Saturday, March 31, 2012

AT Projects: The Playroom

So, here it is. The last of the alone time projects. I have to confess it's my favorite one.

Like most of my ideas it started randomly. A friend of mine had started finger knitting flowers and brought me some that she made. I had no idea what to do with them so I put them in a basket and left them there.

One day, several weeks later, while I was cleaning I came across the flowers and I knew what I wanted to do with them.   I got to work making several more flowers that became embellishments for my playroom tree.

I am not a freehand artist, so when I started the tree I used tape to make the outline.  I used regular brown acrylic paint and a foam brush to paint it in.  I'm sure you smart people quickly realized that there would be gaps where I made the branches.  When I pulled off the tape it looked wonky and did not at all have the look I was going for.

Enter twinnie.  She is an amazing freehand artist so she quickly got to work and used my original design to make it more free flowing and natural.  I drew the leaves with a pencil and used three shades of green acrylic paint to paint them in.  It seems tedious, but it was kind of therapeutic.  I watched my Sex and the City episodes on DVD while I worked.

After the paint was dry I used yellow and white push pins to put all the flowers on the tree.  I used a decal bird we have on the tree in Riley's room to trace the one on this tree.  I used two shades of blue acrylic to paint the bird.  The bird's nest is some raffia I got at Joann Fabrics and there is a clear push pin holding the  cluster to the wall.

A while ago I blogged about Riley's art work collage. It needs to be updated with her new work and Cam's work too.  In the meantime they both have one of those $2 IKEA frames that I put their recent artwork in.  Blue for him and pink for her.  I bought the multicolored craft supply cups and the metal rods at IKEA too.  They hold things like crayons, foam brushes, pencils, markers, and paint.  Underneath is a large whiteboard that has since been moved to the dumpster.  The kids often color off the board and I got tired of using Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.  I saved the frame with plans to make a chalkboard wall instead.

More $2 IKEA frames display Riley's artwork.  She has painting and coloring marathons and she loves for me to hang up her work.  The ABC's are paper scrapbook letters.  The mirror was at Home Depot in the college section 2 years ago for $4.  The kids love to sing and watch themselves in it.

The playroom is such a happy place in our house and even though it is valuable square footage in our small home our kids definitely needed a dedicated place for all their things.

Friday, March 30, 2012

iPad Crusher

Ahhh.  Happier days.

Before this sweet-faced little girl crushed our iPad screen. Were we upset? Yes. More upset that TG only found out because I called to FaceTime my babies before bedtime.  Once discovered she quickly confessed what happened.

She was pretending to be Tigress from Kung Fu Panda and while practicing her awesome kung fu moves she landed on the iPad. I wish I had a video of her doing this to share with you. She has an incredible imagination and she is often Tigress, or a princess, a Mommy, or a waitress, Ladybug Girl or whatever she can think of that day.

Anyway, she felt horrible about it and even worse when we told her we were taking all her money jar and piggy bank money to help pay for the new one.  She's been saving up for more Barbies.  Or a movie.  Or that goo you put in the bathtub.  Or a Happy Napper.  Her purchase plans change frequently.

Eventually she calmed down and we thought she understood why we took her money.  Then this morning I heard her talking with her friend.  The conversation went like this.

E:  You have a new iPad Riley?
Riley:  Yes.  I brokes the old one so Mama and Daddy got us a new one.
E:  Can I play?
Riley:  Yes.  Jus' a moment.  You have to be careful.  They stealed all my monies to get this one.

From the mouths of babes.  After I ran to the kitchen and stifled my gut shaking laughter I had a little talk with her to clarify that we did not steal her money.

Oh and we also learned our lesson (the hard way which is how we like to do it in this family).  My lovely Valentine's gift of a Coach iPad cover has been replaced with this lovely (def con 5) black, rubbery, thing they call an otterbox.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bring In The Spring

I love everything about the spring. Fresh flowers make me smile. I gush over blossoming trees. The spring smell of grass, rain and even dirt makes me giddy. And the sunshine, oh how I love the days of warm sunshine.

Spring came early here (and around the rest of the country it seems) and I couldn't help but bring the fresh feeling of the season into our home too.

A bright green carnation bouquet, blingy pear and yellow forsythia adorn our toy/storage dresser. For the first time I broke down and bought fake forsythia from AC Moore instead of cutting it off of rogue bushes on the side of the road. The real thing is lovely, but the flowers shed quickly. I wanted some yellow staying power this year. I anchored them in a block of floral foam that I covered with faux moss from Dollar Tree.

I added a few springy touches to my little white cabinet. Four faux spring books that I made by wrapping leftover conversation heart boxes in packaging paper are held in place by my votive bookend. A chalkboard paint clothespin tag I ordered in bulk from GroopDealz fits perfectly. I bought a $.50 pick at Michaels for St. Patrick's Day and dismantled it. I tied the green ribbon on our gold coin candy jar and put the shamrock in the cabinet.

I bought 3 bags of green paper grass from Target for $.49 a bag. I used it in several places like this trifle dish that I filled with fresh yellow tulips.  They were on their last legs in this picture, but they were lovely for almost two weeks.

I filled my lovely Lucketts planter with more Target grass and plastic eggs and moved it to our buffet turned cable box and PS3 holder under the wall mounted TV. It took me a while to decide what to write on my clothespin tags so they are still blank in this photo, but I finally settled on "He Is Risen".

My new hutch got an update too with more pops of green and a few Easter eggs.  I filled the basket on top with some fake hydrangea clusters from AC Moore.  They were half off and I had a coupon.  Score.  

My egg candles on my "fancy" candlesticks always make me grin.  I think they are fun.  The lovely no polish silver platter was a gift from Gigi and Papa for Christmas.  The Longaberger egg basket was a gift from my Mom.  I got the plastic plate from Target for $1.99  and my trendy chevron boxes were $4.99 a piece.

Looking at these pictures I feel like my desire to bring a little Spring to our home was accomplished.  Do you change your decor seasonally?  Obviously I do and while it does make more work for me, it's the perfect creative outlet.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Boss Little Man

Little man is slowly becoming not so little anymore.

He thinks he is big, just like his "seeesy" Riley. He wants to do everything she does. He wants to play with everything she has. He screams loudly in protest if this does not happen according to his plan. A plan that we are sometimes unaware of which in turn makes us want to scream loudly right along with him.

So today when we were at a local farm he ran right along behind all the 3 and 4 year olds up the steep hill, up the steps, and onto the platform for the big slides. Like it was no big deal. Did I mention he's not yet 2? He turned 23 months old today.    

Camden slid down without even hesitating while all the other kids his age watched from below. He started on his tush first and then rolled to his tummy once he realized how quickly he was moving. He got to the end, laughed so hard, ran over to me to hug my leg and say, "I DEEEED IT!" before heading back for countless other turns on this slide, the huge dark tube slide, and the big slide that the older kids were favoring for it's speed.

Our little man, who is not so little anymore, is a boss.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

AT Projects Revisited: Gallery Wall

Remember almost a year ago when TG took the kids to Gigi and Papa's leaving me with three days of free cleaning, organizing and crafting time?

I just realized I never shared my two big projects on here due in large part to the fact that they weren't completely done until months after my family returned. So here's part one of the last two alone time projects.

I give you my gallery wall.  It's a work in progress.  Even now looking at this picture I'm feeling like there should be something to the top right of my 3 photo frame.  Maybe one or two of the things that this blogger used to make a complete hallway gallery?  Hers is pretty awesome.

I know, I know what's up with the blurred mess in the middle?!?  That piece is actually our name frame that I planned the whole wall around.  For safety reasons I blurred out our last name, but this piece of art is amazing.  My older sister gave it to us for Christmas two years ago.  The artist spelled out our last name using information about our family to form the letters.  For example the middle 'N' is made out of children's blocks spelling our kids' names.  The last 'N' is in d'nealian letter form on lined paper because TG and I both teach.

For the layout, I didn't draw a plan or tape a mock up which most tutorials suggest you do, but I did work the layout on my dining room table until I liked it and then transferred it down piece by piece.  I do things the super easy way like that all the time.

The rest of it I pieced together using ideas from Pinterest and family photos that I loved.  The frames are just a random collection of old frames and thrifting finds that I spray painted either with Rustoleum Hammered Silver or Satin Espresso to give them a unified look.

I picked up the "love" plaque at Joann's on deep discount and the mirror at Dollar Tree.

I made this sweet reminder of our wedding date with some remnant fabric from our couch pillows, wooden numbers that I dry brushed with white acrylic paint, and two sequins after I saw the one this blogger made.

I picked up two small plaques, also in the clearance aisle of Joann's. They had a green bird print on them and I just used mod podge and scrapbook paper to cover it.  I hand wrote and cut out the letters and used sky blue acrylic paint to paint a wooden number 4.  It's not as cute as Shelley's from House of Smiths, but I like it.

This last project took the longest for me to plan out and complete (sorry it's blurred for privacy reasons again).  I loved lots of subway art prints that I had seen in the blogosphere and I really wanted one for this wall, but I was unsure about how to make mine.  Shelley Smith made one using vinyl decals and this blogger actually made a poster print and placed it on a canvas.  I opted for neither of those and used an assortment of scrapbook stickers and just the thinnest layer of sky blue acrylic paint.  While it was still wet I carefully peeled off the stickers to reveal the places that were important to us.  Some of the stickers didn't come up cleanly so I had to touch it up with white acrylic paint and a small brush by hand.  It's not perfect, but I love it anyway.

Here's the finished product one more time. I realize the builder grade "white" kills the wow factor of it some, but I am completely stuck on what color to paint the hallways of our home.   I'm hoping this summer to make a decision and get them painted.  Anyone have a great neutral go to hallway
color for me?


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Our Tiny Dancer

For Riley's birthday Gigi and Papa got her dance lessons and all the accoutrements. She has been waiting a long time for her chance to dance.  This was before her first lesson and she was very excited.


She goes once a week and absolutely loves it. The first half of each class is tap and the second half is ballet. After each session the instructor brings all the parents in to watch them do a small routine. There is nothing cuter than a bunch of 2-4 year olds dressed in tutus strutting their darling dance moves.


Riley is one of the most enthusiastic girls in the class and she has an amazing memory for the choreography they learn. The teacher leads them through the moves, but we've noticed that most of the time Riley already knows what step is next. She follows her teacher intently and loves when it's time for us to come in and watch her dance.


She is a busy girl these days with dance, swimming and soon soccer, but I don't think any of the outfits are as cute as this one on our tiny dancer.