Monday, December 14, 2009

DIY Christmas Decor

Perhaps the best Yuletide decoration is being wreathed in smiles ~ Anonymous

For the past couple weeks we've been busy with a few, but very time consuming DIY projects.

Griswald Christmas. During the holiday season Hubby loves to watch Christmas Vacation. I can't tell you how many times we've seen it. Yet, no matter how many times he watches it, he laughs as if it's the first time. Well, it must be where he gets his inspiration because like Clark Griswald, Hubby likes to light up the night with outdoor Christmas lights. Whew...try saying that three times. So here's a tailored version of a Griswald Christmas.

Hubby is very meticulous about hanging lights...yes, he measures and marks the space between the light strands to make sure it's even. He had plans of wrapping all the posts like the three on the deck. Unfortunately, Longaberger bought all the red lights within a 30 mile radius of Dresden. So, we'll just have to wait till next year.

Stockings. Browsing through the Ballard's catalog, I was inspired when I saw the most colorful and whimsical stockings. I had to have them! But, at $35 a pop, I don't think so! Undettered, I scoured the internet until I found a crafty blogger named Jenny Garland. On her website, Jenny has an awesome tutorial, complete with pattern, for sewing up one of these darlings for yourself.

No problem! I thought. I'll just whip up five of these in no time.

Did I mention that I'm a beginner seamstress? No kidding here, it took me an hour to figure out how to thread the bobbin and load it into the bobbin compartment.

Well, a week and five stockings's what I got.

Pretty good, huh? Yeah, I'm proud of myself.

I estimate this project took me about $20 in materials and 20 hours of time. I tweaked Jenny's pattern to my preference and used the cheapest fabric I could find at HobLob. I love pleats and wanted lots of them, so I set my pleats 1.25" apart. Honestly the hardest part of this project was attaching the pom-pom fringe and pleated cuff to the stocking.

So what do you think? Do I have future as a professional seamstress?

Thanks for dropping by. Please check out the following links for more creative inspiration!

Sincerely, Lisa

Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Home for the Holidays at Southern Hospitality
Christmas Tour of Homes at The Nester
A Christmas Tree Party at Thrify Decor Chick
Transformation Thursday at The Shabby Chic Cottage
Frugalicious Friday at Finding Fabulous (Creative Home Expressions)
Thrifty Thursday at Tales from Bloggeritaville
Saturday Nite Special at Funky Junk Interiors

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ornamental Highlights of Christmas

Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall ~Larry Wilde

It's Party Time! I'm joining the Holiday Fun at Centsational Girl and Southern Hospitality.

This year's Christmas has been very exciting for me and Hubby. It's the first time, since becoming parents, that we've stayed home and attempted to go ALL out decorating for the little ones on a modest budget.

So, while Hubby took care of the outside, I was in charge of decorating inside...particularly the Christmas tree. Sounds easy enough?

Not exactly...

First lesson learned, pre-school children do not like it when they are NOT the center of their parent's attention. Second lesson, when you buy a new ornament, put it with the rest of the Christmas "stuff" so you don't spend valuable time searching for it.

Once I resolved the first issue with naptime, I was given two hours of partially uninterrupted time to work on the second issue.

It took me a week, but I am proud to say my Christmas tree is almost finished. Here are the ornamental highlights of my search.

Family Heirlooms. My grandmother bought these ornaments in 1988 to decorate a special tree...just for her grandchildren. They've been handed down through the family and now I am priviledge to share them with my children.

In our travels. Hubby and I love to travel. These are some of my favorite ornaments that we've picked up along the way.
  • Nassau, Bahamas (Dec 2008). This starfish is by far my prettiest bauble! Covered with iridescent glitter, this picture does not do it justice.

  • Isle of Palms, SC (Aug 2009). Where Hubby and I hope to retire!

  • Hawaii (Dec 2006). Picked this up for my MIL (pictured off her tree). This was a special vacation to restore my soul.

  • Massachusetts (Sept 2008). Nothing prettier than autumn in New England.

  • Disneyworld (Dec 2008). Where Hubby and I went on our first vacation together. Fifteen years later, it's still a magical place!

Thanks for dropping by! Please come back soon so you can see the rest of our Christmas tree and Hubby's version of a Griswald Christmas.

Sincerely, Lisa

Monday, December 7, 2009

So Easy {a child can do it} Wreath

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up ~Pablo Picasso

One of my favorite things about the holidays is spending time with loved ones. This weekend I got to spend time with my "chosen family" dearest friends from childhood.

Most of us have know each other since we were little ones crawling about our parent's feet. Despite distance, death and divorce our friendships have presevered. They've become a source of strength, support and lots of fun and laughter.

Each time I visit my friend Shelly (this weekend's hostess), I also look forward to hanging out with her daughter Alexis. At eleven years old, Alexis is wise beyond her years. Unlike some girls her age, she is mature, sensitive to the needs others and very selfless!

On a recent trip, her mother informed me that Alexis loves crafts and is becoming "artsy fartsy" like her Aunt Lisa (that's me). Imagine my delight...I found a craft buddy!

So, as I traveled to the City for our "girls get together"...I was also thinking of a quick holiday project that Alexis and I could do.

Well, as the adage goes, "Time flies when you're having fun". So with thirty minutes to spare, Shelly, Alexis and I made a quick trip to the Dollar Tree. She picked up the last six tubes of red and green bulb ornaments. I stood there, in the middle of the store and gave Alexis directions on how to make the infamous "Eddie Ross Ornament Wreath".

Well, less than 24 hours later, Alexis called me and asked me to check my e-mail. She sent me a photo of her completed wreath. How beautiful! Her mom confirmed that Alexis did this all by herself and in less than two hours.

If you read this, please leave a comment for Alexis and tell her how great she did. I know she'll like it!

Sincerely, Lisa

The Shabby Chic Cottage

Thursday, December 3, 2009

New Traditions

Something about an old-fashioned Christmas is hard to forget. ~Hugh Downs

As Hubby and I celebrate 13 years of marriage this month, we'll also begin a new tradition. Instead of going on vacation for our anniversary, we'll be staying home.

Over the course of our marriage, Hubby and I have been blessed to travel to some great destinations during the Holiday season. Last year, as I was six months pregnant, Hubby and I drove 10 hours with a 19 month old to take a cruise. While it was a wonderful experience, Hubby and I returned home and exhausted ourselves to decorate and give our little one the Christmas we dreamed of. After that we decided to temporarily forego (I hope) our anniversary vacation and celebrate Christmas at home.

For the past week, Hubby's been working hard to hang lights while I've been thinking hard of affordable ways to decorate our home for the little ones.

Although our Christmas is still Under Construction, I'll leave you with a sneak preview of what's to come.

Please look at the lights....and not the window "mistreatment".

Sincerely, Lisa

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The "Before" Tour

A house is made of walls and beams; a home is built with love and dreams.
*This post was updated to participate in Funky Junk Interiors Greatest Hits*

Y'all remember this picture?

My dream home...the way it appeared in May 2005 when I fell in love....In love with all it's potential.
With one glance at the overgrown yard, it was pretty clear that this house had been neglected. I was curious...was the inside just as neglected? AWW, I had to know what the inside looked like.
A call to the listing agent's office and I finally got the rundown on this brokedown. It was a foreclosure and sat vacant for two years. Previously listed and practically sold, the house was unable to close due to a lien on the property. The listing was in the process of being transferred to another realtor. However, the agent did not share the name of the new realtor...all he said was "With this much interest, I should have kept it". UGH!!!!!!!!!
So I waited....a few hours....and called back to speak to the receptionist. YES!!!!!!!! She told me the name of the new realtor. A few days later with the new listing agent, who was also our new realtor and new BFF, we saw this.
We entered through the kitchen door.

Initial impressions
Liked the galley style kitchen, original cabinetry, and well-lit space.
Disliked the carpet on the floor, chotchkie shelves, stenciling and inadequate lighting.

Bedroom/bonus room above the garage

Initial impressions
Liked the idea of a bonus area
Disliked the worn green carpet, walls made of fiberboard (no drywall), low ceiling height, inadequate heating/cooling. Yep, you know where this is going. A total redo still waiting to be done! Until then, it makes a great storage room.


Initial impressions
Liked the space (huge space), amount of light in this room and "petite" walk in closet.
Disliked the Barney inpired paint color

Main Bathroom

Initial Impression
Liked that it gave me a good direction for the remodel...GUT IT. We did leave the cast iron tub.


Initial impressions
Liked the size of the room and plenty of storage with two closets.
Living Room

Initial impression
Liked the size of the room, coat closet, and fireplace.
Disliked the dirty, bug-riden carpet and in-wall chotzkie shelf.

Overall, we loved that the house was in it's ORIGINAL still had the crystal door handles. After talking to a few neighbors, we believe we're only the third owners of this home. The last tenet was just here for a couple years. Our vision is simple, update the house while preserving the 1940's character.
So, what do you think? Love at first sight for you too? Be sure to check back for the "After" and "In Progress" pictures.

Sincerely, Lisa

P.S. What do you think of the wood trim? I like it but I'm considering having it painted white...I feel limited with wall colors and wonder if painting it white will lighten up the rooms.
*We decided to keep the wood trim as-is because of it's fine condition. Please check out these links for updated pics of our living room, exterior and pergola.*

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


The Shabby Chic Cottage

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My Favorite Things

Melissa's hosting a party at 320 Sycamore! To join the fun, all you need to bring is a list of your favorite things.

My list of favorites things are those which remind me of WHO I AM without compromise. An individual who is more than a wife, mother, daughter, and therapist. I am also a lover of things that are appealing and beautiful to the senses. So here's my list:

The color white. So clean and pure. In my wardrobe or home decor, I love the color white. To me, it's like a Rolls Royce; a classic that never goes out of style.

      Linen. The touch. The feel of linen. The fabric of my life. Ooops! I think that's the motto for cotton. Well, most days that's all I can afford is good quality, 100% cotton. However, I really am In Love with Linen. It's WELL worth the splurge on special occasions, like vacation or decorating special places, like the master bedroom.

      Hydrangeas. I can't get enough of them. They are truly the all-star of my garden. I have three "little lamb" hydrangeas in memory of our lamb in heaven and three limelight hydranges...they're all white, of course. At the end of the season, I use the dried flowers as an alternative to "silk" flowers.

      Bubble baths.

      Relaxing music performed by a single instrument like a piano or acoustic guitar. Usually found at Walmart and Target for $15, I've found comparable CD's at Dollar Tree, which makes it all the more calming.

      Charleston, S.C. A synthesis of all the essentials;

      • HISTORY {The most beautiful homes and gardens}
      • SHOPPING {Lots of places to antique and junk, plus my favorite source of inspiration in the Lowcountry, GDC Home}
      • FOOD {Good ole southern cooking and the country's best Coconut cake)
      • THE BEACH.

      This Quote. "My favorite things aren't things"...

      they're my two little men! And Hubby too!

      Sincerely, Lisa

      Monday, November 16, 2009

      Curb Appeal: Pergola

      The best laid {plans} of mice and men oft go awry, and leave us nothing but grief and pain, for promised joy~Robert Burns

      That's the only way I can describe my feelings for this chapter of our renovation project: The Pergola.

      After selling our newly constructed home in 2005, Hubby and I purchased five acres of land in hopes of building another house. We were temporarily living at my hubby's childhood home when I found out I was pregnant.

      Oh the timing...we had been trying to conceive for two unsuccessful years. "Why now?" I asked God. I didn't want to build a house while I was pregnant and I didn't want to live at my MIL's.

      All these thoughts were running through my mind on that eminent day in May. The day I saw the house of my dreams. Yes, the house I planned on raising my unborn child.

      Once we closed on the house, we worked feverishly, as time would allow. We tore up nasty carpet to reveal oak hardwoods. We gutted the main bathroom, the basement, a "bonus" room above the garage, took off all the kitchen cabinet doors for repainting and improved the function/appearance of our basement bathroom....all projects I hope to share with you.

      Before long, it was Christmas and my due date was approaching. We officially moved in on New Years Eve. As a new mother, I was anxious to nest and felt guilty that the nursery wasn't finished. A week later, none of that would matter.

      There would be no baby come least not then. The baby I had loved, nurtured and bought this house for, was gone. Stillborn, three days before the due date.

      What to do? Do we stay? Do we move? One thing for sure, we had to stay long enough to put the house back together. So, while I was in shock, my "Handy" Andy jumped into as many DIY projects as he could find. One of his first, was building an awesome movie screen in our basement (yet, another project to share in the future).

      Weeks later, just as the initial shock was wearing off, we got hit with another reality...literally. A teenage neighbor ran into the side of our house. Thankfully, our central air unit absorbed the brunt of the impact.

      Once the police officers left and we inspected the central air unit, it was determined that it would have to be the expense of the culprit, of course. It didn't take me long to figure out that we could RELOCATE the unit to make room for a deck....a project we had planned on doing much later.
      As later became sooner, Hubby now had another project that allowed him to work through his grief. He doesn't show much emotion, but I honestly believe this deck was built with his blood, sweat and TEARS.

      The first job was taking out the double hung windows. We then replaced them with a five foot sliding door. Throughout the construction, the plans changed a couple times. We added the pergola to help shade the deck...this area gets ALOT of sun. And we added a little bump-out for our BOHEMITH grill.

      Here it is...ALL FINISHED! The posts were wrapped in prefabricated architectural columns made of fiberglass and ordered online. In-stock vinyl rails were used to enclose the pergola deck. The remaining pieces of treated lumber got a liberal coat of white paint. We later added an allweather ceiling fan to cool down those warm summer days.

      Three years and two beautiful sons later, this house now brings me joy.
      Sincerely, Lisa

      DIY Day @ ASPTL

      Friday, November 13, 2009

      What a Steel!

      This past week, I've been really inspired to do some crafting. So, I staked out a spot in our basement family room/home office/play room/home theater/guest suite/ get the picture.

      Once I finished "creating" (um-um, making a mess) I discovered I needed to do some reorganizing to allow for additional storage. Great....I thought, one more thing to add to the never-ending list.

      Well, imagine my delight when I spied this six-drawered solution to my storage problem (in Goodwill, of course)...

      A vintage metal desk with a matching chair!!!!!!

      At that moment I felt like Bob Barker 'cause the price is right!

      After measuring to ensure the fit, we brought the ten dollar "tanker" home. But not before I enquired about the desk's history. Come on people, I live in a small city!

      The manager confirmed my suspicion by saying the desk came from a local factory that closed after moving their production to Mexico and leaving dozens of people without jobs. Sadly, that factory had been in town for more than four decades.

      Call me sentimental, but I feel like I'm preserving a part of my past by bringing that desk into my life. So, here she is, all cleaned up and in her new home.

      You know, I used to have a mahogany dining table here. It's amazing how this 2oo lb beauty really lightens up the space now.

      Thanks for stopping! Check out the links below for more thrifty finds and creative spaces!

      Sincerely, Lisa

      Decor Mamma

      Furniture Feature Fridays