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Monday, August 8, 2022

Bedroom Design Tips


1. Curtains make a huge visual impact.  The curtains behind my bed are covering up 1 window and a lot of wall.  From a practical standpoint - it's unnecessary!  From a design standpoint, it is everything.  It provides symmetry and a backdrop for the bed.  All my curtain rods were hung at the top of the wall, as close to the ceiling as I could get.  This adds height to your room and gives the room a sophisticated feel.  My curtains were from Kohl's, but the ones below from Amazon are similar.  

 2. When you're designing in a neutral color palette, texture is everything.  My curtains have a linen texture.  The lamps have a texture.  The upholstered headboard, pillow shams and throw pillow all have texture.  The throw blanket was chosen for it's texture.  In a corner you don't see, I added a coiled rope laundry hamper.  Even the artwork I designed was all about texture.  I made this using an inexpensive canvas and joint compound.  The other thing is - don't be nervous if everything is not the same shade.  In this room, I have the range from greige to white to ivory to linen and I was nervous that the different shades would be disharmonious, but in reality, it all works together.  Tone on tone neutrals.

Similar art at Amazon:

 3. Scale.  There were lamps that I really loved, I ordered them (from Walmart, surprisingly) and I really wanted them to work, but they were diminutive on my night stands.  The pic on the left uses "See it in your space" technology from Target, but that's about how the lamps looked.  

My lamps are from Target, but these from Amazon are similar and a great deal!


 4. Storage.  To the extent you can, "Marie Kondo" your items.  Then figure out what furniture or system you need to keep your room picked up all the time and work that into your design plan.  The storage cube system I got from Target contains:  gifts that I've bought, books/journals, a neck massager, cards/paperwork/candy, items to get rid of, and upcoming projects.  Before realizing I needed storage for these categories, they were in piles around my room.  Even if it doesn't stay perfect, it's important to have a place that everything is supposed to go.

5. Layers.  This is where things get expensive, but it's also what makes a room feel luxurious.  And it doesn't have to happen all at once.  My main window has a double curtain rod, with sheers behind the curtains.  All of that adds another texture and another layer.  Practically, they allow light it while giving some privacy.  On the bed, I have my regular pillows, 2 euro pillows and a lumbar pillow.  I have a super textured throw blanket for the end of the bed.  And I just bought a "summer throw blanket".  I haven't bought a rug yet, but that adds another layer to the room.  Also I've thought about getting some type of basket to put under my nightstands.


 6. Lighting.  Two lamps on either side of the bed is classic.  If you need the surface of your nightstand and feel like a lamp would take up too much room, wall sconces or mounted lights are good.  I found technology to help me with lighting and it has made me so happy!  I bought a "smart plug" that my two lamps are plugged into and I can control them via an app of my phone.
They are scheduled to come on in the evening and then I use the app to turn them off when I go to sleep.  

7. Accessories.  I don't find it necessary to overly accessorize a bedroom.  It is important to have a natural element - a plant (live or faux) or flowers (live only).  Beyond that try to add necessaries that serve a purpose.  If you take rings off right before bed, add a cute dish on your nightstand.  If you like candlelight, add a candle. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Bedroom Design

Before and After

I've lived in my house for several years now and the one room I have put no effort into has been my bedroom.  For the last year, I noticed I was waking up with a sore back or neck and then I realized my mattress was 15 years old and that it was time for an upgrade.  I considered buying online, but without being able to test it out - I didn't want the hassle of it not working.  I put off going to the store, but eventually I did.  

I wanted a queen size bed.  I wanted a comfortable mattress. I wanted a big upholstered headboard.

I also knew I didn't have adequate storage in my bedroom and it often became a catch-all for when I wanted the living room clean.

I also knew I was drawn to neutral, serene color palette for bedrooms, full of textures.

I put together a design plan in Canva and it definitely helped guide me.

I had my tape measure out every night!

Before (messy and at it's worst!)





1.  If you're not sure exactly what you want, start a Pinterest board and pin anything that looks or feels like you want your room to look/feel.  It may be a kitchen, but you like how the black and white contrast.  Once you've pinned long enough, you'll start to see a pattern, start to get a feel for what you want and start to pinpoint what's important to you.

2. Use Canva (it's free) to help you visualize your design.  While you're shopping on your phone, screenshot the items you're considering.  Then crop around them and upload them into your Canva image.  It really does help you make decisions.  

3. Follow my blog for the next post - Bedroom Design Tips!

Monday, June 27, 2022

4th of July Charcuterie

 Fourth of July is a week away and you have just enough time to plan the perfect snack - a red, white and blue charcuterie board!  I saw several ideas on Pinterest and made my first charcuterie Board and I just loved how it turned out!  I wanted every food on the board to be red, white or blue.  I wanted everything to be something we liked.

Here are the things I ended up with:
red grapes
club crackers
a mix of peanut and peanut butter M&Ms in red, white and blue
slices of pepper jack cheese, cut into star shapes with cookie cutters
red vines
gouda cheese 
(I wanted cheese that looked more white than yellow and did some research and found it's mild and tastes similar to cheddar, so I thought it was a perfect option)
blue corn tortilla chips
red pepper, sliced into sticks
cream cheese with red pepper jelly on top
4th of July Lofthouse cookies

A few other food ideas that I had, but let go were cherry tomatoes, dried cranberries, marshmallows, star shaped cookies (the kind with red or blue sprinkles on top), white powdered donuts, ranch dip, apple slices (or apples cut into stars).

I just had a medium sized cutting board to work with, I kind of wished I had a bigger one.  I think these look like really nice options: 

But once I had everything on my work surface next to me, I just started adding things to the board - it was easy to put it together.

Patriotic plates and napkins from Dollar Tree!

Everyone really enjoyed it!

Monday, April 4, 2022

Castle Backdrop

I wanted to create a photo backdrop for my niece's Knights and Princesses Birthday Party - so I went to Pinterest and the Internet at large and found about 3 tutorials and 10 images - way less than I expected - on how to make a piece of cardboard look like a castle.  

So I'm going to add my experience, so there will be 4 tutorials out there!  

$ -                     Very inexpensive, I'd say under $10

Materials -        Easy to find - posterboard, paint, foam brushes all from Dollar Tree

Skill -                Very easy, once you know the process

Time  -              This is the biggest hindrance - it took a bit to do a multi step process to a bunch of                                 posterboard

Result -             Great visual impact, looks a lot like a castle!

This was a large, heavy piece of cardboard that came with a piece of furniture - saved in my garage for just such an occasion!  I painted on a door, using mostly brown paint, and then some streaks of black, blended in.  That gives it dimension and makes it look more realistic.

My laboratory, where I mixed up paint

Step 1 - paint gray all over .  If I had more planning, inclination, I would've done this step with spray paint.  Kind of a medium gray, this will serve as the "mortar" between the stones.

Step 2:  Make a template for your stones out of cardboard.  I think mine was approximately 4-6.5 and I rounded the corners.

Step 3:  After the gray dries on the paint, trace your stone template in staggered rows, leaving 1/2 - 3/4 gap between bricks and rows.

Step 4:  Using black paint, paint an L shape down the left side and bottom of each rectangle you traced.
Using white paint, paint an L shape down the right side and top of each rectangle shape.
Then in the middle use a wet sponge to try to blend the two colors in the middle of each rectangle shape.
When you're right in the midst of it - you don't see how it's going to look like a castle.  It looks black, white and gray, messy.  Don't worry!

Then you let it dry and take a step back and realize - hey, that looks like a castle wall, it looks full of dimension, it's kind of amazing - I did that with paint!  I need to do a bunch more...

For around the door, I cut from cardboard (aka Amazon boxes) rectangles that were about 6x2 inches and did the same painting technique.  For the curved parts of the door, I just cut those in half and then glued them all around the door.

My nieces and nephews in front of the castle!  ♥♥♥♥♥  I added a wrapping paper tube with a flag for the birthday girl!

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Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Valentine's Day Gift Baskets

I love putting together gift baskets.  Especially themed gift baskets!  This is the one I did for my sister Jordan for Christmas last year.  The theme was "Jordan".  I included a bunch of her favorite things!  

I put together some ideas for a Valentine's Day Gift Basket! Then see my list of gift basket tips below!

For Kids: 1. Basket 2. Pixy Stix - Perfect to stand up in the back of the basket 3. Kids Heart Socks 4. Magic Scratch Hearts: I can tell you from personal experience, these are fun to do! 5. 3D Fidget Stress Ball Heart Shaped: I can't tell you why, but they will love this  6. Metallic Markers: They will love markers that are different than their usual ones! 7. Tall Valentine's Themed Memo Pads (to use their markers on!)  8. A super soft, cute stuffed animal holding a heart 9. Flashing Light Up Heart Necklace 10. Valentine's Day Punching Balloon 11. Get these as filler for the basket 12. Lots of candy!


For Her:

Here are a few tips:

1. Find a basket at Goodwill - they always have a great supply!

2. Put something in the bottom of the basket, so your items set higher.  A small box, crumpled up paper - whatever you have that works (and can be tossed).  Then put tissue paper over the base item.

3. Arrange items by height, taller things in the back - small things up front.

4. Add a cello bag to keep everything contained and to make it look professional.  

5. When buying items - look for things that are cohesive - that go with the theme and are visually cohesive - for the kids basket, I went with fun/colorful/hearts theme and for the ladies basket I went with red/comforting/luxury.

6. Tie it up with red tulle ribbon - that's one of my secrets of gift wrapping!  It looks amazing and it's easy to work with.

If you do a gift basket for Valentine's Day - post a pic on Instagram and use #LPGiftBasket  - I'd love to see it!

Monday, January 3, 2022

I Spent 2021 Encouraging the People Around Me

Last year, one of my New Years' Resolutions was to encourage others.  It's been one of the few resolutions that I diligently kept and it has been amazing!

I also chose a theme verse to keep me focused on encouraging others. In recent years, the theme verses I've chosen have really been an expression of what is going on in my life, what I want to work on and has given me an overarching spiritual focus for that year.  

The year before I bought my house, my theme verse was "the Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8  And I felt the Scripture come alive - I felt God going before me in every step of the scary and overwhelming task of buying your first house.  

Then I had trouble adjusting to living in a house by myself and trouble sleeping. So my verse was "In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety." Psalm 4:7-8

And then a year after my Dad died and I felt like my heart and spirit were still broken, I chose this one, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." Ezekiel 36:26

This is the verse I chose for 2021 (and the first note you received from me if you were one of the people I chose to encourage!).

Here was my Process:

At the beginning of January, I decided to encourage one person for two weeks at a time.  Then I made a list of 26 people "around me".  It included family members, co-workers, a boss, a neighbor, friends from college, and "Friends on Facebook".  Once I had a list of 26, I prayed that each person be encouraged at just the right time.  Then I assigned each person a number and opened a random number generator tool online.  

At the beginning of the two weeks I gave each person the card with my theme verse and wrote on the back, explaining that this verse stood out to me because with the pandemic and election and everything going on in the world, we've all had a lot to endure and that I wanted to spend the year encouraging the people around me.  I let them know I'd be praying for them and finding ways to encourage them.

Then I would look for ways to encourage!  I tried to do a mix of encouraging with words and gifts.  I sent notes or posted on their social media.  I sent emails.  I did a chalk obstacle course.  I gave gift cards.  I baked bread and delivered it.  I sent packages.  On Cinco de Mayo I left a miniature piñata filled with Vegan candy on a co-worker's desk!  

Here's What I Loved About It:

1. I LOVE planning, making lists, thinking ahead, being prepared, etc.  I bought a special planner just for the purpose of planning my encouragement for each person.  It really made me happy!

2. I also love gift-giving, really thinking about what would make the recipient happy.


3. It kept my focus on others.  

4. It pushed me to pray for others.

5. It allowed me to live out a Biblical principal.

6. I hope it was a seed planted for non-believers.  In a modern workplace - it's  scary to share your faith and hard to find a way to go about it.  By giving the card with my theme verse to each person, I explained the "why".  Why did I do this - I'm trying to live out my faith.

7. It pushed me outside of my comfort zone.

8. It brought me joy.

9. It gave me a new connection with each recipient - strengthened our friendship and gave us a new memory together.

10. I received an unusual amount of money, gifts, gift cards, cookies, kindness, flowers and notes this year - I know some were connected to my encouragement, but I also believe they were blessings from God, to encourage me, while I was trying to encourage others.

Here's What I Didn't Love About It:

There were some opportunities to encourage others that I missed doing because I was focused on this project.

It got expensive.

Sometimes I felt like it made people uncomfortable to receive so much focused encouragement at once.

Reactions From Those I Encouraged:

I experienced a range of responses.  I noticed kids I encouraged fully expected good things and had no trouble accepting them.  Grownups sometimes asked, why me? or why are you doing this?

Some people reciprocated gifts or gave me a thank you gift.  

Nearly everyone said thank you.

I loved when people shared with me how my encouragement affected their day or how it was really needed at this time in their life.

I Loved when people told me that the experience made them want to find someone in their lives to encourage.  

I LOVED when people told me this made them read their Bible or pray or share Jesus with others.

Encouragement Ideas:

I highly recommend encouragement as a resolution and it can take any form you choose!  Here are some ideas you could try:

*Encourage 1 person a month.  Maybe choose 4 prayer topics for each week.  Or try a different encouragement method each week - words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service and quality time.

*Choose 1 family and encourage them throughout the year.  Use holidays as a reminder to do something for them.  

*Find a college kid you know (maybe a friend's child or someone from your church) and send them mail every week.  Add a care package or gift card once in a while!

*Choose "friends on Facebook" and pick a few people you see on Facebook all the time, but have lost a personal connection with them and re-connect.  "Like" their posts, send them a message, comment on their photos, post on their wall.

*Encourage anonymously in your city - the easiest way is to pay for people behind you in a drive-thru line.  Call a nearby school and give them your credit card # over the phone to pay for kids school lunches.  Call your library and pay for random people's fines.  Leave money near meters or vending machines.  Have pizza delivered to a police station, firehouse or hospital.

*Choose a child to sponsor from Compassion International.  I sponsor Nilda and it really does bring me joy to correspond with her, try to share my faith with her and to think that I may be making a real difference in her life.

Overall, I recommend encouragement as a New Years Resolution!  



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