Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Home Is Where the Heart Is Prints

As I may have mentioned before, the walls of our house are bare.  I just can't find anything I want to put on my walls for the next twenty years!  I had the same problem with our house in Dallas so I just put mirrors everywhere and I'm about to do the same in this house. 

After I did the Every Little Thing canvas, I began exploring lots of websites to find more wall art.  (I'm working on another project I hope to have posted next week of another wall art creation I'm working on - yippee!)  I was playing on Etsy during breakfast this morning and during Nick Jr. TV time and stumbled on some cute-I-must-have-these prints.  I'm referring to them as Home Is Where the Heart Is prints.

In short (before I get to the pics) they are graphic prints with a little heart where the city you specify is.  All the shops give color options for the prints and a lot of the sellers offer customizations (in the forms of names and dates) and will work with you to get exactly what you want! 

I'm for sure going to get one for Fayetteville.  It's where Joe and I got married and where we live now (which happens to be down the street from the chapel where we got married).  Problem is...I just can't decide which I like best!  I'm sure I'm not listing even the best options out there, but was so excited about this find I just had to share!  There were about 151 pages of these on Etsy and I was not able to look at every single one, but wanted to show you some that stood out to me - I hope you enjoy!  I'll keep yall posted about which one I order. 

Photo courtesy of Etsy shop mereleemade

Photo courtesy of Etsy shop dekanimal

Photo courtesy of Etsy shop hunterandsmile

Photo courtesy of Etsy shop hunterandsmile

Photo courtesy of Etsy shop mollymattin

Photo courtesy of Etsy shop earlybirdink

Photo courtesy of Etsy shop EmbieOnline

Photo courtesy of Etsy shop LivyLoveDesigns

Photo courtesy of Etsy shop DesignsByTenisha

Friday, March 23, 2012

Trinket Dishes and TGIF!

I'm glad it's Friday for many reasons. 

First and foremost, it looks like the rain is no more!  We've gotten drizzle all day today until now and I think I see blue skies and sun on the horizon.  Our backyard looks like a mud pit though and I'll be mopping floors all weekend.  Boo.

Fridays are always fun.  My People magazine just came in the mail, Joe leaves work early and then we have all weekend together.  Poor E is cutting her molars and being a little bit fussier than normal.  We have one through and 3 more to go; after that we get a 5 year break from teething - Yay!!

I also get to announce that Lauren M. is the winner of the earrings giveaway!  Yay Lauren.  The outfit she suggested is a coral top with gray shorts and gray Toms platforms.  To pick the winner I rebuilt the outfits suggested with stuff from my own closet.  I would never have picked the gray for myself and thought it wouldn't look good with the coral, but Wow was I wrong.  I have myself a new outfit for summer now.  We'll have to have Lauren take a pic with them on for all to see. 

I'm looking forward to tomorrow because I have 2 friends doing the Gusano's Pizza Challenge.  They have an hour, as a team, to eat a ginormous pizza.  I cannot wait to cheer them on and see how they do. 

Blue Bloods is on tonight.  We love us some Blue Bloods.  I love that Magnum PI is in it (hottie), and I love the fact the guy who plays his "pops" is only 6 years older than Magnum in real life.  Hilarious. 

Talking about TV shows, I "came out" to Joe that I'm a closeted SMASH watcher.  It's truly captured my attention and I look forward to Monday nights every week.  I've found that when I admit I watch it to people, they admit they watch it too - and everybody loves it.  You should seriously give it a chance.  I was their number one trash talker seeing the previews leading up to the premiere, but it was so hyped up I just had to watch.  Secretly obsessed.  I'm not sure why I didn't want to tell Joe.  I told him I watched the first episode and he would hate it (he probably wouldn't), and OOPS! that darned DVR just kept recording them and I kept watching them.

The Southland season finale was this week.  It's seriously the best show on television.  There was an episode last season (if you watch, you know the one) that had me balling and I'm pretty sure Joe was crying too.  SO GOOOOOODDDD!!!

Dancing With The Stars premiered this week too - love!  It was the best season premiere ever.  The competition has never been this close.  It's gonna be a great season.

As this week comes to a close I thought I would share some items I'm obsessing over on Etsy.  I'm going to post them to Pinterest too:

I got a trinket dish for my kitchen sink this week.  A cute little brass hog since I'm a Razorback.  I hate taking my rings off when I'm cooking and just leaving them on the counter, so I played around and found some cute brass animal trinket dishes on Etsy.

How cute is my little piggy? He looks even better in person.
Photo courtesy of Etsy shop upscaleyardsale

This little seahorse might get purchased for my master bathroom.
Photo courtesy of Etsy shop saltandginger

Photo courtesy of Etsy shop blythhousevintage

Only $6 for both of these!
Photo courtesy of Etsy shop nenafayesattic

Owls are very in right now
Photo courtesy of Etsy shop cubecone

Hmmmm.  Maybe I shouldn't be showing you guys the other dishes I didn't get.  You might buy them before I make my mind up! (I learned the hard way with the brooch posts).

The blog has had a big week - we had a couples of posts really blow up on Pinterest and had lots of new visitors.  I'm looking forward to see what next week brings.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Frame Your Thermostat

I might be addicted to Hobby Lobby as I just took my third trip there since Monday.  This trip was made for  my mom though; I'm looking for a table for her kitchen.  But that didn't stop me from buying a pedestal table for E's big girl room and a 50% off picture frame.

I had measured our thermostat a few weeks ago thinking that I might put a frame around it to jazz it up, but the HL I've been visiting didn't have anything I liked in stock.  But today, I decided to try out a different HL and Whoa Momma!  They had so much different stuff than the other location.  So I grabbed a frame that was exactly what I was looking for...

...and even though its plain white, I'm going to work with it for now and when paint it later when I decide on the colors for the entryway (right now it's turquoise and orange-red). 

This was a super quick project.  It took me all of 20 minutes and should take you only 10.  I'll tell you where my hang-ups occurred so you won't waste time like I did. 

So you've got your frame.  Open it up and take out the insides (glass included if possible).  If your frame has an attached back like mine did, just grab some scissors and cut that bad boy off. 

Now, if you come across something that looks like hot glue holding the glass in, I don't recommend using tweezers to pull it off because you might stab yourself in the hand (knowledge sharing).


I coverd the injury with one of E's cupcake band aids.  It bled a lot!

So I popped the entire thing in the microwave for 22 seconds and then it came off no problem!

After that I removed all the little metal pieces that were on the back side of the frame so it didn't scratch up the wall.  The pieces I removed were the little twirly things (technical term) that hold the back and all the stuff in the frame.

Then it was time to add our hanging device to the frame.  After multiple tries with different types of hanging pieces, I ended up using this type because it had a low profile (wouldn't stick out too far from the wall) and I super glued it on because the frame was ceramic and I couldn't nail anything into it. Hot glue would probably work too.   

Then it was all ready!  Time to hang it up.





Big improvement!  My only regret is that I didn't think to get a frame for our thermostat for the upstairs too!  Perhaps I just need to make another trip to Hobby Lobby (oh darn). 

Check back tomorrow to see who the winner of the earrings giveaway is! There's still time to enter if you haven't. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Happy Homemaker???

We are on day three of constant drizzling/storming/raining.  Evelyn and I had cabin fever so we ran some errands this morning to my imperial shopping triad (Target, Joann, and Hobby Lobby).  I have a bunch of projects in motion and just can't seem to finish them up:  Can't find enough black upholstery nails to finish my second covered corkboard, can't find hooks I like for the curtain tiebacks in the dining room, and to be honest - I'm kinda being lazy with the other stuff. 

As a result, this has left me with a lot of time to think (DANGER!).  In Dallas over the weekend, I was asked what I do for a living.  So I explained I use to be an accountant and I recently retired when we moved blah, blah, blah.  And then I got the "So....You're a homemaker?"  Nails on a chalkboard.  How Awful is that title?  I don't get it so I looked up the definition...

Home-mak-er (noun) - A person, esp. a housewife, who manages a home.  Synonyms are housewife and hostess.  source: Google

Didn't like that one. offered up this one - One who manages a household, especially as one's main daily activity.

Not as offensive, but NO.

Merriam-Webster - One who manages a household especially as a wife and mother.

Better still, but NO!  I heard there is a movement to have the title changed to House Manager. That seems more professional and prestigous.....and still lame.

I get it.  It's what we do.  Except it's so much more than that!!!  I don't think the title of homemaker or house manager encompasses all that I do.  I'm also a stay-at-home mom (SHM) too.  You can be a homemaker without having kids, and I'm pretty sure I know some SHMs that just pay other people to cook and clean for them.  I also know some "SHMs" that have nannies.  Perhaps some consider that "managing" but I think of it as "supervising."  Jeez Louise, now I've just created a homemaker totem pole.  "I'm only a house manager now, but my dream is to someday be a house supervisor". Cringe.

By now, I'm sure a lot of you have figured me out and realize this pent up aggression is totally aimed at my husband.  Here's my beef with him.....

I feel totally underappreciated for what I go through here at home during a normal day.  It's been 9 months now and I still get "What did you do all day?" at least once a week.  That's when I just about turn into Medusa and have flames shoot out of my eyes at him.  The question should be "What didn't you do today?"  Because I wake up, get E up, get us both breakfast, let the dogs out, feed the dogs, let the dogs in, unload the dishwasher, clean as much as I can in between letting the dang dogs in and out and running to the potty with E every 10 minutes because she thinks she has to potty; in the meantime Tipsy has jumped on the table and eaten our breakfast so I have to put her outside and deal with Wookie crying for her while I make 2nd breakfast.  And that's how life is before 9am for me.

I've found myself trying to get validation from Joe by texting him what I've done throughout the day.  It makes me feel better but just gets on his nerves that I'm texting all the time and he's trying to work.  Sometimes I consider making a list of what I do - or maybe a timesheet so he sees how my days fill up.   

And I love my life!  Some days are harder than others - but since "retiring" I haven't missed working one single day.  When I think back to the way life use to be I don't know how Joe and I did it.  Everyday after work I ran little errands - sometimes Joe did too.  Then Saturdays we would get up and run errands together with E until early afternoon.  Then we'd relax and Sunday we'd clean, do home improvements and get life in order for the next week.  It left us with very little quality time with each other.

Now that I'm staying at home - it's twice the work because I don't have Joe helping me with errands, finances, or managing the house.  I handle all that stuff now and it can really suck up the hours of a day.  Most days a week I look at the clock and think "How is it noon already?! I haven't gotten anything done", yet I haven't sat down since I woke up.  It can get ridiculous.  But when Joe comes home from work now, it's all about family and we play and hang out together and the quality of our life is just fantastic.

Maybe the validation I'm seeking could be monetary.  I think I read once that for the amount of work a House Manager does, she/he (I'm not being sexist) should get paid like $75K a year.  HAH!  I wish.  Although again, I can't complain because I get to watch Evelyn grow up every day and do crafts and blog and chat with friends; which I couldn't have done if we still lived in Dallas. 

So I ask you, my public, for help with what my title should be.  I'm looking for something that is all encompassing of what I do. Something I can put on my contact cards to hand out to people. Here's what I'm thinking so far:

Executive Director of the "E" Household Operations and Child & Pet Rearing
  • Accomplished Multi-tasker
  • Bilingual in Spanish and Baby
  • World Class Chef
  • Cleaning Services Available
  • Blogs during free time
Please help me before I drive myself nuts obsessing!!

Earrings giveaway (enter here) ends tomorrow (Thursday) at midnight.  Be sure to enter!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

DIY: Key Rack

Today it's rainy and gross here which has given me a chance to work on a bunch of little projects I've been trying to get around to for awhile now.

I started the day off with a key rack project.  We really need one that is out of reach from Lil E and this was cost effective and easy - and I was so happy with the results!  Evelyn keeps grabbing our keys off the counter and setting off the alarms.  She just loves to push buttons - both literally and figurately!

I started off at my local craft store and got a 4x6 raw wood picture frame.  I sanded it a tad and then did a coat of white acrylic paint.  When that dried I did a few layers of black acrylic paint to finish that part of the project up.


I used white paint under the black so I could sand the corners a tad so the white peeks through.  This way it'll match my coat rack in the laundry room I painted the same way.

While the paint was drying I headed up to my computer and played with all my different fonts - trying to find the perfect "E" (for our last name).  I settled on Byington in Microsoft Word and made the font size 400.  I printed it out on regular paper and just made sure it would fit in the frames picture hole - first time was the charm!  Then, I cut the paper down and fit it in the space - but the glass and back on and Voila!  Almost done!

I grabbed some regular white cup hooks at the craft store too to use for the key hooks, but the white just looked too stark against the black frame.  Luckily, in the garage I have quite the collection of spray paint so I grabbed a can of ivory and put 2 coats on the hooks. 

Sidenote:  I found a box lid and punched holes in it using a pen (a pen you write with) and stuck the hooks in the holes so it was easier to paint them.  Otherwise (and I learned from experience) if you don't do this, you can only spray one side at a time and the paint can glob up next the surface the hooks are laying on.

While those were drying I grabbed a piece of chalk from Evelyn's easel and marked off where I wanted to screw in the hooks.  Chalk is great for markings on all projects - fabric included, because it is so easy to remove.

After everything dryed, I added a hanging piece to the back of the frame so I can put it on the wall.  I also used my drill and 1/16" drill bit to start the holes for the hooks before I screwed them into the frame.

And there it is!  My perfect little key rack!!!  I was so happy with the framed "E" before I put the hooks in I think I'm going to do this again and just frame an "E" for our living room or den for decoration!

Don't forget to enter the earrings giveaway before Thursday at midnight!  Enter here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Giveaway! Gold Movement Earrings

In honor of my romantic weekend getaway I'm taking with my hubs, I'm doing my first giveaway! This giveaway is for a pair of gorgeous gold movement earrings from Premier Jewelry. These earrings are so versatile they make me wish my ears were pierced! My friend Laura (she has great style), had them and I admired them so much I started giving them as gifts to others! I promise you will love them too.

I suppose I must address why my ears aren't pierced....
When I was in 2nd grade all my friends already had or were getting their ears pierced.  I begged my Mom to let me get mine done too, but she said no and that I was too young (by the way, her ears aren't pierced either).  I was so upset and kept asking for months because I just wanted to be like everybody else.  Finally, in 6th grade she said I could get mine done but by then no one was wearing earrings anymore - it was no longer "a thing". 
As the years went on, from time to time I would consider having them pierced but I would psyche myself out as I'm not a fan of pain.  Then in high school, I was sitting next to Bobby O'Bryan in Health class and he said "Your ears aren't pierced." I responded "I know" (I was a smart ass back then too).  And he said "How refreshing."  What a compliment!  This gave new confidence to the rebel portion of my personality and so now here I am today, with my ears still not pierced. 
Enough about me, on to how to win!
To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post (as a Blogger member or else I don't know who you are) and describe in that post what your perfect summer outfit would be to pair with these earrings.  If you want to build something on Polyvore and send me a link - go right ahead.  The contest starts NOW and will end at Midnight on Thursday, March 22nd and the winner will be announced Friday morning.  Only one entry per person please.  Good luck!   

Thursday, March 15, 2012

I've Been Known to Dabble in Wall Art on Occasion

I remember the first time I heard a Bob Marley song (although I didn't know who sang it at the time), it was when I saw this commercial:

My research showed this commercial aired in 1995.  In 1996 (I remember the year off the top of my head only because the trip was during the summer Olympics~I'm obsessed with the Olympics.  This summer when the games in London start airing I will be on the couch with the American flag draped over my shoulders ready to watch every sport from Water Polo to Gymnastics for 3 weeks.  I was lucky enough to be on maternity leave 2 years ago during the last winter Olympics - otherwise our DVR couldn't have handled it) SORRY, GOT OFF TRACK we took a family trip (Mom, Dad, and I) to the Cayman Islands.  It was probably one of the best trips ever and I love that British Colony so immensely I've been back twice since. 

Anyway, one evening my Mom was out on our balcony at our hotel watching the sunset and I went to join her.  The music from the poolside bar carried up to our room and I hear "Jammin'".  "Hey, it's that alligator commercial song," I say.  My mother, who lived in the Caribbean for years before she met my Dad (both working in Puerto Rico), gave me the most horrified look I, at that point, had ever seen from her.  "This is a Bob Marley song," she says.  Blank stare from me.  "Do you know who Bob Marley is?" My head shakes back and forth.  There began my Bob Marley education - at the age of 14. 

As I grew older and got an ipod, I downloaded lots of his songs and I swear, I cannot play them and not be happy.  My friend Whitney and I went on a cruise to Jamaica in 2003 and got to go to Trenchtown ("No Woman, No Cry" reference), which is where he grew up.  I've also been to Jamaica with Joe twice and we love us some Bob.  On our first trip we decided to jazz up Lil E's wardrobe with an homage:

So, I guess you could say we more than just "like" Bob Marley. 

I'm playing on Pinterest one day and come across this:

Image courtesy of Susie Harris Blog

My train of thought:  "Three Little Birds"!!  I must have this.  It's $58? Plus $22 for shipping?  Negative.  But I really love it! Oh fine, I'll have to steal the idea and redo it. 

So I did.

Instead of wood, I went and got a 30x30inch canvas at Hobby Lobby and picked up some Acrylic paint.  I painted the entire thing yellow (Delta's Straw).  It took 3 coats to get the color saturated and even. 

Then I went into Microsoft Word and printed out the different words in different fonts and took my exacto-knife and cut out the letters.  Then I just taped the paper to the canvas and traced the letters to it.   

Then you start painting!

The cursive letters on top and bottom were a lot easier to do than the Arial font in the middle.  I even tried paint pen at one point - but it's finish was much too shiny so I just bit the bullet and kept layering the paint on. 

I added my own hanging kit to the canvas by screwing the eyelet screws to the inside edge (so it would lay flat against the wall) and running a wire from side to side.

Then it was time to hang it on the wall!  And I love it! I'm one of the world's worst about wall art.  I tend to just not like anything, so I put mirrors up all over the place (No, it's not because I like to look at myself - might be a different story after I lose another 5 lbs. ;) ). 

Love, love, love.  I will mention that it looks smaller in the pictures than it does in person.  I think something about the height of the ceiling jumping signifcantly over the stairs has something to do with it. 

One last thing, Instead of painting the sides of the canvas yellow, I did a terracotta orange.  I thought it would look like a frame without having to frame it.  I almost wish I had gone for a brighter color with more punch so it was more noticeable.  I guess sometimes demure can be better.  Sometimes. 

If you are ever in Jamaica (Shameless plug: Stay at Couples Negril or Couples Swept Away), make sure you see the Silver Birds Steel Drum Band.  They are FANTASTIC.  Their rendition of "Careless Whisper" was SO good the entire outdoor dining area at our resort during lunchtime gave them a standing ovation. They put on quite a show.  

My first giveaway is coming up:  Tune in tomorrow to see how to win!



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