Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Pottery Barn Artwork Knock Off

As a teacher, I have read many children's books and naturally have quite a book collection. Of all the wonderful books I've read, some of my favorite books are those written by Eric Carle. I LOVE his artwork and simplicity. I could go on and on about it. When Pottery Barn came out with an Eric Carle bedroom and bathroom collection, I may have squealed a bit. ;) One of my favorite pieces they came out with were the Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear Artwork. I especially loved the Brown Bear canvas, but at $119 for one canvas, there was no way that adorableness was going to end up in my shopping cart. Sad day. 

Fast forward a couple months to Target. I happened to stumble upon these Brown Bear and The Very Hungry Caterpillar wall decals for only $10!

Instantly, I remembered those pricey Pottery Barn canvases and knew exactly how I could use the decals to create similar artwork. I snagged the Brown Bear package and headed to Michael's to pick up a canvas and some cheap acrylic paint.

I stuck the Brown Bear decal on the plain, white canvas then used painters tape to help me paint straight green and blue lines across the bottom. All I did to create the subtle striped effect with the green was paint it thick in some places and thin in others. Easy peasy and I love how it turned out! I did have to use some additional glue on the back of the decal because it didn't adhere well to the textured canvas. I was going to Mod Podge it, but decided to just leave it well enough alone. :)

I used the remaining animal decals to make decorations for Little Man's birthday party. I just stuck them on pieces of foam poster board and roughly painted different colors around the edges. I had them sitting up around the house for the party along with the Brown Bear canvas.

Don't you love how bright and cheery Eric Carle's illustrations are?!

Cost breakdown:

Canvas-$10 (It was on sale.)

Total Cost: $22

Not too shabby and nowhere near the $119 Pottery Barn price tag!

Linking up to Tater Tots and Jello

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I have a confession... Of all the crafty, diy things that I love, there is one thing I hate. Sewing. It's not that I haven't been taught or tried, though. When I was younger, my mom tried to teach me to sew. She even bought me a sewing book for kids that made it "simple and easy". Her machine hated me. It wouldn't sew for me, but Mom could just come in, not change any knobs or settings, and it'd just work for her. That machine had favorites.

Then my grandma tried to teach me to sew. Her machine was at least 50 years old, but that was good. It was simple. I got the hang of the straight stitch and even sewed some placemat purses. Be impressed. But I never moved on to sewing with patterns and fabric you had to buy and cut.

Now it gets really ridiculous. When Hubby and I got married, we bought a couch together. I loved the couch, but it came with the most hideous pillows you've ever seen in your entire life. We did not have any room in our budget for non-essentials, so new pillows were out of the question. Plus, Hubby loved the old pillows. Figures, right? So, I got the grand idea to buy a $20 cheapo sewing machine at Target and recover the pillows. HAHAHA is all I have to say about that. The sewing machine would not stay put and I literally had to chase its crazy, rattling self all around the table while trying to sew. That problem, plus the whole, I-just-traced-around-the-other still-stuffed-pillow-to-get-a-pattern thing really made for a lovely (cough cough) product. Three sides of the pillow were livable. The fourth side was so wonky, you had to tuck and hide the crazy-long corner under the pillow. It basically had a tail. Ridiculous. Hubby has not let me live it down. I wish I had pictures of it.

After that, I gave up for a while and just stuck to paper crafts. Until that fateful day I saw a cross stitch of a cat holding a wine glass with a funny saying that I thought my aunt would love for Christmas. She had just adopted a cat, so it was going to be perfect for her. I worked and worked on that thing and got the farthest I've ever gotten on a cross stitch. I pretty much loathed every second because I'm NOT a patient person, but I kept thinking of her happy face when she opened it and that kept me stitching away. Then, halfway through sewing the head, I realized I did it in the wrong place and now the head and the body were quite detached from each other. Oops. I gave that project to my mom to save and gave my aunt some candles for Christmas. We'll see how Mom rescues the poor cat. It may turn out like a giraffe cat with a reeeeaaaaally long neck. Ha! Hubby AND his parents have not let me live that one down either.

Now you think I've learned my lesson, right? Nope. Mom gave me her sewing machine...yes the one that hates me. I found a great online tutorial for sewing scarves that one of my favorite bloggers did and decided I was gonna sew. I went to Joann's and picked out fabric which took approximately 10 years to do and raised my blood pressure to unhealthy heights, I'm sure. There was too much selection and I stink at mixing and matching when there's too many options. But, somehow I made it out of the store in one piece and started my scarves with excitement picturing how adorable they were going to turn out.

My scarf project was actually going pretty well at first. See how proud I am that I'm sewing? These pictures were to send to my mom so she could be all impressed with my mad skills.

And an obligatory "Sam is crazy" picture...

It was all peachy... until I ran out of thread. I couldn't remember how to thread the machine. Seriously. My friend Charity totally bailed me on that one and let me lug my million pound sewing machine over to her house, taught me how to thread my machine (I literally numbered my machine with a Sharpie. No joke.) and even taught me how to make a crib sheet. That was my finest sewing moment, by the way, and I feel like the inventor of the Magic Bullet when I put that sheet on Little One's bed. :) But back to the scarves...that were supposed to be Christmas presents for my cousin, sister, and friend Julia. Um yeah...that was 3 years ago. And they are still waiting to be finished in my sewing box. My blood pressure just couldn't take the machine tangling up my thread another time.

I've since donated everything else from my sewing box to my mom and swore I'd never try sewing again. I hate picking out fabric, I hate threading needles, I hate trying to fix jammed machines, I hate cutting fabric, I hate pinning fabric, I hate how much time it takes to finish something. I'm just too impatient for sewing. My blood pressure just can't handle it. Fabric is just not my friend.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cabinet Organizer Score!

Our little family headed to Lowe's this weekend to pick up a couple more supplies for the table redo. Hubby likes to tell our little one that we're going to the "Man Store" and cheer and get him all excited about it. Of course once we get there and Little Man realizes that it's boring for him, the cheers don't have the same effect. ;)

Lowe's is Hubby and I's happy place. We love meandering through the aisles and dreaming up projects together or planning out how to execute our latest home improvement endeavor. After picking up what we needed, we wandered about and stumbled across the perfect cabinet door organizer! And for only $6.24!

I was able to install it using small Command Hooks to avoid putting screws in our cabinet doors. Score! Here's a quickie phone picture for you!

We are STILL working on the stinking table. I think my style is going to change by the time we get done with it! Ha! I put the polyurethane on the table, but then spilled the can of poly 3 times in a row (yes, THREE) last night, so literally have none left to paint with. Off to the store tomorrow to get more poly so we can finish this puppy already! Seriously, how do you spill the same paint can three times in a row?! Now that's talent, people. ;)

Update: The Command Hooks held for several months, but eventually lost their hold after much abuse, so we screwed the organizer into place. Perfect ever since!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Start of the Crazy Organizing Spree

When we sold our house back in March, we were pursuing purchasing a different house than the one we're in now. But, that house was a short sale and ended up going into foreclosure before we heard back from the bank if our offer was accepted. Boo. So, two weeks before closing on the sale of our house, we had no idea where we were moving! Thankfully, just a few days later our current house came on the market and we were able to snag it up just hours after it went online. Unfortunately, our closing dates didn't line up, so after we sold our home, we moved half of our belongings into storage and moved into an apartment with only the bare necessities. We lived out of boxes for 6 weeks. Literally...we only unpacked a little bit of kitchen stuff.

I've always known I'm a I mean, as a teenager, I used to dust my bedroom every day. Crazy kid. But staring at huge piles of clutter and not being able to organize anything for weeks really brought out the OCD monster in me. By the time we closed on our new house, I had already mentally unpacked and organized our new home a gazillion times. We ended up emptying every single box and got all moved in within the first couple weeks. We didn't sleep much. ;)

Unpacking at light speed helped me regain my sanity after moving twice in two months time. But recently, the OCD monster has been knocking on my door again. I've unpacked and put everything in their final destinations, but nothing is really organized or finished yet. Things are just placed in cabinets and closests however they would quickly fit. But, now things are looking shabby and starting to pile up. Time for some major organizing!

I started things off in the kitchen, focusing on the drawers. In our previous house, I had 9 drawers. NINE. Spoiled much?! I had a silverware drawer, cooking utensil drawer, office supply drawer, baking drawer, saran/baggie drawer, pot holder drawer, dish towel drawer, napkin/bib drawer, and "not commonly used drawer" (haha). That's a lot of drawers.

Here's a pic of our old kitchen. I still remember peering in the front window while our real-estate agent was unlocking the door to show us the house and seeing this kitchen for the first time. Smitten. Tons of counter space and storage!

In or new house, we have 3 drawers. My challenge has been fitting everything from my old kitchen drawers into a third of the space. I purged what I could and packed my counter-top utensil crock with as much bulky cooking untensils as I could. Drawer #1 became the silverware and knife drawer, Drawer #2 housed all the serving utensils, baking cups/spoons, and all the random kitchenware a cooking lover has, and Drawer #3 housed all the Saran wrap, foil, parchment paper, baggies, and oven mitts. It was tight, but everything except the kitchen textiles fit. I shopped our house and found an oval basket that would fit under the kitchen sink and put all the kitchen towels, napkins, and bibs in it. It was overflowing, but was an ok temporary fix.

Here's a picture of our new kitchen. I love the granite, backsplash, lighting, and the extra tall cabinets!

After a few weeks of brainstorming, I decided it was ridiculous that the baggies/wraps/oven mitts were taking up an entire drawer, so I gave them the boot and gained an entire kitchen drawer! I shopped my house again and found this wire shelf from Target that used to live in my old pantry and placed it under the kitchen sink to put all the baggies on. I found two small baskets at Target that fit underneath the shelf to hold bibs and napkins. I also found a deeper, rectangular basket at Target to hold all my dish towels and rags. Here it is now! Ahh, much better.

I am still on the lookout for a door wrap organizer, but just haven't found the right one yet. I really don't want to put screws in our nice wood cabinets, so I'm on the lookout for an organizer that I could hang using command hooks. I'm thinking about this one from Amazon, but afraid it's a little too small...

My oven mitts were the easiest fix. I just plopped a command hook on the back of a cabinet door and hung them up! This was my first experience with command hooks and I'm...hooked! Sorry, just couldn't resist a corny joke. ;)

Still lots to do in the kitchen, but that's all that's been done so far. Wanting to find a good rug, accessorize the counters better, buy organizers for drawers, buy a cookie sheet organizer, and figure out some kind of storage solution for the pantry cabinet. 

In other news, Hubby and I have zero plans this weekend (cue hallelujah chorus!) and are hoping to finish the last coat of paint and do the poly finish on the table. I'm ready to get the table done and out of my garage! My car misses it's garage abode. :)

Happy Friday!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

New Shutters and a Table Update

Well...we're still working on the table. Oh brother. So far we've cleaned, sanded, primed, and applied the first coat of paint. We still need to do the second coat of paint, the poly coats, and reupholster the chairs. We've slowed to a stop for now because I pulled out my neck. In my sleep. Not kidding--how do I even accomplish such things as injuries in my sleep?! I rolled over in bed, heard a loud pop in my neck, and have been in *pain* ever since. Hopefully, we'll get back to working on the table soon!!!

In the meantime--the shutters that we ordered back in May finally came in and were installed last week. Woot woot!

Our breakfast nook had plantation shutters on one door and all the windows when we moved in, but had no window covering on the second door. We decided to keep things uniform and add plantation shutters to the naked door. Here's the before (with our temp shade on it) and after!

We also had shutters made for our bathroom window. The previous owner had a vinyl shade here, which in theory is fine, except that the sun had caused the shade to warp on the sides leaving a gap on either side of the shade. You could see straight into our shower from the road! Um, not cool, hence the painters tape in the before picture that was holding the shade down so no one could see in. I love the way the shutters look in our bathroom! They're so bright and cheery and make our window look bigger!

That's all for now, folks! Be back soon with an organizing project! 

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