Sunday, January 30, 2011

Finding Love in the Everyday

So, you probably have gathered by now that I'm a big fan of Valentine's Day. Maybe that's because I'm a big fan of love, who knows? But let's not talk about me. I'm thinking there are a lot of you out there who don't bother decorating for Valentine's Day (even though you'd like to) because you don't want to spend a lot of money for decorations you'll only use for a couple of weeks. I agree. That's why I'm happy to share this little post about my Valentine kitchen mantle. Let me warn you--if you're a regular around here, you've already seen this stuff, just not quite this way. Here it is:

Do you recognize anything you've seen before? If not, let me help you out...The red frame was the one I used here for my Christmas wreath. And the white sticks? Yep, those are the same ones I spray-painted for Christmas, too. And the little banner? that's the one I used here for my Christmas chalkboard. Yes, you got me, the apothecary jar is new because it was too good of a deal to pass up the other day. And yes, those are the same Hershey's Kisses I used for New Year's here. But, better in the jar than on my thighs.

So, the point of it all is that YES, you can use the same accessories for different purposes & still get great seasonal decor without spending a lot of cash.

Need a great glassboard for writing messages or memos? Keep your eye open at the thrift stores for a framed picture with the glass. Then, just remove the glass, picture & backing, then paint the frame, put the glass back in & you have a custom piece that's a great alternative to a chalkboard! Use chalkboard markers like I used on my Blessings Board to write whatever you want. Tell me you don't need one of these somewhere in your house!

And if you don't have sticks somewhere in your house by now, it's time you got outside & found some. Hang a few hearts on them, & you have a huge Valentine tree.

Banners like these can be used for almost any occasion. I just added the word "love" to mine with scrapbooking letters, & it's customized for Valentine's Day.

And a few more scrapbook supplies can turn a jar of kisses into a prescription for love.

There's still plenty of time to spread some love around your house just by using your everyday things. I hope this inspires you!

And speaking of inspiration, there are only a few days left to come up with your Valentine's post to enter in my Valentine's Day Challenge. I'll give you all the instructions on Tuesday, February 1st, when the link party begins. Don't forget: the winner will receive a free 16x20 canvas photo from my shop. This could be the perfect gift for your Valentine! Grab a button on my sidebar & share the fun with everyone!

Meanwhile, I'm sharing this Valentine vignette with a few of these parties.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cafe Shelves ❤ Valentine Edition ❤

I'm really getting into the Valentine Spirit around here! And even the pressure of coming up with enough stuff to fill up these shelves once again for the season wasn't enough to overwhelm me. Here's what I came up with for Heart Day...

I went with my usual strategy of gathering things from all over the house that could go with my theme {obviously love} and my color {obviously red}. But I did throw in a few unexpected things like my turquoise chalkboard & my glass globe ornament that I got for Christmas (I just added a little string of hearts around it). Funny how sometimes it's the odd things that really make a space.

❤❤❤Don't Forget!

In just a few days it's time to link up your favorite Valentine ideas for my upcoming Valentine's Day Challenge! And for those of you who don't have a blog, or may not have a project to link up, don't forget to stop by & vote for your favorite. Remember, the post that receives the most "votes" from readers of this blog will win a free 16x20 canvas photo from my shop!

Grab this button as a reminder & then stay tuned for all the fun!

Hope you like my shelves! I'm linking them to a few of these fun places!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

It's That Time Again...

It's that time again! Time for hearts, flowers, poems about love, & bribing the kids with contests. As I drove them to school this morning, repeating my same speech about being kind & courteous, and not bugging the snot out of your siblings, I decided it was as good a time as any to announce another "Win a Date With Mom" Contest. Some of you were around when I told you about this last year, but in case you missed it, click here to read more about it.

This time, the emphasis is on kindness & courtesy, so I'll be keeping my eyes open for the one who demonstrates this best. Of course, with my little angels (a-hemm) it's always so hard to choose, but one lucky one will be the winner & will get to choose where we go on our little "date"--just the two of us.

Our winner will be announced on Valentine's Day. And until then, I'm looking forward to a little peace & quiet around here.

There's more Valentine fun coming soon. Have you been thinking about what to enter for the Valentine's Day Challenge? It's only one more week away, so get busy! Click here to read more about it, then stop by next Tuesday to link up. Don't forget to grab a button from my sidebar to help you remember!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Coffee Table Turned Window Seat

I'm totally excited about this little window seat I just finished for our craft & game room. I had started on it before Christmas, then it got put on hold during the holidays & I finally pulled it out of the garage & finished it this week. I love everything about it! And the fact that it's the perfect size makes it look like it was custom built for this space. Here it is, y'all:

And here's the breakdown from beginning to end:

I started with this unbelievable $5 coffee table that I came across a couple of months ago at Half-off Day at Goodwill. (I had already removed the glass inserts when I took this pic.)

I knew right away it was the perfect candidate for a future as a bench, especially because of the shelf underneath. There was so much potential I could hardly stand it.

So, I brought it home, sanded it, & gave it a couple of coats of Anjou Pear from Sherwin Williams. In case you missed it the last time I gave this tip, I'll share it again: for certain projects I save money & buy the color sample quart at Sherwin Williams, which is around $4. I know this is frowned upon by most paint experts, but I've done this on several projects & my local Sherwin Williams guy is the one who first suggested it to me. I usually only use the sample paint on projects where I know the painted finish won't get a lot of contact or abuse. Another option is to add a clear coat or finishing paste over the paint to give it more protection. For this table, I did a light glaze just like I did on my TV console here.

For the fabric for the cushion, I used a trusty canvas drop cloth from Lowes. The 4'x5' size was plenty of fabric & only cost $5.

Then I measured out the size that I needed to cover my 3 inch foam, plus an extra allowance for stapling underneath.

To get the stripes on the canvas, I ironed it smooth, then measured out & taped off the stripes with painter's tape, using the same painting method I used for my painted canvas rug I posted about last spring.

To create the bench top, we used a thin piece of particle board that we already had as the base. Plywood would probably be more ideal and more sturdy, but since we already had this on hand, we just used it. And since our coffee table had the holes where the glass had been, my husband also made some braces for reinforcement. (Isn't he cute?)

After that, I just wrapped the fabric around the foam & board & stapled it. Then, we screwed the bench top to the coffee table top & it was done!

Hope y'all like it. Throw pillows are coming soon! And I'm still dreaming of all the possibilities for underneath. And I think I have finally made up my mind about curtains for this room as well. Lots more fun coming up!

Thanks for stopping by-- I'm linking this up with a few of these parties.

Miss Mustard Seed's Creative Blog

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mini Chalkboard Labels

Okay, so the organization is still in full force around here, and if there's anything that gets me motivated to organize, it's a chalkboard label. Remember these I showed you in the fall? Well, I came up with a mini version to use for some smaller baskets in my pantry. Aren't they the cutest?

All you need for these mini chalkboard labels are some of these little wood rectangles (or whatever shape you want). I found these at Hobby Lobby in the wood crafting section. They were only $1.47 for 5! They had several different shapes & sizes, but I chose these, which were 2 3/8" x 1 1/2".

All I did was drill some holes with an 1/8-inch bit and then give them a couple of coats of my favorite Krylon chalkboard spray paint. I even broke all spray painting rules & sprayed them in freezing cold temps & they still came out perfectly.

Then, I just attached them to my baskets with a strand of jute & it was like instant organization.

Wouldn't these be great for little gift tags? Hope this helps you stay motivated to organize your house, too!

Linking up with a few of these friends...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sweater Coffee Cozy Tutorial--No Knitting Required!

Well, it's January, and like most of the rest of the world, I've been doing my share of organizing around this house. I finally got motivated to tackle my closet the other day & ended up with a pile of old sweaters ready to go to Goodwill. Then, I got inspired.

I saw this great tutorial on how to make a Coffee Cozy & decided I would recycle one of my old sweaters & try one for myself. So much fun! And adorable, too.

I followed the basic directions given in the tutorial & used the pattern provided, but since I was using a sweater, I made a couple of changes:

First, I cut my sweater piece & my coordinating fabric about a half inch bigger than the pattern all around to allow for the bulkiness of the sweater fabric.

Also, I omitted the batting, as I knew the sweater would be insulation enough.

And one other reminder: when using a cut sweater for a project like this, be careful not to handle the pieces too much before sewing, as it will start to unravel right away. If you find it unravels too quickly, you can stitch around the raw edges to help hold it together before using it.

I'm not a knitter, but I love the look of knitted pieces, and I'm guessing this is probably a quicker way to get that knitted look! I love mine & I'm thinking I need to get to Starbucks right away to show it off.

Looking for a great gift for a friend or teacher? How cute would this be wrapped around a Starbucks cup with a gift card tucked inside?

And what about a big heart button for Valentine's Day? Adorable! So, go thru your old sweaters before you haul them off to Goodwill! Recycling has never been so cute.

I'll share this with a few of these parties... Check them out for more free inspiration!