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Archive for the ‘Craftiness’ Category

Our gallery wall is growing…

I just love being able to add to this wall – and when baby #2 arrives, we’ll swap out some of the photos. But this one will stay…

The Kenton silhouette was a souvenir from the San Diego County Fair this summer.

There are approximately 400 million DIY tutorials out there for silhouettes. Or, you can pay the gal at the fair $15 to cut one for you – which is what I opted for. My Grandpa helped keep Kenton looking in one direction by playing his first birthday video, which he’ll watch over and over and over and over. Something about seeing himself on screen – he loves it.

She was also selling pre-done silhouettes of dog breeds. Of course, I couldn’t resist taking a Bulldog off her hands.

I found the white frames at TJ Maxx for $7 each.

The “5” was $2.50 at Hobby Lobby and I did a quick coat of spray paint we already had on hand. In case you’re wondering…

Jason + Michelle + Kenton + Baby + Bowdoin the Bulldog = 5.

The yellow is the same shade that accents Kenton’s nursery. I’ve decided to bring that pop of yellow throughout the house occasionally… in an attempt to tie things together a bit better.

I just love this wall. I don’t know why it took me so long to put it together in the first place!

However… Bowdoin is not impressed…

Hmph. I’m thinking about starting a “Bowdoin is not impressed” blog, like McKayla is Not Impressed. (Love that site!)

Bowdoin, by the way, is hanging out on the new rug in our family room (!)… more on that later.

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I’ve been excited to share this project with you for MONTHS. No, it hasn’t been done for months, it’s been done for about five minutes. The closing ceremonies are on Sunday, so I kind-of waited until the last minute to actually do this project… but it’s been in my head for months.

Oh gosh, do those wheels make me happy.

As you know, we’ve been working on Kenton’s “big boy” room. It is going to have a cycling theme. So, I’ve been tossing around different ideas using bike parts in the room. I got this idea a while back and Jason initially tried to talk me out of it. Where would I get bike wheels? You’ll have to buy a whole bike (three bikes!) and just use the wheels? This could get expensive, quick. Yikes!

So, imagine my DELIGHT when I stumbled upon these beauties at my local thrift store…

Three bikes. $4.99 each. WHAT?! I know. You know what’s even better? I had a $10 off coupon. So, I got all three bikes for $5. YESITSTRUE. They all happen to be the same brand and size. The gal at the register guessed I was pregnant with triplet girls. I quite enjoyed telling here there was just one baby in my belly and these bikes were about to get stripped for an art project for my son’s room. Yep, she was confused.

I got home and could barely contain my excitement as I showed Jason what I found. He was impressed! You need to understand, Jason is a cyclist. but not only does he ride a bike for exercise and fun – it’s also his main hobby. He loves scouring eBay for deals on bikes and bike parts. Many times, he’s purchased incredible bikes for way below retail, stripped them and re-sold the parts via eBay for a hefty profit. We have an ongoing agreement… I don’t care if he spends $2,000, $3,000 or even $5,000 on a bike if he’s sure he can turn a profit off of it. He always does.

So, I had the right guy on my team to strip these girls down to just what I needed.

bike guts

6th wheel

That, my friends is the 6th wheel. I’m saving her for another fun project in the room – but you can see there the toughest parts to remove (thanks to rusty bolts) – the axel, bearings and cog. Once Jason was able to get those off, there was a ton of grease in that middle hole. We spent a couple of days going through cycles of spraying them down with degreaser, wiping, rinsing, letting them dry – before we felt they were ready for the next step…

The first step, once the wheels are successfully naked from all unnecessary parts, spray them down with primer.

Once they’re dry, which takes no time at all here in Arizona, you’re ready to apply the individual ring colors.

Since the Olympic colors are not colors I’m using anywhere else in this room, I opted for Krylon’s Short Cuts, mini spray paint cans:

Aren’t they cute?

Krylon, by the way, didn’t pay me for this post. I just researched spray paint and thought this product would be best. It worked out well. I had more than enough paint for each wheel. I also shopped around for the best price on these puppies, which I found at Hobby Lobby:

Two of the colors were $3.47 and the other three were $3.27. Not sure why red and yellow were more expensive, but still – that was the best price I found.

So, the obvious next step is to start painting the wheels/rings…

The front/back was easy. The sides, however, were a little tricky. At first, I thought the middle hole would fit over a wine or beer bottle, but they were a little small. So, I jerry-rigged three beer bottles through the spokes to hold the wheels just far enough off the ground that I could spray the entire side in one try.

Bonus – after, you have artsy painted beer bottles (which went straight back into the recycling bin!).

With all sides of the wheels painted…

I let them dry for a few hours. Again, the Arizona summer “dry” heat is fantastic for fast drying. It’s not fantastic for late-term pregnancy, but I digress.

Once they were ready, we did a quick Google image consult to check the proper order… then we simply nailed them to the wall, really close together.

Since Kenton’s big boy room is not ready for these rings yet, they are being temporarily housed in the playroom. Before we move them, we’ll be looking at different methods of hanging. This isn’t necessarily the most secure – especially for a curious little boy! Anyway, here’s what they look like right now in the playroom… so you can see the size….

Yes, that’s my little “Made in the USA” future Olympian down there chasing a ball…

We’re hoping he goes for the gold someday in cycling – but his current obsession with balls may indicate another sport interest. We shall see.

Okay, here’s the budget breakdown for this project:

Bikes = $5 ($4.99 each with a $10 off coupon)

Spray paint primer = Already had

Mini spray paints = $16.75

TOTAL = $21.75

Crazy, right?!

What do you think?! Anybody else do an Olympic-theme DIY project this week?

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DIY Anniversary Gift

A few weeks ago, my parents celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary.

with Kenton in Telluride

Do you ever struggle with what to get your parents for their anniversary? I always do. For some reason, that’s usually a tough gift for me to nail down. I usually end up getting a gift certificate to a nice restaurant. In the past, I have ordered a nice bottle of wine to be delivered to their table when I know the time/place of their own celebration. In particularly lean years, I’ve just sent a card with a nice sentiment. This year, I came up with a fun, inexpensive DIY crafty gift that was a big hit.

That is a framed piece I created myself in Photoshop, depicting all of the states my parents have lived in since they were married.

Virginia is for lovers.

My parents met and fell in love while my dad was at VMI and my mom was at Radford College in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. They married in Alexandria and I arrived while they were living in Richmond.

Illinois is where my parents lived when my dad was stationed at Scott Air Force Base, where he did his residency in family medicine. It’s also where my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and became a survivor.

Next, my dad was stationed at Reagan Air Force Base just outside of Washington, DC in Maryland.

When my dad got out of the Air Force, he accepted a position at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. (Go, Blue Devils!) We lived here for many years, formative years for me – 3rd to 8th grade.

The next move was a biggie… all the way across the country to the Pacific Northwest and Olympia, Washington. I went to high school here then took off for sunny California. My parents stayed in the rain through most of the time I was in college, until…

…they themselves moved to a sunnier climate, Arizona. This was another job move for my dad – and they’ve loved it so much here they have not left in 13 years (8 years in their current house!). That’s a record for my nomadic parents!

Photo by O’Grace Photography

For their gift, I used free downloadable state art, that I’ve mentioned before – from this site.

I grabbed a simple image of a hearts made out of maps and tiled it as the background in Photoshop.

I resized the maps and arranged them in order.

Then, I ordered a 16×20 poster from Walmart (not the best quality, but the $14 price-tag was nice!).

I tried to encourage the edges to uncurl for a few days, under heavy candlesticks on my dining room table.

That didn’t really work, so I wound up getting a custom-cut piece of foam that I mounted behind the poster in the frame.

That did the trick!

This gift was a hit – but not a hit on our wallets…

PROJECT BUDGET:

  • $29 = Frame
  • $14 = 16×20 Poster
  • $3 = foam board (20″x30″ original size, cut to 16″x20″ for free at Joann’s)

TOTAL = $46

Nice, right? You could probably save even more by getting a cheaper frame at Ikea or a thrift store – or even using one you already have.

Well, now the pressure is on… Jason’s parents celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in a few weeks. Still not sure what I’m going to get them… hmm… I can’t do the same thing because (A) they read this blog and (B) they’ve only lived in Maine (and now also spend winters in Arizona).

Ideas?

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If my Pinterest incoming links tell me anything… it’s that my nursery is the most popular thing I’ve ever blogged about.

most popular post!

However… I’m not talking about the nursery today. Because… looking at the latest Pinterest referrals, it seems people are interested in box valances. That’s awesome! We love the box valances we’ve made.

In fact, box valances were the subject of our very first DIY guide waaaay back in October 2009.

note the lack of paint, old door and bully butt 😉

So, in case anyone is searching for a relatively simple, certainly inexpensive window treatment – head on over to our old post for the tutorial.

We think this treatment works so well, we have box valances in our kitchen…

In our family room…

In Kenton’s nursery….

painted those stripes meeself. click on the pic for the post on that.

We even did one for Jason’s parent’s condo

We’re working on a second one for them. We’re also planning to make one for Kenton’s big boy room and one for the playroom. We are also considering them for the living room, but just ordered new blinds for that room (YIPPEE! No more peep shows for the neighbors!) and I want to wait until those are up and then decide.

Do you have DIY box valance window treatments in your home? If so, please share!

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I whipped together a little sewing project this weekend. This was not Pinterest-inspired. I repeat, I sewed something that was not seen first on Pinterest. I know, stop the presses. This is for real.

See the polka-dots? (Nope, we can’t get enough!) It’s a chewable cover for the bar on our stroller.

You see, we had a problem.

Young sir likes to chew on things. Teething or no – he’s a chewer.

Despite my attempts to thwart this behavior and provide alternative chewing surfaces, the bar across the front of our UPPAbaby Vista stroller was just too tempting.

See? Chewed to bits.

It was so bad, we would come home from walks and I would find bits of black foam stuff in Kenton’s mouth and in the folds of his neck. NASTY.

I took to covering the bar with a dish towel for a while.

That worked for short walks, but on long walks, the bambino would get bored and unravel the towel to get to his beloved teething surface.

It also made for a good pillow. This shot was taken during an outing to the farmer’s market – a thinly disguised distraction from stretching this kid to one nap/day. GOOD TIMES.

So, I needed a better solution. Not to mention one that looked better than a ratty, old towel.

I had this fantastic fabric sitting around.

I bought a yard of it to possibly use in the nursery, but the black background didn’t quite fit in, so it was never used. However, it’s a perfect accent to our silver and black stroller.

Next, I needed to alter the fabric so that Kenton could gnaw on it and not break through the fabric. So, I did some googling on how to create oil cloth – which, if you do the old-fashioned way, takes a lot of time and effort – neither of which interested me. Instead, I took the easy way out.

I used this iron-on vinyl.

After that was set and cooled, I took another easy way out and ironed-on some no-sew hemming around all the edges…

Next, I sewed on some velcro… which I don’t have photos of because it got a little messy, to be honest – and I was in a bit of a hurry. Honestly, if I had to buy velcro for this project, I would have cut another corner and gone for the iron-on version and made this a no-sew project. However, I had some on hand, so I just put it in place with a few stiches.

Then, I slapped that new cover in place and Kenton gave it a once-over.

Thumbs up!

This is just in time too… as you read this, Kenton and I are making our way across the desert to the Promised Land.

Promised Land = San Diego

We’re heading to paradise for the week with my mom for some oceanside R&R. We’ll be using the stroller a lot – daily walks to Starbucks and the beach, the fair, possibly the zoo, new Children’s Museum, visiting family. Oh yeah! And no black foam bits will be found.

This here blog will not be neglected. I’ve still got daily posts for you – some projects from the Dream and some updates from Cali. Hope you have a great week!

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Okay, here it is… a recap of Kenton’s first birthday party. Or, as I like to call it, his “‘stache bash!”

If you missed seeing the party invites, check them out here.

You’re also getting a sneak peek at our new STRIPES! They make me so happy, I can’t even tell you. (More to come.)

There’s also a sneak peek at all 12 of the monthly photos! I had a poster printed overnight so we could show them off at the bash. (Also, more to come!)

Drinks & Food. We kept things really simple. The party was from 3:00-5:00 PM – so we did heavy hors d’oeuvres… beef sliders, pasta salad, watermelon, veggies, chips and lemonade.

The birthday boy did not disappoint when it came to the ceremonial first birthday cake face smash. I mean, we had a total classic moment!

Which, of course, meant he kept diving in over and over again. TOO CUTE! Safe to say, he loves cake! He has a sweet tooth like his daddy. 🙂

All of our guests left with chocolate mustache pops as favors… pardon the crappy iPhone photo…

Confession: I came up with “‘stache bash” the morning of the party and the favors were done a day or so head of time. If I could go back in time, I totally would have changed the thank you note. I’m planning to do a separate post on these favors because they were challenging and I didn’t find a lot of info out there for help… so I’ll do my best to contribute in case someone else wants to do them.

We ran out of time to open presents while our guests were still around, but Grandpa & Grandma stuck around to help Kenton check out his new loot.

And they were good enough to pose for mustache pics!

Kenton rounded out the day taking a spin in his NEW CAR!

Which absolutely terrorizes Bowdoin the Bulldog… which Kenton finds hilarious (and so did we!).

There it is. I admit, I’m glad it’s over! It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun. Thanks to everyone who came to celebrate with us! 🙂

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Kenton’s big birthday partay is tomorrow afternoon! Here’s a look at the invites…

My friend, Danielle designed them – using a photo I shot – and inspired by the Pinterest Valentine’s Day project every one and their mom did this year.

 (source)
Here’s the shot I used…
And Danielle’s design for the card itself…
She came up with the language on the back too. Too cute!
The Pinterest project instructs you to cut a hole in the photo to put the lollipop – or mustache on a stick in my case. However, the invite language on the back prevented me from doing that… so I used rubber cement to glue on the mustache sticks, but still leave them relatively easy to pull off.

I applied a small dot of rubber cement on Kenton’s hand, set the stick in the right spot, and then used a glass to hold it in place while it dried. Worked like a charm!

The mustaches, by the way, I also made myself – using a tutorial that Vancouver, BC blogger, Hillary with 2 L’s (please) sent me. (She’s awesome, by the way. Read her blog and follow her on Twitter.) She actually sells the mustaches, but sent me the DIY version out of the goodness of her heart – so I’ll save the secret formula. 🙂

In the end, I think they turned out great! Plus, our guests got a gift in the mail with the invite – and I’ve heard that some kids have already had a lot of fun with them, which was exactly the point!

I’ve got to run do 572 more things for the party on Saturday. I’ll be back on Monday with a recap!

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