Thursday, April 10, 2014

Day Trip Destination: Asheville, NC

This is the time of year where I start itching to go on day trips/weekend trips. I don't know about you, but Spring does that to me. Beautiful weather - not too cold and not too hot; sunny days, flip flops. Yep, I'm ready to pack up and go somewhere! Thankfully, I'm married to a man that loves doing this, too. Now, if we can just get the kids to love it as much as we do...
Several weeks ago, we visited one of our favorite places to go in Asheville. Besides the Biltmore Estates, the Tobacco Barn Antiques is one of our favorite places to go. We usually visit a few times a year. Depending on your mood (or how many kids you have with you), you can spend quite awhile in this place just looking around at all the treasures it has to offer.
 I love these colored metal letters! Haven't bought one yet, but one day I will have just the right place for one of these!

They have just about everything here. Antiques, vintage, retro stuff, glass, metal, wood, furniture, shelving, decor, pictures, and the list goes on and on and on. Really unbelievable what you might find there. I love going just to look around. It's so much fun!
These are the hours they are open. If you haven't been yet, and love a good treasure hunt, go visit them! You will not be disappointed. *TIP: Take a jacket with you, it gets a little chilly in this huge warehouse*

Visit their website for more information and directions!

*This is NOT a sponsored post. Just wanted you to experience this fun place!

Thanks for stopping by!
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Clearance Corner Art

I love a good clearance find, especially when it's useful and has a distinct purpose. Sometimes, those clearance tags can be tricky. You know what I mean. You're walking through the store minding your own business and then you see it. That little tiny bright orange or yellow tag announcing "CLEARANCE". The first thing I do when I see one of these is to quickly browse the shelf to see what jumps out at me. Sometimes, I walk right on by. Other times, it's like a gravitational pull against my will {ok, maybe not completely against my will} beckoning me to the shelf. My eyes quickly look for the price - the marked down price and then immediately after, the regular price. I'm never better at math than when I'm calculating a discount! {Except every morning when the alarm goes off and I calculate exactly how many times I can hit the snooze before I absolutely have to get up.} So, you can imagine how excited I was to come across a little endcap of clearance stuff at Hobby Lobby. I did stop to look at the St. Patrick's Day clearance - 80% off and decided I really had no use for any of it, but as I started to walk off I noticed the next endcap had clearanced wall calendars also 80% off. Now, this being the end of March and all, I really didn't need a calendar for the rest of this year, BUT they had a few Mary Engelbreit calendars and she happens to be my favorite artist ever! I've made lots of art out her calendars - wall calendars, desk calendars, planners, etc. and still have a few framed and hanging in my house.
This one is from a calendar from years ago that I framed and hung in my 1/2 bath downstairs. The frame was given to me and already had a nice white matte in it. The picture I just cut out of the calendar and put in the frame. And voila! New wall art.
That's what I plan to do with this one, too. I've already picked out a few pictures from this one that I can use in my girls' rooms and their bathroom. And I'm pretty sure I've already got frames that will fit them. All for $3.55. 12 possible pictures for $3.55? That's approximately .30 cents/per picture. Can't beat that now can you?

There are so many calendars out there - you can find just about anything you are looking for! My Hobby Lobby still had a good selection of clearance calendars left. I still have a beautiful black and white calendar from years ago of pictures of Paris that I plan to frame and use for my older daughter's room.

Have you ever done this? It's such a great way to add affordable art to your bare walls!
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Fat Quarter Projects: The Bow Tie

This is the second post in a new series (that I'll post about randomly - which means whenever my fat quarter stash gets too big and I am overcome with 'What shall I do with all this cute fabric????') that I'm calling Fat Quarter Projects. In the first one, I showed you how to make several baby items with just ONE fat quarter! Go check it out if you missed it.

You'll be surprised at all the many things you can make with just one fat quarter. It's really amazing and brings out your creativity. I hate to waste fabric and I'm trying to only keep the fabrics on hand that I really love and have a plan for. Although I totally know I will occasionally buy more fabric just because it's cute even though I have no idea what I'm going to use it for. It's just a habit I cannot break.

Anyway, today's post is about another GREAT fat quarter project and it literally takes 15-20 minutes to make. It's the bow tie. I did a complete tutorial on how to make baby and toddler bow ties way back when and it's one of my most clicked posts. All I know is that there must be hundreds of cute little boy babies out there all decked out in their bow ties! You'll want to make one, too. Trust me!
With just ONE fat quarter, you can make FOUR bow ties! These bow ties have the elastic neck perfect for babies and toddlers, but if you want to make bow ties for bigger boys with the real fabric strap you could make two bow ties and the straps to match.
Just open up your fat quarter. Iron it flat. Then, follow the tutorial above to make one of these! Bow ties are awesome because they don't take up a lot of fabric and you can use your fabric scraps to make these simple, but studly accessories for your little guy...or your big guy.

These would also make GREAT hairbows! They are just big enough for your little girls hair and can be hot glued onto an alligator clip or a head band for a perfect hair accessory!

Are you going to try it?

Thanks for stopping by!
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

That Post Where I Tell You How {Un}Organized I Really Am

You know my last post {exactly 12 days ago . . Ahem} about how I was cleaning out this house once and for all on that journey of 40 Bags in 40 Days in an attempt to get organized? Yeah. That one. Well, it seems I'm really good at pulling everything out of it's place {whether it's suppose to be there or not} and digging through it with the purpose of getting rid of stuff and simplifying my life. However, I'm not-so-good at doing ANYTHING else while I'm doing that. So, unfortunately, this little blog here has been neglected. I seriously de-junked most of my upstairs and actually hauled a load of bags to our local thrift store in town. I also had Hubs take a van load of garbage to the dump and I am still wondering where in the world all of it came from. I think about 20% of our garbage comes from Sunday School and School papers that are brought into this home every day but Saturday. The other stuff is still a mystery to me. I'm working on the rest of the upstairs this afternoon and this week and then I'll hit the downstairs. What a job! And like I said, I do this every few months, so I'm really amazed at all the stuff I have to get rid of. During this process, a few thoughts have struck me...
1. Isn't it amazing how our perspective changes? One month I'm clinging to an item thinking I'd never get rid of and the next time around, it's the first thing to go. It's a mystery, folks. I can't explain it.
2. It feels SOOOOO good to get rid of stuff. There aren't many things that I am sentimental about keeping so it is a liberating feeling to load up my SUV with things to donate, trash, consign and give away. My poor, unsuspecting friends, though. I'm trying not to dump bags and bags of outgrown clothes to them because I know they're trying to dejunk their houses, too. I do hate to just donate nice stuff (that I have absolutely no use for anymore and don't want to go through the hassle of selling) when my friends could use it. So, friends who are reading, feel free to say no when I ask you if you want something. I'm not offended.
3. My final conclusion for the moment is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to keep my daughters' rooms organized. I mean, we do live here afterall. Just ask my niece who came to visit during her spring break! She is just a tad bit OCD and couldn't help but re-organize my younger girls' room TWICE during her 2 day/2 night stay. (Yes, the one I had just completely gutted and organized 5 days before.) I've decided the OCD gene skipped my family of 5 so I'm coming to grips with that fact and learning ways to overcome the lack of organization without losing my mind on a daily basis. It's a work in progress.
I love the quote above! That really is my goal for becoming more organized. It's not about making the house look like a magazine picture. It's about making life more simple & efficient for the people who live here so that I can better fulfill my role as wife, mom and friend.
How do you/did you teach your kids to keep their space organized? Any words for the weary??
Thanks again for stopping by! I'm climbing my way out of this mess and I'll be back very soon with more easy sewing tutorials!! Can't wait!
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Thursday, March 6, 2014

40 Bags in 40 Days

I came across the blog White House Black Shutters two days ago while browsing my Instagram feed. A friend posted this photo:
I have been putting off decluttering and purging my house all year and seeing this was just the motivation I needed! It all officially started yesterday with the idea of decluttering your house and life during the 40 days of Lent. I don't normally observe Lent, but I do need to declutter my house so I'm in!

Yesterday, I got busy cleaning out my youngest daughters' shared room, my master closet and half of my laundry room. I ended up with 6 bags of stuff to donate and 2 bags of garbage!
I know this makes me sound like I never clean out closets, etc since I have all of this stuff to get rid of, but I do this several times a year! I have know idea where we get all of this junk!? 

Today I managed to clean out the junk drawer in my kitchen and declutter my mail station despite being gone all day, so I'm feeling good about my progress. I need to take before & after pictures but so far I've been too excited to get started and have forgotten to snap pictures. 

What room in your house needs to be decluttered?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What to Do BEFORE You Begin a Sewing Project

Sewing is a pretty easy skill to learn. There are so many tutorials, classes, articles, etc geared toward sewing and I love it! Where was the internet when when I was learning to sew?? {Actually, it was just becoming popular when I was in college....yikes!} And because the resources were not always at my fingertips, I learned from the textbooks - yes, literal textbooks - how to sew. In fact, I learned all the rules of sewing and had to do it all exactly by the book because I wanted to get a good grade. But all that learning from the textbooks and rigid rules of sewing were kind of intimidating to this average seamstress. I really didn't even know I could sew something without following every rule to a tee. However, once I realized that there are lots of ways to sew things and you don't really have to follow every.single.rule. it was like a whole new world opened up for me. It was a revelation, people! My love for sewing and creating really took off. That's one reason I wanted to start this blog. I want you to be inspired to create something and not be scared of breaking the rules! No sewing professors breathing down your neck here and making sure you finished those seams that no one will see on the inside of that skirt. Just make stuff. And have fun!

That being said, there are a few things {not rules really, just smart suggestions} that you might want to consider before sewing a project. There is a science behind this skill and sometimes shortcuts can produce a less-than-desirable outcome. Here are a few:

  1. Wash your fabric before cutting.
    I have to admit that I do not do this very often. I typically use fabrics that do not tend to shrink much like poly/cotton blends, but there are certain fabrics that will have quite a bit of shrinkage. Fabrics like 100% cotton, some terry cloths, wool, etc. Natural fibers tend to have more shrinkage if too much moisture is pulled out during the drying process. You might consider washing and air drying these before you cut them for your projects. Then, don't forget to iron it!
  2. Check to see if your fabric is evenly cut.
    Most of the time, my fabric is not cut perfectly straight at the fabric store. To check yours, line up the selvage edge with a straight line like a fabric cutting board or a yard stick. The fabric cutting board is perfect because it is marked at every inch and helps you see how your fabric is shaped. If the cut edges are not lined up on a straight line, you'll need to trim them.
  3. Check your grainline.
    I rarely do this unless I'm making a project like a dress or a pencil skirt, etc. If you're a perfectionist, you will want to do this. If you're like me, you will only do this when you have to. Here's some great information on grainlines.
 These are a few of the basics. Do you follow any guidelines for fabric before you start your sewing projects? Which ones?

Thanks for stopping by!
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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pioneer Woman's Chicken Tortilla Soup {Link}

Sometimes I just crave a good soup. They're generally simple to make and last awhile. It's the perfect comfort food when you just want a nice, relaxing evening without all the fuss of cleaning up. Last night, the Hubs was really wanting some soup after being gone for a week and eating out the whole time so I did a quick search and thought this one sounded so good.
Let me tell you, folks, it did not disappoint!  If you are looking for a good soup to try, this is it! I'm adding this to my menu rotation.

The only modifications I made were at the beginning. After sauteeing the peppers/onions and adding the Rotel, I pureed it in my food processor because my husband doesn't care for chunky veggies in the soup. It was still very tasty!

You can go here to try out Pioneer Woman's Chicken Tortilla Soup. Lip smackin' good!
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