The Story of a Mom, a Wife a Small-Business-Owner-Hopeful (Happy Baby Designs) and a Craft Lover, trying to be present (not just exist) in my life with my children, my husband and myself. Follow along with me as I chronicle my crafting and business endeavors, my true life and some mommy moments along the way .

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Anniversary in Austin

You may have noticed I've been absent from Blogland lately. I have no excuse other than to say I've been enjoying my can't fault me for that, right?

Last weekend, my husband and I headed to Austin, TX for our annual anniversary trip. Every year since we've been married (12 years!) we've gone somewhere for our anniversary. That is our gift to each other. Since having kids, we don't usually travel too far from home, but it's still nice to get away together for a couple of nights. The location isn't the important part.

This year, our anniversary happened to coincide with the Texas PTA Summer Leadership Seminar in Austin. I somehow got talked into becoming the Membership Chair this year for the Early Childhood PTA that I belong to. Since I know nothing about being a PTA Board Member, I figured the conference would be a good place to start.

So our anniversary trip became an anniversary/PTA Conference trip. My husband and I had a GREAT time in Austin and I really enjoyed the PTA conference, too (I'll share more about that later). Austin is such a cool city and we love having a chance to hang out there. We go every year to the Austin City Limits Music Festival, but this is the first time in a long time where we've had a chance to enjoy the rest of the city, too (rather than just the festival grounds).

Here's how the great city of Austin welcomed us...

A look toward downtown. It looks like the Ghostbusters movie...

But thankfully by the time we checked in to our hotel and got changed for dinner, the rain had stopped. We had a nice dinner at a little Italian place called Quatro Gatti. It was delicious! Then we headed off to the Lucky Lounge.

My husband is a music lover and Austin is called the "Music Capitol of the World." So it would only be right to catch a show while we were in town. For those of you who don't know (myself included until my husband informed me), Ian McLagan was a member of The Faces which was Rod Stewart's band before he went solo. Anyway, he plays at the Lucky Lounge every Thursday night (no cover charge!). Go check them out if you're ever in Austin.

It was a nice way to kick off our anniversary weekend...good drinks, good company and good music.

Whenever we visit Austin, it is mandatory that we eat at the Magnolia Cafe. Mmmmm.....eggs benedict.....oh how I love thee!

After we stuffed ourselves for breakfast, we took a walk along South Congress Ave. There is a strip of shops that are quirky, fun and uniquely Austin. We stopped first at Uncommon Objects.

There was lots to browse, but I didn't do much purchasing. I did by some small wooden tiles that spelled out our last name (think scrabble tiles) for $.50 each.

Across the street from the shops is what is known in Austin as "trailer food." This was a previously empty parking lot before several local restaurants set up trailers to sell their cuisine.

Our favorite is the Mighty Cone, so of course that's where we took our annual, anniversary self-portrait.

On Saturday night, we hung out at a benefit for the Gulf Coast Disaster Relief. They had music and a good ol' fashion shrimp boil.

So there you have it. We packed a lot into our 3 days in Austin...not to mention the PTA conference I attended. And on our way out of town, we had to make one very important stop...

I did pick up a few things that I had to have! I would've bought more if I could've fit it in the car ☺ I ♥ IKEA!

Now I'm trying to get back in to the swing of "normal" life around here. I've got a lot of projects that are on my to-do list, so hopefully I'll be able to share some of those with you soon!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Goodwill and Good Luck

The Goodwill Gods must've been shining down on me today. First of all, I just discovered a Goodwill Superstore about 3 miles from my home (I've lived here for 3 years; how did I not know about it?). But secondly, and more importantly, today was 50% off day!

In addition to some clothes, shoes, and a couple of things for the kids, I picked up some great treasures!

I found this adorable secretary desk for only $40! I can't wait to get to work on it. I see it in a light gray with some distressing and black hardware.

I also found this great chair for only $12.50!

Look at the great detail on the back of the chair. It reminds me of Swedish design.

And you can tell it's well made. The entire thing is made without screws.

My mom is here visiting from AZ and is trying to figure out if she can get this chair home with her! I don't think she'll be able to check this in at the airport ;)

Here are a few more of my treasures. I had to really dig to find this wooden tray for only $.75. I love the checkerboard pattern.

I scored these 5 ceramic knobs with matching outlet cover for only $2.50. I already have plans for those orange knobs! I'll give you a hint...remember the orange bookshelf I just painted? Remember how I said I'm going to paint the end table on the other side of the couch??? That's all I'm saying for now ;)

And finally this blue, Martha Stewart, enamel, flower urn. It was a steal for only $1.50 and still has the tag on it! I'm not sure how or where I'm going to use it yet, but I'm sure I will find a place!

So there you have it...I've discovered my new favorite store and I managed to come away with some great deals today!

I can't wait to get started on all of my new projects. But it will have to wait until next week because my husband and I are leaving tomorrow for a long, anniversary weekend getaway! Talk to you next week :)

Showing my treasures off here:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Recipe Tip

I'm not the most organized with my recipes. I don't have them neatly organized in plastic sleeves in a 3-Ring Binder (I guess maybe I should!). I store them in a drawer in the kitchen and I just pull out the recipe I need when I need it.

Because of this lack of organization, when I cook, my recipe sits on the counter and inevitably gets splashed with water, oil, whatever it is I'm cooking with. And it often gets buried under a mountain of vegetable cuttings.

When my sister was in town a couple of weeks ago, we did a lot of cooking. I came up with a great way to preserve my recipe and keep it handy.

I just clipped it to the oven hood using a magnetic "chip clip." It doesn't get dirty and it's quickly visible when I need to refer back to it. I know, I know, this isn't going to change your life, but it might make cooking a little easier ;)

By the way, I was making this yummy potato soup recipe and it was delicious! I was even able to freeze about half of it which I am trying to do more of. I am slowly building a stockpile of freezer meals for those nights when I just don't feel like cooking.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Living Room Makeover Reveal

So I'm finally ready to show you my new and much improved living room/guest room/dining room/craft room. My sister and I worked very hard to cover up the red walls and I've been working on lots of other projects for that room (some you'll recognize, some you haven't seen yet).

It's not totally finished yet, because I still have lots of walls to hang things on, but I figured I'd better share it with you now since I've been talking about it for so long.

And be sure you check out the whole post because I'm going to be asking for some design opinions at the end.

So without further's my new room!

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how it all turned out. In order for you to fully appreciate this makeover, let me show you what we started with.

Dining Room/Craft Room BEFORE:


As my crafting projects multiplied, so did my supplies. And I had no where to put everything. Unfortunately that rendered our dining room obsolete. But now, I've got all of my supplies neatly tucked away in the buffet and dresser behind the table. And do you recognize the fabric rack and lamp? I love that you can still tell that that area is used for crafting, but you don't have to look at everything...and we can actually use our dining room!

Living Room/Guest Room BEFORE...


Sure the room was functional before; the couch opens out into a bed (I love IKEA!) but it wasn't a comfy, cozy room to stay in for our guests (usually family, but still). Now it's a bright and inviting space for our guests. I picked up the fun, bright pillow covers at Target for about $4 each. Notice the lamps on either side of the couch? I love how they look in this room and they give such nice light to that space. And what better artwork for my guests to look at than my kids! :) I had the picture printed on canvas at (they were having a Mother's Day sale and it was a GREAT deal). And of course, you've seen the fabric wall art. Don't they look perfect in this room?

Entryway BEFORE...


I'm planning to rehang the mirror, I just haven't gotten around to it.

We've also got a new place for shoes now that I've removed the shoe cabinet from the other room...

Piano BEFORE...


Remember that great, green frame I picked up at a church sale? I'm not sure what I'm actually going to frame in it, but I love how the green pops against the blue color of the walls.

Buffet BEFORE...

AFTER (with an extra dresser for craft storage)...

These pieces looked nothing alike before I started their makeover. But I wanted them to be painted the same with the same hardware since they would be lining this back wall side by side.

I primed both pieces and painted them a creamy white (almost pale yellow). I then glazed them using a walnut stain that I applied with a foam brush and then wiped off with a rag.

I got the knobs at Target. I got 20 of them for about $20. Pretty good deal considering most knobs average about $4 each!

Window Treatment BEFORE...

The curtains were barely hanging on to an existing rod that was meant for sheers, not big heavy curtains like mine. And those white blocks you see are wood that the previous owner had a big, ugly valance hanging from.


I bought a new rod at Lowe's for about $45 (on sale) and new clips to match the rod. I like the added detail of the amber finials.

And just because I am so happy with this NEW room, here are some more AFTER pictures.

As I mentioned before, I still have a few remaining projects left to do in the room. Obviously, I need to get some stuff up on the wall and add all those fun finishing touches. But I also need to deal with this...

It's this crazy 1950's entry "wall" made of stone bricks. It's hollow and you can see all of the extra bricks that they must've just thrown in there. The previous owner had fake plants in there but my cat decided to make the planters his new litter box so I had to quickly dump them (not that I would've left the fake plants anyway). I hate it and I would love to just take a sledge hammer to it, but that would involve tile, carpet and wall repair. So that's not an option right now. So instead I'm going to cap the top of it with a nice piece of wood (painted or stained? What do you think?). At least that way I can cover it and it won't be such an eye sore when you walk in the front door.

Also, you may have noticed that the buffet is missing some hardware.

Well, that's because I can't find any drawer pulls to fit the existing holes. I have been all over town looking at hardware and I am so frustrated that I can't find any matching pulls. So I think I'm going to have to fill the holes, sand, prime, paint, stain and drill new holes. Aaaaarrrrgggghhhh! This project is pretty high on my To-Do list since a lot of my craft supplies are in those drawers and it's kind of hard to get them open without pulls!

The other project on my To-Do list is to repair the matching yellow chair so I can reunite the set.

These chairs were given to us by my husband's aunt, along with the curtains hanging behind the chairs. My husband's aunt and grandma handmade the curtains to match the chairs. I love the colors, the design and the history of these chairs and curtains. About a year ago, one of the chair legs broke on the other yellow chair. I moved it out of the room and "temporarily" put that flowered ottoman in it's place. Well, a year later and I still haven't fixed that chair leg. But now that my room looks so great, I have new motivation to get it fixed!

And finally, here's where I need your help. Remember this painting?

My original intention was to hang it above the buffet at the back of the room.

However, with the height of the dresser and the lamp, I'm afraid the painting would either have to be hung too high, not be centered on the wall or be partially blocked by the lamp. I'm not real fond of any of those options. To give you an idea of it's size, the painting is about as wide as the buffet and about 36" tall. I really don't have any other available wall to hang the painting on and I think the colors would look so great in this room. I need the lamp there since I do my crafting at the dining room table and the overhead light is not very useful. If I move the lamp to the dresser it seems ridiculously high and I wouldn't be able to center the painting on the wall. What do you all think? Any suggestions? I'm all ears!

Well, that's it. My living room/dining room/guest room/craft room makeover. Although it's not 100% finished, it looks 100% better and I am so happy that I was able to get it done this summer (with my sister's help, of course!). I hope you all enjoyed taking a look around. And let me know what you think about that painting!

Sharing my makeover at these fun parties:


Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special
Join us Saturdays at for the weekend wrap up party!

Decor Mamma