Friday, March 31, 2017

Mantle Decor Tips

The mantle is probably my favorite place in the house to decorate.  When we moved in, our 10 year old home had a big opening where a tube TV was supposed to go, so we Faux shiplapped it as our first home project.  Post on how we did it coming soon... But as far as decor, my decorations are constantly changing and I decorate for all the major holidays as well as for a lot of the parties I've hosted. It's just my thing.  Along the way, I've researched lots of ways to make a mantle visually appealing, and then thrown many of them out the window as well when I just simply liked the way something looked up on my mantle. 

The biggest rule for mantle decorating is: 1 BIG ARTWORK directly in the middle.  In my rental home, I broke this rule and had my SLC Temple picture about 2/3 over instead of the direct middle, with big crystal candlesticks on the other side as well as couple of smaller pictures to balance it out.  

The other biggest rule for decorating a mantle that I actually do try to always follow is BALANCE. You can see I've tried to draw two triangles on either side of my mirror to show that there is balance and the eye isn't really drawn more to one side than the other and there are also things of similar HEIGHT on either side. If you can get a set of two matchy matchy things to put on either side of your mantle to have exact balance and height, then that is awesome, but it just doesn't usually work for me since I buy most of my decor second-hand/don't have that kind of money, the latter being more often the case. 

For holidays and parties, another fun thing to add to a mantle is a BANNER, I've heard it called bunting, swag, garland, whatever. For Amelia's first birthday party, I made a tissue paper tassel garland that was gold pink and white and that was the only decoration in my living room for her party, and it just made it feel like a party in there because it was decorated yet it was simple - so less work for me. 

Within my mantle, I always like to have little VIGNETTES to add interest. 

Another great thing to have that is seriously a no-brainer is a FAMILY PICTURE. Sometimes I get so caught up in my little knick-knacks that I forget this one. But it's where people look when they enter your room because it is the focal point and you want everyone (most importantly your family duh-doy) to know that your family is important.  

If you can add FRESH FLORALS to your mantle, more power to you - you can now call yourself Martha Stewart for the day.  

Now, if we ever decide to mount the TV to our fireplace to be able to rearrange the furniture in my family room how I want it, I plan on finding a thrifted mantle for our bedroom to be able to decorate to my soul's content. Can you plan on finding things thrifting? Probably not, oh well.  My mind is always churning out new decorating ideas to fill my house. 

Hope you enjoyed, now get decorating!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Are You Ready For A Puppy? 5 things you might not have considered

Are you ready for a puppy?

You know how moms get together and all they do is complain about their kids and all their weird quirks and how they get no sleep and how they are sad they have no friends and social life now and then 3 seconds later they turn around and say they wouldn't trade being a mom for the world? Well, same goes for a puppy to a lesser degree. Except mostly they wouldn't trade being a puppy owner for the world because they don't want to be judged and they have guilt and shame and feel they have something to prove to the world. People that don't have those things usually just get rid of the puppy.  So now that I think about it, it's nothing like being a mom.

So, if you are considering getting a dog and your kids are still wee little sprouts, here are 5 things to consider before taking the plunge. And if you already have the puppy, be ready for a wild ride!

1. How old are your kids?

If you have older kids (I'm thinking age 8 and up) that can take the dog on a walk, open the door for the dog, use a commanding voice, pick up dog poo - then getting a puppy will be a lot easier. When your kids are little, the dog will not see them as someone to be respected. Also, little kids aren't tall enough for the dog not to take literally every snack out of their hands if they are walking and eating. They will still play with them hopefully, but they might also ignore them completely too. Luckily my pup has been great about playing with my kids, but mostly he is my dog.

2. 2 words: potty-training

It took training my barely 3 year-old wayyyyyyy less time (by a couple hundred days give or take) than it has taken my toy poodle to get trained. If you are ready to get a dog, be prepared to gate off a section of your house that your dog will be in for anywhere from six months to a year, and in our case, escape from and break down multiple times. This special gate (that won't work) will keep your dog from pooing in all corners of your house every chance that he can get. If your dog is smart, he will try to be sneaky about it instead of just actually learning like a normal human being. Why? Because he's a dog. Now, the trick to potty-training is catching your dog in the act. You can't scold him later, you actually have to be watching him for months on end to make sure he's not going to try to traipse off and poo on your living room rug and so you'll be there to catch him and yell at him and put him outside. Which brings me to...

3. Noise

Yes dogs bark and that's all well and good and very annoying. But... let's not forget the sheer amount of noise out of you (yelling) and your children's mouths (mostly crying) the dog will create. As stated above, you will be yelling at him non-stop to stop pooing, peeing, and otherwise being a nuisance. Be prepared to also yell and throw out many an exasperated sigh while he continually chews off all the Barbie hands, on all the furniture (luckily he hasn't done this one yet in our family), children's faces, arms, feet, etc. at all possible moments. And your kids will happily play with the dog and he will follow them around the backyard and love him and snuggle with him and he will sleep on them, but let's not leave out the amazing amount of times the dog will also make your child cry. He WILL bite them if he is a puppy. Out of play, out of being bothered, accident or not, your children will get bitten by a puppy. Which brings me to...

4. Your marriage

Will getting a puppy destroy your marriage? Probably not. Will you husband blame you every time the dog bites your child? Possibly - Depends on how excited he was in the first place about the idea of getting a dog. If he begged you for 3 hours not to get the dog and then finally accepted his fate, then the likelihood of him blaming you for things the dog did goes up. (Totally NOT speaking from my exact experience here...) Post about the husband being the head of the family coming SOON!

5. Setting yourself up for success with the right kind of house
My friend got a puppy and didn't have a fenced backyard, so her husband had to take the dog on an hour walk every single morning so the dog could do his business. For my dog, I put him in the backyard first thing in the morning, and after a few minutes he's gone to the bathroom and I can let him back in(now that's he's potty-trained). But... we don't have a dog door. This is a HUGE deal. I didn't think so, but I have to think about the dog so much more and his bathroom needs and let him out every couple of hours as a preemptive measure against my house being utterly soiled. This will be something on my list of things I beg Nick for this year. Other things to think about is the amount of carpet in your house, and if you will be able to keep the dog away from peeing on it a hundred thousand times before he gets potty trained (and remember your fences aren't going to work.)Ok... I've done a lot of complaining, some good things that have come of this is that we go on family walks so much more, crumbs are constantly licked off our floor, I have someone to snuggle when my kids are in bed and my lap is always warm. My kids love animals and now won't be scared of other people's pets as they get older. They will learn from a young age how to take care of a dog, and Amelia has already learned how to put Beau out to go potty. There's a bunch more I can name, and I wouldn't trade it for the world! (Wink wink)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Breakfast Nook Level UP

I've finished decorating my breakfast area. This is where the majority of our meals are eaten, and where we spend a lot of our time, so I wanted to make it cute.  The best thing that has happened in this area is that my vertical blinds are gone! To me, vertical blinds scream "rental!!," so I was beyond happy to get rid of them since we own our home now.  I had to have something cover my sliding glass doors because they let in a lot of heat in the summer and a lot of cold in the winter. I have been seeing pins on pinterest and reading articles (like this one) about about how to make a space seem taller and bigger, and floor to ceiling curtains are at the top of the list.  They draw the eye up and make everything seem bright and open.

The tallest curtains most stores sell are 96 inches, which is 8 feet.  Well my ceilings are 9 feet, and I was very close to buying some 96 inch ones, but I decided I really wanted to go all the way (up) on this and do the 9 foot curtains.  I bought upholstery fabric and had some stitch witch on hand (if you love crafting but don't enjoy sewing and have never heard of this, google it and buy it now!) so I made myself some no-sew curtains.  3 hours of ironing later (it seems), and my curtains were ready to hang.  I didn't "hem" the top because I just folded them back until they were just a tiny bit away from the ground and clipped them into the curtain ring clips.  So my curtains were no-sew and no-measure, an imperfectionists dream come true!

Since there was now a huge space between the top of my sliding glass doors and my curtain rod, it was a perfect place for more wall art (this space is absolutely filled with art I realize, but if there's one thing I don't claim to be it's a minimalist.) Anyways, for above my doors I made a "Gather" sign.  I went searching in my garage for the right-sized piece of wood and I found a shelf from my kitchen the previous owner had put in there. So I taped it off to make a separation for a faux-frame and used some Valspar Antique Glaze to make fake wood grain marks and then used some cream paint for the middle part of the sign.  I used my silhouette to cut the "Gather" text in the "Contribute" font.  I found this font for free on Pinterest and it's one of my favorites for sure. I have already done a post on my breakfast buffet here, so there's details on my decor and buffet there.

The Mason jar box I made last weekend at my church's Super Saturday craft day, and all I had to do was stain the box and paint and distress my jars. I'm so lucky! You can find an awesome tutorial for those here.

I found a couple of botanical prints at the Cornelius reStore, probably my favorite store of all time. I think I'm going to do a post of all the things I have purchased there, which is definitely at least one thing in every room of my house.

My dining table my sister-in-law gave to us when we first moved to NC, and it was a deep red wood. Before I had Amelia I reupholstered the chairs, and then last year Nick and I refinished the top and stained it Jacobean brown from Minwax, and painted the bottom and all 6 chairs an off-white color. The chairs and tables get so much use and so much scrubbing they have kind of shabby-chiced themselves.

Last thing - we also found the chandelier at our Habitat for Humanity reStore for 25 dollars :) what used to be there was just... not cute at all.  Now we have so much light as they hold 5 full sized light bulbs! A note about lightbulbs from my mom who is obsessed with having the right kind of light in a room - buy "Reveal" light bulbs.  They come in different wattage, and all of them have been amazing.  Just the perfect mix of warm and cool for any location, and they actually give off enough light (insert hand clap emoji)!


Hopefully in the next few years we will be able to paint this area, but for now I can move on! Happy Day! Here are two more shots :)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dining Buffet + Easter Vignette

Here it is! My cute breakfast nook dining buffet.  It used to have a very mid-century modern top, but it's in my garage so I can have a cute place to put all my decor.  Because why would I want to put something practical on there when I can fill it with decorations?? Can you believe Nick picked this color? I didn't like it that much at first, but now I LOVE it! And it's getting more and more in style all the time (think 50's pastel kitchen refab that is going crazy on pinterest right now). The color I used is the only one that looks at all like this at Lowe's in the Valspar section.  I'm so good at giving directions huh? But I can tell you that I used these allen + roth drawer pulls in polished silver, I just love that they are the perfect mix of modern and frilly.  I also bought glass knobs at Lowe's for the two doors. Apparently Rustoleum is way better quality paint, but Valspar has all the pretty colors, whatcha gonna do?

Here is a view of the full wall in my breakfast nook. All the decor was purchased at Kirklands. My sister-in-law Anna painted my beautiful floral "Allred" sign, I made the Easter Bunny paint stick sign (you can find it here,) I painted the Ball jar with white chalk paint then sanded it down to make it shabby, got my tree at Home Goods, my mom gave me the cake stand trio from Deseret Book, and I thrifted the other items. Wouldn't this look even better if the wall behind it was shiplapped (still convincing Nick on that one.) 

Now let's look at all the paintstick bunnies, two of which I made for my sisters. 

Let's look at a couple more pictures just for fun. 

Here is the best I could find of the before - (it was a very deep red wood - totally clashed with my new floors. Actually I think it clashed with everything)

Happy spray-painting! and bunny-making!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Easter Bunny Sign - With Paint Sticks

I got this idea and totally copied the look from this website, and definitely want to give credit. Check it out for her tutorial!

However, when I was on this blog and tried to find the *exact* bunny silhouette, it was nowhere to be found and the link to the silhouette store was broken.. The silhouette design store no longer sells it! So I made one myself that is very similar to this bunny, just slightly different and with a little more meat on his bones :). I had to be very careful in my selection of bunnies, to make sure not to pick one that represents some naughty magazine or something... E-mail me if you'd like the silhouette file!

To cut the silhouette of the bunny, I wanted something that was paint resistant, because we will be using this as a free craft for our crafting event this Saturday, so I thought of what materials I had on hand to cut on my silhouette that wouldn't absorb the paint, and decided on using laminating sheets pulled apart! Now I have lots of plastic bunny stencils! Oh the possibilities!

To glue the stir sticks together, I used two sticks on the back long ways against the wood., I used hot glue down one side of the stir stick and wood glue down the other, so the hot glue would dry fast, and the wood glue would make the project last over time. I held them down really tight for a couple of minutes and then I had my board ready to paint!

I used white craft paint mixed with a bit of pink and a tiny dot of gray for the background, and painted the bunny cream.. All of my paint I purchased from the 50 cent paints at Walmart. I used 5 gallon paint stir sticks and cut them down to 12 inches with my mini electric jigsaw, and then sanded the rough edge a bit.

First I painted the background and let it dry. When it was dry, I positioned the stencil evenly on the glued together project, painted inward so no paint would seep under the stencil, and when all the edges were done, I lifted the stencil up and away and finished filling out the bunny with the cream paint. Clear as mud? Cool! Just hold the stencil in place and don't let paint seep under it too much, and call it good!