Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I have a few spots left for my guest post vacation week Nov. 8th-20th.  Let me know if you want to guest post!

Happy Halloween!  I really love this day because it's just fun.  Tonight we're having my sister-in-law's family and their friends (the ones who gave me the chandelier) over to go trick or treating in our Mayberry neighborhood.  The mansion down the road even gives away full sized candy bars (and I found that out through my friend, their daughter)!  But I'll be honest with you, I'm kind of lame this year.  I have no actual Halloween decorations and I didn't even buy, let alone make, Morgan a new costume.  Last year she had three and she wore them all.  I decided that she gets to wear one of those this year.  I know, I know.  What kind of blogger am I?

Last year we got totally into the holiday.  We went to at least 3 parties and went trick-or-treating twice (once Saturday and once Sunday at our friend's).  We had the coolest Halloween party last year. It was 80's themed and we planned an "Amazing Race" around Boise and the city (suburb) where we lived.

We started out at the corn maze and had to get 10 of the 12 whole punches around the maze.

The next clue led us to Big Jud's where we had to eat a huge burger and fries, but on the way we had to interact with strangers and video it. We chose a family that we saw as we were driving past the elementary school and played "ring around the rosies" with them -- it's all on tape. After we ate the food, the people at Big Jud's gave us our next clue. On our way to the clue -- one of the big parks in Boise -- we had to do a Chinese fire drill.  Once we were at the park we had to find a big tree (that was kind of a memorial with a plaque full of facts) and memorize a few facts about it/Boise/America to take to the next place, our friend's house, and tell the facts to her daughter, who told us our next clue.

For that one we had to play Dance Dance Revolution and get at least a "B" on it. Well, it was my game (tisk tisk) so we were the first to pass that and get our next thing -- a word search with scrambled words that led us to our next clue.

Then we had to relay run/walk three miles to a house where one team member would shoot a gun and had to get a bull's eye. Then we got our next clue, which was to eat a half gallon of ice cream (between the team) and the next clue was at the bottom. That led us to a farm where we finished by milking a cow.

It was a super cool party and everything worked out so well.  If you are planning a party next year, this is totally one you should do.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.  
I really looked pretty rad at the beginning of the party but all that running and dancing for hours really took a toll on my 80's looks.

Here are two of Morgan's costumes.  The other is a Renaissance princess, which is what she is going to be tonight.
Have a great day and be safe!  If you want to see a DIY shirt recycle that I posted yesterday for a breast cancer awareness Linky party, click here.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Going Pink: Breast Cancer Awareness

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month I have been invited to do a "Pink" post.  I thought about it for like three seconds and knew what I was going to DIY for this post.  My pink "Blondes Do It Better" baby tee, recycled to a dress for Morgan.  I mean, it was a great shirt that I got in the junior's department when I was in my early 20's with my bestie, K, and our friend, A, who got a "Brunettes Actually Have More Fun" shirt, but there comes a time when shirts like that have to be retired.  

On a side note, I really like this picture because it looks like I had a boob job -- which ties in well with the theme.  :)  I'm the one in the bandanna, btw, and there is no boob job.  Just a great Victoria's Secret bra.

Here it is on Morgan, who is not very happy to have it on.  It needs some work.

I cut it where I thought it needed to be cut to fit her.

Sewed the sides and top.  Then the sleeves.

And it looks terrible as a dress, which the look on her face seems to relate.

I made some little flower things by tying some excess material in a knot and twisting in a circle around the knot while hot gluing.

Then I sewed the bottom to t-shirt length and glued the little flowers and some tulle on.

And now she's a little happier to be wearing it... or maybe it's the Oreo that's making her happy.

So there's my "Pink" post.  I have never had a family member with breast cancer (we're more of a stroke family), but I have many friends who have.  I love that everyone comes together to support this awareness!  Thanks everyone who shared and who read.  

Go see everyone else's "Pink" posts at the Linky party at The ArtsyGirl Connection.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Feature Friday: Staged Colorado Springs Home

Happy Friday!  I am so excited to go on a date to Tucanos with the hubsters tonight!  I hope you get to do something fun.

Can you stage to sell a very nice million dollar home with a huge budget?  All. Day. Long.  Can you stage to sell a middle America 1970's split level with a bad paint job and old carpet with a very tiny budget?  Not so easy... but YES!

Today I'm featuring the house that we staged at my home staging training in Colorado Springs.  Here are my girls.  I'm the one in the dress with the black stripey things at the waste.  Karen, the APSD founder, is the gorgeous blonde to the left -- LOVE her!

I don't have a picture of the actual house, but this is a very similar house with a better paint job.  Imagine it.

Here we are again (I'm the one in the super awesome pants -- no offense anyone else).  We were trying to think of things to do to make the curb appeal better.  Just so you know, we ended up rearranging some pots and we would have done everything mentioned in this post about curb appeal if we had the time.
We were given a few storage containers of decor items to use for the entire house.  There were also 3 or 4 chairs, 3 ottomans, 1 love seat, a coffee table and a small side table.  There were 0 beds, 0 kitchen tables, 0 couches, and 0 things to hang on walls.  Our job was to figure out how to make it look great with a few items.  The point:  you CAN stage on any budget!  

This is the living room before (with all of the stuff out for us to choose from).

And after -- seriously, that was almost all the furniture except for 2 more chairs.

The other side of the living room -- a ledge overlooking the door between the levels.

Here I am with my new friend and fellow APSD home staging certified trainer from Canada, Kristy, trying to figure out what to do to stage the inside.  My hair was on like day 4 of no washing.  Don't judge.  It was a long and busy week.
This is the master bedroom.  Here's a tip for you.  If you are staging and don't have the furniture you need (ie beds), do not make a pretend one by putting a blanket and pillows on the floor like a made bed.  Go with another scene.

This is the basement.  I don't have the before picture but let me tell you.  This looks SOOO much better.  This is the last chair we had.

The kitchen before.

And after

And a baby room (okay I guess we had another chair, but you get the point, right?).  The picture is taken from the door and the duck is positioned as though it is leaving the room with the baby ducks following behind.

The great part about this is that the home went under contract in 4 days!  FOUR days!!!  I don't know the exact statistic, but the national average of days on market is around 6 months.  That's like 5 months on the market and 1 month with an accepted offer.  So, we shaved 4 months and 26 days off of that.  Not bad, huh?  That's a lot of $$$ in mortgage payments.

I got permission to post the letter to the APSD home stagers from Karen about this house.

Well, here is a second congratulations to all the new APSD CT2, Certified Trainers, that participated in the staging on Saturday.  I just opened an email from the owner and she said they they have an accepted offer!  Only 4 days since you all did such an incredible job of staging this home!!!

This home, as you all know, has a special place in my heart since I personally know the owners and they asked for my help.  The husband has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and they are both in a fight for his life.  When I received a call to help, because the property had been sitting vacant for the past 4 months, I took a drive over to see why it wasn't transacting. Needless to say, the curb appeal was non-existant and the inside was vacant and non-inviting. 

Pete and I hired a crew, and we had them do some more extensive cleaning, clean-up, lawn care and home touch-ups.  While it was not perfect, it was a huge improvement.  Next, it was time to stage.  Our newly certified APSD home stager trainers were coming in for their hand's on stager pro training so I decided it was the perfect project.  We could all train, learn and work together to help the owners, my friends.

This team literally transformed the house.  They correctly defined the buyer and staged specifically to speak to them...and it worked!  4 days later, I received an email from the owner telling me they have accepted an offer.

So, to all of you involved...congratulations! And, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.  Staging can change lives and today, you helped to change 2 of them!

All my best,

Now I'm going to tell you all again how much fun home staging is.  Seriously, if you like decorating at all, this is great.  But it's not just that.  Karen actually focuses on teaching us how to market our home staging businesses so that we are successful.  And now I get to teach people how to do it!  Yay!  My focus is DIY decor but everyone has their own thing.  Kristy in Canada is rockin it with tons of consultations (that are NOT free) and up-sales.  

If home staging is something you're interested in, get your free CD here.  What could it hurt?  If, after you get it, you want to invest in your home staging education, awesome.  If not, you got a free CD with great information!  And if you do sign up, I can train you, which is an added bonus for all of us! :)

You can email me anytime if you have questions about a career in home staging at kelli nielson @ (no spaces).  Have a great weekend!  Tune in Sunday for a special breast cancer awareness post.

Linking up at the great Linky parties found at the bottom of the blog.  They are where I find most of my inspiration!  Check them out!


Thursday, October 27, 2011


Oh, I'm so excited I could pee my pants.  Okay, not quite that excited.  I actually had a nerve-wracking day today because my little sister thought she lost her ipod touch at my house and I searched every inch of it (including the outside garbage can -- opening garbage bags and all).  I was seriously sick to my stomach for her.  This is the second one she'd lost.  Anyway, it turns out that it was hiding in my mom's car (my sister's 10, BTW) but they didn't find it until tonight.  And I digress.

Back to why I'm excited.  I took my little M for a drive today and we came across a construction site where 3 wood pallets were sitting, waiting to go to the dump.  I asked if I could have them and the guy told me to take them!  Now what will I do with the $20 in 2x4's that I bought at The Home Depot?  Well, that will be another post.

I want to do all of these thing, although there are really two options here -- a coffee table and wall art.  Since it's almost winter time, I think I'll do the wall art.  What about the one with the mason jars?  Don't you love it? Well, all of them really, right?

Crafted Niche

Tres Chere

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

DIY Chandelier

I was over at my friend's house the other day and she mentioned that they were getting a new chandelier for their dining area because the one they had was super ugly.  Well, I looked at it and thought that it had so much potential so I asked if I could have it since they were just going to throw it away.  She was very happy to recycle.



To make this a little whole lot prettier, I started by removing the shades.  Then, using wire to make necklaces, I attached Christmas garland beads from the top to the candles and from one candle to another.  

Next I cut all the excess wire with my amazing scissors that come with that expensive set of knives in the kitchen (don't tell Tom).

Finally I spray painted the entire thing white.  I used an entire can of primer first, then half of a can of white paint.  And I distressed the body a little bit.  The beads bled a lot so some of them still look a little pink, but I'm sure that is fixable with one more coat.

My family came to visit this past weekend so I had them help me put it in the guest room the second they got here.  And here are some shots where it is now.  Do you use Picasa?  The free photo editing software?  I love it.  I have another editing software that I sometimes use but it is way more complicated than I need for most things.

Linking up at the great Linky parties found at the bottom of the blog.  They are where I find most of my inspiration!  Check them out!


Tip Junkie handmade projects

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Versatile Blogger

Hello!  I hope everyone is having a great day!  I am.  Today I'm a guest blogger over at Designer Garden so head on over and check it out!

Also, I am super flattered!  Deborah from Confessions of a Craigslist Junkie awarded me The Versatile Blogger award.  This award is meant to highlight blogs to increase awareness and readership.  I really appreciate Deborah for thinking of me for this award and I appreciate everyone who reads my blog.  LOVE YOU!

The rules of this award are:
1. Thank and link back to the person who gave the award to you.  Check.
2. Share 7 things about yourself.  If you read Friday's post, you know some things, but I'll give you 7 more. :)
3. Award it to 15 other bloggers (I've also seen 10, so I think I'll do 10).

7 things about me:

1. When I was little I wanted to be an actress.  Remember the show Full House?  Yeah, I wanted to be Candace Cameron.  Now I think being an actress would be fun but it's not really what I dream about (except for Sunday night -- I dreamed that I got offered a job on Days of Our Lives - ha!  That Deidre Hall sure is nice).

2. In college I was the teacher's assistant for a human dissection lab.  It was really neat.

3. I have been running in the same type of shoes since 1998.  They were the Asics 1990 series but now I think they are up to 2060 or higher.  I buy them on sale online at Kelly's Running Warehouse and I have gone through probably 15 pairs.  LOVE them and won't change!

4. After I got married I got a job as an exercise and nutrition consultant helping people lean up (gain muscle and lose fat).  I worked there for 4 months before we moved to Idaho.

5. Another job I had (seems to be a theme) was at a program for troubled teenagers in South Carolina.  A friend of mine worked there and hooked me up after I broke off a marriage engagement and needed to get away.

6. I wrote a 250+ page novel and am almost finished with my second.  Just trying to get it published now.

7. I love love love going on cruises.  We are going on one next month!

10 blogs that get the award from me:
Livin Pretty Simple - Michelle is one of my very good and talented friends who makes amazing crafts.
Raising Lemons - Tiffany's blog has so much information for women trying to be good moms.  Love it!
Crafty, Scrappy, Happy - Jamie has probably received this award but she is so talented.  I see her stuff all over blogland and she is super nice to me. 
Living Savvy - Tiffany has some amazing stuff and she has a knack for design.  
The Bold Abode - Gwen painted her piano.  Need I say more?

Designing by Numbers - Christina just started her blog this month and has already caught my attention with her inspiring posts.

The ShabbyTulip - Rachelle has been blogging for about as long as I have and I really love her projects.

Spruce Your Nest - Brooke is a total "get out of debt" girl like me.  Instant connection!

WhyCuzICan - Suzanne has tons of great ideas and she always leaves nice comments for me.
Between Naps on the Porch - Susan has a ton of followers and hosts the first Linky party I ever joined and I get the most traffic from it (and I do a lot of them).  This is a huge blog but one that I really appreciate.

I hope you all have a chance to visit the blogs I awarded and Confessions of a Craigslist Junkie.  If you can, leave some comments and follow them.  They are all so great!
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