Monday, January 31, 2011

Redeeming Myself

Last year I, gasp, didn't have any professional pictures taken of my children!  I have always had pictures taken once a year around their birthday, and of course I had lots of pictures taken of them during their first year.  For whatever reason I just couldn't make it happen last year.  Mainly because I'm so tired of "studio" pictures.  The best pictures we have of them were taken a few years ago during a beach vacation.  I've been looking for a photographer in my area, but I haven't found the right person yet.  So, rather than put it off any longer I decided to just take some pictures myself.  I really wanted to capture them at their current ages - 4 and 6.

For their 3 and 5 year old pictures, I took them to The Picture People and actually got a few keepers from that photo session.  I used some red felt and appliqued numbers to their shirts to show their age.

This time I decided to use some paper mache numbers I picked up from Hobby Lobby.  I used scrapbook paper and craft paint to embellish them.  I just traced the outline of the number on the scrapbook paper, cut it out, and then used a little Mod Podge to adhere the scrapbook paper.  It was really simple.

Then before the sun went down on Saturday afternoon we had a little backyard photo shoot.  Now, I'm not a photographer by any stretch of the imagination.  I have a very basic digital camera - Panasonic DMC-ZS7, and beyond that I really don't "know" how to use this camera.  However, there a tons of blogs that give great advice on how to take a good picture.  Katie Bower of Bower Power has given lots of great tips for how to not only take a good photo but also how to edit the photo (if you're a photoshop person).  Also, the Centsational Girl has lots of great tips.  I especially love her post on the joy of using Picasa to edit your photos.  It's FREE- so enough said, and if you don't have photoshop (like me) it's even more awesome.  The main thing I've learned about taking photos is TURN OFF THE FLASH!  What a huge difference that one thing alone can make in your photos.  Seriously, the flash is not your friend.

So, here's my little photo session.  Again, I'm not a photographer.  I'm just a procrastinating, cheap, can't make up her mind mom who decided to take matters into her own hands and just git her done already!

The paint wasn't totally dry so I changed this photo to black and white :) 

I had to get a close up of the toothless wonder :) 

The candid photos are my favorite; they really captured their personalities.  I can't rave enough about Picasa.  Editing your photos makes such a huge difference.  It's so easy to use.  If you don't want to edit your own photos Katie Bower offers a photo editing service so you can send your photos to her and she'll do some professional editing for you!  Seriously though, you should give Picasa a try!  

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Paperwhite Love

Sorry I haven't been around much the last couple days.  Let's just say for now I've been meeting with our contractor and insurance adjuster because of an issue in the kitchen.  More details to come as soon as I have them.  For now let me just say that Liberty Mutual is such a great insurance company.  They have really helped to make a tough situation a little less stressful.

Anyhow, let's hit the pause button on that topic (I could use the break) and talk about my love of paperwhites!  So, I know there a lots of people that don't love them because of their fragrance.  I, however, do love them mainly because they are so easy to grow.

I hit up one of my favorite aisles at Target back around Christmas and bought a bunch of the Smith and Hawken paperwhite kits to give as gifts (and also for myself).  They came in really cute planters, but I used my Willow House rosedale plant holders.  I actually just placed the Smith and Hawken container right inside (they fit perfectly!).  I used some burlap to line the planter and to hide the inside container.

Then I just followed the package directions to plant the bulbs.  It was soooo easy!  I decided to place them on my coffee table in my Willow House jamestown tray with my sweet ceramic bird tea light holder.  Since we're coming up on Valentine's Day I added a couple of silk rose petals.  Simple and easy.  It's so nice to see something green and growing while my outside world is still completely frozen.

I'm linking up over at Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special - it's all about centerpieces!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Paint Testing

Have you ever put off painting a room because you were having trouble deciding on a color?  Or wished that the paint sample was more like an 8x10 or 11x14 inch size rather than the size of a business card?  Am I alone here?

Well, I'm not usually paint shy.  I'm not afraid of color, and I'm not afraid of making the wrong choice.  After all, it is just paint; so any wrong color choices could easily be corrected.  However, when choosing a color for my dining room ceiling (a.k.a. the 5th wall) I have been at a loss trying to decide on the right color.  Why?  Because I really really really dislike the actual painting of a ceiling.  The process, the neck cramp, the pain of it all is just not my favorite thing to do.  It does make such a huge difference in a room though, which is why I'm planning to paint it in the first place.  When I do it; I only want to do it once (which of course I'll probably end up changing in a couple years).  Regardless, I want to make the right paint color choice.  In addition my hope/plan is to use the same color chosen for the dining room ceiling on the walls in the kitchen and on the 5th wall in the hubs office (you may remember those painting projects from my "list of to-do's" for the year) to create a little house flow.  Again this is why it has been quite the struggle for me to just choose a color already!

Interestingly enough Room Remix - The Blog is doing a series about this very issue - paint.  I'm loving this series!  To my surprise a couple of things that I did while trying to decide on a color were given as advice on how to choose a paint color by a few of my favorite bloggers.

After taping a few different samples on the ceiling in the light cream/goldish color I was going for and examining them at different times of day I narrowed it down to one color, Macadamia by Martha Stewart.

 I wanted a cream that had a slight yellow undertone that would warm the room up, but I wanted to keep it light so as not to overpower this tone on tone color scheme I've currently got going on in there.  I feel the need to give Martha a shout out here because her paint samples are by far the largest in comparison to other brands.  I did however have this color matched in Behr (flat is the best for a ceiling).  I've heard Martha's paints are kind of watery?  Although I've never used them; does anyone know if this is true?  Anyhow, I like Behr so I had the color matched at The Home Depot.

Then I grabbed a large canvas (24x36) at Hobby Lobby ($13 - on sale) and gave it 2 coats of my chosen paint color.  The canvas was about the same color white as the ceiling is currently so painting over it would be just like painting over the ceiling color.  Then once it was dry I had the hubs hold it up to the ceiling more times than I care to share :)

To add another log to the fire, I've mentioned before that I want to stencil the ceiling.  Well, I found a stencil that I liked (Hobby Lobby - about $10 on sale) and decided to test it on the canvas as well.  This was great practice as I've never stenciled anything before.  Plus I was able to see that the color (Waverly Cafe Cream - the color that is on the walls of the dining room) I was planning to use over the Macadamia ceiling didn't show up at all!  Let me just say I'm soooo glad that I decided to test this out on the canvas before I attempted this on the ceiling!

See how you don't even see the stencil.  It's there, but you'd never know it!

Then after seeing that this color was not enough of a contrast to the ceiling color, I used a little white acrylic paint that I had in my craft room and went back over the stenciled design by hand.  The brighter white paint color shows up much better.  So now I am  - 1. positive that I love the Macadamia color for the dining room ceiling, the kitchen, and the hub's office ceiling - and 2. not sure about the stencil.  I think this particular stencil is a smaller scaled pattern than what I would like.  I think maybe a larger patterned stencil would be better.  Mainly, I'm just not sure yet.  However, while I'm deciding on that I can at least get the paint color on the 5th wall of the dining room- right?!  I no longer have an excuse to keep putting it off.

So, how do you decide on a paint color?  Ever painted a canvas to sample a color before painting it on a wall or ceiling?  I think this is a really inexpensive way to test a color before taking the plunge.  I would especially recommend doing this to anyone that was hiring out for the paint work.  If you're paying someone to do the painting you definitely want to make sure you've chosen a color that you love!

As far as the stenciling goes, does anyone have any special tips or tricks you'd like to share?  What are your thoughts on this stencil pattern?  Yay or nay?

Linking up over here!

***Check out this more recent post to see what I decided.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Valentine Mantel

Well, it's not quite Valentine's Day yet; but I went ahead and decorated my mantel in honor of the holiday of love anyway.  I was in need of a little mood lifting with all the snow we've had recently.  I'm anxiously awaiting Spring!  Did you hear that Spring?  I miss you!  Where are you?  Please come back soon!

Anywhoo, decorating my mantel really did give our sad-after-Christmas mantel a lift.

For the new followers here let me say, yes I have a horse head (I call her "White Beauty") over my mantel.  We live in the horse capital of the world- that's right - the bluegrass state - Lexington, Kentucky.  We're obviously on our fifth house (hence the blog title) and we've moved around quite a bit.  So, when we finally decided that we'd set up shop here in the bluegrass after 10 years of being "on the road again" we decided to dedicate our family room to our home state.  The horse head is from ZGallerie (bought it last October) and. I. love. it!

Now that we got that out of the way, on to the love fest!  I didn't want anything too over the top and I didn't want to spend lots of money.  I used what I had, and just bought a small bouquet of fresh flowers for $6 at my grocery store (Kroger).

I used a little chalkboard paint that I already had left over from this project to make a little chalkboard sign out of a piece of wood I had in my craft closet.

I just sanded it with a 400 grit sandpaper (the edges were really rough).  Then used a foam roller and a small paint brush for the edges.  I like to use foam rollers for chalkboard paint projects; the paint goes on very smoothly.  This was really a perfect project for my Valentine mantel because I seriously LOVE chalkboard paint!

I also played a little game of he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not as I cut the petals off of a few silk roses I had in the craft closet.  Guess what?!  He loves me!  :)  I just sprinkled the petals here, there, and everywhere.

I placed a glass of water inside one of my Willow House parisian luminaries and turned it into a vase for some fresh flowers.  It's so nice to bring home fresh flowers when your world is freezing cold.  Looking at them makes me feel warm inside :)  

I added in a few willow branches here and there.

I also used a couple of branches from the backyard that I spray painted white last fall.  I tucked a few rose petals in between the branches.

So how do get in the mood for love?  Do you go all out or do you keep it pretty simple?  Share the love!

I'm sharing the love and linking up over at these fun parties!  Go check them out!


Monday, January 24, 2011

Bump, Bump, Bump

Well, I'd love to say (after offering up the eye candy on Friday) that I painted the laundry room this weekend.  However, I was back in the master closet AGAIN.  Just when I thought I had checked it off the list and was ready to move on to another project, we the hubs had a minor incident that forced me to re-organize yet again.

He was grabbing a pair of shoes from the bottom of the closet and when he turned around he bumped into the shoe organizer which caused the mirror and everything else that was on top to tumble down.  I wish I could have seen this happen.  He was literally like a bull in china closet!  I'm sure it was hilarious, at least it is the way I've imagined it!  Here's a pic of the closet before ( "the hubs bumped it") which by the way made the top ten organization project list over at the CSI project!!!  Go over to check out the number 1 project; it is fabulous!


Imagine how bummed I was when I had to rethink this set-up because while nothing broke during his "oops - I bumped it" incident I'm certain it would have probably happened again if I didn't make some changes.  So after much thought, I decided to pull out a couple of shelves and move the shoe organizer.  This created more floor space in the closet, and gives the bull more room to move around :)  While I was working and re-organizing in here, I couldn't help but sing that song Bump, Bump, Bump by B2K and P Diddy (hence the post title).  You know the one - I changed the lyrics to - baby, turn around and let me see you make that closet go bump, bump, bump.  Ten million cool points to anyone that remembers the Ashton Kutcher movie that featured this song!!!!

I don't think there's any bad language (this is the radio version); but the song is a little suggestive so you may want to clear the kiddies from the room. 

Ok, now back to the regularly scheduled programming.  Here's how the closet looks now. 

I raised one shelf up and pulled out three in order to get the shoe organizer to fit.  I gave the gold mirror back to the hall bathroom and brought in a floor length mirror that was sitting in a storage closet down in the basement.  We're planning to hang it on the wall rather than leaning it so we don't have anymore I-bumped-it-and-it-fell-over-incidents :)  In all honesty, I'm kind of glad this happened because this really does work better.  It's less crowded.  I did have to give up my feed-me piggy bank since there was no longer any where for it to sit.  I brought in a mercury glass vase to use for spare change and it also works as a hat stand.  

It really wasn't as a big a deal as I thought it would be to give up three shelves.  The clothes that were in here fit into our dresser no problem.  Plus the shoe organizer fits 2 pairs of the hubs shoes and 1 pair of mine quite nicely.  The jewelry organizer is gone for now, but I do have a jewelry armoir so that's really no big either.  Anyhow, this little oops turned out to be kind of a good thing!  Gotta love when that happens because accidents are rarely a good thing (when it comes to home improvement projects)!  

The hubs made up for his oops incident by installing this baby.  

This new shower head (Target) is heavenly!  Sorry, I don't have a pic of it's teeny, tiny predecessor but believe me when I say that this new one is one million times nicer!  

So, while I didn't get the laundry room painted, we still managed to get a few things done this weekend.  A little more on the organization front, as I found some junk drawer organizers at the K to the Mart.  

Junk drawers before. 

Junk drawers now. 

They weren't terrible before, but I do love these organizers.  It's nice to have a place for everything!  

So, that was our weekend filled with more organizing and a massive shower head.  We also managed to squeeze in a date night (True Grit is a must-see! ), our son's basketball game, a friend's son's birthday party, a little after dinner wine night with friends, and my mil's birthday dinner!  Whew!  I'm tired.  Is it time for another weekend yet?! 

So how did you spend the weekend?  Any great projects?  I'm hoping to get the laundry room painted this week.  Here's to hoping! 


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