Friday, January 29, 2010

I {Heart} Hair Clippies

Remember this adorable picture with my open toilet in the background {we are trying out 2000 flushes, not a bad product, my kids love the blue water. . . but i digress. . .}?  See that cute little hair clip?  My friend emailed me this link to the cutest hair clip tutorial over at The Purl Bee.  We are going to get together to do them, but i had a few scraps of felt and i couldn't resist trying just one.  It turned out pretty cute.  It makes me excited to get some better felt in some springy colors so that i can have some to match more outfits.  I will just say, i LOVE making clippies.  It has opened up a whole new world of hair doing for my girls by being able to make bows, flowers, and now. . felt clips!  It is nice to have a few supplies on had to whip up a few clips when you feel like your want your daughters outfit to have an extra umph (or your own!). 

Speaking of clippies. . .I have a friend (well, she's really more like a sister) who started making clippies about a year ago, and where i just dabble here and there, she seriously became an expert.  She makes, THE. CUTEST. CLIPPIES.  They are better than a good deal. .  . they are a GREAT deal.  I am the queen of cutting corners and i am often realizing her clips are better deals than even making them myself sometimes (and hers are way better than mine). She is a very meticulous person to begin with, but each of her clippies are made with love and great attention to detail.  She has been featured on numerous websites and in a few magazines, both online and print.  She is currently being featured in Child Style magazine for her oh-so-adorable owl paci-clips that have created quite a stir in the mommy-made business world.  Her clippies are being sold in boutiques around the globe, and to add to her great deals, she is even offering free shipping to her blog followers. So don't delay in checking out her etsy shop, or her blog to see all the new things. . . I certainly have my eye on some cute valentines day clippies! 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

90 pecent off!

Let me just start by saying today was a bad project day.  I sat down during quiet time to do a few little projects i had been itching to do, and one by one they all went down the tubes. . . not without draining all my usable time first.  So at the end of the day, when i finished the piled high stack of dishes I had neglected all day, while my kids ran around the main level asking me for a treat everytime they ran through the kitchen, thinking if i had only done this eariler. . .   I went out to the garage to throw a quick coat of spray paint over a 90 perecnt off christmas clearence wagon that i couldn't pass up.  The outcome certainly brightened up my mood, but not before this little face had.  . .
(I will blog Tmrw about her cute little clippy)

So, a few sprays of my new favorite spray paint color {oil rubbed bronze}:

Plus my 90 percent off Christmas wagon:


Monday, January 25, 2010

A Bit of Warmth

This time of winter always has me thinking about spring.  This seems to be the time where there is just enough of a break from the fridgid winter temps that all the snow dissapears and I always get fooled into thinking spring is just around the corner.  When, in reality, in New England the warm weather is far, FAR away.  But i get on a train of thought none the less.  And my train of thought goes like this: Spring makes me think of Easter, and Easter makes me think of sweet pale colors like those from little tulip buds or cherry blossoms.  And the beautiful spring palette gets me thinking of Easter Dresses.  And when i think of Easter dresses, I get all giddy thinking of my sweet little threesome all dolled and slicked up.  It is hard to not think of all they ways they can match each other, or all the different styles and periods they can portray.  Last year I got an image in my head of some vintage looking outfits like children in the 1950 might have worn.   That proper little time period when after the town easter egg roll, all the kids would run to a candy shop and ask the man behind the counter (who would naturally be wearing red and white stripes, an apron and one of those little rectangular white hats) for giant swirly lollipops.  Then of course, without staining their prim, crisp clothes they would sing and lick their rainbow lolly's while their bobby-socked feet would skip down the incredibly safe and low-traffic Main street back to the house. Can't you just picture it?   I couldn't find anything like it in the stores.  Well, i found something wonderful for my boy, boy things are much easier to buy than to sew.  But the girls i had to design it myself.  Here was the outcome:

I was either so impressed with myself last year, or the depths of winter funk is getting to my head, but I am thinking of trying to design them something this year.  This takes some prep, so it makes it okay that i am easter dress "shopping" in January :).  I have done quite a bit more sewing since so I  made those dresses to i am feeling up for more of a challenge.  So in my spring state of mind i went purusing through chasing-fireflies (it's like my PotteryBarn, for girls dress ideas--love it, but can't buy it, so may as well try to make it) to see some of their so-sweet-you-could-eat-them dresses.  Here are my faves, You guys tell me what you think:
How can something so shapeless look so darn adorable?  I dont know what it is about this hot pink trash bag that i love so much, but it really is so striking and bold, and not like any other little girl dresses i see, that i just can't help but like it. 

This i just love and my oldest wasn't as excited about it as I am. . . I am hoping she changes her mind.  I love the two layers, and how thin that organza is throughout the middle and how rich it looks with the ruffles and rosettes.  And now that I know how to make rosettes, I could defnintely make this.

This looks like a Juliet dress.  And what little girls doesn't want to look like a Shakesperean princess?

I seriously think i could make this one out of burlap and paint the circles on.  I love the metallic against the coarse textured tan fabric. 
I heart fancy dresses on little girls.  There is nothing more hugable than a little girl in airy, subtle, tulle ruffles.

So this one is obviously for winter, but i could see it in some light whispy cotton candy pink chiffon, with dark pink rosette around the neck... i just can't get enough rosettes. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Jewelry Dilemma's: SOLVED!

This is my dresser this morning. . . and every morning for that matter.  It is dusty, i can hardly see the top, and more often than not it is littered with stuff.  It is really the only usable surface in our room right now because we only have one dresser (Soon to be two because i have a great craigslist gem sitting in my garage waiting to have a makeover). I constantly mull over what to do with this mess, but the real clutter is all the jewelry.  Don't get me wrong, it isn't too much jewelry, it is too much for my containers. Everyone of those containers on that dresser holds jewelry.  Even that poor little picture has become a holding zone, because, well, it was set on the dresser, and it had a rim, and so it qualified for something to plop my stuff in. I really need to dust and i can't do that until i am ready to really clean, so i need a solution.  I am currently on a big, bold jewelry kick and there is just never the right container for that--although my sister was reminding me of the Caboodles. . . that is a container that actually might work, but since I'm not thirteen anymore and it's not the early 90's I don't think I should own one anymore. So when my besty called me the other day and was mentioning a jewelry board she had seen hanging in the bathroom of one of her friends houses, my gears started turning and i couldn't let the idea go. What could be better than decor and storage all in one? The next thing i knew I was making a B- line to the fabric store to get something cute to be framed!  I love it so much that i need to share step by steps with you.  I actually did three at once, because my daughter needed one ;), and my son wanted to help with a project , so we turned his into a picture board and they helped with what they could.  Not all steps are suitable for little children but with close supervision there is a lot they can help with. 

Board of some sort (cork, wood, i used soundboard {the stuff that goes behind drywall to make soundproof rooms}), cut to fit inside the frame
Nails, Push Pins, or Tacks
Hot Glue AND E6000 craft glue
*This little side note goes for all my projects--I put what i use but be sure to see what you can use or substitute with stuff you already have at home so you don't have to buy supplies.  If you have wood, laying around than no need to buy cork board, try to innovate so that the project costs less.  This project only cost me about $5 because I worked with what i had! 

1. Prep work: Paint frame (if needed).  I spray painted mine with Krylon's Oil Rubbed Bronze color.  I heart Krylon brand spray paint, the ease with which it goes on is totally worth the extra 2 bucks, and i have used plenty of the cheap stuff to know (although, the cheap stuff does last well enough, you just have to use more to get the same even results, so i figure it all evens out, but by all means buy the cheap stuff if you like it).  And make sure your board it cut to fit in the frame.

2.  Lay out your fabric and place your board over top.   Cut your fabric with an extra 1 1/2 to 2 inch boarder around your board.  (My board was distorting the color of fabric i chose so I am doing a white muslin underneath my green upper fabric). 

3. Get your hot glue gun ready.  My 5 year old helped me glue the edges to the back by taking a stapler and pressing the fabric down so we weren't burning off our fingerprints.  While you are doing this be sure if there is a pattern it is lined up evenly with the board before you begin to glue, also make sure you pull it tight so there are no wrinkles in the fabric.  Glue all 4 sides leaving the corners I have some pictures and instructions below for these steps. 

4.  Now you are ready to glue your fabric covered board to your frame.  I am loving this E6000 glue, it is tough stuff, so i am using that.  glue on the back of the frame and place your board on it.  I went ahead and put some heavy books on each side so it would hold tight while the glue was drying. 

5.  Finally, it is ready for the tacks.  I used these awesome little furniture tacks i got at the hardware store.  They look antique and they were long enough to push in while leaving enough out to hang something over, and they were sturdy enough to hold all my chunky necklaces.  Position the tacks where it will be best for your jewelry and hammer, or push them in place.  If you have lighter necklaces you could use cork board and pushpins and then it will be easy to change around if you need to. 

6.  Hang your jewelry on your new statement piece and let your jewelry decorate your room instead of cluttering it ;).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The $3 Outfit

I was at Marshalls yesterday and they had tons of clearence stuff.  I am loving leggings for my 5 year old, since she is the queen of skirts and it is just too cold for bare legs, so i picked up a couple pair.  I found this grey casual pair of $3 i really liked and when we got home i noticed she didn't have much to go with them.  Since i am trying to clean out my unnecessary wardrobe items i started rummaging my drawers for something i could turn into a cute 80's baggy T for her to wear with these great leggings {heaven forbid my $3 go to waste}.  I found this frumpy black, knit, V neck i got after having my youngest and got to cutting.  I used a Tshirt of her's for my guide and (going a few inches longer) I cut a band off the bottom. 

I wanted to keep most of that bagginess for the top, but then make a tight band to bring it in at the bottom.  So I made the band true size and gathered the bottom of the remaining Tshirt.  Then I sewed the bottom back in place creating a nice gathered affect for the T. 

After I did that i had her try it on and i marked with chalk where her arms  were so i could make the sleeves tight and then i cut off what i needed to around the arm and armpit and angled out as i went towards the bottom of the shirt so it would stay nice and baggy.  I sinched the V by weaving a small unsewn piece of scrap material through with a big embrordery needle, and tied it in a knot. 

I Just Love it!  I only wish clothes for myself were that easy--and cheap ;)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Yesterday's Endeavor

I have been doing a lot of tinkering with my photoshop elements lately. And yesterday during naptime I had this great idea to make a button for my sidebar. I have had a few requests and kept putting it off because {surprise,surprise} I didn't want to pay someone to make one for me, when all I really needed was the html code to be on the side of it. How hard could that be? I typed in a google search and came up with this tutorial, which seemed simple enough, but there were little problems here and there, extra characters added to the end, or the button showing up ginormous on my sidebar. But 4 hrs later, I think the little details are ironed out. I saved my $15 bucks and I have a button that says "i'm prowler a".    Haha, jk, it is meant to be read "I'm a Prowler". I just need to figure out how to make the word prowler blink and we're in business! That will be a project for a different time far far in the future! So, all you readers out there, feel free to grab a button for your own blog or a friends! { If it is having issues, drop a comment, so I can iron them out}It's simple:
1.Highlight the text in the box next to the button and press {ctrl C}
2.On your blog under {Layout}, click {Add Gadget}, and add {third party functionality/HTML code}
3. Put the cursor in the big box and hit {ctrl V} or right click with the mouse in the box and click {paste}.
4. Save and enjoy all my hard work ;)

Monday, January 18, 2010

May the Force Be with You. . .

I think this cloak just makes this $2.00 clearance Obi Wan  Star Wars costume completely authentic. It brings a warmth to my heart to see my little guy wandering around the house looking like he was cut straight from the movie (sullen face and all). I knew when i got this costume from my sister, who bought it at an after halloween clearence sale, that it needed a cloak.  I went to JoAnns and scoured their 50% off clearance rack for anything brown or black that would make suitable jedi cloak material.  I found a great woven brown that ended up being $1.50 a yard!

I wasn't quite sure where to begin, i dont make many cloaks, as you could imagine, so i needed to get a good visual.  When I start to make something without a pattern and I'm having a hard time really seeing it in my head,  I draw a simple picture of what I want the end result to be from a couple of angles.  Then, i break it down by adding in dotted lines where i would have to sew parts together.  It really helps me visualize what i need to cut out.  Then i can sketch the different pieces separatly and figure out how many of each piece i would need.  Next i make measurements of the person I am making it for.   And, with tape measure close by, I am ready to begin cutting.  I use my very slim knowledge of sewing {that develops more with everything i sew} and sew the pieces in what i feel like would be the best order {even though sometimes i am wrong :) } I had planned on showing a tutorial but my pictures i took of the process are missing somewhere in this vast computer storage land. So i will show you how i draw out my patterns. . . it is very unprofessional, but it works for me and maybe it can give you some ideas! 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fun with the Kids--Clothespin Magnets

I am going to admit that I am a fridge Nazi.  I only let certain things on my fridge.  I told myself if i ever got stainless steal appliances I was never going to cover it all up with papers and magnets.  And now i have one, and so i have stuck to my guns.  I do use the side of my fridge for a few things here and there since the side is black and it won't cover up any of the silky sheen of the stainless steal.  But my magnets are not matching or even that strong and if I am going to have something hanging I want some form of unity for it all.   I decided, after an eye-numbing jaunt from blog to blog, to make some magnets.  I found myself mesmerized at Twice Remembered with her beautiful home photos and great makeover projects.  On Kim's sidebar and in some of studio pictures I saw these cute little jazzed up clothespins and since I couldn't find the post for just the the clothespins (although i am sure it is on there somewhere, i just didn't need more than the snapshot) I just sat down and made some myself.   I spent Sunday afternoon with my recently turned 4 year old and 5 year old working on these clothespin magnets and it was so fun.  It was something they could all do, and it looked better with their help than if i had done it myself.  Before you call them in to help, you will want to do a little adult prep work.  My fridge is stainless steel and black, so I sprayed the sides that would be exposed on my clothespins with just one coat of Krylon black spray paint. While they were drying I used a clothespin to measure and cut strips of card stock to fit both of the flat sides of the clothespins I wanted to use.  Once all that is done you are ready to bring in the kids for help. 

Spray Paint (for prep, if you want)
Clothespins (I am using the mini ones)
Scrapbook Paper
Mod Podge/small paint brush to spread it
Magnets (I used Rare Earth Magnets i found on Ebay, they are small and super strong)
E600 craft Glue


1. Once you have done your prep and your kids are ready to help.  Get out a paint brush for your little helpers and have them spread a thin layer of Mod Podge on the flat sides of the clothespins. Since we all know a thin layer is all relative when kids are gauging, then you can place the paper on it and wipe any excess, repeat step on the opposite side. 

2. Once they are all done, the first ones will probably be dry enough to sand.  I was doing this step with my kids trying to make the painted sides and the edges of the paper look nice and worn, and my kids clothespins were turning out so much cuter than mine i gave the job up to them.  I was being way to careful and organized about it, but their reckless method of sanding produced much better and authentic results.  So they sanded them down for me.  ( I wish i had a good close up picture, but my camera broke so i am back to the old one which is quite old and about as many mega pixels as a cell phone, so the pictures lately will be much less detailed until i can get a new camera).

3. After they are sanded down, brush them off with a very damp paper towel and have the kids Mod Podge over the rest of it and set it out to dry.  My 4 year old had pretty much given up at this point so after my 5 year old painted the Mod Podge on, i took a clean brush and evened it out while she went on to the next one. 

4. Once it is completely dry you can attach you magnets.  I think that the magnets they sell at Micheal's aren't worth it.  There is nothing worse than a magnet that can't hold anything, or ever worse, slides down your fridge without even having anything to hold.  So I did some strong magnet research and found these great strong magnets on ebay in a variety of sizes.  Just type Rare Earth Magnets into the search and you will find all sorts of disc and cube shaped little silver magnets that really are strong.  A lot of them offered free shipping.  I got 50, for $8 that are 1/4 inch, so tiny enough to fit on my clothespin without showing from the front, and it really does hold.  So, if you use those, glue them on with the E 6000 craft glue, that stuff is like nails, seriously strong.  But don't set them too close together to dry because the magnets will attract each other and it will slide them off the glue before it is dry. 
That's it!  Cute magnets, fun project, QT with the kids. . . hard to beat that!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A place to call home. . .

This is my disgusting make up bag.  My baby girl got into my dark blue eyeshadow, and everything has been covered in a film of City Night ever since.  It has gotten to the point where I am keeping all of the cleaned off makeup by the edge of my sink, just cluttering up my counterspace, so i don't have to put it back in that nasty mess. I really needed a new home for my most used posessions. The more i thought about it, I realized that i never really buy makeup bags.  I just stumble upon them.  I either get them as a gift, or a bonus with my clinque moisturizer, and i really didn't want to start today.  So, I thought, I have all this fabric, I will make a new one.  I was starting to worry that it would get dirty and gross, but then i remembered the clear plastic i bought to cover my white kitchen chair cushions and i got excited!  I dug it out of the basement and got to work making myself a new, stylish make up clutch, that has a wipeable interior. 

2 kinds of coordinating fabric (one will only be seen on the inside of the bag so you don't really need it, but if you have extra fabric laying around it is fun when you look inside the bag and see it looking cute in there)
Clear Plasic Vinyl (you can get it by the yard at walmart or joann's)
Sewing Machine
Velcro (approx 9 inches)

(I tried to be really good at taking pictures so it would be easier to understand, hope it worked)

1. Cut out your first fabric, complimentary fabric, and vinyl each with these amounts and sizes (in inches) shown above.

2. Match up the pieces in each fabric and layer the matching pieces together in this order: on bottom, the clear plastic vinyl. In the middle, the fabric you have chosen for the outer fabric. And on top the fabric you chose for your inner fabric.

3. Sitch across the top (one of the long edges) of the two rectangle stacks and the top (the short 1/2 inch side) of the two triangle looking pieces.

4.  When you are done stitching, fold the vinyl over so the raw edge is now between the vinyl and the inner fabric, and the top edge is a nice fold.  These folded edges will form the top of your makeup bag.

5.  Next start piecing it together on the machine. {I would pin it together first, since there are so many layers, so you don't end up having one bunched up wrong.} Attach one triangular shaped side piece to the short side of the large rectangular front piece.  And continue around sewing all the 7 inch side together to make your bag edges.  The two rectangle pieces will be opposite each other, and the two triangular shaped pieces will be opposie each other.  Make sure all those nice folded edges are facing the same direction.

It will look like this at this point when the top part of the bag is all stitched together. 

6. Pin the bottom pieces onto the bag.  It takes a bit of working and maybe a bit of trimming to get it on there just right.  Now sew along the bottom.  When you come to a corner, lift up the presserfoot and needle, and reposision the bag on the next straight edge, making sure to sew from edge to edge so that your corners don't end up with little holes.

7.  Turn you bag to the right side and work it into the right shape.  Then with a zigzag stitch sew approx 9 inches of velcro just inside the top inner edge.

 Nothing to it. . . ahhh, look at how clean that is! 

A little tip:  The when i was sewing the bag pieces together the vinyl would sometimes stick to my presserfoot, so i really had to force it along sometimes.  I suppose a more meticulous sewer would make some bias tape {click here is a tutorial by the Angry Chicken on bias tape edges} to fold over the the edge you are sewing so it glides easier in the machine, but i just forced it along and it didn't even break my needle! 

This lovely picture above will show you that my sewing isn't perfect, but when your makeup is all in there and you have a stylin, sturdy bag you don't even think about the little imperfections that may be on it.  So, go clean out that crusty makeup bag {you know you all have one too}and make something new for all those things-you-wouldn't-be-stranded-on-an-island-without to go in.