Monthly Archives

May 2011

DIY Uncategorized

Quick, Easy, and Cheap

What is: my favorite kind of project, Mr. Trebek? Ding, ding ding!

That was me playing Jeopardy with myself, in case you didn’t catch it. But, really, is there anything better than updating something you already own and making it feel like new again?? I think not. Recently, I’ve discovered the beauty of trays. “What’s so great about a tray,” you say? Well, let me tell you. They make pretty much any tabletop look a ton more organized than it actually is. Somehow by containing all of your miscellaneous odds and ends inside a decorative tray, it instantly makes the mess disappear. And as far as I’m concerned, anything that makes my coffee table/kitchen table/etc. look neat and tidy without actually having to truly clean up, is alright by me. I mean, I guess if you just piled straight up trash in the tray, it wouldn’t look so clean..but let’s just not do that, mmkay?

A few years ago, I bought a really nice white tray from Target. It has a really pretty design on the sides, and in my opinion, you just can’t go wrong with a white accessory! However, over the years this tray has seen several moves and after our last move spent a few months packed away in a box. (Does anyone else seem to have trouble with actually getting ALL of your boxes unpacked? No matter what, it always seems like there are a few boxes I don’t get to.) When I finally got the tray unpacked, it had developed some weird splotches..I’m thinking maybe from water that got inside the box? Anyway, it looked like this:

Meh. Luckily, spray paint covers a multitude of sins. Like ketchup. Ketchup can make pretty much any food edible. Spray paint can make pretty much anything decent looking. So, I picked up a can of Krylon in Pistachio, which is a really lovely shade of green, and got to work!

I used some painter’s tape to tape off all of the sides, and then I got my spray on.

This is what it looked like after 4 coats..those spots were pretty hard to cover. But I didn’t want to just leave it plain, so while I was out getting my spray paint, I also picked up a stencil to use. I just eyeballed it and taped it to the bottom of the tray when I thought it was centered. You could always use a ruler if you want to be exact, though.

I decided to fill my stencil in with white paint, but the only form of white paint I had on hand was spray paint. So I had to tape off all of the tray that was showing, so as not to get any white paint on my fresh coat of Pistachio. If you had regular paint on hand, you could just use a brush and not worry about this step. Then, I blasted it with a couple coats of white and let it dry. After I pulled up all the tape (all the while praying none of the spray paint came up with it), I was left with this:

It’s not totally perfect, but definitely an upgrade! And the whole thing cost me less than $4.00..$2 for the stencil and $1.50 for the spray paint, thanks to a coupon. A big WOOP WOOP for quick, easy, and cheap!

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DIY Uncategorized

DIY Fabric Letters

Alright guys, I feel like we’re close enough friends for me to level with you: I am NOT ready to have kids. I most definitely want to have kids in the future (I’m thinking 3, hubby says 2..we’ll see who wins that one ;)) but I’m just not ready now. We haven’t even been married a year, and for now I just love having adventures with my man and being silly! I do, however, LOVE when people close to me have babies and this summer is going to bring two very important arrivals! One of my closest friends, Ashley, is due to have her precious baby girl any second now (I’m waiting anxiously for the “I’m going into labor” text, Ash!) and then we will be welcoming my very first niece in August..I can’t wait!

And you know I can’t wait to shower these precious little divas with lots of love and cute girly things! So while I may not be gearing up to decorate my own nursery just yet, I couldn’t resist making a little something for Ashley’s.

via Pinterest

I know a lot of people may think initials are overused nowadays, but I don’t care..I love ’em. I just love the personal touch that they add to a room. So, I set out to make one myself!

Here’s what I used: a paper mache letter  from Hobby Lobby, 1/2 yard of fabric, Mod Podge, small sponge brush, and scissors. You’ll also see that I use fabric glue and some ribbon but we’ll get to that later.

First, I covered the front of the ‘C’ in a light layer of the Mod Podge. You could also use fabric glue, but I preferred the Mod Podge because I could easily spread it on using the small sponge brush. You don’t want to glop it on too thick because it’s more likely to cause your fabric to wrinkle when it dries.

Then, flip the letter over  and press it down on the back side of your fabric. It doesn’t take any time at all for the fabric to stick. Just press down on your letter a few times and you’re good to go!

Now, here’s when I discovered mistake numero uno. It would have been a lot easier if I had pre-cut the fabric to the shape of my letter. So for any of you attempting this, I would first trace the outline of your letter onto your fabric and then cut it out leaving about 1/4″ of extra fabric all the way around to fold over all the edges. It wasn’t really that big of a deal, it was just harder to cut around those inside corners after the fabric was already glued on.

But anyway, after you’ve got the fabric glued to the front of the letter, you’ll need to fold the excess fabric over the edges and glue it down. Now, for letters that have curves (which is quite a few of them) it proves to be a little more annoying challenging. For real, curves are the enemy. I’m seriously contemplating naming all my children with the first letter ‘I’ just so I won’t have to deal with curves when I tackle this project for my own munchkins. Ingrid, anyone? How about Icarus? I’m kidding…sort of.

For the curves in the inside of the letter, you want to a make a few straight cuts; I made three: one right in the center of the curve and then one on either side. So it looks something like this:

These cuts will allow you to easily contour the fabric around the corners without adding the bulk of having to try and fold it on top of itself. Now for the curves on the outside of the letters, you’ll want to make a ‘v’ shape cuts all around the corner.

After you’ve made all your cuts, then you can apply your glue (Mod Podge, fabric glue, etc.) and fold up the excess fabric.

Then you’ll want to follow those same instructions for the back of the letter. I’ve also seen variations where people add in a layer of batting between the letter and the fabric for extra, if that floats your boat then go for it!

Originally, I had planned to cover the whole letter in the same fabric, but after I had covered the front and the back I realized that the only way to close the gap and cover all the cuts, frayed edges, etc. would be to cut one long strip of fabric and then wrap it all along the outer edges. But if I did it that way, then there would be no way to make the fabrics match up at the seams and I felt like that would end up looking sloppy. So, I made a quick trip to Hobby Lobby (thank the Lord it’s literally a 2 minute drive from our house) and picked up some decorative ribbon. I really wanted the orange in the fabric to stand out so I chose this orange polka dot ribbon. The tacky glue I already had on hand.

The ribbon ended up being too thick for the edge of the letter so I trimmed off a little on each side (that way all three rows of dots would still be centered) and then worked my way around the outside edge of the letter, applying fabric glue as I went. I decided to use fabric glue instead of Mod Podge because I didn’t want to have to brush the Mod Podge over the edges that I had just glued down..I was afraid it would cause them to wrinkle. Again, you don’t need a ton of glue to hold the ribbon in place, you don’t want glue spilling out over the sides. And voila! You’ve got yourself a pretty adorable little decoration 🙂

I am in L.O.V.E with how it turned out!

And here’s the cost breakdown for this project:

Paper mache letter – $2.50

Fabric – $2.00

Ribbon – $2.00 (orginally $3.99 but it was 50% off)

For a grand total of….. $6.50! Not too shabby! Obviously if you didn’t have mod podge or fabric glue on hand, that would cost a little more but it would still come in under 10 bucks!

Now, we just need the baby that goes with that letter and everything will be peachy 🙂


The Lettered Cottage
Home Decor/ Interior Design Uncategorized

Dishing It Out

Hello lemon-droppers! I hope you all had a good weekend. We had such a fun time with our family in was a great little getaway! Yesterday, we got a chance to do a little window shopping at some of my fave-o-rite stores: Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, and ZGallerie. Best. Day. Ever.

While we were browsing, I kept pointing out these beautiful spring/summer plates and bowls in delicious patterns and colors. As I oohed and aahed, I was always met with a blank stare and that slow, I-think-you’re-weird nod from Jordan. Finally, after pointing out the 12th floral plate, he said, “Dacia, we already have dishes.” I’ll pause for a moment so you can imagine me standing in the middle of Crate & Barrel with my mouth agape. I thought to myself, “Did he just say that? Doesn’t he understand that I need lots of dishes to mix and match for the fabulous dinner parties I plan to throw when we get a bigger house and I learn to cook?!” Granted, both of those things are most likely a few years away, but still. I’m a sucker for a pretty table setting, and in an ideal world I would have a bevy of dishes with which to set said table. But, since I’m not a Real Housewife of Indiana just yet, I will settle for browsing 🙂

via Crate & Barrel

Love these beautiful flowers..makes me want to set up camp on our patio and enjoy the warm summer weather!

via West Elm

These dishes scream elegance to me..nothing better than a white/gold combo!

via Target

Are these not adorable? They’re called ‘dessert excuses’ plates and they have things written on them like,”We’ll have two forks please” and “No, No, I couldn’t.” I love ’em!

But what good are all these dishes if you don’t know how to properly use them to set your table? Well, kids, our lesson for today: Tablescapes 101.

Now, obviously this is just a guideline so you can add or take away things that you know you won’t need. Also, in many decorative table settings, a charger is used under the dinner just adds another layer of decorating fun! And you might even add a salad plate in between the dinner plate and the soup bowl.

Also, you can always switch up the napkin placement. I think I actually like it better when it’s used in between the plates.

via Pinterest

Isn’t that little gold dog on the plates so fun?! I’ve really been digging on gold lately..I’m a little obsessed. But anyway…now, for maybe my favorite tablescape of all..drumroll please…..

via Pinterest

Gah! The plates, the colors, the little peacock feather accent thingy! I love it all so so much!

So, that’s what I’m dreaming of these days. And due to my whining persistence, I was able to convince hubby to let me start my dinnerware collection with these beauties. 4 of the brown salad plates on sale for only $2 bucks a pop..can’t beat that!

via ZGallerie

Domestic Stuff Uncategorized

I Won! I Won!

First off, let me say that I enter giveaways and contests all. the. time. Like it’s my job. And I NEVER win. But I can officially say that I have won my first giveaway and I couldn’t be more excited! My prize is SO ca-ute and definitely fitting for the blog 🙂

I won this adorable stationery from one of my favorite blogs Lovely Indeed. She teamed up with Kelly Duvali, owner of the Etsy shop For Stationery Sake. Kelly hand paints all of her stationery and they are so lovely!

Each card (there are ten in a set) is adorned with one precious little crystal. I’m in LOVE!

AND there are matching envelopes..GAH! I just can’t take it.. guess I’m easily entertained, huh? Now, I just have to decide who will get to be the lucky recipients of these beautiful little notes 😉

P.S. – Tomorrow, the hubs and I are packing up and heading to Oklahoma for the weekend with his family! Our nephew is graduating from high school..congrats, Simon! So have a good weekend, lemon-droppers, and I’ll be back next week!

Domestic Stuff Uncategorized

Sunday School Re-Do

Hello dear readers! Sorry it’s been so long since my last post, the past week has been rough around here. Unfortunately, we had to say goodbye to an incredibly talented, bright, kind young man from our church. However, I’m thankful for the hope I have of seeing him again one day! We love and miss you Chase!

For those of you who may not know, Jordan works as the assistant pastor of our church. So, a couple months ago we decided it was time to give our Sunday School department a fresh new look! We’re very fortunate to have a nice, beautiful building to call our church, but the Sunday School definitely needed some new life breathed into it. Everything was white. Dark trim, white walls. Not the worst thing in the world, but not exactly something that gets kids excited to come to church every week either. So, with the help of several dedicated helpers (thank you all so much!), we set out to spruce things up!

This is the main stairwell leading up to the Sunday School rooms. We wanted this to be bright and fun, something the kids would really like. We painted this main wall using Valspar’s Twilight Meadow (all the paint we used was Valspar). You can see a little bit at the top that we painted the adjoining walls a nice cheery yellow called Hint of Honey. After we had the majority of the painting done, we also primed and painted all the baseboards and trim white which took F-O-R-ever. {Sidenote: sorry I don’t have more pictures of this whole process, but this was done way before I started blogging} After that gargantuan task was completed, we tackled some of the stenciling. Bascially, I found images that I liked online which we then projected onto the wall and traced by hand using pencil. We then filled it in using black paint. It really didn’t take as much time as I thought it would. We plan to also add a scripture on this wall up to the right of the hot air balloons.

This is the main hallway after you come up the stairs. My hubby saw a stencil kind of like this when we were browsing an Ashley furniture store, so he snapped a quick pic on his iPhone and then came back and free handed all of this on the wall! As the project progressed, he ended up free handing the majority of the stencils we did. He’s so talented! The color we used for this hallway was called London Coach. I LOVE how it turned out. It’s gray with just a hint of lavender undertones. I think it would be so pretty in a nursery (NOT that we’ll be decorating one anytime soon..don’t get any ideas Mom).

This is more of the hubs’ mad skills at work in the boys bathroom. He’s our little rollerblader dude! The color we used on the walls is Prairie Dance and the color we used for the stencils is called Celery.

This stencil is also in the long hallway. We quickly found out that painting on words/scriptures is definitely the most time consuming and frustrating part of this project. But it  looks really nice once it’s done!

I think this is one of my favorite things we did! It’s in our toddler classroom, and it’s just SO adorable! We’re planning to still add a scripture underneath the heart-bubbles when we work up the courage to take on stenciling more words.

This is another one of the stencils in the hallway that hubby did. Isn’t the little owl so cute?! Don’t mind the little black paint drip on the white trim, it’s fixed now 🙂

This is in our 5th & 6th grade class. The walls are a pale blue (sorry I can’t remember the exact name). We have some pretty awesome plans for this classroom. We had one of our church members donate a bunch of old equipment used to make one of those fancy indoor rock-climbing walls. So we plan to mount the hand and foot holds on this wall so the kids can feel like they’re climbing the mountain! Now we’re not planning to put them all the way up the wall (safety first!), and of course we’ll only mount them to studs in the wall. And we’ll still probably get some safety mats to put can never be too careful!

We’ve done a few other things that I don’t have pictures of, and we still have a few more things to add. I’ll give you guys another update when it’s all complete!

And again, I just wanna thank all of our wonderful church folk that helped on this project. We couldn’t have done it without you!!

Domestic Stuff Uncategorized

Sneaky Lucy

Our dear pup has a new favorite hobby. Sneaking into the hubby’s baseball bag and stealing his baseballs. She goes into the family room, roots around in the bag, and then takes the baseball and lays just around the corner where we can’t see her. She’s done it a total of four times in the last 5 minutes.

And she’s just so darn am I supposed to scold that innocent ‘what did I do’ face???

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Cleaning/Organization Uncategorized

Project Organization: My Closet

A couple weeks ago, I posted about finally gettting my magazines organized by creating an Inspiration Binder. I didn’t mention it then, but I have an entire list of things to do in order to get this whole house a little more organized. So, in keeping with that theme, tonight I tackled the great abyss known as my closet. Namely the closet that houses my shoes and accessories. Let me just tell you right now, I own a lot of clothes/shoes/accessories. So much so that I occupy both the closets in our master bedroom. Yes, that’s right. BOTH closets are filled to the brim with my things and poor Jordan got pushed out to the closet in his office. I desperately need to do a closet overhaul and get rid of a lot of clothes, but for now let’s focus on the shoes and accessories.

Now, in my dream land my closet would look something like this:

However, in reality, my closet looks like this:

Cue the scary music. It’s like a shoe bomb went off in there. (My blog will probably be permanently flagged by the FBI now because I said “shoe bomb.” And now I’ve said it twice.) I love my shoes, and I hate to see them all jumbled together like this. I’ve tried the whole laying-them-in-neat-pairs-on-the-closet-floor thing, and you can see how well it worked out. It just doesn’t cut it t for me. I need a more concrete place to put them. So I made a little trip over to Bed, Bath,  & Beyond to pick up some sort of closet organizer.

Originally, I thought I would just buy a small, clear, plastic box for each pair. I quickly realized that would be far too expensive and take up too much space in the bottom of my closet. So, I looked around at the other options. I knew the over-the-door organizers were out of the question because our closet doors are sliders. There were several options that hang inside your closet, but my hanging space is too valuable to use up with a bulky shoe organizer. I needed something that would go on the floor. Then, I found this:

Huzzah! It would sit perfectly on the floor beside where my dress skirts hang, and it holds 18 pairs of shoes! I already had another floor organizer that held 12 pairs, so I felt pretty confident that between those two, I could give all my shoes a lovely home. I also purchased a few of the clear plastic boxes to store my flip-flops.

So, I started by clearing out the bottom of my closet and taking an inventory of what I had. The verdict: too many shoes!

And that’s not even all of them. The good news is I found three pairs that I don’t wear anymore and can give away! But the rest stay.

So, next I put together my little shoe tree. The instructions were super simple and it 15 minutes later, it was all assembled and ready for shoes! So, I loaded ‘er up.

Looking better already! Next, I used an old basket and a plastic bin that I already had to hold my winter scarves and belts.

Then, I just put all my flip-flops in the clear plastic boxes, and I’m pretty pleased with the outcome!

Much better, right? I’ve got my shoe tree on the right, my boots in the middle and the shoe rack that I previously had all the way over to the left. I put my the plastic bin containing my belts on the lowest shelf, and then my flip-flops, scarves, and hats on the upper shelf. I still need to get a couple more small bins for my summer scarves and hats. But for now, it’s a marked improvement!

And, yes, those are Croc flip-flops on the right. Judge me all you want, I can almost hear a sigh of relief from my feet the second I slip those bad boys on.

Domestic Stuff Uncategorized

Momma Didn’t Raise No Fool

I suppose some people might disagree with my above statement but they’re not writing this, so booyah. As I’m sure you already know, Mother’s Day is today (if this is new information, then you’ve got some groveling to do). It’s a day to celebrate the woman who brought you into this world, and probably threatened to take you out of it at least once or twice in your childhood.

I’m so blessed in the mother department. Actually, my whole family is pretty awesome..both the family I was born into and the one I married into. But my mom, well, she takes the cake. She can comfort me like no one else can. Sometimes when I feel sick or I’ve got aches and pains, I call her and list off my symptoms. And even though I already know what’s wrong and what medicine I should take, it just feels more reassuring to hear it come out of her mouth. And don’t even get me started on cooking. When I’m attempting one of her recipes, I usually make no less than three phone calls to her to make sure I’m doing it right..”What do you mean when you say ‘cut in the flour?’ Is it supposed to be this runny?” You get the idea. She knows the answer to just about all my questions, cooking and otherwise. And I don’t do a good enough job of telling her how incredibly amazing she is, so I’ll take the opportunity now..

Mom, you’re the absolute best. You are superwoman. You have a successful career, raised four kids, and we never wanted for anything. You’re beautiful, smart, kind, and funny. You taught me the value of God, family, and friends and I am a better person because of how you and Dad raised me. I owe so much to you, and I can honestly say that I beam with pride when someone says I’m even a little bit like you. You have set a wonderful example for the kind of wife, mother, and Christian woman that I want to be. And I think I can speak for all of your kids when I say I’m proud to be able to call you my friend, confidante, hero, and Mother. I love you!

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Cooking Domestic Stuff Uncategorized


In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I decided to make a little mexican feast tonight. Olé! But because Jordan is trying to cut back on carbs, I didn’t want to do tacos or quesadillas or fajitas. So, I tried my hand at a mexican casserole, and it turned out to be pretty delicious!

I got the recipe from one of my favorite resources, My only changes were that I left out the black olives (we’re not big fans), and I didn’t use as much sour cream as the recipe called for. Jordan has this weird thing about food with a creamy texture..whipped cream, sour cream, cream cheese. He hates all of them. So I just did a light layer of sour cream and he didn’t even notice..hee hee, I’m a cooking ninja!

And I also tried a recipe for mexican wedding cake cookies (also from My mother-in-law makes them, and they are killer good! Mine weren’t quite up to par, but they weren’t bad for a first try. They tasted really good but they were a smidge dry. Ya win some, ya lose some. But I will not be defeated. Mexican wedding cake cookie: I will master you!

I also mixed up a little fruit punch concoction..equal parts Hawaiian Punch, ginger ale, and mango orange juice. Delish! And I finished up setting the table with…what else, our Fiestaware!

And I guess our party was pretty rockin’ because we even had a couple neighbors stop by.

Neighbors of the four-legged variety, that is. These guys live two houses down from us and when Lucy is in the backyard, they wiggle their pudgy little bodies under their fence and ours to get to her.

We love them like their our very own fur-babies. We don’t know their names, but we  call the white one Meatball and the little one Pudgy-poo.

*Sigh* Isn’t he adorable? Oh…I guess the puppy is cute too… 🙂

It absolutely cracks me up when they try to chase our long-legged Lucy. They don’t come even close to keeping up with her, but she loves it! Ignore the fact that it looks like she’s trying to perform a roundhouse kick in that picture.

All in all, we had a great time celebrating Cinco de Mayo and playing with the dogs. In the words of Ricky Martin, we’re just “livin’ la vida loca!”

Home Decor/ Interior Design Uncategorized

Cuttin’ A Rug

Alright, people, I’ve got a decision to make and it’s of the utmost importance. I need to pick out a rug for our living room. Ok, so maybe it’s not of the utmost importance to youuu…but I would greatly appreciate some input here 🙂

We’ve lived in this house for almost 9 months and I have gone round and round trying to figure out what rug I want for our living room. As of now, there’s a whoooole lotta shakin’ brown goin on. Our couches are brown, the walls are tan, the coffee table is a dark wood. The room is in desperate need of a shot of color. And when I start to browse through all my options, my head nearly explodes. So, I thought I would let you all in on my top picks and get your feedback so I can finally make a decision!

My first choice is this beauty from CB2. I was immediately attracted to the and green make me a happy girl. It’s on the pricier side, but not terribly expensive as far as area rugs go..$349 for a 5′ x 8′.

This exotic looking lady is from one of my favorite stores, West Elm. I love, love, love yellow and gray together. I feel like it’s a very classic color combo, but the bold print keeps it fun and casual. And since the living room is the place where we spend the majority of our time, I want to keep it casual feeling. And the price tag ain’t too shabby either..just $199 for a 5′ by 8′. Momma likey.

Ok, so this guy from Urban Outfitters is a new comer to the rug race. But he’s quickly pulling ahead. I’m a little ashamed to say this, but….colors in the red family intimidate me. I’m attracted to cool blues and greens. I feel like if colors were people, blue and green would be chillaxin’ out on a big comfy couch with their respective guitars singing a little acoustic number and making everybody feel warm and fuzzy. But RED. Red’s a different person. Red comes into the room and demands everyone attention immediately. Red screams ‘Look at me! I’m bold.‘ And the thought of having someone in my house that demands more attention than Lucy already demands just scares me. However, this rug is slowly bringing me around. It’s not over-the-top candy apple red. It’s more like a lively coral, and I think Ms. Coral just might add a funky little harmony to the tune Mr. Blue and Mr. Green are singing.

My last and final option is something that I’m just really curious about. It’s from a company called Flor. Basically, they offer you a chance to build your own rug using 20″ carpet squares, or ’tiles’ as they call them. They have hundreds of different designs in different pile heights as well, so the options are really pretty endless.I’m in love with the blue ikat print (shown above), so that’s probably what I would go with. It takes 12 tiles to build a 5′ x 7′ rug and each of the blue ikat tiles is $13.99, so the grand total comes in at about $170. My only concern is that the tiles wouldn’t stay put together and I’d constantly be adjusting them. The website, though, assures you that they do indeed stay together.

So, ladies and gents, there you have it. My options. Which rug would you choose? Any other stores I should check out? Maybe someone out there has experience with Flor rugs that they’d be willing to share? I’d love to hear from you!

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