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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

January Decor

I do realize January is almost over.
I'm not gonna let that little detail stop me from sharing with you all how I decided to transition from the excessiveness of the holiday season to the streamlined natural look for the new year. I seem to struggle every January with how I want to decorate...being in the South, we don't have true winter weather or I might be tempted to try this:image from Hope Studios
Here is the link if you'd like the instructions. I think this is a great wintry look!
But, like I said, we don't get real winter weather. (Don't hate - you wouldn't want to be here in August. I don't want to be here in August!)
Back to January. It all started with the spring Pottery Barn catalog. If you read this post, you know I'm on a tear to organize this house and you'd think all catalogs go directly into recycling.!
The Reader's Digest version is, I saw these:
and made it my mission to find a cheapie version. (The larger one goes for $59.)
Friends, you have to go weekly and you too can find "PB imitators" at incredibly reasonable prices. How reasonable, Trace? $4.99 reasonable!!!
Yep, $4.99 a piece for these beauties! Now I know there are bloggers who get great stuff at the Goodwill or thrift shops. Not me. Not only do I strike out, but I feel like I need to shower afterwards. (You might recall I live in an area where portable dancing poles are advertised as Christmas gift ideas.) See here, if you need proof.

Where to go? TJ Maxx Home Goods! I then copied my good friend, Amanda's idea to use whole coffee beans as filler around my pillar candles.I don't even drink coffee, but I love the aroma of my hubby's hazelnut blend! The table runner is from Ma-Ma and too pretty to be covered up by anything else. This is where I got my jumping off point. I decided I wanted to keep things neutral browns, creams, whites and subtle greens...leave the color for February and eventually spring. And then my brain ran with it and thought, what should go on the mantel?
Well, of course! Issue: we have not one pine tree in our yard. I needed an immediate fix, so while walking Ella, I spotted a house in our neighborhood that had a plethora of pine cones. Unfortunately, Ella filled the bag I had with me, so I had to get one from home and come back. My plan was to "ad-mire and ac-quire" (say this with a deep Southern accent) those pine cones, but it couldn't be that easy could it? Nope, by the time I returned to the house, there was a car in the driveway. Hmmm. What's an impatient, gotta-decorate-it-now girl to do? I'll tell you what - knock on the door, lie your a$$ off about needing pine cones for your kid's school project and promptly collect them and be on your happy little way. I mean really, do I want to be known as the crazy pine cone lady of the neighborhood? Right. Did it work? You betcha.
Here is the result on my mantel: (click to enlarge)I tried it with just the potted bulbs up there, but it was too plain for my liking. I collected the sticks from our back yard and tied them with jute/twine and placed them behind the pots. I know it's nothing fancy, but I have loved the simplicity.
Another fabulous find at Home Goods is this large pedestal bowl for $20. Filled it with pine cones too. I'm crazy like that. The flower pot hugger is hand made and reminds me of Ella. I just realized I am way beyond a Reader's Digest version, so here's my dining room:A closer look at the terrarium (also from Ma-Ma) on the hutch:I came across a blogger who recommended taking a closer look at faux florals. She said the quality has improved and I certainly agreed when I found this orchid stem for $2. I thought the fern looked good too. Already had the river rocks, cut some stem off and bent them to place under the rocks - no hot glue needed. Easy and I don't have to worry about killing an expensive plant!Whew! If you're still reading you get a gold star! (And a pine cone.)
Happy ad-mirin' and ac-quirin'!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Very Good Day

I have been so excited to share with you what happened to me recently, but I had to wait until I received my "prize" to show you. Yes, I said prize! I entered in a give-away over at Mary's Little Red House. You all remember Mary, I expressed my admiration for her work in this post. Well, she is now selling her prints on etsy, here. And winner, winner, chicken dinner....I won! No skill was involved, just pure luck. Here is my selection from Mary's fabulous shop:copyright Mary Carroll
(don't make me hunt you down!)
Isn't it beautiful? I love it!
Well, the same day I saw I had won a print, I got a box from my Ma-Ma. What could this be? Sneaky, she is! I called her as I opened it and to my surprise were a set of milk glass dessert plates.Apparently, Ma-Ma was cleaning out and organizing her basement and came across these plates given to her from my grandmother, Mia. Who is the whole reason I started collecting a few pieces of milk glass. Milk glass like this:Does this piece look familiar? It's part of the reason I picked the above photo from Mary's selection!
Be sure to come back as I share how these two pieces inspired my January decor. In the meantime, head on over to Mary's shop!
Thanks for stopping by and Happy shopping!

P.S. Notice the length between my posting? Well, this organizing bit is really puttin' a kink into my blogging! Thanks for returning and I am grateful for your comments!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Back to School - sort of...

For Christmas, my sweetheart of a hubby enrolled me in an online photography class being taught by professional photographer, Maggie Holmes. Here on her blog, she offers beginners and advanced photographer workshops as well as actions. She has been terrific and I'm hopeful I can finally learn to shoot fully manual with my camera.
Anyway, I'd like to share with you some shots I took for part of my assignment this week.
I think they are pretty cute. Good news is, you too can freeze your subjects in mid-air! If your camera comes with a "sports mode" (often shown as a running figure on one of the dials of your camera), you just have to switch it to that symbol. Don't save it just for sports photos, either!
Here is an older photo, but one of my favorites:

This mode will also freeze water in mid-air:
Even a photo such as this could be shot in sports mode:So go catch some action. And happy shooting!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Game Plan a.k.a. Resolutions

(via Martha Stewart)
Oh, where to start? I'm feeling re-energized, renewed and resolved. Like so many others in bloggerland, I feel the new year is providing me a fresh start. I started writing down resolutions and felt compelled to add a "Be" column and an "I Will" column following my "Goals" column. In short, I've got a whole resolutions flow chart thing goin on. I've done this because just writing down the goal is not concrete enough - I need to include how (the "I will" part) and the change (the "be" part) I need to make in my lifestyle if I truly intend to reach these goals.
Here's an example:
Organize house
daily with my organizing habits
organize one drawer or shelf,
find a permanent home for 1 thin
file 10 pieces of paper,
keep a donation bag in my closet and get rid of 1 piece of clothing each day

As you can see, I've got some very concrete steps to keep my resolutions on track! Of course, I also have a flow chart for losing 20 pounds, but I won't bore you with that. (And I need to get to my chiropractor before I start with that game plan.) More importantly, let's get to...
Ella's Resolutions:
Make nice with the UPS man.
Cut back on the Milkbones.
Give chipmunks a chance.
Look cute.
(Who am I kidding? Done deal.)

Finally, I've got to link you up to Leigh. She wrote up an inspiring resolutions post here. I also love my dear friend, Bethany's "Year of the Yes" found here.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

Holy guacamole! What is going on here?!?! December came and went and I posted just once. I know I was sick a few days because I didn't even make it to the kid's school parties. Shopping, check. Making teacher's treats, check. Mailing Christmas cards, check. More shopping, check. Eating, check and check. Seven days in PA, check. A good time, check.
There, now we're caught up. See how easy that was?

I did mean to post a Christmas card, but in my rush to get them out and arrive on time, I neglected to scan one in to post. However, I can still share my photos from the shoot.
Here are the cooperative cuties:
I took some extra of Lulu since I had a few good ones of Jack back from October. (I don't want you to think Jack was excluded.)I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!
Thank you all for reading, following and leaving your kind thoughts on my blog! I look forward to seeing and hearing more from you in 2010!