We want to meet YOU! - Send us your Holiday Card this Year!

The other morning I woke up around 4:30am.

I shuffled to the bathroom, did my thing and then crawled back into my warm sheets.
How is it that even if I don't drink an ounce of liquid after 5pm, I have to pee at least twice in the night... yet Cason can down a gallon of water right before bed and doesn't even take his first bathroom break till after breakfast?

Having kids ruins ya. It's the truth.

For some reason, all of a sudden, I was wide awake. I tried to force myself to close my eyes and slip off into sleep again, but I had this nagging thought on my mind that I couldn't shake. 

I got thinking about, YOU.

Yup. Our readers.
People who read about what we have to say on a day-to-day, or maybe even just week-to-week basis.
A question flew through my head that we get asked ALL the time.

"Don't you think it's weird that a bunch of strangers know so much about YOU, but you know nothing about THEM?"

My response:
(shoulder shrug) "Meh."

Sometimes I get an eye roll from people who think about how unpleasant and awkward that would be for their family, other times I get an uncomfortable giggle with comments after, like: "Well... you're just crazy" or "I could never do that, it would be so weird."

But to be honest (and I'm going to assume that about 99% of you have gathered this simple fact already)

I'm just an excitable over-sharer.

Didn't know there was such a thing, eh? Well... there is.

Cason on the other hand... notsomuch. The same goes for his family.
While they are hands down the nicest, most charitable, happiest people in the world...
loud, talkative, giggly storytellers, they are not.

I distinctly remember about 3 months after we were married, hanging out at Cason's parents house with his Mom, Dad and a few of his siblings.
Oh sheesh... look at that goofy couple

I was causally flipping through the latest Better Homes and Gardens magazine when I looked up and noticed almost everyone staring at me. I did the awkward, push-your-neck-backward-open-your-eyes-wide look and said something like... "WHAT? What did I do?"
Cason's Mom replied with...
"Nothing! That's the problem. We're bored, entertain us. Tell us a story."


At first I wasn't sure if this was a jab at my overly chatty, fast talking, way too passionate about everything personality... OR... if she was really just simply asking me to strike up a conversation. (?)


Catch Us if you Can...

Time to check in!

We've been...

Practicing for our winter recital and putting on "plays" for Mom and Dad.
In case you're wondering, yes, that's OUR house. People ask us what we'll do when we run out of things to DIY or decorate... I tell them that we have a dark, unfurnished, un-decorated basement that they don't know about.
That should keep us busy for another 3-4 years or so I think.

Splits, kicks, jumps and lifts. These girls LOVE it! Plus it keeps them active in the Winter and gives them something to look forward to. Bonus! 

On a Dolly, in a Can, or in a Box...
Apparently we're obsessed with riding ON and IN things.


The House of Smiths Designs - Cyber Monday Sale!

Hello, hello! How was everyone's Thanksgiving!? Wonderful I hope!
I'm pumped to share our big House of Smiths Designs Cyber Monday sale with you today, along with a few new Christmas designs for this year AND 6 new mixer decal designs that we've been working on, just in time for you to spruce up that kitchen mixer of yours for the crazy-busy holiday baking season!

First things first, let's talk about that fabulous sale!
In honor of our favorite holiday (Christmas of course) we're doing a 25 off of 25 sale! When you order $25 worth of product or more from our shop, then you get 25% off by entering the discount code "CYBERMONDAY" at checkout!
this code IS case sensitive and has NO spaces

After numerous requests from our customers for new mixer decal designs, I decided to get to work. Check out these 6 new, fun decals that just hit our shop for the first time!


Decorating with Nature for Thanksgiving

I'm totally pumped for Thanksgiving!
Even though we've had our Fall/Thanksgiving decor up for a little while, I have to admit that we were one of those crazy, last-minute food shoppers in the grocery store fighting over the only remaining block of cream cheese with another lady in her PJ's last night. ha!
This got me thinking... maybe there are some of you who are just like us, and have kept cooking or (in this case) decorating for Thanksgiving to the last minute. Well, no worries! Today I'm sharing a few, easy, mostly FREE ways to decorate your home before all the Thanksgiving festivities get started!

These little guys fall in abundance. They're everywhere this time of the year and there are lots of different, creative ways to use them in your decorating. One of the most popular ways to showcase them is in a vase. You can cluster them around a candle, or simply use them as filler for a flower arrangement. 
You don't even have to use the entire acorn; the top has great texture for creating a frame, or piece of art that has a lot of visual interest.
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The great thing about nature is that it provides us so many different colors to use, especially in the fall with all the leaves changing. From reds and pinks to golden yellows and bright oranges, there are tons of different shades of leaves and foliage to choose from, if you're looking for a totally free way to add some color into your decorating this Thanksgiving.
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Fab Gift Ideas for Teenagers

I don't know about you, but Christmas gift giving is something I sort of dread. Not because I don't like shopping, but because there are always those specific few people on my list that I NEVER know what to buy for them... and just recently, I realized about 80% of those people are teenagers and single, early 20-ish-year olds. Yes, I was between the ages of 17-23 once, so I SHOULD know what they like and want, but (at the risk of sounding old) I'm totally out of the "cool stuff kids like now-a'days" loop. ack! 

That being said, recently I was introduced to Fab, a modern, colorful, quirky site used by over 7 million people, offering a wide rage of designer items for all sorts of different groups on my list; and with the help and advice from a teenager girl and young adult boy by my side, we pulled together a few ideas of presents that THEY'D like to get for Christmas this year.
We chose gifts from Fab's Holiday Shop that stays live till December 31st; unlike Fab's typical designer events that usually expire in about 3-7 days. The holiday shop has gifts for him, her, best friends, pet lovers and more! Registration is free and easy too.

Apparently, teen girls love clothes (go figure! jk); also as equally adored are fun, colorful and useful wardrobe extras. These Flat Out slippers that you can roll into a small ball and store in your purse, to use when you're done wearing your uncomfortable heels, would be an awesome stocking stuffer, along with these cozy, yet crazy colored, patterned socks and this useful, funny sleep mask!

Jewelry is sort of a no-brainer for a girl and these were our favorite, funky picks.


Christmas Prep in the Works!

I know that a lot of people find it a bit crazy (and mildly annoying) when they start seeing Christmas trees, lights and festive December decor before Thanksgiving... but in OUR little family, it's been a tradition every year to have a Christmas tree up usually the week or so before turkey day, so we can enjoy it's beauty as long as possible!

The month of December moves SO fast and before you know it, the holiday season is over! So we like to get the work and messy part of Christmas out of the way BEFORE December 1st hits.
This is also the time of the year when our vacuum gets a major workout. Billions of pine needles on the carpet is inevitable when setting up our tree.

Also, a few weeks ago while I was out with a friend, Cason surprised me with a house full of beautiful, classy, white lights on our rooftops! I was BEYOND excited because it's our first year having them and I know how big of a pain they are to put up.

I've been itching to turn them on each night but Cason's convinced me that we'll probably seem a bit crazy if we do... so I'm impatiently holding off till December 1st.

Another thing I was anxious to do this year was find a fun Christmas theme for our decor. Two years ago we had sort of a blue, white and silver theme and last year we used the classic holiday reds with poinsettias.

This year I thought it would be fun to go with an all natural theme. A woodsy-winter-wonderland!


A Holiday Entertaining Guide

Have you seen Homes.com's Holiday Entertaining Guide that they posted about today!? They did a beautiful job and I was happy to help out by giving a few quick holiday home decor tips! If you're looking for a little light reading material to get your home ready for the holidays, this might just do the trick! It's free and a quick read, but filled with lots of great tips.


A Hip Handmade Holiday with the Craft Pack!

I'm stoked to finally share with you a fun new digital holiday craft book that my cute friends and bloggers Susan from Freshly Picked, Matt and Alison, from The Alison Show have spent MONTHS creating; it's called A Hip Handmade Holiday! This digital project book is only $10 to purchase and it's loaded with 18 projects, 9 instructional videos and over 100 printable gift tags, stickers, labels, stencils, and patterns... for you to make holiday crafts this year, all for under $10 each!

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to hang out with the Craft Pack and test drive a few of the awesome projects that are included in the book. Vivint, who just launched a new site called The Neighborhood, was kind enough to sponsor the event and provide a place for us all to get our crafting groove on.

Since I'm ALL about simple crafts; I decided to try out the Last Minute Gift Packaging downloads to make some unique, quick boxes, bags and containers to put gifts in this year.

Armed with a Diet Coke, tons of crafting supplies and my Hip Handmade Holiday downloads... I was happier than a bird with a french fry. (even though I may not seem like it from the pictures, jeesh, I look so pensive... apparently crafting is serious business for me. LOL)


2012 Fall Color Trends and How to Use them in Your Home

Have you seen Pantone's 2012 Fall color trends? I'm in love, especially with the unexpected ones. Olympian Blue, Pink Flambe and Ultramarine Green. Just the names alone make me happy!
I'm sure that in some way or another we all have a few of these colors already worked into our homes, but if you want to add a bigger punch of this years Fall color trends to your space, then here are a few ideas on how to mix and match these fabulous new hues together!
French Roast & Bright Chartreuse
Greens and browns have got to be the easiest colors to decorate with and the bright, happy shade of chartreuse just make it that much more fun! With a lot more yellow than regular green and demanding a bit more attention, chartreuse is the perfect color to work into your Fall decor this year. Recover a chair, scatter recycled old bottles on a table or simply bring the natural beauty of the outside in by snipping a few of  leaves, that maybe haven't changed color yet, to display in a vase.
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Thanksgiving Shelf Decor 2012 + Creative Fall Ideas Linky Party

 The walls are planked, (see DIY wood planked wall tutorial here) the shelves are back up and that means it's decorating time! I have to be completely honest and say that I'm a bit anxious to move onto Christmas designing, so I kept my Thanksgiving decor pretty simple this time around; and surprisingly, I quite like it!

I'm not completely sure if it's the clean, streamline boards or the crisp, modern white paint on top of them, but I feel like I'm turning into a bit of a minimalist (don't quote me on that, I'm sure I'll snap out of it soon, ha!). I had a whole slew of Thanksgiving decorations set on my floor to play with and when it all came down to it, I felt like these few pieces were the only things that felt necessary, and right.
Natural elements in Jar - The Black Goose Design, Foliage - Tai Pan, Wreath - Joss & Main


DIY Wood Planked Walls Tutorial

We're continuing to make progress on our kitchen re-style, and have decided to finally embark on a project that we've been wanting to do for a while now; planking our kitchen nook in clean, crisp, evenly spaced, white boards. We're finally done and LOVE the results, check it out!!!

As I've mentioned before, we have absolutely loved our Ballard Design inspired shelves that we built for our kitchen and change them out with almost every holiday and season. They basically act as sort of a mantel, because we don't have one.

That being said, once we started making changes in our kitchen, we knew that this wood planked wall project was going to be part of it too. Originally the kitchen nook was painted Upward by Sherwin Williams. It's a REALLY good gray-blue and we loved it, but were ready for a change. My friend and fellow blogger, Sausha from Sweet Pickin's wrote a great tutorial on this wall paneling technique not too long ago, so I wasn't planning on posting mine in such detail, until I realized that we did a few things a bit differently; and also had a couple of tips and tricks of our own we wanted to share.

So, here's how we did ours:
To get the wall prepared we took our shelves down, patched the wall, and then gave it two good coats of primer. Even though we were planking the walls we knew that we were going to have spaces between each piece of wood and didn't want to take the chance of any blue wall showing through the slats later on. Looking back, I'm SO glad we did this because you COULD see through the gaps quite a bit.


Baby It's Cold Outside...

Merry Christmas (???)

We got our FIRST snow today, and we've been enjoying it...


A Kitchen Re-Style: Part 2

When we left off before, in our kitchen restyle post part 1, our crazy DIY couple (that's us) were knee-deep in attacking their kitchen, head-on, with a little bit of demo.

Holes were patched, round one of demo clean-up was done, and just as things were starting to level out the couple received the best email that they'd gotten in a long time! Remember when that wife wrote about some amazing things that she REALLY wanted in her home, but just felt like would probably never happen? Well... in the famous words of Mr. JB...

Ikea had contacted that ambitious kitchen restylin' couple and asked if they could donate a beautiful farmhouse sink to their remodeling cause!!! The couple had to think about it for ... oh, yeah, NO SECONDS and accepted the beautiful sink with open arms!

Something that the couple didn't know at the time, is that this smooth kitchen remodel was about to take a sharp turn left, because throwing a farmhouse sink into the plans and redoing their kitchens whole look, how that wife envisioned... was starting to make all of her helpers look like this...


Getting Christmas Card Ready + Brightside Prints New Holiday Designs

Can you feel it?
Christmas is almost here! Yes, we still have Thanksgiving and believe me, I haven't forgotten about that amazingly-wonderful holiday (more on that next week), but there ARE those few important things that require quite a bit of planning prior to Christmas... and family holiday cards is probably the highest on my list.

If you've been following us for a while, then you probably already know that the only company we work with, to do our formal announcements or invitations, is Brightside Prints. Although there are already over 100 beautiful holiday designs to choose from in their shop, Brightside Prints went even further and added a few new holiday prints for their 2012 collection!

They've even added additional designs just for holiday parties!

I love them!... for a lot of the same reasons that I always do; amazing designs that are both on-trend, yet still classically beautiful and timeless.

I really can't express enough how MUCH I recommend and endorse this amazing company, started by Jill Means and her impeccable design talent. Each time I've ordered from Brightside Prints I'm blown away by the attention to detail and quality. This isn't your typical card or announcement that you order online, and here's why:

Professional Designs & Exceptional Quality:
Brightside Prints features fresh and modern designs from an all-women team of professional designers. Every order is prepared by a real human graphic designer, to make each detail perfect! Designs are printed using a state-of-the-art press, the highest quality, eco-friendly papers and Brightside Prints provides a custom design experience and complimentary printing on the back of every card... which by the way, makes it SO much cuter!

I still swoon over these mini Valentines Day cards that we ordered from Brightside Prints last year. They turned out perfectly and the girls were SO excited to have their pictures to hand out to their friends... and (ehhem) cute boys, with their candy.