Monday, May 31, 2010

Tutorial: Silhouette Frame

You know from my post last week that I've started collecting art for my kitchen. It started with these alphabet frames (by the way, I found a great spot for them. I'll show you when I do my big kitchen reveal). Then I did the crochet butterfly. Some of my art has been pretty quick, like printing vintage images, but I also wanted to have some meaningful pieces that I made myself.

I've always loved silhouettes. They are popping up all over blogs these days. So, I thought I'd make my own version. I love how it turned out:

Ok, supplies:
Frame
Paper Scraps
Mod Podge
Pictures to turn to silhouettes

Step One:
Cut a piece of cardboard to size or use the inset of your frame. Tear scraps of colored cardstock into smallish pieces. I did all shades of yellow to coordinate with my kitchen colors. Then I started layering them. I found it easiest to put a thinish coat of mod podge on the cardboard, then put the scrap on, then mod podge over it. Keep going until your background is covered. Let dry.

By the way, Allison from House of Hepworths inspired this method with her paper bag background idea, which I also love.


Step Two:
Turn over your piece and cut off any overhanging paper.

Step Three:
Decide on how big to make your silhouettes, then print out pictures. Here's a good tutorial on how to cut them by hand. I actually had silhouettes in vector files from a project I started last year and never finished, so I used my Craft ROBO to cut out mine, but that sort of technology is completely unnecessary.
Like how I cut down a Cricut mat when I couldn't find the one that goes to my Craft ROBO? It worked ok, although I think the Cricut mat is a bit thinner than the ROBO's.

My trusty Craft ROBO.


Step Four:
Cut out silhouettes. Arrange on background. Tape down. I opted not to Mod Podge, but that's totally an option. I just though I might have fun updating it in a few years, so I just used some scrapbook tape runner to attach it.

Step Five:
Put in frame and hang.

The kids adore it. As soon as I hung it up, Aubrey was pointing out who was who and saying she was up there with her friends. I love how cheerful my kitchen is starting to look. Happy Dance Happy Dance.

For other tutorials, check out my full list here.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Blast from the Past Saturday

Every Saturday, I post a previous post, usually from about a year ago (although I might go back further if I feel like it). Enjoy!

In honor of Aubrey's third birthday today (my last baby is three! I cannot believe it), I'm posting her first birthday party photos. The cake is still pretty awesome. I'm trying not to cry over here. Does anyone have a tissue? Crying is a common theme with me when thinking about my kids growing up. I don't actually cry, but I always feel like I want to.

Bah, why do they have to get big anyway? Although there are advantages. . .


From May 29, 2008:
Aubrey's First Birthday



We had Aubriana's birthday party yesterday. I'm trying not to cry that she is one today. It just doesn't seem possible that my last baby is growing up so quickly. She is pretty cute though, so I guess I'll keep her even though she is growing up.

After searching the web high and low for the perfect cake, I decided to go with a ladybug theme. It just seemed to fit Aubrey. I hobbled a bunch of ideas together and then added my own touches.

She loved her cake. She was so excited the first time I showed it to her, pointing and cooing and reaching for it. She's getting expressive with everything and babbling all the time, in addition to saying words and sometimes sentences. "What's that?" accompanied with a pointed finger was a favorite for a while recently.

David helped her blow out her candle. She makes the funniest faces. She loved us singing Happy Birthday and even started dancing with the music.

After that, she got very messy with eating her cake. For a while when we put the ladybug on her tray, she just touched it softly and cooed at it. David had to help her by breaking the ladybug's head off. Then she tried to put the whole thing into her mouth. The funniest was watching her grab a fist full of ice cream and holding on to it while shivering and making faces from the cold. Grandma gave her a fork at the end. She thought that was pretty cool.
Then it was time to open presents, after a quick bath in Grandma's sink. She thought the presents were pretty cool. She got some shorts and a shirt, an animal puzzle (right now, Old MacDonald Had a Farm is her favorite song), a baby doll, one of those donut baby towers (I have no idea of the proper name of that toy, despite it being a classic, and from the Blairs, a CareBear, which she adores. See pics below. Maddy really liked the bear too. She tried to tell me that Aubriana didn't like it so she should have it. :)


It was a great party.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Project Progress: Kitchen Update Week 2

This was supposed to be a simple task.

I was just going to update the hardware on my cabinets. Easy, right? Just take off the old ugly ones and pop in the new, shinny, updated ones. Easy-peasy, right?

Hahahahaha. Ha. Ha.

Let me laugh some more. Hahahahaha.

I was so young and naive back then. Because, when I took off the old hardware, I got this:

Oops.


Oops X 23.

See the grooves made by the old hardware? The build up of gook? The now uneven finish?

I want new hardware. I must have new hardware. So, that means this:

To all 11 of my drawers and 12 of my cupboard doors. I'm staining them dark, but I couldn't resist putting on the new knob to see how it looked.

Luckily, it looks like I can match the stain. So, I won't have to redo the insets on my doors. And the drawers are nice and flat, so they are pretty easy. And even if they are in decent shape, they are going to look a lot better and fresh with new stain. The drawers especially are looking pretty beat up.

To recap, before:

After:

Two drawers down, only an insane amount left. At least I have an orbital sander, so I'm not doing it all by hand. Do you think there's any beauty-enhancing value in a sawdust facial?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Share-A-Craft: Crochet Butterfly Artwork

Because of my current Project Progress, I've been doing A LOT of art for my kitchen lately. One of my better ideas was to frame some threaded crochet work. I went to work finding a cute butterfly pattern I could use in one of my frames.

In my search, I found again the most excellent and righteous MyPicot.com. Seriously, she is freakin' amazing (or whoever writes their patterns, because their homepages says our). I love these patterns. They are all in chart format, which can be a little bit challenging, buuuuuuuuttt, they also provide a tutorial section with chart keys and I've mostly managed to figure things out after working on them for a bit.

I used this butterfly pattern, which is just stunning.

I would have loved to do more than just brown, but I had brown in my stash and I'm trying really hard to get rid of and use up my stash of craft stuff before buying new stuff. I ended up quite liking my brown butterfly, particularly after it was mounted (wow, that sounds like I shot and stuffed a butterfly, but I swear, I only used thread and a crochet hook and no butterflies were harmed in this project).

Once it was all done, I realized it was too big for the frame. Doh. So instead of undoing all my work, which took me two episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer to finish, I decided just to hot glue it to the outside of my frame. Easy, simple and I sort of like the unexpected twist of it being outside the glass. And, if it ever gets too dirty, the hot glue will peel off the glass, then I can wash it and put it back up again. I think. If not, I can always crochet another one.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tutorial: Fabric Flower Carnation Clip and Pin

It's my first video tutorial. I'm a bit scared to post this, as I'm not too sure how great of a job I did, but I think the essential parts are all there. If you'd like more video tutorials, I could use a little bit of a confidence boost, so let me know what you think.

Anyway, I've seen all sorts of flower tutorials on the web, and I love making them. This is one of those trends that I hope will always stay a trend. I'm bound to be making and wearing them long after everyone else has moved on.

I particularly like these carnation-type flowers. You can see some I made for Aubrey's dress in this post or the above photo, and I've made quite a few more. They work up quickly and all you need is fabric of any type and a needle and thread. I'm making this flower in this tutorial:

Cute, eh? I like to put mine on clips or with pins so they can go on anything and come off just as easily. Sorry for the not too great pictures, but I ran out of daylight yesterday when I was working this, since I had to go over to my sisters house so she could feed me her delicious homemade lasagna. I know, you are all are thinking, Poor, Kara. Yes, I make sacrifices like that all the time. I'm always good to get rid of any extra calories you have lying around. Provided I get to eat them. I'm not exercising for anyone else.

Here's the video. It's not long at just over one minute, so that gives you an idea of how easy they are. You can do the circles just about any size, from about 1" to 4". The larger you do them, the more circles you're going to need to get the fullness.



Once you stitch the rest of the petals on (don't be too picky, as long as they are staying fairly centered, just put little stitches wherever), hot glue a clip or pin or both on and it's ready to wear. I love how the edges fray a little and give it some much texture.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Blast from the Past Saturday

Every Saturday, I post a previous post, usually from about a year ago (although I might go back further if I feel like it). Enjoy!

Today's post is my very first post on my blog. Of course, it's a frustrated parenting moment. And it involves laundry. I vowed I would never do it again, but sadly, I had to repent of my vow, and I now do a load a day. Luckily, I can do it in the luxury of my own home. No longer must I truck up and down two flights of stairs, with a 2.5 year old, an 18 month old and while pregnant.

Image by Shirley Glennon, original can be found here.

From May 26, 2005:
I Am Not Going to Do Laundry Again

I am not going to do laundry again. We are just going to wear stuff once, then throw it away.

I've been doing laundry all day. First off, I hauled four loads down to the laundry facilities (about a block away) with Xander while Max was asleep. I put the quarters in, then started the machines. I forgot the soap. No way to stop the machines. So I literally RUN home, with Xander in the stroller, grab the soap, run back. Did I mention it was $2 a wash??? It's too late. Let machines run without soap (they are front loading and lock). Come back later after David drops off some more quarters. He leaves again for his second job. Start machines (this time with both boys and soap). Then come back (still with both boys), change laundry. Go back again (both boys come again). Fold laundry while I'm there. Boys "help" by putting socks in the trash. Fish out socks. Max won't leave the dryer doors open. Xander starts this too, smacks Maxton in the head. Crying. Somehow manage to get us, the four loads and the stroller back to the bottom of the stairs. Boys will not come up the stairs. Run one basket up, then run down (luckily they were occupied by playing under the stairs). Convince Xander to go up stairs, Max will not budge. Take basket of laundry out of stroller, put stroller away under stairs, grab Max, throw him in the basket on top of the folded laundry, go up two flights of stairs. Get Max out of the basket. Now they will not come inside. I threaten, bribe, cajole. Nope. Put basket on couch. Grab boys and march them inside. Then I managed to get both baskets to our bed where they will be safe.

Now I am eating a huge bowl of ice cream and ignoring my children.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Project Progress: Kitchen Update Week 1

I get sort of crazy about projects. Maybe you don't realize it, but when I get something in my brain, I cannot let it go. I don't hear people talking to me. I lie in bed at night thinking obsessive thoughts. I will bargain hunt until I have migraines from the cacophony of smells at yard sales and thrift stores. I make sketches and draw diagrams with newly sharpened pencils. I am a serious project person.

My newest project? My kitchen. I've gone completely laser focused on updating it and making it a totally cute, vintage inspired, fun, funky with a modern twist place to hang out. You know, in case I ever deign to make dinner and have to spend more than 10 minutes in the place. You might want to move aside. Wouldn't want to lose any fingers to my laser vision.

This is what the kitchen looked like when we moved in:

I'm sure this is going to be a huge transformation, even if a lot of the basics are staying the same.

So, do date, I've already updated the countertops, and I have a kitchen table, thanks to David's efforts. I have a fairly long list of things I want to do in this room, and I pretty much have no money to do it with. I mean, I have a little bit, but not a huge budget, probably less than $500. Ummm, I should probably firm that up with the husband, now that I think about it. I painted the walls a yellowish green. It's Spanish Olive by Glidden if you're interested in the specifics. Then I hung my kitchen message center.

Anyway, after the painting was done, getting some shelves up was a high priority. We used these fabulous plans from Ana at Knock Off Wood via Young House Love. If you don't already read those blogs, you are seriously missing out. David pretty much already knew how to do it, so we didn't use the plans too much, but it was looking at them that firmed up my plans for shelves in the kitchen.

We spent less than $30 on materials, and they are seven feet long and eight inches deep. Yep, I said seven feet long. We also had enough left over to make two 24" shelves that are in our master bathroom.

I did a lot (most?) of the work. I made all the cuts myself, David nailed the frames together, then I sanded, puttied and painted for hours to get them looking like this. They were a bit of a pain to hang, but we did it. I wanted them really high for two reasons: 1. to keep small children from reaching all my precious breakables (all from my Grandma Jensen, thrift store finds or art I made myself), and 2. so I could hang a gallery style art display underneath them.
Isn't Maxton so cute? He's reading his homework assignment. It's really meant for the parents, but he doesn't know that. Reading apparently requires a furrowed brow and pursed lips. And some serious bed-head.


I haven't finished dressing the shelves yet. I've basically been sticking anything I want in the kitchen up on the shelves. I'm planning on arranging things a little bit better once I have some art hanging beneath them, all of which I'm designing myself. See what I mean about obsessed?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Share-A-Craft: My Kitchen Table

I've alluded to it before, but now I'm finally going to show my kitchen table.

I need to find some more verbs that are synonymous with adore, because I want to say I adore my table, but I know I say that about everything. Ok, so maybe I am crazy about, I'm nuts for, I'm smitten with, I'm sweet on, I delight in, I dote on, I flip over, I prize my kitchen table.


Not only is it pretty, with a beautiful dark bamboo top, but I love that David made it for us. I helped a little. This thing is the perfect size for our kitchen and our family, plus it is sturdy, which is a must with our children. Those kids can destroy anything.

Anyway, it's basically a frame, with an apron covering it. Then the top is a board with bamboo flooring over. The trim we made from some extra flooring. It's surprisingly light-weight as well, which was nice for moving it in.

You can see a lot of the structure in this picture:

And of course, if I get out the camera, Aubrey insists on getting her picture taken, so here she is under the table.

David put hours and hours into it, and it shows. I'm not sure these pictures really show off how glossy and beautiful the top is. I love the bamboo stained a dark walnut, as the grain really stands out. We spent just under $200 for it, which isn't too bad for a table as pretty as this one.