Friday, May 17, 2013

Finished side table

Chalk paint really is pretty neat. I quite enjoyed the process actually. I ended up putting 2 coats of Annie Sloan Old White paint onto the table top and legs because the dark was showing through too much. I left the underside with just one coat. Partially so I could compare and partially because I knew it wouldn't be seen. Yes, I am not a perfectionist. Hahaha
After the two coats had dried I took a piece of sand paper to the table top, sides, and legs just a little bit. I like the shabby look, but definitely not too shabby. After wiping up all of the ensuing dust I broke out the wax. I can't lie, this step was worrisome for me. How much to use? Was I putting it on right? Well, I went for a less is more sort of an attitude. I had watched several tutorials so I was somewhat prepared. You really do get a feel for it as you go. Once I put on the clear wax I opened the very dark dark wax. I used an Annie Sloan brush for the clear wax, but I didn't want it to get stained by the dark wax. So, I used a piece of cheesecloth to apply the dark wax. I think I'll look for a generic brush like the Annie Sloan brush for the dark wax for my next project. I definitely liked using the brush as opposed to the cheesecloth. I felt like wherever I touched the cheesecloth to the table after picking up some dark wax it left a mark that I couldn't blend in. It was a little odd. But, I forged ahead. I had heard that clear wax on top of the dark wax (which you want to do anyhow) could even out the dark wax. I didn't actually find that to be true for me. Maybe I didn't use enough wax in my initial application? I don't know.
Once the wax had cured and hardened I buffed it with another piece of cheesecloth. Don't skip the buffing step! It is amazing the difference. It really brings out the understated sheen. I really do love the final product.
I'll definitely be doing some more chalk paint projects. In fact I am hoping to find some pieces tomorrow morning when I go out to garage sales.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Crafting ADD

I've noticed that I am somewhat obsessive and ADD about my creating and crafting. I get in a sewing mode and I sew non-stop for months and then super suddenly I am done for awhile. I actually have 2 dresses (one for each little girl) sitting partially finished on my sewing table as I write this and they have been there for a month or so.
So, what have I been doing these past several (ok, many many) weeks since I last posted? Well, I made super cute necklaces and bracelets for the girls for Easter to go with their dresses that I did not make. I did make their hair pretties though. The better picture of the bracelets and necklaces are on my other camera and I'm too lazy to go dig it out and download them right now. So, this will have to do for the moment.

Also this past month we refinanced our house. In an attempt to help it appraise as high as possible (we wanted to get rid of our mortgage insurance) we did a bunch of work around the house fixing little things, replacing light fixtures, and cleaning and organizing until I was a walking zombie. I hung pictures, decorated a little bit more, and tried to make things as appealing as possible.
Add to the crazy mix of the past few months ward conferences. I am in the stake primary presidency (women who are in charge of all of the children's programs at church for 7 congregations in the area) and so during ward conferences we go to each congregation and take over everything so that the leaders in the individual congregations can attend the adult meetings for the day. It is extremely tiring. I love it, but I am very grateful that they are over with for another year.
Well, the creative blues were starting to creep up on me again and my sewing machine just wasn't calling to me. What to do what to do? I've been hearing and reading about chalk paint for quite some time and decided that it was time for me to jump on the bandwagon and try it out. I got this cute little side table at Goodwill the other day for $15. It is seriously banged up and in desperate need of a facelift.

 It is the perfect candidate for a chalk paint makeover. I toyed with the idea of doing a homemade recipe of chalk paint, but ended up going with the Annie Sloan chalk paint with clear and dark wax. I even bought one of her brushes. I want to see how the "real" stuff works. I do want to try a homemade recipe on something else in the near future though. I'll keep you all updated on what I think.
I bought a quart of Old White chalk paint, which is generic enough that I can find plenty of uses for it in pretty much any room in my house. I'll try a homemade recipe with something a different color at some point. I just can't rationalize paying the high price for another color.
So, that is what I am working on. I'll post the after pictures when the table is all finished. There is a HUGE neighborhood yard sale in my area this weekend and I am hoping to pick up a few furniture pieces that need to have a paint brush taken to them. Here's hoping!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


The kids were doing a bit of yard work, and by that I really do mean a little tiny bit. Our backyard consists of pool, concrete, and fake grass putting green. There are two trees in planters and two little flower areas. The front yard has two topiary trees (at least that is what we call them), some roses, a big climbing "paper" tree, and a weird grass like ground cover stuff. So, it is a pretty low maintenance yard. But, between the front walkway and the driveway is this odd little strip of ground that was full of flowers which had been taken over by weeds and snails which was causing the flowers to die. Whatever. I wasn't super attached to the flowers anyhow.
In anticipation of needing to park 3 cars in our driveway the space needed to be more user friendly, Hugging the side of the suburban while getting in and out of it with little girls in tow was really annoying. So, I solved the problem. Around 50 flagstones and a few flats of moss and a lot of work and it is so much nicer! The moss will spread and fill in all of the space between the flagstones. It will be much easier to give a kid the job of pulling weeds because anything taller than 2 inches gets pulled. They can totally figure that one out without getting confused between a flowering plant and a weed. Hahaha!

So, now we can walk in the area and I still have a splash of color from a few pots of flowers. The sprinklers water the moss and the flowers. I'm loving this new solution!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Princess Party

What little girl doesn't want a princess party? So far all of my girls have wanted one, so I kind of have things figured out by now. So daughter #3 had her princess party on Saturday to celebrate her 4th birthday. She had informed me that Cinderella was her favorite princess, so she starred in the party.
Decorations were pretty simple. Pink crepe paper streamers all over the place with pink balloons that we taped up with the streamers. I'm not a huge fan of regular balloons because I am fairly paranoid until they are all in the garbage and away from little people who think that they want to "help" blow them up. But, on the other hand I am too cheap to buy the fancy balloons. You know the kind, they are $4-$8 apiece at the party store or grocery store. Well, the other day I stopped at the dollar store and discovered that they sell them! So a helium filled "fancy" balloon is $1. I can do those sort of prices. So, we got several princess balloons to add to the party atmosphere.

We asked that all of the princesses come dressed in their finery. My two little girls loved getting dressed up for the party. The birthday girl was of course Cinderella and the little sister wore a princess dress I had made a few years ago for Halloween. Add the tiaras and they were perfect!

For the cake I decided to do the traditional doll cake. We found a Cinderella barbie at the store and then I used my Pampered Chef mixing bowl to bake the cake (it takes two to get the height needed). Add some frosting, color and roll out the fondant, stick the doll in, and then finish off with some frosting and edible pearls.

But then I got to thinking, where would I put the candles? So, I made some cupcakes to go around the base. I found some cute cupcake wraps, picks, and then the perfect candles. For the frosting I tried the jello frosting that has been going around Pinterest. I got the perfect pink color with a yummy flavor from strawberry jello. It is a pretty good frosting, but not for everything.

I had plenty of games and activities to keep little girls entertained and busy. We made necklaces.

 Had a royal ball freeze dance.


 Played Pin the Kiss on the Frog.

 We colored princess pictures, played poison apple (hot potato, but with an apple), and find Cinderella's slipper (hot and cold). It was a lot of fun to introduce the girls to traditional party games. Most of them had never played them. Lots of fun!

Then we opened presents and had cupcakes (we ended up saving the cake for the next day which was her actual birthday).

 It was a wonderful party. The birthday girl had a great time, and we heard that the visiting princesses loved it as well. Yay!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Matching outfits

One of the joys of having two little girls is being able to dress them super cute and matchy. I'm sure I've said that before, but I really am thoroughly enjoying it. I loved it the first time around with my two big girls. But, this time it is even better. Why? Well, I have more time to sew for them. I have more money, although not excessively so. And, I realize that eventually they refuse to let you dress them the same. Just the thought of trying to get my 14 year old and 12 year old daughters to dress "matchy" is cracking me up. Hahahaha!
I sewed these pants and shirts for the little girls the other day, but I'm just having Alissa model it this time. I didn't even get her hair done or the hair pretty put in. Ugh! Oh well, at least you can see the outfit. I think that they turned out really cute. I'm looking forward to some warmer weather (yes I know, I live in Southern California, it is pretty much always relatively warm) so that they can wear them together. It really needs to be in the 80's to be comfortable in these very summery outfits.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A day of love

Valentine's Day is kind of a funny holiday in my mind. It does feel a little contrived and it can put unnecessary pressure on loved ones. When my sweet husband and I were very first married we were of course poor college students. When Valentine's Day rolled around we were just coming up on our 2 month anniversary. I opted to make sugar cookies for my love and make a nice dinner. We decided that Valentine's Day would be a stay at home sort of a holiday and a tradition was born.
Every year (although I am sure I have missed a year or two over the past 20 years) I make sugar cookies. The kids usually help me decorate all of them and we have a great time. The other tradition we have is that I make a super fancy dinner. We get out the nice dishes, champagne glasses, fancy goblets, eat by candlelight, etc. In other words I pull out all the stops for this particular dinner.
This year I decided to do steaks, baked asparagus, mashed potatoes, homemade rolls, and king crab legs. Oh, and of course you can't forget the sparkling apple cider. These crab legs were absolutely enormous. We had to put one of the claws on the plate for the picture because the legs stuck off of the plate by about 5 inches on either side. So yummy!

Valentine's Day to me is a day to tell not only my wonderful husband how much I love him, but also my fabulous children. We don't do gifts, and rarely even do flowers (I can't stand that florists double their prices for the few days before and after Valentine's Day!). It is not a stressful holiday. It is all about family, and for that reason it is one of my favorite holidays.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I didn't disappear!

I knew I was getting behind on my posts, but I didn't realize it was this bad! Despite my lack of posting I actually have been creating like crazy. I've been on a serious sewing kick. And by that I mean, I've been doing almost nothing else. Have I mentioned before that I think I get a little OCD about things? Yeah, I get going on something, and if it is something that I like doing, I get a little out of control. I obsessively continue in whatever the activity tends to be. Too bad I don't like exercise or house cleaning, or at least not yet. I suppose there is still hope for me in those areas.
I've been buying fabric of course, but I've also been trying to use up some of the fun fabric that I already had on hand. With that in mind I made two almost matching skirts for the little girls. They are made with 3 coordinating black and cream fabrics. I had Alissa wear her skirt to church with some Persnickity (dang I love their clothes! Many of my creations are inspired by their things.) lace ruffled leggings and lace t-shirt. She was too cute for words. Oh, and of course she was sporting the matching hair pretty that I had made as well.

Here is where I promise to do better. Hahaha. I guess time will tell.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Raspberry and Lime dresses

I love to sew. I've been sewing for pretty much as long as I can remember. I remember sewing when I was 6 or 7 I think. Well, I love to make pretty things, and my two youngest children are the primary beneficiaries of that effort. Dressing two little adorable girls is just the best. I came across this fabric at the store and knew I wanted to do something bold and fun with it. I wasn't exactly sure what, so I bought a generic amount of fabric. Well, I ended up having enough fabric to make 4 dresses and several elaborate hair pretties. I made 2 of each size of dress, so each little girl gets one dress and the other will get put up on etsy sometime soon.

Getting ready for church this morning I had enough time to go snap a few pictures of them in their dresses and hair pretties. I think these dresses turned out pretty well. I opted to fully line the dresses because the fabric is thin, and that of course adds to the brain workout as I altered the pattern as I went. There were so many yokes and shoulder pieces and such. Oh my! I don't know that I will make this pattern again any time soon.

Two adorable sisters!

The big sister hair pretty
 The baby sister hair pretty. She wouldn't let me take a picture, so I snuck up on her as she was going inside. The things a mom has to do to get pictures sometimes!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mythbusters birthday party

My 4th baby turned 10 the other day, so today we had his birthday party with 10 boys over to help us celebrate. Due to extenuating circumstances he hadn't had a friend party since he was 6 or 7! I don't even remember the last party, yeah let's all vote for me as mom of the year. Ugh! So, I went all out for this party. I had a hard time coming up with a birthday party idea for 10 year old boys, until I hit on the Mythbusters idea. My son is a HUGE science and math guy, they are his favorite subjects by far. If he gets control of the tv he always watches Mythbusters. So, the science route is the way we went. Last night I made the cake.

It was a 4 layer alternating white and chocolate cake. I opted to go for a caution tape style with fondant. Then as an attempt to recreate the sign look that the tv show does with sawdust I used crushed graham crackers to go around the letters.

I kept some of the elements of the party a surprise. As the boys were arriving we had the Mythbusters show playing with the mini myths show. Then I welcomed all of the boys and told them that we had some special guests to help us with the party today. Just then my husband and oldest son walked around the corner and the birthday boy fell over laughing hysterically. Why? Here ya go:

My husband is mostly bald (he keeps his hair cut to a very very short buzz). I got him a black beret and a nasty looking huge mustache and he made an amazing Jamie Hyneman. Absolutely recognizable, it was awesome. My son has red hair, so he has been growing his facial hair the last few weeks. This morning he shaved it into a goatee, added the thick black nerd glasses, and became Adam Savage. They looked amazing. I think it was my favorite part of the whole experience. I may have them use these as Halloween costumes.

I had purchased safety goggles for all of the boys from amazon (dang I love amazon, but it isn't always the best that ANYTHING I want practically I can buy with just a few clicks - LOL).

We started with "Jaime" helping all of the boys make tubes for doing the mentos and diet coke experiment. They made them out of 2-liter bottle caps, pvc pipe, pvc cap, epoxy putty, and a couple of drilled holes out of which the soda would explode. 10 year old boys tend to like to build things and blow things up, so it was a pretty good combination.

Then we moved on to making homemade gak (thank you Pinterest for some great ideas!) and exploding snow. I had purchased a package of 10 small plastic containers at the dollar store so each of the boys could go home with a little bit of the gak.

I sent them outside to build a toast dropping machine. They tested the myth that toast always lands butter side down. By this point we were starting to run short of time a little bit and the boys started eating the toast rather than dropping them. So, that was a big clue that we needed to get lunch on the table pretty quickly. I brought out the ballistics gel and a pack of cards so that they could test whether a playing card could cut into flesh when it was thrown.

While my daughter was cooking the pizzas I took the boys back out front to do the elephants toothpaste experiment. That is always a big hit.

One problem with running a crazy party for 10 boys is that there just isn't time to take pictures. It is all you can do to keep on top of everything!

We did the gift opening thing, ate pizza, and served up the cake and ice cream as their parents started to arrive. I sent them all home with a goodie bag that included:
A folder with all of the experiments we did and some more that they could do at home.
A container of gak.
Their pvc pipe contraption for the mentos and diet coke experiment.
A tootsie pop with a note asking how many licks it takes to get to the center (does anyone else remember that advertisement from their youth?).
A package of pop rocks with a note directing them to youtube to watch the pop rocks and soda myth that the Mythbusters did on their show.
A bar of ivory soap so that they could do the ivory soap explosion (which was included in their folder).
And finally a package of gum, because that is just fun. :)

I think it was a smashing success. 

I got a bunch of my ideas, and most of what was in each folder from:

I added the mentos and diet coke experiment and the recipes for gak and exploding snow as well.

Monday, January 28, 2013


I've been busy sewing 4 dresses. I finished them yesterday, but I haven't gotten a picture of them yet. Hopefully I can get that done today or tomorrow. Anyhow, in the meantime I'm gearing up for birthday season at our house. We apparently have 2 magical months around here. 2 of the kids have birthdays in January and the other 4 are in March. By the end of March we are SICK of cake. But, it creates kind of a crazy month planning birthday parties though! Kade just turned 10 a few days ago, and due to a bad weather forecast we postponed his party until this Saturday. I just ordered his invitations from Costco and will pick them up this afternoon so we can get them distributed. I've gotten lazy. I used to make every invitation by hand with my scrapbook supplies. I just don't have time for that anymore. Thank goodness for Costco and their 13 cent 4x6 prints! I design the invitation on the computer and then send the file off to be printed. So much easier!
So, here is my creation for Kade's Mythbuster style birthday party invitation (I'll try to get pictures of the party and post that next week with all of the myths and such that the boys will be recreating and testing):

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Alternative to a curtain rod

The windows in this house are so odd. In my front room and formal dining room I have 2 banks of windows. The front room has windows in the corner. Yes, I could do a 90 degree angle curtain rod, but one side of the windows is almost flush with a wall that pops out. There isn't even any room for a curtain rod at all unless it ended "in" the wall. So, for a year I have had no curtains in that room (although let's be real, I don't have curtains in any room!), but it hasn't been a huge problem because we have nice plantation shutters on every window in the house. While in Arizona for Thanksgiving my sister had an interesting curtain treatment that I decided to copy. I added a medallion behind the hardware to make it pop a bit more and to help it be stronger. I'll do pictures of the entire curtain later, because I need to fix them (how is it that I measured AT LEAST 5 times and they aren't the right length??). But, for now here is my alternative to a curtain rod.
My corner windows
A close up of the medallion and hardware. My alternative to curtain rod.

See the wall that starts at the edge of the window? Seriously, a man has to have designed this house!

I have 3 medallions per curtain panel.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Let's get started!

I love to make "hair pretties" for my girls. It is definitely one of the perks of girls, getting to dress them up to the nines. For some reason I was feeling like I had nothing super cute in a basic black, so I decided to solve that problem
When I sat down at my sewing/craft table I saw my leftovers from a project I did just before Thanksgiving. I had made a dress for Maylee to match a dress that Alissa had (I bought the exact fabric from the company for this exact purpose). They are very distinctive dresses with lots of bright colors and I knew I didn't have anything in the hair pretty buckets to truly do them justice. So, I added another set of flowers to my workflow. I think they turned out fabulously.
A few days passed and it was Saturday night. I knew exactly which dresses I wanted the girls to wear to church the next day, and I knew I needed to make another set of flowers to go with their dresses that they had gotten for Christmas. They are beautiful solid blue and blue plaid super fancy dresses from Gymboree. So, I pulled out some solid blue fabric and set to work. The gold and sparkle buttons were a good pop of color, but it wasn't quite enough. I rummaged through my stuff and found some gold birdcage. I loved it!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A new year, a new blog, a new goal

This last year I have come to a realization that I am a creative person to my very core. I've always known that I was creative, but I found myself getting depressed almost a year ago. We had recently moved to Southern California and for several months my life was all about packing, moving, unpacking, getting kids into new schools, etc. I did some introspection and came to the conclusion that I couldn't even function without an outlet for my creative side. I quickly made a floral arrangement for our new house and life got so much better.
I make an effort to find the time to make something quite often. But, I could probably be more effective with my time. So, my goal for 2013 is to do some sort of a project once a week. If I am a happier person then that should translate to a happier home for my wonderful husband and six children. So, join me as I make this journey.