Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Love for Chocolate inspired Our Powder Room Transformation

We moved into our 'new' house almost 2 years ago and we were left with some beautiful decor. The house was built 12 years ago but it could have been from the 70s it seemed so out of date! This project has been our biggest to date. Both as far as time and money.

This was our main floor powder room 2 years ago when we bought the house.
Don't you love the blue! It was so nice that it matched the peach and blue tiles on the floor. I failed to take a picture before my husband took a sledge hammer to them...sorry.  Let me walk you through our powder room.  The pedastel sink was so small, my 4 year old could reach the taps! Then do you see the lovely fake plant on the toilet.  Well let me give you one piece of advice when you buy a house...lift stuff like that up! We found a shattered toilet lid that was held together with packing tape. Oh yeah...packing tape. Then we had builder grade lights, and some lovely gold accent pieces.

Well my husband, boy do I love that man, demolished the bathroom and gave me the most beautiful main floor powder room anyone could ask for.

Here is my after:
 The walls look really red in this picture but they are actually Chocolate Brown. I am not 100% sure but I think the color is Benjamin Moore Chocolate Fondue.

We redid the tiles with a two tile size pattern and put a large baseboard on.
 I spray painted the hideous mirror to a beautiful black finish. This is how I made myself feel like I was saving money :) Small things I know. Oh have you seen my spray painted floor vent and door handles? Ugly brass and rusty white to oil rubbed bronze in at almost no cost and in no time at all!
We bought our new Kohler pedestal sink on clearance for $200 and the Price Pfister faucet for $65! I guess someone custom ordered them from Home Depot and then returned them. I was giddy when we left Home Depot. My husband still to this day does not know why I love the sink and toilet so much.
Oh and that is one of my refilled Bath and Body Works soaps. See my tutorial here.  
Aren't they pretty?!?
 Here is one last look :)

We are so proud!



Valentine's Day Butterfly Cards

I was on a mission this year to find a way to make our own Valentine cards for my daughter's class without spending as much as buying the name brand box of cards.

I found this idea on Family Fun and adapted it so it was easier and in my opinion far cuter.

I went to the Dollar store and found all the materials I needed for a few dollars.

Materials:
Foam hearts (or cut paper into hearts)
Pencils
Pipe cleaners
Glitter glue or other accessories (stickers, sparkle, gem stones etc.)
Scissors

Method:
Place the two hearts to the bottom overlap.

Fold the two end over and cut two slits that are approximately 1/4 inch long. Make sure you go through all layers.

Slip the pencil through the slit. I used glitter pencils that are so cute!

Wrap one pipe cleaner around the top.

Have you child decorate the butterfly. My daughter decided to decorate these with glitter glue.

When dry, flip over and write with a ball point pen your message. I wrote "You make my heart flutter" since I made a butterfly out of hearts.

My daughter is making these for all the girls in her class all by herself and loving it!

I will post what we make for the boys soon.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Make your own Tooth Fairy Pillow

The Tooth Fairy has had a busy month in our house. My daughter who is absolutely terrified of needles- I mean bolt out of the doctor's office terrified- managed to pull out her two front teeth that weren't even that loose. How can you be terrified of needles but continue to pull out a tooth that is bleeding so badly? A mystery to me!

I decided when her first tooth was loose, that I would sew her a tooth fairy pillow. We had to make it easy for the tooth fairy to get to the tooth in the middle of the night without waking her!

I used some left over fleece I had from my custom blankets. I love fleece because if doesn't fray so I could just sew it together without having to worry about sewing inside out first.

I made a really basic tooth shape by folding a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 paper in  half. I then cut out 2 of the exact same shape in the fleece.
Using scrap fabric, I cut a small pocket and pocket flap and sewed them onto the back side of the pillow.I used a decorative stitch to attach the pocket on.
I then sewed the two pieces of the tooth pillow together using the same stitch I used for the pocket. I sewed this with the wrong sides of the fabric together and sewed just a 1/4 inch from the edge. Like I said, fleece doesn't fray so there is no need to sew it inside out and flip it.  I left a small opening to allow me to stuff the pillow with pillow batting. I then just sewed over the opening.
I was going to leave it like this, with one side with the pillow and the other plain, but my daughter wanted a face on the pillow. So using fabric paint, we drew on some eyes and a mouth.


 Voila!
 Grand total $0 and probably 10 minutes of work.

Cute and the Tooth Fairy loves it!!!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Custom desk/office supplies - Extremely easy and cheap gift idea

Have you seen on other blogs where people covering mouse pads with fabric to create a custom look? It is a great idea for gifts for teachers and in my case my mother. I decided to take the covered mouse pad one step further and created an entire office set, including mouse pad, pen holder, clips and large magnet board. I covered each of these with a fabric (from Ikea) that matched her office.  I purchased the frame at a thrift store for $3, the fabric at Ikea for next to nothing and all the other items at the Dollar store. Grand total for the entire gift set was probably $10!!! Sorry, I don't have a photo off all of these together but here are the office items I created for my trial run. 

I won't give you step by step photo instructions because it is super easy...plus I didn't take pictures while I was making them :).


Pen/Pencil holder
If you are using a light fabric and dark holder, you can do a quick coat of white spray paint to prevent the dark from showing through.

I placed the holder on the fabric and lightly traced with pencil the shape of the holder. I rolled the holder along the fabric to get the shape of the entire thing. I then cut the fabric approximately 1/2 an inch bigger then the pencil line. Be sure the seam or overlap of fabric is to the BACK of the holder.

Paint the entire outside of the holder with ModgePodge and stick the fabric to it. Use more ModgePodge to seal the seam/overlap.  I then painted approximately 1/2 into the holder and folded the fabric over. Do the same for the bottom. Once everything is 'stuck down', put a layer of ModgePodge over the entire thing.  

If you like, cover the bottom seams with a piece of felt. 
Mouse Pad

If necessary you can give this a coat of spray paint.

Roughly trace the shape of the mouse pad onto the fabric and give yourself an extra 1 inch to fold over.

Paint ModgePodge over the entire top of the mouse pad. Push down to remove all the bubbles in the fabric to make it smooth. Flip over and paint the back edge with ModgePodge and stick down.

I found it best not to give the top of the mouse pad a layer of ModgePodge. It got too slick and my mouse didn't work properly. Also, I don't recommend putting felt on the bottom of this because the mouse pad doesn't stick well enough to the surface. 
Paper clips
Using scrap fabric, cut small strips the size of the flat part of the metal. Put a layer of ModgePodge on the clip and stick on the fabric. Can't be easier!

I will try to get a picture of everything soon.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Easy and Personal Baby Gift Idea - Ribbon Blankets

ADDITION: I would like to thank the people that warned me about these being a patent infringement.  I have no intention to promote the sale of these blankets and I was posting them just for personal use. With no effort on Google, I have found a few companies that sell patterns (Kwik Sew) on how to make these plus some that sold kits (Joanne Farbics). I do not know if I should delete this post or leave it be!?!? So to solve the ongoing dilemma ...I have one additional step added to the end (thanks Mama's Little Monkey)..snip the ribbons so they are no loops!!! :)

If you are anything like me, you have struggled for a unique and personal gift idea for the many friends and family members that are having babies. I don't want to spend too much money and I love the idea of making them something. Anyone can run to the local Walmart and buy a baby blanket that gets lost in the gift giving frenzy, but only us (aka Blog addicts) can find ways of making a great gift for not too much money.

Let me introduce you to Ribbon Blankets. These are so great for little ones because they are soft and cuddly, offer entertainment with the ribbons and wash so well.


I start with two pieces of fabric, approximately 1/2 of a yard each; one side is cotton flannel and the other is that bubbly (extremely soft) coral fleece.  Be sure to wash both pieces because the cotton flannel will shrink. I purchased some ribbon but mostly used left overs from other crafts.

I cut approximately 20 pieces of ribbon into 5 inch lengths (so each ribbon is approximately 2 inches out from the edge of the blanket). Make sure that the length of the ribbon is small enough that a little hand can't get stuck.  I used 4 or 5 different types of ribbon, but that many is not necessary.

Cut the fabric to the size you want. I made a square but you can make pretty much any size or shape you want. Lay the two pieces of fabric with right sides together.

Placed the ribbon, folded in half, between the two pieces of fabric and pin all three pieces together. Make sure the wrong side of the ribbon are together (NOT like I did in the photo!).

Sew a straight stitch almost the entire way around leaving a small area (between 2 ribbons) to turn the blanket right side out. Make sure you catch all the ribbon as you sew. To make nice corners, leave the needle in the fabric, lift your pressure foot and turn the fabric. Then drop the pressure foot and start sewing in the new direction. This will give you nice corners.

Turn the fabric right side out and tuck in the excess fabric and sew the opening closed. I like to do a second seam approximately 1/2 inch away from the edge. I find this make the blanket lay nicer and finishes it off well.

So now if you don't want to get in trouble for patent infringement, the next step (as recommended by Mama' Little Monkey..THANKS) is to snip the loops. So that you have 2 pieces of ribbon sticking out from the blanket. Then take a lighter and gently heat the edges to prevent any fraying. This will entertain the kids just as much and you don' have to worry about fingers getting stuck.


These are extremely easy and very quick to make.

What do you think?
Stephanie

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Slim book shelves for beside children's beds

I love Pottery Barn and Pottery Barn Kids! Then again, who doesn't? But to be honest with you, I don't think I have bought a single thing there...ever. I use their website as a source for ideas and not for anything else.  When I came upon the slim book holders they show in photos next to the kids beds (priced at $49 each!!!), I knew I had to make them. I loved the idea of having a thin book shelf right next to my guys beds without having to worry about them hitting there heads because it came out so far.

Here is the Pottery Barn version:
(source Pottery Barn Kids)

So I started googling and found an amazing website called Knock-Off Wood by Anna White.  Anna is a genius when it comes to making anything to do with wood.  She gives amazingly detailed instructions on how to make these adorable shelves on her website.

I cannot tell you how easy these were to make and how nice they look!

I went to my local Home Depot and found precut pine wood in the perfect length of 36 inches (they also had 24 inch ones too)!!! These pieces worked out cheaper than the longer pieces that I would have had to cut! The only cutting I had to do was for the two side pieces and if you don't want to do the curved cut, you can have Home Depot cut a squared edge for you for free!

I won't bore you with the details on how I made these because Anna does an amazing job but I will tell you I made a slight modification to the top guard piece. We flipped it so more books could fit in the shelf. Either way works but this was our preference.
 
After they were assembled, I simply spray painted them with navy spray paint (I didn't prime) and put two picture hanging hooks on the back.

As you know, I live in Canada, so the wood cost a little more than Anna White's version. The grand total for this each shelf was approximately $10 for the wood and $2.50 for the spray paint. I could have saved a few dollars by using primed MDF but we would have had to do more cuts. I was overjoyed with the end result and pretty happy with the price, especially when Pottery Barn is charging $49!
I made 2 of these for my nephews for Christmas so they can hang them next to their bunk beds. I gave them each a book and a lamp to round out the gift.

Stephanie

Monday, January 3, 2011

Funny face dolls

A few years ago I was introduced to Ugly dolls. Have you seen these things? They are absolutely adorable but in my opinion are ridiculously priced..especially if you can sew. I made many of these dolls a couple of years ago for all my nieces, nephews and friend's kids.  I now have another nephew who is a year an half old and he loves his brother's 'Funny Face' so I thought I would make him one over the holidays.

These stuffed creatures are extremely easy if you are a basic sewer. I love to sew but I hate hand sewing so this project has almost none :)

Materials needed:
Fleece (washed) - I have used polar fleece, the bubbly type of fleece, coral fleece...pretty much anything you have on hand in the color you like.
Colored fleece for accents

Thread in matching colors (main body and cream) plus black for mouth
Foam stuffing 
Method:
I roughly sketched the shape of doll I wanted (I use my kids big roll of drawing paper to get a big enough piece of paper. You could also use wrapping paper or 4 pieces of printer paper taped together) and then cut out two pieces of fleece. Believe me about this...don't worry too much about getting the shape of everything perfect, they are suppose to be funny and once they are stuffed you never see the misshapen parts. 

I cut two circles for the eyes and two small teeth in cream. You can also do a tongue for the mouth..I didn't have any deep pink or red fleece so this wasn't an option for me :)

You can either glue the eyes and teeth on with fabric glue or do a light stitch to hold them on. 
 
 I then used a special stitch on my sewing machine to make the outside of the eye. The stitch looks like this __/\__/\__ . I think this turned out really cute.
 
 I then did a really tight zig zag stitch for the pupil of the eye and for the mouth. I would do a width of 5 and length of almost 0 for both of these. They don't look perfect up close but you don't notice from a distance. Plus this adds to the silliness of the doll.
Once you have finished all the face, you can place the two pieces of fabric with the right sides together and sew almost the entire way around. I leave a small opening between the feet of the doll since it is the least noticeable spots.

Turn the doll right side out and use something to push out the edges of the arms and feet. Stuff the doll to the desired softness and then do a quick stitch to close the opening.

TaDa. Aren't they cute? I will post other designs when I find the pictures of them.
 And what did my nephew think? I think the new Funny Face is a hit.

This project cost me nothing since I had all the materials on hand.

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