Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Willow Tree Nativity Stars Knock Off

I collect nativity sets.  With so many on a shelf I sometimes need a little something to place behind a specific nativity set to help it to stand out.  I love the Willow Tree Nativity Stars. They cost about $20.  I knew I could make several sets of stars, just how I wanted them, for much less.

Here is how to make your own version (you can easily use more or less stars):
Go to Hobby Lobby buy an unfinished wooden plaque for the base, a package of unfinished wood stars, 3 thin dowels, Rustoleum Hammered Metallic Paint-brown, and glue.
Cut your dowels to the varying heights that you'd like.  Glue the dowel to the back of the star using a strong glue like E6000.  Let dry overnight.

Decide on where you'd like your stars to stand on the plaque, make little marks to help you remember (see the pencil marks on the stand in the photo above).  Drill holes into your wood- using a drill bit the same circumference as your dowel (or twist your hubby's arm and let him do it).
Slide the star "sticks" into the holes on your plaque- add a bit of glue for durability.
Spray paint with Rustoleum Hammered Metallic Paint- Brown. It's just the right mix- a hint of shimmer and "rustic".  Let dry and then display!
I haven't unpacked my nativity sets yet, but I had this little manger that I found at a yard sale last week already out- so, you can kind of see what I was shooting for- pretty sweet :)

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Designing Furniture

When we moved earlier this year we found ourselves in need of some different furniture for a few bare spots in the house.  I looked and looked and couldn't find what I loved for a price that was right.

Then on craigslist I saw an add for a guy that would build furniture for you.  My husband and I went and checked it out.  He ended up making three pieces for me.  I gave him the basic wants and a drawing, he added a few things and now I have some furniture that works really well for our family.  It was less expensive than buying ready made (but more then I usually spend on furniture).

I'm going to apologize now because my photographic skills are not the greatest and my camera is on the blitz- got to send it in for a repair.... I was squeezing up against walls trying to get the entire piece into the view finder- trying to adjust the colors to get close to the actual paint colors, etc. ..so sorry, but these photos will give you a general idea.. .

So, first up.  The entryway shelf needed to be tall but not too deep so that it would fit near a window.  This is what we came up with:

My version:

Finished product:

You can see our office from the front door entry.  I needed something that was functional- that would hold two computers, printers, cords, etc.  but I also needed a way to hide all of that clutter.  This is the computerized version of my design:

Here is the finished product:

I wanted some more storage in the office area.  Not to decorate with but to actually hold books, etc.  Here is my version:

I had the furniture maker paint it with Valspar's Fire Orange (from Lowes)- in real life it's a beautiful pumpkin/spicy orange and then I antiqued it.  We are going to hang a large family picture on the wall above it- but getting that set up may take a bit (it's all a process, right?!).  Oh yeah, and that wall color- not really gray- it's greige with taupe and a tiny bit of olive green mixed in- love how it looks in real life....

Here is what we came up with. 

I'm grateful to have furniture.  I'm grateful to have a place to put it.  This has been a BLAST!  I learned that designing something and the having it be created is really super FUN!

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Halloween "Smell My Feet" Free Printable

Long time no post, eh?!

Well, I'm helping my daughter to put together some little gifts for her friends for Halloween- aren't you SO IMPRESSED that we started out this early???  Well, don't be.  I finally figured out that if I don't start early it doesn't happen.  Like if I don't have dinner started by ten in the morning we're probably eating toast, but I digress.

I was browsing around the store called Tuesday Morning and found these super cute sets of Halloween polish- and it's scented! The polish comes in Halloween colors and they have a gold decal on them of a haunted house, a jack-o-lantern, or a ghost.

I bought some for my daughter and she wanted some more to give to her friends- so, we grabbed another set or two.  She is going to break the sets apart and just give each girl two colors.

She is going to put the nail polish in a little bag and maybe add a few other goodies.  I made this label for her to attach to her nail polish gift bags.  I hope that she'll have lots of fun gifting these to her chums.

Happy Halloween!


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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Painting the Town- Actually Just the House

We recently moved to a new town and to a new to us house.  The paint colors were not quite what we would have picked so there has been lots of painting going on!  I am color challenged and made frequent phone calls to my very talented Sister-in-law for direction.  I learned a few things that I want to remember for the next time that we have to paint. 

Paint chips don't work for me.  I really need to see samples painted onto a large piece of poster board and tacked to the wall where I'll be painting.  Valspar and Benjamin Moore paints have some of my favorite colors. 

Under the direction of my decorator SIL I painted the back of the living room shelves a bright spicy orange.  I tried two different kinds of paint there.  The first kind:  Behr Ultra went on thick and creamy- very nice.

The second kind- Valspar- ick.  It was thin, runny and splattered and dripped everywhere.  The color I picked for this spot was a Valspar paint and Home Depot's match wasn't quite right- that is why I ended up going with the Valspar.  I also had to paint four coats of paint and that was over primer and a layer of the Behr.... so, in the future to save time I'll be using Behr paint when choosing between the two brands.

I also found the ONLY paintbrush that I can paint a straight line with.  It is called Ziber and I get the two inch angled sash with the long handle- the short handled version had softer bristles which I didn't care for.  This paintbrush is at Home Depot.

The previous home owners had a good tip if you want to upgrade your switch plates.  They had painted them (and the screw tops) with Rust-Oleum Hammered paint and primer in one spray paint.  It's an inexpensive way to jazz up the 25 cent white plastic outlet and plate covers.  It gives them a rustic metal looking finish- I think there are six metal finishes to choose from.

We broke down and hired a painter to help us get things moving.  It was pretty sweet to go about my daily routine and at the end of the day have two more rooms painted!  Those are the tips I want to remember for the future... hopefully we won't be painting too much more for another ten years or so :)

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Homemade Soy Candles

A few weeks ago I made some candles for a friend who has everything :)  We are moving and my camera is packed so the above photo is from the web....

I decided to go with soy candles.  I followed the directions here to make the wick.  I recommend the directions for wick number 2.  Leaving the unbleached cotton twine in the borax solution overnight caused crystals to form that I had to remove before dipping the wicks in wax.  Use unbleached cotton twine to keep this a "clean" candle without any harmful chemicals being released into the air as you burn them.  I chose not to add any dyes to my candles for the same reason.

I followed the directions here to make the candles.  I put together some instructions on how to burn a soy candle and attached it to my gift.  Here are some similar instructions.  As you read them note how important it is to do a memory burn, how to center your wick after prolonged burning, and how to extinguish your candle without causing smoke. After making your candles allow them cure for a few days before burning them... I know... it is so hard to wait!

I made a summer scented candle using:

1/2 pound soy wax
1 T. jasmine essential oil
1/4 t. grapefruit essential oil

I think the above fragrance combination makes a nice perfume.  Just use beeswax instead of the soy and add equal parts sweet almond oil to make a solid perfume.  Directions here.

I made an Autumn scented candle using:

1 pound soy wax
2 T clove bud essential oil
1/2 t. vanilla essential oil

I have been burning the Autumn scented candle all week and I love, love, love it.  Some commercial candles smell too sugary sweet for me.  However, I'm very happy with these!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Best (& EASIEST) Pulled Pork

I tried a new recipe and I loved it.  It is SUPER easy- not on my diet- but tasty nonetheless.  At first I freaked out when I realized you used root beer to cook your pork in- but there were so many awesome reviews that I went with it.  Then two days later I made another batch for a friend who had just had a baby.  I just sent over the pulled pork, a mess of coleslaw and a bag of rolls.  This would be wonderful for tailgating parties.

Here is the recipe- photo and recipe from Allrecipes.com.   I used 2 litres of A&W root beer, a half of a pork roast- the inexpensive kind in a tube shaped bag and Sweet Baby Ray's Original BBQ sauce.  You just put the pork in the crock pot- cover it with root beer- cook on low. Turn the roast a time or two during the day.  At dinner time drain off all of the root beer and remove any fat.  Shred meat with a fork (it falls apart) and drench with the BBQ sauce.  You can use the pulled pork on your favorite salad or I like to make sandwiches with it- just put a heaping pile of the pork in the middle of a soft roll and enjoy.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Where to Buy Large, Chunky Beads

I love the fun necklaces with big chunky beads.  I hit my local craft stores trying to find large beads to make a few necklaces of my own.  Our town only has two craft stores.  I didn't find much.  The beads either looked cheap- perfect for a four year old playing dress up- or they didn't have the colors I needed.  I had a "duh" moment and looked for beads at etsy under the supply category.

I found these pretty glass "pearl" beads and purchased them for two different necklaces.  I purchased two different shades of gray and some cream beads and crystals.  I tried to find beads that were at least 14mm.  My local craft store carries the smaller sizes.

For my match everything, all cream colored necklace I purchased a few large glass crystals to add texture and sparkle.  They were a nice addition.  I personally prefer cream pearls to white- but that is just me.

I found some yellow beads here... for some reason a large, pretty yellow bead is nearly impossible to find.  These are 20mm- very nice size!

I did find out that making a necklace with tons of beads can get expensive (my gray pearl necklace-yikes)! You can probably buy one already made for less money.  But if you are trying to match a specific outfit or need some craft therapy go for it.

September 1 we went back onto our modified Dave Ramsey budget so there is less shopping and more saving going on at our house now   ;0)

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