Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Picture Frame

One of the most liberating things I've ever done was telling a framing store to stuff it. Well, I didn't really do that. I'm not mean, after all, but I did refuse to spend that much money on a frame that I could build on my own. I was intimidated by it, but now that I've done it? Easy peasy!

Here's how it's done:
Buy 10' of moulding (whatever you think would look like an awesome picture frame -- my theory: the thicker the better -- at least 3" for me, please!)

Figure out how big you want your frame to be (I was framing an 18x24" picture, so I made my frame 17.5"x23.5" so the frame would cover 1/4" of my picture on each side).

Miter the end of your moulding to 45 degrees (you can buy a miter box at Home Depot for $5 and just use a hand saw to do this part -- not super hard, but your arms will get way tired!). Now, where the point comes in (the obtuse angle, if you want to be technical), measure one length of your frame from there. I measured down 17.5". Mark it with your pencil.

Line up that dot with a point on your cutting line in your miter box. Make sure you're holding on really tight and start sawing there, again at 45 degrees, but this time going the opposite direction. (If this part doesn't make much sense, go look at a picture frame to see what it looks like.)

Repeat for all four sides of your frame.

Put a little bit of wood glue in between the corners (start with one corner at a time). Use a square to make sure the corner is, well, square. Then hammer in some finishing nails into each side of the corner. Repeat with all four corners. If you are cool enough to have a corner clamp, use one to make sure the corners stay super tight while they're drying. I also stapled my corners with my staple gun to help secure it.

Sand the whole thing down to make sure it's all nice and smooth. Fill in any holes or your corners with wood putty to make sure it has a nice smooth finish. Then stain it with your favorite color of stain (or paint it or just leave it if you want).

When I finished it, I taped my picture in place and stapled a piece of cardboard over the whole back of it.
My husband and I thought it was so cool that we totally had to take pictures while holding it. Cheesy cool, right?
Here's the corner. The wood filler didn't want to take the stain quite as well, but I still love it!
Here's the whole picture!
And in the room. The temple picture is by Keli B Photography. She has amazingly reasonable prices. I got my beautiful Jordan River Temple print for $40 and it was here within a week.

Benches and Storage Crate

So I have this huge seating issue in my family room. One wall is covered with windows, another is covered in a piano, and a third wall is covered with these weird archways (an entry and two little windows). The other wall just has this little love seat/hide-a-bed thing. So, in all, the seating in that room consists of one love seat and a wing back chair (poorly reupholstered by me a while ago).

IKEA to the rescue! You know those cheapy little LACK tables they sell? They're like $8 right now. Well, I love them. One day, I was browsing through one of my favorite blogs and saw a table that I swear was just two of those LACK tables put together. That got me to thinking: I wonder just how tall those things are? Are they sturdy enough to support an adult sitting on them?

Well, I got my answers. Yes! They are sturdy! And, they're about the same height as a kitchen chair. So, perfect for seating, right? I just wanted them a little bit longer, but was too cheap to buy the longer ones. So I just bought two for each bench, screwed a piece of wood to the bottom and glued the two tables together. Perfect bench! I wanted to snaz it up just a smidge more, so I found these great cheap little faux-fur rugs from IKEA, put them on top so it padded the seat just a smidge, and put on some pillows for back support. I did one for each of the archway windows. I think it turned out great!

Oh yeah! See those fun little crates underneath the tables? I built those out of some pallets my kids' elementary school let me have. The plans were actually for a floating nightstand, but I thought they'd look great as crates to store toys and books and such in my living room. Can't beat free, right? And it's helped with picking up clutter immensely!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Church Bags

I'm all about fun homemade Christmas presents right now. I'm also kind of big in wanting my kids to be quiet at church. Put the two together, and you get today's idea. Fun church bags that you can fill with crayons, paper, little toys, or whatever it takes to help keep your kids happy at church or on long road trips.

Materials needed:
1/2 yard of two different fabrics
1/4 yard of low loft batting (I actually just cut up some old flannel baby blankets my baby doesn't like)
1 button
sewing machine
erasable Fabric marker

Cut list:
1 -- 11"x18" -- each fabric (one for inside and one for outside)
2 -- 11"x18" -- batting
2 -- 11"x3" -- fabric and batting (handles)
2 -- 11"x8" -- outside fabric (inside pocket)
1 -- 5"x2" -- strap to slip around button
2 -- 8"x6" -- inside fabric (outside pocket)

Put one piece of batting on the wrong side of each piece of fabric (for inside and outside).

Use one outside pocket piece and attach a button.

Using the outside pocket squares, sew them together with right sides facing. Leave a little gap (about 2 inches) from the final edge. Turn the whole thing inside out and sew 1/8" all the way around the edges. Pin to outside fabric close to upper edge (about 2"). Sew in place leaving top part (closest to edge of outside fabric) open to create a pocket.

Sew your inside pocket pieces together. Just sew the top and bottom edges together, then turn the whole thing inside out.

Fold the inside pocket in half and either iron it or just use your fingernail to create a slight fold to show where the halfway point is. Do the same thing with your inside piece of fabric. Line up the folds and pin in place (through the pocket, the fabric, and the batting). Mark the middle fold with your fabric marker just so you can know where the middle is.

Now, with your ruler, measure along one side of the inside pocket marking every inch (only go to the halfway line that you just marked). This will be the slots for your crayons or pencils. I marked mine on the outside part of the pocket and again on the halfway line then drew a straight line between the two dots. You should get 10 lines. Sew straight along these lines. (Just turn your fabric around when you get to the end of a line, but don't sew between the lines.)

Next up, handles. Put one piece of batting one the wrong side of each handle. Fold in half lengthwise (so that the fabric folds in on itself and you'll end up sewing on the batting). Sew a straight line creating a tube. Turn the tube inside out (I used a safety pin and just fed it through to the other end). Pull your seam a little just to make sure it lays smooth. Sew a straight line right down the middle of your handle (lengthwise). Repeat with the second handle.

Attach your handles to the inside fabric. I found the middle of each of my ends and moved it out about 2" from there. Be sure to put your handles so the curved part goes to the inside of the fabric (toward the middle line).

Fold your strap fabric in half lengthwise (same way you did with your handles). Turn it right side out. Pull seam just a little to smooth it and zigzag stitch all the way down the middle.

Pin the right sides of your inside and outside together (making sure the handles and the strap are all on the inside!). Sew all the way around leaving a little opening on one side (about 3-4"). Turn the entire thing right side out, pull your seams a little to make it smooth and sew 1/8" from the edge all the way around (make sure to turn the opening in just a little bit).

Now, sew down that halfway line that you marked earlier (on the inside pocket). Trim threads and you're done!

Sorry I didn't have pictures of the whole process. I'm kind of one of those girls that can't be bothered with a camera in the middle of a project, but once it's all done I want to show the whole thing off, so here you go!

This is the inside of my 3 year old's. I didn't get the whole pencil slot thing when I was making this one, but I love the pattern contrasts with this fabric!
Here's my oldest's bag. See, I figured out how to do the button and pocket and everything!
I should have filled the pockets with pencils and stuff, but you get the picture.
Here's one for my oldest boy. My husband says it's too girly, but I think it looks great!
And here they all are in all their glory!

*Edited -- I totally forgot to give credit where credit is due! I got the instructions/idea for these from my friend Aubrey. She does some amazing sewing projects. Thanks!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Arm Warmers

Sorry for the hiatus for a long time! I got kinda frustrated trying to figure out how to do scheduled posts, then got super busy with school starting, sick kids, etc (you know, life stuff. Hence the reason I wanted to figure out scheduled posts).

But, I'm back on track, and oh man! do I have some fun projects to share!

This first one is one I found on They have tons of fun ideas, so I didn't link up to the actual post with these arm/leg warmers. The instructions are just so easy, why bother, right?

All you do to make these is head to Target and get the great super long socks from the women's department. I think I paid like $1.40 per pair.

Then, get out your scissors and cut them just above the heel. And guess what? You're done! The first time you put them on, they'll kinda curl up a little bit on the raw edge, thereby making it look finished.
I tried this pair on to make sure it would roll nicely and it looks great!

I'm planning on using three pairs of these for my 3 year old as leg warmers and the other 3 pairs will be for my 8 year old as arm warmers. I'll have to post pictures of them wearing them after Christmas, because these babies are going in the secret stash closet until then!

Hope you like them!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Food Storage Analyzer

So, I've been trying to be good and think about food storage lately. I just kinda want to have something on hand for the "what if" moments, you know? But, I have to be honest. Food storage is kind of daunting to me. I mean, I have four kids, my husband, and myself. And our cat, of course. Can't forget her!

When you think about having to store food for that many people, it's kind of overwhelming! Just think about how much food we eat in one year!

Well, I'm trying to get better. But, the question is, how to start? There almost seems to be like three different schools of thought when it comes to food storage. There's the traditionalist that wants to have enough wheat on hand to last through the millenium. There's the minimalist that wants to have just three months supply of your basic canned foods. You know, the kind of stuff you use every day that is almost like an overflow of your pantry.

Then there's the extremist who focuses mostly on emergency supplies. Well, I guess extremist isn't the right word. Let's just say this is the one that always has a year's supply of toilet paper, bandaids, and tampons. Oh, and their 72-hour kits. Lots of those.

I'm trying to decide what kind of food storage person I want to be. I think the perfect method is to somehow combine all three. To be sure you have the stuff that's going to last you forever, to be sure you have your three month of things you use all the time, and to have all your extra emergency supplies. Oh, and let's not forget water storage.

Wow. I think I'm getting overwhelmed again.

But, there are a couple of great websites that I think will help get me started! One is called Food Storage Made Easy. I REALLY like how they lay everything out. They give you 10 Baby Steps to get you going. It definitely made it less scary for me.

One other website I love is called I feel like this is the website for those of us that have started to build our food storages without really knowing what we were doing. They tell you all about what you have (with nutritional content) and where you're lacking. I've been entering everything I have in food storage into their system for the last little while and it's been fun to see the number of days go up saying how long we could last with our food storage. Sadly, we're only at 18.12 days so far, but I still haven't entered any of our wheat or dinner storage (I have all of mine organized based on meals for now). I think that's going to get us up to at least a month. Maybe?

Honestly, I do have a decent start. I have some beautiful shelves that we inherited when we bought our house. I have lots of grains and I know how to use them (VERY important when starting to think long term storage). And I'm adding a few things each time I go shopping.

How about you guys? How's your supply coming?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Happy 30th Birthday to me!!!

I have the best husband in the world. Sorry ladies, but it's true. He really is the best. See those beauties he gave me on my birthday? It was a big one, too. It was the big 3-0. To be honest, I'm actually glad to be turning 30. It feels like another milestone. Almost like a rite of passage.

Oh, and those weren't the only thing my hubby got me. Look at these other two beauties!
I finally have my own circular saw!!! Wahoo!!

And jigsaw!!! Yes!
My facebook status that day was "I was so excited I screamed like a SAHM at the opening of Twilight!"
Okay, maybe it wasn't that funny, but I really screamed loudly! It was so exciting! I just can't wait to bust those babies out and put them to work!
Oh, and my mom's first response when I told her what I got and how excited I was: "Wow! How girly!"
And my aunts response: "Oh, good! It'll go great with what I got you." Which happened to be a Home Depot gift card.
Apparently I need to spend more time at a mall.


Remember that beautiful brand new laminate we put down just a few months ago? Well, I wasn't as careful as I should have been when I was painting the kitchen cabinets, and so there were a few mishaps. Like when I didn't realize I had paint on my foot and I went chasing after a little one or something silly like that. You know, the normal kind of things that could happen to anyone.

Well, it meant I had more work to do once I finished my cabinets (which still aren't done, by the way. Don't ask. I'll just get mad again, but I promise to do a post about it as soon as they're all done -- if they ever get there!). I learned this cool trick from a neighbor do remove things off paint. Just grab some cotton balls and some rubbings alcohol and start rubbing away! I was kinda worried about it causing damage to the laminate, though, so I made sure to mop everything up once I finished so the rubbing alcohol couldn't stay on for too long (I know, I know. It's rubbing alcohol. It evaporates pretty quickly, but I was still paranoid!). Oh, and I also grabbed my trusty metal brownie spatula that I could use to scrape up the thick parts.
Cleaning up was hard work, but definitely worth it. You'll get to see the whole kitchen all beautiful and clean once I finally get my doors hung. I'm just anxiously trying to figure out how to fix my hinges everywhere right now. Once I get that problem solved, I'll get the doors up in no time, right?

Butterfly Chandelier

I love blogging. Not necessarily writing a blog as much as looking at everyone else's blogs. And I think my favorite part is what I call blog hopping. It's when you start on one blog and you end up jumping to another blog and then to another blog and so on and so on.

That's how I found this design idea. I'm kind of obsessed with things hanging from my kids ceilings right now. I'm not sure why. It kinda started with my oldest daughter's flower canopy, then went to a bug mobile for my baby, and now there's this one. It's a butterfly chandelier. At least that's what it's called. I think of it as more of a mobile for bigger kids. I have to be honest that I did not purchase this from the girl that designed this. I had no idea that she sold kits when I first saw the idea! I just saw a link to it from a link party over on one of the blogs I follow. But I guess she sells kits on her etsy shop that you can buy to do it. I just asked my mother in law to bust out her Cricut and cut out a ton of butterflies for me. Ironically enough, we ended up using the same paper and what looks to be the same cricut pattern (cartridge? design? What do you call those things?). I just used a smaller embroidery hoop and kept the rest pretty much the same. I'd actually recommend using the bigger one that she uses. But she calls for 15 yards of tulle. That's a lot of tulle! I think I only used like 2 yards. Maybe a little more. Maybe I just skimped, but I can't see where. Oh well!
If you like it, go check out the actual instructions on her website. And post it on your blog and send me the link so I can see it, too! Oh, and my in-laws told me they just went to the Parade of Homes around here and said that they saw this same thing in one of the bedrooms in one of those designer homes, but they liked mine more because it seemed more "airy" -- or something like that. See, blog hopping totally pays off!

Teddy Bear Cake

I think the best way to start this post is by showing the after-effect. Would you look at the look on that little boys face? That's my big one year old! He just adored his chocolate teddy bear cake! We have this tradition of making a teddy bear cake for each of our kids on their first birthday that they get to just rip apart and devour. Nothing super fancy, but, oh, how they love it!
So what kinds of traditions do you guys have for your kids first birthdays?

First Attempt at Fondant/Baby's First Birthday!

My little boy just turned 1 today!!! I can't believe he's so big already!

Well, one of my favorite parts of birthdays is the cake! Yum! And since it was a first birthday, it couldn't be just any cake. It had to be the family traditional teddy bear cake. I'll post a picture of that in just a minute. But first, I wanted to show the cake that everyone else got for little man's birthday! It started out with boxed chocolate fudge cake mix. I know, super fancy, right? That's why I spiced it up a little. After it was all made, I filled it with almond flavored buttercream frosting and this amazing raspberry filling. Trust me. You have to try this filling! I had lots leftover, so we snitched tons. It may not look like much here, but I wanted to show just how thick this stuff was. And it all started with a couple bags of frozen raspberries. Yum!
And here's what's left of the frosting. Again, not a great picture, but I can just look at this picture and remember how amazing it tasted!
BTW, here's my way of making buttercream frosting. It's not my mom's way. My mom's way always looks/tastes gross when I make it. I can't figure out how she does it!!!
Buttercream Frosting:
1/2c butter/margarine (I honestly use the tub stuff)
1/2c shortening
1 tsp vanilla (or almond extract -- or whatever other one you want, I guess)
2 lbs powdered sugar
Put the first three ingredients in your mixer and let her rip. Add the powdered sugar about 1 cup at a time and let it really mix in well. I know I've put in enough sugar when it kinda starts to look like playdough being rolled around in powdered sugar. Once you get to that point, let it go a couple more minutes on about medium in your mixer and it should be pretty good.
My mom will frequently add milk at this point, but that's the part I always mess up, so I never bother with it.
I froze my cakes before I started working with them just to be sure they would be strong enough to withstand my abuse to them.
This was the crumb coat I put on the cake after I layered the whole thing but before I put on fondant. And here it is all done! This was my first time making fondant and I have to say I wasn't super impressed with the taste or the quality, but I know this was just a beginning try, so I'll keep trying later on other cakes and see if I can't make it work better. I just used the marshmallow fondant recipe. I'm not linking to it because I'm not sure I'm in love with it yet.
My wonderful little 2 year old decided it looked so yummy before I put all the dots on it that she just HAD to take a fist-full out to try. Hence the reason my dots aren't placed evenly. Oh, and I kept having my fondant sticking to my parchment after I rolled it out, so I used some water to be able to make it a little stickier and apparently I used too much, so the water kinda sweated all over my cake. I just had visions of my high school rivals that used to always say they "bled blue" since they had so much school spirit. (Don't ask. We thought it was weird, too.)

I took pretty much all week working on this wonderful little cake. I think if I do something like this again, I'll just do it a couple days before because the raspberry filling kinda soaked into the cake a little. But overall I was pretty happy with how it turned out!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What I've Been Up To

I've been working hard on a project that I was very anxious to post on here, but it's just taking me so long that I thought I should give a little preview. Here's a picture of my kitchen before I got started. It's all pretty outdated and definitely needed some paint. Well, I'd been reading online about this amazing woman that has almost the same kitchen design that I have and she painted all of her cupboards white. It turned out SO pretty! So I thought I'd copy her. Problem being that I had NO idea how much work it would be! My hubby went out of town for a week and I had these grand ideas of surprising him when he got home with a pretty black table and white cupboards. This is the other side of my kitchen. Can you tell I have little kids? Lots of fun magnets all over the fridge!

Here's everything emptied out and with no doors.

Well, since I had to take everything out, I had to have some place to put it all. My house has never been so messy! I stored everything in the hallway, living room, pretty much anywhere I could cram stuff.

To be honest, I hated it at this point. There were a lot of tears every time I talked to my husband at night during this stage. I just knew I wouldn't finish it in time and what on earth was I going to do if it all looked horrible when I finished!

Yep. Still hating it.

But I kept pushing forward. Here are the shelves.

And then he came home! I was super sad that I didn't finish it before he got home, but then I was really glad to have his help for those bottom cupboards. I really hated those cupboards.

And here it is as it stood yesterday. I still need to finish a couple other shelves so I can put those pots and pans on the counter away. And, yes, it was spaghetti night.

Here's the other side. See those two cupboards on the bottom? That's where I still need to put in shelves.

But the best part are my new shelves next to my window. I love having a place to put some pretty plants! It just helps to add a little more color to my world. How odd that just adding a little greenery can brighten things up so much!

So this is where we stand right now. I still need to paint 7 drawers and 27 doors, add new hardware, and then finish all the clean up stuff, but I really do like it so much more now. Looking at the before pictures, I can honestly say that I LOVE it! And I fully plan on posting more pictures as soon as I finish the whole project, so keep posted!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Kitchen Table

When my hubby and I first bought our house back in 2002, we decided we needed some new furniture. The two big things we bought (oddly enough) were a dryer and this lovely kitchen table. Well, it was lovely at the time. You know, your perfect first dining room table from the early 2000's. Pretty standard. Well, over the years, the kids have been pretty hard on it. Plus I have this water addiction (good thing). Problem is, I always leave my water sitting on the kitchen table. This table just wasn't meant to handle all that water! My hubby said I couldn't have a new kitchen table, though, until our youngest turns 5 so we won't have to replace it again in just a few years. So I kinda have to make due with this one. Hmmm... What to do about it since it drives me crazy? Why, paint it, of course! Before picture.
This is just after I sanded the whole thing down. I took the middle leaf out of it and took the whole thing out to the garage. Then I sanded down both leaves and the whole table. Once I was done sanding, I wiped the whole thing down with a wet washcloth to get rid of all the dust.

Prime time! Before I painted the whole thing, I wanted to prime it all. I have to be honest. I hate priming things. I normally never do it. But I wanted this to turn out really nice, so I was good and did it anyway.
Here's the whole thing primed -- including the two leaves.

And here it is all black. Pretty, isn't it? Now, before I was allowed to bring it back inside, I put four coats of polyurethane on it so we won't have this whole water damage problem again. Trust me. It was a necessary step.

And here it is! Didn't it turn out so beautiful? And the best part for me: I spilled some water on it and it all just beaded up so I could wipe it off. None of it absorbed into the table! Huzzah!! I'd call that definite success.

Another view of my pretty table. What do you think? I LOVE it!
I'm linking up to these fun parties!