Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year Resolutions

1. Be a Better Wife

Often times Mr. Z's biggest complaint is that I'm not affectionate enough (and that I yell too much when we get in arguments - comeon...cut me some slack here :s ). So in 2010 I vow to be a more loving, spontaneous and affectionate wife. And also one with a lower-voice level. ;)

2. Be a More Organized Housekeeper

I like to think that our house is usually somewhat acceptable for unexpected guests (although it seems like we only get those when the house is not presentable). But, I tend to be a 'shover'. Those stack of paid bills waiting to be filed? Shoved under the desk. That bag of tealight candles and those extra frames I never found a place to store? Shoved on the bookshelf behind the couch. Those T-shirts that won't fit into Mr. Z's drawers? Shoved in the closet. The Pantry? Lets not even go there.

These are all easy fixes, and we have already taken steps to eliminate our worst problem areas by purchasing an according filing thing-y (proper term), Mother-in-law bought me a can rack for the pantry as a Christmas gift (hooray!), and Mr. Z has been slowly but surely parting with the clothes he no longer wears and either passing them onto his brother or putting them in bins to go in the basement, and most likely eventually, to Salvation Army. It might be a team effort, but together WE CAN DO IT!

3. Buy Only What I Need
I know I can makedo at least for the next year with the clothes I already have in my closet. Do I need a new shirt for New Years? way Jose. I know I can makedo with the extra picture frames and candle holders I already have. Do I need those clearance candle holders...or will a new coat of spray paint on my existing ones do the trick?....I believe it will. Do I need that Vanilla Iced Coffee while finishing up my errands for the day?...ok yes, that I may need most days. But it's a good start so far!

4. Keep Up With Laundry!
'Nuff said. (is this on your list every year too?)

5. Spend More Time Outside
Once winter wraps up I cannot wait to get outside with Lincoln. Walks, park visits, swimming pools, you name it. This last summer seemed to just slip by unnoticed with everything happening and wedding planning in full force. This coming summer I vow to get out and use every last ray of sunshine to the best of our ability.

Well....I think that wraps up my 'practical' resolutions list. Of course, I also have my unpractical less chocolate, visit Panera less often, get up at 7 am every morning, make a full homemade dinner each night. Howevvvver...this one is just for laughs! all that's ever going to happen!! :D

Have a wonderful, happy and safe new year everyone and I'll see you all next year!

Deal of the Day

Ever since we 'bought' (or rather, had my brother-in-law pick up a free) beige leather recliner, I have been itching to coordinate our couch using a light colored slipcover. Right now our couch is a worn-out-chocolate-brown-leather that we got for free on the side of the road, super-comfy though! Great for hiding stains, but it clashes with the other black peices we have in the house. However, the idea of spending $100 on a slipcover wasn't winning me over, we could easily find another couch on craigslist for less. (Mr. Z has vowed never to pay full price for furniture when "you can always find it for free or cheap").

So boy was I happy when I was searching the Kohl's website this morning, giftcards in hand, and came across this SureFit slipcover, on sale for an unbelievable $44.99, down from the regular price of $89.99. I always search for coupon codes when shopping online since they are almost always available, wether it be free shipping, a percent off, or a mail in rebate, they all save you money!

I was able to use code Extra20 to save 20%, and even though shipping is currently only $.99 for anything on the site, I was able to use another code so I plugged in code NoCharge to make the shipping -f-r-e-e! How I love that!

So this slipcover, originally priced at $89.99, only cost me $38.15 after the sale price and discounts. I'll tell you right now you won't beat that price anywhere! I'll update with pics as soon as it arrives!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Would love your opinions!

I love our little house, I really do. I have so much pride in her, we own her, we live and love in her, and put our life and love into her. In return she has kept us safe and warm, and provided us a place to call home. I just love her through and through.

She does have a few little drawbacks, mainly that she is less than 1000 sq feet on the main floor, and the basement is only partially finished (actually less than partially finished since the sewer backup on Halloween took out our carpet and half the drywall). But we make do, and it forces us to stay cozy and spend time close to one another.

The most frustrating space for me is most definately the living room. It's open to our dining room (which I do love, makes each room feel larger and less closed in), but its hard to place our furniture due to the fact that there is only one wall we can place the TV on.

Right now our set up includes two (free) leather pieces that we love, a chocolate brown 3 seat couch and a beige recliner. It's enough seating for us, and when needed, we use the dining room chairs for extra seats.

This set up works for us, so I'm happy enough with it. However, the coffee table that we have in the room takes up wayy to much space. I love haveing a table in here though because it completes the room, and it adds extra storage and places to set things in the room. Lincoln likes it because he is able to play with his trains and puzzles on it, Mr. Z says he doesn't like it because he and Lincoln can't play football in the living room anymore. {smiles and rolls eyes}.

I love the look of rooms with ottoman pairs serving as a coffee table because they are functional along with looking nice, because when needed they can double as extra seating. I wish this idea would work for our room, but the idea of having two large solid chunks sitting in the middle of the room swallowing up space, scares me a little. I need something beautiful and functional, but also light and airy as to keep the space as open as possible.

So, here is where I'd like your opinions. I found this bench above on my favorite website (walmart, honestly, I couldn't live without walmart.) and I think it would be the perfect replacement for our current coffee table. It brings in the black from the dining room furniture and living room bookshelf, and the rush seat coordinates with the other oak peices in the space. I could certainly use a pretty tray to place on top for drink stability, but I think it's a pretty good option. And when we have people over...extra seating galore!

So normally I would mill it over with Mr. Z, but as I mentioned before, he doesn't dig the table, but also doesn't think it needs to go, so his opinion would be a series of shrugs. :) So, I would like your opinion instead. :D

The Pottery Barn version - if PB thinks its a good idea...then I think I do too!

Santa Claus is Coming to Town!

I couldn't forget to post some photos of Christmas morning, Lincoln was just too excited that Santa had been there overnight!

The tree on Christmas Eve

Santa Presents - Do you think Lincoln was naughty or nice this year?! :D

Monday, December 28, 2009

Mrs. Z's Christmas Haul

I hope everyone had as great of a Christmas as we did overhere in the Zerr household. Santa hit our house pretty hard overnight, and it was awesome to see the look on little Lincoln's face as he opened his presents.

Mr. Z got a new Tom Tom GPS from his favorite :) Now we just need to figure out how to set it up...oh, and take a trip somewhere. {smiles}.

As for me...I made out much better than I should have, guess they didn't realize how naughty I really was this year! Haha! My mother got us girls all facial and massage packages, I can't wait to put that to good use!

I also got the Classic Batter Bowl from Pampered Chef from my wonderful mother, Along with money to go buy my new dining room chairs!!! I can't wait to pick these babies up, they are just going to be the perfect new addition to the dining room. Yay!

Mr. Z also got me a 'shopping spree' at Kohls with plenty of money on giftcards. I can't wait to pick some things out, guilt free!

My favorite gift by far though, is the one that means the most to me. My older sister put together an album from our wedding, using huge 12x12 collage pages she put together. She is a graphic designer so they look a-maz-ing! I've spent more time looking through this since Christmas than anything else!

And, as if the wonderful gifts weren't enough for one weekend, we had a little family outing before pizza night on Sunday to hit up the After-Christmas Clearance at Target and Wal-Mart. *love*!

Target had the best Holiday Home section discounted down for sure, I made out with this beautiful pedestal bowl, and the bag of scented pinecones for $12.00. (that's the wedding album below the bowl).

I just love the detail on the bowl, its looks antique even though its brand new. It's exactly what I have been searching for to put on the coffee table.

My other favorite After-Christmas item is this faux-cranberry topiary, also from Target. It was 50% off, making it less than $10. The ceramic pot at the bottom matches our dishes that stay on the table perfectly. I added the pinecones along the bottom and the brass candlesticks were Goodwill finds. Looks perfect on our table, and it's versitle enough to stay on display somewhere around the house all year long.

What was your favorite Christmas gift or After-Christmas steal, I'd love to hear about it!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to All...

...and to all a good night.

Just in case my Christmas morning gets a little too busy, I wanted to be sure to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. May Christ bless you and yours this holiday, stay warm and drive safely!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Chalkboard Paint DIYs

A few weeks ago I purchased some old windows from our antique mall. I just love the many uses of old windows, and decided to put mine to good use in two different ways.

For the first, I added a fresh coat of cream paint, and then distressed it back down to its original white in a few places. After a good Windexing, I applied a vinyl letter Z, in honor of our last name. I just loved how it turned out, and I smile everytime I walk through the front door and see her. :D

The second window was similar, just a little larger and square in shape instead of rectangular. For this one, I also gave it a coat of cream paint, but I added a coat of brown paint first, so that the distressing would expose some darker colors, since it's going up against a cream dining room wall. After another good windexing, I applied a few coats of Chalkboard paint. If you haven't seen this is awesome! Its available online or home improvement store. I bought mine at Wal-Mart.

I also added a decorative metal peice I picked up at Hobby Lobby for a few dollars. It already had a handle at the bottom, so I just super glued that puppy right over it, and gave it a custom detail.

The trick to getting your chalkboard paint conditioned to be written on it simple, just rub the side of a peice of chalk all over, then wipe it off with a clean eraser, or towel in my case. Then Viola! A beautiful handmade chalkboard ready for your wit and wisdom. really good tip when using chalkboard paint (or...well...any paint for that matter): When you put the can back into the hall closet, make sure you have the lid on really really tight.

Because if you don't...and it falls out when you're may end up with this:

But...when life gives you chalkboard paint all over your carpet, what do you do?? Make chalkboard gift tags...that's what. Oh and cover the stain up with a rug and prayer to dear God that your Hubby plans on getting new carpet for Christmas. ;)

All you need is:
-Burlap (a remnant would be great for this project!)
-Poster Board
-Chalkboard Paint
-Paint Brush
I bought my poster board from Wal-Mart, along with my paint (I got black poster board so I wouldn't have to worry about painting the sides or getting even coverage). The burlap and chalk came from Hobby Lobby, as did the super glue I used, although a hot glue gun would work just as well too.
Cut your poster board into small squares and/or rectangles. Paint them with one coat of chalkboard paint and allow to dry completely. Cut peices of burlap a little larger than your poster board, fray the edges a little if you want, although the burlap will fray itself over time if you don't want to do it yourself. After your paint it dry, cut your ribbon to desired length and add glue to the backside of the chalkboards. Press burlap and chalkboards together with the ribbon inbetween acting as a hanger. Allow glue to dry completely. To finish, simply rub the chalkboards with chalk, wipe off with a dry towel, and add your names.

These make wonderful gifts because they are 100% reusable! Package a few together and give them as blank labels with a few sticks of chalk. Great for labeling pantries, baskets they even make cute ornaments! The possibilities are endless. I have a bunch left over, and I'm excited to use them throughout our house!

Merry Christmas Eve (almost!)

Wood Burning Stoves and Fireplaces...yes please!!

This time of year always me wish for a fireplace, I would just adore the warm and inviting crackle of the logs. I can just see myself curling up along side it with a cozy knit blanket, hot mug of a homemade Mocha and a good book. I'm always so jealous when I see a glowing fireplace or - even better, a cozy wood burning stove - in someone's home.

A friend from my message boards asked about some photos for decorating her family room, which comes complete with a wood burning stove and large windows, best of both worlds!

I pulled together a few inspiration photos for her. The great thing about wood stoves and fireplaces is they can act as a focal point in a room. Centering the furniture facing them, in a conversation friendly set up can make for the most coziest atmosphere. Of course, if you're like us, the TV is the focal point in your living room. In which case, why not consider placing your TV in an armoire, or nesteled on shelves in a bookcase. It's out of the way enough that you can enjoy your fireplace or wood stove as the rooms decorative focal element, but its also very much usable and accessible when Survivor is on. :) We are still working on hiding out TV away, but we also don't have the luxery of a fireplace or wood stove to take its place. Although some days I might consider trading in the TV and the Husband in for one! :D

Another wonderful thing about wood burning stoves is that they lend themselves beautifully to cottage, country, farmhouse, or rustic decor, and they also blend flawlessly with more modern elements.

For a more traditional look, check out these beautiful rooms:

Check out those views, breathtaking! Nestled in the corner, this wood stove is a prominent feature in the room, but doesn't steal the show from the amazing windows. This idea could be implemented for a TV as well.
I love the garden vibe of this room's decor. The wood stove is nestled into a large fireplace mantel and surround, making it a great option for the focal of this room.
Do you want to bet their's a TV hidden away in that cabinet? As it is right now, the focus of this room is on that cozy wood burning stove. But come TV time, its right there when you need it.
Love this inspiration board, the herb planters at the bottom left are to die for! A beautiful mix of contemporary farmhouse style.
One of my favorite elements a wood burning stove or fireplace adds, is the rustic touch of wood. Baskets filled with cut wood on the floor next to the stove and scattered throughout the room, and you don't even need to grab a coat to grab more wood! Of course, its not always practical to have that much wood stowed away in your family room, but the baskets do the trick perfectly. Consider wicker or woven baskets, large galvanized tubs or broilers or old wooden crates (all of these are readily available at antique and thrift stores for a few dollars!).

Or if you prefer modern, the clean lines and open spaces of these rooms compliment the wood burning stoves' timeless lines.

This antique wood stove blends beautifully with the clean modern lines of this house.

For an eclectic taste, mix different textures, shapes and lines throughout your room.

With a touch of country and a touch of modern, this hanging wood burning stove adds the wow factor to this closed in porch.
Well there is a start for you Alonda! I hope it gives you some ideas, but I would also love to keep looking for ideas, just let me know which style you tend to lean towards. And I'll be stopping over later with a thermos of hot chocolate and some Baileys, have the cookies ready! :D
Merry Christmas -- Melissa

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cabinet Hardware

I'd love to paint our cabinets a nice creamy white, however, our cabinets are in great condition, and I shudder at the thought of the amount of work and time involved. So, in order to jazz them up from their plain oak-ness, I decided some hardware might help. Right now, they have never had any hardware installed, so they are free of holes and an empty canvas, oh the options!!

I don't, however, want to go broke in the process. I've been looking in store a couple places, but the ones I have been eyeing are upwards of $3 each, or more! Take that times 35 cabinets and drawers, and I've broke my bank.

So I was THRILLED to find that these Antique Brass Cup Pulls at are advertised at a new lower price of $1.57 each (down from $1.97), but then when I entered in my local Lowes zip code, the price dropped even $.97 each! Holy cow that's a steal!

I ordered enough to add them to all our kitchen drawers (13), and had them shipped for free to my local Lowes for pickup. I still need to find some for the cabinets, but for now the drawers will shine with their new accessories, just in time for the Holidays!

Here's some inspirational photos of cup pulls in some beautiful kitchens...don't you just love them??

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snow Snow, Go Away!

It's snowing! Boo!! Today was supposed to be our 'girls day'. Starting off with lunch at Olive Garden with my two sisters and my mom, followed by trying on wedding/bridesmaid dresses for my sister's June wedding. Then finishing up our Christmas shopping at the mall. But with 3 inches expected to fall in the next few hours, a 45 minute drive on the interstate doesn't sound as appetizing as the Olive Garden breadsticks and salads I have been dreaming of. Le sigh. So, here I sit watching the snow fall and Dora the Explorer on TV. It's a good day to do some cleaning and organizing, but I think I'll also be making a trip to the antique store during naptime, or else I might go stir crazy today! Until then, here are some photos I love, perfect for snowy days like today! {What I wouldn't give for that fireplace!}

Even if you don't have a fireplace, soft and warm blankets readily available with cozy up any room, perfect for snuggling under!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

All Aboard the Christmas Train!

Our little angel is a lover of anything with wheels, but he especially loves choo-choos. Boy was he excited to discover the Christmas train at the mall today after a long day of shopping. Lincoln is such a trooper, he has always been Mommy's little shopping buddy ever since he was little, so it was only fair I treat him to a ride on the train...or two.

Ringing the bell!

And, after all my shopping I even had enough energy to fold, address, stuff and seal all my Christmas cards! Here they are waiting for postage and delivery. Nothing like waiting for a week before Christmas! :D