Thursday, August 29, 2013

Random Happenings This Past Week.

  Random happenings this past week:
  • I started staining my cabinets.... I haven't stained since Monday, tomorrow is already planned for, so I'm hoping me and the hubby can get the rest of the upper cabinets done... then the lower cabinets and eventually the backsplash and painting!!!!Tonight I've picked out the prettiest backsplash, and I can't wait to put it up!
  • I bought some metallic gold spray paint... and I have a bunch of things I have in mind to spray. 
  • The hubby and I went on a little movie date and saw We're the Millers.
  • I drew some fruit.... I like drawing things..  and when I say things... I mean things without a face. I am not good at drawing people/animals at all, I've mastered drawing an eyeball... but my people end up looking like Alien-Mr. Potato Heads. I'm going to keep practicing. 
  • I purchased new shower heads for each of our showers!! the guest bath room got a hand held one which I am in love with... and I got a rain one for our closet shower in the master bath.. I love that too, but unfortunately no shower head is going to make that shower bigger. Who in the heck decided that 2x2 would be a great size to make a shower??? I have to 'flamingo shave' my legs and my poor husband always hits his elbows.... ugh. But good news, my dogs love the shower head in the guest bath... it was a million times easier for me and them during bath time! whoo! yay for clean dogs! (btw... Winston is now 5 months old and is 60lbs!!! I'm pretty sure he is going to be a beast... Rex is still less than 20" tall but likes to pretend that he is still bigger than his little brother.)
  •  And... I saw this on Pinterest.  Even though I've never been a huge fan of unicorns... It made me smile, maybe it will make you smile too.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Being Green

 Last Sunday evening was one of the best nights I have had in a long time! I feel so recharged and excited about life after talking [virtually] face-to-face with the other ladies at Mon Ami Createry! (...minus Sharon, but we did miss her so much.) Just hearing about the exciting and funny things that are going on with them was just awesome! We were in 3 different cities but it felt like my best friends were hanging out with me around my kitchen table. It felt just like the good old times when we'd gather around in the scrapbook store just talking about life and it was just what I needed.

Since then, I feel motivated to create stuff and work on the many unfinished projects I have laying around the house. But before I start on my unfinished stuff, of course, I decided to start something new. I've been into drawing lately, so I broke out my Prismacolor markers (they are alcohol based art markers, like Copics, used for blending and creating streak-free color) that I haven't used since my Interior Design days in college. To my surprise, they all still work after 4 years ...which also made me really happy because they were really expensive!

Anyway, On Pinterest I've had >>this<< Succulent wreath pinned for quite some time and I finally saw it again. I think it is so beautiful, and while the diy part of it doesn't seem so hard... I just had no motivation to get dressed and go on a scavenger hunt around my little rural town searching for succulents and all of the other supplies.  So I did the next best thing, I just decided to make it on paper.

 I don't think I am a good drawer or anything but I just feel the urge to draw things I feel are pretty. So I opened my sketch pad and doodled away. I was pretty happy with the way my pencil sketch turned out, so I outlined It with one of my Gel-based pens (*this was important so it wouldn't bleed with the markers) erased all my pencil marks and started coloring and blending... It was so much fun! 
I turned the finished piece into my blog greeting up there ^^^at the top.^^^

I had so much fun drawing and coloring, that I left everything out on my table in case I felt the urge to do something else....  nothing else has been created yet, but I think I might doodle up something else tonight.

Being green on paper was fun for sure, but it reminded me of the lack of green that I have around my home. I've had my eye on a pretty pant and tall slender pot at Lowes for a while, but the pot was $50+!! Me being the budget shopper that I am decided to wait a little bit... "Because everything goes on sale... and if it's still there when it is on sale, then it was meant to be!"...yep that's my motto and also my way of justifying purchases... don't judge me! I buy everything on sale and just my luck, the pot was on sale this time so I bought it and saved about $30!! *YAY!!!*

So I took my new plant home, potted it right away, and put it in its new home!

~I am so happy~

 While I was on pinterest, I also found this cute little saying. I decided to share it because I thought it was relevant to today's post... sort of.

This also reminds me of a conversation that I had with one of my guests that I was serving at work, (because I'm a waitress now and I love it...    ....that is probably sarcasm.) I was waiting on an older lady and her husband and for some reason older people feel the need to make sure that I am going to do something with my life. Anyway, they asked me if I was going to school... I explained my predicament about not really knowing what I want to do but knowing I want to do something/anything that allows for me to be creative and that I am leaning towards graphic design or just going for my Bachelors in Fine Arts along with a teaching certificate... because ever since I was in elementary school,  I wanted to be a Elementary school art teacher because I *loved* my teacher. (I will probably do a post all about her someday.) She exposed me to many different types of art, showed me how to create the things that I imagined and she encouraged me to do many things I never thought I could... and I want to do that for other children. Anyway, the woman informed me that she was not artistic at all, and although she tried, she didn't have it. I told her that infact she DID have artistic talent but she just had to find her thing... she then told me that she liked interior decorating, and we agreed that that was her thing.

I am so thankful for art and the need/urge to be creative...  without it, the earth would definitely just be "eh."

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Favorite Products

Firstly want to say sorry it’s been so long since I have been on here! My life has been consumed by wedding planning, summer weather, and now working a full time big girl job! That’s right; I have a real job now. I work for a mortgage company in the document department. (My department receives deeds and records them) And I absolutely LOVE it! We had an ice cream party last Friday to celebrate the fact that it was Friday. I can’t believe how the time is flying.

Tonight, I went and revisited some of my old projects, just to generate some inspiration. And I realized something. My 3 favorite products are definitely stickels, pop-dots (foam dots), and Graphic 45. Here are a couple cards and a circus book project I did using my three favorite products. The circus book is using the same technique Allison used for her father’s day box. Book BoxI just filled mine with a scene after I hallowed it out.

Firstly, if you’ve never used stickles before, you need to try it!! It is a high quality glitter glue that comes in an abundance of colors. It will add the perfect sparkle to any project. Plus, it will never flake off like regular glitter.

My next favorite product is graphic 45. I love this company. They have such a vintage flare on so many themes. They also have great cut aparts that you can literally cut it apart, add a little shimmer, and you have a beautiful card in 5 minutes!

Lastly, I love pop-dots. It’s a tiny piece of double of foam that is sticky on both sides that will act as an adhesive and give it 3-D dimension all in one! I love to get multiple pieces of graphic 45 sheets and fussy cut them and then pop them up using the 3-D pop-dots. Then I add a little of my stickles and call it a night!
I can’t tell you how many project I’ve done using these 3 things. Ranging from gorgeous cards, to paper ornaments, holiday d├ęcor to altered art. These are the things that inspire me most. What inspires you?

Until next time!

Just as a PS… I have great holiday inspiration that’s eating away at me! Halloween is just around the corner; wait till you see what I have planned! :)

Have a great week everyone!

Xoxo Mandy

Friday, August 16, 2013

Quilting Update

When you decide to make a quilt, it is fun to pick a pattern, plan the sizing, choose a color scheme and shop for fabrics.  For my quilt, I bought fabrics from a few cities in two different states, making quilt shops a bonus feature of my summer travels.  Once you get down to cutting and sewing, though, and you have vowed to make a king-size quilt - probably a bad idea in retrospect - all the fun is gone.

Blisters come from cutting/piling/ironing/more cutting.  The hours of repetitive stitching/ironing/stitching of the squares slowly makes me feel like I am in an asylum and have been given a repetitive task to pass the time.  Moral of the story: quilting is hard!

Needless to say, I am struggling to keep working at it.  I need to find my rhythm so that I can enjoy it instead of looking at it like a chore, as I am doing now.  Here is my quilt progress so far:

(Yes, this is literally all I have finished.)

I am really happy with the way it is coming out.  It is not all perfectly aligned, which gives it the definite hand-made feel, but in a way that I think still looks good.  I am a perfectionist, so I wouldn't be happy with it if it were too messy.

Actually, venting about the issues here has been really therapeutic for me... I can't wait to get home from work and spend some quality time with my sewing machine this weekend!

xo Allison

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Camera

I have been begging my husband for a nice camera for as long as I can remember. I take a gazillion-trillion photos with my iPhone and I wanted something with better quality and more functions because well... I just love taking pictures of things that I find beautiful.

Two weeks ago my wish came true! My wonderful husband traded a few of his things to get me a REALLY nice Nikon DSLR...

Best. Gift. Ever.

Now, I'm not a professional and this camera has a lot of bells and whistles that I am not familiar with, so I am still playing around with it, trying to understand the owners manual to figure things out.

I got to test this baby out yesterday while visiting with my parents... Shout out to them for being so cute! Here are some yesterday's shots...

As you can see, I really like plants and sunsets. I think the most beautiful time of day is right before and during a sunset and it is my favorite time to take pictures.Early mornings and sunrises are really pretty too, but I usually am never awake to enjoy them. Everyday I try to watch the sun set and even will drive to certain spots where I know nothing will block my view. Sunsets completely relax me and calms my mind, my only thoughts are of admiring the beauty of the sun setting as the clouds reflect shades of yellow, orange and pink contrasted with purples and blues... I actually cannot think of very many things that are as beautiful as a sunset, so I'm sure you will see plenty more sunset photos from me. :)

I will now end this post with the wrinkly face of my sweet pup...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Graphic 45 Secret Garden Cards

 It's Tuesday and that means I get to share with you some of the projects I have been working on.

I'm sure it is pretty clear by now how much I love Graphic 45 paper.  I love how they have the sheets that you can cut out sizable images and create cards from them!  It is so fun to select the background paper, add some ribbon, pearls, embellishments and them dress them up some more with Stickles and Spica pens!  When you are finished you feel like you have created quite a masterpiece!

Here are the five cards I made from the Secret Garden paper line:

I hope they inspire you to create some cards to send to some special people in your life!



Thursday, August 8, 2013


Here recently I've noticed a slight drop on my inspiration meter.

I first noticed the drop a while back when I had to quit my super wonderful and fun job at the scrapbook store... Then again when I moved to Texas and my small local scrapbook store closed. I really think being surrounded by crafty people [coworkers and customers] and the 'goodies' [supplies and paper] really helps boost inspiration... Being able to soak up others excitement about a new project, product or technique seemed to send my inspiration meter overboard! 

Now my inspiration meter spikes sometimes like when I read a post on the blog (thanks girls!!) or when I'm looking at Pinterest or venture to the big city to go to a craft store or a home decor place, but nothing quite compares to being surrounded by creative friends, inspiring and bouncing ideas off each other. (But I must add that seeing friends projects virtually does help!!)

...what got me to this point is the fact that I am organizing my craft room and looking at all of my supplies to try to remind myself of the inspiration I once felt... Then I thought about my friends.

Creative friends are the BEST friends to have and I miss mine dearly! (You know who you are.) 

Now to go organize... Not so fun, but the reward will be great!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Some of this and some of that!

Well not much has been going on here!!! I have been so busy with, well, nothing imparticular. But, I have had time to whip up a card and do a little shopping lol I found some great scores and once they are hung I will take pics to show ya guys.

I had gotten this 8x8 paper pack "Uncharted Waters" by Glitz AND have been waiting to use it on something, so I decided to make a card with it.

Here it is:

I also stamped in the very bottom corner the arrows and Awesome sentiment from Sweet Stamp Shop! I just love the new Starts Here stamp set that was just released. I also accented with some Twine from SRM and little enamel dots from My Minds Eye. Also my boss picked me up this anchor from the recent Trade Show she went to in Las Vegas, which I believed is from Glitz as well.

Here is the stamp set I used, CUTE huh??
Starts Here   

Well everyone happy hump day and crafting day,

Thursday, August 1, 2013

DIY Rope Shelves

 It feels like it has been forever since I have done a post on Mon Ami and for that, I'm Sorry! I have been doing a lot of little tiny creative things, nothing to really blog about... and then my husband and I took a little trip to Tennessee last week, which was fabulous! We stayed at CedarRock, slept in  the coolest  barn (which had been completely renovated into a 3 story lodge), went kayaking/canoeing, visited cute little town squares, and got lots of QT with my family... plus TN is just beautiful so we just drove around and went "ohhh look at that.. That's a really old barn... DEER!!!.... Antique Store, lets go... oooh aaahh... turkey!.... That's pretty... that's a cool old building...." etc. We cant wait to go back!

 So now lets get down to the good stuff!
I had planned on doing a beachy theme in my Master Bath, because we just miss California so much! But i'm pretty picky when it comes to decorating... see I wanted it to be beachy, with out saying "BEACH!!!" ...just wanted the feeling of beach. Does that make sense??

I had seen rope shelves before in magazines, so I did a little search on Pinterest and Google and found these images for inspiration (sorry, no links)... I needed a shelf for over the toilet and another to create storage for my linens and other decor, since my bathroom didn't have a linen closet and had storage issues. These were perfect!

I didn't find any step-by-step directions, but it seemed very self explanatory: Buy some wood, cut some wood, drill holes, stain, measure/cut rope, and then hand and tie the shelves....  It really was such an easy project and I actually created these shelves at the last minute (or day) because I was unable to find budget friendly storage solution and my bathroom was desperate for something.

 Here is how I did it:  

#1 Collect your supplies: Wood, Stain (brush/sock/gloves), Rope, Plant Shears, Drill, Masking Tape, Level, & Tape Measure, Eyehooks/hooks.

#2 Buy/Cut the wood. I have a friend who works at Lowe's and helped me pick out the wood and cut it to size. (FYI, Its good to have friends at Lowe's or any other hardware store)

#3 Drill the holes. If you haven't heard of a spade bit, well now you have. Its a type of drill bit to connect to your power drill and it makes holes in wood projects. I measured the holes, made my mark and decided to cut a 1/2" hole in all 4 corners to accommodate my 3/8" rope.

#4 Stain the wood. I had leftover General Finishes Gel Stain from staining the two bathroom vanities so put one coat on all of my planks. (this step took the longest, because of the dry time)

#5 Hang your hooks. This part could be the trickiest. Since the three tiered shelf over the tub was going to be REALLY heavy after it was installed, I needed to put my hooks into the studs... the problem: the studs were not where I needed them. My Dad, my Uncle and I spent about an hour inside Lowes debating on how we should hang them, what would be the easiest, strongest, and least invasive. If you haven't checked out the hanging section in your hardware store you should, there are a million ways to hang something and deciding isn't easy. We then noticed in the picture above that they must have had the same issue because they screwed a plank into the studs and then hung their hooks from the plank... So that is what we decided should be done. You can't tell but I used eyehooks.

Since the shelf over the toilet was small and wasn't going to hold much more than toilet paper, I just used small hooks that I screwed into the drywall. (Easy-Peasy, took 3 minutes)

#6 Tie your ropes. The hooks over the toilet were "J" hooks so I pre-tied each rope then hung it on the hook. I left plenty of rope hanging so i could level and tie each end off after I put the shelf on. 
I have no pics of this part of the 3-tier shelf, but its basically the same process only I had to tie the rope while it was through Eye hook because the hook is completely closed.

(ROPE 101: There are 3 types of rustic/nautical rope: Jute, Sisal, & Manila. Jute is usually smaller than Sisal and Manila. Manila is darker than Sisal, due to it being a different type of plant. I chose Manila rope for this project because it was darker.)

*One perk of using this "J" hook over the toilet is that if I ever need to access the insides of the toilet, I can simply unhook the shelf from the wall and replace it. (the Eye-hooks on the 3tier shelf is a more permanent thing)

#7 measure the rope, tape it off, add your wood,  tie your knots, level, re-tie, level, re-tie... and so on until it is level and complete. On the  back side (closest to the wall), I measured from top knot to where I wanted my shelf to be since those were the vertical ropes. Then I used the painters tape to mark that spot. After I strung the rope through the holes I tied the backside on. Then i strung the rope through the front holes and held it in place until it looked even, then tied them off. Then I used my level to adjust all the knots and make it level.... Its really not as hard as it sounds.
 The second and third tiers on the large shelf were much easier to measure and level since all of the ropes were hanging vertical. My shelves were spaced 16" apart from knot to knot.

 *Helpful hint: Use plant shears to cut the extra rope ends off. Its much easier than scissors or a knife!

#8 Accessorize & Enjoy!

In case you were wondering how much I spent... I don't remember but I know it was under $50.

I am so pleased with how the shelves turned out!  This really was what my bathroom was missing, not only is it simple and functional, but I think it adds to that beachy feel I was going for.

(If you missed it, see the full bathroom reveal >>>HERE<<<)