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Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Holiday

     Whoa! This is the longest I've gone without blogging! Every girl deserves a break right? I'm taking another week off for some family time by the lake! Can't wait! Until I return, have a fabulous fourth!

God Bless America!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Library Book Storage

     Do you ever have a hard time finding all of the kids library books to get them returned on time? I'm sure you don't, but let me tell you, we sure do!

     We don't often go to the public library during the school year because my kids visit their school and church libraries, but in the summer time we make it a big priority. In fact, each day we schedule a reading time because without it they wouldn't take the time to read much.

     The dilemma we face is where to keep the books when they aren't being read to prevent them from being captured by the under bed monster or being filed away in their bookcases.

     We were at a friends house recently {she has 5 kids} and I notice a specific basket designated for library books in their main floor office. We have no main floor office {on an any floor office} but the basket idea I liked!

     I went and picked up a rectangle one that I liked and made a label for it out of wood which was spray painted in chalkboard paint {my favorite!}. I attached it with double stick velcro and found a good place for it on the main floor.

I love it when everything has a place!!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Strawberry Jam

     I don't want you to think by the title that I'm going to tell you how to make amazing strawberry jam, cuz I'm not!

     I am, however, going to tell you a few things I learned along the way and share a link to some really cute labels for your jam jars.

     A little secret here: this was my first time making jam or canning anything! It was really kind of fun except that I way underestimated what I would need!

     We started about by going to a local strawberry farm and picking the berries ourselves!

     A little tidbit about this last little guy. He was very excited initially to go along but after five minutes and five berries he was done! Shortly after we got home he felt warm and then threw up......yep has the flu that one and I dragged him into a muggy hot field.....not one of my finer mom moments! Oh well!

     On with the jam making! I followed a simple recipe from but started by mixing my berries in the blender {I'm not a chunky kind of girl}.

     Here's a few things I learned along the way:

  • I'm allergic to strawberry plants. Everywhere a plant touch my arms got super itchy, like burny itchy, and all red. No fun! 
  • You need a lot more sugar than you think you will. Yep, ran out after the first batch.
  • You need a lot more jars than you think you will. Yep, ran out after two batches.
  • You need a lot more pectin than you think you will. {Thank you Amy for keeping extra on hand in case your crazy neighbor thinks she knows what she's doing but doesn't!}

     In spite of all of the problems, I am proud of the results and will probably make more next year. {Except that I will just buy them already itchy!}

      To embellish my jars I found these really cute labels at Limeshot Design

     Let's hope your jam making adventures are much more serene than mine!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer Styling

     How do you get your house ready for summer? And I'm not talking about the practical things like changing out the storm windows for screens or getting out the sprinklers. I'm mean how do you decorate or style your home for summer?

     For me its all about taking off layers {not clothes, silly} and adding some beachy elements. Por ejemplo,  {I have a lot of spanish on the brain today, not sure why}, I take off the throw blankets on the beds and couches, spare down the decorative details, and add in lighter colors and whites. Just typing this description makes me feel more summery! I also like to add in more natural elements like flowers, sea stars, sand and shells. {Not to mention the driftwood centerpiece I just showed you!}

Martha Stewart

     I love the colors and the texture in this picture. This totally speaks summer to me!

     In my own home my first step to summering things up a bit was to change out my hutch shelves from Spring to Summer. You have to look closely to see the subtle changes. Pretend this is one of those 'circle all of the differences between the two pictures' that you did when you were a kid! ;)

     What is totally obvious is the repair to the door that my dad did for us. We plan to repaint the whole hutch but haven't gotten to that yet!

     This season I didn't have time to make major changes as I've done in the past. But I think this shows that you don't need to make major changes to make a difference for the seasons. From spring to summer I changed some of the elements such as the tea pot to the pot with the shell on top, and added smaller details as well. 

     I'm working on the mantle.  I have to work around that pesky cable box which makes it difficult! {Darn those things! They sure aren't friendly to my decor!}

     And in the bathroom, I always like to update my little shelf above the toilet for the seasons too. {Don't forget about those bathrooms for the seasons!} Its always a fun surprise to change out that little space too!

     The little sail boat was made out of left over bark from this project. It was easy to cut my shape with scissors and using craft glue, stick it to a stick I found in the yard. The flag is a piece of ribbon trimmed.

     Summer's almost here! Are you ready!!!!

I'm sharing this project here:

Its Overflowing
i should be mopping the floor 
Between naps on the porch 
The Lettered Cottage 
The Shabby Creek Cottage

Friday, June 15, 2012

Driftwood Centerpiece

     Living in Michigan we have access to some amazing beaches! We've only made a few trips to the beach this year so far but on one such trip I came across a piece of driftwood. Now this isn't the beautiful curved pieces that are organic in shape and origin. Mine is probably some machine cut piece but it clearly has been in the lake for a while and has taken on a beautiful finish.

     Initially I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it and it leaned against the fireplace for a while.

     Not bad, but it needed a purpose. I decided to drill some holes in it to make a candle holder. Now, how to drill them holes........

     I needed back up so I took my board over to my amazing dad who can do anything with a piece of wood. {Remember my banquette benches? My dad made those out of trees in his yard. He planed them himself and came up with his own plans and built these beauties! I know, he's amazing!!!} introduced me to a Forstner bit. This guy here:

     Dad used a 1-5/8" bit on his drill press to drill my holes.

     And here's the end result:

     I love the texture in that wood, and layered on the burlap is quite homey!

     My hubby thinks it has too low of a profile for the dining room table and he's probably right but for now it makes a nice and simple summer center piece.

I found some flowers out in the yard and decided to add them to increase their profile, even if just a bit.

{What an amazing creator we have! Check out that design!}

I'm sharing this project here:

Tatertots and Jello
Its Overflowing
Too much time
i should be mopping the floor 
Between naps on the porch 
The Lettered Cottage 
The Shabby Creek Cottage

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Bar Stool Face Lift

     When we updated our kitchen over the winter I desperately wanted to get new bars stools, but they weren't in the budget. So we kept the same old beat up ones we always had and called it good. I knew that they needed updating but wasn't sure what or how. Then I came across Amanda's bar stool redo and fell in love with the charming numbers she used to update her stools using her cricket machine. Well, a cricket machine wasn't in the budget either so I decided to use my basic sign making technique and see if that would produce the same result. Here's how they came out:

     I've never really stained before and that is quite apparent if you look at #4. However, to boost my morale I decided that I would call them 'modern rustic'. The font being modern and the rustic being the sorry stain. Oh well!

     Here's where they started:

     Now #4's not looking so I right? ;)

     If you want to give your stools a face lift here's what I did:

1)  Using a medium grit sand paper, sand the shiny finish off of them.

2)  Using a rag and the desired stain color, lightly add coats until you get the desired color. For best results {not my results ;) } follow directions on the can. This is what I used:

This is just after one coat. I probably did 4-5 coats total.

 3)    Once you get the desired color and its dry, its time to do your numbers. I have four kids and four stools, thus the numbers one through four! ;) 

     I played around with fonts on my computer until I found one I liked. I used the size 500 {after some trial and error} and printed one number out per page. With them printed out I next used my pencil to shade the edges of my number on the back side.

4)     Tape your number on your stool and trace the outline of the number. Doing this will push some of the lead on the back side of your number onto the stool leaving an outline for you to fill with paint.

    5)     Using craft paint fill in the outline and let it dry.

6)     Cover with polyurethane and let it dry! I used this foam brush but it left lots of bubbles so once I rolled it on I took my rag to smooth it out. I'm sure a brush would work much better. {Live and learn!}

And here's the end result!

     Aaaahhhhhhh! Much better!

I'm sharing this project here:

At the Picket Fence 
Tatertots and Jello 
Too Much time on my hands
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