Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sneaky Peak

"So much time, so little to do. Strike that. Reverse it." -Willy Wonka (original movie)

In the middle of what seems like everything right now! I thought I'd have at least one big reveal for you this week, but it's not going to happen.
But, just so you can see I'm not a total slacker, let's take a little peak of all that is in progress.

Since Curb Appeal is always in Georgia, I have to do it myself on the cheap:
Working on the doors right now. Well, working on it all, but I'm saving most of it for a big reveal soon. More dramatic that way. I'm all about the drama. Wait, that's not quite right... Moving on.

This will be a new shower curtain:
You can totally tell it's a shower curtain, can't you? Many steps to this project. It's simple, but lots of steps.

I finally scored something from Craigslist!
Thirty dollars! I was hoping to get started right away, but I worked on some other projects first and now it will have to wait until next week. I was kind of hoping to win the Milk Paint from Miss Mustard Seed, but alas, I'll just have to go buy paint.
This is probably what I am most excited about right now:

Wood disk garden path. It is uber time consuming to do. But check this out:
Oh, yeah! That's me with a chainsaw, baby! Mateo and I thought we'd knock this project out in a day. Ha! Joke's on us. And unfortunately, it will have to wait a bit longer as I need to go out of town for a funeral. I'm sure you all understand I won't be available to post for a few days.

So, that's the sneak peak. Cross your fingers for something to be finished for next week. I mean, of course stuff will be finished next week. ;)

Worth 1,000 {After the Rain}

[New series, every Wednesday a picture. No more words after this. :)]

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tuesday's Art Adventure: Sand Casting

I have a love/hate relationship with Plaster of Paris. But the excitement kids have when they cast something is too priceless to pass up.

Sand Casting

Supplies:
  • plaster of paris
  • water
  • sand
  • some sort of box or container (I used leftover plastic plant pots from the nursery)
  • 3-D objects (we used and army man and legos)
  • tempera paint and brushes
First pick your container and fill about half way with wet sand. Make your sand sandcastle consistency - not too wet, but holds form.

Now you have an idea how big your object can be. Pick out something that you like that will not be hurt by sand. You can even just use your hand or foot if you want too.
Press your object into the sand and press the sand together if it cracks. 

Carefully pry your object out of the sand.
Mix your plaster of paris, 2 parts plaster to 1 part water. Stir until it is a smooth consistency.

For the army man, we just carefully poured the plaster to cover. We made it more like a plaque. For the legos, we thought it would be funny to have separate little blocks, so we used a spoon to carefully fill each indention.

Cue the Jeopardy waiting music. Let it set up. Now would have been a good time to use a bent paper clip as a hook and set that in the army man plaque, but we were so focused on the funny legos, that we didn't remember to do it. But you could.

Once dry and hard, pry out of the sand.

Brush the sand off and give it a rinse. 

Some sand will stay adhered to the plaster, but you want the excess off. Let dry.
Break out the paint. We used tempera because it is easy to clean up and works fine for this.


Once dry, your child has their own little casting.

How funny are those legos?

Couple of extra tips:
If your child has a sandbox, just borrow some sand, you will be able to put it back when you are done.

It's best to do the plaster of paris part on the grass, so if you spill it's no big deal. Just hit the spill with the hose and it will fine.

Rinse out whatever you mix the plaster in and with right away, but again, just do it outside rather than worrying about sending it down the drain.

So, now that you bought all that plaster, I'll have another project next week that uses plaster of paris too. Don't miss it!


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Monday, June 27, 2011

Dose of Inspiration

Another Monday and I need a kick in the pants to get moving on some projects! Lots of stuff sitting and waiting for some action. I need a dose of inspiration. Today I will turn to Not Just a Housewife.
 
 
I have been wanting to do something to some ceilings forever! When your project list is so long and there is nothing wrong with the ceilings, it's tough to move that to the top of the list. But look at what Stacy did:
 
I love the stenciled ceiling! I'm not even big on damask, but I would move into that room in a heartbeat. Wouldn't that be awkward? Man, she makes me look completely lazy!
 
Her little desk redo is fantastic.
 
I just scored a desk off Craigslist, finally! I love her dark stain, but I may be painting mine. I will be starting this project this week for sure. Keep your fingers crossed for some before and afters by the end of the week.
 
 
I've been wanting a few new lamps. Check this one out:
 
 
Can you believe she made that? I love it. It is so simple, I just may have to do this. Gabe's crazy uncle lamp needs replacing and this would be awesome. I've always wanted to make a lamp. 
 
All right. It's time for me to go do something myself! Go visit Stacy, she'd love to have you. :) 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Playing with Dirt

Compost is best aged like a fine wine. I don't know who said that, but I suppose it's true.
My husband wanted to compost so badly, he started before he even had a bin. He just started piling yard waste behind the garage. This might have been fine if we had no neighbors who could see this. Enough was enough. We had to make this presentable.
We had a small bit of fence that we took out to replace with white pickets. And I salvaged some more fence planks from the side of the road. Matt used these to construct his bin.
It's a simple rectangle with a slanted bottom so that that compost slides forward for easier access.
The bottom front planks have handles so they can be pull out to access the best stuff and slid back in to close.
The lid lifts off for adding more yard waste and to be able to turn it.
I don't think we will have to do much though because thanks to its beginnings on the ground, we are loaded with worms. Loaded! So that is awesome. We wanted to go the vermiculture route anyway. It was nice of nature to just take care of that for us. :)


I love the cobbled look. I also love that we recycled this. Even the nails! Matt had to pry the nails out to use the planks and he reused them. And, of course, this compost will provide great nutrients for our garden.










This post may be linked at the following parties (for their Blog Buttons see my Link Love page): (M) Mad Skills , C.R.A.F.T., Amaze Me Monday, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Singing Three BirdsMasterpiece Mondays, Making the World Cuter, Sarahndipities, A Little Birdie Told Me (T) Stories of A to Z, The Blackberry Vine, How To's Day , Type A, Amaze Me August, Ten Buck Tuesday, Handmade Tuesdays, Anything Related, Tuesday's Treasures, Strictly Homemade, Show Me What Ya Got, Time to Shine, Show Off Your Crafty Side (W) Wow Me Workshop Wednesday, Whassup Wednesday, Blue Cricket Design, Look What I Made, What I Whipped Up, The Trendy Treehouse, Wicked Awesome Wednesday , Good Life Wednesday, Inspiring Creativity, Sweet Peas & Bumblebees (TH) Beyond the Picket Fence  Creative Juice, Somewhat Simple, Thrifty 101 , Smilemonsters , Everything But the Kitchen Sink, Shabby Chic Cottage, Thrifty Thursdays, House of Hepworth's, Thrilling Thursday, (F) Fingerprints on the Fridge, Furniture Feature Friday, SevenThirtyThree , Lovely Crafty Weekend , Simply Designing, Creative Corner, Tickled Pink 504 Main, Inspiration Friday at The Picket Fence, Friday Flair, Remodelaholic, For the Kids Fridays, Frugal Friday, Craft Goodies, I'm Lovin' It, Flaunt It Fridays (Sat) Tatertots and Jello , Anything Goes (Sun) Creative Blog & Hop, Sundae Scoop

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Just a Little Trim

I love it when something free makes a great impact. We knew our trees needed trimmed. Around here, the trees on the easement between the sidewalk and street are the city's responsibility. So we had them come out and trim. It opened things up so well. And free! (Okay, property taxes, but I didn't pay out of pocket.)Those trees are super tall, even if I took pictures, it wouldn't be that clear, so I didn't bother.

So, I started looking at our other trees.
The lower branches were drooping.

This one reminded me of Cousin It. I couldn't see the tree for the leaves.

Um, it should go without saying, but what Matt did wasn't the safest thing in the world, so do so at your own risk.


He got out the ladder, and sawed the branches that he could reach safely (our definitions of safely turned out to be wildly different! Eeek!)


They look great.
Sorry, whole new angle on this tree for no good reason.


No more Cousin It.


Hey! There's a whole 'nother side of house over there! ;)

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday's Art Adventure: Pointillism

Let's learn about an art technique and a master artist while we make some art.


Pointillism: creating an image using small dots of color. The viewer's eyes will draw the connections and blend the dots into the complete image.


Pointillism was developed by an artist named Georges Seurat in France in 1886. His most famous work is "Sunday Afternoon on the Grand Jette." 
207.5 x 308 cm, Oil on Canvas, located at The Art Institute of Chicago®
  Seurat was an Impressionist painter and so was very interested in painting the effects of color and light. He took the idea a step further and developed pointillism as a way for the viewer to see the purest colors because the artist did not mix them on the canvas, but the viewers mixed them in their eyes. The paintings typically used only primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) and black and white. So where you see green in the painting, dots of blue and yellow were placed next to each other. Where it is lighter, the dots are spaced out more. Where it is darker, the dots are more tightly grouped. Artists who took Impressionist ideas and went in new directions are called post-impressionists.


Let's try it ourselves!
Pointillism pictures:
Supplies:
  • oil pastels
  • paper
  • pencil
  • (alternate supplies)colored pencils, paint and brush or pencil with eraser
In a future lesson I will teach you a simple way to make a photograph larger without having to completely free-hand it. It's a technique that works well with Pointillism, but forgive me, it's summer, and we got caught up playing. :)


Using a pencil have your child draw his or her picture on the paper. 

Small details are hard, so have him or her think of something larger like a flower or two, or a simple house, or not very detailed car. You get the idea.


Options: let them have free reign with any color of pastel. Fill in areas with dots.

Another option, practice color mixing. Give your child red, yellow, blue, and black pastels and have them figure out which combinations lead to the appropriate color.

Oil pastels make nice size dots full of rich color. Most kids find them very enjoyable.
Gabe chose to use all the colors, but at 7 yrs. he understands color mixing. Could have used either option.

Oil pastels are sold just about everywhere:

any craft and art store and most of the big box stores (in those look near the markers and crayons), and they are not very expensive.


If you do not want to purchase them, you could do this with paint as well. Either just use a brush to make dots, or dip a pencil eraser in paint and dot your paper that way. Another option is color pencils. While the least messy option, they also make the smallest dots. I don't recommend pencil for young children; they won't have the patience to complete the picture. 
Case in point: Malachi (3 yrs) just went nuts with dots, no real picture even.
 
While large pictures can be fun to make, the larger the picture, the longer it takes. If you chose a large image, oil pastels would be the better choice.


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Monday, June 20, 2011

AWE Knock-off pillow

This post could also be title "The Post in Which I Use a Crazy Amount of Pictures and Lots of Words Just for a Pillow." But that seemed a little long.


I love it when my At West End catalog arrives. Do you get this one? You should. I love this Paris pillow:

And it's a great price, but my hang up is that although I'd love to visit Paris, I've never been. And while I find great inspiration in all things french, I'm not all that french-crazed. I just couldn't feel connected to the Paris pillow.


I started a bit of a travel theme in our living room awhile back. I got tired of only having my own artwork on the walls, and I wanted an affordable change. I love great graphic design and vintage ads are a great source.
So I went to All Posters and searched for vintage travel posters, and I was looking for ones that had orange in them since that was my main accent color. But there were too many great ones, so I further narrowed myself down to U.S. Travel.




So, a latitude and longitude pillow would fit right in. I settled on Boston. It's where Mateo and I began our married life.


I had some muslin, but I wanted a brighter color. So I bought some fabric dye.


And started dying the fabric.


I'll be honest, I didn't completely follow the directions. I didn't have an hour to dedicate to the process, and it came out fine. Disregard the directions at your own risk.


So, then I had to convince myself to actually get out my sewing machine. We haven't been friends lately. However, it is well protected.


I often have a sniper keeping watch when I sew. Life with little boys. ;)


I had a pillow form I was working with, so I just sewed it to the proper dimensions. Turned it right sides out.


On the computer I looked up the latitude and longitude for Boston and typed up my whole image. Then I had to mirror image it, and I printed it on iron transfer paper.


I considered painting it, but I thought this would give it a much cleaner look. So, I followed the instruction to use the transfer.

I didn't heat the edges enough, so I laid the transfer paper back down and pressed again with the iron.

Stuffed my pillow inside, sewed up the side by hand and I have my Boston pillow.


I love it. It fits right into my scheme, and it means something to us.


This post may be linked at the following parties (for their Blog Buttons see my Link Love page): (M) Mad Skills , C.R.A.F.T., Amaze Me Monday, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Singing Three BirdsMasterpiece Mondays, Making the World Cuter, Sarahndipities, A Little Birdie Told Me (T) Stories of A to Z, The Blackberry Vine, How To's Day , Type A, Amaze Me August, Ten Buck Tuesday, Handmade Tuesdays, Anything Related, Tuesday's Treasures, Strictly Homemade, Show Me What Ya Got, Time to Shine, Show Off Your Crafty Side (W) Wow Me Workshop Wednesday, Whassup Wednesday, Blue Cricket Design, Look What I Made, What I Whipped Up, The Trendy Treehouse, Wicked Awesome Wednesday , Good Life Wednesday, Inspiring Creativity, Sweet Peas & Bumblebees (TH) Beyond the Picket Fence  Creative Juice, Somewhat Simple, Thrifty 101 , Smilemonsters , Everything But the Kitchen Sink, Shabby Chic Cottage, Thrifty Thursdays, House of Hepworth's, Thrilling Thursday, (F) Fingerprints on the Fridge, Furniture Feature Friday, SevenThirtyThree , Lovely Crafty Weekend , Simply Designing, Creative Corner, Tickled Pink 504 Main, Inspiration Friday at The Picket Fence, Friday Flair, Remodelaholic, For the Kids Fridays, Frugal Friday, Craft Goodies, I'm Lovin' It, Flaunt It Fridays (Sat) Tatertots and Jello , Anything Goes (Sun) Creative Blog & Hop, Sundae Scoop

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How to NOT Save

This morning I was hurriedly boxing up some stuff to donate to the church rummage sale and I was thinking, "Thank goodness having the house hasn't made me feel the need to keep everything."

Having moved every few years, you get to understand exactly how much stuff you have. When you are lugging it into moving vans, desperately scrounging more boxes, and heaven-forbid, having to carry everything up two flights of stairs, it tends to turn you into a person who has a strong desire to limit how much you have.

Everyone told me once we had a house, that attitude would change. Thankfully it hasn't. Here's my advice, for what it's worth. 
1. Have one box for each kid, and anything that is truly important, mementos of firsts, and all, put those in the box as soon as possible.
2. BUT, Don't save every school paper or piece of art. They won't care and neither will you. If you don't believe me, and you have one of these boxes, go through it. I bet you haven't in a long time. I went through mine a few months ago and got rid of half of it. The cotton ball sheep just doesn't matter anymore. :) Be ruthless. If it's not truly special, trash it.

3. If you don't want something anymore, donate it or trash it if it's not worthy of donation. Chances are if you put it in storage, you will just forget you have it anyway, so what's the point. It's time to be honest with yourself. If you don't need it now, you simply don't need it. Don't wait, get it out the door now.

4. Keep a donation box (or garage sale if you are so inclined. I'm not; too much work, it interferes with my need to be lazy). Especially for kids clothes. I have two boys. I saved everything from the first boy, so the younger gets the hand-me-downs. But once he's done, since they tend to outgrow clothes rather than wear them out, I place them in a box and when it's full, I donate it. The way I see, most of it was gifted. I didn't pay for it either. If I donate it, it gets it out of my hair faster and it helps some one. Win-win.

5. If you ever say, "why do I have this?" get rid of it.

6. Your garage is for cars and yard tools and outside games/toys. Not storage. If you can't park your car because of boxes, it is time to clean house.
 
7. Make a habit of shredding and disposing outdated bills and paperwork. I think the IRS says seven years, so at the seven year mark, you could shred the oldest year each year. Think  of the space that will save.

8. Force yourself to go through boxes. Don't just keep them without knowing what's in them. Imagine you are moving. Do you really want to move that many boxes?

9. Don't ask your kids if they want to keep stuff. They will always say yes. When they are older you can teach them to go through stuff, but when they are younger be sneaky. When they aren't paying attention, remove toys and such and stash it somewhere out of view. If they don't notice it's gone, you are free and clear to get rid of it. They will never remember.

10. Remember, it's just stuff. Having stuff doesn't do anything to make you more secure. It actually just weighs you down.
Good luck. Happy purging. Trust me, it feels great!
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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Door Mat - Cheap and Easy

My entry is a small square of a space. I've needed a door mat forever - okay for a year, but still. It's a little funny when people come in and clearly want to wipe their feet, but aren't sure what to do since I had nothing.

A square space called for a square mat. So I bought four bamboo placemats.
I laid them out in a square like so, (good side down):

And used duct tape to attach them.
Then I had to address the hole in the center. I took a scrap of fabric leftover from a pillow and duct taped it in the center.

It looked fine as it was.

But I decided I wanted to have a little more of the green color and so I took more scraps and cut them into thin strips. I folded them in half and taped them around the edges.

It gives it a little something extra. 

Now I should be taping or gluing on some of this:
it's rubbery drawer/shelf liner. I haven't done that yet because I can't find where I stashed it. So it's currently a slip hazard, but hey, it looks nice. :)

You may be saying, but Jen, how will this possibly hold up? Very well actually. I made one of these years ago and it lasted for three years. And it was getting a bit worn by then but, I only stopped using it when I moved into an apartment in which it was just the wrong shape and size for. And considering I only spent $6 on materials, even if i had to redo sooner than that, it is still worth it to me.

This post may be linked at the following parties (for their Blog Buttons see my Link Love page): (M) Mad Skills , C.R.A.F.T., Amaze Me Monday, Sumo's Sweet Stuff, Singing Three BirdsMasterpiece Mondays, Making the World Cuter, Sarahndipities, A Little Birdie Told Me (T) Stories of A to Z, The Blackberry Vine, How To's Day , Type A, Amaze Me August, Ten Buck Tuesday, Handmade Tuesdays, Anything Related, Tuesday's Treasures, Strictly Homemade, Show Me What Ya Got, Time to Shine, Show Off Your Crafty Side (W) Sweet Peas & Bumblebees, Whassup Wednesday, Blue Cricket Design, Look What I Made, What I Whipped Up, The Trendy Treehouse, Wicked Awesome Wednesday , Good Life Wednesday, Inspiring Creativity, (TH) Beyond the Picket Fence  Creative Juice, Somewhat Simple, Thrifty 101 , Smilemonsters , Everything But the Kitchen Sink, Shabby Chic Cottage, Thrifty Thursdays, House of Hepworth's, Thrilling Thursday, (F) Fingerprints on the Fridge, Furniture Feature Friday, SevenThirtyThree , Lovely Crafty Weekend , Simply Designing, Creative Corner, Tickled Pink 504 Main, Inspiration Friday at The Picket Fence, Friday Flair, Remodelaholic, For the Kids Fridays, Frugal Friday, Craft Goodies, I'm Lovin' It, Flaunt It Fridays (Sat) Tatertots and Jello , Anything Goes (Sun) Creative Blog & Hop, Sundae Scoop