Ring Around the Rosie

December 19, 2011

First things first: I love my new wreath.  Felt rosettes are addicting and incredibly satisfying to make.

Point number two: My new felt wreath combined with my rose-pink-and-dingy-white door looks very old-fashioned (not in a good way).  Sigh.  I cannot wait to paint that door.  But when do you paint your door?  How do you secure your home?

And, thirdly: My massive hot glue gun is a beast, but that means it leaves beastly burns.  That is all.

All That Glitters is Gold

November 30, 2011

So, we old-home owners all have running lists in our heads of things to change in our house when — as my parents always used to say — “our ship comes in.”  My list is undeniably long, and I hasten to inform an listening visitor of this list, lest he think we are really that oblivious to the missing trim around the bathroom window, or the broken window covered completely in USPS packing tape (!), or the nonfunctional doorbell dangling from the panel-walled-fuchsia-trimmed hallway.

This Golden Oldie was on my list:

Blech.  I cringed every time I thought about it hanging in the middle of our living room — completely and faithfully functional.  But the functional fixture is money well saved.  Besides, even if we did upgrade, how would I ever decide on a new one?  The options are overwhelming.

Enter Sarah.  Close friend and fellow old-home renovator.  Endless source of ideas and energy, a pinterest fanatic.  She showed me her stylish chandelier the other day and declared that it was the same unlovable light fixture that had graced her dining room when she moved in.  Only it was wowing us now with its fresh coat of…spray paint!

Now, I love spray paint and have used it umpteen times for quick projects.  But spray a gold light fixture?  It had never occurred to me.

So, $7 and an ID check later, I sauntered out of Home Depot with a can of primer and a can of antique bronze metallic finish paint.  Well, not sauntering, but pushing a cart with about 55 lbs of man-child.  But, anyway.

I almost stopped right there.  The white looked kind of cool, but it would definitely have disappeared so high up in the middle of the white ceiling.

So I finished the job and I could not be more pleased.  It looks great, it cost a few bucks, and we will continue to use something we already owned that worked just fine and dandy.  Now, if only I could say the same of the postal-tape window…

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

November 19, 2011

Let’s not call this a tutorial, shall we?  If we did, I’d have to include the part of the creative process where my entire product fell off the wall, broke apart, and I had to start back at square one.

But let’s just say, here’s something you can make yourself, and in any manner that you find efficient and, ahem, structurally sound.

Probably hard to guess what it is, right?  Well, anyway, it is a jewelry holder.  And I enjoyed my hand-me-down construction-grade hot glue gun so much that I decided to do the project twice in one morning. Alright, enough griping.  Let’s just say, hot glue in and of itself is not the key to success with something you will mount on the wall to be weight-bearing.

So the first thing I did a long time ago was paint an unfinished wooden frame from the craft store, and mod-podge some pretty paper along the front.  Precision is not my middle name.

Then I cut some window screen (available in rolls from your favorites Orange or Blue home improvement warehouse) to the size of the picture hole.  Pop it in the frame and put the glass in second.  Brilliant, right?  So you have something firm to keep the screen from wobbling too much, and it is clear so you aren’t distracted from the beauty that is your large jewelry collection.

So this is a picture of the first time I attached the necklace holders.  Old spools (with thread still on them).  I thought that was a cute idea.

Here is what needed to happen.  A small nail hammered into the frame and then copious amounts of hot glue securing the spool on the nail and to the frame.  I haven’t heard any crashes from upstairs, so I think it worked.

And Back Bracket Part Deux.  Little nails securing it AND hot glue.  I know, I know…the hot glue.  But I had nothing stronger on hand, and certainly nothing fast drying.  And I wanted this done stat.

Wasn’t that a lovely project?  All in a day’s work.


August 11, 2011

The title of this post may conjure up images of Independence Day, but I’m using freedom to describe the state of things around here when it comes to Baby A.’s care.

steamed carrots + brown rice + avocado

There are plenty of apologists out there touting the seemingly endless benefits of cloth diapers and homemade baby food.  I do not care to be a zealot, nor to make this into a moral issue (the religion of food…another topic for another day).

What I do wish to express is the fact that — in an ironic twist in product convenience — cloth diapers & wipes and homemade baby food have liberated me.  When S. was smaller, I would feel a growing sense of panic as the disposable wipes became depleted, or the pantry shelf contained less than a day’s worth of pureed edibles.  Another trip to the grocery store?  Or do we trek to Costco or Walmart for the cost savings?  Do I have time before his nap?  Why are these products so expensive?  The agony of the decision!

Now I use a blend of reusable and disposable, and it’s a great fit.

cloth wipes. really just a washcloth.

As for food, just about anything healthy and non-allergenic (?) gets tossed into the handy-dandy mini food processor (thanks, Oma!).  Baby A.’s been sticking his little nose up when it comes to puree lately, so we’ve also tried these:

teething biscuits. I know, I know.

Here’s to freedom!


May 22, 2011

Birthday parties.  I think I had the best birthday parties growing up.  My mother is quite creative with all things kid-related, and made a point of planning memorable times for us as we celebrated a new year.  She never spent a ton of money, we never rented a pony, but we certainly had themed parties that were tailored to our age and interests.

Ice-skating in a matching handmade jumpsuit & scrunchie? Check.  Hand-drawn invites beckoning guests to “follow the Yellow Brick Road?”  Yep.  Puppet shows galore with mom behind the curtain?  Every year.  The make-your-own-earrings party at a bead shop that was a surprise for both me AND the guests?  Yeah, we’re still marveling 18 years later that only one mother called to inquire about her offspring’s whereabouts.

The puppets are still going strong.

So, this year, I was excited to plan a party that my son would really enjoy.  Timing would be key.  My husband works until 4 on weekends and, let’s be honest, the pre-dinner time slot is not a toddler’s finest.  How to have a fabulously fun party where the guest of honor wasn’t a wreck, and neither was I because I was solo-hosting?  We opted for a Wednesday morning party, playgroup style.

Since I knew that few people would be double-booked at such an odd time, I didn’t stress about sending invitations far in advance.  I hand-wrote a simple card and glued some tissue paper flames on it to capture the fireman theme, and mailed them a week before the party.

There were only two big things I wanted to do for the party.  One, make a firetruck cake.  (Yes, I’ve watched every episode of Cake Boss and wanted to give it a whirl.)  And two, have “burning buildings” for the kids to hose down.

A bit pink, but I couldn't bring myself to add any more red food coloring.

Cardboard boxes and spray paint and we're on fire!

Other than that, the party took care of itself.  A table of snacks, hot dogs on the grill, and a yard full of toddler activities did the trick.  Who doesn’t like to be outside on a gorgeous morning?  It was a great time!