Friday, March 29, 2013

Unexpected Decor Part 3: Breakfast Area and Little Touches

Please excuse my sub-par photography as I walk you through my 
final post about unexpected decor.

This is our breakfast area,
which is such a blessing for us because our very long table fits perfectly.
However, it needed some curtains too for the very long windows.
This time I purchased curtains and curtain rods from...Ikea.
I know that you are shocked.
Then I spent way too long ironing out the wrinkles in the four panels I bought.
These long curtains can be hemmed to the length you desire, because they are 98 inches long,
which is perfect for us.
Plus, two panels were only $14.99!
My men worked on the hardware and then we put them up on the rod.
Easy, peasy.
This is what the room looks like now.
I know that it is a little backwards, but now I am ready to paint.
 It will likely be a light blue.
I don't know when we'll get around to it, but it is coming.

The metal tree on the wall is from Old Time Pottery for $12.99.
I also bought various inexpensive off-white frames from Ikea,
filled them with our recent family photos,
and placed them around the tree.
It is our own little "family tree."
This wall hanging is from Target, and I LOVE IT because we have 7 people in this crazy family.
It used to hang on the wall, but it fell off and the backing broke so
for now it sits on the little table in the corner.
Best part about this is that it is hiding the ugly electric dog fence component!
I bought a pack of two large orange dish towels at Ikea and placed them in the center of 
both our kitchen and dining room tables to add the orange color that I currently am in love with.
The white metal tray is from the area with flowers and vases, at Ikea for $5.
The glass bowl and fruit were in the clearance section of Walmart.
This chair is yet another example of me visiting and revisiting an item before I purchase it.
I saw this chair in more than one TJMaxx.
It was a Lane recliner, that was impossible to actually recline it!
I like the way it looked but didn't like the price, especially if I was going to give myself a hernia just to put it into a reclined position.
So I kept revisiting it, hoping the price would drop. 
I gave up.
A few days later I went into Marshalls and I could see that beautiful red tag
from a mile away.
Great price, and even better, it actually reclines!
By the way, who else loves Marshalls??
This is how it looks by the fireplace with my new favorite pillow from Home Goods.
(I think that I have a bird issue right now.  Maybe it is my "fowl" humor."  I need help.)
Next to it, is an outdoor table that I pulled right off my front porch.
There's my unexpected decor.
The hall tree has been with us for years.
It needed a little pillow (there's a dang bird again),
and some pretty things on top.
The personalized family tree was a "Forever Family" gift from our neighbors
The cardboard initial is from the craft store.
I had planned to decorate it, but now I kind of like it neutral (plus I am lazy).
I also had some old and kind of ugly candles that I covered with scrapbook paper 
that has cut out designs all over it.  
Now you can't see the ugly candle unless you look down from the stairs, 
so please don't do that if you are ever at my house.

So we've added a few little things to our 1st floor
and it didn't break the bank.
It'll be a while before we paint, but I'll let you know how it turns out.

Any of you have any unexpected decor ideas that you want to share??

Have a blessed Good Friday and Happy Easter
from our family to yours!
I hope that the whole weekend is egg-celent.
There's that "fowl" humor again.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Unexpected Decor Part 2: Landscaping Burlap

I've been staring at these plane, yet very long windows, for a while.
I decided that I wanted to try to make a light weight  and inexpensive curtain to soften it up a bit.
After pinning a few photos of burlap curtains, I thought it might be a good option.
So where does one go for burlap curtain fabric??
Lowe's of course!
This roll of burlap is at Lowe's outside department with the other landscaping cloths....
$9.99 for 24 feet I believe.
It is not as tight of a weave as the fabric store burlap which was $5.99/yard at Hobby Lobby.
So, once again, I got out the hemming tape from Ikea and hemmed one end of each roll.
Make sure you use a thin cloth as a barrier when ironing or the glue from the hemming tape will get all over your iron.
I put the iron on cotton setting, fyi.
My husband hung up the Ikea curtain rod (which can become up to 152 inches)
which only cost $5-6!
I then added a pack of clip on curtain rings with hooks evenly on each panel.
Then we put them up on the curtain rod and allowed the burlap to stretch to the floor.
Then I simply cut it the length I wanted and left it a little frayed at the bottom, on purpose.  
I can hem it later if I don't like the look.
I noticed that it wasn't hanging well so I pleated the burlap and used twist ties
to hold it in 3 places (top, middle, bottom), like so.
I kept it pleated for about 36 hours before taking the twist ties out,
which seemed to help them lay better.
There you have it.
I love that it doesn't block light,
 is neutral in case I choose to change paint colors,
and was so inexpensive.
With the left over burlap, I made a runner for our ottoman.
I did this by cutting it to the size I wanted and tying a "ribbon" of extra burlap
around the bottom to dress it up.

I also had a large piece that I am using on the dining room table.
This is great because it is hard to find a runner for a large table,
and it hides the seams where the leaf of the table has been added.
The best part is that I feel good about the price.
If I decide to change it one day, I won't be crying over a huge investment that was wasted.
I bought and used 2 rolls of the burlap at $9.99 and still have some left over after
making four 102 inch panels and two table runners.
The Ikea curtain rod was around $6 and the ring/clips were about $2 per pack. 

So the next time you are at a home improvement store, check out their burlap and give it a try.
So, now what do you think?
Paint or leave it neutral??

Monday, March 25, 2013

Unexpected Decor: Part 1 Shower Curtains

Wonder what you can you with some landscaping cloth, large kitchen towels,
two shower curtains, 
a trip or two to Ikea, 
and a metal table from your front porch??

The answer is, a lot!

I've been trying to add some personal touches and color to our new house.
The walls are all a creamy neutral that I am not crazy about, but
we haven't had time to paint so I have decided to
add some touches 1st,
then I can pick the paint color accordingly.

My basic criteria has been:
1) I had to really like what I bought without concern to trends, etc.
2) It had to be very low in cost.  After all, anyone can decorate with a large budget.
3) It had to be kid friendly, knowing darn well that they'd likely wipe grubby hands on it.

I kept coming back to a particular shower curtain at TJMaxx and Marshall's.
I wanted to make curtains out it for my dining room.
It was cheaper than fabric and requires no sewing!!
I even bought it once and realized that it wasn't long enough at 70X72 inches, so I returned it.
Then I bought it again...twice.
I tried it out first as a tablecloth for our square table but it was a little too busy looking.
Then I got out the hemming tape that I bought at Ikea for $1.99,
and I turned over the edge that had the holes where the shower curtain rings go
and ironed it down flat.
I also ironed out any remaining wrinkles.  Boring!

Then I held the, now square, fabric on the diagonal by its corner
and tied it in a knot.

This made the fabric drape much longer than 72 inches which was perfect for our long window.
My husband put one screw into each corner of the window frame
and hung the fabric from the knot.
It is just a little bit of color in a cute pattern, 
doesn't block any light from coming in,
and only took about 30 minutes from start to finish.

We aren't done in the there but it is a quick jump start. 
You never know what you can do with a shower curtain.
Give it a try and feel free to share your unexpected home decor finds.

Keep an eye out for my future posts about landscaping burlap and other unexpected decor...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center: Blogger's Night Out

I have never been to a "blogger's night out"
so I was thrilled when I was invited to attend one this week
at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center's newest
(and very awesome)
location in Green Township.
Check out them out HERE.

If you are like me, you feel really blessed
to live in a area where we have access to fantastic medical care for our kids.
Maryn has seen by various therapists and specialist at many of the
CCHMC locations, and the facilities and staff have always been exceptional.
We are very thankful for all of the help that she has received.

Now, there are even more campuses to serve more kids,
  and serve them closer to 
where they live!

My understanding is that the Harrison location will be closing soon and the Green Township location
will be opening April 29th!
The Green Township CCHMC is hosting a free opening event that promises fun for the kids
on Saturday April 20, from 11-2.
Go check them out!
Can you believe this awesome swag bag?
Plus I spent the evening laughing and getting to know other local bloggers.
Don't I look fabulous!?
This picture is of Anna, from My Life and Kids (who is pee-your-pants funny), and I
where they are completing the 4th floor to serve 
children with mental health and behavioral issues.
This is just one glimpse into some of the construction going on.
Every detail seems to focus on 
giving patients and their family great care,
in a timely fashion,
and reducing the anxiety that can come from needing to be on a hospital's campus.

There is a ton of natural light, a new therapy clinic that made the therapist side of me drool,
a conference room open to the public,
a large sports therapy clinic,
"West-side" relevant art work and graphics,
many fun and entertaining additions to the waiting area and walk paths.
CCHMC also consulted parents to make sure that their designs meet the needs of 
the families that will be served there.

Kim and Jennie from Motherhood Support were also so much fun!
We even carpooled and on the way home, they made sure I 
had a Twitter and owned a website!
What a night!!

If you are on Twitter, my twitter handle is @ticket4thetrain.
I even have Instagram now as ticket4thetrain, as well.
I'd love to see you there!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Today is the 2nd day of Spring,
and we wake up to this??
Want to know how I survive the cold?
I have a heating pad under my covers.
I turn in on at night and place my pajamas on top
while I finish getting ready for bed.
Then I jump into warm pj's and a warm bed.
Don't worry it has a timer and goes off after 20 minutes.
(Disclaimer:  the heating pad advises against this.)

Nothing like having snow on the ground and this hanging on your front door.
I remember seeing something like it on Pinterest but I didn't follow any one tutorial.
Honestly, I have been determined to make the most of this $6 feather wreath,
so I attached a bunny ear headband, and voila!
Happy Easter!

So Mr. Spring...
would you just spring already??

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Incredible Ideas

I mentioned that we have joined our first "small group" at church and we are doing a study called
A Journey Home.
Two weeks ago, I was asked to select a statement from the guide that I would want to experience.
Mine read, " He (God) has some incredible ideas to share with you."
This statement is intriguing but just a little frightening.
The last time my husband and I received great ideas, our family grew...
It was awesome and hard!

I went on with my day to day routine just like normal.
I chaperoned Leah and her friends at church on a Christian weekend retreat called Super Start.
We were 2500 kids in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades.
There's a band, actors, lessons, bowling, games, and inflatables.
They also talked about a charity called Bear Hugs where two young girls make and deliver teddy bears to kids in the hospital. 
It is simple and wonderful.

I looked down at Leah and thought, "we can do something like that."
Then it happened...
The ideas started flowing.
The whole family got involved and had ideas to share.

  We have often heard others say that they wish that they could help kids in foster care but being a foster parent just isn't for them.  
We get that. 
 It is not for everyone but everyone has been asked to serve the fatherless and welcome each other.

Ideas are flowing and our list is ambitious and still primitive.
We are researching what is available and what is still needed in our area.   
We know that we would like to start something where families, individuals, scout troops, and small groups can  help provide the little extras to both children in foster care and to their foster families.
The little things that most children have to feel comforted in their home, to have their new memories captured in photos, and to have better access to fun opportunities.
We want foster parents to feel supported and appreciated.

We are waiting to hear back from one agency and I am not good at waiting.
I need to put it out there.
I need to make sure these ideas don't lose their momentum in my everyday chaos.
I need to know if any of you want to help...


We eventually will need help with things such as
making blankets,
providing/making bears,
collect and donate books and school supplies,
people willing to save their coins, make donations, or host a simple bake sale to raise money,
donate their craft talent for hair bows, jewelry making, embroidery, etc
making phone calls to local business to ask for donations/discounts on hair cuts/consultations and hair supplies, childcare such as Skidaddles, birthday party venues, food and movie gift cards, party supply stores, music/dance/art/swim classes and camps,
photo albums, scrapbook supplies, digital memory books
tickets for sporting or theater events and local attractions....

If anyone would like to be involved, has a connection to a business, or has a suggestion,
I'd love to hear from you.  Just leave me a comment or email me at

Photos are of our kids snuggling with their very own bears that we "adopted" on the day of
Maryn and Julia's adoption.

Monday, March 11, 2013

On the Runway

 My kids know how to put on one
fantastic fashion show.
There was a not-so-red-carpet with
 posing, pouting, giggling, picture taking,
general goofiness, 
and lots of applause from Dad and I.
Enjoy a few of the moments with me.

Leah and Porter really did a great job helping the little girls.
They had so much fun and Leah was ambushed with hugs.

I hope that the beginning of your week started out well.
Monday is almost over.
The crazy daylight savings moments will end soon.
Carry on, my friends.  Friday is coming.