Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Starting a new Christmas Card Tradition

Have I mentioned that Christmas is my favorite time of the year?  No? Well it is.

Give me some cold weather, a cup of hot chocolate, strands of Christmas lights and dreamy Christmas music and I am in my happy place.  I love putting up the decorations, baking an enormous amount of holiday treats to pass out to neighbors and friends, and spending time with family.

I think one of the best and most underrated parts of the holiday season is giving and receiving Christmas cards.  I love that each Christmas our mailbox is filled with cards from family and friends sending us blessings and wishing us well.  It might seem like something small or insignificant to some, but I find that receiving a card or letter in the mail always brightens my day.  And mailing out our cards leaves me feeling so accomplished, never mind the fact that I haven't done any Christmas shopping or finished my holiday to-do list...if my cards are mailed I'm good.

This year I decided to hop on the holiday photo card bandwagon.  Every year it seems like card designs get cuter and harder to choose from. We're going with a card from from Shutterfly.  I could spend hours looking through their  holiday photo card collection.  Seriously, the have so many to choose from...
Flat photo cards

Flat stationery cards

and Folded greeting cards

I was always envious of the cute family photo cards we received and the ones that were advertised in almost every store or on every website.  So this year I was determined to take a photo of all four of us in coordinating colors, during Thanksgiving.  I didn't factor in Levi acting like a little pill and screaming "NO!" every chance he could while my mom tried to snap a photo of us...and I didn't think about my mom not knowing how to work our camera... I just knew we were getting our photo taken. No matter what! 

When I sat down to go through the pictures, I realized that finding one good one out of the hundred that were taken (not an exaggeration by the way) was going to be really hard.  I finally narrowed it down to one photo.  Only one photo that was decent enough for our card.

Three different looks, not sure which one I am going to narrow it down to, because as hard as it was taking a photo choosing which fabulous card to go with is even harder. 

I love the look of the blue and brown

or maybe something with more traditional colors?

See what I mean?? Every card is cuter than the next! 

And don't even get me started on their holiday gifts.  Photo books for Grandma's and Grandpa's, Calendars for Dad's office, and Coffee Mugs for Mom.  It's like one stop shopping for your family gifts.  I have a few relatives asking me for a family photo of the four of us, and now I get to provide them with a photo and a card all in one, hehe.  So if you're looking for a great photo card for Christmas, or any holiday gifts, be sure to head over to Shutterfly and check them out. 

And if you blog too, Shutterfly has an amazing promotion going on- just create a fun post about their awesome products (like I did :) ) and receive 50 FREE Christmas Cards!  Just sign up here and follow their easy instructions.  Merry Christmas indeed!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A crazy giveaway from Laura Winslow Photography

I almost don't want to share this, could mean less chances for me to win, hehe. But there is an awesome giveaway going on over at Laura Winslow's Photography blog right now until December 6.  There are 59 shops participating, and one, that's right ONE person will win prizes from ALL of them.  Some pretty amazing etsy shops are involved and there are multiple ways to enter.  I wish we all could win :).  Hope you check it out and good luck.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Another Craigslist find- $10 Dresser

A few weeks ago I was stalking searching Craigslist ads and found a smaller dresser that I thought would be perfect for our room.  We drove about 20 minutes outside of town to a house in the boonies to pick it up.  It was beaten up but functional, and the "bones" of it were solid.  It's taken me a few weeks to finish it (due to the weather, the holidays, and having two littles to care for), but I did it. 


Don't you just love that feeling? It's like no matter how big or how small your project is, once you finish it you feel so much better. 

Okay so here is the BEFORE:

I sanded the dresser, cleaned it off, then primed...

I filled in the holes where the cheapy gold colored knobs were with wood putty

Then I sanded, cleaned, primed, sanded, and cleaned again.  I measured and drilled holes for the new knobs and pulls. And finally I painted it.

I chose Rust-oleum's Satin White.  I love how it looks so fresh, clean, and lovely.  (White furniture makes me feel all happy inside.)  Once the paint was dry I added a coat of spray polyurethane to the top of the dresser and the drawers, since those areas tend to get the most wear.  Then I added the hardware that I purchased from Target.

This $10 dresser has become my new favorite piece in our house!

Price Breakdown
Paint---$5 (I used what I had on hand and only had to buy 1 can of the White spray paint from Rust-oleum)
Knobs---$6.99 for 4
Pulls---$12.99 for 6


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Old and Gross to New and Fresh

This little beauty used to be mine when I was a kid. I would take it on car trips to draw on, or use it in our house to write on.  Then it got passed down to my sister and now that she's done using it my mom asked me if I wanted to try to do anything with it.  I knew with just a little change in fabric and some scrapbook paper to cover the hideous top I could have myself a brand new lap pad tray thingy that would be perfect to sit my laptop when I am in bed or on the couch.  Hot Glue worked it's magic again! Is there nothing hot glue isn't good for?

Before:  EW!

 After: Yay.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Baby Slings

A couple of months ago I bought a sling from Seven Slings.  They are the same company that makes Udder Covers, which I also have one of.  I had never tried a sling before but had always wanted to.  I saw all the cute mommies wearing their babies in their cute slings or wraps, walking around hands free and I was and am jealous.  We have an ERGO carrier which is awesome I must say, but I wanted something that was simple and light weight and easy to put on when I was just running in and out of a store or something like that.  Therefore I wanted a sling.  And even though I wanted a sling I didn't want to pay an arm and a leg for one.  So when Udder Covers sent me an email telling me about their new site Seven Slings and gave me a promo code to order one, I jumped at the chance.  I ordered the sling using the awesome promo code they sent me and the sling became FREE.  All I had to do was pay for the shipping. 

The sling I chose was on back order till November, it came today.  I had actually forgotten all about it so it was a neat surprise this morning when my husband brought me the mail and asked me what was in the package. 

Hello Sling!
Our girl looks good in purple so that's the color I chose.  I have to admit I was EXTREMELY nervous about ordering a sling.  I am no where near the size of the skinny ladies pictured above and on their site, but I was excited to see that they carried slings in all different sizes and finding my size was easy with their measurement guide/instructions.  And they also offer insurance so that if you order a sling and it's too small or too big you can exchange it.  Besides, I thought it couldn't hurt to order one and try it out when all I had to do was pay for the shipping.

I tried out the sling today and was surprised at how easy it was to use.  So simple, no way to mess it up.  And the instructions it came with were pretty awesome, detailed and color pictures included ;).  As with all new things I was a little nervous about whether I was using it right, but I assumed I was since my baby looked like the babies in the pictures, and she seemed happy as a clam to be in the sling.  No crying, until I took her out that is :).

And I have to say the sling looks good.  The print is stylish, the fabric lightweight so you won't get too hot wearing it, and it's sturdy.  I hopped around and leaned forward to make sure my little girl was in there safe and snug.  I even made muffins while she was in the sling and while my son was "helping" mommy.  Now if that's not a testament to how good these slings are I don't know what is.

Oh and sorry for the terribleness of the picture, it was a long day and I looked and felt tore up from lack of sleep and trying to watch both babes all day.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Another CL Mirror and The Endless Circle of Updating

I'm sure most people have this same experience, you update or change something old into looking new and you love the way it looks, but then you start to notice how bad everything else looks in comparison. Well unfortunately for me that is my problem right now.  Last night I finally got my husband to help me with installing hardware to hang another Craigslist mirror I found and once it was up and in place I found the rest of the furnishings/decor around it to be somewhat depressing.  I don't want to sound selfish or ungrateful because really I am very blessed with the belongings we have.  Most of them we did not have to buy, they were handed down to me by my parents, and they are good solid pieces...just really dated and really OAK.

So here's the mirror I had found on Craigslist in an ad for a second hand consignment type of store

This is it after I brought it home
I really loved this mirror.  It is heavy as heck though and it took me a while to decide where I wanted to put it and what color I was going to paint it.  Finally I decided on putting it in my small dining room/nook area and painted it Oil Rubbed Bronze from Rust-oleum.  It was my first time using the ORB and it was awesome.  I love the color.  It looks dark, almost black yet has some kind of metallic glitter to it. 

And this is the mirror after I painted it, and hung it up

Do you see what I mean about the OAK?!!! Now I have to get my butt in gear and do something about those tables!
After we hung the mirror I had rearranged the tables in there and quickly gave my hurrican a little update as well.
Plain and boring
 Cute and fun
Okay one last shot of the beautiful mirror and it's ugly step sisters-the tables.

Silhouette Giveaways Are Everywhere

Except here that is, hahaha. But seriously another one of my favorite crafty blogs is having a giveaway sponsored by Silhouette too.  The gals over at Shanty2Chic are offerring readers a chance to win the all powerful Silhoutte.  I'm hoping with multiple giveaways and entries I'll have an even better shot at winning ;)  And you will too, right?  Right!

So here's hoping to some good luck for you and for me.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Photo from Annie Eats
You read that right. Pumpkin! Cream Cheese!! Muffins!!! Doesn't get much better or more Fall like than that.  I had a friend share a link with me for this recipe and boy am I glad she did.  These muffins are amazing.  Better than the ones Starbucks sells.  And I should know because I spent almost 3 years working for them and slinging their high priced espresso and baked goods.

The recipe is from Annie's Eats, she has some delicious looking pictures and recipes on her site.  I suggest you check it out, but only if you've got some will power to not go bake everything in sight.  Seriously her site is like a smorgasbord for your eyes.  I know your tummy will be growling for food after browsing through some of her posts.  I also posted the recipe here too, down below.

My "Helper"


Added the rest of the batter and then the streusel topping

Fresh from the oven (don't you love my 1960's tile? No? Yeah, me either)

Even though my pictures aren't as good as Annie's I bet my muffins are, haha.  Thanks to her of course.

Here's the recipe like I promised.
24 muffins
Ingredients:For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil
For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth.  Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter.  Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil.  Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.
To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line muffin pans with paper liners.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend.  In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil.  Mix on medium-low speed until blended.  With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend.  Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly.  Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.
To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons).  Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces.  Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well.  Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.  Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving.  (It may be hard to resist immediate consumption, but the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)