February 29, 2012

Guest Post: Paper Mobile

Hello everyone!
I'm happy to introduce my first guest post from Sarah at Renewed Upon a Dream--I am guest posting over at her site today! We both have fun repurposing uses for embroidery hoops today. Hope you enjoy them today!

Hello!  I'm Sarah  I blog over at Renewed Upon a Dream.  I'm so excited to be here guest posting for Kristina!  I LOVE her blog.  Everything she posts seems to be amazing, and her photography is always wonderful.  Wouldn't you agree?  So, I'm super happy to be here today, sharing with you a little project that I did for my cousin who is having her first baby in about a month.  Yesterday on my blog I shared some other little gifts I made for her, but now I'm sharing a pinwheel mobile that I presented her with this past weekend.

I really wanted to try to make a mobile for her, but I pretty much had no idea what I was doing.  I saw a photo recently of some cute pinwheels propped up in some grass for spring, and I thought they looked so cute & would be lovely hanging as a mobile.  It seemed easy enough to create so I went for it.

The supplies I needed were pretty inexpensive:

  • Large embroidery/sewing hoop
  • Spray paint
  • 4 sheets of double sided scrapbook paper
  • Some kind of string or twine, I used stretch magic jewelry string
  • Hot glue
  • Buttons, pearls or whatever you like to put in the center of each pinwheel (I have pictured pearls, but they didn't work with my string, so I switched to buttons)
  • Tape
To get started on my project, I first spray painted my embroidery hoop.  I wanted it to be white, and I had just bought a regular wooden one at Michael's.  If you wanted to skip this you could also purchase a colored plastic one if you prefer.

Then I got started on making pinwheels!  I cut my scrapbook paper into 5 inch squares.

I then found the center of each square by measuring 2.5 inches in.  I then cut from each corner, in towards the middle of the paper where I marked.  I tried to cut pretty close to that dot, maybe about a half inch from it.  You want it to be close enough to make a good pinwheel, but not so close that it's going to rip when you bend the paper over.

Once I had my cuts, I folded one corner of each side towards that dot in the middle and taped them together.  I used two pieces of tape, one on the bottom & one on the top.  I was careful to fold it over in such a way so that it wasn't creased, but almost, so that it would stay & lay properly.  If you do this it will probably take a little trial & error, it did for me.

I soon had a bunch of pinwheels all over my table.  I went through each of them & cut off the access tape.

Next I punched a whole in the middle of each pinwheel.  I did this with a little hole puncher I had, but you could probably use a sharp needle too if that's what you have.  I then cut my string.  I cut 8 strings total.  4 were a little bit shorter, and 4 a little bit longer.  On each of them, I strung two pinwheels.  One a little less than halfway from the top, and one at the very bottom.  I secured each pinwheel with a button.

As I made progress with this, I taped completed strings up to my ceiling fan, just to kind of see what they would look like.  It was so fun working with pretty pinwheels above my head!

A couple of days later, once my spray paint was dry, I started attaching my pinwheels to the hoop.  The string that I used is very slippery, so it doesn't hold a knot very well.  If yours does knot well, you can probably skip most of the hot glue.  I attached the 4 shorter strings of pinwheels directly to the hoop.  Then I attached two strings across the loop, so that they crossed in the middle.  I attached the 4 longer strings of pinwheels to those strings going across the loops.  I guess it's kind of hard to explain, so here's a picture, although it's still hard to see, hopefully this helps.

I hot glued every string at their tie on point for extra reinforcement.  Then I attached a couple pieces of yarn to hang it from, and I was done!

How cute is this!?  I really love it.  I kind of want one in my home & I don't even have any babies!

Pinwheels are so fun & spring-y!

Have you ever made a mobile before for a baby.  What do you think of making one with pinwheels?

I really hope you liked this project.  It's been baby-mania this month over on my blog.  My friend is pregnant too & I made her a baby afghan & refinished a dresser into a changing table for them!  Check 'em out if you're interested!  Thank you so much Kristina for having me here!

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February 27, 2012

Why I Create and How I Find the Time

Sometimes, I hear people say things like "I don't have time to make things" or "I'm not creative" and I wanted to write about why I do find the time and why I think everyone can be creative in some way if they want to be.

First of all, I don't really "have" the time to be creative-instead, I make the time.

Being a good mom to my two little boys is my main priority here at home, (and of course, being a supportive wife to my husband).
But parenting comes with endless piles of laundry, dishes, diapers to change, messes to clean up, training, books to read, meals to cook, activities to keep them learning and entertained, and the list goes on and on.

I decided I could either become obsessed with having everything done at home and have a "perfect" house, or I could stop and take the time to do something fun and relaxing for myself.

And let some of those things go just a little bit.

 Because, as soon as everything would be "perfect", one of my sons would decide to get sneaky and color on a wall with peanut butter, or some other kind of craziness and I would exhaust myself by constantly cleaning up after them.

 Don't get me wrong-I love being a mom, love my boys and am thankful to be able to stay home with them. But, I realized something about myself-that I get easily frustrated with tasks being unfinished-which, of course things always are as far as housework. Have you heard it said that "cleaning up after kids who are playing is like trying to shovel snow while it's still snowing?" So true!

 But when I complete a project or blog post or both, it makes me happy-something got done! And I made something really cool.

So, I carve out time pretty much every day to write or create, or both. It helps to have this blog reminding me to be intentional about creating. When my kids are napping/having quiet time or at night while they're sleeping I will pull my supplies and get to work. I have a crafting space that has my materials (somewhat) organized and ready to use when I get the chance so it makes creating more convenient.

Sometimes I'm exhausted and really have to lay down and rest.  But, as a person who has a hard time sitting still (ADD??) I will often make something while watching TV or a movie. Or, sometimes I'll get my kids involved in making things with me-even though at their young ages they don't have much of an attention span. I take a deep breath, pull out the paint and let them get messy.

Now, to that person who doesn't think they're creative-let me say this: I think we as humans are all creative in some way simply because we were made in the image of Creator God-the
one who decorated the earth and universe with so many amazing colors and living things.

Maybe we just don't have the  experience and confidence to think we can create.
And, society does a great job stifling creativity with all it's rules and formulas. I can remember being in Kindergarten-I was having fun one time with a bunch of crayons in my hand making huge circles, and loving my colorful picture. Then, the teacher came up to me and told me this was just scribbling and not to do that anymore. Even thought I was only 5, I can remember feeling sad and even annoyed at her.

And, I almost became an Art major-but decided it wasn't really practical and majored in Social Work instead. Guaranteed jobs in this field, for sure! And I don't regret that decision-I've been able to helps so many people in this field and get exposed to the need for adoptive parents, too. (Which led me to my beautiful sons!)

But, thankfully my whole life I was surrounded by family that encouraged the arts and made lots of amazing things-like oil paintings, woodworking, knitting, sewing, poetry, furniture revamping, and music.  I would get these little craft kits as gifts and would have fun figuring out how to make stuff like pom-pom teddy bears, latch hook, basket weaving and more.

And, I can remember taking my science books home as a kid to do the experiments in them that the teachers never did with the class-they would always do paper work (boring!). I was such a hands-on learner I had trouble focusing in school even thought I always got good grades.

So, I continue to love thinking outside the box and trying new things. And there have been a lot of craft and decorating fails for every successful project I've done. (Like when I thought it was a good idea to paint my walls burgundy and paint copper criss-crosses all over the walls. Yikes!)

I think it helps just to not be afraid of failing and to be free to try new things. Hey, you can always paint over things, right?

I'm not sure who this quote is by, but I think it really applies to me: "The creative adult is the child who survived". So true!

So, what about you? Have you ever thought about why you do or don't create? And what has influenced you along the way? C'mon. It'll be fun to analyze yourself!

Thanks for visiting ReMadeSimple today and I hope you enjoyed your time here!

February 23, 2012

Retro Stenciled Side Table

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Since the New Year, I've been having fun changing up a few painted furniture pieces in my house, turning a few things lighter from rusty reds and blacks to yellows, whites and pastels.

And, this little side table of mine was bugging me. It looked too dark and boring sitting in the corner of my living room next to a dark brown leather chair. 

So, I decided to give it a lighter, brighter revamp...

I painted the legs a pale gray, and the top the same yellow as my pie safe called 
"Yellow Magnolia"
by Martha Stewart. (Looks a lot like hard boiled egg, but I like it!)
I used eggshell latex paint for this (not on the chalk paint bandwagon...yet).

After the paint was dry, I decided to stencil the tops and sides for a nice pop of "Tangerine Cream" colored paint.
 I used my Nagoya Craft Stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils. 
(I had done stenciling for the first time with this stencil on a market tote bag 
and decided stenciling was fun and not scary!)

After the stencil was dry, I thought the design looked a little too bright how it was, 
so I decided sand down the top and sides with an electric sander using fine sandpaper.

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Sanding the table did the trick of toning down the orange accents and added that aged 
look that I love to the table. I love my new brighter table-
I think it adds a fun retro feel to my previously dark corner. 

And I love the combination of stenciling and distressing-will definitely be doing this again sometime!
(And maybe I'll be trying out that chalk paint everyone's raving about too...)

I hope you enjoyed this table revamp and thanks for visiting ReMadeSimple today!

Linking up with these parties and this party.

February 18, 2012

Anthropologie Knock-Off Rustic Wall Hook

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Who loves Anthropologie? And who loves a great knock-off craft? I have been having
fun challenging myself to make a few Anthro-inspired projects lately. Did you see my

I love rustic style, and was drawn to this cool "Forest Found Hook" by Anthropologie,
and for $30, not too bad...but, I thought about materials I already had at home, like pallet
wood and a metal hook. Oh, and coffee (I'll get to that part later.)
 And thought about how I could make this!

Let me show you how I did it:

You will need: 
metal household hook, pallet plank or other salvage wood, shiny black spray paint, scrap of mat board, 
coffee or wood stain, paint brush, exacto knife, framing nails (4), Dremel or jigsaw, drill.

First, cut your pallet plank in half (I used a Dremel with the cutting attachment, but I 
think a jigsaw would have been more efficient and made a cleaner cut because 
I ended up having to sand the top with an electric sander).

Then, apply your wood stain. I tried an all-natural, ultra cheap coffee stain for the first time!
Basically, brew some coffee, have a few sips if you want, and let it cool. 
Then brush onto wood and allow to dry.

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I applied a few coats of coffee and allowed to dry until it was as dark as I wanted it to be.
My 3 year old even got in on the fun and helped me out with the final coat. 

While I was waiting for the coats of stain to dry (I did 3) I spray painted a metal hook
with black spray paint for a faux cast iron look.

 Then, I cut a piece of mat board into a rectangle for the backing.

And after I spray painted it with two coats, I was surprised by how much it looked
 like cast iron and not paper at all. Pretty sneaky...

I drilled 4 holes onto the edges of the backing rectangle after it was dry and nailed it
to the wood with tiny framing nails.

Then, I drilled two holes where the hook would go along with the screws.

I attached a rope loop with a staple gun to the back so I could hang it to my wall and
I was done!

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Not to bad, eh? And, like I said, it cost me nothing to make because I
 already had all the materials at home. 
I have loved sharing these ideas with all of you and am determined
to live with style on a budget. 
Next, I really need to get a jigsaw so I can cut up some more stuff!

Until next time,

Linking up with these parties and this party.

February 16, 2012

Homemade Birthday Celebration

So, in my last few posts I've been bragging about my cute little men and that my youngest son just celebrated his second birthday. (We almost had to cancel the party because I got sick, but I was able to rest up the next day while my sweet husband made all the food and tidied up the house.)

And we all survived and had a great time-luckily I was the only one to get sick and it was short-lived...

So, I wanted to show you a few photos of his birthday bash with some homemade decorations I made for his "choo-choo train" themed party.

Believe it or not, I am not good at decorating cakes (I tried to make a baseball hat cake for my older son's birthday last year and it turned out looking like an igloo...)

So to simplify, I decided to hand draw some trains for cupcake toppers. A friend of mine owns a frame shop and she gave me some mat board circles that were perfect for this. I hot glued dowels I had cut in half to the backs and pushed them into the cupcakes.

 I completed my little display by circling the cupcakes with a wooden train set.

I also hung this cheerful happy birthday sign.
(A few posts ago,  I explained how I made this cute reusable felt birthday pennant.)

the birthday boy blowing out his candles

He was so cute staring at everyone in amazement while they sang to him-and, for the second year in a row-didn't touch his birthday cake! Silly boy...I love this kid!

Thanks for tuning in today! I've been working hard this week on some knock-off decor projects that are just about done. Can't wait to share with all of you! 

February 14, 2012

My Love Day: An Adoption Story

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

I wanted to share a little personal story about why this day is special to us in our family!
 Last year on Feb 14th, we adopted our youngest son and each year we will celebrate
"gotcha day"-the day each of our sons became legally, officially ours!
(and it might sound cheesy, but I really did know the moment I met them both
that they were going to be mine forever...)

As you can imagine, it was a day filled with happiness and relief--we had waited
a year for this finalization (which is really quick, by the way) and it meant
a lot to be surrounded by the friends and family that were rooting for us all along.

We had entered this courtroom only 10 months before to adopt his brother on
April 12th, 2010, when baby boy was only 2 months old.
 I couldn't help but smile at God's little arrangement of dates:

4/12 and 2/14 were our adoption dates assigned to us.
Same numbers, different arrangement.
And there are so many other dates and timings
that just point out that these boys were supposed to be ours.
I'll write a little more about that on our next "gotcha day"...

Hope you enjoy a little photo stream of our happy, happy love day last year:

Jeff signing adoption papers

sweet baby boy! 

so tired-it was his nap time! 

my oldest son, so sleepy too! 

aunt and nephew

grandma and grandson

grandma and grandson

big brother

the Judge who helped make our day so happy! 

the courthouse
So, today we are celebrating "gotcha day" as a family by taking the boys to a huge bounce house place. I'm pretty sure they will love it!

 My youngest son was appropriately adopted on Valentine's Day-he has always been 
really sweet and cuddly and 
I hope he lets me kiss his soft chubby cheeks forever! 

I really like this quote that expresses a lot of what it felt like for me to adopt:

“It has been said that adoption is more like a marriage than 

a birth: two (or more) 

individuals, each 

with their own unique mix of needs, patterns, and genetic 

history, coming together 

with love, hope, 

and commitment for a joint future. You become a family 

not because you share the 

same genes, but 

because you share love for each other.” ~Joan McNamara

Until next time,