Monday, January 30, 2012

My Current TO-DO list

To try and keep myself honest and ACTUALLY get things DONE, I thought I would post my TO-DO LIST to be completed by April 1. And cross them off as I do them!!! Why April 1, well we have a big birthday in April so I figure that's a nice time frame. It also gives me time before my sister's wedding in May and then doesn't put the pressure on to have a million projects to do over the summer!

1. Finish Little Man's room - DONE - just need to blog it someday
This was done before, but I made some changes, so its no longer "done" I don't have too much left in this project. Just some new art work and things for the wall. Super EASY! I should be able to cross this off of my list in a week.... right??

2. Re-Do Wall of Guest Bedroom - DONE - sort of.... its a fix for now....  again need to blog it
I love my guest bedroom, but I don't love this wall of the room. It just doesn't quite cut it. So I have plans to re-do it. Not 100% sure yet what it will look like, but it will include the Red Envelope "You make me happy when skies are Grey" artwork.

3. Organize Craft Room - DONE
OMG this room is a disaster!! Trust me it's a mess and is in desperate need of organization! Some days it looks better than others... but most of the time its a stressful place to work on projects. I have started a gallery wall in this room, which I love, but need a few additions.
Update: This room is done!!! Check it out!

4. Add Some Style to the Master Bedroom - Working on it
I love our end tables, headboard, the lamps, the sconces above the bed... BUT this room just needs MORE. Besides what you can see in this picture, there is one photo on the wall, which is directly opposite of the bed. To the left is a big blank wall, to the right is a nice big wall of windows with white curtains. I love the start of this room, but it just needs MORE! Like another gallery wall, and maybe a stenciled wall behind the bed. We will see! Check out my Master Bedroom Pinterest Board...

5. The Living Room - Still a hot mess!!
We have lived in this house for six months and I still have not gotten around to this room. And of course it's the first room you see as you enter the house! When we moved in I put those black shelves up but I don't like them. The empty room has been a 4th playroom for my son... and worked out well for our Christmas tree... and currently holds Little Man's train table... but it's time for this room to at least have a place to sit! A while back I bought 2 chairs on Craig's List that need to be refinished, so I have to tackle that project! A while back I started pulling staples... I didn't get very far because it was hard work! ... and I have upholstered easy chairs before like these and this... but never a big chair... Then of course I want to paint and curtains, artwork... oh the possibilities.... check out my Pinterest living room board...

6. Paint Guest Bathroom Vanity - NOTHING.....
Just because I have the paint and I want too... and I think it would look fabulous with the Dr. Seuss decor of the bathroom!

7. Paint the Main Floor Bathroom - NOTHING
It's a pale green, and its fine, but I don't like fine in my house! I am thinking white and turquoise!

8. Finish Little Man's Photobooks - ONE DOWN.....
When Little Man was born I had the brilliant... crazy... something... idea that I should make one photobook PER month for him... Little man was born in April and I think I did the first month pretty quickly... and then things slowed down. As of 2 weeks ago I had only finished the first 6 months (which is PRETTY good considering my insane idea) then 2 weeks ago I completed 2 more books. So I am ONLY a year behind and need to complete January of 2011 until April 2011. THEN I need to figure out how I am going to do year 1... Obviously I should NOT keep doing this insane idea of one photobook per month for the rest of his life... too insane, plus any additional kids we have. I am debating either one for the entire year or maybe 2 for the year... we will deal with that when it happens... hopefully before his second birthday!!

9. Lose like 40 pounds - NOPE DIDN'T DO
I ordered my bridesmaid dress 2 sizes too small so I need to make sure it fits!! Even though my son is almost 2 years old, I still have not lost the baby weight... but that's a whole other story... so it's time to lose it and get on with my life!!!

So there we have 9 super easy projects that I can easily get done in 2 months... right?? Time to get off the computer and get doing... something...

Update: So as of April 1, I had 3 things done. I picked April 1 because I knew we were going to be on vacation for a week and it was Little Man's birthday.... and my sister's wedding... so yeah not all that great.... oh well, on to the next goal list... 

There is no thing as a "finished" room...

There is no thing as a "finished" room in my house (and pretty much every other DIYer)!

A few months ago I said Little Man's nursery was done and finished! Conveniently right before our house warming party... well then I had to go and buy a new glider (we had one in our Michigan house, but I didn't LOVE it and when packing decided to sell it on Craigs List... then when Little Man was sick with croup I REALLY wished we had one again... ANYWAYS.... I bought a new glider) SO I had to re-arrange his room to make it fit... which meant this weekend I had to move shelves, cover holes, re-think artwork.... etc... so we are on to version 2 of Little Man's room at this house...

Shelves down... and a big hole where I painted around the shelf... OPPs!

Then I had to start re-working the guest room... a room no one has slept in during the 6 months we have lived in this house ... even though its one of my favorite rooms...

I am working on some new artwork for the new rooms and then I will show the new versions!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Valentines Day Decor

I love Valentines Day, its always been one of my favorite Holidays. I love the pinks, reds, hearts, cookies, candies.... or maybe that's because its close to my birthday!

Even though I love the Holiday I have not decorated much for it this year.

I finally got around to putting away my Christmas pillows and made a new Valentines pillow. For some reason I didn't take any in between pictures, but this one was pretty straight forward. I cute 9 hearts by hand (no Silhouette this time, I know!!!) I used some Under Wonder and ironed them on, and then outlined the hearts with my sewing machine. (Don't look, but I am learning how to sew so my lines aren't great!!!) The 3 middle heart's are made from a Target dish towel.

I also put together a little valentines day decor on our mantel. I really like the simple love frame (made with the same Target dish towel!!!) and I think its going to have a permanent place in my craft room - since my craft room colors are red, black and turquoise!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cheap toy storage

Like so many people with children, our house is overrun with toys - and we only have one little man... Last week while at Target I ran across these great canvas totes on wheels and knew these would be a great addition to our playroom. They are great because they are large and hold a decent amount of toys and I like that they are on wheels! I am sure Little Man will love that too, and will push them around... Target has two sizes of these canvases. The smaller was $15 and the larger were only $5 more, so I went for the larger size - more toy storage!!

I like any DIYer had to personalize these nice canvas totes! I used my Silhouette to make a stencil and some fabric paint and a short dry time we have a happy momma with a slightly cleaner playroom -- for now....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Personalized Foot Print Stool

This was included in my little man's nursery post, but I love it so much that I thought it deserved it's own post! Little man's nursery has a higher window ledge than other rooms in our house and he loves looking out the window.... so he needed a foot stool!

I found this simple stool at Micheal's. I painted it with the Silver Sage paint I had color matched at Home Depot to match Restoration Hardware Baby and Child's Silver Sage paint.

I then taped off a boarder using blue painters tape and painted a nice dark chocolate boarder. Then I had little man help with his foot prints! I then used my Silhouette to stencil on his name - in case we forget whose feet they are! I still need to add the date - because that is WHAT I will forget!
Perfect for looking out the window!! And perfect size for little feet!

From dish towels to pillow in 5 minutes....

Thursday night when I was having craft fail after craft fail I needed a project that I knew I could not mess up on.... a few weeks ago at Target I picked up two of these awesome dish towels - I was not sure what I would use them for but I knew they would not be used in the kitchen...
I folded the dish towel in half and cut a bit off of the bottom - I wanted a smaller pillow - I then sewed the pillow leaving room for stuffing! It took 5 minutes and it turned out EXACTLY how I planned!! The colors match my craft room perfectly so I thought it would be a nice pillow to keep on my chair for my hour and hours of crafting!
When Little Man found this pillow he instantly thought it was for him and moved it into his room and curled up with it and his blanket... so I might have to make him another small Little Man sized pillow!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Scrabble Pillows

I saw these cute scrabble pillows online a while back and thought they would be perfect to make for my friend and her husband who love scrabble and just moved into a new house! The perfect house warming present!

I used my Silhouette Cameo and made letter stencils for a 12x12 pillow. Since I was making 4 pillows I didn't want them to be huge! I double checked the award amount on Google - for Scrabble fan's I didn't want to have the wrong point values! I used the first letter of their first and last names for the pillows.

Tulip fabric paint!

It was hard to get the vinyl to "stick" to the fabric so I was a bit nervous that it would bled, but it didn't! I did let it dry over night before I removed the vinyl.

Then I sewed a pillow and stuffed it!

I know they love Scrabble so I hope they like these pillows!

Not my night!

Tonight has just been one crafting fail after another!!

I still have a love HATE relationship with my Silhouette Cameo. It has a mind of its own, and I am thinking that is how its going to be. I have learned tonight not to cut vinyl with very skinny letters and expect to stencil with them... ... my word became a jumbled mess. Most of the time I can't get the transfer paper to work and am finding it works better to NOT use it.... but again that's a hit or a miss....

My fault - not the Silhouette's fault - but I removed the portion I wanted to keep instead of the stuff I didn't want to keep... I am saving this, it might come in handy in the future, but it's not going to work for what I want it too now...

You can't really tell in this picture but I can't even sew a straight curved line right!

Then to top it off, I got paint on my laptop!

Tomorrow it will all work out and I am sure I can salvage most of these projects, but isn't it frustrating when it seems like none of your brilliant ideas want to work out the way they should???

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Knock Off Decor

I am so excited that I have been featured on Knock Off Decor for the SECOND time!!

I love this site and am so happy to be featured on it! Check it out, so many fabulous knock offs!
My most recent project to be featured was my Red Envelope knock off canvas art!

In November my Dr. Seuss Bathroom was featured. This bathroom was a lot of work - and I actually painted those fish! But I am so proud of this bathroom and Little Man still loves pointing out all of the fish each time he takes a bath!

Thanks again Knock Off Decor!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Valentines Day Printable

My first Valentines Day decoration! I created some 8x10 artwork for the frame in my dinning room that I have been changing out depending on the holiday.

These are many ways to say I love you, in many different languages.

I added some hearts I cut out with my Silhouette and strung together. It's actually the same heart at the bottom of the printable.
If you care to use my artwork, I am sharing my first printable! Enjoy!!

Updated! Jan. 11, 2016 ~ I created an updated version of this that is gold! Visit for a free printable of the gold Valentine's Day printable.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Red Envelope Knock-off Artwork

I love Red Envelope for their unique gifts. I have bought and received my share of things from Red Envelope but recently when exploring their website I came across their personalized canvas art work starting at $120. While I would have no problem purchasing a personalized canvas for that price but these are SO simple looking that I figured I could easily make them myself for a fraction of the price.

I LOVED the state canvas! So cool! But so easy to make! (For some reason this was really hard to photograph - the state looks pink.... it's not, it's white!!!)
I used my Silhouette Cameo to make state of Wisconsin and the text.

I searched the internet for a state of Wisconsin image and I found a pretty simple one. If you can't find a simple shape you can use the directions I used for making a silhouette of my son in photoshop.

To cut the state shape with the Silhouette, I saved my image as a JPG and opened it in Silhouette studio. In the trace menu I selected my entire image with the "select trace area" and then selected "trace outer edge." I then re-sized mine to be about 12x12 since I was using a 16x20inch canvas. Then it was off to the cutting machine!
I then transferred the state and words to the canvas.

I then piled on the white paint to try and seal the vinyl to the canvas. I actually did two light coats and it did NOT bled.
I then painted several layers of Martha Stewart's Surf craft paint.
I did let it dry over night so it was good and dry. I know some remove the vinyl when wet, but I figured it would be easier to remove the large state image when dry since its so large! I was so nervous pealing the letters off!
But it turned out GREAT! I love it! I love the detail that the Silhouette cut out for the state border!
I think it turned out great! Here is the original from Red Envelope for $120!
While browsing the Red Envelope site I came across this pretty canvas that will go well in my guest bedroom! Again $120!
Well here is my version. So simple I just used my Silhouette again. And this canvas I have had for about 5 years and re-painted over it the dark gray not knowing what I would use it for! So this was a pretty near free project for me! This canvas is about 15x30 inches and I love how large the canvas is and how there is so much extra space on the top and bottom!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Traveling with an infant on Amtrak

This is not craft related, but for a while now I wanted to blog about my experience taking Amtrak with an infant because before we set out on this trip I searched for others experiences and was not able to find very much information.

So if you do not care to know about traveling 56 hours on an Amtrak train with a child, feel free to stop reading!
Last August we took Amtrak to Whitefish, Montana for my cousin's wedding. We actually traveled with a large group of my extended family. My husband was not able to attend, but we had lots of help with my sisters and of course grandma and grandpa!

At the time of our trip my son was 16 months old. And I would say over all it was a VERY positive experience. (Well as much of a positive experience as you can have being stuck on a train 28 hours one way!! Lets just say the 16 month old was not the reason for any issues with the trip - 56 hours is just a LONG time to be on a train!!!)

I should mention I have taken Amtrak several times with my son before (by myself!) but only on a 6 hour trip.  I could go into a whole extra tangent here - but  I will just say dealing with a transfer by yourself is a bit challenging because unlike an airplane you are carrying the baby AND your luggage (backpacks are good for luggage when you are by yourself!!) But other passengers and the Amtrak staff (usually) are very helpful with helping you out when you are by yourself with a baby.

We did NOT have a roomette for our 56 hour trip, and honestly I don't think it would have been any easier with one. It might have been more difficult with one, but I was not in one, so I can't say for sure. I just know we did not have one and it worked out very well for us.

The biggest question I had before hand was were is a 16 month old going to sleep and how is he going to sleep and stay asleep without having a total meltdown. I thought about lots of different options including bringing his stroller and having him sleep in that, his pack and play (which is small, but would have NEVER worked!) When he was little and still in his bucket seat it was perfect, he slept anywhere! My plan before getting on the train was to bring his car seat along (which we then also used in the the rental car) and bring a bungee cord along and attach his car seat to the train seat (since train cars do not have seat buckles.)

Once on the train we just put his car seat on the floor in front of our seat and made sure to put a bag or something behind the seat so it would not tip over! (It did make it impossible for 2 people to sleep in the seats but we technically had a seat for the 16 month old.) On the way there we were in the first row, which has a little more room than the rest of the seats. I was still nervous about how he would sleep, but he slept better than anyone else! Once he was in his seat (we did buckle him in his seat) he slept great the entire night! We made sure to have familiar things for him - his favorite blankets and stuffed animals (Bring a blanket for everyone in your party!! Then train gets COLD!!! Trust me!! And socks!!!! It's cold!!) When not in use, we stored the car seat away from our space to have a bit more room.

Next how to feed a young child on the train. I would suggest bringing along a lot of child friendly snacks. There is a food car, but there really is nothing a 16 month old would eat. We brought a cooler with milk for him and easy to transport snack food items - string cheese, fruit cups, yogurt, crackers, cereal... you get the point. We brought along 4 sippy cups for him as well and washed them out once we were in our hotel for the return trip. We also stopped at a grocery store before our return trip to refill our food supplies! HINT: bring along a bottle of your favorite wine or beer as well! They sell some alcohol in the snack car but its expensive and you can drink in your seat (just don't forget a wine opener!)

This was not as hard as we thought it would be, but we were very prepared! We brought along NEW toys which helped. My son loves cars and I would suggest bringing several of them! They are easy to play with on the tray tables. Here we are making a new friend!

We brought new things and even a few toys that were for older children, but we knew he would be very closely supervised so that was not so much of an issue. A few new books, crayons, even a train car and a Thomas the Train flash light! (He loved that!) We also brought stickers, which were fun to put on the windows of the train! Here we are in the observation car. I highly suggest making the trip to this car often. There are larger windows and a bit more space to enjoy the views, which kept us entertained for hours!

In general for our trip we over packed! (Since we were going to Montana we brought a back pack carrier to go hiking with.) Because we were part of a big group we were able to leave our luggage under the train (if you get on at a hub station you should also be able to do this) or you can leave your luggage at the front of the train for a bit easier access. Make sure to pack a "carry on" bag so it's easier to find all of your necessary items.

Misc Items
My son loves his paci so I packed EVERY single one was had just in case!

Seriously, make sure to bring socks and a blanket! Bring a sweatshirt or something for everyone as well, it does get chilly even in the summer!

Bring lots and lots of wipes! I over packed on these (and diapers!!) but I would rather have extra than run out! Plus the wipes come in handy for cleaning up after eating and so many other things!

So would I do it again? Yes, it was not that bad. It was a long time to spend on the train, but we were prepared so it made it easier. I have heard stories of the train being delayed... if that would have happened to us, I might have changed my story, but it was not so bad! Plus the views were AWESOME!!!! So that may have helped as well!

Thanks for reading and let me know if you have and questions!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sewed Ribbon Chevron Pillow

I added to my home decor my first chevron piece! I created a chevron pillow with fabric and white grosgrain ribbon and I love how it turned out!

chevron ribbon pillowI was not sure how long this would take to make and it was my second project with my new sewing machine that I am still trying to figure out. It took less than 2 hours and would have taken less had I not had issues with my sewing machine (still not sure if its the machine or user error :) )

My pillow ended up being a 16 x 16 inch square pillow.

I first started by measuring and marking my ribbon every 4 inches, to account for the seam allowance I did the first one in 4.25 inches - which I really would not have had to do, but I did. (Do you like my snowman PJs in the picture :) )

chevron ribbon pillow
I decided to sew the ribbon every 2 inches for a total of 8 rows.

For my first row I used tape to mark the top and to mark the bottom (I added an extra .5 inches on the bottom again for seam allowance.) For the remaining rows I did not use the tape as it was not necessary and made the edges tear a bit.

chevron ribbon pillow
Originally with adding the tape I thought I would not have to pin the ribbon, but after I started putting it together I found the tape was not needed, but the pins were a must! Much easier!

chevron ribbon pillow

Time to sew! I sewed right down the middle of the ribbon (or as close to center as possible! - I'm a new sewer!!)

chevron ribbon pillow

For the second plus rows, I used my acrylic ruler and placed it 2 inches above the starting point of the first line and sort of eyeballed where the ribbon should go, using the first row for the bottom points. I found it worked best to pin a row and sew it before pinning the next row.

chevron ribbon pillow

More sewing! I found the easiest way to sew the angle change was to make sure the needle was down in the fabric, lift the foot up and turn the fabric with the needle down in the fabric. I am sure this is a basic sewing concept, but I am a new sewer!

chevron ribbon pillow
8 rows later, the front of the pillow is complete!

chevron ribbon pillow

I then sewed a basic envelope pillow.

chevron ribbon pillow

Finished product! Love it in person!!

chevron ribbon pillow
chevron ribbon pillowIt looks great in my master bedroom. Here it's sitting on top of the first pillows I made with my new sewing machine. I might make too many pillows.... can you have too many pillows?

chevron ribbon pillow chevron ribbon pillow