String Easter Eggs

I am very excited that I have a new neighbor that loves to do crafts. We got together this week while the boys were napping and made string Easter eggs. I think they are so cute and they were simple to make, although a little time consuming (which is find when you are getting to know a new neighbor). I found the idea on Pinterest (of course) and it linked back to this site with all the instructions. But I did have a few things to add after making them:

-You must have strong lungs to be able to make these. Blowing up the water balloons had to be the hardest part of the whole thing. Maybe it was just the balloons we had (since they did not break last year when we threw them and they were full of water), but it was no easy task.

-I think next time I do it I am going to try not to add the flour to the fabric starch because they did not mix well. All the flour seemed to be either on the bottom of my bowl or clumped on my string when it dried. I have found similar projects done just using the fabric starch.

-I also want to note that it is important to carefully unwind all of the string into the bowl and not just dump it in. I started out following the instructions, but decided that it seemed unnecessary so I tried to just place one of the skein in all together. It really seemed like it would work, but it definitely got knotted very quickly. Just goes to show I should learn not try to take the easy way out.

-Also try to wipe all the excess liquid off of your string as you wrap it around the balloon. I did not do that every well and it took over 15 hours for my egg to dry and there are lots of clumps on the string that I am not fond of.

All and all it was a fun project and I think they look very festive sitting on my table. (I just wish I had the perfect size glass  jar to hold them.)

Spring Wreath

Ok, so yarn wrapped wreaths can be pretty addicting to make. Its a simple project that can make a huge difference to the front of your house. My new wreath makes me smile every time I drive up to the house. I bought a 16 inch straw wreath with a plastic cover. I read on another blog not to take the plastic off and I am so glad, because it made the wreath much easier to wrap without getting caught on the straw. When I finished wrapping the wreath in the yarn I was just a little short so I would recommend a 14 inch wreath or two bags/skeins of yarn.

I was really excited when I was shopping because I came across Doodle Yarn on sale for 50% and thought it would make the wrapping easier because its so thick. I was able to get the whole wreath wrapped in about 10 minutes (which is much better then the hour my first one took me).

I used hot glue to hold the beginning of the yarn in place on the back of the wreath. Then as you are wrapping you will need to go back and fill in a gap from time to time. Just put a little hot glue on the back where you finished and move across the back of the wreath put a little more hot glue to start where you need to fill in the gaps. Then repeat to get back to where you left off. Hold the end of the yarn in place with a little more hot glue.

For the flowers I bought one foot of three different fabrics. There are lots of different very similar tutorials to make hand twisted fabric flowers but I used this one. I used different lengths and widths to make the different sized flower. The first few flowers that I did I spent a lot of time on them trying to make them like I wanted but I found that the faster I did it the more I liked the out come. I attached them to the wreath with hot glue.

Wooden Dowel Accent Wall

On his way to work Josh used to drive past this old apple barn that had been demolished. Every time he went by he thought about all the “treasures” he might be able to find in the heap of old wood.

One day when he drove by there was a group of men working on the old barn site so he stopped and got permission from the job foreman to take anything he wanted. Sadly, he decided that most of the wood was not useable, but he did find 48 wooden dowels from an old conveyor belt (like this one).

Then the dowels sat in our garage for the next two and a half years. I was so happy when we were able to add a guest room/office in our basement, because we really needed the space and we finally had a use the for dowels. It was my husbands idea to cut the dowels down and make the feature wall. I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first, and even more skeptical while we spent hours cutting, sanding, staining and mounting the disks.

The 48 dowels were cut down into 1020 disks using a miter saw. The dowels ended up being made of three different types of wood: oak, poplar and pine. We cut them down into four different sizes and used three different types of stains on them. It took many, many, many hours to cut them, roughly sand them, and individually dip them in the stain. I even had our four year old helping me sand and stain one day.

Then it was time to figure out how to attach them to the wall. We decided to use hot glue.  It held the disks on tightly, but they can also be easily removed with a quick hard tug. Which was good because we ended up trying them in three different configurations before we decided on the final arrangement.

We had a garage full of dust, a room that took a while to air out the smell of stain and hands covered in hundreds of stings from the hot glue, but we are very happy with the unique outcome of our accent wall.

Desk to Kitchen

I have wanted to make my boys a cute DIY kitchen ever since I saw them on pinterest. They are just so darn cute and you can completely customize it to fit your tastes and needs.

A few months ago my husband and I were trying to clean out the garage and getting ready to make a salvation army drop off. We had a small students desk that we did not need and were about to load it into the car when we realized it could make a cute little kitchen.

The idea was awesome but then we waited and waited. On December 16th we realized that we had better start working on it if we really wanted to give it to the boys for Christmas. My husband had the great idea to cut down one of our old original kitchen cabinets (yes that was what was in our kitchen when we bought the house and believe me I am so glad we were able to renovate the kitchen) to make a microwave.

Josh started by cutting off the bottom trim to give it a nice clean line on the bottom. We also wanted to make it a little shorter so our boys can reach everything.

Josh lowered the drawer on the left to be under the oven and removed the drawer on the right. Then he added the top shelf and the cut down cabinet to make the microwave. He even found a small metal rack in the garage that he was able to use at the baking rack in the oven.

Josh was able to use the other door from the kitchen cabinet as the oven door and cut a hole for the facet and sink. Up to this point we had spent $0 because Josh was able to do it all with scraps we had around the house.

I bought paint, replacement oven knobs, hardware, wainscoting, the cheapest faucet I could find, and a metal bowl for the sink.  I think the whole kitchen probably cost us about $40. I used leftover vinyl to make the “windows” for the microwave and oven and the microwave numbers.

I am so happy with how it turned out, and the boys have been loving it.

The boys love “cooking” for everyone that has come to out house since Christmas. And you never know what you will find in the oven.

Christmas Wreath

I was very excited to hang a wreath on my door for the first time this Christmas season. I am even more excited because I made it and I love how it turned out.

I bought a styrofoam ring and then wrapped it in yarn. It did take a little longer then I thought it would but did it while hanging out with some great friends so it was more fun then work. Next time I will definitely use a straw wreath though because the yarn kept sticking the the styrofoam. Then I made the felt flowers using the tutorials on this blog, they too take a little time but are fairly easy to make. I am also really happy with how much I spend on it. I was able to get the styrofoam ring, yarn, and white berries 50% off so all together the wreath only cost me $9. Can’t complain about that!

Christmas Stockings

I am not sure what I was thinking but last year I decided that I wanted to make our family new Christmas stockings. It was not the decision to make the stockings, but the timing. I started them the first week of December, gave birth to our sweet third child on December 16th and then finished them on Christmas Eve eve. It may have been crazy but I love them!

When I started planning them I thought I would be able to use hot glue, but I found out that glue showed through the white. I think that I am happy that I ended up sewing them because it gave them a more finished look.

I also really love the “mantel” that we made for them. We had no where in our house to hang up our stockings. We found this piece of wood in my Dad’s junk pile and did a light white wash on it. I added a few fresh cut evergreens and pin cones and it turned into a beautify place to hang out stockings. Now I am really sad when its time to put way the stockings and “mantel”.

Our New Old Nightstands

Ever since we finished the new bed and headboard for our room we have been trying to find new end tables. My husband kept complaining that he was hitting his elbow on the old ones since we had moved from a high queen bed to a low king. However, I could not find anything that I like in my price range. We also needed tall and skinny to fit in the little space we had next to the bed. I really wanted to make nightstands out of old stumps, but after some research I decided it would be too hard to find wood that was already dry and the size I wanted it.  I was also not patient enough to wait for fresh cut wood to dry. I was also little worried that they would be really heavy and did not want to chance them tipping over on my boys.

One day we had a wonderful morning where our kids had spent the night at their grandparents, so we thought it would be fun to walk through a local flea market that we had never been to. After a little while of browsing I told my husband that I really like all the old wooden crates. We found a very cute little California Raisin crate and bought it thinking we could use it as a shelf somewhere in our house. Then Josh said we should try to find a matching box and mount them on the wall as nightstands. We were not able to find another one that matched our little raisin box, but that worked out for the best.

When I went to pick my boys up at their grandparents house I remembered that my Dad stored a lot of his tools in old wooden crates that came out of my Great Grandfathers barn. After a little searching through some beat up boxes we found two that were in good shape and even matched. They were both “stumping powder boxes” and one side says “danger, high explosives”. I loved the way the old wood looked but decided it would be best to seal them and make sure nothing that might be living in the boxes would come out and get into our bed. I put two heavy coats of Min-wax satin polyurethane on them and they got a little darker in color and a little shinier but I love the way they look next to the bed. They make the room look a little bigger because they are floating and you can see the floor under them. I also love that they are just the right size for the few things we need next to our bed and are not big enough to become a dumping zone.

With the new nightstands we decided we also needed a new paint on the walls. We got rid our our brown stripe and went for a light gray that ended up looking a little blue, but I like how it looks with the brown. The pillow on the bed is a work in progress and is currently just fabric tucked around a body pillow but soon(cross my fingers) I will be making it into two large decorative pillows.  I am also hoping to find some metal artwork to hang over the bed.

I am very proud of our little nightstands and I think its really cool that my Great Grandfather and his brothers used the use the boxes on their watermelon farm

We used large screws to attach the boxes to studs in the wall. We have instructed our boys that they are not stepping stools to get into the bed so hopefully they will last a long time.

And don’t worry I still have plans for that little raisin box on another wall in our room, more to come.

Handmade Christmas Gift

I wanted to find a project that I could do with my boys to give a friend for Christmas and that they would be proud to hang on their wall. I found this canvas tutorial that was posted at Tatertots and Jello and thought it would be a perfect craft for my boys. Scissors and glue seem to be their favorite things to work with these days and I figured this was a boy proof project.

I found a bunch of magazines and colorful store flyers and told them to cut out small pieces they thought were pretty and put them in a large bowl.

Then I spread Mod Podge on areas of the canvas and let the boys lay out the scraps of papers.

They did most of the work and really enjoyed it. Then it was time for Mommy and Daddy to do the rest. We used a piece of vinyl to cut out the shape of the branch and bird and pressed it firmly down on the canvas. I had planned to let the boys paint it but I started painting a little too late. We were worried that they might paint a little too rough and cause paint to seep under the vinyl. After a thick coat of paint I removed the vinyl while the paint was still wet.  I really like how the finished art looked and the boys were very proud of their accomplishment.

For a more detailed tutorial check out the post at Tatertots and Jello.


Our New Bed

When we first got married we bought an old four poster bed from an add in the paper for only $35 dollars. We were almost not able to bring it home though because it was stuck in their attic and it took about an hour to figure out how to get it out. We really enjoyed the bed, but it was a queen and the posters made our bedroom look a little smaller. We recently finished a guest room in the basement(can’t wait to post about it soon) and decided it was the perfect opportunity to pass our bed to the basement and upgrade.

Here is our bedroom before:I saw a wonderful tutorial on how to make a diamond tufted headboard at Addicted 2 Decorating and fell in love with the idea. Josh came up with the plan to make a floating platform bed so we decided to try and get it done in one weekend. I would highly recommend checking out the tutorial on Addicted 2 Decorating because it was so easy to follow. To my surprise we had the bed done by Sunday night, a little later then we normally stay but it was so worth it. I feel like our room feels so much roomier and open.

After:I went to a local outlet fabric store and bought the upholstery material, batting and foam so we were able to keep the price for the headboard and platform to around $300. I googled king sized diamond tufted headboards and found most of the to be between $750 to $2000 for just the headboard. The one thing that I learned during this project is that you must use upholstery buttons and not craft/upholstery buttons. I bought and covered fifty seven craft/upholstery buttons and when I started to attach them to the headboard they started shooting off like rockets. Back to the store we went and then I had to recover all the new buttons, but they were definitely better quality and exactly what this project needed.

For the platform Josh used four pieces of plywood. He made a box that was a foot smaller on all side then the king mattress. Then he added supports that ran on the inside every one and a half feet. Once that was done (and seemed like it would be enough support) he added just shy of two pieces of plywood across the top of the box. He cut it one inch smaller then our mattress so that the sides of the bed would be soft and not cause us bruises when we are trying to find the bed after being up with one of boys in the night. To keep our new mattress from getting snagged on the plywood we took a flat king sheet that we bought at Walmart and wrapped it around the top of the bed, pulled it tight and used a staple gun to attach it to the bottom.

I love our new bed but I could use some input. I know that we need some decorative pillows because right now it looks a little silly and lacking but what I really want is new side tables. I am having a hard time finding ones that I love and are cheap enough for my budget. Any ideas? I am leaning toward round….maybe? I also feel like I need some sort of art on the wall above the bed. Any recommendations?

The Nursery

Our nursery is a very tiny bedroom. We bought our house and started remolding it when I was six months pregnant with our second son. We did such an extensive remodel that we moved in with my parents for eight weeks because the house was unlivable with a fifteen month old. During the remodel we called the nursery room our personal hardware store because we kept all our supplies in it (And this is a picture at its best during the reno).

About a month before I was due we decided that we better get to work on the nursery. The previous owner had multiple cats and dogs and we think she kept them in this room so the first thing to go was the carpet. Here is a picture of the empty room before we started working on it.

We decided that we wanted to make it a fun and playful room. We were not worried about it being a room that he would quickly out grow because we were planning on having more babies, and this room would always be the nursery if there was a baby in the house. Luckily for me Josh is very creative and artistic. One day at work he doodled some really cute farm animals and our nursery was born.

I took light blue paint and painted the top two thirds of the wall and when it dried I painted the bright green paint in waves on the bottom half of the wall. Josh then doodled on his farm animals in pencil. For the next few night we spent a few hours painting in the animals and the pond. It still did not look finished so Josh took a black paint pen and outlined all the animals and scenery. (He is now a huge fan of the paint pens and I think we own one in every color and they are often used.) Our favorite animal is the frog. He is just so darn cute.

And since Josh and I are both missionary kids from Kenya we thought we would add a little African flare into the room by adding the shape of Africa in one of the cows spots.

We were happily surprised when our little one was born two weeks early, but were really glad that we had finished the nursery just a few nights before. We now have our third son in the nursery and he loves the room as much as his brother did. They have both enjoyed laying in the crib and look at the animals. Its also fun when they get a little older to run around the room and point to the animal and make them make the proper farm noise.