29 March, 2009

Let's get organized

Yes it's Spice up your Life Sunday, once again! I know I'm posting late, but today I just had to take a long nap after church, seeing as I was up until almost midnight last night, painting and cleaning. I'm working on my family room, and laundry area. We're almost there. I bought some cabinets on Craigs List for above the washer/dryer, so I can shut stuff away, so no-one sees MY clutter!

I just read that the last week in March is Clutter control week! Goes right along with the Spring cleaning bug we all get at this time of year. I've been ruthless, cleaning and tossing stuff that should've seen the trash or the donation center a LONG time ago. It feels so good, freeing up the space!

Hence, my SUYLSunday will fit right in with this.

Your challenge for the week is to tackle ONE area of your home that has been driving you CRAZY! If you feel really motivated, do more!

Maybe it's the medicine cabinet, you know, the one that everytime you open it, you have to move stuff and dig around everything to find your toothpaste. (That's me.)

Or the kitchen cupboard that has 2 million Tupperwares that fall out when you open it. And isn't it ironic how you can NEVER find a lid to match the container you need!? (That used to be me!)

I happen to have a couple of hotspots that accumulate paper clutter on a constant basis. I shift the paper from place to place, because I haven't come up with a organizational solution for it yet. That is what I intend to do this week.

Here are a few websites to motivate and help get you started on your quest this week.

clutterdietblog is a good one as well as getorganizedtips. Tons of articles and tips for getting stuff organized. The other one is a blog that also has a ton of good tips and articles, as well as stuff you can purchase to help the issues you're facing. Check 'em out!

The other thing that motivates me to get cleaning and unclutter my life is to look at home decorator magazines, like House Beautiful, or Country Decorating Ideas. Then I can't stand to live in a messy, cluttered house one more second!
I want my living room to look like this one, below. NO Polly Pockets, no mismatched Barbie shoes (oops, just vacuumed one up), and no smashed cereal in the carpet. Just......clean!

I love this idea from Pottery Barn, but I don't like the $129 price tag. I can make these myself for paper clutter, out of an old frame and some material. Stay tuned!
Keep at it girls! I know it's hard to get rid of things we think we'll use again, but guess what? You probably won't, and if you suddenly did need it, you can go buy another one easily.
Free up your space, feel the clutter leaving, and look forward to less stress, and an easier life!

I'll leave you with a quote from my quote book, which I talked about in this post.

Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the small voice at the end of the day saying "I will try again tomorrow". -unknown

Happy organizing!

26 March, 2009

My favorite age... 6

I know I just posted, but I had to join (a day late) the writers workshop over at Mama's losin it. The prompt I chose was if you could go back in time, what age would you pick (or something like that).

I picked age 6, kindergarten. Maybe it's cause I have a kindergartener in the house, and she's so cute with her first tooth missing.

Maybe it's cause it was an age for me when I still didn't care about what other kids thought about me. You know, when you're just zen all the time, running around with bed head, mismatched clothes, and food on your face, AND YOU COULD CARE LESS! (Note delirious happy look on my face, DESPITE the fact that my mom chopped up my bangs royally!)
For the most part, you were also too young to help around the house, hence, NO CHORES! How cool is that! No dishes, no dusting, and definately no vacuuming! Just playing playing, playing.

My favorite toys in kindergarten were Fisher Price Little People. I had the house, the school, and the Happy Houseboat, for the bathtub. My friend Lyra had the house too, so together, we had quite a stash. Good times, pretend playing with those little wood bodied people.

Little did I know until Ebay came along, about all the other LP stuff out there that I never had. Wow!

As a kid, I didn't go to the store all the time like consumer savvy kids of today. We got what we got for Christmas, and birthday, and THAT WAS IT! That's all we knew existed out there in the big world of toys.

My daughter, before she could even read, could look through the BIG TOY BOOK, and knew ALL the names of ALL the toys coming out every holiday season, dead on! (Yes, she probably watches too much TV!)

School was easy back then too, unlike today. Kindergarten consisted of crafts, snacks, nap, and recess. Oh, and singing in circle time.

Now? My daughter has no nap, no snack, and has to read and write CORRECTLY, mind you!

She has art occassionally, but it's mostly academic. Thankfully, my admittedly slacker daughter has picked up reading quickly, and is above level, for now.
So that's it. May I go back to be a 6 year old kindergartener, carefree and cute.

Snow Day!

My daughter's principal called us this morning to say that school was cancelled for today! Talk about personal service! Actually, she is an afternoon "Kindie", so they wanted to make sure we didn't show up at 12 and have to drive back home. We're forecasted to get anywhere from 10-16 inches by tomorrow morning. Yikes!

I'm excited to have a snow day with my daughter, and just watch movies, eat snacks, and cuddle.

Here in Colorado, we have had a dismal, dry winter, which in turn leads to wildfire problems around the state, not to mention watering restrictions for our lawns. The city I live in has had water restrictions for years, and so we never have that beautiful, green lawn that I long for. We worked so hard last year especially, on our backyard, to get all the grass to grow consistantly across the yard. We sodded some really sad, bare areas, and reseeded some thin areas. We cheated (don't tell!) on our watering days, and watered longer, to keep the sod from dying.

Who knew you had to water 2+ hours a day for several weeks, in order to get sod to take root? Umm, not us! We killed several batches the 2 summers before, from minimally watering, not realizing how much it really needed! We finally figured it out this last summer, and got it to take root.

Looking at it as things start to warm up, and knowing we've had literally had NO moisture this winter, I can see alot of the sodded area has only bare dirt, and no grass anywhere! So frustrating! Looks like we'll probably have to seed or sod again this spring

On a lighter note, I did the Spice up your life Sunday challenge, and went to the library to pick a book I normally wouldn't read. I actually picked two! Here's what I came up with:

The first book, Babylon's Ark, is an true story about the experience of rescuing the animals of the Baghdad Zoo during the War. It took the efforts of conservationists, soldiers, and civilians, to put aside their differences to save these animals. Not a book I would normally pick, but I think I'll like it.

The second book is the Official guide to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Again, I wouldn't have sought out this book to read, but I thought hmmm, I'll learn something cool if I pick this one.

Picking out something different than I normally would was much tougher than I though it would be! I kept passing stuff by, thinking, Eh, I don't like that one, or No, that looks boring. But then I said, Hey, that's the point of this whole exercise, Susan! To pick something you normally wouldn't!

Have you picked your books yet? If not, get out there and do it, you might be pleasantly surprised!

Me? I'll be reading and snuggling, watching the fluffy snow come down, knowing I'm safe inside.

Have a great day, whatever the weather, and whatever your book! Happy reading!

22 March, 2009

Please forgive me

Spice up your life Sunday
Yes, it's Spice up your life Sunday once again, and yes, it's been a week since my last post! I also must ask forgiveness for those of you reading, for I myself, did not even get around to taking last week's challenge! My week was so busy, and we've had record breaking warm temperature's here in Colorado, so I had to play a little outside!
You'll have to just enjoy a picture of the current arrangement on my kitchen table of my silk sunflowers!

The cute little bunny with his festive ribbon next to the flowers came home from the thrift store on Thursday with me. (Of course I had time to thrift shop!) I will get to your new challenge in a sec, but I thought I'd share a couple of other things I've repurposed and now enjoy in my house, as well. This small aluminum wear tray with scrolly handle I bought for 99 cents, and now holds my napkins at the kitchen table. Cute, Eh?

I copied this idea below from the blog the happy homebody. If you haven't yet checked out this adorable blog, go one over and tell her I sent ya. She has darling home decorating ideas. This was my version of the hanging pitcher. I already had the pitcher and flowers, and I scored the hook at you know where, and spray painted it black to match my kitchen decor. The rooster tray above it I bought just this week at Ross on clearance for $2.99! Super cool!

I love this cute little silver creamer. It is now used to hold the very necessary dixie cups we use everyday in the bathroom. Adds a cottage look for very little money.

The next several pics are of an old paper cigar box someone gave me at a yard sale for FREE last summer. It was just waiting for the perfect redo, so here's what I did:
I measured the box, and when I say measured, I mean loosely (I suck at numbers!) Then I used two coordinating scrapbook papers to cover the sides and the inside lid. For the top I used a graphic from a book I love by Memories of a Lifetime, called Florals and Nature. It comes with a CD of all the vintage images, and you can print whatever you want right away. The quality of these images is unbelievable, and I love old images!

I added some gold trim around the entire edge with tacky glue, and then finished it off in the front with an old clip in earring. I stamped the word "trims" with yes, my mini alphabet stamp set.
On the inside, you can see all of my darling trim that I have found at various thrift stores, all neatly tucked in.
Here's a view of the inside lid, where I glued an original library pocket, then stamped it with an image of a vintage key, and added a butterfly sticker. Tucked in the pocket is a scrap of paper my 5 year old doodled on, practicing writing her name over and over: Macie Macie Macie Macie. So cute!
Hope I gave you some great ideas for treasures to look for when you're out thrifting!

O.K., so I didn't get to the florists this week to pick up some fresh flowers to fill my home with cheer. If you're just joining us for Spice up your life Sunday, you can go and get some flowers for yourself this week, and take me up on this week challenge, which is....

Go to your local library sometime this week, and I want you to check out a totally different book than you normaly would. Sounds easy, right? Well, maybe, but there is a world of books out there that are so out of my realm, that I never even knew existed. If you haven't been to the library in eons, it's time to head on over and see what you're missing!

Don't make a safe choice as you browse, but do look for something that peaks your interest. You might not normally glance twice at something, if you had to buy it, but just remember, your borrowing it.

At the library, it's cake! It's not like you're wasting money on something you're just borrowing . No harm done if it sucks! Think outside the box and start on a journey to try something new this week. Maybe a how-to book, or a biography, or a self-help. (I like those, cuz I need a lot of help!)

I want comments, comments, comment! I want to know WHAT you checked out, and HOW it went. I will be updating you this week, too, on my flower purchase, AND my book choice.

Good luck, and Happy Sunday!

15 March, 2009

Spice up your life Sunday

Here's a new feature I'm starting, that will run every Sunday.

Yes folks, stop on by every Sunday to spice up your lives. It's that easy, that good, that fun!

Has your life been stuck in a rut? Do you do the same things, day in and day out? Could you just SCREAM from all the mundane motions you feebly attempt, day after day? No adventure, no excitement, no exileration?

Then Spice up your Sunday is for YOU!

Yes, that's right, stop on by The Cozy Chickadee every Sunday, and get your tip for spicing up your average everyday ordinary life.

I actually got the motivation to start this little adventure from a book, which shall remain nameless, that suggest the simple and everyday things we can do to add adventure and fun to our lives.

I think we get stuck in a rut, and do the same things, over and over. We never shake up the routine, we never step outside the box, we never want to shake things up, or try anything different.

Well this, my friends, is the end of that! Go with me on a journey, to change your routine, your life, your outlook, by doing the simple things I suggest, once a week, and see that you don't find you're living a happier life!

Here's what I mean:

Have you bought the same 2-3 salad dressings, for years on end?

Do you drive the same way to work, the store, your friends house?

Can you remeber the last time you had 2 or more hours, all to yourself, to do whatever you wanted?

Have you tried that cute new restaraunt you keep driving by, or do you always end up at the old standby?

Have you ever bought yourself a new perfume or body spray, or do you just wear the same one?

Are the throw pillows on your sofa or bed the SAME ones from years ago?

Is your closet full of safe, predictable clothes, in the same color pallet as you've always worn?

See what I mean?

It's a proven fact that people who try new things, and shake up the old routine, stimulate their brain on a regular basis, and lead happier lives. Don't be afraid to try or do something new. There are so many cool things out there, just calling your name, if you'll open up and hear them.

I'm going to start with easy things, to give you some motivation to get going. I will be doing these things as well, and reporting back. So let's get started, shall we.

I love this weeks Spice up my Sunday challenge. It is simply this:

This week, I want you to go to your local florist, and pick out some flowers that speak to your soul. Not your regular one that you would pick, mind you! Something different.
I think everyone has a favorite "standby" flower, that they love to pick up or receive now and again. My favorite has always been tulips. Love the cheery colors, the shape, the memories of Spring that they envoke.

I want you to just wander around, and look at all the different flowers they have to offer, and pick something else beside your regular favorite.

Enjoy the colors, the shapes, the scents, and just being in such a pretty place. Bring them home, and give them a prominent place in your home. Place them in a creative container, depending on your style. Here are a couple of ideas I love:

I believe having fresh flowers in your home makes you feel so good, and adds a cheeriness all it's own.

If you can't get to the florists, or don't have one nearby, the market will have to do, and even they have a decent selection of flowers and plants.

It is finally starting to warm up here in Colorado, and I itch to be out in the soil, digging it up, and getting my beds ready for the Spring. Until I can cut my own fresh flowers, I'll have to make do with some from the store.

If you'd like to take the Spice challenge, leave a comment below, and let me know what you picked from the store. If you post about it, leave the link to your blog, I'd love to see all the pictures.

Have a flowery day!

12 March, 2009

My very own spot!

I was over at Daisy Cottage, and adorable blog done by Kim, and she posted about how important it is to have your own space, a space that is uniquely yours. Go on over and visit, and tell her I sent ya! (I'm not afraid to ask for credit!) I decided to post about my journey to creating my own space.
In the last few months, I had soo wanted one, but just couldn't figure out where to put it!
I wanted a space to craft and create in, because I hadn't done anything creative in so long! I kept looking at this wall in our "Master" bedroom, and when I say Master, I say it loosely. (It's so small!)

On that wall was an old cedar lined chest that was my Grandmas, given to me in my late teenage years by one of my Aunts. I took it more for storage purposes, than anything, and moved it around with me through the years. The thing is huge, like bigger that your average charming cedar chest, made of walnut, and is a 1930's art deco 'waterfall style".

I decided it had to go, because I pictured me putting a long table there, so I could set up a craft area. The big dilema? I had NOWHERE else in my small house to put the chest!

I decided to call my cousin, and offer it to her, after all, it was my grandma's, and I knew it had to stay in the family. She gladly took it, and my craft area was born.

Below are some pictures I took of my little area that I use all the time.

I took one of those cheap bookshelfs that you put together yourself, and put it on my table, to create "shelves" at the right height for me.

I am a ribbon addict, and have another whole box up on the shelf, to use in all of my projects.

I don't do alot of stamping, but I love the ones that are very vintage-y, and I use my mini alphabet stamps all the time. The standing lamp next to the table was a yard sale find for $3!

I found this little metal box at Goodwill for .99 cents, and it was this ugly gold. I painted it with cream white paint, and then glued on a cute picture from an old children's book, then stamped the word " Play" in brown ink. I also glued an old button on the flap of the lid where you pull it open. Look what's inside.....

Some of my favorite old buttons and earrings for my many projects!

The old copper sugar bowl (I think), had lost it's lid, so I use it for pens, scissors, etc.

The box below was also a thrift store find. I painted it on the bottom, and then glued ric rac around it, and adhered buttons on each side. The top was blue, so I kept that, and went through my vintage postcards, finding the perfect one to glue to the top. I keep my tags in there.

I have alot of old books, that I use the pages and illustrations out of. I'll have to post closer up pictures of some of the cool pages in these.

A metal shelf from a garage sale ($1) holds my decorative scissors in a handy place, and I put some of my fave pics of my daughter as a baby. I painted the edge my favorite color, Robin's egg blue.

I love old buttons, and keep many of them in an old mason jar, so I can dump it, and dig through.
I put a bubble gum pink vinyl leter on the back of my vintage chair, which I scored at an antique auction for $1.50!

Who is brave enough to show what it looks like UNDER their craft desk? I am! Lots of stuff waiting to be painted, covered, and redone!

Love the old wood magazine holder. (Yes, another yard sale find!) I painted it white, and glued on a wood scrolly accent thingy. It holds old sheet music (Ebay), and composition books waiting to be covered.

I love my space, it is so perfect for me. Someday? I'll have my own craft ROOM. (Be still my heart!)

Show me your craft space, or where you relax and unwind , that you've created. Leave me a comment with the link to your blog, I'd love to see them all!

Have a creative day!

Edit: For those of you that have tried commenting, I'm sorry, right now for some reason only those of you who are on Blogger, or Anonymous can comment. I'll try to fix the problem asap! Please keep trying to leave a comment, or if you've personally experienced this, email me if you know how to fix it!

09 March, 2009

The Glamorous, Glamorous Life

I love vintage jewelry. I always have. It's no wonder the God's were in my favor last summer when I hit this fantastic yard sale.

It didn't look like much when I pulled up. (It never does, right?) Everything was on blankets, on the ground. A teenage girl and her young brother were running the sale, and as I walked up, I could see all the jewelry sitting on the blankets. Hard to tell exactly what was there, and it didn't look that exciting, but I stooped down and looked anyway.

There was an odd mix, and seriously, the person this jewelry belonged to was a butterfly fanatic!
There were what seemed like hundreds of butterfly pins and necklaces!

I did pick a few pieces, though, and loved what I bought. I really wasn't sure when I picked up this cream flower pin, though, of what it was. It was marked on the back Ming's Ivory.

At this point, I'm trying to play it cool, thinking, Do I have something of value here? So I nonchalantly ask the girl "Who's jewelry was this?" and she said that it had been her grandma's. I could tell alot of the pieces were old, so I was pretty sure this piece was worth something.

Isn't it beautiful? I looked up Ming's and it was a well know company that made one of a kind hand carved pieces out of Ivory, with stores all over the world. Of course, this was before the ban on Ivory, which was put into effect to protect the elephant population from becoming extinct. Below is a shot of the pin that I strung onto a cute silver necklace that I bought at the thrift store for $1.49! Cute look, Eh?

I also snagged this turquoise bead necklace and earring set at the same sale.

And this awesome green glass bead necklace...

And this shorter strand of black glass bead that are faceted....

And this gold butterfly pendant (I think). It has an odd back to it, with a loop on each side of the wings. It's tarnished somewhat, so I think it is Gold overlayed on a different metal perhaps.
I also bought two old butterfly prints, and a small enamel pin for my daughter for.... (Are you ready for the total?)..... Drum roll.........

$8.00! The Ivory pin itself would be worth about $100 by itself, and I know the butterfly pin is very old, so I think I did Great! I also wear the green and the black bead neacklaces on a regular basis, so what a value!

Then there was the antique auction my good friend Dani and I used to go to every Thursday night. I had a booth at an antique mall for a couple of years, and this was a great place to pick up stuff for my booth. There was this box of junk jewelry there, and we both bid a dollar to go up and look in the box, and buy what we wanted. We went up, and both started digging at the same time, and I sware, at the same time our hand both landed on the sweetest pin. ( the rest of the box was total junk, really).

I really wanted that pin, let me tell you. But it was one of those things, where you love your friend, so much more than you love that pin, so I let it go and offered it to her. Well, being the darling that she was, she let it go, too, and offered it to me. How dare she try and take all the glory of being the better friend??

I insisted she have that pin, so she went ahead and bought it for $1. (how dare she not INSIST that I take that pin, after all, she seriously was the kindest, most generous friend I have ever had, to this day!)

A few months later, maybe for my birthday, she delivered a little package to me, and in it were the cutest little potpourri packets, one with a little bird stitched on, and the other pinned with that little round jeweled pin. I laughed so hard, knowing her generous spirit had beat me, once again!

I think they are rhinestones, but ooh, maybe they are diamonds! I don't care, I just love to wear it on a necklace, or pinned to a sweater.

A few years back my Mother-in-law decided she "trusted" me enough to give me some of her Mom's jewelry. (Just kidding, Mom!)

I took photos of some of my favorite earring that I picked out. There were some really pretty brooches, and rhinestone jewelry, which I'll post pics of soon. She let me take whatever I wanted, which means she MUST love me. (Again, kidding, Mom.)

Love the four leaf clover ones!

A couple of different cameo earrings in there, one large and one small. I love the round gold circles, too. I wear alot of it on a daily basis, which I always get compliments on. You can't buy this stuff at Kohl's, people!

The earring below belonged to my Great Aunt Hallie. When she died several years back, my mom got her jewelry box, and let me look through it. I'm ashamed to say, I just wasn't into vintage stuff back then, so I only picked two pair of earring from the box.

I love this pair of gold and rhinestone balls, kinda disco-ee.

My Aunt Hallie was so cool, and was the older sister of my grandma. She could play the piano like a crazy lady. I have fond memories of traveling to Arizona in the summer with my family, and gathering around the piano, singing with all my aunts and uncles and cousins. Showtunes, like Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Wizard of Oz, stuff like that. Her house was packed with old folk knick knack, and that was fascinating to an eight year old. I'd climb up on a chair, and touch all her figurines and STUFF! My mom would yell at me to be careful, and get down off that chair! but my Aunt would laugh and say it was fine. She'd even say, Do you want that, you can have it! and my Mom would say No! that's your Aunt Hallies!

She also had candy dishes everywhere in her cram packed house, and I'd gorge all day on spicy gum drops, and Kraft Milkmaid chews. Good times!

Add some glamour to your day with a fun vintage brooch or pair of earrings. If you haven't inherited any, pay a visit to your local antique mall, and find the perfect piece. I guarantee you will love it every time you wear it, for it is a special part of the past that no one else owns but you!

01 March, 2009

For the love of a journal

As promised, I am posting pictures of my altered journal projects. These are so special, and truly one of a kind. The story behind these as is follows:

There is this incredible antique market that runs every summer, here in Colorado. It's called A Paris Street Market, and it's the first Saturday of every month, May thru October. I was wandering the stalls, and walked towards the back of one that really didn't look very promising. You know, the ones that just look like just a bunch of junk.

I spotted a table full of albums, and alot of scattered maps and paper, just a mess. But what I picked up was gold! These albums were full of the most amazing vintage paper ephemera, a recently love of mine. I had been wanting some, to start making journals and other things. I had been inspired by the book by Anna Corba, Vintage Paper crafts.

I haggled with the seller, and ending up buying three full albums, one of which was filled with about 50 old postcards, from the very early 1900's. The other two had old tickets, travel labels, and seriously like every bit of paper ephemera you could think of! All very old, from early to about 1950's. I was in heaven, as I love to look at things like this, and wonder who owned these things, and what were they like.

Below are some of the journals I covered, using pages from old children's books on the front of a composition notebook. On the inside and backside covers, I used pages from a french manual, and decoupaged labels and other bits on from the albums I found. Then I made bookmarks from fatter ribbon, attaching old buttons on the top, or I used old playing cards or other things from the albums as a bookmark.

I didn't get to take pictures of the insides, because they were at a boutique night, and they were already sold, so I quickly remembered to take pics of just the outside, before she came back to collect them.

These turned out so cute, and when you spend so much time creating something, it's hard to sell! These were all one of a kind, with original pages and other paper pieces, and I really wanted them to be that way. I could've photo copied them, to use again and again, but I really like the charm and character, that they truly are a one of a kind piece.

These were a smaller version with spiral sides. From a 1930's primer.
I just free-handed a dress shape for this one, and stamped on it, adding buttons under the black bow.
I did photo copy and reduce the size of the cover of this sheet music, to decoupage on the cover of this one.

Love this one, from an old Bible stories book from the 1940's.

I've found that when I use decoupage glue to attach these, they warp pretty bad, no matter how careful I am, so I use a glue stick, and cover the back thoroughly, then lay it on the cover, and smooth it firmly.

I also stamped little words here and there, and glued vintage buttons on to add some bling.

You can be as creative as you'd like on the inside, depending on theme. I own so many old books, from dictionaries, to books written in french, and I especially love old children's book, because they have fabulous illustrations in them. Also, antique pictures are darling on the cover, or inside as well.

Start scouring your local thrift stores for cheap old books to use, to make your own vintage inspired journals, then hit the flea and antique markets this summer, you never know what you may find!

I also look for old buttons, ribbons, and trims. Pick up bits of old jewelry, even if it's broken. You can take it apart, and use the jewels or pearls to add to your project.

Please feel free to email me, if you need help, or have questions.

Have a journal inspired day!


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