Blushing Gardener

Blushing Gardener Mood BoardNow, before you go reading this post about landscaping, let me make it clear right from the start that this is what I want to plant- not what I am going to plant, around my front door this fall.

You already know about my gardening skills, but we also have dog issues to contend with at our house.  I’ve given up on putting any effort and money into the yard that will be pulled up and devoured the moment I try to make a milk run to the Dollar General.  When we move past chewy-puppy stage in our family, I’ll be a little more willing to get back into the curb-appeal swing of things.

That being said,  I still wish my yard looked like the after pics of a Yard Crashers episode.  And there’s nothing like October weather to put you in the mood for a pumpkin on the porch.  Which explains my recent trip to the Lowes gardening center with no intention of making a purchase, whatsoever.

There’s no question blush is having a moment now, and when I saw a table of palest pink begonias alongside ornamental kale, inspiration hit.   It reminded me of this photo shoot I saw a few days ago on 100 Layer Cake.  I loved interesting effect the pastels had on a typical mix of autumn color:  a little bit fresh and modern, a little bit reminiscent of the glowing areas of light against rich dark backgrounds in old Dutch Masters paintings.  Love!

Here’s a look at some of the flowers and color combos I played with at Lowes:

Unexpected Blush in the Garden

Isn’t it a Beautiful mix? Sources for photographs follow post.

Want to give this look a try on your own front porch this fall?  Below, a general recipe for a Blushing Fall Garden:

The Blushing Gardener

What are your fall decorations looking like this year?  Any of you trying a mix of pastels in your decor?  Share them with us!  I’m sure they’re wonderful.  Maybe even worthy of the after shots of Yard Crashers.

Me?  I’ll be seeing you on the next episode of Hoarders: Dog Owners Edition.

You are So Cute, Smart and Organized,


Sources for photography :  Light-colored pumpkin with berries on black background by Michael Graydon, from the October 2009 issue of House & Home.   Red-orange mini pumpkins on straw by Danyelle on Dandee.

Neither Lowes nor HGTV know who I am or that Im writing this. :)


A Mom’s Car Emergency Kit- no, not that one…

Car Emergency Kit
School is in full swing, and we are settling back into our crazy little routine around here.  You, too?
I’ve found that our lives run a lot more smoothly with a few helpful essentials in the glove compartment of the car.
Here are the top things we cant seem to live without:
Tangle Spray and a Detangler Comb
For all the mornings we load the baby up in the car before he’s even awake.  (Or, his big brothers, for that matter.)
Do you have one of these combs?  Ours looks a little different than this – it’s a blue one from Sally’s – but its like an un-tangling, not-hurting miracle.
Pencils AND Sharpener
Pencils, for when they mysteriously remember a homework assignment on the way to school.
And sharpener, so they have no excuse.
For Mom.
Index Cards
For writing notes to the teacher on the way to school, and…
Paper Clips
So I can clip them to their folders.
Masking Tape and a Sharpie
So I’m always prepared to price things for the resale shop, but that’s another post…
Scotch Tape, Scissors and Rubber Bands
‘Nuf said.
Bank Envelopes
For after -and before- hours.
Note Cards
So I can catch up on thank you‘s and the like in the school pick-up line.
And a Cute Little Bag to Put it All In.  Ours is pink.  Because I picked it out, and not the five men or two male dogs that live at our house.
What about you?  What are the essentials needed to keep your family going while you’re on the run?  Share them with us!
You are so Cute, Smart and Organized,

Save Summer in a Jar

beach-sand-jar-completeMy family used to go canoeing in the summer, and my parents were always sweet to help me keep an eye out for small, flat stones with a tiny hole eroded in them from the river water.  I would bring these rocks home and lace onto a piece of string to make a necklace.  If the stone just happened to be heart-shaped, it was all the better.

My boys are constantly bringing home their own little keepsakes like this.  Seashells, an especially pretty branch of pinecones and special rocks all come home from our trips in pockets and suitcases.

I recently ran across this picture in a Ballard Designs catalog that gave me the idea to make little jars for all the treasures they bring home.  Aren’t they pretty?

Inspiration for the Project.  Click for Info

Inspiration for the Project. Click for Info

beach-sand-jar-suppliesHere’s what you’ll need to make your own:

Glass Jars:  I used a three-pack of spring-hinge jars by Spare Parts at Hobby Lobby, $5.99

Clear-drying Glue for Glass:  Try Weldbond, $6 on Amazon

Sea Shells

Metal Label Holders:  I used a multipack by Spare Parts at Hobby Lobby, $2.99

Jute Twine

Paper, Pens, and Scissors

-Get your 40% off Hobby Lobby Coupon Here

…And here’s what you’ll do:

Following package directions, glue your sea shell to the lid of the jar and give it plenty of time to dry.  Patience, patience…

Using your Metal Label Holders as a template, cut the Paper into rectangular labels.  Give each label a title, such as the name of the beach where you collected your sand, or the year of your vacation, and write it out in your prettiest (or your child’s cutest…or your printer’s trendiest…) handwriting.

Mold the Metal Label Holders to match the curve of the jar by holding the Label Holder against the jar and pressing with your thumbs from the center of the Holder to the edges.



Thread a 10-inch piece of Jute Twine through the Label Holder, going in the hole from front to back on the right, across the back, and out the hole, back to front, on the left.  Center the Label Holder on the jar, wrap the Twine around the back, and tie tightly to secure.  Trim the tails as needed.


Wrap another 10-inch piece of Twine around the mouth of the jar, and tie it in the front with a handsome square knot.  Fray the ends of the twine.

Slip your Label into the Label Holder, and you’re all set to fill your jar with treasure.

Here’s another look at the finished product:


Does your family save mementos like this from your vacations?  Show us how you display them!  What kind of keepsakes would you store in your jars? 

You are so Cute, Smart and Organized!


This Summer

this summer
We’ve been busy thinking of the things we want to do this summer.  You, too?
My mama was a teacher, so we had long summers off together.  All through the year, we would file away ideas for activities we wanted to do during summer break.  Our list would usually include things like visiting a new store we were curious about, going to the zoo, and lots and lots of trips to my grandparent’s house.
Some activities were not even planned, like the summer we went to about a hundred McDonald’s drive throughs to get a complete set of Bambi figurines.  Very cute.
And Some activities were entirely my mom’s idea, like the summer she decided we needed to know we were capable of walking six miles into the closest town and back.  My sister and I assured her that we did not need to actually experience this to know that we could.  She insisted we did.  Believe me, my sister and I will never forget that it is entirely possible to walk six miles to get a popsicle.
My boys and I have a few ideas of our own this summer.  One son wants to make a homemade pizza, I want to paint the house a little, and we’re all anticipating our big vacation.  More than anything, though, I’m looking forward to all the extra time I’ll get to spend with my kiddos.  It’s a special time of year, and I can’t wait to soak up every minute of it.
What are your plans for the summer?  Are you going to try anything new?  Tell us about it!
You are so Cute, Smart and Organized,

Thinking about Father’s Day

Working on the Tree House

Working on the Tree House

My husband spent the day working on a tree house for the kids. 

It’s been an ongoing project for us over the last few months, and we are just about ready to wrap it up.  We are excited!

My daddy built a tree house for my sister and I when we were kids.  It was in a clearing in the woods just far enough away from the house to seem exciting to us, but close enough to be safe.  We spent hours playing out there and riding on a swing that hung from a nearby tree.  I’m looking forward to watching the fun my boys will have in a tree house of their own.

Sweet projects like this have me thinking about Father’s Day.

I’m pretty sure I know what the boys and I will get my husband this year, but I can’t share it here just yet, because reading this blog is another sweet thing he does every day.

Have you started thinking about Father’s Day?  Share your memories and gift ideas with us!  I’m sure they’re great.

You are so Cute, Smart and Organized!


Stacked Circles – a DIY Art Project

diy-paint-chip-art-stacked-circlesGrab an old box, a circle punch and pencil eraser and let’s create a little fine art…

or at least fun art! ;)

I have a sweet niece who has been redecorating with rich shades of plums and greys.  I wanted to give her a piece of art that would match the sophisticated mood of her space, but fit the budget I had to work with.  This is my solution;  want to give it a try?  Here’s what I did:


Supplies-cardboard box, burlap, colored paper or paint samples, grey and gold craft paint, school glue, gloss Mod Podge, gold Sharpie, and thumbtacks.

Tools-knife, foam paint roller, glue gun and 1 1/2 inch circle punch.

I used similar supplies on another project you might like, a faux capiz-topped table.  You can see that post here.


We recently bought a new vacuum at the Wiley house, and I thought the narrow, rectangular shape of it’s box would be perfect for this project.  I grabbed a paring knife out of the kitchen and cut out the face of the box, leaving about two inches around the sides so that it would stand away from the wall like a wrapped canvas.

Next, I covered the box in a scrap of burlap, folded the corners, and tucked the edges around the back of the cardboard with hot glue.

Using a 4 inch foam roller, I gave the face and sides of the box two coats of light grey, interior latex semi-gloss paint that I had on hand from another project.  Be sure to fill all the little holes in the burlap in this step.

Color:  Directions/Examples DIY Art

I gathered various shades of plum, blush and charcoal paper, as well as some metallics in champagne and pewter.  Paint chips are perfect for projects like this, since they’re already arranged by gradients of the same color.  If your paint-buying habit has left you with unused samples, this is the perfect project to use them up, but cardstock would work equally well.

I punched out the circles next, using a one and one-half inch circle cutter, and made a stack of circles for each color.

I wanted the picture to subtly move from light to dark tones, so I divided the stacks into three groups:  light, mid and dark tones.  I randomly mixed each group of colors and placed them side-to-side on the burlap.  I covered the top third of the box with the lightest shades, the middle third with the mid-tones, and the lower third with the darkest colors.

I wasn’t completely happy with the arrangement until I moved just a few circles to the wrong group.  When everything looked right, I adhered the circles with school glue.


I covered the sides and face with five coats of Mod Podge in a cross-hatch pattern to give the paper circles a canvas-like texture.  I like the way the glossy Mod Podge brought out the colors and smoothed the edges of the circles, making it look a little more like a painting and a little less like a collage.


The size of my box left a small blank space across the bottom after all the circles had been placed.  I used  a ruler and gold Sharpie to fill this area with a decorative line and the words, “faith, hope and love,” from 1 Corinthians 13.

Next, I dipped a pencil eraser in pale gold craft paint from Martha Stewart Crafts and stamped tiny confetti-like dots over the picture, concentrating the most dots at the top and lower left corners.

Finally, I punched antique brass thumbtacks along the edge of the cardboard to mimic the nailhead trim that my niece was using in her decor.


Here it is all complete.  It was affordable and uncomplicated to make, and turned out just how I had hoped.

What do-it-yourself wall art have you made for your home?  Show us!  I bet it’s beautiful.

You are so Cute, Smart and Organized!


A Little Remodeling Job

MyPic (1)Are any of you remodeling right now?  It’s not nearly as glamorous as it appears on HGTV, is it? 

Even if we could afford a cute little professional designer, no one ever really follows her around with a camera for the inside scoop, and they especially don’t send you out to dinner while they do all the work, do they?

When I was in high school, my family remodeled the kitchen.  The results were beautiful, but during the process, we cooked with a camp stove on the porch, and I missed what would have been my very first phone call from my future husband because I couldn’t find the phone.

I’m having to do a little remodeling on my blog this week, hence the new look today.  Just like a home, it was getting a little tight and needed a few changes to function at it’s full potential.

I’m running into a few snags along the way, so I apologize in advance if things aren’t running perfectly smooth, but I hope the end results will be beautiful!

Do you have any advice for me from someone who’s been there, done that?  And what about my Facebook Widget?  It’s not showing up on my sidebar; do any of you happen to know how to fix it?  I’d love to hear what you have to say!

You are so Cute, Smart and Organized!


A Very Good Friday

A Very Good Friday

Chalkboard Easter Eggs

…You can’t eat them, but they sure are cute!  Make these tonight, and they’ll be ready to pass out at work tomorrow to all the Good Eggs you know.


1.  Set an egg out for 30 minutes to bring it to room temperature.  Go about your usual routine, forget about the egg, come back in two hours to find the egg broken on the bathroom floor.   Scold 4-year-old.   Start over. :)

2.  Pat the egg dry and give it two coats of chalkboard paint.  I used Folkart, about 4.95 at Wal-Mart.Chalkboard-easter-egg-supplies

3.  Dry your egg overnight.  (This is why you’re doing this tonight instead of 6 a.m. tomorrow morning, like you really want too.  And no, a hairdryer doesn’t work quite as well.  Trust me.)

4. In the morning, color all over your egg to your heart’s content, put it on a fluffy nest of Easter grass in a cute, tiny tin bucket, .99 at Wal-Mart, and you’re ready to go.

You are so Cute, Smart and Organized!


Easter Dinner…In a house full of Boys

Easter Dinner...In a house full of Boys ;)
Sure, it looks pretty, but it’s just macaroni and Jello, y’all  ;)

There are a few meals during the year that have a tradition of being fancy affairs around our home.  My husband’s birthday, Valentine’s dinner, any meal with iffy items that might look better to kids by candlelight (more on that, here) and Easter Dinner all call for wedding china and fanfare.

Oddly enough, my boys really enjoy it.  And I do, too.  It’s always fun to get out of the day-to-day routine and pull out all the stops.
Of course, with all these kids running around the house, something’s gotta give when you’re pulling those stops out.
Our Easter Dinner this Sunday will look something like this:
Roast Beef  It’s not exactly typical Easter fare, but it sure makes life easy to toss it in the crock pot Saturday night between dyeing eggs and looking for missing Easter baskets.  After church, I’ll put it on a pretty platter, get my mom to make the gravy (because I’m a gravy disaster) and we’ll be set.
Jello  We spent hours one year making Jello eggs and Jello jelly beans.  Those molds have mysteriously dissappeared after that, but the boys haven’t let us have Easter without Jello ever since.
Macaroni.  Out of a Box.  There’s no judging here.
A Pretty Salad  I love strawberries in my salad, and it always looks so bright and spring-y on the Easter table.
Pound Cake with Whipped Cream and Berries.  Start with the way it looks so gorgeous on a cake plate, and add to that the fact that Sara Lee baked it, not me, and you’ve got the perfect Easter dessert.
What will your Easter Dinner be like?  Do you have any tricks for keepin’ it simple while you’re doin’ it up big?  Share with us!  I bet they’re great.
You are so Cute, Smart and Organized!
Here’s an extra tidbit:  That beautiful floral photograph  in the menu background above can be purchased on Etsy for $30!