Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Friday Five

1. We had a snow day yesterday, so I was able to stay home and work on some things that have been on my to-do list for a while. I finally got my closet reorganized and it looks great. After taking some things to the consignment store and Goodwill, I have so much room in my closet now! But it's looking kind of boring, so I'm thinking it might be fun to do a bold color or fun stencil in there. Maybe something like this?

Stencil a closet for fun!

2. I also made a batch of chocolate chip cookies yesterday when I was home from work. I use this recipe and it really is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever tried. A word of caution, you might want to half the recipe, otherwise, you'll end up like me and have 4 dozen cookies in a house with two people (not a good thing).

Absolutely, without a doubt, the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe I've ever found.   They turn out perfect every time. I will never make another chocolate chip cookie recipe.

3. Valentine's Day is coming up and I'm trying to think of how we might celebrate. In the past, I'll usually make a nice dinner and then we'll exchange a small gift. Last year, we decided that we weren't allowed to spend more than $15 on a present, so we had to get creative. Geoff rocked it and got me "Movie Night in a Bag," it was a gift bag filled with a movie from the $5 bin at Wal-Mart (take time to look through, sometimes they have some good ones in there), a box of microwave popcorn and some boxes of candy (Buncha Crunch is my go-to). I loved it and was so impressed with his creativity! I've still got some time to think about it, but until then, I'll get into the holiday spirit by wearing my heart on my sleeve shirt. Check out my easy Heart Pin DIY.

4. After organizing my closet this week, I've caught the cleaning bug and want to start spring cleaning ASAP. But I think I'll be waiting a few weeks, so that it will warm up some and I'll be able to clean the windows and leave them open. Until then, I thought this list would be great to implement now.

Cleaning schedule

5. Super Bowl is this weekend! Like I mentioned earlier this week, the commercials and the food are my favorite part. I'll be making this dip to take to our friend's house. I made it for New Years and it's delish!


Five on Friday

Candy Heart Art DIY

With Valentine's Day coming up, I thought it would be nice to have a little Valentine's decor to brighten up the house and make it a little more festive. I made this little candy heart art in about 30 minutes, it was super easy.

Supplies Needed: 
  • Canvas (keep on eye out for sales at JoAnn's and Michael's, I got these canvases for 50% off)
  • Acrylic paint, I used Martha Stewart
  • Paintbrush
  • Candy Hearts
  • Glue gun
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam brush

The first step is to paint your canvas. The lighter the coat, the faster the dry time. 

The next thing I did was to go through the back of candy hearts and pick out the "pretty ones" you know, the ones that weren't broken and you could read the whole message. 

By the time I found enough hearts to use, the paint had dried on my canvas. I started placing the hearts on the canvas to get the spacing right. I didn't use a template for the heart shape, I just kind of eyed it. 

Then I went one by one and hot glued the hearts down.

Because I want to use this as decoration for years to come, I brushed the hearts with Mod Podge in order to seal it. Hopefully this should keep the hearts intact while in storage.

All that's left to do is to display it. I have mine on a little easel that I found at Goodwill a while back that I use all the time. But if you don't have an easel, you can just as easily lean it up against the wall (like how I have my Lindsay Letters Come Thou Fount canvas).

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Heart Pin DIY

After seeing this post last week, I thought one of those hearts would look really cute as a pin to wear on Valentine's Day. I loved the look of the gold with the pink stitches and went about trying to recreate the look on my own.

Supplies Needed:
  • Gold leather (this is what I used, but it would have been easier to use a thinner gold material fyi).
  • Felt for back
  • Embroidery thread 
  • Needle
  • Safety pin
  • Pinking Shears
  • Heart template (I used a cookie cutter)
  • Batting (not pictured)

Using your template, trace a heart on both your gold material and felt, then cut out using pinking shears.

Stitch the safety pin onto the felt heart.

Begin stitching the two hearts together, but make sure to leave an opening so you can insert the batting before stitching the heart closed.

Once stitched closed, pin it on and head on out with your heart on your sleeve shirt.

P.S. As I was looking through some of my Valentine's pins on Pinterest, I ran across one that I pinned last year that gives a tutorial for felt heart pins. And here I thought I was being original. You might want to check it out, they have a heart template that could come in handy.

Monday, January 27, 2014

What I Liked Last Week


This post has inspired me to start scrapbooking. I LOVE their designs and the A Beautiful Mess girls have some great tips for getting started. Things have come a long way since the Creative Memories days (does anyone else remember that brand?).


This post has some really cute Valentine's Day ideas. Some are a bit over-the-top, but I think I might have to try the garland mailer, like the one pictured above. 

The Super Bowl is next Sunday and I found these awesome Super Bowl Commercial Bingo cards. In my opinion, the commercials are the best part about the Super Bowl, well, the commercials and the food. (If you're looking for some food ideas, I found some great lists here and here.) We'll be watching the game with some of our friends from church, but I thought these cards would be something fun for the girls to do (since the guys will be focused on the game.)

$10 Cedar Raised Garden Beds

Even though the high today is only going to be in the mid-30's, I'm already dreaming about spring and planting a garden. Our backyard has a lot of trees, so the roots make it impossible to grow anything in our yard, so I'm thinking that raised beds are the way to go. Ana White gives a really easy tutorial on how to build the beds and this book gives some great tips for maximizing your space. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Friday Five

1. So like I mentioned in last week's Friday Five, I went to JoAnn's and finally purchased some fabric to make our curtains. It was a bit of an ordeal, having to go through all of the swatches and agonizing over my decision, but I placed the order and with all of the sales ended up saving over $150. The fabric came in yesterday and looks great. I ended up going with my gut and chose a neutral. It's similar to the one in the picture below on the right. I LOVED that fabric but it was $65 a yard! And no, I didn't see any gold flakes in it.

2. I wanted to get into the Valentine's Day spirit and decided to paint my nails with a pink and purple glittery nail polish. But then it was too sparkly, so I just did one finger on each hand (please disregard my atrocious cuticles).

3. Speaking of Valentine's Day, Target has some adorable Valentine's decorations. I want to go back and get this little bird on a bowl. 

4. I know it's a little late, but I finally decided on a 2014 wall calendar for our kitchen. I decided to get the Pieces and Patterns Calendar from 1canoe2. The colors just look so beautiful and I'm a sucker for anything patchwork quilt inspired. 

Pieces and Patterns Illustrated 2014 Wall Calendar

5. I don't know how it is where you are, but here in NC it is freezing! I think the high today is supposed to be 29 degrees?! I'm already dreaming of our June beach vacation. We'll be headed to one of my favorite places on earth, Nags Head, NC. I've been almost every year of my life and we always stay at a beach house called the Crow's Nest (which happens to be the same beach house my parent's were married at over 30 years ago.) Five months and counting!

Bonus: If you didn't see the post about my $30 Craigslist Dresser Make-over, make sure to check it out. I'm pretty proud of it!

Five on Friday

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

$30 Craigslist Dresser for the Win

Last year I had been on the look-out for a buffet for our dining room. We have only one small linen closet in our house and I needed some place to put all of my table linens as well as those awkward sized decorative pieces that you just can't find room for in your kitchen. After stalking Craigslist for a few weeks, I finally found what I was looking for and it was only $30! Fortunately, I caught it fast and was the first one to call the poster and made an offer right then, sight unseen. I went ahead and said I would buy it because the price was too good and I knew it would get snapped up in no time. So I was willing to take the risk of not seeing it (or talking to my husband) before I bought it.

Isn't it lovely? I love that curve. But you can also see some of the nicks and scratches along the front and the top was very scratched and even had some old crusty junk on it.

Here's a close-up of some of the damage on the bottom.

As you can see, some of the veneer (?) was coming up and in some places it was completely missing. I (briefly) considered doing something to replace the missing veneer, but thought that it wouldn't be that noticeable once it was covered with paint. I used some Gorilla glue to glue down that one piece that was coming up and that worked great.

I took out the drawers in preparation for painting and noticed that they had a faint musty/smoky smell, so I wiped them out using a vinegar/water solution and left them out in the sun. It worked like a charm, no more musty smell.

Obviously this did not happen recently. I haven't seen the sun in days!

Since this was my first time attempting to paint a piece of furniture, I didn't want to be too ambitious, so I decided to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. The good thing about this paint is that there is virtually no prep work involved. I didn't have to do any sanding and I was able to paint directly onto the wood. I did have one exception, because of that crustiness that was on the top of the dresser, I decided to sand just the top using my little palm sander. I wanted to make sure I had a smooth surface once the paint was on.

After much deliberation, I decided to go with the 32 ounce can of the French Linen.

Annie Sloan chalk paint is not cheap and you also have to buy the Annie Sloan wax to "seal" the paint after it has dried. But even with having to wax the entire thing, the amount of time I saved from not having to sand the entire dresser, made the price well worth it. Also, a little goes a long way. I put on three coats of paint and I might have used 1/3 of the can and I barely made a dent in the wax. I'll definitely be able to use the remainder for more projects in the future.

The hardware had kind of a tarnished gold look to them that was not pretty, so I just spray painted them with some oil-rubbed bronze spray paint.

So here's the after! (The lighting was kind of wonky, but in real life, the color is pretty true to the second picture below.)

I lined the top 6 drawers with a pretty watercolor wrapping paper (I think I got it from Target?). I've heard of some people using Modge Podge to glue the liner down and to make it more durable. I didn't want to do something that permanent since I might want to switch out the liner in the future, so I just taped it down for now. So far, it has held up great.

And here it is with some linens inside.

All in all, I am very pleased with how my $30 Craigslist dresser turned out. Next on my to-do list is hang some shelves above the buffet to display some of my white serving dishes. I'm embarrassed to say that the shelves have been half-done for the last 6 months. This weekend will be a good time for me to work on them and hopefully, finally get them finished.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Friday Five

1. When I was in college, MLK day was a mandatory volunteer day for all students, faculty, and staff. It was for real one of my favorite days of the year, I have such good memories working alongside my friends and professor's, helping people in our community. This year I wanted to do that again, so on Monday I'll be working a couple of hours at the Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center. I know they're always looking for volunteers, so if you live in the area, it might be something to keep in mind.

2. My Dad scored us tickets to the NC State/Maryland basketball game on Monday night in Raleigh. Looking forward to seeing my family and cheering on the Pack!

3. If you like Jane Austen books, please let me recommend Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson. I think I finished it in 2 days. Let me clarify, I read it in 2, eight hours of reading and staying up until 2am, days. I really couldn't put it down, it was a good, clean, sweet, funny romance. I highly recommend it. 

4. I just got an email that my first Stitch Fix order has shipped! I am excited/nervous/scared. Excited because I don't know what they will be sending and nervous and scared for the same reason. I thought I would at least give it a try, especially when I realized all of my clothes were the same 4 colors (black, gray, burgundy, and purple). It is a just-for-fun splurge, but I'm hoping that it will get me to try something that I wouldn't have picked for myself. I'll do a post about what they send. If you're interested in signing up, please use my friend referral link here! Their blog has some great style tips too, like what kinds of necklaces go best with certain necklines. 

5. Tomorrow, JoAnn's is having a 50% off sale on all of their home decor fabric and then an additional 15% off of any fabric purchase. I think this is the perfect time for me to finally buy some fabric to make curtains for our living room. I'm just nervous to buy 6 yards of fabric, especially when I don't know exactly what I want. I tend to lean toward neutrals, but a bold color and pattern might be fun? I don't know. I'm hoping I get there and a particular fabric speaks to me. 

Five on Friday

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

101 in 1001 January Update


Well, it's been a full year since I began my 101 in 1001 list and although I'm not quite as far along as I would have liked, I have definitely made progress!

11. Train for and run a 5K
I actually tried this one! I was doing the Couch to 5K running plan and had gotten up to week 4 when I threw my back out. After going to the chiropractor, he said that running on a treadmill might have been a contributing factor :( So I'm going to hold-off on this while I try to strengthen my back more and maybe I can attempt it again in the future.

38. Go camping.
As I mentioned in this post, we did a lot of fun stuff with our Life Journey Group from church this past year. Granted, we went camping in the same county we live in, but we slept in an actual tent. I was in charge of food for the group and we made these awesome breakfast burritos that we cooked over the open fire. I felt like Laura Ingalls Wilder (except I'm pretty sure she didn't use aluminum foil).

60. Make over a piece of furniture.
This can be crossed off the list! Look for a post in the next week or so about how I made over a $30 Craigslist dresser into my new dining room buffet.

74. Make a meal plan for 12 weeks.
I am well on my way to completing this one and I give 100% of the credit to my new Emily Ley Simplified Planner. This is what I bought as my "Christmas present to myself" this year. (Please tell me I'm not the only one who does that.) Each day, there is an area for you to write down your dinner plan and on Sunday, there is even a reminder for you to plan your meals for the coming week. This has been life-changing. Already I have found myself less stressed at the end of the day because I no longer have to come up with something to eat at the last minute and we've already saved money from not going out to eat as much.

Things I want to work on in the coming months:

1. Read 10 literary classics.
I am embarrassed that I have only read one literary classic in an entire year. But don't think that was the only book I read last year! I read quite a bit, but they are mostly current books. Right now I'm reading a biography on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but when I'm done with that, I want to read another classic. I'm open to suggestions!

25. Celebrate the Lenten Season
I want to be very purposeful this year in how I celebrate Lent. I want it to be meaningful and not an afterthought. That's why I want to start thinking about it now.

58. Sew Curtains
JoAnn's is having a super sale on all home decor fabric this weekend, so I think I'm going to finally go ahead and buy those six yards (gulp) of fabric I need to make curtains for our living room.

I'm excited about the things I have accomplished and even more excited about the things coming up. Hopefully I can be more regular about my updates.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What I Liked Last Week

Some of the things that caught my eye this week:



I love the idea of framing unique items and this framing idea is one I want to remember. 


I love oatmeal and I can't wait to try this recipe. I've never tried baked oatmeal before. Also, make sure to check out Andrea's blog, her photography is gorgeous. 


How to Find God's Will for Your Life

Please do yourself a favor and go check out Edie's blog. I. love. her. And this post is just so, so good. And after you read that one, read this one


I am loving tripod floor lamps right now and I have the perfect place for one. Although this DIY looks to be at more of an Intermediate skill level, I think I would like to eventually give it a try.

Friday, January 10, 2014

2014, the Year of Diligence

2014......Wow. Is it just me or does it feel like it was just 2010. Gracious, 2014 already.

2013 was a good year for us, it was our first full calendar year of being married and in that year, we visited some new places and made some new memories.

In June, we traveled to Atlanta for my cousin's wedding and then made our way down to Savannah for a mini-vacation.

We did a lot of fun things with our Life Journey Group from church that included going camping (the first time I've been camping since I was a Girl Scout), a costume party (we won the "Most Realistic" award for going as Sheldon and Amy from the Big Bang Theory), and multiple game nights.

It was during this past year that Geoff and I found our "groove" as a married couple. We adjusted to each other's habits and idiosyncrasies and fell into a routine that worked well for us. I know some people say that the first year is always the hardest, but for us is was pretty smooth sailing. I am definitely thankful for that.

At the beginning of this new year, I am excited to see what 2014 brings us. I have enjoyed reading other blogs and seeing that a lot of people are choosing a word for the year rather than make actual resolutions. Well, I'm going to try and do both.

My "word of the year" for 2014 is Diligence. Diligence is the constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body and mind. The things that I want to accomplish this year are not impossible, they are very attainable goals, but it will take diligence in order to complete them. I'm choosing this word as a reminder to myself to actively work towards the goals I am setting for myself this year.

1. I want to take more pictures this year. Last year for Christmas I got a Nikon D3100 with the intent of taking lots of pictures. I definitely used my camera, but not as much as I would have liked. I think I have to change my mind-set about what is "photo-worthy." That's definitely something I want to work on. I also decided to try and make a Project Life scrapbook this year, so now I have to take more pictures since I bought all of the supplies and stuff.

2. Work on completing my degree. Long story short, I "graduated" with 2 classes still left to take.....and I never took them. I'm in the process of taking one class on-line now, but I am at the point that I just want to go ahead and get this done and over with, it has been way too long.

3. Pay off school loans. Oh school loans, the bane of all college graduate's existence. Well all except my husband, lucky him. Yes, want to get those things paid off so we can start a family. So there is a big incentive with that one, but I have found that it is easier said than done. We will be making a budget and keeping each other accountable to stick to it!

4. Finish what I start. I don't know if I have met anyone who is as bad about this as I am. I am an excellent starter of things, not so good finisher of things. This is especially true with regards to decorating our house. I have multiple half-finished projects in the garage and want to just go ahead and get them done!

See why Diligence is my word this year? Like I said, all of these goals are very realistic and attainable, it's just a matter of making myself do them. If I could get these things done, I know 2014 would be a great year.

I also liked the list below, I think I'm going to print it out and tape it to the wall next to my bed as a reminder for me every morning and every evening.

Here's to the start of a great 2014!
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