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Archive for the ‘Interior Decorating’ Category

I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately.  Can you believe that 10 years ago this month a very shy, 29 year old girl launched a business called Amazing Transformations?!  Me either!   And boy have I been TRANSFORMED!

Here is just a small sampling of how my life has changed over the past decade:

1.  Met my trainer, mentor and dear friend JoAnne Lenart-Weary who encouraged me to follow my dream to create beautiful spaces.

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2. Launched my business Amazing Transformations.

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3.  Made weekly/monthly appearances on NBC56 news in Tyler, Texas.  (Yes this very shy girl actually asked to be on live television and they said yes!  Not sure if I would be able to do that now. :))

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(No, I did not have the opportunity to decorate the set.  I sure would have liked to!)Image

4.  Had the privilege of working in all levels of homes across the country.

Here are a few examples:

Before…

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After…

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Before…

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After…

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5.  Opened 2 different studios (one in Texas and then one in Oklahoma) to teach decorating classes.  Oh how I loved that season of my business!  It was so fun to share so many decorating tips with my friends and clients.

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6. Started writing Transforming Tidbits on a weekly basis in 2007.  I continued to faithfully write almost every week for about 3 years straight!  But because of #7 (see below), my ability to write as frequently, dwindled quickly.

7. Went from longing to be a mom (and having great difficulty becoming one) to becoming a mother of FIVE! (through the gift of adoption and fostering)

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8. I began the homeschooling journey with my oldest two daughters.  I have to admit, although I never saw myself ever even considering being a homeschool mom, I can’t imagine my life any other way now!  I have enjoyed growing closer to my daughters and learning along with them.  I will say, this year certainly has its challenges with also raising three little ones 2 and under.  You can usually find them right on top of the dining room table while I work with the older girls.  At least I know what they are doing, right?! 🙂

9. About 1 1/2 months ago, I rid my home of almost all processed foods and started a very challenging but exciting adventure of eating whole foods.  As you might imagine, eliminating processed foods leaves one having to do a lot more work in the kitchen.    You may be asking yourself…”Why in the world would this open adoption, fostering, homeschooling, decorator mom even think about adding this to her already full plate?”  I know it is crazy, but I am finding it is totally worth it!

You see, about 6 months ago, a very dear friend who is just a few years younger than me was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Through her journey, she shared with me how much the food we eat affects our health.  She made the choice to fight this ugly disease through diet and I am pleased to say she is winning!

Once you learn information in life, you are then responsible with what you do with that information.  Well, what I learned has motivated me to make a huge change in the way my family eats.  It was tough changing at first, but now I can’t begin to express how amazing it makes me feel!  I have renewed energy, my clothes are much looser (woo hoo!) and best of all, my husband says I am more beautiful than ever before!

10.  And probably the most significant change, I am content with who I am.  For a long time, I was driven to be “known”.  Known as an amazing decorator, known for working with people I highly admired, known for writing an amazing blog, known by the world.  But now, 10 years later, I couldn’t be more happy.  Now I am a wife, a mom, a teacher, and a homemaker who occasionally decorates and I wouldn’t change this privilege for the world!

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As I enter my 39th year of life, I can’t wait to see what the next decade has in store.  I have a hard time imagining being able to top the last 10 years!

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I find I am inspired almost every where I look these days.  Creative people and ideas are everywhere if you simply stay aware of the world around you.  Although I have been rather distracted lately by 5 beautiful children, I do find that I have the opportunity to discover a treasure from time to time.   (I actually see much more that I get to write about. )

A couple weeks ago, I joined my husband on a little road trip to experience his 20th high school reunion.  Instead of having to stay in a hotel, we had the privilege of staying in the amazing home of one of his classmates.  What a treat!  His friend and classmate is much like me in that she never received a degree in decorating or design, but boy is she talented!  (Now if we could just convince her of this truth! :))

She gave me permission to snap a few photos and I just couldn’t wait to share this idea with you!  Just look what she did with a discount mirror…

Isn’t it a cute chalkboard!  So clever!  I love the whimsical shape.  This arrangement is on the left side of the kitchen near the breakfast nook.  What a great place to keep notes or simply greet your family with a sweet message for the day.

Thanks Jill for opening up your home and making us feel so welcome.  I so enjoyed the “inspiring” weekend!

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Ever since we moved into our home about 3 1/2 years ago, my husband has been ready to sell it. He likes our house mind you, he simply is always looking for the next “deal”.  I guess this might hinge on him being raised in a builder’s family, having moved about 20 times before college in the same small town.  They didn’t even have to change their phone number!  I, on the other hand, lived in the same home from the age of two until I left for college.  My parents still live in that home.   I am completely content to stay in a house long term.  He feels like he needs to move every couple of years.  Talk about opposites attracting!

I’m sure you could imagine my disgust when he first started talking about selling our house only days after we moved in. After 2 1/2 months of hard work and finally putting everything perfectly in its place, the last thing I wanted to hear was talk of selling.  I will say, it was a large compliment.  He was so impressed with how nice the house turned out that he thought we could make a lot of money on our investment.

Well, I was able to ward off any “For Sale” signs in the yard for the past 3 1/2 years but it appears selling is on his mind again. He has been busy getting lots of things done around the house with plans of trying to sell in the spring.  I’m still not ready to change but I am humoring him at the moment.  At least, he is getting a lot of “honey-dos” accomplished.

He has figured out with me that if I have an idea of where my next home might be, I am more agreeable to negotiate a change in houses.  About a month ago he heard about another house auction.  Since we had such great success with our current home as a result of an auction, I was game to check into it.

As we did the first time around, we took advantage of the opportunity to visit the home during the arranged open houses.  We showed up on a very chilly day with our tape measure in hand.  The auctioneer knew he had a good prospect, seeing we showed up and at least looked like we knew what we were doing. 🙂

We asked many questions and took lots of notes so we would be able to go home and agree on our top dollar bid. We learned early on that it is very important to know what our top dollar bid is before we go into the auction.  It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the moment and bid more than what the property is worth or what we are able to pay.   Of course, this is what the auctioneer would like us to do, but we were ready to stay strong! 🙂

This auction was a fun one to participate in because they were selling the contents of the house and the house that day. The contents were bid on individually before and after the house auction.  The house was auctioned off at a specific time.  This was very nice for me so I could just show up in time for the house sale and not have to stand in the cold waiting for a couple hours.

My husband and the girls headed to the house early to check out the competition and see what items were up for bid. It was a little scary sending that three-some off without me there to supervise their purchases but I just didn’t want to take the baby out in the cold so I had to trust their judgment.

Everything imaginable was for sale that day and the prices were great! In fact, my husband called me very excited and said…”You need to get down here ASAP!  Hardly anyone is here and great stuff is selling for cheap!”   Thankfully I am trying to downsize in the “stuff” department so I was able to use self control and show up just in time for the house sale.

You should have seen my face when my middle daughter walked up to me and announced…”Mom, we bought a piano!”. I had visions of a Baby Grand dancing in my head and thought “where in the world are we going to put a piano?!”  Instead, I smiled and said that’s nice honey and decided to find out more later.  It was time to get ready to possibly purchase my new home!

There was an excitement in the FREEZING air. The last time we participated in a home auction, it happened so quick we almost missed it!  This time we were armed and ready with our bid.

My man was concentrated and ready to get a “great deal”! We just had this feeling that this would be our next house.  And then a very funny thing happened…

The auctioneer started the bid about $70,000 more than our top dollar bid! Talk about a quick auction!  I immediately had a relaxing feeling swoop over me!  Another move averted…at least for now!  😉

Our day was not a total loss though.  We didn’t come home empty handed.   Remember the “piano”?


See this keyboard…it is the “piano” my daughter was so excited about. Isn’t it beautifully “compact” and doesn’t it fit well in my daughter’s room?!  We were able to purchase it and the amp for only $10!  The entertainment it has provided was well worth the investment.  So glad we went to the auction!

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“Chocolate Cake”

Each time I have an occasion to work in someone’s home, redesigning his/her beloved space, I remember why I love my job so much! I am given such an amazing opportunity to help not only in creating beautiful spaces but also making a positive impact in someone’s life.

Right after Christmas I was invited to help my new client and friend with three spaces in her home:  formal living, den and sun room.  Her husband generously paid to have me work in her home for the day as a Christmas gift. Her is a little background on the project…

About 3 years ago, my client and her husband purchased a “fixer-upper” in a historical district of a nearby city. The remodel turned out to be more costly than they originally planned.  This expense, along with the fact that they struggled to find the best arrangement for the furniture in the home, left a bad taste in her husband’s mouth toward the house.

Although my client would love a “beautiful looking” home, she ultimately wanted a home that worked well for she, her husband and their four young kids.  She desired to help her husband overcome the regret of buying the house and begin to enjoy living there.

We decided to get started in the den and sun room.  Because these two rooms were open to the kitchen, they were the most used by the family.

In this photo I am standing against the bar of the kitchen looking toward the sun room.

There are a couple things to take note of:

First of all, the dining table is a long, long way from the kitchen which means the family of 6 rarely used it.  Instead they ate most of their meals scrunched around the small bar in the kitchen.

Secondly, there is a large chandelier hanging from the center of the room which tells me this room used to function as the dining room but apparently didn’t work well for them to use it that way.

Actually there is a very funny story that goes along with the dining table and will explain the funny title of  this post…”Chocolate Cake”.

When the family first moved into the home they were given an enormous formal dining table that they placed in the center of the room under the chandelier.  Although it was a lovely piece of furniture, it was so impractical for a family with children ages 6, 4, 2, 4 months.  It simply became a obstacle to get from one side of the room to the next.  The family returned the table to the generous family member and went out and purchased the table seen above.  Determined to not allow the table to become a frustration again, it found a new home in the sun room but consequently was rarely used.

As I normally do, I took the time to tour the home and ask a few questions about how the family uses the space, what was working and what wasn’t.  Not a whole lot was said except…”Do not put the dining table back in the den!”  The husband was so adamant about this very request that he looked at his wife and followed his statement up with “Remember…Chocolate Cake!”

My client and I quickly shooed her husband out the door and she began to explain “Chocolate Cake”.  Apparently it was a code word for “I am really serious!”  You see, they knew a couple where all the husband wanted for his 4oth birthday was a chocolate cake and his wife wouldn’t make him one, so they got a divorce.   Isn’t that crazy?!

Anyway, guess what was the first thing I wanted to do once he left? 🙂  Yep, move the table back into the den.


Don’t you agree that a dining table would work so well here?  This sofa just isn’t taking advantage of the tremendous view from the huge picture window.

Plus the table would be soooo much closer to the beautifully redesigned kitchen!

Fortunately, my client agreed and we rolled up our sleeves and got to work!

Here is how everything turned out…

Instead of placing the table in the center of the room, placed it closer to the window which left room for easily walking through the space and

left room for a nice seating area.

On a side note:  I recommended to my client that she buy a standard height dining table when she is able so that the view from the “comfy chairs” would not be blocked by the table.  Secondly, the family has plans to move the beautiful chandelier into another room as soon as they get the electrician to come by.  Oh and the tv?  Don’t worry, we found a better place for it in an under used room but more on that in a later post.

The sun room became a great place to read a book in the natural light and that is exactly what my client’s husband did when he got home!  Yes he loved the space and forgave us for not listening to him.  Thank goodness! 🙂

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A little bit lazy…

I recently titled myself a “lazy decorator” (especially when it comes to Christmas).  Don’t get me wrong, I love to decorate for the holidays and if you came to my home even today you would probably say…”What did you mean by lazy?!”  Okay, so lazy might not be the best word to use, how about resourceful.  Instead of packing away all my “everyday decorations” to replace them with oodles of Christmas decor, I simply incorporate holiday into everyday.

My Christmas decorations basically fill about 5 large totes. In each tote is a different type of decor.  In one I have bows, another silk flowers, another berries stems and evergreen picks, another garlands and another wreaths.  I simply place the totes in the middle of the living room and set off to make a very warm and beautiful Christmas cottage.

A couple weeks ago, I was thrown into the holiday spirit since I was hosting a Christmas decorating class. Here are a few photos of how I transformed the studio from everyday to holiday in about an hour.

Everyday to…

Holiday!

Here is a breakdown from before to after:

  1. I wrapped the large lemon canvas print in Christmas wrapping paper.  I happened to have a nice red and green canvas painting that I was able to layer in front of the wrapped painting.  If you don’t have another piece of art that works well with your holiday decor, simply hang a wreath in front of the wrapped painting or add a nice bow to the “gift” you created.

  2. I traded all the lemons for red Christmas balls

  3. I filled the green vase with evergreen and berry picks

  4. I added an inexpensive garland, filled it with lights and adorned the ends with bows, silk poppies, berries, red ragweed, and sparkly silver picks.  (By the way, I never use hot glue.  I simply tuck the picks right into the garland and tie the bows on.  This way when the season is over, packing is a breeze!)

So easy!  Doesn’t it look great?!

Here is a closer look at the lamp on the mantle.  The only thing removed was the lemons.  (Actually, they are hiding under all the greenery in the basket. :))

Speaking of lamps, here is how I added a little bit of Christmas on the other side of the room…

I just left them exactly as they were and added a couple poinsettia candle rings side by side.  It took only seconds and looks so festive!

So how do you decorate for the holidays?  Does it take you a few hours, a day, a week or a month?

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A couple weeks ago I made it back into the decorating world after a stint as a “stay-at-home mommy of a newborn” by having an appointment with a new client. To be completely honest, I am so loving being a mom right now that I was struggling a little to get excited about working again.  But after visiting with this new client on the phone, I just knew I had to get back to work!

I guess my lack of energy must of shown at first because as we continued to work together on the project, my client noticed how “energized” I was becoming working on her home.  I guess creative blood runs in my veins and I just needed to get warmed up.  What a great time I had!

Here is a little background info: My client had moved back to Bartlesville a year ago and purchased a most beautiful home.  She and her husband decided to buy all new furniture and accessories for the home.  This exciting opportunity turned into an overwhelming challenge.  Furnishing and decorating an entire house can be difficult even for trained professionals, let alone homeowners, especially if there is a lack confidence in the choices made.  My client was ready to begin to pull her home together and so she invited me over for a little guidance and inspiration.

As we began looking from room to room, I noticed that she had done a very nice job of coordinating her furnishings and accessories with her preferred style. She allowed me the opportunity to brainstorm with her where she should place the pieces she had already purchased and give her suggestions of what she still needed to shop for.

When we came to her entry hall, she felt satisfied about the area but wondered if I had any additional pointers for her. Here is how the area looked before:

She did a great job balancing and coordinating her accessories. Although the area looked pretty, visually it felt as if the accessories were in charge of  “holding up” the mirror.  So out of curiosity, I asked if we could rotate the mirror.  Just look at what happened when we did!

It was amazing what a slight change in the hanging of the mirror did for the area. Not only did the mirror become more functional, so did the table underneath it.  No longer did it feel like there had to be accessories covering the whole surface.  Now that we had the area arranged like we wanted, we were able to start our “shopping list”.  (Remember that from a couple weeks ago?)  The area on the right of the mirror needed a little something and lamps seemed like the most perfect solution.  Here is a very, very rough sketch of what I what I suggested…

Two stacked buffet lamps.  Can’t you just see it?! They will be the perfect finishing touch.  I can’t wait to see how this area comes together after my client finishes shopping!

Do you have an area in your home that needs you to look at it a little differently? A slight change in perspective may be all you need to take your room from adequate to AMAZING!

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I’m on a mission! My house has quietly become a mess and I have to take control! Isn’t it amazing how it happens? Thankfully I have something to keep me motivated.  In only 4 days, my kid’s children’s church group is having a fundraiser flea market.  They have a goal to raise $10,000 for missions by the end of December and the are only about $2000 short.  I have been to plenty of successful yard sales to know that this is doable if they have enough treasures.  Now to go on a hunt in my own home.  There is definitely plenty of junk, I mean treasures to be found!

I have had the opportunity to help several clients through the years overcome clutter. I have to admit I grinned and giggled to myself several times through this process.  To all of you who have endured my organizing help, I am just as tough on myself as I was on you! 🙂

One thing that I have learned over time when it comes to organizing, is to start small. And this is exactly what I did.  My first clutter clearing feat, the powder bath!

Do you see the magazine and toilet paper holder?  Here, take a closer look:

It was driving me crazy!  I would be so embarrassed for a guest to have to look at it let alone look for anything interesting to read.

Ahh!  So much better and the best part is that it took less than 10 minutes to sort through and organize. After success in the bathroom, I was energized to conquer bigger areas!  On to the entry closet.

This closet had come to the place where you had to hold your tongue just right to shut the door. It was packed and I knew there just had to be a few items I could do without.

Now, I want you to notice that I realize my closet would not make it into the next decorating magazine’s closet makeover edition, but I can easily close and open the door without stuff falling out on me. 🙂 Plus, look how much stuff I found for the flea market!

Yes, all of this stuff was in the closet seen above. I have figured out that I am pretty talented at “squirreling” stuff away.

One of my main criteria for whether I hold on to an item or not is this…


If the item has not ever left the closet in its whole life, then I probably don’t need it any more.

Several of the above items were carefully stored away years ago and haven’t ever seen the light of day. I am learning that unless it is a family heirloom that I just cannot part with, I need to let someone else enjoy it.  I can’t even tell you how freeing it is to let things go!  Now I am on a roll.  Cleaning out this closet then gave me energy to conquer this…

With my recent discovery of coupon shopping and being able to save over 70% on groceries, my pantry has become very full! This area definitely needed attention.  I was running out of space and losing track of all the great foods I had recently purchased.

I remembered we had an extra plastic shelf that was taking up residence outdoors so I hunted it down and my husband took it to the car wash so it would be spider free and able to reside indoors.  Just look at what a difference a few shelves make!

Isn’t it glorious!  I am so excited.  I even came up with a bag of groceries to share with a local food pantry.  And this is only the beginning.

Like I said before, I have 4 more days to get my act together. I know that if I don’t get it done and out of my house* by the flea market then it will probably be the spring.  I don’t think I want to hibernate this winter with so much stuff.   I look forward to letting you know how it all turns out!

*On a side note, if you are going to take the time to get your clutter under control, make sure you remove the “sorted stuff” from the premises.  There is nothing worse than getting organized and letting items go and then not finishing the job by getting it OUT!  It is too easy for the “stuff” to make its way back into your home.  If you don’t want to mess with a yard sale, then donate it to a local charity.  Just don’t wait, eliminate!

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