DIY Autumn Bloom Belt

I came across this awesome tutorial on I Am Momma – Hear Me Roar and wanted to pass it on!

Cheri (aka Momma) has a lot of creative tutorials for DIY projects – a few of which are now on my task list!

When I came across her Autumn Bloom Belt, I knew I wanted to give it a shot.

Here is hers:

And here is mine:

Instead of buying 1/8 of a yard for each felt color, I bought felt squares for 35 cents each. That plus the ribbon set me back about a total of $3.00 and took about 30 minutes.

(I could have made 2 belts out of the 4 felt squares and spool of grosgrain black ribbon I purchased. In fact, it was so easy I think I will make one for a friend!)

Cheri gives a great photo tutorial. Check it out here:

 Autumn Bloom Belt from I am Momma – Hear Me Roar

Holy Moly Art

FIRST, Happy Labor Day Weekend!!

I hope your weekend is filled with lots of non-laborious activities.

(Also, Happy Birthday Dad!)

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After seeing some greeting cards based on a similar premise, this idea of pushpin (or thumbtack if you prefer) art was born.

During a major session of magazine reading, I came across a pictures of a woman’s office. She had a poster on her wall that said “Ode to the Joy of Life” on it. I ripped it out and saved it (as we all did in the pre-Pinterest days). I’ve been saving it for years, but as soon as I was thinking about my pushpin idea I knew I wanted to use that phrase. And a project was born.

To start, I put together the letters in Adobe Illustrator. I knew I wanted a font with accentuated fat and thin sections to emphasize the pin holes (this is RiotSquad, for any other typophiles out there).  I reversed the text and turned the opacity levels down to 10% (or you could just print a light gray color). I printed it on white cardstock.

(Sorry for the wonky shadows. It’s that pesky dining room chandelier again.)

Then I grabbed a…. wait for it… pushpin.

You may not recognize it. It’s a highly unusual and expensive tool.

To begin, I used the complicated technique of poking through the paper. I outlined the letter first and then filled the inside.

It took a little while to determine the proper depth as the pinhole grows in size in accordance to the pin.

And that’s all there is to it. I wouldn’t plan on finishing this project in one night. Your hands start to cramp. It’s a good leave-near-the-tv-and-work-on-it-aimlessly kind of project.

My only advice?

1. Be gentle. You can tear through the paper in the delicate parts.

2. Don’t use a death grip on the paper. You will wrinkle it. (If I was to do this again, I might put a piece of cardboard underneath so I wasn’t holding it so tightly and the pin could push through into the cardboard.)

Now I just need to decide how to display it.

It could be cool with a bright colored paper behind it. It’s also fun to hold it up to a light and let all the light come through the holes.

Only time with tell.

Project Cost: I will round up to 5 cents.

Have you tried pushpin art before? Can you think of a less expensive project tool?

Recessed Refrigerator Progress

Once upon a time there was a house. In this house there was a little kitchen.

One day a (*cough* overly-ambitious) couple purchased the home with very big ideas.

While they loved the “personality” of the home, they wanted to make some changes.

They did some crazy things, like sacrificing the hall closet, in hopes of creating a bigger kitchen.

And after a very long search, found the right tool for the job.

And they all lived happily ever after…

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I love looking at this series of photos! When I am feeling down-and-out about all the work we have to do in this house, reminders of how far we have come are very encouraging.

My mom is here this week and she is helping me “fiddle” with decorative items.

I love “fiddling”. Moving this vase here. This book there. This chair there. Fiddling makes a house a home.

We’re still working on that space above the fridge.

Still no cabinet doors… They are patiently awaiting me in the basement…

I’m not sure I can express how much space we gained by knocking out the closet. It’s hard to believe we were originally looking at refrigerator’s that would fit where the chalkboard is now.

In regards to the hall closet, it was pretty weak. It was hardly a hanger-deep. I don’t regret it one bit. (We have a coat rack anyways and will keep extra winter coats in an upstairs closet.)

By knocking down the wall, removing the door and molding, rewiring the electricity and moving the water line (all thanks to Moose. I just bought him ice cream sandwiches.) we had a new fridge spot! Then installing new molding and the back paneling, caulking the nail holes and painting (hey! I did that one!) we have a new recessed fridge.

It was a mighty big pain, but worth the effort.

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Notes on buying a new refrigerator:

It’s not fun. We probably went to go look at refrigerators 25 times. (Hello! They don’t sell those on the clearance rack at Marshall’s. It’s got to be a well-thought-out decision.)

We needed it to be a counter-depth fridge and wanted it to be stainless steel and preferentially the french door/freezer bottom set up. We also didn’t want the ice-maker on the front door. We didn’t want cheap-o handles and we wanted nice sliding drawers inside. Oh, and if the sides were gray instead of black that would be great too.

That’s not a laundry-list of requests now, is it?

We looked at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sear’s, Sear’s Outlet, Best Buy, Online stores… so on and on and on.

We found this Kitchen Aid model that was NOT listed as a counter-depth fridge, but the actual size specifications were counter depth (tricky, tricky!). And (shocker!) it met all of our requirements.

To get the most bang for the buck, we purchased it from Lowe’s. However, we had them price-match to the Best Buy’s listing price for the same fridge and then (after lots of smiles) were able to use a 10% off coupon as well. Plus, since it’s a new energy star appliance there is a $50 government rebate.

It took three weeks to finally get here (and we bought a random fridge on Craig’s List for $40 in the mean-time) but we L-O-V-E it.

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Don’t get too excited. We still need to re-drywall the entire back. When you’re standing in our hallway you are staring at the back of the refrigerator.

But we celebrate the little victories!

DIY Project: Cupcake Flags

Maybe you haven’t heard, but cupcakes are the new black.

You must be living under a rock if you haven’t experienced the cupcake fad explosion over the last few years. There are now whole stores devotes to selling cupcakes (Read about some tasty cupcakes I got for my birthday here) and The Food Network even has a new show, Cupcake Wars, devoted to the trend.

However, it’s “trend” status is morphing into “tried and true staple”. Many have questioned when the cupcake fad would end, but lately I’ve been reading how many event and catering specialists are now thinking it is here to stay. (Which I am personally quite glad to hear.)

Brides have been trading in the classic tiered wedding cake for trays of cupcakes in all colors and flavors. One wedding I went to this summer even had a “Cupcake Bar” (E – they were delicious by the way!).

Then the cupcake flag was birthed. See this beautiful example from (Hostess with the Mostess) below.

How did this begin? Perhaps hostesses wanted to combat the informality of the cupcake? Perhaps brides who had foregone the traditional “cake topper” wanted something special?

Just like “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop,” the world may never know.

Martha Stewart has downloadable templates for these flags, which are fine and dandy if you find one that works for you. But, what if you want your name on it? Certain colors? A theme? You might get some strange looks if the cupcakes at Cindy’s baby shower have wedding rings on them.

What’s a gal to do? Custom flags of course!

Many vendors on Etsy can create custom beautiful flags for you. BUT, I would recommend trying to make your own.

I made my own flags for our wedding. Moose wasn’t feeling the cupcake suggestion, so we ended up serving cheesecake. But visions of wedding cupcake flags had already infiltrated my crazy bride brain, so I invented…. cheesecake flags!

The best part about making your own is that you can have as many different kinds as you want. An Etsy vendor will likely charge you per design. With color and text variations, I had about  27 different kinds of flags. (Overkill? Yeah. I know.)

The other, and probably more enticing, reason to make your own is the fact they they are very inexpensive!

I made 150 of these flags. Can you guess how much I spent?

Toothpicks = $3
Hot Glue = $3
Printing Costs = $5 (This is if you go to Staples and not print them yourself.)

TOTAL COST = $11

I was able to fit 27 flags on a sheet by flipping half of the triangles around to create square shapes.

I used Adobe Illustrator. If you don’t have that you could probably use Microsoft PowerPoint or Publisher (it’s just triangles people! There are also lots of nice rectangle flags, like the one I posted above if triangles scare you.)

After that, I cut them out and hot glued a toothpick to the back. Bada boom. Three episodes of Smallville later, I had 150 cupcake (er, cheesecake) flags ready to go.

No one noticed that the back was blank. (*Seriously, wedding guests. Did you notice?) Heck, I wouldn’t have noticed. After I pulled that puppy out I would be eating that dessert with glee.

I hope this helps you make your cupcake involved event a little more celebratory and a little less expensive.

Cheers : )

Pssst… Images from (Hostess with the Mostess), and (FoodNetwork.com)