Friday, April 29, 2011

Mr. Bluebird on My Shoulder

For those of you who don't know, Chance and I lost our son, Elijah, two years ago today.

One of my MIL's best friends, Julie, made a blanket for him to be wrapped in for his burial.

In the corner, she stitched a bluebird. She told us that she wanted us to be able to think of him any time we saw one. She chose a bluebird because they are neither too common, nor too rare.

The bluebird is, without question, the greatest gift Chance and I have been given to remember our son. Every time we see one it is a special moment for us.

I decided that, for April, I wanted the decor around our house to incorporate more bluebirds. I also wanted to create a special memento for our families.

I bought this guy at Micheal's:

I bought myself this necklace and I bought Chance these cuff links.

Finally, when I saw these in the Target dollar section I saw great potential.

I bought Aqua spray paint and I painted them when I redid my mirror.

I tried to take the stakes off of them because my goal was to glue pins to the back. I wanted our family members to have bluebird pins to wear if/when they want to. However, I learned that despite being super cheap the stakes were soldered on. We tried a number of things that basically failed. So, maybe my FIL can help us figure it out next time we're in Georgia.

It's the thought that counts!

I promised I would tell you about the awesome quilt in this photo. Around a year after we lost Elijah, our friends, Jade and Claire, sent us this quilt. They wanted to be able to send us a hug from Utah. So now, whenever we wrap up in it we can imagine a hug from them. It is amazing. Here is a better shot of the quilt in it's glory. I made the curtains to match.

We feel very blessed to have such thoughtful friends who have helped us find wonderful ways to remember our son.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Dundies

The Dundies are annual awards presented by Micheal Scott to the employees of Dunder Mifflin on "The Office." 

I was lucky enough to be presented with two awards by the ever fabulous Marie at Educator's Soliloquy. These awards are much less offensive than some of the more popular Dundies. First off,

As a recipient of the Stylish Blogger Award I have been asked to do a couple of things. 
1. I need to tell you 7 random things about myself.
2. I need to give the award to someone else. 

So, in no particular order, 7 random things about the Crafter. 

1. In my family being thrifty/finding a good deal is a sport. This counts for both my family and my husband's family. We have no problem leaving the price tag on a gift if we got it for a steal. It isn't uncommon to hear the sound of tearing wrapping paper then, "Look how much I paid!" This last Christmas I learned that I have infected my husband with this idiosyncrasy too. He bought me the Blu-Ray set of the first 6 Harry Potter movies. After I opened them he said, "You'll never believe how much I spent!" In case you're wondering, the answer is $20!! That's AMAZING!

2. I stopped growing in the 7th grade, so being short has always been a defining characteristic for me. 

Here I am 4 years and 50 lbs ago. At The Price is Right with my man. When I saw this picture I said, "Babe, I'm really short!" He had no idea what to say to that. 

3. I have a penchant for all things English: England, Literature, Accents, Muffins, you name it.

4. I have never been outside the United States. I don't even have a passport! (YET!!)

5. My favorite physical trait has always been my eyes. When other traits have worn away my eyes remain a constant source of compliments. I think that is why my favorite color is blue. My birthstone is a sapphire and I wouldn't have it any other way. It is far and away the best gemstone (after diamonds, of course!).

6. I think my first craft was a construction paper Christmas ornament with glitter. I was really efficient at it and I loved doing it so I made a TON. My mom was a trooper and put every single one on the tree. 

7. I have always had headaches. I started getting them when I was 5. My (very thick) hair was down past my tush and my doctor recommended that we cut it. He speculated that the excess weight was giving me neck problems. He was right, however, I started getting migraines at 12 which was well after we chopped off my hair. I don't remember a time when headaches weren't another defining part of who I am. **Weird side note: I got my first migraine while at a friend's house for a sleepover. We were watching Schindler's List. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch it again.

Me, my step-brothers, and my crazy long hair the summer of 1995. 

I would like to present the Stylish Blogger Award to Nikki at Thrifty Decorating. She is at 329 visible followers so she doesn't qualify for the next award but I always look forward to her posts.

Marie also bestowed upon me the
This award is meant for blogs with fewer than 300 followers. I have been asked to pass this along to 3 other worthy blogs.

So three of my favorite blogs:

1.Every Day is a Celebration
Kelsey condenses some of the best stuff she finds in blogland. It's truly inspired.

2. Live 2 Craft
Erin and I have been friends since high school. Then we went to college together. Oh then we did our student teaching together. What can I say? The girl has good taste. At any rate, I couldn't live without her tutorials. She is so darned helpful.

3.The Magic of Ordinary Things
Affectionately dubbed TMOOT, this blog has it all. I actually found her because Krystal at Sassy Sanctuary designed her blog. When I was trying to decide if I should take the plunge I stumbled upon TMOOT and I haven't looked back!

Marie, thank you so much for thinking of me when it came to these awards. I couldn't be more flattered.

I hope the blogs I have chosen are as helpful to you as they are to me. If you have been featured here on A4C, whether in this post or a prior post, feel free to take a button!

Sharing Time

Hello my dear friends! How I have missed you.
A few things have kept me from chatting with you lately.

I started a new job last Monday and I am learning how to complete all my old chores and tasks in far less time. Thus, I haven't done anything crafty in the last week. :(

I also went the entire first week without internet access. By the time I got home, had dinner, and read all the blogs I follow it was time for bed! Maybe I follow too many blogs...? Anyway, that left me no time to do anything creative for myself. However, the problem has been remedied and I can now read blogs at work. That should help immensely.

Here I am on my first day. Are you impressed by the lovely cracked sidewalk in front of our apartment building? I am, because cracks like these take a special level of not giving a crap.

My allergies have been horrible. It was incredibly embarrassing but I actually had to call in sick yesterday because my eyes were swollen to the point that I could barely open them. I was in bed with an ice pack on my face until noon. I took some Benedryl and drank a Coke to stay awake. Then I set out to rid my home of allergens. I vacuumed and washed our bedding. I had made a previous attempt on Saturday by attacking our window sills with Lysol Wipes. I refuse to dust. I am going to get my darling Chanceman to take care of that for the next few weeks.

So, hopefully as I get into the swing of things I will once again be posting regularly. I am working on another post right now that I think I can finish by the end of the day. I also have a finished post that I want to post on Friday. So, you'll be hearing more from me!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baby Shower

I threw a baby shower on Saturday and used these items as the theme for our decor. I saw the thank you notes first and I fell in love. Everything came together from there!

I used the wrapping paper as a table cover. Instead of a normal baby shower game or activity, we continued with the flowers and butterflies theme by planting flowers that attract butterflies!

(You wouldn't know it by the photos, but I have NOT been compensated/sponsored by Miracle-Gro).

We used TMJ's new Silhouette to make seed envelopes to divvy up the seeds. We then made, you guessed it, butterflies and flowers to embellish the envelopes. This picture is blurry but it is the only one we got!

Here is the beautiful mommy with her rag quilt.

 Here I am apologizing for the seed packets spilling everywhere because they wouldn't close. :)

**I got both picture frames at Target but the flower shaped one got a little make-over. I was so tired that I didn't take any pictures at all.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Oh my gosh people. It's been crazy around here. I started my new job today (more on that later) so I spent last week trying to finish up a big item on my To Do list: Cleaning/Organizing the Multi-Purpose Room.

I finally convinced Chanceman to go through 4 totes full of his stuff. Our totes of random crap were taking over our multipurpose room. One of the many random things from my honey's youth that was rolling around a tote. Of course, when he finally said I could get rid of something and I was like, "Wait! I can do something cool with that!!"

Anyway, since I felt like I spent more time cleaning the room than using the room I knew that a purge needed to occur. Chance surprised me by getting 4 totes down to 2. I was able to clear out 2 boxes as well. So now all our storage actually fits in the closet!

Insert Happy Dance Here.

No. Seriously. Get up and dance. It'll make you feel good! :)

So I spent all day Thursday and Friday cleaning and organizing that room.

TMJ and I spent Friday evening/night preparing for a baby shower that I threw on Saturday. She got a Silhouette machine and this was our inaugural run. It's so cool!

I got up at the crack of dawn to finish prepping for the shower. Afterward I went with shopping TMJ. Chance and I spent the evening babysitting for some friends. This baby is so irresistible that TMJ and Tervlon came over to see her!

Before I keeled over I stared at this little box for 2 hours trying to read all the stuff on my Reader. I can't believe how much piled up over the 2.5 crazy days that I pretty much ignored my computer.

I also may have made time for a little pig killin'.

Whoa. I didn't notice the cleavage until just now. Don't look! Perv!
Ha ha. You looked. I'm shocked!

So you can expect posts from me on:
Multi-Purpose Room Organizational Tips
Baby Shower Greatness
Shopping with TMJ
and An Award... :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Guest Room Set Up

I got a call from one of my big brothers yesterday. He's planning to come out to D.C. in July for a very cool, very exclusive family history conference. I LOVE my family and we live a million miles away, so I couldn't be more excited. This got me thinking about our guest accommodations again. After I got our guest room set up, Chance sent me a link to this article about being the perfect host. I would really like to try to incorporate a few more of those ideas in our room. They include a printable guest information packet that I intend to complete soon.

Our Guest Room
The basic premise of the article is that you should set your guest room up in such a way as to emulate a hotel. Even if your "guest room" is actually your nursery with an air mattress you can make it feel like a Home Away From Home with a few little adjustments.

This part of the article was the most striking to me, "What's most notable about a stay at a nice hotel? The staff of the hotel has anticipated your needs. Nice hotels make sure that you have adequate towels, toiletries, and other necessary items. It's awkward to feel like you're always pestering your host for stuff. You want to make your guests feel as autonomous and comfortable as possible."
 That stood out to me in a big way. It IS awkward to constantly ask for things. I needed to figure out a way to provide the essentials to guests in a fool-proof way. The first step was figuring out what the essentials are! I went into each room of our apartment and said, "What would I need in this room?"

Bedroom: Pillows, sheets, comforter, spare blanket(s), night light, space for my suitcase, a flat surface for my stuff, location of easily accessible outlet for charging my electronics.
The most comfortable futon ever.
Bathroom: Towels, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant. (You can get all the toiletries in travel size for around a dollar at most stores. 9 times out of 10 your guests will bring their own, so this should last you a while.)

**Don't forget to think about the absolute worst case scenario. We're talking Ben Stiller movie awkward. I keep Immodium AD and Gas-X in our medicine cabinet in the bathroom. Those are two meds you don't want to ask for. You know what I'm sayin'? I also keep spare rolls of TP and feminine hygiene products under the sink at arms reach.

Kitchen: I need to know the location of the plates, bowls, cups, and silverware.
In terms of food: I keep a grown up cereal, like Special K, and a sugar cereal on hand. I keep a few fruits in a bowl on the counter. I also try to have bread and lunch meat. Our tap water is gross, so we keep bottled water around too.

Living Room: Location of remotes, special instructions for operating the TV (if  necessary), channel #s, Internet access.
Our entertainment center (pre-decor)
Since Chance and I got married really young we have had many vacations that included crashing at a friend or family member's house. From our vast array of awesome to awful overnight stays we've figured one very important thing: You should spend the night in your own guest room. 

You might learn that it is absolutely freezing in there at night. Armed with that information you could crank the thermostat, provide easy access to extra blankets, invest in a space heater, etc. You'll find out if there is an offensive streetlight that needs to be blotted out by better window coverings. You could even learn that your  sleeper sofa is a death trap!

Don't forget that your guests aren't just visiting you; they are visiting your city as well. Show a little local pride by adding decor or embellishments that are unique to your area. The two little stuffed animals were essentially free and they add to the D.C. pride of our room.

I think the best part of this set-up is the brochure holder. When people come to D.C. they can get overwhelmed by all the amazing things there are to do here. I have collected brochures from all the places Chance and I have visited in the area and placed them in a holder that I bought at Staples ($3).

Everything that is displayed here was inexpensive (or FREE!) and makes our guests feel more comfortable and welcome. We've had tons of overnight guests since moving to the area and all of them have commented on how much they love the little set-up. This is an iPhone pic a previous guest took for his Facebook.

Check out some of my favorite linky parties.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

More Adventures with Spray Paint: The Mirror

In our multi-purpose room (Library/Guest Room/Craft Room) I have a really large mirror that has been painted silver and antiqued a little. *It was given to me but one of my MIL's best friends, Jill. Thanks Jill!

TMJ and I were sitting in there after I bought the ORB spray paint and it struck me that I should go ahead and paint the mirror too.

I looked in my Box 'O Spray Paint and I recently bought Rustoleum Aqua for another project. I looked around the room and realized that the decor of the room included that great aqua color. Why am I thinking about painting this ORB when it obviously needs to go Aqua?!

After my adventures in spray painting with the Shower Caddy Redo, I was really apprehensive. I prepped my mirror with painters tape around the edges. Then I taped pieces of paper over the rest of the mirror. While I did this, I watched the weather. The sun was shining, and there wasn't a single leaf moving on the trees.

I also bought these really cute plant stakes from Target. I have more to tell you about them later, but for now all you need to know is that they were getting painted too.

I bought Chance a new body pillow this week and I saved the bag. How cheesy is that? Anyway, I cut it open and used it as a make-shift tarp. I learned from the past though, I brought out a ton of spray paint cans to hold down every inch of the stupid thing!

So I get all set up outside guessed it...the wind starts. People, this mirror is heavy! Seriously. And you know me. You know how this is going to go. Am I going to give up and go back inside? Nope. That's why you love me.

Here we are after a couple of coats. Again, the sun was really bright so I couldn't see the pictures as I was taking them.

Did you catch the loyal flip-flops in the back? Yeah, they survived ORB unscathed but they have a hint of aqua now. :)

Here she is back inside where she belongs. Look at how cool the silhouettes of the birds look!

This is totally inspiring. I will be doing a project in the future where I use spray paint to create art this way. I don't have a plan yet, but trust me it will happen.

And here is the final product on the wall. See the amazing quilt in the background? I'll tell you more about it when I revisit the story of the birds.

*Disclaimer: I did see a mirror like this on House of Hepworths. Allison inspires me ALL the time. However, this idea really did come to me exactly the way I said.

I like to link up with these Linky Parties

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rust Repair Before and After

Well friends, we started with a faux brushed nickel shower caddy that was covered in rust. (No before picture because I completely forgot!)

We got Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer and ORB spray paint.

We end with a beautiful ORB, rust free, rust resistant shower caddy.

For all the gory details check out my previous post: Forgive me, I'm in a mood.

As usual, I'm linking up to TDC's Before and After Party.

Forgive me, I'm in a mood

Things that I am annoyed by right now:
1. That I did not remember to take a "before" picture of my rusty shower caddy.
2. Wind
3. La Cucaracha

That being said, here's today's post. :)

I guess I should mention the fact that I got a job. I have been job hunting for about a year now, so this is a welcome surprise. It is not, however, in my field. I will be a receptionist at an office in D.C. So, I have spent the last week or so getting ready to go back to work. Trying to get the house in order, buying work clothes, getting my hair done, etc. It's rather unfortunate that I got a job right after I started a craft blog! I'll have more money, but less time.

With all these things in mind I have been eager to get some crafts done lately. I have had the supplies to work on fixing my rusty shower caddy for weeks now, but the weather has been uncooperative. When I saw that we would be in the high 70s to 80s today I was elated. FINALLY, I would get to spray paint.

I got out the camera, Rusty Metal spray primer, spray paint, drop cloth, shower caddy and toothbrush holder (also rusty). Meanwhile, all of the stuff from our shower caddy is sitting in the tub. I also grabbed a cheap wooden frame and a can of white spray paint. I figured while I was out there I would spray that bad boy too.

This was my first time trying this, so I followed the directions on the primer.
First, you wash the rusty metal. I used an SOS pad. It worked really well. Let it dry.
Then, I got all set up and started to prime.

Oh, FYI- I took these pictures in really bright sunlight, so I couldn't see what they would look like ahead of time. Just keep that in mind. :)

Surprise #1- The primer is RUST colored. I know the cap was rust colored but I thought they were being ironic. For some reason I expected it to be clear. Oh! I know why. Because the directions talk about going back and doing a top coat. I thought that this would be a primer/topcoat like unto nail polish. I feel kind of stupid about it, but whatever.

Surprise #2- As I take this exact photo I think, "AW CRAP! I forgot to take a before picture!" It was a faux brushed nickel finish with rust accents. I'm still annoyed with myself. Oh well.

Surprise #3-The wind. Oh, the wind. It came out of nowhere. It has been beautiful all day. I wore a really, really lightweight skirt without problem know...nowish. Since I don't have a garage or anything I have to do this outside. Also, I bought a $ 0.97 plastic drop cloth instead of a canvas one. I didn't want to have to store it! This raised more issues because it kept flying up and hitting the wet spray primer. But, it's too late to turn back now! All our crap is in the tub, this thing is primed, so I have to go all in.

Here's the "drop cloth" flying everywhere.

Here's my brilliant solution:

Are you asking yourself, "Are those the world's lightest flip-flops that she is using to hold down that tarp thing? Is she worried about spray painting them rust color?" Valid questions. The answer to both is, "Yes." Fortunately, no flip flops were harmed during the making of this post.

So the flip flops don't work and I have to stand on the edges of the tarp to keep it down. That got me a lot closer to the shower caddy than I wanted to be and I ended up with a drippy spot. Only one though! My FIL taught me well!

After it was dry to the touch I jumped the gun and tried to prime the back. It wasn't too tragic or anything it just got annoying. I had to stand it up, which worked REALLY well until a gust of wind knocked it into a nearby bush. No big deal. I'll prime the bush if I have to, because at this point I officially entered stubborn mode.

As I sit on the edge of the tarp allowing my masterpiece to dry I try to reclaim a sunny disposition. Although I'm frustrated by the wind blowing cherry tree petals onto my freshly painted caddy, I try to appreciate the beauty of the Cherry Blossom. I love it.

Why no, they haven't mowed the meadow grass. Good catch! Also, I was frequently visited by the world's fattest bumble bee. I tried to get a picture but since he was clearly too fat to fly on his own, he was enjoying pretending to fly thanks to the wind. I got bored so I imagined a bumble bee Bob and Jillian from Biggest Loser. That made me laugh.

Here is the caddy standing up!

Then I started to whole process over with the ORB spray paint. I didn't take any pictures because at this point I had flashed the neighborhood kids (and 1 creepy dad) about 8 times. If Chance had been home he would have taken a picture of me holding my skirt down, Marilyn Monroe style, with one hand and spray painting with the other. Ridiculous.

Now, I'm hot, annoyed, and bored.. I waited the necessary 10 minutes until the caddy was dry to the touch and then I set it in my tub on top of a bag to finish drying. I couldn't sit out there for another hour.

Oh and the toothbrush holder? Totally ruined by the flying drop cloth. I tried to save it. It's a hot mess. I was thinking about buying a new one anyway.

Then I sit down to talk to my man on G-chat and I realize that my feet are RUST colored. GAH. Where should I wash them? My tub is full of stuff! So before hoisting my leg into my bathroom sink I took a picture for you. Forgive the blurriness, I was standing on one leg trying to angle my foot into good lighting.

They didn't wash completely. I'll have to pumice stone them as soon as my tub is free. I'll get you a picture of the finished caddy as soon as I got buy a real Rust Prevention Topcoat and hang it back up.

**Good thing I "Preview" all my posts. I almost forgot about La Cucaracha. The ice cream truck in our neighborhood plays that song. First of all, annoying song. I'll be singing it for the next two hours. Secondly, it grosses me out. Cockroaches and ice cream don't mix. It makes me seriously question the cleanliness of the van. Plus, he's a grown man, in a panel van, luring kids with ice cream. As if I don't have enough of a negative vibe about him, he adds thoughts of cockroaches to the mix.


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