Crafts on the Cheap

This week has been a little chaotic, with neurologist appointments, a husband out of town for business, frantically trying to meet my deadline on the playhouse and many meetings at school. Oh, and getting Avery and Tucker (the dog) up ready and out of the house every morning. Whew! Never mind I was without my laptop since I let my husband take it on his trip. Needless to say, not much crafting happened. And actually, the only reason I'm even able to blog right now is that Avery is so worn out from the week that she fell back asleep for a nap at 10 am instead of her usual 2:30. Anyway, the result of all of that is a project I completed a while back but never got around to writing about. It's simple and super cheap. Enjoy!

Part of my DIY nature is my excitement over a great deal. I see things I love, and make them rather than pay a fortune for them. I'm not a thifter or a garage saler, and I've never been to a consignment sale, as I'm not really into used things, but even shopping retail I try to make my dollar go as far as it can. This is especially important when it cmes to things I don't really need.

So this summer I was at one of my favorites, the Dollar Tree. They've really upped the quality of their merchandise over the years, which is important to me. What goodis a deal if it falls apart? On this trip I bought a pack of four cork tiles and a package of scrapbooking embellishment.

1. I started by using masking tape to make the four tiles one.

2. Some scrap ribbon hot glued in a criss cross pattern will create a French memo board. You often see these made of fabric, but I like it being on the cork so I have the option of tucking or tacking things to the board. I taped the ribbon to the front to keep it in place as I flipped it over to glue it in place.

3. Two long piece of ribbon and four shorter ones create a nice series of intersections to hold whatever.

4. A few Dollar Tree embellishments and brads from my stash add some interest.

And here's the finished project hanging in my office/craft space/entrance to the playroom. I have a hutch on my desk meant to house a computer beneath it, but I don't need a computer in there often, and when I do I can take my laptop in there, so a little board to tack up ideas is mch more practical for me. And the cost? $2.


I Wish I Could Do That

By now you know about my quest to become (and stay) more organized. I'm getting there. Right now I have a few routines going that I can mostly stick t0, and the state of the house is...okay. I could have it ready for company in less than an hour, which for me is pretty good. Avery's playroom is probably the room I dislike the most now. It was added on sometime in the late 50s or early 60s, so it has brick walls and a paneled ceiling and commercial grade carpet over concrete floors. There are three flourescent lights that take eons to come on, and that's it for lighting. The worst part is that it's about 20' x 6'....very awkward dimensions. Nevertheless, I really want to do a little something to it to both make it look nicer and help with my mission of becoming more balanced. This is what I have in mind:

I truly LOVE this arrangement. The only thing I would do differently is to put a chest where they have the bench, and only because I already have a bench in the room that can't move because the matching shelf is Mighty Puttied to the wall. (It sat in the middle of the floor for two years while we figured out how to hang it on a studdless wall.) I found this organized bliss at Tip Junkie, who found it at I'm an Organizing Junkie who found it at Organize Magazine. How's that for trying to give proper credit!

And for something else I wish I could do...

In case you can't tell by my terrible photograph (I literally had ab0ut 2 seconds of battery left), that's a Rocket from Little Einsteins hat made from balloons. The Chick Fil A in my town has this guy come out every Monday night for their kids night, and Avery asks to go every Monday (seriously, how does she know it's Monday??). So far she's gotten a rose, an Ariel, a Sleeping Beauty hat...and their may be some others I've forgotten about. This, however, was by far the coolest. He didn't know what Rocket looked like, so he pulled up the site on his blackberry and made this by that tiny picture. And he wrapped the clear balloon around his finger while he blew it up to make it coil like that. I must learn how to do this!!

The last thing I need to learn to do (for now, anyway) is to use PhotoShop. I have about twenty days left in my free trial, and I still have Christmas cards to make! I had a lot of frustrating fun making all my blog stuff. Did you see the sidebar titles? Those are my favorites! I have a few more ideas, but the playhouse deadline is looming, so I don't know how many of them will be executed before the trial runs out.

And with that, I must stop typing and start doing...


This is too easy...

A couple of weeks ago my husband needed a gift for a coworker who is having a baby girl soon. I found a really cute outfit, but really wanted to find something to match the baby's room, which she is doing in cupcakes. How wonderful is that--cupcakes! Since I can't drive (much), however, I was a little limited in where I could shop. So what's a crafty girl to do? I just made something.

The frame was $1 at Michael's, the paint was in my stash, and the ribbon also made a cute hairbow for the peanut. I couldn't find any chipboard or sticker cupcakes (I thought that would be an easy find. Hmp), but I made one easily enough using patterned paper and a brad for the cherry. And hot glue. Lots of hot glue. Avery wants one for her playhouse to house a picture of her and her cousin Kaylee. Another day, perhaps.
But you have to see the room this little frame will hopefully sit in. I'm not sure if it's worthy, though, as this nursery is quite possibly the cutest thing I've ever seen. Tianna is very creative, obviously! See it here.
On another note, I prying myself away from my blog, as well as all the ones I read, for the rest of the week. I'm presenting at a writing conference on Saturday on...what else?....blogging! My personal blog is pretty new, but I've used them in my classroom for awhile now. Anyway, I'm nowhere near prepared for my demo and have been doing everything in my power to put it off. Now time is running out! On top of that this is Homecoming week at school, and I always underestimate the amount of time my responsibilities in that require. I'm so glad I'm off Monday, even if it is because of a doctor's appointment.


Altered Office Suplies

Seen one of these before? A plain Jane set of rolling plastic office drawers (do they have another name?). This set is one I've had since college, acquired back when I thought I might actually use all of my scrapbooking supplies for scrapbooking. As I've been trying to get my office/craft area decluttered and pretty, this plastic thing in the middle of the room has bothered me more and more. Last weekend I'd had enough and decided to bring out the Modge Podge.

Suprisingly, I'd never actually owned Modge Podge before, and really had never seen the big deal about decoupage, but the main thing is that it is glue that dries without being sticky.

To begin the transformation I started with four different 12" x 12" papers (I loooove paper!). I chose three black and white graphics and a green that matches the walls. I wanted the diamond graphic to have more black than white, so I coloed in some of the design with a marker. It was an easy way to get the look I was after. Find an eager toddler to help you cut the paper to size. I have no idea what size I made these; I simply placed the paper on the drawer and made a mark where I needed the cut. (And don't worry: I helped her work the cutter, so no little fingers were at risk.)

Next cover one of the drawers with a think coat of Modge Podge. Get it into all of the crevices, and don't worry about getting too much--it dries clear.

Then place one of your pre-cut papers onto the drawer front. Push it up inside the plastic lip and press down firmly. If your drawer has a indentation like mine you might consider cutting the paper a little wide to compensate. It didn't occur to me until after the fact.

Finish by covering the whole front with an ample amount of the Modge Podge to seal and protect it. Pay special attention to the edges, as you want to be certain they don't lift.

I added some black grosgrain ribbon to the handles to finish everything off. Not including drying time, the whole project took about 40 minutes. It fits into my decor much better now, and I really like the look. What have you decoupaged lately? I have 3/4 of a bottle of Modge Podge left that I need to do something with!


I'm Saucy!

Imagine my suprise when I checked my blog after church this afternoon to see what my new header looked like and found comments galore! The explanation for my new-found popularity? My blog has been named a Saucy Blog by the fabulous girls over at The Secret Is In the Sauce. I found this site that serves as a network for women bloggers when Laurie over at Tip Junkie advertised their giveaway of a Cricut Expression. When I actually visited the blog, however, I was hooked on it and the fabulous blogs I've been finding as a result.
The reason I started blogging in the first place was that I loved the interconnectedness of blogs--the communities that are created through blogging. The SITS blog promotes that benefit.
So, for all my SITStas who may be dropping by these next couple of days, here's a little about me. I'm Heather, a wife, mommy and high school English teacher just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. I love planning parties and room designs, and sometimes even executing them. When watching TV, I'm often torn between HGTV and ESPN (the Titans game is on in the background as I type this!), though much too often we're watching Little Einsteins. My wonderful husband Kyle and I started dating in high school, almost 11 years ago. We have been married for 5 years and have a gorgeous, brilliant, and super-sweet (aren't all mom's kids this way :)) 2 1/2 yeard old named Avery. I always have a thousand things going on at once, which seems necessary to keep my creative energy going.
So that's me, or at least a little bit of me. I hope you enjoy my blog and read on to find out more about my crazy life!

I just made a new header in photoshop last night. I love it, but now want to create a background to match. If you know how to make an image your background, please leave instructions! So far all that is happening is that you can't see the post text. Grrr...
Updated Sunday 9:35
A huge thank you to Queen Bee, who not only gave me the code for adding an image as background, but made me a background to match my new header!


Blogger Fun

See that cute little picture that now appears next to the URL when you're viewing my blog? It's called a Favicon, and you can make one here.

Choose a picture from your computer (they are tiny--only 16 x 16 pixels, so keep that in mind when choosing an image) and upload it. You will get two options: download or host the flavicon. Choose to Host it (its the only way it will work in Blogger). Then go to your dashboard, click the customize link and choose to edit HTML. About 5 lines down you will see the command . The hosting code goes under that. Paste the code in twice, and in the second snippet remove the word "shortcut."

That's it! I did not figure this out by myself, so thanks goes to Carrie for posting this easy way to dress up our platforms. And her directions are more detailed and probably clearer, so be sure to visit her blog if you decide to add a favicon.


This is what I've been searching for

I want to be more organized and less cluttered. Really, I do. Unfortunately, though, I'm much better at planning to be organized than actually being organized. I've committed to a few new routines, however, that have really helped. Lately I've been thinking about creating a household notebook, sort of a command center for our family, but lugging something like that around isn;t practical. And while I love the idea of an online planner, I can't be online always at home. Other than having five different calendars/notebooks (which is pretty much what I have now), what can I do. Enter Cozi.

This calendar is so easy to use, and makes adding events for multiple family members simple AND easy to view (something I never liked about google calendar). Also, it has a list function that will automatically send the ingredients of a recipe to your grocery list. (Again, google doesn't really integrate lists and calendars.) You can even call a toll free number and they will give you your list over the phone should you forget it when you go to the store! Fill in a little box, a message can immediately (it really is immediate--I tried it) go to your hubbie's email or cell phone. But probably my favorite feature is that you can customize it with family photos and journal entries. There are even more fun things about it, but you can check all that out for yourself. AND IT'S ALL FREE! This is everything I wanted in a calendar...and it's all in one place.


Things You Might Not Know

My oldest friend, Shyla, tagged me to write six weird things about myself. And since we have been friends for 28 years (yes, that's our whole lives), I suppose I'll oblige and reveal some of my eccentricities.

  1. My husband and I know of several times in our childhood when we were in the same place at the same time, but never met. We even went to elementary school together, but did not meet until I was 17 and he was 19, and only then by what seemed mere coincidence. We've been inseperable for nearly 11 years.
  2. I live in an 85 year old house that everyone in my husband's family since 1930 has started their married life in. His grandparents moved in after the uncle who built it as a summer home died, his aunt and uncle and later his parents and all three of his first cousins moved into the basement apartment upon marriage. We bought the house shortly before we married in 2003 and do NOT live in the basement. Actually, I never even go down there.
  3. I love cookie dough way more than I love cookies. When I was pregnant, I occasionally made cookie dough sans eggs so I could safely eat it.
  4. I am what I wanted to be when I grew up. At my Mother's Day Out graduation, the emcee announced that my name was Heather, my favorite color was pink (it really wasn't, I think I said that out of peer pressure), and that when I grew up I wanted to be a teacher. I have never once wavered from that, though I usually wantd to be about five things and a teacher. I still have that problem--starting in January I will have three paying jobs in addition to my responsibilities at home.
  5. I had a college fight song played during my wedding ceremony. And it was my idea. We're huge University of Michigan fans, and their fight song is known as one of the best. It seemed like a good way to infuse that part of our lives without making my bridesmaids wear Maize (you're welcome, girls ;)).
  6. When I was in high school I was a tiny size 3 but wore a size 9 ring. Today I'm a 6 on a good day, but my size 8 rings fall off. Yeah...I don't know why.

...and here's one more in honor of my tagger, Shyla...Shyla and I married our husbands on the same day (June 14) six years apart and were bridesmaids in each other's weddings. I always think that's so neat :)

But since everyone I know with a blog is already a part of this tag, I guess my branch of the game will end with me. I need to teach my friends what a blog is!


Just when I was feeling uninspired...

I came across a new issue of my favorite craft magazine.

It was just what I needed to get my creative juices flowing again. So much so, in fact, that I finished painting the playhouse ceiling, finished the chalkboard table, and altered a rolling office suppply drawer thing that I've had for a decade (tutorial to follow soon).
I'm not generallly a card maker (birthday invitations excepted), but I love paper crafts, and the products and layouts used for these cards can easily be adapted to many other projects. I highly reccommend that you go buy it!

And I just resist posting a new picture of my Avery. She takes naps now in her tinkerbell bed, aka sleeping bag/air mattress thing. Now that's inspirational!


Inviting Ideas

The Christian girls service club I sponsor at school has been making dozens of pink tissue flowers for a Susan G. Komen Foundation benefit. Since Avery is wanting a pink flower party for her 3rd birthday (in April), alll that tissue got me thinking. I already have a ton of ideas, but the invitations are where I'm coming up empty. I had a great idea for a flower that pulls out of a pocket vase, and the party information would be on the stem, but I'm having a hard time getting it to look like I want it to (hence, no pictures!). This one also has promise, but I having a hard time getting everything to fit when I make it smaller than 6"x9", which is too big I think.
image via flickr

Then I discovered Kimberly's blog For the Love of Paper. Card ideas are all over the web, but her designs are miles above what I normally find. Here are some of my favorites that I think I could adapt to work with Avery's theme:
  1. Dots Dots Dots!
  2. Layers of Flowers

  3. Sweet Little Daisy

  4. Floral Geometry

I don't know if I'll end up doing something that really looks like any of these, but it really got my creative juices flowing! I'm hoping they don't flow too much, however, since the playhouse and Halloween costume should be getting my crafting attention right now.


Little Bits of Pink and Green Goodness

Don't you love a day without work? I used my morning off to run a few non-essential errands--my favorite kind--and oh the goodies I found!

My first stop was Michael's, where my main mission was felt and other notions so I could get started on Avery's Halloween costume. And then I thought I'd get some supplies to make a frame for my husband's co-worker who is expecting a little girl next month. And then I saw a Christmas decor magazine. And then I saw the Lindt chocolate truffles at the register. The truffles I passed up, however.

But here are the preppy things I did buy:

My favorite scrapbooking paper ever. I need to start buying it in bulk because every time I go to Michael's I get at least 3 sheets.

Cute striped ribbon for the above mentioned frame. And for take two of boutique hairbow making.

Brads to be the cherry on the cupcake frame.

Too cute to do list with separate post-it calendar. I'm hoping the fairy on it will clean my house each day while I'm at work. Just $1!! (I looooove Dollar Aisles!)

My next stop was the mall to get the actual shower gift. And wouldn't you know...Gymboree was full of my favorite colors.
I'm pretty sure Avery will end up with this outfit, too, because I can't get over how cute it is.
And while looking for a navy tee at The Children's Place to go with the jumper I bought my little girl, I found the shoes. They match perfectly, and I snatched them up, even though they are a little bigger and probably won't fit when the outfit does. Here's a closer look:

And now with my shopping done, it's on to crafting. Be sure to share any fabulous pink and green things you find with me!

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