I can’t believe it, but I received my first blog award!  Yay!

Thanks to Monica from Organized Chaos for thinking of 2 by 2!  She left the award in response to my post about a Patriotic Wreath.

The rules:

The conditions of the award stipulate that I need to share 7 things about myself and then pass on this award to 15 other wonderful blogger’s!

1.  I am currently 34 weeks pregnant with my second child and I am melting in this Texas heat!

2.  My favorite song to rock out to is Paradise City.

3.  I love to watch Sarah’s House on HGTV!

4.  I live out in pseudo-country area on a few acres.

5.  During hot weather, I prefer to wear dresses more than anything else.

6.  I resisted blogging in the beginning, when Christine started our 2 by 2 blog, but have since become obsessed.

7.  Just painted my toenails for the first time in months . . . they are too hard to reach with the baby bump in the way.

Passing this award onto:

1.  Maillardville Manor

2.  All Things Fun Cute and Darling

3.  Cheap Chic Home

4.  Milk and Cuddles

5.  Mustard Seed Creations

6.  Posh Pieces

7.  Positively Splendid

8.  Restlessrisa

9.  Style Sisters

10.  The Activity Mom

11.  The Rubber Punkin

12.  Design Diva with Interior Motives

13.  Quirky Momma

14.  Mural Maker & More

Thanks again!   And Enjoy checking out these new blogs!

Amanda- High Fire Mommy

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Here is a quick tutorial for a Patriotic Wreath under $15!  Can’t buy a pre-made one for that price and it is fun to put together  . . .  even for the non-crafter.

Everything you see here was purchased at Hobby Lobby.  Don’t have a Hobby Lobby?  You can also find similar items at Michael’s, JoAnn Fabrics, and even Wal-Mart.  The price tags are still on, but I got everything for 50% off!  Gotta love Hobby Lobby!

Start by arranging your wooden embellishments on the wreath (no glue yet!) and make sure that they are spaced in a way that makes you happy.  I like to have one piece that is the focal point, so I used the red,white, and blue paddle.

To give it some personalization, I penciled in our last name and then painted it using basic craft paint that I had in my stash.  I had to put two coats of paint to get good coverage.  Once it is dry, go back with an eraser and get rid of any pencil marks.

To add a little bling, I pulled out my rhinestones and added them to the existing white stars on the paddle as well as the corners of my letters and the center of the wooden stars.  I used a basic white tacky glue.

While everything was drying, I worked on the bows.  I used light brown raffia tied into a knot.  Just grab several strands, fold in half, and then tie into a knot.  Trim to desired length.

For my bow, I cut one piece of ribbon that was about 12 inches long and put it aside.  Next, leaving the ribbon on the roll as I worked to make sure that I had enough, I layered the ribbon back and forth until I had create six loops (three on each side).  I twisted the ribbon to add one more loop in the center.

Use the 12 inch precut ribbon and string it through the seventh center loop.  Flip everything over and tie the 12 inch precut ribbon in a tight knot.  Turn bow back over and arrange loops until it looks pretty.  This works best with a wired ribbon.

I arranged my raffia and ribbon on the wreath and secured with hot glue.  Then I secured my paddle and stars with glue as well.

Hang it on your door and VOILA!  You are done!

Enjoy!

We have been in full swing with a backyard and master bathroom renovation.  I definitely feel the hormones kicking in with the pregnancy and I am very well settled in the nesting phase at this point.  I recently purchased a 1950s American style buffet for additional storage (holds all of the crystal and china that was stored in the now baby’s room).  I purchased it off of Craigslist and admittedly, it is a little beat up.

I was looking around my house and trying to decide how to refinish the piece.  My immediate thought was to paint it “Cotton Whisper” which is the color of my baseboards.  I glanced around the house again only to realize that I have an addiction . . . an addiction to white paint!

What is painted white in my home?

*  Entertainment Center

*  Kitchen Cabinets

*  Bathroom Cabinets including the ones I just had refinished

*  Dining set in my Bridal Consultation Room

*  Mirror that I purchased damaged from Pier1

*  Fireplace and Mantel

*  All doors and baseboards

Yikes!!!  I think I am making “Cotton Whisper”  the most popular color in America because of my excessive use!  So, I am going to try something different with the buffet.  I saw a great technique on Centsational Girl and thought I would try it out for myself.  Here was my inspiration piece . . . a little too beachy for my house, but beautiful none the same.

I started by removing all of the hardware and sanding the entire piece.  I left some of the gouges and scratches, because I wanted the piece to look used and worn, but if you want a clean finish, be sure to remove all scratches and dings.  Sometimes it helps to use a little bit of wood filler for the deeper ones.

Once the piece was sanded, I wiped everything down with a damp cloth to remove all sanding dust before applying any paint.  I ended up doing this a couple of times.

I choose a beautiful denim color by Martha Stewart.  I purchased one quart and selected a semi-gloss finish.  Why semi-gloss, you ask?  This piece will most likely be the host to many different dishes as the years go by.  The semi-gloss allows for an easy clean up if anything is spilled on the buffet.

I applied one coat of denim paint using a 2 1/2 inch brush.  No rollers here!  The brush allowed me to get into the nooks and crannies.  Try to paint all in the same direction to keep the piece nice, neat, and precise.

After the first coat had dried, I looked over it to make sure there were no drips or runs.  If you have drips or runs, lightly sand with fine grit sandpaper and wipe clean before applying another coat.

I applied a second coat of paint, allowed it to dry and then searched for drips and runs again.  Looking good!  I almost stopped at this stage because I was so enthralled with the color of the paint . . . but after some encouragement from the hubbie, I pushed on.

Next comes the dry brush coat.  I selected a lighter washed blue color by Martha Stewart, purchased it in a quart, and semi-gloss.  If I had to do it again, I would buy a tester size paint sample for the dry brush, since it took so little . . . guess I have some paint left over for another adventure!

You need a good towel and a stiff brush.  I dipped the very tip of the brush in the paint and blotted most of the paint off on the towel.  I worked on the side first, just in case I messed up.  Start at the edge of the piece and gently draw the brush across the surface of the piece trying to stay as straight as you can.  Work in the same direction as you cover the piece.  ALWAYS blot off paint before applying  . . . hence, the dry brush technique.

For added character, I went back and added more of the dry brushed light blue to areas that would genuinely be worn over time.

Once the dry brush layer had dried and I felt satisfied with how it looked, I applied two coats of water-based polyurethane.  Why water-based, you ask?  Well, I am pregnant right now and that is the safer product.  If I wasn’t pregnant, I would go with an oil based to allow for better durability.

When applying the clear coat, be sure to use a very clean brush and DO NOT SHAKE the clear coat in its can.  Instead use a wooden stir to gently stir the paint.  You don’t want to get a bunch of air bubbles in the clear coat because they won’t go away when you apply it to the furniture.

Reattached old hardware or new if you selected something different and voila!!!  You are done!

I purchased this piece for $150 off of Craigslist and spent about $20 on paint.  The piece cost a little more than I would have liked to spend, but the style and size worked perfectly for my home.

Because Amanda is awesome and likes to take on 9,000 things at once…she graciously offered to throw me a baby shower for Baby Girl.  I was super excited since the first pregnancy didn’t quite go as planned and Christopher was present for his own baby showers.

Baby Girl’s room is going to be in a lavender color once we get to where we’re going with the moving so, Amanda did a Pretty in Purple and Pink theme.  Everything was beautiful.  She made an awesome banner with Baby Girl’s name on it that we can hang in the nursery and it’s made out of scrapbook paper.  So easy!  Maybe if we ask her nicely she’ll do a tutorial for us!

She also made sure that all of the food was pink and purple.  It’s hard to find purple food!  But, she made it work.  She also had the help of our friend Jenny who is also just a creative person.  Between these two girls, I don’t have to look any further for creative inspiration!  Jenny made the beautiful diaper wreath that Amanda posted in her post.  It is so cute and I can’t wait to hang it in Baby Girl’s nursery.  I would have never thought of a wreath either.  Maybe we can get Jenny on here as well to show us how to that too.

The shower games were fun, but as Amanda said it was wonderful to just get a chance to visit with everyone.  My husband actually kept Christopher so, I could enjoy the shower and it was great.  I think everyone enjoyed themselves and I really want the recipes for all of the great food!  Thanks Amanda!!

For those of you who know what Get Your Craft on Tuesday is all about . . . stay tuned for some quick links to some great craft ideas!  For those of you who don’t . . . every Tuesday a few of the blogs that I follow link up ideas, tutorials, diy, and great craft projects.  I usually pour through them looking for some stand out ideas.  Today’s Creative Blog has a high level of participation and loads of ideas!  Check it out!

Here are a few that caught my eye!  Enjoy!

Diaper Bag Roll Tutorial by Just The Morning Coffee.

Ruffled American Flag Shirt by A Little of This, A Little of That.

Butterflies In the House by A Few Of My Favorite Things.

Buttefly BooBoo Bag by Pony Tails and Fish Scales.

Red, White and Blue Strawberries by Oopsey Daisy.

Christine and I at the Shower!

This past weekend, we celebrated Christine’s beautiful little girl on the way!  I hosted the shower at my home and there was a lot of preparation.  I thought I might blog from the hostess point of view and then Christine can blog from the guest of honor’s point of view. 

Since Christine was having a little girl, pink seemed to be an obvious choice for the theme.  But Christine is a die hard fan of purple . . . could it be our alma mater?  So, we went with a “Pretty in Pink and Purple” theme for the shower.  I asked a good friend to make the invites and she did a wonderful job.  Here is her link to Uniquely Cropped.  She also made a beautiful diaper wreath to hang on the front door filled with lots of goodies for Christine and her baby.  More on her lovely little business in another post! 

 

I wanted to create an environment with lots of pink and purple accents, so I selected some pink/purple throw pillows, receiving blankets, crepe paper and balloons to decorate the main room.  Afterwards, Christine would be able to take the pillows, receiving blankets, and even a beautiful pink dress  home for her little girl’s nursery.  I even asked the guests to dress in pink and purple to keep with the theme as well as wrapping their gifts in pink and purple. 

 

I also put together a cute banner with the baby’s name.  It was simply made out of scrapbook paper, ribbon, glitter, and some paint.  Another keepsake that Christine can hang on the wall of the nursery. 

 

To keep with the pink and purple theme, I tried to create a spread of snacks staying in that color range.  I know . . . purple food!  I had a blast figuring things out but ended up serving the following: 

*  Strawberry and Grape Kabobs with pink yogurt sauce 

*  Mini Pink Cheesecakes with Strawberry Topping 

*  Blueberry Muffins 

*  Salami Bites- Layers of salami and cream cheese . . . this was a huge favorite among the guests! 

*  Tortilla Rolls with Tomato Tortillas (pink) 

*  Puff Pastry with Cream Cheese and Raspberry Jam 

*  Pink Lemonade 

 

And to top all of that off . . . a beautiful pink and purple cake!  Pink in the inside of course! 

 

We played a few trivia games, but probably enjoyed the conversation more than anything else.  The prizes were all pink themed including a pink candle, pink ceramic bowl, pink glass lantern for outside, pink makeup bags, and a journal.  I like to give prizes that are fun and different . . . home decor is always fun to give! 

Planning was fun!  Cleaning the house, not so much, but now the house looks perfect and we can enjoy it for a little while before we mess it all up again! 

Christine looked like she had a great time and it was lovely to shower her with love and support. 

Amanda High Fire Mommy

Let’s face it . . . nursery furniture is EXPENSIVE!  We were fortunate enough to have grandparents purchase the baby furniture for out first little one.  We selected a beautiful set including a 3 in 1 crib, changing table that converts to dresser, and a hutch to go on top of the dresser.  The furniture was being discontinued, so it was at a clearance price.  My parents still paid well over $850 for the furniture.  Yikes!

What we learned the first time around with furniture:

*  Babies like to chew on the furniture, so select a finish that can be touched up in the future.

*  The 3 in 1 is definitely the way to go.  There is more expense up front, but it allows easy transition as your little one grows and advances.

*  Stay away from TRENDY!  Select something that is classic and will not go out of style.

When it came time to select furniture for Baby #2, we turned to Craigslist.  Gasp!  Yes, we bought used nursery furniture.  Many people shy away from purchasing used nursery furniture because of recalls.

Here are a few tips for buying USED nursery furniture:

*  Ask for the manufacturer’s number that is located under the crib.  Go online and check to make sure that the furniture has not been recalled.  You can also locate several websites where people post their opinions about the furniture.  Never buy furniture that has been recalled.

*  When you go to see the furniture in person, have the owner set up all of the furniture.  Never buy a crib that is dismantled until you have seen it completely assembled.

*  Watch and take photos as the crib is taken apart.  My husband found the directions for the crib assembly online, but the owner also had all of the original instructions as well.  Make sure that every screws, nails, pin, etc is there.

*  Make sure that the prior owner has not made any “modifications” to the furniture such as additional decoration, screws, nails, permanently attached mobiles, etc.

*  #1 Tip for Buying Used Furniture:  If you don’t feel comfortable, don’t buy it!

We purchased a lovely white sleigh crib, changing table, glider plus ottoman, and side table from a family on Craigslist.  It was quite obvious during our inspection of the furniture that it had been treasured by the family.  Everything was in fantastic shape!  Take a look.

I cleaned everything with my favorite cleaning tool, a Magic Eraser by Mr. Clean.  Then to add a little bit more personality to the basic white pieces, I purchase unique cabinet knobs from Hobby Lobby to add to the dresser and side table.  Love it!  Knobs were way cheaper at Hobby Lobby ($2.99) than at Anthropologie ($4.99 to $12.99), in fact, some of them were the EXACT same design.

Drumroll, please!   How much did we pay for the furniture?  We bought the 3 in 1 convertible crib, changing table with glass front drawers, glider and gliding ottoman, and side table for . . . wait for it . . . $600!  We were so lucky with the price!  I looked up the price of the furniture brand new . . . over $1600!  WooHoo!

Amanda- High Fire Mommy

Growing up, I considered myself a Daddy’s Girl.  I loved my dad.  He worked his tail off to provide for us but, when he was home, he was my go-to guy.  He was a quiet man but, had a great sense of humor.  Many of my friends thought he didn’t like them because he didn’t say a lot.  Over the years though he would come out of his shell with a few of them, mainly my college friends who would always ask about him.

My dad was a very special man born with Hemophilia, he faced a lot of challenges.  He required numerous blood transfusions, meaning long stays in hospitals far from home.  If he got hurt or even bruised he ran the risk of extensive bleeding so, he wasn’t able to play sports.  I don’t know a lot about my dad’s childhood because he didn’t talk about it much.  I do know that his youngest brother was also a Hemophiliac and struggled as my dad did.  My dad was a natural leader and took care of my uncle in their long hospital stays.

Over the years, crazy things would happen to my dad.  Things that shouldn’t happen to anyone.  When I was four years old, my dad was working in the garage, standing on a ladder when it collapsed beneath him.  I was the only witness.  He fell and hit his head.  Days later he had a brain hemorrhage and stroke, leaving him paralyzed on his left side for the rest of his life.  He spent nearly a year, from what I remember, in the hospital and wasn’t supposed to make it.  After he came home, he was in physical therapy, had visiting nurses, and still went back to work.  My mom once told me that if he hadn’t have had to go back to work when he did, he may have been able to regain more use of his left hand.  A year after, he was home from the hospital my dad fell down the stairs, breaking his right arm.

Through the years, hospitals became the norm for my family.  With the progression of time and technology my dad was able to get his transfusions at home and didn’t have to visit as often.  But, it always seemed like there was another surgery for deterioration or a random fall.

Through it all my dad was a pillar for our family.  He was my hero.

When I started high school I was in the marching band, meaning long days and nights at football games and competitions.  My dad went to all of them, even some of the away games.  When I hit my senior year of high school my dad got laid off from his job so, he was home a lot more.  Every day after school I would come home and have lunch with him.  The day that I got my acceptance letter to TCU, I opened it with him in his study.

When I went to college it was a hard day when my parents dropped me off.  Even my second year, I cried when my dad left me there.  But, just like high school except that my school was now 4 hours away, my dad came to every football game to see me in the marching band and afterwards he would take me and some of my friends out to dinner a tradition that continued until my brother graduated from the same school.  He never missed a game.  Every home game the band would march around the stadium before going in and my dad was a permanent fixture at the gates waiting for us before he would go to his seat.  My friends would wave and every time tell me they saw him.  During our pregame performance one of my spots was directly in front of where he sat and I would stick my tongue out or wave.

When I got my own apartment, he would come and stay with me.  When I got married, he had his own room at our first apartment and then our house.  We would go to the TCU games together when I wasn’t working.  I would talk to him on the phone every 2 days and if he hadn’t heard from me, he would call to make sure I was okay.

After graduation, and even before, my dad was sick.  During the 80’s blood scare my dad contracted Hepatitis C from tainted blood products.  It lay dormant for many years but, had finally started attacking his liver.  All of his life, he never complained, never said he was feeling bad, so you never really knew how sick he was.  But, over time you could tell by his face and his mannerisms that he didn’t feel well.  He was constantly going for tests and check ups.

In October of  ’06, I had been married a little over a year, Mark and I had just moved into our first house and I had just been promoted to store manager for the company I worked for.  I was also taking on the Breast Cancer 3Day, 60 miles of walking for 3 days through DFW.  That weekend my dad was supposed to come stay at my house to go to a TCU game while I was walking.  The first night of the 3Day I got a call from my dad that made no sense, he was experiencing dementia brought on by liver issues from the Hepatitis.  I was in a tent in the middle of no where.  I called my brother who was living near my dad at the time and he sent my uncle over to check in on my dad.  That was the beginning of the end.

My dad went into the hospital and never came back out.  He needed a liver transplant and a partial wouldn’t do (I checked because I would have given him my whole liver if I could have).  There are a lot of gory, agonizing details that I would rather not relive.  We spent Thanksgiving and Christmas in the hospital with him.  My brother missing school, my mom and I taking off of work or driving down 5 hours on our days off, it was painful.  I remember watching the SuperBowl and talking to him in his hospital room.

On February 18th, 2007 they found a liver for him.  We all rushed to be there and there was excitement in the air.  Then they opened the other guy up. .. the liver was too fatty.  My dad had to have a perfect liver and this one wouldn’t do.  It was hours before anyone came to tell us.  It was excruciating when they did.  I remember my dad starting to sing Happy Birthday to me because my birthday is the 24th but, I told him to stop because I was coming back on Friday to celebrate with him.

I went home the next day, only to come back the following.  My dad passed on February 20th 2007.

I couldn’t believe it.  My hero, my DAD was gone.  The person that I went to for everything.  He could answer any question.

But, I know that he is in heaven and he’s playing baseball.  He loved baseball.  I know that there he is comfortable and well.  He is happy and doesn’t suffer any more.  I also know that I will remember him as my hero not, as a sick man with numerous problems.  I will remember him as a family man, a believer in God, a true friend and father figure, a natural born leader.  I know that if he could he would tell me that is how he would want to be remembered.

I miss him now more than ever.  I’m sad that he is missing out on his grandchildren and my brother’s awesome accomplishments.  But, I know that he knows and I know that he’s proud.

I can only hope that Mark and I can be the parents that mine were.  That I can live up to the standards my dad set.  I love you Dad.  Happy Father’s Day.

My dad on the day I was born

Dad walking me down the aisle

Etsy is one of my favorite handmade crafting websites!  I could spend hours going through all of the creative products that are sold on the website.  Since I get such a kick out of everything, I thought I would start a little series on Etsy.  I will pull up some great products that start with each letter of the alphabet, just for fun inspiration!

(Based on Sesame Street’s What’s On Murray that starts with A? . . . my little one loves that segment!)

What’s on Etsy that starts with A?

Aprons by Julie

I love aprons!  I have a few and wear them every time that I cook.  They are usually fun and flirty and I have found them incredibly useful when feeding my messy little one!

Tickled Pink Paper & Ink

Address Labels and stamps customized to your preferences!  We own a return address stamp and it is great when addressing the million christmas cards, birth announcements, and bills that seem to pile up every year.

Rocket And Bear

Gorgeous, hand crocheted Afghans!  Great for baby shower, wedding shower, and birthday gifts!

Enjoy!

I am now almost officially 3 weeks more pregnant than I have ever been!  This is really exciting for me although I’m not really loving all of the fun things that come with late stage pregnancy.  Baby Girl is super active, practicing aerobics in my stomach at all hours of the day.  She is measuring on track and my blood pressure and weight are perfect.  We’ve decided on a name although, I’m trying not to use it too much just because I don’t want to jinx things.  I know I’m weird!

A lot of you know that I’ve been worried about Christopher’s language development.  At 18 months, he’s not using a lot of words… he babbles endlessly but, it’s mostly gibberish.  Technically, he is only 15.5 months since he was 2.5 months early but, I still worry.

Well, lately he’s started saying “uh oh” and I think he’s saying “what’s this?”  I also think I heard a “goggy” for doggy.  But, today I definitely heard something that floored me.  Walking through Albertson’s trying to prevent a tantrum because I wouldn’t give him the 2-liter of Mark’s favorite diet soda I heard something…

“Aaa-ssss…Aaa-ssss”

“What?”

Big smiles and then “Aaa-sss”

OH MY GOD!  My child just said ass in public.

Mark walks up seconds later…

“Aaa-sss”

“Mark did you hear that”

“No, what??”

“It sounds like he’s saying ass!”

“No, it doesn’t…”

“Aaa-sss”  smiles

Mark doesn’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do.  So, we walk through Albertson’s with our happy child trying to suggest other words, “cats, hats, mats”  Nope,  just ass.  I can not believe this.  Mark and I don’t cuss in front of him, or at least try not to and if there was a word I would expect him to say it wouldn’t be that one!

I’ve been worrying about him talking for so long and this is what I get!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend and if you have any suggestions about how to get an 18 month old to stop saying certain words but, encouraging others…send them my way!