Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Piece of my Home

In every house there are the little spots, vignettes, areas that are more near and dear or favorite than others. My hubby and I have things all over our home that are important to us as a couple and things we both cherish. But, after decorating for Christmas there is one spot that makes me smile every time (and it's right by our bedroom door so it makes me smile quite a bit).

This little spot just has a few things that mean a lot to me. The silver tree came with me all through college and now found a permanent place in a real home. It's had all sorts of color schemes and seen a lot. The ornaments are vintage ones that I've collected for as long as I can remember.

I love the picture of my dad walking me down the aisle at our wedding. It's candid and we both look so natural and legitimately happy. It's one I'll cherish forever and keeps a special place on our bedroom dresser.

The 'catch-all' bowl/plate I took back to the states from Australia a few years ago. It's real mother of pearl and I snagged it for a steal along the ocean since this precious stone there is like dirt here in the Midwest.

The holidays are the perfect times to reflect on memories made and to be made. In my first 'real home' as a married woman it's amazing to have a space of my own to decorate for my hubby and I that we will cherish forever. I hope and pray that you and your family are making memories every day.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My First Refashion (ever)

Blogland is full of of creative people turning one thing into another. They always seem to be the weirdest/ugliest things that turn out incredible. Well I was a little jealous of this talent that you all have so I had to try my hand at it.

I've been following Kathleen over at Grosgrain. She is doing a "Knit Embellishment Month." Every day she refashions a sweater with a fantastic tutorial, and I have to say that they are all stunning! I wish I had enough sweaters to cut up. (My second hand stores must not be as good as the secret ones she has ;) ) The other day I had just packed up a box of clothes to donate when I read this post. I was totally inspired since I knew I had just packed up a sweater to donate that I knew would work!

This is the ugly sweater that it started with, it was about 3 sizes too big and hit me in all the wrong places. (Don't mind the pile of unfinished projects in the corner, I really need a 40' countertop to pile them on!)

This is my spin on her refashion. I was pretty impressed myself and now it's my favorite 'fall back' sweater when I want something comfy to throw on that I know will look cute. Thanks for the inspiration Grosgrain, I might have to try more!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sparkly Stick Knockoff

The other day I went Christmas decorating shopping with my mom. I'm pretty excited that this is my first house that I get to decorate (ever!). Eeek! and I'm busting with excitement because my hubby is letting me get a real Christmas tree and the house will smell incredible. He was excited about not having to store the honking huge thing, haha. Anyways, we went shopping and it blew me away how much decorations are. I'm going vintage with mercury balls and cardinals look. I about passed out when I saw that they were charging $18 for glittered sticks! So, knowing me, I thought, "No biggy. I can make that WAY cheaper." So I did....and this is the adventure that got me there. Just wait until you see them on my tree. And tonight I picked up more supplies for sticks to match these so be sure to check back and see what I do with more sticks and twigs.

It all started with this unsuspecting bush. I'm not really sure if it is ours or our neighbors' but it had the perfect sticks! I was looking for perfect sticks that look almost fake.

I gave the bush a small trim and gathered all my sticks in the garage. I trimmed them of all little sprouts and made them nice and smooth.

The ones I saw were red, and this is the scheme I was going for anyway. I prepped the floor and gave them the first step by coating them in red spray paint. (Side Note: this has to be a quick process so I'd do this without distractions such as kids, husbands, or pets)

While the paint is still wet, rub the tacky stick in a pan or container or glitter. Roll it around and make sure the the entire stick is covered before it dries.

After the stick is completely covered, you can call it quits or do an extra preventative step. Storing sparkly decorations always ends up in a tub with a bottom full of glitter. To prevent this, I gave my sticks a coat of clear coat. You can choose either gloss, clear, or flat. I did clear to let all my glitter shine through.

The final product was exactly what I was looking for without the high dollar price tag. They are carefully tucked into our basement until I can put up my tree (after the whole gang is here for Thanksgiving feast). I'll be sure to show you how they look on the tree. Be sure to stop back tomorrow to see more "sticks on a budget."

(They have a whole lot more shine in real life, dang those pictures that I don't know how to take)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Garlic Quick Fix

When I was younger, my mom always had this weird container of goofy gunk in the fridge. Every time that you went to open the butter container, about 1/3 of the times it would be the 'wrong butter container.' Ya see, she made garlic butter with a butter container when it got down to about 1/2 cup left in the container. I thought she was crazy but now even by husband is addicted.

When I lived on my own before I got married I lived on 'gourmet grilled cheese.' All my roomates were addicted. I used my garlic butter concoction and it was super delicious! Now I've upgraded to a glass pyrex container so I know which container to grab but we still always use it.

This mix is perfect for a 'gourmet grilled cheese' with tomato soup, a quick remedy for garlic bread (spread some on bread, sprinkle with shredded cheese and pop in the oven for about 7 min), and any type of panini. 

Garlic Butter Concoction:
Start with about 1/4 to 1/3 cup butter

Add the following spices:
     1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
     1 1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash original
     1/2 tsp thyme
     (I'll sometimes add more depending how it smells)

Mix it all up and pop back in the fridge for the next time you quick need garlic bread. Sometimes it will separate in the fridge but just stir it up again and it's just like new.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Operation Christmas Child

This is crazy to say but I'm afraid I've turned into my mother. O no! ;) (She'd be glad though) I have a thing with putting Bible verses everywhere. It's a little weird I know but it's "my thing" I guess.

Every year our church is a part of Operation Christmas Child. They fill shoeboxes with toys and send them all over the world. My mom used to do them when we were little and we got to fill the boxes with things that we would want. This year it came up again and I wanted to do it. The other night my hubby and I went out and got shoe boxes and stuffed them full to ship across the world. We each found these perfectly little notebooks. The fronts were pretty plain jane and I don't really do plain jane.

I spruced them up with a little scrapbook paper, some glue, and of course a Bible verse. I'm happy with how they turned out and they looked so cute in their boxes all ready to be shipped out. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pillow Tutorial

I'm on the lookout for simple and quick pillow ideas to decorate and make 'homey' before the crew is over for Turkey Day. I came across this tutorial at Cluck, Cluck, Sew and had to do it immediately. It's incredibly easy and looks high end. I had to share it with you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wonder Woman

My hubby never has a problem with me up in my design/sewing/creating studio at night. I love being up there and making and creating anything and everything but there is ONE thing that I won't do in there.....mend. I think I hate it because it offers me no instant gratification of something pretty. He knows this and usually takes it to his mom, which makes me feel back since she isn't much of a sewer. The other day when he left for work, he said he was down to one pair of pants because the rest were ripped or in repair at his mom's place. So after playing for myself in my studio I went to his parents' to get his other pants and fixed them all. Every pair had already been fixed somewhere at lease twice. When he got home I had all 3 pairs mended and folded on the table. He was surprised to say the least that I had done all of this. I was still grudging doing them until he put them on the next morning all SUPER excited because he had forgotten that those were his favorite pants. 

Moral of this long drawn out story.....It's the little things you do for your spouse that make the biggest difference. Who would have known that fixing his pants (with unmatching thread) would have made his day?!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Privacy Please

I've always been a country girl and now live in town...if you have ever done this you understand my struggle. This means I have to keep curtains closed at night, actually put decent clothes on if I have to run to my car in the driveway, and be close to neighbors. To top it off we live directly across from the city park. I love how it's always active and we will randomly have children stop in if they need something or have a problem (it's a really small town so this is legit!)

I am adjusting but our front door (the old school entry that goes into the living room that we never use) faces the park and the windows being empty were starting to weird me out that you can see directly into the main area of our home. They are annoying side light windows that add sunshine but are hard to cover.

(Sorry about the dark pictures, it's a little hard to take decent ones that face the sun)
I wanted to still see out but cut down on the full vision in. I've seen so many of you with the machines that cut vinyl and do all the work for you. That handy tool isn't in my budget right now so I went old school and made something different using Contact paper. (I'm really hoping these peel off decently when I get sick of them. I might be going through an entire bottle of Goo Gone!)

I first measured how tall my windows are and cut a piece of contact paper that long so I knew my working space. I knew I wanted to do a design that mimics the design of my curtains in the rest of the space.

I gave myself lines to work from as the base of my linear design that I did. Then I made a cardboard template for the oval that I would repeat on the lines. This kept my circles/ovals consistent and made it A LOT easier!

After they were all traced, and I held it up the window to double check that it was going to fit, I cut them out with my handy little Ex-Acto knife.

Using a level and some painters tape, I made a straight line for reference of laying out the first middle strip of the 3. After the first one was straight  and even, I winged the 2 on the sides (I wing a lot of my creativity :) )

I purposely made the strips a little too long so that I could later use my blade to make them fit perfectly inside the window.

The doors are still a horrid mint green and I haven't painted them yet, even though they stand out, now it's even more obvious that they are green and maybe it will encourage me to also get this little project done before everyone is here for Thanksgiving.

(--UPDATE 11/8/10 I did it tonight already because this picture bugged me so badly....It's now a nice slate gray.)

I'm excited about the final turnout (even though there's no good way to take a great picture of a window to prove how good it looks in person). During the day it even makes fun shadows on the floor. I didn't consider it before, but you can also see it perfectly from the outside as well and adds interesting lines to the front of our home. It's just enough that you can't see in 100% but still allows me to see outside and let the sun in. Best part....it only cost me $4.00!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Free Printables

I recently accidentally volunteered to have Thanksgiving at our place this year. Since we were only married this past spring our home is still getting unpacked and situated. I decided this was a good way to kick it in the butt and get decorated before everyone comes "to see the house" for dinner.

Jen over at Tatertots & Jello linked up to some great Thanksgiving printables and wanted to share them with you. To see all of her links click HERE. I was paging through them and found a great blog with several to choose from, Craftily Every After. I immediately downloaded and printed my 2 favorite. I've had these frames sitting empty and now they look perfect! Thanks for the freebie! Click HERE to get your free downloads.

I totally love how they match perfectly. I actually think they were made just for me! ;)

I Hate Coming Up with Blog Titles

I love how some of you can come up with the most creative titles and then it leads to an amazing post with perfect pictures....I totally fail in that area. But on the plus side I do love to share a little insight with you on the crazy things that I come up with.

Last week I picked up a Better Homes & Garden Special Interest Magazine. I'm so not ready for it to be Christmas yet but decided that I want to do all homemade gifts this year. If you haven't seen this magazine yet, go buy it right now! It's a spendy little guy but SOO worth it with all the amazing ideas and yummy recipes that I'm going to try. Well the whole magazine got me thinking and now I want to make gifts for everyone for every reason!

I have a small addiction to vintage or old tins. I've had this one that I only paid 25 cents for just laying around. The inside was a little icky and I couldn't use it to give any sweets. So...I came up with a brilliant idea to hide the inside and make it even more adorable!

I wanted to create a "slipcover" for the inside and found a little scrap of fabric that matched and made my pattern. First trace around the base of the tin to get the pattern size for the inside bottom. Be sure to add the seam allowance.

To create the sides of the "slipcover" measure around the diameter of the tin and the height. Using a ruler transfer these measurements to paper. Be sure to add seam allowances for sewing the sides together.

With your large rectangle that will create the sides of the "slipcover" sew the short ends together to create a tube (using the seam allowance that you left).

Press the seam open and pin the tube to the bottom circle that you cut out using your traced pattern of the base. Sew around the bottom using the seam allowance that you left.

Using a pinking shears, trim the seam allowance to create a smoother inside. If you don't have a shears, just cut some little triangles so the fabric can turn inside out smoothly.

Put the "slipcover inside the tin. Using a low temp glue gun, glue it to the tin. Try to make sure there are no strings hanging all over to keep it neat and tidy.

If there are any gathers or extra fabric, disperse them evenly throughout or take in the side seam accordingly at the top. I wasn't quite satisfied with the top finish so I also added some ribbon to the top to finish it off.

Then fill it with a favorite cookie or other sweet and seal it up cute. I just ripped a piece of gingham and added some scrapbook paper to a clothes pin to dress it up. Add a chipboard heart and the recipe for the cookies inside and it's the perfect little "Thank You" "I'm Sorry" "I Love You" "Merry Christmas" or "Just Because" gift!

P.s. This cookie recipe really is delicious! It's one of my hubby's favorites that his grandma always made and she gave me the recipe at one of my bridal showers this spring. It's a classic! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Artsy Fartsy Finished

Monday I was able to take the day off and get A LOT finished around the house and get some things done during regular business hours. I finally finished my 'wall art quilt thing.' My tutorial for the quilt top is HERE. I feel like I should start on my Winter one tomorrow if it's going to take me this long again :)
(Sorry about the fact that I took this at a really bad time of day and the wall is between a large window and an entry door) This whole little wall is turning into a small eclectic art area that I'm going to try make all the art. Be sure to take notice of the amazing quilting! Thanks, Mom!

My hubby pointed out that the piece of art that I did next to it looks like a blank frame with a small red heart during some points during the day because of the color thread I chose. When you can see it, it looks really neat. I also freehanded the embroidery as well.

Now that my walls aren't so empty, our house is finally starting to feel like a home. Good thing because it's started to get oober cold around here!

The empty space in the art area is going to be one a blown up canvas. There is a code floating around for a free 8x10 I hear and I'm anxious to use it with one of our wedding pictures.