Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Art on a Budget

My most recent project for my own home was a photograph of a door in Europe taken by a woman I met at an art/craft fair.  She sells her photographs at very low prices currently, so I got this 8x10 for $4.00.  I know - unbelievable!  I had a rustic wood frame that I thought would be just perfect for the photograph.  I found the frame at a rummage sale months earlier for $1.00!  It had a picture of the 3 Stooges in it, but I could look past that to see the frame...that was what I wanted.  Now I just needed matting for it.  I went to a framing store and was surprised to find that they didn't have a cream or beige matting for my 8x10 photo.

So I went home disappointed, then realized that I already had what I needed.  I had matting that would fit in just the right color in a frame that I wanted to refinish anyway.  So that was no additional cost - we love free!  So for a grand total of $5.00 I have this beautiful photograph and frame on my wall and have received so many compliments on it.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Holiday Traditions

We all celebrate holidays differently. Traditions are important to have and pass on to our children.  I wanted to share a few of our family's Christmas traditions. 

One that I always had growing up was a Christmas tree.  It may sound like something typical that most families have, but when I was in high school and my father passed away, we did away with a lot of traditions (just too difficult I suppose).  So my mother sat us down and asked each of us children what holiday tradition we wanted to continue and she would do those every year, no matter what.  I chose having a Christmas tree and I continue that with my children even if we are not going to be home for Christmas.  We each get or make a new ornament every year, so the tree is quite meaningful for us.

Another tradition I grew up with and continue with my children is stockings.  This is another common tradition, but we just love it!  My mother made the stockings when we were very young (and now sells them in her Etsy shop).  I think filling people's stockings, then watching them open them is my favorite part of Christmas.

Finally, we do Christmas crackers which I believe is an English tradition.  I am not sure when it started, but it was one we added to our family's traditions as adults.  I think I bought some once and we all enjoyed it so much that it stuck.  This year, the kids and I made them and they have been so excited to give them to family and friends.  They are typically filled with a paper hat, a toy, candy...  We have also used lottery tickets or money, but this year it's all candy!

Please comment with traditions you and your family share.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Before and After - Upcycling

Here's a find that I redesigned and sold recently in my shop: a chalkboard.  It started out gold with a dark distressed look and a gold cord attached to the top.  I love gold when accompanied by white, so it had to be painted!

I painted it white and distressed it so the gold would show beneath.  I didn't love the gold cord either, but thought a pretty white ribbon would add even more of a pretty, feminine look to it.  So here is the result...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Super Easy Recipe!

If you follow my blog or know me personally, you know that I have a very busy schedule. I rarely enjoy spending a lot of time cooking, so I am always looking for quick, easy, healthy recipes. Last night I tried something new for dinner and it turned out great, so I am sharing it...

I will call it Easy Baked Cornbread Chili. First, you mix a package of cornbread according to the instructions on the package.

Second, open 2 cans of chili and pour them into a baking dish. Easy, isn't it?

Then pour and spread the cornbread mixture over the chili and bake according to the cornbread's instructions.

When the cornbread is golden brown, dinner is ready. It's that easy! You can add cheese to the chili and a side salad to finish out the meal. Enjoy!

*Obviously you can make your cornbread and chili from scratch which would be even healthier, but that wouldn't be as easy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Our Trip to Tillamook

Although it is only about 1.5 hours away, I have only ever visited Tillamook Oregon once when I was a child...never since then. After deciding that we needed a brief getaway, I selected Tillamook since it is not too far and there appeared to be a lot to do there. See, this is Oregon and we would be going at the end of's not a warm or dry time, so we had to have indoor activities.

So I found a hotel with a pool, a museum I thought the kids would like, and 2 cheese factories (dairy country). The famous Tillamook Cheese Factory was a must-see, but we really didn't know what to expect - and that was fine with me! Honestly, we didn't even look up directions. Maybe stupid, but at the time it felt adventurous!

So we left at dusk and drove 1.5 hours in the dark and pouring rain and most of it was winding roads barely wider than 2 cars with a cliff on one side. Once we got there we were so excited to hit the problem...

At check-in we learned that the pool was under maintenance and would reopen the day we were to leave - great. That was our only planned evening activity, so that became TV watching after tiring of the few games we brought. Well, the kids also enjoyed jumping on the beds. What? If the hotel staff doesn't like it, they can fix the pool faster. :P

The next day we visited the Blue Heron factory which we all loved! They had animals we could feed: donkeys, llamas, goats, sheep, chickens, and emu. My daughter loved it!

My son loves animals, but more from afar. Touching and feeding them is not really his thing. In his defense, they did drool...not that he knew that though since he wouldn't get within 5 feet of them. He did have a strange bond with a sheep though.

We had a great lunch and found a lot of goodies for Christmas for friends and family. Not only do they have specialty cheeses there, they also had an entire case of assorted chocolate truffles. We bought caramel apple and pumpkin pie flavored truffles. (We ate them too quickly to get pictures.)

The Tillamook factory was very different. There were samples to try as well of cheese, fudge, and ice cream, but it really felt like a factory. I told my husband it reminded me of Ikea. My son loved the ice cream though! I did enjoy the shopping there too. We found honey sticks, vegan jam, and more Christmas gifts.

Finally,we went to the Pioneer Museum. I homeschool my son and we have been reading the Little House book series, so I thought this would be a great connection to that. I was amazed at how big this museum was and how much they had there. One room of the basement had 5 different wagons from different periods. It was great to see that up close.

One room looked just like a log cabin back in the 1800's. I was so glad the kids could see that. We probably spent over an hour at the museum which is a long time, especially with a 3 year-old! I highly recommend this museum if you visit the area.

Of course I had to end the trip with a little shopping. I found an antique shop and a thrift shop on the same block! I found some pieces to refinish and a vintage Fisher Price Little People boat to add to my kids' collection. They were excited to have a toy to play with...especially since we were on our way back to the hotel which now did not have a pool to play in.

On our trip we also went on a scenic drive to see the coast. We couldn't find beach access, but when it's 42 degrees one doesn't feel much like spending time on the beach. I was happy to get some great pictures and then get right back in the warm car.

On the scenic drive we found the Octopus Tree which is a tree that somehow grew multiple large limbs in place of a trunk. It is over 105 feet tall and 250-300 years old. An amazing site that was worth the short hike in the cold to see it!

All in all it was a really fun trip. I think next time we visit will be a day trip, but we definitely want to go back. They have an aviation museum we'll probably visit next time.