Monthly Archives: January 2013

Valentine’s Boxes

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School Valentine’s parties are about to round the corner!  For the younger kids that generally means  it’s time to create cute V’day boxes for friends to deposit your Valentines in.  Our girls have pretty much reached the age of no Valentine swapping, but I came across some pics of boxes we have done in the past.  These are super easy!

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The hot air balloon was definitely a favorite!  The base is just a box with top cut out.  You can use a tissue box, small shoe box, whatever.  Then we covered the box with red paper inside & out.  Save yourself some grief & cut the top out of the box FIRST.  If you’re using a shoe box, just leave the lid off.  You could also paint the box if you have red paint on hand.  Next we stuck 4 bamboo skewers into the corners of the box.  You can get these in the kitchen accessory section at WalMart.  We wrapped these with red paper as well.  After that, we grabbed some sheer red ribbon that had hearts printed on it & strung some pink heart-shaped ornaments on it.  I think the ribbon & hearts came from Hobby Lobby.  We wrapped the ribbon around the top of the box and secured it with scrapbooking glue dots, then tied a cute little bow.  The “balloon” is just a small paper lantern.  The heart was already printed on it.  We cut some red, pink & white curling ribbon and tied that under the lantern.  To hold the “balloon” up, we stuck the skewers through the paper on the lantern.  It was a little easy to knock off, but that was okay.

Next up is one my middle daughter made herself.  She is VERY independent!  She also made a dog shaped box last year, but didn’t let me take a pic of it.  It was really cute.  Anyway, here is her iPod box:

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I thought it was pretty cute, actually.  She used an old shoe box, covered it with pink paper and ribbon, then glued on some jewels.  Her friends raved about it & that’s all that really matters I suppose.  This is great for that night before panic.  Oh, your kids don’t do that?  Lucky you.  🙂

My eldest wanted a house-shaped box one year.  This one is slightly more labor intensive.

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We used a detergent box and cut the top out of it for the house part.  We covered that with pink paper.  The door is white paper.  The little fence is wood & I think it’s from Hobby Lobby in the little wooden letter & box area.  The jewels, flowers & buttons came from the scrapbooking area.  The silk butterfly came in a pack of like 6 or 8 of all different colors.  I don’t remember where I bought those.  The roof & chimney are from a shoe box that has a flip open lid as opposed to a detached lid.  I just cut it the way we wanted it with some scissors.  We hot glued it all together.

Hope this helps you with some ideas for your child’s school Valentine box.  I’d love to see what you come up with!

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Bathroom Drawer Organization

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What is it about pinning up a new calendar that sends us into clean out/organize/lose weight/get fit mode??  Or is it just me?  Judging by all the pins and blog posts out there relating to those categories, it is not just me.  Whew!  I’m normal.  Kind of.  🙂

I know most posts about organizing talk about making more space in small places, but as small as our rooms are in this house we actually have too much storage space in the bathrooms.  Weird, isn’t it?  Our Master Bath is only 14.5 feet x 5 feet.  Yep.  5 feet wide, of which base cabinets take up about 2 feet.  So, only 3 feet of walking through space.  BUT in that small amount of space the builders fit 2 sinks in an “L” configuration and a floor-to-ceiling cabinet.  It’s a LOT of unnecessary cabinetry that we will deal with one day in the near future.  For now, let me show you how I organized 3 of the drawers in our bathroom.  The under sink & tall cabinets will be another day.

We have 7 total drawers in the bathroom.  The 3 I organized are all 3″ deep.  The first two are 9.5″ x 15 5/8″.  Here is a “Before” pic of one of those:

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Yep.  That’s all that was in that drawer.  For 6 years.  Well, I mean those EXACT items are not 6 years old, but you know what I mean.  Toothpaste, carmex, a sunscreen stick and a little electric shaver.  The drawer next to it is just like it, but it had a jumbled mess of travel size items.  Wish I had done a “Before” on that.  Or….maybe not.  It was a little gross & scary.

For the 2 smaller drawers, I just shopped the house & attic.  (Is it weird that about 1/3 of our attic space is taken up with organizers?)  Anyway, I was able to find several things to get the two smaller drawers whipped into shape.  Here they are now!

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Toothpaste drawer on left now houses extra do, q-tips, carmex, floss, toothbrush covers, sunscreen sticks and a couple of small toothpastes (that will actually be moving to the girls’ bathroom soon).  Most of this stuff was in the jumbled drawer.  The jumbled drawer on right is now first aid central.  The first aid items were all stored under one of the sinks and were kind of a pain to get to.  Now, we can access all the most needed items quickly and easily.

To the right of these drawers is a wide drawer – 23.75″ x 15 5/8″ .  I obviously don’t know how to convert 5/8 to a decimal.  Sorry.  Guess I could ask my 5th grader….  🙂  Aaaannnyway, the wide drawer is mine and holds mostly stuff I need in the mornings.  The main exception is my daily makeup, which stays in a bag in another drawer.  So, here is the semi-organized “Before” shot of that drawer:

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Not very well utilized & it had become a “dumping ground” for hair clips and ponytail holders.  For this project, I actually had to go buy what I needed to fill the space.  I found 2 of these bamboo organizers at WalMart and they work really well for this space.

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There is a central compartment with all the little “boxy” spaces and then the sides can slide in or out as needed.  Some of the inner dividers can also be removed if more space is needed for a particular item.  After playing around with it for a few minutes, I came up with this:

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There is still a little bit of space at the back, but over all it is perfect for what I need.  The hair clips are separated, there is space for my “back up” make up items as well as the little perfume samples I love.  The red & green ribbon things you saw in the “Before” pic were Christmas ponytail holders that go with my “Who” costume I wear every year.  They now live with that costume.

It’s been a few days since I did this & I have to say I really love the change.  If you’ve been busy organizing, I’d love to hear about it!

Valentine’s Pennant Banner

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I love pennants!  Especially strung together in a banner.  They have been quite popular for a while now, but I’ve just been to lazy to try to work them in around here.  Better late than never, right?!?

To give the whole story on this, I should backtrack to Christmas.  I decided to turn an antique mirror frame into a card holder at the front door.  The frame originally went with a dresser that belonged to my great grandmother, but we were not using it.  It fit perfectly over the chair rail in the entry, so I just added some picture hanging wire to the back and chicken wire in the mirror opening.  And there, you have it, a card holder.  Easy peasy!

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Took the picture at night.  Sorry about that.

For Valentine’s Day decor, I decided to make a cute pennant banner like I’ve seen all over Pinterest.  For the pennant shape, I just googled “free pennant pattern” and found one I liked.  It looked like this (sorry I don’t remember site).

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I used the measurement line to cut it down to the size I wanted.  Then it was just a matter of choosing my papers from what I had on hand, tracing the pattern on the back of each paper & cutting everything out.  Once it was cut, I pinned the pennants up to figure out placement and how many I would actually need.

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I knew I wanted the word “love” on it & thought I had some stickers in my stash that would work.  No deal.  Oh, I have LOTS of letter stickers, just not the right size.  And I didn’t want to spend any money on this project.  I decided to just print the letters from Word in a font I liked and cut them out.  Of course, I wanted them to be black and my black ink decided to run out.  So, I printed the letters in blue & went over them with a Sharpie before cutting them out and gluing them on the pennants.  A little fuzzy yarn & it’s all done!

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I added some pics of our girls to fill up the space.  And because they’re cute.  🙂  They have had much fun looking at pics from their younger years!

Sharing this (free) project at 52 Mantels & Little Inspiration.

100 Day Challenge

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Have you heard about the 100 Day Challenge?  My sister-in-law introduced me to this at the beginning of the year.  You basically promise to be active for 100 straight days & log  your activity.  The above link is to the Facebook page & here is the website link.  I love this because it doesn’t tell you what to do.  (Perhaps I have authority or control issues…)  You just do SOMETHING for at least 30 minutes a day.  Choose your own activity, time, & level of endurance.

Today is yukky, wet & cold in our parts.  Oh, to be on a tropical island somewhere!  But, I’m here.  So, I opted to do something at home – because I refuse to pay a gym when I know I won’t go.  We have 31 stairs in our house.  31.  I know.  So, I popped on my walking clothes & spy belt, cranked up the tunes, set my iPhone timer for 30 minutes & hit the stairs.  For all 30 minutes.  Constant ascent & descent.  I began questioning my sanity on about the 3rd trip up those stairs.

To add a little variety, I jogged up and walked down.  Then I “lunged” up (stepping on every-other-stair) and walked down.  Then I went up sideways (turning midway so I got both sides worked equally) and walked down.  Then I hopped from side to side up and walked down.  Please walk down.  And use the hand rail.  🙂

A friend of mine actually jogs in her house on a regular basis.  She has a great one-level home and just pops on those jogging shoes & hits it.  That is dedication.  It also eliminates any excuse I ever had for not working out.  Although I generally prefer the park.  On yukky days when I don’t have to go to work, I hit the mall.  Most malls will open 2 hours early to allow for mall walkers.  Check your mall’s website.  Sometimes they will even give the distance of one lap.  I just set my timer for 1 hour on mall walking days.

Care to join us on our 100 day challenge?  Just jump in any time & start your own 100 days.  Nobody cares when you start.  They just want you to succeed & be active.  Get some friends together & start your own 100 day challenge group on FB like my SIL did.  Super good accountability!

Hope you’ll join us & head towards a healthier you!

Kitchen Remodel Update

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Kitchen Remodel Update

I am so stinkin’ excited to tell you that we are (almost) DONE with the kitchen redo!  All that is left is the floor and possibly a new fridge.  I’m not sure about replacing the 30-something year old fridge because the new ones just don’t seem to last very long.  We’ll see.  The floor will be replaced after the entryway remodel.  I have no idea when we’ll get to that.

Let’s go back to the Country Blue bombshell beginning, shall we?

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Yeah.  That’s enough of that, don’t you think?  If not, you can read more about it here, here and here.  Let’s move on to the current After shots!

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**For some reason, my computer is now refusing to upload pics.  I’ll add them when it decides to act right.**

*Edited – pics now working!*

We took the cabinets to the ceiling & eliminated the florescent light over the sink.  We removed the peninsula that hindered entrance from the deck, as well as general flow through the room.  That allowed us to turn the dishwasher, so we could actually reach the cabinets & sink with the dishwasher open.  Yay!  We also swapped out the old drop in style oven for a convection wall oven & gas cook top.  Love my “new” gas cook top!  Both items, as well as the microwave w/convection baking, came off Craigslist for WAAAYYY cheap!

We removed the super nasty formica countertops & installed Uba Tuba granite.  Such a difference!  I don’t have anything against formica in general, but ours was bluish & you probably remember how I feel about that.  Also, apparently nasty little six legged monsters are able to get in behind the backsplash part & hide.  Eeewww.

Our backsplash is now cream colored subway tile.  Love.  This is the smaller subway tile that comes on a mesh backing.  It was our first experience putting up a backsplash, but it was pretty easy & we LOVE the way it looks.

We are really enjoying our new layout & additional storage over the fridge & at the top of the cabinets.  I’m still working out the best way to organize things in the new cabinets & drawers.  As soon as I do, I’ll be sure to post.

DIY Cute Crate & Tray

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Now that all celebrations are over, I can share a gift that hubs & I made for his mom.  When I called to ask her what she wanted for Christmas, she gave me several ideas.  Then she casually mentioned that she had asked one of her daughters for a “cute crate to tote food to and from church in”.  She was VERY clear that it was to be a CRATE, not a basket or hamper, and it MUST be cute.  I came across a wooden crate & texted my sister-in-law immediately to ask if I could swap gifts with her.  She was quite happy to do so & I am SO glad!

Because the MIL needed her crate to fit at least 2 pies at a time, and that wasn’t happening with the crate in it’s current state, I asked hubs to make a tray to sit midway in the crate.  He took one look at it, went to Lowe’s, and whipped up the perfect tray!  Yep, he’s a keeper!  I think he said he used Acacia wood – kind of like balsa wood.  It’s very lightweight, but sturdy.  I’m so sorry I didn’t measure it, but it’s pretty straightforward.  Just make sure you cut your pieces short enough to fit inside the crate.  Hubs cut two small strips of wood & positioned them just under the handles to hold the tray up from the bottom of the crate.  Now, she can carry 2 pies, casseroles, whatever at once!  AND she can use either item alone since both have carrying handles.  🙂

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Now, I must warn you that painting these things was the devil.  Oh.my.word.  It sucked up spray paint like nobody’s business & when I brush painted it had runs EVERY.WHERE.  Maybe I’m just challenged in the crate painting department.  Make sure you SAND and prime the crate & tray before actually painting them.  We had to sand multiple times, especially between the slats.  It seemed to keep fuzzing up & I wanted it to be smooth.  I would highly recommend building your own crate, so you can paint the wood prior to even cutting it.  Wish we had done that!

My MIL likes bright blue & white, so we went with a creamy white base & I painted the accents with a metallic blue craft paint.  The polka dots were done by dipping the eraser end of a pencil in the paint & “pouncing” it on the wood.  It does not take much paint to make a dot & too much could end up bubbling or running, so take it easy.   Some of  you may be gifted enough to free hand the words, but I am not.  So, I just opened MS Word & typed in what I wanted to put on the crate.  Once I found the right font, placement & size, I printed it.

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It makes life easier if you cut the paper into strips according to what will be on each slat.  Slip a piece of carbon transfer paper between the printed paper & your crate & GENTLY just use a pencil and trace over the words.  When you are done, you may have to wipe some carbon off the crate.  Then just paint over the words you traced onto the wood.  Easy peasy!

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Here is a pic my SIL took of the finished product.  We considered painting a large monogram on the tray slats, but ran out of time.  Overall I think it turned out okay & she seems to be pleased with it.

I had a super hard time finding cute crates on Pinterest & Google for some reason.  Everything seemed to be a solid color with no writing or stencils.  If you have done any crate crafting, I’d love to see it!

The Little Red Hen

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You remember that old story about The Little Red Hen?  She asks her friends to help her plant wheat, harvest wheat, grind wheat, make bread & they say “no”.  But, then, miraculously when she pulls the yummy bread from the oven all of her friends have time to help eat the bread.  What does she say?  “No.”  (I’m summarizing a bit.)

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My mom always used that story to illustrate the Biblical principle of “if you don’t work, you don’t eat”.  (Book of Proverbs)  However, as I travel this road of being a mom I have come to realize that the Little Red Hen was on to something.  You see, the whirring (and mostly the subsequent silence) of my KitchenAid mixer has apparent magical powers.  It summons my children without fail.  Also without fail is their request to lick the bowl and/or beater.  (You see where this is going, right?)  One day, my evil twin decided to step in & mimic the wise hen.  It went something like this:

Kids: “Mom!  You’re making a cake?!” (like it isn’t an every-other-day occurrence)

Me Evil Twin:  “Yep.”

Kids: “Can we lick the bowl?”

Evil Twin:  “Did you crack the eggs?”  (he, he, he)

Kids: “no-ooo”

Evil Twin:  “Did you soften the butter?  Or help measure the ingredients?

Kids: “no-oo…..but we didn’t know you were going to make anything!” (again, like it isn’t every-other-day)

Evil Twin:  “Too bad.  I think I’ll lick the bowl & beater.”  And I, um my Evil Twin that is, proceeded to savor the experience.  Right. in. front. of. them.

Yeah.  I know.  Turn me in.  Sometimes it pays to be the mom.  🙂  I can tell you they now either offer to help ahead of time or don’t bother to come down unless I announce that I have spoons of cookie dough or cake batter for them.  (Yes, we eat raw dough & no, we have never gotten sick from it.)

*My disclaimer – I did not do this until my kids were over the age of 10 & very much able to help in the kitchen.