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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thank You to Jill @ Sneaky Momma Blogs!

A huge thank you to Jill who designed a number of improvements for our blog! 

I was looking for a better navigation bar (underneath the Fall Banner), photo links to different topics (I added Crafts, Organizing, Fall, Christmas, Spring, and Traveling), and a contact menu so people can find me on Facebook, Twitter... I had no idea where to start!

Jill was awesome to work with!  It took her no time at all.  I'm thrilled with the results.  If you're reading this in email or a reader, click here to go to The Boatwright Family blog itself and see Jill's great work!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Recommendations (and apparently movie recommendations too!)

I always appreciate a good book recommendation.  I have really enjoyed getting back to reading in the last few months. 

So here are some books I would recommend to You!

I read this book back in the spring and really liked it.  I hear they're working on the movie right now.  I'm sure our Chick Flick Movie Club will be going when it's out.  It's about Southern women in Jackson, MS in the early 1960s and their black maids.

The new book club I joined read this one for September.  Again, they're working on the movie right now!  I understand Anne Hathaway is playing Emma.  It's about a guy and a girl in the UK who meet on July 15, 1988 and what happens in their lives on that same day every year for 20 years.

Sooo many people recommended this series to me!  While on vacation in California this summer, I had the first book with me and lots of people stopped to talk to me about it!  It's not everyone's cup o' tea but I liked it.  Daniel Craig (James Bond) playing Mikael Blomkvist in the (you guessed it) movie should be great!

This was a quick read, a funny book.  Short essays about her life traveling and in NYC.  The title alone is funny.  It's apparently the second book by the author whose first book was titled "I Was Told There'd Be Cake" - again, so funny!  I haven't read the first book but I understand HBO is making it into a series or a movie.

I am half-way through the first book in this series and I am so impressed.  I can't tell you how many people have recommended this series to me (my 10 year old son, our 16 year old babysitter, blog moms galore, a friend's comic-book-guy friend, my 62 year-old former co-worker, and a local 6th grade teacher.)  I haven't heard anything about it but I'm SURE this series will be made into movies.

I just heard today that this was picked by Oprah last week so you don't need a recommendation from me!  A friend gave me her copy.  I hope to start it one day soon!

So, what are YOU reading these days?

Fall Organizing

The thing I realized about Spring Cleaning is that I really don't like doing it in the spring.  Spring is when it's finally time to go outside, plant annuals, clean up the yard, go for bike rides, etc. after a long cold winter.  The last thing I want to do in the spring is organize and deep clean inside the house.  I think I'll save the indoor projects for the looooong month of January.

Over the past couple of weeks we've been doing some "spring cleaning".  We started with the garage which might not be terrible, but we hadn't done a good cleaning/organizing/weeding out in a couple of years.  It was time.  This was after we took out about half the stuff cluttering the garage.

I felt like to do a good job, we really needed to take everything out and clean it good.  Not everyone in the family felt like this was necessary :)  Luckily, those people had other projects they were working on, so I took on the garage.

Of course, we did this on the one day it rained in the last 2 months.

Brennan helped me pull stuff out and then he took on the job of washing the bikes.  Every time we ride the boys manage to find the only mud in town.  They really needed a good wipe down.

This is the kind of nasty accumulation that we had all around the garage.  Hard to get to without removing all the stuff that sits in front of it.  I cleaned the walls, windows, shelves, counters, floor.  We threw away a bunch of stuff we no longer needed and gathered a big pile of stuff for Goodwill. 

While Brennan and I focused on the garage, David and Thomas took on the project of making a step to the back patio.

This was a hodge podge outdoor area with old stones, crumbling landscape areas and was entirely neglected.  Two years ago we had this patio put in.  Besides the grill and some flower pots, I had not really done a whole lot with this area.  I was trying to think of ways to improve it.  I'm open to suggestions!  We have several seating areas outside the house so didn't really want to replicate that again here.  But I'd also like to give it a purpose. 

When we had the patio put in we removed the rickety step that led from the mudroom area to the patio.  I had been trying to find a replacement step for months.  You'd think this would be easy but Lowe's, Home Depot, Rural King, etc. don't carry steps.  I even looked at a place that makes concrete steps but didn't want to spend that money and can you imagine how heavy that would be.  So, David said he'd just make one.  Wow.

 He and Thomas drew the plans then went to Lowe's for the stuff.

No photos but Brennan painted the step for us.  It works great!  Now just to spruce up the area.  Besides a thorough clean up, any ideas?????

 The next project I took on, on a whim, was the kids books.  They were out of control.  Laying everywhere.  I couldn't keep up with our books, school library books, public library books.  It was just a mess.  So I decided to clean them all out.  I don't like to get rid of books for sentimental reasons, but really, this is shameful.

We keep kids books in both boys' bedrooms and in their playroom.  We gathered them up from all over the house and brought them into Brennan's room.  No family should have this many kids books.  It's ridiculous.  In our defense, I'll say that our boys are really big readers.  They'll each go through up to a book a day.  They're gift wish lists always include lots of books.  I always buy something from the Scholastic flyer at school.  We go to library book sales.  They just add up.  And we have about 50 books that were David's when he was little.

We worked on this over a few days.  First, we sorted them by topic and then went through each pile to determine which ones we wanted to keep and give away.  We came up with TONS to give to friends and our church's preschool library.  I was so glad the boys were involved in the process.

Then, they asked if I would please make labels so that when they go to put a book back, they know where to put it.  Maybe they have my organizing gene after all?

I type up book categories and printed them on white cardstock that I had on hand.

Brennan's desk NEVER looks this organized, but that's OK because he really uses the desk!

I know the garage and kids books won't stay organized forever, but it's such a great feeling to really figure out what we are using and pass along the things we aren't to others.  I absolutely love an organized home - for however long it lasts :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall Frames

I found this cute and easy project on Courtney's blog A Diamond in the Stuff. I thought I would try it out.

All you need are:
Cheap Frames
Spray Paint
Fall Scrapbook Paper
A Printer

I had a couple of $1 frames in my stash and I picked up a couple more when I was at the Dollar Store. I spray painted them all black, but I think it would be fine if all the frames were different colors. I purposefully wanted different styles of frames.

Courtney cut out letters of different fonts and then adhered them to the scrapbook paper. I thought it was a great idea, but I didn't really want to cut out all those letters. So, I just printed the letters onto the paper.

If you take a look a Courtney's post, you'll see hers are really, really cute - all different shaped frames, different fonts, and she went with the word "Autumn".

I changed it up a little and tried printing the letters - very easy, very quick, and really cute! Maybe I like the 3rd L tall inside of landscape. I'll play around with it!

I have the Fall frames in our living room in front of a clock that was in my great-grandparents' jewelry shop in Milport, Alabama. Love it!

I'm linking up!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dry Erase Frame - Easiest Project Ever

I saw this project on Michelle's blog at Sweet Something Design and knew I had to try it.  It's functional, easy to make, and really cute.  Perfect combo.

All you need is a frame, spray adhesive, fabric of your choice, and a dry erase pen.

I had this old frame in my stash.  It doesn't have a hanger on the back, but that's OK.  I'll just prop it up in the kitchen.  I took out the carboard and sprayed it with adhesive.

Then I took my cheap-o ($.70) fabric and laid it on the cardboard and tucked the edges around back.

Then I put the frame back together, and voila, a dry erase frame. 

Our Dia del Muerto guy really adds to it, doesn't it?

You can just write on the glass with a dry erase pen (I got 3 for $1 at the Dollar Store) and wipe it off.  Super easy!

And here's my helper. I believe this project took 7 minutes, and that included washing the spray adhesive off my hands. I did this entire project while stirring supper and calling out spelling words.

And, I am not sure you need fabric - why not just scrapbook paper cut to size?  I like this look for the fall.  Maybe I'll go with a red or green in December. 

Love an easy project!  Now if I can just get myself together to have an organized supper for the family every night!

I'm linking up!

Our Newest Scout

Brennan let us know that he really, really wanted to do Cub Scouts this year.  Our school has a Pack at one of the local churches and Brennan and dad signed up.  Last night was his first Pack meeting (where all the age groups get together).  Their first camping trip is coming up as well!

We've been so excited with how well Brennan is doing in all of his activities this year.  It's so exciting to see him be able to fully participate.  And, really, he's just the cutest thing in his little uniform.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Love My New Fall Wreath

This week I made a pretty fall wreath, much like the Christmas one I did last year.  I really like this one.  As always there was some trial and error that I'll tell you about but I'm really enjoying this wreath now that it's done!

I started with an assortment of fall colored ornaments that were 60% off from Hobby Lobby. 

I ran a bead of hot glue around the topper so that they wouldn't slip off when hanging on the "wreath".  If I had used plastic ones this wouldn't be such an issue.  But I liked the colors of these glass ones.

I used a rather flimsy white hanger which I spray painted so that the white wouldn't show through.  The flimsy hanger didn't work.  The ornaments were too heavy.  The wreath was an oval when hanging.  I was seriously concerned the wreath would come apart.

So I went with a sturdier hanger, molded it into a circle and starting stringing it with ornaments.  Then I twisted the hanger back together and added the ribbon.

David stapled the ribbon to the top of the window frame and we were ready to go!

I can continue adjusting the ornaments around but I'm really enjoying the look of the wreath right now!

And since I don't have a tree to hang the extra ornaments on like I do at Christmas, I made a little centerpiece with the leftovers.

Happy Fall!

Welcome to the Family, Dragon!

Thomas has been really excited about getting a fish.  He has earned this fish by starting off a fantastic 5th grade year and really helping out with his chores. 

After much research he decided on a Beta Fish.  They are apparently the easiest to care for and they look really cool.  Friday night David and I went to a neighbor's for drinks and appetizers but we told T we would be back in time to go to Petco.  He called us at our neighbors to remind us of the time.

So Friday night Thomas and Dad picked out the bowl and accessories.

This is one happy boy.

And yesterday after the Hope Ride like we rode last year we stopped at Petco to pick out The Fish.  Thomas has named him Dragon and is taking very good care of him.  I mentioned to David that this is a gateway pet to get us to that dog I really want :)

Dragon will move from the kitchen to Thomas's bedroom today now that he's used to his new bowl and water temperature.

Welcome to the family, Dragon!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mosaic Art

Over the weekend I made this paint chip mosaic "painting" and am really happy with the way it turned out.  I say "I" made it, but I had some help.

I got the inpsiration from Amy's blog - she highlighted a project by Jennifer whose tutorial I followed.

We have a spot in the dining room that I've been thinking about fixing up for quite awhile.  I just couldn't figure out what to do with it.  The wine rack is from my mom and I bought the flowers and vase when we lived in Mexico.  I like them, but it just wasn't working in this little corner.

We had a ton of paint chips from previous room painting projects that I figured I'd throw away.  Instead I decided to put them to good use.  I picked up a few more from Lowe's (I hope they're not going to track me down) and started on my project.

I used a piece of 24x24 oak from Lowe's.  It was $7.  If we had had a nice sized piece of scrap wood laying around I would have made that work, but we didn't.

I laid out the paint chips next to the vase to see how the spacing and colors might work.  Once I had that together, Thomas made nice stacks for me so we could get started on the wood.

The boys painted the 1/2 inch edge of the wood using black acrylic paint.  Then it was time to start the mosaic.
Jennifer mentions spraying adhesive in a row and then laying your paint chips down, then spraying adhesive for the next row.  I found that the next spray of adhesive got on the first row of paint chips.  So, I just sprayed the whole piece of wood and started laying chips.  It worked just fine.

I was concerned about lining up my paint chips so that the mosaic didn't look sloppy.  I found that it wasn't that difficult since the wood had nice straight edges.

I'd recommend having a few extra paint chips on hand in case you get paint on one like I did.  Also notice where we circled the Limestone name on that one because it was one of our top choices years ago when we were actually using these chips!

I substituted a different one and we were in business.

Thomas snapped this one of me mid-project.  (Pre shower, pre make up.  Hey, it was Saturday.)

Following the tutorial, I put down Mod Podge - Matte and let it dry - 3 different layers.  It took very little time to dry between steps.

We were left with a great texture and sealed piece of art.

Then we got to staining.  Thomas and I picked up a small can of Ebony wood stain at Lowe's.  We were going for the aged look and were surpised how quickly this step went.

We put it on and wiped it down with an old rag.  Took about 2 minutes.

And we were done!

David put a hanger on the back this morning and hung it for me.  I'm really happy with the way it turned out!

What do you think?

No, we didn't paint the wall - that's just the way the sun was hitting the wall at different times of day and it might have something to do with the photographer.  But I think this space works a lot better now.  What do you think?

Items Used:
24x24 inch board
Black acrylic paint
75 (or so) paint chips
Adhesive spray
Mod Podge - Matte
Ebony stain
Picture hanger

Total Cost:  $10

I'm Linking Up!