Maybe Spring will eventually come and all this rain will slow down. But, for today we are enjoying the 70 degree weather and sunshine. Naps are in progress and then we will probably head back out to the trampoline or ride the golf cart.
We are back to baby-proofing stages so all of my decor has to be out of reach of little hands. So, as much as I love to have pumpkins, pine-cones, and pillows covering practically every surface and available floor space...this year my Fall touches had to be almost waist-high and above (haha).
I found a few pillows at TJ Maxx on clearance for $12 - which is honestly the most I spent on one item. Most of my items are thrifted, up-cycled, or something I made. It doesn't have to be expensive to be beautiful :)
Since my space was limited by little hands, I tried to layer textures throughout each room. Flowing greenery, white cotton, brittle wheat, smooth pumpkins, rustic wood, leather books - all of that was incorporated to give a feel of comfort and to break up all of the white I have in every room.
I'm still working on a few projects (specifically recreating a mirror I saw for $89 and only spending $7). Updates will be posted soon :)
Our dear, sweet, adorable cousin decided to keep the gender a SECRET so I had so much fun planning this Vintage-themed baby shower. The only expenses we had were the cake, food (that we prepared ourselves), and utensils. We up-cycled items, used tons of props from my photography studio, and even picked the fresh flowers from our Grandmother's garden!
I say it over and over but use what you have to make the best out of every event. I could have spent hundreds on throwing this shower but instead, I thought about what I already had at home and how I could incorporate that to make a beautiful shower that was incredibly easy on my wallet but BIG in heart :)
Every season brings new hopes as well as lulls. We are now in a season of restless sleep, baby cries, toddler tantrums, and messy rooms. Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in wishing for the next season to hurry up but, when you really stop to think about all this season brings, it is more than magical...
It's hearing our baby giggle for the first time, "I love you Mommy," coming from the backseat, excitement over the first snowman in our yard, and loving so deep it hurts.
I caught myself trying to hurry Spring along and wishing away the cold weather. I even decided to bring some color into the house... But, then I remembered that Winter only lasts so long and before I know it I will be missing those mornings of awe over newly fallen snow and snuggling with my family on cold mornings.
And, although I'm not going to go back and re-do the decor, I will desperately try to remember to cherish even the coldest of days.
No matter what our home looks like, who I share it with is the most important.
It's been 12 days since I left my steady (and paying) 9-5 job to focus on being a better follower of Christ, a better mother, a better wife...
and a better ME!
Not that I wasn't a good mother or a good wife already (or that you can't be all of those things and still work a 9-5 job), but I felt like I was drowning. I felt like I could only half-way accomplish anything I started. Throw in a small business on top of all of that and I was barely treading water. So, I prayed and God showed me the way to be able to spend more time at home.
In all honestly, motherhood is the hardest job I'll ever do. But, it's also the most rewarding. And, within these 12 days I've already learned something about myself. I've been so judgemental! Not on purpose and I'm definitely not proud of it but I've been judging others because...
I thought they were judging me...
I thought I had to be the BEST at everything. When I would fall short of that I felt as though everyone around me judged me and saw my imperfections. So, I would judge them - I would look for their faults...
I would look for their imperfections...
But, NONE of us are even close to perfect, especially myself. I can't hold myself to unreachable expectations and I can't expect to be a superwoman. What I can expect is to love my family, to worship God, and to see the beauty of everyday (regardless if the house is clean or not).
So, I'm learning to be kind to myself. I'm understanding that a clean house, a breastfeed baby, or home-cooked meals everyday do not make me a better Christian. But, I can be kind, I can listen to you when you need me, I can laugh with my family...
and I can help show you God's love...
This Friday marks the official first day of Fall!
Although the weather outside is still on the warm side, I couldn't wait to get Fall decor up around the house. I've honestly only added a few small touches here and there but I'll be home with Baby for 12 weeks so I know that I'll continuously add more and make changes to keep from going insane inside the house all day...
I feel like I've been working on the boy's bedroom FOR.EVER... It has been "functionally" complete but there were so many little details that I procrastinated in finishing. BUT, with 6 days to go before Baby arrives, IT IS FINALLY COMPLETED!!! :Happy Dance:
Once the gallery wall was up (with the exception of one empty frame awaiting a photo of the boys together), I really feel that the space was coming together. And then I stumbled upon two bed frame pieces outside someone's home for FREE and I thought they would be the final touch above each boy's bed. So a little cleaning and navy spray paint brought those to life!
I decided very early in this pregnancy that the boys will share a bedroom so that I can keep a room completely devoted to toys (aka the Playroom)! I've been slow in putting finishing touches to their newly refinished bedroom...but in the weeks leading up to delivery, I've kicked it into higher gear. I'm still waiting on a few important items - bedding that is being made, some custom signs for a gallery wall, and a finding a few extra pillows...but it is definitely a room that is on it's way to being complete!
So, here is the sneak peek into the room they will share :)
Almost everything in here is thrifted, DIY, repainted, or handmade.
As much as I love to photograph special events, I especially love to host a good party! My dear friend is getting married this Summer so having her a bridal shower she will always remember was important to me. We've been close friends since our awkward middle school days so with almost two decades of friendship, this shower had to be special. But, I also had a budget - I told myself I couldn't spend more than $300.
But, that doesn't mean it couldn't be absolutely beautiful!
Always take the time of year into consideration. In SC we are experiencing a beautiful Spring season so an outdoor event would be perfect. But, there is always the chance for extremely warm weather or a quick Spring shower so I needed some sort of coverage. I looked into renting a tent but I quickly learned that spending $175 + $90 installation on a white tent from a party supplier was out of the question. I took to the internet and Amazon to the rescue - I found a pretty white party tent that was 10x30 feet for only $85!! And since I used my own backyard, the venue was free!
Now for decor...I had a lot of ideas in mind and I knew I wanted a soft, vintage feel to the shower. I wanted custom signs that highlighted their new life together and gave the shower a special feel. But, instead of ordering things - I took old wood and markers and went to work. I also have some old windows - those turned into the bar and food menus. Total cost for custom signs - $0!
Ask your close friends and family for things that you need. There was no need to buy or rent tables, chairs, or table cloths - I had several of those items and what I was missing, I borrowed. The mismatched seating and mix of lace and soft colored table cloths gave the feel I was going for. Total cost for tables, chairs, and table cloths - $0!
Fresh flowers make wonderful centerpieces and to be honest, these all came from Sam's Club...I purchased bouquets of flowers and split them up. Instead of using typical vases, I found items I had around the house - flour sifters, jars, tin measuring cups, etc and used those to hold the flowers (tip: use a plastic bag inside the containers that can't hold water so the flowers stay fresh). All the vases were free so total cost of fresh flowers - $14!
The items I did purchase I found at yard sales, thrift stores, on on the clearance aisles. I was able to pick up three glass containers for the bar, pretty framed floral prints and burlap banners for super cheap. I spent a total of $15 on purchased decor and seed packs for party favors. It doesn't take a lot of items to make a statement and always try to use what you already have first.
Last was food, drinks, and cutlery. I made sure to stick with foods that are in season so they are cheaper and I purchased in bulk (Sam's Club). I picked a party time that would allow for smaller portions and wouldn't need a full sit-down style meal. Ham + biscuits, pasta salad, fresh fruit, cheese & crackers, different dips, and a few other finger foods made up the menu. I also opted for a mimosa bar and lemonade for those who didn't want that. My total bill for all food, drinks, and cutlery - $185.
I also took the help that was offered. Two other close friends wanted to bring something and offered to get the cake and bring some food items, so I gladly accepted their offers. Other friends helped set up and decorate and that was also so appreciated. So when help is offered, take it, it's free :) The total cost of this shower - $300!
Welcome! If this is your first time here, my name is Nicole and my family turned a 1923 mill house into our home. Spring is the best time of year (even though in SC it only lasts a couple of weeks before the heat takes over). This season epitomizes my style - simple, natural, light and bright!
To be invited for the Hello Spring Home Tour with all of these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful homes is inspirational. It's only Wednesday and I'm already planning projects for this weekend because these ladies have given me so many amazing ideas! Carrie with Lovely Etc. did an amazing job hosting. There is something new everyday this week so follow the links at the end!
For me, Spring means being outdoors! We love to grill, sit on the back deck, wave to neighbors, and my son absolutely loves taking rides on the golf cart. (Riding around the neighborhood on your golf cart is kind of a thing to do on week nights around here - welcome to Small Town, SC.)
So, let's start outside. A broken old chair adorned with flowers and an old window, mismatched seating, and Ikea dinnerware complete the look.
A few new (and on sale) pillows, bringing out my colorful throws on the quilt rack, adding simple touches of flowers, and freshening up the mantle complete the living area.
For Christmas I asked the hubby for things from local thrift and antique stores. I gave him no direction and honestly just wanted to see what he would think I'd like. He was spot on! Seriously! He scored a trunk (below) that was in great condition and only needed a little paint to take it from black and bold to bright and beautiful. He also picked out the above RC Cola tray and everything that's on display in it.
Our home is on the smaller side so our main living area doubles as my office. By painting the desk my favorite color, teal, keeping the cords hidden, and having simple decorations I turned an eye-sore into an extension of the room.
I think our kitchen is the heart of the home. When people gather here we tend to spend most of our time in this area. If it's just us hanging out, you can always find us making snacks, cooking dinner, or toy race cars lining the table. When friends and family arrive, coffee is brewing, desserts are devoured, and our children race around the island.
With the amount of traffic in this area, I really keep it simple in here. I thrift containers to hold wooden spoons, use dough bowls for fruits and veggies, and my refrigerator is our social calendar (I mean wedding season this year is CRAZY!).
We did almost everything in this kitchen ourselves - from painting the cabinets and the counter tops, installing an island with a dishwasher, to painting the second-hand table and chairs. This home has a lot of sweat and tears involved but it's our sweat and our tears.
It just so happened that the day I snapped these photos was the same day of a very special dinner with our family. We are expecting another baby this September and we all gathered to find out the gender :)
These are the moments our home is made for. It's great to take photos of a spotless home and wish that it would stay that way forever. But, honestly having 15+ people over, a toddler running everywhere, crumbs on the counter and laughter in the air - that's beauty.
After a delicious dinner, we handed out surprise-filled cupcakes and waited for everyone to take a bite.
It's a Boy!
I beyond thankful that you stopped by and spent a few minutes with me today. I'd love to get your feedback or simply say "Hi" so feel free to leave your comments below.
It's only mid-week so there are still lots of wonderful blogs to tour for the Hello Spring Home Tour. You do no want to miss anything that these lovely ladies have in store.
Have a Blessed day.
This year has already been so crazy...and it's only March. We will welcome a baby sometime in September and thanks to our wonderful photographer, Amber, we captured our special announcement at home. Take a look at our fun session (all photos by Sugar Snap Photography).
First off, welcome - I am so appreciative you are here! I love this time of year and celebrating the true love of Christ with family and friends. "We love because He first loved us."
Before our 2 year old woke up and started pulling toys into every room, I had about 30 minutes to photograph a clean home! I love traditional reds and greens and this year I also decided to add some cotton and natural elements into the mix.
I had the pleasure to photograph Christmas mini-sessions at a local tree farm in Greenville (Mystic Tree Farm) and while I was there, I picked out our tree. Instead of the traditional green fur, we went with a Blue Ice tree that really does have a little blue hue to it. It's beautiful and smells so wonderful!
I didn't have room on my mantle to put four stocking holders and I don't like using command hooks since the top of our mantle is a little thinner. So, a white curtain rod and two flat stocking holders did the trick!
Décor in the kitchen is a little more subtle - just a few small wreaths and pops of red and green!
I shopped around for a cotton wreath but the price tags were a little more than I wanted to pay...so a friend informed me of a place in Greenville called The Tomato Vine and they sale cotton by the stem or by the bunch for super cheap!!! So, a DIY cotton wreath it is!
I've spent weeks searching for a wooden bench for our kitchen table. I wanted to move things around and center the table with the mantle. After no luck at my favorite antique and thrift stores, my wonderful father made me one instead. I can't decide what color to paint it though...all white, stained and white, a color...
Our son will empty an entire toy box looking for his cars (he calls them "beep beeps") so I've started putting them in smaller containers that he can easily find. This saves us a few minutes of toy clean up each night...one afternoon, he put them in this dough bowl on his small table. So for Christmas, I thought I'd keep it that way!
But literally, as soon as he woke up - straight to the toys and the photo taking was done. Mostly because I wanted to play with him too!
I hope this season is merry and bright for you all but never forget why we truly celebrate. We can make our homes beautiful and get inspiration for one another but His beauty, love and inspiration are unending and all powerful.
I am beyond blessed to call The Britton's some of my most dearest friends. They are truly the sweetest, most giving, compassionate and caring people you will ever meet. I was able to visit them this weekend and in true Nicole fashion, I brought my camera along. And boy am I glad I did! This is their first Christmas in this home and it is AMAZING! So amazing, that I have to share it with you!
I've decided that before I post my very own Christmas Home Tour, I'll share theirs!
So welcome...you are not going to want to miss this.
From the moment you walk in the front door you are swept into each detail - from every pine cone to every ornament on the massive tree (it's 12 feet and framed by floor to ceiling windows)!
Once you witness the main living area filled with traditional red and gold, you can venture into the bedrooms to find even more festive decorations. Blues, pinks, and other vibrant colors take hold and each room brings the season to life in a different way.
And then you walk outside and take in the pond and the amazing view.
Thank you so much to this beautiful family for opening their home to me on so many occasions, loving my family as their own, and for being such beacons for the Lord. So many are blessed to know them - I know I am!
Stay tuned for my very own Christmas Home Tour coming soon.
I'm probably one of those people who start Christmas decorating a little earlier than most. It's only November 6th and Christmas movies take up my television, Christmas music is on my radio, and I browse the holiday aisles at every store.
I know the most important reason for this season is to celebrate our Lord and Savior (as should every day be) so there is no reason to limit it to just December...
So, with my Christmas mini-sessions coming up this weekend, I thought it would be a grand idea to start decorating my own home!
A friend and fellow photographer wanted some festive garland for upcoming Christmas sessions but the cost online was $75!! A trip to my local craft and dollar stores changed that.
I was able to make three different types of garland or banners for $1 or less each!
Here is what you need:
- String, yarn, twine, or thread (I had some white yarn already on hand)
- One bag of cotton balls
- Paper (the color and thickness is up to you) I usually pick the individual scrap-booking pages that are $0.20 a piece
- Mini Plastic Ornaments (These are usually $1 or less for a pack of 8)
- Black Marker (I already had this on hand)
- Scissors (I already had this on hand)
- Hole-puncher (I already had this on hand)
- Threading needle (I already had this on hand)
For the cotton garland, cut the yarn to the length you want and tie one end to the threading needle. Thread the needle and string through the middle of each cotton ball and adjust the cotton balls to be as close as you'd like. I mixed it up and put about 30 on the first one (they were closer together) and only 20 on the other (so they were further apart).
For the ornament garland, cut the yarn to the length you want and tie it to the threading needle. Thread the yarn through the top of the ornament and then tie a knot around the top so that the ornament stays in place. I alternated colors of red and gold.
For the banner that says, "Merry Christmas," cut the scrap-booking pages into any shape you'd like. Make sure to cut them so that you have enough room for one per letter. Using a marker, write the phrase you'd like spelled out. Use the hole-puncher at the top of each letter (I put hole in each top corner) so that you can thread the yarn through.
Decorating is always fun - it's even more fun when you can save money!!!
Most of my family is all about "last minute..."
When you get the label in your family of being the "crafty one," you get lots of requests for help - especially with those last minute projects. Which is why, I spent my afternoon making a scarecrow costume for my cousin (who is 20 months old and adorable)!
After a detailed phone call with my aunt while she's in Hobby Lobby, the list of supplies was purchased to make a cute scarecrow costume.
List of items needed:
- Tulle (and lots of it) - we used 4 rolls of 6in tulle that came in 25 yard spools. The colors used were brown, yellow, orange, and cream.
- Ribbon - we used 1in thick brown ribbon for the waist and the neck tie; also used was 1/4in yellow ribbon for decoration on the front
- Faux Sunflowers - we purchased one stem that had approximately 6-7 sunflowers in various sizes
- Burlap - we used two colors (orange and regular) for the hat "patches"
- Straw hat
- Hot glue
- For the tulle you will need to measure from above the chest to the desired length. Multiple that times two and that's how long one piece of tulle will be. My cousin's length needed was 15in x 2 = 30in per strip.
- Cut the first piece of brown ribbon to be enough to go around the waist and tie a bow in the back. Then fold the tulle in half, wrap it around the ribbon, and pull the tail pieces through the loop to tie a knot around the band.
- Cut another piece of brown ribbon long enough to tie around the tutu and around the neck (think halter). Take the middle of the ribbon and wrap it around the center of the ribbon on the tutu and tie a knot.
- Hot glue a sunflower on the knot and tie some smaller decorative ribbon to hang in front.
- For the hat, cut smaller pieces of burlap and hot glue them to look like patches. Attach a few sunflowers and viola!
- You can also add leggings and a shirt for those cooler nights!
There are so many DIY Halloween costumes you can make - happy crafting :)
I was able to sit down and enjoy an almost spotless home for about 15 minutes yesterday before I heard the first, "Uh Oh" that came right after a dropped cup of milk - lucky for me my dog licked it right up... This preceded the sandy footprints, crumbs on the floor, and toys thrown about in every room. But, that's life and that's my style.
I've had several people ask how I can manage to decorate with a son who likes to climb, crawl, run, and jump on everything! I don't purchase expensive items for a reason. I have a two year old and many of my friends that visit have children the same age. That doesn't mean I don't like nice things, I just keep things simple. My decor fits with our life and our home. Small items that are clean and simple with pops of color (usually teal haha). I also really like old pieces that go with the feel of our 1923 home.
More times than not if you visit you will see dishes in the sink, toys everywhere and smudges on surfaces. But, you'll also hear a lot of laughter, little feet running and songs being sung. Occasionally you will find my home "presentable" but those times only last for about 15 minutes!
But, here is one of those 15 minute moments from yesterday morning...welcome to my Fall home tour.
Thank you for stopping by - I truly appreciate it. You took time in your day to come here and that means so much to me. Have a blessed day!
I honestly have so many talented family members. Which means I have the best options for help when needed. Something needs to be fixed in the house - call my Dad; my computer won't work properly - call one of my brothers; I need to shop or help with projects - call my Mother or Mother-in-Law!
Not too long ago my Father-in-Law took up woodworking as a hobby. He would piddle with this and mess with that for a while and then he started taking it really seriously and is getting really good! As in, I've been having him make me ALL types of things. I look at it as I'm helping him progress by asking for all of these off the wall requests! "Hey Billy, we just built a new kitchen island, can you make me a butcher block counter-top?" Or, "Hey Billy, I want new shutters on my house, can you make me those too?"
He's decided to start selling some of his work and will also be doing his first vendor show at the Pumpkintown Festival on October 8. If you are in the area, you should definitely stop by to see his pepper-mill grinders, cutting boards, and much more.
One weekend I hand him the old wood, the next weekend he hands me a new frame!
I'm not really a "made-from-scratch" baker but this French-style rolling pin was too cute to pass up! When he told me about these, I just had to have one.
And the time and effort he put into making this serving-tray wedding gift for a friend - perfect!
Just like me, he took a hobby and wanted to do more with it. He wanted to show that he was really good at this and could turn it into a small business. If you're interested in any of his work, look him up on Facebook - Handcrafted by BigHig.
My love for Fall is beyond words - I mean college football, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING, perfect weather, and colors that match my hair - what's not to love! I couldn't resist and I started decorating before September...I tried to hold myself off but once the store shelves were lined with candles and white pumpkins, I just couldn't make it.
I thought this was the best time to work on a project I have been envisioning for a few weeks. We have some great, original mantels in our home (but no actual working fireplace). To showcase the one in our main living space, I thought a simple window with a magnolia wreath would look great. The task was, how to get the window to "float" where I wanted it to. So, a drill, four hooks, and heavy duty twine later - it's a hanging window! The best thing about this, I can use the hooks for so much more than just this window (hanging mason jars with flowers, Christmas decor, you name it)!
It wasn't the easiest thing to hang - these mantles are made of super hard wood (I actually lost a screw from the back of the hook in there somewhere). I also had to make sure to get products that could hold the weight required. The hooks each have a safe working load of 35 pounds and the twine has a working load of 90 pounds. The little extra elbow grease was worth it though :)
I've added simple touches of Fall throughout our home - white pumpkins, candles, some wood pieces, and an adorable sign I found on clearance at TJ Maxx that says "Pumpkin Kisses; Harvest Wishes."
To start off September 1, 2016 I even made pumpkin cookies...yum!
Happy (almost) Fall Y'all!
Our mini-road trip was a lot of fun and a huge success. Not only did we stop at 10+ different shops (and roadside barns) but we also had time to take our son to a fun hands on museum.
We traveled to Hendersonville, NC and stopped at all the small towns along the way. Some of my best finds came from the roadside barns selling antiques - the type of places that don't show up on Google! But, I did hit the jackpot at a HUGE warehouse called Needful Things. This place is over 50,000 square feet and holds over 200 antique and thrift vendors. I needed more than just a few hours to go through everything so I'm already planning a trip back.
I've been on the lookout for an old tobacco basket for quite some time now but I haven't liked the price tag on many that I've found. So when I scored this one for only $30 and the teal paint was already splattered on it, I was more than excited!
And a cute, white chair for under $10 - YES please!
There were many smaller finds too - blue mason jars, wooden spoons, wooden bowls, books, trays, etc.
And let's not forget the amazing shutters I found and all the photo session props! Our truck was definitely overflowing with all kind of goodies. I even fell asleep on the way home and woke up to the hubby pulling into another roadside antique shop that he found for me :) It's the little things... :)
We are gearing up for vacation soon so I'm sure I will find some more interesting places to stop at.
Thanks for reading,