Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Quick & Easy Craft: Halloween Felt Board

Alright people, things here this week are kinda crazy - we have a ton to do and who would I be if I didn't do everything in my crazy head to procrastinate, so instead of fiendishly cleaning my kitchen while the kids watched a movie, I decided to bust out a Halloween crafty project.  YAY!

This one is supah easy and cheap if you have any of the following:

  • Spray adhesive
  • Exacto Knife
  • Foam core board
  • Felt

If you don't have those things, then it's time to haul buns to Joann, Michaels, ACMoore, or other crafty supply house and get some.  That's what we did straight away after Kindergarten pickup today.

I picked out a black foam board and two big pieces of black felt.  Now if you want to wait in line to get felt by-the-yard, it might look a smidge better (my board has a seam down the middle), but I was lazy and had 2 hungry kids so no waiting.

I also snagged a selection of smaller (8x11") felt pieces - they're like $0.35 each.   Two orange, green, black, blue, pink, yellow, etc.  Whatever makes you happy, but I think green, orange and black are critical.  I also grabbed an exacto knife (different brand, but the same thing) and spray adhesive.

Once you've got your supplies, you're ready to rock and roll!

At home I sprayed the foam board with the adhesive and following directions on the can, I let it set for a few minutes before laying on the big black felt.  The adhesive remains tacky for about 10 minutes to allow for repositioning if necessary.  I let it completely dry for about an hour.  This is not an exciting step to photograph, but here it is anyway:

Once we were ready, cut shapes out of the felt with scissors.  I free-handed the pumpkins, but if using a template would be more comfortable, then print one out (use Google to find a pumpkin image) and go for it! We also cut out stems, arms & legs, silly hats, and face pieces.  Really you can cut out whatever shape you think your pumpkin might like to wear - pants?  Hula skirt?  Stiletto heels?  And go for a variety of face pieces - smiles, frowns, scary, silly - the idea is that this is a toy and a decoration for your play space.

I used 3M Command picture hanging strips - which are AWESOME - to attach it to the wall.

Chris & Sarah LOVE this silly thing!  Chris needs to learn more about sharing and turn, taking, but he can easily play with this on his own.  YAY!

So there you go!  Craftacular!!

Linking up to the following fantastic linky parties:

Saturday, September 22, 2012

One Year Blogiversary!

I have seen a number of blogs out there that put out a post on their blog's birthday so I figured I'd do the same.  But to properly do this, I should go back in time a bit to explain it all.  I started this blog a looooong time ago, like way back in 2008 sometime (I think) I registered the blog on and I did a few weird posts that were about nothing.  I didn't really get what blogging was, just that I knew a few friends who had blogs and they had fun with it.  My weird blogging experience didn't stick.

Fast forward to 2010 when a dear friend introduced met to  My friend is a reader over there and she said they had the greatest home style and very funny posts about their house, their dog, etc.  And as I popped over there and started clicking around I realized a few things:
  • That my friend was right about John & Sherry having great taste
  • That I hated the style of everything in my house
  • And that THIS is the kind of blog I enjoyed reading!
So I instantly became hooked.  First I started reading a few days a week.  Then I started checking in at lunchtime at work.  Then I realized that there were MORE blogs like this - about houses, homes, recipes, family stuff, organization.  And I was hooked on the blogosphere and all it had to offer!

And it was after I made a skirt for Sarah last fall (following a tutorial on MADE) that I decided that I wanted to share it.  And a photo on Facebook with a caption wasn't going to be enough.  And then I thought about all the other things I wanted to do and make and thought, well maybe I'll write about it on my dumb blog that I had a million years ago.  And so I did.  Here's that post.

The old weird posts are gone (thankfully), and I've spent the last 12 months doing more projects around the house than I would have and doing more fun stuff with my family and chronicling it in a more complete and thoughtful way than I would have if not for the blog.  So the blog has been really good for us.

Here's a few things we've done in the last year:

  • New light in the downstairs bedroom
  • Painted a chandelier
  • Decoupaged a bunch of stuff
  • Cooked some yummy things and baked even more
  • Sewed an apron and a tooth fairy pillow
  • Put up curtains
  • Got a PUPPY!
  • And MORE!

So here's what you can hope for in the future - more learning from me.  I love a challenge and projects and changing my house.  I love seeing what other bloggers are doing and thinking of how I could make something work for me.

Thank you so much if you've read the blog.  And thank you even more if you've taken the time to comment - here, on FB or on twitter.  It's the conversation that helps us all grow!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's the Little Things

Sometimes there are small projects that just seem like they never get done.  My house is full of these.  Any one of them would take "10 seconds", but for some reason they just never happen.  One of these is baseboards in our living room.  Let me back up for a sec....

When we bought our house we were super excited to find hardwood floor under the icky carpet.  We removed carpet from the whole house only to find some damage on the floor in the living room, plus a HOLE in the floor in the dining room.  A hole.  About 3 inches across and clear through to the basement.  To make a longer story short, we ended up replacing the hardwoods throughout the first floor, and removing the baseboard to do it.  That was 2007.  It's now 2012 and we're still trying to put the mess back together LOL.

The first room to get baseboards was the dining room.  That was a few years ago.  Then came the living room - all but the corner back by the kitchen.  And that's what Jason was able to get to this weekend!

Of course he wasn't alone - Chris helped!

Now because our house is extra special and doesn't have studs in the "right spots" Jason sort of popped a nail in and out of the wall over and over until he could find and mark where the studs were in the wall.  There were probably 8-10 holes in the wall, but the baseboard covered it all up.

And for those who may wonder, we DO have a studfinder!  But the plaster is so thick on the old walls (works fine on newer drywall parts), that the studfinder errors out.

Just had to include this pic.  While he wasn't able to find studs, Chris was able to locate his belly button.

Putting up the baseboard was literally less than a day (really just a side project tacked onto a bigger project),   but it makes such a difference in how the space looks.  It was just a good reminder to take a look at the little projects on your to-do list and bang one or two out over a weekend and see if you like your place a little more.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Big Girl's Bedroom - Update 9/19

So we're making some good progress and things are chugging along.  We're trying to get past a few major milestones by the time Sarah's birthday rolls around (next week - eeeek!), and I'm pretty nervous about making those.

This past weekend was pretty equal time spent between me & Jason in the room.  A second coat of paint, paint in the closet, and baseboards.  Plus some patching on the ceiling.

Here's a quick before shot:

And here's a look at how things are right now:

And a look at the baseboards:

In the first pic, you can see the way we work around the vents - creating sort of a frame around them.  I like how it adds a bit of interest in an otherwise bland space.

In the second pic, you can see one issue we are having with our walls - they're not really flat.  Most houses are imperfect (nothing really level, plumb or square), and these walls are very undulating, so the base hangs out a bit from the wall.  We're working on a solution - nailing, maybe screwing - plus caulk and it'll look perfect!

So that's what we were up to in Sarah's room!

Here are links to some other big-girl-bedroom posts:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I Love Fall Tablescapes

Hot in the blogging world are seasonal tablescapes.  Take your formal (or informal) dining table and fill it up with a variety of dried flowers, twigs, candles, and pumpkins in the fall.  Add some cheesecloth ghosts and a few craft foam tombstones for Halloween and maybe a turkey made from an apple and popsicle sticks for can be beautiful whether your stile is chic and modern or relaxed and crafty, there are tons of ways you can make your table unique and seasonal.

Here are some great examples of beautiful blogger tablescapes:

From Design, Dining and Diapers:

I love the sleek cylindrical containers - such a great juxtaposition with the organic shapes that fill them.

From House on the Way:

I like how casual & traditional this one is - using burlap (very in right now) and pumpkins & corn.  And I like the second fabric/ribbon around the candle.  I think it really pulls the whole thing together.

These are such great examples of how you can bring nature inside, combine hard and soft surfaces to create a beautiful  spot in the middle of a room.  Take some time to pop over to their blogs to see more pics and to see what else these bloggers are up to.

There are tons of other examples out there in the Blogiverse, so pop over to Pinterest and do a quick search for "Fall decor".

Now, I bet you're wondering whether I will share MY tablescape - NO WAY!  Sadly we are not tablescaping this year.  Our dining table is a workhorse - being the only place to eat in the house.  With 3 meals a day and 2 young kids, there's a lot of wiping so we need a pretty clear surface.  Not only that, but lately Chris has been more destructive than Gozer (Ghostbusters reference) so we need to keep stuff out of reach - if we had a centerpiece he'd probably be too distracted to eat.  We can't even put a tablecloth ont here without him doing the whole grab-and-drag thing.  It's sort of comical, until you're the one cleaning everything up off the floor.

I will be decorating for Fall, and sharing it when I do, so check back!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Big Girl's Bedroom - Update 9/10

I must tell you about this past weekend.  We made some MAJOR progress - the kind that's totally visible.  Lately it's been feeling like very slow going in there because drywall is a slow process for us.  Lots of layers of joint compound followed by a ton of sanding.  Sanding joint compound is messy business and on Saturday, Jason took THREE showers.

By Saturday afternoon the walls in the bedroom were patched enough for me to get going on primer, which I did.  You may wonder whether priming was necessary, and in our case I think it was.  We did a lot of the patching with joint compound which doesn't hold paint (trust me, it'll peel off) so I figured with so much of the walls being patched I may as well just prime the whole room.  So I did that while Chris napped, then we all went out to dinner.

Sunday was a new day!  Gorgeous weather, sunny, and cooler than it had been.  I mowed the lawn, did some weeding, then after lunch it was back to work in Sarah's bedroom.  This time I launched in on the paint. And all I can say is WOW!  In just a few hours we said goodbye to the "Turquoise Nightmare" and hello to a calming sky blue.  I went for this color because (a) the girl requested a blue room (b) it goes with something that we're putting in the room (reveal on that one coming in a few weeks!)  and (c) a pale color reflects what little daylight comes in the windows and the light from the ceiling light and really brightens up the space.  No more cave-like feeling in there, it's really refreshing feeling.

Here's the Before - totally turquoise!  What weirdo picked that color???  (((ok, it was totally me, but I'm much wiser now)))

Here's the during - Primer is Pretty

Here's the After - aaaaaaaahhh

And she LOVES it!

I must say that this painting stuff is satisfying but exhausting.  I ended both Saturday and Sunday tired and cranky like a toddler and I slept just as hard.  And I had considered jumping in on the second coat tonight, but I'm just wiped out.  Tomorrow it is! I love that we made some VISIBLE progress!

Coming soon - ceiling finishing touches including patching, painting, and maybe crown molding!!  Also, baseboards and closet stuff.  Oh and rugs, furniture, artwork.... yeah there's still a lot left, but it's all exciting!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

TV Review - Sarah's House

Quite simply, Sarah's House is my very favorite design show.  I could watch it all day long.  Designer Sarah Richardson takes on one room at a time in her house (or another house or whatever).  She starts out with some concept - a boy's bedroom, a master bath, craft room, laundry room - and pick fabric, paint, counter, cabinets etc to suit the needs.  The best part of the show is that she not only has fantastic taste, but she explains why she chose something.  It's the explanation that draws me in.

Sarah will explain that she chose a piece of furniture because the lines mimic a pattern in one of the fabrics.  She'll choose fabrics that share a color story and uses them in ways that bring a richness and completeness to a room.  She  talks ab out combining hard and soft surfaces for an inviting feel.  She works with her design side-kick Tommy, who provides a second opinion, plays devils advocate and turns a design lesson into more of a conversation.  Plus I like his glasses.

Just a few warnings, sometimes the budget is through the roof  - like only $15,000 for a laundry room!  Oh the horror :)  But the result is always beautiful.  Also, it's not a DIY show, so it's like she picks paint or wallpaper and BLAM it's done!  None of the sweating, frustration, and swearing of great oaths that happen when I do things like paint or wallpaper.  No worries, maybe someday I'll have a staff to do that for me too!

For more information about Sarah Richardson, check out her website here.

And her show, Sarah's House, can be seen randomly on HGTV.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

CL Sideboard

I was feeling depressed about my dining room furniture recently.  It's lame, I know.  I don't love it.  It's the furniture I grew up with, but it's not my style.  I've been looking off and on for a while for a sideboard on Craigslist and at thrift shops.  I want something to paint and make my own.

Then on a Thursday about 2 weeks ago, I found it!  Slightly less wide than what we had at 48" and a little less deep at 18" this buffet has 3 shallow drawers and cabinets beneath (2 cabinets).  The list price was just $100 and the location was about 25 minutes from our house.  After a quick discussion with Jason (with me basically saying "I'm going to buy this, ok?") I emailed the seller and we agreed on a pickup time.

I ended up taking my brother with me for the pickup.  We took all the rear seats out of the van to make room for the furniture, so Jason stayed home with the kids.

The pickup went very smoothly, it fit into the van without much difficulty and away we went!

The tricky part of this whole thing was getting it in place in the dining room.  Of course moving a new piece of furniture in requires removing the old one.  And the old one was full of stuff (and piled high with more stuff).  Actually when pulling the drawers out of the old one, I found coupons for Ikea that expired in the Fall of 1986.  I ended up just unloading everything onto the dining table and then putting away/purging when we had the buffet in place.

What do you think?  I don't love the color and it's a little beat up, so I think it's a great painting project!  This will be an October project, so it'll just hang out until then.

What we had before was fine (not the style I liked and I wasn't really free to paint it), but I really wanted needed something with more storage and this fit the bill.  The size was a bit of a bonus - while I love large furniture, the slightly smaller dimensions of this piece allow for a little more walking around space.

So there it is - the much awaited Craigslist side board/buffet.

Have you made any great CL purchases lately? Any sales??

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I Love Martha

I was in Staples today for the first time in a zillion years and as I was perusing the back of the store, I came across a huge display of Martha Stewart paper products, office supplies, and desktop organizers. I practically swooned.   Everything was so pretty!

Now because I was at Staples to pick up back-to-school stuff for Sarah's first day of Kindergarten tomorrow, I resisted the temptation to clear the place out.  Also, we don't have a need for this stuff (yet), so it's good that I didn't just buy for the fun of it.

I did leave with a super cool stick-on dry-erase board.  Where might I put such a thing?  How about the fridge!?!?  I just gave the fridge a good wipe down with a Clorox wipe to make sure it was free of anything gross and stuck the dry-erase surface right on there.

Check it out:

In addition to the great self-stick, removable dry erase surface, I also snagged a pack of fine-tip dry erase markers by Quartet.  Here's why those rock.  They have a built in eraser in each top PLUS a magnet.  So yeah, my markers stick to the fridge and they erase.  I love them.

I figure we'll use this to write down important memos, phone numbers, and grocery items as we think of them.

So did you buy anything for yourself while doing back-to-school shopping?  Clothes?  Shoes?  School supplies?!?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Update - Lamp Refurb

I have my very first feature - I submitted my lamp refurb project to Power of Paint and today it's featured.  So pop over there to check it out and to see what other cool things people are doing with paint to decorate and bring new life to their old stuff.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Parenting PSA: Beverage Security

When you're a young 20-something you always hear advice to keep an eye on your beverage in a bar.  It's a good idea, but when your bar hopping days are over you had best continue the practice. Otherwise when you turn your back, you might find that someone short has spiked your ice water with Legos.  Or plastic hardware.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Summer's End

What is it about the end of summer that makes me feel a little sentimental?  I think I've always felt this way about the end of summers, even going back to childhood.  I guess it's a bit of sadness at getting back to such  rigid structure that comes with the school year.  I say sadness, but I really am looking forward to the year, too.  Sarah is starting Kindergarten, Chris is starting a toddler preschool program.  Big adventures for both.

Overall, we had a great summer.  We did a ton and were still able to relax and enjoy as well.

Here's a few highlights of our summer:

June (ok, maybe that first one is may :)

July - we went to the shore

August - lots of work on Sarah's room - plus as much fun as we could pack in.  But apparently I took no photos.  Well, I did, but nothing awesome enough to share.  Mostly stuff inside the house.  I resolve to take more photos this fall of fun stuff like pumpkins, church fairs, Halloween costumes, birthdays, and turkey dinners.


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