Category Archives: Home

Autumn Mantel

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Thank you to all my blogging friends for the lovely mantel inspiration the past few weeks! Besides the bunting from my last post, I especially loved the concept of using books with seasonally-colored covers (Daisey Jayne) and mini pumpkins on candlesticks (Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons). I also added some dried polished gourds, a painted wood “Count Your Blessings” knick-knack I found at a craft show,  and my Scrabble tile pillows to emphasize the idea of snuggling in at home as the weather cools. Now. . . bring on the autumn houseguests! ♥

Reversible Autumn Bunting

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When I saw the gorgeous mantel designed by Mrs. Hines’ Class, I decided I MUST add some bunting to my autumn decor this year.  I used up most of my fallish remnants making my fabric-tie wreath, but I DID have a reversible quilted placemat in just the right colors that hadn’t found its way into a project yet.  I snipped it into triangles, zigzagged all the edges, then connected the tops with a strip of green fabric from my stash. I can’t wait to add it to the mantel! ♥

T-Shirt Drawer!

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My To-Do list has had “clean closet and dresser” on it for WEEKS, but I never seemed to find a couple of free hours to cross this one off. Then Kelly at Cobwebs, Cupcakes & Crayons came to my rescue with her “Clutter-Buster Boot Camp”, the perfect solution to helping me solve my problem one small step at a time. Last Friday’s assignment was the T-shirt drawer. I’ve never HAD a T-shirt drawer before, but I do now! Can’t wait for the next project! And it’s not to late to play along, so come join the fun! ♥

Autumn Leaf Pillow

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I LOVE this fabric from Jo-Ann! I used some strips for my fabric-tie fall wreath, a small piece for a mat for my upcycled fan cover tray, and a big piece for this autumn pillow.  For a-la-mode, I marked the center of the front and back (after stitching and stuffing), double-threaded a L-O-N-G needle with orange floss, stacked three buttons, went down through the left buttonholes to the back and up through the right buttonholes, pulled the floss tight to create a valley, and tied. I love using this technique on pillows to add an extra bit of visual interest and texture! (Click photo for larger view.) The finished pillow is 18 x 18 inches and will go to the silent auction at the Pumpkinfest at my church later this month. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy seeing it on the wooden rocker in my living room.  ♥

Instagram Collage Letters

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I was so intrigued when I saw some wooden letters decoupaged with maps on House of 34 and decided to make a set for a gift. However, the birthday guy is an amazing photographer who creatively explores the city of Philadelphia with all of its amazing architecture, landmarks, murals, and street art. So . . . I printed off some of my favorite Instagram photos he’s shared on FB and cut out different bits to create a “Mod Podge collage” on each letter instead. I love that I can show him how proud I am of him . . . and it was fun, too! ♥  P.S. You can follow on Instagram at mr_fisher. And Ashley Bollinger has some other fun Instagram art projects here.

FREE Owl Art Print!

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I was SO excited that the October issue of HGTV magazine has a tear-out print of a new painting by designer David Bromstad! Click here to see a 30-second video about his creative process via Pier I Imports. But guess what . . . you don’t even have to buy the magazine to get it! Simply click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to download a pdf you can print at home! I think it would be lovely as fall decor or in a nursery. At our home, it’s the perfect guest room dresser buddy for this fun lamp. ♥  P.S. Click here for more fun and free autumn prints!

From Tote Bag to Wall Hanging

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When I posted photos of the placemat tote bags I made last spring, I mentioned that I might use them for decorating instead of in the usual fashion. I found the perfect spot for one of them in my fall decor—hanging on the wall in the dining room filled with dried eucalyptus branches. The ceramic hook is from World Market. (They’re about $2 apiece  in a big bin in their store, and I love them for hanging jewelry, too!)  I’ll keep you posted if the other two bags appear somewhere! ♥

Fork Easel

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I was rummaging for a frame yesterday and found my long-lost fork easel! I didn’t make it . . . I bought it at a craft show. But I think I could make one now that I know A Ponytail Kind of Day! She has a post here about her fork easels. Plus, if you go to her Category Cloud and click on “silverplate,” you’ll see knives, forks, and spoons made into candleholders, bracelets, necklace pendants, money clips, vases, key chains, and napkin rings! I’ll try it if you will! ♥

P.S. Click here for a tutorial for a rock and wire photo display option . . . another fun upcycle! P.P.S. And now I just discovered this AMAZING silverware starburst mirror! You must check it out! P. P. P. S UPDATE: Spoon rings now on A Ponytail Kind of Day! 🙂

Valences Galore

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One of my sweet daughters-in-law just moved AND got a new classroom (see Embroidered Classroom Poster), so I had fun sewing valences for both places. For the kindergarten room, I found a crayon print on the sale table at my local Hancock Fabrics and bought a yard of alphabet/number print for a contrast border. For the dining nook, Jen and Greg chose a green/blue plaid from Fabric.com and I found a matching blue trim at Jo-Ann. They’re in the mail to their new homes!  ♥

Fall Art Print

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If you haven’t already visited the 9-15-12 post at We Don’t Need Sleep, you MUST take the next 60 seconds to do so . . . and download your beautiful FREE seasonal art print! I so love this gift, and it’s available to EVERYONE! Thank you, Kristin and Callie!   UPDATE on 9-24-12: I just got a tip that we can find 12 more free fall printables at My Blessed Life! Thank you, Myra! ♥

Christmas Mini-Pillow Ornaments

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Since I finished my fall wreath, my new “kitchen project”–as in leaving the materials out on the kitchen island to work on in spare moments–is to make enough mini-pillow ornaments to decorate a small Christmas tree. I started on these last fall but only ended up finishing five. First, I cut all my Christmas remnants into 4-inch squares to mix and match for fronts and backs. I always add a bit of embroidery a-la-mode to the front, along with buttons or jingle bells here and there. Then I stitch and stuff just as I would a regular pillow but add a ribbon for hanging before sewing. I love how festive they look, and they make a great road-trip project, too. I’ll post my decorated tree when they’re all done! ♥

Artists I Admired On Our Trip

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On our recent trip to visit Baby Katy, I saw some adorable creations in her nursery! I also discovered the most amazing fabric art at the Philadelphia International Airport—Kay Healy’s “Coming Homelife-sized fabric mural in Terminal E. (Click on photo above for a larger view).  I couldn’t stop looking at all the intricate details!

Now for those fun nursery ideas . . .

(1) The top picture is “She Art” lovingly created by Katy’s Aunt Shannon. Visit Christy Tomlinson’s blog (the founder of She Art) to learn more about this art form.

(2) The owl and flower paper collages are by a lovely interior designer and friend of Katy’s mom and dad. Please check out her web site at Ashley Heath Design. (And we loved how the flowers coordinate with Katy’s new mobile!)

(3) Katy’s mommy, author of the delicious cooking blog Consumed: My Culinary Adventure, made this beautiful curtain “gift-wrapped” with ties sewn from a coordinating fabric. I love it! ♥

Autumn Pillow Makeover

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We’re off to meet the newest member of our family . . . precious baby Katy! Here’s a project from the September issue of Woman’s Day that I hope to try when I come back home. Click here for directions and here for free templates. Enjoy, and have a lovely weekend! ♥

Whatever happened to that kite???

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Awhile back I posted photos of some vintage treasures from my dad, including an old kite he’d found in his garage. After being assured that no one had ever been able to get the kite to actually fly, I agreed to take it home to upcycle. When I took it back out to “study,” I noticed that it had two long, skinny pockets, which made me think of the plastic bag holders I’ve seen some other creative bloggers make. (Like you, I really DO try to remember my reusable tote bags for shopping, but  . . . ) So, I folded it in half vertically and zigzagged along all the seams, which resulted in three more bag-stuffing spaces. With a piece of pretty rick-rack threaded through the kite string loop for hanging, it’s all ready to go!  P.S. I love these upcycled can trash bag containers from Neaten Your Nest, too (and check out Erin’s beautiful new business logo while you’re there!). If you’ve posted a tutorial for bag storage, please send me a note in a comment and I’ll add your link here. Thank you! ♥

Rock and Wire Photo Holder

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When I was digging through my treasure box and found these pretty rocks that some sweet kiddos gave me, I immediately thought of a super-creative craft I’d bookmarked on What Katie Made.  Thank you, Katie, for such an easy-to-follow tutorial! Now I have treasures holding treasures. ♥

Vintage Earring Magnets

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Have you checked out the crafting ideas on the Country Living web site? I want to try them ALL! But I started with an easy one . . . frig magnets made from vintage jewels. I don’t have the brooches they suggest, but I have LOTS of clip-on earrings. Simply remove the backings and glue on a magnet . . . easy peasy and SO pretty!  P.S. You can also click the blue dot on the CL home page to vote for the Reader’s Choice 2012 Blue Ribbon Blogger Award. It was really fun to check out all the finalists! ♥

Fall Wreath

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When I was making my class reunion garland, I kept the materials on the kitchen island so I could work on it in spare moments. Plus, I use the tall part of the island, and it’s relaxing to stand and craft since my “real” job involves working at the computer all day. So I’ve decided to keep a project going there all the time . . . well, except for when we’re having a houseful of guests for dinners or holidays. (I DO leave Dave room to eat lunch and read his mail, too! :)) My current “kitchen project” is a fall wreath made with strips of autumn-colored fabrics tied onto a wire clothes hanger bent into a circle. I made one for spring, too, so you can click here for details if you’d like to give it a try.  P.S. I’m including a photo of the vintage bow tie I’m going to use for a-la-mode. Isn’t it cute??? ♥

Upcycled Wire Tray

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Nothing is more relaxing than breakfast on the porch on a late summer morning. Of course, this requires a serving tray, such as this wire beauty I got for $24.99 at the local home goods store free from the garage! Yes, we have a floor fan in which the motor burned up after years of service, and I haven’t been able to throw it away.  I knew the front came off, so that’s the first piece I salvaged. I can use it to serve a meal, display fun items, or as a seasonal centerpiece with the addition of a liner cushion I made from a remnant and quilt batting.  Now, what to do with the rest of the fan . . .  P.S. If you haven’t made these cinnamon roll-ups yet, you must try them! Click here for the recipe! ♥

Another 5-Minute Craft Room Idea

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AFTER!

BEFORE . . .

When I ran across a paper towel holder I no longer use, I immediately thought of the rolls of ribbon I recently bought at Michaels (three for a dollar!) to make some more fabric memo boards. They’re a perfect fit! Here are a few other craft and sewing room ideas:

  • For pretty tape dispensers, click here.
  • For a pattern weight jar, storage bin labels, and needle book, click here.
  • For no-tangle bobbins, click here.
  • For easy-access thread storage, click here.
  • For neat and pretty embroidery floss storage, click here.
  • For a pretty ironing board, click here.
  • For a way to store and display your fabric flowers, click here and here.
  • For a portable way to store your colored pencils (or knitting needles or crochet hooks), click here and here.  Happy weekend! ♥

UPDATE: Emily at Two Purple Couches just sent me a tip that this and lots of other great storage tips are included in the September HGTV magazine! I did a little sleuthing and found a link here. Enjoy!

What can you make with a polo shirt?

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This is my third “What Can You Make With A . . .?” blog post, so maybe I’ve inadvertently started a new series! 🙂 The first remake was a flannel shirt and the second was a lace tank. This time, my sweet husband Dave donated an old polo shirt that he no longer loves, and as usual, I went a little crazy with it! I’ve already blogged about the scrabble tile pillows, which required four 8-inch squares from the front and back. Here’s what I did with the rest of the shirt:

(1) The sleeves are now fabric bins for my embroidery floss. After cutting them off the shirt, I simply evened up the sides and bottom, stitched, and made triangle corners at the bottom so they will stand up. (If you’re not sure how to do these corners, you can read about them on this tote or bracelet purse tutorial.) I previously had my floss in a large, pretty bowl, but I’ve been wanting to use the bowl elsewhere so this worked out perfectly!

(2) The ribbed collar and top-stitched hem are now a scissors pocket necklace to wear when I’m sewing or crafting, since I move from the sewing room to the dining table to the kitchen island and my scissors are always in the wrong place. (Does anyone else do that???) First, I cut the collar into thirds and used the parts with the finished ends for the bag and the other part for a flower. Then I used red buttons for the flower center and to attach the shirt-hem strap on both sides of the stitched-and-turned bag. I love it!

(3) Two random remnants are now a coffee cup cozy to take when I meet my friends for coffee or lunch. I used the cafe’s cardboard version as a pattern, cutting the fabric big enough to allow for seams, padded it with some soft quilt batting, and sewed in a red hairband at one end. After turning and pressing, I top-stitched in red and added a vintage red button. I can’t wait to try it out!

(4) One more random remnant became this pyramid bag I’ve been wanting to try from Craftser. The tutorial says it takes fifteen minutes. It does, and it’s super-cute, too!

Someday I’ll embroider over the frayed spots on the placket and pocket and reuse them along with the other small scraps I have left. When I do, I’ll be sure to share. ♥

Scrabble Tile Pillows

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When I saw some scrabble tile pillows in a photo on Get In My Home, I knew I just had to try making some! Here’s how:

(1) Find some khaki colored fabric. (Lucky me, my husband had just handed me an old polo shirt in just this color that he no longer wanted!) Cut out two squares for each letter of the word you want to make. I started with 8-inch squares because I just wanted to make some small pillows to put on a shelf, but you could go much larger or smaller.

(2) Go to Fuzzimo, scroll down to where it says “Download Wooden Scrabble Letter Tiles Image,” and download the photo.

(3) Go to PicMonkey and use their tools to crop and enlarge the desired tiles.

(4) Print the tiles, cut out the letters and numbers, and tape them onto a piece of black felt.

(5) Cut out the letters and numbers, pin them on the pillow fronts, and glue or sew them into place. (I machine-sewed mine using the zig-zag stitch.)

(6) Sew each pillow front to a pillow back, right sides together, leaving an opening at the bottom for stuffing.

(7) Trim the seams, turn, and stuff, then pin and handstitch the opening. ♥

A Super-Easy, Inexpensive, Five-Minute Guest Room Craft

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(1) Find a stand-up frame that matches your guest room.  (I got this one at a dollar store for . . . yes . . . $1!)

(2) Use the picture that comes with the frame as a template to cut a light-colored piece of scrapbook or wrapping paper.

(3) Put the pretty paper in the frame.

(4) Using a dry-erase marker, write a welcome message on the glass before your guests arrive.

(5) Watch them smile!

P.S. A big THANK YOU goes out to Bliss . . . a DIY and Home Design Site for this great idea!  If you’ve written a recent post about creating a hospitable guest space, I’d love for you to send me a link in a comment and I’ll add it to this post, too! ♥

Scenic Pillow . . . and a Tomato!

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My pile of giftable pillows was getting quite tall, so I was really happy to discover an opportunity to donate a dozen or so to a fundraiser craft show that’s coming up in August! I hope their new owners love them as much I as I loved making them! Then, silly me, I spotted a remnant in my stash that I knew would look pretty with our loveseat and the plant beside it and just had to take a few minutes to stitch up a new one. No a-la-mode needed this time . . . but it provides a nice splash of  scenery and is cushy enough for a nap. And about that tomato . . . well, it’s the first (and maybe only!) one this summer.  It’s tiny but mighty, having overcome a hail storm, high winds, and the ongoing Kansas drought to appear and redden on our plants. You’ve got to admire that kind of persistence!   P.S. I’ll bet it makes the best mini-BLT ever! ♥

Crib Skirt

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Our brand-newest grandson is here for a visit! Today his mommy and I went to Jo-Ann to find fabric for a few items to round out his nursery decor, which is based on this adorable vegetable print from IKEA. We found a pretty green graphic print to use for the crib skirt, and it was a piece of cake to stitch it up! I got some helpful tips from Ashley at littlewillowtree and used her info to draw a diagram for future use. Oh, and we also got fabric for accent pillows . . . my next project!

P.S. Here’s a photo I added of the skirt on the crib when Joshua arrived back home . . . along with the pillows from the next post. ♥

Spool Kabobs

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Sometimes the pillow stuffing I buy has wooden chopstick-like instruments packed inside to help poke the fluffy stuff into tight corners. I’ve been collecting them in my desk drawer knowing that someday a light bulb would go on and I’d think of a creative way to use them. It did! 🙂 I wrapped embroidery floss around each grooved end to create a “stop,” slipped my thread over the sticks, and stood them up in a parfait bowl to display on a shelf. Now, instead of hiding away in a tote bag, the colorful spools are an easily-accessible part of my sewing room decor. I love it! ♥

Happy Birthday, America!

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Here are the rest of the pillows I made from my Americana-stamped fabric. What a lovely gift that was!

Since the cloth is loosely woven, I backed the words with a light iron-on interfacing before zig-zagging them to the pillow fabric. Other than that, I simply cut, stitched, and stuffed for a nice pop of red, white, and blue for the holiday.

Have a safe, fun, and happy 4th of July! ♥

Stars and Stripes Pillow

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Several years ago a family member gave me a piece of linen-like fabric with all kinds of Americana printed on it—-stars, stripes, apples, “God Bless America,” “Home Sweet Home,” and that sort of thing. I’d never decided what to do with it until now . . . use different bits to make different pillows! Here’s the first one! And I also want to thank Oh Sew Rosy who gifted me with a Cushion Cover PDF Pattern that includes a tutorial on how to insert a zipper as she did with these lovely pillows. Easy and fun! ♥

Tablecloth + Napkins = Curtains

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I was in the mood for some new curtains for two skinny bedroom windows, and I had some fabric that would work perfectly . . . a tablecloth and napkins!

  • Cut the tablecloth in half to make two curtains.
  • Cut a strip off the bottom of each piece.
  • Cut two of the napkins into fourths and sew the strips together to make long, narrow borders.
  • Sew the napkin borders to the tablecloth fabrics.
  • Hem all the unfinished edges.
  • Turn the tops under and stitch to make casings for the curtain rods.
  • Hem all the way around the two extra strips and use them for tie-backs.
  • Make a matching pillow with the other two napkins.

I love the new look! ♥

Persian Plum Pillow

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This is a fun week! I just posted about the great vintage apron I received from Moosewood Vintage, and now I am the lucky recipient of ANOTHER blogging give-away . . . this gorgeous Persian Plum quilt block kit from Books Quilts and Sewing! And, Michael (the quilter) added a $5 gift card to Michaels (the store) to the package . . . what a lovely surprise!  Truthfully, I’d never pieced a quilt block before, but I knew it would be perfect for a pillow so I eagerly dove in. It was sort of like putting a puzzle together . . . and I soon learned that when the directions say to press, DO IT! Here’s my beautiful new pillow, featured in a back porch photo shoot.  Oh, and Michael has ANOTHER give-away going on right now . . . you have until July 7 to enter. Click here for information, and plan to stay a bit to browse his blog. Thanks, Michael! 🙂

DIY Ironing Board Cover

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I have such a fun job (writing books and classroom resources for K-5 students and teachers!) and I’m lucky to have a small but cozy home office to work in. It has a large black desk, a black rolling chair, and black metal shelves filled with my curriculum and reference books. It also has a matching black metal shelf for my fabric and sewing/craft supplies and a very small black desk for my sewing machine. My favorite piece of furniture is a dressing table bench that belonged to my Aunt Vitha. We painted it black and recovered the seat in zebra print, using a bedsheet I found at Target. I also made a black and white alphabet print cover for my sewing machine (from a fun book called Simply Irresistible Bags, but I’ve since seen lots of tutorials on sewing blogs and Pinterest) and black and white floral curtains (basic hemmed sides and bottom and casing on top) for the window.  So, when I needed to leave my ironing board set up for my after-hours sewing projects, its stained, worn, pink and green cover looked badly out of place. This weekend I remedied the problem by making a new cover from the zebra bedsheet! I simply used the old cover for a pattern, leaving a little extra around the edges to stitch a casing for elastic. Oh yes, and the old cover had two velcro straps that fastened under the ironing board to help keep it in place, so I snipped those off to reuse, too. It fits, and I love it! ♥

Sometimes It’s the Little Things . . .

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I had a few spare minutes today and decided to tackle some quick-‘n-easy projects with my materials and supplies, so now I have . . .

(1) a clasp on my needle book (braided embroidery floss stitched to the back cover wrapped around a small button on the front cover),

(2) labels on the red fabric bins where I keep my office/sewing/crafting supplies (typed lists taped to scrapbook paper rectangles and clipped to the fronts of the bins), and

(3) a home for my ever-growing collection of PW‘s (pattern weights) . . . the mason jar from my Mother’s Day gift labeled with a Publishers Weekly logo. (I don’t think they’ll mind, do you?) ♥

 

Yellow Sweater Pillow

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As you know, I love to upcycle old clothing, which is why this “sweater with issues” is now a cushy 10 x 15 inch pillow. Although the built-in smocking added a nice bit of texture, I decided to up the a-la-mode by making a flower out of the same fabric. With the gold floss and button in the center, it even harmonizes with my sunflower paintings . . . a surprise bonus! ♥

Happy Spring!

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I’ve seen lots of fabric-tied wreaths on Pinterest lately, so I decided to give it a try and create a spring version. First, I went through all my fabric scraps and made piles of pastel prints and solids–light browns, blues, pinks, purples, yellows, and greens–which I then cut into 6 x 1 inch strips. Next, I bent a wire hanger into a circle and wrapped the handle with yellow gingham. Finally, I started tying, choosing a strip from each group of colors in turn. This project took awhile, but it was worth it! Wouldn’t it be fun to have one for Valentine’s Day . . . St. Patrick’s Day . . . Easter . . . Fourth of July . . . Back to School . . . Halloween . . . Thanksgiving . . . Christmas . . .  ♥

Tangerine!

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Design-her Gals is the best web site ever for creating business cards and other personalized products. I’ve used it for several years for my Edwriter cards, and I’ve never been disappointed. Plus, it’s fun designing your “gal,” they have lots of great sales, and a portion of every purchase goes to the Gal to Gal Foundation for Stage IV breast cancer research. I was intrigued by a recent email from Design-her Gals about the “color of the year” . . . tangerine:

Tangerine combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. Associated with joy, sunshine, and the tropics, it represents enthusiasm, creativity, determination, and success. Add a little tangerine to your life this year!

Since this was my new favorite color last spring, I took my camera to my living/dining/kitchen space to see just how many shots of orange I could find. ♥

Storage With Style

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I’m working on a project that requires 16 colors of embroidery floss. I decided to start with all new skeins to make sure I wouldn’t run out, so I was tickled pink to find a new way to store the leftovers once I’d finished with them. (Thank you, Pinterest! ♥) I think they look extra pretty in this bowl Greg made, don’t you? This concept also fits a new decorating strategy I adopted when we decided to downsize to a smaller home. Instead of putting up decorations AND finding places to store things, why not use storage solutions that decorate?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Where we love is home . . . home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. (Oliver W. Holmes)