Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Brightening Up the Bathroom

My bathroom is my favorite room in this little house. I know that sounds a little strange, but allow me to explain...

This room, this semi-clean, mostly-empty room is the only room in my house that is done. It needs no work. It requires no attention. And (knock on wood) nothing has broken yet. It gets some of the best light in the house. It's the most low-stress room in my house. It also happens to be where I spend the majority of my time in the morning.

BloomNation inspired me to create a post showing how I would use flowers in my home. Until they approached me, I hadn't heard of them, so I did some research. They are a flower delivery service that supports local florists through their online market place. I popped my zipcode into the box and a second later had list of arrangements available from a local florist. Very cool!

With the evenings being so long these days, I was looking for a way to brighten up my space. I read a long time ago that flowers in a room can have a positive effect on your mood. I don't know about you, but mornings tend to be the toughest time of day for me. It seems to take me a long time to wake up. So if there's any room that could use a mood-booster, it's this one.

My dear friend came over for brunch on Saturday, so I got flowers for the table. Once we were done, I decided to spread them around. I didn't have any bud vases, so I used bowls from the kitchen.

Kitchen bowls weren't exactly what I wanted, but I'm really trying to stay on top of my budget. It's easy for me to say no to hair cuts, pampering and new clothes, but I find it very difficult to say no to things for my home. I had to control the urge to get on pinterest and look up adorable little glass bud vases.

(Like this one, this one and this one.) Oops.

Owning this home has been a big challenge for me. It's been in a constant state of being worked on for the last year and a half. And not the fun stuff like painting and new kitchen cabinets. The short version - oil tank, water heater, leaky faucets, broken doors. As much as everything is fixable, it's never fixable alone. I can rarely handle it on my own, let alone fix it on my own. It's a real struggle to be independent and completely dependent at the same time.

But maybe that's what this is all about. Maybe I need to learn to let others help me. Maybe this was just what I needed to help me get better at budgeting. Maybe I'm learning patience and trust. Maybe I'll sell this house one day never fully understanding its importance in my life.

I fully believe God has a plan for this little house of mine. I know it even more when I look at these flowers he gave me that, no matter what they are in, brighten my day and my mood.

Until I can see the future, I'm going to live in the present and enjoy each day in my home. I'm going to decorate for Christmas in November and put flowers in my bathroom. Whatever makes the day brighter is a good thing.

It's amazing what a few small petals can do.

How do you use flowers in your home?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

November Desktop Wallpapers

My macro lens has been my favorite since the day I bought it. It's the lens that forced me to learn how to shoot in manual mode. It's also the lens that had me on the edge of tears when I thought it was broken. Every session with my macro lens teaches me something new and I love the way it challenges me to see things differently.

I may or may not have an unusual attachment to my macro lens. Let's not talk about it.

These photos are inspired by last week's DIY notebooks. I took a close up of the stitches on the notebook and new immediately that I wanted to use that same shot for desktop wallpapers. The big block of stitches just looked so good. There is so much texture and depth in those little stitches.

Each wallpaper is sized for widescreen and you have the option to download with and without the calendar.

Click "read more" for download links.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

DIY Notebooks

Work has been crazy for the past month. All of my energy has gone to some big presentations which is why I haven't posted here the past 2 weeks. Welp, the presentations are over and I finally feel like I can relax (aka: empty out my Hulu queue).

PS. If you aren't watching Quantico and Blindspot - you should be! So good!!

Ok, back to why we've all gathered here today. I bought these notebooks with the intention of DIYing them a little. I had no idea how, but sometimes the blank canvas itself is inspiring.

I've been writing down ideas for the past few weeks, but finally settled on adding some cross stitch detail. 

And just incase you think cross stitch is so blah - Did you see that LC also does cross stitch? I've loved her ever since she was on Laguna Beach (when we all thought "that's so donzo" was cool to say). The girl's got taste and I'm definitely feeling much more on trend these days. 

There were actually 3 notebooks in the pack, but I knew going into this that I would lose one to a project fail. I opened the notebook and laid it flat onto the cutting mat so the Silhouette blade could cut the cover without damaging the rest of the book. But I didn't take into account that the rolling bar would hit the spine if my design got too close to the edge. I ended up with one notebook that I had to chuck. Oops!

I'm in no way a girly-girl. I'm not into pink and hearts and glitter, but for some reason I put a heart into every cross stitch project that I do. It's a mystery. But I guess the reason doesn't matter if the result is nice, right? Maybe I'm a girly-girl at heart. (See what I did there?) 

For these designs, I used all 6 strands of floss. Typically, I only use 3 or 4, but I really wanted these designs to look full. I also wanted the center holes to disappear. There's nothing I can do about the edges, but it's nice when the holes in the center of the design aren't visible.

This design probably looks a little strange to you. It's actually initials. Do you see it now? E. S. They are my sister's initials. She also inspired the colors. She loves purple and orange - together and individually - so I gave her a little of both.

The first design was simple and small, so I wanted something big and chunky for the second notebook. I stumbled across this cross stitch alphabet inspired by this quilt pattern.  I love that it's abstract.

Stitches upon stitches upon stitches. I just love it.

I think I need to join C. S. Anonymous. I'm only a few steps away from cross stitching everything I own! Watch out, Charlie!

Have you tried cross stitch yet? 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hannah's Birthday

We celebrated a very special birthday recently.

Our little princess is getting bigger every day and it's so much fun to watch... and photograph. I was kicking myself for not setting aside time for a project, but I realized that these photos are my creative project.

Kids are hard to photograph, especially when they know you so well. They don't stop moving to pose or say cheese, they just live and move and play. For example, they might put 2 party hats on their head, come over to show you, stand still for 1 second and then walk away. They've taught me to react quickly.

I'm constantly changing settings on the camera and moving myself when I shoot these kiddos. Sometimes I ask them to look at the camera. 80% of the time, they won't. They've gotten too used to me asking for that.

Most of the time, I try to capture what is happening and what they are doing without them noticing me. Like this shot of Esther and Hannah playing.

And this shot of Hannah hugging her new dress.

Each time I go through the day's photos, I learn something about how I shoot and what I like to shoot. It's such a fun experience.

If you haven't tried photography, I highly suggest it. It's much easier to pick up than you might think and it's incredibly rewarding.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

DIY Clock

For my 30th birthday (yikes!) my BFF, Kristin, got me a DIY clock kit from Bri + Co.  It was so perfect. She gave it to me right when I started up the blog again. It's amazing how your friends can know you so well. Right when I'm looking for creative projects, she gives me a clock kit.

It took me quite a few weeks to figure out what I wanted to do with it. After some pinterest searching and a few failed mock ups, I finally found my inspiration -

[please pin from original source]
(1) This wall at the office designed by Emily Henderson. She also used stripes similar to this on the floor of the Oh Joy studio. They look amazing and I'm obsessed with them. If I was in anyway a risk taker in my home, I would have a wall like this.

(2) This fabric from Joann Fabrics stopped me in my tracks - along with every other fabric by Nate Berkus. I was surprised that I could love upholstery fabrics so much, but when I saw the designer it all made sense.

If I ever become a millionaire, I'm going to have Nate Berkus design my entire house. The man is a genius. I stalk his stuff at Target. Seriously stalk it. I want all of it.

Ok, back to the clock.

Illustrator has become a favorite tool for my DIY projects. Being able to see the outcome of a project before starting is really helpful. I was able to size my stripes, layout them out and see the outcome before cutting any vinyl for the stencil.

Painters tape comes in 1" or 1/4", but of course I wanted my stripes to be 3/8". Because I'm a middle child and we don't make anything easy (just ask my family).

So instead of cutting painters tape by hand and most likely having crooked lines, I cut strips out of black vinyl using my silhouette Cameo. One direction at a time, I placed all the strips onto the clock face and just eyeballed the width of each stripe. The control freak in me was blown away by my lack of measuring. Thankfully it turned out pretty good and no mistakes are staring me in the face.

 I was really impressed that the paint didn't bleed under the vinyl. I'm a big fan of clean, crisp lines.

The outcome was exactly what I wanted and so perfect. 

You might be wondering why there are no numbers. Let's be honest, who needs a clock anymore? With my phone always by my side and a computer in the room, I'm never looking at the clock. So I skipped the functional and went straight to beautiful.

It was such a fun project and I really enjoyed the challenge of figuring out the pattern. 

Thanks again for the kit, Kristin!