Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Very Own Domain Name & WordPress

Friends, I have exciting news!  I have established my own domain name,  and am now using WordPress as my new platform.  I hope you will take the time to visit the new site, leave me some feedback, and subscribe.  I'd really appreciate it!  Thank you all so much! 


Monday, January 26, 2015

Liebster Award

I'm always humbled that anyone would be willing to take a moment of their time to visit my blog, so you can imagine how I felt when I found out that I was nominated for a Liebster Award from one of my fellow bloggers.  Annie, the talent behind the amazingly wonderful lifestyle blog Zevy Joy, was kind enough to choose me as one of the bloggers she felt deserved this award.  If you haven't yet visited her blog, please do.  Every post is captivating, and I always find myself inspired, weather it be a fashion post, a recipe, or a craft, that she is sharing.  To top it all off, she is one of the sweetest people you'll every come across. 

I had seen the Liebster Award badge showcased on other blogger's blogs, but I didn't really know what it was all about until recently.  I have come to find that it is a wonderful award that is awarded by bloggers to fellow bloggers.  Nothing is better than peer recognition!  The award is awarded to a new blogger, or one that has less than 1,000 followers, though I have also seen that a blogger can have less than 3,000 followers.  Let's just say it seem as though the rules are fairly flexible, which is nice, because it allows bloggers that may not get the recognition otherwise, to be showcased.  One of the requirements of the award is to answer a series of questions provided by the presenter of the award.  Once you complete these steps you then choose your own nominees for the award, and come up with questions for them as well.  Also, it's always nice to link back to the blogger that has nominated you to show your appreciation. 

Here are the questions Annie provided for me to answer.

1.Why did you decide to start blogging?
I started blogging for a few different reasons.  One being that I wanted a place to chronicle all of the goings on of our family.  Being a new mom, every day seems to be a new experience, and always something that I want to document.  Another reason I started blogging is because I was so inspired by all of the blogger's I found through my Pinterest searches.  So many people, with so much talent, sharing it all with the world.  A lot of them got me through some grueling "new mommy" experiences, such as having a sleeping baby that has to be held for hours upon hours.  Needless to say, I either napped, or searched Pinterest to kill time.

2. What has been your favorite post and why?
I think my Christmas Tour is my favorite so far.  I put so much time into decorating the house for the holiday's, and having the opportunity to be included on a blog hop was extremely exciting to me. 

3. Who is behind the scenes of your blog?
I'd like to take full credit for everything you see, but my husband has been a wonderful partner in it all.  I am responsible for all of the ideas (although I do consult with him about them), execution of , and all the photography, but if it weren't for his beautiful mind, my thoughts would most likely appear as a bunch of gibberish.  I always have him review my posts and edit them as he sees fit.  I know I couldn't do it without him. 

4.  What has been the biggest bonus of blogging for you?
The biggest bonus for me has been the connections I have made with so many wonderful and kind people.  I have been a bit of a recluse since I have become a mother, but being able to share my world with others has been therapeutic.  I'm not sure anyone really knows how much it means to me, because I don't think it can be put into words just how much it does.

5.  What is your favorite food?
Chipotle!  That's a food group right?  I love to get  a bowl with carnitas, rice, lettuce, cheese and sour cream.  Cover that in the medium salsa, and you have one happy Iris on your hands.  I'm sure that my consumption of Chipotle could keep one store open for at least a year.  Ha ha, I'm not kidding.

6.  What can always be found in your handbag?
Diapers!  My handbag is my diaper bag, unless I'm going out alone, and even then my purse is supplied with diapers, because you just never know when you will need one.

7. What are you passionate about outside of blogging
Well since blogging covers my love of home décor, and family, I'd have to say that music is my other passion.  Singing to be exact.  About ten years ago I was touched by a Broadway performance (Wicked), or lack there of, since I went specifically to see the actress (Idina Menzel) in the role.  She was injured during the matinee performance, and couldn't perform that night.  I was amazed at just how much her presence meant to the audience, and the reaction to the news of her injury was pretty amazing.  People were crying, and consoling each other, and it dawned on me that singing wasn't just singing, it was a sharing of souls.  I always thought I had a good tone, and I had been told so by the very few people that had heard me, but I was always too shy to just let go and sing.  After my experience that night I decided it was time to step out of my shell.  I was a "closet singer" for years.  I mean that literally.  I sang inside my walk in closet, so that the clothes and walls would muffle the sound and not disturb our neighbors.  At one point I started taking vocal lessons.  My instructor did wonders for my confidence and knowledge of the art.  We moved during that time, and I finally stepped out of the closet and started to sing without fear of people hearing me.  Most of that time is documented on my YouTube channel.  It's quite fun to return to the site and listen to the growth in my voice.  I have performed in a couple of local shows since.  Those experiences will always hold a special place in my heart.  I hope one day, I can return to the stage, and share my passion with people again.  Until then I'll be singing anywhere and everywhere I can.

8. What is your favorite movie and why?
Oh man, this is a hard question!  I am a movie lover, and I can count on one hand how many movies I despise.  I guess I'll choose Moulin Rouge as my favorite movie.  Why?  Because it's a musical, it's whimsical, and tragic, and because "Come What May" is our wedding song. 

9. What is one thing you have to have everyday?
I have to have a kiss and a hug from my two favorite guys.  Love you John!  Love you Rordan!  XOXO

10. What have you used to help your blog succeed?
I haven't actively sought out anything just yet, but I have been lucky to have found a wonderful group of Instagrammers that share a love of décor and family that have been. very supportive of this blog.  That and maybe link parties that I enjoy linking up to.  It's funny because I never expect anyone other than the blog owner to even look at the link, but I'm always happy to see that others do. :)

11. Where do you see your blog in 5 years?
Wildest dreams five years, or reality five years?  Wildest dreams, fairly mainstream, with inspiring content for others to enjoy, and maybe just maybe adding a bit of income to our one income family.  Reality, still going, with a faithful following of family and friends, and with better content than I am able to provide today.

Wow!  Who knew eleven questions could make you think SO much!  Thank you Annie for thinking of me and my blog.  I am forever grateful for the award.

Now it's time for me to choose a nominee to award.  I was lucky enough to have run across this blog after befriending one of its owners on Instargam.  She and her sister-in-law run the blog together, and each provide beautiful images to look at as well as very informative "how to" posts.  They are Chelsea, and Cate, of StyleMutt and they do amazing things with old run down furniture.  Their process of restoration, and their eye to make them new and appealing is something to admire.  They deserve all their success, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were superstars in the restoration world very soon.  Ladies, here are eleven questions I've come up with for y'all to answer.  You can choose to answer the questions individually, or as a team.  Either way, I hope you enjoy the process as much as I have.  Please choose a deserving blogger to nominate once you have completed your questions, and pass the love and recognition on. 

1. What made you decide to start a blog?
2. Who came up with the blog name StyleMutt?
3. What was the first piece you ever restored?
4. What's your favorite piece so far?
5. Do you pick out your furniture together?
6. What inspires you the most about your blogging partner?
7. What is your favorite post so far?
8. Where do you find the pieces you work on?
9. Do you have any formal training in restoration?
10. What do you like to do in your down time?
11. Where do you see your blog in five years?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Valentine's Day Craft-Boxwood Wreaths

Boxwood wreaths are all the rage these days!  They are not only beautiful, but transitional as well.  As I was walking around Michael's to collect supplies for my XOXO letters, I happened upon these cute little vine wreaths that were left out of place in the basket aisle.  I was compelled to pick them up, and within seconds knew what I wanted to do with them.  Make mini boxwood wreaths! 
Mini vine wreath(s)
Boxwood Garland
Valentine's Day Tags
Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks

Take your garland of boxwood and remove the leaves.  You will find that they come off in a bunch.  I chose to cut them apart, and place each sprig individually onto the vine wreath.  This allowed me to create a more realistic looking wreath.

You will then take your piece of boxwood and glue it to the wreath.  This vine came with thicker leaves as well as thinner budding leaves.  I found that using the thicker leaves around the outer rim of the wreath created volume.  I also placed them in random spots on the front of the wreath.  I then glued the thinner leaves throughout to fill in the negative space.

Once you have your leaves glued down, take your twine or string and thread it through the V-day tags.  Pick a place you'd like to tie it to and let it hang on the inside of the wreath.

And that's it!  You can choose to display these in a number of ways.  I am planning on using these at the dining table in February, but I like the outcome so much that I am making plans to use them around the house year round.  The tags are easily removed so this wont be an issue.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!  As always, I'd love to know if you attempt this tutorial.  Let me know below in the comments, or on Instagram (@IrisNacole).  Thanks for stopping by!  Have a wonderful day!

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Monday, January 19, 2015

Valentine's Day Decor-Keeping it Simple in the Dining Room

I'm not sure about you, but I've never put much effort into decorating for Valentine's Day before.  This year I wanted to give it a go, but keep it simple.  Since all of the Christmas décor came down, it's been a necessity for me to keep things calm around the house. 

With the crafts I have completed I'd like to think that I am sprinkling the house with Valentine's décor.  I made the wreaths you see on the back of the chairs a few days ago.  It's a cute little craft that I'll be sharing with you all soon.  Surprisingly our current setup in the dining room easily transitioned to "Valentine's Day" décor with the addition of white and pink tulips, and a couple of candles! 


Seriously, that's all it took to make this space Valentine's Day festive.  One little craft, some candles and flowers.  So if you are contemplating doing something, but are just too exhausted from the holiday's, remember it doesn't take much.

Will you be decorating your home for Valentine's Day?  I'd love to see if you do!  Let me know in the comments below. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, January 12, 2015

Valentine's Day Craft-XOXO Floral Letters

With Valentine's Day only a month away I figured I had better get to gettin' if I was going to do any crafts for the holiday.  With so many things going on in my head, focusing on one thing at a time is a challenge, but I got this done, and I couldn't be happier with the outcome!


I found a pin on Pinterest a while back that is the inspiration for this project.  The pin featured an Etsy add that showed a letter covered in flowers.  I knew I would want to attempt my own version one day, and today was the day! 
As show in figure one, gather your supplies.  For this craft you will need some sort of adhesive, I chose to use a glue gun, as well as scissors.  You will also need flowers of your choice, and letters.   I found these cute little faux roses from the Ashland Spring Bushes line, at Michael's.  They were the perfect size to fit the letters, since the letters are small.  I chose two different colors of roses to make it pop, but I'm sure it would turn out just as pretty if you chose a monochromatic look.  As the name states, they came in a small bush, so I pulled each rose off the stems to prepare them for step two.  As for the letters, I chose two X'  and two O's since this is a Valentine's Day craft, but you could choose any letter, such as your initials, and keep it out year round.  If you'd like to find the letters I'm using here, the brand is ArtMinds, also found at Michael's.
In step two I am showing where you should cut the rose bud to allow the flower to sit flush to the letter.  One extra step not show is to add a dab of glue to the actual flowers, to adhere them to the bud's base.  Some of the flowers didn't require this process, but I thought I'd throw that in just in case you run across it.  
In step three I added a small glob of glue to the bottom of the flower. 
Step four shows how I placed the flower on the letter.  I wanted them to stick strait up, but you can choose any which way your heart desires for this step.
Step five shows the pattern I used.  I chose to alternate the colors, and luckily for the "X" I managed to keep it symmetrical.  I didn't have as much luck with one of the "O's", but that was probably just an alignment error on my part.
And in step six, you get to sit back and admire your work!

I plan to place these on the mantel when February rolls around, but they could be cute year round if you like  whimsical décor.  I also think they would look great hanging somewhere.  Adding twine or ribbon to the letters to achieve that shouldn't be too hard, I think.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and would love to get your feedback.  Also, if you happen to complete this craft on your own, please stop by and let me know, or tag me on Instagram (@IrisNacole) to show me.  I'd absolutely love to see your work!

Thanks for stopping by!


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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Finding My Style in the New Year (Entryway)

Last year at this time, I had just touched my toes into the waters of home decorating.  I didn't have a clue about most of it.  Obviously I knew what I liked at first sight, but I wasn't sure what to do with it really, once I got it home.  A chair was a chair, a couch, a couch, and so on.  I didn't have a clue to how mix elements to really create a beautiful room.  After a year of studying images, and listening to advice from many sources, such as professional designers, bloggers, and friends, I feel like I have finally found my style and ability to decorate my home to reflect it. 

With the new year I am craving a calm home environment.  Knowing that I will be spending 20+ hours a day in the house each week leaves me feeling a bit claustrophobic, but I have to tell you, with the updates we have made recently, and the new décor setup I have completed, I am feeling very relaxed, and satisfied.

Once all the holiday décor was put away, I opted to decorate with a very neutral pallet, that will transition over the seasons.  Take our new entryway setup for example. 

We  have owned this foyer table for just about a year now, and it has functioned very well for us.  The two drawers offer us much needed storage in this space.  The lamps have been up since the end of summer, and fit the space perfectly.  The table isn't very deep, so I chose them for this space, because of their size.  One on each end offers light upon entering each end of the hallway. 

I chose the picture because of the calm colors, and mirrored frame.  It reflects light into the space during the day, which is nice since this hallway can be a bit dark at times.  Also, it fits perfectly on the tiered stair wall, and allowed me the opportunity to use only one piece of art, instead of many, which I wanted visually.  Remember, I wanted this space to be calm.  Almost spa like.

I had intended on using two of these hurricanes on the table, but as fate would have it, Rordan broke one before it was even out of the bag.  Luckily for us all, nobody was hurt and the mess was easily disposed of.  I actually like that I ended up with only one, although I'd like the $12 that I paid for the other one, back.  I filled it with a package of coastal vase filler to tie in the décor from our living room.  To even out the space, I placed a candle holder next to it.  It holds tea lights, and I can't wait to actually light one, one night and see how beautiful it shines.


 I wanted to bring in some more natural elements, and did so by using a faux flower arrangement.  This offers easy maintenance, and as a plus the flowers are beautiful, and really pop against the wall color.  For extra storage I placed a glass box in the middle of the table, and a small bowl on top of it.  For now the box is filled with a starfish figurine, but if I ever need the space I can easily remove it and place whatever items inside that need to be stored.  The little bowl is perfect to hold car keys and small items.  For a decorative touch, I added a small crystal figuring to the space.

The large baskets were placed on the second shelf of the table, and are wonderful pieces to fill the void, as well as offer storage for shoes, bags, or anything really that you want out of the way. 
And that's that!  A space that I am absolutely in love with visually, and functions well for the family too.  It took me a long time to find my style, but I really feel like I have accomplished just that.  If you are on the same journey, don't give up.  My advice is to really analyze the space you are dealing with, take your personal likes and needs into consideration, and come up with a plan that works for both.  It can be a bit intimidating, but I can bet you will love the process just as much as I did.  Now I have a space that I actually don't mind living with for quite some time!  That's something I never really thought I would accomplish.
I'd love to hear about your decorating journey, so if you have a moment, leave me a comment! 
Thanks for stopping by! ~Iris

Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 Holiday Recap, and New Year Goals

Okay, shh, don't tell anyone that I'm typing this right now and not resting, like I said I would be.  If their was ever something I didn't do well, it would be resting.  I'm working on it though.  Maybe I'll attempt it again in a couple of days.  Haha!

So we've been busy these past couple of weeks.  We celebrated Christmas with our families, and right after took care of Grandpa for five days, so it's been non stop here at the Watts house.  John' sister came into town, from VA, to celebrate Christmas.  It's always nice when she makes it this way.  Wish she could do it more often.  We celebrated Christmas Eve with John's parents, and sister, and then Christmas day with my grandpa and aunt.  Gifts were exchanged, but that's never the best part.  I truly enjoy other's company, contrary to my shy nature, and love when they all come around together.  So many personalities in the same room always keeps it interesting.  Rordan received many nice gifts, of which we are thankful for.  He's been playing up a storm with all of them. 

John's birthday is the day after Christmas, so you can guess how fun that can be at times.  Haha!  I really hope he ended up enjoying the day.  We were able to meet up with his dad and sister for lunch, and then spent the rest of the day at home together.  It was nice, but sometimes I wish he had an opportunity to have a real birthday party like the rest of us not born so close to a major holiday.  I mean, being a grown man doesn't take away from wanting to be recognized on your big day.  Maybe we will do something extra special next year!

Grandpa spend the following days with us, through to Jan. 1st 2015.  What an amazing opportunity to spend time with the ones I love, and especially Grandpa since he's 90 now, and not doing so well.  Mentally he has declined so much, but his personality pops out at times, and makes me cry, because I get a little glimpse at my Grandpa as a happy and healthy man.  He sure does love to play with Rordan!  They get along like two peas in a pod.  Rordan likes to sit next to grandpa and show him his toys, or watch a TV show with him.  Grandpa is always amused by this, and the day that he left, as we were getting him ready, told me that he'd like to have him, referring to Rordan.  Makes my heart melt, seriously, because Grandpa is one of the most influential and important people in my life.  Having raised me as his own for almost all my life, it's wonderful that God has given me the opportunity to see my son interact with him.  Oh and just in case I haven't mentioned it, Grandpa is my Great-Grandpa, making Rordan is Great-Great-Grandson.  How awesome is that?!  We have some tough decision that have to be made this year, as far as his care, but we will do then with God on our side, and love in our heart.  It's the only way to honor such a wonderful man.


That leads me to my goals for this year.  I have let other's influence my mood far too often this past year.  I've decided that I will no longer live that way, because it has made me such a miserable person at times, and I know that isn't what God wants for me and my family.  I was given the opportunity to stay at home with my child to improve his life, and not have him be around a cranky person, because I have become depressed over things going on in my adult world.  Rordan means too much for me to let it continue, and luckily, as silly as it sounds, in just the past two days, with this new outlook, I've been a much more enjoyable person to be around, and I have enjoyed other's so much more as well. 

I've never spoken about it before here on the blog, but I am sure that I suffered from Post Partum Depression, after Rordan was born.  I was not prepared to deal with it, but with the help of my husband I have been able to work it out without outside help.  This was a personal choice of mine, and I encourage anyone that feels the need for outside help to please seek it out.  I was ashamed of the fact for so long, but now I know I did nothing to cause it, and that it's a very common thing to experience.  The depression  has lingered on even two full years after his birth.  Luckily I feel that it's getting better.  It's another goal of mine to continue working towards a full recovery.  I will keep you updated as I go along with this blog.  I may even post more about what I went through if anyone is interested, or if I see it beneficial to do so.

Another goal of mine this year is to work with Rordan, and prepare him for pre-school.  He's only two, but I know that so many children are getting some form or formal education even at this age, and I don't want him to be left behind.  I'm going to try to compile a list of activities to complete each week with him, and share those as we go along as well.

As for the blog, it is sort of my journal, as well as creative outlet, so I will continue to post here as long as it doesn't interfere with any of my other goals.  The community I have met on Instagram recently has been such a blessing to me personally, and creatively, and I hope that one day visiting my blog with be something something my friends do on a weekly basis, to see what's going on "Around the Watts House".  I have a never ending list of things I'd like to do this year at home, so be on the lookout for those completed things to be shared.

                                                                     Happy New Year to you all!