Monday, November 21, 2011

Iowa Volunteer Opportunities: Project Linus

Hello Everyone,

I'm trying to adopt an attitude of giving is much better than receiving this holiday season. Growing up, our family didn't have much, but my parents would still try to include us in volunteer opportunities. I remember walking in the March of Dimes WalkAmerica, collecting supplies for the food bank and handing out meals to fire fighters for the Salvation Army. When I went off to college, I didn't continue this volunteer attitude as much as I should. Now that I have a daughter, I want her to value the things in her life and to "pay it forward." I posted a few weeks ago about a family that decided that birthdays were to be spent doing good deeds for others. I practically cried when I read about the reactions they got from people when they did this. I have decided in the future instead of getting a present, I much rather spend the time with my family doing things for other people.

Now that the holidays are here, there are more people reaching out for volunteers and donations. At work we recently did a United Way fundraiser and Combat Hunger. I just "adopted" a child from the United Way for Christmas and got her a sweet Barbie and convertible. I always wanted a convertible for my Barbies when I was little. (I only got a shoe box instead). It's fun to shop for another kid.

So, I'm in the mindset that I want to help people as much as possible and all year around. So, I'm hoping by posting volunteer opportunities in central Iowa, some of you will also be able to help. The Volunteer Iowa webpage has a great search function for finding organizations that are in need of volunteers.

This post is going to be about Project Linus. This organization makes blankets for children in need. That can mean a child that has a serious illness, has been traumatized or otherwise just needs something to cuddle. I know as a crafter you can get to a point where you're making things that you don't know what to do with. This is a great project for those who quilt or crochet. I'm hoping to use some of my sewing skills and my fun scraps to make something this December.!


Sunday, November 20, 2011

DIY Sunday: Distressed Desk

Hello There!

Today's project is two fold. First, I painted this desk to go on my front porch. I know, it's a bit odd to put a desk on the front porch. I wanted something smaller for the porch, but this desk was free, so it was perfect in that sense. I'm excited to keep decorating it with the seasons and holidays.

I tried to distress the desk and make it look a bit old. (Well, it is old after all. It came from a frat in Ames and was from the 50's) All I did was use some latex semi-gloss paint and then went to work on the desk with some steel wool.

The drawer on the desk will be a planter once it's spring.

The second project is amazingly easy and cheap. You take some mason jars. My jars came from pasta sauce jars. Then you take some acrylic paint and just paint the inside. It's that easy and they look so fun!

On a side note...can you tell that I've been using my nice camera? Normally I use my point and shoot, but my husband has it today. So, the nice camera came out. You can tell the difference but it's so much harder to pull the pictures up on my computer...that's the only reason I'm so lazy about using it!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Thankful for Terrible Toddlers

Last month a local shop I frequent, Elegant Mommy, put a request out for bloggers/moms to take a letter of "Thankful" and write something involving parenting you are thankful about. I was one of the "T" submissions. I just found out that they posted it in early November. I thought I would re-post the submission for your enjoyment.

Hello Everyone!
As part of the Elegant Mommy T-h-a-n-k-f-u-l Blog Series, I would like to present you with "T is for Terrible Toddlers."

I have a beautiful amazing smart toddler. I've heard the saying (I think you'd have to be under a rock not to of) "Terrible Twos" or "Terrible Toddlers." Sure, my daughter now knows the power of a good temper tantrum. She's an avid climber (specializing in the stairs and the dining room table) and an amazing escape artist. She's a conquistador of our dogs and an explorer of unknown drawers and cabinets. She is a professional organizer. (I mean, she's so thoughtful for putting a screwdriver in my purse. You never know when I'll be needing one on the go) She's already dressing herself. And by that, I mean undressing herself. In public. Thirstie diaper and all.

As moms, we all have days when we might not lose our temper, but we sure give a heavy sigh. Mine came the other day when our daughter learned how to open the door to the bathroom and as anyone who has discovered a bathroom for the first time would do, she immediately started placing items in our toilet. A roll of pennies, a spoon, and washcloth took a toilet bath before I picked her up, washed her hands and promptly placed one of those childproofing knob covers on the door (which means that when my husband and I have to really go, we will not be able to turn that knob if our life depends on it...or drawers at least).
If you haven't experienced the Houdini-esq maneuvers of a toddler yet, you could chalk this up to my daughter not being supervised properly. However, if you've had kids, you'll know that no matter how many baby gates you put up, outlet covers you place or hours spent staring at your child, they are the perfect opportunists. Someone at the door? Phone ring? Changing the wash? Your child will find a way to surprise you no matter how hawk-like your supervision is.

Soon-to-be or new mothers, are you scared yet? Don't be. After all, this post is about being "Thankful." I'm beyond thankful for my toddler. You know what I did when I saw the pennies in the toilet. Laughed. When in my life have I ever seen such a silly sight? What would possess someone to put pennies in a toilet? It was like a wishing well in my bathroom. Ha!

Toddlers are amazing. They are learning things at an extraordinary pace. One day they know maybe one word, then one weekend they have five and then next they are saying sentences. They learn to potty train (eventually). They learn names. They point to things. They play games. They understand things you never ever explain. How did my daughter learn that her doll was a "baby"? How she learn that the baby needs to be burped or rocked when there is no baby at home to reference?

They also start to reciprocate love like never before. They start to give you hugs, blow you kisses and will even say I love you. The first time they give you a kiss, you're world might actually stop. You will want to stay in that moment for the rest of your life. You will probably call or text or message everyone you know letting them know your child just kissed you. They may not understand, but to you, you're life has completely changed yet again. And as parenthood goes, it will continue to change for the rest of your life.

So, be thankful for your toddler and their new expressive selves. They are learning so much, and if you're open to it, you'll get an education as well.

By Krista


Sunday, November 13, 2011

DIY Sunday: Chevron Bookcase

Hello Everyone!

I have a fun project to share with you today! I got a pretty bookcase from my grandmother a few weeks ago. It was sitting in her garage, but it used to belong to her mother. She asked if I wanted it and I said sure! It needed some serious TLC. The paint was chipping. There was some sort of can of mineral spirits or something that had placed on the top and made the paint bubble on the top. The back had been replaced and wasn't painted.

So. Here's the "Before"

and the "After"

So, here's how I revamped the bookcase to something fantastic. The entire process took like two days working for two hours.

Chevron Bookcase


Sandpaper (60 grit. My sander died and I had to use a block hand sander. So I used a rougher grit than normal)
Paint: White Enamel By Krylon, Yellow Sunshine by Better Homes & Gardens
Blue Painter's Tape
Tape Measure


Step One: Sand

You will want to sand enough to get out the surface scratches and to make a nice rough surface for the paint to stick. Now, this bookshelf is least old enough to belong to my great-grandmother. There's a good chance that there was lead paint on it. So wear a mask and have good ventilation. Wash and dust the bookcase after you sand it.

Step Two: Paint Your Base Coat

I started out and painted everything with the white enamel paint. I ended up doing two coats. This paint is supposed to be low odor. Which is definitely not the case. I ended up opening up all the windows.

I used a paint pad instead of a paint roller this time and I loved it. It covers thicker and faster than a roller. I might be a least when it comes to furniture.

Make sure you let this coat dry before starting to tape!

Bookcase all painted and ready for tape.
Step Three: Tape...and Tape...and Tape

So, this is where the tutorial really gets tricky. I did a lot of reading before starting my process and I learned somethings I didn't read about.

First of all. To do my design I did not use a cardboard cut out of the design, which most websites do. If I had, I might have a more precise design but I didn't care if it was completely perfect since it was in the back of the bookcase. I just wanted a fast method. I didn't find a complete tutorial on how to just use painters tape.

This is what I did and it worked pretty good.

The 6 inch Painter's Tape Method.
(I'm claiming this method as my own since I made it up on the fly!)

First of all, I cut all my blue painters tape 6 inches long.

Taping my design. Using my 6 inch precut tape method.

Then, after cutting my tape, I measured 3.5 inches from the top of the bookcase. I did a light pencil line all the way across the top. You can erase the pencil afterwards, or leave it. You will be painting over it.

After measuring the line, I used that as a guide for all my points of the zig zag. I did a (very) rough sketch of it here:

(Click to enlarge)

After doing the first row of tape, I just measured down 3.5 inches from each point and did a little pencil line. I then used those marks as a guide to do my second row. Since all the tape is cut the same, it just be pretty easy to make a uniform design. You will want to make sure you keep the points in line vertical.

Another rough draft to give you the visual:

(Click to enlarge)

You should now be able to do the entire design continuing to mark 3.5 inches from the point in the row above it. The process goes pretty quick once you start if you pre-cut all your tape.

Taping done and ready for yellow paint.

Step Four: Paint Yellow & Touch Up

Now, I'm not exactly sure how you can do this without having to go back and do some touch up. I tried all the tips I found to prevent bleed and they didn't seem to work. I pressed the tape down with my fingernail. I also took the tape off while the paint was still wet. So, be prepared to wait for the yellow to dry then go back and touch up the lines with some white using a nice art brush.

So, I did was one coat, let it dry. Then I did a second coat but then I pulled the tape off while it was still wet. This was supposed to help bleeding, but it didn't do the trick completely.

Step Five: You're Done!

Let your paint dry & enjoy your new fantastic new bookcase!

My insulator tealight holders with springs.


Somewhat Simple
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Show & Tell: Bathroom Curtains

Hello Everyone,

I decided to make some quick curtains for our bathroom. We had pillowcases hanging on the windows, so really anything would be better. As I said (and will continue to mention) we are renting and didn't pick the colors. I'm trying to work with the colors we have. The curtains are grey and yellow. My next plan is to replace the dark blue plastic drawers with an antique tray stand. I might also grab the light blue paint left over from the top and cover the dark blue.

So, it's another work in process. Kinda the story of our entire house, but we'll get there eventually.

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