Reading Rack

I'm a reader.  Always have been.  But, especially since having kids I find that nothing beats a good novel to escape into.  I've been known to start a book after putting the kiddos to bed and keep reading until it's done.  I wouldn't recommend it.  It makes for very grumpy mornings.  But, with the right book, sometimes I just can't help myself.

This morning during a jaunt to Hobby Lobby I came accross this little number:

I think it was originally intended as a plate rack but to me it screamed, fill me with books and put me on your nightstand. 

And so I did.

Now I have a special place to store my current stash of reading material.  And it looks pretty cute too.  This nifty piece of organizational nirvana was on sell this morning and thus only set me back $6.

I just love that Hobby Lobby!

Trick or Treat buckets

I added a new item to my Etsy shop.
Trick or Treat buckets.

This gallon sized, stainless steel bucket is the perfect size to for your goblins to carry from door to door.  Or you could save it for your stash of candy at home.  It can be personalized with a name or will simply say "trick or treat".

It is decorated front to back with a splash of bats and a cheery pumpkin.

Ribbon generously adorns the handle. And since my boys are already asking me where their's is, I can do it without the ribbon too.

If your interested, see more details at my Etsy shop.  I just love Halloween!

Halloween Table cloth

 A couple weeks ago a good friend of mine came to visit.  We stayed up for hours talking like we always do and somehow got onto the topic of table ware.  Just one of the many random things we find to talk about.  We're both in our early 30's now and are determined to graduate from entertaining with paper plates.  She told me she recently started collecting table clothes for special occasions.  And that got me thinking.  I have two table clothes.  One is plastic and covered with paint.  The other was my $10 clearance table cloth that I picked up for Easter dinner this year.  It's been getting way more usage than just Easter dinner and so I decided to become a table cloth collector too.  There's just one problem with my goal.  Most table cloths I find are either less than cute or more than my budget.  Thus, for the next upcoming table cloth, I decided to start from scratch.  I had some black and white polka dot yardage on hand but, like most fabrics, it wasn't wide enough to use alone.  I didn't want to invest in some extra wide home dec fabric and thus found a couple more prints to add to it.  My table seats up to eight people so I needed about 2 yards of the polka dot and a yard and a half of the prints for the borders.  I had to piece my borders together a little to get the length I wanted but since this isn't a formal table cloth, I was fine with that this time. 

After a couple evening of stiching and a few rolls of ribbon, I ended up with this.

I think I need to host a Halloween celebration now to break her in.

Everything's washable so Halloween partying here we come!

I'm linking up to these parties

New Arrival - Celadon

I wanted to introduce the newest member of the Piccadilly vinyl color collection.  This light grey-green otherwise known as celadon is rocking my world.  It looks fabulous paired with red, white and chocolate brown.  My head is already reeling with christmasy possibilities. 

Here's a complete list of my color selections (at least for now)

with so many delicious vinyl colors available, I'm sure this list will be growing soon.

Back to school

This morning I escorted my eldest munchkin to his new class for the start of a new school year.  Last night we had a back to school party in his honor.  We wore crowns, ate his favorite meal (pizza), and popped balloons with our hineys.

Then we talked about a family theme for the year..." Love more".  Just a little something I want my kids to think about when they face the challenges this year will bring.  I made a new sign to hang above our door to remind us as we leave the door to conquer the world each day.

First day back was a success.  He was all smiles and full of stories as I picked him up.  Here's to a hopefully successful and loving year!

Kitchen makeover

When we moved into our house, our cabinets looked like this.

But, the past few weeks have involved a lot of paint and sanding and even a miter saw.  This post is all about our kitchen progress.  I must confess, my "after" pictures have been strategically taken to hide the unfinished parts.  I'm during this transformation in stages because, well, I have a sixteen month old.  That's really all the explanation that's necessary.  I'll be posting my progress here and hopefully in several weeks, they'll be true "after" pictures to share.

First off...the crown molding.  To begin with, there was only a little dinky sad excuse for crown molding atop my cabinets.  I considered removing it completely to make room for the real stuff, but then I realised it could stay nicely as a separator.  So, it stayed.  My first project, therefore was to add a furring strip (a cheap 1 x 2") to the top of my cabinets.  This was necessary so there would be something for my molding to be screwed into. 

Notice I said screwed.  Originally I thought I could do the whole project with furniture nails.  But, I learned the hard way that those little nails were no match for my industrial strength molding plans.  The whole thing was litterally collapsing.  So, furniture screws it was. 

Next came a 1x6" board that wrapped all the way across my cabinets.  This was for hiegth.  My boring builder grade cabinets needed a lift to look established.

You can see if you look closely that I screwed another furring strip to the top of the 1x6"s but, this was entirely unnecessary because when I held the crown molding up I realised it would look best attached directly to the 1x6.  So, I used a ruler and drew a line all the way across the board about one inch from the top to act as my guide line so that I'd have some level molding.  No one likes unlevel stuff and gaps in the corners.

and finally came the crown molding.  I thought this would be a snap.  After all, I have a lovely miter saw that I'm very familiar with and has special little read lines to mark exactly which angle I need to tilt it to for crown molding.  But, I must admit, this made for one very tense afternoon.  I think I even cried at one point.  And those you tube video tutorials that made it look so easy weren't making me feel any better. Word to the wise, buy extra molding.  A lot extra.  But, we got through it and my miter saw and I will be one speaking terms again...someday.

I did pick up two very helpful tips.  Predrill your holes!  Nothing is worse than finally getting a board cut to the right length with the right angles only to have it split when nailing it up!  And secondly, after nailing up your molding, predrill a small hole at the top corner point where your molding meets and then using a small nail, attach them together.  The nail can be hidden with wood filler.  This holds your molding together so it lines up nicely with no gaps.  No gaps = no one will know you did it yourself.  Unless you blog about it of course.

Next came the easier though much messier stage of the kitchen redo.  I removed all the doors and hardware and then scuffed everything up with my electric sander.

Then everything got a coat of primer that is specially formulated to stick to shiny surfaces (a.k.a. fake foiled builder cabinets)

Next I went with a pure white semi-gloss.  I was so afraid of my cabinets turning out yellow that I decided to forgo the cream, offwhite, linen, etc. paintchips I'd been mulling over for a few months (that's how long it took me to muster the courage to take on this project).

Then came the magic part.  Antiquing glaze found at Lowes.  It's less than $10 for a bottle and a bottle goes a very long ways.  You just dry brush in on and then wipe it off.

It basically stays only in the corners and warmed up my bright white just a tint.  I'm in love.  I'll probably use it on all my painting projects for ever more!  You only think I'm joking.

After a week of sneaking into the garage when my baby didn't notice to put another coat on those's the result.

The bottom cabinets are still in progress and I hope to replace lights, paint the walls, add hardware, etc.  So, I'm far from finished but enjoying the process.

Dog days of Summer

It's hot here.  Really, REALLY, hot.  Even the pool seems to simmer.  My AC is working overtime and we're doing are best to enjoy it inside.  But somehow, a girl has to keep the munchkins from having a revolt.  And, spending all day watching Phineus and Ferb isn't going to cut it. (although there's been a fair share of that going on as well.)  So, being me, the over achieving glutton for punishment that I am, I turn to crafts.  Kids' crafts specifically.  I'm not really sure these are blog worthy.  We've had very mixed results.  But, my blog was feeling a little neglected so, I thought I'd share the good, the bad, and the ugly.

First, I'll start with the good: a Fairy House

made completely out of scrap wood and project leftovers.  This turned out better than I expected and the little girl who's room it's going in was so excited about it.  Basically I let her be the designer and I just handled the power tools and the hot glue gun.  She did a great job didn't she.

Next came the bad: Bleach sprayed T-shirts
I saw the idea once to put a shape on a colored t-shirt and then spray around it using bleach.  I thought this would be such a fun project.  I applied butterflies and pokemon characters by request using my vinyl decals.

Then I inserted foil into the shirts to prevent bleed-through.  I handed the kids a spray gun with a mixture of water and bleach and let them go crazy on the drive-way. 

But sadly, after the shirts dried, we discovered the bleach had bled through beneath the vinyl decal removing all traces of a picture.  Maybe less water next time.

I think I'm going to have to redo the images with fabric paint cause those kids were fairly disappointed.  Darn it all!

Finally, the ugly: Paper Mache Pinatas.

I was the most excited about this project.  I mean, who can resist the lure of a candy filled, colorfully painted, festive creation that you're SuPPoseD to beat to a pulp!

But, less than two minutes into the process, the glue filled bowl was knocked to the ground and it splattered EvErYwHerE!  Do you know how tough it is to clean up glue?...Twice!  Ah yes, it happened a second time too.  While I was in the middle of cleaning (that time frame is pretty open since it took a while), I noticed the kids dropping out one by one.  They weren't a fan of flour/water up to the elbows.  So, I got to construct four pinatas almost single handedly.  I kinda wish it was single handedly because I'm still cleaning up glue. 

But they did look pretty cute hanging up ready to dry.  I wanted to paint them like Easter eggs.

A few days, some crayola paint, and a couple bags of candy later, we got to knock the stuffing out of them.  This almost made up for the glue on the floor...almost.

Just in case you are a glutton for punishment like me, here's the recipe I used for my pinata glue.

1 part flour mixed with two parts water.  It's cheap and it worked.

I'd love to hear all about your summer time kid's crafts.  There's one week left before school.  Plenty of time to get messy.

Play Room Art

This last weekend I snuck away with my Mother-in-law for a few minutes to peruse a garage sale on the corner.  So glad I did because I found several canvases in perfect shape for only 25 cents a piece.  I litterally paid for them using only coins from the bottom of my purse.  LOVE it when that happens!

There were a couple of 20" by 16" ones that were calling for immediate action.  This morning they received two coats of black paint.  (I used a semi-gloss interior latex because that's what I had on hand and I figured it would be more durable than my Apple Barrel craft paint from Walmart.  When Light Sabor duals are a daily event in one's house, durability is an absolute must!

Then I whipped out a couple of Alphabet decals using my vinyl cutter and rubbed them on. 

They went from blank canvases to hanging on the wall in just a few hours.  Easy peasy.

I'm going to post the decals on my Etsy shop in case you have a couple of canvases calling to you but need a little rub-on magic.


Here's a little something I've been working on.

Unfortunately, I don't have a tutorial for this one since the center piece is a metal plate that I had to commision a sheet metal supplier to make for me.

However, I do have them posted over at my Etsy shoppe.

I'm saying Adieu to the Christmas crafts for at least a few weeks. But, no worries, I've been cooking up a bundle of new projects that will be making their way onto the blog shortly.