Confession: I’m a grown-up who loves to color

IMG_5309I joined the adult coloring book craze about a month ago, and I must say, it’s so much fun. I read a few articles saying that coloring is a great way to relax and relieve stress, and since I’m usually a bit, ahem, high strung, I thought this might be something worth trying. It’s really hard for me to just sit on my couch and relax in the evening when there is ALWAYS another chore or project that needs to get done, and it’s impossible for me to watch television without doing something to keep my hands busy. But after a full day of working and mothering and adulting, putting my feet up and doing NOTHING (well, except coloring) is exactly what my overstimulated brain and body needs.

Besides, it makes me feel like a kid again.

A few friends have asked me what I’m going to do with the pictures I’ve colored, and I must admit I have no idea. Maybe hang one on the fridge? Or maybe just fill up the book and then buy a new one? The outcome isn’t really something I care about – it’s just about clearing my head and enjoying myself. It’s like eating chocolate, but with fewer calories.



If you’d like to join me, it’s so easy to get started: I bought this book and these markers (thanks Amazon). I store the markers in two mason jars on the shelves behind my couch for easy access, and there’s no set-up or clean up (as opposed to my yo-yo sewing which can get a little messy).

Happy coloring, my friends!

Around the web: Treasures I’ve discovered during 3 a.m. feedings

I have a lot of free time these days – you know, during the 10-12 times a day when I’m nursing my precious little one (which, by the way, has gotten SO MUCH BETTER – my nurse told me to give nursing two weeks and it would get better – she was SO right… it went from the hardest thing ever to something I enjoy. Mamas-to-be, take heart!).

Sometimes I just sit and stare at my little beauty and soak in these precious newborn moments. But let’s face it – there’s still at least a half-dozen feedings where I’m looking for something to occupy my mind, especially in the middle of the night. And that’s when my iPhone and iPad come in handy – I can peruse blogs, catch up on news, watch Netflix, even listen to a book on tape (I’m about to finish this one).

I get all sorts of project ideas at 3:00 in the morning, and since I can’t pin them from my phone, I just email links to myself and promise myself to check them out later. Here’s a few projects I want to tackle… I thought I’d share the wealth.



1. I found this turban headband tutorial on one of my favorite style/sewing blogs and can’t wait to try it out. I saw a girl wearing this over her ponytail at the pool – it was very ’40s chic. I’m not a huge hat person, but I think it could make those “I didn’t feel like doing my hair” days look a little trendier. Plus, the only ones I found on Etsy were at least $20, which is more than I want to spend on a piece of jersey fabric. PS–If you don’t follow Merricks Art, you totally should.

Temple 314


Speaking of her tutorials, someday I’m going to get brave and try this dress. I’ve never made clothes before… but then again, I’ve never had a little girl of my own to dress before.




2. I have found a new triangle quilt pattern that I absolutely must try. Isn’t it beautiful? I don’t like to follow patterns, but I think for this one I may have to make an exception. This is like chevron’s cooler older sister.




3. Speaking of triangle quilts… I also want to try these two. I’m suddenly into quilts that incorporate lot’s of white – it makes the bright colors pop better, and I think it makes everything look cleaner. PS–For those of you who have been asking about quilting tutorials – this post includes a great tutorial on how to finish your quilt.



4. Now that baby girl has settled into a slightly more predictable schedule (and now that I’m sleeping again and feeling less zombie-ish), I’m ready to get back to making things. And by things, I mean baby girl things, now that I have a new muse. I want to start making her some cute headbands – although poor baby has such a small head that she can barely keep a headband on – and I loved this tutorial from Casa de Lewis. Which, in case you have forgotten, is the same blog that inspired Miss Wrenn’s nursery – although I switched up some of the colors a bit.

Speaking of baby girl things, I’ve also just ordered some onesies and cloth diapers off Amazon to try my hand at some custom onesies and burp cloths. My first few will be for Wrenn, but if they turn out well, they might find their way into my shop. Fingers crossed. Stay tuned.

Wrenn’s Nursery – the big reveal!

Holy cow, we are going to have a baby TOMORROW. Someone pinch me! It has been 239 days since we found out I was pregnant, and in ONE DAY we’re finally going to get to meet our Baby Girl.

Before I get all weepy and sentimental, I thought I’d give you a quick nursery tour so you can see what Miss Wrenn is coming home to. She may not actually stay in here for a few weeks, but I figure life is about to get crazy so I wanted everything to be (mostly) ready for her.

Here goes:


We were pretty thrifty and used mostly hand-me-down and repurposed items, so we splurged on the glider – it’s from Buy Buy Baby with a custom fabric (I don’t see it on their website, but you can find it in stores). We used a 20% off coupon which helped.

The crib was FREE from Pottery Barn thanks to leftover gift certificates from our wedding two-and-a-half years ago (if you got us a gift card for our wedding – thank you!). The map picture is from Society 6 (we bought the 38″x26″ one). And the bedding – except for the sheet – was made by me. The sheet is from Target. We opted for no bumpers because (1) pediatricians now advise against them, and (2) it was one less thing to purchase or make. Score!

nursery 2

Everything on this side of the room is repurposed. The mirror was free and came with the buffet we refinished in 2012. The dresser/changing table was a hand-me-down from my in-laws (we’re going to paint it and add funky knobs later…) and the armoire was a housewarming gift from my sisters back in 2006 that just got a fresh coat of paint, as well as some new shelves thanks to Mr. Right (including a hidden compartment at the bottom to store diapers – yea!).

We still lack hanging up a few photos, an an area rug, and some curtains. But let’s be honest – most of the windows in my house are missing curtains, so Baby Girl may have to wait awhile for those.


And finally – here’s Wrenn’s bag packed and ready to go to the hospital! We check in tonight and get the party started first thing in the morning. Go ahead and say a prayer (or ten) for both of us that this delivery is safe, SWIFT, and a positive experience for all three of us.

See you tomorrow, Wrenn Olivia!

Decorating with Chalkboards

My mama kept a chalkboard in our kitchen when I was a child – we used it for shopping lists and spelling words and reminders. My dad taught my sister and I how to play softball by drawing diagrams on that chalkboard when I was in the third grade.

Who knew that my mom was absolutely ahead of her time when it came to decorating her house with chalkboards. For awhile I thought white boards were the wave of the future, but as usual, mama knew best.

Mr. Right and I are trying to carry the tradition to our own house by decorating with chalkboards. So far I have one in my laundry room:

And we’re pinching our pennies until we can turn this frame into a giant chalkboard/menu in our dining room. We tried to do it ourselves with plywood but it’s just too big, so we’ll be taking her to be professionally done at our local framing store. Soon. Until then it’s backed with burlap and I occasionally hang seasonal bunting on it to add a little color.

Until then, I continue to be inspired by some gorgeous DIY chalkboards I found online. (click on each picture to be taken to the original source)

Our marriage mentors have one of these in their kitchen that they post bible verses and prayer requests on. What a sweet way to keep the family on the same prayer page.

Or how about some chalkboard place mats?

A weekly menu (ps- don’t you love those green shelves?).

Chalkboards + bunting = bliss.

And then there’s this great endcap to a kitchen cabinet – perfect height for littles ones to enjoy. The second one is even cuter since it’s framed out.

 What about you? Have you found a unique way to use a chalkboard in your home or office? I’d love to hear about it.

Wedding Weekend

One of my favorite people on the entire planet is Pam. She is a friend to me, a mentor, an example of a Godly wife and mother and someone who has more sass than just about anybody I know. There are times that I get stressed out when planning an event and I have to emulate her “no big deal!” laid-back attitude. Typically for me it’s one of those “fake it ’til you feel it” situations.

The first time I really got to know her was four years ago when she showed up to my sister’s surgery, over an hour away, having only met us once or twice, to sit with our family in the waiting room. She was the only person from our church who came, and I will never, ever forget that. When I was single, she gave me the BEST pep talks about it being for God’s glory and not because I had three foreheads – the kind that kept me going when two of my ex-boyfriends got engaged in the same week or when it felt like I would NEVER meet Mr. Right. Once I met Mr. Right, she and her husband basically adopted us into their extended family, along with a lot of other people they’ve adopted along the way.

Pam is a women’s minister at church, but she also is a fabulous wedding planner. She planned my wedding, which was so gorgeous that the chapel coordinator called me later to tell me she wanted to hire Pam to do her own wedding – and she sees 3-4 weddings every weekend. It was to die for.

So when she asked me to help coordinate her daughter’s wedding reception last weekend so she could do her mother-of-the-bride duties, it was a no brainer. I jumped at the chance (besides, both of her daughters worked at my wedding). I helped coordinate her other daughter’s wedding a few years back and it was an absolute blast. Both times she did all of the planning (and flowers) in advance, and then I helped set things up the day of the wedding so that she and her family could enjoy the day.

This time Mr. Right came too, and I just loved serving alongside him, both of us in aprons and comfortable shoes, running all over the venue, him helping with the food and me helping with the decorations. Once the reception started, we bussed tables together and stole a few kisses and even sneaked in a dance in the kitchen. It was exhausting but also one of my favorite days in a long time. A total adventure.

Oh, and I tried to help out by sewing custom bean bags for a corn hole game at the wedding. I was SO proud of my gorgeous handiwork, done in haste just a few hours before the reception. I patted myself on the back, congratulating myself on being such a fabulous seamstress, thinking that maybe someday I could sew hacky sacks for my children to play with.

Those gorgeous custom bean bags ended up exploding all over the patio at the wedding, leaving hundreds of dry lima beans and a few very upset children. Turns out I could have made them a bit more durable. I think I’ll stick with quilts.

Thanks Pam and family for letting us be apart of such a beautiful wedding. And I owe you three new bean bags!


PS- Don’t forget to enter my contest for free Texas Lovely art! Details here.

The big reveal: backyard edition

Since the moment we got married and my house became our house, we knew we wanted to extend our patio. But there’s just something about owning two homes, working your hiney off to get one ready to sell, and having 9 months of two mortgages that can kill your appetite for a big project. So instead we sat on our existing back porch and dreamed up what we would do someday to make our backyard our little dream spot.
And then one day we saved enough money, Mr. Right made a few phone calls, and a few days later we had our new patio! I’m in love.
In March 2008 my dad and I built the stone patio you see closer to the house. Here’s a throw-back picture so you can see our process. Don’t I look sporty holding that… (um, is that an axe? I’m not really sure what it’s called.)
And as you can see, my sweet dad did a little bit most of the work himself. On that patio I’ve hosted big parties, studied long hours, and enjoyed romantic dinners with that man of mine.
But anyway, fast-forward four years, and we decided that it would be worth it to hire someone to build the patio for us. Mr. Right drew up the plans, marked everything off in the backyard, and then Jesus and his assistant Abraham (I promise I’m not making that up) poured the concrete and laid the bricks, which had been collecting dust in my garage ever since I built my house.
Those poles you see sticking up will soon be a pergola, and we’ll be draping lights between them. I’m a such a sucker for twinkle lights – I will probably sit out there and just gaze at them every night. We’re also going to put in climbing vines on the poles to add some texture and we have some landscaping plans with the yard to the left. I think the goal is to have nothing left to mow when we finish.
The patio furniture has special sentimental meaning – that same table and chairs used to live on Mr. Right’s grandparents’ patio and he he has special memories of sitting on their patio as a child, soaking in all of their stories. We may be adding another larger table, but that one will probably always be our favorite.
My husband surprised me with a sweet love note in the form of my very own vegetable garden, right off the patio and directly in front of my sewing studio window. We have an inside connection with the greatest soil/fertilizer known to man– there’s perks to having in-laws who own cows (unlimited free fertilizer) and a giant compost pile. Of course, I worriedly asked Mr. Right “Are you putting all that compost (ahem… cow poop) in your SUV?” 
He just laughed at me. This happens a lot when I ask city slicker questions like that.
Of course not. (I bet you would have wondered the same thing.)
In the meantime I’m busy researching fall vegetable gardens. To my uber cool, livin off the land, vegetable gardening blogosphere friends (ahem, Stephanie), I welcome any tips for this vegetable planting newbie. Because I really have no idea what I’m doing.
I’ve already christened my porch with a few quiet mornings and evenings spent gazing at our handiwork. Last week, while Mr. Right was working late at the church, I enjoyed a Paleo dinner alone on our patio, where I propped my feet up in a chair, leaned back and enjoyed an episode of The Bachelorette on my laptop.
It was magical. So was the watermelon. And for the record, that’s low fat chicken sausage. And while we’re clarifying things, I must confess that that’s store-bought zucchini, since my zucchini plants had to be sacrificed to put in the porch.
It was worth it.


You know I love to quilt, but I’ve been looking for some quicker, less-expensive projects to serve as gifts (and who knows, maybe one day can go in an Etsy store to fund my fabric stash). I’ve had some ideas for pillows swimming around in my head for a year now, and finally had time between quilt projects to give two of them a try.

Ruffle My Feathers Pillow

Lately I’ve been obsessed with ruffles and this gal was easy-peasy. I just sewed up a stack of ruffles and then machine-stitched them onto a matching square of fabric. I used a light-weight cotton and hand-stitched it shut at the bottom. This became a birthday gift to a dear friend. 

We’ve Come Full Circle Pillow

This pillow was inspired by a set of pillows we got as wedding gifts from Crate & Barrel. Ever since I got it, I’ve wanted to recreate it on a smaller scale. I just took some felt I had leftover from making a Christmas wreath, used a few items I had laying around my sewing studio to trace the circles, and then hand-stitched them onto a matching square. Next time I do this I’ll probably do it on my machine, but I was a little worried that my free-motion quilting might be a bit wobbly on those little circles. 
I think I may make some in red and white, or green and white, for Christmas presents. They would be so cheerful!

DIY Ruffled Table Runner

Lately anytime I have a day off from work, I spend it locked in my craft room, creating things. 

It makes my heart so happy. 
Good Friday was no exception. I finished my nephew’s baby quilt A WHOLE WEEK EARLY. Typically I finish quilts around midnight the night before I give them away, but my sister’s baby shower isn’t until next weekend, so I had time to spare. This was my fastest quilt yet… I started it March 10 and finished it April 6. I can’t WAIT to show you pictures of this adorable quilt made from vintage baby fabrics and featuring some of the straightest lines I’ve ever sewn. It was like a quilting miracle. I think it’s my fancy new machine.
Now I just have to wait two more months until I can see Baby Luke use his new quilt. Gah, I am so excited to meet him.
But I digress… I finished the baby quilt and still had some spare time so I decided to whip up a spring table runner from some old burlap I found on sale last Christmas. I also had some old white linen ruffles lying around that were leftover from my ruffled Christmas tree decorations. 
I thought about sewing the ruffles on the ends of the burlap, but I felt like it needed more color. That’s when I found this gorgeous green and berry fabric from my stash that needed a good home. And so I did this:
To learn how to sew a ruffle, you can watch this video and look at the first technique. However, I only made one line of stitching on my ruffles instead of her two. (Shhh… don’t tell anybody but it was incredibly easy – but to impress folks we’ll act like it was really complicated.)
To make my table runner, I simply laid my patterned fabric over a wider burlap backing and then hand stitched the ruffle over the place where the two fabrics met, conveniently hiding the raw seams. My stitches were loose and messy, hidden by the very forgiving ruffle, and weren’t required to be very strong since it will simply sit on top of my table – durability isn’t a big deal. I could have sewn this on my machine but I didn’t want the rough burlap to dull my needle.
I then stitched my ruffle to the other side and frayed the edges of the burlap. About one hour after I started my project, I had this: 

It’s a perfect fit for our beloved rustic barn table. Pottery Barn has a similar table (but not as cool as ours) for almost $2,000. I think Mr. Right paid $100 for his. I fell in love with the table (which features a frame made from real oxen yokes and handmade chairs) even before I started dating him… and now I have both!
Sometimes you’re just lucky like that.

Our “new” buffet

My sweet in-laws gave us this dresser over a year ago – someone had given it to them, and we told them we’d love to refinish it and use it as a buffet for our dining room. The drawers are nice and wide and would be perfect to hold dishes and place mats and all of our fancy serving ware. 
And then this beautiful dresser sat in our garage for over a year. First I was sick, then we put our rent house on the market, then I hit my busy season with work, and next thing we knew, it was the dead of winter and much too cold to tackle a garage project.

But last weekend after lazily watching a Saturday morning movie with Mr. Right as we recovered from our California trip, I got a wild hair to work on the dresser.

It’s really a fabulous piece of furniture – look at those curves! This 300 pound solid wood beauty had lived in a little girl’s bedroom for many years and been well-loved. It was time for her to get a makeover. 
First, I sanded off the rough edges and scratches with our electric sander. Because of the primer we chose, we didn’t have to completely remove the finish, just make it smooth. 

We decided to use spray paint on this project, and I’m so glad we did – it was a total dream! Take it from a girl who has used a paint brush on all of my previous furniture projects – this was SO MUCH FASTER.
First, we used KILZ primer in white to prime it for painting. My only complaint is that it went on a little rougher than I would have liked.

While the primer was drying I ran to the grocery store then stopped by the local hardware store to pick up white high gloss spray paint. By the time I got home an hour later, the primer was dry and we were ready for round two – painting.

I used 2-3 coats of spray paint, which went on really smoothly. We had a few drips, but nothing we couldn’t fix. The whole thing took about 30 minutes, as opposed to several hours of painting with a brush. I will forever be a spray paint kind of girl.

We debated about what type of hardware we would buy (and since we had 12 drawers, we knew that was going to be pretty expensive), but my interior designer sister suggested we just spray paint the original hardware black since it’s still an interesting shape.  

And five minutes and one can of spray paint later, we had black hardware that looked brand-new.

Then came the hardest part – we had to let it dry overnight. I was so tempted to go ahead and move it into the house because I couldn’t wait to see how it would look in our dining room – but I was good and my patience was rewarded… everything dried perfectly.
The next day Mr. Right and I carried it into the dining room and I installed all of the hardware and then added padded white drawer liners to protect our dishes from sitting directly on the wood. Now our beloved buffet houses our china, chargers, place mats and other accessories, and I love it because everything has its own compartment. It’s a disorganized organized girl’s dream!

And of course, we left a little note to remember our project.

Yoyo’s and chocolate explosions

Here’s what I’ve been up to lately…
I’ve turned these:

…into these for an event. I’ll admit I was quite pleased with my very novice flower-arranging skills. I figured when in doubt, stuff in more flowers! It’s like the other age old rule… more cow bell.

I’ll also let you in on a little hint. I accidentally dropped that gorgeous turquoise vase on my tile kitchen floor, which caused a nice long crack on one side. It was only a few hours before the event and I couldn’t bear to use a regular glass vase as a back-up, so I did the poor girl’s solution… I found a glass vase in my cabinet that fit inside the turquoise vase, filled that one with water, and then made the flowers full enough so that you couldn’t see the smaller vase on the inside. It worked perfectly, and nothing leaked. (In case you’re wondering, the vases came from the garden section of Hobby Lobby and the flowers came from Market Street.)
In addition to novice flower arranging, I’ll admit that I’ve eaten one or two of these lately:
I know… don’t judge me. This one is called chocolate explosion. Isn’t that the greatest name ever for a chocolate bit of heaven? Don’t worry, I spent an hour at the gym last night sweating off this little piece of perfection so that I don’t have an explosion when my pants rip from being too tight. This is one of the perks (or detriments, depending on your outlook) of being an event planner… sometimes you have to do tastings… for cake. Trust me when I tell you that this cake is AMAZING.
In my spare time, I’ve started a new yoyo quilt. I haven’t quite finished my last quilt, but after so many months of hand-quilting the same project, I got burned out. Don’t worry, I’ll pick it back up, everything is still handy in a basket next to my birthday chaise lounge (a gift last year from Mr. Right). But in the meantime, I’ve been hankering to learn how to make a yoyo quilt, and after watching a few YouTube videos (you can learn anything on YouTube) and buying a yoyo maker (which I highly recommend, otherwise I don’t know how it would be possible to make them all the same size), I’ve started on my first quilt. Here’s what I got after the first night:
It’s not much – only two colors out of the 10 or so I bought, and that’s not the pattern I’m going to use, but it gives you an idea of just how cute they are. Let me tell you, those little yoyo’s are so soft and cuddly and make me want to smile as I work on them. It’s my new favorite thing (I think I even like them better than the chocolate explosion). And even better, the options for quilt patterns is limitless, because there’s no cutting/stitching/measuring/sewing like a regular quilt… all I have to do is stitch these little circles together in whatever design I want to make. Since I prefer my quilts to have an Anthropologie feel to them, mine probably will just be patternless… all mixed up and funky.
This is my color inspiration – mostly grays with little pops of soft yellows and a few whites and blacks to give it more depth.

And in case you don’t know much about yoyo quilts (don’t feel bad, I didn’t either before I started) here are some of my favorite yoyo inspirations:

This teeny-tiny yoyo quilt (this is about the size of my yoyo’s… they’re so delicate looking):

Or this one, which includes an oh-so-wonderful tutorial:
To my very favorite blog friends… what’s your latest project or inspiration? You know I love new ideas!