September 30, 2013

Crazy New Beginnings

It's a new week, friends!!

I started my new job today
 (and no, I'm not writing my post from said new job, I wrote this last week in anticipation for the impending craziness) 
And today marks a lot of change for my little family.
I'm making that huge switch from being a student for as long as I can remember to actually starting my career.

Not just my job.
A career. 
And that's crazy to me. 
In the midst of school it feels like it's never ending.
That it will always be unending papers to write, rules to follow, grades to achieve.
It's stressful. And hard. And having multiple breakdowns each semester because it just feels impossible. 

And now I'm on the other side of all that and it feels like I just blinked and it's over.
Weird how life does that to you, huh?

When I look back and think about all that I've gone through in the past six years to be here, on this day, starting my dream job, I'm somewhat amazed.


I've always been good at school but life threw me lots & lots of curve balls during it. 
I started college as a single mother, trying to figure out which road I wanted to take. 

I found that road heading to a career in occupational therapy and that road led to me all kinds of places I never dreamed of.

While staying the course I married someone I thought would still be with me at the end of that road to see all the new amazing beginnings we would have.
But he threw me more curve balls than I ever imagined.
Betrayal. Constant disappointments. Heartache. And ultimately divorce.
How I made it through OT school with the constant upheavals in my personal life, I can only point to God for that one. And my amazing friends & family. 

During all that chaos and uncertainty, I wondered if life would ever feel okay again.
If I was going in the right direction.
If all the hard times were worth the effort I was putting in to try and pull through it. 

Dolly Parton

And once again, I stand on the other side of all that and feel amazed. 
I was blessed with the most amazing husband I could ever have asked for after enduring all that craziness.
We started that new beginning over a year ago now and it's led to so many wonderful moments.

And I know that today, starting this newest journey for us, that there are so many more wonderful things ahead for us. 

I look at my husband when he's sitting next to me, or laughing with the kids and I have peace in the fact that although there will be chaos and upheavals in our life, he won't be it.  He won't be the cause. He'll be the rock through those times. And I'm so blessed to be able to say that now, after having not been able to say it in my previous relationship. 

There are so many things ahead of us that I'm excited about.
I'm nervous as all get-out about getting settled into it.
But excited nonetheless. 

always believe

It's amazing to look back and see all the steps that God took to get me to this day.
His fingerprints all over my future and my past.
And that of my husband's. 

It was a chaotic and hard and crazy path to get to where I'm standing today.
But it was so worth it.
And I can't wait to see what happens next :) 


Send up a little prayer for me today as I embark on this crazy journey. 
I think I'll need it!!

And if this sudden, serious post has you all confused, don't worry!! 
I'll be back tomorrow with a way fun DIY project!! 

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September 26, 2013

Shim & Crib Chalkboard Makeover

Happy Thursday friends!
We've almost made it through another week :) 

I wanted to pop in and follow up with some DIY-goodness after my fall mantel reveal!! 
Remember my centerpiece that graced the top of that yummy fall display??

I'm just in love with it. 
But like I said in my initial post, you'll never guess what it started out as!!

One of my favorite things to do is take a roadside cast-off and create something beautiful with it. 

So let's cut the suspense and see where this beauty came from, kay? 
Check it out!!

Are you amazed? 
I saw this guy sitting on the side of the road and instantly only saw it's pretty curves. 
(I know, I"m weird.)

And yes, it is the end of a laminate, plexiglass crib. 
Hubby was shaking his head at me too but he's learned to wait and see what happens :) 

I knew as soon as I lugged it home that I wanted it to be the star of my fall mantel. 
I guess it's quickly becoming a trend for me, considering my spring mantel also had a roadside rescue as it's centerpiece. 

First things first, hubby knocked the plexiglass out from the frame for me. 
It was a tough opponent but we won :) 

The next thing to do was to figure out what to cover the frame with. 
I knew I didn't want to just paint the existing frame, I didn't want to fight the laminate or the multiple holes in it. 
So I went to one of my favorite supplies...

Of course, my shims :) 

I've used shims in lots of projects such as here and here

They are the best and I love using them for all kinds of projects. They're easy to cut, stain, paint...whatever you could want. 
For this project, I wanted to keep the curves of the frame but not add a lot of weight. 
And I wanted all kinds of texture :) 

Enter, shims.  

Hubby cut them all down for me after laying them on the frame to measure what we needed. 
The thin ends of the shims are easily cut through with emergency shears but the thicker ends required the table saw (hubby loves any excuse to use it!).

As he cut them, I laid them on the frame to make sure they were fitting where they needed. I wanted a little overhang in the middle of the frame to add a more unfinished, rustic feel.
But in order to keep the curves up top, the ends had to match up on the outside edge. 

Use a sander to make all the edges nice and smooth. 

After cutting all the pieces and laying them on the frame, it was time to adhere them to it. 
You could use liquid nails if you want a permanent hold but I'm super impatient and didn't have any on hand. 
So hot glue did the trick for me :) 

Before adding all the shim pieces, I had to slice off a couple inches of the 'feet' on the frame so it wouldn't be too tall to sit on my mantel. 
A quick run through the table saw did the magic for me. 

Here's what it looked like after adhering all the shim pieces to it...

To keep the curved edges at the top, hubby used a jigsaw on the thicker ends of the shims after tracing the shape from the frame onto the shim with a pencil.
I used emergency shears to cut through the thin shims for rounded edges.

I wanted a very textured look so I varied the thick and thin edges of the shims throughout the frame. Love, love, love the texture it gave! 

After gluing all the pieces on, I gave the entire frame a coat of gold spraypaint. 
It transformed it beautifully. 
The gold almost looks like stain over the wooden shims but glimmers in the light, casting a gorgeous color. 

I did two light coats over it and the wood grain of the shims still shone through in most areas. 

For the chalkboard, I cut a piece of thin particle board to fit the back of the frame. 
A few coats of chalkboard paint covered it perfectly. 

I used my air compressor and staple gun to put several staples along each side of the chalkboard directly into the wooden frame.
Worked like a charm. 

Then all I had left was to find the perfect fall saying for it. 
I found this emily bronte quote in a quick google search and instantly fell in love with it. 

I used my Silhouette to cut it out in various fonts in white vinyl. I didn't want to mess with tracing it onto the chalkboard and since the vinyl is easily removed, if I get bored I can change it out easily :) 

Isn't the texture of the golden shims beautiful against the chalkboard? 
I was in love!!

I have a fun little trick to show you with this guy when I decided to use it for my daughter's  party. 
I'll be sharing that soon :) 

But doesn't it look perfect as the star of my mantel??

I love that it can be easily incorporated into decor for any season... as long as you change out the quote :) 

Are you as amazed with it's transformation as I am??

Take a look at how far it came!!

And just so you know,
the idea for this chalkboard didn't come to me all at once. 
Sometimes that happens and I can completely envision what it will be... but this guy I had to look at several times and just really problem solve through it. 

I knew I wanted a chalkboard from the beginning....that was the easy part.
But figuring out how to cover it, what colors to use & what it would exactly look like came to me in pieces. 
So don't worry if you grab something & don't know exactly what will happen with it. 

Sometimes it helps to let it just sit for a bit while you stare at it and dream up all kinds of things :)

What do you think?
Did my roadside rescue turn out amazing? 
I don't think you can convince me otherwise :) 

I"ll be back soon with a few more DIY projects from my mantel!!
Hope you have an amazing rest of the day, my friends!!

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September 25, 2013

{Layers of Gold} Fall Mantel 2013 Reveal!

It's finally that time again :) 

I can't believe that it's already time to share my fall decor...which of course ALWAYS starts with my favorite area of the house to decorate.... my mantel. 

I'm constantly amazed at all the different ways to change up the mantel...sometimes I worry that it'll start repeating itself but, nah, there's too many possibilities out there!!!

I love looking back at my previous fall mantels too, like here and even here
It definitely shows how my tastes changes from year to year. 

Last year, I went for a beautiful orange and white look and centered everything around pops of color mixed with gorgeous textured whites. 

This year, I went a totally different direction and incorporated my new-found love for all things gold. 
I'm obsessed :) 

But I think it's a good thing...check out this year's fall mantel gorgeousness...

What do you think?
Are you okay with my slight love for gold?? 

The whole vision for this mantel (yes, I have mantel's a sickness...) started with that amazing chalkboard centerpiece. 
You won't ever, ever believe what it's made from. 

Just you wait.... and, yup, I"m gonna make you sweat it out a little bit.
I have a whole post dedicated to it's transformation... let's just say it's going to be a fabulous roadside rescue makeover. 

After I found it I knew it would be the centerpiece of the mantel. 
And with it's gorgeous gold & chalkboard yumminess, it. is. perfect. 

But let's start at the bottom of it all...

I wanted something cute to corral a group of pumpkins on the hearth... and could never find what I wanted.
So I made my own pumpkin box :) 

Tutorial to follow soon!!

I layered a chunky fabric covered pumpkin along with some other cute ones I had and stuck an old scale & a painted mason jar in there for looks :) 

My shabby striped frame sits pretty on my hearth most of the year and I just change out the prints inside. I pulled out my fall printable from a couple years ago but it's likely to change again :) 

I also plopped a gold painted pumpkin on a thrifted candlestick and called it a day. 

The mantel itself was all about layers.
I'm crazy about some awesome layers, guys. 
My mantel is huge and deep enough to lean several things and still have lots of room. 

The chalkboard was the base of all my layers and then I added a DIY striped mirror (tutorial soon) and one of my white cabinet doors that always seem to make an appearance. I never get tired of a distressed white cabinet door. 

My other favorite project from this year's mantel are my DIY candlesticks. 
I have a tutorial coming for these guys too but I'll go ahead and tell you what makes them special... they are made from old banisters from my parent's house. 

And the tree slices are from a tree they cut down there too.  
So they are full of sentimental value and turned out a million times more beautiful than I ever expected!!

I added another pop of gold with a DIY sign that simply says 'home'. 
Because home is my favorite place to be. 
With my kids and sweet husband and silly pets. 
Love it :) 

I told the kids that I was replacing my spring 'watch birds' with 'watch owls' and they loved that. 
There are several owls around the house now that keep watch over things. 

This little orange guy was a Hobby Lobby find last year and I plopped him on one of my 4x4 pumpkins I made forever ago. 

Sometimes unpacking boxes reveal little treasures that I had forgotten I had.
This little post office box door was one of those. 
I literally squealed when I unwrapped it.
I have no idea why this random little door brings me so much joy but it does :) 

Heading to the right side of the mantel... there are three more of my banister candlesticks.
Oh and those cute ruffle pumpkins are soooo easy.
I'll be sharing more on those soon too :) 

I'll tell you what, my little white vase that I got at Hobby Lobby a couple years ago is a little workhorse.
It somehow always finds a place on my seasonal mantels and I never stop loving it. 
It's the perfect amount of texture and for fall, it looks amazing with a handful of faux wheat. 
The little blue bottle is a Hobby Lobby find too. 

I love me a good garland and this year I wanted all kinds of texture in it. 
I made an easy rag garland with strips of burlap, linen, white jersey  orange chevron and gold rope. Love it so much. 

So much eye candy. It makes me happy every time I walk into the living room.
Which is a lot.
So that's a lot of happiness :) 

And that, my friends, is this year's fall mantel.
What's your favorite part??

I'll be sharing some of my DIY projects that brought it all together in the next couples weeks. 
I start my new job (Eeek!) on Monday so bare with me if I disappear for a few days while I settle in :) 

Happy fall, friends!!

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September 19, 2013

Gorgeous & Glam Gold Pumpkins

I'm finally starting to dig into all my fall boxes and get the house looking cool & cozy :) 

I've got a fun birthday party for a cute seven year old girl coming up this weekend and some of my fall decor is getting used for that so not everything is out yet. 
I'm usually a 'decorate-all-in-one-day' type of girl so having things half out kinda drives me crazy.
But I keep telling myself it will be done soon. 

In preparation for the party & for my new obsession with gold decor, I decided to glitz up some pumpkins.

I'm obsessed with gold lately which I never would have guess I'd ever be.
I'm definitely usually a white-gold & silver girl. 
But I guess tastes change, huh? 

I mean check out how gorgeous these gold pumpkins turned out!!

Tell me you wouldn't be obsessed with gold either if these cuties were around. 
So I'm warning you now, if you get a hold of a can of gold spray-paint, nothing is safe!

September 16, 2013

Sweet & Rustic Wall Art

My house isn't decorated for fall yet :/
And not because I'm not dying to get to it. 

I have all my boxes down and great just hasn't happened yet. 
I spent all weekend at the most amazing women's conference at church and this week I'm in full party mode since our little girl turned seven yesterday!
I can't wait to show you all things party soon :) 

In the meantime, I have pumpkins just piled by my door ready to be made into some kind of fabulous porch decor. 
And boxes of fall decor living right next to my garage door. So I'm literally hit in the face with them every time I walk out to the garage. 
Just keeping it real. 

So because I don't have a an amazing fall decor post to share.... and I haven't had a chance to write the second part of our love story... I wanted to share a sweet piece of wall art I made for my hubby. 

Yesterday was our anniversary... not of being married...but of finding each other again through some impossible circumstances. 
See? Don't you want part 2 to get here soon??

We found each other again a year ago yesterday and haven't been apart since. 
So we celebrated with a yummy dinner last night and I gave him this...

I'm pretty sure I saw the saying on Pinterest somewhere (where else?) and knew it was perfect for our first year together. 
And it was super easy to put together. 

I started with one of these gorgeous weathered wood planks I got for graduation (Yes, my friends know me well) 

Once they are sanded down, the always have the most gorgeous grain to them. I swear I could never get tired of looking at them. 

I gave it a good sanding and then pulled out my new favorite toy: 

This was a graduation present too. And I'm obsessed with all it can do. 
I really wanted a hand-painted look so I used the Silhouette to cut my words out and then weeded the vinyl words off so I had the negative portion of the vinyl.

I applied that to my board and painted the words on in an acrylic white. 

Once they were on, I hand-painted a couple of arrows at each end of the saying with some black paint. 
I had first painted them in gold but you could barely see it on the weathered wood so I went back over it in black.
When I distressed it, the gold peeked out a bit which was perfect.

Funny story, I apparently can't read (or count) and totally did the whole thing and then realized it only said 'three hundred and sixty days'. I was so sad because it looked so good!!

I contemplated just leaving it and hoping hubby wouldn't notice (or care that he wasn't the best part of my day for five days) but I ended up getting brave and taking my sander to the sixty and fit 'sixty-five' in there.

The beauty of distressing pieces is that the light-colored part of the wood where I sanded the heck out of it just adds to the character of it :) 

Hubby loved it when I gave it to him last night. 
He then asked if next year I was going to make one that said 'seven hundred and thirty' on it and I told him this was a one-time thing :) 

But every word is true! I'm so happy to have had him in my life for the past year and look forward to many, many more!!

I'm off to start decorating some pumpkins (they're going to look sooo cute) and try to clean my garage so that my fall boxes dont' actually try to kill me. 
Happy Monday, friends!!!

And if you just can't wait to see some fall decor, you can check out some of my projects from my many fun things!!

and some other gorgeous fall projects...

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