Thursday, March 31, 2011

thrifty thursday

 i thought i'd share with you a few little thrifty finds i happened upon this week.
Going to the thrift store is such a treat - it's always so fun to browse around, hoping to find a treasure- just like a huge indoor garage sale. Plus, going to one gives me great motivation to get rid of some unused/unneeded stuff. i usually reason with myself that if i'm going to go all the way over to donate some stuff i just might as well pop in and take a quick look. Here's what i found this week and the total was about $9.00

-a cute little button-up shirt for ben, 5 great books for the kids and one little blues clues coloring book for my adorable blue's clues-loving nephew, a white mug and......
this fabulous chair! I'm sooo excited about this little chair. it's kinda grungy but i can't wait to scrub it down and try out some of that "fusion plastic spray paint" to give it new look. doesn't it remind you of your chair in kindergarten?! 
 On a side note, my friend, Kimberly, is a completely amazing thrifter-and just recently wrote a great post about some really helpful rules and tips to thrifting. check her out here: The ThriftArchives

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

painted brick

Spring is in the air and with it is the itch to freshen things up a bit. And lately, whenever i think of "freshening up" i think of things to paint. Sometimes this makes Handy Andy a little nervous but usually he's a real good sport about it.  Last Spring we tackled our icky brick fireplace and built-in shelves.
Click here for some details. This year, the exterior of our house is in need fresh paint and with it i'm hoping to also paint the brick.  Here's how we look now:
This is a close-up of the same icky-colored brick that was on our fireplace. 
 I'm not sure what colors, white seems to be pretty popular but maybe a light gray might be nice. We also want to paint and or replace the shutters.... Anyway, here are some of the inspiration pics i've been collecting. Do you have any color suggestions??

House #1 before
#1 after

(source unknown)

House #2 before

#2 after

House #3 before
house #3 after

house # 4 before
house # 4 After- this one is my favorite. isn't it lovely?!

this last house is just a great example of what a difference paint can do to brighten indoor brick as well.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

girly clips

Yesterday afternoon i decided to make a some hair clips for a few girlies in my life. We go through hair clips as fast as we go through pull-ups around here so i try not to spend a lot of time making them because i know they'll eventually just end up in a bowl of spaghetti or in a pile of mud. But in the meantime, they are necessary and fun.
So, here are the basic supplies i started out with: 
-glue gun 
-nice sharp scissors
(i was just given this pair by a friend and they are FANTASTIC!
-felt scraps 
(wool blend felt holds up much longer than the synthetic, but if you're loosing them every month or so- who cares?!
-Beads, buttons, ribbon scraps
-metal hair clips
*side note: i usually use the basic "alligator" clip with or without teeth. i like the teeth for thicker hair but they can be a little bulky and sometimes pull on hair when removing. the snap clips are nice for babies but i think they require a little more work to decorate.

So then, ya just kind of cut and glue. Cirlces are my favorite because they are so easy. i used to sew on the beads but now i just glue them to save time. HOWEVER, if you're making these for a baby that likes to pull them out and suck on them i would probably sew or leave any buttons/ beads OFF entirely.
So easy and real cute.

have fun decorating the little girls in your life!

Friday, March 18, 2011

March Mantel

Just for fun, i took a few pictures of the various stages my mantel went through after i took down Valentine's day decor and tried to make it more suitable for Spring. Take note of the smiley face balloons. i think they add a nice touch.

 i feel kinda bad that baby ben isn't represented on our mantel...poor guy. :) Oh, and btw, my grandma painted the daffodils! It's my favorite artwork in our house. Does anyone notice anything unusual about it?? 

(hint: stems) I keep meaning to ask her if she did it on purpose.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

st. patrick's day dinner party

St. Patrick's Day has always been big in our family- growing up there were lots of pinching and irish accents on the 17th. then we'd always have a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner. This year our little family will be going to a big annual st.patty's day party at a local brewery here in town with our church. So since i won't be cooking a whole meal myself, i asked my lovely mom if i could take some pictures of the dinner party she hosted for a group of close friends last week. i just figured that this kind of creativity and style shouldn't go undocumented. :)

First she decorated her table with a few yards of this dark burlap, then layered it with all kinds of fun: a shamrock plant, antlers, moss covered rocks, chocolate "gold" coins, old books, candlesticks, crystal, gold chargers, votives...

Each couple took home a little shamrock plant of their own and a little bag with twinnings irish breakfast tea and some irish caramels.

Her dinner was finished out with this amazing chocolate guiness cake and delicious Irish Coffee. (she tested these two recipes out on us the week before and they both were amazing.) Oh, and i just realized that my sis over at everyday lovely just posted about this same thing (ha!) but SHE posted the recipe to this fabulous cake. it's definitely worth checking out!
and here's the "hostess with the mostess" and her friend, Cary. Thanks mom for letting us hang around and take pictures! :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

peek-a-boo toy sack

for this adorable little person's birthday....

i used this great tutorial to make this really fun and easy peek-a-boo toy bag!
i think this might have been one of the first times i've ever sewn something using a pattern. i always make the assumption that instead of reading instruction manuals, recipes, patterns etc. it's easier to just "wing it" (even though obviously my track record might argue otherwise. ha!).  but lo and behold, there are very talented people out there who really know what they are doing and also know how to give easy to follow instructions which made this little project super easy and lots of fun. You should make one too!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Birthday party week is complete

We kicked off the week with a really fun combined party for our twins' 3rd birthday and my little nephew Elias' 4th birthday which was also this week. The kids had a wonderful time with papa and linda.
Will even got some pirate action in between the birthday activities. and the "fin fin" friends (pictured above) were a huge hit all around. 

A couple of days later we got to go to Elias' "blue's clue's" party. My sis  pulled off a really fun time complete with notebooks to jot down the 3 blue's clues which led to a fun surprise for all the kids.  Elias even got a "thinking chair".They all LOVED it!

Then at the end of the week we had the girls' party with the other side of the family. 
(nana and girls, grandma, aunties and uncle, little cousin gideon who is man enough to proudly wear a pink party hat and auntie bethany)

Here are a few more of the party decor etc. The girls asked for a "pink party" several months ago and although there were a few times that sophie broke rank and announced she wanted a "brown and blue party", i pretty much held them to it since it sounded like such a fun and easy theme to go with. And rest assured, i'm fully aware that most of this was done as much for me as it was for the girls. i'm positive they would have been completely happy with just about anything as long as it included sugary cake and 3 candles. The fact is i enjoy this kind of therapeutic outlet way too much to let the opportunity pass by. There are so many great ideas out there.  i'll try to give credit where i can. :)
i got directions for the poof balls from martha stewart online. the bunting is just scrapbook paper sewed together and i used the template from jonesdesigncompany for the party hats
the menu was really simple- just 3 kinds of sandwiches: pb&honey, egg salad and meaty sub, chips, then grandmas brought fruit and veggies, and we had punch and juice boxes for the kids

Friday, March 11, 2011

party clothes

A few months ago i was in baby gap and saw some cute tiered ruffled tulle skirts and thought, "wow, those would be sooo easy to make for the girls' birthday." Well, i think they would have been easy and by the second skirt it definitely got better, but oh. my. word. i just laughed my way through the first one. I'm so clueless: i cut the fabric the wrong way, sewed parts inside out, measured the girls waists incorrectly, had the tulle attached in all kinds of wonky directions, forgot to hem, barely left enough room for the was hilarious. i really cracked up whenever i got my camera out to take pictures! the thought of anyone looking at them to actually learn something is just serioulsly funny. Anyway, the 2nd one turned out a lot better but its still a little goofy. here's some pictures JUST for the fun of it. seriously. :)
i used this skirt to base my general dimensions/pattern on.

Then i hemmed the bottom and pinned the sides together. oh and btw, the white fabric is just a thin muslin-type cotton with tiny little white dots on it.

Then i cut tons and tons of 3 inch wide strips of tulle, doubled it and ruffled it with the machine. i made sure to leave very long tails on either end so i could stretch it out around the skirt.
Here Andy thought it would be fun to document the lead in the comedy show. ha!

here the sides and top are sewed up and then i inserted the elastic.
then i started pinning the strips of ruffles. i think i had about 8 rows of ruffles with 2 different shades of pink. and their placement was pretty random. on the first skirt i did about 5 and then realized it looked like it was molting so i added a few more layers in between the existing ones. The finished product is of course what the girls were wearing in the last post and what they will be wearing tomorrow for their "pink party" along with this shirt:
This shirt actually was really easy. i just cut out several little bunting triangles, put a little triangle of tulle on top of each, pinned them down then sewed all around the edges.

whoa, this got a little bright. hopefully tomorrow i'll get some good pics of the whole ensemble. :) Thanks for reading! :)