Wednesday, December 9, 2009

more is more...and a merry Christmas :-)

My motto for Christmas decorating: more is more, baby! Here are a few pics of some of my favorite Christmas decorations around the house this year. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this little visual tour! I realized after the fact that I didn't take a single picture of my tree. It's in the dining room, just to the left of the fireplace. The tree you saw at the top of the stairs is our second tree that has all the sentimental, mismatched ornaments on it. The little pink tree you saw is the kids' Advent tree...each day of the advent calendar they find a tiny ornament inside to put on their tree, as well as a Scripture that tells the Nativity story. On the mantel is my collection of blue carnival glass and mercury glass candleholders.

It's funny. I missed out on a lot of blogging over the last year, and while I was away Blogger did some much-needed overhauling on how you upload photos, etc. It's actually easier and more convenient now...but I'm still trying to get used to it...and today it was easier to put a huge block of photos without captions. Now that I'm (slowly) getting back into the swing of things, I'm hoping to get a little better at this whole thing. I guess that's the case with any technology, isn't it...if you're away for even a short time you feel like it's been years! Because the world marches on, with or without you.

Okay I was just re-reading that paragraph and it made me sound much older than I really am! Too funny. Ah well. Some days I FEEL really old. Three little ones will do that to you. :-)

And welcome to those joining me from Julia's Hooked on Houses Holiday Tour!! Welcome!!! Hooked on Houses is one of my favorite blogs, and Julia one of my favorite bloggers. We go way back. I feel I can say I knew her way back when...back before she was famous and being written up by HGTV and people like that. :-)  Check out her blog for lots of fun holiday house tour links!!!

I'm also linked to Rhoda's Holiday House Tours party on her Southern Hospitality blog. She is a sweet and ultra-talented blogger who definitely shares my decorating theme at Christmas of "more is more"! Love it. Check out her party as well.

And last but not least - Melissa's holiday tour party at The Inspired Room. Melissa is always refreshlingly honest and gives me permission to not be perfect! I need that!

Merry Christmas, everybody!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

be still my heart...

Just a brief note to indulge my inner stationery nerd. Paper Source has just introduced the first in-home letterpress machine ever! My pulse is racing and I think my pupils are dilated as I begin to imagine all the fabulous invitations, notecards, gift tags, and other things I could create with it! Picture some fabluous linen-textured paper with gold letterpress designs...

It comes with a few plates and there are a few additional plate kits you can purchase that are themed. Aren't they gorgeous?

I just love this stuff! Check out Paper Source - they're my favorite resource for stationery and card supplies. I just love paper. If that makes me a nerd, so be it! :-)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

it's not just a jar

It's time, my friends, to pay homage to that humble, yet often overlooked piece of glassware known as The Jar. I was looking around my house the other day and realized that glass jars are one of my favorite methods for organizing and storage. I love them because they never wear out...are easily recycled...and they look cute no matter what they're doing. (Just like me...right?)

image: naturemoms

I love the way these ordinary jars were transformed into candleholders that look like etched glass. Just create your own shape with contact paper...stick it on...spray with frosted glass spray paint...then peel of your contact paper shape...and voila! How cute is that? Perfect for Christmas or Fourth of July or anytime! (Note to self: I actually have Frosted Glass spray paint that I've NEVER used...must use it for this idea!) By the way, I found this idea along with a great post at Nature Moms blog that lists ten ways to reuse glass's worth a read.

baby shower favors: dried papaya and Russian tea mix
image: nesting instincts "Baby Meet Orange"

I have glass jars that I use for cotton balls, Q-tips and bars of soap in the bathroom. I have a small jar in the cupboard that stores extra razors. In the kitchen, I have huge jars for rice and candy (shouldn't everyone have a huge jar for candy?). I have a tall skinny jar for spaghetti and several other sizes for other pastas. We use jars to collect spare change. We burn jar candles. We use jars to hold spare pens and pencils. I've even given away party favors in jars (see above). I recently re-organized my pantry and put lots of things in jars. Oh, it felt good.

How do you like to re-use glass jars? Any thoughts?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I just had to show off one of my (few) finds from this summer's garage sale adventures. I was sick and/or having surgery for much of the I wasn't on top of my game in the bargain-hunting department...but I did score these beauties! It's a boat-load of serving pieces from the Hexagon collection of Johnson Bros. ironstone. I looked up the pattern and found that they are not necessarily in antique...but the cost to purchase each of these pieces individually would have set me back at least $500 total!

But I didn't pay $500. How much, you ask??

$15. That's right, people...fifteen buckaroos. I was a happy girl the Saturday I scored these. I now have a true "collection" of white serving pieces...ironstone and otherwise. Don't ya just love a good deal?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

before and after: the five dollar chandelier

Here's a little project I completed recently for my girls' bedroom. I bought this chandelier at our neighbor's yard sale a couple of years ago. I'd honestly forgotten about it until we were moving some stuff around in the basement and I stumbled onto it again. I paid a whole $5 for it, knowing that I wanted to give it a little makeover. Here's the "before":

 $5 chandelier BEFORE: Brass...ugly...needin' TLC.

So, in the dead of last winter and preggo (of all the great times to choose to spray-paint, that's not one of them) I primed and painted this little gem. I bought new light bulbs and had a lot of fun shopping around on Ebay for just the right chandelier crystals to add to it. (One note of caution: if the crystals you want to buy on Ebay seem ridiculously cheap and too good to be true, they probably are too good to be true. If you read the fine print you'll discover that you are purchasing them from someone in a foreign country and the shipping is about ten times the cost of the crystals themselves. Be sure you actually read the fine print before hitting "purchase" or you will become fair game for your husband's sighs and rolling of the eyes. Not that I did this or anything. I'm just saying.)

Anyway, a few cheap chandelier crystals (and some expensive postage) later, and you can see the result! I haven't decided if I want little shades on it or not. I sort of like the naked look.

Read here if you'd like to see more before-and-afters!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

a vintage modern nursery

So, while I sit here pondering the meaning of the universe - or something like that - here are a few pics of my little boy's nursery. I never got around to fully posting about it so I thought I'd take you on a little tour. Up until about 8 months ago, this was our little-used but oh-so-messy home office. The walls were light beige and it was full of office-y and miscellaneous junk. I had a box (full of greeting cards, of all things) whose color was exactly what I wanted for the walls. I took the box into Home Depot and not only did they custom match it, they were able to transform a gallon of paint I had previously purchased for my living room that was an Oops. You know the kind...where you don't take your own advice as a decorator and buy a whole gallon first rather than a quart. That kind of Oops.

So here's his crib. The pictures inside the crib don't live there. (Kinda seems like that would make me a bad mom.) Here's the deal: my hubby broke my drill (yes, we each have our own) and I am embarrassed to say that eight months later, these pics are still on the floor leaning against the wall. But they are intended for the wall above the crib. I got this Dwell Modern bedding at Target on clearance (discontinued, sorry). By the way, I love how these framed prints came out - last summer, I bought a children's book at an estate was dated 1914...I selected a few pages, put them in Ikea frames, and voila! one-of-a-kind artwork. The book only cost me $9.

Here's his mobile...from Etsy shop thewonderlandstudio . He LOVES staring at it! (What the heck, I catch myself staring at it too!)

I received not one, but two prints from Etsy seller dazeychic as gifts. I have observant mothers - both my mom and mother-in-law took note of prints I had noted on my blog and got them for me at my baby shower. Yay! This one shows a baby boy dropping from heaven. (Awww!)

So the month before our little guy was born, his sisters (both preschoolers) and I painted a little original artwork for the nursery. I actually had started a canvas years ago and never finished it. To save money, I painted over it with white paint and then let the girls have at it. I tried to limit their colors to the general color palette but otherwise they did their own thing. My only regret is I didn't have them sign and date it. I think I could still at least add the month and year somewhere on the bottom or the back.

I had several paper lanters that were all leftovers from various parties I've had in the past. I suspended them with fishing line over the dresser and he loves looking at those too. I picked up this old bedroom set of dresser, highboy dresser and two nightstands off Craigslist for $80 total!!! How happy was I?? They needed a little bit of cleaning but were just the right look for his room. The extra nightstand is now a sidetable in my living room.

I still want to find a more colorful throw pillow for this chair. You can see the nightstand here as well as the red lamp and red rug from Ikea. Actually, there are two rugs in the room because it's sort of L-shaped and it was easier to afford two smaller rugs than one huge one. So I purposely chose to get two different rugs rather than two matching.

My huge metal "C" I got on clearance from Paper Zone. This was before we knew we were having a boy, but I was really hoping we would, so we could name him Caleb (as we've always wanted). This was a natural steel-look - I spray-painted it red.

Another print from Studio Mela (aka dazeychic). I love the vintage "Little People".

Those paper lanterns again. The polka-dot one was decor for my eldest daughter's FIRST birthday party...I totally forgot I even had it till I was organizing one day before my son was born. Perfect!

I love his little CD player that looks like a vintage radio. We bought it at Target about five years ago when our first daughter was born. It works great in Caleb's room now!

Thanks for coming along on this virtual tour! Coming soon: transforming a $5 chandelier!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

fall nesting and an identity crisis

Hi friends! Here are a few photos of my humble attempts at fall decor this year. I have jumped into domesticity with wild abandon and have been doing crazy things like organizing my pantry...organizing my linen closet...organizing my daughters' room...deep cleaning my floors...and generally planning to take over the world.

In addition to these dazzling displays of home economics, I have been introduced to the world of Mom's Shuttle Service, now that my eldest daughter is in preschool. It sorta cramps my style to have to be in the car so frequently (well, if I were shopping, that would be different) but five weeks in, I think I'm starting to get the hang of it..

Since my schedule is now so limited...due to aforementioned Mom's Shuttle poor redesign business is left on the back burner, hoping desperately for attention. The fact is, my kids are my priority right now...and there's been enough drama and separation anxiety and frenetic activity to last for a year, just packed into the last month. It just doesn't seem feasible right now to add in the frequent times needed for redesigns. Finding childcare, getting someone to pick up my daughter at school, coordinating the baby's schedule, blah blah blah.

But the fact is, people, I NEED a creative outlet. There's got to be something I can daydream about while mopping my floors. There's got to be something fun (translated, right-brain) that I can think about while carrying out all the left-brain activities of running a household and a family. And you know, all of this would be easier to imagine if I didn't need to sleep at night. If I didn't need to sleep - imagine all the crafty, creative pursuits I could be working on while the rest of the family slept! I could have taken over the world already by now!

But I can't yet for the life of me think of what that would be. I've got my little card business idea...but do I really want to be running around filling orders all the time? The fun part is designing the cards...once they're designed...everything else is that darn left-brain again.
I've always loved the party-planning stuff, and have definitely not forgotten about it either. And the one-time nature of a party might be more up my alley these days. Hmm....
I guess what you have here, people, is a redesigning/party-planning/graphic-designing mommy with an identity crisis!

Monday, August 31, 2009

only missing one internal organ

Hi friends. You all probably thought I'd forgotten about poor little Nesting Instincts, didn't you? Au contraire. It's definitely been on the back burner this summer, but not totally forgotten. You see, I'm down one uterus since I last posted. That's right, in the last five months I have given birth to my third child and had a hysterectomy. I am now almost five weeks post-surgery and am FINALLY starting to feel human again! Woohoo!! Summer of 2009 has sort of been "The Summer That Never Was" for me. I was in pain for months following my son's birth, due to endometriosis, and then was in pain for weeks following my surgery. But now, things are finally...looking....up!

I have to admit that at this point, I'm not entirely sure what the future holds for Nesting Instincts. I haven't missed the business as much as I thought I would over the last year. Perhaps that's just because I've been so slammed with physical stuff I just didn't have much energy to think about N.I. And certainly, my focus going into the fall is sending my oldest daughter off to preschool and finally giving my other two children the attention they deserve (my baby has the most laidback personality ever, which is great, because he hasn't gotten much attention over the last few months! But at the same time, because he's laidback, he doesn't get as much attention).

So, right now, as I finish up my recovery, I'm just thinking...mulling things over...praying...and thinking some more. About how this next school year is going to look for me. About where I want to focus my (new-found) energy.

I have no idea if anyone will even read this...but if you used to read this blog, and wondered where I you know. I'll be honest, it's been a pretty intense six months for me, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and am now excited to see what the future holds.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

i heart my gallery shelf

Hello sweet readers. If you're reading this, you deserve a great big cyber-hug, just for checking in! Things have been a little crazy in my house these days. My days consist mostly of holding (and feeding) the baby, while trying to keep my other two kids alive, fed, and moderately happy. There has been little-to-no housework getting done, and certainly no blogging. However, my little boy let me put him down for a while yesterday...ah, the FREEDOM! With my newfound freedom, what do you think I did? Unearth my kitchen counters from clutter? Clean my embarrassingly neglected bedroom? Fold the enormous piles of laundry?

Oh no.

Friend, I did what any self-respecting interior redesigner in my position would do.

I re-decorated.

Ah, the freedom and beauty of those words! Granted, I was running around like a mad woman, muttering "Please don't wake up! Please don't wake up!" the entire time, so someone watching may not have realized I was actually engaging in a relaxing ritual. But oh, the sanity those moments brought me. They were priceless! I spend so much time in one chair in my living room these days - with aforementioned babe - that it's really important for my view from that chair be as serene as possible.

It was nothing drastic - mostly relocating some clutter and re-accessorizing a large shelf and the top of the piano (and, okay, so I dusted a bit too - but that's hardly worth mentioning, 'cause it's not fun) - but it made me feel better. I didn't bother to take a "before" pic because I wasn't even thinking of the blog at the time, so above is an old photo of the shelf from last summer.

And here was the shelf at Christmas time...

And here it is now. And I can't guarantee it will stay this way for long. The biggest change is in how I think about this shelf now. Before, it was just a shelf, and the arrangement of it was really quite static (for me, anyway). It was mainly there to try to make the TV not stick out like a sore thumb.

Now, however, I've decided to make it my gallery shelf. In other words, the display will be constantly favorite pics of the kids and my favorite pieces of artwork at a given time. The great thing about just leaning the frames against the wall is that I can change the look on a whim - as opposed to some of my gallery-type arrangements hanging on the wall, where there are a million nails in the wall (therefore a million holes) and I don't want to move the frames for fear of exposing all the holes underneath. It's not quite as minimal of a look as I had before, but I think I'm ready to step it up a bit and display lots of framed things that are beautiful to me (as well as either interesting or sentimental).

I'm laughing because I 've already re-arranged the shelf just since taking this picture (ten minutes ago). Sigh. I love my "new" gallery shelf.