Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Cottage Collective!!

Hello again!!

I've missed talking to you guys, but if you read my last post, you know I've been a bit busy. Traveling away from home for work while painting signs and trying to keep my house in the slightest bit of order feels like about 3 full time jobs! 

I'm gone about half of every week now, so it was shear grace that I happened to be in town when I got an email from Abbe of All Dolled Up. You might remember me mentioning Abbe back in the Spring when my Mom and I took a painting class from her. We'd been following each other on Instagram prior to that, but officially met that day. She's fabulous by the way.

Until recently, Abbe was the primary educator for Miss Mustard Seeds Milk Paint, and is also the owner of The Cottage Collective. The Cottage Collective is a wonderful little shop open one weekend a month that Abbe started in 2012. It features a collection of vintage, antique and handmade items by herself and several other local vendors. 

Abbe contacted me last month and offered to let me come in early on the day of The Cottage's Christmas Open House. I got an early sneak peek, took some pics to share with you guys, and did a little shopping! 

I'm sharing a bunch of photos of her shop "all dolled up" for Christmas, and if you're local, you're in LUCK!! The Cottage Collective opens again this weekend!! Scroll through the pics and drool over the amazing items and the jaw dropping talent Abbe has of staging everything to perfection! (I was shocked to find out she does every bit of the staging herself!) I'll share their address and holiday hours at the end of the post.

If you aren't local, you're gonna wish you were!! :)

I adore the salvaged doors wrapped as Christmas presents! I might need to steal that idea for the shutters in my entry way.

Alright, that was just the outside, ready to walk through those doors?

There was something for every decor. The gold and silver, rustic and glam, to the bright red and green! 

I'm still kicking myself for not buying that antique sleigh on the right.

They have more Christmas decor fun than you can imagine, but there's also jewelry and accessory pieces!

Abbe always makes sure there's loads of hand painted furniture pieces. The finishes are the absolute best I've seen. I have 2 or 3 of her pieces in my house already and love 'em all!! 

If you are able to check out The Cottage Collective in person, they are located at
137 N. Oliver, Kechi, KS 67067. 
Hours over the next two weeks are Friday the 12th from 10-6, Saturday the 13th from 10-5, and Thursday the 18th is their Red Dot sale from 4-8pm.

I'm hoping to make it out to shop myself. Can't wait to see what new fun things they have this month!!

Thank you so much Abbe for letting me have this little sneak of the shop. I'd love to do it again any time!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Venturing in New Territory

When life give you lemons, make lemonade.

I don't know that that analogy is totally accurate for my situation. I'm not sure that I was exactly handed lemons, and it remains to be seen if this is lemonade we're making, or just something that makes your face pucker up and your eyes water, with the hope that a bit more sugar could turn it into something great.

I don't normally share much about my personal life here. In fact, lately, I haven't been sharing it much of anywhere. I dabble on Instagram, lurk but don't post on Facebook, and have seemingly abandoned this blog. I'm not sure why that is, when the majority of the blogs I love the most are ones that not only share their designs, but their lives. In the past I've lost readers when a post is personal so I'm sure that has something to do with it. But in reality, this is my space, and if what I post isn't to the liking of a reader, it's certainly their prerogative to no longer hang out in this space. Why then, should that stop me from sharing my heart? The only answer I can come up with is, it shouldn't! 
So here goes. 

Over the past several months I've been doing what most of you who know me would expect me to do. Crafting, designing, working to make my home the place I want myself and my family to enjoy. I've created signs, which sold surprisingly well, painted walls, created galleries and enjoyed my family. I've also been silently (silent to most, but to those few I've opened up to, thank you!) heartbroken.

It seems very trivial to talk about heartbreak when it comes to a job. But the job in question is one that takes heart and soul to perform, and one that has brought me amazing friendships I will forever cherish. Many of you know that I am a nurse by trade. I have been a nurse since the end of 2003, and worked for the same hospital corporation since 2002. I am a Labor and Delivery nurse. When I say that, I will occasionally hear the dreaded "oh, you get to rock the babies". Do not say this to an L&D nurse. If you would really like to know what a day in the life for us is like, I invite you to check out this post by another one of the nurses in the trenches just like me. I don't know her, but we speak the same language. Yet I digress. The point is, nursing is hard work. It takes everything you have to give some days, and then demands you give even more. And we give it. We give it because our patients are worth it, we value the care we give you, and because the nurse, tech, doc, housekeeper, and unit clerk in the trenches with us all deserve our best, as they are digging deep to do the same.

Several months ago, due to changes in the industry and healthcare as a whole, the hospital I worked for for so many years decided to make a change. I won't go into all the gory details, but suffice it to say, the change was monetary, and not in a good way. I, and nearly every other employee of the hospital, found ourselves facing a pay cut. The work load wasn't decreasing, on the contrary, with changes to the national healthcare system, anyone working in the field will tell you we are working harder than ever to be compliant with a host of new regulations. Nevertheless, a pay cut. Many took it with grumbles, many spoke out in anger, some chose to make a change, and some did all of the above. 

Through long talks with my husband, I found myself in the change category (and possibly a bit of the grumbling and angry one as well). The pay cut didn't bring us to ruin. We can still feed our family, but it started us thinking. Thinking about what could be done to allow me to do the work I've done for so long, but also allow me to, in the words of my husband "get paid what I'm actually worth". The answer for us was travel nursing. If you've never heard of that before, it's exactly what it sounds like. Traveling to different hospitals away from my home and working as a contract nurse for, typically, 13 weeks at a time. For me, it means finding a hospital that is within several hours driving distance, working 3 days in a row, then driving back home on my days off. The pay is substantial, the time away, grueling! 

I, and many others in my department, chose to make this change. Most of the others who left, did so many months ago, I decided to wait till my kids were back in school for the fall. October 1st was my last day at my old job, and I started my first travel assignment on October 6th, 3 hours from home. It's been a very long, trying month. The reaction to so many people leaving my old department in such a short time was varied. Understanding, anger, sadness, abandonment, exhaustion. I've been feeling all of these things, either personally, or in feeling that I caused them in others. It's very hard to leave people who you feel are a second family, but what I had to do, was focus on what is truly important. My first family.

I said above, that my husband wanted me to get paid what I was worth. I agree with him, but that is by no means why I chose to finally take this leap. It's a bonus, no doubt, but I see this as a means to an eventual end. I do love nursing, and I think I'm pretty darn good at it. But I've found in the last few years, that it's no longer what I have a passion for. I have a passion to create. 

Unfortunately, I also have bills to pay, a family that hasn't taken a proper vacation in quite a long time, and a life that has been lived paycheck to paycheck for as long as I can remember. Thus my means to an end. We pray, hope and plan that this sacrifice of time and distance will eventually lead to a new way of life for our family. One where money takes a back seat to a family adventure planned and executed at a moments notice. Where I can devote the extra time needed to my love of creating and the passion I have to do that full time. 

Yes, I am fully aware that spending time with family and taking adventures with them can be done even with minimal funds. We do have fun as life is now, but I want more for them, and for me. I'm praying that this change, even though it's been wrenchingly hard to drive away from my family once a week, will bring us to the long term goals that we have been dreaming for. 

Nothing ventured, nothing gained? Well we've chosen, as a family, to venture. 

I crave your prayers in all of this, mostly for my children. They are all basically teenagers, so one would think leaving for a few days of the week wouldn't be that difficult. Oh, but it is. I have been blessed with a family that I love and that dearly loves me. They hate when I have to leave, and have literally held on to me as I try to inch my way out the door. It makes me beam with joy while choking back tears of sadness all in the same moment. Prayers. 

I also crave your understanding when I go months without blogging. Please know that I think about you lovely people all the time. You who've chosen to spend just a little portion of your time to peek in on my home. I'm honored that you enjoy the bits I've shown to you, and I'll try to pop in occasionally to keep you posted as life continues to unfold. 

I'll leave you with a pic of a sign I made just a month before I started traveling. It's hanging above our back entry, the one my family uses every day when we come and go. I think it sums up my thoughts rather well.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How to Change a Printable to Match Your Decor

Hey guys!

I hope you all had fun perusing through all the decor and Printables on our Fall Vignette Tour this week. I've been busy doing my "3 in a row". Meaning this is my week to work 3 twelve hour shifts in a row at the hospital in 3 days. When I do this, I get nothing else done but work and sleep. I've basically been a work zombie since Monday evening. I haven't even had a chance to make it to most of the other blogs in the tour to check out there posts. I'm looking forward to a few days off and some alone time with my iPad!!

I promised you in my last post that I would share how to change the color of your printables to match your decor. I'm pretty sure this will work best on prints that have two main colors, but I'll show you how to it's done and then the sky's the limit. Play and see what you come up with.

Start by heading to Go to the Edit button and upload the print you're working with. 

Once your print's loaded, click on the Magic Wand icon on the left. If you hover your mouse over it, it says "Effects". I've pointed to it with the blue arrow.

I don't have the paid subscription to PicMonkey. (as you can probably tell by the McDonald's add at the bottom of the pic) This entire effect can be done with the FREE version of PicMonkey.

The Effects tab will bring up a ton of options to choose from.

Scroll down to Warhol effect and select.

The effect will automatically change your print to it's default colors of brown and blue.
But now is the time to have some fun. 

Click on the color boxes under First and Second, and play till you find the color that suits you.

I've never had a need to mess with the Brightness, Contrast or Fade, on this effect. But again, play if you want. 

You can see below all the color options immediately available. If you know the color number of a specific color, that can be entered as well.

And that's it guys!

Change it up till you find a combination you like and click apply.

Save your print and enjoy!!


I also thought you might like to see how I highlighted the word "Luster" in the printable below.

Open your print in Warhol like I showed you above. As I said, it'll be automatically changed to blue and brown. Change the background back to white, and the lettering to whatever color you've chosen for the accent word. For this print, I changed the lettering to tan.

Click on the Paint Brush button which will bring up the Paint box. You'll want to move all the Brush settings to 100 and select the Original box. Depending on the size of your print, you can adjust the Brush Size smaller than 100, but that worked well for this print.

Run your mouse over all the lettering except the area or word you'd like to accent. By having it set to Original, you are removing the color, or effect, you just added and uncovering the original print.

When the print is accented to your liking, it's done.
Another option is to reverse the effect by clicking the "Reverse effect" box at the bottom of the Paint box.

If any of you use this to change the printables I've offered, make sure to send me a pic. I'd love to see how you use them in your decor and what colors your imaginations come up with.