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!

image

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!

image

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!

image

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.

 DSC00292

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!

DSC00293

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

DSC00399

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.

DSC00398

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!

Weekend Warrior

I have to say, I’m pretty proud of my haul this weekend.  I did a lot of cleaning, grocery shopping, and playing video games, but I still managed to make a big dent in the wedding décor!  Specifically my faux mercury glass.  I took this fun shot with “Retro Cam” on my phone and thought it was worth sharing.  These are the votives, taped up and ready to paint!  I’ll detail more about the process and the results on Wednesday.

oldglass

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.

image

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…

image

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!

DSC00337

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.

DSC00338

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!)!

DSC00339

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!

And we’re off!

I took the opportunity over my spring break to test out some of my ideas regarding wedding decorations, favors, and centerpieces.  DSC00288Much of our décor is DiY, and I knew I’d need to test out my theories and create mockups to see if I actually like the look of what I’m envisioning.  Here’s my first try.

My dad was kind enough to give us this miter box with which to saw straight lines (HAHAHA).  Since I’ve opted to create centerpiece ‘vases’ from 4 and 5 inch diameter PVC pipe, we needed something that would help us cut the bottoms of each vase flat, so they would stand securely (this works out to much cheaper than buying glass vases, which run about $8-10 in the sizes we want.  A ten-foot section of PVC pipe was only $12 and will yield about 7 vases.  This of course only works because I’m covering them with paper).  We discovered how difficult cutting PVC by hand can be when we chopped the ten-foot pipes in half AT Home Depot in order to be able to take them home in the car.  Heh.  DSC00291It was a long process that resulted in a desperately ragged edge.  After that, we knew a miter box would be important to this process.

I also needed to paint the bamboo reeds something other than their original blonde color.  I opted to use the chocolate color from our palette, since it seemed more natural and we happened to have several cans of brown spray paint left from various projects.  I laid out several reeds to use for the test out on paper on the front patio and sprayed away!  I did it in two shots, one for each “side” of the reeds.  It seemed to go okay… until I picked them up to bring them in.  The spray paint was tacky to the touch and refused to stay stuck to the bamboo.  Yuck!  That really made me glad I did the initial test.  Even though the paint job was a failure, I continued on.

I kept going with an attempt to saw a section of the PVC alone.  This was a mistake, as it was too difficult for me to keep the saw straight AND hold down the heavy additional length of the PVC as it hung off the edge of the miter box.  Oops.  The results were rather amusing…

DSC00290

Haha.  Miter fail.  I will employ Nick to do the sawing next time.

SO MUCH FAIL.  Even so, I had my first test piece pretty well complete, and I’d managed to learn several things NOT to do in the future, which was the point of the exercise after all.  I went ahead and used the sticky reeds in my original test piece vase, a purchased glass vase (nice, but not big enough!).  The look was rather nice, and seems to go alright with the faux mercury glass I’m also making.

DSC00294

All in all, it’s not looking too bad!  I think a more natural stain will look a lot better on the bamboo reeds (and also be a lot less hassle than trying to spray them), but you can get the general idea of the look.  I really love the paper-covered vase, I think it’s a nice foil to the wood texture of the bamboo and it takes the edge off what could become way too much glass for the more soft, informal look we’re going for.  I’m really enjoying creating and learning as I delve into our DiY wedding projects!

What’s your favorite wedding DiY, yours or someone else’s?

A personal message from…

I had one of those HOLD IT REWIND THAT BLOG moments the other day while going through my Google Reader.  Here’s why:

ibb-1299448365

OMG PERSONALIZED PENCILS.  I NEED THOSE FOR THE WEDDING.

Sorry for the capslock, but seriously, those are so adorable!  They appeal to me on so many levels!  As a teacher, they’re a staple of my everyday existence.  As a lover of all things text-filled, more cute fonts as a part of our décor and favors is always good.  And hello, would those not make the best favors EVER?  Personal and practical?  With about 4 dozen (in custom colors with custom fonts, HELLO?!?!) at $50 from Explicitly Yours, they’re a pretty reasonable deal.  Even with our limited budget, I’d love to fit these in, just because they’re so fun!

What item has made you do a backflip?