Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The perfect presentation...


Is posting gift wrap ideas a dead giveaway that I have yet to do any wrapping??
Procrastination at it's finest...

I came across these gift wrap ideas while browsing through bhg.com. You should check out the site! They have some really great ways of dressing up a package! These are a few of my favorites:

The first picture is of "wrapping paper" that comes straight from your printer. Just print out Christmas inspired words or messages in a pretty font and, Viola!

This cool, blue bow was made from a typical, sticky-back bow, but all of the loops were clipped to make something fun and new!

I love the addition of berries and greenery...

These packages were wrapped in fabric. Just use a hot glue gun to secure the edges.

I think these mitten gift bags are adorable!

Such a simple idea!

This was one of my favorites! What grandparent wouldn't love a package wrapped in their grandchild's custom art work?

This was my absolute FAVORITE idea! An empty paint can with it's shiny exterior would be the perfect container for small items! What an unexpected and beautiful package! I love it!

Photos courtesy of bhg.com

Two more days...

Only two more spots to fill on the Advent Calendar! The kids are giddy! They can hardly wait!

I'm looking forward to the time spent with family, all of the incredible food and watching the expressions on my children's faces as they see what Santa has brought them! I'm just hoping that my pilot will be able to be here with us. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and asking Santa for a little help with that...


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Making the most of cabin fever...

All of this snow has given me a severe case of cabin fever! So if I'm going to be stuck at home for days on end, I might as well make the most of it. It was time for the boys' bedroom to get a makeover anyway!

I added the darker, horizontal stripes to the top of the wall using paint that I already had from a different project. I painted the bottom of the wall using the left-over paint from our master bedroom. I switched out the curtains from heavy denim to this lighter, buttery yellow. I had used them in the playroom of our previous house. I like how they look - they tie in with other things in the room that have yellow in them (sheets, quilts, art, etc.), but I really want to try red curtains! I think the warmth of the red will look great with the cool, steely blue on the walls. I think I'll get them at an after-Christmas sale!

Their room had been a shade of pale blue on top and a pale, celery green on the bottom. We added the distressed, white washed chair rail about a year ago. This room previously belonged to their sister (before I switched their rooms) and the top was pale pink with white polka-dots where the chair rail was. So the green was something that I just made work for the boys' room. It was never truly planned for them. I had been thinking about changing up their room for a while and wanted a look that was a little more grown-up, not so little boyish. I think that was definitely accomplished by adding the darker grayish blue tones. All of their "decor" (Transformers and Bionicles) look much better in this room now! And the best part of this makeover.....I didn't have to spend a penny to make it happen! I only used things I already had. Nice!

I wonder how long all of this snow is going to stick around?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All it needed was a little love...

I LOVE to make old things new again and that was definitely the case with this black dresser. It was given to us by some friends that were packing up to move to Japan for a great job offer. They were limited on the things that they could take with them and furniture was something that they had to leave behind. When I saw that they had a dresser they wanted to get rid of, I jumped on it! It was not very attractive, but it was definitely functional and I knew that I could make it into something that would blend perfectly with the look of our house! All it needed was a little love...

We gave it a good scrub down, took off the very tall, skinny legs that were on the bottom, added brushed nickel knobs and label holders to each drawer. It was simple and inexpensive and I love the result! It looks like it has always been this way...

It's in our entryway and we have a drawer for mail, magazines, all of the kids' cold weather items (scarves, gloves, hats) and a drawer for miscellaneous items that need a home.



And this is the only "before" picture that I have of it. You can see the legs that we took off the bottom...

My husband thought I was crazy for taking it! Even as we were loading it into the truck he was saying "WHY are you taking this?", "We don't need this", "Karla, seriously. What are you going to do with this??". He definitely could not see my vision for it! I was certain that it would be great when I finished it though and it has turned out to be something that we use many times every day.

So keep your eye out! You never know when you'll stumble upon a diamond in the rough!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Family Room Fireplace Makeover...

Two months after we moved into this house we started on the first of two fireplace makeovers. The fireplace surround in our family room consisted of some small, white trim around the brick and a very small, low profile mantle ledge about 6" above the trim. The ledge was only about 4" deep and pretty much unusable as a mantle. The look was so different from the fireplace in our living room that it just felt like there was a disconnect that happened somewhere in the original planning. The living room fireplace is big and grand while the family room's fireplace surround was small and barely noticeable. So, naturally, we had to fix that!

We (and by "we" I mean my handy man husband!) took down the mantle ledge, but left the white trim that surrounded the brick. We could use that in our design. We proceeded to build up the surround piece by piece to make it more of a presence in the room. Fluted columns were added to the sides and planks of MDF were stacked on top to make the support for the mantle.

Even the small details on this ended up making a big difference...


The original plan was to stop after adding the new mantle, but I decided that it needed something more...

My handy man built a frame for above the mantle to house beaded board and more trim. The next step was to paint it all out in white. That's where I come in...

The finished product!

It makes such a huge difference in this room and now the family room and living room have a cohesive look.

Many thanks to my handy man for all of his hard work on this!
XOXOX


Monday, December 15, 2008

Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

On the night of December 13th it started to snow...

It felt like a present! It rarely snows here in mid December! Our oldest son was still awake when it started, but the other two were already asleep. I was just hoping that at least some of it would still be there in the morning for them to see it too!

We woke up to a winter wonderland! It was beautiful! The boys wanted to go out and play right away, but it was 6:30am and, out of respect for our neighbors and it being the weekend, I made them wait until 9am.

The backyard covered in snow...

Looking out our front window...

It wasn't much snow, but it was enough to go out and make some snowballs! The forecast is calling for more snow. We're keeping our fingers crossed and wishing again....

Decorations of Christmas past....

I love rediscovering the memories every December that hide in the Christmas boxes under the house all year long. From the boxes and boxes that are taken out of storage to make our house fit for the holiday, come bits and pieces of Christmas past. I love it that each of them hold a different memory for us and that each one takes us back to a different time in our lives.
Here are a few of mine...

The first picture is something that I made when Will and I were newlyweds (10 years ago!). I saw it in a magazine and had to have one for our house! It's funny how every January I pack it back up, not to be seen until the next December, and in that time I forget all about it. It's like unwrapping a sparkly new present every year!

This tree was painted by my mom the year after I was born. I grew up with it being in our house every single year, without fail. Last year she decided that she was ready to get rid of it, but I couldn't let that happen, so I kept it. Now my kids will remember it being in our house every Christmas. They love to turn it around and see all of the decorations and toys that are around it. It's a keeper!

No Christmas would be complete without my husband's airplane ornaments. My mom has been buying these for him every Christmas since we first started dating (15 years ago!).

This is another decoration from my childhood. The Santa votive holder will always have a spot at our house during Christmas time!

I bought this village the year that I was pregnant with our first baby. He's seven now! I am not a Christmas village person, but I am definitely a lover of beautiful, white churches and this one caught my eye. The lights on the house (to the right of the church) change colors and the kids love that!

These nutcrackers are my husband's collection that started when he was a kid. Our boys love them! Especially Owen. That would explain why they're way up on top of the bookcase!

I hope you've enjoyed reliving your memories while you decorate for Christmas!




Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hello, Green Thumb!

In the past my luck with houseplants has been...less than desirable. But not anymore! I bought this Christmas Cactus one year ago in a little, tiny pot. I have admired people who own Christmas Cactus' for quite some time and in awe of those that have had theirs for a decade or more. I kept hearing that "they're so easy to grow!", "very tolerant", "You can pretty much just ignore it". So I decided to give it a go. I wanted to start small just in case it should meet the untimely fate of my black thumb. Fortunately for me AND the plant, it's still alive and beautiful! It is now 4 times larger than it was when I got it and has a full bloom! There are little buds scattered all over it just waiting to pop out!


** Normally I would not be inclined to post about a houseplant, but this post is really intended for the benefit of my husband. He's skeptical about the possibility of me having a green thumb, so I needed proof! Documented proof!

Ahhh...the sweet smell of success!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Starting a blog about Home...

I have decided, at the request of friends, to start my own decorating blog. It will be all things HOME! I'll post projects that my husband and I have done in the past, projects we are currently working on and things that we hope to do in the future! I'll post pictures from all of the houses we've lived in and share our experiences (good and bad!), so that others may learn from our mistakes and successes if they're looking to start their own DIY project! I'll also share where I get my inspiration and ideas from. I believe that a beautiful home is not defined by the price tags on its items, and that its best pieces may not have come with a price tag at all! I love to make old things new again and to use things in unexpected ways! I start to get antsy and frustrated if I haven't done something creative in a while, so needless to say, the rooms in my house get changed a lot!

Thanks for visiting and please stop by anytime!

~ Karla

Entryway Bench and Shelf...


Client's need:
A bench with cubbies and a matching shelf with hooks for her entryway. She has three kids and needs storage for shoes, coats, hats, backpacks, etc. Found our inspiration....


Finished Product:
Success!
My husband built these pieces and I finished them. She's happy with the results and so are we!

Image courtesy of potterybarn.com

Stripes....

I haven't been happy with our "hallway" for a while. I put hallway in quotes because technically it's probably not a hallway at all. It's more like a small path leading from one area to the next. Wait...is that the definition of hallway? I'll have to look into that.

Anyway...I decided that stripes were exactly what this space needed! Something to liven it up! This is a kids' space! Backpacks, coats, hats and lunch bags are hung in this area so whether we are coming or going this space is always visited by three little one's. So, I tested different colors. A darker shade of our existing wall color, a light shade of blue, and white...

I decided to go with the darker shade of our current wall color. I didn't want it to feel too circus-like. So, with ruler, level, and pencil in hand, I measured and taped off my stripes. I'm not going to lie to you, this was A LOT of work!!

A LOT!

But once that part was done it was pretty straight forward...

I sealed the seams of the tape with the current wall color so that the new color would not leak out. I'm super picky about having a perfectly straight line! Then I started to paint the new stripes...

All finished! Just waiting for the paint to dry...


I hung all of the kids' photos back where I originally had them and am very pleased with the result! It added just the right amount of fun to this very small, but very used space!



Our latest project...

Client's need:
A desk for her office.
Inspiration found...


Finished product:
Success!
My husband built the desk with turned legs and a drawer. I finished it in white as the client requested. I think it turned out beautifully and the client is happy!

Image courtesy of potterybarn.com