Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Free Activity That Could Make Your Butt and Other Body Parts Really Itchy

Previously my Thrifty Thursday posts have been more decorating related but today I wanted to share a super cool idea for a family activity that is completely FREE!

It's called Geo Caching.

You can get details at this website but here's the basic premise...

People hide small containers in places all over the world 
(we visited 8 that were within walking distance of our house) 
and you go in search of them using your phone's GPS system and an app you download.

When you find it you open it, sign the tiny paper log and maybe take a trinket/treasure someone else has left previously and leave one in its place for the next person to retrieve.

It's sort of like treasure hunting only you don't really get anything valuable except the glory of finding the secret and, often, very hidden/camouflaged location.

Also you get the glory of spending 6 hours with your sweet son who thinks you're his awesome treasure hunting partner but who will someday think you are the lamest person on the planet and will no longer want to spend any time with you.

Until then, you can go Geo Caching together and he'll think you're the best mom ever!

Our very first cache find!

Unless you both wake up covered in chigger bites all over your butt and other un-mentionable places as well as some that ARE mentionable like your feet, even though you wore socks and tennis shoes the entire day.

I spared you the horror of seeing a picture of my butt and shared this one of my foot instead
It was totally worth it.
But next time we will definitely remember to use insect repellent!

À la vie et à l'amour

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday Fun & Some Amateur Singing

My younger daughter is a singer.
She was 2 the first time I ever heard her sing.
It was Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

The only words she actually knew were 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' but she sang the melody perfectly.

That's her about 13 years ago

Even though I think she is the most talented singer that has ever existed in the universe (slightly biased) and, unlike myself, she doesn't sound like two cats fighting in a burlap bag when she sings, she has no plans to make a career out of it.

She sings for herself because she loves it and it brings her joy.

Isn't that the perfect reason for doing something?!

Here's a video from this week of my daughter (on the left) and her friend singing a Maroon 5 song at their choir concert.

Have a super weekend, everyone and keep doing what you love!

À la vie et à l'amour

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: $20 DIY Rag Rug

Several weeks ago, before work became so busy that my brain started melting, I was still reading all of my favorite blogs and came upon this bit of loveliness from designer Emily Henderson:

I pinned a different photo of this same room because I fell completely in love with that rag rug.  
It's from Land of Nod.

About a week or so after storing this image in the back of my brain, I began hunting and gathering items for the new lakehouse.

One of the items I needed was a large-ish rug for the living to add some color and a little softness to the tiled floor.

I found several inexpensive options at Gardenridge 
(do they have those all over the country or just in some regions????) 
and at Ikea, of course.

But none were exactly what I wanted and the ones I did really want were all $100 and up.

Now, $100 is certainly not expensive for a rug but since I also had to purchase a LOT of other items like beds, mattresses, etc. another $100 was more than I really wanted to spend on something that could possibly be ruined by the first person who lets their dog or kid pee on or track mud onto it.

So, while on yet another trip to Gardenridge, which is like a mecca of cheap stuff for your house in case you don't have those where you live and were wondering, I happened across small rag rugs for only $5.99.

And then I said to myself, 

" should sew these together to make one big rag rug."

So that's what I did:

This is a really HUGE needle

Make sure to pull your thick rope-y thread really tight when stitching

And here it is in the lake house living room, ready to be mudded and peed on!

You can check out more lake house posts here and here.

À la vie et à l'amour

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Mint Green Tile Is Like a Prom Night Zit

The new lake house has 2 very outdated bathrooms that appear to be from the 60s.
Or maybe some other bygone era where people had really bad taste in tile and bathrooms in general.

Since we do not own this home, I am not willing to invest too much time or money into anything that I can't take with me when I'm done.

Sometimes the only option with a rental is working with what you have and trying to cover up that 
Prom Night zit the best you can.

And sometimes you have to cover up a whole face full of zits.

did I fail to mention that we also started with mint green and pink 

Yes, someone actually actually made a conscious decision to do that to this bathroom.

Then I made a semi-conscious decision to make it look like this:

I say 'semi-conscious' because I had no pre-conceived ideas about what to do with this bathroom initially.
Also I was probably drunk when I told myself I could work around mint green tile.

Obviously painting was necessary so I went with a light beige to brighten things up a bit and keep it neutral.

Paint is my best friend and it should be yours, too.
It's the least expensive and easiest way to make chicken poop into chicken salad.

When I came across the rust color ombre shower curtain (Nate Berkus for Target) and a navy, white and sisal blended wool rug (also at Target in the clearance section) I finally knew where I wanted to go with this whole thing.

I added some natural textures with baskets and a bamboo soap dispenser.
(The towel holder is a wine rack I picked up at a garage sale for $2.00.)

What really makes everything work together, though, is the artwork above the toilet.

These watercolor moth prints are by Australian artist, Allyson Reynolds and I first saw them here.

I knew the colors would tie all the new bathroom colors together but I also needed to do this very cheaply.

So, I used my trusty printer and some plain white paper and printed out some photos straight off the good 'ol world wide web. 

Then I framed them in some black Ribba frames from Ikea ($10 for two) and there you have it...

Better, right?

You can see all of the 'after' photos of our new lake house update here.

Try not to judge me for the massive smattering of Ikea throughout - work had to be done quickly and on a mega tight budget to make it ready for guests.

I'll post some more 'befores' on the blog later but it's our busy rental season and I'm behind on pretty much everything in my life right now so it'll have to wait.
You can check out this post, too, for a little sneak peek if you feel so inclined.

In the meantime I'd love to hear from you all about how you've worked with/around/in spite of an outdated bathroom tile color?

À la vie et à l'amour

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Lakehouses & Country Houses Are Not Always Relaxing

Last night around 10:30 I finally got around to reading a few of my favorites blogs.
Coincidentally, 2 of them were about lake houses or country houses.
You can check them out here and here.

Most people associate a lake house or country house with escape and relaxation.
Such is not the case for me.

We own lake houses.

In the country.

3 of them to be exact.
Plus 15 others that we take care of for other homeowners.
That's because my husband and I own a vacation home rental business on Lake Whitney in Texas.

Actually, while I was reading Jenny's and Bailey's posts yesterday it was at the end of a 12 hour day that my mom and I had spent at our newest lake house getting it RE-ready for rental (more about that later.)
Our 6am selfie
One thing to Mom had just spent 2 days (one of which was Mother's Day) helping clear massive amounts of branches and brush at one of our other lake houses.
Not exactly a day at the spa.

Relaxing at the lake house is a rarity for us.

Here is how we spent our day at the lake house yesterday:

My car loaded with a 'few' items - this was with ALL seats down except the front ones we were sitting in and I didn't even include the photos of the attached trailer that contained multiple bed frames and mattresses.
My mom painting the formerly green and pink sponge painted bathroom.
One of the 4 bedrooms we are sprucing up - it's not quite finished but I am really excited about how this one is coming along!

We have big plans for the HUGE backyard!  Just the addition of this table and umbrella made a huge difference.  And made me want to stay and drink wine while watching the little deer wander through the yard.

We still have lots of work to do before this place is 'finished' but it's coming along nicely.

After being gone all day yesterday I came home to a total of 66 emails/phone that had to be addressed so extra time is a precious commodity right now.

I am hoping to share before and after pics of everything once we are done but it's our busy rental season so blogging, unfortunately, is low on the priority list.

But, keep checking back or follow me on Intsagram for up to the minute lake house updates!

À la vie et à l'amour

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Some Zombie Stuff

Nothing of great importance to share today...just some Zombie stuff.

Like these cool car window decals.

My Aunt sent them to me as a surprise.
Because she loves me.
And she's awesome.

And she probably knew I needed a reason to clean my back windshield.

I think she found them on Etsy so if you and your family are somewhat "brain challenged" like us, which is the politically correct term for Zombies, then you should order some for yourself!

And, if you are a Walking Dead fan like us then you definitely must watch this Bad Lip Reading video:

If you don't watch it then you'll never get to hear the best song ever written, 
which goes like this...

A tiny clown, he got wet
I was talking to a psychic
And I can't sleep in the ozone
There's too many different peanuts looking sad.

Poignant I tell you.

À la vie et à l'amour

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Funny

Hellllloooo, Friday!

By Wednesday of this week I was ready for the weekend.
Or possibly a drug induced vacation coma.
Until I watched this video which totally made my week!

You must watch it.

Because you deserve a good laugh.
And a good cry.
And a good Friday funny!

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

À la vie et à l'amour

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Rosemary, the Multi-Tasker

It dawned on me after last week's Thrifty Thursday post that it's probably really annoying to read about my great Thrift Store finds because it really only benefits me.

So, today my Thrifty Thursday post is one that you can use, share and enjoy for the rest of your life!

It's all about Rosemary and why love it almost as much as my own 3 children.

1) It grows.
 I know that sounds silly but I am notorious for killing off just about everything I plant. 

Rosemary is the exception and it grows faster than Jack's beanstalk in my backyard! 
I planted this one last summer from a tiny little sprout:

2) It smells nice.

Rosemary has a nice woodsy smell.
And when my dogs roam around in it and it gets on their fur I can go a little longer without giving them a bath.
Sort of like doggie deodorant.

Hard to imagine something so cute could smell so bad.

You could probably rub it under your armpits, too, if you were out of deodorant.

3) You can smoke it.


Not rolled up like a crazy hippie, but in your smoker or on the grill.

With some pork, or beef or chicken.
It's very fragrant while cooking and gives a nice flavor to your meat.


4) It's pretty.

I like the dark green leaves and the general shape of Rosemary stalks and in the spring it produces little flower blooms.


One of my favorite ways to use it is clipping several stalks of it and putting it in a vase since I'm way too cheap to buy fresh flowers regularly.

I don't even add water to the vase.
Because I'm lazy.

But I can jusitfy it by telling myself that when the rosemary dries up I can make my own jarred herbs if I have a fancy mortar and pestle.

5) It's bug repellent.

I haven't confirmed this yet but plan to this summer when the man-eating prehistoric bird size mosquitoes overtake the state of Texas.
If it's true I may launch my own clothing line that is woven entirely from rosemary plants.

Something along these lines would be lovely, don't you think?


6) It's drought tolerant.

And also lack-of-attention tolerant.
Because I tend to forget that I have plants that need to be watered when it's 110 degrees outside.

Rosemary doesn't mind.  
She just keeps on living and deodorizing my dogs despite me ignoring her.

And, most importantly...

It's CHEAP! 
(Hence the reason it's featured in this Thrifty Thursday post)

You can buy a small sprout of it (or just clip some off a neighbor's plant while they are at work), plant it, and it will grow into a beast of a shrub.

Like this:

It's a lot cheaper than buying actual shrubs.
And most other shrubs can't be eaten, smoked, used as doggie deodorant or made into dresses.

You're welcome for yet another life changing post.

À la vie et à l'amour

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Art for the Inept: A Jackson Pollock Inspired DIY Project

I am by no means an expert or even marginally close to being generally knowledgeable or even basically knowledgeable on the subject of art.

I simply know what I like and what I don't like.

I like abstract art.
I like Jackson Pollock.

Number 3
(Images above via Daily Art Fixx and 1st Art Club, respectively.)

I realize that some people view abstract expressionist art as nothing more than a bunch of paint splattered on a canvas that any kindergartener or complete moron could replicate.

That may be true.

But I think of it this way...

If I'm an artist needing to make money to feed my family I don't want to spend to much time having to think about what to paint and trying to color in the lines and being all precise.

I'm going to throw some paint on a canvas, give it a cool name like Number 3 
(Seriously? Is that the best he could come up with?) 
and sell that sucker as soon as possible so I can buy prepackaged snack cakes upon which to feast!

***I am certain Mr Pollock spent a significant amount of time and thought on each of his works
(which are not all action paintings like the ones above) 
and I mean no disrespect to him whatsoever.  
I truly do love his paintings.

But let's call a spade a spade and admit that spatter paint is a simple technique.
Which is why I chose it for my project.

When I found this key holder at a Thrift Store for $2.00 a few weeks ago, I bought it immediately.

It was perfect for a small wall in my laundry room that leads to the garage for holding keys and notes that need to go out the door with various family members.

After a couple of weeks I finally decided that I would spatter paint it to give it a little oomph!

I also really love finding pieces that have great stories behind them.
I discovered that this key holder belonged to Bob and Bob had a T-bird.
Isn't that a great story?

I peeled off and lightly sanded the previous owners labels and remaining residue with some medium grit sandpaper, unscrewed the small key hooks, then painted the entire thing with glossy black spray paint and let it dry completely.

I like this Valspar brand spray paint from Lowe's because it's primer and paint in one and I'm notoriously impatient and lazy with my projects.

Then I hijacked some acrylic paint in various colors and a 1 inch wide paint brush from my daughter's art studio.

I wet the brush slightly so that when I dipped it into the paint it would be slightly oozy.

Then I just flung the paint on to my key holder like a poop-flinging zoo monkey!
It was really fun and that probably explains why monkeys do it.

I let it dry completely, screwed the hooks back in and hung it in my laundry room.

Of course I want to repaint my laundry room now!

But while you wait to see how that turns out, here are some other cool spatter paint projects you can do in the meantime:

My spot pillow - tutorial here

via Holtwood Hipster

via iSuwannee
And if you're really brave...

via Lonny

If you have a spatter paint project you've done or plan to do, I would LOVE to see photos of it!

À la vie et à l'amour