Monday, December 6, 2010

Fishing Game- Project #13

This was a super fun little project to make. I got the idea for it here at one of my favorite blogs. there is a link within it to a tutorial.
I have been trying to find ways to use up my scrap fabric. Moving has made me realize that it either needs to be used up, or thrown out, instead of stored indefinitely. So, I already had the fabric, which I thought worked great for little fishies.
I just played around and drew my own patterns. I wanted them to look a little Dr. Seuss-y and fun. I thought that they did. I used buttons from my Grandma's button collection that I inherited. I would recommend sewing the button eyes on before you sew the 2 halves together. I did not, and it was a lot harder!

I tried two different methods. I made 2 identical sets of 8. One set I glued magnets on the inside, like the tutorial suggests, and the other set I sewed washers to. Then I had my kids test them out. Washers were by far better. In fact, I went back and sewed washers onto the set that had the magnets.
My kids absolutely loved them. I used our set at church, where I am in charge of doing the singing time with the kids. I safety pinned the names of songs they knew onto the fish, and let the kids "fish" for what song we would sing next.
Even the older kids loved this. The other set is for someone on my Christmas list (who I really hope isn't reading this- or at least their parents aren't!)

Since I already had the fabric, buttons, stuffing (poly fill), string, stick, glue, all I had to buy was magnets and washers!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thanksgiving Centerpiece Project #12

The day before Thanksgiving I decided that I should make a centerpiece out of one of the pumpkins we didn't carve into a jack-o-lantern. We have made these before, but never with such big pumpkins.
I picked up 2 bunches of flowers from Albertsons. And 2 15" candles from Hobby Lobby. They were out of fall colors, but at least they had 15" ones instead of just 10" or 12". We needed the height. Then I really had to improvise to get everything to fit right. You can see the things I had to tape together to get the right height, and have a container for the floral foam to go in.
I tried to bunch them so it looked like a mound of mums and flowers. I didn't really want it any taller, or it would be impossible to have conversations over the table.
Even the bow I had to improvise with. I thought I knew where my wire was, but couldn't find it, so it is held together and attached to the arrangement with a paper clip.

It still turned out nice:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Finished Project #11- Kid folding Chair makeover

This chair above used to look brand new. Because I was smart and stored it inside the house, and only pulled it outside when we needed it.
But then, we had my family reunion in May, and I was pregnant, and getting the house ready to sell, and somehow that chair just stayed outside. During the whole, hot New Mexico summer. I'm sure if we had packed ourselves, it would have just been thrown away. But it got moved to Texas with the rest of our stuff, so I thought I ought to do something with it.
So, here it is all made-over into a pink pretty chair.
I know that those before and after pictures can make things look SO easy. And in reality, this should have been an easy make-over. Something I should have been able to do during one afternoon while the older kids were at school, and the 3-year old was napping.
But here's what really happened:
When I unscrewed the seat and back covers I realized that I needed some needle-nosed pliers to get the staples out. I had no idea where in our messy, unpacked garage they would be.
So project went on hold until I could borrow some from my sister-n-law.

One of the reasons I decided to take on this project was because I thought the only supplies I would need was a can of spray paint.

I only found one scrap of pink fabric that was the right dimensions to work, and it was my least favorite... but I wasn't going to spend extra $ on this, so I went with it. I did have enough padding, but the clear vinyl? Even though I had lots of it, the pieces were all 1 inch short of being wide enough (AARGH!) So, $1.50 and a quick trip to Walmart got me enough, but in the meantime, the project went on hold.

Then, I decided that since I was going to use all the same screws again, I'd better put them in a plastic Ziploc baggie to keep them all safe. I was literally putting them in when one of the screws that holds the back on, fell from my hands (gravity is so cruel to us pregnant woman), hit the kitchen floor, and before I could bend over to pick it up, it rolled under the oven.

I thought about asking my husband to retrieve it. But he is much more practical than me and would know that it was not worth it. In fact, when he saw the chair taken apart, he asked why I didn't just throw it in the garbage. (So I knew there was no sense asking for his help on this project) Luckily, I had the other screw, so I could find one to match- right?
So that also put the project on hold until I could get to Lowe's

Now, a word about Lowe's: I think they are awesome. We didn't have one where I used to live, and it almost makes it worth the move. So, one day I packed me and the 3 year old up and we went there with my one screw. (I can't believe I am confessing this where my husband can read it) Oh, I forgot to mention that the screw was sawed off to about 1/4 inch long so that it didn't poke all the way through and hurt a little kids back while they were sitting on the chair.
The helpful man found me the right size screw, but then, I explained how I needed it sawed off, and gave him my pathetic helpless pregnant woman eyes while my curly-haired 3 year old smiled at him. I've had wood cut at lumber stores, so I assumed you could get metal things cut too. He thought for a minute, then walked over and opened up a new hack saw, put the screw in some vices that were on display, and cut me three screws at the proper length. I thought they had a shop where they would cut it.
Talk about service.

Then it was time to assemble it. I was so proud that I had managed to find my staple gun in a box I had unpacked, and I went to work. I was about half way through re-upholstering the seat when it ran out of staples... so it went on hold again until I could make it back to Lowe's to find some staples for the gun.

To be honest, it could have used another coat of spray paint (next time I'll use primer first) but the can was empty, and after all this effort (even though by this point my husbands idea of throwing it away looked really tempting) I was determined that it was just going to get done!

So it did! The vinyl was pretty stiff, so hard to put on the chair back because it curved, but my daughter was thrilled with it, and now we have 3 little pink chairs to go around the princess table! We really needed it, because when my daughter has her 2 cousins over, they can all eat and play there!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Quick Little Project (#10)

A few weeks ago I decided that I needed to do a quick little project. I really needed that feeling of getting something DONE! So, I had seen these all over blog land, and after we had unpacked a little (and I found my E-6000 glue) I realized that I had somehow accumulated a whole bunch of vases. Now, I know I will never need so many. Trust me, I am not given armloads of flowers by my many admirers, so I decided to turn them into a decoration.

I had a pair of candlesticks that I had picked up a few years ago for a few bucks. I rarely used them, because have you ever noticed how hard it can be to get two taper candles to stand straight up? You need melted wax to get them to stay, or putty, or something. So, they weren't getting much use...
A little E-6000 glue...
Hey, wait, I have 2 candlesticks.... so I found another vase, a different shape and height, but I think it works better that way.

I didn't have enough acorns to fill them to the top, so I added these little mini pumpkins.
Since I never really found my box with most of my fall/ Thanksgiving decorations in time, these really helped the house look festive.
Yesterday I packed up the Thanksgiving decorations, and decided that these would look great filled with some ornaments, or pinecones, or something else for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This counts for a lot of projects

So, I've obviously not posted any projects for months and months. I thought this was entirely due to being pregnant and moving. But, I've realized that there is something else that really gets in the way of getting any projects done.
It's called Motherhood.
My mom told me that it doesn't matter how many kids you have- 1 or a dozen, they will take up ALL your time. She is (as usual) completely right. So, I've decided to stop trying to figure out if I'm crazy for having my 4th kid, and just embrace the fact that I may never get another project of my own done for the next 20 years.
And, I've decided that it's O.K. to count projects that I do with my kids.
My 4th grader was assigned to make an Indian Village diorama. He could choose any Indian tribe of Texas, and went with the Wichita.
I made the baking clay, and we went to work.

These are not actually teepee's. They were permanent structures made from mud, minimal wood, and straw/grass.
Making those little Indian people was the hardest part. The next day the teacher sent home some plastic Indians that the kids could use. A day too late, and since we'd already put the work into it, we were keeping our little clay people.
My son painted it...
And put straw on all the houses.

Here's some close-ups of our little people sitting around the fire, tanning a buffalo hide, and grinding corn.
That's my sons hand, gluing rocks on in the upper left hand corner, so you get a sense of how tiny these people were!

Anyway, we are really proud of this project, my son and I work really well together on things like this, so we are hoping he nails the oral report and winds up with a grade worthy of the 20 plus hours we spent on this project!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Project #8 -Old desk made new

Don't worry, it's the before picture. I picked up this baby for $45. The catch was it was in an upstairs loft office of a big warehouse, and my husband and his friend had to figure out how to get it down. I think it involved a makeshift ramp and lots of rope. Yes, he really loves me.
And that thing is HEAVY!
But, it was big (check), had lots of drawers (check) and fabulous lines from the molding to really give it some pretty character (check)

Here it is before I finished the drawers:

Here is the front: I love that it's not all flat.
And here you can see it with the new hardware (I need to find a new lock to go in the middle drawer)
So, tell me what you think. Unless you don't like it, then you can just tell me you are proud of me for getting it finished!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wondering where I've been? (And project #7 )

Well, this should give you a clue as to why I haven't been posting (or finishing projects) like I should:

Still haven't guessed, let's try it from this angle:

Yep, I'm pregnant. Hard to believe from my HUGE stomach, but I am a mere 4 months along. But that means that the last few months I have been sick as a dog. Actually, I've never seen a dog as sick as I was. I was SICK!

On top of that, we are moving out of state! So, in between my trips to the bathroom to puke, I have been frantically packing boxes and getting my house ready to sell. It hasn't been the most enjoyable time of my life.

I am proud to say that in the midst of all this chaos- I did finish up some huge projects.
I think you should see some before pictures:

This beauty was part of an estate sale. Not an auction- a family member was storing everything in a big building and selling things off via Craig's List and word of mouth. They called this the "Ice Cream Parlor" because it had originally been behind the counter of an ice cream bar. It was HUGE! It was in 2 pieces. The bottom part that you can see above was six cabinets and 6 drawers (can we say "yeah for storage!") and the top part was a beautifully framed mirror that reminded me of an antique mantle. It had obviously been in storage for years, as it was covered with dust, but I had a pretty good imagination and thought it could look wonderful!
But... they wanted $1,000.00 for it.
So, I waited a year. Yep, a whole year. I was pretty confident that not a lot of other people would be interested in such a big piece (It is 10 feet long and over 8 feet high), so I waited. A year later they were only asking $400. Still, I wasn't sure, because I was trying to be more realistic about undertaking so many projects- and this would be a huge one.
So one night in February, my husband and I went shopping for a dresser for our son, who, at age 10, has clothes that are too big to fit the dresser we painted for him when I was pregnant with him. We looked at every furniture store in town (we have about 6).
We couldn't find anything under $500, and nothing that was solid wood, and well made. In fact, I couldn't even find one where all the drawers opened and closed like they should! (We came up with a super fun solution to his dresser problem, but it's not finished yet, so I will wait to post about it!)
When we finally went to dinner, I told my husband, "Well, one thing's for sure, after looking at what there is in new furniture, I am totally convinced that I want to buy that ice cream parlor thing!"
He just smiled and said, "Happy Valentine's Day" He'd already called the guy and was picking it up that weekend.

In spite of some cracked and missing molding (which we could not match- they don't make it the same anymore, so we had to buy new) there was some beautiful details.

Like this:

which has a place to put a light fixture, if I could just figure out what would look right there.
And these hand carved drawer pulls:

We also added beaded board (Cause it's my fave!) to the inside of the doors:
The real drama was that I didn't measure right. I thought it was 7 feet. It was 8 feet, 2 inches. Our ceilings are 8 feet.
After much heated debate- my husband wanted to cut 3 inches off the top, which I was sure would throw off the proportions of the mantle thing around the mirror, I wanted to cut it off the bottom.
I was definitely right.
While I wished I could have left the substantial looking 6 inch baseboards, I wasn't gonna mess around with that gorgeous mirror.
Here is it again: (sigh)
And while it's NOT included with the house, we think it will still wow potential buyers (if we could just get them through the door...)
And I can't tell you how happy I am to have it done, and with how it turned out!

(Later this week, I will show the before and after pictures of the desk in front of it!)

Linked to:
Mustard Seed Creations

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Candy Bar Cakes for Teachers

I got a great idea for an easy "cake" over at Your Home Based Parties I wanted to make one ever since I saw them, and decided that they would be perfect for Teacher Appreciation week. Then it snuck up on me, and Thursday night I realized I hadn't done them yet! So, I stayed up a little late, didn't have quite as many big candy bars as I needed (I stacked little ones instead) and had to use tomato cans from dinner, but I thought they turned out alright.
To see some really cute ones, check here.
I just had to include these, since it seems like I'm not getting any projects done. The truth is, I'm working on some BIG projects right now (just stopped painting in the garage to grab a snack and jump on the blog for a minute), and I'm hoping to post those soon. I AM making progress!!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

How To Make A Bridal Cake

Remember this Bridal cake?

Well, like I said, I'm not much good at tutorials, but I will tell you how I made it, and pass along any tips I've learned along the way.

This is the first doll cake I ever made:
It was for my daughter's birthday a few years ago. Before I ever took any classes, or started dabbling in fondant.
I asked a friend who had just made one for her daughters birthday if she would help me out. She introduced me to using rice crispy treats in cakes (one of the best kept secrets out there!) Yep, this cake was made out of Rice Crispy treats!
I made cupcakes to go with it, (that she got to decorate) so there was some cake involved:
[Tips: I don't have the doll cake pan: I used my Pampered Chef batter bowl. Works perfect, but you need to add something at the top, or it doesn't quite go up to her waist. (Try rice crispy treats, fondant, frosting, whatever works)]

I was feeling more confident this time, and baked an actual cake.
[Tip: to make sure it cooked evenly, I put a metal skewer in the middle of it. Don't know why this works, but is supposed to be helpful on large or deep cakes to ensure more even baking.]

However, as I was trying to level it, I ended up cutting off way too much!
So, out came the butter, marshmallows, and Rice Crispies!
You can see where I added it at the top and bottom to give the doll more height. (Chocolate cake in the middle)
Then I covered it with a crumb coat of frosting (with help from my 2-year old) and refrigerated it for a few hours.
Then I made my fondant, and put Barbie in. For my first doll cake, I just used a knock-off Barbie that I got at the Dollar Store. This time I splurged- spent the other $2.50 for the cake pick.
[Tip: Splurge! I had heard horror stories of people going to put the Barbie in and having the whole cake fall apart.]
I had made a veil out of tule and some lace that I attached
[Tip: put this on last! I don't know what I was thinking?!? I had to have my daughter hold the veil out of the way while I put the fondant on- of course, she would have had to hold her hair out of the way anyway- but I wouldn't have had to worry about messing up the veil!]

My fondant ended up being very sticky!
[Tip: roll out small pieces to test if it is too sticky- nothing more frustrating than rolling out enough to cover the whole skirt part, just to find out it is stuck to the counter still! Oh, and be sure to take Barbie out while you put the skirt fondant on!]
It took me a few tries, but I eventually wrapped some fondant around her bodice. I overlapped it in the back, and wet it to get it to stay. My first few attempts didn't work, and she almost ended up with a butter cream frosting bodice instead! Then I added the sleeves...I decided to make a bow to put on the back to cover where the fondant overlapped. I thought it turned out nice.

Then I wasn't sure what I was going to do... My original plan was to put butter cream frosting flowers on it. But, then I remembered that I had bought these flower fondant cutters, and thought I would try them out.
I put some along the bottom, and then decided to try it at the waist. I probably should have just put the smaller size flowers at the waist, but I thought it was O.K. I added some cake gems to the middle of the flowers, and also along her neck line.
If you scroll back up, you can see a close up of the sugar crystal I put on her ring finger (please try not to point out that it's on the wrong hand! Didn't realize until too late!)
We also gave her a bouquet of flowers tied with pink ribbon and added some more lace to where her veil attached to her hair.

I thought she turned out lovely and really made the table spread look pretty.

So there she is, my 2nd doll cake, and my first Bride!
(Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment field, and I will try to answer them!)