Saturday, October 20, 2012

Trying to be Crafty!

What does a stay at home mother do in all her spare time? I usually sit on my behind and cruise Pinterest (if you're unfamiliar with Pinterest you'd better just log off this post right now) and see how crafty and talented other people are while I wipe my tears away because I don't have an iota of crafty talent in my bones.

BUT...I see so many things that look like they might actually be fun to make (during the 2 hours I have free every Monday morning), and also look like something this less-than-artistic mother could actually make.  I can't sew, I can't draw, I don't take good pictures, I never create an original recipe...but darn it, I CAN follow a tutorial!

Here are a couple things I've made this past year.

Coffee Filter Wreath from last year
(horrible picture, but remember? I don't take good pictures)
I ended up hanging it from a red ribbon to make it more festive.  I think it looks better in person, a lot more poofy.  I followed THIS tutorial.  It was really easy but did take a little bit of time gluing each and every filter on.  I even had to make a quick trip to the store to buy more filters.  The mister wouldn't have been too happy without his cup of coffee in the morning.

I also made these, but I think I've already shared them here?
I followed THIS tutorial.  

This fall I wanted a new fall wreath for the door, so I found THIS tutorial and went to work!  I adapted mine a bit, and used jute rather than burlap for this wreath.  I made and gave the burlap one (not pictured) to my mom.  She said she liked it, anyway.  

Ethan's room is getting another update.  Although I DID spend hours and hours painting it green with the blue/white stripe, I was never completely happy with the wall colors mixed with the blue furniture.  So, I did what any other normally sane person would do.  I painted over the walls with beige. All.That.Time.Spent.On.Stripes.For.Nothing.  Bah!

Well, I'm not in love with the beige but it does tone everything down.  So now I'm re-arranging his room (again) and hanging a few new things here and there (again).  I've seen so many pictures of what I'd love for his room to look like, and you'd think it'd be easy to copy (I've got NO shame in copying someone else's style, none whatsoever) but it's hard to straight up copy.  These designers are GOOD.

I did spot some curtains that I thought would look great in his room though.  And better yet, there was a step-by-step tutorial! It was this one HERE.  They are made out of one full size flat sheet cut in half, some no sew iron hem stuff, painters tape and paint (I used Medium Gray Acrylic paint mixed with Fabric Medium). 

 I had to modify mine a tad, I used clips to hang them rather than making tabs and my stripes were a little crooked but you can't tell unless you look at the bottom stripe.  Taping the stripes straight was the hardest part for me, but totally worth the few curse words I threw out of my mouth.

Once his room is done, I'll share those pictures.  Alec's room is also undergoing a little change, so who knows when or if I'll ever be done.

Lastly, I saw and fell immediately in love with THIS (I wished it were a picture of my bedroom).
chevron wall art

This whole thing really, but mainly the Chevron wall art.  I found a site that briefly described how the artist made it, so I gave it a try.  WITHOUT a tutorial, mind you.  

Here's a quick run-down of what I did.

Bought a big canvas. Mine was 30X48.  Wished it were wider but that was the best I could do.

Painted the entire thing off-white with acrylic paint.

Then I did the toughest part which was getting the chevron stripes JUST right.  I used one of those hand square triangular rulers things, I really have no idea what the name of it is.  You can't see in this picture, but I traced the stripes onto the canvas (use pencil, you'll mess up!)  There are several tutorials to get the stripes right but they all involved math, did I mention I'm not really any good at math?  So I figured it out myself, without using some complicated algebra equation that involved letters and numbers. KISS-Keep It Simple Stupid.  That's my motto.

Then I went to work on taping off the stripes.  Ran out of tape, but had some extra on hand.  Yeaa me!

Keep on taping, while keeping track of which stripes will be painted and which will remain white.

I used Wrought Iron acrylic paint, mixed with some of the off-white cream color, to paint in my stripes. 

After it's all painted, I gave it another coat.  I pulled the tape off before the paint had a chance to dry.  Your lines will be nice and crisp, assuming you put your tape down nice and tight to start off if you do this.

Some people would stop right here and hang it up, but I wanted mine to look more beat up like in my inspiration picture.  At first I had no idea how to do this so I just googled something like, "how to age canvas with paint" and I was given a million tips in about .3244 seconds. Gah!  Some were waaaay too technical and others involved an orbital sander.  A what!?

Ok, I actually know what that is but I was looking for something non-electric.

Basically, I just did my own thing again and grabbed an old rag, mixed a little umber brown, gray and cream together then dabbed the rag here and there on the canvas, concentrating on the edges and corners.  I also crossed my fingers and said a quick prayer that I wouldn't ruin the entire thing, cause that's how it sometimes goes for me. Burnt bacon, anyone?

Afterward I did that step, I thought to email the artist from the inspiration photo to see how she finished her piece off.  Her name is Erica Lugbill, she's a talented and successful interior designer based out of Chicago.  And guess what?  She responded to little ol' me!  

She said she used steel wool to roughen it up, and not to go easy on it.  Ethan helped me with this part, he thought it was pretty cool to "ruin" my painting.

Scratch, scratch, scratch!  A lot of paint will come off, but that's what I was going for.

She said to splatter some paint onto the entire canvas using a toothbrush.  You can't really tell I did that part, but I did. 

Lastly, I sealed the entire thing with non-yellowing matte varnish.  

Here's she hangs, right above our bed.  I'm pleased with how it turned out, even the ever critical husband likes it.  Two points for me!  Guess how many things are hanging up in our bedroom now?  ONE.

I think I'm done with the crafts for the time being, the people at Michael's and Hobby Lobby are starting to roll their eyes at me because I'm in there so much.  There's probably a limit to how many purchases and returns a customer can do in a day.  

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Spy With My Little Eye a...BLOG POST!

Oh yes, I've neglected my duties as blog publisher and I'm just sick about it.  Not really, but I wished I'd do a better job at updating.  So here's a mixed bag of what's going on in our little lives. Be warned that there are about 50 different activities we've done in the past couple months.

First....Nick and I got away for our 5th anniversary/my birthday early last month.  We went to Eureka Springs since we've never been and it was a place I personally wanted to see.  It was very peaceful despite how crowded the town was, it was Labor Day weekend.  We stayed at a lovely Bed and Breakfast called Mount Victoria, not your typical B&B, definitely updated with AMAZING food.  

We took a hike around a local lake, did some window shopping, thoroughly enjoyed meals without crayons being torpedoed through the air, and even got to sleep in.  Is 8am considered sleeping in??

Nick leading the way on our hike.  I made him pack food and water in his backpack even though it was a short mile (or so) hike. I watch too many "I Shouldn't Be Alive" shows, but you just never know!

Pretty bridge over the lake:

 Our bed and breakfast dining area outside:

A few weeks ago my girlfriend came to town to visit for a couple days.  At the time she was 8 months pregnant, she's since had her baby and I'm planning a quick visit to Salina to meet the little man.  We took advantage of the night and got together with our other mutual friend here in town and went out for dinner.

A couple weeks ago all of Beth's sisters came to visit her (hi ladies!).  They kept busy throughout the weekend and were even able to come to our house one evening for dinner.  They all enjoyed the local favorite, Oklahoma Joe's BBQ. The boys kept them on their feet and had them running like crazy ladies throughout our backyard, it was a sight!  I think each sister was also talked into climbing up into the boy's clubhouse, even I don't get up there anymore. I bet they slept well for their flight the next morning.  

There was a small event at the local airport down the street from our house a couple months ago.  We headed up that way to check out the helicopters, airplanes and firetrucks.  

Future pilots?

Ethan really likes to ride his bike around the neighborhood, Alec doesn't have one that he can easily ride so he usually hoofs it.  On one particular ride Alec was getting tired and wanted a ride from Ethan. It didn't last long but it sure was cute:

The boys like to help Daddy make coffee every morning.  One is generally in charge of dumping the coffee into the filter and another has the job of flipping the switch.  I don't drink coffee myself, but it does smell good so I think they make a good cup of joe.
Alec helping:

Soon we won't be able to kill time by going to the park, so we're trying to hit one up in the afternoons whenever we can.  We brought along the soccer ball last time, the boys played a little one on two.

Ethan dribbling the ball:

I completed my 2nd and 3rd 5K runs this past month.  They were all just for fun (or just to prove to myself I could stand to run more than a block) but the Color Run of Lawrence, KS was definitely a complete blast.  At every kilometer you are greeted with a color bath (powdered color) and at the end of the run you enjoy even MORE color.  Looking forward to the KC Color Run next year!


Starting out on our first kilometer:

 Post-race and all colored up!

Last weekend we went to Deanna Rose Pumpkin Patch.  The boys enjoyed themselves and we all got our pumpkins, so cross two things off our list.

Ethan jumping off the hay bales:

Alec's turn:

Too timid to jump himself:

Barrel rides:

The boys picking out their pumpkin.  How do you walk in there??

My favorite two little men:

So there you have it, our fun-filled lives of the past few months.  Coming up we have plans to visit Grandma and Papa and meet their new dog.  Of course, the boys are certainly looking forward to Halloween.  One will be a green skeleton, the other, Frankenstein.  We've got one more pumpkin to decorate, a couple spiders crawling on our house and a skeleton hanging on our porch. 

Hopefully I manage to get back on here before the new year!

Congratulations if you made it through this entire post.  One thousand extra bonus points for you.