Thursday, May 31, 2012

Father's Day Ideas Roundup

Father's Day is just around the corner... can you believe it?!

If you're in need of some ideas to celebrate ole' D-A-D, you've come to the right place.  Here is a roundup of great ideas for Father's Day!

How about a Father's Day wreath from yours truly?  Mine's already on my front door!

This little tie garland creates a perfect Father's Day mantle!

Source: via Kara on Pinterest

This Father's Day printable is a perfect sentimental touch for dad's desk...

And finally, go all out and throw a Super Dad party!

There are many more fabulous ideas to choose from - I will warn you though.  I quick search on Pinterest for me usually turns into a several hour perusing session!


Friday, May 25, 2012

A Makeover of a Different Kind

I've had a little less time lately to work on projects as I've been devoting extra time to a long overdue makeover... my body.  Let me begin by saying that this is not all about weight or numbers on a scale - it is about health and fitness, something that I've neglected pretty much since my children came along...

I will admit that I've been lucky in that I've been able to maintain my general size without a consistent exercise regimen or prescribed eating plan, a fact that makes some of you scowl in disgust, I know.  However, being thin does not necessarily equal healthy or fit.  I received a wake-up call to this at my annual physical a couple of weeks ago, when my fasting blood glucose was the highest it's ever been, high enough to land in the pre-diabetic range.

Without some background, I can't imagine that you know how scary that is for me.

I watched my mother suffer from adult-onset diabetes the majority of her life, witnessing the devastating effects of this disease as it took its mercilessly toll on her body.  I also helplessly watched my mother die from coronary complications secondary to diabetes when she was only 49 years old.


It's an age I'm closer to than I realize, so to say I've taken my health for granted would be an understatement.

Enter aforementioned makeover.  Immediately, I knew I had to change my diet.  While I eat relatively well, I have a severe sweet tooth.  I love candy.  I love cake.  I love making candy and cake (and pie and cookies and any confection, really) and then I love devouring it.  All.

Can you feel an intervention moment occurring?

I immediately dumped out my candy bowl at work.  And then I just made a decision to stop the sweets.  Simple as that.  No more afternoon hershey bar... no late night ice cream... none of that.  Not worth it.  That's not to say I won't ever indulge, but for now, I'm trying hard to avoid the stuff.  I emphasize HARD.

In addition to cutting out sweets as much as possible, I'm striving to make better food choices throughout the day, balancing carb intake with lean protein and cutting back on fried foods - not a diabetic diet by an stretch of the imagination, but a better way of fueling my body.  Did I mention how hard this was?

Then, out came the workout DVDs.  You're going to laugh at this, I'm sure, but I bought these workout DVDs after I had my first daughter cause I was gonna get my body back right?!  HA!  After working out for a couple of months, I decided why bother?!  I'm just going to get pregnant again and ruin all my hard work!  That was, ahem, six years ago.  More recently, I spent way too much money on P90-X, which is a great workout as well, very hard-core, but meant for people who have a lot of time (A LOT) to work out.  I'm thinking I'll be putting those on Craigslist soon for one of those people with a lot of time to buy, and then I'll go shopping!:)

Anyhoo, the DVDs are the Slim In Six series from Beach Body, which they still sell believe it or not.  I started with the beginning workout, Start It Up.  

I nearly died.  Gah.

Amazingly, I made it through about a week and a half of Start It Up and I was ready to progress to the next level workout, Ramp It Up.  

I nearly died again.  Gah.

I'm now on week two of this workout and I'm finally able to do almost the entire workout without taking a break!  (We celebrate the little things around here, folks.)  I'm not quite ready for the final workout, but pretty soon I'll get there.   I've been pretty consistent with working out in the evenings when my husband is home - which explains why I'm not getting projects completed.  This is just top priority right now.

While all of this is in the interest of better health, I'd be lying if I didn't say I'd love to finally get my body back in physical shape.  It's not bad, but it ain't what it used to be, if you know what I mean.  Already, I can see definition in my legs (a sure sign that all of those squats and lunges are working) and I believe I even saw a mirage of an abdominal muscle!  Considering I live in the hometown of America's Favorite Waterpark and have to wear a swimsuit a lot during the summer, the side effects of my new habits would be a definite plus.

And you  better believe that if my arse ever gets close to looking like this, I'll be taking a picture and posting it for all to see...

Yeah.  That is a booty to strive for, right?

So, now that you know what I've been up to, do you have any tips for me?  Motivating words?  Ways to not lose focus of the ultimate prize... a healthy and strong body?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bentwood, anyone?

I scored this fabulous set of bentwood barstools on Craigslist a few weeks ago...

Save for one punch in the caning, they're in fantastic condition - and while I love the wood tones, I already know that I'm planning to paint these pretties.  But what color?!

Should I do bold and bright?

Or perhaps in white?

Basic black?

Source: via Joy on Pinterest

Or, ooooohhhh, a grey wash?  
I can't decide!

Mr. home.made. and I are going to be doing some minor changes to our kitchen soon (more painting, oy) so I'll need to coordinate them with that.  More on that soon... so much to do!

Now... to find one more of those barstools to make a set of three!  (That won't be hard, right?!)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

{Saturday Spotlight} Powder Room Makeover

Happy Saturday everyone!

I’m back from a brief blogging hiatus (thanks to no internet…) for another edition of Saturday Spotlight, where I shine the light on fabulous projects from blogland!  Today’s feature is an inspiring powder room makeover from Melissa at How Sweet It Is.

Are you ready?

If your heart just skipped a beat and you let out a little squeal, then you had the same reaction as me when I first laid eyes upon this fun space.  Those stripes are fantastic!

Melissa started out with a very different feel in this room, one that was quite RED

I remember a day when I painted a small bathroom red… it lasted all of about a day!  The newly painted grey and white stripes have completely transformed this bathroom into a fresher, brighter space.

She accented the grey perfectly with bright, cheery yellow accents – that chevron bunting is amazing.

She also made her own wall art to coordinate with the colors… *swoon*.

Seeing this bathroom has just added another item to my house to-do list, for sure.  Thanks Melissa for the inspiration!

If you’d like to see more of Melissa’s incredible home and projects, go visit her at How Sweet It Is, and tell her I sent ya!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Aqua and White Vintage Tea Tray

As promised, here is the final reveal!  Remember the sneak peek I gave you yesterday?

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And of course, let’s not forget how she started…

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Dusty and rusty.  Ick.

But look at her now!  (For the record, I don’t know why all of of my furniture projects are referred to as females.  They just are, k?)

aqua and white tea tray

I love how bright and summery this tray turned out – and it’s the perfect catch-all for all of those pool necessities…

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My tray started out pretty darn rough, aesthetically, but structurally in good condition.  The first thing I did was hit it with some hot soapy water and Windex to remove the dirt, grime, and cobwebs.  My towel was literally black when I was through!  Nasty.

I primed the tops of the trays with Zinsser Cover Stain, mainly because I planned on painting this with an oil-based exterior paint.  Then, I changed my mind and decided to use up the spray paint I had on hand.  The aqua was leftover from my Martha Stewart recipe box knockoff.

That changed the game plan, so then I disassembled the entire tray to make spray-painting easier.  I tossed the electric cord attachment that came with it because I knew I wouldn’t use it.  Then it was painting time.  The bottoms of the trays were very rusty, so I coated them with some spray primer to keep the rust from rubbing off on towels and such.  After that dried, I painted the tops aqua.

While the aqua was pretty, I wanted something a little extra… so I added a great script “swim” stencil I cut out on my Silhouette and then taped off the corner at an angle.


Then I taped off another tray for some stripes.


The spray painting didn’t end there.  The hardware and the railings were rusty and tarnished, so I sprayed them as well.  I used this great hammered look paint.:


(As always, Diet Coke was essential to the completion of this project!)

I used some leftover Styrofoam to hold the screws (to keep from spraying the threads).  Worked like a charm!

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I spray the rails with the hammered paint also… and the end result was fabulous!  I seriously heart this paint – I want to spray everything with this now!

hammered metal rail

After removing my tape and allowing the paint to cure, it was simply a matter of assembling the pieces and moving her to her new home.

aqua and white tray 2

(Ignore the non-swept and wet patio – I snuck in pictures between rain storms!)

I am in love with this little cart, as always because it’s functional and beautiful.  It doesn’t hurt that I spent a total of 12 bucks on this project…

aqua and white striped tray

I’m hoping the littles in my home like it too, enough to put their swim things away when they’re done with them…

aqua and white tray

Who am I kidding?  This is the only time it’ll look like this!  Good thing I have a photo to remember it by… 
(and the little pooch that kept creeping in to all my pictures!)

Have you had a great find lately?  I wanna hear all about it!

Linking up with these fun places:
Be Different Act Normal
Tatertots and Jello
Positively Splendid
Lines Across My Face
Brassy Apple
Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Primitive and Proper
Sweet Little Gals
Miss Mustard Seed

Creating with the Stars

Vintage Tea Tray - Sneak Peek!

I found this gem a while back at a local antique shop...

It was rusted from being left outside and VERY dirty, but I knew it was a diamond in the rough.

I finally finished refurbishing this and with the few hours of sunlight we had yesterday (in the midst of a lot of rain lately...praise the Lord!), I was able to get some photos.  I'll have the full post up tomorrow but for now, here's a sneak peek!

Come back tomorrow for the full reveal!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hydrangea Success

My love affair with hydrangeas began nearly ten years ago when Mr. home.made. and I were living in North Carolina, where the gorgeous mopheads of blooms could be found around nearly every corner.  I couldn’t get enough of the big, bountiful blooms.

Years later, once we settled down and bought a house, I put in my first attempt at mirroring those Carolina landscapes when I planted my first hydrangea plant.  My front yard flowerbed received good evening sun and I thought that would be perfect for my new baby.  The tag said it needed 4-6 hours of sun so it had to be the best place!  Boy, was I wrong.  All the evening Texas sun did was scorch the poor thing until I was forced to pull it up and toss it…

I’ve tried again multiple times with this seemingly delicate plant and failed.

What was I doing wrong?  Too much sun?  Not enough sun?  Too much water?  Not enough water?  I researched hydrangea growing tips, to no avail.  Every time I tried to coax the plant to grow and bloom, all it did was wither and die.

I bought two more plants last spring, already in full bloom, figuring that at least they’d be good for some color on my porch until I found yet another way to kill them.  Really.  I’m not kidding. 

The plants actually survived the dreadful Texas summer and drought last year, although a little weather-whipped.  They didn’t look fantastic, but they were alive.  That was a first for me!  When fall rolled around, I moved them from the porch to my flowerbed to make room for my fall mums – they’ve been there ever since.

And you know what?  I sort of left them alone, save for the occasional watering and weeding… and an amazing thing happened.

My hydrangeas grew!

By happy accident, they had just what they needed to thrive, and I, the accidental gardener, discovered that a small dose of morning sun, followed by a lot of shade, and watering just when needed was the perfect recipe for a beautiful hydrangea.

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Isn’t it amazing how, sometimes, all you need to do to get the desired end result is to stop trying so hard to make it happen?

Saturday, May 5, 2012

{Saturday Spotlight} Tatertots and Jello Kitchen!

Today’s spotlight is someone you might have heard of… she’s pretty popular in the blogosphere, and for good reason!  Jen of Tatertots and Jello is famous for her endless supply of craft inspiration, her weekend wrap-ups, and for her beautiful home!  My personal fave is her Aqua and White Kitchen, which I’m showcasing today!

She started with this:

And turned it into this!

Can you even believe this is the same space?  Wow.  I’m always amazed at the power of paint – by lightening her walls and cabinets, the entire room is so much brighter!

Jen added many special touches to her kitchen, many of which she provides tutorials for, just for us!

Like her DIY pendant lights:

Beadboard backed cabinets:

And who could forget that aqua door?

Such a fun, inviting space!

There’s so much more of this kitchen to see over on Jen’s site, so make sure you jump over to check the rest out… you won’t be disappointed!


*** All photos courtesy of Tatertots and Jello ***

***Pinners: please use proper pin etiquette and hop over to Jen’s site to pin her images.  Thank you!***

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Horse Party Details!

I thought I’d share a few of the special details from my baby girl’s birthday party this past weekend…

She asked to have her party at the local jump castle place just like last year, which doesn’t make for the best photo ops (with all of the fluorescent lighting), but it makes for some happy, sweaty kiddos!

The birthday girl wanted a horse party, so I sent out invites that I made using pink horse cutouts on kraft paper invitations.  Easy peasy.  Next up, of course, was the birthday cake, or cupcakes perhaps?  Thanks to Pinterest, my sister and I found the inspiration for these cuties:

If you don’t look at those and smile, well, I just don’t know what to tell you, cause I couldn’t stop looking at these and smiling!  My sister even pulled out some edible glitter from her cake decorating arsenal and made these sparkle like magic!  (You can see a few sparkles on the chocolate horse above…)

Being the fashion diva she is, my daughter requested a coordinating outfit for the occasion, and I was happy to oblige with a glitter painted horse tee and pink bandanna skirt (quite possibly the easiest skirt tutorial ever!).


Is she really five already??

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Keepin' It Real

I'm sitting here on the couch next to my main squeeze, typing out a post while watching the Top Shot wrap-up and The Deadliest Catch.  (Does anyone else's hubby have channel-hopping issues like mine?! Geez.)  I should be priming and painting, editing photos, and searching Craigslist for furniture castoffs needing some TLC but I thought I'd rather speak to you from the heart.

It can be difficult sometimes in the blog-world (heck, the world in general) to try and keep yourself grounded rather than keep up with Joneses, but with social media and the internet as it is, we are constantly bombarded with ideas, images, how-tos, etc. of how to make our homes more beautiful, our closets more stylish, and our children's teachers more happy with the gifts they receive on Teacher Day.  It's amazing, this world wide web thing, and aptly named, as sometimes you can get so trapped in all of the posts, pins, tweets and status updates that you can't get away from it.  

As a blogger, it's even more time-consuming when you consider the time spent doing a project, photographing said project, editing said photos, and then writing and re-writing a post, followed by the link parties and comments on others' projects, etc.  As a blogger who has a family, a full-time job, and a commitment to my church, I have to step back at times and get my priorities in order.  This means that the paint brushes may sit idle for a while, the dust accumulates on my sewing machine, and my project list just gets longer and longer...

Case in point: I have yet to paint stripes on the white curtains that have been sitting in my office for a month.  I still haven't finished recovering the outdoor settee cushions (that I started last summer - gah!).  My bedroom is still puke green.  Everywhere.  My closet overhaul idea still remains just that: an idea.  The office I repainted last year is only fully furnished in my mind.  

And you know what?  It's okay.  Cause while I haven't accomplished any of these projects just yet, I was able to accomplish some other things: making horsey cupcake cakes for my daughter's birthday party this past weekend, whipped up a coordinating horsey outfit for a very happy birthday girl, snuggled with my man, stayed home with my oldest child when she was sick with strep throat...

Being a mom and wife are some of the greatest projects I've got going right now.

Sometimes we just need to remind ourselves of that, right?


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