Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pants Turned Purse

Jen at Tatertots and Jello is giving away and ADORABLE ruffle purse. (I won’t tell you how to enter to win it though, because I really don’t want any more competition than I already have.) I’ve honestly been thinking about this purse since I saw it. I love how huge it is. I love how sturdy it looks. And, I love the ruffles. I didn’t think it would be too hard to make one of my own, and was tempted to buy some fabric at Jo-Ann’s the other day (after all, I had sooooo many coupons thanks to September being National Sewing Month, and when you have so many great coupons, doesn’t it feel like a waste not to use them?), but thought I’d respect my husband and the painstakingly hard work he puts into our budget, and refrained from buying fabric.
Instead, I went digging in my box of clothes that are waiting to be taken to a consignment store or Goodwill. And yes, I referenced that box a month ago in this post, and honestly it had been sitting there for a few months before that. But it just keeps sitting there, so I just keep going fabric shopping in it. I found this pair of dress pants and shirt (the picture’s kinda crummy because I took it with my phone).
What you can’t tell about the pants in the picture is that the light thread is actually silver. I cut the pants down the seams, used the cuffs as the trim around the top, and the waist band as the straps (I left the button on because I thought it added a fun touch), made a few ruffles (and also used an old tank top for the lining), and pretty soon, I had this purse!
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It’s not as wide as I would like it to be, but I was limited in how much fabric was available to me, and had to keep each side the size of the pant leg cuff. I felt like I was making a ruffled skirt for a little girl as I made it. In fact, when I showed it to my husband and asked him what he thought I made it from, he guessed a skirt.
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The rosette was made from the tie-band around the hem of a slinky like shirt (which I think I actually one wore once, and it was a hand-me-down from a lady at work’s daughter). I think I may have to make a few more of these.
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Yay for up-cycling!
Wanna know how I made it? Check out the tutorial here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Art for Jace’s Bathroom

I posted here last week about how I wanted to finally decorate Jace’s bathroom. In that post I had high ambitions of painting the bathroom right away. I thought about doing it. I planned it in my mind. I even visualized taping it off and then rolling the paint on. I thought through where all the supplies are. And then I didn’t do any painting.

But I am motivated. Really. I am. So I got to work on some of the art for the room so when I do paint it (soon, I really will), everything will be ready to hang up! I really like the vinyl decal I have on the wall right now:

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But it’ll have to go when I paint. So I took the idea, looked through all the unused frames and decor in my home, and got to work!

When I was young, probably six or younger, my uncle and aunt made this frame of my name for me (my uncle literally made the frame… it’s stamped on the back even that he crafted it):

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This has sat in closets for years now since it really doesn’t match any of my stuff anymore, and at some point something fell on it and the glass broke. I’ve been thinking of painting it for a few months now (although my mom really thought I should keep it as is for memory’s sake). Finally, I had my inspiration! A few coats of red paint, a few coats of spray on varnish, which then left spots of the frame lighter than others (maybe it was too old?), another coat of red paint, and a coat of Mod Podge to seal it, and I loved the look! I also didn’t want to have to get a new mat, so I just painted that too. Then I printed off my letters (using these wonderful fonts), and absolutely LOVED the outcome!

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I used the red and yellow to match the sign I painted to hang above the toilet.

I also wanted to incorporate the rest of the words from the vinyl (relax, soak, enjoy). So I pulled these out:

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They were a wedding gift and came in a set with a picture frame. While they were beautiful and nice, they don’t match anything in my house and have just collected dust for four years. I roughed them up a bit with sandpaper, and gave them several coats of paint. For some reason, and odd yellow color kept showing up in some spots on the paint (maybe from the original stain?), and then when I sprayed them with varnish (a different one than I used on the red frame so I thought I was safe) it was like the varnish started eating the paint in spots and you could see more of the original wood showing through in brush strokes (I’m guessing all this indicates I didn’t properly prepare my project). So I then roughed it up a bit more with sand paper to give it an aged look. I was happy with that result. I then printed off my words (adding “rest” so I’d have four), Mod Podged a red pattern paper to the back and attached the words in the middle, and ended up with this:

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I’m so happy with how it turned out! Now I’m really feeling motivated to paint the room so I can hang these up. They’ll look much better on a wall than sitting on my floor. Maybe next I’ll come up with a fun towel rack or something!

Also, I have a fun idea in my mind for how to use the wire tub. Oh, and guess how fun it was for me to discover this evening while giving Jace a bath that his rubber duckies are blue and yellow?

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I’ll be linking up with these really cool link up parties… you should totally check them out! :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Re-working Jace’s Bathroom

I’m feeling inspired to fix up Jace’s bathroom. Right now it’s blah… I do have a few cute elements in it—the shower curtain is AMAZING. It was the first thing in our not-quite-married life that I insisted on. I chose it for our wedding registry because I knew it would be cute in a kids’ bathroom some day. It’s opaque clear vinyl with black words written all over it (bubbles, soap, water, etc).

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The room is still just painted with the the basic, flat, white paint contractors use (complete with fun smudges and scratches since EVRYTHING leaves a mark on that paint), but at least I have a cute vinyl decal above the towel rack.

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And once upon a time I was given a bath set in a cute wire bathtub basket.

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I’ve loved each of these items, but haven’t ever taken the time to make the bathroom the cute space they all deserve to be showcased in. (Side note—when we bought our house 4 years ago, we held off a week on moving in so we could do some painting—the living room and our bedroom. That’s all we could afford to paint. Since then, we’ve also painted Jace’s room. Other than that, I stare at my white, scuffed up walls and regularly think to myself that I should get motivated enough to use some of our left over paint.)

Two months ago I bookmarked this super cute sign for a bathroom that Lolly Jane Boutique made. I thought it would look cute in Jace’s bathroom. And finally, on Monday, I felt like doing a project. Using two canvases that I already had, I made my own version of the sign.

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You can’t tell in the picture, but the canvases are painted a light, butter yellow. I am so thrilled with how it turned out! Now I’m motivated to paint the bathroom with the left over light tan from Jace’s room. In fact, I may be motivated enough to start the painting process tomorrow! I plan on hanging this above the toilet. I can picture the space coming together now. A bathroom-words theme (let’s go with the obvious just in case people don’t realize where they are), with a black and white base and red and blue accents. It’s super cute in my mind! The only bummer is that I think I’m going to have to say good-bye to the decal if I plan on painting. But I’m sure I’ll find something else cute to hang there. Or maybe I could just paint my own version of it and frame it or something like that… we’ll see!

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Check out the fun parties I’m linking up with!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Very Productive Monday

I’ve been making a lot of baby food today… LOTS of baby food. I was low on fruit for Jace, and figured it was a good idea to take advantage of all the fresh fruit while it’s still available at good prices. So, I made 4 pounds of kiwis, 4 pounds of plums, 1 flat of yellow peaches, 1 flat of white peaches, 1 flat of pears, 1 flat of apples, and a little zucchini and yellow squash. I already have a lot of veggies frozen, so fruit was my emphasis. Jace is going to be eating well! I love Wholesome Baby Food’s website for lists of age appropriate foods, recipes by stages, and instructions for different methods of making baby food. It’s nice making Jace such healthy food, and it’s really nice knowing I make all of his food for about a third of what it would cost to buy premade baby food in the store.

I also saw this YUMMY looking cookie recipe today at Be Different… Act Normal. Maybe I’ll have to make some once I get off the computer.

I spent a while looking online for fun ideas of gifts I can make for our nieces and nephews for Christmas. I think I could pull of making some really cool gifts for $5 or less per kid! This will be huge since we have 8 nieces and nephews and will be making Christmas happen on a lot less money this year.

Maybe, if I’m feeling really ambitious and forgo actually getting ready for the day (yes, it’s already 3:45 pm and I’m still in my pj’s… it’s been a long morning of making baby food while caring for a fussy, teething baby), I’ll get a few more items finished to list in my Etsy shop.

And since it’s always more fun reading a blog post with a picture, here’s my little guy loving helping mom in the kitchen.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Fun Font Discovery

I love fonts. I have always loved fonts. I think I’m always in search of the perfect font. In college I had to doodle in order to stay focused on what the professor was saying (although I’m sure they questioned my attentiveness). The margins of my notes quickly filled with the name of the class and the day’s date, written over and over again in different styles of writing. It was like I was inventing my own fonts. Once, one of my friends wanted me to write a message on the front of a card for her mom, so I pulled out one of my notebooks and had her choose the style I wrote in… all that to say, I love fonts. So, imagine how delighted I was to discover Fonts for Peas. Monthly, they put out free fonts to download and they are all so cute! In fact, this post is written using one of their fonts: . So head on over and check it out! Just be sure and check out their Terms of Use so you’re sure to respect what they’re offering. This post is written in “Pea Dacia.”

By the way, I chose to tell you about this site without any request or compensation from Fonts for Peas. I was just super impressed by what they offer!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What I use to lift my kitchen decor…

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Snack cracker boxes! And you can’t see it, but there’s an egg carton under the picnic basket. I don’t recommend the light bulb box though… I just noticed that the baking powder tin is now sitting a few inches shorter. I guess it collapsed. Guess it’s time to go buy (and eat) some more crackers!

Curious why I’m posting this? Check out this post.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Kitchen: A work in progress

I love my kitchen and I love the things in my kitchen, but I’ve spent the past four years being dissatisfied with the way I’ve decorated it. My main color in the space is red, with black and silver accents. My small appliances (blender, toaster, milkshake machine) are all retro style and I love them. But the space above my cupboards has been pretty pathetic. I’ve always had some larger pieces up there like a pasta bowl, soup tourine, popcorn bowl, pitcher and colander, but the space in the corner has been sad. I got the idea a few years ago to do something with antique and vintage cookbooks, and sent my mother-in-law on a mission to find ones with good spines (since they would be the accent piece). She found some great ones, but, still, I didn’t know what to do with them. Until Friday evening, that is!

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Somehow, it finally clicked in my mind that I have the PERFECT picnic basket (a wedding gift) that has just been sitting on the floor next to my buffet in the dining room, behind the highchair, being useless. It would make the perfect platform for the cookbooks. I used two antique jars (also from my mother-in-law) as bookends. My husband was wonderful in helping me figure out how to arrange the cookbooks. In the end, he came up with the idea of slightly tilting one in the middle so they’d have the look of still being used. I felt like the books on the basket looked a little too tall, and Nolan (ah, the wonderful, decorator mindset husband!) suggested we keep our eyes out for antique cereal boxes or something. Facebook proved to be wonderful as I wrote on my mother-in-law’s wall that I finally used the books and jars, but wanted to be on the look out for antique and vintage kitchen things. Turns out, she has quite a few of the items I’m looking for, all boxed up from her former kitchen decor! We were up at her house yesterday, and she handed off a Saltines tin and baking powder tin. I LOVE the way they look up there!

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I knew that Is needed something to fill the white space on either side of the center, so I made two [temporary] signs, and plan on turning them into something permanent after I paint the kitchen or something.

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And, ta-da! I could have shared these pictures with you a few days ago, but my kitchen was in DESPERATE need of some cleaning. In fact, if you look carefully, you’ll notice that my sink is FULL and there is a pile of cookie sheets next to it. But, thanks for careful picture taking, the mess isn’t too obvious. I certainly want to add more to this space, but already, I like it way, way, way better than anything I’ve done with it in the past 4 years.

Later this week, I think I’ll share my unseen (and unsightly) tricks for making everything sit high enough to be seen over the molding at the top of the cabinets. But, before I bring this post to a close, I’ll also show you my absolute favorite element in my kitchen:

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This is the recipe my mom used to make cookies for us everyday after school while I was growing up. Once (oh, so many years ago) she copied the recipe from a bag of Tole-house chocolate chips onto a piece of paper, and then that piece of paper was pulled out over and over again. My brothers and I all learned to bake cookies from this sheet. It has been folded and worn. The ink is faded and it is covered in grease spots. But so many of my childhood memories are wrapped up in this piece of paper. As a shower gift before I got married, my mom mounted this recipe on a piece of scrapbook paper, wrote a border about what it is around it, and framed it for me. I LOVE having it, and look forward to when Jace is old enough to help me make cookies using this recipe.

(Sorry the lighting is so not-fantastic in these pictures… My kitchen doesn’t have any windows directly in it, and I live in the beautiful Willamette Valley where fall has set in with cloudy mornings, thus creating bad lighting!)

Please visit the parties I'm linking up with!!!

Kitchen Art Tutorial

We’ve lived in our house for a little over 4 years now, but I’ve never been satisfied with how I’ve decorated the space above my cabinets. A few years ago I got the idea that it would be fun to somehow use antique and vintage cookbooks in the decor, so my mother-in-law started looking for the as she visited thrift stores and garage sales. She gradually built up a good collection for me, but I just couldn’t figure out how to take the picture in my mind and make it happen in my kitchen (that is, without spending a lot of money). I’ve been so inspired by all the beautiful homes I get to take a peek into (thanks to blogs), that I finally decided it was about time I did something. I figured it would be neat to make some plaques/signs, but didn’t want to buy the supplies in case I didn’t like the results. So instead, I made signs from cardboard to see if, in the long run, I’d like them.

Here’s one of the final products:

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And now for how I made it:

I cut a little more from the box I used to make my fall wreath. I cut one large piece, and one smaller piece.

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Then I took one of the cookbooks my mother-in-law found that just wasn’t quite old enough (1974) and tore some pages from it. It’s a Whitehouse cookbook, so there were a lot of old recipes and presidential food facts in it. (I thought recipes as a background would be fitting since cookbooks are my theme.)

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Then I Mod Podged the recipes onto the cardboard in different directions.

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My kitchen walls are white (thanks to not knowing what I wanted to do with the space when we moved in and pure laziness since then), so I needed the boards to have a little color to them to stand out off the walls. I added a little brown paint to the Mod Podge, which ended up giving it a cool antique look (kind of like old newspaper).

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I googled “kitchen quotes” and found one phrase that I liked, and chose to just put “Eat” on the second sign. First I sketched out the look I wanted on a piece of paper, and then when I went to trace it onto the boards, I didn’t like the way I was spacing things, so in the end I just free handed it. I’m always so much happier with my work when I just go for it rather than try to think too much :). After painting the words on, I hot glued red ribbon around the edges to give it a more finished look. In the end, I’m quite pleased with the outcome!

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Maybe one of these days I’ll actually paint my kitchen, buy some boards and make permanent signs! (This sign is being held up with masking tape. I tried using the 3M tabs that are amazing… but either ours are too old, or the cardboard bends a little too much, or our paint is weak, but they just couldn’t stick. Yay for good ol’ masking tape!)

Please visit the parties I'm linking up with!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fall Book-Page Wreath

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I LOVE all the book page wreaths people were making a few months ago (I know, I’m a little behind the times). My absolute favorite wreath in blog-land was made by the Paper Princess and shown here. I just never made one because I didn’t think I had a very good place to hang one in my house. But then, Mad in Crafts did a post this week about how she loved Pottery Barn’s use of leaves cut from pages. And that inspired her to dress up her fall wreath a bit, which in turn inspired me! While she used book page leaves as accents in her wreath, I thought it would be fun to make wreath of book page leaves.
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I also added some paint to Mod Podge to add a little extra something to the wreath. I wasn’t too happy with those results until I added the silk leaves and orange bow. Now I love it, and love seeing it when I come home… if only my front door was a color other than white… like black, or red, or…
Wanna know how I made it? Check out my tutorial here.


Tutorial: Book Page Fall Wreath

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I LOVE all the book page wreaths people were making a few months ago (I know, I’m a little behind the times). My absolute favorite wreath in blog-land was made by the Paper Princess and shown here. I just never made one because I didn’t think I had a very good place to hang one in my house. But then, Mad in Crafts did a post this week about how she loved Pottery Barn’s use of leaves cut from pages. And that inspired her to dress up her fall wreath a bit, which in turn inspired me! While she used book page leaves as accents in her wreath, I thought it would be fun to make wreath of book page leaves. I found a template of four leaf shapes here, make patterns out of the cardboard backing on a stack of paper, and traced the shape onto stacks of pages.
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(I have to tell you how sacrilegious I felt doing this—I have a degree in English Communications which means I took a LOT of literature classes in college. One of the books I had to buy (and loved reading, of course) in different editions for different classes was the Norton Anthology. These books are HUGE. And expensive. And the bookstore could never buy them back because I went to a small Christian college where many of the lit classes were only offered every 4 years. So I was stuck keeping these books. Do I ever crack them open again? Do I think I’ll ever read from them again? No. So I chose to use my anthology of American Literature and took pages from the back… so at least I was destroying the writing of modern classics from the 80’s, which to me aren’t that phenomenal. I figure better that than some Whitman or Emerson, right? Also, at least I know that my wreath is full of good writing!)
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I try to make the projects for my house with items I already have, so I cut out my wreath form from the cardboard box my son’s backpack carrier came in. I used a large serving platter for the outside circle, and a dinner plate for the inner.
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I then hot-glued quilters batting to the cardboard to give the form a little shape.
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Then wrapped the thing in linen.
(Good thing you can’t see the back, it isn’t pretty.)
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I then glued a layer of leaves to the form. I just went through the leaves in a pattern—alternating simple and complicated styles.
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For every row after that, I tucked the bottom of the leaf over itself a bit so it would have a little shape/depth to it.
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And then glued it down. This took a longer line of glue for each leaf, so both sides of the fold/tuck/pleat what-have-you would stay down instead of coming unfolded. I just kept going until I had the wreath at the fullness I wanted and it completely covered the form.
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This is my crafting buddy, Sophie. She’s OBSESSED with being with me when I craft or sew. She could care less about me the rest of the time, but if there’s a glue gun in my hand, she insists on being petted.
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All finished gluing!
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I thought it could use a little color to make it more fall like, so I added paint to Mod Podge and randomly painted different leaves. I liked how some of the leaves turned out, but others I wasn’t so fond of (the ones that had more of the messy look to them).
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And I felt like it still needed a little something, so I pulled out a silk leaf piece of a garland I had and glued it to the wreath. It still needed a little something more, so I added the orange bow (I’m not sure where that stuff came from, I randomly found it in a basket in a closet a few weeks ago!). I used a little more of the orange ribbon/jute stuff (whatever you call it), braided it, made a loop from that and glued it to the back at the top to hang the wreath with.
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In the end, I’m happy with the results!
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Check out the parties I may be linking up with…

Monday, September 6, 2010

I was Featured!

I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how exciting this is for me! The headband and ruffle shirt I made for Hannah (and the fact that I had Jace model the shirt) have been featured on Little Miss Momma! Ashley had a super fun headband week, and I joined the link up part.

Why is this oh, so exciting for me? Because I am a blog-stalker-extraordinaire! I have been watching and watching and bookmarking and bookmarking for who knows how long. I click on so many of the features from the weekly parties on countless blogs and always admire the ladies and what they come up with.

And then, not that long ago, these link up parties inspired me to renew my love of all things crafty and start a blog about what I make so I don’t over-crowd our family blog with ruffles (gotta keep my brothers actually wanting to read about our family happenings). And then, I started linking up too because those parties are so much fun… and now, I’m being featured! This is seriously so exciting for me (as if you couldn’t already tell).

Ah, what a perfect way to end a long weekend… That’s all.

It’s a Set!

I had a lot of fun sewing today! I started the diaper bag last week, but wasn’t able to finish it until today. And I had fabric left over and plenty of inspiration, so I made a matching “mess bag” and changing pad as well! I love that this fabric is gender neutral yet super cute.
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Every time we go to church, I take Jace to a babysitters, or really, anytime I head out with Jace and plan on feeding him, I throw a spoon and his food into a zip lock bag. I’ve thought over and over again that a vinyl lined pouch would be perfect for these things so I could just wipe it out after we return home. While this one’s for my Etsy shop, not me, I think I’ll have to pull out my leftover fabric from Jace’s bag and make one for us too.
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The set wouldn’t be complete without a changing pad. I put terrycloth between the layers of fabric and vinyl so it’s padded for a baby head, yet still flexible and easy to fold.
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Parties I may link up at...