Wednesday, December 18, 2013

One More Week

Guess which four munchkins are super psyched that Christmas is only one week from today...

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Shopping

Ready for some great Christmas gift ideas? Better yet, ready for some great Christmas gift ideas where the money you spend goes towards empowering women in Africa and India to raise money for their families through a sustainable business?

I thought so.

Here we go; you'll find items on this list for all budgets. Just click the title link for any gift to take you to the spot to shop.

For a Hostess Gift:

Noonday Tea Towels

Fiesta Journal
Fiesta Journal

For Your Girlfriends/Sister/Mom:

Bone Carved Earrings  (I'm absolutely drooling over these!)

Woven Voyage Clutch
Woven Voyage Natural Clutch Front

Paper Bead Earrings
Blue / Turquoise Paper Bead Earrings - Click Image to Close

White Arrow Clutch

Ruth Necklace (Wouldn't this just make any simple shirt spectacular!)

Paper Bead Spiral Bracelet
Light Blue Paper Bead Spiral Bracelet - Click Image to Close

Shibori Hobo Purse

Carved Jade Bracelet

Mary Sunshine Apron

Crescent Moon Earrings

Seble Scarf (Be still, my beating heart.)

For the Man in Your Life:

Genet scarf

Don't be thrown off by the female model in the link. I bought one for my brother and he looked super studly. Even Jimmy Fallon rocked this scarf:

Fikire Leather iPad Cover

Kalkidan Leather Wallet:

You can find lots of other gorgeous items in the stores of the links I've included in this post. Think of how fun it would be to tell the recipient that their gift was made in Africa or India!

And, wives, you may just need to accidentally, on-purpose make sure this list ends up in your husband's inbox.

Happy Shopping!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Things I'm Into This Winter

Idea swapping is the real beauty of the internet. So let's do some of that here and now. And since I didn't get enough sleep last night and can't think of a snazzy intro, I'll just dive right into another "Things I'm Into" post.

Herbs! I'm on an herb kick right now. Not just for cooking but for decorating/crafting. It started with an herb centerpiece my sister and I cooked up for the Thanksgiving table:

.herb table decor.

That spilled over into present wrapping. (Don't be impressed- I'm not so organized that I'm on top of wrapping gifts this early, I just had a couple presents that needed to be delivered early):

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I even got my girls into the herb action with rosemary tree/wreath miniatures:

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And I love that they dry so nicely. This thyme is already dried out and went perfectly with our table's Christmas centerpiece:

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Now onto something less odoriferous; how about chalkboard art. I officially jumped on the chalk art bandwagon:

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This was actually a simple project that made my handwriting appear much better than it really is. I simply used the same technique as I did with my pallet art by printing out some script I had found on the internet, rubbing chalk all over the back of the paper, then placing the paper on the chalkboard and using a pencil to trace the art onto the board. If that didn't make sense you can find more HERE. I used a chalk marker to get a clean look, but you can also simply wet a piece of chalk.

Speaking of chalkboards. This chalk work that my girlfriend put up on her blog is now the background of my phone since I need the mommy reminder every day:

the kind of mommy to-do list i need

And now onto those kiddos I mother. Everyone from my 11-year-old to my 3-year-old has been enjoying these printables:

via dabbleandbabbles
free printable - just add faces! - so fun!

And we plan to get into the Christmas spirit one December morning with these:

via happyhomefairy
Christmas Pancakes

I'm not a baker, but there is something about the cold weather that makes me want to throw on apron and turn on the oven. I've made these grain-free, dairy-free, sugar-free muffins a couple of times; and they are a hit with the whole family:

via BrittanyAngell 
Blackberry Lime Muffins (grain free, dairy free)

Finally, here's what my kids are into this winter. They want Santa to be real, so they can ask him for a pompsky. Don't know what a pompsky is? Check out this bundle of fluff:

in my kids' kids have been begging for a pomsky

They're wishing for Santa to be real; because they know that when it come to animals in the home, Daddy isn't quite as jolly as the old man in a red suit.

May you stay cozy and warm and full of ideas this winter!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Window Treatments {DIY}

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There is this one frustrating thread through my life. Anytime I ignore my mother's advice, I regret it. Well, except for my decision to use a soundtrack for my wedding processional. I was right on that one; which means- Alyssa: 1 Mom: 953.

I won't even bore you with the excessive stories of how she ended up being right time and time again. But I will tell you about the window treatments. At every single place I have lived in since getting married (which is 6 places in 12 years), she has advised me to make my own window coverings. Each time it goes something like this:

Mom: "Honey, you should really consider making your own window treatments. They are far cheaper and so easy.."
Me: "Mom, you know I can hardly sew a straight line."
Mom: "They truly aren't difficult to do."
Me: "Mom, I acted like I had just made Kate Middleton's wedding dress when I completed a pathetic pillow. You know how it is."
Mom: "I really think you could do it."
Me: "You're supposed to say that; your my mom."

Well last year, faced with a new house full of windows and a wallet not-so-full of money, I finally caved. I actually made my own window bling. And Mom was *cough* *mumble* right. Again.

So, I'm hear to preach the window treatment truth to you...

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Really! Take it from a non-sewer who resisted for over a decade.

First, there were the valances in the kitchen and breakfast nook:

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I used a 1x4 piece of lumber instead of a curtain rod to give it a unique look that began the money savings. I simply painted it, cut it, screwed in smaller pieces to the long front piece, and used brackets to hang the whole thing:

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Then I started collecting my materials for the valance. I hit up Calico Corners when they were having their biggest sale of the year for the fabric and bought twill ribbon, buttons, and wooden dowels from JoAnn Fabrics.

Then I followed THESE clear, simple instructions from the Painted Hive.

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Above my kitchen sink, I used a tension rod the old owners had left behind to hang the valance:

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In my bedroom, I wanted to to use the sheers that came with the house and to make a wooden cornice. I used some cut pallet wood and whitewashed it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (half paint, half water). In a similar way as the wooden curtain rod I described above, I used brackets to hold the two long pieces of wood together and to attach the small side pieces. Then I used a tension rod inside the wooden cornices. I love the hard/soft feel that it gave:

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For my front room, I wanted some fabric cornices to hide the shades:

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The materials for this were only the fabric, lumber, brackets, batting, and a borrowed staple gun from my dad. I used THIS tutorial from Inspired Whims.

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A couple of last tips:
1) For the wider windows (like the one in my breakfast nook) be sure to support and window covering structure in the middle so it doesn't eventually bow.
2) Always, always put your treatments above your windows to draw the eye upward and give the illusion of bigger windows.

And if you want to make drapes yourself, hit up Pinterest where they're now even showing you how to construct those out of drop clothes. I haven't ventured into the drape-making world yet, but I'll get there...eventually...and make my mom proud.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Our Days

Just stopping by to share some shots from our day to day life...

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After a package was delivered, Isaiah swiped the box since he had a "puppet show" idea...
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