~Let's Get Real

Hi Friends!  Today I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.

~~~   Over the last 4 weeks an unusual thing has happened, something I never expected, nor sought after.  I went from 163 to just shy of 1000 (as of this writing) followers on Instagram! Say what?!?!  This is surprising, exciting, and humbling all at the same time.  I'm not sure I deserve it, I'm not sure what I may have done to get people to follow me.  Yet at the same time, I'm happy!  I'm pleased by it and I think, why not shoot for 2000, 5000 heck 10,000?!  How can I do that?  I need to post more pictures of pretty things around my house!  I need to stage perfection in my home and photograph it!  I'm running out of pretty, perfect things to take pictures of!  I need to BUY more THINGS to stage and take pictures of!

~~~

STOP!  This is where the truth needs to come in!  Does anyone else see the red flag that is waving in the above scene?  Matthew 6:19 & 20 clearly states "Do not store up for yourself treasures on this earth where moth and rust destroy, where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourself treasures in heaven where neither moth or rust destroy and thieves do not steal."

I love the Instagram community I have come to know.  Every person I have come across is friendly, encouraging, happy and sincere!  It is just lovely to "meet" new people that share same interests as me.  I love gaining new ideas and new ways to do things from my new friends.  I love the fun little "tag" games everyone plays asking friends to share things like "what I'm doing now", "favorite spot in the house", "favorite antique find" and "follow Fridays".  Everyone always puts their best foot forward, and I truly do love this.  I am simply going to challenge myself to also put my truthful foot forward!  I am forever showing pictures of my home and even myself, at it's best and maybe leading you all to believe that I live a perfect life.  Maybe you think that my home is always beautiful, clean, put together, organized...every square inch of it. That my hair is always done, makeup is always on and my clothing always matching.  Or that I spend every day working on another fun project.  Well friends, that is false information!

~I AM NOT PERFECT and NEITHER IS MY HOME~

Let's Get real... I have extremely frizzy hair, if I don't spend 45 minutes on it, it becomes the size of Texas.  If it's in a fashionable braid or a cute top knot that's because it's dirty, not because I'm trending!  My face breaks out more in my 30's than it ever did in my teens.  I'm 20 pounds overweight and much more comfortable in my yoga pants (which have never seen a day of yoga) and an oversized sweatshirt.  I don't work out as much as I should and I need to choose fruits and vegetables more often than chips and dip, but I don't. At least one day a month I ignore the "have to's" and binge watch junk TV.  I never make my bed unless I'm putting clean sheets on it, or company is coming over.  If said company were to open any of my closet doors, especially the upstairs linen closet, I would be embarrassed.  My kitchen pantry is a disaster, I'm pretty sure I would find molding hamburger buns behind the dog food container if I bothered to pull it out.  I only clean the fridge if something smells bad, and no one closes cabinet doors around here!  I can never keep up with cleaning the windows, between 2 drooling dogs and 10 hands constantly smearing them, they are rarely smudge free.  Speaking of the dogs, it would be best if you didn't wear black if you come to visit me!  The couch pillows and fluffy blankets that are all staged and sitting pretty for photos are 98% of the time on the floor or being used to build forts or to hop over "hot lava".  All the pretty things on the kitchen counters are usually covered up by dirty dishes.  It may seem like all the rooms in my house are fully decorated but that isn't true either.  My entry way and foyer, the room that is supposed to give the best first impression, is still boasting the builder grade white walls and linoleum flooring.  Which by the way carries through into the kitchen and graces every bathroom floor as well.  All the other rooms still have the same boring, beige, builder grade carpet from 2010...with no plans to replace it anytime soon!  Ahhhh, that feels better!  I hope those of you that I didn't scare away, feel better too!

I understand there is a balance that we all need to find.  I love Instagram because of the pretty things I see there and I know everyone else does too.  It's a great way to set goals and make improvements in our own homes.  I also want to grow my followers, and this blog and maybe, Lord willing, take my home decorating passion and turn it into a real business!  I'm not going to do that if I only post pictures of messes!  We all have our own messes, we don't want to spend our free time looking at others messes!  With that said, that's exactly how I'm going to end this post.  I'm going to show you pictures of my home, in real life.  Enjoy, and don't point fingers too much!  Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to read what I'm sharing.

This is the real me, glasses, top knot and all!

I wish I could enlarge this so you could see the finger prints on the sliding glass door.  Please notice the snow boots on the floor, the mail piled on the counter and someone's phone charging out of the designated charging station!

This is the upstairs linen closet, or is it Sophie's toy closet, or is it a shelf at the good will?!  And that's why doors were invented!

See?  Told ya, bed NOT made!

dirty dishes in the sink and cabinet doors open

Very undecorated foyer, all the "left over" stuff seems to find it's way here...

The unorganized pantry...not pretty.  I believe this picture speaks for itself!

This is our office...in what should be the breakfast nook.  The overhead light is off center and this is a high traffic area for us, so I stuck a desk here and TA DA!  Office!  It's never organized and that basket on the end is forever overflowing with weird junk, it's my visible junk drawer!

~My TOP 5 Places to Shop for Home Décor~

Shopping

It's a question I get asked a lot..."Where is your favorite place to shop?"...For the most part it can be very hit or miss.  To truly get the best deals, you have to shop around.  Thankfully, that's not a problem for me!  I also have a rule...Never pay full price for ANYTHING.  Truly, I never purchase an item unless it is on sale or I have a coupon.  If I think I can make the item, or replicate it closely in some way, I just take a picture of it and I do not buy it at all!  Having a budget ahead of time, either for the whole room, or just one item, really makes a difference.  If I am looking for something specific {like right now, I'm hunting for a perfect console/sofa table} I set the price in my head first, before I even look at anything.  I rarely buy the first thing I see {unless I'm thrift store shopping} because I always think I can find a better deal elsewhere.

shopping2

Ok, so moving on to the good stuff!  I want to share with you my top 5 picks of places to shop for home décor.

1~ The THRIFT STORE~  this includes the Good Will, Salvation Army, and we have one called Village Discount Outlet.  All three are like year round yard sales.   You just never know what you're going to find!  I look for furniture in good condition {just about everything can be painted or upholstered}, dishes, baskets, wooden pieces, picture frames {doesn't matter what pic is currently framed} lamps, etc.  The list could go on!  The trick for thrift store shopping is to check back often.

2~ CRAIG'S LIST~ this website I use a lot!  I look under the 'furniture' category as well as the 'housewares' category.  I don't generally use the "search" tool because I'm afraid I'll miss something if I narrow my results!  Craig's List takes time because you have to scroll through each listing, but again, you just never know what you're going to find!  I recently purchased 3 wingback chairs for $50!  Not each, total!  SCORE!

3~ANTIQUE SHOPS~ including antique malls, warehouses, consignment shops, salvage yards...you get the picture.  Some of these are set up more "boutique" like and these shops will sell furniture and home décor that is already re-finished.  The prices in these stores can be higher, don't expect the bargain of the year on a piece someone else did all the hard work on! ;-)  My top 3 choices for antique shops {at the moment anyway} are Marshall's Antique Warehouse in Canton, Oh., The Funky Junk Boutique in Medina, Oh. and Majestic Turnaround in Strasburg, Oh.

4~HOMEGOODS~ and their sister stores, Marshalls and TJ Maxx.  While not affiliated with the others Tuesday Mornings falls into this category as well.  These are specialty stores that offer name brand items at a discount.  I love these stores for accessories and do not generally purchase big-ticket items from them.  I always check their clearance isles first!

5~HOBBY LOBBY~ It isn't just for crafts folks!  If you have not checked out their home décor items, you are in for a pleasant surprise!  They have isles for days generally split into themes and styles which makes shopping for something specific to your décor a breeze!  I also love that they are a craft supply store so that I can stock up on ribbons, hot glue sticks, fun fabrics and greenery while I'm there!  They run 40 and 50% off sales pretty regularly, they rotate departments on an every other or every 3 week basis.  Their website also has a 40% off, one item coupon.

shopping1

One last "place" I head to for shopping, is the internet.  I love checking various online stores for price checking!  If I know I need a large chalkboard for instance, I get online and check Amazon, eBay, Wal-Mart, Target and Kmart for instance.  I also check out Overstock.com, Joss & Main, Wayfair and Etsy.  I bounce the prices back and forth to make sure I'm never paying more than I need to!

So I just gave away all my "secrets" for a successful shopping trip!  I hope you learned something new or found a new store to go and check out!  Happy Shopping friends!

~How To Create Your Own Chalkboard Art~

Create Your Own

Chalkboard art has become quite the sensation and it's popularity doesn't seem to be fading anytime soon!  I love "pinning" chalkboard creations on Pinterest and I have even purchased a few downloads to print myself and use at home.  However, I figured there must be a way to make my own!  I started doing some research and found two other bloggers that did a great job explaining ways to create your own...

~We Lived Happily Ever After~ and ~How To Nest For Less~

Both of these bloggers have links on their sites for free downloads as well as instructions.  I will try and recap for you here!

We will be creating these in PicMonkey.  This is a free digital design website, however they do offer upgraded features for a monthly cost if you are interested.  First you will need to find and download a chalkboard back ground as well as digital fonts and pictures.  Although PicMonkey does have plenty of fonts and pictures available through them.  I used the two above mentioned blogs plus some Pinterest searching to find mine.

Blank Chalkboard

This is what the background looks like before anything is on it.  After you have these items downloaded, open PicMonkey at www.picmonkey.com  From here select the 'design' option at the top of the page.  This will open a new page for you to design on and here is where you need to open your downloads.  At the top of the page select 'open', 'my computer' and choose your chalkboard background from it's saved location.

At this point you will need to use the butterfly icon to add overlays to your chalkboard.  This icon is on the left of the screen.  Here you may choose to work with the included images from PicMonkey or upload your own by clicking on the 'Your Own', 'my computer' at the top and again selecting your images from their saved location.  Play around with the picture locations and sizes with the option box that pops up with each new image uploaded.  Once you are satisfied with this portion move on to adding words by selecting the 'text' icon on the left.  Again the same options are available, use the fonts provided or upload your own.

example AddTextHere

There are a lot of options, so play around with your placement of the pictures, boarders and words.  Search Pinterest and google, Chalkboard Art, for more inspiration! Have fun with your creations!  These can be easily printed in 5x7 or 8x10 size and added to picture frames.  I downloaded one earlier in the season (before I knew how to make my own) to print and use at my hot chocolate station.  These are great to personalize for photo ops, school parties, birthday parties, home décor, invitations, special occasion cards...the possibilities go on and on!  I'll leave you with a few more I made.

As for me and my house ~~~ BeStill

BabyITsColdOutside

~~~

On a side note, I am having trouble with the comment section of my blog.  If you are unable to comment in the section below or if you do not see a comment section below, please click on the contact me tab above.  I'd be happy to hear from you in a comment there or feel free to email me!