Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ice Cream-Themed Baby Shower!

Woo hoo! It's September 1st! I don't know about you, but I am so ready and excited to see my calendar flip to September! After a very good but very hectic busy summer, I am so excited to get our family back on a schedule and get some more order and structure to our days. With the kiddo back in school and some re-invigorated "pep" in my crafting/blogging "step," I feel like I am roaring and ready to go with projects, the blog and some other ideas I have cooking up in my head. Thanks for all your patience this summer as I did a lot of house cleaning, a lot of trips north to see my Dad/family, and some unexpected studying for a professional exam (which I passed, by the way!). Fingers crossed everything around here gets back to normal starting today!!!

As I mentioned last week, a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to throw a little shower for a very good friend of mine. The expecting Momma is getting ready to welcome a baby boy and loves ice cream more than anything...so I figured a blue ice-cream-themed party was the perfect way to "sprinkle" her with some love and baby goodies. Little did I realize how much fun ice-cream-themed baby parties can be! Oh friends, this one was just so much fun to pull together, and I am so so smitten with the final results. I have tutorials for some of the craft projects coming up over the next few weeks....but today, I'm just going to show you a bunch of adorable pics!

Ice Cream Baby Shower-001

I'm still a sucker for traditional paper party invites despite all the wonderful electronic options out there. Not only are invites fun to make, but I really feel like they set the theme and tone for the whole party! Back over the summer, I crafted up these cute invites and sent them out to all the party guests. Full tutorial coming soon!

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Ice Cream Baby Shower-003

With the theme set, I hunted Pinterest and Etsy for some cute ice-cream-related crafts. In just a day or so of simple and relatively inexpensive projects, I had a table-scape that I could literally just gobble up it was so darn cute!

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All the ice cream sundae decor items are made from baby blankets, burp cloths, and baby hats. Cutest.things.ever. I'll show you how I made them next week! Placing them all at varying heights really gave the table some visual interest! Blue polka-dotted plates and napkins tied in with the table-skirt and ribbon accents!

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I actually have friends having babies right and left right now, and this banner is one of my favorite things to make for showers and gifts. Not only is it super simple and doesn't use any fancy tools, but it can go home with Momma to go on the nursery door, above the crib, or outside the front door to announce the new baby's arrival! I have a tutorial for this one too!

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These oh-so-sweet party favors were a huge hit - you can get the full tutorial HERE!

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The menu was relatively light and simple - everything could be made the day before (except for the muffins, which I wanted baked fresh!). A sausage and egg casserole, simple fruit salad and blueberry muffins proved a substantial yet light enough meal to fill up guests before the indulging in an ice cream sundae dessert buffet!

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All said and done, this party was such a joy to pull together. It's been a little while since I've done a party with lots of crafts and decor; and after a summer of running around a little crazy...it was just so fun to sit and do some simple crafts for such a special occasion!

Ice Cream Baby Shower-014

As I said, I'll have a few party-related tutorials coming up for you in the next few weeks so stay tuned! I hope you all had a great end to your summer! Are you ready for Fall and school to start or already pining for lazy summer days?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ice Cream Cone Themed Party Favors - @My Daily Bubble!

Heeeellllooo Everyone! How are you all doing? Sorry for the "radio silence" around here! We're in a bit of crunch mode this week: 1) crunching in the final few fun summer days before school starts next week; and 2) crunching in all the studying I can get for my exam that I am taking this weekend! Truth be told, after a pretty decent break from crafting and blogging in general this last month, I am super antsy to get back to my sewing machine, paint brush and computer! Starting next week, I should be back to my usual blogging form - thanks for hanging with me!

I wanted to pop in really quick with a super cute project of mine featured today over at My Daily Bubble! Last weekend, I threw an ice cream-themed baby shower for a dear friend and made these oh-so-adorable party favors for all the guests to take home!

Ice Cream Party Favors-010

I'll have all the party details here for you starting next week, but be sure to pop on over HERE to get the full tutorial for this super fun little project! As always, I really appreciate you taking an extra second to support my work and writings featured on other sites!

I promise I'll be back next week, roaring ready to go with the aforementioned party reveal as well as a few other things I've been working on here and there! Wish me luck on my exam!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Using the Fresh Start eGuide - @ForRent.com!

Do you ever read a magazine article or an online post about the latest trends in home decor that leaves you 100% inspired but clueless on how to bring that trend into your own home? ForRent.com has put together a snazzy eGuide, full of the latest trends, inspiration photos, and how-to tips for infusing your home with the latest colors, patterns, and textures!

Over at ForRent.com today, I am sharing even more ways to bring these trends into your own home by showing the ideas at work in my very own home!

Are you wanting to bring some more metallic elements into your home? I show their ideas at work in our home office: 
Fresh Start Guide-002

Still crushing on last year's Color of the Year: Emerald? Get some ideas for making it work all around your home!

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There are really so many great, fresh ideas in this little eGuide - so hop on over to get the guide and see all my how'to's HERE!

As always, I appreciate you taking an extra second to click over and support my work/writings on other sites! This post will never be seen here at THIHM so follow the link to get all the great info!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Using PolyShades to "Refinish" Furniture

A while back, I chatted all about this "rockin" furniture makeover (ha.ha.ha.). It's the chair now featured in the corner of Henry's new "big boy room"; and we use it for reading stories and cuddling! Even though I gave a full tutorial for what all I did to the chair here on the blog, I wanted to chat a bit more about the product I used to "re-stain" the chair! It's taken me a bit of time to focus my attention back to this space, but here I am to chat about PolyShades! (By the way, this might read like a sponsored post, but it's not. I just wanted to share my thoughts about using this product, some things I learned along the way, and what kind of results you get since I couldn't find a ton of great details on the product when I was researching it!)

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I found this mission-style rocking chair at a yard sale for $20...and its transition from woe to wow is one of my favorite furniture updates I've done yet!

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Because there were so many edges and corners and crevices to this chair, the idea of sanding the whole thing down to its bare wood REAAALLY didn't appeal to me, AND painting it wasn't the look I was going for. So instead, I used it as an opportunity to try out a product I had read a ton about but never tried myself: Minwax's PolyShades. It's a stain and polyurethane in one and can be applied overtop existing stain. Pretty cool, huh?!?
Rocking Chair Makeover-009a
As you can see, the finish on the chair when I started was pretty bad: lots of scratches, dings and roughed up edges with a pretty wide color variation across the whole piece. I was a bit skeptical that the PolyShades would result in a consistent color over the different tones without sanding, but I was going to give it a go anyway!

Rocking Chair Makeover-002

After scrubbing it down and wiping it clean with Liquid Deglosser, I set about paining on the stain. I use the term painting on intentionally, as that really is the best way to describe how to apply this product to furniture. It really is different than anything else I've ever used - it goes on like paint (and drips like paint and leaves brush strokes like paint!) but dries with a stained-like finish. When I describe it to friends and family, I call it a "paintable stain," but I really do feel like it functions more like paint. Below, the left side of the chair has a single coat of PolyShades, and the right side has nothing yet.

Rocking Chair Makeover-010

My greatest challenge with the product was the drips (which I had read about!). You really do need to work slowly, load your brush VERY little, and catch drips and puddles while they are still wet. It really reminded me of working with oil-based paint, as once it starts to set up, you can't really go back and fix it without it being super noticeable. If you over brush, you do end up with a slightly streaky look, but nothing that really bothers me. I learned by the end how to apply the stain just right without too many passes with the brush! 

I also really needed to pay attention to what sections I had already done, as the product dries relatively quickly and it becomes difficult to determine which sections had been painted. However, it becomes very obvious once it's all dry if you accidentally applied a second (or third) coat to a certain area and not everywhere else! I ended up applying two coats of stain and sanded with some fine steel wool in between, as it does leave a slight (very slight!) grittiness on the surface due (I think!) to the polyurethane component of the product.

Overall, though, I was pretty pleased with the product. I was literally able to paint right over all those areas that had dinged or chipped stain and it looks exactly the same as the non-dinged areas. I was able to get a clean, consistent finish with the wood-grain look I was going for. (I also intentionally say look here, because yes, it looks like wood, but it does not have the same look and feel as stained wood grain.) Photos and lighting are super tricky with dark wood, but I tried to get a close up of the finish on the chair all dried and cured (in the right photo, you can see the slight hazy streaks I was referring to on the lower-left of the arm of the chair).


My only other real complaint with this product is the smell...it's SUPER strong. I didn't really notice it outside when I was actually working on the chair. But even after a few days of sitting out in the garage, it was too strong when I brought it into the room...so I had to leave it out in the garage for a good long while.


I do LOVE how this chair turned out - I love that it looks fresh, clean and updated. The color is saturated and even, and it was relatively easy to accomplish (especially since the polyurethane coat is included without an extra step!) In the few months we've used the chair, we haven't experienced any nicks or chips in the new stain, so it seems super durable. Still, it's a bit temperamental (oh the drips!) and I don't think it's the right look for some pieces, especially anything with small details, vertical posts, or anything you really want to see the wood grain through. At least with the Bombay Mahogany color we chose, it turns out pretty opaque. 

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If you're looking to breath fresh life into an old, tired, wooden piece and paint isn't the answer, I'd say give this a go. With minimal effort, you can get some pretty stunning results! If you're looking for a true wood look with grains and color variation that look like stained wood, your better bet is sanding down to the raw wood and going with regular stain. While I really did enjoy seeing this product work, I stopped short of applying it to Henry's "new" bed, because I just wasn't sure I could control it enough to make it look just right!
So....it took me a while to get these thoughts into a post (sorry about that), but now I have my tips documented for both you and me (believe it or not, sometimes I forget about how I feel about certain products, so I often refer back to my own blog to refresh my memory) :) To see my thoughts, tips, and tricks about other products I've used, you can read more here

Have you tried PolyShades? I'd love to hear if you have any tips to prevent those minor brushstrokes or  get rid of the sand-like grittiness I feel in some areas!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

DIY Sea Life Pop Art - @My Daily Bubble!

Just a quick pop on today to let you know that I have a really fun tutorial up over at My Daily Bubble today for some really fun and oh-so-easy artwork! 

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This project has been on the good ol' to do list for quite a while when I found this amazing sea life fabric in a local shop years ago. I finally got around to executing my original plan for the fabric, and I couldn't be more thrilled with the result.

Sea Life Pop Art-014

You can get the full tutorial HERE! As always, thanks for taking an extra second to click on over to an external site to support my work and my projects. This project will never appear in full here on THIHM, so pop on over to get the details!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

An Organized Garage Work Space

Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a great start to your week. My month-of-craziness continues, but I wanted to pop in with the "after" photos of our newly organized garage work space! 

As I've mentioned throughout several posts, our garage has existed in pure and perpetual chaos for the full two years we've lived in this house. I've struggled time and time again to get (AND KEEP!) this space organized, functional, and clean! As I've been purging and organizing my way through every nook of our house, I ended up at our garage and decided to tackle this space once and for all!

Our garage has four "sections": toys, storage, fitness, and our work station. I'm still working away on finalizing the other sections of the garage, but our most unruly section (the work station) is all done! Here's where I started:

Garage Before-002a

To get the space organized, I utilized some principals that I use throughout the inside of our house: wall storage and designated bins for anything and everything. Bins are my go-to solution for organizing pretty much everything! You can read more about my progress HERE:

Garage Before-003

Once the space was organized, clean and functioning just as we need it to, I went about giving it some personality. I used some no-fuss labeling solutions (read about them HERE) so that we can find everything. After some on-hand paint from our stash on the pegboard, the space was feeling fresh, fun and clean. In this house, if it's fun to look at, I'm more inclined to make the effort to keep it tidy! Want to see how it all came together?

Fuss Free Labeling-001

I really debated on how to paint the pegboard. I was tempted to do some fun pattern, but ultimately decided to keep it clean and simple. I love that it is fresh and bright (and that shamrock green is my major color crush right now!), but the tools are easy to see...and all together, it's really easy on the eyes! I only put our most commonly used tools up on the pegboard...and I love that we have extra room to grow or add more as we need to!

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Fuss Free Labeling-003

On the shelf and floor under the workbench, I used to just pile, lean and stack things, which ultimately made a big ol' mess. Implementing simple plastic crates (easy to hose out when they need a good cleaning!) was the "duh" solution that changed this whole space. 

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These baskets hold everything from spray paint, rollers, trays, garden supplies and more. I love that they can act like drawers, or I can remove the whole crate and take it to where I'm working!

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A large tool chest holds additional tools and supplies, organized by category. Nails, screws and other small items are organized into small, inexpensive (and stackable!) nail caddies. The washi tape labels make it easy to swap out labels once a particular screw or nail is all used up!

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Fuss Free Labeling-008

Nothing here was overly complicated, expensive or time consuming. We had the work benches and tool caddies already, so for just about $50 for the pegboard and crates and a few hours of hard work, this space is finally functional for the first time in forever!

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I can't even begin to tell you what a difference it makes to have this garage finally pulled together. Like every organization project, I so wish I had figured this all out sooner because the tidiness here is carrying over to other parts of the garage. I've been determined to get this garage in order, and I think I'm finally on my way!

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A sweet reader asked if this nook was primarily used by myself or my husband. Admittedly, I work back here much more than he does! But I tried hard to make organizational and "decor" decisions that will work for both of us! Green is gender neutral in my book :)

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Have a great week! Up next, a "review" that I've been promising for a while now! Be back as soon as I can!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fuss Free Label Ideas (for the garage!)

A few weeks ago, I shared the progress I made in (finally!!!) organizing our garage to make it more functional and easier to keep clean and functional. You can read more about my progress HERE.

Garage Before-003

I also chatted a bit about how I take on organizing a space, which involves the steps of sorting and purging, making a plan, shopping, organizing and decorating. In this space, I had left off in my last post at the organize and decorate step. I was really excited to finish off this space...which involved color and labeling!
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If you've been coming around here for a while, you know I am all about labeling...and often get sucked into some pretty fancy and complicated labeling systems. For the garage though, not only for the sake of time (I've mentioned I'm juggling a lot of different balls right now) but also for durability and clean-ability (this is a garage after all!), I was all about quick, easy, and durable labeling solutions! After looking through some supplies I had around the house, I came up with some great fuss-free ideas and wanted to share them with you today!

Here's the basic supplies I used:
  1. Black sharpie
  2. Washi tape
  3. Word Window Punch (by Stampin Up!)
  4. X-acto Knife
  5. Clear small quilting ruler
  6. Green vinyl
  7. Cricut and font cartridge
  8. Black chalk makerFuss Free Labeling-011
I used each of these supplies in a different way to get all of our different bins, baskets and containers labeled! 

First up: labeling the tiny drawers that hold our screws, nails, anchors and other small bits. For the top drawers, I used simple stretches of washi tape and a sharpie to label label all the various screw types and sizes we have. This is a great solution because as we use up a particular type, we can just remove the tape and re-label as necessary! For the tool drawers, I punched a rectangle tag from green vinyl and labeled them with the sharpie.

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I struggled for years to keep the area under our workbench clean and in control. It wasn't until I finally employed plastic crates to coral everything (like I do throughout our house!) that this space really turned a corner. Everything from paint, paint tools, spray paint, solvents, garden supplies and more are held in these crates. Since they are just tall enough that I can't peer into them, labeling in this case was mandatory!

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These look complicated and fancy, but they weren't! I cut 2x4" rectangles from green vinyl using a paper cutter. I then put the rectangles right onto the crate fronts. I was going to leave them as is, but they were looking a little plain. So I grabbed an X-acto knife and a clear ruler and cut out the white frame from each rectangle. I just measured in a quarter inch and scored a rectangle, and then measured in another quarter inch and scored another rectangle...then pulled the vinyl away! These are labeled with a chalk marker since the labels aren't as easily removed and replaced.

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Okay, this last method isn't exactly "fuss free" but in the grand scheme of things it was quick, easy and super perfect for this labeling conundrum. These blue and white drawers hold all sorts of various tools and supplies I use frequently, and I was constantly opening every drawer looking for one particular item. None of my other label ideas were quite bold enough for this corner so I decided to cut some descriptor words out of contact paper with my Cricut. I cut them all at one time, and used transfer paper to get all the letters nice and straight. Again, after years of these drawers not being labeled, it is so so so nice to finally know where everything is!

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So that's how I labeled/organized this space, and I am smitten with the ease of use and maintenance of all these solutions. On Monday, I'll show you how this whole corner of our garage came together. For now, here's a sneak peek :)

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Hope you all have a great weekend! See you next week with more garage progress!


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