Wednesday, September 29, 2010

{Spooky} skulls

I'm not really into gore and I will fully admit that I hate detest ABHOR being scared. So when it comes to Halloween... I've never been a huge fan.

(ask my old friend Jennifer about the Halloween in 3rd grade when her dad and uncle showed up to our classroom dressed up as Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde looking for a "head" to take back to their "lab"... and I hid... under my desk... crying hysterically... for about 45 minutes. And to be honest, if someone did the same thing today at my office, I'd probably react the same exact way in my humble little cubicle!!  Yeah, saying that I'm not a fan of being scared is an UNDERSTATEMENT!)

So when it comes to decorating for Halloween, I have always tended to keep things on the ~lighter~ side of the holiday. Especially with 2 little girls in the house who do not need to be up all night with nightmares. So I usually opt for a few foam pumpkins here and there, some cartoonish cardboard cutouts taped to the doors in the kitchen and a handful of real pumpkins decorated by the kids with stickers and "push-piece" faces (like these from last year)...

But this year, I've been inspired by some of the Halloween decor I've been seeing out there in blogland lately. Maaaaaaybe I could tackle something a liiiiiitle more spooky. So I hit the Dollar Tree to see what I could find that wouldn't be too costly, too gory or too {scary} (And, yes, I'll blame that one on the kids as long as I can - hahahahahahaha!). One of the first creations I came up with was inspired by Shelley over at House of Smiths from THIS POST. In particular, I really liked this arrangement...

Courtesy House of Smiths
So I decided to do a modified version of it... First, I pulled out a fish-bowl type vase I already had and dumped in a bag of river rocks from the Dollar Tree...

Then I added a layer of Spanish Moss (again, from Dollar Tree)...

Then I poured in 2 bags of mini skeletons (yup, you guessed it... from Dollar Tree!)

Then I placed it on the dining room table with my Dollar Tree Hurricanes (see post here) and added a cute {?} black crow (yes, yes, yes, it was from the Dollar Tree).

And... TADAAA!

Not counting the table runner or those teeny tiny pumpkins, everything seen in this display only cost $9 total!! (Actually, even less than that since I didn't use all of the spanish moss). 

OK, so... not TOO scary and not really gory but... not ~cutesy wootsey~ either. A nice compromise if I do say so myself! :)

I'm linking this up to:
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What a nice surprise!!

First I would like to say... Yay me! :)

Next, I would like to send a big


out to Andi over at Jane of All Crafts.

She gave me my first Blog Award!

I share this award with 4 other bloggers chosen by Andi and am honored to be among those talented folks. One of the best things about the {One Lovely Blog Award} is that I get to pass it on! Here is how it works...

  1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
  2. Pay it forward to 5 other bloggers that you have newly discovered (or that you just really like!).
  3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.
So here are my 5 choices for the One Lovely Blog Award:

Pink Postcard.
A Little Knick Knack
Hi Sugarplum!
The Hand Me Down House
A Silly Little Sparrow

All these are awesome blogs so be sure to stop by and check out how FABulous they are!!
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Halloween Rag Wreath

So before I even get started, I will admit that I totally stole this idea from Tanya at A Little Bit of Everything. You can see her post HERE which I flat out copied. Thank you Tanya! :)

(And even though Tanya included a detailed tutorial with her post, I figured I would go ahead and include one too in the event that you don't get a chance to link over to hers. But you really should - she's got some great ideas on her blog!).

First I bought some fabric in 5 different Halloween patterns. I bought 1/3 yd of each since I knew I wanted my strips to be about 12" long.  (**EDIT - As I look back, I think I should have made my strips a few inches shorter. They seem to be too droopy since they are so long. Next time!)

Then I cut them into approximately 1" strips (I didn't measure - just eyeballed it). Initially I cut 19 strips of each fabric (I have absolutely NO idea why I chose 19! What a weird number! So unlike me!) and it took me about 45 minutes to cut those 95 strips total.

Then I formed my "hoop" out of a wire hanger just using my hands to pull it into a circle shape.

Then I just started double knotting the strips onto the form. I think it took me about one minute per strip but I didn't really pay attention since I just did it in front of the TV one night. After my 95 strips were gone, I was about here...

So I tightened it all up and cut another 11 strips of each fabric (getting me to a total of 30 strips of each fabric) and finished it all out.

Lastly, I wrapped the hook part of the hanger with some ribbon I picked up in the dollar section at Michaels. I just wrapped it around itself and didn't even secure it with glue.

And here is the final product hanging on our front door.


I didn't add a bow like Tanya did (bows just aren't my style) but I think it came out pretty nice even without it. Thanks for the great and {easy} idea Tanya!!! :)

I'm linking up this post to the following parties (also see buttons in the sidebar):
Between Naps on the Porch
The DIY Showoff
Under the Table and Dreaming
Its so Very Cheri
The Tablescaper
A Silly Little Sparrow
These Creative Juices
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
The Thrifty Home
A Little Knick Knack
While He Was Napping

Entertain Exchange

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Tot Swap!

Today was TOT SWAP day! 

(and, no, that doesn't mean you get to trade your tot in for a new one! LOL). 

Basically it is a huge consignment sale with clothes, toys, baby gear, etc. and it is held in my area twice a year - spring and fall. Each season, I am typically "good to go" with clothes for Boogey -- she gets lots of hand-me-downs from her big sis, plus I've got a really good "sharing" deal with a friend of mine whose daughter is sized in between my 2 girls.

But SweetPea is a different story. For starters, she's huge (read "tall") for her age -- she is not even 4 yet but needs size 5 clothes for length. Plus, I don't have anyone bigger/older than her to share with. (Well, that isn't entirely true... I have received a ton of stuff from my niece, but SweetPea won't fit in any of it until next winter). So, I basically need to buy an entire winter wardrobe for her each season. 

Enter.... TOT SWAP! I spent about 2 hours this morning sifting through the racks and racks of clothes and piles of books and toys...

(please pardon my crappy cell phone photos!)

And these photos only show about 1/2 of what they had!

 I ended up with:

12 long-sleeved shirts
8 pairs of pants
3 (2-piece) sweatsuits
2 pairs of pajamas
13 books
2 {super cute} mini rocking chairs

(Notice Milo in the upper left corner - he just had to get his cat hair all over everything as soon as it came in the house!)

Want to guess my cost for all that???

All told, it came to $97.52!!

Not too shabby!! If I break it all down into individual pieces, that works out to about $2 per item. Most of the clothes are either Gymboree or Children's Place so really not a bad deal. Plus they are all in realllllly good condition. Some barely look used (as many kids clothes can be).

Two of my favorite deals were:

Awesome fleece hoodie with matching sport-type pants - $4 for the set!!

This 2-piece set from Gymboree was only $5!!

And I just couldn't resist these mini wooden rocking chairs for only $2.

I initially planned on giving one to each kid to use with their Barbie dolls or small teddy bear or whatever, but I am now thinking I may need to paint one white and use it in my own decor... wouldn't it look cute on the mantle??

Look how {CUTE} I am! (and dusty! LOL)

All in all, not a bad deal for a winter wardrobe! She'll probably need a few more things, but overall I was quite pleased with my haul.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I've got a button!

I've added a Blog Button!! Feel free to grab it! :)

(see side bar for code)

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Monday, September 20, 2010

DIY Canvas Art {tweet tweet}

This post is a tutorial on how to make your own painted canvas wall art:

Tutorial: DIY painted canvas wall art

So do you remember THIS POST from last month? Well, I have finally gotten around to finishing that project! Here are the 'deets'... (do you believe that I am a 20-something yr. old when I use cool abbreviations like that?? Yeah, didn't think so. Drat!)

As mentioned in THIS POST, our whole house is painted neutrally (read "BLAH") and the walls are just dying to be dressed up a little until we can afford to paint every surface in here. One of the worst offenders is in our master bedroom. We have these gorgeous cathedral type slanty ceilings and I love all the open space. But it is A LOT of manilla vanilla going on in there!

So I laid sat down on the bed and tried to figure out what I could do to add some interest to the room without actually having to paint the walls. After I woke up from my nap {I wish!} a few minutes, I realized that the two biggest walls in the room were..




Well, gee... no wonder it looks so blase in here. There is nothing -- and I mean NOTHING! -- (except maybe some dust) over our bed OR on the opposite wall over the dresser.

Wow, that just looks pathetic
(guess I could have at least dressed up the bed for you a bit, huh? LOL. Sorry! We just aren't fancy bedding people. Maybe I should think about that...)
So I started scoping out for something that was stylish, big enough to make an impact in the humongo space over our bed AND wouldn't break the bank either (c'mon, this is ME, after all!). But I couldn't find anything that met all three of those categories. I mean, I wanted to find something really cheap but didn't want to settle for a plain old poster (as evidenced above, I am NOT a young 20-something anymore!).

I want ~{ART}~.

So that is when I started thinking about making some art. Why not? I'm fairly talented. Some might even say "She's got skillz"! Besides, one of my aunts is a professional artist. And one of my cousins is a professional potter. Another one of my cousins is a software artist. Surely some of that family talent had rubbed off on me and I could pull off some simple art on canvas.

{Don't call me Shirley!!}

The Heela would be so proud right now! heehee

So anyway, I decided to keep it just that... simple. I know birds and silhouettes are all the rage right now, so I set out my plan. First I found an image I liked online of a finch silhouette. Then I headed out to Michaels and purchased 3 (20 x 20) canvases (on sale for 50% off!), some paint and a 3-pack of blank stencil "paper" sheets (not sure what that stuff is called - but it is the official plastic-looking stuff that stencils are made out of).

{And, yes, I made separate trips so I could use 40% off coupons on everything}

Next I painted the canvases in Burnt Umber. I used a foam roller that I already had since I wanted a nice smooth finish (no paintbrush lines). It took just under one (small) bottle of paint to cover each 20 x 20 canvas with 3 coats of paint. I wanted the brown to be really rich and dark and since I was starting with a white canvas, I needed 3 coats to get the look I was going for.

Two quick tips when painting...

1 - In between coats (or even overnight), wrap your roller/brush in plastic wrap and it won't dry out on you.

2 - Put push pins in the back side of whatever you are painting (i.e., a canvas or a cabinet door) and you won't have to wait to turn it over to paint the other side or worry about the paint sticking to the newspaper/ground.

While the paint was drying, I traced over my printed out bird onto one of the stencil sheets using a sharpie and then I cut out the shape with an exacto knife.

Next I placed the stencil over the (dry) canvas and used a pencil to trace the shape of the bird onto the center of the canvas. Then I took my small paintbrush and {{very carefully}} painted in the pencil outline of the bird with Metallic Peridot (2 coats).

{tweet tweet}

The brown is really closer to this color - very dark and rich!

On a second canvas I flipped the bird the opposite direction so they could face each other. And on the third canvas I painted a fleur de lis (using the same technique to create the stencil) to add some French flair.

I love the sheen of the metallic paint - I think it adds some subtle "dimension"

And... VOILA!

As always, here is the Before and After:



3 Custom artwork canvases for less than $40 total. Not bad!

What do you think?

This project submitted to the CSI "Painted with a Brush" Project Challenge

This project was featured by It's So Very Cheri, Mural Maker & More and House of Hepworths! Thanks ladies!!

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