Tuesday, January 26, 2010

cheap valentine's crafts and decorations

i la-la LOVE valentine's day. maybe it's because i love red so much, i don't know. i love the decorations, the treats, i love it all. i think my fondness also stems from the idea of giving heartfelt usually homemade gifts to each other.
this year i want valentine's day to be extra fun, but i don't want to spend a lot of money decorating and preparing for it. here are some of the decorations and treats and crafts we've done so far and more that we plan on trying later.
i got some cheap heart doilies at the grocery store and strung red and white baker's twine through the holes. just a few of them together created a cute little garland for the front window.

a fun thing to do with the kids is these crayon/wax paper hearts. ours didn't turn out as planned but we still love them. there's a great tutorial for this on martha stewart.

another cheap decoration i put up is a garland made out of simple white doilies. i just folded them in half with some glue around some pretty white and red ribbon.

i have tons of cute red and pink and white cupcake liners left over from sweet m.'s birthday party, and with those i'm planning on making these cupcakes, also seen on martha stewart.

some other treats we might try are these brownies and these jello treats, both from family fun magazine.

p.s. in looking these up, i've found so many other cute crafts and treats. i think i'll do another valentine's post tomorrow!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

sprucing up project: update

so here are the changes that we've made to the dining area so far. the vibe i was going for was cheerful, vintage, and colorful. let me just say that i did go over budget a wee bit, but i made sure that there was room in other parts of the budget to make up for it.

here it is all together:

one of the details i really love: the curtain tiebacks that look like vintage painted glass doorknobs.

i took this one so you could see our little organization area over by the door. the red clock is metal and opens like a locker door. we put our keys and stuff in there. and the basket is for mail and bills that we need to deal with.

as you can see, the plate wall is still the same, although we have a few more plates to hang up;i'd also like to find some nice things to put on the sideboard.

this area is newly arranged although everything there is old. the "keep calm" poster we've had for a year or more, and i always knew i wanted it in this corner. i just wanted to have some other stuff to put with it. the painting to its left is something i love because it was done by my twin sister when she was very young, (how old, nene, 13 of 14?) and i like the cheerful colors it brings to the kitchen/dining area. the "w" is a few years old and i think i'm going to paint it differently, but i like it in this area of the room.

and guess who snuck behind the curtains while i was taking pictures?

so that's it for now! eventually i'd like to paint the whole dining/kitchen/living area, and maybe get some new chairs, but i must say i'm very happy with it in the meantime.

Friday, January 22, 2010


it's such a happiness when good people get together--and they always do. -jane austen, from emma

on sunday, masterpiece classic is airing a new adaptation of emma by jane austen, with romola garai as emma, (she's gorgeous, right?) and johnny lee miller (of eli stone and mansfield park) as mr. knightley.

i think this might be my favorite romance in all of austen. and i think it's because emma and mr. knightley are such good friends first. the way they joke with each other and rib each other in a good-natured way, it rings so true for me. perhaps that is because my husband and i were good friends before we started dating and falling in love. it's a wonderful way to do things, i think.

anyway, watch it sunday night on pbs!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

love at home

there is beauty all around when there's love at home.

there is joy in every sound when there's love at home.

peace and plenty here abide, smiling sweet on every side,
time doth softly sweetly glide, when there's love at home.

it's not always like this, but when it is, it's lovely.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

fasting for haiti

photo credit: tequila minsky
yesterday in church we had a lesson about our heavenly families. we talked about how we are all children of God and how that affects how we view ourselves and how we go about our lives.

it made me think of all our brothers and sisters in haiti, and how insanely scary and sorrowful and desperate their lives must be right now. i am not so good at thinking of others before myself. i know it's human nature to focus on our own little families, our own little section of the world, and i am very good at human nature.

but if i were good at being like Jesus and filled with His love, i think i would be thinking far more about haiti than i am. i know it's a far away place that i've never been to, but that doesn't change the fact that we are all part of the same family, and that we are all children of Heavenly Parents who love us all.

i was reading about the conditions in haiti, and looking at pictures here. some of the pictures are extremely disturbing, but i thought, who i am to close my eyes and look away? for these people, this is their reality right now. they can't escape from it.

i'm not suggesting wallowing or anything of the sort. i was praying last night and the thing that kept coming into my head was fasting. i read somewhere that a lot of the people in the affected areas have not eaten for days. i think i can go without food for 24 hours and give the money that i would've spent to the red cross, or doctors without borders, or lds humanitarian services. maybe going without food for that long will help me in some small way to understand what the people of haiti are going through.

if you'd like to join me i'll be fasting tomorrow, tuesday, january 19th, one week after the earthquake hit.

p.s. i decided to do my fasting one day later just because i posted this so late. so anyway, wednesday. of course if you choose to you can fast whenever you want!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

free dirty projectors music

if you want a couple of free dirty projectors' songs, go here and all you have to do is type in your email address. they send you a link, don't worry if it takes a while.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

project 365:2010 update

so i've only been doing this 365 project for 10 days now, and i can already tell you; it's hard. i never plan out a shot for each day, i try to just see where each day carries me. but sometimes i admit i find myself scrambling to take a picture of something before the light gets too bad. which is not what it's supposed to be about. it's supposed to be inspiring me to look for beautiful things in my everyday life, not necessarily to go outside of my normal patterns to find something i think is photo-worthy. y'know?
one thing that i've noticed though is that it has helped me look at things with a more critical eye. and even though i've taken ten pictures, there was only one time i didn't cringe while uploading them to my flickr account, and that was with this picture. not because i think it's great, but because i know that when i took it i was feeling inspired, and not, "oh crap i've got to take a picture, quick!"
here's to more of the feeling inspired moments and less of the other kind.
and i hope all of your new year's goals and projects are going very, very well.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

the sprucing up project: dining room (area)

one of my new year's projects is to "spruce up" my house, one room at a time, one room per month. oh, and my budget is $50 per month, so no major changes this time around! just a good spruce: a deep cleaning, an organizational overhaul, and maybe a couple of new decorations if possible.
so this month i'm starting with the dining room, which is technically a dining area. i've already done a couple of things with this room, the EAT letters and the plate wall, but i wanted it to look more finished and i needed some kind of organizing system in place since this is where we come in from the garage (through the laundry room.) the other MAJOR need in this room is curtains for the sliding glass door area, which used to have vertical blinds covering it, but they have since broken (and let's face it, they didn't look great in the first place.)
i also wanted to have a little area for art prints, etc. so i'm thinking i'll need a picture frame or two.

here are the before pictures:

next week i think i'll post some inspiration pictures from magazines and blogs that i'd like to incorporate into this space. and sorry if this is extremely boring i'm just doing it for myself, to have it all recorded.
but it would be helpful if anyone has any insider tips or special sources for super cheap home decor stuff! thanks!

Monday, January 04, 2010

"when i get older i will be stronger"

so it's only a few days into the new year, and i've been thinking a lot about motivation. it seems like whenever i set any new goal, i usually do really well with it for the first few days, and then something happens to throw me off track. i get sick or one of my kids does, i wake up late or forget, you know, LIFE happens. in spite of my best intentions i can't plan for every circumstance, and i get thrown. my carefully-crafted schedule seems useless, my goals seem too hard, and i think, "why am i doing this?" or "i'll do it some other time," or the worst one of all, "i can't do this."

i don't know about you but this is something that ALWAYS comes up with me. it's not a possibility, it's just an eventuality. and i've been trying to plan for it this time. none too soon either, because this morning i got thrown a little kink in my day. (and the smallest thing can really get to me.) i started to feel like some of the things i had planned for today could wait for another day. and i was frustrated.

then i thought to myself, "this time is going to be different," and i called my mom, my greatest cheerleader, and she said, "you can do it! just keep at it!" and i read my favorite quote (now my motto) to her:

My dear brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged if you stumble at times. Don’t feel downcast or despair if you don’t feel worthy to be a disciple of Christ at all times. The first step to walking in righteousness is simply to try. We must try to believe. Try to learn of God: read the scriptures; study the words of His latter-day prophets; choose to listen to the Father, and do the things He asks of us. Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible—and that which seems only possible becomes habit and a real part of you. -President Uchtdorf, from last general conference.

then i put on this song, turned it way up, and got to work.

p.s. what do you do to get or keep yourself motivated when you feel completely defeated and you just want to give up?

Saturday, January 02, 2010

project 365:2010

in an effort to improve my photography and get inspired creatively, i'm taking on a 365 day project. one photo a day for the entire year of 2010. that's it. i didn't pick any theme, i figure it's going to be hard enough to get myself to do one picture everyday. but there you have it. i might periodically put the pictures up on the blog here, but i'll be posting all of them here.
and here are the pictures for day one and two.
day 1

day 2.

have you started any projects for the new year?