Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words may be encouragement to them. Ephesians 4:29b

Monday, October 13, 2014

Blown Away...Literally!

I had to share this little miracle that happened two days ago! But first, let me give you a little back story...

Texas:  I sold my table from the Texas house because it didn't fit the kitchen dining area here in Montreal, not to mention that it looked awful.  After a 3yo+baby to now an 8yo+6yo, adding lots of friends & family and everyday use, it was covered in scratches, worn edges...and heat spots.  Placemats became essential for covering up the flaws and protecting it from more.  I wanted redo and DIY it, but wasn't the right fit, so I decided to Craigslist it and buy new (cheaper than buying new here).  The day of the move, I bought a World Market table and put it on the truck, still in the box!

Montreal:  Our things got here before I came, so hubby had to put it together.  He wasn't sure about it at first, but I think it has grown on him.  It's very textured in comparison to our old one.  I wanted something that wouldn't show as much wear.  It does fit the room well. You can see it in this post.  I've still been a "placemat nazi" with my family, mainly to avoid heat stains. Paranoia at its finest!

Now, fast-forward to Friday (2 days ago):  I am eating lunch while "Pinteresting" at the kitchen table.  I have a placemat, but my laptop had pushed it out of place and I didn't notice that my reheated meal (in 2 tupperwares) was actually sitting on the wood.  When I noticed and picked them up I screamed.  You can imagine my nightmare....EEEEEK!!!

I tried wiping and adding cold water to see if it would take the heat out of it, but that only made it lighter!  Already being on Pinterest, I typed in  "remove+heat+stains+wood" in the search box and found lots of mayo, iron, oil, and wax solutions, but I decided to try one remedy in particular that looked the fastest:  a blow dryer set on high heat!  That's when I decided to take the pic above - just in case one of these remedies actually worked.

Coincidentally, I had just purchased a brand new hair dryer (that I absolutely love!) from Amazon.  I think I was in denial and not expecting it to work, so I didn't even think to take a photo until the very end of the miracle!  This was after about ~3ish minutes on high!

After.... WOW.
You can see it was still slightly hazy, so I added some polish.

Here it is 40 minutes later (completely cooled).
And here it is yesterday. 
We have been using the spot and cleaning regularly (no polish) after meals. No change today.  One of the Pin captions said that water gets trapped under the clear coat on the table and the heat removes it.  If so, heat stains are essentially just hot water stains when steam moisture gets underneath vs. cold water rings setting in.  Interesting, if true!  I'm sure it helped that I did something asap, vs. finding it hours later.  Regardless, I'd say this was a Pinterest success for me!  Keep this one in your back pocket, friends.  You may just need it!
Thanks for visiting and sharing in my joy!
Keeping Him in mind,

"Then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one in mind." Philippians 2:2

Monday, September 29, 2014

Beefin' Up My Bags!

Lately, I've been stocking up Clearly Candace on Etsy with more party sacks!  I will blame a lot of this on my geeky love for creating the designs.  The software I use is kind of nerdy fun for me.  I have also learned that new/current party themes sell pretty well, if there's not as much else out there.  Boys seem to want the latest greatest themes, and my son is no exception!  It's always the brand new movie/show/character themes that have no party goods in stores they like, forcing moms to turn to Etsy. :) (Can I get an "Amen" moms?) 

My son's party bags were my inspiration as my first trial-and-error Etsy items.  Along the way, I learned a little more about Etsy and licensed characters (I draw my own), and I provide my Ninjago-inspired masks for free. FYI, the "brick company" is a little more nitpicky. ;)

TMNT masks on Etsy in color or black and white

Lately, the bags have been more geared to boys, but I plan to start some girl ideas soon. 
If you missed them, here are my most recent printables...
So, if you know of any kiddos or moms wanting/planning any of these themed birthdays, send them to the shop!  A cheap idea that's easy and creative and fun for the kids! 
Thanks for visiting!
Keeping Him in mind,

1 Peter 4:10

Sunday, September 7, 2014

American Girls and Master Builders

Apologies on a much-delayed birthday celebration post for my kiddos!  It's been a busy Spring/Summer 2014!

It actually happened.  2014 was the first year my kids had actual separate birthday parties!  I cannot believe I managed to make it this long!!  It was a money-saver, but in the end, I knew the separated party demands would come.  Lucky for us, it turned out to be easier than it could have been.

American Girl Store or Bust!

E wanted to go to the American Girl Store, so we planned a trip to see/meet family in DFW, including her little BFF who's grandparents live in Dallas, too.  We met up for an official AG Birthday lunch in their restaurant, complete with party hats and favors.  Afterwards, she got to shop with family and top it off with family pedis! Let's just say her day was MADE! :)

I didn't create anything for this party, believe it or not!  The store provided favors for E and her friend and invitations for the family.  Since we wouldn't be local to home, this really helped make it a fun, low-stress party. SCORE!  I also found a cute "in-theme" gift for her. This adorable Aggie outfit from Etsy for her doll.  It even came from a woman in TXK - my hometown - Crazy!  I think her doll Emily digs it. ;)

Everything Was Awesome!!

Now, I did pull a few things out of my creativity hat for B's party.  He wanted a LEGO Movie-themed sleepover, so we let him invite three friends for a movie out and cake/game time/sleepover.  I found this invitation to hand to his buddies after school. Quick and easy!

Next, I got to work on party favors - my favorite part!  I decided that since there were only 4 boys, I would go bigger.  I came up with an idea for t-shirts to wear to the movie!  Let me tell you, these were--and still are--a HIT with the boys!  They wore them to school every week before summer! :)  For the front, I used my Silhouette to create a Lego cube stencil.  I painted in the stencil with white glow-in-the-dark fabric paint.  I created a Lego font stencil for the back.  I filled the letters with the same glow paint, but added a little black paint for edging to make them pop more.  They took a little longer than I liked, but they turned out well!

To hold the favors, I got yellow beach buckets from Dollar Tree.  I then created Lego Movie character faces using  my Silhouette and applied the black adhesive vinyl faces to the buckets.  I decided on Emmett, Benny, Bad Cop, Lord Business and Wild Style (for sister).  I filled the buckets with the t-shirt, a Lego mini-figure and some candy treats.  For sister (and her friend), instead of a shirt, I hot-glued a Lego piece to a colorful hair bow for some "Wild Style" hair flare. :)

This year and didn't have to (or get to?) to make cakes/cupcakes.  AG made E's cake and both my kids wanted American Cookie Company cakes on their actual birthdays.  No cake-making took a big chunk of time out of party prep, but I was still a little sad they didn't request Mom make a cool cake for their themes. :-/  Oh well...I honestly don't blame them.  I'd eat a cookie cake over a regular cake any day!  I guess they take after mine and Daddy's sweet tooth!

The fun "in-theme" gift for B this year was a small DIY project.  My mom found a golf ball shelf on ebay that we decided we could turn into a Lego mini figure display shelf.  I simply spray painted it black and hot glued 72 black flat square Legos (cheap on ebay) into each hole.  He was pretty stoked about it.  It never got officially hung in TX, but it's now hung up in Montreal!  He likes to use it as the "Think Tank" from the movie where Lord Business had all the Master Builders captured.  :)

And with that, we had another year of successful, fun birthdays!  It did help that they were planned two weeks apart. :)  Now to figure out what to do for their first international birthdays!  A good (or bad?) thing for them is that we will be on Spring Break during both their birthdays.  I vote for an island beach party venue...on a REAL ISLAND! :)  No really...they may have some epic birthdays these next 3 years.  Who wouldn't enjoy taking in some of God's tropical beauty for their birthday? I can hear the ocean waves now....

I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!
Now I am deeply discouraged,
but I will remember you--
I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
But each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.
(‭Psalms‬ ‭42‬:‭5b-6a,7-8‬ NLT)

Thanks for visiting!

With Him in mind,

Friday, August 15, 2014

Clearly CANADAce? The Montreal Home Invasion

Yes, I'm alive and well!  I'm sure many of you know what I've been up to, but for those that don't, I have just moved to Montreal, Quebec, CANADA!! Yep, you heard right.  My hubby was offered a wonderful job contract opportunity that required us to move from central Texas to French Canada! Oui Oui!  It's been quite the adventure and I've been too distracted for the blog and creativity as of late!  No offense to my lovely followers, but our big move created a priority shift in my life, as you might expect! :)

However, I did decide on a worthy new post!  We found a lovely home for lease on the West Island of Montreal, close to the water (aka the Saint Laurent River).  It's a great house and I've been settling us in since July.  It's really starting to feel like home now...at least to me!  I thought a "before and after" of the place would be timely.  The problem was, I didn't take any before shots because we arrived after the furniture and boxes did!  However, I remembered that I still have the home's real estate listing photos!  During our home search, our realtor sent a PDF listing that included small pictures of the house. Voila! A solution to the "no before pics" problem!

I am not a professional photographer.
I am not a real estate agent.
I am not a real estate photographer.
The PDF listing photos are tiny and grainy and I had to crop them out.
My photos are pretty dark in places, bright in others and a little warped.
My photos were taken with an iPhone 5 (pano mode).
SO...lower your expectations from "amazing home magazine/blog-worthy pictures" to "semi-decent house phone pics."

Regardless of photo quality, I DID enjoy discovering how some real estate pics are taken.  You know how they can make rooms look HUGE and spacious?  Well, a real camera (DSLR), panoramic mode and lots of light/image editing can make a home look pretty darn amazing! Then you walk through the home in person... Fortunately for us, the home wasn't far off the pics and was to our liking.  I recreated 21 listing photos using (almost) the same camera angles.  Below is an example of the PDF photo pages.  I cropped the pics out and posted them in the size giving the clearest image and the least grain and blur. Plus, it made most of mine look better - SCORE!

This post doesn't really give you a great visual walk-through or layout, but it shows the main spaces.  Yes, there are still plenty of changes I'd love to make on the inside, but since it's a leased home, I will hold back some of my OCD tendencies relating to home decor. ;) Some will be fine the way they are, while others may do...for now. We didn't paint, but the owner let us request a color in one room, as they were already hiring a painter.  We're using many of the original window treatments (not really us), so we'll see how I do. :) The owners did choose nice wall neutrals and colors and left plenty of wall art to use if we like.  Good people and a good home.  So, with that introduction, here we go!  

Welcome to the Lakeshore Casa!

Then (Summer 2013)
Now (Summer 2014) 
 Gig'em Montreal!

Entryway then
 Entryway now
We want to add a sitting/storage bench under mirror for shoes.

Living Room then
 Living Room now
I think I'll be okay with the living room curtains. ($$$)

Formal Dining then
 Formal Dining now
Same curtains. Living room is to the right. 
Nope, 16 new panels is not in the budget...
...and 16 would also be a DIY nightmare. I'm good.

Kitchen then
 Kitchen now
 The Fiestaware, Pier 1 plates and Longabergers worked out I think.

Kitchen to Dining then 
Kitchen to Dining now

Kitchen Dining then
 Kitchen Dining now 
Loving our World Market table. Last thing we got before moving.
PS: You will not get a zoom-in of the curtains, with respect to those with a fear of a certain creature.  #imaygocrazy

Powder Bath then
 Powder Bath now
Sorry for the bright light this one!  I'm not good at photo editing...

Back Porch then
 Back Porch now
 Yes, you are allowed to laugh at our lovely patio furniture. (in due time)

Girls Room then
E's Room now
E's Room - Better pano pic!
Just had to post this one.  This room is such a neat space! 
She just has too much girlie stuff in it! :)

Girls Bath then
 E's Bath now
 This bathroom has a step-up entry from inside her bedroom. Complete with her Boston Terriers from a former CC blog post you might recall. :)

Boy's Room then
B's Room now
Sorry for the crazy brightness!  And the height of their rods was a bit high for our 84" panels....not sure if I want to rehang and touch up or not...

Boy's Bath then
 B's Bath now
 A Fightin' Texas Aggie shower curtain to come!

 Master Bedroom then
 Master Bedroom now
 Same rod problem in this room with my 95" panels, even! Those were some tall handmade curtains!  Is non-textured wall touch-up and rehung rods worth it?

Master Bath then
 Master Bath now
 Notice the  new shelf cabinet to the left.  
None of the baths had ANY STORAGE!! How did they function??

Tiny, RED 3rd Bedroom then
New Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue Creative Space now!
 Vastly improved, wouldn't you say?  I am enjoying the calming blue over to my fun green chosen in my former space makeover .  (Blog post plug!) Thanks to my friend Kelly for the color recommendation!

Basement Family Room then
 Basement Family Room now
I keep meaning to take down those sheer panels! Pointless right? 

Basement Bedroom then
Basement Bedroom now
My TX guest bedding from isn't great with this room, but it'll do...maybe I'll find a deal. ;) WAY better than the prior room color!

Basement Bath then
Basement Bath now
 Another red to light blue! They actually did this before we even saw the house. 50s diner theme for a bathroom? Hmmm...

Basement Office then
 T's Office now (HA!)
Due to a broken desk, this room has been put on hold. #moverclaimsubmitted

Backyard (Summer 2013)
Backyard now
Benefits? 1) an added shed (yay!) 2) a clothesline pole (nope) 3) our beautiful TX jumping contraption 4) WEEDS! and 5) pretty sunflowers lining the left side.

OK, just for fun...
(no scrolling up!)

1. How many chandeliers are in my home (now)? (Yes, a bit of an obsession, I think.)
2. What lovely creature is on the kitchen/powder bath curtains? (yeeeaah)
3. How many fireplaces are in my home? (score for winter!)
4. What Benjamin Moor color is my creative space?
5. OK, you can scroll up for this one: Name 3 things that were added to my master bath to make it more functional....excluding the obvious (the cabinet).
6.  Besides the Fightin' Texas Aggies, what is another of my boy's obsessions?
7. Guess how many outdoor cooking apparatuses are on the patio (you can't see them all in the pic).
8. What was your favorite space?

I hope you enjoyed the tour!  My daughter has been giving her friends FaceTime video tours. It's pretty cute.  Perhaps she has room in her calendar for a few more. Just be forwarned of dizziness! :)

As our family makes this a home, we must also remember to keep Christ at home in our hearts, recalling Paul's words to the Ephesians as we embark on this new family adventure...

"I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong."

Thanks for visiting!

Keeping Him in mind,

PS: Pop Quiz Answers!
1. 6 are shown, but 7 total (one in the stairway), 9 when it was listed!!
2. Monkeys!  WITH CLOTHES AND A HAT! #killmenow
3. 2, Living and Master , with remotes!
4. Palladian Blue - their most popular blue at the moment
5. Large, rectangular mirror (the skinny divided one had us wondering)
    Baskets under the sink for storage
    Toilet paper holder! It's the little things...
6. L.E.G.O.S. #killmyfeet
7. 3 - grill, propane turkey fryer, electric turkey fryer (They left a small smoker/grill in the shed! Hubby is set!
8. Mine are my creative space and master bedroom (minus the curtain issue)  Feels cozy.