Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My Favorite Time of Day

I love it when my husband walks in the door from work each day.  I'm always glad to see him, and I'm often very glad to have him entertain the girls for a while while I make dinner or get a little break.  Some days I am VERY glad, if you know what I mean (i.e. - here are YOUR children I am disowning them for the time being).  Today was one of those days.  Sigh.

Both girls generally love it when Mark gets home (Claire's a little more hit-or-miss on that subject than Kate is, since she is more of a "Momma's girl") and situations such as this often arise:

This was the take down and tackle of the Daddy tickle robot.

First Claire's turn.

Then Kate.

Then Claire goes in for the assist.

Just another reason why my husband rocks - I'm sure after a long day at work being attacked by two young children isn't necessarily the most "relaxing" time, but he does it with a smile. 

Monday, March 29, 2010

StudioDelve Rocks

I have to share my friend Lisa's amazing ceramic work.  Lisa and I were good friends my senior year of high school, which is longer ago than I care to admit. Let's just say that my 5 year old daughter is closer to being a senior in high school than I am.  Wow.  That's a scary thought.

Since high school, Lisa has started StudioDelve and makes completely awesome ceramic pieces like this:

And this:

And this light fixture. Seriously.  I want this.  My husband does not. Go figure.

And this plaque for just $8. Love.

So stop by and check out Lisa's website, Etsy shop or Facebook fan page!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Make your own Sports Headband Tutorial

If you have a daughter who plays on sports teams or if you like to work out and you wear the "sports style" headbands with a ponytail - this tutorial is for you!  Don't want to pay $8-$18 for a headband?  Make one yourself for cheap!

You need:

  • A sewing machine (or patience and good eyesight for hand sewing)
  • 7/8" wide grosgrain ribbon of your choice (background color) ($1.97 or less - look for coupons)
  • 5/8" wide grosgrain ribbon of your choice (top color) ($1.97 or less)
  • 3/8" wide grosgrain ribbon that matches either of the two previous colors ($1.97 or less)
  • 7/8" wide velvet ribbon (this is the hardest to find - check Hobby Lobby for $1.99 spools of 6 ft of ribbon that are often half price or check other fabric stores in the "by the yard" ribbon - black or brown work well, white is good for lighter colors)
  • Fabric glue ($4 or so a bottle) - hot glue does NOT work for this, sorry, it is too stiff
  • Invisible thread or thread that matches both of your ribbon colors
  • Two "adult" size "no metal" thick ponytail holders
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape

Step 1
Cut the 7/8" wide and 5/8" wide grosgrain ribbons to 15 1/2" long for a child's size headband or 16 1/2" long for a teen or adult headband.

Step 2
Cut the 7/8" wide velvet ribbon to 14" (kids) or 15" (adult) - you could cut it the same length as the grosgrain, but depending on your spool of ribbon you may be able to get an extra headband out of the spool if you cut it a bit shorter.

Step 3
Use the fabric glue and run a small line of fabric glue down each long edge of the 5/8" grosgrain ribbon. If this ribbon is a dark color, you could put one line down the middle, but lighter colors will show the glue line if you put it in the middle. Glue the 5/8" ribbon to the middle of the 7/8" ribbon - putting the ribbon down carefully so that the edges are even.

Step 4
Using invisible thread (or thread that matches the color of the 5/8" ribbon) sew down the edge of the 5/8" ribbon.

Step 5
Run a line of glue down the velvet ribbon.  Glue this to the back of the 7/8" grosgrain ribbon.  There will be a gap at each end of the ribbon where it is not covered by velvet - this is okay, it won't show.

Step 6
Using invisible thread (or thread that matches the color of the 7/8" grosgrain ribbon) carefully and slowly (especially if you are using invisible thread) sew down the edge of the velvet ribbon to attach it securely to the grosgrain ribbon.

Step 7
Take the two ponytail holders and knot them together.  This is slightly difficult to explain, but I don't have a internet-compatible video camera, so I'm going to have to do the best I can.  You're going to find the spot on each ponytail holder where they have been stuck together. Lay the two ponytail holders on top of each other with the connection spots on opposite sides of the circle from each other.  Loop one side of one ponytail holder around the other and pull taught.  Hopefully the pictures below help explain this.

Step 8
Fold the end of the ribbon from Step 6 over one side of the ponytail holder.  Sew in place, going back-and-forth several times over the end to make sure it doesn't pull out.  Repeat with the other side.

Step 9
Cut two pieces of 3/8" grosgrain ribbon to 2 1/2" long.  Heat seal the ends (run a lighter or match quickly and carefully across the cut end of the ribbon and it will melt together slightly and prevent fraying).  Put a line of fabric glue on each 2 1/2" piece.

Step 10
Fold these short pieces over the sewn part of the headband for a nicer looking finish.  Allow to dry before putting in anyone's hair.

You can replace the "team colors" with a patterned 7/8" grosgrain ribbon like I did below, and you omit steps 3 & 4.  (See photo of Kate below with the zebra print headband on.) Or you can move up a size and use 1 1/2" grosgrain ribbon and velvet ribbon, and 7/8" for the top piece (or again use a patterned ribbon).

Here in Cincinnati I've found both Ohio State and Kentucky printed ribbons at WalMart (which I normally hate to shop at, but it's the only place I've found the ribbon) so you could make "game day" headbands for you and your friends.

For about the cost of a headband you could buy, you'll have enough materials to make 10+ headbands of your own.  Offer to make them for the rest of the team to help cover your initial expenses.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Kitchen Update

We decided this year to use part of our tax return to update our kitchen and downstairs half bath (which is about the only room we hadn't touched in the 5 years we've lived in this house).  Here was our starting point for both...

Kitchen overview - start

More kitchen starting point

Bathroom start - note the nice brass light fixture and floral wallpaper border.  Plus the sink has light aqua marbling in it.  So classy.

More starting bathroom, more floral wallpaper border.

And here is the end result...
Kitchen overview - after - we are about 90% done at this point - we still have to lay floor under the stove & fridge, and re-attach baseboards in many places.

The new floor - $1.29 a square foot laminate made from recycled plastic for the laminate - have I mentioned how much I love Costco?

Updated decor - 1950s Betty Crocker cookbook that I already had that was given to me by my aunt before she passed away, and my great grandmother's wedding china from 1901.  The Laugh word is from Hobby Lobby and was $7 (half price) when I got it.  The word may not stay, as Mark hates it. We'll see who wins.  :)

A close up of the china plate.  I am so happy to have a plate and a cup/saucer from her wedding set, and I love that it works to display it now so it's not buried in a cupboard somewhere like it was before.

The bathroom is the left door, the pantry is the right.  The photos are from IKEA - $.99 for the set of 5 fruit postcards and $2.99 ea from IKEA for the frames.  The apron hook was something I already had that I painted black.

There's the $1 imagine wall art from last week.

The dining area - still working on decor here.  The photo to the left of the light is one I took when Mark and I were in Venice in 2001 and it's one of my favorite pictures I've ever taken.  It's light reflecting off rain puddles at dusk on the main pedestrian route.

Bathroom - after - Vanity was $88 from Home Depot (plus $20 in plumbing items from the hardware store), faucet was $30 from Home Depot, mirror was $35 (half price) from Hobby Lobby, light fixture was $35 from Costco, and not shown are a towel ring and toilet paper holder from Home Depot for $22 total.  Paint is low VOC Behr Paint and Primer in one for $28 from Home Depot in the color "Sensible Hue" (I questioned whether we should get the paint and primer in one and the sales guy gave me a gallon at the price of the regular paint. Totally awesome.)

Another view of bathroom - after - no floral wallpaper border.  Why oh why did we not do this 5 years ago???  The wall decor is a Bible Verse (As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord) my mom cross-stitched for us when we got married 10 years ago.  It's hung in our bathroom, no matter where we lived, ever since.

I'm still looking for a few things for on top of the cabinets - I plan to go raid boxes in my parents basement next week for more family heirlooms.  I love having pieces that have stories behind them.

The total cost for this remodel, including all last minute trips to the hardware store, etc is right about $1000 (included in this price - paint, flooring & trim, dishwasher, vanity, faucet, light fixture, towel bar and toilet paper holder ) .  We could have easily spent that much on just the approx 300 sq ft of flooring.

Linking this up with Domestically Speaking's Power of Paint
Penny Pinching Party at The Thrifty Home
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Front Porch

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Ah, spring!

Today was quite the day.  I started the day with a medical procedure for which Katie Couric would be proud of me.  It wasn't as bad as I expected, though I'm in no rush to have another one.

We had a GORGEOUS day here in Cincinnati, and I got to spend some time outside this afternoon planting seeds for the garden.  Nothing is a sign of spring like planting seeds.  Granted all of the seeds were in flats and will be indoors for a month or two until it is really time to plant them outdoors, but I sat in the sun on the back patio and sowed two kinds of eggplant, two kinds of peppers and three kinds of tomatoes.  I can almost taste the delicious eggplant parmigiana we'll be having this summer.  [Insert Homer Simpson like "Mmmmm" here.]

I've grown peppers, eggplants and tomatoes before, but never from seed so I'm really hoping this goes well.  However, I don't have a grow light so tomorrow when I go to Home Depot after mom's group to buy the towel bar and toilet paper holder for the remodeled bathroom I will be picking up a grow light.

Gardening is another one of my favorite activities - I guess like crafting it's creating/transforming something with your own hands.  And it tastes so much better too!

I also have to include these pictures of Claire from Saturday.  She was trying to put in a pair of green plastic vampire teeth left from Halloween, but had them in backward.  She was so proud of herself though.  The first picture is what happens when you tell Claire to "smile!" -she immediately closes her eyes. Every time.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My little Ballerina

Kate got her dance recital costume this morning.  It was practically better than Christmas morning for her. She begged and begged to wear it once she got home, so before dinner I caved and let her wear it for about 20 minutes.  She had to put on "elegant music" and dance for me, Mark and Claire.  When she prayed tonight we had to thank God for her beautiful new costume.

Note the nice hot chocolate traces all over her mouth.  It goes so well with the fancy costume, doesn't it? You can't see it very well but there is even a necklace/choker that goes with it that is made of "diamonds" according to Kate.  The thing that always kills me with costumes like this is how expensive they are and how cheaply they are slapped together. I'm going to have to cover all the seams at her arms because they sewed the sequin trim right into the armhole and it is really scratchy.  Really, really scratchy.  This really irks me.

Kate also lovingly indulged her sister in her favorite activity today - being pushed around in a doll stroller.  This is a stroller I got at a garage sale for $1 when Kate was about Claire's age.  One wheel is pushed out and wobbles and it always tries to fold closed on Claire when she sits in it.  This doesn't phase her in the least.  She sits in it and promptly says "Mama! Date! (kate) Dada!" hoping that one of us will push her in it.  I'm waiting for the wheel to come off and her to end up on her rear end on the floor.  We shall see.

The final topping on Kate's day was a handmade amigurumi (crocheted doll) from my friend Amber.  It is pink and red (Kate's two favorite colors) and white, and has a little flower on it's head.  It's adorable.  Kate christened it "Snuggly" and insisted on sleeping with it and giving it a goodnight kiss.  I'm sorry, Kate would correct me here - giving HER a goodnight kiss.  "It's a girl mom!"  Here's what she looked like when I went up to check on her earlier this evening.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another Tote

Yes, I have a tote obsession right now.  This one I made from a man's L T-shirt.  The local thrift store has T-shirts for $.99 and they were 25% off.  The lining fabric was from my stash.  Total cost out of pocket right now for this tote - $.75 plus tax.  Yay!  And this is only because my dear husband was not willing to part with any of his Ohio State T-shirts for my project this time.

Cut a piece from the front & back of the shirt to the desired tote size.  I cut 15" x 15" pieces to make a 13" x 13" x 3" finished tote.  Let me say, however, that I really dislike working with the stretchiness of knit.  I am going to have to get used to it and practice I guess.

I ironed medium-weight fusible interfacing to the front and back T-shirt tote pieces.  It was a bit tricky and you can see I wrinkled the front a smidge in the middle of the logo.  Grrr.  Then I cut matching lining pieces from the other fabric - same dimensions.  I ironed fusible fleece to those for padding, but I think next time I'll just use interfacing also - maybe some heavyweight so it's a bit stiffer.

I cut the pocket piece from a sleeve and the tote handles are the side seam areas that were left after cutting out the large pieces from the shirt.  They're a bit short - I'm going to have to work on that next time. I didn't pad the handles for this one, I just used some interfacing inside them to help stiffen up the knit.

Overall, I'm fairly happy.  I'm thinking that I need to cut up an old UT (that's University of Toledo, not University of Tennessee) shirt from college and make one for my alma matter.

If I get around to it this week (things are a bit crazy - my youngest has a surgery consult this morning during my oldest's ballet class, for example - I'm not looking forward to surgery on a barely 2 year old, even if it is for something routine like a hernia behind her belly button).

Well, I'm off to today's races.  Hope you've been inspired to try making your own upcycled tote from these posts!


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