Tuesday, May 31, 2011

'Special place in my heart' Art - Anniversary gift

My amazing husband and I celebrated our anniversary recently and although we are not usually ones who shower each other with gifts (we are practical and tend to buy something we need), I decided this year I would make him something special.

I decided a while ago to create collage wall of photos and other things that are special to us in our master bedroom. So I knew since we were the only ones who were going to see it, I was going to make something symbolic for only us and I wouldn't have to explain what it meant.

I have been addicted to Pinterest for a while now and I pinned the hand made map art. For those of you who are on Pinterest, you have seen it and for those of you who are not on Pinterest...try it out! Well, this piece of art is sold online for 250 pounds without a frame. Seriously!?! I knew I could easily make if for $20.

Here is what I initially created...a frame with 9 special places in our hearts:
I purchased the frame at Ikea for $19 and a road atlas of the US, Canada and Mexico for $1 at our local thrift shop. I had another map in my car that we have not used since the invention of a GPS :) So I had plenty of maps to choose from.

I cut out a heart template (3inches wide by 2.5 inches high) with my Cricut and Sure Cuts Alot. I then used this template to determine how to position the map on the Cricut mat to cut the heart exactly where I wanted. For those of you who do not have a cutter (like me until recently), you can draw a basic heart and trace it so all the hearts are the same size.
I cut 9 different locations that were special to my husband and I (i.e. where we met, got married, had each of our kids, vacations, our homes etc.)
 After these were cut, I quickly ironed the hearts to make them lay perfectly flat.
I was going to attach the maps to a white background but I really liked how they looked on the blue scrapbook paper.
I secured the 9 evenly spaced map hearts with double sided tape onto the scrap book paper. I framed the piece and stood back. I loved it but knew something was not right. I realized that since we had kids there were so many more places that we have special memories of. So I started to add more hearts that apply to us as a family.  I decided I will add a new heart for ever vacation we take over the next years.

Our hearts grow with amazing memories for every vacation and so will our 'special place in my heart' art.

I will continue to add hearts around the mat like this:
My husband loved it and immediately knew what it meant when he saw the names on the maps. We had an amazing night talking about all of these places and had a great time explaining to the kids why each place is special to us.

I think this would make a great wedding, anniversary, or valentines day gift for anyone special in your life.

I hope you like it as much as we do.

Linking to some great parties including: Story of A2Z

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Problem solved - my cheap solution for broken blinds valance clips

When we moved into our current house, we had it painted from top to bottom. In order for this to happen, our painter took off all the window hardware and in doing so, almost all the clips used to hang the valance on the wood blinds broke. Don't ask me how, but they did.

So after the paint was dry, I hung the blinds back up without the valances leaving all the ugly hardware exposed for the world to see.

I made a trip to custom blind store, where the blinds were originally purchased from, and I was shocked when they wanted over $2 for each clip...seriously they are thin, cheap plastic! How can I buy all the things I do at the Dollar Store, but these little clips were going to cost me a fortune. Adding to the fact that these clips were expensive was the fact I hated the blinds to start out with.
We are now coming to two years in the house and I have lived with no valances, until now. I was talking to my mom and she was having the same problem and this was her amazing/cheap/easy solution to broken valance clips....sticky velco!!!
I stuck the 2 sides of the velcro together and cut it into 2-3 inch long pieces.
Then I removed the backing from one side of the velco and stuck it onto the blind (where the valance covers). I used between 2 and 4 pieces per blind, depending on the size of the valance.
 I then removed the other side on all the velco pieces and carefully pressed the valance to stick onto it. Be sure to center and line the valance up before you press it onto the sticky velcro. You can pull it off after it is stuck, but it is difficult. You could also do it the opposite way...stick the velco to the valance and then stick that to the blind. Which ever way you prefer :)
 I used one package of the sticky velco (purchased at the Dollar store for $1) to secure the valance on 6 windows!!! What would have cost me over $30 in clips ended up costing me $1.
Small things with big impact. Gotta love them. Thanks Mom!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Problem solved - where to hang the kitchen hand towel

In my house, I have the endless debate as to where to hang my tea towels in the kitchen? Does anyone else have this problem?

I am constantly frustrated with mine hanging either on my dishwasher or on my oven. Both annoy me because on the dishwasher I get horrible water marks that have to be scrubbed off and on the oven I can't see what is inside cooking (plus spotty windows). I know..if this is the worst thing in my life I really have nothing to complain about...but it is frustrating.

I have searched for months for a solution. Initially, I thought I would purchase one long (18-20 inch) kitchen cabinet door handle, but they are really pricey and as you know I am cheap frugal. So this wasn't going to work. When my husband and I were wandering around Ikea last week (sans kids I might add) I stumbled upon this kitchen rack for an extremely reasonable price of $10!! I immediately knew it was the solution I had been dreaming of.
(Source IKEA)
I knew the perfect place for my handy husband to install it, at the end of our island. A perfect triangle from the sink, dishwasher and oven.

I patiently waited all weekend for my husband to find 5 minutes to install it. And by patiently I mean, I kept pulling the rack out of its box and laying it out in the most obvious spot so he would see it. I learned that trick from my 7 year old daughter :)

After a weekend of gardening and installing a new ceiling fan, my husband ventured to the kitchen with his tool box. He measured an inch from the sides and 2.5 inches from the counter and marked the location with a pencil. He drilled pilot holes for the screws and put the screws directly in the side of the cabinet. The bracket just slides down over the 2 screws.
I love how the new towel rack, matches our spray painted cabinet handles!
I have to confess, I am so happy with this that I can honestly say this is one of the best $10 I have ever spent! You can tell how excited I am to share, I posted pictures of it without even using the 'fancy' tea towels that are in the laundry.

Small things with big impacts. Gotta love them.
Linking to some great parties including: Story of A2Z 

Monday, May 16, 2011

This little light of mine...well not mine but my sister's


My sister is truly amazing.  When she told me about one of here most recent projects I kept thinking about that old show McGyver. You know...the guy who can make anything out of the most basic materials.

Here is how the story played out in my mind. My sister (a.k.a. McGyver) was given a challenge by her tween daughter to create a beautiful light for her bedroom.  McGyver was given one day and only a handful of materials to complete this challenge. Here is what she had to work with: Embroidery hoop, various beads in the tween's color of choice (sparkly white, purple and pink), thin gauge wire, an old lamp base and some spray paint.

You and I would look at this and laugh thinking there is no possible way...but my sister McGyver knew there was a way of doing it!
 McGyver spray painted the old lamp base Heirloom White and while it dried she started to work on creating a beaded shade. She strung a variety of colors and sized beads down one long piece of wire being sure to place a large bead at the bottom for weight.
This strand was then attached to the metal embroidery hoop by simply looping it around, making sure it was the length she wanted. McGyver repeated this step until the embroidery hoop looked 'full.' Then McGyver knew her tween would want some more bling, so she added some beads around the lip of the embroidery hoop.

Now that the shade was done, McGyver set out to create the ceiling light. She cut the plug off the end of the lamp and pulled the chord through the base. She drilled two holes in the base of the lamp so it could be hung onto a standard ceiling light fixture.

Using some more fine gauge wire, McGyver secured the new beaded shade onto the light base.

Another successful mission...McGyver wins again :)
Great job McGyver...oh sorry, I mean Carol!

Linking to some great parties including: Story of A2Z

Sunday, May 15, 2011

You light up my life....my Pottery Barn knock off light does

We have a water closet (a.k.a WC or a toilet in its own room) in our master bathroom with a horrible builder grade light.  I personally thought the separate room for a toilet was a little odd when I bought the house, but now I do like it. It is one extra door that I can close so I can pretend I don't hear my two kids screaming for me. Is it the same in your house? You decide to sit down for one minute of privacy and the kids seem to know you are alone and start to hunt you down.

Well I have been eyeballing this light at Pottery Barn for ages. I absolutely love it and thought it would look great in our WC, but like everything else at Pottery Barn, I do not love the price. Really $269 for a light? I guess you can say it is on sale for $215. I, just like everyone else in this world, love me a good sale...but come on $215 for a light that will only be seen by a person sitting on a toilet.  I knew I could do better!
Source Pottery Barn
So I ventured to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore and found this lamp for the bargain basement price of...hold on to your seats...$5!!!! I immediately scooped it up and ran (drove) home in excitement. Again my husband looked at me and said "What are you going to do with that!?!" No faith :)  I knew I could make this light look almost exactly like the Pottery Barn one!
I suspected I would be able to disassemble the light completely but  I also knew the worst possible scenario would be me taping the glass with some newspaper before I pulled out my spray paint.  I got lucky and was able to completely disassemble the light by removing 10 screws.
 After taping off the electrical chords and the light sockets I brought all the brass pieces into the garage to spray paint. Two light coats later this is what I ended up with, GORGEOUS!!!
 I ended up switching the bolts from the bottom of the light to the top because I liked the look of the flat bolts on the bottom better. I don't think you really notice but it is how I preferred it.
My husband, being the loving man he is (or he knew I would nag him until it was done), hung it for my this evening as I sat on the floor of the bathroom watching. I feel like a kid again. I am so happy with my Pottery Barn knock off!!! I can't believe I got this light for $5 vs $215.
 I bought some fancy LED lights for it since we are trying to save some money on electricity. In the end the light bulbs cost more than the light itself :) 

I LOVE IT!  Here it is from outside the WC.
This has inspired me to post all the lights I have redone and not yet shared with you. So this week I will post them all: 2 drum ceiling pendants, a table lamp for my daughter's room and an amazing beaded ceiling light my sister created.
Linking to some great parties including: Story of A2Z 


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