Friday, April 26, 2013

Moving the Blog

The blog is moving. is becoming The most recent post can be found over there. Thanks for all the love!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Activity Days Binder Sheets

There is this group called "Activity Days" that my church does. It is kind of like cub scouts, but for girls ages 8-11. I just got put in co-charge of one such group. Since finding out about this assignment (which I am really excited about by the way) I have been very busy developing pages to create binders for both the adult leaders and the girls. It has been a lot of work, but I am pleased with how it turned out. It is not house related, but I thought I would share my work with the internet since I know that there are other groups out there that are getting ready to start another year of activity days.

Feel free to print any pages you wish for personal use only (see below). These pages are not to be reposted, redistributed or sold in anyway. I spent a lot of time making these and wish to keep them my property.

Good luck with all your activity days endeavors!

(PS. My apologies to any groups that do not meet every 2nd and 4th Wednesday.)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hall Makeover: The Beginning

I came up with a hair-brained scheme for an improvement to the hall right inside the garage door of our house. There is a coat closet right there for jackets, shoes, etc.; but with toddlers and backpacks and church bags, a rack of hooks seemed like a good option to get everyone (yes, even me) to put their stuff away upon coming inside. Besides, the little boys are too short to hang up their own coats. But according to my plan the hooks are actually the last thing to go up.

Look at me getting ahead of myself. Here is a concept drawing for my plan. (Okay, "concept drawing" might be a bit of a stretch.)

Phase 1: Paint trellis
Phase 2: Paint white below trellis
Phase 3: Paint gray above trellis (and the adjoining wall to the left)
Phase 4: Install chair rail
Phase 5: Make and hang hook rack

Last night I finished phase 1. It took a week of painting (stretched over a month), but I finally finished it.

Remind me to show you what brushes I used to paint it sometime. (Hint: they were tiny.)

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Dose of Awesome-Sauce

This is me and my little sister Melissa, the art student. (In case you are wondering, this photo was taken during a break at her bridal's photo shoot.)

Anyway, she is an amazing artist. She drew this lion for my son last Christmas. Isn't it amazing! I'm hoping she can draw one for each of my kids over the years.

(click to enlarge)
This piece is very appropriate for Eric. He had a very rough two-month early start in this life. But he fought his way through it and is doing so great now. He has the heart of a lion. Through that experience, I found that I have one too.

In addition to sharing sheer awesomeness, I also wanted to point out that family photos and pieces crafted by your own two hands or by someone who loves you make the best wall decor ever.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oh, Snap!

Do you ever shrug and put your name on a wait list just for kicks but don't really expect your name to ever float to the top? Yeah, well it happened to me.

A few months ago I was thinking about how I miss attending conferences like I did in college, such as Small Sat. (Hi, my name is Heather and I'm a nerd.) Anyway, small satellite design isn't really a part of my life anymore, so I was checking around to see if there was a DIY home decorator's conference. That search landed me at this post on The House of Smiths where I was introduced to SNAP! Conference.

From their website
Welcome to SNAP, where you’ll find creativity at your fingertips.
There is something a bit different about being a creative blogger…Instead of dissecting life and examining the pieces like many online writers, we’re busy dreaming, sharing and building things up.
We inspire one another and when we connect in ways that comfort and sustain, it is something truly extraordinary.
That is why we launched SNAP – a community where imaginative bloggers can come together; learn from one another and walk away invigorated.
The hallmark of this community? A three-day conference April 18-20, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah, targeting the best bloggers representing modern handmade, contemporary craft, mind-blowing events and DIY.
Take a step away from your busy life and join us for lots of laughter, hugging and replenishment. You’ll walk away with a stronger sense of community, enhanced skills and an even greater sense of self.
Let's see...
Home decorating? Check.
DIY? Check.
Blogging? Check.
Entertaining? Check.
Close enough to home to travel? Check.

It was completely sold out, of course, but I figured what the heck? Might as well put my name on the wait list. I didn't expect anything to come of it. How very wrong I was.

Two weeks ago I received an email informing me that I had a slot if I wanted it and to act quickly before this opportunity became a fading memory. After reading the email, I fretted and bit my lip for a while. Money... travel... two little boys... Aaahh!

Fortunately that's about when my amazing, incredible husband stepped in. He quietly told me to go for it and not expect anything else for my birthday next year. I reminded him of how unworthy (and lucky) I am of having a spouse like him.

Long story short? I have my ticket and will be attending SNAP! 2013 next spring. I hope I can make some friends to hang out with while I'm there since, as it stands, I won't know a soul when I show up. Here's to life's little adventures!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hit the Bench

I've thought for a while now that a bench at the foot of my bed would be a great touch for that side of the room. I couldn't get anything I wanted (like this one) for less than $200 (which, I will admit, really isn't that bad), so I decided to go ahead and make one.

I've never made a piece of furniture before, but why would that stop me? (Cause me pause? Sure. Stop me? Never!) It really wasn't that bad.

Materials List:

Tools List:
Here is my pile of supplies in the "workshop" on Saturday morning. (Yes, it's in the unfinished basement.)

Here is that same pile after I cut what I thought was all of the pieces I would need--four 12" legs, two long side pieces and two short side pieces. Then I changed the design for structural reasons and cut two more short side pieces for a total of four, and a cross brace to go in the middle. The legs were the only things I measured. Everything else I held up to the piece of plywood and marked where it needed to be cut to fit.

 I spent the next hour or two drilling pocket-holes using my new jig. Seriously, I love this little jig. The pocket holes look awesome and don't leave any exterior screw or nail holes to deal with!

For more info on using this little jig, just search for the name. Basically, you use a clamp to hold the jig in place then drill away. The instructions that came with the kit explained everything really well, I thought. (Note to self: scan instructions so that you don't lose them.)

This is what the frame looked like all assembled. Thanks, Dear, for helping with this part.

I think it turned out pretty well. Don't those pocket-holes look great?

On Monday I hauled the frame out to the garage and applied three thin coats of satin espresso Minwax PolyShades. The back of the can says to wait six hours and sand with fine grit steel wool between coats. I went with an insider tip and applied each coat before the last one dried all the way. I waited about 1-2 hours between coats. No sanding required and I got it all done in half a day. Win-win.

While the last coat of stain was drying, I started on the upholstered top. I cut my 2' wide piece of foam at 16" intervals using an electric knife--the tool of choice for cutting foam (I keep one in my craft supplies just for this purpose)--for two 2'x16" rectangles. You see where I'm going with this since the plywood is 16"x4', right?

After cutting, I paused to wonder how I should glue the foam down to the wood. I wasn't a big fan of not gluing it and hoping it wouldn't shift. I decided to try good 'ol Elmers white school glue. When that didn't seem to be working, I got online and found that a lot of people were recommending using liquid nails. I don't happen to have any, so I thought "Great. Now I have to make another trip to the hardware store. Oh, joy." (In case you didn't catch it, that was sarcasm right there.) However, I came back after doing my research/being distracted by kids/talking to the Mr., and discovered that the white glue had worked! It just needed that hour to set. Woo-hoo! Elmers white school glue wins again! It's amazing to me how often that happens.

Flash forward to Tuesday. Tuesday was upholstery day. :D I covered the foam/plywood structure with quilt batting and stapled it down, trying to leave enough room for the frame so I would be trying to screw through staples later.

 This is how I folded the corners. There are YouTube videos out there that show how to round the corners, if you prefer that look. I also trimmed the excess batting.

Here I set the top on the frame to see how it was shaping up. Lookin' pretty good!

After prewashing the corduroy to help get the wrinkles out since one can't iron this stuff (not to mention that prewashing fabric is a good idea anyway), I spread it over the top on the frame, wrong side up, and pinned the corners, like so. I really wanted that professional, tailored look, so I sewed the corners of the fabric cover.

The tops of the corners were sticking out funny, so I grabbed by nearest favorite cylinder (my pencil can) and marked rounded corner stitch lines.

It's hard to see in this photo, but this is what the final corners look like. They lay much better.

Here's a fit test to make sure everything is looking good before I go on to the next step.

It passed the fit test, so I turned it right-side-out...

 ..flipped it upside-down and started stapling.

A few notes on stapling: pull the fabric as snug as you can, make sure the excess fabric on the corners is not bunching up (I pulled mine toward the center of the short ends), give each staple a few whacks with a hammer to make sure that aren't sticking out at all. And don't skimp on the staples!

Trim the excess fabric, screw the top on the frame, and voilà! One custom 16"x48"x18 3/4" bench. Not too shabby.

One day I plan to add silver-toned nail head trim to the lower edge of the cushion, but part of me is secretly hoping that if I wait long enough someone will start selling rhinestone nail head trim. Hee-hee!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Making the Living Room More Liveable

Remember the living room? Yeah, it's a work in progress... and we made some progress!

  1. Re-stuffed the back cushions on the sectional
  2. Replaced the rug
  3. Purchased a credenza
The back cushions on the sectional were looking so sad and lumpy that I was making plans to replace the cushions or the sectional. But I decided to check the blog-sphere for a way to fix them. Apparently, all they needed was a little restuffing.

I found a 10lb. bag of fiberfill at Walmart on the sewing aisle for $25. (Who knew they sold that?!) Thirty minutes of adding fiberfill to the nasty factory stuffing breathed fresh life into the cushions. It was like having a new sectional! (Sorry, I don't have a before picture for comparison. It was too depressing.)

Next, the 5'x7' rug of yesteryear was replaced by this super comfy shaggy number from Costco. Twice as big and oh so fluffy. Seriously, we love this rug! I know I don't need to say any of this. The before and after pictures above state my case for me.

Last, we present the credenza. The way too small TV stand and old TV finally got the boot.

cre·den·za  /krəˈdenzə/
Noun: A sideboard or cupboard
No, the credenza does not house a new TV. Instead it fills a much-needed game/puzzle storage need. And the lower cabinet spaces are a great place for storing throw blankets for cold winter nights we get in Colorado.

And there you have it. I still want to redo the throw pillows on the sectional (and build a mantle/surround for the fireplace), but those are projects for another day. For the moment I am satisfied with the vast improvements we've made.