Half-Assing a Nursery and Why I’m So Proud

the funnest part of being pregnant was “nesting.”  i had a blast planning what the babycave (a.k.a. nursery) would look like, what would go in it, and researching all of the thousands of craft possibilities out there.  i found a thousand crafts i was determined to do.  handmade bibs, paci-holders, vinyl decals for the walls, decorative switch and outlet plates, changing pads with organizational pockets, headbands, and so much more!  oh the purples and laces and tulle and sugarskulls and cherries and… and… and… yeah.  in the end i worked on two crafts and really only finished one.  the first was closet dividers.  like these:

i’m not an organized person.  at all.  in any manner of the word.  i’m one of those people who lives in clutter and chaos as any organized person would see it.  but to me everything is in it’s place, even if that happens to be “let it lay where it falls.”  98% of the time i know where to find what i’m looking for even if it’s in a pile of disarrayed brik-a-brak that would make my mother tsk til her tongue swelled out of her mouth.  but i wanted the babycave to have some semblance of order.  i want my daughter to, possibly, take better care of her space than i have because it’s just a good habit to be in.  of course, this won’t happen, but i can make a vain attempt and feel like a good mother that tried.  and… it was an excuse to play with glue!

my dividers were to be constructed from construction paper, labeled with sizes, and decorated with rolled paper roses and leaves.  simple supplies sounds simple enough right?  no.  i had the damnedest time trying to figure out what size the hangers should be; they turned out too small.  cutting out numbers was far too tedious and i’m far too lazy so i bought some precut number and letter stickers at target.  but they were too big for my too small hangers.  i used some of them anyway, i thought they could hang off the sides decoratively.  it worked for the lower numbers and turned out quite cute.  the rolled paper roses turned out to be more of a challenge to make than i expected.  just holding on to the little budders was a thorn in my side (har! get it!  rose jokes… shut up.  i’m funny.)  however, i did learn that an empty toilet paper roll made the best tracer for the hanger-rod hole.  as i was pregnant and peeing like my bladder was afraid it would never get the chance again if it didn’t expel once (or twice) every 13 minutes – yes i timed it – i had plenty of empty rolls laying around for the choosing.  i made 4 whole dividers before i hung up my scissors (ha!  see what i did there?).  sizes nb (newborn), 0-3, 3-6, and 6-9 but i lost the nb divider.  it probably ran away and burned itself in shame.

now the second project completed. oh how i fell in love with this project.  when i saw this tutorial during a search for halloween décor, i feel head over skulls for it.  i knew i had to do it and i had to do it for my daughter’s room.  prepare yourselves, this may be too cool and too pretty for living eyes.

this banner has everything! contrasting colors, victorian inspiration, delicate tulle, lace doilies, and letters!  sure this particular one was created for halloween but using any colors or words would make it perfect for any sassy celebration.  i took this idea and ran with it and i don’t mind bragging that i am REALLY PROUD of the final product and found materials used.

now let me tell the story of how i choose my background color, the purple circles.  the tutorial called for felt but i had other ideas.  i have a wonderful family, both my own and my in-laws.  my mother and sister threw a surprise baby shower for me in california in conjunction with the yearly family bbq that doubles as combined birthday party for my sisters, brother, and i (all born july – you would think our parents would like october more…). it was a zomBEE theme – a sort of compromise between my mother and sister.  my sister wanted to do a zombie theme knowing how into the undead i am.  my mother was a touch less than thrilled with that idea and found a cute bee theme instead.  so they combined the two.  see the plush fat bumble bee in the picture?  decoration from the shower that now doubles as toy for little abby.

as awesome as my zombee baby shower was, it was in california and i, along with my in-laws, live in arizona.  and so in september my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law hosted a baby shower for me in arizona.  we went to The Old Spaghetti Factory, ate pasta, opened presents, and downed cake served on purple paper plates.  the moment i saw those plates i thought of the banner.  they looked like the perfect size and perfect color!  i brought the extras home and, like a good upcycler that i wish i were, i set them aside for the banner.

don’t forget to gather supplies: background, doilies, glue, paint, sponge brush, letters, work surface, cat.

when i began i wasn’t sure the paper doilies from joann would fit… but they did! they did!  sweet!  off to a good start!

you know you want that skull glass. don’t hate a playa!

from there i whipped up some chipboard letters with plain black and glitter black paint (2 coats each), glued some tulle around the edges, strung it all together with pearl string, and tied big black wire ribbons to the ends to cover the command hooks on the wall.  viola!  gorgeous and girlie without being pink!  i worked slowly, and it took me weeks to complete for that reason, but when it was done i felt like i had finally FINALLY created something as beautiful as i had envisioned it to begin with.  i know!  i can’t believe it either!

don’t forget to pet the kitty when you’re done. it’s an imperative step.

click here for the original [tutorial].

and just for s’n’gs here are some before, during, and after pictures of the nursery because i am so proud and amazed at the amount of work that my husband (mostly) and i put into the conversion.

Before:

note the “green screen” green wall and vibrant omgiloveblue blue.  and those classy blinds melted with love by the rays of at least 10 years of arizona sun.  please to be considering too that in the 9 years my husband has lived in this house, that room has NEV-ER been cleaned… not dusted, not vacuumed, not organized, not once!

During:

during: the walls are not only all one color, but that color doesn’t make your eyes want to melt out of the sockets!  nice, soft, purple.  feminine and royal.  and the trim… pretty snazzy huh?  okay nobody cares about the trim but dammit that was the hardest part!  we spent a couple of hours over the course of several days taping and crawling around on our hands and knees painting.  TELL ME IT LOOKS NICE!

BAM! Crib Construction:

After:

don’t ask about the two swings.  long story i am just NOT caring to go into.  remember that lazy thing?  the dresser is cute right??  yeah that was mine growing up and my sister’s before me.  now it’s my daughters and maybe one day it will belong to her kids.  sure it’s not the typical family heirloom but it has character, history, and meaning.  and i’m sorry when did i ever claim to be traditional??

i hope you enjoyed this romp through my daughter’s nursery.  let me know what projects you’ve taken on that you’ve finished and been most proud of.

 

I joined the link par-tay! at:

I Heart Nap Time
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Monsoon Showers Bring Fall Flowers??

when i first started wedding planning, i decided i wanted my wedding colors to be purple and silver.  i loved the red and white color combo i’d seen at another wedding several years ago, but i also realized, in my research, that that color scheme was very popular and had become somewhat common.  well the hell if i’m not going to be different!  as i said in my last post, i wanted to DIY craft everything!  the first project i thought to take on was fabric pomanders.  all of the tutorials looked easy enough, so i thought i might even switch it up a little and attach my fabric circles to star shaped foam, since the other component of my wedding theme was “fantasy under the stars” (my husband is a big science and astronomy nerd so i had to get stars in there without being too high-school-prom about it!)  i started out by hand tracing and cutting small circles out of some purple fabrics i’d collected.  when i finished one fabric pattern, i cut up another swatch, intending to do this with another 2 patterns for texture and variety.   i spent weeks cutting circles, and to be honest, i was regretting taking on the project!  the only reason i didn’t scrap it sooner was that i’d already spent so much money on it, i felt i had to follow through.  but then came the dress.  ohhhhh that dress!  i stepped into that Alfred Angelo number in red and white with long red and silver embroidered train and that was it!  i could have gotten it in a shade of purple, but i didn’t like any of the shades offered.  and i didn’t like the red either.  I LOVED IT!!  and so, in the dress shop, in the trial dress, with my parents and grandmother as witness, i switched the wedding colors to red, black, white, and silver.  and i scrapped the pomander project.  no way was i going to start over with red fabric!

so what to do with all of that left over fabric?  and those circles i had cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut out?  i know… FLOWERS!  flowers for hair!  flowers for clothes!  flowers for wreaths!  FLOWERS FOR ME!

while these pretty purple pansies (i needed something with a p!) are my most recent creations, and what you’ll find on my in-progress Etsy shop, Just the Ends, they were not my first or only endeavors this year.

i began by using some leftover red tulle to create this little pretty.  super simple to make, it’s just different size tulle circles, melted around the edges with a candle, and layered on top of each other over a felt circle.  i sewed them all together with a little pearlesque button i had laying around.  this picture doesn’t do it nearly enough justice, but i did get a lot of compliments on it when i wore it out.  my ego blushed and i decided to give some more flowers a try.

st. patty’s day was coming up and i thought, “hey, i can make something festive!”  what i actually ended up doing was designing a flower in my head, buying the materials, then letting them all sit in my craft box until about a week ago!  and even then my only motivation was so that i could use the left over fabric in a future project with the purple fabric.  hah!  i’m very proud of how this one turned out though it was not how i had originally intended, and it gave me a little practice with bunching tulle, which i’ve decided is a bit of a pain in the a$$ to work with (but then again, so am i)!

from these simple little projects, i’m learning some crafting basics.  hotglueing, placement, hand stitching, how to work with tulle at all, and design.  my next project is a tulle tutu skirt for a little girl.  again with the tulle!  but i have a whole bolt of black tulle left over from the wedding that we never used (thank you Joann coupons!)  viola!  material for halloween tutus!

Come Along with Me on a Craftastic Voyage

when i first started wedding planning, i had grand ideas of doing everything DIY crafty style.  well that didn’t work out.  turns out a lot of the “easy” looking things i wanted to do took a lot of practice to make look easy!  materials were expensive, crafts took a lot of time, and there were just so many great ideas out there!  but that research turned me on to the world of crafting in general.  i discovered websites and blogs dedicated to the creative, which i have never really been.  suddenly i was filled with inspiration and would spend weeks at a time drooling over sites like CraftgossipHow About Orange, and Attack of the Craft.  sometimes i would (and still do) spend days at a time browsing the awesome creativity and artistic crafts available on Etsy.  before i knew what was happening, i was collecting Michael’s and Joann’s coupons and eagerly waiting for the weekly ads and flyers.  at the same time, my best friend was getting into costuming and fabrics.  she introduced me to the wonder of fabrics – patterns vs. solids, textures, uses – patterns, and sewing.   i was inspired to give in to my creative-wannabe side and try my hand at some small simple crafts.

while my DIY wedding plans did not pay off, i did manage to put together a couple of items in time.  first, there were the YAY! OOT! OMG! flags that i wanted used in place of rice or seeds.  much less mess and with the little bells, who can resist a jingle!  i pilfered chopsticks from the cafeteria at work that summer until i had enough to make a flag for every guest invited, regardless of how many showed.  even my students were snagging extra chopstick packs and sneaking them into my purse just to help out with the wedding.  those rare moments when you can love the hearts of teenagers.  i still have a few dozen chopsticks left!  using both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator (putting lessons learned in my master’s program to work for me!) i created the castle and text flags which i printed onto white and red construction paper from the dollar store.  i hot glued the paper to the sticks, tied and curled ribbon to the top, and attached a bell or two depending on the size i had available.  even though no body ended up using them, i was still really proud of how they turned out!  and let me tell you, they look simple, but they were kind of a pain in the ass!  thank you to my photographer, Josh Rodriguez, for taking this picture and making them look so much more amazing than they did sitting on my bookshelf in a cleaned out spinach dip container!  my inspiration for this craft came from this post on Offbeat Bride.

another bit of craftiness that panned out much to my great joy were the guestbook cards.  i decided i didn’t want a typical guest book.  so my mom gave me a red velvety photo album she’d been holding onto for years but had never gotten around to using.  i used shiny glittery cardstock i bought at a craft store (with coupon of course) for the guest card inserts.  the best part was i didn’t realize they were glittery until AFTER i had printed and cut them!  bonus!!  again i used either or both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, along with some free internet clip art, to create the monogram in the bottom corner along with our wedding date, and the lined border.  though not seen in the picture, there were red, white, and off-white cards.  we had a whole container of gel pens lying around the house so we set those out as well.  unfortunately, i forget to have the venue put out the instruction for the cards (fill out, stick in photo pocket… should seem easy right?) so i only ended up with about 12-18 cards because a lot of the guests were very “old school” and were confused as to what the cards were for.

a very simple idea i had, that unfortunately i did not get a picture of before the ceremony, was the flower girl basket.  i used a sturdy, retangle wicker basket of my mom’s to wrap a red satin ribbon around – glued down in a couple of spots for stability – then clipped a black rose hair flower that i had in a drawer in my room.  it looked adorable, especially with all of the red roses laying in it for our expert flower girl to pass out.  unfortunately the flower fell off, the ribbon didn’t stay glued up all the way around, and the venue ended up not returning the flower to us at all!  but our flower girl looked adorable carrying the rustic basket anyway!  she rocked it!

in the last minute, i decided to make reserved table signs for the family tables and place cards for those two tables as well.  i didn’t want to deal with the hassle of seating arrangements so i wasn’t going to do any at all!  but my dad is one of those big softies that wants to please everyone and not let anyone feel left out or slighted.  he kept trying to seat everyone at their table to honor them or prevent them from possibly sitting with people they didn’t really know.  well the tables weren’t THAT big and you really can’t please everyone!  so i came up with a solution: there would be two head tables (aside from the bridal party table) which would be reserved for immediate family only.  parents and siblings (along with their spouses and children) only.  to me that made the most sense.  dad was okay with this compromise because it meant that no one friend was being told that they were less valued than another.  and who couldn’t understand family being placed in spots of honor above all others??  even our friends had to fend for themselves!  using 5×7 photo paper and, of course, Adobe PS and ILL, i created and printed these reservation signs.  also using blank business cards (which i had left over from the invitation inserts telling out of town guests where they could reserve a room and find transportation for the weekend), and my old standby image editing programs, i created and printed the name place cards which were based off of the reservation sign design.  however, i embellished them by punching two holes in the top and threading thin red ribbon through which i tied in a bow and glued down for stability.  they were adorable… trust me!  i’m not prejudice or anything!

lastly, though actually made first, and not actually used in the wedding itself, was my RSVP box.  i wanted a place where i could keep all of my RSVPs in one safe place.  but i wanted this container to really stand out as being related to the wedding.  i didn’t want to buy a box, after all, i was being crafty!  so i decided i could use some items around the house and a trip to the dollar store to make something special just for myself.  i found a large shoe box and covered it in a wedding-style wrapping paper i found at the dollar store.  i pretty much wrapped it like a gift box without a lid, then wrapped the lid separately.  i then glued a red satin ribbon, that i had already discovered matched the red in my dress, around the lid.  next i made a flower out of some tulle and a button that i had in my scraps and glued that to the ribbon.  using a blank business card, i printed the label (again designed using Adobe Photoshop and/or Illustrator) and glued it on (wish i hadn’t permanently attached it now!)  viola!  RSVP storage box!  i still have the box and now am using it to temporarily house all of the wonderful, beautiful, thoughtful cards we received until i can find another way to store and display them.

i chose to end this post with what, in reality, was my first wedding craft project for a specific reason.  SEGWAY!  that little tulle flower has led to the start of something beautiful.  i discovered so many tutorials for so many different kinds of fabric flowers that now i find myself becoming somewhat of a monster!  i LOVE making flowers for brooches, hair pins, hair bands, and other embellishments.  so my next post will be all about those i have made since becoming a lawfully wedded zombie 🙂  hopefully they will lead to my very own Etsy shop… the next step in my crafting evolution!

Red Tulle Flower Hair Fascinator

The past two days I’ve been browsing a lot of crafting sites, blogs, and forums.  I guess I caught the crafting bug because I decided to start and finish a project I’d been contemplating taking on for a couple of weeks now.  It all started a couple of weeks ago when I realized that I forgot to bring any cute hair decorations with me when I moved in January.  I’ll be picking everything up in March for the official “big” move, but until then, I had no way to cute up my hair!  So I found some hair clips at the dollar store and snapped them up.  I knew I had some tulle and a glue gun with me, and I had made a tulle flower to decorate a box for holding my wedding RSVPs last year.  So I thought, why not make another and stick it on a hair clip then stick it in my hair!

So, with the influence of a thousand craft forums, I got to work!  I’m not great at tutorials so I’ll just give a quick run down of how I did it.

1. cut circles out of tulle.  i cut two sizes: large and small.

2. use a lighter to lightly singe the edges of each circle.  edges will curl up which is a good thing! that gives depth and texture to the look.

3. stack singed circles (now petals) in a nice arrangement then sew all layers together through the center.

4. sew a small button to the center of the flower.

5. cut a small circle of out felt, about half the diameter of the biggest tulle circle.  hot glue the felt circle to the back of the flower.  sew through center again for extra support if you want (i did).

6. cut a rectangular strip of felt just a touch smaller than the widest part of the felt circle.  hot glue the very edges of the strip to the felt circle.  you should be able to slip your finger right behind the felt strip.  this is where you can slip through any type of hair clip you want to use!

Viola!  Tulle Flower Hair Fascinator FTW!!

Update: i wore my flower pin out today and got complimented on it!  so awesome! i almost didn’t say it, but then i did because i thought “what the hell?! why not take some credit?” and said thank you, that i’d just made it yesterday! 😀 that felt nice