Thumbelina, My New Sewing Machine!

I did it! As I told you here, I have been wanting to learn how to sew. So my sister helped me out by finding a 10 year old Brother sewing machine on craigslist, and I got it for a whopping $40!! I was pretty thrilled to get sewing and started pretty much as soon as I bought it.

My friend Nancy turned me onto this Youtube tutorial about making pinwheels. It seemed pretty straightforward and only involved straight stiches. So I cut myself some fabric squares to make into pinwheels. The cuts were pretty terrible since I was only using an exacto knife and scissors and didn’t have a ruler. But it gave me an idea for how to make a basic pinwheel, and here is my result! Not bad for a first ever try!

20140320-141836.jpg

So last weekend I decided to try a couple more projects. I hear that one of the easiest beginner projects is pillow covers, so I thought I would make a few for our bed. I used this tutorial to make two different pillow covers. I got the fabric on sale at Joann’s for $10/yard and I only needed 1/2 yard per pillow cover (not even that much, really). I planned on making them both with the front made out of my nice fabric but the back made out of a cheaper cotton that I paid $5/yard (I bought a whole yard). I already had some pillows at home that I wanted to use as inserts, so I just had to use their measurements. One was 18×18″ and the other 12×18″. When I looked at my pillows, I decided to make one with a pillow front and the other as a wrap-around cover.

20140320-141745.jpg

What do you think?? I’m pretty proud!!

My total for the pillow project was $18 and that included 1/2 yard each of two quality home decorative fabrics, one yard of grey cotton, and some quality thread for my sewing machine.

Next up, making a quilt!

Meet Fitzwilliam.



No not a baby, a succulent! 

IMG_2741

Although, that is a great name for a baby! Bonus points if you know the literary reference ;)

My favorite blog, younghouselove.com, has shown me that even the people with the blackest of thumbs can in fact grow house plants. One of the bloggers, Sherry, has espoused the ease of growing house plants like succulents and cacti. While, I have been dying to try my hand at it, I have been holding back because of the possibility of moving to San Francisco (???????????). I was not very keen on buying a plant that I had to keep living through a move.

IMG_2670

(How cute is this bag my bestie, Laura, got me?? Love.)

But who knows if and when we are moving anywhere, so I decided to adopt Fitzwilliam. Yes, I have personalized a plant, and decided to name him (okay, it). I went to Ikea yesterday with my college freshman roommate, and its a great place to find succulents. They are super inexpensive there ($3!) and you can find adorable little pots for your new friend ($1.50!) So for a grand total of $4.50 (I know, hard math right there) I brought home a little succulent. And I think he’s adorable. Look at how cute he is sitting on our little shelf!

IMG_2745I have not had much luck keeping plants alive in the past. This summer I killed Rosemary, Basil and Mint plants. Herbs are supposed to be pretty easy to keep alive, right?! Not so much. The wind out here got crazy one night and I didn’t bring my little plants inside. Next morning they were looking pretty rough. I tried to bring them inside to revive them, but then they didn’t get enough sun. And maybe I over watered them? Or not enough? I have no idea…

But Sherry at YHL assures me that these little guys are easy to keep alive and hard to kill. Just water sparingly and give partial sunlight (which is actually one of the harder things in our house right now. We have windows, but they don’t really seem to put sunlight on any counters or shelves for the sake of giving life to a plant. We will see how this goes. Right now I have him on the edge of my table to soak up a few rays…

IMG_2747

 

I am really hoping this venture goes well, I would love to have more house plants in our lives. I have been trying to learn a bit more about off-gassing and house hold air purity, and apparently plants can do a ton to improve air quality. They recommend you have three plants per room, but I need to see if I can keep just one alive first! And I don’t want to buy a whole bunch of plants if we are moving soon. But this little guy? He can stay. And when we move, he can be my co-pilot for the drive :)

IMG_2742

Have you tried indoor plants? Or do you prefer the artificial-can’t-possibly-kill-them-venture? I would love to hear more about your indoor plant ventures! How did it go for you? Have you ever tried cacti? I think that’s my next goal. I love these that Sherry from YHL planted for their kitchen. What has been your most epic plant failure?

P.S. Check out how much fun Eden was having at Ikea! Maybe its time to turn her crib into a toddler bed…

IMG_2739

 

DIY Front Door Wreath

So truthfully, I made this wreath back in the fall and intended it to be seasonal, but I have left it up, and still love it! And its super easy to make, so here is a quick tutorial. Sorry, I forgot to take during pictures.

IMG_2234.JPG

First, I bought a foam wreath form and some fake flowers to decorate it with. Also, to make it a bit more personal, I had a letter “B” to add. I already had burlap and tan muslin fabric to wrap it with.

I wrapped the muslin around the wreath form in strips, and then did the same with the burlap. I already had a big piece of burlap, so I just cut it in 2-3″ strips. The muslin is added underneath so that the white foam won’t show through the burlap. All of this was secured at the back with basic sewing pins.

Next, I decided on an arrangement I liked with the fake flowers before hot gluing them in place.

IMG_2228.JPG

Last, I painted the “B” a nice burnt orange and hot glued it to the wreath as well. And the very last step was just adding some ribbon to hang the wreath with. The only thing I didn’t account for was the weight of the wooden letter, so it hangs a little crooked. I may try to fix this in the future, but it works for now.

So there you have it! A quick and easy wreath for your front door. And I have been rather pleased with how well it has worked for our front door in spite of it being more of a “fall” wreath. I still love it! Doesn’t it look great?!

IMG_2234.JPG

Have you made any fun wreaths lately? They are such a simple update for your front porch! I just love it :)

Eden’s First Birthday Party!!!

IMG_2357.JPG

So we are all aware that the first birthday party, while a big deal, is really all for the mom. I decided to just embrace this fact. Keep in mind, that after this, Eden will actually have some opinions in the matter. This one is the only birthday party that I really get to hijack and make all my own. And it was amazing.

IMG_2356.JPG

As many of you know, I am a huge Phantom of the Opera fan. My dad took me to see it for the first time when I was 11, and I have been in love ever since. In fact, Music of the Night was the first song Eden ever heard. I played it for her in utero and even had the album playing in the delivery room (after I got the epidural and just wanted some rest). I also play it for her sometimes to help her go to sleep (especially during the really terrible reflux nights…) So it was only fitting that she have a Phantom of the Opera themed First Birthday Party. Complete with candles everywhere.

IMG_2502.JPG

And since we are already embracing the fact that this party is really for me, I decided it should be a Masquerade Ball. Yep. Completely over the top, and wholeheartedly unnecessary. I accept this.

My inspiration for the colors and decor came from the Masquerade scene from the musical, and decided to go with black, silver, gold and pale pink for the colors.

One of my favorite party things ever is a photo booth (clearly very popular right now) and since it was a Masquerade Ball, it was only fitting that everyone get to make their own mask at the party. Mine clearly had to be outstanding, so I made mine a week or so before the party. Ornate and over the top, coming right up! I went on Pinterest to find a few ideas for centerpieces and masks.

The centerpiece for the table I made using a wine bottle, gold spray paint, pink tulle and lots of frilly things. Jd made all of the food for a French theme with beef wellington bites, spinach artichoke dip, and some delicious cupcakes for dessert! He also put together a pitcher full of our favorite drink, the Gin Gin Mule. So tasty… I had great fun arranging all of the champagne glasses with little pink tulle bows on them :)

IMG_2360.JPG IMG_2361.JPG

For the guest masks, I kept it simple. Just a handful of assorted colored basic masks. To decorate, guests had the option of using metallic sharpies, feathers, sequins, and glitter.

IMG_2437.JPG

The photo booth was a huge hit and so simple. We hung a big black table cloth as a backdrop, and added a frame that my friend gave me and I spray painted gold. Add a few feather boas and personalized masks, and you have a photo booth!

IMG_2355.JPG

Eden adored her frilly gold dress! She just loved prancing around in it and playing with the skirt.

IMG_2359.JPG

And she loved having all of her little friends there to play with. They were just adorable!

IMG_2403.JPG

You can’t have a first birthday party without a cupcake smash…

IMG_2455.JPG

 And here are a few more pictures from the evening for you to enjoy!

IMG_2375.JPG IMG_2369.JPG IMG_2380.JPG IMG_2387.JPG IMG_2460.JPG IMG_2461.JPG IMG_2466.JPG IMG_2468.JPG IMG_2471.JPG IMG_2479.JPG IMG_2487.JPG IMG_2491.JPG IMG_2426.JPG IMG_2504.JPG IMG_2522.JPG IMG_2398.JPG

2×4 Fall Pumpkins

IMG_2317.JPG

So my friend Jena was surfing Pinterest one day and discovered all these super fun crafts made out of 2x4s. They were so adorable, and seemed really simple, that we decided to try a few. Now, she made her set of pumpkins first, so I have stolen a few of her tips to pass on to all of you. Also, here is the original blog post where we got all of our directions.

What you will need:

  • 2×4 cut into 3.5″, 6″, and 8.5″ blocks.
  • orange and brown craft paint
  • paint brushes
  • sandpaper
  • jewelry wire
  • raffia or ribbon
  • pieces of a branch to make “stems”
  • wood glue or hot glue gun
  • paper towels

Our hubbies were nice enough to do all the cutting for us :) Now, you do have the option before proceeding to drill a hole in the top for your stems, but I ended up feeling like this was an unnecessary step (more on that later).

Before painting, we took our blocks outside to rough them up a bit. This actually seemed to work a lot better than a sander or sanding paper. We just used the concrete in the driveway to rough up all of the corners and edges. Just enough to give them a slightly softened look.

IMG_2306.JPG

 IMG_2305.JPG

Next comes paint. I tend to like my colors to be a bit darker, so I chose a more burnt orange for my pumpkins. Jena preferred a happier, brighter orange.

IMG_2307.JPG

After the coat of paint, you want to sand the blocks a bit, especially at the edges and corners, but also the face of the blocks. Just remember that anywhere you sand and can see natural wood, is going to soak up the brown wash in the next step.

IMG_2310.JPG

Brown-washing something is pretty easy really. In a cup, mix a nice sized blob of paint and a little bit of water. The more water you have, the less potent your brown wash, and vice versa. Just paint the wash onto your blocks and give them a minute or so to soak in. The longer you let it soak, the darker they will be. After letting them soak for a minute, go ahead and wipe all the excess off with a paper towel or rag. Again, I prefer mine a bit darker, so I ended up doing a second coat because I wanted them darker still.

IMG_2311.JPG

Next come the stems. If you drilled a hole in the top, use the wood glue to put down in the hole and then stuff with your stem. If not, just hot glue the stem on the top.

IMG_2312.JPG

Side note: I ended up liking these so much, and they were so easy to make, that a few girls and I made 8 sets for our MOPS Harvest Brunch to be table centerpieces and door prizes. During our mass assembly, we had some with holes drilled, and some without. We ended up deciding that without was easier and saved us the step of drilling the holes, having to whittle down then end of the stem to fit, and then gluing them. We felt they were just as secure when using a hot glue gun and it was much quicker.

The jewelry wire part is super easy, but slightly time consuming (if you are making 8 sets, that is…) I wrapped the wire around the stem first, and then used a pen to curly cue the wire ends. You just wrap it around the pen, and then pull the pen out through your curls. It is easy to adjust how tight the curls look, just wrap it closer together on the pen for a tighter look.

IMG_2316.JPG

The final step is just tying the raffia/ribbon to the stem. The original post had both, but I felt it looked simpler and less cluttered with just raffia. I used some left-over green raffia from my “Boo” sign to achieve the same green stem effect. I just love how they turned out!!

IMG_2317.JPG

Price breakdown: $2 for wood, $2 for jewelry wire, and $2 for sand paper. Add about $10 if you don’t already have craft paint, and raffia.

Have you made any fall crafts lately?

Belated Halloween Fun

Just a quick blurb of a post for you! But here is the “Boo” sign I made for Halloween!

IMG_2018.JPG

 

I saw this idea on my friend’s Instagram feed, and just loved it. So, of course, I wanted to make my own.

Well, it is super easy, let me tell you. I bought my letters from Joann Craft, and I think they are around $4 ea, and they always have great coupons. I realized in the store that the “O”s looked a bit like pumpkins, so decided to go that route. Hence the green rafia (i.e. “stems”).

The first step: paint the “B” black. Super easy, right?

IMG_1953.JPG

Next step: Paint the “O”s orange. Again, doesn’t get any simpler than this. I already had some craft paint in my stash that was a burnt orange so I went with that.

IMG_1954.JPG

Step three: Paint the pumpkin stripes. This step took me a few tries, but I got it right in the end. At first I wanted to paint the stripes black. That was a terrible idea. They ended up looking like basket balls. So I started over and tried with brown paint. Once again, way too stand-outish. Then I ended up layering the original orange paint on top while the brown stripes were still wet, and voila! Pumpkins!

IMG_1964.JPG

Step four: Use raffia to connect pumpkins. I’m still not super crazy about how this turned out. Because of where the “O” loop connects, they ended up hanging a little bit crooked, but I think I am the only one that will ever really notice, so oh well. For this step, I just wrapped the raffia around each letter to have them hanging from each other, tied it at the back and hot glued it for security. Then I made some bows out of the raffia and hot glued them on top.

And now you have a “Boo” sign :) See how the green raffia makes the “O”s look like little pumpkins? Love.

For those of you interested in a cost breakdown, the letters cost about $4ea, craft paint about $1-2ea, and raffia was around $3 for a bag of green raffia. So if you didn’t have any of this on hand already, it might run you about $20 total and that would probably include a cheap set of paint brushes too. If you have Joann or Michael’s coupons, that may be even less. All in all, a fairly cheap craft.

I loved this super easy craft, and it looked so cute! One idea I might end up adding next year is some type of bat to the “B”. What kinds of crafting have you been up to lately? Don’t worry, I have a few more seasonal things to share with you soon!

Flamingos aren’t real, are they?

No wait, I’ve seen them at the zoo – the hubs

 

So I’ve been working on a bathroom re-do for Eden’s bathroom (aka the guest bathroom). I wanted to make it more kid friendly, but not so much that it is weird that its our guest bathroom. I didn’t take any before pictures (re-do began before I started the blog) so I’ll just have to tell you about it. I had a pretty, but plain gold colored shower curtain and used tan and green towels, with no bath mat.

And then, one fateful Ikea trip, I decided I was tired of not having bath mats, and didn’t care if they didn’t perfectly match our towels, I wanted bathmats! And then, I spotted this super adorable pink flamingo shower curtain on clearance for $7! Umm, yes I want it!

IMG_1963.JPG

So since it was for Eden’s bathroom, which I wanted to be more kid friendly, I figured I might as well buy two coordinating bath towels, a hand towel and washcloth, and of course, a bathmat.

IMG_2048.JPG

I also decide to do a fun little project to bring a little bit of personalization to the bathroom. I wanted to some flamingo hand print art. I used paints I already had on hand and some basic art paper.

IMG_1969.JPG

I used kindergarten technique to make myself some pink paint from the red and white I had.

IMG_1974.JPG IMG_1967.JPG

I made several different prints because we all know that babies love to cooperate and give us perfect handprints.

IMG_1977.JPG IMG_1976.JPG

Once I had the prints made, I cleaned the baby up and put her down for a nap (she was having a meltdown haha).

Now for drawing the actual flamingo. All I did was look at some examples online, and draw a head and legs from the pink paint, and then added a beak and eyes with black paint.

IMG_2051.JPG

 

One of my friends had the adorable idea that I could have used my own thumb print for the head of the flamingo. How cute would that have been? Oh well, too late.

IMG_2054.JPG

I then picked out my two favorites and put them in frames that I already had. Don’t they look great in Eden’s flamingo bathroom?! There are still a few things I want to do for decoration in here, I’ll keep you posted!

IMG_2047.JPG IMG_2050.JPG

 It already looks much cuter and more cohesive, which was my main goal, so yay flamingos!