March 30, 2010

Newest Off-the-Side-of-the-Road Find

FYI--8 weeks after back surgery, while wearing heels, DO NOT (under any circumstances), pick up large pieces of furniture off the side of the road and lift them into your van alone.  

Driving home from church on Sunday, while my husband was working a 24 hour shift in the hospital, I spotted this:

It's solid wood and completely beautiful.  How could I just leave it there?  So I hopped out of my van, asked my kids to climb out for moral support, and proceeded to cram this thing into the back of the van.  How I did it, I do not know.  It seems completely impossible now that it's home.  But that's not the point--The point  is that I snagged this amazing piece of furniture for FREE!

I'm thinking that I'll probably take the doors off to use it as a bookshelf.  Or maybe we'll use it as a supply shelf in our Arts and Craft room.  I also want to paint it.  Maybe white, with some distressing to make it look older?  Really, though, I want to paint it a Robin's egg blue.  Wouldn't that be gorgeous?  Ideas?  Opinions?  I can't wait to get started!

More Chocolate Buttercream (w/Glitter!)

March 19th was my husband's half birthday.  He is now thirty-one and a half.  (Crikey!)  Anyways, on March 19th, he was taking his Boards.  Doctors have to take these ridiculous two day exams, some time between Intern and third year of Residency.  So he took his on his half birthday.  Yuck.  Being the wonderful, always-on-top-of-things wife that I am, I, um, forgot his half birthday.  Half birthdays are a big deal around here, as it's an opportunity to celebrate, and we love to celebrate.  But I forgot.  Until yesterday.  Crap.  So we celebrated yesterday.  It was fine and fun, and everybody had a great time.  I made chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting.  We are loving the chocolate buttercream these days.  I had my daughter decorate the cupcakes with her very own glittery icing.  Needless to say, they looked and tasted wonderful.  Happy (late) half birthday, Honey!

For Baby Noah

I love babies, LOVE BABIES.  When I was young, I wanted to have 13 children.  If I didn't have such total nightmare pregnancies (Preeclampsia, HELLP Syndrome, Placenta Previa, Preterm Labor, etc.), I would probably have at least four kids by now.  But since I'm not able to have a lot of my own babies, I have to dote upon everybody else's babies!  A friend of mine had her second baby a couple of weeks ago, and I wanted to make something special for her.  This is what I came up with:

I purchased the frame a while ago, 75% off at Hallmark, but didn't have any good use for it until now.  I wanted to keep it simple, so I just used my Silhouette to cut the letters from a chocolate brown vinyl.  I think that it turned out beautifully, exactly as I imagined it.  They can just add a photo when they get a chance (or I'll  get one for them sometime soon, as it may be years before they have time to do it!).  Hurray for new babies!

March 27, 2010

Goodwill Galore!

I dragged my hubby to Goodwill after our movie date last night, sans kids.  (He was thrilled.)  Check out what I, whoops-we, scored, though!

            NEW PROJECT

I've been looking for a set like this for a while now.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet (Hubby's first question), but I still love it.  I'm not loving the cow theme, though I did love the size and shape.  Paint?  Mod Podge?  I need ideas, please!

Newfangled Candlesticks

Isn't using old stuff to make something new wonderful?  I've been having such a fantastic time with all of my Goodwill finds!  For this project, I actually had everything already in my home.  Even better!  The glass candlesticks that I used were picked up off the side of the road, post-garage sale, a few years ago.  The mini-vases were my grandma's.  

I wanted the candlesticks pinkish white, but didn't have any primer.  What to do?  Call me the queen of laziness, but I used Mod Podge!  I actually mixed some Mod Podge with red paint to create a pink color. I then painted the candlesticks with the Mod Podge mixture and waited for it to dry.  This created a very streaky pink with a lot of glass shining through, but it was textured enough that I could spray it with my handy white spray paint.  Then I had some pretty sweet light pink candlesticks.

Next, I glued the glass mini-vases to the tops of the candlesticks.  I would suggest Epoxy glue for this, as I don't think that a hot glue gun would be strong enough.  Let the glue dry and you're done!  I filled mine with chocolate Easter eggs, then topped them with Easter egg suckers from The Dollar Tree.  What I like about them, though, is that I'll be able to coordinate different fillings with each season or holiday.  Cheapest project ever!  What do you think?

March 26, 2010

Fancied Frame

A boring frame, with way too much white, turned fancy shmancy!

Thank you, Mod Podge and gorgeous scrapbook paper.  I like how the orange in the paper matches the orange on our walls.  I'm all for brightening things up!

Cherry Blossoms. Sigh.

Disclaimer: Please forgive me for the quality of these photos.  Should I have waited for morning to take the pictures? Yes.  Is natural light always the better choice?  Yes.  Do I feel bad about it?  No, because I spent the day with my kids and will do so again tomorrow.  Crafting, for me, is an after-bedtime hobby.  Just pretend the pictures look amazing, okay?

I love cherry blossoms.  I want them all over my house.  I love the trees, the sticks, and the flowers themselves.  Unfortunately, I don't live in DC.  And cherry blossoms aren't exactly a year-round flowering plant.  What is a girl to do?  Yup, you got it, buy the plastic ones.

So thus was born our Tree of Kindness.

Next to my cherry blossom and pussy willow branches, I placed a small crystal bowl filled with tags.  I cut out (Thank heavens for punches!) the tags, then punched holes in their tops, then tied a loop of thread through the hole.  Each time that you do something nice for somebody else (it doesn't have to be family only--Kind deeds at school count too), you write it on a tag and hang it on the tree.  

I have found that when I give my children an outlet to share their acts of kindness, they spend real time seeking out opportunities to do something nice for somebody else, just so that they can share it.  We have a similar tradition that we do at dinnertime.  We go around the table while we're eating, and each person shares something nice that they've done that day.  Even if the kindness is acted solely to be able to report something at dinner time (or write it on a tag), at least they are thinking about being kind.  I'm hoping that this will encourage my children (and myself) to act a little more kindly to the people around us.

Here's my favorite:
Prayed for Abbie's finger.

That's my six year old, praying for his little sister.  She burned her finger on a tea kettle.  So sweet.

March 24, 2010

Giveaway Winner

Thank you all for participating in my first giveaway!  I wish that I had made enough plaques for each of you.  I am grateful to each and every one of you for the sacrifices that you and your families have made.
The winner, randomly chosen (my son picked the number), is TheAlbrechtSquad!
"I am grateful to the men and women in uniform for the sacrifices they make daily on behalf of my family. They don't even know me and they do it willingly. They leave their families and their luxuries and often have to abandon their own freedoms to provide me with mine. Thank you isn't enough."

Congratulations!  From my entire family, thank you for your service and the service of your husband.  Know that your sacrifices are not unnoticed, nor forgotten.

Please email your address to me at, and I will send you your gift!

March 23, 2010

Decorative Tray Redo

During the same Goodwill trip that scored me the grapevine hearts for my spring wreath, I picked up this:
 It cost me a whopping $2.50.

Don't you think it's just perfect for my dining room?  Nothing like farm animals and pineapple to add a touch of elegance.  Alright, maybe I made a few adjustments.  Like a coat of white spray paint.  And some fancy paper.  And of course, I covered the entire thing with my trusty old Mod Podge.  Ready for the reveal?  Okay, here's the after:

The photo is of my dad's parents, from 1943.  Isn't it amazing?  Do you recognize the paper lining the tray?  Yes, it's the same as this paper.  I liked the idea of having some consistency across the room.  (And I just loved the paper!)  I was very frustrated by the bubbles under the paper, but now that it's done, I don't really mind them too much.  Although I did go out today to purchase a brayer.  I'm hopeful that it will save me some stress on future projects.  

I'm so happy with the way that this turned out.  The tray was my first real redo and I couldn't have hoped for it to have turned out better.  I'm almost positive that I couldn't purchase this for less than $2.50. Hurray for Goodwill, hurray for Mod Podge, and hurray for fantastic old pictures!

March 22, 2010

Spring Wreath Tutorial

I searched high and low for a spring wreath to hang on my front door.  I searched craft blogs and stores, but found nothing that I loved.  (I really have to love it if it's going to be on my front door.)  After a very successful Goodwill trip on Saturday, though, I at least had something to work with. Here's what I did:

Twig Wreath Form (Mine was in the shape of three hearts)
Silk Flowers (Number will depend on your base--I used about 30)
Miniature Rose Blooms--2 colors (Again the number will depend on the size of your wreath)
Small Half-Pearl Beads (One for each silk flower)
Ribbon (About as thick as the outside width of your wreath)
Glue Gun

Step 1: Keep kids busy

Wreath Base (69 cents at Goodwill)

Step 2: Using your glue gun, cover the outside of the wreath with ribbon.

Step 3: Hot glue the silk blossoms to the front of the wreath.  My wreath base had small sticks, equally spaced, around the wreath.  I glued one blossom to the top of each of those sticks.  At the center of each heart, I used a large bright pink blossom, instead of the small yellow ones that I used around the rest of the heart.

Step 4: Ask your kids what you should do next.
Step 5: Follow their advice.  Glue a half-pearl to the center of each blossom.  ("What about jewels?")  I used a larger pearl for each of the large pink flowers.

Step 6: Cut miniature roses from their stems.  I cut them right at the base of the bloom.

Step 7: Cover the bottom of each rose with hot glue.  Then place it into your wreath, holding it in place for about 10 seconds to be sure the glue will hold.  Please just trust me on this.  I tried a gazillion ways of getting the roses to stay in place in the wreath.  Don't put the glue on the wreath and then the flower on the glue.  It won't work.  I promise.  Just use a lot of glue on the bottom of your flower and you'll be fine.

Step 8: Completely stuff the wreath with roses.  Seriously pack them in.  When they dry, they'll shrink.  I know you don't want holes in your wreath!

Step 9: Tie two twine handles, one along the front of the top of the wreath, and one towards the back of the top of the wreath.  If you only use one piece of twine to hang the wreath, it will tip forward or backward.  Again, just trust me.

Step 10: Twist the front twine handle with the back twine handle.

Now hang your wreath!  You did it!

I'm linking up to:

Pretty Clothespins

In a vain attempt to organize the massive piles of artwork that were slowly overtaking every open space in our home, I created an Art Wall.  I strung wire across the wall at three levels and we hang the artwork on the wires using clothespins.  It seemed a little ridiculous, though, to hang such beautiful works of arts from plain old clothespins.  The remedy?  Mod Podge, of course!  I Mod Podged strips of paper onto the clothespins.  Now we have pretty clothespins for pretty art.

China Cabinet Redo

I saw this idea somewhere on the blogosphere, but I can't remember where.  (If it belongs to you, please let me know so that I can give you credit!)  I instantly thought of the built-in china cabinet that we have in our dining room.  This is one of my favorite features of our home.  Unfortunately, it's sort of turned into a storage area for vases, "chotchkies, " as my dad calls them, and other things that don't really have a place.  Our dining room is the one area in our home that's somewhat fancy--It's hard to have anything fancy with kids, isn't it?  So I fancied up the built-in cabinet and reorganized the things inside. 

This is how it started:

I emptied it out, including the shelves.  That's when I found that the previous owners were idiots and replaced the shelves while the paint was wet.  I had to rip the paint just to get the shelves out!

Then I covered the back wall of the cabinet with... WRAPPING PAPER!  I used removable double sided tape to adhere it to the wall.  I had to search three stores to find something that would work.  My 4 year old was convinced that princess paper would be the best choice.  Do you have any idea how many different princess wrapping papers there are?  I ended up at Hallmark which is where I found this:

I love it.  The glare from the window directly across the room creates a lot of shine during the afternoon, but I couldn't stop staring at dinner tonight because it looked so lovely.  I think that it adds some depth to the cabinet, makes it look fancy.  And all for $4!  Sweet.

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