I just LOVE Christmas cards. Our family has done them from the very first year of our marriage. Sixteen years of cards people! I look forward to the whole process. I love to have the picture taken, choose a card, buy the stamps, lick the envelopes, print the labels, check off my lists….I expressed my disappointment on Facebook about how sad it is that people just don't send Christmas cards these days. A variety of reasons was given for not sending them… Dying tradition, no time, not in the budget…I understand. It is a cost and it does take a lot of time.  I urge those of you that haven't done one in years…go the day after Christmas this year and buy some at 1/2 off. That's how I afforded them in our early years of marriage. I was literally waiting at the door to Not Just Stationary at 10 am the day after Christmas. 

So, here ya go. A peek into a few of our cards. These were the ones that were easy to get to. The older ones are stored in a cabinet with ACTUAL PICTURES. We started cards when pictures were actually developed and added to the card.  I just don't have time to go through all those boxes and find them…one day maybe (story of my life).  The quality isn't the best, as these are scanned copies. 

Above is our 2012 card. Yes, I am aware that our twelve year old is my exact height. No comment. I have a dear friend, Kathleen Brown, who designs and prints our cards every year now. She's an amazing artist and takes so much pride in her art. She's  well known here in Gainesville. She's working on her website if you interested in her work. Look her up soon. The company is Dot Dot Goose. You will see from several of my cards that she's so talented and I love her style! Our photographer is another great friend. She has the ability to make you totally relax and look like yourself.  She is so creative and just blows me away with her work!  Her name is Sarah McClendon and you can find her at Sarah McClendon Photography.  She's taken our picture for the past three cards! Take a peek at our last photo shoot.  Doesn't hurt that her dad (my Oncologist by the way!)owns this gorgeous alpaca farm in Gainesville. Makes for a terrific location for shoots!

Here's a peek at the inside of the 2012 card. I took some inspiration from a Tiny Prints card and made this on Picasa. Kathleen had the printer add it to our card.  Sorry, you cannot see the verse very well.

This was our 2011 card. Sarah took the picture and Kathleen designed the card. I love that Palmer has this hat on in the picture. It will always remind me of the time in his life when he loved wearing hats. 

This is our 2010 Card.  Sarah was our photographer and Kathleen designed the card.  I remember two things about this card.  It was like 20 below in November when we took this picture. It was taken on an old covered bridge in a park on the lake. The wind was blowing so hard and we were literally FROZEN. It took us a week to thaw out! The other thing…I had battled breast cancer that whole year. I had been diagnosed in February. I'd had my last surgery in September of that year. I was blessed to be alive. Blessed to be there with my family.  Blessed to have another Christmas.

This was the inside of our 2010 card. I found the first verse in a card somwhere. Kathleen and I came up with the rest. So fitting.

This was our 2009 card. My Mom took these pictures for us. We were on the beach in Pensacola, FL. The pictures were all so lovely that I came up with a collage to include several. Tiny Prints had the perfect card for this laid back beach session.

I had to show you the inside of this 2009 card. The dainty little font just makes me smile every time! The little polka dots bring such joy! Happy, Happy!

I'm guessing that this is our 2008 card. I'm terrible about not writing dates on things.  Shame on me, I know. My sister took this picture for us.  She's a photographer (another talented gal!). She moved to Florida several years ago and that's why I have Sarah do our pictures now.  We visited for Thanksgiving this year and she took us over to a GORGEOUS park literally across the street from her. It's on the St. Johns river and is breathtaking.  This is one of those cards that I got at a 50% off sale the year before the picture was actually taken.  I just always made the picture fit the card.  Always worked well. I only got burned once. All 100 of those cards are still in the basement with labels printed. I just couldn't make those cards fit with the picture we took that year! You all know what a sucker I am for a bargain. I paid $20 for this dress. It was on clearance and I still wear it to this day! The card is by: Stacy Claire Boyd.

And then there are years when you just cannot find the time to take pictures. Or you just didn't find a card you liked. Or you just ran out of time. Either one.  So, I just decided to make the best of it and feature a trip to the brand new Georgia Aquarium. I make a collage and printed them at Target. Palmer's not a ham. Not one bit. Nope. Still isn't. Look at the size of those fish in the upper left…if you go visit now, those fish are huge!!!

Who says you can't act like a kid?  I knew we didn't have my sister to take the picture for us that year, so I ask my friend Patty to take it at her son's birthday party.  See how easy it is to get a great picture? I knew that inflatables would be the perfect backdrop! See the Incredible's (one of my all time favorite kids movies!!) ring on my finger?

My BFF, Lori and her family met us at the famous Pink Pig in Atlanta around Thanksgiving. I handed her my camera and "snap", the perfect picture! Once again, I made the picture fit the card I had bought the year before! I knew I had an eclectic, crazy dancing reindeer card so I was game for a wacky background. This was part of the fencing around the track where you take a spin on the pig train! This card is by The Inviting Company.

And this is where is skips like 5-6 years! I had these next few in an album that was easy to get to.  This is the year 1999.  We were building our house and I thought it would be cute to snap a picture in front of it!   I was barely pregnant with Palmer. No one knew except us.  We waited a whole two weeks to tell our family because we wanted to surprise everyone on Christmas day!  We wrapped up pacifiers and gave them to the grandparents. It was such a fun day!! Our dear Stratford was only 3 at the time.  He was our first baby. He managed to be our baby for 15 years. He's playing with the doggy angels in heaven now.

This is the inside of the 1999 card. I loved the "from our house to yours" spin on this one!

And here we are. Um, yeah. I love how our cards have documented our lives throughout the years.  Lots of weight has been lost (Todd) and gained (me-ugg!) over the years. Different hairsyles have come and gone as well. Ah, life. What fun! My sister took this picture at her house. I am pretty sure it's the second year of our marraige.  Look how I'm giving Stratford reindeer antlers!

I typed up this poem and included it our cards that year.

Stratford was the star this year.  I remember I was pregnant and felt terrible.  I remember that all I did to decorate was to put a tree (look how "decorated" it is-where are the ornaments? I must have felt terrible!).


This is the little poem that went inside the card that year that it was only Stratford. We had our own baby on the way. Imagine carrying a child, knowing that HE would one day give his life for you. For all of us.  To die on a cross. To wipe out our sins. We have hope and eternal life because he was born.



Sarah's number is :678-622-4721. Kathleen's number is : 770-287-8760.


Christmas is almost here! Are you all rushing around yet? This has been the strangest year for me here in North Georgia.  It's been so warm and hardly felt like Christmas at all. For some reason, that has hindered me from getting into the season.  I've procrastinated gift buying because of it. Is that a lame excuse…ah, yes.  Trying to snap out of it though. Another thing that's bummed me out this season is that my twelve year old son no longer believes in Santa (I know, I'm lucky he's lasted this long). He was told the truth this summer because he begged me to. He's "too cool for school" this year. He won't watch Christmas movies, Charlie Brown Specials, decorate his tree (said he didn't care if it was up or not)…it's not that he's mad. He's just over it. He said he doesn't mind that we "tricked" him all these years and that it was fun. He's so sentimental about certain things (he won't let me throw away the tin foil from the biscuit we gave Stratford, our 15 year old dog right before we put him to sleep!) so it's breaking my heart he's not sentimental about Christmas.   

I finally got around to taking a few pictures of our decorations last night. I wanted to get a few at night time. Do you all remember sitting in your living room around Christmas time with all the lights off and nothing but Christmas lights on?  Oh yeah…I certainly did. My twin sister and I loved to lay under the tree and look up at the lights. For us, they were colored, big bulbs and those Stardust Glitter BELLS (sugar glitter). Remember those?  Remember those satin ornament balls, the tinsel garland?? Oh my!  I found a picture of those bell lights for sale on ebay…they are $70.55 for a strand of 44 lights!! That's some expensive memorabilia! I also found a cute picture online of a seventies tree…try not to notice the kids in the underware….those poor unsuspecting kids…they didn't have a clue that they would be on the world wide web one day!

OK, I'll come back from memory lane and get to the pictures I took yesterday.  I love a natural look with a little bit of glam.  You will see this reflected in my decorating year round. Christmas time is no different. I love my tree. Love it!  It's been a work in progress. I seem to add a different element every year. I've always decorated my tree with cream and gold.  It's slowly evolved into robin's egg blue and brown ribbon with lots of gold pine cones dipped in glitter, real pheasant feathers, opaque cream Martha Stewart glass balls, feather balls, cream paper mache fleur de lis ornaments and the random special ornament that fits my theme. I add a personalized picture ornament every year. I have Exposures take our Christmas Card from that year and make an ornament out of it. I buy most of my Christmas decorations at half off sales the day after Christmas. I have rarely pay full price for Christmas unless it's at TJ Maxx or Marshalls.  The feathers are not half off though. Hobby Lobby rarely puts them on sale. I bought a lot of  the decorations on my tree at a very expensive boutique that was going out of business after Christmas.  I never, ever, ever, ever go Black Friday shopping. Instead, I go the day after Christmas.  Worth it! Oh, I added a unique element this year. I saw it somewhere online and couldn't wait to do it this Christmas. I went outside to our huge stick pile and grabbed real STICKS to put into the tree!  I LOVE it! If you look closely, you can see them on the outer edges.

I'll get right to MY TREE SKIRT!! I honestly haven't been this excited about something I've made in a LONGGGG time.  This is the famous Miss Mustard Seed Tree Skirt.  She's one of the most talented bloggers out there and she was the genius behind this ruffle masterpiece! Eventually, I will do a post on EXACTLY how I made this. I will say this. I don't sew. This is made by hot gluing strips of linen fabric onto a painter's canvas drop cloth! Seriously! Lots and lots of hot glue and sharp scissors are essential to this turning out so well. Oh, and did I mention that it was SUPER DUPER EASY but took about 10 hours (here and there) to finish! I'm a perfectionist so I probably took longer than most, but it does take a while.

This little angel was a gift from my best friend. She picked the perfect gift the year she gave it to me.

This little guy is a nod to my owl obsession. My mom encourages it by getting me owl ornaments!

I seem to add more and more birds to my tree every year. I grabbed four of these this year at an antique shop…oh, I paid full price! That's OK, they were $4 each.

This is not the best picture of this ornament, it was tough to get it to focus.  I must say that I treasure this little nativity ornament so. It's not the actual ornament that is special to me. It's what Palmer said about it that makes it special.  I have no idea how old he was when he said that we should always place this particular ornament on the back side of the tree. That way Santa can see it when he comes down the chimney. Melting right now.

I take a while putting this Willow Tree Nativity up every year. I always am just blown away by the beauty of it. It's rather expensive so I had ask for several different pieces for Christmas one year and managed to get the whole thing!  I added greenery and berries this year for some texture and color. Notice the ox's missing horn? Palmer. That's all I'll say.

Notice anyting on the cute little sampler? See my short little post on this sign. 

I'll leave you with Gunner.  He will do ANYTHING for a treat…he will sit in front of a Christmas tree…

And dress like a girl (according to Todd & Palmer).


Hello you! It's been too long (once again).  If this blog thing was my job, I would have been fired a LONNNNG time ago!  I'm so glad it's not because I want this to be fun and stress free. Hope you don't mind hearing from me so sporadically! By the way, I'm not sure my subscription button is working properly, I will be working on that. Sorry!

I've been sitting on these Country Living Fair pictures since the end of October! I literally took so many pictures that I filled my card on the first day!  I had to delete some in order to take pictures on day two! I'm a little picture happy.  The fair is a creative person's dream.  Even to those of us who just dabble in the crafty world, it's mesmerizing! I've decided to split these pictures up into several posts. If I tried to put them all in one post, well you might just decide to unsubscribe because I overwhelmed you!

This year was extra special, my twin sister flew in from Florida so we made a little girl trip out of it!  My mom, sister and I bought two day passes and spent the night down in Atlanta.  It really is such a fun event that sharing it with those you love is only natural.

Every year they have the most amazing pumpkin pile, pumpkin mountain…whatever you want to call it.  It's stunning.  Everyone stops to pose for pictures with this in the background. This precious little one walked right into the picture as I was taking it and I didn't mind one bit. Kind of sums it all up.  Someone is starting her off right!

Here's my twin sister, Stacy (left).  Do we look like twins or what?  It's funny because no one ever believed us when we were little and have a hard time believing it now.  I just don't get it…kidding! If I made these pictures black and white you will see the resemblance more.

One of the first things you see is the huge Country Living General Store pavilion. It's filled with many of the decorating ideas you see in the magazine for fall. It's so neat to see some of the displays that you see in the magazine live and in person!  This pavilion is also where Sarah Gray Miller, Country Living Magazine Editor-in-Chief does her meet and greet. You also have the chance to meet several authors at their book signings in this area.

I love mixing natual elements into my decorating.  Country Living does not dissapoint if you love decorating this way. 

OK, that's enough for today. I will leave you with this picture though…it's of one of the most treasured items I bought at the fair this year.  It's made by artist, Vikki Fraker. Her company is called, Revival 356. She uses salvaged material like old barn wood, chains, lace, buttons, burlap, clothes pins, door hinges, you name it! I'm a sucker for frames anyway and this was just the cherry on top!  I will show you more of her booth in my next post! 

If you are interested in last year's posts about the CLF, you can find it here.

If you want to see what I bought at last year's fair, you can find it here.

Leave a comment

I am totally in love with this Fall season we are having. The leaves here in North Georgia have finally turned the most beautiful colors.  Every time I turn the corner in my neighborhood, I am blown away by the beauty of the earth! God loves us so much. He knows we long for variation and excitement!

Today, I am showing you how to wax leaves. This is not a new concept to most but for some reason, I never knew about this.  I just remember pressing leaves in books. I saw a post on Clover Lane and decided to try it for myself! Waxing the leaves just shines them up a bit. It also preserves the color and texture a little bit longer. From what I've read, they won't last forever.  This is such a neat little craft to encourage you to get out in the beautiful, fall weather with your kids. Or, by yourself.  I relish a solo walk through the woods. Try it. Remember to make sure that the leaves you collect have stems because we are going to make a little garland with some string. The longer the better.

Collect your leaves-they work best when they are freshly fallen leaves. I actually picked several off of trees. I think it's funny that author over at Clover Lane got a fresh little comment on how she was "defacing" nature by using leaves this way. HUH?? Dead leaves are that, dead leaves (OK, mine will be dead in like 2 days). Clover Lane didn't even respond. Hopefully, she just laughed it off. Laughing at other's negativity just makes you the better person. You will just be in a better mood!

Here we go: Get you a box of Paraffin Wax.  Any grocery store will have it.

          Gulf Wax: Household Paraffin Wax For Canning, Candlemaking & Many Other Uses, 16 Oz

Pick up a disposable aluminum pan while you are at the store. You DO NOT want to use your cookware for this. It WILL ruin it. I used an old turkey roaster I had, so the pan was pretty thick. I think that a thicker pan works better.  I'll  tell you why in a minute. 

      3-Quart Casserole Pans with Covers

Next, you put the wax bar or bars (I used 2-3 bars) in the pan.  Put the pan directly on the burners. Yes, just put the pan on both burners if it's long enough. A smaller pan would just go over one burner. Again, I think the longer, thicker pans work better. I'm not sure how a little aluminum pie tin would work. OK, turn on VERY low heat.  If your oven has numbered dials, turn it to 2-3.  The wax will start to melt quickly.  It has the constancy of water. Once it's all melted (less than 7-8 minutes)you can start dipping your leaves. *DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MELT WAX IN MICROWAVE-it can catch fire (I googled it). Also, while you are working with the wax, if hit hardens up, simply turn the burner on again and it will melt back perfectly.


Keep in mind that the wax is extremely hot! Adult supervision is an absolute MUST. I don't want any burned little fingers please. That would make me terribly sad :(   If you want to be really cautious, someone online suggested getting a clothes pin to hold the stem on the leaf.

Palmer helped long enough for me to snap this picture. He is your typical teenage boy (OK, he's 12 but acts like a full on teenager). He wants to watch football, shoot basketball, hang with his friends… much more than he wants to do crafts with me. I miss the time when he would grin from ear to ear while we were crafting. Please disregard the rotting bananas in the background! I refuse to eat a banana that is ripe. I even want some green showing on mine! I would have made banana bread but I'm on the Avocare Challenge remember? Arggg!

Slowly dip the leaf, pull up slowy and let the wax drip a second or two.

Some people lay the leaves on newspaper. I decided to lay it on wax paper on top of newspaper. Whatever you want I'm sure is fine.  The leaf starts off really glossy but dries a nice matte finish.

As you can see, we picked up lots of leaves! We need choices in life right?

Let cool for about 5 minutes and you can GENTLY pull them off the wax paper by inserting your fingers underneath and pushing up. 

OK, I got carried away with the leaves. I used 16-17 leaves on my garlands (one on each window in my eating area). I put the rest in a big glass vase to display.

To make the garland, I used simple brown twine. I've seen some use thread or fishing line. I wanted something pretty and natural looking without being thick and cumbersome. The twine looked perfect.  I just tied simple knots the whole way. Don't tie, knot and then cut though, just knot it and keep going. It's hard to explain but you will see when you start to do it what I mean.

Happy Fall Yall!


It's Fall and Halloween around here!  I love to get out all of the holiday decorations.  I think the reason I go all out for the different holidays/seasons is because it helps me get my "girlygirl" fix.  I live in a house with nothing but boys after all (even the dog is a boy). Anyhoo, enjoy!

I got this adorable little house for $3 at TJ Maxx after Halloween last year! Nothing like a little glitter to bring out the girlygirl in me! The frame was also $3 at the after Halloween sale at the Maxx! Palmer was a football player (didn't have to buy a costume for that one!)and gave me the perfect smile!

Owls are on everything right now, why not your Kleenex box? This is the Halloween special edition hologram box! I love how his eyes and wings open up when you turn it!

My sister gave me these cute Halloween doggie tea towels! We both love dogs so much! She also gave me the adorable paper straws! 

I'll leave you with a little "bathroom humor"! 


   hysterectomy cartoons, hysterectomy cartoon, hysterectomy picture, hysterectomy pictures, hysterectomy image, hysterectomy images, hysterectomy illustration, hysterectomy illustrations                          

I'm going to talk about something that I NEVER thought I would talk about on my blog… my weight! You heard me, my weight. No, I'm not going to give you my actual weight (I'm not THAT brave, plus, we all know it's subjective… right?). As you know, I had a FULL hysterectomy last February. It was medically necessary. Very necessary.  The positives far outweigh the negatives. I REALLY do feel better. I had PCOS, severe endometriosis, a prolapsed and retroverted uterus. I had 4 surgeries related to all of my "female" problems. One included the removal of a 12 cm fibroid tumor. A couple of others were from cysts that kept growing and wouldn't rupture. Another was to remove my fallopian tubes. They were blocked (from years of endometriosis & previous surgeries) and causing lots of pain. I was young (for today's standards) when I had Palmer. I was 26 to be exact. I look back on that now and really believe that it's a miracle that we even had him! I had no idea that I had all of these problems until we tried to have another baby when Palmer was six. I had a molar pregnancy (results=no baby) that gave us a cancer scare and then a miscarriage all over the period of 4 years. All of those surgeries were in between all of that (oh, yeah, two other surgeries-D & C's). Then the biggie came…BREAST CANCER. I had a double mastectomy. A hysterectomy was just the next logical step (we decided that trying to physically have another child after Breast Cancer just wasn't smart for me). To tell you all this isn't the reason I'm writing today… my weight is! It's impossible to prepare someone for what happens to their body after a hysterectomy. Unless your Mrs. Hollywood and have the most amazing metabolism in the world, it's gunna change. More than likely not in a good way.  I know it's not all about good looks but it's just not healthy for me to carry all of this extra weight.  My back always lets me know when I have extra weight and it's NOT happy right now. So, I'm doing something about this. I'm telling you all about it because I think accountability is a super motivator! I started  the Advocare 24 Day Challenge on Monday.  Scary, very scary.  I have been gluten, dairy & sugar free for the past three days and will be for the seven more (it's the first part of the challenge).  I'm over dreading it. I was just ready to start. It took me a while to grocery shop! Reading labels takes time. But, I'm OK with that. I'm ready for results and I know that your diet is 70% of the problem. I exercise 4 times a week, so that's not my problem. I know it's the food I eat.  Wish me luck! 

I do want to share this recipe with you. I've made this recipe before but never knew it would be a staple for my diet one day! It's protein & fiber rich and meets my challenge requirements.  I found it on the blog, Honey, We're Home. It's called Taco Turkey Casserole. You can add cheese if you want (I of course won't be). It contains brown rice and I have never been a great rice cooker. Our Best Bites blog shows you the BEST way to cook brown rice and it's so good and easy!  I will incorporate this process into my directions!

Directions for baking rice (adapted from Our Best Bites). Pour 1 1/2 cups brown rice in an 8 in square baking dish.

Bring 2 1/3 cups water, to a boil, either in a saucepan or in the microwave.  Keep an eye on it and take it off heat immediately after it starts boiling. Immediately stir in 2 tsp unsalted butter or oil. Add 1/2 tsp salt.  Pour water over rice in baking dish. *note-you will have more cooked rice than the recipe calls for – save it for later!

Cover baking dish with two layers of foil, or one layer of heavy-duty foil. Put dish in 375 degree oven & bake for about an hour.  Remove dish from oven and uncover. Fluff rice with fork, then cover dish with kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes. Uncover and let rice stand 5 minutes longer. What results is much better than what I've ever cooked on the stove top!

Take your cooked turkey (the turkey is so lean, you should not need to drain it)…

And add a can of black beans (drained). I use reduced sodium beans, the taco mix has plenty of salt. Plus I do salt & pepper the turkey a bit.

Next, add your Taco Mix (they make a low sodium mix, I tried it before but I didn't like it, too bland. It's up to you).

Add your cooked rice and you're done! You may add cheese if you want (I never do, but you might). You can even top with sour cream. If you are trying to be lean though, skip the cheese and sour cream. I do eat THESE with it though…THEY ARE AN OBSESSION OF MINE! I'm not eating them right now because of the gluten. I'm eating Mission Tortilla chips right now because they are gluten free.

So there you have it! Let me know what you think if you make it!


Fall is here! I love decorating my front porch for the Fall season. This year, I took inspiration from this topiary I spotted at the Country Living Fair a couple of years ago. I knew I would do something similar one day!

I knew I wouldn't find the unusual pumpkins I needed at the hardware store, so I headed to a great farm about 20 minutes from my house.  The Kinsey Family Farm is in Forsyth County off of Jot Em Down road here in North Georgia. How lucky are we to have such a cute place so close to home!

I could have stayed for hours! What a beautiful, fall day!

I walked around looking at everything before I made my selection…and at last…here they are…perfect!

My next stop was at Home Depot for those fall mums, pansies and ornamental cabbage.

And here's the finished display! I absolutely love how it turned out. Who knew there were so many varieties of pumpkins?

Here's my post from last year. It features my Polka Dot Pumpkin Topiary! My next post will give you a peek at our indoor decorations!



Oh boy…it's almost here!!! No, not fall (excited about that too) but the Country Living Fair is what I LIVE for this time of year! It's coming to Stone Mountain in Atlanta, October 26, 27 & 28th. This will be the third year in a row that I've gotten to go to this amazing event! I never got around to posting my pictures from last year. I meant to do it but as the date to this one got closer, I figured that I would save my pictures and post them now (you know, to get you super excited)!!  I'm super excited about this year because my twin sister has already bought her ticket to fly into Atlanta to go with me and my Mom!! My BFF and her Mom are coming into town to meet up with us too! We've actually bought 3 day tickets for this year. It seems excessive but it really is just way too much to squeeze into one day. You will miss out on some things if you only go for one day. Of course, you could be a super shopper and be able to get it done in one day but we like to talk to the venders. We like to find out where they are from, how long it took them to drive all of their stuff across the country, how they got started in the business … all that fun stuff! Please pardon some of the blurry photos! I was so excited that I just started shooting away and didn't bother to slow down, focus or make adjustments! But, anyway, sit back, grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the show!

Apologies again but I didn't take good notes on which item came from which vender. But, if you have a question about anything specific I will be glad to look it up and let you know. I do know that these first few are from a lovely group of girls called Earth Angels. They each bring a different talent to the table and they travel as a group all over to showcase their crafts. They hand make all of their products. The price may seem steep but think of all the time and talent involved. They are one of a kind, true heirlooms that will be treasured by many generations. Look at all of the details, they are just so magical.

This vintage dollhouse was actually a display within the Earth Angels booth. It sold AS I WAS TAKING THIS PICTURE! If you are remotely interested in something-grab it or it will disappear before your little eyes!

Ok, this next set of pictures is from probably my favorite booth at the Country Living Fair. It's HAPPY CHAIR. When you see the pictures you will know why! The lady who designs this furniture is a former race car driver. Say what? Yep, you read right, a rice car driver! Talk about two totally different occupations! Certainly designing furniture is a lot safer!  Each design is so unique and instantly makes you "happy"!

I RAN to this chair (the chair below, the tree chair) as soon as I saw it! I was in LOVE.  I even called Todd and ask if I could buy it! I texted him pictures, begged, cried (just kidding, but I might have pulled out all the stops if I'd really wanted it-wink wink) …he was really thinking it over when I came to my senses.  Where on earth would it go in our house? We are out of room and the colors don't exactly jive with our colors.  I have a husband who really loves to help decorate and has great taste. He knew an awesome piece when he saw it but he agreed that it just didn't fit our life right now (yes, I'm talking about a piece of furniture like this!).  I walked away happy though. I was happy to know that one day we WILL own one of her amazing pices of furniture!

The rest of these pictures are from different booths all over the fair. I think they are a good representation of what you will see if you go to the fair.

And lastly…these are the ones that got away…I'm so mad at myself for not scooping them up.  So appropriate for this time in our history…they just crack me up!

So what do you think? Are you going to go to the fair now that you have seen what an amazing show it is? Have you been before? Let me know in the comments section (it get's lonely over here in blogland sometimes).

Also, if you are interested in seeing what I actually bought at the fair, you can see this post of mine that I did right after we got home last year.




If you know me, you know I love dogs. L-O-V-E them. This is our beloved English Springer Spaniel. We had to make the heartbreaking (but right) decision to put him down earlier this year.  Todd resisted my pleas for a dog for only six months of our marriage before he finally relented and let me get a puppy.  Stratford was our first baby. He was ours for 15 years. He lived a long and charmed life. We called him the "million dollar dog". We spent a lot of money on him. A lot. He had allergies, swallowed things he shouldn't have and gave us a huge scare as a puppy by growing something on his skin that the vet thought was cancer! In his senior years, he suffered thyroid problems, deafness, arthritis, anxiety…but, we kept him comfortable and even bought him a puppy to keep that pep in his step (he wasn't too happy about the puppy thing!). We loved Statford so very much. He provided so much happiness. Did you know that just PETTING a dog lowers your blood pressure? It's been reported that babies who have dogs in the home have less allergies as children! Stratford sensed when I needed him most.  While crumpled up on the bed crying about a miscarriage I was suffering, Stratford jumped up on the bed and lay almost his whole body on me. God sent me an angel right then and there in the form of my doggy! He was just so sweet and loving. 

As an ode to my love of dogs, I've started collecting the most adorable Vintage Puppy Planters! Yes, Puppy Planters! My sister and my Mom have been antiquing for many years. I've just now started to join the party. Yes, I'm guilty of taking part now that it's "cool". Oh well, I'm here to stay! 

My Mom collects these miniature dog figurines (below). Aren't they just the cutest things? I didn't want to collect the same thing because shopping together is fun and what if we both went for the same thing? Haha!

So, when I saw the puppy planters, I knew that they would be "my" thing. Here are the one's I've collected so far. They have all been under $25. Most are between $12-$20. It's fun to collect something that shows my love of dogs and my love of things of the past. I also appreciate that they are "pre-loved"! I've done a little bit of research and it seems most are from the 40's and 50's. I've found them in antique stores Gainesville, Buford & Jacksonville, FL. Makes stopping in at random stores so exciting!

This guy is my first puppy planter purchase. I'm sure you can guess why he caught my eye. He sat out on my counter while the hydrangeas were in bloom. I've since moved all my planters to the china cabinet. I used them as table decorations for a little party this summer too.

My mom found this little cocker spaniel for me!

This guy comes with his own little letter carrier.

And this little guy…NOPE, he didn't come home with me. Everyone KNOWS how much I detest cigarette, cigar…smoke! But, I did get a good little laugh out of him!

What do you collect? I'd love the hear about it!


                         BROWN EYED GIRLY GIRL         



Leave a comment

Hello!!!! Yes, it's been 3 months since my last post! Wish I could say that I've been on a world tour or training for a marathon. But, uh, nope… pure busyness. There's not a day that goes by that I don't think "Gee, I really need to do a blog post". I have tons of ideas, pictures, things to tell you, show you… the list goes on and on! Every time I think about sitting down to type and edit pictures I think "Ugg, it's going to take too long, I don't have time".  What could possibly be keeping me so busy? Life. Well, my son started middle school and middle school football!!! He's been practicing since July!  At one point this summer I found myself going back and forth to his school 4 times a day. He had a readiness camp (for middle school)in the morning plus football practice in the afternoon! We also have traveled to the beach a couple of times and we took a trip to see my sister. Hopefully, things are starting to settle down a bit. Oh, did I mention that I finally jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon?? Oh yeah!!!  Hopefully, it will be like Facebook. When you first join you could spend hours and hours and then you calm down a bit and don't spend every spare minute on the computer. Maybe Pinterest will be the same!

OK, another thing I have been doing that took up some of my time …I've found ANNIE SLOAN CHALK PAINT (ASCP)!!! Annie Sloan is a real person! She created this paint that everyone is crazy about! I've painted furniture before but not with results like this! We have had a little empty spot in the living room for quite a while and I found the perfect shelf at TJ Maxx to fill it up. I knew I needed to paint it (it was black and my living room wall color is a dark brown)but wasn't sure what color to go with. I did know enough to know that using regular paint requires you to sand and prime the surface first. I had been seeing lots of blog posts about Annie Sloan Chalk paint and was impressed with the results AND the fact that you can eliminate the sanding and priming by using chalk paint. No brainer for me!  I happened to be at Queen of Hearts Antiques in Buford and saw they had her chalk paint! It was a sign…BUY ME, BUY ME!! I love her color, Emperor's Silk and they had it in stock! The color is a deep, bold red and I desperately needed more color in my living room, so it was the perfect color choice. Now, the $38 price tag will scare some people but it's well worth all the trouble of having to do all the prep work and it saves you the cost of buying primer. You must also put a wax coat over the paint and her wax is $27.  I didn't panic about the cost because you see, another thing that has keep me busy is cleaning out my basement and selling lots of stuff. So I had the cost covered! I do have to say that this shelf is in a very dark area of the living room so taking pictures here was not easy. I did the best I could. I must say though, that it looks perfect where we've put it and I had so much fun antiquing and finding the perfect items to fill it up.

OK, now I'm going to take you through the steps of how I painted it. Now, just know that I am NOT the expert on ASCP. There are tons of blogs out there that give you lots of great tips on how to use her paint.  I literally spent hours reading all of them before I could work up the nerve to try it myself. In the end, I just decided it was never going to get done unless I took the plunge.  Glad I did, it was super easy. Just time consuming.  All in all, I would say I spent 9-10 hours working on this. I just couldn't dedicate one whole day to painting-it was all in little batches. That's OK, I had fun. Palmer even helped a bit.

Now, I do blame myself for choosing the most complicated piece to be my first! I was naive to think that I when I saw this at TJ Maxx it would be a fast project. Easy it was, fast it wasn't.  I hear about those with more experience finishing up 2-3 pieces a day.  No joke. I'm not one of them.  I guess I'm slow.  You can see from the picture below that this shelf folds up, making it easy to transport. But, it also makes it more difficult to get to all the surfaces!

Yep, it was very nice the color is was before, but it just was not the color I needed.  See all those "X" 's? Yep, they take a lot longer to paint than the flat shelves. Up, down, sideways…my back did suffer a bit on this project.

OK, here are my supplies: ASCP and Wax (clear), a wax brush (I bought her brush too), a Home Depot paint brush (choose from the "Best" section-it makes painting easier), a roller tray (to keep messes from getting everywhere), a plastic drop cloth, a cheesecloth (to wipe the wax) a fine sandpaper block (if you are going to distress your piece, you need this), baby wipes (these were a lifesaver) and plastic gloves (if you don't like to get paint on your fingers). I don't show these, but you need a stir stick and a paint can opener.

First step…dip you brush and then paint! Yep, it's that easy-no prep work required (I did run a damp rag over the whole shelf to get any dust and dirt off the surface). See how beautiful the color is?

In no time, your paint is dry. But what happened to that glossy red coat of paint? This is what the first coat looks like. It's a little scary, I must say I was terrified at my investment after the first coat dried. I persevered though. I painted a second coat and was thrilled with it! The second coat gave it the deep, rich color I yearned for! The waxing is where the little bit of sheen comes in.

Here is what it looked like after two coats.  Beautiful!!!

I waxed my shelf at night so I didn't take any pictures but it's super easy to wax. Your paint is completely dry within an hour so waxing can come anytime after that. Waxing it is easy, just dip your brush in the wax and dab it on and spread it. Less really is more with wax. There are horror stories out there about people using way too much wax. Just a very thin layer will do. Dab it on and then promptly wipe it off. Yes, that's right, wipe it off. I used a cheesecloth to wipe the wax off on this piece but I used Palmer's old white T's on the other shelf and the shirts worked just fine. I let the wax settle in overnight and then moved it upstairs to decorate it. If you are painting a piece that will be used in a high traffic area, let it sit for a week or so before you use it.  Some blogs even say it takes up to 20 days for it to fully cure.

To distress the shelf all you need is fine sandpaper. I like to use the kind wrapped around a sponge. In fact, I used 8 of them sanding this shelf. Just remember that when you sand it, whatever's underneath will show through. I knew I would love the black. Some of the blogs I read said to sand before you wax, others said to sand after you wax. I loved sanding it after I waxed. It made for a lot less clean up. I focused on sanding lots of edges. Some more than others. That's the neat thing about distressing, it's totally up to you!

Here a close up of how pretty and unique distressing can be.

And this is what happens when you use too heavy a hand while distressing. I could have painted over it but decided not to. Just use a gentle hand at first and adjust your pressure as you see fit.

I had a great time painting this shelf and am super happy with the results.  In fact, I have already painted another piece and put it in Palmer's room-hopefully, it won't take another three months for me to do a post on it!  I do plan on doing another post about the antiques I bought for this shelf. I've been doing a lot of antiqueing lately (another thing that takes up time!) and loving it!


Some good sources for painting with chalk paint can be found on:

(she has painted with chalk paint and milk paint-they are different, so make sure you are reading about chalk paint when you brouse her site).

Perfectly Imperfect has some great videos. This particular post is about ASCP.

Another great post about ASCP


Many Blessings,


Leave a comment