Monday, November 29, 2010

In a Christmas Rush? Shutterfly Saves the Day!

I cannot believe it is almost Christmas! I thought I was doing so good this year!!! Still, I am feeling overwhelmed (and it is not even December yet)! I realized this morning that my kids only have 3 weeks of school left until they are out for Christmas vacation. This means that I basically have 3 weeks to accomplish everything, because once they are out of school...NOTHING productive will get done! We will drink hot chocolate, watch Christmas movies, wrap presents, and just enjoy the season! Before I can do that though...I have some things to check off my list!

Priority #1 is ordering Christmas cards! I LOVE Christmas cards. I adore reconnecting with all those people I lose touch with over the year! I am so entertained reading the family newsletters and seeing pictures of friends and family who live far away. And YES, I love showing off my own kids! Every year I plan out our wardrobe, schedule a photo session, and then plop down with my good friend Shutterfly, and design a knockout card!

My devotion to Shutterfly started three years ago. We were living across the country from our families for the first time. I knew I wanted a Phenomenal card. So, I hunted around until I came across what I thought to be the cutest cards for the best prices. At the time, my kids were 6, 3, and 2! Needless to say, getting a good group picture was nearly impossible! Thankfully, Shutterfly offers so many different designs, that I found one that would work with individual pictures of each of my kids. This is what we sent out for Christmas 2007:

We got so many compliments! I didn't even think twice when Christmas came around the next year! I went straight to Shutterfly! And once again...the site delivered! I had a picture of my kids that captured the pure joy of being a kid at Christmas and Shutterfly had a card to match! Here is our card from 2008 (it is my all time favorite):

Last year, time got away from me! I didn't even have time to take Christmas pictures, so we had to use some that we had taken during the summer! I was worried about how "warm weather" pictures would look on a Christmas card, but Shutterfly came through for me! This is what we put together last year, in 2009:

This year, we have GREAT pictures! I am so thrilled with how they turned out. The hard problem is, there are so many options for cards that I can't make up my mind! Here are a few of the pictures I am thinking about using!

I will be sure and share with you what card we opt for this year! No matter what, I know it will be outstanding!

Shutterfly not only helps me out with Christmas cards, but it is a great site for finding gifts too! One of my favorite things to make is their photo books! We make one every January! We gather all of our pictures from Christmas and compile them into a wonderful book of memories! These are the ones we have made for the past couple of years:

These are great, but Shutterfly does more than just Christmas! We have made books like this to remember vacations:

And my favorites are the ones we make "just because":

Above all this though, the easiest and best gift we have ever given our families is the Shutterfly calendar!

We passed these out to everyone last Christmas and they were a HUGE hit! We have already had requests for another one this year! Our families not only love all the pictures, but also that the calendar is customizable! I enter all the family birthdays and important dates so that they are printed on the calendar and no one has to worry about forgetting anything for the next year!
I hope you are inspired to get your Christmas cards done now...and maybe some gifts too! We are only 27 days from Christmas! Here are some quick links for you so you can jump right on over to Shutterfly and start creating! They have some Unbelievable Specials going on right now! So don't waste any time! Come back and comment and let me know what you create!
Holiday Cards
Christmas Photo Cards
Photo Books
Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Family, Fun, & Food

For any of you that know me "in real life," you know that I am very close to my parents, especially my mom. She is my best friend and when we are together, we are inseparable. They live in Texas full time, but also have a home here in Mississippi. And when they are here, we make the most of it.
I tell you this so that you will be a little more understanding with what I am about to tell you. This little blog venture of mine will probably be stagnant for the next week. I could sit here and tell you that I will try to get some posts up over Thanksgiving, but its not true. Once my parents get off the plane tonight, I am ALL theirs. The kids and I will be at the "country house" for the whole week! And before you get all worried about Mr. Rustic, DON'T! He gets it! We've been married for almost 11 years and have known each other for more than 15 years; he knows what it means to me to have time with my mom! And he will join us mid-week.
Anyway, I wanted to prepare you for my absence (because I know that will have withdrawals HA HA HA)! And I wanted to take a minute to wish you all a HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Take the time this week to enjoy the people you love!
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The BIG Winner!!!

Today's the day! I know you have all been on pins and needles waiting to see who won the Santa picture!

First, let me say a HUGE thank you to everyone who commented! Y'all know how to make a girl feel special! Ok, on to the winner! Here's how I chose! Since, I am just SO scientific, I had my nine year old pick a number between 1 and 18 (the number of comments)! He picked #3!
That means Stephanie Timmons is our Winner! Get in touch with me and will make a plan on getting you your new decor in time to use it for Christmas! Congratulations!
Thanks again everyone! We will have to do this again!!!
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Musical Furniture

We have been playing "musical furniture" around here this weekend! We finally joined the 21st century and bought a flat screen TV. Technically it is for Christmas...but I am a bit impatient! Little did I know that one television could cause such drama!

We moved the old armoire into my office (for now it will be storage, but I am sure I will slap some paint on it and sell it eventually!) The piece that was serving as office storage is now living next to my husband's side of the bed (we needed more storage in there!) The old bedside table is now by the front door and the table that use to be there is now in my bathroom.

So, you might be wondering what the new TV is sitting on. Good Question! We have an old buffet that belonged to my mother-in-law, the TV sits on it perfectly. But when we moved it out of our bedroom it left a big hole, which had to be filled by moving the dresser.

Yes! That is 7 pieces of furniture we moved yesterday and some of them were BIG pieces! All I can say is THANK YOU Mr. Rustic! He didn't complain once!!!! I have an AWESOME husband! He totally understands my pathological need for change!

I hope all of you had an equally eventful weekend! I have several projects that I am trying to finish up before Friday (because after that I will be out of town for the full week of Thanksgiving!) I will be sure and post them all for you if my new camera gets here before that! My old one up and died on me, but that is an entirely different story!

Don't forget the deadline to enter the drawing for the Santa picture is Thursday.

Check out this post for the contest rules!
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's All In A Day's Work

A couple of weeks ago I was standing in line at the grocery store...which I detest, but that is a story for another day... and I saw this magazine staring back at me!

It was like angels singing to me! THIS was the answer to all my teacher's gifts questions! I already have numerous pages marked of recipes I want to try and creative packaging that I just can't wait to assemble!

I got to put the first project to the test today. This weekend we have a Fall Festival at my boys' school. I was asked to donate individually wrapped baked goods for the cake walk. I flipped through my new "handbook" for homemade treats and found this page:

This was PERFECT! Something bright and colorful that the kids could see what they are getting. I didn't want to make gingerbread men (it's just a little too early for that), so we opted for another recipe in the magazine, "Melt in Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies"! (The link will take you to the Better Homes & Gardens website and the recipe)! Let me just tell you that whoever named this recipe, had it dead on! They are DIVINE!
As for the packaging, I had most everything I needed, scrapbook paper, ribbon, embellishments, etc. The only thing I had to buy was paper CD sleeves.

So, 4 dozen cookies later, give or take a few that somehow "disappeared", my new little gift giving guide has already come in handy! And the holidays aren't even here yet!
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

I'm Feeling the LOVE!

When I first started this blog/business, I didn't know what would come of it. I figured if nothing else, I would get a few projects done around my house. As I accomplished more projects and learned new techniques, people in my "real life" would offer compliments and accolades (and I really do LOVE the feedback)! But, there is always that tiny part of me that says, "They're just being nice!" I know that's not true, but the voice is still there.
In the last few weeks though, strangers (blogland friends) have been stopping by here left and right to leave me compliments. This has meant so much to me. But again, that pesky voice in my head got me to thinking it was just a fluke because most of the comments have been about my Memory Table. Everyone can happen upon a great project every once in a while. Then today, all of those doubts were wiped away. Melissa over at My Craftie Life featured my "Family Rules" project. WOW! Somebody liked something different! I was shocked!
This post probably makes me sound like I have very low self esteem or that I need constant praise. That is not the case. It is just a little bit of self doubt that can creep in when you start something new. I am having so much fun creating new things and sharing them with all of you! I have been completely overwhelmed by the amount of support and encouragement I have received over the past few months, from both real life friends and those in the Blog World! Maybe that pesky voice in my head will finally SHUT UP!!!
Thanks again Melissa!
My Craftie Life

PS: Did I mention I like comments? I do!!!!!
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Forgetful Much?

I think I am losing my mind! I constantly make lists, even if they are just in my head. I am always reminding myself of what needs to be done, and yet I still forget things! This morning I even forgot it was my day for carpool! Even worse, I convinced my neighbor it was her day to drive the kids! I REALLY did think it was, until about 5 minutes after the boys were gone and then I realized what an idiot I am! Luckily, my neighbor is forgetful too and TOTALLY understands my craziness!

So, the point to this rambling. I forgot to give a big THANKS to Cassie over at Primitive & Proper. She featured my Memory Table at her "Piece of Work Wednesday" link party! Thanks Cassie! Sorry I am so forgetful!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Relaxing Weekend At Home

This is how I spent most of weekend:

In my pajamas, watching Lifetime, and not doing much of anything else! It is the first real cold weekend here in Mississippi, so that has been my excuse to just take it easy. Once you get to know me, you will know that this is not something I do often. And truth be told, I didn't last the whole weekend. I just couldn't stand it anymore. So, I did this:

There have been wreaths all over blog land made from book pages and sheet music. And they are adorable, just look:

I LOVE this one from Miss Mustard Seed

And I love the simple lines on this from Under the Table and Dreaming.

I had all intentions of eventually making one myself, but the softness of black and white print just does not go with my Christmas decor. The general feel around here at Christmas is a "Whoville Craftapalooza"! We like bright colors during the holidays, so I had to come up with a way to modify these creative wreaths to fit our own personal style!

I started with

regular, colored, printer paper

and a 10" wreath form from the Dollar store!
Then I followed the tutorial offered by here at Living With Lindsay!

And this is my finished product

So, I guess I have officially started decorating for Christmas! Now, what should I conquer next (after trying to enjoy a few more hours of relaxation)? Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

You Want It...You Got It

Let me just first say how humbled I am by all the compliments on my Memory Table! You create something thinking that no one else will "get it" and then it explodes into a huge success! Thank you for all the compliments and questions!

It seems that everyone is curious as to how I created and carried out my design. So, this post is my attempt at explaining the method to my madness! First, let me offer a couple of disclaimers:

1) I have never written a tutorial. I will try to be as detailed as possible (without boring you socks off)! I do not have a lot of step-by-step photos because I didn't expect to need them. (Lesson Learned)!
2) I do not, in anyway, claim to be a "professional" anything. Everything I do is self-taught...mostly by trial and error. There is probably a better, easier, more efficient way to accomplish some of these steps, but I haven't figured them out yet.

So, with all that said, let's get started!

First and foremost, I would suggest you visit Funky Junk Interiors' post on How to Make a Table Top Sign with a Story. There are some great tips on how to make your "sign" look authentic and how to choose your "story"!
This is her table that inspired me to tackle my own eyesore side table!

My table started out looking like this:

It definitely needed a face lift!

Because it was so dry and dull I didn't even bother sanding, which I normally do religiously! I did clean it really well because it had years worth of dirt, dust, and food stuck to it in places! (Did I mention that I have 3 kids?)

Now, because I had NO expectations that my table would turn out like the one at FJI, I refused chose not to spend any money on this redo! I knew I wanted to go black and white so I pulled out my FAVE, Heirloom White by Rustoleum. For those of you who might be new to the world of paint, Heirloom White comes in spray paint...ONLY..unless you have it color matched at your preferred paint counter. If you live here (in Central Mississippi) I will save you some time and gas money! The only place I have been able to find this particular paint is at Hobby Lobby!

The only black paint I had was also a spray paint and it was Glossy, UGH! Whatever, I would make it work! So, quick recap, the whole table was primed and painted with spray paint! This was by far the easiest step!

Next came deciding on the design for the top. I tried to think of a place that had special meaning to us. I ran through a few ideas: LuVel Dairy, where my father-in-law worked for more than 40 years; The Courthouse Square, from our hometown; The Bourbon Orleans, our honeymoon hotel. I ultimately chose the hotel because it felt the most personal. Then I had to pick a date to use as the est. date. I thought about the year we were married, 1999. But that seemed really cheesy to me and it wouldn't lend itself to the authenticity of an older sign. So, I went with 1930, which is the year both of my mom's parents were born. Finally, I needed a symbol. For me, this was the easiest part. I knew I wanted a crown, for many reasons. It is one of the symbols from the sorority I joined in college. It is also a symbol from the company I use to work for. Most importantly though, to me it represents our journey to bring home our daughter from Guatemala. We leaned on God, our Prince of Peace, so much during that time. And she is our little princess, so much so that we celebrated her first birthday with an all out Princess Party!

(Yes, I am shamelessly showing off how cute she was.)

This is all probably way more than you needed to know, but I really wanted you to see how personal this table turned out to be.

I put the layout together on the computer, using nothing more than Word. I played with fonts until I found a few I liked and I scoured the Internet until I came across the perfect crown. The most difficult part was figuring out the font sizes. This took a little trial and error. I probably wasted a little ink, since I had to print it out twice, but that's just how it goes sometimes. Because my table was so large, the font had to be proportionate. I don't remember the sizes I ended up with, but for the BOURBON ORLEANS part, only one letter fit on each page. I was really concerned with lining the letters up evenly, so I cut each one into the same size rectangle and taped them all together so they were in a straight line. Then I taped all the components to the table in the layout I wanted.

After it was all positioned, I used a dull pencil to "engrave" the design into the table. I traced over everything, pressing hard enough to leave indentions. This was time consuming and at times painful, but it was my most convenient option. I did consider using my projector to transfer the image, but the logistics of getting the table to a dark room proved too difficult.

I then went over the engraved layout with regular craft paint.

When it was all good and dry, I distressed the legs by hand and used my palm sander on the top. There really was no rhyme or reason to it. I just did a little and then a little more until I liked the way it looked.

Finally, I put a clear protectant on top.

This has turned into a very lengthy post, SORRY! But, I hope it helps! If you attempt to make your own table, please let me know! I would love to see your creations! Good Luck!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Star Struck

Ok! I am not normally overly dramatic...but OMG! I am about to jump out of my chair and scream! As a matter of fact I did just do a little celebratory dance! Donna, over at Funky Junk Interiors, just added my Memory Table to her post that provided my inspiration.

You know that I am blog obsessed. Among the sites that I frequent, FJI is in my top 3Favorites! I am so honored to be noticed! Thanks Funky Junk!
I was featured on FJI

On a side note: Don't forget, to be included in the giveaway you have to be a Follower and leave a comment on this post. Thanks for stopping by!

I Made Something For You

I mentioned a while back that I was planning a giveaway for all my Followers. Well, the time has come! I have been trying to decide what I wanted to offer all of you...and today it came to me! So here is what I worked on today (please excuse the HORRIBLE pictures! With all this rain the natural light is disappointing at best.)

What a fun sign for Christmas!

It is 23 1/2" square, hand painted by yours truly (with a little help from my trusty projector), distressed, and glazed. The edges are trimmed in a fun, velvety ribbon and there is just a touch of white glitter sprinkled on top! This would be a fantastic edition to anyone's Holiday decorations (if I do say so myself)!

It would be so cute on a mantel or next to a tree. I may just have to make another one to keep, but this has one of your names all over it!

So here's what you need to do if you want to win!

1) Follow this Blog. (There is a button to the right that says "Follow"). If you have trouble following, let me know.

2) Leave A Comment at the End of this post telling me where you will hang this sign if you win.

That's it! Easy as Pie! I will announce a winner on November 18th! I can't wait to see who gets to take this one home!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thank You So Much

I have to give a HUGE Thank You to Stephanie Lynn at Under The Table and Dreaming! She featured my Memory Table on her Sunday Showcase Party! I am so humbled by all the attention this piece is getting! Thanks again!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Family Rules, Sort of

All of this rain we have been getting is not helping me mark things off my project list! I have a GREAT dresser sitting in my garage, just waiting for the finishing touches. But, I can't work on it without it getting soaking wet. So, for at least the next few days I am going to have to settle for projects I can work on indoors!

Before I share a recent project I finished, let me just show you a little glimpse into life with my family! We went to have family pictures taken this weekend, in hopes of getting a FANTASTIC shot for Christmas cards. All I can say is "Thank Goodness" our photographer was a dear friend, because my children acted like they had never seen a camera before in their lives! I have no doubt that there will be some great shots to come out of the shoot, but this is the first one the photographer sent to me:

It TOTALLY sums up our day!

It's much funnier now than it was while we were there!

In the famous words of my mom..."We were making memories!"

Anyway, I show you this so that you will have no misconception that we are perfect. We are a normal family, with normal flaws. My kids fight. My house is messy more often than not. Sometimes we eat cereal for dinner and wear our pajamas all day. But, we are a family. And deep down, underneath all the chaos that is our life, we wouldn't want to be on this journey with anyone else.

In my process to redecorate my house, I am making conscious choices to surround myself with things I love! I have needlepoint that my grandmother made, art by my kids, furniture passed down from family. Nothing new is coming in unless I truly adore it. When I saw this sign a few months ago, I knew I wanted one!

It is so perfect! It sums up everything that we are as a family and everything that we strive to be.(I'm sorry I don't remember where I saw this! If it is yours please let me know so I can give you credit!)

Ever since I found this photo, I have been plotting my own take on this design. I have notoriously bad handwriting, even with a pen. So, I can't imagine how illegible it would be with a paint brush. Painting was OUT! I had to come up with a better plan.
Then I ran across this tutorial on how to make distressed canvases. Delia gives you step-by-step instructions. It was so easy and perfect for this project. (I already have plans for many more creations using this technique.)
So here is my finished project:

Luckily, I had a unfinished frame that a friend gave me! It was perfect! I painted and distressed it!

Just look how it all turned out:

I haven't hung it yet. I am waiting on few more projects to be finished so I can do a collage in my kitchen, but I will be sure and show you when I do.

I have added a new page to the blog. The "Where I Party" page will show you all the places I link my projects to, that way I don't have to post a button every time. Please go check out some of these other blogs. You will find tons of inspiration.

Thanks for stopping by

Monday, November 1, 2010

I've Been Featured!!!

I am doing a little happy dance tonight! My Memory Table has been featured over at Craft Gossip! If you get a chance go check out their site! It has all sorts of wonderful inspiration! Thank you Amanda for taking notice of my hard work!

The Memory Table

I have had this table sitting in my living for at least 5 years now!

(Don't you love my paint rug?)

We got it for FREE from my brother-in-law! It is a great table because both sides fold down, so the possiblities of where to put it are endless! And just check out these dainty little legs!

It was not in the best shape when we got it. Add to that 5 years and 3 kids and you get some pretty lively damage!

So for the past few weeks I have been going back and forth on what I wanted to do! I knew it HAD to be painted, but I just didn't know the details! When I read this post on Funky Junk Interiors this weekend, my mind started ticking!

She painted this table using words and symbols that meant something to her! I immediately started brainstorming about what I could use! Here is what I came up with:

The Bourbon Orleans Hotel is where Mr. Rustic and I stayed on our honeymoon! 1930 is the year that both my grandmother and grandfather were born. And a crown has come up repeatedly in my adult life, so it seemed fitting to use it here!

The top is painted in my favorite shade of white (which is not nearly as bright as these pictures show!) And the legs are basic black! The entire table has been distressed! The whole idea is for it to look like it was made out of an old sign. I don't know if I accomplished that, but I think it looks Great anyway!

What do you think?

Now the only question is,

"What to put on top of it?"
Thanks for stopping by!

On a side note, there were only a handful of people interested in the Swap Meet. So, for now I am going to wait. :( Maybe after the holidays we will explore the idea again!

I am linking up to these parties:
The DIY Show Off