Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year! What is 2011 going to bring?

I'm not usually big on New Year's resolutions. They don't really fit me. I'm also not very good at setting goals.  I have things I'd like to do, but never write them down. If I write them down, then (horror of horrors) I might actually have to do something about them!

But, 2011 seems like a good year to try! We had some big changes as a family in 2010 (moving back to North Dakota, new baby, new house) and those changes have given me a new perspective. I'm ready to take some more risks and live life to the fullest. I think I've been a wuss when it comes to living life so far. I want to start changing that in 2011. I'm not saying I'll be jumping out of airplanes, but I think it's time (I'm 35 for crying outloud) to start putting myself out there more.

So, here we goals for 2011.

1. Get back into shape

I lost 50 pounds last year before I got pregnant. I felt great and want to get back there. I figure now that Baby Peach is 4 months old, it's time to get back on that horse. I've signed up to run a 10k in May to give me a kick start.

2. Take my blog to the next level (Inspired by Life Your Way)

I'm going to post at least once a week. I know that many post every day, but that's just not realistic for me. Once a week is doable, especially with all the remodeling we've got going on at the new house. (Pics coming soon!)

3. Learn to take great pictures 

I've had a Nikon D70s for 4 years. And haven't used anything but the auto setting. Horrible, I know. A great camera going to waste. So, I'm going take a picture a everday in 2011 (365 Project). I'm hoping this will help me not only learn to take great pictures, but also teach me to use my camera!

4. Live greener (Inspired by Life Your Way - Green Goals for 2011)

I'm going to start using homemade household cleaners. It's all stuff I have around the house anyway. And, I found some Orange and Peppermint essential oils that I bought a while ago. So, I'm ready! I'm also switching to Dr. Bronner's soap. We've been using antibacterial for years, but I've been convinced to change! These are small steps, I know, but I can't bring myself to use soap instead of shampoo.

5. Do something that scares the shi crap out of me.

I'll be honest. I have no idea what to do here. I think I'll know it when it comes up. I'm hoping I know it. And when it does, I'll take a deep breath and try not to ignore it.

Ok, that was scary. It's out there in web land for everyone to read and ask me about. Sigh. I guess I'm committed now!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Where has the time gone? (And pretty flowers!)

How did it get to be the end December already? I had such good intentions of keeping you updated with the cool Christmas crafts and decorations I made. Only, I didn't make any. Sigh. Things just got away from me.

In the past, we made the trek from Colorado to North Dakota for Christmas. This meant, I had to have everything done and ready to go by December 20th or so. Our tree was always up the day after Thanksgiving, so we could enjoy it before we left.

This year, since we are back in North Dakota there didn't seem to be much of a rush. The tree didn't go up until the second week in December. I was still puttering around with decorations the week after that. And, by then there didn't seem much point in creating a bunch of cool, new Christmas decorations. Sigh.

Next year, maybe next year will be the year. We'll be in a new house and maybe I'll get up the motivation to do a bit more.

I did manage to get some fresh flowers in the house with some greens though! I love the look of white and green, so I went with some white flowers and Christmas-y greens.

I think they turned out pretty cute. I had a big arrangement on the table, then three small ones on side tables through out the house. The only things I bought were the flowers and greens. I bought two bunches of flowers and one bunch of greens at Sam's Club for $3.88 a piece. Everything else I had on hand.  So, I got four arrangements for around $12!

For the biggest arrangement, I used a quart mason jar, a plastic silver charger and some green and silver ornaments.

For the smaller arrangements, I used a pint jar and some green ribbon. 

Cutting the flowers and greens took the longest (and of course I had a 4-year old helper). 

They added such a nice touch to the house! My plan is to keep swapping out flowers and ribbon throughout the year. We'll see how it goes.

I do have a bunch of pictures of the house remodel as well. That's what coming up next! The transformation so far is just amazing! I'm super excited to get painting and super scared to get painting.

Have a safe and happy new year!

Friday, November 12, 2010

I have a dream...

You know that Post-it commercial? Where the mom has everything labeled in clear containers? Yeah, I have that same dream. Ok, maybe not to that extreme and maybe not with the Post-its, but the overall look of all of those containers lined up so neatly. Sigh.

Alas, I don't think it will ever happen to me. I've tried. But, my DH doesn't seem to agree with me on what all should go in all those lovely containers. So far, the cereal is the only thing that consistently stays in them.

When we lived in Colorado, I used to go wander around The Container Store at lunch letting my imagination run wild with all of the things I could organize if only I had all those containers. Just walking in that store would relax me.

In our first house (which we built), we had a pantry. And it was a disaster ALL THE TIME. I'd clean it, organize it and within a week it was trashed.  That's when I started the clear container campaign. I was tired of chip bags and crackers and crap all thrown onto a shelf. I was tired of having to get a step stool out get my crock pot. I was tired of lugging my Kitchen Mixer out when I needed to use it (so I didn't...I HAD to have it, then never used it cause it was a pain in the butt to drag out). If everything had a spot and was organized, I figured my kitchen would function much better and I'd like to be in there more. Sigh. It didn't work.

Our next house was quite a bit older and didn't have a pantry. It did have a TON of counter space though, which I loved! The mixer could stay out on the counter! YAY! I missed not having a pantry, but it forced me to only keep the things I used and needed in the kitchen. The other "stuff" was tucked away in closets. (There wasn't a lot of storage in the house. We added shelves to the office and guest room closets for extra storage.) All of a sudden I was cooking more and using my mixer. Turns out, I really like, no I love, to cook! Who knew that having a better flowing kitchen would have done that.

We are currently in a rental house. I really don't have much to say about it. Nothing is mine and it was cheaply built. Not a big fan. Moving on....

The house we bought 2 days ago doesn't have a pantry either (it was built the same year as our second house, 1976). The kitchen is separate from the other rooms. I'm a little nervous about that. I'm used to cooking with the kids in the family room and being able to see them. We'll see how it goes.

Anwho, thinking about the "new" house is what got me dreaming my dream again. How am I going to work in this new kitchen? Where is everything going to go?  I have yet another chance to make this dream of clear containers and organized cupboards come true. Well, part of it anyway.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Where did my ambition go?

When I first started this blog, I kinda wanted the main focus to be on crafting, creating, etc. But somewhere along the way I lost my ambition. Sad, I know.

I think it was to do with the fact that we are living in a rental. The walls are white. The carpet is off-white (who in their right mind puts light carpet in a rental house?!?!). Everything is blah, blah, blah. I don't want to paint, I don't want to buy curtains for a house that may not fit into another. I'm having a decorating/crafting pity party. (Cue the violins.)

I still have a lot of ideas floating around in my head, but none of them apply to this place. We are buying a new house in a week and all my ideas are for that house. I have a binder. With pictures torn out of magazines. And lists of ideas organized by room. I can't wait to get my hands on it.

Anyway, stick with me! In the coming months there will be a lot of action as we start to update the "new" house!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Evolution of Reading

I've loved to read for as long as I can remember.  My mom, sister and I would go into the public library on Saturday mornings and stock up. Instead of getting in trouble for watching TV when we should have been doing chores, dad would yell at us for having our nose in a book. What else was there to do when it was -30 outside? Sometimes I'd get through 2-3 books in a single weekend.

Book reports in school were easy. The hard part was picking which book to do the report on. Does anyone remember the Book-it program Pizza Hut ran back in the 80s? (They still do it! I wonder how many free personal pan pizzas I got out of them. It's no wonder that English was my favorite subject in school. I did get in trouble a couple of times in class though because I'd be reading on of my own books instead of a chapter in a history book. (I had to find out how it ended and couldn't wait until lunch or afterschool!) One of my good friends from elementary school is also an avid reader. To this day, we still swap book suggestions. We can go for months without talking, but when we do, the conversation inevitably turns to what good books we've read lately.

The earliest ones I remember loving were, of course, the Ramona books. 2nd grade, Mrs. Gander's class. And of course there was The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High.  There was also a series of books that had a girl's name as the title. Each of these girls lived at a different time in history. Cassie is the one that sticks in my mind. (I can't find it on Amazon, nuts.) One of my absolute favorites though was the Heralds of Valdemar series. LOVED THESE BOOKS. If you've got daughters, have them read these books. Excellent.  Arrows of the Queen is the first book.  Then, of course there is The Oustiders. All of S.E. Hinton's books were great.

I'm going to stop for a second here, I'm going to be 35 years old in a couple of weeks (holy crap 35? how the hell did THAT happen? Sigh.). So, what does it say that I remember all of these books from when I was 8, 9, 12 years old? That is the power of books! They stick with you, shape you, make you a spelling bee champion, and allow you to kick ass in Scrabble.

Ok, moving on...are you tired of hearing about books yet? Sorry, but I've only reached like 6th grade!  I'm going to reveal a deep, dark secret I don't think I've told anyone before (ok, maybe my mom and my sister, but I can't remember). When I was around 12-13, I used to babysit my cousins. My aunt had a whole bookcase of Harlequin romances.  I used to steal them (one at a time so it wouldn't be missed...sometimes two, but never three). I'd read them, bring them back the next time I babysat and would grab more. I wonder if she ever knew. They weren't like anything I'd ever read before and I was addicted. 

I think that Harlequin romance addiction started my obsession for historical romances. My friend and I devoured them. The trashy-er, smutty-er the better.  Amanda Quick was favorite. I'd read a whole series one right after the other.  I hadn't read one in a long time until the other day while at Target The Valcourt Heiress by Catherine Coulter caught my eye.  I couldn't resist it. I reserved it from the library that day and read it in a day. (I'm a fast reader.)

A couple of years ago a friend started a book club. Mysteries. I hadn't read a lot of mystery/thriller books in the past, but it was a good excuse to get together with the girls and drink wine. Turns out, I like mysteries/thrillers! I can't do an entire diet of them, but every once in a while they are great. It was one of the girls in this same book club that convinced me to read the Twilight Series. I'll admit it, I loved them. Devoured them. Could read one easily in a day.

These days, I typically read chick-lit. I enjoy memoirs like Eat, Pray, Love and The Sharper the Knife, the Less You Cry.  I just finished Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. Super good book. 

Every once in a while I'll read an Oprah book or one that is supposed to be one that EVERYONE has to read. Water for Elephants was good and I have The Help waiting for me to pick up at the library.

Funny how the stage in your life kinda determines what books interest you. I still enjoy a raunchy smut book on occasion, and a good mystery is a nice change of pace. 

Maybe I'll add a section to my blog that reviews books. We'll see. (I do need to start keeping a list of some kind, cause I've caught myself getting books from the library that I've already read, but didn't remember it until I started the book. Ooops.)

Ok, enough of this computer, I've got a book waiting. (Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner if you were wondering.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tree Painting

Has it really been two weeks since my last post?!? How did that happen? 

I had seen a raffia fall wreath over at The Hand Me Down House and thought it looked easy and cheap, so I decided to give it a try. 

Scratch that. I was going to do a post on the raffia wreath today, but I can't find the pictures! Sigh. Pardon the tangent here...

We have two computers in our house and I thought the pics were on the one I'm currently using. When I couldn't find them, I thought...oh, maybe they are on my thumb drive.  So, I spent 10 minutes looking for my thumb drive. Nope, not there. That means they must be on the OTHER computer. And to be honest, I just don't feel like booting that one up at the moment.

So, I've decided to show you a painting a did a couple of years ago instead.  One day while wandering around in Pier 1, I saw this painting I really, really, really liked. It was a tree with shades of reds and oranges that kinda blended into each other. Very cool. (I looked for a picture online, but like I said, it's been a couple of years so they don't have it anymore. Sorry!) Until I saw the price tag, $300. Um, yeah...I don't think so. And the more I looked at it the more I thought...hey, I could do that.

I really like the way it turned's not exactly like the one at Pier 1, but since it's an orignal (hee hee) I think it's better.  I think it took me maybe an hour total. I let the base colors dry before I painted the tree.

I went to Michael's and bought a canvas and just used regular old acrylic craft paint. Super easy and cheap! If I remember right the canvase was $10-14 and the acrylic paint was $3 (for all the colors). I'd say that $17 is pretty good for a nice sized piece of art!

(On a side note, the candle sconces on either side of the painting used to be silver. The silver really didn't go with well with the red/orange painting, so I painted them a bronze metallic with spray paint. I actually like them much better now!)

As soon as I get up the gumption to boot up the other computer and find the wreath pictures, I'll do that other post. I promise!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's here! It's here! It's finally here!

Oh happy day! I got my IKEA catalog in the mail! I'm soooo friggin' excited! (Can't you tell by all of the exclamation marks?!?!)

I love IKEA, but here's the thing. I've actually only been in an actual store one time. About 3 years ago. Sigh. While living in Colorado, there wasn't one even remotely close. BUT, there were rumors that one was going to be built. Then, the economy tanked and nothing happened. Now, we are back in the north country and there is one in Minneapolis! Yay! (Right next to Mall of America no less.) 

Why after all this time have I just now decided to order a catalog you ask? Well, we are going to be moving out of our cheap, crappy rental house (I can't wait!) into a new to us house. This new to us house needs quite a bit of updating/fixing up. And, the kids rooms are going to be quite a bit smaller than what we've had in the past. And, IKEA has such great kids/organizing stuff. And, it seems like every room inspiration room I've been looking at online or in mags lately has something from IKEA in it. 

So, I thought it would be a good idea to get the catalog, that way I can dog-ear pages and circle the things I HAVE TO HAVE. This will make me uber-prepared for when we make the trip to the Twin Cities to see it all live and in person. I can hardly wait!

IKEA here I come (sooner or later)!

(The new to us house also means lots of remodeling/before and after posts....look for them this winter!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pretty Paper Covered Letters for Baby P!

I've never used Mod Podge before. How is that possible you ask? I have no idea. I am now in LOVE.  I'm also in LOVE with paper. There are so many beautiful papers out there! I could spend hours looking at paper and dreaming up places to use it.  After creating the letters below for my baby daughter's room, I now want to cover anything and everything using Mod Podge and a fantastic looking paper.

Picture frames, trays, more name it, I want to Mod Podge it!

Anyway, I know that covering letters with paper is not something new, but I wanted to show you how it turned out and offer a couple of tips to what worked for me.

This is what I started with (everything came from JoAnn's):

I sanded the edges of the letters down and then painted them an off-white color.

Then, I traced the letters backwards onto the back side of the paper. (Did I mention that I'm obsessed with paper? I love this paper! I see more things covered in this paper in the future!)  One side note on tracing, since I painted the letters white, the pencil marks showed on the side of the letter. I erased them all, but next time I think I'll trace BEFORE painting.

Next, I cut out the paper letters and used the Mod Podge to adhere them to the wood letters.  I think I could've used a bit more glue. And I got impatient and put a top coat of Mod Podge before they were completely dry. Not a good idea! The paper will bubble up. (I was able to "fix" it enough that you can't really see any bubbles by smoothing them out before the top coat dried.)

Here is the finished product:

I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! We are currently in a rental so everything is builder beige. This adds a nice pop of color to her room. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Spray painted pumpkins

When I saw the beautiful metallic spray painted pumpkins Roo did over at nice girl notes, I had to give it a try.  So, off to Family Dollar, Michael's, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's I went in search of pumpkins, paint and maybe a little extra. 

This is what I ended up with:
My little bit of extra was scrapbooking rub-ons. Ironically, the rub-ons were the most expensive thing I bought. Too bad I didn't have my Michael's 40% off one item coupon. As the nosy, I mean nice, lady behind me in line pointed out. "Every penny counts!" Yeah, I know...thanks for pointing it out. Sigh. Anwho, back to being crafty!

First step, spray paint the pumpkins. I used a brushed metallic paint. I debated between that and a flat cream. The brushed metallic was on clearance, so that made my decision easy!

They already look so much better!

So, putting on the rub-ons was a little more challenging than I thought it would be. The grooves in the pumpkins made it kinda tricky.  They were small rub-ons, so I just used my finger nail to rub them on the pumpkins. 

Didn't they turn out cute?

I actually like the small ones best. The words on the 3 tier pumpkin got a little crooked. I may take it off and re-do with something different (if I can figure out how to get it off that is).  The stack of rub-ons I got had letters as well as phrases, so I've got a lot of options.

I think the whole thing took me maybe 30-45 minutes (and that included dry time for the paint).  If you are looking for quick, cheap and easy little fall craft project this one definitely hits the mark! Let me know what you think! And if you try it too, I'd love to see what you do with it.

Also, head on over to Remoeolaholic's Anonymous Party to see what's been posted or post something yourself!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My first post!

I’ve gone back and forth about starting a blog for a while. I mean, does the blogosphere really need another mom-blogger? There are a bunch out there.  Each as their own twist though, I guess. And after reading some of them I decided to go for it. What the heck!
I’ve been married for twelve years and am a working mom with two kids, a four (almost five) year old son and a one month old baby girl. So, at the moment I’m maternity leave. What better time to start a project! I’m already sleep deprived…why not add another thing to do on top of everything else?
I’m a book worm and pretty creative.  My problem is I can decide on one crafty thing to be my focus. I scrapbook, paint (ok, I’ve only done one painting, but I really like it!), and digital photography (I’m the family photographer and make everyone line up and take pics at the holidays).  One Christmas I made all the girls (on both sides of the family) their Christmas gifts, including decorating the gift bags. (That was before I had my son.)  I love to cook and bake and I’ve sewn pillows (I’m pretty sure I could do curtains if I put my mind to it).  I’d love to learn to make jewelry and maybe pottery.  I’m addicted to HGTV and over the past couple of years, my magazine subscriptions have changed from Cosmo and Glamour to Better Homes and Gardens and Good Housekeeping. Does that mean I’m getting old?  
See my dilemma? I love all of this stuff, and am decent at it…do I want to become GREAT at one thing? Not sure. I kinda like keeping my options open.
Anywho, that’s what this blog is about.  Me, trying new stuff, what worked, what didn’t, maybe some funny stories about what’s going on in my northern town.