Monday, April 22, 2013

Drumroll please...


Today I will be announcing MY nominees for the Liebster Award! I am just bursting at the seams today (with excitement, and also with Cheez Its) because I get to tell you about these wonderful people that I know.

In case you forgot, the rules for nominees (should you choose to accept the nomination) are here. Keep in mind that my list is in no particular order...

And here are my nominees:

1. B-Lou from Life With a French Twist by B-Lou
2. Nikki from Life as an Anchor
3. Chris from Sugarlow
4. Rose from Raindrops on Roses
5. Jessica from Casually Charming

Fellow bloggers, should you choose to accept the nomination, here are your 11 questions:

1. What made you start blogging, and why do you blog now? (this question was pretty close to Erin's question for me, but I think it is super important and interesting to know why other bloggers write).

2. What era (or decade), if any, do you feel you should have been born in, and why?

3. What is one accessory that you always have with you and absolutely could not live without?

4. If you could travel to one place next week, where would it be and why?

5. What is your favorite book (it is okay to name a few)?

6. If money weren't an issue, where would you live, and what do you love about that place?

7. What is the last DIY project you did?

8. When you have free time and no other obligations at all, what would I find you doing?

9. All of you have spouses/significant others, do you have a funny nickname/pet name they gave you? What funny name do they call you?

10. What are your educational or career goals? Do you have a dream job?

11. What is one thing that is sure to make you laugh, no matter what mood you're in?

I cannot wait to see your answers!! Here are the rules again in case you forgot:

1. List 11 facts about yourself
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you
3. Choose up to 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate
4. Create 11 new questions to ask your nominees
5. Go to each blogger's page and let them know about their nomination
6. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their page
7. Feel free to add a "Liebster Award" button to your blog to keep the recognition going

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Liebster Award Chronicles: 11 Questions... and My Answers

As I have written before, Erin from Mr. &Mrs. Toews has nominated my blog for a Liebster award (read about what that means here)! Part of the award acceptance is to provide 11 facts about yourself and answer 11 questions that are given to you by the blogger who nominated you. I provided the 11 facts in my last Liebster post, and now here are the answers to her questions: 

What is your favorite breakfast food?

I will literally eat ANYTHING for breakfast. That includes any leftovers from the night before. It doesn’t matter how garlicky, spicy, flavorful or filling it is, I will eat it. One of my favorite leftovers for breakfast is pasta.

If you could have nominated ONE movie for a best movie in the world award, what would it be?

It might sound a little lame, but I LOVE the old, animated Alice in Wonderland. It has been my favorite since I was a kid. I guess I would have to say that movie is the best in the world.

Why do you blog?

Mostly to keep myself busy. I love it. I think one of the most rewarding things has been to see the amount of support I can get from and give to other bloggers. I love being a part of an online community like that where people share their lives and neat ideas. Everyone is so nice and cool!

What book would you recommend I read next?

Since I am in grad school, I do not get a whole lot of time to read for pleasure. I have not actually read a book cover to cover in a while (besides school books), so I will just go with one of my favorite books ever. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. It has been one of my favorite books for many years. A few others I love are Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. A long poem worth mentioning is Howl by Allen Ginsberg.
I am currently trying to find time to read for pleasure, and I am reading The Devil’s Pool, by George Sand. I am sure I will only be able to get through it slowly, as reading my Managerial Finance book is more pressing.

Describe your morning routine.

Oh man, this one’s gonna be weird. Each morning, one of the pets wakes me up. Usually it’s the 20 lb. cat, FatSpice. She is smart enough to know that digging on me with her paw will wake me up so she can get petted and fed. Once I start stirring, the dog also joins in, and then the other cat, Darwin. They all pester me until I get out of bed. This happens at about 7. When I get up, all three of them run in a herd to the kitchen, FatSpice yelling at the dog and cutting in front of him to “be first” (whatever that means to her… it does not mean she will get food any sooner that way), and all of them tripping me. I grumble and curse. I feed them, let the dog out, and then either go back to lay in bed for a little while longer, or start the coffee pot and start cleaning the kitchen. After that, I usually eat breakfast in front of the TV and check my email and Facebook, and then I get started on homework or errands. Since I am in school, my schedule is wide open in the mornings and can vary. I am sure the whole animal herd thing would be very comical to watch. Every member of our little family has  a lot of personality.

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote actually comes from Lolita. It is kind of dark, but I love the way it sounds, and the truth in it for everyone. My disclaimer: I believe that almost anything can be overcome.

We all have such fateful objects-it may be a recurrent landscape in one case, a number in another, carefully chosen by the gods to attract events of specific significance for us: here shall John always stumble, here shall Jane's heart always break.”

Do you have any music recommendations?

Like many people, my taste in music is all over the map. I love Bluegrass, though. My favorite is Old Crow Medicine Show. They are pretty popular in terms of Bluegrass music, but if you have not heard them and you like Bluegrass, I suggest checking them out. I also love folk music.

Where has been your favorite place to travel?

I think my favorite place has been to Jordan, but there have been many places I also enjoyed going… and there are still so many places I would like to see! I loved Jordan because I spent so much time learning the language and about the culture, that it was amazing to be immersed in it. I went twice, and I was so happy to be able to do that, because I made some amazing friends there. The culture is so rich, and the people are so hospitable and nice. I have been to the gulf area of the Middle East as well, and did not like it nearly as much.

Garmisch, Germany was another favorite. It is like heaven there. It is so beautiful and mountainous and clean. The food is good, and there is plenty to see and do. I think it is hands-down at the top of the most beautiful places I have been. Other honorable mentions are Lausanne, Switzerland, Oslo, Norway, and Grenoble, France.

Prague was yet another favorite, and somewhere I am dying to go back to. M and I have a honeymoon that we have been planning to take (time constraints prevented us from taking it immediately following the wedding) and Prague is on our list of places to go.

What sorts of things do you pin on Pinterest?

At first I could not get into Pinterest. I was confused by it, I think. Now, I could spend hours there. I love finding tutorials for cool DIY things and pinning those. I especially love sewing tutorials, because sewing is something I love to do, but I always would love to get better at.
I also love pinning ideas for a future home. I love space-maximizing ideas. I am kind of a pack-rat and M makes fun of me constantly for it. It is mostly fabric and craft stuff, which I think you can never have too much of!

Do you prefer to buy ground coffee or whole coffee beans?

Omg. Whole coffee beans all the way! We love the freshness of them. We use a French press, so we love to grind our own beans, put a few Cardamom pods in the bottom of the French press, and pour the coffee in. Both M and I love Turkish coffee and will make it occasionally, but when we want to be simpler, we will just pop some Cardamom pods into the French press. It adds some very unique flavor!

What is your most views or your favorite post from your blog?

I haven’t really looked at the one with the most views, but I think my favorite post so far has been the one about jewelry organization in our bedroom. I have gotten so much accomplished toward my goal of decorative organization and maximizing space, so I am proud of that one.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fancy on a budget: thrift-store tray re-do

Recently I found this amazing gold, mirrored tray at a thrift store (I actually ended up getting it for free). It was a little dusty, a little rusty, and the mirror part was a little scratched, but all I saw was its awesome potential. I bought it. I thought about how much M loves scotch, and how much both of us love to entertain, and realized how great wine and scotch decanters would look on this tray.

But it desperately needed a makeover. I showed it to M and he made a genius suggestion of using a very tinny, cheap-gold-foil-looking spray paint. I loved that idea, so I went out and bought the spray paint right away. We had some friends coming in from out of town over the weekend and a party planned, so it was the perfect pre-party project.

Here are the before pictures of the tray:

I just took the mirror and the back off, wiped the frame down, and added a couple of very thin coats of RustOleum gold spray paint. While it was drying I used some Windex to clean the mirror, and when it was dry I put it all back together. It was perfect!!

Here is how it turned out:

This is easily one of my favorite thrifty finds. What is the crowning moment of all of your thrifting experiences?

Friday, April 12, 2013

the Liebster Award chronicles: 11 facts about me

As you know, my Liebster Award nomination requires me to share 11 facts about myself. I actually loved figuring out what to share. I tried to come up with some unknown or little-known facts about myself, so here they are:

1.      I have a huge sweet tooth. Ice cream, in particular, does not last very long in our house. It is my kryptonite! 

2.      I have a major weakness for trashy TV. It pains me to admit this. 

3.      I had a Southern accent for the first few years of my life. Those who know me would be shocked, as I have a very Northern accent now. 

4.      I just recently came to terms with my eclectic style. For some reason I have always had it in my mind that once you are an “adult”, you do not have mismatched home d├ęcor or DIY/recycled/upcycled anything. That is SO not true! My decorating style is very eclectic and shabby chic, with a little bit of retro mixed in. I love it. 

5.      Speaking of coming to terms with things, this year is the first one I have stopped wrestling with my curly (thick, coarse, frizzy) hair! I am finally okay with it. We have our good and bad days, but overall, I am happy. 

6.      Household chores I hate include unloading the dishwasher (I like loading it though), cleaning the toilet, and taking the garbage out. 

7.      Household chores I actually like doing include laundry (washing and folding), cleaning the kitchen, and mopping. 

8.      I am a DIY girl, but I believe in having some quality, staple, expensive or designer items like shoes and purses, and a little black dress or two. 

9.      My husband and I give our pets haircuts! We have a cat who hates to go to the vet and groomer but who is a longhair and pretty overweight (no judging please, we are trying but she is part Maine Coon, so she is big to begin with), and a longhaired dog. We shave both of them ourselves. We are not the best barbers. 

10.  I love making to-do lists. On paper. And I love crossing things off! 

11.  I go out of my way to save bugs when I see they are in danger, like worms on the sidewalk or a beetle in a container of water. 

 Stay tuned, I will answer the 11 questions Erin asked of me, and announce my nominees for the Liebster Award! How exciting!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Our kitchen's got Gingham Style!

M and I rent our house. We were both in the military when we first rented it (from the best landlords ever), which is the reason we found ourselves in Georgia. We did not buy a house here because we plan to relocate once M has separated from the Navy and I am finished with my MBA. We have lived in this house for just over two years now, and it is an excellent place to live. Good neighborhood, big backyard, great landlords like I mentioned, and a really awesome layout with lots of space. Since we rent, we did not want to bother with any of the permanent stuff like painting- we would like to reserve the effort for a place that is ours someday. As far as decorating goes, we decided that we would just go with things that would not directly clash with the colors that were already in the house. For example: the kitchen is forest green (wallpaper) and white (walls and everything else). At first, I did not like that color scheme because I really was not thinking outside the box. White goes with everything, and forest green isn't bad. I even started liking it when I realized that I had a bunch of gingham fabric that went really well in there. So began the decorating.

We have a LOT of wall space in the kitchen (it is an eat-in kitchen, we do not have a dining room) and not as much cabinet space. It was getting crowded trying to keep all of our coffee mugs in the cabinets, so I painted an old shutter and used burlap with squares of gingham over top.  First, I sewed the gingham to the burlap and then I glued the burlap onto the shutters with craft glue. I got those hooks at Walmart and attached them, as well as a few of those saw-hook things that you hang pictures with on the back of the shutter, then hung it on the wall. Voila. Mug storage. You can also see the wallpaper in this picture. Pardon the fact that it looks crooked, I was being mauled by cats when I took this picture!

For the longest time, we did not have curtains in the kitchen. This project is still a work in progress, because I did not make the curtains wide enough to cover the windows fully when they are closed. This doesn't bother us, since we never close the curtains. I intend to make a middle panel with a little bow tie to put there, as well as putting tie-backs on the wall and changing out the curtain rod. I have not done it yet, but it is on my (very long) list of projects. :) This is how they look now, all made with fabric I just had laying around:

Pardon the crookedness of this picture as well.

Now for the walls. My mother gave me some very unique paper placemats she bought on clearance at Ross or TJ Maxx. They are a rolled, woven newspaper that is printed in Chinese (I think). They sat here at the house for a long time because I had no idea what I was going to do with them. I kept them because they are so unique, and I found the perfect use for them when decorating the kitchen. I made them into wall art! I even incorporated the gingham to tie it all together. Check it out:

Here are the placemats individually:

This first one is a postcard from Las Vegas when we went to our friends' wedding there (Chris and Christine- Chris is the one in the picture on the right with M), the middle picture is a guy in Vegas who dressed up like Garfield but then got drunk and passed out on the curb, and the last picture is M with our friend Chris from Sugarlow after a very unfortunate night in NYC.

The second placemat features our animals: Clyde, Darwin, and Fatty, in that order. That picture of FatSpice is the best. I know you cannot see it well, but I caught her yawning, and she looks amazing. :)

The third placemat is a postcard from Grand Haven, MI, my hometown, and the place where we got married. In the middle is a picture of M and Fatty cuddling (taken before we got married) and a picture of us taken in NM, where he is from.

The fourth placemat is hanging in another location in the kitchen by itself. I kinda stayed with the same idea in creating it though. On top is a picture of a wall at the canal here, where someone has scratched "everything will be OK" into the stone, in the middle is a picture of my hand holding the "hand" of the family dog I grew up with (Lucy, who is still alive, although very old and in diapers. I love her so much), and at the bottom is a picture I took in Chicago in the mirror of a mo-ped.

Then there is the backsplash, which I made using a big square of plexi-glass (and my dad on the phone telling me how to drill through it) and a big square of gingham fabric.

Last, there is the valance I sewed (but I guess I did not bother to iron it, haha) from the gingham to go over the little window over the sink. As you can see, M and I use the window sill for storage.:)

I hope you like it. Do you have a unique way you decorate your rental properties? I would love to hear it!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Liebster Award Nomination

First of all, a big THANK YOU to Erin Toews of Mr. & Mrs. Toews for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Let me begin by saying that I will likely be copying her and spreading this out among several posts because my life has suddenly become very busy (my husband is home for a few weeks- he has been assigned to a military unit in Bahrain for a year) and it is easier on me to write short posts right now. :)

What is a Liebster Award? Basically, it is an award for up-and-coming bloggers whose blogs have less than 200 followers. Liebster, in German, means cutest, or dearest. There really is no award, or judges, or any sort of selection process. This is just a way for bloggers to recognize, encourage, and assist each other. I love it! There are a few rules the nominees must follow:

1. List 11 facts about yourself
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you
3. Choose up to 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate
4. Create 11 new questions to ask your nominees
5. Go to each blogger's page and let them know about their nomination
6. Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link back to their page
7. Feel free to add a "Liebster Award" button to your blog to keep the recognition going

I did some research about the Liebster award and found that other bloggers had done the same. This award is mostly what you want it to be. It is passed along from blogger to blogger, and being a part of it is as simple as accepting the nomination and passing it along. If you're interested in reading more about it, you can do so here and here.

Stay tuned for the 11 facts about me, the answer's to Erin's 11 questions, and my nominees!