Friday, February 26, 2010

Crib to Chalkboard Easel Tutorial

What's Brown Bag?  See here.

This is one of my posts that has been a long time coming.  I started this project months ago, right after the big O was born, and finally finished it about a month ago.  And then I was just feeling a little worn out with blogging and never got around to posting it.  But I think the pictures have cured here on the computer long enough now and they're ready to be shared with all of you.  So, let's get started, shall we?

I found this crib frame sitting next to our dumpster.  
I threw away all the extra pieces and just kept the headboard and foot board.

The moment I saw them I instantly had a vision of what they would be.
An easel!
I had seen a version of what I envisioned once before at a little shop in town.
(Haha!  I didn't realize until I found this picture just now that theirs is green too.  I hadn't seen it in some time when I got the idea to make one.)
But mine would be different.
Mine would be better.
And toddler-friendly.
My sister thought I was crazy.

The color was ugly, of course, and they were covered in dusty spiderwebs, but they have such beautiful lines.  Look at those scallops!  And I love those pretty little spindles on the headboard.
They were a little beat up.  They needed some love.
(But look at the pretty details on those spindles!)

 First, I gave them a coat of liquid sandpaper.  

I know I have said this before, but I will say it over and over and over again--if you are still scrubbing at things with regular sandpaper, you have got to give this a try.  All you have to do is paint on one quick coat and...that's it!  You will never want to go back to your regular sandpaper again. 

 Then they got a coat of primer

Then I taped off the inside.

And meticulously taped off the beautiful scallops.
And covered the middle with newspapers.

And painted them this lovely shade of green...that got a little washed out in this picture.
It's hard to compete with the yellow of those trees.
Did I mention how slowly I worked on this project?  I think I started it back in October.

Then I took the newspapers off.
And put new tape around the edges.

And gave the middle sections of the headboard and foot board a coat of chalkboard paint.
I should have given them another coat, but I didn't.

Also, I forgot to mention that all along I was also priming and painting some extra little pieces of wood.  I could not for the life of me tell you what size they are or what kind of wood they are.  Sorry!
I think, if I recall, I just saw them in the fencing area at Home Depot, thought they would probably work well, and bought four.
You can see them attached to the inside of the headboard and foot board in the picture above.
I needed these little boards because of the little detail ball things that stick up on top.  Attaching these boards made it so the hinges could connect correctly.  Umm.. so obviously now you know that the next step was to attach these boards.  (Thank you Bryan and my step dad for your help with this!)

Then Bryan also screwed on these pretty hinges that I bought at Home Depot.

Then (many moons later) I (finally) primed the chalkboard.

And wiped it off.
And it left a chalk line on my carpet.
Don't worry.  It's been so long now that you can't see it anymore.

And now...
It's finished!
And taking up a lot of room in the big O's room.
Waiting for her to grow up and learn how to color.

And here's a pretty picture to finish on.
The end.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Highchair Re-upholstery

My sister is moving. The one who has lived downstairs from us for our whole married life (the past two years). We will miss them a lot. We have loved having them so close. Incidentally, we will also miss all their baby stuff. We've been borrowing a number of baby things from them which has been a total win-win situation since it keeps us from having to buy those things and it gives them some free storage. But now that they're moving we're giving most of their things back. One of those things is the little baby seat/ highchair thing we've been using for the big O. (Did I mention yet that she's eating "solid" foods now?) I was going to just go buy one since they only cost about $20, but then I thought of a different option.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Number one on my to do list for today


The big O is pleasantly napping.  Pandora and red apron here I come.
Wish me luck.

Friday, February 19, 2010

If you were me... would have just seen Bryan peek out from behind the fridge, make sure I was looking, and then do the moonwalk back into the kitchen.  He thinks he's Maikeru Jakuson.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Feeling Frozen

No, I'm not talking about the drizzly snow we're having today. 

I have some things I'm excited to tell you all, but it needs to wait for the right moment.  Sadly, that moment is not RIGHT NOW like I want it to be.  But it will be soon.  Very soon. 

Isn't it funny how we're our own publishers on blogs and yet still restrict ourselves in order to get the timing of things just right or because we've lost interest on a post we've already written or a project we've already completed?  Aside from the thing I'm looking forward to telling you about, I have two projects that are long overdue for sharing.  I've even taken the pictures already!  And uploaded them!  (Which you all know is my great downfall.)  And yet... meh.  I don't know.  I just haven't been overly excited by them lately.  But I think I will be soon.  And then you shall all remember how great I am all over again.  Until then, please await my upcoming posts with eager anticipation.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Jen... my cousin.  And she is crafty.  And she is giving away 5 I spy bags on her blog in honor of her birthday.  Talk about good odds for winning.  You can visit her blog Compulsively Creative to enter.  Good luck! 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Making Progress

Have you checked out The Skinny lately?  I'm losing weight!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

I saw this video link on my sister-in-law Lisa's blog this morning and I thought it was just perfect for Valentine's day, especially with it being on a Sunday.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  
I hope your day is filled with the love of those around you. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Welcome to Monday

 Well, here we are at Monday again.  Mondays are busy, stressful days for a lot of people.   They used to be for me, so I totally understand the dreaded Monday mentality.  All you working, busy people out there have my pity.  (The picture was a cheezy joke for all of you.  So was spelling it "cheezy" instead of "cheesy.") But since the big O was born and we've just been chilling at home together all day, Mondays are just... Mondays.  So far this morning I've been poking around looking at blogs and now the big O is just hanging out in her bouncer and sucking her thumb.  I think she's getting sleepy, so I'm gonna go lay her down real quick.  Just a sec.

Okay.  I'm back.  Anyway, Mondays are just generally pretty slow, easy days around here.  Well, for me and the big O anyway.  Bryan has class and work and a test to take.  Sorry Bry!  Good luck!  But at this point, the thing I'm trying to decide is what I should do today.  I kind of feel like sewing, but kind of not.  In other words, I'd feel a lot more like sewing if I didn't have to lug the machine and all of my supplies out from the back closets and set up shop on the kitchen table, forfeiting my nice, (fairly) clean table and front room.  I think Bryan hears me dreaming about a craft/sewing room in our "someday" house at least once a week.  It would be a lot more than once a week if I already had one because then I would be sewing a lot more.  I just hate the mess it makes on the kitchen table.

But before I can even get to something like sewing, I still need to eat breakfast and read scriptures, get dressed for the day (I'm still in my pjs), and probably by the time I get all that done, it will be time to go on our walk with Sarah and Elsie.  Then when we get home I'll be thinking about lunch.  And feeding the big O a few times in between all that.

Sorry, I just left you again for a minute.  I needed to use the restroom and then I got distracted reading an article in the Smithsonian about a teenager who was deciding between being in a gang or being an artist.  I haven't finished the article yet, but I'm pretty sure he went with being an artist since I don't think the Smithsonian publishes articles about kids who ultimately decide to go down the path of bloody gang warfare.

See?  This is why I sometimes get nothing done during the day.  Or have a hard time even deciding what to do.  With a little one around, my day gets filled up with so many little things.  As I've been writing this choppy post I laughingly thought to myself that my days fill up just by eating breakfast and reading scriptures and going on walks and feeding the big O and eating lunch and so on and so on and how could anyone even have time for a job?  That, of course, reminded me of the beginning of the movie About A Boy (one of my favorites, by the way) where Hugh Grant's character just lives off the royalties of a song his father wrote and basically does nothing except watch TV and get his hair "professionally disheveled."  He says, at the beginning of the movie, that it's easy to fill up a day if you think of time in units of about a half hour.  I think, however, that with a baby around my day quickly fills up in units of about five or ten minutes.

Anyway, if you think of anything great for me to do today, let me know.  For now, I'm off to eat breakfast.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dear Left Hand,

You are better at putting mousse in my hair.  Who knew?  (Please don't tell the right hand.  If he knew he might get jealous and stop writing.)


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

All of a sudden

Why am I so popular on Facebook all of a sudden?  (The phrase "all of a sudden" is really strange now that I think about it.  Am I saying it wrong?)  Anyway, so I have literally had at least 15 people request to add me as their friend on Facebook within the past 24 hours.  Why?  They're all people I know (at least to some degree), so I don't think it's some sort of spam thing.  But I really don't understand why I've suddenly become so desirable as a Facebook friend.  Especially since I never do anything on Facebook.

Sarah and I were talking about Facebook on our walk the other day and we both agreed that by the time neither of us cared about it anymore and the fad was over in our age group was when the rest of the world suddenly went nuts for it.  By the way, the Facebook that I knew and used was a very different thing.  It started my freshman year of college, so, first of all, I feel like that grants me the right to say that it made sense for me to join at the time.  Also, when it stared, you had to have a college e-mail address to even be able to join.  I remember being impressed that a few people had figured out how to make fake accounts.  Because back then you would have had to have at least a few tricks up your sleeve to do it.  Furthermore (and more to the point), the Facebook of my freshman year was simply the "wall" feature.  No commenting on people's stuff, no stupid games or applications, no mega sensitive advertising scheme.  Back then we poked each other, wrote "Hey!  How're you doing?" on people's walls, and they responded on to our questions back on our own walls.  You got laughed at if you accidentally replied on your own wall, especially since that person would never see your response unless they happened to go back to your wall to write something else.  And status lines all started with "Your Name is..."  It was simple then.

It's not so simple anymore.  I literally only ever get on Facebook when I get an e-mail from it saying that somebody is trying to reach me for whatever reason (message, comment, trying to add me as a friend along with the rest of the world all at the same time, etc.) or when I need to send an e-mail to somebody, but I don't have their e-mail address.  In that case, I get on Facebook and look them up in order to pass the message along.  I don't get on to update my status.  I don't get on to see what you updated your status to be.  And if I've happened to look at a picture album you added to your profile in the last three years you should consider yourself really honored.

So, back to my original question.  Obviously I am not Facebook savvy, so could somebody who is (I hope I haven't offended you too much just now.  Obviously I'm still willing to be your friend.  I just confirmed 15 of you.) please tell me what's going on?

Guest Blogger Today

I'm guest blogging over at Bryan's blog The Daily Post today.  You can go to the post HERE.  See you there!

Looking for the giveaway?  Click HERE.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How to Make Your Own Reusable Snack and Sandwich Bags

 I've been promising you all a giveaway over at The Skinny and now it's finally here!  Go HERE to enter for a chance to win a reusable snack or sandwich bag of your very own!  Clicking on that link will also lead you to a lot more pictures of all the fun snack and sandwich bags I've made.  Yes, that's right.  They're snack and sandwich bags made by yours truly from recycled grocery bags.  Sweeeet!  And it's easy to win.  Promise, promise.  So go enter!

Antsy to make your own?  Here's a quick how-to:

-Collect a lot of plastic grocery bags.  And when I say a lot I mean A LOT.  If you're like me and want to do crafts the minute you see them instead of waiting to accumulate the supplies in a calm, responsible way, you can do what I did and hit up your local grocery store's grocery bag recycle bin.  I asked before I took a few bags full o' bags, but I don't think anyone would care.  After all, you are recycling them.

-Make your grocery bags into "fabric."  To learn how to do this method (It's a tricky process, I'm not gonna lie.) I referenced the following tutorials:

-Dana's excellent tutorial for using this method to make reusable grocery bags on So You Think You're Crafty.  I love the idea for the milk bag, by the way.  (Be sure to check out Dana's blog MADE too.  Everything she shares is always so darling and classic.  Thanks Dana!)

-Etsy Lab Archive's tutorial on just the method for melting plastic bags into "fabric."  (I found this link via Dana's tutorial.)  This tutorial is an excellent starting place.
-Ashley's tutorials for constructing really cool belts using this method in a variety of different ways.  Her tutorial using a rice bag as a belt was the first time I came across this method.  Her belt tutorial using this method to combine product labels is also really cool and gave me some great ideas.  Thanks Ashley!  (Be sure to check out Ashely's blog Lil Blue Boo.  She is uber creative and works in such a variety of mediums.  She is an endless source of inspiration.)

Now for a few of my own tips:
-If you plan on melting bigger pieces all at once, I suggest buying some white butcher paper.  The bookstore near our house sells it for about 30 cents per yard.  I bought two yards, but one yard would be more than enough.  Then I just made a sleeve out of it like Ashley does in her tutorials.  This proved to be the simplest method for me.
-I always used 8 ply of grocery bags.
-Test your iron out to see which setting works best.  A cotton setting seems to be the general consensus.
-After cutting out my bag template I sometimes put the cut bag piece into the butcher paper sleeve and ironed it just a tiny bit more around the edges to help seal up those edges in case there were bubbles that left openings.

-Follow this tutorial I wrote for templates and how to construct your reusable snack and sandwich bags.  You will find the templates for these bags there. (Another big thanks to Jerilyn of French Sleep Deprivation Study for sharing her templates.)  Oh, and if you're making sandwich bags, be sure to use the larger template.

Good luck making your own!  If you have questions feel free to e-mail me or leave your question(s) in the comments (with your e-mail) and I'll try and get back to you as quick as I can.  And, as always, I'd love to see pictures if you make any!

Note: The giveaway mentioned in this post is now closed.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Something to think about

 Do you have a blog?  Do you require people leaving comments to enter in that jumble of letters before they can actually submit their comment?  If so, then please consider the following: take it off.  Please access your settings and undo this function.  I used to have it on mine (I know, we all make mistakes), but have since realized what an unnecessary pain in the patootie this is. 

I know you're worried about people leaving spam comments.  But it won't happen.  Trust me on this.  And if it does, then go ahead and put the word jumble back on.  But I really don't think you'll get any spam.  I haven't had a single spam comment yet and I've been blogging for over a year.  I kind of think the spammers would have found me by now if it was ever going to happen.  Don't you? 


A while ago this morning: the big O was getting cranky, she wanted to eat, I was about to sit down on the couch to feed her when I thought "I should grab the camera cord so I can upload pictures in case she falls asleep on my lap."  But then I told myself, "She never falls asleep on my lap anymore, so it doesn't matter.  I'll just feed her and do the pictures later."

Now: The big O is asleep on my lap and I want the camera cord real bad.

Love the onesie?  Go HERE.