Archive for the ‘Crafty Ideas’ Category

Black Table

You’d be surprised how hard it is to find a black dining table. I mean, a¬† SOLID black dining table. Most of the tables at Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel and the like feature black tables but they are distressed. No offense to the country-style-lovin’ folk, but I have enough stress in my life…I don’t need to add to it with rough edges on my black furniture.

In all seriousness, I really dislike that style of paint. I can’t understand why anyone would go to the trouble of painting wood furniture with a luscious coat of black paint and then RUB IT ALL OFF! And that is why we turned to Mr. Steve at Schueler’s to create us a table just to our liking. We had searched high and low on the internets for a solid black table to no avail. One spring day, we had a sitter (thanks, mom!) and made the trek to Janesville to meet with Steve. Such an easy-going guy, he answered all our questions during our hour and a half visit and gave us some advice. A few months and some mailed paint samples later, we had this sitting in our kitchen…

Now this new table had been on our “to-do” list since…well, since we got married, I guess. One of those things that takes a backseat once you have children. I’m so glad we took the plunge and met with Steve to get the ball rolling. I love eating at our new table. As much as I love the table (he got the turned legs exactly like the picture we showed him), I’m really digging the X-back chairs. I love how our dining area finally flows together with our Ballard Designs chandelier and our laminate wood floors. I think it’s safe to say we are officially finished with the kitchen…well, that is unless someone wants to build me a solid back wine cabinet hutch! ūüėČ

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I remember making these candy cane reindeer when I was young, so I’m not sure where the original idea came from. The “reinbeer” picture on pinterest reminded me of these little guys and I knew S would have a blast making them. I finally got a chance to hit up Hobby Lobby and bought all the supplies. All you need are some candy canes, red pom poms for the noses, googly eyes, brown pipe cleaners,¬†scissors¬†and some glue (I just used regular ol’ Elmers).

There really aren’t specific instructions, just cut the pipe cleaners so they are long enough to twist around once for the main antler piece and then snip two smaller pieces to wrap around the tips for the full antler effect. Then glue on the googly eyes and pom pom nose. Let them dry and you’ll soon have more than eight tiny reindeer to help you celebrate the holidays.

We are planning to have S take these to school to give to her friends for a cute holiday treat!

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Easy Fall DIY

Does this crisp, cool air make you eager to get your “fall” on and do some decorating?¬† Are you a little pressed for time? Say perhaps you have kids running afoot, supper to get on the table, mounds and mounds of laundry to fold? Sound a little like you? Well, I’ve got possibly the easiest solution for your fall DIY craft. Sure to satisfy any Martha Stewart decorating cravings you may have been experiencing. Maybe not pinterest-worthy¬†(what? not heard of pinterest? omg…you are missing out. but beware…it’s more addicting than chocolate cake), but enough to add that special touch to your front porch.

All you need is…are you ready? A pumpkin. A witch’s hat. Thumbtacks.

The directions are even better: Place witch’s hat on top of pumpkin. Secure with thumbtacks. Viola! (the frenchy sound. not the instrument). So easy, I even made two little pumpkin witches!

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Snazzy Snowmen

As I glance down at the archives on my blog, I can’t believe this is only my third post of December. Well, actually I CAN believe it, considering that December has been filled with its usual whirlwind of activities. Then pile on working full time, holiday get togethers, snow storms that interfere with my last minute gift shopping, a sick toddler, a holiday concert and you get…well, a busy momma with not much time to blog.

I wanted to post these cute snowmen cookies that I made today with S. I took the easy way out and used the Pillsbury ready-made dough and frosting in a tub. Any less mess I can make in my kitchen this time of year, the better. Who has time to wash dishes??

All you need for this recipe is:

  • premade sugar cookie dough
  • white frosting
  • mini M&Ms (pick out the brown ones…eat the rest)
  • licorice (I used the pull & peel Twizzlers and snipped with a kitchen schears for the earmuff band and mouth)
  • candy orange slices (cut into little triangles for the nose)
  • lifesavers (I used the gummy kind)
  • ÔĽŅ

Bake and frost the cookies and decorate the snowman face. Easy and fun!

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Walk All Over Me

Well, we finally did it. After five years of home-ownership, we finally did what we said we were going to do…GET NEW KITCHEN FLOORS. Whoo-hooo! As you can tell, I’m a teensy bit excited. You see, I’ve been living with WHITE VINYL flooring for way too long. Any person that’s ever mopped a floor knows how ridiculous white floors are. They show every speck of dirt. And with a 100 pound dog and a two-year old running around, it got rather messy. All the time. And I was tired of mopping every other day. Ok, week. Geesh, I’m busy, ok?

We finally had the cash and the time (well, not really, but we squeezed it in) and took the plunge. We visited a few flooring stores and couldn’t find anything we really liked. Trying to find flooring that goes with trim and cabinet colors that you don’t really like is a rather challenging feat¬†(if only the builders had decided to go with white trim instead of white floors, then I would have been a happy camper. Oh well.). We didn’t want it to be matchy-matchy and be washed out with honey oak all over the place. J and I really like dark wood tones, but our walls are a raspberry red, so we couldn’t go with something too dark either. I found a sample of a nice blend of the two and brought it home. We moved the little 12×12 inch sample around the house, examining it in all different lights and times of day. And we knew we had a winner! S had a lot of fun with this part of the selection process. At one point, we had about 8 different samples around the house and she would jump from one to the other and have a blast. So much fun to be a kid!

Our install was this week. Since we went with laminate, I figured there wouldn’t be much mess because all you do is snap it together, right? Um, not really. There was notching of our existing trim, cutting quarter-round and all kinds of other dust-producing activity going on in my house. The workers did most of the heavy-duty stuff in the garage, but I was still left with a fine layer of dust to clean up. Oh well, they also left some pretty amazing flooring for me to look at, too. And for that, I am happy.

All the laminate ‘getting acclimated’ and waiting for install.

Getting started. It only took them a day and a half to complete everything.

Half bath prepped. S was rather concerned that the potty was all gone. Not that she really cares about the potty any other time, except when it’s missing!

All done! Now we just need our new table and our mini makeover will be complete!

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I have to admit, I didn’t jump on the ‘early fall decorating’ bandwagon this year. I saw my neighbors put up their pumpkins and cornstalks in September¬†and I just admired quietly from my car as I drove by. I didn’t rush home and pull out our fall boxes from the basement. All I did was fix our wreath. But then the calendar turned from September to October and the need for orange and red around my house took over. I even had some help this year from Miss S. She had a blast going through the boxes and pulling out all the pumpkins. Then she went outside and helped Daddy with the outdoor display.




And after our house looked a little more festive, it was time for our annual apple picking and pie baking fest.  S had a blast picking apples this year.

I loved this sign with the apple that said “How Tall This Fall?” S was just under 3 this year.

And then it was pie time. We made 8 pies this year, which was actually kind of nice compared to last year’s 18!

And some cute little pies for you know who!

Happy Fall, Y’all!

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Wreath Re-Do

I gave my fall berry wreath a second chance (everyone deserves one, right?) this weekend.¬† The one I bought in Door County a few years ago was showing its age and was in need of some sprucing up. Plus, I was eager to check off SOMETHING from my¬†100 Things list.¬†I found some berry sprigs 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby. I wasn’t sure how many I would need since I’d never re-berried a wreath before so I cleaned them out of their supply. I ended up buying 16 sprigs. I pulled out all the old sprigs (would recommend using gloves next time) and was left with the empty grapevine wreath.¬† Next, I laid out the sprigs on top of the wreath to make sure I would have enough to cover it entirely. When I decided that 16 sprigs would cut it, I went to town inserting the wire stems though the branches of the wreath.

I really liked that these stems had tiny fabric leaves. It helped to fill in¬†some of the bare spots. I ended up intertwining some berries from other stems as I went along so that they would lie flat. Seemed a good way to secure everything, too, since I didn’t use hot glue.

Our little Cindy Lou Who¬†proudly displayed mommy’s handiwork…please excuse the bed head hair. I know she’ll be so happy with me for displaying photos like these on the internet when she’s about, oh, 11. I figure I have a few years to prepare myself.

And here is the final product, proudly welcoming fall on our front door. I’m excited to get the rest of our decorations up, but for now, we’ll just make do with the wreath.

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You Light Up My Life

I bet you thought this post was going to contain a bunch of awww-inducing¬†photos of little Miss S charming the pants off of everyone…well, not exactly. You see, J and I have sort of neglected some updates to our house ever since she came along. It just happens when you have a child. Priorities shift (and not to mention free time is almost non-existent). But now that she’s a bit older, we have some plans to tackle those big things that haven’t gotten much attention in a while. Like, for example, our dining area in our kitchen. More specifically the LIGHT FIXTURE in there. Ugh. It came with the house and it was gold. Now, I have nothing against gold fixtures, but it really wasn’t jiving¬†with the Frenchy bistro theme we envisioned for that space. A few weeks ago, I got a Ballard Designs catalog in the mail with a 15% off coupon. I was surprised since there usually aren’t a ton of coupons put out by Ballard. So, I took a peek through the catalog and of course, noticed the perfect BLACK chandelier that was ON SALE. Being so busy, I didn’t mention anything to J. A few days later I noticed he was perusing the magazine and guess what he pointed out to me? Well, that pretty much sealed the deal. I also shopped through ebates¬†and got 6% cash back. Can’t get much sweeter than that.¬†A few days later, it was waiting on our porch when I came home from work¬†and J hung it up this weekend. Here is the old fugly one that we put up with for way too long…

 And the new one!

The best shot I could get of the rest of the room (while not exposing the um, super clean and organized¬†kitchen table below)…

 Ok, I lied. There is ONE cute pic of S in this post.

It is so wonderful to see it hanging in the room when I walk downstairs. I breathe a happy little contented sigh every time I look at it. And there is much more to come for that room…new floors and a new kitchen table are in the works…well, when we have time to pick them out, of course!

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I don’t claim to be a “master gardener” (a title that my wonderful mother very deservingly holds), but I do enjoy attempting to make my yard look pretty during the summer months with some potted flowers. Seems many of our neighbors share this feeling as well and¬†are already displaying hanging baskets and planting flowers around the mailbox. So as not to be outdone, I headed to the greenhouse Home Depot (hey, they had $0.88 geraniums, people!) and spent a long time gazing at all the plants and plotting color combinations and hemming and hawing threw a bunch of flowers and a bag of potting soil in my cart (can you guess who I was shopping with??) and rushed them up to the register before my shopping companion decided to massacre any remaining flower buds on the plants. I’m starting to think that letting her pick dandelions was a bad idea. Now she thinks ANY flower needs to be picked. “No, no, momma’s flowers” is a newly repeated mantra at our house!

J was a wonderful hubby and occupied the munchkin last¬†Saturday morning¬†so I could get a few moments of peace to plant my flowers. I got to sip my coffee and use my new gardening bag that was a present from my mother-in-law for Mother’s Day…perfect timing! My flowers are just in their infancy stage here, but I’ll post updates throughout the summer as they blossom!

Front porch planters (I found the pole inserts at yardiac.com). I have two of these on either side of the front door. This spot is very shaded, so I planted impatiens (pink, white and fuschia) and dusty miller.

I wanted some kind of traily/hangy vine to cover up the front/sides of the top basket, so I planted this green plant (checking later to find out what it’s called, I can’t remember right now)

More impatiens in the front bed. These mound up beautifully as the summer goes on!

My blue planters on the deck. I have two of these courtesy of my wonderful mom and I LOVE them. I think everyone should have a blue pot. Pretty much any color flower looks good in a blue pot…yellow, fuschia, white…this year I did a spike, white bacopa¬†(trails so pretty over the side), asparagus fern, FUSCHIA geraniums (I’m so in love with this color this summer!) and a dusty miller. Can’t wait to see this pot fill out.

Quite possibly one of my favorite finds. This¬†√©tag√®re was about $10 on clearance at Bed, Bath & Beyond a few years ago. It was originally GREEN, but I spray-painted it BLACK and I love it! The geraniums on this stand have quite a story…one of them is at least 8 years old! I have been overwintering these little pots ever since I planted them back in our old college apartment. Last year, I had to replace one and this year I replaced two, but I know from the size of the stems that the one of the bottom is still kicking after 8 years! How’s that for recycling?

And just for fun, S’s little marigolds that we planted from seeds HERE have all sprouted…

She thought it was pretty fun that mommy was out taking pictures early this morning and decided to eat her strawberry on the deck in her pjs…cause that’s how she rolls…

Strawberries are S’s new favorite thing to eat. Come to think of it, I saw some strawberry plants at Home Depot as I was whizzing through…maybe we’ll start a garden next!

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So, I thought getting my coupons organized in a binder was a pretty good step in the ‘saving money’ direction…but then I realized I was missing out on some great deals by simply cutting the coupons I would use and ditching the rest. You see, I wasn’t aware of the true value of all those little paper squares. Once I realized that you could use certain coupons to get FREE things, I started hanging on to those coupons¬†that remain after¬†my first go-around with the scissors.

My next task was figuring out a good way to organize the coupons that didn’t make it into my binder so they would be easily accessible once I realized that I DID need them. I found this cute accordion¬†file and matching folders¬†at Hobby Lobby. ¬†Here’s how I organize them:

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