Friday, October 29, 2010

Fabric Flowers

Last week I blogged about a Bow Board I put together for my niece, Miss L.
I embellished the board with a few fabric flowers that I added for a pop of color and a little additional texture.

What I didn't expect was the response I would get about those 3 little flower clips!

I received several requests for the steps I used to make them. Well, ask and you shall receive! :)

You only need a little bit of fabric to make these so it's a great way to make use of scraps.  These flowers can be as large or as small as you'd like - just adjust the amount of fabric you use accordingly. 
For reference, the flowers pictured above are roughly 2.5 - 3 inches in diameter, if that helps you get a visual reference.

Start with a strip of fabric - mine was about 4 inches wide.  I can't remember how long it was...I think in the vicinity of 18 inches. 

The length of the strip will ultimately determine the diameter of your finished flower.
Start by folding the fabric length-wise, and tying a knot in one end.

And yes, I totally write notes to myself on my hand like a third grader. 
Now, twist the fabric loosely - like how you would twist a lock of your hair - the start to wrap the fabric around the knot (the little "tail"of the knot should be the center of the flower).

Here  is where the size of your flower will determine the rest of this process.  I just wrapped my flower and moved onto the final step, because they were relatively small.  With a larger flower, though, it gets hard to hold everything together while you're still twisting and wrapping.  So, some people choose to adhere as they go. 
When making larger flowers, I use hot glue on the back side to keep things from falling apart.  All your handiwork can be easily covered at the end by a piece of coordinating fabric or felt.

Since my flowers were small, I just stuck some fabric squares on a side of heat adhesive, then cut out circles for my flower backing. 
Once you have yourcirlces, peel off the backing and attach them to the back of the flower.

Heat up the iron, give them a quick once-over, and the flower is finished!

From here, you can sew them onto pillows, hot glue them onto other projects for a little embellishment, or add alligator clips or pins for a cute accent to a hat, headband, lapel or purse.
And that's it!  Simple, right?  And super cute!

Enjoy and Have a Great Weekend!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Simple Halloween Decor

So I've noticed that some folks aren't as keen on the "skipping halloween decor" idea as I am.
Well, fine. ;)

Today I have a simple halloween accessory that even a halloween scrooge like myself will like.  Bonus: there's a bottle of wine in it for you.  Hee.

My mom found this project in the most recent issue of Women's Day magazine.  They had several cute ideas for turning wine bottles into spooky decor. 

[source: Women's Day]
Here's a link if you're interested in more.

Start with a wine bottle (you can use full or empty.  I went with empty :) )
The first step is to take your wine bottle and soak off the label. 

If your bottle is full, make sure you use room-temperature water so you don't monkey with the temperature of your wine and risk spoiling it.  The safer route is to do what I did - have a couple nights in front of the t.v. with your husband and a fat glass of red wine after the kiddo goes to sleep.  Then by the time you're ready to take the label off the bottle.... Oops!  It's empty! :)

So, I just rinsed the bottle out and left it soaking in the sink for a while.

Once the labels easily peeled off, I used Goo Gone to get the rest of the residue off.

After that, I took a white paint marker to make my spiderweb, but there are all kinds of possibilities for designs, etc. - put a spooky tag or tie some black velvet ribbon around the neck for extra effect.

All right folks, that's about as Halloween as I get.  I'm roasting some pumpkin seeds tonight for added Halloween Karma with you guys :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quick Office Before & After

Like most of you, I have a day job (and that's why blogger's post-scheduling feature is so awesome! :) )
It's in an office.  Well, not totally an office.  But not really a cubicle?  I have 3 real honest-to-goodness walls, and one cube partitian.  Officle?
All righty.
In this officle, I have an inbox.  It's just plain, clear lucite that hangs over the partitian.
I had a know-it-all-co-worker last year who told me you could use dry-erase marker on it, and it would wipe right off.  "Look!" she said, as she wrote "Inbox/Mail" in really dumb handwriting
(can you tell I'm still bitter?)
"You can just wipe this right... um, well huh.  I totally thought dry erase would work on this.  Guess not!  Oops!"
Yeah, it wouldn't come off.
And it bugged me. For a long while.  But I finally got tired of pouting.


2 coats of bronze spraypaint, and a little label action.

Ahhhh.  Much Better.

linking to: Skip to my Lou

Friday, October 22, 2010

Bow Board II

A while back I walked you through making a ribbon board for The Redhead's Room to store all her hot hair accessories.  Today, it's Bow Board, version 2.0.

Cool Sister saw an idea for a board for Miss L, and thought I might be interested in the project.  She also knew I might have a metric ton of chicken wire in my garage.

(Note: last year, all the landscaping plants on The V Side were encased in cylinders or fences made of chicken wire.  "Wow!" you must be thinking.  "Quite a bunny problem you had there, huh!" 
Um, no.
Our "Problem" weighs about 63 pounds and believed that landscaping plants = buffet:

OK.  So now that McSlobbery up there appears to have outgrown his "affliction", the chicken wire has come off.... but apparently it's not something you can just chuck in the garbage bin and say 'sayonara'.  So until we find the appropriate way to recycle/get rid of it, I am ALL.FOR. projects that require me to use it!
Onto the board:

I started with the same frame I used for Miss L's above the bed wall decor, only a smaller size.

I gave it the same coat of Gloss White paint that I gave the other frame, so they would match.
Next step was to cut and secure the chicken wire.  You'll need tin snips to cut the chicken wire, and as hard as you try to measure on the seams, you will end up with a couple jagged edges.  And those HURT, people!  Do yourself a favor and grab a pair of garden gloves while you're working on this.  Chicken wire can cut you easily and I've got the band-aids to prove it.
I measured and snipped, then secured the chicken wire in the smallest part (closest to the front) of the frame.  Upon recommendation from Mr.V., I stapled the wire in, rather than trying to use construction adhesive, which was my original plan (I've mentioned before my penchant to use too much glue.  Good advice!).

For the backing, I used a piece of leftover luan I had from a previous project.  I covered the luan in a fun fabric, folding it over on the back to create a nice edge and then securing it to the luan with Gorilla Glue.  Since the back of this will be exposed (well, only when you're hanging it), I wanted it to look somewhat 'finished' so I covered my glued fabric seams with some ribbon. 

If you're doing this for your own house and totally don't care about the back, you can avoid this step completely.  Since this is going in Cool Sister's house, I didn't want her to think I do sloppy work :).

I attached the fabric-covered luan to the back of the frame using flat-head screws (again, with Mr.V's help). 
By securing it to the very back of the frame and not fitting it into the opening (where the chicken wire sits), it creates a little space between the pieces, which allows for easy maneuvering of clips and bows to and from the wire.

All we have to do is get 'er hung, and The Divine Miss L now has a chic space for all her accessories.

And PS the fabric covering the back isn't an orangey-reddish like it looks here - it's actually a fun hot pink with small white dots and it's going to look great in her room!
I'll post an updated picture once it's up in Miss L's room so you're not continually subjected to the "low-light-because-I-have-to-wait-for-theRedhead-to-go-to-bed" photos :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Thanksgiving (yep, Thanksgiving!) Before & After

So, I don’t really “Do” Halloween. I’ve never been a fan of “Spooky”. I don’t care for spiders, witches, ghosts or goblins… unless they show up on my doorstep begging for candy. Then they’re adorable. But I just really don’t decorate for Halloween. I’m more about Fall, overall.

So, it should come as no surprise that I’m bypassing Halloween altogether and jumping ahead to Thanksgiving! I should say, I’m jumping ahead… with a look back.

Last year, we hosted our very first major holiday, ever! We alternate Thanksgiving every other year between my family and Mr. V’s – and his family rotates hosting duties each year between the 6 siblings
See?  There are a LOT of people so it’s good that one family doesn’t have to take on the entire gang every year.

I can say we definitely have more space in this house than in our old place, but creating a nice space for 20 people to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner all at once is a tough job in most homes, I think!

Now, we don’t have a formal dining room. The space in our home’s floor plan that would typically be a dining room seemed too small for the kind of dining space I would have wanted, so we opted to enclose that space with french doors and make it our office. I love it… but we can’t have Thanksgiving in there.

And if you’ve ever tried to prepare a meal for 20 people, that’s a lot of food. And wine. And more food. Plus a gigantic turkey. And dessert. Even if I’d wanted to set up the dining space somehow in the kitchen/living area, there just wouldn’t have been room.

That left…. The basement.

Our unfinished, concrete floor, short-on-natural-light, insulation-lined basement.
(I think the giant dog kennel is a nice design touch, don't you?)
I knew the space could be transformed – I mean, spend a couple thousand dollars and hire an event specialist to Martha-ize the place, and we'd be in business, right? 
But..... that wasn't going to happen.
So, I got to work.  I built my entire look around natural elements because they are timeless in style, beautiful this time of year, and if you look hard enough... Free. :)
I did end up renting folding tables and chairs, but the rest came from the V Side, and a dizzying array of sales and coupons.
First we had to work with the room itself.  (And hide that elliptical!)

I took a king-sized white sheet and created a "wall" hoping to blend in with the white insulation on the walls (I used curtain clip rings hung on nails to hang the sheet)
I used simple paper lanterns to cover the exposed light bulbs, then some smaller LED lanterns hung on fishing line to create some height differences.

For easy votives with texture, I used nuts - pecans in the shell and acorns from my parents' backyard (in the hurricanes)- as well as lentils and navy beans to hold the tealights in place in the smaller votives. 
By using all clear glass for all the holders, and natural elements for all the fillers, the overall effect was cohesive, with the feel of "harvest".
And never underestimate the power of crisp, white linens!
I had the chair covers left over from a couple different bridal and baby showers I've thrown, but I would urge you to look online for basic table linens before shelling out big dollars at a department store.  For these 3 banquet table linens I paid $5 each.  With free shipping, WOOT!

So, Before:

And After:

I hope this started the wheels in your head turning about how to transform your space this Thanksgiving!
Hey, if we can make my basement work... you can make ANYTHING work!

Monday, October 18, 2010

New Use For: Baby Food Jars

Happy Monday Gang!
Hope you're all enjoying this wonderful (atypical) October weather!  It's hard to believe that this exact time last year, we were watching it SNOW.
Yesterday we took advantage of the great day and took The Redhead to the pumpkin patch for the first time.
We were lucky to have been joined by our favorite friends, Miss L and Mr. E:

We had a fun time enjoying the Corn Maze, searching for pumpkins and stocking up on fall decorations!

I got home tired, but ready to spend some time updating the front porch. 
In addition to warty pumpkins and cool-colored gourds, I love a little "glow" in my fall decorating. 
It reminds me of fire pits and camping and sitting out in the crisp night air awaiting trick-or-treaters.

This year I took a few large Mason jars and filled them with sand stolen from The Redhead's sand & water table (we were packing it in for the winter.  No, I did not steal her toys.  Yet.).  I dropped in a tealight and nestled it into the sand - instant lantern!
But, I like playing with levels and scale, so when Cool Sister asked if I had any use for some baby food jars, I knew just what I would do, and added them in.

All the differently-sized jars with the same filler also really make a nice statement all grouped together on a tabletop - they would be a perfect centerpiece for one of those last fall nights around the table on the deck with a bottle of wine!

I may keep them grouped inside like this once it snows,  but for now I'll enjoy them as a simple, warm addition to my fall front porch.

And, I suppose I should include someone who was very.put.out. that his photo was not being taken for this pictorial: