Posts filed under ‘Home Life’

Making a wine-cork trivet

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I’ve always noticed trivet kits on Amazon and thought, “How adorable!” But the prices are a little scary, especially when you really only get a wooden box. So when I saw that there was a sale on one, I jumped on it.

 

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Using a kit is cheating, but I’m OK with that. The one I used it pictured above. Yes, if I was more adventurous, I would be all over that, but I don’t even have a saw to cut wood. So, there you go.

First step: If you are thinking about making a trivet, collect wine corks. If you have WAY MORE than you think you need, keep going. You’ll probably need more than that. Thankfully, my friends and I were at a restaurant that sells a lot of wine and my friend Maya asked them if we could have some of the corks. They totally came through and gave me an entire take-out box full. If it weren’t for them, I would probably still be trying to collect enough.

 

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Second step: PLAN. Plan, plan, and then plan some more. Lay everything out and figure out what you are going to do. I could not get the design that was featured on the box to work for me at all, so just keep trying until you find something you like.

 

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Third step: Cut the corks, as needed, to fill gaps. You’ll need ends, and slices of some for the vertical corks (if you decide to do a design similar to mine). This step was messier than expected.

 

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Fourth step: Pull the corks back out from the frame. Start gluing it row by row. Some people use Elmer’s glue, and a little packet was included (a WAY TOO small packet), but I thought it would be too messy and you’d have to wait until it dried. I’m not very patient, so I used super glue. It worked great. And after a couple months, it’s still holding strong.

Fifth step: Let it set, and you are done! Go cook something hot and try it out!

August 2, 2013 at 10:46 am 1 comment

How to make adorable hanging kitchen towels

These are two finished towels from my first batch.

These are two finished towels from my first batch.

This has been a post long time in the making. 2 years ago, I came upon this post on Pinterest. (Here is the pdf of the directions and pattern.) I thought, “Oh, what a great idea.” And so I proceeded to make them for Christmas presents in 2011. And everyone rejoiced. My mom, proceeded to tell me that she needed more of them AND wouldn’t it be a great idea to do some for the different holidays? Well, yes, yes it would. But, I had just got done thinking to myself that I wasn’t going to make anymore of them (I think I just dreamed a little too big in my first batch). But, you know, she is my mother. So, for Christmas 2012, I decided that I was going to make another batch of them. This time I scaled back on how many people received them, BUT each person that did get them got a big selection of holiday ones, so I think it basically ended up being the same.

Here is my second batch towels.

Here is my second batch towels.

Things I learned while making the towels:
Go big on the buttons. I ended up picking out specialty buttons for the second batch and they basically ended up stealing the show. Splurge a little on the buttons and you won’t regret it.
• Same thing goes for towels.
If you use interfacing, thicker the better. I didn’t use the flannel as the pattern suggested, I actually used interfacing (mostly because I already had some that I could use). In my first batch, I just use the normal kind that I had. After a couple washings, it starts to look kind of saggy. So, as my grandma suggested, on the second batch, I used a thick interfacing. It worked SO MUCH BETTER. Listen to your grandma.
• Don’t skip the ironing. I hate ironing. I actually only have an iron in the house for crafts, and I still don’t want to use it. With this craft though, don’t skip it. It makes your life 100 percent easier.
Assembly line. I found the easiest way was to do each step for all the towels at once. Already have the iron out? Go ahead and iron on all the interfacing. Have out your button foot? Go ahead and make all the button holes.

And now, let’s get to actually making the towels … (note: all of these steps are from the first batch)

Washed Fabric
Towels

1. After you have gathered all of the fabric, thread, towels, etc. Wash everything.

2. Cut out the pattern pieces and put them to together (tape, glue, etc.)

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3. Cut out the fabric. You will need two matching pieces per towel.

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4. If using interfacing, go ahead and iron it on. Be sure to get into the top, pointed area. If using flannel, go ahead and cut out that as well.

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4. Pin the pieces together with one side of fabric (right-side up) and the other fabric (right-side down).

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5. Stitch around starting at the bottom (on either side), all the way up and back down to the other side. Leave the bottom open.

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6. Turn it right-side out and then iron.

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7. Sew up the sides again. So you have something else that looks like above.

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8. Cut towel in half. (You only need a half for each one.) Then gather the raw edge of the dishtowel up so that it will fit in your opening nicely. Do this step by using needle and thread to gather.

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9. Turn in a hem on the bottom. Insert the top of the towel (raw, gathered edge) into the open side of the handle — make sure it’s at least an inch. And then pin in place.

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10. Sew at least two rows of stitches to hold in place.

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11. Grab your button. Use it to mark on the handle that folds down where you would like your buttonhole to be. (I just placed the button down and marked a little above and a little below the actual button.) Here you can use your buttonhole foot or whatever fancy things you do to make holes. My machine decided to break and not to the button function anymore (about half way through the first batch). It would only go up one side but not the other (quite the pain)!

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12. Fold down the top part of the handle and figure out where you would like the button to be. Mark it on the wide base. Sew on button.

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13. And you are done!

Here are some highlights of the towels that I made:

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July 26, 2013 at 10:35 am 2 comments

Some nightstand window shopping

I am in the market for some new nightstands for our master bedroom. Right now, we are using my husband’s previous end tables for nightstands. Mine is OK, but his is smaller and he knocks stuff off stuff falls off all the time. It’s so bad it’s a running joke at this point. So I might not always be actively looking, but it’s in the back of my mind.

One thing I can’t wrap my head around, when dealing with nightstands, is how expensive they are. You want $300 for that, really?? I could get a whole dresser for that. It’s just like when the shorter bookcase is like $5 cheaper than the bigger one. It pains my soul. And the company knows it has you between a rock and a hard place because when you need a certain size, bigger isn’t always better.

So I was at Hobby Lobby picking up supplies for another crafty project I’m working and I noticed when I was on my way to the checkout (I could wander around in there for hours looking at everything) a table that might work for a nightstand. So here are some of Hobby Lobby’s offerings that caught my eye. Ultimately, some of them turned out to be wrong after I looked more closely, some were vetoed by the husband and, in the case of one of them, deemed to be better fit for a kids’ room. So, without further ado, some nightstand window shopping …

Plate Nightstand

Super cute. There is actually an American flag painted on the top of this one. FAIL.

Black wood nightstand

Husband said, “No.” So, that’s that.

Pipe Nightstand

This was actually one of my favorites. Then I realized that it would look super cute in a kids room … yep. Not really what we are going for.

All the drawers nightstand

This was the husband’s favorite at first. I really liked it but the issue I had was I’m going to lose everything in all those little drawers. Plus, they were a little hard to pull out.

Basic colors nightstand

The colors of this one were MUCH better in person. While cute, didn’t really make me want to pull out my wallet.

And …. right now the leader of the pack…

123 Nightstand

This is the winner right now. The industrial look meets the wood look. I’m going back to measure this one.

I would like to get some nightstands that will go with a wood headboard. (I LOVE the reclaimed wood ones floating around everywhere.) So, even though I don’t have one now, (Master bed frame is actually black metal) I want something that will work with both.

I am going to go back and take a measuring tape with me. I’ll keep you posted if any big purchases are made!

April 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm 2 comments

My super ambitious (well, not that ambitious) list for 2013

Hello, all! I’ve missed you guys! When WordPress sent out their year-in-review email about this blog, it was a rude awakening. I know I don’t post that often, but it had the audacity to tell me that I only posted 3 times in 2012. How pathetic! This year, I am vowing to do better. So far I’m not off to a good start since my first post is going up on Jan. 25, but we all have to start somewhere, right? So, here I go…

Another blog I read, Pinstrosity, mentioned earlier this month about hating New Year resolutions (which I tend to agree with). Instead, she made a list of 101 things she wanted to do/accomplish in the new year. The list had to be specific, no “lose weight” or “be nicer,” it had to be measurable things. I know you can tell where I am going with this so I’ll just get to it …

2013CheckList

50 (I’m not ambitious enough for 101) things I want to accomplish in 2013
(This list is in no particular order)

1. Take my husband to the High museum.
2. Have another game auction/sell unwanted games/cull collection.
3. See an opera.
4. Read 50 books (This is pretty standard. I’ve read a little over 50 the past couple years … ever since Project 15K.)
5. Go camping at least five times.
6. Get a massage.
7. Finish the Georgia State Park Geo-Challenge PassPort.
8. Finish portal cross stitch.
9. Play through our board game collection. Every game at least once.
10. Visit my friend who moved away.
11. Take a trip with the girls.
12. Watch all the movies and TV we own but have never seen.
13. Blog at least once a month.
14. Make a skirt.
15. Finish Spin’s secret present.
16. Put up a bathroom shelf that I haven’t finished because I don’t want to measure.
17. Take down ugly bathroom wallpaper.
18. Get chimney cleaned.
19. Get windows replaced, at least get quote to have them done.
20. Plant something or build a planter around the mailbox.
21. Get new fake flowers for outside hanging planters.
22. Get bench or rocking chairs for front porch.
23. Paint and finish frame for new prints.
24. Match all socks and toss ones without pairs.
25. Go swimming.
26. Go Frisbee golfing at least once a month.
27. Visit Minnesota.
28. Paint something.
29. Finish drawing for a friend.
30. Get a tattoo.
31. Clean garage.
32. Sell old couches.
33. Get drunk.
34. Try to keep bathroom clean.
35. Go fishing at least four times.
36. Write a short story.
37. Read three books that my husband wants me to read.
38. Try Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
39. Visit an East Coast beach not in Florida or Georgia.
40. Get a passport.
41. Wash my car.
42. Try to get the ivy in the backyard under control.
43. Go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
44. (Secret)
45. Make two new friends.
46. Reseal back deck.
47. Put on all stickers for car that I’ve amassed.
48. Go to the theater with the recliner chairs.
49. Add all movie tickets to ongoing poster.
50. Put/move all event tickets to new ticket book.

January 25, 2013 at 2:10 pm 3 comments

Taking art into my own hands

About a year ago, I redid my guest bathroom. I found the cutest shower curtain at Target with trees and woodland creatures. Adorable! It’s done in super cute ’60s colors.

So I paint the bathroom a dark yellow and buy a new rug, etc. I’m really excited for the change. (The last stuff in the bathroom had traveled with me from my parent’s house and I had been using it since middle school. It was in a stars-sun-moon theme.) Then I run into a snag. I can’t find any art to go with it. Any woodland creatures I find come in super bright pastels or dark den colors. By the way, do you know how hard it is to find nice looking squirrel art? No? Well, take my word for it.

Finally after about 6 months, I found these two owl pieces at Target. (They are about 8×8 squares.)

Perfect … for one wall. BUT, even with those, I still had a major gap above the toilet. Previously, a nice big wire stars and moon had hung there. So every time I went in there it was a huge void of nothingness. Plus, you can see it when you walk up the stairs. Plus, it helps draw attention away from Mr. Toilet. Triple whammy.

I was at Pier One (which I didn’t realize still existed nor was I really interested in it as a teenager) and saw some very cool owl art that I just had to have. From memory, I thought most of the colors were right …

Look at how majestic and adorable he is! The flowers are a prefect color, but you may have noticed the completely red background Mr. Owl is chilling on. Yeah, there is absolutely no red any way in that room. Not that I need everything to be matchy matchy, but it was kind of clashing with everything else. I thought it would be OK. I even left him in there for about 4 months now to see if it would grow on me. The answer? No, no it did not. I have been looking and still haven’t found anything. I did find someone on Etsy that had made art that goes with the exact curtain, but it was more for kids and they wanted way too much money for some easy Photoshoping.

On Sunday, I was cleaning out the guest room closet (which is my craft closet) and I found some blank canvas. So I decided enough was enough! I had previously made art to match our downstairs bathroom, so why not this one, too?

So I grabbed a pencil and sketched out my idea. And hung it up to make sure I liked it.

Satisfied, I went on to painting. Had a hard time deciding what the background color should be. It just looks white in the photos, but there’s a lot more texture to it. I started out with more of a dark tan, but hated it. So while white isn’t too exciting, I think it works. And mixing some of the colors was a bitch. I realized just how long I haven’t painted — some of my tubes were completely dried out. See what my end palette looked like below. (Don’t worry. It was not clean to start with. It actually hangs on my wall when not in use.) (And, yes, that photo was taken in the bathroom. I might have painted in there because I didn’t want to take the shower curtain off and on. Call me lazy, I saved two steps!)

And, drum roll, please ….. The end product!

I haven’t sealed it yet, so I still need to do that, but here is what it looks like up.

And so that’s it. Lesson learned: Can’t find the art you want? Make it yourself.

July 16, 2012 at 4:45 am 5 comments

Making a Christmas card wreath

My old card wreath sucked. I couldn’t fit but like 6 cards in it and whenever I went to add a card, half of them would fall out. So this year, I decided to fight back and make my own card wreath (as seen above). (Since I couldn’t find any in the store, much less one that I really liked.) Here is how I made it …

The supplies

My supplies:
Clothespines (I ended up using about 30 of them)
Paint (it doesn’t really matter what colors you pick)
Wooden balls with predrilled holes (I ended up using 14 of each color.)
Wire hoop (I had issues with this, but more on that later.)

The paint

I went with Americana’s Plantation Pine (dark green), Hauser Medium Green and Deep Burgundy.

Testing colors

I did test other colors, but decided to go more wintergreen than bright greens.

Getting ready for paint

I took apart the clothespins to get ready for painting. If you paint them when they are together, you miss a big chunk where the wire is and it’s easier to paint them shut.

Paint!

I used a disposable bowl for faster cleanup.

One side painted

Paint one side at a time allowing it to dry, otherwise it will stick to the newspaper (if you are using newspaper to protect your table). Some of them needed two coats (especially the dark green), some of them will only need a touch-up.

Letting them dry

You will notice the ones that have bits of paper stuck to them … hint: I tried to paint both sides at once. You can just paint over them and it’s not even noticeable. Score! Plus, if you really mess one up, just point that side to the back.

Pile of dry clothespins

After letting them all dry. It’s now time to put them back together again. This is NOT fun. I did not document this step with photos. I don’t  think the camera would have captured all the cursing going on anyway.

Painting the beads

After painting the pins, or as you let them dry, it’s time to paint the beads. After trying to just paint them, I realized that there was no good way to set them down on the paper without them sticking. Lightblub! If you have any footed glassware get them out, turn two over and get your floral wire (or any wire really).

Put the wire around the base

Attach it to one end, thread the beads onto the wire, then connect it to the other side.

Painted beads

Viola! Instant bead painting station.

Ready to be put on the wire!

So after you get all the springs back on and the beads are dry, it’s time to put them on the hoop.

Gold hoop that didn't work

It took me like three stores to find this metal hoop. Good news: I finally found it, yeah! Bad news: The hoop was too thick to fit through the clothespins. Be careful when picking out hoops for this reason. So it was back to the drawing board …

Second wire hoop

So I took this wire wreath holder (which fit through the clothespins and was the only other metal hoop I could find) and used a pair of wire cutters to get one hoop off. Good thing about doing it this way was that I would get at least two hoops easily (four if I really wanted to work for it) from one.

First try at a pattern

Now comes the time to put it all together. This is the first pattern that I tried. I realized, however, that I didn’t like the light green bead up against the light pin, so I went back and repainted half the light green beads to be dark green. Basically the moral of this tale is to plan your pattern beforehand.

Attaching the ends

So after you get the pattern that you want on and fill the hoop (remember to leave room for the bow), it is time to attach the ends together. Originally, I had grand ideas of using metal glue to put them together. By the time I got to this step though I really didn’t want to wait for anything else to dry. Enter the duct tape. That’s right, I used duct tape. What are you going to do about it?

The tape

I just wound it around a couple of times (after moving it at least twice to get the shape that I wanted). It worked awesomely. Before you make things final, hang it on the wall a couple of times to make sure that it is going to fall how you would like it. Too tight and it won’t touch the wall at all. Too loose and it starts looking like an oval.

Bow-making time

Time to get out the ribbon. Remember to get wired ribbon because it’s easier to work with and will keep it’s shape. I am awful at making bows so I won’t go step-by-step. I’m sure you have a better way to make them than I do. If you are bow-making challenged, you can always just buy one.

Attaching the bow

After the bow is completed, just wind the wire from the bow around the duct tape. Duct tape actually turned out to be a good idea because it kept the bow in place. Ha! There’s a method to my madness.

Completed!

Then flip it over, find a good place for it on your wall and display the glory that is your new Christmas card wreath!

December 6, 2011 at 4:56 pm 2 comments

Adventures in Christmas Lego-ing Part II

In our second adventure of Lego-ing, (see part I here) we decided to put together the Winter Village Post Office. Topping out at a grand 822 pieces, it is the largest of the sets. Shall we see how it went?

Winter Village Post Office
# 10222
822 pieces

So this is the breakdown of putting together of our second Lego Christmas Village set. (Note: Times are with two grown adults)

The unboxing! While the bags again seemed to have no rhyme or reason to them, the instructions said not to mix them up. We ignored them and opened all the bags together and stored them like we did the last time.

The great sort took 16 minutes. As you can see, there are a lot more pieces than last time. So many so that they were encroaching on our build area. BAD LEGOS.

People were next. Same number of Lego people as the last set, but more accessories. Build time: 3 minutes

Bench area … not really much to say except DOG! (No, we did not have to put him together. The dog is in one piece for our Lego-ing pleasure.) There’s a little training whip/ thing you can put the bone in and the dog is supposed to follow (I usually see it in movies with carrots for horses). We felt that it was inhumane, so it will stay in the box. Built time: 4 and a half minutes.

This truck is so glorious that you are going to bask in it’s glory with another photo!

Every little item that you see on that truck we put together. That license plate? It’s a sticker on a white, flat Lego attached to a hinged grey-colored Lego, which is clipped on a skinny, round stick. (I tried to think of another word, but I just kept thinking of “rod” and that just sounded WAY too dirty. Dammnit, these are toys for children!) Favorite part: Snowshoes on the side. Build time: 31 minutes.

There’s a lovely view of the front and back of the gazebo. Now, this item is all the rage on Lego forums (yes, they do actually exist and people are NUTS about Legos). AND on the reviews it seems to be the consensus that this is the most awesome part to the Post Office set. I would have to disagree, the truck is pretty badass and my favorite part. But alas, maybe they just don’t understand the awesomeness that is getting mail — especially during the holidays! Gazebo build time: 25 minutes. (The sax was difficult to put together … just encase you were wondering what he was holding.)

What you have all been patiently (or you just scrolled down right away … WHATEVER) waiting for … the Post Office. Yes, look at it in all of it’s glory. Cool features for me: mailboxes, how “stones” stick out in places on the fireplace (on the right) and that there is actually a doorknob that we had to put on (just a round cap-like piece). Back in my day, we didn’t have no fancy doorknobs. Kids these days!

Again, note the titled floors! The odd red rod sticking out on the left is the light brick. In the last set, there was no “button” to use the light brick so this was a welcomed addition. I think my husband’s favorite part was the lamppost. There’s even a sorting table in there. AND a sign with rates for sending mail (euros, of course).

Light brick, ACTIVATE! (It’s basically just illuminating the sorting table (at least that’s what I call it). Build time for the post office: 2 hours.

Completed Winter Village Post Office set

Complete build time for the Village Post Office set: 3 and a half hours (give or take a couple ten minutes).

I like this set more than the Bakery. Again, it might be my love for the mail, but to me, the Post Office holds more Christmas memories for me. We would always bake our own cookies — it’s tradition!  I do agree that the Bakery has a couple of extra holiday touches — like lights and such. BUT, I would argue that the Post Office has wreath-like things and cute adorable snow drifts on the roof. Hello, SNOW DRIFTS! I can see the growth from the first set — lots more colors, more mechanisms at work and more accessories. I wish you could buy more trees. Hell, you probably can, I just haven’t looked.

Did we want to kill each other again? Apparently that answer is YES. I was informed that I was hogging the building time. Well, excuse me. My motto: Every Lego-builder for herself. must work as a team. Team building is the greatest thing ever. Or, he could just let me BUILD ALL THE LEGOS!

November 16, 2011 at 5:35 am 2 comments

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