Ideas For a Warm Romantic Master Bedroom - Add Drapes!

I'll start off this post with a very romantic bedroom photo that I have had on file (even before Pinterest - GASP!)

And an up close of the old frame with a picture behind it.

Or how about this bedroom - they used distressed doors for the base of the shabby chic platform bed and a antique mantel as a headboard!!!  LOVE THAT!

OK on to the title of my post.......One of my favorite ways to make a bedroom cozy is to add drapes that run floor to ceiling.  Not only will the drapes add height to a room, they will add a lot of warmth and great texture.


In Sherry and Johns (Young House Love) first house they show how fabric can soften their bedroom too.

young house love

If you know exactly where you will be putting your bed, making a built in niche is fun way to make your room feel custom.  Notice they also have floor to ceiling drapes.

Although I didn't run drapes (yet!) around my personal master bedroom - I did sew my own drapes in the sitting bench area.

My Own Bedroom - a work in process!

The drapes in this bedroom add a lot of softness.  Although they did not run these floor to ceiling, I love the way they border the bed and the low window.

The way they choose to accent the orange by long drapes does wonders for this room!


And Lastly, this is a lovely bedroom with bamboo shades and patterned drapes running to the floor.  Look at all the texture they bring into the room with the shaggy bedspread, fluffy carpet and the detailed chandelier!

Do you have drapes in your bedroom? If you don't, after reading this are you thinking about adding them??

How to Take a Good Photo on Your New Camera -A Beginner's Guide

Ok my friends, so the good news is that I'm not a professional photographer :-)

Style Me Pretty

That's good because I can RELATE to all of you out there that SIMPLY want to know how to use your new camera to take a better photo than you did with your snap and shoot!  

SO, here are some very basic and simple tips, but I promise you, if you apply them to your photos they are going to ROCK!  

Simple and Basic Tricks That Will Change Your Photos Forever!

1.)  Take outdoor shots with either early morning light or late evening light as the sun is setting.

You will not BELIEVE the pictures you can get with this light.  You hardly have to try and they will turn out amazing.

Sun was just about to set - the "golden" hour!

Worst time to try to take photos?

When the sun is directly on top of you - say, noon.  If you do end up taking photos at noon, make sure your subject is in the shade and you can turn that harsh direct light into something softer.

2.) ALWAYS (this is SO important!!!!)  shoot in a position where the person has "catchlights" or sparkle in their eyes. (Yes, yes, there are exceptions to this rule, but this is a very good place to start.)

A catchlight is the white flecks (sparkle) that you can see in someones eyes when they reflect the sun/sky.  Your portrait photos will never come to life without that fleck.  They can be cool photos - but they don't come to life.  So be sure that light is on their face AND you can see that white fleck.

Have them tilt their heads or move slightly to a different spot till you find it, but ignoring that catchlight can make or break the AWE factor to your photo.


My Brother....see the catchlight? :-)

Too much of his face is in the shadows and not enough catchlights!

Great examples of photo's MISSING the catchlights - they aren't bad photos but they definitely don't have that sparkle or AWE quality to them.

Can you see the difference it makes when you can catch that sparkle??

3.) Get a lens that has a LOW aperture setting. That means buying a lens that goes F / 2.0 or lower.  My favorite portrait lens is a Canon 50mm f/1.8 .  They are around 120.00 and worth every penny.

When you shoot with a low aperture setting, you will get that fuzzy background (bokeh) which is vital for a good portrait shot.  BE CAREFUL though, as a rule of thumb, you do not want your aperture to have a smaller number than the people in the shot.  So if you have two people in your picture, make sure you set your aperture somewhere in the 2's, and three people in the 3's etc.  If you don't do this and shoot a lower number aperture than number of people, one of the subjects in the photo will almost always be blurry.

You can see how low of an aperture the lens you have goes by setting your camera to Aperture Priority mode (A or AV on the program dial).  Now turn the select dial that shows you your F stop to the lowest it will let you go.  That number is it :-)  If yours doesn't go super low, don't worry, you still have a great lens, it's just harder to get that fuzzy background. (and save up for that 50mm 1.8 lens above!)

As far as my OWN setting on my camera - this is what I almost always keep it at:

I shoot 90% of my photos on the Aperture Priority mode (A or AV).

I shoot automatic focus.

I shoot in Jpeg format in a large size

If it's outdoors or indoors on a sunny day, I shoot in the SHADE white balance setting because it gives such a warm feel to my photos.

If I ever see that my shutter speed goes below 1/30 (of a second) I change the ISO setting (higher) so that my photos will not be blurry.  (the shutter speed is how fast that shutter clicks, so the longer it stays open in a second, the more likely you will get a blurry photo because of potential movement)

4.) Don't forget to get close to your subject if you want a more dynamic look.
I hope this helps those who just want some simple tips on getting those amazing shots that are possible with your new camera.  Go back and check your photos to see if you do the tips, if you don't, get ready to take your photo's to the next level!

See my tip for taking amazing Chirstmas light photos too!

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EASY Graham Cracker Recipe - Heathy and Sugar Free!

Has anyone ever looked on the back of a graham cracker box and read the ingredients?   It's pretty bad.  (hydrogenated oils, preservatives, processed sugar and lots of strange words!)

When I saw this recipe (given to me by NuNaturals Stevia) I thought I would give it a try.

The result?  GREAT!  

I should have rolled them out thinner (to more resemble a traditional graham cracker) but honestly, I would make these again.  It past the kid taste test too (Much more important than my taste test!)

Oh and did I mention the were EASY!!! (yep, my kind of recipe.)

Easy Healthier Graham Crackers (makes approx. 20 crackers)


  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax meal (can purchase in bulk section cheaply)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp NuNaturals NuStevia Prebiotic Blend stevia
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil (with a dash of salt) or you can just use melted butter
  • 1/4 cup Agave syrup


  • Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • In a separate bowl mix the melted oil or butter and agave together.
  • Add the oil and agave mixture to the dry ingredients and stir.  
  • Spread the dough on the cookie sheet and roll out.  *
  • I cut the dough into squares and then poked holes on the top with a fork before baking.
  • Bake 8-10 min at 400 degrees.
  • When done, go ahead and re-cut the graham crackers and cool.  

*If you need to do a light dusting of flour to keep the roller from sticking that's fine.
I rolled my first batch out at 1/4+ inch but I would recommend even going for 1/8".

Before baking, I ran a knife through dough and dotted tops with fork.

Next time I'll make them thinner!

The longer they sit, the firmer they become (like original graham crackers) so enjoy them warm and soft or cool and crispy.  It was brought to my attention by a reader that yes, these still do have sugars in the cracker with the agave nectar.  If that bothers you, I encourage you to experiment with another type of sweetener.  So technically my point is that this has no processed white sugar in them.

Here's to staying healthy and ENJOY!!!!

Recipe links are to iherb - my personal favorite site to buy healthy products.  For details see my disclosure policy.

Decorating with Musical Instruments

I know not every one out there is into the arts and music but for me, music is a huge part of my life.

On display is one of my old violins, unfortunately, when I was 16 I drove away while the violin and case was still on the top of my car and broke it to pieces.....yep, not a great teenage day when you do something like that!

Growing up, I had 3 siblings.  We each started learning a musical instrument at the age of three.  

Yes, that is me :-)  Maybe I was 2 when I started playing?

Some of the mothers out there that have kids involved in learning a musical instrument know it's not really the THREE year old that practices and learns an instrument - it's the mother.  God bless all the mothers out there that patiently go through the 20 minutes of practicing a day!  
(and to my own mother THANK YOU!)

Anyway, our family formed a string quartet,

2 violins
1 viola (me!)
and a cello.

So it's not a surprise when I tell you my heart goes flutter when I see musical instruments being used as home decor.  Honestly, garage sales are great for finding a steal of a deal on old instruments - keep your eyes on the look out!

Let's look at some ideas used around Blogland!

I love the way she brought your eye around the table using a large string bass.  It sure makes a statement.

This was a lovely home I did in American Clay - the cello alone, on it's stand really adds to the artsy feel of the room.

Placing old horn instruments in a bookshelf or on a console table really adds interest.  This vintage trumpet has such lovely lines - don't you think it's a work of art?


I can't forget using the piano as a beautiful home decor statement!!  Two of my children play the piano.
What a bold TURQUOISE statement! :-)  And as I mentioned in a previous post, how I love decorating with plates!

You can also see my popular post on how to HANG plates!  It's such a cool trick and practically free to make.


I think decorating your home with beautiful old instruments can be magical. :-)

What do you think - do you have any musical home decor?


Silly Designer Cups - A Post Just for Fun

I know, this doesn't really have anything to do with my normal posts but someone awesome designed these cups and I LOVE them!  

They completely crack me up!  

My animal loving daughters would go crazy over these!


Oh and they would LOVE these too - my daughter has a cute white hamster......I could see that cup being her favorite!  Maybe I could get her to drink more milk with that cup??


Now this coffee cup made completely with coffee beans could be for ME!
Can you smell it now??

Yes, coffee does seem to start my day!

I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did....unfortunately, I can't for the life of me find prices on these or I would buy them. (ok,ok, if the price was right!)  If you know or can figure out where to buy these leave me a comment!


Barn Wood Home Decor - Creative Juices Award

One thing I love about barn wood home decor is you can take any type of themed home and transform a room that was once blah, to a room FULL of character.  

Like always, I am amazed at the creativity of people around blogland but the one that takes the GOLD for my Creative Juices Award is Dana's pallet wood backsplash!  

Dana wanted to give her 1980's kitchen some character so she and her husband just cut up and washed some FREE pallet boards, added some stain and applied liquid nails (glue) to the back and put them up.  VOILA - an awesome backsplash full of character!

This photo below has been on my Pinterest account forever - I LOVE how creative the designer was using the old wood around an upholstered headboard.  It's awesome because it creates so much TEXTURE!!! Texture is KEY to creating interest my friends - KEY. 
(Remember my animal hide post?  Great texture = lovely rooms)

Well Kim from Too Much Time saw the same photo and decided to make her own version from worn out fence pieces someone gave her.

Here it is up close:

Isn't that amazing?!  I love how she added OLD with NEW.

I know not everyone has easy access to an old falling apart barn so there are ways you can still capitalize on the look without violating those no trespassing signs :-)

Cassity and Justin from Remodelaholic built this beautiful GLORIFIED baby gate (door) out of wood they bought at their local building store.  They will give you step by step directions if you want to make one for yourself.

As you know, I LOVE the look of old wood beams as my own home is filled with them.  Well, they aren't really old, just rough sawn and stained a deep espresso brown.  
When I move to Europe and live in a 200 year old estate I'll be sure that my beams are full of cobwebs and natural luster from years of living ;-)  

This was one of my clients homes that also used rough sawn beams and had then distressed. (They were even hand chiseled  to make appear really old.)  That was a working wood heated pizza oven  - the owner was Italian :-)

All the walls were done in American Clay Natural EarthPlaster

I love this photo below by Domestic Bliss.  Look how simply the whitewashed wood accentuates the green topiaries and neutral setting.  

What do you think?  

Are you ready to look for some weathered pallets or old fence posts?  Or maybe just buy your own wood at Lowes and attack it with a hammer and bike chain before adding a beautiful stain to it?  :-)  Whatever it may be, I hope you were inspired and got your own creative juices stirred!
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