Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Dreaded Blank Wall

So while this may only seem like a decorating post, I am adding it to Chatting at the Sky's Tuesdays Unwrapped. And here's why: my design dilemma of filling an empty wall turned into a walk down memory lane, reliving the 14 magical days spent on vacation with my amazing family. Today, I am unwrapping memories and then wrapping my wall in them! Head on over to see what other people are unwrapping today.

Every home has one... the dreaded blank wall that no matter what you do you just can't seem to find the right design element that will fit the room's scale and decor. Here's my dreaded wall:

It's one of the walls in my bedroom. And to make maters worse, it's the first thing we see when we wake up in the morning. The only decoration on that wall is this iron work vase. I absolutely LOVE it. It matches the old world, tropical theme is our master bedroom, plus it holds the dried buds from two of the bouquets by dear hubby gave me. Their colors of the buds are a lot more vibrant in person - I tried to fiddle around with the camera settings to capture it better, but am still feeling a little woozy from the bronchitis and called it quits after a few minutes.

But you can kind of see it and get the idea, right? So here is the reason that I never placed anything else on the wall to accompany it: I was waiting for that one perfect painting or wall hanging. Every other wall in the room is just right. I love the way the pictures and sconces look around the rest of our room. But as this was the last wall to tackle, I realized that I needed to put something on it that would balance out the room a bit and tie in the different old world, jungle and palm tree prints.

So I waited for that perfect piece...for six years.

And yesterday (after watching too many hours of HGTV, one of the nice parts of being sick), I decided: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

I am ready to take the plunge and place some art on that wall. There are only two requirements:

1. It must be inexpensive. That way I can swap it out if at some point we grow tired of it, or if it simply does not tie in with the rest of the room.

2. It needs to be BIG in scale, but not necessarily in actual photo size. Keep reading, I'll explain.

For too long, I have held out for one BIG piece. But today I decided to take 4 or 6 prints from our last two Mexico vacations, enlarge them to at least 5x7 (maybe 8x10), and frame them with a chunky, textured mat. That way each photo is still a medium size, but the visual impact of grouping them together will say BIG! And that is what I need to fill up my last little empty bedroom wall.

(the turtle is a lot clearer in photoshop)

So I'm posting some of the potential candidates for these new art pieces. All of the photos you see on this post are from our last two trips, and I'm asking you for some help in picking out your favorites.

Not only will I be completing a project that I have put off for too many years, but I will be preserving a few more memories in a practical, beautiful way.

So take a look and let me know in the comments which two,
or four,
or six,
or eight I should use.

And what size do you think they should be?



mixture of both?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and solutions for this master bedroom dilemma. Thanks for stopping by... and check back soon to see the unveiling.

And don't forget to head on over to Tuesdays Unwrapped.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thrifted Treasure and... Bacon Flu?

Yes, Bacon Flu. But more on that in a bit...

Last Friday I woke up with a nasty neck and head ache. By noon, it was a nasty cold. And by the time Sunday rolled around, I felt so awful and was in so much pain from the coughing and sore throat, that my hubby took me to the walk in clinic.

So what does any of this have to do with thrifted treasures and Bacon Flu?

As we approached the Walk In Clinic's doors, we noticed a lady sitting outside the door with a tray of gloves, masks, fancy thermometer, and other medical gadgets. She was there to ask you questions, take your temperature, and see if you had any symptoms of swine flu. Well, even though I didn't have flu symptoms, I still had to wear this fashionable mask in order to enter the clinic. Hubby immediately started to laugh his head off and said, "I've just got to get a picture of this for your blog!" So, per courtesy of my hubby, here I am in all my sick glory, in a hospital mask, wearing my new thrifted sweater. I wish you could see the details on the arm better - pink argyle - but I'm just not up to takin' more photos today.

So after an hour or so I came out with the result - bronchitis. yuck. What a way to spend the long weekend. Nevertheless, I am determined to make it to at least one thrift store today. The one five minutes from my house is having a 40% sale on almost everything in the store! yippie!

With all the antibiotics, cough medicine and other stuff the doctor prescribed I was having a tough time keeping track of it all. So wouldn't you know what my sweet hubby did - he found a basket to corral all the prescriptions and thermometer, etc. and came proudly into the room announcing, "Some cute little gal from bloggy land taught me to use baskets for everyday use." How sweet is that! He was referring to this post from last week. He takes such good care of me.

So at this point you're probably wondering, "Where does the Bacon Flu come in?" Well, after having gone through the Swine Flu questionnaire at the clinic, I was reminded of something that happened at our church not to long ago. Hubby and I go to a Latino church and the main service is in Spanish. So back when the Swine Flu first made headlines, our Pastor got up and led a lovely prayer for protection from the flu and guidance for the Doctors and Nurses who were dealing with the outbreaks. It was a nice time of prayer... unfortunately my mom and I were trying to control our laughing through the whole thing. Why you ask? Swine in Spanish is Porcino. Unfortunately, we both misunderstood and thought he said Tocino... which is bacon! Of course we got the giggles every time he said swine thinking he said bacon. Oh my, I will never forget the day we thought the prayer was for the bacon flu!

So the good news is that I am on the mend from the bronchitis, and I do not have either swine or bacon flu. So off with the mask and onto the thrift store!

What great treasures did you find over the weekend? Be sure to head on over to Southern Hospitality and see what everyone else found!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Blooming in the Garden of Weedin'

Is life a bit overwhelming right now? Do you sometimes feel like no matter how hard you try to get ahead and keep up with it all, you just can't seem to catch up?

This is the side of my house. One month ago, this is how it looked. I'm completely serious. A perfect row of weeds. The pup even plowed a path along the center for convenience.

Yup, it was that bad.

But you know something? What used to be a huge inconvenience and terrible eye sore turned out to be a blessing. One day my hubby and I just decided that we would cancel our evening plans and spend the day weeding, trimming and weeding some more. And although it was a HUGE project (these were not the only weeds), we were able to spend an evening laughing and enjoying each other's company. What could have been a very sour experience turned out to be a fun memory.

What tasks are you dreading this upcoming week? Work? Cranky boss? Weeding? Laundry? etc. etc. Is there any way you could turn it into a fun and memorable experience?

When life seems a bit overwhelming, take a step back. Look around and find beauty in an unexpected moment. Have a fantastic Sunday!

Being Bold

Question for ya: If you see a beautiful arrangement or decor idea, are you bold enough to take photo so you'll remember? Or does the embarrassment of taking photos in awkward places keep you from documenting your ideas and inspiration?

My mother is an amazing woman. And when it comes to photos, She is fearless! See the beautiful photo above? That lovely arrangement of floating petals was in the bathroom of a cruise ship we were on

Yes you heard right. The Bathroom.

Talk about taking photos is awkward places! Well the story goes like this:

We were standing around waiting for lunch to start and I decided to run to the restroom real quick before we were escorted down the hall. A few seconds later, I heard someone walk in and wash their hands. Then I hear the sound of a camera shutter opening. And then click...flash.

I knew instantly that it was my mom!

"Mom?" I said.

She burst out laughing, "I thought I was alone in here!"

"You just took a photo of that petal bowl, didn't you?"

"How did you know?"

Now I'm laughing so hard, the tears are rolling.

Yes indeed, that lovely photo would have never been unless she was brave enough snap a pic in an awkward place.

(note: she REALLY did think she was alone in there. Neither of us would ever take a photo in such a taboo place unless alone. just sayin.)

Just for fun, here's a couple shots of my honey and dad pretending to be excited about their dainty salads at the lunch that day. My mom and I thought they were kinda cute. They saw it as a two bite nibblet. My hubby's exact words, "This is the salad? This is ridiculous!" We laughed a lot that day!

So here's to being bold, fearless and making memories. What memories are you reminiscing about today? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

Happy Saturday!

Friday, May 22, 2009


Are you a fellow basket lover?

There should be support groups for people like us!

“Hello, my name is Emily. I am addicted to baskets.”

There would be snacks. Served in baskets, of course.

I can't tell you exactly when the basket love kicked into overdrive. It was kind of gradual, I guess. I've always liked them and used them for decoration. But somewhere along the way, I discovered their practical use. I'm not talking about the occasional magazine basket. (although I love my magazine basket too!) I mean EVERYDAY practical use.

Take for example, this large hefty beauty. I lug this one around almost everywhere. It has served for buffet tables, book transportation, a trip to the market, etc. etc. And the price? Just right at $3.99

Remember this basket from a previous post? 25 cents! I still need to find a permanent use for it. Right now, it seems happy to hold my linens while I sort laundry.

(Just want to give you a heads up: Next week we’ll be talking about practical solutions for the dreaded linen closet. Check back for the post “Wash Cloths, Bath Towels, and Sheets… Oh my!” We’ll be covering linen storage essentials. You won’t want to miss it!)

And of course, we can’t forget the magazine basket. This one is from Pier 1. I've had it for 6 years and it always stays by my current favorite reading spot.

How about in the bathroom? Stock that basket up with some smelly stuff and some good reading material. Are you short on bathroom storage? Get a pretty basket and throw in some rolls of TP, and save that under the sink storage for the things you really don’t want anyone to see when they first walk in.

(By the way, I usually don't keep the basket on the side of the tub. But the lighting was so bad in there, I had to get it out of its usual corner.)

This funky shaped basket was recently thrifted on a 50% off day. Care to guess the price? 99 cents. Woo Hoo! And it is in pristine shape. The black would look awesome contrasted with a colorful fruit and flowers display. Hmmm. I may just have to host a get-together to try out that idea. Wanna come?

And last, but certainly not least, let’s not leave out the sweet little baskets. So many uses. Some are purely decorative. Others are just right for catching the little doo-dads and what-cha-ma-call-its that collect on the desk, kitchen counter, livings room, etc.

Do you have stairs in your house? If so, place an attractive basket at the foot of the stairs and use it to catch all the stuff that needs to make its way upstairs. Not only will it help corral the clutter in your main living area, but it will eliminate multiple trips of hauling everyday junk back upstairs.

Do you have enough remotes to start your own Radio Shack? Find a basket that will fit inside an entertainment center, pile them in, and close those doors.

Do your kids (and I use the term “kids” loosely. Ahem, hubby. J ) have several controls for their video games and entertainment accoutrement's? Get them a magazine basket that will hold them all, yet still fits within your decor scheme. Don’t fret. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Just practical.

And if it’s the wrong color, just attack it with a coat of spray paint.

So you see baskets are not just for decoration. They have amazing potential for practical everyday use. Here at too Blessed to Stress, we have a goal of conquering the clutter and chaos. So go dig in the closets and garage for your baskets. Give ‘em a good dusting, air them out in the sun, and put ‘em to good use. If you’re in the market for a new basket but your budget is tight, head to the local boutique… the thrift store. There are all sorts of options at the boutique!

How do you use your baskets? Do you prefer small, medium or large size of baskets? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Oh and don’t forget to attend your Basket-A-Holics support group. I’ll be there. You’ll know which one I am right away. I’ll be the one with the snacks in a basket.

I'm adding this post over at Hooked on Houses as part of the Hooked on Friday Linky Party. head on over there and see what everyone else is hooked on!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tablescape - Coca~Cola Delight

Today is Tablescape Thursday over at Between Naps on the Porch. (Isn't that the sweetest name ever? I love it so much!) Anyhow, I wasn't going to participate for several reasons:
1. Today was CRAZY, and I was ridiculously tired.
2. Our table is a mess right now, as it is loaded with the remnants from the office rearranging.
3. Hubby and I weren't even going to be at home for dinner.

But you know what? After looking at a few of the LOVELY tablescapes that were a part of the linky party, I just had to make a quick simple one and share it with ya.

Since the dinning room was lost in a "sea of stuff," I decided to use the new credenza (from this post) and make a quick dinner for two setting. Who knows, maybe we'll have time to dine here together this weekend.

The credenza is in the Coca-Cola room and so I thought that a Coca -Cola theme would be appropriate. I had a blast pulling stuff off the shelves and bakers rack to make my cozy setting for two.

I wish I had a better picture of that napkin ring - it's a watering can. So sweet! And no Coke room Tablescape would be complete with out a Polar Bear. ahhh... refreshing.

Isn't the gingham silverware in the mug too cute for words? And no dinner for two would be complete without a candle. It's Warm Apple Pie - and the scent is amazing! (yes, I know you're supposed to use unscented candles for a dinner party. But since it was just me and the pup setting the table, I thought I would cheat a bit. shhh. don't tell Emily Post!)

Unfortunately the photo that shows the whole setting was deleted (oops, my bad!) and so this one will have to do. It's the closest to a full table shot I had.
I hope you enjoyed this simple yet fun tablescape. Be sure to check out all the other creations at Between Naps on the Porch.

The Best Is Yet To Come

What happens when a craft-loving housewife gets her hand on 5 sample cans of paint - all colors she loves or needs - for .50 EACH?

After doing a happy dance, she proceeds to paint everything in sight!

So stay tuned to find out what amazing projects these sample paints have been used on!

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this little tid-bit:

Next time you see this sign, it will be completely transformed!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Simple Yet Delicious

This last Monday, the women's Bible study group I attend had their summer farewell meeting. It was a great time of sharing, laughing and yummy finger foods. Each group was assigned a kind of food to bring (taco toppings, snacks, bagged lunch) and share with the class. Our class was assigned finger foods. So I sat up Sunday night fretting over what to take.

Normally, I wouldn't worry so much, except my kitchen is in disrepair while we do some painting/rearranging in the rest of the house. So I decided to make tortilla pinwheels. Super easy. Super yummy. Added some crinkle cut cucumbers and homemade dip for a little variety. Placed all on thrifted glass plates and added cute scalloped serving spoon.

Voila! A simple yet delicious finger food served on beautiful dishes. Perfect fallback for those times when you're in a pinch.

What's your fallback for a buffet/potluck? Salad? Dessert? Casserole?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

I'm adding the post to WFMW over at We are That Family. head on over and check it out!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

When Life Gets You Down

Have you ever had one of those days? You know the ones I'm talking about.

Where nothing is going right,

everything feels ten times bigger than it really is,

and you don't feel like doing anything.

Are you having one of those days today? Where life is just a bit overwhelming?

This week is going to be a crazy one at our home.

Lots of work to do.

Long hours.

So many things that I want to do, but won't have the time to squeeze in

Just when I am about to let those thoughts of defeat settle in my heart, I see this:

That's my pup.
Unaware of all the clutter and chaos around her.
She still loves me.

...and I am suddenly reminded that I do what I do because I love it.

I love the people I work with and work for.

And even though this week feels like a tornado, next week I will be resting and reconnecting with my family and home.

I have to keep reminding myself:
This is only one week of many. One chapter in the grand scheme of life.

Breath. Everything will be ok.
I'm entering this post as part of Tuesdays Unwrapped over at Chatting At The Sky. Head on over and check it out!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Garage Sale Finds

As promised, here are the wonderful garage sale finds from Saturday.

The credenza, everything in front and on the credenza (excluding the lamp) was either from garage sale or thrifted. Ahhh... what a day!

So come on in and take a look at the "new beauties" (and some "uglies" that will soon be "beauties").

I just love this frame and the possibilities that come with it! Should I put a mirror inside? A chalkboard? A print/painting? Or hang it just like that? Any other ideas?

A few weeks ago, I saw this post at
Sugar Pie Farmhouse about Chalk Ink Markers. Since then, I have been on the hunt for a chalk board. This little beautie was at Goodwill for $1.99. Just right! After a good cleaning and paint job on the frame, this little number will be gracing my walls. Be sure to check back and see how it turned out!

(by the way,
Sugar Pie Farmhouse has a fun Blue Ribbon Product Review Page. Check it out!)

OK. I think I have a serious problem. I love baskets and have them everywhere. Not just for looks - they are being used. Nevertheless, I probably didn't need any more. But this one was such a unique shape, big and priced just right at .25 that I couldn't pass it up. Look, I already put it to use holding the books we bought today for .25 apiece. That justifies it... right?

Two chair pillows for .50. Can't beat that! hmmmm... should I recover them? or leave as is?

This little number was free. And although it looks pretty bad now, the plan is to turn it into a beautiful Spring/Summer wreath. Keep those fingers crossed!
Stay tuned for the reworked chalkboard and wreath.
By the way, I'm adding this post to the Monday Treasures over at Southern Hospitality. Head on over and check out the fun finds!