Monday, August 4, 2014

Touring Through Blogland

Hi all!!! I'm super excited about this post. Shonee from Hawthorne and Main asked if I'd like to be apart of a blog tour.  Just ask my kids how many times I squealed when I got the email. I thought this would be a great way to meet lots of other bloggers and a great way for readers to connect with other bloggers. Please visit Shonee and say hi for me. Her blog is so sweet with lots of great projects and recipes sure to inspire you.

So welcome to my tour, if you were really touring my home I would offer you some sweet tea of course.
I'll start the tour with my family, they are the biggest reason I do what I do.

This picture says a lot! Nolan usually doesn't want to cooperate our way, it his way or the highway. Sadie is good and does her own thing. My bigs, Lissy and Jackson are great kids!! And yes my husband is missing from the photo, he's behind the camera. With 6 of us it's hard to catch us all in the same place.
I'm sharing this photo of my husband and I because it shows how my husband loves and supports me. He is a carpenter (have I mentioned that before? hehe) so he knows how to use tools and uses them daily. I give him credit here often because without his help most of my projects wouldn't be completed. Here he is in this photo showing me how to use the saw he gave me. He had such patience with me that day and it was totally his idea for this spur of the moment lesson.

So here are my answers to the questions all of the participating blogs are answering:
1. What am I working on?
Everything!!! Ok, more specifically: Moving the blog to it's own domain is my number one priority right now. I'm so not techie so it's been difficult. Look for At Home with Sweet T's new home in a few weeks (just losing that .blogspot at the end). We are gearing up for Phase 2 of the kitchen update which will include new counters, backsplash, sink and faucet. My Tween's bedroom is in need of a major update somewhere closer to teenville and far from kidville. Since my husband has moved his workspace out of our garage and gotten his own shop, I desperately need to get some organization going out there and get my shop/studio set up. Those are the big things, I always have something going on.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I suppose my genre is a little DIY, crafty, d├ęcor right? I think everyone's answer to this question is the same, my work is different because it comes from me, from my heart and creative spirit.
3. Why do I write/create what I do?
This answer applies to question 2 as well. I do what I do because it's what makes me happy. Some things I do fill a need in my home and family. I share it here on my blog so that my work can inspire others. I don't expect every reader to create exactly what I have created the exact way I did it. For instance if my Family Command Center inspires another family to set up something similar to keep them organized then I am super happy.
4. How does your writing/creating process work?
So my creating process is all over the place. I am terrible at starting a project and then not doing anything with it for months (Right, babe). Sometimes I am creating something out of a need and sometimes it's because something has completely inspired me and I need to get my version or idea out before I can move on. I may not finish that project but just by starting it I feel better. As far as my writing here on the blog, I try to be real and write as if I'm talking to a good friend.

So the last part of the tour is to introduce you to 3 other great bloggers. These ladies will be sharing on their blogs next week, so be sure to come back here next week for the links to their blogs to see their tours. But for now go ahead and click over and say hi to these lovely ladies, be sure to tell them that I sent you.

1. Laura from Pink Cake Plate
Laura is so super sweet and loves to show her Disney side. Being a bit of a Disney lover myself that's probably why I connected with Laura so well. She has a lot of great recipes on her blog.  Warning: I think even her photos have a calorie count. ;)
2. Ann-Marie from Chaos is Bliss
Ann-Marie is busy mom to 3 cuties. She shares ways to save $$$ for family. I'm not talking coupons, she's got great tips for saving everywhere. She knows how to stretch a dollar!
3. Missi from Life is Poppin
Missi is a local (to me) gal whose life is just as her blog title says. She shares a big mix of topics from saving money to DIY to recipes. On her blog, cake pops have their own tab, check them out.

Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T!!!
(Please go visit these other ladies I've linked to in this post and show them some bloggy love)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Family Command Center Using an Old Door

Hi All!!! Finally I have get to share our Family Command Center that we made from an old door. I say Finally because this project was one of those if something could go wrong it went terribly wrong. And I say we because it was because of my husband's help that our Command Center is now complete, thanks babe!!!

Remember when I made the Photo Door? After we finished the project my carpenter husband was hired to remove and install a new door for a client. He purchased the old door from the homeowners and brought it home and it has been sitting in the garage until now. I couldn't decide exactly what to do with it, there are tons of ideas out there for repurposing old doors.
We are the least organized people I know and that really bothers me. So, in an effort to help organize this family I decided we needed a family command center and the door would be perfect for that.
Again if you follow on Instagram you saw a pic a long time ago of me scraping or sanding this door, actually I think I posted a few different times. I had high hopes of having this door done before the Dino Party and then when that didn't happen I tried to make it happen before Sadie's 1st birthday which was a crazy idea because in that 2 weeks we tore apart our kitchen for phase 1 of our kitchen update. Whew!
So here she is before
Did I mention all the scraping and sanding I did? Just for the sake of "keepin it real" here- I spent countless hours scraping and sanding this side you see up there but knew if I painted over it the whole thing would look like crap. And I hate harsh chemicals so the idea of using some sort of stripper was out. So I dared to peek at the other side and it wasn't too bad so I scraped and sanded that side for the finished project. I'm talking lots of hours wasted on the first/wrong side. That's only the beginning of the difficulties I made for myself on this project.
After I was happy with the scraping and sanding I moved the door outside, and cleaned up the glass the best I could to paint the window panes with chalkboard paint. After several coats of that I took the door inside and waited a day before removing the painter's tape. Then I taped off the black chalkboard areas to paint the door white. After the door was painted I removed the tape and here is where things went wrong again. The white paint I used for the door seeped under the tape and the tape peeled off some of the chalkboard paint. So the door had to be taped off again and the panes sprayed again with chalkboard paint. GRRR!!! I thought it would be best to do the darker color 1st but it ended up not being the right way to do it.
Even minor little hiccups seemed to make this project take way longer than it should have. After the door and the panes were painted I cleaned the door handle and plate in vinegar to make them shine. Then added wire baskets I had purchased from Pick Your Plum, printed simple labels for the baskets and it was done.
One basket is for mail and the other is for all the schedules that we have going, so they are close at hand to keep the top of the door up to date with all of the goings on here. 

I may add some knobs or hooks to the sides around the panes for keys or a leash (sob, sob). School starts next week so this was perfect timing to test it out.
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T!!!
Linking up here:
The Dedicated House

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Saving your beach treasures

The countdown is on, 1 week remaining of summer break for my kiddos. Before summer is over I wanted to get our beach finds nicely displayed in our home as a reminder of our wonderful Gulf Shores vacation.

If you follow on Instagram you saw my oldest daughter and I combing the beach one morning, early by her tween standards. 

We found a lot of pretty shells just outside our condo far up from where the waters edge was. I think the rain rinsed these off for us to find because we had walked past here several times but never saw them. 
To save all of our finds I used a glass jar at found at Hobby Lobby (half off), and vinyl from my craft stash and my Cricut. 
Cut out "Gulf Shores 2014" using the Cricut and apply to the cleaned glass jar. 
Then add your shells.
Easy but I like that I have something to set on a shelf and decorate with that has meaning and memories connected to it.
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T!!!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Jazz up a gift bag!!!

Here's a fun way to jazz up a gift bag and make your gift extra special.
Gift bag with a shiny/slick finish (not paper)
pocket removed from pants
Glue gun

This is super easy!!! I have been working on a denim project FOREVER!!! So, coming to the blog in about 10 years will be a great denim project, but for now here's a great way to use the pocket of outgrown pants or in our case pants with a hole in them. They seriously don't make them like the used to, my husband's goes through way too many pairs of jeans and they aren't they aren't that old. :(  I'm using the rest of the jeans on that other too time consuming project. I just took my fabric scissors and cut around the pocket, you want to have a pocket so cut the back with it.

Before applying the glue lay the pocket on the bag with the extra gift in the pocket to make sure you place the pocket in the right spot so the extra gift can be seen but also so it's not in the way of the handle. Then just apply glue around the edge of the backside of the pocket and some in the middle then place it in place on the bag. Allow time to dry then package your gift.

This jazzed up gift was for my daughter's bestie. I was thinking this would work for a boy as well. Wouldn't a pack of Big League Chew look good in the pocket for the baseball fan? The pocket doesn't have to be denim, I could see putting an accessory in the pocket to go with a top for a friend. Lots of possibilities!!!

I know this project is fun and cheery but I have a personal note I just wanted to add and it explains why there's been a gap in posts. This is so hard....
Our precious puppy past away earlier this week. We only had her for 2 weeks, 1 of which she was in the animal hospital. She was so sweet and affectionate that we are taking it pretty hard. She had Parvo, we thought we were doing the right thing in buying her but it turns out the person that sold her to us lied and she wasn't vacinnated at all and had already been exposed to the disease before we brought her home.  I'm am so upset that the poor little girl didn't have much of a chance. I know that she knows how much she was loved by us. Luckily she came home briefly and we were able to try to nurse her back to health, my husband was even feeding her with a syringe. I won't go into details but her last night it seemed as she was getting some energy and still trying to fight but then when we woke up she was all but gone. After we found her and while we were waiting for someone to be at the vet office I held her close to my heart and just loved her. Oh, it's just so sad!!!   Now not only are we puppy-less and heartbroken we have a nasty diesea in our home and no clear way to clean it out. So we can't have any friends or family with dogs over, and I just don't know when I will feel safe about bringing another dog into our family while we live here, I can't go through this mess again.
Here's a photo of her and my kiddos before she got sick.

Now tell me she wasn't part of our family and loved. :(
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I made a bracelet from WHAT?!?!

I have a confession to make... I HATE to throw things away. Not garbage of course but things that break or things that are outgrown, outworn, unused, or unwanted items. So basically what I'm saying is I'm a hoarder, kinda sorta. I am really proud that our family can fill our recycle trash can by the time it is collected every other week. The things that can't be recycled I hang on to if I have any thoughts of reusing or repurposing.
For instance:
These pajama pants have been mine long enough for the elastic waistband to stop being stretchy. I still wore them for a few months anyway, picture me with my t-shirt tucked in just to hold them up, yeah I was a sexy mama. Everytime I tossed them into the laundry I'd think about getting rid of them but hated being wasteful, I mean they were still somewhat wearable. HA!  Then one day as I was cleaning out the garage I came across an empty tape roll!!! As I walked the cardboard tube to the recycle bin I decided it needed to be a bracelet instead so into my hoard/save pile it went. Then the idea hit me to use the fabric from the pajama pants to create a bracelet!
 Now 2 things are getting use from my DO NOT THROW AWAY pile. I just tore the pj pants into strips and wrapped around the cardboard tube. There really wasn't a need to even use glue. As I added strips I just overlapped the end of the last strip in the inside. The last strip is tucked into the wrapped parts on the inside. Gray is my favorite color so I think I will get a lot of use out of it.
Not bad for trash huh? Ok, please tell me I am not the only one who saves things or hates to throw things away. I have way too many people in my life that don't even recycle {gasp}!!!
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T
Linking up here:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bread Tin

Hi all!!! I'm back again with another Blue Ocean Breeze project from the kitchen.  This color is really working with the kitchen and I'm loving it. Hopefully I'll still love it when Summer is over. This project is doing what I love best, upcycling/repurposing!!!
I took this popcorn tin (after we devored the yummy flavored popcorn of course)
And as you probably guessed already gave it a light sanding and then spray painted it my new favorite color.
Then with my trusty Cricut, cut vinyl letter's to spell "Bread" with the Plantin Schoolbook cartridge.
Ta da! Easy! It adds color and helps keep my counter tops from being so cluttered. And now it's obvious where the bread goes should anyone help put groceries away or clean up the kitchen. 
Do you have a bread box? a bread drawer? Where do you store your bread?
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T!

Linking up here: The Dedicated House
My Repurposed Life


Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July Fireworks Snack Mix

Just in time for your Holiday weekend I have a 4th of July Fireworks Snack Mix. I'm taking it to a family get together on the 4th and if there's any left after that we'll be snacking on it all weekend. I'm calling it a fireworks mix because the way I made it to kinda look like fireworks, just go with me on this.
Ok, before I list out the ingredients did any of you find a patriotic M & M's mix out there? I looked a few places and couldn't believe when I couldn't find it because it seems like every holiday they have a special mix out there. So, I had to eat all the yellow, orange, green, and brown ones, I mean I sorted the blue and red ones out to use in the mix. Aaanndd, did you know Dora the Explorer cereal was star shaped? What a perfect thing to throw in this patriotic snack mix. Ok here's what I used
1 cup Cheerios
3 cups pretzel sticks (divided)
3 cups Chex cereal
1 cup Dora the Explorer star shaped cereal
red and blue M & M's
1 cup peanuts
White chocolate or Almond Bark
Blue and Red Candy Melts
To make:
1. In a small bowl melt 1/2 cup of blue candy melts, dip or how ever you want to do it but coat about 1 cup of pretzels and separate the pretzels onto wax paper to dry. Repeat this for red candy melts.
2. Combine all but 1 to 1/2 cup of M &M's in a large bowl. Melt almond bark, pour over ingredients while slowing stirring. Once coated, scoop by spoonful onto wax paper to set.
3. In large bowl combine the almond bark coated mix, the remaining M &M's, and your red and blue pretzels.
Enjoy!!! Because of the Almond bark and candy melts I don't advise taking this treat to an outside in the full sun event. Luckily it's going to be a beautiful day here!!!
Happy 4th of July all!
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T!!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Family Vacation to Gulf Shores Alabama

We had a wonderful family vacation in Gulf Shores, Alabama a few weeks ago. Oh, how I miss the beach!!! Even the kids say they want to go back! I wanted to share our trip with you and highly recommend the area for your next family vacation. If you follow on Instagram you saw me post daily how awesome it was.
Pre-planning was stressful for me but here are some tips to cut down on the stress:
1. Order the guide for the area. It's full of ads basically for all the rental agencies, local attractions, restaurants and such.
2. Make a list of your needs and wants. Beach front, beach view, lagoon? Condo or house? Pool on site? Kitchen? Washer and Dryer? Location to area attractions? Things like that. I decided we needed a beach front condo with a full kitchen and washer and dryer, a pool or kiddie pool would be nice. I found all of that!!!
3. Frequent all of the rental sites and get familiar with all of the amenities each complex offers. I was able to narrow it down to a few complexes that would affordably meet our needs. I suggest using each website search tool with your travel dates. That gave me a great idea on price ranges.
4. Once you've narrowed down what units are available and will accommodate your family- CALL!!! I was able to save a few hundred dollars by calling to book because I asked what units were available at the best rates.

We loved our little home away from home. We rented through Gulf Blue Vacations, they are on site in the complex which made check in and out very convenient.

We went with the intentions of spending all day everyday at the pool or the beach. For the most part we did exactly that but we did venture out and had fun without overspending. Here are our recommended must sees:
#1 Alligator Alley 
This place was just plain awesome. It wasn't too far of a drive from the beach. They have alligators of all ages and sizes. You can pay a little extra for a cup of food to feed the alligators, which I recommend for the kiddos. I tried to share a variety of photos from our visit that would show how nice this place is. Be sure to check either online or call to find out when feeding time is, you have to see these big monsters crawl out of the water and watch the crazy guy throw food in a gators mouth from very close distance. It's CRAZY!!! The best part to me was all of those monster gators were rescued from neighborhoods or places they were causing a problems for people. I think they are living the good life there at Alligator Alley.
2. The Hangout

The Hangout is a great place to, well, hangout. We stopped here a few times, but never ate a meal here together. Our first stop there was to just check it out and of course take pics and post on IG. They have bands playing almost every night, the night we planned to check it out a storm rolled in. Bummer! The sign out front says they have a dog show every day, so we decided to check that out on Wednesday, well Wednesday is zoo day at The Hangout so we got to see a few animals from the local zoo. We never made it back to the dog show but would have liked to. The Hangout also had a breakfast event for kiddos, er I mean for your pirates and princesses. Go hungry!!! It's all you can eat breakfast foods with lots of action while you eat and a treasure hunt with goodies around the property.
3. The Gulf Shores State Park Pier
I don't advise walking to the pier!!! At least not from where were staying, pushing a stroller and walking with a 3 year old. Never again!!! I believe admission just to walk out on the pier was $2 per person, a small fee for all there was to see and do. My husband and oldest son spent a few hours at the pier one evening fishing. They had to buy fishing licenses and rent poles and purchase bait. They caught a few cat fish like fish called "Hard heads." They both enjoyed it. When we all went to the pier just for sight seeing we took our time walking to the end watching all the fishermen and checking out their catches. We saw a few guys spend 20 minutes or more reeling in some pretty large fish.
This restaurant just happened to be next to our condo complex so we dined there twice. It is great for families with smaller kids and pickey eaters. The menu has everything from grilled cheese to seafood.
5. Lulu's
We dined at Lulu's for our one big meal out. The place was fun and had plenty to do while you waited for your table. It's a great location to check out some boats, we even saw a barge go by.
Here are a few more tips that made our vacation perfect:
1. Take the beach bypass!!! There are signs, just take it. Or stay in bumper to bumper traffic for another hour or more knowing the beach is just a few miles away but you can't get there for all the other cars.
2. Pack flashlights, nets or sand shovels and buckets. Every evening the beach was full of families out catching crabs. It is lots of fun!!!
3. We saved money by taking advantage of the kitchen in our unit and cooked most meals there. I pre-planned meals and finished up my shopping list on the drive. We brought along the crock-pot so I wasn't in the kitchen cooking and cleaning the whole week. I mean it was my vacation too.
4. Zip top baggies were a must. We each had our phone in a bag so sand and water wouldn't be a problem. You don't get great photos through the bag so take it out, snap the pic and put it back. We used the baggies for shell storage as well.
5. If you have room for sand and water toys I suggest taking them. I found them much cheaper at home. I even found boogie boards at Michael's for $5 each, way better that $10+ at the beach stores.
We like going to different places when we vacation so this was a first for all of us to visit Gulf Shores. We all said we would go back!!!
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Turn a metal planter into a kitchen caddy

Hey all! I have a little project to share today that brought some color to our kitchen and is functional.
I had been looking for something for awhile to help keep the area around the kitchen sink a bit tidier.  I considered baskets or bowls then came across this metal planter that was the perfect size.

I found it at Goodwill for $2. We actually used it just as I bought it for few months. After phase 1 of our kitchen update was done I decided it was time to pick some accent colors to use. I can't decide what to call this color but Krylon calls it Blue Ocean Breeze and I love it!!!
Our cabinets are now white and the floor is gray. Phase 2 should be new counter tops, backsplash and sink. We are leaning towards black countertops. I think this Blue Ocean Breeze will pop even more after that step.

So what's in my kitchen caddy? Dish soap, drain stoppers, Magic Eraser, scrubber, a Pampered Chef scraper, and dish towel. I found the dish towel at the Dollar Tree!!! The caddy has also been the home of hand soap too. Before I had a caddy for all of this, these items were tossed in the cabinet below the sink or behind the faucet. Now its all nice and tidy.
Blue Ocean Breeze found it's way onto the lid for a pickle jar that is the new home of our dishwasher tabs. Now that I have decided on some colors I am finding lots of things to add to our kitchen.
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T!

Linking up at these awesome parties:
The Dedicated House

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sweet T Saturdays

Grab a glass of sweet tea and join me for Sweet T Saturdays!!! I'd like to connect and learn about all of you!!!

Each Saturday I will post a topic on social media. Click on the links in the side bar if you're not already following me. Join in when you can, it's ok to comment even on a different day. And I guess it's ok if you drink something other than sweet tea, just know I'm sipping it. HA! Feel free to tag friends to get them involved in our conversations too. Everyone is WELCOME!!!
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T

Friday, June 20, 2014

1st Birthday Garden Party with Birds

I can't believe my baby is 1!!! Seriously, where did the time go?!?! We celebrated Sadie's birthday with a Birdie (because everything is birds for her-her room, her clothes...) garden party.
This was the 3rd party in our house in 2 weeks AND between parties phase 1 of our kitchen remodel which involved new tile floors, painting all the cabinets white, and converting the pantry to an office space. Hello!? Call me crazy!!!

The day was perfect!!! Since I kept calling it a garden party I expected it to rain and ruin any chance of setting up outside so I was so stoked when it was a gorgeous sunny day and all the plans I had of being outside worked.
Where to start?!?! I'll start with the order that I did the projects and prep work. Like I said I planned for this to be an outside garden party feel. We were borrowing my dad's white canopy to provide some shade so I knew I would a want to break up all the white and of course girlie it up. Flower garland totally screams garden party right?

Supplies all from our local Dollar Tree:
lots of fake flowers in party colors
grosgrain ribbon
Hot glue
Bad photo, just keeping it real!!!
To make:
Pull apart flowers so you're left with the fabric part, toss the stems and centers.
Lay out ribbon on a protected surface
Squirt hot glue on ribbon then press flower into glue.
For spacing I just guessed so that the petals would either touch or overlap some. I didn't worry too much about a pattern because I didn't want to take the time to count flowers and do the math. UGH!
To hang the flower garland backdrop I just looped the ribbon around the canopy support and secured with a safety pin that way I wasn't poking holes in the canopy fabric. The flower garland provided a beautiful backdrop for the table and then as you can see from the first photo we placed our birthday girl in front of it for cake time.
Now on to he fabric garland. Easy again just time consuming. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen when I was working on this.
Still keeping it real! This was the beginning of kitchen remodel too, this house was so trashed!
4 fabrics in party colors, 1/4 yards each

To make:
Cut fabric into 1/2 inch strips.
Loop or knot fabric around the twine in chosen pattern. From the photo on the left I placed the middle of a fabric strip under the twine bringing the two ends around the twine and through the fabrics middle and pulled.
Continue until you've reached your desired length. I had plenty of fabric to make the garland that was on the front of both the food table and the Sadie's high chair tray with strips leftover (I'll show you where else I used a few strips soon.)
For paper decorations I headed to Etsy and found a party package in the right colors and of course had birds! Yay!!! Thank you Studio DeLamour for the beautiful printables. Just a tip if you ever use party printables: Print almost everything on full sheet sticker/adhesive backed paper. You can do that if you print from home or at a copy center (what I did.)
You can see some of the party printables here in the set up of the food table. The menu was Salad with grilled chicken and fruit salad. Since it was a garden party I wanted to keep it light. The jars with the salads in them were a great find a few years ago at The Christmas Tree Store, they came with the chalkboard label.
There are various salad toppings in Ball jars and a selection of dressings in squeeze bottles with labels from the party printables.
It wouldn't be a party here if I didn't serve Sweet Tea!!! Pink lemonade sounds very refreshing for a garden party. See the straw flags-printed on sticky paper so they went on in a breeze!
How cute are these Birdie watermelon pops?!?! They are super easy too!!! I used a cookie cutter on slices of watermelon then inserted craft sticks. Cute!
Now here's were I used the left over fabric strips. I just folded a strip in half and glued it to the back of the cupcake toppers from the printables when I glued them to the sticks. Do you see more matching printables? on the kisses!
You know about my love of Marshmallow pops so it should be no surprise to see them on the sweets table. I used straw flags on the marshmallow pop stick to add a little pop, HA! I wish I had a better pic of the birds nest cookies but when I realized this was the best I had the cookies were all gone. These are similar to haystack cookies.
Birds Nest Cookies:
Chow mien noodles
White chocolate/almond bark
egg shaped candy (hoarded from Easter)
1. Melt Almond bark in large bowl in microwave following package directions.
2. stir in chow mien noodles
3 drop by spoonful onto cookie sheet or wax paper and shape into nests by pressing spoon into the middle slightly.
4. add egg

Whoa this is a super long post. Oh well, it was for a super sweet 1st birthday!!! One more thing before I go...This last photo is now a birthday tradition. We did this for Nolan's 1st birthday and I loved the photo that I have done it every year for him and now we will every year we celebrate Sadie's birthday.
Thanks for stopping by At Home with Sweet T!