Semi-Homemade Advent Calendar

If you follow me on Pinterest you saw that I pinned several Advent Calendars. With little man getting bigger, I’ve been wanting to start our own family traditions for the Christmas season. One of those traditions is using an Advent Calendar.

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Sources to the images can be found at the bottom of this post. All images are via Pinterest

I really liked this last image but before I could decide on a final design, my mom brought home a felt advent calendar.

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Who am I to pass up a free gift; save me the time designing and making my own? Yes please! I decided to mix up the daily treats. I sewed pouches that contain a few M&Ms, mixed in a few ornaments, a few quarters for little man’s piggy bank, and made a few tags with fun activities to do as a family.

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I hope everyone has a great day!

Sarah

Sources for images can be found here:

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Shop Deals

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Just wanted to pop in for a shop update and a sale!

I’ve added a few new rings to the shop.

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You can also enjoy an extra 15% off EVERYTHING in the shop on Cyber Monday only.   AND enjoy FREE SHIPPING on all jewelry purchases!!  I’ll issue a refund via Paypal so just pay the regular price and then you will see a refund via Paypal.

Use coupon code: CYBRMON15

Last Minute Dessert

I am not a baker. Just the thought of having to measure ingredients and be precise to have whatever I’m baking turn out exhausts me. I like to throw stuff together and see what comes out.  But this dessert is just plain easy.  Simple. This dessert I can do. It combines some of my favorite things: Angel Food Cake and Lemon Pie Filling. Mix. Bake. Done.

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Originally from here Via Brenda on Pinterest

Have a great day!

Sarah

The Styling of a Bookcase

The month of October was dedicated to cleaning and organizing my house. I got rid of 5 boxes of clothes that didn’t fit little man in edition to a bunch of baby toys he generously donated to a needy family.  I went through the drawers in the vanities in the bathrooms, cleaned out the filing cabinets, threw out a bunch of trash, and donated a lot too.  The only thing left to do is get to the basement. That’s a job in itself!

One of the things I’d been wanting to get to was my bookcase in the den.  It was starting to get out of hand.

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It had looked nice at one time but over time it started to get a little messy.

Our photo albums were taking up the bulk of the space and some were too big and didn’t fit on the shelves properly.  I decided to move them all to the vintage suitcases I have in the space that at as a table.  This way, they are all stored together and my thought was that if God forbid there was ever a fire, if I could, they would be easy and quick to grab.

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I also decided to add a little texture to the back of the bookcases.  I trimmed some brown kraft wrapping paper to size and secured it with mounting putty.

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When styling a bookcase I tend to do mini groups of books, adding accessories along the way.  Stacking books horizontally and vertically adds interest while the accessories you add can help bring your personality to the space.  I added the dried gourds I picked up at last weeks yard sale for fall, when Christmas comes, I’ll add a few ornaments or winter greenery to suggest the season.

Here are the details

A birds nest little man and I found while trimming trees

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Old books authored by a neighbor

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A ceramic figure painted by a family member symbolizing my husband, his sister, and their granddad

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I have a lot of black and red in the things on my bookcase so I tried to keep that running throughout the shelves so your eye takes you through the entire bookcase.

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Before:

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After:

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I hope everyone has a great day!

Sarah

Christmas Cards for a good cause

Have you ordered your Christmas cards yet?  If not, here are some beautiful options that can be custom made for your family and proceeds go to a great cause.

Here are a few samples from the Life Made Lovely Shop

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$10 from each of the sales of these cards will go to help complete the adoption for this lovely family.

All you have to do is send your pictures in which will be inserted in your card design and emailed back to you.  You upload the design and print as many as you  need. it doesn’t get much easier than that!

Have a great weekend!

Sarah

100 Handmade Gifts

I try to make as many Christmas gifts as I can.  There is just something to be said for a handmade gift.  The time and dedication someone else put into their craft as a gift to someone else is very special to me.  Check out these tutorials from the Etsy Blog for 100 Handmade Gift Ideas.  You are sure to get plenty  of gift giving ideas here!

Enjoy!

Have a happy and creative weekend!

Sarah

Stamp Deals at Michaels

Just a quick note this morning to let you all know about some great stuff I got at Michaels over the weekend.

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Everything on this tray was $.50-1.00/piece!  I loaded up! I got several stamps to use for my Christmas tags.  And check out the bicycle, sofa, and skeleton key stamp!  I’ve always had a thing for bicycles, especially vintage beach cruisers.  And I’m thinking of using the sofa stamp for my furniture tags.

I hope you find some great deals out there!

Have a fabulous day!!

Sarah

Before & After {the bathroom}

Thank you all for the kind comments on the kitchen remodel.

We remodeled the downstairs bathroom at the same time as the kitchen.  The bathroom is to the right as soon as you walk into the house from the garage.  It’s a larger bathroom compared to other half baths. But it wasn’t being utilized to it’s fullest potential.  The door swung in and covered a large wall.

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The solution? A sliding door attached to the outside of the wall.

Don’t judge the door yet.  My husband found the door and new I would love it. But it needed ALOT of love to get where it is today.  In this picture, we were trying it out to make sure it would work.  This is the best “before” shot I got of the bathroom. I was so excited to start the remodel I forgot to get proper “before” shots.

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During:

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We found the tile from Home Depot. It was a great mix of beige’s with a little gray in there too. I wanted the bathroom more neutral color-wise so it would work with my ever changing decorating styles.

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The color was custom oops color but worked perfectly with the new floor.

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We matched the higher baseboards to the rest of the house.  The decorative tile strip separates the tile from the hardwood.

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Let’s talk about the gorgeous wood door.

The Front:

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The Back:

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What’s not to love about the details?

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The door was old, filthy dirty, and had obviously been used for quite a while.  I gave it a good scrubbing, sanding, and used Danish Oil to bring new life to the door.

Here it is hung on a metal sliding barn door track

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It’s such a tight spot to try to photograph. It’s only about 3 feet from the door to the washer and dryer directly across when you walk in.

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After:

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The pedestal sink came from the Habit Restore for $50.You can see my post of the soap dispenser here. I hung towel at different heights so little hands can dry their own.

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Framed finger paints from little man are displayed and a old wire basket give by a friend holds extra towels and toilet paper.

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I kept the mirror. It was given to me by an ex co-worker for some design work I did for them.

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A new light rounds out the new sink area

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The valance I made from a mix of old lace, left over fabric from the baby shower and a napkin from Anthro I picked up back in May.  I already had 2 teacup hooks screwed into the window frame so I laid a few curly willow branches in them and pinned the valance to them. Easy Peasy.

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By removing the swinging door, we’ve opened up the bathroom and exposed the wall.  My plan was to create a mini mudroom.  Somewhere where we could hang our keys, bags, hats, etc.

A bookcase found on the curb keeps our shoes tidy

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The mix of hooks where screwed to a leftover 2×4 I beat up and stained.  And the antlers are from a deer my husband got a few years ago tied to a gold frame with fishing line and scrapbook paper taped to the back.

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A hook for little man is on his level so he can hang his own coat up when we come home.  The hook is from Anthro and the mount was made by me.

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The bathroom is now a functional, organized space that we use everyday.  We no longer ‘dump’ all our belongings onto the kitchen counters because we now have somewhere to put all of our things.

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After:

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So that concludes our little remodels. Has anyone else been remodeling lately?  Changing your spaces up?  Share them with me in the comment section! I’d love to see!

Have a fabulous day!

Sarah

Before & After {The kitchen remodel}

You might have noticed a few changes to the blog this morning.  I’m working on a new blog header, which I think I’m close to. I’m new to this and I’m doing it all myself with no fancy computer software. Just Picasa and Picnik. So far, I’m happy with it. I’m also planning on organizing and updating some of the tab pages. So bare with me.  Back to the matter at hand…

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I know, this post is long over due. I think I promised it what, 3 times? I’ve decided I’m not going to make promises I can’t keep.  Maybe from now on, I’ll just give you guys a little teaser without promising anything and then BAM! I’ll hit you with something fab. Who knows. Anyway, Let’s get to it. As promised, here is the kitchen before & after.  It took many stages to get where it is today.

We started our kitchen and bathroom remodel earlier this year in March. Our house was built in 1988 so the kitchen was pretty typical from that time. Maple cabinets, blue laminate counter tops, L-shaped peninsula that held the cook-top, dated appliances,  linoleum floors, and a small eat-in area. It was completely cut off from the rest of the first floor with a butler door connecting the kitchen to the dinning room.

sorry these pictures are so small; I had to take them from my flickr pool because the original pictures are on my old computer which kicked the bucket 2 years ago.

We walk into our house from the garage door which is just past the washer and dryer. As soon as you walk in, you are greeted by the washer and dryer on the left and a 1/2 bath on the right.  No mudroom to drop your stuff off at the door.  I did find a solution during this last renovation and I’ll get to it in the bathroom before & after post. Again, no promises. One day you’ll wake up and BAM! it will be there.

When we moved in, the finish on the cabinets was looking very bad, and the whole thing was just so dark you really didn’t want to cook in it.

The first upgrade I did was about 6 years ago. I took a weekend to paint the kitchen cabinets and add new hardware. It’s amazing what can be done with a gallon of paint.   It was quite the undertaking, I did all the work myself with extremely late nights and early mornings to get it all done over one weekend but it was totally worth it. It completely transformed the look and feel of the kitchen. I was extremely proud of the job I did. It was the biggest paint job I’ve done to date and it’s still holding up.


Then, about 4 years ago we upgraded our appliances, added a new light fixture, new faucet, and added new peel and stick linoleum tiles.

The chalkboard wall was also added.

We saved our pennies and the time finally came when we were able to do a real remodel.

We knew we wanted hardwood floors throughout the main level. We went with an engineered hardwood in 3 widths in a medium brown with a hand scraped finish.

We kept our kitchen cabinets instead of buying new. There was nothing wrong with our cabinets and it saved us a ton of money. We did take out the corner cabinet by the original peninsula, it had a turnaround in it that didn’t work, so there was no need to keep it. We swapped the cabinet that holds the cooktop for the cabinet that was in the original dead area between the fridge and wall oven. Swapping those created one long row of work space on the outer wall and the other for a new home for the cook top.

The cabinet that held the cook-top was smaller than the one we moved to the other side of the kitchen which left spaces on either side of the cook-top for pull out spice racks; which I was ecstatic about. But I was less than thrilled with the price of the spice cabinet itself.  $300 for a 5″ wide spice cabinet. And I needed 2.  So I ordered the “guts” of the cabinet off Amazon for 1/2 the price and our contractor built the cabinet front and sides for us.  We attached the decorative posts to the front. I stained them with 2 different color stains to achieve the antique look.

We also decided to open up the wall between the kitchen and the dinning room to match the opening from the dining to the living room.

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This was the only major snag we ran into during the entire process. During demo of the wall, the contractor ran into a water line so that had to be moved into the outer wall. Sorry, no pictures of that.

We bought our granite from the 2nd’s pile from Luckstone Corporation. It was one if the most expensive granites and is available by special order only. It’s called Golden Ivory. We got it cheaper than what any normal granite would have cost anywhere else. We were lucky in that we don’t have as much counter space as a new, bigger kitchen does so we really didn’t need that much and the Golden Ivory was what was leftover from another custom job. There was even enough in the pile that we ordered the taller tile back splash and enough to cover the whole wall behind the cook-top.

The granite has the same blue as the old blue canning jars running through it so it was my starting point in designing the rest if the kitchen. I used a blue canning jar to create the pendant light over the original porcelain kitchen sink.

The paint is called Comfort Gray by Sherwin Williams. It is this gorgeous blue gray color that changes with the light. It really helped to open up the kitchen even more. I took that gray into the laundry area which also acts as our entryway into the house.

I love the color so much, I might be using it in the den soon.

Since we opened up the wall to the dining room, we had this sort if dead space that used to be the eat in part of the original kitchen.

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I had a small table with two chairs in the original kitchen that we rarely used  which worked for the old floor plan.  But with the wall removed the dining room table was only steps away from the  old eat in space with no division between the two.  So we decided to bring in an island with a counter top with an overhang so we could bring in a few bar stools.

It was one of the biggest design concerns in the end trying to figure out what size of an island the space could hold and where it should sit. We always new we wanted a piece of furniture to serve as an island with an overhang to house a few bar stools. In the end, we ended with the island I shared a while ago.

It stores a few small appliances that were once held in the basement along with our knife set and other utensils, and odds and ends.

New light fixtures, curtains, and storage solutions were also added to make our new kitchen what it is today.

We love it, and couldn’t be happier. The island is used on a daily basis, and we can actually have more than one person in the kitchen at the same time without completely getting in each others way.

And now for the money shots.

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And the kitchen stayed this clean and organized for about 12 hours. It’s back to reality now. Dishes always needing to be done, clean dishes drying on the counter top, papers waiting to be filed, and what-nots   laying around.  Such is life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Have a great day!

Sarah