on a very extended vacation

FYI-My family & I are on vacation for TWO whole months.
I will do my best to continue to update my blog here & there. I have a few projects that I am going to be working on while on vaca. We'll be back after the holiday months!
Happy Holidays!



easy things to do to spruce up an old house or apartment

We live in an OLD apartment. It was built in the 1920's. So many of our friends also live in these old houses. The hubs found this apartment for us, before we got married. I never even saw it until we moved in! I moved 2,000 miles east to be with the hubs. He did a great job, even though at first I was not that impressed. It was pretty nasty when we moved in. I guess the old tenant died of a heart attack (they tell us it didn't happen here...eek!). We moved in a week before all of our stuff got here, while it crossed the U.S. in our ABF truck. After having lived here for over 2 1/2 years, we have definitely done a few little things here & there that really make our house a home.

Here are some simple things you can do. You don't need to do them all in one day, but over time.
1. Clean. I mean with some elbow grease!- Everything makes a huge difference when it is sparkling. This is an obvious first step.

2. Order.- Organize your house! We're talking about furniture people. In these old houses, mine especially, the floor plans are way retarded. We moved in & put everything just where we thought was good. Boy, were we wrong. After a year we thought we'd change things up. We moved furniture around, a million times & found the perfect fit to make the rooms the most inviting and open. Make changes until you get everything in the perfect order.

3. Wall decor. Picture frames, paintings, mirrors, signs, wreaths, anything.- Hang things on your walls! Take advantage of all that blank space. I've been in a lot of houses where there is really not much on the bare white walls. It is such an empty, boring feeling. If your walls are painted, less wall decor is okay. Remember rooms need COLOR! A mirror will definitely make a smaller room feel bigger too.

4. Paint! Paint! Paint!-If your landlord will let you. This is one of my biggest regrets. I never even thought to paint until we were expecting our baby. I wish I would have painted every room. It truly makes all the difference! And do it early, so you can enjoy it longer.

5. Take something old & make it look new.- Slap some new paint on an old piece of furniture. Change the color of your coffee table. Spray paint all of the picture frames in your house (or just one room) to white or black (or whatever color you prefer). You'll be surprised at the big difference this little change will make, especially if you have painted walls.

6. Changing fixtures.-This one can get pricey, but it doesn't have to and it will really make all the difference. Change the shower head in your bathroom, we did for like 10 bucks & we lOVE it! If you want to put a little more money into it change some of your light fixtures or towel racks when you move in, so you can enjoy it longer. Be sure to save the old ones in the basement or somewhere so you can put them back & take your new ones with you when you leave.

7. Decorative window treatments.
-This too can get pricey, but again, it doesn't have to! Put up window treatments other than just boring old blinds! Thankfully our house didn't have blinds when we moved in, because if it did chances are good the hubs would say "forget cute curtains, just leave the (ugly) blinds." Don't get me wrong, I like blinds. I love the nice wooden ones, but the cheap plastic ones are not my favorite, especially when you can do so much more for the same price or less! It's all about bargain shopping, because I know curtains can get expensive. Look at places like TJ Max or the clearance wracks at Target. The second best option is to make some! I know some people don't have a machine or don't know how to, but learn how to, it's well worth your time. I have 16 different window treatments hanging in my house that total about $120 dollars. That is really not bad for that many.

Love this color scheme. I personally am not a big fan of the floral curtains, but I think this room works, because the furniture are solids. This room isn't too busy, as far as patterns go, like a lot I'm starting to see these days.

8. Add dimension to a room.-Mix things up in a room, especially on the walls. Picture frames are great! But, adding a shelf, sconces, a clock, a wreath or whatever that sticks out from the wall a little bit will help fill a room and add variety.

9. Rugs
-If you have all hardwood floors, like me, or just some ugly-not-so-comfy carpet, get a rug or two. Again, these can be pricey too, but buying them at discount stores will save you money. And don't forget, these aren't things you need to have all in one day. We have tan carpet that we put over our hardwood floor in our living room to fill most of the room and on top, in the center of the room we placed a great rug that has a bunch of different colors that really ties our room together. Rugs are fun so don't be afraid to get a fun or spunky pattern, just focus on the colors of the rug.
We have this same style of rug under our table. It keeps the room looking clean & crisp. It's great, but the downfall is it can stain easily.

This one is HUGE! I just love how elegant this room looks.

I especially love shaggy rugs! They are so soft & go great in any room.
10. Floral & Greenery.-Add some fake flowers, greenery, garland or whatever to add a little to a room. Micheal's is a great place to find this stuff. They have quality flowers and are reasonably priced. Not to mention, you can always find great coupons. A little TIP: You can use JoAnn's coupons at Micheals & vice versa, except for on fabric at JoAnn's. Throw the flowers on a shelf, in a vase, in a jar or an old can, or on a wreath. It really gives the room something extra.

Adding little things here & there to a room will really give it that extra touch! Scrapblog,Scrapbook,Ethereality



In the past few months I've thrown, or helped throw, baby showers. As I have mentioned before, sooooo many of my friends are popping out babies left & right. It seems like there are always baby showers happening around here. I really enjoy planning & throwing shin-digs. I would love to be a wedding/party planner! Though, I will probably never do it.

Anyway, one thing I especially am crazy about with parties lately is party favors. I think they are so much fun & super cute! There are SO MANY GREAT ideas out there. If only mister toddler man was a tad older, then I could really get into the (kid) party scene. And once we are out of this small apt (7 months till graduation!) & possibly move into a place a bit bigger, we are definitely throwing more parties & get-togethers.

I just thought I'd share some cute little favors I have done recently, that were pretty easy & very cute.

This one I did a few months ago. Pretzel rods, dipped in caramel & then in chocolate, topped either white, purple or chocolate drizzles. These make such a cute treat & really aren't very hard.
If you leave out the caramel, they are a lot easier.In the past month I've helped throw two baby showers, both for baby girls.
I think this one was my favorite, although, both turned out so cute & so delicious!

First, I made Oreo Bonbons...
Real quick, here is the easy-peasy recipe:

1 pkg of Oreo's
1 8oz pkg cream cheese
Almond bark or dipping chocolate

In a food processor (or something of that sort) grind up the Oreo's until they are powdery. Add cream cheese that is at room temp. Throw it in your mixer & it mixes into a thick paste. Roll into small balls, chill in fridge for a few minutes. Melt chocolate & dip balls in & top with a drizzle or sprinkles or nuts. Store in air tight container in fridge. SO easy & they look so great, don't they?
Warning: these are so so so so so delicious, you'll have to control yourself. If you aren't careful you might eat at least 12 before you know it.
I got these cute boxes & they turned out to be a bit bigger then I planned so I just added some yummy scotcharoos!
I included a cute purple tutu in the gift & had some left over tulle, which is much cheaper than buying ribbon. So I just doubled that around the boxes. I love the way they turned out.

For this next one, it was for a second baby & we wanted to have it themed on more of a Fall theme. OOoh it was so yummy. We served apple pie, pumpkin cheese cake & my yummy choco. caramel cheese cake, spinich dipp, a veggie tray, pumpkin bread & hot apple cider. It was a hit! A few nights before myself & the other hostess put together these cute caramel popcorn baggies.
They were so soft & yummy. My friend who helped me with them, is a great photographer (as you can tell by the pictures, which I got from her) & she also designed the cute label on top. We were a bit worried we'd run out, so we also did rice crispy ones.

Theses are only a few ideas, but there are so many great ideas out there.
I love trying new things & look forward to my next party!

In case you are interested, here is a great site for all sorts of fun party ideas.


baby love

It seems that I am always busy thinking of or working on some sort of baby project. Sooo many of my friends & family are always having babies!!

But, I love it because baby projects are super easy & you usually get quick results!

My latest thing, when making baby gifts, is giving all the girl babies a little tutu. Who doesn't love a baby in a tutu? Really, it's for pictures sake.
One of my good friends, her daughter is two & has to wear her tutu everywhere, how cute is that!

Anyway, since so many of my friends have been asking me how I make them, I think they will be surprised by how EASY they really are. Here is the easiest little tutorial ever.
A month ago we made this one for my adorable niece, planning on using it in her little photo shoot, but of course, we left it behind! This was the only picture we got.
Get a piece of elastic (like 90 cents at Walmart, so cheap!) & cut the waist size you'll need. By hand, sew the ends together.

For really little babies, like under a year old I only use about 1 1/2 yards of the softest tulle.
I fold it, and fold it and fold it....until it's really skinny & then cut about 2'' wide for each strip. That is an easy & fast way to get long strips. For an alternative way to cut fast short strips go here.
I like the messy look, so I either will take one long strip & cut it in half or cut it in thirds. That way I will have two different lengths all throughout the tutu. After cutting it into the half or third, I double up tying two pieces into a slip knot around the elastic.Like so.Continue doing that all the way around, until you get a nice thick tutu & you can't see the elastic band any more! If you like seeing the knots leave it how it is, or you can turn the tutu inside out to hide the knots. Either way it's cute. If you need to trim you can too. You can also do alternating colors or whatever! They are SO cute & SO easy & SOOO inexpensive. One tutu costs less than $3 dollars to make, even less if you buy the tulle with a coupon! (I love coupons!)

This is now a standard item that you'll get from me, if you have a baby girl!

Here are just a few pictures of the most recent ones I made.
This one I also made a blanket & burp cloth with. The burp cloth is great, because one full side is lined with terrycloth.

And not to leave little boys out, one in particular. I hope my sister doesn't see my blog just yet, because this is still in the mail on it's way to her. I made this great, minky love quilt, for my new, adorable nephew, Oliver!

The best part with these little baby gifts was that I used all the fabric I already had. No trips to the store for me!
That never happens.


the living room

Welcome to my "crib."

I wanted to post these not-so-funny-actually-quite-terrifying pictures of what our apt looked like right after we moved in. Disclaimer: we had just gotten married (as in, a week before) & it was decorated with everything we got from the wedding, pretty much. Which explains why it doesn't really go together at all. Notice those ugly sheer flowery curtains? Yikes!

Who's idea was it to put the couch in the middle of the room? Or the rocking chair in that back corner?....

Well, since these pictures I have made quite a few changes & have really grown to love my living room that has completely been decorated on a very, very small, almost free, budget. And the most recent changes where SO cheap & make all the difference for me.

A few months ago I scored & got a few of these FREE painted canvas boards, that are a good size. I figured I would just paint over them. I did. About, ten...maybe fifteen times. And, I hated it each time. So, this is what I did instead.

I bought some burlap ($2.99 or something like that at JoAnn's with a selection of different colors to choose from) & wrapped it around & stapled it tight (can you tell how much we love our staple gun?). I had this star (wedding gift), but it was brown & I painted it the red color.
I love how simple it is & how it all turned out.
Good bye ducks...we'll see you in the hubs office sometime soon.

Only I need opinions, should I try to find some sconces to hang on both sides, or should I just leave it? I don't mind it how it is, without anything & I feel like we'll only be living in this same place for a few more months-enough with the changes?
My second find was AWESOME!
I found this shelf/coat wrack on the tree-lawn (love that place). It was white & I spray painted it black. And then I had this idea & I LOVE how it all turned out too. We recently had some new family pictures & I was able to print them out & ahhh, I just love it.
So, with the few little wall decor changes & my new curtains I am feel pretty good about this room, finally. The more & more I get to explore & decorate, the more & more I am learning what my style is. It all makes me especially happy, since I didn't spend more than a few bucks on it all.

Here is the room now.
As you can tell it's more than just a living room, it's also our "office space" & see that little table with my cute Halloween tree on it? That's my awesome (tree-lawn find) sewing table. The top flips open & my sewing machine sits down inside of it. It's a future refurbishing project too.

Oh & if you can't tell, it's also our t.v. room & play room.
It's not a lot, but it's good enough for me (at this point).


my new valances

A little story about our curtains.
One thing I love (and hate) about our apartment is that there are a lot of windows. Window treatments are not always cheap either. Our living room has three smaller sized windows. There were these UGLY sheer flowery curtains on them for a little while, that were left behind from the previous renters. And then with those great gift cards from our wedding we bought some roman shades. So, then my mom came to town & thought they needed something more, which was true. She kindly bought some brown, sheer-drapey-valance-type-curtains (obviously, I'm not sure what they were called) & they have been great.

Well, as many of you know, I go through phases where I just need a change. So, over this past weekend we had a very busy Saturday, but I was home for about 5 hours or so just working on projects & such. I had been nagging on the hubs on what I should do about my curtains, because I wanted them changed or fixed soon! Then we both thought I should just make some...duh, why didn't I think of this sooner?

So, I browsed through my stock pile of fabrics & found the perfect one. I only had one yard & it just happened to be the perfect amount. I was so happy with the turn out!

Here is a short tutorial on how to make them, they were VERY easy.
I'm telling you, I had a little over 3 hours to make all 3 valances, from start to finish.

First, cut the amount you will need to fit your window. And if it's a thin fabric, use some muslin (very inexpensive cream fabric) or something similar to back it with.

Now I wanted to slip mine onto the rods I already had, so I cut an extra piece of the backing fabric-the width by about 2''. And then I sewed it onto the backing piece of fabric, sewing 1 1/2" apart, to leave room for the rod to slip through. If you look closely you can see where I sewed that strip on, on the backing fabric.
Next face the two pieces of fabric right sides together (so the backing with the strip are facing the patterned side of your main piece of fabric).
Pin the fabric all around, except for the top.
Make sure the strip of fabric is towards the top of your curtain.
Sew the bottom part together first with a zigzag stitch, then the sides-without sewing over the ends of the strips. You don't want to sew off those ends, or else the rod wouldn't be able to go through.

Flip it inside out & iron.

Fold the tops inside & sew a straight stitch, to close the valance.

And then continue to sew a straight stitch a 1/4" all the way around the edge of the valance.
Slip the rod into the back of the valance & Viola!
Super easy!

These pictures aren't the best, but you get the idea.
We love them. I feel like the room is finally starting to come together.

I have been making several small changes in our living room, that I will be posting about shortly!

As you can tell, the valances stick out about 3" from the wall & wrap around on the sides, because of the rods.

I feel like it gives it a clean, crisp look and helps our small space not feel so cluttered.

I also have some great (ridiculous) before pictures to post soon, that are of our place right after we moved in...blah. It's fun to see all the improvements.