Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Some of My Favorites

So, today, the Nester put out a post of some of her favorite things that go for under $30.  She also invited other bloggers to do the same.  So, I've been thinking today about what some of my favorite things are that are under $30.  It's actually kind of difficult for me to come up with these things because a lot of my favorite things that go for under $30 are one-time kind of things... for example, a 5K race fee.  Love running them, but I can't really list it as one thing right?  Or, my hubby, I call him "my favorite" all the time.  As in "my favorite person".  Then there's my dog... and dancing, and thrifting... things I can't label cost-wise.  So here are three of my favorite things that I CAN put a dollar sign on:


Softlips chapstick- I'm MEGA SUPER ADDICTED to this stuff.  I pretty much have to have it on me at all times.  I'm convinced you can be addicted to chapstick.  I like the mint or vanilla best.  I find it at Meijer, or sometimes at the Dollar Tree.




 Buitoni pesto sause- This stuff is amazing!  I love it on bow-tie pasta, or on a pizza crust topped with cheese & fresh tomato, or on french bread & toasted mozzarella cheese w/ tomato on top... mmmmm pesto!  Now I want some...


Bones- I love this show!  I can't get enough.  Is there anyone who doesn't like this show?  Seriously it's so funny & amazing :-)

Do you have a list of favorite things?  What would you include on it?  Are you as obsessed with any of these three as I am?


My Gift Received for the Handmade Gift Exchange

About a month or so ago, I saw a tweet about a Handmade Gift Exchange being hosted by Linda at Craftaholics Anonymous.  I was intrigued!  What was this gift exchange?!?  Upon further investigation, I discovered that it is something that Linda hosts regularly.  She does a holiday exchange in December, and then it looks like another gift exchange is scheduled in the summer.  The general idea is that you sign up through her web page, and she sends everyone a name & address of their assigned partner.  You then get to know your partner through some email correspondence.  Once you have some of their likes & dislikes figured out, you create a gift for your partner, and send the gift to them by a certain date.  How fun is that?  It is like a handmade gift pen pal!  Of course I had to sign up!


My assigned partner was Deborah.  She is from California!  A land far far away from the little ol' midwest.  Deborah doesn't have a blog, but one of her daughters does.  She has eight children & thirteen grandchildren!  Wow!  She says that she did not consider childbirth a competitive sport, she just likes kids hehe!  I like it.

I sent my gift off to her on Monday.  Since I'm not sure how long it takes for packages to get out to CA, I'm going to hold off showing you what I sent until Friday.  But, I have received my gift from her, so I'm going to go ahead & show you that today!


Deborah has a talent that I do not.  I soo wish I did, and I hope to learn soon, but I cannot sew.  She sent me these three beautiful dish towels!  They are nice & large & beautifully done :)  The first is white with a teakettle decal sewn onto it, along with some stripes in pretty pink & green fabric & ribbon.


The second one is white with stripes made of a cow print fabric and a green flower fabric, along with some ribbon at the top & bottom as well.


The last one is all white with white ruffles sewn onto it (this one is my favorite!).


I am pretty amazed at Deborah's sewing talent.  This seems like something I'd never be able to do.  That tea kettle?  How the heck does one sew something like that!?  Amazing!  I love my gift & I have really had a good experience with the handmade gift exchange.  I can't wait to show you what I made for Deborah later this week!

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I'm linking this post up to:
Craftaholic Anonymous Handmade Gift Exchange

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Family Christmas Stockings

Hey friends!  Have you hung your stockings yet?  I grabbed ours last night & hung them on the dry sink (which is pretty much the only thing in the house currently that is decked out for Christmas).  I plan on getting some of those non-permanent hooks, and putting them up above the tv in the living room, but this will do until I'm able to run out to the store for those.


Here they are!  Let's have a closer look.  The one on the left is mine, if you couldn't tell.


Mine is a felt stocking, which my mother made for me from a kit back when I was a baby.  My parents & my younger brother all have one like it.  I think they still make the kits like this to make these kinds of stockings.  It's obviously held up over the years, my mom did a really good job on it!


Brendan's stocking is a cross-stitched stocking.  This one was made by ME!  Yes, every one of those little x's was made by yours truly.  I'm sure most of you have cross-stitched something in your life time, I'm sure you can imagine the amount of time this took...  it took me about 2.5 years start to finish.  Ok, I wasn't working on it constantly during that time.  I would work on it a lot for a while, then get annoyed or sick of it or my back would be mad at me for being hunched over it all the time, and I'd put it away for a few months before getting it out again.  But still 2.5 years is a long time to work on ONE Christmas stocking.  Overall though, I think it was worth it don't you?

I did make his stocking from a kit.  At the time, I had Brendan pick out which stocking he wanted, and I picked one out too.  I think he picked the most difficult one possible.  Haha, look at the variety of colors in that thing!  Holy moly it was intense.  I decided to do his first, and now that his is done, I've been working on mine for a little over a year.  This is what it looks like right now


Yep, Sarah's Christmas stocking in progress.  As you can see, mine is a snowman.  It's a bit of a simpler design than Brendan's was.  This is the cover from the kit, and it shows what it will look like in the end,


I'm not sure where I ordered these kits from, as it was quite a few years ago, but you can find many kits like these online, if you just search Christmas stocking cross-stitch.  I think I might have seen a couple at Michael's as well, but there's a much greater selection online.  There are some really cute ones at 123stitch if you are interested.  I was thinking this may be where I got mine from, but if I did, they don't carry these exact ones anymore.  They also have lots of ornament kits as well if you're interested in cross stitch but don't want to put in the time required to make a stocking.

Someday I'll finish mine & we'll both have cross-stitch stockings.  I'll probably immediately order & begin working on another one for our first kid once mine's done.  Even though we don't plan on having kids for some time, considering how long these bad-boys take, I'd better get cracking if I want them to have them done before they turn 10.  I'll still always display the one that my mom made for me, but I'd love to have a new tradition of hand-made stockings for my own family.


Does your family use the same stockings for Christmas every year?  Were your stockings lovingly hand made as well?

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I'm linking this post up to:
{Primp} 
Southern Lovely 
Somewhat Simple 
The Shabby Creek Cottage 
Crafty, Scrappy, Happy 
Delightful Order 
2805 
At the Picket Fence 
My Repurposed Life 
The Shabby Nest 
Fingerprints on the Fridge 
Sassy Sites! 
Making Lemonaide 
Whipperberry 
Chic on a Shoestring 
The DIY Showoff
Naptime Crafters 
Remodelaholic 
Addicted 2 Decorating 
Funky Junk Interiors 
Centsational Girl

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Little Dollar Store Christmas Decor

Yea!  I'm so excited that we can start talking about Christmas excessively now that Thanksgiving has passed!  No more feeling oddly sneaky when doing Christmas related projects or putting up Christmas decor!  The time as come you guys!  Time to proudly display all things Christmas!  I'm going to start with a little project I put together with items I found at our local Dollar Tree.  I wanted to find some things to decorate our newly painted dry sink with, and since the furniture piece is green, I thought green & gold would be a perfect combination to dress it up with.


You remember my new gold & cream tray, made from a cabinet door.  Those pine-cones are leftover from autumn decorations.  What we're focusing on here are those two pretty vases on either side.  My Dollar Tree decorations!

Everything needed to make these was found at the Dollar Tree for... uh... a dollar... each.  The bulbs came in packs of 5, the vases were a dollar each, and the reindeer ornaments came as a pack of two for a dollar.  So for the two of them, it cost me only $5.


Just fill your vases with bulbs (don't worry, right after I took this picture I noticed the price sticker still on the bottom & took it off).


Put some hot glue on the backside of a reindeer.


Place reindeer & hold for a few seconds to make sure he's stuck there.


And voila!  Instant pretty Christmas decorations!  I had made these a few weeks ago, but packed them away until this weekend.  Now they sit lookin' lovely on the dry sink.


I think they look lovely there!  I love the reindeer, they are my favorite part for sure.


What do you think of my little project?  I'll be slowly but surely getting out my decorations this week.  We wont be getting our tree though for another couple of weeks, since we'll be going to visit my brother the first week of December, and we want to get a real tree (Brendan's first EVER!) we don't want it to die while we are away.  So the other pretty decorations are going to have to do for me for now.  How is your decorating coming along?

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I'm linking this post up to:
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Home Stories A2Z 
Today's Creative Blog 
{Primp} 
Southern Lovely 
Centsational Girl 
Somewhat Simple 
The Shabby Creek Cottage 
Crafty, Scrappy, Happy 
Delightful Order 
At Home with K 
2805 
At the Picket Fence 
My Repurposed Life 
The Shabby Nest 
Fingerprints on the Fridge 
Sassy Sites! 
Making Lemonaide 
Whipperberry 
Chic on a Shoestring 
Naptime Crafters
Remodelaholic 
Addicted 2 Decorating 
The DIY Showoff 
Bower Power

Saturday, November 26, 2011

New Office Shelves

Hey everyone!  Happy Saturday morning to you!  I'm just popping in to tell you all that I have my first ever guest post over at Three Boys this morning.  I am sharing my new office shelves over there, that I built & installed recently in my home.


Please head over there & check out my post about them!  While you're over there, you'll find a ton of projects that Sarah, the creator of Three Boys, has completed as well.  She's amazing at reupholstering!  And she's local to me here in Michigan!  Love that!  I hope you'll go see what she's all about today, thanks for checking out my shelves as well!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Randoms

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FRIENDS!

Good morning & happy turkey day!  There's a lot going on today, so I will not be doing my usual Treasure Hunting Thursday.  Instead, I have a couple of random things I feel like chatting about.

FIRST- We have been dog-sitting my parent's dog Bailey for the past couple of days.  They will take him back tonight after they come over for turkey day dinner.  Our dog Mojo gets along well with Bailey, although Mojo has quite a bit more energy than him :)  One thing I find odd, whenever we dog-sit Bailey, is that Mojo refuses to eat anything but Bailey's food, and Bailey refuses to eat anything but Mojo's food.  I used to try to get them to eat their own, but I finally gave up.  They seem to be able to work it out.  Also, they will always sleep on the other dog's bed, rather than their own.  So weird right!?  It's like they both are jealous of the others stuff.

Bailey in Mojo's bed
Mojo in Bailey's bed
SECOND- Since Brendan has been working nights this month, Mojo often will sleep in bed with me.  When we are both home, he knows to sleep in his own bed, but when B's gone, he'll sometimes sleep with me... or start the night with me & then get up & go to his own in the middle of the night.  This morning I woke up to this


Apparently he thinks he's human now & was using Brendan's pillow.

THIRD- This morning I ran the Ann Arbor Turkey Trot on north campus.  It was pretty fun, not too-too cold.  I don't run 5Ks very often.  They are hard & you have to run fast.  I hadn't done one since February.  This course wasn't exactly easy, there was a monster hill at the very end that was killer.  BUT, I got a new PR (personal record)!  23:14.  My previous one was 24:04.  (I don't count high school times, because that'll never happen again).

FOURTH- I'm so lucky Brendan is home today for Thanksgiving!  He worked last night & is sleeping basically 'till dinner today, but he's HOME!  Hoorah!  That's why we're having my parents over to our house, so that he can sleep.  They are coming after the Lions game.... GO LIONS! :)

FIFTH- I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving day!  Eat lots of pie!!!  Pie is awesome...  Anyway, I must go make some deviled eggs now!  Later friends!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award!



Woot!  Today, Melissa over at Shabby Love informed me she was giving me a "Versatile Blogger" award!  Aww, my first bloggy award!  Thank you so much Melissa!  Go over & check out her blog, she does some amazing things in her home... check out her craft room, I'm so jealous!  Anyway, I'm so excited to get this award!  Here's the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave the award and link back to them in your post.
2. Share seven things about yourself (such a random number!)
3. Pass this award along to 10 recently discovered blogs

So, seven things about myself... let's see...

1) I got married to my wonderful hubby Brendan just this past June.  He is an intern in Pediatrics.  Once intern year is over we'll have two more years of residency before moving on to fellowship.  Did you know, being a doctor is crazy hard work (for many years!) & being a doctor's wife can really have it's challenges, but I love the guy like crazy sauce!  And he's good with the kiddos, which will come in handy someday, especially since I'm kinda hopeless with them.

Photo by Amy at Pure Amour
2) I'm a runner & have been since high school.  I used to be pretty good when I was younger, now I'm no superstar, but it's fun.  I've done 3 marathons (Detroit, Flying Pig in Cincinnati, and Chicago) and a whole bunch of half marathons & shorter races too.  I'm doing a 5K on Thanksgiving, and I'm running Rock n Roll's Strip at Night half-marathon in Vegas in a couple of weeks!


3) I have a BS in Legal Studies from Grand Valley State University (I HEART GVSU!!!  Go Lakers!) and a MPA from the University of Michigan- Flint.  When I was at Grand Valley, I was on the Dance Team.  I had danced since I was like 5.  I don't do it anymore, but dance team was an amazing part of my college experience.

4) I love wine!  Particularly reds, anything except Merlot.  For some reason I can't stand most Merlot.  I love Shiraz though!  It's one of the main reasons I love going to Traverse City, they have some great wineries up there.  We also went to San Francisco for our honeymoon partly so that we could explore wine country a bit.  I love going to wine tastings & trying new things.  Trader Joe's & Whole Foods wines are my friend :)  Yea inexpensive wine!  We're also planning on going to Finger Lakes in New York for our 1st anniversary!  (Any suggestions on places to stay or wineries to check out?  Help us out, we've never been!)


5) In addition to my regular full time job have a part time job timing races.  Not only do I love running, I pretty much just love races & being at them & the atmosphere that surrounds racing.  Everyone is so supportive of each other & it's amazing to see those first-time 5K runners crossing the finish line!  It's so inspirational!  Working with a timing crew, I get to go around the state on weekends & time various races.  We do chip timing, so it's pretty much all computerized, but there's a lot that goes into it that you wouldn't think about.  Greatest part time job ever!

6) I have been to three other countries.  Canada (not that exciting when you live less than a half hour from the bridge), England (in high school, I went with a US team to run a couple of races there), and Saudi Arabia.  A few years ago, I had a job working for the Provost of a new university there, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology- KAUST.  Have you heard of it?  It's the first co-ed university in KSA.  I worked for them before the opening of the school, helping with admissions & hiring academic staff.  Amazing experience.  I got to go there to train some people before the school opened.  I must say, it was very different than I was expecting.  I expected to feel much more defensive as a women than I did.  Granted, I was in Jeddah, which is probably the least heavily restricted city over there, but it wasn't as "bad" as I thought it'd be.  HOT, interesting, but pretty nice!  The below picture is my coworker & I on campus, it was under construction at the time.


7) That photo reminds me, I'm really short.  :-)  I'm 5'0.  Yup.  My mother is 5'2 & she always told me growing up that I would be taller than her.  She promised.  She LIED!  Waaa!  Haha, ok, I don't really mind, I don't know what life would be like if I was taller, except I probably wouldn't have to get all of my pants hemmed & I could see the top of the refrigerator.  Hehe!

Another Pure Amour Pic!
So there you go!  7 things about ME!  I know, I'm so exciting right?  Uh....

Anyway, I am to pick 10 bloggers to pass this on to now.  TEN!  Here they are:

A Diamond in the Stuff
Clark Pharm
Emily's Up-cycled Furniture
House Poor
I'm Busy Procrastinating
Insideways
Lovely etc.
Making Lemonade
Sweet Rose Studio
The Terp Blog

Monday, November 21, 2011

Craft Fail Turned Around

Ever have one of those crafty ideas that you think is going to be super easy & turn out to be so awesome & then have it go completely wrong & be seriously frustrating?  That's what happened with this project.  This was supposed to be a very simple project & I was pretty excited about it.  This story does have a happy ending, but it was quite the trip to get there.

So, my goal was to make a tray out of an old cabinet door.  Easy right, I'm sure I've seen this done before somewhere, but I have no idea where.  Anyway, I went to the ReStore & got myself a cabinet door for a dollar, & two drawer pulls for 50 cents each.  The rest of my materials I already had at home.


I had some painters tape, some white spray paint, leftover gold acrylic paint, and a foam brush. Oh and some Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint too that I forgot to get out for the picture.

First things first, I sanded it town & spray painted it white.  I also painted the hardware with the ORB.  It took about 3 coats to cover it, front & back.  After leaving it a couple of days to dry & set, I used the paint to tape off my design.  I really liked this tray by Up In the Air Somewhere that I had found on Pinterest, and wanted to go for a similar kind of look.  So I taped it off like this.


Then I painted the stripes with my gold acrylic paint.  Here's where things started to go wrong.


I got it painted, and took off the tape while it was still a little wet.  All seemed well.  However, the in the next few days, while I was letting it sit before finishing it with a spray poly, I noticed that the gold paint seemed to be flaking a bit.  It was like it didn't properly adhere.  But, I figured it'd be ok, that once I sealed it, it would be fine.

So a few days later I went to do that.  I laid it outside & sprayed the first coat of poly.  When I went out not too much later to do the second coat, I saw that the paint was... how should I say this... wrinkling?  Puckering?  Bubbling?  Whatever it was, it was not right!

I thought maybe I could sand them away, uh, bad move, this was not the case.  The gold paint was still pealing & the bubbles/puckers/wrinkles just sanded completely off baring the wood underneath.


That is my mid-crafter-disaster-photo.  Lovely right?  So then I was all WAAAAAA!  It is ruined!  Sad face.

(NOTE: my hypothesis about this occurrence is this: it had rained earlier the day that I did the poly, so I'm thinking it may have been the humidity left in the air that made this puckering occur.  The paints both had multiple days to dry, so I don't think that could have been the issue... if you have other ideas, or are currently thinking that this was caused by an obvious issue, please feel free to let me know!)

I had to see if I could start all over again.  I sanded it down & pealed off all of the pealing gold paint sanded the bubbles, then set it aside for the next day.  Once it was spray painted white again (another two coats) I purchased some gold spray paint, & figured that would probably adhere better.  This time I had to tape more off.


I spray painted my stripes this time with 3 coats of paint & pealed off the tape again when it was slightly wet.  For some reason, not all of my lines are as perfect as I would like them to be, but by this point I was so frustered that I didn't really care too much.  After it dried a few days I sealed it with the spray poly & it was fine this time.


I attached the handles to either side with my gorilla glue.  And voila!  Instant (uh, not really) tray!



I plan on using this little tray on my Christmas table-scape.  I think it turned out pretty good for all the trouble it gave me.  I do with the lines were crisper, but at this point, I'll take a done tray!  Woot!

Also pictured Dollar Store Christmas Decor & Refinished Dry Sink

Have you ever had an easy craft-gone-bad?

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I'm linking this post up to:
Home Stories A2Z 
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia 
DIY Home Sweet Home 
Today's Creative Blog 
{Primp} 
Restored Interiors 
Southern Lovely 
Delightful Order 
Crafty Scrappy Happy 
At the Picket Fence 
The Shabby Creek Cottage 
Somewhat Simple 
The DIY Showoff 
The Shabby Nest 
Chic on a Shoestring 
2805
Tatertots & Jello 
Funky Junk Interiors 
Sassy Sites! 
At Home with K 
Naptime Crafters 
Remodelaholic 
One Month to Win it 
Centsational Girl 
IHeart Organizing 
Nesting Place

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Treasure Hunting Thursdays: Typewriters

This week's Treasure is from the same antique shop in Traverse City, Michigan, as last week's cabinet.  I'm telling you, that place is ginormous!  And lovely.  Speaking of lovely, I saw this lovely typewriter while there for only $35.  I don't know if this is a deal, but I felt like it was less than I had expected it to be.  What do you think?


I think this li'l guy just needs some cleaning & he could look wonderful with a little decoration in a home.  I've seen some typewriters around lately & they always seem to look so pretty!  I thought this was a great find!  No, I didn't purchase it, so if you in the area, you should go see if you can find it!

Here are some examples of some gorgeous typewriters this could be dressed up to look like:

Style Me Pretty
How beautiful is this for a wedding!?

Brown Dress with White Dots
How pretty is this!?  So gorgeous!  I love grey :)

Random
Typewriter as flower holder?  Pretties!

Jilly & Mia
Do you see the typewriter in this picture!  It's mini!  Lovely cart too... heck the whole room is beautiful!

Maisy & Grace
Another pretty wedding typewriter!  Why didn't anyone tell me about this 6 months ago!?  Love the camera too!

Do you have a typewriter at home?  When I was growing up we had one of those ones that are in like a suitcase kind of thing.  And it was not cute... these are all way prettier than that one!  Ha!  Happy soon to be Friday everyone!!!



This post has been linked up to:
Chic on a Shoestring

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Twig & Ornament Door Hanging

I, like many others, receive the Pottery Barn catalog and regularly drool on the pictures of beautiful things that I can not have.  It's a great way to spend an afternoon don't you know?  Ha!  But really, the catalogs give me ideas & get my wheels turning about new projects or new ways to work the things I already have in my home.  Enter, my new twiggy ornament door hanging



If you got the recent holiday catalog from Pottery Barn, you likely saw a picture similar to this one below, which is what inspired my version.

Pottery Barn
They are advertising for the topiary, but the twig & snowflake hung on the door was what I noticed.  We see so many wreaths in blog world, that the deviation from the trend caught my eye.  So beautiful in its simplicity.  I knew I wanted something like it for my home.

So, I admit, I already have this little piece of Christmas up.  I have actually been working on a few Christmas related projects already, but this is the only thing that is actually displayed thus-far.  It was so easy to make too!

What you need:
Twig- I found mine in the yard
A small ornament, or two, or a few
Ribbon to hang with
Hot glue


I got my ornaments in a set for a few dollars at Michaels & I think I got the ribbon there as well.  Cut your ribbon at various lengths, so that the ornaments fall at different lengths as well.  I just tied each ribbon onto a bulb, not really paying attention to how long each one was in comparison to the others.

Once they were all tied, I tied another piece of longer ribbon to either end of my stick, this is what it was going to be hung from.  I then figured out how I wanted my ornaments to be arranged on the stick, longer ones next to shorter ones, alternating colors.  Once I had them in the arrangement I wanted, I got out the hot glue & glued them into place.



I hung this on our closet door that is just inside the front door to our house.  I wasn't sure I wanted it exposed to the elements outside, and I think it looks wonderful there.  Plus, my autumn wreath is still on the front door, and didn't want to be replaced until its time is up (it's got until Thanksgiving, then it's coming down!)


Have you broke out any Christmas decorations yet?  I'm not the only one right!?  Have you done any projects that were "wreath replacements"?

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I'm linking this post up to:
Crafty Scrappy Happy 
The Shabby Creek Cottage 
Delightful Order 
The DIY Showoff 
At the Picket Fence 
2805 
My Repurposed Life
The Shabby Nest 
Making Lemonaid 
Sassy Sites 
Chic on a Shoestring 
Nap Time Crafters 
Remodelaholic 
Addicted to Decorating 
Tatertots & Jello 
I Heart Nap Time 
Just a Girl 
Home Stories A2Z 
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia 
DIY Home Sweet Home 
Today's Creative Blog 
{Primp} 
Restored Interiors 
Southern Lovely 
At Home with K 
Centsational Girl
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