Monday, January 31, 2011

V-Day Decor

I foolishly spent all my decorating budget on the above. Notice the pink and silver? Although festive, I just don't feel like they providing very much Valentine's Cheer for my buck. So I had to scrounge around for stuff around the house.
I really like Subway Art, but we already have a family rules, and there can be too much of a good thing. I did have a bunch of these wood blocks laying around. So I:
1. Painted them black
2. Cut out the words admire, cherish, love, XXOO, adore out of contact paper w/ my cricut.
3. Applied the contact paper to my painted blocks and painted in my stencils
4. Waited patiently for them to dry (or used my blow dryer to speed things up)
5. Used some sand paper to rough them up and even out my poor painting skills
6. Mixed up 4 parts dark brown paint and 1 part glaze and painted the blocks.
7. Used an old rag to rub off the excess glaze
****If you don't have any glaze, you can also just rub on some dark stain. I think it works just as well
8. Tie on some ribbons.
9. Admire, cherish, love and adore your work!

I did spend $5 on chocolate. I filled up a big jar w/ hugs and kisses. These are driving my gets crazy. I told them they could eat them in March.
I also needed some pillows. I would say I was inspired by these , but I completely ripped them off. She used felt, but I only had linen, so I used what I had. She also went back and added birds to her tree pillow, but I liked it w/ out better.

 The love pillow, I saw on this design blog, but I have no idea where to buy it. So I held a piece of vellum up to my computer monitor and traced it. (if you want the template-leave me your e-mail in the comments and I'll send it to you) I like the original better, but didn't have enough fabric. Maybe I'll redo it next year. Happy Valentine's Day!
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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Room Re-do


We have sadly outgrown princess and fairies at our house-at least as a decorating theme. We've been working on giving her a more grown-up room. We were first inspired by this:

I thought $405 was just way-too much and that we could make our own. I found the cork tiles ($6) and magnetic white (even thought it's blue) board @ Target ($8). I used fabric, batting and ribbon @ Hobby Lobby to cover some cardboard to make the memory boards. I actually nailed them to the walls to create the tufted look and then hot-glued a button on top. Since my measuring skills are lacking, they didn't quite match up, which ended up a happy accident. So I made some piping(tutorial) and hot glued it around the edges and stuck bows on the corners to hid the piping edges.

I think all together it cost under $25. It was so easy, I'm making one for the boy's room so stay tuned.

I used some leftover fabric from the memory boards to make her a runner. I think the mirrors came from Wal-mart.

This was actually my dresser from when I was a kid. My parents painted it white a few years ago for me (I was pregnant and couldn't handle the fumes). We pulled off the old brass hardware and bought some nickel pulls @ Home Depot. They also had some unfinished wood-ones, so we painted those to match her decor. I wanted them shiny to look like the ceramic ones from PB Kids so I covered them in some epoxy I had left over from my scrabble -tile jewelry making phase. Adorable!?! Instead of paying $60 for the PB ones, I got all 8 for $7.76.

The Bedding is from Target and the bed we found on Craig's List and painted white (no before pics, just trust me it was ugly). The wall stickers and the curtains I think came from Wal-mart.

I love this. I wanted to paint a big one on my bedroom wall, but I am married to a man, so I had to settle for doing on my daughter's wall. It's really easy if you follow this tutorial ( I am not an artist) here


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My Favorite Toddler Books

I’m in the middle of decorating my boys’ room (stay tuned). I thought it would be a great opportunity to sort through books , toys, and clothes and getting rid of stuff they’ve outgrown. I could easily get rid of most of their toys w/out shedding a single tear. However, sorting through their books made me a little sad that they are growing up so fast. Here are my top 12 favorite books to read to toddlers in no particular order:
1. Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? By Nancy White Carlstom
2. Pajama Time-Sandra Boyton
3. Lovey Dovey-Mary Engelbriet
4. Chicka Chicka Boom-Boom-Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault
5. Piggies-Audrey Wood
6. Guess How Much I Love You-Sam McBratney
7. Mr. Brown can Moo-Dr. Seuss
8. Whose Nose and Toes-John Butler
9. Hand, Hand Finger’s Thumb-Al Perkins
10. Say Please-Tony Ross
11. Rock a Bye Farm-Diane Joyhnston
My all-time very favorite book to read to toddlers is Time for Bed by Mem Fox. Such a sweet and tender book, I always felt like I was telling my babies how much I loved them on each page.

Here's a list of my favorite picture books:
1. Fanny’s Dream-Caralyn Buehner
2. Hope for the Flowers-Trina Paulus
3. Anamalia-Graeme Base
4. The Water Hole- Graeme Base
5. Joseph Had a Little Overcaat-Simms Tabak
6. David Gets in Trouble-David Shanon
7. Oh the Places You Go!-Dr. Suess
8. I Love you the Purplest-Barbara Joosse
9. The Paper Bag Princess-Robert Munsh
10. You Are Special-Max Lucado

What are you favorite Children's Books?

Fun Family Night Chart

In theory, we try to hold a family night once a week, where we have a short spiritual lesson, an activity and a treat. I saw this and thought it was the funnest idea. It was my sister's b-day and I thought it would be perfect for her family. First her kid's are finally getting old enough to participate in a family night. Second, her and her husband never really grew up (but in a good way). They are the fun aunt and uncle and my kids mourn the fact that they got stuck w/ me.


This was made w/ my 2 favorite Cricut Cartridges "Everyday Paper Dolls" and "Paper Doll Dress Up". First I cut out all my pieces. (Dad was 5 1/2, Mom 5, Son 4 1/2 and daughter 4). Then I glued them on a piece of scrapbook paper. Then I put a few coats of modge-podge over the top. Then I cut out 6 the little super hero symbol thingies @5 1/2 inches. I wrote on them: lesson, prayer, treat, game, scripture, song. I covered them w/ contact paper. Then I stuck a ball of plasti tak on each superhero chest and attached a super hero symbol thingie. Then I put it in 12x14 frame.

Instead of a family of Super Heroes, you could make a family of baseball players, doctors, rockstars,cowboys, chefs or any of the other 50+ themes that come on the cartridge.

OOPS! I just notice that for some reason I took the pic before attaching the super hero triangle thingies. Just pretend that they are there.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cricut Cake-so easy a child can do it?

I have never been a fan of cake decorating for several reasons:
-I prefer brownies or cheesecake
-I am practical and can't see spending hours of something you're just going to eat
-most previous experiences have been been frustrating and my cake never look very good.
-I hate to be sticky

However, my feelings have not poisoned the baking ambitions of my off-spring. We've had a Circut for years and LOVE it. My daughter was obsessed w/ getting Cricut Cake, but I just could justify the price. The Black Friday Fairies must have granted her wish, b/c Jo Ann's had Cricut Cake-mini on special for $99. Can I get a Woohoo!?

So we finally busted it out. There were some moments of frustration and a way to much "sticky" for my liking, but we managed to make our first cake. We have been disillusioned by watching Ace of Cakes and the Cake Challenge. Those shows should come w/ disclaimers like, "don't try this at home" or "the following should only be attempted by trained professionals".

We wanted to make a layer cake, so we picked these 2 pans. Next time we will use pans with much greater size differences. These were too close and just made our cake look weird.

We love this little gadget. It was super easy to use, under $5 and is awesome for getting your layers level.

After our layers were level, we covered our cake w/ tasty butter cream frosting.

Then we made our own fondant. We actually used a different recipe, but my very talented cake decorating friend always uses this one:

It was finally the time to bust out the Cricut. Here's what we learned (mostly what not to do):
-put shortening on the mat, the counters, your hands etc.
-roll the fondant as thin as you can get it-there is no such thing as too thin
-brown is really hard color to make w/ food coloring-unless you are trying to make fondant poo and then it's easy. However, since we didn't want to make anyone gag, we just added a little cocoa powder in place of some of the sugar. Perfect brown and yummy. It was a little stiffer then the rest of our colors, but still manageable.
-you need a big heavy rolling pin to roll our fondant. We had a cute plastic one that had rings on the end that was supposed to let you roll it to different heights-but it was worthless.
-make sure you trim of any excess off your mat, or it gums up the entire machine.
-We love the "fit to page" button. It allowed us to make the biggest possible pieces possible w/ out having to do any math
-the fondant really stretches when you take it off the mat. We found the best way was to turn the mat upside down over a piece of freezer paper and gently peel away the fondant until it falls on the wax paper. I've also heard it's great to put the entire it into the freezer before you remove the fondant. We need to get a few more mats and then this would be a fabulous idea
-fondant dries out really quickly, so we kept it in plastic bags while we weren't using it
-really smaller or detailed pieces didn't work. Maybe we'll try some of the later, but we were way top ambitious for our first time.

-we also really loved the "tools". They don't come w/ the machine, but are worth it.

We wanted something to go along the bottom., so we made little fondant balls and stuck them around the bottom.

So maybe Food Network won't be calling us anytime soon, but I think it's pretty good for a 12-year-old.


We had a lot of fondant left over so we cut out some more stuff. We'll just freeze it and use it on some other creation. They turned out much better, then what we put on our cake. I love the cherry blossoms. Next time we are going to attempt to cover the entire cake w/ fondant-so stay tuned.