Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm trying to mix it up around my house these days. Add in a little glam, some eccentric pieces, some sophisticated pieces, etc. 

So, last night, I thought I'd get started on one little project while I was watching some
high-quality TV on the TLC Channel.

(okay- did ANYONE else watch the insanity last night on TLC with their new shows- the Extreme Couponing show or the I'm Addicted show where the lady was addicted to sleeping with her blowdryer?!! These people make me feel sane!!)

I decided to revamp our living room mantle. I'm not a huge fan of the marble tile on the front and I'd really love to paint the brick a bright white instead of the off-white color we inherited when we moved in. But that would require also painting all of the trim, crown molding, plantation shutters, etc. to match (that's what I call the "if you give a mouse a cookie syndrome"!!), so we'll have to wait for a rainy day for that one. 

Here's what I've got so far.

These are just nine cheap-o Ikea mirrors ($2.99 each) and some sticky Command strips.

 I still need to dress up the mantle with some accessories (I just got too distracted by the woman on TLC who was addicted to eating toilet paper), but I think it's headed in the right direction, don't you?

These pictures are a little on the dark side, but the frames around the mirrors are a dark brown/black wood grain color. I'm definitely still getting used to how dark they are, though... another thought is that I could always paint the frames a fun (lighter) color to lighten up the feel.

 I love the antique ceiling tile mirror that I had on the mantle before, but, in my opinion,
it just didn't give a lot of pop or interest to the space. It kind of just blurred into the mantle. Right?

There's a strong possibility that I'll come home from work this evening and hate the "new" look, throw my antique ceiling tile back up and pretend like this little project never happened. But, I thought I'd try it!!

PS. Notice anything else different in the last picture?



bob series

Also, today, join me over at Hi Sugarplum! in Cassie's "Best of the Best" series, where I share my most popular post and my favorite post of the year. Any guesses on what those are??

House Tours: AT's Best Of

 Do you know what I love most about this time of the year?  

It's not just the idea of starting fresh or putting another great year behind me or even all of the bubbly we get to drink (okay, who am I kidding, the champagne is definitely one of my favorite parts).

It's the countdowns. Top 100 music videos of the year. Most Interesting People of the Year.
Top 50 iPhone apps. Sexiest Men of the Year. Top 20 moments from
 Keeping Up with the Kardashians (oh come on, you watch that show too, right? anyone?!)

Annnnnnnnd: Apartment Therapy's series, "House Tours: The Best Of." I know we've all seen these amazing house tours throughout the year, but it's just something about having them all in one place (categorized by month) at one time. It's seriously like Christmas for me all over again each time they post a new month.

So, so, so much inspiration and beauty!

{1940's West Village Apartment}

{California house}

{San Francisco apartment}

{Philadelphia loft}
Heyyy that rug looks familiar! It's the one in my living room.... ( :

{Minnesota loft}

{Massachusett's 1950's inspired home}

{Capetown, South Africa farmhouse}

{Brooklyn loft}

{Canadian home}

{California home}
**THIS has quickly become one of my favooorite homes around! Love their style.

{tiny California home}

{Chicago apartment}

{Seattle loft}
heyyy, I've got a color coded bookcase like that! Love it!

 I mean SERIOUSLY folks- how amaaaazing are some of those homes??! And don't worry,
Apartment Therapy has only made it through their "best of" tour through August-
we've still got four more months of revisiting beautiful homes ahead of us!! : )

I don't know how you'd describe my style (natural? cottage-y?), but after spending the year reviewing beautiful homes like these, I know that I am ready to implement a few style changes around my house. I'm thinking more sophisticated, eclectic and slightly modern pieces mixed in with my casual, light and airy vibe.

And don't worry, we've already made a few changes around our house that I just can't WAIT to share!! I'll give you a few hints of what's to come: vintage ladderback chairs, a six hour trip to Ikea/West Elm/Z Gallerie, a new rocking chair that starts with an E and rhymes with "teams," and about a million DIY projects in process/on our list. Are you as excited as I am??! : )

Copycat Christmas- Part Two

Yesterday, I confessed. I'm an idea stealer and a cheap-o.

Okay, well hopefully that's not really the impression you got!! :)
I actually shared a few of my do-it-yourself homemade Christmas gifts that I made for family and friends.
I put lots of love and care into heartfelt presents that were inspired by many of you talented bloggers.

(does that sound better than a cheapskate idea stealer?!)

So if you're into hilarious moustache-painted drinking glasses and mossy initials,
check out volume one of my copycat Christmas.

But today is all about my second installment of DIY Christmas gifts. And both ideas were from the wonderfully inspiring Courtney over at A Thoughtful Place. Don't you just love when you see a
fabulous idea out there in the blogsphere and you think- "ooh! I can make that too!"
Well, I've bookmarked somewhere around eighty-five thousand ideas off of Courtney's awesome blog,
but here are two that I finally got around to actually creating.

Like I said yesterday, thank you, Courtney, for having such fabulous ideas.
Because you just helped me copycat my way through Christmas!!

my gift to my neices and newphew

As soon as I saw this post, I knew I had to make this craft for my neices (8 year old twins) and my nephew (their 3 year old little brother). They are all at the stage where they are LOVING arts and crafts (awww, they must take after their incredibly gorgeous aunt!), so I decided that an art kit would be perfect for Christmas.

-metal buckets
-wood base/spray paint
-craft paper for tag
-kids craft supplies (washable!)

I really wanted to figure out a way to make the buckets permanently connect, so that the art kit could turn into a kind of art station. David designed a little "plywood + white spraypaint + screw-into-the-bottom-of-each-bucket contraption" that just worked out perfectly! 

Next, I added a couple of initials to the girls' buckets and a little robot guy to my nephew's bucket (which, by the way, are color-coordinated with their bedrooms!) and topped each bucket off with a fresh supply of crayons, markers, watercolor paints and colored pencils. And there, my friends, is a DIY art station.

I think they loved it :)

gift to my sister-in-law


-bathroom tiles (30 cents or something cheap like that at Home Depot)
-chalkboard spray paint
-cork board
-hot glue

Here is Courtney's post on the coasters. It's a pretty self-explanatory process: paint, let dry, give a second coat if needed. It's easier for the chalkboard paint to stick if you sand down the tile a bit before spraying down. Next, you cut a piece of corkboard and hot glue it to the back of the tile. Unfortunately, I missed taking a picture of that step in the process, but Courtney details it well over on her post :)

The chalkboard spray paint directions tell you to rub a stick of chalk along the paint to give it a "first time" coat of chalk. This makes it easier to write on from then on.

Easy enough, isn't it?! And TOO cute.

These would be super cute to give out as a hostess gift!! Or just to have around your house : )

So there you have it! Easy peasy homemade gifts.
Did you guys make anything homemade as a Christmas gift this year??!

Copycat Christmas- Part One

Hello from snowy Georgia, my friends!!

Wait, what? Snowy GEORGIA?!

Yes! For the first time since something like 1882, we had a beautiful white Christmas down here in the peach state. Somehow or another (it must have been the eggnog), I didn't end up taking any pictures of the snow. But here's one shot of me and my sisters right as the snow started falling, on Christmas night.

As I'm sure you guys have noticed, I'm a big fan of DIYing my way through things. So, it was kind of natural for me to throw in a few do-it-yourself Christmas presents for friends and family this year.

{For the record, I know I'm incredibly frugal most of the time. But, I promise!!, the DIY Christmas gift approach was not just my attempt at being a complete and total cheap-o. Many of these were gifts that were made in addition to other presents or were "handmade" gift exchanges, where most people brought baked goods. Just wanted to throw that out there :)}

Throughout the last few months, I've been bookmarking ideas that I've seen out in blog world, with thoughts like- "ohh, my mom would LOVE that!" and "what a wonderful gift idea!" So, I decided it was high time to get my glue gun out and actually make some of these projects come to life.

So, THANK YOU for having such wonderful ideas, my friends.
Because, thanks to you, I just copycatted my way through Christmas : )

my gift to Callie
thanks to Jen over at Tatertots & Jello

When I saw this post on Jen's blog, I knew I had to recreate this fabulous gift for someone. And the perfect candidate became my little sister, Callie. She's a freshman in college (remember the dorm room art I made her back in August?) who is always in need of basic house items for her dorm room. Plus, she loves to ham it up with her roommates, so you can see that this is the perfect little gift.

-drinking glasses (I got mine in a 12 pack at WalMart for $8)
-glass paint (I used the Folk Art Enamel brand, sold at most craft stores)
-paint brush
-some mad moustache-making skillz

All ya gotta do is paint away to your heart's desire! I used an enamel-based glass paint, so after I made a masterpiece out of each glass, I let the paint dry for about an hour. Then, I threw the glasses on a cookie sheet and put them in my **room temperature oven at 350 degrees for about thirty minutes.

**HINT: don't put the glasses into a hot oven!! They would blow up or something and that would be bad news!

This makes the paint completely dishwasher safe.

Seriously, how awesome are these glasses?!

And they're even better when they're being used and the drinker because the moustache-wearer!!

Love it. I think she'll have fun with that one!

my gift to my mom
thanks to Jen over at Piney Flats Style

I fell in love with Jen's monogram project as soon as I read this post. My mom absolutely loves funky things scattered throughout her house, so I just knew she'd love her initial done up moss-style.

-initial (found my version at Hobby Lobby)
-glue gun
-lots of patience and a few episodes of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on the DVR

Essentially, this project just takes a whole lotta glue-gunning (hence the need for episodes of RHBH).

And slowly but surely... voila!

I hung it up on my wall before giving it to my madre, just for an idea of how it would look in her house.

Cute, right?! I might need to make myself one of these!

After I make myself some moustache glasses, of course :)

And mom loved it, which is what matters most-est. It's already on her living room bookshelf!

So there are two of my copycat Christmas gifts. Great ideas, aren't they?!
I'll have more tomorrow (here's a hint: both ideas were courtesy of my girl, Courtney!!)

Also, just a heads up for those of you who are like me and love free things and crafts,
 check out Megan's Silouhette giveaway!

And a shout out to Remodelaholic, who is featuring my living room redo today!! That was one of my first posts so I think its fun that its giving some love! :) Thanks, Cassity!

Sharing with:
The Nester
Skip to My Lou
The Girl Creative
A Little Lovely

Merry, Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Eve eve!!

I love that Luke verse.

All of those Christmases ago,
we were given not just a king or a ruler or a leader.
But unto us, a Savior was born!
And THAT is the reason for the season.

I truly wish all of you a wonderful Christmas, filled with
 lots of blessings, fellowship, joy, happiness,
family, friends and fabulous food!

I'm always reminded at this time of year that I am
blessed in so many ways. And one blessing I certainly
 have is YOU! Thank you for stopping by my blog
and, even more importantly,
thank you for being so inspiring to me!

I am incredibly excited for all of the projects we have
coming up this year over at our house.
You can look forward to more remodeling of our sweet little 1952 abode,
lots more painting, some furniture makeovers,
and, of course, more of my ever-changing decor!

Of course, I'll keep you all updated along the way : )
Merry Christmas!

Nothing Says Christmas Like Peppermint!

Here it is folks- my world's famous Real Simple's world famous peppermint cookie recipe!

Did you see when I shared these over on Courtney's blog? These cookies are one of my favorite Christmas traditions! David and I have made these for many years for our co-workers, neighbors,
family and friends. We just package them up in Christmasy wrap
and pass them out to everyone. They are always a big hit!!

-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for rolling the dough
-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
-1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
-1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
-3/4 cup sugar
-1 large egg
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-4 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature
-1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until smooth.
Add the egg and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla.
3. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add the flour mixture,
mixing until just incorporated (the dough will be stiff).
Shape into a disk and refrigerate, wrapped, for at least 1 hour and up to 3 days.
4. Heat oven to 350° F. Divide the dough in half. On a floured surface,
roll each piece out ¼ inch thick. Cut into 2-inch squares.
Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets and refrigerate until firm, 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until just beginning
to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets,
then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
6. Dip one half of each cooled cookie into the chocolate, allowing any excess
 to drip off. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, sprinkle with the
peppermints, and refrigerate until the chocolate is set, 25 to 30 minutes.
Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

You can always start off with store-bought sugar cookie dough, as well. Same drift : )
Add these to your holiday baking- you won't be disappointed!!

Speaking of peppermint....

David and I have biiiiig families. Like, "we had a wedding guest list of about 250 people and that
only included a few friends and immediate family" kind of big! Needless to say,
Christmas cards are sort of a chore to get out each year!

Hello Mr. Postman. Can I have 250 stamps?

So this year, we decided to take the easy route and simply send out
only a few (50ish) holiday wishes to only our nearest and dearest.

And, of course, we did it the DIY way.

Thanks to Mrs. Limestone over at Adventures of Renovating A Brooklyn Limestone,
I downloaded her free printable.

One trip to the UPS store later, we had Christmas cards!

These cards are great because you can add a special little treat with them- peppermint tea!

I added a little handwritten note and stapled in the peppermint tea
(which, by the way, smells ah-maz-ing!)

Off to the mailbox they go!

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