I'm going nuts....and bolts!

As I mentioned in my last post, I "volunteered" to decorate a mini-tree for the Festival of Trees this year. I was sort of sad to not be involved as much as I have been the past three years, so I was a teensy bit excited when I was asked to help---even if it was only in a very small way. It benefits such a good cause and it's fun to be creative. What a perfect combination!

My theme was "Hardware Holiday" . Everything on the tree (with exception to the lights and the styrofoam balls) were purchased at my local ACE hardware store. In addition, I found an antique metal tool box at a cute ETSY shop that I used to display the tree in.

I would have done some things differently (as usual) and I wish the little wire mesh "snowflakes" that I made were more visible, but all in all, I was pleased with the result. Here are some pictures:

Up Close of the glittered wrenches, nail ornaments, wire mesh snowflakes and washer/copper wire garland:
Making the nail ornaments:
(AKA the "glitter storm")
Finished Product:

In addition to the tree, I made a small number of baked goods for the bake sale portion of the Festival.
Mint-Chocolate Whoopie Pies:
Self Explanatory.... :)

It was super fun and always an honor to help out. It was a fantastic "kick-off" for my Holiday Season. Truly, the most wonderful time of the year!! Busy, but wonderful! ;)


Forgotten Things

If you blog, you probably think about things to blog about all the time. At least I do! My biggest problems are twofold. 1) I forgot to write these moments down and 2) even if I do write them down, by the time I get around to blogging about it, the moment has passed and become irrelevant and/or out of date so I feel silly even bringing it up. It really drive me insane. But, unfortunately, blogging is wayyyy down low on the list---even though I really want to document these things, if for no one else, for myself! SO I need to make myself do it, even if I am months behind. Speaking of which, check the other blog soon for pumpkin patch and Halloween with the girlies!

On that note, I will briefly discuss a few things I have been up to lately.

A couple months ago, JaNae, the cute sister of the equally cute girl from this post , asked me to do her hair and make-up for her wedding. I was totally honored! She even let me make her a hair comb using the same fabric as her dress. It was really fun to do, even if I was feeling deathly ill and had to wear a surgical mask the whole time. Totally embarrassing, but I didn't want to get the bride sick for her honeymoon! That would be so terrible!! But forever and ever I will be "the weird make-up and hair girl in the mask" in her wedding pictures, no matter how much I protested and tried to move out of the camera's view. As if I had SARS or something.
LEGEN----wait for it-------------------DARY.

Avery modeling the flower comb. I used left over fabric from JaNae's dress to make the flowers.
Basic instructions: cut various sized circles, gently heat over flame to 'curl' edges, sew together, add bling in the center and glitter to the edges then glue to comb. Easy Peasy.

Hair done, make-up almost done. I don't know why I didn't take a final pic with her in the dress. I blame the "Utah Flu" discussed in this post.
(I stole this from Facebook) :)
Then, in October, I threw my first "grown up" party. I know that sounds sad, but it's true. I was 12 the last time I had one. I mean, I've had dinner parties or football viewing parties, that sort of thing. But I'm talking the kind where you send out invitations and have take-home favors, etc. etc. The works, grown-up style. This shindig was for the teachers and other volunteers in the children's Sunday School at my church (called Primary). I couldn't have done it without the help of four special ladies, my mom included--who happened to be visiting that week! It was our way of thanking them for the hard work and time they put in to caring for and teaching the children. I'm sure it's a relatively thankless job. We wanted them to know they are loved and valued!!

We did it the Wednesday before Halloween and OF COURSE I had to throw it SPOOKY style! :) I didn't want it to be "typical" Halloween orange and black with pumpkins and candy corn so I kept a more sophisticated color scheme of black and white with metallic accents of gold and silver. I ran out of time to really decorate as thoroughly as I wanted. Oh well. You can only do so much. And I think we all had a great time and that's what matters after all! Sadly, I didn't have the time to take nice pictures of it all set up, but I did get some bad cell phone pictures halfway through the party. I apologize for the poor quality. Usually my cell takes better pictures than this, but it's been giving me troubles lately. Oh well.

The Invites:

::The Menu::

-Black Corn Chips and Ghoulosh-
(chips and guacamole)

-Spooky Salad with Rotten Dressing-
(Romaine with orange sweet peppers, goat cheese and black colored vinaigrette)
btw this turned every one's teeth greenish purple for a bit.... :/ oops. Happy Halloween! lol) -Garlic Bones-
(bone shaped breadsticks--total experiment that actually worked out!!)

-Frog Eye Salad-
(Acini de Pepe pasta salad with fruit tossed in cool whip and dry pudding mix)

-Black Bean Croak-ettes-
(Vegetarian meatballs using black beans; breaded and baked) Menu Items Not Pictured:

-Monster Claws-
(breaded and baked chicken strips with triangle shaped peppers for claws)
-Slime Ricky's-
{flanked by two small cauldrons of dry ice...that fizzled way too quickly}
(sprite with grape juice and a hint of lime juice with frozen peeled grapes floating like eyeballs)

The sad, pathetic tables.
There were supposed to be candles and metallic garlands woven throughout.
*sighs* I spray painted these big gorgeous pumpkins with chrome spraypaint and rubbed on some gold colored Rub'n Buff on the stem and in some of the pumpkin creases. People didn't think they were real!

The Guests of Honor:

::Desserts and Favors::

-Brownie Ghost Pops-
(brownie balls dipped in white chocolate; black sparkle gel for faces) -Witches Hats-

(Chocolate painted ice cream cones filled with chocolate cake and chocolate mousse atop a homemade chocolate wafer cookie)

-Vampire Bite Cookies-
(pumpkin cookies with brown butter frosting and red frosting 'bites')
They were given these adorable little cellophane goodie bags they could load up with whatever they wanted to take home.

Aren't they cute?? It was a fun evening. I hope we can do it a couple of times a year!

Then, my friend Stephanie was looking for a new hair-do and, like me, has issues with forking over the $$$ to get her hair done professionally. I mean, I know that it takes years of practice to be a great hairstylist and some of them ARE worth the money. But I NEVER get out of a salon under $100. EVER. Granted, I have a ton of long, thick hair, so I get charged more. (Which is another rip off for another day....). Anyhoo---long story short I offered to trim her hair and throw in some color....with the caveat that I'm so NOT a professional and that the outcome could be less than desirable. She was brave and accepted! :) We shopped for color and I gave her a trim with some layers and some new bangs.

While I snipped, we watched one of my all-time favorite movies, 'Mickey Blue Eyes'.

If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. It's silly and goofy and I find Hugh Grant absolutely hilarious. His understated, witty and satirical humor is right up my alley. Go watch it. It was Steph's first time seeing it and I *think* she liked it...?

Anyway, her hair turned out really cute. We did baliage style streaks of a darker raspberry color. It was subtle on her dark brown hair, but added some dimension and shine. I really liked it. And I'm pretty sure she does too. That makes me smile! :D

:Future Projects:
I recently bought a rug for my front entry (finally!!! before the rain comes!). I am going to get my dresser painted and set up so I can finally get that crud organized. I really need a good place for my purses. Oh yeah, and the mail.....
I also ordered my fabric to make the valances for the windows in the dining room and playroom (that I started a year ago...).
Slowly but surely, the house is all coming together. :)
And in a week or so it will all be taken apart again to decorate for Christmas.
It never ends, does it?? But I am looking forward to it. Now I just have to see how I can change it up from last year. Hmm...still thinking....
And last, but not least, I got roped into doing a little two foot tree for the Festival of Trees this year. I mean 'roped' in the nicest way possible. :) They are desperate for trees this year and I couldn't say no when she asked. It's a fun outlet for me, so it's all good. Check back for updates on that! I better start that this week!! :/ I'm thinking nuts and bolts and screws and nails......maybe... :) I am also baking something for their cake-walk. Not sure what yet, but something tasty and festive! :)
That's it for now!


::FALL-ing for you::

Truly my favorite time of year. Back to school (well, the shopping for a new wardrobe part), the perfect weather, the cozy warm color palate and---- the holidays!! I love Halloween---I would totally have a spooky haunted house for the Trick-or-Treaters every year if I could. When I became 'too old' to go door-to-door asking for candy, I always stayed at home, making the house look spooky and I loooooved scaring the little monsters. :) Except when my 'dead prom queen' costume/act made a little girl cry. That was pretty bad.... :\

Then, of course, Fall brings us Thanksgiving. Who doesn't love Thanksgiving, really? I am salivating thinking of the roasted turkey and stuffing. Great. Now I'm going to have to make a turkey for Sunday dinner..... :)

So, in honor of this lovely time of year, I have finally put up a little bit of Autumnal decor. Minimal. And it's nothing fancy-schmancy. But it's amazing how much better the house looks with a few splashes of 'Fall'. Here ya go. Enjoy! Some day I will fix all the nasty cords.....*sighs*


So it's almost October...

My last post was about the 4th of July.


I just haven't been in a blogging mood. I've taken pictures of fun meals, projects and all sorts of good blog-able things....but just haven't been able to bring myself to do it.

Life's been crazy and thrown me some curve balls....way unexpected curve balls.

I am just so overwhelmed with "tasks". The everyday variety as well as the 'extras'....like just completing the dang decor in ONE stinking room. Ugh. It's so......insurmountable it seems.

It's officially "Fall" now and my front doors are BEGGING for new wreaths. To be honest with you, I'm just not that into 'wreaths'. But I can't seem be creative enough to come up with another alternative! Grr. Plus, I'm limited to using the resources I already have. That can sort of be, well, limiting. I have boxes {yes, plural} of Fall decor. It's my favorite season and I love decorating for it because I love the warm colors, the smells, the weather is just perfect and---let's be honest---Fall decor can stay up from September-November. That = less work for moi. I just HATE to get it all down, put it out, rearrange it a thousand times to get it right and then, before you can blink, it's time to take it all down, pack it up and then begin the horrendous process of the 'Christmas Season'. It's just all too daunting right now. I can't justify it when I have things like piles of laundry waiting to be hung on hangers and put in my too-full closet.

But I truly love to look at it all nice and beautiful. I just wish I could snap and it would be done. Or maybe snap and the house would be all neat and perfect so I can enjoy decorating for the seasons. Yeah, I like that idea lots.


I apologize for the negativity that is this post. Just feeling really overwhelmed and I guess out of sorts.

And I'm practicing avoidance by blogging and watching Pollyanna while eating peanut M&M's. Yay me.

As soon as I can get my act together to actually complete a project, I will post. I swear. ;)


**Happy Birf-Day 'Merica!**

So, of COURSE we had to have cake for America's birthday!
After all, what's a birthday without cake??
Sad. That's what.
Here's one of my daughters, Ashleigh, blowing out the candles:
(four for "The 4th of July")
All red-white-and-blue starry-ness.
(taken the next day so it had bled a little...)

Here's the inside.
What does it look like??

(honestly, I can't believe it worked...especially since I had to improvise)
Yummy in our tummies.

I'm sure everyone and their dog made this cake after seeing it here on this cute blog.

I was tired of the strawberries and blueberries flag cake but I still wanted to make something festive so when I saw this one, I knew I had to try it.

It took a good 3 hours from start to finish (I didn't freeze it overnight, but that would have helped with the frosting part).
I also didn't have the round cookie cutters or an extra bottle of blue food coloring gel, so I made a tube out of waxed paper and used about 20-30 drops of liquid food dye. As you can see, it worked out alright.
Instead of doing circles on the outside (which I think is adorable!!) I used a star cookie cutter. It was a challenge to get the dye on the edges, but it did the trick. Next time I will do more stars because there are a lot of 'voids', but we were in a hurry and wanted our CAKE! :)
Instead of cream cheese frosting, I did a basic buttercream. Also, I used too much frosting in-between the layers (trying to remedy my bad batter leveling skills) so I wasn't left with much to play with out the outside. Oh well, you live and learn. It tasted great, anyway!!

I hope you try it next year! Thanks for the inspiration!

Stars and Stripes FOREVER!



Just thought I'd pass along the current GUESS? sale info. Extra 50% off sale items and free shipping on $100 orders with code freeship100.

I'm just a GUESS? window shopper because of a few reasons, some of which are: their stuff is a bit pricey, I can't really fit into any of their pants comfortably (hello? have you seen their models??) and most of it would have to be altered in some way to make them wearable for me. And that's just a lot of work. But I decided to window shop for a minute and fill up my shopping cart for fun. Look at what I found:
The BLAKE jumpsuit. 100% silk and originally $118. On SALE for $50!

Fabulous Pewter Leather with Wood Platform and Stud details.
Regularly $99. On SALE for $32!
If you are looking for jewelry, there is a bunch of different styles on sale as well. I found several necklaces for around $11! That's really inexpensive for unique and cool fashion jewelry.
Just add your items to the cart to see the final discounted price. Happy shopping!


I'm Sick

There is no other way to describe it....I have a sickness.

I have..............

a shoe addiction.

There. It's out there.

I don't think I could ever have too many shoes. And I realize that is a sickness. Sadly, it's one I don't really want to recover from. And I think that may be the worst part. :/

When I saw both of the following shoes, I literally had a visceral and audible reaction:

Out-loud gasp.
Fan-FLIPPING-tastic right??? And these are just a small, small, smaaaaallllll sample of the many different styles and shoes I.......I guess the correct term is "web-stalk"?
I'm coining the phrase now, FYI. ;)

Now, that doesn't mean I buy these shoes. It just means I drool over them and fantasize about wearing them and putting together imaginary outfits with them (occasionally checking to see if my size is still in stock.....just in case I win the lottery. OCD, I know.) These shoes are actually pretty inexpensive on the 'expensive shoe scale'. All well under $200. But my acceptable shoe price is under $50. Preferably under $20. Sadly, it's difficult to fall in love with shoes that are under $20. It happens, but it's rare. Take a look at these Tar-jay beauties:

I'm not falling over dead, but not bad, right?? They remind me a little of ballroom dance shoes, but with a little platform and some of the ruffle trend that is just humongous right now. I think they are SUPER cute and would look good on anyone's feet. The best part?? They are only $19.99! I'm not going to buy them, but any of you are welcome to go out at getcha some.

BUT, for now, I will just settle for window lusting-er-I mean--shopping. And I'll enjoy it.


*Entryway Project #1* -Light Fixture- (and entry prep!)

Our front entryway is not very big. Not tiny, but not huge. The ceiling is pretty low so that makes it feel smaller. Before we remodeled, the doors were dark brown with that amber colored textured glass that was popular in the 60's and 70's. Like this: The walls were covered in a country blue and mauve floral patterned wallpaper (that was applied DIRECTLY to the sheet rock...) and the floors were done in a sort of terracotta colored tile that was pretty badly cracked:
Prep work:
We started the project by trying to strip the wallpaper. I tried scoring, steaming, natural AND chemical strippers to no avail. In the process, I tore good portions of the drywall paper completely off. We realized this wallpaper was NOT coming off and moved on to plan b. After MUCH research, we decided to texture OVER the wallpaper (which continued all the way down the hallway, btw) and then we'd get to paint. I know that sounds crazy and exactly opposite of what all the "experts" tell you, but it was our only (well, cheapest) option. Albeit, time consuming. So we used tons of drywall compound to level out the part of the wall where the drywall had torn off to the rest of the wall, applied it over every seam, then sanded and reapplied...then sanded and reapplied again. My dad was a huge help with the process. Once all seams were covered well, not visible at all and the walls felt smooth, we primed the entire surface with an oil based primer to "seal" the paper and prevent it from lifting. We had some friends help with this part. (Sorry about the splattered arms for a few days. I hate oil based paint for the poor clean-up factor.) Then we rented a hopper gun and had another friend come spray the texture on the walls. (For those of you wondering why we didn't just do a smooth surface coat---thinking it would save us time and money, not to mention be a bit more modern---parts of the house, including the ceiling and a section of wall in the living room-soon-to-become playroom that ran into what was previously wallpapered, already had the orange peel texture. you follow that?? lol) We smoothed out the compound and made it match the previously textured surfaces as best we could. Primed again with a water based primer to 'seal' the texture AND THEN we were able to paint. We also sanded (and sanded...and SANDED) the front door and painted it a creamy white color and replaced the amber colored glass with a plain opaque glass. We replaced the tile with a dark hickory wide plank laminate wood floor (all the way down the hallway and into the master bedroom, as well as in the dining room, kitchen and family rooms.) Bad photo, but much improved:
Now for the first of many "projects" to complete this area:
-Light Fixture-
The light fixture that was up before, was a dated brass and glass thing, and I felt, was too tiny for the space, even though the space isn't very large. (see above photo. tiny!!)

I want the entry way to have a more glamorous and 'grand' feel to it. I want it to be welcoming and set the tone for the rest of the house. Since the ceiling is low, I knew I couldn't do a chandelier. Nothing says "welcome!" like a light fixture to the noggin, right? Yeah, not so much. But all of the "flush mount" fixtures I found were dated, too expensive, or too flashy. But mostly they were just UGLY. My budget is super small. I can't even tell you how small. But free would be reeeeaaaallly close. :) So I brainstormed. I had (what I thought was) a brilliant idea. I would use the existing fixture part, but remove the dated glass cover and replace it with the IKEA stockholm bowl for $29:However, the dimensions were a little off and after thinking it over (for nearly a year and one price drop later!!) I decided it was cool, but not for me. That, and there wasn't an opening in the dead center of the bowl and I thought it would be too thick for my puny drill to try and put a new hole through. Anyways, instead of wasting the money to buy it and have it not work, I had to come up with another solution because that money could be used elsewhere. So, I stuck with the same general idea and was on the lookout for more bowls! You know the kind----everyone and their dog has a version of one holding those decorative organic-covered sphere things (moss, boxwood leaves, pine cones, bark covered and etc.etc.) but they were always too expensive or not quite the right look; i.e. too rustic or too deep or shallow to fit my existing fixture, etc. I found one at Joanns (using a 50% off coupon AND the extra 20% off total purchase coupon that runs once in a blue moon) that was interesting. I could imagine spray painting it another color and dangling a few crystals from it to make a modern, but close to the ceiling chandelier. So I bought it and brought it home. I gave it a quick test run and I got it up there and fastened it with the little nut thing (descriptive, I know), it was really, really wobbly. So I put up a brass 'filler' piece from one of the other chandeliers I dismantled to make it more stable. But then it looked just like those ugly flush mount fixtures you see everywhere. I can't help but think they look like a certain female body part. Sorry, to be crass, but it's true. (I'm sure I don't need to tell you which one.) Not to mention the bowl wasn't directly flush to the ceiling and it just looked funny. I didn't take a pic of when it was up, but this is the general idea. It was worse attached to the light:

I lived with my $7 bowl light for a few weeks until I could come up with another solution. I decided that hand-making something would be my only option. I have several lampshades that were either given to me or the standard triangle shaped ones I'm trying to phase out in favor of modern round or square shaped ones. It took lots of trial and error, but after dismantling a couple and using the parts I came up with a frame for my new drum-shade! This was quite a mess:
I used scraps of foam core board for the supports (yes, that I saved....) and covered them with braids of a silver organza and silver gossamer combo, and then wrapped the frame with ivory colored tulle. (It's far enough away from the light source that fire isn't a concern). Originally, I wanted to do the braids all the way around the fixture for the shade part, but after doing just four, I realized that I wouldn't have enough scraps of fabric to do it. :( :( Plan b: I found the tulle and figure it would be light and airy and so I went with it. I would have done several layers more of tulle, but I ran out of that too!! Grr. Again, my spontaneous plans had been foiled. I would just have to 'Make it work!'
Then I carefully suspended the smaller ring in the center, and using a needle and metallic gold thread, attached the ring to the rest of the shade. It took two tries and FOR-EV-ERRRRRR to get it all done and centered. (Try 7+ hours!!) I then wrapped a few strands of a silver metallic ribbon in the center for extra effect. Not completely sold on it, but Tony really liked that part. I finished it off with a warm gold satin ribbon trim and I hung a few small crystals from the bottom and VOILA!

One flush-mount drum shade that cost me NOTHING extra. Not a dime! I made it all from materials that I already had around the house. Granted, I keep a lot of crap. It took me two days to complete (of course that's including stopping a million times to help the girls with one of a thousand pressing matters...like eating. Rude, right?) :)

I'm sorry this post is so long. I need an editor. Any offers??? Thanks for sticking around, anyway.

Also, I wouldn't mind if you left a comment/criticism. You can do so anonymously on this post, if you'd prefer. I would appreciate it greatly.