Monday, April 15, 2013

Bathroom Remodel

My sister, Amy, is really, really good at decorating. She did most of the decorating for my wedding:

And another view:

And, unfortunately, I don't have pictures, but you should have seen what she has been able to do with the houses she's lived in.

You can see some of her cute crafty ideas, too, here.

Lucky for me, since she has been part of my life, I've had her help in some of the rooms in my house. She helped me paint the laundry room (a charming yellow with deocrative ornaments hanging from the ceiling, new drawer knobs, and a much prettier light), the craft room (dark and light pink stripes, purple floor tiles, and, again, a nice light), and my bathroom.

This was not recent, but I wanted to share it because it's so cute. And here's the best part: it cost $200 and was done in 2 days. This was BEFORE we had children.

These pictures are mid-process, so just picture plain white walls. Since the budget was $200, there wasn't much I could do about the counter tops or tub.

Amy suggested orange and pink, and I admit I was skeptical. But I trust her, and she went to the paint store to help me pick out paint. We chose a basic pink, and pastel orange, and a very pale pink (it looks more white) for the walls:

Isn't she cute?

We also chose faux wood linoleum tiles:

Everyone else I told the color scheme to was also skeptical, so no one was allowed to see it until we were done:

Amy and her dog, Max, showing off the new floor. Amy also made some silk flower arrangements in pink glass vases and a bowl of decorative balls.

This corner shows the three colors. Again, the bottom color is a pale pink.

I found a cute white framed mirror at Ross for very cheap. It's still holding up great. More of Amy's decorations, including a box from Michael's that just happened to match, where I keep things like contact solution and fluoride rinse.

The complete magazine rack. This was done by gluing scrapbook paper, since we couldn't find contact paper to match.

Family artwork. This one was done by my mom.

Amy did this one.

We also painted the base boards, door and cupboards in lieu of replacing them. Since then I have added a rack that holds my hair dryer, straightener and curling iron, a set of 3 small drawers and 2 larger shelves for supplies and decorations. I also found a small chandelier for $40 at an antique store that now hangs from the ceiling (but doesn't quite give off enough light for every day use).

Child Binders

I have no followers, and I rarely post, but in a fit of ambition, I have posted to two of my blogs already in the last 24 hours, and am ready for more.

Something useful.

If you're a mom, or even a person, you have all kinds of important papers. Most of us have some way of being somewhat organized. Mine was forced on me when I became a mom to two little ones at once, through foster care. They gave me a binder. Sweet! I had to keep all of my records together. When the kids were adopted, the licensing agency literally TOOK BACK their binders. The other thing that happened was I had pages and pages of adoption paperwork and records. Adopted kids are special.

So I decided to make my own binders, and since I realized in recent years that I'm kind of crafty, I wanted to make them cute. This also make them easier to find, and more fun to drag around. I like to admire them while I'm out. But they also hold a lot of important information.

They're pretty self-explanatory, but a pretty good idea. One very important piece of information: DO NOT LOSE THESE or even let them out of your sight. These have my kids' birth names, new birth certificates, finger prints, social security cards, and medical IDs. You may not want to keep all of these things in one place. But I do. So here's what I did:

This is one of my favorite tools. I just measure the height and width of the binder front and side, and trimmed scrapbook paper just a little smaller, to fit inside the plastic cover.

Here I used a hole punch to cut out complementary paper circles, for Sam's name. You can see the two kinds of paper I used.

I glued the circles over the paper to spell the kids' names.

Here are the completed binders, but that's not all.

I also needed a table of contents, and I wanted to also have their name on the inside, for added measure. Sometimes things are so crazy, with two kids in tow, that I just throw the binders, down, so they open, and I can grab the right one. No lie.

You can use whatever categories you need, obviously ours are specific to our special circumstances. The table of contents would look nicer, typed, but I used:

*Personal Records
--Birth Certificate

*Medical Records
--Bio Birth Records
--Pre-Adoption Medical

*Placement Papers
--[Foster Care] Placement

*Adoption Papers
--Court Filing
--Court Orders

--School Records

I also made one for myself that includes my credit report, passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate, medical, and any other records that are not stored electronically.

Amy's Bridal Shower

One of my very best friends in the world, Amy, is getting married this summer. As soon as I found out, I volunteered to host the bridal shower. Along with the other Amigas, Karen, Lisa and Megan, we threw a beautiful bridal shower for Amy.

Amy loves vintage. Really loves it. So I attempted to use decorations that were mostly vintage, and also very Amy. I think we were pretty successful.

Megan, as the Game Master, put together some great games, including Housewife Olympics, Memory Lane, and the NearlyWed Game. Housewife Olympics consisted of 3 contestants putting on an apron, then oven mitts, and then pantyhose while wearing the oven mitts. When guests arrived, we had each person write down a unique memory they had of Amy. Amy then had to guess who each memory was from. The best game was the NearlyWed Game. Megan wrote 10 questions about Amy and/or Amy and Steve. Things like how they met, or what kind of animal Amy would be if she could choose First we went to the groom-to-be and recorded his answers. He was game for it, and gave great, interesting answers. When it was time to play, we had Amy pull a question out of a little jar, and read it. Then she would answer it, and then we would play Steve's answer. They were often the same, but sometimes completely off, but each answer was either touching or humorous, regardless of right or wrong.

The food was great. Megan made her famous dill dip in a relish tray. Lisa brought delicious cupcakes, and Karen provided some food to go with the chocolate fondue.

But the decorations were the best. Everyone helped me make them. Everything I chose was something that I thought Amy would love.

Here are some photos from the shower. Best of luck to Steve and Amy!

Since the event was held at a clubhouse in a gated community, we wanted people to know they were in the right place. These pom-poms are from Oriental Trading, but were really just supplies. Megan, Lisa and Karen put them together. We also hung a couple of them from the ceiling inside. I'll be honest. They were a pain. They rip easily and are impossible to make look perfect. But they were cute enough, and very Amy.

When I was a kid I always imagined Bride and Groom clothespins to be two people kissing, so when I saw this as an idea on Pinterest, I immediately repinned it as an idea for a bridal shower that I knew would be in my future.

These banners are very popular right now, and I knew Amy liked them since I gave her access to pin things to my Bridal Shower Pinterest board when she got engaged. Looking through a couple of Cricut cartridges, I found some pieces to put together. I won't lie-this took a long time. Bur with Karen's help I was able to complete it, and it turned out beautiful. I chose "Here Comes the Bride," but "Bride To Be" or simply "Bride" would also have been lovely, and a lot less time consuming.

Here is the bride standing under the "Bride" section of the banner.

Candy bars or buffets are also very popular right now, but I wasn't sure where to start. I looked up a couple things, and found that 1/4-1/2 cup per person is about right. But having no idea how that translated to the pounds I would be buying, I made a guess and bought 8 pounds. We ended up with a TON leftover, and I think that's due to the amount of sweets we had elsewhere. Not a lot of people take candy when chocolate fondue is available, I think. But the real tricks were making it look nice. I hit a couple thrift stores, went through the house for glass, and finally went to Michael's during a 40% off glass sale. That was the jackpot. Glass can be expensive. I also have several large candle holders that I could've painted and used as pedestals to give it a little more variety, but I think it turned out pretty nice. RetailMeNot lead me to Candy Galaxy, a very reasonably priced candy website, where you can sort candy by color, which was exactly what I needed. I chose mostly pink and brown to go with the vintage theme, and pina colada sour balls (delicious) because they were a pretty pearl, and a favorite flavor of Amy's. I got a coupon from RetailMeNot, and their customer service was exemplary.

Here is a photo of part of the food table. You see the white powdered donuts, here. We got toothpicks, and cut diamonds with the cricut, which were taped to one end of the toothpicks, so that the donuts look like engagemtn rings. We used a chocolate fountain from Oriental Trading and Megan made fondue with simply chocolate chips and oil. We had the usual, marshmallows, pretzels, strawberries, etc., but also raspberry brownie bites, and coconut to roll the chocolate in. We also provided cupcakes, a relish tray, water, strawberry-lime water, and strawberry lemonade. One thing I would change if I were to do it again, is more savory options, and maybe even a little more healthy.

This was one of my favorite things. It doesn't show in this photo, but I cut about 50 tags with my cricut in a beige color. On one side I stamped, in brown, something vintage-y, a little design, key, or crown. On the other side, guests signed in. I used a 40% off coupon to get the tree (a jewelry holder) from Michaels.

I ordered these little jars from Big Dot of Happiness, a fantastic resource for party planning, especially showers. The plates and napkins are also from them. These jars were $.99 a piece, and I ordered ten, without really having a plan for them. We decided to just make them cute, and put the Amy/Steve questions in them. Megan lovingly wrapped them in burlap and lace from Michaels. We fell in love with them. We found that they can also kind of balance a tea light at the top of it, for an outside, evening event.

This is one of the tables. I basically just gathered a bunch of stuff that I thought would work as sort of center pieces. A lot of this was from our local Party City. The glass diamonds, in clear and black, tulle flowers and butterflies in black and white. Paper doilies and bridal dress favor boxes from the local dollar store (ten for a buck!), and the clothespin bride and groom. Again, plates and napkins from Big Dot, plastic silver-colored forks (unused due to the nature of our refreshments), from Party City, and matchbox notebooks from Oriental Trading.

Here are the girls (Megan in the background helping a late guest with Memory Lana), and the rest of us trying to enjoy the shower while simultaneously making sure everyone was having a good time.

Next up, Karen's Baby Shower. This time I'm the aunt.

Photo credit to Melissa Linford. She did a beautiful job.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tote Bag

I decided to try my hand at sewing, so I started with an easy tote bag project. Materials are two matching 14x16 inch pieces of fabric, and two 22 1/2 inch pieces of 1 inch webbing for the handles. You can improvise on the handles, and sizes. These are just the measurements I used. I found the pattern at I started by cutting a half yard of fabric into two 14x16 pieces.
Next I cut two pieces of webbing into 22 1/2 inch pieces.
The first sewing step is to sew each piece of webbing to each piece of fabric on the right side, as below, about 3 inches from each end. I did this after taking about 45 minutes to figure out how to thread the bobbin and the needle, etc. This is the first sewing project I have ever done on my own, and only about the 3rd total. I used a zig-zag stitch (please pardon my sewing terminology, I really have no idea what to call some of this stuff).
The next step is to sew across the top with the zig zag stitch. I used the same brown thread throughout the whole project because I didn't want to mess with the bobbin again (I only have one that I know of), but depending on your fabric and tastes you may want to use contrasting/matching thread in certain places.
Next, fold the edge over, like this and pin. Sew the fold down with a seam across the top. Then add another seam about 1/8 inch from the first stitch.
The bag is now hemmed. Put the two pieces of fabric, right sides, together. Pin along the sides and bottoms. Do NOT pin the top, this will obviously be the opening of the bag.
Use what I call a "regular" stitch to stitch the two pieces of fabric together, along the sides and bottom.
Then use a zig zag stitch again, close to the raw edges for reinforcement.
Turn it inside-out, and you're done...
and looking cute.
Other ideas are to make them bigger or smaller depending on your needs, using kid's fabric, using a plain fabric and adding a patch, or iron-on design, use old jeans, or t-shirts instead of fabric, eyelet pattern with ribbon for the handles. I do recommend using the pattern here. It has better pictures and clearer descriptions.

Prayer Rocks

A couple weeks before Mother's Day, my mom asked me to make some prayer rocks for a lesson she was giving in church. I looked up a couple of ideas online, but didn't find anything I really liked. I came up with these:
They're pretty self explanatory. I took some smooth rocks, and spray painted them. It took a couple coats. Because of the roundness of the rocks, it did drip a bit. Spray painting was pretty easy, and it comes out looking nice, but I did have to touch up with a brush, so you may prefer painting with a brush. Any craft paint will work.
With some scrap fabric, I cut out small hearts. I didn't use a pattern or anything, free-hand worked great. Once the rocks were dry, and paint had been touched-up, I used mod podge (probably my favorite supply ever) to glue the fabric heart onto the rock. In case you don't know, mod podge is a glue/sealer. It's nice because it doesn't matter if you get the glue on the top, because it dries clear. I used it for both in this case, so the heart would stay put. You don't have to cover the whole rock with mod podge. It looks great just over and right outside the heart.
I just wrote "pray!" with a permanent marker on the other side of the rocks to make them technically prayer rocks. It's a little difficult to write on if the rock is not very smooth, so you can use stickers, or vinyl letters to make it look nicer.
You can use small craft rocks, too, and they are cute in a bowl as a decoration. You can actually do a lot of things with this idea. You can use Christmas fabric and fill a vase for a holiday decoration. You can cut out fabric with letters to spell something in rocks. Use big rocks and just paint letters on it to put over your mantel. Paperweights, gifts, decorations. Crafty people know crafts have endless possibilities.
The finished product after the mod podge has dried.
Thanks for reading!