Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Little Piece of Heaven

Well folks, it's beginning to look at lot like Christmas around here and I couldn't be happier about it! I have been decorating my little elf heart out lately.  One of the main reasons I purchased this house a year and a half ago were these two bookshelves in my living room.

I knew for sure of one thing, they would not stay stained. I wanted them white of course so my daughter and I went to work.  She was a great help, through all 3 coats! I wish I had done some more research on painting furniture before I tackled this project, hindsight.
I had visions of them all decked out with beautiful sentimental somethings I have collected over the years.  I always felt like a home with built ins just gave an air of warmth. I admit, they have not been living up to their full potential. On a normal basis, they just aren't quite there yet. However, I am busting at the seams with joy over how beautiful they are this holiday season. I mean, just look at them...........

Some of the decorations are new and some I've had for years. The reindeer was something I made years ago when money was tight as a newly wed and I made all our decorations by hand, including painting a ton of ceramic ornaments for our hand me down tree. The teddy bears are from my collection that I started when I was a kid. All the presents are actual presents for my girls, they seem to be moved around a bit, no doubt from all the present shaking going on.
My mantel, on the other hand, is still a work in progress, I have every intention on hand painting a large sign to put there, but haven't quite got around to it yet.  The stockings were made by my mom, she's an artist with her sewing machine and I am so very grateful to reap the benefits of such greatness! We sell them on our website that her, my sister and I have recently started up. Craft Coach is a work in progress as well. There just never seems to be enough time to get it all done. Maybe too many irons in the fire you say? Nah! Just the way I like it!

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Light In My Heart

Whew! I've finally wrapped up all my craft show appearances and my workshops completed, so I could get back to my own Christmas decorating.This time of year has been a little bittersweet for me for a while now. It brought about thoughts of missed loved ones and unfortunate events that coincided with the season. It's put a damper on my holiday spirit. I'm not sure why the dark veil has been lifted except maybe years of prayer and acceptance for who and where I am. I'm happy to see that side of me gone! No, I AM OVERJOYED! 
I am finally starting to feel like a kid at Christmas again!
Thankful to be enjoying all that comes along with the holiday season, including trying to make my home a wonderland. So much so that my teenage daughter has said I'm going a bit overboard! I know, I was shocked to hear that as well. No such thing as going overboard when it comes to Christmas decorating! So I plundered on and can't seem to stop! My latest addition was this arrangement I made for my front porch.

Of course as do most of my projects, it's final purpose was not my initial intention. I originally wanted this galvanized bucket as a base for my Christmas tree, but silly me didn't measure my stand so it didn't fit. I was also so excited to implement my plan that I didn't bother keeping up with my receipt, so I couldn't return it.
My porch was looking a bit boring so I thought why not attempt my first arrangement. I didn't buy nearly enough greenery so I had to improvise due to the fact I was impatient and anxious to see the finished product. I remembered seeing how florist grid off the top of a vase in order to keep floral arrangements in place, so I grabbed the duct tape and went to work.

Maybe duct tape wasn't the best choice but hey I'm all about using what you've got.

I think it turned out better than I expected and it added just the right touch to my outdoor display and just the right accompaniment to the light I've rekindled in my heart.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Giving Thanks

As this is the month of Thanks, I felt the need to draft a post about some of the things I am thankful for.  This is totally off the cuff so I will  make my disclaimer now that this is by no means in any order of importance.  I am an equal opportunity thanker :) 
I am so very thankful to have my girls! Although being a mother can be trying at times, I wouldn't trade it for anything! There are days when I am just about to my breaking point with work, taking care of a home and them as well and I can take one look at them and it melts my hardening heart. I also consider myself to be blessed to have healthy children, some families are not as lucky and I honestly don't know how they can handle such heartbreak.

In this day and current economic hardship I am thankful to have a job. It may not be my dream job, but it keeps a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs so for that I am more than grateful. It seems as though even the jobs we believed to be the most stable are even at risk lately.  I have been at my job for 12 years and am also lucky enough to work with family.
Many people don't have the pleasure or even understand what it means to have a close knit family dynamic, I on the other hand, not only understand, but couldn't be more proud to be from such a crazy, mixed up sort of co-dependent set of relationships. I live down the street from my parents and less than 5 miles from my sister and her family and less than 30 miles away from my brother and his family as well.  I work for my aunt, and my mother and sister work for her also. I talk to my cousins all the time and we are of course all in each others business all the time.  It's just how we work. We all get angry at one another and then act like nothing has happened the very next day.  We have inside jokes, nicknames and embarrassing stories to tell and we don't mind sharing them with anyone. It's greatness! 
Last, but not least, I am thankful for being part of not just a crazy family, but also one that happens to be talented way beyond most in the creative department. My eldest daughter is an extremely talented artist. She spends hours with her head in her sketchbook drawing characters with these amazing details. She is also a writer and has a sense of humor in her writing that is unmistakably her. I have memories of my grandmother sewing doll clothes for me and my mom was blessed with her sewing skills as well. Most of the time, you just have to describe what you want sewn and she can figure out how to make it without even having a pattern.  My sister shares my love of paper crafting and just about anything we can dream up. My brother makes beautiful leather gun holsters and my father has even taken up woodworking. My nephew makes survival bracelets and paints shoes with popular characters as a way to make a few extra bucks.  Not only is my immediate family creative, but my extended family as well. My cousins both scrapbook and refinish furniture and enjoy thrifting just as much as I do. One of my other cousins even married a lovely girl that sews and is pretty handy with a hot glue gun. Even my second cousin bakes and her food is just as pretty as it is delicious. It gives me such a sense of pride to see them create something they are truly proud to show off and share with the world.  
Here are just a few of the projects I would love to brag about that my family has worked on.
A dresser my cousin JoJo refinished. It turned out beautiful!

Stocking my mom sewed for our craft show
the after!
The before pic of a camper my cousin glammed up

Apron my mom made
A holster my brother Charlie made
Some stockings my cousin's wife Jessie made

A farmhouse table my cousin's husband Steve made

some teacher gifts my cousin Lizzie made
Some shoes my nephew William painted
Strawberry cupcake my second cousin Hadleigh baked. Almost too pretty to eat!
Sign my sister Billie embellished. I love the aqua and red combination!

One of my daughter Britney's sketches
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Craft Show Sisterly Collaboration

It's been a while since my last post and it feels like time has been flying by at the speed of light. A few months ago one of my sister's best friends brought something to my attention. She runs a creative retreat in Scurry Texas called Whitworth Ranch Retreat. She has an annual craft show and was looking for vendors. My sister and I had already agreed to teach a few workshops the last weekend of November and while working on ideas for that we just kept going with it and decided to participate in the craft fair as well. Since then we've been crafting at a fast and exhausting pace and loving every minute of it! Staying up past 2 A.M. on the weekends and giggling out of pure exhaustion and inside jokes only she and I would find even remotely funny. In the end we've came up with some great things and I'm excited to share them with you.

The first is a Nice List Declaration straight from the man himself! Each one packaged with a tag and glittered jingle bell and includes a return envelope addressed to Santa that your little one can write his Christmas wish list on. I have a ton of these.

The second is this Jingle bell garland.

We glittered the extra large bells ourselves and have them in several colors, white, silver, light green and rust but the rust ones aren't glittered of course. They may not look like much but just a few short minutes and some sections of ribbon and viola! Here is the result of just a little more effort

Aren't they the cutest? We also have smaller jingle bells as well so you get more on the 6 foot span of rope. We did even less to jazz this up but still adorbs!

The larger one my sister has the pleasure of keeping and I'll use the smaller one.
We're selling these as well. $20 for the large bells and $15 for the smaller ones. They don't include all the extra ribbons but we can add that for just a few dollars more in just about any color combination.
There's more to come so stay tuned! I'll be posting more often in the next few weeks! There are some exciting things floating around in our heads and we can't wait to share them!
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Upcoming class ideas

Just a few little snipits of some things I am working on.  I have been asked to be an instructor at Whitworth Ranch for a weekend of crafting for the upcoming holidays. I have been brainstorming like a mad woman and think I've came up some pretty things that are actually pretty easy to make as well.
A small envelope goodie bag

Embossed Gift Tag

Gingerbread Favor Box, made from a bridal favor box
The original bridal favor box

Another small goodie envelope
Small Tag using the two tags die from Stampin UP
Pillow box favor
 I'm not completely satisfied with how the gingerbread house turned out, so I'm working on another version.  I have also placed on order for some more Christmas stamps that I'm really excited about and hopefully be making another post soon. Until then, keep crafting everyone!

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ink Pad Storage

I've been looking for a way to store my ink pads because the storage options for them are few and far between, and are pretty expensive. Most costing around $50 and up. Ridiculous if you ask me.  I've had them in a small cassette holder that was given to me years ago.  I knew I wanted another one, only bigger. Unfortunately, I was having a bit of trouble finding a wood one. Most of them were plastic and let's be honest, that just wouldn't work for me. Then I stumbled across this at an antique store for a whopping $5! I felt like I was stealing it at that price.

A few coats of primer and a few coats of spray paint and you get this

I added new molding around the frame, which I can proudly say, I cut myself with the miter saw and actually got it right without making a bunch of wrong cuts.  The molding my sister had lying around and the spray paint was left over from the hutch, so basically I got a "new to me" ink pad holder for around $5! Now, I will say that some of the ink pads are a snug fit, but I still think it's pretty great! I just need more ink to fill it up!

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Thrift Store Hutch Refinish

You have no idea how glad I am to finally be making this post.It's been a few months in the making and thank goodness it's complete. It was a ton of work, but so worth it in the end.

 I was having a visit with my cousin and we had been talking about all the local thrift stores in the area. She and her husband are also into refinishing furniture and also into constructing their own as well. I was bragging about one thrift store in particular, because the people are great and they have no problems with haggling. So we hop in the car and go check it out. That's where I saw this hutch, with great lines and great potential. I immediately thought I needed it for my Studio. I knew it would be a beautiful AND functional addition. I was worried that my cousin would snatch it up before I had a chance, but she had to run it by her husband first, since it needed some TLC and he was the carpenter in their operation. So we headed back and I sat back and waited to see what they decided. In the mean time I was envisioning that hutch refinished and in my studio. Thankfully, my cousin and her hubby passed and so she was mine! WooHoo! Off to my sister's building she went. And then she sat there, and sat there. I had some other projects going on, so I had to put off this one for another time. I don't know if you're aware of this, but in Texas in June, July and August, it's hotter than a two dollar pistol (random old country song reference there). Therefore, I wasn't in a huge hurry to be in an building with no air conditioning for hours on end. Finally, the time had come a couple weeks ago, while my girls were visiting their Dad. With the help of my amazing sister and her equally amazing husband my studio hutch refinish was underway. The hutch had glass shelves and panels on the side as well as a mirrored back and some drawers on the bottom. It was missing the doors on the top and the bottom, but that worked for me, because I wanted open shelving anyway. We had to cut new inserts for the side panels out of luan as well as the shelves and the replacement shelves in place of the drawers. Basically we deconstructed the poor thing and then put it back together.


Love the pattern on the fabric
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