Post it Party!-- Impromptu

I admit, I didn't advertise.  I didn't even make sure all of my rock star friends knew I was doing this... and in fact.. I didn't know I was doing it until about 5 minutes ago.

You see, I've been thinking about all of you.  I'm wondering what posts you're proud of.  I have just started to recognize how hard it is sometimes to come up with good posts.  Sometimes those posts are seen by only a few.  Sometimes the posts you bust your buns for are the ones that get few comments... and then, you write some extemporaneous dribble and people LOVE IT!  I guess, I'm still trying to figure out if I should write like my college professors said I should or just let loose and write the way my brain thinks.... complete with static, topic jumps, and ..... what was I saying? Yep, thars me brain talkin again!

And yes, you know I can't resist featuring this photo at least once a month... drooling... sigh... I love this room.... okay, back on topic:

So, welcome to my Post-It Party! ~ Impromptu~ I want to get to know my readers better.  I want to know what post you're most proud of... or what post gave you a sense of accomplishment.

Just head back to your Palace... grab the Post URL and you can sticky that Post down below at the party.  Feel free to visit the Proud Posts of my Palace Guests today and don't forget to comment and let them know you liked the post!

Looking forward to getting to know ya'll better!  I'm sure these posts will be the best blogland has to offer... on any subject!  So glad you stopped by!

Oh... And I'm announcing something Free and Fabulous on Monday.  Something you need... and can all get free- EVERYONE... no giveaway.... Shh.... I'm hook'n you up with one of my rock star friends... who?  Come back Monday!


Eye-Candy: Architectural Salvage of San Diego

Ladies... and perhaps there are a few gentlemen: Feast your eyes on architectural heaven.  This is where all of the good pieces of architecture go when a house dies and turns to dust.  This is where items that are worth remembering are resurrected and live, if your lucky, to grace your home with beauty.
May I introduce you to my old stomping grounds of San Diego-  Specifically, to one of the best stops in the tour: Architectural Salvage of San Diego.  Nester.... this is why you're saving your pennies... just look at all those doors... you're gonna need to buy a few more couches friend, just to accommodate them.
Latches, and Knobs, and pulls.... oh my!  I invented projects just staring at this picture!
No wonder why we invented hidden hinges... they're nothing like they used to be... you should check their site.... better yet, you should plan a road trip.  Blissdom in San Diego anyone?
Kimba, get that can of spray paint ready... there's got to be an old jelly cabinet somewhere waiting for some of these fancy brooches to pin on her front!  Speaking of pins... Kimba's flaunt some creatively fabulous hardware as well!
You've got mail.  Need one... or two... or three of these.  I think 1 for each of my 6 kids would look fabulous lining my entry. I wonder if they'd fit all those socks my kids leave down stairs?  Then I could just take the smelly mail up an launder it. 
Face plates... why did we decide every plat in the house had to match?  I'll take one of each.  If you get a minute... head over to Architectural Salvage of San Diego and gaze at the beauty of salvage wares.  A look here and you'll agree, "They just don't make 'em like they used to."
Which picture is your favorite?
Photo Credits: Achitectural Salvage of San Diego


You Know it's Time to Change the Sheets When:

  1. You put your toes under the covers and feel crumbs.... which after further investigation you conclude are the leftover cookie crumbs from the cookies that were hi-jacked from the jar (You found it empty in your moment of cookie desperation) and quite literally kept "under covers."
  2. You lay down on your pillow and catch a whiff of what smells part construction worker, part Suave, and part spit up. After further thought you realize there were several days in the week where the shower never quite happened... even though it was planned. You wince when you realize that indescribable odor was created by you... but hey, you can always wash it tomorrow...
  3. Your husband asks "Why does the bed smell like pee? I didn't pee the bed." At that point you remember you let the toddler take a nap in your bed. Hmm... no wonder why she changed her clothes again.
  4. The sheets remind you of the moments when your older huskier boy tries to wear his favorite shirt which no longer fits. The elastic corners ride up until they pop off the bed E.V.E.R.Y. Night!
  5. You can't remember when you last washed the sheets.
Keeping it real... I'm washing my sheets today.
So, while I'm laundering sheets that have become one size to small and trying to scrape all of the cooking crumbs from between my toes, you can think about this:

How about updating your sheets or bedding with a little fabric paint? The green bedding above has been given a makeover.

How To:
  1. Use vinyl sticky back shelf paper to create a stencil. Peel and stick to fabric.
  2. Using paint mixed with a fabric paint conditioner or medium, stencil those old bedding duds back to life!
  3. Peel stencil off while paint is still a little wet... this prevents the painted surface from peeling as well.
Don't forget to give those pillows a face lift too!

Anyone else washing sheets today? Laundress's Unite! Uggg.... send chocolate stat!

All Photo's BHG.com


What I learned from Joseph: 12 homemaking subjects

Never mind that I only have a half gallon of milk in the fridge right now and unless I go to the sore tomorrow my kids will be eating something made out of ketchup, old lettuce and freezer jam... I know this subject.  I stockpile food.  Normal people would call this an unnatural amount...
I call it being prepared, for ANYTHING.

Beautiful eh? This is not my pantry but an example of a well stocked one.  Do you remember the story about Joseph who was sold into Egypt?  Remember when he interpreted Pharaoh's dream?  Joseph told Pharaoh that he would have 7 years of plenty and then 7 years of drought.  He instructed Pharaoh to store food... and he saved all of Egypt because he stockpiled food in the years of plenty.... crazy?? No, wise.

Hee, hee, couldn't resist this picture... 

So, why store food?  Why pack rat food away?  Why spend your life overbuying cans then trying to invent furniture that will hide them?
Yes, that's me.  Those cans are in every closet, under every bed, in every dead corner where I have a piece of furniture turned on the diagonal.  WHY?  
Well, to illustrate my point I asked my friends Kari and Kijsa to give us a little gimps into their real life experience this winter as they were "iced in" with an ice storm.

Thank so much for thinking of us...especially during those difficult three weeks!! It really did make us think about preparing...needs...essentials...food!
 As it was freezing (literally)...we were able to salvage perishable goods outside, but quickly used up as many freezer items as quickly as possible (we had an apple pie fest one night!!) Fortunately we were together during the most trying time at the beginning, and had combined many nonperishables from our pantries. Kijsa's gas cooktop would start, so we were able to heat up cans of soup, chili, vegetables, even pie fillings combined with our quickly perishing fresh fruit to use on top of pancakes for a treat (one must have a treat when surviving lengthy power, heat and internet outages!!!) 

 It was a very interesting time to reflect on how much we depend on communication and convenience. The eerie silence of no cell phone or land line capabilities...not one working electric light piercing the darkness...nothing open to acquire supplies....and when they finally did open...everyone only took cash...for the lack of electricity crippled all debit and credit machines, as well as gas pumps, electric doors...etc. 
It is at those times when it begins to try your spirits as you watch children shivering all huddled under blankets in the darkness around the one set of working gas logs!

We would definitely build a pantry staple list (Kijsa finds herself adding a couple extra canned good staples every grocery run.) Keep a list of those items you might use frequently, as well as a few quick meals in a can (soup, tuna, spagettios, etc). We would also say make sure you keep batteries and flashlights or lanterns on hand, as well as a supply of cash- this became a difficulty for people even if they were able to get to an open store or gas station.

I hope this helps- This is a great idea- Going through that ice storm was lifechanging- we were fortunate- I saw the long, long lines of cars that would pull up to the national guard each day to get a lunch and some daily rations- Thanks for sharing! ~
kari & kijsa

Really, how far away is this reality for you?  Natural disasters are unexpected.  My family has fled twice for fires in San Diego and had nothing but their photographs, loved ones, and drumroll....... their 72 hour kits full of food, money, and clothing to care for their families.  Crazy?  Na... wise.  

How would it be to be a mother unable to care for her children or family in a time of crisis?  A little extra food and cash on hand is a blessing and for anyone is a wise preparation for the future.

Here's what I store:
  • 3 month supply of food.  Basic canned and dried items that I can prepare for my family.   Work off of a week or two worth of menu's and start buying a few ingredients every time you go shopping.
  • Water. I live in the desert.  I have (please don't judge me a freak) 6 50 gallon water barrels on the side of my house. They're ugly.  They're blue... but I know my family will have enough water for over a month should they need it... though, I'd gladly share with my neighbors in need.
  • Cash.  Kari and Kijsa saw first hand the value of cold hard cash.  Stick small bills and change somewhere you won't be tempted to raid for your chocolate fixes or an emergency run for a Sonic drink.  Only for emergencies.
  • Long Term Storage.  After you get 3 months of meals, work on long term items like beans, rice, wheat, and a bit of dried milk and oil.  Life can be sustained for a longer period with these raw ingredients.  Of course space is and funds are limited but do what you can.
Times when I've used my food storage:
  • Power outages
  • Hubby out of work.  Supplement to grocery shopping.
  • Times of lean.
If you're looking for food storage helps consider the following:
  • Food Storage For the Clueless (available at my Pretty Organized Store)- I love this book.  It teaches you several methods to use to acquire your supply and it has recipes on everything from homemade cheese to homemade sourdough bread- which I can't seem to perfect.
  • The Provident Living Website for the Church of Jesus Christ- this seems to be a comprehensive site on how to live frugally and manage the home.  I clicked on the Family Home Storage link.
Times are rough for everyone.  A little food and money stored away for a rainy day brings a lot of comfort when you're providing for your little ones.  Even if nothing happens, you'll have a great supply on hand should you need to get to the store... unless you prefer ketchup, old lettuce and freezer jam. 


Colors Perfectly Placed

Have you ever wondered how those super decorators make their rooms looked balanced and blended?  Well, they know a trick: The Triangle Trick.  See that dreamy picture above?  Can you spot the triangles?  The blues are laid out in a triangle and so are the whites.  If you look closely, there are more... I just didn't highlight them.  
They say opposites attract. I guess they're right because I noticed today that a cute angle is complementary to one that is obtuse. Hee hee... Math Humor!!

Let's play the triangle game.  Using color as a theme, can you spot the triangles in the next room?   
This decorator arranged the florals in a triangle, the greens in a triangle, and you'll notice the lamps are in a triangle and so are the pillows.  Just connect the same colored triangles....
Q. What triangle comes from a socialist country?
A. An equilateral one.
 Killing myself... because I still get it!

Again, here the golds are arranged in a Triangle and so is the greenery.   That big black coat on the wall acts as the tip of the triangle to the table top... which I think counts as 2 points because it's so wide.
Q. What dances did the twin isosceles triangles excel at?
A. The rhombus, of course.
  Okay, that one made my brain flex.
How many other layers of triangles can you spot in this room?
Yep, more triangles.  See how the decorator used white objects in a triangular shape (there are more than one) and there are several black triangular patterns as well.
What did the hypotenuse say to the other sides? Nice legs! These are the kind of jokes you hear when you marry a geek.... and thank you, I do have me some good look'n legs!

What else am I  missing?
All photo credits: House Beautiful

Don't forget tomorrow:  Dare to Dream Homemaking Series.... and I have to special guest sisters to help me out!


The Power of Music in the Home

By way of introduction, I am a musician… a trained classical vocalist who is now the most over qualified bedtime singer around. Though I'm not performing in concert halls or cutting new albums, my musical training has taught me a few things about running a house.  Here are a some ways I use music in my home:
  •    Rise and Shine. Wake children up with cheerful music to help set a happy tone for the day.
  • Chore Time. Turn music such as Flight of the Bumblebee on when kids are doing their chores… kids tend to clean quicker with fast tempo music. This also exposes them to new types of music.
  • Worship. Welcome in the Sabbath with inspiring and uplifting music.
  • Celebrating Holidays. Feature music for each holiday.  Crooners love songs for Valentines Day, Marches for Veterans Day, Patriotic for Fourth of July, Olympic Fanfares for athletic events, Irish music for St. Paddy's Day, you get the idea.
  • Welcoming Guests. Music sets a welcome tone when guests arrive.  Soft instrumental music with a Latin flare is casual and fun for a get together.
  • Fun Time. I never miss a chance to dance with my kids.  Whether one on one, or all together with brooms as microphones, music lets us let loose and have fun.
  • Days End. Set the tone for bedtime with calming nature music, lullabies or instrumental preludes.

With careful attention, the music that enters our homes can help us build loving families, set a calming ambiance, and inspire all who enter.

If you're interested in a great way to play music in your home, check out Pandora.  This music playing site is SAFE and the result of years of research.  You can actually choose which music you like and the site remembers you and crafts a station just to your tastes.  In this Palace, Pandora's box is always open:)

Hey, Shabby Nest is having a Frugal Friday Decorating Party today!  Head over and take a look at all those cheap pretty ideas.


Stunning Junk Decor

Who says your house has to be drab if you're poor?  Arm yourself with a can of spray paint that goes with your color story   , do a little dumpster diving and get to work!  I love the high contrast of this cabinet and the letter makes this little find sing a big statement.

Mothers Day gift ideas?  How about Junk Drawer Decor!  Hahaha.....  Line a rogue drawer with galvenized steel and covered in fabric for a message board that demands attention.
Okay, I think that this idea is my favorite.  Don't you just love these pieces of moulding and trim painted the same color as the frame and backed with scrapbook paper?  Easy. Cheap"ish" and definitely an eye popping bargain.  You can use rosets or corbets... head down that fancy wood section at home depot... they even have the MDF or Foam equivalent for less.
Stylish shower curtains are hard to come by without breaking the bank.  Get out those odd scraps of fabric, Pray they kind of match and piece them together.  Tie the colors in with trim and don't forget the do it yourself tassel balls on the shower hooks.  (Nothing more than yarn, cardboard and fancy cutting)
Now, if I live somewhere where pretty leaves grew, I'd do this.  Somehow framed cactus pads, dead grass, and decomposed granite don't lend themselves to decorating.  I love the variation in frame color here and how it perks up this sitting space.  Of course this wouldn't collect dust outside or blow away... it's just too pretty to behave that way.  Sometimes you have to shut your practical mind off when you're decorating.
A couple of quick reminders:  Don't forget to head over and link up to Shabby Nest for her Frugal Friday Party.  Who doesn't need cheap decorating ideas these days? or EVER?

Also... I'll post more on this next week but you need to get your orders in to RHB Designs for your Mothers Day necklaces!  This lady is incredible and I'm drooling over a few of her sweet mothers necklaces.  I'm looking for something big enough to put 6 kids names on.  Orders for Mothers Day need to be in by next Tuesday to guarantee delivery.  Go check her out if you haven't gone shopping for your moms... (or yourself!)

Ad Space still available for your mom business HERE.

What are you cheap decorating ideas?
All photos: BHG.com


I Drive a Garbage Truck

It's 10:45 in the evening and I've spent most of the day in my 12 passenger van running errands without air conditioning in 100 degree weather with 2 toddlers, a cup of ice, and the equivalent of a box of cracker crumbs scattered throughout my car.  (still giving thanks we got the transmission repaired and it now works again)

I couldn't help but think of this:

Just so you know what you're dealing with... this short video clip was inspired by my van.   Zima drink?... I have no clue what that is so if it wrecks homes or leads to Drunken Mothers Syndrome... I do not endorse the product.  

Confession: this is the one area where I am Ugly Disorganizer.  All the vice I could muster up in my character stays confined to my car: Diet drinks, Talk Radio, French Fries, Hamburgers, and for the earth friendly crowd on Earth Day... disposable diapers.

Love me through my recovery friends.  

No, this isn't my car post.... I'm still not ready.  I need more chocolate and it might be good if ya'll emailed me pictures of your scary cars before I do my car post.... just to buoy my spirits.  I think I'll host a "Funky, Frugal, Quirky Car Party" in the near future.  Then you can all link up with your funniest car stories and of course pictures of you climbing in through the passenger side window to open the broken door handle on the drivers side... that kinda thing.  Oh please tell me I'm not alone in this ladies!

Do you have a Funky, Frugal, Quirky Car?


Budgeting: A Homemaking Skill

Budgeting:  The mere mention of this word gives me heart palpitations and cold sweats.  Whenever my husband asks me to come to the office to review the budget I start thinking of all my excuses.  "But I needed that!"  "That was a one time purchase that will last us a long time... "  "I didn't have TIME to make lunches, the kids were bonkers in the car and McDonalds drive thru laid tack strips in front of my car and I had to stop somewhere!"  The truth is, when it comes to busting the budget, I'm the main offender.

Here are a few tips on Budgets:
  • Warning: I'm a preach'n here: Pay your tithing FIRST.  This one is top on my list.  No matter how destitute you are, 10% is fair enough for me.  10% on no money is fair, just like it is on a million dollars.  I have found if I pay my tithing, the rest falls into place... blessings seem to make up for what money I'm lacking.  I could write a whole weeks worth of posts on the Miracles of tithing.
  • Stay away from Debt.  If you avoid debt, you'll be able to right the sinking ship you're in.  Avoid it like the plague... or like bad chocolate at Valentines Day... it's not worth the stress  or the empty calories that bring those battleship hips.  Just steer clear.

  • Make a Budget.  Stop giving excuses.  Just sit down and write up all of your fixed expenses and all of the expenses that you can adjust.  Know what you take in and don't spend more than that.  
  • Buy a How To Book: If step one left you with heart palpitations and cold sweats, you may want to purchase or check out a book about budgeting and finance.  My 2 recommendations are Dave Ramsey's: Total Money Makeover and Bonnie McCullough's Household Budget Book.  These books are available at my new Pretty Organized Shop along with other books that have kicked my rear in gear and given me super powers.
  • Build a money reserve.  Once you get a handle on your spending start saving for a rainy day... or an ice-storm (we'll talk about that in next weeks post). 
  • Obtain adequate insurance.  This one is important.  Health insurance, Life insurance, and Auto Insurance help keep your financial ship afloat when the waters get tough.  One bad brush with misfortune can lead to years or even a lifetime of financial disaster.
So, do you feel liberated by a budget or bound by one?
 I think it's a matter of attitude.  Although I hate that I have to constantly keep myself in check and often fantasize that somewhere in the world is a homemaker who can go out, buy what she needs, AND wants, AND still has money left over for savings and that trip to Hawaii... and just maybe someday that will be me, I'm satisfied with knowing I've got my priorities in order.  When it comes right down to it, I'd rather pay for my kids college education than have fancy nails, and I'd rather have the means to help a neighbor or a family member in a time of need than make payments on a fancy car.  (Someday I'll do that fancy car post... when I've decided that there are enough of you who will laugh with me and not at me.)

Repeat after me: Budgeting is my friend... budgeting is liberating... budgeting is fun (pushing it aren't I.  Even I gag on that last line).

Hey, since ya'll are master buget'rs why don't you join my friend Wendy at the Shabby Nest for her Frugal Friday party?  Get your frugal decorating posts ready... she's gonna beautify your house on a penny with this party! 

So what are your budgeting tips?  How do you trim the fat on YOUR monthly expenses and steer clear of debt?


What's Your Home's Color Story?

It took me years to figure out what big girl decorators do that make their houses work... and actually, this isn't even a rule. Well for me it is because I'm cheap. 

I once heard a wise man say that often in the beginning stages of starting a home, the home is either decorated in Goodwill Provincial or Early Mother Hubbard.
Take it from me ladies, after 6 kids, it's still hard busting out of these 2 styles when life holds your purse strings from broken arm to broken car. It's hard to save for "the look" we want and stay out of debt... eek, how many of you winced?

So I pose this question: What is your home's color story? 
I have a friend who owns this bed...

the truth is, her entire house matches. It's wonderful.... and it's wise. She has a color story.

She loves black and white and red. She uses them all over her house. Does it mean that every room is the same color? No. However, she has chosen her decorating pieces carefully.
By planning a color story for her house, she can rearrange the house on a whim and the rooms still match... AND she loves it every time because her story reflects what she loves!

If you happen to be decorating in Goodwill Provincial or Early Mother Hubbard and look around at your house that doesn't seem to "go," try thinking about YOUR color story... and then haul out that spray paint. 

Don't be afraid to refinish wood... even if it's in good shape (don't tell my husband, he belongs to a secret society of men who believe painting real wood is sacrilegious and an offense to handymen everywhere)... if the lines of the furniture fit your style, whip out a can of spray paint!

My color story is based upon these curtains... I'm smitten. They own me. They make me feel warm and cheerful, romantic and brave  The color pallet of my house sprang from them... I'm going to be mummified with this fabric when I die.

The key to budget decorating is building your furnishings and decor around your color story. If you plan your furniture pieces, frames and such to match... it's easy to change out a wall color if your sick of it. My friend Nester repaints that door every time she needs a change,

Kimba repaints everything... all the time, Rhoda has wisely planned her home around her color story... and they're all saving money.

So whether you like earth tones and neutrals or the colors of spring or the ocean on your walls, defining your color story helps set the plan for your decorating. Now you can hit the sales and know... this goes, and that would be fabulous if I spray painted it. The end result will be a house that flows from one room to the next and a defined "style" that makes others think you've busted your way out of Early Mother Hubbard when in fact you just painted that bare cupboard!

Now I've got myself all curious! What is YOUR home's color story?

Winner of the Pretty Organizer is ILoveMy5Kids! Congrats! Shoot me an email and let me know where to send it!  

You can still buy hand painted hat boxes here!
entering http://rpc.technorati.com/rpc/ping