Thank God It’s Finished.

I’ve been tossing out hints on what our latest project is and now that it’s done, I just can’t not share it! 

Folks, we rid ourselves of the obnoxious florescent tube light in the kitchen and with $35, built a whole new fixture.

I can’t wait to give you all the details with full tutorials on how we made (and how you can totally make) the shade from scratch and repurposed a garage sale chandelier!  Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until next week because I’m off to the pool in twenty.


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Oh and ps, this happened.  Eeep!  Lots more details later!  :)

Meal Planning is the Worst, No?

Let’s start with an apology.  I feel like I’ve been neglecting my blog a tad and if I have any readers left, I’m sorry!  It’s not because I don’t want to blog because I do and believe me, if I had the time, I’d have words everyday and not just once a week.  It’s really because I’ve been keeping busy seeing friends and housekeeping and the big one, TODDLERS.  Suffice it to say that I really miss cranking out projects and sharing tutorials with you here on the blog so, now that summer is kinda winding down, I’m going to start being better about that.  I have the usual laundry list of things I want to get done around here including a pile of clothes about two feet tall in my closet waiting to be refashioned.  There definitely isn’t a lack of motivation so hopefully I’ll have a new wardrobe along with a fully decorated house A to the sap and all the details to share.

And speaking of projects, I’ve been working on a really cool one for the past three weeks.  The last piece of it just came in the mail today and so the plan is to finish it after the kids are sawing logs tonight and have it on display tomorrow!  Toes crossed.  Until then, here’s a peek:

IMG_0884                                                      [heavily filtered so you don’t figure out too much ;)  ]

SO ANYWAY, I didn’t pop in today to just be a complete sulk.  I’m writing to tell you how my life has changed in the past three months thanks to eMeals.  But first, let me just disclaim that this is NOT a sponsored post nor did eMeals ask me to write a single word.  We are paying customers of eMeals and we LOVE the company.  However, after falling in love, I did sign up to be an affiliate which means that if you choose to use their meal planning service through me (through the links in this post and the affiliate ad in the sidebar), I will make a small commission.  Get them through me or get them elsewhere but I’m telling you, you should become good friends with that company if you’re anything like me which is…

NOT a meal planner.  Cooking?  Eh.  I’ll do it but only since I have four other mouths to feed.  There are just so many other fun things I’d rather do than stress out at five ‘o clock because my kids are hungry and shoot, I haven’t even thought about what to make for dinner.  Are you with me?  Or maybe you’re one of those peeps that’s ultra-organized and has the entire week planned food-wise in which case, you have a big admirer ova heeya.  :)

So, three months ago, I hopped over to eMeals website because I had spied them on Pinterest and I saw the “14 Day Free Trial” offer they have and signed up right that instance knowing that I had two weeks to give them a go and if I didn’t like it, it was no sweat off my back and I’d cancel. 

Well after the first week of being on a meal plan, we were hooked.  Anthony was elated to come home to a home cooked meal every night, I only had to put myself through one grocery store trip that week, and the kids were all like “whoa, mom’s doing something crazy at the stove”.  I seriously felt like I had just mastered being “domestic”.  It was awesome.  After our free trial, we signed up for a year of eMeals ($60) and right now, we’re three months in.

We’ve been eating things like…

Nacho Taco Salads

Warm Turkey and Cranberry Sandwich Bake with Oriental Slaw

Mexican Pie and Corn
…and so, so, so many other good meals.  They’ve all been so flavorful and seriously good.  Honestly, I can count on one hand the number of meals we weren’t fans of.  Good thing too because 90% of the time we have leftovers so dinner usually becomes lunch the next day!


How does it work?  Well, every week eMeals sends you an email containing seven dinner recipes (there are lunch, breakfast, and dessert plans too) and a grocery list with everything you’ll need to pick up to make those seven recipes.  And, that amazing grocery list is separated into grocery departments (frozen, produce, meats, etc…), making the one grocery trip you’ll have to make almost mindless and dare I say it, enjoyable?  Nope, too far.  Also, they’re in tune with several grocery stores (ALDI, Costco, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Target, Walmart, and Whole Foods), keeping an eye on their sales and planning meals around them so that you can get the best bang meal for your buck (store-based plans).  There are over 50 meal plans you can choose from (Paleo, Gluten-Free, Kid-Friendly, etc…) and we’re currently on the Budget-Friendly plan.  Since starting emails, we’ve cut an average of $80 off our monthly grocery bill.  Our swelling food budget was actually the acute reason we decided to try eMeals.  The month before we signed up for the free trial, we had spent a little over $500 on groceries; a number bigger than we’d like.  We also found that we had a lot of grocery items we’d buy for one meal that would sit untouched for weeks.  So eMeals has also helped us to buy and use only what we need. 

The budget-friendly plan lists individual food prices on the grocery list so I know about what I should be paying for certain things as I stroll the aisles.  But, to get that number even lower, we buy most of our items at Walmart but then head to Sam’s to buy meat in bulk and to Publix for their BOGO deals.

Anyway, I’ll quit typing your eyes off about food and groceries but I just want to reiterate that I wasn’t asked or compensated to write this post.  I just wanted to share something that we truly love that you might too.  Check it out!  You get two free weeks!  And after that, if you love it, you’ll happily spend the $5 a month for someone else to zip over the meal plan for your week while you sip Iced Teas on the porch, knowing that dinner tonight is covered.  :)      

I Dyed

Awhile ago Anthony mentioned to me that a pair of his brown canvas shoes were looking a little faded and worse for wear.
A little conversation ensued after which it was decided that I would try to dye them.  His idea. 

So, we grabbed this Rit dye one day…


[image via]

…and then while Anthony was out of two for a few days last week, I dyed.

I followed the instructions and used our stainless steel sink for the process. 

Except I cheated a little bit because I didn’t constantly stir the mixture plus shoes because I was too lazy/have three toddlers/had tons of other things to do for an hour.  I just laid them in the dye, making sure they were completely submerged (and put an empty wine bottle on top of one shoe that was being stubborn).  But I weaseled my way out of that instruction convincing myself that, since there weren’t any folds in a pair of shoes like there are in an article of clothing, it probably wasn’t necessary anyway.  And in the end they turned out okay so, phew!  Laziness for the win!

Anyway, after I kept them in the dye for about an hour, I ran them under water until the water ran clear and then hand-washed them in the sink.
They looked super dark wet (obviously because they were wet…she’s a smart one that Sheena) and when they dried, they looked like this: IMG_0677 
I know.  I see your eyebrow lifts.  Not much different.  I only used about half of the dye bottle (per the instructions for something of this size/weight) and this is where we ended up.

dyed cloth shoes

But Anthony is fine with them and so am I so I guess we’ll call it a success.  They don’t exactly look new but he’s just planning on wearing them on very casual days anyway.  And the coloring is still a little uneven; some spots have more and others less.  But, I think that that’s because they were faded in spots to begin with so the dye darkened the fabric evenly but didn’t even out the color.  Make sense?  I was also pleasantly surprised to see that the dye didn’t touch the leather string running around the sides and back of the shoe nor the thread at the top.    

Moral of this tale – dye to faded cloth shoes is like botox to Hollywood a-listers.  It turns back the superficial clock a tad.  ;)  

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I can’t wait to show you guys what I’ve been working on for the past week!  You can get a glimpse here!  I probably won’t be completely finished until next week but when I am, I’ll be up and atcha with a couple of really good tutorials!  Check back!  :)

Dress 2 Skirt

For their birthday last year, the girls got these dresses:
IMG_5942 [Click here to read about the scarves and sandals.]

And I love them because they can be sweet, like in the above pic, or they can be sassy with the addition of a jean vest and some boots.  Basically they’re just so cute they go with everything.

But, as the girls sprouted, they quickly became too short even though they still fit around.  So, since the top part was never really my favorite (the fluffy heart is cute but my style is more on the simple side so eh, to the heart), I refashioned the dresses into a skirt that’ll fit the girls for at least another year.

IMG_6359 You did what?!

I did.  Here’s how.

The dress is actually a onesie underneath so the first thing I did was turn it inside-out and cut off the bottom part of the onesie as close as I could to where it attached to the skirt and top. 

  IMG_9976 IMG_9977 (1)

BUT BUT BUT, I realized after I was completely finished and had the dresses on the girls that I should’ve kept this bottom piece on because it served as a slip of sorts.  Even though there are several layers of lace on the skirt part, you can still see dark and/or bright undies through it so leaving the bottom of the onesie on and hanging would’ve kept those brights under wraps.  Shoot.  Here on out, it’ll be white undies only when wearing these little things.

So, next I turned the dress right-side-out and laid it out flat.

Then I cut the dress in two by cutting across the cotton bodice about two inches up from the lace skirt.  IMG_9978Note:  because of the thickness of the skirt, it was hard to make sure the dress was completely flat and that the top of the skirt in front and back were right on top of each other.  So, I cut the front and back layers separately; cutting around the entire dress about two inches up from the top of the skirt.
Once I had the skirt cut off, I turned it inside out and folded the fabric at the top over, in half.  I folded it so that it folded into the inside of the skirt.  Then I sewed along the edge to make a pocket to fit an elastic band.  I made sure to leave an opening in my stitching into which I fed the elastic through.

IMG_0215 I inserted the elastic exactly like I did to make this maxi skirt.  (Click that link for a tutorial.)
And then I bribed the girls with something or other and took them outside for a little shoot.
It’s still a little too sweltering down here to have them wear this get-up outside for longer than five minutes but let me just say, I’m really excited for the fall.
And how cute are those tennies?  I’ve been searching for some inexpensive ones for the girls for awhile without any luck and stumbled upon these while strolling the shoe aisle at Walmart.  They’re only $6!  You can’t beat that!  They had white ones too and almost got them instead with the idea of painting them to look kinda like these $25 Vans tennies, but I didn’t.  Maybe someday.  (Psst…you should totally do it!)

These outfits might be my favorite though.
IMG_6370[I tried to get them to put their hands on their hips like all the high school girls these days and this is what I got.  Not awkward at all… ;) ]

I found those black and white tops at the same thrift store a year apart.  They’re size 4T and I grabbed one last year, saving it for when the girls ‘grew up’ and then couldn’t believe my eyes when I spied the exact same one a couple of weeks ago in the same size!  That never happens!  The leopard shoes on Seraphia (right) are thrifted (and refashioned) and the ones on Cecilia are these from Old Navy that I found on eBay for $7 a couple of weeks ago.  They are as cute and amazing as they look.  The scarves I made with leftover fabric from these kimonos.

Oh and did I mention that they’re playtime-friendly?  We don’t do clothes you can’t play in because, well, #toddlers

Finger Painting

Let’s reach back to our five-year-old selves and pull out those finger painting skillz, shall we?  Not only will they come in handy for this tutorial but as it turns out, getting your hands dirty with pretty colors can be really stress-relieving…not that I would know about stress.  My life is all butterflies and roses…and tantrums and meltdowns and toddler woes 58%  of the time.

The art I painted and hung above Sebastian’s crib is 80% finger painted and 20% brushed.
sebsroom2 (6)
It was so easy to do that even if you’ve already taken once glance at it and determined that “no, you can’t do that”, you can.  Yes, you can.

But before tell you how you can, let me remind you (or tell you in case you didn’t see this post) that I bought this green metal frame at a local thrift store for 50 cents.  It had a large piece of discolored foam board fitted inside and so I just painted right onto that foam board instead of buying a new large piece of paper/board/whatever.  The jewel green color is a latex paint (Alexandrite by Sherwin Williams for Lowe’s) and the rest of the colors are acrylics, some of which I already had and some that I purchased at Hobby Lobby.  The acrylic colors I used were black, white, mint, gray, and a yellowy-mustard color.

So first, just for a little interest to peek through under my finger painting, I grabbed some black white acrylic paint and painted b&w stripes in a few random places across the board.  I painted the black stripes first…
IMG_0182 …and then added the white ones in between once the black paint was dry.  After I was done with the white I had a good amount of white paint left on the plate I was using so I just dumped it onto the board and smeared it around a little with my hands.

At the same time as I was painting this, my cousin Faith was at my house painting a fabric “S” for Sebastian’s room and she had just finished so I grabbed the paint she had leftover from painting that and smeared it around the board too.

Then I let all that paint dry.

During the next free naptime, I grabbed all of the colors minus black.  Over the top of the board, making sure not to go over the stripes, I squirted different colors one-by-one in random places all over.
(Except I spooned on the green latex since it came from a test pot. Technicalities folks.)

And then I just smeared all those colors together.  The key is not smearing too much that the colors blend to make a totally different color but just blending so that they streak together.  Also, make sure you have enough paint squirted onto the surface of whatever you’re painting so that you’re not having to spread paint around too much to cover.  The more paint, the better.  And also, the more paint, the more texture which is a great addition!
As I was smearing, I made sure to not smear completely over the stripes I had painted.  I just smeared around them but over the edges so that they didn’t sit on an island of sorts – stripes surrounded by blank foam board surrounded by a ring of paint.  Make sense?  I just wanted them to peek through.

The painting looked really cool after I was done smearing and the plan was to leave it that way but of course, I tweaked it just a little more by going in with each color and a brush and added some dots around the piece.  I literally dipped the brush in whatever color I was using and dabbed it randomly around the painting.  I also added a few smears of black in the end.

Art definitely isn’t my strong suit but I think this one turned out pretty good, no?
And considering I only paid about $5 from start to finish (most of that went to paint of which I used not even half of each color supply) it looks even better. 
   sebsroom2 (12)

sebsroom2 (13)

sebsroom2 (1)

So, any painters out there?  Maybe some wanna be painters like me?  Abstract art is the way to go!  If you make a mistake, it just looks like you meant to!  I wish falling on your face in public was more like that…like “oops” you totally meant to do that.  “I just needed a quick thrill to wake me up.  No big deal.”  Or forgetting to zip it up below the belt.  Wearing no-zip maternity paints totally took my zip-it-up habit and tossed it right out the nursery window.

And you wonder why I like long shirts…

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diy finger painted abstract art

Three Sides

Hey Monday!  I’m not exactly happy you’re here considering you mark the end of vacation.  But, I’ll get over it with a super easy post about these curtains I made for Sebastian’s room.
sebsroom2 (5)

I made his closet curtains out of a queen-size sheet, cut in half and hemmed.  The window curtains I made out of some white duck fabric from Hobby Lobby.  To keep things from getting too plain with all that white, I stenciled on some tiny triangles.

Here’s how I did it.

First, I made my stencil.  Using the Rhonna Designs app on my phone, I stuck a little triangle onto a white background and sized it to the size I wanted the triangles to appear on the fabric.  Then I laid some stencil plastic (leftover from stenciling this rug) over the top of my phone and traced the triangle.  I traced two because my cousin was here to help.  Hooray for company and help!

Then I pulled out these foam pouncers (affiliate link), originally purchased way back when I dotted these jeans, and squirted a little bit of black acrylic paint onto a plate.  IMG_0145
I didn’t add any fabric medium to the paint because I know it’ll still be permanent even though it might not be as soft.  On curtains, I’m not worried about the feel.  Clothing is a little different.

Next, I put a small amount of paint onto the pouncer and dabbed that paint right over my stencil.  IMG_0147IMG_0148Note:  Use enough paint to just cover the surface of your foam.  A nice thin coat dabbed a few times over the stencil will do the trick without bleeding.  Too much paint will get under the stencil and give you some crazy lines and a not-so-crisp shape.  You might have to dab the plate a few times after you get paint on the pouncer to get some of that extra paint off.

We just placed triangles in random places, scattered over the curtains.  The more imperfectly placed, the better, in this case.
  triangle stamped curtains

I love the triangles vs. regular old dots because I feel like they’re a little more manly for our little man.  Sharp edges and nice straight sides…in other words, tall, dark, and handsome.  Or maybe that’s a stretch but either way, you catch my drift.  :)


Have a great Monday!  I’m feeling the usual ‘overwhelmed’ at all the to-do’s I really want to get done this week and the fact that we’ve been on vacation for the better part of the past week and a half is making that hefty load even heftier.  It’s okay though, usually come Tuesday, I realize that I can’t be a one-woman show and I hack my list in half.  Happens every week.  Vicious circle or sensibility shot?  Not sure…

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So easy you might as well do it…and pin it for when you do.  :)
diy stamped curtains

The Boy’s Room

Up until a little over a month ago, Sebastian still had the girls coraly-pink curtains hanging over his closet (it was the girls’ room until several months ago).  I’ve felt so bad but I’ve just been too busy with life and other things to put his room on the priority list.  Not to mention the fact that my decorating budget is a sad $10-$20 a month so that money has been going to other spaces.  Poor kid.  But, when Anthony left for Ecuador a few weeks ago and I had my cousin, Faith, here to help, we dove into a mini-makeover of his room.  It’s not finished by any means, but it’s better.  Much, much better.

Here’s what it looks like at the moment:
sebsroom2 (4)

Here’s a glimpse of what the room looked like before we started:
sebsroom (1)
The fan shade was a little longer than I wanted it and the plastic lining was pretty beat up.  I hung what was left of the curtain I used to recover these two chairs over his window to add darkness during sleeping times and the frame over his bed was blank.

 sebsroom (2)

I’ll have tutorials up asap on the stenciled curtains and painting but I haven’t got all the details on the fan shade because I wasn’t sure it was going to turn out as planned.  It did though and lucky for me, I have another shade needing to be redone so I’ll write up a tutorial on that one! 

Basically, we took apart the old lampshade, cut a new piece of plastic that was shorter, recovered the plastic with this thin fabric I found at Walmart (Walmart!  I know!  They have it in black and white too!), and put the shade back together.  It’s much easier than it sounds.  Pinky swear.
 sebsroom2 (9)
I went for a thin fabric so that the finished shade wouldn’t block too much light.
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I bought the old shade at Dirt Cheap for $2 and used a half yard of fabric ($4 a yard) so this entire shade cost me about $4.50 including the hot glue.  Cheap and good.

I made his closet curtains out of a queen-size flat sheet I cut in half and hemmed and his window curtains out of two yards of white duck fabric I found at Hobby Lobby.  The sheet was $5 at Dirt Cheap and the duck fabric was $6 ($5/yard but with a 40% off coupon).  I only flanked one side of his windows with a curtain because he pulls on the curtains when he’s up there and less curtain is safer in this case.  Originally I was going to go for a roman shade instead but until I figure out how to work that out, a panel it is.
   sebsroom2 (5)
I stenciled the curtains using stuff I already had so that didn’t cost me a thing.

The green metal frame above his bed was thrifted for 50 cents and I just painted the foam board inside it with some paint I had on hand plus some I bought at Lowe’s and Hobby Lobby.  All in all, it probably cost me $2 just counting the paint I used.
sebsroom2 (6)

I want to do something cool with his crib (it’s my old crib!) eventually.  My first idea was to paint the bottom half of it a medium gray so that it looks like it’s dipped but now I’m leaning more towards painting that big recessed area at each end.  Maybe adding a stencil there or a simple geometric design?  Time, and the blog, will eventually tell. sebsroom2 (7)

On the wall opposite the crib is a dresser we bought for Sebastian off of Varage Sale (an online sale site kinda like Craigslist) for $50 several months ago.
  sebsroom2 (10)
It’s not my favorite as far as structure and design go but it was cheap and I think a little gray paint plus the brass handles will take it a long way.  I obviously haven’t done anything to the wall above the dresser.  Right now I just have paint samples I picked up in the color scheme I want the room to head for hanging there.  The lamp is still sporting the lampshade I made for the girls room way back when and the lamp either needs to be repainted or replaced.  I’m also thinking of whipping up a new changing pad cover (check out my easy tutorial!) that will match the curtains.
On the window wall, I have some of Anthony’s childhood trophies sitting on the shelves.
sebsroom2 (11) 
I kinda want to spray paint them but I haven’t asked the champion about that idea yet because I’m a little scared he’ll be mortified…so when you read this post Anthony, what say you?  Pretty please?  With brown sugar on top?

The rug is from Old Time Pottery and I got it for $35 (which is their usual sale price for a 5 x 8) because it had dirt marks along one edge.  I got those babies out though.  I stole the yellow geometric pillow on the window seat from the living room and the other two were thrifted.  Eventually I’ll make said window seat a tad more comfortable with a custom cushion.  I’d also love to recover or sew a new slipcover for the rocking chair in here too.  I’m over the brown and would love to go for a light gray linen or maybe crazy with a mustard color.  And then there’s the looming popcorn ceiling and shabby brown carpet that I’d love to both disappear but that ain’t happening anytime soon.  A mom can dream though…and then take the focus away with a big shade on a fan and a rug over carpet.  :)

So far, I’ve spent about $55 in this room trying to turn it into something fit for a boy.  Not too shabby, eh?  It’s still pretty plain but the wall stripes (tutorial here) are a big help keep it off the ‘too plain’ scale.

And just for fun…
No kids:
bedroom 3 b42
A home office/guestroom filled with hand-me-downs.

Girl kids:
  hardware 020hardware 014_thumb[1]

      Boy kid:
sebsroom2 (2)

I’ll be back with painting and curtain tutorials next week!  Have a great weekend and fourth!