Friday, February 27, 2009

Muddin' before Game Night and Pedicures

Okay, so we weren't really "muddin'," as the folks around here say. I've never actually been muddin'. We did, however, play IN the mud on such a beautiful day! These kinds of messes used to frazzle me but, as a great mom to boys pointed out, kids are very washable!!
And it makes fabulous fun for photos!It looks like they got into a bit of a mud fight.
"He who slings mud generally loses ground."

-Stevenson, Adlai E(wing)
Then I got MY fun in. My MM Glasswings group got together last night, after kids were tucked into beds, to do pedicures and play games! Woooo-hooooo!
It was great fun, Ladies! Thanks!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bakery field trip and more art

Today we joined the homeschool group for a trip to a grocery bakery. They learned some basic cake decorating techniques. Here the Nature Man watches the Artist practice her new skills.

She wrote her name in cursive a couple of times, and The Nature Man made roses. Recognize those aprons? Thanks again, Mimi!

My LittleLad's fingers. Oh, he is so adorable. Those tiny precious fingers... I know the time is going to pass so fast, so I'm trying to take pictures of all the things I love, like freckles, fingers and toes.

We did some "habitat art." Nature Man's progress on his jungle.
This is Dash's desert. See the awesome moon and cacti?
Little Lad was content to play with the clippies and scribble on the bottom of the paper. :-)
I've been wanting to frame some of their artwork in the hallway. This masterpiece was a bit too big for the frame, but Dash didn't want me to cut the hat or wing off, so I improvised. What do you think? ;-) I'll have to fix it better in the frame so those metal tabbies don't show.

We had another delightfully warm day, so there was some mud playin' and reading of the books outside. This weekend is going to be busy, too, but I'm looking at *fairly* open days next week!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blessed by Art

Friend + extreme generosity + aRt =

Yes, today we were given a beautiful new Melissa and Doug children's easel (chalkboard on one side, marker board on the other,) 6 rolls of easel paper, two packages of new paint brushes, and all the little lidded painter's cups! It took 10 minutes to put together, and my children are in love with it! They spent two hours drawing and then painting, after school time. Ahhhh, for the love of ART. If dancing blesses my heart, than you can just imagine how watching my kids at art makes me feel. :-)

This is my favorite photo:

I love Dash's "happy picture" of butterflies, stars, and smiling faces. And do you see that he's gripping his paintbrush the same way I do, when I'm at my own easel? Yeah, that's just neat to me.

This was a beautiful, wonderful, perfectly sunshiny 70+ degree day, and we worked outside, played outside, cleaned up the yard, and did art in between. If tomorrow compares, weather-wise, we will be bringing our easels outside to paint after lunch. One of these days I'm going to do some projects for an Etsy account. Yes, one of these days. After (if?) I get all of my own projects done.

Have a great evening!!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ballet Workshop

My Little Artist had the opportunity this morning to attend a
free Ballet Workshop at a local private college. (Look at Chenoa's feet!)

Each group traveled through different "stations" of dance choreography. They had barre (or technique exercises) which are basic plies, tendus and such. There was also a station where they began to learn and practice movements across the floor, such as turns and little jumps. Then two stations that taught parts of a dance. They chose Beauty and the Beast's "Be Our Guest"

and Casting Crowns "Praise You With the Dance."

The girls were so adorable, all so light and little, carefree and confident, dancing their little hearts out to praise music. Watching it did my heart some good. I really just wanted to jump up and join them, but held back so as not to distract them with my uncoordinated attempts.

Still, my heart was dancing and I'm now determined to dance in praise at home every day.

No window peepers, please.

The instructors did an awesome dance after the girls did.

Fred and I also have the opportunity to take some ballroom dancing lessons starting this week, and I'm really thrilled about that. :-)

Hope your Saturday was special as well!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Quick Room Makeovers...I did it in 10 minutes...

Okay, by now you know that one of my favorite hobbies is to make things pretty. I like painting, rearranging, re-purposing, sewing, what have you. Crafting is delightful. It's my "downtime." A lot of my home inspiration comes from The Nester. Oh, wonderful Nester.

Nester has been doing a fabulous series on 10 Minutes to a Room You'll Love. Her philosophy is that It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. So there you have it:

My imperfection + short time frame to keep my attention= beautiful and fun progress!

I used her ideas in How to Tablescape with what you already have . I leaned the frames against the wall, rather than hanging them. And kept the arrangement tight. I used black and white with one hit of color...a flower arrangement, using all the same type of flower. It's not perfect (and it's not supposed to be,) but it makes me smile!! Success #1.

Her kitchen post tips were wonderful, but you'll have to go read all of them yourself. A few that I was able to incorporate immediately (meaning that day, in ten minutes): I cleaned off the fridge. I usually keep the front fairly clean anyway, because I like my vinyl shapes, but I did have to take down some old notes I had posted.

Then I uncluttered. All extra knickknacks. Deleted. Not gone, just put into sweet hiding spots where I can see them and smile. I open a cupboard and a little froggie peeks back at me from the corner. Another smile-inducer. Not only are my counter tops clean, but I'm not just overlooking my sweet treats anymore.

Yes, you see that sign by my vase? It says "Please do not put anything on this counter!" I have to train them. The extending counter between the living room and kitchen practically begs for stuff to be set down.

Okay, so I really just had to sweep things into a tub, and go through them later. That was the only quick way to get it looking spotless. I DID go through the stuff and get it all put away. :-)

Another tip, short version, is to incorporate fabric to soften the look. So I did. Meet the chair covers that my Mom gave me. She had two extras, so I decided to use them. They look nice with my window mistreatments, too.

And you see those plates? They were already there, but it's yet another Nester inspired idea.

Okay, and consider lighting. She suggests a lamp, and I do love that idea, but all of my "extra" lamps are too large for the area. The one that would work is already being used in my bathroom makeover. Soooo, I gathered a bunch of white candles and arranged them on a platter for the kitchen table. (Don't look too closely, it wasn't thoroughly scrubbed before I took the picture! Heh.)

Next, the bathroom. Okay, I went backwards, in case you haven't noticed this, from Nester's site.

So, bathroom. 10 minutes:

First biggie: hide the Crest. Check. I keep the toiletries under the sink in a tub. And I have another tub for hair products, another for lotions, and another for my plug-in thingies. (And another for the personals.)

Next listed was fabric. I have some rich brown fabric to mistreat my shower curtain, but I haven't accomplished that yet. My new sewing machine is undergoing a royal check-up. It's a grand machine and I love it, but there were a few little quirks with the fabric not feeding right... So, anyway, I borrowed my mom's for now, and I'll take on the fabric job after the kids are in bed sometime this weekend.

Now, I did bring in my "something pretty" to spa up the place. In fact, my something pretty is the same as hers. And I bought the wire rack cheap at a yard sale last summer. It was just wasting away in my cupboard, awaiting a greater purpose. This took less than 10 minutes.

And here is the top of the toilet cage and my bird/nest narrow shadow box. Already had them both, just moved it all around a bit.

What would a bathroom be without gentle lighting? I mean, who wants to look into a harsh fluorescent reflection first thing in the morning? I found this little bitty lamp for a buck a few weeks ago, and didn't know where to place until I read this post of hers. Plug in and go. Check (da-ding) on lighting.

This little light (of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...) doubles as our nightlight.

Just a couple of other pictures.

It's nice to look around and see the sweet gifts I've received.

The bird picture was from Julie.

Yeah. I frame everything.

Oh, I just realized that I totally missed the master bedroom makeovers. That must have happened when I was out of town. I have some catchin' up to do.
Here are a couple of random pictures. She posted about art, so I'm throwing this in. I love bright vintage art. Makes me happy. They're all laughing, scarves blowing in the wind, adorable outfits. What's not to love? And there I go with plates again!

A bird thrown in a cloche jar for good measure. Two yard sale finds, that are being re-purposed... the idea of a little white bird next to my adorable children. sigh. Such sweet things in life.

There you have it. I've been giving up pretty much ALL evening reading time to clean and move things around. And it is so worth it!! I love to read (always!!) but fixing up our house in "happy ways" just energizes me. And it makes me even more grateful for the things I've been blessed with. It also helps me part with the things that need to move on to another life, outside of my home.

Okay, so you've been given the inside scoop to one of my most inspiring decorators. What are you gonna do now? :-)

Remember, make the time short. Don't burn out. And use what you have. Or buy things cheap. Yes, I'm all about cheap. Must be worth it, smile-inducing and never bank-breaking.

And I'm learning, slowly but surely, to clean while I decorate. Thanks to Adelia for reminding me of the Messie's Manual. I can be a Sentimental Messie if I'm not careful. There are good places for sentimental things, but they don't have to be everywhere.

Night all!

Monday, February 16, 2009

eat your chocolate and put on lipstick

I'm always late after holidays because I get so busy! Have I mentioned our yearly Valentine's tradition of heart-shaped chocolate chip pancakes? Yes, they look like dessert, but they are indeed our sugary breakfast on the "Love" day. Hope yours was great! We spent V-day in area towns going through antique malls. Oh, yeah, that's my kinda fun! :-)

Then yesterday I rearranged our bedroom and school room...finished that up this morning, which left a great mess of clutter behind. Fred really doesn't mind me rearranging things, so long as he isn't expected to help much. It's just not his idea of a fun evening. Bizarre, I know.

Then my wonderful friend, the Queen of Clean, October (yes, the person, not the month) came over and boosted my house to the immaculate level. (Doesn't that color look so pretty on her??) Oh, yes, it is a gift she has. She's like a whirlwind of dusting and vacuuming. Wow. Amazes me. I'd turn around and then she was sweeping. Turn my back again and she's picking up puzzle pieces. How do you do it, girl? Granted, my house is usually tidy, but it turns a bit chaotic when I'm bit by the rearranging bug, which is often.

While we decluttered the kids played dress-up and modeled for us.

Look at Dash and Liana!! The best of buds! :-)

Don't tell Fred that our son was dressing up like a girl...he might have some issues with that! ;-)

The bigger boys even got in on the dress-up fun!

Surprisingly enough, The Artist is the only one who did NOT dress up... but she didn't want to miss out on the camera fun. And she did take all of our group grown-up pictures below.

Then we got to play dress-up! Actually, I just got to do my "thang" and add some color to my always-naturally-beautiful friend. If I had skin like hers I wouldn't bother with make-up either. However, it is just plain fun to play with it occasionally, so I gave her a make-over and curled her hair.

How often do the mommies get to do stuff like that?? In high school it was a favorite pastime. :-)

Then we were joined by the ever-wonderful Rochelle. I got some much-needed walking time in with Shelly, too. sigh. I really should try to exercise every day. I feel so much more energized when I take the time to get outside...but I hate to be cold. I mean, I reaaaaallly don't like it one little bit. I love to be outside when it's at least 70 degrees...anything below that is just pushin' it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Decorating with cents

I love these dishes and vase that I found at a local thrift store...ahem...I mean "junk store." Is that what a respectable Southerner is supposed to say? I was informed today that thrift store means "clothing," and the stores I'm referring to do not have clothing. I think I shall call them "treasure stores."
So, where was I?
Ah, yeeesss, I got this vase (it's large, white with multi-colored glass beads...the picture doesn't do justice at all) for only $1 and the dishes were even less. Love 'em!

And here is a sneak peek at the Secret Garden Bathroom:
This beautiful iron over-the-door robe rack was also a thrift store find
for a couple bucks. Can't beat that.

This tiered rack was a cheap-y yard sale find...
I don't think I paid more than 50 cents for it, but I really can't remember now.

See that chunky soap? Oh, if only you could smell it through your monitor! It is heavenly rich and enticing lavender. My grandparents bought it for me in 2004, and I've kept it hoarded in a plastic bag in my room, sniffing it now and again. I finally broke down, unwrapped it, and placed it on display. Every time I walk into the bathroom now, the deep wonderful fragrance hits me...and I just want to stay in there. Maybe someday I'll actually wash with it! ;-)

Fred is happy that I can repurpose and redecorate with only a few dollars a month.