Turning A New Leaf

I've been blogging for a little over a year now and  love it! Your comments and encouragement have been so kind and helpful. I think what I like most about blogging is it reinforces me to stay creative. It might be a little late in the month, but I thought I would share some of the things I am going to work on this year.  

1. Love my Nixon D3200! Now, it's time to take a photography class.
2. Hang more artwork in our home! Art can really make a house a home. I have several rooms begging for something pretty/meaningful to be on them.
3. Organize the clutter in those closets. Don't call the Hoarders show on me yet! I have some major work to do. I don't know about you, but after cleaning up Christmas decorations I like things to look simpler and clean! Can't wait to show you some good before and afters and closet makeovers!
4. Make some time to read and keep learning. I think it's important to take a few minutes a day to do something enriching for your mind and spirit.

2015 is already shaping up to be a good year. What about you? Do you have some new goals on the horizon?


2014: My Favorite Posts

It was nice to have a good break and be with family! I hope you had a great holiday too. 2014 was a busy year of projects in our home and taking care of four little girls. We've lived in our home for almost two years. It's a beautiful builder's grade (the hubs, Steve and I) we are trying to make feel cozy and our style. Here's a recap of some of my favorite projects and posts this year:
                   I gave our sconces a makeover with Rub N' Buff  and love how they turned out.
Steve and I made this frame for our daughter's room. 

In the winter, I was a contestant in the Creating with the Stars contest where Steve and I made this Melrose knock-off table. 

Color Block Dining Room Hutch: A week after the table project, we did a makeover to a dresser/buffet and added a hutch on top painting the whole thing in different shades of blue.
I love how this old tv stand turned into a stylish bar cart. Also, I show how I made this gold leaf mirror. 

Our tween daughter's room turned out to be navy, coral and white. Love it!
                         In the summer, we brightened up our front entry by painting and adding trim.

My sisters and I worked together to create this nautical loft space for our family home on Martha's Vineyard.

                         In the Fall, I got organized the paper clutter by creating a command center on a skinny wall.
Steve and I made these bookshelves out of plywood for Home Depot and organized our home office.
             Our laundry room now feels pretty, and organized with some hooks and built in cabinets.
I made this mirror into a large statement piece for our living room. You won't believe how inexpensive it was to make.
Lastly, this sofa has a long story that will be told soon, but I'm glad she's done! My tips for reupholstering furniture and getting over your fear of it are coming up soon. 

I have to admit, this was a bit therapeutic for me to look back at some of the things that happened this year. If you're new to Right Up My Alley, I hope you'll stick around. Onto new adventures and projects for 2015! It's going to be a good one!


Merry Christmas and How to Make a Small Boxwood Wreath

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I'm going to take a couple of weeks off to spend time with my family. I hope you get a chance to do something special this holiday season or spend time with your family. Thank you for all of you who have read my blog this year and made such nice comments.

Before I sign off I wanted to show you how to make this quick small boxwood wreath I made.

All you need is:

Wire cutters
Green wire
Boxwood clippings 

Simply make a wire circle and then take small amounts of wire and wrap it around the stem of the boxwood and fan out the boxwood clippings. You can make this as full or as sparse as you want. I wanted mine to be a mini size. This wreath took less than ten minutes to make. I hope you get a chance to make one of these. They're pretty festive. 
Wishing you all a blessed holiday season. See you next year! 


Our Christmas House Tour 2014

                                          Welcome to our home dressed for Christmas! 
This year I put our girl's stockings in our front entry. I purchased them last year at Pottery Barn kids, after Christmas sale (by the way, this is the way to go to get clearance price seasonal items).
I love these IKEA lights that look like snowballs (they are small plastic balls that go around the lights). I added some greenery and Nutcracker ornaments to the branches. The NOEL banner was made out of paper and glitter, a couple of years ago. 
When you come into our library you'll see the sofa I reupholstered in navy blue velvet. YES!! It's done!! I can really sing Hallelujah now! This was an advanced project for me and it took more time than anticipated. I will have a post soon on tips and tricks for upholstery. 
I used Pottery Barn letters with clippings of pine and plaid ribbon on our sconces. 

In our dining room, I made this quick no-sew tablecloth using stripe fabric and gluing down plaid ribbon to use for a border.  
For the centerpiece, I bought some eucalyptus and then clipped some greenery and berry vines in our backyard to get an organic look.
This simple wreath was made from our boxwood bushes in our front yard. It literally took minutes to make with wire. 
We have a Christmas village my mom gave to me and my girls absolutely love to help me set it up. On the wall, I made this advent calendar last year. On the back are scripture verses to read each day to prepare for Christmas. 
On Christmas Eve, our girls get new p.j's and a box of something Christmas-y. This year, they'll get some Santa mugs and a Rudolph CD. 
Our girls got to decorate this fresh tree this year. We will be planting it in our backyard at the end of winter. I just hope I can remember to keep it alive! 
It's fun to try different looks with the mantel. This year I decided to go with a white and turquoise color scheme. 
Thank you for stopping by to see our home! There are many other amazing homes to see over at the 12 Days of Christmas Link party, where I also show my home. I'm also linking this post to The Pretty Preppy Party. Go check it out! I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!


Inspiring Ideas from Christmas Home Tours

I've not been such a great blogger lately. This time of year is busy for pretty much everyone, myself included. However, I've been inspired by some Holiday home tours in blog land. Want to see some beautiful ideas? Let's go...
I love how Melissa from the Inspired Room had a theme of forest and sea for her inspired look. The simpleness of white mixed with natural elements is so elegant in her home. I love her Merry Christmas garland over her mantel.
Pottery Barn Glitter Merry Christmas Garland on the Fireplace- The Inspired Room
At 320 Sycamore, Melissa's beautiful white kitchen looks great with fresh greenery. I love that jingle bell wreath and the sign, 'It's a Wonderful Life' (one of my favorite Christmas movies).
above range decor holiday 320 sycamore
I love the large sign that the Handmade Home made for above their mantel (a line from 'It's a Wonderful Life').
Kristin from the Hunted Interior created a splash of color with wide pops of pink ribbon on her tree. Her whole tour is AMAZING!
Elisabeth at Little Black Door always works in color in her home with the right amount of balance. How great is her ornament garland over the mirror?
I love all the details in Pam's home (Simple Details blog). She is titled the queen of Craigslist since she finds screaming deals on a regular basis on there- like this gorgeous hutch. I love her paperwhite flowers in a big bowl. 
Kris, at Driven by Decor has a stunning home as well. Her front door wreath is so pretty with magnolia leaves and greenery with vintage looking cow bells.
 Fresh greenery and large bells - a welcoming holiday door decoration!
These bloggers are super talented and have great ideas. There are a lot of other home tours out there going on right now, so go check it out and get inspired for your home. I will be showing my home tour this week and linking it Tuesday with the 12 days of Christmas Tour of Homes. I can't wait to show you what I've been up to lately. 



Affordable Gift Guide for the Hostess

Gift Guide for the Hostess
1. Hot chocolate (my favorite)  2. Throw blanket   3. Boxwood wreath (you could make this too!)
4. Monogram mugs  5. Gold serving set  6. Potted Herbs (I get mine at Lowes or Wegmans)  7. Gourmet jam (or homemade, it's the best)  8. Kitchen towels (a fresh new towel is such a treat)  9. Cookies or chocolates  in a cute package (these are so great if they are homemade too) 10. Pine scented candles

Tis' the season to attend parties! I came up with some quick ideas you could buy or make to bring to the hostess of the party. These ideas are also great for teacher gifts. What are your favorite gifts to give at a party? 


How To Make: Canvas Ornaments

Are you feeling the hustle and bustle of the season already? I don't know about you, but I'm still working on some Christmas decorating. I made some really fun reindeer canvases at a craft night with a bunch of ladies. It was great fun and it gave me the idea to make small mini canvases for the Christmas tree this year. There are many possibilities to make with these canvases.

All you need is:
* mini canvases (mine were on sale for .80 cents)
* thin paint brush
* scissors
* Modge Podge glue
* make your own stencil: type in Google deer silhouette or bird silhouette, etc. All sorts of images will come up. Once you pick one then you can paste it in a word doc. and change the size, print then cut.
* glitter
* string
* tacs

Once you've drawn out your design or stenciled an image on to your canvas, simply paint on the Modge Podge and then tap some glitter onto the glue. Then tap the excess glitter off of the canvas (this is where a paper plate comes in handy) and you have a sweet new and inexpensive ornament.
Things are looking more festive over here. I'm still working on the tree a bit more, but I think it's starting to look fuller and cheery. Have you made any ornaments for your tree? I would love to hear what you've done.