.maddie's rag quilt.

When Maddie's mom asked me to make a rag quilt for her sweet little girl, I was honored. Maddie is 4-years-old, and she was in my class last year. She is so smart, so sweet, and absolutely hilarious. When she got pink glasses because of a lazy eye, she became even more charming. She is a very special little girl, and she starts Kindergarten in the Fall.

Her mom found all this beautiful fabric and picked it out specially for this quilt. It's all Urban Flannels brand. I've never seen such fun and girly flannel before! Anyway, here is Maddie's quilt:



.front & back together.
A bonus perk that came from this project is that my passion for sewing has been renewed, and I can't wait to get started on my next project!


.easter dress.

Every year, I get excited about Easter for different reasons, one of which being I get to wear a pretty pastel dress. Usually this falls through since where I live it's usually cold and rainy on Easter (and I usually end up wearing a pastel turtleneck sweater as opposed to a pretty Spring dress).

To me, this is the perfect Easter dress:

It's a perfect example of wearing pastels and still looking classy and sophisticated. Would you wear something like this for Easter? It's definitely on the formal end as far as church wear goes, but you could get away with wearing this to church on Easter, right?

I just loves dresses and skirts and am so excited the season to wear them is finally here!


.husband's birthday.

Happy birthday to my sweet husband.
I hope you enjoy your lemon cupcakes with homemade butter cream frosting
tonight after dinner.

He is hard-working, caring, smart, athletic, honest and so very cute.
He loves God.
Today he is 28.
He's my husband.


.soft rain.

Call me crazy, but I love the rain. It's gentle, yet has the power to make everything outside come alive and just glow. I am on Spring break right now, so I got to sleep in until 10 am...while it was steadily raining outside. That is truly the only way I enjoy sleeping in. Otherwise, I feel like I am wasting sunshine and a perfectly beautiful day. When it's raining and I have nothing to do, I think I would be cheating the morning by getting up early.

Today calls for a little Spring cleaning in my classroom. Everything is getting disinfected. A new Spring bulletin board will be fashioned. I'll definitely be pulling up the blinds to my classroom window and watching the rain outside while I clean.


Daisies and Olives

What else would "Daisies and Olives" be than the name of the best antique mall ever?!! Thank you, Katie, for telling me about this place. I've experienced the magic and can now honestly say that this is my new favorite shop.

Have you ever noticed that the best hidden treasures are usually found in the most unexpected places? Daisies and Olives is located in a tiny town in Arkansas called Prairie Grove. If for some odd reason, you are ever passing through this area of Northwest Arkansas, you really must stop by.

They have a website. A sweet little old lady was working today, and she made the experience even more enjoyable. I think what makes this my new "place" is that is filled with antiques that I refer to as "relevant" to decorating today, and not just old junk that smells like must.

Here are my small purchases from Daisies and Olives:

This is our unfinished fireplace mantel. It's unfinished because I still need to buy something to sit on the candlesticks and I need a picture for the chunky wood frame. The green topiarys were purchased today at Daisies and Olives.
Here is a close-up of one of the topiarys. To me, they look whimsical but still elegant.
Leave it to me to be so overcome by joy from finding a white chippy chair to overlook the fact that there is a pole missing from the back...
So this is how the chair will be displayed for now:



It's that time of the year again... you know, Spring! That means sundresses, tank tops, skirts and shorts, which in turn means... showing skin. I am very fair-skinned by nature, and I've used a tanning bed to get color every Spring and Summer for the past 9 years or so of my life. This year will be different as I've decided to give up tanning beds. I've been convicted for a long time that I was knowingly harming my body in order to feel pretty, thus sacrificing my health for an outward vanity. It's hard for a female to give up something that makes her feel attractive, but for me, it was time to give up tanning.

This year, I'll be using self-tanning lotion. My goal is to not be brown, but to simply have a little bit of color and not be so pasty-looking.

This is where YOU come in. I need your advice on which self-tanner to use. Obviously, I want low-hassle, no streaking, no orange, and as inexpensive as possible. I've used Jergens Natural Glow in the past, and it never gave me a ton of results, but I've read online that it's been improved. I've also been reading online reviews of other self-tanners, and a lot of people seem to like Dove's tanning lotion, while some like Nivea's.

Have any of you ever used any of these lotions, and if so, which would you recommend? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!


My Necklace

I am so excited! Last week I won my first blog giveaway ever, and I received my prize in the mail today. It was a hand-stamped initial necklace like this:

Mine looks exactly like this one, only it has my initials on it (MCB). It was handmade by Valerie, and it is beautiful! It's simple and classy and the type of necklace I can wear no matter how casual or dressed up I am. Thank you so much for hosting this giveaway, Meredith, and thank you Valerie for my new favorite necklace! Check out Valerie's etsy store, Spunk and Sass. She is so talented!


My Newest Treasures

St. Patrick's day was good to me! Maybe it's because I have some Irish blood in me. :-) Or because I wore green today, even though it was a complete accident! I had the day off, so I went treasure hunting pretty much all day. I had some great luck finding things I have been looking for and at great prices too. I even discovered a new antique mall that has been around 4 months, and I just found out about it. It's now my favorite place. Seriously! Here are some of the deals I scored today:

Coat and hat rack for entryway. Only $20
Piano bench for entryway. $15. (Will be re-painted)

Simon likes this wooden heart.

$3 - I saw it and immediately grabbed it. It's me.

Deal of the day right here! Sewing table in sturdy, excellent condition for $24 at the Salvation Army!!! It's home will be in the Shabby Chic guest room, so it will be painted white!

I get very excited about being able to decorate my house on a small budget, but in a big way. I have lots of d.i.y. projects up my sleeve and can't wait to get them started. I am going to make some pillows for the piano bench and hopefully add a wider piece of wood to the bottom so that I can put baskets below.

So many ideas, so little time!!! I can't wait to show you the finished product once I get every room completely decorated! :-)


A Shabby New Look

One way that I get extra money to support my addiction hobby of secondhand shopping is by consigning clothes and decor. After buying this oil painting at a flea market and it sitting in a closet for a good year, I decided to consign it. It sat at the consignment store for 3 months and never sold, so I picked it up and gave it a makeover... A shabby chic makeover. My hope is that I've given it new life and now it will appeal to someone with shabby taste. I like it better now, too! So if it doesn't sale this go-around, I might just have to find a place for it in my home!




Dried Flower Centerpiece

It's taken me a while, but I've finally come up with a centerpiece for my kitchen table that feels just right. I got this bundle of dried flowers at a flea market for $1.50. I love how the dried flowers look like wheat or straw. And the fabric bow around the vase isn't burlap, but it reminds me of such. I have a plan up my sleeve to finish off the eating area of my kitchen, then I'll post a picture of the whole room as opposed to just snippets here and there. :-)


Sweet Vintage Inspired Baking Supplies

I don't know about you, but after going HERE, I want nothing more than to wrap a vintage apron around my waist and whip up some scrumptious cupcakes then wrap them up in gift bags with ribbons and bows, label them, and give them as gifts. Just saying...

Gold edible glitter!! (They offer pretty much ever color of the rainbow!)

Sweet flower baking cups... Seriously considering ordering these for a Spring party.

Vintage-inspired labels

Anyone want to open a bakery with me? ;-)

{All images from layercakeshop}


My D.I.Y. Chalkboard

Yay! I finally tackled my first {small} d.i.y. project, and now I'm hooked! I've been wanting a cute little chalkboard for my kitchen and have stumbled upon some super worthy ones at various flea markets. However, being the tight-wad creative person I am, I decided I would rather make my own than purchase someone else's creation! Why not? And I'm so glad I did!

Of course, I had to find the perfect "item" to transform into a chalkboard. So I enthusiastically went on a full-out hunt at all my favorite flea markets and thrift stores. I knew my search was over when I stumbled upon this beaut:

$4 serving tray

If your kitchen is decorated in the coffee shop theme, you will be very disappointed in what I did with this tray.

Chalkboard paint: the newest love of my life?

All it took was two coats with a few hours of drying time in-between, and my fantasy chalkboard became a reality!

I foresee many, many more d.i.y. projects in my future! Well, I know this because one is sitting in my garage waiting for its second coat as I type this. Not another chalkboard, but another small project. I'm loving getting my feet wet in this do-it-yourself stuff! I would love for these baby steps to lead me into something amazing that I never imagined I'd be able to do!

Another kitchen glimpse:

Thank you so much for stopping by!


Simple Casual Living Giveaway

I am in LOVE with this giveaway.

Not only are the glass stands something I would love to own, she's also sending some of her handmade lavendar oatmeal coconut soap.

I've never won one of these giveaways. Can this one be my first, please? :-)


Kitchen Glimpses

My kitchen is not "done" as far as decorating goes, but I did throw a few little areas together yesterday that I feel pretty good about.

This is my baker's rack.

I had an awkward area on my counter-top next to the coffee pot that I had no clue how to fill. I love the basket filled with kitchen goodies. My sis-in-law said it reminded her of a bed and breakfast basket. I love looking at it because it's homey! :-)

I know that's not a lot, but consider it a teaser for what's to come. ;-) I can't wait for the whole house to come together!


Front Porch Decor (Pottery Barn Rip-off)

February's issue of Pottery Barn catalog really inspired me. (I've already blogged about that earlier.) Ever since I saw the weathered chair used as a plant holder, I knew I wanted to reproduce this look at flea market prices. So I did.

The Inspiration:
My Pottery Barn wanna-be front porch:

Obviously, the inspiration picture is always better than the copied version, but I'm pretty satisfied with what I pulled off. The chair was $10 at a flea market, and the plant was $3.

I love recreating expensive looks for less!

Passing Along a Good Deal!

I am a sucker for a good deal. Ok, even more than that... I'm obsessed with getting good deals! For that reason, I have two "coupon" sites on my favorites: Hip2Save and PassionforSavings. I check each site literally a few times a day because they are constantly updated with deals, steals and coupons. A lot of times, they'll tell you about deals and specials that you can combine with different coupons, which will actually end up making the product FREE.

PassionforSavings let me in on a huge deal today, and I wanted to make sure the blogging world knew about it. You can get 140 free address labels through Vista Print for a limited time. Being that hubs and I just moved into our new house, I've been wishing for cute address labels, but didn't want to dish out the dough for them. Needless to say, I jumped on this offer! And all I paid was $2.95 for shipping. You can also get 250 free business cards and 100 free postcards.

I don't know how long this offer will last, so go now!


Chicken Pizza

Don't you love it when you try a new recipe on a whim and upon swallowing the first bite you know it's a keeper? That happened to me tonight. I bought this cookbook a while back at Sam's Club:

Tonight, I made the chicken pizza found on page 46. It's so fresh and tasty. I have a new passion for pesto thanks to this recipe. I had to share it with my blog friends because I really don't know how anyone could not LOVE this recipe!

Chicken Pizza
{prep/total time: 30 min.}
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 prebaked Italian bread shell crust
1/4 cup prepared pesto
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, cook chicken in oil over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until juices run clear. Place the crust on a lightly greased 12-in. pizza pan. Spread with pesto; top with the chicken, tomato, beans and cheeses. Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Yield: 6 servings

Voila! {Hubs went back for thirds!! Score!!}


Welcome, March!

Spring, I am patiently waiting and looking for you.

You will be met with open arms.

{Photo by Loren King}

Grillin' Out in February

Hubs had a wish come true. New grill. The day after it was assembled, we bought propane, hamburger meat, buns and bean dip. We sent out a text and BAM! What better to do on the last day of February than have a cook-out? It was in the upper 40's, so it was feeling pretty warm!