Embellish Life Blog

Coke Bottle Bud Vase Project

I found this project while watching the Today Show, I think, and it was a summer table display by Martha Stewart. She had done the table in white and linen. She painted her bottles all white. You can paint them any color depending on your color scheme and occasion.

I found my Coke bottles at my local warehouse store; but you can find them at almost any grocery store.  I also did a set that was of a trio of different soda brands so each bottle had its own shape. Keep in mind if you have a colored glass bottle you will want to use a darker color to keep the color you want true (i.e. a green glass bottle would not be the best if you wanted it white…).

I used spray paint found in my local hardware store. I used indoor/outdoor Valspar satin finish, I am sure you can use any finish or brand. Keep in mind that when you are painting you need to do at least 3 coats and need to wait at least 10 min. between each coat. I do my spray painting outside but a well ventilated area like a garage would work too. This is a really easy project and they make wonderful summer table centerpieces. Don’t limit them to just 4th of July, use fun colors and have them all summer long.



Supply List

  • Coke or soda glass bottles
  • Latex gloves
  • Spray paint (any color or texture)
  • Skewer, stick or anything that can hold the bottle while painting.

Here are some photos of the project, I hope they help.  Check them out and enjoy.

Bulliten Board Project

This was a fun and easy DYI decor project.  The nice thing about this project is that you can customize to the room you want to use it in.  This bulletin board was being used in a teen bedroom with the color palette of pink, purple and aqua.

I distressed my board to give it the Shabby Chic look but this is not necessary; it is totally up to you and the style of the room you are going to use it in.  I used a natural colored board because I wanted to do the distressed look.  If you find a board that is already painted white (like a primer) it may use less paint to cover.  I used 2 cans of spray paint because the cork board kept soaking up the paint.  I liked using the ribbon I felt it gave the board a little more dimension but this is optional. 

This project takes about an afternoon due to drying time and depending on how many coats you need to use.  I also covered the frame with a clear sealer spray after I distressed the frame just to make sure the paint would not chip any more than I wanted it to.


Supply List

•Bulletin Board (I found mine at Micheal’s natural color about $14.  I had a coupon so got it for $7.50)

•2 cans of Spray paint

•Sand paper


•rosettes (any little embellishment, rhinestones, shells, buttons… Look in Notions department for other ideas)

•Hot glue gun

•Clear spray paint sealer for frame only (optional)


Project Steps

  1. Sand bulletin board frame so that paint will stick to it.  Especially if it is already coated with a clear sealer; not so important if it is raw wood but still helps.
  2. Spray paint entire board with selected color.  Don’t forget to spray around the edges and a little on the back edge so there are not unpainted areas.  Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area and you protect items around your spraying area.  I did mine in the garage with the door open and the car out 😉
  3. Let dry.  Add additional coats until the bulletin board is covered.  The cork board takes the most paint.
  4. If you are going to distress the frame; do so now with a little sand paper.  It is up to you how distressed you want to make it; the more you sand the more distressed.
  5. If you do distress the board now is the time to give the frame one coat of clear sealer spray.  You can get this at Michael’s or most hardware stores.
  6. Add ribbon and any other embellishments that you might want.
  7. If you are going to use ribbon I found it really helpful to cut out all the ribbon and then lay it out in place to make sure it looks like you want it to.  Then hot glue it in place.  The hot glue really sticks to the cork board so make sure it is where you want it.
  8. Glue each place where the ribbons cross and to the board last.
  9. Add the rosettes or embellishments at each ribbon crossing with hot glue.



Enjoy your custom bulletin board creation.  Click on the photos below for a photo description of many of the steps.

Wine Bottle Lanterns

I found this project Online and loved the idea; especially for the outside when candles always blowout.  It is great for inside too; I made a set for inside and out.  I also embellished on the original design by placing them on different trays and enhancing them with colored glass stones.  You could use so many different kinds of decor pieces to personalize your wine bottle lanterns.  If you have a beach theme you could use shells and stones instead of the glass.  Natural stones, pods and small natural balls, glass gems and rhinestones would be pretty too.  You also can personalize it to your decor by choosing different plates; you could go simple with a nice classic mirror plate, simple china plate, any decorative tray you have, and there are always fun candle trays in any home decor store and craft store.  You do not have to spend a lot, use stuff you have around the house or find new stuff at craft stores on sale for next to nothing.  You can actually make a full set of 3 for less than $10 and free if you have the decor pieces on hand.  There are set up expenses for the glass cutter, about $8, Goo Gone $4 or less, sanding block $3 but you can use a nail file, the rest you should have around the house.  Have fun, it takes a few tries so have extra wine bottles for practice; I know it is a burden to have to drink the extra wine, but that is the price you have to pay for creative home decor.  Don’t be surprised if you have friends that want a set once they see yours.  I know, you have to drink more wine 😉

Check out the photos below to see how to make a set for yourself.  If you have any questions please let me know; I will be happy to help you create your own wine bottle lantern.


The Happy Mommy Place

I had a moment today that took me to my “Happy Mommy Place”.  I think as parents we all have these moments strategically positioned in our lives to erase all the bad moments that happen while we parent.  I think it is an evolutionary process that perpetuates the human race, for without it, parents, especially mothers; would never keep having children.  It starts with the selective memory of child birth; we all forget the pain, weight gain, and nasty bodily functions (all of them) very soon after giving birth.  True, it takes some of us longer than others and some of us never forget.  Those of us who do experience selective amnesia; we have 2, 4, 6, 19 (don’t even get me started…) children and only remember the “wonder of childbirth”; of course only till it happens again and then scream… “What *&#** was I thinking…” and soon after you look into those beautiful eyes… you forget all the bad and go to the “Happy Mommy Place”.  Over the years we move in and out of the “Happy Mommy Place” which is the one place that keeps us from “killing” our children 😉  I know it sounds bad, but be honest, you know it is true, we have all been there, that moment just before you go over the edge with frustration and insanity, that we remember the “Happy Mommy Place” and decide against dropping our teenage child off and having them walk the remaining 10 miles home, on the freeway, in the rain… Deep breaths 😉

We have more of these “Happy Mommy Place” moments when our children are young:  first steps, first words, and first “I love you”, heck, first anything when they are young is news worthy…  This is in preparation for their teen years.  Really, we need a stock piled arsenal ready to get us through puberty… Think about it, most teens would never see Twenty if we didn’t remember when they were young, cute, innocent, sweet… POLITE!

My moments, seem to be coming more often now with my youngest son who is 16.  This is a good sign; when my oldest son started to “mellow” around this age we knew that we were leaving the hormonal part of puberty and moving into a more pleasant parenting stage; not perfect just a bit more pleasant  ;-).  This leads me to my “Happy Mommy Place” moment.

Today was just one of those bad days.  I felt tired, old, fat, gross and grumpy.  I had to get groceries before picking my son up from school.  I was on a deadline and trying to focus on not forgetting anything on my list and in my head.  I vaguely noticed an older gentleman crossing my path a few times smiling and once mentioning all the “bargains”.  Totally not sure what he was talking about and too focused to figure it out, I smiled, agreed and kept on going.  In the check-out line I noticed him again as he hustled to stand behind me… Uh oh, now I’m getting that creepy feeling, regardless of how old he was, I was just a bit uncomfortable.  He engaged me in small talk and I remained distant by polite.  He finished checking out; I let him go first, smaller load and I wanted him through the line.  As he was leaving he turned and walked back through the isle and said, “How would you like to go have some coffee and talk after this?”  REALLY!!  Nice, I guess, but, OMG he was at least 80!  This was not really what I needed at the moment; I needed 35 and “hot” to pick me up.  This was just… SAD.  I declined and hurried off to pick up my son from school.

On our way home I recapped the “funny” story to him.  I told him he would love it; anticipating the idea of any man, let alone an 80 year old man, picking up his mother would be hysterical.  I finished the story with, “And he was at least 80 years old; that is as good as I get.” 😉 

He barely took a breath before he answered, “Smart man!  He has good taste.”  I nearly hit the parked car on the curb turning to look at him?!?!

“Oh My Gosh, that was so nice, I needed to hear that today, thank you so much!” I said, still a bit surprised by his sincere and mater-of-fact delivery.  He really meant it 🙂

“You are not going to get all weepy and weird on me are you?”  He shot back with a bit too much disgust And… the moment was gone 😉

Sweet Sixteen Bedroom


I love helping friends restyle rooms.  My process of décor coaching is a bit different than what an interior decorator does.  A decorator wants/needs to have their clients require their talents each time the client wants to change a room; that is how they make a living.  This is a valuable service if you have the budget to work in their cost every time you redecorate. My goal is to try to inspire the person who lives in the house to make the room represent their personality and learn this skill so they can do it on their own.  That is how I gauge a successful client; by the time I am done they should feel confident to re-do a room without my help.  I do this by actually having my client do much of the design work with me.  I have them come with me to buy pieces; I send them on shopping assignments to find different items, and I encourage them to make design choices.  I don’t tell them what would look good as much as I give them a few “good” choices and let them decide.  This helps them gain confidence to make choices alone and teaches them how to edit all the choices there are in a store.  I use the same technique with my fashion clients; my ultimate goal is for each person to be able to choose for themselves in a way that works for their personal style; no matter if it is décor or fashion.  If a client has a creative flair or a talent that we can use in the restyling I have them make or refurbish items to be used in the room.  This makes the new room very personal and custom. 

This Sweet Sixteen Birthday Bedroom was for a good friend of mine that already has a very keen sense of style.  Her daughter was turning 16 and she wanted to update her room to reflect a more mature and individual young lady and not a “little girl” room.  I had her ask her daughter for some insight and direction but the majority of the styling was a surprise for her birthday.  This made the project a little tricky since we could not ask her daughter as we went along and we had to guess what “Boho/Romantic” meant to her.  

If any of you have teens or spend any kind of time with them you know how impossible it can be to get detailed information.  Getting a teen to tell you clearly, with description, what they are talking about is really close to… Well, brain surgery might be easier 😉  None the less, we did get a good idea of the general direction to go.  If I may offer a bit of advice; photos from the Internet or design magazines are really helpful when working with teens.  I have found that a teen’s definition of a style trend can be quite different than the actual or traditional definition of a trend.  So, show them photos or have them find photos of what they like.  It will make the process much easier and less painful.  If you are working on a boy’s room gather all examples of color, style, décor ideas all at one time.  Let them know they will only have to sit with you once.  Trust me; I have boys, all with decorated rooms that represent their style.  If you keep bugging boys over and over again with choices they will either shut down or say “yes” to everything to get you to stop bothering them.  Then after you are done doing what you think they want, they will look at you like you are totally crazy and promise you that they “never agreed to any of it”.  Actually, men will do this too, they never outgrow it, so if you want a man to be any part of your design choices; do it once and make it simple.  You take care of all the fluff, have them help with colors and general theme and stop there. 

For this Sweet Sixteen Bedroom I was asked to create a room that looked Boho/Romantic; the definition being a combination of Shabby Chic, bright Bohemian/ Moroccan, lace, floral and antique all melded together seamlessly without looking psychotic.  I wasn’t sure that we could actually pull it off since the Boho Bright look really doesn’t transition well with the romantic pastel that is traditionally Shabby Chic, antique and lace.  I decided that the best place to pivot from would be a color palette and then go from there.  When starting any room it is best to find a piece or group of pieces (work in odd numbers) and have the entire room move outward from that item(s).  Since our styles didn’t really meld, I thought it would be easier to start from color then décor pieces.  The color palette we used was pink, purple and aqua and we used both brights and ice pastels. 

The room needed storage so we used baskets in the color scheme.  All of the existing furniture was reused; it was all white so it made it easy to use.  We used decorative hooks to hang jewelry and a large mirror to stand in for a headboard.  I made a custom bulletin board to give her the ability to personalize her room with photos and keepsakes.  I like the way we blended all her distinct styles to give her a totally unique and personal space that represented her as an individual; what more could you ask for in a bedroom 🙂

  Mirror at the head of the bed is an easy way  to do a headboard.

 I made the bulletin board to coordinate with the room colors. 

See the “How To” on my Home Gallery page.

The hooks are a fun way to hold necklaces.

  You can see how the bright and pastel colors work together. 

The stool cushion is a throw pillow that I attached lace ties to.

 This was a fun room to design.  It was a challenge to meld all the different styles.  A well decorated room is a room that makes anyone in it happy and comfortable.

The Comfy Pants

This is dedicated to my Sister-in-Law, Christina, without her I would have never found my comfy pants .


While staring blankly into my closet early this morning contemplating global hunger I took a brief moment to decide what to wear.   Isn’t that what we all do in the morning while getting ready for the day… consider the solution for worldwide crisis? 😉  Once I figured that out, I grabbed my old faithful standby; my “comfy” pants.  We all have them; that pair of pants that no matter how fat, gross, or ugly you feel that day, once you slide them on, all you feel is cozy and warm and they always fit!  They also go by the name of “fat pants”; but really, that doesn’t do them the proper amount of homage.  They are so much more than just a “fat pants”, they are a reliable old friend.  They come in many shapes and forms: jeans, cotton, elastic waist, worn, with holes and without, perfectly new and 10 years old.   I love my “comfy” pants; maybe a bit too much.  I have often found myself wearing them multiple times a week.  This weighed heavy on me, because really, how many times can you wear the same pants in one week before it gets a little weird and definitely gross.  😉  I thought I had the answer to my dilemma by trying different versions of my “comfy pants”.  It is amazing how a simple velour pants can take on so many forms.  Every time I tried a different kind I never had the same warm and comfy feeling and back I went to my old faithful pants. 

As with many odd habits, you occasionally look back trying to figure out, “how it all started”; I remember the introduction to my “comfy pants”.  It was a few years back and I complemented my sister-in-law on her cute velour jogging pants.  She told me she loved them and needed to get more pairs, or maybe she already had more pairs, this point is irrelevant because multiple pairs where inevitable at this point.  From then on I began to notice her cute Juicy pants, a lot!  I joked with her about her repeat choice.  I knew she had a vast selection of items but she seemed to like her Juicy pants.  She said she attempted to pick other items but that pant always won out.  At this point I was intrigued, what is it about this pant that outweighed the need for diversity, fashion, and the moray of wearing the same thing too many times in a row… I had to try them; soon, like now.  The next day I was at the store trying them, and she was right, so comfy and still looked good.  The velour was just thick enough that it magically smoothed everything out.  I started with a nice basic black with the wide waistband, and I was hooked.  From there I got a brown pair, grey, turquoise, red, and recently pink.  I have ventured off to other brands but always to return to my original love, Juicy.  

I have sadly found myself making these pants look dressy in ways I know I shouldn’t.  I have worn them with cute wedges and sparkly tops and didn’t care they were my “comfy pants”.  On rainy days or warm beach days I can find a way to wear my “comfy pants”.  I think everyone should find their own “comfy pant” no matter what the style and embrace them.  That being said, the fashionista in me cannot fully condone wearing the same pants everyday but I can get behind finding a fit or style that works for your body and get multiple colors.  Mix it up with different tops, shoes, and accessories.  I have learned to embrace my need to wear my Juicy velour pants and mix it up with different styles and colors of that cut. Honestly though, nothing is the same as my first black pair with the wide waistband; because yes, I still have them and wear them even after 5 years.  Let’s be honest ladies, we all have at least one favorite staple item, that “comfy pants”, that you know will never let you down 🙂 

Do you have a favorite item, that “comfy pants”?  Let me know what your favorite item is and why.  Who knows, we may all find new items to embellish our “comfy pants” selections 🙂

Workout Challenge 2012


Any time you are setting out to change or add a behavior I find it helpful to establish the goal(s) of the behavior and the motivation for the change.  With that in mind, I am going to start off the 2012 Weight Loss/Workout Challenge by stating my goals and motivation for wanting to make the change and add the behavior of working out regularly.

In my early 40’s my health started to decrease and unfortunately for me, my weight started to increase.  Much of my increase was due to my health issues but even after I got better my weight seemed hell-bent on hanging on.  It didn’t seem to matter what I did, how much I worked out, or didn’t eat the weight just sat there un-yielding to my efforts.  For a bit of perspective; before my weight gain I was about 120 lbs. and just under 5’ 8” and after my weight gain and presently I weigh 180 lbs. and at my heaviest I weighed 185 just before my gall bladder surgery and my sickest.

That is how I got to this point, and this is what I plan to do about it; and I hope some of you will join me on this mission.  I personally feel that anything worth doing takes some work (OK, we all know that) but is so much more rewarding if you can take others along for the ride.  My goals and motivations for the 2012 Challenge are to become a healthy weight (I now realize that my past weight, although natural, was very thin for my stature), I would like to be 135 to 140 lbs.  I would also like to gain some more muscle tone and continue on my road to better health by lowering my blood pressure that has become troublesome, mainly due to my increased weight.  Also, I have some knee issues from past injuries when I was young and I know the excess weight is not helping them either…  So, I have a lot of sound medical reasons for the need to lose weight but I think the biggest motivators for me is that all of my life I have had an image of who I was and what I looked like before my 60 pound gain and a part of me feels very lost.  I know that may seem very vein and many may say you don’t look that bad, stop whining, but it is not a matter of how other people perceive me, it is how I perceive myself.  I am not losing weight to be more acceptable to others, to have others think I look good, or impress anyone.  I am losing weight, for my health, but also to regain that girl/woman that I have known for 95% of my life.  Some other motivations are my 30th high school reunion in August and a few formal events that I need to fit into a dress that I own but have not been able to wear. 

So, it is all fine and good to have goals and motivations to meet those goals but how are we going to achieve our goals?  Note how I have assumed that others are going to join me on this challenge.  I know that having support and a team will make success much more likely and a lot more fun.  This is my plan, feel free to follow it or find one that works best for you and your goals.  I have had success with journaling my food intake and exercise, I like using My Fitness Pal.  I have also had many friends that have lost a lot of weight using this app.  I don’t think it is the app; it is the recording that helps keep you on track and the app makes it easier.   I have also told by my endocrinologist that since I was very athletic before my illness (part of which is a hypothyroid) and now that I am in my 40’s that I might need to increase my cardio to actually see a loss.  I have tested this theory and do find that, unfortunately, I need to move more than the average person to actually see a weight change.  I am also taking some supplements that help with weight loss, fat burning and energy (L-carnitine, 5-HTP, B-12 and Omega-3).  They are all natural but before anyone takes any vitamins and/or supplements you should check with your doctor to make sure it is OK to take.  Also, if you are planning to start a new workout routine always check with your doctor before doing anything new.  I also believe that what works for one person doesn’t always work for another, so switching routines up or adapting plans to your lifestyle is key to making life long changes.  Make a routine, diet or exercise plan work for you, don’t force yourself into something that is not natural; chances are if you do it will not stick long term.  I don’t have the time, energy or desire to work out on a planned program every day; therefore I am creating my own plan that is a mixture of many of my favorite activities, as well as some of the things I “have to do”; which will keep me moving and motivated.  I am not creating a program that once I lose weight I will stop and then gain it all back.  I have to be able to make a lifestyle change not a diet or exercise routine that is so extreme that I will not be able to do it long term.

 I am going to strive to keep my calories to about 1500, which means calories in vs. calories out.  If I exercise more I can then eat a bit more.  This is why My Fitness Pal is great; it figures the math out for me and allows me to be much more accurate.  I will be able to stick with record keeping if it is easy and this app makes it really easy.  Since I have many food restrictions already I am not formally following any diet routine; my diet is pretty restrictive already.  I am gluten- free, for the most part and eat more vegetables than meat and do not eat beef at all.  If I could reduce anything it would be watching my sugar intake and may need to check my wine intake, not sure if that is going to happen 😉  I am also going to make sure I do some type of activity every day, which could be anything from a brisk walk, garden work, house work, shopping, or exercise DVD.

Please join me!  Let’s help each other reach our goals.  We can daily post our highs and lows, share ideas and tips, encourage each other, help keep us all honest and on track, and best yet celebrate when we reach our goal.  If you want to join and feel comfortable let us know your motivations and goals for the 2012 Weight Loss/Workout Challenge.  I have done Beach Body fitness exercise and one of the tools is to post before and after shots and keep journal of your starting weight and measurements.  You do not have to post this but do keep record of it, it is a wonderful motivation.  I will post mine, might as well put my money where my mouth is 😉  Here we go, we can do it…

My Starting Point 4/2/12