Merry Christmas!

So I guess my last post should've had a side note in it where I mention that I'd probably drop off the face of the Earth for the next two weeks since we're on Christmas vacation...not that should've had the stocking tutorials I said I would since Christmas was literally days ahead of us all and everyone already had their stockings up.  Rookie mistake or bad diy blogger?  I'm not sure.  Either way, I'll make sure to post that tutorial when it makes more sense; say next October or November.  :)

Really though, I'm just popping in today to tell you all I won't be back on the blog until next week.  We are taking it really easy with family and my phone has been dead for three days with no chance of me charging it because, honestly, it's been really nice to not have it around catching my attention with a beep or ring here and there.  I really should try this more often...we all should try this more often.

So with that...

and soon, Happy New Year!

Easiest {Any}Holiday Bunting Ever

I’ve always loved the idea of hanging bunting.  With that said though, I’ve never made or hung any because making and hanging bunting just doesn’t climb as far up the to-do list ladder as some of the other projects we want done ‘round here.  It’s life is lived on the back burner…

until now…
Yay!  Can you see it, can you see it?  (As I typed that, I heard Olaf’s voice in my mind…weird.)

I had this bright idea one afternoon and, literally, five minutes later, we had bunting hanging from the tippity-top of our tree.  It’s so easy!  No sewing, gluing, measuring, or fuss of any sort.  The Grinch would hate it!

Wanna know how to make some of your very own?  Well, if you don’t, click out because if you know me, you know what’s next.

All you’ll need are a pair of scissors, some sort of string (I used twine I had laying around but fishing string or a strong thread would work too), and some wire edge ribbon.  I grabbed this wire edge ribbon after Christmas last year on clearance at Michael’s but, even without the clearance price, it’s pretty cheap.  If you’re only using it for this project, even the Dollar Store will satisfy the need.

First, cut several pieces of ribbon.  The number you’ll cut depends on how many far apart you want each piece to sit once it’s on the string.  For an eight foot long strand like mine, I cut 13 pieces, each about six inches long (I didn’t measure but just cut the first one and cut the others based on that one).  I spaced them about six or so inches apart on my twine.  You can space them closer or farther; have more or less.  Imperfection is the name of the game and, in this case, anything will look cute!

Then, fold each piece in half.  

 Next, cut a shallow triangle out of the bottom of each folded piece of ribbon.

  And last, slip each piece right over your hanging string.  (It’s easier to add the ribbon after you figure out where you want the bunting hung).  Giving the wire edges a little pinch along the top of the string will ensure they don’t slide around.

So easy, right?!  Think of all the holidays and notholidays you can whip up a five-minute strand of bunting!  Pastel ribbon for easter, pink and red for Valentine’s Day, patriotic colors for the Fourth, blue and green to match the theme of your kid’s birthday…the options are really endless.

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We moved some small pieces of furniture around this year so that we could put our tree in the back corner of our living room and we’re really loving the placement.  It’s out of the way but it makes this corner really special (except for the red/cranberry club chairs…I can’t wait to get my hands on reupholstering or doing something with those).  As far as decorating goes, we’re done.  I didn’t add more lights to the tree or put on all the ornaments like I usually do because we’ll be traveling to see family for Christmas and so simple did the trick. 

But, I did go a little crazy, adding a little bit of festive to our thrifted glass lamps:
One has been finicky about turning on recently so I had to take it apart anyway to see what the deal was so I thought, “why not paint them?”  That’s a normal thought process, right?  ;)

Of course, we also set the sensory mood by plugging in our Wallflower; laden with the scent of Fresh Balsam.  I’ve had my wallflower forever but I bought this particular scent five Christmas’ ago and it’s still going strong.  We don’t keep it plugged in all the time, maybe a few hours a day, so that helps slow the depletion.

The hutch is decked with a thrifted wreath that I got last year and we recently acquired the brass elephant atop it.  You might remember the diy mercury glass vase that once was there…well, somebody (coughAnthonycough) caused it to come tumbling and crashing when he was sliding the hutch around one day so we could clean underneath.  It’s really my fault for not having it as secure as I should’ve up there but thankfully, no one or nothing was hurt except the vase and my feelings.

Anyway, I’ll be back with the other side of the room before Christmas.  Really it’s just the stockings and mantel over thataway but those are a whole tutorial post in themselves. 

I guess you’ll just have to HO, HO, HO…ld on.  ;)

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Because you know you want to pin it…

Light & Letters

Before I throw a couple of Christmas projects (I know, just in time forrrr…next Christmas) to the blog post mix, I thought I’d sprinkle in a few projects I quickly did in the girls’ room a couple of months ago.  You can see the full reveal and stencil tutorial in my last post, if you missed it.

Let’s talk about the fan shade first.

You might remember back when I whipped up an eerily similar one for the fan in our master bedroom a few years ago?

Well, you might also remember I kinda hated it.  It looked really homemade and I try to sway from that look when I’m creating decor in most cases.  So, down it came.  Using the same idea and steps, I grabbed the fabric from JoAnn Fabrics (can’t find it online!) and used some of the extra plastic I had on hand from making this shade to create the same thing, only much less wonky.

To install it, my plan was to have Anthony cut off all of the inside, metal rods except for a couple of inches on the small shade and only the middle ring part of the large shade.  The ring on the large shade was too thick for this fan – it would sit on top of the bulb and screw into the light bulb base just fine but not far enough to get electricity going to turn the light on.  Major problem.  So, I had him cut off the old ring and my plan was to put a large washer in its place, a similar idea to what Young House Love did here.  Except while he was cutting, he accidently broke off the rods from where they were attached to the ring.  Turns out they were really poorly attached to the ring and just broke off without much tinkering.  :( 

I cried inside but forged ahead in making the light fixture.  After the shade was made and recovered, I hot glued the rods back onto the large top ring.  Then I glued the ends of the rods to the rod pieces still on the small shade.  So far, it’s stayed.  To hang the entire thing, I grabbed some outdoor chain I had laying around and slipped one end over the rods on the small shade and the other ends I slipped through the holes on the actual fan that are reserved for the screws that hold on the original light kit.  I should take more pictures to explain that a little better but for hopefully for now it makes sense somewhat.

Here’s what it looks like from underneath:

It’s still needs some tweaking because its a little crooked still, but one of these days I’ll figure out a new solution.  I love it though.

And I love the fabric so much that I made a couple of matching pillow shams out of it to adorn the girls’ beds.  They were a trial run so I don’t have a tutorial on those yet but they turned out pretty good so I will definitely let you in on the know-how to those in the future!

And quick let’s just pop over to the stenciled wall and talk about those big monograms.

I’ll be honest.  The idea of them looked better in my head.  I’m not sure if that wall just needs a little more color or if I need to re-paint a fancier ampersand onto the mirror but something needs something.

The letters themselves are these paper mache letters from JoAnn Fabrics.  The quality is great and if you can grab them either on sale or with a coupon, you can get them down to almost $5 a piece.  The only thing that bothers me a little is that the ‘S’ is a little thicker than the ‘C’ so it almost looks like they’re two different fonts.  Maybe that’s what bothering me about this wall…don’t know.

They come in a tan color so I just primed and spray painted them my favorite gold (Rust-Oleum's Metallic Gold*).

I used velcro Command strips to hang them on the wall just like I hung these paper mache letters in our entry.

Like I mentioned above, I just painted the ampersand on the mirror with some gold and mint acrylic paint.  I love painting on glass and mirrors because, if you make a mistake or you don’t like it, you can just windex it off and start over!  I redid this one about fifteen times I think.  :)

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I finally finished our stockings and hung them on the mantel with care!  I’m really excited to show them to you and show you how you can make your very own!  Check out Instagram for a sneak peek!

Have a great weekend…we’re almost there!

*affiliate link

Just Beadiful

I’ve been wanting to up the ante in the girls’ room since they moved in way back when Sebastian took over their old room.  During a few weeks in October, I finally got my chance.

Shortly after we moved in, we took a can of creamy beige to the walls in here and it worked as a guestroom/office for several years (paint color was Drifting Dune by Valspar).  The cream walls were a perfect canvas for adding whatever color of decor I felt like and they still are.  Except this summer a friend gave us a beige rug she wasn’t using anymore and I thought the girls’ room would be the perfect new home for it except…IMG_6105…really it just created one big, beige box.

I loved the rug too much to part with it so something had to be done.  One of those things came in the form of an idea of creating a colorful accent wall behind the cribs. 

Initially, I had schemed to knock-off this Anthropologie wallpaper by stenciling something similar using some sort of watercolor technique I still had to come up with.  But then over time the room started collecting lots of colorful artwork above the girls’ dresser and I thought maybe the colorful wallpaper knock-off idea would just create too much pastel-ish color.  Is it possible to have too much color?  I don’t know but the thought of walking into a soft-palette, watercolor room read “overstimulation” to me.  Plus, the watercolor stencil would’ve probably been a lot of work and it’s not one of those designs that could easily be melded into a new decor plan in the future…the future being when the girls’ turn into real little girls and I want to turn their room into a funky modern yet girly space.

So then…I know, “get to the point already!”, I thought maybe I’d just stencil a simple pattern onto the wall that wasn’t in-your-face but wouldn't totally blend into the wall either; accentuating with subtlety.

Enter Cutting Edge Stencils and the girls’ new-and-improved, but still ever-tweaked, room:  IMG_6558

I’ve made my own stencils before but, for what I wanted on this wall, I didn’t have the skill to just whip up a diy stencil much less create something big enough to stencil it.  Good thing Cutting Edge does have that skill.  When I was set on the subtle stencil idea for this accent wall, I started perusing their site.  I had heard of them lots of times via other blogs and I knew they had some really awesome designs.  So, together with Chelsea at Checking in with Chelsea, we contacted Cutting Edge to ask if they’d sponsor a post and they said “YES”!  Honestly, I was planning on grabbing a stencil during their next sale anyway but I thought maybe we could try to collaborate with them first and so I was floored (walled?) and excited when they sent us each a Beads Allover stencil plus a Stencil Essentials kit.

But anyway, enough with the small talk.  Let’s talk about how this went up.

First, I moved everything away from the accent wall, took down the mirror, and gave the wall a quick wash with some mild soap and water.IMG_1892
I started the stenciling process by stenciling along the ceiling first.  Cutting Edge includes a top edge stencil with their allover wall stencils to make stenciling along the ceiling a breeze.  I found that using the end of the foam roller that came in the Stencil Essentials kit to stipple the paint onto the stencil worked the best for me.  The walls in the girls’ room have a fair amount of orange-peel texture to them but the foam cut the bleeding because of the texture to a minimum and allowed me to get super close to the ceiling.
I did have to wipe off the back of the stencil after every couple of rounds but having a pack of wet wipes close made it easy to do.
This might not have been as necessary with non-textured walls but since mine are, paint did tend to seep behind the stencil a tad.  Spraying the back of the stencil with spray adhesive would probably have cut down on the bleed too but I didn’t want to spray that stuff in the girls’ room and the thought of running to and fro outside and their room wasn’t appealing time-wise. 

That black strip attached to the stencil is a clip-on stencil level.  This little thing was awesome and I highly recommend grabbing one for your next stenciling project!  It’s a miniature level that attaches to the top or bottom of the stencil.  It cut out all the measuring to make sure the stencil was painted on straight.  One quick glance at the level is all you need get things nice and straight so that you can spend more time focusing on important things like painting and watching how much paint you’re getting on your roller.

Here’s what the wall looked like after I was finished stenciling along the ceiling: IMG_1895[Sorry for the poor picture!  I worked at night and you know how well poor-lighting plays with cameras…]
I don’t know if borders are out these days but I thought the Beads stencil looked cute just along the top of the wall.

Next up was…the rest of the wall.  I didn’t realize how large this stencil actually was before I took it out of the packaging.  It’s big.  Great too because a big stencil meant less work for me.

I started stenciling several inches from the corner of the wall, thinking that I’d tackle the corners last.  I wasn’t sure how the stencil would hold up with me bending it into the corners so I was a little concerned that if I did the corners first and the stencil didn’t hold up, I’d be in deep trouble.  (Spoiler alert:  not only did it hold up to the corners but there were no bends, breaks, or warping to be seen after!)

At first I just taped the sides of the stencil to the wall after making sure it was level using some painters’ tape I had on hand.  The problem was that the painters’ tape I had wasn’t really holding the stencil up.  It was painters’ tape I’ve had forever and was probably cheap.  Doh!

I didn’t have time to go out and grab more tape since I had a limited time schedule (bedtime for a couple of nights only) so I remedied the sad sticking situation with sticky tack!

I just stuck a little ball of it to the four corners of the stencil and it worked like a charm!  The stencil was going nowhere but onto the wall!  I think I’ll go for the tack over tape for any future stencil too.  It’s easy to remove and just stick to the next area; no grabbing another strip of tape or worrying about where the heck you laid the tape you need rightthisminute.
To paint the stencil, I used the foam roller on it’s handle.  Since my walls are textured, barely covering the roller with paint was KEY!  Using the paint tray below (Home Depot, I think?) made it easy for me to load up the foam roller with paint and then roll the excess off onto the platform.
I also figured out that if I went over the stencil twice, each time with very thin coat of paint, it cut out on the bleeding even more.  I did the coats one-after-the-other.  And, just like with the edge stencil, I made sure to wipe off the back of the stencil after every couple of uses.  In the end, I still didn’t have super-clean edges like I would’ve with a non-textured wall, but the edges weren’t awful either.  Perfectly imperfect.  :)

After I was done stenciling the entire middle of the wall, it was time for the corners.  Like I said above, I was a little nervous about these because I wasn’t sure if bending the stencil into the corners was going to  permanently bend the stencil or if all would be unscathed.  I was pleasantly surprised and super impressed with how the stencil handled corners though!  It came out looking as great as when it came out of its packaging!   

So, in conclusion…

The stencil itself?  So awesome.  The quality is so great and it was (and still is) seemingly indestructible.  It rounded the corners well without cracking/breaking and showed no signs of injury when I accidentally dropped it…oops.  Five stars/two thumbs up/hearty applaud to Cutting Edge for creating a high quality product and gaining a loyal customer in me.  (Master bathroom walls, I’m looking at you…)

Sticky tack worked so much better than tape for me and was a lot more efficient, especially since I was on a major time crunch to get the girls’ room back to normal.

If you are stenciling textured walls, wipe off the back of the stencil every few rounds.  Don’t be afraid to give a little stencil-love to textured walls!  It can be done!

Stippling with the end of the roller was a great way to get really close to the ceiling vs. rolling the paint on along the narrow edge stencil.

The paint tray I used with the small platform on it was great at helping get the right amount of paint onto the roller (this one* is similar to mine but I’m sure you’d probably be able to find one at a home improvement store too).

I used a white Glidden paint in satin to paint on this stencil.  It dried fairly quickly which is key in stenciling.  The faster the paint dries, the less chance it has to bleed or get smudged. 

Cutting Edge has a great list of FAQ’s on the actual stenciling process that you should definitely check out when buying a stencil.

Overall, I really don’t have anything bad to say about the whole experience.  I’m 100% sold on stencils (again) as a much, much, much cheaper wallpaper alternative and to liven up any room.

IMG_6561  IMG_6564                                            [refurbished mirror, over-sized letters are from JoAnn Fabrics]
I’ll have lots more details about all of the other projects I finished in this room in the coming weeks but for now, let’s take a little tour of the girls’ sweet space, shall we?
IMG_6565                                                        [diy play kitchen from an entertainment center]
 IMG_6566These pictures of the dresser wall came out awful for some reason (shoulda turned the lamp off?) but at least you can kinda get a glimpse of all the pastels going on there. IMG_6567 IMG_6569                                                                                  [mirror refurb]


My favorite tours though, are those that bring up what used to be.  Like how the room looked like this right after we moved in and scrambled to put it together before guests arrived with stuff we had on hand:guest office ip 
But then we made big progress into turning it into a guestroom guests would feel much more cozy in.may182012 008

And then the twins got moved, mom got busy and moved up in the photo-taking world to bring us where we are today:IMG_6560

And in case you’re wondering how in the heck I keep their room so clean, I don’t.  I just lock them out when I need to take blog pictures when the bright sun is shining in during the late-afternoon…and I call on a certain Explorer to babysit.  Once that lock is unlocked though and the cubs are let in, it’s all scatter and dump.  IMG_6591

And that’s real life.

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Make sure you check in with Chelsea to see what she did with the Beads stencil!

*affiliate link


And PS, thank you for all the love after our bitty baby announcement Friday!  I’m so blessed to have such friends in my readers!  XO! 

Oh Baby

We’ve always wanted a “big” family…big as in more than one or two kids.  We saw built-in best friends, family game nights, and fun family vacations that started with road trips of a filled vehicle.  Not to say that small families don’t have any of that, because they can, but we just envisioned a full house if you will.  I distinctly hearing one of my favorite priests in college saying, during a homily about married couples and the vocation of marriage that we should “populate the Earth with good people”.  To me, that meant having 23 kids…totally kidding, but it did give me the desire for a large family of 4 or more kids.  I wanted to help fill their Earth with good people.   Of course there are lots of factors going into how many kids made up our big family ideal – things like budget and fertility, both of which are or at one time were pretty sparse.    IMG_6744too

We’ve also always wanted our kids to be close in age.  The twins and Sebastian are closer in age than we thought we wanted but it’s turned out pretty awesome.  So, since Sebastian is going to be two in a month, it’s been time to start thinking about the next little bean.  We have actually been discussing him or her for the past several months, thinking that if he or she could come along anytime after Sebastian hit two, that’d be just peachy.  Only we just weren’t sure how that little bean was going to get here.  For one, we weren’t sure if we were going to struggle to have more kids since we struggled with fertility for years before the twins came along.  Sebastian arrived without an infertility beat so maybe that wasn’t a struggle anymore, maybe it was.  We’ve been avoiding the marital deed during ovulation each month (we’re on the Natural Family Planning train…tmi for some of you…sorry!) so we didn’t know what would happen if we tried during that time or what.  But bigger than that, it’s been on our hearts to adopt.  There are lots of reasons why but one thing that has convicted me in that possibility is everything that has been going on with Planned Parenthood.  (If you live under a rock, they’ve been selling the body parts of the babies they’re killing…illegal and plain disgusting.)  I’m not going to step on a soap box about that but it’s made me realize for the 1000th time how much of a tragedy it is that we are allowing the murder of innocent babies in this country.  I ache for the babies and I ache for the mothers that are going through so much junk that killing the child growing inside their womb becomes a condolence and is “making it all better”.  I want to hold those moms and tell them it’s going to be okay.  There are so many families who are aching to adopt and I wish these women knew that; knew there was a better way.  Along with all the aborted babies and sad mothers there are so many children in the U.S. living lives that are filled with trauma, abuse, loneliness, abandonment, and zero security who are in foster care and/or waiting to find a forever home filled with the love they’ve never been shown.  It’s all just overwhelmingly sad to me and to us.  I want to take them all in but of course that’s an unrealistic desire.  But, taking in one or two isn’t.  

So, this past summer, we made the decision that we were definitely going to hop on the adoption track and that we were going to start looking into and starting the process.












And you’ll never guess what happened…












This:      IMG_6763too
God’s really funny, isn’t He?

We are elated and so excited and laughing right along with Him.  And we’re still in shock too but mostly so, so happy.  Baby Tobin will be here in June of next year and we’ll have four under four for a month which is really scary and really fun all rolled into one little ball of beautiful.

I’ve been meaning to tell you all for over a month now but I had my heart set on a cute little announcement including Anthony and the kids, all with their respective numbers 1, 2, 3, and then new baby 4 but it was looking like we’d get that picture taken the day before the baby was born next summer so it’s just me and #4, taken with a self-timer during nap time.  Haha!

So does this mean adoption is out?  Nope!  Obviously we’ve had to set it aside for awhile but we still very much want to pursue it in the future.  We’re a little sad (but still very happy we’re expecting…don’t get me wrong) but God has shown us plain as day what His will for us is right now and we’re are just going to roll with it. 

Anyway, please keep us and this little bean in your prayers!  You can be sure that I’m offering up some of these wonderful pregnancy symptoms for you! 

Oh and if you’ve been wondering why I’ve been boring on the blog recently, well, now you know.  First trimester slothfulness.  It’s all over me…….

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Gorgeous print in the frame above is from Hatch Prints!

“How can you say there are too many children?  That is like saying there are too many flowers.”
Blessed Mother Teresa