Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Home Made Christmas 2011

Have a holly jolly home made Christmas! 

This year I actually followed through and made our Christmas cards. I wanted to last year, but work, graduating from college, and getting married got in the way. Not this year. I had time to kill since Josh was gone for a month. Lets start this thing off with the finished product!

I bought blank cards from Hobby Lobby. They were 50 for $10. Can't beat that! I then raided Lowes for paint swatches of the colors I needed for the Christmas Trees. I got the idea from... you guessed it. Pinterest. I needed to make about 20 more and went back to Hobs Lobs, {it's about 30 minutes from our house. sad face.} but they were completely out of this butcher paper brown so I decided to go with white)

This was my inspiration:

But since patterned scrapbook paper is pricey (like redonkulous) and paint swatches are f-r-double-e, I got in stealth mode and hit up my Lowes. It was sad, really. I don't know what I expected to happen, but I felt like a I was shoplifting and became all shady and shifty. Even though they are free. It's heard to shoplift free samples. Anyway, I left Lowes with a purse full of swatches to create these jolly little guys. 

Pretty simple, just cut the strips and glued them down with tacky glue (all I have), then covered each batch with wax paper and stacked a book on top so it wouldn't curl. Cutting out the stars took the most time. After it dried, I punched a hole in the star with a large embroidery needle (yarn needle to be exact)

I went to visit my sister the first weekend Josh was gone, and she helped me with the front of the cards. We came up with the idea to stamp something on the background of the front so that when people remove the ornament, there is still something to look at. In the end, the ever-popular chevron pattern won.

We made the stamp from self-adhesive foam and one of those thick acrylic clear-stamp-block. Does that make sense?

Google searched it for you to have a visual. This, but bigger. Source.

My sister Amelia just so happens to be craftier and artsier than me, so she had all sorts of goodies for me to play with. Applying paint to the makeshift stamp with a brush didn't work out so well, and neither did the block printing ink that she had (because it was applied to foam instead of linoleum as is typically used for block printing.) 

Rolling a paint-glue mixture with a brayer worked juuust right (Did you read that like Goldilocks? This paint was too thick, and this paint was too thin, but this mixture was juuust right)

The roller is called a brayer. You want a thin layer of paint/glue (it needs some stick to it) and roll it thin enough that you hear a ripping noise. I don't know how else to explain it. 

Then I quickly stamped it to the front so the paint wouldn't dry on the foam

And turned it over and rubbed it with a wooden spoon

And peeled it off.

I got this little "Merry Christmas" stamp from the lobby of hobbies, and used a silver ink to get the point across.

How jolly.

After a few hours, I had 50 card fronts, ready for further beautification. 

All I did next was use rubber cement to attach the tree ornament to the front, print out the little poem and cut them out with zig zag scissors, and cut slits with an x-acto knife for the corners of the picture to slide into. (Or should I say, "into which the corners of the pictures to slide"? ...Grammar police.)

Assemble, autograph and address.

Our friends Kyle and Courtney were kind enough to snap the pictures for us. The winning shot was taken at Nashville's Centennial Park inside the big and beautifully lit tree. Just for fun, here are some other shots from the night. 

Also, There are finally presents under the tree! I used more left over paint swatches to jazz up the plain brown contractor's paper. (Sensing a theme here?) You can get a ginormo roll that could easily last 50 years for $10. It gives you an opportunity to customize and add some pizzaz for each person. And it beats the pants off of that uber-expensive fancy wrapping paper (not that it isn't beautiful and festive, just pricey)

I used a silver sharpie to draw different snowflakes on the blue paint swatches then cut out the first letter of the name of the recipient. On the others I cut big triangles from tri-color samples and made Christmas tree tags. I got a little carried away. (The one on the left reads: to: p-daddy {my dad pete}, heart: j-thug {josh} & h-bomb {haley} 'Cause we gangsta like dat). I still want to make bows for them.

Christmas cheer has also found its way to the mantle. I replaced the fall leaves with leftover ornaments, a snowman, and a little nativity we got as a wedding present. 

I wanted to make stockings out of some drop cloth and felt, and perhaps I still will, but I didn't want to have to hand stitch everything. 
I still haven't finished making my tree skirt yet, but this is the idea:

I used an old tree skirt to trace the size on the drop cloth (Basically a big circle with a little circle cut out of the middle), used tacky glue to create a seam, then created a ton these rose buds using your basic blog-pinterest-google tutorial, and attached them with, yep, tacky glue. I've got buds on about 3/4ths of the edge. That last fourth will be the end of me. 

We head home tomorrow to spend time with our families. It's not Christmas time until you spend massive amounts of time with loved ones. 

So from our little family of two, Merry Christmas!
Haley (and Josh)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas Wish List 2011

This year Christmas snuck up on me. Is it just me or does time seem to speed up as we get older? I haven't done a lick of Christmas shopping. I haven't driven around to look at Christmas lights. I haven't gone caroling (since I was about 12, beside the point). I haven't even been to a mall to see a Santa.

I have, however, heard a LOT of Christmas music. At work. Preschool. You understand. Including:

Ha! Yep.

I think I have forgone the Holiday cheer because it just isn't Christmas while my sweet husband is out of the country. So here is a quick life update: Josh is living a dream. He has been on the road with the Tennessee Three for the past month touring Canada. He is finally getting home in just a couple days! It has been quite the learning experience and we are so grateful for this opportunity. Meanwhile I have moved positions at the preschool. I work in the infant program now. It is really nice knowing where I will be each day (I used to never know where I would be day to day when I was a floater) and boy to I love those itty bitties. 

So as soon as Josh is home, it can be Christmas. I'll allow it. So here is a wish list:

I gotta be honest, it has been hard coming up with things I want. It's a good thing our families have agreed to have a small Christmas this year.

I have been wanting some warm boots with grip so I don't bust it when it snows. Such as these from Born

But those are crazy expensive. I just want something similar. 

Next is a sewing machine. So many crafts and projects that I want to do require a sewing machine. I'm cool like that (Read: I'm an old lady like that). I would want one that is easy-peasy to use and has a variety of stitches. Such as the Brother XL-2600

But what do I know?

Those are the "big ticket items"... onto more reasonable ideas:


(Please note that this picture depicts Jewish taboo... Not that I want Jewish taboo, just the regular one. I just needed you to know that it exists.)

Clue... You get the point. Fun board games. We have zero. 

Oh, and...

Just all of it. I walked into Target the other day to look at Christmas decorations, and accidentally walked to the clothing and wanted basically all of it. Then I accidentally walked past the scarves, purses, and jewelry and wanted to cry because they were all just so cute. So just get me the whole store. 
K thanks. 

Josh is a movie lover. Here are some movies that he loves and we have never gotten around to purchasing: 

Okay maybe that last one is more for me. 

He has talked a few times about hard cases for his drums, (He has used the same fabric cases for years and years and they are falling apart) I think touring made him realize he really needs some. 

and Mac operating system update. 
Yes, I know, his wish list is riveting. 

(I have a few more things for him up my sleeve, but I can't tell you because he reads this)

Edit: World peace... I'll put that on my list I guess. And there'd be no more lives torn apart, and war would never start, and time would heal our hearts. You know... sentimental stuff.

Bonus points if you sang that song in your head as you read it.

I'm hoping to finish my Christmas cards and send them out this week, so I'll do a tutorial on how I made them once they have ben mailed.  

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Table Refinish in Time to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving has come and gone. This year family sat at MY table to dine, so I had a lot of work to do before turkey-day. {Which was an excellent way to keep me busy and not focus on the absence of my sweet husband. He is on tour! Add that to the "thankful for" list!} My parents recently gave us a small table that had once been their first table as a couple. It was still in great condition, but needed a bit of a makeover. 

Cue the handy-dandy in-laws! When Josh's parents came to visit the weekend before he left for tour, they helped me strip the old paint off and apply milk paint.

Paint stripper is serious business. Apparently it can melt your skin off... or something like that. You need specific tools, such as a metal paint dish, nylon brush, rubber gloves, face mask, goggles, and scrapers. 

Lessons learned concerning paint stripping:
Apply carefully!
Put on a thick gloppy layer of the chemical.
Let the product do the work for you (See how the paint bubbles?)
Apply a second layer of goop if need be.
Scrape with the direction of the wood grain or it might damage the wood.

This is how much we got off after the first try.

We really liked the look of the table when it was stripped. It has been painted so many different colors, and for such a long time, it stained the wood green, red, yellow... pretty neat.

But I couldn't resist the urge to try my hand at milk paint!
Milk paint applies streaky and vintagey. We mixed slate and white to get this light blueish-grey for the tabletop. 

Then we used white for the legs.
(see all the years of paint underneath?)

Here it is covered in the milk paint.

Although it is lovely in its own right, I saw something grander ahead.

Insert countless hours of cutting out this stencil.
{Seriously... hours upon hours. For days and days.} 
As my sister said, crafters will spend so much time and energy to create something themselves. Just for the satisfaction.

Totally worth it!

This is one satisfied crafter!

You can buy stencil blanks at a craft store (such as Hobby Lobby). I also got the stencil sponges, basically circle sponges on a stick, and they worked great. Then I used a spray poly coat to seal and protect from my unruly family at Thanksgiving. 

I am so grateful that my parents, sister, and brother-in-law got to spend the holiday with me in Nashville. The pictures above are from Opryland. We also visited downtown Franklin, did some shopping, some antiquing, and lots of eating! 

Now that November is coming to a close, you know what's next!
Mine and Jesus' birthdays! (In no particular order)
I'll post a wish list soon.

Stay tuned,

Monday, October 17, 2011

DIY Lamp Shade = Temporary FAIL

Lamp shades are expensive. 
you make them.

 4 Embroidery hoops.........$6.00 ($1.50 each)
fabric...........................5.99/yd (for 2 shades)
Chicken wire..............Already had it.....freeee!

Grand total? 
$12 for 2 completely unique lampshades.

So I am still undecided about the outcome. I know I need to make some improvements and do some tweaking.

It was definitely a learn-as-you-go experience, but the basic plan is:
 embroidery hoops + chicken wire + fabric = cylindrical lampshade
 Here was my process:

Gather supplies. Most important being:
 2 embroidery hoops (12 inch in this case)
Chicken wire (and snips to cut it with) 
Fabric of your choice (Stil undecided about putting lace on top)
Hot glue
Tacky glue
Needle and thread (optional)

 I then rolled out the chicken wire, kept the ends down with Josh's weights, measured the length by placing the hoop beside the wire and simply rolling it along the edge until it reached the starting point. 

Be careful with chicken wire... it is stinkin sharp and it can have a mind of its own.  I'm sure gloves would be recommended. 

The outside edges are finished (not pointy), so the side that I cut, I bent the prongs down on themselves to prevent bloody fingers.


Then I wrapped that edge around the embroidery hoop, bent the ends down, and hot glued them down. 

I placed the second embroidery hoop on the other end {See how it is finished? Much safer} and glued it while Josh held it in place.

 Where the two ends met and overlapped (leave a little room for them to overlap) I created a seam. I just did whatever worked since the links don't line up perfectly. 

I roughly measured the fabric.. Then I ironed a crease as the ends so it would look neater.

Here is the optional part: stitch the crease for the neat and tidy edges

 I used tacky glue to join the overlapping fabric. It dries very clear and discreet, but if you want to be extra sure, only apply glue to the edge that will be on top.

I then ironed a crease around the top edge (the bottom is a finished edge that hangs just slightly longer than the wire/hoop) in preparation to wrap it over the hoop and sew it down. I didn't want the ends to fray.

Apply handy dandy tacky glue

Wrap it around the hoop and stitch all the way around (optional)

Here is the inside of the top edge

This is where it gets a little sketch. I didn't know what to do for the top cross bar (where it attaches to the lamp)... I for now I'm using chicken wire.

I cut a little extra all the way around.

Place it on top and bent the wire up, then I pushed it up through the bottom

And twisted the wires together where ever I could.

Things that need improving:
The top... in general. How to connect it to the lamp? 
Some sort of plastic liner would make me feel better. 
I'm pretty sure that the combination of low energy bulbs and the significant distance between bulb and fabric should be enough to not start a fire... but still.
 Plastic liner also dulls the shape of the bulb and make the glow warmer

So friends, what do we think? 
I have already returned the lamp bases (They blended in with the door headboard), but I can still see the  potential. 
I would recommend a more substantial fabric, such as an upholstery fabric. 

PS- I apologize for the looooong gap between posts. Time just gets away from me. Plus, I feel like I haven't done much worth reporting lately. Just hanging out and taking it easy. This is for you Allison ;)
I'll try to do a life update soon.

Stay tuned,