October 09, 2016

Adventure and travel decor, galore!

I love to decorate for my family in a way that comforts and inspires. The rule of thumb in my home decorating has always been that it has to invoke a memory, or represent something very personal to this family in order to sit on a wall or shelf in our home. One thing that is my absolute favorite thing to do, above anything else, is to travel. Throughout my life I have collected little trinkets and souvenirs from my travels around the world. Most are prominently displayed to remind us of certain trips or memories. I wanted to create a whole room dedicated to my favorite pastime, travel, and I kind of love how it turned out.

These thrifted cases still have old travel tags on them from someone else's journeys long ago.
My vintage globes and books add a little interest to the room.

I pulled decor from around my house that was better suited in this room, like this old trunk I've had for years.

With a few pillows I collected in different patterns and textures, I was able to pull out the colors from my favorite part of this room, the National Park Poster collage above the couch. The curtains came from HomeGoods and added a touch of whimsy without being too busy. The leopard print was a must and somehow these random patterns just all work.


This room is one of the happiest and most colorful rooms I've ever decorated. Every person who comes into the house has to stop and take it in for a minute with their jaw wide open. I love that! I love that my quirky design makes an impact and statement. It is where the family tends to gather now because it's a warm and memory inducing room. As a mom, that makes my heart full and gives me plenty of inspiration to plan our next adventures together.

xo Emily xo

A not so secret, secret.

    We all have secrets, whether big or small, we have them lurking deep inside. We hide our secrets from others, for fear of not being exactly like everyone else, for fear of not fitting in, or being "weird".  As we grow older and more confident in ourselves, more comfortable in our own skin, it gets easier to be who we really are. Sometimes, people will never truly come out of their proverbial shell and show the world their true face, but I think its about time I show mine. I've hinted around it, but never really stood in the spotlight to let you all really, truly, see me...all of me.

  Growing up, I was raised Mormon, a devout Latter Day Saint, Christian girl. I was taught that when you died, you either went to Heaven or hell. I have now left the Mormon faith and that's a long story for another time, but when you die, you go to live with God, or so I was told. While I still believe this is true, I know there are other things going on and many things that none of us can explain. 

  From a young age I felt a little different than my siblings and friends. You see, I had a keen interest in the paranormal and things that can't be easily explained. Sure, the 1980's were full of ghostly and mysterious types of entertainment. GhostbustersBeetlejuice, Indiana Jones, Unsolved Mysteries, just to name a few of some of my favorite movies & TV shows from that time. Did this mold or create my obsession and fear in things that go bump in the night? Maybe. Has my intense interest in spirits, ghosts, folklore and mystery been strictly because of the supernatural, spine-chilling entertainment from that awesome decade? Maybe. Somehow though, it has become my favorite and most loved subject to research and learn about. Not because I find it so easy to face, or purely an exciting hobby, but because I need to find answers to why I have experienced certain things
. There's a lot that I've kept hidden and only those closest to me have heard some of these stories that I'm about to share with you. If you're ready, take a seat and open your mind, cause I'm about to blow it.

As a young child I was constantly told how "intuitive" I was. How I just always knew how people felt and had an empathy "beyond my years". I felt a lot. Peoples emotions really affected me. They still do. Beside the intuition and empathy, there were a few other things that came easily to me. I sensed things, scary things sometimes, and I seemed to easily know if people were good or bad, or places for that matter. I have experienced countless moments of wonder and intense fear with what we call the paranormal. I'll tell you about my first memory of the paranormal but, this is where I'm going to need you to throw your preconceived notions out the window and just go with me on this trip down haunted-memory lane.

 I remember running up the stairs at the tender age of 4. This memory is so clear to me, as if it happened yesterday, it's still so surreal and vivid. Probably because I still want to know what invisible thing hurt me. Yeah, that's right, something that I couldn't see, physically hurt me. 
  34 years ago, I was happily playing with cousins at a family event of some sort in our home in West Jordan, Utah. I momentarily left the fun and skipped down the hallway, turned the corner then began to run up the stairs. I was making a mad dash to get other toys, when out of nowhere and with nothing around me, I felt a burn, a piercing cut ripped through my lip and cheek in an instant. It was like a sharp needle slashed my face mid-air. That's what I believed. Looking around in complete shock, and solitude, my tiny brain searching to put this puzzle together, I then tasted and felt the warm drips of blood running down my lip and chin before running to my parents. 

After being fixed up and asked a hundred questions as to how this happened, and with no way to answer their inquisitive requests, the revelry with the adults began again and I was sent on my way to play, scared and utterly confused. I inspected that stairwell and hallway so many times after that, and still go back in my mind to this day, trying to understand what did that to me. I have some ideas, and none are comforting conclusions.

I have so many more stories of my encounters with the paranormal. Some that will leave you unable to sleep alone for some time, others that will mystify you, like they have with me. I feel like it's time to open up with my stories. Now I say stories, but all are 100% real and all lead me to one conclusion... I must be a little "sensitive". Sensitive to a world that definitely exists within our busy, chaotic life. A world where our deceased family can communicate with us. A world where things try to scare you and touch you. A world that most definitely haunts homes and places and I've felt and danced with this world, on a few occasions, in my 38 years.

 What has played and toyed with me during different times in my life. I want to explain what happens after we die and know what it is I fear and chase. I am intrinsically drawn to historic buildings and places for some reason. While there I sense things, I feel things. I see things within my minds eye. What does it all mean? Why can I do this? Why do I love nothing more than to watch the latest episode of any ghost hunting show more than anything else? When my father told me as a teenager that watching things to do with hauntings or ghosts, would only invite evil things in, I knew he meant well, but didn't fully understand it was just because I was searching for answers to what was going on with me. 

 My passion for this subject has only been strengthened with time and as I have let go of fear and embraced it. Now, I search out spooky experiences. I stay in haunted hotels, haunted castles, I travel to the strange and mysterious. I crave to learn about history and a time long forgotten. If I'm honest, all my life I wished I was a woman Ghostbuster/Indiana Jones, but maybe, without realizing it,  I already am?

Fun fact before I let you go, I have an abandoned cemetery in the woods behind my house. I mean for goodness sakes, why wouldn't I?! We only found that out after we bought this house. Coincidence? I think not. I have some really good stories to tell and I'm finally ready to show a side to me that at one time, I felt judged for admitting was such a big part of who I am.

Should I tell you next about the haunted house in England, well, there were a few, or the haunted graveyard in the woods behind my house? Or the time I explored the catacombs of Paris with my best friend and oh, you know, 6 million corpses...  Stay tuned because I have some big news and exciting things to announce in the next week or so!!!

xo Emily xo

April 01, 2014

Welcome to my home! Entry way decor DIY.

I'm so exited to show you around my house...again. I've recently moved back home to the beautiful South and into my old home. Everything in the house is being overhauled, room by room. My tastes change quickly. Almost every room is being re-painted by yours truly, along with new decorations, but as always, on a budget. 

First of all, my entry table in the foyer is actually an antique dresser. I added caster wheels for a bit more class and height. 



This last Christmas my entry table looked like this. 

I just love it. Simple and elegant. 

My favorite vineigette in my home right now, is this area. 

I had a cheap, ugly wooden shelf I got at a garage sale for $2. One can of high gloss white spray paint fixed that right up and on the wall it went. I knew I wanted hooks to hang things and create a faux mudroom. 

I quickly made the #5 artwork with an old book page, a cut out of the number 5 and some black paint. I glued it together and threw it on the wall. A few more family relics, some cute pillows and voila! My entry room is jussssst right. 

More projects to come! I've been busy and I can't wait to share!

              xo Emily xo

A little peek back to the Christmas decor in the entryway. 

September 23, 2013

Halloween Party Food Ideas...The Blood Bar

If you hadn't gathered by now I LOVE Halloween! I had this party nearly 3 years ago but for some reason never blogged about it. My guests LOVED this and so lets get this out in blog land. 

For the refreshments I had a "Blood Bar" aka a fondue bar. 

Here's what I did. For the "blood" I melted white chocolate and added red food coloring. You can get red melting chocolate now at Micheal's Craft store. I kept in warming in a crock pot. Then we had these items to dip. 

Heart=fresh strawberries 

Brain=pound cake cut into squares 

Bones=long pretzels 

We also had oreos, cookies and marshmallows. I ran out of time to come up with clever names. I suppose the marshmallows could be baby ghosts :)
This was a pretty last minute party and if I tried I could have gotten way more creative. It was delicious and fun to get in the spooky mood. I also had popcorn in mini bags for guests to take.

I also filled a plastic glove full of water I tinted green with good coloring and froze a few of them. This became my ice for the punch. I didn't get a picture before it melted but a spider ring on the finger gave it that spooky touch. When the fingers melted I just rested the spider on top of the remaining ice. 

I would love to do these for a party too. How yummy do these look?

Mini caramel apples. Just use a melon baller and dip. Love this!!

I decorated the house a little differently then I would now but here is what it looked like. I have more Halloween decor ideas coming in my next post too. So come on back!

I'm getting so excited for Halloween, for the cooler days, the pumpkin and spice EVERYTHING. The scary movies and just everything about Fall. I saw this photo on Pinterest and it cracked me up. I'm sure y'all can appreciate it. 

Get spookifying your house. It's worth the extra effort to have a fun Halloween.

xo Emily xo

September 19, 2013

Faux Fall Mantle

It's my favorite time of year and I could not wait to start decorating for fall. I have 2 "mantles" this year after creating a faux mantle in my entry way. I have an old piece of my pioneer grandmother's farm table and that became my mantle after hanging two corbels on the wall and simply setting the farm table piece on top. An old window from a South Carolina mansion, hung slightly above created the perfect balance for my faux mantle. Here is the final result after making a few of the items and I'll tell you how to do it in this post. 

I am going to say this is my favorite holiday decoration I have done thus far in my 35 years. I will be going to Salem, Mass in a few weeks to visit a couple of dear friends and witches are always a favorite Halloween subject. So, I ran with a classy witch theme. 

For the bunting I cut 5 inch pieces of this beautiful upholstery strapping. Notched out a triangle at one end and then simply glue gunned it onto a piece of twine. How simple? Very!

I wanted some spider webs but didn't have time to get to the store and I wanted it finished that day. I came up with the crazy idea of making webs with my hot glue gun. It worked! Here's how I did it. 

Hot Glue Spider Webs

You'll need:

An old cookie sheet
Pam or oil to grease the pan
A hot glue gun
5-6 large glue sticks
Black paint 

First, grease your old pan so they peel off when dry. Then create 3-4 lines in a fan pattern. Then go back in and join the lines by letting the glue swag between each line. 

Make a few different sizes. I knew the window I wanted them in so I just went with that approximate sizing. I never measured just eyeballed it. Once they are cool, peel them off and place them on an old box or newspaper where you can spray paint or lightly brush them with paint. 

Once that is all dry use sticky tack to hang where you would like. My gorgeous sister in law suggested putting black glitter on them which would look fabulous too. Sadly, I didn't have any on hand.

Here was what I had after gathering things and styling it. It needed something else. So, as you do, I whipped up a witch silhouette. Here's what I did. 

Witch Silhouette 

You'll need:

1 pre-cut log slice
Fabric or ribbon of your choice
A pencil 
Hot glue gun
Template of witch or free hand it
Black paint 

Here is a template of a witch but I free hand drew mine. I wanted more of a pronounced nose and scary look but this template is adorable. 

You basically transfer or draw on your witch outline then fill in with black paint. Couldn't be simpler. To hang it I cut a long piece of black ticking fabric, frayed the edges and tied a bow in the middle. I then secured the bow knot with hot glue so it would hang securely. Then I hot glued the ribbon to the back of the wood slice. Voila! An adorable witch silhouette for years and years of decorating to come. I will be making a few of these to sell if you don't want to make them yourselves. Just email me leylands @ gmail .com if you would like one. 

She turned out beautifully! And she completed my witch faux mantle just perfectly. It was the finishing touch, the crown jewel. 

I hope this inspires you to create something today. Get adventurous and try something new. The last little detail I made some years ago is my "Spell Book"

I took an old book that was in dreadful condition and had the spine coming away from the cover. I helped it come away completely and wrote on it with a sharpie. Cool huh?

I'm in love with my Faux Fall Mantle and I hope you are too. 

xo Emily xo

September 11, 2013

Heal Your Heart With Autumnal Art

Today is September the 11th. A day that will forever be etched in our minds. A tragic day that will always choke you up as you remember where you were when the towers fell. Where you were when the planes crashed and when the reality of what was going on, truly sank in. I am trying not to dwell on the sadness today but instead trying to think of hope, of overcoming and conquering. We are Americans and our spirit can never be dimmed. 

I came across this quote awhile ago and I had never heard it. It resonated with me on so many levels. 

Art has the ability to stir your heart. To escape if needs be. 

As we are dealing with the heaviness of today, let us keep living for those who can not. Let us be better to one another, be kinder, go a little further then we normally would to help someone. We have Autumn days to get excited for and so many memories to make. Let us keep fighting for our freedoms in all respects. I hope  these beautiful works of art remind you of the ability that art has to comfort the soul. There are better days ahead and so much to be thankful for. 

"Fall" by Olivia Mae Pendergast

Urban Street Art

The Undergrowth in the Forest of Saint-Germain. Claude Monet 1882

"Sun Spill" by Bella Gingelli

"Lazy Autumn" by Maynard Dixon

by Alphonse Mucha 1898

 Vincent Van Gogh 1890

"Autumn in Orillia" by Franklin Carmichael 1924

"Peace in October" by Maynard Dixon 1943

(You'll be hearing a lot more about one of my favorite artists, Maynard Dixon soon)

Hopefully you have washed away a little of the dust from today. If not, go create art in any way that you can.

xo Emily xo