Boys, Birthdays, and Bow Ties

I'm back! And so is Made Monday! Even though I didn't technically go anywhere for vacation, I certainly feel refreshed and focused. Plus I got to spend time with my family and even the husband. We had 3 "Daddy Home Days" as Addy would call them. And by the way, less than 3 months remain till my husband graduates from his program! Yee! I am excited. And ready!

Anyways... now, about this Made Monday post...

I had finally gotten around to working my budget. It's not pretty. This happened to coincide with my son's 1st birthday. Needless to say, I had no money to buy him a birthday outfit. Which is okay. It's not necessary. But seriously, all he has is hand-me-downs. And deep down in this mother heart of mine I really wanted to do something special.

If you ever find yourself wanting to deck your little boy out in all manner of cuteness but have zero dollars to do this with, I have 5 words for you:

Make. Him. A. Bow. Tie.

(Or: Tell. One. Of. His. Grandmas. Also five words, and this will most likely do the trick too.)

All you need is 20-50 minutes of time (depending on your sewing skill level), scrap fabric (I used a hand-me-down shirt that was too stained to be worn as a shirt), scrap interfacing, about a foot of elastic, and thread.

Here's the instructions in pictures (I will add some written out ones with more detail after the jump.)

1. Find fabric. You will need to determine the size you want your bow tie and add a 1/2" seam allowance to the length and width measurements.

      My measurements:
  • Bow Tie: 4 1/2" x 3" (2 pieces needed)
  • Hold-Together piece: 1 1/2 x 6 (I cut this on the bias so my bow tie would have some added visual interest with a change in the direction of the print. By the way, I have no idea what this piece of fabric is technically called, so I made up a word for it: hold-together piece. I know, super sophisticated and technical, right?! Ha!)
  • Interfacing: 4 x 2 1/2 (2 pieces needed)
  • Elastic: 13"
2. Put two bow tie pieces together (right sides together) and sew with a 1/4" seam allowance the whole way around... BUT leave an inch unsewn in the middle of one of the longer sides. Sew the hold-together piece by folding in half lengthwise (wrong-side out) and sewing 5/8" from the fold.

3. Add interfacing to both sides of bow tie.

4. Turn the bow tie and the hold-together piece right-side out. Iron them nice and flat. To get the tip of the bow tie pointy, try using a pencil to push the tips out. Sew the opening in the bow tie piece closed. Turn hold together piece inside out. Iron it so that the seam is in the middle of one side.

5. Pinch bow tie in the middle (see picture).

6. Add hold together piece. Wrap once around the middle of the bow tie  and pull tight.

7. Slip a strip of elastic through the hold together piece on the back side of the bow tie.

8. Sew the hold together piece. Use the zipper foot on your sewing machine to get your seam line as close to the bow tie as possible. Trim extra fabric. Try the bow tie on your handsome model with a collared shirt on to get the elastic measurements just right. (Note: my elastic stretches to get around his head and into place on the collar, but it is NOT stretching when in place. Comfort is very important to keep in mind... especially if you want your child to actually wear it.) Sew elastic together. I added a few free hand stitches to keep the bow tie and elastic from moving.


This was SERIOUSLY easy and would require only the most basic of sewing knowledge. Definitely a great beginner project.

My handsome boy was dedicated two Sunday's ago. Immediately after church, we celebrated his first birthday with family. I may not have had a penny to use to buy him a strapping boy outfit, but I totally made it work. I think he looked adorable in his hand-me-down outfit topped off by the home-made bow tie and the grandma-bought white dress shoes.

Some pictures from the day:

 That boy right there has this momma's heart. BIG TIME! Happy birthday to my little Jedman.

Some candid shots from the day.
  • I am a big fan of baby dedications. Not the event, but the standing before God and witnesses and committing out loud to trust God with my child and to raise my child to know God. It's a powerful thing!
  • My sissy's in blue and my sister-in-law is in the picture with both my kids, aren't they beautiful?! God blessed me with two awesome sisters!
  • I also had no money for decorations, but I rigged up a happy birthday banner from 8x6 triangle pieces of leftover fabric, free-hand cut letters out of scrapbook paper and used modge podge to glue the paper to the fabric. I ripped a long strip of white fabric and zig-zag stitched the whole thing together. It's hard to tell in the bad lighting, but I think it turned out cute.
"Jed, meet Cookie Monster. Cookie Monster, Jed." Add a toy lawn mower to go places with and they are new best friends. :)
 First birthday cake.
Frosting Mustache=Best Kind of Mustache.

Have you ever had next to $0 to celebrate a milestone? How did you make it work?

We are off to Addy's very first day of swimming lessons today. Tomorrow, I have a something very personal to share with you all. I am excited about it, so do come back :)

Till Then...


Joy! Journal AND...

There are a thousand ways a mom can feel overwhelmed.

A thousand things to accomplish.

A thousand worries.

A thousand hours of missing sleep over the course of 4 years years of parenting.

There are a thousand things to drag a mom down.


But there's this crazy hope inside of me, that I could live fully. Here. Now. Amongst diapers, grape juice stains, cheerio bottoms, whiney voices, and temper tantrums. (And later amongst wardrobe battles, rolling eyes, boyfriends, and attitudes). Because I truly believe motherhood is a gift, even when I feel exasperated and so very tired... I know these children are my blessing. I want to live on purpose and not so "half-there" because I'm tired and I can't figure out any other way to be.

I want to fully live.

I want to instill in my children how to fully live too.

I stumbled across the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp a couple months ago when a friend invited me to her church's study. I know I've mentioned the book here at least 20 times, but it's good, and it's changed me. It's a simple idea. It's really just about slowing down a couple times a day and counting the gifts you've been given. It's about finding the joy in the messes and beauty everywhere. It's inspired my Thankful Thursday posts and now a journal I keep super handy in my kitchen.

I count gifts and all the precious and fleeting moments with my children, because they're gifts too. I count the beautiful things I see and record things like my daughter trying to take Jed's "tensaber" (temperature, for those of you who aren't fluent in Addy). Things that perhaps only I will appreciate, but maybe Addy and Jed will one day as well. I try to write down the hard things too, like that the mess of cheerios is really just evidence that I am blessed with active children or how even when I was rushing Jed to the emergency room with a punctured ear drum, God was there and He gave us peace and kind doctors and an unexpected friend's visit who happened to be on her nursing shift.

My children are learning to be thankful. I am even writing love notes to my husband thanking him for all he does.

This simple act is changing my life, my family, and my marriage.

I may sound like a complete thankful fruit loop, but it's worth the risk if it helps change someone else.

Couple of notes if you want to try "Joy Journaling" or "Gift Counting" out for yourself:
1. Make the journal handy... like wherever you most often find yourself in your home. For me, it's the kitchen. And don't just put it anywhere... make it prominent--where you are very likely to see it and be reminded by it.
2. Quick notes, sloppy notes, poetic notes... it doesn't matter. It's the stopping, the seeing, the gratitude... that's what makes the difference. It's not about the list. The list is the tool that helps you live a grateful FULL life.
3. If it helps you to have a guided way to count your gifts: visit Ann Voskamp's blog. Every month she puts up a printable with suggested items to count (They are always towards the bottom of page on her Monday posts). Actually, just check out her blog. It's good.
4. The book is awesome, but I found it to be a little like wading through oatmeal. The poetic language makes it thick. It's packed with revelation. The truths it exposes are weighty. It's a little difficult to get through (at least for me). But it was worth the "wading," definitely worth it, especially when I got to Ch. 8. That was the life-changer for me. So, while I strongly urge you to embark on this joy dare, I think it is a highly recommendable idea to read the book too (and to know if you find it a difficult read, don't beat yourself up. You are not less-spiritual or the only one.) :)

To make the journal:

I made myself a journal out of a good old fashioned composition notebook... wide ruled so it's easier to make fast notes. They are less than a $1.00. I covered it in scrap fabrics, a family picture, scrapbook paper and modge-podged it all on.

To Modge-Podge: paint a thin coat on wherever you are adding something. Paint a thin coat over the top to seal it. Just a note: you will battle wrinkles should you choose thin paper. Choose thicker paper (close to cardstock-quality thickness). Also, use thinner more cotton-like fabrics.

I got myself a letter-holder-type thing to hold my JOY journal in my organization station. I had tried just sticking the journal to the wall, but it fell off. Also, writing on something that is upright makes your pen get air in it... and that makes writing difficult. I still like the journal on the wall though (hence placing it in a letter holder). I see it every time I walk into the kitchen, and it reminds me to stop rushing, stop stressing, and be grateful.

I made a couple more journals just for fun. They are seriously easy... like half-hour-with-some-drying-breaks-in-there easy. This one is bright and cheerful. Addy loves it. I am thinking I may let her use it.
This one below is my favorite. I made it with a ribbon and velcro clasp that I embellished with an easy fabric rose. I love the quote I found amongst my scrap-booking materials. Seemed very appropriate.
"The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life."


Since I liked this journal so well and this book has changed my life...

...well... are just going to have to click the link below to see what this conquering housewife has brewing.

{Click here to find out about The CCHW's FIRST-EVER GIVEAWAY!!!! (I'm excited, in case the 4th exclamation point didn't clearly demonstrate this to you.) You will want to see this even if you aren't into reading anything longer than a page or writing in homemade journals. Wha-hoo!} 

Hope your Monday is MADE and your life is FULLY lived, Friends!

DIY Shabby Shimmer Glazed Frame

This would be my 3rd glazing project... ever.

But also my third glazing project in 2 months time.

I think I might be hooked.

I happened to come across the perfect picture for above my cabinet (click the link to check the cabinet out... It's my first glazing project and I am so IN LOVE with it. I have so enjoyed the ease of crafting, scrap-booking, sewing, and preschooling that this thing provides me.)

The picture had the right colors. It evoked feelings of peace and sanctuary (this is very important in my home ha!). It was marked 50% off of $40.00 (this is also very important. My budget is SMALL). Only problem: at 16x20 above a massive cabinet, it wasn't quite big enough. My solution: a wide, chunky frame.

Can I afford to pay for custom framing? That would be a big, fat NEGATIVE.


I hit the thrift stores once again and found this for $4. (Swoop!)

The frame came with a sweet hummingbird picture... that I knocked out of there. Sorry Hummingbird. I liked that the frame was thick, it was made of wood, and, most importantly, it was made for a 16x20 picture.

I knew I wanted to to something subtle but still wonderful to the frame. So, I thought I would play around with glazing again. This time I wanted to try out a shimmer effect... mostly because, well,  I am a girl, and I like all things that shimmer and shine. What can I say?

I started out by masking off my frame. Blue tape is great for projects where you need a clean paintline. Do use your fingernail to seal the tape to the frame so there is no bleeding.
I mixed burnt umber (a deep brown) with a little black just to darken it. A little black goes a long way so do add a little at a time. I used a spongebrush to put on the base coat because it is faster than a bristled brush.

For my second coat, I mixed Folk Art's Champagne Metallic Paint with Deep Base. Deep Base is what paint stores use to make dark colors as it has no color of it's own to lighten the colorant. It looks milky when wet but dries clear (if you aren't using Behr brand do double check at your paint store that your brand's deep base dries clear... I imagine that they all do, but I am not positive). Because Deep Base dries clear, it can be added to paint to make it more translucent. This will allow some of the base-coat color to come through. I did a 1:1 ratio for paint to deep base and then added water till I was able to hold my stir stick up and paint come off in a steady flow (not runny, but not clumpy... smooth flow).
I used a small angled brush to apply the glaze. (Glaze is just a fancy term for paint that has been made more translucent).
As I applied the glaze, I took my chip brush and brushed it against the wet paint to remove some of the glaze and give it a "brushed" look. For a small project, like this frame, extender is not needed, but if you were glazing a large surface you would need extender. Extender is a product that you can purchase at a paint supply store to keep your paint from drying as fast so you have time to apply the glaze (like in this case, brushing it on and then brushing some of it off).
By the way, free-bie kitchen tip: these bad boys make excellent basting or pastry brushes . I discovered this in my mother-in-law's kitchen (she is an AMAZING cook). I opened one of her drawers and found a couple chip brushes lying in there; I was disturbed thinking that my husband and father-in-law had placed their used  paintbrushes in her kitchen. Nope, only ever used for very strict and official kitchen business. (By the way: they are around $1... way cheaper than the brushes labeled "basting" or "pastry" brush in the kitchen area of your department store).

For my 3rd coat, I used my angled brush to apply black paint that I had thinned with water into the grooves of the frame. As I applied the black paint I went back over it with my chip brush. I made some long, sweeping brush strokes on the frame in random places with my chip brush. I did this with very little black paint on the brush.
Notice the way the brush is angled in the picture above. I did this to get black streaks almost like scuff marks.
For the fourth coat, I used the brown-black I had made up earlier. I thinned it a little with water. I put a light amount on my chip brush and made big sweeping brush strokes all over the frame (I followed the direction of the wood grain). I applied a lot more of this than I did the black. I wanted places where my frame was brown, places where there was just a little bit of shine coming through, and places where the shine hadn't been covered at all. It gave it a "shabby" chic look.

For still more interest, I added a fifth coat: just a tiny amount of the blue glaze I used on my cabinet. I applied it the same way as the 4th coat... only lighter. This was a great idea. The frame by no means looks blue. You'd have to look up close and very carefully to see the blue streaks, but, sitting above my cabinet, the frame seems to pick up on the colors of the cabinet and the cabinet picks up on the frame. They look like they were meant for each other.

By the way, the paint must be dry to the touch before adding another coat. If your project is small like this one and you don't care to take any breaks from your work, keep a blow dryer handy.

I decided to further freshen up the frame by painting the matte and gold trim. I made a 1/2 white and 1/2 antique white color. (I think I may be a bit color picky... but the white was too bright and the antique white was too dark...) I also made up my own "gold" color. I hated the orange-y gold on the existing frame, but the champagne shimmer I had was too light. So, once again I mixed my own gold color. I used champagne, antique gold, yellow and like a drop of black to dull it (all by Folk Art).

I know I am picky but check out the difference in gold colors:
Who likes the top one? I do! I do! (Okay, just make me feel better and agree with me. Ha! I actually like the original gold color, but it didn't match the brass pieces I have on the cabinet.)

I had to take my angle brush and go back over some spaces on the matte where the gold paint bled through. Did I stress the importance of running your fingernail over the edge of the tape?! Learn from my mistakes!

To finish up my project, I installed the picture hanging hardware. (Just picked this up at Lowe's)

This was seriously my favorite part. I totally enjoyed playing with paint colors and glazes... but not as much as I like playing with a drill! Power Tools! :) (I am not ashamed to admit that upon marriage, I had no clue how to get the drill bit into the drill. I kept looking for a button. Ha!) 

The finished project:

$20- Picture
$4- Frame
$4- Champagne Metallic and Umber Acryllic paint
$5- Chip brush and small angle brush
$2-Picture Hanging Hardware
Already had other paint colors, deep base, and foam brush

Total: $35  

That's less than a 16x20 matte picture at regular price... without the frame! Yes! I win!

I love the way it turned out. It is subtly wonderful. And since it resides above an obviously wonderful cabinet (if you read about the cabinet project, you know I earned the right to refer to it in such a boastful manner haha), it's wonderfulness really should be subtle. It doesn't take away from the cabinet or the picture. I think it adds to it. Once again: I Win!

Side note: It's kind of fun to say: "I Win!" Try it.

I hope I inspired you to try your hand at glazing... though I warn you, it is slightly addictive ;)

I am linked up at:

DIY Cabinet of Awesome

As a warning, I have this love/hate relationship with Pinterest. I love being inspired. I love having a place to store my ideas.


I hate when I research how to do something, invest money to make it happen, spend hours of work on it, have to improvise because nothing is ever as simple as one picture makes it look, and then someone says, "Oh, you got that from Pinterest" as though I saw one picture, clicked it, and it magically appeared. No I did not get it from Pinterest. I got it from blood, sweat, and tears. And not that I think I am so wonderfully intelligent and unique that no one else can think up the same idea on their own or that I am spontaneously inspired without any originating ideas, but lots of my ideas formed in my own mind. My projects belong to inspiration, research, creativity and hard work. Pinterest can share ideas, Pinterest can inspire, but please don't give it all the credit. Okay, rant over. Apparently I felt the need to be raw and human and a little prideful. Please, tell me I am not the only one that feels this way.

So, you have been warned, don't look at this DIY and comment with a "Wow, you got this from Pinterest." I may just "rawr" at you. Ha!

That said, the idea for this project started from need. I needed somewhere to store my scrapbooking stuff, I had it spilling out from under my bed. I needed somewhere to put all my sewing and crafting stuff. What started out as 2 neat drawers in a plastic storage unit in the corner of my room, taking up a mere 2ish square feet, became piles of fabric, ribbon, craft stuff stuffed into paper bags and the now-crammed drawers and spilling out into my room... multiplying square footage of messiness exponentially. Michael, now in a schooling program full-time, needed to use our front closet for his uniforms... the closet where I placed all of Addy's games and preschool stuff. The place where I had hung our preschool cork boards was not my brightest moment.  It has push pins, and it is well within reach of a toddler's grasp. (I found this out at a preschool meet up at my house when 3 of my friends had toddlers and immediately 3 sets of chubby little baby hands were drawn to the cork boards and their push pins... a small nightmare. Sorry friends! But thanks for making me all the wiser.)

It needed to be large enough to house all of my stuff. Pretty enough to be located in my dining area. Functional enough to somehow hide preschool learning time and easily pull it back out. Also, it needed to be inexpensive. Could one piece of furniture really meet all these needs?!

Need made me begin to search the internet and, yes, Pinterest, in search of solutions.

Armed with an arsenal of ideas, I hit the thrift stores in search of the perfect cabinet unit.

I found this piece. (Sorry, I once again forgot to take a good "before" picture. I remembered after I had taken it apart.) I wasn't drawn to this piece because I thought it was pretty. I was drawn to it because it met my need of function. I knew I could add the pretty later.

It's a mission-style, dresser cabinet. It has a couple pieces of pressed wood, but the bulk of it is solid wood. It is well-made, though well-worn. Drawers and doors were sturdy built. My favorite part: the cabinet doors closing mechanism is a magnet grip that makes it hard to open... my kids are not going to be able to open this thing for a few years!

I started this project by cleaning the cabinet with a mild degreaser. I took out the drawer pulls. Since I knew I wanted knobs, I filled in the drawers that had 2 holes with wood filler.

I patch up the major dings with wood filler. I let the wood filler dry over night and then sanded it till it was smooth with wood surface. I scuffed up the cabinet with a sanding pad, but later found out the primer I purchased was good enough to not need to sand first (Look for Zinzer 1 2 3 Primer if you want to not have to sand too).

I primed the cabinet. It took two coats.

I enrolled my father-in-law to help me with the glazing. I wanted it to be a blue color that picked up the light and dark blue in my curtain fabric. It took more samples than I think I could count to get it right. The paint I picked out was the wrong color. I had in my head that my curtains had turquoise in them. Definitely not. It was a dulled blue. I think my dad spent 4 days and 4 hours each day trying to get the color right for me. Thank you Dad for being so patient with me!

I applied the glaze using a positive application (meaning I added some glaze and then used my brush to hit against the paint to move the glaze over the piece. I went back and lightly brushed it so there was subtle brush strokes in one direction. This took a little practice and some extender so the glaze didn't start to dry before I was done with a surface). I messed up the entire cabinet once because I didn't thin my glaze enough. It ended up clumpy looking and way darker than I wanted. I messed up my cabinet doors and had to repaint them when the glaze dried before I was done applying it to door and I ended up with lots of patches of heavy and light glazing. I definitely got to that point where I felt like, "I am just SO over this."

I made a very translucent glaze out of my green/gold paint that I used on this project. I applied it where I thought the sun might have faded the cabinet.

It was so worth it to try out glazing. I love the depth this cabinet has. This cabinet is not just a color like it would have been had I just picked one paint color I liked and slapped it on. It ended up being a work of art marked with my own signature brush strokes. The lighter color comes through. The darker color is subtle. The very faint patches of green/gold are barely visible but add the appearance of a sun-aged piece of furniture. The brush strokes are suggestive of wood grain.

Glazing was frustrating, but it was also fun. I felt like a painter and the cabinet was my canvas. I got to be creative and even daring without having to be a talented artist that can actually paint murals or even just a 8 by 10 canvas. I am so not that person. But glazing kind of let me be. I enjoyed that.

Glazing will require some research and some practice. (Check youtube for how to videos on making your own glaze, glazing application techniques and antiquing furniture... I didn't do this but my dad did and he said he found good information that reminded him how to do it... it had been a couple years for him.) It may even require that you re-prime and start over. But seriously, it is so doable. And I think... worth it.

Thank you SO much DAD! You were such a help! He helped me mask it off (one of the hardest parts of painting something is just prepping it to be painted... especially if you are painting it in your home.) He helped me make the new holes for the hardware. He spent a lot of hours fixing my bad paint color choice. Best of all, he gave me the gift of learning how to glaze. He did the first mix. After that I felt comfortable enough to make the green/gold and the antiquing glaze for my bench project. He made it accessible and let me try my own hand at it. Thank you Dad! I know you could have done this and it would have been seriously beautiful and intricately worked by a master technician, but you let me do it. And now I can take pride in my own handiwork and have a new skill under my belt. Time together and skill learned...priceless gift. 

I picked up some beautiful knobs from World Market. They have a great selection of quirky, antique, and unique knobs. I decided to do 2 different ones, mostly because I couldn't decide which one I like better, but also because it added to the aged-effect and uniqueness of the piece.

I think dressing up the cabinet was my favorite part. I got to shop!

I made one side of the cabinet my preschool side. I hot-glued corkboard squares down the middle of the door. I added ribbon detail to make it look more finished and to divide my board into sections.

It was as simple as cutting and folding ribbon over to keep edges from fraying and hot-glueing it on.

I made the other side of the cabinet my scrap-booking side. By the way I haven't finished putting all my stuff in. I promise it will fill up the entire of this cabinet. Ha! I made this side my chalkboard side for Addy to practice writing her letters, but mostly just for fun. Chalk is awesome... Why? Because it doesn't mark walls or stain clothes, and it is easy on mom and Addy. Having the chalkboard housed in a cabinet door keeps the potential chalk dust mess from being available for Addy to make whenever she wants. There is a "lip" on the cabinet door that catches most of the dust to keep it from getting everywhere. Major Win!

By the way...I went to purchase chalkboard paint from Lowes and it was $15 bucks and only came in quart size. So, I checked Walmart and found it in the acryllic paints section in a small bottle for $5. It would be cheaper to cover a large surface with Lowe's paint, but with such a small section, Walmart wins!

Can you tell I love my cabinet? Ha!

I love it. LOVE it!

My new peaceful view (well, when the house is clean anyways, ha!) from my kitchen sink.

$109- cabinet
$45- Paint: 1 qt of Zinzer 1 2 3 Primer in base color, 1 qt of Behr Eggshell in a dulled dark blue color, 1 qt of Behr Eggshell deep base (for glazing)
$15-drawer knobs @2.99 a piece
$10-door knobs @4.99 a piece
$5-chalkboard paint
Free-Wood filler, Roller, Brushes, extender, masking paper and tape were all on hand from my father-in-law. Cork board and ribbon I already owned (but cork board squares were super cheap at Walmart when I originally bought them... like $3 for 4 pack??). I counted the cost of the green/gold paint I used in glaze in cost of bench I made.

I don't think I could even buy something similar for twice as much if I wanted to. I saved a ton of money doing it myself. Perhaps, the style is a taste all my own, but this girl LOVES the way it turned out. I can't express the pride I have (you know, the good kind) from the hard work and creativity put into this thing. The function of it is AWESOME. I have been able to do preschool time so easy. If Addy is bored, I open up the chalkboard side and let her imagination go for at least a good 15 minutes. My sewing, scrap-booking, and craft stuff is conveniently located right next to the table I do all that stuff on, making set up and clean up much faster. I LOVE it!

Sorry if I appear to brag (and to be honest I so am bragging), but I suppose after 5 weeks of a tore up house and hard work, one should be allowed to gush a little. Thanks for letting me.

Bragging rights earned!

I hope I inspired you to go earn yours!

And promise I won't say "Oh, you got that from Pinterest." Ha!

I am linked up at 

DIY Repurposed Toy Storage Bench

Anyone ever feel as though their entire life has been reduced to cleaning up toys? Some days it feels as though that's all I do.  In an attempt to make life and toy clean-up duty a little easier, I decided to organize my home and start with the living/dining area first because that's where most of the living happens in our little piece of the world.

Honest moment: Having a designated place to put things is great, but I find just having a space that I like to be in motivates me to keep it clean and tidy. Decorating is Organization Motivation... ha!

I set out to find a piece of furniture that could serve as toy storage and a bench. I could use an extra seat in my house when I have company.

I have a VERY limited budget so I hit the thrift stores (with a bestie and without both kids... a winning combination for a productive and fun day). I found a piece of end table ugliness that was the right size for storage and the right height for sitting on. It was a mere $20

I forgot to take a good "before" picture. BUT I found a picture of my cute kiddos with the table in the background before I fixed it up.

Ugly end table is in the upper right corner of the picture. You like? Ha!
I really didn't need to sand it. I did scuff it up a little with a sanding pad. I used Zinzer 1 2 3 primer available at Home Depot. A good primer keeps there from being a need to sand. If you hate sanding, ask around for a good primer to use that will stick to any surface.

I painted the cabinet the color of one of the leaves in my curtain fabric.

My curtain fabric was the inspiration for the whole room. Not quite sure why but I love this print. It has such an organic, easy feel to it. It feels modern, but it's a little bit quirky. I love the colors in it too. I think it might be me in a curtain!

After painting the cabinet, I thought I'd try scuffing it up a bit to antique it. I wasn't too crazy with the way it was turning out, so I stopped. I didn't hate it enough to go back and paint over it though. (Can you tell I got tired of projects and just wanted it to be done?!)

I made a really translucent black/brown glaze that I put over the cabinet to make it looked aged. I used a negative application, meaning I put in on and then wiped it off. I had fun with it... letting it stay heavier in the cracks and on places I thought would be more worn. Glazing was easy and a lot of fun. (However, I seriously feel under-qualified to explain it well. I don't think I could do the entire process justice. Plus, a lot of it is just based on preferences. Don't let it scare you though! Anyone can do it with a couple youtube/blog tutorials under their belt...or as in my case a very well-informed, ex-faux finisher and cabinet glazer for a father-in-law. It essentially involves making a more "clear" paint so that the underneath will still come through.)

I also replaced the hardware.

It is really deep so it fits a lot of toys. Also, my daughter loves to pull out all the toys and use it for a fort/hide-and-seek space.

I made some pillows to make the bench look inviting. I happened to have all of this fabric on hand from past projects. The white pillow was made from an old shirt and scrap fabric. You can see more about it here. For the pillow behind it, I made my own pleating down the middle for some texture, added homemade piping on either side, and then used my curtain fabric for the rest.

For the cushion I purchased a piece of high-density foam. I measured it onto some left over denim fabric I had. 

My mom gave me her left over upholstery cording from a project she did a while back and I made the casing for it out of my curtain fabric. If you want to add a professional touch to a pillow or a cushion, upholstery cording is a really easy way to do this.

Cut cording the length of all your sides and add a couple inches just to be safe. (If you do it like my cushion you will need 2 sets... one for around the top and one for around the bottom.)

Cut a 1 1/2 inch strip of desired fabric. It will need to be as long as cording. (Doesn't have to be one continuous strip of fabric. It is really easy to add length.)

No need for pins for this. (SWEET!) Get out your zipper foot, fold fabric over casing (right side out), and position so your needle hits as close to cording as possible.

The trick to a tight casing is to feed the cased cording at an angle so that the cording touches the tip of the zipper foot and remains as snug against the entire foot as possible... this is achieved by feeding it at at angle. (My mom showed me this... and it changed my life. Okay maybe not my life, but it sure was helpful! Thanks Mommy!)

 To add length, simply fold over end of another strip of another piece of fabric.

Place it over where the fabric leaves off on cording and keep right on going.

Making all that upholstery cording was SUPER easy!
Add it by placing it around the perimeter of your fabric. It can just be sewed as you are sewing the top and bottom of your cushion to the sides (sorry I forgot to take pictures of the rest of the project.) Remember to feed it at an angle so that your seam ends up tight against cording, lest you have floppy cording. Also, I pinned everything together on the foam itself so I knew it would fit nice and snug. Making the cording was easy, but I fear adding it is not. It's not really complicated, it just requires some sewing muscles. I broke 3 needles and managed to sew my finger (ouch!). It is just a bit difficult to sew through a couple layers of fabric and get the cording to cooperate around the corners. Anyone with moderate sewing abilities can do this; it just takes a little determination and muscle.

Now that the bench, cushion and its pillows are done... I say that cording was totally worth it! It looks legit. I can't imagine it looking "finished" if I had used the denim by itself.

Anyone else feel like plopping down on that bench, knees pulled up, coffee in hand, and contemplating life? The bench looks so cozy next to the fireplace!

I am considering adding velcro to the cushion and bench so the cushion stays put but decided to live with it for a while to see if it's even necessary. I forgot to mention I just added a zipper to one side so the cushion case can be washed.

Cabinet: $20
Hardware: $7
Paint: $15 (I am adding my primer cost and glaze cost to large cabinet project cost, because that was what I originally bought the stuff for, leftovers were used for bench)
Foam for cushion: $16
Zippers for cushion and pillow: $4
Everything else I had on hand: Score!
Total: $62

Not bad for a cabinet that houses my kids toys, provides an extra seat in my living room, and adds style and warmth to my home.

Hope I inspired you to go conquer your house projects. You can do it!

DIY Chic Shirt Pillow

I am not this amazing sewer. I enjoy it *sometimes.

But I like creating. I like looking at my home and saying "I made that." I like saving money. It makes me feel like the invaluable Proverbs 31 woman when the work of my own two hands adds to our home.

I wanted some pillows to warm up my space and tie everything together... but mostly just to "cute-ify" it. Pillows aren't all that practical, at least not when your couch all ready has a cushioned back, but oh, the cute girly-ness they can bring to a room. I NEED some pillows.

I got the idea for this pillow here. I saw her pillow made from an unworn shirt and thought, "That looks easy. I could so do that."

It was SO easy. And I SO did it. (In an hour... that includes the time it took to make the liner and the flowers)

I used to be a 5th/6th grade teacher at a school that required teachers to wear uniforms as well as the students, so I have an abundance of white button down shirts I will most likely never wear again. This particular shirt is white, extra-long, and subtly polka-dotted... a perfect combination to making a busty girl appear larger than she is.

Fat-shirt... it is time to destroy you! Mwah-ha-ha! 

This pillow was originally a red microfiber pillow from when I first got married and I was digging the reds and browns. My shirt fabric was too thin to hide the red so I found some white scrap fabric from some curtains and lampshade project I covered my pillow with it. I just sewed three sides together on the wrong side and then turned it right side out, stuffed my pillow in and sewed the pillow shut on the remaining side.

The last seam didn't turn out perfect... But will anyone notice it on my pillow when it done? No. So do I care? No.
I made my cuts on my shirt (mind you... only 2 cuts! Whoo-hoo for easy!)

I sewed the sides together (mind you...only 2 sides! Yep, this was REALLY EASY!)

The best part about using a button down shirt... The company who sewed the buttons and button holes on my shirt also made them for my pillow. I DIDN'T HAVE TO! Whoo-hoo! I can now take off the pillow cover to easily launder it. This is important when your pillow is white and your children are young (okay forget my kids, I make messes wherever I go!).

I added some flower embellishments. I just used some scrap felt cut into 1/2 inch strips and made them into jelly-roll type flowers and used a combination of thread and hot glue to keep them together. I free hand cut the leaves and then doubled-up my thread and stitched the vein down the middle. I used a combination of hot glue and hand-tacking to get it all to stay on the pillow case.

I love the pop of purple in my room with blues, greens and browns. I love the shabby chic-ness of the raised white polka dots. This pillow is cute, super easy, and makes me smile.

Alright, so there you have it. Super Easy DIY Pillow case. Cost: NOTHING. I had everything on hand.

So dig out your scraps, your out-dated pillows, and crucify some fat shirts!

All in the name of a warm and welcoming home, of course ;)

DIY Fabric Rose Hair Piece

Alright, so Thanksgiving is fast approaching which means I am already behind on getting my family portraits done for the Christmas cards. What else is new?! I did go yesterday and get some pictures of the kids done at a portrait studio... ugh! So not fun. Jed just came into this world with a serious demeanor, and, while he definitely smiles and laughs, he does not do this for just anybody... and especially not if you are trying really hard. Addy is 3; pretty sure that's enough said right there, but, in case it isn't, she can only handle so many directions before she completely wigs out and your directions might as well be spoken in Swahili because she's lost her ability to understand them. Needless to say, this time I did not have the problem of "so many good pictures it's hard to pick just one;" I had the problem of "Um, which one is tolerable enough to look at in a picture frame until I get around to doing this again?" At least I really like looking at my kids faces no matter the expression on them.

I want my kids and Mike and me to all coordinate for our family Christmas pictures, totally a "mom-thing" I suppose. So I picked up some fabric that will pick up on the varying shades of blue, green and gray in all our eyes and decided that I SHALL do something with said fabric! I made a little button down shirt for Jed that I accented with cow print from a pattern I had laying around, but stopped shy of the button holes. Not sure why, but button holes scare me. Also, I made a mistake. I am still contemplating whether or not I want to go back and seam rip and resew or figure out some way to make it work as is. Me and patterns do not play nicely together and I HATE seam-ripping and resewing. I was going to sew up a little dress for Addy in the same fabric, but I am not so good at making the underarm part and seem to need to rip out and resew everytime I made something with arm holes at least once...

Can you tell not everything is perfect in my crafting world?!

Finally, as the picture appointment got closer and the thought of family pictures is beginning to move to the forefront of my brain, the need for simplicity over took me.

I got the idea to make a hair piece for Addy and a tie for Jed. EASY! FAST! CUTE! SIMPLE! I took my professional pictures of the kids with these accessories and I like the subtle matchy-ness. I am planning on making bigger adult versions for Mike and I for our Christmas card family pictures. This makes me happy.

Fabric Rose Hair Piece:
Need 2 contrasting pieces of fabric (like 2 pieces of 2.5"x6" or so for leaves and contrasting piece of 2.5" by 18+" for rose)
Fabric Glue
Hot Glue
Scrap piece of felt (2" by 2")
Hair Clip
Piece of 3/8 ribbon (about 6")
Optional: Headband and scrap piece of ribbon (about 1" wide)

Cut 2.5" wide strip of fabric about 18" in length. I am using a cheap Walmart cotton print. COW PRINT! Cow print makes me happy. (Note: the measurements can be wider or thinner, longer or shorter depending on what you want your rose to look like) I used scissors to start my cut and then I ripped my "cut" by hand the rest of the way. Ripping is a great way to ensure you are on the grain, keep your cut straight, and, if you like the slightly frayed look of my rose, ripping will help you achieve this.

Fold your fabric in half lengthwise.
Make a knot at the end of your fabric.
You will make your rose by wrapping fabric around the knot, twisting it a 1/2 turn ever so often. This will make your rose petal affect. (Get some practice in before you start glueing and figure out how loose or tight you want your rose to look.)
Now start make your petals and glue as you go.
To finish your rose, take a little bit of left-over fabric and glue it to underside of rose. Be very generous with your glue.
Rose is complete. Now to add the leaves...
Cut out 2 pieces of fabrics, roughly 2.5"x6."
Fold in half lengthwise and pinch in the middle.
Keeping your fingers pinching the middle of the fabric, bring the two ends together flat against each other. It should look like this:
Twist in the middle to get your leaf like so:
Glue to back of rose and repeat for 2nd leaf.
Cut out a oval-ish shaped piece of felt and glue to back of rose.
Because I have trust issues with fabric glue: I made a couple of hidden stitches on the inside of the "petals" through to the back just to make sure this rose would NEVER fall apart. I think in retrospect I was being overly paranoid, so I will say this is "optional" (but definitely worth considering if you loathe unraveled fabric roses no matter how long it lasted prior to unraveling or how slim the possibility is of it actually falling apart. I obviously would loathe this.)

Warm up your hot glue gun. To cover your hair clip with ribbon (this is great for baby fine hair... it stays in place better and is less likely to take their precious hair with it when they pull it out) place ribbon on inside of clip as far as it can go and wrap around to the top side to find our where to put your hot glue. Put hot glue on ribbon and put in place.
Wrap the remaining piece of ribbon around top end of clip to see where to make your cut. Cut and then hot glue. Repeat for bottom of hair clip.
Hot glue hair clip to ribbon.
You could stop here and have a great hair clip.
Our you can use it on a head band.
To make it a head band: Get a head band. Take piece of ribbon and wrap it around part of head band where you would like your flower clip to go. Wrap ribbon loose enough for hair clip to fit through it. Glue ribbon in place on the back side of head band. Slide hair clip in... Et Voila!
Friendly Fabric Flowers and Funny Faces make for Fabulous Photos... Boom! Try saying that one 10x's fast!
Sorry Addy, I made it; it's mine now. HA! Just kidding. I need to make another for me. I am thinking larger and doing the opposite fabrics for mine. :) Love this project. If you know me, you can probably expect to see fabric flowers attached randomly to something on my person... well maybe occasionally. They don't take much time... but they do take some time... ha!

This project took me LESS than an hour. I have a major irritation with blogs that have these amazingly cool projects that claim to be "nap-time" projects and always turn into nap-time+the rest of my afternoon+bedtime projects. Maybe I am not very talented or fast, but don't sell me an idea promising it will take less than an hour, unless it will for the average not-super-crafty person. Because, seriously, the average person is NOT super crafty. Okay, wow, didn't mean to rant, but apparently I needed to get that one off my chest.

Because not everything is perfect in a crafting world... Notes from this project:
  • If this is your first time making fabric flowers, allot time for playing around with fabric.
  • The first time I made a rose, it came undone because either I didn't put enough glue on or I didn't let glue set. Either way, I have been cautious since, and haven't had another incident.
  • Only other notation: This project actually was as easy as it looks! Sa-weet!

Look forward to my next blog post: DIY Baby Tie. Depending on my ability to pack and clean for our weekend road-trip, it should be forth-coming tomorrow.

DIY Cloth Wipes and Wipes Solution

While researching cloth diapers, I gave the only friend I knew of who CD'd a bombardment of questions and along with a ton of other information, she said that she also used cloth wipes. Her logic: if you already have to clean diapers, might as well do the wipes too.

Makes sense to me.

She even told me how she made her own wipes. Thank you friend!

More money saved!

To make my own wipes I took 2 pieces of 9"x9" baby flannel fabric and sewed them together using a tight zigzag stitch (practice on some scraps till you find what you like. I had my machine set to the widest zigzag setting and then had my stitch set to a little over a "1"). This project ended up being a great chance to use up some of my funky leftover thread that was cluttering my sewing drawers. The corners were a wee bit tricky, but other than that it was easy. A little time consuming, but easy. Confession: this project made me have dreams of owning a serger. So if you are blessed with a serger, serge away knowing there are girls out there suffering from a small case of serger-envy.

I bought 4 different baby boy fabrics in 1/4yd measurements. And 1 yd of a plain baby blue and white stripe for the backside of the wipe.

Tip: Tell the person behind the cutting counter that you want 1/4 yd. from grain to grain so you actually have 9 inches of usable fabric. My wipes ended up smaller than I wanted because the cuts were slanted.

These wipes are SO soft. Confession: after making these for my son I was tempted for one brief second to get rid of toilet paper in the house and use these luxurious guys. Then I realized how much nasty laundry that would make for me and the idea was gone just as quickly as it had came. But seriously, these wipes are so soft, so durable, and after four months of usage, I have only had one diaper change that required more than one wipe. My son has one happy little heiney!

This momma, who was definitely nesting at the time she made them, loved her fabric choices. Now that my son is 4 months and the thought is looming over me that one wipe per diaper change will not do the trick when I start him on solids and I will need to make more... I realize: They are wipes. Wipes. For poop. Do they really need to be cute? Ha! Okay, maybe a little... what is it about moms wanting all things to be cute for their babies... even wipes?! Now, my next project will be turning an old t-shirt and a couple of receiving blankets from my abundant stash into wipes. No baby pirate print, but they will do the trick.

For the Wipes Solution, just plain old water could do the trick, but for the sake of a smoother and softer baby bum I make my own solution.

  • Hairspray bottle (these bottles makes for the gentlest spray on a baby's bum. Way better than a spray bottle.)
  • 1 squirt of Aloe Vera (about a tsp)-this will keep your baby's bum nice and fresh
  • 1 squirt of Baby Oil (about a tsp)- this helps keep your baby's bum soft. Little bit of oil also helps the mess come off nice and easy. (Olive oil could also be used for you all-natural momma's... I use baby oil because, well, I guess I like to have something that positively affects my sense of smell when working with stuff that negatively affects my sense of smell.)
  • 1 small squirt of Calendula cream (about 1/2 tsp only because too much will clog your spray pump) (optional): this is a great all-natural diaper rash treatment. I usually add this too, but I am out. 
Put ingredients into a clean bottle and add water till bottle is full. Shake before each use.

This bottle lasts me a little over a month.

Please note: Though I did some research before making solution, and I am positive I am not the only one that uses a solution like this, I am not a medical professional and this has only been tested on my son's bum. Use at your own risk.

A little fabric, a little spray paint, and a whole lot of hot glue... makes an old lamp brand new

Last week my daughter decided that she needed to pull on the slightly loose piece of fabric on the lamp shade. The results:

And besides an old lamp made uglier, it also resulted in the motivation I needed to finally redo this lamp. I have had it since I got married (6 years ago!) and Granma passed on some of her old furniture to help furnish our first place.

This project was pretty easy. I happened to have some leftover fabric from a curtain project a while back. Bonus! I can have a lamp that matches my curtain. Am I put together or what?! (And to those who know me well and know that I always have at least one item on my person that does not match, you are welcome to insert your chuckle here).

What I needed:
Old Lamp
Spray Paint
Scrap fabric (I had a like major yardage of an 18" strip... but a yard of 54"-60" would do the trick on a shade like mine.)
Bias Tape
Hot Glue Gun

I spray painted the base. I had thought about making it a nice black. But I quickly nixed that notion... I am a little crazy, so I made it blue. This made me very happy, and I do have little pops of blue throughout the room this lamp is residing in. So it worked and its surprising. I think it's a good idea to have little surprises in your home (and no I am not talking about about your toddler's sippy cup under the arm chair that has a strange smell coming from it or your pair of lacy panties that got lodged between the cushions when you were folding laundry). Not too many surprises, that's overwhelming for the eye; just a few, so the eye has some places to go that make it smile.

Smile Eye. The Lamp is now Blue!

 While I waited for the paint to dry I decided it was the perfect opportunity to clean and sanitize the race car activity station for Jed. Brilliant idea for whilst I finished this project, he was kept occupied (for a little while anyways).
Awe! Gushy Mommy Moment! That smile is warming my heart :)

I took apart the lampshade. I decided to save the lining on the inside in case I wanted to put it back on when I was done.
I put a piece of fabric up against a section of lamp and rubbed a pen along the frame to get my patten. I put seven pieces of fabric together (I only needed 6, but I wanted an extra one in case of mistakes) and cut them out. I made sure the fabric grain ran down the middle.
I worked one section at a time. I hot glued the fabric directly onto the frame of the lamp. It seemed to work best to start on one of the vertical sides (going up the lamp), then do the bottom, then the top, and then the other vertical side. Pulling it very tight was very necessary to keep from there being any weird pulls in the fabric. It took just a little muscle but this wasn't too hard.
I trimmed all the extra fabric.
 I opened a thin piece of doubled bias tape and placed it along the vertical framework of the lamp.
I put the lining back on. It didn't "need" it. I just think the shade looks a little more "legit" with it and it keeps my white on white flowers from standing out too much (I do have to share my home with my masculine husband, ha!) Then I took a wider piece of single bias tape and glued it to the top and bottom.
I thought I would love the lamp with some spring green ribbon trimming the top and bottom, so I added that too, but, alas, I decided it made the floral shade look like it belonged in a girl's bedroom on a hot pink base. But, nevertheless, I bet ribbon could look good on someone else's lamp shade project...
I pulled the green off. I love that about hot glue. It has a strong hold, but not so strong my ill-choiced ribbon had to stay put.

I like the way it turned out. (Btw in the picture on the right it looks like the lampshade is misshapen in one's not. It's the way all the sections are because the fabric is pulled tight.)  For the picture on the left, I used no flash so you could see the subtle-ness of the floral print. I am thinking I like the white on white pattern for a lamp shade. It's a little girly, it picks up the fabric from the curtains, but it doesn't overwhelm the room with "Girl." (Husband appreciates this.)

This project cost me less than $10 because I had almost everything on hand. So next time you are feeling like you need a new lamp--thrift, garage sale, or search your own home for a lamp with a decent shaped base and a shade that has a metal frame. And let the Creating Commence!

I am thinking about distressing the base. I do love shabby chic. What do you think???

Here is the lamp sanded after the first coat of spray paint to give you an idea of what it would look like distressed. I just can't decide! Help! (I used the flash so you could see the contrast... it's not actually that blue)

Also thinking about adding a different colored ribbon to trim the top and bottom of the shade. My white walls make me want more color, but maybe the blue is enough? Maybe a nice beige ribbon? Ah...Decisions...

Thankfully it looks really good in the room as is, so I have plenty of time to process a decision. :)

Because not everything is perfect in a crafting world, my notes from the project:
  • I should have paid attention to what could be seen with the lamp shade on. I sprayed what I thought would be visible and ended up having some brass exposed at the top. It's kind of bugging me, not quite enough to fix it yet though.
  • I sanded the first coat a little to get the next coat to "stick" good, but forgot to wipe down the lamp, so now I have a slightly rough finish where the pieces of paint are underneath. Also, brass isn't the best thing to sand. Sometimes, Amanda... Oh well, it's kind of fun driving my former-professional-painter-of high-end-finishes husband a little crazy.
  • This used A LOT of hot glue. Like 8-10 sticks. Have lots of hot glue on hand before you embark on a hot-glued lampshade adventure.
  • The metal frame of the lampshade was cool to the touch, so it quickly cooled the hot glue. I had to pull off set glue a couple times because I wasn't fast enough.
  • I used a decorator's 100 percent cotton fabric. It's a little more durable than just plain quilter's or dress-maker's cotton. It pulled tight just fine, but I worry that a low quality cotton or different kinds of  finer fabrics may not look good taut or withstand the pulling well. (Also thinking the fabric needs to be one that can withstand the heat of the hot glue without melting???)
  • This took me 10 minutes spread out over 3 hours to spray paint (3 coats) and 3 hours spread out over 2 days to complete the lampshade. So if you have 2 small children and craft on your dining room table, plan on it taking a while. If you have a glorious project room, an empty nest, and dedicated and sacred crafting time, it'll probably take you significantly less time.

Dinosaur Hoodie

 My daughter loves dinosaurs. I love that she loves dinosaurs. So, I decided to make her this hoodie. And since I made one for Addy, I had to make one for Jed too [Of course!]. Thank you pinterest and Handmade by Jill for the inspiration. By the way, if you enjoy sewing and have a moderate skill level at it check out the "Handmade by Jill" link to see how she did it. Hers is ADORABLE!

If you don't particularly enjoy sewing or aren't very skilled at it, here is a cheap, easy way to make a stegosaurus dino hoodie.

Hoodie (Jed's is fleece and was $3.50; Addy's is Jersey-knit, standard sweatshirt material, and was $7.00; both from Walmart)
3 pieces of felt paper (1 white; 1 black; and one color of your choice for stegosaurus plates; only $.20 a sheet at Walmart)
2 wiggly eyes
Fabric Glue

Pick out your color for the stegosaurus plates. I let Addy do the picking... purple hoodie and pink plates...can you tell she picked?? For Addy's 4T size, I folded the felt sheet in half and then cut it in half again so after I was done cutting I had 2 equally sized strips of felt (about 3" wide). (For Jed's smaller 12 mos sized hoodie I made strips 2" wide)
While I am sure you could make a more accurately shaped stegosaurus plate, I went with the super easy to cut triangle. Since sometimes I just want to get stuff done rather than be perfect, I free-hand cut my triangles. I cut my doubled-up strip of felt at a 45 degree angle.
I then took the piece I had just cut off to use as my guide for my next cut.
Now that I had my one triangle cut, I used it as a guide to cut the rest of the triangles.
After cutting all my triangles (I needed 2 sets of 7 for both Addy's and Jed's), I glued them together in sets of two. I did this to make them extra strong.
I placed an even, thick line of glue along the top seam of the hood and began placing my triangles one at a time.
As soon as I got one triangle placed, I pinned the triangle to the hoodie to make sure it would dry in place.
To conquer the problem of the tricky curve in the hood, I folded the hood flat along the top seam, placed the triangle behind it where it needed to be, and used the hood itself as guide for where to cut the triangle.

Place an even, thick line of glue down the center of the back and place your triangles.
I cut the teeth using a similar method to the stegosaurus plates. (Mine had a height of about 1 1/2" and a base of 2 1/4" on Addy's and a height of 1" and a base of 1 1/2" on Jed's). I made a thick, even line of glue on the underside of the hood opening (about 1/2" in) and placed the teeth.
I pinned them in place.
To do the eyes, I doubled up two pieces of white felt and free hand cut an imperfect circle. (Doesn't matter if its perfect...slightly oval looks good...just so long as you get 2 that look the same, hence the doubling.)
I doubled up 2 pieces of black felt and free hand cut the base for the eye, making sure Addy's had some eyelashes. I glued the wiggly eye and two pieces of felt together and then glued that onto either side of hood. (Note: I had my kids try the hoodies on first to ensure a "non-awkward" placement of eyes.) I pinned them in place.
Let glue dry for 2 hours and then they are good to go.

Because things are not always perfect in a crafting world, here are some of my notes:
  • My very-cautious self went back and did a loose hand-stitch over everything. This took some time (but it was a great "breast-feeding" project). The glue seems to have a sturdy hold especially on the fleece, but I can't stand spending time doing a craft only to have it fall apart and I have no experience with fabric glue. 
  • I kid you not, the fabric glue made me high (my husband got a kick out of watching me crack-up laughing over nothing). And while it may be funny, the headache that followed was not. I got one word for you: Ventilation!
  • I laid out the triangles and the teeth before placing them to see how much, if any, spacing was needed.
  • The fabric glue got a little messy, and you can see it in some places if you look closely.
  • I used fabric glue on the wiggly eye and so far it's it's holding strong. I thought I'd give it a whirl, mostly because I was too lazy to plug in the hot glue gun. 
My overall thoughts on the project: It was easy. It was cheap (less than $10 per hoodie). And best of all, it was absolutely worth it when Adelaide put her hoodie on, raised her dino claws in the air, and started rawring. Heart is Happy!

Recipe Organizer

Sometimes I have moments of brilliance.

Sometimes this brilliance is very simple. But brilliant nevertheless.

Confession: I am a messy cook and an even messier baker. Because of this my recipes look, well, gnarly after a couple uses (okay, I'll be honest... after just one use). You know, a little flour and powdered sugar, batter globs, oil splashes... or the unfortunate raw meat (very unfortunate because I now have to rewrite or reprint the recipe to avoid being seriously gross and unsanitary).

So, my simple solution: Binder and sheet covers. Simple. Brilliant.

I love pulling recipes off of blogs and recipes sites, ripping them out of magazines, or scribbling them down during a phone call to my mom or mom-in-law when I am in need of creativity and something tried and true. So, most of my recipes are not contained in a book (and, if they were, the book would be pretty messy); therefore, I need somewhere to put my finds or risk having a messy stack stuff inside the only recipe book I do have. I also love having a binder that contains ONLY what I have tried and liked. I love that I can catalog my recipes, pull them out and write my notes, and wipe the page clean with a rag when I'm done using the recipe. By the way, here's another freebie: Keep a pen handy in the kitchen. I am forever changing things about my recipes, or lack of ingredients leads to a brilliant improvisation, or after trying it once I think of something that could be better about the recipe. I write it down, because I never remember it when I go to make it again.

I put untried recipes in the pocket. Notice first page is my favorite French Toast recipe from pioneer woman: French Toast with Berry Butter. That woman is my hero!

I like to add what I cooked alongside things. Gotta serve a starch and greens with dinner too... but I sometimes lack creativity. Now I only have to be creative once!

I write down all my improvisations. By the way, SUPER YUMMY turkey meatballs. If you can read it; steal it! (Otherwise wait till I have the time to post it. You may be waiting a while ha!)

I take note of how I felt about making it (easy, hard, time consuming...) and how my husband felt about it. Gotta keep the mister happy!

Um yeah... this is why I love this. One of my "famous" most used recipes. It is in yucky condition. YUCKY! I really should rewrite this! But then that would take time...

Happy, Simple, Clean Recipe-ing Wishes to You!

Nursery Wall Art on a Budget

We rent our apartment, therefore we cannot paint or wallpaper our apartment. But when a women is nesting, Lord knows, she wants to DECORATE! I want a cute nursery, but don't have much money or much liberty living in a rental. My simple solution was to add some wall art. I went down to my local thrift store and found some framed photographs from the 1980's (and they looked like it too!). But the frames worked and the mattes were good. I found 3 matching frames for $8.00.                 

The frames taken apart and already spray painted. If the lovely clerk from the thrift store happens to come across this... I apologize for destroying the art work. (The clerk was horrified that I would throw out the picture and reuse the frames... but what are you gonna do?!)

...As a brief aside, my church just opened its thrift store, City Thrift in Lodi, CA. All profits from store go to feeding those in need as well as into our women and children home and young men home in the process of being built. I say this to say that if you are in the area, consider taking your donations and doing your shopping at City Thrift, and, if not, consider supporting a local non-profit thrift store that gives back to your community. And, as an added bonus, they are often cheaper.

Okay, so back to the project...

I found a cute farmer boy fabric at Walmart to go with my farm-themed nursery. The print was just the right size for my frames (something to keep in mind should you choose to put fabric in your frames.) Another option I considered was using the wallpaper border from the nursery set I fell in love with. You might not be able to put wallpaper on the walls in your apartment, but who says you can't put it in a picture frame?!

Finding frames and finding what I wanted to put in them was the biggest part of the battle. Once you do that you are ready to tackle the project!

  • frames with mattes
  • fabric, wallpaper, or picture
  • spray paint for frames
  • acrylic paint for mattes (I recommend against using "Apple Barrel" brand for this project. While cheap, they seem more "watery" to me. Not best when painting paper product like a matte. I find Folk Art or Delta brands work best)
  • small sponge brush
  • Disposable pallette paper (or for the "non-painters" like me, wax paper does the trick)
  • Cup with water
  • Work surface and something to paint on... i.e. keep your table paint free. (I used paper towels, but paper towels are capable of bleeding, so if you are super worried... try wax paper.)
  • double sided tape or photo splits
  • scissors
Got my supplies together. Notice the the sun-fading on the matte. Super old, but it totally still worked!
Step 1: Take apart frames and spray paint the frame.

Step 2: Paint your matte(s). You will not want to get too much water on your sponge as these are paper product. It should "warp" just a bit. But as the paint dries, the matte will go back to its original flatness.

Be sure to paint the same direction... could just be my own "particularness" but I think it looks better, not to mention pro.
Notice how my brush strokes all run in the same direction, even around the corner.
Allow the paint to dry completely. It really depends on how many coats you put on, but this should only take a couple hours.
My very sophicated and high-tech acryllic paint drying station.

Step 3: Cut out fabric and attach to matte (the bottom matte if using two or more). To attach, I used photo splits (double sided tape works the same) and placed them on the back side of the matte close to the inner corners. Four did the trick for the smaller frames and six worked for the larger frame. Lay your fabric section on a flat surface and press your matte sticky side down onto the fabric exactly as you want it to appear in your frame.
Step 4: Put the pictures back together in their frames (minus the old picture, of course).

All done!

My favorite picture. Love that I am having a baby boy!

Total Cost:
  • Frames: $8
  • 1/2 yd. of fabric: $1.50
  • 2 acryllic paint colors: $3
  • Paint sponge brush: $1
  • Spray Paint: $3
I had everything else on hand. So my grand total was: $16.50 for 3 double-matted frames. Pretty sure buying some baby wall art would have cost me at least $40 at the cheapest of stores and I managed to get some color into my baby's room for less than a gallon of paint. Sa-WEET!