Before and After

I was going through some of my older pictures and found a picture of my son from January 2008 that made my heart sigh.  Do you do that?  Find pictures of your babies that make you stop and stare at them and remember how precious they are?  This was one of those moments for me.

Anyway, I decided to pull the image into Photoshop (I’m still working in CS3) for a little edit session.  I used an action I created from watching Erin Cobb’s Clean Color (levels, curves, etc.) and then I tweaked it with my Totally Rad Actions.  I.  Love.  Totally Rad Actions.  Just so you know.  I think they are the best thing to happen to Photoshop since Photoshop.  Here is my before and after for you.

Anniversary Card

I made an anniversary card last night with some of my new Stampin Up goodies and used up some of what I’ve got.  I love use-what-you’ve-got projects.

I used Groovy Guava (discontinued), Ivory and Chocolate Chip cardstock from Stampin’ Up, some random designer paper in size 6×6 that I got in a goodie bag back when Recollections was open here in LoCo.  I wish I could tell you who made it but I have no idea.  Groovy Guava ribbon.  Framelits from Stampin’ Up are Labels Collection and Adorning Accents Edgelits.  The image is Apothecary Art from Stampin Up (I LOVE this set).  And the sentiment is from a CTMH set Say it in Style.  I pulled out my 10+ year old set of Stampin’ Up pastels and literally wiped a layer of dust off the package to color the flowers and leaves.  Image

At the last second I added those little green pearls.  I bought them at a scrapbook convention awhile back and I have no idea who makes them either.  But I love them!



Pantry Update

It’s been two months since I reorganized my pantry so I thought I’d share a “real world” report of how it worked out.  I’m pleased to say that it has been more successful than even I thought it would!  It’s just that I usually get very excited about a project but maintaining it is a whole different matter.

For this one, the whole family bought in immediately.  I think that was key.  I also put the things the children were allowed to access at their level.  Another key point.  The big bins for cereal and open snacks have been great for those occasions when they don’t reseal the bag as well as I’d like.  And they keep everything together where they should be.  Win!

Here is a picture of what it looks like these days. Image

As you can tell, my bin for the lunchboxes hasn’t worked out well.  They still end up on the floor of the pantry.  I think it’s because the bin isn’t big enough to hold them all well.  Either I need to purge, store extras elsewhere or get a bigger bin for that.  We also started buying disposable to-go coffee cups recently because I’m notorious for losing the $10 per mug kind.  Now I have to figure out where to store them.  However, everything else about the system has been very successful.

I hope it helps you reorganize your pantry!


Homeschool Funk

Not only do I think that February is the hardest time to be a stay-at-home mom to little kids, but I can now add hardest time to be a homeschool mom. I have been in the WORST funk for the last month or so! It actually started in January for me. Exactly two years into our homeschool journey. It seems to be a trend among my homeschool mama friends. The two year mark seems to be a hurdle for lots of us. I gave serious consideration to marching right up to the local school and enrolling them virtually every other day.

To be honest, I’m not sure what our homeschool journey holds for us right now. I have been in a lot of prayer on the matter but waffle on the subject from day to day. To make things worse, the funk coincided with the hardest time of year for me to be at home. So, I decided not to make any final decisions until spring has arrived and settled in.

Eventually, I realized that part of what made my funk so particularly ugly is that I haven’t really been doing anything for myself. I’ve been all about the homeschool, our co-ops, or the kids’ activities. I had failed to schedule things that rejuvenate me. One of the things that I enjoy is crafting. Scrapbooking, card making, rubber stamping, paper crafting, anything that I can come up with. Recently, I found myself in my craft room to prepare for a day of much needed crafting with a friend. I really didn’t want to go, but she really did and I knew she wouldn’t go without me. Plus I hadn’t seen enough of her lately. So, I went. No creative juice was flowing – at all.

Just the act of packing things up to go to the crop helped me some. Being among other crafters helped some. Looking at the new Stampin Up and CTMH catalogs helped. After the crop, I found myself making excuses to go spend a little time here or there in my craft space. (I’ve had to set up in the unfinished basement.) Just organizing some of my stash made me feel better. And then I did something crazy. I decided to become a Stampin Up demonstrator! It will only be a hobby for me but it’s an excuse to get together with some of my crafty buddies and make things. Something in my life that is just for ME. I have no idea how long I’ll be able to remain a demonstrator but I have every intention of scheduling craft time for myself from now on!

Just for fun, I made a video of what it was like to open my Stampin Up box when it arrived. Here it is if you think it’d be fun to see.

Stampin Up Demonstrator unboxing

A Wardrobe Makeover – What I wore Jan 18 to 24

Last week I mentioned that I had a short list of some pieces I wanted to find.  With a $20 gift card in hand, I headed to Macy’s last Tuesday night after my husband was home and my family was fed.  With $20, I knew I wasn’t going to find the jeans/pants that were on my list but I did come across an enormous clearance section.  I took a quick stroll through and found two cotton cable knit sweaters for about $10 each.  I found a faux wool sweater that I think is super cute for about $6 and a “statement” sweater that ended up being about $12.  That is my kind of shopping!

Here is what I wore this week-


Belted one of the cable knit sweaters with a pink jacket on top.  (That jacket was thrifted back in August for about $5.  It’s a Liz Claiborne and it still had it’s original tags on it when I found it in the thrift store!)

As a side note, my children clearly are not used to this.  One child told me I looked beautiful, another asked me if we were going to church and the third asked me why I was so dressed up.  Ha, ha!

Do you know what is great about participating in WIWW?  Looking at a picture of yourself when you think you’ve done good with your appearance.  Pictures don’t lie.  For example, that lipstick you see above?  It’s in the trash now.  Moving right along…


Today, my big effort for WIWW was to color my gray sideburns.  Yikes.  Other than that, it’s a pretty Plain Jane outfit.  This is that new $6 sweater from Macy’s that I mentioned above.

I’m also actually wearing earrings today.  Baby steps.  That’s what I’m all about.  The hair is still a little wet…  but it was time to stop playing dress up and move along with my day so what you see is what you get.

Like our rabbit?  Her name is Rosie.  My daughter was playing with her when I asked her to snap the pictures so I had to hold the rabbit.  Isn’t she cute?


This was probably my favorite outfit of the week.  All the components have been in my wardrobe for awhile but I never thought to put them together until I was “playing dress up” the other night trying things on.  It was actually fun to get dressed for Classical Conversations co-op today!

I can’t believe I live in a world where we are allowed to wear leggings again.  Ah!  Life is good.

I have to confess, the purse is new.  And so are the boot socks.  I wonder if the boot socks cut the line of my leg too much.  I’m bummed that the picture didn’t come out better so I could ask your opinion on that.  But it was time to go so…  this is the only picture we’ve got.


We got snowed/iced in here last night.  Hubby and I decided to reorganize the kitchen cabinets today since we had the luxury of time at home together.  We got about half of them done and it feels GREAT!  But that is for another post.  Since we were working and no one but my blog friends was going to see me, I kept it simple.

Sunday Morning

The outfit I showed last week – but with boots and grey tights.  It was cold and icey so I’m really glad I skipped the peep toe shoes from last week.  😉

Sunday Afternoon

I went to a friend’s house to scrapbook so I thought I’d share that too.  Imagine the shoes as snow boots – because that is what I actually wore.  And I was thankful too – because there was a load of ice at her house.


I didn’t have the camera handy when I left my room and I forgot to go back and get it.  I wore a big fluffy sweater, jeans and snow boots.  You aren’t missing much – it wasn’t anything spectacular.

Even though we had a ice storm that delayed the federal government and shut down lots of activities around me, none of our out-of-the-house activities were cancelled.  Bummer.  So it was all practical and nothing at all fun.



Nothing terribly exciting but I felt cute since I curled my hair.  I guess that’s really the point of this whole thing isn’t it?  A few small easy things that make you feel more put-together?

All in all, it was a better week than the week before that.  I’ll take it.


pleated poppy


Wardrobe makeover and what I wore Wednesday

Yesterday, I mentioned how much I love Pinterest.  While I was there, I came across a woman who has an ebook out about a nobrainer wardrobe.  Although I didn’t buy the ebook, I did go check out her blog series she did on the subject back in October.  (You can find it here –

As a mom at home who has three elementary age kids, homeschools, cleans her own toilets, is approaching 40 this year and doesn’t have a ton of cash, the series appealed to me.  I am not one to put a high priority on what my wardrobe looks like but it is still a priority to me.  I’d like to look presentable most of the time.  However, a lot of the ideas I see on-line are just out of the question for me to wear in my daily life.  The high heels with jeans trend?  Yeah, that’s not gonna happen here.  It may look cute, but it’s totally impractical for my daily life.  But still, I’d like to kick up my game a bit from my daily uniform…

(Please forgive the quality of the pictures – my 10 year old daughter took all of these and they are a wee bit fuzzy.)

Over the last week, I’ve begun working through some of her suggestions.  I began thinking I was going to purge my closet.  Lots of stuff I simply don’t wear.  That went from purge the closet to shop the closet instead.  I’ve recently been having a pitty party about my lack of appropriate church clothes for winter.  I wear a lot of jeans in my life.  Spending a bunch of money on a dress to wear – maybe once a month – is simply not very practical to me right now.  While I was in my closet, I looked again at a suit I’d bought for myself.  I probably bought it 4 years ago and it still has the tags on it.  It’s an Evan Picone, pin stripped, lined suit.  I actually think it’s rather nice.  But I don’t wear suits.

I guess I talked myself into it because it was a nice brand name, lined suit.  The jacket was $20 and the pencil skirt was $10 according to the tags that are still hanging on them.  I even bought myself a red blouse to go with the suit.  It, too, has been hanging in my closet for probably one year less than the suit has been.  (I literally dusted a layer of white off the shoulders to snap that picture above.)

The blouse looks alright.  I actually like most everything about it.  Except that if I were to lean forward anyone near me would see everything I have to offer.  It’s a bit low cut for my taste.  So, it too has been just hanging there with it’s tags still on it.

But after searching around on Pinterest and making myself a wardrobe board, I began to notice a trend.  I like scarves around my neck.  So, I ditched the jacket and put a grey scarf on with it and – Voila!

Now that is something I would actually wear to church!  But it’s COLD here right now so most likely, I will be wearing some charcoal tights and black boots on Sunday morning instead of bare legs and peep toe shoes.

About 10 minutes of play – with things I already owned – resulted in something I plan to wear on Sunday.  Not a bad investment.  Thanks for the inspiration, Hayley!

Then I grabbed a long sleeve t-shirt to go with my beloved Levis 512 jeans – standard uniform.  But today I added some ballet flats and a scarf.  I threw my hair up in a messy, curly up-do and went about my day around the house.  It sure was nice to look a little better than average when someone stopped by unexpectedly that afternoon!

There is just one thing – now I remember why I haven’t worn these flats in ages.  I need to figure out how to stretch them so they don’t rub my feet into a blister.  Anyone know a good tip to do that?

After summing up my wardrobe quickly, I came up with a short list of 6 items I’d like to add to add a bit of variety.  I’ll let you know how that goes next week.

Thanks for stopping by!


pleated poppy