Blackwater Falls, West Virginia

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It has been far too long, I know, but sometimes life gets busy/things come up and you just have to roll with it.  I’m sorry for the huge delay between this and my last post (right when I was finally getting better, of course) but I have been working, creating, and just generally been really busy – I’ll let you know a little more about my current happenings in my next post {which will be posted later this week}.  This one, however, is about Thanksgiving – my favorite holiday! and our hike to Blackwater Falls.

Last week I went to West Virginia to celebrate Thanksgiving with some family {an annual tradition}.  It was a great little vacation to one of my favorite places – it’s so beautiful there.  I had a great time and got to meet so many new little faces.  Three of my cousins had baby’s this year and I finally got to meet them all! So much cuteness, obviously.  I also got to see snow for the first time this winter and on Friday we braved the cold to visit Blackwater Falls.  I have always wanted to go and it looked so pretty in the snow covered forrest.  Below are some of the photos of our walk.

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So that was Blackwater Falls, West Virginia.  I love how one side is covered in snow and the other is still green and sunny.  If you’re ever in the area it is an awesome waterfall to visit- I hear it’s just as beautiful in the summer.  I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and good times with family as well as a wonderful holiday season! I’m excited to get back into blogging and start being a little more consistent.  :)

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Making Halloween Cookies

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Yay Halloween!! I’ve always liked this holiday, but any holiday that has sugar as one it’s main components has my attention.  And this sugar filled holiday has inspired me to make a holiday related post – about cookies :).  It’s not so much a how-to as much as it is a chance to show my attempt of getting in the spirit and trying to use my not so developed baking skills.  Now, let me say, even though I used the not so skillful packaged {+ butter & an egg} dough – I sure can cook it. My cookies are delicious.  My issue is the icing and the decorating, but I tried – so props for that? At least I had fun and I love me some cookie dough and Icing, so nothing could really go wrong.

Happy Halloween Ya’ll!

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DIY: Crate Bookshelf

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Last weekend I got a new printer -which I’m super excited about!- but I had no where to put it.  I needed a place away from my desk {because it was taking up way too much room} and where it could sit off of the ground.  I searched for side tables and baskets and finally decided I would make something myself.  I’ve been seeing a lot of uses for crates lately and this seemed perfect, the printer would fit on top and I would have shelf space below for paper and other items that cluttered up my desk.  This crate shelf is super easy and inexpensive, I used two crates because that size height worked perfectly for me {it could also be used as a side table}, but you could easily add more to make a tall shelf.

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Materials:

  • 2 Unfinished crates – Purchased at JoAnn’s
  • 1 Large Plank of Wood – cut to size {your preference} and purchased at Home Depot
  • Minwax Wood Stain in Mahogany Red

diy-crate-bookshelf-02Once I had my materials the first step was to pick a color and paint the wood that would be my shelfs top. I used a light blue Martha Stewart multi surface paint.  It ended up taking me two coats to cover the wood evenly.

diy-crate-bookshelf-21Next I sanded the crates down – since they were already unfinished I didn’t have to do very much sanding and I used a cloth to wipe down the surface to get everything off. Once they were clean it was time to start the wood staining — first I stirred the stain and balled up an old cloth to apply it to the wood surface, going with the grain.  I prefer to use cloth instead of paintbrushes to stain just because I don’t like the stain to be too dark and I feel like I have a little more control over getting it even {but really you can use either}.

diy-crate-bookshelf-20diy-crate-bookshelf-03When the stain was completely applied I went back over it with a clean cloth to wipe off any extra that wasn’t absorbed by the wood {otherwise your wood will dry sticky}. I left the crates outside to dry for about 4 hours and let them sit another two days inside just to make sure the stain was completely set.

diy-crate-bookshelf-15To attach the two crates I was originally going to use tie plates, but the nails I had were too long and thick and would have been noticeable {if you’re going to make a tall shelf the tie plates are definitely a good idea though}.  Since my shelf isn’t very big and there aren’t going to be many heavy items on it I decided to use regular nails on the inner corners of the crates and needle nose pliers to fold over the nails so they won’t come out/stick out.  I did the same thing to attach the painted top to the crates.

diy-crate-bookshelf-04diy-crate-bookshelf-9diy-crate-bookshelf-05All in all, it was a pretty simple, straightforward project.  Most of it went very fast, letting the wood stain dry was the only step that really took any long amount of time.  I really like how my crate shelf turned out, it adds some color to my room and holds everything nicely.

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Fall Photographs

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Fall is such a beautiful season, I love all of the color changes.   Since heading south it’s so strange to see everyone’s photographs of fall starting in September, while here I’m headed into mid October and the change is only beginning.  I like it though, it makes the season feel longer, and anything that delay’s the cold of winter is fine by me! Anyway, I was looking through some of my photos from last year, picking a few to print out and brighten up my walls with seasonal photos.  Even if I can’t completely see fall yet, at least I can enjoy it’s warming colors.

So, happy fall ya’ll! Enjoy it while it lasts.

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*Website Update*

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Just a little update for everyone — As the seasons change I’ve been feeling the need to update my life and since I’ve been going crazy enough changing my apartment around I figured I might as well do the same to my blog.  I made a few sketches and I’ve been playing around in photoshop for the past few days thinking of ways to update my graphics.  I finally published the new header and this week I’ll be doing just a few changes to the side menu.

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I wanted something a little darker and more contrasty.  Something different, but with the same color scheme.  I can’t even tell you how many versions of this I created in Photoshop, but I think I finally like where it’s at…for now at least.

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DIY: Binder Ring Card Book

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I’m always keeping and displaying all of the cards I receive, but lately they’ve started to take over.  I have so many and I wanted a way to easily look through them and display them, without covering my entire apartment.  I loved the idea of using binder rings and I thought I could make a nice front and back cover so it would look a little more finished and appealing on display.

This project was so easy and so inexpensive, the only thing I had to buy was the binder rings – which were $1.50 for a pack of 5.  Not too bad for a whole project.  I love it, it looks cute, I can read all of the cards easily, and now I have so much more shelf space.   I also used large rings so I’ll have room for more as the season’s pass.
card-book-my-goodmorning-15Here are all of the materials I used – Large Binder Rings, Rubber Cement (my favorite product), cardboard and paper for the cover, and of course my cards.

card-book-my-goodmorning-01First I cut two pieces of cardboard from an old box I had lying around.  I then put the Rubber Cement onto the cardboard and let it try until it was sticky and not wet.  Next, I placed the paper on top and wrapped it around.   The inside is covered with white paper so the cardboard won’t show.

card-book-my-goodmorning-11card-book-my-goodmorning-02So the Binder Rings would fit, I used my three hole punch {another favorite item} to cut hole’s in all of my cards – watching out for for where people wrote so as not to punch through it.  I used my awl to make the hole’s in the cover.  After this the steps are pretty simple – open up the binder rings and put everything onto them, close them back up and it’s finished!

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Once it was finished I added a quote that I really liked to the front of the book  —  “Only write to me, write to me, I love to see the hop and skip and sudden starts of your ink” – A.S. Byatt. I just love that and it fits perfectly.  I find hand written letters to be something special and now I have all of these favorite items of mine in one place!

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This, That, & Everything

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I feel like I’m always saying this but, it has been way too long since my last post.  I also apologize for the random content below {basically focusing on whats been going on lately, a few new paintings, and a nomination! } While my weeks have been busy, this weekend was uncharacteristically relaxing — I rearranged my apartment a little bit, re-potted my basil, enjoyed the amazing fall weather, and had as many pumpkin spice latte’s as I could afford. Oh and I met Nicholas Sparks – *happy dance* – I went to his book signing and it was great, I read everything he writes and I can’t wait to read his new book.

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I’ve also begun a new series of watercolor paintings.  I’ve always been inspired by the many shapes and colors of chairs and I love interior spaces, so I decided to take this passion and turn it into some fun, colorful paintings.

watercolor-paintings-my-goodmoring-3decorating-update-my-goodmorning-26The idea for these came to me because I’ve been updating my apartment — trying to think of bright color combinations and what furniture would look best in my space. These paintings were a fun way to explore how everything could come together.  I haven’t used watercolors in years so I’m really excited to be getting back into them.  These are a few of the paintings I’ve done so far.

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thank-youblog award

In other news I want to thank C.C. from Sweet 16’s Country Kitchen for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award.  This is such a sweet nomination from a really cool blog, so I am very thankful that they thought of me – you should all go check out some of the awesome recipes over there. :)

The Rules for this award are —- 01. Thank the blogger who gave the award/link to their blog.  02.  Share 7 things about yourself.  03.  Give the award to as many as 15 people.  04.  Comment and tell them of the nomination.

Here it Goes:

  1. I love running – it’s addicting
  2. Whenever I get stressed out I shop and eat chocolate
  3. I love hand writing different fonts
  4. I send letters in the mail, I wish more people did
  5. I wish I lived when there were only film cameras/when architectural shoots were only done with 4×5 cameras
  6. My mind was blown when I heard about Ol’ faithful at Yellowstone, I think it’s the coolest thing.
  7. My dream is to do a photo shoot for southern living.

and the Nominee’s are:  {check em out, fo real }

1.  JustInLoveWithBerni   2.  Inky & Bright    3.   Irenekly   4.   retrolillies

Thank you all for stopping by,

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Coffee Table Makeover

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The final steps are here!  After giving my coffee table a day to dry I started thinking of a design for the top.  I knew I wanted to create something geometric so I spent some time in photoshop coming up with a design.  I thought of a million different patterns, shape sizes, and colors before finally deciding {But I’m kind of a perfectionist so its basically my favorite way to spend time}.

Below are a couple of my color choices – I ended up using the one on the right.

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coffee-table-paint-distress-22coffee-table-paint-distress-18I made stamps using an X-acto Knife to cut triangles out of linoleum that I bought at Michaels and used my tiles as a size guide { since I already knew that they would fit perfectly onto the table }.  I made the small triangle just half the size so the measurements went pretty smoothly.  Below shows how I labeled them to know which side not to paint on.

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Here are all of the paint colors I decided on and tools I used to make the design.  Using just the brush ended up working the best, it gave the best paint coverage on the stamp — you really have to put a lot of paint onto the stamp and press down hard to get it even on the wood.

coffee-table-paint-painting-one coffee-table-painting-twoAfter I had everything stamped I went back and painted in each block just to fix up the edges and make sure the color really showed up.  I also used an X-acto knife to cut off some of the paint that spilled onto the table or edges that looked bumpy.

coffee-table-paint-distress-5coffee-table-painting-threeAfter they were finished and dried I lightly went over it with sand paper just to get the top even and have some of the wood show through the paint.  The project worked out pretty well, I still need to go over it with a water based polyurethane but other than that I’m definitely enjoying it!

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Easy Way to Distress Wood

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I have finally finished my coffee table! I bought it months ago and have been planning what to do with it for – what feels like -forever.  { I guess my spring cleaning and updating began a little late…}  I was originally going to cover it with the coral and blue tiles that I painted, but I decided I wanted a different feel for my living room {I also got a little attached and didn’t want the tiles to get chipped}, so they will continue to sit on top of my dresser until a new idea comes to mind :) .

Anyway this will be a two part post — I decided to first distress my coffee table and then I’ll add a geometric design on top.  Todays post will show the beginning of my coffee table makeover and what I used to distress the wood.  On Thursday I’ll have the design completed and I’ll show my finished piece!  I’m pretty excited to finally have my coffee table done.
coffee-table-paint-distress-wood copyHere’s the coffee table before I distressed it.  I had been using it thinking I would cover it with tiles so it has a lot of rings,  watermarks, etc. on it.  But that really only helped the vintage look.  After searching the web for different stains / paint / distressing tips I started seeing a lot of people using steel wool and Vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar.  I read so many different ways to do it so I just kind of made up my own steps and prayed it worked!

I ended up combining Steel Wool grade 00, a little bit of Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar in a mason jar (you really don’t need a lot, I filled a little more than half of my jar and had tons left over).  I let it sit for about an hour and then got to it!  When it started to dry I made tea to paint on top as a stain — this helped bring out the blacks in the wood and made the table a little more brown than blue.  Check it out below!

coffee-table-paint-distress-22This is how it ended up looking after everything was dry.  The steel wool and vinegar mixture smells pretty strong, so I left it outside to dry for about an hour and it was fine!  I’m definitely going to save this distressing mixture for some more projects I’ve been planning.  I’m liking working with wood :)

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Four days of beauty

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Last weekend I celebrated my labor day weekend in Asheville, North Carolina.  I already posted some of my photos from Biltmore Estate and here are the photos from our days of camping and exploring the mountains.  Lately I have been feeling the need to get away and see something inspiring and I’m so happy I finally had the chance.  The Blue Ridge Mountains are such a spectacular place.  The trails, the waterfalls, the overlooks — it really gets you back to a place of happiness.  It’s my belief that it would benefit everyone to spend a few days in the mountains.  It’s like a reset button on stress and a chance to be reminded of how beautiful and simple the world can be.

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As I look back through these images I’m reminded of the distance of the rolling mountains and the restoration of my faith.  But, I feel these photographs don’t quite give it justice — the way it takes your breath away as you stand on the edge of a peak and feel so small compared to the untouched land that surrounds you. The way the sun shines through the clouds onto the mountains as the shadows rolls over the peaks, while your vision stands completely unobstructed by any man made stresses.  It’ a beautiful break.

I loved getting to photograph so many different types of light while staying here– because we were basically camping in the clouds, the weather would constantly go from bright and sunny, to thick fog rolling in, to a light rain and then back.  The day we drove in there was so much fog that we could only see about 10 feet in front of us.  Hiking the next day was such a surprise when we went back to that drive and saw all of the amazing views that had previously been hidden.  Below are some of the images from the weekend — exploring our campsite, cooking food over our fire, documenting some of the fun we had and the amazing things we saw.

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A Day at Biltmore Estate

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I love long weekends and this one was particularly perfect. My boyfriend just got back from seven weeks away doing pre-deployment training and this was the perfect few days to make up for lost time.  We decided to make the most of it by driving up to Asheville to camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains — I’m pretty sure it would be in everyones best interest to spend a few days in the mountains, it was so beautiful.  On Sunday we decided to go back to civilization for a bit to spend the day at the Biltmore Estate to learn some american history and do a little wine tasting.  It’s unbelievable how amazing this place was — it was the home of the Vanderbilt’s and it covers 8,000 acres of land right in the midst of the mountains, it’s the largest property in the U.S. The architecture of this building is amazing, the gardens are beautiful, the views of the mountains and the grounds are incredible, and the wine was delicious :).

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All in all my day was awesome, we got to learn all about this beautiful home and explore the property, but one day is just not enough.  If only I could afford to spend the whole weekend at the Inn on the property …..ahh wishful thinking.  I would love to go back though, maybe do some of their horse or bike trails.  I hope you all had just as wonderful Labor Day weekends.  I have many more photos from my weekend to come, maybe I’ll even have some of my film developed!

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