:: the greatest gift

Our greatest gift is love...


love for others...

and loving yourself...

:: peace, LOVE & hugs ::

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:: help me to know

You gift me with all the good gifts that make me the person you created me to be. Help me to know and find your will and to trust that you will help me to understand the path you call me to journey in life. Where there is doubt give me courage. Give me a heart open to your quiet voice so I can hear your call to me. Help me to know your faithfulness and help me to be faithful to that which you call to me. Amen.

:: peace, love & hugs ::
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:: ocean treasures

This is a quick post for today, 
as I'm off to have a fun procedure called a root canal.
Do the words "root canal" scare anyone else as much as they scare me?

Anyhoo, I was luxuriating in the tub this morning...
figuring I deserved at least one good thing to happen to me today.

As I looked around I started thinking about sea shells, 
and how I could incorporate them into my bathroom decor. 
I have plenty of them, they are just being used in another part of my home.
So, I'm hoping that sometime soon I'll be able to play around a bit 
and spruce up my bath with a few of these lovelies.

Nature = Free Decor

Gotta love it.

:: peace, love & hugs ::
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:: simple changes

On a recent trip to a local fabric shop I found this beautiful Ikat fabric {LOVE} and I thought it would be lovely in my master bedroom. I would like to make Euro Shams with it to replace the ones I have right now. Well, as I said I'm on a budget, and it doesn't look like I'll be able to buy this fabric right now....but....I was inspired to bring some of the lovely aqua color into my bedroom by adding these beautiful aqua ball jars to my nightstand, and to another side table by my fireplace.

This was a free fix that added some much needed color to my nightstand and side table. I finally got rid of the cheap cut glass vase that I've had for ages now filled with my very favorite white tulips. Though I'd much rather have real tulips, my fake white tulips stayed and were split up between my new jar vases....my new moto is "if I don't LOVE it...it needs to go". So off it went, to my goodwill box.

I have many projects that need doing in my master bedroom, and hopefully this year I'll be able to finally tackle them. As you can see, this chair above... an antique store find, and the side table also an antique store find are both in much need of an update...It was my intention to paint the lovely carved wood, and then either slipcover the chair or have it recovered in a lovely white or ivory fabric. I've been very inspired as of late by Miss Mustard Seed's paint & slipcovering techniques...and I'm working myself up to tackling this job all on my own. She is a constant source of wonderful inspiration, and thankfully she is willing to share her techniques with her readers. If you haven't read her blog, it is a must if you are interested in re-furbishing furniture, as this is one of her main focuses on her blog. She really is quite inspirational, and a very talented decorator. So hopefully soon I'll be inspired enough to finally tackle these jobs myself....I must admit, the thought is quite intimidating.

I hope you all are having a wonderful Monday, and this post finds you well.
Thank you also for your sweet and kind comments, they are so appreciated and are a constant source of inspiration to me.

:: peace, love & hugs ::
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:: the year of the budget

Hello everyone, so sorry for my long absence. I plan to get back to it (blogging), and I can feel the ideas finally coming back to me. My mind was definitely otherwise occupied and I had a blogging block going on for the past week. I hope you all are doing well, and have had a wonderful week. I continue to be blessed in so many ways, mostly with wonderful friends and a heart full of God's love and grace.

Today as I read my e-mails I opened up one of my favorites... Houzz. I love getting this e-mail and I always find something new to add to my home inspiration files. Well, one of the design ideas this week was how to improve your bathroom without breaking the bank. I loved it, it had me thinking about my master bath, and so many other ways to improve my home on a real budget.

Bathroom traditional bathroom

Historic Victorian contemporary bathroom
contemporary bathroom design by boston architect LDa Architecture & Interiors

IDEA {switch out your cabinet hardware}

Mt. Shadows traditional bathroom
traditional bathroom design by seattle architect Bosworth Hoedemaker

IDEA {change out your artwork}

:: This is my favorite idea from Houzz today, one I plan on implementing in my own bath very soon ::

For us, like so many others...budget has become a number one priority. I'm fortunate that in the past we haven't really had a major budget, but at the same time the realization of the money that we've actually wasted is huge. Remember when I said I have loved things, well, a lot of those things weren't always a need but more of a want. This year, I'm trying to refocus and purchase more needs than wants and in the process save money for bigger goals.

One of the tools my husband and I have found out about is a new site called Mint. Some of you may already know about it, but if you don't this is truly an amazing budgeting tool, and best of all it's free. My hubs is now addicted to tracking all of our spending, and it's really allowed us to set up budgets and priorities. It's really cool that all of your accounts are linked into one and you can see every aspect of your finances in one place, awesome, awesome tool.

We are in our seventh year in our home, and I'm finding that their are many things that are starting to need attention...it certainly has alot to do with 5 humans and 6 animals running around inside of it. However, remember...I now have a real budget, and in order to accomplish these changes I'm going to have to be really creative and stick to a budget.

So with that said, I hope to share with you some of the things I can come up with and the differences it will make in my home. I don't have anything for you today...oh wait...on second thought I do have one thing...


Nothing feels better than a fresh and clean room, and it's totally free.
Your room will feel better, and you will be filled with a sense of accomplishment.

So go ahead and clean up that space that's been bringing you down.
I'm off to do the same thing right now, so you won't be alone.
In the words of Nike


You will feel great when it's done... I promise.

:: peace, love & hugs ::
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:: a little bit of heaven

Hello sweet friends, have you wondered where I've been? Honestly, I've been doing a little bit of soul searching the past few days. I've been trying to reevaluate my life, and what is truly important to me. I was touched you see....by God.

This Sunday was the first time in quite a while that my family actually went to church, a fact that brings with it some shame. It's not that I think the only way to have a relationship with Christ is to go to church, but that absolutely is a huge part of my walk....and my walk lately has been pretty non existent.

I have to share with you Gods Grace and Love for me and my family....for when we showed up to church this past Sunday we were immediately asked to bring down the gifts (offerings) as a family during mass. What a blessing this was, and a message to us that no matter how far we've strayed that when we come back home we are welcomed with open arms and immediately brought back into the fold. We were the prodigal son, and he loved us and showered us with enormous amounts of gifts and blessings, and gave us a chance for a new beginning.

Every word that was spoken during mass that day was meant for our family and spoke directly to our hearts. Our Priest gave a homily on finding and making little bits of heaven here on earth. About enriching and blessing others lives when they come into our space, and that we have control over our space and how we want to affect those who enter it. We were all so moved and touched by his words, and we were truly filled with the holy spirit...each and every one of us.

One of the things I want to work on for myself is being happy with what I have, and finding little bits of heaven right here every day. 

For too long I've let the things of our culture be too important to me....things like having....well....more things.Treasures built up on this earth, and not the treasures built up in my heart and soul....the things I will take with me when I leave this earth, and hopefully the little treasures I will leave behind in others hearts.

It's all too easy to get caught up in the wanting.... 

We want bigger homes, we want the newest technologies, we want the newest kitchens, we want nice cars, we want to be cool and hip, we want to be fashionable, we want....we want....we want.

Sometimes we want so much that that we forget to be thankful for what we have, and the gifts that God has given us, and those are the gifts that we take with us in our hearts and souls....not the material ones we will leave behind one day. 

My True Gifts & Blessings are:



{ this includes you }



I dont' mean to say that it's wrong to want nice things, or a beautiful home, but it's so important to realize that these things don't actually bring us true happiness, they don't actually fill up our souls. Buying something new feels good for a little while, but when the newness wears off and you are left wanting more. Unfortunately our society bombards us with these messages that we need that new car for our kids to think we're cool, or our kids need this and that when what they truly need is just to spend quality time with us doing anything and nothing at all. If we can't acquire these things then somehow we are supposed to feel bad about ourselves as if we are not successful. When we fill up our hearts with God, and doing good things for others, and loving one another, well these gifts to ourselves keep on giving and fill us up for the long run. Our true treasures are within our hearts.

Forgive me if I sound too preachy, but I do care for you, and I appreciate you, and I want everyone to be happy just as I want to be happy. God wants us all to know his love and peace. This message may not be for you, but it is for someone out there who needs to hear it today.....it certainly was what I needed to hear, and I'm so thankful for Gods love, understanding, and forgiveness.

I'm not a perfect person, nor will I ever be, but thankfully God loves me flaws and all....He loves you too. We are all blessed that his door is always open, and he will always listen, and he knows what we need without us even asking.

I hope you all are having a wonderful week, and I appreciate and love each and every one of you. I have met some of the most amazing people through this blog, and I'm truly blessed.  Thank you so much for visiting with me.

:: peace, love & hugs ::
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:: feature friday

Today, I want to share with you the amazing work of my sweet friend Amy Perrotti. Amy and I went to design school together, and she is a fabulous illustrator. Amy creates her amazing artwork digitally and has mastered color and detail, her mastery shows in each of her intricate designs.  I love the whimsy and fun her artwork exudes, and I am a huge fan of her matryoshka girls...aren't they the cutest things. 

So take a moment & hop on over and visit Amy at her Etsy shop and show some love for this amazing artist. I know you will love her and her work as much as I do.

Happy Weekend

:: peace, love & hugs ::
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:: a problem

I've come to realize that I have a slight problem....I love stuff....art and craft stuff to be exact. I admit it...I'm a supply addict. I have more craft and art supplies than one person could possibly need. Honestly I couldn't make enough stuff in 10 years to use up all of the supplies I have....

a problem.

I love to see things collected all together like these lovely embroidery floss & bobbins...aren't they so pretty...

a problem.

Look at all of this yummy color coordinated fabric. I don't even sew....but I had big plans for every piece....

a problem.

Knitting needles galore, every size, color and material...though I knit more than anything, I haven't even used half of these needles. They sure are pretty displayed together....

a problem.



a problem.


Buttons & baubles...

a problem.

Brushes & scissors...

a problem.

More colored pencils,  and this is just the tip of...

a problem.

It's especially a problem when it comes time to organize the old studio space. Eek, I think this stuff breeds when I leave the room. So, as you can see this is what I'm doing trying to do this afternoon....organize my over abundance of art & craft supplies. I guess it's a pretty good problem for a crafty person to have...unless of course you are like me, and have a problem finishing the projects you dream up....leaving you with nothing but more supplies.

One of my new years resolutions was to make something every day, and as of right now I'm failing miserably. 

So please send some crafty mojo this girls way so I can use up some of my ever multiplying art & craft supplies.

:: peace, love & hugs ::
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:: call me

Hi Everyone. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Weekends are almost always wonderful for me, because I usually spend it doing absolutely nothing except what I think is relaxing and fun. So if you wonder why you never see me post on the weekends, that would be why. I like to spend that time with my family, and consider the weekends their time. Sometimes there will be occasions where I can't help but post about something if it's super awesome, but most of the time I won't be here on the weekends.

Anyhoo. I want to share with you my thrifty find for today. A "new to me" vintage style Pottery Barn phone found today at a local consignment shop. I'm always in search of a cool corded phone for my keeping room desk because around here you can NEVER find a cordless phone. Nevermind that we have 5 handsets, enough for every floor and then some....they disappear like nobody's business. Do you have this problem in your house? Well, it drives me crazy and I've had enough. This is my solution...the great thing about this phone besides that it was a good deal is that it's got all of the modern features we needwith an awesome retro/vintage style which I love. I couldn't be more pleased with this find, and it works great...it even has a nifty little drawer on the front for a little pad and pencil for messages.

So....feel free to call me because now I'll be able to find a phone to answer. Woot Woot.

I also want to take a moment to thank all of my wonderful followers for visiting me and reading my posts...the good...the bad...and the ugly. I'm so thankful to have you here, and I appreciate every comment and visit more than you can know. So...

Thank You
from the bottom of my heart

:: peace, love & hugs::
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:: Oh Clementine

Oh Clementine I love you so....

I give you a home in a basket with my favorite tea kettle, and in return you put a smile on my face each morning.Your exciting and bright color, and of course your sweet juiciness all bring a brightness and joy to my day.

I won't take you for granted or waste any part of you, for when I've peeled away your skin to reveal your fleshy goodness I put you here in a little pedestal bowl.

When I introduce you to cinnamon & cloves and give you all a simmering bath, you return the favor by filling my whole home with a scent of.......well.....


I know, you must think I'm the biggest goof ball if you're reading this...but when I was a little girl my mother would always save our orange peels and simmer them on the stove with cinnamon & cloves...so this scent always reminds me of home. My grandparents would also keep a basket of clementines in their living room around this time of year and I would always enjoy them when I would visit. So for me there are many reasons to love a clementine. Thanks for indulging my silly Ode to Clementines.

Happy Friday my sweet friends.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

We have snow in our forecast...my fingers are crossed that it will.

There's nothing more beautiful to me than snowfall.

Hugs xoxo Carrie
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:: playing designer

For years now, I've thought about going back to school for interior design. I love to decorate & over the years I've helped all of my friends buy furniture, fluff and rearrange their homes, I've even helped in their friends homes...but I've never actually gotten paid for my help. 

Well, that's all changed now. I've officially gotten paid for my first real design job. My new friend/client is a client of my husbands, and friend of his sister's who suggested that she give me a call. She's a real sweetheart, a busy working mom who needed some help decorating her house. 

I first thought I would be going over to help do more of a fluff job, but nope...this is full on bottom up decorating job {yee}. Before the holidays we picked out flooring & a wall color, and over the holidays she had her new flooring installed, and she had everything painted. I've helped her pick out a new Sofa, rug, entertainment center, coffee table, side table, and an adorable phone table for her kitchen. We still have the kitchen, dining room, and master bedroom to buy for. It can be hard to stay on track with so much to do, but I'm trying to let her see one room put together at a time.

This is the room I laid out today in photoshop. { please excuse any wonky pictures & bad perspective } 

No...I don't plan for the chairs to be facing this way, crazy huh. In the end they will be facing the sofa for a comfy cozy conversation area. I need her to see what the chairs I'm thinking of for the space will look like with everything else. I also wanted to give her a good visual of what her room will look like once we get some accessories and curtains up.

Here's another version with a different set of chairs and a swing arm lamp instead of the coral based lamp {which I love}. Man Oh Man, the hardest thing is not turning around and buying all this great stuff for myself. Luckily though I get to live vicariously through her. Not to say that some rooms around here aren't on my agenda this year ; ).

Here's the living room before. Her house was under a good bit of construction when I first started, she had popcorn ceilings replaced, and the walls were being repaired and smoothed out, you can see here she still had her carpeting down. {we had already purchased the rug and coffee table before I remembered to take pics }

Here's where we are today. So you can see this is the image that I added my furniture and accessories to. Now, I'm not the best at Photoshop layouts yet , so some of my items in the first image are probably a little out of proportion, and the perspective is off too, but I still think it will give her a good idea of where we are going.

Now you know...best laid plans and all. The room may not end up looking that much like the first pic, it just depends on if we purchase the items I have pictured, and of course whether or not she even likes what I've put together...so we shall see.

Anyhoo, this is what I've been up to lately, and it really feels good to have a somewhat real job again. We'll see if it leads to more. I think I could get used to this. 

Hope you all have had a wonderful week so far.

:: peace, love & hugs ::
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:: just because

Just because I love green apples. Sorry, I don't have anything super exciting to post about, unless grocery shopping and cleaning out my pantry is considered exciting. Well, maybe to some...especially when it ends up looking like this. Ahhh, I love me some organization.

Organizing the pantry is an ongoing process for me. I organize & get everything looking somewhat pretty, and then my family shoves everything in front of what I've organized in whatever empty spot they can, and the whole process begins again. Ahh...The life of a pantry. Now by no means is this my dream pantry, but hey, I try to make do with what I have.

I guess I'm like a lot of you out there, I'm having some strong nesting urges happening this time of year. After the holidays it seems that everything needs some refreshing & de-cluttering. That said, you can probably expect more of these types of posts from me in the next couple of weeks months...heck I'll probably be doing this until time for spring cleaning. Let's face it the cycle never ends....Oh if only I could live in a photograph.

I have plans for many new projects this year {bringing them to fruition will be the challenge}. Since tackling Miss P's room, I feel I can take on much more around my house {at least upstairs where the ceiling heights are manageable} and believe me many spaces need updating after 7 years. For now though, I'm going to link up to The Lettered Cottage with Miss P's apartment reveal. This was by far my favorite project of 2010. I really feel like I pulled off a pretty cute look, and on a decent budget too.

You can read more about the big reveal here. Then you can go here for the before photos, I think it's a pretty significant improvement from where we started. I cringe at those before photos and feel like I need to defend myself and the pink {eek}.

:: peace, love & hugs ::

The Lettered Cottage

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:: If only

If only I had one of these lovely little wood stoves in my studio 
I would be able to visit with you more often.

A cute little wood stove like this would make my blogging life so much better...
it's quite small and as you can see it fits quite nicely with modern interiors.

Have I ever mentioned how cold my studio is???

Or that I hate being cold.

Seriously the 80's are good for me,

and no, I don't mean the 1980's

....been there done that.

I mean E I G H T Y degrees....inside.


If I had one of these little lovelies, 

it would be like being on a tropical island in my studio.

A little bubble of heat would be perfect for me.

A warm cocoon, a cozy little nest.

Darn it, why didn't I think to ask Santa for one of these...
then I would be able to type away till my hearts content.

Happy New Year....Hope you are warm & cozy wherever you are.

:: peace, love & hugs ::

{ images 1, 2, & 3 }
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