Sunday, November 27, 2011

Flowers, flowers, and flowers, oh my!

Hello ladies and gents! It’s been a full week since my last confession… er, blog post. That’s because I’ve had one crazy, hectic, and insane week! We had almost a dozen people spending a few days with us for Thanksgiving so the house was definitely bustling. Our turkey dinner was absolutely delicious, and all the food was miraculously ready at the same time, an extremely rare occurrence and all thanks to the planning of my fabulous in-laws and their countertop roaster. 

Why did I not cook Thanksgiving dinner in my own house? Two reasons:

1. My hubby’s wonderful parents really enjoy cooking so I was more than happy to turn my kitchen over to their expert hands especially because…

2. I had a massive project to complete! Remember last week’s sneak peek?

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Well, after a super yummy Thanksgiving, we all drove down to Poplar Bluff, MO for a 50th Anniversary party.

Married 50 years!

Who else is impressed? I know I sure am. And they still smile at each other like teenagers. It's adorable.

If you haven’t guessed by now, all those flowers and vases were used to make 16 centerpieces for the anniversary party. 16!!! I had such a blast with them and absolutely loved how they turned out. I definitely had a hard time choosing my favs!

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Doesn’t it look beautiful?!? My mother-in-law requested that the centerpieces don’t look “too matchy-matchy” so each one was different. Most of the vases were found at Goodwill (which I’ve been visiting 2-3 times a week for the last 3 weeks) or in my cupboards, and most of the flowers were from the Dollar Store. Actually, it was 3 Dollar Stores, and I completely bought out their supply of white flowers. Literally. They didn’t have any left by the time I was done with them. And I used up every single one.

Almost 600 flowers. Wow that sounds like a lot.

Okay, I know you must be dying to see the finished products up close and personal, so here are some of my favs (please forgive the poor pics, the lighting was terrible and so are my photography skills…)

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I couldn’t believe how easy these were to make and am so excited to start making some for my house. And the party guests were more than happy to take them home after the party so we weren’t stuck with a million centerpieces and nowhere to put them!

We were pleasantly surprised when the hotel venue gifted flowers of their own. But we were stunned when the florist dropped off this gorgeous arrangement...

That is 50 long-stemmed roses, a surprise gift from the man of the hour to his lovely lady. It was massive, spectacular, and such a wonderful gesture.

Well folks, that's about it for me. No Thanksgiving pics because I was just too frazzled and busy to even bother decorating. I shall, however, leave you with one more pic of flower love...



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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Quick Fireplace Transformation!

When we first moved into this house, the wood-burning fireplace was “protected” by a lovely set of chain mail type curtains (I’m sorry, I have no clue what those things are actually called). That’s it. No door or screen, nothing. And since we’d never had a fireplace before we definitely didn’t have one of our own. C was just learning to walk at the time so there was no doubt in our mind that we needed to get some type of door for the fireplace. But have you seen the prices for those things??? They start at like $300! After moving from Hawaii to Missouri and then living in a hotel for almost two months, there was no way we could shell out that kind of cash.

So we turned to good ole Facebook, and I had only one goal: a set of doors that opened and closed. I was so happy to find a set of doors and matching tools for only $30! They served us well throughout our first real winter (Texas, California, Hawaii… yeah, haven’t had to deal with winter in a while). However, after living with it for a year, I knew I had to do something about it. To be more specific, I needed to do something about that BRASS color.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of gold. In a flower. Or a ribbon. Or my jewelry. But in my home d├ęcor it has NO PLACE. So what to do? We’d already established that custom doors were ridiculously out of our budget for a while. Finally it occurred to me.

Spray paint.


After an unsuccessful searching Lowes for a spray paint meant to withstand high temps, I decided to try our local fireplace store. Definitely should have gone there first!

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Now to get started! I hauled the door and the tools out to the back porch and proceeded to clean and give them a light sanding (to help the spray paint adhere to the smooth metal). I was pleasantly surprised to discover that all the tools completely came apart, making it much easier to clean and spray paint (um… please ignore the chipping paint on the deck, that is definitely a “to do” on our list)!

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Next I taped off both sides of the glass doors. It took forever.

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Then came the spray paint! I have a handy little attachment that turns a can spray paint into a spray gun, making big projects so much easier to do. They are only a few dollars at the hardware store, and so completely worth it.

After a lot of touchups, I was finally finished! Ready for the finished products?

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WOW! What a difference, right? Check out the before and after:

Before                                              After

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It’s so much better! Almost like getting a completely new one. I’m a million times happier with it, which means we can now put off buying a new one for a few more years. Bonus!

Have you ever given a makeover to something you hated and been completely shocked at how much you love the finished product? It’s so amazing to me how much something as small as a coat of paint can completely transform something!


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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tool Caddy Organization

Remember the tool solution I mentioned in my hall closet makeover? I just used it for the first time! I was sooo happy with it that I knew I needed to share details right away.

Have you ever seen this adorable Starlight Turtle?

It projects constellations and a moon onto the ceiling in green, blue, or yellow. C used to love this thing, pushing all the buttons to cycle through the colors helped him fall asleep, and since it automatically shuts off after 30 minutes I never worried about wasting batteries. After about a year, though, the batteries died. Since the battery compartment was locked up with one of those itty bitty screws needing an itty bitty screwdriver that I could never seem to find, I just put it on my list of things to do and never got around to it.

See, the toobox I was using just wasn't working out.

I loved that it doubled as a step stool, but as I added more and more tools it started to get too heavy to haul out of the closet. It was annoying to crouch down, open the latch, and hunt for whatever tool it was that I needed. So annoying, in fact, that my regularly used tools ended up just being tossed on the shelf in the closet where I could grab them easily. Of course that eventually caused a pileup of random junk and I still couldn't find anything I needed (like an itty bitty screwdriver) so I knew I needed a easier, more organized way to access my regularly used tools.

Enter my new tool caddy!

I picked it up at Target for about $3 because I loved the color. Originally it was being used to store my everyday makeup and hair supplies, but it wasn't quite working out so I decided to re-purpose it. When I ws cleaning, purging, and organizing the hall closet I tried to think of any quick projects where I would prefer having the tools immediately on hand: hanging pictures, measuring something, etc. I gathered up all the tools and items on my list:
  1. level
  2. multi-tool
  3. hammer
  4. stud-finder
  5. flashlight
  6. staple gun and staples
  7. scissors
  8. loose nails and screws
  9. drywall anchors
  10. wrench
  11. Command strips
  12. scraper
  13. zip ties
  14. teeny screwdrivers
  15. Sharpie
  16. tape measure
  17. box cutter
Then I sorted them into the tool caddy, making sure to evenly distribute the weight.

Look, there are my itty bitty screwdrivers, right there in plain view!

When I finally decided to change the batteries in C's turtle (after it had been hibernating in the closet for around 6 months) I just grabbed my caddy and the tools I needed were right there! Plus, once I was done it was a piece of cake to just toss them back in their caddy spot and then slide the whole thing back into the closet. I'm sure the tools will change over time as I decide what's really necessary and what isn't, but I think the idea of a tool caddy is here to stay!

And look, now that the batteries have been changed the turtle lights up beautifully!

C is thrilled to have his little turtle friend back. I can hear him over the monitor constantly telling all his other bed buddies "Wook! Wook! Itsa MOOON! Wook! See? Der it is! Itsa MOON!"

I think two-year olds are adorable.


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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A new look!

Have you noticed the fresh, new look on my blog? I'm so much happier with it! I decided since I'm spending all this time and energy trying to make my home look streamlined and fabulous, I might as well take a little extra effort to do the same for my blog!

Of course, the first thing you probably noticed is the beautiful header. When I started looking for a header for the blog, I knew I wanted it to match the background I was already using since I absolutely adore the pattern and colors. I also wanted it to be fun and pretty, and above all, free! So I was thrilled to stumble onto The Cutest Blog on the Block, full of adorable, free blog templates! I grabbed my fav and attached it to my blog and voila! A beautiful new header!

Okay, it wasn't quite that simple. It was actually fairly complicated, and took hours. That's not an exaggeration. The amount of time spent on this from the beginning of search to the finished product was literally hours. About half the day, in fact (though I did take nice long breaks to walk to puppy and play with C).

Credit for the actual process must be given to Living, Laughing, and Loving's Beautify Your Blog series. She walks you through the entire process step-by-step, making a complicated process super easy. I am so grateful that she thought to create a series of posts specifically designed for the blog newbies! I used her tips for everything from creating a signature, to downloading fonts.

The beautiful new font I'm using is from Kevin and Amanda, an entire site dedicated to free fonts. I am so happy with all the fun new fonts on my computer! I also spent a little time adjusting the colors and format of the blog itself, to blend the new header with the background.

Last but not least is my first ever blog signature. I wanted it to look like the way I actually sign letters and cards, and it does! I'm so happy with the new look of my blog, it's so cute and fun, exactly what I want it to be! What do you think? Do you like the updated version, or did you prefer it before?


Monday, November 14, 2011

A day of being a tourist

Good morning all! If you've read my Halloween post, you know that things are pretty crazy around here right now. I've definitely got a TON going on to get ready for Thanksgiving, so there won't be any new projects for a little while.

In the meantime, I'd love to take you on a little walk around St. Louis! One of my friends came up for a visit a few months ago and it was a blast doing all the tourist things I hadn't done yet; she was happy to share her great pics with you!

The walkway to the arch. People always think of a city as bustling and grey and rigid, 
but we sometimes forget how beautiful it can be as well, with tree-lined paths and hidden parks. 

The St. Louis arch, aka the "Gateway to the West." 

We are ready to head to the top of the arch!

We rode up to the top in this tiny swaying bubble pod... it was a little creepy and very claustrophobic.

The view from the top. How amazing is this?!?

Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals won the World Series this year (I hear that was a pretty big deal).

As all my friends know, I hate posing for pics because I always hate the end result. The fact that so many of these pics turned out halfway decent (of me, she looks great) was definitely a pleasant surprise.

I absolutely love cobblestone roads. They are a pain to drive on, but they are so beautiful and quaint!

We stopped to see the city garden. There are dozens of water sprays shooting up
at different intervals, it's a popular destination for hot summer days with the kiddos.

We saw a lot of fun statues like this!

Next we headed over to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.

Wow, that's a whole lot of beer!

Again, a LOT of beer. You should've seen how fast those bottles were flying by!

Our last stop was to the St. Louis Zoo. It's supposed to be one of the best in the nation, but for some reason all the animals were missing. Except this random lion chilling in a tree. A few missing animals here and there I can understand, but can someone please explain to me how you hide a bunch of elephants? 

Have you guys been to any fun tourist spots lately? I'd love to hear about them!