Tuesday, October 2, 2012

{Real} Life

...Warning: Ranting coming....

So...anyone else encounter this??  Real life steps up and demands you -- a new job in my case -- which I'm grateful for in this down economy.  What gets sacrificed? Being crafty, blogging, woodworking, social life, time with my kids, and creative cooking 4 - 5 nights a week.

This is causing a lot of confusion for me.  On the one hand, I wanted to be employed to contribute to the well being of my family and to paying off my student loans.  I love my job (mostly).  It's fast paced, different every day, and really giving me a taste of what estimating and construction timelines are like.  However, now that I work, I've had to give up all the fun stuff in my life.  I don't make dinner for my family any more.  I spend two short hours each night with my son.  And usually end up watching Naruto on Hulu (which is the only time I get to spend with my hubs).  I don't do much for fun...is this what our working life was always like?  Did a year off really spoil me this badly??  I want to go back to being creative every day and seeing my creations take form!

Oh well...I could be crafting now I suppose, since my husband is having boy's night with his brother, my munchkin is sleeping and I'm just sitting.  But it is hard to convince myself to drag out tools, materials, and create when I've been up since 5:30...

So my question to all the blogging/working/momming ladies out there ----- HOW do we do this?  I went to 4 years of college as a single parent with amazing help from my mom and people used to say "I don't see how you do this!"  but I would just shrug and say "I have to."  I suppose I'm going to be adopting that motto for a while longer.  Is that how you guys do it -- without burning out?  I'd love to keep this up and keep updating with projects completed...I guess it's just gonna be a little slower coming.

...Rant over...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

{Mad} Tea Party

We all know how popular tea parties have been lately and with all the different ways you can have a tea party, why shouldn't they be?  Great for lots of ages and easy-going, tea parties are good for large gatherings of various ages.  This Mad Tea Party was put on by my mom and I for my sister's 30th birthday!  We gathered inspiration from around the internet, utilized some obvious standbys, and used a few of our own ideas to make it really fun.  Kids and grown-ups alike had a blast.  Check out these photos of our party and good luck with your own mad tea party!

To be updated with more decor pics, but these are what were on my cell phone! :)  Are you an elaborate birthday DIYer?

Cute {kids} Apron

The fam went to Hobby Lobby today and I found aisle after aisle of Christmas decor!  Christmas, already? Wow, it's going to be fall soon for sure! {Yay!}  So in honor of the seasons getting nearer, I need to start thinking about crafting up some awesome gifts! :)  Here is a cute apron I made for my niece last year!

Enjoy the pics!

I hung it on the tree so I could see it in it's complete-ness!

Here you can see the edging and how I double stitched it, unfortunately,
I didn't measure well, and had to add fabric to the end to make the corner match up!
Oops! Lesson Learned!

My instagram showing off the super cute "oven mitt" I made to go with it.
I told my sister not to actually let my niece use this as I wasn't sure the quilt batting
would really protect her hands from the heat! But they look adorable when
she's in her play kitchen! :)

So, all in all, I used 1 yard of fabric (1/2 of each print) and one package of double fold bias tape.  I used an old apron of mine for the pattern and did a bit of guess work on the ruffle at the bottom.  Also, guessed a bit at cutting the size down to "kid size."  All in all, this was a simple project and I got to learn to use bias tape! :)

Ever make anything on a whim?  Share your experience in the comments below!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

How to make a Birthday {Frame} Banner!

I LOVE BIRTHDAYS! They are so much fun and planning a party for someone special is a good way to show you care!  But it's the details that really show your love.  Here's a project that is quick, easy, and you don't have to have any crazy skills to do it!  A unique and beautiful birthday banner is in reach!

So, I started in my mind with a more traditional type fabric banner.  However, that seemed less than quick or easy, so I thought "cardstock!"  The theme of Mr. S's birthday party was board games, including monopoly, so what better template than a monopoly deed card.  Each card is a letter.  I created the template in photoshop, but you could print each letter on a mailing label and cut it out to cover the monopoly deed info on the card (leaving the color exposed).

Once I had my cards made, I picked a ribbon and affixed them with small wire hoops usually reserved for jewelry making.  Punch holes in the top of the cards for the hoops. :)

Now, at this point I had intended to affix this banner to the brick of the fireplace, but HOW???  Then it hit me!  We had a big, beautiful, frame out in the shed that I had planned to paint and hadn't yet.  So, I thought, "why not?!"
The frame is about 24" x 30".

So, I stretched the ribbon across the back of the frame and stapled it in place so it hang the way I wanted.  And that's it!  It was super easy.  And all it was completely free (because I had everything in my house already).  It turned out to be my husband's favorite thing about the party and it is STILL on our fireplace!

Hard to see details in this pic, but you get the idea :)

Materials:  Picture frame {large}
                Wire rings
                Hole Puncher

Program to make card:  Photoshop, but you could use Microsoft Publisher or 

I want to make one of these with our name and hopefully will post pics soon!

How to cover your {ugly} walls

Missed everyone while I was gone.  It has been a crazy few months.  Getting Little S ready for school and Mr S has been so busy with work.  I, too, have been busy doing freelance work for a few clients, so forgive me my absence, please. :)

Hope you are all doing well and as promised (if not much later than I intended) here is how I covered the ugly walls of my sunroom for Mr S's big 30th birthday bash! {Seen here}

Fabric of your choice ( I chose white satin)
Dowel rods (I used 3/8") or curtain rods that you will use
Command hooks (check the weight) 2 for each panel
Measurement of walls you need to cover {height x width(2)}

1.  Cut your fabric to twice the measurement of the wall you wish to cover. Adding 4" to the length.  If you want/need to sew the sides, give yourself an extra inch in width as well. 

Note:  In my case, I needed several different sizes and chose to cut and sew them all at one time, so I labeled them "a", "b", "c" etc to keep from getting confused and stuck sticky notes to the wall with the corresponding letter.

2.  Turn the top edge under 1/2" and press, then turn another 2" and press.  Stitch a 1/4" along the edge to create a pole pocket for the dowel.  **You can do the pole pocket whatever size you like.  I created a generous pocket as to allow me to use these on different dowels in the future**

3.  Turn the bottom edge 1-1/2" and stitch a bottom hem.
**If you were going to turn the sides in and sew them, do that before the pole pocket/hem**

4.  Place command hooks at the edges of the walls you wish to cover.  Make sure you leave room to put the dowel over the hook.

5.  Cut the dowels to fit the hooks (they can extend to just the edges, but they fall kind of easily, so let them extend slightly passed the hooks.  Once they are cut, thread them through the pole pocket.

6.  Hang them on the hooks and....

Voila!! Your ugly wall is temporarily covered.  This whole method could work for making curtains too, just make sure you make it all look pretty and neat if you're trying to do curtains.  Here are a few shots of my unfinished sun room with it's white satin wall covers.
Not a permanent solution, but a perfect, cheap,
short term solution!

With the black table cloths, red tissure paper flowers, and white curtains,
it isn't noticable that the room isn't finished!

Links to sites I used: White Satin  http://www.onlinefabricstore.net/satin-fabric/bridal-satin-white-fabric-.htm
More white satin:  http://www.efavormart.com/108x50ydtullebolt-white.aspx  (the fabric from here was much thinner than what i orderd from amazon, but it worked well)
Black table cloth:  http://www.smartyhadaparty.com  We bought these for our wedding and have kept them for occasions such as this!
Dowels:  Michael's
Command Hooks:  Walmart

All in all, the panels cost me about $40.  The reason I didn't bother with side seams on any of them is because I wanted to be able to use the fabric later, since it was the most expensive part.  Hopefully, this inspires you dress up your home without breaking the bank for your next party!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Summer is Here!! {Sorta}

Do you find your self more busy in the summer??  I do.  I don't even know why.  Except maybe I love being outside, so I'm always putting off my real work to go outside and work.  :)  I have the luxury of working from home part time, so often this results in a few days of 8 - 10 hours of cramming work in, so that I can go outside and play the other 5 days of the week.

Playing outside lately has included a chair repainting/reupholstering experience of which I'm in the middle, a spray painting extravaganza of changing free items into items that will work in our home, and learning to use my jigsaw properly.  Hope to start posting some photo rich posts soon.  I'm letting the warm summer days call me back to the outdoors for now...maybe I'll decide to blog from outside....

Just a few of my favorite "early summer" photos.  :)
Hope you're enjoying the weather!!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Awesome Scrabble Letters {epic fail}

Not all DIY projects have a happy ending...luckily for me, I found a way to turn this epic failure into a success story!

So, if you're at all in love with Etsy like I am, you've probably seen lots of cute things and thought, "oh, I can't afford that, maybe I could DO it."  For me, it was huge scrabble letters for Mr. S's 30th birthday party.  I mean, you can't have a game themed bash without scrabble letters!!  Well, when I first checked a few sellers for large letters, I was looking at about $6 - $8 each {a steal for home decor} but as I was going to use them to spell out "FOOD" and "LOVE" and 1 custom designed one, I really didn't have the budget to spend about $70 on this part.  So, I started Google-ing tutorials.  I found a few that appeared promising (links at the bottom) but went with this one from Green Wedding Shoes.

First, you need the wood blocks.  If you are fortunate to have a miter saw or table saw, you can buy long, thin boards ( think 1/2 in x 5 in x 48 in) in the building supply section of your local home improvement store and cut them at home.  Some stores will cut it for you, but that's WAY less fun! ;)

Cut the board into square pieces based on the width of the board.

Next, is printing your letters onto the wood.  So if you jump to the bottom and check out the other links, you'll see that a laser jet printer is one requirement.  This is because all of these methods of transferring some image/letter/etc onto wood uses water to remove the paper.  A laser jet printer uses heat to melt a powdered ink to the paper, which bonds it there and that's why photocopies don't get all ink-runny when they get wet, but papers out of your home printer do.  (As most home printers are inkjets which use water soluble ink.)

However, the directions from Green Wedding Shoes are not specific to the type of print necessary and I had all the other items I needed from that how-to.  So...off I go creating from their directions my scrabble letters
 (printed backwards!) on card stock to become my awesome scrabble letters...here we go:

So as you can see....I started by running the card stock under water like the instructions said, but this wasn't working {and I PAY for my water...so it's wasteful to just let the water run} so I decided to turn it face down in the sink of water.  In the instructions it says the card stock should release and come off on it's own...but...you can see that it didnt... So as I used more water and rubbed the paper off the ink began to ran!  The ink ran probably because I used an inkjet printer.  Should have known better....

I ended up with this:

Not so pretty and definitely not going to work (imagine I had 3 other letters to go!).  Luckily, I only did the word "FOOD" first as a test.  Unfortunately, I waited a while to do these thinking they would go smoothly and there were too many other things to worry about to do them over...so WHAT TO DO!?

First, I had to breathe...and think...and let them dry, because they were very wet from being in the water and they were warping from the expansion (caused by the water).

In design school we did some pretty extensive lines with sharpie markers when we would forget to hatch wall sections and such on the computer before plotting.  So if your scrabble letters looked like this and you have a steady hand....don't worry!  I used a fine point Sharpie marker to trace around the letter and number like this:

Fill in the small number with the small sharpie, because the larger one would've looked fuzzy and not crisp enough.

Then fill in the rest of the letter with a larger tipped sharpie.  You can use a fine point on the entire thing if you have that kind of patience...

I don't know why blogger wants to
 rotate this image?!

So here is what I had when it was partially done...

Once all the letters are filled in and dry, you can spray the whole block with a clear top coat to protect it, if you wish or if it is going to come into contact with water.

And here's what they looked like with the sharpie fill-in:

I don't think they turned out too badly! :)  If you want to see them in the party, check them out here!

For how to's (that might actually work for you! lol) try these websites:
Wholly Kao's Photo-to-Wood transfer
Green Wedding Shoe's tutorial
PetaPixel's Wood Block Photo

And here's one I hadn't seen before I did this for transferring color photos to wood using an inkjet printer and t-shirt transfer paper!  From another power-tool savvy lady!  Tool Girl Mag Ruffman

Hope you have good luck with your photo to wood transfers!! I think next time, I'll just buy the letters! ;)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Board Game Bash Recap {Pt 2}

Now that you've seen the food of the Board Game 30th Birthday Bash, let's look at the decor!  {If you haven't seen the food, click here}

Creating a distinguished looking party that celebrated Mr S's 30th birthday and showed off our new home was a must!  I wanted to balance the decor around the house, as our house is fairly compartmentalized, and we had many guests.  I knew everyone wouldn't fit in one space.  If you can fit everyone in one space, it will definitely make decorating easier!

I decided to keep the decor in our newly finished living room fairly low-key, so people could see all the hard work we'd done in there!  The sun room {previously untouched} got more attention, as did the dining room - where a poker set and card decorations made a fun space, and lastly a few decorations tied the kitchen breakfast nook into the party.  Ultimately, the kitchen became the quiet spot where I could go for a break!

So check them out!

Sun Room
Black Cardstock and wide {non-wired} ribbon created a domino effect on the ceiling.  I used Scotch brand reusable adhesive.  The ribbon didn't stick well to the adhesive, so that took a bit of work, but this would have worked without the ribbon to be dice!

Curtains?? Yes....unfortunately, we haven't finished the walls in our sunroom!  The sheetrock is still bare and the joints don't even have mud!  So, to distract from that, I created white satin {temporary} panels to cover all the places with bare sheetrock.  Luckily a sunroom has lots of windows, which helped keep the amount of bare sheet-rock to small sections (4 - 11 inches wide) and I used about 10 yards to create 8 panels.
You can see the panels in the background of
this picture.  Although you can still see the
unfinished sheet-rock at the top of the windows,
it is definitely less visually intrusive!
Living Room
Little S reading after the party has died down!  The birthday banner was really the only decor in this room, besides a few extra card tables for playing games!
Dining Room
A card chandelier is an inexpensive, fairly easy, way to jazz
up an old chandelier.  Though this isn't quite the impressive,
massive card chandelier, I'd hoped for, it's cute.  Everything
can't be perfect, right??

A 6' banquet table makes a perfect
poker table

The Breakfast nook gets a primary color pop to help tie it in to the party.  The giant playing cards (which were stuck to the windows...) helped block some of the harsh sunlight.

Again, I used a combination of store bought and DIY ideas for the party to keep my sanity and save time.  There were certainly other things I wanted to do that didn't happen, but that's what happens with a budget of time and money!

Tutorials to follow:

Making simple panels {temporary or permanent}

Happy Birthday {Frame} Banner

Card Chandelier

Enjoy!!  Let me know what decor things you would create!

Board Game Bash Recap {Pt 1}

Mr S LOVES {board/card/dice} game nights.  I love them too.  Honestly, it is better than any modern, tech advanced, video game competition! (Except maybe Wii Tennis! haha).  So when the epiphany for a game themed 30th birthday hit me, I decided to make sure some favorites were used as themes!

The easiest {and probably corniest!} part was figuring out the food - I wanted a cute name for everything!  Because what sophisticated party is complete without food tags??  So in this Part 1 we'll look at all the food that makes a game party fun!

Ok, as promised here's a photo recap of Mr S's 30th Board Game Birthday Bash!

'Cue Sticks, Stack the Deck Sandwiches, Domino Brownies, and lots of others helped carry the theme to the table.  Simple food cards make the party feel thoroughly planned!

A mix of homemade and store bought goodies helped me keep my sanity and ensured that there was something for every taste while preserving the personal touches!

A Candy Land display failure turned into something beautiful with fun bowls for the individual candies.  It's nice to include things kids will love at grown-up parties, unless you are not inviting kids.

The food was one of the last things I could do for this party.  So we were definitely scrambling.  Some of the food not pictured?  Crab Cake Chess (mini crab cakes), Scrabble Cheeze-Its, 'Casino' chips & Dip, and Cheese Dice.  Now, granted, most of this food didn't look like the description.  The 'casino' chips & dip was just round tortilla chips with salsa, but having the tags is a nice detail that makes your birthday boy (or girl) feel like you really gave it 100%.

I can post the crab-cake recipe if anyone wants it, but everything else was pretty straight forward.  Box brownie and cake mixes were bought BOGO Free, which helped keep me on budget.  And Farkle Cupcakes (square cupcakes with the tops decorated like various dice using mini oreos) helped me save time.

Best advice on a theme party?  Choose your battles and plan ahead.  I spent a lot of time on decor items, eventhough there weren't a LOT of decorations.  Most of the food is store bought or easy to assemble, because I knew I wouldn't be able to make any of it ahead.

The Decor Recap to follow!  :)  Enjoy!

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Little Table that Could

Ever just get lucky?  Like designer lucky?  It happens to Mr. S and I a bit.  And I'm learning something from it...
Make a piece work for YOU even if it is an "antique" piece, it doesn't have to stay in it's original style/color/finish.  Especially if that style/color/finish doesn't work with your home.  I've tried over and over to force-fit things into my life that I didn't {LOVE} because they were antiques and I was afraid to change them!  But fear no more! :)  I just decided this weekend, if I'm going to cherish everything exactly as it is, I will ALWAYS have a "designer's block".  

So here's the {antique} table that became the crowning glory of my breakfast nook.

First, you should know this table was FREE.  Always, always, always think about what you can do with Free.  Especially if you are on a budget.

The original table top sanded down to a beautiful, natural color with it's pits and scrapes.

An amazing thing happens if you just sand down or strip a product down.  Suddenly, you have a blank canvas.  You can be inspired anew!  It's ok to change directions after you've started.  Mr. S and I sanded this table and pedestal down before picking out stain colors, because we figured the color didn't matter until the stripping was done!  I'm glad we waited because we ended up agreeing on a brighter green than previously imagined. :)

The pedestal base.  I'm in LOVE with the green

The top after being stained a honey oak color.

At the moment, I don't have dining chairs that I love, but I've been inspired by the vibrant green of the pedestal, which is a complete stain-newbie mishap.  I didn't TEST the green stain before using it, nor did I use a wood conditioner to make the stain take evenly.  I ended up with a very uneven, more vibrant, green than I had anticipated.  And honestly, I love it!  I feel like I always fall back on Bob Ross when it comes to art, but he always said "there are mistakes, just happy little accidents" (at least that's the way I remember it). And I totally believe that.

And the finished product???

My beautiful, inspiring {very} green table! :)
This is my $25 breakfast masterpiece!  All $25 went to sand paper, stain, and brushes.  I own an orbital sander and used that for all of our sanding except on the curves of the legs and there is one metal band around the bottom that I want to cover with a copper strip {or spray copper} but for now, it is just there and we don't notice it.

The one thing I would say is that I felt the Polyeurethane/Stain in one (I used on the top) did not work very well.  Maybe this is just me?  Anyone else have trouble with that?  Whenever I wipe my table clean, it seems the stain/poly is coming off of my table.  Any others encounter this or know what I've done wrong?

There once was a kitchen inspired entirely by green Marjolica pottery.  If I ever find that magazine/article, I will link it for you to see!  This table reminds me of that kitchen!  Now...what to do for chairs...