Sunday, October 31, 2010

What's on Your Blessings Board?

I have so many things I could post about, but I'm still busy from my big canvas promo I announced 2 weeks ago. I'm even seeing stacks of canvases in my sleep!

But I had to tell you what's on my Blessings Board today. This week has been a reminder that sometimes it's the things that don't happen to you that make you the most thankful. Like the other day, when Lola & I went to the zoo with some friends & I just happened to notice that my diamond ring felt funny on my hand. When I looked down at it, I saw that one of the prongs was broken off & the diamond was extremely loose, & just barely held in. The first thing I thought was what a miracle it was that I hadn't lost it. We had been all over the zoo & I had washed my hands 2 or 3 times already. But the Lord did me a special favor & made me notice it before it was lost.

Well, I rushed it over to the jeweler where my husband bought it for me 5 years ago & the jeweler couldn't believe I hadn't lost it either & told me he'd get it fixed ASAP. I knew it would probably be expensive to fix, but I was just thankful I hadn't lost the stone.

The next day, they called to tell me it was repaired (amazing customer service at this place!) & when I went in to get it, they had fixed it, polished it & had it looking brand new. I was so excited to get it back, I almost left without paying for it. And when I remembered & asked them how much it was, they said there was no charge. (Did I mention I love this place?)

So anyway, I'm thankful. For good things that happen and bad things that don't. And for the opportunities we get everyday to praise the Lord for how good He is to us.

And for those of you in East TN, I also want to give a shout out to Markman's Jewelers for the best customer service ever. Men, go buy your wife something nice from there.

And regarding the canvases: for all of you who ordered, thanks for your patience in getting your orders finalized. Many of them are already printed & will ship out soon & I'm planning to finish up the second half of the orders this week. (Fingers crossed!)

This is a little snapshot of what our house looked like Friday night. My family felt sorry for me, so my parents & Dave & the kids pitched in to help me do a little prep work to get the canvases ready for printing. Thanks, y'all!

There are a few of you who still haven't finalized your orders, so if you haven't received an email from me, you may want to check your spam folder to see if it's there!

And here's one more Special Announcement:

Stop by tomorrow to hear about the first of two special giveaways I've got going on this week!

Until then, count your blessings.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Falling Leaves Art

Here's another project that could be filed under Crafting 101. Paper, glue, a little leaf punch, a little burlap (again), & a simple frame & you've got the ingredients for this super-easy fall art.

I doubt I need to even give you instructions for this, but if you feel a little insecure, here's what to do:

Find a simple, cheap frame. I used an 8x10 that I found at Target on sale for $4.

Next, remove the glass (carefully) & use the cardboard support backing that usually comes in the frame as the foundation for the project. If there is no cardboard, you may need to cut a piece to fit.

Using Elmer's or a similar adhesive, glue a piece of burlap to the cardboard.

Next, draw out or print off a bare tree silhouette to use as a pattern. Then cut it out of dark brown card stock & glue it onto the burlap.

Then, grab some scraps of autumn-colored scrapbook papers & punch away with your leaf punch!

Next, glue on the leaves...

Place the artwork in the frame, & you're done!

So simple, the kids can do it themselves while you snap the pics & drink a latte. That's my kind of project!

Sharing the fun at a few of these parties. Check them out!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Other Peoples' Blessings

I love it when I find great ideas on blogs & then turn around & make them myself. And I love it even more if I'm able to inspire some of you with projects I feature on this blog! So many of you have commented & emailed me about my Blessings Board that I posted about a few weeks ago, telling me that you wanted to make one for your house.

And a few of you even sent me pics of your version or posted about it on your blog. You have to see these!

This one is from my friend Alissa. It looks almost exactly like mine!

Click here to read about how Jennifer from Always in Wonder made her version. So cute!

And Amy Cornwell posted about the one she made here. Click over to see how she changed it up a little.

If you've done one, I'd love to see it! Send me a pic or a link to your blog post & I'll feature it here.

I love a project with a purpose & this one has been great for getting the kids to stop & think about how much they're blessed. And I have to admit it's helped me, too!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fall. Wow.

I think it's peak fall foliage time here in East Tennessee. I've been loving the drive to get the kids from school the past week or so because we've been trying to see who can spot the best-colored trees. We've got some gorgeous ones on our drive, & I hope you live where you can enjoy them, too.

And I can't stop thinking of what a special favor God did for us by creating Fall. He could've made trees to keep their leaves forever. Or leaves that just withered away & fell off. And we never would have known the difference. But instead, he made them gorgeous colors for a few weeks every year. So you & I will take note. That there is a God. And He loves us enough to give us beautiful things to look at.

Reminds me of these couple lines from a poem my mom taught me:

"...Poems are made by fools like me
But only God can make a tree."
Joyce Kilmer

{Special thanks to Abby for snapping this picture today of one of my favorite trees in our neighborhood.}

Friday, October 22, 2010

First Birthday

Woo hoo! Today was my blog's 1st birthday & I spent the entire day planning a big party. But not for the blog--for Denise's birthday. It was a huge surprise & we all pulled it off. {It's hard to keep a surprise like that from your best friend.} It was a blast.

I'll tell you all about it & share some pics sometime later. But I couldn't let the day pass without just a little reflection & a few words of thanks. To you all.

I can't say enough how much I appreciate all the kind emails & comments I get from you all each & every day. A year ago (when my sister was my only follower) I never expected that so many people would care to read the various words that make it on here every week. Who are you people?! I wouldn't recognize most of you if I saw you on the street, but you're still my friends. And I just wanted to say thanks. You make this fun. And you're welcome here anytime.

(By the way--I'm still going thru emails from my big canvas sale, so if you're waiting to hear from me, thanks for your patience! It's been a CRAZY week!)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Best Things in Life Really Are Free. But Not for Much Longer!

Sooooo.... I've been a little busy since my last post. You guys really like "free", huh?

In case you haven't been here lately to hear the news, I recently lost my mind & started giving away free canvases. Click here to read all about it.

Thanks so much to all of you who have ordered so far. You guys are great! I can't say enough how much I appreciate you sending your business to me over the "other guys". I've pretty much been working non-stop since Sunday night on all the great pics you've all been sending in, stopping just to get a bite to eat, get a little sleep, & attend some special services we've had at church. Then, I'm right back at it. I still have several emails to get to & they just keep comin', so if you haven't heard from me yet, I promise I'll get to you soon!

But I'm here to announce that the time's almost up for the big giveaway. I'm keeping the promotion open until Midnight E.S.T. tomorrow, October 21st. So, if you haven't ordered yet, now is the time!

Tell your friends, post it on your blog, whatever! Just get the orders in. Tick tock!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Huge Canvas Giveaway: Hurry Before I Change My Mind!

***Update: The Deadline for this offer is
11:59 p.m. E.S.T.,
Thursday, October 21, 2010.***

Well, y'all, I may have finally lost it, but I have a big announcement to make.

Today, I'm launching a huge canvas giveaway from my little etsy shop, My Fine Art. In case you're new here, I sell canvases. I have a little business where I take your favorite photos & turn them into your own fine art for your home. Sound familiar? That's probably because the big box canvas companies who do this same thing have been doing a great job of getting their word out on blogs everywhere (they even contacted me!), offering free 8x10's to anyone who'll pay the shipping.

I'm starting to feel a little like The Shop Around the Corner going up against Fox Books--only I have a feeling Tom Hanks won't be here to kiss me in the end. (Not that I'd want him to, Honey!)

What's a girl to do? The only thing I know to do: offer you all a BIGGER & BETTER deal.

So, I'm taking a chance, investing some of my own money & launching a huge canvas giveaway.

For a limited time, I'm giving away a FREE 11x14 thin profile canvas to anyone and everyone in the continental U.S. All you have to pay is shipping. (And my shipping cost is always only $9.95, compared to their price of $14.95!)

And if it's a larger sized canvas you want, you can use the $35 credit toward a bigger thin profile canvas (.75 inch depth). For example:

16x20....(regularly only $55) $20!

18x24....(regularly only $75) $40!

And I never charge extra to change your color photos to black & white or sepia. And words or phrases can be added at no extra charge as well!

I'm offering this deal for a limited time so that you'll see how great my canvases are & come back to me again when you need gifts for friends and family or just for more for yourself! And the great thing is, my regular prices are way lower than those of the "other guys".

But the key words here are LIMITED TIME. I'm losing money with every order, so I can only offer this until the money runs out or until my kids get sick of eating cereal for dinner. I'm more than happy to extend this free canvas offer to anyone, so please post this on your blog or Facebook page & get the word out there for me!

Here's what to do to get your canvas:

Visit my shop & view my canvas options.

When you decide what you'd like, click here to email me your photo & the size canvas you want & I'll set up a custom listing for you in my etsy shop!

YES, you may order as many free canvases as you want, but unfortunately I cannot combine shipping charges for this promotion.

Also, this offer is not available at the local home decor market where my canvases are sold. This is a blog promotion only & you must mention this blog to get the deal.

Now, send me your pics & tell everyone you know! At the risk of sounding like an infomercial, This offer won't last long!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Ballard Designs' Cafe Shelves: My Version

I love these handy little sticky tabs that Ballard sent in their latest catalog. Makes it so easy to remember all the stuff you love or need or want.

But it really would have been nice if they had also included one that said, "copy it", because that's the one I'd use the most. But since they didn't, I made one myself (I know-it's not nearly as pretty) to tag my latest Ballard knock-off project. So many of us bloggers love to copy Ballard's great stuff, but these cafe shelves may be one of the faves. They're too great not to re-create.

And my breakfast room wall has been needing these, so my handsome assistant & I finally made them recently (have I said lately how glad I am that I married him?). And here they are, decked out for fall.

I hung my little fall banner on the front, added a few plates from my collection, my little kissing pilgrim salt & pepper shakers, and a little fall tree project I made with the girls the other day. (I'll tell you more about this later.)

The little bird cages also found a spot here. They're from Michael's & only a dollar each! Denise first got some & told me about them & I had to have some for myself. I added a little bird silhouette hanging from a string in each one & plopped a couple of them up on pedestals. Did I mention I love these?

Anyway, I'm not posting directions on how to make the shelves because there are several other tutorials out there that explain it so well. Here's a great one from House of Smith's if you want to try these for yourself.

They're a great way to display your seasonal decor. No wonder Ballard sells them for so much!

Ballard, we love {to copy} you!

Linking up to some of these parties. Check them out!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Cheez-it Chicken Recipe

I don't know why I didn't just post this when I first mentioned it, but for all you Cheez-it lovers out there who have asked for the recipe, I'm posting it now. And I didn't even take pictures of the chicken, so I just added the pic of the Cheez-it box. In case you forgot what it looks like. And don't tell the Cheez-it people, but I have used other cheesy crackers for this, too, & it still tastes great.

  • thinly sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenders
  • melted butter
  • pepper, garlic salt, tenderizer
  • crushed Cheez-it crackers
  • shredded Mozzarella cheese
Season chicken with pepper, garlic salt, and tenderizer. Dip chicken into melted butter and then into crushed Cheez-its (both sides). Fold chicken breast in half with some Mozzarella in the middle of the fold. Place in a baking dish that has been sprayed with Pam, cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

Thanks to my friend, Wendy, for this recipe. It's always a hit with our guests!

Hope you all like it, too!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Curtain Debut

I have a thing for silk stripes. I think it's my inner French girl. But anyway, it's a good thing because as I told you the other day, my long-awaited living room curtains are hung and there is a lot a fabric in here now. I have to admit I was just a tad nervous as I was sewing all those yards that the stripes would turn this place into a circus tent, but now that they're up, I love them. So, here are the pics I promised.

First, my naked windows, in case you forgot what they looked like before. (Pay no attention to Cinderella's dress in the floor.)

And here are the afters:

The fabric is kind-of an oyster & olive stripe--a combination I love. I got it here. If you're interested, I may post more on how I made these later. It won't be the way Martha would have done them, but it is the way an experienced amateur like myself does them. Less-than-perfect, yet full of bliss.

Sharing them at some of these places.

My Dad's Birthday

Today is my dad's birthday. We had a little party last night at our house. I made Cheez-it Chicken & Snickers Cake. My mom made a few dishes that actually had nutritional value. The one thing that would've made it better is if my sister & her family could've been there. Amy, if it makes you feel better, I ate enough cake for the both of us.

I added her to the pic of me & my dad & David. But this doesn't look much like her. She's actually taller than me & her hair looks better in real life.

I think Lily really captured the way we all feel about my dad with one of her famous "love notes"...

We do love him. All the way to eternety eternity.

Happy Birthday, Dad!
I'm praying that you have a great day today!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ode to My Singer

I've got exciting news. Ok, only a few of you who've been here since this blog was born will appreciate this, but it's a big day around here. I've got curtains. In the living room. I'm so proud of how patient I've been. And now they're hanging. I'll post pics in a day or two, but for now, I'm a little tired. Because, contrary to my original plan, I actually sewed them myself. All 16 yards. It felt like miles.

My sewing machine & I spent a lot of quality time together over the past several days. And it made me think of everything we've been thru together over the past 15 years. My machine was there for me even thru my days of pastel florals & hunter green and burgundy stripes. And that's only the beginning. I couldn't begin to calculate the number of yards we've sewn together.

My Singer is one of my closest friends. That either makes me really pathetic or just really thankful to have a dependable machine.

Either way, I say all this to say that you don't have to have a really fancy expensive machine to make amazing things. Fifteen years ago this Christmas, my husband bought me a very basic Singer with just a few types of stitches & I have decorated & re-decorated every house we've lived in & even some of my friends' houses. And I still love it.

He's offered over and over to buy me a new state-of-the-art machine. But I'm not ready. I've been thru a lot with my little Singer. And we still have some great times ahead.

So, what kind of relationship do you have with your machine?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Blessings Board

I'm spoiled. And so are my kids. And so are you. And your kids. I know this first of all because I'm typing this as I sip my super-yummy coffee, wearing my super-cozy zebra jammies in my super-cozy home. And because you're reading it in yours. And we both know that's only the beginning.

I have personal friends who live in a third world country who have far less than this, and still they're so happy. I don't recall ever hearing them whine or complain. And yet it happens in our house daily. And from what I'm reading on some blogs, it's happening in other houses, too. I get all over my kids for doing it, yet I turn right around & do it myself sometimes. I'm kinda over it.

So that's how this project came about. I call it our Blessings Board. Sounds a little cheesy? Maybe. But I have to say, it's harder to complain when you have so many things to be thankful for staring at you in black & white.

It's our family list of things we're thankful for. We each wrote some things we recognize as our blessings. The kids love it. And Lily (age 7) said it's really our prayer list of things we need to thank God for. It made me so proud & so ashamed at the same time, since I hadn't thought of that myself.

Ours will stay up thru Thanksgiving, and we'll change the list out each week. I hope it changes us, too.

I'm posting the instructions here in case you think your home needs one of these.

I started with this thrift store framed dog picture (precious, I know) and carefully removed the glass & spray-painted the frame black. Let me emphasize that anytime you are removing glass from a frame that you be really careful & use gloves if you have them because the edges can cut you. Trust me.

After that, I cleaned the glass really well & got ready to add the letters & numbers. I found these stickers at Hobby Lobby & there were enough of each letter or number that I only needed one pack of each! (Such a blessing.)

A good way to apply the letters in straight lines is to make some "guidelines" by sticking painter's tape on the back of the glass & measuring or leveling to get a straight line.

Once I stuck on all the letters & numbers, I added some burlap in between the glass & the backing & then put it all back together.

For just a little more detail, I added 3 layered fabric & burlap flowers & hot-glued them to the glass.

That's it! You can write on it with regular dry-erase markers or these great Bistro Chalk Markers (also at Hobby Lobby. Use your 40% off coupon & get them for $6!).

Count your many blessings,
Name them one by one...

I'm also sharing this with a few of these people. Check them out!