Thursday, December 3, 2009

Coming in 2010

So - we've moved and settled into our rental house. It has been a lot of fun making this house into a home. In lieu of all the projects that have been taking up my time, some trips planned and the normal holiday season business, I am taking a blogging hiatus here until the new year.

See you in January with plenty of pictures of thrifty ways to spruce up your new digs!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Friend's Nursery - ooh la la!

Oooh - pretty baby stuff. Who can resist?! Here is my latest sewing project. I know many of the blogs I read and a lot of what I've been doing right now focuses home decor and thrifty decorating and reusing of old items. However - one of my loves is sewing! Last year I spent a lot of time sewing and selling on Etsy... but it began to feel like a chore and let's face it - the dollar per hour is not too alluring in the sewing business. So, now I have been enjoying projects that present themselves with no stress or payment involved.
The latest project is one I mentioned here. This delightful fabric choice by my friend is for her upcoming (soon!) arrival's nursery. I made the bed skirt, bumper, basket liners and valences for her. It was a lot of fun and turned out super cute! So - the finished project... ta da!

Here are the little baskets packed with her goodies for the shower.

I couldn't resist this picture - check out the homemade cupcakes...they were scrumptious if I do say so myself and coordinated with the bedding!
Chocolate with mint buttercream icing and pumpkin with cinnamon cream cheese icing were both topped with little mod-podged owls from her fabric on sticks trimmed with coordinating ribbon. Fun stuff!
This is her finished crib - lovely! I love the colors with the dark wood - I think she did an awesome job picking out the fabric!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

DIY Tie-Dye Shirts!

This past weekend we attended a "Celebration of Cultures" festival - and there was a booth there selling tie-dye t-shirts. My five your old son was drawn to them and really wanted one. I - of course - told him... "we don't need to buy a tie-dye we can make our own". Some days I should think before I say that phrase. However, the next day my husband actually went and bought the supplies (two t-shirts and a tie-dye kit) and supervised the activity and they turned out great. Anyone who hasn't done this for awhile... give it a whirl with your kids! It's a lot of fun, they get to plan, be creative and then be surprised the next day when they see their finished product. Plus, the kit comes with plenty of dye... you could actually do some bandanas, napkins, an apron, a table cloth... the possibilities are endless! We stuck to t-shirts though. ;)


Clothing optional during the process

Gloves not optional - this dye is serious business

The kids picked different banding techniques - but each turned out cool
Such concentration...
And yes, this is my daughter modeling her finished product in all her glory. No idea why goggles were necessary here - but hey - I'm liking it. You can also catch a glimpse of my son off to the side... but he isn't wearing his goggles so I couldn't let him in the photo.

Linking up to DIY day at Kimba's!! :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Transitioning to Fall

It's that time of year - the air is getting crisper and pumpkins are showing up everywhere! I love it. Spring is usually my favorite - but fall is a close second. My projects have been minimal lately unless it involves cleaning out a closet or toy chest because we've just put our house on the market. However, I did make time to do a fun fall table scape on our dining room table and add a touch of fall to our front porch. And being as broke thrifty as I am... I think all supplies were found at Walmart (I know, I cringe a little too but you do what you have to do) and they worked great!

So - our table looked like this a lot of the summer...

And is now transformed to this:

I used a mixture of real and plastic pumpkins and squash... the leaves were actually cut off a strand of leaf garland that I had from a long time ago. The brown charger that they are all sitting on was like $2 on clearance... cheap project but it gives the table a fun look for visitors.

The other area that had a little metamorphosis is our front porch. The summer re-do had it looking like this:
The addition of a fall bouquet from above mentioned super-cheapo store added a fall "pop" that I love to come home to!

The little nest and eggs in the bowl were actually free. The kids found the nest in the front yard... and the little eggs are small wooden ones from my daughter's play kitchen (which is currently in storage as part of our de-cluttering attempt while our house is on the market). So - voila, there you have it. Quick, inexpensive and minimal... but it does feel a bit more like fall now!

Check out tons of cool ideas at BNOTP!

Friday, September 25, 2009

A Fun Family Craft - Family Flags!

This post is brought to you by my five year old son. He has an imagination and a sense of creativity that I like to think I have something to do with...although his Daddy is no who knows where he actually gets it. Anyway - he asked me to take him to Michael's last weekend. He had a list of what he needed - below is the list. It turns out it was all just different colors of felt, but he had it very well planned out and even though he's just now in Kindergarten and learning to read - he wrote the first and last letter of each color so that he'd remember what he wanted. I thought that was pretty resourceful!
So, here it is part way through the project. There was a lot of planning, cutting and gluing going on. He worked for at least an hour (which, you know, in kids years is like 4 hours).

Have I mentioned I got him his own hot glue gun for his birthday last year. Sniff - my little boy makes me so proud. ;) Look at him wielding that dangerous tool. (BTW - Steelers jammies made by yours truly).
Here's the finished product! It is a Team T family flag. He planned it out with one T in the corner for each family member. The middle is a tiger - his current favorite animal. Not too shabby, huh? He plans to take it up and hang it at our summer get-away in Pennsylvania next year where the "T" side of our family gathers. I love it.

AND - this is one that my three year old and I made together. She - of course - had to pick out some felt too when her brother was doing his shopping. She's not quite as skilled with the hot glue and scissors as her brother (yet) - so she did the planning and I did the cutting for her. She did most of the placement and gluing though. Pretty cool, huh? I'm sure any of you who have young kids recognize this guy.

All in all a fun and successful family craft time that didn't end in tears or cost a lot of money... can't ask for much more than that. I can also see doing these with a theme for holidays, etc.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Place for My Dog Toys

My little furry dude was feeling blue because both kids have fancy toy boxes and his was just so plain. Look at that face - he obviously felt like he got the short end of the stick. Even though he does have his own little recliner... I mean - really... the galvanized metal bowl (score for like 6 bucks at Home Depot) is nice... but it needed something more. And because I am a good mom - be it to kids or dogs - I obliged. I used some sponges from the dollar store, cut little letters out to spell his name, glued toothpicks as holders (not necessary, but made them cool looking) and fancied it up a little by sponge painting his name to his toy bowl!

TA DA! Now - every one knows that these toys are for MIGHTY! His full name is Mighty Boy - but this works. ;)

Hope Mighty Boy doesn't mind I'm linking up to Creative Cats. ha ha ha.

Wow! The power of a pressure washer!

Today - may be very boring for some - or for all ... but for some reason I LOVED watching my husband pressure wash our patio this weekend! As I mentioned last week, we're considering trying to sell our house soon. So, we're doing all the little things that one does when they want someone to buy their house; decluttering, sprucing up the landscaping, cleaning windows, touching up paint... and pressure washing! Check out this transformation! The lower right square is the completed one (duh). I love this before and after. The stuff on the patio wasn't just loose dirt or anything it was stained, discolored - way more than we even realized. Anyone wanting to do something to get a lot of bang for their buck - try this out. This was one rented from Home Depot for a few hours and it worked great.

This isn't pretty like the other stuff you'll find here... but it is a metamorphasis! ;) Check out a bunch of other cool projects at Between Naps on the Porch!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The making of a beautiful nursery!

Phew - long time no post. I think that is the first time that's happened to that extent since I started blogging here. I was out of town for work and have also been undertaking some big things around my home. First, I have been asked by a good friend to sew some of her decor for her nursery for her upcoming baby! She has chosen a very cute owl print and coordinating patterns. I'm very excited about seeing it all come together and getting to be a part of the project. So - that is where the artistic piece of my brain is going to be for a bit. I hope to get some before and after pictures of the nursery and will share soon!

Here are the fabric choices:

Purdy, huh?!

In other BIG undertakings... I'm toying with the idea of putting our house on the market and renting a house closer to our kids school. I say "I" because my husband seems luke warm to the idea as he is ear-deep in dissertation writing. However, the move would also benefit him (we'd be very close to campus) - once we actually completed it. The tricky part is the selling of the house and moving of the stuff. The part that makes this decision difficult is that we will, undoubtedly, be moving at some point in the next 2 years. If we knew we had 2 years left here - I'd jump in and move in a second... but what if we only have 9 months left? That's a lot of work for 9 months. Our location has become increasingly inconvenient since our son started kindergarten on the other side of town and I'm just looking for some relief. Plus, the idea of not having to sell a house when we do get ready to leave town is very appealing.

I'm blogging about this here because I know some of my readers have experience with moving AND with making rental spaces look lovely... both of which I'm going to solicit ideas on when the time comes. Perhaps even a give-away involved. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Trash to Treasure Coffee Can

Life has been busy. I have some big projects in mind that I hope to share soon (valances, closet reorganization, painted dresser) but in the meantime I have just been trying to catch my breath since getting the kids started at school and soccer and everything else that seems to pop up.

Yesterday my son had to stay home from school because of a little cold. So - as he drew pictures at the kitchen table - I tried out my new silver contact paper. It's FUN. I want to cover everything in silver now! But, knowing my husband would think I lost my mind...I just spruced up my little coffee station. I've had this coffee container for several months and keep refilling it because it is a convenient shape, size and my three year old can open it (she loves to make her momma coffee and I'm not going to discourage it). So, to make it a more attractive permanent fixture on my counter top - I covered it with silver contact paper, a paper bag label, decorative paper on top, and some mod podge to seal the label. So easy and silly - but a fun little project to do while my son did his thing - and it got rave reviews from my personal barista daughter this morning.
My reusable coffee container
All spruced up with it's silver self. Notice the matching cinnamon?
This is a view of the whole area a couple months ago before I also redid the mail spot and medicine spot.
See? Looking better! I love getting things organized, a little cuter and simpler. A little change goes a long way in making a busy household feel manageable!

Linking up to Poppies at Play to give you a chance to see some way more creative projects! Also, for some impressive Trash to Treasure - check out Reinvented!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Train Case Metamorphosis

I've been eyeing these little train cases at the Goodwill shops for awhile and then started seeing some around on different blogs. So - a couple weeks ago I finally grabbed one and did my thing. However, like many projects - it didn't exactly turn out as fabulous as I had hoped. It did -however - teach me a lot and keep me interested to try it again. Here is what I did with this one:

  • Primed and painted it by hand (didn't spray paint).

  • Used all materials that I had on hand.

  • Actually painted contact paper and cut into decals before applying to the case.

  • Coated it all in ModPodge and then an acrylic sealer.

  • Painted the hardware.

  • Covered the handle with painted contact paper. (yeah, weird).

  • Skipped the "touching up" phase - it's sitting on top of the fridge to hold medicines and it's fine.


Some things I'll do different next time:

  • Try to use spray paint so that I don't have unsightly brush strokes - OR - cover the whole thing with contact paper and mod podge - only painting the trim.

  • Buy the color of contact paper that I need - painting it actually worked... but kind of a pain.

  • Probably just leave the hardware alone. And the handle.

This little dudes are heavy too... so my visions of actually traveling with one may not actually happen. But - it does look cute sitting around the house, no?

Linking up to Metamorphosis Monday! Check her out!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

My $12 side table!

No time for witty, entertaining or even wordy in this post. But - I just had to get pictures of this side table that I made up here. It started as this:

I got this old cutting board (I guess) at the Goodwill store. One of the HEAVY items I wrote about a few posts back. Here it is just setting on top of a little plastic table that my kids use.

A few weeks of searching finally turned this up at a different Goodwill. The coolest part? The top turns. Wheeeeee!

Part way through the process - my beautiful, recently re-done cutting-board-turned-table-top ended up like this. Whoops.

But - no worries. Gorilla wood glue did the trick. As did much black paint, some Mod Podge, and an acrylic finishing coat. Voila. I love it. And the top turns. Wheeee!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Toddler Birthday Outfit

Busy days around our house. Our first child is heading to Kindergarten tomorrow! So - I've gotten to spend the last week hanging out with him (he's usually at Pre-K as I work full-time) and supply shopping and getting ready! He wanted to sleep with his new backpack on last night. So sweet.

My crafty ways have been for the most part stifled this week as I stay extra busy juggling my kids, work, and home. I did get this little beauty from my Etsy shop shipped out today though! It is a little birthday outfit I made for someones daughter. I hope she loves it! It was fun to make (that's a hair bow attached - not some weird bow tie)! In fact, looks like something I would love to wear on my birthday next month. Hmmm... do 37 year olds look OK in tutus? ;) I think so.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Transformation Thursday

Also! Click the side icon to view more DIY projects on ASPTL!

The transformation that I'm showing off this Thursday is actually an item that has been transformed before. This sad little chest was once painted a mint green (oh the horror) and then we stripped it down and had been using it in it's natural state (oh the horror) for several years now. It's been a toy chest and a coffee table and right now functions as both:

The pictures made me very sure of my decision to paint this little chest. The wood is not pretty... I was used to the way it looked, but seeing it in the photo made me realize that this baby needed something.

Part of my transformation also included this tray and this rug. The tray I already transformed once before. It also has a matching partner... but it didn't work with my new chest. The rug was in our living room before but I had moved it out. I decided to try something new with it. Here are the before pictures of those two items:

The picture below shows how I taped off an area around the edges. Did you know you can paint a rug? I was pretty sure you could... but I wouldn't have tried it on a rug that I would be upset if it didn't work out. This I originally bought at Big Lots! I can't remember how much I paid... but it was very dirt cheap reasonable.

I actually used a paint brush and black paint from a can for most of it and then finished off with a spay paint can.

So, put it all together... black paint from a can, trim color that matches the walls, a little red spray paint, and some chalkboard spray paint... and best of all - it all came from my house. I didn't buy anything new for this transformation. This little nook of the room looks much better! Yay.

Look how cute the rug border is!

The tray actually needs some touching up... but I wanted to go ahead and post the pictures... so just ignore that part!

Head the the Shabby Chic Cottage for some more great projects!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I guess it's a spice rack...

So - on my outing to buy the heaviest things at the Goodwill Outlet last week - I got this. I'm not sure what it was. But it is such nice solid wood that I knew I'd have a use for it after I made it prettier.

I just had to clean it up, paint it white, and add some decorative paper to the back. I modpodged the paper so that if it does get dirty being in the kitchen I'll be able to wipe it clean. I actually painted it by hand with kitchen and bathroom trim paint that is supposed to be hearty and wipe clean well. It sounds very well planned - but actually I didn't have any white spray paint on hand so I just used what I had. I love how it turned out and I put all my little spices that I use almost daily in there instead of balancing them on my stove (see picture below). The other problem is the stacked dishes on top of the cabinets. I dealt with that too.

Here is a close-up of my pretty new spice box rack thingy.

I also bought some baskets that day that were on sale at - of course - Michael's to store my platters, dishes, fondue pots, etc. that were stacked on the cabinets. The finishing cute-but-useful touch were the little silver frames that are next to each basket. I bought these a few weeks ago on clearance at Michael's for pennies a piece. I painted the little cardboard inside with chalkboard paint and labeled what is in each basket so that I don't have to go searching up high when I need something.

Here's a better view of the finished product:

So, next up is to add some hardware to the cabinets. AND - does anyone have a good idea how to non-permanently but strongly attach that little rack to the back splash there? I have used TONS on the 3M mounting strips that are supposed to hold things permanently but they aren't working. My husband thinks we need to go ahead and drill into the wall - but I kind of hate to do that because we're probably going to be selling this house in less than a year. Any suggestions are very welcome! Thank you!

Click here for some more great second-hand treasures.

Also - Just found a new site that is very cute! Joining her Creative Cats Party - check it out!

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