Friday, October 29, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Yes. I realize that it's still October and we haven't even put our Halloween costumes on yet, but it is the time of year when I start working on the infamous Christmas card picture. (If you're going to take the picture outdoors you have to do it before the leaves fall from the trees so your picture looks fun and cheery instead of cold and dreary.)

I used to stress about the fact that I wasn't married and didn't have kids to put on the front of my Christmas card, but I still wanted to do one with a picture. I mean, my dog is my kid and I like pictures. So shoot me.

I worried people would think I was being vain - I'm not. But, statistics (ok, maybe its an unscientific poll of friends and family) show that you keep the cards with pictures and display them proudly. While, the other cards, even though they are sweet, thoughtful and much appreciated, don't get the same valued space on the fridge the way photo cards do.

I read about this promotion that Shutterfly is doing for bloggers who will write about their favorites from their website. I wasn't convinced at first, but after doing a little browsing, I was instantly in love with about 15 different cards I could easily send out for Christmas. And, to top it all off - they were consistently cheaper than most of the other major websites that offer similar products. Sold!

The Christmas photo cards are my favorite. This one is too cute, but wouldn't work for me. Again, it's that whole issue with not having a couple of kids to fill up all the different places for pictures. My mother is probably the only person on my list that would appreciate that many different shots of me and Cody.

Instead, I always go for the cards with space for one picture. I love this one. It reminds me of the Greek Key pattern in a lot of fabrics I've seen lately on decorating blogs and in magazines. This would color coordinate nicely with my living room. This one is from their Holiday Cards collection.

In year's past I have been known to throw a little Christmas Party. It's usually a cookie or ornament exchange party. I don't think it is in the cards for me this year. There's just too much going on and not enough time to get it all in. But, if I did throw a party, I think I'd use this for my invite. I didn't know Shutterfly had invites, too!

There's so much to choose from which is typically a good thing, but it may not be for me. 

I usually end up trying to sort through the 567 pictures I take to get a good shot of Cody. Then I have to do the same thing all over trying to decide which card to pick. However, now I've already got that part out of the way. (I didn't show my absolute favorite since some of you may be getting it in the mail very soon). 

But, I will leave you with the out-takes from last year's Christmas Card photo shoot. 

Cody must have seen something more interesting...

Or he was embarrassed by what the wind was doing to my hair.

I think we were both over it at this point...

...but, we finally got it together! 

Happy Early Christmas Card Shopping!

Kelly and Cody

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Celebrate What's Great!

In case you didn't know that's the tagline for the NC State Fair. I can "fairly state" that I may be one of only a couple of people I know personally that genuinely look forward to the fair every year. It's become a tradition with one of my best friends, Holly and I.

This year, her husband Matt and my other girlfriends Melissa and Kathryn joined in the fun.

Here they are waiting on me to grab some cash out of the ATM. Who goes to the fair and forgets cash? (me)

There are certain things about the fair that I've come to look forward to. This, however, was not one of them - The Krispy Kreme Burger.

I did NOT buy one of these cardiac contraptions, but I did ask a very nice lady if she would mind if I snapped a shot of her's. She was still contemplating what she had just done and how she was going to actually fit it in her mouth. 

We did run straight to the Cary United Methodist Church booth and grabbed the one item I think about all year long.

A ham biscuit so good I would swear my Grandma Hilda made it! I could have easily devoured more than just one but I had some serious eating still left to do, so I backed away from the table and continued on. 

Holly had a Bright Leaf Hot Dog - better known as a red hot dog. There are mixed reviews on these hot dogs... you either love them and that's all you eat. Or, you turn your nose up at the thought and make weird noises if someone suggests you try them. I'm in the first category. They're the only kind I eat!

There's another stop that must be made if you're me - or if you're from Mt. Olive, NC - or if you like pickles - or if you don't like pickles, but just want a sticker. 

Every year I grab my sticker and guess how many pickles are in the jar and every year I never get a call from Mt. Olive Pickle Co. telling me I won. This is on my bucket list. But I digress... and on we continued. 

Kathryn is my horse friend. She used to be on the Clemson Equestrian Team. I made her take this picture with the fake horse. She's a good sport. 

This booth had taken the candy apple to a whole new level. This one was named something like the "G.I. Buster". I'm pretty sure that means your stomach won't thank you once you finished with it.

Matt grabbed a philly cheesesteak. I think that's mustard on there. That's a new one to me. But, at the fair anything goes. 

My other "must have" of the evening is the NC State Ice Cream. It's the only time I seek out something red with the Wolfpack logo and pay money for it. But, there's something about it. I guess those farm kids from the ag school really do know what they're doing. (jk)

Click here to read more about Howling Cow Ice Cream and how you can get it all year long!

I had cherry vanilla while Holly tried the chocolate. 

Kathryn and Melissa grabbed a blooming onion to finish off our dietary disaster for the evening. I did eat onion at the same time I was eating cherry ice cream. It would never work at home, but out there it just felt right. 

After we finished stuffing our faces we moved on to some of our "brothers and sisters" who are good for doing the same thing.

I felt exactly the same way. 

There's one barn that houses all of the prize winning animals, vegetables and fruit. I looked just like an amateur that got a new camera and snapped way too many pictures. Just ask my friends who were with me - They left me and I had to run to catch up with them.

Who knew there were so many varieties of apples?



Prize winning sweet potatoes

We even found a cow that had a lot in common with Holly. They shared the same name. 

We finished up our tour with a brief walk through the Village of Yesteryear. These folks are REAL crafty. They made my spray paint and hot glue gun feel inferior. Check out these hand painted eggs. 

And this hand carved and hand painted ducks. 


On our way out the door we tried to stop by to see the pig races, but that place gets PACKED - quick. There were so many people you couldn't get close enough to see them. But, like anything else, you can find it online. Here's what we missed!

I'm already trying to decide what flavor ice cream I'll get in 2011!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Onesies and flowers

This is my best friend Megan and I last weekend at the home where she grew up. We were in Tabor City to do a little celebrating. 

And this is who we were celebrating. 

Megan's having a baby!!!

As you can tell she's not here yet, but I'm absolutely already in love with her and the thought of getting to spoil her rotten. Megan's about the closest thing I'll ever have to a sister and that baby is about to become another one of "Aunt Kelly's" favorites. 

In preparation for her big debut we've been hard at work picking out paint colors, fabrics, cribs, etc. Megan is supervising a grand remodel of the nursery suite. (Ok, so maybe its just a nursery but when this room gets finished I'm going to suggest that Lily James take the guest room so I too can enjoy the life of luxury when I visit). But, I'll post more about that when its ready for the big reveal. 

In the meantime, I've been working on a few projects of my own.

So, my thing has been to make a sock monkey for my friends who have had babies recently. In my earlier post I mentioned that I totally stole the idea of making these from another blog. 

Well, I've done it again. 

I wish I could take credit for what I'm about to show you, but I can't. 

I saw it, I liked it, so I made some for Lily James' first baby shower. 

Who doesn't love a onesie on a baby? And what better way to show off a little girl that's going to have style than with a flower to match her mood that day?  I saw them here

They really are so stinkin' cute and fairly easy to make. The flowers come off and can be changed. I bought a pack of onesies and went by JoAnn's to find some various fabric that I liked. 

There are a ton of ways to make the flower. Google it sometime if you don't believe me. It's a bit overwhelming. Who knew there were women out there who's lives were all about teaching me how to make flowers out of scraps? 

After I was happy with my flower I finished it off by stitching the other half of a snap to a piece of felt then attached that to the flower. Most of my flowers were made out satin and so they needed a little something to reinforce them on the back. I doubled and tripled alot of my stitches. My biggest fear is having small pieces that Lily James could somehow pull off and get in her mouth. 

And voila  - with that a shirt was born. Or, rather, alot of shirts were born. I sewed snaps onto four different onesies. I hear babies get messy and you have to change them alot. 

And here was my "garden" of different flowers. If the poor girl takes after her mother or I, she'll have a hard time deciding what to wear and may need to change her mind at the last minute. In that case there's always a back up. She won't even have to get undressed. Pop one off, pop another one on. 

And, should she find herself wanting to change it up even more I made a headband too. So the flower she wears today on her shirt could be the flower she wears tomorrow on her head. Oh, so many choices, so little time. 

The best part is she'll never really outgrow them. I'll just keep getting bigger onesies and sewing snaps on the front. They'll grow with her.  Snappy, I mean snazzy, huh? 

And here was my finished product all wrapped up for the party. These flowers also can moonlight as packaging decor as well. :)

My only regret is that I didn't put a snap on a t-shirt for Megan. I just know she'd love some mommy-and-me matching outfits. (just kidding) 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Have a Seat

It's been so long ago since I found this chair on Craigslist that I had almost forgotten what it looked like. Luckily I took a few before pictures. 

Here's my $10 chair.

Have you ever seen something so... "grandmotherly"?

The tufts on the arms were my personal favorite. And that hospital green satin was really nice. 

I saw it and hoped it had potential. I'm still trying to test my ability to actually see potential. I wasn't convinced until I saw the finished product.

And honestly, I couldn't be happier!

I had thought I might paint the wooden frame white, but I love it just the way it is. 

I found the fabric at the Discount Fabric Warehouse in Raleigh. I think it was $7/yard. I ended up buying way more than I needed, but I'm sure I can find a pillow or something to make with the remnants. 

It reminds me of the chairs you see on Ralph Lauren Home - except after I paid for the upholstery I can still afford to eat this month. 

A friend recommended a re-upholsterer in Whiteville, NC that did a great job and was very reasonable. She was about $200 cheaper than some quotes I got in Raleigh so she was worth the drive. And, since I'm spending most of my free time at the beach it wasn't really that far out of the way. 

The pictures don't really show you how well she matched up the lines of the fabric or how soft the new cushions are,  but take my word for it.

I might just end up sleeping in it tonight.  :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A "Crisp" Fall Wreath

I'll explain the "crisp" reference in a bit. But first, here's my fall wreath. 

My girl Teresa and I whipped this up during our lunch break at work. She had sent me a link to another blogger who had done a variation of it. There's a complete tutorial online telling you how to make it. They created it with a starfish embellishment. Too cute. I can see a starfish in this wreath's future - after the pumpkins and turkeys have been put away.

Now, on to the "crisp" portion of this post. I'm not sure if you can tell or not, but someone I got a new camera!!!


It was an early Christmas present to myself. I've been adamant about getting a new camera for some time and I just decided to bite the bullet after I'd done about 200 hours of research. It's a long, long story but basically I walked in the store looking for a Canon Rebel XS and walked out with a Sony A230

I'm not about to start passing out photography advice so I'm not able to discuss the tech stuff with you - yet. But, I'll get there. I want to get to a point where I can take a great picture and know the how's and why's of how it got there. In the meantime I'm still using the automatic settings. 

Here's a few examples of my other projects that I decided to snap a little "do-over" photo, since their last shots were with my newly-retired point and shoot. 

And, guess what else made my day? My jars came in today! Still not sure what's going to happen to these. They may just sit on this ledge for a few days until they get moved 150 times when they find their final home. The lighting and stuff isn't exactly right with this either. It still looks too bright to me, but we're only about 6hrs in. I'll figure it out.

So, home improvement projects may take a temporary backseat while I play photographer for a little while. Or, at least until I figure out what in the world Aperture and ISO means.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Blue Jars

These are on every blog and in every design magazine I look at lately. I have no idea what I'm going to do with them, but I've finally got some of my very own - I won these on eBay. For some reason winning on eBay makes you feel like you've really accomplished something. Why is that?

They should arrive in 4-11 business days. Hopefully I'll figure out what I'm going to do with them before they get here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Another Bargain at the Bargain Box

The worst feature of my new condo is that there are NO overhead lights in any of the rooms except for the kitchen and that awful pendant light that is still hanging in the dining room. I promise its going to get replaced... at some point. But, until then I had a more pressing issue with needing to be able to actually see what I was doing in the living room. It was so dark in there. I've never been that into lamps, but more and more I find myself admiring them at TJ Maxx and Home Goods. I've got two in the living room but even that wasn't enough. And so, without another table or entertainment center to put them on I've been on the search for a floor lamp. I'm not sure why, but I just don't like floor lamps. And who wants to spend a lot of money on something they don't even like?

I've been paying attention when I went in a store and had told myself I was just going to bite the bullet and spend $50 on a pseudo cute, stand-in lamp until I found something I loved. I did actually find one I loved, but that price tag didn't love me. And I think you and your accessories should have a mutual admiration for each other.

Pottery Barn Online

Thank you Pottery Barn. You've managed once again to show me just how good $179 could look in my house. I loved the shaped of these and the lamp shade, but not the price. I can think of many more ways to spend $179.

Now, back to reality. And the reality is that I work close enough to Cameron Village that I usually venture into the Bargain Box about once a week just to be sure there's nothing new in there that needs to come home with me. Last trip it was the old picture frame. This week it was a lamp. 

At first the lamp didn't totally knock me off of my feet. It looks like many other lamps you find in most living rooms across America. However, the price tag did make me stop to take a second look. Can you say $7? Yep, $7. And it even came with one of those newfangled energy-efficient light bulbs. In case you're wondering, I was that girl that found an outlet and made sure it worked before I swiped it. 

And here it is...

This was right before I got to work on it. Brass just isn't my style. However it did look oddly similar to it's lovely twin from Restoration Hardware

Restoration Hardware Online

Go ahead and click on the link. Confirm for yourself that I paid $7 and this lovely light from that lovely store also costs $179! Now, do the math really quick... If I had just left it like it was I would have saved myself $172. This is how I sleep well at night. 

But, of course, not wanting to be seen as a total cheap skate, I thought I'd spend another whopping $9 on some primer and spray paint and I'd dress it up a bit. I wanted to make it look a little more like the one I actually wanted from Pottery Barn. 

Who knew you could find the exact color in a can that Pottery Barn used? Seaboard Ace Hardware - that's who.

Step 1: Primer

This is my least favorite part. Primer is boring. Primer needs to dry between each coat and I like instant results. It also requires you to tape things up and make sure you don't paint parts that shouldn't be painted.

But, once you let the primer dry for at least 30 minutes you can get to work on the fun part. Did you know that metallic spray paint shoots millions of tiny pieces of glitter in the air when you're using it? I didn't and I'm pretty sure you shouldn't inhale that stuff, but it does give you a nice party effect while you're outside, by yourself, in the dark trying to finish the project in one evening because you're impatient. (that would be me)

The satin nickel color turned out really well and I love it against my mirror and other fixtures in the living room.   And the finishing touch happened to be my other score of the day at Big Lots. My $7 lamp didn't come with a shade so I had to find something. Lucky me I had a 20% off coupon for this week at Big Lots. I crossed my fingers and went in hopes I would walk right in and find what I wanted. And in true Big Lots form, as I was looking at Halloween decorations and candy I found my shade. You just never know where you might find your treasure in that store. For $10 - my 20% coupon, I brought home my $8 shade.

And, voila - here she is in all her glory.  No more brass and dust - just pretty brushed nickel shining its light on the reading chair. The same reading chair that matched our apartment great but doesn't match a thing at the new place. BUT, that's another blog post very soon, because the upholsterer called this week and said its replacement is ready to be picked up. (insert big grin here)

Here's the rundown:
 Lamp - $7
Paint and Primer - $9
Lamp Shade - $8
Grand Total - $24
(or, $155 savings)