Sunday, December 2, 2012

WBS Celebrations: A Boo-tiful Birthday!

Yes, I've been off the grid for quite some time now.  From September through the end of the year, Church, Work, and Home get extra busy and now that I have a happy, growing Bubba in my life, every year is a new experience, with new happy challenges, like how I can squeeze a few more hours out of the day when Bubba doesn't sleep until midnight sometimes, what new menus I need to put together to appeal to Bubba's ever-changing appetites and preferences, and the trillion other little things that we Super-Mom's happen upon.

In preparation for Bubba's first birthday, I was gathering and buying and planning in July for a celebration in October.  This time around, for his second birthday, so many things were happening in the months leading up to his birthday that I couldn't really get down to the nitty-gritty until a few weeks before the party. 

We didn't have a big celebration, but anyone who knows me knows that I. LOVE. PARTIES.  So, after begging the Mr. to have something more than just cake & ice cream, we had a small get-together with Bubba's grandparents, aunties, uncles, and cousins.  It looks like we invited a small town to this party, but it's just because my husband has a lot first-cousins with lots of kids. :)

Theme?  Well, that was easy.  Bubba's current obsession is the little red monster, Elmo (who we still love in spite of the recent not-so-nice things that have come up in the news about the man who puppets Elmo)!!! So...October birthday + Halloween + Elmo =

Yes, it was a SPOOKTACULAR, and with a Pinterest board devoted to Elmo parties and Halloween-themed fun, well, it was hard not to go overboard. :) 

Here are some of the highlights from Bubba's special day:

{Treat Buckets} the great thing about having a holiday-themed birthday party is that you can find a lot of great favors and party items for little cost.  I have a problem--but it's a problem I LOVE having...any party I throw/plan MUST have some cool favors and/or goodie bags. :)  Wal-Mart always has these cool trick-or-treat buckets for $1 and I wanted something more than just plastic treat bags that wouldn't hold much, so these were PERFECT.  Also, as you can tell by his invite, I went with an orange/green/purple color scheme so I scooped up a bunch of these babies. 

{Tags} I love tags. Tags on everything. Little ones.  Big ones.  Laminated ones. :)  At Bubba's first birthday, I had tags for the kids, and I think it's something I want to do at each birthday party if we have one.  Here are the ones we made for Bubba's party:
{Bucket contents & take-homes} When there's a character associated with the theme of the party I'm throwing, I make it my personal mission to find the perfect items for the treat buckets.  I helped with a Hulk party once and saw nothing but purple and green and ripply cartoon muscles for weeks because I had found everything HULK-themed within here and the Great Wall of China. :) Again, my personal mission. :)  So, for my son's party, I scoured the ebay listings and, and even craigslist to find Elmo themed halloween items.  I was at my mom's one day and noticed she had these on her desk:
I had been searching for the perfect coloring book for the kids' buckets and was contemplating just printing some pictures off and making my own, but when I saw the Elmo Halloween one with the same graphic I had used on his invite, I about died!  And then she said she had bought them somewhere LAST YEAR, I was sad again. :(  Later that week, I was couponing at Walgreens and happened to go down the Halloween Aisle and found TONS of the ELMO HALLOWEEN coloring book for 2/$1!  I almost {TMI WARNING} wet myself right there in the store, I was SO excited to have found them!  Here's a pic of the other goodies I put in their buckets.
Because we all know Elmo loves his crayons, I scooped up some Crayola boxes when they were super cheap at Wal-Mart during their Back-to-School sales, and also put in some Crayola toothbrushes--it was after all the weekend before Halloween and I knew the kids were going to tear it up when it came to the candy-eating. :) The toothbrushes were actually FREE with coupons, and the other goodies were from Wal-Mart for practically pennies because they were already marked down!  I also put bubbles in there with tags I had created on Photoshop.  I thought it would be super cute to put Elmo's eyes and nose on a jack-o-lantern and I think it turned out way fun!
I had put together some games for the kids to play during the party and gathered some cool prizes (which I didn't get pictures of because I'm a flake) so I didn't put A LOT in the buckets to start with.
{The Cake} While camping on Pinterest for ideas, I came across The. Cutest. Halloween cake  I knew I had to make it for Bubba's party and I did. :)  I didn't want to buy just any sheet cake from Sam's like we normally do.  Especially when the store-bought cake was $40-something bucks, and the homemade one would cost me around $10.  Yes, it took lots more T-I-M-E, but even though the colors weren't as bright as I wanted, the cake--ALL SIX LAYERS--came out pretty well and I was super pleased with it!  My sister carefully shook out the Halloween Sprinkles onto the homemade (yes, homemade) frosting, and then I topped it off with an Elmo figurine/cookie jar I got at a garage sale for $1!  It was SO cute.  We tied halloween ribbons around his neck so it matched the colors of the layers, and I think I'll continue to use him as a topper for other holiday cakes for as long as Bubba loves Elmo, and just change out the ribbon color. 
{DECOR}  Earlier in the year, I was in charge of decorating our church cultural hall for a party and had used white paper lanterns I ordered from the Mainland.  To get my money's worth, I promised myself I would re-use them.  They've been used in several events now, and were all used in different ways.  I wanted to do simple decorations because I was unsure about the weather. I was originally going to paint a bunch of lanterns orange and stick elmo faces on them so they looked like Elm-O-Lanterns (get it? lol), but I didn't have time.  I thought this up and liked the end result way better:
We had these babies hanging all over the place and they were a hit!
We also had centerpieces and balloon columns topped with these adorable Elmo mylars.  While searching for balloons for another project online, I came across these 38" mylars in the clearance bin of a balloon wholesale site.  They were like $1 a piece!!!  I found them back in August I think, and bought like 30 of them...when I saw them, I knew I had to have an Elmo Halloween Party to celebrate my Bubba's 2nd birthday.
(Bubba's Gramma and one of our columns.  Photography is SO not my forte.)
And finally, {The Treats Table} I love putting candy tables together and had so many more things I wanted to put on there for the kiddies, but they still went crazy over the goodies I did have out.  :)
I picked up flat white paper bags from GBC, our local packaging store, and personalized them with Bubba's party logo:
Some of the goodies:
Pumpkin Poop and Ghost Droppings (Cheese Balls!)

The entire spread:
{My 1/2 broken camera didn't do the spread justice. :( Good thing I scored a good one at Black Friday last week. lol)
In addition to eating candy until the wrappers were coming out of their ears, other party activities included a handful of games (pumpkin toss, coin drop, dorothy's fish pond, big bird bowling, and ring toss), pumpkin decorating (i scored a box of baby pumpkins for the kids to decorate with permanent markers and take home), and a costume contest.
It was a great time. :) 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

There she is...

There have been zero crafty projects at our house the last few weeks, but the creativity was not lacking.  We've been busy helping Bubba's aunty "Titah"  (as Bubba calls her) run for Miss Polynesia Pacific 2013 here in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

It was a great opportunity for my sister, Sina, to push her creativity and designs out to the local market and something completely OUT-OF-THE-BOX for her to do, so, as one never to back down from a challenge, she entered and competed this past Sunday.

Sina is a creator.  She doesn't take to things easily bought off store shelves to describe her personality and represent her talents.  So, naturally, she designed, conceptualized, and made several of her pageant entries herself.  Tell me who does that in pageants these days???

Sadly, she did not win, but she did put on one heck-of-a show for her supporters and the judges. 

Here are some pictures (I did NOT take these, they were taken by family and other pageant attendees and posted to my sister's Facebook page):

My FAVORITE pic so far of her from that night.  Fierce is the only word that comes to mind. :)

A collage of pictures of Sina's talent: A contemporary Samoan dance based on the Teine Sa, or Spirit Women of Samoa

My sister in the evening gown she designed and created, with a multi-tier detachable skirt from a local contact in the pageant circuit.
Our parents. :)  Aren't they cute?

Sina in her submission for the Natural Couture category.  Top to bottom, the dress is made of tapa, laufala (strips of dried pandanus leaves), and shells.  I'll have to find a better picture where you can see the details of this amazing garmet she made.
So, while she didn't win the crown, I think she received something better.  The pageant gave her a new avenue to reach the local market with her exceptional talents.  She has creative designs and applies a high standard of quality to everything she makes.  She's a genius in her own right, and I couldn't be more thankful to be her big sister.  :) 
Look out for more pics of these beautiful garments in coming posts. 
Until next time,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

WBS' first giveaway!

{In case anyone was asking this question since I've been a little M.I.A. lately. :)}

The answer is: YES.  Bubba has been sleeping.  I, on the other hand, have not been.  There's just been SO much going on in the last month that I've barely been able to check email let alone draft a blog post. 

I know--Bad Blogger.  Shame on me.

If you're still following WBS--thank you!  If you're new to WBS, welcome aboard.  This is just a simple blog for me to share things I get done while my Bubba sleeps.  It's random at times, but I hope you find something you like here and keep coming back. :)

So...on to what's currently happening during Bubba's Sleepy Time:
(No, that's not a typo...Big Bubba, and Little Bubba really know how to make a mess! lol). 

Today's particular cleaning involved floors, which I've been dying to get to for the longest time.  Meet my team:

I've been a Melaleuca customer for over 2 1/2 years now, and I've gotta say...I'm never switching back to the chemical stuff in the stores.  Melaleuca is a company whose products are 100% natural and safe for everyday use around the home, around small children & pets.  Their products don't even have child safety caps...they're THAT safe!  Anyway, I became a customer before Bubba was born, and when he was old enough to start getting into mischief, I was SUUUUUUUUPER thankful (yes, there are 8 U's...that's how grateful I was) to have the peace of mind my Melaleuca products gave me that if Bubba found his way into the cleaners...he wouldn't be harmed by any of the ingredients in them.  **Don't worry--this isn't a segway into a membership drive or anything, just sharing why some of these products make my life easier.:D**

Anyway, I spray Melamagic on my floors, and then, with a wet {old and raggedy} shirt under my feet, I, err...scoot up and down making sure to get into the nooks and crannies.  Anyone else mop like this?  It's totally a Polynesian thing.  I've only ever seen it done in Poly-households, mine included. heehee.  You get a good work out in, I'm not poking anyone or anything in the eye with a mop handle, and I don't have a bucket to worry about spilling.  I started doing it because when we had just moved here, the floors needed a good clean, and I hadn't bought an actual mop yet.  With all the old t-shirts we go through, this totally works for me. :)

While we're on the Melaleuca subject, I think I'll use this opportunity to share another one of my FFFFAVORITE products: Tough & Tender.  This is replaces your other all-purpose cleaners like 409. 

And why does it make my life easier? 
1.  I buy it in its concentrated form (on the right), and can get 6 spraybottles worth when I mix it myself at home. 
2.  I spray some of it on my veggies and fruits for Bubba and it gets rid of the wax, pesticides, all the gunk that gets put on them from farm to store to my sink.  TRUST...there's a noticeable, fresh difference after spraying T&T and rinsing with water.  No need for those veggie wash things from the store.  How expensive are those things?
3.  After cooking something greasy/oily/gunky, spraying T&T on the pan cuts through the grease really quickly.  For my Samoan & Tongan followers--you know how greasy your frying pan gets after cooking up some pisupo/kapapulu (corned beef)?  Yea...T&T makes clean up a DREAM!
4.  I also use it to clean up my counters, cabinets, sink, you name it.  One spray, a zillion uses. 
5.  AAAAAAND, it comes in WIPE form! 
These replace your Clorox wipes.  Here's a tip...take a gander at the back of your Clorox Wipes container and find these words: HARMFUL TO HUMANS AND ANIMALS.  Go ahead...I'll wait. ;)
Find it?  Yea, I had the same reaction.  But prior to learning about the hazards, I bought Clorox wipes all the time!  T&T Wipes make life easier because I know I don't have to worry about Bubba getting a hold of wipes, eating the wipes (these days EVERYTHING seems to look appetizing to him. ICK!), getting the container open and spilling it on himself, etc. 
I also spend a good time on Pinterest looking for tips and tricks.  I've made a cleaner or two myself using recipes I've found on Pinterest and Melaleuca products.  Like this one

So, now that you know how IN LOVE I am with T&T, I think it's a good time to have a giveaway of my favorite product!  
One lucky Winner will get (1) Tough & Tender Concentrate, (1) Tough & Tender spraybottle, and (1) package of Tough & Tender wipes!!
Here's how you can enter--you can do one or all of the following! The more entries, the better! ;)
1) post a comment telling me about your favorite cleaning tip. 
2) become a follower of this blog, and leave me a comment saying you've done so.
3) facebook, tweet, or email your friends about this post with a link back to my blog, leave me a comment that you've done so. 
4) subscribe to my rss feed and leave me a comment saying you've done so.
5) leave me a comment on how some Tough & Tender cleaner can make your clean-up routine a little easier ;)
Alrighty then!  Giveaway ends Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 9pm HST.  I'll announce the winner then too!  Good luck guys!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Worth the dirty looks

**Warning: this is a long one. :) I didn't realize I had so much to share about the subject. :)**

When I was little, I would sit and cut out every single coupon in the Sunday paper because I felt like a "grown-up" when I did it.  Granted, my mom didn't do anything with them, except throw them out, but I still felt a sense of accomplishment when I got through all the inserts.

Earlier this year, I found myself cutting coupons again, but now, it's not every single one, and I DEFINITELY do something with them when I'm done cutting. :)

I had seen the huge savings my FB friends were getting through couponing and though most of them were on the Mainland, I thought that if I could get the basics down, I could really help our cut costs and make it work for me in Hawaii (where we DON'T have double-coupon day...BOOOOO!)

Several of my friends have been wanting to meet up to learn the basics, which I learned from one of my in-laws on the Mainland, and since we haven't been able to get together yet, I thought this post might be helpful. 

I LOVE couponing, and yes, I get the "looks," the stares, the "oh jeez, is she coming to my lane" eye from the cashiers, and the "oh man, I'm behind a couponer in line," but it's hard to care when you're saving so much mooolah.  Finding a GREAT deal in the stores really does make you feel better.  I was having a junky-funky day today.  Got some bad news that really bummed me out...and BAM, saved more than half off my grocery bill at the commissary.

So, here are my tid-bits.  I'm no authority on Couponing, but I have saved a good amount of change using just the basics. Take from it what you may... :)

*Get a subscription for the Sunday paper.   Our local paper was running a special that gave you the weekend papers (Fri/Sat/Sun) for $1 a week!  Our Sunday paper alone costs $2 in the stores!  Needless to say, I signed up quickly and now don't have to worry about going out to buy a paper. 

*If you're in Hawaii, find a way to get coupon inserts from the Mainland.  I have an Aunty in Utah who helps me out with getting coupons inserts.  She sends them to me every couple weeks in exchange for Chocolate Macadamia Nuts. :)  You can also order these online if you don't have anyone who can send you some.  Here's why: for some odd reason, which I have yet to figure out, we get GIPPED on coupons!  The Mainland inserts often have WAYYYY more coupons in them, sometimes higher dollar amounts "off" of a certain product.  I also find that they have a lot more food coupons that ours do.  I'm sure it probably has something to do with the cost of shipping things here.  But, Mainland coupons work in Hawaii and I've found they're TOTALLY worth getting your hands on.  When I first started couponing, I was buying 10 papers every week to get the inserts.  NO. BUENO.  By the end of the first month, I had a GROSS amount of wasted newspapers and I was getting Bubba up early Sunday morning to run to the store. It's not easy to grab 10 papers off the rack with one hand while trying to hold my 35lb. 18-month old Bubba with the other.  {the quick run in and out didn't warrant the stroller, at least I thought so. lol}

*When I'm buying my papers/inserts, I try to make sure I end up with an even number at the end.  EX: I have one paper delivered, and then order a pack of 5 so that I ended up with 6.  Many coupons I've seen have a limit of 2 or 4 coupons per transaction, so to maximize on that, I like to at least get 4  or 8 at the most if the inserts are really good. ;) 

*If you have multiple copies of an insert, best to invest in a paper cutter.  Yes, I started cutting them by hand, one insert at a time so put down your scissors and get yourself one of these babies (or one similar to it):

*Start following a local coupon diva.  There are SO many out there.  I follow Ashley with Hawaii Shopaholics.  She is SO good...she is constantly finding great deals and posting about her latest finds and shopping trips.  I suggest checking out her blog, especially the videos she has about getting started.  I set up my binder, Big Bertha, according to this video.    She also teaches you how to do "Match-ups" (where you match the coupons to the ads to maximize savings), stack coupons (using store coupons with manufacturer coupons) hosts coupon swaps, and shares shopping trips from her followers.  I've been featured a few times myself and have always smiled a big "COUPONER" smile when I see "Shopaholic Vania's Shopping Trip" pop up in my email. :D

*Get your coupon binder together.  Those little accordion things are not going to cut it.  The video I mentioned above shows you how and what to get together.  My husband's cousin who taught me the basics via Skype (Thanks Mele!) showed me her THREE big binders filled with coupons!  I can only handle the one right now.  :)  Mele mentioned getting baseball card protector sheets and Ashley also points out that these are great for organizing your coupons.  FYI, I couldn't find any locally so I ordered mine on Amazon.   This is my Big Bertha:

*Look up the Sunday coupon previews online.  There are sites that can tell you what coupons are coming up in the paper.  The first Sunday of the month usually has the best coupons. ;)  Hawaii Shopaholics does a coupon preview that I've found really helpful.

*Most coupons print in cycles.  I've seen quite a few of the same ones come up every few months or so.  There's probably a science to figure out what kinds of coupons come up when, but I haven't seen or figured it yet.

*Know the coupon policies for the stores you're going to coupon at. A tip from my Coupon Teacher: print out the policies and put them in your binder so that in the event a cashier tries to say "no you can't do that," when you know you can, you can show them the policy. 

*LEARN COUPON LINGO:  This is have to know what the coupon rules are.  Understanding what is and isn't allowed by reading the coupons will save you drama at check-out.  One of the supervisors at Walmart tried to tell me I couldn't use more than one Ivory coupon because the coupons said "one coupon per purchase."  This means  you can only use no more than one coupon for the one product.  I proceeded to tell him, it's ONE coupon per ONE pack of soap, and limited to 4 identical coupons in ONE transaction.  Know your coupons and what they mean. "Transaction" = separated by the plastic divider bar, ends when you get a receipt.   There are a lot of blogs out there that explain it in detail like: here, here, and here.

*The item pictured is not necessarily the ONLY product you can apply the coupon to.  Many times, the manufacturer will put the more expensive qualifying item on the coupon.  But, read the wording carefully, it will tell you size restrictions if any and what specifically qualifies for the savings.  Example: the Ivory coupon I was using at Walmart?  Yeah, it was for any "$1 off any personal cleaning product" and said it was not valid on dish soap.  The coupon had a big bottle of Ivory Body Wash pictured, but I used it on a $1.21 3-pack of bar soap.  The cashier tried to tell me that Bar Soap wasn't a personal cleansing product.  I insisted it was and her supervisor agreed.  You can't be a pushover when it comes to bar soap for $.07 ($1 off of $1.21 is $.21 for three soaps, or $.07 per bar)

*You kind of throw brand loyalty out the window when you coupon.  Coupons are a great way to try new products out, so it's important to keep an open mind when you're shopping your ads.

*When you're standing in front of possible products to apply your coupon to, you want to get the item that will give you the least "after coupon" price possible.  I used to think that if I applied the coupon to the bigger, more expensive item, that I was using the coupon more wisely.  Not so, at least I think so.   EX: $.75 off any box of mash potatoes 13.75oz or larger.  If the smallest box costs. $1.25, and the bigger 20oz. box costs $2.25, applying two coupons to the smallers box will get you 27.5oz for $1, verses paying $1.50 for 20oz.  I almost flunked out of college because of math...if forgive me if that example wasn't clear! :D)

*Get a printer and make sure it's loaded with ink at all times.  There are tons of places online to get coupons.  My favorite place is Swagbucks.  This is an online reward site where you can do tasks online (surveys, games, redeem coupons) and earn Swagbucks that can be redeemed for stuff like gift cards, electronics, toys, etc. Lots of good stuff.  Redeeming a coupon you got from Swagbucks earns you 10 bucks.  Swagbucks' coupons are connected to the same network as and so you will see the same coupons in all these places.  You can only print TWO (2) of any coupon from one computer.  So, if you have a desktop AND a laptop, you can print a coupon twice from each of these computers until the coupon resets for you.   Many times, high value coupons will pop up--I usually find out about them from Hawaii Shopaholics--and will have a limited number of prints attached. Meaning, the manufacturer will only allow it to be printed "X" amount of times, so when you see it, grab it before it runs out. 

*On occasion, you may come across a coupon with a value higher than the price of the product it's for.  Hawaii Shopaholics calls these Money Maker coupons, because that will come back to you in most cases, or just be applied to your shopping trip.  Ex: I found a $2 off coupon at my dentist for ANY REACH floss product.  I took it my favorite grocery store and found REACH floss for $.75.  A whole $1.25 was applied to the rest of my shopping.  These are sweet little treats and they're the reason I sometimes cut coupons for items I may not use...if there's a chance it will be a Money Maker, I definitely don't want to be caught without the coupon. 

*Consider what your maximum Stock-Up Price is.  Meaning, what's the max amount, after the coupon is applied, that you will pay for an item.  For me, I have different prices for different items, but for the most part, if I got it for FREE at some point, or even made money back on an item, I'm going to expect to get it FREE (or close to free) again the next time the coupons comes up.  If it was a $1 the last time with the coupon, I'm going to try and shoot for a lower price when it comes time to stock up again. 

*Build a stock pile.   We don't have to turn into Doomsday Preppers, but it's smart to stock up on certain items you know you use regularly, especially if you can get it for super cheap.  Don't buy thousands of one item, because things expire.  The best stockpiles have VARIETIES of items, not 100 tubes of toothpaste, and 50 toothbrushes, and 1500 bottles of dish soap.  Hawaii Shopaholics mentions this on her site.

There's more that can be said about couponing, but this post is already SUPER long, and if any of you are still with me, THANK YOU THANK YOU for sticking it out.  Here's a pic of my most recent shopping trip to our local commissary.  I share this with you because the savings percentage is a personal best so far and I'm pretty proud I could save us some cash AND score some sweet freebies!

Price before coupons: $154.03
After coupons: $70.63
Savings: $83.40 <---'s definitely worth the dirty looks. :)

Have a good week!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

On the Wall

Today's sleep-time was especially fruitful. :) 

I was able to get lunch made, clean up around the house and think up & complete this little project.

We have a LOT of empty wall space in our home.  It kind of drives me crazy.  It feels so EMPTY when things aren't up on the walls. 

While I was cleaning, I happened across this:

I had picked this up from Ross for a few bucks to cover the inside of my newly repainted black dresser.  The package came with two rolls, and I had a lot left over to use for something else. 

The cool thing about shelf liner (at least this one anyway) is that it sticks to whatever you're putting it on, and you can pull it up and reposition it if you need to. 

When we first moved, I had bought three 3-packs of 8x10 canvases from Ross ('s TOTALLY my favorite store. :) I'd live there if I could) for $3.99...a total steal.  I was planning to do something again for the empty walls in our house, but never got around to it.  They've been sitting in my "junk closet" for almost two years now. :)  Thank goodness for spur-of-the-moment crafting. 

Anyway, these canvases have been on my mind for awhile now because I hated that they weren't being used somewhere in my bare house, so when I saw the just clicked. 

To complete this project, you'll need some shelf liner, canvases, and scissors.

Start by measuring out the shelf liner so that you have enough excess on each side to wrap around the back securely:

NOTE: I forgot to center the design on the first canvas...but did for my second and third one.  I didn't worry too much about it because my finished product came out fine, but if your design is not an all-over pattern, you might want to watch out for that.

After cutting your shelf liner pieces, peel off the backing and place your liner design side down

Carefully place your canvas down onto the center of the liner, being careful to center the design.

NOTE: I know this isn't centered, but I had trimmed the top part of the liner after I took this picture. :)

Then, while it's face-down, rub the middle of the canvas so that the liner adheres to the front.  Nothing sucks more than finding airbubbles in your liner after you tried so hard to put it down smoothly. :)  Press down on the wooden frame to ensure the liner sticks on the outer parts too.

Carefully wrap the sides so that the edges of your canvas are smooth and your corners are tight.  I thought it would help to cut slits in the corners of the liner so that I didn't have big bulky folds in the corner of my canvas.

After all the sides have been folded in, trim any excess liner, or fold it over inside edge of the wooden frame. 

And after repeating this process a couple more times....TA-DA!

After putting my frames up on the wall, I decided that while I'm in LOVE with Damask prints, these were a little too busy to just go up by themselves, so I decided to print out some of our family photos in black and white, put them on a white backing, and applied them to the frames with spray adhesive.  I'll probably modge-podge them later, but for now, because I'm so impatient, I'm going to admire them just the way they are. :)

This was all done in less than an a third of a sleepy-time. :) Can you imagine the kinds of trouble we could get into if we had worked the WHOLE time on this?! 

What kinds of art do you have on your walls? 

About three days after I put these up, I decided I didn't like it.  You know how in the movie, Jumanji, the game calls out to them even when it's buried deep in the ground?  Yes, that's how I felt about my red rose wreath.  It was used in my Sweet Tea Party set up and I was saving it for the perfect place on my wall. 

I found it.

I added one more canvas frame to balance things out, and I'm ECSTATIC with the way it looks all together.  :)

~xoxo, V.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Black Beauty

From the moment we moved into our home, our Master Bedroom has been one big hodge podge of unmatched, disjointed, and unharmonious...stuff. We had clothes hanging in the closet, and others folded into a dresser in another room, and then others in our guest room, or like I like to call it: Limbo. You know, where the clothes go to hang out {for a day, or two, or 100} after they've been washed and before they get put away. We had a TV on a short night stand that about three feet off the wall and a foot-and-a-half from our bed because the TV cord was too short (I'm still not sure why I didn't just go buy an extension cord). Our bed was raised making it incredibly hard to watch TV from anywhere on the bed except right at the edge closest to the TV. It was a hassle to find clothes, a hassle to watch Golden Girls hanging off the edge of the bed, and a hassle to keep Bubba from trying to rush the TV every time The Blind Side came on.
I figured the answer to all the madness was to get a tall dresser. I'm in love with Espresso furniture, so when I saw this on sale in an ad from the Navy Exchange, I marked my calendar so that I wouldn't miss the sale dates. It was on sale for around $120.00

While I was waiting for the sale date to come around, I had decided that I didn't want to spend $120 on a dresser. So I went to my pal, Craig.

For about two weeks, I watched and watched my notifications, and Craig wasn't kicking out anything I liked in the price range I wanted. I then went to Pinterest and found tons of great tips on painting furniture. 

Not long after, I came across a tall 6-drawer dresser in an oak/blonde wood color on Clist. It's important to check out the bones of the piece, and not so much the color or hardware. I hated both on this dresser, but figured I could change it to match what I was looking for in the $120 dresser for less money. 

Here's what I started with:

I went to google to find tutorials on how to paint laminate. I hate to sand stuff, so I was thrilled to find tutorials on various blogs for painting projects that didn't require sanding. I started with a good cleaning of the dresser, removed the wooded knobs and then two coats of this primer:

This is what my Lowe's had in stock, and it worked fine for me. It stuck very well to the laminate, and the paint stuck well to the primer. I will most likely use this for the rest of my paint projects.

When I was buying the paint and primer, I had to ask an employee about a paint recommendation. They had black Valspar paint on the shelf, so I bought a gallon of that because I'm in a "Black Phase" and I knew I'd be doing more of these transformations in black.

After letting the primer dry overnight, I gave it two coats of black paint. After letting it dry again (I'm so impatient), I put on the new nickel knobs I picked up at Lowe's, and this is what I ended up with:

For around $100, I got a dresser that was taller than the Sauder dresser, with MORE drawer space, and a perfect fit for our TV. After lowering our bed and moving our clothes into this dresser from the other room, I solved the main gripes I had about our room. :)
What have you all painted, or plan to paint? I had a blast with this one and plan on hunting Clist for more treasures to transform. Happy Painting!

~xoxo, V.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Sweet Tea Party

I had the pleasure of working with a super talented photographer, and first-class, WONDERFUL person.  LeeYen of Loblee Photography took my Bubba's newborn pics, as well as family pics two more times after that.  It was LeeYen that offered me the opportunities to do a few styled shoots when she learned that I had a desire to create a party planning/event services business, and I couldn't have been more excited for the chance to create, combine, and style. 

These are pictures from the last shoot I did with LeeYen before she and her family relocated to the Mainland.  That whole business venture didn't quite turn out how I wanted, but I had so much fun doing this shoot, and our tea party gals are just the cutest ever...I just have to share these pics.  Thank you, thank you LeeYen for the amazing opportunity!

*Photo credit: Loblee Photography
*Baked goodies: Cupcakes by Kiki
*Headbands: unknown