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Special December Rainbows

Hello Friends,

While I normally dedicate this blog to DIY projects, I felt compelled to share something personal with you on this New Year's Eve.  On this date in 2007, I lost my brother, Paul, to an accidental overdose.  While he didn't technically pass until January 1, 2008, he was truly gone on the 31st, saved by the paramedic heroes who were able to resuscitate him.  Giving us time to say our good-byes and for him to fulfill his final wish as an organ donor.

But honestly, this post isn't meant to be a downer post.  Stick with me here.  Shortly after Paul died, I was seeking a "sign" for lack of a better word, to know that he was ok.  And I was given one - a small slice of a rainbow in the otherwise gray January sky.  Since then, I take those rainbows as a sign from Paul.  In the words of my son, Luke - "a rainbow is God's promise." 

I have seen rainbows (and other "signs") in the years since Paul passed, but in many cases they have come at times where I needed to see them most.  It goes without saying, that seeing this, the day before the 4th anniversary of his death, at the end of December no less, brought me to tears.

This picture really does no justice to the brilliance of this rainbow either.  It was such a beautiful burst of color, and lasted just long enough for me to see it.

Until we meet again, Paul.  And I know we will - after all, a rainbow is God's promise.


Best of 2011


I hope you are enjoying the holidays and getting some rest before the new year kicks into gear.  I have been sleeping in, but also taking advantage of some down time and getting a head start on some new projects!

In the meantime, I wanted to do a recap of some of my favorite projects of 2011.  It's nice to see that I have documented proof that I did actually accomplish some things this year!

My biggest accomplishment, by far, is the painting of the kitchen cabinets.  It has truly transformed my kitchen into a brighter, happier space, and I absolutely love it.   You can see the full evolution here, and see it as a work in progress here and here.  (I know I owe you a tutorial, and I promise, it will come).

Prior to tackling the kitchen cabinets, I got my feet wet by painting the kitchen island.

Another low budget, high impact project from this year is my all-faux-no-sew roman shades I made from a Target tablecloth.  Love these.  Love the price, love the look.  Love that I can change them out without guilt too.

My mom cave continues to be a work in progress, but I spruced it up quite a bit this year.  Most recently, I added a fun stencil.
My love of stencils continues to overflow, and I did a hand painted one in my powder room as part of that makeover.

I also spiced it up with a thrift store lamp that got a second life with some hot pink spray paint and pom pom fringe.

But before I tackled any of this, my mom cave got some life of it's own with the power of paint.  Oh, how I will never tire of the wonders paint can do!

Board and batten has made its way into my home this year.  It began with my hallway leading in from the garage.  

It grew from there, and I added it to my laundry room and the bar area in our basement.
Oh, if only the laundry room always looked like this...  You know, free of dirty laundry.
We added a gallery wall to this space as well.

My love of board and batten extended to my daughter's room in the shape of a paneled headboard and a tutorial.

And then there was the never-ending painting of the great room (and adjoining breakfast room, hallways, etc..).  I thought I was going to hire this out, but ended up tackling it myself (and had an extension ladder in my great room for longer than I care to admit).

WHEW!!!  I'm tired just writing about it!  But, like I said before, I can look back at 2011 and say that I accomplished a lot!

Looking forward to tackling more projects and sharing them with you in 2012!

Linking up to:
Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesday
Southern Hospitality
Home Stories A to Z - 2011 Link Party


Crafty Last Minute Gift Idea - Snowman in a Bag

Are you expecting a white Christmas?  The temperatures here are going to be sunny and (relatively) mild, which is nice, but Christmas is the one time where I really like the snow.  So, if you have snow (or even if you don't, but are holding out for it later this winter), here is a fun gift idea that can be made with items that you probably already have in your coat closet.  Better still - this idea isn't Christmas-specific - it works as a fun gift for all sorts of occasions throughout the winter.  New Year's Eve, Ground Hog Day? 

Now, I have a very "Frosty" looking hat here, but you could easily use a regular winter hat as part of this package.  Also included are mittens a scarf and a cute little pipe.   (I know not everyone has pipes on hand, and you could always omit the pipe altogether or craft your own. I'm thinking a lollipop stick with a wine cork attached?)

Of course, your snowman needs a face, right?  Insert buttons for the eyes and body, a fake carrot (or a real one, depending on your forecast), and some pompom fringe for his mouth.  There is some floral wire attached so that it's easier for the face to "stick".   Put these goodies in a separate Ziploc bag so they don't get lost.

Wrap it all up in a bag with a bow (cute snowman ornament optional). 

How fun, right?  What's not to like?

So, is a snowman in your forecast?


Gift Wrapping Ideas and a Winner!

Happy Monday!

I hope you all aren't falling prey to the pre-Christmas frenzy (like I am).  After hosting Thanksgiving and then the cookie exchange last weekend, I was definitely behind in my shopping.  I had to brave the mall this weekend, and don't wish that experience on my worst enemy.  Dealing with the crowds definitely made me feel Grinch-y.

But, I'm pretty close to being done and was in gift wrapping mode last night.  Granted, I'm all about efficiency in gift wrapping, and my best effort at making things look pretty is in wrapping paper coordination.  But, there sure are some wonderful ideas out there if you are looking to become a gift wrapping Yoda...

Source: via Jenny on Pinterest

Source: via Jenny on Pinterest

And finally, the much overdue winner of the $50 NOVICA gift card!  Congratulations Loribo!  Please send me an email (via the 'Contact Me' on my blog), since I don't have an email address for you.

So, have you started wrapping your gifts yet?


My Holiday Home Tour

The cleanest my house will ever be is about 15 minutes before I throw a party.  I don't know if you're like me, but I go into a bit of a tizzy before I entertain.  My family can usually see it coming, so they either hide, or get out of the house altogether.  I guess it's that "party adrenaline" that kicks in, and I go into cleaning overdrive.  That's what I did in getting ready for my cookie exchange this past weekend.  Lucky for me, it's just in time to participate in Jennifer Rizzo's Holiday Home Tour linky party.  :-)

Some of these photos you've seen before if you've read my blog before, but there are some new ones in here as well, since I took advantage of my cookie exchange cleaning frenzy and shot some new ones.

We'll start with the exterior and work our way through.  Thanks for stopping by!

When you enter our home, the great room is the first thing you see, and the Christmas tree is the obvious focal point.

And then there's the fireplace mantel.

I Christmastized the basement for the cookie exchange, and got creative with a lot of free greenery from the yard.

I took some red ribbon and wrapped my ottoman since I haven't figured out how I want to redo it yet.  A good solution for now anyway.

Did the same thing with this glass vase to give it a little more interest.

And since I'm a crazy woman, I repainted my half bath with leftover paint (Benjamin Moore's Mountain Laurel) from my kitchen evolution, and added a fun rug for some holiday flair that will work even after the holidays are over.  (More on this evolution later)

Never mind that the mirror fell off the wall and shattered into a thousand pieces the night before the party...

But, it was all fine - the cookie exchange was a lot of fun, with lots of great sweet treats!  I'm going to have to spend a lot of extra time in the gym to work off all of these yummy treats!

Thanks again for stopping by!

Happy Holidays!

Linking to:
Nesting Place - 2011 Holiday Home Tour
Thrifty Decor Chick - Christmas Tree Party