Sunday, December 12, 2010

Coffee Cozy from Goodwill Sweater

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at home, feeling sorry for myself (thankfully, I can’t even remember why now).  I was surfing the Web, trying to find something that would make me smile when I came across a new blog: A Little Junk in My Trunk.  This blog is awesome for so many reasons, but what really got me jumping up and running out the door to Goodwill on that day was this coffee cozy made from a Goodwill sweater.

So, with one of these in hand:


and a few of these:


and one of these:


I got to work and produced this:


Not so much to look at, until you pair it with one of these (found for 25% off at Fred Meyer!):


And you get this:


How cute is that?  I’m thinking Christmas presents here!

Dee has full instructions here, if you want to make one yourself!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Kitchen Feature

My kitchen was featured yesterday at Envy My Cooking!  You can check it out here



Check out the rest of the site too!  There’s are tons of great recipes and many more kitchens featured.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Art

Have you all seen the great Christmas art that people are posting all over blogland for FREE?  Perhaps you have (I’m really behind in my blog reading, so everything seems new and different to me!),  but just in case you haven’t, I thought I’d share a few with you.

eighteen25 has a very cute Christmas subway art download that I just had to print out immediately! 

Christmas Subway Art at eighteen25 (eighteen25)

It’s actually big enough to have printed at 16x20, but I didn’t want to wait, so I printed it out at 8x10, popped it in a frame, and was done!

I loved that so much, that I went on the hunt for more Christmas art to print out.  That’s when I found several cute little prints at Mine for the Making

I printed the two below, but she has several more cute graphics here.  I printed these out in 5x7.

christmas_subway_art from Mine for the Making jingle_on  from Mine for the Making
(Mine for the Making)

These graphics, plus a few more ornaments and decorations and my art shelves now have some Christmas spirit!



Thursday, December 9, 2010

Old School Tissue Paper Craft

My girls have been REALLY into art projects lately.  Seems that’s all they ever do.  They don’t play with their toys much anymore, but reading or art projects keep them happy for hours.

We were at Michael’s the other day and I wanted to buy them some supplies that would be new and exciting.  We walked by a huge pack of tissue paper and I remembered a craft that I had done many times as a child.  I had never seen or heard of the girls doing this particular project, so into the cart went the tissue paper and off we went to home.

Do you all remember doing this project?  You cut little squares of tissue paper, wrap them around the eraser end of a pencil, then dip them end in glue and press the tissue paper into a design. 



I did this project quite a bit when I was a kid, but my girls had never seen it before.  Is this project now considered old school?

We spend a good hunk of the afternoon crafting together.  It was a good time for all.  And we got some pretty artwork out of it:



Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Possession – Part 2

A few days ago, I shared with you how my kids had suddenly become possessed by little beings that loved to purge and clean.  This was a little bit scary for me – I mean, what if they became dangerous? – but I made the best of it and got a clean play room for my troubles.

I decided to press my luck and suggest making some changes to their bedroom.  These new little creatures whole-heartedly agreed, so we moved our party upstairs.

Here was their room before:



Again, I had given up while we waited for the backhoe.  (Actually, we had already started cleaning when that last picture was taken, so the floor is fairly clean and one of the dressers is missing.)

The girls share a room and they each had their own dresser.  One dresser was in the closet, the other was in the corner to the left of the window in the picture above.  High on my successes in the play room, I convinced the girls that it was a great idea to share the dresser in the closet (supplemented by a couple of bins).  This (and the fact that we had just removed a bin full of stuffed animals and moved them all to the play room) would give us more room to rearrange their furniture.  They thought this was a fantastic idea.  In fact, I thought they might hyperventilate!

I didn’t tell them how I was going to rearrange the beds, so they were flitting around excitedly the whole time.  The room is so small and crowded, that I had to rotate the beds a few inches at a time: move the bed, move the shelves, move the other bed, etc.  Eventually, the room ended up looking like this:


(Can you tell I have budding artists in my house?  The walls are covered in art work!)

So. Much. Better.  I knew we had done good when, a few hours later, I was heading into the girls’ room to put something in the closet.  Usually that’s a nightmare because the beds were so close to the doors and there was always stuff on the floor in front of them.  I felt my blood pressure rise in anticipation, but suddenly, I remembered: the room was clean and spacious now!  And, just like that, all the tension left me.  Now THAT’s what organizing is supposed to do for you!

When I asked the girls if they liked their new room, this is what they said:


Sunday, December 5, 2010

My Kids Were Possessed – So I Made the Best of It!

A few weeks ago my girls and I all had the day off.  Thing 2 had recently been making noises about wanting to purge her toys.  This scared me a bit, so whenever she said something like that, I would slowly back away so as not to let whatever was possessing her know I was on to it.

Anyway, on this particular Friday, I decided to make the most of Thing 2’s sickness and I suggested we clean out the playroom.  She immediately agreed and off we went.  I first suggested that we take everything out of the play room so we could then bring back in only the things she really enjoys.  She was like a machine: back and forth, pulling things out of the room.  And all the while, she had a smile on her face!  Who IS this girl?  In fact, she was having so much fun, that Thing 1 joined in the fun.

This is what the play room looked like when we started:



Pretty sad, huh?  It had been getting worse and worse and, eventually, I just gave up asking them to clean it because I knew it was going to take a backhoe anyway.

After everything was out, the girls decided what they wanted to bring back in.  I sweetened the pot a bit by telling them that, since they really enjoy doing art projects the most, we could use the proceeds from whatever we sell to make this the most awesome art room ever.  That helped.  I also told them that, if they reduced their stuffed animal supply by half, I’d give them each $5 extra dollars to buy more art supplies for the room.

I’m happy to say that this is what got left out of the room:


(It doesn’t look like much, but it actually represents a fair bit of stuff.  AND notice the bin full of stuffed animals that are going to find a new home!)

I’m not happy to say that that pile is still sitting in my dining room.  I want to sell the stuff, but it’s not garage sale season and Craiglist-ing all this stuff will be such a pain!

Here’s what the play room looks like once again:



But, the best part of this process is that, about 3/4 of the way through cleaning the play room, I got a brainstorm about how to rearrange their bedroom so it wouldn’t be so crowded.  I came running down the stairs and said, “I just had THE BEST IDEA for your room!  But I’m not going to tell you until we finish cleaning the play room!”  I am not lying when I tell you that they jumped up and down!  And then, I swear this is true, one of them said, “This is fun!”

Stay tuned to see the amazing bedroom transformation!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Completed Picture Shelves


You may remember that I showed you how I made some really quick and inexpensive picture shelves for my family room.  Here’s what they looked like before:


The frames were too orange-y for me, though, and I knew I wanted to paint them white.  Several weeks passed as I got busy doing other things, but those frames were driving me nuts every time I walked past them.

Finally, I buckled down and got to painting.  It takes a long time to paint so many frames!


And here’s the finished result:


Ahh, that’s much better…



I’m linking this up to:

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cover That Pillow!

You may remember that I bought some beautiful fabrics from Calico Corners this summer for curtains and throw pillows for my couch and that picking out that fabric was a little stressful for me.  But I finally got them done and they were beautiful and I was happy.

So imagine my displeasure when suddenly it wasn’t summer anymore and my nice bright pillows just didn’t fit with my Halloween decorations.  I knew I had to do something about those pillows and quick!  I also knew, though, that I didn’t want to spend a ton of money changing up the pillows for only two months worth of show (because, of course, they’ll have to change again for Christmas!).  So, off I went to Hancock Fabrics with very little hope of finding anything there.  The gods of fabric stores were smiling down on me that day because I found not one, not two, but three fabrics that I wanted to use (actually, one will be for Christmas).  And TWO of those fabrics were in the discount pile!!!

I knew I didn’t want to go full on fall colors.  As much as I love and want to copy the more subdued rooms I see in the blogosphere, I always seem to go for a punch of color, so I decided to embrace it this time and go with a blue, orange, brown theme.  Here’s the first fabric I found:


Perfect!  I actually already had some nubby, brown pillows at home, so now I just needed an orange fabric.  I had already purchased some orange napkins and an orange table cloth that I thought I might be able to turn into pillows, but they were both just too bright.  Finally, though (in that wonderful discount pile), I found a orange that matched the inspiration fabric perfectly!

Now, back home to make pillows…

No, wait.  This is me we’re talking about here…

Now, back home to leave the fabric in a pile for a week and then decide I’m going to make pillows one day only to realize that I never actually washed the fabric and then do wash the fabric but lose my free time for the day so wait a few more days until I actually just decide to DO IT!

We have a ton of pillows hanging around in my closet doing nothing, so I knew I wanted to make envelope-type covers for existing pillows, rather than just adding to the pile of pillows that would need to be stored. 

I’m sure you all know how to sew better than I, but just in case, I’ll share how I made them.

First!  Cut the fabric.  You’ll want to cut the front piece as big the same size as your pillow form, plus 1” for seam allowances.  My pillows were 17”, so I cut the front piece in an 18” square.

The back is actually two pieces.  You’ll want to cut those so that one dimension is the same as your pillow front (e.g., 18”).  The other dimension will be half of the first dimension plus ~2.5” (e.g., 18/2 + 2.5” = 11.5”).  These two pieces will overlap to create the pocket where you can insert your pillow form.

DSC_3215(You may notice that these pieces aren’t actually square.  That’s because this isn’t the square pillow that I’m referencing above.  This is actually a rectangular pillow, but I figured I’d use the square pillow dimensions for explanation.) 

Next, iron your pieces flat!  While you have the iron out, grab the two back pieces and press a nice hem on one side (of each of them).  To do this, fold over the edge about 1/4” and press.  Then, fold that pressed edge over one more 1/4” and press again.  Then, take this over to the sewing machine and sew that hem down!  This will be the nicely finished edge of each side of the pocket opening.


(Like my iron?  It’s older than I am!)


Can you see the finished edge?

Now you get to start assembling the pillow.  Pin one of the back pieces to the front piece, making sure you have the right side of the fabrics facing each other.


And sew that puppy on – just three sides.  Don’t sew the envelope opening closed.  It won’t work then…

Now, pin the second back piece to the other side of the front piece (right sides of fabric facing each other) and sew around the three closed sides.  Note that the two back pieces will overlap when you add the second piece.


Now, turn it right-side out and stuff your pillow in (gently).  Rejoice in the beauty of your new pillow.


This is actually a pretty easy sewing project.  I was able to whip through three pillows in no time flat.  And here they are:


I love how these look much more fall-y, but that they’re still bright and playful.  And you know what’s almost the best part?  I bought the orange fabric, the blue paisley, and a red fabric for Christmas – enough to make at least three pillows from each and the whole lot came to less than $15!  Now that’s a project I can get behind.

Now, I just have to figure out how to take these fabrics over to the other couch which is dark brown.  I don’t want to just have the same configuration over there, but I do want to pull the colors from this couch over there to balance the room.  Any suggestions?

Friday, October 29, 2010

There’s a Mouse in the House!

It’s pretty late to be posting Halloween decorations, but I’ve been meaning to post this for a while and Thing 2 really wanted me to share it, since we worked on it together.  So…

A while back, I was perusing the blogs and came across the cutest Halloween project for the stairs at Thrifty Decor Chick.  She had little mice running up and down her stairs!  How cute is this?

Thrifty Decor Chick Mice (Source: Thrifty Decor Chick)

I loved it and immediately decided to copy it wholesale.  Lucky for me, she even included a link to Martha Stewart with some handy, dandy cut outs.  I ran right out to get construction paper and spent an evening in front of the TV, cutting out mice.  Then, they sat in a pile for almost two weeks.

Finally, we had some free time and Thing 2 and I got to work taping our little rodents to the stairs and here’s how it turned out:


I love how it gives a festive touch to our staircase, which usually gets the decorating shaft.  Kids also love it.  I think because it’s right down at their level, they’re immediately drawn to it.  It’s very cute to watch them the first time they see the meeces.  I think they think I’m a bit crazy, but that’s part of the fun of Halloween, right?



BTW, I’ve had several people ask me what colors I used to paint my stairs.  I had always meant to post that information, but never got around to it.  Since this is a post about my stairs, I’ll add it here:

The black is SW Tricorn Black.  It is a great, true black.  The white is SW Creamy.  It looks crazy yellow on the sample, but feels really clean and bright in our rooms.  These are also the colors I used to paint my kitchen cabinets and island.


I'm linking this up to:

Monday, October 11, 2010

Quick and Inexpensive Picture Shelves

Waaay back in February or March, when I finally got my act together and painted the woodwork in our family room, I also arranged a picture wall behind our couch.  I never really liked it (though I could never pinpoint why) and so I never actually finished putting pictures in the frames.

If you look closely in this picture, you’ll see that many of the pictures have the same photograph of a lovely young couple (who looks nothing like us) AND that the two big frames in the middle still have plastic around the corners.


(I think it actually looks better in this picture than it did in real life.)

For the past several months, every time we’ve had people over, someone has gotten a laugh out of the fact that we are prominently displaying pictures of people we don’t even know.  Har har har.

Last Friday, that all changed!  Ever since school started, I’ve been looking forward to having my Friday’s off, with no kids, to prepare for the weekend and to get some projects done.  Unfortunately, ever since school started, I’ve been out of town or sick or both on Friday.  Last Friday was the first day that I was home, alone, and healthy and I made the most of it!

I have been eyeing the white shelving in the dining room at Young House Love for a while now, but I haven’t wanted to spend any money, so imagine my excitement when Ana at Knock-Off Wood posted instructions on how to build a $10 shelf that was very similar.

Friday morning, I hatched my plan and, after dropping Thing 1 and Thing 2 off at school, I hit Lowe’s.  I had measured earlier and decided that my shelves needed to be 7” long, so I was going to need to cut down my wood.  I decided to have Lowe’s do it, since it would be so much faster than me having to measure and cut each piece (plus, I try to avoid using tools that can remove digits when I’m home alone).

I got home, pulled everything into my workshop (read: family room) and got started.  Believe me when I say these things went together amazingly fast!  I actually built all three shelves in just over 45 minutes IKnowRight?!.  (Well, I built them in 45 minutes the first time…I actually had to take the last shelf apart and do it again, since I had put it together wrong.  There may have been swearing, but I can’t say for sure.  I might suggest adding a few minutes to actually double-check your work before you start drilling and gluing, but YMMV.)

I was by myself, so I couldn’t take pictures of the actual process, but here’s all I did:

1) Have the nice people at Lowe’s cut your 1x4s and 1x2s down to size.

2) Screw one 1x4 to another 1x4

3) Glue the 1x2 onto the front and secure it with finishing nails

I would recommend using clamps to hold your pieces together as you’re securing them.  ESPECIALLY if you’re doing this alone.  (Though I might recommend slightly smaller clamps that don’t fall over because they’re top heavy…)


If you need more hands, heavy battery-powered drills make nice weights.


Here they are after 45 minutes:


And getting painted:


Thing 1 helped me hang them when she got home from school.  (That’s definitely a two person project!)


And then I ran around the house, grabbing every picture frame I could find.  The girls actually had a bunch of fun with that because I was pulling out frames that had been in storage for a while, so we were seeing pictures we hadn’t seen in ages.

I through the pictures up in any old place because I was in a hurry as it was almost time for hubby to get home.  I like to do projects while he’s at work and then hide all the evidence and see how long it takes him to notice.  It’s how I keep our marriage exciting.  I know he appreciates it and feels no pressure.

So, here’s what it looked like when he got home:


He noticed it right away.  (Lucky!)  Of course, it is pretty obvious and, while I had hidden all the evidence, it IS a bit difficult to hide the smell of paint, so he had a hint that he should be on the lookout.

I’m thinking I really like it.  The picture frames are all a little orange-y, so I’ll be painting them white.  I’ll probably need to thin them out a bit too, so it’s not quite so heavy.  The new shelves next to the built-in shelves makes that side of the room much heavier than the window side, so I’ll need to figure out how to add some weight to the other side, but all in all, I’m quite pleased with my quick Friday project!



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