Making My Own Luck

I have been staring at the space above our kitchen window since we moved into our house. I was dying for a vintage sign to fill the space. I eyed a few Pottery Barn signs, but they were so expensive ($100) and didn’t hold any special meaning for me. I am at my happiest crafting, so I was determined to create something unique for our home.

We both have sentimental attachment to the word “Lucky”, so I wanted to be sure to incorporate that into my design. Also, I owned a horse growing up, and I had one leftover horseshoe from him sitting in the garage waiting to be used for something crafty! I had seen a sign using a horseshoe as the letter “U”, so I was inspired!

Fortunately, we already had white wood in the garage leftover from another project. I measured and it was the right size for above the window- don’t you love when things like that work out? I designed the sign using my Silhouette software, making sure that the letters matched the size of the horseshoe and coordinated with the vintage style. I cut my letters out of vinyl so that I could paint over them and peel them off later.

I laid out my sign and transferred the vinyl, making sure that I left space for the horseshoe. Once I had my letters stuck, I used a light green paint to paint over everything. I needed to paint the sides too, as this sign would be hanging up high and people would be able to see the sides.

Once the paint was dry, I peeled off the vinyl letters. This was my first sign project, and I was impressed with how crisp the letters turned out! Finally, I nailed the horseshoe in place and stepped back to admire my work. Initially, I was totally content with the result. However, after coming back to it after a day, it felt too “clean”.

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I had a bit of gel wood stain on hand, so I went over the paint with the gel and deepened the colors in some areas. The sign definitely had more of a vintage feel after that finishing touch!

My hubby helped me put 2 sawtooth hangers on the back and hang it up above the window. He was very impressed when I told him the cost of this project was just pennies. I love adding personal touches to our home, and this sign makes me smile every time I walk into our kitchen!

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The Future Starts Today!

Winter has arrived, and I am such a wimp about cold weather! As we are exploring our home, we discovered that our thermostat was original to the house- meaning that it was older than me. Although I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing…

Anyway, we started to research fancy new techie thermostats. In order to save energy, I really wanted to be able to control our home’s temperature while we are out and about. With a learning thermostat, our system would learn about our lifestyle and turn off the heat when we weren’t around. We got advice about various models from a few friends and decided upon the Nest.

After watching their awesome video tutorial, I wasn’t sure if our wiring was compatible. I took a quick photo of our wiring and sent it over to the smart engineers at Nest. Within 24 hours, they emailed me back a customized wiring guide and we were good to go!

Let me preface with the fact that I am NOT a handy person. When we removed the original thermostat, I actually almost broke open the mercury vial when I slammed it down on the table. Way to go, me… Anywayyyyy, within 30 minutes we had removed our “vintage” thermostat and installed our modern Nest! The screen on the thermostat literally walked us through the entire set up process, and looks so pretty.

We have used the Nest for a few weeks, and have seen energy savings! I love that I can look online at our energy history and the Nest will give me tips on how to save energy in the future. And if you have seen the commercials, my legs muscles are still going strong and as far as I know the internets haven’t come to life! 🙂

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New Year, New Traditions

New Years always seems to be a time of reflection, and this year is no different! As I say goodbye to 2014, I am so grateful for all of the wonderful experiences I had in the last 365 days. I celebrated my first wedding anniversary with my incredible husband, grew closer with friends and family, bought a house, and started another school year with a great group of kids!

I used to make a big deal of New Year’s Eve- attending big parties, buying an obnoxious sequin dress, obsessing over my resolutions for the New Year. As I get older, I find that I am at my happiest on the couch with a glass of nice champagne on NYE. This year, I was craving a low key evening at home with just my husband and puppies.

I stopped by the store, and picked up all the fixing for my favorite meal- filet mignon, asparagus, potatoes, and sourdough bread. We cooked a fantastic meal, and took the opportunity to reflect on the past year. I found these amazing free printable conversation starters from Alice and Lois. My husband and I had such a great time laughing about all of the fun things the past year had brought- personally, professionally, and in pop culture!

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I hope that this is a tradition that we can continue to keep, it was just what I needed after the busy holiday season. Happy New Year to you all!

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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Every family has their own Christmas traditions that we hold near and dear to our hearts. When I met my husband, I was so excited that he enjoyed the holiday season as much as I do! Both of our birthdays fall around the holidays as well, so we associate this special time of year with lots of celebrations with loved ones.

In our home, we look forward to chopping down our Christmas tree in the mountains. When we get home from our adventure, we can’t wait to decorate around the house and trim the tree while watching White Christmas. Finally, we sit back with a warm fire and admire our beautiful work.

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As a special treat, I enjoy baking a special cookie from my childhood: Santa’s Whiskers. These cherry and coconut cookies look festive and are delicious! They don’t last long in our house. Below is the recipe I have used since childhood, and it never fails! Just be sure to plan accordingly, as the dough does need to be chilled.

Santa’s Whiskers: (makes about 5 dozen)

1 cup butter or margarine

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)

3/4 cup flaked coconut

Cream butter and sugar, blend in extract. Stir in flour, cherries, and nuts (if desired). Form n 2 rolls, each 2 inches in diameter and 8 inches long. Roll in coconut. Wrap and chill several hours or overnight. Slice 1/4 inch thick; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 12 minutes or until edges are golden.

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Friends, Food, and Fun

This past weekend, we had a few friends over for a small dinner party. We enjoy seeing old (and new) friends on a regular basis and are always happy to host events to get everyone together.

I decided to celebrate fall a bit and decorate our table with a few autumnal accents. The centerpieces are just popcorn kernels layered on the bottom, with mini pumpkins layered on top. I also knit little acorn ornaments as gifts for our guests and learned a new napkin fold to accent the acorns. After this tutorial from The Wood Grain Cottage, I was inspired to make burlap placements with our initial. My goal was to highlight the season, but not overwhelm the table.

We had a great time, after all what’s better than good friends, good food, and good wine?!

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Sweet Dreams

This weekend, my husband and I had friends visiting from out of town. Since we recently moved into our new home, I realized that I needed to make sure that our guest room had all of the necessary supplies. I find that the best way to see what is missing is to “live” in the room for one day. So, I slept in our guest room and was able to easily identify what was lacking.

We realized that the mattress in our guest room was so uncomfortable that I barely got any sleep! Therefore, after a bit of research we decided to head over to IKEA to pick up a new mattress. Their selection was not bad, and we were able to score a brand new spring mattress for under $200! Best of all, the mattress comes rolled up, so it was a breeze to fit in the car. I tried taking a cat nap on it, and it was very comfortable for me. Our guests didn’t have any complaints either. This is the mattress we finally agreed upon!

I also made sure that I had toiletires, bathrobes, closet space, and etnernaintment needs (tv, dvds, books, magazines) covered. We had a few vintage postcards left from our wedding, so I also stashed those away in the guest room. Now that our guest room is ready, I am inviting everyone to stay with us!

A pair of bathrobes is a necessity:

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I like these vintage postcards of San Francisco! Also, a little candle makes the room a bit more homey. Finally, I have a little bowl and tag for charging cell phones and tablets. Our WiFi passcode is on the back for convenience.

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Happy Halloween!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I absolutely adore fall and decorating for the season!

I am a big fan of collecting items for each and every holiday, but I like to accomplish a beautiful vignette on a budget. I often hunt through the Dollar Tree to find something that I could transform into something that I would be proud to display on my mantel. Michaels is also a favorite stop- the coupons combined with sale items makes for a bargain hunter’s dream. Finally, The Graphics Fairy is one of my favorite websites for beautiful vintage graphics that I can frame for a touch of whimsy anywhere in the house!

Below are pictures of a few of my most recent projects:

This is my take on The Headless Horseman. This horse is one of my favorite pieces in our home, so it’s fun to add a little bit of spookiness in an unexpected way.

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This little skeleton was a terrible white plastic before. I used a bit of silver acrylic paint to cover it, and then placed it under a square cloche. Perfectly spooky!

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I found this little crow at the Dollar Tree as well. I spray painted terra cotta pots with chalkboard paint and then filled them with a bit of foam. I covered the foam with Spanish moss, and then stuck the crow in. Finally, I added a few Halloween phrases to break up all that black.

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This project was one of my favorites. I found a skeleton garland at the Dollar Tree and cut it apart. The hands all went into bud vases, and the heads in another. Creepy in a small way!

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