Saturday, April 13, 2013

Re-finished Shabby Chic Dresser

I found this old dresser at Habitat for Humanity and right away had big plans for it :) I love the "shabby chic" look, and after re-finishing my turquoise door a couple weeks ago, I thought it might actually not be too hard to try and pull off a bigger piece of furniture. I love older pieces of furniture because they are real, sturdy wood. Unlike so much of the stuff for sale today, which is all that fake wood. With this dresser, all I did was sand it, put two layers of off white matte paint, one layer of the crackle gloss and one more of the regular matte paint. It took a while to paint only because of all the curves, but generally speaking it was a pretty easy, and fun project. I wanted to add the rose stencils to give it a more sweet and victorian look. In all, I'm super excited about my second big furniture project and I can't wait to see what I find next!!

Saturday, March 30, 2013


This year for Easter I felt a little more rushed than normal. Maybe it's because I still feel like I'm trying to get used to having three kids (it's taking me a while to adjust!!) or maybe it's because it was so close to Lena's birthday again. But I have tried to make a few new things for Easter, it always make holidays seem more fun and festive when there are some new decorations.
My first new addition was my bright and cheery Easter egg wreath. This spring has seemed to take an extra long time to warm up and I thought a little something to brighten up the front of the house would be good. To make this, I got a styrofoam wreath at Walmart, covered it with burlap so I couldn't see any white in between the eggs, and just started gluing eggs on. I used pink tulle to hang it and stuck a couple extra bright colored and bedazzled eggs in the center. 
 This table runner was a last minute project but I'm glad I decided to do it :) It was easy and turned out super cute!! All I did was cute some burlap to the size I wanted for my table, stenciled on some bunnies with black paint, and hot glued the trim and bunnies tails. As a mom of three, my favorite projects are the ones that are cute, and fast to make!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mel Marie Photography

For the past couple months I have been playing around wiht photography, trying to learn as much as I can about my camera and how to use it to it's full potential, lenses and which ones are best for the pictures I'm trying to take and everything about how to take a good picture. But not just pointing and shooting, I want to understand the nitty gritty and how to make my pictures look the way I want them to, for the most part, before any editing even comes into play. It's been so much fun just playing around with my camera, but the more I learn, the more I realize I don't know!! Photography is such a huge world with so many tricks and so much to learn, I don't know if there's a way to ever know everything, but for now I'm enjoying being able to take pictures with some artistic flair and creating something I first see in my mind then being able to see the image printed out. It's a pretty rewarding feeling when you are able to create what you had imagined, and even more rewarding when other people appreciate it as much as you do. Like I said, I still have so much to learn, but I think with what I've had to work with, I've been able to take some pretty fun images :) Here are a few of my favorites I've been able to capture this past year...

 Love these warm summer days down at the Lake, you just can't beat it :)

NYC is one of my favorite places. There are so many amazing things to photograph, so much history and culture. We were lucky enough to be able to get a tour of the NYC fire fighters training facility which was amazing. We were actually able to participate in some of the actual training they have to complete to become firefighters. It is hard work, I definitely gained a new respect for firefighters during our visit!! I loved the images I was able to get while on my trip, I only wish I had more time. I could have spent days walking around taking pictures!!

My Beautiful cousin got married this past summer and let me practice while she was getting ready. Her dress was beautiful, which made it hard to take a bad picture :) I loved all the details with the beading and the special sentimental things she added to her dress. It was a perfect day with a prefect bride and some pretty pictures too. 

Here are my babies on my oldest daughters fourth birthday. I probably got a little too close in some of these pictures, but afternoon lighting is my all time favorite to shoot in. I love the warm glow from the sun. It makes everything look so soft and almost magical. Kids are tricky to photograph because they can be so quick and they have their own agenda. If they don't want to look at you and smile, they won't. The best pictures are taken when they are in their own element and busy doing something they love or are interested in. I love when I am able to catch real emotion on their sweet faces. 

Here are some of my mom's horses, Dakota and Spencer. These were some of the first pictures I'd taken with my camera, but it was still fun to do. I have a lot to learn, but when you have such beautiful subjects it's hard to get a bad picture :)


Monday, March 18, 2013

Lena turns FOUR with The Lorax!!!

This past weekend our sweet Lena turned four!! It's hard to believe how quickly time is passing us by. Lena turning four means we no longer have 3 kids three and under!! For her birthday party theme this year we decided to do the Lorax. There are so many fun and colorful things in this book and you can really just let your imagination take you away...that's my kind of theme :) I enjoyed planning and preparing for this party so much, I'm actually sad it's over!! Lena did have a wonderful time, as did all of her sweet friends, I hope :) It did take a while to get all the truffula trees, and Lorax pots and everything else put together for the big day, so we've had all this stuff sitting all over our house for so long, I've become pretty used to the fluffy little trees and big eyed pots sitting all over! We also had a very sweet friend of ours custom make a "Lorax" tut for Lena, which she had on most of the day. However, Lena has become quite the dare devil, like her Dad, so she and some of her friends came up with a game where one would drive the "cozy coupe" car down our big hill while the other would grab onto the back and drag behind the car the whole way down. The dried up straw grass (that's my name for the grass in SC) got stuck all over in her tutu. I knew she wouldn't last too long in it, she's too full of adventure, but the tutu is thankfully still in tact and Lena has told me numerous times that that was her favorite part of her whole day. I would have to say of all the birthday parties I've thrown for my kids, this one has been my favorite of all time. You can't beat a theme with so many creative avenues, plus a very good message to send home with all the kids...UNLESS Someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it's not.
I was lucky enough to have this lantern from one of my Halloween decorations and I just cut out a piece of cardboard, painted it purple, painted the letters, and taped it onto the lantern

The exposure in these pictures is a little off, but I tried to incorporate as much detail from the books as I could. The pots were the kids party favors to take home with them. They got to plant their own "truffula seed" which was just a flower seed. On the back of the pots is the quote from the end of the book and each child got to pick a rock with the word "UNLESS" on put on top of the soil in their pot.  

My mini truffula trees were some of my favorites!! To make these cute little guys, all I did was take a wooden shishkabob stick, paint it whit and then draw the crooked lines on with a permanent marker. For the tufts of the trees I took a small Styrofoam ball, a feather ribbon and stick it on with small nails. Don't use glue, it would make the feathers gunky. Stick the ball on the stick and I put tissue paper in some of my pots and stuck the stick in :)
The big truffula tree was something I found on pinterest and it was just way too good to pass up. Same concept as the mini trees, just a much bigger Styrofoam ball and feather boas instead of ribbon. Use nails to put on the feathers again. For the stick I used a bamboo, but you could use any stick you might be able to find in your back yard. I didn't use the traditional colors used in the book for the stick, I just wanted to make it extra colorful and fun! For the base I just bought a cheap flower pot, painted it and filled it with sand and filled the top with plaster of paris to hold the stick in place. I used Easter grass to cover up the top of the pot, but you could use anything, just have fun with it!! 

 We had so much fun with this and I love being able to share all my ideas with anyone who might love this kind of thing as much as I do!!!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

My Favorite Recipes

These are the Very Best Chocolate Chip Cookies!! That's not just what I think, that's actually what they're called :) But really, they are so gooey and so chewy and are just the most delicious chocolate chip cookies ever!! They are a family recipe, and a "go to" when I need something sweet and don't want to do anything too involved. 
The Very Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cream 1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
add and mix 2 eggs
1 t vanilla
sift in 2 1/2 cups flour
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips
Oven temp 325 for 15-20 min

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Some of my Favorite (so far) Crafts

 Every season I've tried to make a canvas painting where I use the kids footprints to make something. Their feet wont be this size forever, and of course with how much I love holidays, this gives me a sweet and personal decoration to hang up in my house.
 I made both Lena and Eloise matching shelves. This was a Pinterest inspired idea, I just love how dainty they are and they were very easy to make. Except, I should probably say that I have no sewing skills of my own, so the most involved part of this project (sewing the straps) was done by someone else.

 This was Gabe's Fathers Day present last year. We had pictures taken by our friend and photographer, MarianAshleyPotography, and I wanted to use those sweet pictures and do something creative for Gabe. All I did for this one was paint a piece of wood, sand the edges to give it a more rugged look, and mod podge the pictures right onto the wood. I cut the words out with my vinyl cutter (which I have since sold :( ) and that was that!
 I took this picture while I was in Stillwater. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with the picture, get it framed or make it into a canvas, but those things aren't cheap!! So,  I did the same thing as I did for Gabe's Fathers Day present. It turned out really cute, at least I think so :)

Here is another Pinterest inspired project. Everyone needs a cute place to keep your girls bows without having them all over the bathroom, and why not make it something cute to be able to display in their room? All I did for this one was spray paint an old frame (which I found at a thrift store) take pieces of fabric and hot glue the sides down (no sewing for me!) and attach them to the ends of the frame. Last, I took small hooks and screwed them into the bottom so all the headbands would have a place to hang. Cute AND functional!

 These shelves were made out of wood pallets. I just cut them to size and nailed pieces of wood to the bottoms so the books would have a place to sit. I made these nice and colorful, they are a part of a reading nook I've tried to create in Lena's room.

 Here is the shelf again, but this one belongs to Eloise. Again, so sweet and dainty. They cant hold much weight, but they sure do add some character :)

Here are Everett's pallet shelves. I left his more rustic because his "room theme" is North Woods. His rustic, old looking shelves fit right in with all his black bear, moose and cabin like decor. 
 This old, refinished door has been one of my favorite projects so far. I found the old door at a Habitat for Humanity store and picked it up for $10!! I sanded all the old paint down, picked this bright, pretty turquoise and painted the whole door. After it had all dried, I took a cloth that I dipped into some dark stain and rubbed it around, not wanting to cover up too much of the paint, but just enough to give it a more rustic look. I had that small mirror and just did the same as far as the paint and stain and nailed it on. The shelf is just a piece of wood I cut to size, and again painted and stained. I attached the shelf with small black metal brackets. I love the pop of color in my otherwise very neutral room. I think I just might have to take another trip down to Habitat for Humanity and see what other treasures I can find!
I just love Dr. Suess. His quotes are so sweet and inspirational, especially for kids rooms. I wanted this quote for Lena's room, so i decided to try and do it myself :) I'm not very artistic when it comes to painting pictures and designs, but I took a chance and did my best to paint a colorful, fun and creative canvas. I just painted the whole canvas pink, then very carefully, and VERY slowly, painted the quote. I but some burlap bordering the one side just to give it a little texture, and finally I used lots of bushy tulle to hang it up.