The House Cleanse

The Nester’s post today about having a month with no accessories in your home, is right up my alley. I am on a ruthless quest to eliminate extra baggage, be it from the kids’ closets as they grow out of things or these blubby things around my waist that didn’t use to be there.

Her idea of getting your house to the bare bones is very appealing to me, with one caveat: Not in the kids’ spaces. Sure, I will be purging too-small clothes and un-played-with toys, but I don’t think there will be anything bare bones about my boys’ rooms or the playroom.

We are having a little soiree in late June but that involves using things that will – most likely – not be used again, so all that can go out the door once that day is over.

I am a total photo fanatic so this will be tough, but it will be a good thing to see what we can live with, and what is just cluttering up our lives.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Minecraft Party, part 1

Minecraft is everywhere. Just about every kid I know plays it, and just about every parent I know knows about it. It’s like Legos, but online, and each block has different properties. So of course, my oldest, a fervent fan of the game, decided he wanted a Minecraft party for his 8th birthday. Being the craft-crazy parents that we are, we happily obliged.

Can you tell I went overboard with the square/block theme?

I totally stole the popcorn baggy idea and creeper background idea from Puerta Bella. The popcorn baggies were a hit, every kid (and some adults) grabbed a baggy each and went on their merry way, eating popcorn. I loved that there were no hands grabbing popcorn from a big bowl, that each person could get their own popcorn. The Red Vines TNT idea was shamelessly stolen from Seaside Interiors, and I used some square candle holders I already had, the kids loved it!

I decided to make mini sandwiches, cut to look like blocks, of course. We had Chicken Pesto, made very easily by mixing cooked chicken and mixing it with some of the pesto I made last week; Peanut Butter and Jelly; and Tuna Salad.

My mother in law baked the yummy cakes and my husband decorated them. We had one creeper and two “dirt blocks”:

Aren’t those candles fun? My husband saw them at the store and grabbed them, I’d never seen them before. The sides of the dirt blocks are a mix of oreos and graham crackers. We also had block candies and starburst to complete the “block food” theme.

On Friday, I’ll tell you all about the awesome piñata my husband made!

It takes a village . . .

to brighten up our TV console during the holidays ;D

Over the last few years, we have been gathering pieces for our little holiday village, mostly on clearance or at 60% off.

It is my youngest who turns on the lights every day when he wakes up and gazes at the different buildings, like this little cottage:

isn’t it adorable?

I wouldn’t mind taking a class at this pottery studio!

And I am sure both boys would love to have a tree house like this one in the backyard 😀

although the kid on the swing seems to have suffered a mishap – oops!

We recently purchased another little building at Michaels, they had a 60% off sale plus 15% off that day only, so we scooped it up, it was the last one like it — I’ll show it to you next week.

Puttin’ some flair out there

Our sweet little Christmas tree is now up and delighting my boys with the colorful lights:

But when it comes to the outside of our home, we like our lights clear and steady. No blinkin’ for us ;D

We got a few extra pieces, some to replace items that had gotten damaged over the years. Like these huge red ornaments, they look great against the white garage door!

Between our two windows, we place this lighted wreath, which I love.

The swirly drop ornaments are also new this year. I like the different textures on them; smooth metallic, glittery, etc.

Our entryway has a bit of whimsy with a hanging Ho Ho Ho decoration that Steve painted, and a couple of welcoming pieces leading up to the wreath on the door.

On the front lawn we have some candy canes and sparkly accents:

I didn’t notice my youngest’s big wheel until I was editing the photos ;D but you know, that’s part of our home’s charm.

Are you decorating outdoors for the holidays?

Final touches to our Insane Asylum

Thanks for the kind comments on our front yard Insane Asylum – we’ve been getting awesome feedback from the neighbors as well 😀

Steve added some final touches before starting his next project, our oldest’s Halloween costume (more on that in a couple of days).

Side fence is done, my contribution was to hold the wood pieces in place so that he could secure the fence itself 😀

A creepy touch near our front door is this dropcloth full of nice, welcoming sentiments, including Red Rum, which had to be explained to me since I haven’t seen that movie, and which are dotted with paint that will show up under black light.

You must pass under this sweet smiley face to get candy:

I noticed the shadows on my car and had to get a pic 😀

Finally, the windows seem to be getting angrier and angrier. Hmmm . . .

So, this is what awaits trick-or-treaters on Halloween night. We’re already thinking of what we (and by we, I mean Steve) will do for next year’s Halloween. It just never ends. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

It’s scary out there!

My husband Steve has been working hard on bringing up the scary factor in our front yard – this year we are going with an Insane Asylum theme, so he created a Tim Burton-esque fence. Would you believe an integral part of this fence was oatmeal?

It turns out my youngest’s favorite food makes for the perfect, rusted out texture on the pipes.

Here are two of our tall and spindly friends, Rusty and Crusty 😀

The PVC pipes were bent with the help of a heat gun, thinner pipe will, obviously, be easier to bend. The fleur de lis tops are made out of workout mat foam and then attached to the pipes. Once the pipes have been primed a mixture of sand and oatmeal go on for texture.

Once dry, Steve dappled orange craft paint on with a sea sponge. While the orange is still wet, he sprayed it with watered down brown paint to give it some dimension. The final layer was red mahogany wood stain, dripped over everything.

A few days ago I posted some details on the Insane Asylum sign on the column Steve built, it’s pretty awesome ;D BTW, 2003 is the year we got married. That’s right, we’re coming up on ten years next June!

Fake Ivy and Spanish moss were added to complete the creepy atmosphere, and some wood planks were added to our house windows. I guess we knew we had done that right when a sweet girl who lives down the block said “it looks like your house is mad at me!” .

That’s our very scary front yard ready for trick-or-treaters, or anyone who wants to know what kind of stuff we do on our spare time. This has been all Steve, though, I take no credit for any of it other than keeping him company at times and keeping him fed and hydrated while he builds it 😀

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Insane Asylum sign

This past weekend, my husband made an awesome sign for Halloween.

Although, considering how crazy we tend to get around the holidays, I might be keeping that sign up for a while 😀

The backing is an old puzzle tray we had, pieces had gone missing long ago but the tray itself was perfect for this project. Steve added plain thumbtacks, then cut out the letters from foam – yes, by hand, I keep entering those Silhouette giveaways but haven’t won one yet – and then glued them to the frame. The first coat of spray was a metallic copper, then he did a wash with black paint so the pigment would settle into the crevices, and finally he added some greenish paint for a rusted, patina look.

I think he did such a great job!!! He has a lot more planned for our front yard but we wanted to share this bit for now.

So creepy!!!


shabby creek cottage

Fall accent craft

Recently I decided to make a little something something for the bathroom — I was walking around Daiso and saw plain wood boxes, so I grabbed one and decided to fall-ify it a bit.

Two coats of dark brown paint later — this was the bit that took the longest, waiting for the paint to dry — I added a lovely dark orange bit of ribbon I have had for a while. I used yellow ribbon to make a little flower accent and added the year in a cardstock circle.

I had leftover brown cardstock so I made a little tag and added glittery chipboard letters to spell out “autumn”. The filler apples, scented cinnamon sticks and candle were also in part of our fall decor bin, so this was a super cheap craft, I paid less than $2 for the little box and everything else I already had.

So there you have it, a little piece of fall for not much money — hope you have a wonderful week!

Pretties in the dining room

My love affair with Paper Source is never ending. Their Cavallini paper is my favorite “cheap art” and it has graced numerous frames throughout the house. This time, our newly-painted dining room got some pretty prints to jazz it up.

My beloved Eiffel Tower anchors a corner next to the sliding doors.

Above one of the hutches, two vintage-looking prints become a focal point:

Our kitchen and dining room are very rustic and very, very far from modern, so I thought these prints, with their old-fashioned images and desserts from yesteryear, would fit in very well. Hope you like this little update!

Sassy Red Bookcase Makeover

As much as I am in love with my shades of turquoise and chartreuse, my love for burgundy will never fade.  Although it does when I try to put it on my hair.

Recently I re-organized the entryway and ended up with a plain little bookcase with nowhere to go, so I decided to glam ‘er up and give her a place to live next to my desk.

First I gave it a coat of primer, then two coats of Krylon’s Burgundy – geek moment: I was so giddy when I realized I used up the last of both that can of primer and the burgundy shade –  am I the only one who loves finishing up cans of spray paint, because it means I can get more? – and finally, a coat of Rustoleum lacquer.

After waiting impatiently for it to fully dry, I started filling it up with items that I wanted near me, that had no place on my desk, and that made me happy.

Et voila!

I am super happy with the result, it adds a lovely pop of color against the white walls of the office, and it has many items that make me smile.

I just received this beautiful mug for mother’s day, from my dear friend D, and believe me, it’s already getting some use. Seeing it there when I first go to my desk reminds me to just take a moment for myself before the craziness of the day begins. The green oval box hides some Splenda packets, and the Paris-papered oatmeal canister holds whatever current magazines I have.

The adorable mini chest of drawers was a gift from my dear friend A long, long ago, and the picture frames were gifts from my mom. The photo on the left is of us holding our month-old oldest, and the one on the right is our youngest’s hospital picture. I don’t think it looks anything like him but yes, I know it’s him because they took the pics in my hospital room ;D

The bottom shelf has a tray I decoupaged with more Paris-themed paper, one of my favorite votive holders (from the dollar bins at Michaels!), a little tray I made inspired by an item at Paper Source, my current inspiration books, and the most sought-after treasure in our household: PENS!!! I swear, I can’t keep them on my desk anymore because they get taken at an alarming rate 😀 so now they are sort of, maybe, semi-hidden. Who am I kidding, by the time this post is published there won’t be any pens left!

So that’s it, my latest re-vamp – I took this bookcase from drab to fab and didn’t spend a cent. But now, I must spend a penny, if you know what that means.

Have a wonderful weekend!