Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The "Spring Desperatly Wanting to Blosom" Season

One of the benefits of remodeling any room is finding all the treasures you thought you lost or just plain forgot about. For me one of those treasures is this journal.

Want to know a secret? By nature, I am not a journaling kind of person.... Yet I love to blog... strange, I know! It is a struggle for me to sit down every day and write in a book my feelings and thoughts for the day. It always feels like it needs to be well rounded and thought out {like my English teacher taught me years ago} and have meaning and purpose. Often times, it feels like I just can't write what's "on my mind." I like the idea of journaling. It would be great to pass on months and months of journals to my kids someday and let them see what Ma was up to. But I just can't get into it consistently.

But I do go through spurts where I just need a safe place to let it all out - good or bad - and then once that season has passed, I often will stop journaling for a whle and pick it pack up again at a later time.

This particular journal was a great find for this week. I sat and read every page -and smiled the whole way through. Why? In these pages I had written about the first blog that had inspired me - Reluctant Entertainer. And without even knowing it, I was journaling the first baby steps of "too Blessed to Stress." Little did I know in November of 2008 that the season I was going through would be just the push I needed to start my blog, and reach out to other women who are {or have been} in the same place.

In the pages of scribbling, I found these words I had written:

"I feel like I am in a winter season. But not an overwhelming 'there is no hope' stage. It is a simply a winter to spring era. So many aspects of my life are in spring, but there is still a trace of winter in my life. Maybe I should call it 'Spring-desperately-wanting-to-blossom-in-spite-of-winter' season."

Those words pretty much sum up the reason for my determination to reach out, share my ideas, learn from others that I may never even meet face to face and make my blog public.

For so long, I was waiting to share till everything was just right and in it's place. And that day in November, it was like something just clicked.

"No More Waiting!" my heart screamed.

It was so freeing to know that I don't have to have it all together before I can share about homemaking, hospitality and making memories. There is no need have all the answers... becasue I don't have them all! And I never will. But I can share my journey along the way while finding the answers.

Who would have ever thougth that my 'Spring-desperately-wanting-to-blossom-in-spite-of-winter' season would become such a blessing to me in the form of this blog. You all have made this experience so wonderful and I am looking forward to MANY more days of sharing with you and learning from you talented gals as well.

And who know what may come of this blog? I have great plans for it, but maybe it will be the baby steps to even bigger and greater things that I could ever imagine. I sure hope so!

Are you stuck in between seasons? Is your heart still frozen in the dead of winter? Could it be that sharing your life {full of ups and downs} with someone is just the thing your heart needs to break out and experience the warmth of spring?

All photos taken by yours truly.

Linking to WFMW.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Could It Be?

Could it be?
Is this for reals?
The internet is WORKING AGAIN?!?!

As of Saturday night, the internet finally decided to let me into my hotmail account for a split second before crashing {I guess that's better than not at all.} As of Sunday eve, it allowed me to view your blogs, but NO PHOTOS! How cruel is that! I kept reading all these tantalizing descriptions of the projects that you gals were working on and could not see a single photo or video to comment on! So if you think I've snubbed you in comments and email, that's SO NOT TRUE! I just could not view a thing!

Me patiently waiting... and wearing mismatched socks! hmmm....

Last night my darling hubby sat down for about an hour and worked away at the laptop and office computer to fix the problem. No virus! Whew! Just some random settings were changed from a recent vacation that we took and they never reset back to normal.. like the gal at the front desk said they would. ugh... but after many sighs, cries for help , and a few threats to the computer to "start working, or else" it finally kicked back in to gear!

Enjoying my favorite scent ever - Warm Apple Pie - while I wade through the email mess.

I'm working on catching up on comments, emails, and mailing stuff to you beautiful gals. And I am also working on the coolest way to show off the before and after photos of the office. I think you're gonna like it!

My bare and lonely music corner...

So till I get the hang of this html thing, here is a preview of project for the music corner. When we remade the office, it was decided that I needed something hanging in that blank expanse of wall above my keyboard to inspire me and of course look pretty.

Here's how the frame started: a see through red color. And see where the paint can is? That's where I painted. Holding the frame above the can to catch any drips. Right over the bare carpet. I know how to live on the edge!

I knew I wanted a collection of mismatched frames all painted black and creamy white with sayings and verses in them. What I didn't know was how I wanted to embelish them. Then I read this post over at Inspiring Creations {LOVE her} and decided to take a stab at her lovely paper flowers. I think they look like poppies... or the Mary Engelbreit flowers. So pretty.

I loved her idea of using sheet music-like paper for the flowers. And since this is the corner where I create music and carry on the tradition of several generations of pianists, it only felt right to have most every element of my frames mean something to me.

So I took one of my grandmothers old music books and found a song that I loved, "I Need Thee Every Hour." That song melts my heart every time I hear it!

After scanning it onto the computer, I printed out two sheets and traced five sizes of circles onto the pages. As you can see, I used very exclusive and precise objects to get the patterns for my circles: a drinking glass, water bottle, small jar candle, a pencil sharpener, and the lid to the water bottle. So simple - use what ya got! I love that.

Then to fancy up the edges, I used Dark Walnut distress ink {which my hubby loves, I think I may have convinced him to get me one in every color! haha!} Don't bother distressing the whole thing, just the edges and part of flower that will be visible. There is no precise science here other than dab and rub till you get the desired effect.

While the flowers dried, I printed off a favorite verse for the frame, freehanded the wavy lines around it and distressed it a bit as well.  It took all of 2 minutes, and at this point the petals were ready.

Be sure to lay the flower petals one on top of the other to make sure no "white" spots are showing through. I didn't at first and had to re-stain a bit here and there.

Then crumple it up. Go for it. I know you might be scared like I was, but I just dove in a did it... fully knowing that I could make another set if I had to.

By the way, if one size came out too wonky or lopsided, I just trimmed it a bit, not caring if it were perfect. Why? Because when you crumple them all up to get the lovely texture, the wonky sides make it look all the better. I love a project that can use my imperfection in cutting!

I decided to add two leaves on either side of the flower grouping. These I just free handed into two sizes of leaves - one large and one small for each leaf.

By now the frame was {pretty much, almost} dry. Good enough for me! I hot glued each layer of the flowers to one another and after losely placing on the frame to make sure I liked the grouping, I hot glued the the flowers and leaves right to the frame. I love them! Now I just need something to place in the center. Everything I have in my jars of goodies is either too big or way to tiny to even be seen. Ideas?

I attached the verse with scrapbooking stickies and the lovely floral pattern is simply a 12x12 piece of scrapbook paper that I attached to the back of the frame with masking tape.

Old crunchy masking tape. That way I could play around with the placement of the pattern and text without ruining the page. Oh yea, see the Goodwill price of $1.99? That's great! But I got this baby at the Fancy Store {Goodwill Outlet}, by the pound... so it actually cost me all of 40 cents! Woo Hoo!

I love the final product! And now am schemeing up some coordinating ideas for the other two {or three, or four} small frames that will accompany it in my music corner. Every time I sit down to play, I will be inspired by this beautiful verse. And hopefully it will draw me into a place of deep song where I just get lost in the music.

What words are inspiring you today? How are you incorporating them into your life/home?

All photos taken by yours truly.

This post linked to Kimba's DIY day!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Need Your Help!

So the internet is still being a little turkey, and at the moment I have no way to upload photos. Ahhh! It feels so strange to have a "blank" post. But I did want to stop by and remind you about yesterday's post. Several of you gals have messaged/commented with ideas for how to make your home more luxurious without the luxurious cost :)

And I still want your help! I am asking you to share your favorite ways to make your home feel like a fancy-schmancy hotel or spa? Or what do you love the most about those delightful places but have not recreated in your home? Let me know and I'll try to scheme up an idea for how to make those luxuries at home for an affordable price.

In the next few weeks I would like to post your ideas and some solutions to those "wants." So comment below and lets get those creative juices flowing!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursday Updates

Just a quick post to update you on a few of the happenings here at "too Blessed to Stress."

Hubby watching March Madness and me trying to blog :)

~ The internet is being kinda picky right now. Blogger is being a little patchy {hence the short post before it decides to crash again.} Hotmail is being just a plain old turkey and won't load at all {so if you're waiting for an answer from me don't fret! I'll borrow a computer if I have to.}

Remember this before photo? You won't recognize it today!

~ The office is coming along beautifully. Curtain rod from this post is hung. It now has a soft, sheer panel from floor to ceiling hanging from it and let me just say... I love it more that I expected.

Yummy colors and pattern.

And here is a sneak peak at a craft project that will hang in my music corner. I LOVE it so much!

~ Today I am contemplating how to to make my nest feel more like a super fancy, posh 5 star hotel with all sorts of little amenities.... without spending a 5 star price for those special touches! So often we wait until a vacation to experience those luxuries. And I am here to tell you.... "No more waiting!" It's time to feather our nests with all those little things to pamper not only ourselves, but our most important guests - our own family. Today I am scouring my photo archives from past vacations for inspiration. And if you think I'm too scared to take a photo of an awesome idea in an akward situation, just check out this post here. And you'll see that I come by it honestly.

What are your favorite ways to make your home feel like a fancy-schmancy hotel or spa? Or what do you love the most about those delightful places but have not recreated in your home? Let me know and I'll try to scheme up an idea for how to make those luxuries at home for an affordable price. Little luxury ideas. Hot tubs need not apply.

All photos taken by yours truly.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thoughts On Decorating An Office

So there is good new and bad news.

The bad news is that we have still not put the office back together. Ugh... how is it that we are on our second bout of bronchitis in the family - and this is all in 2010! For real? C'mon now! We're not even through the first 1/4 of the year and have been sicker than snot. What's the deal?

Color inspiration we are working off of. This is a close as I could get to the real colors. They really are not as yellow, putrid green in real life. They just don't photograph well. I'm sure is has nothing to do with my photography skills.

All that ranting to say that while I can sit in the office and type/print, that is about it. Nothing is on the walls. We only have one office chair at the moment{so hubby and pup are sharing a bean bag as we speak} there is still furniture painting to be done and one whole side of the room is still empty. In the grand scheme of things, no biggie! From the point of view that I can barely find my way to the front door, big problemo!

Hubby, pup, and my finger in the top right corner. Again, nothing wrong with my photography skills...all the camera's fault.

The good news, I have had enough energy/time to get together some accessories for the space and am so excited to share them with you.

Since we did a total overhaul for the look of the room, we really started from scratch on several things. Our biggest problem was space planning. No room to craft and my keyboard was constantly blocked by a too large chair. We loved the room but needed practicality.
Gathering up some of the goodies.

So that presented a great oportunity to shop the house for some new accessories and shop the Boutique and Fancy Store for new items as well.

{{If you're new here at "too Blessed to Stress" the Boutique I refer to is the Goodwill. And the Fancy Store is the Goodwill Outlet. Oh yes, my dear, there is such a thing as a Goodwill Outlet. L.O.V.E. That's all I'll say}}

So here is a sneak peak of the goodies that will most likely adorn my side of the office and some of the linens that will be turned into pillows, drapes, slipcovers, and other misc wonders.

{For the record, I am not ignoring hubby's side... he is still deciding what all he needs to make it functional.}

Shop The House

These are all items I had in my home, either being used or stored away.

Candle - Pier 1 from 5 years ago. No idea on the cost.
Frame - $3.99 at Goodwill. {And it's NEW! hello, awesomeness.}
Beads in bowl - Fancy store. 25 cents
Butterfly - Gift from dear friend
Metal "Laugh" - 25 Cents
TOTAL = $4.49

Shopping the Fancy Store and the Boutique

Plate rack thingie - $1.99 Score of the ages!
Lantern - $2.99
TOTAL= $4.98

Misc Fabric $2.99 - Fancy store, by the pound purchase

By the way, look at the Goodwill price for this place mat - $1.99. Great price for a silk-like item. But by getting it at the Goodwill Outlet, it cost all of 15 cents. Can I get a woo-hoo!!!

This is just so you can see a truer color of the placemat. Yummy shimmery, sage-ish. And yes, I am sure that is the real name.

Isn't this the coolest shaped desk lamp? I love it! It belonged to my Grandma. Do you see that black square spot on the base? That is an extra outlet! Amazingness! {apparently the cold medicine and sweet tea cause me to makeup words:) heehee!}

So far that is $12.46 for some functional and some decorative pieces. And I am so in love with the new space I just may never leave. In fact, I may just retire from realitly and live in the mocha colored room.
Encourages creativity.
Just what we needed.

Are you needing to redo a space in your home to make it more practical, inviting, uplifting, etc.?

All photos taken by yours truly.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Feature Post

Remember way back when in the Giveaway I was given an award? And remember how I was all flustered from all the craziness in the house redo that I forgot to award 7 other people? And remember that I was wanting to feature wonderful gals from the linky party too?

Well I finally had time to sit down and make it happen!

It is so much fun to feature someone and their creative talents. I really do love it. So fasten your seatbelt and get ready for some awesome ideas!

Enjoy Every Moment - Colored pencil Art

Livin' the Yeh Life - Doggie chalkboard {LOVE. need I say more?}

A Lovely Palce to Land - Memory Shadowbox

Kitschalicious - Mini Word Album
By the way, read her guest post here. AWESOME storage ideas!!!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway.
Don't forget to grab an "I was Featured" button on my sidebar! 

By the way, several of you commented that you hoped I would do a giveaway like this again... And the answer is "YES!!!!" I love it so much! So stay tuned because the next 7 day giveaway is coming soon!

These tags are packaged up and will soon be going to the giveaway winner, Heather!

The last three winners of the tags sets are:
Sarah from Enjoy Every Moment (Blue Set)
Lori from Life as Lori (Dk. Pink and Chocolate Set)
Patricia from Vintage Linen Treasures (Pink and Green Set)
{{Sorry I don'thave a photo of the three sets at the moment. I will post them before I ship }}

Congrats ladies!
Email me your addresses and I will send those off to ya!

Also, super sweet Rebekah and Bridgette awarded me a Kreative Blogger. You can read my acceptance speech here. It was one for the history books. But one of the stipulations is to award it to 7 other gals and say why they deserve the award. {{Please Note: Although I hope you keep the award going, if you are one of the gals I award but do not want to re-award it to someone else I understand. Just know you are loved!}}

So after much thoguht, here are 7 {of MANY} gals who have made my day:

1. Heather from Storing Up My Treasures - She makes some of the most inventive crafts and beautifies her home for just pennies!

2. Sarah from Enjoy Every Moment - Not only does she scrapbook some super cute pages, she keeps the tidiest craft room I have ever seen. So jealous of her cleaning energy :)

3. Adrienne from Kitschalicious - That gal is a repurposing queen! Not to mention a gal after my own heart - crafting makes us happy dance!!!

4. Amanda from A lovely place to land - She has got the coolest DIY idea starting soon. It will be an awesome way to DI4Y - a way to bless others

5. Patricia from Vintage Linen Treasures - She shares some of the most lovely linen finds and recently posted a Mad Hatter Tea Party. I love old fashioned games and fun :)

6. Bunny Jeans Decor and More - She has got an eye for lovely tablescapes, and I am inspired by her creative abilities!

7. Little Big Nest - She has got some super fun ideas and all her craft come with great tutorials. You'll love how she is feathering her home :)

There are so many gals who have made my day, wish I could feature and award you all! Thank you for being a source for creative inspirtaion :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Theme With Ease

You know the American flag cake with strawberries and blueberries for 4th of July?
This is my twist for a Colombian flag; made for Colombian independance day.

It's party time! And once a theme is chosen and the guest list made it's time to figure out the deatils. I'm the kind of gal who loves the details of a party - matching colors, all the goodies, themed games, decorated serving tables, etc. etc. But if I'm going to go all out with a theme I certainly don't want to go all out with the budget. So what's a party loving girl to do?

Jam Tarts - pie dough filled with grape and strawberry jam.

In order to have a party that looks like a millon bucks without spending a million bucks, I have had to find ways to cut back on certain areas - like the cake. Sure it's easier to buy a cake. But sometimes it can be more expensive. Don't get me wrong - when I'm in a pinch, it's pre-made, store bought all the way. And that's just fine with me! But when I have time to plan ahead, a homemade cake is usually much more inexpensive and has that special homemade touch.

Notre Dame football cupake cake.
Giraffe Cake - homemade marshmallow fondant.
So easy and tastes much better than store bought.
(I forgot to outline a spot - do you see it?)

Another Cupcake Cake shaped like a turtle. Fun fun fun!

See the rocks? Those are Chocolate rocks!
They taste awesome - find them in the bulk candy section of stores like Winco.

Feeling too timid to try a shaped cake? How about the elegant and delicious Death By Chocolate? {click here for recipe}

What do you do to cut back on party costs?
What are your best kept party planning secrets?

All photos and cakes made by yours truly.