Monday, November 29, 2010

Joy to the world... (and me, me, me)

... the Christmas decor is up!

To be honest it's been up for almost two weeks already but since I knew the rest of you had your hands full with Thanksgiving and whatnot I figured I'd wait until Xmas stuff was kosher. I'm not a huge fan of holiday decorating since it's a lot of trouble for something that comes down almost immediately. Xmas stuff stays up for over a month so I do some of that, and here's what it looks like (I've mostly decorated in the living room so that's all you'll see here).

View of one side of the room.

View of the opposite side. Don't mind the writing on the mantle, it's supposed to be a Bible verse when it's done but I'm starting to wonder if it'll all fit and since I haven't won any of those Silhouette giveaways yet it's taking me FOREVER to do it the old fashioned way.

Since my place looks a little Xmasy all year long I haven't really done much. The stockings and the stocking holders is all I added to the mantle, the rest stays up all year long :)

I got inspired to rework an old fake garland into this wreath using a large thrift store wreath form, added some ornaments and a bow and done! I like the hefty size of it. FYI I did add a wreath to the outside entry but it's not done yet, hopefully more on that later.

My little black naked tree got a dose of Xmas. The flowers were there already and I added some bead garland, some purple ornaments and a couple of birds. The last ones just because, found them at Dollar Tree. Figured a tree needs a couple of birds. The lighting is hard in that corner or I would have gotten better pics.

And the little Xmas tree. Just a jumble of ornaments from previous years. It used to be only silver and purple but I discovered that with my new colorful color scheme in here the two-tone looked a little washed out in comparison :) So I had some gold and red added to the mix.

So a little bit of holiday feel without too much effort. I put some Xmas music on today while cleaning up the usual mess the kids create so I could take these pics, to try to get into the spirit :)

On a completely different note I'll show you some pics of me, before and after. I got myself a haircut about a week ago. I wanted a change and a recent video I was in for our church made me feel like I wanted to cover up more of my face. I used to do drastic changes to my hair before the kids but it's been growing wild for over 4 years now. This cut isn't very drastic but at least it's different.

Before. LONG.

The befores were taken right before I went to get it cut so it's still wet from the shower and thus flatter than usual.

After. About a foot shorter with bangs and layers. These pics were taken today, maybe because the weather was on the warmer side (winter cold makes me go into hibernation mode and I don't get much done) or because I finally found a hairdo that I really like for this new cut? Either way, I snapped away.

Um, I'm sharper IRL, by the way :)

It took me a while to get used to this new hairdo. At first I felt it just made me look more like the frumpy housewife I am. I cut another inch off the bangs on my own (the result is what you see in these pics) and after that was done it felt a little edgier and more me.

Snapping away with the camera, trying to look good :) And I think I'm becoming more and more like my husband because some of his silliness is certainly wearing off on me...

I guess it could illustrate my first reaction after the cut? :)

Later I let my hair down and this is what it looks like.

On the plus side for the new look I do use a lot less shampoo, and covering the grays should be cheaper. I just wish I could re-shoot that video too....

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Pretty cork boards

Hi guys! How are you holding up under the pressure? :) I'm doing well as far as holidays are concerned because we're very low-key on holidays and such and we don't have any family coming by.

Lots of other things on my plate, though. School (the kids), family and church. So I must confess I'm not feeling much like being a blogging champion these days. I'm hanging in there though, hoping it's just the circumstances that make me feel that way. Because I have a lot of decor/crafts going on and I'm sure I'd want to show them off when they're all done :) It's taking a little longer to finish them than I thought originally and I'll try to keep my posts shorter and more to the point for a while, to give myself a break :)

Now over to my pretty cork boards! I never thought you could put the words "pretty" and "cork board" together in a sentence like that because in my humble opinion cork boards are one of the ugliest things you can have on your wall. But oh, so practical!

Since our oldest started pre-K a few months ago I can't keep all the info in my head anymore (WHY do schools feel like they have to send home SO much information on this and that and the other with five reminders and recorded phone calls on top of that, I almost feel like having them take me off the calling list...) And I wanted someplace to display all the kiddie art that's starting to amass around here, in a tasteful way. So what's a girl to do when she's got plenty of paperwork and a cork board would be too ugly to hang?

Luckily, another brilliant blogger came up with an idea for me :) Bryn Alexandra has a great tutorial on all the steps so feel free to check her out as well. I did the cheapo version of hers, using cork boards from the thrift store, drop cloths for the fabric and Dollar Tree thumb tacks for the nailhead trim.
It's up to you to decide but I must say mine came out just as nice as hers :)

I put both cork boards up in the kids' room so I wouldn't have to look at the jumble of papers and such in our communal spaces but the cork boards themselves are nice to look at.

So here's the process I went through.

First I got me a couple of beat up old cork boards at the thrift store. I think they were $5 and $6, but the smaller one was a decent size and the Melissa one was HUGE. They were sturdy and the imperfections on the cork board surface didn't matter since they were going to be covered up by the fabric.

Then I cut out a piece of fabric that was a few inches larger than the cork board on each side. And I ironed the fabric to remove the wrinkles. (I don't have pics of every step but this is simple stuff so I think you'll get it anyway). I used maybe 1/4 of a large drop cloth for this and the leftovers already have or will be used for other projects.

I then sprayed adhesive on the cork board surface and smoothed my fabric out, all the way out to the edges (while still leaving the fabric loose, no attaching to the back yet). And then it was time for the thumb tacks (they were leftovers from my couch project). I followed Bryn's advice to use my pinkie finger for a spacer to get the tacks evenly spaced and it worked pretty well.

The next step involved spraying the adhesive onto the frame part of the cork board and wrapping my fabric as neatly as possible around the corners and stapling it to the back. I ran out of staples with this one but hot glue works fine as well.

 It wasn't too complicated for the most part (maybe it helped that I used re-positionable glue?) And you know me, not too stressed out about the imperfections :) It sure makes life easier :)

And here's the afters. I censured the names, that's what the white blobs are :)

This one in the above and below pics is the one that had Melissa written all over it, you wouldn't know that by looking at it now. And I have a great place to display kiddie art.

As a side note I can mention that the dog images under the cork boards are something I snatched from here and just printed out and framed, just for some whimsy. (They're dog heads photoshopped onto vintage portraits. My husband thinks they're creepy but I think it's because he's into genealogy and secretly wonders what the original people in the portraits would feel about being replaced by a critter). I just kind of liked these bulldog looking dogs and imagine them being a family - dad, mom, son and tutor (their names are Charley, Cordelia, Wally and Mr Bojangles, the latter being the tutor).
I know, I'm silly :)

And this one below is where I hang the important school info. I decided to pretty it up with a small mirror which I just hung with a nail in the cork board.

It hangs just above this small desk.

I've made quite a bit of changes to the kids' room lately but it's all a work in progress so it doesn't look all that spectacular yet. This desk needs to be painted, the desk chair needs a slip cover, the chair next to the desk needs a proper slip cover instead of the old sheet that's covering it now. And on the story goes :)

Most important is that the walls WILL be painted so that there will finally be some color in there, but the budget doesn't allow for that just yet. I will however clean up the all too obvious mess in the kids' room and give you a guided tour of what has been done, sometime soon :) In the mean time I keep on working on the smaller stuff in there, like the cork boards and wall art. Did you like the cork boards, by the way? I think I spent about $20 for both of them altogether, not too shabby.

Ps. Linking up with
Cottage Instincts
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Petty projects and how to keep your zipper up

I know I've been missing in action lately. Sorry about that but we've had a hard drive that's been acting up (at least I think that's the name of the thingy) so I haven't been able to get my photos off the camera. Until now :) I have a few bigger projects in the pipeline which I hope to show you soon, but in the mean time I'll try to tie you over with some petty projects.

Henna pumpkin

Some friends of ours had a pumpkin carving party for Halloween, and while carving pumpkins is fun it's quite a bit of trouble for something that's going to rot in 2 days time...

So I decided to be different as usual and brought my white craft paint and a tooth pick. I freehanded this henna inspired pattern and applied it by dipping my tooth pick in the paint and "painting" it on with the tooth pick. Since the pumpkin wasn't harmed in the process it'll last me until Xmas if I feel like keeping it around for that long. I'm not that big on holiday decorating so I tend to lean towards stuff I can have up for a long time and this certainly fits the bill.

Zebra accent pillow

I made this little pillow from a mini skirt found at the thrift store. The pillow is honestly so tiny it barely qualifies as a pillow. But at least it adds a little zing to our living room and that brown chair.

The green ribbon I sewed on there adds a little modern pop of color.

It's a basic overlapping opening in the back (I can't remember what they're called now).

DIY tunic

This tunic was made from a patterned top found at the thrift store. It was a little too small for me with the waist riding up and the sleeves were a little too short.  So I cut the bottom and the sleeves off of one of my husband's old work t-shirts and grafted them on. And added a little rolled up flower to the collar.

Keep your zipper up

Have you ever bought a great pair of jeans at the thrift store only to realize the first time you wear them that the stupid zipper won't stay up? It's happened to me with new, new-to-me and old favorite pants and since I'm not a big fan of flashing my panties I came up with a solution. 

Fishing line! I'll show you the process with a piece of string, hoping that will be easier to see.

Cut a loop of your fishing line, about double the distance between your button and that little hole in the zipper "handle".

Tie the ends so you have a loop.

Thread one end of the loop through the hole in your zipper "handle".....

.... and pull the other end of the loop through it (I think it's some version of a lark's head knot, it's basically looped around itself and thus firmly attached). Pull it tight so it'll stay in place.

Here's what it looks like on my pants. Zip up, hook the loop over the button and button your pants as usual. That zipper won't be going anywhere anytime soon :)

When buttoned it's virtually invisible and it's very easy to just slide the fishing line off the button when it's time to un-zip. The fishing line is fine for years on there and won't come loose, you can wash and dry them as usual without any problems and since it's so inexpensive you can have one on every pair of pants you own (provided they close with a button and zipper, of course..).

Anyway, that's it for today and I hope to be back with some more stuff next week. Ta-da! :)

Ps. Linking up with
Someday Crafts

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