Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Can you believe she will be one in just a few itty bitty days?? 

Monday, January 23, 2012

It Must be Hereditary

Guess where Charlotte loves to play?
In mama's jewlery!
And guess WHAT she loves to play with when she's getting into my jewelry??
It's just too much -- I love it! 
And I would never joke about something as serious as pearls~  I swear, every time she gets the chance, she opens up the doors to the jewelry armoire and goes straight for the pearls.  Her favorite is a strand of pearl Mardi Gras beads from a few years back, but she still has time to develop a preference for the good stuff :)

"I wonder what is in this drawer??"
I know I should discourage her from getting into things like this, but part of me is just so *proud* of her budding taste that I hate to stifle her sense of style ~ ~ ~

Sunday, January 22, 2012

DIY: Mercury Glass

I really like the vintage look of mercury glass.

It seems formal but with an aged/rustic twist. 
When I saw an online tutorial for making your own mercury glass, I was already mentally rounding up clear glass vases to glamorize.

I've been looking for a way to add style to our mantle.  When we remodeled our house, we painted the brick fireplace, mantle, and bookcase a milky ivory.  I like how this brightened up the room, but it made our glass duplicate vases disappear.  Literally.

 I wanted to keep the vases on the mantle because (1) they are from our wedding; and (2) I like the tall height.  The mercury glass treatment seemed perfect, and it would complement the mercury glass lamps we already have in the living room.
small seating area with mercury glass lamp
Before I did the big vases, I practiced on an extra florist vase.  This helped me fiddle around with it until I got the technique and color I wanted.
The practice vase is on the left; a "real" mercury glass lamp is on the right
And here's how the duplicate vases turned out!

BEFORE ~ ~ ~

 AFTER ~ ~ ~

 I think it is a huge improvement -- the vases stand out and I'm proud of them :)
If you want to give it a try, I used this tutorial.  The secret is spraying the painted surface with a vinegar/water mixture and rubbing off bits of the paint to achieve the aged look.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cover Girl

Jenny from Seamingly Smitten invited Charlotte to be a model for her children's designs~~
 What a pretty little buttercup!
Jenny arranged for a professional photographer to take pictures of Charlotte in adorable Seamingly Smitten outfits, along with several other children. 
It was so much fun!
For some reason, Charlotte decided to stick her tongue out halfway through the shoot. 
From this point on, she thought it was so funny to stick out her little tongue in every picture.
Stay tuned on Jenny's blog to watch for her new sewing patterns, and keep your eyes peeled for baby Charlotte!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

DIY: Fishscale Panels

I love shiny things.

I'm always up for any excuse to add a touch of glamour.

When I saw these textured panels, I knew they were for me.  Here's how to make your very own fishscale panels~~
Gather your materials:
:: 2" punch (or a circle template, scissors, and a lot of patience)
:: posterboard
:: cardboard, cut to your preferred panel size
:: staples
:: trim or a picture frame without the glass

Use a 2" punch to punch out about a million circles.  I used old paint chips and posterboard.  I liked mixing the different finish of the paint chips and shiny/matte sides of the poster board to add subtle texture to the finished panel.

If you want to get technical, you can measure out your cardboard panel and mathematically figure out exactly how many circles you'll need.  There's probably a fancy formula you can use, but I'm not a math wiz.  I just laid out two rows worth of circles, took the measurements, and then multiplied by the total size of my cardboard.

After your circles are ready, draw straight lines on your cardboard to keep you on track when you begin to attach the fishscales.

Next, individually staple the circles onto your cardboard in rows.  Every other row should be offset, so that you have a fishscale pattern (this means that you will have half a circle hanging off the edge of your cardboard on the offset rows).

Keep stapling...keep stapling...if you used different textured materials to punch out your circles, you may want to randomly distribute them throughout so you don't end up with a bunch of the same kind clumped together.  Unless that's the look you're going after -- totally up to you!

Now that your fishscales are all in place, time to spray paint! 
I used mostly metallic gold, with a little matte gold and bronze that I had on hand.
Finally, staple your cardboard to the back of your frame.  You could use a pre-made open back frame or you could make your own from trim that you purchase by the foot at Lowes or Home Depot.  We were in the middle of replacing door trim, so I just got Kristopher to make me some frames out of the old trim.

I used a metallic oil rubbed bronze paint on the frames, but I'm thinking about doing something lighter instead.  Pewter/gold mix?  Not sure yet.

I love how you can see them shimmer anytime you walk past the foyer
The best part of this project is that you can personalize it to your own taste -- use larger circles, bright colors, or any mix of textures that suits you.  Good luck!

Where Have You Been All My Life?

I'd heard the hype, but couldn't understand.

An online pinboard?  I've already got my very own real life memo board, thankyouverymuch, and why do I care what other people put on their "pinboards??"

What's the big deal?? 

Well...It's only the best thing ever!!  It is an online database of images of all things pretty (interior design, free printables, clothes and accessories) that link to articles and tutorials (fun things to do with your kids, endless recipes, 101 valentine ideas, organizational tips, how to put your hair in an "effortless" bun).  
Pinned Image
And then there's all the crafty ideas.
I'm afraid I'm transitioning for naptime-crafter over to the dark side.  They know me at Hobby Lobby.  I can't stop coming up with new projects.  I might need a Pin-tervention.

In the meantime, brace yourself for a bunch of do-it-yourself posts of the projects I found on Pinterest.  Bet you can't resist joining...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Oh Toodles!

Aside from all puppy-related Disney moves (Fox and the Hound, 101 Dalmatians, and Lady and the Tramp), Barrett's favorite show is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse tv show photo
I think it is a pretty cute show, plus they teach good lessons like colors, shapes, counting, and being nice to your friends.  And, I'm just relieved to have a break from Blue's Clues.
Sorry,'s been a good run, but I can only hear The Mail Song so many times before my head explodes.
Anyway, the premise of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is to interact with the preschool viewer to encourage problem solving.  Every episode, the Clubhouse friends have 3-4 different tools to help them along the way.  When they get in a pickle, they can summon the tools by exclaiming "Oh Toodles!"

Apparently, Barrett was paying close attention.
Now, anytime he doesn't get his way, he calls for Toodles to come rescue him. 

For example:
 1.  At the grocery store
{Trying to put Barrett into the shopping cart, when he would rather run around the parking lot and generally play in traffic}
Me: (persuading) C'mon Barrett.  Time to sit in the shopping cart like a big boy.
Barrett: No, mama!  Down!  Please, mama??  Down!
Me: Sorry, buddy.  You have to sit in the cart while we get groceries.
(gently force him into cart...)
Barrett: (struggling against me) No, mama!  Down!!  Oh, Toodles!!  OH, TOODLES!!
{lots of stares from fellow grocery patrons, to which I am now accustomed, and thankfully immune}

Our wonderful pediatrician
 2.  At dinner time
Me: Alright, Barrett.  Time for supper! 
Barrett: Fruit snacks!!
Me: No, not time for snacks.  Eat your pork and veggies.  It's delicious!
Barrett: (negotiating) How about...fruit snacks?  Snack bar?  Special juice??  (that's what he calls Capri Sun)
Me: Sorry, buddy.  You've got to eat your dinner.
Barrett: No!  Fruit!  Oh, Toodles!!!
3.  During play time
Me:  (discovering inevitable shenanigans) No, Barrett!!  No, sir!!!  You can't stand on the furniture/climb in the dishwasher/pull your sister around by her arms!!
Barrett: (instantly freezes, considers his options, and runs in the opposite direction guessed it...)  OH, TOODLES!!!

Seriously, Barrett, what is Toodles going to do to save you?  Do you think Toodles is going to let you sit in the dishwasher?  Because I don't think Mickey would tolerate that kind of foolish behavior.  He's always getting onto Donald for being a bad sport too, so you probably won't get very far with him if you keep up the bad attitude.

Part of me is concerned that Toodles is teaching him to rely on a quick fix to an undesirable situation, but the other part of me thinks it is so funny, I just can't help but laugh~

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, January 5, 2012

From My Front Porch Looking In

When Hollywood comes knocking, do you answer the door??
In my case, apparently not.
You can't say I didn't learn my lesson from Officer McToughGuy about answering the door for strangers.
Let me back up a little...a few weeks before Christmas, a location scout knocked on our door and said that the director of a Fox TV show wanted to use our house to shoot an episode. And was it ok if he came inside to take pictures of the interior to email to the director?
Doesn't this sound like a set up??
Like maybe he wants to "case the joint" by taking pictures of all our stuff and then coming back later to rob us??  We live in a safe neighborhood with video cameras, but still....sounds suspicious.
Well, I'm nobody's fool (okay, fine, maybe I'm a few people's fool, but not this guy's) so I politely declined and he left his card in case I changed my mind.
I'd heard that the show taped at a neighbor's house a few weeks ago, so I looked her up in my handy directory and she gave me the whole scoop -- the guy was legit, the crew was nice, no one messed up her house during filming, and they paid her handsomly.  Plus, it was fun to be caught up in the movie business!
Cell phone pic taken from my car of all the movie people on our street
I checked with Kristopher to see what he thought and then called the guy back so he could come take the pictures he needed.  A few hours later, a big Mercedes bus pulled up in front of our house and about a dozen directors and producers got out to tour our house.  (So cool!!)
They ended up picking our house for a short shot in the foyer, front porch, and front yard. 
Because they shot at night, they set up a big light screen and had a spotlight on a crane tosimulate moonlight. 
I was amazed how much trouble goes into such a quick scene!
The only inconvenience was that they had to move our Christmas tree from one corner of the living room to another so it wouldn't be in the shot.  There were no ornament casualties, but our tree died of dehydration because we didn't water it for a few days before they moved it to minimize splashing.  Oops.  After the shoot, they offered to pay to have a cleaning service come clean the house. 

"Well, if you insist, I suppose I could let someone else clean my house and let someone else pay for it...."

This is Domenick Lombardozzi, one of the stars in the shoot.  He plays a US Marshall.

This is Serinda Swan, another star from the show.  She was really  nice and shy. 
We didn't get a picture with her, but Kristopher conveniently had her headshot saved on his phone.  Um hmm. 
So, long story short, our foyer and front porch will be famous!!  Watch Breakout Kings this spring on Fox to see our house for about 90 seconds. Thrilling, huh?  It was a fun experience. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

All Aboard!!

Finally, a post about Barrett's card table playhouse!

My friend Kelly sent me a really cute blog post a while back, suggesting I make a playhouse for the kiddos.  Although I loved the idea, I was totally intimidated by the project.  But, a seed was planted.
Then, at Thanksgiving, Barrett got to experience a card table fort in person when we were at Kristopher's aunt and uncle's house.  Aunt Connie, master sewer extraordinaire (runs in his family...), whipped up a fort for her grandsons out of adorable soft purple fleece, complete with doors and windows.  Barrett loved it and spent most of Thanksgiving afternoon playing with his cousins' toys in the fort :)
Forts are a great place to eat animal crackers.
Again, I was appreciative of the cute-factor, but still intimidated... my hesitation started to wear thin when I saw how much Barrett loved it AND when I realized that we could double-purpose the top of the card table fort as a surface for a train set instead of buying a separate train table.  So, the idea for the train-depot theme was born and I went to Hancock's the next day to buy a bunch of felt.
Here's the front door with a ruffly striped awning, front porch light, flower pot, working mail slot, ticket box with 4 admission tickets, and of course, Sassy.  She's the train depot mascot and co-engineer.

The admission tickets are stuffed with poly-fil to make them puffy.  I cut the edges with pinking shears to replicate the perforated edges of real admission tickets.
I was encouraged by the fact that felt doesn't fray, so you don't have to hem all the edges.  HUGE plus!!  But, I underestimated the time it would take to figure out my strategy, freehand pattern pieces and cut out the train cars, wheels, apple trees, clouds, bluebird, etc.  I'm still a new sewer, so a more advanced person probably wouldn't have any trouble.  I took pictures along the way and considered doing a tutorial on how to make your own, but there are so many steps and I didn't know if anyone would even be interested!  Mostly because I just made it up as I went along.  Apparently, that's how I roll.
Here's the train engine.  The apples velcro onto the tree so Barrett can "pick" them.
I'll be honest, it took me a lot longer than I expected -- a majority of my "nap time" from Thanksgiving to Christmas (NO, not my nap time, smart aleck, -- the small sliver of time I have to myself when both kids nap simultaneously.)
Anyway, I'm really proud of how it turned out, even though there are tons of imperfections.
This is the cargo car, with three pockets to hold stuffed animals, passengers, or other cargo.  And another apple tree (which ended up on the wrong side of this panel -- I wanted the tree to meet up so it would wrap around the corner like one big tree.  Shoot.)
No girls allowed!  Barrett decided Charlotte's doll couldn't ride with the cow and teddy bear.  It worked out though, she got to hang out inside the fort with Charlotte.  :)
The hard work was worth it.  Barrett loves his fort and I think he'll get lots of use out of it for years to come.  Or at least, I hope so!
Last, but not least, here's the red caboose with a bluebird!!  Inexplicably, Barrett's favorite way to enter and exit the fort is through these caboose windows.  I'll definitely need to reinforce those soon.

Discovering his playhouse for the first time on Christmas morning
His favorite part is the train set from Santa, which I'll try not to take personally!  Choo choo!!