Blog Archives

What a Busy Christmas Season 2016!

I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things, but highlights of our Henson Family Christmas activities during the last month or so included:
πŸŽ„ Black Friday Shopping!

πŸŽ„ Loads of Lights on the exterior of our house and lawn!

πŸŽ„ Older two daughters’ Band concert!

πŸŽ„ Younger daughter’s elementary party!

πŸŽ„ Handmade & custom gifts for husband & kids!

πŸŽ„ New Christmas tree and wreaths!

πŸŽ„ 12th Annual Egg Nog Competition at the Historic Arkansas Museum!

πŸŽ„ Driving around looking at lights!

πŸŽ„ Visited AR Capitol building to see decor and take family photos!

πŸŽ„ Hosted Dinner for 8 in our home, including Pop, Grammy, & Gram!

πŸŽ„ Attended a Dinner for 8 with husband, daughters, & nephew that my sister cooked for us all!

πŸŽ„ 3 daughters baked Cookies for Santa!

πŸŽ„ Stockings & unwrapping gifts!

πŸŽ„Christmas morning homemade Sticky Bun Cinnamon Rolls from scratch by Mitch!

πŸŽ„ Dec 26th Clearance Shopping!
Here are a few of my Favorite Photos from these activities:
















We hope you had a festive Winter Holiday Season, too! I’ll be back with more posts, soon! ❀️

Your Friend,

–Amber Hamilton Henson

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Family Updates!

Hey, y’all! What’s up? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
Wow, I could write a bajillion updates (or at least 8 posts) at this point with all of the photos I’ve taken in the last month or two!

I will show you a few highlights, though; it’ll be a condensed overview of what could be 8 individual updates.

(I may double back at a later date to show you actual step by step tutorials on each of the 8 the projects and step by step recipe details, in individual posts.)

1) We made a fun, colorful “puff quilt,” by following this tutorial link: http://handmade-europe.com/2011/11/22/tutorials-quilts Remind me to tell you the backstory of these fabrics sometime!
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2) Garden:
a)My garden, especially the pepper garden, has been flourishing!
b) I submitted one of photos of my peppers to P. Allen Smith’s #ArkansasGrown photo contest and was selected as one of the weekly winners. I received a great prize package in the mail shortly thereafter!
c) I sure enjoy late season rose blooms and playing around with photo editing apps!

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3) One of my favorite herbs this year is Pineapple Sage! I bought it as a little starter Bonnie plant, and it has grown to 3′-4′. I’ve especially liked using it in “Brown Butter Sage Chicken!” I cook it until the Sage gets crispy! Yummm! I follow this recipe link: http://www.kevinandamanda.com/recipes/dinner/5-minute-brown-butter-chicken-and-crispy-sage.html

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4) In house decor news, I’ve purchased a new pair of long sofas for the living room and a new coffee table. I posted our old sectional sofa on Craigslist and Facebook to sell, and it sold the first day. However, it’ll be 6-8 weeks until the new LaZBoy sofas arrive! Oops! Haha! The coffee table has arrived, though:

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5) We also decided to paint the ceilings in the foyer, living room, and office a dark green! It doesn’t darken the room, but it does make the 10′ ceilings seem even higher! The Living Room has windows that are almost floor to ceiling spanning one wall, lights in the ceiling fan, and a pair of wall sconces, so it is sufficiently bright! Here it is:

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6) Our 3 girls are all flourishing! We received their benchmark standardized test scores from Spring testing; Caroline and Abigail have “Wow’d” me again! They both scored hundreds of points above state averages in Literacy. They also BOTH scored in the upper 90-99th percentile in every subject, nationally. Amazing, just amazing little girls they are! Caroline, 7th grade, has been invited to participate in Duke University’s talent identification program (TIP!) YaY!! Veronica, 3, stays busy playing with building blocks, puzzles, and her Nabi tablet, patiently waiting to be old enough to take standardized tests, too! Love:

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7) What else? Oh, yeah! We reupholstered another chair! I asked Baby Veronica to me find something green in Hancock Fabric Store, and she picked this green butterfly upholstery fabric, so we went with green butterfly fabric for the chair that sits in the foyer. It’s kind of an entry way into the library. We also covered the desk shroud! See:

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8) This morning, Mitch got up early to make Cinnamon Sticky Buns from scratch for us girls! Lucky, lucky girls we are!! I sure love him! He used the recipe from this link: http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/21461/ooey-gooey-cinnamon-buns

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So, that’s what’s been going on around here!

I hope autumn is going well for you and yours, too!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

I believe

I BELIEVE:: I believe in love stories. I believe in details. I believe that there are no calories in wedding cakes. I believe in borrowing from the past to create a beautiful future. I believe there is always a reason to celebrate. Goodnight, Mitch. I’ll see you more when we wake. I love you. ~Amber

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Garden Boxes, Peppers, Peas, and Okra for kids!

Building Raised Garden Boxes and Watching our kids watching PEPPERS, PEAS, & OKRA grow has kept me in smiles recently! Want a peek at part of what has been happening in our yard this season?

I enjoy every season, but I must admit that being so fair (um, pale) skinned, summer hadn’t always been a favorite. It is amazing how different I feel about summer as my garden interests have grown through the years, especially now that my daughters are interested in raising edibles!

(click on photos to enlarge and zoom!)

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(click on photos to enlarge and zoom!)

4ft. by 4ft. might be the most common dimension for traditional square foot gardening, however we built 6ft. by 3ft. raised garden beds for our daughters’ melons and vegetables in order to minimize cost and minimize waste of material by using readily available, USA cedar fence pickets!!

We are quite pleased with how easy it was to source materials, how easy the planting boxes were to assemble, and how well Bonnie plants and Burpee seeds are performing for our daughters!

We have built a total of 5, so far, but have room for a few more!

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BUILDING THE BOXES:
Basically, we needed the raised beds to be affordable, large enough to plant what we want on our rocky hilltop yard, yet small enough that the kids can reach into the center for planting and harvesting. The kids helped with the entire process, including excavation of the plots where the boxes sit!

Tools for box construction:
power chop saw; cordless drill with drill bit and Phillips head bit; stapler

Supplies purchased:
We bought 6″ wide 6′ long fence pickets (6 pickets per box, the ends are half length pickets)
4inch by 4inch post, 6′ long (cut into 1′ long sections)
Plastic sheeting, 12mil. thickness (keeps water and soil from escaping between the pickets, simulating using much more expensive wider width lumber. DO NOT cover the bottom of the box, as drainage is important!)

Plants and Soil, Manure, & Organic Compost:
Our daughters are interested in trying to raise a variety of edibles! So far, things are going well! We’re already harvesting some things, watching blooms on others, and trying to decide what else to raise as the seasons change!

We are so pleased with our plants, so far!
Here is a peek at the variety of BONNIE Peppers that our kids are already harvesting and BURPEE Sweet Peas we harvested are planted beside our BONNIE Okra that will be ready soon, as modeled by our two older daughters, Caroline and Abigail.

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BONNIE Plants and BURPEE seeds may have just reached a completely untapped, youth market audience for their products in our neighborhood! As far as we’ve seen, we’re the only family in our neighborhood growing vegetables this year. The neighborhood kids seem fascinated when our daughters show them their vegetable gardens and talk about the plants! LOVE!! We’re enjoying ourselves, so it is very rewarding for there to be so much interest in our little gardens! It won’t surprise me at all to see more of this style of gardening start popping throughout these suburban backyards! They’re just so fun! They’re great additions beside our RAINBOW swing set/playground, trampoline, and basketball court!

Next on our “to-do” list? Our middle daughter will be in 3rd grade this next school year, and I hear that BONNIE plants has a 3rd grade cabbage patch program! We’re interested! We’ve never tried our hand at growing cabbage before! It would be fun to try! I wonder if Mitch would be willing to make a few more of these garden boxes for Abigail’s elementary school? πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

We’ll post more updates on other things growing in our gardens and fruit trees in the backyard, soon!

“Later, ‘Gators, and Afterwhile, Crocodiles!”
Your Friend,

~Amber Hamilton Henson

This article is featured in Hat Trick magazine, page 108-111. Click on magazine cover to be re-directed:
Hat Trick magazine

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Linking this post to these great blog parties:
Arkansas Women Bloggers’ “Sunday Link Up”
We Made That’s “Made by Kids! #45”

End of 2012!

End of the year! It is New Year’s Eve! Today, we cleaned house a bit and put away the Christmas tree in order to facilitate a FRESH new year for 2013! Not wanting to leave any project undone, now is as good of a time as any to update this blog, too! Right? Right! The last time I wrote on here, we were making Halloween projects! Wow! We’ve done a lot since then, here a few photo highlights:

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We’re looking forward to 2013 and hope that you are too!

Your Friends,
Mitch and Amber Henson
email: WhatAmberLoves@att.net

Zombie Rats for Dessert!

It is definitely a Halloween tradition of ours to let the kids make a few crazy treats each Halloween. Last year, we made witch cupcakes, that was before I started blogging. Maybe I’ll upload a round-up of old Halloween pics? That would be fun! Regardless, here is what we made tonight, ZOMBIE RATS!!!

The “zombie rats” are actually red velvet cake balls coated in a hard chocolate shell! They have almond slivers for ears, red hot candy eyes, and candy tails!

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I saw the “creepy cake ball lab mice” tutorial on Polish The Star’s Blog, and decided to try it, with a twist! πŸ™‚ Instead of white lab mice, we went for big brown rats with red velvet filling! Mice + Rats + Halloween at its best! Yum!

My husband, Mitch, and our daughters really get all of the credit for actually assembling our yummy little rats; I was in the room, though, so that counts, right?!
Here’s how they did it:

Bake a cake, let it cool, crumble it up, mix it with icing, form balls (mice bodies).
Put in freezer for ten minutes with a skewer to use for dipping.
Melt coating. Dip bodies. Return to freezer for 10 minutes to firm the coating.
Remove skewer, insert twizzler tails, and affix red hot candy eyes with addition chocolate.
πŸ™‚

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Happy Halloween!
~Amber Hamilton Henson

DIY Globe Lampshades!

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I needed a pair of lamps to sit on top of my file cabinets in our home office/library. I decided I wanted globe lamps. You know, when you cut apart a globe in order to make lampshades out of the globe?

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Not wanting to cut up my husband’s childhood globe and since it was raining on Saturday, making it impossible for us to attend a local FOODTRUCK Festival in the rain with our youngest in a stroller, we went looking around at a few local thrift/antique stores in order to find a globe and just muse around.

I saw a lamp that I really liked while we were out shopping: (click on photo to enlarge it)

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Despite the fact that I totally fell in love with the lamp and globe lampshade, I didn’t get it, because I wanted a pair of lamps; however, I firmly believe YOU should totally go buy this handcrafted one-of-a-kind globe lamp. It’s only $15.99 at Hidden Treasures on Hwy 107 in NorthLittleRock/Sherwood, Arkansas.

I did find a globe that day at MidTowne Antiques to use for MY project. 10 bucks. Deal. That makes two lamp shades at only $5 each!! πŸ™‚
(click on photo to enlarge it)

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HOW TO:
The easier way to split the globe would have been to just remove the tape along the equator, but then one globe would be rightside up and the other would be upside down. That wouldn’t do! I wanted a pair!! So, using a jigsaw, my husband Mitch cut it along one of the lines of longitude for me! πŸ™‚ Now, I have a pair that are BOTH sideways. Both. That makes me happy. Next, we just drilled a hole in the top, so that it slides on easily and is held in place between the lamp’s harp and finial. Glue on trim. Insert low wattage bulb. Important: very low wattage bulb, because this is a cardboard shade. Done! (click on photos to enlarge them)

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Thanks for tuning in! Since making this project, I’ve kind of been fascinated by globe projects and prices. I’ve compiled a round-up and shopping board on Pinterest, click “Globe Trotting,” to see the globe projects I’ve found!

Second, Want to know more about the age or value of the globe you’re using in a craft project? If you look, I think there are probably several resources available. For instance, it took me about three seconds when I looked, and I discovered the globe I used was manufactured in 1981, based on the names of countries/political boundaries. The link for discovering the age of my globe is here. Neat, huh? πŸ™‚

AND, I can’t finish this post without a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY shout out to my dad, pretty much the most awesome guy that has ever existed! Love you Dad!!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

PS
When this globe lampshade parties or is featured, you’ll see the links and buttons at the bottom of this post updated daily! As always, feel free to re-post an image, pin it, tweet it, fb it, or whatever, so long as it clearly links back to here! If you do feature this project on your blog, site, or ‘zine, please, let me know and I’ll add your link into this post!

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These globe lampshades were featured!! Twice!!
(click on featured button links to see!)
A Delightsome Life

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Linking to the best Parties:
Lampshades Category @ FunkyJunkInteriors

Be Inspired #40 @ ElizabethAndCo.
Wow Us Wednesdays #87 @ SavvySouthernStyle
Primp Your Stuff #66 @ PrimpJunktion
Penny Pinching #158 @ TheThriftyHome
Treasure Hunt Thursday #77 @ FromMyFrontPorchToYours
Tutorials, Tips, & Tidbits @ StoneGableBlog
Home and Garden Thursday #10 @ BlissfulRhythm Delightsome Life
Transformation Thursday #173 @ TheShabbyCreekCottage
Hookin’ up With HOH #120 @ HouseOfHepworths
Happy Hour Friday @ HappyHourProjects
Catch as Catch Can #93 @ My Repurposed Life
ReDoux Friday #76 @ ReDoux Interiors
Funky Junk Saturday Nite Special #156 @ FunkyJunkInteriors
Be Inspired #41 @ ElizabethAndCo

Library/Home Office Tour

When you walk through our front door, standing in the foyer, look to your left. Our home library is the room you see. You can see other rooms by visiting my “decor” page and selecting a room to tour. This blog is a work in progress, one room per post.
(click on photo to enlarge it)

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We painted the room green, built the bookshelves, sewed the curtains, covered all the chairs.

The bookshelves cover an entire wall, however, despite recently donating most of my novels, we still have WAY TOO MANY books to fit onto the bookshelves. Right now, we have a couple stacks of books that are four feet tall beside the shelves, all of my cookbooks are kept in the kitchen, etc. We have plans to build a couple more sets of shelves soon. Really soon.

What’s on the bookshelves? Well, my rolls of sign vinyl are on the bottom, then a row of kid books, then reference books, gardening books, decorating, DIY, college textbooks, Mitch’s childhood encyclopedia set, and books that have passed to me by family. Sounds like a lot of books? Nope. Not nearly as many as some of my family members.

Just like in the rest of the house, I keep real plants anywhere I can reach them, and i only use artificial plants for areas I can only reach with a ladder. (10 foot ceilings, here)

Here’s the top of the bookshelves: (click to enlarge)

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Here are a couple views around the room: showing the bookshelf wall; big birdcage hanging in front of the windows; elephant and bird collection that sits on top of the armoire that holds my Summa sign cutter; our wacky old sewing chair with built-in storage that we found at a thrift market and re-upholstered: (click to enlarge)

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Here are a few more views around the room: the industrial file cabinets that I’ve labeled for myself and our girls to keep their schoolwork through the years and vital records (the other four drawers on the 2nd file cabinet are on my “to do” list); the 1930s “satellite” chair that we re-upholstered; aloe vera and houseplants; fountain; decorative pieces: (click to enlarge)

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Here are a few more views around the room: the diamond fabric covered screen/shroud hides my old metal steel tanker desk, so that you’re not looking at the backside of the computer/printer/hub/etc; our chrome glass-topped “Sputnik” table for our daughters’ afternoon homework with our chrome chairs from the 70s, topped by a tray that holds a few essentials for homework; a close-up of the fabric of our floor-to-ceiling curtains that I sewed: (click to enlarge)

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Like I said, I got rid of most of my novels and just read on my iPad via iBooks or NOOKapp, now. However, when it comes to “look books,” I doubt technology will ever be able to replace how I feel about being able to sit down, open up, and spread out several books at once the way I do. It’s kind of my quiet time to regenerate creative energies. Surprisingly, blogging and visiting so many blogs lately seems to be having this same effect, sparking my creativity…
(click to enlarge)

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That concludes our tour of this room! You’ll notice i didnt show you my desktop. Well, its piled high with papers, magazines, the girls’ stuff from school, and MORE at the moment. If I clear it off anytime soon, I’m sure I’ll probably be proud enough to write a post about it! Lol. Second, I may re-edit this post at a later day just to add a few “behind the scenes” photos to the end of this post that show the “before” shots of the chairs and the “during” bookshelf building.

Enjoy my projects or links? Please, pin it, tweet it, like it, whatever… just be social and feel free to share as long it links back to here! Also, if you do feature this room in some way on your blog/site/’zine, please let me know, and I’ll add your link into this post!

Later! (more photos at the bottom of this post!)
See you in blogland!
Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

PS This room of ours is looking forward to the party circuit!! The daily links:
Catch as Catch Can #90 @ My Repurposed Life
Link Party and Mes Preferes #73 @ ReDoux Interiors
PotPourri Party #42 @ 2805
Inspiration Friday #83 @ AtThePicketFence
What’s Cluckin’ #21 @ ChickenScratchNY
Wow Us Wednesday #86 @ SavvySouthernStyle

The individual / detail photos in no particular order:

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Master Bedroom Tour

Welcome to our Our Master Bedroom Suite!

(At any point, you can click on a photo, and an enlarged copy will open in a new window/tab!)


Pinning Welcome!

On this site, bits and pieces of different rooms are visible in my project posts and recipe posts, but this is my VERY FIRST “finished” whole room reveal in Blogland! YAY!

We’ve had a hand in creating A LOT of what is in the room you are about to see.

Specifically:
*We put in new hardwood Sapele floors.
*We painted the walls using Home Depot’s flat Behr “Smokey Topaz.”
*We built and upholstered the headboard.
*We built and upholstered the valance.
*We painted the antique dress form and covered her in leather.
*We painted and applied vinyl graphics to a vanity.
*We painted and upholstered the stool for the vanity.
*We reupholstered the antique Italian settee.
*We decoupaged an antique door and hung it above the bed.
*We created the “floral” arrangements and potted the plants.
*We accessorized using pieces passed down through the family, gifts, and a few unique finds from specialty boutiques.

I’m sure I’m forgetting things in the list, but you get the gist of it, right? This isn’t a catalog room by any stretch of the imagination. It is ours, just ours, and we worked for it. Several of these projects happened just prior to beginning of this blog, since I just started two months ago, but a few have happened recently. For example, you can read more about the door in my “Crazy Old Door” post, or read a tutorial about applying vinyl graphics to furniture in my “Vanity” post by clicking on those links.

Have you signed up to receive my updates or “liked” the Facebook page, yet?

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In this first area that I’m showing in the next photos, you’re looking to the far end of the room. You see the door we decoupaged, headboard we built, the bed, a pair of contemporary chests, and the antique settee we re-upholstered:

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The next photo is the top of the chest on “his” side of the bed, topped by a floral arrangement, lamp, copper car musicbox, wooden car storage box, and a little piggy bank from his childhood:

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The next photo shows the top of the chest on “her” (my) side: Similar to his, except that instead of cars, I have pieces of silver handed down to me from my grandmother and a silver plate trinket box given to me by a friend:

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Next, also on my side, you see my re-vamped antique dress form that was in terrible condition when I purchased it. We painted it gloss black and covered the crumbling, tattered paper-ish form of the body in real black leather. She is fully functional, now, spinning, widening and compressing as needed. You can also see a red lacquered jewelry box from my mother in-law and one of my many vintage lucite purses from the ’50s:

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Next, you’ll see my deco vanity vignette with stacked mirrors, wall shelves, with arrangements, crystal lamps and clocks, houseplants, & crystal candleholders on top of the vanity.

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Next, you’re seeing the “window wall” area of our bedroom. Basically, it is a large pair of windows adorned by curtains, embroidered sheers, and custom valance that coordinates with the headboard. The window is flanked by a pair of HUGE 7 foot tall mirrors. Other items visible include a pair of multi-drawer jewelry chests that hold my collection of bracelets and necklaces that I make. A little shelf holding a capiz shell lamp, other little decor, and my tanning bed that I hardly ever use, because I have decided to embrace my paleness. Actually, from this point forward, I’m not going refer to myself as pale, but “porcelain,” instead. There.

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Now, in the next four photos, you’re looking at the “window wall” from the other direction, you see the tanning bed, tv, a few stars painted black, a mirror, and the rug. Do you see the rug? The rug is made entirely of scraps left over from neck-tie manufacturing. Each little piece of necktie is individually stuffed and sewn onto a backing. Neat, right? The international manufacturer’s import/export home office is here in Little Rock, and, once upon a time, they would open their warehouse one day per month to us locals and sell their overstock at wholesale prices! Perhaps, they still open once a month. I don’t know because it has been several months since I’ve been there. The pictures:

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Well, that concludes my tour.

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Thanks for taking the time to look around our room! I may be proud of the space, but I’m also quite flattered that you took the time to look! I’ll get around to photographing other rooms in our home at some point soon, as we complete several more projects that are midpoints!

Your Friend,
~Amber Hamilton Henson

PS
Enjoy my projects or links? Please, pin it, tweet it, like it, whatever… just be social and feel free to share as long it links back to here! Also, if you do feature this room in some way on your blog/site/’zine, please let me know, and I’ll add your link into this post!

This room will go on tour with other rooms at a few blog parties!
Daily Links:
Weekend WrapUp @ TatorTotsAndJello
Get Schooled Saturday @ TooMuchTime
DIY projects @ The36thAvenue
Saturday Nite @ FunkyJunkInteriors
Sunday’s Best @ My1929Charmer
Make The Scene Mondays @ AlderBerryHill
Masterpiece Monday @ BoogieBoardCottage
Mod Mix Monday @ ModVintageLife
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday @ CoastalCharm
Be Inspired @ ElizabethAndCo
Wow Us Wednesdays @ SavvySouthernStyle
All Star Block Party @ SimplyDoneWright
PotPourri Party #42 @ 2805
Inspiration Friday #83 @ AtThePicketFence
What’s Cluckin’ @ ChickenScratchNY

Tour Our House!

Hello, Internet! Good Evening!! Welcome to our home!

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(click on photo to enlarge)

I have written a couple of posts during the last couple of days, but I haven’t published them, yet. The reason? Well, they are posts about interior design projects that are happening, and I felt like my readers needed more context in which to visualize the spaces as they relate to one another. So, here it is! A labeled “floorplan” of our house!

If you read my post about our last house, the old house that became a historic house, then you already know that I truly believe in value of a good set of floorplans for helping everyone be able to visualize space and how spaces flow from one another! So, I will definitely publish a set for this house if/when we sell it, too!

The room by room tours of this house:

Dining Room – set for a “Mad Tea Party!”
Bonus Room – the room over the garage!
Library/Office – our library and homework area!
Master Bedroom – a full tour of this room!
Bedroom 4 – daughter’s “Hot Pink Bedroom!”

Other bits and pieces of interior decor can be accessed through my “Decor and Crafts” page!

Yay! πŸ™‚

Your Friend,
~Amber