Friday, February 18, 2011

Projects teaser...

 Here's a little sneak peak at some of my upcoming projects...

These are clearly all before pictures. I have big plans for them though and, of course, the plans include some spray paint love. :)

My list of projects for after I finish my test is growing quite long...sewing, these three projects, some organizing, some artwork, some decorating, some gifts, and lots more. Time to go study so I can actually work on all these projects sometime.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I heart you...

Mr. W was out of town the day before Valentine's Day, so while he was gone I used post-it notes to make this message on his mirror.

I wrote cute little notes on the leftover post-its and left them all over the house...on the door from the garage, the microwave, the fridge, his closet door, his pillow, everywhere. Very simple, but a fun surprise for him to come home too.

We also had been needing a new wine stopper for a while, so I picked one up from Pier1 and left it on the counter with a post-it saying "Your smile can stop my heart." Awe.

We had a wonderful evening together with a delicious meal at a Brazilian steakhouse. [Yum!] Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day also!

P.S. Our walls do not actually look yellow-ish like they do in this picture. That's just my not-so-awesome photo taking skills at work again. :)

P.S. [Again] I think it's funny that you can see my peaking out from my closet where I was trying to hide from being in the mirror.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

World Market + Polyvore = Love...

I love World Market. I love Polyvore. Put them together like they did on the World Market website and it is amazing. I couldn't resist playing around and making a few "vision boards" as they call them. Actually, I couldn't resist making five. :)

Each "vision board" I made is an idea for an entryway into a house. I love homes with pretty entryways - it is just so inviting and a great way to show off the home's character the second guests walk in the door. Our entry way is currently empty. Completely empty. We even have an art niche...with no art. Hopefully, that will all change soon. :)

In the meantime, here are my five entryway "vision boards." [Click the link below each to go to Polyvore for the product details.]

A few notes about the "vision boards":
  • I want to go buy the media stand in the first board right now. I love, love, love it.
  • The five boards are posted in order of how likely they would be to end up in our house. Okay, more like how much I would like it if they were in our house. [This is primarily based on the color scheme of our house.]
  • Did you notice that there aren't any products used in more than one board? That's because I'm a crazy person who randomly gives myself rules like that. :)

Yesterday my Google Analytics malfunctioned. I truly thought it had a glitch and was making things up because it said that 83 visitors had come from Let me put the confusion into perspective for you, but be prepared for some major jealousy due to these awesome stats. Or maybe not. :) Anyways, the most visitors I have ever had in a month was 425 visitors in January. That is an average of 14 visitors a day [if I round up...], so basically the amount of visitors coming from just one site yesterday was about six normal days worth of visitors. And actually was more than the total number of visitors for some months.

See why I thought Analytics had lost it?

Also, I had never heard of because it is in Turkish and I can't understand anything it says. A quick translation search told me that the blog slogan translates to "yaratici becerileri handmade and ideas hayatinizini will colour jinn". Uh...turns out that didn't help all too much. But I do understand [and like] the words "handmade" and "ideas". :)

A little more searching and site exploring told me that the site is full of awesome crafty and DIY projects. And somehow my bench makeover was selected to be featured. Woohoo! Check it out here.

Again, I had to do a translation search to see what the site said about my bench before and after. It came back as "is with roses empty beautifully but is blue has become very chic." Somehow I get the feeling this may not be a perfect translation, but I like the "very chic" part. :) Thanks so much to for including my bench on the site - so fun!

Speaking of fun, check out these great posts I found via the site:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fabric delivery...

My big box of fabric has arrived!

Let me back up a second...For Christmas my wonderful parents gave me my first-ever sewing machine. I haven't mentioned it yet because I have forbid myself to even open the box until I finish my Certified Internal Auditor exam. I did not, however, forbid myself from buying fabric in the meantime. :)

After I take the last part of the exam in March, I will be all set to start sewing with these awesome fabrics [nevermind the fact that I don't really know how to sew yet]...

I ordered the five fabrics from for a great deal with some coupon codes. And yes, I realize there are only four above, the fifth appears to be sold out. Here's what I got:
  1. White cotton with royal blue stripes
I have plans to make napkins, placemats, pillows and other things that only require limited sewing knowledge. The zig zag fabric may not ever make it to the sewing machine though, because once it got here I came up with a new idea for it. Stay tuned to see where they all end up. :)

The summer camp feeling [and a slightly random post transition]…

Throughout college, I worked for my school newspaper [the Washburn Review]. I started at the same time as two other girls and we decided it would be fun to write a column called “The Freshmen View” to talk about our experiences as freshmen on campus. In one of the columns I wrote, I talked about my transition from living at home with my parents to living in a dorm three hours away. I compared it to feeling like I was just away at summer camp. Between classes, extracurricular activities, hanging out with friends, and everything else, it just didn’t really feel like I had moved. I was so busy that it hadn’t actually sunk in that I lived there and wasn’t just away at camp for a few weeks.

Since moving to Houston [nearly six months ago now], I’ve had this same “summer camp feeling”. A few examples from the past couple of weeks:
  • When filling out a form for work, I put that I was from the Kansas City office…oops.
  • I told someone that I have only ever eaten at the Grand Lux CafĂ© when I was out of town. This was the day after I ate lunch there in Houston.
  • When a friend asked me how long it took for our new house to really feel like it was ours, my response was that the house felt like ours pretty quickly. But that it still feels weird that the house is in Texas.
Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely loving living here - it is just taking me a while to realize that we live 13 hours [approximately 800 miles] away from the place we had always called home. It still feels more like we are just here at summer camp for a while.

But one clear sign that Houston is becoming more like home was how excited I got that an amazing new e-zine was founded by someone from my cityMy city being Houston. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you need to go read the premier issue of High Gloss right away. It is amazing. All 181 pages are packed with great style tips, beautiful home decor inspiration, fun party ideas, gorgeous photos, interesting articles, and just all around incredible-ness. My favorite articles were:
  • Modern Makeover
  • Putting on the Glitz
  • Striking a Balance
  • Valentine’s in the Valley
  • La Vie en Roses

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Baseball gallery wall...

Baseball gallery wall = DONE! Yay! :)

In laying out the pattern for the wall, I had a pretty good methodology. I started in the middle with the biggest piece that we wanted to be the main focus. From there, I put the other pictures in order of largest to smallest. I started with the largest, picked a place for it, then moved to the next. I tried to somewhat keep in mind things like not having too many horizontal [or vertical] frames in a row, the colors, etc. But the main thing I kept in mind was not to over think it, since I generally tend to be super planned out and symmetrical [which is not what we were going for].

As far as actually hanging the frames, I couldn't really decide on a good method.

I've read a bunch of places about using wrapping paper to make cut-outs of each frame to arrange on the wall first. But I also had read that the wrapping paper rolls up and is annoying. So, I thought I would use the random stack of yellow paper we have. Well, you can see how long that lasted before I got bored of doing that...

Then, I decided to just make pencil marks on the wall of where the edges and middle of the arrangement should be. That was definitely helpful but didn't really give the same effect as seeing something on the wall [teensy-tiny, little pencil dashes don't count as seeing something on the wall in my book]. So, I decided to use tape to mark out some key parts of the arrangement to make sure it looked right. It looks pretty random, but was helpful. After seeing it on the wall, I knew I wanted to move the arrangement up some from what I originally thought.

Then, I was almost ready to start actually hanging things on the wall. Again, I knew I wanted to start by hanging the big piece in the middle to anchor the arrangement. I numbered each piece to know which should go next, which was very helpful. The sides of my arrangement are in a line, so I numbered in a way that I would do those and then space the frames in the middle so that they would fit in between. It was probably especially helpful since I didn't have any real measuring going on. Sure, I knew I wanted some things three fingers apart, but I don't think that counts as real measuring. I actually think my lack of real measuring helped make it easier though, since then I wasn't worried about hanging things so they were exactly two inches apart or something like that.

Okay, enough babbling. Here's how it turned out - first, the view as you walk up the stairs...

Next, as you round the corner into the upstairs area...

And then, the view from in the rec room...

And just for fun [and because I'm very proud of it :)], here is the before and after...


Friday, February 4, 2011

Frame "shopping"...

I showed you that we have been working on a gallery wall of pictures for our rec room. The rec room is also known as the baseball room. Yep, we are really cool [and obsessed with baseball], so we have an entire room dedicated to baseball. When I last updated you on the progress, I had just laid out all of the pictures for the baseball gallery wall. Most of the pictures were already framed, but there were five things that needed frames.

So I got busy shopping...our house.

All of the pictures and art already coordinated [since it is all baseball-related] but I wanted all of the frames to also be black to help tie it together even better. Here are the results of my frame "shopping"...

The first few were pretty easy. First, there were two frames that were in the guest bedroom at our old house but weren't currently being used.

This one was used for this picture...

And that one was used for this picture...

Then, I found this frame in our office with a picture from The Today Show during our service trip to New York in college...

I'll find a different frame for that picture, because this one was the perfect size for this...

The last two were the perfect size too, but not quite the perfect look. It was nothing that a couple quick coats of black spraypaint couldn't solve though. First, I took a brown document frame from scholarly to sporty...

Then, I changed a cute, pink and black frame to a cool, black frame...

All in all, I'd say it was a very successful "shopping" trip. :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Twine vases...

I made these twine-wrapped vases over a year ago and still love them. The problem is...I just can't seem to find a good home for them in our new home. In our first house they had a happy little home on top of the bookshelf by the front door. Their contents changed, but they were always there:

First, they had plain sticks from our yard. Then, I gave the sticks a quick coat of silvery spraypaint to give them some winter-ish shimmer. Then, the sticks were replaced by some cheery, Spring-y flowers.

I actually think that the only time they moved from their spot by the door was when I filled them with clippings from our bushes to be used in the decor for the couples' shower we hosted last Spring. But in our new house, there is no bookcase by the door for them to live on. [In my dream world, I'm going to find an awesome - yet very inexpensive - console table to refinish for our new entryway, but that might be a while.]

Currently, the vases are on the built-in shelves in our sitting room. The problem is the shelves are too low to really put anything in the vases. Kind of awkward. I also tried them on a side table in the living room, but they looked too bare there. Also, kind of awkward. I'm thinking that next I am going to move them upstairs to the guest bedroom - oddly, they would probably go on the same bookcase they were on in our first house. I have some fun DIY ideas for that room that hopefully I'll be tackling in the next few months - and the twine vases will fit in perfectly. :)

White, gray and blue table setting...

As I showed you, our rec room upstairs is currently in a state of disaster. It looks like a hurricane blew through it and now the flooding from the storm is reaching neighboring areas. Which in this case means that the boxes, tubs, pictures and baseball paraphernalia are temporarily taking over other rooms too...the guest bedroom, office, stairs and garage. Awesome.

But there is one area of our home that I can always count on to be clean, orderly and pretty – our table. And as much as I always love a pretty table setting, I love it even more when other areas are temporarily in need of disaster recovery. :)

So, let’s take a look at our current table setting…

This table setting was done using entirely things I already owned…or was recently gifted. :) [The blue placemats were a Christmas gift from my in-laws - thanks again!] The rest of the items are frequent players in my table settings, such the candle holders used in our Christmas table, and the trifle dish* used here.

This time I changed up the trifle dish filler [from my go-to cork collection] and used clear glass marbles. I love the way they shimmer a little in the light and almost look like water or ice. I also like that once again there are items from our wedding used in the table setting – including the trifle dish, the glass marbles and candles. Even the candle holders were a wedding gift. Looking at the pretty table, especially with the wedding memories, makes me smile every time…even if other parts of the house are chaotic.

*I think it’s funny that the trifle dish has never been used for a trifle. Actually, the only times it has ever even been used for food were to hold candy at our wedding and fruit kabobs at a couples’ shower. But this berry trifle recipe looks really good, so I may have to try it out soon. :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Home goals | Progress update...

It’s hard to believe we are already [more than] a month into 2011. And perhaps even harder to believe, we have already made progress towards our 2011 home goals. Yay!

So, I thought I would give a little progress update:

Laundry – I am doing surprisingly well at keeping my closet picked up all the time. It is amazing how if you just hang things back up one at a time, it is a lot quicker than trying to deal with a giant pile of who knows what. :) I also have a new routine for “laundry Sundays” that is working out very well*. I do laundry throughout the day on Sunday while we hang out, do stuff around the house, work, whatever. And then I fold it all Sunday evening while I watch Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters. I have even managed to plan ahead to still do laundry once a week if I won’t be home on Laundry Sunday. So far, so good.

Kitchen – I can’t take much any credit for this one, but Mr. W is doing awesome at keeping our kitchen looking great all the time. I can’t even explain how lucky, spoiled, blessed, and thankful I am for all he does. He does 99% of the grocery shopping, cooking, and kitchen-cleaning. Seriously, he is amazing.

Rec Room – We are well underway making some major progress up there. We are currently in the state where it looks like we have made no progress, or even negative progress…

But so far we have:
  • Purchased and assembled the futon
  • Finally assembled our boxing stand
  • Started going through the bazillion boxes and tubs of baseball stuff
  • Moved the TV and TV stand upstairs from the family room
  • Started to mount the TV on the wall [in doing this, Mr. W is definitely getting to use some cool tools, which was another one of our home goals]
  • Started a pile of Goodwill donations
  • Started to determine where things will be hung, including this future gallery wall of pictures…

On our to-do list before Sunday:
  • Finish mounting the TV
  • Actually hang things on the wall [also gets double-points on our home goals – put more stuff on the walls and work on rec room]
  • Secure the bookcase to the wall and start accessorizing it
  • Move the bazillion boxes and tubs out of the way to make the room presentable until we have time to finish it
Hosting more people – On Sunday, we are having a small SuperBowl party at our house. So I need to stop writing this post and get to work - nothing like a deadline to get you motivated. :)

*I did have one slight laundry mishap during the month…Mr. W was sorting through [what I thought was] a big pile of shirts to help me with the laundry. Being the sweet wife that I am, I told him not to worry about it and I would separate out the dress shirts that needed dry cleaning. He happily agreed and just asked me to make sure to pull out the Nautica’s. I finished the sorting without finding the so-called Nautica shirts he was talking about…umm, because he was talking about the three pairs of dry-clean only Nautica pants that I washed. Woops. But with my mad ironing skills [or something like that], I was able to make them look normal again [I think].

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gifts | stationary sets

This is the last installment of the wrap-up of my homemade Christmas gifts. Well, not quite. There are two homemade gifts that I have yet to I can't post about them yet.

Anyways, this was one of my favorite gifts I made this year, because not only do I really like how it turned out, but also since it was perfect for the recipient. My sister loves sending hand-written cards [and I love receiving them], so I made her eight different styles of cards. I am always impressed by how often my sister takes the time to write and send cards. She sends cards for all holidays, including Christmas, birthdays, Halloween, Valentine's Day, etc. [And the cards are always on time, which is extra impressive to me, since I can never seem to send cards on time.] She is also great about sending thank you cards, cards with pictures of my cutie nephew, cards to just say hi, and anything else you can imagine.

When I was cleaning out my old room at my parents' house a few months ago [fun, fun], I found a entire stack of cards, notes and letters my sister sent me while I was in college. When I say stack, I seriously mean a stack that was at least four inches high. Isn't that so sweet? And anybody that sweet deserves some personalized cards to send. :)

The letters and designs were all made using my Cricut. The cards include her first and last initial, thank you's, and just fun designs that can be used for anything.

I punched circles from each of the papers and ran them through my sticker machine for her to use as coordinating envelope seals. I also made stickers out of more K and D cut-outs so she can further embellish the cards or envelopes. I wrapped the cards, envelopes, stickers, an address rubber stamp, and some matching pens all up in a pretty box - that way everything she needs to send a cute card is all together and ready to go. :)

[I linked up to the DIY Project Parade and Lovely Crafty Home - check them out for some DIY, crafty awesomeness.]

Monday, January 24, 2011

Gifts | bulletin and magnet board...

I made customized this bulletin / magnetic board for my precious little nephew's first Christmas. I painted the cork board on the left side with orange craft paint, so it would be a little more exciting looking and match his nursery. [I also painted the push pins, because once I start painting I just don't stop.] Also, the gift will totally grow with him, because I'm sure as his room evolves over the years, there will always be plenty of Longhorn's orange around. :)

The cute little wooden jungle animals were originally from his baby shower - I just glued some magnets on the back. The animals make me smile every time I see them, not only because they are so cute, but also from the memory of when we bought them. At one point while my sister was pregnant, I was shopping with my parents at Jo-Ann's and we must have been hilarious to listen to - literally, every aisle we walked into, at least one of us found something the baby would have to have. Everything from fabric, to stickers, to books, to stuffed animals, to little wood animals - we wanted to get him everything. We were probably the most excited, proudest family to ever shop the aisles of Jo-Ann's. :)

And in true, proudest-aunt-ever fashion, here is the adorable little guy with his first snowman...

Friday, January 21, 2011

Gifts | fun frosted flower-holders for family...

Are you impressed by my awesome alliteration in the post title? No? Sorry, I just get super excited when I get to use my frosted glass spraypaint. :)

I made these vases [three of the bazillion vases from our wedding] for my sister using simple techniques with my favorite frosted glass spraypaint. Seriously, it is so fun. And there are so many ways you can use it to personalize things around your home or as gifts. I also used it to make these Longhorns glasses.

But back to the vases [aka fun frosted flower-holders]. Here's the lowdown on each of them...

Left: Wrap painters tape [masking tape works too] around the vase in straight lines. Or you could do diagonal lines for more of a candy cane effect. Give the vase a few light coats of frosted glass spraypaint and then remove the tape carefully.

Center: Do not spray with any spraypaint. Clearly. :)

Right: Put circle-shaped stickers on the vase in your desired design. Give the vase a few light coats of frosted glass spraypaint and then remove the stickers carefully. For these vases, I used silly "You're #1" stickers from the dollar store and they worked perfectly. I have also tried nice scrapbooking stickers that I got on sale and they did not work at all. They were much too high of quality and stuck too well. This is definitely a time when cheaper, less sticky, stickers are better. :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Gifts | paw necklace...

So, have you ever seen anything cuter than this picture?

It's Mr. W's little sister and their family dog, Goldie. Incredibly sweet, huh? His sister is a huge animal lover and especially loves Goldie, who just joined their family last summer. For Christmas, I made her this little paw necklace using a chain from Michaels and a cute black paw charm from Hobby Lobby. I like how it is very simple but totally fits her personality. :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gifts | desk calendar...

I made this calendar for Mr. W this year using a simple template I created in PowerPoint [I clearly have a strange obsession with PowerPoint and use it for everything]. I added major holidays, birthdays and anniversaries to the calendar. Since Mr. W works in public administration, each month has a picture of a city hall from a city we have visited together. I got the calendar pages printed to Office Depot, cut them to size, and then punched a hole in the tops for him to hang the calendar on the wall in his office.