A whole lot of shaking going on!

AGAIN, I have been MIA for weeks. Trust me, I would have loved to have a day to sit and muse.

As I shared here, Matt moved into a new home and Katie moved out of her college apartment.

I laugh at people who think their “parenting” somehow ends when their kid turns 18. Trust me, that is when the REAL work begins. In my case it means helping kids maneuver through life…i.e. move, sell. buy, marry, give birth…in other words, any time they need help, Mom is here to help. The years of “rearing them up” are over, but their lives get crazy and complicated and they still need guidance and a strong back!

Soooooo, what I have I been up to?

The house Matt bought was the home of his aunt’s sister…she passed away in March. So imagine you walk out of your home and die…and everything you own is in that house. Yep…and not only is it a big house, it was PACKED FULL! No one was able to really begin sorting and packing and moving her stuff out until after Matt closed so the week before Katie moved, I was at Matt’s new house sorting and packing!

After a few days of doing that, we loaded up a 16’ moving truck with all of Katie’s belongings and her cat, Simon, hooked her car up to the back, and drove 21 hours to her new home in Delaware.

I made an instagram post about this trip…one of the hashtags was #budgetrentalssmelllikeass…enough said about that issue.

The truck did not have cruise control. I never thought of that feature as being a “must have” on a vehicle. I was wrong.

I will NEVER complain about the condition of Arkansas highways again after driving through Missouri, Illinois, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

NEVER book a motel in a city if you have no idea where their “bad side of town” is….there is a good chance the hotel will be smack dab in the middle of it.

When driving a 16’ box truck towing a vehicle DO NOT get yourself in a tight spot…only get gas where 18 wheelers get gas!

All that being said, we were extremely fortunate to find parking right in front of her apartment. Fortunate as well that she has a friend who had moved to Wilmington the week prior and was available to help unload the truck. We were able to get everything moved into her little apartment the evening we pulled into town.

Then the REAL work began.

The apartment was advertised as 700 square feet…I can assure you it is not! “Tiny living” is a real challenge, even for a recent college graduate who has few possessions. Unfortunately, that is all that is really affordable if you are looking for a safe neighborhood close to downtown in an older Northeastern city.

You have to be very judicious about possessions, you learn to be very organized and you make the most of all the space available.

So for two days we unpacked, purged, built shelving, and arranged and rearranged furniture and “stuff.” It was a challenge but in the end she has a precious “home” that is perfect for her and Simon!

The kitchen was the biggest challenge. Katie loves to cook and she buys in bulk and stores everything in mason jars. Since the kitchen only had two upper cabinets, we spend the better part of one day just building shelves to hold her storage jars, dishes and spices. (All the photos are from my Iphone, and again, I am not a travel blogger!)

The living room wasn’t as big of a challenge since it wasn’t much smaller than her college apartment!

The pen and ink drawings are of the old train depot and old post office in Fayetteville…a little token of her college town.

She finally ordered pillow covers for her throw pillows. She learned from her mama…keep the big stuff neutral and infuse color in the decor…pillows, rugs, art, etc. The pillows she ordered are bright and fun and full of color!

Two days of driving, two days of moving/building/staging/purging and then the fun begins….

NEW YORK CITY BABY!!!!!

Yep, I finally got to take my baby to New York City! We took a train from Wilmington, Delaware to Penn Station in New York City, walked 10 blocks to our hotel and spent 3 1/2 glorious days in New York City!!!

Okay, glorious is a stretch….it rained the first day and they were experiencing their first big “heat wave” of the summer….weather-wise, not so glorious.

So what did we do in the rain and the heat? AS MUCH AS WE COULD!

We saw two Broadway plays….

It was the one thing I regretted not doing when Matt and I went to NYC.

We did the whole “Rockefeller Center” thing…bought a sweatshirt in the NBC shop, went to the Top of the Rock and had coffee in the plaza.

We ate a pastrami sandwich and a HUGE slice of cheesecake in a sweet little cafe off Time Square….

We rode bikes around Central Park….keep in mind it was pushing 100 degrees so we were pretty melted. That being said, when Matt and I road around Central Park two years ago, I had to walk 1/2 the way…I was just soooo out of shape! After losing 20+ pounds and biking for the last year, I was able to ride around the entire park without stopping at all! Yay, me!!!

We ate dinner in Bryant park, took the night bus tour across the Manhattan bridge to Brooklyn, walked across the Brooklyn bridge in the rain, visited the 9-11 memorial, took the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We took the extended tour of Ellis Island. We spent a morning in the Museum of Natural History (really should have spend ALL day there), took a bus tour of Harlem, saw Grant’s tomb, visited the Federal Hall where Washington was inaugurated and the little church across from the 9-11 memorial where he prayed after his inauguration. We took a water taxi up the west side of Manhattan. We visited the church were Alexander Hamilton is buried and of course, St. Peter’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue….

Which reminds me…how many Catholics does it take to change a light bulb….

Even in the most reverent places my mind goes places. But seriously, it is BEAUTIFUL cathedral!

I know we did much more…but basically we saw as much of NYC as we could in a few short days.

Then I flew home from Laguardia and Katie returned to her new little apartment in Wilmington.

My baby has officially “left the nest.”

And while I would love to sit and “muse” about this next chapter in my life, I really didn’t have much time to dwell. I had work to do at the apartments, a pile of projects in my garage, and a son who needed help with his yard and garage at his new house.

Man I need a vacation!

Maybe in the pile of projects in my garage I will have a makeover to share next week.

Until then….


Pretty in Pink...

If you “came of age” in the 80’s chances are you saw a John Hughes film. If you haven’t, you are missing out! “Pretty in Pink” was one of my favorites! Check them out…you won’t be disappointed and I can’t think of one that isn’t “kid friendly.”

Which brings me to pink…a color I have always loved but have never really used in my home decor. I must have gotten a “pink bug” because all of a sudden I can’t seem to get enough of it….and since next week is Valentine’s Day, this is a great time to infuse a little pink into my home decor under the guise of “decorating for the holiday.”

I found this little bench in 410 Vintage…the tag said it is walnut but I really think it is mahogany. I used this process to refinish the frame and recovered the seat with the same pink velvet I used for the club chair pillow (makeover here).

Several years ago I refinished a little piano bench to set by the closet so I would have a place to sit and put my shoes on.

In one of my “purging” marathons I moved it out but in all honesty I kinda missed it…so this little bench is a perfect little replacement!

I love my office…a simple room that is really multi purpose…a “thoroughfare” from the living spaces to the master bedroom, a “dressing room,” and of course, an office.

I featured the desk here.

I have seen a few desks over the years that peaked my interest but I still love this desk…it is perfect! Prime example of “buy what you TRULY LOVE and you will never tire of it!”

My office chair looks a lot like a Marcel Gascoin C-chair….I can’t find a picture of this exact chair so I don’t know for certain! Again, I don’t buy pieces like this for their potential value…but because I LOVE them.

I bought it years ago and share it’s little makeover here. Again, still love it!

I have replaced the dresser several times over the years but I LOVE this one! Shared the makeover here and while I loved the dresser that was here before, this one is MORE better!

The little bookcase…just adorbs!

I digress…off to the living room … I found the cutest pink pillows…

…and a yummy smelling pink candle!

The little white pillow was kind of plain so I decided to add some cute pink pom-poms I made out of “furry” yarn. I just tacked them on so they can easily be taken off when I tire of the pink.

The pink pillows will go well with the little bit of Easter decorating I do!

While digging around TJMaxx for pink pillows and candles I found a few other things I thought would be fun for the holiday….cute hedgehog mugs and fun little Valentine’s hand towels!

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You don’t have to (or need to) spend a lot of money dressing your home for Valentine’s Day…but it is fun to infuse a little fun and color into an otherwise “drab” time of year!

Funny…I was wearing my pink tennis shoes and a pink vest when I was buying all this pink stuff…the check out lady remarked that I sure must like my pink…lol!

Turns out, I really do! It is so dreary and “wintery” outside and the pink just seems to brighten things up a bit!

I have some leftover pink velvet from the bench makeover…just enough for a few more pink pillows! Now if I can just being myself to sew them…eck!

Traditional Christmas!

My Christmas decor changes so little from year to year I hesitate to even share. (search Christmas on this site…you’ll see what I mean!)

But every year I add one tiny element.

If you follow along you know that Brian and I travel to Colorado every year in the fall. We do our annual guided fishing trip and enjoy the fall Aspens. And every year we take a few hours to walk around Georgetown. A precious little mining town just off I-70.

Every year I try to find something a little Christmasy. It is a “tradition” I started years ago.

This year I picked up this little troll.

Too cute. I guess this year Santa trolls are the “in” thing. Again I rarely go all out with the latest “fad” but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to pick up one little piece to add to my “Colorado collection.”

This year as I set out my little collection it dawned on me that I have no idea what year I bought what. So this year I started writing on the underside of each piece the year I purchased them. Not important now but maybe 50 years from now it will mean something to someone.

Here are just a few pieces I have picked up over the years….

The snow birds….

I shared here the realization that I have an obsession with little birds.

The birch Santa…

I think Birch trees are the closest thing we “low landers” can get to an Aspen…I even bought a birch candle stick when I changed out the mantel decor this year…

This little guy….the older I get the less I want to hang and fluff so I love anything I can just tuck in a corner…

I didn’t actually buy this little guy…we stayed in a condo in Frisco and this was a little gift from the owners…just precious! How did they know?!

A “tradition” has to start sometime by someone! Don’t be afraid to start your own…time flies and before you know it your great-grandchildren will be reminiscing about years past at Grammy’s and how she always had Lord ? displayed in her kitchen…

The matching pajamas she gifted every Christmas eve and how she made everyone shower and primp Christmas morning for family pictures before they could open presents…

The 9’ tree adorned with priceless ornaments given to their grandparents by their great-great grandmother!

Sticking with “traditions” is the way to go for so many reasons…

1) It cuts down on the cost of the holiday. Decorating for any holiday can be expensive…especially if you change your decor every year trying to keep up with the latest “fads.”

Years ago I contemplated changing out the colors in these bannister wreaths to blue and silver…

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My daughter promptly reminded me that “gold and red” are traditional colors…she was right. I would have regretted spending a lot of money just to follow the “in” thing that year.
I ended up making a simple Christmas box with blue and silver and that pretty much fulfilled my desire to jump on the blue and silver decorwagon…

2) Your kids and grandkids won’t remember every gift you gave them but they will never forget the “traditions.” Whether it is the Christmas pajamas, a favorite dessert, the priceless ornaments. They don’t forget traditions…

3) While my “same-ole-same ole” holiday decor may seem a tad boring, decorating for the holiday is super simple since I pretty much know where everything goes and how everything is decorated, year to year. Little changes. It cuts down on the stress of holiday. I may pick up a few pillows or a knick-knack here and there if something strikes my fancy but most of it stays the same…i.e. easy and stress free.

This year I picked up a few “grey” holiday pillows for the couch…

But the guest bath is the “same-ole-same-ole.” I store a few trinkets under the vanity and pull it out…a festive candle, a little snowman, holiday hand towels, a holiday soap dispenser and a festive wreath I hang over the boxwood wreath. It takes me all of 2 minutes to “decorate” the guest bath.

4)Decorating for Christmas falls on the same day every year…without fail. The Friday after Thanksgiving. We fill the house with Christmas music, Brian heads to the storage building to pick up boxes while I take down all the fall decorations, and all day Friday and most of Saturday is spent decking the halls…and walls…and shelves. There is never a question of when we will find time to get ready for the holiday. Again, I may pick up a little something here and there throughout the season…but the bulk of it gets done that weekend.

Sticking with “traditional decor” (red, gold, green, silver) makes it easy to blend new with old if I see something that strikes my fancy!

5) I have no doubt that if the time comes when I can’t decorate my home myself, SOMEONE could step in and do it for me. Since little changes, all my kids know exactly how mom likes her mantle, the tree and her kitchen decorated. HOPEFULLY one of them will step up to the plate and take over the job if I am unable. Morbid? Maybe…but such is life…the day will come.

Keep the holiday decor simple and stick primarily with “traditional” vs. “the latest fad.”

These are my tips for enjoying this amazing season!

Decorating for fall and Mr. Jinx....

Since it is time to decorate for fall and Halloween I thought I would take a minute and formally introduce one of my “rescues.” Mr. Jinx…

All fall decors should include a black cat…right?

I shared pictures of him last year at Christmas…black cats are super tough to photograph. When I look at pictures of him I understand why black is a “slimming” color…he is WAAAAY bigger than this picture reveals. The kids say he is fat…I argue he is just big boned and really fluffy.

Half the time his little fangs are showing…he can’t help it…he has big fangs. Kinda scary looking but super cute when he is stretched out on his back asleep with his little fangs and tongue sticking out…

I have more than a few pictures of him on my Iphone!


Funny story about how I acquired this kitty. He hung around the apartments for months…I knew he wasn’t a feral kitty because he was super friendly. He would rub against your legs and then roll over for a tummy rub. He loves to have his tummy rubbed!

One day I was sitting in my car talking with my manager and mentioned that we should probably take him to the shelter since he was a super friendly and beautiful kitty and someone would certainly adopt him. About that time he jumped in my car and made himself at home on my shoulder.

What was I to do?

Naturally I couldn’t bring him straight home since I didn’t know what I would be exposing my other cats to…so I took him to my vet and had him tested for all kitty diseases. Clean. My vet thought he was about 2 years old and because of his size probably a Maine Coon.

I told the vet to neuter him and give him shots.

At that point I had a small fortune invested in this cat…so I couldn’t very well take him to the shelter.

What was I to do?

Brian was NOT happy that I brought home another cat…

So I told Brian we would foster him. I promptly named him Mr. Jinx…because, well, he’s black…and black cats are suppose to be jinxed right?

This was two weeks before Christmas so with the whole family and their dogs here and all the chaos that goes with the holidays, Mr. Jinx’s nerves kicked in.

Another visit to the vet, a few nights stay, a staggering vet bill…now I REALLY had a small fortune invested in this cat.

What was I to do?

I couldn’t very well just GIVE him away…right?

Brian was still not happy there was another cat in the house (seriously, I only have four…that isn’t TOO many, right?)

But after the holidays, calm was restored and Mr. Jinx settled in…and promptly fell as madly in love with me as I was with him.

Two years later we are still “fostering” him…truth be told, you would have to pry this cat out of my cold, dead hands.

EVERYONE loves Mr. Jinx…even the dogs. He is the coolest, most chill cat I have ever owned…and while Molly was a tough cat to top, he ranks right up there with one of the best cats EVER!

Even Brian has fallen in love with this kitty!

What was he to do…lol!

DECORATING FOR FALL!

It is really tough for me to break out the fall decor when it is still in the 90s every day. But it’s my rule…the week before we leave for our annual trip to Colorado, I decorate for fall.

HOPEFULLY, when we get home it will be a bit cooler. Rarely. Usually I have to put the jeans and Ugg boots back in the depths of the closet for a few more weeks. But the decorating is done and I can sit back and enjoy my favorite time of the year!

Not much changes from year to year…a few years ago I painted these little pumpkins and changed up the window decor…

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Refurbished pumpkins, deer antlers, fall picks…nothing fancy! Still like this little vignette so it won’t change this year!

A few weeks ago I changed out the dining room light fixture

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I love the new fixture and I love even more that I can still add the fall garland!

I’ve added a few new elements to the den mantel…a tall vase and new candle sticks….

…but the garland and Mr. Owl are still the focal points. The same but different!

The entry…usually void of much because I still haven’t “decorated” it after it’s little makeover…but it’s a great place to infuse a little fall decor…

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The seasonal box I featured here…still one of my favorite super simple projects!

I changed out a few pillows and throws….

Even grandmother’s chair got a little pop of fall…

Every year I find pieces of garland, wreaths and picks at the bottom of my storage tubs…I just scatter them here and there for little touches of fall!

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Again, little changes, but I love it all the same!

So many don’t decorate for fall because of the cost of buying “stuff.” As I have mentioned before, I usually hit the home decor stores at the end of the season (which seems to be before Halloween these days) and pick up a few things here and there for pennies on the dollar! You may not get to enjoy it for a long time this year, but you will get to enjoy it for years to come!

This is also one reason I strongly recommend sticking with “traditional” vs. “fad” seasonal decor. As much as you might love those teal pumpkin pillows and chevron throws, I promise you won’t love them in a few short years.

I actually bought teal pumpkin pillows this year…

….knowing that I will tire of them quickly. No biggy…they have good forms I know I can reuse in the future!

There is no harm in spending a little money on the latest “fads” but be selective and thrifty. Create small vignettes with the latest trends but don’t blow your entire seasonal budget on it! And check out the blogs and Pinterest…there are thousands of nifty ideas for inexpensive seasonal projects that take little time, effort or money!

Fall may not be “in the air” just yet, but it is certainly “in the house.” Maybe this year it will actually feel like fall outside when we get home!

The couch saga...

As I mentioned in this post, I custom ordered a new couch...in MAY...after MONTHS of shopping!!! (And we all know how much I hate to shop!) It was suppose to arrive in 8 weeks, but it took 10 weeks because my sales person went on vacation for two weeks and no one submitted the order. Thank goodness patience comes with age.

So it arrived in August....

I REALLY loved this couch...evident by the fact that I was patient AND I paid a small fortune for it.

HOWEVER, it had one major flaw. Because of the fabric choice, there were seams in the cushion and on the front of the couch.

One of the main reasons I special ordered an expensive couch was because I wanted the "seamless and clean" look of a single cushion. 

So for over two months I went back and forth with the store and the manufacturer. Fortunately for me, the digital "mock up" of the couch with that fabric did not show any seams...which gave me grounds to return it. But I didn't want to return it, I wanted THIS couch. It was super comfortable and the fabric was the perfect "creamy" with just a hint of "sparkle."

So I had the manufacturer send me several yards of the fabric to see if maybe I would like the fabric weave running "vertical" vs. "horizontal" which would eliminate the seams.

It only took two months to get the fabric sample. Only....

And then...hum...I just didn't know. So I went back to the store and looked at more fabric. Couldn't find one I liked so I decided to bite the bullet and have them rebuild the couch running the fabric "vertical," eliminating the seams. 

And then I waited...for over three weeks I waited THINKING the couch was on re-order. When I called to get an ETA, I was told they had not even ordered it yet.

This, my friends, is what they call "the end of my rope." 

Needless to say, I returned the couch and started over.

Which means I was not going to have a couch for the holidays. 

Several weeks before Thanksgiving I ordered a couch, "butt unfelt" (you know what I mean ladies!), that was suppose to "5 day quick ship.". While it did in fact ship in 5 days, it took the shipping company 3 weeks to deliver it. No, I did not have the couch for Thanksgiving.

The new couch? Well, I can't say I LOVE it...I love the style and have admired this couch many times online...it is the Younger "Michael" couch. A tad retro...single cushion, a tiny bit of tufting. The fabric selection was limited on the "quick ship" option so I picked a neutral fabric I could live with. Only the "standard" seat cushion was available in the "quick ship" and honestly, It's not as comfy as I would like. Again, I can't say I am madly in LOVE with the fabric and feel of the couch, but I certainly don't hate it. 

The upside is that it wasn't terribly expensive... and since I am not "in love" with this sofa, I won't feel terribly guilty about giving it to one of the kids in 5-6-7 years.

This week Christmas goes back to storage and then I tend to "hibernate" for a couple of months. It is just too cold to get much done. But I have already eyed a few projects I want to do inside...and I have a few projects I haven't shared. 

Happy New Year! Celebrate smart and stay safe!

 

 

 

Photographing pets for Christmas!

I say it every year...I am going to learn to use my grossly expensive digital camera.

But I never get around to it, so often my pictures are "less than perfect!"

I read a tutorial one time about taking pictures of your Christmas tree. Not sure I remember everything about how to do it properly, but one thing I did remember is to use my tripod. In low light situations, it is a must!

One thing I always like to do is take Christmas pictures of my pets...that seems like a near impossible thing to do since the shutter speed is slow and getting an animal to sit perfectly still is almost an impossible task! 

This year I managed to get a few half way decent pictures. My trick? Well, again, a tripod...gotta use it.

The other is to get them when they are "low energy." For my animals, that is early in the morning when they are still a bit sleepy or late at night. Since I don't function well after about 8 in the evening, I decided to try to capture them (almost literally) early in the morning.

Mr. Jinx is the toughest to photograph...but I did manage to get a fairly decent one this year....

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Getting Cleo to "sit and stay" is another challenge. She cooperated somewhat this year....

You can tell she wasn't at all thrilled with this process.

Litty the spaz cat is down right impossible...she rarely sits still. I did manage to catch a glimpse of her under the tree...

Animals and little kids...good luck!!!

The miracle chairs...

Even after years of proving I can turn just about any "trash" into a little "treasure," I think Brian still raises an eyebrow from time to time.

Such was the case with these chairs....

We went to a farm auction and these chairs had been tossed into an old barn, only to see the light of day when the auctioneer dug them out and sold them...to me!

What would possess me? They were literally caked with nastiness and two were in pieces. But I saw the potential (and of course the old mud dauber nests and spiders and bugs!). 

Rarely will I take a hose to a piece of wood furniture...but I had no choice. Even then I had to scrub them with a strong detergent and steel wool.

Then I pulled nails, scraped old glue, cut out broken spindles and removed splintered veneer.

Then I had to clamp and glue everything back together. One chair was missing a side apron so I cut a new one and secured it in place with glue and my Kreg jig! 

My original plan was to prime and paint them. They still had a few rough spots and I knew I wouldn't get a pristine finish I would be happy with so I decided to do a chalk paint and distress finish on them! Always a good choice for a piece that has a few "boo-boos!" 

I think the boo-boos and the distressed finish give the chairs "aged character." After recovering the seats on the two Duncan Phyfe style chairs and making a new seat for the other, I think they turned out pretty sweet.

My plan is to stage them with this trestle table I will be taking into 410 Vintage this week, just in time for the holidays! 

Just in time for Brian and me to take our annual trek to Colorado! I can't wait...two days of fly fishing, several days of sight-seeing and maybe even a day of gambling in Central City! The forecast shows the temps in the 50s and 60s so I will be packing my coat and Uggs! One thing is for sure, I always come home recharged and ready to enjoy my favorite season

I made a few changes to my fall decorating this year...one being these little pumpkins...

I added a few silk sunflowers, a fall garland, fall picks and deer antlers (yes, my kids killed them....ick!).

Not sure I am loving this little vignette but I have a few more months to make changes and additions!

 

Updating fall pumpkins!

It is no secret that fall is my absolute favorite time of the year! I love the Christmas season, but I adore fall and by the time I finish my fall decorating, it pretty much looks like fall puked in my house!

As I mentioned (here) several years ago, I have considered transitioning to the "farmhouse" style fall decor...whites, blues, grays....more of a neutral pallet. But I just can't seem to move away from the "traditional" colors of fall....reds, oranges, yellow. 

After years of exposure, a few of my pumpkins have started to fade and look pretty tired and worn. These pumpkins sit on top of the bookcase in the front room window. 

I know...this picture is crud! But the glare is brutal especially with my limited photography skills!

Pretty gnarly looking!

It is way too early to start decorating for fall but this year I decided to make a significant change to the front window decor.

The little scarecrows were sold in a garage sale last year. The pumpkins could probably be tossed, but I decided to give them a little facelift and start SLOWLY making a move to a neutral color pallet for the season. Okay, so I'm probably not going to give up on my reds and oranges but it won't hurt me to change a few vignettes. 

This is a prime example of "oh, what the heck"....they were toast so what is the worst that can happen...I don't like them and I toss them anyway! 

First, I had to make a trip to the storage building and dig out the box with these ratty little pumpkins.

They are not ceramic or wood like these...just cheap little foam pumpkins. (I use to store all my seasonal decor in the attic but last year we rented a storage building so we didn't have to kill ourselves climbing up and down the attic stairs.)

Next, paint colors. I decided to go with off-white, teal and grey. 

I couldn't find a gray spray paint I liked so I bought one of the little sample pots of light gray.

I removed all the little stems and stuck them in the styrofoam.

Most of the stems had come loose and needed to be hot glued anyway, so no biggy to remove them. I painted them gray, then "dry brushed" some brown on them to give them a "stem look." 

I split them up based on size and painted them the three different colors. 

After paint, I decided they still needed a little "something." On the teal, I dry brushed the grey in the grooves of the pumpkin, on the grey I used white and on the off-white I used the brown. I just watered down the accent colors, lightly brushed it on, then randomly wiped it off with a damp cloth. The accent colors gave the pumpkins some depth and a more realistic look. 

I used hot glue to reattach the little stems.

Cute as a bugs ear and they will be perfect for decorating the window this year. I may add some silk hydrangea blooms! I'll try to remember to share when I get them all staged and pretty!

Pinterest is chalked full of fall vignette inspiration so I have no doubt I will be able to pull together a cute vignette using these little guys!

Before you toss a ratty old decor piece think about giving it a simple little facelift.

But again, it is still too early for fall! I usually decorate right before we make our annual trek to Colorado but this year we leave a little earlier so I may wait until we get home. Who know...the mood may strike the first time I pull on my Uggs! 

But when the mood does strike, these little guys will be ready to go! It may be too early to decorate but it is never too early to start preparing!!!

Super simple DIY wall decor....

As I look around at my wall decor, I realize that MOST of it is thrift store, garage sale, vintage market pieces that I have collected and "upscaled" at some point in time.

Here I shared a quick update to my little gallery wall of favorite family photos....

Simple, inexpensive frames spray painted and new matting. I didn't even have expensive "custom" mats made...I cut bulk matting to fit the frame and then mounted the pictures on top of it!

I spent a fortune on these dining pictures 17 years ago and in my quest to transition from "dark and dank" to "light and bright" I gave them a little make-over....

I did spend a little more on custom matting, but I chalk painted the frames and deconstructed and changed it all out myself. A tad more expensive but faaaaar less expensive then going out and buying new matted pictures! You can pick up frames like these for pennies at thrift stores! Maybe the picture is ugly and the frame is "dated" but it really is a simple little DIY project that can make a huge impact! 

This super cool mid century dresser mirror was another DIY project I shared here

I love the fact that I can change out the wreath for the holiday seasons...I have one for fall (pictured) and Christmas, a Valentine's wreath and a cool little metal thing for the 4th of July! For "off-season" I have a simple boxwood wreath!

Now this is where I admit that I am a bad blogger....because AGAIN I failed to take any "before" pictures. So close your eyes and imagine...inexpensive little brown frames with pictures of a goose...or something stupid like that.

Again, a little KTSP treatment, a tiny bit of spray paint, a little inspirational quote printed on stock paper and PRESTO....

When I was at an auction last week I picked up two unfinished oak cabinet doors. Here I shared how easy it is to turn them into cute little chalkboards...perfect for a kitchen, mud room or the kid's room! 

Chalkpaint, chalkboard paint, a little cup pull to hold the chalk and again, PRESTO! 

(I even painted the cabinet doors in my garage with chalkboard paint so I have a place to write down supplies I need to pick up or projects I need to work on!)

My point? If you don't like your wall decor,  change it! Paint it, change out the mats, change out the picture. 

Make it pretty! Cuz life is too short to live with ugly wall decor! 

Making the holidays a tad easier...

"Its the most wonderful time of the year!!!" It is, but man, can it put a strain on our bodies, time and finances! 

Over the years I have found a few ways to make my holiday season just a tad easier and economical.

Today I want to share a few of those things....

LIGHT REMOTE

I bought mine at Lowe's....

This nifty little gadget allows you to turn on your indoor Christmas decor with the touch of a button. I have one on my big tree, one on my small tree in the den and one on the big wreath and trees in the den. Just plug anything into this outlet, plug it into the wall and punch a button...on or off...simple as it sounds!

TIMERS

Definite must-have for outdoor lighting! No more going out into the cold and unplugging the lights before you go to bed...or worse, FORGETTING to unplug the lights! I set my timers to 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. and know that my lights will automatically turn on and off! (Most home improvement stores carry them!)

STAR SHOWERS

These were pretty much out of necessity. Brian has been the official "outdoor light" guy for 16 years...but a few years ago he fell off the ladder and last year he had a hernia. So I had to find a way to light up the outdoors without killing him. Hence the Star Showers! One...mehhhh. Two...so-so....but two on the house and four pointed at the tall pine trees....WOW!!!! Beautiful. I almost don't miss all the colored and icicle lights...almost!

I bought mine at Bed, Bath and Beyond and I have seen them advertised online and on TV.

WRAPPING TABLE

Again, out of necessity. I'm too OCD to leave wrapping stuff strung out on my dining table for the entire season...and sitting on the floor wrapping presents for hours on end was more than my knees and back could handle. So now I set up this little table in my room and load up my wire baskets with paper, bows and boxes. Not only do I have a perfect spot for wrapping, I have the perfect place to stack gifts that need wrapping. Pens, scissors, labels and the tape dispenser are always at my finger tips!

WIRED RIBBON

I love this stuff...it makes beautiful simple bows for packages but the great thing is you can reuse it year after year. Just roll them up after all the gifts are open, thrown them in a box and you will have beautiful ribbon next year! Pretty and economical! 

STORAGE UNIT

This one is new for us this year. I have always stored my holiday decor in the attic. But as you get older, climbing up and down the rickety attic stairs with bulky boxes gets a little dicey. When Brian moved this year, we decided to get a storage unit big enough to hold some of his stuff and ALL our seasonal decor...both fall and Christmas. And there is A LOT! Yes, it is kind of a pain to have to go get the boxes and then take the empty boxes back, then go get the empty boxes, and then take them back. But honestly, it is easier than hauling it all in and out of the attic...and far safer! 

HEIRLOOM ORNAMENTS

I've shared this before...and it bares repeating...it is never too late to start a "tradition." When my oldest daughter was a baby my mother started giving her several special ornaments every year. She continued this "tradition" for all my children, who are now 35, 28, 27 and 19...2-3 ornaments times all those years! You can imagine how many I now have. My oldest daughter now has all her and her children's ornaments and they fill her tree. I still have the boys' and my youngest daughter's and will keep them until they have their own Christmas tree. Each ornament has some meaning...the year they went skiing, their first deer, high school and college graduations, glass ornaments created from the ash of Mr. St. Helen's...so many ornaments... enough to completely cover a 9' tree. I don't need ribbon or balls or "fillers"...I have a tree full of memories, each ornament marking a milestone or special time in our lives! Priceless...and beautiful! 

 

These are just a few little things that have made our holiday season a tad easier...and economical...and safer! 

Enjoy the season!