Monday, February 28, 2011

Life Made Lovely Monday.


Hello there! So happy you stopped in today.  I do hope you had a lovely weekend.  We did.  It was full of nothing. Bliss.  Perfect.  Friday we all watched a movie together.  Saturday we slept in and then went to Target to spend some gift cards.  The boys got pillow pets and OldestBoy got a yo-yo.  They then spent the rest of the weekend talking about how great said items were.  Sunday we went to church.  Then to my parents home, that is temporarily my brothers bachelor pad, and watched the past episodes of Survivor.  Then home for more relaxing and movies.  Rounding out the weekend with me sitting alone in a quiet living room watching the Oscars.  Just lovely.  Speaking of lovely...

Today I am linking up with Heather at . She is hosting a Life Made Lovely Monday link up party, as she does every Monday.  This is my first time to join! very excited! 
I have talked about Heather's blog in the past.  It is a wonderful spot to feel at home and to get great decorating ideas. And her kiddos are adorable too! So head on over and see Heather and all the other wonderful blogs for Life Made Lovely. 

Little Mama.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

choosing to be content.

I have been thinking about this subject for awhile now. Contentment. We as humans, and especially women  I think, compare too much. We compare ourselves, our skills, our families, even our children's skills with others.  And especially with other mothers.  We also compare our homes. We compare how big or small. How they are decorated.  And even the money that goes into them.  We always assume that everything is wonderful behind those walls and that things comes easy.  I can tell you from experience that things are not always what they seem.  You never know where someone is in their journey.  I wish we could be more honest with each other about where we are on our own road.  I think it would let us all off the hook of comparison.  It would help us all be more real.  More authentic.  It might be ugly but at least it would be the truth and that is what I am always looking for.  I would much rather be in a space decorated with love and pennies.  Than a house decorated to the nines with lots of money and a family trying to be someone that they are not.  Lets try it, be as honest and kind as you can to people and maybe it will spread.  Share a little bit of your struggle with someone else and you never know how it may release them from the comparison trap. 

I choose to be content with my old thread bare sofa.  It shows love and time with us.  We are thankful for a place to cuddle and read, a place to lay and watch movies when we are sick.  Even if it does have a few worn holes and stains from our big Boxer cuddling at our feet.  I choose to be content with a home with no architectural elements.  Instead it is full of mementos and old photos.  Old blankets and handmade pillows.  It is full of found treasures.  Rocks and driftwood picked up on nature walks and cheap camping vacations. 

I choose to be happy with a less than perfect house, a less than perfect life.  My Lord tells me that he is not finished with me yet.  I am so thankful for that promise.  I can easily slip into the comparison trap.  Magazines, blogs, and TV all tell me that everyone has more, is doing more and is achieving more than I am.  But I have come to the realization that I am in the most perfect place for me and my family.  Maybe you are exactly where you should be.  I could be out achieving "more" and doing "more."  I could have my children in every activity and sport available.   But that is not where the need is.  I am needed here.  In our home.  With these boys.  And this WorkinMan.  This is where the Lord wants me.  I need to be reminded of that when I look to the outside world for approval and contentment. 

There is a wonderful blog called  She has written about this same subject very well.  It is titled "around the house."  Check it out.  It is a good read. 
What are your thoughts on this subject?  Do you feel the need to pull back sometimes and
go inward to really see all you have?
Do you see yourself falling into this trap?
How do you put it in perspective?
Thanks for stoppin by...
Hope your weekend is lovely, full of relaxing,
cuddling, crafts, reading,
and being with those
you love.

Little Mama.

Friday, February 25, 2011

fun photo display.

I wanted to show you a cute way to display photos. This idea is very simple and uses simple supplies. I used string, baby close pins, Polaroid pictures, and tacks. I wanted a way to display our cute Polaroids and let the kids see their friends pictures in our home.
All I did was tack string on the wall in a zig zag pattern. I used 2 different colors of yarn, do whatever you like.  I then clipped on the Polaroids with the baby close pins (found at Michaels).  Easy peasy.

We take a picture of all of our friends who come to visit and they get added to the wall.  It is fun to see them looking over all the fun times we have had when friends come over. You could do this with out of town relatives, so the kids can remember their faces.  Its fun, easy and cheap.  You can probably do it with items you have around the house already.  Send me a picture if you try this!

Little Mama.

cheap shelving.

A few posts back I mentioned that I would show you what I did to a shelf I found at a thrift store.  Start looking at items not for what they are but for what they could be. It all started with a laptop WorkinMan got for me for Christmas. I did have a small desk in the kitchen area with our family computer on it. When he got the laptop we no longer needed the desk in the kitchen. It was just becoming a catch all for junk. Kid junk! So we took out the small desk/table and moved it, along with the computer, downstairs for the boys. We have a cabinet hanging over where the desk used to be so we needed something to go  under it so we wouldn't be tempted to walk under and hit our heads. Plus more storage is always better. I went out looking for a bookshelf. Could not find one but I did find a cheap metal shelf. Probably used for a garage or something. It looked like this....
Here is is with all my scores from the thrift store that day. That jar was $5!  It is huge, and completes my set. All found at different times.  So as you see it is metal and u.g.l.y.  Nothing a little spray paint can't fix...
Rainbow paint! happy, happy happy! Now I realize this shelf will not last forever. That's not what I am going for. As a family of 5, on 1 income with the way our world is right now....I am looking for things that work for now and a little longer. Not family heirlooms here. :) Its funny tho, most of the items that I have bought have lasted us for years! And my family is hard on stuff. I think they just made things better back then.  I know many of you are in the same boat. We want our nests to be lovely, but also want to eat and be able to put gas in our cars. I don't ever want you to think that we have some kind of big budget for decorating. I am rubbing my nickles together hoping for the best too.  Here it is all tricked out in the kitchen...

This is a great spot for all my cookbooks, and the sippy cups and kids bowls. Extra mugs. And the kids vitamins. I also keep my mixer here. So there you have it. Look beyond the ugly and think of what you could do to something with a little paint and some creativity. Thanks for stoppin in!

Little Mama.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

winter change ups. (*edited)

 What happens when you have a stay at home mom who loves to decorate and loves change oh yeah and winter is never ending!?  Well, you get spontaneous changes.  Our coffee table has looked like this for years. Pretty much since I bought it out of the back of some nice lady's pickup. It came to me red with an ugly map decoupaged on it, not well I might add. So I tore that off and painted the whole thing white. I also free handed some sayings about boys around the edge. It was cute but it is winter and I needed a change. Here is a picture of what it looked like before. Baby took this picture of his Papa's Christmas present this year. It is the only picture I could find of the coffee table. :)

I had no idea where I was going with this project or what I wanted the end product to be. Very typical. So I started painting with some paints I had. It wasn't turning out like I wanted, whatever that was. I didn't like it. So I broke out the Orbital Sander. If you do projects and you don't have a sander, get one. My favorite is The Mouse, I believe by Black and Decker. It is the best. Inexpensive, small, and does a great job. We used ours so much that we killed it. Need to get another one. So I borrowed my neighbors Orbital Sander. Thanks Tim!  And I proceeded to sand that bad boy within an inch of it's life. Or for about an hour.
Now it looks like this...

It's a little spotty and a little crazy but I think I like it. I love seeing the green. yellow, black, and red someone painted it before me.

Maybe it needs some more sanding. I think maybe there is too much white showing.  Maybe it needs some tinted glaze, like raw umber. Maybe I should leave it alone. Not sure. Opinions?

Little Mama.

*edited to add that I did do more sanding and added a stain glaze on the whole thing. It is very hard to tell in the pictures but it looks so much better. The stain really helped blend the colors and help it look old.

Monday, February 21, 2011

hallway reveal.

The time has come. I know you have been holding your breath! :) I got inspiration from these two lovely ladies.  Heather from and Sara from . I love both of these blogs and always come away feeling refreshed and inspired. They are both simple and lovely. Two of my favorite things. Remember this is how the hallway looked before our mini makeover....

I have always wanted to do this to one of the walls in my home. And since I saw Sara's I knew I would be just waiting for the right place to apply it in our home. I even told her so.  While I love this mirror and I liked it in the hallway it always posed a problem when I was choosing an outfit in the morning. Because it is in the hallway, I would have to fully dress before I could decide if I liked a certain part of my outfit, since this hallway is right off of our living room and kitchen. With growing boys around it is not appropriate for me to come out half dressed to see if I am diggin a pair of pants. My boys do not enjoy seeing their mother in a bra. Understandable. So, this mirror needed to move into our bedroom, where it has. This left a fabulous blank wall. I was growing tired of the stripes, they have been there for many years. I was also itching to have some kind of colored wall. While we have a lot of color in our home, almost all of our walls are white. Not anymore. Here is our Book Wall!!

Isn't it fabulous!! Not really a ?, we love it. Every time I see it, I smile. I love this wall!  Now, I am not the first to do this. But we did take the idea and make it our own. WorkinMan and I work very well together on projects like this. He is very open with letting me try just about anything in our home. And he will always help and usually do the brunt of the hard work. You know math, power tools, measuring, all the stuff I don't enjoy. :)  I showed him pictures of book walls that I liked and we discussed how we could do this with all the supplies found here at home. We heart free.  He said that we had some of the old barn wood from my parents cabin left over and that he could make the narrow shelves with those. I thought that was an amazing idea. I love the look and feel of this wood. So rustic.

He cut them to size and also notched a large area in the back for the books to sit and lean and not slide off. So there is a lip at the top. As I said, I wanted to add some color and had seen where Heather had done a wall of colored chalk board paint in her home. I put that in the back of my mind and knew I would try it somewhere in our home. This was the perfect spot to add a bit of color on the wall, but not too much.  It seems that while I love color, I don't like it on the walls in my home. I get tired of it too fast. So adding color to my accessories and fabrics is perfect for me. 
I painted the wall with Rustomeum Tintable Chalkboard Paint in Fresco Red. This was the first time I used this product and thought it was great. I found mine at Home Depot for about $12.

I love the matte look of this red. Red is a little overpowering for me when it has too much sheen. So this having the chalky look of a chalkboard is perfect for me. The boys love this wall! They have been drawing, and reading, and rearranging books. Lots of fun!

The sign at the top says "Never Enough Books." It is perfect for this spot. It was bought by my mom in a little shop on the North Shore for OldestBoy but he kindly donated it to the book wall for us all to enjoy! Thanks Buddy!

On the top shelf I have put a few of my books from my childhood. OldestBoy and SportsBoy can reach them but not Baby. Perfect.
This project was a lot of fun! Tons of props to WorkinMan! He really did all the work, I just did the fun stuff. I am totally spoiled with him around. He likes to make and build things and came up with an awesome idea for this Book Wall!!  We love the shelves, the colors and most of all that all of our favorite books can be seen everyday. I am excited to change the books seasonally, or for holidays. Love books!

Thanks for stoppin by!

Little Mama.

I know I have more readers out there. If you are reading and enjoying the blog will you please become a "Follower" or like my title says "My Peeps!" Just click on Follow and create an account. You don't have to use your real name. And it is free. Put as little or as much info as you would like.  I would love to know who is out there reading! Thanks!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

sneak peek.

We have finished the hallway. It is spectacular. I only have time to give you a sneak peek. I will be back tomorrow with more pictures!

See ya tomorrow!
Little Mama.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

busy. busy.

I am working on a secret project.  The clues are: it is in my hallway and involves red and reclaimed wood. I am super excited! This has been something I have wanted to do since I saw it in blog land. WorkinMan is helping because he is amazing like that. And likes using power tools. I have taken inspiration from two other blogs and am combining them to make my own amazing project. Well, not earth changing but cute and very functional none the less. So I need to get back to work and will hopefully have a finished project on Monday. There is a Wild/Red Wings hockey game on tomorrow afternoon, and WorkinMan and boys will be busy watching that, so I better use him while I have him! :) For a reminder this is what the hallway looked like until yesterday....

Have a productive weekend!

Little Mama.

Friday, February 18, 2011

fashion friday....not so much.

Ok heres the deal. I started a post last night on Fashion Friday. As I wrote and posted picks, it was just annoying. Boring picture after boring picture of me in less than stellar outfits. Not my idea of a good time. So I am changing my mind. I'm allowed to do that, it's my blog. I think what I might do is post items from my wardrobe that I think you might like or things that I want to show. We will see. This may all change as I am feeling very fickle.
love. love. love.
new to me Vintage Chukka boots.
Mad Girl Vintage has tons of amazing
clothes & accesories.
beads-African Opal
wood/gold necklace- Little Mama
This is my new Ika bag from France!!!
beautifully made. sturdy.
custom just for me.
get one too.
love. love. love.
this bag.
wool cardigan-old navy
caleb hawley t- concert
heart jeans- target/little mama
vintage chukka boots
beads- African Opal

Baby in a shirt made by Little Mama
for his
Valentine party.

There you have it one of the most random posts ever.
 Fashion Friday....not so much.
P.S. I am having trouble with my posts.
Weird page breaks and spaces. And random text changes.
Please bear with me.
I am sure it is the operator.
 So Annoying.

Little Mama.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

our room.

Onward to another room... I did forget to tell you that down this hallway every door is a different color. The Dr. Seuss bathroom door is yellow. Baby's is limey green. Our door is red. And the hall closet is robin's egg blue. Super fun.
Opening the red door you will find our room. This room is definitely the most neglected room in our home. Only recently has it had a color theme at all. The walls are painted a blue grey color and we have yellow accents. I love yellow and grey together. I am lucky because WorkinMan really doesn't care what it looks like as long as it's not really girly and it's comfortable.
He picked out this bed when we got married from Eddie Bauer Home. Do they even have that store any more? I love the shape and the height, not the color. He loves it, so it stays. He doesn't ask for much. So I have worked around it as much as I can. The "drapes" behind the bed are drop cloths from Home Depot. We have a window to the left side of the bed. Awkward placement so that when you center the bed on the wall, the post goes right through the middle of the window. Weird looking. We finally decided to drape the whole wall on a metal tension line from Ikea. It has been the perfect solution. It hides the weird window, hides the ugly view from our less than stellar neighbors, and makes the room cozy. The bedding is new from my mom for Christmas (thanks mom!). It is a yellow and grey floral quilt from Target. We have a down comforter underneath that we use for warmth in the winter. As you can see I am not a big fan of pillows all over the bed. They look pretty but just get in the way. If it's not practical I don't like it.

This is the dresser I have had since I was a little girl. It has always been white. I painted the drawer fronts yellow. Yes, we have the dreaded old TV in the bedroom. WorkinMan likes to fall asleep to the TV. And we do have a VHS player in here for Baby's movies. He loves to snuggle up in mommy's big bed. He takes naps in here too. The curtains are white linen with a grey batik print on them. Lovely. Cheap from Ikea. 

We have these shelves on one wall. I love them. They are reclaimed wood from my parents cabin property. WorkinMan made them into shelves with unfinished Ikea brackets. We have books, special mementos, and my jewelry on them. 
This has been one of the best organizing items I have found. I use them everywhere I can. So simple and also easy for children and lazy adults to use :)  I found this peg rack at goodwill. It was red and I spray painted it
yellow. It holds all my scarves and any sweaters that I am too lazy to fold at any certain time.
That ends our tour of our room. Small, simple, somewhat messy but comfortable. My favorite sign is on the door knob. It says "Never wake a sleeping Mom." So true, so true!

Little Mama.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Baby's Room.

I have been getting requests to see more of our home. So I thought it might be fun to go room by room. Of the ones I am willing to share :) Our basement is the boy hangout and always looks like a tornado went through but it does function for us well. I already showed you our upstairs Dr. Seuss bathroom. You will go through this hallway....

Head down the hall and the last door on the left is Baby's Room. His room started out with an Owl theme. He Loves owls. His bedding for his crib and toddler bed was white with orange owls. So cute. But when he got the bunk beds, for cheap on the side of the road in our neighborhood!, we needed new twin size bedding. Off to Ikea! He picked out this fun, bright bedding with fun animals. He loves it.

This bed is not what I would have picked but it is perfect for him. 3 drawers on the bottom hold balls and shoes. Extra bed on top that we use for stuffed animal storage until he is older. He has a little black nightstand from a flea market with a fun lamp from goodwill (originally Ikea). And the bowl holds his Nuks.

This is his favorite Puppy and Owl named Kingston.  He wanted lights in his room around Christmas time and all I had were these heart lights. He loves them, his father just rolls his eyes. :) The picture below is inside his bed. I put a bulletin board there for some special mementos. His birth announcement, pictures of family and his friends. He also has special papers and projects. The little shelf is from goodwill. It holds some of his breakable owls collection. And a special cross stitch from Nannie.

This is his dresser. Each boy got a dresser when they were born and still use it now. I still have my dresser from when I was a little girl. So hopefully they will be able to keep these for a long time. The curtains came from Ikea in the "as is" section. We just got lucky that they matched perfectly. Paid less than $5 for two windows!
This is the shelf that used to be in the living room, that we moved in here when we got the fireplace. It works lovely. I got this piece years ago at a barn sale. It was $40. And worth every penny. It has been in almost every room of my house and served many purposes. Now it is here holding baskets with toys and books. Above is his collection of owl pictures. Mostly vintage or painted by me or the boys. Lots of fun for him to collect something. He is always looking for owls for his room. 

painting done by Little Mama. with words that describe our family.

This is the last wall in his room. This painting was done when OldestBoy was in my tummy. All the boys slept in this room as their nursery. We had to keep one wall of the mural to remember. Below this, is the train table. He uses it, then doesn't. As soon as I think I'm going to get rid of it he plays with it again. Not an ideal spot. But the only one for now.  And this is the clutter issue. Big trucks. They fit no where. And just look like a big mess. Any tips?

Baby's guitar. Yes, he can play. OldestBoy gives him lessons. And he does pretty well. So I guess that ends the tour. His room is colorful and cozy and defenatly played in. It is perfect for him and where he is in his life today. It is ever evolving as his needs change. We love it. Thanks for stopping by!

Little Mama.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

our heart day.

Our Valentines day was pretty normal. Boys to school, Baby and I to yoga, and then to grocery store. I did decide that I wanted to do a fun dinner for my family. My boys love to eat. And they eat a lot. So I started by pulling all the decorations from around the house to decorate my table. Fun jelly hearts stuck to the table, heart garland, and all the sweet crafts the boys made. Then I used our regular white plates on some fun stripe place mats. We had steak, that WorkinMan made on the grill, baked potatoes, and fresh garlic green beans. I also made hand dipped chocolate covered strawberries. This is a special treat that the boys love! I also made my own chocolate mixture that was soooo yummy. I melted milk chocolate chips, vanilla, and salt together and then dipped the strawberries. They were fab. We even saved 5 for us for today. :)  The boys loved this dinner and all the little extras. It really didn't take any more time than the normal dinner I make and they were so appreciative. I didn't spend anything except on the little buckets and candy. Everything else we had. They kept saying "thank you so much mommy!" It was great.

On each of the boys plates I put a little bucket from the Target dollar section, some coke bottle gummies and a little hand made treat. I made them hearts out of felt, stuffed with brown rice and blanket stitched around the edge. You microwave them for a few seconds and they get toasty warm and cuddly.  Each boy got a different color.

warming hearts.
The boys also got a sweet surprise when they got cards from my parents. Mom had given me them before she left for Amsterdam. The boys were so excited that they had remembered such a special time.

Our heart day was pretty simple but oh so sweet. Time with family is always time well spent. Hope yours was lovely and surrounded by those you love.

Little Mama.