While I was out of town for the month of July, traveling with the kids, Ben enjoyed 3 1/2 weeks of solitude at home. That's a lot of time for itty bitty handyman projects!
Among many nice little surprises, I came home to shiny new doorknobs on all our outside doors (yes, he changed the locks while I was gone!), new shelves in the pantry, and a brand new mailbox. And, if you have seen our old mailbox, you know that this was a WAY overdue project - as in we probably should have done it the day we moved in 4 years ago.
So, since he very nicely waited for me to get home to add numbers (because he knew I'd want to paint my own street number sign like the one by our front door), I figured it was time I got on that project before another 4 years passed. We were looking for a make-it-better, but it-doesn't-need-to-be-perfect look, so within a 5-minute conversation we made a quick design decision and I got to work.
Here's a look at our old mailbox, the new mailbox I came home to, and then new mailbox w/a snazzy new paint job on the post & a brand new street number sign.
Though I certainly wouldn't be opposed to some color at the street (I do love these colorful mailboxes), Ben is a little more conservative in his outdoor decor choices, so we opted for a make-it-blend, not too fancy monochromatic look. So all I did was make two beveled 1ft street number signs, give the post a new coat of paint, and slapped that baby back together. I started at noon, and was done with the whole shebang by dinner (didn't want to miss any mail!)
Yes, some flowers would look nice at the bottom of the post. Maybe someday! One project at a time...
Here's some more mailbox curb appeal for your day!
- turquoise & red mailbox
- unusual mailboxes (some silly stuff here!)
- mailbox makeover (I won't lie...she did it better than me!)
Except now I really want one of these:
How's your mailbox looking these days?
For Ayla's 5th birthday she requested (okay I might have suggested - instead of a princess or Dora theme) a Hello Kitty themed birthday party. Though she might have been slightly guided in her choice, she jumped on board and was very excited about it! She helped me with all the planning, looking for ideas, shopping for and making decorations. We started by making an idea board in Pinterest:
And though we didn't use all those ideas, they got the creative juices flowing. So here's what we DID end up with - a simple, low-key playdate birthday party for six little girls.
I fell in love with the design of these Hello Kitty Simple Sign invitations from Tiny Prints. I ended up making my own instead of buying them, primarily because I had all the materials at my desk the day I wanted to make them, but buying them wouldn't have cost much for the 6 I needed. If I had been making more than that I would have bought them. I also personalized each invitation for the girl we were sending it to. :)
We kept the decorations fairly simple and only decorated in the dining room -- streamers, balloons, a handmade banner and a blue plastic tablecloth. I did buy some Hello Kitty themed plates, but stuck with light pink colored dessert plates, hot pink napkins and hot pink cups.
I made the "Happy Birthday" banner using the same technique as I showed in this handmade birthday banner tutorial using patterned paper and cardstock. Then I added some handmade Hello Kitty paper dolls to the ends of each banner, which I cut using this Hello Kitty font and my Silhouette.
Our party was from 10am to 1pm, so we served lunch. Ayla's menu request - pizza & pears. I added in pineapple and popcorn for a very simple lunch (all starting with P's). I had planned to do a semi-homemade cake by buying a round white cake from the store and drawing a Hello Kitty on top of it, but my VERY talented friend offered to make me the dream cake I'd been eyeing (see it up there in my Pinterest board?). She did an AMAZING job:
This is where I'm weak in the party-planning department. It's just like when I was little and my siblings wanted me to play Barbie with them. I liked to set up the house, get all the dolls dressed up, and then just look at it. I forget that everyone else wants to PLAY. But I did diligently look for activities (with Ayla) that we could do with 6 little girls at her party. We considered making necklaces, or paper dolls, or doing a bingo game, but keeping time, resources & money in mind, here's what we settled on:
Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty - I drew a Hello Kitty head on Ayla's easel and cut paper bows out of patterned paper. Then we used a scarf as a blindfold and ended up with a pretty silly looking kitty.
Draw Hello Kitty - I gave each girl a 6" x 6" piece of white cardstock and asked them to draw their own version of Hello Kitty and decorate it with stickers. We put each girl's page into a small scrapbook that we'll add photos to for Ayla to remember her birthday party.
Hello Kitty Tattoos - I bought a 24-pack of Hello Kitty Tattoos at the party store, so each girl got 2 tattoos. They all enjoyed that and they got to practice counting to 30 each time we applied a tattoo. Look at all those tan little feet. These girls have been swimming this summer!
Play - These girls are 4 & 5. They played together most of the time in Ayla's room. :)
Movie - After lunch and presents, while we waited for their parents to arrive, the girls sat on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn and watched a 30 minute Hello Kitty episode on Netflix.
No party is complete without favors. We raided the Target $1 bins and came up with pencils & erasers and notebooks for each girl. Plus of course, the felt Hello Kitty hairbows that I made and which were a big hit.
And...finally, I couldn't resist buying Ayla this SUPER adorable Hello Kitty t-shirt from Target to wear to her party:
There you have it. A super-pink, super-easy, super-cute Hello Kitty birthday party.
Recently, a friend of mine asked me to make her some wooden alphabet blocks for her new baby girl (arriving in July). She gave me some color guidelines, a link to a style of block she liked, and some swatches from the nursery bedding:
And off I went to create this:
Here's a tip if you ever decide to make something like these: You won't find the blocks at a craft store. After visiting Michaels, JoAnns & Hobby Lobby, I finally headed to the hardware store, where I should have gone in the first place. These blocks were made from a piece of scrap 2" x 4" wood found in the scrap bin (at the back of the lumber section) at Home Depot. And the lovely lady working in lumber even cut them for me. Sweet.
measurements: 7" tall large blocks & 5" tall short blocks
Let me tell you...creating a project for a room you've never seen, using colors you've only seen on a computer screen is a little nervewrecking. There was about a 50% chance my colors would be WAY off from the room. Thankfully, it appears to have all worked out just fine. Here they are, living in their new home on a shelf in the nursery...just waiting for Baby Tate:
My sister-in-law Rachel asked me if I would mind making my niece & nephew a birthday banner for their 1st birthday party. Did she even need to ask??? Of course I would!
First step: Choose papers that match the color scheme. I used their invitation as inspiration and chose 5 different papers - solid blue, polka dot blue, solid pink, polka dot pink, and white.
Second step: Cut a stencil for the pennant and cut each of the triangles and lay them out in order. The pattern I used was WHITE - SOLID BLUE - PINK POLKA DOT - WHITE - BLUE POLKA DOT - SOLID PINK - WHITE. There were so many letters in "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" that I decided to make a double-decker banner, so I used 7 triangles for the "HAPPY" banner and 10 for the "BIRTHDAY" banner so that I could have a blank white triangle on each side of the letters. The pattern happened to work out perfectly that way.
Fourth step: Outline each banner with brown penwork -- just for a little bit of added detail and definition.
Fifth step: Figure out how to hang it and attach the triangles together! I ended up using a heart-shaped punch to make a large hole on either corner of the triangle, and then weaving wide grosgrain ribbon through the holes. It worked perfectly!
It's a pretty simple banner, and it turned out to be a really cute backdrop for the pink & blue polka dot twins 1st birthday party. Unfortunately the banner was rather hard to photograph "in action" since it was displayed against a window...but in person it looked great!
(Thank you J & R for a better photo of the banner!)
Guess now I'll need to make one for Ayla's birthday party that's coming up in a few weeks...plans and decorations for that shindig coming soon! ;)
I know my dad would have no trouble agreeing with this "Dad is always right." sign. And darn it, it's usually true, too. He *is* always right!
Wouldn't this make a great gift for your Dad's office, man-cave or hanging right next to his "throne" in the house? You know the one -- that big ol' recliner in the den that everyone wants to sit in, but jumps out as soon as he walks into the room because it's "his" chair. Then again, I could totally see my dad carrying this baby around with him so he could whip it out as "proof" at a moment's notice!
Dads are hard to shop for at Father's Day, but I guarantee this will make him smile!
$20 Father's Day Sign Design
1ft x 6in. Available in black or brown background with or without beveled edges.
Place your Father's Day sign order by Friday, June 10th to ensure delivery by the big day.
To order: Choose the 1ft Monogram sign option and add "Father's Day Sign" in the comments section of your order. Shipping is only $5 for this special design!
I finally learned how to use vinyl and transfer paper in my Silhouette die-cutting machine this weekend. Though I use my machine all the time to cut stencils for my signs, it took me 6 months to try what most people BUY the thing for - vinyl!
For my first practice cut, I made this little phrase for a clipboard that hangs in my office.
And now, I'm sure I'm hooked. :) No surface is safe.
Our front porch is sorely lacking in style. Mostly because I like to spend my crafty time inside, not outside (like my green thumb neighbors) and ALWAYS forget to water plants, which means the nice flower-filled pots my mom added a couple of years ago have sat there very lonely filled with dirt, not flowers for the past two years. Yes, I know that's sad.
However, after Ben spent last weekend power washing our all-brick front porch (and removing the empty flower pots completely), I was so impressed by it's "sparkle" I decided to contribute one tiny little addition -- our street numbers:
Yes, the porch would be much prettier with pots and flowers and a cute little painted wooden chair or a bucket or something...but I'm not sure I have "outdoor decorating" in my talents.
Anyone want to come and makeover my front steps? I need low-maintenance, weather-able decor. Help me out, would you? :)
Here's some inspiration (each picture links to some great tips):
What does your front porch look like?
I'm pleased to be guest posting over at Craftaholic's Anonymous today, showing off my crafty office space.
Perhaps you've seen it here before.
Now you can read a more detailed description of how I organize my supplies and keep everything under control in my center-of-the-house office space.
Welcome to any new visitors & thanks for stopping by!
Feast your eyes upon my new gallery wall:
Remember this wall in our kitchen? About a year after we moved into this house, I added these four frames and "temporarily" filled them to look like this:
I liked it. It worked. And it stayed. Until one of those frames fell down and broke. Then it didn't work anymore, for obvious reasons.
A couple of weeks ago, I was beyond inspired by this post at a really cool home decor blog called YoungHouseLove.com.
"I can DO that!!!" (and it didn't hurt that there are about 100 frames floating around my house, so I didn't have to buy a single thing!
So, for the past several weeks, I've been semi-obsessed with getting this project done. Here's the process I took step-by-step:
First, I collected a ton of frames from around the house. Some were displayed, some were in the garage, but no frame was safe!
Next, I arranged them into a design on the floor in our kitchen, to get a general idea of how I wanted them to be layed out:
Since I couldn't pick up this whole grouping and eye-ball it against the wall, I decided to make a to-scale digital mockup of the whole collage so I could see how it would fit on the wall. I ended up with this:
And decided it needed SO much more!!! So I scooted this grouping up to the top right corner and went searching for even more frames around the house, until I came up with this design, which I was much happier with:
Next, I cut newspapers to size to match up with each frame and taped it to the wall where I wanted the frame to hang. I even numbered them (and the frames themselves) to be sure I didn't confuse myself. Once those were up, I did a little more tweaking (especially in that lower left corner, which you can see is quite different than my digital mockup) until I was left with this:
I left that up a few days to try and decide whether I was going to like this new design in actuality or not. Until Ben said "Oh,just hang them up already. Commit." So I did.
HUGE tip -- With a paper template for each frame, I pulled each template down (one at a time), layed it across the back of the frame, marked where the hole in the wall should go, taped the paper back to the wall, and hammered in the nail. WORKS PERFECTLY every time! Then we had this lovely mis-match of frames on the wall:
The night we left this up, it caught me off-guard every time I rounded the corner into the kitchen. I think maybe I was having some gallery-wall remorse. It reminded me a little more of a crowded old lady's house than the sleek and modern gallery wall I had envisioned.
During this whole process I flip-flopped back and forth trying to decide whether to paint all the frames black, keep them their natural color, or do a combination of silver, wood, black and white. After seeing them on the wall...we quickly decided all-black was a must! Good thing I have lots of black spray paint on hand at all times!
Ahh...much better, eh?
Then it was time to fill the frames with pictures & memorabilia and fill in the gaps with a few handmade projects. I started with these fun projects:
Then searched the house for a few meaningful memorabilia items:
- wedding announcement newspaper article
- decorative wedding certificate
- our wedding invitation (perhaps I should replace some of these with NON-wedding things..hmm)
And finally, I filled in with photos. Some of the kids, some of us, some of family and friends. I tried to pick photos that have special memories attached to them, rather than just picking my favorite portraits or photographs that I love (though a few of those creeped in too). Some of the special pictures included are:
- a picture of Ben & I at our high school graduation
- a photo of our sponsored Compassion International child from Ecuador
- newborn hospital photos of each of our kids
- Ben & I in our "Scrapjazz" shirts on a business trip (pre-children!)
- our home in Rochester, MN which was the first house we owned
I may change a few of these out occasionally, but I tried hard to pick timeless and sentimental pieces to tell the story of our family.
So here's the finished product (for now...I just can't call anything complete...I'm sure I'll find some fun knick-nacks to add to those empty spaces!):
And here you can see some context with the rest of the kitchen/dining room:
Ahh...I love a finished project.
Why, yes! As a matter of fact, a customized printable version is available of the Dated Wall Art I posted yesterday! Thank you for asking.
See all of my Dated Art options.