Thursday, March 31, 2011

Distressing Tutorial

I know I know, I said a couple of months ago when I showed you Mistress Monstress's room that I would do the tutorial on distressing wood. I had grand plans of doing a toy box for Mistress Monstress's room to match the furniture that I did for her, but truth be told it will be a while before I get to it. So, I decided that you could probably get the same idea on a smaller scale and I had been meaning to distress a picture frame in our great room, so I thought I'd use it to give you the distressing tutorial. Distressing is the same, no matter how big or small the project, so you should be able to get the idea.

First off, start with your painted surface. On the bed I did a couple months back I used a creamy white paint, the frame is black. (Obviously) I forgot to take a picture before I started sanding, but it was plain painted black. Anyway, sand the edges, front, side, anywhere you want it to look distressed. Wipe the surface down with a soft cloth to get rid of any dust.
Next comes the stain. Stain stinks. I would highly recommend that you take it to a well ventilated area. If you are using oil based stain, make sure to take precaution to protect your skin and surfaces.
Lightly rub the stain over the exposed wood. Use more to achieve a darker appearance, less for a lighter appearance. Once it is dry, you can apply a clear coat to finish the look.
And voila! One distressed picture frame. I will caution you that if you are working with a light paint, you will want to work in small areas using the stain sparingly. While excess stain does not show up on the black paint, it will show up on lighter ones.
So there you go. Distress away and enjoy the end result, remember it's distressed so you don't need it to be perfect!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens...

These are a few of my favorite things!

It's raining cats and dogs today which makes me think of that famous song from The Sound of Music. I'm one of those weird people who actually likes a rainy day. I love getting up in the morning and having a cup of coffee before the kids are up, snuggled on the sofa with a good book. It's so peaceful and cozy. Now if I have to go somewhere in said rain then I curse it right along with everyone else, but if I get to stay home I can relish it, bake something yummy, and enjoy the peace and quiet. What are some of my other favorite things? Check them out!

1. Our clocks. My husband and I collected these three antique clocks when we were first married. We bought three total over a year's time or so, and have always hung them on the wall in this arrangement in each of the six places we have lived since then. Seven years ago we started having children, and as each was born we set a clock to the time they came into the world. Now each kiddo has a clock and someday when we are old and grey, we will pass their clocks to them!
2. The initial hooks. When our oldest was born, I bought the 'N' hook for his nursery. Soon thereafter he received a brother and I searched every Anthropologie store in the universe for a 'C' hook to match. I hung them in their bathroom for their towels. A few years later when we welcomed Mistress Monstress, I thought that searching for an 'A' hook would be in vain, but good old ebay came through and I found what I am pretty sure was the last 'A' in existence. It's a little darker than the first two, but I like that they are unique. When we moved here and they no longer shared a bathroom, I kept the hooks together on their level for their coats and backpacks. It makes me smile every time I walk by and see a little coat on one of the hooks! (Mostly because that means someone actually hung up a coat, but still...)
3. My husband and I found this coral while we were walking on the beach on our honeymoon. I love natural objects and DH loves the beach more than anything, so we brought it home and it has been on our shelves ever since. It almost got thrown away when we moved the last time, but luckily we felt the lump in the packing paper when we were breaking down the boxes and it was returned to it's rightful place on the shelf!
4. The corks. I started collecting them from bottles of wine and champagne when we were first married, and over the last 11 years we have collected a bunch. When there is an event, (Christmas Dinner, a wedding, anniversary, a date night, etc.) I take the cork and write the date on it and add it to the collection. It's fun to go through them sometimes and read the dates and try to remember what it was from!
5. Finally, I hate a cluttered fridge but love my kids' artwork. I solved this problem with some inexpensive frames from Michaels and a few shelves that my brother made for us. I hung them in the playroom and change the artwork frequently. The kids love having their art showcased for everyone to see and I love having a clean fridge!
So how about you? What are some of your favorite things?

Monday, March 28, 2011

When Life Hands You Lemons...

Make them into a shirt.

Ha. No, really.

I'm not someone who makes a lot of clothing. I alter already made stuff, I mend and patch, but following a pattern and making something from scratch? I can count on one hand the number of garments I have made from scratch. I've decided though, that it's high time I dove in and tried some out. After all, the remnant bin at Hancock Fabrics often has pieces big enough for a sundress for Mistress Monstress that can be purchased for a really reasonable price! So, I dove in. MM picked out a piece of green seersucker with embroidered strawberries, and I picked a pattern for a little pillowcase style dress. From start to finish, it was a very simple project.

Except for the little issues I ran into...

First, I mistakenly traced the wrong line on the pattern and therefore cut the front and back pieces about 3 inches shorter than they were supposed to be. Second, I made her the size three, assuming that it would fit perfectly. I forgot to take into account the fact that her height is in the 90th percentile for her age.

So, long story short, her dress turned into a shirt. Being that it's in the 30s in SC right now and she absolutely had to wear it immediately, we added a long sleeved white shirt under it and a pair of jeans. Even though I didn't start out to make a shirt, I still love the end look and more importantly, so does the Mistress!

A Little Commercial...

As a blogger I am a member of several websites that graciously allow me to try out their new products in return for the possibility of a post on a new product. (Let me assure you, I don't promote it if I don't think it deserves it!) This one deserves it...

Kids are messy. Anyone with kids knows that firsthand. My oldest projectile vomited baby formula all over our couch when he was a week old and I've been cleaning up messes ever since. Seriously. Bugaboo, my middle kiddo, is particularly messy. I truly believe that dirt is magnetically attracted to him. Anyway, Purex came out with a new laundry detergent with Zout added and I decided that Bugaboo would be the one to test just how good it really was. I threw a pair of jeans that had fallen into a muddy creek straight into the washing machine without pretreating. The only stains that remained were ones that were already there. I might buy stock in this stuff...

(Oh, and just so you all know, I'm hoping to giveaway a coupon or two for free bottles of this stuff in the near future so you can try it out for yourself! Keep checking back!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Covered Box, Take 2

Have you ever woken up the morning after making a craft and realized that you didn't really love it? Yeah, that's what happened with my covered box. I'm not in love with the end result. So, this morning after Build and Grow with the boys, I took a quick trip to the garden department. NOW I love the end result! The Easter eggs will find a new home in something soon, but for now I definitely like this version much better! What do you think? Which did you like better?

Pink Hippo Party

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Covered Box

The weather in South Carolina has been amazing lately. That's great for exercise and fresh air, but not good for crafting. My kiddos have been outside from sunup to sundown and by default, so have I. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving it, but it would be nice to have a chance to get some work done! Mistress Monstress isn't in school yet either, so I can't even work when the kids are gone during the day so I don't have any time to get anything done! Oh well, I'm sure that before I know it the hot days of summer will be here and I'll get a ton of crafting done. :) Anyway, moving on...

This thing has been kicking around my craft room for months. Mistress Monstress got a set of wooden food in it at Christmas and although I wasn't sure what on earth to do with it, I couldn't bring myself to throw it away either.
Starting with osnaberg, I cut a piece (well actually I just tore it) several inches larger than my box.
Make cuts on each side from the edge of the fabric to the corner of the box. Starting on the side with the longer strip, fold up, glue, and manipulate the fabric until you have the first side covered. The repeat the process on the OPPOSITE side.
I folded and tucked until it was relatively neat.
Now you have the two shorter sides left. These two are easy, just pull them up and glue them down.
Add a ribbon to jazz it up a bit. Find the center of your ribbon and attach it with a tiny bit of hot glue at the back, then bring it around and tie in a bow.
These eggs are one of my treasures. I made them when I was a little girl with my Nana. Each of the little flowers was cut from a paper napkin, then decoupaged on and covered with glitter. I can still remember vividly sitting at her kitchen table as she patiently worked with me to create each one. Nana had them out every Easter, usually in a silver bowl with Easter Grass. When she died, they were one of the first things I asked for and I have made sure they come out every spring. They remind me of her. I miss her. Now they have a new home in the Easter centerpiece!
And Voila! One new Easter Centerpiece using one of my favorite mementos. After Easter season has passed, I plan to find some small terra cotta pots and use this as a little herb planter in my kitchen. I'll make sure to put up a post after it has been transformed!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bye-Bye Binky Mermaid

Mistress Monstress turned two and a half, and per tradition in our home it was time to say 'bye-bye' to the beloved binkies. I asked MM what she wanted as a reward for relinquishing one of her favorite things, and she replied that she wanted a purple mermaid. Luckily Bit of Whimsy Dolls has a pattern for a MerMae doll, and I set to work creating a mermaid for my darling daughter.

First off, purple. I found a purple print in the value bin (read: cheap) at Hancock Fabrics and got 1/3 of a yard. Didn't even spend $1 and I have a ton leftover! The purple felt for her hair I already had, as well as the peachy kona cotton for the body and face. After getting her cut out though, I felt she was missing something, so I bought 1/3 of a yard of purple chiffon to add a little shimmer to this bathing beauty. (And, the Good Lord willing, I will never again have to work with that slippery stuff.) I also had to spend about $6 on yarn for her hair, and with what I have leftover I can make 9380 more mermaids. Or a purple and white sweater if I ever learn to knit.
So here she is!
She also got a special necklace. Look familiar? Yup, the ring of a binky! Mistress Monstress tried to put it in her mouth, and was a little confused by this...
She also got a name.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fixing a Favorite

I would be willing to bet that if I polled 100 individual parents of children under age five right now, 98 of them would tell me that their child owns a favorite article of clothing. You know it's a favorite because they beg to wear it when it's dirty, (if you were able to get it off of them to begin with) and it's never known the inside of a drawer because as soon as it comes out of the dryer the child wears it again. In our family my middle son has a favorite pair of socks. He got the blue hospital issue socks when he had his tonsils out a couple of years ago and he wears them as much as possible. My oldest son, (being past the age of five and way too mature for such silliness) doesn't have anything that would qualify as a favorite, but our daughter has an outfit that falls into the category with flourish.

Mistress Monstress 'frow-uped' all over herself at the happiest place on earth. That's right, at the end of the firework spectacular by Cinderella's Castle in the middle of a huge crowd of people, she brought out her dinner for all to see. And, she thoughtfully did it all over her clothes. Being November and night time, we needed another outfit and since I (mistakenly) thought we were past the age of extra clothes and didn't have anything with us. So, my husband ran to get her something new and overpriced to wear while I dashed to the bathroom to clean her up the best I could with nothing but wipes. The resulting outfit was one that quickly became a favorite and was worn as much as possible for the entire winter. It was an appropriate choice for a two year old girl's favorite because it met a multitude of girly criteria:

1. It was purple.
2. It had ruffles. Lots and lots of ruffles.
3. It had shiny purple hearts on the leggings, and most importantly...
4. It incorporated not one, not two, but three of the Disney Princesses on one shirt front.

Unfortunately, as winter draws to a close, the most important of Mommy criteria was no longer being met; it was getting way too small. The sleeves missed her wrists by a good inch, the leggings missed her ankles by several inches, and the ruffly shirt that was meant to go past her little diaper butt no longer met it's mark. In short (sorry, couldn't resist) it needed to go to the goodwill pile. Or did it? Figuring I had nothing to lose I decided to see what I could do to extend the life of Mistress Monstress's favorite princess outfit. This is something that could be done for any little girl to just about any shirt too!

The original shirt. Adorable, I know, but too small! I kept the leggings as is, since short leggings just look like capris.
I started by painstakingly removing every bit of ruffle and trim from the bottom and saved them all for later. They do come in handy!
Next I took the sleeves from long to short. I measured up from the cuff instead of the shoulder, that way I got a better measurement and the right angle on the sleeve for the new cuff. Make sure to leave enough for a new hem!
The new top for a dress!
I was lucky enough to find purple knit that was nearly perfect to match the existing top. I cut a rectangle that was twice the distance around the bottom of the top of the shirt, did a gathering stitch along the edge, and pulled the thread to gather the edge. Make sure to divide the skirt into fourths before you gather.
Divide the top into four equal parts, and adjust your gathers to make the skirt fit. Pin all the way around and stitch in place. Remove gathering threads if necessary.
Next, I attached the purple ribbon back to the waist of the dress.
Remember those ruffles? I reattached them to the bottom of the dress.
All that was left was a new hem in the sleeves, I used a twin needle and hemmed them about 3/4 of an inch.
And here you go! By purchasing $3 worth of purple knit, I got another season out of Mistress Monstress's favorite outfit. She was SO excited and begged to put it on right away, so I'll call this one a success!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Have you Been up to?

Like I said, it's been a crazy week! I had a few things that I had to get done and I thought I would share them with ya'll...

First off, a baby gift! Yay! Who doesn't love new babies? I decided to do a little bit of everything for a special baby boy who will arrive soon, including a bib, 2 burp cloths, and a hooded towel. I also did a little boy doll by leaving the pigtails off a girl doll pattern.
I also made two little tooth pillows for a friend. I especially love the girly one!
What have you been working on?