Sharing My Heart....

Today, I'm feeling compelled to share a bit of my heart.  If you came looking for design inspiration or furniture ideas this isn't the post you're looking for.  BUT if you want to take a few minutes to read what's on my mind and my heart, then please feel free to stick around.  I promise not to be too boring!  

This past weekend the hubby, Hunter and I had the pleasure of attending my cousin Braedan's wedding in Washington.  It was a beautiful ceremony and the bride and groom were so in love.  Their love for one another was precious.   The whole wedding from start to finish was just perfect.

I'm going to back up a few when I got the invitation to the wedding.  I was so happy for Braedan and Brooke to be getting married, but I have to be honest, I was dreading going to visit family.  Now that might sound harsh to you, but to me it's normal.  Normal in the fact I've lived far away from my family for the past 17 years of my life.  Not like just an hour away, but many hours to many long hours on a plane kind of far away.  

Over time, I've gotten used to being autonomous.  You learn to live without your family or their support after awhile because that's what you have to do to survive and keep going.  It's not that I don't love my family, but sometimes it's easier to compartmentalize and shove the feelings away...hoping they won't pop out when you least expect it.  It's not easy being away and on your 'own' all the time.  Especially when so many people around you are surrounded by their families and yet they're complaining about them being too close.

I'll also be honest here and point out that my family just hasn't been the same since my Mother passed away from cancer 10 years ago.  My Father has since remarried and everyone has scattered a bit.  I haven't had the best relationship with my Father, but recently it has been strained to say the least.  So, the thought of seeing him at a family wedding wasn't exactly high on my list of things to do.  However, I felt in my heart that I needed to be there and now I'm so glad I was.

A funny thing happened while I was there, I felt so at peace.  No, my relationship with my Dad isn't fixed, nor will it probably ever be, but what I realized was it doesn't matter.  I have two wonderful Brother's who I really miss.  My Brother Kevin, has a wife and two adorable little girls who I miss dearly.  Then there's my Aunt and Uncle who I have loved and admired all my life.  My Aunt has always been there for me and has ALWAYS made me feel special when no one else did.  She's my biggest cheerleader and I love her more than words.  And of course all my cousin's who are growing up like crazy and getting married and having babies!

Now that I'm home and looking at the pictures I took and remembering the fun we had as a family, I'm sad.  Sad at the thought of not being home again for another 4 years to visit, sad that we live so far away, but also happy for the reminder of how much I love and care for my family.  It's easy to push those feelings away to protect your heart, but I'm going to do my best to keep those feelings in a place where they're easy to reach. 

The hardest part of the entire trip was leaving and saying goodbye.  Hunter is so sensitive and really dislikes saying goodbye.  When we left Sunday evening, after spending time with my Brothers and their family, Hunter was so quiet and sad in the car on the ride back to the hotel.  When I asked him what was up he replied "I wish we lived close to our family....I really miss them."  Although we can't control where we live, we go where the hubby's job takes us, we're hoping we can visit more often.  Who knows maybe some day we'll live close again?  And of course we hope they will come to visit us!  

Here are some pics from our visit to my Brother's beautiful home in Brown's Point, Washington.  Right on the's breathtaking.

Hunter loved beach combing, climbing on all the logs that had washed up on shore and throwing rocks into the ocean.

This is my absolutely adorable 5 year old Niece Zoe, who I wish I could have taken home with me!  Hunter wished we could bring her home too!

The last time we saw Zoe, she was still a baby.

Princess Zoe

 This was her 'fishing pole' she found on the beach.

They were both 'fishing'

It doesn't get much prettier than this....

The first time I can think of in ages that we've had a picture of all three of us!  Kevin is on the far left, then Bryan is on the right.

I know this isn't my 'normal' type of post, but I really wanted to share with you some of my thoughts. Now you know me a little bit better, whether you wanted to or not!  :-)

Thank you for taking the time to read this!

Giving A Book Shelf A New Look Without The Commitment

Disclaimer:  I was given product for this post, however all thoughts and opinions are my own. I would never recommend or suggest a product if I didn't love it myself!

I bought this gorgeous solid teak mid century modern book shelf awhile back at the Habitat For Humanity ReStore.  I fell in love with it the moment I laid eyes on this beauty.  I knew there was no way I could ever paint it so I found a place in my home for shelf and used it as a display place for all my 'stuff'.  

After we moved to Illinois in April, the book shelf became the place I would put things when I had no other place for them.  I found that all the 'stuff' just looked jumbled and didn't really stand out inside the shelf.  I contemplated painting the inside white, but then just couldn't touch it with a paint brush.  

I found this Khanjali Ikat Fall Stencil that I fell in love with from Royal Design Studio.  I had planned on using the stencil on a wall in my master bedroom, but the more I thought about it I decided it would be a good fit for this book shelf.  

With the holidays coming up this was a perfect way to give my entryway a Thanksgiving look.  Also, it gave me a way to reuse my fall mantel pumpkins!   When Christmas comes, it will be a quick and easy fix to change up the decor on top and add in some Christmas flare.  

Here's the book shelf before, sorry there are windows all around and this entryway gets sun all day long so there's a lot of glare.

You can see here, the 'stuff' inside just gets this shelf was in need a huge edit!

Here's my Khanjali Ikat Fall Stencil I picked out.  I had originally bought the stencil cream to use for the master bedroom wall (I'm still going to use it, but with another stencil).  However, I had other plans for the book shelf that didn't involve the stencil cream.  I still wasn't willing to paint any part of the book shelf.

My solution to no paint on the book shelf???  Foam core board!  I bought six sheets of foam core board for a $1 each at the dollar store.   I cut the sheets to fit the back of the shelf using a t-square and a utility knife.

Once I got all the sheets cut to size for the back of the shelf, I took them outside and laid my stencil on top of the foam core sheets.  I didn't even need to tape the stencil down.  This was EASY and quick.  I used my favorite gold spray paint and sprayed away.  The pattern went on perfectly and I got a new look for the shelf without touching it with paint or a paint brush!   Also, because the pieces were cut to fit, I didn't even need to attach them to the back. They're just wedged in and can quickly and easily be removed without leaving any hint they were ever there!

This is a perfect solution for someone like me who is always switching things around depending on the season.  It will be easy to switch up the decor depending on the holiday.  I can already envision the gold and white in my Christmas decor.  Also, because it's so inexpensive, easy and quick, if I decide tomorrow I don't want the pattern, I can flip over the foam core pieces and have white instead.   I can also easily go and buy another $6 worth of foam core board and do this all over in another color or stencil!  I didn't affect the value of the piece or permanently change it in anyway.

Here's the book shelf all done and ready for the holidays!  

You want to see the inside don't you!?  Here are some close ups!

I really like how classic and pretty the gold is with the white.  The pattern of the stencil and the shiny gold goes well with the mid century vibe of the cabinet.  It also makes me think of Thanksgiving and the changing seasons. 

I have to talk about these marble horse book ends quickly!  I recently bought another pair of these at Goodwill and completely forgot I already had a set I purchased in Connecticut at another Goodwill! They were stuffed in the book shelf and didn't even stand out, so I forgot they were there.  Out of sight out of mind.  Now they stand out and look perfect against the new stenciled backdrop.

There you have it!  A quick, easy and inexpensive way to update your shelves depending on the season,  for very little money, time or commitment.  I'm already thinking of where I can do this next!  

Where would you use this idea in your holiday decorating?  If you have done this before or if you plan to do this project, I'd love to see pictures!  Also, I love hearing from you!  Let me know what you think about this project.

Thank you as always for taking time out of your busy day to read this,