Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Old House: {A Country Christmas}

Calling it a "country" Christmas may invoke an image in your mind that isn't exactly like what I'm about to show you.  But this is our first Christmas in our new home in the country, and I think our decor somewhat resembled that--a little bit traditional, a little bit new.  In our previous house, we had a wide variety of Christmas decor:  a mix from our marriage combining two households and from gifts.  This year, in keeping with our "simplifying" mindset, we downsized our Christmas decor, kept it simple, and went a little vintage--on a shoestring budget.  As always.  :)

We try to keep our Christmas tree simple:  white lights, pearl garland, red bows, glass ball ornaments, and our "yearly" ornaments, a tradition started by my mom a few years ago.  Each year we get an ornament that has special meaning for that year.  I love the stories that our tree can tell.

The centerpiece of my centerpiece is a glass serving bowl that was left here in the house.  We found it while we were cleaning up and I knew I had to keep it.  I love the way it looks with the doily and candles.  This was the inspiration for my sparkly vintage Christmas.

My kitchen table needed a centerpiece too, so I improvised.  Mini cake server filled with glass ornaments, wrapped in lace.

Our house has no fireplace, therefore no mantle, and no place to traditionally hang stockings.  So we bought a mantle and hung it on one of our living room walls.

Our Christmas cards were nearly last minute this year.  I just had no inspiration.  But that light bulb finally came on and a design came to life.  I also decided to use our cards as a way to let some of our family and friends know we moved, and of our new address.  I think they turned out cute.  Not too bad for last minute, ha ha.

Finally, I'd like to share a Christmas gift I made this year for my grannie, who has been digging more and more into her family history for me, telling me all sorts of stories from when she was growing up in Oklahoma with her brothers and sisters.  I love hearing them because that's part of me too, and I pray one day to have kids that can appreciate those kinds of stories.  But in thinking of where she came from, and those of us she's given life to, I wanted to make her a family tree, a reminder of everyone she loves hanging on her wall.  I didn't design the tree myself--I found it here--but I did tweak the base of the tree to add in her parents and grandparents.

{I'd like to throw out a huge THANK YOU to Lisa for helping me get the tree printed.  I had such a time finding somewhere to print in this neck of the woods, but Lisa saved the day!} 

I think it turned out fantastic! :) 

The names of the innocent have been blurred out for their protection from my crazy ramblings. :)
I do hope that each and every one of you had a blessed Christmas this year and a beautiful holiday season.  Jesus is the reason for my season, and I hope that if you don't share that sentiment, you will one day know that amazing love that was born that blessed morning.  May God continue to bless you into the new year!

Ta ta for now...

i heart comments :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

My Old House {Part 2: Living Room}

Yay!  I finally get to share the befores and afters. 

We started working on this house around mid-April, and with my husband and I both working "normal" jobs, this became our second job, but it still took a lot longer than we had originally anticipated.  And believe me, after living in a camper since January, we needed to finish ASAP!  But as most construction projects go, we encountered issues we didn't foresee.  And after watching too many Renovation Realities, I can say with much pride, my husband and I make a great team!  (Side note:  if you've never seen that show, you should watch at least one.  It's a miracle those projects ever get done, ha ha!)

I decided to feature the living room first, the largest room in the house.  But before I go into the before and after, I want to explain my design style...the part that influenced our decisions in this house.  See, this redesign could have gone many different ways.  Flip through any number of design magazines or turn on the TV to any design show, and you will instantly see what the trends are for the Interior Design world.  And I will admit, I have bought into trends.  Nothing I'm ashamed of. 

But I think the home will talk to you and tell you what direction to go in.  And, of course, a person's design personality plays a part too.  I don't think you can always start a design off by saying, "Granite countertops, walnut floors, chevron motif painted on the wall, slate in the bathroom with a jacuzzi tub."  All of those things could have easily been applied in this house, but it wouldn't have looked as appropriate, in my opinion.  Kinda like clothes.  Some people just really shouldn't wear those jeggings that are in now.  They can, but it doesn't look right.  To me, the house will tell you what direction to go in.  What will feel right.

O, and I have a second element to my design style:  function, function, function.  This is where my practical side comes into play BIG time.  I want my house to function for my lifestyle.  And that may mean some not-so-awesome design items in my rooms but if they make my day easier, then I am all for it. 

My point:  let the house talk to you, and make it functional for your life.

The other quick note I should add about this project:  budget.  As with every design project, budget plays a huge role, but this was definitely a tight one.  The landlord saw this as an investment and didn't want shortcuts, but at the same time, he wasn't about to splurg on items we could make due with (you'll see what I mean later).

Ok, on to the living room.
When we first visited the house in April, this is what we were greeted with:

And, actually, I think this photo was after we had already done a little cleaning.  That was our first challenge.  The house wasn't really empty so we had to gather up items that had been left behind, trash them...then paint...then pull out the nasty carpet...then redo the hardwood floors...and finally, move-in.  Simple enough, right?  Yeah, mm-hmm....

We get the place cleaned up, start painting a little, go to install a new light fixture, boom!  Hit the first obstacle!  The whole house needed to be rewired.  Thank goodness my hubby is an electrician! But it was a project we hadn't anticipated, so instead of this being a short month-and-a-half project, it turned into a three month project!!  Finally in July, we were able to move in, with just a few little minor projects to complete. 

And now, I present, the Living Room, befores & afters.
(Another side note:  The living room is quite large.  The dining room is quite small.  Too small, in fact, for our table, so the living room became a combo room.  And even though its cozy looking, it's very comfortable and works out really well for us.)

The clock in this picture also lived in this house when I did growing up.  :)

So a couple of quick notes about what we did in this room:
  • Painted the walls & trim
  • Removed the nastiest carpet I have ever seen
  • Installed a new ceiling fan sans a light
  • Installed can lighting
  • Refinished wood floors
  • Rewired all light fixtures and outlets
The ceiling fan was GOLD when we first got it.  It was a freebie so no complaints, but now its a brilliant bronze! :)

Not the most dramatic transformation but definitely a difference.  Our personal style is pretty eclectic, as you can see, mixing contemporary with vintage & antiques, as well as handmade items with build-it-yourself pieces.

So that is our living/dining room.  Thinking I may do the bathroom next.  We'll see. 

Ta ta for now...

i love comments :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Yummy Little Graves

I love to bake.  And I used to bake all the time.  I am definitely a much better baker than a cook, probably because of the precision in baking.  I prefer exact measurements to adding ingredients to taste.  But within this past year I really haven't had the opportunity to do much baking until recently, and I didn't realize how much I really missed it.  The joy in creating something that tastes good enough to make someone smile is the part I think I look forward to the most.  But I've always just baked.  Not really decorated things.  My few attempts at decorating weren't awesome. 

So, ok, baking not decorating.  Well, I saw this cake in the October Country Living magazine and decided wanted to try something new.  And have a little fun.  :)

Country Living Halloween Cakes
I used to bake for my husband and his co-workers all the time but now I'm in a job where I can bake for my co-workers, so I thought this would be a fun opportunity to treat them instead.  Sorry sweetie.  So, I have a picture of this cute cake, but I'm more of a cupcake gal.  My head gears went to spinning, and this is what I came up with.  It's really the same idea as the cake, just in individual form. 

First, I whipped up some basic chocolate cupcakes.  I had thought black liners would be fitting, but I live in a small town with limited resources, and since this was kinda done on the fly, these pumpkin liners were it.  But they work.

Next, I mixed up a batch of my fav frosting recipe.  It's a concoction of my own that I love to use, but I've never made it chocolate before and....O. My.  It's gooooood.  So I have my chocolate frosting and my chocolate cupcakes.  I opted to spread the frosting rather than pipe in order to create a flatter surface.  But in hind sight, I might have liked piping better.  I didn't get as much frosting on the cupcakes as I would have piping it and I think they needed it since it was a denser cake.
I also made sure I would have a little bit of frosting left over to write on each tombstone.
Once all the little cakes were frosted, I took Oreos and pulverized them into crumbs.  Then each frosted cupcake was dipped into the dirt, because, you know, every spooky graveyard has to have dirt.  I also thought if I made the little piles of dirt like the cake, it would be much too messy.
Next, I took some oblong sandwich cookies and broke them in half.  Realizing I didn't have much frosting on the cakes to hold the cookie up, I stuck toothpicks in each broken half to help it stand on the cupcake. 

After I placed the remaining frosting in a piping bag, I piped RIP onto each cookie half.  Once they were all piped, I stuck them on each "grave."

Ok, I'm going to divert....just a little.  I really wanted the skeletons on my cakes, just like on the big cake.  But again, I had limited resources.  I was hoping to at least find those really cheap, flat, neon-colored skeletons, because, while they wouldn't be like the CL cake, at least I would have skeletons.  So I went to our local blue box store thinking surely they'll have something.  Nada.  Zip.  Ugh. 
So I thought, well, white chocolate covered pretzels could work for skeletons and at least they would be edible.  Nope.  None of those either.  Really?!  At that point I felt defeated because that really was my only option.  Or so I thought.  I had also wanted those pumpkins that are like candy corn, but couldn't find them either.  I had to settle for these marshmallows that were shaped like pumpkins, ghosts and moons. 
So I leave with my marshmallow purchase, and on the verge of thinking these are not going to turn out cute at all, my nearly burnt-out light bulb lights up again.  We also have a dollar store.  Maybe, just maybe, they might have something.  So I went, I looked, was about to leave empty handed, when a wee little voice told me to look one more time.  Man am I grateful for those inner voices!  Yeah, that's right.  Voices, ha ha!  Much to my excitement, I find these. 

I scooped them up, brought them home, and broke them apart.  I ended up only using the skulls, arms and legs, but it would have been cool to have bones all over the cakes.  Maybe next time.....

So I have my "graves" with the "headstones," I just needed the bodies.  After strategically placing each bone and marshmallow, I had a yummy little graveyard.

Here they are.  Ready to make smiles.  And boy did we need them.  That day at work ended up being a doozy.

Hope they made you smile.
Happy Halloween!

P.S.  My hubby did end up taking a few to work.  So he wasn't completely left out.  ;)

Ta ta for now....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Old House {Part 1: Intro}

As I mentioned before, my husband and I are redoing a house -- to live in.  And, as I also mentioned before, it's sorta a dream come true.  When I first discovered design and architecture, I was immediately drawn to residential design...and then I discovered historical architecture and I was hooked.  My mom took me to San Antonio for my 16th birthday and we toured several homes in the King William Historic District -- which was amazing!  And seeing how their owners had lovingly (and I'm sure painstakingly) restored these precious pieces of history, I wanted mine.  There's just something about the functionality of the designs and the amazing attention to detail in everything that I love.  So, from that moment on, I wanted to restore/fix-up an old home. 

I envisioned something like this:

Or maybe this in the country:

Or this would be awesome:

But, in my wishing for an old house, I never specified a type or age.  I just wanted an "old house" to fix up and call my own.  And even though what may be considered "old" is debatable in the design world, the little house I am breathing new life into would probably be considered old.  And so, I got the old house I'd wished for.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not bitter.  It was probably a good place to start in case I ever do get my craftsman, farmhouse or plantation home.  Just not exactly what I had in mind.  Until now.  Anyhoo...

My little '50's ranch house is...well, little.  I haven't figured it yet, but I'm guessing somewhere around 1100 sq. ft.  Maybe closer to 1000.  It has a cute little kitchen, tiny dining room, large living area, two generous-sized bedrooms with very generous-sized closets for that time period and one good-sized bathroom.  That's it.

Now when I say ranch house, I don't mean that awesome mid-century design style:

If only.

No, it's a ranch house because it's a house on what was a very large working ranch.  It was built by the owner (with much input from his wife, which is probably why it has awesome closets) for his hands to live in while they worked.  It was built for function.  It didn't need a lot of extras.  And to be honest, that's one of the things that drew my husband and me to it.  After everything we've been through, we were ready to simplify.  And in doing so, we gave up a lot of luxuries that we once thought we probably could never live without:  a dishwasher, a bathtub, a room for every function.  But for us, we've discovered it's not really as bad as you might think.  It doesn't take too long to wash dishes at the end of the day, and if I want a bath, I can just use the cattle trough.  JUST KIDDING!!  I'd probably just go down to the river.  ;)

So that's my new little humble abode, in a nutshell.  And while it might not sound like much, it's home, and I love it.  I haven't decided what room I want to feature first, but look for that entry soon.  We are finally getting stuff on walls and making this our home.  And I will say this -- it probably won't be complete.  I have lots of ideas that I know I can't get done now but I can't wait to reveal the transformation.  So, please forgive my work-in-progress.

Ta ta for now...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Opportunity I've Always Wanted -- Sorta

I know the majority of my posts are about the graphic stuff I've created, but I am a "designer of all things" at heart, especially interiors.  I really hope to one day have a little shop selling my invites as well as my own interior creations.  But, ever since I discovered, and fell in love with, design, I have always wanted to have an old house I can fix up just the way I'd like.  Be careful what you wish for.....or maybe I should say be more specific about what you wish for.....

When my husband and I moved back home about 6 months ago, we began scouring the countryside looking for a place to call home.  We knew we couldn't move right away, and that the right place would come along at the right time.  And so it did.  I knew of this place that had been empty for a few years, and I knew the owner pretty well.  See, it was the house I grew up in, which is a 1950's ranch house (not exactly the "old" I was going for but I will elaborate more on that with the first post).  Go figure!  But after thinking about it, it would be perfect for us right now.  The only thing left to do was convince the owner to let us rent it.  After surveying the property, we realized it needed a lot of TLC, but nothing that we would be afraid to tackle.  So after my amazing sales pitch--Ha Ha--he agreed to let us clean it up, fix it up, and call it home! 
We have now semi-moved in and still have those little touch-up things to do.  Once we are fully settled--which will hopefully be soon, I will be featuring a series of before & after blogs for you to see the amazing transformation this little house has undergone, as well as a few design touches of my own.  I am so excited!  My first real project as lead designer and when we're done, we get to live in it!!  I have also learned a lot along the way and can't wait to apply that knowledge to my next project.

So, hopefully you'll stay tuned!

Until then...

Monday, June 20, 2011

How Time Flies...

Isn't that an understatement?!  They say time flies when you're having fun, but it seems like time just flies, period.  And I am convinced time goes twice as fast when it comes to growing up.  I went to a high school graduation at my alma mater, and couldn’t believe how many kids were graduating that were just little kids last year.  I swear they were!  But alas, we all must grow up, and it seems that curse has fallen to my nephew.

My cutie-pie nephew is turning 2 and it just doesn't seem possible.  I can't imagine what it will feel like when our own kids are growing way too fast.  I can still remember the first time I saw him in the hospital, so small, and now he is a boisterous little boy that yells my name whenever he sees me and tells me he loves me before I leave.  (Yes, my heart melts every time.)

Mr. Matthew was first featured here with his birth announcements, and then I had the pleasure of creating his first birthday invites.  Now, it’s time for birthday No. 2.  His mom and dad decided to throw the little guy a Mickey themed party, because one of his very best buddies is, of course, Mickey.  He has his Mickey with him nearly everywhere he goes.

Just like a lot of people right now, mom and dad were also on a tight budget, so I wanted something cute, but simple at the same time.  I think the end result turned out ok, since Matthew was just as excited about them as his parents!  Now that is some feel good stuff! :)


Hopefully time won't fly too fast until he's 3!  Because that means I'll be another year older!  Ha ha!

Until next time...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Football (Birthday) Fever

I'm hearing that song in my head as I type this:  Are you ready for some football?...
I am a football fan, but not what you would call an enthusiast.  I know a few teams, watch a few games a year, and somewhat keep up with playoffs.  But I recently created a set of first birthday invitations that had me doing my homework.  A good friend of mine sent me a few inspirations asking me if I could design her son's first birthday invites featuring her and her hubby's favorite football teams.  Between the two of us, we came up with a really neat and unique invite perfect for the party's theme.

After some deliberation, they decided on four different teams.  Each invite was printed on glossy paper to insure the bold team colors kept their crispness, and then was layered on black cardstock.  The end result, I think, was pretty awesome.  And I love the incorporation of the little guy's photo!  Makes it one-of-a-kind.

After the party was over and all the gifts opened (and played with I'm sure!), the birthday boy's mom asked if I would design Thank You cards to coordinate with the invites.  I kept these simpler, as I know everyone is on a budget these days.  The design was printed on smooth white cardstock with a blank interior. **On a side note, I think it is super awesome that they sent out Thank You cards!  You just don't see that much anymore!

This was definitely a fun set to create!

I am now working on a Mickey-themed birthday set for a sweet little boy turning 2!  The party is next month, so you'll have to wait a bit to see, but I think it'll be worth it! :)

Until next time...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Just Crafty News: Open for Business

I am going to take this opportunity to promote myself.  *See update at bottom.* :)

In the past couple of weeks, I've been up to a lot as far as Just Crafty goes.  And I also just realized, I've officially been in "business" for a year!  Woo hoo! 

So, I suppose in honor of my "birthday" I present to you my website:
Yeah, it's a long one, but for now, will have to do.  On it, you will find photos of my custom orders from this first year (and a few from beyond) as well as links to my Facebook page, this blog, and...wait for Etsy shop!  Yes, I am finally on Etsy!!  I don't have everything uploaded yet.  It actually is a lot more involved than just posting pics and saying "I'm for sale."  So bear with me.  But there are some neat things to check out (and perhaps purchase :).

Ok, back to the website.  You will also find pictures of what I am calling my "catalog" creations.  I almost constantly have ideas running around in my head and once I get them into a concrete form, I'll post them on my website.  Each item will have a link:  either for purchasing info on Etsy, or to contact me for more info, because like I said, not everything is on Etsy yet.  BUT, everything is for sale!  Woo hoo!

There is also a place on my website to contact me for whatever reason, be it for more info on an item, to ask me any question you like (within reason of course, lol), or if you see something you like but want to customize it just for you. 

I'm kinda on a wedding kick right now, so that is the majority of items you'll see, but in the way back of my brain I have ideas for baby showers, wedding showers and kids birthdays, so check back often for new items.

So I hope you'll visit my page and maybe even bookmark it.  You may not see anything you like, but I appreciate the fact you tried and maybe you can even pass my site on to others.  I've gotta say, I haven't had this much fun "working" in a while and I'd love the opportunity to "work" for you!

Click here to visit my webpage!

*UPDATE*  My business name has changed, therefore my website has changed.  Still serving the same purpose, just a new URL.  :)  I hope you'll take a look.
Until next time...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Family Ties

I have a connection with a really great non-profit organization {Mid-Coast Family Services} in my area.  My mom works there.  So, yeah, I'm biased.  But believe me, when you see all the good they do for South Texas, you, too, will be biased.  I've had the opportunity before to create an event poster for them and sang their praises once before.  And I'm going to again.  :)

I was given another opportunity to design an event poster for a new fundraiser, Family Fun Fest.  These fundraisers are crucial to Mid-Coast because, as I mentioned, they are a non-profit organization.  Not to impune your intelligence, but you do know what that means, right?  This amazing group of people do what they do NOT for the money.  They do it because they have a passion for it.  They help other people, people just like you and me, because they want to.  And right now, they are fighting for their jobs.  I don't want to get too into politics, but there are some seriously crazy things going on in the Texas Legislature that is putting groups like Mid-Coast on the edge...of tumbling over a cliff...and not being able to recover.  Ok, ok, I divert...

So, why is Mid-Coast so great?  Why do I love doing these pro-bono jobs for them?  Well, they are tackling homelessness, they have AWESOME programs for substance abuse, and they are currently in the process of building a fabulous new Women's Crisis Center (that can accomodate pets!  That is a rare occurance, by the way.).  All of these programs are out there to help our community, and they don't do it for the money!! 

Ok, now this poster I designed is for a "fun"draiser coming in May...May 14th to be exact.  It will be held at the Riverside Park Main Events Center in Victoria.  And it is exactly what the name says:  Family Fun Fest.  There will be stuff for everyone and it is benefiting a wonderful, wonderful group of people.  Just doin' what they do because they love it.  And doing it all for you, should you ever be in need of their help. 

So why not come out and give your kids (or yourself for those of us still kids at heart) a day of pure, clean fun that will benefit an organization actually making a difference.  For more information, you can visit their website at or give them a call at 361-575-7842.

Until next time...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Christmas Projects

Ok, so this is a little late, but my life has been C-R-A-Z-Y the past couple of months, so forgive me :)

I had a couple of really neat projects I worked on for the Christmas season that I wanted to share with you.

This first set was an order from a real estate company on the coast that wanted personalized Christmas cards, but also something different and unique.  They were sending them to their clients who had purchased homes within this past year.  In trying to create that one-of-a-kind card, I came up with a play on their name and I think the results were pretty nifty!  Thankfully, they liked them too!  :)

I also had an order for birthday cards -- generic sets for ladies and guys.  Coming up with something for the ladies was easy.  Guys, you're tough!  But I finally had a light bulb for something different but "guyish."  What I like about either of these designs is how easily they could become the basis for other things:  a wedding shower invitation (from the ladies' invite) or a boy's birthday party invite (from the guys' invite), just for starters.  I even think the airplanes could be neat for a wedding invite.  Hmmm....(brain mechanics working...)  Look for that soon!  Anyhoo.....

To make these extra different, the binding for the ladies cards is a sewn edge, while a single small brad holds together the guys cards, making them "swing" open.
And last, but not least, my personal Christmas cards.  In the hustle and bustle of things, we were unable to send out our Christmas cards like we do each year, so only a select few received theirs hand delivered.  I was disappointed in this because I really liked our cards this year, but it is what it is.  Makes me look forward to next Christmas :) 

So this was my Christmas joy this year.  :) 

Until next time...

Related Posts with Thumbnails