Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Christmas Mantel

The Christmas decorations jumped out of the box the day after Thanksgiving.  They were begging to get put up.  My mom has been super generous the last couple of years, in (permanently?) loaning us the majority of her beautiful Christmas decor that I have adapted here and there to adjust to our home and style.

When we first moved into the house, the only fireplace that existed was in the formal living room.  LAME.  No one even actually uses that stupid room.  {So my husband went all DIY on me}, installed and built us a great corner fireplace for our cozy family room.  Hard to believe it didn't even exist there before.

 I still am loving my Christmas Countdown Blocks.  You also see here those great black & gold 10 x 10 frames.  Picked them up @ the Dollar Store...50% off.  (For non math majors, that's 50 cents each).
 The two 18x24 pictures in the background are actually wrapped with neutral packing paper that I had on hand.  Spiced them up a little with $1.50 black paper rafia (my newest obsession!) and some thick red ribbon from Michaels.
I still haven't ordered Brecken a stocking...nor do I have a holder for him either.  Need to get on that.  I don't really want to spend a lot of money on it though because I know I'm just going to want to get all new (MATCHING) gear once our family is complete...Mom, don't get any ideas.  That could be awhile.

Oh joy.  Wish that I had created a tutorial for them.  These represent literally one of my very first projects EVER.  Simple paper mache letters from Michaels, painted green, adhered some fun glitter paper on either side, and tied with a ribbon.  Found the glass ball from Crate & Barrel on clearance a couple years ago to round it out.  Haha...round it out.  Man, I'm funny.
Here's our formal living room mantel.
The mantel skirt is a creation via this lady.  She went all Martha on us one year, and whipped this red velvet beauty right up - jingle bells and all.

{Total costs for both mantels:  $11.50*}
*The caviat is that's all I spent this year.  :)

Check out other beautiful, and much more sophisticated, mantels at The Lettered Cottage for way better inspiration.

All credit for this goes to my mom.I love the mirros, and the handmade velvet mantel cover.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gift-Giving with Purpose

I'm inspired to give with purpose this year.  Snowflake mug full of coffee in hand, baby sleeping, here are some purposeful deals that I'm loving:

Buy a hate.  Change a life.
This a great organization with a fantastic story, for a great cause.   Blake actually lived w/ a couple of these guys in college, so we can personally verify that they are legit, and that the money does go to good.  PLUS:

{TOMS + Charity:Water}
Another fantastic (two) organizations, looking to help people get clean water.  (Many of you remember our well that is currently under construction thru charity:water).  Each pair of this particular shoe sold will help to fund 3 wells needing to be dug in Ethiopia.  Once the project is complete, a village of 540 people will have clean water!  Buy them here.

{Pottery Barn}
 Who doesn't love a personalized gift?  Sometimes these are the best ways to show someone that your gift to them was thought-out and just for them.  Just today, Pottery Barn is offering free monogramming on anything.  I'm eyeing a stocking for Brecken...

Or if you can't afford much:

{Coupon Book}

 A coupon book, customized just for you and your loved one.  Use Photoshop (or other similar program) to personalize, and upload the finished product to MyPublisher (or similar website) for super cheap.

{Purpose-Driven Life}
 What says purpose more than the advocate of purpose himself: Rick Warren.  This is a GREAT book for a college student, new Christian friend, or stocking stuffer for any reader in your life.  I love all that Rick Warren promotes.

Anyway, those are my ideas on giving with purpose this year.  Consider making at least one gift you give this year have some sort of purpose that has meaning to you and your family.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Black Friday...for the Birds

Call me crazy (or lazy) but getting up before the birds awake sounds like my worst nightmare come true. I am all about finding a deal or saving a penny (I hate paying full price for anything!), but not at the cost of my beauty sleep! And I don't care that your flat screen TV is $300 off, I'd rather wait until it's only $300 more and sleep in my cozy bed dreaming of sugarplum fairies (only at the holidays do I do that).

I actually talked to a friend today that was so set on getting good deals, that she woke up her little baby at {3am} to schlep him into the car for Target and Macys day o'shopping. Great for you. Not for me.

{Black Friday is a thing of the past. For crazies only}.

There is one exception to that: retailers that allow Black Friday promotionals from the comfort of my own home.

Ahh...now that sounds more like it.

Slippers. Hoodie. Cup 'o jo in my hand. Morning breath. Saving dollar bills. Love it.

Anyway, I think I found the Black Friday deal of the century. Photo canvases. I know, they are all the rage right now, but I'm not ashamed to say I'm takin a seat on that train.

Costco carries them.
Families use them.
How Does She.com
But never before have I seen them for such a great deal. {Canvas People are offering 50% off all canvases (any size!) PLUS free shipping anytime between now and December 3rd}.

You bet AT LEAST one of these are going to be doning my walls. In each room of my house.

I'm obsessed. And I don't even get paid to advertise this company. I just thought I'd save you all the pain of price-comparing and searching for the next way to display your loved ones in a classy, inexpensive way.

Happy (online) shopping!

**Update:  I didn't finish my order on Canvas People last night (husbands and babies will do that to your attention span), and this morning I woke up to a nice email in my inbox enticing me to finish my order with them with a $55 gift certificate attached!!  {Hello - FREE!!!!!}  Not sure if this always happens or is just part of their Black Friday promo but I LOVE!!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Snow Day

It is a rare day when Seattle gets snow, let alone has it stick around for several days. Well this year, La Nina gave us her first punch (supposedly) and we got to play in the snow for 4 days - ending with a beautiful snow fall Thanksgiving morning that was (sadly) gone by the end of the day.

This was Brecken's first time experiencing the cold white stuff, and I'm not sure he was as amused by it as we were.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Countdown

Yesterday was a day to be thankful for. 2010 has been a YEAR to be thankful for. A healthy baby boy. An awesome husband. A great life.

It is now officially Christmas in the Carbonatto household. I was so excited (despite what this stupid cold was telling me) to wake up this morning and get started on decorating the house.

This was also the first opportunity to put on display some fun new crafts that I've been working on, including my Christmas Countdown Blocks.

Here's how you to duplicate them for your home:

{Materials You Will Need}:
  • Pair of wooden blocks. I picked mine up at Ben Franklin - they are 4x4
  • 8x2 wooden slab - also picked up at Ben Franklin as a package w/ the blocks. Only cost $5.99 on sale (together)
  • Acryllic paint of your choice (originally started with "Snow White" & "Red Brick"...but quickly changed my mind to Metallic Silver as you will see)
  • Red Vinyl - numbers (1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 0, 0) & "Days 'til Christmas"
  • Even though Mod Podge (lustre) & scrapbook paper are shown, I actually scrapped this idea once I began...pun intended

{Step 1}:

Paint wooden blocks color of choice. Here you can see I opted out of white and red, and went with some metallic silver that I had on hand.

{Step 2}:

Cut out desired stencil shape. I simply Googled a clip-art image of a snowflake. Printed it, cut out and began the stencil process. Any stencil cut to less than a 4x4 image though will work.

I chose a soft Christmas Green color for the snowflake.

{Step 3}:

While the paint is drying (you are only able to do 3 sides at a time), I applied the vinyl onto the base wooden block according to the vinyl directions.

{Step 4}:
Almost done - this is what your blocks should look like. Ready to apply the vinyl numbers once your painted snowflakes are good and dry.

It looks like this:

{Step 5}:

Apply vinyl numbers. On one block, put numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and on the second block put numbers 6, 7, 8, 0, 1, 2. If the numbers aren't placed correctly - you're going to be counting down some crazy numbers. :)

{Now we are ready to count it down everyday}:

Don't worry, despite what my blocks say, there are NOT 8 days left until Christmas. I just maybe have not finished all of the snowflakes yet but was anxious to get them on display. :)

Officially there are only 29 more days until Christmas - PLENTY of time for you to jump in on the Countdown Block action.

Linking today to
The DIY Show OffUndertheTableandDreaming

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Signature Scent

I'm a creature of habit. There, I admitted it.

I also have a super sensitive nose. For example, breakfast food. I HATE the smell of breakfast food. In my hair, on my clothes, in my pores. Ugh, sick. Gag me seven times over. I'd rather starve than leave a restaurant smelling like breakfast food.

To combat this, for almost all areas of my life, I like to smell 'that' scent of familiarity. {It gives me comfort. I feel at home.} It triggers nostalgia. I love it.

This may sound silly, but I want my kids and husband to know my scent. No, not that friendly scent that comes on days when a shower is not in the cards (oh come on, you do it too). But your scent.

In my home, it's vanilla.

In my car - vanilla.

In college, it was Blackberry & Vanilla.

In my trashcan....okay, I don't have a (nice) scent for that BUT I SHOULD.

Last year at Christmas time, I ran out of my perfume and so I decided I would give the scent world a whirl again to see if a change was in order. Bad idea. Who shops for new scents when they're pregnant?!

I surveyed friends and ended up trying samples of all these:

Marc Jacobs 'Lola'

Marc Jacobs 'Daisy'

Juicy Couture 'Viva la Juicy'

Trish McEvoy '#9'

But ultimately none of these worked in my nose world. I would put on my clothes and wonder "who borrowed my shirt" - because it didn't smell like me!

Thus, I decided my signature scent has been, and will remain for this season of my life:

Banana Republic 'Rosewood'

Do you have a signature scent? Do you change your scents in your home, car, or on you regularly? What are other must-live with nostalgia-invoking products essential to your everyday nose life?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Quick transformation

I recently have (rediscovered) dollar stores. These were of course a fav growing up because that was about all I could afford. Now though, there are some super fun decorating & house accessories for super cheap.

On Friday, my little buddy and I went took a {aimless} trip to a local store. To my excitement, they were going out of business and everything was 50% off! A dollar store @ 50% off - SCORE!

I picked up several little knick knacks for times yet to be determined including these two fun statue thingys {formal term}.


After one quick coat of black spray paint that I already had on hand, and waa-la - a fun accessory for any decorating table!

After taking this picture, I realized how much I need to re-do that lamp, those candle sticks, and frames! Crap - a total re-haul is in order. I haven't quite decided what color my beloved Husky W will get, but I'm thinking it's the perfect office accessory for Blake. Welp, back to work...

Sunday, November 21, 2010

6 Months Later...

His vitals:
Height - 27 1/2" (90th%)
Weight - 15lbs 14oz. (25th%)

Dempsey & his toys....
Walks in the stroller...
Jumping in his jumperoo...
Swimming in the pool...
Grabbing onto anything that is close by...
Story time at the library...
Hanging out with all of his friends...

Lack of sleep...

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