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Full of Hope Chest

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My summer to do list has been filled with nondescript painting of 10 foot plus taller white walls… Alone… In our approx. 3,000 sq. ft. house. By the time I get done, all of the colors will be out of style. It’s only been three years, maybe I’ll be finished by next year?! So, I had to take a quick break to tackle one of my preferred painting objects… Furniture!
This time, the project got really, really personal. Hold your tongue, Mother, I chose to paint my hope chest (AKA: my first piece of furniture)! Remember the days when a young lady would get a hope chest for her 16th birthday, then fill it with her dowry of important items. Ha! A modern lady I am, there was not much of monetary value, mostly just sentimental. It took me over 20 years to even touch it though. Years ago, I thought that I would try to fix the chew marks from my beloved fur babies by repairing, stripping, and restating it. Yeah, that didn’t happen. But after I met CeCe Caldwell chalk paint, I was a convert for sure.

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Several months back, I purchased some samples of CeCe Caldwell paint, Santa Fe Turquoise and Nantucket Spray. I used the dry brush technique to complete this project for all applications.
So dry, in fact, that the paint was changing colors as I was working because it dried so fast!

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Initially, I thought that I would only use the first color, but it was way too Southwest in style for me.

20130802-225500.jpg After thinking about it and digesting the color for a day, I tried the second color of Nantucket Spray. I used the entire 4 oz. sample of Santa Fe Turquoise and just a little of the Nantucket Spray.

20130802-225617.jpg Finally, I used the magical sparkle… Martha Stewart Living Metallic Glaze Specialty Finish (Black Coffee 356 333) from the local home improvement store.

20130802-225857.jpg I applied the glaze with a sponge pad applicator. Using an old damp rag, I rubbed away and “sanded” down the finish to expose the wood.

20130802-230251.jpg So now, I just need to let it sit and rest until I decide for certain I am happy with this distressed look. Then, I will apply CeCe Caldwell’s clear wax to protect the finish.

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So far, I am happy with the results… It’s much more reflective of my personality as opposed to the wheat design carved into the front. Mom, what were you thinking? We’re not from Kansas!

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So tell me, do you have a hope chest? Did you rescue it from it’s sad state? Or can you not bear to touch it, like me?

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This new color coordinates so much better with the other pieces I have done in my master bed room. Check out my bed… It’s actually made for a change! And see the pretty and simple euro sham cover I added so that it doesn’t take away from my headboard?

20130802-231954.jpg See my other posts to check out how I put this headboard together: upcycled antique headboard also check out my non-matching side tables: My hubby’s side… peacock tarnished dresser

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wife’s side… silver leaf dresser

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I’ve got to get these posted now so that I. Can head over to Miss Mustard Seed’s linky party of Furniture Feature Friday! Take care!
P.S. what do you think about the Sherwin Williams Ellie Grey on the walls?

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Lucky Luckett’s Work Bench

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In the south, you have to perform your clean outs in the winter or cooler spring/fall months. When you enter an attic or barn on a 100+ degree day, you put your life on the line and risk heat stroke. I’ve been able to take advantage of these unusually cool May days in South Texas, so I ventured into my grand-in-law’s barn to find a few items in need of work. I had spotted this baby before and Sunday was it’s day of restitution… Or Rescue-tution!!!
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Excited to get started, I failed to photograph it in its former pathetic state… Picture this: a haunted house, covered with cobwebs, dirt dobber nests, pure grittiness…(Is that even a word?) after I removed the cobwebs and dirt, I decided to give it a quick spray with the garden hose. The afternoon sun would beat down quickly to dry it out.

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The wood was still in great shape, although very dried out. It is sturdy and obviously made by hand with a story. My hubs has no recollection of the bench or any backstory. It didn’t stick out in his mind.
Instantly, a small sample of MMS Luckett’s Green milk paint came to mind for this project. I rescued an empty spaghetti sauce jar and got to mixing. It was already an old bench and I knew that I wanted to make it part of my mud room. I didn’t want the chippy paint look or real chipped paint attaching to my backside as I walk out the door every morning. Therefore, I used the MMS bonding agent to keep the paint from chipping.

20130524-230134.jpg. Immediately, the bench soaked up the paint, but it went on very thin and watery. The pigments were very blue at first, but by the time I got to the bottom of my mixing jar , the yellow pigments revealed themselves. You’ve got to be OK with the inconsistencies of milk paint and not be so anal retentive about the color consistency. The sample packet was perfect for this small project. I learned that warmer water worked best when I mixed the paint. The easiest way to mix it was to shake it all up together in the glass jar.

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So far, my Investment was a little elbow grease and a few hours of my time…
I wanted to finish this piece because it would be in a high traffic area… Aka: in a house with kids, pets, and a husband! Ha! I pulled out the CeCe Caldwell clear wax I had on hand. I had never used it and I didn’t have the round wax brush yet that I had intended on purchasing to use with the wax. But, I did have an old tee shirt laying around. So I went to town!

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The wax was very soft and super easy to work with. This picture above shows the wax on the lower portion of the bench and no wax on the upper portion of the bench. I know this picture doesn’t do the colors much justice, but the waxed portion is so much brighter and the milk paint details really come out. See this final photo below for the vibrant milk paint color of the old forgotten work bench that was lucky to be rescued from an old Texas barn! Don’t you just love the texture?
Now, I’m in search of the backstory that accompanies this piece. I’ll have to have my ear bent
by a few of my husband’s family members to search out its’ former story. I can’t wait… In the meantime, it has a new use by our garage door into a makeshift mud room bench. I just love my three hour Sunday afternoon makeover! What do you think? Oh, and if nobody has a backstory for this bench, you can bet we’ll make up an Irish tall tale to accompany it. If you’ve read any other part of my blog, you’ll know that many of my pieces have stories to boot. What kind of story do you think I should write?
I linked up at Miss Mustard Seed Furniture Feature Friday.

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Southern Living Houston Showcase Home

20130519-171616.jpgHello, it’s been a while. I have lots of projects currently in the works, but nothing is completely finished at the present moment. But as I was going through some old photos in Dropbox a few weeks ago, I remembered something wonderful that inspired me to do some great things in my own home. I drug a 6 year old and a 3 year old out with me one beautiful Sunday last May to visit a showcase home that I found featured in Southern Living magazine. Call this an anniversary of sorts, but I wanted to share some of these exceptional ideas, some of which, have already inspired me in my own home.

Oh la la! This oval marble tile in the kitchen is divine! Obviously, the use of natural materials in such a unique shape is what puts this kitchen at the top of my wish list! I love classic, I love white, and I just love this the most!
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When I saw this turquoise beaded chandelier, I was sold! I had seen it previously on TV and in magazine spreads, but it is truly exquisite in person. I have considered this as a DIY project for all of one minute only due to the labor intensity it would require. I know that it has probably been overused, but as you can see throughout my blog, I’m a fool for turquoise blue.

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This kitchen table and chairs are right up my style alley. This antique Handmade European farm table is way out of my budget, but a girl can dream, can’t she? Just look at those hand-carved diamond pegs, no nails! Actually, I really love my own farm table which is a former 1930′s high school science lab table that I picked up at Marburger farms back during antiques week six years ago in Roundtop, Texas. It was my last large antique furniture investment. Speaking of investments, after I become debt free, I intend to purchase similar Tolix chairs (unpainted metal) to complement my kitchen table. I much prefer a casual table over a formal one. We just aren’t formal people and my dining table is just a big wasted space. I regret not wanting these sooner because I could’ve purchased them directly when I lived in Germany 11 years ago. I saw them at all of the outdoor cafes. Who knew they’d be a staple in homes worldwide?
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Stairs… What can I say? My big plans this summer are to transform my own carpet covered stairs with something like this. Thank goodness, my own stairs don’t have spindles going into the treads, but I don’t have a simple task at hand. I can’t just use store bought treads since I have multiple curves in my landing. So it’ll probably require hardwood flooring pieces and special bullnose trim for treads. I know a DIY gal can conquer it because Thrifty Decor Chick did it herself!
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This builtin mud room rack next to the kitchen was an ingenious application of carpentry skills in a small space. If you do not have room for a built in cabinet, explore this option.

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Special alert! What a fantastic tub! And guess what? It’s fiberglass. Oops, I hope I didn’t spoil it for you, but wow! Possibly affordable then? A modern alternative to a claw foot, you’ll need a table for your wine glass (quoting Tommy from Sarah 101 on HGTV). But, I love it! Simplicity at its finest? But as a mother conasuer, who’s gonna clean between the wall and tub AND you best have heated floors to dry up all the water from the floor when your kids try to “swim” in there OR have a thorough coating of waterproofed membrane all around to keep water from seeping through to the first floor! Yep, don’t ask… LOL it happens!
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Just look a this classic tile pattern. Simplicity again, isn’t this tile wonderful AND no special cuts required? It only takes standard 12×12′s and 4×4′s to lay this out. When I have a tile laying opportunity, I’m gonna try this pattern. 20130519-162133.jpg

One of the guest rooms had a beautiful antique headboard with wonderful hand carved art. Although something like this is out of most DIYer’s price range, I’m certain you could come up with something similar from upcycled lumber materials instead of buying a reproduction in the chain furniture retailers. Have you made anything like this before? Let me know. 20130519-164431.jpg

On to the backyard…what a dream! The only negative thing I have to say is that you could see the grill out on the back porch from the family room window. It wasn’t really a grill, but more of an outdoor kitchen with a huge exhaust vent to take away the smoke.
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This is a new version of a French drain without the faucet using an enamelware basin. I suppose they drag in a hose when needed, but it’s likely a great place to ice down some cold curves as. The drain goes through a hose and winds up in the garden area. I really like this idea and will ultimately incorporate this in my dream back yard!

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I think my favorite thing about this outdoor dining space is this pop of color found in that cute bike! I’d so be caught riding it, but my husband probably wouldn’t be caught dead riding with me.

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The courtyard is a bit formal for my taste, but I do really like the brick pavers and the pattern. The brick pavers were intentionally sized differently to appear old, but they were new… I think? My kids would require a grassy space to run around and play. Plus, I like the feel of good old fashion grass under my feet as well.

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Now, onto a project that I brought to my own garden to try. This flowering jasmine pattern is right up my alley too! We recently installed a new fence, plus our backyard space is limited as well. I wanted to try this grade pattern to grow a bougainvillea wall or some other sort of flowing vine plant. Take a look at their solution for a creative patterned wall, then I’ll show you mine.

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20130519-173042.jpg So, basically this pattern runs down the entire length of the property and is visible from the side windows. Also, take a look at this dog trot. It has crushed granite and raised AC units to allow the pups to run under. It’s a shady place and a great clean use of space. In my dreams…

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Now when I tried this install at home, I didn’t think we needed the heavy duty plastic covered cabling system, so I just got a training/vining kit from Lowe’s and installed it quickly. Everything was peachy UNTIL the mowers started trimming and cutting the base of my plants and killing the vines! argh! Anyway, they’re gone and the hubby bought a law mower again. I also got some plastic protective wrap to put around my planet bases to prevent this in the future. But, check out my system.

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20130519-173853.jpg I’ll have to blog again in the future about my grid system on the fence to show you how simple it is. My wires aren’t as taut and orderly as the original, but once the vines grow and flower so beautifully, that part is hidden.
Make sure to go to this link to see a short You Tube video on the Southern Living Home in Houston that was open for tours last spring. Oh well, better late than never!
Southern Living Houston Showcase Home

Great Discovery Right in my own City

Have you ever stumbled upon a great find in another city only to find out you had it at home? Well, that happened to me a few months ago when I stumbled across Nadeau Furniture in Austin. There are stores in both Houston and New Orleans PLUS other cities. Check out their website at http://furniturewithasoul.com/. I just loved the carvings, colors, and details. http://m1232.photobucket.com/albumview/albums/nadeauaustin/ti523-51_zps5aba1c47.jpg.html?o=20 check out their photobucket to see their great prices and items.
Now, this is an import store, so if you are opposed to making purchase of items that are not American made, then this is not the place for you to shop. I only wish you could find American made furniture this nice at these prices!

Oh, and they just announced a new store coming to Baton Rouge! Yeah!

Houndstooth Desk Inspired by Grandfather Part II

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Well, this project was definitely more than I could chew off as a DIY project for one weekend. In fact, any errors I made were in haste because I couldn’t let the paint dry completely. As time went on in this project, I found that patience is a virtue!
A few pointers:
1. Use the best quality tape. It really does make a difference. I bought better tape and there was virtually no bleeding.
2. Let each coat dry thoroughly between retaping, more like 2-3 days instead of 2-3 hours. This is the time consuming part…waiting!
3. Do not use a permanent marker to draw lines on the desk if you are planning to sand it. I did this at one point in some places, then painted over it. But, when I sanded, the paint removed itself and not the marker. Oops! Character!

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Basically, I repeated the pattern on the two outsides as I did on the top (see videos in part I).
part I

Then, I painted the drawers solid black. Next, I sanded the piece with a palm sander to give the aged and roughed up appearance I feel a boy’s desk should have. Finally, I spontaneously decided to add some stain to increase the aged look and to cover the bare wood spots. I also didn’t care for the honey stain, so I wanted to go darker. I think that I will wait on the final coat of polyurethane after it wears a bit.

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In the end, I decided to keep the original handles my mom put on for me when I was a child. They were both sentimental and a great pop against the black and wood.

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So, my son is seven and he loves Orange! I’m thinking that I need to paint the chair a bright glossy orange now. What is your thought?

I looked and looked for that old picture of my grandfather and me, the one that inspired me, but I just can’t locate it. I know this piece will bring many warm memories to me as I watch my son grow with it and I hope that he decides to keep it in the family for years to come. What heirloom piece inspires you?
I linked up with Thrifty Decor Chick…

Little League Style

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You may ask yourself as Mama Fratelli did in the Goonies, “Now why don’t she (he) write?” We’ll, two boys, baseball, Texas! Enough said, right?! So my creativity can’t be limited to household furniture. I got convinced to be the team mom for my four year old’s little league team because nobody else stepped up except a lady who was 38 weeks pregnant with twins! I just couldn’t let her do it.
Hence, the reason for this next post. First of all, I never knew in a million years how expensive it can be to put two boys in little league. I mean, if you don’t sell the raffle tickets, you have to buy them yourself… 100 bucks per kid! I just couldn’t bring myself to buy a new tshirt every time my kids got assigned to a different team named after the MLB teams. We just can’t catch a break and get assigned to the same team year after year. The only luck we had was that both boys got assigned to the Rangers in the same year.
Anyhow… On to my gr8 idea: I have this Cricut and Gypsy machine to make different sizes and styles of letters. I thought that I could use some adhesive vinyl to mark cut outs on a shirt, then paint it with fabric paint! By the way, I didn’t connect my letters with the Gypsy and you can use any cutout. No Cricut required!

So, I got ambitious and skipped the adhesive vinyl for card stock.

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You can choose to use the actual letters or the reverse impression of them. I used two different shirts, one from Micheal’s for four bucks and , # 2, from my closet. I had a really cute tshirt but it had oil stains on it. I’m just a target for stains on tshirts.

20130325-190949.jpg I wanted to use the reverse image, but needed to cover the oil stains on the tshirt.

20130325-191306.jpg I followed the directions for the fabric spray paint by placing a cardboard box between the layers of the tshirt to avoid seepage onto the back. Next, for a lack of perfection, I “eyeballed” the center of the shirt and laid out the card stock letters. I like crooked letters, not perfectly straight. The directions for the paint say to use adhesive to attach the letters to the shirt, but I skipped that part too and took my chances.

20130325-191636.jpg Next, I lightly sprayed over the letters to have a void of the letters.

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Then, I used tweezers to remove the letters. Or you can let it dry for about an hour, then remove.

20130325-192410.jpg As the letters sit for a few minutes, they will start to curl up then you can remove the letters easily.

20130325-192637.jpg This is the negative of the letters after the spray paint job!

20130325-192740.jpg My only issue with using this box was that I needed to slide in some newspaper between the shirt top and box to soak up any liquid seepage. My only dissatisfaction was that the edge of each side didn’t receive an even amount of paint so I touched up each side.

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This didn’t happen with the red shirt because I just stuck a thin piece of 12″x12″ cardboard between the shirt layers. There was a little bit of puddling of the spray paint in the upper right hand corner, but I’m fine with it!

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I’m pretty proud of my 2 T-shirts for less than $8. What do you think?
Find me at


Or so she says

Chalk Paint Virgin

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Well, I don’t what took me so long to do this. Chalk paint is much easier to use than milk paint because it is ready mixed, but I feared the unknown, I suppose. It all begin with this sad piece that was handed down to me by my grandmother years ago.

I had even loaned it back to her when I moved to Germany in the military and I got it back in her estate after she passed away. My grandma never had a lot of money, but she took pride in this collection of Ethan Allen furniture that she purchased second hand from a friend back in the 80′s. it was all dark wood and well made (she reminded me). But this hexagon cabinet in particular has been through the ringer especially by my two boys over the past 4-7 years without the coasters under drinks, etc. I can’t bear to part with the furniture I’ve inherited because it brings back so many memories. Plus, it’s better made than most things I can afford to buy. Here are some before photos. Please pardon the lighting.

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The den which has been renamed “kid zone” has dark walls, fabric, and a brown leather sofa. So, I had decided this piece needed to be lightened up. Plus, I was debating whether or not to use this color, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint French Linen, on my dining table. So what better way to swatch than on a small furniture piece?! I haven’t painted the interior yet because I am undecided, but it still looks great! I loved being able to paint indoors without the toxic fumes while watching HGTV! It was done start to finish in less than four hours (including drying time between coats and distressing).

20130311-230745.jpg My little helper supervises. See the first coat in this photo, a little too transparent for my desire.

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Note the little pits and imperfections in the wood from years of lovin’. By the way, I didn’t sand, clean or wipe down this piece to clean it before I started.
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I distressed (with a warm rag…yeah AND elbow grease…blah) wherever there were raised edges.

20130311-231041.jpg Compare the second coat to the distressed coat. I like the distressed look best for this piece to show off the panels.
Although the final piece looks white, it’s actually grey. I just love how the dark wood stain comes out under the paint where I wiped off the chalk paint.

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As a finishing touch and since this is going back to the kid zone, I rubbed it down with Minwax finishing paste wax with some old recycled rags. This step took the longest to polish on and to allow to dry. Overall, I was so happy with the result that I have decided to paint my dining table with it too! I should have done this sooner! My grandmother would be so proud of its extended life and facelift if she could see it now.
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I Hate Pottery Barn

Now, I had always been a fan of styles at Pottery Barn, but never one to dish out the prices. Later, I became more original in my own style and didn’t feel the need to spend so much there to achieve the look I wanted. Plus, I wouldn’t want to have what everyone else had in their homes. Anyhow, my recent dissatisfaction has led me to write this review. I never thought my blog would become a platform for negative reviews, but heck… Free speech, right?! I have given them multiple opportunities to remedy this, but nothing yet.

It all began with a relatively simple request. I had a 20% off coupon and some Christmas cash. I had spotted this lovely design and I planned to freshen up my bedding in my master bedroom. I chose to by a twin duvet cover so I could make my own pillow covers with a major price break and incorporate the fabric into other things in the room. So, I order two duvet covers, one king and one twin, in the same color, blue. What did Potty Barn (my new name for this place) decide to do? Well, since the king blue cover was back ordered, they decided to ship me the red one! No, I did not order the flippin’ red one. I was not able to refuse it at home because they delivered while I was at work. Go figure! So, I returned the Rosalie king duvet in red because I did not order that one. Yes, I refused it, but from work since the UPS man comes daily. My mistake… I didn’t have a new label to track it. First of all, it took a month to return to the warehouse to be located. Once they returned it, I got charged $10 for return shipping. It was a simple request, really, I ordered two Rosalie duvet covers, one king and one twin, both in blue. How difficult is this to get correct?

Remember, I ordered this right after Christmas during … Guess when? Holiday shipping!!!! Since this took 6-8 weeks to hash out, my return window had since closed for the twin duvet and I can only get a merchandise credit if I return it! Really!
I had also requested to return the twin, but their return policy does not include mailing or emailing a shipping label. Instead they want you to meet the UPS man face to face and have him hand deliver a label to affix before my eyes, then have him take it away to be returned. Sorry, I don’t have time for that and, although UPS delivers to my place of business, I cannot wait at the door for the arrival of the beloved label. Some people still work around here… Forget about it! If I decide not to keep it, I will sell it on eBay or something. It’s a shame, really, because the fabric is beautiful. But, since they have wronged me too many times, I cannot shop at Potty Barn again! What have your experiences been? Is it just me?

Tootsie Roll Butterflies Last Minute Kids Valentine Ideas

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With all of the marketing that goes on with holidays, I thought it would be more appropriate if my boys created their own valentine cards this year instead of falling for the commercial solution. This is an easy (I mean EZ) project. Why? Because a 4 and half year old can do it with little help.
Take a 12” x 12” piece of themed scrapbook paper. If you are in a pinch, then construction paper works. Cut the page into quarters.
Final size: 4 pieces of 3” x 12”. Assist your child to fold each piece in half lengthwise (like a hotdog).br />
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Go ahead and draw five to six heart shaped halves. 20130213-212022.jpg

Have your child cut out the hearts. I really wanted to let him do this part himself and I restrained from helping too much. I just supervised the fingers.<


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Next, have your child write his/her own name. This is especially important. Depending on age, you may need to assist. Perhaps use small stamps if they can’t write many. I also had a small Stampin’ Up rubber stamp that says “Happy Valentine’s Day.” I allowed him to do this himself.
Get a large bag of assorted Tootsie Roll. Using glue dots or Elmer’s glue, put 2-3 dots of glue and attached the heart (design side up) to the Tootsie Roll to make your own Valentine treat.
This is a cheap, homemade and creative alternative!
Cre8ive Charly

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I linked up at: Not Just a Housewife Blog
Or so she says

Great finds Texas road trip

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On my road trip from Houston to Austin last week, I was referred to Whistle Stop Antiques in Giddings, Texas. Unfortunately, everything wasn’t for the taking, but I did get some shots of some great pieces. Too bad there’s no kitchen remodel in the immediate future, otherwise I’d have purchased this beautiful old butcher table for an island. I cannot stand the fact that we only have abut 18″ of clearance between my refrigerator and the builtin island with cabinets and electricity. I need to check underneath and see if the tile runs under the cabinets continuously.

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Next, I found some really cute holiday greetings manufactured from metal. If I hadn’t found the best find of the trip ( next photo) then I might have purchased this one. I had wished they would have been on sale too since it’s February.

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But the best deal and my favorite find was this reclaimed wood and industrial side table that I had inquired about stuffed in the farthest most corner of the store just checking the price (not labeled on piece). I thought it was probably too expensive since it wasn’t labeled. Boy, was I wrong?!
The employee told me she inquired with the dealer about the price and it was $60, but she could take 20% off. Hello?!!!! Can you say SOLD??? I responded in a delicate affirmation, “I’ll take it.” What a steal? So, I thought! I’m right. See what it replaced… I had a bulky filing cabinet at the end of the couch. Now, it’s airy and perfect for the dark living room/media room.

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Before, it was too crowded… What do you think?

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