Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fireplace Before and After

Here is a picture of our family room from the seller's photos.  Sorry, it's the only one I have that shows it before all the painting I did.

Shortly after we moved in, one of the first things I did was paint the fireplace mantel white.  I just didn't like that oak color, and you couldn't see the beautiful details at all.  I had been in love with white mantels for a long time, so I was pretty excited to do it!  I also painted the left and right side walls a soft green color.

Originally, I left the wall above the fireplace that khaki color - it looked pretty good, I thought.
Here is a photo taken around Easter after I painted the mantel.
Sorry, the wall color looks a little weird in this pic, but it's the same as above.   

See all the cute detail in the mantel?

Recently I decided with the soft green walls, and dark brown furniture that the fireplace wall needed a punch of color.  This room connects with the dining area and kitchen, and I have these gorgeous rugs I bought at Pier 1 that have all the colors I want.

There is brown, the green of my walls, beige, mustard and a warm rusty red color.
I also bought these dried peppers in Mexico that bring that punch of rusty red in. They are HUGE - but I love them! haha

So here is my new bright fireplace wall:

It looks pretty orange in the picture, but trust me, it's not.  It's more of a brownish color really.  I love it!  Every time I look over at that wall, it just looks so warm and yummy. hahaha(maybe cozy is a better word).

Here is a side-by-side for you to compare:

What do you think?  Seriously - it looks so much better in person. The only bad thing is, it totally clashes with my Valentine Decorations!

The next thing I need to work on is window treatments - I hate bare windows!
UPDATE:  Here is an after after picture....  :)
We added shelves!!  You can read the full post HERE.

Well, thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

DIY Touch and Feel Book

(I made some cuter covers - see end of post) haha :)

I was looking through my filing cabinet the other day, and found this touch and feel book that I had made for my boys when they were little.  I also used these for a church lesson about hands - the kids loved them!  I uploaded all the pages, colored them, printed them out, and made a new one for my daughter.

I just made them on regular cardstock, and if you want them to be more durable, you could laminate the pages before you glue the extras on.

Here are the pages:

feather, and pipe cleaners,

sandpaper, and a shell,

some batting, and my daughter's handprints. (I used craft paint)

I just used hot glue to attach everything - punched holes and added rings.
I am sure there are more cute things you could add - a piece of terrycloth, satin or fur, or small rocks (if your kids are older and wouldn't choke).

You can download the pdf file here.  There are 2 to a page, the top one is colored, and the bottom is black and white, so your kids or class can color it themselves! 

Hope you like them!

Edit: After I posted this - I was thinking how much cuter I could have made these books! Really? Plain white pages? That is sooo not me! Oh-well, you guys go out there and make these cuter, okay?

Okay, I couldn't stand it - Here is a little nicer cover page.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Simple Valentine Decorations

As I was putting up my Valentine's Day decorations, I realized that my hurricane jars are missing. I bought two of them last year on sale, packed them away when we moved, and now they're gone.  I am so frustrated!  I've gone through every. single. box.  Nowhere to be found!!  I love to put a big candle in the middle of the jar and then pour candy hearts around it.  Oh-well.  :(  Here are some more simple ways to decorate for Valentine's Day:

I love this one, because it's so pretty, but super inexpensive.  In fact, I got the entire thing at the dollar store!
Vase, artificial roses, and Red Hots.

Topiary.  I bought this gorgeous flower hanging ball at Michael's last year, and cut off the ribbon.  Then I painted a dowel red, and poked it through the middle. You could probably make your own with a styrofoam ball and artificial flowers.

Pillows.  I made these little pillows a couple weeks ago.  You can see the post HERE.

These are some gorgeous pillows my sister-in-law made.  I will post more details soon.  (Wow, I really shouldn't put the picture right next to the ones I made - hers look a million times better!)

I bought a bunch of these paint cans at a craft store, tied ribbons on the top, and put vinyl around the outside.  This one says "Kiss Me".  Sorry, it's hard to see - I am not very good with my pictures, yet.

Glass blocks - I love these, they make them so much more user-friendly now.  The new ones have wide slots in them that you can fill with things.  Rose petals would have been super pretty!!
I love printables! I got this frame at the thrift store, painted it black, and printed out the words on my computer. I can't find where I got this one - it was last year, but there are some stinkin' cute printables out there!  I might have to get more, and then change them out. Haha :)
(Oh, and that little jar is from the Taipan Trading Company, in Utah.)

Edit: Oh I just ran across that printable - it's from this site.
Candles with ribbon, and a glass from the dollar store filled with little styrofoam balls.  The glass has words all over it, it's really kind of cute.  The heart picks are also from the dollar store.
Well, that's pretty much it - I have a couple other projects I'm working on that I will post another time, and maybe I'll miraculously find my hurricane jars. Ha!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Friday, January 20, 2012

Burlap Wreath

My wreath is DONE! Yay Yay! I've been working on this burlap wreath for a couple weeks now, on and off.  It didn't really take that much time, I just tend to skip from project to project. :)

This really was so easy it's not even funny! It does take awhile though, and it's extremely messy! (I never knew burlap could shed so much.)

I bought a couple yards of burlap and a wreath frame.  I cut the burlap into strips that measure 12 inches by 1 inch.

Then, just tie them once (not like a knot).  I alternated tying on individual rows or sometimes around 2 rows at once. Just bunch them all together as you go so it's nice and thick.

There you go - it's really big and full, too.  My mirror measures about 40 inches square, and it fills up the middle perfectly. I love it - it was so worth it!


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Goodie Boxes

I was looking through my card boxes the other day, and I came across these cute little goodie boxes I made a few years ago, so I thought I would share them with you.

The first one is a "milk carton" box, that I stamped on, and added ribbons to.  Fill these with treats, and you have cute, homemade Valentines.
When I gave these out for class treats, I actually just folded the template in the middle, so they were shorter. (More like the short ones they give out for lunches.)  You fold it all up, punch a hole in the top and close it with ribbons. 

Super easy! And you can do any color, for any reason!

The next one is a little purse card, that I actually made for my mom's birthday, but I thought it would be cute for Valentine's Day, too.

Aren't they cute?? They are the perfect size for a pack of gum or a flat candy bar. (Long ones like Snickers don't fit - bummer!)

I attached the flaps closed with a little magnet.  It makes me think of a real purse. I love purses! :)

Then it folds down, so you can write a little message inside.

These are actually pretty easy to make, just hard to describe.

Download the template, cut out your purse color (mine was brown) and score it where the lines are. I would have just listed the measurements, but they were really odd, so I just traced where I folded.

Fold it into a box, and you will probably see how it will come together. There will be a complete box, and then an extra flap - that flap will point up. (you fold it down to see the inside of the "card".)

Cut out a circle in patterned paper the same width as the purse, and glue it to where your top will be, then glue the back of the circle down as well. (Try out your circle before you glue to make sure it fits.)

Attach a little strip of ribbon with brads for the handle.  Cut a little square of paper for the message and glue it on the front.  Fold the flap up and attach magnet pieces.

Slide your candy inside - and there you go!

Like I said - hard to describe. Anyway, if you want, you can download my horrible hand-made templates here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Valentine Pillows

I love decorating my house for the holidays, and I know it's not quite time for Valentine's Day, but I saw some painted pillows the other day, and I reaaalllly wanted to try making one. (I LOVE that I have a 'blog excuse' now to make crafts. :D haha)

Anyway, here is how they turned out:

Heart-Shaped Pillow
The first one was really simple - well except for the fact that I am horrible at sewing! (Don't look too close).
I got some beautiful red chenille on sale, and it was still $10 a yard, so I got 1/2 yard and was able to make 2 heart-shaped pillows.  Not bad I think. :)
 So, you turn your fabric right side in, and I needed a heart to trace, so I used this heart plate from the Target $1 bin.

I just traced around my heart shape, pinned it and sewed it up. And in my excitement - I forgot to leave a spot open to fill with stuffing, and had to unpick some stitches! hahaha (Don't be jealous of my amazing sewing skills).

Anyway, just trim the edges, turn right side out, stuff with batting and stitch up the opening!  Super easy!

Painted Pillow
This next one is my favorite - I think it turned out so pretty.  Everyone that sees it wonders if it's got vinyl on it, but it's paint.

Pillow case or white fabric
Americana Fabric Painting Medium
Americana Paint (I used Poodleskirt Pink and Napa Red)
wax paper (to protect back of fabric from paint)

I bought some white muslin that was really cheap, but I'm sure you could use a pillow cover from the dollar store or even just a plain pillowcase.

My pillow measures 18"x12", that's just the size I decided to make. 

I used my Silhouette to cut out some contact paper that I used as a stencil.  If you don't have a Silhouette, you could print your lettering onto freezer paper and use that instead. (Basically, you just cut out your lettering with an X-ACTO knife, and iron it to your material shiny side down.)

The font I used is SNF Infinity Bold, and I just enlarged it so that all the words wouldn't fit on my pillow at once.  Does that make sense?  I wanted it to look like they were running off  the fabric.
 This stencil looks crooked, because I cut the words separately, but I used a yardstick to make sure they were all even. (pretty much). :D

NOTE: Make sure you put some wax paper or something in between your layers, because it will totally bleed through!
Follow the directions on your fabric paint.  I used Americana Fabric Painting Medium, and I love it because I can mix it with any of my other paint colors. Which is nice, because I have a bazillion of those little paint bottles.  I think you mix 2 parts paint to 1 part medium, and you only need a tiny bit.  (I think I used a 1/4 tsp to measure it out).

Make sure your edges are sealed down really well, so you don't bleed out of the lines.
Let it dry.  I'm impatient with drying time, but luckily it dried really fast! :)

I did one row at a time, so I could see where I wanted my words, and some might overlap.  I didn't really even measure the rows, I'm sure they're horribly spaced, but I wanted it to look kind of random and hand-drawn.  Uh-huh. yep. I wanted it that way! ;P

Well, there you go - hope you like them!  I have another pillow I'm working on that I will show you soon. :D

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Healthy Ice Cream

Okay, seriously - Is it already time to start eating healthy again?? I ate soooo bad over the holidays, and the one thing I ate a lot of was ice cream! So when I started thinking about getting back to eating a healthier diet - I remembered this recipe. I originally got this from Bill Phillips' Eating For Life. (An amazing book for healthy recipes!)

Anyway, I used to make this "fake" ice cream all the time, but I had forgotten about it until recently. It really does taste just like ice cream!

The secret ingredient is: frozen bananas! That's it! It's great because whenever you're bananas start to get a little over-ripe and you don't think you'll eat them - peel them and stick them in the freezer to use as ice cream later.

1/2 c skim milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (optional, but hello? added protein!)
2 c frozen banana slices (about 2 medium bananas)

4 tsp sugar-free chocolate syrup
4 TBS fat-free whipped topping
2 tsp chopped nuts

Pour skim milk into blender. Add protein powder and blend on high speed for about 15 seconds.
Add frozen bananas and blend until smooth.

Serves 2

Note: Immediately after blending, this resembles more of a soft-serve ice cream. However, if you want to make it ahead of time and put it back in the freezer, it will firm up a bit more like regular ice cream.

Chunky Monkey Variation:

You can add all kinds of fruit and different things to this 'Healthy Ice Cream' recipe (see below) - but one of my favorites is the Chunky Monkey version.

1/4 c skim milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (gotta add that protein in) haha :)
1 peeled and frozen bananas
1 TBS peanut butter
2 TBS chopped walnuts
1 TBS mini chocolate chips

I mix this all together and then separate it into 2 servings - those calories add up!!  Then, I put them in the freezer and pull it out when I'm really craving something sweet.

Other Variations:
Strawberry Banana - Add frozen strawberries (I tried replacing the bananas with strawberries and it didn't turn out very well for me, so I just add them in with the bananas)

Tropical Blizzard - Add coconut and pecans

Chocolate Banana - Add sugar-free chocolate syrup - or - chocolate protein powder! (am I selling you the protein powder idea, yet?)

Well, I'm sure you get the idea.... :D
Get out there and experiment! (and let me know what you come up with)

PS - I posted a copy of this recipe over on my food blog girls and their meals - there are some great recipes over there - go check it out!


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