Tuesday, December 21, 2010

recycled plastic tote bag

I finished my friend's gift yesterday, just in time to take it over to her with a potted narcissus. It turned out pretty cute, if I do say so myself, I've decided that I really need one in my car to put the trash in.

Thanks, Dana, from made, for the great tutorial!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

coffee filter wreath

I always love a cheap, cute, easy project. I found this one on nesting place and had to try it. It's just one of those straw wreath forms, coffee filters, and hot glue. I made it while watching TV one night.

My girls made a more natural colored version by using unbleached filters. I love it even more than the one I made. Gotta love a project that anyone can make look good!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

as if I didn't have enough to do....

I have a very dear friend who is hard to buy gifts for. She's in her 70's, retired (yet volunteers 25+ hours a week) and lives in a small condo. She lives alone, and has one of the most immaculate homes ever. She doesn't like clutter.

Since we moved to Ohio almost 4 years ago, she's been like an adopted Grandma to my kids - taking them to the movies, taking the girl's shopping, coming to see their concerts and plays, etc. And she's always so thoughtful when buying them gifts.

She insists that nobody buy her anything, she doesn't like having a bunch of stuff around. She's diabetic, so homemade goodies are out. So I never know what to do when Christmas rolls around and she's so great about remembering us.

I found the perfect homemade gift to make for her and I'm working on it today. I got the idea from Dana over at MADE. Check out her tutorial.

image via MADE

I think she'll love it. It's made from plastic shopping bags, fused together and then sewn to make an ADORABLE reusable and waterproof tote.

I'll try to remember to take pictures before I give it to her, but no promises.

Monday, December 13, 2010

the lonesome gods

My mom read Louis L'Amour a lot when I was a kid, but I had never read anything by him until I read The Lonesome Gods in October. It was on the Thomas Jefferson Education reading list, and I loved it! Yes, it is a western, so there is a certain amount of gunfighting and horse wrangling. I loved it, and Erin loved it.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I usually take my time decorating for the holidays, doing a little bit each day. This year, my friend Angie was in charge of the annual Christmas dinner for the ladies at church, and asked if we could use my house. I said of course, and then panicked when I found out that it was scheduled for exactly a week after Thanksgiving.

So, with the help of Eric and my sister and her family, we busted out the garland and lights and ornaments and got it done!

My entry way, with my very favorite Goodwill purchase, the peacock front and center. He inspired my dining room ceiling and niche paint over. And I love these battery operated candles from Costco! They turn themselves off after 5 hours!

I used burlap liberally. It's cheap and chic and doesn't need hemming.

My living room. This room is very hard to take pictures of during the daytime, because of all the sunlight (not complaining!) It's my favorite room in the house.

I am frequently accused of having too many decorative pillows, but I don't think there is such a thing.

My favorite new Christmas vignette. I bought the moravian star online, then Eric rewired it with this cool pendant adapter I got from Lowes, then I spray painted it to match. It was a tight squeeze getting all the wisemen, shepherds and beasts in the picture, but we managed.

Another wreath in the dining room and some plug in candles.

And my mercury glass ornaments in glass bowls on the dining room table.

The hand I got in St. John decked out with some holiday ribbon and since I needed something to go in the other cloche...

I took two of my little bird ornaments off the tree (they were very hard to see) and hot glued their little clips to the base. I think they're adorable.

A few more mercury glass ornaments and some tiny old books I found on ebay in a basket on the coffee table.

My mantel. Burlap stockings, two turtle doves (actually, quail from Eric's grandma) and capiz shell garland.

The tree. It's hard to get a good picture of a Christmas tree. I have a love/hate relationship with mini-lights.

I have a few more little things here and there, but keep forgetting to take pictures. Although it was stressful getting it all done in a short amount of time, it is so nice to be able to focus on other things and really enjoy the holiday season! I think I'll set myself an early deadline from now on!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Birthday to MEEE!!!!

I have been EVER so busy lately, and have not blogged in a very very long time. With all of the traveling and stuff going on this fall, it has been 3 months since I've worked out, and almost as long since I've had my legs waxed (TMI? Sorry.) So that was my birthday present to myself. Treating myself to an hour of excruciating agony. Oh, but, since today was sheet-washing day, I am going to be loving it at bedtime tonight. There is really nothing better than freshly waxed legs on freshly washed sheets, and on one's 38th birthday, too.

And I was so confused as to how I could have 47 new messages in my inbox, but they were mostly from facebook buddies wishing me a happy b-day, so thanks all! I am loving it!

The church ladies are coming over for a dinner on Thursday, so I have been busting my hiney getting the house all Christmasified, (except for the last hour or so that I have been reading blogs, after all, it's my birthday). I've still got some work to do, I just have to remember to take pictures on Thursday day so I can show them!

Eric and I are going to a fancy schmancy black tie thing in NYC this weekend for important people like him. So I have to go get my now modest dress from the tailor. And get a mani-pedi.

The gift shopping is pretty much done for the kids, but I will worry about all of the holiday things to do after this weekend.

Chinese food for dinner, yay, no cooking and no dishes!

Thankful for....

(in no particular order)

my wonderful husband
my awesome kids
amazing friends
good health and dental insurance
my Savior
my sister and brothers, mom and dad, in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles, EVERYBODY!!
good schools for my kids to go to
great kids for my children to have as friends
good books
a wonderful ward with awesome people
a warm, beautiful, clean, joyful home
cars that work
running water
HOT running water!!!!!
my treadmill
my sewing machine
opportunities - everywhere I look, I am growing and learning!

Wow, I could go on and on. I tend to grumble a lot more than I thank. I think the thing I am most grateful for right now is abundance. Sometimes it takes the form of busy-ness, clutter, laundry, meetings, appointments, homework, stress, dishes, distractedness, a messy car, unfixed hair, runs in my nylons, but it all boils down to the abundance that I have in my life. I have people to love, places to go, things to do, and thoughts to think.

My cup runneth over.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

the chosen

This book was on the list of the first five books to read in the Thomas Jefferson Education. I read My Name is Asher Lev when I was in college, and it was really good, but a little darker and sadder than The Chosen.

I highly recommend this one - Erin finished it last week, and Annie is reading it now. It is appropriate for all middle schoolers and above, although younger readers may miss some of the subtleties and may miss out on some of the history and politics that is referred to throughout the book.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm a frugal housewife...

Annie was in the middle school's production of Charlotte's Web last weekend. She played a teenaged townsperson, and her costume was a poodle type skirt with white shirt, bobby socks and flats, and ponytail. In the midst of my flying to California twice, she needed to show her director her costume, and had none.

I didn't have time to go all the way to JoAnn's, so we headed to Goodwill to see what we could find. No skirts, but I found a tablecloth, round and purple, and I cut the middle out of it and made it into a skirt, per the super easy directions I found here. Actually, it was even easier than that, because I didn't have to hem it!

And it only cost me about $4 for the tablecloth and $2 for the elastic!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

thomas jefferson education

Two of my sisters-in-law homeschool their kids, and this book outlines a large portion of their curriculum. I've looked for it at the library, but wasn't able to find it, but as luck would have it, my father-in-law had two copies, so I brought one home for myself.

I recommend reading it, and then supplementing your kids public school education by reading and then having them read the books listed.

I don't homeschool, but I've decided to implement this at home, nonetheless. The purpose is to teach our kids to be great thinkers and leaders. A lot of the time, the things they learn at school are just facts that are memorized and then regurgitated for a test. Or, they are trained how to do a job, but not how to think and form opinions.

So, I've started reading the books suggested, and I've had the girls read them too, in addition to their regular homework. They both love to read, so I've just asked them to alternate one of these books with a book of their choice in their recreational reading. We don't have formal discussions, but we talk about the books as we are driving in the car, etc. I've also started reading some of the books for younger kids to my boys, and they love it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Annie's room

While my girl's were away at YW camp this summer, I finished up a few projects and fixed up their rooms. Here's Annie's.

The pinboard that I made way back when.

I think she needs a full length mirror on that bit of wall.

This wall art is another easy project that I've been meaning to show. Maybe later.

Dresser from IKEA.
And remember our super easy paint idea?

Cute tissue paper lantern. We just cut out circles of tissue paper and glued them onto an IKEA light fixture.

I love this room! I hope she does, too!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

lampshade slipcover

i found these really cool lamps at Home Goods, but i really don't like the shades at all. they are cheapo faux silk, and the shiny pearly color doesn't do much for me, either.

so, i remembered reading about how Chris over at Just Beachy had made a slipcover for a lampshade, and decided to try it out!

i used the burlap from Erin's trek bag. it was the perfect color and texture.

i love the contrast between the rough burlap and the mercury glass lamp.

it brings some of the darker wood tone from the piano into that side of the room. (burlap is very stretchy and ravelly, by the way, i think next time i might use linen.)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Disaster strikes . . .

I took some pictures of my very clean house a few months ago when I thought we might be moving. I am using these pictures now as a reference so you can see what my office once looked like.

The perfect craft room solution - shallow drawers and cute cabinets on top, with cute IKEA fabric in the windows to hide the messy shelves. It only took me over a year to find these.

My "office" made out of a closet. Originally I was planning to "paper" the inside of this closet with the IKEA fabric featured above.

My desk/worktable. I love it pushed up against the window so that I can see outside while I'm working.

This is what my office looks like now. I went to put away a few things left out from my week's projects, and I found that a gallon jug of distilled water (for ironing) had sprung a leak and soaked everything on that shelf and below. (This is not the first time distilled water has leaked in my house - last year I found a jug that had seeped on a shelf in my pantry, only that one wasn't discovered for months.)

Books, magazines, etc. from the shelf above.

Around here, you have to dry stuff out really well, or it will grow mold. The water seeped into the bottom shelf where it had puddled. I hope I can dry it out so it doesn't warp.

I save my fave magazine articles with pictures of pretty houses. These were not put away the last time I looked through them, or they would have been in the other cabinet and been fine. They are spread out all over the room drying separately so they don't stick together.

I'm trying to salvage the fabric that was inside on the back of the cabinet. I didn't see it when I was at IKEA today, which makes me think they don't sell it anymore, and I really like it.

This isn't really what I wanted to do with my evening, I was going to finish up some projects for the girls' rooms (pictures coming soon!) and clean the house before my sweetie gets home. Oh well, I'm just glad I found it today instead of in a few weeks.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

easy project

i found these great pinboards at the Pottery Barn Outlet (they're from West Elm) for only about $15 each and turned them into ......


amy butler fabric, but of course

the plan is to get them hung and the girls' rooms picture perfect before they get home from camp tomorrow.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

pretty in pink

i had several rooms in the house painted last week. bob did a great job, for a great price. a and i had talked about how we could make the space more neutral, but still keep a little bit of the salmon pink colored texture on the walls. this is what we came up with:

i cut flower shapes out of contact paper in varying sizes with my Cricut. then, i peeled off the back and put them randomly on the pink walls.

i had to hurry because bob was ready to paint.

i made sure the edges were all smoothed down with no air bubbles for paint to seep in.

then bob painted 2 coats over the top of the contact paper flowers.

and i went upstairs and peeled the stickers off of the walls.

i love that you can still see the dragged texture.

it looks so much better! a loves it! it was the easiest painting project i've ever not done!

(pictures of the finished room coming soon!)