Sunday, August 17, 2014

One Man's Junk...

Growing up one of my mom's favorite sayings was, "One man's junk, is another man's treasure."  Every single time I wanted to throw something away, she would say, "No! We can sell it or donate it to someone...remember, just because we are done with it, doesn't mean that someone else won't find value in it."
I've held on to that thought over the years. It actually made it very difficult for me to toss a few stained tablecloths a couple of weeks ago, but I finally overcame and freed myself of them.

Well, not more than a day later, I received a text, from a girlfriend, asking if said tablecloths had been picked up by the sanitation workers yet. If not, she was hosting a party for her daughter's birthday and would love to use them. She had already purchased purple overlays, so the stains would be camouflaged and they would really dress up the tables.

The cloths were actually still in my garage, in a bag, neat and tidy. I gave them to my friend and she used them at her absolutely fabulous party ~ the dessert table alone was post worthy! There was so much food, so artfully displayed that the stains on the cloths were not detectable. At all.

No one would've ever guessed that those white tablecloths were less than perfect and with one hundred people milling around dropping food and making new stains, it was probably best that they weren't!

So thanks to my little blog, those old cloths were pulled from the trash and recycled one more time. I have no idea if my friend kept them or tossed them, but I am glad to know that for at least one day, they became treasure again!

Do you have a favorite trash to treasure piece?

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Jamberry Nails ~ I'm Hooked!

I am a crafty girl. I like to accessorize and decorate my surroundings. I'm a bit obsessed; I think that's pretty obvious.

What isn't very obvious, is that I like to do the same with my appearance. I am a girly girl if ever there was one. I love make up, glamorous locks and stylish clothes. Growing up, colorful nails were always a favorite, too.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to wear nail polish for over a decade due to the very strong odor. I cannot tolerate it at all.  It's been a bit of a bummer, but as the sign in my kitchen says, "It is what it is." I was resigned to the fact that I was just going to have to live with boring, bland hands. Like these...


Well, all of that changed this weekend!! A friend told me about a product called Jamberry nail wraps and I am IN LOVE! They are odorless, vinyl wraps that adhere to your nails with a bit of gentle heat and pressure. They come in a ton of different colors and patterns and I am totally hooked ~ and fabulous! I feel like a girl again and I actually like my hands.

Now, I am queen of the easy DIY. I will only attempt something if it is inexpensive, simple to do and looks awesome when complete. Jamberry totally fit the bill.

A few of us gathered in my sister's kitchen for our Jamicures.  We did our own nails and were finished in just under an hour. Now that we know what we are doing, I would say next time we could do it in half the time. After a super quick bit of recommended prep (gently pushing cuticles, wiping the nail with alcohol or vinegar), we matched the appropriate sized wrap to the nail and stuck it on.

We used the warm rice bag approach, which meant we heated a rice bag in the microwave and gently applied it to our fingers to secure the wrap. A little trim and a bit of pressure and voila ~ perfectly pretty digits!! There are other ways to apply them, using a hairdryer for example, but we liked this method.

They best part was that once they were done, I went right home and did laundry and washed my pots and pans with brillo. I didn't even have to wait for them to dry!

Wait ~ did I just say that getting back to my chores quickly was good? Hmmm. Well, you know what I mean!

They've been on for several days now and there is no sign of wear. Obviously, there is no chipping either! When I am ready to remove them, I will simply soak my hands in warm water or lemon juice to break the seal and gently peel them away. Jamberry states that finger wraps can last up to two weeks and toe nail wraps can last up to four weeks. I applied a sample nail a few weeks ago and it did last the full two weeks, when removed my naked nails still looked super healthy.

I placed an order and I received it in under a week. Each sheet is $15.00 and will provide me with
two manicures, two pedicures and several accent nails.

There is a buy 3 sheets get 1 free promotion, which I totally took advantage of ~ twice! Like I said before, I am now an official addict, I just had to share!!

If you would like to try Jamberry wraps, you can check out the catalog and order directly through my rep's link She was super helpful and gave us tons of application suggestions and tips.

If you are intrigued, but not sure, you can visit her Facebook page, ask questions and request a FREE sample of your choice.  There are lots to choose from...and they're not all red. I promise!

C'mon. You didn't really expect me to wear any other color, did you?

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I am simply sharing my great new find, that will allow me to have much prettier hands in my craft tutorials going forward! ;)

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Saying Goodbye

I just threw away several large white tablecloths. Yup. You heard me. I threw them away. I did not donate them, I did not upcycle them, I did not pass them on to a neighbor or friend. I took them out of the linen closet, put them into a giant garbage bag and tossed them.

It was very freeing.

I have discussed my recent quest for a simpler life before, a home not overrun by stuff, but filled only with treasures that I deem essential. Of course, I still want to look at family photos and cherished pieces from my dish collection. I just no longer want to spend my potential free time dusting an endless array of tchotchkes and climbing over boxes filled with items I may (or most likely may not) use someday...

 ...which brings me back to those tablecloths.

I have cleaned out my super teeny tiny linen closet so many times over the last decade, I can't even count. Every single time, I'd pull out those cloths, look at the HUGE stains all over them, stains I had tried numerous times to get out with no luck, shrug, fold them up and put them back in the closet.  Plain white tablecloths, they were not expensive, I don't remember where I got them or who may have given them to me, so they were certainly not sentimental, yet I could not throw them away.  Until today. What changed, I don't really know. Or maybe I do.

Sad news, a move...they were the kind of events that get you thinking about what really matters. Suddenly stained tablecloths became extremely unimportant. Their value diminished to almost nothing. I thought about how many hours I wasted arranging and rearranging that closet to make everything fit. Then there were the hours I wasted thinking about the overcrowded space, stepping over clean laundry baskets filled with the sheets that wouldn't fit inside, because of the stained tablecloths on the shelves. I don't want to waste hours stressing about silly things like that anymore.

Last night, I sat in a recliner in my mom's room. We watched Modern Family reruns with other family members and laughed...a lot. Even my mom. I cut flowers from my garden and brought them to her the night before and fed her fruit. When I came home, I cuddled up on the couch, held my kids close, breathed in their delicious scents while we watched a movie until the wee hours. These are the things I want to spend time doing.

It took me a mere ten minutes to organize that closet today. I was mercenary as I went through each shelf. Now, every single item in it is important to me or necessary and more importantly it all fits easily. No muss, no fuss. I guess sometimes you have to say goodbye to the unimportant things in your life to make room for the stuff that really counts.

Besides, I'm really more of a placemat girl.


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Friday, July 25, 2014

Tea Cup Party Favor

By the time you get to middle age, the girlfriend parties have been done to death. I have been to more book club nights, basket auctions, Bunco groups, ornament exchanges, happy hours, product parties and PTA socials than I can count. Don't get me wrong, they were all fun and occasionally, I still attend, but my schedule is so booked lately that when I do have free time, I want to spend it with people that really count, doing things I really enjoy.

So I started to think about fun ways I could get my girls together and I came up with a couple of ideas involving my new obsession, tea cups!

I have recently rediscovered a few of my mom's tea sets, including these Queen Anne beauties. Aren't they spectacular? I have to say, now that I am older and wiser, I have a new appreciation for such items. I am not exactly sure what I will do with all the pieces, but I know that keeping them boxed up is a total waste.

My first thought was a garden tea party, something very traditional, where fabulous hats would be required attire. I have never been to such an event and I think it would be a great excuse to break out mom's collection! I could make tea sandwiches and finger foods, serve hot and cold teas and my guests would drink out of mismatched, vintage cups. All the while, we would listen to music and the summertime sounds of nature in my own backyard. I'm already enchanted by the idea, so this one is definitely on the list!

Next, I considered an outing. Perhaps hitting the local (or maybe not so local!) antique or thrift stores in search of treasure ~ namely teacups and saucers! We could shop, eat, chat and giggle our way through the day, as we comb the landscape for precious gems. The more I think about this, the more excited I get. No clock to punch, no dinner to make, nothing on the agenda except wandering through quaint towns with my girlfriends.  I think fall would be a super time for this outing! I already have a chunky sweater and boots at the ready!

Regardless of the activity, I would definitely send my guests home with a tea cup favor, as a reminder of our time together. I am slightly dish obsessed, so I already have quite a few cups and I am sure that shopping for a several more would not be a problem for me! 

I recently gave one away as a gift. It was very well received and so easy to wrap up. I simply  filled the cup with an array of teas, wrapped it with cellophane and added a tiny spoon and some ribbon to jazz it up! If you want to see the full tutorial, you can pop on over to the Bowdabra Blog.

Of course, now all of this tea talk has made me thirsty and I think I have some party planning and shopping to do, too!

I'd love to know what you think of my tea time ideas! Oh...and if anyone knows the name of that Queen Anne pattern, I would love you to share! It is not printed on the cup or saucer and Google has been less than helpful with this mystery!

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