hope you enjoy a great New Year’s Eve whether it be at a wild party or an intimate night at home. We will be gobbling up two bushels of steamed oysters and homemade chili with our neighbors, friends, and family. We hope you have a safe and wonderful night. Cheers to 2010!
ubs and I are the very fortunate recipients of all my mom’s decor magazines and she gets a LOT. When she is done, she generously passes them on to us and usually within the month of issue. This arrangement turns out to be a huge money saver and a source of free entertainment. With that introduction aside, the moms recently passed on a home improvement magazine. It had some cheesy ideas of course, but hidden within its confines was a great idea for shelves. We had already taken down the upper cabinets in the basement bar largely because it made it feel too cluttered and claustrophobic. While this effort did open up the space, we still needed shelving for our glassware. Hence finding the idea in the mag was exactly what we were looking for.
This is what the wall looked like after losing the uppers:
And this is what the new shelves look like: (Hubs did such a great job!)
ittle Man is already exhibiting signs of being a creative genius through his colorings and paintings. I decided to take advantage of his talent while I can and let him do a painting to hang above our basement fireplace. I bought a canvas at Hobby Lobby and some acrylic paints in varying shades of blue, all at 50% off (score!). I placed painter’s tape in a random pattern on the canvas to ensure some white remained after Little Man’s creative episode concluded. (I got the idea from an advertisement I saw in a design mag for spray paint).
He was a little timid at first.
But after a little encouragement, really got into it. I was so proud!
After the canvas dried and tape was removed:
The only thing to do now is to throw some black paint splatters on it and it will be an abstract masterpiece!
ur house has good bones although many of its details and styling are retro 70′s. There is a lot of paneling and oak, all with finishes and stains that scream old-school. One of our coziest rooms in the house is the basement, aka “Man Cave”. It has a fireplace, a bar, a play area, and a lot of room to play our Wii. It also has the ubiquitous 70′s paneling and orangey brick. At least the previous owners painted the paneling and replaced the green shag carpet prior to our move-in.
I stare at the retro built-in every time I walk on the treadmill and I cannot begin to describe how much it irritated me. I knew from the get-go I wanted to paint the thing, the only question was what color(s)? Then, inspiration struck. I was reading the January/February 2010 edition of Elle Decor and came across Courtnay Daniels Haden’s home. I loved her painted bookcases as you can see in this photo.
I decided that I could replicate the look with my homely built-in.
Here it is before:
Here it is after (although prior to receiving new hardware):
The fireplace next to this built-in was a bit of an eyesore as well. We decided to stain it using Behr’s concrete stain in Slate Gray that we picked up from Home Depot. I don’t have a real before shot since Hubs started before I got home from work. For someone who hates to paint, he sure did an awesome job! As for Roscoe’s artwork on the fireplace, I will discuss it on another post. Enjoy!
esides our Little Man, there are two other kids in the family under the age of three. During the Christmas brainstorming process, an idea was born: Play dough! I remember my mom made this for all five of us kids when we were growing up and we loved playing with the stuff. Making it even more awesome is that it is non-toxic and, kids being kids, are highly likely to eat the stuff regardless of its toxicity. The recipe couldn’t be easier, using ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Little Man and I pre-tested it and (surprise!) it really was just like play-dough. We had a blast making “snakes” and using cookie cutters to make fun shapes. Very easy and fun Christmas present. For directions, go to the How-to tab at the top of the page and click on Easy Play-Dough.
o accompany our beer goblets and wine torches, I also made notepads and calendars for the family. The notepads were very simple, using plastic binding and regular printer paper with cardstock cover. I customized the calendars for each side of the family, listing important dates like birthdays/anniversaries/holidays, etc., for my immediate family and my in-laws respectively. I used the block carving I had done the other day and featured on a previous post to decorate the note pads and calendars. I also re-used some carvings I had done a while back to break up the monotany. All in all, these were very easy gifts that looked great.
Another one of our homemade gifts can also be attributed to the internet. Our source for materials was again our recycling bin (and that of our in-laws as well). Making these beer bottle goblets required a lot of trial and error, but after a while we figured out how to get the results we wanted.
I decided to go with the recycling theme to package these bad boys, using cardboard to build baskets for a set of four goblets. This was a bit time consuming, but very easy and mindless.
I forgot where I first saw this idea, but a quick Google search will generate numerous results. For directions on making your own goblets, go to the How-to tab at the top of this page and click on Beer Goblets.
Christmas was truly wonderful this year and well spent with family. There was lots of laughter, surprises, and too much food! As I mentioned in a previous post, Aaron and I make the presents we give to family, this year being no different. I had found some great ideas online that turned out awesome and were very easy.
I came across project directions for a wine bottle tiki torch on Design Sponge a while back and knew this would be a hit with everyone. You can find the directions here.
It took me a while to find most of the parts at Lowe’s and even after a 45 minute search, I still couldn’t find everything I needed. Instead, I improvised and replaced some of the parts with what I could find. Everything worked out awesome!
Aaron was in charge of wrapping these bad boys and did a great job using recycled materials. He simply used some old shirts he had lying around and cut them to take advantage of their details. (I was very impressed)
Aaron and I don’t buy Christmas presents, we make them! The typical process begins with brainstorming up a collection of ideas for gifts that are personalized enough to be special, but easy enough that we can actually make them. This tradition of homemade gifts is largely contributed to my mom. She is one of the most imaginative and creative people I know. She sews, she mosaics, she paints, she does it all! Lucky for me and one of my sisters, she passed along some of these crafty skills.
As to be expected, we are making all our gifts again this year. The theme? Recycling Bin. That may either scare you or pique your interest, but either way come back after Christmas to see what we made! In the meantime, here is a list of some of the items we have made in the past:
Crocheted scarves (I think all the crocheting gave me early onset arthritis); Wood burnings; Scented gels; Homemade BBQ sauce; Candles; Soaps; Beach Bags; Note Cards; Picture Puzzles, Dolls, & Toy boxes (for the kiddos); and the list goes on…
I want to wish everyone a very merry Christmas. I hope you all make great memories and enjoy the company of the most loved people in your life!
One of my favorite places to go in Charleston was the Artist & Craftsman. They have an enormous selection of art supplies and kits to create pretty much anything imaginable. It doesn’t hurt that their staff was always helpful and friendly. They have an online store that you can visit here.
During one of my many visits I picked up a block printing kit and some linoleum blocks to carve. After doing a few, I was hooked. The carving tool is fairly easy to use and once the blocks are carved you can use them time and again. My latest carving is being used to decorate a variety of our homemade Christmas gifts. Hence, I have pictures of the block but not the presents since my family are my main readers and I hate to ruin the surprise .
Overall, I am pleased with the results. The design I drew took a lot more time to carve than other ones I have done, largely because there is so much detail and small niches to dig out. I have to stress again that this is not a complicated project, just time-consuming. Check back after Christmas for photos on how I used it.