Friday, December 30, 2011

The Best Pillow, Ever!!

I'm a total DIYer, but I know my limits. When I happened upon this pillow, I was transported to a cold winter's day in the woods, sipping hot cocoa at Christmastime and sitting in front of the warm fire. Why? Because these pillows are stuffed with Maine Balsam Fir.

Surely there's a way to get yourself some of this stuff (if you're lucky, even your own backyard), you can dry it, sew material into a pillow and stuff it like a ravioli. I didn't want to go through all the trouble, after all, I'm too busy trying to make over this laundry room of ours. Besides, my mother so graciously gave me one for Christmas, after we saw a display in our local mini health food store.  

I'm the proud owner of two (yes, two) mini Maine Balsam Fir pillows and I could not be happier. When I tuck into bed at night (after my little one is finally asleep), there's nothing more soothing and relaxing than getting a whiff of these trees. My husband, of course, probably wonders why I snuggle the pillows, but he loves the scent just as much as I do. Guilty as charged. I seriously feel as though I'm sleeping amongst Christmas trees and they're twinkling and lulling me to sleep. It also brings me back to when my husband and I were in Maine and all that surrounded us was a sky blanketed in stars and the fragrant smell of the great outdoors. Ahhhh..... 

I do believe it works wonders in the inspiration department. If you're lucky enough and you love the smell of Balsam and Christmas as much as I do, snag yourself one of these. You will be happy you did. Doesn't hurt that they're so darn cute, too!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

"C" is for Chalkboard

I love the look of chalkboard in the most unexpected places. A pantry door, kitchen wall, flower pot, cabinets, furniture, hallways, storage containers, etc. So I took the liberty of jazzing up the home of my laundry powder and slapping writing a name on it.

This is the beginning of my laundry room transformation, so I am making some progress here. I decided since I broke out the chalkboard paint that I would also do another glass jar and salt container to boot. It's a good thing my daughter was napping or I might have labeled her as well! Seriously, it's very addicting.


Painter's Tape - I used Frog's Tape (green one). Not so sure I like this since the paint did bleed through it. I have heard several good reviews of this tape, so either my painting skills are appalling or the tape just stinks.

Chalkboard Paint - Purchased mine months ago and it's just been sitting in the garage. I had to do LOTS of shaking to get the solid parts integrated into the watery-liquid part (excuse my non-paint lingo... no idea of what the actual terminology for this is).

Foam Brush 


I did two coats overall and spaced them out about two hours. The first I found to be very thin and watery, but I believe this is because the paint was not mixed very well. By the time the second coat came on, it actually took on a solid black color.

This morning consisted of ripping the tape off and then having to scrape the "fuzzy"/paint-bled sides off with a metal butter knife (the equipment I have for this is just mind boggling). Once the edges were smoothed out, I was ready for the next step... which is to take your chalk and rub it on the painted area. Make sure you hold it sideways, this way it goes on less harsh.

You then take cloth and erase what you just did, this way it's somewhat broken in. Many things require a clean slate to get started, but this isn't one of them... the messier, the better. Now, write away!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

We all must do Laundry

.. otherwise we create mountains of clothes that we end up walking climbing over. Not to mention having nothing to wear!

If you're the rare few that actually likes doing laundry, and my mother is one of them, then you have no problem. I have to admit, I don't really have a problem with doing laundry itself - after all, the machine does all the work. It's having to step into our laundry room that I have a problem with. 

When I was growing up, we lived in an old house that came equipped with a dingy basement. I mean, creepy-do-I-really-have-to-venture-down-here basement... a cellar, if you will. I was always convinced there was something lurking behind every corner. My mom was definitely a trooper, walking up and down scary steps just to make it to the back end of the room. How that didn't 'scar' her from ever loading up the machines I'll never know. 

I'm grateful in the sense that we don't even have a basement, but our laundry room does share space with the downstairs bathroom. Not only is it cramped, but it's just weird. I'm not complaining though, I know firsthand that conditions could be far worse. However, I have been looking to pretty up the space and make it more enjoyable. Do you ever get the sense of wanting to make something over since you have to spend time there? You might as well make it fun! And in the realm of laundry, most can agree that we need a little more of that in our repertoire. 

The closest I have come to doing anything remotely pretty in this space is to replace the closet door handles. I was stoked when I stepped into Anthropologie and saw these handles for $2.00. OH BOY! In the meantime, I'm eyeing up these photos and definitely coming up with some inexpensive ways to 'DIY' the area. 

Here are the current working conditions: 

Loving these handles

The current state of Laundry-ville

Washing machine serving also as a storage unit

Yard sale find: can't wait to bunch the few of these that I have together and make them pop!

... Stay Tuned!

Wish List:

Country Living

Country Living

Country Living
Country Living

Monday, December 26, 2011

Epiphany Begins

The day after Christmas brings a lot of anti-climatical events, unless you live in England and celebrate Boxing Day. For most of us, we feel sandwiched in between a week of two celebrations (Christmas followed by New Year's). For my family, the latter is pretty uneventful since we don't celebrate and are usually in bed by early evening!

I've tried to come up with various ways to 'hang on' to the season. After all, I'm still listening to Christmas music and left a couple of decorations up. Overall though, the excitement falls by the wayside after your last opened gift... or once you've emptied your glass of eggnog! Either way, at some point the festivities must come to an end. For my husband and I, it was when the closing credits of 'It's a Wonderful Life' came on last night and our baby was calling for me to go 'night-night'.

Having said all this, I've still embraced this week as a blessing because ALL the projects I've wanted to do for Christmas - but didn't have time for - I can now work on. It's really a great idea if you think about it. You can make your own stockings or perfect that paper Christmas tree (wasn't it easy??) or whatever your big heart desires. Possibilities are endless.

You can also celebrate the Epiphany, that is, the coming of the three wise men and end your season January 6th. You see, the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' begins today, as the three men embarked on their journey to visit baby Jesus and came armed with Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh. In these days of trains, planes and automobiles, it is difficult to truly appreciate the miles these men endured to see our newborn King. But what a sight it must've been for them to finally arrive!

Feel free to put up an Epiphany advent calendar and put a little extension on your holiday season. Why not? It's more reason to stay festive and to remind yourself that even though everyone is ready to move on to the next holiday, that old 'Christmas feeling' never truly goes away in your heart. And isn't that what really matters?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

The Birth of Jesus 

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. 
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Last Minute Christmas Gift

Here's a super cool, super cheap and super last minute Christmas gift. I know I've overused this term, but it is SO easy to do! This does not involve baking, gluing, cutting or anything of the kind -- just a little time and your two hands.

I ran into my sister in law last week and was at a loss for what to get my cutie patootie nieces. She assured me they're getting all they want from Santa this year and to try my hands at a homemade tree... using none other than magazines. HELLO! I have tons of them stacked up in various places of my house (which I have to vow for the New Year to finally organize and clean up!)

What better way to give a child a little tree of their own, one that doesn't need water or decorating. I thought this was a perfect idea. I tried my hand at these this morning and it took little time and effort to put together. I LOVE the final product and I think my nieces will too.

Here's the super last minute innovative (if I do say so myself) gift.


Magazine - you can also use Reader's Digest size if you wish, I used 'Real Simple' and a standard one

A tree topper - optional ... I used two pieces of pipe cleaners and twirled them together and shaped them up into an abstract star

Follow the pics for instructions and enjoy putting this together!

Here's your magazine (I had already started folding, but I'll show you how to get here)

Fold the first page of the magazine down like this (don't do the cover yet)

Then fold it again in half (vertically, that is)

Fold up the bottom to make it even with the rest of the pages

Turn over and begin with the next page, keep doing this with all the pages

Once again, fold

Fold the same page again

And once more, fold the bottom up

Keep doing over and over; your last folds will be the back page and the cover of the magazine

Top with whatever topper you want

And the final product is festive and 'bright'

Merry Christmas to you...

.. and to all..

A good night! Enjoy!!