Monday, November 30, 2009

Trimming the home for the holidays

It's finally time to get ready for the holidays! I don't have to restrain myself any more.

My regular posts this month will feature an ornament of the day and a song from my holiday mix, in addition to ideas for DIY, cheap and chic holiday home decor, crafts, gift ideas, and tips for holiday entertaining on a budget.

I'm kicking off the official season to be merry by making my second-annual holiday mix CD. Last year, I put one together, made some copies, and gave it as gifts to friends . I was inspired by a friend who also does the same thing, and I look forward to getting his mix each year. I like a mix of traditional, choral, old crooners, motown, acoustic, humorous, etc. I'm counting down December days til Christmas giving you a song (or maybe two) a day.

Today's Holiday Mix Song -
Please Come Home for Christmas, Harry Connick Jr. (Super jazzy and fun.)

I did a bit of holiday decorating, I got the tree and some lights up. Unwrapping those ornaments takes forever! I did some other fun little projects that I will be sharing with you in upcoming posts - an easy holiday pillow makeover, my faux wood mantel, and DIY advent calendar from recycled materials.

Cyber Monday Deal - 25% Off, Free Shipping

In honor of Cyber Monday, get 25% off and Free Shipping on everything in my Etsy shop today. There are some great little gift items, handmade jewelry from vintage pieces and hand stitched, custom monogrammed ornaments. Enter Promo Code "MONDAY" at checkout and you will be refunded 25% off via paypal.

There are some great deals online today! I found some good stuff at

I am thankful for...

Our thanksgiving meal was spectacular. In case you didn't fill up on the three different kinds of turkey on the table, there were sides and pies galore. It was a lovely meal with lots of love and good conversation. And it was early to bed for me, because I got up at 5 AM to go Black Friday shopping with my best friend from high school.

On the menu...
Smoked turkey
Roasted turkey
Fried turkey
Challah bread
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Cornbread stuffing
Sausage stuffing
Collard greens
Corn souffle
Cranberry relish
Bourbon sweet potatoes
Kentucky Derby Pie
Apple Pie
Pumpkin Pie
Fresh whipped cream

Fry it if you've got it

We spent Thanksgiving in Sweetwater, Tennessee with old friends and family. Although we missed most of the autumn leaves, which had already dropped, East Tennessee was still as beautiful as ever. Sweetwater is just a three hour drive from Atlanta, so we loaded up in the trusty Honda and arrived around noon, just in time to munch on cocktail shrimp, drink a beer, and help fry the turkey.

Turkey frying is not as easy as it might look. The lead turkey fryer is a med student, as is his girlfriend, and we speculated on how many turkey frying related injuries the Sweetwater Hospital would see that day. It was chilly, and while Stephen was getting the turkey from the kitchen, Bailey and I warmed our hands over the heating oil. Ummm...turkey frying rule number one is apparently to stay far away from the oil. Oops.

Beer and frying on Thanksgiving, what could be more American. That bird smells like freedom.

I have to say, fried turkey is one of the finer things in life. Once it was done and we had a taste, we started to brainstorm other things we could deep fry before the oil went cold. Twinkies? Corn dogs? Just straight butter? We settled on bacon, which had already been smoked with the other turkey (there were three). Smoked, fried bacon is absolutely delicious.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving - Make a Wish

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am enjoying the holiday with my family and friends in my hometown of Sweetwater, Tennessee. Here are some adorable turkey cupcakes for you from Cupcakes Take the Cake.
Don't forget the wishbone, y'all. Print by LuckyBluebirdArt.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New jewelry and embroidered monogram ornaments in my Etsy shop

I spent a Saturday afternoon with my mom making these new flower pendants from vintage pieces I picked up. They are so fun to make and so cute, especially with the little charms they are paired with. Tiny glasses, a sail boat, a tea cup, I love them and will be giving some as gifts this year. Here are just a few, but there are tons more in my Etsy shop.

I also started making custom monogram ornaments inspired by Anthropologie. You can order any letter and they will ship the next day. Also a really cute gift.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No budget thanksgiving decor

I've done a few autumnal, harvest-y decor projects around the house this season. I made some harvest garland, had it up for a few weeks, got tired of it, and decided to go for round two of the DIY fall decorations. The challenge? Do it on the cheap, really cheap, as in shop my own house and spend no money cheap. I had eyed fall wreaths in Target, but didn't want to plunk down the $20. I had some leaf garlands in my stash that I have had for at least 3 or 4 years, and little red berries that I put out every Christmas. I bought those berries the first year I moved to Atlanta, so I've had them for 8 years now? They are super versatile. I pulled out a wire hanger and wrapped everything around, and voila, a new fall wreath.
I also made a little bookshelf vignette from things I had around the house. I filled a clear vase with acorns I collected a while back. I learned from blogging friends that there are little worms that live inside them. So, I baked them at low heat for a few hours, which did the trick. I collected some bare branches from the yard and hot glued little fabric leaves I had leftover from the garland project. I always keep white pillar candles on hand, and stuck them in galvanized planters and tins, one borrowed from my desk, the other I grew basil in this summer. A little fall ambiance to tide me over until I can bring out the winter holiday decorations.

And on the theme of thrift, here is a really cool story from NPR on the recent rise in popularity of thrift stores.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Top 10 DIY Advent Calendars

Here are ten craftastic ideas for making your own, unique advent calendar. Check out these for inspiration or come up with your own idea. Take a look around your house, see what kind of things you have on hand, or wander around the thrift or craft store. I would love to know your ideas or links to other cute calendars!

Jumping the gun

I caved. I am normally very anti-Christmas-before-Thanksgiving. However, I broke down at Ikea this weekend and bought some wrapping paper and ribbon. I justified this to myself by saying, well, I am not at Ikea very often (ummm, about once every six weeks?), it's kind of out of my way (ten minutes down the road), and it was on sale (99 cents for the paper, 25 cents for the ribbon). The only thing that really holds water is the sale. Oh well. But, what I am looking forward to is advent, which starts just after Thanksgiving. I always loved getting my advent calendar, which was always one of those cardboard ones with little chocolates inside. But there are some really creative advent calendars out there, and I'm thinking of making one myself this year. Here are some great handmade advent calendars from Etsy.
Bingo advent calendar by Shanty2Chic
Nativity puzzle advent calendar by woodencreations
Advent calendar pouches by nuvonova
Muffin tin advent calendar by everydaysamemory

Friday, November 20, 2009

Closet makeover

It seems like I have been figuring out how to most effectively use the closets in my apartment since I moved in last May. In the old place, I had one huge closet and one smaller closet in my bedroom, plus a linen closet in the bathroom and a storage closet in the hall. Now I've got a gigantic storage closet, a unremarkable medium sized closet in the bathroom, and a teeny linen closet in the bedroom. Sadly, this has given me some organizational challenges. The clothes closet was a yucky dingy white, and no matter how organized it was, it was never appealing to the eye. Hence, the closet makeover. I used leftover paint from the kitchen and the bedroom and some vintage fabric I haven't known what to do with to cover the shelves. Cost - $0.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New creations for my Etsy shop

The first necklace is made from recycled t-shirts and a vintage button. The little flower is detachable, so you could wear it on a sweater or a jacket. This is a fun and pretty easy project and a great fall/winter accessory. I made a grey one for myself, and I've gotten tons of compliments.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Vintage sewing pattern wall art

I have been looking for ways to freshen up my apartment without spending any money. I was in need of a switcheroo on some artwork in my living room. I had one of my paintings up, and honestly, I was just tired of looking at it. So, I dug through my trusty box of fabric and craft supplies, and scrounged up some vintage sewing patterns I bought forever ago. I also used some scraps of fabric from a chair semi-upholstering I did recently, white spray paint, black and white poster board, and old frames. I usually have a stash of unused frames for moments like this.
I spray painted the frames white so the would have a cohesive look and chose my favorite pattern envelopes from the sixties and seventies. For the larger frame, I cut out a piece of fabric, black poster board mat, and white poster board mat and layered them. I couldn't find my ruler, so I free handed the cutting and measurements, but it worked out well, and I'm not so into measurements anyways. Voila, new vintage sewing pattern wall art. Project time: About 20 minutes.

And while I worked, Penny slept, as usual.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

House Tour - Bedroom

I'm starting to put together a little house tour of my humble abode, beginning with the bedroom. My apartment is one bedroom, one bath and is the top floor of a large older home renovated into apartments. It's right by Emory University village, so I've got a Starbucks, a CVS and a fantastic brunch place within easy walking distance (so the basics are covered!). There are some things I love (like the big kitchen and lots of natural light) and some things I dislike about the place (my living room is impossibly narrow, and I have to work around carpet and not hardwood floors). I've lived here for almost a year now, and have painted, scrubbed, and arranged it into my little treetop nest.

I think my aesthetic is eclectic, colorful, vintage-y, sometimes kitschy (I try to keep a sense of humor). I love corals, reds, and turquoise, aqua, and white. I am a sucker for an obnoxious floral print. I thrift, garage sale, estate sale, recycle, paint everything, and do it myself most of the time.

And so we begin with the bedroom, which I painted from a horrible lavender color which was so hideous I had to paint it the day I moved in. The prints above the bed are vintage magazine ads (for stockings and wigs) that I got for a steal at an art festival. They are in cheap Ikea frames painted white with mats I cut out of black and white poster board.
I saw this color in an Anthropologie ad. A peacock navy blue with lots of white to balance the dark color.
My little bench that has become a window seat. An Ikea find and awesome extra storage for linens. The stained glass is on loan from my dad. It's been in my care for at least 8 years, but I am on notice that it can be "repossessed" by him when he decides on a place to put it.
The dresser was liberated from my parent's house. It used to be my brother's, and the peeling wood was in dire need of help. I painted the whole thing white, and decoupaged vintage sewing patterns all over it.
Clearly, I have an issue with collecting bangles. I made the fabric flowers, and the portrait I just did at a print making class.
The vanity tray was a great find by my mom at a neighborhood wide yard sale. The little bird is also a mom find from an antique store in East Tennessee.

The bedspread was also a great garage sale find for $5, including bedskirt and shams. I know, ew, linens from a garage sale, but they were in the original packaging and they got a good washing. Including all the furniture, linens, drapes, and accessories, I spent around $350 over the years on everything in this room.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Slate blue walls...or are they grey?

I am thinking of painting my living room, which is currently a tan color. I don't want to add too much color, I really want the room to feel open (as open as a really small room can be), light, and airy. I have a lot of pattern in the room in textiles already, and they style is eclectic, so I need a neutral. What I'm thinking is a slate grey or blue - I'm not sure what you would call the color, but here are some of my inspiration pictures.I totally love this fun living room. I think this is the look I am going for. The wall color below is Benjamin Moore. Of course, I am cheap, and I would never spend that money on Benjamin Moore paint, I'm more of a Valspar girl. It's not top of the line, but it's good quality for the money.
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