Thursday, December 30, 2010

My top 10 projects of 2010

I heard about a little big 'ol party going on over at Rhoda's Southern Hospitality that I thought I'd join! To see an amazing collection of projects, check out
I've sure learned a ton about blogging these last few months. There is a HUGE learning curve that I'm finally feeling like I am actually on.  Thanks to everyone who has supported me! 

My top 10 projects of 2010
{To see the full post for any of these,just click on the picture}
 10. Homemade Pottery Barn Kids Ballerina bedding in Toddler bed size {my twin girls' Christmas gift}

9.  Frilly Towels {Christmas gifts to some special ladies}

8. My son's refinished dresser {that you will likely see again as a favorite project of 2011 when it gets repainted again!}

7. My twins' shabby chic refinished dresser {my first furniture painting project ev-ah!}

6. Cancelling Cable {YES, that definitely counts as a project, getting DH to cancel cable is no easy feat!}

5. No-sew POOFY tutu {"my big tutu" as DD calls it}

4. Planting my first garden {a fall garden, I like to keep things challenging interesting}

3. I discovered Chalk Board Paint! {but have STILL yet to find/buy dustless chalk}

2. Studs to Spa Master Bath Renovation {originally billed as "Studs to Spa in 2 weeks" is now 90% completed at the 5 month mark!}

1. And my top project of 2010...................THIS BLOG! {with a world of thanks to my loyal readers and a lot TON of encouragement from DH and a few other BFFs, I couldn't wouldn't have done it without you!}

Bring on 2011!

Thanks everyone xo

Homemade Pottery Barn Kids Ballerina Toddler Bedding

Whew! I just came up to the surface after a week spent under loads of wrapping paper, tinsel, dishes, ribbons, bows, dishes, boxes, bikes, dishes, in laws, driving, dishes...
did I mention DISHES?!

Seriously, I've missed blogging and appreciate my loyal followers' patience...I've gotten updates from some of my favorite blogs and wonder how on earth they've found time to post in the last week. 

In the past 7 days I've:
enjoyed watching the faces of 3 kids get bikes
logged 17 hours in the car
seen all sets of parents/grandparents and immediate aunts, uncles and cousins
hosted 2 Christmas dinners with 12+ people
video taped 4 separate Christmas present opening sessions
READ the manual to my new camera (yes, you read that right...I actually read something other than a blog and yes, I got a new toy for Christmas, too!)
been to the camera store to have my cracked lens protector removed (after learning the hard way to always wear my camera strap)
prepared the beds 4 times for house guests
ate more than my fair share of sweets
enjoyed a few glasses of wine
and created some amazing memories that made this truly my

I am so thankful to my whole family for making this Christmas so wonderful and special.  When I found out the truth about Santa I was crushed...but never stopped believing.  What I didn't know, was how much fun it would be when I'd get to be Santa myself.  Seeing your own children light up with joy is a most amazing feeling.

Ok, so here we are...3 hours post the last official Christmas event and our last guests departing (bitter sweet)...and I miss you guys!  I've been anxious to post my finished pictures of the Pottery Barn Ballerina sheet/duvet sets I made for my girls' toddler beds. 

A couple months ago my daughters saw this in the Pottery Barn Kids catalog:
Does it get any cuter?

They both wanted it sooooooo badly!  Unfortunately, it only came in twin size and they are still in toddler beds.  But every week, a new Pottery Barn Kids catalog would arrive in the mail and low and behold, they'd turn right to the same page and ask for the sheets.  When we were on about our 5th catalog (they've got some good marketing people working for them) they finally started asking for the sheets "when they get bigger and get big girl beds".  Sure, that sounds like a plan.  Then one night I got a crazy great idea, I'll buy the sheets and make toddler bedding for them out of the fabric. So in mid-November I ordered a set of twin sheets...thinking a month was ample time to sew them. 
It was at that moment I learned they were on back order until DECEMBER 20! What?!  Well, I ordered them anyways, figuring they'd most likely be sent sooner as things I've bought on back order before have come sooner. 
Well, I was WRONG!  They arrived Dec. 21, as promised.  Giving me exactly 3 days to complete the project. That's a tall order for me....I can get 90% finished with a project in 3 days, but COMPLETE it, that's just not possible very hard for me.  

Well, at any rate, enough commentary, I did get the sheets, pillow cases and duvets COMPLETED by my deadline of Christmas Eve!  And all of the sewing happened after 9pm.  (I was up until 1:00 am the 3 nights leading up to Christmas, and midnight the few before that.....but I did breastfeed 3 babies after all, so 1am is nothing!) 

Without further ado..........

I started with the sheets, which I made from pink/white polka dot flannel I got from the local fabric store (it matches the skirt on some of the ballerinas)
Also from the fabric store is the striped flannel that backs the duvet.

The duvets were made with ballerina fabric on one side and striped fabric on the other (each girl picked out their fabric last month, without knowing it was going on their new sheet set!) 
I used ribbon to tie the bottom of the duvets, hot pink polka dots for one and light pink polka dots on the other.

The pillow cases took the most time with all the details on the end: coordinating fabric ruffle that matches the underside of the duvet and ribbon that matches the ties on the duvet:

Well, that about sums it up! A very ballerina room, fit for 2 princesses.

I know I've been MIA the last week, but that's not due to lack of ideas! I have lots of things to talk about with you guys, so thanks for reading (DH thanks you, too!)
Coming attractions:

*Shower head water filters (and being a "green tween")
*My new compost bin (I'm a composter now!)
*Cute ruffled camera straps (to avoid further trips to the camera store) 
*My Restoration Hardware homemade kitchen island (I brought the wood home last week)
*Bathroom paint (I am finally going to finish that last 10% of the master bath)
*Kitchen/Family room paint and board & batten
*Top 10 Projects of 2010 (and looking forward to many more in 2011)

Have a safe and exciting
New Year's Eve!!

I joined the little party going on at Tater Tots and Jello!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Spirit of Christmas

I am convinced there are bloggers out there that have figured out how to manufacture time.  Not only do they continue posting 5-7 times a week, their houses look like the Pottery Barn catalog with every nook and cranny Christmas-ized, they find the time to take pictures of and post their decorating progress, post tutorials on incredible homemade gifts and decorations, AND repaint their kitchen or re-upholster a chair. (and sometimes I think those women don't have kids and then read they have 4 and homeschool them!) 

At any rate...........I just have a small story to share in the midst of the holiday hub-bub.  I know I've been a little short with my kids this last week as I think about and prepare for all the things I *need* to do for Christmas.  It kinda makes me scratch my head last night...I was stressing out about getting the kids to bed as it was 2 hours past their bedtime.  We were home late after our first (of many, I know) family bowling nights.  Everyone had a wonderful time, including my twin 3 year old daughters who insisted on bowling themselves...and actually beat their big brother to a spare!  (He then came back with a strike- so proud.)  Anyways, my point....we had such a great time bowling and hence were in bed waaaaay too late.  I had hours of sewing still to do to get my daughters' sheets/duvets/pillows made before Christmas. 
Here's the fabric I'm using. PB Kids' Ballerina sheets. (I'll post finished pics after Christmas!)

 At one point I snapped, yelling at them to hurry up and get in bed because of all the things I needed to do to make Christmas wonderful for them.  And then I caught myself and laughed (cause I wanted to cry but held back):

I'm yelling at my kids to get to bed so I can get to work on making their Christmas ironic does that sound? 
At any rate...I was reminded of the spirit of Christmas this morning.  My first two kids woke up at 9am (bless their hearts for sleeping in after a late night) and as I was making breakfast I overheard them whispering under the Christmas tree.  They were looking at some of the wrapped gifts, deciding which to open first, seeing who they were from,poking, prodding, etc. 

My daughter says to my son, "But I only got you one thing." 
And his 6 year old reply,
"It's ok sweetie, it's the spirit of giving that counts." 
Ahhhhhhhhh, amidst all the chaos, THEY GET IT.  They get it and sometimes we need them to remind US, the adults, too. 

May the spirit of Christmas be with you all.

Countdown to Christmas: 2 Days!!!

And just so you know, I Haven't been on the couch eating Bon-bons....I do have some exciting projects to share with you in January. I just picked up some 100 year old reclaimed oak for my Restoration Hardware knock-off island!
And I scored a wonderful free dresser from Freecycle last week...not sure if it's gonna be white or black or something in between.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New projects just seem to fall into my lap

Looks like we'll have another project on our hands in the new year.
Are you unsure of what exactly you are looking at?

This, my friends, is where a wild animal our almost 12 year old, 50 pound dog tried escaping from our master bedroom.
The poor girl is deathly afraid of the dishwasher (to me it ranks up there with her in the best friend status) and yesterday I was happy to check one thing off my list before I left the house in the morning made the HUGE mistake of leaving her home alone while it was running.

First she tried the wood-clad sliding door, which is now torn to shreds at the bottom.  When she couldn't get that to open, she moved on to a side window. 

When that wouldn't release her into the wild, she tried yet another side window.

I didn't know a dog could shred the slats of shutters like that, did you?

My sweet 6 year old son asked, "Mommy, are you going to fix them?" 
"No sweetheart, I don't think so......they've been TORN TO SHREDS!"

We weren't huge fans of them anyways, but there are plenty of things we aren't huge fans of but aren't running out to replace.  There's a list of priorities that my dog apparently wasn't aware of.  This wasn't too high on that list.

Maybe I'll ask Santa for new shutters.....or better yet, new windows!

Counting down....only 9 days until Christmas!

Happy Happy week to you all.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Entry Coat Hooks {'cause I don't have enough to do right now}

Winter with 3 kids means 15 jackets, several backpacks, 20 pairs of shoes, several shopping bags, etc...all coming into the front door and STOPPING.  Just walk in and dump, right there, in the entry.
 Sound familiar?
 In our house there seems to be this fashion rule that you must
 never wear the same sweater/jacket twice in one day.
Now, don't be mistaken, I am not THAT disorganized.  I have a closet 2 feet from the front door with baskets for every one's shoes...and a coat rack 3 feet from the front door with 8 hooks (high and low) for coats and bags.  The shoe baskets look like this:
But that's another project for another month.

And the coat rack always seems to be overtaken by "permanent" residents (including dog leashes, hats, camelbacks, and a handful of coats).

I have been looking at hundreds of pics on line of gorgeous and practical entries...houses with incredible mudrooms...moms more organized than Martha.  I've been dreaming of my entry bench with hooks above.
Love the beadboard and all the cubbies (think shoes!)

The is about as close to perfect as I can think of!

Then again, this one is pretty darn perfect, too.

This one is Just A Girl's...she dreamed it, her husband built it.
All pics above from Just a Girl.

 I could go on dreaming all day about *my* entry bench. 

Anyways, we're planning to board and batten "soon" I've been hesitant to do anything on the entry walls.......up until NOW!  11 Days before Christmas...with a TO DO list longer than Santa's...I decided it would be a good time to pop something up on the wall to hold *more* coats and backpacks. 

 I'll just put up a few hooks, it'll take 15 minutes.

So this project started out with 2 Pottery Barn hook boards I've been storing in the garage for 9 years (ever since I worked there).  They are these dark wood boards with 3 hooks on each....too wide to fit both boards on the wall I have available.  I figured I'd take the hooks off and just screw them right into the wall.  Five hooks would fit across my space nicely.  So I gathered my materials and am ready to hang. 
Then I realized I only have 3 studs available and they are in awkward spots...I'm not getting 5 hooks up like that.  DARN. 
OK  Plan B.
I rummaged through the garage and found the perfect piece of trim left over from the last window trim/baseboard project. It needed a little trimming, so out came the skill saw.  (This might take me a little longer than 15 minutes). Measured twice, cut once, PERFECT, yay!  It fits.  I'll nail that into the 3 studs and then the hooks into that.

Up goes the board.  I nailed the first nail with a hammer and bent it about 15 times until the nail was all crooked and the board was not too happy with me.  So out came the nail gun...for 6 nails! 
(Did I mention this was supposed to take 15 minutes?)
I filled the small holes and threw on a coat of white paint (Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace- the trim around all our windows and doors)

I have these two Pottery Barn boards with 3 hooks in each that have been sitting in the garage for 2 years and just popped the hooks off and there were my hooks.  I did a little math to space them evenly, used a level to make all my marks for the screws and pre-drilled the holes.  Viola!  A quick temporary solution to our entry clutter.
Now I need to move that key rack up a bit....and put in some baseboards!
And when the board and batten goes up and my cute entry bench, cubbies and hooks are installed, we'll just take this down.  But in the meantime for the next year, this will do just fine!
Ok, back to that TO DO Christmas list!

Monday, December 13, 2010

A Homemade Christmas Gift Tutorial: Frilly Towels

This year I decided to be crafty and make most of my Christmas gifts.  For the most part I'd say it was a good idea...though as most of my projects seem to go, it took much longer a bit longer than I anticipated.  However, I am so thrilled with the finished product that it made it all worth it.
Fancied-up towels for kitchen or bath.

Here's how I made them:

I picked up some white hand towels from Costco...they are super thick and absorbent and go with any decor.
Then I browsed around for quite some time looking for just the right fabrics. I am starting to get addicted to fabrics with how many super cute designs I've been seeing lately. I love for their huge selection and great prices. Usually they are my go to place for fabric.  But this time I stumbled upon a wonderful Etsy store Poppy Seed Fabrics.  Kim sells the most adorable fabrics. She seriously finds everything that is cute from and who knows where else and puts them all in one place for you to drool over. What sold me on buying from her this time was the bundles she creates.  She puts together 3-6 different fabrics that all coordinate and sells them in bundles of 1/2 yd. or full yds. each.  (She's also willing to create your own bundle and cut to any size you like...but I LOVE that she's already done the work for you of finding coordinating fabrics, so I stuck with her bundles, well for the most part!)
Since I am making these for a number of women, I needed to come up with color schemes that would work for many different tastes.  I finally decided on these two bundles (with a few minor changes)

Paula Prass Woodland Delight & coordinates
Black and White...Oh Goody!

I pre-washed the fabrics so nothing funky would happen when washing after assembled.

I ripped strips of fabric 1 1/2 inches wide by about twice as long as the width of the towels.  I wanted that "torn" look as I didn't plan to hem the edges, so ripping worked well.  If you have a rotary cutter, that would work well, too.  But cutting by hand with scissors would take you for-ev-ah!
Once I had all my pieces ripped out, I did a long basting stitch down the middle of each strip.

To make the ruffle you gently pull on the bobbin thread (the underside) of the fabric and scrunch the fabric up as you go down the strip. Careful not to pull too hard or you'll break your thread and need to re-stitch the baste again. 
I planned a dozen towels at a time so that I wouldn't end up with too many of one print at the end.  I tried sewing the first few strips without pinning them down to the towels but ended up with crooked ruffles!  So I pinned all of the ruffled strips to the fabric.  I pinned them all before starting to sew any of them.
And now, time to sew....and sew.....AND SEW!

I stitched 3 strips onto each towel.

Here's my first two:

I liked them the way they are, but I thought they could use a little more somethin' somethin' at the bottom.  I was thinking pom poms or ribbon and finally decided on ric rac. 

You can see my two color schemes here.  I'll do a little more personalizing from here, too.  More blues for my blue loving friends, more orange, etc.  But you get the jist of them!

I think I'm violating my sewing machine's union hours and it might go on strike soon.  But I have a few more Christmas projects to finish.....

-Sheets/pillows/duvets for my twin girls' beds (patiently anxiously awaiting a back order delivery of ballerina sheets from PB Kids that I will cut-up to use)
-hair accessories for my girls (headbands, flowers)
-a Yoda robe for my son
-that darn beautiful scarf that I started a few months ago!

Did I tell you, I get to pick up my wood today for my island!  I found 100+ year old reclaimed oak at local shop. I'll post some pics as soon as I get it!

OK, my sewing machine is calling. 
So are the kids!

The countdown is on:
12 Days until Christmas!

I am so excited to be linking up to a couple few linky parties! 
The Homemade Christmas Gifts Party at Tater Tots and Jello!
It's a Holly Bloggy Party, be sure to visit!

And the Handmade Tuesdays Party at Ladybug Blessings!

And the Sew Cute Tuesdays at Creative Itch!

And Teach Me Stuff at Hope Studios!

And Letting the Creative Juices Flow party at These Creative Juices!