Month: June 2011

  • Mary Kay Special #5!


    I’m feeling a bit slightly distracted…

     I spent ALL DAY yesterday with this wonderful man, celebrating six years together!

    My head is still in the clouds… :)

    celebrating 6!

    [self-timer = provides spectators with great amusement]

    I have many more pictures, but I’m dancing about the ground today and I keep thinking back of yesterday and smiling… :) My dear friend, Linda, kept the girls for 12 hours while Ben and I went out and just played all day! What an amazing friend she is!

    It’s been six years together, and I say honestly that we have never loved each other more than now!

    Ben is God’s greatest gift to me, outside of salvation, and I am so thankful for him! His greatest strengths are my greatest weaknesses, and I realize more and more all the time how much I desperately need him in my life!

    Here’s cheers to many more for us! :)



    Well, this is the finale’!

    Thank you so much to those of you who have purchased Mary Kay products through the month of June! I am so grateful to all of you, and I have to say, it has exceeded what I ever expected! So thank you, thank you! Many of you have been people that I don’t even know in real life, but who have been following my blog, and your support [for Ellerslie] is very special! A huge, heart-felt thank you!

    The last and final special is:

    These come in 3 sizes, and I absolutely them for organizing the Mary Kay makeup!
    They are a magnetic system, so there is no fear of opening the compact and your makeup falling and shattering all over the floor! Your brushes might fall out, but not your shadows and powders! :)   I love this new system!

    [small - Compact mini]
    [makeup not included :) ]

    [medium - Compact]
    [makeup not included :) ]

    [large - Compact Pro]
    [makeup not included :) ]


    Brushes & Applicators

    [brush set]

    [eye color/concealer brush]

    [liquid foundation brush]


    all other brushes and applicators,


    the Travel Roll-Up Bag!



    All of these products mentioned are 20% off from June 25-30, and there is free shipping as well!

     look more here! and search under the ‘makeup’ tab at the top of the page.


    Wishing you a lovely rest of your weekend!



  • Yard Sale & Special #4


    It’s Monday afternoon. And I am SO happy to have the weekend behind us!

    It was a fun, busy time – a lot of events going on with Ben’s family because of a lovely girlfriend brought around by his brother, and then preparing for the yard sale Saturday, early mornings & late nights…

    The yard sale was something we had been dreading and looking forward to at the same time.

    Dreading because of ALL the work that goes into something like that…
    …the purging of the house
    … the cleaning out of cupboards and drawers and closets, and, worst of all, attic
    … the hours spent organizing and pricing and cleaning various articles
    … remembering to put the ad in the paper by Monday morning
    … remembering to get a permit, lest the police shut down our yard sale (this actually happens here!!?!)

    [the signs my neighbor, Lauren, and I made ~ and it was so fun the day of the yard sale when people told us they came because they saw our signs, and knew it had to be a nice yard sale with those kinds of signs!]

    yard sale 1

    [cute yard sale signs inspired by Janelle! she does everything with such beauty!]

    And very much looking forward to it because…
    … of all the families that were participating (neighbor, church friend, Ben’s sister, Ben’s brother & wife, and us)  and how fun that would be! (5 in our front yard, plus two more families in the neighboring yard)
    … after all the work, hoping for a successive sale!
    … of a little bit of money made from all the work
    … of HOW CLEAN the whole house would feel after all the STUFF was taken OUT!
    … of making cute little signs, and hoping that would draw people, regardless of whether the newspaper printed an entirely different address for our ad

    [my daughters got a hold of a paintbrush the day of the sign-making... thanks to Lauren for capturing the moment. :)  if it's not markers, it's a paintbrush!]

    girls paintings


    This is the 3rd house we’ve lived in in our 6 years of marriage, and each house keeps getting smaller and smaller. :) Since our 1st house five years ago, I’ve been saving things – decor, books, a lot of different household articles, just hoping for the one day that I’d live in a house that would hold them all!

    I finally came to the realization that that day is a long way off, and it would be much better to live clutter-free in my present house, with two closets to its name, than to have an attic full of things that would never make it down the stairs. So, we sold a dining room full of stuff! Nice stuff! Stuff I liked! But I have other stuff I like better. :) So the nice stuff was sold so I could keep the stuff I loved!

    [the sign as people walked into the yard]

    yard sale 2

    I have no pictures at all from the entire day. Sadly.
    But our front yard was a blur of activity from 6am to 12pm.
    The rain that had poured the past three nights held off.
    Even the sun hid behind the clouds until noon, gracing us with a pleasant day instead of melting us.
    And in that time we went from a dining room full of boxes down to four little boxes that fit in the front of the truck!!
    And the other people that participated almost completely sold out as well! We were all so excited!

    I do think everyone felt very pleased – the yard sale vendors, for getting rid of things that were not needful, and the buyers, to find a yard sale where people were selling NICE things! :) [that is not common in this area: many yard sales here sell things that should really be in the trash).

    I'm SO glad it was all over! Sunday night I was so exhausted fromt he weekend I actually felt ill. Today has been laaaaaazy. But I think we earned a few extra hours of sleep this morning after getting up at 5:30 on a SATURDAY morning. :)

    And that was our weekend........ :)



    The Mary Kay special for June 20-25 is:


    [NouriShine Lip Gloss]

    [Creme Lipstick]

    [Tinted Lip Balm Sunscreen]

    and all other lip products,

    as well as



    Personal recommendations:

    I love the NouriShine Lip Glosses ~ they add a bit of color and shine, and are easy to apply [even without a mirror - a necessity for this mother! :) ]. I like the Cream & Sugar, Fancy Nancy, Starry, & Gold Rush.

    And my favorite perfume from Mary Kay is the Bella Belara ~ a lovely fragrance without being overpowering. This also comes in a shimmer lotion, shower gel, and small purse-sized fragrance wand.

    Just my favorites. :)

    All LIP products and FRAGRANCES [mens & womens] are 20 percent off from June 20-25, and there is free shipping as well!

    You are welcome to visit for more information and selections!


    ~all proceeds from Mary Kay are going toward our fund for Ellerslie, October-December of 2011]


    And I must be off – it’s 3:40pm and I still can hear two little girls bouncing in their beds, no nap yet taken… :)





  • Sewing Projects 101.

    It’s late. 12.:04am late. I’ve been working for the past 5 hours straight on yard sale things, preparing for our big 7-Family Yard Sale at our home on Saturday. I’m probably 75% of the way finished. :} I haven’t been pricing things the whole time – most of the time, actually, has been up in the 200 degree attic. Clearing away things in there that we thought we could fit in this house. We were wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

    Yes, I’m embarrassed by all the things we have – and I even had a yard sale last year before we moved!
    Living in a smaller house definitely is causing me to now be more ruthless and just get rid of things that we aren’t using, and won’t use in the near future.

    Ridiculous how much “stuff” was upstairs in a little un-airconditioned landing, cause an unnamed person to be covered in perspiration from head to toe within minutes. I was ruthless in getting rid of things – if it’s been upstairs a year and I haven’t missed it, I’m not keeping it. Well, I only kept two things. :)

    Even Zoe has been talking about “getting rid of stuff” – her stuff! Which is amazing, because she is Pack-Rat 101. We save, save, save, and then we save some more. I’m happy that some of the purging is rubbing off on her.

    Except, wait, it wasn’t rubbing off. It was only talk. As the boxes were being brought down the stairs, into the air that was 50 degrees cooler (I’m being generous with my estimates), the girls thought Christmas had come, and went through every box and bag, finding “treasures” that I was hoping were never to be seen again.

    “Mommy!! You were going to sell my PETS!” Zoe told me emphatically, after discovering some stuffed animals that I was hoping to hide from their sight and begone forever. Pets, huh? Now that IS sentimental. And emotional attachment. How dare I get rid of PETS?

    Now, I’m exhausted after a busy day, but I also need to wind down, so I’m going to attempt to finish this post that I started yesterday. Posts usually take me at least a day or two. :)


    Let me just interrupt this post briefly to share some breaking news:

    I’m the only sibling out of six that is in the United States at the moment!
    My two brothers are in Canada,
    two of my sisters are in Cambodia for 3 months,
    and my other sister has been touring Paris and Italy the past two weeks.

    Soo, while my sister is dreamy-eyed and touring Italy,
    and my brothers sing sonnets,
    and my sisters love on poor children in Cambodia,  
    I sit at home and sew. :)
    Ha, that sounds like I’m having a hard time, but really, I’m so excited for all of them!

    Especially when Jana shows us pictures like this:

    [Venice, Italy] {yes, this is a real picture that she took! slay me!}

    or this [Paris on a Rainy Night]:

    I’m not sure which of these two I like the best, but they are definitely my favorites from her trip so far. 
    Romance just oozes out of them!
    I think Venice, especially, is a small glimpse of what Heaven is going to be like. :)
    At least parts of Heaven.
    I think Heaven will be a creative mixture of the best of the world as we know it.
    Only, infinitely better. I can’t wait!

    Seeing pictures of Venice has me thinking… If Venice, a mere man’s creation, is so unbelievably beautiful and breathtaking, how much more beautiful and break-taking will Heaven be, created by God Himself? It’s unfathomable!

    I’m thinking also of living intentionally, with purpose. My sisters are writing on a blog while they’re in Cambodia. Both of them are incredible writers, with hearts fully of love for God and love for others… You can follow them here.

    On to the Sewing Projects. My sewing projects have nothing to do with Venice, for that matter. But Venice has had me thinking of heaven. And until I get there, I want to embrace my life right now, the life God has given me! Little sewing projects and all!

    Being very much inspired by baileyandme2, inanorchard, and fruitloops in the past few months by all their genius sewing projects, I decided to put my hand to the plow and be brave enough to try the [frightful, daunting] attempt to make clothing for my little girls.

    I’ve done quite a bit of projects around my home. Window panels, pillows, and such like.
    But clothing scared me.

    Probably because I remember an attempt two or three years back when I was trying to be cool like another amazing seamstress and sadly failed.
    The little dress I had tried to make for the then one-year old Zoe was a hopeless failure.
    So much for a wanna-be seamstress on her glory-streak of amazing clothing.

    And I resigned myself to the fact that I can sewing window panels and pillows.
    Not clothing.
    Except simple embellishing, like so:


    ^^ This was not technically a sewing project. It was a, um, hot glue gun project. :) That is my all-time favorite household item! Hot glue and a strip of lace around the front of a plain tank, and it makes a great layering accessory.



    ^^ This was an actual sewing project. But I bought the roses in a strip at Wally World (I didn’t make each individually) and sewed it on the top , front only. Then sewed a wide piece of lace around the bottom, to add length and a bit of dressing-up.

    I’ve done quite a bit with lace accents. I hope lace doesn’t go out of style quickly, because I love it so!

    For my sister’s birthday, I bought a simple tank at Target, and sewed 3-inch black lace and tulle on it in random strips. This looked so pretty when she wore it under a simple cardigan!


    A canvas tote that I sewed white and cream wide lace onto, sort of the same idea as the tank, and added a flower. Another sister’s birthday gift.


    I’ve taken plain skirts and tried to make them sort of fancy-nancy like.

    [before & after]

    before 3 after 3

    But this spring, after seeing all the amazing projects of the amazing seamstresses above, I decided to try again.

    My expectations were this high:         .
    Yep, that’s right, they weren’t there. Nonexistent.
    In a very secret place [my house], and without telling a soul, I began my undertaking.
    If I failed, no big deal. I’ve done that before.
    If it worked, then great!

    And what do you know, but I actually sort of liked what my sewing machine turned out!
    Not babygap or anything, but still, some little sundresses and skirts that would work wonderfully for this summer. And made with pocket change.

    Dress #1

    Before: a women’s size dress, but desperately short and not something I’d wear. But Christy found it when we were Goodwill shopping [$4] together, and I adored the fabric! Sort of vintage-y, but ever so fun! She was the one that suggested I make a dress for Zoe from it. And I thought it a wonderful idea! I added it to my stash of about 15 up-cycling projects. :)

    before 2

    Taking something from an existing piece of clothing, I’ve found, is FAR simpler than making a whole new outfit. I had to cut down the sides, which I used to make straps for the shoulders, and cut down the piece at the very top. I didn’t cut the length at all (which shows how short it would have been on an adult), liking the longer length on a little girl for something different.


    Zoe looks less than thrilled on this picture, but truth be told, she is delighted to be holding a cherry tomato from our little garden plot, and is very proud of the dress. :) Much the delight of the mother!

    I call this, The Mini Maxi.
    I made it for Zoe, but Olivia, never wanting to be out-done, wanted to try it on. So I put it on her, and sat back at laughed at the tiny little girl in what looked like a maxi dress! I’ve never seen toddler-sized maxi dresses, but this sure was cute. Paired with some silver flats, it was perfect! :)

    This was made from an adult sized sun dress [goodwill: $4]. I had to remove the bottom ruffle and sew it back on.
    Zoe also wears this, and it’s about knee-length on her.


    The Candy-Stripe Skirt Dress:

    Zoe’s dress was a ladies’ skirt [goodwill: 88 cents] that I cut down and added straps at the shoulders. I liked how this turned out too.

    5 3

    The Green Skirt:

    There is no ‘before’, but I used an x-large or xx-large men’s shirt [goodwill, bargain bin, 88 cents] to make this. Elastic at the waist, a bit of lace at the bottom, and a little bit of sewing. And a flower, made by cutting out circles and ovals of all different sizes and laying them on top of each other from largest to smallest. I think  I saw the idea on an Old Navy shirt earlier this year…



    [I did end up having to sew the 'petals' just right along the edge. The fabric was very lightweight, and the tiny weight of the flower made it sort of hang off the side.]

    The Black & White:

    This is probably my least favorite, but it still works as a play skirt.  I was imagining it to be a bit more full, but two smaller ladies’ shirts from Goodwill [88 cents@, bargain bin] was too good a price to let go. I used a shirt with a scallop on the bottom and lined the striped part with it, letting it hang out underneath.


    And I call this: My Fave.

    Very pretty skirt, castoff from my sister [for an unknown reason]. So, free. :) Had it fit me, I never would have stuck a scissors in its charming design.

    before 1

    Added tucks on the bottom because it was far too long [think, Victorian hoop skirt length]. The gathers in the midst of the tucks weren’t exactly what I was expecting, but because it was so full, and because I didn’t want to cut it lest I loose the beautiful lace on the bottom, the gathered tucks were okay.

    favorite 2

    Something about the color of this dress too, is so perfect with her coloring. Definitely my favorite.
    I made a flower like the one on the green skirt, cutting circle and ovals of various sizes, and adding ‘leaves’ from lace that I cut off the sides. I added a few pearly beads to the center of the flower to give it some little extra pretties.

    I also hot glued lace on the tank that Zoe is wearing underneath the dress [my whites are washed out in this picture, you can hardly see it], and it adds a nice dress-up touch to an outfit.

    favorite 1

    This was second favorite, a sweater-dress, repurposed from a 50 cent re-use-it shop adult sweater.
    My sister-in-law, Mary Jo, did this last fall, and I thought it was soooo adorable and SO cheap! All credit goes to her for her inspiration!
    The tutorial she [and then I] followed is this.

    I was so pleased with how it turned out! And for fifty cents and a half hour of sewing, it sure beats the expensive sweater dresses I saw various places over the winter. I made this a bit larger so she can wear it next winter.

    No before pictures of this, but it was a medium size women’s sweater.


    I get stuck on my embellishments. Again, a little flower – just three circles cut out of the extra sweater fabric, zig-zagged so it doesn’t fray in the laundry, and a big button in the middle.


    It makes me smile when Zoe goes into her closet, choosing what to wear that day, or to go on an outing, and she’ll put out one of the dresses that I made! Over all the other darling Old Navy and Target and other cute dresses in her closet, she likes mine! And she’ll tell everyone who will listen, “My mommy made this dress!” :)

    Even Olivia caught on to the gist of things, saying constantly, “My mommy made dis!” about all sorts of things. Mainly things I haven’t made, and couldn’t even attempt to. :)

    And a few more projects…

    And in non-sewing things, but still involving fabric…
    [a.k.a. "my safe {non-clothing} zone"]

    A Spring/Summer Wreath

    I picked it up at a local thrift store for a dollar. I wanted the form.  Isn’t it a beauty? :) [read my sarcasm, please] I was laughing to Ben the other day, because I go into this thrift store and buy all the ugliest things they have in there and repurpose them! There is one clerk that is always in there, and she probably wonders what in the world my house looks like, by the looks of the stuff I buy!


    I picked off all the cloth strips, held by hair pins.

    A spring/summer wreath, inspired by  Please don’t look at her tutorial though, because mine looks sadly unlike hers. :)

    You take a very very long piece of burlap [I had linen on hand and used that instead of buying burlap] and sew a loose stitch. (okay, so this does have a little bit of sewing) Gather it, and hot-glue it onto a wreath form, as shown above. Add moss, make little white flowers, add little eggs (mine were grapes that I rolled in glue and glitter because I couldn’t find any at Walmart. Silly Walmart.), look in your yard for cute twigs, pull a mini nest from the mantel, and hot glue it all together. Ta-da! A very happy little wreath.

    spring wreath 2 spring wreath 1

    Comparison aside from the jonesdesigncompany, I love the little nest wreath on my front door.


    Some headbands, made for an order from My Faire Lady.

    June, Hair Pretties 056 June, Hair Pretties 043 June, Hair Pretties 051
    [satin & lace white, satin & tulle hot and light pink, satin & tulle white)

    The best hair bow and flower organizer ever, inspired by Pottery Barn.
    This was a custom-made for my sister-in-law in colors she chose. So pretty!

    hair pretty holder

    A few new pillows for around the house...

    I think I cut out the little flowers for these pillows last fall already. Thinking I was going to sew them all on, I stalled... and stalled.

     The first is felt flowers on white fabric. This is technically not sewing either, since I already had the pillow covers made. My stalling was in vain. It was easy-peasy. This is another hot gluing project. :)

    [note to self: use exceedingly much hot glue, or else the flowers will be found floating.
    shortcuts are not always the best, i sadly learned.]

    felt on white
    [inspiration: Pottery Barn]

    Felt on felt. I’m not sure if I like the slight contrast better, or the tone on tone.

    Hot gluing troubles aside, I really did like how the glue in the center makes the flowers stand out just a bit since the edges aren’t sewn down.

    felt on felt

    And the front porch. Same idea as the small flowers above, but in much larger scale, and layered on top of each other. These I did sew. :) Also felt on felt. I like the looks of it, but it does tend to pick up lint and fuzz very quickly. Oh, and cat hair. :{

    red flower pillow


    And what do my children do while I’m projecting and sewing?

    Well, they play sweetly and happily, with nary a sound or squabble, of course.

    But of course, ’sweetly and happily, with nary a sound or squabble’ is all because they were busy one afternoon doing THIS:

    while i was sewing 3

    and THIS:

    while i was sewing....

    and this:

    while i was sewing 2

    I really do think they know better.
    But in the midst of sewing projects, I’ve also been doing some painting projects – writing words on my walls, and such things.
    So naughty, yes, they were.
    But how could I be too upset when they were just doing what mommy does??
    Exasperated, yes. Very.

    My forgiveness came quite readily when I realized though, that they had used WASHABLE markers to do their artwork.
    ‘Relief’ doesn’t even begin to describe my feelings!
    However, they heard some things from their mother along the lines of
    “we do not write on walls or doors or dresses without permission [no, i wouldn't give them permission if they asked,  but just saying]. and little girls need to clean up messes that they make!”
    and they were handed wet rags and cleaning spray.
    Which all turned into sort of a game, with giggles and laughing.

    In the which the mother wondered whether they really understood the memo about not writing on walls and doors and dressers…

    And now my winding down is complete. :)



  • Special #3


    Thanks so much to those of you who have purchased through these specials! I am very grateful to you! :)

    The special from June 13-19 is Eyes!

    [My sister, Jana. She's in Italy at the moment, and I'm sure won't mind me stealing a picture to use as my 'model'. :) ]

    This is a fun one, getting to the bit of glamor! :)

    This includes:

    Mineral Eye Powder




    Mineral Eye Cream (used to be creme-to-powder)
    [this is so pretty, especially if one desires a more subtle look]

    Eye Primer [which keeps eye makeup from smudging or smearing]


    Some of my personal favorites are these:

    Precious Pink Mineral Eye Color

    Granite Mineral Eye Color

    Chocolate Kiss Mineral Eye Color

    Crystalline Mineral Eye Color

    As well as the Ultimate Mascara and Eyeliner in Black.

    All these products are 20% off from June 13-19! And free shipping!
    Find them under the ‘Eyes’ tab at the top of the page here:

    These eye products make wonderful gifts for birthdays, hostess gifts, graduations…

    [All proceeds from Mary Kay will go directly toward our Ellerslie fund, where our family is headed from October - December of 2011. Also, this is a not an attempt to take customers away from current Mary Kay consultants].




  • Projects & Tutorials


    Tutorials are not the strong point of my blog, 
    but in case you’re interested, you’re welcome to see the few I’ve done.

    I prefer to call them “projects”. :)


    Tissue Paper Balls


    Biscotti, an Italian Tea Cookie

    Ways to Use White Sheets

    Sewing Projects 101


  • The Cottage at 341 South


    Thanks so much for visiting The Cottage at 341 South!

     This blog has now moved to

    Please drop by the new location and say hi! :)




  • The Candy Shop Powder Room – before & after


    It’s time for another before & after! I’m not sure why it’s taking me a year to post some of these before & afters, but it’s fun for me to be reminded of the progress that has been made since purchasing this home!

    This post is dedicated to the girls’ bathroom, also called The Candy Shop Powder Room. I know, I know, it’s seems very strange indeed to associate ‘candy shop’ and ‘bathroom’ in the same phrase, and especially used to describe each other!

    I’ll get to that later. :)

    So, that’s what we call it, just for fun. And since  ’Powder Room’ is used to describe a bath that’s the guest restroom in large homes, we’ll call it that as well. It just sounds a little better than ‘bathroom.’

    We moved this second restroom to a totally different area. The original was in the very middle of the house, and one had to walk around it in a very awkward manner. Besides that, it was in terrible terrible condition – the floor and walls were rotted out, and it needed to be gutted anyway.

    This is the original bath, after we Ben tore out the fixtures, tub, and toilet.

    February 2010 154

    We moved it into what was a very large laundry room. This cut down on the size of the present laundry, but it was well-worth it, to have a powder room with a window and also allowing a more spacious hallway. We ended up putting in stairway [with the intent of one day remodeling the attic space into 1-2 more bedrooms, because we only have 2 existing bedrooms] where the old restroom was.

    Site of the old laundry room.

    February 2010 150

    This room also had to have much work done it. The floor was taken out to the dirt under the house! A brand new floor and wall were put in. The little bit of window that you can see on the right was filled in, and a wall placed at the end of the double-window, thus dividing the laundry and powder room. [This picture was taken before the wall was put in: the new wall would block this view.]

    Meanwhile, we purchased an old clawfoot rub on craigslist. Craigslist was my good friend when we were re-doing this cottage! I found so many treasures on there!

    However, this ‘treasure’ needed a lot of TLC. We really debated whether to put in a regular tub/shower, which would be much more practical, especially since this would be the guest bath, OR if we wanted to go with something that fit the era of the 1906 house. Ben left the decision ultimately up to me, and I chose the clawfoot tub. And even though it’s not the most practical decision, I have not regretted it! I love seeing my girls take baths in that sweet old tub!

    bath 18

    It was in terrible condition, with no fixtures, a broken leg, and decades of stain and grime on the inside.

    We looked at and purchased  it after dark one day, and it was not until we brought it home and looked at it in broad daylight the next day that we realized how bad a shape it was in! Ben spent time sanding and painting it, interior and exterior, with a special tub epoxy.

    This is part way through the work-in-progress. I wanted a vintage-y, fun restroom. I love the aqua color, and I wanted something that would be fun for the girls, since a lot of the house is more of a sand/neutral color.


    An old door that we found, also on craigslist, that fit the powder room door and the look we wanted perfectly.

    bath 17

    There was beadboard already existing on the ceiling, which looks awesome but was SO difficult to caulk and prime and paint. I had terrible headaches from the kinks it put in my neck!

    Ben put the beadboard up around the bottom of the walls, which he got from different parts of the house [for some reason, I can't remember where exactly, but I know we didn't buy it].

    And the finished room!


    bath 6

    I took pictures of the room while the girls were taking a bath. I thought that would be a very realistic perspective for you!

    bath 5 bath 7

    Ben added the small crown molding at the ceiling, which added more kinks to my already-stretched neck, but really does enhance the look. Also added the trim on the bottom, the small ledge trim on the top of the beadboard, and some touch-up trim around the window.  At least these were at normal levels, even for the vertically challenged.

    The toile curtain panels I made from scrap fabric that a local window treatment business gave away.

    bath 15 bath 16

    We chose an octogon pattern tile with the black diamond insets, from Lowe’s.

    This is one thing I’m not sure I’d do again. I absolutely love the way it looks, and wouldn’t want anything different in that degree. But it is so difficult to clean, with those multitudes of tile grouts that are constantly filling with the sand and grass and other not-to-be-mentioned things, compliments of the little ladies of the house.

    The metal basket holding the towels is an old milk carrier bucket, which has some dairy information written on it. It was a dusty silver cover; I spray-painted it black and [unsuccessfully] added a small chalkboard area where I attempted to write ‘towels’. I think it needs a few more coats of paint on the three coats already present. Or else a different kind of sign.

    For the tub fixtures, we bought a gooseneck faucet with the oldfangled style of handles. ♥ This is one of my favorite things in the whole bathroom.

    We debated about getting a shower-style handle, but the price difference from this, which already ran about a hundred, or the shower-handle-style, was a steep enough different to make us go the cheaper route. The three hundred saved could go for other things. And some day, if we ever get loaded, we can buy the other. For now, it works perfectly.

    bath 06

    bath 07

    For decor on that side of the room, I added silhouettes of the girls, made at 1 & 2 years of age, respectively, that I put on canvas.

    I also added some tissue paper balls, which I have a fetish for at the moment. I have limited these to two rooms of the house; this room, and the girls’ bedroom. I would probably have a house full of poufy balls if I would not restrain myself.

    bath 3

    bath 4

    bath 2

    Bath 1

    The towel-holder-turned-toy-rack was present in the old bathroom when we bought the house. I just had to clean it up and install it, and hung the basket from it with jute string.

    The towel holder we had from before we moved, which we made by adding yard sale hooks onto a sample cabinet door.

    bath 10

    The other side of the powder room… This is a smallish-sized bathroom, and it was a bit of a challenge to get pictures in here.

    We had a customized cabinet built, with distressed and inset doors.

    bath 12

    Ben made the concrete countertop in here, which I absolutely love. It has the look of stone without the hefty $$$. We had priced out just the countertop with normal countertop, and a small area like this was several hundred dollars. Ben did this for less than $50.  

    bath 03 bath 02

    I planted Jonny-Jump-Ups in my little raised bed, and they are so precious in this powder room!

    bath 01

    I made this hair pretty holder to organize the girls’ bows and flowers. Not only does it work great, but it also adds a nice piece of wall art. :) [these are for sale on My Faire Lady on facebook]

    bath 11

    Also for decor and organizational purposes, I found this apothocary-style jar at a thrift shop for a dollar, and added a bird decal that came free when I ordered some wall words for another room.

    bath 04 bath 05

    This is where the Candy Shop part comes in:  so many people, upon seeing this bath, have said something like, “Oh! This looks just like an old fashioned candy shop!” [referring to the colors/style, not the commode, of course].

    And that’s how it got its nickname. :)

    And that’s the Candy Shop Powder Room, before & after!


    February 2010 150

    to this!

    bath 7

    There is a great quote that I think beautifully sums up why I attempt to make our home beautiful. It is not for the sake of beauty itself, but in order to reflect the One who created beauty in the first place…

    This comes from the book, What is Hidden Art? by Edith Schaeffer. I read this book years ago, but my sister Ervina recently read it and sent me some quotes.

    “I would define ‘Hidden Art’ as the art which is found in the ‘minor’ areas of life.
    By ‘minor’ I mean what is involved in the everyday of anyone’s life, rather than his career or profession. But – and this needs emphasis -
    a Christian, above all people,
    should live artistically, aesthetically, and creatively…
    If we have been created in the image of an Artist, then we should look for expressions of artistry…

    “Does this mean that we should all drop everything to concentrate on trying to develop into great artists? No, of course not. but it does mean that we should consciously do something about it.
    There should be a practical result of the realization
    that we have been created in the image of the Creator of Beauty…”


    I loved this, and it beautifully sums up my desire and motives for creating a sanctuary for my family…
    …even if it’s as small as a little powder room. :)

    ~ clarita


  • Special #2


    The next Mary Kay special is:



    This includes liquid foundation, creme-to-powder, mineral powder, tinted moisturizer…

    All of this is 20% off from June 9-12!

    Look here and look under the ‘makeup’ tab, and choose the ‘foundations,’ ‘concealers,’ or ‘powders’ tab.


    All proceeds made from Mary Kay will go toward our Ellerslie fund, for October -December of 2011!




  • Of a Mother and Her Daughters.


    I’ve been wanting to show the incredible pictures that Christy took for us a few weeks ago!
    When we were planning a trip to visit her and her dear family for the weekend, she offered to do a photoshoot if we wanted.
    IF we wanted?! A photoshoot with Christy was too good to be true!

    This was especially special because I love mother/daughter pictures on Mother’s Day, and didn’t get a single one this year.
    So when she offered a bit later, it was just a hug from God!
    I know, I’m sentimental like that. But it really was.

    And, it seems like I’m the one behind the camera 99% of the time.
    While I enjoy that, I also want at least a few pictures with my children every once in a while too! :)

    I dreamt of all-white outfits for us.
    Whites and creams, to be exact. And bare feet.
    I had seen some pictures from kellehampton and absolutely loved the mother/daughter pictures I saw there.
    But after our photoshoot, I think Christy’s photography wins. :)

    This shoot was the fulfillment of every dream.
    I honestly could not be happier.
    I smile until I almost burst into tears when I look at these pictures!
    Christy, you are amazing! Like I told you before, you make us look really good! Ha!

    Without further ado, these pictures are compliments of C. Smucker Photography.

    I love how she caught the motion in this one!

    I’m not sure if this was a pleading to pleasebegoodforthepictures or what…  because we did have a few melt-downs.

     I just have to put that in here, because these look like perfection, and like all we do is smile.

    Truth be told, we do smile a lot,
    but we also settle a lot of fights and wipe a lot of tears! :)

    I think this is my very favorite EVER!

    I love some of the ones Christy got of Zoe’ Grace…

    And of Olivia Caroline.

    My two precious girls! They look like little angels on these pictures! :)

    Maybe this is why all the old people talk about the “good ol’ days” – because lovely pictures is what they remember life by!

    I really like this one of us.

    I have to put this in here… because this is Christy’s son, and Zoe’ has talked about him repeatedly since we’re back home. :)

    I don’t normally like many pictures of me, but this one I happen to. Like I said, Christy made us look good!

    Somehow I feel very sheepish putting pictures up of myself, but these are for my three long-lost sisters in Paris, Italy, and soon-to-be Cambodia. We’re spread all over the world these days!

    This next one was after the afore-mentioned melt-down. It really is wonderful how pictures capture the best of life! :)

    I could not believe that I didn’t pack clothes for Ben, just in case we were able to do a few family pictures. I didn’t, thinking it would be mostly of the girls and a few mother/daughter. He ended up going along on the photo shoot, and was wonderful at being the behind-camera man, getting little girls’ attention and calming little storms we encountered.

    We were able to do a few of just Ben and me, trying to disguise his polo shirt in the midst of our all-white regal attire. :)

    And my handsome man!

    Christy, you are amazing. Thank you so so much for the fabulous job! We are thrilled to pieces! :)


    These are the pictures I will look back on and think, “Oh, what precious days God gave me with my daughters!” And even now, I think that. Amid the tears, the fight-settling, and the days that don’t go by smoothly.

    I have a sister in Paris at the moment, and in two days my other two sisters are leaving for Cambodia for three months. And me? I’m in a little town in the Deep South. And honestly, I am so happy to be where I am! This is a work of God in my heart that I can say this, and truly mean it. But I wouldn’t trade where I am right now for all the travels in the world! I absolutely love being a wife and a mother!

    I love my life so very much, and am so thankful for where God has placed me!




  • Weekly Special #1

    This blog is not going to become all about Mary Kay, I promise. :)

    Just humor me though, or bear with me, these few times. :)

    The first special I’m running is on skin care.

    This includes cleaners and moisturizers for oily, dry, & combination skin,
    the Velocity items for younger skin,
    the Serum + C,  
    Toning Lotion,
    Age-Fighting Eye Cream,
    Satin Hands,
    Line Reducers,
    And more!

    All found at !


    Anything under ‘Skin Care’ or ‘Body & Sun’  is 20% off from June 3-8
    there is free shipping to anywhere within the United States!

    Mary Kay also makes wonderful gifts for sisters, friends, brides-to-be… :)

    To order, you can message me on xanga, or email me at lifeisadance(@)


    p.s. there was some question about what Ellerslie is about, that i had mentioned in my last post.
    this is a school that ben and i are planning to attend in colorado this fall, from october through december.
    all proceeds from mary kay from now until october will go directly to our fund for ellerslie.

    p.p.s.  this is not an attempt to “steal” customers from current consultants.
    if you already have a consultant, then be sweet and stay with her! :)