Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My Best of 2011 Projects, Recipes, and more…

Can you guys believe that 2011 is almost over? In just a few days we’ll be starting a new year. There will be new projects to start (or in my case old projects to finish!), new recipes to create, and tons more that I want to share with you all. But in case you’re not quite ready to give up 2011, I created this post to recap all of my favorite/best posts from this year. Hope you enjoy them!
I reupholstered my first chair in January…
I painted a herringbone pattern on our living room wall back in July…
and since then I have changed out the entertainment stands, and added lamps to either sides of the TV (which I need to show you guys!), and painted our hallway behind the wall gray.
We painted our refrigerator twice! The first time we painted our refrigerator with a gray chalkboard paint, and the second time I painted our refrigerator turquoise! Oh, and we changed the handles too!
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I redid a few dressers, mirrors, lamps, night stands…some of them with my favorite Chalk paint from Annie Sloan. Oh, and I named a few of them too.
Simone was painted with Provence
Audrey was painted with Paris Grey
And this $45 Craigslist dresser was redone and painted with Pure White
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I redid my son’s bedroom on a budget of $200!
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I made baked not fried zucchini using all of our fresh zucchini from our own garden…
a Kiwi Mixed Berry Pound Cake
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Homemade Unprocessed Peanut Butter Cups
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And I got to use stencils, a screen printing kit, fabric paints, and iron on transfer sheets to create some awesome shirts, pillows, and dish towels.  Oh, not to mention I stenciled my entire dining room wall!
Stenciled Dish Towels
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Screen printed T-shirts
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Holiday Pillows with Glittery Iron on Transfer Sheets
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Stenciled Dining Room Wall
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And our master bedroom got a complete makeover!

I really hope you guys are excited about 2012, and that you continue to read my blog and see what comes next.
Thank you guys for all your support and friendship this year! LINKING TO:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Our finished Christmas tree- #Searsrealcheer

Okay, someone needs to pinch me, because I just realized that Christmas is in TWO days!!
I know, I know…how could I not realize that today is December 23rd?  I think it’s all been due to the chaos going on with two room makeovers, our bedroom and dining room, and the fact that time really does fly when you have so much to keep you busy.
I got so caught up with the projects going on in our house I forgot to show you guys our tree. Our pretty Christmas tree that we got to decorate in silver and gold, white, and pops of turquoise!
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Remember how I said we went shopping for Christmas decorations at Sears this year? We picked out a really pretty collection of shatterproof ornaments in multiple colors, some glittery silver ribbon to go around the tree, lights, and a new beautiful star to put on top of our tree.
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I love the turquoise with the silver, white, and gold. The tree goes perfectly in our living room.
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And the star is one of my favorite new additions to our tree. It’s covered in glitter, and has pretty crystal colored rhinestones on it.  We haven’t had any stars or tree toppers in the previous years, so it was great to find something so pretty to go on the top of our tree when we were at Sears.
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And since we had so many ornaments left over, I used a lot of them to decorate a smaller tree we had, and had family take it to my great-grandfather’s rest home to put in his room. He has a couple roommates, and I really love the idea that they get to see something pretty and festive at Christmas time too.
My two kiddos put the decorations on his little tree, and loved all the pretty, and bright colors.
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I know Christmas is literally, right around the corner, but if you’re looking for any last minute ornaments or decorations (you know, for those Christmas ornament exchange parties!! or hostess gifts!!), then you should definitely stop by Sears and see all the pretty tree trimmings they have right now. Or you could just get an early jump on next year’s decoration shopping, because it’s never a bad idea to go shopping, right?
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I hope you guys are all having a wonderful Christmas weekend, and I wish you all the best in the new year to come!! Merry Christmas!!
For more ideas, or a better look at what Sears has in store, check out my shopping trip on my Google+ album or check out the Sears Real Cheer site.
Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.  All the opinions in the post were honest and my own.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stenciling Our Dining Room with a Cutting Edge Stencil

**Update: The Winner for the GIVEAWAY has been chosen! It was comment #2. The winner was picked using Random.org, and has been emailed. Thank you all for entering!

Oh yeah! My blood, sweat, and tears went into making this wall look amazing.
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I honestly thought I’d never bee done. And it’s not even because using the stencil was hard, it’s because painting while my kids were home was incredibly hard. I would start painting with the stencil and they would need me to hold them, or they’d try and sit in my lap, or they would try to grab the roller and paint themselves. But it’s finally done, and I LOVE  it!
Cutting Edge Stencils was kind enough to let me choose a stencil from there store, and after browsing for hours on their site, I finally picked the Rabat AllOver Stencil in large scale.  I had never stenciled a whole wall before but after watching some of the videos on the Cutting Edge site, and reading the instructions, I felt pretty confident that I could tackle doing a whole wall.
The directions they send along with the stencils, are very detailed and clear, but if you’re like me, then watching the videos makes everything so easy.

This is what the dining room looked like before painting. The walls were a very light beige or khaki color. accessorizing_the_buffet (2)
Before I started stenciling, I cleared everything away from the wall, and painted it with 2 coats of an Ultra White in semi-gloss. I also painted our ceiling white too. (I know, I am crazy to start this project 2 weeks before Christmas.)Cutting_Edge_Stencil (21)
After painting everything, I got to bust out my new stencil!
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Cutting Edge Stencils also sent me a roller and a foam roller brush. And their easy slip on level.
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I used painters tape to hold the stencil onto the wall, which also made it easy to reposition, and move around.
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I used a plastic paint tray liner since I didn’t have any paper or Styrofoam plates around. I just poured a little paint at a time and made sure to roll off the excess, before rolling over the stencil on the wall.
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I rolled a light coat of paint over the entire stencil, and pulled the stencil away to make sure it wasn’t bleeding through.  I had to do two coats of paint over each stencil to get the coverage I needed. Instead of waiting for each coat to dry though, I used my blow dryer to dry each section so I could continue painting faster. And it really did make it faster. I only had to use the blow dryer for about 30 seconds before paint was dry enough to do a second coat.
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In between coats, I just taped my stencil to the wall near by. I was going to paint the whole dining room and kitchen afterward, so it didn’t matter to me if the stencil got any paint on the wall.
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And yesterday I finally finished!!
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The wall looks so pretty now, and gives such character to our dining room. It was seriously easy to stencil, it just took a long time since I chose such a large wall to do. (Oh yeah, and my kids go a little nuts when I don’t give them constant attention.) 
I love the color I chose too. It’s Alpaca Yarn from Dutch Boy. It’s kind of like a muddy, gray brown. In some light it looks brown, and in others it looks gray. But it goes great with accent colors I have been using…
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Cutting Edge Stencils was also nice enough to let me host a giveaway for them! So you guys will get a chance to create a fabulous stenciled wall in your home too! But if you’re not up for doing a whole wall like I did, then you don’t have to worry, because Cutting Edge has so many different stencils in their online store, they even have craft size stencils, for doing projects like pillows, or prints.

This giveaway is for one stencil of any value up to $50!
1. Go to the Cutting Edge Stencils site and tell me which stencil you would like to have if you won. (1 entry)
2. Like Cutting Edge Stencils on Facebook, and leave me a comment here telling me you liked them. (1 entry)
3. Share about this giveaway on Facebook, or Twitter, or Google+, and leave me a comment telling me that you shared. Please include the link from where you shared. (1 entry for each, up to 3 entries)
The giveaway starts today, December 22, 2011 and ends December 29, 2011 at 11:59pm. The winner will be chosen using random.org, and will be announced/contacted on Friday, December 30, 2011. The winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Disclosure: I received product from Cutting Edge Stencils for the purpose of giving a review. The experience and opinions are honest and completely my own.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Donations can be large or small- creating hygiene packets with #CrystalRollOn

This year, because my family and I have been blessed so much, I have an increased desire to give to those in need or to do what I can to help others.  We don’t always have a lot, or extra to give, but sometimes it doesn’t take very much to give back. Donations don’t always have to be big items, or large sums of money. Sometimes they can be everyday items that you might take for granted.
My family took a little trip to Walmart last weekend, and decided to shop for products that we could create hygiene packets with and donate to a local shelter or organization that helps the homeless.
I began by picking out a few Crystal Body Roll-On Deodorants and adding them to our cart. The Crystal Roll-On Deodorant was an easy choice, it’s all-natural, aluminum free, and both men and women can use it, and it’s one I recently tried out and have been using.
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I also grabbed some items from the travel section that was in the same aisle. Toothbrushes, soap, wet ones, hand sanitizer, shampoo and conditioner, etc.
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When we got home I put everything out on our table and had my son help me put them into individual bags.
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Today we were able to gather up some of my kids’ clothes that they outgrew, and the hygiene packets and drive downtown to donate them to the Poverello House.  The Poverello House is private, nonprofit, nondenominational organization that has been serving the hungry and homeless since 1973.
Donating to the Poverello House is incredibly easy, they have a long driveway where you can pull up your car and workers will come out and carry the bags from your car into their donation area.
I chose the Poverello House to donate items to because they serve many homeless men and women in need, but another local shelter I often give donate items or supplies to is the Marjorie Mason Center. Which is a local women’s shelter that provides housing and supportive services to victims of domestic violence in Fresno County. IMG_1543
Hopefully if you’ve been feeling blessed this year, or even just this season, you’ll think about sharing some of your blessings too. Every little bit really does help organizations like the Poverello House and Marjorie Mason Center.
If you’d like to see more from our shopping trip to purchase #CrystalRollOn and creating the hygiene packets for the Poverello House you can check out my Google+ album.
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All ideas and opinions are my own.