I finished my family room gallery wall about a week ago but I still hadn't found the perfect something to put into a frame with awkward dimensions - 5 3/4 x 11 3/4 - what is that? I contemplated getting a picture enlarged and cropping to fit the frame or framing a piece of patterned paper to compliment my color scheme.....hmmmm......Then while toodling around on Pic Monkey I decided I would make my own very simple typography print!
I knew I wanted a black type on white look so I googled 'white paper' and clicked 'Images' and saved a piece of white 'paper' to my computer. You can use any color background you would like......simply google that color and save the image to your computer.

Next, in Pic Monkey open the white paper file you saved. Here you will resize to fit the dimensions you would like. My funky dimensions in pixels was 431 x 881. If you would like to create a print to fit in an 8 x 10 frame you would want 600 x 750 in pixels. I used this handy calculator to convert my measurement from inches to pixels. Click 'Resize' and enter your dimensions. Be sure to unclick 'keep proportions' and then click 'apply.'
Now you get to enter your text! On the far left hand side click the icon that looks like a 'P', then 'Add Text.' You can play around with your font, color and sizing until you have a look you love. I didn't get into all of the fun features and effects but I did add a little asterick for kicks. You can do the same by clicking the 'Overlays' icon, again located on the far left side. I chose 'Stars' and sized my shape for my print.
Frame, hang and enjoy :)
I'll share my gallery walll later on this week but here's a little sneak-peak!
I hope you enjoy the tutorial!
Have you used Pic Monkey to create your own print? I'm always learning and would love any tips or tricks you've learned!

Nagging Tasks {Home Edition}

I've been thinking a lot lately about resolutions. I've set a few of my own that I will work on this year - big things like organizing my digital photos and eating clean. I'm also a list person......I love to check things off my list! Do you?
I have a list of my grander resolutions but it will inevitably take me days, weeks and months to accomplish those tasks. I wanted to work on something smaller. I want that check mark next to my task now! The thought came to me when reading 'The Happiness Project' that I would like to focus on small things around my home - things that can be done in a few minutes or an hour or maybe even a day at most.
 One of the authors 'resolutions' for happiness is tackling a nagging task. I loved this when I read it! I immediately (at 2:00 a.m. aka 'my creative time') jotted down a list of tasks that were nagging me......I wrote out a three page list in a matter of minutes! Things like schedule a appointment for the dermatologist, get my daughters hair cut, floss and organize my boys schoolwork.
I thought I would take this one step further and write out a list of tasks around my home that were nagging me. I literally walked around my home with a pen and paper. Here are a few that I'll share: (no judging, mkay?)

These french doors that let in beautiful natural light have looked like this pretty much since we moved into our home......4 months ago! Check.

This is the current state of my daughters closet. The clothes and shoes are clearly out of reach for a 3-year old, her dress up clothes have no home and I won't even show you the other side! Serious closet makeover. This task may take longer than 10 minutes :) Check.

Need I say more on this one?!? Check.
Hopefully this will help you to inventory your home and take pen to paper and list those tasks that are nagging you to no end. And then you get to check them off! My favorite part :)
So, what tasks are nagging you right now?

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Making Art with What You Have: Gold is Back!

So as I mentioned when putting my living room together, I am seriously purging items that I'm no longer in love with. But I could never bring myself to get rid of these frames.
I've hung onto them for over a decade now. They've graced the walls in the first three homes we lived in but then I was all, 'I'm over this gold thing!" Bring in the chunky black frames and frames made from salvaged tin and lots and lots of easels......everywhere! That was the early 2000's.
I've contemplated spray painting them dozens of times but never did it AND I'm SO glad that I didn't because now that 'gold/brass thing' that we detested in 2005 is now ever so popular and amazing in 2013!
Check it:

I adore this room!! It may be a bit too much for my lifestyle with 3 rambunctous kiddos but I do use it for reference everyday when deciding how to style my living space, namely the pops of gold and brass.
I was so happy to unpack these gold treasures that I've hung onto for so long and they will finally be displayed proud in my living room.
Because the glittery autumn colored leaves aren't working for me I decided to take the frames apart and glue a piece of patterned paper in each one. Most of these prints are from an discontinued Amy Butler collection and they are perfect since I've decided that blue and hot pink is where it's at! (at least for this room)

 Here they are all updated and pretty.

I think that three on each side of my gold mirror would finish that wall......for now!

What do you think? How do you like displaying art in your home?


Putting a Living Room Together

You've probably moved once or twice in your lives? Do you have wishlists of decor and furniture that you'll purchase for your new home and get so excited about putting your new home together exactly how you've imagined? Me too! Insert Pinterest Living Room Board!

My current fave living room inspiration:

 This is the living room of one Brooke Shields......isn't it perfect/gorgeous/lovely? Something to aspire to for sure :)
After the initial excitement of moving into, hopefully our last home, I realized that rooms weren't going to be perfectly styled {like above photo} until things like having clean clothes to wear and being able to find those clothes in the first place, unpacking toiletries and laundry detergent, finding the silverware and trash bags, etc...
To be honest, my decor wasn't even unpacked until we finished our kitchen cabinets which was a huge project that seemed to have no end but finally did end and they're perfect :)
When I reached the point where I could start styling rooms the way I'd imagined I became depressed opening boxes of decor that I wasn't really in love with anymore. What's a girl to do?!? I decided that anything that I wasn't in LOVE with or would be proud to display in my home was going. I was able to sell much of my decor thanks to some local Facebook pages and Craigslist. I might have a different take on this and this may come as a shock to some of you.........
I would rather have an empty room than a room filled with things that I don't love.
 You still here? Ok great!
Since I was 'starting over' (sorta) in some of the spaces in my home I realized that I didn't have much to work with.......but there is hope!
Back to the title of this post: putting a living room together. If you've found yourself in the same situation here is your solution:
 Paint! Paint can make an empty room look not so empty and is a pretty inexpensive way to change the look of a room. Our new living/dining room is large with 10' ceilings. I knew this room could handle a dark dramatic color and I've been wanting to use a dark gray for FOR-ever! The color we used is Gauntlet Gray by SW. LOVE how it turned out!

Neutral, neutral, neutral. It really is a blank slate. If you don't know where to start with color just go neutral. Everything in this room is white, gray, and black. I knew I wanted a white sofa (found this Ektorp Ikea sofa on Craigslist for a song:) to create a contrast with the dark walls. Long white curtain panels. The rug is gray/white, the chairs are neutral colors (I'm still planning on recovering my green chair too) Start here and then when you are comfortable (and have the funds) with your layout you can start layering in color and adding accessories that you love.

Remember function. Meaning, what will this room be used for? Since we have a good sized family room I wanted a 'pretty' room for guests and because this is the first room you see when you walk through the front door. So mainly a pretty room that will occasionally be used :)

When you have the basics covered, you can start searching for those perfect colorful accents! I believe the rule of thumb is 2-3 items of the same color is enough to be an 'accent color' and 2-3 accent colors can take a blah room to amazing!!

This room is far from done but it's the beginning to hopefully a very pretty, inviting, and comfortable living space! Probably not as perfect as Brooke Shields but I sure will try :) I'll be sure to post my progress as I find the perfect accent colors.......I'm tinkering with a cobalt blue and hot pink combo!

What do you think? What are your favorite accent colors right now? Do you have a great tip for styling your living space?


My White Cabinets

We have been in our new home for a little over two months and loving every moment! We moved during a very hard time for me but it was the very best decision for our family. I had lofty (and probably unrealistic) plans for our new home. Most of my 'making it our own' list took a backseat to getting enough rest, BUT there was one thing that HAD to be done!!

This is a quick shot of our kitchen (complete with goofy staging:) that I took as we were walking through for the 10th time! Everyone who came in our house LOVED that brick wall which was apparantly done by the previous owner. I liked it but I secretly wished that it was shiny white subway tiles instead! Since we couldn't spend the money to renovate our kitchen I wanted to make those bricks really pop!! If you know me at all I've been dreaming of a white kitchen for, well, years. White everything.....complete with dark wood floors please.
I started taking the kitchen apart......

 I took all of the doors and hinges off, drawers came out and original hardware removed. All of the doors and drawers went to my 'shop' in the garage. Another reason we love this did we manage without a 3rd car garage??
I used Sherwin-Williams Pro Classic latex paint color matched to Martha Stewart's 'Picket Fence.'
Disclaimer: I am not a professional painter nor do I claim to do everything the proper way. I do what works for me. I have painted many pieces of furniture so I know what I like and what I don't like. Having said that, this may be a bit of a shock.......I didn't sand or prime before spraying my paint on. Don't hate okay :) I did clean my cabinets really well before painting. Here is my life-saver and favorite painting product I've used to date:
This guy saved me oodles of time and sprayed on like a dream......a dream I tell you! I don't own an air compressor (yet) so I went with this option which for the price tag of $100 was well worth it! I did just one coat on the back first and when they dried well  (2-3 days) I lightly sanded the edges and sprayed one coat on the front side. When the front was dry I used a clear wax to seal the edges of the cabinet door where they will be getting the most use.
While the doors/drawers were drying in the garage I worked on the inside. My husband and I primed the cabinet bases and then rolled on the paint. I'm lazy and didn't want to cover everything in plastic and tape off so I decided not to spray inside. Because of the quality of the paint we used it rolled on extremely well. We did about three coats on the bases and used a brush for the crown molding, again doing about three coats.
The final result!!!
Doesn't the brick look sooooo much better?!? I think so.
This project took me about a month from start to worth the time and effort! It completely changed the look of my kitchen......I'm in love!!!

 And just because everyone loves a good before-and-after, here ya go!!

So what do you think? Do you love white kitchens as much as I do?


My Health Story: Part 2

 {This is the second part of my story. You can read Part 1 here.}
 You're probably wondering if during this time I sought any medical advice. The answer to that is a big, fat YES!! (I'm not yelling at you......just frustrated that's all:) I had the gamut of blood work done to find a possible cause for my exhaustion and mental instability. Everything normal. Really?, REALLY!?! I wanted to scream! Actually I'm not much of a yell-er, I just cry.
Miraculously, as I was talking to a friend one day she mentioned that she, in fact, had very similar symptoms to mine. The next day I had an appointment scheduled with the same doctor she'd seen and helped her feel normal again. I actually took the first available appointment with his P.A. which was a L-O-N-G three weeks away. During this time questions arose: 'What if they tell me that everything looks normal?' 'What if I never feel better again?' I had to rely on my faith that my Heavenly Father will never give me more trials than I can bear.


I prayed that 'things would work out.' The day of my appointment came and as soon as the P.A. asked me what she could help me with I lost it!! I broke down, sobbing my way through an explanation of what the past several months had been like for me. I brought in a copy of my most recent blood test results analyzing my hormones. She proceeded to tell me that I was making little to no had this been missed?!? I'd had my thyroid checked on three different occasions in the past couple of years based on symptoms that I explained to medical professionals. Every result came back normal.
That day, in addition to a prescription for a compounded progesterone, I left with a prescription for a natural thyroid medication, a diabetes medication (this helps with converting sugar to energy, not because I'm diabetic) and a natural vitamin D supplement. Blood results revealed that I indeed had hypothyroidism.

I finally felt as if the dark clouds lifted a bit......


It's been a few months since that day and I can truly say that I feel like myself again! :) I wasn't blessed with a ton of energy like some people who seem to have an excess. I just have to work with what I've got! My days are never perfect {who's are?} but they are easier now that I'm not taking 4 naps a day!! I do still try to sneak in a 30 min. nap somewhere during my day and I think that's probably pretty normal.

I finally feel like I'm participating in my children's lives, not just observing. And I can now make commitments that I couldn't before (ie. volunteer at my son's school, make a lunch date with a friend, plan and finish a project!) YAY!!! Soooo, back to this little-very-new-blog of mine.......I hope to have new projects and more inspiration for you now that I'm feeling better. My schedule will be unpredictable because I'm taking it a day at a time :)

What a blessing it is to be be able to create, to inspire, to teach, to love.....
Thank you to each one of you for being a part of my journey! Here's to a wonderful 2013!

I'm Back! My health story: Part 1

 {disclaimer}: this post is wordy so I've divided it into two parts......

WOW!! I'M BACK!! It's been awhile since I posted on my beloved blog! I have missed connecting with the wonderful friends and supporters I've gained since starting my blog......I found that I really NEED and enjoy that connection and also my desire to share things that I've created.

The projects and new creations have slowed WAY down these past few months that I've been away, unfortunately. My health has been a worry and concern for me lately and made it nearly impossible to do the things that I love doing. I really struggled writing this post and putting into words a very personal experience, but I hope that maybe by my writing this it can help or encourage someone in a similar situation. I think that as mothers and women we want to appear like we have everything together. On the outside I was just fine......inside I was crumbling.
For the past year, my health slowly got to a point that I just couldn't function at all, really. It's amazing that my children are still alive! They are resilient little creatures for sure because I don't think any of them would guess the amount of pain I was in. And when I say pain, it wasn't the physical sort that you would likely think, but a complete physical and mental exhaustion that turned to a pain unbearable.
My days were like this: Wake up at 7:15, get my 2 older boys off to school, eat breakfast (I'm a breakfast girl. If there is one meal that I NEVER skip it's breakfast!!) 8:30, go back to sleep on the couch while my daughter watches cartoons and entertains herself. 11:00, drag myself off the couch and wander around for another hour trying to convince myself that I have energy. 12 noon I actually got a small kick of energy to get some housework done, fix lunch for my daughter, run short errands, or work on a project. 2:00 pm, I'm completely's depressing really even just typing this (that was such a dark point in my life it's hard to even recall it)
Okay, back to my schedule.....most days I will need to lay down after kids are home from school around 3:30. I would cry myself to sleep on the couch thinking about my boys who were gone all day from their mom and now I don't even have the energy to ask them about school. 5:00, pull myself together to fix something for my family to eat (not many healthy home cooked meals were happening during this time) 7:00, I went to bed with my kids.......half the time falling asleep on their floor and then dragging myself to my own bed for the night. Wake up the next morning and repeat....
I knew that I could only do the absolute bare minimum to keep my family functioning so any other miscellaneous to-do's were out of the question (my blog, decorating my home, maintaining friendships, extra activities with my kids, etc.) I couldn't commit to much knowing that my energy level just simply wouldn't let me.
As if I wasn't already overwhelmed with what I couldn't do we found and bought our dream home (we'd been looking for over a year and a half!) and MOVED in November. That was truly a blur.....if it wasn't for my mom and the powers of heaven I'm not sure I could have done that.
Although these days were extremely dark for me, my family was my biggest support, especially my amazing husband and my equally amazing mother! There would be nights that I would cry, wondering out loud if I would ever be me again to my husband and he would just hold me in his arms and tell me that yes, of course you'll be you again.....we just need to figure this out. My mom would call to check on me just about every day. She helped me with my kids and let me just talk......or probably complain mostly about how I couldn't get anything done, how I was a horrible mother, how utterly exhausted I was, how I was letting everyone in my life down.....the list goes on. I was (and still am) so grateful to have such support from those closest to me.

Be sure to come back tomorrow for the rest of my riviting story:)


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