Decorating

So as I mentioned the other day, our little one is turning 2 in just a few short weeks! That means I am in total party-planning mode, of course! ;)

The theme for Brooke's 2nd birthday party is going to be fun & bright rainbow colors. I couldn't think of anything more exciting than that - as she's not really *into* anything at the moment, yenno? She just likes to have fun & play. So, we are going with bright & fun colors.

Between her playgroup and friends/family who have children, she really has a nice little group of friends. We are keeping this years party smaller than last year. Trying to focus on the kiddos, with just a few adults- we even have one of Brooke's Music teachers coming to play songs and fun music for the kids to dance and sing to. It should be a good time for the little ones!

Even though we are scaling down the size of her party, I still wanted to make fun decorations. I've been working on creating some of this rainbow garland and I must say, it works up SO fast! So I'm sharing it with you to show you how quickly you can pull together something handmade for not very much time, or money.

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The first thing I did was cut a bunch of circles out of cardstock using some Quickkutz Dies and my Cuttlebug (if you have a BigShot, it's essentially the same thing).

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I'm not using my favorite prized stamping cardstock for these - just some older no-name paper that I had lying around in my stash. You could also use your Silhouette or Cricut to cut these out - but I found that doing it this way worked just fine. I was able to cut through 3 pieces of cardstock at once, so it went pretty quick.

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If you are using your Cuttlebug, the sandwich you will need to use is: A plate, C plate, cardstock, B plate. (PLEASE ignore the extremely ratty looking plates in this photo...my Cuttlebug is old...and well loved!)

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I cut out 3 different circle sizes. I started with the biggest circle, which I believe is 3 3/4" and took the next 2 down from there. I cut a whole bunch of each color. I then arranged them: Large-->Medium-->Small, Large-->Medium-->Small, etc. and ran some stitching right down the center, to secure them together:

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I just fed each circle through and kept the machine going in one straight line. I varied the lengths of each strand. Some have 12 circles, some are longer and have 15 circles. When I hang them, I will alternate the length of each strand to give the garland more depth.

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Once each strand was complete, I used an embroidery thread to poke a hole through the top circle on each strand.

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I then used that hole to thread some clear fishing string through and tie a loop:

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From here, you can use an existing curtain rod to loop each strand of garland onto, which is how I plan on displaying mine. Here is a photo of the garland I've completed thus far, hanging in the window of my craft room. I completed these in just a few hours time - definitely a project you can tackle in one afternoon!

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so fun! I can't wait to complete the decorations for her party. I will be sure to have a full blog post & writeup afterwards, so you can see all the other stuff, too :)

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I'm a big fan of Kristina's creations (who do you think helped me with the design of my blog? She rocks!)

Last year Kristina posted a tutorial on yarn trees and I knew I just had to make them. Of course, I never got around to it - so this year I was determined to try 'em. Here is how mine turned out...

(OK, so the trees next to the super cute baby = cuteness overload...haha!)

I was SO surprised at how simple these really were. I literally just applied a bit of hot glue to the very bottom of the cone and then wrapped the yarn around & around until the foam was all covered. Once I was done, I hot glue the yarn in place on top. That's it!

I decided to use colorful buttons instead of felt balls (uhhh because that's what I had on hand and to be honest I was being a bit lazy!). Turns out that using buttons made this project even easier. All I had to do was string a little bit of thin floral wire through the button holes and then push the ends into the foam.

The buttons stay nice & snug against the trees:

I purchased my foam cone shapes at my local craft store, Michael's - in the floral department. I used a coupon on them to bring down the cost a bit - and then just grabbed some yarn that I saw on sale.

 Kristina posted even more info this year on her felt trees - it has more info for you on how to put these together if you're interested. :)

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You might remember my playroom post from a few months back - I shared a photo of Brooke's "wall o' artwork"...and other stuff: Fun, right? I thought so! Still, I decided to jazz it up a bit more and make this wall even more fun, with some cute artwork clips. Here is a quick & easy tutorial for you all, showing you how I did it. I promise this will take you less than 10 minutes to complete!

This idea all started when I saw these adorable little wooden painted guys at my local Hobby Lobby. They were less than $1 each, and I had to have them. They sell them at other major craft stores too, and there is usually a huge assortment to choose from:

I grabbed my hot glue gun and went to town adding these to regular old clothespins. I'm using mini clothespins for these - I grabbed them in the unfinished wood section at Hobby Lobby - but you could also use regular sized ones, too. Just add enough glue to one side of the pin and stick the wooden piece right on top. They will dry very quickly.

Once it's done drying, go ahead and clip it onto your wire/rope/whatever you are using to display artwork in your room! (I am using these curtain/picture wires from IKEA in our room). 

The result will be some super cute (and cheap!) clips that your child will love! Brooke is already pointing out the turtle and bee to me. (or should I say "TUHHH-TOOWWW" - it's my all time favorite word that she says. Love it, ha!)

After I finished this, I decided to get brave and add some clips to the DIY chalkboard. I wanted a place that I could hang paper for her to color, without having to buy an easel (that we don't have room for). In my mind, the idea was perfect...here is how it turned out:

I used my hot glue gun to adhere the clothespins to the outside of the frame. You can then stick a giant piece of paper in there and let the kid go to town with their crayons! (or in my case: you beg them to PLEASE stay on the paper and not color the walls...)

She loves it...right?

Yea. She was SO excited about those darn clips that she went RIGHT for them. And proceeded to rip them off. :(

I then realized that she is still just 17 months old and doesn't really get that these aren't toys for her to play with. So, I removed the fun wooden pieces and just hot-glued regular paper clips to the framing on the chalkboard. I can still clip paper up there for her to color on, without her being enticed to rip the clips apart. It's a win-win situation :)

I hope you enjoyed this quick & easy tutorial...please let me know what you think and if you'd like to see more stuff like this on my blog. Thanks guys!!

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If you've been following me for a while, you know that I had a blast designing and decorating Brooke's nursery. I knew that once our baby arrived, my next project would be turning my former craft room into a fun playroom. Well, it only took the better part of a year...but I can say that it's now (mostly) complete! I have LOADS of pics to share with you, and hopefully a lot of good tips and information.

**NOTE: I have decided that I will do future posts outlining the individual DIY projects for this room in more detail. It's just too much to all do in one post.

So, with that said, here is a weird, fisheye view of the playroom (sorry it's the only lens I have that can get the whole room in one shot!)

My theme for this DIY makeover was a) bright & cheery primary colors b) keep costs down, and c) try & re-purpose items we already owned.

There is a lot of IKEA stuff in this room - are you shocked? ;) The main element is this large Expedit bookcase - it only cost $199 and just LOOK at all that storage!

Totally awesome. All baskets and boxes inside this shelf are also from IKEA. We are actually doubling up on storage with this bookcase, as I have a row across the very top containing office supplies, crafting supplies, and other miscellaneous items. Luckily we don't have THAT many toys (yet) so we are able to still use one row on this monster bookcase for us :)

The flooring is made up of these foam squares. (thank you, Amazon Prime for fast & FREE shipping!). I thought about the flooring for a while. We looked at MANY carpets and area rugs. Unfortunately, the carpets I found were crazy expensive and not large enough to cover the entire floor. We wanted something soft, colorful and relatively inexpensive. I got this idea from a friend, and it works perfect! It was WAY cheaper than a huge area rug - and it's SO much easier to clean. It can also be customized to almost exactly the size of the room (I still have a few blank squares I need to fill in here & there). If one square gets damaged, they are easily replaceable. All around win.

The curtain valances were another DIY project, courtesy of these full panel curtains from IKEA.

I bought just one set (for some reason they are showing $50 for price on their site, but I only paid $30 for mine. Not sure what that is all about?) Anyway, I cut them up & sewed them into these valances, then added some cute pom pom trim - just like the curtains in Brooke's nursery. I still had a BUNCH of curtain fabric leftover (still do, actually) so I used some to create these pillow covers:

(I followed THIS awesome and simple tutorial for sewing these covers). I keep these pillows on the floor so that we have something to lean on when we sit and read with Brooke. I already had the pillow inserts so this was a very cheap element to add to the room. 3 valances + 2 pillows for ~$35. Not bad!

We have a few walls with mini bookshelves, because this little girl has LOTS of books (which we LOVE!)

I stole this bookshelf idea from many inspirational rooms I found online. We recieved SO many wonderful books at my baby shower and I love that this gives us a way to display them all. (another inexpensive way to fill up wall space using items we already owned). Brooke is very tough on books at the moment, so I really would like to save these nice books until she is a little older. I keep the board books nice and low for her to easily grab, and the larger books with paper pages up top.

These bookshelves are actually spice racks from IKEA, painted white. They are only $4 a piece and I just love the look of them. The most annoying part about these was hanging them up (luckily hubby will do anything for his little girl. Sorry, Pete!)

The word "READ" was created using wooden letters that I found at Michael's in the unfinished wood section. They were already white so I didn't even bother painting them. Just had to hang them up to create this fun title. You might recognize a few of these letters from the Father's Day gift disaster. LOL. At least I got my money's worth out of them...

I filled the space above the bookshelves on this wall with some super inexpensive DIY art. This is simply fabric wrapped around cheap embroidery hoops. Full post on these coming soon.

This next wall has lots of fun stuff on it!

The bottom has both a chalkboard and velcro board - more DIY projects that were relatively inexpensive.

Brooke LOVES both of them (when she isn't trying to eat the chalk. EW).The velcro board has a bunch of laminated flash cards stuck to it. She really enjoys sticking things to the velcro and pulling them off. I plan to laminate more stuff soon and use this as a learning tool when she gets older.

Above that I have a wire from IKEA to display my little Picasso's latest creations. This was something we already had leftover from my old craft room, so there was no cost there.

Above that I have another shelf from IKEA, along with cheap IKEA frames. Inside the frames is some DIY digital artwork that I created. (mostly because I was being cheap and didn't want to pay for the ones I found online.) It's not nearly as nice as the ones I saw online, but it works for this room. I will do a full post on those soon, too. I filled the rest of the shelf in with some favorite photos.

This last wall displays my Sunshine wall art, more frames for Brooke's crafty creations, and my latest project, a fun magnet board:

I snagged some Melissa & Doug wooden magnets at my local craft store using a 50% coupon. They are perfect for her little hands! Our stainless steel refrigerator is not magnetic for some reason, so this DIY magnet board makes up for it :) I got the idea from this lovely tutorial.

One of my best finds for this room was this Fisher Price "door" that I grabbed around Christmas time. A friend's neighbor was looking to sell this toy for $30 - it goes for almost $80 brand new! I was so happy to get a gently used toy that is in great working condition for such a bargain. Brooke has a BLAST with this toy and it acts as the perfect centerpiece for the playroom.

Also, I thought I would let you all know that if you think the room stays this clean you are sorely mistaken. This is a pic of her doing what she does best - acting like a tornado & ripping EVERYTHING off the shelves, ha!

I must admit though, that it does not take long to clean up at all, thanks to all the storage bins & shelves in that IKEA bookcase. And don't worry, we have bracketed this shelving unit to the wall for safety. We also have gates on each doorway to keep the tornado Brooke from weaving her path of destruction to other rooms on the 2nd floor. AND to avoid the stairs...ha ;) Also, I realize I sound like a walking advertisement for IKEA in this post, but I can assure you that I am in no way being compensated from them. (although that would be pretty freaking awesome, LOL!)

So that's it! I hope you enjoyed this LONG tour of our newly completed playroom. I must say that Brooke really enjoys playing in here. The room is actually right off her nursery, so as soon as she wakes up, she toddles right into the room and starts playing. It worked out perfectly for the flow of our house, too - because in order to get to most rooms on the 2nd floor, you have to walk through this room. There really wasn't much else you could do with it, aside from making it an office/craft room/playroom.

I will try and do more specific posts on some of the DIY projects soon, but let me know if you have any other questions on things I might have left out. Thanks! :)

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I've been working on decorating Brooke's playroom for a few weeks/months now. (everything takes longer these days!) I'm sticking with fun & bright colors (no shock there, ha). I've been looking at lots of great & inexpensive ideas for wall art on Pinterest. I came across this piece of artwork and got inspired to try making my own version. Here's what I came up with...

I used my Silhouette to cut out the circles and the black face for the sun. But other than that, there was no die cutting involved on this. Super easy! I can tell you that this worked up very quickly (and is a great way to use all those scraps!). Stay tuned as I will be offering a tutorial for making another version of this for A Cherry On Top's celebration of National Scrapbooking Day!

So fun! All I need to do now is find a simple white frame for it & I can hang it on the wall. I plan on doing a post about all the DIY projects in Brooke's playroom, so stay tuned for that. By the way, you can follow me on Pinterest by clicking here. Have a great day everyone!

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my little munchkin finally popped her first tooth. (after almost 10.5 months, ha!) Her slowness in the tooth popping department allowed this Mama to procrastinate big time on figuring out something to guard her crib rail. We paid a lot of money for this lovely nursery furniture, so we don't need her using it as a teething ring ;) I was going to buy a crib rail guard online, BUT: a) they are expensive b) our crib rail is sort of chunky, so I'm not even sure the ones in stores would fit entirely around the railing and c) they looked pretty straight forward to make. I really didn't feel like shelling out $50 for one. So I decided to give it a go and make my own...!

I found this tutorial online and followed it almost exactly, I just altered it to fit the measurements of our crib. I had a bunch of yellow polka dot fabric left over from Brooke's curtains & quilt that I made for her room. I made my ties 18" long - which was *plenty* long...in fact, I had to double knot them to keep them from hanging down, so you could probably shorten these to 10-12" or so.

So far so good. She doesn't seem to mind them being there - doesn't even really bother with them in fact. This crib converts to a bed eventually, so I will be glad that they don't have any teeth marks in them & will last for many years to come! :)

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Baby Quilt

March 31, 2011

in Decorating,Sewing

Well, it's finally done :) And I hope you don't look to closely - because umm...it has lots of mistakes. ARGH! But hey, I look at it this way: it's only my 2nd quilt EVER- and I chose a pretty complex pattern to do. (Not really sure what I was thinking actually). In keeping with my gender neutral nursery theme of Turquoise, Greens & Yellows - I decided to just find a bunch of fabrics that I liked in these colors. It was super fun to pick all of them out. Here is the final result:

There really wasn't a pattern that I followed. I was inspired by many quilts that I saw online, where people just cut smaller squares of fun fabric in all different sizes & framed them out with coordinating fabric. So that's what I did. (I am sure there is a MUCH better way of doing this by the way. But remember, I have no clue what I am doing when it comes to quilting. HA!) There are 36 squares, all 7"x7" - no one is really the same, in fact some of them are down right wonky. I added the green polka dot border to go around the edge. The binding was done in various turquoise fabrics.

Lots of Michael Miller, Moda and some Robert Kaufman prints in this quilt....

And here is the back. It's the same fabric that I used for the curtains in the nursery.

So there it is. Far from perfect, but a labor of love. I hope to take lots of pics of our little one on this quilt. Even if he/she doesn't love it - it's OK because I know that I always will. It's totally imperfect, but totally something that I worked on throughout my whole pregnancy - so I know I will always have those memories.

Also- on a side note, I will have you know that halfway through this bad boy, I discovered that buying a walking foot for your sewing machine makes life MUCH easier. Did you know that?? I was under the impression that little foot that came on my sewing machine was a walking foot. Um, no. It's a presser foot. DOH. How the crap did I miss that?

Anyway, if you are going to be doing quilting of any kind - go out & get a walking foot - it's totally worth it! ;)

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The Nursery

March 14, 2011

in Baby,Decorating

Well I think I am finally to a point where the nursery is mostly complete. Still a few shelves here & there I think we will hang, but for the most part it's set! I thought I'd share the photos here - and be warned - there are a LOT! You know me, I just can't stop when I get going with the camera. (Lord help us all when the child is actually here.) Before I begin, I wanted to say that I pulled SO much inspiration from Susan Weinroth's nursery. OK, so I mostly copied her design. It was just so perfect & adorable, I had to. The minute I saw her nursery, I knew it was the one I wanted. We are "Team Green" - so I wanted something gender neutral, bright, cheery & fun. So a huge thanks to Susan for sharing such wonderful pics of her nursery for us all to use as inspiration. I did add some elements of my own, but the colors and even certain Etsy vendors were all thanks to the very talented Susan. Here is the view when you first walk in:

Dresser/Bookcase & Changing area:

Another dresser & closet area:

Closeup of the crib. LOVE the bedding. I had it custom made from this Etsy Vendor. She is AMAZINGLY talented! She was highly recommended by Susan - so I had to go with her. I did lots of research on the colors I wanted. Once I figured out the ones I liked, I picked out some fabric & had it sent to her. She whipped together the sheets, bumper, and crib skirt. LOVE!! Also, the tree that you see on the wall is a vinyl wall art piece from this Etsy vendor.

closeup of the bedding...(Fabrics are: Michael Miller Ta Dot Ocean, Riley Blake Colorful Cheery Circles Green, Robert Kaufman Primatex Basic Tiny Dots Yellow)

the Mobile. Got this from LandofNod - just love those little birdies.

Another steal from Susan's nursery. Just loved this print when I saw it. You can find it from this Etsy Shop.

Sitting area. That chair rocks/reclines/swivels. It's great! I am sure I will be spending LOTS of time there so I really wanted something comfy. Also - the lampshade is just a white shade from Walmart that I covered in the same yellow fabric that I used for the curtains & bedding.

Curtains that I made, with fun aqua poms hanging on them. (totally used Susan's idea for these too!)

Preview of the baby quilt I am working on for this room. It's almost done...I'm getting there...!

Dresser with cute stuffed animals & even more fun Etsy artwork. You can find these adorable prints in THIS Etsy shop. I thought they went perfectly with the bright colors & feel of the room. They came just as prints & I bought frames & framed them myself.

Handmade booties. SOO CUTE. Had to buy them. Off Etsy, of course :)

closer view of the changing area & bookcase. The shelf adjust to allow for more room for changing.

Another print that I fell in love with on Etsy. I grabbed this one long before I was even pregnant. I always knew it would someday be in my baby's room - and that the colors of the room would be similar to the ones in this print. At some point I will hang a shelf in the room & rest it on there.

Piggy Bank! How much does this little guy look like those green pigs in ANGRY BIRDS?? LOL!!

Books! Lots & LOTS of books! We were so overwhelmed with the generosity of family & friends. My Baby Shower was a "book shower" - and every guest was asked to bring a book. It is SUCH a great way to start off a baby's library. I cannot wait to read to this little one.

Another view, standing on the other side of the room. Carpet is from LandofNod. I have to say, I love hanging out in here now. It's my favorite room in the house!

FYI: all furniture (with exception of night stand, which is from IKEA) - is from Buy Buy Baby.

This weekend we spent more time putting together all sorts of baby gear. Luckily we are using my old craft room as a "Playroom" - which means for now it's where we are keeping all the big items. It's great to have that extra space. And I can't tell you how fun it was to wash all those little baby clothes & go through things!

Also, here is a picture from last weekend of my Mother & I after my Baby Shower. I wanted something small, just family & very close friends. Her & my MIL put on such a lovely shower at our home. It was PERFECT! I just love this pic of me & "Nana"...!

I will leave you with one last pic, a 35 week Belly shot. You aren't getting to see my head because I was a hot mess when this was taken. Trust me, we are all better off this way :)

Thanks for looking! Kudos to you if you made it to the end of this VERY long post!

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Back with another Silhouette creation. This time...it's bathroom artwork! I was looking for something simple with a little modern feel for our downstairs bathroom. I just wanted it to match the brown & blue decor, but didn't want to spend a fortune. I grabbed a frame at AC Moore with a 40% coupon and had been looking for an 11"x14" print to go inside it - but I couldn't find anything I liked. And quite frankly, I didn't want to spend all that much money for something I was hanging above my toilet ;) So...I decided I would use my Silhouette to make my own artwork. This is the EASIEST project and I am not lying when I tell you that it look me LESS than 10 minutes to do. The hardest part was getting Pete to hang it for me ;)

I cut out 2 identical shapes using my Silhouette. They were shapes that I believe come with the software when you purchase a Silhouette. Really cute simple branches with leaves. After they were cut out, I simply used some adhesive & glued them to some brown cardstock. I mounted that on another piece of bluish green cardstock & then mounted that inside the frame, using the white as an additional matting piece. Here's an up close view of the branches. (Please excuse the glare from the frame in this pic)

It's hard to get a full room view as this is a half bath, but here is a pic of it all hung up & finished. I think this completes the room & it was less than $20 total for the frame & artwork inside it. Can't beat that!

I'm hoping I will have a tour of my new crafty space done for you soon. We are digging out from yet ANOTHER snow storm here in MA and I am officially SICK of winter. In between digging ourselves out, we are also working on the baby's room so haven't had much time to post. Hopefully this weekend I can take some pics & a video of the new space. Stay tuned!

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