Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Great Purge

I have pinned various quotes on Pinterest but there are a few that I find myself thinking about often.  The quote above is one of them.

Yesterday I began what I am calling, The Great Purge.
It looked a little like this:

I had a cabinet full of liquor that we never drink
(I know...hard to imagine)
so I got rid of it!

And, no, I didn't get rid of it by drinking it because it was early in the day and I still needed to be conscious.

Down the drain it went and now my liquor cabinet contains only the libations that we actually use and enjoy.

I am sharing this with you because I am in the process of de-cluttering.  

After being inspired by the blog, The Year Of Less I have decided to make a conscious effort to

Be Happy With Less

I love Kelly's ideas about “a life of radical simplicity”!  

For me living simply means more time to enjoy what I really love...

like my cleared out liquor cabinet

My family, of course!

I decided to start by setting some goals for myself. They are:
  1. Simplify home and life; better organization
  2. Leave a smaller environmental footprint
  3. Spend less, save more

For the month of September I have decided to challenge myself to do the following:
  1. Continue with 'The Great Purge' and rid my home of items that are not useful or beautiful
  2. Find some way each day to reduce, reuse, or recycle
  3. Buy only items that are necessities (I have a feeling this one may be tougher than it sounds!)

Below is another great quote and picture I found on Pinterest 

I hope that leading by example will encourage my children to remember what is truly important.

À la vie et à l'amour

Thursday, August 23, 2012

DIY: Barney's NY 'Spot Pillow'

I saw this amazing 'Spot Pillow' online at Barney's New York:

For a mere $175 this 16 inch throw pillow made of pony hair and suede can be sitting on my sofa. Maybe I should get two of them?

(that was me exploding in really loud laughter)

I live in a place called REALITY and in this place we spend money on such frivolities like...
food for our families!

But, fortunately, REALITY is just down the street from a place called


and a 'Spot Pillow' can be yours for about $5-$10!

My pillow was less than $5 because I reused a pillow I already had
(Be Green, Save Green!) 

Used the force to cut the cover off, I did.
(That was my best Yoda impression. Pretty good, right?)

But if you don't already have a pillow to repurpose/recycle you can buy this one at Ikea for about $4.

You also need:
1 small tube of Gold acrylic paint
(I used the FolkArt Metallic brand in color 660 called 'Pure Gold'
It was a whopping $1.99 at Hobby Lobby)

And some white fabric.
The Barney's pillow uses pony hair and suede but I imagine that stuff is pretty pricey 

and I'm not condonin' no pony killin'

So I used twill.
It's $9.99 per yard and I only needed half a yard for 1 pillow PLUS I was able to use a 40% off coupon on my phone so I got the fabric for about
$3 for half a yard.

Speaking of ponies, you should listen to this song called 
Dead American Writers from a group called Tired Pony: 

While listening to great music, I cut 2 squares of fabric to 17.5 x 17.5 because my pillow is 17 inches and I needed a little seam allowance.

Then I laid my squares out on a dropcloth outside.

Next, I mixed about a tablespoon of the gold paint in a small disposable bowl with a little bit of water to thin it out.
I don't know exactly how much water – you just want it the consistency of a creamy soup but not too watery.

Then I dipped my brush (a 1 inch wide one that I borrowed from my daughter) in the paint and dabbed off the excess on the side of the bowl.

Using a vertical arm motion, I spattered the paint across the fabric. (It's sort of like sword fighting!)
Keep spattering your fabric until it looks awesome!

(I didn't spatter mine as much as Barney's spattered theirs
but you get the idea.)

Let it dry for several hours.  
I let mine dry overnight but it was completely dry after a couple hours.

***If you're using an already-made pillow you can only spatter one side at a time so it will need to dry completely then you'll have to turn it over and spatter the other side.

Then I sewed my fabric squares together with the painted sides facing each other.

 I had to leave an opening along one side about 5-6 inches wide so I could stuff my pillow form into it. 

Then I turned my sewn pillow cover right side out and stuffed the pillow form into it through the opening.

Lastly, using a needle and thread, I stitched up the opening and...

A $5 Spot Pillow!

Barney's New York can SUCK IT!  
(just kidding!)

 No ponies were harmed during the making of this pillow.

À la vie et à l'amour

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Day of Little Things

"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you'll look back and realize they were big things."
-Kurt Vonnegut

Hot coffee with a little half and half and a little sweetener

So grateful for a couple days of rain - it does wonders for the plants I forget to water!
(Still can't believe my chocolate mint keeps surviving!)

Work...  although, I still would prefer to be independently wealthy.

Favorite errand shoes - comfortable and cute
(Crocs, of course, courtesy of my Dad)

What's this?  A new purse!  
Yes, I know I just got a new one last week but this one was so cute.
And gray.

Just a few (hundred) loads of laundry to fold.  Ugh!  
Okay, this is one of those little things that I just can't bring myself to enjoy.
So I'll just say,
'At least I have legs!'

Thank goodness for a little 'Ray' to get through the day
(and the blasted pile of laundry!)
If you don't love Ray LaMontagne you are just plain wrong...
and you're probably a communist like my first dog!

A dinosaur attack
(I think it's pretty self-explanatory)

 Some PTA volunteer work
(aren't these cute?  I designed them!)

There's nothing better than checking the mail and getting the new issue of BHG!

Yummy!  Low-carb dinner
Grandma's recipe for homemade spaghetti sauce over julienned zucchini
BTW - the secret ingredient in the sauce is NOT love - it's 
I think I died a little inside when I found out.

A little mindless after dinner entertainment courtesy of the Syfy channel.
This show is actually pretty darn good for the Syfy channel!  
(and Syfy definitely needed some serious redemption after Sharktopus and Ice Spiders! Someone should have done some hard time for making those!) the end of the day there is nothing quite like a squishy pillow and a comfy mattress.

À la vie et à l'amour

Thursday, August 16, 2012


There are several blogs that I enjoy reading regularly.
They are all decorating and lifestyle blogs because that's what I like. 

I have come to the realization that the women who write my favorite blogs are simply put...
better than me. 

They are better at everything – writing, photography, decorating, fashion, cooking and probably parenting (but just wait until THEIR kids are teenagers!)

I invite you to peruse the photos below for a glimpse at a few of my favorite bloggers:

As much as I enjoy reading every last word of their blogs and often find great inspiration from them, the more I read them, the more difficult it becomes to write my own.

I start to feel that anything I have to say has already been said before, and said better.
They also know more about great design and décor than I could ever hope to absorb.
So while they might post a room and say something all poignant and great like, 

I love how the juxtaposition of the such and such relates to the clean modern lines of the so and so which brings out the lushness of the whatnot” 

I will post the same room and say something all doofus-y like, 
Ooooooh, pretty.”

And where is all of their 'ugly stuff'? 
 You know – the papers and lists and piles of laundry and the shoes and toys the kids leave lying around and the drink glasses and duct tape? 
 Even their haphazard piles of junk look beautiful while mine look like this:

A friend of mine mentioned to me a few months ago (through a conversation about something completely unrelated to how much I suck at everything) that she had a quote on her fridge that reads

Comparison kills contentment

I have thought about that quote almost daily since hearing it.
Some people will say that comparison is what keeps you motivated to strive for something greater. 

That may be true. But it DOES kill contentment.

When I get into comparison mode I end up hating everything about my house, my clothes, my work and often myself. 
It is extremely UN-motivating for me and makes me want to give up and crawl under a rock.

When I stop the comparisons and look closely at my accomplishments  (however small they may seem) I feel much more at ease and content. 
That doesn't mean that I don't want to keep striving for improvement, it just means that I am free to enjoy the efforts I have already made.

I am constantly telling my kids,
'You don't have to be better than anyone else. Just be the best YOU that you can be.'
I think it may be time to listen to my own advice.

À la vie et à l'amour

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Feast Your Eyes

My dining room chandelier is a beautiful Waterford crystal specimen.
It's quite sparkly and lovely but...
it's tainted.
And it's hung too high.

Long story short-
My dad gave this chandelier to my mom as a 29th anniversary gift.
They divorced a few months later.
I inherited said chandelier full of taint with a chain that's too short for my dining room.
The end.

So I am on the hunt for something fantastically awesome and unexpected!
...that I can also afford.

Through various Google images searches I have found several options that had to be considered (albeit briefly) if only for the sake of the unexpected.

First, I give you the

Unfortunately it cost and arm and a leg! (You see what I did there?)

Next we have the
Round of Applause

High hundred-and-five, suckas!

How about the
Bird Nest
(this one I found on
I actually kind of want this one just so I can host a dinner party and serve all kinds of poultry and egg dishes and have feathers sprinkled all over the table and watch my guests faces as they connect the dots.

Or how about this one which I like to call
The Last Person Who Insulted My Cooking

And last, but not least, I present to you the
Upside Down Plastic Mesh Trash Can Stuffed with Some Cheap Fake Birds and Some Sticks

I'm all for a good DIY project and have no problem with Dollar Tree finds but seriously...

For obvious reason I have decided against the aforementioned light fixtures but I haven't quite decided for sure which direction I want to go with the light fixture I want.

Maybe a simple, classic modern brass like one of these:

I am also considering getting crazy with the Cheez Whiz and going with something in glass like one of these momma-jommas because if you have something like this in your dining room ,it's obvious that you're just better than everyone else and I think I would like to be that girl for a change:

So, yeah, this one has kind of a 'Medusa stopped turning stuff to stone and started blowing glass' vibe but it's just so twisty and swirly and artsy and awesome.
I want it in blue.

I also like these nature-y ones:

This one is from West Elm and it's made from dried coconut strips.
I like it because it's not only interesting, sculptural and attractive...
it's also EDIBLE! How convenient is that?
(Ugh – I'm sure I need put a disclaimer here that it's not actually edible – I made that part up. 
So if you buy this, don't eat it. But if you do try to eat it email me and let me know if it's delicious!)

Last but not least...
This one can be purchased for a mere $1249 at

It looks like it's made of sticks someone found in their backyard.
I have sticks in MY backyard...

Actually it's made from reclaimed French oak wine barrel staves.

Just an FYI for those who might drink wine from a box on occasion and didn't already know this – a stave is a fancy word for pieces of wood that make up the sides of a vessel of some sort...

I looked it up.

À la vie et à l'amour

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I've Created a Monster

First and foremost, I got my new Ikea catalog in the mail today. Score! Life just doesn't get much better than Swedes who know how to produce cheap home furnishings. Ikea is my favorite 'go to' place for simple, inexpensive, modern home furnishings.

...And their meatballs are pretty good, too.

Several weeks ago I shared with my kids that I was finally going to be painting & updating my son's room. He and I had decided on a paint color and found some ideas for the direction we want to go with his room. The next day the work began...

...On my daughters' rooms.


I don't even know how it happened but after numerous trips to Lowes, Ikea, and the fabric store, Bailey's room is finally close to finished. She paid for everything herself and she only spent around $150 for the entire room. She also did a lot of the work herself, including painting! 

 That's my baby girl hard at work!

She does still need a dust ruffle and I think she is planning to buy more storage baskets.  But, even unfinished, I think she did a pretty amazing job, and she really loves how it turned out! 

Here are some pictures:

This is her room BEFORE
It was painted a light orange color that closely resembled vomit.  
(Pardon the signs - her room redo was a surprise from us and her grandma and we labeled who gave her what.)


She had this assortment of pillows on her bed:

We recycled/recovered them with inexpensive burlap, linen and a really cute gray and white chevron fabric (all from Hobby Lobby) and now they look like this:

She also bought a brass lamp at the thrift store for $6...

...and painted it to look like this:
The linen shade was purchased from Lowe's and cost about $15.

She added these cute twine covered pulls she found at Hobby Lobby to her closet doors.

Here's this side of the room before with the vomit walls:

...and here is the AFTER!

She also traded desks with her sister and added a linen fabric skirt to hide the items underneath. 
(Of course, this also means that when I tell her to clean her room she can just shove it all underneath and I won't see it!)

Her FAVORITE part of the room, though, is the faux canopy that she added behind the bed.  Super duper cheap white fabric from Hobby Lobby draped onto a super duper cheap rod from Ikea.
(She might even add twinkle lights behind the fabric eventually.)

 Didn't she do a great job?!

À la vie et à l'amour