Thursday, December 31, 2009

What I Learned in 2009

Things I learned in 2009....

(OK, some of them were relearned or I have a new appreciation of them)

  • Time seems to speed up rather than slow down
  • I love digital design
  • how to take better photos with Candace Stringham
  • the joys of second hand shopping
  • to make the most of what I have
  • I love designing rubber stamps and it was a fabulous experience
  • sometimes God closes a door
  • All work and no play leads to creative burn-out
  • Creativity comes back if you change gears for a while
  • I hate being a procrastinator
  • how to create a digital blinkie
  • I rediscovered the joy of sewing on fabric
  • how to paint old furniture
  • to create my own wall art
  • Good things come to those who wait...I now have a craft room!
  • After 20 years of baby mania, I'm more than happy to wait patiently for my grandma years now
  • that the teenage years can be the best of times but also the worst of times...six years down and just sixteen more to go! lol the joys of five kids
  • is a cool place to shop
  • a new puppy can be more work than a new baby
  • that I love to sing but should never hum
  • how to make my hubby's 40th memorable
  • I need a list to stay on track
  • I'm becoming more like my mom
  • to be a little less shy
  • to spend less time on the computer
  • the book of Daniel is fascinating...I loved the Beth Moore Daniel study, learned and grew so much
  • balance is everything
  • all good things come to an end
  • time does heal all wounds...I can now remember my mom with a smile instead of a tear
  • my daughter and I may just end up as close friends as my mom and I were
  • "it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful" ~ the Nester
  • it's good to be creative in a variety of things
  • I love DIY home blogs
  • I can change my home little by little, step by step
  • the most important job God has given me is being a mom
  • that my kids will pick up my least desirable traits
  • having my husband working out of town for seven months is an experience I don't want to repeat
  • I can be more independent than I thought
  • after 20 years of marriage, he's still the one
  • not to take my blessings for granted
  • I have a couple grey hairs
  • my children never cease to amaze me
  • to be kinder
  • to love with abandon
  • that I can trust God with every tiny detail of my life
  • a couple good friends are a precious gift
  • to treasure each moment
  • to find the best in difficult days
  • to find beauty in the mundane
  • to take more time to enjoy the wonder God's of creations
  • I am blessed
I'm looking forward to a wonderful year ahead. I know that God's plan for me is far more thrilling than anything I could ever plan. It's also good to look back and see the path through the past year, learn from my mistakes, be encouraged in the blessings and see the Guiding Hand that helped me through.

Wishing you a year of blessing to come!

This post links up with Funky Junk Interiors Saturday Night Special

so cool

This is so cool. Seriously...very cool project but also VERY cool inside. We now have no insulation in the family room and baby, it's cold outside. It's exciting though to see the worst of the mess gone. The yucky nasty insulation and who knows what else (don't want to think about it) has been hauled off and the joists are exposed.

You may or may not notice from the photo that we have TWO sets of joists in this picture. The top one is much newer wood. Hmmm... That's because when hubby, son #1 and hubby's brothers redid the roof, hubby planned ahead. The back half of the house had a "newer" addition. I say this hesitantly as the house is over 100 years old and who knows when the back half was added. Sadly, like many additions it just did not match the house. A very low pitch roof when the front part of the house had a steep pitch. My amazing man ordered new trusses and built up that roof so that it looks MUCH better from the outside.

This leaves us with two sets of trusses and the originals, are just not needed any longer. The lower ones were basically just there, hanging out and holding up the drywall ceiling. Enter the vaulted ceiling idea. How cool is that? It's going to add about 3 feet to the center of the roof and I think it will make the boring room look lovely. Architectural details are always SO cool. I can't take the slightest bit of credit for this idea. It's all hubby's. He's the brains as well as the brawn. I provide the food and back rubs. Oh yes. I brag a little bit too. Isn't he a keeper?!

Here's one of our fabulous helpers in her very fashionable outfit borrowed from daddy.
And oh look! That lovely faux brick behind the gas fireplace is gone!

As the original roof was just built over, it all had to come down with the original rafters.

It's also a wonderful learning experience for the kids. I passed this one selflessly by so that they could learn. Wonderful mother, am I not?
I'm glad my job was photography but shh....
don't tell.

The original rafters are starting to be cut down.

OK. At this point me and my camera were banished from the area. I'll have to try and sneak in again today for some more updates. Last night they worked well into the wee hours. I can't believe how different the room looks. It's getting exciting!

And just a quick disclaimer here. This project was professionally engineered and hubby has worked in construction for 20 plus years. This is not a basic DIY project. Do not try this at home.

Happy New Year Everyone!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

and so it begins....

and so it begins....


Another renovation project commenced this morning. Seriously, I thought we'd at least finish up a few of the ones in progress before moving on. I had hoped to get the living room and dining room painted. The bathroom counter repaired. We did actually get most of the craft room done. Hubby finished trimming the window on Monday and as soon as I find the time, I'll finish painting the trim and that will be good. Yay! Almost there.

I was thinking we'd be spending this week puttering about with little things, enjoying some family time, relaxing.....

until he broke the news to me.

We're redoing the family room.

Yes it needs done. It is ugly. UGLY in capital letters ugly. You just can't imagine how ugly. Dusty rose walls, UGLY gas fireplace with even uglier brick surround. The crowning touch is the ceiling. A lovely stucco ceiling. The previous owners had installed too-thin drywall on the ceiliings too far apart on center and it was bowing. And my favorite feature...the lovely hole where my 19yo fell through last year when redoing the roof. Don't worry. It's all good and he just ended up with a few bruises.

I'm not sure if you'll believe me but this room was actually improved when we moved in. The windows were almost non-existent slits in the walls and the seals on them were cracked giving a nice view of condensation in between and not much else. The walls were dark, dark, dark paneling which hubby covered over with drywall. We ran out of time before moving in and with an old house, there is only so much you can do at one time as there is always a project.

I have to admit, I'm thrilled to finally be getting this done. It's just the process I'm not so thrilled with. And I'd wanted to spend some family time. I guess we'll be doing more bonding through dust and dirt and hard work.

I seem to be a little long winded this morning. Perhaps it's because I'm trying to avoid the major demolition going on upstairs. I know my 19yo is actually thrilled all of a sudden to be on night shift this week as he can sleep through most of it! My job is actually just to keep the little boys out of mischief (full time job there!), provide food and try my best to keep up with the demolition and construction dirt and keep it from the rest of the house...easier said that done to be sure. The reason I gave in and we're actually doing this now...hubby needs at least 4-5 days in a row to work on this and doing it now is much better than giving up our week at the beach next summer.


I can't quite believe I'm actually showing you this but it will make for some good before and after photos.

Mostly emptied of stuff
my crafting area used to be that tiny corner where the desk is

the north wall...a little more to move out but hubby has covered the hardwood with plywood to protect it

Isn't this a lovely hole? I only had to put up with it for about 15 months lol

anyone want an ugly gas fireplace?

yesterday the drywall arrived
via a crane truck lifting it through an upstairs window
we have interesting features in this old house...the family room is upstairs above the kitchen!

ceiling is coming down

our interesting garbage chute...out the window

Where's the beauty in this? I can't wait to find it. If it turns out how we's going to be beautiful when done and I can't wait.

Stay tuned! and wish me luck...


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

home sweet home

Well you this house, almost everything is grounds for blog fodder, especially when it's creative. lol Monday the kids had some fun making home sweet home...our first gingerbread house in years. While I wasn't part of the procedure, it was super fun, even if it didn't quite turn out like intended. I'm still lovin it! They had fun together and if the icing just did not set up that what!

Here's what our lovely sweet gingerbread house looks like.

Now every house needs a little structural reinforcement. Ours is LUCKY enough to have a lovely blue bow.

Oh that every roof should be so sweet and yummy...

Every roof needs a little ventilation, right?

I guess that icing just didn't want to set up like it should. Note to self...the Costco Gingerbread House kit is fun and quick but next year....make the icing from scratch! This one just did not want to harden into mortar.

Have a sweet day!


Monday, December 21, 2009

Taking Some Time

Christmas..It's such a beautiful time of year. A very busy time of year too. Today I'm taking a little time out from the hustle and bustle and last minute preparations to think about the beauty of Christmas.

May I never lose sight of the greatest gift of all.


Monday, December 14, 2009

It's a Wrap

Anyone started their Christmas wrapping yet? I'm lucky that my daughter loves wrapping and is helping me out this year. I'll just be wrapping her gifts and a few other special ones. I thought I'd share some wrapping ideas that I've created in the past to hopefully inspire you for wrapping your special gifts this year.

This first project is a paper mache box that I've stamped and trimmed. It appeared in Paper Crafts magazine, Holiday Cards and More released August 2009.

This is a fun and easy project that is also stamped. To stamp on glass, you need to use a solvent ink. I used Blue and Opaque White Stazon by Tsukineko.

Canning Jars make fun packaging for little gifts as well. Fill with Candy or a tissue wrapped treasure. This project was created for Home and Heart Summer 2008 issue.

White Stazon ink works fabulous on tin as well. Stamp the snowflakes and fill the tin with your gift.

If you're giving gift cards this year, why not make a special card to give them in? This card uses a trifold design and tucks a card into a little pocket inside.

If you have a super tiny present, this sweet little box makes a fun package. The Printable template for this box can be found here and printed as many times as you wish.

Here's another sweet way to gift a gift card. The tin is from Michael's and then embellished and personalized.

Handmade tags look beautiful with wrapping paper or a parcel wrapped in canvas, burlap or brown paper wrapping.

Are you creating any special wraps this season? Happy wrapping!


This post links up with Red Writing's Twelve Week's of Christmas Gift Wrapping Link Party

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Beauty of Christmas Carols

As I sat in church the other night singing Christmas Carols with a group of children, I was impressed with the beauty and truth to be found in the old traditional carols. It's not often that you hear them these days, on the radio or in the stores. Why is Santa Baby the most popular song I seem to hear? This year I'm turning off the radio and turning on some beautiful old carols and remembering the Gift of Christmas.

Hark the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled"
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
"Christ is born in Bethlehem"
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ by highest heav'n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin's womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Hail the heav'n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris'n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"

In searching for the lyrics to enjoy again, I came across this lovely (and free!) little Christmas Carol Printable Booklet from Some sweet graphics and 30 traditional songs, most of which include the true meaning of Christmas. I'm planning to print off some copies, gather my family together with some hot chocolate and enjoy a little family time, singing and enjoy each other's company. A beautiful little time out in this very busy season.

Wishing you a beautiful Christmas,


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Hostess Gift for the Holiday Party & a Digital File

I'm excited about this little hostess gift I put together for a holiday party I'm going to tomorrow night. The hostess is a sweet friend of mine and I wanted to put together something special but still inexpensive.

For the base of my gift I picked up this pretty frame at Home Sense. It has some wonderful scrolls and dimension and can be used to put a family picture in. On top, a couple mercury glass votive candle holders and then tucked in some sweet jingle bells and some silver glittery accents from a Christmas pick. I love it all lit up. Of course, I'll put in some new votives before I give it. I'm going to wrap it up in clear cellophane with a bow and a little card.

To give this gift, a piece of scrapbooking paper would be sweet inside the frame instead of the faux picture is comes with. I actually created a fun little digital file that I printed out onto photo paper to put inside the frame. It's fun and Christmassy. I know...the graphic style and the ornate frame look a little eclectic together but a little funky is fun some times.

And as a little gift to you for stopping by my blog, feel free to use this digital file for your own holiday projects. Put it in a frame or make tags or cards from it. Enjoy! To use, just click on the image to enlarge and then save as a file on your computer. If you're looking for something a little more vintage, you can also check out ideas from Every Thing Creative.

please use this file for your personal use only.
please do not redistribute this file. thanks!

This is a little more gift orientated than party orientated but it's what I'm doing for a party this year. This post links up with

Happy Creating!


Deck the Halls... last minute and budget solutions

It's never seems as there is quite enough money or time to do everything we want at this time of the year. That's OK. Just make the best of it. Here's a few easy solutions for decorating for the holidays that come to mind.

Mittens - Mittens have to be the cutest things. I love little mittens, especially the handknit variety. Frame them for some festive decorating or hang them up like a banner for a cozy look. If you're really ambitious, fill them with treats.

photo by

Pictures - Wall art and picture frames can be easily and quickly decorated for a fun holiday touch. Place family holiday photos from past years in your picture frames,

photos by

Ribbon - Ribbon is always festive looking. Use it as a garland, around the tree, tie it around any of the usual decorative accents in your home to give them a festive look.

Epsom Salts - Is this not the coolest thing? I found this Epsom Salts candle idea at the Inspired Room.

Candles - Candles are cozy and while wonderful all year long, they are especially festive at the holidays. Buy some holiday scented candles to make the house smell great and you get double duty for your money. If you buy white or ivory candles, you can use them for other occasions throughout the year making them much more economical. Tie a group of them together with twine and place a spring of greenery behind the knot for a pretty look.

Greenery - If you have access to spruce, pine and cedar trees, snip off some branches here and there and use them for holiday greenery. Yes, the needles will eventually fall but you have a vacuum right? And it's free!

Jingle Bells - This year I invested in a few packages of jingle bells in classic silver. Jingle bells never go out of style and by just adding them to the tablescapes you already have, add a festive touch.

Snowflakes - Love snowflakes as they are more of a winter decoration than specifically for Christmas. You have to like something that you can keep up for a little longer. Snowflake decorations are a classic touch and worth the investment.

Lights - I love white lights. You can never have too many lights and the new led lights are so energy efficient to run.

Sticks - The humble stick or branch is a great economical embellishment. Put them in a planter with greenery. Sprinkle them with glitter and arrange in a vase. Cut branches to straight even lengths and wrap around a candle. Anchor a branch in a pot and hang some sweet decorations from it.

Paper...banners, chains, tags are all great and inexpensive ways to decorate for Christmas. There is no limit as to what you can create from a little paper. And to tie in with the snowflakes theme, why not cut some out of paper? I've always loved how each one is different.

Baking Supplies - I love baking for the holiday and a sweet little arrangement of cookie cutters and other baking tools is a fun accent using things you already have. Baking tins are also great for trays to arrange things on.

So that's a few of my thoughts on decorating for the holidays. Just remember, you don't need to decorate every room. You don't need to keep up with the Jones'. Take time to enjoy the season and most of all, your loved ones.

This post links up with the Holiday Linky Party at the Inspired Room.

Happy Decorating!


Monday, December 7, 2009

White Christmas Crafting...a canvas tree & a mitten frame

Friday was a super fun day for me. I somehow managed to squeeze in a bunch of simple holiday crafts. While I was out Friday morning picking up the styrofoam wreath for my Tassel Fringe Wreath, they had darling little styrofoam tree shapes as well. I wasn't quite sure what I was going to do with it but thought glitter perhaps. Well, as you can see in this photo, I kind of went the other way and just covered it with long strips of canvas. A simple shabby look. I had some canvas left over from my canvas pillow project and thought a monochromatic look would be pretty. To cover the tree, I just wrapped the styrofoam with 1" torn strips of canvas and pinned on as I went. The fun thing is that if I want a different look next year, I can just un-pin it.

And here it is at night. I love that little lamp I picked up at Wal-mart in the fall for my back hall table. It's so much cozier and more welcoming than the bright overhead light. To complete my winter whites arrangement, I added in a candle, a sequin star, an old clock face I purchased on ebay, a little verse quote display that I have on the table all year and tied them together by grouping onto a white plate from my kitchen. I'm pleased with the simple look and of course the price was just right.

I had thought I was finished crafting for the day and went to work sorting mittens, hats and scarves and just getting organized for the colder weather. I guess it doesn't take too much to sidetrack me though as I came across this sweet little hand-knit mitten in almost new condition. Unfortunately, one of my little kittens had lost their other mitten. As I couldn't match it up, I started thinking. Last year I would have sighed and thrown it out. But not THIS year. Now I'm thinking creatively with more than just paper.

A Goodwill frame I picked up made a great holiday accent when spray painted white. I don't recommend you spray paint in the basement like I did because of the cold. Yuck...the fumes were not nice. After taking out the glass, I filled the inside of the frame with yet another piece of leftover sweater from the sweater pillow, tied the mitten with some of my scrapbooking supplies and adhered it to the frame. Super quick and super fun and I love all the recycling I did on this project.

This post links up with DIY Day at a Soft Place to Land

Have a creative day!