watch out, world.

my sewing machine and i have created our first ruffle.
this could be the beginning of a very dangerous thing.


i am seriously considering officially naming my sewing machine betsy in the hopes that every time i start to feel sorry for myself about having to learn everything by trial and [lots and lots of] error, i'll think of betsy ross having to heft the ginormous first american flag through her sewing machine, probably made of old military uniforms and other nearly-impossible-to-sew-straight things and quit my whining.

ruffles! hurrah! hopefully i'll get this done quickly and can show you what it is!


more fun with lamps!

making/altering my own lamps never really seemed to be on my crafting radar before... but ever since i discovered how easy it is to recover a lampshade, and how much of a difference a switch-up of shades or a little color can make, i'm really inspired to do a little 'lamp revamp' throughout the whole house!

i started with a small brown wooden lamp we had from our bedside tables. i saw a gorgeous crackly-distressed one at potterybarn that was my inspiration:

[side note: you know how sometimes you see something online or in the potterybarn catalog and love it, but then it just doesn't look quite right in person? this lamp is perfect in person. and it's even better the bigger it gets.]
it was very similar in size and shape to our plain little bedside lamp (originally from target, i think):
i started by painting it with some crackle-effect spray paint left over from a mirror project that i never took any pictures of, then i added a touch of cream-colored faux-stone spray paint. it took several alternating layers before it looked crackly and stone-y and distressed like i wanted.
it was a little messy, so i took some sandpaper to rough it up between layers and age it a bit:
i also found a super cheap but cute lamp shade for it at goodwill in perfect condition! here's the finished project in the living room:
there's not quite as much of the original wood showing as i'd like, so i might have another go at it with some grittier sandpaper, or maybe dab it with a bit of my new faux technique glaze and see if that 'ages' it up a bit. overall though, i'm happy with how it turned out, and i'd forgotten how much i LOVE the soft glow of lamplight in our living room at night!

now i'm really wanting to find a way to diy this $150 [and that's just for the base!] bigger version for our living room. i'm thinking maybe if i stacked a bunch of wooden candlesticks, drilled up through the middle for the lamp cord, and then painted and distressed it like the one above it could work. anybody have any other suggestions?


very green projects.

happy earth day!

i'm not a super-earthy/green/eco-conscious person, except for having had an inexplicable obsession with recycling since high school. but i do like the idea of using what you have, trying to make less waste, and getting creative with something rather than throwing it in a landfill if you can! if i'm honest, i probably have to admit that much of my re-use stems from the fact that i've just been overcome with the cuteness of reusable shopping bags on the rise as individuals and big companies try to live a little "greener."

check out all the awesome tutorials and unique reused materials out there!

vintage pillowcases/sheets
beach towel beach bag [which i would loooove with these towels or these!]
'plarn' market bag [made from cut up plastic shopping bags!]
and my absolute favorite that i've been stalking forever and want to try out really soon, the fused plastic grocery totes [want want want to have a milk-jug-sized bag now that i get milk on practically every single trip for my 1 year old!]
i also fully admit that, especially after having had a baby, i am a complete addict of disposable cleaning supplies... quick, easy, and throw-away-able. most days i seriously feel like i use up enough paper towels to fill my own landfill. i tried to remedy the situation by buying a cute little stack of cotton tea towels/dish drying cloths, but they unfortunately ended up being that strange type of cotton that has been treated somehow or something and they simply

do. not. absorb. water.

at all. obviously, completely nullifying their usefulness as dishtowels.

so, on my list of thrifting treasures to look for is a pretty green towel that i can trim down to dishcloth size, and add some nice cotton print trim with my trusty bias tape maker. love that thing!

as far as disposable cleaning products go, we really love swiffers around here. "swiffering" is one type of cleaning that my hubby is always truly willing to do [i do have a pretty great hubby!] and couldn't be easier. there's just something to be said for the convenience of them.

the other day i happened across two great tutorials to make reusable versions of the duster and the mopper out of old stuff destined for goodwill anyway!
i haven't found the time this week to make them, but they are all on my list, and i wanted to share the very green and reusable craftiness out there! the only downside is that the moppers don't come pre-loaded with the nice apple-y scented cleanser already on them, but i guess i should sacrifice something for the environment right? and now i can use method or seventh generation cleaners with it and know exactly what i'm putting all over the floors that my dog and occasionally my child eat off of [not to mention me... 5 second rule, am i right?]

[photos are all thanks to their original websites!]


home decorating blog.

i somehow stumbled across a new [to me at least!] blog last night full of home decorating ideas called room remix and promptly spent at least 2 hours clicking through almost every post she had! it's full of really great inspiration photos, diy ideas, and just general 'decor direction' i guess you could say... so many times i have an idea of what i want our home to look like, but really don't have any clue how to get there. add on top of that the fact that i love to make things for our home but don't necessarily want it to all look handmade, at least not in the 5 year old kindergarten sense- so i love finding treasure troves of ideas like this! my favorites were definitely:

$0 or low cost decorating

'out of the box' ideas

and she also did a decorating with branches and twigs entry that featured several of the same ideas as mine a few weeks ago!

so now my list of 'weird' stuff' i want to do to the house that i can't because we're currently in a rental is growing, but i can feel better about it because now i can call it out of the box decorating which sounds much more creative and like i actually know what i'm talking about [ha!]. things like painting chalkboard paint on the lower half of a wall in a playroom, or hanging an old window horizontally above the kitchen sink and hooking coffee cups onto it. oh, and wallpapering a little bit. and hanging cool light fixtures and branches and shelves.

i also finally have a direction in mind for what to do with our living room, and i'm so excited to get started! watch out, boring living room- i'm coming for you!



but i wish i was anti-crastination.

i'm pretty sure there must be an official psychological term for the fact that i always get about this far in a project and then want to stop:
and i truly am a terrible, terrible procrastinator. but i did finish the one wreath on the right, and the one on the left is still sitting unfinished on my dining room table in hopes that i will actually finish it before it is not spring anymore [it is the last of the 3 dollar store wreaths].

ok, back to work. i have lots of spring-y projects coming now that the weather is so nice, and i do have one big project that i cannot wait to have finished, so much so that i'm giving myself may 1st as an official deadline! so excited.


inspiration: mantles!

two posts in one day? hurrah!

i feel like our mantle is always a work in progress... especially after christmas when it seemed so easy to fill it with fun, festive things. summer is easy too, but spring floating around in between the two is a little trickier for me. we have the interesting element of a giant meant-for-the-tv hole, but since the tv is in the other room, we covered it with a big mirror [which doesn't quite cover it all, but oh well].

here is our current springtime mantle, complete with my dumpster-salvaged giant bottle and my dollar store wreath!
and here are some other beautiful mantles that have been catching my eye:
little big nest
the lettered cottage [LOVE that chalkboard!]
[i don't have the source for this one, i strategically named it so i'd remember where it came from... a little too strategically apparently!]
brown eyed fox

i'm linking up to the nester's mantle party... there is oh so much lovely mantle inspiration to be seen there!

dollar store wreath #2

[here was dollar store wreath #1!]

i also wanted a wreath for my dining room mirror... something green, leafy but not floral, and fresh but not so springy i'd feel like i needed to take it down in just a month or two when summer hits full-force. when i saw the base of mary janes and galoshes' butterfly wreath, i knew it was a perfect fit! big, fluffy, beautiful, and cheap! so i got out my scallop punch, started punching out my bags, and gluing them into my wreath form.
anybody want to guess how many paper bags that took?
answer: 19 and a half.

this was seriously an easy project. all it took was the wreath form, a glue gun, a scallop punch, brown paper lunch bags and a lot of punching/gluing.
isn't this a yummy pile? I'm suddenly wanting to make a garland...
right. focus. pinch, glue, poke. repeat.
there's something so methodical about gluing things with my glue gun. i really really like it. i had a squish-and-glue rhythm going, which was much easier than the roll-and-glue i did for the sunburst mirror. it was fail-proof, the more i squished in there, the fuller and fluffier it looked!

sometimes when the repetitive gluing of a project like this gets a bit monotonous, i like to imagine what the project description of the thing i'm making would sound like for something like the sundance catalog or pottery barn... constructed of reclaimed brown paper petals and artisan hand-assembled... their descriptions always make me laugh. just add the $500 price tag that everything seems to have in those catalogs, and there you go!
here's what the back looked like, in case you were wondering [i'm always wondering]. this might have been much easier with a foam wreath! i was also thinking that it might turn out even bigger and fluffier if i made one with coffee filters?
i want more green in my dining room so i thought about giving it a little spritz of green paint, but the brown kraft paper was just too lovely to mess with. so i used one big strip of fabric to hang it from my mirror, and done! [i just tucked the fabric between the wall and the mirror, the weight of the mirror leaning against the wall was enough to hold it like a little sling... the wreath itself is super light!]
a great addition to my spring mantle! in fact, i might not change anything when summer comes!


still here!

i didn't fall off the face of the earth... promise! but my last couple of weeks have been full of a little bit of this:
and a whole lot of this:
i hope your weekend was full of happiness with your family and friends, and your heart full of the hope and assurance that Jesus's sacrifice on the cross provides. happy easter!


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