16 Things to Do with Kids While in London

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16 Activities to do with Kids While in London

Last year while Pretty Handsome Guy was in London for business, we decided this was a perfect opportunity to turn his business trip into a pleasure trip for myself and the boys. Being in London for a month was wonderful because we had time to truly experience the city. But, we also had to get the kids out each day to wear them out. We went out everyday and explored much of London’s tourist attractions and then some. On average we walked about 15,000 steps per day, so if you go, bring good walking shoes (and an umbrella or rain coat. London is known for their dreary weather.)

I’ve put together a list of sixteen of our favorite activities to do with kids while in London.

16. Glass Elevator at SouthBank Center – This new art and restaurant center has a clear elevator in the center that is sure to amuse the old and young alike. I won’t give it away, but if you are nearby, stop in and take the glass elevator from the bottom to the top floor. You might just kill half an hour riding it up and down.

15. Science Museum:

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Allow a day for the Science Museum. There was so much to see and do here and many interactive activities. If you have less than a day, go to the lab on the fourth floor where all the fun and interactive games are. There’s also a great space exhibit where your little one can put on real astronaut gloves and try to assemble a bolt. In the basement is a  younger child play area and Google exhibit.

14. Regent’s Park – A traditional English garden with beautiful flowers and an entire garden dedicated to roses. The park has two playgrounds and is home of the London Zoo. We didn’t go to the Zoo so I can’t tell you if it was good or not. If you’ve been leave a comment below.

13. Tower of London: [Read more...]

Best of #PrettyWaterlogueApril Week 1

Flying Scared

Pretty Waterlogue April Best of Week 1

I am absolutely blown away by all the Waterlogue artists that are partipating in #PrettyWaterlogueApril on Instagram. There are so many beautiful images. Some would make beautiful greeting cards or garden flags. Others need to be framed and hung up to enjoy immediately! Scroll down to see my top picks this week!

I’m still working on that amazing giveaway prize, but I can tell you so far I have some great sponsors! Check back soon to learn more. In the meantime, I thought you might get a kick out of some photos from our Spring Break trip to Beaver Creek, Co.

Pretty Handsome Guy, myself and the two Handy Boys enjoyed some fresh powder and beautiful vistas.

PrettyHandyBoy #1 and I taking a rest at the top of the mountain:

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This is my favorite picture that was taken of me. I don’t think anyone could miss me in that bright coat. LOL.

#PrettyWaterlogueApril Best of Week 1 | Pretty Handy Girl

The boys truly wowed me as they carved turns down some intermediate trails at the end of the week. Considering this was their first time skiing beyond the North Carolina mountains, that’s saying a lot!

#PrettyWaterlogueApril Best of Week 1 | Pretty Handy Girl

You know this chocoholic chick was on the slopes everyday at 3pm when the Cookie Ambassadors passed out fresh chocolate chip cookies!

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Beaver Creek also had loads of fun things for the kids to do. Pretty Handy Boy #2 was thrilled to do backflips on the bungee trampolines:

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Somehow I was talked into trying it out. At first I was enjoying it…

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…but after I was pressured into doing a backflip…I began to regret eating the cookie right before jumping.

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I had a chance to see my Aunt Bonnie who lives in Denver. We had fun shopping, eating and catching up.

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I also enjoyed snapping a few pictures of the landscape and turning them into beautiful Waterlogue paintings for the #PrettyWaterlogueApril challenge (you can see the rest of my pictures on Instagram):

#PrettyWaterlogueApril Best of Week 1 | Pretty Handy Girl

It was extremely tough choosing my favorite paintings this week. In no particular order, these were the chosen images. If you are on Instagram, be sure to click on the links to follow these talented artists: [Read more...]

Tybee Whitecaps Tour

White Caps Tybee Island House Tour | Pretty Handy Girl

Whitecaps Tybee Island Home Tour | pretty handy girl

First let me say, I truly saved the best for last on this Tybee Mermaid Cottage house tour. Whitecaps is one of the old Officer’s homes and it is dripping with details. From ornate coffered ceilings to gorgeous furniture and antiques.

White Caps Tybee Island House Tour | Pretty Handy Girl

And with a front porch that looks out over the sea, you can not find a more relaxing place to sit and sip coffee.

White Caps Tybee Island House Tour | Pretty Handy Girl

Before we begin the tour, I have to share some exciting news with you. Mermaid Cottages has offered to let me giveaway a two night stay in one of the Mermaid Cottages on Tybee Island, GA. I can’t even begin to tell you what a sweet little vacation this would be for the winner! Be sure to read to the end of this post to learn how you can enter to win!

The tour of Whitecaps begins…now!

When you walk up to this beautiful house, it’s impossible to overlook the gorgeous original brick sidewalk leading to the front entrance.

White Caps Tybee Island House Tour | Pretty Handy Girl

Old Reynolds Block bricks pave the path. Each brick is glazed and some are stamped. Beautiful colors make up the varied color palette. A quick internet search led me to the origin of Reynolds Block. They were made by the Tennessee Paving Brick Company of Robbins, Tennessee.

White Caps Tybee Island House Tour | Pretty Handy Girl

Whitecaps was built circa 1897 for the officers during the Spanish-American war.

White Caps Tybee Island House Tour | Pretty Handy Girl

It is situated on the Northern end of Tybee Island in the old Ft. Screven community.

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The front door opens into the most amazing and breath taking foyer! [Read more...]

Tybee Island – Breeze Inn Cottage Tour

Breeze Inn Cottage - Tybee Island | Pretty Handy Girl

Breeze Inn Cottage - Tybee Island | Pretty Handy Girl

I can’t wait to invite you in to tour this adorable Mermaid Cottage on Tybee Island, GA. Breeze Inn is full of charm, color and antiques. This beach cottage is owned by the fabulous fiction author, Mary Kay Andrews. Decorating and furnishing this cottage was a labor of love for Mary Kay. In fact, she told me that many of the things that you see in the cottage were collected for years before she owned Breeze Inn!

Mary Kay was sweet enough to let me tour and photograph her cottage. Won’t you come on in and join me?!

Right inside the door is a one-of-a-kind decoupaged dresser with fun fish decorating the drawers! And I am crushing on the amazing shell framed mirror over it. The plank walls add that perfect relaxed coastal feel to this little house.

Breeze Inn Cottage - Tybee Island | Pretty Handy Girl

You enter directly into the cozy and comfortable living room. The dining room is part of the open front room of the cottage. I can imagine playing games at the table with the kids, while keeping up with conversations happening on the couch.

Breeze Inn Cottage - Tybee Island | Pretty Handy Girl

Just off the dining room is the kitchen. The sherbet green walls are fun and funky… [Read more...]

Tybee Island – Screened Inn Tour

Screened Inn - Mermaid Cottages Tours | Pretty Handy Girl

Screened Inn - Mermaid Cottages Tours | Pretty Handy Girl

Who’s still digging out from yet another snow storm? Who’s had enough of snow days? Yup, me too! I’d love to whisk you away with me to a little island off the coast of Georgia. It’s a destination that is brimming with charm and history. Today I have an all access tour to Screened Inn for you. This little cottage was previously a mess hall for the military stationed at Fort Screven back in the 1920′s.

The trees on the property drip with spanish moss and beacon you to slow down and take a big sea air breath.

Screened Inn - Mermaid Cottages Tours | Pretty Handy Girl

The cottage is a stone’s throw from the Tybee Island lighthouse and the beach.

Screened Inn - Mermaid Cottages Tours | Pretty Handy Girl

Step up onto the screened porch and kick off your shoes.

Screened Inn - Mermaid Cottages Tours | Pretty Handy Girl

The door opens and you are transformed back in time with all the antiques that decorate the cottage.

[Read more...]

The Denali Dream Drive tour of the 2014 HGTV Dream Home

GMC Denali Dream Drive - HGTV Home Tour 2014 | Pretty Handy Girl

Can I tell you about my dream home? Well, it would be in a gorgeous natural location with an amazing view out the back door:

GMC Denali Dream Drive - HGTV Home Tour 2014 | Pretty Handy Girl

And maybe a beautiful body of water nearby to witness jaw dropping sunsets.

GMC Denali Dream Drive - HGTV Home Tour 2014 | Pretty Handy Girl

And the house would be wrapped in windows…

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…so that every room brought the outside in.

GMC Denali Dream Drive - HGTV Home Tour 2014 | Pretty Handy Girl

And there would be a long granite covered island that could seat the entire US ski and snowboard team!

GMC Denali Dream Drive - HGTV Home Tour 2014 | Pretty Handy Girl

And the attention to detail would be unsurpassed. (Love those exposed beams and patterned carriage bolts.) [Read more...]

La-Z-Boy Design Dash

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Over a month ago I was contacted by La-Z-Boy and asked if I’d like to participate in their La-Z-Boy Design Dash. The idea was to visit my local showroom and design a sofa. Then I’d meet my sofa in High Point, NC and design a room around that sofa. The concept sounded like fun. And the idea of getting away for a few days for some R&R sounded great! Little did I know, that there would be very little rest or relaxation involved.

A week later I received instructions to go to the local La-Z-Boy showroom and design my sofa. As I approached the showroom I was hesitant. I remember the vision of my grandfather’s old slouchy recliner. I was suddenly filled with trepidation. How could I “design” a sofa with flabby rolls of corduroy? I grabbed the door and opened it, and what lay inside literally shattered any preconceived notions I had of La-Z-Boy!

I was stopped immediately by what I saw.

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I had a breathtaking reaction to this chair:

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Everywhere I looked there was more beautiful upholstered furniture. [Read more...]

Flåm, Norway – Heaven on Earth

Flam, Norway - Heaven on Earth by Pretty Handy Girl

Flam, Norway - Heaven on Earth by Pretty Handy Girl

Happy Friday! Are you ready to be whisked away to a relaxing vacation spot? Have you been to Norway? Handsome Guy is our vacation planner and he researched our vacation destination this year (after our trip to England.)  Norway came up as one of the 10 most beautiful place on earth.

Flam, Norway - Heaven on Earth by Pretty Handy Girl

It’s a country that has beautiful blue-green fjords (pronounced feeyord.) Fjord means a long narrow arm of the sea bordered by steep cliffs usually formed by glacial erosion. The fjords are sliced by steep mountains that go as deep into the water as they do high into the sky (sometimes a mile high.)

Flam, Norway - Heaven on Earth by Pretty Handy Girl

Flam, Norway - Heaven on Earth by Pretty Handy Girl

The fjords in Norway have a distinctive blue green color and are comprised of fresh water from the waterfalls and salt water from the sea.

Flam, Norway - Heaven on Earth by Pretty Handy Girl

Hiking is a big past time in Norway. And for good reason, vistas from atop the mountains yield valleys dotted by vibrant colored homes.

Flam, Norway - Heaven on Earth by Pretty Handy Girl

I’d love to take you along on our journey to Flåm, Norway (pronounced Flum.) Flåm literally means, “”little place between steep mountains.” I guarantee you won’t want to leave, it is like living in a postcard. Put on your hiking boots and follow me… [Read more...]

Keswick, England – A Tour of Lake Derwentwater

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I think I found Heaven on Earth. Keswick (pronounced Kes-ick) and its picturesque Lake Derwentwater currently have a pull on my heart. This small town in Northern England is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. My mom, the boys and I only had one day here, but I have vowed that I must return with Handsome Guy for a romantic time without the boys. I figured you might like to join us for the hike, so I took some photos for you ;-).

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The town is a great location for families (they have an awesome playground), romantic couples, and anyone who enjoys beautiful vibrant colored vistas and small town shops. The English style gardens are stunning in their organized structure.

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Of course, I also appreciate Mother Nature’s less defined edges and curving landscaping.

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Lake Derwentwater sits south of the quaint town of Keswick. It has a walking trail along the banks and is perfect for the adventurer who wants to hike the full 8 miles around it’s edge. If you prefer smaller hikes you can walk to one of the docks that surround the lake and catch the ferry boat back to town.

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The path that surrounds the lake detours up and into a field with grazing sheep.

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My mom and I enjoyed walking near the edge of the lake while the boys threw rocks and waded in the water.

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As we sat watching the boys entertain themselves, we suddenly saw a flurry of activity as two border collies began to round up the sheep in the field. It was amazing how quick and efficient those herding dogs were.

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I hope you enjoy the rest of the sights from my camera lens. [Read more...]

Ilkley, UK – A Home Tour of an 1880 Row House

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Ilkley_postcard

I’ve known Karen and her sister Anne since fourth grade. Karen was my best friend growing up and ultimately, my maid-of-honor. Anne is her older sister. During play dates, Karen and I were silly girls who avoided (the more mature) Anne, as we played top secret spy games under the stairs. After high school, Karen and I only saw each other every few years. I rarely saw Anne, especially after she met the love of her life in Japan and followed him to his childhood home in England. Anne and Chris settled into a beautiful old row house in Ilkley, UK, where they are raising their daughter and two twin boys. It has been years since I’ve seen Anne, but when we were contemplating our trip to the UK this summer, I thought it would be fun to look her up and visit with her and her family. We had such a wonderful visit with them and I fell head over heels in love with their home.

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I begged them to let me share their home on the blog, so be sure to thank them!

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Come right this way, I have one of those antique keys to unlock the front door. Can you imagine how many generations of families have used this same key hole?

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The first thing you notice as you walk in the door is the amount of beautiful wood, molding and character in their home. [Read more...]

Portobello Market in Notting Hill, UK

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Hey y’all! I’m baaaccckkkk! Did you miss me? Probably not, because I pre-scheduled a month’s worth of posts for you while we hopped across the pond for a European vacation! It was the chance of a lifetime, the boys and I toured London, Keswick and Scotland while P. Handsome Guy worked in his company’s London office. I’ll be sharing some of my journeys with you in the coming weeks. In the meantime you can check out some of my sneak peek photos on Instagram or Facebook.

But, now I want to take you with me to Portobello Market in Notting Hill, England. OH MY GOODNESS! When Pretty Handsome Guy said I’d love the Portobello Market, he knew my tastes to a “T” or should I say “Tea”. ;-) In fact, once we arrived, it was evident that I wanted to absorb and photograph as much as I possibly could!

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We took the London Underground (the tube) to the Notting Hill station on a Saturday morning (the only day the street vendors are set up.) Upon our ascent above ground, it was evident that we had entered the ritzier suburb of London made famous by the movie, Notting Hill.

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Doors are painted cheerful colors, the front stoops were adorned with patterns of tile, and container gardens are abundant.

 

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The architecture of these grande estates is beautiful and dripping with detail.

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Unfortunately we had two tired, jet-lagged boys tagging along. So, Handsome Guy did what he does best, he gave me the afternoon to peruse at my own speed and took the boys to Hyde Park to play some soccer (or should I say Football for the British crowd.) Each vendor had their specialty: Antique lamps, silverware, leather sporting goods, books, old printing blocks and much much more. Instead of jabbering away, I’ll just let you browse for yourself.

silver_goblets [Read more...]

Look Mom! I’m Flying! {Indoor Skydiving}

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For Christmas this year I bought the boys (the younger ones and Pretty Handsome Guy) a gift certificate to go indoor skydiving. After the zipline tours, I knew our kids were not afraid of heights. And when it comes to being “thrill seekers” — let’s just say they definitely take after their Mom and Dad. Handsome Guy and I have both been “real” skydiving before and loved the experience. I have decided I won’t skydive again until my kids are grown and out on their own. (Gotta stick around to help raise these two handy boys.)

Indoor skydiving seemed like a great way to enjoy all the thrills of the free fall, but in a controlled environment. This weekend I took a brief break from the kitchen renovation to fly 53 feet up in a wind tunnel! It was so much fun and a nice break from work. [Read more...]

Family Fun at Hanging Rock State Park, NC

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Have you ever been to Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina? If you haven’t, it is definitely worth the trek from the nearby NC or VA area. Our trip was organized by my inlaws and they couldn’t have picked a more family-friendly and fun destination for us.

Hanging Rock State Park is a mere 30 miles north of Winston-Salem, NC and located near the quaint town of Danbury, NC. Danbury is so small that the town hall is in this little historic building:

[Read more...]

Day 5 Reveal of the Moore Habitat for Humanity House – End of the GMC Hidden Treasure Adventure

jaydon_enter_room

And now the moment y’all have been waiting for! The end of our journey and the culmination of all our efforts were revealed to Alexcia, Jaydon & Jurnei Moore on Sunday, August 5th 2012. Alexcia thought she was just getting the keys to her empty home. Little did she know, that GMC, OnStar, Habitat for Humanity and 6 bloggers had conspired to fill her home with furniture, beddings, and home decor.

(Alexcia thinking, “You did what to my house?”) [Read more...]

Day 4 Pulling It All Together on the GMC OnStar Hidden Treasure Adventure

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After yesterday’s diversions, we were all feeling the pressure to purchase the final items on our wish lists. This would be our last day on the yard sale and the last day to prep any items we purchased before placing them into the Habitat house.

We decided to create a master wish list for everyone so we could all be on the lookout for each other. There was a lot of texting with photos attached as we shopped in the in the morning.

[Read more...]

Day 3: Surviving the GMC OnStar Hidden Treasure Adventure

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On Day 3, despite our best efforts to maximize our time, we ran into a few distractions. Here are a few words of wisdom and things we learned today: [Read more...]

Day 2: The Start of the GMC OnStar Hidden Treasure Adventure

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I made it home safely on Sunday night after an exhausting but fulfilling week. I apologize for not posting in real time, but there was truly no way for me to do it. Sleep was a bit of a priority for me ;-). But, we’ll just roll back our clocks and I’ll take you along for an adventure of a lifetime!

As you know, GMC flew six of us (Brooke from All Things Thrifty, Donna from Funky Junk Interiors, Lindsey from Better After, Cy & Traci from Beneath My Heart, and myself) to Michigan to take part in the World’s Longest Yard Sale and for a charitable cause. After our arrival in Detroit, we toured the OnStar command center, did some quick shopping at the Habitat ReStore in Detroit and then headed to our hotels for the night.

The next morning we woke up early to start the adventure! We each drew a piece of paper from our GMC organizer’s hand. On the paper was a room name. The room corresponded to a REAL room in a brand new Habitat for Humanity house in Birmingham, AL. The owner, Alexcia Moore, was set to receive the keys and move in on Sunday, August 5th.

[Read more...]

Day 1 : GMC Hidden Treasure Adventure

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Well, I arrived safely in Detroit and hit the ground running. It is going to be a whirlwind of activity from now until Sunday, August 5th! Are you up for the adventure? If so, I’ll take you along for the ride.

First, I met up with fellow Junk Warrior, Donna. I know y’all know this famous junkster as Funky Junk Interiors. Donna is such a sweet gal (errr, I mean a tough chick!) [Read more...]

2012 I Love Thrifting Day Recap

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Top row, left to right: Me, Gynne, Erin – Bottom row left to right: Kristen, Courtney, Amy

Saturday morning I rushed out the door into a THICK WALL of HOT and HEAVY HUMIDITY in search of some great bargains. Yes, I had to bold and capitalize that statement about the weather, because it was really that nasty! Despite the weather, I pushed forward to join some other local thrifters for the second annual I “Love” Thrifting Day. It was a good chance to have fun shopping, pointing, laughing and sweating (like a pig in a cooker.) If you stayed home in your air conditioned comfort, I commend you on being cool. For those that missed the fun, here is the recap that can be enjoyed in the comfort of your climate controlled home (or office.)

We started at The Resale Boutique, which truly remains one of my favorite consignment stores. They have several booths set up inside and there are always sales and discounts resulting in some fabulous deals! Like this antique child’s toolbox for $7.50 (- 20%!) And it had several of the tools still inside. I tried super hard to hide my excitement, but I don’t have a good poker face.

If tools aren’t your thing, how about this fun little nut cracker? He was still there when I left, so rush on out to scoop him up if you like nut crackers.

In the “Whoa! What the Heck is That” category, I discovered this rather busty machine. It turns out it was an old Dr. Scholl’s foot massager.

I thought these little spice drawers were interesting. But, when I pulled them out I discovered they weren’t drawers, but little square shakers.

I fell hard for this birds and bees carved glass plate. But, I couldn’t justify the price. It is heavy, french and truly beautiful, so I’m sure it was worth every penny.

One of the many things I bought from The ReSale Boutique were these Ralph Lauren platform flip flops. They are super comfy and may just be my new favorite shoes.

Next it was on to GCF or Goodwill Community Foundations. We went to two Goodwills and at the first one I scored this great metal storage chest for $23. The drawers look cheap, but the glides and construction are heavy duty. I have plans to make it less “girly” and use it for art supply storage in my studio. A big thank you goes to Kristen for insisting I buy it and helping me haul it to the register and out the door!

At the Brier Creek Goodwill, I met sweet Tonya who asked for my opinion on this table and 6 chair set. At under $100, the table was sturdy, but needed some TLC. Tonya has some plans to give it a makeover, and I told Tonya that I’m holding her to it!

I found these men’s shirts and an American flag (thanks Gwynne for pointing out the flag in the display case.) I have some patriotic plans for them, but I won’t tell you what they are yet. A little more about that flag, it is 100% cotton and was only $19.99. I didn’t open it up in the store, but when we unfolded it at home, it took up one entire wall in my son’s bedroom! This sucker is huge!

If you follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram, you may have been scared seen some of the stranger things that we saw while thrifting.

1. Before chia pet, there was straw bunny!

2. Everything looks better upholstered, well except a gigantic mirror.

3. Foot tall set of The Three Stooges figurines, make a beeline to Estatibles if you can’t live without them!

4. Rhinestone-encrusted nightmare-inducing fine art twins were pointed at and then we quickly ran away. SCARY!!!

We had a fabulous time. A special thanks to Courtney from The Joy of Decorating for organizing this year! Hopefully we’ll have some new recruits next year.

 

Mom, can I have some more creative juice please?

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It’s true, I was out of juice, steam, whatever you want to call it. I took a break, and yet, it seemed like it was going to be harder than ever to start back up and write a post. But, then the best thing that could have happened, happened! Miss Mustard Seed came to town and a bunch of other creative people (some bloggers, some not) met up at the Flea Market for some good ole thrifting and antiquing! I begged my friend Holly from Storywood Designs to join us and so we set out early (well early for the weekend) to the Raleigh Flea Market. I forgot how much fun and how many cool objects there are at the Flea market! I also forgot (or never noticed) scores of men (older than 40) carrying around their small dogs with them. Yes, I said carrying! Cradled in their arms as they looked over tables laden with everything from antique silver platters to dodo birds!

I’m not sure where these guys are normally, but Saturday morning at the Flea Market seems to be a congregating place. (I wish I had snapped a picture of them.)

But enough about men and their dogs — what I really enjoyed was getting to know some of these creative gals:

From left to right: Carol aka Tracy’s Mom, Rie from Home and Harmony, Marian aka Miss Mustard Seed, Tracy from Tattered & Timeless, Fiquet from Farm House to Home, Kristen from Sophia’s Decor and moi.

Sadly, Holly, Kim, Esther and Mekala ran off before I got a picture of them. Next time (shaking my fist), just you wait, I’ll get you my pretties!

Letting some of their creativity rub off on me was very therapeutic. I didn’t take a lot of photos at the Flea Market, but SuzAnna’s was full of great eye candy.

Here are just a few of the sights I saw (SuzAnna’s, Two Old Birds, Vintage Carolee and more!):

I adore all the Santa inspired gifts at SuZanna’s .

My two favorite signs:

Afterwards we hopped over to Café Capistrano for some yummy Mexican food. Sitting down to eat with these new friends was like getting together with old girlfriends. We chatted and shared our likes, taste in decor (which was fairly similar) and just talked.

Hopefully we’ll get to see each other again sooner rather than later.

Oh and if you are wondering what I bought. Not a lot, just some old rusty bed springs, a small doorway rug (I’m hoping to paint), and these gorgeous spoon carved organ panels. Truly beautiful. I can’t wait to sand them and see what lies beneath the dirt. Then I will decide whether to paint them, stain them or just leave them in their gorgeous nakedness!