2014 Valentine’s Day Mantel

Valentine's Day Mantel 2014 familybringsjoy.com

Greetings!  I told you I had been busy working on our Valentine’s Day mantel.  I’m sharing it with you today.

Disney Land countdown board familybringsjoy.com

This Valentine’s Day will be extra magical as we will be at Disney Land! {watch out Insta friends, my Instagram feed will be overflowing}  We realized our youngest, who is almost 11, was only 2 and a half years old the last time we went to Disney World.  She was telling me she doesn’t remember much of that trip and it made me sad.  She is pretty much already a tween but young enough to still love everything Disney.  Kids grow up so fast!  The kids have a long weekend off from school and we are taking advantage of it.  I hear it’s supposed to be a good time to visit the park…not too busy.  We sure will enjoy the little reprieve of snowy, cold weather we’ve been having here.  I checked the weather and it’s supposed to be a high of 81 and low of 50.  Ahhhhh…that sounds nice.  None of us have ever been to Disney Land, so we decided to check it out instead of Disney World this time.  Anyway, so I have sort of a Disney theme going on this year for the mantel.

The board I bought at Hobby Lobby and painted it with chalkboard paint.  I’ve used this board many times on my mantel.  I just erase and write what I want for the occasion.

Minnie Mouse Heart Garland familybringsjoy.com

I made this garland initially with just doilies and kids valentines I bought at the dollar store.  I glued them on and used different ribbon to tie them together.  Well, the doilies are a little fragile.  I hung it up and it ripped and tore.  I thought if I reinforced it with some washi tape where the ribbon was it would work.  No such luck, they still broke apart.  I hate when a project goes wrong.  I guess the weight of the valentines was just too much for the doilies.  I ended up adding reinforcement by cutting hearts out of card stock and gluing it to the back of the doilies.  I also punched small holes on both sides of the card stock hearts and tied them together with white twine.  Hooray!  It is not falling apart now!  I love the cute Minnie Mouse valentines.  My daughter made some just like this to hand out to the characters when we meet them for an autograph. (Of course hers are not strung together.)

close up of heart garland familybringsjoy.com

valentine trees familybringsjoy.com

The yarn tree I made for Christmas one year.  Super easy…wrap the yarn around over and over and pin the end on the top.  The dollar store also had these smaller trees. I decided to make a conversation heart tree.  Again, super easy…all you need is a glue gun.  The other tree is made out of buttons, brads and a few flowers.  I’ve seen similar ones on Pinterest and wanted to make one.  You can’t tell in the photo but, I mod podged music paper onto the back of the trees before adding the buttons and hearts.

right side of valentine mantel familybringsjoy.com

Anyone who goes into my house knows I love these little black and white signs.  The quotes on them are worth reading over and over.  Santa even put mini ones (wooden signs like the one above) in each family member’s stocking last Christmas.  I found this one at a local shop in town.  The wooden red heart my daughter made.  I found the vase at a local discount store.  The cute Precious Moments couple was on the top of our wedding cake.  It is special to us.

left side of frame familybringsjoy.com

I was going through my love box (where I keep cards & notes others give me) and noticed a theme in the cards hubby has given me.  He likes to give me the cards with the little kids on them.  Aren’t they adorable?!  Boy that photographer must have offered those kids something pretty awesome to get them to pose like that. lol!  I covered the backs of the window panes with different kinds of scrapbook paper and taped the cards onto the paper with blue painters tape. {I love that tape because it holds well but you can remove it when you want without damaging anything.)

right side of valentine frame familybringsjoy.com

The next few photos are of the music paper pinwheels I made.  Again, I attached them to doilies and added a few embellishments on top with the glue gun.  One of the pinwheels didn’t want to hold it’s embellishments.  They kept coming off so I just left it plain. (The one over the 2)

DSC08845 DSC08843

valentines pinwheel familybringsjoy.com

Here it is again all together…

Valentine's Day Mantel 2014 familybringsjoy.com

I shot a couple of pics of the tree I have on my foyer table.

valentine tree familybringsjoy.com

I liked the next shot of our newest piece of art above the tree.  Jesus is LOVE.  I thought it fitting to include HIM.  I was trying a different angle to change things up a bit.

Jesus and valentine tree familybringsjoy.com

I hope everyone has a lovely Valentine’s Day week.  No need to show your love to someone only on Valentine’s Day…express your love daily.

Love Brings Joy,

Happy Birthday Family Brings Joy

photo 5 (6)Today is the day.

Five years ago I began Family Brings Joy.

I can’t believe it’s been 5 years.

I wonder how many of you have been following this thing I called life {my blog} for the majority of that time?  I know my sweet mom has.  I hope one day my kids will be happy to have me follow and comment on all their social media.  Right now it’s frowned upon.

Anyway, today I will be celebrating by taking the girls on a shopping trip to our favorite city 2 hours away.  It’s time to buy my college bound daughter a laptop.  She’s pretty excited.  I would be too…there were no such things as laptops when I went to college.  My youngest needs new jazz shoes while my son needs longer jeans.  I don’t really need anything for me.  I’ll just enjoy being with them and grateful we can purchase the items they need.

I hope each and every one of you has a fabulous day!  Thank you for being you and being a part of the Family Brings Joy community.  You are special and mean the world to me. :)

Happy Birthday Family Brings Joy!

Friday’s Five Random Things From Haven

Have selfies before and after black and white familybringsjoy.comI’m back from Haven (blog) Conference.  {It’s actually been a couple of weeks.}  It’s time to share my experience.

1. I love Atlanta!

Even though I’ve been blessed to travel around the world, this was my first time to Georgia.  Their peaches are the juiciest and sweetest!  The conference was held in what is called the Buckhead area.  I walked around this area and was pleased with the cleanliness and close proximity to many great shops and restaurants.  The people there exude southern hospitality with smiles on their faces.

2. Made some awesome friends.

Remember this photo I shared on my pre-Haven post?

haven link up photo black and white

Well, 2 of these girls became some of my best friends.  And yes, they are just as beautiful in person as they are in their photos.  What matters more is how beautiful they are on the inside.  Katie and Mimi are both from Washington.  It was so much fun to visit their sites after getting to know them in person.  It’s quite different meeting a blogger before seeing their site rather than meeting a blogger after you’ve been to their site.  It’s much more personal and I am very impressed with both of them and their expertise in the field of DIY and home decor.  I might have been a little intimidated if I had been to their site before hand.  They are super sweet and down to earth.  I plan on staying in touch with them and hope to learn from these blogging pros in the future.  Make sure you visit my new friends at their sites: Katie’s is Creatively Living and Mimi’s is Blue Roof Cabin.

Right away I met Candace and we hit it off!  We stuck together like glue and enjoyed meeting Katie and Mimi at the welcome reception on Thursday.  Even though Candace is a new blogger, she has a background in communications as a reporter.  This means she is a writing pro {she won an Emmy!} and she is quickly catching onto the blogging world.  Her blog is beautifully filled with many creative ideas.  See photos below of my new friends and I.  Visit Candace’s site at Vintage News Junkie

Haven Friends2 familybringsjoy.com

3. Love meeting bloggers in person.

I was able to meet some of my favorite bloggers!

Here I am below with first Carrie from Making Lemonade and Jen from I Heart Organizing

Black and White Famous Bloggers and I familybringsjoy.com

4. Learn from the best.

The workshops were filled with valuable information.

  1. Jen (the one I’m pictured with above) did a wonderful workshop on organizing.
  2. One of the painting experts from chalk paint company Annie Sloan let us do some hands on painting.  It was a blast!
  3. Ana White , furniture DIY guru and blogger, was the opening speaker for the conference.  She’s pretty amazing.
  4. Whitney and Ashley, sisters from Shanty 2 Chic, helped me feel at home being they’re from Texas.  They taught us how to build a spice rack with power tools.
  5. Candace is using an air hammer (I think that’s what it’s called) for the first time at Shanty 2 Chic’s workshop.

Haven Workshops collage familybringsjoy.com

Here I am being silly at the cocktail party.

Haven Cocktail Selfies familybringsjoy.com

5. Bloggers who Instagram are awesome!

The bloggers who came up to me and said, “I wanted to meet you.  I follow you on Instagram.”  Bless YOU.  That totally made my day!

This post needed a little bit of colored photos too! 😉

Haven random photos collage familybringsjoy.com

Time to catch up on laundry before taking my youngest to her dentist appointment.

Color your world today my friends.  Be creative and live life with Joy!

Conferences bring joy,

Anything Could Happen

Hey there!

haven buttonI’m getting excited about the blog conference I’m attending in Atlanta next week called Haven.  Last night there was a twitter party for attendees.  I was tweeting away with the best of them, only to realize nobody could read my tweets because my twitter account is “private.”  I used to have my twitter open to the public and received all kinds of SPAM so I decided to privatize it.  It was kind of a let down since the whole idea of having the party was to get to know some of the bloggers before attending the conference.

So I was visiting the Haven Link Up…

haven link up photo


I’m wondering if I’m going to a modeling conference instead of a home bloggers conference.  Holy cow…if you want to see more of the beautiful bloggers click here.  If you are not sure what a link up is…it’s where you link up your blog so conference attendees can get to know each other by visiting their blogs.  Most bloggers inserted a photo of themselves instead of using their blog’s logo like I did.  Honestly, it’s probably a good idea to add a photo so people can put a name with a face.  However, I don’t really have a professional updated {with my new pixie cut} photo to share.  I need to do that.

Anyway, all of these bloggers look beautiful.  There’s nothing to say that they shouldn’t be beautiful.  Everyone is beautiful to God since we are all His children.  I guess it’s just a little intimidating.  I’m not sure what that says about me.  I’ve had friends tell me they used to think I was intimidating before they got to know me.  {I’m pretty sure it’s not because they thought I was model worthy.}  I’m completely and utterly shocked when this information was explained to me.  The LAST thing I would want would be for someone to be intimidated by me.  I love people and strive to be as friendly as possible to everyone I meet.

Shan at Blissdom familybringsjoy.com

Blissdom 2012

Here’s what I have learned about myself after attending 2 Blissdom blog conferences.  Even though I am secure in who I am as a person…even though I am content in knowing I’m not the top blogger on the block…even though I’m a people person…I still struggle socializing at conferences.  I am the girl who always wants everyone to feel accepted.  In high school I struggled with being friends with just one group of people.  For me, it was better to be friends with people from all the different “groups” than to ostracize people who weren’t in my group of friends.  This can be a little difficult because then I don’t feel like I belong anywhere.

before Blissdom cocktail party familybringsjoy.com

Me before Blissdom cocktail party

Let’s face it, when a bunch of women get together {sorry I know there are men bloggers too} invariably cliques form.  It’s like a law of nature or something.  This part makes me uncomfortable.  It’s not necessarily the workshops I have a problem with, it’s the “cocktail” parties and formal occasions.  You walk in and everyone is dressed up.  I like to dress up.  It’s fun when most days I wear t shirts and jeans.  After I walk into the party, and since I don’t know many people…well, it’s awkward.  Where do I go?  Who do I stand by?  Who do I talk to?  Then I feel as though people around me are noticing I’m alone.  I begin to think, “they must think I’m a real loser since I don’t have friends to come to the party with.”  The last conference I went to had a scenario like this:  I walked up to a table with 2 younger woman.  I asked if the spot at the table was taken… if I could join them.  They politely said I could join them.  We began to talk small talk and exchanged our business cards with our blogs on them.  I don’t remember exact words these girls said (thankfully), however I do remember how they made me feel.  I felt small…less than.  This is the exact feeling I never want people to have around me.  Nobody, I don’t care how many visitors come to your blog a day, is better than another person.  We all have problems.  We all have talents.  There is a quote that says “comparison is the thief of joy.”  I completely agree.  Once we begin to compare ourselves to another person we become insecure with who we are.  That feels dark and lonely.  Joy is filled with light and unity.

Roomspiration Blog Hop & Link Party


After sharing the preceding story you might wonder why I even want to go to these conferences.  Well, fortunately, those “cocktail” parties are few and far between in the grand scheme of the conference.  The majority of the time you are in workshops learning more about the world of blogging and in this particular conference, home blogging.  The last 2 conferences I attended were for all types of bloggers, open to all.  But do you know who were the most genuine and friendly bloggers I met there were?  Yep, it was the home bloggers.  These are the women who focus primarily on inspiring others with things they do in their home by way of design and DIY.  After Blissdom, and later in the year, I had the amazing opportunity to be invited to participate in a blog hop with many influential home bloggers.  Do you remember what it was called…Roomspiration.  The other participants welcomed me warmly and helped whenever I had questions about anything.  I have never been able to meet any of these sweet ladies in person.  At least not yet, because I will next week at Haven!  A teensy part of me is nervous they won’t remember me.  It’s been a while since Roomspiration and I haven’t posted as often as I did then.

Whether those girls remember me or not, whether I make any new friends or not, I still want to go.  Going to the conference gives me something to look forward to.  I get away for a little bit from my normal routine and I am Shan the blogger.  I’m not so and so’s mom or so and so’s wife, I’m just me.  I enjoy being around other women who share in my passion for blogging.  I’m not going to let my uncomfortableness of certain social settings keep me from attending.  We have to take risks in life to grow and learn.  It’s not always pleasant, but wisdom and experience are the fruits yielded.

A friend once said this about me, “what you see is what you get.”  He is exactly right.  I don’t hide behind my feelings.  Many times I say the things I’m thinking when I probably shouldn’t because it sometimes is taken the wrong way.  I like to be unique and creative in the way I dress.  I absolutely despise gossip, which I know for a fact has kept me from having more friends.  I just try to treat others the way I would like to be treated.  Therefore, if I don’t want to be gossiped about, then I don’t gossip.  I have a big heart and only want the very best for people.  I have sincerely enjoyed writing and posting photos about our family’s home.  I’m grateful for the countless people I have gleaned inspiration from to make our home a haven.

Front of our home familybringsjoy.com

If you are attending Haven next week, I hope to meet you.  Please use my comments section as a sort of guestbook to let me know you stopped by.  I would love to visit your blog as well.  BTW, thank you for visiting my small abode. 😉  Only 5 more days…

Home Brings Joy,

Oh What Do You Do In The Summertime?

This summer has been especially busy!  I was talking to the family about my upcoming blog conference {It’s called Haven, see button on sidebar.}  My son said, “you’re going to a blog conference for a blog you don’t write on anymore.”  Hmmmmm…it looks like my boy might be visiting here more than I thought.  This was my answer, “it’s because I put my family first in the summer time.”  For once there was silence from him.

It is difficult to spend time writing and editing photos during the summer while the kids are home.  As a matter of fact, my youngest is currently pouting because I asked her to please wear her headphones while she watches a show on her iPod.  It’s difficult for this ADD mom to have noise in the background while writing.  It’s not that I don’t have anything to write about.  In fact, I have so many things I would like to write about.  Sometimes that is just as overwhelming as having nothing to write about.

One reason I haven’t had time to write is because I’m running again.  Let me tell you, this is the first summer out of all of my adult years (about 10) I’ve been running I’ve actually RUN.  I usually take the summer off from running.  If you live in the south, then you understand why.  It’s SO STINKING HOT!  Problem is, I get out of shape and gain weight over the summer.  Then it’s that much harder to start running again in the fall.  I promised myself after all the effort I’ve put into losing 10 pounds I needed to bite the bullet and run this summer.  It’s the only way I will keep my weight in check.

My son goes to a training program every morning at 6:30am.  After I drop him off, I go to our local walking/jogging track.  I will admit, I only run the first mile without stopping to walk.  The next 2 miles are a run/walk combination interspersed with water breaks.  It’s still between the 80’s and 90’s early in the morning.  My kids told me recently they thought I had lost weight since the beginning of the summer.  I was surprised they noticed and said so.

friendship brings joy familybringsjoy.comSo in between taking the kids to their various camps, conferences and our vacation…I made a new friend this summer.  She and her family moved here from a major city in the west.  I’ve been trying to keep her from going stir crazy in this small little town of ours.  She’s been going through Target withdrawals.  {been there. done that.}  I remember her calling me and asking me if there was a craft store here.  Oh how I wish!  I shared with her how I buy my crafting supplies.  We have spent a lot of fun time together already.  I realized while putting this little collage together of iPhone photos, we have done a LOT of swimming together. {which is why I’m always in my swim suit in the photos.}  She brings her littles over to swim in our pool.  The first time they came over her 2 boys wouldn’t even get in the pool.  They played around the pool.  The second time they came over they stood on the steps of the pool.  Now, with their swim vests securely fastened, they swim around and do great!  It’s been wonderful to see their progress and the huge grins on their faces.  Fortunately, her sweet baby girl adores the water.  I’m pretty sure she will be swimming in no time!  I enjoy seeing my kids take her little ones under their wing and act as big sisters and brothers to them.  We have enjoyed having friends in our home again.  It’s been such a long time since we’ve had close friends.  If you’ve read my blog for a while, you might have seen me whine about not having good friends here.  So if you were one of my readers who has been praying for me, you’re prayers have been answered.  And I thank you so much for doing so.  Friends definitely bring JOY and make life happier.

One of the things I love about K is her infectious positive attitude.  She always has a smile on her face and is very complimentary.  And she does this despite the lack of sleep she receives from having a baby who isn’t sleeping through the night yet.  We share a lot of things in common.  We have fun talking about Instagram, crafts, blogging {she has a private blog}, mom stuff, books and our faith.  K likes to take photos as much as I do! 😉  I also want to tell her husband HAPPY BIRTHDAY today!

Summer is coming to a close.  Only 3 more weeks until school begins here.  7 more weeks until I take my oldest to college.  I leave to go to Atlanta for Haven Conference in a week!  Look for an introduction post to the lovely home bloggers who will be attending this conference in the next day or 2.  I can’t wait to get back to blogging on a more regular basis when the kids are back in school.  Next month I will celebrate Family Brings Joy’s 5 year anniversary!  I’m planning on some fun stuff to offer and share with you.

I truly hope your family’s summer has been filled with special times together.  Feel free to share what y’all have been doing on here in the comments section.  I love to hear what families are doing.  Thanks so much for reading Family Brings Joy.  YOU are AWESOME! :)

Oh and sweet C…thank you for motivating me to sit down and write another post.  It is a HUGE compliment for you to tell me you read my blog.  Love you.

Friends bring joy,

Chevron Wreath Tutorial Including Videos

chevron wreath pattern familybringsjoy.comFirst up, you’ll need a template.  Click here to print your template on card stock.  If you missed yesterday’s post with photos of wreaths, you can see them at the end of this post.

Here are the supplies you’ll need:

  • pool noodle and heavy duty shipping tape to make the wreath form
  • scissors (not shown in photo)
  • felt sheets of however many colors you want (see below for how many)
  • hot glue gun
  • above template

chevron wreath supplies familybringsjoy.com

I decided to make a tutorial video for this.  There are 3 parts or 3 videos to the tutorial.  Here’s my disclaimer…It was me, my camera and tripod.  Unfortunately, there will be times where you might not see what I’m referring to {mainly in part 2.}  Please don’t hold that against me. 😉  Hopefully you’ll still be able to understand.

If you don’t glue the chevron pieces too close together you will need 4 sheets of felt of 2 colors {total of 8 sheets, 4 of each color} and 3 sheets of felt for 3 colors {total of 9 sheets, 3 of each color.}  If you like the chevron pieces to not be spaced out as much, then you will need to cut more pieces.  The tracing and cutting process is what takes the longest.  I allotted an hour for this class but should have allotted at least an hour and a half or maybe two hours.

 felt chevron pieces for wreath familybringsjoy.com


beginning of chevron wreath familybringsjoy.com

I apologize profusely for the horrible clicking sound in the background of the video. I found it rather annoying myself.  It is the sound my camera makes when it is auto focusing.  I didn’t realize you would be able to hear that.  I now know to turn off the auto focus before videoing.  So sorry…hope you can overlook that, if not, feel free to mute the volume.  Oh and the chime you hear occasionally was my phone notifying me of a text. 😉

Again, here are my chevron wreaths finished hung up in our home:

pink and white chevron wreath familybringsjoy.com smaller size

blue and white chevron wreath familybringsjoy.com

Tomorrow I’m sharing photos from the class with all the different wreaths everyone made.  They turned out super cute!  Thanks for joining me for this tutorial.  I hope you have fun making one.  Let me know if you have any questions.  I’m off to pick up kids from school.  Have a beautiful day!

Beautify for less,