Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Bathroom

First thing is first, I've joined Pinterest!!  And I'm totally addicted!  You can find me here! Please consider following both my blog and my Pinterest boards! Second, I've just written an updated list of more 'beach inspired' paint colors I've used in my home!

I have yet to post any pictures of my bath decor so today's the day!  About a year before my house was built I picked up a really pretty glass tile sample from Home Depot, which ended up being the inspiration for the entire room.
Bathroom Design Idea

The paint color in the room is Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams.  I splurged (the biggest splurge in the entire house) on a Corian vanity top in a gray to pick up the gray in the tile back-splash. I ended up going with a slightly different style tile for the back-splash than in the picture above, however.

Bathroom design paint color Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams

Glass tile bathroom backsplash

I couldn't decide between a mirror or a medicine cabinet for above the vanity.  While I like the look of a mirror I like the functional aspect of a medicine cabinet.  I ended up finding this...

Mirrored Medicine Cabinet

It's a medicine cabinet from Lowes that looks like it just a plain mirror!  Love it!  The light fixture and faucet are from either Lowes or Home Depot, can't remember! Here's a view looking straight in from the hallway:

To the right is the tub/shower and to the left is a large laundry closet and the 'toilet nook'! I love having the laundry on the main floor, very convenient!  This is also the first time in my entire life to have a brand new washer & dryer...it's the little things!
I framed some homemade art in an Ikea Ribba frame (the days of the week in French) to add some color to the space.  The toilet paper is creatively and conveniently stored in a tall apothecary jar I picked up at Home Goods.  And there you have it...my bathroom!

Another Christmas Idea...

Today I packed up all the Christmas decorations and threw the beautiful tree outside!  Boy oh boy were there pine needles EVERYWHERE.  Normally, I'd wait until after the New Year to put everything away but I'm on school vacation this week and wanted to get it done so I could enjoy the rest of vacation.  But, before I put everything away I took a few more pictures of some decor ideas to share.

I ran out of room for more holiday cards on my shutter so I had to come up with another display space.


I purchased some fun pom-pom trim from the fabric store, sewed a quick loop on either end and hung it across my TV console from two stocking hooks!


The only problem I encountered was that the weight of the cards was pulling the stocking hooks off the top. Nothing a little velcro couldn't solve!  I added a piece to each stocking hook as well as to the top of the TV console (where no one except really tall people will ever see).


As I was packing up I also took a picture of a framed print of my brothers and I along with our father on Christmas morning circa 1985. It only comes out at Christmas as a festive reminder of the excitement of the season! Until next year!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Crafty Teacher Lady Christmas

This was my first Christmas in my new house and I was lucky enough to host my family's Christmas dinner!  I was a bit nervous since I've never made a spiral honey-glazed ham but I'm happy to report, after two phone calls and two hours, the ham was delicious!  I had fun setting the table and finally got to stretch its legs by putting in the two leaves that came with my dining set.  We were able to fit 10 people comfortably!


I opted for a simple color scheme by adding a silver table runner on top of a cream colored table cloth (picked up last year for half price at Target). I then added those fun mirrored trees that reflect the light all over the place!




I filled an apothecary jar with silver ornaments and wrapped a silver berry garland around its base. I purchased the pretty three-tiered tray a few years ago at Marshalls and filled it with yummy goodies!  My mom baked lots of cookies the day before for Christmas eve and I got to take a box home to share on Christmas day!


Our family gatherings are usually very casual so I opted for pretty paper plates and napkins purchased last year after Christmas (on sale!) at Target.  Of course no Christmas dinner would be complete without a plate of appetizers, and as is tradition in my family, ours included black olives, sweet gherkin pickles, and celery with cream cheese and paprika.

And on Christmas eve morning, I had a few friends over for brunch...this has become an annual get-together for my best friends from high school and I to see one another! After several tries with the self-timer, this is as good as it gets:
Sorry Baby Ella...thanks for taking one for the team!  From Left to Right:  Ella, Katie D., me, Drew, Katy G., and Katie B.! Yes, my three best friends from high school are all 'Kate'!  How funny is that?  I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Baggie Toppers

A few years ago I posted an idea featuring CD sleeves turned cookie holders as a creative and inexpensive gift. This year, as a treat for the holidays, I decided to make the students in my Sociology class little baggies filled with Muddy Buddies. In order to make the sandwich bags appear a bit more festive, I designed a topper in Photoshop and printed several out on card stock.


After printing and cutting, I folded each topper in half like so...


Then I simply stapled the cards to the top of each sandwich baggie to create an inexpensive but pretty little gift!

And I'm happy to report the students were thrilled and appreciative of their gifts!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Today, I'm 31!

It's my 31st birthday! I must say I've enjoyed this birthday much more than my 30th, mostly because for my 30th I felt pressure to go out and do something big but this year was much more low-key, which I've quite enjoyed! On Saturday I went to dinner and movie with a couple of friends which was a nice break from the hustle of holiday preparations.  But today....

I ate a beautiful and yummy cupcake from Whole Foods given to me by my friend Donna who went WAY out of her way to get it because she knew it was my favorite kind...

I wore a fun new sweater, my favorite shoes, and treated myself to a manicure...

I went out to a nice dinner with my family and came home to a mailbox full of these...


Technically, only two of the bunch are birthday cards (the rest are holiday cards) but I still smiled like a giddy school girl when I reached into the mailbox and had nothing but a huge pile of cards!  Yay!


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dining Room Art Conundrum

I've created some art to potentially hang in six large square silver frames on my dining room wall:


I've been playing around with colors, patterns, and sayings but just can't commit!  I'm naturally drawn to gray and originally they had no color.  But, the blue and green colors used are two of my favorites.  Two of the three saying have sort of an 'eating' theme since these will be in the dining area and I'd like the third saying to be something along the same lines but I'm having a brain cramp!  Feedback, please!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Decor

Ahhhh...the fresh smell of balsam fir fills the air of my home now that my Christmas tree is up! This is the first Christmas in my new home and I couldn't be more excited to decorate!

Silver is the color scheme I've gravitated toward.  I purchased the beautiful faux silver poinsettias at WalMart half price after Christmas last year as well as the pretty silver wreath (from Target).


I don't have an actual fireplace mantle so I've decorated the top of the TV cabinet instead.  The wreath was half price at Target after Christmas last year, too and the ornament garland was just picked up at Marshall's. I have yet to make or purchase some stockings to hang, however!


Did I mention I LOVE silver?  All of the trees, again, were purchased for half price during an after Christmas sale at Target last year!  I will definitely be going on another post-Christmas shopping spree this year, too!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Cards

I just LOVE receiving holiday cards in the mail!  Actually, I love any sort of correspondence from friends and family because letter writing seems to be a dying art. However, the holiday season fills my mailbox with lots of cheerful wishes from family and friends and that fills me with joy!  I've found a creative way to display my holiday cards this year:


I bought a vintage shutter at one of my favorite local shops and re-purposed it as a card holder.  It was already green so I just left it as it is.  For now, I've used clothes pins in their natural state to secure the cards but I think I may glue some wood on the back of the shutter so that the cards won't fall down the slats.  Another option is to keep the clothes pins but paint them red or another fun holiday color. A third option is to cut the shutter in half and then add hinges so that it can rest easy on a table top.  Maybe next year I'll change it up!

And now for this year's holiday card from me to you (and all my family and friends)...drum roll please...
That's my house after a fresh coating of snow just before Thanksgiving (it has ALL melted since then which I am perfectly delighted about).  I designed the whole card in Photoshop and had oversized postcards printed at Vistaprint. Can you spot the decorations that have been added in Photoshop?  I don't have any shrubs or landscaping yet in real life so I had to add a little greenery, too!  Love it!

I'm linking up to:

UndertheTableandDreaming The Girl Creative

Friday, December 9, 2011

Frame the Name

A few years ago I went in town for the afternoon and spent time taking lots of pictures.  I wanted to give unique gifts that involved framing the names of family and friends with letters found all over the city.


The picture above shows framed letters that spell out "Duclos" which is the last name of a friend.  She loved this unique gift!  My entire collection of letters can be found and purchased on my photography website if you are interested in giving a unique gift this Christmas season!

I recently did this same project with a group of students at part of our three days of ELOs (extended learning opportunities) which allow the students to be involved in workshops that go beyond the traditional classroom experiences.

On day one our group of 24 students went to the Portland Museum of Art to view a photography exhibit.  On day two we went back to the Old Port so the students could take their own 'letter' photos and on day three we stayed at school to edit photos.  Here's the result...

And in case you are so blown away by the quality of the projects that you forget they were created by high schools students, here's a reminder...

Yup...that says "Wu-Tang" as in the music group Wu-Tang Clan, of which my adolescent male students seem to have a bewildering obsession!  I would NOT recommend that you look up any of their music unless you enjoy swears and inappropriate content! :0)  Regardless, everyone had fun creating their projects and I was more than impressed by their creativity!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Simple Gift Idea: Desk Emergency Kit

I'm re-posting one of my favorite, inexpensive gift ideas from last year.  I gave a few away to friends and they were a big hit!

Emergency Desk Kit
At the beginning of last school year, I put together a little kit of essentials to keep in my desk drawer for those days I had to stay late at school.  I purchased a small plastic container and filled it with travel sized items like toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, hairspray, floss, nail file, hair brush, stain wipes, hand lotion, lint roller, pocket tissues, and hand sanitizer.  I cannot tell you how many times I have used something in that kit!  It is convenient to just grab the whole container and take it to the bathroom to 'freshen up' before parent conferences, open house nights, etc.  I decided I would make a few kits as gifts this year.    I added a cute little label that I made in Photoshop and printed out on sticker paper.
 You could also add a sewing kit, band-aids, medications, or anything else one might need.  Each item was around $1 or less so this makes a really inexpensive yet practical gift!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just A Cat

My head keeps saying you're  just a cat  but somehow my heart can't be convinced to hurt any less over losing you. 



I remember the first time I saw you at the animal shelter 10 years ago...I was in college and I convinced my roommates that adopting you would be a great idea because, after all, you were just a cat and how much trouble could you be?  I took you out of your cage and brought you into a little room so we could see if we'd make a good fit...you came over and rubbed up against my legs then did a few rolls on the floor and I knew you were the one for me.

When I moved into my new house this summer I was excited to have you with me...even though you were just a cat you made this house feel SO  MUCH MORE like a home. The halls and rooms were never empty because there you'd be, napping in the sun or 'hiding' under the bed or waiting at the door for me when I came home.



People would see how big you were, all 17 pounds of handsomeness, and they'd joke that you weren't just a cat but must be a strange breed of small dog!  That only made me love you more.



I loved how you would wait on the front porch in the afternoon and when you saw me coming down the road, you'd run down the driveway to meet me with anticipation.  When I was doing yard work or walking in the woods, you'd follow my just like a dog would even though you were just a cat.  In fact, I still laugh when I think about the time that you chased a dog clear across the yard because even though you were just a cat, you weren't afraid of anything!


Last January I thought I was going to lose you when I found out you had diabetes.  I cried and felt it was too soon.  But, you stayed with me for 11 more months and for that I will always be grateful.  It was only two weeks ago that I found out you had a brain tumor and only one week ago that I had to let you go. That first night coming home to an empty house was very difficult, especially because memories of you were everywhere.  I cried for three days straight...

I KNOW that people have 'real problems' and lose 'real people' and have so much more to grieve but you were an important and wonderful part of my life.

I will love you and miss you and remember you always...because to me, 
you will always be so much more than just a cat.