Wednesday, October 31, 2012

UPDATE! DIY Bookends

Remember a few weeks ago when I taught you how to make these bookends?  

I knew at the time that they weren't exactly what I wanted, but I decided to live with them for a while and see if they grew on me.  Well I've spent the last few weeks looking at them and they were still just not right.  The elephants should be the star of the show, and then that block is so very big and yellow, I feel like the elephants are taking a back seat.  So the other day I went to Lowes in search of a fix and stumbled across these little guys.  I found them in the aisle with the wooden dowel rods and molding.  I actually saw them when I first started this project but thought they were too short.  But after seeing how bulky the larger blocks looked, I decided that they were exactly what I needed. There's no detailing on one edge, but I'm totally okay with that since it won't be visible anyway.

So I took those beauties home for a cool not-even-$2 each.  A few coats of spray paint (I think I ended up with 3, since the wood absorbed the paint pretty well) and some hot glue later, I finally have the look I was going for.

I am so obsessed with these little elephants.  The wood makes them look more polished and chic and it's just exactly what I needed. The blocks were the teensiest bit wider than before, so I had to really squeeze to get everything in, but I don't care.  It's worth it.  Have you ever made a small revision on a project that made all the difference?  And have you ever had to suck up your pride when you realized you passed up the right supplies the first time?  I'm telling you, I could have saved a solid $10 bucks if I'd have just gone with those wooden blocks in the first place!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

DIY: Repurposed Pickle Jars

I've got a lot of projects planned and a lot of supplies laying aroun my house, and, unfortunately, I've been procrastinating like a pro in getting started on any of them.  But thanks to Hurricane Sandy, I've had the last two days off, so somewhere amid the laying in bed and watching movies, and making grilled cheese sandwiches, I finally got around to finishing one project, albeit a simple one, but a completed project nontheless.  I got the idea from Pinterest, obiously, and was inspired by two different projects, both using pickle jars.  One from The Ivy Cottage Blog and the other from Creative Confetti.  I'm also participating in theFall Pinterest Challenge.  For more fun projects go to Young House Love,  Bower Power, Our Fifth House, and Ugly Duckling House.
Repurposed Pickle Jar

What You'll Need

Spray paint -- one color or two, your choice. You may also want some white spray paint or primer.
Pickle Jar.  I soaked mine in hot water and dish detergent for about 10 minutes and the label slipped right off.  Then I ran it through the dishwasher so that it didn't smell like pickles anymore.
Drawer Knob
Adhesive--I use epoxy, but you can use super glue or hot glue too.
Optional: Candlestick holder

What You'll Do

1. Go to a well-ventilated area to paint the lid and the drawer knob.  At first I went without white or primer, but the dark color was showing through the red.  So I sprayed the knob white and then used the red again and it was perfect. I also painted the candlestick holder because originally I had intended to use it as a pedestal, but then I changed my mind.

2.  Bring your pieces inside and, using your glue, attach the drawer knob to the lid.  The good thing about pickle jar is that they have the pop lid, so it's easy to eyeball the center.  If you're going to use the candlestick holder, attach it at this point as well.

 3. Fill that sucker up and throw it on a shelf!  Mine is holding buttons because I'm obsessed with the idea of a button jar.
There are tons of possibilities for this project.  At first mine was going to be a candy jar, but the different colors was more distracting than I wanted, so it's a button jar.  I see myself making a ton more for glue sticks and googly eyes and maybe even non-crafting odds and ends.  And I may make some for Christmas gifts by spraying the lid, knob, and candlestick the same color (probably a bronze) and filling it with candy.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Gearing Up

I'm starting to gear up for some pretty intense holiday crafting.  Well, intense for me, at least.  I've decided that starting the first week of November and moving forward until Christmas, I'm going to complete at least one project a week.  I love decorating for Christmas and giving gifts, but it can all get pricey really quickly, especially when there's extra cooking and party dress shopping, and donation-giving to be done as well.  Also, I feel like if I buy all my decorations then my house won't feel original, and we can't have that. 

So this year I'm going to get my craft on.  I'm going to give some homemade gifts (especially where dirty santa events are concerned), deck the Yopp halls, crank some Christmas carols, and document it all for you.

I've got a few ideas in mind already (we're talking wreaths, ornaments and a lot of fun with terra cotta pots)but I need more.  Are there any crafts you've been itching to try, but you're not sure if they are doable in real life?  Do you really want a new snowman or santa decoration but you just don't know where to get it or how to make it?  Let me know and I'll do my best to help you out! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

DIY: Burlap Bubble Wreath

Like just about every other blogger out there, I've been looking forward to fall since about the first day of winter last year.  I love everything about fall.  I love the colors and the smells and the clothes and the flavors and the weather.    While some people put out their pumpkins and scarecrows on September 1, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  It's October now and it's still summer-hot.  But since it's October now, I decided that I should probably get moving on my fall wreath.  And nothing says fall quite like a big, fluffy wreath made of burlap!

Burlap Bubble Wreath

What You'll Need

Burlap.  I had some leftover burlap at home, but I figured there wouldn't be enough, so I picked up more. But I didn't learn until I was 1/4 of my way around the wreath that the two burlaps didn't match.  So learn from my mistake. 
12 inch foam wreath form
Good, sharp scissors
Corsage pins
Felt or flowers
Hot glue gun

What You'll Do

1.  Wrap your wreath form in burlap and hold the ends in place with corsage pins.  It doesn't have to be perfect because it's going to be covered up, but it's nice that you won't have to worry about green peeking out the sides.  The front will look like this:

And the back will look like this:

Like I said, not perfect. 

2.  Cut your burlap into 4x4 inch squares.  But you know what?  No one is going to come along and inspect it, so if you cut a little crooked or your square is 5 inches instead of 4, it's totally okay.  Really.  I'd recommend making a few at a time so that you don't waste any of your burlap.

3.  Now it's time to make some puffs!  Fold the square in half to form a triangle.

Then pull the other two corners down with the ones that are already pinched together.

In that picture the 4th corner is still loose, so make sure you pull that one in too. 

4.  Using your corsage pins, attach the bubble to your wreath.

5.  Now keep going until you've covered that sucker!  Don't worry about which directions your puffs are going.  I used the multiple choice test formula.  You know when you took a multiple choice test and stumbled across that one question whose answer completely stumped you?  And you picked the letter that you hadn't chosen in a while?  Do that.  Pin down your puffs in whatever direction you haven't pinned them in a while.  Keep on keeping on,  making the front of your wreath as burlap-bubbly as you see fit. 

You can cut off any runaway threads as you see fit, but I decided to keep them. 

6.  Now it's time for some flowers!  I made mine using this tutorial.  And frankly, she explains it better than I can.  I made a fringed flower, a looped flower, and two rosettes.  

Instead of securing the felt flowers with an embroidery needle, I used hot glue. Not because I decided that was the smarter way to do it (I burned my fingers...several times), but because I didn't have an embroidery needle.  I put a button in the middle of my fringed flower.  Well, two buttons, actually.

If you don't want to make flowers, feel free to use artificial flowers.  Or heck, leave it blank if you're a minimalist!

7.  Lay the flowers on the wreath until you figure out how you like them best, then glue them down.  You can also attach a ribbon or twine or something along those lines so you can hang your wreath.  I just hooked mine on my wreath hook, but Paul suggested adding an orange ribbon, so I'll probably end up doing an orange grosgrain ribbon for hanging. 

Looking back, I probably should have used a brighter color for the fringe flower, since it's so big, but overall I really love the way my wreath turned out.

Do you have any crafting projects planned for this fall?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Little Organization

Everyone who has been to my house could agree on one thing, and that is that my bathroom is tiny.  And there's only one of them.  That means that with two adults using it, there's very little storage room to go around.  I shudder to think about what it will be like one day when we expand our family and there is even less room to go around.  We don't have the luxury of being able to keep things behind closed cabinet doors.  I have two drawers under the sink that were overflowing with makeup, hair understand. Something had to be done.
Then today I was wandering around the One Dollar Spot at Target when I noticed little galvanized buckets with a ribbon handle.  I said to myself, "Those are cute and $1.  But I'm not sure what I'd do with them.  But I'd practically be losing money if I didn't buy them."  So I tossed them in my cart and went on my way, eventually picking up bobby pins and hair clips for my new favorite hairdo, the sock bun.
When I got home I was putting everything away and new exactly what I would do with my little buckets.  So I cleared the only shelf in my bathroom, filled one bucket with bobby pins, one with clips, and one with hair ties, and put them on the shelf. 

(Yes, that's a bathroom reader, Judgey McJudgerson.)

It doesn't look so different in these pictures, but the difference feels drastic to me. I like the look of the buckets and it's going to be so much easier for me to use all these items without having to dig for them through drawers. 

Have you stumbled across any treasures at the Target's Dollar Spot lately?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Why I Love Tuesday Nights

Fall tv is back, y'all!

Are you watching "The Mindy Project?"  Because you should be. It comes on Tuesday on Fox, and you won’t even have to change the channel since it comes on right after "New Girl," and clearly you’re already watching that.  Or at least you should be!  "The Mindy Project" was created by and stars Mindy Kaling, so obiviously it’s wonderful.  Mindy plays a doctor (a gynecologist to be exact) who loves romantic comedies. The show focuses on her and her coworkers and her dating... adventures, for lack of a better word.

Here are a few of my favorite gems from last night's episode wherein Mindy goes to a club with some coworkers and attempts to finagle her way into the VIP section.

Mindy: “I fell asleep watching Amelie, and when I woke up I had spilled so much red wine on myself I thought I’d been stabbed."

Shawna the receptionist, hungover:  “If you need anything I’ll be answering phones under a damp washcloth.”

Betsy:  “Whoa, Dr. Castelano, you look handsome like a youth minister!”

Bartender: “Vodka tonic, bourbon rocks, and red wine with ice.”
Mindy:  “What? They didn’t have sangria!”

Mindy: “Hey Danny, how come you’re not dancing?”
Dr. Castelano: “I don’t really like this music.”
Mindy:  “Do you want me to ask them to play some Doobie Brothers?”

Also, there was a pretty solid Harry Potter reference.

"New Girl" is still my favorite (seriously Jess and Nick, just get married already!), but "The Mindy Project" is running a close second.  

Seriously, do yourself a favor and check it out! 

Also, I'm guest posting on Standpipe & Sprinkles today so you should head on over there and check it out.  And while you're at it, become a follower! Kat regularly updates about what life is like for the family of an oil field worker.  And she posts a lot of photos of her pretty  stylish toddler which are sure to put a smile on your face.

Monday, October 8, 2012

How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

Paul and I have been watching The Walking Dead on Netflix lately, and tonight he started shouting zombie survival advice at the tv.  His advice certainly won't help any of the characters, but maybe it could help you!  So I present to you...

Paul's Zombie Survival Tips

  • Keep your mouth closed.  Because you don't want their zombie blood to spurt in your mouth and infect you.
  • When you're hiding from the zombies and they stagger away, wait 10 minutes before you come out from your hiding spot.
  • Don't shoot them.  If you shoot them, more zombies will come.  You have to kill them quietly.
  • When someone is chasing zombies away from you, stay in your hiding spot.
  • The Jeep Wagoneer is the worst car to have because it only gets 9 mpg. This is the situation where you would want a Prius.  The only situation.
  • Silencers.  I'd elaborate, but that's all I got.
  • Find a place to bathe.  He didn't point this out tonight, but if you remember his proclamation from our Natural Bridge trip, you know this is important to him.
So there you have it. It's not much, but at least you know now that that Jeep Wagoneer of yours won't get you far when it's just you, your rag-tag group of new friends, and a bunch of zombies.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

DIY: Animal Bookends

If you're on pinterest, you may have seen these bookends.

Most people, including me, were classifying them as DIY. But they're actually from Pottery Barn Teen and they're a wopping $49! I thought to myself, I can do that! So I gathered my supplies and the next day I had beautiful new bookends.  Yeah right!  I'd love to say that this project was as easy as I thought it would be, but it wasn't. The entire thing was fraught with mishaps, all of which will be documented below.  The pictures are pretty inconsistent because I started these while my phone was broken so I was using a real camera.  But I hardly ever have it on me.  But, without further ado.

Animal Bookends
What You'll Need

2 toy animals.  I spent a good half hour staring at toys in Michaels, trying to decide which animal to use.  I finally narrowed it down between elephants, giraffes, and cows before settling on elephants.
2 clear boxes.  This was my first hurdle. I had originally planned to use wood blocks, but I couldn't find the size I needed and Lowes wouldn't cut them as small as I needed and they kind of treated me like I was stupid.  So I went back to Marshalls and hunted around until I found these clear boxes.
Epoxy or hot glue
Spray paint
Spray primer (not'll find out why in a minute)
What You'll Do

1.  Glue the lids onto the boxes so that they form a block. I did this by putting a thin line of super glue around the lip of the box, putting the lid on, and then setting a can of soup on top.  I used Chunky. It had a little more oomph than the cream of mushroom.

2.  Go to a well-ventilated area and get your spray pain on.  First, spray your elephants with primer. Initially I didn't use primer, I just took aim with the spray paint.   And what happend?  All the paint ran off those elephants like it was water. I didn't think to take a picture, but it was bad.  And then it took about a day to dry.  Seriously, it was the worst spray paint I've ever used.  I bought it because Lowes didn't have my favorite brand and I didn't want to make a second trip.  Anyway, I headed to the our shed and  found just enough primer to cover the elephants.  

 4. After the primer has dried, spray those puppies with paint.  Enter roadblock number 3!  I was going to use the original paint because I figured that since I had used primer, it would stick fine.  But the cap wouldn't unlock.  It was a twist cap and it was stuck.  So I had to get new spray paint.  But that actually ended up being a blessing because I was able to get a better shade in my favorite brand. This stuff never does me wrong.  You can get it at Walmart.  

Now that you've got the perfect paint in hand, now it's really time to spray, baby, spray!  You're going to need a few coats.

5.  Glue your toys on top of your blocks.

 6.  Try and figure out where to put your beauties on display.  I haven't decided If I want them under the tv with Harry Potter or on the mantle with The Hunger Games

Like I said, I'm not thrilled with this project or the end result. I took about three weeks to complete, start to finish.  Every time something went awry I lost motivation.  Also, the blocks are larger than I realized at first and, though you can't tell from these pictures, there's A LOT of imperfections with the paint on the blocks.  But they do add some fun personality to the room, and I love that. 
Which animal would you have used?  And seriously, I'm conflicted, should my new elephant friends spend their days on the mantle or under the tv?  With Harry Potter or Katniss?  

30 Before 30: Go to Natural Bridge


Yesterday Paul and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary.  And can I just say, how in the world have I been married for 2 years already?!  It sounds cliche, but it really does feel like just yesterday that we were fist pumping to journey and chowing down on yummy donuts with our favorite people.

Anyway, Paul and I both had to work yesterday, but he has Wednesdays off now so I decided to take the day off to spend some quality time with my groom. Initially we had planned to go to the Peaks of Otter for lunch and wine tasting, but earlier today Paul brought up that we've been to the Peaks so we should go somewhere we haven't been before.  And that's when he suggested we go to Natural Bridge. And I was thrilled! I've lived no more than 2 hours from Natural Bridge my entire life and I've never been, but have wanted to go for a while, so it was an easy peak for my 30 Before 30 list.

Natural Bridge is a limestone rockface that was formed into a bridge after a cavern collapsed. It was once owned by Thomas Jefferson and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1998. You get to it by following a trail, but it's completely handicapped accessible, which is pretty awesome. 

Looking at it from far away is pretty cool, but close up it's just amazing.  It's a lot wider than I always thought it would be and it's really just overwhelming in a completely indescribable way.

If you follow the trail past the bridge there's a recreation of a Monacan village and, farther down,  a waterfall.  Or at least that's what they tell you.  But I'll get to that in a minute. 

Paul is 1/16 Monacan so he really wanted to go to the village.  Unfortunately, we were there at about 5:30 so all we saw were some structures, but no reinactors.  Paul took to making statements that began, "We Monacans..." and that's when we started to move on.

It was here that Paul made the bold declaration that, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, he would come to this spot to bathe.  He didn't really explain why.  I didn't have it in me to ask.

This was taken at the exact same spot as the last picture, but this is the view on the other side of the foot bridge. Paul asked if this was the waterfall we were going to.  I laughed when he asked that, but then about 1/2 mile later when we actually got to the waterfall we were going to, his question was a little less funny.  Because the massive Narnia-like waterfall that I was expecting was actually this...

Pretty?  Yes!  But a waterfall?  I'm going to say that's stretching things a bit.

The first half of our 2 hour walk was a little miserable.  It was super-muggy today ( especially for October), so even in shorts and a barely there cardigan,  I was burning up and had to throw my hair in a pony tail. On the way back it had cooled down a bit and there was a little bit of a breeze, which was nice. I think the perfect time to go would be a crisp 55 degree day after a lot of the leaves have changed colors.

We didn't venture to any of the museums since they were already closed, but I really enjoyed just winding through the woods with Paul for a couple hours without the distraction of phones, computers, or the tv.  Just us.