Friday, December 30, 2011

Inspiration for the New Year

As 2011 comes to a close, I find myself feeling extra thankful for all the blessings God has given me this year.
And as I reflect on the past year -- and look ahead to the new year -- I find my heart having one strong desire for the year.  To ......
I desire to want less.  
To be CONTENT with less.  
To be HAPPY with less.  

Less obligation to outside responsibilities. (aka: learn how to say 'no')
Less physical STUFF. (aka: learn how to say 'no')
Less stress. (aka: learn how to say 'no') 
Less go, go, going. (aka: learn how to say 'no')

Are you seeing a theme here....???

This past Spring, I did a "40 Bags in 40 Days" challenge (which is seriously BLOWING UP right now on Pinterest! - YAY!)
This challenge was such a great (and effective!) way to jump start my quest for LESS.  
I had absolutely NO problem clearing my house (and garage ... and car .... etc.) of 40 bags of STUFF I didn't need.  
And as I mentioned back in one of my "40 bags" posts ....
These really are such good words to live by.  
Bottom line:  if YOU don't know that something is useful ... and if YOU don't believe something is beautiful, it is nothing more than CLUTTER.  And who needs more clutter!?  Clutter in your house leads to clutter in your life .... speaking for myself, anyway.  
So .... clutter?  BE GONE!
'Round these parts we have a fancy-shmancy new home exhibit every year called "The Street of Dreams" .... basically, you can go tour the area's most amazing new houses with the most up-to-date conveniences, newest innovations, and trendiest styles. And you can drool.  A lot.  
OK ... maybe that's just me.  

But anyway, every year we go (and drool) .... and every year, I want to tear down my house and rebuild it - haha!  
When I think about these spectacular houses, the words classy, chic, and  sophisticated come to mind.   
And I want to move in.  
But these houses -- or any brand-spankin'-new house, for that matter .... are the most inviting, I think - because they are essentially empty -- aside from the perfectly coordinating and cohesively themed furniture and accessories, placed in the perfect places by experts whose job it is to make you want to BUY these houses.  
(And oh, believe me ... I do!)

Am I suggesting that an EMPTY house is best?  
No.  Of course not.  Obviously, we need to LIVE in our home -- and that requires some STUFF!   
But if we are talking about a scale here .... 1 being empty, 10 being "Hoarders" .... I'd like to fall somewhere around a 3.  

And that includes my closet.  
That is a TALL order for me.  
I love to shop like nobody's business.  
And I seriously think if I could change careers, my new title would be.... 
But sometimes I think .... OK, actually, I KNOW .... that I enjoy the shopping part more than the actual items I'm buying.  And let's not even get started on whether or not I need to be shopping at all .... because, who am I kidding?  I need another article of clothing like I need a hole in my head!
So ....
I'm going to try really REALLY REALLY hard this year to remember those words.  
It's going to be a challenge, let me tell you.  

And STUFF aside, I also want to simplify my outlook on LIFE, in general.  
I feel like the older (and therefore, supposedly, more mature) I get, the less I feel I have to prove myself to anyone.  
But I think this quote is right on, addressing women.  Because in general, no matter HOW comfortable we are with ourselves, there is always that desire to prove ourselves, in some way or another.  
So .....
Can I get an AMEN!?  
Praise the Lord for GRACE, because goodness knows ... perfection is NOT an option.  
Grace is all I need .... and God has freely given it to ME!  (and you!)
I will strive to simply BE the person God has made me.  Imperfections and all!
And I will LET GO of everything else.  
(This is long, but you MUST read it! SO worth it!)
AHHH!  I think these above words (which I had to blow up HUGELY so that you could read them all ... sorry!) are AMAZING.  
I might just read this every day, all year long.  :-)
Here's to a SIMPLY wonderful 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best of Little Lucy Lu, 2011

{Cue trumpets}

Presenting .....

The best projects of 2011, as seen on Little Lucy Lu!

OK .... well, they're MY opinion of the best projects, anyway.
And I hope some of them have been inspiring to some of you this year, too!

Before I get to the big list, I just have to tell you how fun it was to re-live the year via my "Projects" label button.
It was right around this time last year that I became a real blogger (or as close as I'm going to get, anyway!), and it makes me a tiny bit proud to see how my little blog baby has grown over the year ..... (even though I didn't reach my secret goal of achieving 1,000 followers by the end of the year).

At least I got close.

And truthfully, I never dreamed this blog would be something I would even be able to keep up with.
So, if for no other reason, I'm proud of just THAT -- that I made it through a whole year, with only a few bumps and bruises to show for it (haha!).

But now .... let's get back to the list (in order of appearance):

Alphabet Magnets I made for Lucy
 .... a huge improvement over those cheap plastic ones on everyone's fridge!  These have been SO much fun for Lucy, and I can actually say I LOVE having them displayed in my kitchen!  They are so cute!  

A serious BLESSING for me .... and all of my extra-long jeans that can now dry happily in their own special place.  
This has totally transformed our laundry room -- and doing laundry, in general.  
It is so nice not to have clothes drying on every other hook, cupboard door, chair-back, and any other place I could find! 
(*I think this has been my most popular post to date, as well .... with nearly 150,000 page views!  Wowza!) 

which resulted in our very first successful garden!!! 

I'm still kind of amazed I actually thought of this.  
And considering they were basically FREE (aside from some spray paint), and are so PERFECT for holding/displaying books in Lucy's playroom, I'd say it was a pretty darn-good invention, if I do say so myself!  :-)

The "command center" (made in an old window screen) AND my old desk makeover.  
These are two of my FAVORITE things in my mom cave!

Speaking of the Mom Cave .... 
That has DEFINITELY been the highlight of my year, creatively speaking.  
You have to check out my Craft Room Mega Post if you missed it the first time!  

And the last two favorite projects both came in December ... 

(which is now so covered in Christmas cards, you can hardly see the tree!)  
Love BOTH of these projects .... and look forward to using them again next year!

Whew!  What a fun year!
Which project was your favorite ...???

The comments you have offered and the support you have given for my projects - and the blog, in general - has meant so much to me!  


Monday, December 26, 2011

the day after ....

ornaments packed away
tree outside, waiting to be burned
needles vacuumed
more needles vacuumed
stockings down
carols sung
nativity celebrated
food consumed
more food consumed
family visited
pictures taken
old toys out, new toys in
gifts given
thanks given
love shared
memories made

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe this day?
It has to be one of the most depressing days of the year for me.
Not to be a downer here .... but I just hate seeing "Christmas" slipping away, until another eleven months goes by.
For this reason, I try to get my house cleaned out and un-decorated as quickly as possible.
(This year I actually waited until the day after Christmas ..... usually, it's Christmas night at 10 p.m.!)
Yes .... I know.... I'm weird.

However, to look on the bright side .... I love the feeling of a CLEAN house, free from the extra Christmas clutter -- as well as clearing out the OLD to make room for the NEW.  :-)

I definitely have a love/hate relationship with this day.

Anyone else .....?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

December 24th

I am so thankful for the wonderful friends I have made through this blog .... 
May you all have a blessed Christmas and a joyous New Year!  
Merry, Merry Christmas .... from Little Lucy Lu!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oh, Christmas Tree Hunt ....

This post is happening a couple of weeks AFTER the fact ..... but, like I've said before (and undoubtedly will again) .... it's better late than never!  :-)

Christmas tree hunt 2011 was a beautiful day.
We headed over to Nana's house to find the perfect tree.
I didn't take any pictures out in the actual tree field (gee, that would be too obvious for a tree-hunting day, don't you think!?), but I did get these shots as Lucy and Nana came walking out of the field.

So cute.  :-)
And such good memories.

As is decorating the tree ......  and Miss Lucy was certainly more "helpful" this year than the last two! :-)
And now, friends --
The stockings are hung by the chimney with care ....
.... and I am off to The Happiest Place On Earth!
(Also known as Disneyland, in case you've been living under a rock and didn't know that.)
Have you ever been to Disneyland at Christmas time????  Let me tell you .... it is THE BEST!
I am so excited, I'm practically shaking right now.

I'll be back in time to fill ..... er, I mean, to let Santa fill those stockings!
See you soon! :-)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Shabby Apple ... Lucky Winner!

This has been a GREAT giveaway .... I feel so honored to be able to work with Shabby Apple!

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for.....

The lucky lady receiving this gorgeous black dress is:

True Random Number Generator  68Powered by RANDOM.ORG

68 Hessetta said...

1- Love the "Mulholland" Dress,..and the "Hollywood Hills"....and "scarlet dragon"..and....
2- Liked Shabby Apple....alot;)
3- follow your blog
4-like Little Lucy Lu on FB and everytime I see her:)
5-Tweeted about it... to my 8 followers ;)

And I'm so jealous.
Email me with your contact information so I can pass it along to Shabby Apple!

Thank you to Shabby Apple ....
and thank you to ALL of you who participated in this AWESOME giveaway!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Tree Card Holder

It's that time of year!  .... The Christmas cards are rollin' in!
Don't you just LOVE getting the mail this time of year!?!
This is the only time of year I actually get my mail more often than once a week! - Haha!

I have a wire card holder from Pottery Barn in my kitchen (the long, skinny one - not the Christmas tree shaped one), which stays up all year and holds all of our important mail, coupons, favorite photos, etc.  But I wanted something separate for all of the Christmas cards this year.

So .... I saw this picture on Pinterest:

And I had an idea!

I went to Home Depot and got two 1"x 2" pieces of rough-cut boards ... the ones that are warped and cheap!  (I think they were about a dollar each.)
I had the handy hubby cut the boards into seven pieces .... measuring 3 1/2 feet, 3 feet, 2 1/2 feet, 2 feet, 1 1/2 feet, 1 foot, and 6 inches.
Then, using my little Martha Stewart sample paints (which I talked about on my Advent Calendar post), I gave them all a coat of paint.
Of course I couldn't let things be easy .... so I also wiped on a bit of antiquing glaze (by Valspar) with a t-shirt rag.
....This darkened the colors and added just the right amount of texture and antique-ness (yep, I'm making up words!) to the boards, I think!

Next I spread them out and nailed them to a five foot long, 1"x 1" board we had out in the shop.  (I painted that board a dark wine-red color I had in my paint stash.)
Then I got out some itty-bitty clothespins I found at the craft store a while back in the dollar section....
And you guessed it!  I hot glued them onto the boards.

Finished product:

Super cute.  Same color scheme as the rest of my house.  And totally functional!

I "stuck" this to the wall in my dining room with my favorite Command hanging strips:

.... and here's PART of a picture.  This is the impossible room.  
Or rather, to clarify .... it's impossible to take a decent photo in.  
At least for me.  
I digress ....
But regardless of the fact that I can't take a proper picture of it in it's actual home, I love it!

You could make one, too .... I just know it! :-)
Totally simple.  And for less than $5.  (I already had the paint!)  
That's hard to beat, don't you think!?
Can't wait to get it all filled up with beautiful Christmas cards .... added six more just tonight! :-)

**If you haven't entered to win the Shabby Apple dress ..... you have three more days!

Giveaway ~ {SHABBY APPLE!}

Seriously, friends.
I'm just a weee bit THRILLED today to bring you a giveaway, courtesy of the AMAZING Shabby Apple!
Ever since my BFF introduced me to this fabulous company, I have been obsessed.
And if you and Shabby Apple haven't met yet, allow me to introduce you ......

Shabby Apple is an online dress boutique that sells women's dresses, little girls' dresses, accessories, and other apparel.  I LOVE their dresses for several reasons.
#1.  They are WEARABLE.
No insanely short hems, spaghetti straps, or low-cut necklines.
You could wear these dresses to school, to work, out for lunch, to church, and just about anywhere else you can think of .... and be comfortable in them!
#2.  They are VERSATILE.
As I mentioned above, the beautiful dresses from Shabby Apple can be worn just about everywhere.... and the selection is HUGE!  I promise you will be able to find the PERFECT dress for any occasion in any season.
#3.  They have a VINTAGE FLAIR.
And if you know me, you know I LOVE anything vintage.  :-)

You HAVE to go check them out and see for yourself!
Whether you're looking for sweet and sunny ....
 ..... or classy and elegant
 They've got a dress you'll love!

(And how adorable is this little dress that I MUST order for Lucy come Spring!? :-)

And now for the big question ....
Which dress could be YOURS for FREE......????
I'm thinking New Year's Eve party? .... a romantic Valentine's dinner date with the hubby?  
Heck, a little black dress is ALWAYS in style .... and this one DEFINITELY has style!  
(check out many other views of the dress HERE)
I.  LOVE.  IT.  
And I'm jealous one of you gets it, if I'm being honest.  

(Do you think they'd notice if I selected myself to be the winner...?) :)~  

Okay, okay .... I'll let YOU have it instead.  
But only because I love and appreciate you, my beloved readers!

So.  How do you enter?

For each of the following things you do, you will receive an entry. 
1) Visit Shabby Apple and leave me a comment telling me which dress is your favorite.  
2) 'Like' Shabby Apple on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so (and tell them Little Lucy Lu sent you!)
3) Be a follower of Little Lucy Lu and leave me a comment telling me you are.  
4) 'Like" Little Lucy Lu on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you do.
5) Tweet about this giveaway and leave me a comment telling me you did.  

AND.  There's more.  
(Shabby Apple is awesome like that.)  
In addition to the beautiful dress they are giving away, they are offering all Little Lucy Lu readers 10% off your total order .... but it expires in 30 days, so hurry!  
Just enter coupon code "Littlelucy10off" at checkout!   

I will announce the winner on Saturday morning ..... 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Cookies with Lucy :-)

So here's the "behind the scenes" from the great cookie baking extravaganza yesterday. :)~
Cookie baking with Lucy is definitely an adventure ....
Sprinkles are her favorite!  
However .... more of them ended up NOT on the cookies than ON the cookies, I'm afraid! :)~
 Mixing bowl hat, anyone ....?
Frosting on the nose, complete with a Christmas tree sprinkle.
 And here are her decorating skills at work ....
Somehow, we did end up with lots of good lookin' cookies, despite our little helper .... who kept eating all of our hard work! :)~

And friends .... I have a HUGE!  AMAZING!  giveaway tomorrow.  The company sponsoring the giveaway....?  
Two words:  Shabby.  Apple.  
Enough said, right?  
See you in the morning with the details!!!  
You will NOT want to miss it! :-)