3.29.2013

Easter Apothecary Jars


This post wraps up my week away from blogging and it's one of my favorites - decorating my apothecary jars for Easter:
For the jar on the left, I simply placed an artificial bird's nest in the bottom and added a small ceramic bird that I bought from Hobby Lobby.
The jar on the right was also an easy one - we placed some reindeer moss in the bottom, added some colorful eggs from HomeGoods, and tied a simple burlap ribbon around the top.  The center jar was where we used the burlap bunnies we made:
To make the bunnies, I first searched online to find a cute bunny outline.  I ended up using this one: www.glass-fusing-made-easy.com/chocolate-bunny.html, but if you're looking for something a little different, just google "bunny outline" or "rabbit outline" you will find tons of others to choose from. I copied and pasted the bunny image into a Microsoft Word document where I resized it to my liking and then printed out the image on a sheet of cardstock paper.  After cutting out the image, my daughter traced it onto a piece of burlap. We knew that you wouldn't see the backs of our burlap bunnies so we used a marker for tracing but if you want your bunny to look good from all sides, use chalk or a water soluble marking pen.
We then placed a second piece of burlap under the piece that we traced the bunny on and my daughter sewed around the outline of the bunny, leaving a decent sized opening at the bottom of the bunny.
We stuffed the bunny with polyfill, being sure to get the stuffing all the way up into the bunny's ears.  I then poured a small amount of sand into a plastic baggie, which we sealed and placed into the base of the bunny so she could stand up on her own.
After going back to the sewing machine to sew up the bottom of our bunny, we then cut away the excess burlap, leaving about 1/4" of burlap between our sewing stitches and where we cut. (On our first attempt at bunny making, we did the cutting before the stuffing - due to the loosely woven nature of burlap, the stitches aren't super strong once you cut the burlap close to them and the seams ended up breaking open in several places.  So remember - stuff, then cut!). We finished off our bunny by tying a colorful ribbon around her neck and adding a silver charm that says "Believe".
Our final step was to use a hot glue gun to add a cotton ball tail. Originally, we were planning on sewing eyes and whiskers on our bunny, but my daughter and I both agreed that we liked her just like this!
We repeated the process with a slightly different bunny outline to make make a second, smaller bunny and then arranged our burlap beauties in a large apothecary jar, where they are sitting on a bed of artificial Spanish moss, surrounded by a few colorful eggs.  
It was a fun, easy project to do together - my oldest daughter got in on the action too and made this little chick with a lighter colored burlap:
Adorable, isn't it?!  Have a wonderful Easter weekend! I'll be back with some great new posts next week!
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3.27.2013

Easter Table Decorations: DIY Birdhouse Place Cards


As I mentioned on Monday, I'm taking a week away from blogging and have scheduled some great posts with tutorials for the table decorations we made for last year's Easter. Today's post is on creating colorful, unique Easter place cards from dollar bin wooden birdhouses:
I started with these unfinished wood birdhouses that are only $1 each at Michaels - a great find!  
Some of them were in the dollar bin section and others were shelved on the aisles with other unfinished wood projects.  Along with the birdhouses, I bought several sheets of scrapbook paper in bright spring colors and some matte Modge Podge.  To start the project, cut off the rope or wire at the top of each birdhouse and give each house a quick sanding with some fine grit sandpaper.  The next step is to figure out the size and shape of paper that you need to cover your birdhouses.  For the cylindrical and rectangular birdhouses, this involves taking just a few measurements.  
For the two pentagon shaped birdhouses, simply lay them down on the scrapbook paper and trace their shape.  Once you know what sizes of paper you need, use a paper trimmer to cut the scrapbook paper down to the correct shapes and sizes. If you don't have a paper trimmer, you can certainly do the same thing with a ruler and scissors.

Now measure the location of the birdhouse perch and use a hold puncher to create a hole that the perch will pass through.  
Place your cut scrapbook paper on the front of the birdhouse with the perch protruding through the hole that you just punched.  Use a pencil to mark the location of the circular birdhouse opening:
Then cut out a 1" circle in whatever way is easiest for you. I used a circle cutter from my scrapbooking supplies but you could also use a 1" round hole punch (in scrapbooking section of Michaels) to make perfect circles or you can cut them by hand.
After making sure that the circles cut out of your scrapbook paper match up with the perch and the opening on the front of your birdhouse, use a small paintbrush to spread Modge Podge on the front of your birdhouse and then smooth the paper down over it.
For the cylindrical birdhouse, apply Modge Podge all the way around the birdhouse and wrap the paper around it, cutting off any excess paper where the two sides meet in the back.  For the other birdhouses, measure the sides (and the backs and/or roofs of the birdhouses if you want them covered), cut the scrapbook paper to the appropriate size, and glue the paper on with Modge Podge.  Once all of your birdhouses are covered in paper, brush Modge Podge over top of all of the paper-covered surfaces to seal and protect them.
For the place card names, simply print the names out from your computer in a great color and font.  Then cut them into small rectangles (leaving some extra space above the name) and hole punch the paper so it can slip onto the birdhouse perch. Voila - birdhouse place cards!  
It took me about 15-20 minutes to make each birdhouse except for the ones with the metal flower on the front - those took forever because you have to cut the paper for the front of the house into two halves and wedge each half under the flower to meet in the middle - I recommend sticking with the other three birdhouse designs!




Are you ready for Easter?
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3.25.2013

Easter Table Decorations: Paper Chain Napkin Rings


This week is our Spring Break and I'm taking a week away from blogging for some much needed family time. The past few months have been unbelievably busy and I haven't had the time to do my usual holiday crafting & decorating so while I step away from blogging this week, I've scheduled some posts with tutorials for some of the table decorations we made for last year's Easter. Today's post is on these cute paper chain napkin rings that my girls made using nothing but some leftover scrapbook paper:

The napkin rings are made just like those chain gum wrappers you may have crafted back in high school (unless you were born after the mid 1970's, in which case you probably have no idea what I'm talking about!).  We started with several patterns of heavyweight scrapbook paper that I cut into 3" x 1/4" strips with my paper cutter (if you are using thin paper such as origami paper, cut the paper into 3" x 1" strips and fold it lengthwise twice so you end up with 3" x 1/4" strips).  To create each link in the chain, fold the paper strip in half and then make two more folds by bringing each of the ends to the crease at the midpoint of the paper's length:
Push the ends of the piece that you just made through the loops of the last piece on your chain:
Continue to make the folded pieces and attach them to one another in a zig zag pattern until your chain reaches its desired length (each of the napkin rings we made had 20 paper strips). When you are ready to create your ring, unfold the loops of the last piece that was added to your chain, bend your chain into a circle, and insert the two ends of the paper strip through the loops of the piece at the other end of your chain:
Finally, take each end of the unfolded paper strip and fold it down into the middle of the end piece so that it is back to its original folded shape, which closes the ring:


This is a great kids craft - it was quick and easy to do and my girls enjoyed impressing their grandparents with their craftiness when we used their napkin rings to decorate our table for Easter.  

Check back in later this week for the tutorial on the birdhouse place card holders that we also made for our Easter table!
Until then,

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3.22.2013

What a Difference a Garage Door Makes!


A few weeks ago my car had a bit of an run-in with our garage door. Oops. The car won. The garage door ended up with cracks in three of the four panels so we ended up getting a whole new garage door rather than replacing the cracked panels since the price between the two options was so close. I thought that choosing a new garage door would be a piece of cake, but you'd be amazed at the number of options out there. I ended up going with a door from Clopay's Coachman Collection that has the look of wood carriage house style doors. The new doors transformed the look of our house from this:

to this:

What do you think? I know, I need to get those white gutters painted but how about the new door? Look for an upcoming post about what to consider when choosing a new garage door - I'll share what I learned and give you a few tips for how to chose a door that fits the style of your home. But for now, I'm signing off to catch up on some sleep.  That sucker had to be painted before it was installed (there was no color option that was close to the color of my home's trim), resulting in a painting session that went to 2 a.m. - way past this girl's bedtime...
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3.20.2013

DIY Reclaimed Wood Framed Bulletin Boards


One of my favorite bloggers, Emily Clark, is writing a great series of posts about working with what you have. Whether it be worn out hardwood floors, mismatched appliances, or ugly kitchen countertops and tile, Emily has creative solutions to common home problems that many of us face. As part of this series, she's invited other bloggers to link up their solutions to problems in their own homes:
I'm linking up my bulletin board solution for a wall in my kitchen that has the most awkwardly placed light switch:

This wall is right next to my kitchen desk area and I had a vision of hanging a huge bulletin board on it such as this one from Restoration Hardware:
but that hateful light switch prevented me from doing so and because of the location of the studs in the wall, it would have required quite a bit of work (and money) to move the switch. To work around the problem, I DIY'ed three bulletin boards using reclaimed wood frames from Hobby Lobby, large cork boards, and a yard of fabric (a tutorial on creating the bulletin boards, can be found on {this previous post}). My original bulletin boards looked like this:

They've been sooo nice to have and are the perfect place for pinning up ideas for my latest decorating projects as well as coupons, invitations, etc. but since I can never leave well enough alone in my house, I recently changed them up by replacing the natural linen fabric with some leftover ticking stripe fabric: 


Much better! That awkwardly placed light switch no longer bothers me a bit :-)

Be sure to check out all of the other links on Emily's Working With What You Have post {here} - you may find the perfect solution to something that's been bugging you about your own home! 
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3.19.2013

Target's Nate Berkus Spring Collection Picks


I'm pretty sure that I just broke my personal record for most consecutive Target-free days. I'm usually a twice a week Target gal, especially since our Target expanded their grocery section, allowing me to make some of my grocery runs there rather than the dreaded grocery store. Things have been so crazy busy around our house ever since finding out that we are moving that it's somehow been close to a month since I last went to Target (I think I deserve a medal or something for that...). Anyway, I was back to my old habits today and finally got a chance to check out Nate Berkus' newish Spring Collection that hit Target a few weeks ago. 
I'm not loving as many things in this collection as I did in Nate's first Target collection, but there are still several great finds. At the top of my list are these square rattan baskets that come in two different sizes - they would be great for holding magazines in the family room:



These vases had a neat design - the perfect mix of classic and contemporary - they would be perfect for styling bookshelves:

Some striking enamel frames in red and navy:


Loved these nautical pieces - a hurricane candle holder wrapped in rope, a piece of white coral, and a darling little crab (which also comes in black) - he'd look great perched on a stack on books!

Some of the shelving space devoted to Nate Berkus' collection was empty at my Target so I checked out the collection online to see what I was missing - this Chevron Storage Box caught my eye. You can never have too many pretty boxes around the house to stash your uglies!
A few aisles down from the Nate Berkus collection, our Target has most of their Threshold home decor items on clearance at 30% off. This is how fast things move in and out of Target anymore - they didn't even have most of these pieces last time I was at Target and it's already being clearanced out. There's some good stuff here!








I may have to go back for those orange X-benches - they'd look great with my youngest daughter's colorful new bedspread. Did anything catch your eye??
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