Monday, January 31, 2011

When great ideas go belly up!

I don't know about you, but it sure takes the wind out of my sails when it happens!

Yesterday I was so excited, we purchased a Reccessed Light Conversion Kit for a pendant light. Thought this would look great over the sink in the kitchen. I've seen these in the Ballard Designs catalog (pricey of course) and Home Decorators (still more than I want to spend). Come to find out, Lowes sells them... and for $19.97! Only thing was they only come in brushed nickel or bronze. No biggie, just a couple light coats of black spray paint!

Get it home, make sure the length I want the cord to be, head outside and spray paint! It all was coming together nicely... that should of been my first clue of what was to come!

Greg installs it, we stand back ready to admire it... then we notice. The builders installed the original can light NOT centered. How we never noticed this in almost 2 years, I have no clue! But after measuring we find it's actually TWO inches off center. With a pendant hanging in front of a window, over a double sink... there's just no way to pull it off :(

Looks okay if you NEVER look at it head on (like when you walk into my kitchen!)

So down it came, back in the can light went, and now it's ALL we can see... how off center it is!!!

Booo! I was sooo excited for this cheap yet classy fix. Feels defeating to say the least! Worse is, we can't return it because I painted it and there's nowhere else to use it... upon further investigation we find the one in the butlers pantry is 3" off center... ugh! :(

However there is still this goregous fabric sitting waiting patiently for me to teach myself to sew and make them into beautiful kitchen valances/curtains! Does this make you smile, like it does me!?

Ever have this happen to you??

Sunday, January 30, 2011

IKEA or bust!

This morning once the boys finished their banana & cinnamon waffles we made, we're off to IKEA!

Have quite a list! Hoping to score it all and not spend a shocking amount!

I go armed with a list, measurements, tape measure, fed & rested kids... and when I get there I swear my brain turns to goo! We always leave w/o getting something or get so overwhelmed by the buy it piece-by-piece system that we just say forget it! Today we brave it and hope for the best :)

I actually couldn't sleep last night I'm so ansy about it! haha, what a dork!

Some projects I hope to start complete with this trip....

- Master Bedroom Closet organization
- entryway mirror
- possible coat rack for entry way
- curtains, rods & clips for master bedroom
- step stools for the boys
- possible pantry or laundry room organization
- MAYBE a coffee table - gotta see it up close first!
- a few boxes for movie organization in the playroom now that we got rid of our big console
- annnnndddd?????

EDITED TO ADD: We're back once again not as fruitful as I hoped, but still spent more than expected... not our most frugal shopping as of late! But did get a bookcase for all my books for in our bedroom, mirror, stepstools, some decor items, curtains, and a couple organization baskets.

We had lunch then drove back home so the boys could nap. Then stopped and got little man's hair cut! His first not-at-home haircut! One more stop at Lowes for a curtain rod, reccessed light conversion pendant kit, and some caulking.

Can we say PROJECTS! Definitely have some stuff to keep us mega busy. Now I just need to finish organizing my closet for my little challenge with some friends!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Little Changes = Vday Mantel

A couple weeks away is Valentines Day, quite honestly I've never decorated for this holiday. I'm not really a red & pink frilly frou-frou type.. so the decorations never interest me. But of course I start seeing all these mantels all decorated for it, the brain goes in overdrive, and I wanted to play too!

I just recently "winterized my mantel" you can read that post here.

So here's my Valentines Mantel keeping it very similar to the winter one (as always due to that crazy window over my fireplace, it makes for awkward pictures, always looks better in person, I promise!).

With a brown paper bag hearts garland

Brown paper & wax paper hearts thinly scattered within the decor that was already there. I also swapped out the picture with one of a heart of stones on a beach... I thought it went really well!

Subtle yet nice and very easy to decorate and didn't cost me a penny!! What's not to love? :)

Joining Beth for her Valentines Mantel party, her site is responsible for my mantel finally getting some attention after so much neglect!

Also Debbie from Debbiedoos suggested I use this post to link up to her Newbie blogging party! I'm not new to blogging, but it's only the last 6 months that I got interested in really "getting out and about". If you're visiting from Debbiedoos, get to know more about me, hope to see you around!

Certain things catch your eye,
But pursue only those
that capture your heart.

~old indian saying

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Copy Cat Scrap Fabric Bracelets!

I've been quite the copy cat lately! Thanks to my friend Elizabeth, I discovered Blue Cricket Designs (well, hello!) and while browsing her site I found these. I've been all about accessories lately, especially ones that if they get mauled or mangled by a kiddo it's really no big deal!

When I saw what she used as her "base" I was like "hey we have those!" (and "I hope I didn't donate them ALL!")... once on road trip we got a girls' toy instead. No biggie, the boys like bracelets and life's too short to care they're pink! However, after the initial interest, they don't play with them at all. In fact since they're the only pink girly things in our house, the little girls at our playdates ALWAYS find them (even when I haven't seen them in weeks!). Sorry little girlies that play at our house, big mama is gonna use 'em! hee hee!

I just followed what she did ....


For the record the green and blue scrap fabric strips are from 2 pairs of my favorite pajama pants that I ripped the butt out of both of them like 2 weeks apart... I don't want to talk about it ;)

Then I got to thinking about all the rubber bracelets we get each summer for access to our neighborhood pools. They're like the Live Strong ones, so more flexible. Hmmmm... what if....

Fun huh? I likey!! What I like most about this project is that it does NOT have to be perfect which IS perfect!

The whole process only took about an hour (from gathering all the stuff to cleaning up). Probably shorter if in the middle of this I wasn't slicing up an apple for the boys snack and then playing their new "game" where I'm to draw a toilet or toilet paper on their magna doodles so that they can "draw poop"! HA! Gotta love boys... no wonder I'm into more "girly" accessories lately ;)

P.S. Hookin up with House of Hepworths! Go check out cool stuff everyone else is doing!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Who has time for something decadent?

Ever want to do something but find yourself not doing it because you think it'll just take forever or not be worth the effort? I do this a lot unfortunately. I get scared off from trying something new due to worrying that I'll make a big mess, do a lot of work, only to not be happy with how it turns out a waste of my time (time is at a premium around here!).

I've been trying to be better about that though! I'm always telling the boys "just try it, you never know"... so I should practice what I preach! Ok, makes sense, but what about something decadent?

It was Tea Party day with the play group yesterday. So I put in the boys in button ups and khakis (is that bad that I consider that dressed up??) and they asked if I was dressing up too. I got a little fancy. Everyone always brings a snack and I was racking my brain to figure out something that could be sort of a fancy snack but nothing that would take too long (because I had like 30 mins before leaving). Taking a quick inventory of the pantry and the refrigerator I thought! Chocolate covered strawberries! Then I thought I'd make it more kid/parent friendly by just drizzling a small amount across. Less sugar, much more fruit ;)

Thought I'd share what I did since it didn't take much time at all, clean up was fast, and the result were definitely more bang for their buck! I'll admit to not taking pics of the process, as I was running low on time as it was. So I tried to recreate it a little :)

Using the Vanilla Coating I got at Christmas but only used a little of....

Created my own double boiler (don't believe the package when they say it's easily microwaveable!!) to melt

Then laid down some wax paper on the counter next to the stove top. Put strawberries on wax paper. Once the vanilla coating was melted I'd dip the fork in then sort of holding above the strawberries flicking it over them. They're dry/hardened in a couple minutes due to it being such a light coating

Pulled out a fancy plate from a Great Aunt and arranged the strawberries (cutting off the ends because with young toddler they won't just stop at the leaves!)

Away we went (photo taken with iPhone) out into the rainy dreary day armed with umbrellas and rain boots to enjoy our fancy part of the day :)

Yes, I just gave a step-by-step of something very easy (no laughing at me my food bloggy friends!!).

That's the whole point, something decadent for very little effort... something I'm all for these days :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Calamity & Suki

Introducing Calamity the orange & white low rider kitty and Suki Lou the mild mannered Shiba Inu!

Not often mentioned (because they both sleep most of the time anymore!) are our two pets!

This is Calamity. I got her my senior year of college (she turned 10 this Sept which makes me feel really old). I was talking to a friend late in the design studio one night saying I wanted a cat. I wanted an orange & white, female kitty. My friend went home that weekend and found that her cat had kittens and that MY cat had been born... I went and got her some weeks later! I named her Clementine for one day, then realized that Calamity was actually her name.

However, it was the BIGGEST mistake, she was nuts and I was barely home... I think she might of jokingly been feral! But then when I moved to Atlanta after college she was my best friend. The only "person" in that city that knew me and waited for me to get home each night! Then when I moved to Chicago with Greg, Calamity flew (in a cute animal carry on bag) up there with me and stayed with him for a few months before I could move. They became fast friends, and to this day she'd rather cuddle with him than me!

She's been so-so on the kids, but really puts up with a lot! Keeps to herself until she wants a lap to lay on or to be feed! I call her the low rider kitty because she's not that big and she has very squatty legs. So it makes her look bigger than she really is, yet her ego is certainly bigger than she is though!

We got Suki Lou after stuffing ourselves on sushi about one month after getting married and stopping by a pet store to "look"... came home with her... how could we NOT?? Look at how cute she was! (she's a Japanese shiba inu, read about them here). Suki in Japanese means beloved by the way :)

The puppy years sucked... she chewed HOLES in our drywall. Thank goodness for KONGs. Other than that, I gotta say she's a superb dog for the most part! She only barks when she plays with the cat, walks great on a leash, is patient with the kids. One of my favorite things is that while she rarely sleeps in bed with us when she does she's so polite and will totally move/lay the right way not to bother you. She sleeps on a pillow in our room but always so that her head is laying on the floor... we call it her "broken neck" lay. We have yet to figure out how it's comfortable. Her most favorite thing in the whole world is SNOW... and we get sad for her being in Houston, I'm sure she misses it. I can't be sure, but I'm hoping we have video of her playing in the snow... it's one of the funniest things!

She was so gentle & protective when we came home with Jake. They were the BEST of friends until he got older and after Evan was born she just kind of gave up on those loud stinky beasts! Although now, Jake is now even older and can actually play fetch and toss the sock with her and so it's cute to see them together again. She does most of our road tripping with us and does awesome! She's such a trooper! There was one time we lost her and we were so scared (you can see more pics of her here too)!

(one of my faves, Jake is like 6 mths old!)

While I complain about the hair, the cat puke, the hair, the litter box, the hair, expensive vet visits, and well, the hair... they have captured our hearts and are a part of our little family! I have always thought that with a little more time, a little more drawing talent, and I think they'd make a very cute childrens book series together ;)

Linking up with Debbie for her Pet's Linky Party!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Copy Cat Jersey Scarf/Necklace

A couple weeks ago I came across this post on how to make a jersey scarf/necklace out of an old tshirt. I've been thinking about doing it a lot, but didn't have the nerve. That's not the sort of crafty/creative I am...
but today I said "heck, with it! I'm giving it a whirl!"

First I got an old shirt (maternity shirt actually) that had a stain that I've never been able to remove. Cut off from the sleeves up and the bottom hem.

Then fold both of the side seams together and start cutting strips from the nonseam folded side up to the seams. Leaving about 1 inch or so un cut. This is when I found out that wow I have no "cutting" strength... I worked up a sweat, but it was pretty quick work.

Then I laid it across my lap while the boys where in here terrorizing each other when they weren't playing on the Smart Cycle and separated each loop, stretching it out and twisting it as I went. You do this to help it have more of a swag/hang to it.

At this point I'm thinking "what AM I doing??
This is going to look ridiculous and I'll never be able to pull it off anyways!"

Then you unfold the shirt (sorry for the dark/flashed needed pics it was a rainy dreary day that became night fast!)

 Open it up like you used to do when putting it on, roll one end with the seams  to put it around the back of your neck, letting the rest drap like a necklace.

You kind of have to mess with the other seam that hangs down then, because it shows a little,
but a little fussin was all it needed!

I liked this shot so I could hide behind the camera!

Okay fine I'll say hi :)

I wore it to Moms Night with my moms group. We were just hanging at someones house, so it wasn't public-public... in case I looked like a goofball. They all noticed it, asked if I made it, and then how. Not sure if it's because it looks very homemade or if it's because I posted this on FB when I first read about it ;)

My only issue is that the shirt I picked also had some sort of a shorter fiber shimmery stuff woven in too... it was "dandruffing" out onto my shirt all night. Nothing terrible, but something to keep in mind! I also found that stretching out the loops a little more made it look better than above.

Overall, I'd say success. It was free and I have a little punchy accessory when needed. In looking at the pics,I think a crew or scoop neck would be better than the vneck. I think I'd like to do one more that's from a super soft all cotton true tshirt (I have a gray one in mind). Fun!

And while I'm at it, I think I'll link up with Kate for her Flaunt it Friday party and Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special !

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blog Under Construction...again!

I promise it'll be the LAST time for awhile. I'll work on it everytime I get a free moment (like my house & projects) but it might be in the inbetween stage for awhile. Just getting tired of how long it takes to load so want to go simple but make it a little more personalized. Wish me luck! If I can't figure it out, it'll remain the same... just wanted to warn if you stop by and things are all funky! hee hee ;)

P.S. Ok... I'm done! A little amateur, yes... but hey, I did it myself. I promise not to do anything different for awhile! Unless it's to make the header a bit smaller, it's livable for now!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

To Top It Off

... above our entertainment center that is!

I've told you before that our home is coming together one teeny tiny bit at a time. This weekend we finally finished a project that was 11 mths in the making! Yes almost a year! I really should stop confessing this stuff, ha ha!

Last Feburary we went to this Iron works place... really neat stuff. It's where we got our outside pots on our patio. We got a iron scrolly thingy (yes, technical term) wall decor for above our entertainment center. Something to help top off the space since the living room has 2 story high walls.

10 mths were spent avoiding putting it up due to probably ridiculous reasons... mostly because we couldn't figure out the best way to hang it, make sure it's secure, and not be eye sore and ruin the look of the iron piece. For 10 mths it looked like this...

Then Greg decides he wants to use toggles in the wall (since where we want to hang it, there's like one stud and in the total wrong spot) but figures that won't work because they're shiney silver. Hello, hun? Spray paint!

So I spray painted parts of the toggles that would be visable with Rustoleum's Hammered Bronze.

Then up it went (Greg got quite the arm workout) and we put in the toggles (it was hard with having to lean so much over the entertainment center) they blend right in...

 ...and it was done! Again, why we put this off for so long I just don't know!!

What do you think? Not one person mentioned on Monday when we had everyone over for playgroup! Maybe that just means it looks as if it's always should of been there!?!? Yah, I'm going with that! We're happy with it, that's for sure!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sort & Shred & Sort & File

This weekend's organization project was to tackle the file cabinet! In the past we've always been very good about tackling it each new year. Sorting through each file, tossing the previous years stuff if needed, leaving the last bill, rehoming misfiled papers, and most of shredding!!

However, last year, we didn't do it. Not sure what our deal was but we though, eh, this file cabinet is bigger than our last and we're just to dang tired and not up to it. So this time it was a bit of a larger project than normal. Even so, I was surprised that it didn't take AS long I either of us feared.

Our file cabinet before...

Our file cabinet after (two garbage bags of shredded paper later)...

Okay, so it's not the prettiest B&A I've ever done and it still kinda looks kinda messy (we saved all the stuff from when we relocated - that's all the stuff on the end of the one side) But still, I say YAY anyway! Another non-panic inducing drawer now :)