Fan Friday // DIY Holiday Gift Guide

I've been struggling to come up with some cool DIY gifts for my family.  I want to put some thought into all of them & not just a regular here, I made you a hat/scarf.  The hardest people to make things for are guys.  But I have settled on making hats for most of them.  I've been stumbling around the web looking for fun ideas & I've found a few:

Have someone that loves the sun? How about sprucing up a pair of sunglasses with magnetic nail polish?  Peep the tutorial on the Brit+Co blog here.  This is the perfect gift for a friend or sister.

Another tutorial from Brit+Co, make rosette jewelry from duct tape! I've always wanted to know how to make these rosettes.  At one of my jobs after college a little girl gave me a pen with a rose on the top made of duct tape.  I think she learned to do it at camp or something but I thought it was soooooo cool! Now I know how to make these!

Give a lovely handmade star to match your loved one's home decor.  Great for a theme xmas tree or for someone in college (think about those tiny dorm trees!) or for someone just starting their ornament collection.  Find the tutorial here.

Create a DIY recipe book to house all your fun family recipes & to add more too! Using a simple notebook & some lovely scrapbook paper, create a unique family gift!  Add a painted wooden spoon (I get mine at the dollar store!) & you're set.  Tutorial at 36th avenue.

Link Love

++How about printing & framing some artwork found online? If you've got some good photoshop skills you can make a collage or check out sites like this one, or this one.  Or for someones kitchen, this site  has a few.  Even search printable art on pinterest.++

++Tell someone how awesome they are with this Picmonkey Printable Card DIY.  Create a cool graphic poster as well. ++

++ For someone that loves animals, or a certain animal -hippos for me!- why not repurpose & old toy or one from the dollar tree with spray paint? Make it bold & graphic or pretty & pastel.  Get some inspiration here.++

What will you make this holiday?  Have any ideas bubbling in your head yet?

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Sometimes it's Black & White

In college I took a required Black & White photography class.  I thought I was going to hate it because I'd already taken one in high school, so I knew my way around a camera & a darkroom.  The first year I changed my major to art, I took this class.  I know I've said this before but I wouldn't trade my decision to study art for anything.  I learned so much more in the first two years of this major than I did in the first two years of college.  Art combines history, technique, & language to give you an education that I believe allows you to approach problems uniquely & interact with people better.  You're constantly asked to critique art from people you know & art from people you've never met, in a constructive & concise way.  You learn how a visual language is used to tell a story.  You learn how this language evolves through time & changes through continents.
I loved my black & white photography class and photography continues to be fascinating to me.  I think I am very lucky to have a father & brother-from-another-mother as talented in photography as they are. I'm no good at seeing things through a lens like they are.  I only capture awesome photos by chance.  But I try to think about the pictures I take, make them well composed, etc & I try to take pictures everyday.  The most helpful, though not the best, is my iPhone.  I don't care how you feel about iPhone photography what I do care is that this sort of expression is available to the masses.  Many will poorly compose a picture of their breakfast on instagram but many more will learn about photography, lighting, composition & grow.  They begin to problem solve creatively & visually.....that makes me happy.
I went through some of my daily photos & used Snapseed edits to make them black & white.  Some of them worked quite well, some of them.....not so much.  As I was playing around with these photos I tried to remember that they should be well exposed & have a range of pure white to dark black & everything in between.
Sometimes it's fun to do something different to your photos.  You can gain a new look on your life, see more detail in black & white, and figure out the most important part of the image.  With out color, you're learning about composition & exposure....you're not focusing on how pretty it is.

So here's a peak into the black & white of my life over the last few months.  My favorite photos are the little bird in the grass & all the photos in the first set there!

Do you look at your life in black & white?

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Wednesday Decor // Peaks Around Our Home

Well, it's after Thanksgiving & we're slowly but surely still coming along with the house.  We'd hoped we'd have a few more things done before the holidays, but we are where we are.  Here are some peaks into what's been going on.

The very first things we did were to paint all the colored rooms - the upstairs bathroom & the master bedroom - a lovely shade of white.  I am not a fan of colored walls.....I guess it's because I can't decide. I am super jealous of my old roommate Katie who seems to have a great love & wonderful execution of colored walls.  I am just too afraid I'll hate it & after trying to cover up the horrid colors in our house, I am over painting.  We may end up choosing colors for the downstairs since the white color that's through the whole upstairs sorta makes me see a bit of yellow.

The subfloor is also all down in the large room downstairs.  This room will be divided by a bookshelf into a living space & an office space.  We also put up a wall dividing the garage space & then put a wall with a window & a door where a grage door used to be.  The door got painted green, trim got put on the window there too, & the outside wall was painted.  All the studs are up on the walls to apply drywall (looooong story!).  We're just waiting on the wires to be run for electricity into the living area & office.  Then we'll drywall, then it's painting, & then it's flooring, & then hopefully it's done.  The extra bedroom needs a new wall to give it a closet, access to the downstairs bathroom, & a utility closet.  Then it's drywall, painting, & flooring in there.

So far it's only been the little things that we can get organized & put away.  We got new sheets & comforter from Amazon & two new nightstands from Big Lots.  I don't think Zach knew about the glories of places like Big Lots & Amazon for cheaper things...when you shop right, you can find good stuff.  Sometimes it's not really a deal....but sometimes it is.  I'm also in the process of dying lampshades to be the perfect shade of plum.  They need to be dyed again & for longer...pretty much I don't know what I'm doing so I'm experimenting.

One half of the kitchen is set up including canisters that have since been labeled & filled.  The wine rack is filled, too.  I never thought I liked that wine rack of his....but I really like it over there, it just fits.  We've also got a few other canisters that need pasta in them.  Then on Monday at like 6pm, there was a knock on the door.  Whenever people knock & it's dark out I instantly think the worst & almost never answer.  Never.  But I peaked outside & saw that there was a box & not a murderer (there still could have been, I guess).  The box had our matching, black towels!  Finally no more random towels.  There are two reds, a maroon, guacamole green, tan, black, green, & three brown towels in this assortment.  Every time I see them in the bathroom I want to throw them out the window!  But the matching ones are here now so no more worries.  Now all we need is the shower curtain which we believe is still packed in the apartment at his parents house.

I'm just glad we're getting better at agreeing on things decor wise.  Surprisingly I've made a few decor decisions that Zach agrees with - the crochet blanket in our room, the night stands, & the shelf with baskets in the bathroom.  Hooray!!  Maybe we can think a like!

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Trend Tuesday // Holiday Favorites

Now that Thanksgiving is over its officially time to think about Christmas.  For me, this time of year is the happiest.  I don't think about my worries, I don't think about the housework, I just think about family, good food, & traditions.  I think about the pretty lights, hope, friends, & warmth.  It is the most wonderful season of all.

Holiday Favorites

The Mistletoe candle from Yankee Candle is the scent of the season for me.  Katie bought one last year & we burned the heck out of it.  She pulled it ou this year & send me a picture of how low the candle was.  I'll be lighting this everyday & enjoying the scent of Christmas.  Yankee Candle does have a Christmas Time scent but I don't like that one as much...this one is the scent of the season.

While the Mistletoe Candle is burning, especially if its the weekend, you'll probably find me snuggling under our new crochet blanket in shades of plum (the one above is from Target) while in a pair of flannel jammies.  Most likely I'll have made a yummy coffee or hot cocoa with Peppermint Creamer & little marshmallows.

If I'm out shopping I'm most likely wearing my favorite colors of the season: Golden Yellow & Cobalt. I know they aren't traditonal colors but for me & for some reason these two colors are my favorite for winter.  I stumbled upon these two cardigans at Wal-Mart for $12.  I've been wearing the mess out of them.  I just love them!

What makes the season for you? What are your Holiday favorites?

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Make it Monday // Pistachio Bread Gift Idea

For Thanksgiving, Zach's mom sent us a recipe for Pistachio Bread since I didn't know what to make & bring to dinner.  Before this I didn't even think I liked things made with pistachio instant pudding....I don't even think I like pistachios.  But once I made this lovely little desert I was sold on Pistachio Pudding.  It's a great little desert & a perfect take away idea for a party or even a gift idea for neighbors, friends, or coworkers.  I baked a whole pan, divided it into ninths, & packaged up the little loafs in a baggie with a DIY twist tie.  Here's how it goes:
Supplies: this Pistachio Bread Recipe, washi tape (I used some of my Kid Made Modern Tape!), thin gauge wire, scissors, ziplock bags or other baggies.

Making the Pistachio Bread
Follow the recipe instructions & mix up your batter.  The directions say specific ounces for the cake mix, pudding, etc but I just used a box of pudding & a box of the cake mix. (My cake mix was 16.4 oz & the recipe called for 18oz.  It still turned out perfect.)  Instead of 2 loaf pans pour entire mixture into a glass baking dish & sprinkle on the topping.  Bake per recipe.  Let cool & divide into loafs to package up.

Pretty Packaging
The best part of the holiday season is the packaging.  I have so much Kid Made Modern tape that I knew I needed to do something with it for the holiday season.  Who says packaging only has to be red & green.  I thought I'd go for some neon brights.
Tear off a strip of the washi tape.  Lay it, tape side up, on your work surface.  Cut a piece of your wire the same length as or longer than your tape.  Place the wire as close to the center of the tape strip as possible & press down.  Carefully lay down another piece of tape on top of the first layer & tear off.  The two sticky sides should be facing each other. 
Cut your tape & wire into smaller strips to create the twist ties.  I'd suggest cutting them no shorter than 3 inches as you'll need a bit to twist at the end.  Make as many as you'll need to package up your loafs.
If you're fancy, go ahead & pick up some cool cellophane baggies.  Or pick up some ziplock baggies from the dollar tree & cut off the zipper part with a pair of sharp scissors.  Sandwich sized baggies will do just fine.
Now give to all your friends!  How perfect would these be displayed at your office party?  Take them to your Secret Santa get together & give everyone another gift to take home.  Add the recipe to the packaging to share the yumminess with everyone.

Happy baking!

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Sum Up Sunday // Holiday Happenings

Happy Holidays! I hope your Thanksgiving was awesome & you are full of pies & other homemade treats!  We spent Thanksgiving at Zach's parents house where we ate some delicious food, buffet style & played a round of Settlers of Catan with various cousins.  I ended up making Pistachio Bread & two pies.  The Pistachio bread turned out amazing, you can find that recipe here.

Other than that we've just been hanging out.  The house is still making it's way though we've hit a little road block.  We were hoping of having the drywall up before Thanksgiving but that didn't happen.  Today we'll be running some wires & hopefully moving a long some more.

Nothing too exciting has been going around these parts, we did get our room put together for the most part which is exciting.  All I want to do is have the house done so I can do a proper home tour!  I may end up stenciling labels on the canisters I got from Big Lots & Michaels.  I picked up some cheapo square canisters at Big Lots & needed to find two more.  When I headed to Big Lots they didn't have them any more & then, out of luck, I found them at Michaels.  So that corner of our kitchen is the most complete.

It's been weird having to work in stages on the house but thats how it is right now.  I am just happy when I can get the laundry all done & put away.  Seems to be the only normal thing we can do in this house, that and the dishes!  I did dye the lampshades a lovely shade of lavender.  They were supposed to come out a darker plum so I'm going to do a little bit of experimenting to get it right.  

It's also gotten super chilly here! It snowed the day after Thanksgiving while we were still in Michigan & I got excited.  Apparently it's no big thang for a little bit of snow all around but I still got excited.  It ended up really coming down - and by really coming down I mean 'really coming down' for what I'm used to.  It didn't stick but it sure looked pretty.  Then Saturday it snowed a bit in Indiana.  Just a little bit though, a teeny tiny bit.  

We hit up the antique mall down the street from us just to see what it looked like.  It was pretty neat & we ended up finding a pretty blue canister to go with a yellow one we have.  They'll hold things like pasta, etc.  

I guess it's just been a little while of settling in.  I've been working hard on a few blankets for the Five One Six shop that will hopefully open in January.

I hope your Thanksgiving was awesome!!!

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Wednesday Decor // Bedroom on a Dime

I looooove decorating & have always tried to do so on a budget.  In college & after, decorating means anything that's cool creating an eclectic feel in my decor.  I've never been one to spend $$$ on decor because I like to change it up a lot & really want to afford other things too.  So far I think I've made our bedroom look $$$ for $$.  The mood board below doesn't do the idea justice.  I'm still waiting for things in the mail & actually had to contact Amazon to change the address on one of my orders because I accidentally had the old address still on there! So hopefully it will arrive, correctly, soon.

Zach already has a tall dresser, a short & long dresser, & a night stand from his old apartment.  He's also got a queen sized bed + a few lamps. The biggest thing we were facing is finding a matching nightstand + dressing table for me.
See the set here, on Polyvore

You may remember from all the past posts that the biggest thing for us is agreeing on decor.  We both have totally different tastes but as we're getting acclimated I'm excited to open up my design aesthetic to include classier elements.  Does that make sense?  Less bohemian more classic-meets-modern.

The elements of this I'm most excited about are below:

Damask Duvet Cover - This took a lot of deciding on!  But luckily we found one we liked enough on Amazon for cheap.  Amazon has been a great resource for affordable decor.  We've bought the sheets, the duvet, & towels for the bathroom.  Luxury items on sale, I'm telling you!  This damask pattern also brings in a sort of rococo feel to the room adding to the modern-meets-classic feel. 

Floor Length Curtains - The curtains were the first elements of the bedroom I got.  I just needed to start decorating so I headed to Big Lots & found super affordable yet really luxurious sheer curtains.  To create a more luxury feel, I got one textured panel & swept it to the side with a small tassel.  We also have small windows so i brought the curtains all the way to the floor.  I have to say this is by far my favorite part of the room right now!

Camera Prints - While reading through some blogs I stumbled upon some great camera prints in black & white.  While we aren't trying to create a camera themed casa I'd like to try to tie in all of our collections across the board.  My biggest fear is that our house becomes laid out like a museum with each room being a different theme.  My hope is to accomodate all of our collections across the house.

Creative Elements - I'm excited to throw in a bit more of me into the style of this room.  While I like all the elements it really doesn't scream me.  Me would have bright colors everywhere & a bohemian mix of styles but I think adding a crocheted blanket & decorating my dressing table/nightstand will give the room more of a me feel.  I've got a lamp to paint & lampshades to dye so as long as there's something creative I think I'm satisfied.  I am so very happy we went away from a black & red bedroom and moved onto purple.  The lampshades are all going to be a lovely plum color as well as the crocheted blanket.

Because I love finding deals I know that we can get a great deal on a dime from places like Amazon & Big Lots.  We've looked all over the place for nightstands in furniture stores but mine finally came from Big Lots for around $75.  That was on a special Buzz Club day where members got another 10% off.  Then to make it match the silver accents around the room we got $3 hardware from Meijer.  The style is a bit different but I'm hoping that the style of the dressing table will help even it out the differences in the style.  Here is a little breakdown of the elements added:

Things We Have
duvet cover - $66 (compared to ones up to $150 we were looking at)
nightstand - $75 +$3 hardware (compared to ones we were looking at that were $220)
sheets - 2 sets, 1500 thread count for $30 from Amazon (I don't believe the original price they had listed!)
mirror - $10 from Big Lot's ages ago & from my apartment.  Needs to be painted silver or black (it's currently gold)
lamps - both of us already have lamps, mine needs to be painted & it was a gift!

Things We Still Need
dressing table - may be a thrift store find & repainted
storage basket for under my nightstand - also may be thrift store find & painted OR another sweet sale at Hobby Lobby where we got the ones for the bathroom
lampshades to dye - again, probably from Amazon or Big Lots.  Just a plain white one to dye since I can't find the right shade of purple
camera prints - printed at stables & I've got some 12x12 inch frames to use.  Maybe we'll print them here! I want them to look kind of distressed anyway.

We also currently don't have a bedframe.  Zach didn't have one & the way our bed room is laid out one can't really fit.  The roof slants & any ones we see have too high of a head board.  Eventually we may build our own but for now I think I've found a solution.  While it's not ideal, I've decided to put a black fitted sheet on the boxspring so it doesn't look so tacky.  I've been sort of channeling a look like this with a twist of this.  I think (& hope) it looks sorta so comfy & beautiful you just want to fall in.

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Make it Monday // Crocheted Pom Hat

I can't remember where I saw the inspiration for this hat, but as soon as I saw it I needed to make it.  It's a really simple combo of a beanie + crocheted mesh (like a market bag).  I sort of just made this on the fly so I don't have a pattern written down, but I'll give you some resources & a blend of two patterns.

Skill level: Intermediate
Supplies: beanie pattern that works up in double crochets (this one is great), size h crochet hook, skein of medium worsted weight #4, square of cardboard or another way to make a pom pom
Stitches: double crochet, single crochet, chain, front post double crochet

When I was little, the first thing my gramma taught me to make was a beanie, a yellow beanie in fact.  Now I pretty much have beanie making skills where I don't need a pattern so I don't write them down.  The pattern mentioned above is pretty much how I make mine so you should be golden.  Start working the beanie pattern up,  I made my beaning a bit bigger because it's gonna be cold & I wanted the warmth to swirl around my head :).

Before you finish your beanie you'll want to make a brim with a few rows of the rib stitch - or Front Post Double Crochet.  This will create a sort of cabled brim around your hat.  This is a great tutorial & when you hover over the images, you'll see the view for a left hander.  Pretty neat!  I did three rows of this rib stitch, doing a front post double crochet on top of each front post double crochet.

Now onto the mesh part: I also used to make mesh hats during the summer, so I kinda have this to memory too. But this pattern is pretty close, use the same size hook you did for your beanie to complete it.  You'll want to work the mesh hat down until it fits over your beanie just above the brim.  You may have to repeat the last few rows of the mesh hat pattern until it fits.  Then you'll begin to join it together.

Pick a spot to start joining your mesh hat to your beanie just above the ribbed brim part after you've finished the last row of your mesh hat.  Put your hook under a double crochet from the beanie - like when you were working the front post double crochets - and slip stitch.  You've started joining the two hats together.  This may take a few tries, but mine ended up needing 3 chain stitches between each join.  So, chain 3, slip your hook under a chain loop & then under another double crochet from the beanie (count three over from your last join) & slip stitch.  Repeat this around until your mesh hat is joined to your beanie just above the ribbed brim.

Now make your pom pom.  This needs to be a big 'ol pom pom! So if you've got your preferred method....go ahead & do that.  I wrapped the yarn a bazillion times around a square of cardboard that was about 4 inches square.  Once I thought I'd wrapped enough, I wrapped a bunch more.  Then I slid it off, tied a string around the center - tight, & cut the loops.  Then shape it into a circular pom pom.  Tie your pom pom to the top of both hats - through the mesh one & into the beanie.

Now, you have a cool vintage inspired hat.  More or less.  I hope this pattern made sense & I'm sorry I don't have more of a precise method.  I tend to crochet organically & hardly ever write patterns down.

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Shows We Watch // Hulu & Netflix

Zach & I don't have cable.  I haven't had cable in about two years.  When I moved to Williamsburg, Katie & her room mates had decided to just go with Netflix.  When we both moved in together we decided to keep it that way.  Soon after, Jason signed up for Hulu which was great because now we could see new shows after they aired.  No more X-Files marathons...even though I do believe.

movies & tv

So here we are in Indiana & Zach and I decide to keep on going with the Hulu & Netflix thing.  Someone once told me that Hulu is for TV & Netflix is for movies.  Which so far we've found to be true.  I haven't watched a single movie on Hulu but I do watch some old TV shows on Netflix.  It's great for marathon days!  I used to miss mindless flipping & History channel on in the background but Netflix has a whole load of documentaries that satisfy my History channel itch.  

We both have different tastes so our Instant Queue looks confusing & I'm sure Netflix thinks we're crazy but it keeps on suggesting things to us.  Here's what we're currently watching:

Revolution - we started watching Revolution at Zach's parent's house when we were staying there.  It moves pretty slowly at times but I still want to follow the story.  I think it would be cooler as a movie, we don't really know how it will go to a second season (though it will probably be like LOST!), & we're not totally heart broken we can't see it on Monday nights.  Usually we don't watch it until the middle of the week when we remember.  It's kinda weird seeing people from LOST show up in there too!

LOST - This is Zach's first time watching it all the way through, we just got to parts he hadn't seen & I'm excited!  This will be my second time watching it but I'll never get back that anticipation that I had watching it for the first time.  LOST is like a drug! I tell you!  Usually we alternate between LOST & SG-U before bed.  Which leads to a dream where Hurley helps Dr. Rush across a desert planet carrying water.

Stargate Universe - On our second date, Zach invited me back to his house for lunch.  After lunch we watched the Stargate Movie.  As we started hanging out more, we watched a few episodes of SG-1 here & there and then it became our show.  Now, a year later we are finally watching the final series....which isn't as awesome as the first series.  SG-1 forever!  It's played more as a drama & less as science fiction.  It does get pretty interesting though.  Zach says it pretty much just ends with no resolution.  Yep, it was cancelled.  Makes me sad!

666 Park Avenue - I can't watch this show in the dark! It scares the bejesus out of me!  I like creepy suspenseful shows & I'm totally addicted to it.  Since I don't watch it when it's on TV I accidentally forget about it & end up watching it with all the lights on at 9 o'clock at night.  I can't wait to see what's really happening at the Drake!  Anyone have any theories? I have my own!

Supernatural - I used to watch this show when it first came out.  My friend Dora & I would watch it & call each other freaking out over the commercial breaks.  I thought it got dumb & stopped watching it but now that I've picked it up again I don't know why I ever stopped.  It's kinda gross sometimes (too much blood) & I think I'm in the 4th season and it's getting a bit more gross.  I was too scared & had to skip through some parts today!  I do love ghosty, creepy, type things with out the gore & terrifying parts.....more The Others & less House on Haunted Hill.  Those Winchester boys are cute too.

All of these compose my daily TV allowance.  Having a show like Supernatural with a million seasons is great background noise.

What do you watch on TV? Any good marathon suggestions?

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Fan Friday #80

Happy Friday y'all! Can I still say y'all if I'm up north?  I heard Zach say it once, it was funny!  This morning Zach didn't have to go into work until about 9 ish & after 3 long days of him being away I'm excited for the weekend....even though we need to work on the house.  I'd really like to just be able to spend a weekend together not working on the house but it needs to get done.....and I'm trying not to complain.

This morning we finally settled on a duvet cover (yay!) so we ordered it from Amazon.  It's listed as a full & not as a full/queen...so I'm hoping it fits the duvet.  I think it should.  Amazon is becoming my go to place for affordable things.  You can order nearly anything on Amazon & it's exciting to find the things you want for the look you want at an affordable price.  We were looking at duvet covers & fancy ones are usually upwards of $150 but this one was in the $60 range. I did also finde one at Pottery Barn that I liked but the print was too tiny.  I'm going to share with you next week the mood board for our bedroom since we also ordered sheets from Amazon too.

I've also found some new cool blogs filled with fashionable ladies!  I love clicking through sidebar links & finding a whole new world of cool bloggers!
Hannah of the Braided Bandit.  I want this outfit! So cute!

Elana from Room 334

Marilyn from Messages on a Napkin
All of these ladies have lovely fashion sense & a cool demeanor.  I mean look at that style! I've been peaking through a lot of their past posts & falling more in love with each of the blogs.  Makes me want to dress up more but working on the house in tights & fun boots isn't really the best.  I do think I'm going to convince Zach to take some outfit pictures today because I do want to wear something nice for a change!

Link Love
++ This is an old link, but this is something I miss most about school - the holiday tree in the Rotunda.  It's just so pretty.  I wouldn't trade where I went to school for anything.  I sure do love Longwood University ++

++ I'm loving this crochet & knitting site & I really want to get back to crocheting cool things.  Right now I'm working on blankets for the shop launch in January. ++

Happy Friday!

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Photos of Fall

I am sooooo very sad I didn't capture nearly any photos of the beautiful leaves that were hanging around this fall.  After Sandy, we got some major wind up here & all the leaves disappeared.  I didn't snap but like two or three pictures so there's really nothing to show!  But the leaves sure were pretty up here.

I got lost one day when we first moved here & ended up at a state park.  I wasn't really lost, I did it on purpose so I could see what was around, & saw a lot!  The lady at the gate gave me a map & showed me where the pretty leaves would be.  On my way home I soaked up some of the colors but was still just exploring the area and taking random turns.  It was really pretty to see all the leaves.

It's been a pretty normal Fall here: just enjoying the fall weather!  We've been busy working on the house & are so thankful Zach's parents have come up, like, every weekend.  We've all gotten a lot done & finally found the right yellow for the new wall we put up where one of the garage doors used to be.  We had it all along! So much for trying to match yellows when the original paint was in the shed.  Door & trim was painted also so we're done with that...now onto the insides.

The weather has been nice but it's been rainy here too.  It rained nearly everyday/afternoon in October but now it's clearing up a bit I guess.  It's also been fluctuating between freezing cold & sweatshirt weather.  I hardly know what to wear! I did just buy a new winter coat & made a winter hat and scarf for this year.  I am dreading the cold but am sorta excited for there to be snow.  Zach says it usually snows on Thanksgiving -which is next week by the way! - but it doesn't stick.

I'm excited for a new Thanksgiving experience but sad I won't be with my family.  I am hoping my Grandma will give me a few pie recipes so I can at least have a bit of home with me this Thanksgiving. Maybe I'll bring my own sweet tea too!  I'll probably share the pie making process but the recipe's gonna be a secret, just so you know!

My maternal grandma always makes pumpkin pie, lemon meringue pie, & chocolate meringue pie.  I wanted to bring something to Zach's parent's house for Thanksgiving but couldn't for the life of me come up with something.  So we're making rolls & I'm making pies now that I've remembered!

So even though our house is a mess, I've been enjoying the view from our font yard.  It's nice even if there aren't any more leaves.

Hope you enjoyed your Fall weather!  Here's to Winter - actually, no....I'm going to freeze!

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Wednesday Decor // Bathroom Realness

I may or may not be watching RuPaul's Drag Race reruns a long with the All Stars season as I try to organize the house.  There's a lot of Netflix marathons going on in this house as laundry is done, clothes are unpacked, & for plain ol background noise while I work.  Really & truly - I need a desk!  But the downstairs ins't even close to being desk ready so for now I'll work from the bed & the dinning room table.....hooray for posture right?

Anyway, there are very few rooms in the house we can actually have a little bit of control over: the bedroom & the upstairs bathroom.  I recently ordered new sheets in deep purple for us on super dooper sale from Amazon & am working on making or finding the perfect duvet cover.  But this post is dedicated to the bathroom.  We've pretty much got it the way it needs to be minus the shower curtain which I don't think has made it here yet.  But we bought baskets for the back of the toilet & for a little shelf for the linens (which don't match right now) so it's coming together, slowly but surely.

You may remember that Zach & I used Pinterest a lot to talk about the house while we were apart.  You also may remember that we don't agree on anything when it comes to decorating a house so it's important we always keep each other in mind.  He's got a few bathroom decor pin boards so I'm gonna run the following mood board past him & see what he thinks:

Zach has some really cool historical & nature inspired bathroom ideas that I love!  He came up with an idea for a fossil like bathroom.  Since we both love that kinda of stuff (remember the trilobites & fossils in DC?) I thought I'd use that idea for this bathroom.  Since we don't have any real fossils I thought a bathroom inspired by this idea would be really neat.  My favorite part is including the wood & stone accents along with greenery.  I also ended up finding these cool fern imprinted, almost fossil like containers & a stone soap dispenser from Uncommon Goods.

I'm not quite sure if the wooden bathmat is going to go over well, personally I'm afraid it will slip around or create quite a puddle under it.  I hate stepping on a wet bathmat so this one may prevent that! This bathroom, I think, is going to be a good blend of brown & black - totally wrong, I know!  We do already have a black bathmat & I do like the black towels so I think the dark color of the baskets is going to be a way to tie the two colors together.

The baskets we already have are from Hobby Lobby & sit on the back of the toilet and a long white shelf by the sink since with the towels since we have no linen closet!  Our sink has a cabinet & 2 drawers.  The cabinet will probably hold all the cleaning stuff - I'm a stickler for cleaning supplies especially when it comes to kitchen & bathroom cleaning (can't keep anything else clean but counters & tubs apparently!) - and the drawers have my make up & curling iron/straightener, etc.  I don't know about you, but I have a lot of lotions & body sprays....all those Bath & Bodyworks gift cards!  Oh, and nail polishes!  So the tall shelf up there will sit beside the toilet & house things that may not get used often.

So, I hope this is a good blend of the ideas we've come up with for the bathroom.  It's fun having someone to decorate with even if we don't agree sometimes.  Next, I hope to be able to give you a better idea of our bedroom!  I just got my nightstand & I need to add some silver accents so it will match the furniture we already have.  Luckily we found his exact couch & recliner set so we could order another recliner.  That's a relief!

Do you decorate your bathroom?  It is as serious as I've made it?

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Trend Tuesday // For the Coffee Lover

My mornings rarely start without a cup of coffee in my hand.  Currently we are between coffee makers, but my fingers are crossing for a Keurig coffee maker from Santa!  Zach & I are in that stage of discovering we have two of some things & none of other things and it can get exhausting.  While he does have a coffee maker, I think it may be beyond cleaning.  I need to run & grab some vinegar to run through it to clean it and see how it comes out.

I've never been a fan of Keruigs since you have to buy the little K-cups but since discovering there is a little single serve filter, I've been warming up to them.  You can have an assortment of coffees on hand + some of your regular everyday coffee with the little filter.  Win-Win!

If you're a coffee lover like me or know someone who is, here are some lovely gift ideas to encourage their love of that caffeinated drink:
Coffee Lover's Paradise

one // A pretty canister can give your day a dose of happy if you're adding a spoonful of sugar to your coffee.  I love the drippy glaze on this ceramic piece from Anthropologie.

two // This retro inspired Owl Ready to Go mug from Modcloth would put some pep in my step!  Love the bright yellow color.

three // Coffee is Always a Good idea & this print from Arcadia Graphic on etsy encourages that second cup.  Don't drink any after noon though, you may be up all night.

four // I've been looking for the perfect nude polish & this cafe au lait inspired color from Essie seems like it'd be the perfect match to my morning drink.  I like a lot of cream in my coffee & the pale color of this polish is lovely!

five // A fun gift for someone who doesn't have a french press (like me) in a fun color.  We recently switched out our plates, but this matches the guacamole colored plates (similar to these) I used to have from Target.

Today I'm cuddled up under a flannel, snowflake printed duvet cover working on somethings.  As you can see I redesigned the blog again.  I need to just settle on something!  If you're interested in a design, shoot me an email (I'm open for clients for the holiday season, a perfect gift for yourself!) & check out the options here.

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Make It Monday // Monogramed Holiday Sign with Martha Stewart Paints

This isn't our first Christmas together but is our first Christmas in our new house!  While we're still working on the house, I've been getting my creative juices flowing in gearing up to decorate a bit for the holidays.  I was super excited to get a box of awesome Martha Stewart Paints & Stencils from Plaid to get started on making our home warm for the holidays.  I've always loved Christmas & the way handmade decorations add warmth to any home.  My grandmother still has a load of handmade decor from when my dad & aunts were little and things that she's made and added over the years.  I couldn't wait to have something to add warmth to our home.

I thought of about a million things I could make with all the awesome goodies but I knew I wanted to keep it on the traditional White Christmas side.  I may be a mix of kitsch contemporary when it comes to everyday home decor but with Christmas I love everything just how mom would decorate....if that makes sense! Green, Red, White, Gold, & Silver mean christmas to me & I'll never change!  I think this turned out rather nicely & the glitter is much better in person & really pretty by candle light.

Supplies: Martha Stewart Glass Paint in Opaque Metallic in Antique Pewter, Translucent Fine Glitter in Florentine Gold, & Translucent Frost in Wedding Cake, Martha Stewart Acrylic paint in satin white, assorted holiday stencils - Snowflake silkscreens, Script Font Silkscreens, & Letter Stencils, Newspaper to cover your work area, a picture frame, dobbers, a stencil brush, small paint brush, scissors

Optional: Measuring tape & pencil, scrapbook paper
step one: Disassemble your frame, setting the backing & all the insides aside.  Clean the glass with soap & water then clean the surface with alcohol per the glass paint instructions.  Set it aside on another news paper & avoid finger prints.

step two: Since I wanted a distressed, frosted look on my frame I used the stencil brush not as it was intended & pounced on some of the white acrylic paint.  I made sure to cover the entire frame but leave parts of the dark wood showing through.  I really like trying to find multiple uses for craft supplies & this came out exactly how I wanted it - frosted & distressed.  Now I want to do this to every frame!
step three: If you are unsure how to use any of the stencil/silkscreen products, there are little leaflets inside that will give you detailed instructions.  I was so nervous to use the silkscreens but with the leaflet I felt more comfortable & after doing this project I can't wait to use them for other projects!

The leaflet mentioned that there are a bunch of ways to use your stencils - measure our your placement or place them randomly for an organic feel.  I sorta did both.  In order to make sure everything was even, I used a pencil & measuring tape to find the center of the glass -which I lined up with the center fold of the news paper, how convenient!  Then I placed my stencils.  They are adhesive, so they stay in place but you can remove them easily to adjust or re apply.
step 4: Paint! Use your little daubers to tap on the glass paint!  I used the silver color for the monograms at the top & the translucent frost in Wedding Cake for the Christmas & 2012.  Just pounce, pounce pounce.
step 5: I needed to reposition my stencils through this process since I needed another s & another 2.  Remove the stencils while the paint is still wet, carefully, & reposition where you need them to be.  Then pounce, pounce pounce.  Once you're finished, removed the stencils while the paint is still wet.

If you're going to do another set of stencils, let the first layer of paint dry so if you bump it, you won't damage it.  Repeat the steps for your next layer of stencils.  To finish mine up, I used a little bit of glitter around the snowflakes.
step 6: Assemble your frame back together.  Put the glass in, then decorative scrapbook paper or the backside of the place holder paper that came with the frame - that's what I did - & your backing.  I used the white side of the place holder paper the frame came with to give the monogram & text more dimension.  You get almost a 3D look with the way the shadows play with the image.

To cure the glass paint you can bake it in the over, but since this will never see the dishwasher I opted for the air cure for 21 days option.
My favorite of the paints was the translucent frost in Wedding Cake.  I almost didn't use it because I thought it was too translucent.  But I'm glad I did because it ended up looking a bit like etched glass!  Of course you could use etching cream for this but if you're doing this project with kids, the translucent Frost paint is another option to make it more kid friendly.

This would be a great wedding gift or First Christmas gift for a couple.  Bring the kids in on it because the stenciling is that easy!  Use a smaller frame (mine was 14" by 7") & just do a monogram or just a snowflake.  It would even be a great sun catcher sort of deal.  Seriously, the possibilites are endless!

Either hang your frame (like we will after this year) or use it as a center piece.  Our dinning table is rather small but with the two of us it's alright to have a larger center piece.  We've resolved to use the dining room table more so it will be a nice little touch to bring our dinners more holiday warmth!

If you're dying for more inspiration, check out Plaid on Facebook, Twitter, & Pinterest.  Want some more cool ideas? Check this Cupcake Gift Jar...pretty cool!

How do you decorate your home? Who will you gift a monogramed sign to?

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Martha Stewart Paint & Stencils by Plaid and The Blueprint Social. The opinions in this post are my own

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