Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Love Checklists

If you are like me, you love to make lists and check off your accomplishments one by one. Ahh, the feeling of crossing off another task makes me feel so good and I just love these cute, funny, but practical templates. Thanks to designer Erin at Vale Designs you can do that not only in style but for free! Yes, Erin has been kind enough to share them with us so all you have to do is download them and print them. The free, down loadable templates are available here.

You can choose from "the freakin never ending to do list," "the pain in the groceries to buy list," and "the dreamy blog topics to post list" for you bloggers. I was rolling on the ground when I read the title for the grocery list template because I absolutely, positively hate grocery shopping which is probably why our fridge is pretty bare unless David goes to the store which is pretty often.

A special thanks to How About Orange for sharing these awesome templates with us.

Giveaway - Itty Bitty Ghost Chair

Adventures in Renovating a Brooklyn Limestone is giving away a Lou Lou baby ghost chair thanks to AllModern. The ghost chair is all the rage in the decor world because it's a perfect mix of modern and classic. Not to mention since it's the baby size, it'll be the perfect chair for your little tikes. All you have to do is go to the blog by clicking here, and leave a comment about how you found the blog (me of course) and you may be the lucky winner. It's a $133 value so get those comments in because you and your little one may be the winner.

Isn't the baby one adorable?

Good Luck!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Day at the Lake

On Sunday we headed out with our neighbors for some fun in the sun and went boating. We are lucky enough to have a lake close by so it's very convenient and makes us appreciate our little town even more. Our neighbors have twins that are almost 3 years old and they are just a hoot to be around and they LOVE the water. I only wish I had a love for water at their age like they do, they already swim like fish and jumping into the water they are able to turn any frown upside down.

Dave and I chilling on the boat

Little man is loving life and floating on the water - can you see his smile?

The little lady was a bit cranky from her late night the night before but one jump into the lake and she was all smiles! She's also not shy about letting me take her pictures which I absolutely love, I'll have to practice my skills on them more often.

Here's Jen trying to warm up little man because the water was a bit chilly at this time.

Here's Shawn swimming in the deep water with the kids because it was just too cold for us girls, we liked watching more.

Captain made sure we got to and from the dock safely.

We had a fabulous time with our neighbors, they really are very fun and generous people. We couldn't ask for better neighbors so they better not move away anytime soon!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Blogs I Adore - Making It Lovely

Nicole Balch from Making It Lovely is actually a local talent from Oak Park (home of Frank Lloyd Wright too) and she is the owner of Pink Loves Brown. When she isn't working on remodeling and decorating her 1920's bungalow she's working on her business Pink Loves Brown where she designs and sells cards, stationary, gift sets, magnets, etc. Nicole and her hubby are keeping busy with the latest addition to their family, their adorable daughter Eleanor.

Nicole posts a style post each month pulling together outfits that look lovely on just about anyone. She posts the pictures and also where you can find the various pieces for the outfit. Below is the July post and I'm absolutely drooling over the purse and shoes below, aren't they drool worthy?

You may have heard about the Better Homes & Gardens 48 hour challenge that took place this spring/summer between 5 bloggers. They were given $500 to spend at Home Depot and 48 hours to complete a weekend project. Well there was very stiff competition between Making It Lovely and This Young House (now known as Young House Love) but I think the hand-painted floor that looks like a rug cinched the win for Making It Lovely. It was the most beautifully painted floor I've ever seen and did I mention that Nicole was 9 months pregnant when she did it?

I know you are dying to see that floor and as you can see they redid their front porch for the challenge. Isn't the green and pink so refreshing and relaxing for a porch?

And look at lucky Eleanor's nursery......ahhhh!

She put together the details of the nursery for her readers. I love that she is so generous with sharing every detail of her rooms including where she got the various items. This is so helpful when you want something that she put in a room. (Note: I'm not putting together a nursery but this was just one example-sorry.)

Didn't get enough of the front porch? Here's a before and after, what a difference and it only cost $500!

Last but not least, here's her business website Pink Loves Brown.

Thanks Nicole and keep the inspiration and beautiful pictures of Eleanor coming.
P.S. Sorry about the order of the pictures, I really don't like when blogger does this.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lemon Whoopie Pies

One of my favorite flavors is lemon and when I found this recipe for Lemon Whoopie Pies, on Joy the Baker's blog, I knew it was a recipe that I had to try. Lemon and whoopies pies combined - how could I go wrong with this recipe? I hosted a scrapbooking night at my house this weekend and I knew the girls would love to take home these delectable treats after a long night of scrapping. It was my little way of saying thanks for spending the evening at my house.

After I whipped up the dough and baking the cookies in the oven for 12 minutes, I made the cream cheese frosting which I slathered in between the two cookies and wa-la, lemon whoopie pies. My mouth is watering as I look at these whoopie pies and I wish that I had some left overs because I'm really craving another one of these. I'm off to make another batch. Oh, are you looking for the recipe? Here you go!


Friday, July 17, 2009

DIY: How to Frame a Seafan

About a month ago I came across this idea to frame a Seafan in a shadow box from Bower Power and I knew this was an idea that I wanted to do for our 2nd bathroom which has a beachy theme. It's rather simple because all you need is a seafan, shadowbox, cardstock paper, and adhesive. Yes, it's that simple and I think it's gorgeous and classy decor. The hardest part of this project is getting your hands on a Seafan especially if you don't live by the sea, but we discovered that you can buy anything on Ebay.

Cardstock paper, gluedots (adhesive), and scissors

All you do is trim the cardstock to the size of your shadow box and adhere the seafan to the paper. You need to use a shadow box versus a picture frame because of the end of the seafan that is 3 dimensional but if you want to cut that off you could use a frame.

Here's my Seafan in the 2nd bathroom next to the beachy picture already framed.

Our little window with some birds and toiletries for bathtime.

Another view of the bathroom

This was a super quick project and I love that I finally have some artwork hanging up in the bathroom. I'm thinking about framing a starfish into a smaller shadow box but I don't want this room to be too themed which is always a problem for me. In addition to hanging these 2 frames, I pounded about 20 nails into our walls today but you'll have to wait to see where the other 18 nails went.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Blogs I Adore - Joy the Baker

Meet Joy, Joy the Baker, who's blog I have a love/hate relationship with. This young lady can whip up baking creations like nothing I've ever seen but the one problem - if I bake it, I have to eat it and that's a bad combination for me. She is a self-taught, taste bud baker who lives in Los Angeles and is only in her 20's. She has quite the following and I really hope you try some of her creations. What more can I say other than move over Betty Crocker, Joy the Baker is in the Kitchen!

Pumpkin Pie Bars - I LOVE pumpkin and will be whipping these up shortly

Red Velvet Black and White Cookies

Peanut Butter Fudge Treats

She even makes her own Vanilla Extract and I'm really excited about trying this because I go through this stuff like water and it's not cheap. I think this would make a great hostess gift or holiday gift for the baker in your life. Warning - it takes 2 months to make so make sure you plan ahead with this project.

Root Beer Float Cake - oh my, this has me dreaming about the floats from A&W when I was a child and I am itching to try this as well.

I make the best Carrot Cake ever (I know but it's true) so when I saw these Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Dulce de Leche Buttercream, it was love at first sight. This combines my love for cupcakes with my love for carrot cake, what more does a girl need?

Are you drooling over these recipes or have I already lost you to your kitchen to begin some baking? I should have put a warning at the front of this post but if these recipes don't have you running to the kitchen and you want something a bit more unique why don't you try her Vegan Chocolate Avocado Cake, Fresh Mango Lime Bread, or Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream with Fudge Sauce. I wasn't kidding when I said Joy bakes up some "creative creations" did I. Instead of baking another dozen chocolate chip cookies why not try one or two recipes. Have I convinced you to try one of these delicious recipes, do you promise to try one of them soon? I know I will and I'll follow up with all of you on the outcome, if there is any left of course. Also if you need a taste-tester, I'm always available.

What Colors Are Inspiring You?

I have a laundry list of blogs that I check out on a regular basis via my google reader and this post on "High Heeled Foot in the Door" had me loving that gray couch and the green accent colors. That got me thinking about how much color inspires us and how much it can change how we look and feel about ourselves and our environment. I thought I would share a couple of the pictures that have inspired me today with one common color throughout. Any guesses on what that might be?

GRAY! No not drabby gray but beautiful, classy gray. It's become the new black for me and I absolutely love this color, just look in our garage and see how much we love gray. I came across this gray inspiration board on what other blog than, Grey Likes Weddings. Ah, isn't it a beautiful color?

Peach and Mint Green - how can you not love this color combination? Grey Likes Weddings put together this Peachy Keen inspiration board and even though I'm not getting married, this is one blog that is plump full of inspiration and will have you think - should we renew our vows and have another wedding celebration?

Oh my oh my, how gorgeous are these place settings? I wouldn't want to dirty up the place setting after seeing this, I would prefer to stare and admire the colors. I love the mason jar wrapped in twine with beautiful roses. For more inspiration, check out this post on hostess saavy for more inspiration.

What colors are inspiring you right now? Does it change from season to season? Do you have go-to colors for what you like to wear or how you like to decorate? Do you love color or do you prefer to stick to basics? Do tell.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

It's Really Growing

About a month and a half ago, I blogged about the building and planting of our small little veggie garden and some of you have inquired about how it is doing. Well to refresh you memory on the "before" and the labor of love that went into this garden, feel free to check out "let's hope it grows". You probably recall that this project was a big venture for hubby and I because we definitely don't have a knack for growing things.


And I'm proud (please don't be "green" with envy) that the garden is flourishing and I'm so happy that we took the challenge of growing our own veggies this year. We planted tomatoes, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, green peppers, dill, basil, and parsley - needless to say I can't wait to bite into those juicy tomatoes in a few more weeks.





So what's the secret you are asking (ha ha). Well I read lots of blogs, websites, and magazines to get some tips and in preparing the soil we added mushroom compost as well. Then I make sure we water it regularly using our fresh rainwater from our rain barrel! The rain barrel was another labor of love that took us 10 times longer than we expected but we are definitely reaping the rewards with fresh, FREE rainwater at all times. Have I convinced you to make your own rain barrel? If so please feel free to read about our DIY Rain Barrel Project.

Friday, July 10, 2009

She Really Likes Me

I was so ecstatic to see my picture from the "What was I doing at..." challenge on the one and only Elizabeth Kartchner's blog - Just Us. Seriously out of the 123 bloggers that participated in the contest, she thought my sexy turquoise blue pj's where too exciting to resist. That's me in the lower left hand corner digging through my closet trying to sort out my wardrobe picks for the following day. While I didn't win the give-away, I feel like a winner after Liz posted a comment on my blog (gush) and then included me in her "group hug" picture. What can I say, I love it when "famous" people drop by to say hi. If you aren't a scrapbooker you may be wondering what is the big deal but let me tell you ladies and gents that she was Scrapbooker of the Year from the all famous Creating Keepsakes magazine and is a force to be reckoned with. Need I say more? Don't believe me, check out her blog post here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What I Was Doing on 07.08.09 @ 10:11:12

What I Was Doing on 07.08.09 @ 10:11:12 p.m.

was digging through my closet trying to figure out what I was wearing to work on Thursday. I have to get up extra early tomorrow and can't be late so planning ahead is a must for me. I was also popping a couple more Tylenol for the pounding headache I've had all day long. I was also thinking how happy I was that the workweek was half over - it's been a really LONG week and I can't seem to catch up on all that has to get done. I'm working from home on Friday and hoping that I will be able to do some much needed catching up so I can feel good about my accomplishments come the weekend!

P.S. If you participated in the challenge, don't forget to stop by Elizabeth's blog to enter your picture into her giveaway!

Monday, July 6, 2009

What Will You Be Doing on 07.08.09 @ 10:11:12

Elizabeth Kartchner from the Just Us blog came up with this cool idea to have everyone take a photo at the same time! Are you in? Here's how to play:

1. Have your camera handy on July 8th-this Wednesday
2. Take a photo of whatever you are doing when your clock says 10:11 am or pm. (we won't worry about timezones)
3. Challenge yourself to think outside of the box in how you take the photo or don't worry about that part and just snap one real quick!
4. Post the photo on your blog or an online gallery. Leave a comment on Elizabeth's blog linked to your photo and you are entered into her giveaway (it has scrapbooking goodies in it)

How simple is that? I think it's a fun idea and I'm infatuated with #'s and times like this. In fact did you know that every time I look at a clock and it says 12:29 (my b-day) I have to make a wish - I know I'm weird. Good Luck!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Headboard Makeover - Guest Bedroom

When my niece Lacey stayed with us for a few days in May, we decided to redo the headboard in the guest bedroom and it was a project she was up to helping on. This is the headboard that was in my room growing up and let's just say it's a tad bit outdated and has seen better days. Having never ventured into a project like this before, I decided to read the "how to's" section of the This Young House website and of course they had step by step instructions on how to tackle this project. A trip or two to the Home Depot to buy sandpaper, primer, paint, and polyurethane and we were off to the races.

Here's the beauty that has seen better days.

Lots of sanding

2 coats of primer
(Note: primer sticks to your hands and won't come off - trust me mineral spirits saved my life)

2 coats of white paint
& 2 coats of polyurethane
& 1 very proud niece later

After seeing how gorgeous this new headboard looked in the guest bedroom, I decided that the room needed a face lift and some new bedding. I hit the jackpot at TJMaxx/Homegoods and got a great deal on this coverlet and pillows. Also can you believe that I got that little table for $10 at Target? It ties in beautifully with the black frames and slipper chair next to the dresser.

What do you think - do you like the white headboard and new bedding? Any other suggestions to make this even more comfortable? The room has a yellowish/taupe paint color with white, black, and taupe accessories. This guest bedroom also is where our little Tanner hangs out in his crate all day - he seems to like the new look thus far.

P.S. Thanks Lacey for all of your help on this project.
P.S.S. Lacey said it was the favorite thing we did all weekend! I'll need to invite her over more often.