Friday, July 22, 2011

Poor, Tired Couch Rehab

My poor, tired couch.

I bought this as an "almost new" from a lovely woman who was retiring and going to live in her RV with her new boyfriend and travel all over the USA.  It was a bargain, almost new, with a queen sized bed for $100. Can't beat that!

That was almost 4 years ago, I was just a few days away from the birth of my daughter, the couch was affordable and comfortable and really, really beige.  I didn't care. It was so much better that what I had been trying to get my pregnant body comfortable on for the last nine months, I looked the other way at the color and the pillow pattern and the really, really beige-ness of it.

Well, in almost 4 years it has only gotten more tired and more, um, beige (with the help of 2 dogs and 2 kids).

 Recently I decided to care. I had my eye on a dark brown chenille for months waiting patiently for it to go on sale when I stumbled upon a beautiful red tag Christopher Lowell chenille fabric.  It was a bit more rust brown than dark brown that I'd had in mind, but at $4.50 a yard, I am nothing if not adaptable! So I bought all of the fabric (let's hope it's enough!!)

And a few weeks later, on the remnant table, I found the perfect coordinating fabric for $3 a yard. So, of course I bought all of it. Again, hoping that there will be enough to re-do the cushions.

So, we moved the couch out to the back porch (the only place big enough for me to work on it), took the bed out, and I will be getting to work soon on the re-upholstery.  This will be an ongoing project, so stay tuned for updates, tutorials, and a big reveal that will (I hope) be exciting for all of us!

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Big Girl Bedroom Mural and An Alphabet Nursery

A little more than a year ago, a friend of mine found out she was expecting her second baby. I was extremely flattered when she called me to paint the kids' new rooms.  She has a daughter, who would be moving from the smaller bedroom to the "big girl" bedroom. And she wanted to brighten up the nursery for the new baby.  For her daughter's new room she had already chosen a Pottery Barn Kids bedding set and wanted a small mural to using the same styles and colors.

We decided on a large tree in the corner around the bed.  Originally the body of the trunk was going to be in the corner, but when I sketched it in, it just looked weird, so we moved it to one wall and let the branches spread out around the headboard.

Then, since the owls are the focal point in this collection, I made some stencils and we placed owls in various "perches" in the room, to watch over her in her new "big girl" bedroom.

Above the closet door.

Above the window.

And above the other window looking towards the bed.  

Both Mom and daughter love the new room. The daughter loves the owls in particular. She says goodnight to them and reads to them, and each one has a name. So sweet!

For the nursery, we decided on a simple alphabet border done in bright colors to coordinate with sheets and bedding she already had. So, I made a stencil using a fun and simple computer font, we played with the size of the letters for a while before we settled on these which ended up being about 4 inches tall. I chose a corner of the room and stenciled all the way around alternating colors like this---

I loved the way both rooms turned out, and so did Mom and Dad. After finishing their rooms it was all I could do not to run home and repaint every room in my own house! Not sure my husband would appreciate that kind of chaos......but maybe if I just start in one room....

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Monday, July 18, 2011

A Labor of Love---A Scrappy Color Book

During the month of June, one of my favorite blogs Living With Punks did a series called "Scrap Your Stash", basically a challenge to use all the scraps from other projects to make something new. There were so many amazing projects, but the one that spoke to me the most was the Scrappy Color Book.  So, using the tutorial from OopseyDaiseyColorBook, I made my own color book.

I call this a labor of love, because while this was not hard to put together, it did take quite a bit of time and patience. In the end, it was well worth both.

Thanks to OopseyDaisy and to LivingWithPunks for the tutorials and inspiration.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Town PlayMat

I have a good friend whose son is turning 3 this month. He's very much a car lover, so I thought I'd make him a "town" for his cars to drive around in. Being a mom of a car lover myself, one of the things that I appreciate with regards to play sets is that they fold down compactly. We have limited floor space, so I like things that can be rolled or folded up and put away. And this particular friend and I are in total agreement on that point. So, I figured a  fabric play mat that can be rolled up would be perfect. (**Note: there are many great tutorials for play mats, some of which helped inspire me for this one**)
The whole front of the mat is made with felt, I used a square that was 30inches X 30inches, and applied shapes by gluing and/or stitching in place. Then, I added a piece of green cotton fabric to the back. I stitched the two pieces together around the outside edge, then stitched around the roads through both fabrics to hold them together. I then added a bias binding to finish the edges and sewed a tie on one side so it can be tied up and stored.
 Here is the end result.

 I got small felt letters from Michael's and used some fabric paint to embellish some of the "signs".  I also used the paint for some of the smaller building and a few extra details.

My favorite things on this are the little mailboxes and fire hydrants.

 And the slide in the park, and the swing, and....

The gas station with the gas pumps....

Okay, I really like the whole thing!

Bonus, when it's time to clean up, it can be rolled up, tied together and stored almost anywhere. It can also easily make the trip to grandma's house or anywhere else a boy may need a town to drive his cars around in.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dress Up Storage

Remember my good friend Anthony? The super speedy, amazing carpenter from the PBK dollhouse knock-off, yes, that's the guy. Well, we figured out that we make a pretty good team, I am the idea super bossy, "idea" person and he's the guy who smiles, nods, and then makes something better than what I had in mind. Things like that are the best reason for collaboration, in my opinion.
A while back I found this post from Ana White, which, in many ways, started me down the blog path that has lead me here. I say that because that post, which was sent to me on Facebook by a friend led me to one of my all time favorite blogs Craftiness is Not Optional, and (as they used to say in that 70's shampoo commercial) so on and so on and so on....
So, Anthony and I wrangled over this one together, and using the above plans from Ana White, we made this one for my kids.
I would apologize for the state that this is in, but if you have understand. I meant to take a photo of this when I had arranged everything very neatly, but ummm, this is the best I've got.

I wish that I had the space in the house to make a "boy" dress-up box and a "girl" dress-up box, but we don't, so I used some letter coat hooks I found at Michaels, which I painted and added to the sides for a "his" and "hers" effect.

The one thing I wish we had done was to make it a bit longer and a bit taller, 2 kids and their costumes take up quite a bit of space.  But this is SO much better than the bucket we had before, at least the tutus and princess things have a chance at not getting crushed, plus all the purses have hooks and the shelf comes in handy for the hats.
And of course it is no longer my fault when they can't find anything!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Boy's PJ Pants from a Pillowcase

My son has no summer PJ's. Apparently he outgrew all the ones from last summer, poor kid, and I didn't realize it until this month. I did make him one pair of pajama pants during the winter which are about a foot too long (I suppose I was expecting him to wear Toy Story PJ's until he's 12) but other than that, everything he's put on has been way too small. He does have some pants that we can easily pair with some undershirts, which works out fine, but he only has 2 of those (eek!) I just feel bad when I'm closing his next to empty pj drawer compared to his sister's drawer that is so full, I have to shove the drawer to get it closed.
And then, today, while I was at the thrift store for something completely different, I came up with a great idea. I was in the towels, linens, fabric aisles and I saw these great pillowcases.

The stripes reminded me of men's cotton pajamas. And I just loved the trucks. And I thought, well why not? There are plenty of pillowcase dresses, so why not pillowcase pajama bottoms?
I used my favorite boy shorts pattern, laid it on top of the truck pillowcase and cut my pieces, ***I did make a mistake, when I cut out the shorts, I forgot to consider that the pattern would be backwards on one side, don't do that. To avoid making this mistake, you can cut the seams off the pillowcase so that you have a flat piece of fabric, then lay the pattern out so everything lines up the way you want it.***

This pillowcase was wide enough that it easily fit my 4/5T boy shorts pattern. When I cut out the blue striped pants, I laid the pattern lengthwise on the pillowcase, using the hem already in the pillowcase as the hem of the pants. I did have to make the pants a little narrower to fit the pillowcase, but since the pattern is already a bit big for my boy, and there is 1/2" seam allowance built in, it did not make that much difference to the end result.

Then, assemble your shorts or pants the way you normally would and in no time at all you have--

 Some lightweight, styling new pajama bottoms!

Grab an unused pillowcase and your favorite shorts/pants/pj bottom pattern and try it out!

Linked Up With
Beneath the Rowan Tree
Sumo's Sweet Stuff
Skip to My Lou

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chik-fil-A cow costumes and free lunch (pt 2)

The Cow costumes and Chik-fil-A free lunch were a huge success! Thanks to my good friend Lori from Our Forever House, for helping put together all the costumes and her great photos! We had such a good time with our friends, and I have to admit, this is hands down our favorite fast food restaurant .

And how cool is it that they give out books with the kids meals? For my book-loving son, this is the best thing ever!

And the big Chik-fil-A cow came to pose with the kids, they just loved him. 

Well, we crafted, and ate and the kids played, and an excellent time was had by all, thanks to all of our friends that helped make this such a fun afternoon! We do love a costume party!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Guest Blog Post and FREE LUNCH!

My BFF Crafty Friend Lori is posting today from

A few weeks ago, she sent me a message that our favorite Chik-fil-A was hosting a dress-up for free food event this week and since I love crafting, costumes, and all things free and especially the chance to blog with Lori on this one, my response was a big YES!
And here she is----take it away Lori!

Hi everyone it is Lori from Our Forever House!  I am so, so, so excited for this Friday!  The minute I saw this annual event advertised, I IMMEDIATELY sent a message to my crafty friend Heather over at No Business Like Sew Business!  I knew it was time to get our craft on! Moooooo!
Heather & I are co-blogging today to share our afternoon fun!  Please be sure to visit each of our pages and say HI!  We would love to hear from you!
NOTE:  Heather is the awesome seamstress friend that helped me with Bubba Z's awning striped curtains!
This is the event that inspired today's crafting session!
Friday, July 8th, is Cow Appreciation Day 2011!
That means FREE food at Chick-Fil-A
** if you dress like a cow **
If you are headed to Chick-Fil-A on Friday, here is the lowdown...Dress head to toe in cow attire and your entire combo meal is free. A partial costume (shirt, head gear, cow accessory, etc) gets you a free entree.
I cannot lie, I love FREE stuff!  And FREE Chick-Fil-A food is beyond awesome!  Yes, I will have a deluxe spicy chicken sandwich and can I get a deluxe Chick-Fil-A sandwich for Heather please!!  Combo that too as the waffle fries are amazing - especially when you dip them in the Chick-Fil-A sauce.  Mmmm!
I will have a large Diet Dr. Pepper!  Heather will take an extra large chocolate shake too as they are "freakin' amazing"!  Don't tell anyone, but she has been known to send her husband out to get her one - and no, she wasn't even pregnant!
Oh, and if you have kids, The Chick (our affectionate name) has the best, cleanest and quietest play area EVER (it is enclosed in its own glass room)!  Ahhh, the bliss!
Okay, on to the crafting! 
Here are our supplies...white t-shirts, karate pants (from the thrift store), black felt, glue and a pillow case (to make skirts for the girls)

We got the kids involved.  They helped cut out our "spots" and glued them to our shirts.
Heather and I whipped up a simple gathered skirt out of a king size pillow case by cutting it in half, sewing a casing and inserting elastic.  Very simple and ever so darling!
Wow, we look like this was some serious work!!!
Last week when I was at my favorite Chick-Fil-A store (woot-woot for the El Con store in Tucson) they were passing out cow headbands!  I, of course, picked up a dozen of them for my family and friends as I LOVE to share the FREE!  The headband is good for a free entree item - not bad!!!  If you don't have the headband, Chick-Fil-A has a free cow costume printable on their website.
I will be sending my hubby to Chick-Fil-A for a free lunch too!
He loves a bargain as much as I do!
I can't wait to debut the costumes on our model children at The Chick on Friday!  Stop back to Our Forever House AND No Business Like Sew Business Friday for the big reveal. 
What would you do for FREE food???

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The 10 minute Flag T-Shirt

Happy 4th of July weekend! I just wanted to drop a quick post of the 10 minute t-shirt I whipped up for the boy this morning. Little sister already has a 4th of July outfit.  See THIS post for more info on that one. Naturally, once Elliot saw hers, he needed a new shirt too.

So I went to my scrap stash and looked through it, and came up with these.
The stripes are scraps of seersucker fabric leftover from shorts and pants and the stars were an impulse buy at JoAnn fabrics on Friday (fat quarters were on sale)

He chose a red t-shirt from his drawer, and I cut a 3"X3" square, 2 strips of the blue and 2 strips of the red stripes. I didn't measure these, I just laid it all out on the shirt and eyeballed it.
Like so---
Once everything was placed where I wanted, I used some HeatBond to tack it down.

And then, using a straight stitch, sewed it all in place. I like the look of the slightly frayed edges so I didn't finish any of the edges.

And 10 minutes later---
A brand "new" 4th of July t-shirt for the boy!

 I hope everyone has a fun and safe holiday weekend!

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Dollhouse (PBK Knock-off)

I am going to begin with a major disclaimer. I did not build this dollhouse. Well, I didn't build the main structure of the dollhouse, that is. I had seen the PBK dollhouse bookcase at a resale event and loved it.  Ana White has plans for a build your own on her website and it was my intention to make one for my daughter's 3rd birthday. But the fact is, while I am very speedy with a sewing machine, I am not so much with a wood project. And I ended up leaving this one until almost the last minute, naturally. So I asked a good friend, who is an awesome carpenter (and fast) to help me. I gave him my dimensions--I have limited floor space--and some basic ideas and he knocked out the dollhouse for me in one morning, which I could not have done on my own. Bless him.

So, here's what we came up with--
The dollhouse measures 3' 6" at the point of the roof 3' 9" wide and is 10"deep and is made out of plywood, so it is plenty sturdy enough to become a bookcase later or hold up a child that may try to climb it.
I base painted the whole thing white.

Then painted all the trim a nice bright pink. Next I wanted to dress up the interior a bit but without being too busy. So I went into my fabric and scrapbook paper stash for some "wallpaper".

In this room I used purple striped scrapbook paper, which I spray mounted in, then glued some painted wood strips across the top to help finish the edges.

This room, I designated as the kitchen so I did a light green paint wash on the walls with a scrapbook paper border across the top. The "tile" floor is also scrapbook paper glued down and given a coat of mod podge to help make it shiny. (**Note, this did cause my paper to bubble in some places, the key here is to go slowly**)

In the "living room" I really wanted there to be enough of the green paper I used as an accent for the back wall, but no matter what I did, it just wasn't going to happen, so instead I used the blue lace, which is also scrapbook paper. (how cool is that!)

And this is the final result! 
I wish I had a better photo of the top room, that is some beautiful fabric my sister in law gave me last summer and from the beginning of this project I knew it would be in there. And I thought it best to leave the "attic" plain white.
I am so, so grateful to my friend Anthony for helping doing all the heavy lifting on this one!

And all of the little pets and Barbies and fairies and action figures and stuffed animals love their new home.