Sunday, August 31

August Highlights & Happenings

August has been a whirlwind of activity in our house. Homeschool started the 19th, and although there have only been 8 actual school days, I'm already feeling tuckered out! Whew, gotta get back into the swing of things...I got soft over the summer. *wry grin* 

BIG News!
I've been working really hard the last couple months on a big project. Nope, it's not a building project... I'm moving my blog to Wordpress today!! I've had a vision for what I wanted the blog to be, but wasn't able to accomplish it on the limited Blogger platform... FINALLY I have been able to put together a design that best reflects who I am. I hope you love it as much as I do. I know there will be a period of adjustment, and please be patient with me if there are any broken links, I'll work hard to get everything perfect just for you. ;)
The new design contains the same functions you enjoyed before, but improved for better navigation! Now your rollover thumbnails are filterable! When you want to see only posts with "Wall Art", click on that button and those are the thumbnails you'll see. Or stay on "All" for everything. There are also a few new features on the house tour page, and organize page. 

Even BIGGER News!!

I made it as 1 of 3 finalists for Home + Garden Trendsetter of the Year! Pinch me, I must be dreaming! I will be flying to Orlando Florida in October to present before a panel of judges that will determine the winner. However they will take into account YOUR votes on short videos from each of the contestants. I'd appreciate all your support and votes on my Simple Lamp Update video here. Thank you SO much!

The Great Big Etsy Giveaway

Congratulations to all the winners of the Great Big Etsy Giveaway!! I know you will LOVE your prizes. Keep an eye on your inbox, I've sent you an email with further instructions to claim your prizes! And thank you to all 6 amazing Etsy shops who made the giveaway possible!
It has been a busy August, but I have a feeling September will be even crazier. AND I'm tackling my office space...which I will be sharing the month of September and October!
Have a lovely September!!

Tuesday, August 26

5 Glam Ways To Organize School Supplies | She Knows

This month my round-up article for She Knows was spurred by the panic of "school is right around the corner"! Whether you are a homeschool mom like me, or send your kids off in style every day, we've all experienced the frustrations of kids coming home from school with a project due and not being able to find the supplies needed to finish the project! How is it that out of all the materials we buy in preparation, they end up in corners of our house, broken under foot, and never where we want them to be? It is the great mystery of having kids.
Well I'm on a mission to figure out how to organize those supplies in a way that reduces chances of them being lost, and is attractive enough to blend in with the decor of my house!

Read more here...

Monday, August 25

Wallternatives, A Beautiful Wall Art Solution!

My sister Sarah and her husband have a sweet humble apartment (translation...tiny), and a modest decorating budget (translation...minuscule to none), and lots of time to make it beautiful (well that's just a straight up lie... I'm surprised they have time to eat Ramen between work and college!).

Ah the life and budget of a student. I can't say I miss it. *grin*  That being said, my sister has the same decorating itch I do, and has been dying to put something pretty up on her walls.
The moment I found out about 
Wallternatives™  Wall Decals, I knew I had the perfect solution for her rental! This gorgeous  "Art Is Everywhere" Dorm Decor decal is exactly the right mix of artsy and modern typography for my sister's apartment. 

Decor that won't upset her landlord and makes her space look great... am I a great sister or what? Haha, don't think I neglected my own walls however, I have some cute gold triangle shaped decals I'll be using when I tackle my eldest daughters bedroom. I can't wait!
As you can see here, my sister's walls are a bit sparse, so Wallternatives™ wall decals are the perfect solution!
Meet My Sister, Sarah
"I was excited to try the Wallternatives™ decal for my apartment. It was wonderfully easy to use, even for someone like me who gets confused by directions and has to reinvent the whole process."
"There are step-by-step instructions online, but, rebel that I am, I basically just peeled the backing off and stuck it on the wall. Easy-peasy. Even though my wall is lightly textured, the decal stays on well from the first application. "
"The astonishing thing is that it looks like it was painted on. The vinyl material is very thin, but strong and opaque. It's not sticky at all, which my landlords will appreciate! I love how it gives my living room instant style with a modern edge, and was pretty much effortless!"

Thanks for sharing Sarah! 
Isn't my sister and her husband the cutest couple? Hm, I might be liiiittle bit biased, but they are doing beautiful things with their little temporary home!  One of these days I'll give you a tour of their apartment with all the fantastic tips they have for making home while living the life of a student on a barely budget. 

***This post is powered by Wallternatives™ Wall Decal, pattern for the people. You can find this beautiful "Art Is Everywhere" Dorm Decor decal here,  as well as many other beautiful decals!

Thursday, August 21

The Great Big Etsy Giveaway

For the past two months you've drooled over beautiful products in the featured Etsy shops. Well, drool no more! The day has finally come when you can enter to win one, two, or maybe all six gorgeous products!
A big thank you to all the Etsy shops for sharing their journeys over the last couple months, and for powering this giveaway! In case you missed any of the Etsy shop's features, you'll find each one here:

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Monday, August 18

The Great Fake Flower Debate

I was so bummed when I spent $9.00 for the most beautiful orchid (below), and after carefully following the directions for care, it croaked (can plants croak?) within a week.  And this isn't my first plant killing offense... on my record sits two other orchids, a fern, a variety of kitchen window herbs, and one sad little indoor cactus. Seriously? I killed a cactus. 

I seem to be very unlucky when it comes to indoor plants, thank goodness my black thumb doesn't apply to outdoor plants or my garden would be doomed. Interestingly my latest orchid flower died, but the leaves are apparently heartier than it's delicate counterpart because they thrived. One day, in frustrated desperation I bought a couple of the loathed silk flowers and stuck it in the ground where the doomed orchid once abode.

I found myself fairly impressed that these $2.00 impostors could almost look picturesque. Definitely not the real deal, however, it had me second guessing my previous prejudice against fake flowers, and I believe it's time to revisit "the great fake flower debate".

I set out on a hunt to find fantastic silk flowers, and I must say I've been impressed with my finds. Now, being that I consider it a trial run, I was a bit reluctant to spend, so I bought some "mid range" flowers rather than the high end flowers. Not so bad for near cheapies right?

Here are some very clearly fake flowers, but still unkillable. I really like the fake orchid, but I'm not too sure I fancy this particular set... we'll see.

Well? What do you think? What I do think? I'm still not sure, but my desire to have flowers and indoor plants is pushing me to reconsider my stance on fakes. My theory is that if I stick to the convincing fakes and intersperse a few real plants (even if they only live a few days), it will throw people off enough to fool them! Hee hee. Do you think it will work?

Anyway, I'd love to hear you chime on the old fake flower you think it will always be tacky, or has technology upgraded fake flowers to good standing for the modern home? Is fake making a comeback? 

Thursday, August 14

Etsy Love - Montana Photo Journal

As my eyes wander over these pieces, sometimes I swear I can feel the crisp air, and the peace of the great outdoors. Annie, owner of Montana Photo Journal has an eye for the majestic. Her photographs seem to transport me to the beautiful open spaces I've yet to experience for myself, and I'm in love with the vivid colors and accented textures in many of her photographs.
I'm pleased to welcome Annie to the blog today!

Meet Annie | Owner, Photographer
I grew up outside. I always remember loving to explore and discover things that no one else knew about. I grew up on my family's ranch in central Montana, in the Smith River valley. It is unnaturally beautiful, especially the sky. I love the sky, and as a habit learned early on, I've spent much of my life watching it to gauge the weather or just because there was something spectacular going on up there. I use the sky in my photography whenever possible, as I believe there's no better subject. I love the change of the seasons and all of the subtle little differences it creates in the atmosphere. The summer is rich and vibrant, and the winter, while harsh, is softer and quieter and that reflects in the photographs I take. I still love to "explore" and take many road trips across Montana and other western states, keeping an eye out for anything unusual or beautiful. I started my shop after accumulating years worth of photographs and having nothing and nowhere to display them. I enjoy every order and love to send my work off to those places very different from where I live, as it feels as though the world isn't so big. I like being able to connect with customers on a personal basis. I hope you enjoy my work!


There are so many beautiful prints to choose from, I had a hard time narrowing down which I wanted to feature! Can you tell I'm a sucker for the artistry of storm clouds? Which is your favorite?
How would you like to own your favorite? You could win an 8x10 print of your choosing! The great big Etsy Love giveaway begins in one week, so look back at all the Etsy features to see the fantastic products that could grace your home, then get ready to enter!

Follow MT Photo Journal on Etsy, Facebook, or via the Montana Photo Journal Blog. Annie shares a little bit behind each photograph on her blog, which always makes it more interesting to me. Knowing the history, experiencing it vicariously not only through the photograph but the photographer adds a new depth of meaning.

Monday, August 11

Touring Through Blogland

Hey guys! My super awesome bloggy friend Melissa from A Prudent Life invited me to take a trip down the rabbit hole with her, so I said heck yeah. *Grin* Don't worry it isn't anything weird or inappropriate (although I bet you were wondering why I would squeal my "yes" so quickly). She tagged me in this neat Touring Through Blogland series. That means I get to answer 4 questions, and you learn a bit more about me than you probably cared to know. Then I get to introduce you to a couple other blog friends with a-mazing blogs, then they'll do the same the following week!

But before I share a little bit about me... have you met Melissa? Melissa and Katie (from Addicted 2 DIY) were my roommates at the Haven conference...and well, as girls do (I think we forgot we were grown women with families), after a night of "spilled secrets" and lots of giggles, you can't help but become chummy. Check out her post from last week (I'm in it!!) and learn a thing or two about her. Mmmm, also check out her awesome craft room! Be still my beating crafty heart!

So You Wanna Know About Little Ole Me?>>

·         What am I working on right now?

Well I'm working on eating a delicious butterscotch muffin right now....mmmmmmm, and it's soooo geuoood! I have such a sweet tooth I should be working on reducing the size of my butt rather than scarfing down this muffin. Sorry...totally off topic. I'm brushing the crumbs off my keyboard and getting back on topic. Blog...right. 
I'm currently working on my home office/craftspace/workspace/sitting room. Yep, this room is going to be the jack-of-all-trades room! I can't wait to show you guys in a month or two (if I can ever finish)!
Just for you (well, and for Tatertots & Jello since I shared it there two weeks ago), a sneak peek at one of my office projects.

·         How does my work differ from others in this genre?

Besides being probably the cheapest and currently the most broke blogger out there? Lol! Hey, the hubs and I just paid off our we're broke now but "home free" for the future! All our cheapness, hand-me-down furniture, holey clothes, and DIY everything, is going to pay off soon! But that is just one aspect...
DIY bloggers are awesome and I love being in this blog genre, but occasionally I think we have to reel ourselves back in and remember the purpose behind what we do. That is doing it for family. I firmly believe that decorating should be a process married to organization, and organization should be for the betterment of us as people. Believe it or not, I don't make a pretty, well organized space just for looks...I believe in making a space that functions to make some aspect of my (and my family's) life simpler, and enable us as we strive to form positive habits.

·         Why do I write/create what I do?

Besides being an incurable DIY junkie? *huge grin* No but seriously, as I mentioned before, I became a junkie because I have THE most expensive taste, and no decor budget. Can any of you relate to that in one area or another in your life? You gasp with delight at some gorgeous product, then look at the tag and your heart drops because you realize (yet again) that you've been drawn to a brand that is pricey beyond belief. Well I'm guessing our chances of winning the lottery aren't too good (especially since I don't buy lotto tickets, lol!), so my solution has been to make my own knock-off versions of whatever I love!

·         How does my writing/creative process work?

Well, I've discovered that my shower has superpowers. I go in tired, cranky, stinky, and perplexed...then in the course of a single shower thoughts and words start pouring through my brain, and by the time I leave I'm renewed, energetic, clean, and ready to save the world! I'm convinced the water is magical and infuses me with ideas. 
Hmmm, maybe it has something to do with feeling relaxed or rested, because I also have ideas pouring out of my ears after a nights rest. I'm one of those people who wake up in the morning with a thousand exciting ideas coursing frantically through my brain, and I stumble booger eyed toward my computer to quickly put reminder notes for me to expound on after devotions. 

Now Meet My Awesome Bloggy Friends>>

Do you know Aniko from Place of My Taste?
Well you should, because #1. she's stink'in awesome. #2. she's ridiculously stylish. #3. I want her *grin*
Ok, Aniko and I "cheated" a little, and we're featuring each other! See, she asked me to participate when I was planning to do the same! lol!  So pop over to her blog today and read her tour through blogland post today.

More About Aniko: She is a wife, mommy of two, business owner, photographer, DIY-er and design lover by heart. In her crazy busy life she always finds herself working on a new DIY project, a craft or perhaps a new room makeover. When she is not projecting, she is busy in the kitchen as she also loves cooking. You can find her mouthwatering recipes on her blog as well. 

Do You Know Katrina from Chic Little House?
I met Katrina at Haven, and not only is her blog chic, she is definitely one chic lady! When I heard she was on the Nate Berkus show, I wasn't surprised at all. I'm always inspired by her stylish taste!
More About Katrina: Katrina is a Northern California native, blogging at Chic Little House. Dedicated to bringing her passion for Design, Thrifting, DIY Projects and All Things Home on a budget to all of you. Her goal is to create a home full of character and charm with the perfect blend of style, purpose & sophistication for our casual California lifestyle. She resides in Sacramento, Ca with her husband and two kids. 

Do You Know Jessica from Gourley Girl & Guy?

I met Jessica when I threw myself (in extreme exhaustion) into a chair near her at Haven. I think I asked if it was taken...I'm not sure because I'd pretty much kicked my manners to the curb in my haze. Lo and behold, this chica was just what I needed to perk up! In no time at all she had me in stitches with anecdotes! Jessica is chock full of personality...I liked her instantly!

More About Jessica: Hey friends! I'm Jessica from Gourley Girl & Guy and I share a little bit of everything. I'm a teacher who, with the help of my husband (the preacher), tackles DIY projects around our house. We keep busy with the kids from school and church, sometimes in the midst of our projects. Most recently, we've been posting about our battle with infertility and our master bedroom maekover (more progress coming soon)! We truly hope you'll come join us as we blog about all kinds of stuff (the sarcasm and bad puns are free!) and work on making our house into a home. We're desperate to throw a party--and YOU are invited! 

Next week read more about each of these incredible ladies from their blogs.
Have a fantastic week!