Saturday, October 30, 2010

Celebrating 30!

I had an absolute blast tonight celebrating my 30th birthday (coming this Tuesday!) with my awesome family and some of the best friends ever. More to come on this costume AND this amazing cake!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Painted Wallpaper

An up and coming trend in home decor is definitely painted faux wallpaper. By using stencils or templates, you can get the beautiful look of wallpaper without the cost and hassle of the real stuff. It's a great way to add a subtle or bold pattern, a pop of color, or instant character to a room. When we redid our entryway, I knew I wanted it to have lots of character for being such a little room because it's the first thing people see when they walk in my house. A stenciled medallion pattern was perfect above the beadboard wainscot!

I love the visual interest in medallion patterns, stripes, and quattrefoil -- my newest endeavor! I plan on sharing the before and after tour of my kitchen one day soon. But there has been one wall in my kitchen that I have never really known what to do with. I have had all kinds of things hanging on it, from a decorative piece of fabric, a family calender, a clock, a couple shelves and cupboards, and a mirror, but nothing ever looks right because it's such a big, blank space without any cupboards.

After seeing several great posts around the Internet with a painted trellis pattern, like the ones here and here (which has a free printable template), I knew I had to find a place in my house to try it out and this troublesome wall seemed perfect.

Here's what I started with once I started taking stuff off the wall.

I printed out the template, traced it onto cardboard to make a stencil, and got to work. I mixed the leftover wall color paint with some ultra bright white paint in semi-gloss which gave it a nice sheen to offset it from the satin wall. It catches the light nicely so you can see the pattern very well without it being starkly different. (Tip: Mix the paint in a cool whip container, or another disposable container with a lid, so you can cover and store the extra or even just in between sections/coats!)

I used a pencil to trace the pattern on the wall a section at a time. I made sure the top and bottom was lined up along the trim to help it look level. The template wasn't totally symmetrical, so there were spots that I had to fudge a little, but I found this pattern to be very forgiving. I just did a single line around the pattern, instead of the double line in the posts I shared above, which saved on time, and I was still very happy with the result.

When my hubby came home, he actually thought I went out and bought wallpaper and had put it up while he was at work. Then he looked closer and was like, "You painted that?! It looks just like wallpaper! " Hahaha sweet. :)

Here is what my wall looks like now! I added my fun little coffee cup clock, but I'm still trying to figure out what I want to hang above the coffee bar.

In the meantime I am enjoying my pretty new wall! Cost: zero! Beauty: priceless!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Santa Fe Soup

I love making soups and stews once the cold weather hits. It is definitely a comfort food for me. Nothin' beats a hot bowl of homemade chili and a chunky slice of beer bread slathered in butter on a chilly day!

Last night I made a new kind of soup that was de-lish. I took one of my recipes from E-Mealz and adjusted it a bit and I'll definitely be making it again! Super easy and super yummy - the whole fam enjoyed it!

What you need:
* 1 lb ground beef, cooked
* 3 cans diced tomatoes
* 1 can pinto beans
* 1 can kidney beans
* 1 can whole kernel corn
* 1/2 packet taco seasoning

What you do:
Brown the ground beef in a pan and drain if needed. Add all the ingredients to a large soup pot (do not drain the cans) and heat on medium, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 min. Simmer on low heat for about 30-35 min.

Serve with corn chips and sour cream! Enjoy!


I'm Still Here

You know, in case you were wondering. Does anyone else feel like every single moment of October is jam packed for some reason? Hope to get on here soon with a lot of updates and post ideas to share!


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Care Bear Hoodie Costume

After making the dinosaur hoodie costume for my oldest son, I knew at the time that was only the beginning of many hoodie costume projects. There are just so many possibilities and the hoodie gives you a great base to start from if you aren't a super talented sewer (cause I'm quite at a beginning level for sure).

This year, my daughter wants to be a care bear -- more specifically, "rainbow bear" (who I think is really name cheer bear). I found an old, pink hooded pull-over sweatshirt in her closet that would work. I figured a zip up hoodie would get complicated with the chest badge.

Here are the supplies you need:

*pull-over sweatshirt in the care bear color of your choice

*liquid stitch

*matching thread

*sewing machine


*colored felt to make your ears, badge, tail, and face


1. Cut out your pieces from felt. Cut two pink ears (front and back), 2 sets of white and black circles for eyes, a pink mouth, a pink heart-shaped nose, a white snout, a large white oval for the chest (I pieced together two parts so it was large enough and hid the seam under the rainbow), and the strips for the rainbow.

2. Sew the ears together around the rounded edges. Leave the bottom, flat part open so you can flip the ear right-side out and fill with stuffing. I used liquid stitch to secure the white part, but you could also sew that on before you sew the two pink pieces together if you prefer.

3. Stuff the ears and stitch to the hood.

4. Sew the white felt together. To make the oval large enough to cover the tummy I had to sew two pieces together.

4. Add the rainbow pieces and sew on the tummy badge. I used liquid stitch and then sewed the ends of the rainbow to the white felt. Then I stitched around the outside of the white oval, securing it to the hoodie. It took a little finagling to get the sweatshirt under the sewing machine in the right position, but it worked!

5. Sew the snout. I used the liquid stitch on the nose and the black parts of the eye and then did a small stitch on each to secure it a little better. Then I sewed the eyes to the snout and stitched around the top half of the snout securing it to the front of the hood. I left a little overhang off the front of the hood.

6. Add some hair! I was getting a little cone head effect in between the ears so I added a piece of pink felt that looks like some hair in between which finished off the head nicely. You could also stuff and add a little tail to the back, which I still need to do.

Add some pink sweat pants and you've got a care bear costume! You could get creative and make some fun slippers or socks with the cute care bear feet too...I might still do that, but we'll see if I get to it :).

The sweatshirt was starting to get small on her, so I need to go back and see if I can adjust the hood part a bit so it doesn't look like it's going to fall off of her, but you get the idea! :)

Let me know if you give it a try! I'd love to hear from you!



Sunday, October 10, 2010


Wondering where I've been?

Today I was here. Saying hello to the ocean.

Collecting shells.

To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truth lie undiscovered before me. - Isaac Newton

Walking along the shore.

"Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it"
~Psalm 96:11

We're out of town visiting family, but we head home tomorrow.

I'll be back soon! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wire Pumpkins

You may have seen those cute little grapevine pumpkins at the store. I love the natural look of those rather than the bright orange ones, which don't really fit into my decor. Well, I attempted to make a similar style pumpkin using stem wire. I found these in the floral section of Joann Fabrics for $1.99 each. I made one with a thin, dark brown wire, and the other with a thicker, straw-like wire. I also picked up a green wire for an accent color.

The first step is to wrap the wire around something circular, like a bowl or a glass. I had to play around with the sizing a bit, but ended up using a coffee can for the thin wire and a glass for the thick wire. Twist the ends together to secure.

Once all your circles are done, stack them together and wrap a piece of wire around the middle. I twisted it tight and then wrapped it around several more times using the entire piece of wire and twisted the ends tight again to secure.

I also twisted a piece into a stem and added some green curli-cue sprigs by wrapping the green wire around a pen.

Fan out the circles until they look more pumpkin-y :). I really like how the thin, brown one came out a lot better than the thicker one. (They look better in person too than in the photos I think. It was hard to photograph them!) I discovered the more wire you use the better because your pumpkin will be fuller. I used two packs of wire for each pumpkin and if I did it again I'd probably add a third.

This was a fun, little fall crafty creation! Let me know if you give it a try :).


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Home Tour: Mudroom/Entryway

When we bought our house 4 1/2 years ago, I could see the potential it had (and still has) to be an inviting, stylish, functional home. Since then, we've been working away at it and have made a lot of cosmetic changes to many of the rooms.

This summer we completed a huge project on the main entrance to our house that was functional as well as cosmetic. We gutted the room, which had rotted paneling, astro-turf carpet, and zero insulation, and turned a messy, ugly mudroom into a pretty, welcoming entryway. We also added a new door to the basement that will allow us to wall off a section where the old door was for a kitchen pantry. That's our next big project! ;)

Here's what the room looked like before/during:

We installed new, bigger windows, a new steel door, new light fixture and added a porch light, insulation, drywall and beadboard, new flooring, hooks and stenciling. Most of the supplies we purchased from Mr. 2nds and got amazing prices - the whole room cost us less than $1000. We also had help from my dad, the master woodworker, making the trim from scratch which saved us a ton of money.

This is what we have now! Hello, beautiful!