Monday, February 25, 2013

If you give a mouse a cookie {Or, if you give a girl some flooring…}

***Check out our progress on this project HERE***

I feel like my mind is a little caught up in dreaming about projects these days, so I thought I’d share a little bit of what I’ve been pinning and what I’m hoping to do with it. I’d also love some input from you about what color/colors to paint the buffets I have pictured at the end of this post.

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This is what my KITCHEN and LIVING ROOM look like currently (well, these are cleaned-up versions of what they look like and I’ve added some extra decorative elements to both spaces). For the last several years Nolan and I have been wanting to replace our very low-grade carpet with laminate flooring. The carpet is falling apart and we regularly get poked by carpet tacks. When Jace was crawling he had little pin point size bruises all over his knees from pressing on those tacks.

It’s a bit of an “If you give a mouse a cookie” scenario though… if we replace the floors we’ll want to paint the cabinets. And if we replace the cabinets we’ll want different counter tops. And if we’re doing all that work anyways, why not finally paint all of our downstairs walls? Currently, we only have three walls painted and the rest is a low grade, flat white paint that is in horrible shape. So with our tax return on its way to us, we’ve been making some plans…

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I’m liking the idea of a light, neutral greige for our entire downstairs. I think Behr’s Wheat Bread is my favorite so far. The floors will be a little lighter than Pergo’s Highland Hickory and all our trim will be white.

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I love the look of white cabinets and black granite counters. A Thoughtful Place’s kitchen perfectly shows the floor/cabinet/counter/backsplash look I would love to achieve. Granite counters aren’t in the budget for us, so we’re planning on refinishing our current counter tops.

Faux Granite Countertops

My brother and sister-in-law refinished their counter tops a few years ago and they turned out beautifully! They followed a tutorial similar to THIS ONE. They are in the process of selling their house now, and they’ve fooled three different real estate agents that they have granite (don’t worry, they’ve fully disclosed what the counters really are). We can do all of our counter space, including the bar, for about $100. And as much as I’d love a new tile backsplash, it kind of comes down to being able to paint all of the downstairs, or do the tile. So I’m going with paint. I’m going to try painting our current backsplash. Anyone have experience with that?

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And I wouldn’t mind painting our front door. Right now it’s just white and shows scuff marks and dirt like crazy. The only details I have left to really figure out is a rug for the living room and a change in curtains. But shopping around for those will be fun. What I’m really happy about is that aside from the flooring, we’re thinking we can pull off the rest of the upgrades for around $300-350.

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I also have two buffets—the one on the left is in the entryway and holds Jace’s toys, and the one on the right is in our dining room and holds miscellaneous dishes and d├ęcor items. We’ve planned all along to paint the buffet in the entry way, and now that we’re putting in the wood floors I think they’ll both need a coat of paint. I’m just not sure about what color/colors to use. I think the one in the entryway would look nice black with a little distressing, but I also think it would be really cute in a color. But I’m worried about painting the one in the dining room black. I feel like we’d just have too much black in there at that point. The wall behind it will be painted at that point, and it’s right next to the kitchen which will have the white cabinets and black counters. As far as other colors in the space go—the couches are a dark red, the recliner a faded sage green color (seen in the picture of the living room above), and a black coffee table. In the kitchen I have different shades of red, black, and stainless steel.

I’d love your ideas for what color/colors you think would be best for the buffets.
 

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Simple Bibs {Tutorial}

The Simple Bib

Between spit up and drool I can pretty much guarantee something is pouring out of my four-month-old’s mouth at all times. And even though we keep our Perfect Burp Rags within arms reach, sometimes (or should I say most of the time?) Reese is sporting a soaking wet onesie. I picked up some flannel and cuddle fabric at Joann’s to make a bib that could rival the simplicity of my favorite burp rags.

Burp Rags and Bibs

These bibs were so simple to make and you could easily whip out several of these drool-catchers for your little one, or make a bunch and combine them with the Perfect Burp Rag for a great baby shower gift!

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You can download the pattern HERE, or trace you favorite existing bib to make your own pattern.

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I cut out my bibs in the flannel and cuddle fabric. (My ideal backing material would be the chenille that Joann’s used to carry, you could also use terry cloth but it doesn’t hold the original shape as well. I’m hoping this cuddle fabric will be a good alternative to chenille, but we’ll see how it does with absorbing.) Something to note: I decided to save myself time by folding the fabric in half and cutting out two bibs at a time. Since the flannel is only printed on one side, this means I have two bibs that are mirror images of one another. I did the same with the cuddle fabric. If you’re cutting all the bibs so they’ll go in the same direction, you’ll need to flip your pattern over when cutting the backing material (cuddle fabric in my case).


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I then just serged the flannel and cuddle layers together, wrong sides together. If you don’t have a serger, just go around the edge of the fabrics (no seam allowance) with a serge-like stitch. It does take some practice to go around the tight corners, but it wasn’t bad. The best part about making your bibs this way is you don’t have leave an opening, turn them right side out and then close up the opening and top stitch around the bib. This way is just simple!

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Because I didn’t want to deal with sewing velcro on (keeping it simple, right?) I used my snap tool and put them on in just a few seconds each. Side note: I think this is one of the best sewing tool investments. They’re regularly about $27, but you can use a coupon on it. Snaps are so easy to put on and once you have one of these you’ll find all sorts of ways to use it (I’ve used it for baby shoes, The Ultimate Activity Book, Onesies, felt book, and interchangeable headbands).

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And that’s it! You could easily embellish them with ruffles or flowers, but I wanted to make them quickly. Plus, I figure these will get a lot of wear, which means a lot of washing, so they need to hold up.

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Aren’t they cute?

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I couldn’t resist making a few more burp rags with the left over fabric. In our house you can never have too many!

Reese with bib

And then I put them to the test. I’d say Reese is happy with her newest accessory!

Thanks for stopping by!

Parties I like to link up with:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lola Bea Diaper Bag

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One of my good friends had a baby in December. She and I were due ten weeks apart with our baby girls, which was especially fun because Jace and her older daughter are six months apart and best buddies. She’s also crafty and an excellent seamstress, so preparing for babies at the same time was a lot of fun. There were a lot of in-process and finished-product pictures texted back and forth between us. She made me a beautiful blanket for Reese (seen in Reese’s pictures HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE), and I offered to make a diaper bag for her Leah.

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I actually made this diaper bag for her back in November, but didn’t get pictures taken before giving it to her. So when she was over for a play date the other day, I snapped a few pictures. She chose the Lola Bea Diaper Bag pattern from Sew Much Ado and I surprised her with the fabric choice.

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I chose a very fine ribbed corduroy with a woven cotton lining. Both fabrics were bought at Joann’s. The bag is beautifully designed and has great pockets—both elastic and zippered. The ruffle and magnetic closure are two of my favorite touches.

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It was fun to follow another pattern and see yet another way a bag can be put together. The instructions were simple to follow and I loved how the pattern set me up to create a quality product. The only thing complicated about the project was that there are so many layers to sew through—almost every piece of material had heavy-weight interfacing fused on it, and many of them also had fusible fleece. All these layers mean the bag is very sturdy though—it holds its shape and stands up on its own quite beautifully. I loved seeing the bag in use this week!

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It’s so fun to have our girls be just 11 weeks apart, and will get even more fun as they are able to play together.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I bought this pattern purely because my friend liked it. It was not provided to me, and I have been completely honest about what I thought about it. I really did love it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Parties I like to link up with:

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A few of my favorite things…

I spent some well-needed time sewing the other day. I’m realizing just how therapeutic the creative process is for me, and some pink, ruffles, and simple baby girl dresses did just the trick. I just need to sew some buttons on and then I’ll share them with you! In the mean time, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve been enjoying lately…

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This summer my mom gave me an early “stocking stuffer” and surprised me with a Gel Nail Polish starter kit from Ulta. I’ve loved having it. The polish only lasts a week on my nails before starting to peel/chip, but that’s way better than the [at most] 12 hours regular polish lasts for me. I’ve found that I can have fun with more colors by doing the structure and brilliance coats followed by regular polish and topped with another coat of brilliance. Today I’m wearing Sand Tropez by Essie with a bright pink heart on the ring finger nail. I like pretty nails.


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I’m very confident Reese has reflux (Jace did too as a baby) and her poor little tummy just can’t handle it if I have dairy, chocolate, coffee, pop, or too much tomato based food. So my diet has become pretty depressing. That was, until my mom discovered that Golden Oreos are chocolate and dairy free! I struggled with my first cookie because what I really wanted was a chocolate Oreo. But since then I have fallen in love with this treat. I may have even sent Nolan to Walmart just for them the other day.

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I haven’t really jumped on the chevron boat for my own wardrobe, but after I made THIS scarf for my shop with coral and white chevron and solid coral on the other side, I had to keep one for myself. The jersey knit is super soft and light weight, so I love wearing it.

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I don’t remember when I started following along with The Macs blog, but I absolutely love it when Jess shares from her heart. Their family has been honoring the heaven anniversary of their baby girl, Cora, this week and her words have truly pulled at my heart’s strings.

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Reese’s right thumb is one of my absolute favorite things these days. Aside from how adorable she looks when she sucks it (note the pointer finger curved around her nose), it has brought us some beautiful sleep! Once she finally mastered sucking it a little over a month ago we all started sleeping through the night. She forgot about it for two weeks while sick in January, but has rediscovered it since then. Thanks to this thumb, she will sleep for 11 hours straight at night!

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And while she’s sleeping I get to watch her cuteness via our video baby monitor. Nolan got me one when Jace was just a few weeks old and I would panic every night when I didn’t hear anything over the audio-only one we had. Being able to see him brought me some relief. Since then, we’ve loved it for being able to gauge if Jace actually needed us to get him when he cried (if he was laying down he’d go back to sleep, sitting up we needed to go rock him), it helped with knowing when he was getting out of bed when moving up to the big boy bed, and now with Reese we have a camera on each child. I love that the Motorola has some extra features like telling you the temperature in the baby’s room and you can talk to the kid through it (great for telling Jace to get back in bed).
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And I think my most favorite thing is being mommy to my kids. I was working on scarves the other day and Jace insisted I wear his police hat.

How about you? What are your favorite things these days?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lace Top

A Casually Chic Lace Top by Made it on Monday

 

My computer and I haven’t had much quality time together lately (I was a little preoccupied with putting together a Police Birthday Party), so I’m late in sharing this with you. Kirstin from Kojo Designs and Delia from Delia Creates are doing a fun Winter Whites series. I joined the party by sharing a tutorial for this Casual Lace Top.

 

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Hop on over HERE and check it out, as well as all the other fun posts in this series!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Police Birthday Party

Police Birthday Party

Jace turned three this weekend and we had so much fun celebrating his birthday! A while back I started asking what kind of party he wanted and the response was always, “A square cake with frosting.” His favorite things these days are trains, fire trucks, tractors and Dora, so I would have thought we’d end up with something along those lines. But after suggesting a fire truck party he said, “A police car party!” And that’s what he stuck with.

Police Birthday Party Invite

Thankfully Pinterest quickly connected me with a few bloggers whose sons also love to celebrate law enforcement style and I had my inspiration. I designed the invitations using Publisher and had them printed as photos at Costco.

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For the past two birthdays (1 & 2) I’ve made Jace a special shirt to wear for his party, so this year was no exception. I used my Silhouette to cut out a stencil from freezer paper and painted a police car on a Garanimals shirt.

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My favorite part of the shirt is the lights because I used glitter paint for them. When I showed Jace the shirt, he instantly touched them. So he must have liked the sparkle too.

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The proud birthday boy wearing his shirt.

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We later realized that when Jace was saying he wanted a police car party, he really meant he wanted a police car cake. (I guess the rest didn’t really matter to him?) I started out looking at the Wilton car cake molds, but read a review that said you’d be better off just putting a square cake on top of a rectangle cake. How simple and affordable! I dressed up a box cake mix (recipe HERE) and made my favorite buttercream frosting (recipe HERE), and portioned out amounts of frosting to color for the detail work and then used an entire jar of black food coloring for the majority of the car.

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It wasn’t until about 10 pm the night before the party and I was almost finished decorating the cake when I realized I didn’t have any red food coloring. So we improvised and I used two packets of Cherry Limeade Crystal Lite to color the frosting. And we made sure no one tasted it because it was STRONG!

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The birthday boy blowing out his candle on the “Police Car Party!”

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The favor bags for the cousins who came held a bag of “Cop” Corn and crayons and were sealed with a shield.

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I ordered a policeman set candy mold and used it to make crayons for the kiddos. I think this was my favorite project for the whole party because they turned out so cool!

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I followed THIS tutorial and template to make police hats for each of the cousins that came and put them on them when they arrived.

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I also had little note pads and pens for the kids to use to write “tickets” for everyone. It was pretty cute… they’d walk up to an adult, say, “You’re under arrest” and then have the adult sign a piece of paper and write that they are under arrest.

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The decorations were simple but fun. I bought a roll of Crime Scene Tape and taped some to our front door.

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A garland of balloons and strips of crime scene tape was hung over the buffet and fireplace. Check out my tip for easy balloon blowing HERE.

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We also strung crime scene tape around the fireplace and Jace’s special seat for opening presents.

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During the party we played a Cops and Robbers game where the kids had to find the bad guys—ping pong balls with masked faces drawn on them. It was Easter Egg hunt style and the kids had a blast with it—especially since they noticed some of the hidden robbers when they arrived at the party.

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Another fun activity was a photo booth. I attached on of the police hats, a mask, and a mustache to skewers for props and had everyone at the party get their picture taken.

Police Birthday Party Photo Booth 

The kids especially had fun with it!

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We also had to do a craft! I picked up a pack of wooden stars at Walmart and some glitter glue and the kids got to decorate “badges.”

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I loved how much they all got into it, especially my 6 and 8 year old nephews.


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We had the party at 11 am so it would be over in time for naps, so the food was brunch style. The table was decorated with cheap plastic table cloths and a police toy set of Jace’s. We also bought a Police Beacon Light (which Jace called the siren and LOVED) and had it on the table. And I may have had to turn the light on every day since… We served broccoli quiche, breakfast bake, fruit, muffins and…

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…what police party would be complete without donuts?

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It was so much fun celebrating our fun, crazy, silly, smart, creative, stubborn little boy!

Thanks for stopping by!

Parties I like to link up with: