Monday, July 14, 2014

Growth Chart

Our babies just grow so fast and it is especially fun to keep track of this in the early years and also to compare with their siblings.  I started this growth chart for Miss Priss last year and it has been a work in progress ever since!  I have finally gotten it hung in what is soon to be her newly redecorated bathroom and I am so relieved to have this up and ready.

I have been using it since I got the initial paint job on it, but had to make some small additions and find a place to hang it.  Since I started it, we had added another little girl to the family and I wanted to hang it somewhere that both girls could use it so that bathroom that the two of them share was a perfect spot for it to stay.

Not obvious by my earlier statement that I started this last year, this is in fact a very simple project and can be done in a few short hours.  Waiting on the paint to dry is the most time consuming part.  But of course, if you have a few children, a job, a husband and anything else to keep you busy, it might take you a little longer than a weekend.  

I do encourage you though to start tracking your measurements as soon as you can, even if the project isn't entirely done so that you don't miss out on any growth spurts.  I measured Miss Priss last night when I put it up and she has grown an inch or so since I started this and I would have been so sad to have missed that due to my lack of final completion.

Let's get started!
Growth Chart
You will need:
  • 1" x 6" x 6" piece of wood
  • paint
  • paint brushes
  • stencils for numbers
  • pencil
  • embellishments
Start by painting the wood.  While this is drying you can get your stencils ready.  I cut out my stencils with my Cricut using the Cuttin' Up Cricut Cartridge.  I had to cut my stencils out more than once to make sure they were just the right size that I wanted.
Use a measuring tape and lightly mark 1 through 5 feet with a pencil so that you know where your numbers will need to go. Tape your stencils to your ruler using your pencil mark as a guide to find the center. I taped all of my numbers at once to make sure that was indeed what I wanted them to look like.
You can use a pencil to lightly trace the inside of your stencil.  You now have a can remove the stencil and use your steady hand to paint in the lines OR you can do what I did.  I went ahead and traced the inside with a light pencil, but I kept the stencil in place while I painted on the numbers.  After I let it dry for a few minutes I took off the stencil and did some touch up around the edges.
This part can be done the same way using some tape to make a small square to paint over the pencil mark for each foot.
When the paint is dry she is ready to hang.  Since I hung mine in the bathroom where we have a 3.5" baseboard I had to cut that much off the bottom of my ruler before I nailed it to the wall.  If you are planning to do the same, you should do this before so that you don't have to sand and repaint the ruler after all that hard work!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mason Jar Decor

I have been preparing for spring for a while and have been looking forward to the nice weather while being at home on maternity leave and one of the ways that I did this was by making some new table decor for my kitchen.  Now that is is finally starting to warm up, I am excited to show off my new decor.  Everyone who has come by has commented on how much they like them!
I made these several weeks ago, but with a new baby and million other things on my "Maternity Leave To Do" list before I go back to work I haven't had a chance to share until today.
I had seen some hydrangea arrangements as table centerpieces that I really enjoyed and right now you can find just about anything made from Mason Jars and I love that, but I don't have the right kind of house for a lot of the Mason Jar decor that I see and love.  This however, I do...
Mason Jar Decor
You will need:
  • clear mason jar or other glass jar in any shape or size that you like
  • acrylic paint in the color of your choice
  • paint brushes
  • silk hydrangea or other flower of your choice
  • wire cutters (for flower stems)
  • clear gloss spray paint (something like this)
  • plant styrofoam
  • ribbon or other embellishments
 Choose the color of paint that you would like for your first jar and paint the INSIDE of the jar.  I had to do a few coats to fully cover my jar and cover all the small spots that I was missing.  By painting on the inside of the jar, you will lessen your chances or chipping the paint while moving them or storing them or from little hands that might get ahold of your pretty flowers. :) 
You can use any kind of paint for this...small acrylic bottles that you can buy at Wal-Mart or gallon paint that you might have left over from another project.  I used both kinds for my jars and they all turned out just the same.
After you have the entire INSIDE of the jar painted to your liking and it has dried, spray the inside of the jar with the clear gloss and allow to dry once more.  By spraying the inside of the jar, you are lessening your chances of chipping the pain on the inside while changing out flowers or inserting styrofoam into the jar.
Once everything has dried, cut your styrofoam pieces to fit just inside the neck of the jar and insert them into the jar.  And lastly cut your flower stems just a few inches long.  Not too long that it is hard to insert them into the styrofoam, but long enough that you can keep the flowers in the jar without falling out if they are moved or bumped for any reason.
When you are done with the flowers for that season, you can change them out with new ones and as your styrofoam degrades you can easily switch it out with a new piece so that these jars can be used for several months or years.
Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Easy Rabbit Silhouette

Wow!  This has been a rough last couple of weeks for me!  I prepared for a baby, had a baby and am now am taking care of a baby in addition to my two-year-old.  During this time I didn't get to decorate for Easter like I had wanted to, but I did get to make a very simple Easter project that I had my mind set on before baby girl got here.
I have a ton of burlap left over from a previous project that I had done last fall and plenty of extra frames lying around that need to be used and so the bunny silhouette on burlap was created.
This doesn't have to be just for Easter though...without the colorful eggs that I put next to it, this cute bunny pic can be left on display for the entire Spring season.

Easy Rabbit Silhouette
You will need:
  • rabbit stencil or printout of your choice
  • black card stock
  • black frame
  • burlap (can be a scrap piece!)
  • white paint or pompom for rabbit tail
Start by cutting out the rabbit stencil or printout that you would like to use for your silhouette.  Lay it on top of the card stock and trace around the stencil.  I chose a rabbit on all four legs for a landscape oriented frame, but you could also chose a rabbit that stands upright for a portrait frame.
Cut out your rabbit and make sure that it fits inside your frame and looks the way that you want it to.  Mine was a little big so I went back and trimmed around the edges a bit to make it fit just right.
Cut the burlap to fit inside your frame.  Now, cutting burlap can be tricky so you must be careful to cut straight lines and follow them as close as you can or you will end up with an odd shaped piece of burlap that might not fit into your frame and if you don't have a lot of extra burlap, you might be disappointed.
Then put a few pieces of tape on the back of the rabbit to hold it in place on the burlap while you put it into the frame.
And here is what she should look like.  A simple rabbit silhouette on a burlap background for Easter and Spring!
If you want to add a little pizazz to your rabbit you could spring (pun intended) for a white or glitter pompom glued to the tail to make it stand out a little better.  

Remember to get a small pom pom that will fit under the glass and doesn't look squished if you decide that you want to do this.  Otherwise you are done. 

This takes less than a half hour to do if you have all the supplies readily available.  This would also make a great craft project for the little ones!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

DIY Pleated Ribbon Curtains

Several months go I was in search of some curtains for a guest room that I was redecorating in yellow and grey and I had the hardest time finding any that went with my new color scheme.  Yellow and grey is becoming popular, but it it still hard to find a lot of things that actually match this new color trend and I was starting to get frustrated. 
Then...I went to Hobby Lobby and saw the perfect fabric for my new curtains!  Yellow chevron duck cloth fabric!  This fabric is a little thicker than standard cotton and so it made perfect sense to use this for the curtains in my new guest room.  They didn't have much on the roll that day of course and so I went ahead and ordered an entire bolt for myself and they said they would call me when it came in.  I didn't even know that you could do that...
I still wasn't sure exactly how I wanted the tops of the curtains to look...I have several curtain rods with rings hanging throughout the house and I wanted something different.  I really like grommet curtain tops, but that just wasn't what I wanted in this room.  Then I found what I wanted...pleated curtains.
Oh, and after my fabric came in and I was ready to get sewing I found out that this new guest room was now going to be a new baby room. Yikes! I decided to use the same color scheme since I had already painted the walls and ordered the fabric so no big hiccup there, except for I was in that super tired phase which took away a lot of motivation to get anything done, much less sewing.
Now to get them made...with a full time job, new baby on the way and Miss Priss going on two (but thinking that she is fourteen) I didn't get a chance to sit down and get them whipped up all at once, but I did get them completed and hanging and here is how I did it. 
DIY Pleated Curtains
You will need:
  • fabric of your choice (measurements depend on the size of curtain you are making)
  • thread to match
  • sewing machine
  • 2" ribbon for back of curtains (old ribbon is great to use here)
  • iron (or hair straightener)
  • straight pins
  • 5/8" ribbon for the 2 ends (this could be 1" or whatever else you choose)
  • hot glue gun (if you don't want to sew on your ribbons)
  • Fray Check
First of all you need to decide how long you want your curtains to be.  84" is a standard size of curtains panels that you can buy in a package at the store and when I measured from slightly over the top of my window to the floor that was exactly how long I wanted my panels to be. 
But wait, don't cut yet!  You have to make sure to add to the top and bottoms for the hems.  4" hems are pretty and I really like the way that they turn out, but I wanted waste the least amount of fabric that I could to make sure that I would get two panels and have some extra left over for pillows, lamp shades, etc. at the end of my bolt so I cut down my hem sizes a bit.
I accounted for a 3.5" hem at the top and a 2.5" hem at the bottom (since no one will really be looking there anyway) and then 0.5" on both top and bottom to fold under to give it a smooth, finished look although this is not a necessary part of the procedure if you ware really want to save some fabric.
With these additions, I cut two panels approximately 91" long x 46" wide (this was the wide of my bolt of fabric, I didn't have to cut this).  My window is 30" wide and so this give me plenty of room to pleat my curtains when I get them hanging.
In some instances you may want to fold over 0.25-0.5" and then fold it over again on the side to hide the frayed or glued parts of the fabric, but since I had such a smooth side on my curtains straight off the bolt, I just folded them over once and sewed straight down to hold them in in place.  On one side I only folded about 0.75" of fabric and on the other I had to do 1" to hide the sides of the fabric (see the pictures above and below for each side). 
When both sides of both panels have been sewn straight down the edge, you are ready for the top and bottom hems. 
Before we start talking about hems, let me tell you what I have learned about ironing.  First of all, I don't iron...I don't have time, I don't have room for or want to store an ironing board, and I just don't want to do it!  Instead, I will plug in my hair straightener in the morning and do my hair and if my shirt or pants need a little ironing, I use the straightener for that too.  I just put it on there and squeeze it together and then guess what?  You get heat on both sides and no big iron or ironing board is needed.  I still do own an iron though and so if it is a big project I will use it in the floor with a towel, but in some instances, like hems on can just squeeze that straightener on it and run it down your hem and voila, you are much faster!  And easier to keep out of reach of kiddos too.
Now back to sewing, for the bottom hem, I folded it over about 0.5" to start with and ironed it down flat. On this hem, since it is at the bottom, I only made a 2.5" hem and put in a few pins to hold it in place.  You can try to use the design on your fabric to make sure you are folding it over evenly, but a lot of times fabric isn't printed straight and it can throw you off. I get out my sewing tape measure and just move it along the fabric every couple of inches and make sure that at each movement the folded fabric at that point is equal to my intended measurement, which is 2.5" on this hem. 
I really started trying to line it up perfectly at one point and was starting to stress out a little and then I told myself that it was at the bottom, it would be touching the ground anyway and NO ONE was going to know if it was just a little off and to quit trying to be a perfectionist! This made the rest of the project a whole lot easier...and faster. Once you are confident in your measurement, sew straight across your hem.  Do the same with your second panel.
Now for the top hem, again I folded over about 0.5" and ironed it out flat and this time folded over another 3.5" using my sewing tape measure to make sure that it was 3.5" all the way across. 
In the picture below I actually folded the bottom hem of the curtain up to this one and used it to somewhat line up my bottom hem and check for straightness, but again, using a sewing tape measure every couple of inches or so to check your measurements is the best way to check for errors.

This time, before sewing your hem, you have add your ribbons for the pleats at the top.  Start by measuring and marking where you want your ribbons to be.  You can try and do some kind of engineered calculation for how big you want your pleats to be, etc. or you can do what I did and space them out evenly across your fabric the way I did below.  Note that on the ends though, I used a 5/8" ribbon so that it wasn't so bulky there.
I put the 5/8" ribbon 1" from the edge on both sides of the panel and then measured out about 4" to 5" across the rest of the panel and marked with a fabric marker (or straight pin if you so choose).  I did this to both panels and then counted the number of ribbons I would need to prepare.  This gave me 4 of the 5/8" ribbon pieces and 8 of the 2" ribbon pieces.  The length of your ribbons will be determined by the method of attachment that you choose below.
Now, there are two different approaches that you can take here:
The first option is to sew the ribbon onto your curtain (which is what I did and I think the best option in the long run, especially since I might have a little girl tugging on them at some point).  To do this, flip your hem out as shown in the picture below so that you are looking at the right side of the fabric to allow you to pin and sew on your ribbons correctly.
I cut my ribbons about 4" long so that I could fold them under to make them look finished, but this does take a little more time and is not necessary since they are on the back of the curtain and no one will probably ever look at them.  I folded the top and bottom of the ribbons to make them the same length as my hem, which was 3.5" and pinned them onto my markings. 
You can them sew across the edge of the ribbons that is closer to the inside of your fabric (which will be the top of your curtains).  By sewing them on now, you won't have that thread showing on the right side of your curtain once you hang them.
Here is a close up of what they will look like at this point.
 Flip your hem back over so that you are again working on the wrong side of the fabric and pin the hem and ribbons down for your final hemline.
This way, you can sew across your hemline and the bottom of each piece of ribbon all at once and only have one hemline showing on your curtain.
Your curtains are now done and your ribbon is securely attached to your hemlines with a clean, finished look and no additional hemlines are showing on the front of your curtain.  Do this with you other panel and you are ready to hang them up!
The second option is hot glue your ribbons onto the back of the curtain. I don't recommend this option, but it is there for those of you that are not comfortable with sewing or in a time crunch.  For this method of attachment, you should have already folded and ironed your hem to the size that you want and marked for ribbon placement.  Sew across the hem just as you did for the bottom and then use a hot glue gun to glue your ribbon onto your markings. 
This is by far the easiest option, but not the most stable. IF you do decide to use this option, I would recommend that you use Fray Check or some other product to keep your ribbon ends from fraying and falling off. You can also use a lighter to burn the ends, but they won't look as nice.
Hang your curtains and then scrunch them together like this to get your pleats and you are done.  The ribbon allows you to open the curtains easily and maintain the pleated look when closing them again.
The window that I put these curtains on is very narrow and right up next to the other wall.  I wanted to make the window look larger and so I moved my curtain rod out about 8" from the edge of the window and hang my curtains there instead.  The curtains are essentially covering up a portion of the wall as well, but when someone sees them, they can only assume that they are covering the window itself.  Even when the curtains are open, they are scrunched on each side and you can't see that they are actually covering part of the wall!
I am so glad to have this project completed and I love the look that these curtains give! 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Party Meatballs

Meatballs, meatballs, meatballs!
Who doesn't like meatballs?  Well, actually, I am not a meat eater for the most part, but I have not met a person who has tried these that doesn't like them. 
We have people over at the house quite a bit for football games, basketball games, UFC fights, birthday parties, swim parties and other events and many times I need something fast and easy to make.  I have been making these party meatballs for years and every time my husband has company his friends always want me to make them.
Each and every time I make them they disappear and as always, I really enjoy recipes that are easy to make and this is one of them.  You don't have to be a super fantastic cook to be a hit with these...even though I am sure that I am!
These are great for kids and adults alike and have a sweet flavor that everyone will enjoy.  I have made these a few times this season already and will probably be making some more with all of the big games coming up.  Hope you enjoy them as much as all of our friends do.
Party Meatballs
Servings: 45-50 meatballs
You will need:
  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top stuffing mix ~ chicken flavored
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 16 - 20 oz crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 bottle (18 oz) original or hickory BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
Preheat the oven to 425°F. 
Mix together the meat stuffing mix and water and roll meatballs about 1 inch in diameter and put in a 9x13 inch baking dish and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until they look done.
While the meatballs are in the oven baking mix together the crushed pineapple (drained), BBQ sauce and brown sugar until well blended. 
When the meatballs are done baking, pour the sauce mixture over the meatballs and back for another 10 minutes or so until heated thoroughly.
For an easy make ahead recipe that still tastes fresh you can bake the meatballs and then pour the sauce on top without baking, cover and place in the refrigerator overnight and then heat for about 15-20 minutes the next day until meatballs and sauce are heated thoroughly.

This recipe yields about 45-50 meatballs and it perfect for any party, potluck, picnic or any other get together. 
Click here for a printable version.