Sunday, January 29, 2012

Valentine's Day: Love your Neighbor!

Really... Nathan should not leave me alone this long. It currently looks like a craft store threw up in our living room! However, I am super excited about about this next little project!

Ok, serious note. So I've been thinking a lot about this blog & the things I enjoy. They can really become inward focused & certainly without realizing it... become an idol in my life. I definitely think the Lord has given me a love for crafting, thrifting and making things that are dull- beautiful. Rather than just focusing this on my home... I want to reach out. One reason Nathan & I moved to this apartment complex and out of seminary housing is so that we could minister to our neighbors! So this Valentine's Day we want to love on our neighbors. 

I saw on Pintrest an idea I fell in love with from the ladies of eighten25! I thought it would be perfect to share with our neighbors. It cost me less than $5 per neighbor & it also gave me a crafting outlet!

Find a jar with a wide mouth. I found these at Walmart for $2.97! (isn't it cute!?)
Use either ribbon, twine, or fabric. I chose to use 2" fabric strips that were about 20" long. 
Aren't they darling?
Each fabric is different. I just happened upon all this scrap fabric in fabulous colors & prints for $3. I mean it was a lot of fabric. I almost felt bad about getting all of this for $3!!

Now... to fill those adorable little jars! I made yummy cookies which of course had to be pink! I actually kinda invented the recipe... which I'll share later with you!
Voila! I just used a piece of scrapbook paper to write a little note. The front reads, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matt. 22:37-39 

And then on the back is a little note from us wishing them a Happy Valentine's Day!

I hope this inspires you to turn your gifts & hobbies outward & serve/ love others! After all, isn't that what we're called to do? (yes!) 

P.S. I will not be giving our lovely neighbors 3 week old cookies! This was just a trial run... don't worry. There will be a fresh batch baked closer to Valentine's Day!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Quick Fix for Sad Wood!

Both my mother & grandmother swear by this stuff! In fact, I even got some from Santa in my stocking this year! This magical fix is called Liquid Gold & that is what it is. We're renting & I'm not really a fan of our oak cabinets. You know know me... I'd love to slap a colorful coat of paint on them & add some fun hardware ALAS I cannot. Instead I can shine them up & give them new life in less than 5 minutes (my kitchen is tiny & we're short on storage)!
These pictures don't do the difference justice... but you can tell that the one on the left is rather drab while the one on the right has sheen! (and smells good too)
So try some Liquid Gold! It's only $5.47 at Lowes & it really does give your wood a quick update!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ugly (but free) Hotel Bedside Table

Ok, remember this?

Yeah... it's ugly. I really hate it because it is what you see when our bedroom door is open... it's a straight shot down the hall right into that ugly thing. I've tried flipping which side we put it on in efforts to hide it but that threw off our sitting area. SO what is the perfect cheap & quick fix? Paint.

Step 1- Prime. I chose to prime this because it was a little more lacquered than the dresser I painted last time and also because of that dated metal. 
All Primed! It was easy. Just make sure you don't spray too close so you can avoid drips.
Step 2. Spray paint metal... Fail. I thought this would be more of a nickle finish... nope. My thought was I'll spray the metal & then let it dry, then tape it off and paint around it. I was afraid the black with the 'Hanging Vine' would look to modern/ teen dorm room like.
I definitely decided to re-prime!
Step 3. Paint! I like this MUCH better. I painted the entire piece with Valspar Flat Latex Interior Paint in 'Hanging Vine'.
Now what to do about that hole? (My husband and his roommates original used this as their TV stand, hence the hole.)
Well, I had this picture that has no stand & no hanger. I really like the print & the frame is the perfect  size. I found it at Goodwill for $1 and I think it works here.

There you have it. It honestly isn't my ideal just because I think the shape of it is not lovely, however at least now the color is! 
There you have it. I like that with our neutral bedding we now have a pop of color throughout our room. Our room is certainly not finished, but lets be honest... will it ever be? Probably not as long as I'm living here!
Certainly more my style! Be bold... anyone can paint!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Paint is a beautiful thing!

Since my husband has been out of town I have filled my evenings with projects. Things I've been wanting to do... but when he is here I'd prefer to just sit & spend time with him! (We're newly weds... but I hope that doesn't wear off!) So without further ado...
Meet the dresser I found on Craigslist for $40. Nathan & I had literally NO furniture so I hit Craigslist hard. (The week before my wedding... I was wisely put on restriction by my then fiance & my best friend Whitney to not get on Craigslist anymore until after the wedding!) 

Well this look is fine for a cabin or a 90's country themed bedroom with a plaid bedspread... but that's not exactly the look I was going for!
So I started painting that sucker. Thankfully the dresser wasn't rough or super lacquered so I didn't have to prime it. I bough a gallon of Valspar Interior Flat Latex Paint called 'Hanging Vine' which cost $17.98 at Lowes. I have a ton left over which I'm sure I can find so use for!
The most tedious part of this whole process was the 17 knobs. If I could afford all new hardware I would have found some antiqued crystal looking knobs... but alas that's not in the budget for now! I painted the tops, waited over night, and then replaced them & finished the rest. 
I LOVED waking up to this, this morning! See that huge beautiful mirror? It didn't come with the dresser. I found that at a thrift store & got it for $17.50!! It's stamped on the back Aug. 1956 & it is ridiculously heavy!
So here it is folks. Multiple coats of pretty paint & time. I love that we have color in our bedroom now!
As renters we're not painting the walls... so any other way I can get color into our home (and be able to take it with us when we leave this place) is a win for me!

Stay tuned for an update on this hideous hotel (but free) bedside table.

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Hubby is going out of town... (project time)

Well, for the first time in our marriage we'll spend our nights apart. For a good cause of course! Nathan is going to be with his mom while she has surgery tomorrow. Please pray for Carol's surgery Tuesday 1/24 & a speedy recovery. We're praying that this will remove all of the cancer & that this will be the end of that!

So... while the Hubs is gone and I'm at home only working part-time I've decided I NEED to do something to fill my time! I have gone through my list of things I can afford and what I'd like to accomplish. I will make sure to post before & afters.

1. FINISH our Thank You cards! AH, if you're reading this and still haven't gotten a 'thank you' from us it is on its way!
2. Refinish our ugly (but free) bedside table.
3. Paint our Craigslist find dresser.
4. Mount our TV above our fireplace!!
5. Have "girl time"!
6. Finish the book From the Ashes, a suspense thriller a friend wrote and that came out last week! (It's GOOD).

Hmmm, that's probably all I'll have time for! So... make sure to pray for my mother-in-law Carol & my Hubs as he takes care of her! I'm so glad I married a man who loves and cares for others.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Wedding Break Down; Tight Budget Weddings Don't have to be Tacky

Well I suppose we're all a little biased about our "big day". You ask any bride and she'll tell you her wedding was perfect and the best ever! Ask me and I'll tell you... our wedding was absolutely perfect & I loved every single detail and second of it. Honest.

So I say all that to say this, here is a little insight to our wedding & budget. Here are helpful tips I'd give to any bride... especially a bride who is worried about her budget yet wants her wedding to be beautiful and not cheap looking or tacky. Here it is in no particular order...

Elizabeth's Top Do's to say I Do:

13. Find a beautiful Venue If you find a beautiful venue you save time & money on decorating. What?! I know I love to decorate! But, put touches on things that will be remembered and reused. Candelabras & bows most likely will not be reused. Find a beautiful church, garden, house or whatever that is beautiful already and needs few finishing touches. All together (like wedding coordinator/ sound guy/ clean up this place cost me $500 (I added nothing. Seriously, not a thing to this stunning church.)
12. Take full advantage of Local Restaurants Remember #13? Yeah, same thing goes for your reception venue! This picture was taken on a normal day and I only tweaked a few things for our wedding day. We rented the entire restaurant out (on a Sunday, it's a heck of a lot cheaper)! Thankfully it was all of my beautiful fall colors and I loved the vibe. OH best part about having your reception at a restaurant? You don't have to worry about finding a caterer, table rentals, chair rentals, place settings and ALL that mess! They have it and you don't have to worry about who is in charge of cleaning and taking back anything.  It cost me $3,000... WHOA. Yeah it's like half my budget... BUT that's where we spent most of our wedding with everyone. (PS. The food was/is amazing there. If you're ever in Wake Forest, NC go to Girasole it's amazing.)
11. Find a Good Photographer Listen, you're going to want to look back at beautiful images from such an important day. Stay inside your budget... but don't just ask your friend who has a "fancy" camera... unless that friend has serious editing experience and most importantly knows when and how to capture your once in a lifetime important moments! We used our dear friend Kelly of May Photography & she did a beautiful job. (PS. I'm a full supporter of doing pictures prior to the wedding. We got married at night... I wanted outside, sunshine filled pictures with my husband. It was just as special to see him- see me for the first time & hey, we got to talk! It was so sweet, I'll never forget that.)
10. Flowers ARE important Typically the first place a bride makes changes to her budget is in the floral department. They die, it's true... but while they live they are beautiful. There are ways to save money and still have gorgeous flowers at your wedding. A.) Use seasonal flowers. B.) Find a florist that works out of their home... they tend to be cheaper because they have less to pay for themselves! C.) Tell your florist exactly what you don't want & come prepared with pictures of what you do want. D.) Back to #13, you shouldn't need too many extra flowers if your venue is beautiful BUT if you'd like some small arrangements in bud vases or whatever, tell your florist OR assign someone to pick up flowers at your local grocery store (in your colors of course) for those arrangements. My florist, Cathleen Wiley, did an amazing job with my flowers! I've dried my bouquet and it's now hanging in our bedroom as a sweet reminder of a beautiful day!

9. DIY Wisely Truth is I could have picked a million... literally a million... do it yourself projects for my wedding. Sadly there is just not enough time, money or sanity for all of them! Pick a few easy things you can do with your friends or pass off to your friends. I got a pack of wooden hangers for under $10 and used a paint pen to write "Bride", "Maid of Honor" and "Bridesmaid" on these hangers. It is something small but personal.
Again, DIY Wisely! These were the only decorations at the church. My friend Sarah and I made these and spent roughly $20 on each thanks to the great deals and great artificial flowers at Hobby Lobby! They make great gifts to give to people after the wedding or beautiful and special decor for your own home!
8. Don't blow your Dreams on the Dress of your Dreams There are plenty of people who would disagree with me on this, just watch Say Yes, to the Dress. (I love that show!) However, be smart with where you shop! I found my dress at Bridal Mart, an absolutely ghetto looking gem of a bridal store. Being the frugal gal that I am I looked at the clearance rack, I always start there (and typically end there). Call me lucky, but the only dress that caught my eye ended up being my size and on clearance. I put it on and cried, "Crap!! My mom is not even here!" You see, I wasn't even dress shopping for me. I was with my best friend and she was there for her final fitting. I put that baby on lay-a-way because when they told me it was marked down to $180.00 (!!!!!) I said it's mine and called my mom to tell her that when she came up I would take her to get my dress! Oh, by the way... that's my mom's gorgeous veil I'm wearing!

7. Cakes can be Simple & Elegant First off, our cake was DELICIOUS. It was almond cake with a vanilla butter cream that made you stop after the first bite & relish all the rest! I wanted a simple cake that was beautiful and tasted good. Because I went with a 'stucco finish' it was cheaper (that was a plus because that's what I wanted to start with!) You see, fondant is beautiful... and also complicated therefore, much more costly! Rough butter cream... easy, delicious and beautiful. I just asked my florist to add some fresh flowers for interest and color & it turned out beautifully. I also took a gamble and went for a smaller cake because A.) not everyone wants cake at a wedding B.) our baker, Tartlette Treats promised us a complimentary anniversary cake! So we served the entire thing!

6. Listen to your Groom's Suggestions My Husband really did/does trust my decisions, especially in the area of wedding but he did have one request. His ONE request was that his Groom's cake be Oreo Truffles which I might add are SO good. It was a great idea! They're not hard to make & they're not costly. Also, they were great for the hungry kids who were ready to have dinner before dinner was ready! (The bride & groom may have sneaked a couple too!)

5. Bridesmaids Gift should be Thoughtful & Special I had so much fun looking for gifts for my bridesmaids! I knew what I wanted to get them but I had to hunt for them. I got each girl vintage earrings mostly from the 1950's to wear in the wedding. I love sparkles and old things so it was fitting for my wedding! Each pair was different and they were wrapped in a vintage hanky which they could hold during the ceremony. (I definitely borrowed my sister's during the ceremony!) I spent about $100 on everything.

4. Guest Books... who looks at those? So there is nothing wrong with a guest book, but if we had one I guarantee I'd look at it rarely or never. However, we have awesome artwork from all our guests which now hangs proudly in our living room where I see it daily! Each guest picked a color stamp and left their thumbprint with their name next to it to create leaves on a tree! I love it & it was perfect for our fall wedding. The entire thing cost me roughly $30 but if you're talented enough to paint your own tree you could definitely do it for less!
3. Boutonnieres are Easy Peasy This is my handsome groom & my younger brother! My sweet husband has about 198,028,456 friends & has been in literally 14 weddings (not including his own... & 2 more coming up). Honestly, I couldn't have kept up with his groomsmen OR afford flowers for that many bridesmaids so we had to compromise. We each had 4 people in our wedding party & then he had 6 ushers. Then we had 2 musicians, 3 grandpa's & 2 officiants. So needless to say that's a lot of boutonnieres aka a lot of money. My bestie Whitney (the one whose bridal fitting I found my dress at) & I made about 25 boutonnieres one night and they each cost me about 30 cents! I found a vine at Hobby Lobby (which I used the majority of on another wreath for the reception) & cut of 50 leaves. We used florist tape, wire & hot glue to construct each one. It pretty much consist of 1 large leaf, one smaller one in a contrasting color and then one large acorn & one smaller one. Thanks Whitney for your large oak tree! The great thing is... we made these 2 months prior to the wedding.

2. Make Sure Your Feet are Happy I love my wedding shoes & I wear them ALL the time. They also provided a pair of shoes to a child in Africa! The Hubs & I bought our wedding shoes for each other as our wedding gift. Best gift ever! Seriously, I was comfortable and I still love wearing them. Tom's has wedding styles but we went with classics which worked with our colors. We spent $108 on our wedding shoes, but hey we also bought 2 pairs for kids in need & we didn't just wear them once.
1. Consider Your Getaway We had an evening wedding which led into a perfect fall night & I wanted our send off to be special! We left to all of our friends & family waving sparklers! It was exhilarating & memorable... plus we got awesome pictures from it! 150 sparklers... roughly $80. 

So like I said, my wedding was perfect. I loved the entire day & even more than that I get to spend the rest of my days with my sweet husband, Nathan. To see our beautiful wedding video captured by our talented friend, Christopher Timmons, click here! OH, and our wedding was planned in 3 1/2 months... so it can be done!

Happy Planning! 

Where to begin?

Well, this is my second blog. The first I have "retired". It served as my journal & way of keeping my loved ones up to date on my adventures in Romania. You can read that here if you like!

So, why start a new blog? Hmm... a lot has changed! I've moved (technically twice), gotten married (don't worry, only once) and we've started settling into our little home. I'm not working with orphans currently (which is what I did in Romania)... instead I nanny for 3 privileged kids who still need love & care. I move my furniture often. I think of ways to rearrange everything! I enjoy anything that involves fabric, a hot glue gun, paint or thrift store/ garage sale finds! My husband is finishing his Master's and works in a church and I'm a nanny... you know we're on a budget!

Anyway, I figure I love reading blogs... gaining ideas for my home, finding new recipes, being encouraged & getting inspired so I hope this blog can do that for others too. (Plus I really enjoy jotting down life as it goes, it's always fun to go back and reminisce!)

Let the "journey" commence!