Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pocket Pixies

The girls have everything under the sun at their mom's house. It is outta control, really. D and I won't even attempt to compete. We do, however like to give meaningful gifts, something one of a kind so that we can ensure that these girls don't already have it. 

Aren't they the cutest thing?!

I found the pattern posted on Pinterest (LOVE it!) and it linked up to an etsy shop. Shelley from Gingermellon is so sweet! She was also quick to send the PDF after my purchase. She has many adorable patterns available, you can visit her shop here.

We were in a super huge hurry, since we waited until the last minute (as usual) to sew these up, so we didn't add all of the details that are in the pattern... and somehow our dolls don't quite have the neck that her photographed ones do, but I must say I adore these little gals.

Allison (6) is learning to sew, I can see this being a valuable gateway to creativity for her. I can envision making mermaid tails and fairy wings for these pocket pixies. Also writing stories together about the lives of these gals!

Happy stitching!

Have you make any hand sewn gifts for the holidays?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Family Name Signs

Now that it is after Christmas, I can show y'all what I made for some of my favorite people!

I adore my family! My big brother is so kind and talented and he married an amazing woman for him, a perfect addition to our family. I wanted to give them something honoring their family, something that they can display in their home.

I love how it turned out!

I consider Nicole my sister. Her mother and my mother met in lamaze class when they were pregnant with us. Nicole was born 3 weeks after me. I don't know what I would have done in life with out such an incredible little woman to experience everything with. She's taught me a ton and tested me as well, as any sibling should. She married her hubs the same year that my big bro married his wife. I can not believe it was almost 4 years ago already! I adore The Cookes and I am thrilled that Bernie is also a part of our family!

As you can see, the coloring is different on the two signs. I know that Tay and Jen have more black and white in their home plus there is just a touch of green- Jen's fav color. Bernie and Nicole are more into the dark browns and mahogany shades, so I ran with that. I hope that my sweet siblings love their signs as much as I loved making them for them. 

If you are interested in ordering a custom sign, email me. 

What did you give your siblings this year?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Our Stockings! DIY Christmas Stockings

I went thrifting and purchased a shower curtain that was this beautiful sage green color. I love the fact that it is not that traditional green christmas color, so I figured it'd be perfect to make the girls' stockings out of. I wanted something simple and timeless, stockings that we would use for years and years to come. The red stockings were a gift last year from my bff. I considered just ordering more from Things Remembered, but then thought it was more visually interesting if the stockings were different. 

I used the BIG red stockings as a template, added 1/4" around 3 sides for seam allowance and stitched them up. I then made off white felt flowers and put a dot of gold fabric paint in the center. I used my paper cutter to make the names and filled them in with gold fabric paint on off white cotton fabric. I stitched the fabric on and frayed the edges. Then used my favorite fabric glue, Fabri-tac, to attach the felt flowers.

I love how they turned out!!

Please forgive the top of our tree, we didn't have time to make our star! lol

Full stockings. Santa sent us a note to let me know the stockings served their purpose ;)

What is your favorite DIY Christmas Project?

Tis the season to be frothy!

Join me for a cup of tea?

This time of year I love to drink warm beverages, coffee/tea/hot cocoa/whatever...
I found this pumpkin spice chai from Townshends Tea here in Portland. Well, chai is amazing with steamed and frothed milk. I don't have a steamer, but I'm about to give ya some good news... you don't need one!

This Westsoy vanilla unsweetened soy milk is my favorite for coffee/tea drinks. Cow milk and almond milk also froth very well, but rice milk not so much. I like more tea than milk in mine, so I figure about 3/4:1/4 tea to milk. I pour the milk into a pot and heat it up on medium. It doesn't take long and you'll want to stand there the whole time.

The little device photographed below I believe is called an emulsion blender. 

Pour your milk in a pot, heat it up on medium, and use a little frother/emulsion blender/whisk to keep the milk moving until you see steam. Once it is finished, it's frothy and beautiful!Mix it into your tea/chai and add your favorite sweetener!!!

Ta Da!

Happy Frothing ;) 
What's your favorite tea/latte?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Holiday madness!

I'm still (partially) sane, but...

My husband is sewing?!?! My home is a wreck.

-pocket pixies are almost done
-the girls have brand new homemade stockings *with their names on them!
-the PVC fort is almost fully constructed
-we are sipping a lovely malbec at 3:00pm lol

We are brimming with excitement and biting our nails to finish everything up. Hand made Christmas is making me one happy/crafty/tired momma!

Are you giving any handmade gifts this year? If so, what?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Just a little look back

Some times I am blown away with how fast time flies! As I was sorting through my photo card trying to locate pictures for yet another tutorial :P  I happened on these photos from June of our little Portland wedding celebration. 

This cake was my first gluten free try at making a big cake! It was a lemon cake with homemade (of course) lemon curd filling and a lemon butter cream frosting. It was to die for! I have learned a bit more from the internet about making layered cakes. I don't necessarily make beautiful cakes, but they taste darn good! I do love how this one turned out to look like a hat! I'll have to take a class on cake decorating one day. Wouldn't that be fun?!

Mom and I asked a very kind lady from our neighborhood if we could cut hydrangeas from her yard, they were gorgeous! we scavenged some rosemary (it's supposed to be good luck) from the neighborhood, and cut a little lavender and hosta leaves from our own yard and voila! Free floral arrangements :) they smelled delightful!

I so love this quote from Ben Folds. So sweet. We still have this framed in our bedroom.

This was such a sweet time with close Portland friends. I feel like I was in such a daze in the planning/participation of my wedding in South Carolina that I forgot many details. The photographs are lovely, and I had the time of my life marrying the love of my life; I couldn't ask for anything more. Maybe I'll post photos/memories of my wedding day as a blog sometime!

Have you hosted a celebration that you were particularly fond of?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Up cycled Cocoa Box To Stamp Storage

I have been brainstorming for things to keep in my entry storage hutch to hold my stamps and return address labels. In general, I feel like the packaging from the things we buy should suffice, but I want them to look nice. This solution was so simple, and turned out adorable!!

Here were my supplies:

We'd just finished a box of cocoa power (from Trader Joes). E6000 is the best crafting glue on the planet! If you've never used it here is an excuse to purchase it, I know you'll come up with a million other reasons to use it! These label holders were purchased from Joann Fabric and Craft. I found them in the scrapbooking department for $3.99. 

Step 1) I sliced and peeled off the label from the cocoa powder container.

Step 2) I spread E6000 glue on the rim of a small label holder.

Step 3) I affixed the label holder to the box.


See how it turned out?!

Now all I have to do is type up a little label that says stamps.

I hope this inspires you to create up cycled storage. 
I'd love for you to share ideas/photos of your diy storage!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mudroom under $100 - part 2: A recycled kitchen cabinet turned mudroom storage hutch

So, we all remember what my tiny entry way looked like, right? If you didn't see it in this post of part 1, here is a reminder:

I identified that I needed storage in our entry way:
(From part 1)
What do I need to store in my entry way? Shoes, jackets, dog leash, poo bags, shopping bags, incoming and outgoing mail, family binder (meal plan, cleaning plan, bills), reusable shopping bags, shopping list, keys... I'm sure this list will grow in the future as this becomes a usable space.

I love the challenge of making things that look very nice (and function very well) out of quality inexpensive materials. My go to place is The Rebuilding Center. I had the recollection that upper cabinets are about 12" deep and that is about the amout of space we could spare in our narrow entry for storage. I always have to have a little chat with myself before I go, "Now Lauren, be open to what you might find. Don't let your vision be too narrow and if you can not find something that you believe will be just right, they'll have a whole new inventory next week."

Well, I went, I searched, and I found! Only $10 for this upper cabinet!

Pardon the photos, y'all know how impatient I am at starting new projects and this cabinet was all taken apart and ready to paint the night I bought it. But you get the idea.

There's the cute little planter turned shoe rack back there!

ew. But such incredible detail!

Wide insides!

I got to work sanding, priming and painting. I decided to go with black since the walls are so light and our kitchen floor is black and white checkered. Plus it helped that we had a can of Behr Mickey Mouse Ears (black) in the garage left over from a previous project. I was so excited about this find that I even woke up bright and early, earlier than Preston even, to get this baby finished.

I soaked the icky hinges in all kinds of cleaner in an attempt to de-gunk them, then spray painted them white in contrast to the black. 

I bought legs from Home Depot for $20, which was steep in my book, but I was ready to get this entry under control and I wanted something simple. The ones I purchased are 2"x2"x6" wooden screw in legs and the screw in plates (sold separately). This way our cabinet would be raised above the trim and we would have more room for storage underneath. I also painted the legs black.

I put it all back together and my husband anchored it to the wall by screwing it into the studs for ultra support, and here's the finished product!

There is still so much more that needs to be accomplished in this entry area, but we will save that for another day! Thanks for checking out my musings.

What is your favorite up cycled home improvement project that you have scored on the cheap?

I linked up to A Bowl Full of Lemons!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mudroom under $100 - part 1: A shoe rack consolidation

Our house is small, just under 1300 sq feet, to be a little more descriptive. We have one cat, one 50lb dog, a 14 month old son and 4 and 6 year old daughters (several weekends and all summer long). I guess what I am trying to say here is that there is a lot going on in just under 1300 sq ft of space. I knew this when we bought the place in 2009. I saw it as an inspiration and a challenge. My husband thought the place was disgusting and didn't see the charm that I did when we toured it the first, second, or third time! I have had big dreams for this skinny little home and let me tell you, a lot of them have come true. David now shares my vision!

When we first walk into our home, there is a long skinny hallway. There is hardly any room for a proper "mud room" and there is no coat closet. We are the take-your-shoes-off kind of a house, but where do you put your shoes in a long skinny hallway? Well, we have had a wire rack that served as a catch all- leash, poo bags, shoes, coats etc. all got dumped on this rack. I must say that it is less than appealing to come in the front door after a long day and see such a mess. I couldn't even bring myself to photograph all the crap, so here is the before picture!

So many things that need to be accomplished in this space!!

We also struggle with mail pile up on the kitchen counter. I know a lot of folks deal with the same thing, so I started searching the www up and down for inspiration and guidance. All I could find were spacious beautifully designed open floor plans and huge mudrooms that stored everything under the sun and ample room for shoe removal as well as mail storage. I have the same needs, but none of the space! That is why I am writing this series!

I decided that I needed to get very basic: 
1. What do I need to accomplish in my entry way/ mudroom? I need order, organization, and a landing space.

2. What do I need to store in my entry way? Shoes, jackets, dog leash, poo bags, shopping bags, incoming and outgoing mail, family binder (meal plan, cleaning plan, bills), reusable shopping bags, shopping list, keys... I'm sure this list will grow in the future as this becomes a usable space.

3. What feeling to I want when I am entering my home after a long day or leaving in a huge rush to get somewhere? I want to feel a) inspired b) put together c) like I know where everything is d) I have a very valuable family and I want my home to represent this.

Our most simple need is to contain our shoes. I saw this on Pinterest and thought these wall mounted planters could be a great solution for corralling our shoes! So we went to Home Depot and they were $14 for each 24" horse trough planter, great deal huh?! My dear husband affixed them to the wall. Away with the wire shoe each catch all!!

Cool huh?!

Here they are from the side, I had to super crop it so that I didn't give away the rest of what we did in here, That's a whole other post! They're super flush, I love them!!

Stay tuned for the next installment!!

Is there a particular clutter nucleation site in your home that you are searching for a solution to?

I linked up to A Bowl Full of Lemons

Sunday, December 4, 2011

DIY Christmas Ornaments with Polymer Clay

Gather your supplies:
Cookie Cutters (I used star shaped, of course!)
Polymer clay that can be baked to set (I used white)
Stamps (Pictured in the jar are one of my mini font sets)
Versa Craft Ink Pad (maybe other inks would work?!)
Wax Paper
Ribbon (not pictured)
Skewer or tooth pick (not pictured)
Rolling pin or wine bottle (lol not pictured)

I was totally inspired by this blog: Jessica Jane Handmade

But I couldn't make a bird shape to save my life! So, here's my take on it.

The clay that I purchased had to be baked at 275 degrees so I pre-heated the oven. Y'all know I am an impatient crafter! I wanted to just pop these babies in as I made them so I'd be too busy making more to be pacing and opening the oven to check on them every 5 seconds!

1. Roll a chunk of clay into a ball.

2. Plop clay ball on wax paper sheet, and place another sheet of wax paper on top. Kinda like making a pie crust!

3. Cut out your shape with cookie cutter. I made some round ones too by using the top of a cup and mini mug!

4. Ink your stamps and stamp your letters/words into the clay. You might want to practice a bit on scrap paper first.

5. Use your skewer or tooth pick to poke a hole in the top.

6. Bake according to clay package directions. I baked them on the wax paper on a cookie sheet. There was some smoke. So I'd be sure to have the hood vent/fan on and maybe even a window open.

7. After ornaments are cooked poke some ribbon through the hold and hang on the tree!

Finished Products:

My husband made a forklift! :)

If you make some of these, please share photos!! I'd love to see them.

Have you made any Christmas ornaments this year? If so what is your favorite?

We got our tree up!

I am by no means a Scrooge or a Grinch. But I have never been into the whole holiday music and get the tree up as fast as you can kinda deal. Our little man loves lights! We have been walking him down the Christmas light aisle at Target and Fred Meyer for weeks now. He gets so excited that he starts shaking. We debated about real tree or artificial tree, weighing the pros and cons of both... Smell and pine needles, sap and water, what will the cat climb up/eat/mess with and what would Preston do with one or the other?! I don't know that there was ever a final decision made, but I found myself in Target (humming along to the holiday tunes!) on the Christmas light aisle with lil P staring at an artificial tree that stood "6 feet" tall and only cost $20. It was in the cart in a matter of seconds and we were checking out before I could even say Christmas spirit!

I got home and assembled the tree. Let's just say we got what we paid for. It was not 6' tall by any stretch of the imagination. It looked nice, but the dog/cat/baby could pull the thing down in the blink of an eye, it was so light. Feeling defeated we disassembled the tree and packed it back into its box.

While running errands we decided to swing by my favorite Goodwill. There in the home goods section stood the sturdiest, burliest, fullest artificial tree! For only...wait for it... $25!!! I'm not really sure how we fit it into the little car, but my husband makes miracles happen! We had white lights from the real tree we had a couple years ago. But hardly and ornaments. Since I'm a DIY gal, I'm on the search for some inspiration. I have been scavenging pinterest and the www for ideas. I have come up with some great ones so stay tuned for tutorials :)

The Danners are one happy crew, $25 heavy duty tree and Preston gets his lights!