Monday, April 30, 2012

A sad attempt at curb appeal


It’s embarrassing to show and admit this … but I have ZERO talent for gardening or knowing how to design an outdoor area.  Our front yard is sad.  It’s bare, and lonely, and uneventful.

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As you can see … I’ve made a few attempts… there’s a bench, some solar panel lights, a lantern and my little friendly night owl who protects us.  But I mean seriously… it’s just sad.

So this past weekend I made another small effort to at least bring some happy cheerful color onto our front step.
As here it was before…. (oh are plants supposed to go in those? they’re not for decoration as is? hmmm)

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I actually had the potting mix and Miracle grow from last years attempt at gardening (yes, a #fail) but headed to Lowe’s and picked out some African daisies. They looked colorful and happy and they said full sun so I figured they had to be strong.

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I wasn’t feelin the terracotta color of my pots so I did an extremely fast DIY and just did a layer of primer (wasn’t sure if I needed too or not… so I did) and then just grabbed two neutral colors I had on hand.

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Then just plopped the flowers in and VOILA! COLOR!

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Jackson was a fan of the pretty flowers … {they smelled so good.}
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It’s a little prettier now? Right?

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That’s my watch dog owl.  He’s pretty cute isn’t he?  He has a light inside him that’s energized by the sun so it stores up energy all day long and then he glows a bright blue at night. 

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I’m thinking I need a bright big fun wreath to adorn our door too.  Any takers on making me one? Smile

But here’s where it really needs some help. Our little “garden”…. I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT TO DO WITH IT! The soil is terrible…. and it gets direct hot sun almost the entire day.  Last year I planted a row of colorful flowers along side of the lights to border in the shrubs, but if I didn’t water them twice a day they died by night time.  I just don’t have the energy, care, dedication, time to be able to water them twice a day.  Any ideas of what else I could do here that can withstand the sun and not great soil?  The shrubs there (no clue what they are… they were there when we moved in and never get water and never have come close to dying) are pretty boring and that one in the middle seems overgrown, but no clue how to cut it back correctly.

So I’m taking any and all suggestions if you can think of ideas for this area!

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Friday, April 27, 2012

{Guest Post} Mirror Makeover from Simply Klassic Home

I am excited to have Kristin here today!! Her & I have been bloggy friends for a while now and I love her decor style so so much.  Here she is to show you her latest fun project in her master bedroom!
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Hey PB&J lovers! My name is Kristin and I blog at Simply Klassic Home
I am a thirty-something, single, adoptive mom of two preschoolers. I struggled with infertility for years before choosing to adopt, only to become a single mom of TWO, unexpectedly a few years later when my adopted son’s sister came into our lives. I love being crafty and creating beautiful spaces in our home. My kids are a handful, I’m exhausted, and most days my house is a mess. My blog is the place where I share our crazy, beautiful, perfectly imperfect life!
 I've been following Pamela  practically since the beginning of her blog, and I immediately fell in love with her stories of her sweet son. I'm so excited to be a guest here on one of my favorite blogs!! I am currently in the process of a master bedroom makeover (and a living room makeover, and an office/pantry makeover, and a...you get the idea). To understand this, you must understand how I work - I have no patience. None, Zip. Zilch. I came across a photo while blog hopping that gave me the idea for a new headboard for my bed, since I'd stolen the shutter I was using previously for another room in the house. Well once that idea was in my head I hit the gas and found myself fully immersed in an unexpected master bedroom makeover! Living Room? Office? Yeah, they're still in process too! Today I'm going to share a little sneak peek with you, in the form of a mirror makeover!


About a year ago I acquired a new to me mirror. It was quite large and didn't fit over my fireplace  so I stuck this new mirror in my garage.



While trying to come up with a large piece for the wall next to my bed, I remembered the mirror and thought it would be the perfect size, and it was! But the color was way too dark so I decided to paint it. I gained my inspiration from a mirror I had seen in my friend's space at a local antique shop -

I used paint that I had on hand: white and two shades of light gray.

Catch a glimpse of my inspiration piece there in the mirror?



The process was pretty simple. First I painted the entire frame white with a primer based paint. I then dry-brushed first the darker gray, then the lighter gray, then the darker, and then white. I haven't decided if I want to distress it. But I'm leaning towards "yes." You'll have to follow along to see the final results!



I am so excited that it turned out just like I wanted it to!!



I'll be showing off the finished space in May, after the BBC (Beginner Blogger's Club) comes to a close. In the meantime, I hope that you'll stop by and say hello!

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I LOVE that mirror it fits so perfectly in her master bedroom!! Oh anddddd is anyone else DYING over her headboard sneak peek??? I can tell it will be the perfect bold statement she wanted and is going to look AMAZING! Can't wait, so as she said be sure to follow her over at Simply Klassic Home.



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Thursday, April 26, 2012

{Guest Post} Delicious Orange Biscuits Recipe

I'm so excited to have Erin from My Very Educated Mother here today to share a delicious recipe with all of us.  I'm kind of wishing I had some made right now for breakfast :)
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Hello, my name is Erin and I write about crafting, cooking, gardening, and homeschooling over at My Very Educated Mother.  The most common question I get about my blog is, what's with the name? During elementary school I learned a mnemonic device to memorize the planets in order from the sun and it starts with those four words.  When I found myself a stay at home mother still making student loan payments I felt like a 'very educated mother' and I could think of no better name to give my blog.
Over the years I've developed a great appreciation for resourceful creativity that hopefully comes through in the projects I share, whether it's a repurposed piece of furniture, recycled craft, or an updated recipe from the 1950s.  In fact, the recipe below was inspired by one found in the Searchlight Recipe Book printed in 1958.  I hope you enjoy it and take a moment to visit My Very Educated Mother to see what other things we've been working on!  Also, big thanks to Pamela for letting me share this here with you!
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Whether they’re for a family breakfast or a workplace brunch, these orange biscuits are sure to get attention! Orange Biscuits Ingredients
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 5 Tbsp. of sugar (this will be separated out)
  • 4 tsp. of baking powder
  • 4 Tbsp. shortening
  • 1 cup of milk
  • powdered sugar
  • 1 orange
  • 2 Tbsp. melted butter
Directions Preheat over to 450 degrees.  Zest the orange and combine it with the juice and 2 Tbsp. of sugar.  I used small oranges so I zested two but used the juice of only one. Sift/whisk together the flour, 3 Tbsp. of sugar, and baking powder before cutting in the shortening.  Add the milk and mix until just combined.  Turn out onto a counter lightly floured with powdered sugar and shape into a rectangle 1/2 an inch thick.

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Spread the melted butter and then the orange mixture over the dough before rolling it up like a cinnamon roll.

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032 Cut into 1/2 inch thick slices and beware, it may get messy. Place in a well-sprayed or greased pan.  Cover and set aside for 10 minutes.  Bake in a hot over for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool. 
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Serve with butter, and if you really like a lot of orange, marmalade. Makes 12-14 servings.

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Okay, those look amazing, and right up my alley as they don't seem too hard to make! Thanks so much Erin for sharing these wonderful treats with us.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

{Guest Post} Better Life Bags Introduction

I have needed a few days to play catch up on a few things so I have called on a few of my favorite ladies to come over to PB&J and share some of their delights with my readers! I can't wait for you to meet some new ladies, and starting off the guest post series will be Rebecca from Better Life Bags and a little intro of herself.  So please give her a warm welcome and stay tuned the remainder of this week for a few more amazing guest posts!!! <3
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I am SO happy to be over here at the address of www.pbjstories.com.  I hope you all don't mind me invading your space for the day.  Can we just sit down on this comfy couch and get to know one another a little?  I'll grab some coffee.

I'm Rebecca.

I blog at Better Life Bags (soon to go through a legal name change to become B. Life - focusing more on the Life and less on the Bags).  The "Bags" part comes from the fact that I have a custom handbag business that I've run for over 3 years.  We'll get to that in a minute.

I'm obsessed with a few things in life.  My camera.  My Jesus.  My kids.  And a good book married with a bag of chocolate.  Milk - not dark.

My blog is a combination of those things - the things I love about life.  The things that allow me to BE LIFE to others and enjoy life myself.  Things like...

Capturing moments of bliss from behind a lens (and learning to shoot in manual).

here, here, and here

Reliving painful memories from my past to encourage people in my present.

Healing Rain, Superheroes, Miscarriage, Peace

Crafting up a storm.

Global Home Decor, Interchangeable Wreath, Spray Painted Chairs, JOY letters, Spray Painted Baskets, Instagram Photobook Tutorial

And spreading hope and life to those in need through my business: Better Life Bags.


I started my bag company three years ago, but never meant for it to get so big!  I just wanted to make a diaper bag for myself as I welcomed my first little boy into the world.  After showing the bag off on Facebook to my friends, the business took off and never stopped

But I am about MORE than just the bags.  Better Life Bags has two purposes.  

One:  to involve my customers in the design process.  Each bag is designed by you!  I have basic styles that are customized further by your choice of fabric and add-on options.  Each bag is unique and essentially one of a kind!

Two:  to give back to those in need.  I loan 10% of every purchase to low income entrepreneurs in developing countries through Kiva.  We've been able to loan over $2,000 over the past 3 years to the people you see here.  Each BLB purchase comes with a tag directing you to the story of the person your bag went to help. 

I'd love to get to know you, too.  You can find me here:
Blog  |  Shop  |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |  Twitter  |  Google+

(Follow me in one of the above ways and I'll send you a free gift... just email me - betterlifebags@gmail.com - telling me you follow along!)

Also ... almost every Wednesday, I have a One of A Kind Wednesday SALE on our Facebook page.  Come join in the fun tonight!  It's fast and it's fun! 

 
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Thanks again Rebecca!
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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

{All About You Series} Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea

It's another week of {All About You} series and I'm so happy to have Stephanie here to share such a cute but simple project to do for the upcoming Teacher Appreciation week! 

I wanted to take a quick second too and mention that I'll be guest posting over at Simply Klassic Home today for her BBC series (Beginner Blogger Club) about the how to - and why to - of buying your own domain.
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Teaching is just one of the many professions where you are overworked and underpaid. If you are a GOOD teacher, this is true.

I have just a few years of teaching experience in private schools and a community college. It took me all but about a week of teaching to realize that, like mothers, teachers really do wear so many "hats".
Sometimes, a teacher may even be more of a parent to a child than his/her biological parent at home.
A friend of mine is a first grade teacher at a title-one school in Texas. Her students, even in first grade, know and say things that most adults don't even know. To have students who push her, bring guns to school, or ask her for food because they aren't getting fed at home, is a new world for her. She spends a good chunk of her pay check providing for these kids not only with food, but classroom supplies and a listening ear.

With teacher appreciation week quickly approaching (it starts May 7th), try to remember a teacher you may know.
Make them feel appreciated!
Oftentimes, teachers have to use their own money to buy things they need for the classroom, or special projects they want to do with their class.
Teaching is not just an 8-3 job on the weekdays.
Work is continuous and even weekends are full of "homework" they take with them.

Teaching is more of a life than a job. Those that really love the life of teaching, will stick with it and make sure their students love to learn just as much as they love to teach.

Want some ideas on what to get that teacher in your life?
Think handmade! Think functional! Think gift cards!

- GAS CARDS---like you, teachers feel the pinch at the pump...bless them with a gas card:)
-TARGET, WALMART, TEACHER STORE GIFT CARDS--- help them with supply costs for the classroom. Posters, tape, glue...it all adds up, and sometimes teachers have to pay for their own.

-They are a lot like you!... Teachers like to go out to eat, to the movies, get a pedicure, etc.

-Think handmade, but functional....as much as the little stuffed animal is cute, it is clutter. After the next day, the teacher may have no use for it, except as a desk decoration. Try to give things the teacher can use, don't take a lot of space, and have purpose.
                                                                             
Here's one quick and inexpensive idea of a gift I made.
What teacher doesn't like tea? Take a mason jar and fill it with a variety of yummy teas. Tie a cute tag on, and there you go!
Love this project? The first 5 people who email me a request at lifecreatedblog@aol.com, will receive one tag this week for free in the mail!

Don't forget a gift may be bought at a price, but a kind word is priceless.
Even if you can't afford a gift at all, a simple note of appreciation will do. Every day is a decision to wake up and love on your kids at school, and we should appreciate the teachers that do that for us.
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How wonderful is Stephanie to offer 5 free gifts to the first people that email her?  They're so cute and really puts my bum bum into gear to figure out what to do for J's teachers! Thanks again Stephanie!  Don't forget -- if you don't have a blog to feature your own projects, I'd love to feature you here!! Just email me and we'll get your project in front of everyone on the {All About You} series!

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Martha Stewart Craft Project–Rose Stenciled Frame

 Yesterday I gave a sneak peek at all the amazing products I received from the Martha Stewart craft line from Plaid Crafts, and today I'm revealing a project I made with a bunch of the goodies.  I made this frame as a gift for my momma for Mother's Day (Mom - advert your eyes unless you want to spoil the surprise hehe). 
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This was fairly easy to make and is a nice big over-sized frame that will make a statement in any room.  I love the combination of colors and metallic gold finish of the stripes. 
Here's my step by step how I made it:
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Using a 24"x24" piece of pine plywood I sanded it with a 120 grit, wiped it down with a tack cloth and then using the Martha Stewart roller brush and white paint I did two coats of white paint as the backdrop color.
 
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Once the white paint was completely dry I used painters tape and taped off even stripes wrapping around the sides of the board.
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Then using the Martha Stewart roller brush again I used her metallic gold paint to paint the "untaped" stripes.   I ended up doing about three coats as the paint was a bit thin and I really wanted the gold stripes to stand out.  On my last coat I removed the tape and was very happy with my clean straight lines!
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Next I wanted to add a bit of a floral embellishment design to it to add some femininity for Mother's Day.  I used one of the stencils I received and used the rose.  I used the Martha Stewart (MS) stencil tape too be sure it was firm and in place, the tape was great strong enough to keep the stencil down but didn't do any damage to the paint on the board, or previously painted roses.  I kept rotating the stencil once a rose was done and layered on top of one another for a more bunched effect.  After the third rose the inside of the rose stencil started to raise up a bit so I used a small spray of the MS spray adhesive to be sure the stencil laid flat for crisp lines.
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The next step was creating the frame part.  I used a molding piece that was 1/2"x1/2" cube and measured out (inside measuring) 12" long and mitered at a 45 degree angle to form a square.  I painted them in a smokey grey color.  Then wanted to do a glaze/distressed effect on them so mixed together black paint + the MS black glitter paint and a glazing medium.  I painted it on all four pieces and then used the MS dragging brush and keeping at an even pressure dragged the brush along the wood to create a "streaking" effect.
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Once they dried I centered and used finishing nails on each end to attach to the larger board and touched them up with a spot of black paint.  I love the effect the dragging brush created for a distressed look and the subtle glitter you can see.  I also sanded down the entire frame for a more rustic and distressed finishing too.

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That's it! I attached two D-ring hangers on the back for easy hanging and inserted one of my favorite pictures from being a momma, just perfect for my mom to have up in her home. 

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You can find Martha Stewart Craft supplies in your local craft store like Michael's, or order from Plaid online here.

Be sure to check out these other great Mother's Day gift ideas and following Plaid Crafts on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

I wrote this post as part of a paid campaign with Plaid and Blueprint Social.  The opinions and designs in this post are my own.

Linked up with these great parties and the others found here:
Weekend Wrap Up Party - Tatertots and Jello
Furniture Feature Friday - Miss Mustard SeedTip Me Tuesday - Tip Junkie
Tutes and Tips Tuesday - HomeStories A to Z



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