Thursday, June 19, 2014

Around Here Lately...

I started getting catalogs for "End of Summer Sale!" before school was even out and summer even officially started, I expect I'll start getting Christmas catalogs next month. Although it does seem appropriate as it has been in the low 90s for the past week. I swear the heat and humidity steamed my shirt straight the other day when I didn't bother to iron it before leaving the house.

No matter, I love the heat and summer and everything that comes along with it. Trips to get ice cream and froyo, laying by the pool, fresh garden veggies. Summer is definitely welcome around here after the harsh dry winter we had. Even if it does make my hair explode into 80s hair band music video worthiness.

This month is planning for my birthday (the 29th) Bears birthday (July 3rd) and Adams birthday (July 13th). As well as planning Ashley's baby shower, upcoming events and festivals for the Random Bakery and making banners out the wazoo. I actually have found that making banners is relaxing and cathartic. I feel like I'm being crafty and productive at the same time and after finally getting my camera charger in the mail have been able to list some actual photographs on Etsy further enhancing my productivity. I am considering doing a joint birthday party for Adam, Bear and myself later in July after things have calmed down. I'm excited to throw the bash, especially since it will be after Ashley's shower and I'll hopefully still have the motivation to keep trucking right along.

I didn't plan for summer being this crazy and booked but I'm pretty happy it ended up that way. I love staying busy and working on things. I've been able to listen to some great new (to me) podcasts while working which has made it even more pleasant. New favorite is Welcome to Nightvale that's a very HP Lovecrafty type of sci-fi podcast based in the fictional town of Nightvale. If you're getting bored with the regular ones I highly recommend this one.

Oh yeah, I got Bear a binky and it was the best decision ever.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

DIY Upcycled Nautical containers

First let me start this post with an apology. I lost my camera charger a while back and have been surviving on the last fleeting bits of energy it had in it. Of course it finally crapped out on me and I was forced to order a new one. Although the new charger will be here most likely tomorrow (thanks to Amazon!) I still wanted to get this project documented and posted since it's such a fun little project thats cheap and easy and I have a few larger ones coming up! You can tell the haste in my pictures from the lack of staging. I have a bunch to do in the next few days including birthday cake orders, banner making, cleaning and more laundry than I can talk about. So it's a little quick and sloppy, such is life I suppose!

This project was developed because one of Shaun's favorite foods is spaghetti. Thus I go through a lot of tomato sauce and paste cans. I would usually rinse these out and recycle them, but they took up so much room in the recycle bin and I couldn't help but thinking about what perfect little containers they were and how multipurpose I could really make them.

Part of me was still in DIY mode from making all the decor for Ashley's upcoming baby shower. When I went to Home Depot to purchase the sisal twine that would make the hanger for the banners I picked up a heavier duty rope as well, this one to be exact. I had another project I was going to use it for but ended up getting pushed to the back of the line. No worries though, I only used maybe 30 feet for this entire project wrapping 2 large and 2 small cans.

So I gathered up my used sauce cans being sure that all the adhesive was removed, a couple cans of fun colored spray paint and took them outside.

I decided to paint them a soft baby blue color and a hot pink. I was originally going to go for plain white which would also be adorable and slightly more classic/nautical, but I'm shifting more into large white pieces in my home and smaller colorful accents. This worked perfectly.
Make sure to spray paint these outside in a well ventilated area and preferably in some shade. I noticed when they sat directly in the sun they were still slightly tacky when I brought them in. 

After about 2 coats, I took them in an rinsed them under some cool water and that helped to get rid of a little bit of that chemical smell and also cool the paint so they stopped being sticky.
you can see the seam here on both cans, most of the seam is covered up by the rope but I also just end up putting the seam in the back and you never notice it.

So I took them upstairs and fired up the hot glue gun and started gluing and wrapping my rope. I decided to start fro the bottom on the blue ones and start right where the ribbing is on the hot pink ones. I haven't decided yet which ones are my favorite. I think I like them both for their individual personalities.

The hardest part about this project was cutting the rope. All I had next to me at the time were some scissors and mini wire cutters. Although larger wire cutters may have worked a bit better, I made due with what I had. 

The first use I loved about these is candle holders. The larger one fits 4 and the smaller one fits 1 quite well. If I wasn't rushing around like a crazy person I would fill these about halfway with sand first and then drop a tea light or citronella votive inside for those summer nights out on the deck.  They cast a lovely glow and would be perfect as centerpieces surrounded by seashells and driftwood for a nautical themed soiree. 

They are also perfect as pencil/craft supply holders.  It seems I'm always surrounded by a billion paintbrushes, pencils, pens and miscellaneous items that need to be corralled into something slightly neater and prettier. What a perfectly cute answer to a problem I've been trying to solve for so long! 

The easy/copout use is just as additional nautical decor for the mantle.  Even though I'm going for more of a lake vibe and less of a beach vibe, they still work perfectly into the decor while remaining simple enough to not just pop out on their own.

These are exceptionally nice as a flower vase. What a pretty way to gift someone their favorite flowers in a reusable, non-traditional, adorable vase! 

My personal favorite is probably the most utilitarian of all of them, but it's something that I use every morning and some afternoons.

Throw those keurig cups in there! In fact any open container on your counter can be subbed with a pretty DIY container like this. Since coffee is a passion/addiction of mine it was a nice way to hide those k-cups while still having them easily at hand.

So there you have it! An afternoon project that you can create for your next shindig or just to spice up your office, kitchen or mantle. I'm also using one to collect all the dry cleaning tags, packs of gum, and loose change when you change at the end of the day. But I felt that wording it they could also "spice up the bedroom" would be a little bit misleading to their actual use. What would be your favorite way to use these babies? 

Monday, June 9, 2014

White Sangria!

It's still technically spring but the temperatures have been soaring the last few days. Of course it being northern Virginia we also had a day where it rained and dropped to the 60s but now it seems the warm weather is finally here to stay and summer is only just around the corner!

I'm already excited to do all sorts of infused waters and different variations of lemonade for everyone (especially with Bears 1st birthday coming up soon!) but I wanted to also make a white sangria that would be refreshing and fun for the adults as well!

I looked online for many variations of different recipes. Holy cannoli I didn't realize there were so many different ways you could make it! After much reading I decided to make my own adaptation of several different recipes. I think the citrus base for a lot of them is one of the most refreshing combinations but we have so many "pick your own" strawberry fields just down the street I knew I wanted to infuse the juicy red berries into this sweet sangria.


2 bottles of dry white wine (I used this Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc because it was $5 at Wegmans!)
2 naval oranges
1 lemon
1 lime
1 container of strawberries (you won't use the whole thing but you can snack on them and make things with them later)
half cup of raspberries
half cup of blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 bottle of ginger ale


Slice the 1/2 lemon, 1/2 lime, 1 of the oranges and the strawberries into your preferred shape and add to the bottom of your pitcher. Add the sugar and the berries. Pour the white wine over this. With the remaining lemon, lime and orange squeeze or juice the into the mixture. Take a large spoon and stir this up so the sugar dissolves.

Place in the refrigerator overnight or up to 3 days. Top off with ginger ale just before serving.

Now whip up a batch, invite some friends over and enjoy this gorgeous sunny day!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Before and After: Dark and Modern to Light and Bright Farmhouse Coffee Table

So I may be getting a hang of/becoming obsessed with this whole DIY chalk paint thing. I spent a solid 30 minutes after finishing the dresser just wandering the house looking for something else to tackle with chalk paint.

Funny enough a few days later I saw Shaun hauling our old chunky coffee table up the stairs from storage to stick it in the truck and donate it. There were a few reasons this wouldn't work. 1. The truck was already packed full of clothes and furniture to donate and 2. I immediately saw my next chalk-painted piece.

We had gone through about 3 coffee tables in the living room and either Shaun or I or both of us weren't happy with all of them. This was a modern coffee table we got from West Elm when we lived in the condo. Shaun actually hated this table because it had some scuffs and marks on it. No matter though, I was going to make it even more scuffed! But purposely scuffed! Which is better than accidentally scuffed (funny how that works, isn't it?)

So I went to Lowes and picked up a couple $3 cans of someones "accidental" paint color they didn't like. They were both off white and perfect for what I wanted. One was more of a grayish white and one was more cream. I picked the grayish white one for this because I knew the wax was going to make it a warmer color anyway.  I also picked up some sanding blocks so I could scuff up my project and make it look less modern and more lived in.

I have never been a fan of picking up and moving things and buying extra things I don't need so I ended up just throwing down some old towels around the table in the office while I painted it. Here is what it looked like after it was painted and I scuffed it up a little bit with the sandpaper. Since there were so many angles and varying surfaces on this table it took a bit longer to scuff and wax. Luckily I've been blessed with daily Law & Order: SVU marathons to keep me company so I end up sanding while entranced watching detectives Benson and Stabler hunt down bad guys.

I was so happy with the light scuffed up/worn look that resulted from just sanding down the edges gently with a coarse sandpaper. I also took a lighter grit and smoothed out the top since I had a few uneven surfaces from the paint being a bit too thick. Whoops!

Waxing was more of a pain in the butt than anything.  But once it was done and I was able to polish it into a nice lustery finish it was all worth it.

Not too shabby for the 2nd ever piece of experimental chalk painted furniture! I obviously learn things every time I paint a piece and this was no different.  But I am thrilled with the way it came out. I think I might start painting the bedroom furniture when Shaun is at work. Just don't tell him, ok?

You can tell Bear was pretty over me working on this table by the time I was done. Luckily I finished just in the nick of time! I can't wait to paint more pieces. I have a few small decorative things to work on that I am super excited about too! Now if you don't mind, I'm gonna go snuggle this Bear and eat this charcuterie plate and enjoy my Law & Order marathons. Have a great day! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Weekly Pinterest Roundup/planning a baby shower

What am I doing right now? You may be asking. Ok you're probably not asking that at all but I'm here and I'm typing so I'm gonna tell ya. I'm sitting here eating Dark Chocolate with sea slot toffee and drinking coffee trying to motivate myself into creativity.  Sadly, this is not unlike most other mornings.

What I am getting ever more excited about, however, is the upcoming baby shower I'm planning for my dear friend, Ashley. This will be Ashley's 5th child and let me tell you all previous 4 are just as adorable as can be so I cannot wait to meet the little girl that will be coming later this year!

When I found out that she was having a little peanut I was just way too excited. My mind started racing with a billion ideas and of course I took to pinterest to fill in the rest.

I don't want to spoil anything but she has decided on a mid July summer garden party themed shower in shades of baby pink and light grey. Of course I have been snatching up everything I see in pink and grey whenever I am out and the designated area in the craft room is now blossoming with baby hued decor and items!

I also recently invested in a Cricut Expression and I have a feeling that bad boy is gonna help me make this shower extra extra adorable!

Here is a roundup of pins in her baby shower board that I'm absolutely smitten with and a few ideas I have for making this the best baby shower ever! Get ready for pink overload!

1. Pink Lemonade in mason jars

Since the party will be in the peak of the summer, we will definitely want guests to cool off! Being from Baltimore, even northern Virginia seems like the south to me so putting drinks in mason jars just seems so appropriate! 

2. pink and grey

LOVE this color scheme and I am so happy she picked it! I like to consider myself moderately crafty so the majority of the decor I've already made or I'm planning on making. I'm kind of a bit obsessed with these colors much do you think Shaun would oppose me painting the bedroom like this? ha!

I swear Ashley and I were on the exact same wavelength for this! Obviously since I am planning this there will be several treats from The Random Bakery involved and I was thinking of doing some additional little treats as well. When Ashley texted me and said she wanted a candy bar I was like yes! perfect! assolutamente!

and fun props

I know a photo booth is not the most common thing for a baby shower and is typically seen at weddings and NYE parties. But every party I have ever thrown or been to where there has been a photo booth has been a great success! I think people open up and act more goofy when there is a photo booth, plus everyone gets pictures instead of one person roaming around with a camera and missing out on the fun! Plus to look back on all the pictures would be such a fun memento and it would be nice to make a little album for Ashley so when her baby girl is older she can look back at all the warmth and joy that was created to celebrate her birth! 

these are just a couple cute examples of the fun we are going to have! Ashley came up with a really fun balloon game and I stole the idea from Allisons baby shower to have a "decorate a onesie" table where the onesies can be strung on a line with clothespins afterwards so mom can admire all the sweet handmade messages from guests to baby girl! 

So theres a little snippet of the awesome baby shower coming soon! There will be lots more fun things and plenty of adorable pictures to follow up with. I cannot wait to celebrate this day with Ashley and her little peanut!