Thursday, September 30, 2010

Loving Where You Live

Sometimes no matter what we do to our houses, what truly makes it "Home" is where it falls on the map.
Whether it's a small community or a bustling city that you love, it really is all about Location, Location, Location!

I was so excited to check out 320*Sycamore this morning and find a love letter about my state! 
Melissa is putting together a cool license plate wall in her basement playroom, and just received an Iowa plate in the mail from a reader.... and because Iowa is SO COOL, we got a little shout out. 
Check out the post HERE, and while you're there, check out the rest of Melissa's blog - it's definitely on my "Love" list.

You know what else is on my list of LOVES?  A lot of other great things about Iowa:

* DUH, the sweet corn.  You won't find better anywhere else in the country so don't even try.

* When you're out taking a walk with the family or the dog, or jogging, the people you pass smile and say "Hi".  To strangers.  ALWAYS.

* My Alma Mater.  Once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye! 

Our Coach Ferentz doesn't hurt, either. ;)

* You don't have to sell your firstborn to live well (And no, The Redhead is not up for sale.  Yet.).  What we have paid for our 4-bedroom home with a spacious yard would buy us approximately a small 1-bedroom apartment in California, a tiny loft space in New York City, or a 2-bedroom townhome in some parts of Chicago.  We're happy rockin' the suburbs :)

* Every 4 years, Iowa becomes the center of the Universe.  Iowa is a "Must Have" campaign destination for any candidate hoping to make a home in the Oval Office.  Election years are exciting and we watch it all unfold from the front row.
Living here makes you understand the power of your vote and your voice.
* I have a family of teachers who might publicly flog me (no, that's not an Iowa tradition... it's just my crazy family) if I didn't mention our education system is one of the best around.  Our teachers and districts are not immune to the myriad of challenges facing schools across the country, but they fight hard for kids and it shows.

I could wax nostalgic about Iowa all day long, but I want to hear something wonderful about where YOU hang your hat each night.  What keeps you blooming where you're planted?
Happy Thursday! 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On the Stool

OK no, this post is not about toilets, but I thought that title would be funny. No? Well, maybe next time. OH! And the project in this post isn’t finished [I don’t think], but I desperately need your help deciding what to do next! Read On…

The Redhead is getting taller, and is exercising her curiosity about what’s really up on those surfaces that she can’t quite reach – kitchen island, countertops, the kitchen table, etc. I’ve had enough instances of finding her hanging precariously on the edges of things that it was time to give her a tool to help her satisfy her curiosity – WITHOUT breaking her neck.
I used a coupon and bought this (well, a similar one) ready-to-finish stool at Michael’s for something like $7.

I liked the turned wood legs and as I look around my house I notice I definitely appear to be partial to squares and rectangles, vs. round shapes. That’s probably why I chose this guy over the version with a round seat. Huh.
I got him home and promptly slapped a coat of black semi-gloss on him, thinking I’d be done.
BUT, this is me we're talking about:

  1. I love a monogram and anything personalized.

  2. I just got this new Cricut and I’m obsessed with watching it cut.

  3. Mr. V. had commandeered the remote and was at DEFCON 5 watching Monday Night Football and checking on his fantasy team, and I may have been pouting about wanting to watch Dancing with the Stars. Maybe.
 You see where this is going – it needed a little something more.
I found a nice creamy paper and the Cricut gave me a nice V
(V #6,428 in my home, I believe). I modge podge’d it to the top and decided to modge podge the entire seat to give it a nice, even seal.
I let it dry, then I washed my hands and put it down, waiting for The Redhead. And then I stood back, and thought “It needs SOMETHING….”
But I stood there for 10 minutes staring at the darn thing and couldn’t figure it out. Clean khaki stripes? A full monogram? Nothing at all? A different color?

Seriously. I love a good brownie.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Resurrecting a White Elephant [Gift]

Anyone do White Elephant gift parties for Christmas?  I know there are 100 different things people call them, but basically it's when, instead of buying a gift for a gift exchange around the holidays, you find something (usually atrocious) that you've had stashed away, received as a gift from someone else, or just want OUT of your house, and wrap it up for some poor unsuspecting sap. 

I have a box of these "gems" in my basement, just waiting for the next go round.  Today's featured project is a rehabbed White Elephant gift, that's now a cute addition to my kitchen.

This welcome sign was part of a fabulous box of "goodies" I received one year. 

[V Family, does this look familiar?  I just want you to know I'm still bummed I didn't get that sticker maker.] 

It's not hideous, but it's a little too "Country Craft Show" for my taste.  So, I went to work.

I removed the gingham fabric, and I used a screwdriver to pry the worded panel away from the frame.
The frame went to the garage for a few coats of Black Suede spray paint, and I took the panel to the kitchen for some quality time with me, a paintbrush and "Mad Men".

I used some Restoration Hardware "Flax" that I had leftover from doing The Redhead's nursery.
It went on nice and even, and dried quickly, which was a bonus.  For the purpose of this project, the surface needed to be somewhat wipeable, so it was important to use latex paint.

Once both pieces [for the most part] dried, I reattached them with some Gorilla Glue.  You can see where I stuck my thumb in the wet paint here and had to do some touching up.  Oops!

While the glue was drying, I cut out some letters on my Cricut (yes, I got one.  I never thought I would, but I came across a deal that was so good if I passed it up I would hate myself for eternity.  So I got it). 

I didn't have any vinyl to use, and wasn't really in the mood to tediously and meticulously glue 1-inch paper letters onto this panel (it was getting late and I am typically in bed earlier than your 80-year-old Grandma).  What I did find that I had was full-sheet labels.  Basically, it's an 8x11.5 sheet of crack & peel paper by Avery.  Normally when you buy these sheets they have the labels already pre-cut.  I had made some stickers for Christmas a few years ago, so I had these full sheets left over.  I ran 'em through the Cricut and they cut like a charm:

All done!

Now when I'm doing my meal planning for the week, I just use chalk-ink markers to write out the week's menu.  Just use a damp cloth when you need to change it up and it wipes right off! [This is why it's important to use a latex paint for 'wipability'.  I'm not sure that's a word, but whatevs]

Got any potential in any of your you'vegottabekiddingme gifts of holidays past? :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Little More Label Love

So, I got new canisters for my pantry. Mainly because the old ones were these weird lucite ones with a latch, and I had other ideas for where to use them.  But not for my flour and sugar.

I chose these because I loved the clean stainless look. And I didn’t care that it was going to be in my pantry where virtually no one outside of my immediate family would see.
I like cute.
Sue me.

Because they are the same size and at a glance you can’t tell what’s inside them (I mean, you can, but it’s flour and sugar. They look a lot alike. It’s easiest just to read what’s on the container, right?) I needed some sort of label.  Darn, right? Because I totally hate labels ;)  I didn’t want to put anything permanent on them (have you figured out yet that I change things all the time? :) ) So at first, I just used these metal alphabet magnets.

They were really cute. For like, a minute. Then I actually used the containers, and if anything else in the pantry bumped up against the canisters, it only took a hot minute for them to become a jumbled mess. Not a fan.

I still liked the idea of magnets, but I definitely needed something singular, rather than a bunch of letters bumping all around.
Off to Michaels I went, and found the basics - cute scrapbook paper, two wooden discs (for $0.29 each) and the all-holy Modge Podge.

And from my craft room I grabbed a paintbrush for the 'Podge, scissors and some leftover adhesive-backed magnets.  They're the kind you buy at any office supply store.  The ones I had were the size of business cards, but they also sell them in small squares.  I just cut mine to size and called it good.

And really folks, there's not a whole lot of "how to" beyond this.

I traced the circles onto the scrapbook paper, then Modge Podge'd 'em together. 
I printed out my words on a textured paper, and cut out a slightly smaller circle (with the words on it).  
I Modge Podge'd those to the scrapbook+wood circles. 
When they dried, I lightly sanded the edges to get rid of any paper edges/flakes.
Then I just peeled off the adhesive backing on the magnets, and stuck 'em to the back of the wooden circles.

Then stick them on your canisters, like this:

And there you go.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Less is More for Miss L.

Meet my niece, The Divine Miss L.:

Miss L. is funny.

The Redhead loves Miss L.

Miss L has a fun, girly bedroom because Miss L is girly and fun.

But, Miss L needs some wall décor. Her mother (Cool Sister) said "I’m handing this off to you. Go do... what you do, m’kay?”

SO, we started with the area over her bed. She has these cool green walls that pop color without making your head explode. And her bedding coordinates perfectly.
(I took these pictures on a rainy day with little natural light, because I am awesome.  So.... sorry about the low lighting.  But the room is still way cute - trust me)

She has this great quilt from PB kids that suits Miss L to a T.  It's pretty busy, though (like Miss L), so that means that anything we do on the walls needs to complement that pattern, not fight with it or distract from it.

I found an open-backed frame that mimicked the lines of her great headboard. 

It was a distressed white, though, and had a more shabby chic vibe going on, which isn't what I was going for.  So, I gave it a couple coats of a nice gloss white to even it out and match her existing furniture.

I went for this basic "L" at Hobby Lobby (I prefer this classic font over more kitschy, girly or bubbly fonts, but that's just me.  A 50% off sale doesn't hurt, either. ;) )

A couple strokes of a fun bubblegum pink courtesy of our friends at Rustoleum to cover the letter, and
within a weekend, Miss L. had a simple but chic feature wall with her name written all over it!  Or at least, her initial.

That's just one wall, people - we've got 1 1/2 more to go!  Stay tuned for more from her room, and another cameo or two from Miss L, if you're lucky :)


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Katie's Nesting Spot

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Finishing a Fall Tablescape

A little while back I showed you this Goodwill pedestal that was making its home with some miniature white pumpkins on my kitchen table. I loved the look… but it didn’t feel “finished”. I think it was the size. Our table is actually on the smaller side, but the pedestal just wasn’t enough. As luck would have it, a recent thrifting trip yielded just the thing.

I found these awesome rustic candle holders at Goodwill.

I honed right in on them because I thought they resembled candles holders that I had seen and really liked at Pottery Barn a couple years ago but had never bought. They really looked like the PB ones, too. And with good reason:


$2.99 for the SET?!?
Even sweeter!

They were in perfect shape and I practically danced out of the store. I knew exactly where they would go.

The color and shape went perfectly with my pedestal o’pumpkins, so I didn’t bother touching them up.
(Quit being shocked that I didn’t monkey with something. It happens. Occasionally. ;) )

I found two candles down in the Décor Dungeon (aka The Basement) that were similar color and height, but they were different scents and textures. You can’t really tell the difference in the picture, but trust me. 
It's totally there, staring at me.

When I set them out, I could see the subtle differences and I knew it would bug me. PLUS, the whole thing was just dying for some layers/texture.

I’ve been on a burlap kick this fall and had a bunch left over, so I threw some of that around the candles, added a woven placemat, a dollar store leaf for a pop of color and some twine, and I think we’ve “fall’d up” my kitchen table. :) So far I am enjoying the rustic, neutral look.

Happy Tablescaping!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wearing her Heart on her Sleeve... er, Tummy

Remember Newman? He joined our family at 8 weeks old, a gift to me from Mr. V. - sort of a prize for turning 30.

Just a few months after bringing home our flop-eared, roly-poly puppy, we found out I was expecting The Redhead.

There’s something to be said about Dog’s intuition. From the first emergence of a baby bump, Newman was always poking his nose into my belly, nudging The Redhead as if to say hello. When she got bigger and you could see her movements from the outside, he would “chase” her on my tummy (think “whack-a-mole” with a giant dog paw)

Toward the end of the pregnancy, Newman’s own maternal instincts kicked into gear and he did his best to hatch our baby.

When she finally arrived, it was the beginning of a very special friendship. And they have been inseparable ever since.

Her favorite shirt used to be a onesie with a puppy on it. She would pat her chest and gleefully shout “WOOF!” “WOOF!”. But last winter’s onesie is now packed away in a tub with all the other clothes she grew out of so quickly ::sniff::

It was time for a new puppy shirt, and what better model than her BFF?

I took a cue from this year’s silhouette trend, and found a simple Boxer silhouette online.

(note: just google “silhouette” + whatever breed you’re looking for and I guarantee you’ll find what you’re looking for. So. easy.)
From there, I found my fabric (in this case, an old pinstriped shirt of mine), laid it flat and traced the silhouette with a pencil. I took a sheet of heat adhesive and peeled one side off, then attached it to the fabric. I did this before I cut it out, A) So I wouldn’t have to cut the darn thing out twice and 2) so I wouldn’t have to worry about the cuts not matching up.

I found a simple long-sleeved t-shirt on the rack at Target, and from there, after I peeled off the other sticky side and placed it on my shirt, all I needed was 30 seconds and a hot iron.


Happy Camper :)

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