Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

John and I are hitting the road this afternoon. To prepare we downloaded The Hunger Games audiobook (if you haven't read this, READ IT!! I plan to force John to love it as much as me by making him listen during the 8 hour drive), packed peanut butter sandwiches and a water bottle, and double-checked the directions.  To Maryland we go!

Are you traveling this week? Do you plan on driving or flying? What do you do to ensure no one goes crazy on long trips?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Place Cards

John and I are getting excited about traveling up to Maryland for his family's wonderful Thanksgiving blow out. When I say blow out you may think I'm exaggerating but, really, I'm not. I think the last number I heard of family members expected was around 60. We'll have every bed filled, every couch claimed and every dark corner filled with an air mattress. John's as giddy as a little kid on Christmas Eve.

Every year our little cousins are in charge of making the place cards and with our numbers that's quite a responsibility. The cards they whip up every year are always creative and fun (although we do switch around the seating arrangements right up until the meal starts...shhh).  I've been thinking about what they'll do this year and started brainstorming some beautiful but simple ideas for Thanksgiving tables that will be crowded with family members on Thursday.

 With a simple swipe of the hacksaw these pinecones are ready to hold seating cards. What a great way to entertain the kids - send them out to gather pinecones while everyone else is busy in the kitchen. Of course, an adult would have to use the hacksaw, but what a simple and rustic addition to the dining room table.

 This just makes me smile every time I see the picture. There are no words for this playful name card.

 Another way to keep the kids occupied is sending them out to collect twigs. As with all things nature, I love bringing in the rustic simplicity of this easy place card.

 These may be my favorite yet. The elegance and simplicity.

 You know me and my love for upcycling. What a beautiful way to recycle cardboard while creating a simple but fun pumpkin place card. I love it...although to be perfectly honest, my fingers hurt just thinking of all the cardboard that would have to be cut for our 60 family members. Perhaps for my side of the family, though, where about 12 will gather to enjoy family and food it would be more reasonable.
I think the kids would love to paint the rocks and they bring some color and whimsy to the Thanksgiving table.

What are your family table decorations? Do you have any traditions when it comes to decorating or cooking? When I was a kid, I'd spend the night at my grandparent's house and help decorate the table for Thanksgiving. Of course, I didn't have 60 place cards to make, just a simple centerpiece and table settings to set for 12-15 of us.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Cats and Dogs Wednesday

It's raining. Actually, it's pouring cats and dogs. Usually I get sad on gloomy and dreary days but today, after days and days of sunshiny weather, I'm enjoying the morose feel of this Wednesday morning. The windows are open and I'm sipping my espresso as I listen to the splashing drops. Layla is sleeping on my feet, keeping them warm and punctuating the rain drops with her sighs of contentment.

I still have piles upon piles of projects in various forms of completion strewn about my house. This morning, as John was hurrying around, he tripped over a smaller pile. Being the supportive man he is, when I apologized for my chaotic explosions he simply smiled and said what you're creating is beautiful. I melted.

On the phone last night, I was telling my mother how incredibly jealous I am of the recipients of these projects I'm working on. My sister's birthday is next week and she is receiving some amazing things that I've contemplated just keeping for myself. She'd never know. My other sister will be receiving the most amazing dorm-related present ever and I only wish I had had something like it in my own dorm room. I've stolen a few of my mother's Christmas gifts to use until I give them to her because they are too sweet to put away until Christmas. I suppose the definition of a great gift is giving something you'd love to have yourself. Mission accomplished.

I hope you are all enjoying this lovely week.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Drool Worthy

A) I survived the race! Actually, I did better than the original goal I made back when I thought I'd spend months training which was surprising and exhilarating. I'm not sure if it was the endorphins talking or what, but John and I are now planning on running an even bigger race next spring. Um, please remind me periodically to train. Thanks.

Those are my stripes sprinting by!

B) I came across this bedroom on Pinterest and immediately began salivating and dreaming and wanting. Thought I'd pass it along. I just love the bird art, the layers of gray, that pillow, the side table, the lamp, the headboard...see, totally drooling.

C) I am currently up to my neck in three different projects. I have a pile of streamers, cardboard and glue in one corner of my living room. I also have a pile of fabric, paint, and pins set up in front of the television. In the office is a mess of glitter, paint brushes and things waiting to be glitterfied. I've apologized to my husband multiple times, but I think he likes when I'm the messier of the two of us...less pressure on him.

D) Happy Monday! Today's forecast is sunny, 70's and beautiful. Hope your neck of the woods is sunny and beautiful, too!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Run, Kristen, Run!


John and I are in Richmond, VA this weekend for a little race. Please note that those last two words are said with sarcasm and wide eyes. You see, John signed us up for this race back in the spring when I thought, "Sure, there's time to train, let's do this!"  Throughout my four years of high school I ran cross country and track so I'm not a stranger to the running sport. It has been 11 years since then, though, and I haven't run longer than the distance from the couch to the fridge or maybe from the front door to the car (but only when it's raining) during that time.


Remember the little voice in my head about saying there was time to train? Well, fast forward seven months and I never trained. Nope. John woke up every morning and went running and to the gym and boasted about how awesome he was (okay, maybe not the last part but it did rub me the wrong way that he wouldn't laze on the couch with me instead of going running). I blogged on the couch, ate food in the kitchen, and overall didn't run. Until two weeks ago. Then I got scared. So I ran a couple miles. A couple times. And then stopped. Yup, I'm about to run a race that is longer than the total distance I have run in the past 11 years combined.

Wish me luck!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Meet the Hermaphrodite Cow

While perusing the dollar spot at Target last week, John and I came across a bin of plastic animals. As we started to play with them, we noticed the cow had both udders and horns. Laughing, we made some jokes about the cute hermaphrodite cow and how progressive Target is.

Well, fast forward a week and I still found myself thinking about the cow with both a set of horns and a pink udder. He/She was calling out to me, wanting to be adopted. Late last night, I finally broke down and went to rescue he/she from the bin of mocking animals.

Allow me to introduce you to Pat (or Chris...we haven't decided on his/her name).  John keeps referring to him/her as an it and I keep telling him he/she isn't an 'it" but a cow with an identity. Now he's referring to him/her as s/him. Close enough.

Let's get a close up on the awesome pink udder.

Check out the awesome horns. Very awesome horns. He/she likes to pose for photos - check out the flirty leg bend.

As I was picking out Pat (or Chris), I realized I couldn't just bring home a single plastic cow, even if it was a hermaphrodite. That would just be silly. He/she needed some friends, a plastic menagerie if you will.

Of course, at first they were a little shocked by Pat (or Chris). They, like John, weren't sure how to refer to him/her and they came across as a tad bit judgmental.

Now, after getting to know one other, they are best buds for life. Which is good because after some paint they will be on display together as my famous plastic menagerie that includes a hermaphrodite cow.
I did do some research online (7 seconds of googling) and discovered that there are a couple breeds of cows that do have both horns and udders. Who knew the Danish Red, the White Park, and the Texas Longhorn cows were so manly! Regardless, I'd still like to refer to Pat (or Chris) as a hermaphrodite. It makes me giggle and I enjoy having a diverse plastic menagerie.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Glitterize This

Glitter has a natural ability to make anyone smile. Glitter chases the blues away. Glitter is happiness. For the past few months I've been drawn to glitter like a raccoon to a shiny coin and like a moth to a porch light. Everywhere I glance I see shiny happiness and I crave it for myself.

I spent much of this weekend glitterizing secret things. The problem with making Christmas presents for family and friends is that I can't show them off here! Instead I will show off some glittery projects I've been appreciating from afar.


I am in love with this packaging idea! Since I don't have glitterized (oh, and yes, as of this morning glitterize is a verb) ribbon I bet I could accomplish the same thing with double sided tape dipped in glitter on one side.


This project has been blowing up my pinterest homepage for the past week or so - just an easy, genius, glitterized project!! I'm picturing silver and gold and blue...


Oh Martha. Beautiful! Actually, these remind me of some candles I bought from Target about three seasons ago that were beautiful and glitterized. It would be a lot cheaper to make them myself!


Glitterized pumpkins aren't just for Halloween, folks. Thanksgiving is begging for some bling this year!


Oh, excuse me, I'm sorry, I just swooned. This photo makes me fall in love with glitter over and over and over again.  Thanksgiving is going to be so blinged out!


When I have a little girl, her room will have many glitterized lanterns hanging from the ceiling. Every little girl needs glitter in her life.


I have yet to experience this awesomeness-in-a can first-hand, but from what I've read online, people can't praise it enough. Perhaps this weekend Glitter Blast and I will have a fun date.

I've learned that, while glitter is the herpes of craft supplies, it also just might be the heroin of craft projects. Once you glitterize one thing you're trapped and you'll find yourself wanting to glitterize your dog, your car, and your couch. What are some things you've been glitterizing?What color glitter do you think would make Layla like her collar of shame a little more?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Poor Layla-Butt


We just returned home from dropping Layla off at the vet. Last week at her check up we asked about a lump that has been under her eye since the spring and they recommended having it removed. This morning bright and early we took her to her least favorite place in the world and had to help the nurse force her out of the waiting room and into the back room. The look she gave as we pushed her away is seared into my brain forever.

I already have plans to make it up to her when she gets home. Some rice and chicken broth to ease her stomach after the anesthesia, her bed washed and plumped, and furniture moved so she can walk around easier with her cone of shame. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's Not Thanksgiving Yet

I'm still a relatively new blogger and this is my first time blogging through the holiday season. I'm looking forward to sharing inspiration, excitement, and holiday cheer with one another and being the nosy person I am, I can't wait to see how others decorate their houses for the holidays. I've already seen some amazingly scary, fun, and classy Halloween homes and boy was that great.

I worked for a major retail store one year and was shocked with how early the store began planning for Christmas, decorating for Christmas, and overall pretending it was Christmas.  It seems as though every year the retail world decides to ignore more and more days between the end of summer and Christmas. I went into Joanns a couple weeks before Halloween and found more Christmas decor than fall and Halloween decor!

I don't know about you, but I feel jibed when people fast forward.  I personally like to experience the present rather than wish it was the future. When people around me are fast fowarding, skipping and ignoring an entire month, a month with a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday and tradition galore, I become saddened.

And so, when I woke up on Tuesday, November 1, and noticed that many in the blogosphere had taken down their Halloween fall decor and are now sharing and planning their Christmas and winter decor, I looked wildly at the calendar and realized we still have an entire wonderful month to enjoy the pinecones, the rustic wreaths, the corn and pumpkin decorations and the tradition of being thankful.

So, I just wanted to let you know that I will not be publishing Christmas and winter-themed posts on Turning a House into a Home until the day after Thanksgiving.  With Christmas music blasting on the radio and the turkey in my belly, I will only then say goodbye to the fall, the wonderful holiday of Thankgiving, and embrace December and all that it brings.

On that note, these are my latest love for the month of November:





Happy November!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Free DIY Wooden Frames

Growing up in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I am mildly obsessed with the Sandia Mountains. These majestic mountains can be seen from literally every spot in the city. Just look east and there they are. After moving to the east coast ten years ago, I still find myself scanning the horizon for my mountains much like a toddler blindly reaches for her blanket in moments of stress.

When I went to college in Virginia, I tried to placate myself with photos of the mountains pasted on every inch of my cinder block dorm room. The above photo is actually a card that followed me to every dorm room and apartment until I graduated. For the past six years it's been in a box of mementos hidden from view because I now require my art framed instead of merely taped to the wall.

After finishing my take on the recent pallet art phenomenon (check it out here), I began brainstorming other ways of using paint stir sticks. With the help of my trusty miter saw I knew I could easily make a picture frame.

After few 45 degree angle cuts I had the beginnings of a frame.  I took the scraps of some stir sticks and used them to secure the sticks together at the angles with gorilla glue.

Voila!  A simple frame was created...for free!  Add some paint, glue on a sawtooth hanger, and throw in a picture - you've got yourself a piece of art worthy of more than a dorm room wall.

Now when I find myself homesick and needing some comfort, I can glance over at my mountains and feel a bit calmer.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Wood Plus Stain Equals Art Tutorial

I feel as though I could start every single post with the sentence, "I was looking at Pinterest recently and...."  I spend entirely too much time on that amazing site (by the way, check out my boards on pinterest) but I love being awed and wowed and inspired by the amazing things I see there. All summer I kept noticing fabulous art created by pallets people were finding. After staining them and painting quotes or silhouettes, those free pieces of wood became beautiful.

I was torn by these beauties. You see, I desperately wanted to make some art with wooden planks but, as a former manager of a store that used thousands of pallets a week, I saw what most planks are coated with, how unsanitary they are treated, and how disgusting many of them are. I did not want to bring disease-invested wood into our home so I decided to find another way to create some free wooden plank art.

Enter paint stir sticks. I had a handful of these awesome, crafty sticks leftover from a previous project and pulled them out of the closet. They were perfect for what I had in mind!

After cutting off the beveled edges and picking out the most interesting sticks, I was left with the perfect little square of wood.  Taking some leftover stain from our branch bench (check it out here), I stained each stick. I wanted to stain them separately rather than all together once they were attached to one another in order to get a varied and non-uniform stain. My goal was to make this look as rustic and plank-like as possible.

The stain went on beautifully - check out the personality that little paint stir sticks can have.

Once they were dry, I used gorilla glue to glue the scraps I had sawed off earlier. 

Waiting 2 hours for the glue to dry was torture but I used the time to decide what I wanted to paint on my lovely canvas.

Now I have my very own faux pallet art!  Oh, and while working with the paint stir sticks, I started a couple more projects...stay tuned to see what else I can make out of these free pieces of wood!

DIY Club


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