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 debate...do 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!

~Annie


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 house...so 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 house...now. *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!


Thursday, August 7

Etsy Love - Frosting Home Decor


I'm very particular when it comes to drapes. All too often I've purchased a pair of drapes, tried them out in my home, and promptly returned them. I do this dance for the next month or two before "settling" for some drapes that 'sort of' work in the space. What if you could have custom made drapes made exactly as you imagine for about the same price you pay to buy drapes at your local department store? Well, I wish I had run across Frosting Home Decor on Etsy a long time ago!

Meet Christin | Owner, Seamstress 
Two years ago I decided to take a big chance and quit doing daycare to pursue my passion for sewing window treatments, and Home Décor accents! I always say if your Dreams and Goals don't scare you a little then they are probably not big enough! With that being said I am so excited I opened my shop 2 years ago! I am Stay at home Mother of 3 wild and wonderful Children ages, 4,3, and 1 and 4th and final little Girl on the Way Due in December ! . They are my 1st priority this is why my wait times are a little more then other shops on Etsy:) But when my husband isn't at work we switch roles and I sew 12-14 hours a day for 4-5 days. I work late into the night and before the sun comes up! I also recently brought my mother on full-time the woman to taught me most of everything I know about sewing! Thanks so much for your orders we feel truly blessed to have our products in home all over the world like Paris, Australia, Brazil, Canada and all over the USA! 

We were excited to be Featured by Belief.net as one of the ( TOP TEN SHOPS THAT WILL WOW. you on ETSY!) 
www.beliefnet.com/Love-Family/Galleries/The-Wonderful-World-of-Etsy.aspx

Thanks for stopping by my shop and taking the time to read my story ! Can't wait to bring some beautiful Home Décor to your home:)
~ Christin

Thanks for sharing on the blog today Christin! I'm glad you had the gumption to pursue your dreams, congratulations on your success!

I'm loving these print choices from Christin's shop. As a matter of fact, if I'm not careful my living room might explode with edgy designs! She offers a variety of colors and prints at Frosting Home Decro, but I'm always a sucker for blues and greys so I had to share!



You could win a pair of 85x25 Navy Moroccan drapes from Frosting Home Decor during our Great Big Etsy giveaway! Stay tuned...

Abandon cheap odd fitting drapes in favor of custom...Why not have the style, color, and fit for the price? Also be sure to favorite Frosting Home Decor on Etsy and follow via Facebook.

Monday, August 4

Secrets To Painting Free Hand


I'm a lazy painter, but I'm pretty good so I can afford to be lazy! I don't always use a drop cloth to protect the floors, I rarely wear paint clothes, and I never bother with painters tape. Of course, this comes from years of trial & error, bad tape experiences, and practice. Today I'll share what I have learned about the trick to painting free handed...because taking the time to tape everything off can double your time and work load, and who wants that? 

4 Basic Tips To Help Your Technique
First things first, you need a fairly steady hand, if you don't have that you might want to stick with paint edgers, and tape. But I presume that was a given, so on to the actual first tip. 

Tip #1. Choose the right brush: It doesn't have to be expensive, it doesn't have to be a particular brand or type. It simply needs soft smooth bristles, and a slightly angled edge doesn't hurt either. I am using a regular Walmart brand paintbrush, the second cheapest available within these parameters. The more pronounced the angle, the easier it will be to paint corners and grooves, but an angle isn't absolutely necessary.


Tip #2. Bead the paint: Wet the edge of the paintbrush just enough to produce small beads of paint. The beads should be predominantly on the side of the brush that will run along the surface to be painted. 

Tilt the brush into the corner to be painted. Stay about an eight of an inch away from the edge, and as you drag your brush downward, press down slightly to bend the brush just enough to allow the paint beads to run along the tip of the brush as you paint downward. Here is the main trick to painting edges free handed and getting a smooth straight line that looks as if it has been taped. It is allowing the paint beads to fill in that extra eighth of an inch rather than the brush bristles

Tip #3. Use part of the brush, rather than the whole: While you will use the flat surface of the brush for general painting, and the tip for edging, it is helpful to learn to split the brush and use part. You can use a smaller chunk of the brush by setting the middle of the brush on an edge, and pressing inward to split it and use a smaller portion to do the task perhaps too many bristles might make a mess of. 

Tip #4. Use disinfectant wipes for cleanup: Better than a paper towel, better than a wet cloth, bleach laden disinfectant wipes do a stellar job of cleaning up any accidental drips, smudges, or even over-painted edges. 

As long as you don't wait too long and allow the paint to dry too much, these wipes will tidy up mistakes without leaving streaks or discolored areas.

Unofficial Tip #5. Use the brush as a mic to jam: Because every task is made more fun by singing at the top of your lungs, and a brush makes the perfect microphone! *grin* What can I say? I love a good project playlist!

I like to leave all my edges for last, but once they are completed, wow have I got a gorgeous finished product! Done in record time, and better than the results I get with tape (granted I've had some serious bad luck with tape). 


I wish you steady hands and a quick eventful paint job! 

Friday, August 1

I'm Over At Tatertots & Jello Today!

Happy Friday!
Mmmm, I'm looking forward to the weekend! I've got a few painting projects waiting for me on Sunday. See, I've been slowly working on my home office/craft/work spaces, which I'll be sharing on the blog in a month or two, but in the meantime you'll get a little "sneak peek" into one of my office projects! 

I'm sharing how to make DIY Custom Magnetic Tins over at Tatertots and Jello today! Gee, I just love TT&J, and I was so honored to be asked to guest post! Pop over and read all about it...