Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thursday, December 29, 2011

11 Best of 2011

I thought I'd take a look back and see what you've been reading on my blog this year. I think the nursery is what kept me blogging! 

Take a peek at my 11 Best Posts of 2011! I've you've missed something, there are links so you can go take a more in-depth look at what I've been up to.

Number 1: Nursery Reveal -- Window Wall 

Number 2: Nursery Reveal - DIY Mobile 

Number 3: Dresser & Vanity 

Number 4: Nursery Reveal - Gallery Wall 

Number 5: Nursery Tour 

Number 6: Bathroom Love 

Number 7: Nursery Reveal - Closet

Number 8: Nursery - Cost Breakdown 

Number 9: Junk Decor 

Number 10: Barn Door Headboard 

Number 12: Scraps + Hanger = Wreath 

Thanks for reading Beauty 4 Ashes this year!

House of Grace

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Photo Display Boards

Since Christmas is over and the grandparents have opened their gifts, I wanted to share with all y'all something I made for them. 

No, I'm not from the South, neither have I ever spent time there. So don't ask me where "all y'all" came from. I clearly can't be held responsible.

I started by asking my sweetie to cut down a random board we had laying around. I had painted it blue at one point, but don't you worry your pretty little head about that. 

Not responsible for that saying either. Nope.

Next I used a palm sander to smooth down the edges and rub off some of that paint. I didn't stress about getting it all off, because I was planning to mod podge paper onto that side of the board. 

I stained the edges and the back with Special Walnut. I love that color!

I cut down some pretty card stock to the size of my board,

smeared on some mod podge and stuck the paper right on top. After it dried I took the palm sander to the edges of the paper to smooth them down, then smeared on another layer of mod podge to protect the paper.

To finish the project, I layered another strip of paper on top and tied some twine around it.

I also hot-glued on some tiny clothes pins that I stained with Special Walnut.

Except for the tiny clothes pins, I had everything on hand for this project. The boards are about 8 X 10 inches, and the intention is for the grandparents to clip on snapshots of the grandkids. Super fun, eh? 

Oh, look! Now I'm from Canada! 

I found the clothes pins at Walmart, the scrapbook paper is from Michael's in one of those sets that are sold as a booklet for about $10. 

Hope you like the boards! 

Make it Yours @ My Backyard Eden

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Glimpses of Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

We haven't actually opened our presents yet, have you? Our boys are very anxious to 'rip presents' first thing in the morning! 

This is Grandma & Grandpa's tree, full of sentimental pieces made by their kids and grandkids.

We're enjoying gazing at the tree and the fire, even though the days have been in the 50s! 

My husband has taken on the task--and, boy, is it a cross to bear--of making cinnamon rolls from my family's recipe. So so good! 

My husband's sister and husband and their four kids came out over the weekend and the cousins had fun putting a gingerbread house together! 

We're going to have our Christmas morning and open presents! I hope you have been blessed by your friends and family this Christmas season!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Healthful Pumpkin Cookies

My little guys are on their second round of colds since Thanksgiving. In an effort to relieve their misery and strengthen their immune systems, we're doing things like extra hand-washing, vitamin C smoothies and a sugar fast. That's right, the week before Christmas you'll find no sugary treats in my house--no peppermint hot chocolate, no gingerbread men, no sugar cookies cut by sticky little hands using my huge collection of cookie cutters...

But my boys love baking and we all love a sweet treat, so out came my cookbooks. I found the following recipe in Vegan Homestyle by Kay Hansen. The cookies are sweetened with honey. (Yes, I know that's ironic since most definitions of 'vegan' include not eating honey as it is an animal product.) Though these cookies aren't very sweet, they were easy to make and my boys really enjoyed the baking session and the little treat! 

Pumpkin Cookies

1 1/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1 c. unbleached flour
1 t. lemon rind
1/2 t. coriander
2 t. Rumford baking powder
1/4 t. salt

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
1/4 c. light oil
1 c. honey
1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

In a mixing bowl, mix together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl beat with an electric mixer the honey and oil until smooth. Then beat in pumpkin. Add pumpkin mixture all at once to dry ingredients. Stir just until mixed and no dry flour appears. Drop onto cookie sheets sprayed with non-stick spray using a heaping tablespoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. makes approximately 2 1/2 dozen.

1 cookie: 104 calories; 3 grams fat; 49 mg. sodium; 18 grams carbohydrate; 1 gram fiber; 10 grams sugar; 1 gram protein, 190 mg. Omega-3.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

O Christmas Branch

Our Christmas tree is quite literally a branch.

And I'm ok with that!

We're going to be out of town for Christmas and it just seemed wrong to buy a $40 tree that would die while we were gone. I looked on Craigslist for an artificial tree, but I never got an answer back from ads that were in my budget ($10 or less).

But it didn't seem like Christmas without a tree, and I wanted my boys (2 1/2 and 4 1/2) to have the fun of hanging ornaments this year.

So much to the quizzical inquiries of Mr. B4A, I did what any self-respecting, determined DIYer would do and made my own!

Ok, not really. God took care of the making and the wind took care of the felling; all the boys and I had to do was go out to the back yard and look around. We found the perfect branch and drug it into the garage to dry off.

The next day I stuck my branch in an old galvanized tub that I found in the barn a couple years ago. I threw in some logs to wedge the branch in place and make the tub stable (small children in my house!), then piled pine cones on top of the logs. Some are painted, some have glitter, some are plain.

I then wound white lights around the branches, and while I miss the green needles that hide the cords so well (I would have used white lights on a green cord on a real Christmas tree), it still looks pretty all lit up. In hindsight, I wish I had taken the time to lightly spray paint the branch white before bringing it into the house.

I let my boys decorate for awhile. Note the cluster of small ornaments? Yeah, that would be my 2-year-old's doing. My 4-year-old got as creative as he could, probably because I let him stand on the chair.

After the boys went to bed I strung more lights and made the decision to stick to white and silver snowflakes and icicles. There are a few random shiny things--stars and bells--because they were, well, shiny! I had wanted to hang blue ornaments, but it overpowered the small "tree". I have tons of red ornaments, but I'm just not ok with mixing pink and red in my decor (makes my house seem so fancy when I use that word!), and those $30-for-the-pair wingbacks are very pink and very much in need of a makeover--January maybe?

I, for one, am happy with how our Christmas stick turned out. My husband was pleasantly surprised with it too, and while it's not a real tree, it works for this year! 

I hope it's ok with you, but I'm hoping to keep posting Christmassy stuff until the new year. I'm behind with it all and have some fun posts from last year as well. Hope you'll stick around to see more crazy/unique/make-do-with-what-you've-got solutions!

Friday, December 16, 2011

An Organized Linen Closet

I did it! After two months, two major bedroom re-do's, two weeks on vacation (aka: away from home), and lots of primer and paint, the linen closet is done!

When my husband refinished our hardwood floors we took everything out of our hall closets and piled it up on the guest bed downstairs. Then we decided to switch rooms with our boys, so I tackled some John Deere kelly green paint in one room, the perfect "greige" in the other, added some maps in their room and a barn door headboard for us. Then I made some faux roman blinds with ruffles for our room and stripes for their room. 

All the while, there it sat our empty closets, though they didn't stay empty! They became a cache for paint supplies and complete randomness--who doesn't fill up empty shelves?!

So when I was finally ready to take on this closet, I had to clean it out again.

Then I primed the wood work and added two or three coats of paint to the walls, trim and shelves. This is where I fail to comment on how the closet stayed in the above started phase for two weeks. Ahem. 

I went with basic white off-the-shelf paint for this closet. I wanted to do a fun color or design, but it will be behind doors and with the items that live here put back away, there's enough going on already! 

Ahhhh! Neatness and order prevail once again!!! 

On the left: towels, sheets, blankets and quilts. On the right: first aide items, extra toiletries, and a few candles that aren't currently being used. 

This closet is right next to our storage-impaired bathroom, hence the toiletries and extra TP!

Here it is again, in profile:

Phase 1: 

Phase 2:

Phase 3:

It feels great to finally have this done! 

And I'm going to focus on the progress this weekend and not worry about this closet's next-door neighbor that is also in need of a make-over. Or that both closets have a set of doors that I need to paint and replace. Or that the trim in the hall is only 1/3 finished. Not to mention painting the walls themselves.

Focus on the progress... focus on the progress... 

House of Grace
Cottage & Vine


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