Thursday, July 29, 2010

Junk Drawer No More!!!

One of the things I was looking forward to when we added the base cabinets to our kitchen we increase the number of drawers we had available. Pre-Renovation we had 3 top drawers in the kitchen. THREE!!! That meant 1 for silverware, 1 for cooking utensils and 1 for junk.

The new base cabinets added 4 drawers!!! So on the cooking side of the kitchen I reclaimed the junk drawer, so that I now have 2 for cooking utensils and I love it.

On the eat in side we have a drawer for our address book and note cards, a drawer with activity books for the kids, a drawer for notebooks and a junk drawer.

Since getting the new junk drawer I've been looking for the "perfect" organizer to make it a little less junkie.

See what I mean:

Yikes - that is embarassing.

But when I was cleaning up the kids play room I found the perfect solution:

Anyone recognize the Melissa and Doug crates?

They are the perfect little container to help contain the contents of the drawer formerly known as the junk drawer.

I've got a crate for batteries, adhesives (tape, glue...) and one for everything else. Plus one of the kids shoe boxes to contain the bigger stuff.

I'm so happy to have this organized!!!

And it was quite an interesting experience to clean out this drawer... why on earth were we keeping some of this stuff???

Some of my friends might recognize that - a key from my jetta. Yeah, that would be the car that Jim totaled 2 and a half years ago.

Anyone have a clue what his key is for because their of us do.

Who doesn't need an empty book of match books???

And for those environmental friendly people who gasped at our collection of batteries, never fear - we are more eco friendly than it looked:

We do have rechargeable batteries that we use for our camera's, kids hand held games, our remotes and a variety of other things.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My First Request - Paper Doll Centerpiece Ideas

One of my friends asked for help tonight and I thought I'd share her question and my solutions with you.
I need your creative help! :) Can you think of a elegant way to display paper dolls? The League's historical committee is using paper dolls, dressed in their appropriate time periods, as centerpieces at a meeting. The big question is, how to display them? They called me and asked for advice, and I have nothing...
Lucky for Kerry - I've got Paper Dolls and ideas for what to do with them... unlucky for her, my paper dolls are rather ugly and I'm not sure they are doing the ideas justice.  So when picturing these ideas - lets pretend the dolls are actually the lovely historical ones that her group is using and not these slightly scary ones shall we???

Ok 1st up - an idea that keeps the dolls from having to have an adhesive attached to them.

Clothes pins.

Clothes pins actually sand when you put them on end:

2 clothes pins can be attached to the feet of the dolls to help then stand:

Objects can then be placed around their feet - since in looking at these, I don't think paper dolls on stilts are something they are really looking for.

But this, might work - tucking the clothes pins into an arrangement:

Another idea that also preserves the dolls is taking either pre-made or making wire curls like these:

They are really easy to make. And mounting them only involves drilling a hole in a top of a block or other object and then gluing the wires into the hole:

From there - the dolls can be placed in the curls:

And if you'd like, you can use a doll and collection of different clothes for that doll rather than 3 dolls as pictured above.

Next up - straws and sticks... This involves taping something to the back of the dolls, something that you might not want to do if you intend to use the dolls again.

What you'll need is a plastic drinking straw and sticks (I used skewers that we had.)

Cut the straws into 1 inch sections and then tape one end of the straw closed.

Tape the straw with the closed end up to the back of the doll. You could also use hot glue if you prefer though not if the paper on the doll is too delicate.

Next put the stick in the straw:

Then place the sticks into something - I used a vase with sand in it. You could also use craft foam, a vase with rocks, glass beads or just about anything you can find:

A couple of other ideas with these, you can apply another doll to the back so that they are double sided. Or if you want to skip the straw, you can just tape/glue the stick directly to the doll.

I tried playing with a large hurricane vase that I got for $2 at walmart and though about attaching them with clothes pins to the top - but that seemed odd.

Yeah, there is something not right about the clothes pin to the head.

So I taped them around the exterior and liked the way it looked like they were holding hands.

The options for the vase are endless - you could put anything inside, even paint the inside. Or if you want to give people at the table something to do, put some of the outfits in the vase and they can change things up while they eat.

The last 2 ideas might cost a little more - then again, they might not depending on the supplies you have available or what you can find at thrift stores.

1st - Floating Frames - these are nice if you've got double sided clothes like my daughter set did. (The whole doll wouldn't fit, but you could do the whole doll)

2nd side:

Last - simply taking a piece of scrapbook paper, mounting the doll to the paper and placing them in a frame.

You could really have a lot of fun with the frames. Buy them at thrift stores, get them from friends, the dollar store, walmart - where ever you can find them... then spray paint them all the same color to unify them and let the dolls become art.

So there you have it... a bunch of ideas for using paper dolls for centerpieces. You can go with one idea, mix and match the ideas - or maybe looking through these sparked an idea of your own.

Hope that helped! I'd love to see what you all end up doing!

Monday, July 26, 2010

ISO: Pre-tween Room Ideas

As much as I try to keep it from happening, my little Bug girl is growing up. Like any mom, I find these transitions filled with a mix of emotions. I'm so excited to see the little girl she is becoming, I love watching her become goofier with each passing day, more comfortable in her own skin, more confident in herself. But then I see glimmers of the baby girl we brought home from hospital what seems like yesterday and I get misty missing the sweet baby girl who has amazed us each and every day of her life.

With Bug's 7th birthday passing she has decided that the bug room is a bit too "little girl" and she want something a little different. She's too little for a "tween" room, so I'm just going to try and update what she's got in there now.

Here is what the room looks like now -

I want to keep the mural on the walls  - I spent too many hours on top of furniture and ladders while 5 months pregnant with her brother to change that yet.

But what I can do, is REALLY punch up the color from the mural and use it in the room. New, bright bedding, fun pillows, getting rid of almost ALL the baby toys and such. I'd love to play with a lot of textures and patterns.

Here are a few of the things I'm looking at:

(Source: Bed Bath & Beyond)

(Source: Bed Bath & Beyond)

And I'd love to do a netty-canopy thing... Normally, I'd be a little nervous about doing something like that I think, but being that she doesn't sleep in her room, but in her brother's room, I think I might go for it. 

Like this, but I don't want to do with a hoop, I've got something else in mind: 

 (Source: Bed Bath & Beyond)

Of course - for me, creating a room, even updating a room can never be as simple as buying a bed in a bag, or 10 things from the same collection. There will be many trips to TJ Maxx, Home Goods, JoAnns and a million website to find just the right things.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Music To Be Creative By

This summer is flying by and while I'm not betting a chance to be as creative around the house as I'd like - I'm being creative in different ways. One of which has been teaching my stubborn daughter how to swim. That is taking A LOT of creativity.

I'm no stranger to teaching swimming, in addition to swimming in high school, I was a life guard and taught swimming in college as a red cross certified water safety instructor. We've tried everything with Bug, mommy & me lessons, group lessons, I tried teaching her when she was 4, then private lessons and now, I'm back at it. And thankfully - we're finally making progress.

My theory to swimming is that once you can float, you can swim. And finally, Bug can float on her back and even swim a bit. Now we're getting her through her fear of being under water and with her face in the water.

If there is interest, I can post a little about what we've been doing...

But that isn't the point of this post, I'm sorry. I've gotten way off topic.

Each month, I work on a freelance design project. A 16-20 page newsletter for a non profit. And one of the things that really keeps me in a creative groove has always been music.

My favorite way to listen to music for the past 2 years has been on Pandora.

If you're not familiar with Pandora - sign up for an account, you won't be disappointed. You pick what kind of music you want to listen to, either by artist, song, or genre and then Pandora plays that music and music similar to it.

For example, tonight, I'm in the mood for Rusted Root, so I pick that band as my station on Pandora, from there Pandora begins selecting music similar to Rusted Root and now I'm working while listening to Rusted Root, Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, Ben Harper and others with similar qualities.

If I don't like a song, I click the thumbs down and it helps them feed me only the music I like. If I'm not in the mood for a song but still like it, I can skip it, tell them not to play it for a month or tell them to move that to one of my other stations.

Through Pandora I've found new music I never would have otherwise and been able to listen to music you just don't hear on the radio down here without having to spend a fortune on CD's and downloads.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Deal: DIY Magazine "ReadyMade" for $2.99 per Year

Love a bargain? How about getting a full year's magazine subscription for the same price as a single issue???

All you have to do is Go Here and use coupon code "Ready" at check out. The price drops from $19.99 to $2.99 and you can get up to 3 years at that price. Quantities are limited...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Kitchen Renovation - Update

We're not complete on section 5, the wainscoting and molding, but we made unexpected progress on the back splash.

We hadn't really planned on addressing the back splash 'till a little way down the road. It was the one part of the kitchen that I didn't really have a specific vision for.

Then along came my father-in-law... he visits every summer for a week or 2. In addition to being a very loving grandpa to the 2 best grandchildren in the world, he is also a semi-retired general contractor.

: )

He's built 2 of the houses Jim grew up in, among many other things... and for us, he's worked with Jim to put a deck on our town house and then our single family home.

When he arrived, our back splash looked like this:

I'm pretty sure he started twitching right away... then when I explained I didn't think we'd do anything for a while, I'm pretty sure he was ready to faint right there.

That is when he offered to tile the back splash for us. YAHOOO!!!

The next day Jim and Mr. B hit the Restore and picked up just what they needed, simple, elegant, white tile.

And now our back splash looks like this:

While I was prepared to live with the unfinished ugly one for a few months, I'm beyond thrilled that we don't have to.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Movie Party - Part 2, the Poster

For Bug's Movie Party, we decided to watch Beauty and The Beast.

In order to get the kids in the mood, as soon as they arrived we had them put themselves IN the movie by taking their picture in a cut out movie poster, here is how we did it.

I took a Beauty and the Beast poster, this is from the musical I believe but I didn't care.

We mounted it to a piece of thick form core:

Then we cut out the faces from the poster - allowing the kids to become Beauty and the Beast...

While the kids were watching the movie, and all was taken care of... a friend and I ran to walgreens down the street and got copies of all the pictures. When the parents came to pick up the kids - the photos were waiting as part of their favors.

And as for the favors... we carried full through with the movie theme, the kids got popcorn boxes with a package of microwave popcorn, a box of movie candy and their movie poster picture.

Movie Party - Part 1, the Invite

We hosted Bug's Birthday Party last weekend - thought I'd share with you some of what we did...

First the theme: A night at the movies.

It was supposed to be a day at the movies, we were going to take her and 10 of her friends to the movies. But as it turns out the local theater that hosts birthday parties, wasn't going to have a kids movie that weekend. For some reason they were the only theater in the area that didn't have Toy Story 3. And we didn't find this out 'till 3 weeks before the party. (Despite me reserving the day 2 months earlier!!!)

That really left us no choice but to host the party on the party at our house...

So we set out to transform our basement into a movie theater - we set the tone with the invitation.

I designed this is photoshop and then just had it printed at Ritz photo on matte paper as a 5x7 photo. Usually when I do invites I print them through zazzle or vistaprints, but given our time frame, doing the 5x7 photo was really the only choice.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Double Stars

My creative mind couldn't stop at just the 3-d stars... I wanted to find a way to make double stars, stars that were puffed out on both sides.

I figured all the stars needed were some tabs on the outside edges.

So I created the little template on my computer:

Kind of looks more like a snow flake doesn't it?

Bear with me, I promise it will turn into a double sided star here shortly.

So with the template I could have either printed it on decorative paper, or done like I did which was to export this file as an SVG and then cut it using my Cricut.

I scored the back of 2 of the stars, along the tabs and along the point to the center as I did in my earlier project. This time I actually used a scoring tool - fancy dancy. I also made note that I score the lines that I wanted to be a peak, on the wrong side, and the lines that I wanted to be a valley on the right side. Something I forgot to note in the first project.

Then I folded everything making sure the tabs were folded wrong side together.


Now, we could have stopped here and glued the stars to a flat piece of paper if that is what we were going for. But it wasn't...

So I kept going. Next was to apply glue to the tabs of the stars.

Then line up the points of the left side and the right side and pinch together.

You have to be a little patient while waiting for the glue to catch before moving to the next point of the star.

But when you're done - you've got this, a double sided 3 d-star.

I kept on cutting, scoring, folding, gluing over and over 'till I had these:

Our little patriotic jar of stars...

And since I've got the template I can cut these on my cricut on any paper, anytime and at any size... I'm thinking metalic papers at the holidays... run some string or twine in between for lovely ornaments. Maybe by then I'll have a toy to emboss the papers too.
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