Decorating the Party

Today is Nick’s and my engagement party!  We’re having a few immediate family and members of the wedding party for a fun BBQ out in our local park.  Here’s a few of the decorations I’ve prepped to make it festive!  Most of these will also be appearing at the wedding, too!

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Have a wonderful weekend, all!

Hooked on papering!

A recent thrift store find had me excited about making a new project.  This simple wooden hook hanger was a plain rust-color when I picked it up, but I’d had this great bird printable on hand, and decided to use it to embellish the accessory!

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I started with the hook, a small mirror, the printed sheet, scissors, and a little glue.

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I folded the paper around the edges of the block to figure out where the corners would be.  Then I snipped them a little so there wouldn’t need to be any corner folds.

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Paper will of course tend to wrinkle because of the moisture in the glue, so I used a small paint bottle to roll out the bubbles and wrinkles.

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I added the mirror on with a little more glue once the base dried!  Exciting!

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Not wanting the bare edges of the mirror to show, I picked out a few pheasant feathers to glue around the edges.  I carefully overlapped the tips over the quills so they wouldn’t show.

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And the finished product!

What finds have inspired you lately?

Fun With Chalkboard Paint!

I happen to have a theme for this week, and it’s dun dun dun… chalkboard paint!  I started out using it for speech bubbles for our engagement photos.  After that, I made some boards into regular old chalk boards, also for use at the wedding!  Those are all fine and dandy, but I wanted to see what else I could do with this versatile paint!  So I grabbed a few jars that I’ve been collecting and a few other cans of paint and went to work!

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Wax paper and painter’s tape helped me seal off the areas I didn’t want getting paint on them.  I did each jar a little bit differently!  One jar got a complete coat on the outside (after a base coat of regular spray paint), another got an interior coat of white and a fabric cap.  These two others are my favorites!

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A little squat salsa jar got a coat of light brown paint inside, but the cap got a few coats of the chalkboard paint!  Since I couldn’t get all the adhesive off from the original sticker, I covered it with some cute cute lunch-themed fabric and there you are: lunch money jar!

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The other I added a little chalkboard ‘label’ to!  First I blocked out a base for the label and painted with the same beige as the lunch money jar.  Then I blocked out a slightly smaller space for the chalkboard paint using painter’s tape.  A few coats later, and there we are!

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The adventures will continue Friday with more chalkboard paint stories…  Stay tuned!

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!

DiY Scarf Vest!

I have to share this quick-and-easy solution for a vest accessory!  From the amazing studs & pearls blog, this super simple and fast vest-from-a-scarf DiY.  Looks AMAZING!

source: studs and pearls

DiY: Scarf Vest at studs & pearls

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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?