Friday, May 28, 2010

And the Winners Are...

     I love giving. Period. I think I am more excited that you are to announce the winners! So, with no further adieu...

The WINNER of the lovely olive green print dress is Rie!! 
Who said...
" OOh, I'd love to win the green dress in a size 2!"

The WINNER of the sweet chocolate dress is Jennifer!! Thanks to Anna who entered for her!
She said...
"I saw this site on the Cotton Wife's blog. If she wins, I guess she can tell you which dress and size. Cute stuff on here!! " 


Please contact me at the link on my sidebar so I can send your pretty package ASAP. Thank you to all who entered! 


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Houzz Idea Book

     Rie over at Home and Harmony posted about Houzz today. What a wonderful site. It is almost as great as sitting with a cup of tea and thumbing through your favorite decorating magazine. You can create your own "idea book" full of images that you find inspiring. Here are a few that I loved.

The Old Painted Cottage

An apron sink is one of my dreams. Just look at all that room! My dishes could pile and no one could see them.


I love, love the look of mismatched chairs. 


Crisp whites, off white walls, and pops of red....these are a few of my favorite things:0).

You can pop on over to Houzz and start your own "idea book." There are thousands of home decorating images from kitchens to closet spaces. What a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon. Even my sweet girl had fun day dreaming with me.

Friday, May 21, 2010

A Sweet Dress Give Away!

This giveaway is now closed.

My sister, Charity, is a super talented seamstress. She has a small business making beautifully crafted little girls dresses with a "cowgirl" theme. 

Just look at these darling frocks....


Do you want one?
We would LOVE to give you your choice of either dress:0).
Here is how you can enter for a chance to win!

Leave a comment and you are entered once {one comment per person please}. If you tell a friend, and they mention you as a referral in their comment, you double your chance to win!

Here are the available dress sizes:
Green Dress: size 2T
Brown/Blue Dress: available in sizes 12-18 mos. and 2T.

Please mention which dress and size you would prefer.

Winner will be randomly chosen next Friday, 5/ 28 at 9am PST.

Good Luck!

Thanks Charity!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Room for Two, A Room That's Blue.

     I have a little Princess and I have a little Pea. He wasn't always a Pea. He was 10 lbs. 3 oz. at birth. A real whopper! Now he is in the 10th percentile in height and weight. Go figure...they are all so different. The Princess really loves the Pea and they truly enjoy sharing a room. I had a dilemma, though. I have a girl who LOVES pink and a boy who loves airplanes. Whew...not a good combo. So, inspired by Layla Palmer's guest bedroom from The Lettered Cottage...

{see more details HERE}, we came up with a calming  little blue room.
What I loved about Layla's design was that it was so neutral. A boy or girl would love that space! She is so very talented and has great resources on how to do more with less. Love that! Layla is one of my design heroes!!

The butter cream walls were painted when Princess was born. The color was discontinued...I was so sad! She agreed that even though she loves pink, blue is her second favorite color. Her roommate loves " bwoo and lellow airpwanes," so I think we hit the jackpot. We will probably add pink accents here and there for Princess as the room develops:0).

      I will not pretend to be an interior designer. I really have no experience. Our room is different from the Lettered Cottage bedroom, but I think it still has a restful feeling when you walk in. What I would love to show you is that you can put together a lovely room for very little. The total cost on the entire bedroom was under $200. That includes beds and mattresses.

{The wainscoting was already in place.  We spent $5o in lumber and $20 in paint for the whole room.} 

Comforters: Given to us by Grandma. Cost $0

I made a duvet to cover both of them, using a sweet light blue pinstripe on one side, and a twin flat sheet on the other. The pinstripe fabric was about $4 a yard, so I had to off-set the price with the sheet on the reverse. In a way it is nice; we can change the look with a flip of the comforters. I tied them down with thin white yarn to get more of the pincushion effect. 

1 mattress: Given to us. Cost $0

2nd mattress found at Goodwill for $11.00...brand new!

Mattress pads: $36

White spindle bunk beds: Found on Craig's List for $40. We separated them after figuring out that 2 year olds and bunk beds don't mix :0).

Night stand found at yard sale for $1. I spray painted it white and lightly distressed it. 

Lamp: $2 at Goodwill.

Shade: $3.

See that lovely electrical box? One day I hope to build a white bookcase to cover that!
The Princess and the Pea both play with dolls. She has a Bitty, he has Baby Boom Boom. His baby takes a lot of falls {boom-booms}.

We were really blessed with great light in this bedroom. 
Curtains from a rummage sale for $2.
Pine curtain rod from Ikea for about $10. 

Bed skirts: .99 cents each at Goodwill. One was a king and I just sized it down.

Sheets: 2 sets for $5.99 each. 

Second sets for $14 each. 

Pillows are a favorite of mine. They warm things right up! The striped pillow case fabric was $2 a yard at Walmart. Score! Total spent: $4 for 2 cases. The diamond patterned fabric was also from Walmart for $2. I used a half of a yard for each one and added fun buttons from my own collection. 

The kids had a couple of existing pillows. The rest I made. The fabric on the tall pillow in the back is from Joann's Fabrics and the light blue ticking from a local fabric store. Using coupon deals, I didn't spend over $5 a yard.

          Using a frame we already had, I mixed a pale blue paint for the frame and printed pictures of AIRPLANES out for my Sweet Pea.Total cost: $0

I made the pictures with letters above the bed by printing a J and L on the computer. The frames are from the Dollar Store and the mats were from yard sales. I painted the mats with the same color blue that I mixed for the airplane frame. I had the ribbon and used a tiny white cabinet pull for the hanger. Hot glue works great to attach both the ribbon and knobs! Total cost for both: under $5.

Here are those great roll away bins! Just roll them out and you are ready to play. All of our bins were given to us by some generous neighbors who were no longer using them.

Total cost for the entire room: about $200. 

The Princess and the Pea have sweet dreams...and so do I knowing I didn't break the bank:0).

Shared on:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sharing Rooms

     We ALL share rooms at our house. Our two oldest boys (12) and (9) share, and our daughter (6) and baby boy (2) have a room together. Really, it is a wonderful thing. I do get the occasional, "When am I going to have my own room ?" But overall, the kids enjoy it. I think that it builds character and instills a sense of care and a spirit of giving. There is a lot of give and take having to work with someone else. Sure we would LOVE to lavish our children with their own rooms. It just isn't in the cards right now. So, why not make the situation work its best? Sharing will definitely not give them a complex as they age, it will not be a detriment to their psychological well-being, and there is a real bond being built between our children. I just love to eaves drop at night and hear what conversations are going on. I usually find the younger two curled up and nestled together reading...past their bedtime:0). The older two are constantly giggling about something or other. Giggling is good...good for the soul.

    I've tried to give each of the kids a space of their own in their rooms. I love buckets and baskets! They like to know that an area is off limits to the other sibling. The other person is expected to respect the other's property. We use a lot of the roll away bins under their beds for toys and other collections. Their rooms serve as not only a place to sleep and hang out, but the playroom as well. I totally adhere to the rule that when something comes in, another goes out! We also go through clothing, books, and toys at least once a month and donate what we are not using.  This really helps to keep down on clutter.

     I want their rooms to be a restful place, a place to dream and relax, and a place to just get away when they need to. We've been at this for a while, so through trial and error, I have discovered some great ways to create a space that kids LOVE!

Keep things easy to clean up. 
My kids hate cleaning their rooms, so if everything has a place it is much easier to keep it looking nice. I also encourage them to play with one thing at a time. The younger two like to get all of the doll clothes out, every train track and engine, and Lego's at once. Doesn't work too well! So, I really try and teach them that it is OK to make a mess, just clean it up once you are done playing. Then, take out the next toy box. We use the roll way containers with flip lids under their beds. They are great! We have one for doll clothes, one for baby things, one for Lego's, one for trains, etc., etc. The older boys have things like motorcycle gear and collectibles. In their closet we have plastic pull out drawers for small Lego's and things. Great when you have little ones still around who might try and eat small parts! 

Create lots of texture.
Kids love a room that is comfy. I use a lot of pillows, soft fabrics, and easy to clean surfaces. Everything has to be washable...otherwise I don't even try! The boys love flannel, so they have flannel duvet covers and flannel sheets. I love cotton. I think it is the coolest in the Summer and warmest in the Winter. I have slip covered a little chair in the boys' room in a paisley cotton. It is great...just slip it off and wash it when it gets dirty! Also, semi-gloss paint is a necessity! I LOVE it. Nothing else has held up. You can wash marks off the walls and I just keep a little to touch up holes and things.

Use colors that make your kids happy!
I always consult before choosing colors. Each person gets to pick at least one! Color really affects mood, so choosing colors that make them feel good is important.

Keep the clutter down!
I can't believe how much STUFF kids seem to acquire. We have tried to explain to our kids that stuff really isn't that important. You can't take it to heaven with you! Of course, there are those special keepsakes that need a space, but 10 million Hot Wheels aren't necessary. I have the kids keep the things that are the most important to them. When the get something new, most often I make them get rid of something old. This way, the rooms still feel airy and spacious. Having buckets, baskets, or other storage containers really helps, too.

Make it look special.
I want my kids to take pride in their space, so I really try and make it special for them. I am not an interior designer, but I don't think that you have to be to create something lovely. I try to stick to 3 colors that compliment each other. That way things don't look too crazy! I have the kids look through magazines to show me rooms that they really like. They love this! Then, we just try and add elements to create that overall look. I have never actually purchased any bedroom furniture new. Everything comes from a yard sale or is a hand me down. I paint, I sew, I name it to make it "perfect." After the room is completed, the kids want to keep it clean. They want to keep it looking its best because they had a part in it! We are constantly coming up with new ideas for storage and function. Adding new elements helps to keep the excitement rolling:0).

Create the illusion of more space.
It is pretty easy to make a room look more spacious. Our bedrooms are not that small {10'x12'}, but it can be tempting to overcrowd them with furniture and toys. I try to keep big furniture pieces to a minimum and toys hidden away under beds. I like to see clear wall spaces and floor space for play. Less clutter really helps when you are working with a small room. I also have the kids make their beds each day. Smooth clean surfaces really help give the illusion of more space. No rumpled beds:0). When your eye can flow smoothly from one thing to another, it seems more spacious. Best of all, when it looks like there is room to play, you kids will want to spend time in their rooms. In a small house, you need every inch accessible:0). 

Give them a comfortable bed.
We all love a wonderfully comfortable place to sleep. This doesn't have to be expensive! I have found all of my sheets on sale or at the thrift store {in perfect condition}. All of our comforters have come from Goodwill. I just wash them really well in hot water and then cover them. Fred's had a great sale on pillows this year, and I stocked up for the  $2.99 price. What a deal, and they have held up even through washings. Baby went to a big boy bed this year, and I actually found a brand new mattress at Goodwill for  $11. No, it is not the best, but we topped it with foam and it is perfect for him. It is actually the most fantastic bed in the house! Having a a soft place to end your day really helps them to get to sleep faster. Warm covers, puffy pillows, and smooth cotton sheets help, too:0) Keeps them comfy in their nest.



Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day 2010

    I think I always wanted to be a mother. Even when I was little I used to pack my baby, Susie, everywhere. I bathed her so much her hair turned green and matted. Her face was a bit greenish now that I think about it, too! But I loved her like she was a part of me. I think I have my Mom to thank for that. She is by far the most loving Mother one could ever dream of. She always had energy beyond her years and kept ahead of five kids. I hardly ever remember her sitting except to read to us. She read a lot to her kids and we really looked forward to that. I am thankful to her and my Dad for giving us such a wonderful childhood filled with good memories. I am also thankful for what they didn't give to us:

1. STUFF. We were not lavished with the latest and greatest toys. We made a lot of our own things and really had to use our noggins. Outside we had the woods, bikes, lots of tools, trails, animals galore, and each other. I am still close to my siblings. We grew up great friends and remain great friends! Inside Mom provided paper, glue, crayons, and paints. My sister and I gravitated toward fabric. We sewed everything from doll clothes, home decor, to our own clothing. Yes, we were a creative family. I can't ever remember being bored.

2. Mom was always real. She never made it seem like life was a cake walk and I am glad. We are all going to run into rough spots. She leaned on the Lord and taught us to do the same. I am so glad that she did because without Him life would be a lot harder!

3. They didn't give us money. Nope. We had to work. Real hard. If we wanted something big, they would help us where they could, but we had to earn most of it. What a virtue to instill in your kids. All of my brothers and sister were successful at a young age. I hope to do the same with my children:0).

4. Doubt. My Mom and Dad NEVER doubted us. They absolutely bragged about us constantly to other people. Mom would always tell us when someone complimented her children. We could do no wrong. I think we never dreamed of doing something shameful because WOW we had a reputation. To say the least, they had kids with GREAT self esteem. Thanks Mom for building that self reliance and complete satisfaction in us!

5. Mom never gave us the easy way out. Nope. Our  parents taught us to stand on our own two feet. To be discerning of people, kind, helpful. To look at those who need aid...and help them in a thoughtful way. They taught us to love others, but that the person who is doing wrong doesn't need to be your best friend. They gave us consequences for our actions and stuck to it. Mom prayed for us, for our friends, future spouses {thanks. Mom...I got a good one:0)}. They instilled an absolutely rock solid set of morals. I can remember my Dad completely cutting off a couple of friends who had cheated on their wives. He always said if they were capable of that, they were capable of doing more harm. My Mom tried to surround herself with wonderful people, but opened the doors to those that needed a step up. She and my Dad gave us a foundation.

     Thanks Mom for always being there for me. I truly love you inside and out.


    My Mother's Day was perfect and lovely in every way. The kids helped me plant the garden. WOO HOO! I think that I am actually going to get everything in at a good time this year. We planted two double rows of "Empress" green beans. They are a really prolific heirloom and you can buy them through Seed Savers. Last year, I had beans until October!! We planted a 50 ft. row of carrots for freezing and a row of Zinnias. Next week, we will put in corn, melons, and pumpkins. I am hoping to hit the Farmer's Market a few time this year with melons and flowers.  I already have two 50 ft. rows of heirloom potatoes, onions, and peas. I have spinach and lettuce in my raised boxes and tomatoes will come in June. Can't wait until we can start eating fresh veges!!

     Hubby made the most delicious dinner of homemade fries, steak, and corn on the cob. He also bought me a new watering can. All of mine had holes in the bottom. He is so thoughtful. The kids played in the sandbox a lot of the day and let me weed the yard. Mother's Day is usually my weeding/ planting day. Can you tell? The weather was so warm and beautiful that the kids brought out the hose and made ponds and swimming pools in the sand. It is like a mini beach out there:0). My camera is currently I wish I had pictures of them digging and laying in the pools of water. It was hilarious:0).

     There were so many moments yesterday that I just stopped and thanked God for what I have as a Mother. These kids are precious beyond belief to me. Hubby and I are truly blessed with four unique, perfect children. I couldn't ask for more in life:0).


Friday, May 7, 2010

Four Kids and 1400 Square Feet

      I live in the most perfect little farm house there is. No doubt about it! We have four wonderful kids and 1400 wonderful square feet of coziness. Most people who visit us ask the classic question, "Aren't you going to add on?" or "Isn't this getting a little tight?" Well, we aren't adding on any time soon. Are my kids suffering because they don't have their own rooms? No. I think they are actually better because of it:0). Are we a little tight? Yup. I have learned to love it, though. It hasn't stopped us from hosting family get togethers of 20+ people or seating 12 people for Thanksgiving dinner.  My brother was married here at our farm two years ago with 100 people in attendance. I have hosted large baby showers, teas, birthday parties. You name it, our little farm house has provided us with a way to do it:0). 

    I know that there are those living in cozier situations. I so admire you! I just love gleaning ideas from people who do more with less. We built our little house about 10 years ago...when we had two darling boys. Three bedrooms and two baths was huge to us! We had been living in a park model trailer for two years while we went through the building process and purchase of our land. It was an amazing dream come true and still is! Hubby is living out his desire to farm, we are able to raise our children in a manner that is reminiscent of years gone by, and there is the enjoyment of having a large family who enjoys working together. There was a time though that I was not truly thankful for all of this. Can you imagine that? Nope. I was stuck in the "if only" mode. If only I had a bigger kitchen. If only I had a couple of more bedrooms. If only there was more money. I won't do this or that to the house until we add on here or there. You get the picture. I think it is human nature to want more. We all do. In the last year, though, the Lord has truly put it upon my heart to be thankful. Thankful not only for what I have materially, but for what He provides for us daily. Love, beautiful kids, health, fun, family, good neighbors...the list goes on. Sometimes I think we could all use a little Pollyanna and play the "glad game." He wants us to be content in everything no matter what. Here is the most wonderful part about discovering that. You have PEACE. Peace in your heart knowing things are OK. Peace that starts to flow into other parts of your life: your parenting, your marriage, your friendships. When you choose contentedness, I truly believe that the Lord blesses you in ways that you cannot imagine.

     So, I have chosen this. Not to just be content, but blissfully content. Blissfully content in all areas...including my home. That's where it all starts. Home. Thankfulness. We are determined to make this little farm house work for us in more ways than one. To make do with what we have, to spend less, to create not only a beautiful home space, but a beautiful feeling inside these walls. To be... blissfully content. 

~ Julia
Blogging tips