Thursday, October 27, 2011

Table Troubles

The holidays have saved me. I had two "table" tops that were completely stumping me in the way of design and arrangement. I think the main problem was that I was trying to work with what I have. Which, though the most affordable option, isn't always the most workable option. Nothing was working. I was wracking my brains searching the internet for inspiration when October rolled around and I realized I had three months of holiday decor ahead of me...three months to figure out what I wanted to do. Thank you holidays!

My first trouble area is my yet to be hacked Malm. It has a much larger surface area than what was previously there... silver console (that I painted last year in October). Here is what the area looked like then:

And after we inherited some furniture from my in laws:

I don't have any pictures of what was on top of the Malm before October - but it consisted of a vase with branches, a vintage globe and something else. I can't remember!

Currently I'm thinking I might paint the mirror a shiny silver and the malm a teal color - we'll see!

My second area is my entry. That is where my silver console was moved to and currently looks like this:

Before October it looked like this:

Blah! I just don't love the mirror and table finishes together. My ultimate goal is to have a chest of drawers here with a herringbone paint treatment, so I think I'll start looking for the chest come January. My second problem is the whole arrangement. I just don't like anything about it. The red lamp will relocate to my yet to be born baby boy's room (we just found out what we are having last week!), so that gives me a good excuse to scrap the whole table top and start over...other than the fact that it just wasn't working. I'm also planning on painting the inside of the door a midnight blue.

Here is the before, before when we first moved in:

So I have a lot of work ahead of me. Fun work, of course, but work all the same. At least I have a couple of months to figure it out! Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The DIY gift

I have a thing about birthdays. Or rather not about birthdays themselves, but about the gifts. I love the decorations, I love the goodies, and getting together with friends, but what I don't love is the gift giving. Mostly when it comes to kids. I had sort of a revelation one year as I watched my daughter eagerly tear into gifts that I knew would only be played with for  a week. But to be polite you accept them with a smile, and then donate them to Goodwill when an appropriate amount of time has passed. I can't be the only one who has noticed this. Kids have too many toys. They receive dozens of toys and play with only three.
There  have been studies that prove this.

So the last couple of years I've decided to start making gifts. Something hand crafted and thoughtful - checking with the mom first to make sure it will be used.

Here are some of the great ideas out there:

Rag dolls

There are dozens of these out there and they are so cute. I made one for my youngest when she turned one and I'm just waiting for some friend to have a little girl so I can make another! You can even get creative make characters out of them. I have a daughter who loves superheroes and I'm thinking of making her a Supergirl version.

via Martha Stewart

There are tons of bag and purse tutorials. This one made me laugh and would be perfect for a book lover.
I'm going to make one to use as our library bag.


This is a sweet one and perfect for dads and grandparents - you know the hardest people to shop for. It's a photo book that has pages for the kids to draw or write on. I love it!

Felt is great! It has many uses and is so cheap. I made a felt board for my playroom, a roll-able travel felt board for my daughter's friend's birthday and this felt board for my friend's son.

If you're looking for a way to use scrap fabric and something to keep an older child busy try this:

Braided fabric bracelets.

 I taught my 7 year old how to do this and she spent an hour making bracelets. These would be great for a child who is interested in making their own gifts to give.

You can never go wrong with buttons. I made this for a friend's daughter who was getting her own room for the first time.

These are all over the place and make adorable gifts for babies and children. I made these for a new nephew. With three girls it was fun to do some boy things for a change!

The tie ones are always a hit. Want to personalize it even more? Secretly ask the dad for some of his old ties and use his ties to make the appliques! Now baby really will be just like dad.

Paper crafting is one of the easiest ways to create a gift. How cute is this idea?! Cut shapes and letters out of maps! You could make animals, the person's name, the shape of a state. So many ideas. I made the word LOVE for my bathroom.

I cannot wait to try this. Take an old board book (or one you acquired that has a really poorly written story) paint with chalkboard paint and make a chalk board book! Isn't this a fantastic idea?! Add a box of chalk and it would make the perfect gift for a child.

Hand made hair accessories are all the rage and you can get them any where, but they really do make sweet gifts for little girls. And big girls, too :)

Happy gifting!