Winner

Quick post for today with the bracelet giveaway results. Congratulations to Calli W! Thanks to everyone else whe entered. Have a happy Wednesday!

 

Blogiversary Craft & Giveaway

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I totally passed my one-year blogiversary without a thought. Oops. Good thing blogs aren't spouses... 

Even though I missed the actual day, I still thought it would be fun to celebrate one year of blogging with a craft and giveaway. In fact, the craft is actually the giveaway. So, if you want to skip the craft and just get the goods, then leave me a comment with your current favorite blog. You can get an extra entry for sharing this post on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. 

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Let's get started on the craft...  I recently hosted a mom's night out for some friends, and we did this craft together. There are all kinds of cool knotted jersey and rope crafts out there, so this is by no means an original idea. But it was new to me, so I thought I'd pass it along. The design is based on these woven rope bracelets from Pinterest—I wish I could find the original source. Here's what you'll need:

SUPPLIES

  • Two 3-inch strips of cotton jersey at least 18 inches long (solid t-shirts work great)
  • Two 1 1/2 inch (38 mm) ribbon clamps ends. I found mine here 
  • Jewelry clasps, and some tiny (2-4mm) metal loops for attaching them 
  • Needle-nosed or jewelry pliers

 

INSTRUCTIONS

I'm not even going to try using words to explain how to make this knot, but here are some step-by-step pictures. If they aren't descriptive enough, just check out the original link

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Once you have your knot, simply tighten it by easing in each of the four strand sets. Cut the ends to your desired length, keeping in mind that the closure adds about half an inch to the finished length. 

Next step is to stuff the jersey strands into the ribbon clamp ends. This part is important to get right. It's helpful to have a small, sharp object, like a toothpick or pointed scissor blades, to push the fabric all the way in. Once all the jersey is in the clamp, use the pliers to pinch it shut.

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Finally, use the pliers to open the metal rings and attach the clasp. And that's it.

You can experiment with different widths of jersey and ribbon clamp ends. I made some thinner bracelets with 1" strips and 1" ribbon clamps that were perfect for my daughter's wrist. I also made some bracelets that were slip-on, by sewing the ends of the jersey together at the back. 

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Don't forget to leave a comment with your favorite blog for a chance to win a bracelet—your choice of color. Extra entry for sharing on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. I'll do the drawing next Wednesday.

Family Pictures


I 'm so excited to share a photo session that my photographer friend and fellow blogger, Alyssa—from Alyssa Anne Photography and Sieb Fam—recently had with our family. I've had the privilege of working with Alyssa over the past few months on a number of projects, and I've been amazed by her ability to effectively and gracefully juggle her business, her art, her love for adoption, and her family. She is one talented woman.

I love the way Alyssa uses her lens to capture the beauty of normal moments. I think the fact that she often does her sessions in clients' homes also adds to the integrity of her work. Plus, she is awesome with kids—mine aren't the easiest to control, especially when they have to sit still for pics, but she definitely brought out the best in them.

I knew Alyssa would probably want to use our bedroom for the shoot, since it gets fantastic afternoon lighting, so I used the session as my deadline for wrapping up a few unfinished projects, like the jewelry box, the wire light over the bed, new paint for our walk-in closet and the mirror. Considering that the mirror isn't really a mirror now, we left it out of the pictures.

So without further ado, here are some of my favorites...

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Her shoot was also featured here on Let the Kids, so definitely check it out. Hope your week is off to a great start!

 

Beach, Box & Bedroom

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We're back from the beach! Over 1100 pages of fiction read, hours at the beach spent, a decent tan procured, a thrifted armchair purchased, and quality time with family enjoyed. It was an unusually relaxing and fulfilling week. 

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So now that I'm back, I just want to share a few recent projects. As you've maybe noticed by now, my decorating efforts have largely been focused on our bedroom. I think it's so wonderful to have a peaceful, calming space for us at the end of the day, and I've slowly been adding little details that make it feel finished. 

Awhile back, I made this necklace hanger, but I still needed a place to store my earrings and bracelets. Right now, they are taking up a whole dresser drawer, and I want like to make it more efficient.

I found this little box on the clearance rack at Target. The pink wasn't working for me, so I picked up a can of white spray paint/primer at Walmart. I disassembled all the tiny screws and hinges, and sanded the heck out of the thing.

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After removing the pink dust with a damp paper towel, I gave it a couple of coats of paint. It definitely wasn't a perfect job, as I got some drips, and some weird crackling on parts (not shown in the picture), but the finish seems durable, and I love how it pops on the shelf.

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I also converted the ceiling fan over our bed into a wire pendant light. I got this shade for my birthday, and paired it with a turn key pendant kit. I had to use the turn-key version, because there's no wall switch to turn the light on/off. So here are some new shots of our nearly finished bedroom.

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A Novel List


We're off to the beach for the week and I'm pretty excited about my book lineup.

Perhaps I'm a little overzealous in my literary aspirations, but I figured I'd better pack some options. I often have a hard time finding good fiction—mostly because I never know where to look. This year my favorite resource has been The Rabbit Room, which is a literary blog curated by some of my favorite authors and songwriters. I got some great ideas from their online store. Our library system had most of the books I selected, so it was cheap and convenient.

I think I'm most looking forward to reading N.D. Wilson's Empire of Bones from the Ashtown Burials series. Can I just say that I have a really soft spot for teenage sci-fi fantasy? I guess I never outgrew them... I've been waiting for this one for awhile. Don't judge me.

Other ones I'm bringing are Cold Mountain, by Charles Frazier. It's apparently a heartbreakingly beautiful story from the Civil War era. I keep hearing wonderful things about it. A similar historical novel by Annie Dillard called The Living documents the life of a pioneer town in the Pacific Northwest.

I'm also bringing along Sea Star to read to E. She has been quite taken with Marguerite Henry's Misty of Chincoteague and Stormy, so I think she'll enjoy this book that has the same location and characters.

I probably won't be posting next week, but check back soon for more of the usual. 

Nailed it.

Pinterest. It's a powerful tool fraught with many pitfalls. In addition to being an easy way to waste time, it can also make you think it's normal to make yogurt in your DIY crockpot every morning in your designer kitchen that's stocked with homemade lavender soap and French linen towels, while your children sit quietly, enjoying their seasonal sensory play boxes with organic crocheted slippers on their feet. There are a ton of super gifted people and inspiring ideas out there, and I truly would like to master the art of yogurt making. But the trouble is that Pinterest is a collection of everyone's best moments that has the potential to warp the picture of what normal life can and should be.

I guess for me the bottom line is that our worth and value as people is not dependent on what we do or accomplish. We have worth and value because God decided that we should be alive in the space and time that we are, to reflect his beauty and love in a broken and hurting world. He is the first Creator, and we get to be like him as we create beauty and order in our lives and homes.

Pinterest is kind of like a power saw. It can cut off your head if you're not careful, but if you take some precautions it can be super helpful. I've certainly had my moments of brainless browsing, but overall I've benefitted a lot from using Pinterest. It's where I've found many of my favorite recipes and decorating ideas from the past year...

There are also some pretty awesome Pinterest fails out there. These cookie monster cupcakes are pretty great.  And how about this minion cake? So much genuine effort gone awry. It's always good to see that people are just people. Nobody's perfect.

I'm not anyway. So, I just figured I'd share my own fail. A rather disappointing one, in fact. Soon after I found Pinterest several years back, one of my first pins was this beautiful rustic leaning mirror. For some reason, I always knew that someday, somehow, I would make one myself.

Tall mirrors are expensive, so I just kept my eye out for a thrifted one. I found a floor length mirror (glued onto a door) at the ReStore for $10. I've had it in storage for almost three years now, basically just waiting for the weathered lumber to find me. 

You can imagine my delight when I spied a giant pile of weathered pine by the curb a few weeks ago. It seems that someone tore down an old shed or something. It was raining, so I couldn't tell if the patina on the wood was the right color, but I hauled most of it home, and let it dry in my basement. It was perfect, with some really nice weathered details.

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Here's the door with the mirror. I tried removing it, but it was stuck tight. I didn't want to break the glass, so I decided to just build the frame around it. 

I had to cut a couple inches off of the door and cover the edges with some weathered garden stakes from the plant nursery. My brother has a miter saw, so he made the corner cuts for me on the actual frame. The wood was kind of warped, so getting everything to fit just right was tricky. After that, it was just a matter of drilling and screwing everything into place...

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Speaking of my brother and miter saws... Look what he made for me a few months back. He found the weathered oak at an old abandoned house in Arkansas, brought it back on the airplane—the wood, not the house— and surprised me for my birthday. He's pretty great. 

 

Back to the story... It was after dark when I got everything screwed in firmly, so I just propped the mirror against my fence for the night. Pete could help me move it inside in the morning. 

This is where everything goes downhill...

The next morning, I walked into my backyard with a very happy feeling. You know that feeling of having completed a project that's been three year's in the making? Yeah, it's a really great feeling. I had that feeling for about two seconds. Then I saw this:

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Apparently, I screwed the warped boards a little too tightly against the glass, and the pressure caused the crack overnight. I was really bummed, but there wasn't much to do about it.

The good news is that, since I used the garden stakes as a frame around the door, I was able to effectively remove the door and broken glass, while still keeping the weathered frame intact. I added some screws and "L" brackets, and my frame is now quite sturdy. Mirror-less, but sturdy.

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The bad new is that new glass costs $95. So, at this point, I'm living with a leaning frame, while I wait for a cheap Craigslist or ReStore find. So far, I haven't been successful, but I'm hoping something will come up eventually... 

We have a separate little closet/dressing area in our room that's a perfect spot for a full-length mirror, so here it is in it's new space. It's obviously not a very satisfying after shot, but it's real life.  I've been sprucing up this space lately for an upcoming project/collaboration, so definitely check back for more in the coming weeks.

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Have a fabulous Tuesday!


A Mountain Wedding

It's been so long since I've sat down to write an actual post that I'm afraid I've forgotten how to do it. It feels really weird. I'm gonna have to get back in the habit.

Our family is just emerging from a fog of busyness and activity, and it feels wonderful to be able to catch up on some things. A big chunk of the busyness was related to my dear friend and sister-in-law's wedding a couple weeks ago. She's lived with us for almost three years, so it was a really sweet and special time to celebrate with her.

All four of us were in the wedding, so it took a surprising amount of time and energy to find clothes for everyone. In fact, we were still trying to find a belt for Peter the day before the wedding.

After trying on like a bazillion dresses, I finally decided to make mine. It's both dangerous and wonderful to be able to sew. Dangerous, because the expectations for achieving the perfect fit go way up. Wonderful, because you can actually do something about it. 

I don't know how I've gotten through two decades of sewing without installing an invisible zipper, but this was my first time.  It was surprisingly easy, and I was really happy with how the dress turned out. Here's a shot of me and my girl—I made her flower girl dress, too. We tall people sometimes have to take matters into our own hands.

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And with her Daddy...

The weather was gorgeous, and we all had a good time. The kids were troopers, and only had a couple of meltdowns. We had to be there for a few hours before the ceremony, which meant that R—who was a ring bearer— missed his nap. Amazingly, he made it down the aisle, and proceeded to fall asleep for the rest of the ceremony on my Dad's lap. I really wish I'd been able to get a picture of that.

Weddings are always a special reminder of how much I love this man. I am amazed that God has carried us through almost eight years of marriage. It's been a great adventure.  

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Check back soon, as I will be posting some landscaping updates, and some other fun projects, including an epic fail on a DIY leaning mirror. 



Hi.

I'm still here. I meant to update before, but the blog has taken a back seat for the past few weeks. We've had a lot going on. A leaky basement due to a cracked water main, allergy tests, graduation, wedding, new job, new insurance. Plus the usual things that make life full. So, I haven't had any time for posting. And honestly, I haven't really had anything to say. The thought of putting my hectic life on paper right now is terrifying, so I'll keep it brief.

Hopefully next week I'll be back with some of our happenings. For now, I'll leave you with an annoying selfie of me wearing safety goggles. My broken Dremel Multimax just got replaced, so I've had to crack out the protective eye wear. Special thanks to my resident safety consultant, who also happens to be my husband. He keeps me in line.

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(Not) Reinventing the Canvas

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As I mentioned last week, I did some new abstract paintings. I was heavily influence by two sources—Dana over at HouseTweaking (which has been my new favorite blog for the past year or so) and Krissy Diggs at Society6. I am pretty shameless about my copycat habits. I mean, is there really anything new out there? If it's been done successfully already, what's the point in reinventing the wheel?  I do, however, firmly believe in giving credit where it is due, so please check out the links.

Anyway, here are my inspirations:

As a side note, I've been obsessed with Dana's painting since I first saw the post last year, and I've already done a horizontal version in my friend, Naomi's, room makeover... 

Back on track. After replacing our black dressers with vintage ones, I lived with the wall as it was for a couple months. The fact is that I put a lot of time and thought into the way it was before, and I didn't want to be too hasty to change it unless I really loved the new something. I did buy a new lamp from Target, but changed my mind after awhile. Gotta love Target's three-month return policy...

Before the new dressers...

Before the new dressers...

After the new dressers...

After the new dressers...

After thinking for a good long time and staring every morning and night from my bed—considering that this is my waking view, I did a lot of this—I decided to act. Inspiration hit me when I remembered that I had two large canvases from my pre-rennovation dining room. They definitely hold a special place in my heart, because they were one of my first projects after we bought the house. Sniffle.

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I had stowed them away in my basement bathroom, which has become like my personal HomeGoods. If there is any home accessory that I'm not currently using, I just stick it down there until I need it again. It's like free shopping. Thankfully we hardly ever use that bathroom. I guess it is sorta redneck, though... I am from Arkansas, ya'll. (Did you know I never, ever, ever, ever say ya'll?)

Since I had already done one knock-off of the HouseTweaking painting, I didn't want to replicate it again. So, this time, I kept the geometric gold as inspiration and swapped out Dana's chevron for some triangles, as in the society6 print. The idea was to make one the "busy" canvas, and the other a more subdued close-up of the first painting's details.

I had previously stapled fabric over one canvas, and painted a design on the other, so I had to do a little prep work to get them ready for the new paint. Removing the fabric and staples was simple, but I had to do several thick coats of primer over the motif on the other one, as it was a really intense green. Even though the design was heavily inspired by the society6 print, it still took me a good hour or two to sketch out all the triangles. I haven't done geometry in forever, so I kept getting confused about the consistency of my angles. My little straight-edge triangle ruler helped me out, though. Even so, the lines aren't perfectly straight. 

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For the gold, I figured the shade wouldn't matter too much, so I just picked up some cheap craft paint at Walmart. I may or may not have let R hold a bottle of fluorescent green paint while I shopped distractedly. And he may or may not have poured it all over the cart, his jeans, tennis shoes and my shoes. You guys, I can be a little absent minded sometimes. At least now, every time I see the green jeans in the wash, I remember to never let a toddler hold a bottle of paint. Even if it's sealed. And he's strapped in the cart. Never. 

Anyway, toddler tangent aside, I was also wrong about the gold paint. The shade absolutely matters. You really can't see from the photos, but the color I picked was all wrong. It was too orangey-tan and not metallic enough.

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I figured I could just do the base coat with the bad color, and top it with a more sophisticated shade. Dana at HouseTweaking suggested a mix of two different Martha Stewart metallic paints. I looked for them at Michael's, but they didn't have the exact colors she recommended. Instead, I mixed Martha Stewart's Metallic Gold with her Metallic Light Gold, and the result was a perfectly metallic, shimmery neutral gold. I think it was a 2:1 ratio, gold to light gold. I highly recommend the combo.

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I used the new gold mix as a topcoat, and I love the result.  I used a small (1/4") watercolor brush for the edges and lines, and a 1" foam brush for the filling in areas. As you can see, the lines aren't perfect, but I'll just pretend that it adds to the character. Now that the paintings are up, I've noticed a few spots that need some touching up, so I'll have to get on that.

Anyway, here's what's happening on the wall...

 

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All in all, it's a definite improvement to my wake-up view, and it makes me smile. If only I could keep my dresser this clean every day. Oh, and true confession of a wannabe stylist: my aloe plant died. I just tossed it's last leaf yesterday. Pretty sure it was dead in the photos, too. I just propped it up with some rocks to make it look perky. Don't be deceived by photos, people. All is not as it seems.

Happy Wednesday!

DIY Jewelry Hanger

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Hi Guys. I'm back. In case you haven't noticed, I've cut back to posting on the blog once a week, and even that is sometimes hard to pull off. Kudos to all you bloggers out there who can manage posting every day. Ain't nobody got time for that. At least I don't.

It's been a busy couple weeks, but the next few are even busier, so I figured I'd better finish up some of my in-progress projects. With all the extra work, though, I haven't been keeping up too well on cooking and cleaning. I mean, nobody's going hungry, but poor Pete's had to buy lunch every day this week 'cause I haven't had lunchmeat or leftovers. I did cook him a frozen pizza this morning before work. Does that count as food? 

Well, one of the projects I've been working on slowly is our bedroom.

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We recently swapped out our IKEA dressers for some vintage ones, and I have been slowly adding bits and pieces to the room. Nothing wrong with it before, but it just needed to evolve a little bit. Thankfully, the fundamentals were good, so I haven't had to do anything major like change the paint, curtains or headboards. Just some art and furniture tweaks, like my  nightstand hack...

After getting the new dressers in, I thought it would be nice to replace the old shelf with some big artwork and other wall stuff. Eventually, I'll do a whole room post, but I'm not done yet, so we will just focus on the low-dresser wall. Here's before...

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And here's now...

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I'll do a post next week with some more details about my canvas DIY's—which were totally unoriginal and heavily inspired by other brilliant people on the internet— but today I thought I'd share a quick jewely hanger DIY. See that little thingy over the office chair? That's what I'm talking about..

The whole thing cost me about $4 because I bought the octagonal knob—hurray for Young House Love at Target! Other than that, I just used stuff that I had on hand.

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Supplies you'll need:

  • One knob/hook to hang the hanger on. I used this one.
  • Two ten-inch pieces of wood. I found mine behind my townhouse, and used a handsaw to cut them. You could also totally use some thick twigs for a more rustic look.
  • Four gold screw-in hooks.
  • Several feet of wire. Any color will do, depending on the look you want.
  • Four gold push-pins/thumb-tacks (optional)
  • Three small nails
  • Gold paint (optional)

Tools:

  • Handsaw to cut the wood
  • Power drill 
  • Wirecutters/pliers
  • Hammer

Okay, so first step is to drill a hole in each end of each piece of wood. Total of four holes. My wood was almost rotten, so it hardly required any pressure. If you don't have a drill, you could also wrap the wire around the pieces.

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Next, insert the wire, knotting at each interval. 

There will be a little wire tail at the bottom of the rack, so you can either leave it, or you can drill a little hole and tuck it into the hole for an invisible look. I did this, and it worked well. Here's the hold before I tucked the wire inside.

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After you finish the first side, just knot a loop into the wire for the hanger.

Complete the next side....

Then, simply screw in the hooks and hammer the nails where you want. I also stuck the little push-pins into each end for some bling, but this is totally optional. Some of my tacks were silver, so I just painted the tops of them and the nails with a little gold paint for a more cohesive look.

Finally, hang the rack on your hook/knob, and add jewelry. Bam. 

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 Any of you have any fun DIY's to share? I'd love to hear all about them. I won't be back on tomorrow, so have a great weekend!