Sunday, December 21, 2014

how not to pull your hair out & lose your will to live during the holidays

Christmas might just kill me y'all. So, in the small chance that I actually survive, I am writing a letter to my future self. Think of it as a how-to guide for a stress-free holiday season. So without further ado...

How to Not Pull Your Hair Out & Lose Your Will to Live During the Holidays

1.   Do not agonize over coordinating wrapping paper, tags and bows. I do. Every year. I was so over wrapping by third hour this year, that I was ready to throw everything in a sack (or in the trash for that matter). I have never wanted to throw my hands in the air like I just didn't care in all of my life. 

Note to self: Next year, one paper. One ribbon. No tags. Do something like this (except on the actual package and with their actual name, or it will get really confusing, and Uncle Bob might end up with some lovely lavender hand cream and a subscription to Ladies Home Journal):

via: bloglovin 
2.   Do not agonize over Christmas cards. I haven't nothing against Christmas cards. In fact, I have sent them out every single year since forever. I even mailed out cards before I had a pet or child to plaster on the front. Can you even? What kind of cards even exist if there aren't pictures involved? Oh, and don't forget the annual newsletter. Seriously, how are you supposed to keep up with our family? Oh yeah, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. I'm pretty sure my family and friends, and almost strangers (also known as Facebook friends) know what my kids look like and what events have transpired pretty much every day of our ever-so-glamorous lives. Oh, and cards are many levels of freaking expensive. Okay, so take cute pictures of kids (check), upload adorable (and printable) card from Etsy (or print from any various source - check), have them printed at local office supply store (or online print shop - check), address all 100 cards (which takes approximately 3 lifetimes to do - check), stick a stamp (aren't they about $5.60 a piece now? - check) on all 100 cards (this is what children are for, so YAY for that - check), and lastly, haul them to the post office (check). Wipe your brow and go sell organs on the black market to pay for them (check). 

Note to self: Next year,  whip up a cute little "card" on PicMonkey (or any other photo program) and post on various social media. E-mail to everyone else. Then, sit with hot cocoa in hand and pat yourself on the back because you have just saved approximately $4,590 and 86 hours. You are a genius.

3.   Your home is not going to be on the cover of a magazine, so don't make yourself insane trying to deck your halls.  Honestly, this is the biggest stress for me each year. I love these "Holiday Home Tours" on my favorite "home" blogs. Their homes are perfect. Every hall is decked beyond all recognition and every stocking his hung by the chimney with ALL OF THE CARE. To their defense, many of them ARE on magazine covers, and most of them blog for a living. The rest of them probably just wait all year for it. I love decorating my home for the holidays as much as the next person (or even more), but the time and effort it takes is exhausting. I simply didn't have time to finish this year. I had other things that needed my attention such as feeding my children, buying groceries, and bathing. I stressed about decorations. What is wrong with me?

Note to self: Next year, simplify. That can mean lots of things, but most importantly, don't stress. Pick a few places to focus on...a few things that are really meaningful and ROCK IT OUT. I love the idea of just adding some simple greenery, having a beautiful tree with decorations made from salt dough and macaroni, and a few preserved boxwood wreaths. We'll see how that goes. Good luck with that Christmas of 2015 self. 

Also, do yourself a favor, and before you turn yourself into a tinsel tossing lunatic, read The Nester's post on undecorating for Christmas

"If decorating my house for Christmas is a burden, then I stop. I have to." ~The Nester (Myquillyn Smith)
{Genius. Sheer genius I tell ya.}

So, to clarify: No crazy Christmas shenanigans next year, k? Easy peasy. No matchy matchy gift wrap, Christmas cards are not essential to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus, and decorating (or lack thereof) doesn't need to send you on the next bus to Crazytown. 

Have a wonderful and stress-free holiday, and please, by all means, do not don your gay apparel and troll the ancient yuletide carol without posting it. Put a filter on it. Hashtag the heck out of it. Then, don't forget to put it on that annual newsletter next year...or not. 

Merry Christmas y'all. Here's to an awesome 2015.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

the struggle is real

Y'all, I love Christmas. I mean, I love it like a blue-haired grandma loves her BINGO. I love the sights, the smells, the tastes, the sounds, the tastes. Mmmmm, the tastes. Soooo, I have love love loved all of the blogs and their "Holiday Home Tours", but I simply don't see how they do it. They have their entire home decorated like a window display at the North Pole Mall, and I can't even get my tree finished.
I have accomplished something though. I made snowball-like pom poms out of yarn. Yes, I did make them at 1:00 AM, and yes, I did bypass a shower to do so, but as Taylor Swift says, "Makers gonna make", or something like that. I am making them to DIY something like this...
source: Anthropologie
It is $38 for a 6 ft. long garland. Not a horrific price, but I definitely wanted more like 60 ft. of garland instead. Yes, haven't you heard "more is more"?  Well, I don't want to spend $400 on garland, because that is insane, not in my budget, so DIY it is. I might even make one of these if I'm feeling up to a pom pom making frenzy.  
Source: Anthropologie
It is $138. I think I can make it for less than $15. Sure, it will only take approximately 14 gazillion hours, but I haven't nothing else to do. *Ahem*

Also, I am thinking of making this as well, but using pre-made pom poms instead of felted balls because I am not working in a sweatshop and this many felted balls would take an eternity plus 18 days. (If you want to make them, here is a tutorial. Knock yourself out. Be sure to grab a stiff drink and put on some holiday music 'cause your gonna need it when you are elbow deep in wool and soap.)
felted ball garland via Pickles
I love the vibrant colors of this, but it really isn't my color palette. I'm going white. You know, once you go white, you never...oh never mind. Sorry. I can't help what pops into my head, and it's late, and my kids have been cranky all day, and it took them 2 hours to go to bed tonight. The struggle is real.

So, my tree isn't completely decorated, I need to clean the chicken coop, my dishes are piled up in the sink, I have Christmas presents to wrap, I have no decorations outside, have about 8 canvases to paint, approximately 10 loads of laundry to do, and all I can think of is making pom poms and wreaths. You know, priorities. 

I'll be back to show you the Great Pom Pom Event of 2014 this week. 




Saturday, November 29, 2014

stretchy pants and Celine Dion

Okay, so how are y'all? I am flat out pooped. The holidays are going to turn me into a lunatic. But seriously, I love it. I love the decorating, and the people, and the food, and the friends, and the food.
Did I mention the food? My mom made my favorite for Thanksgiving, and it isn't one bit Thanksgivingy. Coffee angel food cake with coffee icing and toasted almonds. I do believe the angels made it themselves...thus the name. I mean, it tastes like sugar, and coffee, and toasted almonds, so there is no better dessert. End of story. Thanks mom. You are my favorite person in the history of all the world for making it. Instead of hiding in the closet and inhaling it in one sitting, I ate one piece and told her to take the rest home. I am still hating myself over it, but I know my weakness and I don't want diabetes.
So, the fall decor is gone, the Christmas decor is halfway up, and I'm doing my best to not think about how much I have to do. I have lots of work to do to get my shop stocked for Christmas, I still haven't finished decorating, and I have needy children. Something has to give. Sorry kids, it's been nice knowing you.
I am going to go to church in the morning, then come home, eat the last bit of ham on a sammich (then Thanksgiving leftovers, you are dead to me...I can only handle so much), put on my stretchy pants, and nap like I have never napped before. Before I nap, I will threaten my children's inheritance if they come in my room asking for the freaking password for their electronic device. (Happens every freaking time.) After I awaken (that is if I actually sleep, because $*#!! rooster, and password needing  little people), I shall have a snack, a cup of coffee (because I am 85 years old and drink coffee all the live long day), then take my kids back up to church. They have a Christmas musical to practice for. I can hardly handle the cuteness of kids in Christmas musicals. The nose picking (usually my child), the crooked halos, the VERY passionate singing of what may or may not be the correct lyrics (again, usually mine), the crying child, the shy child (not usually mine...bless), the child who thinks they are Celine Dion in her final Las Vegas performance (ahem...). They are all so darn cute.
So, I will have something more along the lines of Christmas decorations and such later in the week. I am barely forming words at this point because I might have mentioned that I am pooped. I have had no less than 30 people in my house this week. Peace out y'all. Have a restful Sunday.
P. S. Can I just say that my favorite thing about college football are the losing coaches in the post-game interviews. I heard these things come out of various coaches' mouths. "It just sucks." "Yeah we lost, whatever." So honest. So over it. So tired of annoying questions. Bless their hearts. Love it.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

thrifty thursday...turkey day edition

Don't let the title fool you lovely readers. This post has zero to do with Thanksgiving other than it is 9:30 PM on Thanksgiving evening, my stomach is embarrassingly distended, and I am in a food semi-coma.
I only have one thrifty Thursday tip. Olive oil. For your face. For real. Don't knock it 'til you try it.
I learned about this little miracle from a friend of mine, although it is splattered all over the interwebs and Pinterest and such. Apparently, I am not Pinteresting enough, and apparently I just made up a new verb.
I have 100% replaced my face washing routine with olive oil. EVOO because just regular olive oil would be weird. I just keep a little travel bottle in the shower. Just pour a little in to the palm of your hand, rub your hands together, then rub all over your mug. It takes eye makeup off like a boss, but makes you smell like a salad (until you wipe it off). After I rub it in like I'm massaging butter on a Thanksgiving turkey (cue the Thanksgiving reference), I get the water as hot as possible, soak my washcloth in it, and wipe the oil off. I continue until it is all off and the make up is all gone. When you get out of the shower and dry your face off, you will be amazed at the difference. You will look like a supermodel, guaranteed or your money back.
There is a whole science behind why it works, but I can barely form thoughts and words, so higher level thinking is just not happening a this juncture. You can Google it, or just click the link in the last sentence. Also, there are all sorts of combinations of different oils to use for different skin types, but I like to keep it simple. You can do whatever you like because I am not the boss of you. If I were, I would tell you to get off this computer/phone and go wash your face so I don't sound like a loon.
Have a lovely post-Thanksgiving, football watching, Tums devouring evening y'all.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

thrifty thursday: better late then never addition

It is cold. Like freezing. I will not complain though because I prefer freezing over hotter than surface of the sun any day. I will say one thing though...Texas weather, you are drunk.

So, because I am totally on top of everything and have my life in perfect order, I forgot the Thrifty Thursday post for last week. Additionally, because my schedule is so precise and impeccably executed, I didn't even realize I had forgotten it until 2 days ago. I would like to say that it was because I was deep in a philosophical book about world peace or nuclear fusion, or that I was in my lab finding a cure for scurvy or something, but my life is nowhere near that exciting, or cultured. 

I was going to do a double post to make it up to you, but you are lucky that I'm sliding this one in today. You're welcome. I will try to make it worth your while. 

So, I have been perusing Pinterest (not as much as I would like, but honestly, I don't think I really have a limit), and have come across some wonderful homemade & homemade-ish Christmas ideas. Yes, Christmas because I don't want to beat a dead horse, and by dead horse, I am referring to fall. Sorrynotsorry fall, I really love you, but I am ready for Christmas already. It doesn't even feel like fall anymore. We got about 1.5 days of fall this year in Texas. Honestly, I was in flip-flops a few days ago, and now I'm all, "Where is your coat? You are going to freeze, and honestly, I don't have time to attend your funeral. I have a blog post to make up. Geeeeez", and "Oh my WORD, am I in Antarctica? I can't feel my face", and "For the love, get your tongue off that pole!"

Anyway....here is a rundown of some of my favorite el cheapo Christmas ideas. Also, please note that these are an average of about a 2-4 on the "Craftiness Scale". They also can be made with things that you should have easy access to, and I am being serious. You won't need leaves from the sacred Japanese Christmas Maple of Northern Timbuktu, or yarn made from the fur of a chiru you can only find in the Himalayan mountains on the second Friday in December, or some such nonsense. I know, I was just as shocked as you will be that every American household doesn't have both of those.
Well, here goes nothin' (click on the picture to visit the how-to link):


This one looks super fun, but a little messy. I could see making this outside then putting it up somewhere where it won't be touched until it is taken down, unless you want it to look like it is snowing inside your home. If so, then this is perfect for you, and you should make dozens of them & have lots of little children over to your home. I PROMISE, you will definitely have fake snow in places you didn't even know fake snow could hide. You won't even have to ask them to touch it. Kids are thoughtful like that.


Now this one is near and dear to my heart. I have a magnolia tree in my backyard. It has only grown approximately 2 millimeters in the 9 years that we have lived here, but whatever. I love the green and brown of magnolia leaves, so I wouldn't paint them, but it is your decision and I won't judge you or call you a magnolia hater if you do.


I have actually made something similar. I used an embroidery hoop and natural wood clothespins. I just hot glued them on and added a wide plaid bow at the top. I found that facing the clothespins in opposite directions worked better. If you have them all going to the outside, you can't fit as many photos/cards/photocards on it. I also liked that it made my wreath wider and more substantial.


I have made this one as well. You could use yardsticks (as shown), or rulers, for a smaller version. You could also use old fence pickets, branches from fall tree trimming, paint stirring sticks, or any other stick-like things (just got to Lowes and ask for these...I promise, they won't make fun of you). 


The tool girl in me LOVES this project. (Tool Girl...a new superhero? Yes, yes please. "I volunteer as tribute!" Name that quote for 30 points to District 12.) Anyway, I will definitely try this one this year. So many fun options here. Did I mention how much I love this? Well, I do. Love. Old wood & ribbon...hands to the heavens.


I saved the best for last. If you hung around until now, congratulations! If not, well your loss...and you won't be reading this anyway, so never mind.
This is my fave. I know it isn't necessarily for everybody, but you could always do just one color (I prefer white) if the techicolor thing isn't your, um thing. This post (if you read it) would have seemed daunting, and you would be calling me a big fat liar considering it ranks at approximately an 8+ on the Craftiness Scale (um, it is also rude to call people names). However, if you use pom pom balls (they come in bulk packages at any craft store), and hot glued them to a wreath form (I would use a straw one covered in fabric) then it takes the Craftiness Rating down to about a 3, 3+ at the most. You could also use small yarn balls which would be {*cough}amazeballs...

So, there you go. If you take on any of these fun little crafts, please send me a picture. I would love to see how they turned out!

Jenn

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

new items in the shop...including a little LOL action

So, I was just going to post some pictures of my new items in the shop, but I have been challenged by my oldest/eldest (anyone know what word to use here?) to make him "LOL". Literally...those words came out of his mouth. #forthelove #englishplease


Ooooooohhhh LaLa
This little SPF (single pink female) is looking for a lovely home to call her own. She had a full face lift and is ready to party. She was looking kind of haggard and plain when I found her, but with a new coat of blush & bashful (name that movie for 10 points to Ravenclaw), and a full body wax, she is ready for action. Dressed in layers of white (lemme tell ya', she's ready to settle down and walk down the aisle), or however you please, she is a lovely full sized gal (literally, the bed is full-sized) with a great personality.

The only wrinkles on this lovely lady, are on her sheets. (P.S. wrinkled sheets not included)
Mmmm....look at that leg! Grrrrr....

Next up, in the heavyweight category...
This fella is a rotund 53" in diameter, but don't call him "BIG", he's just husky. In two shades of grey, he looks very distinguished. He has a charcoal top and very pale grey pedestal base. Just like his lady friend above, he's been waxed multiple times. What can I say, he's in touch with his feminine side. He's also extremely buff(ed).

He's husky and he know it.
Ready for his close up...
#selfieangle
If you would like a more ACCURATE (but not as gut-busting) description, pop on in to my online shop and stay a while (and buy stuff).

Have a great evening y'all,
Jenn

Monday, November 3, 2014

ummm, now what?

I honestly don't know how to beat a post that CHIP & JOANNA GAINES ACTUALLY READ!!!
Seriously...



video


Joanna read it too!
{Like, whoa!}
 ...and this really happened...
#OHMYGOSH
So, you could say it's been a good week. #understatementoftheyear
Also, I discovered dry shampoo today, so #winning!

Since I have several new folks hop aboard the crazy train  new to my blog/Instagram feed/Facebook/Twitter, I thought I would let you know a little about myself and my business. I like order and lists, so...

About Me

...I will try to play down my glamorous life as to not offend anyone.

  • I spend most days in yoga pants and a paint spattered shirt.
  • I homeschool my kids (hence the yoga pants).
  • I love Jesus but I drink a little (kidding about the drinking, but not about the Lord...but name that quote for 10 points to Gryffindor).
  • I work out of a barn. A literal barn. Surrounded by goats and chickens. It's quite entertaining and every bit as glamorous as it sounds.
  • I have no design experience unless you count infinite hours watching HGTV and reading every design article ever composed in the history of the the written word. It is a passion (some say obsession, but whatever, man) So, basically, I have a PhD.
  • I had my first experience in interior design when I redid my room as a young teenager (when one's taste is at its peak). I painted my walls dark turquoise with a "faux" white sponge paint treatment, then layered on Southwestern bedding and art. There may have even been a bleached animal skull involved. Now, try to bleach that image from your brain. 
  • I dabbled in crafts, floral design, and painting furniture for my own entertainment, and even sold a handful of things as a young, poor college student. I never realized that there was actually a profession where you could do those types of things and actually make money (I lived WAY in the country). Instead of getting a degree in interior design, I chose teaching, where the money and the hours are WAY better. *Ahem.
  • I taught junior high and survived. 
  • I have been at home with my chirrens for the past 11 years. I really love the hours, the pay, and particularly, the satisfaction that I receive each day my family looks at me and says, "We know the amount of work you do for us each day and we truly value and appreciate it and you". (Oh my goodness, I can't stop laughing.) On a serious note, I do love it and feel immensely fortunate that I able to be with my kids 24/7. Well...maybe 12/5, but beggars can't be choosers.
My Posse

  • I am a wife to one & mom to three kids. My oldest son is half Einstein and half Jimmy Fallon. He is both freakishly smart, and has epic comedic chops. Not sure where he gets that from... My daughter is a budding homemaker/designer/farmgirl, and has more passion flowing through her veins than every episode of Days of Our Lives combined. My youngest kiddo is a mini-Jim Carrey. He can make you laugh just by watching him eat a sandwich.
  • I have a 100+ pound lab mix (half black lab/half horse) that is BY FAR the laziest dog on the planet.  Now that I think about it, he might actually be half black lab/half sloth.
  • We have 10 hens, and 1 rooster who feels the need to crow every 14 seconds of every single minute, of every single day. We also have 2 dwarf Nigerian goats, 4 calling birds, 3 French hens, 2 turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree. 
  • My husband and I have been married for 15 blissful years. (I totally wrote that with a straight face.) No, seriously, marriage is HARD, but we are both incredibly stubborn and neither of us like to lose. Seriously though, he's a catch. I think I'll keep him. Oh, and he's cute. Yep, #winning.
So there you go. Be sure to follow me on Twitter to keep up with my daily, glamorous life, and maybe get a chuckle or two. Also, I am on Instagram, and Facebook. I have a deep need to be accepted, so if you don't, I will curl up in the fetal position and cry like a man with a cold.

Be blessed! 
Jenn (a.k.a Chip & Joanna Gaines' new best friend)


Friday, October 31, 2014

magnolia fall workshop 2014: top 10 edition

No need to call 911, I'll be here FOREVER.
How much fun did I have at the Magnolia fall workshop? Answer: More fun than a barrel of monkeys. Wait...how is that fun? Sounds like PETA needs to be involved.

Anyway, I had such a ridiculous time. I will make a list of why because I love lists. Also note, there will be hashtags involved because I love them, and this is my blog, and I can do whatever I want because (as I've said before) you're not the boss of me.

1. Everyone was perfect, but in a good/not intimidating way. The people were so sweet, they made my teeth hurt. Seriously, where do they find these people? Does Magnolia genetically engineer these precious little 20-somethings in a lab? They were kind, genuine, attentive, and over-the-top nice. Cute little girls with their cute bangs and their cute wedges: check. Fun hipster dude serving Arnold Palmers and making small talk: check. Gorgeous little peanut intern with amazing hair and those dorky/cute glasses that makes you feel like YOU ARE ALL THAT MATTERS IN THE WHOLE WORLD: check. #lovemesomeyounghipsters #theywereprecious #isoundsoold 

2. Everything was perfect. Chip was a the door greeting everyone. #endofstory #everyoneisachipfan #ifnotyouarewrong

3. But seriously, everything was perfect. There was a cute little thing grabbing everyone's camera as they walked in to take their picture with Chip (no selfies necessary). There were people that seemed genuinely thrilled you were there. There was a meet and greet line to Joanna where, again, they took your phone to get your picture with her. They were so accomodating, and planned every little detail. The decor...don't even get me started: handmade, natural, easy, doable, totally Joanna. 

4. The food. I mean....the tomato bisque was to die for, the cupcakes were so good I wanted to not only slap my mama, but my entire family, and the sliders with pineapple slaw #SHUT YOUR FACE. 

5. Chip & Joanna are the real deal. Well, my friend and I think she might be a space alien because she is perfect. Seriously perfect. She could not possibly have birthed all those kids (she is tiny). Really. Don't even get me started on her hair. There are Disney princesses that would have a fistfight for her hair. Rapunzel Shmupunzel. Oh, and Chip...I can't even. He is hilarious. Every word out of his mouth had us all rolling. Bless Joanna's heart. #blessit

6. The venue. Dear heavens, can I move in? The floors, the brick, the decorations. GAH. It was all perfect. No, I don't have pictures. I know, shame on me. I think I was too overwhelmed with it all to even process the whole "taking pictures" thing. #facepalm

7. The booty. We came home with some booty y'all. Banners, giant bird nests, swag bags, chalkboard printable. #feltlikeacelebrity #nophotosplease

8. The people. Y'all, there were some cool people there. If you are in Instagram and put the little hashtags (#magnolinagatherings or #fallworkshop2014), then I have probably semi-stalked you (but not in a weird way...don't panic). To me, if you love Chip & Joanna like I do, then we are kindred spirits and I want to know you. Is that weird? Gosh, maybe it is. If it is, forget what I just said. It was the post-workshop excitement talking.

9. The shop. Okay, so this isn't "technically" part of the workshop, but it kind of is. I have to talk about their shop on Bosque though. It is heaven. I could have spend a million dollars in there. It is a perfect blend of old and new, feminine and rustic, farmhouse and farmhouse (hey, why mess with farmhouse when it is the perfect style anyway #amiright?). I loved every.single.thing. I would totally move there to work in that shop. I mean, all I kept thinking was, "Do these cute little employees understand how perfect their lives are, or are they oblivious because they are smack in the middle of it everyday and it pays their bills?" Honestly, I don't know. I would work there for free (and maybe a discount). I seriously need to move to Waco. #iworkfordiscounts #wanttobejojosbff #notastalker

10. Their hearts. I knew that Chip and Joanna were amazing at their craft (Oh wow...designer moment, just used the word craft. I need a second here...), but they also have the most amazing hearts. Everyone we talked to that worked with them said the same thing (maybe it is because they were programmed in the lab...just a theory), "They are so genuine and amazing to work for". I can totally see it. Their work is their ministry. People are drawn to them for their genuineness. God's hand is all over what they are doing, and they are not doing it for their own glory, but His. That is the best thing I took away from the workshop. There are still good people doing God's work that are impacting people in ways that you would never imagine. I mean, really. A cute little couple from Waco, Texas with adorable kids, a picturesque farm, and a design/home renovation business are killing it on a home and garden network, and are doing it for the right reasons. #refreshing #togodbetheglory #amenandamen #handstotheheavens

So, there you have it. My top ten. Oh, and if you are one of those "kindred spirits" I spoke about, please follow me on all social media. We can be friends. We can braid each other's hair and make friendship bracelets, or we can just social media stalk each other. Whatever. 

Oh, and I will be putting some great new pieces in the shop this weekend. Oh my goodness, I am just feeling so darn inspired. Gotta go work...

Bless y'all!
Jenn

Thursday, October 30, 2014

thrifty thursday...because apparently, I only post once per week & I'm meeting Jojo {oh my gosh}

It is crazy how fast a week can go by when you are running from pre-dawn, to post-every-sane-person-is-already-in-bed every single day. I have 2 pieces of furniture that are completely finished, and I haven't even had time to post them in my shop. Anywho, before I move on to Thrifty Thursday, I have to tell you something. I AM GOING TO MEET CHIP AND JOJO FROM FIXER UPPER TODAY!!! Whew, I couldn't hold it in any longer. In case you missed the 14 times I mentioned that I had already met Chip, you can read about it here or here. I actually saw Jojo working, but didn't want to be all fangirl and interrupt her. I can't promise the same for tomorrow, although my BF and I pinky swore we wouldn't embarrass ourselves. I'll do my best (*wink).
Okay, so on to Thrifty Thursday. Since I am still dreaming of a day that actually feels like fall in this state where fall is a season that lasts a total of about 48 hours, I thought I would indulge myself (and my lovely readers) with another fall post. 
When you start decorating for the fall holidays, try to choose things that will work for Halloween (if you decorate for Halloween), that will also work for Thanksgiving, and possibly even winter. The best way to do that is by using natural elements & colors. Instead of decorating for Halloween by using lots of black, and skeletons, and "Halloweenie" (ha ha ha...couldn't resist) elements, try sticking to a color palette that speaks of the entire fall season. Think oranges, browns, and yellows. If you aren't a fan of fall colors {insert hand raise here}, then go with corals (kind of orange), greys (a neutral like brown), and gold (kind of yellow). Also, add in lots of greenery, and white. I love pheasant feathers, wood, and fallen acorns from your own tree (can you say "free") or a neighbor's (I won't tell). The white can be in the form of white pumpkins, fabrics, or dishware.

Bittersweet wreath - beautiful natural element that you could use almost year round. 
You could use this for fall, then switch out the wheat for fir branches, and the grapes and warty pumpkin for apples or pomegranates.  Yes, those are "warty" pumpkins. Not a fan, but carry on...
Natural table decorations that could transition from fall to winter with a few changes...pinecones and flowers.
How Miss Mustard Seed decorates for fall. It's pretty perfect. I love the magnolia leaves as an alternative to evergreens in the winter too. Just replace the pumpkins and BOOM, amazing winter tablescape.
Hey look...feathers and artichokes. Sweet Mother of Abraham Lincoln! Love it. (Gold star if you can name that quote.)
For many of your arrangements, you can simply remove the fall colors, and replace it with more winter things. Yes, things. I can't even think of words because I am so excited to meet Jojo. I am not a stalker. 
Anyway, you could take out the acorns and replace them with pinecones. You could replace the pumpkins with red flowers, apples, or pomegranates. You could even use natural colors (whites, greens, creams, browns, etc.) for your fall centerpieces and then just pop in some berry twigs, or holly branches to brighten them up.  
The main idea is to keep it neutral and be creative. I love non-traditional elements in design. Pomegranates for winter? You betcha. They are the most beautiful shade of red. Artichokes for fall... yep. Magnolia leaves for both fall and winter... ummm, yeah! The green and brown combination speaks to both seasons. 
Now, faux vs. real. This is a hotly debated topic in the design world. Personally, I love real, but honestly, it gets very pricey. I like to use mostly faux or dried florals, then mix in seasonal items.
For example, this arrangement has mostly real elements: dried greenery, branches, and pheasant feathers. Once winter comes, I will take out the orb, and pop in some elements of red (like faux antique roses or peonies and some berry sprigs) and white (like white feathers or some felted balls).

This one is very simple. It is a faux greenery branch (looks pretty real though...that is the key) and a real pumpkin. I always grab real pumpkins for decorating, although I am slowly building up my collection of faux ones too. 


Here are a couple of my faux ones. They look very realistic. I love them, and I can reuse them every year. Everything in here is fake besides the dried grapevine, preserved greenery, and the antler. I will take out everything but the greenery and grapevine, and replace them with some glass ornaments and twinkle lights for Christmas. Quick, cheap, and an easy switcharoo. You could even use a bunch of pinecones, or red and green apples, or fake snowballs (I will have to post a tutorial for those after Thanksgiving).


These pumpkins are fake, the reindeer moss is real. I'll just take out the pumpkins and replace them with something else (not sure what yet) when winter rolls around...or in November, when it is still 85 degrees outside. #texaswintersareforshortandflipflops


So, there you have it. Another Thrifty Thursday in the books, and oh my gosh...meeting Joanna Gaines today...breathe breathe breathe. Okay, I'll let you know how it goes and if I totally embarrass myself. #pullittogether #notastalker 

Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

thrifty thursday

Welcome to my second Thrifty Thursday post! This week, I am talking about wall art. When you think of wall art, you typically think of pictures, right? Mostly family pictures (unless you have ugly relatives...just kidding). I'll start there.
My favorite tip: You do not have to have custom framing for an expensive looking piece of art. Every picture in my house is framed in a store-bought frame. I take my photos to Hobby Lobby (#shoutouttoHL) and have custom mats made to fit my store bought frame. You can even use their 40% off coupon on your mat. Most mats will typically run you under $10 after the coupon. Now, I typically use their in-stock mat selection because IMPATIENT. They do a great job. Also, if you have absolutely no idea what mat will work with your picture/art and frame colors, ask them. They are really great at coming up with something that will not be utterly hideous (...and that is the ultimate goal, amiright? WRONG! Aim higher my friends!"). Below is an example of a custom framing job. It helps to have a gorgeous picture to frame. That's my Memom. Come on genes...help me out!
Oh, hello me. Nice squinty/picture taking face in the reflection. I am nothing if not incredibly professional.
My second tip of the day is to not even worry about framing. I stuck these up in my son's room with some cute washi tape. Anyone have a washi tape addiction? Not me. Nope, not me at all. Just don't look in my kitchen drawer above the dishwasher. Anywho, this is a fun, casual, non-commital, and most importantly THRIFTY way to display your art. Note the cute washi tape. Look at it. Gah, I love that stuff.
Yes, the tape is pulling up from the corner. I blame my son. He's a picker, and I won't even tell you what else he picks/picks at. Ew.
Oh, because I am real around here, let me show you the uncropped picture.
Yep, in all it's unmade glory. Oh yeah, and  by all means. watermark that bad boy. Errbody's going to want to take credit for that! Pin in, I dare you!
See the wonder of photo editing? It can make messy beds disappear with a click. To be fair, it is absolute torture to make the bed. It is a top bunk. If you have ever had one, I need not say more. 
Here is one more example. It is a $5 poster from Paper Source. That store makes me giddy. It's sad, really. 
This is from Paper Source. It cost a whopping $5! Note the gold washi tape. Look at it!
My next couple of tips are about using other items as wall art. You don't have to "stick" with pictures for some great wall art (See what I did there?). I love the use of plates. This one is by my friend Nate Berkus (Well, maybe we aren't that close. I have actually never met him, but I have seen his show...from my couch.)
I didn't even realize that the focus is on the plant and not the plate. Oops. It's cute though, right?
You wanna talk about plate wall envy...feast your eyes...
I can't locate the correct link to this. Anyone know?
Hello gorgeous! What an impact! You could find a collection of plates in your own home, at thrift shops, or even from granny's attic. Talk about thrifty!

My last tip is to just have fun! This is in my dining room. Why a basket? It has lots of texture, it takes up a lot of space (and I have a lot of space for it to fill), and it was less than $10! Yep. #targetforthewin!
Basket bigger than my head for wall art. Gooooo team!
You think this is a little funky? Hold on to your britches...


Holy wicker Batman!
So, there is my thrifty Thursday. Go put some stuff on your walls friends!

*On a side note: My heart is about to burst with love and appreciation for all of your kind comments on here, and on FB. Yesterdays post was very personal, and I never expected the response that I was given. I certainly wasn't looking for affirmation, but you really filled my "love tank". Thank you thank you thank you! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

that girl


This is a very personal post. I promise to lighten it up tomorrow with Thrifty Thursday (great tips coming, by the way). 
Today, I am going to be very transparent. That's who I am. 
I am a closet introvert. You might never know it since I appear to never meet a stranger. I haven't always been like this. In school, I was the cheerleader and the athlete. I was in all sorts of clubs and was usually in charge of something. I didn't mind getting attention. I didn't go out of my way to get it, but it didn't bother me to be in front of a bleacher full of people screaming my head off and tumbling across the field until my head spun. Now, I prefer to be at home. I prefer to be alone. I cringe at the thought of going to parties or, basically, anywhere that involves being around lots of people. What changed? I ask myself that all the time. 
Look at the picture above. What do you see? Go ahead...scroll up, then back down.
I see someone who doesn't like to have her picture taken. Like, if I know a camera is coming out, I immediately need to "use the lady's room", or "need to pull something out of the oven". I see someone who cries when trying to find something to wear for church. I see someone who has put on a lot of weight since those cheerleading days. I see a big scar on my arm from a cooking accident. I see huge veins and puffy swollen hands. It is sad that when I see my own picture, I cringe. I delete almost every single one I can find. If something tragic happened to me, my kids would not have many photos or videos to remember me by. Ouch. It stings. 
Instead of seeing myself as overweight, scarred, tired, and grey-haired {oh yes, I said it}, what should I see? I should see strong arms and legs that carry children to bed when they fall asleep on the couch. I should see veins that are popping out because I have been working with my hands all day to make my house a home to my family. Instead of a bulging waistline, I should see a pretty little bow tied around the waist of a woman that carried and delivered 3 beautiful babies. I should see the beautiful apron that my grandmother made me with aging hands. I should see a wedding ring that I have had for 15 years from an amazing man that actually loves ME (grey hair and all). How does God feel when I judge myself against this world of lies, Photoshopped models, celebrities that lose all of their baby weight in 4 days, and every other unreasonable expectation that is thrust upon us every minute of every day. He would say to me, "Child of mine, you are beautiful. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You with the grey hair, and the muffin top, and the big frown lines. You are the real deal. Yes YOU!"
Friends, how do you see yourself? Do you struggle with seeing your own beauty like I do, or do you bask in God's beautiful creation? Do you struggle with the younger version of yourself and wonder where she went, or do you see that as just a long ago part of the journey? Do you wonder why your husband still looks at you like you are the 22-year-old girl he met with a tiny waist and an audacious personality? Do you wonder where she went, or do you still feel like that girl? 
I want to be that girl again. I want to see myself as The Father sees me. I want to see myself as my husband sees me. I'm no longer that 16-year-old, or that 22-year-old. I am that 38 year old. But, that 38 year old is still pretty cool. At least, that is what my kids say. Well, maybe "cool" isn't the exact word that they use, but whatever. I have 3 healthy kids, a husband who loves me (grey hair and all), a cozy home, and goats. Y'all I have the cutest goats.

Blessings to y'all. You are beautiful. You matter. You are loved. You are appreciated. Oh, and grab some tissues and watch this. 

Wasn't that awesome? Moms rock! Even with our dirty shirts, unwaxed brows, grey hair, and sweatpants, we rock!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

thrifty thursday

I am excited to begin a weekly post on decorating, organizing, and creating beauty in your home on a budget. I think we all love a beautiful home. A beautiful home can either be a minimalist loft downtown, a sprawling estate in the countryside, an attic apartment, or anything in between.
When it comes to making your house and home, think about form and function. I believe that even the most beautiful homes must be functional.
I originally used this soap mold for a floral arrangement. After a while, I decided that the arrangement was dead to me. Kidding. I just wanted a change, and I can do that because you aren't the boss of me.
Anywho, this little gem sat atop my dresser collecting dust until inspiration struck. We always have our school supplies sitting out. I do my best to tuck them away each day, but there is just too much of it. So, I thought to myself, "Self, you can totally make that soap mold into a crayon holder".






Yes I know, these are not crayons..keep scrolling down.




Yet again...nary a crayon in sight...keep scrolling.

I initially wanted to organize our crayons in there (I told you I'd get there), but the holes were too deep. You could remedy that by using one of these






Okay, so I can't find the name for this thing. It is attached to a drill bit. My internet is acting like a toddler, and I don't have 12 lifetimes to wait for it to pull up. So, just take this picture with you to your local home improvement store and tell them to direct you to "this doohickey". They will be amazed at your vast knowledge of tools and will probably hand you a snazzy red (or orange) vest and immediately put you to work. 



to create circles in some cheap wood, stain them, then pop them in the bottom of each mold. I just decided to use our colored pencils instead, since they were longer and didn't disappear into the hole.

You could also use the mold for flowers (preserved hydrangeas would be perfect), or paintbrushes, or even craft supplies (think scissors, glue sticks, and gel pens).



So, what would you use it for? By all means, dazzle me with your brilliance!



Oh, and one last thing...the inventory is my shop is low. I have a few amazing pieces that need to be finished and/or listed. Hang in there...new stuff is coming.



Jenn

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

unintended uses

Do you ever look at people's homes and say, "How did they ever think of that?" I know I do. I am amazed at how people can repurpose things into...well, other things. Wow...sometimes I am astonished by my own vocabulary...

Some people are born with that vision, while others of us need a little inspiration. Sometimes, inspiration is born out of necessity. This is true of this light fixture...
Basket as a pendant...why not?
 I had been searching high & low for a plug-in light fixture to hang in my son and daughter's room. Yes, they are 7 and 8 and share a bedroom (and yes...it's as awesome and not messy as it sounds). My daughter is not a girly girl, and my son is all boy. Trying to decorate their room has been a struggle. Let me go ahead and just tell you that this room was JUST painted and needs to be painted again. That's all I'm going to say about that because painting is not my jam. Yes, I paint furniture for a living. Whatever.

Anyway, back to the fixture. I had been searching for one and had come up empty, and by empty I mean I couldn't find anything I liked for less than about $50. So, I snagged this basket from Homegoods. Yes, it is a basket! I had a cord set from Ikea ($8), and I think the basket was under $12. So, for about $20, I had the perfect (and dimmable...boom!) light fixture.

The next idea is an easy one. When it comes to sticking plants and flowers in things, nothing is off limits. I've turned old jelly jars, mason jars, teacups, and anything else that will hold water into a vase. Take this vintage water jug for example. It is probably one of my favorites everrrrrr. (It is for sale, but I secretly hope no one ever buys it...did I say that? Shhhh, don't tell my husband.)
Vintage polar water jug as a vase...yes ma'am!
When looking for shelving for my son and daughter's room, I didn't want a regular shelf. I am picky when it comes to shelving, but when I saw this old orphaned drawer at an antique shop, I knew it could be a unique and fun shelf. I love it all dressed up with a mirror, metal truck, old books, etc.), but I'll tell you a little secret. It usually holds junky trophies and medals. Not so cute, but I can dream it looks like this all the time. Maybe I can convince them that it looks better this way. I'll let you know how that works out.
An old random drawer as a shelf...yes I can! You aren't the boss of me...
Another idea that formed out of necessity is this soap dish that I use as a chalk holder in my kitchen. I picked this up at Magnolia in Waco, Texas (yes, Joanna and Chip Gaines' shop). I think I may or may not have mentioned that I met Chip at their shop. I also may or may not have mentioned that I am going to the Magnolia Fall Workshop this month. I may or may not be so excited that I think I want to breathe into a paper bag when I think about it...but I digress.

My husband actually picked it out for our bathroom, but when I got it home, it didn't look right. My countertops are a cream, and this is bright white. It just looked...
I love this so much...(from SNL)
I knew that I could use it for something else though. It didn't take long for me to realize that it was perfect to hold the chalk in my kitchen. It keeps it close, because I use my chalkboard every single day for school. (Note the chalk nubs. Love those kids and their, um, ways.)
Soap dish as a chalk holder...you betcha!
Chalk in a soap dish...makeup brushes in a trophy. That's how I roll. This is a piece from one of my favorite little shops in Canton, Texas (home of First Monday Trades Days). They have an online shop too, so check it out. It will make your heart burst into a million pieces.
"Old" trophies to hold make up brushes...whaaaaat?
So, don't be afraid to use things for a purpose they were never intended....but don't get carried away.
Mason jar specimens
You're welcome.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

how to decorate a fall mantle with a not-paper plate

My fall mantle (contrary to what my husband thought, I did not hang a paper plate above my mantle). Bless his heart.

Decorating your mantle for fall shouldn't be intimidating. I like to have one focal point on my mantle in the center. Some people like a mirror, or a piece of art, but I went out of the box a little bit this fall. I love the size and patina of this old breadboard. I originally put it up there without the plate, but it just felt like it was missing something. I considered a wreath, but with all of the other greenery, I felt as though it would be a little too "jungly". That is totally a decorating term. So, I "shopped my home" and found this beautiful plate from The Magnolia Market. My husband said that it looked like a paper plate on my Facebook page last night, so I thought I would clarify. I mean really babe? It's like he doesn't know me at all. I don't see it on their website anymore, so hopefully she will bring it back. I actually picked it up in her shop when I MET CHIP GAINES. Did I yell that? Sorry...it was quite a moment.  So, back to the not-paper plate. It is gorgeous, and it seemed to fill the dark void in the middle of the bread board perfectly. I considered painting it, like the one in my shop, and I still might, but for now, I love my not-paper plate.

Lantern from eons ago, faux fern from Hobby Lobby, pheasant feathers from my husband's bird hunt,  the books are an heirloom from my husband's family, grapevine (deconstructed wreath from Hobby Lobby), baby shoe mold from a local import shop, and an antler from my dad's hunt. My family...we hunt.
On the right side of the mantle, I propped up a lantern on some heirloom books from my husband's family. I usually keep them on the mantle in some way. They add height when I need them to (as with the lantern), or they are just a beautiful and heartfelt reminder of the importance of family.
After I got a little height from the lantern, I just started tucking things in to fill the space. I like a color story, or a theme (without being too "themey"...again, design term). I love nature inspired decor, so the antlers, feathers, and fern fronds fit perfectly. I also tucked in the most precious baby shoe form on the far right. It just makes me smile. They key is to just move stuff around. This didn't just come together without some serious rearranging. Get your anchor piece in place (mine is the breadboard with the not-paper plate), then go to the right and left, then fill in the middle.

Galvanized bucket from a local imports store, galvanized metal spheres (Hobby Lobby),  preserved floral and faux ferns (Hobby Lobby), and pheasant feathers (again, we hunt).
To add some balance to the left side, I pulled the greenery from another vase in our bedroom, and put in in the silver bucket. I popped in the feathers, but felt like it was missing something. Again, I just stepped back and looked at it. I either know it is exactly what I want, or that is it off somehow. Then, I just played. I stuck all kinds of things in that arrangement, from small pumpkins to artichokes, to dried hydrangeas. I landed on the orb. It just worked, and it brought in another silver element. I also put its older brother to the right.

Pheasant  from Homegoods a couple of years ago. 
They key to a really beautiful fall mantle is balance. Find something large for the middle, then fill in around it. You don't want too many tall things, or a bunch of little trinkets. You want they entire space to flow and to show things that you love and make your home feel like your home.
If all else fails, and you are sitting in the fetal position rocking back and forth from the stress, go thumb through your favorite home magazine, or search "fall mantle" on Pinterest. All of us need a little inspiration sometime.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Jenn