Monday, April 4, 2011

I stole seashells from the seashore. And I made a wreath!

The Bakers went to the beach this weekend. The boy child had pink eye, so we were unable to attend church on Sunday; we decided to make the day great anyway and went by Dunkin Donuts (coffee for me) and Starbucks (coffee for Shannon and "coffee" for Fin), stalked the base housing neighborhood like creeps, and then headed to the beach. Fin is quite afraid of the water, but LOVES the sand and the shells and the rocks. Wyatt loves EVERYTHING about the beach. He wore Shannon out running up and down the shore, into the water, up the dunes... And who knew??!?! The beach is absolutely fantastic during the spring!! It's not so hot that you think you're going to pass out, and the water is too cold to swim in- yea! This girl hates swimming in sticky sea water! Fantastic weather for just playing in the best. sandbox. ever. AND it was empty- a few people here and there, but we had the beach pretty much to ourselves! 
Anyhow, I enlisted Finley's help in collecting seashells and rocks to fill our glasses that previously housed pine cones. I told her to only pick out the most fantastic and beautiful ones she could find, but she kept loading them up into the bag. She seemed to think they were ALL the most beautiful and amazing things she's ever seen, and you know what? I'm inclined to agree. 
So 25 lbs worth of seashells and rocks later, I have 3 full glass urns and a wreath! I washed and dried our loot, separating the rocks and the shells. For the wreath, I started with a cheap straw wreath form- these are 3 or 4 bucks at Michaels everyday. 
 I wrapped it in ribbon, hot gluing just a dab every time it came around, and then I RAN OUT OF FREAKING RIBBON. Seriously. See that tiny section?? It's 4 yards. Not feet. YARDS. Yeah, I'm not buying it either. I think I got jipped on that spool of ribbon. Anyhow, I finished it up with fabric and spaced out my largest shells first, gluing them in place and following up with smaller shells to fill in all the gappage until it was nice and full. Then I added some more on top of other shells to add dimension.

 I picked up this letter B at Michaels for super cheap. I was going to buy a wood unpainted letter from the wood section that wasn't even cute, and then I found this hook and liked the font way better.
 Just 4 little tiny miniature screws to pop off and voila!
 Okay, I say voila with hesitation because I can't decide if I like it, but that dang hot glue is merciless... on my fingers and on the letter B apparently. It's going to take some effort to get it off without damaging the wreath, so I'm going to let hubs decide when he gets home.
 I still felt like it wasn't completely done, so I took some twine and criss-crossed it around the whole wreath.
 I like it.
So for now, it's hanging in the foyer. We have double doors, and I only made one because WE'RE MOVING!! Did y'all know this? Well, we are. Not far. Just on base. And none of the base houses have double doors, so we'll just stick with the one. And of course, I used up all the ribbon wrapping PART of the wreath (stupid!), so I didn't have ribbon to hang it with. I should have waited to post until I had it hung all nice with ribbon, but then I realized it's April 4th. It's been an ENTIRE month (jeez, there's a lot of capitalization going on in this post) since I last posted. A WHOLE MONTH. It's not that I haven't had my fair share of projects, I've just been lazy about posting. I'll work on that! Anyhow, so I decided I should just go ahead and post or it may never happen. 

See you soon (maybe!) Happy shell hunting!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dollhouse Renovations

So last week, I went by Goodwill looking for a dresser for my friend, and I scored BIG. Well, that's not entirely true. I didn't find a dresser, BUT I did find a huge end table/small coffee table (?) with a marble top for $12, an bedside table for Finley for $3, a bedside table for Wyatt (not that he has a big boy bed yet or anytime soon) for $6, a glider/rocker with gliding footstool for a girlfriend's new nursery for $30 AND a big dollhouse for Fin for $12! Husband was not at all pleased, but I was giddy! Lots of refinishing projects in my future :)
I've already finished the marble topped coffee table for a friend and I'll be posting that project as soon as I remember to take my camera to her house to get an after picture. Yes- I'm that fantastic of a blogger that I forgot to take an after picture. I also refinished a four poster bed for Finley a month ago that I have yet to share- I should quit now, right? Well- I'll share Fin's doll house before I quit ;)
Soooo- here is the dollhouse I found for $12 at Goodwill:

A little bit colored on. A little bit dirty. A little bit outdated. But not a bit broken! Hooray! Cosmetic renovations I can handle. Finley is always playing with the dollhouse at church and I'm hoping she'll like to play with one of her own. So far it's a hit!
Anhow- renovations: The dollhouse comes apart very easily and I painted the frame a creamy color and painted all the walls a muted pink. I used contact paper to "wallpaper" the downstairs living room, bathroom, and upstairs bedroom. You can find laminate "tiles" at Lowes or home depot for around 80 cents a piece. I used "marble" to re-floor the bathroom and kitchen, laid carpet (that I found in the attic- thanks Landlords!) in one room, and put wood floors (laminate strips cut into smaller strips) upstairs and downstairs. The roof also got an overhaul with actual shingles. They have handy little sample strips (Read: FREE!!!!!) in the roofing section at Lowes that I cut in half and glued on in pieces. So all in all I spent less than $10 in supplies, making the dollhouse a total of $22- not bad.
Finley loves it!
 Wyatt likes it, too!
 And Finley insisted on posing in front of it. In her bathing suit. In early March. With dinosaur stamps all over her legs. Because that's how she rolls.

Overall, I'm pretty happy with the makeover. Now we just need to find some furniture! It's ridiculously expensive, so I'm going to have to get creative!

Monday, February 21, 2011

What I made Monday! Overalls overhaul

So, I may be the only mom that experiences this (almost daily), but it seems like my child always looks a bit like a hot mess ragamuffin. I buy her clothes- new clothes- and they're super cute, but then we get them on her and she wears them for about 10 minutes and things go downhill. SHE WON'T STOP GROWING. Ugh. Kids these days! Right before I left to pick up my mom from the airport and head off on our road trip, Finley decided she needed overalls. She said that she "knows they make them as dresses" which means, don't even try to buy me a regular pair and tell me they didn't have the kind with the skirt. So, our roadtrip suddenly involved a hunt for an overall dress. We scored pretty quickly at a Tommy Hilfiger kids outlet. $22, which is more than I'd like to spend on overalls, but I didn't want to spend our whole trip hunting for overalls, so I snatched them up. However, when I returned home and she tried them on, they were RIDICULOUSLY short. They're a 4T. Really Tommy?? Really?? Who do you use to size your clothing??
Of course I forgot to take a before picture (one day I'll remember!), but here's an *almost* before picture:

 And on the reluctant model (with leggings because I'm a family friendly blogger like that):

They barely covered the top half of her tush with the ruffle intact. And of course she loved them and wanted to wear them every day. Everywhere. Eeeeeeegosh.  So I needed to make them longer.  I looked allover for a tutorial and couldn't find one, so I just decided to wing it. If you have an old pair of overalls, you'd like to overhaul or just a pair you'd like to make longer, maybe this will help!
So, first I removed the existing tiny ruffle.
I cut a piece of base fabric a little wider than the bottom of the skirt and long enough to cover her tush. Then I cut three pieces of fabric wider than the width of the base fabric. I actually am super lazy and just cut the fabric the width that it came on the ream. Each piece of fabric is folded in half in the pictures (because you have to have a front and back- having just a front wouldn't solve the tush exposure problem).

Then I hemmed the bottom of each ruffle piece by folding up an 1/8-1/4 of an inch and ironing, then folding and ironing again.

See? It's folded twice so there won't be any exposed raw edges.
Then I zigzagged along the top because I don't have a serger, followed by a straight stitch along the top with a longer than default stitch- I used a 4, my default is 2.5. I ruffled each layer slightly by pulling the bobbin thread and lined up my first piece face down, raw edge to edge and sewed them together.
Wyatt helped.
Then I folded it over, ironed flat, and top-stitched.
 Then I did the same thing with the second row, marking with pins where I wanted it placed- about 2.5 inches above the bottom row. This will depend on how large your ruffles are, but you want to make sure you place it low enough that you don't have a gap between ruffles, but high enough that you don't completely cover the bottom ruffle.

For the top ruffle, I didn't bother folding over and sewing because this part is attaching to the overalls. So just pin in place and sew a straight stitch.
 Now fold in half and sew right sides together to make a skirt then pin skirt around bottom of overalls right sides together.
 Then zigzag around the seam and trim excess fabric.
 Then flip down and iron flat, and top-stitch.


Isn't she just lovely??
And shy.

Overalls are good for climbing...

And pretending to snowboard...

And for being just plain cute.

How much do I love her?? "THIS MUCH!!!!!!"

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

This is the year the Bakers get it together. Step 1: Organize my craft stash

This is it y'all. This is the year. This is the year that the Bakers get it together. I'm not a fan of new year's resolutions or anything, (and it's February, so it's a little late anyways) but we have got a problem: EXCESS. And Mess. And chaos. A while back, I got this forward in my email. One of those powerpoint presentations set to overly dramatic music that usually goes straight to the trash bin because the presentation of it all just irks me (I know, I'm heartless). But this one was about the perfect symmetry of the bible. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, here it is.  In a nutshell, The Divine Providence of God is on full display throughout all history and in the pages of the Holy Scriptures. The beautiful order and symmetry that God displays speaks loudly to the veracity of the Word of God and His direct involvement in the affairs of His creation. Seriously, check out the article. Anyhow, God is a God of symmetry, order, purpose. He is not a God of chaos, so it makes sense that we are uncomfortable and stressed when we are living in chaos. So, yeah, we're working on becoming less, well, chaotic. First project: the craft stash. 
The closet in the family room/fireplace room/skylight room, whatever you want to call it, is home to my crafts and since we've moved in it has also housed tools, Christmas decorations, Shannon's uniforms, whatever. It's like that junk drawer in your kitchen, but it's an ENTIRE CLOSET. I'm not kidding. I couldn't ever find anything I need, it was always a mess. It got to the point that when I'd hear a crashing sound in the house, I wouldn't even flinch because I knew it was coming from the craft closet. I should have taken a before picture, but I forgot! I know, I know. But I remembered after I was almost done removing every. single. thing. from the closet. 

 You can't even see it all in these pictures, but you get the idea. And the kids were kind enough to help.
 Aren't they sweet? Anyhow, I took a whole day of sorting through, organizing like with like, downsizing, and bagging up items that we don't need for donation. I was pretty panicked throughout the day and I may or may not have even cried at one point. The task became much more complicated when I decided I couldn't stand the dingy white walls that were all marked up. And the "shelving" consisted of long boards propped up at both ends with zero center support. Well, there was one little L that was- wait for it- 2 ENTIRE INCHES BELOW THE SHELF. Yep, that was pretty much useless. Anyhow, I painted, installed center supports, painted some more and then methodically placed everything in it's own place. Including a desk and a chair, which, when tucked in where it belongs, are all hidden behind the closet doors. 

It's fantastic if I do say so myself. Now I can leave my sewing machine out in it's place- no more cluttering up the dining room table :) And aren't the fabrics pretty all folded up there- bonus is that I can SEE what fabric I have. Same for the ribbon on rods instead of in a drawer, and all my other stuff in glass jars for visability! Yea!
So, there's your motivation people- go clean out a closet! It feels good!!