Christmas Tree Dolly

Our Christmas tree stays up for… you know, longer than socially acceptable… I was pretty impressed we made it until after Halloween this year!
We used to put our tree up in the front window but my kids love having it in our family room where we enjoy it more.  So the only spot is in front of our bookcases.. which we use.  So that means for 2 months it is practically impossible to get into them.
I was cleaning out the garage and came across an old table top and had an idea strike.
I added 4 small roller ball bearings (since they would be lower to the ground than regular casters). I found mine at Harbor Freight tools, these are the ones I used. 

Since the table top was all ready finished that was it! Now, we don’t have toddlers anymore and my girls are careful with things.  If you have rambunctious kids this may not be a good idea! I could see some kids riding it around the house!

And yes, we have a fake tree.  Since I’m allergic to pretty much every tree and grass it’s the best we can do.  But our kids don’t seem to care and love throwing 5000 homemade ornaments on it so you hardly see it anyways!

With a tree skirt you don’t even see it!

And now when I want to get to the bookcases I can easily move it out of the way! Problem solved!

DIY Glitter Desk

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My youngest loves art and sometimes it takes over our house a little bit.  I wanted to do a desk in her room for her room but I wanted it to be something different.
I started with this old school desk for $5 from City Liquidators in Portland, Oregon.

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I unscrewed the base and scrubbed everything with an SOS pad.
I coated the desk top with modge podge and went to town with glitter….yes, I keep it in a spice jar.  We go through a lot of glitter, so I combine the last bits to make a “rainbow” glitter.

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Let it dry completely.  Looks good, but needs another coat!  Use a dry paint brush to brush the loose glitter off.
Repeat again, coating with modge podge and another coat of glitter.  I used a combination of coarse and fine glitter.  In the last coat I added some glitter shapes as well.  It kind makes a fun “I spy” game.
The last step is applying a “Pour on high-gloss epoxy” I purchased it at Michael’s, it can get a bit expensive but you can use a 40% off coupon if you get it at Michaels.  Here’s a similar one on Amazon.
This makes the desk super smooth and shiny.

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Then I spray painted the base a cute pink. before reattaching.

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I added a shelf and some pegboard above the desk for storage, along with the bookcase/hutch next to it.  We’ll see how well it contains the art projects/ supplies!

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I love how sparkly it is!

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I left the pegboard really big since I figure the upper part she can use to display her art.

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I’m sure we’ll paint the bookcase a fun color sometime, but we love how this turned out!  What a makeover for a $5 desk!!!

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DIY Jewelry Cabinet

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This had been on my to-do list for a long time.  My small jewelry cabinet I had didn’t hold any of my longer necklaces or the bulky ones I’ve gotten as gifts from my girls.

I started with a couple of wood cabinet doors I picked up in the IKEA As-is section for a couple dollars each.  (Cheaper than building them!)  While I’m pretty comfortable with simple woodworking, I wasn’t so sure the doors would come out looking as nice.  When I saw them I knew it was time to make that jewelry cabinet I’d been wanting to make and they made it much quicker!
I made a simple frame using pine 1 x 4 and my kreg jig.  Then I added a back with a scrap piece of 1/4″ plywood.  I picked up some small hardwood trim pieces for the dividers and put the hooks in.  This probably took the longest!
Then I painted, attached, and added some stenciling.  I didn’t love the stenciling, but I didn’t hate it either.  I figured it would be partially covered anyways so I left it.
The chains on the right side are for pins and earrings… which I’m not sure why I went to the trouble… since I don’t have pierced ears!

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A close up of the hooks.  I used inexpensive hooks, predrilling made it a little easier.

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The little ceramic hand ring holder was my Grandmother’s and I love that it has a place where it won’t get broken!

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I covered a piece of foamcore with fabric and glued it to the inside of the door for pins.

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I added the drawers from my old jewelry cabinet along the bottom for little things.  And there you go, contained mess!
Can you spot the gifts from my daughters?! 😉

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I added some glass knobs and a ledge shelf, using Ana White’s plan, for whatnot.

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Buttermilk Chalk Painting

Buttermilk Chalk Painting

One of the things I love about home schooling is incorporating more hands on activities and art into my girls’ education.  But of course you don’t have to home school to enjoy some messy time with your kids!
I love the Art Lab books for help when I want to give them something new to try for art time.
We have 3-D Art Lab for Kids, Art Lab for Little Kids, and Art Lab for Kids.  Each book showcases many different techniques and a basic way to use them, and an example of a professional artist and how they apply the technique.  Many of the supplies needed are basics, but you will find some that you’ll have to venture to the art store to find.  I actually make a list occasionally of techniques or projects we want to try and make a materials list, then the next time Blick Art Supplies has a good sale I stock up so we’re all ready to go.
This is a super simple activity but my girls love this one.  LOVE.  Just drop some colored chalk into small containers of buttermilk and give your kids some cardstock.  They’ll figure out the rest.  🙂   As the chalk sits in the buttermilk it gets more and more smooth and semi soft and glides on the paper.
This works well on dark paper as well.  You can also use one container of buttermilk and just dip the pieces of chalk into it as you go.  I have these old baking trays that work great though.  Only down side is, you need to toss the chalk when you’re done.  I’ve tried rinsing it off to reuse… but it grew.. fuzzy stuff.  So I guess it’s art and science in one! 🙂
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Lucy loves making “Sink or Float?” charts. 🙂
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Amelia loved how smooth it was.
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I’ve gone too far

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Sorry for the lack of posting around here lately.  I’ve been busy raising humans and other important tasks. 🙂  I’ve been writing a cookbook (not the same as having a cookbook published, mind you.) and just haven’t had time to do that along with a lot of posting on here.  But things are settling back to normal (wait, we don’t do normal, that’s right…)  Well, normal for me. 🙂  This is a non-recipe post, but I just had to share this.  I love undertaking DIY projects but this one I thought was maybe taking it too far.
Our piano is a $50 piano.  No family heirloom or anything, just something that plays fairly well I found cheap some years ago.  But the finish was dark and worn.  After falling in love with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint I decided I would paint it.  I think it’s fair to say Pinterest is largely to blame.
Especially for this project this paint was the logical choice because I could paint it indoors (no fumes) dries incredibly fast, and no sanding or priming needed.  A good resource for learning how to use the paint is The Purple Painted Lady website.  She has great information on using it and when I ordered paint from her she even answered her phone (gasp!) and answered some questions I had.
This is the before picture:
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I wiped down the piano making sure there was no dust or anything.  Then I brushed on the first coat of Provence.  No, there was no way I was taking the piano apart!  I just used some blue painters tape around the keys and pedals.  As I started the first stroke with the paint brush I kept screaming to myself inside my head (This is TOO FAR, HOLLY!  Who paints their piano?!  WHO?! People who have gone too far!!).  I nearly slapped the brush out of my other hand.  And yes, that’s a dresser painted in provence behind the piano.
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By the time you get done with the first coat, it’s probably already dry and ready for the second coat.
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After the second coat I opened the key cover (or whatever that’s called) and at the last minute I decided to use a vinyl cutout to cover the company emblem so it wouldn’t be painted.  I just didn’t feel like it should be painted over for some reason.
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I painted 2 coats around the keys, then carefully removed the vinyl cutout.
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I love how this little detail turned out.
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To finish I applied 2 coats of clear wax.  I do have a nice wax brush, but I actually prefer using a soft cloth to apply the wax.  But having a nice Annie Sloan paintbrush is worth every penny.  With the one quart of Provence paint I have painted a dresser, a piano and piano bench, and a large frame.  And I still have some left.  Crazy how far it goes.  I’m totally sold on it.  It ends up being way cheaper than any other paint I’ve used and I don’t get sick off the fumes any more.  Yay! 🙂
While I still think painting a piano is going a little too far… I’m really glad I did it.  Our piano no longer looks dark and dingy and unloved.
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DIY Witch Costume

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Last year my Amelia wanted a witch costume, but a cute one, not a scary one.
I put this one together real quick using some recycled clothing and few accessories.  It’s been great for a dress up outfit since as well, and very comfortable since it was made with stretch fabrics.
For the dress I found this stretch velour dress for $2 at a second hand store.
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I added a stripe around the waist with some hot pink crushed panne velour (at JoAnn Fabrics for under $5 a yard if I remember right).  And as I sewed the panne stripe on I inserted some strips of tulle in the bottom seam.
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For the cape I found this stretch velour jumper.  I cut it off just under the arm holes, cut a opening down the center front, then added a large ruffle of the hot pink panne at the top.  I made a casing and inserted some wide ribbon to tie it.
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I added some pink and black striped tights and a frilly hat to finish it.
This is the best I could do for a picture, as my Amelia doesn’t like to hold still for them for long. 🙂
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Indoor Fairy Garden

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If you have little girls in your household, chances are, you’ve heard of fairy gardens.   There was NO question what kind of party my 6 year old, Lucy wanted this year.  I’ll be sharing the party this week, so check back!
Pinterest is full of lots of ideas for fairy gardens, and while they are sooo cute, they can also be a little spendy.  You can buy lots of things for your fairy garden in craft stores or online, but it can add up quick.  We were at a local craft store, Craft Warehouse, and picked a few things up they had on sale, but I realized a couple things:
1. We live in Washington state.  If we put this stuff outside in a flower pot, it would be ruined.
2. My 6 year old would want it in the house anyways.
3. I could spend over $100 on fairy garden stuff without blinking an eye.

So, we made a few carefully thought out choices of what to buy and what to make ourselves. (Partly because of what was on sale cheap) 🙂
First, the fence.  I knew I had lots of wire, paint, and wooden popsicle sticks of different sizes at home, and figured we could make it ourselves.  So we did.
I used standard sized popsicle sticks, and also some short ones (they were 2 1/2″ long.)
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Using some craft wire I twisted inbetween each short popsicle stick like this:
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When I had the sizes I wanted I hot glued them to base sticks.
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Then we had to have an arbor. 🙂
I used some regular sized and some more shorter ones for this.  Make a top and 2 sides in desired sizes by hot glueing together:DSC00670
Now it’s missing something… maybe a gate?
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That will work.DSC00676
Use wire to attach the door on one side so it can open and close.
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I used some soft pink spray paint I had, then finished it with a glitter spray coat.
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We HAD to have a little tree, and luckily we had some clippings in the yard from a pear tree we took out.  I drilled a hole in a little piece of 1 by 3 and wedged it in.  Then it got the glitter spray. 🙂  For the bunting, I used some striped twine and washi tape, and the tire swing is just a big washer I found in the garage and colored black with a permanent marker.  I used some twine to tie it to the tree.
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We used some rocks to write “welcome fairies” on, and of course you could finish them with glitter coat if you wanted to as well.
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We made our own toadstools using an oven bake clay (fimo or sculpey are fine) then brushed on a glitter clear coat when they were done.

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We finished it with some items we had purchased, like this little red wagon, filled with some shells from the craft box.
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And this wagon filled with some silk flowers my little one found in my sewing room.
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We couldn’t resist this little metal house, and it was super cheap on sale, but you could also paint or decoupage a mini birdhouse.
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Everything else was little things we had on hand, some different mosses, marbles, wooden pots for a dollhouse, etc.  My mom bought them a little birdbath and fairy statue at Craft Warehouse to finish it off.   We put it all inside a wooden box I had (I think a toy or game had come in it, I always save these for craft projects).  You could also use a terra cotta pot saucer or tray.
Look around your garden shed and craft room, you might be surprised what you have on hand that would work!

DIY Menu Board

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I have had a system for quite sometime now of writing out 2 week menu at a time and posted it on the fridge, but I’ve wanted to do something more decorative for awhile now.   I finally got around to it, and I’m so glad I did!  For some reason my family seems to notice the menu so much more and is excited to see a favorite meal on the menu that week.
I used a 12 by 24 inch frame and lined it with 2 pieces of white paper with red polka dots.
Using my Silhouette Cameo and 2 shades of turquoise paper, I adapted a tag shape for the days of the week, and added text for the days.
I cut a couple banners from kraft brown cardstock too.
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I glued it all to the polka dot background and put it back in the frame with the glass.  For writing out the menu I love  Bistro Chalk Markers, they write and erase easily, but don’t smear like dry erase markers.  But any dry erase markers would work fine.
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There is enough room that I could easily write out each meal of the day, and I like to use the space under the word “MENU” to write out extra kitchen projects for the week, like cookie dough, soft pretzels, or granola.

Words of Cheer (or Chicken Wire Frame)

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My fifth grade teacher was amazing.  Mrs.Farmer.  She was the first teacher I recall having that I would call a “kindred spirit”.  She talked to me more like an adult than a child, which I liked from a fairly young age.  I was an avid book reader, and she really encouraged me in that area.
She had something called “words of cheer” she had her students do.  Every day, she wrote an inspirational quote on the chalkboard and we had to copy it.  At the end of the year we made a cover and she sewed all our pages together so we each had a book with our “words of cheer” to keep.  I still have mine. 🙂
Since then I have always loved having inspirational little quotes and passages from favorite books around.  I’ve been wanting to make something to rotate favorites on for awhile now, and finally got around to it. 🙂
I found a big frame for only $11 in a vintage type store so I figured it was time.
I painted it with Annie Sloan chalk paint (Provence color) and finished with clear wax.  It was a bright green before, so i left a few streaks of that to show through.
Stapled chicken wire on the back,
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then attached a 1 by 2 to the back, then screwed that into the wall. ( I also attached a 1 by 2 to the bottom of the frame, so it would have a little room between the frame and the wall, this makes using the clothespins easier to me.
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Then I put some of my washi tape to use and put it on some small clothespins.
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PS Martha Stewart makes some skinnier washi tape that fits perfect on the little clothespins, otherwise the wider rolls of washi can be cut in half lengthwise to make 2 per width.
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First Silhouette Cameo Project

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I just got my Silhouette Cameo and for my first project I made some decorations for our classroom for St. Patrick’s Day.  I ended up laminating them so we can reuse them in coming years.

I used these Silhouette files :
Pennant- file #24597 (resized to fit the letters)
Leprechaun file #39324

And these free fonts from DA Font:
Celtic Hand
Clover Things  (for the clover shapes)
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I strung the pennants with green and white striped twine, and for the leprechaun’s flag I used a long wooden skewer.
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Isn’t he cute?  I did learn that in the future I will probably think about how many tiny pieces I will have to glue together before choosing images next time.
And yes, I do display books in our classroom for the current season/holiday.  What, doesn’t everybody do that?! 🙂

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