29 January 2010

Valentine's Ideas #3

My wonderful mother-in-law picked these ideas up at an open house at one of my favorite home stores, Belle Maison, in SLC a few years ago. They were all printed up with darling little vintage pictures on each page like this:


And it is full of charming ideas (from Tasha Tudor's All for Love) to make your child's Valentine's Day just a little more special . I refer to it every year!  Here's a synopsis: 

When her children were little, Miss Tudor used to create tiny little magazines, catalogues, and cards for her children and their dolls, and had them delivered in the mail! Miss Tudor reminisces: "Valentine production starts as soon as Christmas is over. It takes many hours to make the number of small valentines required for this special day. And, of course, each person and each toy character has to receive enough cards to feel warmly loved. Besides the exchanging of the tiny greetings, when the children were little, a whole celebration would be planned."

Such as -- Cupid's Tea:

To inspire you, why not have a "Cupid's Tea" the weekend before Valentine's Day for all your family members and close friends? The purpose: to create homemade valentines.

How about this -- Valentine's Day Breakfast:

Start off the day with an early morning greeting: "Good morning to you, Valentines. Has any sweet child been stung by Cupid's bow and arrow?" (Cupid has left a special old-fashioned valentine underneath each child's pillow.) Begin celebrating at breakfast with heart-shaped cinnamon toast and strawberry muffins with hot drinks served in heart-patterned mugs. Make the table bright with cheery red-and-white heart placemats and napkins.

Sweet School Supplies:

Slip a small gift in your children's book bag that they can use at school - perhaps a heart-shaped pad, pencils, pencil sharpener, or eraser. Also include a funny valentine from Mom and Dad tucked into their lunch, along with heart-shaped sandwiches (use cookie cutters) and cookies. Festive red-and-white paper napkins complete their Valentine's Day lunches.

Love this -- The Dolls' Tea Party:

After school there's a valentine tea party for all the dolls and stuffed toy friends who keep the children such good company throughout the year. Dolls and toys are, as you no doubt realize, very generous to those good children who take such loving care of them, so when the children arrive at the party, they're sure to find tiny foil-covered, heart-shaped chocolates and valentines waiting for them in the arms of their faithful companions.

My favorite -- Home Sweet Home:

In the evening, illuminate the dining room with candlelight for a family St. Valentine's Day party. At each person's place setting, have a gold-foil paper cornucopia pilled with penny-candy motto hearts, chocolate kisses, and pink mints. During dinner, tell the children the story of your courtship.

"Remember that family traditions require an investment of creative and emotional energy. Like enduring love, they are true affairs of the heart."  --Tasha Tudor

So what are your Valentine's Day traditions?  Here are a couple things I've done each year.

Cupid strikes each of my kids while they are sleeping.  He leaves his stamp on their door and a special treat just outside their room.  Usually it is repackaged goodies like conversation hearts and other Valentine's candy... repackaging them is the fun part!  I use clear cellophane bags and include shredded paper, maybe some pink feathers, pearls, or gems for the girls, pirate coins for the boys, a homemade (personalized) doily valentine and the candy - all tied up in fun ribbons.  For instance my daughter is very musical, so her valentine would have sheet music on it.  This year I am also including with the candy a book for each of them.

Make a special Valentine's school lunch:

Inside a cute sack I put any variety of the following options:  heart shaped sandwich, red fruit juice, apples sliced into big circles with the core cut out in a heart shape, graham crackers/ tied up in shoestring licorice (some years I can't find it anywhere!), strawberries, yogurt with red sprinkles in a small reused spice jar for them to add themselves, and a sweet treat like these darling Little Debbie snack cakes.

I also make big heart-shaped sugar cookies with chocolate icing and red hots, or pink/lavendar icing and conversation hearts, for an after school snack. Here is my favorite sugar cookie/frosting recipes.

One year I put together a book of memories for my husband, with old pictures and funny captions, love notes, etc. I came up with one page for each year we had been married. Another year I made a big 3D heart of Hershey's kisses and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. 

One of my friends leaves a trail of gems leading to little clues all over the house for her kids, sending them on a sweet little scavenger hunt.  Along the way they may have discovered that everything in the house (including the toilet water) has turned pink!

Look forward to hearing your ideas!  I know you have lots!


27 January 2010

Valentine's Ideas #2

Photographer or not, anyone can take these cool shots and frame them for Valentine's Day.  (And it escapes me now where I got the idea from to photograph my child doing sign language.  It's out there somewhere!  Thank you to whomever you are!)

You can also frame your cool photograph in style using these ideas.

If you have a boring lackluster frame, consider adding ribbon or lace or even a scallop edge using simple kraft paper to spruce it up.

Another idea is to mod podge something with a pattern over an old frame.  Here I used my own printer to create this word collage of "i love you"s.  Courier New font worked well for my taste.


If anyone is interested, I've decided to sell these images for $20 each.  Contact me for more info at photosbylei@yahoo.com.  

Linking up:


25 January 2010

Valentine's Ideas #1

I'm going to be posting a few Valentine's craft/decor ideas over the next couple weeks.

The first was inspired by the new Garnet Hill catalog.  In several of their layouts they used flowers  fashioned from newspapers (or perhaps pages from a book) as props.  I loved how it looked and decided to make some of my own, with a Valentine twist.

materials you'll need:

newspaper/book pages
hot glue
tool with a sharp tip
ribbon and other embellishments
rocks/vase fillers
2 small plant pots
galvanized metal

To fashion the flowers, I cut one long newspaper page in half (width-wise) and rounded all the corners.  gathered it up from the middle of the page and twisted the paper a bit to give me something to hold onto while I attached to the branch.

Then I pierced the center of the flower with my branch, coming through the paper about an inch, and secured it with just a dab of hot glue above and below the flower (to keep it from sliding down the branch).  I covered up the base of the flower (and dab of hot glue) with a little ribbon - just wrapped it a round a few times and secured with more hot glue.  I also tied a piece on for show and attached a felt heart.

To display the flowers I anchored them in some small planting pots I got from IKEA with rocks.  And I attached a piece of galvanized metal to the front of a pot holder/planter that has the words "be mine" etched into it.  I used a bamboo skewer to write with.  Then to bring out the "be mine" I rubbed a little black shoe polish on.  Which also gave it a slightly aged look.

Really easy project, took me about 10 minutes to whip up!  Enjoy!



22 January 2010

It's all in the details, design room part 3!

So here are some of the more fine details of the room, in addition to what I've already shown you (the ribbon stands/jar, wall words and sewing table).

The rug
This is where I usually start when accessorizing a room. SO much easier to take colors from a rug you love than to try and find the perfect rug after the fact. Been there, done that! This rug is actually 2 5x7 area rugs next to one another.  I couldn't find a large rug that I loved.  And these were half off at Hobby Lobby.  I was going to try and sew them together down the middle, but they are heavy jute and I didn't want to make my fingers bleed.  I'm such a wimp. ;)  There is only so much I am willing to sacrifice in the name of design... So instead I am looking for those sticky tabs you can buy to keep rugs from sliding.  I bought some a while ago from Tuesday morning but I am sure other places sell it too.

The chairs
I am so in love with these chairs from Pier 1 Imports.  They are so provincial aren't they?  And the darling seat cushions, again from hobby lobby at 50% off.  I ask you, when are they not having a fabulous sale at Hobby Lobby?  I can guarantee there is some sort of sale going on somewhere in the store whenever I go in there.  And their regular prices aren't so bad.  Love that!

The centerpiece
These jars on my table hold twine, jute and old printing stamps my mother collected for years.  Speaking of table, I forgot to include a picture of it.  But the tablecloth isn't hemmed yet so I'll maybe show that later.  It is a beautiful antique table, been in my family for years.  It's got these fabulous claw feet which I adore.

The inspiration
My homemade file folders (which are just manila folders covered with scrapbook paper) and this bulletin board are great places to display and organize the pages I routinely rip out of catalogues and magazines.  When I see something I can make myself, out it comes!  The vinyl saying on the wall above the bulletin board was given to me by Mindy.  If you need vinyl, she's your gal!

The lamp
Another Hobby Lobby find.  Love their lamp aisle.  Gorgeous and unique.  I got this idea to use a stack of books as a sort of side table years and years ago.  Can't even remember where.  But when we were poor it was the perfect solution to a homeless lamp.  Now I can just use the idea because it is fun!

The mag rack
Pottery Barn circa 1997.  $10 at some warehouse sale in SLC.  Score!  And a great place for my favoritest decor magazines.

The wrapping paper
I love wrapping paper, ribbon, homemade gift tags... But storing it all has a been a challenge.  This is one way to stash your rolls of wrapping paper.  That's a trash can!

The fabric
Such a tempting display, dontcha think?  I'm not much of a seamstress but I love fabric.  I make lots of covered wipey cases and flower corsages and hair clips with it.

So there it is, the design room from wall to wall.  Thanks for letting me share, hopefully there are some good ideas here for you guys to try!

19 January 2010

Once dubbed "craft room", now "design room" revealed, part 2

In light of my hatred for the word craft, this room will be referred to from now on as my design room.  Much better.  And thank you Lisa for your help with that. ;)

So today I've got pictures of my armoire.  I love this piece of furniture.  If you don't have a Hobby Lobby near you, I am so sad for you.  I got this baby there for about $600.  It's HUGE.  Like 8 ft. tall.  And solid as a rock.  And gorgeous!  I love black distressed furniture.  Anyway, it once housed my china, because this room used to be my dining room.  Now it houses my computer and is where I do all my photo editing.

Eventually I will have a shelf built in above the Mac, but for now - on one side I've got a mini bulletin board housing some cool business cards of friends and fellow photographers...

I also have on either side these galvanized bins a la IKEA that keep some of my supplies organized.

Pssst, see?  I am not very organized.  The drawers on bottom of the armoire hold more creative stuff - paint brushes, ribbon, various types of glue (lol), and some wrapping supplies.

And a cute little hook for my scissors - out of reach and always where I can find them.

Next up?  All the decorative details.  I left nary a knook unturned.  But first, you gotta see what I did with this cool candle holder.

Do you love it?  Yeah, so do I!  And so does my cat, unfortunately.  She eats every plant I bring into this house!

Today I am linking up...

15 January 2010

the new craft room revealed, part 1

It's taken me too long to get this up!  Truth be told, I am always adding something here and something there in my house.  But for now this room has reached completion.  It will take me a few posts to show all the fun details.

Today I am focusing on my 2 most motivational words, which I've hung on the wall: inspire and create.

I may or may not have used hot glue to get these letters to stick to the wall.  Ok, I did.  This after trying small nails, sticky tack and even glue dots.  And yes, I used chalk to draw the scrolly pattern around it.  The letters came plain, and I painted and distressed them myself.


I really love how "inspire" turned out.  I love to mix and match patterns and textures.  Love.  And instead of hanging them, I decided to sit them on top of the mirror and lean them against the wall.  A lot of you have made the mod podge letters, I am sure.  But if not, here is a quick tutorial:

materials you'll need:

scrapbook paper
mod podge
wall letters

First, trace your letters onto the FRONT of some scrapbook paper (so you don't end up with backwards letters - don't worry you can erase the pencil lines later).  Cut the letters out.  Apply a coat of mod podge onto the wooden letters, working quickly, and smoothing evenly.  Lay your scrapbook letter over the top.  Using your brayer, smooth out any air bubbles trapped under the scrapbook paper.  Let dry for 10 minutes or so.  Erase any stray markings.  Then apply a final coat of mod pdge over the top of your letters to give them a finished look.  Let dry a LONG time before handling/hanging.

Voila!  You're done.

Next up, my armoire turned desk!

Linking up with Blue Cricket and Today's Creative Blog!

12 January 2010

I got nuthin'...

... except this.

I made some monogram letters for my friend Char for a darling organizational project she conjured up, and she's featured it on her blog.  In return she made me one of her fabulous camera straps.  Have you seen them?  Check out the tutorial here.  I get compliments on mine all the time.

09 January 2010

Like father like daugher? Er, mother like son?

A simple game of Go Fish (the Finding Nemo version) demonstrates how my kids have taken after the opposite gender parent.  Andrew (my husband) is the competitive one while I am more of the "make love, not war" variety.  Funny, my dad was the some way.  In fact he used to say to us as we sat down to a game of Checkers, "This is war."  I'll give Andrew some credit, he's not that bad.

So Adriana, my 10 year old, and Jonah, my 7 year old, tried to teach their younger siblings how to play this game last night.  Adriana passed out the cards and explained the goal of trying to make a match.  And they began to play.  Jonah went first. He asked Adriana for a Dory.  She barely got out that she didn't have one when Drew (5) piped in with "I have one Jonah, I do!"  He was all smiles.  Such a lover, that one.  Adriana in her usual superior 10-going-on-16 fashion shouted "No, that's not how you do it.  You can't HELP him."  (Heaven forbid.)  So they started over.  Jonah went again and asked Adriana for a Nemo.  Drew didn't even wait for her to answer and began shoving his 3 Nemos into Jonah's hands.  I looked at Adriana and it seemed like the little vein in her forehead was close to bursting.  Lol.  And the game ended there. 

With a rebel yell from the 10 year old.

06 January 2010

Hello world.

'Bout time I blogged about something, eh?

Now that the holidays have passed and with it all the baking and gift making I am able to focus once again on the projects I've had lying around the house.  One of them, endless it seems, is my craft room.  I transformed it from a dining room a few months ago.  And here is something I recently completed in there... ribbon stands.

I have tons of ribbon.  I am to ribbon what a seamstress is to fabric.  I love it.  I use it in everything - hair, crafts, around napkins, on presents (of course).  Often ribbon makes that one fun item just a little more feminine.

I posted another idea for storing ribbon here.  All I did was wrap my scraps around clothespins, this kind:

And secured them with straight pins.

Because I have so much ribbon (and tulle), I am constantly trying to think of new ways to store it, and because it is so pretty I like for the storage to be aesthetically pleasing. These ribbon stands were made using dowel rods (to slide the ribbon on), round wooden discs (for the base) and either door or cabinet knobs for the tops.  They look rickety and some of the ribbon is unravelling but that is only because I forgot to straighten them up before I took the picture... my kids like spinning the spools of ribbon.  Lol.

Basically these are made like a paper towel holder.  I drilled a hole in my wooden disc for the base, glued in the rod securely using Elmer's Wood Glue, and painted the whole thing an antique white.  Then I topped it off with a removable knob.  I found a door knob on clearance at Hobby lobby because it was missing an enclosure on top of one end of the knob.  You can't even tell it is gone since the whole thing is clear glass.   Once the door knob was unscrewed it became 2 toppers.  And they fit perfectly over the tops of my dowels.  When I want a roll of ribbon all I have to do is lift off the knob.

The third stand has a cabinet knob on top.  I had to saw the screw off of it, though.  And hot glue it to the top of the rod.  There was a bit of a sharp tip leftover after I sawed it off so I was also able to sort of screw it into the dowel a bit before hot gluing it.  Probably not the most secure method, but it works fine. And the access point on that stand is from the bottom.  I simply didn't glue in the rod like I had the others, and made it a snugger fit with that tacky stuff you can hang posters on the wall with.  Just a dab around the tip of the rod did the trick.

I need to antique them next.  I bought some wood stain, now to just not let my mind wander onto other fun things!

Linking up today with: