Oh Christmas tree

I was cleaning out the basement and I came across 2 styrofoam cones that I got at a yard sale this summer. I think it was a quarter for the both of them. Anyway, hooray! There are tons of cute ideas all over on other blogs and Pinterest about different ways to decorate these things up, but in the end I didn't follow any tutorials and just did my own thing.

 I wrapped the cone up in strips I tore off one of the old sheets in my fabric stash, then hot glued different kinds of lace in rings all the way up. So easy. the stand is just a little 2x2 scrap that was laying around. I think I might try to white wash or possibly use a vinegar stain to age the wood, but for now it's fine.

This lil' guy is smaller than the first. I had a scrap of some faux-patchwork fabric that was just enough to cover the whole tree (my backup plan was to use various Christmas or Christmas colored prints to fill in any gaps). Then I added some ric rac and some tassels (which are really just acting as a placeholder for pom pom trim) and called it good.

My decorating taste has been undergoing a metamorphosis of sorts lately. I've always been a fan of some kinds of old fashioned and vintage stuff, but right now I'm all sorts of into it. Maybe it's just Christmas. I was definitely bored of my lots of metallics and garland thing I usually do, so this year I went completely the opposite direction. I'm going for a fun vibe, I suppose. here's what I mean:

Possibly even borderline kitschy? That big Santa definitely is (it belonged to my husband's grandma and my guy just loved it when he was a kid, so we ended up with it).
I beg pardon for how unbalanced this is right now; I was just kind of throwing things up there. I do plan on moving the paper chain and then adding more garland across the top. Maybe a string of big bulb Christmas lights. If I get around to it, I'll probably change up the art that's there, too.

So, my motif this year is fun, colorful, vintage Christmas. Anybody else out there have a theme they stick to? This is my first year actually thinking it through enough to actually put a name to it.


More thrift store stuff

Technically, these are from a consignment shop, but it's all pretty much the same, right?
My mother-in-law called me last Saturday morning to tell me that a consignment shop in my hometown was having a 55% off sale, so away I went.

Tons of awesome children's books. I plan on using these in my daughter's new basement room (which might be getting ahead of myself, since it's only partially framed right now) as some functional decor. The companion library ones are really cool- they're one book on the front, then you turn them over and upside down and they're a different book!

 These were my favorite find. There were a ton more there, but I only picked ones that were in pretty much perfect shape. Because of these, I've totally been in a Christmas mood. I wanted to get the tree out and decorate, but my husband said no. So I put them all in a jar on the mantle so I could still look at them, and so Mike won't accuse me of pushing the season (because he does not notice jars of stuff on the mantle).

Another awesome scarf. I think that makes my final count 4 for this summer. It was kind of sad to bring it home and immediately put it away with the other summery stuff, but the hat rack is currently overtaken by fall/winter scarves (post coming soon).

I think I got about a dozen doilies for about 3 dollars? I have a pinspired project in mind for these that will be lovely.

I scored some other awesome deals, including some vintage floral ribbon that I just die for and a brooch that's going to be part of a necklace sometime in the future.

Happy Veteran's Day (yesterday)!


And sometimes progress looks like progress...or...Let there be light (in the basement)

Right now it the basement looks like progress AND a big giant mess, but the title was long enough as is.

 Anyway, there's still concrete dust everywhere, but these babies make it all worth it:

Mmmmm. Big windows. There are two 4'x3' in the family room area, one 4'x3' in the bigger bedroom, and one 3'x3' in the smaller bedroom. It's incredible how different the basement feels now. It's so bright down there! My husband and his dad are the ones that installed them. It was kind of stressful for me, because while looking at videos online and reading a million diy articles, it didn't seem like anyone had done the exact same thing we were.

 Since I don't have pictures, I won't bore you with what we came up with to secure them and fill in the hole left by the old window (in the second picture- on top of the window to the right), but I think it's going to work just fine. We made our own hybrid method that worked for our situation.

Next is window wells and trying to get the yard put together enough so that we won't have a giant muddy mess come spring.


Sometimes progress is just a big giant mess

A giant mess with holes and dust and dirt and rusty pipes EVERYWHERE.

I've mentioned before that our basement isn't finished. Well, it just might be by the end of the year!! I've been insanely excited about it. Like when I heard the plumber could move where our water line came into the house, it MADE MY DAY. I told him that about 10 times, too. And while thinking about having the basement finished just gives me happy hives, sometimes the mess does put a bit of a damper on things. Here's what the last few weeks have looked like:
{This is a plumbing mess.}
We were getting two new floor drains (the existing one is in our family room space) and the bathroom fixtures roughed in. It was an entire day full of dust and noise.

Don't worry about the giant pile of dirt that's overtaking the walk up to my front door. I don't. We (which, in this case, is pretty much just my little brother) had to dig window wells so people could come cut giant holes in the foundation of our house with giant saws. Four giant holes, four giant window wells (they had to be dug 4 feet back from the house, a foot on either side of where the cut needed to be made, and 18 inches deeper than the bottom cut).

Dirt was (still is) literally everywhere.

Oh no! The water pipe!

It's cool, just dig down 2 more feet. That's what we needed to do to have the water line entrance moved and still be good to go, code-wise. Small price to pay to have the window be where I wanted it. I could have stood at the bottom of that hole and been buried standing up.

Then they came and cut the big giant holes. You may have picked up from my tone that I was kind of nervous about this, despite the fact that they were ready to go with the steel lintels that would take the weight of the house. It's just... a big giant hole in the load-bearing concrete wall your house is built on. Right? That's scary.
Things were fine, though, and now you can stay tuned for part 2, when progress actually looks like progress.


Freezer paper stencilling

Well, I had some friend give birth not too recently, and finally got on the ball about sending them the gifts I had planned. And then I got on the ball about getting phone pictures onto the computer. (I don't know what my deal is, it's not like it's hard. But every time I think about doing I'm just like "UHG. I can't believe those pictures aren't already there. Why can't they just get on the computer automatically? This is the worst." First world problems, anyone?)

The process: I used my Silhouette to cut out shapes from freezer paper, then ironed them onto the onsies. **IMPORTANT STEP: cut out a piece of cardboard or whatever you have handy that will stop paint and put it inside the onsie to prevent paint bleeding through to the backside. Then just blot in the paint like you would with a stencil and remove the freezer paper as soon as you're done (otherwise it gets all soggy and is a pain to remove- ask my friend Ang about it). Then the paint dries and you can heat set it following whatever directions were on the paint you used.

A note about paint possibilities: I used acrylic paints mixed with textile medium for the ones in the first picture, and Tulip fabric paints for the ones in the second. Both worked well, but it's possible that the Tulip ones came out brighter. I'm not sure, since I didn't get to put the finished products side by side and there were a lot of other reasons that might explain the second picture looking somewhat more vivid (i.e. lighting conditions, the paint is maybe still wet, those are all on white backgrounds).
{These were a team effort- my college roommates and I thought these up, then the few of us who live close together got together and made it happen. I'm not going to try to explain the ones that are obviously inside jokes. That only ever ends in regret.}

{These were for my geology friend. Schist is a kind of metamorphic rock. I also made a trilobite one that's not pictured because I messed up the first one pretty bad and had to remake it later.}

Anyway, these are totally a fun and no-sew alternative to the applique onsies I've shown here and here. You should try it.

Or don't. Whatever. I'm not your mom; do what you want.

Thanks for reading!


Recreational vinyling

It's a thing; I checked.

I've run across about a billion vinyl deals and sales and whatnot over the past month or so, seems like. So, given my inability to pass up a good deal, I now have quite a bit more vinyl than I used to and in a TON more colors. Over the last week or so I've used up some of my new stock on little projects that just kind of make me smile.

My little painted on birds that I did here were as easy to remove as I'd hoped. No problem at all.

His and hers phones. My husband's is some Star Wars thing- I want to say it's the New Jedi Order symbol. (Half sad, half impressed that I know that.) Mine is a pink unicorn because I let Mim pick. 

These are for 2 of my lovely sis-in-laws that both have birthdays in September, as kind of a bonus gift with what they're really getting. The owl is already in place on Alicia's computer (and was about 10 seconds after I told her what it was)- she sort of LOVES owls. 

I've done a few other little Silhoutte doodles, but they're gifts and so must remain secret. 

I think this is the most satisfying kind of little craft to do. I really do smile every time I see my phone or KitchenAid and my husband was so proud of his phone decal he posted it on Reddit and doing them all together took maybe 15 minutes.


This was cool

I saw this posted over at Young House Love (excellent blog, you should check it out) and I wanted to share. I love online quizzes like this. (At this point, I would like to point out that this quiz is not of those Facebook ones that are like, "Oh, based on the letters in your name, you're a totally beautiful, super fun, smart, sexy woman who likes to hang out with people you love!!" I hate those and I hate when anyone on my newsfeed takes one.)

So anyway, here's a link to the quiz. You pick the 5 images you like the best and it comes back with a quick little analysis. I took it several (read: a bunch) times and mostly got urban funk. It kind of sounds like a catch-all category, but I like it.

I'll be back later this week with something real! (There's at least an 80% chance of it, at least.)

Thanks for reading!


Non-permanently painting a KitchenAid

So, I think everyone has seen the custom cut vinyl for KitchenAids. I've seen some crazy intricate ones. Just google "custom kitchenaid vinyl" if you haven't. Wow.

So even though I have a Silhouette and could easily make one for my own, I still haven't, because...reasons. Or not really any reason at all. As it would happen, though, I had some friends come over last night to work on a craft project and we ended up cutting vinyl for their KitchenAids (which was not the project we got together to work on, of course).

I had the vinyl negative left of one of the decals that I held on to because I thought it would make a good stencil for... something. And then it hit me. Why not use it to stencil my KitchenAid? I want to do light blue or yellow vinyl, which I don't have yet, so in the meantime...

I used acrylic paints and tested a little patch first. I just dabbed some on with my finger, let it dry, then made sure it scratched off as easily as I thought it would.


So that'll hold until I get vinyl in the color I want. There are some parts where it seeped under the stencil, but I'll just wait until it dries and then scratch it off. So easy. I wish I was a talented painter- I'd do an all-over floral design. Sigh. I suppose it wouldn't be worth it, since this probably won't take thorough wipe downs very well.


I got lucky

No, not like THAT. Or maybe I do mean like that. None of your business. *blushing*

The title is referring to a gift certificate I won to a local flea market. Fleaology. Here's their blog. I submitted my name for the drawing they do before each one, and I got 3 entries because I blogged about my last flea market finds here. Anyway, I won $50! That, plus the money I'd already set aside to spend there, made me feel like I was gearing up for an awesome little shopping spree. And it WAS awesome. Look, I'll show you:

{I saw this and made a beeline for it. I always keep an eye out for globes. And it was only $15!}

{This doesn't match anything in my house, but I just kept going back to it again and again. It's embroidery.}

{It needs a new place to hang, of course. Or maybe I just need a headboard and some more things to hang by it. Hmm...}

{I'll hopefully make a move on my bathroom redo soon, so that this can stop looking terrible next to those dark green walls. It's awesome for all the stuff I want to keep in the bathroom but don't want little hands to get at.}

{See that awesome scarf with the yellow border? Three dollars. Booyah.}

{I've been looking for awhile for a hard suitcase for dress-up storage, but they're always either too much money or too small. This giant was only ten bucks and in almost perfect condition.}

{Everything fits! (With some room to spare, even)}

{I like wearing the brooches in my hair. I don't know what I'll do with the clip on earrings, but it'll be something.}

{It's a metal peacock! This is another one that I'm not sure why I bought it. I love it. I mean, I parked it on the mantle temporarily, but over a month later it's there because I just love how fun it is.}

I forgot to take pictures of a few things, like another little globe. It's small and white on a brass stand. I also got my new favorite necklace EVER for $2.50. I got a big vintage melon crate, too, but it's still in the garage. It needs a good scrubbing before it's allowed inside. Anybody else had awesome luck lately?


Road tripped

Well, our little vacation is over. We actually got back about a month ago. I LOVE the Oregon coast. The whole Pacific Northwest, really. Just so beautiful. So green. Foxgloves as prolific as weeds. Sigh. I do love it here (UT), though. Just not a whole lot during the summer. Too hot. It was an especially nasty shock coming back from 60-70 degree weather to the hottest week Utah's had so far, the high over 100 for several days straight. I must sound like such a whiner to all the people who live in New Mexico and Arizona. Whelp, sounding like a whiner isn't going to stop this train.

Anyway, before we left for our 15 hour drive, I finished a few other things. One was this:
Magnetic paper dolls! I saw them HERE and just loved it. So much so that I got the exact same paper doll book (that was just coincidence, really- it's at Hobby Lobby if you were wondering). I wanted a big set with lots of options, so I used two 1'x 2' magnetic sheet rolls. Also from Hobby Lobby. I also got all this stuff in 3 different trips to the HobLob (oh yeah. I just slanged it) so I could use the 40% off coupon all times. Because of that, my total was less than $15.

Here are my doll clothes, all popped out of the book and crowded as closely as I could manage onto the sticky side of the magnet roll.

I seriously love playing with these. So does my daughter, of course. And all her little girl cousins (it was such a crowd pleaser- all the girls from age 3 to 10 crowded around the cookie sheet at the beach house).

It wasn't as great of a car toy as I had envisioned- there were two many little bits and not enough room to spread them all out. Great kitchen table toy, though.

As it turned out, we weren't really hurting for car entertainment. My girls were both little troopers for 95% of the drive, which was SO much better than I had dared hope. I think I deserve some credit, too. I was prepared out my ear balls with stuff for both of them, and I want to share. So, without further ado, here's my


1. MAGNA DOODLE. Get the giant one. 

2. Straws and pipecleaners. Mim made bracelets, rings, swords, people...I handed them back a few at a time.

3.  A blank notebook. Maybe this wouldn't work as well for some kids, but Mim loves just drawing. We did secret messages for awhile, too.

4. Stickers. I spent like 15 bucks on stickers at the dollar store. Probably more. I let her put them on herself, on her car seat (she can only reach fabric parts, where they were easy enough to peel off), in her notebook, where ever. I also made matching games with them for her to do.

5. Water bottles filled with glitter and water. After you have glitter and water in them, GLUE THE LIDS SHUT.  These were for my little 10 month old. She was pretty fascinated by them.

6. Don't give them something to do until they ask. After every stop, I made sure I didn't just automatically hand something back. Sometimes Mim would go for close to an hour just looking out the window or talking before she wanted something else to do.

7. Snacks. Of course. I did things like fruit leather, popcorn, grapes, carrots, string cheese, nuts, and Pringles. And water. No juice for us. Mim will drink 10x more juice than she will water, which would have meant a LOT more potty stops.

So that's what worked for us. I've seen a ton more lists out there, some with 100+ activities and ideas, but Mim has a pretty long attention span for one so little, so we didn't need that many more things. Not that I'll ever, EVER assume that for road trips in the future. 

Hope your vacations have been awesome! Thanks for reading.


Best aunt ever, part 2

I decided that I want mailing cool stuff to be my "thing." I now have a sister and a sister-in-law in Texas. Not to mention some very close friends here and there around the country. So when I saw THIS blog (via Pinterest, of course) I was really excited. I had no idea the kinds of things you could send through the mail! Pretty much anything can go, with regular ol' stamps, as long as it's 13 ounces or less. And when you think about it, 13 ounces is almost a pound, and there are lots of cools things that weigh less than that.

So, my first awesome thing I sent was a ball. I wrote my nephew's address right on it, Mim helped me decorate it with stickers, and off to the post office we went (we had to take it inside, since there was no way it was going to fit into a mailbox). I didn't get any pictures, though. There's one HERE on the Giver's Log, though. Imagine the same sort of thing, but with one of the even bigger balls (the 16" diameter kind).

That kicked off a whole little mailing spree. I sent a few things to my sis-in-law who just had a baby, a birthday present to my sister, and a belated birthday/kindergarten graduation gift to my niece (which I blogged about HERE). I packaged them all the same way, though, with vinyl.

{I sent my sister some flip flops one at a time, too, but didn't take any pictures. Hers are the blue and red ones, I made them the same way I made THESE.}

 With the flip flops I was originally going to just write the address right on the sole, but I got too worried about sending them through the mail unprotected, since they were embellished. If I had just sent them plain, I probably wouldn't have put them in vinyl.

Anyway, if it's hard to tell, I just took two pieces of vinyl and used my largest zig zag to sew them together. I used a Sharpie to write the addresses on and put one "forever" stamp for every ounce the package weighed (I used my kitchen scale). I have some more mailing ideas- now I just need to get things done and send them off!


Road trippin'

Well, we're not driving yet. We leave for Oregon next week (it'll be about a 15 hour or so drive for us- we're going all the way to the coast) and I've been busy getting things ready that will keep my 3 year old busy.

I have a few things done and thought I'd share this one today:
 But what is it, you ask? Well, it's a cookie sheet with a bunch of animals and things on it. There's something special about these animals and things, though.

Ta-da! They have a magnet on the back and will stick to the cookie sheet, which (in my opinion) will make them ideal car toys.

So really, the only "making" I did was taking a pile of these little wood animals:
{I got mine at Hobby Lobby for I think 50cents apiece.}
 And using this to attach magnets:
{I didn't use hot glue because I was worried about it getting soft in a hot car.}
 And voila!

Incredibly simple, but I think she'll have a lot of fun with it. I'm sure I would have when I was a kid.

Since I bought so many little wood figures, I plan on only letting her play with them in small groups (sea creatures, farm animals, pets, etc.). That way it will seem new to her for a longer time, which will hopefully result in her being entertained for a longer period of time. Hopefully. Fingers crossed. Knock on wood.

I have more magnet-using, cookie sheet applicable toys coming up, so stay tuned.