I’m back!

You missed me SO MUCH, didn’t you?  And I know you’re just DYING to know, what did I do these last two weeks?  Well, here, I’ll show you:

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First, there was a lot of this (including stats.  I’ve never had to do stats before.  It is painful in the extreme).  I’ve written several papers, read about 800 pages (that is not an exaggeration), and collaborated with many wonderful classmates!  I have a test to take this week, and then things will be settled out for a while.

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We got the carpet cleaned.  I’ve promised myself since this that I will vacuum at least once a week, more if I have the time and energy.  The accumulation of long brunette hairs in the carpet is just no longer acceptable.

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I sanded and painted this charming antique schooldesk.  I’m hoping to make it  fixture in my future classroom, but after living on the porch for two years, it needed some serious TLC.  It’s cleaned up and painted a base coat, but I kind of like the whitewashed look and may leave it!  What do you think?

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I also finally finished cutting all the flags for my wedding bunting, and created this test string to use at our engagement party next month.  I’d planned to serge each flag, but after testing one of the flags, I thought they might be better without.  We’ll see how this one stands up when used outside in the park pavilion for the party, and then I’ll decide.

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I did have a LITTLE fun!  Last week I went to Live@5, Alice 105.9’s summer patio concert series.  My friend Mara and I have done this for many summers past, and it’s always been fun, but this one got crazy really fast!  My name was drawn for a trip to Vegas, so Mara and I will be going together at the end of the summer!  It was SO crazy!  I am also no longer allowed to say “I never win anything!”  Have I ever mentioned how much I LOVE Denver?  Check out the ball park in the background of the photo!

I have a lot of fun little projects planned for this week, and I’m excited to share them!  Stay tuned!

Shiny!

Apartment Therapy reminded me this morning how much I looooove the shine and luster of lacquered furniture.  They featured a post about lacquered walls, but I thought to add a few pieces of furniture.  But seriously, isn’t this gorgeous?

source: apartment therapy

I like my lacquer to have a nice modern finish, like this bedroom set from Scandinavian Designs.  With very clean lines, solid colors, and that bright shine, it becomes the focal point of a room without taking away from anything else.

source: Scandinavian Designs

Shiny lacquered kitchens make me just shiver with delight.

source: apartment therapy

Lacquer accessories have always been popular staples in the bathroom, because of their brightness and ease of cleaning, but they can go anywhere!  Check out these from Nina Campbell!

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On a budget?  Try some resin options from Walmart!

A bit of organization…

My recent finds in accessories left me with a delightful problem: I needed better storage for my scarves and belts.  Before, they spent time hanging on the builder wire shelf organizers that were installed when the house was built.  They’re not a bad system, but they leave a lot to be desired for storing small items, and my accessories sort of hung there limp and neglected, and I couldn’t see anything or access anything easily.  I had a few requirements for my new solution: pockets needed to be clear or see through, so I could identify what was there, and they should be vertical storage, both fairly easy to come by.  I came across two separate solutions…

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A traditional wall-mounted belt hanger was useful for not only some of my belts, but for my bathrobes and some of Nick’s belts, too.  My second solution was the over-the-door shoe hanger!  This version was made with a great open mesh that would let me see what was inside the pocket!  And with 24 compartments, there’s plenty of space for lots of accessories!  I haven’t even filled it up yet!

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The shoe organizer does hang on the ‘front’ of the closet door, but we rarely close it, and our master bedroom is fairly private, so I’m not too worried about the decorative implications for the moment.  I’m definitely feeling more creative and have a lot of new inspiration when getting dressed in the morning!  Bring on the accessories!

What are your favorite organization solutions for accessories?

A homey weekend.

Nick and I spent the afternoon on Sunday looking at some homes for sale in Denver.  We have a delightful real estate agent who is excited to be working with us in the long term (we warned her up front that we’re not ready to buy for about another year!) and she’s really nailed down the locations and styles we’re looking for.

source: dovetailhomes.net

We saw several houses remodeled by Dovetail Homes, a Denver company that’s focused on restoring vintage homes in some of the most charming, unique neighborhoods in Denver, such as Highlands, Park Hill, and Wash Park.  We saw two of their homes and were utterly blown away by the quality of work and choices in finishes (aside from my addiction to HGTV, Nick’s and my parents both have built homes, so we feel we have some good experience in making judgments about quality!).  They clearly have a focus on making homes into quality, contemporary, modern residences while retaining the original charm.  These are not your typical flippers, the layouts and changes are clearly well thought out, and the company itself has a sterling reputation.

We’re going to be keeping an eye on this company and their homes as we continue our home search, and I’m truly thrilled to see more of what they’re doing!

Did you focus on any builders or renovators in your home search?

Friday Fi.. more like three!

Even though this is not Twitter (although you can check mine out @charmedseed, of course!), I wanted to share a few of the blogs I’ve been following lately!

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Metal and Mud: Holy brilliant ideas, Batman!  I ran into this blog while participating in Thing-A-Day this year, and this artist is constantly working and creating.  Not only that, but she has a collection of amazing jewelry and art at Etsy, too!  The perpetual calendar project in the photo is simply AMAZING!

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Craftastrophe: Is exactly what it sounds like.  Occasionally NSFW, silly and even occasionally appalled at some of the nuttier craft ideas out there, this blog is sure to bring a laugh or two to your day!  I pity the fool who doesn’t read this blog!

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crafting an education: Here’s where I’m a total tool and toot my own horn.  This is my more education-leaning blog, but with a crafting aftertaste.  I discuss some of my teaching and learning here, but I also identify fun teaching-related crafts, organization, and décor!  I love making this connection between my two passions.

Go for it, share your favorite (or your own!) blogs!

Faux Mercury Glass Experience

I wanted to create some votive candle holders to double as décor and wedding favors, so I gathered my DiY wits about me and went after a beautiful vintage mercury glass look.  There are tons of tutorials out there on how to do this, and I read several, devising a plan that worked!

My ingredients included 72 small votives purchased from amazon.com for about $36.  What a deal!  Add to that some painters tape, a squirt bottle, and metallic silver spray paint, and you’re ready to go.

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Since the votives came neatly packaged in these boxes, I opted not to cover them entirely in tape.  The cardboard shielded the bottoms just fine from extra overspray!

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The key here is to spray the insides of the glasses with water to achieve an antiqued look, before spraying the paint.

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On the porch with my tools and paper, so as to not continue to paint the concrete, like we’ve already done.  Squirt and spray, and then leave them for a while, of course.

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I also purchased some LED tea lights because, hey, it just seemed safer.  No worries about kids or relatives lighting themselves on fire.  Also, LED tea lights?  Just kind of awesome.  Here’s the look, along with my sample table centerpiece (and some other stuff that I have on the dining table).  I love the soft, glowing look; I think it will really suit our reception location!

Did I mention this was ridiculously easy?  It only took me a few hours to complete 50 votive holders (I’ve reserved 24 for other designs, mwah ha ha!), plenty for the decorations and our attendees.  Next I will be creating the copper tags (saying “B & N”) to add to the votives, as a personal touch!

Made or seen any great DiY décor or favors?  Share them!

Where there is potential

Nick and I are browsing regularly for housing now, with our impending wedding, and planning to purchase a house not long after we’re married (if all the cards fall correctly, anyway!).  It’s been an interesting search so far; we’ve gone from downtown lofts to outlaying almost-rural areas, to established urban neighborhood fixer-uppers.  We’re still in the deciding phase, but here is an example of something that sort of scares us regularly about purchasing an older, unrenovated home.

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This is my personal nightmare.  I hate this layout with a passion.  I have purposefully strayed away from some of these styles of homes because of this terrifying kitchen.  But maybe I’m wrong…

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WOAH!  Talk about impressed!  The combinations of wood, stainless, and brick are exactly what we were looking for in the loft-style homes we were originally after.  Also the sliding chalkboard, so fabulous!  This gives me a lot of hope for developing a great design even in a home that’s not (or even far from) perfect.  I didn’t realize there was this much potential in a kitchen like this!  Wow!  Makeover originally posted at Apartment Therapy.

What’s the most surprising transformation you’ve seen lately?

Eggs-cellent!

With Easter coming up this weekend, I’ve been seeing eggs and egg projects fly through my reader at an incredible pace!  Personally, I LOVE me some eggs: decorated, deviled, scrambled, baked in a pie (or a quiche, as it were).  Here are some fabulous options for your Easter or any egg-requiring celebration!

First of all make sure your hard boiled eggs – whether for coloring or deviling – are intact and delicious!  Alton Brown, the man I consider a guru for everything food, says the following in an interview:

“I put however many eggs I want to cook into a pot of cold water. I bring it to a boil, I cover the pan, I remove the pan from the heat, and I wait eight minutes. Peel immediately under cold running water. That will give you a slightly soft yolk. If you want a really hard yolk, go with twelve minutes.”

DON’T ASK, JUST DO IT.

Source: edbiado.blogspot.com

The good old classic Easter egg coloring event.  Create your own egg dyes using vinegar and food coloring, or grab one of the myriad packages of dye, many of which include glitter, wax for blocking colors, stickers, etc!  Fun for kids, but still fun for adults, too!

Source: sublimestitching.com/forostyukinna

These totally incredible cross-stitched eggs have been all over the blogosphere, they’re that amazing!

Source: myrecipes.com

My personal favorite, the deviled egg!  This recipe is a classic, but there are literally thousands of variations!  Like extra pickles?  Why not!  Need to add a little extra spice?  Go for it!

What’s your favorite eggy creation?

What am I saving for storage?

Now that I’m in full-on preparing-for-teaching mode, I’ve been saving all sorts of containers left and right.  Spice jars, pickle jars, peanut butter jars, you name it, I’ve got some!  I’m saving them for a number of purposes: to store small craft supplies, for pens and pencils, or even just because I like the look of them.  Here’s a few I have in stock!

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Spice jars!  These are the kind that typically come from the Simply Organic line at Target, and I love them because of their classic square shape and screw caps.  I’ve been collecting these with plans to keep them at home for small craft items like gems and buttons.

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Glass jelly jars are wonderful for so many things, even as cute drinking glasses!  Right now, this one is storing a few buttons and wrapped with a bit of leftover ribbon for some decoration.  These are also great for storing pens and brushes, even mixing paints and other raw materials.  Need them to have an even more distinctive look?  Try coating the inside with paint for a unique display (and to hide any messy stuff inside from view!)!

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Ah, the plastic peanut butter jar!  This I am planning to take to my classroom for storage of small items.  Unlike the glass jars, there’s no risk of breakage with this little guy, but you can still easily identify the contents.  Small items like dice, counters, pompoms, or pattern blocks will fit perfectly and safely into this container, even around the littlest of hands.

How are you repurposing your leftover containers?

Help me create a wonderful place to learn!

Well, I’m just two weeks out from finishing student teaching and hopefully ending my job search!  Education is a tough business right now with very limited financial support, and I need all the help I can get to create a great learning environment in my future classroom.  And I would appreciate any help I can get!

source thesmarterwallet.comAn easy way to support my new classroom and students is to make purchases from my Amazon Teaching Wishlist.  I have a lot of badly needed items sorted by priority order, as well as some items that would really make my classroom unique and a wonderful place to be!  I’m striving to create a place where students feel welcome, safe, and happy, and anything you can give will help me to create that and support their success.

I need some basic things like pencils, markers, and storage, but also some additional items like attention-getters, books, and cleaning supplies.  All of these things will help me to create a supportive environment for my future students – who are of course our future leaders!

Make an investment that’s sure to have a great return – invest in education!  Thank you for all your support!