Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Project Highlights of 2010

I've definitely had fun sharing with you all some of the projects and highlights of the past year. You all are a lot of fun to write for and I appreciate every single comment & question. Today, I thought I'd share some of my favorites from this year. Each little project is making this home more "us", and I hope you've found some inspiration for your home along the way as well...













Thanks for stopping by for this little re-cap. Looking forward to a wonderful 2011 with lots of new projects to share with you all. For more great projects from 2010, hop on over to Southern Hospitality's Top Projects Party.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Gift of a Good Reaction

Every Christmas I spend a lot of time reflecting on other Christmases. I have a Christmas journal which holds memories of people & events surrounding every Christmas for the past 15 years. Anyone else do this? I also write in it the gifts people gave me & some of the ones I gave them. And I ask my kids questions like, "What was your favorite Christmas gift you ever got?", because I love re-living the excitement of giving someone that perfect gift.

In fact, my favorite Christmases are the ones when I had found just the right gift & couldn't wait to give it to someone and see their reaction. To me, that's really the gift. The reaction. The type that brings on screams of excitement, looks of shock, and (if you really did a good job) tears of joy.

When I think back to my favorite Christmases, I always think of one in particular. I don't even know what year it was. I think I was a teen-ager. My dad got the idea to surprise my Mamaw (his mom) with a drawing of her childhood home in Kentucky. She had told us story after story of growing up there, and she had one little black and white photo of the house. My dad took the photo from her house without her knowing and from that, made a drawing of the house. We were all in on the big surprise. I remember how excited we were, night after night, watching it come together, imagining how exciting it was going to be on Christmas Day when she would finally open it & see it for herself.

I will never forget when the time came and we all gathered around her in our basement den, my Papaw beside her with his arms folded, smiling with the knowledge of the secret. And when she opened it, she gave us the gift we had all been waiting for. Her silence said it all. Then she cried and said, "Oh, Honey, " about 29 times, which caused us all to cry and feel more proud than we even thought possible because the mission was accomplished. She loved it.

To this day she still over-reacts to everything we do for her. It's a gift she doesn't even know she gives us. And she means it with all her heart. Every time. I love that about her.

I want to be more like that. I want to be genuinely thankful for the little things. I want to give my kids the gift of a good reaction when I open up that tchotchke from the Dollar Store again this year.

And I'll give my husband the gift of a good reaction when I see that fabulous bird cage he's giving me (yes, I accidentally found out about it- and no, it's not for a bird). And I'll do my best not to return whatever item of clothing he may have waiting for me under the tree as well.

Because I know what the gift of a good reaction feels like. And it's better than a bird cage. No matter how fabulous.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I had a different post planned for today. More about gifts, and giving, and drumming up some last-minute Christmas cheer. And I had another post planned about the true meaning of Christmas because, after all, this wouldn't be the Christian blog I claim it is without that.

But, as much as I say I'm focused on Him, rather than all the sparkle around me, somehow I've spent the majority of yet another Christmas season wrapped up in things I can hold in my hands. I've still been focused on Christmas decor. Christmas gifts. Christmas food. Christmas things.

But, the Lord has ways of changing our focus. Yesterday, tragedy struck a friend of mine. Many of you know her as well. Her name is Edie. She has a blog called Life in Grace where she writes about her family, her faith, and her beautiful home. (You may recall when I posted about her here.) Well, yesterday, she lost one of those three things she writes to us about. Due to a fire in the night, they lost their home and all their earthly possessions. Praise the Lord, they all escaped safely. But, a loss like that, at a time like this, can only be understood by those who have been through it themselves.

It's amazing how news like this can bring everything into focus.

I can't get them off of my mind since yesterday and I've been praying continuously for them as I urge you all to do as well. I look forward to reading in the future how God takes care of them through this. And the things they learn. And about Edie's true Life in Grace.

As you think of their family, I hope this brings your Christmas into focus as well. Christmas things do not make it Christmas. Jesus really is the reason. For this season and for every other one as well. He's the reason there is no need to despair. Even when tragedy strikes. He's the reason we have hope. For this life and the next. If you're missing that, you're missing it all. If all Jesus is to you is a figure in a nativity scene or a story you've heard about, please let me share with you how to change that.

I pray it's Christmas in your heart even more so than in your home.

God Bless you all.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sure, He's Cheesy, But He's Oh So Cute.

Still looking for a something great to make for that next Christmas party? I've made this little Snowman Cheeseball for several years now & he's always a hit. And he's super-easy to make!

Just mix together (2) 8-oz. packages of cream cheese, a clove of garlic (minced) & a 1/4 cup of finely shredded mozzarella. Form the mixture into 2 balls , one larger & one smaller, then roll the balls in more mozzarella. To assemble the snowman, stack the small ball on top of the larger (use toothpicks to stack if needed), then add peppercorns for the eyes & buttons & a shred of carrot for the nose. To make the hat, cut circles from a piece of toasted wheat bread, then place it on his head with a toothpick!

Who doesn't love a cheesy snowman?

I'm linking him up to some of these parties!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chalkboard Vases & Other Last-Minute Gift Ideas

If you're still scrambling for a last-minute teacher or hostess gift, here are a few crafty ideas that don't take long to make. And you might even have the supplies you need in your craft closet!

Number One: Chalkboard Vases

I stole this idea from the PB Teen catalog. Did you see these adorable "Say What? Vases"?

They're really not a bad deal from PB (on sale for $29 for 3 plus free shipping!), but if you don't have time to wait for Fed-Ex, or if you're like me & you can't stand to buy what you know you can make yourself, try this.

Choose a plain glass vase in a shape you like...

Give it several light coats of Krylon Chalkboard Spray Paint. (I use the method I described here to spray paint vases.) Tie a piece of chalk on with a ribbon, & you've got a cute gift for a hostess or a teacher!

Number Two: Fabric Flower Necklace

This is a cute & easy idea for girls of all ages. When I saw this tutorial by Little Miss Momma, it looked so easy, I had to try one for myself. In about an hour, I had a new necklace! I had everything I needed for the project in my craft room (but then again, I'd be on Craft Hoarders if there were such a show). I added some pearl beads & a ribbon to mine. And you can change it up anyway you want to make a great gift for someone (or yourself).

Number Three: Super Easy Sugar Scrub

All the directions for this great gift idea are listed here. I posted about this back around Mother's Day, but it's really great for anytime of year. Just this week, my daughter's teacher from last year told me she loved hers so much, she's making some for gifts this Christmas. This is a great & practical gift that people will love you for!

Hope this inspires you with some gift ideas! I'm linking up with a few of these people. You may find more inspiration when you check them out!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Estate Sale Mirror Makeover

So, I have found myself with some extra time on my hands, as the kids are having their second snow day in a row. We are going to have fun around here today and make the most of this fun day--despite the fact that my big plans for the day had to be cancelled. And I have still have shopping to do before Christmas. And the kids are on day two of fighting over the ipad. And two more weeks of this are just around the corner! (AHHHHHHH!)

So, with this extra time, I thought I'd catch up on a little posting and tell you about my recent mirror makeover. Some of you noticed I had a new one in the piano room when I showed you the Christmas decor. And since a certain un-named BFF was giving me a hard time about not showing more of it, here it is (pre-Christmas decor).

I love it!

And yes, you perceptive people may have noticed that this is the 3rd mirror I've had over this mantel in the past year. But this one is The One. I think.

Anyway, I first met this little beauty at an estate sale that Dave and I went to a few weeks ago. It was my first estate sale and it was a lot of long as I didn't think about the fact that we were going thru someone's house and buying everything they ever owned in the world...but that's a whole other post.

But this mirror was waiting for me there, priced at $5 in all its brown painted glory. I snatched it up as fast as you can snatch a huge, heavy, 40" inch round mirror, and brought it home.

It's old, for sure, and was originally painted gold, which is the plan I had for it as well.

I used my favorite Krylon gold on it...

and voilá:

Yes, if you see it in person, you'll notice all the little imperfections...

But, that's what I've come to love about all my "found" treasures. They have a history. A story to tell. And I wouldn't trade this mirror for all the mirrors at Horchow. Okay, you're right, maybe I would.

But I do love a piece with a good story. And you can't buy that online.

I'll link this up with a few of these people. Check them out!

Pretty in Paint