My most valued possession is my family. Even if you are living in a box
somewhere, and you have the love and support of your family, you will always be
wealthy. Love really is all you need. From love, great things will emerge. From
your thoughts, you can create greatness.This is what I need to remind
myself of everyday to be the best person that I can be. Live your life with
gratitude. Be thankful for all that you have everyday, even if it is your eyes
to see or your ears to hear or your feet to walk or your hands to create.
Understand your place in this Universe; how infinitesimally small you are, but
how huge a contribution your Spirit is. Don't wear blinders to the world around
you, you're not the only one here. Be kind, considerate, don't be judgmental,
love others, and yourself. Know that you are perfect inside; that you are

Friday, May 30, 2014

Family Photo Gallery Wall

Hello friends...

Were you waiting with "baited breath" for today's post? Thought I wanted to show you my Pinterest inspired gallery wall. While browsing through that infamous site, I would often come across these fabulous wall displays boasting family photos, monograms and eclectic décor. I wanted one. It took me several months to perfect mine, and I still tweek it every so often, but I got it.

This first picture is one I took in November, I think. ( I keep many, many pics in my phone; too many, actually, but this time I'm glad I had them. They were there just waiting to be blogged.) I had found this little handmade primitive-style ladder in a shop in town for very little money. I knew right away what I wanted to do with it. I had all of these black frames laying around so I went to Walgreens and copied some pictures of my family for them. I also bought the one in the far left from Wally World for less than $5.  

The rusty star I had for some time, I picked up the little white bird a some craft store for just a couple of bucks, I got the little "S" and the "Family" from Hobby Lobby, on sale, and also the papier mache "S" from there, too. I'll show you what I did with that below.


Here is the wall finished, so far.  There are two very old photos of my mother's family on the top of the ladder, either side. Noah and I on out anniversary this past October, a hand stitched artwork of leaves and acorns I did several years ago ( I really need to change that, it is summer, after all), the papier mache initial all decorated (again, I'll show you what I did down below), and some fabulous paper bag flowers that I saw on, you guessed it...Pinterest. Just click the link and you can learn how to make them, as well. The flower decoration on the "F" of the "Family" sign is a splurge purchased at Cracker Barrel this past Christmas time. I bought two at $5 each. They are actually hair clips/sweater pins. I wish I got a close-up for you. I LOVE these.

The rest of the photos are important pictures of my mother, son and my siblings and of Noah and I; we have never taken photos together much before these past few years. I never liked to be in pictures. Ladies, you get that, right?

So, now for this decorated papier mache monogram. I searched and searched Pinterest for something like this, but never found quite what I was wanting. So I sort of put several ideas together and came up with this. I painted it with grey craft paint and distressed it a little, then I dry brushed a bit of white all over it for just a touch of Shabby Chic. I have decided to actually repaint the house in cool grey tones soon, but this will have to do for now. Anyway, I wanted something with that new trendy chevron on it, but didn't want to go overboard. I just painted it on free hand. Then I hot glued the twine to the back and covered the ends of the twine with felt, that I also hot glued on. Next, I wanted to decorate it with those nifty burlap flowers I kept seeing. These were actually the first flowers I ever made, ever learned to make. I watched some tutorials:  

...and attempted my own. I put my own little twist on them, adding leaves of different dimensions, but the burlap rose was a little difficult; the folding was a bit hard to follow. Actually, this technique still is for me. Everyone seems to use it for all kinds of fabric flowers, but, for some reason, I just can't get the hang of it. Oh well...practice makes perfect, I guess.

Well, there you have it. This is what has satisfied me so far with this gallery wall. I'm pretty positive that I will be adding and changing this up in the future. I'm also pretty sure I'll be sharing that with you, too, so please stay tuned!

Do you have a gallery wall in your house? Where did you get your inspiration? I have a blank corner above our television that I'd like to decorate. I've been searching what to do with that, next. Any suggestions?

That just gave me an idea for a new post!

Have a great weekend, and as always, thanks so much for stopping by. Feel free to share! I truly appreciate you!


* All opinions are my own. I receive no endorsements from any sponsors mentioned in the above post: Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart or Walgreens.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Painted Photo Block With Handmade Flowers

Hello friends,

I thought I'd share with you what that white block sitting behind the roses in the last post is. For this past Christmas I made these as gifts for everyone. female family members, anyway. I was searching around on Pinterest and came across this post from Shanty-2-Chic. There were several great ideas for quick and easy, not to mention very affordable, gift ideas. You can see for yourself right here.

I altered mine just a little bit, you'll see how, but not by much. These were so easy! So, here's the secret. I went to Lowe's with Noah (of course) where we bought an 8 foot by 12" board. I don't remember how much it was...but it was pretty cheap, considering how many gifts I got out of it. I asked the associate to cut it into 12" lengths. (...psst! they do this for free...FREE!) Anyway, I got 7 blocks out of that one board. Plus 2 "end" pieces that I will use for another project. Easy peasy. And so much better than hauling an 8 foot board home, right?

So, when we got home, Noah took them down into the basement and spray painted them white for me. *Be sure to paint in a well ventilated area. Spray paint dries very quickly, especially on a porous wood like pine. Just be sure to paint in a well ventilated area. He paints A LOT so he has a ventilation system set up. Two light coats, fronts and sides only. When they were dry, it was my turn.

Here are the materials I used:

* the painted wood block                       * hot glue gun/hot glue and epoxy (I use Gorilla Glue)
* twine                                                    * photo clips (found at Hobby Lobby/scrapbook supply)
* buttons or brads of your choice           * fabric flowers (I'll show you how below)

First, after the paint is good and dry, use a light to medium grit sandpaper to lightly sand the edges and all four corners. This gives you a shabby chic worn look. There is always the option of "dry brushing" some grey paint or even using some of your scrapbooking chalk or distressing inks on the edges and corners after sanding. I didn't because I liked the clean white look.

Next, you are going to wrap your twine around the block to hang your photos on. I took my roll of twine and held the piece in the corner and just sort of did a dry run and wrapped it around where I wanted it to go, so I would know where to cut. It's easier to use the one piece rather than the roll. You have to be able to control the twine so it stays in place while you wrap and then you have to glue it end to end. It's just easier to have it already cut than to struggle with that at the end. You don't want the twine to loosen on you. Sound complicated? Don't give's absolutely not.  

Here's how to get it placed:

After you measure the length you want, put a good dot of hot glue in the upper left corner of your block, or the's up to you. Just know that your flowers will need to cover this, so keep that in mind when you decide how high or centered you put your end pieces. 

Then wrap your twine around your block. Play with it a little until you get it where you want it. Just make sure you end back at the beginning. This is sort of non-negotiable. The ends must match up so you can cover them with your decoration. 

Once you get the end up there with it's buddy, put another spot of glue, and glue that end down. PLEASE be careful! I burned the dickens out of my finger (on another project) and, my Good Gracious...well, it hurt. Bad.

Another thing to remember, don't use a ton of glue here if you can help it. You will be gluing flowers up there. You don't want it to be too bulky. 

Ok, final twine step. I turned my block around and made sure all the twine was sitting tightly where I wanted it, then I put little dabs of hot glue just at the top ridges of the long pieces and right onto the pieces that wrapped around the back corners, for reinforcement. The pictures and clips aren't too heavy, but you don't want your twine to sag.

(Note in the picture on Shanty2Chic, she has a lot more twine than me. I don't know why I did it this way. I have more flowers though, so I think it evens out ;)

Once the glue on the back is dry, you can lay your block down and start to play around with your flower arrangement. When you get them where you want them, lift them one at a time (so you don't forget where you put them ;) and put a little swirl of hot glue on the back and carefully put your flower back down. Be careful not to touch the back of the flower to the front of the other ones! Hot glue is not very forgiving once it smears onto fabric...

Finish gluing your flowers on, press them down carefully, especially where they sit on the twine, to get a good, flat bond. Set your block back up and admire it!

These are my handmade roses and rosettes. I used a fabric called Osnaburg that I use for a lot of my projects. It is an unbleached, natural cotton fabric used in many Primitive styles of décor and reproductive dress. You can use felt, also one of my very favorites, or anything you like.

To learn how to make these, and a variety of fabric flowers, I just did a YouTube search. Below you will find two of my favorites, and how I learned to make these particular flowers.

Next, you'll need something to hold your photos onto the twine. You could use mini clothespins painted or decorated in a myriad of ways, but these are so glam! I picked up two packs of these photo clips at Hobby Lobby in the scrapbook section, (watch for sales, or download the free app to your phone, you'll automatically get a 40% off coupon each month) then I went to the fabric section and picked up a few packs of these little gem-like plastic buttons. All very cheap and you'll have a ton left over for other projects.

This is where the epoxy comes in. It sound did to me, anyway. I didn't want to "mess" with epoxy. But it was truly easy. I picked the buttons I wanted to use, cut the plastic shank off the back with a small craft wire cutters, though a sharp scissors will probably do, and had them ready to go before I mixed the epoxy. It only lasts so long, you have to be ready. I use Gorilla glue, only because it comes highly recommended on any craft sight I find a tutorial on. Just follow the instructions on the package. I did all of these projects and still have a ton left.

Glue your buttons onto the photo clips and set them up where they will be level so the buttons don't slide off while they dry. Now is a good time to think about your photos...

I picked photos for everyone, too. I wanted them to have the full effect of the gift. I wanted all black and white, like at the original tutorial. Now, there are several options you have. This is what I did. I have the Walgreens app on my iPhone. It's free and I HIGHLY recommend it. You can have prints made directly from your phone, in different sizes, with different filters, ready in an hour. For my Aunt, I went on my cousins Facebook, saved a picture of her new baby girl to my phone, and had it printed from the Walgreens app. I wanted 4x4 photos, though, and the app doesn't offer those, I don't think, so I took the rest of my pictures to the local store and just scanned them on the kiosk. Made them all black and white, and 4x4 square. I could have done wallet size, or anything I wanted, but I loved the 4x4 pics. They all fit so well.

When I got home, I quickly matted them with white textured cardstock and they were ready to hang. How do you mat a photo? Oh, it's easy. I just take a piece of cardstock and lay my picture on it close to one corner only allowing enough of the paper to show that I like. Then I just 'eyeball' the other two corners and take a pencil and make a little dash where it looks like the same amount of paper to me. Then I just put it on my paper cutter and cut along the two hash marks. There! You've got a (pretty) perfect square just slightly bigger than your picture. I use Aleen's Tacky glue. It's photo safe and just a dab will do ya. It holds much better than some double sided tapes. I just dab a dot in all four corners and in a big "X" pattern on the back and a few dots along each side. Don't go too heavy, though. You'll have lumps under your picture. And be sure to only put it on the picture, you may get it on the paper where you don't want to see it. Sure, it dries clear,'ll still see it. It oozes. You'll wipe it. It'll get dirty, or on your picture. You'll get frustrated. You'll throw the thing across the room. It'll get ugly.

I know from personal experience.

Uh...anyway, he he...

I let my clips dry 24 hours, and the next day I put them together, packed them up and shipped them off (where the real cost came in) or put them under the tree. Instant winner!

Here's mine. I've got a picture of my mother and I when I was 8 months old in England, my husband and his family at the Transportation Museum in Missouri when he was young, my mother and her best friend when they were young girls, and my Great Grandmother Ella. What special photos to me. And the best part? They are interchangeable. You can change them up for holidays or birthdays or occasions. Whatever you like. Very versatile! 

I hope you enjoyed this post, and decide to make a photo block of your own. Let me know how it goes!

Btw...maybe you're thinking, "Hey! What's going on up there on that wall!?" Came back Friday to find out...

Thanks for reading and spending some time with me,


* All opinions are my own. I receive no endorsements from any sponsors mentioned in the above post: Hobby Lobby, Aleen's, Gorilla Glue, Lowe's or Walgreens.

Monday, May 26, 2014

My Compost Pile Tulips

Here's another "quickie".

Do you remember my post about our compost bin? You can read all about it here. Well, the 'dirt' must be fabulous because these beauties were growing right out of the leaves back there. Last year, my hubby, God love him, dumped a container/pot of what he thought was old potting soil back there in the fall after the flowers were gone. He didn't realize that there was a biodegradable/compostable peat pot with all the bulbs still in it buried in that soil.

I guess I didn't, either, because I never questioned where they were ;) Anyhoo, this spring he tells me that there are red tulips growing out of the compost pile. I run back there and, lo and behold, there ARE red tulips growing out of the compost pile. MY red tulips. From last year. There also happened to be yellow daffodils and purple hyacinth growing UPSIDE DOWN in that pile. See...they were sold all together in the plantable peat pot last year. Even with no sun, those flowers grew. Upside down, into the dirt.

I wish I had gotten a few pics of was weird. They were a little deformed, to say the least. I tried to salvage the bulbs, but there was all kinds of crazy going on in there.

My point is, though: compost. That is some RICH dirt!

Look at these beauties!

Something to note about tulips, if you didn't already feeding. That is, no flower food necessary.  They are a "low water level flower". Clean fresh water just about an inch or so high is all you need. Cut your stems to the desired length (at an angle and under running water) according to the vessel you are using (tulips need a little support, but are most beautiful with a slight bow, I think) and enjoy them...they don't last long!

Thanks so much for stopping by, 


Eleven Roses

Hello there,

Just catching up on posts that have been laying in wait.

My dad surprised me with roses as a sort of post Mothers Day gift. He always bought my mom roses, so he picked me up a dozen and gave them to me...minus one. That one was for mom's grave.

I have always loved the look of a rose pavé (an arrangement in which you trim the stems to the height of the top of the vessel they are resting in so that you have a nice, full arrangement of the flower heads and some greenery only).

I had this ironstone white pitcher that I decorated with a bit of burlap a few years ago that worked perfectly. Those roses are still sitting on the table right now. A bit faded of their brilliance, and growing older by the day, but still hanging in there...a little like me ;)

They have lasted a really long time. My cut flowers always do, no matter where I get them from. The key, I have learned, is to use half of the flower food that comes with them, don't put too much (or too little) water, and I always cut my stems at an angle, under running water. Always. 

Then, after about a week, I refreshen the water with the remaining flower food and re-cut the stems the exact same way. They always last so long. I've never tried any of the remedies you can find on Pinterest like a crushed up aspirin or a little bleach in the water or white soda. If you have, and it works for you...let me know what you are doing! I'd love to try a new trick.

Thanks for reading! 


Another Mother's Day Gone...

Hi friends,

I know it's a little late, but how was your Mothers Day? I hope it was wonderful and full of surprises. I celebrated early on Saturday, first, with my sister. We went out for the day and exchanged gifts. On Sunday my husband had to work, but my son surprised me with candy, flowers and a lovely card. It was sweet, and heartfelt. And my husband is taking me shopping for the perfect bicycle--one with a basket, so I can take my Soph along for the ride (you all know Sophie, don't you? Well, that's a post for another day...)

Anyway, I wanted to share with you the gift my sister gave me. We must have been on the same wavelength, because I gave her a necklace, too. I didn't get any pictures, but it is a silver chain with little charms that I picked to represent her personality. Her initial "P", a little nurses cap because she is a great nurse of 20 years, a silver wing because we have had to learn to live on a wing and a prayer, especially over these last couple of years, and a mounted crystal because she's a "diamond in the rough". That's not an insult; not if you knew my sister... ;)

So, same wavelength, and we didn't even know it. The necklace she put together for me was in memory of our mother. A locket that holds little treasures of memory representing mom. The disk inside says "Mom" to show who it's for. A little heart "In Memory Of" her. A tiny little teapot because mom loved her daily morning cup of tea; I was raised on it and still love a creamy cup of English tea in the morning or on chilly evenings. There's a little purse that says "Shop", because that's what she absolutely LOVED to do (I think above anything else!), and of course, her birthstone.

It is a lovely and thoughtful gift. One that I will cherish forever. I consider myself lucky that, even through the devastation of losing my mother, I have a sister I can rely on to share in my joys, and be with me during my sorrows. That's the best gift.

Thank you so much for reading today. Have  wonderful week!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Veggin' Out!

Hi Everybody, how has your week been? Working through life over here, one steady footstep at a time, as always...
I'm glad that I have decided to get back into blogging, though; sharing with you all truly makes me happy and helps me stay relaxed and focused enough to get through the myriad of challenges that life brings our way. I'm sure I'll be writing more about that soon at my other blog, but over here, this is where we celebrate the lighter side of life. It's why I started this blog! Anyway, I wanted to share with you something new...

I have recently gone back to vegetarianism, after many years. I have a few blog posts that I have written about trying to get out of the "funk" that I've been in all winter long...maybe all YEAR long. I was wondering when I would be ready to make my way back into that life that I left the day my mother died: fitness, healthful eating, the desire to excel. I was struggling and I didn't know how to pick up that journey where I left off. It took some time, from when I wrote that last post (you can read it here) to finally start to take heed of my own advice; my own instincts. It just became a natural progression in the journey that I am on to start taking better care of myself, and that seamlessly included the cessation of eating meat. If you read my other blog at confessions of a think-a-holic, you will get the 'gist' of the journey that I have been on. Vegetarianism is not for everyone, and I certainly NEVER thought I would EVER eat this way. Ever.
But I do. And I am a happy eater and I don't think I have ever had more delicious food.

That being said, I just wanted to share with you a couple of recipes that I tried that are now family favorites. Our son even loves it. Every night I am able to cook up something easy and delicious...and for me, guilt free!

This first recipe was influenced by the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich at Panera Bread. I tried it there for the first time ever a few weeks ago, and it is my new favorite.

Look at all that yummy stuff in there! 

This meal was such low cost. It's a huge difference from buying meat (that I never got around to cooking anyway). I bought some Cobblestone Wheat bread and an assortment of Veggies that I knew we would like. That's the idea...don't force yourself to eat something you hate. You will resent it and will not make any changes that way. 

This is how I put it together:

I spread hummus (any flavor you like, I used garlic, but we love ALL hummus) on one side of the bread, guacamole on the other. Sprinkle some feta or goat cheese onto the hummus, so it will stick. Lay your baby spinach over that (again, so it will stick).

On the other side of the bread in the same way, I put a few pieces of green leaf lettuce onto the guacamole, then cucumber slices, roasted red bell peppers, and 1-2 artichoke hearts sliced up. Add some tomato slices if you like (I do not, Noah and Tyler do) and some red or sweet onion slices (Tyler and I do, Noah does not). Put it together and slice in half.

Best. Sammy. Ever.

Serve with a side of pretzel crisps, or our favorite--veggie straws with sea salt.
You have a quick, cool and light summer meal.

So good...

Another favorite I found on allrecipes. It's a portobello mushroom cap marinated in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, onion and garlic. It is accompanied by the best asparagus I have ever had. No kidding. Also from allrecipes, it is oven cooked and then a butter, soy sauce and balsamic mixture is poured over the top. Yum! I cooked the mushrooms in a skillet instead of on the grill, but they turned out delicious, nonetheless. I just put a little olive oil in the pan and cooked it cap side down for a while until it started to soften. Then I took a chance and flipped them over, gills down. It worked just fine, and I didn't lose any of the onions or garlic, like I thought I would. Then, I just used my judgement, checking for it's softening, and flipped it a couple of times to incorporate all of the flavors, and they were done. These truly are the "steaks of the mushroom family". We'll grill it next time and I'll let you know how they turn out...or you can let me know!

It doesn't seem like much, but it was filling, and you can always add a side salad, quinoa, rice or fruit. You'd be amazed what you find delicious when your body tells you what it needs. I'll be updating you with more healthy and quick veggie meals periodically as I try them.

If not for the it for your health!

Thanks for reading! Don't forget to stop by my other blog for some inspiration, too! 

Have a fantastic weekend!


*I received no endorsements from Cobblestone, Panera Bread/St. Louis Bread Co. or All decisions and opinions are my own.

Monday, May 19, 2014

"Recycled Chic" Ottoman rescue!

Well, hello there! I know I haven't blogged here for quite some time, and for that, I apologize. Life sure can take you on a journey, can't it? Well, I'm really going to try to get my projects underway and get them out to you here. I am! Really!
I've just been putting a lot of time into other things that made their way to the top of my list. Family affairs always come first, and I've been writing on my other blog confessionsofathinkaholic each week. It centers me, and that is precisely what I needed. 
But! I've got several projects that I want to share, so let's get right to it...

So, here is project #1. 
We had a hand-me-down 1970's footstool/Ottoman. I always wanted to cover it, but never found the fabric. Well, Noah and I decided it was time to get at least one small project done, to further freshen up the look of the living room, so we went hunting for some fabric. 
Coupons and sales papers in hand, we commenced the search for the perfect pattern. 
Noah found it. 

I've gotta hand it to him, though. I absolutely LOVE it! It was on sale for 50% off at Hancock fabrics. 100% cotton upholstery fabric. We only needed one yard, luckily, and paid only $12. 
That was our only cost, as we had everything else on hand. I'll tell you what we did, step-by-step, but I just wish I had thought to take pictures along the way. (See what slacking gets you? I went from taking pictures of everything to forgetting to take any at all!!)

The best I can do is describe this beautiful creature to you...

It was brown velvety corduroy,  all worn out and threadbare. It had the 'piping' trim all around. And the padding was completely flattened out. But the legs were in great shape. 

We started by cutting the piping off with a sharp pair of scissors, very close to the seam line. It didn't matter how it looked, really; I was covering it up. I have a TON of quilters batting on hand (and I do mean a ton. So much, in fact, that I gave some away at our last yard sale. I did, because it was given to me for free and I needed room in storage for other stuff, plus...freebies at a yard sale do wonders for business ;) 
Anyway, I laid out a couple of layers of that: a "long on all sides" piece, then a piece that was just slightly larger than the top of the stool to give the top that rounded soft look, and turned my stool over, centering it right on the batting. I then pulled one side at a time of the longer batting just to the bottom edge of the stool and stapled, continuing around until I was satisfied. I trimmed off the excess, and that part was done. It was nice and fluffy.

Next, I took my printed fabric and centered it over the top of my stool. This took a little while as I was not satisfied with where the pattern was laying. When I got it where I wanted, I carefully flipped it over. This is not as hard as it sounds, the fabric is 'see through'. I just made sure it was straight. I pulled the front and back up, and put one staple in it to hold it.
Then we took it outside.
We used the air compressor and staple gun to do the rest. I unscrewed the legs and continued to pull and staple all around--equal on all sides, making sure not to cause any puckering. I left the corners for last. Tucking that much material into square corners can be tricky. And, as this is the first time I've ever done this, I just played with it a little until it looked good, and trimmed where I needed to, and stapled the dickens out of it, nice and tight.

One thing sure NOT to staple your fabric over the holes that your legs get screwed back into or bunch too much fabric around there or you won't be able to get the legs on. But, before you do that, you should staple, or even glue, if you want, a backing on to cover the fabric edges and make your project have that 'finished' look. You can use muslin, but most fabric stores sell the black mesh fabric that you find on the bottoms of chairs and ottomans.

Next, make little holes in the fabric for your legs, screw the legs back in as is, or paint them out. And enjoy your new ottoman! Do you know how much these go for in retail?! Here's one from Target (I didn't even shop "expensive"!) It's close enough to mine, I think...or am I flattering myself? And what would have happened to this had I thrown it out...landfill city! And we don't need that. Not when you can have "Recycled Chic"!

Thanks for reading today...and I have a lot of catching up to do so there may be some fall inspired posts to come...or maybe I'll just wait till fall. It's not that terribly far off, now that I've waited so darn long...
Have a great week!