moore

When viewing the swatch, hold it the way of the surface you'll be painting...

For instance, if you're painting the wall...hold your swatch up vertically to view the color. It's amazing how the way you hold the swatch truly affects the color due to the way the light hits the surface. Same goes for painting the ceiling. Hold the swatch above you to get a truer idea of the color.

To avoid unwanted undertones, grab a swatch of the unwanted color and compare...

I've been the victim of choosing a color that I thought was what I wanted...but then I got it on the walls and crap...a sneaky undertone comes out and it's not at all the color I was going for. How to avoid this? If you have an inkling that an unwanted color may be in your swatch, or if you're just trying to avoid a certain color...find a swatch of the unwanted color and place it next to your desired swatch. This can help bring out any sneaky undertones.

For instance, I bought a gray once only to find out that there was a tonnnn of blue in it. I was originally looking (don't laugh Rob) for a true gray. No undertones. Well, with the swatch in hand, instead of just imagining what it would look like against the white trim (which white doesn't help unveiling undertones) if I had grabbed a blue swatch and placed it next to the "gray" one I had in hand, the blue undertones would have been unable to hide. Undertones can be seriously sneaky. You gotta trust your eye. And if you don't trust yours, ask a friend!

Paint the tester on various walls of the room...

Lighting is huge when it comes to color and how it appears. I've learned to put the tester on various walls to get the best perspective of what the color would look like. And also to view the painted area in the daytime as well as at nighttime. Again, lighting can change a lot.

So I'm definitely embracing these ideas while I'm dreaming of painting our dining room/family room...and possibly our kitchen.

I'm also tired of feeling restricted to the colors offered at my local home improvement store, so I did myself a favor and ordered myself a Benjamin Moore fan deck. Yeah, with 1232 colors. It's odd how giddy this makes me feel. I've heard it time and time again how awesome Benjamin Moore colors are and I'm finally convinced. Since we don't have a Benjamin store around here, I plan to use the swatches to be color matched.

I just started browsing their colors and here's a few that I fell for...

Anyone have any painting regrets? At our last home, I had a lime green living room, an orange sherbet office, and a light blue room with a royal blue accent wall. I. am. not. kidding. I don't completely regret it, but my goodness, it was a lot of color. Anyone else drawn to more vibrant colors like me? I want to paint a room that Majestic Violet soooo bad!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Repainting. 2nd or 3rd Time is a Charm, Right?!

Yeah, I should of known this would've happened.

So we've lived in our home for only 2 1/2 years...and so far, I've already REpainted the hallway and our master bedroom. Thankfully I'm satisfied with our master bedroom. Our hallway, still not so much, but about a year ago I was feeling cheap and wanted anything other than the pale blue we had in there, so I used the color that we originally painted our master bedroom. Yeah the color that I also didn't like.

Genius, huh?

Anyway, so this repainting post isn't about the hallway, I just can't bear to think of repainting that so soon for a THIRD time...but this post is about repainting our dining/family room.

Currently these conjoined rooms are painted a purpley gray color called "Dusk" by Martha Stewart. I remember when I saw this color swatch, I was OBSESSED. I get that way with colors. I do still like the color, however the thing I didn't know about this room was how little natural light it gets. Causing this space to feel cave-like. Especially our dining room. See our house doesn't face the sun. The sun goes over from one side of our house to the other side. No front and back light here.

All that to say that I'm facing the reality that we're going to have to repaint.

Yes, WE, Rob. (pleeeeeease? I love you!!!)

There's also another need to paint believe it or not. It looks like Rob, Finn and I are being blessed with a new bundle of joy...a sectional!! Lol, hopefully nobody fell off their chair on that one.

Yep, it looks like my sweet father and stepmutha :) are in the process of relocating and are wanting new furniture. That leaves their blue sectional all to us. That created the other reason to repaint. Dark blue sectional with a dark purpley gray color doesn't work for me. Too much color and too dark. Originally I wanted a light colored couch in that room to offset the darker walls and to brighten up the room. But how can I say no to a free couch? Paint is much cheaper than couches, right? And I'm totally already picturing it in my head and I'm a-lovin it. (flashback to Molly Shannon on SNL..."I love it, I love it, I love every minute of it!!!")

So yes, very excited about those changes ahead. Will be sure to share them on here too.

I also got a much anticipated package in the mail today. Aren't packages in the mail THEE BEST? Lots of caps in this post. Well, I found a site called Picplum. For any Instagram lovers out there, this is a great site to actually print all those pics you collect over the days, weeks and years. They're also super cheap, $1 a print! And there's something about a square photo that speaks to me. I love me some symmetry.

Aren't they cute? They come in 4x4 and 5x5 prints in a matte finish. These are 5x5. I'll use some for my desk at work (I need pics there of my baby boy!!) and frame some others here at home.

Alright, well that concludes this random post. Itching to go to the paint store to get some swatches...too bad Home Depot closes at 10pm. Laaaaaaaame.

Alright, off to snuggle with my boy. :))))))))))))))))))

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Two Months!

Two months already...although at the same time it feels like forever.

He's gained exactly 2 lbs and grew 2 inches since birth. Such a great feeling as a mom (and a nursing know, cause you don't have that guarantee of how much he's getting) to hear that he's gaining weight. Rob knew I'd be happy to hear that, and I totally was.

It's been quite a month. I returned back to work which hasn't been easy, but I'm trying to take that one day at a time. We never know what our future holds, so maybe this won't be permanent. That also explains why my posts have been a lil infrequent along with projects around the house. But I'm still focusing on that dining room! I've been brainstorming for what the heck I wanna do with those walls.

I do know that because this dining room is like a cave, I wanna put some mirrors on one of the walls to reflect the light. So that's something...but I'm still mulling over a few things in my head. Sometimes I'm tempted to just give in and do whatever, but I don't want to get ahead of myself. If I'm gonna have to stare at this, I want it to be right. Ya know?

But ANYWAY. Back to the star of the show...Mr. Finn. :)

Dear Finn, oh what a month this has been! You started to smile and coo!! It's absolutely amazing. You like to have conversations with us whenever you're on your changing table, and give us lots of smiles up there too. You also got your first bath in your whale tub this month! You liked it for the first 7 minutes, then you were done! But I think you're going to eventually love it. You also started going to church with mommy and so far, you like to sleep during the music part. :)) This past month was when your mama had to return to work and daddy is now watching you during the day. You guys have so much fun together, from tummy time to story time. I knew your daddy would always love to read to you. Sometimes it puts you to sleep. :) Last week you managed to roll from your tummy to your back! You little rolly polly. We love you so much baby boy, and love watching you grow. We're so proud of you and are so thankful to be your parents. Happy 2 months sweet boy!


Now for a few pics from this month.

These taken during one of our many conversations...

You snuggling with mama after her first day back at work...

You and your wonderful daddy...

You looking SO little hambone.

Gah, this kid melts me. Love being his mama.

Love to you all!


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