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Live Life More Perfect

Live Life More Perfect


Happy Monday to you my friends.  The beginning of a new year is always refreshingly filled with hope and promise for the days ahead.  I hope that the holidays were a time of joy and that 2017 has started off well for you.






Over the past year, there were a lot of things I heard talked about that really caused me to pause and think.  More and more people expressed their frustrations over there being way too much to get done and not enough time to do it.  Magazine worthy, Pinterest-perfect images caused people to feel like they must attain the same (unattainable) perfection in their own homes.  Older generations discussed how much simpler and enjoyable life was thirty or more years ago.  Younger mothers turned to frozen chicken nuggets and Kraft macaroni and cheese over a homemade meal for their family, not necessarily for the lack of time but rather the lack of knowledge in how to prepare something from scratch.  And over and over again, people brought up how an overabundance of things in their life was zapping the time and energy from their day.


And there were issues in my own life as well.  I'd look at Pinterest or at the beautiful images posted by my favorite bloggers and question whether or not I was talented enough.  I'd sit down to type a post and freeze because whatever I was sharing never felt authentic.  The challenges I faced were the same as I've had ever since starting this blog.  It just has never felt like a real representation of myself and has never fulfilled me in the way that I had hoped that it would.


When starting this blog back in the spring of 2013, I had a vision.  It is as meaningful to me today as when I typed the words for that first post to the world.  The problem is, I fell into the trap of thinking that I (and my blog) needed to be like everyone else and I haven't been true to myself and my passions.  I've only scratched the surface.  For quite a period of time, I've been feeling a tug on my heart and it has only grown stronger that things need to change.


For almost four years now, I've been blogging and creating a platform to compete with my fellow bloggers and friends.  And I can't do it anymore.  Things were pretty silent around here through much of 2016 because I was tired of trying to figure all this out while still posting things that I didn't feel proud of.  My blog will not help anyone, including me, unless I am willing to stand out there on my own and compete just against myself.


Much like life, blogging becomes most difficult when you play the comparison game and do not present the real you to the world.  You keep trying and working, but nothing ever quite clicks into place.  You see the success of the amazing bloggers and entrepreneurs around you and question why the same doesn't happen for your own venture.  You notice the beautiful way they present their homes and get down on yourself for not creating such perfection in your own house.  Whether it is in blog-world, your work environment, or the parent teacher group at your child's school, if you aren't being you, you won't ever be satisfied.






What really gets me excited is learning tips that will help me beautify my home and be successful at the things I try.  The internet is aplenty with total room makeovers and house tours......articles about organizing your life in 30 days or less.....and cooking a fancy meal for 20 guests at a time.  But there is a small problem with that.  Unless you know the basics of decorating, the fundamentals of organizing even just your junk drawer, and basic skills like roasting a chicken, you can't easily progress successfully to that bigger picture.


Up to this point, I feel as though my blog has been here to inspire and to show the things I'm creating.


But deep in my heart, I want to teach.  It isn't so much that I want to show you what I did, but rather give you the information you need to do something yourself.  I want you to leave here inspired not necessarily by what I've created, but what I've taught you to try on your own.  My hope is that I can support you, my readers, and encourage you to break free from this stressed-out, overwhelmed, and disconnected world that we seem to be creating for ourselves.  Our families, homes, and life in general deserve to feel great once again.


I can remember watching Martha Stewart as a teenager and making notes of different tips that she gave to make household tasks easier.  And quickly scribbling a cookie recipe down that I knew I could bake.  Even now, it is never an entire magazine article that normally catches my attention.....it is the detail of how books were styled on a bookshelf in the background of a picture.  Or it is the tip about how cooking a turkey upside down in the pan will give you juicier meat.    For quite awhile I was saving pages out of the Pottery Barn catalogs not because I wanted to buy something.....it was because the way they styled what was for sale caught my eye, like a bowl full of old photos on the coffee table or a collection of different sizes and shapes of candlesticks on top of the mantel.


It is in those small tidbits of information that you learn to decorate, craft, organize, clean, cook and bake.  It is in those details that you create something special and unique for yourself.  And that is where you'll find the beauty in your life and gain the confidence that you are capable of doing whatever you set your mind to.


My vision now for this blog is short, manageable ideas that you can instantly try yourself.  I want to start at the beginning and build a foundation of knowledge to help you in your home.  When you know the basics of how to do something, you become more successful at what you try and you save time and frustration by doing it correctly.


And my hope is that I can be able to give the information you need to live life a little more perfect.  Striving for perfection is not necessarily a bad thing if you frame it in the context of aiming to be your best.  Setting yourself up for success and learning along the way as you practice and experiment will lead you to your own version of perfection that you can be proud of.  And when you can be content with the life you've created, those "perfect" people around you become a source of inspiration, rather than a source of unhappiness.


Thank you so much for taking the time to read the words of my heart today.  I'm really looking forwards to starting a new chapter here while taking you all along for the ride.





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Easy Paper Mache Deer Head Makeover

Easy Paper Mache Deer Head Makeover


Learn how to update the look of a basic paper mache deer head using joint compound 
from the hardware store.






Hobby Lobbyhas large selection of paper mache products, and during a recent 50% off sale I found that this stag head had accompanied me home.  He wasn't anything I needed or even knew what to do with, but who could pass up 50% off, right?!?!


Rather than just paint over the paper mache, I used a thin coat of joint compound from the hardware store to create some texture over the paper.  Using this product gives the deer an almost stone like appearance.  (I've used it to update a thrift store lamp in the past, too.)  Also, it is a great way to "fix" the paper mache when it breaks in places like where the horns meet the deer's head.  The joint compound will hold it all together if you add a little more in these areas.






While it is a messy job using joint compound for a craft product, it is also easy and you can't mess up the project.  I just smear it on with my fingers, using more than I need to create a lot of texture.  (Just be sure that you don't put it on too thick or it will take forever to dry and may crack as it does.  A couple thin coats is better than one thick one.)






The compound will turn pure white when it is all dry.  And when it does, use a fine grit sandpaper to gently smooth out the surface.  Not enough that all that great texture disappears, but just enough so that the bumps and ridges of the compound even out.


After my deer was as smooth as I wanted, I painted him with one coat of Fusion Mineral Paint in Casement.  It looked similar to one that I found in Target for more money, so I was pleased.


Until I saw one at Michaels that was painted dark gray with light gray dry brushing and fell in love with him as well.  Are a few more coats of paint in this little guy's future?






I really do love the contrast between the pure white deer and the vibrant green and red boxwood and berry wreath, though.  (Learn how to make your own boxwood wreath.)  While neutrals are always my go to, those beautiful pops of red and green at Christmas really add something special to the decor.






Thank you so much for visiting today and I hope that your Christmas season is continuing to be full of joy and that you are taking in all that the holiday has to offer.




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Please know that some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This allows me to make a small commission if you purchase something, but your price will stay the same.  I only will share products I believe in and all opinions are my own.  You can view my disclosure policy here.  
Thank you so much for helping to support this blog!






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Artful Blogging Magazine Feature

Artful Blogging Magazine Feature






 There are certain milestones that just about every blogger out there tries to strive for in their career.  One of them is get your first reader that isn't a relative or best friend.  Another is to to get a mention on a favorite website like Country Living or Better Homes and Gardens.  And still another is to find out that one of your own blogging idols follows your blog or social media accounts.


One of the biggest honors, though, is to receive an email in your inbox letting you know that a magazine wants to feature your work.  I was lucky enough a little over a year ago to have a feature of two of my DIY projects in Reloved Magazine.  And I was overjoyed.






But back at the beginning of the summer, I opened my inbox to see an email from Artful Blogging Magazine letting me know they wanted to include my work in an upcoming issue AND that I would be writing the article to go along with it.  To see your photography appearing with your own words is a dream come true.  Seeing my name as the author still makes my heart skip a beat.









I really poured my heart into this article describing my blogging journey and the things I struggle with.  But I also wrote to inspire those who also blog or lead a creative life and to offer hope to keep pushing through the disappointments to accomplish the goals you set for yourself.






And in a sweet little twist of fate, the front of the magazine contains a small reminder to myself to overcome something that I struggle with on an almost daily basis.  I probably need  to carry my own little quote around with me!






I'm also excited to be able to share space in the article with my friend Ashley from Little Glass Jar.  Her style and photography always leave me inspired.  You can read about her thoughts on a feature on her blog.


You can find this magazine on sale now at places like Barnes and Nobel and most craft stores.  You can also order a copy on their website.








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Vintage Inspired Christmas Favor Ornament | Christmas Vignette and Printable Blog Hop

Vintage Inspired Christmas Favor Ornament | Christmas Vignette and Printable Blog Hop


Create a unique favor for your Christmas table this year with a free printable of a vintage image.



A vintage inspired ornament decorates this table for Christmas.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



Even as a little kid, I enjoyed helping to set a festive table around the holidays.  My favorite task was creating place cards for whomever was coming to dinner.  Although we had the same guests year after year and they would sit in the same seats, I felt like these place cards were the most important thing on the table.



A farmhouse style table decorated for Christmas.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



Setting the Christmas Table



Creating favors was another way of putting my stamp on the holiday table all those years ago.  So when Kristen from Ella Claire Inspired invited me to participate in this year's Christmas Vignette and Printable Blog Hop, the first thing that came to my mind was creating a favor to give to each guest at dinner this year.



Farmhouse Style Christmas table | www.andersonandgrant.com



There are a few ways to view placing a favor at your guest's plate.  One one hand, you can give those sitting down at your table a treat to eat like some candy or a piece of holiday fruit like a pomegranate.  But those favors disappear by the end of the meal.


You can do something decorative like placing a pine cone or ornament in the center of their plate.  But those things are just moved aside when the meal comes.


I enjoy using a favor that not only provides a decorative touch, but is something that my guests can actually use for many Christmas seasons to come.  I like to think that next year, my friends and family can unpack the ornament that I've created for them and remember the time that they spent at my home and the happy memories we created together.


(And yes, in the pictures above I've also added a glass ornament to decorate things a bit more!)



Free Printable Vintage Ornament for your Christmas tree or holiday table  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



This vintage image is a charming picture that reminds me of what Christmas would have been like many years ago when families traveled long distances for the chance to spend their holidays with loved ones.  Where gifts were simple and heartfelt rather than purchased because it is expected to give something.



Free Printable Vintage Ornament for your Christmas tree or holiday table  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



To make these ornaments, I printed the images out onto cardstock.  Then I cut squares of chipboard with decorative edged scissors.  You could also use the cardboard from an empty cereal box.


I punched two tiny holes into the top corners and threaded fishing line through them to create an invisible way to hang the ornament.  You could also use ribbon or twine depending on your style.


The image was glued down onto the center of the square and then to keep with the vintage look, silver glass glitter was added around the edges.  (To make the project kid-friendly, please use regular craft store glitter.)



Use this free printable to create ornaments for your Christmas tree or as favors for your holiday table.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



Last year, I got these pretty Merry Christmas napkins from Parris Chic Boutique and I think they are perfect backdrop behind the favor.  It's like they were made for something to be placed on top of them!



Check out this post for a free printable vintage image to create this festive holiday ornament.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



Maybe you aren't interested in making favors for this year's table, but this image can also be used to create ornaments on your own tree or to tie on the outside of a gift that you are giving to someone special.  You could also print the image out and add it to a frame to decorate your home.



Decorate your table for Christmas |  www.andersonandgrant.com



I'm really excited about being able to share my holiday printable alongside many other fabulous ladies today.  There is really something for every style and so many different ways to use these ideas around your home this season.  And best of all?  They are free!  Consider it your first Christmas gift of the season ;)


Please remember, though, that these printables are free for your own personal use only.  They are not to be altered, sold, or redistributed in any way.





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Be sure to visit some of these bloggers, see their creative printables, and be inspired by the ways that they've been used in our homes.  Thank you so much for stopping by!



  Banner Christmas Tags by Ella Claire | Gift Tags by Zevy Joy | Good Tidings of Joy by Lolly Jane | Watercolor Christmas Baking by Craftberry Bush | A Thrill of Hope by Maison de Pax



    Free Printable Holiday Gift Tags and Ornaments by Finding Home Farms | Peace on Earth by My Someday in May | Red Barn Gift Tags & Print by Refresh Restyle | Kiss Me Under the Mistletoe Watercolor by Finding Silver Pennies | Merry Christmas Ornament by In My Own Style




    Good Tidings Christmas Chalkboard by Live Laugh Rowe | Plaid Christmas Gift Tags by Four Generations One Roof | Vintage Inspired Christmas Favor by Anderson and Grant | Hot Cocoa Bar Sign Printable by Blesser House | Watercolor Paper Flowers by Chronicles of Home




  Let it Snow Banner by Happy Happy Nester | Reindeer Games by Clean and Scentsible | Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas by A Burst of Beautiful | 12 Plaid Reindeer Joy Printables by The Happy Housie | Santa Baby by Kelly Elko




    Christmas Tree Farm Poster by Making Home Base | We've Got that Holiday Feeling by My Fabuless Life | It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by May Me and Mom | Heaven and Nature Sing by Nest of Posies | Nativity by Shades of Blue Interiors




     Make Your Own Christmas Village by Town and Country Living | Madeline's Christmas by So Much Better with Age | Christmas Gift Tags by TIDBITS | Countdown to Christmas by Unskinny Boppy | Holly Botanical Study Watercolor by Nina Hendrick Design




  Pie Labels by My Sweet Savannah | Advent by My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia | Buffalo Check Christmas Banner by Just Destiny





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Please know that some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This allows me to make a small commission if you purchase something, but your price will stay the same.  I only will share products I believe in and all opinions are my own.  You can view my disclosure policy here.  
Thank you so much for helping to support this blog!





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Setting a Simple Thanksgiving Table | Fall Tablescape Blog Hop

Setting a Simple Thanksgiving Table | Fall Tablescape Blog Hop


Having a thoughtfully set table is an important part of gathering together for Thanksgiving.  See how decorating simply can allow you to create a beautiful tablescape without spending a lot of time or money doing it.



A mix of pumpkins, berries, and pinecones create a beautiful Thanksgiving centerpiece.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



Hello friends!  Thank you so much for stopping by today.


Thanksgiving and all that it entails is quickly approaching.  Thoughts of oven roasted turkey and homemade pumpkin pie have already started swirling through my brain.  Can you smell all that delicious food cooking in the oven?


I have the great privilege to kick off the season with some of my blogging friends.  Today, we are sharing what our Thanksgiving tables will look like this year.  I really love seeing how different everyone's fall tablescapes can look and am really grateful that Kelly from Live Laugh Rowe and Jenn from My Fabuless Life wanted to include me in the festivities.  Links to everyone's blogs appear near the end of this post.  



This simple and neutral fall tablescape is exactly how I want to decorate my Thanksgiving table this year.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



We all have so much to be thankful for in our lives.  And sometimes we forget that the Thanksgiving holiday is there to honor that.


Between the the stress of getting dinner on the table, the family dressed and ready, and the house spic and span, we loose sight of the importance of being thankful.  And for many, the holiday itself is overshadowed by the deals that may (or may not) be found in the Black Friday sales popping up later in the day.  (I commend the stores who are observing the holiday and allowing their employees to spend the day with their families.)



Simple and elegant farmhouse decorating on this Thanksgiving table.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



With so much to occupy our time and our mind, I wanted to create a Thanksgiving tablescape this year that is simple.  Just the right amount of seasonal touches and elegance to make the table a special place to gather without spending precious time overthinking the process.  It is important for us all to save time where we can so that there is more to spend on what is truly important during the upcoming holiday seasons.


While we normally associate the holiday with the food we serve and the family with whom we share the day, having a nicely set table to gather around is also important in my book.  Your guests will undoubtedly appreciate the thought you put into creating a special place for them to dine.  Presentation is just about as crucial as the actual taste of the dinner you prepare.



This Thanksgiving tablescape is simply decorated, yet beautiful.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



In the past, my Thanksgiving table was set with layers of dishes, an intricate centerpiece, and an array of fall color.  Even this fall when I was dining outdoors, I felt the need to go all out.  But now, I'm craving simplicity and clean lines.


Rather than piling plates and decor onto the table to make everything look fancy and finished (and oftentimes, maybe overdone), I choose to just use my best dishes, glasses, and antique silverware to let my guests know that I am thankful for them and the time they've chosen to spend with me.  Typically we like to save and preserve our "best"....but I can't think of a better time to actually put those treasures to use.



A simple way to set a fancy dinner table.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



Antique silverware layered on a linen napkin.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



Beautiful crystal wine goblet.



The centerpiece is made of a berry garland folded in half and tucked around a few pumpkins.


Candles and pine cones are scattered down the table.


The neutral colored table runner adds just the right amount of texture and breaks up the dark wood of the dining table.  I made it recently using a similar process as my burlap table runner.


(You can find a similar table runner and cloth napkins at Pier 1.)


Nothing is overwhelming or interferes with conversation across the table.  And there is plenty of room for food to sit and be passed in case anyone wants to fill their plate a second (or third!) time.



Create a beautiful fall centerpiece using pumpkins, pine cones, and berries.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



It is the laughter across the table, the fond memories shared, and the warm atmosphere that you create that will make the day memorable.  The most important part of the Thanksgiving meal is being able to spend time with those that mean the most to you and focusing on the gratitude that you have for all the good in your life.


It really does not matter what you serve for your holiday dinner or what you consider your "best" when setting the table.   It truly is the thought that counts.



This simply decorated fall tablescape is beautiful.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com



Unfortunately, none of us knows where we will be by next Thanksgiving and  I urge you to savor the moments and spend your time focusing on what (and who) really matters during this holiday season.  Make things pretty and put your best foot forward, but not at the expense of having the time and clear mind to enjoy it all.


I hope today's post has inspired you to think simply this fall and create more memories that can be shared and laughed about next year.  


What are your favorite ways to focus on the true meaning behind Thanksgiving?



Setting a Simple Thanksgiving Table |  www.andersonandgrant.com



A simple and neutral fall tablescape.  |  www.andersonandgrant.com





CREATE A SIMPLE LOOK FOR YOUR THANKSGIVING TABLE
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Now, I'd really appreciate it if you could spend some time checking out all the other incredible ideas my friends are sharing for setting your fall or Thanksgiving table.







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Please know that some of the links in this post are affiliate links.  This allows me to make a small commission if you purchase something, but your price will stay the same.  I only will share products I believe in and all opinions are my own.  You can view my disclosure policy here.  
Thank you so much for helping to support this blog!





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