Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Table Setting

Happy New Year!

I hope you are having a fantastic day! I am staying in tonight, but wanted to make it somewhat special with a nice dinner. I plan to make a healthy version of shepards pie. Not a usual New Years meal but sounds really good and comforting on a cold AZ day as it is! AZ got snow yesterday at low elevations, event some places in Phoenix! It seems fitting snowflakes are the theme of my table. I went out shopping early the day after Christmas to find decorations for next year at half off!I My main goal was to get outdoor lights for the house next year, but I also found several items that I used in the table setting for tonight.

First the centerpeice. The ornaments were new from the half off sales, the snowflake is actually a tree topper, and the bowl is a find at Pier 1. I had seen several bowls like this at Ballard and PB, and this one at $20 was a great find! I bet it will show up in many more pictures this year.

My printer is not working currently, so I improvised and used some scrapbook paper and stickers to make the wine glasses labeled and 2011 themed. I also covered the wine bottles with the same snowflake scrap paper.

I also had these plates from Homegoods previously and the snowflakes are ornaments I got at half off from target. The silver chargers are a find from a thift store earlier this year.

I hope you have a very Happy New Year!

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ikea Photo Collage

In my master bedroom I have several large spaces to fill on the walls. When looking one day at Tart House (who designed my room boards here) I saw this picture that she had designed for another client.


Bingo! What a great idea to fill a large wall space! I am lucky that I live minutes from Ikea, so off I went to gather several photo frames and a mirror. I then found some photos from my travels to fill the frames. Every day I walk pass I am reminded of my scuba adventures and Italy and it just makes me smile! The frames and mirror cost about $60 to fill this wall!

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Chic on a Shoestring Decorating Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Years Inspiration

This year I am staying at home for New Years Eve and looking for inspiration to make it special. Arizona just got approval for some small types of fireworks, so I know that will be part of it! Here are a few items around the web that I have been looking at and I will post what I end up doing!

Better Homes and Gardens has some yummy ideas for buffet parties , desserts,  and appetizers to ring in 2011.

I like the crab dip.

And Dessert- Strawberry Champagne Cake

BHG also has some pretty table ideas  like this one

New Years Eve would not be complete without a hat! Here is a blog that has compiled many ideas- Tatertots and Jello  Here is my favorite there and here is the blog to find it!

How about some 2011 d├ęcor? Here are a couple of free printables.

Anna and Blue

Here is another one from Love the Day.

If you are throwing a party, here are a few ideas as well from around the web that Tatertots and Jello gathered. This one looks easy and fun – fortune cookies!

This is an adorable centerpiece from the Domestic Fashionista!

And of course for the new year, you need a calendar. Skip to My Lou  has a list of many of them, here is my favorite! You can find this particular one here.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

No Sew Scarves!

I may be in warm AZ now but in a couple of weeks I will be skiing. I saw this great idea over at Little Wonders Days for No Sew Fleece Scarves. Best of all, it just takes some scissors and some fleece material! I have not yet bought a sewing machine so I am limited in what I can do now with fabric. I plan to give these out to some of the girls I am skiing with.

Here is the finished product with myself and my sister who is visiting from Portland modeling. Yes, it is sunny and a nice pool behind but really I will be in snow soon!

To do this project, I headed over to Hobby Lobby and picked up a couple of patterns - all for $12 and it made 6 scarves! I bought two fabrics with one yard a piece.

First I laid out the fabric. I do not have a cutting board so I did this free hand. I used the line where the carpet met the tile to keep it somewhat straight!

I then cut 12 inch wide strips in the fabric. Then, on the ends cut the fringe 4 inches into the fabric about 1 inch wide. It took only about 30 minutes to do this project, quick and easy!

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Recap - Presents on Christmas Eve and Luminarias

I hope you had a very Merry Holiday! Christmas has come and gone, the decorations are coming down but for the moment I wanted to recap Christmas 2010.

First on Christmas Eve, I made an attempt this year was to have luminaries! I may not have a white Christmas in AZ but luminarias can be put out! I posted how I visited the Desert Botanical Gardens this year with their 8000 luminarias. You will also see many houses in AZ have luminarias for Christmas Eve. I just love how houses look with these light lining the driveways, so inviting and warm. I wanted to join in on this fun as well. While the south got snow, Arizona just got wind. I prepared getting the paper bags, tea light and then rocks to hold down the bags. I added a snowflake cut out to the bags as wll. However, they were out for a minute before I got nervous about the wind so in they came. Looked pretty for a second! Maybe next year.

Then, on to the presents! I have always been fascinated when people discuss what their holiday traditions are. One tradition my family always had is opening the presents on Christmas Eve. I mean ALL the presents from Santa! Every Christmas Eve one of the parents would take us out at night to look for Santa Claus and look at lights. One parent would stay home, usually with the excuse that they were tired or needed to take care of something. Then we would go out and come home to Santa already arriving! The story went that our house was one of the first places that Santa went to.

Now, being that I am the oldest of five kids I am betting that it was pretty convenient that the parents got to sleep in past 4 am. There was one memorable Christmas where my Dad came out and found me and the oldest brother playing the new Atari at 4 in the morning (it is still cool BTW. Pac-man does not age) We did still have presents Christmas day from the Grandparents, but most were the night before.

This holiday I went to my parents on Christmas eve for presents to keep with tradition, then the family came over to my place for the holiday! We went hiking by my place and then watched the classic Charlie Brown Christmas. Always great to spend the holiday with family, and even a treat with my sister flying in Sunday! Hope your holiday was wonderful as well!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!! Gingerbread House

Merry Christmas!!

 I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas!

I did one last small project for Christmas yesterday. I heart gingerbread houses! It was a yearly tradition for me growing up with my siblings to make gingerbread houses. Back then, my mom was smart and used graham crackers to make the “houses” for us to decorate. With 5 kids, it was rather busy! I did buy a boxed version to cut short on time, maybe next year I will branch out and really make one from scratch.

 I was thinking this would save me time, but when I opened the box I ended up needing to put it back together anyway as it was broken!

Still came out looking great!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Home Story

I thought it fitting to write the home story of my place since I am posting so much about decorating and living in it! Rewind one year to last fall. I owned a small house that I had bought years ago, but it was currently rented out and I was living with B near downtown. It was a great place, but in AZ you may have heard about the housing market. There were some areas that were “up and coming” near downtown but by 2009 were anything but that. I was two miles from work (score!) but the surrounding area that was going to be revitalized wasn't with the economy.  I wanted to live somewhere that felt alittle more like home.

I had a particular neighborhood in mind ever since I was young. I love to hike, and this part of AZ is close to hiking trails. Plus - only 8 miles from work! There are so many great places to live in AZ, but the commute really limits it in my mind depending where you work. I would rather have a short commute (30 minutes or less!).

Of course with any house hunt you see things you like, things you don’t, and some really ugly options. I just started slow looking around in the area for several months. The area this house is in are “older” homes by AZ standards – I know only 20+ years old but there are so many new builds here. Many of the houses needed something remodeled. I have a dream to remodel someday my other small house, but anything bigger than that seemed overwhelming at the time to redo. I think searching for a house in the winter months limits the houses that go on sale, so what was left are those that are not selling due to one reason or another. In most cases, it was a house that was overpriced or that needed a lot of work. There was one house that was a close call. Great potential, but it needed a new kitchen, bathrooms, and walls taken out to make it more spacious. With the size of the house it would have been a big investment to remodel. I literally went to it three times before deciding to wait. And I am sooooo glad I did!

The week after deciding not to buy the almost house I saw the “most definitely want this cannot resist” house! Surprise, it was across the street from the other one! It had everything I was looking for - one story, pool, big rooms, high ceilings, great for entertaining, lots of land, and……..had been completely remodeled! The story on the house is unfortunate for the former owners. It had been sold in 2007 to remodel and flip, but as you know that was the worst time to do that. The house fell into foreclosure after a massive remodel had been done. I mean everything – all new cabinets in the whole house, new tile and carpet, new front door, backyard remodel of the tile, kitchen remodel, bathroom overhaul of all three bathrooms, new light fixtures everywhere, new master closet – you name it. Now, if someone was looking for a fixer upper this was not the house, but for me and the price it was great! Not to mention the greatest selling feature for me, around the corner from a trailhead! It was one of those times where you think this opportunity will not happen every again, so bought it!

I was so excited to be living in my new dream house. But....... things got really busy in life this last year. So for the past year I have not done too much to the place decorating or really learning anything how to keep a home. Now in this coming year I have decided to put forth some thrifty effort to make this place a home. I am so grateful that I did not go out and start decorating, because it is way too much fun to find cheaper ways to do so! I love looking at all of the blogs on DIY makeovers from furniture to other thrifty decorating items and am inspired. I have fallen in love with craigslist and going to goodwill to see what I can find. I had a blog before several years ago for friends, and decided to start a new one to chronicle this adventure  and connect with other bloggers. I find for some reason when I have a blog, I have accountability to get things done! There you have it, how I got here in this place and now the blog will tell the rest of the story how it becomes home.

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