Tuesday, April 26, 2011

DIY NO-SEW Pottery Barn Curtains

Like most of you, I drool when I get my monthly Pottery Barn catalog! I mean, they just have a way with comfortable, stylish design and although I do not purchase a lot of items (I do get a few items here and there), I love to find ways to imitate their style. Everyone knows that imitation is the hightst for of flattery, right?! Recently, I found this really cute blog, Swoon! This blog has tons of great ideas and I plan to add it to my blog roll for future reference. These savy bloggers provide step-by-step instructions on how to create a no-sew version of the popular Pottery Barn Drape Shade Curtain and I wanted to pass it on to you. You can check out the instructions below or visit Swoon's post here; you'll be so glad you did!

Supplies: (1) Measure your windows and purchase tension rods from Target or Walmart. (2) Purchase white "faux" linen fabric (this will be much cheaper than regular linen) and no sew seam tape with permanent hold. (3) For the ribbon ties you can pick up some white grosgrain ribbon from Target or Walmart. Instructions: (1) Cut your curtains. Use your window mearsurements and add two (2) inches to account for your hems. (2) Create your hems on the the sides and bottom of each curtain panel by placing your seam tape in between your layers of fabric and ironing with instructions on seam tape. (3) Create your pole pockets just like you created your hems--measure two (2) inches from the top, fold over and iron. (4) Hang your curtain panels in place. (5) Add your ribbon ties by placing the robbon over the top of the drape shade and tension rod. Determine how long you want your ties to be and make knots for that length. Voila! Pin It

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easy-Peasy Casserole Carrier

Have you made that Easy Breakfast Casserole I blogged about here? If not, you should.
If so, what did you think? Either way, how about a precious, easy-to-make casserole carrier to help you transport it to a friend that just had a baby or a friend that just had surgery? Check out this easy sewing project I discovered on the cutest blog Moda Bakeshop.
Ingredients: 1 Prayer Flag charm pack--available @ Moda (or different colors/patterns of fabrics in your choice) ; 1 1/4 yd White Bleached Bella Solid (same as first); 2 packages of crib size batting; 2 packages of 1/2" double fold bias tape OR 1/2 yd fabric for binding; 2 round 6" purse handles; 14 #20 snap caps; 7 #20 snap studs; 7 #20 snap sockets; snap setter/snap press.

Cut 10 charm squares (or your fabric selections) in half to create (20) 2 1/2" x 5" rectangles. For ease, we'll call these pieces "R". Select 20 more squares. For ease, we'll call these pieces "S". Create 4 strips by sewing the following pattern: S, R, S, R, S, R, S, R, S, R.

Cut (6) 2 1/2" x 33" strips of White Bleached Bella Solid. Sew white strips to pieced charm square strips as shown in photo to create two main panels.

Cut (4) 8" x 24" rectangles of White Bleached Bella Solid. Sew (2) 8"x24" rectangles to each main panel, making sure to center them as shown in the photo. Sew (2) charm squares to each main panel, making sure to center them as shown in the photo. Cut (2) layers of batting the same size as your panels. Layer, baste, quilt, and bind entire perimeter.

Slide a purse handle over each short end of the panel toward the right (outer) side. Fold edge down, pin and stitch in place. Apply (2) snap studs to the ride side of one panel flap as shown in photo. Apply (2) snap studs to the wrong side of the other panel flap.

Fold over your panel flap to determine where to apply (2) snap sockets and repeat with the other panel.

When the studs and sockets are applied, the panels will snap together to hold your casserole dish snugly in place. Apply (3) snaps to the top edge under each purse handle (sockets on one side, studs on the other) to improve the structural integrity of the casserole carrier. Cutest casserole carrier ever!

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Monogram Plates

I recently got this really cute project idea in one of my crafting newsletters and had to share it. I have a set of these clear plates and I can't wait to personalize them with our initial. Enjoy! Materials Needed: Clear Plate(s); Paint for Glass/Ceramics; Foam Alphabet Stamps; Q-tips; Very Fine Tip Paintbrush; Stencil Background Stamp for Monogram (optional).
The stamps are applied in reverse--this is the backside of the initial stamps (showing the outline option) sitting on top of the back of the clear glass plate.
Applying the Paint: Choose your color for your middle foam stamp. It is always best to do the middle initial first in order to center it properly. Here the center initial was a “B” and it had to be applied in two steps because a “B” does not translate in reverse. Letters that reverse are much easier, such as the “M” and the “C”, since they can be flipped either way and will stamp in reverse just fine. Practice several times before applying to your plate to be sure you have the letters reversed correctly--just remember, you are basically rotating your letter on the vertical, like you would if you held it up to a mirror.

Stamp your plate with the paint already applied to the foam letters (it's easiest to apply the paint to the letters using a Q-tip). Because your plate is clear, it is best to press the plate on top of the stamp, rather than the stamp on the plate. This way, you can position it perfectly, and you can add pressure by pressing on the plate to make the paint adhere better.

After your foam letter is applied, you will see that the paint is not uniform. You will need a very fine tip paintbrush to fill in the uneven spots. The higher the quality of your paintbrush the better, because you’ll be able to stay within the lines more precisely. Let your monogram dry for 1 hour. After an hour, apply a second layer of paint with your fine tip brush by filling in the monogram again. You’ll be pleased that you applied a second coat because it makes for a bolder statement. Let dry for 1 hour. Repeat this step for however many plates you want to complete.

Simple letters would be fine, but your plates will be even prettier if you choose to add a second background layer for interest. Just find a large foam stencil style stamp you like and add it in a separate color for a bigger impact. Remember, you must apply your letters first, because your second layer will be hidden behind the monogram and this is the look you’ll want to achieve. Do not do the decorative layer first! Apply the second color of paint to the decorative stamp with a Q-tip or second paintbrush (other than your fine tip brush).
Again, lay the stamp paint side up on your newspaper, and press the plate directly on to the stamp. Again, you’ll see that the paint does not apply evenly, but it does give you the shape you desire. Fill in the design with your fine tip paintbrush. Let first layer of paint dry 30 minutes. Come back and fill in a second layer with your paint color and brush. Now you’re done! Let all plates dry overnight. A set of these for a close friend or your Mom for Mother's Day would be really special!
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Design Inspiration

I'm in a mood to redo every room in the house! Relax, I'm not about to attempt that but I am contemplating some painting, rearranging and organizing. I recently read an article on classic American interiors that had some inspiring ideas for rooms based influential styles seen in cities across the United States. It's hard for me to choose just one because there are several of them I really like--which one, or one's, inspire you? The Los Angeles Look Here you have a mid-century modern look with the use of sleek furniture, hardwoods and breezy floor-to-ceiling curtains. I'm not usually a mid-century modern design type of girl but I would LOVE this room in my house (minus the gold accents, of course!).
The Chicago Look This room has a neutral wall color which allows the trim work to really pop. The large space is defined with an area rug and the upholstered furniture finishes it off. I would add a little more "spice" to this room with some more red (see a hint of it hiding in the back corner) but this room looks very comfortable and inviting. The Key West Look Now we're talking! Load this room on the truck and deliver it to me, please!! The use of white with the bright lime accent speaks to me. You could use other colors, like turquoise or yellow, with or without the lime green. This room is relaxing and perfect! The Santa Fe Look This style always grabs me and pulls me in. I love Southwestern architecture and the use of warm colors and stone floors! Adding the rich browns with the use of leather and wood help pull this style together--fabulous!
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Easy Breakfast Casserole

I'm always looking for easy recipes to try to get the boys to eat something new (making the dish is always easier than getting them to try it)! I recently got this recipes in my "Parents Connect" Newsletter from NickJr and plan to give it a try. Wish me luck!
Ingredients: 2 cups stale whole wheat bread, cubed; 1 cup cheese (whatever kind your child likes); 1 cup meat (sausage, cooked ham, bacon); 1 1/2 cups vegetables, diced (bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, onion); 6 large eggs; 2 cups milk; 1/2 tsp salt; 1/2 tsp dry mustard; freshly ground black pepper, to taste. 1. Grease a 9x13 inch pan. 2. Spread the bread cubes evenly in the bottom of the pan. Top bread with cheese, then the meat and veggies. 3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, dry mustard and pepper. Pour over the top of the ingredients in the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. 4. In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for about 1 hour or until casserole is firm and eggs are set. Serves 6. Pin It

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Ready for Summer

On a whim we decided to make a trip down to Orange Beach for the weekend. I think we're just antsy for summer to arrive--we just need our toes in the water & sand!! We enjoyed some time at the beach (although it was a bit windy), had some great food, played at the amusement park, swam in the pool, and had LOTS of great family time. We can't wait for summer!

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Friday, April 8, 2011

How to Counter Stress

A colleague (with a sense of humor) shared this article with me and I thought I'd pass it on to you...enjoy!

Countering Stress

A young lady confidently walked around the room with a raised glass of water while leading and explaining stress management. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'Half full or half empty?'...but she fooled them all..."How heavy is this glass of water?" she inquired with a smile. The answers she received ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz. Here's her reply..."The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes."

She continued on to say "and that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden--holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night...pick them up tomorrow." When dealing with stress, remember these points:

1 -- Accept the fact that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue!
2 -- Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
3 -- Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
4 -- Drive carefully...it's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.
5 -- If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
6 -- If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
7 -- It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
8 -- Never buy a car you can't push.
9 -- Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
10 -- Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
11 -- Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
12 -- The second mouse gets the cheese.
13 -- When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
14 -- Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
15 -- Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.
16 -- We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.
17 -- A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
18 -- Have an AWESOME day and know that someone has thought about you! Pin It

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Macklin's 2nd Birthday: Trains, Trains, Trains

Saturday was Macklin's Train-Birthday-Party and we had an absolute BLAST! When I say this boy is obsessed with trains I mean he's OBSESSED with TRAINS! To make his day extra fun and full of trains, we hired a trackless train to ride everyone around the neighborhood, had motorized trains for riding in the driveway, and enjoyed lots of train-themed treats like train suckers, train sippy cups and and locomotive juice (lemonade & sweet tea)! Below are some photographs of the festivities and a few links for some great idea sites I discovered while gathering inspiration for the celebration.

It was EXTREMELY windy so we set the "Dining Car" up next to our garage doors. Not the back-drop we wanted but we also didn't want all our yummys to blow away!  

We opted for a simple sheet cake that was marble cake with vanilla cream icing. In our transition of the "Dining Car" it cracked but we managed just fine. I added the "2" candle and the train to the cake--I found the train candle holder at trainparty.com--great website!

The favors were train-shaped crayons, candy and a cute engine train tag I made. I just searched the Internet for train images, added a personalized message and printed in color. 

Here's our homemade train crayons. If you'd like to make some of these yourself, check out this post for the instructions. They are really fun to make and Macklin had a BLAST helping!

I found the Railroad Crossing sign at trainparty.com and made signs for the other areas out of construction paper. I used a Martha Stewart train hole-punch I found at Michael's to decorate the edges of the paper.

The caboose sippy cups and train suckers were my favorites! Both came from orientaltrading.com and they were a HUGE hit! Everyone took a caboose sippy cup home with them and the boys enjoyed sweet tea all day in their cups--they're really cute!
The biggest success of the party was the trackless train courtesy of ABC Concessions. The conductor drove all the party guests all over our neighborhood and it was AWESOME! Macklin wanted to keep it forever but I was able to convince him that we had to let it go to the next little boys party!
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Macklin's 2nd Birthday: Train Celebration

When it came time to plan Macklin's 2nd birthday party I knew instantly we would have a train party. This boy, much like his older brother, is OBSESSED with trains! The biggest craze for him is Thomas the Tank Engine, like most little boys his age but, mommy wasnt' interested in a Thomas party. Dont' get me wrong, I love Thomas, just not plastered on party plates & napkins. I have some great pictures of the train-theme but here are some the pictures of the celebration--it was a great party!

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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chugga Chugga Choo-Choo

Mommy is EXHAUSTED but the train party was a BLAST! I promise to share lots of photos, party ideas and some of the fun sites I found while I was planning this celebration next week but right now, Mommy needs a nap!!
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