Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Christmas in July ~ Robert's Christmas Wonderland Clearwater, Florida

From TrendyTree.com
I don’t know what it is lately, but I am so ready to decorate for the Holidays! Now, I know that Halloween and Thanksgiving come first, and I enjoy them both as well, but not nearly as much as I enjoy Christmas!

This Christmas will be fun for our family. It’s Mickey’s 2nd Christmas and he’s old enough now to start to enjoy it, plus I have a unique opportunity to start a clean decorating slate. After Christmas last year, I was so sick of our wimpy tree with multi colored lights, then after we packed everything back into the attic, we realized we left the tree sitting in the garage. I used this as an excuse to throw away the tree. So… this year I get to get a new tree! Complete with a new theme!

Now to answer the questions I’ve never been able to answer: What is my Christmas style? You know what I mean, Am I funky colored modern tree with coordinating decorations? Am I traditional red/green/gold Christmas with treasured handmade and gifted ornaments from our childhoods? Am I turquoise and gold? Am I silver and white? I took a trip (it was pretty last minute- my husband even waited in the car) to Robert’s Christmas Wonderland in Clearwater, which is about 20 minutes from our house, to help me get inspired…

This store is huge. It overwhelmed me. The people were super friendly too. As I was walking around, I kept thinking to myself, "Come back here with Mickey and Mom, Come back here with Mickey and Mom...". Why have I never been here before? Mental note: next time I need a pick-me-up, I will return to this Heaven.

They had tons of themed trees, of course. A few of my favorites are pictured above. The pickle tree, the Florida Palm Christmas tree, the Wino tree, the hunting tree (perfect for our friends and family in Maine), and then of course a couple fun colored trees. The colored lighted snowmen figurines were just fun and they remind me of things my mom used to put in the room my sister and I shared. I remember looking forward to that little stuff every year and I loved watching the colors change at night time. So, I want to get a snowman for Mickey's room this Christmas.
These lights remind me of the old lights we used to have- I love them and will definitely be putting them on our house this year.

Mickey loves Veggie Tales right now, and he will love these little ornaments! I imagine they will most likely be more of a toy than an ornament, but hey, they're still fun!

They also had fun stuff for every other Holiday in this country and any other country. My favorites are the Halloween tree and the super cute Birthday/ Milestone knicky knackys.

Decorations are a big expense, and you really should decide what your style is before you start colleting stuff. Unless of course, you just buy all new everything every year. That would be nice! I’ve started collecting Christmas clippings to help me focus in on what I want. You can check out my Christmas board on Pinterest.

I’m pretty much leaning towards the homemade/ heirloom ornaments with classic red/green/gold colors, jazzed up with sparkly gold accessories. There’s something special to me about unwrapping ornaments every year from when I was a baby. I want our son to have the same experience. But... I'm going to add BIG GLITTERY SPARKLY things to the tree also. Like this:
From TrendyTree.com

So, it's decided. I'm Traditional-Homemade-Heirloom-Sparkly-RedandGreen-Glitter Christmas. That's my style. I just have to make sure I don't get distracted by pretties like this:

From HGTV.com

OK, so I know I'm not the only one out there that goes back and forth and can't decide on a Christmas decorating theme and style. What style grabs you? Do you find yourself getting confused with all the pretty things available? Check out Pier 1 for a breakdown on their Christmas stuff this year to help narrow down what you are looking for.

A question for the Moms: how do you keep little hands off your Christmas stuff? Have there been any Christmas disasters I should try to avoid? Any tips or tricks for keeping ornaments in one piece?

Merry Christmas in July!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Window Treatment Ideas

A collection of my favorite window treatment ideas that I can apply to my own home...

I know, I know, blinds are out. Blah blah blah. I'm sorry, but sometimes blinds are the most practical way to go and as you can see in the photo [right], they can look chic! Blinds like these are perfect for my sons room because they are cordless (and lately he has an infatuation with destroying our blinds and tangling the cords) and the widths are adjustable, making them super easy to install in any window! from Redishade.com

And if I add a cornice board like this one:
from goodhousekeeping.com
...I can make them look great, too!
Or should I just do fun Roman shades like these...

unknown source

Moving on to the Master Bedroom. Our master has these 2 narrow windows flanking the bed, very similar to those in this picture:
from hgtv.com
We have a queen sized bed, with mis-matched nightstands, an upholstered headboard, and swing arm lamps attached to the wall to save space. If I add floor to ceiling curtains at each window, it would really dress it up and add some much needed style! See? It looks so glam and classy- I love the sheen of the curtains!
from thelovelist.net

And now, for the Living Room windows (for the record, I hate them and am currently accepting donations to the cause of rebuilding the front of our house):  
Unknown Source
We have a row of 3 windows, and the panes are not as pretty as these, we have the old (really old) crank style (sooooo stylish). The 3 windows have always thrown me off as far as curtains. Right now, we have this sheer panel hanging across all 3 of them, mostly in an effort to pretend they're not there, but still let some light in. But I love the idea of a bamboo shade hanging across all 3, with curtains flanking floor to ceiling. Think of the 3 panels as 1 large window, and the options are endless!

So this week, I have windows on the brain. And a craft station for the playroom, and new front door paint, and updating the guest bath, and... Seriously, I could go on for days. Just because I have window-brain doesn't mean this week I will solve all my window issues, but maybe I could start the project of trimming out the windows with moulding? That's a pretty simple DIY Window project I'm sure my husband Michael would LOVE to do! Good luck to us! Happy window dressing!

What window issues give you the blues? Are you stuck with old outdated windows that would force you to rebuild if you wanted to change them?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Home Decor That Makes You Happy

You’re smiling, right? How can you NOT smile while watching that video? I have to get up and shake my thang whenever the commercial comes on!

There are certain things in life that just make us HAPPY! As far as happiness in home decorating, I get happy looking at tons of different photos of rooms. I’m constantly scouring magazines (this is where working at a bookstore comes in handy!), checking Pinterest for new stuff, and watching HGTV and DIY Network. I can’t stop!

Sometimes I find a picture that I just love, and that makes me happy to look at it, but I just can’t figure out why. Or I write it off and turn the page because that room is way better than anything in my house, and it certainly won’t work in my boring-zero-architecture space. Boring “ranch” style houses are VERY common here in the coastal Florida “burbs”. Unfortunately, there’s not much character or architecture to speak of. One thing I have to remind myself to do is to focus on the little things in that room. You know, the details that are in the background. Many times, I can re-create something similar and get that same happy feeling. Check this out:
Better Homes and Gardens
I absolutely love this room. I love the colors, the size, the wallpaper, the fireplace, the built-ins, the paneling, the “lightness” of it all. Yummy! My house looks nothing like this. BUT, I also love the French Doors hiding there in the background, and that IS something I can add to my house. We have yucky sliders at 2 locations on the inside of our house, leading out to our addition, and these Frenchies would be an awesome replacement! Not to mention a fairly simple DIY project for the Hubby. French doors add such a “light” feeling, don’t you think?

Have some more happiness~

Home Goods
I love pink! I could never do an entire wall of pink in our house, but maybe I can add a stylin’ pink throw to our bed!

David Bromstad
Looking at that makes me drool. Could it be the bulldog painting? I think it has more to do with the Fabulous Turquoise Sideboard. I heart painted furniture! Oh, and the acrylic chair. Two things I can definitely work into our house somewhere…

Love these chairs! I have 2 Salvation Army find matching chairs that would really benefit from glossy fresh white trim and a fun floral pillow.

Kim Parker
Oh, Kim Parker, you had me at hello. I love everything she touches, we have 4 of her paintings in our house and I love how whimsical they are. The room above is her actual living room and I love how many different floral patterns she has in there. They all work together, though. Quick! What color are her walls? GASP- white?!?! Maybe she’s onto something…

What makes you happy? Do you find that you’re drawn to certain colors (like I am), even though they wouldn’t work in your house at all? Try to work those colors in with the little things... Remember to focus on the details and you might find that you walk in the front door one day and feel HAPPY!

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How to Build an Upholstered Storage Ottoman

Several months ago, I was flipping through an issue of Fresh Home Magazine and saw the plans for this ottoman.

The plans seemed pretty simple so I tore out the article and filed in away in my “Book of Ideas/ Dreams” to be completed some other time. Fast forward to June 2011. Recently, my husband has started to develop some woodworking skills and we’ve acquired a few basic tools, so I thought, “Hey, we can do this!”
We started by taking measurements that would work well with our existing sofa. It has a chaise on one end of it, and I like to refer to it as our “Chofa”. I needed something just the right height for feet, with room to walk around and get in and out of the Chofa.
After my husband had worked up some plans (good thing he’s good with math and a pencil- not me!), I was on the hunt for the perfect fabric. I knew I wanted something super durable and kid friendly, so I settled on checking out outdoor fabrics. After many trips to Joann’s Fabrics and some other local fabric stores, I found myself on fabric.com. They have a TON of stuff on there, and it easily gets overwhelming. I finally found this Richloom Jubilee Outdoor fabric for only $9 a yard!!
I was super nervous to order fabric online, but I went for it! In a couple of days, it had arrived!
Meanwhile, my husband was hard at work building the box.

He decided to work with Oak (a very hardwood) plywood because we knew we needed something that could withstand kids jumping all over it and slamming the top down repeatedly. Pretty soon, he had it fully assembled with these really cool hinges that are completely hidden!

Then he attached the chain so the top doesn’t fall backwards every time you open it.

Then it was my turn! I managed to attach the batting layer with my puny staple gun, but then called in the Big Guns (my Mom) to help with the fabric. I wasn’t quite sure how to join the fabric on one of the sides. I knew there would have to be a seam, but wasn’t sure it I had to use the sewing machine, or if there was a secret way. Turns out, there’s a secret way! Fold the fabric over a very thin  piece of cardboard (we used a shoebox), wrap it with tacks inside

and hammer to the ottoman! See?

All that’s left is to finish up staple-ling the fabric along the inside and underneath.

Bought some legs at Home Depot, painted them the same color as our walls...

My husband screwed them in... and Voila! Simplest project ever! Here’s our cat checking it out—

Here’s the finished product in it’s home—

We love it! The fabric is awesome, I have a TON left over, and it really adds fun color to our room. For the next one, we’ve learned that you should route the edge of the top with a roundover bit so you don’t get such a harsh lip. It’s a little hard on the calves when you put your feet up for awhile.
Have you done any projects like this? Any tips you picked up while you were working? Any fun blooper stories or accidents with the staple gun??

Monday, July 11, 2011

Great Finds for the Home at Michael's Arts and Crafts

I frequently find myself running into certain stores just to see whats new, and Michael's is one of my favorites. I went in today knowing I am on a "spending freeze" so I couldn't actually take anything home with me, but I still like to add things to my "come back for later" list. [Remember: me = list-maker]. Here's a few of my favorites from my trip today to Michael's in St. Petersburg... I snapped all of these from my iPhone so forgive the photography.

Bring on Fall colors!!!!

I'm embracing the look of fake flowers due to the fact that I do not have a good (read: nice person, fresh flowers, lots of choices) florist nearby.

Simply pick up a few glass globe vases, and change out the flowers each season for an instant update!

These zebra print flowers are awesome! I love me some animal prints, and these may be too much for a vase, but they would be awesome in a wreath. Maybe for Halloween???

Yay for Fall Preview! I'm a lover of ribbon, and glittery pretty things. This is a must-come-back-for item:

Michael's even had a great idea for ribbon posted right there on their endcap display--

Check out these rocking horses...

Now, immediately I thought to paint it (duh), but the creative people here had a better idea. They used scrapbook paper, mod podge, paint, and ribbon to make this rockin' rocking horse--

The $1 aisle, one of my favorites... Here's what was there today...

Now, it may look like cheap junk. But imagine it's not in a yucky aisle, but a pretty basket or gift bag. What do you have? The perfect hostess gift! Pick up a few items to always have on hand for a last minute grab-and-go gift...

Until now, I've only seen this semi-transparent Japanese tape online, but here it is in the $1 aisle at Michaels! My head is spinning with ideas... wrap it in layers on plain paper to make a gift personal...

I'm thinking this might be this year's Christmas wrapping paper... especially with my infatuation with pretty ribbon--

It even comes GLITTERED!!!! YES!

They even had more decorative tape so you don't have to fuss with tying a perfect ribbon! What could be easier??

Have you had success at Michaels or Joann's lately? Any great finds?

An Introduction

Hello and Welcome! Here's a little background on me, my family, and our always evolving home....

First, my husband, Michael, and I met back in December 2007 at my family's annual Christmas party. He was a friend of a friend of a friend.... long story. Here's us back then:
Then, in March 2008, we moved in together and rented my Mom's old house in Palm Harbor. In July 2008, Mike proposed, which is another long (sweet) story that involves me being my typical Type-A-Control-Freak personality. By the time he proposed, I had already bought the dress, chosen the caterer, etc etc. So basically all we had to do was pick a date! Bring on April 17, 2009:

We bought our First Home in October 2009, closed on Halloween! We had searched and searched, looked at over 100 houses, became besties with our realtor (he was even invited to the wedding and since then has attended our son's first birthday party and other shin-digs), put several offers on several perfect (or so we thought) homes, and had almost officially given up when we toured this house:
We both loved it, and decided to put an offer in that day! It was perfect for us, we had been married for only a few months, wanted something that we could move right into, not too big, we could update some things as we go, and so on. The house is 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, about 1300 square feet (if you include the enclosed addition to the back), and has a good size backyard and 2 car garage. It's also in an established neighborhood with great people. The style is not my favorite, I prefer older homes with LOTS of character (read: money pits), and this house was built in 1978 (what I consider "new"), but it has potential...  The perfect starter home. We had no idea we would be a growing family so soon.
The week we moved in (for real, I'm not exaggerating) we found out we were pregnant! It went something like this:
            "I can't believe I'm about to say this out loud, but..... I think I'm pregnant..."
            "What makes you say that?"
            "The 4 pregnancy tests I took."
Oh good. Then there was about a week of shock, then excitement, then preparations began! On July 9, 2010, we welcomed our son, Michael James, JR (Mickey J).

A year later, we've been in our house for 1 year 8 months, and our son just turned 1 year old! Every day is an adventure...

As far as who I am, I'm just your average DIYer with a brain full of To-Do projects for the house. I'm a meticulous planner and list-maker, and was raised in a house where the living room paint color changed with the seasons. However, we live in Florida, so our season always feels like Summer, but we like to pretend. I don't have any formal design training, just a creative mind and a can-do attitude. My projects always have a shoestring budget, which sometimes results in an awesome new re-purposed thingamajig! I worked in a Furniture store for a few years, which gave me a little bit of training as far as furniture construction and design, but I've always had an "eye" for it. So this is my journey as a budgeting Mom, dedicated DIYer, perpetual party planner, and list-maker! Visit me often!