Craft room {in my closet} home tour

I am so excited to be taking part in The Country Chic Cottage craft room tour today!  I don't have a conventional craft room, but instead, you can find my craft/sewing room tucked away at the back of my closet. Hopefully, it will leave you thinking outside of the box if you are looking for an area that is all your own.

My husband actually built this area for me, installing can lights, extra outlets, and a desk with three shelves. I just have to show you what the area looked like before. What a mess! 

This is a huge improvement on my old closet space don't you think!

I bought the little vintage stool at a garage sale. It's surprisingly comfortable and provides the perfect blend of seating and storage. The top of the stool opens and has thread storage and a large inside area where I put my yards of burlap. 

Let's take a look around to see the rest!

The one thing stay at home moms should be doing every single day

It's been said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in something. If we go by that idea, then after 16 years of being a stay at home mom, I think I'm going to don that expert title and roll with it.

Just last year, besides my blog {that I work on from home}, I started working outside of the home on a very part time basis as a substitute teacher. I have learned a few things, but one of those things I think is the one thing that stay at home moms should be doing every single day.

It wasn't that long ago that I had a houseful of very cute but very mischievous little people. I remember when this picture was taken. Our youngest, who was a toddler, was very interested in the gingerbread house that his sister had made. We had it sitting on display in our entry and the little guy took the chance to sneak away and pull the tray with the gingerbread house down so that he could have a little snack.

He's shoving his mouth full of gingerbread house candy oblivious to the fact that his sister is heartbroken on the floor looking at the damages of her hard work and beautiful creation.

I know very well what the days look like when you stay at home with your children, and now I can compare it with those of the working parent. Here is the one thing that I take away with me from my job that I wasn't doing before. It may just be life changing for you stay at home moms.


Handmade Stainless Steel Wedding Band

Handmade Wedding Band

Love is in the air

I think this is the ultimate in craftiness for 2009 and with Valentine's day rolling around, maybe it will inspire someone to think out of the box. I always rack my brain for what to get Mike for his birthday and for Christmas. It never fails that the majority of what I get him, ends up heading back to the store. Thankfully, this gift was a hit! Mike's uncle Dave made his very own wedding ring years ago. About 8 years ago when I was getting a new wedding set (long story!), I was without my ring for about a month. Mike didn't like me being in public without a ring on my finger (guess he was afraid that the two small children on my hip wouldn't be enough to fight all of the available bachelors off!) so he made me a temporary ring to wear one day in the machine shop at work. I wore that bad boy everyday until I got my ring back, and if I didn't like diamonds so much, I would probably still be wearing it!

Anyway, Uncle Dave's two boys have both gotten married in the past few years, and each wife made their husbands wedding band with the help of their new father in law. Chad and Shawna were the most recent wedding, and while looking through their wedding pictures there was a shot with the two girls and Dave holding the wedding bands. Mike saw the picture and made a flippant comment like "why don't you make me a ring?" Well, I tucked that little gem in the back of my mind and decided I would ask Uncle Dave if he could help me make a ring for Mike for Christmas.

Fast forward a few months to late November, and I finally asked Dave if he would help me make a ring. I only had one available day to work on it (Owen's pre-school is just not long enough sometimes!) thanks to a playdate after school, so I called up Davie to see if he could help me. Thankfully, everything fell into place. I showed up at the family business (AST) and got to work on this stainless steel ring (after some calculations from Mike's dad on the ring size--I was totally shocked that people actually use pie to solve equations!) made out of the same hunk of stainless steel that Chad and Josh's rings are made out of. Dave helped me on the lathe and we got to work on Mike's ring. I love that the edges are beveled and the front is thicker than the back (sort of off center). I came away from the morning with all my fingers in tact and some experience on the lathe. As much fun as it was, I'm not trading in my sewing machine anytime soon!


Horn turned into a necklace creating wearable art

Last August I went on one of the most amazing trips ever. I spent a few days after a visit in Uganda in the Masai Mara wildlife reserve in Kenya. I had always dreamed of going on safari before, but didn't know that it would be something that I would ever be able to do. You can read more about my experience on safari here and here.

While we were at one of the local safari camps, I acquired an Impala horn. It was found in the dried scat of an animal and looks to be that of a small Impala that was a yummy dinner for one of the bigger animals in the Mara. However, it's pretty darn small, so I'm now second guessing if it's an Impala or a Topi.  Whatevs, it doesn't really matter. It's awesome.

I brought it home, not sure what I would do with it, but just this past weekend, I decided to try making a necklace out of it and the end result is fantastic! I love it! And I love that it reminds me of a such a special place in this world.


What not to Google

Last week my husband and I were just sitting on the couch talking and he asked me if I knew what those little hanging balls were inside of your throat. Not the uvula that hangs down at the back, but the balls inside your throat.  He had just had a scope because he was having some health issues and while the doctor was telling him all these things, he couldn't remember what that particular piece of anatomy was.

I didn't know either so I told him I wasn't sure.

He responded with "that's too bad because I was going to Google it but I didn't think "googling" balls in your throat would get me the results I was looking for."

I posted our little quip on Facebook because we are hilarious that's why. And the responses from my friends on what not to Google was hilarious.  I am sharing a few of those today and hope that you have some that you can add too because we could all use a good laugh. Plus also we are helping the fellow man from seeing things they cannot un-see on the interwebs. It's like a public service really. 

So here we go.  What not to Google...

Lazy Cleaning Tricks for a Spotless Home

I like a clean home. I feel overwhelmed with clutter and messes. I just don't love to clean my house. I know there are people out there who love to scrub every surface, to spend their free time sorting and organizing every closet and cabinet. I'm just not one of them. 

I was hoping that as my kids got older that maybe I could put them to work doing the stuff I don't like to do, but to be honest, they really aren't that great at cleaning either. Don't get me wrong, they are super great at making messes, but the cleaning up part is their downfall. 

After nearly 20 years of having a home of my own to clean, I've got some lazy cleaning tricks up my sleeve and I'm spilling the secrets today on how you can have a spotless home the lazy way.


Talk of the Town link party and features week 3

Welcome back to Talk of the Town!
Talk of the Town Link Party

Before we get started, let's take a look at what your hosts have been up to:

ToT Features
Here's what your hosts are talking about from last week's party!

ToT Angie's Pick
ToT Gail's Pick
Tiered tin stand

ToT Featured Blog
Each week we are featuring a blogger and their blog to introduce you to the different bloggers who link up with us! Make sure to pay them a visit, and say hello while you’re there!

Our featured blogger this week is Linda from Coastal Charm.
Talk of the Town featured blogger
Linda blogs about her family life, beach condo on the Alabama gulf coast, vintage booths/shows, and her junking and traveling adventures.

Now, it's YOUR turn...

TOT something to talk about
By linking up at Talk of the Town, you agree that your photos may be shared on social media to promote the party or featured in a round-up by the blog hosts.
A link back to your party hosts is always appreciated!


how to make your own handmade leather passport cover from vintage leather

I have a love affair with leather. Not just any leather--that soft buttery leather that just feels right when you touch it. That kind of leather is hard to come by, but when I found a piece of it at a garage sale this past summer, I couldn't pass it up. 

It wasn't in the best shape, but it was the smoothest leather you have ever felt and it was nearly 100 years old! It was an old book cover with a hand painted Indian on it that was falling apart. Boy if that thing could talk! The stories it could tell and the places it had been!  So, I kept that book cover that was falling apart tucked away in my closet until I decided what to make with it. 

I finally decided to make a leather passport cover. Our whole family has passports and in a drawer, they all look the same.  I knew I wanted something that would set it apart from the others and have a fun story to tell.

Lately, my passport has become one of my favorite possessions. I love the stories behind the stamps and the amazing places that it's taken me. Travel to me, is one of the greatest gifts.  I love my passport now even more with this handmade leather cover made from an old treasure I picked up at a garage sale.

You don't have to use a vintage book cover, you can use any piece of leather that you have. Maybe an old coat or a scrap from a project. It took me less than twenty minutes to make. Come see how!


The Honda Odyssey mini van review

I am not one of those moms who thinks she's too cool for a mini van. I've owned a mini van for nearly two decades and I am unapologetic about it. I love my mini van. I even wrote a little love note to my mini van.

It's practical and to be honest, I don't think my three kids could have survived childhood had they all had to be squeezed in together in a backseat row. And now as they are getting bigger with gangly legs and big feet we need the room that a mini van provides.  I've tried to pretend that we don't. I've tried out sporty sedans and cute SUV's in hopes that maybe just maybe I could break free from the chains of a mini but I just can't. I am a die hard and will be a die hard until my dying day!

Heck, how else am I supposed to load up all of my garage sale treasures every weekend if I didn't have a mini van? And as we prepare to launch our oldest son off to college in the fall, I can see vans full of college crap loaded up for years to come as our kids trickle out of the house.

After I tried out {and loved} the Kia Sedona  I begged to try the 2016 Honda Odyssey. In my head, it's been the most logical replacement for our current 2005 Honda Odyssey that is lacking all of the bells and whistles {and vacuums} that the newer version has. And so, for a week, I gave the Odyssey a try to see what I would think of the much more sophisticated updated version of my current van that I am driving would be like.  

You might be surprised to see what I thought. And as always, my 17 year old son is writing the nuts and bolts review to let you know what he thought.


Kids hand painted watercolor cards made into gifts for friends and family members

I know Christmas is over, but we didn't want to spoil the surprise for our friends and family members, so I'm just now sharing them with you. These watercolors are winter heavy, but the same idea can be used anytime of the year to make a special gift for friends and family members.

My 13 year old daughter painted them and I think she did a great job.

Come see what each of them looks like and find out how you can make your own.


Easy to sew, easy to give beginners pajama pant kit with free downloadable directions file

My niece is eight and when she asked her mom recently for a sewing kit, my sister in law was at a loss. She wasn't quite sure something like that existed or really what she was looking for, so when I got the questioning text, I messaged back "I got this!".
I ended up taking one of my readers favorite tutorials and creating a pajama pants kit that had pre-cut materials inside to make a beginners sewing project. 

I'm sharing with you the file, so that you can create a sewing kit for some of the beginner seamstresses that are in your life.

Should you join a gym? Pros and cons of gym membership

Almost exactly eight years ago I started hitting the gym as part of a rare new year's resolution that I had made. I was turning 30 and was done having kids and one of my older friends kept telling me how much your metabolism changes once you hit your 30's and lawd knows, I didn't need that catching up with me!

I've never been the most athletic person. I like being active and being outside but if you are playing a game, I don't blame you for picking me last. I had never stepped onto an elliptical before, never really used weights to work out with and outside of a PE class in high school where we did a Cindy Crawford workout video, I had never done a group fitness class ever.

But, with three small kids at home, my attempts at finding time to workout weren't working out, so I took advantage of the great deals in the new year and found a gym that offered a free three week trial. I got comfortable with the idea of going to the gym and then joined a different gym that was closer to my house that had everything that I needed.

If you are like millions of Americans who resolve to get healthy in the new year, I have a few thoughts if you are considering gym membership. It may save you a ton of money!


The secret to keeping your New Year's Resolution

The secret to keeping your New Year's Resolution

Every January it's the same old thing. The gym that I frequent is always busy, the racks at the stores are full of workout gear and there are ads all over for weight loss this and diet secret that. 

I was one of those New Year's resolution makers that said I would start hitting the gym. I was 29...about to hit 30. I had three small kids at home and I was skinny but I wasn't fit. I had heard that your metabolism changes at 30. I had fears that my nightly bowl of ice cream and my dessert snacking were going to catch up with me, so I took advantage of one of those 3 weeks free gym trials and I started to work out. I switched gyms once I found out how much the fees were, but I did start a healthy habit that I have actually kept for eight years now.

But I must confess, I hate this time of year. I hate the people who show up at my gym and make me shift my normal routine. Faces I see for a few weeks before they drop off again. The workout clothes that get bought with good intentions, but that only get worn after February to run errands in.

Trust me. It's gotten harder and harder for me to sometimes find the time to fit workouts in, but I think I might have the secret for you so that you can keep your New Year's resolution to live a healthier lifestyle.

new years resolutions


One word of the year

Last year, I selected one little word for the year. It was the word intent. I surprised myself that I thought about that word often and was reminded of it several times throughout the year. I love the word intent and long to remain intentional in my actions this new year, but it's a new year, and I wanted to add a new word for me to focus on this year. 

It was only fitting that the perfect word came to me as I was sitting in church this past week. 

photo credit Josh Byers

A letter to the guy who smashed my car window and stole my purse

I feel like I need to give a little background to this post. A few weeks ago, I was parked in the evening in a Starbucks parking lot working on my blog. I had worked all day at the middle school at my other job as a substitute teacher.  So while my daughter was at cheer practice, I took the opportunity to get some of the work on the blog done that I had neglected that day.  I had Pandora pumping on my phone and was sipping on some decaf tea and was generally enjoying my evening.
This evening at Starbucks had become a sort of tradition on the two days a week that my daughter had cheer. I was getting to know the baristas and I had my refillable drink order down. In fact, one of the baristas had just offered me a snack platter for free {my favorite price!} since it was nearing it's expiration and had to be tossed out that night.  All was well with my world.

As I prepared to depart the Starbucks at their 8 pm closing time, I thanked the baristas and wished them well, before heading into the dark rainy night to retrieve my daughter from cheer practice.
When I got to my car, my feet crunched on the ground. I climbed into the front seat and realized that something wasn't right. There was wind and rain rushing in from behind me and I turned around to see that my back car window had been smashed in and my car had been riffled through. My purse, that I had tucked under my middle console, had been taken, a bag full of DVD's that we had borrowed from a friend that I was on my way to return to them, were missing and the backpack that I had bought from Target on clearance and planned to craft on for an upcoming craft bazaar had been snatched from the front seat.  

In hindsight, it was the perfect car for a car prowl and the thieves hit the jackpot.  I wrote a little letter to the thief to let them know some of my thoughts.


20 Things Frugal People Do Some Tips and Tricks That Will Save You Money!

20 Things Frugal People Do Every Day: some tips and tricks that will save you money!

I'm cheap. You can call me frugal, thrifty or a good shopper.  Perhaps even a mindful consumer. If I had to pick a word to describe my spending style, I think I would like to be considered resourceful. 
According to the dictionary, frugal means sparing or economical with regard to money or food. I suppose that's a good word to describe how we chose to live.  And it's one most people can relate to.

I really like to live well on less.  That's sort of my motto.  We started out married with a newborn at the ripe old age of 20 and 21, part of being frugal came out of necessity. Next year, our oldest son is starting college, and well, we are going to be going back to working with a pretty bare-bones budget. However, through the years, we have found out just how far we can push our budget without really feeling like we are missing out on anything.  We really do live pretty darn well on less. 

I've written a list of 20 things that frugal people do every day to save them money.
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