Monday, December 27, 2010

DIY Winter Ornament Wreath

The Christmas decorations are packed away and I'm ready for a new year. I decided to create a winter wreath that would look good for January and February. I wanted to make a blue and silver ornament wreath, and the after-Christmas sales were very kind to my budget. Walmart had their shatterproof ornaments 50% off. I purchased varying sizes and finishes in both blue and silver.

I opened a wire hanger and shaped it into a circle. To prevent the balls from popping off the wreath, I hot glued the caps on before stringing the ornaments onto the wire hanger. I alternated sizes and colors and packed the ornaments on tightly. Next, I took pliers and crimped the hanger back closed. Finally, I tied on a black ribbon for a Tiffany & Co. inspired look.

I had so many ornaments left over I was able to spruce up my mantel as well.

This was a simple and easy project. Total cost: $9.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Cops Arrested Two at Our Home Today (No Joke)

This morning, Christmas Eve morning, after we finished eating our pancakes, our doorbell rang. We had no idea who the two women at the door were and didn't recognize their mini-van. We ignored them, assuming they'd realize they had the wrong house and leave. They didn't.

After they sat in their van in our driveway for twenty more minutes, Judd went out to talk with them to see what was going on. He found them asleep. He knocked on the window and only roused the passenger who tried to wake the driver. The driver was out of it - completely high on something. She finally rolled down her window and spoke very slowly and incoherently to Judd. She tried to explain that they were trying to find some guy named 'D' who lived at our house. Judd assured her she had the wrong home, but she was so high and confused, she kept insisting that he used to live here and must have moved (we built our home and are the only ones who have lived here).

Judd couldn't help them because they were so out of it. They continued to just sit in their van in our driveway and wouldn't leave. So, after ten more minutes, Judd called the cops. I'm so glad he did. When the police arrived they noticed right away that the women were high and their car had major damage from where they hit something. The van wouldn't even start and the axle was broken. They gave the driver a sobriety test, which she instantly failed. The second girl failed her sobriety test too, but began arguing with the police officer insisting she was sober. They checked the van and found a toddler girl laying down, asleep, in the back seat. Her mom was the woman protesting. No wonder - she didn't want to lose her little girl. They also found the pills that made the women high.

Poor innocent little girl. I wanted to slap some sense into that mom and bring the little girl inside where she could get warm and drink hot chocolate, but knew that wasn't going to help. There's no way that mom could hate herself more than she already does. She knows she's choosing drugs over her daughter's safety. But the little girl is safe - today. The police told the mom to call a relative to come get her little girl, or they would have DHS come take her because both women were going to jail.

A sister and brother-in-law showed up as did the owner of the van (appeared to be the little girl's grandpa). They said the women called last night saying they hit something with the van and were also lost (because they were out of it). The family had been worried about them all night, not knowing where they were. Who knows how long they were sitting in our driveway before ringing our doorbell this morning. They could have been their all night. The little girl was taken away by her aunt, the two women were hauled off to jail, and the broken-down van was towed out of our driveway.

We live in a nice neighborhood, so this was way out of the ordinary. I'm sure our neighbors are all very curious as to what was going on - and rightfully so. There were three cop cars, a tow truck, a strange van in our driveway, and two relatives' cars - all in front of our home. I'm so glad Judd called the police. Those women will probably wake up in a jail cell tomorrow - Christmas morning - and have much to think about as they sober up. May they find the peace they're searching for. May the little girl know she is a precious gift to this world. May the police officers know how thankful we are for their service - for protecting that little girl, and anyone in the way of a vehicle driven by someone under the influence.

I'm hugging my girls and husband a little tighter today and looking forward to a lovely Christmas.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Farewell, Fake Ficus - Hello, Beautiful!

If you don't have a plastic tree tucked in a corner of your home, odds are you either used to have one, or know someone who did. The artificial ficus tree filled many a bare corner for years.

Thumbing through decorating magazines and browsing designer blogs, it dawned on me that the plastic ficus tree has been replaced with decorative tree branches. I don't know why it took me so long to notice my plastic tree was very dated. I did buy it fifteen years ago, and they had already been a popular trend for years before that. Some of the updated looks are tree branches that appear to be flowering, such as this one provided to houzz by Lola B's.

I also like this one by Restoration Hardware:

My do-it-myself self walked over to the nearby woods with a saw in hand - hoping not to scare any of my curious neighbors. I found some gorgeous large branches, removed the leaves, and pruned away until I was satisfied with the final shape. I cut off the fake ficus tree as close to the bottom of the trunk as I could, then jabbed the real tree branches into the foam filled planter. Finally, I wrapped the planter in some fabric. I really like the new look.



Best of all...project cost: $0 dollars!!! Absolutely free, Baby!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Master Bedroom Makeover

I only have few "before" pictures of my master bedroom because it was, well, rather unlovely. Drab. Dark. Blah. When we built our home seven years ago, having a door from the master bedroom to the back patio was a popular feature. Upon moving in I realized the door created a decorating dilemma and was completely unnecessary.

A few before pics:


I've longed for this Anthropologie bedding for four years but refused to pay that much money for it.

Their price - $500 (plus shipping because some of these items are online only)  

I found similar bedding on clearance at Macy's. The duvet cover, 2 king shams, and 2 Euro shams were $118 (including shipping). I sewed my own bed skirt using copper-brown faux silk fabric - $40, and added more of that same fabric as a drape above the bed - $10.

My price - $180   

I found a $400 goose-down duvet (the insert that goes in the duvet cover) at Macy's on sale for $120. I exchanged some of my credit card points for a $100 Macy's gift card and bought it for just over $30 (with tax). I've never slept so good. It is pure comfort - like being hugged by a fluffy cloud.

I completely covered the door leading to the patio with a curtain panel matching the ones covering my two windows. I covered my small folding table desk with layers of muslin and burlap, then angled it in the corner. I took the large mirror off my dresser and leaned it vertically against the wall. I love it!

 Attention to details - the burlap layer on my desk is gathered using one of my grandmother's brooches.

I found Chris Madden lined faux silk drapes in Aspen Gold at JC Penny's for $59 a panel. I bought them, new, off ebay for $17 a panel. I told you here, how I created my own "wrought iron" curtain rods.

 You can learn how I made my own burlap-covered framed corkboard here.

Now I feel I'm in a designer magazine bedroom and pinch myself when I see how beautifully it turned out.

DIY "Wrought Iron" Curtain Rods with Finials

My master bedroom makeover included new drapes. I needed curtain rods on which to hang them and decided to make my own. I found some pretty ones at Lowe's for $40 each. I needed three rods and decided $120 was not budget friendly. I bought PVC pipe (plumbing section at Lowe's/Home Depot, etc.), and spray painted it using Valspar's Oil Rubbed Bronze.

 The PVC pipe was $1.82 for 10 feet. Yep. That's right.

Lowe's also had these unfinished wooden finials. A pack of 2 cost less than $3. The brackets were $3 for a set of two.

Then, Hancock Fabric store had these fabulous clip rings in their bargain bin for 50 cents! They are regularly priced at $9 a package.

Lowe's total price would have been $120  vs. mine $17.

DIY - Pottery Barn Framed Corkboard Knockoff

As part of my master bedroom makeover, I wanted a framed corkboard. My inspiration was this one from Pottery Barn. The price tag for this baby is $149. Um...I don't think so.

With 40% off coupon in hand I headed to Hobby Lobby where I purchased a corkboard for $8. Judd used his staple gun to cover the front with burlap. I like the look of burlap much more than cork - especially for a bedroom.

Next, I spray painted composite chair rail (less than $6 for a 10 ft. section at Lowe's) with Valspar's Oil Rubbed Bronze metallic spray.

Judd used his miter box and saw to cut the chair rail into four sections with mitered corners. He drilled pilot holes in the edges of the corners, then used finished nails to attach the corners together. Finally, he used Liquid Nails to attach the frame to the burlap-covered corkboard. Total cost: $21.

Here is the finished project. I hung my jewelry from the jeweled push pins I created last week. I found some lovely branches in the woods across from my house and placed them in a vase. I hung more necklaces and earrings on the branches. I couldn't be happier with how this project turned out.

Monday, December 13, 2010

DIY Jeweled Push Pins

I'm in the process of making over our master bedroom. I'm creating a feminine desk area where I can work on my computer. Since my "office" will be in our bedroom, it has to look beautiful and not - well, like an office. With Judd's help I'm creating my own burlap-covered and framed cork board to go above my desk. I'll post a tutorial on that soon. I wanted some beautiful push pins for my new board and decided this was the perfect DIY opportunity to use some old earrings I inherited from my mother and grandmother that I never wore. Now, I get to see these jeweled push pins every day. They make me smile.

After searching the office stores and Hobby Lobby, I finally found silver aluminum push pins at Lowe's. They look significantly better than pushed pins that are clear or brightly colored and add to the overall antique look.

I cut the earring post off using wire cutters. Then simply dabbed a drop of E6000 adhesive to the top of the push pin and set the earring onto the glue. That's it.

I dressed up my cork board using heirloom jewelry I never wore, but now enjoy seeing every day. This makes a great gift too. Just head to your nearest thrift store and stock up on old jewelry.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dress Up

Rain boots or princess shoes? Hmm...that is the big debate with my 3 little chicks every day as they play dress up. Today Sophie asked me if I would play dress up too. I decided to let her pick out my outfit, shoes, accessories, style of my hair...

Not only did Sophie have a wonderful time, I did too! I forgot what it was like to set aside my "mom" hat and just be a little girl. Piper and Riley have recently started playing dress up too. They can pull tutus on by themselves, but need help with things like bunny ears and Hello Kitty watches. Goodness, I have so much fun with my girls!

What you may not be able to tell from this picture is that Sophie chose for me to wear a long spring dress with black floral rain boots, a rhinestone brooch, two necklaces, one bracelet, a western belt and a hair bow on my ponytail to match hers. She too is wearing rain boots, a belt around her dance costume ruffled dress, a necklace and hair bow. Piper and Riley took it easy with simple tutus over their jeans. Once dressed, we danced around and around our living room to Christmas music. Ahhh...being a little girl is quite therapeutic.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hatch Happenings

This week has been busy with lots of shopping and wrapping Christmas gifts, baking, and visiting with friends and family. My friend, Christi, had a wedding shower and I took Sophie with me. Sophie had a great time playing with two other little girls at the party while I enjoyed chatting with friends. Sophie looked precious in this blue plaid outfit trimmed in velvet with matching hat.

Piper and Riley have been great little shoppers as we've spent two or three hours shopping, browsing, and running errands each morning. All three of my girls really are so well behaved. We have meltdowns here and there, but most of the time they enjoy being out and about. Today we took fresh-baked pumpkin bread over to our neighbor.

Check out Piper's Ugg-style boots. cute! Each season as I retrieve the next tubby of clothes from the attic, I'm reminded how thankful I am to our neighbor's daughter who passes on all these adorable clothes after her little girl outgrows them.

Enjoying this holiday season,

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Shirts From Grandma H

Do you dress you little ones up in Christmas attire prior to the big day? Thanks to Grandma H (Judd's mom) our girls have adorable Christmas shirts to wear. They receive complements on them and I think they look cute too. Now if I could just get two of my three girls to keep their Christmas hair bows in their hair we'd have the complete package.

Sophie's shirt reads, "Dear Santa, I want it all!"

Piper's shirt states, "What Santa won't bring me Grandma will!"

And our little cut up - Riley's shirt says, "All Mommy wants for Christmas is a silent night." [and to get to sleep in after that silent night!]

Thanks, Grandma, for the adorable Christmas shirts!

Sophie, Piper, and Riley
(3 little chicks)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Photo Updates and How to Lose Weight Over the Holidays

This Thanksgiving we loaded up our three little chicks and headed to Gordon, Nebraska, where my husband's family lives. Without kids it takes 13 1/2 hours to get there with limited stops, so with 3 kids, we broke the trip into into two days of travel. Sophie loved staying in the hotel and swimming in the pool.

The weather in Nebraska was mostly in the upper 30's during the day. We saw just a few flurries of snow. At night, though, the temperature dropped to -2 (not wind chill). I'm not sure how the farm animals survive such cold weather. Although you can't tell it in these pictures, our nose hairs were freezing as we breathed.

We enjoyed spending time with Judd's parents, visiting with his sister, her kids, and seeing two aunts and uncles. I ran to Gordon's grocery store and overheard the cutest thing. I was the last of three customers at the checkout. As I was leaving, I heard the bagger say to the checker, "Whew! We're having a morning rush!" Yes, small towns are different than cities. I would have never thought 3 customers were considered a "rush". Of course any visit wouldn't be complete without the fifty-mile trek to the nearest Walmart, where we picked up some items to make the World's Best Lasagna.

Unfortunately, our trip didn't go as planned. On our second day there Riley became ill with a stomach bug. Two days later Piper got it. Then, Judd's dad got it. Then, on our way back home it hit Sophie at the hotel. Not really the kind of "vacation" anyone was looking forward to. We only had 3-4 hours of sleep each night. We sure wish everyone would have felt better.

All are on the mend now, and we are reminded to be thankful for good health. And on the bright side, I had no appetite while tending to my kids, so we all lost weight over the holiday instead of gaining. I'm down 4 pounds this week. There's always a bright side.

And I don't want this post to be a downer, so I'm going to end it on a good note. These are some pictures of our kids at our church's Fall Festival a few weeks ago. We had a great time taking the girls on the carousel horses and letting Sophie play all sorts of games and ride rides.