Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Old Crib to Ben's New Toy Chest

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I meant to write a post oh... a year ago about this transformation,
and you know... I didn't.
This turned out to be a good thing because Ben ended up breaking the thing anyway... more on that in a bit maybe.
I've written many a time about how awesomely creative my family is,
and here is yet another example.
My uncle, after hearing that I was expecting (the first time), offered to give back to me the crib that my brother and I slept in when we were babies.
And while I was tempted, it was only for sentimental reasons
as the thing is... well... old (we won't say how old).
It's been through at least 3 babies as a crib and had definitely seen better days.
Not to mention my uncle lives in GA. I live in PA. Shipping the thing to me didn't seem worth it.
So I moved on, my mom bought Ben his nursery furniture. Done and done.
Broken but not for long!
Then I get this toy chest in the mail.
My uncle turned (half of) my old crib into a toy chest.
He did the hard work,
and I put it together when it arrived at our house.
Clearly I didn't do a good job, because once Ben was climbing all over everything, it broke.
In a number of ways.
So while I've been getting prepped for baby number two,
I decided this thing must come back to life.

After first coat
Wood glue,
some reinforcing screws,
some paint,
and we were back in business.
I don't usually paint wooden things, and in some cases am adamently against it.
However, this had so many scratches and teeth marks, it really had to be done.
Apple/ Fire Engine Red. Always a winner.
For the most part, you can see how it went from crib to toy chest above there.
I'm thinking that you could hypothetically squeeze two chests from one crib.
The bottom and the top are pieces of plywood.
The top, I upholstered with some 1 inch foam, batting, and coordinating fabric.
And added a handle with cotton strapping material.
Cute, yes?
And always nice to hide the ugly and obnoxious toys away.
We love it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Semi-Homemade Birthday Doll Set

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Unsolicited frugal tip of the week:
Do your gift shopping after Christmas.

For obvious reasons, yes? EVERYTHING is on clearance.

I have a huge tupperware bin in my studio that is devoted solely to unassigned gifts,
things that I know I can gift eventually for birthdays, showers, and such.
Pretty much everything inside is something that I've purchased on way way way mark down.
And pretty much everything inside is something that I've purchased at post holiday clearance sales.

Being that there are so many children in my life,
and I seem to spend almost 3/4 of my time at baby or bridal showers,
here is what I always have in my magical gift bin,
and therefore what I'm always on the lookout for when searching the clearance aisle:

1) Bridal shower gifts.
Think kitchen utensils, tea towels, pyrex, wine glasses, cookbooks, etc.
Even if I buy something off the registry, I always jazz it up with utensils and some towels.
Way bigger bang for your buck.

2) Baby items.
Unisex newborn clothes for showers, swaddling blankets, little infant toys, etc.
See above about jazzing up a registry gift.

3) What I call "universal" toys.
These are toys like dolls, trucks, blocks, and the like.
Things that pretty much every kid plays with.
Not specific (Sorry kids, you will almost never get that crazy specific action figure on your Christmas list, but it doesn't mean Aunt Meg loves you any less).
Not to mention, have you seen the girls' toy aisle lately??? ick.
I mean really.... gross.
I've never seen so many overly curvaceous, bug-eyed, mid drift-showing dolls things in my life,
and frankly, I'm horrified.

So anyways...

I snagged this normalish baby doll after Christmas last year at Target for $2. Yes. Two.
She wasn't bug-eyed.
She wasn't wearing make up.
I know what you're thinking, newborns don't wear make up.
Ah yes, I'm a grown woman and at this point I rarely wear it myself,
but for some God-forsaken reason, there are (many!) baby dolls that are wearing eyeshadow?
Okay I'm done. Maybe.

Anyway, she came with a pacifier and a bottle and outfit and whatnot,
but I always like to add to a handmade touch to every gift,
so I made her some new clothes,
some dollie diapers with velcro,
and some itty bitty bibs.

The pattern for the dress can be found here.
I used velcro for all of the fastenings, so it would be easy for a 2 year old to change her.

For the diapers and bibs, I just drew a template first on paper and tweaked it to fit her.

As for fabrics, I used some that I had on hand,
cotton for the dresses and cozy flannel for the diapers and bibs.

Ben was psyched to give this gift to his friend, Lucy, for her birthday.
And he had a crazy good time, as always, at her house for the party.

For other ideas on how to "dress up" a doll gift, head over to my Pinterest board
There are pins for baby doll carriers, bassinets, and all kinds of fun stuff.

Till next time!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Wedding Flowers

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Bride's Bouquet

Maybe I missed my calling.

Who am I kidding? I just enjoy way too many hobbies.

A number of months ago I was asked by a family friend to do her wedding flowers,
and I was soooo psyched and honored.
I did the flowers for my own wedding which were really simple
(not to mention we had a smallish wedding party),
but that's it,
so the fact that Christina even asked was super exciting.
Her faith is great is more than one way.
Twine-wrapped boutonniere
with rose, hypericum berries, and bear grass


So I got busy pulling some ideas off of Pinterest and such, talked it over with her,
and decided to give it a go,
and I am so glad I did!

For anyone who hasn't worked with flowers before, it is so fun and addicting.
Once I started, I couldn't stop
which was great, really, because her wedding party was HUUUUUUUUGE!

The wedding party was so big,
I ended up making these kraft paper tags just so I could keep everything straight.

They worked out perfectly, and helped me keep everything organized.

I love the twine and the burlap with the greens and white roses!
Perfect mix of rustic and elegant.

Altogether, I made 20 boutonnieres, 14 bouquets, 2 altar arrangements, and I don't even know anymore... maybe 8 corsages?

It was a little grueling, but I was so happy with the way everything turned out,
and I would definitely do it all over again.

You can see some more details about the wedding and wedding party over on Ana's (sister of the bride's) blog.
Christina had all of her bridesmaids pick their own dresses, and they were all different shades of green,
so I stuck with mostly white and lighter green flowers and foliage
with lots of roses per Christina's request.

The bouquets were most definitely my favorite.
I wrapped the stems in burlap and then ribbon,
ivory for the bride
and all different shades of green for the bridesmaids.

The bridal bouquet had a lot more white flowers,
with the green hypericum berries and lily grass framing the bottom.

So that's that!
I hope I'm asked to do wedding flowers again.
It really was so much fun,
and such a privilege to do for an amazing couple.

Best wishes, Christina and JW!