Hello Happy Home

I made this coffee filter wreath a few weeks before Christmas.

It's a pretty small, inexpensive project to put together, perfect for one of those times you want to craft while watching TV. You'll need:

- a foam wreath, mine was 12 or 14 inches
- coffee filters, I used two packs
- hot glue/ a hot glue gun
- decor for the finished wreath (I used a clip on poinsettia)
- ribbon to hang it
- a sharpie

Here is the wreath form and one of the packs of coffee filters I used:

I used two full packs of coffee filters, so 300 total. To make it fuller, I probably could have used a third pack, but by the time I was done with pack number two I was so over it.

You start by taking an individual coffee filter, and putting it over the sharpie, like so:

You then put a dab of hot glue on the tip, amd affix it to the wreath form. I started with the inner portion of my wreath, and worked my way to the outside:

The job went significantly faster once I started drinking spiked hot cocoa (yay for whipped cream flavored vodka!). This was the finished wreath, before decorations:

It looked great! So fluffy and poofy and happy. Before placing the final touches on it, I had to decide where to hang it. I thought my front door would be ideal, but alas, my door is white, and it didn't stand out at all. The wall in the living room was my next thought, but it didn't look quite right. I thought I'd sleep on it for the night, so I left it on the dining room table to think it over.

The next day, I awoke to this:

This indentation is approximately the shape and size of my 18 pound behemoth feline, Ray Ray. I was not pleased. It took me quite a bit to refluff my wreath, and it was nowhere near as lovely as it was the first time, so disappointing. 

I decided to place the wreath on the door leading from the dining area to the garage, after clipping on a poinsettia and some ribbon to hide the less fluffy bits:

All in all, it was a fun project to work on. It only took a few hours while watching tv, and the end result was pretty lovely (pre-cat indentation). 

The possibilities are endless, winter theme, Valentine's Day, Christmas, etc. 

I am fully onboard with the white faux taxidermy trend. My boyfriend thinks it's weird because i'm a total animal lover, and not a fan of hunting, so why would I want an animal head on my wall?

Because it's So. Much. Fun.

I saw a whole bunch of fun ideas on Pinterest that had me inspired, but the price tags were staggering. I simply couldn't justify spending $100+ on a white plastic deer head. So I did what any reasonable blogger would do, and decided to try making it myself.

I found lots of interesting ideas, from cardboard to paper mâché, but I wanted to have a "realistic" deer head. On Amazon, I stumbled upon this beauty. At the time, it was under $50. I bought some white spray paint, and eagerly awaited its arrival.

I would like to formally introduce you all to Sir Hornelius Buckingham III, as he looked upon arriving on my doorstep.

Cute, but a little too realistic.. I want to end up hanging him in a gallery wall in my living room, without making the place look like a hunter's lodge.

After a few coats of spray paint, this is how Sir Hornelius Buckingham III looks now:

Sexy, no? I am debating whether or not I want to paint his antlers gold for a fancy look. I think I may hang him up as is, for now, and see if his antlers require some extra pizzazz in a few months.

I'll post more photos once I've finished my living room gallery wall, so you can see where he ends up. 

What do you think about the faux taxidermy trend? Do you want one for your own home?

It's been far too long since I've updated my blog. I thought it would be nice to post over the next few weeks some things  I have completed in the last year. 

I have always been a paper crafter. I love tissue paper, wrapping paper, scrapbook paper. When I was younger I loved paper beads and making magazine holders out of cereal boxes. A few months ago, a new girl (that I worked with in a previously) was starting at work and I thought it would be nice to adorn her cubicle with a nice welcome banner. 

This is the final product:

I unfortunately didn't take photos of the assembly process, but this is the list of products I used:
- 12 x 12 scrapbook paper
- 8 x 12 card stock
- twine
- tissue paper

I really love the color combo on these papers, it's a gentle blue/green combination. Some close ups:

To assemble the pennant pieces, I cut 12x12 pieces of scrapbook paper in half. I then measured a triangle 2 inches from the bottom, center of each rectangle to form the indent. For the accordion pieces, I cut 12x12 pieces of scrapbook paper into 3 inch wide pieces. I think accordion folded each piece every 1/2 inch. I stapled two pieces together and formed a paper medallion. 

On top of each paper medallion, I affixed a card stock circle which gave the medallion some addition structure, as well as a card stock letter, forming the word WELCOME. :)

On each end, I made three tissue paper tassels coordinating with the colors from the banner.

The recipient of the banner enjoyed it thoroughly, so much so that she still has it up in her cubicle, months later.

Do you enjoy paper crafting? What is your crafting supply of choice?

It was incredibly difficult for me to find a starting photo for my dining room journey. I only had a handful of birthday photos with my dining set in it, so excuse the balloons and streamers, they are generally not a part of my decor.

The set was a small four seater with a glass top. Not exactly a great choice for entertaining, but it suited our needs as a couple for a very long time. I was really hoping to fill the space with a nice, beefy wooden table when I could afford one. However, Christmas was a few weeks away and I was going to be hosting my boyfriend's family. I needed a table upgrade, and quickly.

I purchased the Arcadia Extension table from World Market when they were having a 50% off sale. When extended, it can seat eight comfortably, ten if you don't mind a tight squeeze. When the extensions are removed, it can comfortably seat four to six people. There were two things I really liked about this table - the extensions were on each end instead of being in the middle, so there were no tricky sliding mechanisms when opening/closing the table. I think anyone who has had a table that splits in the middle can attest that the "teeth" can get jammed up and it becomes a royal pain in the behind. The other thing I really liked about this table were the beautiful, beefy legs!

I knew this would be a vast improvement over our current table since the metal base with the glass top would wobble at the slightest provocation. I decided to not purchase the Arcadia style chairs at World Market because I felt they were overpriced, and I could find a better value for my money elsewhere.

My extensive search for upholstered chairs began immediately and it took weeks before I found a deal I felt comfortable purchasing. I ended up buying a set of six upholstered camel back chairs on eBay for about $90/chair, shipped. I thought this was an outstanding price because even with coupons, the similar chairs from World Market were about $120 each, plus tax.

Here is a photo I took with the extensions on each end, when I was testing out different tablescapes for Christmas dinner.

Unfortunately I still have the brass chandelier over the table, but I am certainly making steps in the right direction! I was thinking of adding some floating shelves to the main wall behind the dining area to give me a nice place to add some vignettes and visual interest to the space. Another thought was a gallery wall instead of floating shelves, but I was also thinking of doing a gallery wall in the living room which is adjacent to this space, so that may be too much visual clutter. I also think it would be nice to add a big, neutral area rug underneath the table and chairs - perhaps a jute rug?

dining room

If we continue to rent this home, I would seriously consider swapping out the chandelier for a nice drum shade like I have in the inspiration photo above. I think it would add so much to the space. Of all of the rooms in my home, this is probably the one in which I have made the most progress.

Do you juggle updating multiple rooms at once, or work on one room at a time? I feel like I'm slowly updating each room in dribs and drabs, and my progress feels a little underwhelming.
This is a sad photo of my living room from a few years ago. I took this photo after I replaced the vertical blinds in the living room with a matchstick blind/curtain combination to make it feel more "homey". (We rent.)

The sofa was a $25 special from Goodwill, the end tables were a gift from a friend, along with the lamps. The "bookcase" in the corner was the top of a hutch or upper row of kitchen cubbies. Absolutely not a bookcase, and it looked utterly ridiculous.

We then made an adult purchase and bought a brand new sofa from Macy's. It was really amazing to have a sofa that no one else's behind had ever been in. It's from the Devon line and can be seen here. Macy's was great, we were able to choose the configuration we wanted, so we went with the apartment sofa with chaise. The only problem, and one I wish I gave more thought to beforehand, was that everything I had fit within a tan, earthy neutral theme and the sectional we purchased was smoke grey. Holy color clash, Batman!

I quickly purchased a new rug to go with it, a few new throw pillows and removed some of the more offensive "what was I thinking?" purchases from the living room.

That left us with this:

The living room stayed like this for about two years. How depressing, right? Between the builder's grade tan carpeting and wall color, prison grey sofa, accented with only white accessories and dark brown wood. How dull.

I decided to add some life to this room. I am still on the hunt for the perfect side chairs to accent our sectional and a few more throw pillows for the couch. I put together a mood board for where I hope to be in a few months.

Living Room

I'm also thinking of rearranging the room because as it stands currently the couch directly faces the TV. This is great for TV watching, but otherwise severely inhibits the flow of the room. I think if I move the sectional back in front of the window it will open up the living room and make it feel more roomy. Excuse the amateur hour paint graphic, but I was thinking of something like this:

Do any of you have ideas or suggestions? Any home makeover projects on the horizon? Let me know in the comments.
At my old job, I looked forward to pot lucks. I worked with a group of people who all made out-of-this-world dishes, and pot luck days were always good days. We tried to have one per quarter, and they were fun team building events.

I worked with a gal named Huma, who has a Cooking with Huma page for Pampered Chef (go visit, they have tons of neat products!), and she made this awesome taco salad. She was kind enough to give me the recipe, and I wanted to share it with you!

Here’s the recipe for Taco Salad:

1 1/2 cups diced/shredded cooked chicken seasoned with a packet of taco seasoning
1 bag of shredded lettuce
3 diced Roma tomatoes
1 20oz. can of dark red kidney beans (drained and rinsed)
6 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1 bottle of creamy Italian dressing (about ¾ of bottle)
12 crushed taco shells (as the topping)

Mix it all up in a bowl and serve. If you want the taco shells to be crunchy when people eat it, don’t mix them in until 15 minutes before. I used to bring them to work in a Ziploc and mixed them in before I put it out on the table. Also, the salad keeps fine overnight so even if you make it the night before, it’ll be just as delicious tomorrow.

 I like things to be super easy, so I bought a rotisserie chicken from the local grocery store (shortcut!). I made it the night before because I am -not- an early riser. As recommended, I crunched up the taco shells and put them in a Ziploc bag to top the dish once it was pot luck time.

Here is the final product:

My picture taking skills aren't the best, but in all honesty it's not exactly a visually appealing dish. But it is delicious! Super easy, super tasty, and good for a crowd.
When planning the bridal shower for my friend, I wanted to come up with a variety of games for people to enjoy. I wanted to be able to customize each game to go with the theme of the party so everything had a cohesive look. After tons of research and reading about different games, I decided on the following:

1) What's In Your Purse? - a great ice breaker game for people to find weird things in their purses and earn points. This was a fun way to learn about the fellow party attendees via the odd things they may have in their bags.

I made this as two per page so they weren't massive, and printed them on a nice card stock so they would be easier to write on.

2) Toilet Paper Bridal Gown contest - this is a great game, it gets people up and moving, and the bride gets to decide who made the best gown. I separated everyone into teams and they had 20 or so minutes to make the best gown from toilet paper. We had some cheaters at the party that used tape, and another team that used nail polish, but it was all in good fun.

There are no print outs for this game since it was an active one.

3) Bridal Bingo - any one who has ever been to a Bridal Shower can attest that watching the bride open her gifts is...a snooze fest. I tried to keep everyone involved by creating a Bridal Bingo game. In order to win, they had to mark off a certain pattern on the board. I think we may have done a K for Katie, or perhaps we did an X? Either way, towards the end, the attendees were battling for bingo. It was so much fun.

The actual template includes 13 different pages, two games on each page, all of which have different patterns for the bingo card. I hoped this would prevent having a ton of people win all at the same time. In the end we only had two winners so it worked out pretty well.

I think my favorite part of this game is the heart in the middle for the "free space" with the bride and groom's names.

Below I'm going to share with you my templates for the What's In Your Purse? game and the Bridal Bingo. I made both in Microsoft Publisher because they allowed me to do what I wanted with the background. Feel free to modify these to suit your own party. :)

The below are direct links to the files in my Google Docs folder. If you have any issues please leave a comment.

Bridal Bingo Template (in Microsoft Publisher format)
What's In Your Purse? game Template (in Microsoft Publisher format)

Enjoy the templates!

What are your favorite games to play at bridal showers? Or are you totally opposed to bridal shower games?