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A little question on labels…

So, I answered an invitation to fill out a Nielsen survey, which I usually don’t do; but, this time I did.  No major problems with the survey itself.  But I filled in the comment section at the end, which I almost never do, even in the rare moments when I actually do fill out a survey.  But I have this issue with being labeled and I don’t like labeling others.  I think stereotypes are dumb.  I love people, regardless of color.  (Seriously, I heard one of my favorite Indian actors differentiate between himself and “white people” and I honestly, I suppose ignorantly, surprised!  When I do notice color, I don’t think of it as a negative.)  I know I probably fall into the trap of judging people far more than I realize, but it isn’t something I like doing.

I don’t mind someone asking about me.  I would love to discuss what I believe, and hear what others believe in return.  I don’t even need to try to convert anyone.  (I know, how ’bout that!)  On my end, it could just be about sharing, understanding, and knowing someone better.  I honestly believe knowing about someone else, even if he or she is different or believes differently, makes me stronger, helps me know him or her better, and helps me love others more I appreciate the differences.  It doesn’t threaten what I know, or what I believe. 

So, my question: Why ask someone to self-identify (lifestyle, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or faith)  if the person or organization asking isn’t willing to accept his or her own self-identification at face value regarding what he or she believes about said self?  Lifestyle, sexual orientation, political affiliation, and faith: this survey asked me to share all these aspects of myself.  I could be hetero-, bi-, lesbian, trans-, undecided, “I don’t know”, or “I prefer not to answer” about sex.  Very open and accepting.  This survey asked my religious affiliation,  but I didn’t exactly fit into the prescribed selections.  I left this comment at the end of the survey:

“I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, commonly referred to as being “Mormon” or “LDS”.  As the name of my Christian denomination clearly states, I am a Christian.  I wish others realized that.  When I found (in this survey) that my church isn’t listed as a Christian denomination, I nearly selected Christian-other; then I saw MORMON down the list.
Whether other people know about my religion, or believe I am a Christian, the question in this survey clearly seeks for clarity on my self-identification.  I am a self-identified Christian, and an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  (The term Latter-Day Saints simply means modern-day followers or disciples of Jesus Christ, as it is His church.)”

It isn’t a big deal maybe, and I’m not bent out of shape; but this is a moment to clarify.  Someone asked me to self-identify.  Should I just choose a selection and be happy I “sort of” fit in one?  There wasn’t an option to select two…

Now, I know not everyone is religious.  Not everyone wants to belong to my church.  Not everyone is Christian.  Not everyone believes in a God or Gods.  I get it.  (I have family members, whom I love and respect, who are emphatically atheist, including one who went online seeking “ordination” to the order of some flying spaghetti monster.)   I have no choice but to accept them as the amazing people they are because I love them.  I cross that out and take it back.  That phrase implies I accept under duress.  I choose to accept the differences between us because they are important to me.  People are more than their politics and religious affiliation.  I do accept their choices and who they say they are.  That is the reality in which they live.  It doesn’t have to be a “him or me”, “us-vs.-them” situation.  It is just a difference in the space between us.  And, it doesn’t have to consume a relationship!

So, I get to choose my own too.  If it is politically acceptable to identify as they do, it is for me too.  I’m not about to tell my friend he’s “not really gay”; I’m not about to tell my family members which political party to support; and, not even the Nielsen survey (whether intentional or not) can tell me I’m not a Christian.  I am not trying to pick a fight- honestly, I’m not.  I am not stating superiority.  Just stating my reality.  That is the reality in which I live and no one will ever get to know me, all of me, while insisting I am not what I say I am.

What would the world be like if we could accept, respect, and love each other at face value?  Build on the things we all have in common and cherish how we find unity?  What would it be like to value what each of us has that is different for the richness, variety, and depth it offers?  What would it be like to know I am known, really known for all my good. quirky, and not-so-great humanness, and still be acceptable as a friend, family member, neighbor?  After all, if we were all the same, we would have nothing to appreciate, nothing to learn, no way to grow or change!  Our choices, preferences, personalities, our agency in every aspect of life, depend on variety and opposition.  I want to embrace them, whether I choose them for myself or not, because all these differences offer me experience. options, and what I do with them personally is what matters most to me.

No, I am not jumping the gun on Valentine’s day…

I am celebrating our anniversary.  Our 20th anniversary.  It is not a “silver” or “gold” one; yet, to me it matters.  It is a big thing.  Some days have been great and some not-so-great.  We had great years and not-so-great years.  We have even seen some “you-have-to-be-kidding-me!” years.  However, I always try to celebrate it, even when I may not feel like it to begin with.  Why?  Because we both put in a lot of work here, alive and kicking, and working out life, marriage, and parenthood still.  I believe that deserves celebrating, acknowledging.  I believe it focuses me on what I do have, and increases my gratitude for the imperfect-yet-good guy I married who deals with imperfect me and my antics. 

I was not impressed with V-Day, even early on.  However, our anniversary arrives 2 weeks before, so I use the timing as an excuse to decorate in January (as soon as possible), and keep up “that loving feeling” clear through February.  Now, it may just be one more thing to do, and a lot of extra “clutter” to some people, but I like the reason to celebrate and the excuse for some additional deep-winter brightness.  I usually involve my children in the crafting and preparation because our Anniversary is important to them, too.  We do not exchange gifts or go on trips, although those are lovely options for celebration; so, my decorating and trying to find little ways to spoil my husband and make the time special is important to me.

If you caught my post last year, some of this contains some repeat, but I think I’ve mixed things up in a fun way this time around.  I should, after all this is 20 years we’re talking about.  This year, I did the same thing I did for Christmas:  I made an inspiration board on Pinterest (feel free to check it out here: http://pinterest.com/dragonflywingz/20th-anniversary/) and I compared what I found with what I have on-hand and what I may create.

Here is what I have going on so far:  I saw some adorable burlap wreaths on Pinterest and wanted to make one for the center of my hearth.  I used burlap left-over from my Christmas decor and some heavy gauge wire.  The process was easy:  I doubled a huge section of the wire and twisted it around itself.  Then I grabbed one end of the burlap and “stitched” through it with the folded end of the wire, gathering it tightly so I could maximize the length of the burlap.  This project could use burlap fabric, cut into strips, or burlap ribbon.  If you opt for the ribbon, I suggest watching Hobby Lobby’s sales on wedding supplies and ribbon.  If purchased at 50% off, a 15-yard costs $2.50 to $5.00 depending on the width and style.  I spent somewhere between 30-60 minutes gathering the wreath while listening to a documentary with my children.  Once I completed the length of the wire, I bent it into the heart shape with the wire connecting at the top and twisted the ends together.  I did not think of it at the time, but you could dot the end with a glob of hot glue to make it less pokey.  The last step was adding another loop of burlap as a hanger, which I finished off with another giant bow.  [Free]

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I liked it so well I decided to try another burlap wreath, this one wrapped instead of gathered:

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I made this one with a heart-shaped metal wreath form (less than $2 at Hobby Lobby using their 40% off coupon).  I began at the top and just wrapped the burlap.  It took about five minutes.  This one hangs by an assortment of silky ribbons and tulle.  I topped of the wreath hanger with one of my glitter hearts.  I like the combination of rustic burlap and soft, feminine ribbons.  Totally girly!  [About $2, using a coupon]

 

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Most of my Mantel decor is the same as was on display at Christmas.  I added some sheer “champagne” ribbon as a garland and mercury glass hearts, which are strung on a crushed, white ribbon.  [Free]  One of my favorite cast iron pieces is a small vase.  I put it to work in the center to hold a glass glitter “20.”

Here are some close-ups:

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I found the chalk I could not find at Christmas and scrolled “#20” on my chalkboard tray. [Free]

 

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I found this “LOVE BUG” printable via Pinterest last year.  The word, “Love,” was in red; however, my printer only does black, so I took a little time to bling it up a bit with some fine, crimson red glass glitter.  The trick was working it into my frame without knocking off all the glitter once the glue dried.  I made the print just below the “LOVE Bug” using WORDLE.COM.  It features the lyrics to the song, Happy Together by the Turtles.  When I finished with the Wordle, I printed it on photo paper, and both prints went into the same frames I used for the faux chalkboard art prints I had out during Christmas.  I love versatile frames.  [By the way, if you do not know the song, take it as a sign that you are young.  Yea for you!  However, it is so cute.  Although it is WAY OLDER THAN I AM, I love it.]  Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2qmiyzo9Ws&feature=player_detailpage [Both projects free]

 

 

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I love candles.  I treated my favorite candlesticks to some white ribbon (matching the one stringing my hearts along the mantel) and one of my glitter hearts.  [Free]

 

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I moved this ADORABLE “happily ever after” sign under our family portrait.  Our tale is not over, but we’ve had a wild and crazy start, which always makes for the most awesome, dramatic fairy tale climaxes, don’t they?   [I found this at Hobby Lobby on 1/2 off, so I was happy with its $5 price tag.]

 

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I had so much fun with my gathering of mercury glass I did not want to put it away after Christmas.  So, I switched out the sheet of moss for a scrap of left-over gold tulle, scattered in some broken bling (some earring jewels and pieces I will use for some upcycled jewelry eventually), and added a mini-garland “XO’.  [A while back I purchased a set of letter disks by designer Wendy Addison-one of my favorites- and the disks are reusable, so I change them up to create garlands for any occasion.  About $9.00, but you’ll see I used them in several places in other snapshots.

 

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The left-side bookcase has a familiar setup.  I replaced my JOY with a giant 20- again, I have not decided on a desired finish, so I left them plain.  These were ordered through http://www.etsy.com/people/buildacrossjacob , who did a beautiful job.  I just did not have the energy to cut them out of plywood this time; however, these are 2′ tall, smooth, and perfect. ($8.95 each, total under $30 with S&H- they are heavy.)

In this arangement: a picture of us, a family picture, and a print of the place we were married, the Jordan River Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; a print of a Dr. Suess quote, which says, “We are all a little weird, and Life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love;”   a small, pewter bud vase; a cast iron “frog prince” statue; a wood sign, saying, “AS YOU WISH” (from the movie The Princess Bride); and, some glittery hearts.

 

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I figured out a fix for the “my hearth dwarfs my arched mirror above it” dilemma.  I found two, rectangular mirrors on clearance.  The white color on the frames did not work with the arch’s taupe one and I wanted them to look built-in.  So, I did some tricky measuring.  Then I pulled out my white paint, applied a fresh coat to the area above the mantle, which was sort of a bold tan.  I painted all three frams so they would be the same shade of white, and I hung them with anchors so they slightly overlapped.  I am having so much fun with this upgrade.  The white brightens up the wall, as does the additional reflective light from the mirrors.

 

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The right-side bookcase is a work-in-progress still.  The “MARRY ME” banner is from the same Wendy Addison disk set I used for the XO on the other side.  I have yet to make my Prince Charming statue to go with the queen of hearts, but I will SOMEDAY.  The “FOR LIKE EVER” is a humorous nod to my Southern California upbringing in the 80’s. [I know the grammar is off, but I laugh anyway.]

 

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Another Pinterest find I am enjoying is this “We go together” printable.  I framed it, and we have a dry erase marker next to it.  I made a game out of it in an attempt to involve my husband in the celebrating.  We alternate days.  So far, we have used, “peanut butter and jelly,”  “bread and butter,” biscuits and gravy,” and “peas and carrots.”  We are not limited by food options.  I want to use “Jodhaa & Akbar,” ‘Romeo& Juliet,” “Veer& Zaara,” “rubber&road,” needle&thread,” “paper&pen,” and many more.  I wonder how long we can make it go.  What should the prize for the last to contribute be, I wonder….hmmm.

 

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I have other play going on elsewhere in the house, yet this new mantel arrangement is my favorite because I’m keeping it:

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I will post again, as soon as I have more to share.  Until then, if you would like more decorating inspiration, crafting and gifting ideas,  or links to printables, check out my  Pin Boards, especially http://pinterest.com/dragonflywingz/20th-anniversary/ and http://pinterest.com/dragonflywingz/Romance.

Until then,

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I love Hobby Lobby and Dear Lizzie is a Paradise; but, my favorite place to shop is my own home

Crazy holidays!  Christmas was wonderful, yet just as everyone else in the family wrapped up their respective terms for a glorious winter break, I began a new term.  Balancing that with Christmas sewing and projecting, gifting, and mothering, etc. I never had a change to post this:

I love Hobby Lobby and Dear Lizzie is a Paradise; but, my favorite place to shop is my own home.

I am a crafter, quilter, embroiderer, artist, and romantic.  I love celebrating and I love using celebrations as an excuse to change-up my space and make everything brighter.  I love candles and twinkle lights; and, I adore real glitter made of glass.  If I were a millionaire, I would boost the economy by furthering the immortal philosophy of Dolly Levi’s dearly departed husband, and (freely, with both hands) spread sparkles and coziness everywhere by supporting booming  chic boutique/ crafting markets [Hello, Dolly!, 1969).  Well, almost.  I have other, more sustainable goals for serving humanity, which rank higher on my list of life goals; however, I believe “bling” holds a very important role in the betterment of society.  It makes {most} women happy!  My kind of bling is simple, meaningful, and makes me glad when I look at it.

I have learned from good  and not-so-good times that I need, crave, and respond well to a little whimsy and brightness; especially when my body temperature is plummeting and the sky outside is a constant, drab gray.  I tackle do-it-yourself projects fearlessly; so, I love the splurge I experience when I sneak away occasionally for a few minutes of creative “what if”…. and I may take advantage of a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby, even if my savings is a whopping 85 cents.  I love walking into a twinkly, cheerful boutique full of softness and glitz, and strolling to the strains of Pachelbel’s Canon or a quirky french bistro accordian-accompanied tune. So where do I shop when my pennies are otherwise engaged?  I shop my own home.

This Christmas, my picture window sports a panoramic view of brown, grey, and concrete. Ugh.  I decided I needed some green!  Wishing for a few minutes, I thought of going crazy on home decor and live plants.  (Boy, would I pay for that?  Nope!)  Well, I dug through my basement storage bins for my artificial greenery.  My children helped put up our Christmas tree.  I took a long, virtual ecursion via Pinterest, and found some scenescapes I loved.  Taking elements from several and modifying them to use what I already had in various rooms of my home, and to fit my quirky 70’s era space, I got to work with some glitter, glue, ribbons, and latex paint- all stuff I had on-hand. My front room came together with inspiration, which I gathered in my 2012 Christas Theme Pin board.  (My personal theme for this season is “Joy.”)  I welcome everyone; so, stop by Pinterest and check it out if the “crafty decorating bug” has struck you, too.

Here are a couple of my favorite elements and how I pulled them together from my favorite inspirations:

The Butler Family:

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@http://radiobutlers.blogspot.com/2011

/12/christmas-decorations-living-room.html,

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(from theshabbycreekcottage.com).

Both of these blogs feature mini Christmas trees over the fireplace creating gasp-worthy cuteness.  I have two little artificial trees; unfortunately, my ceiling is low and I have a raised fireplace; so, my space  is not tall enough to acommodate that.  I found my own spin.

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First, my fireplace and mantel are freshly-painted with paint leftover from another project; so, the inside, though vacuumed, bothered me.  It was like a black hole in the middle of all that white.  Instead of spending money on a new fire screen, which I would have loved, I grabbed  our skill saw and one of the pallets I reclaimed when we had our new roof put on in August.  I sanded the front and top and painted it over with the same paint used on the rest.  It reminds me of a little picket fence.  The best part is that although I may cover up that black hole and hang a wreath over it, the fence allows me access to the fireplace when we want or need it. (Project cost: $0; Time: about 2 hours)

Second, my evergreen garlands took their traditional places over the arch, on the mantel, windows, and doorways.  I purchased all my garlands 50-75% off during post-Christmas clearance sales. (Although it involves planning ahead, I think it pays to shop off-season!)  My two mini-trees sit down on the hearth, one on each side.  The pots were Christmas red originally; however, I repainted them with some pearly cream paint so they would blend with everything else.  Some mini-mercury glass bulbs and my tiniest paper and German glass glitter stars go with them.

*I DID buy three tiny, live Norfolk Island Pines at the hardware store, which rest right in the middle of the hearth among more finials and vintage cast iron pots.  Although I love them, the trees were about $18 total.  The good news is that I get to keep them and watch them grow year-round.  I borrowed the pots from a display I had over my kitchen cupboards.

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My pictures do not do justice for the twinkly lights.  I adore turning off all the main lights to bask in the glow of all the twinkly lights.  (Insert happy sigh here.)  During the day, while I have the lights off, the small glitter stars scattered through the evergreens and hanging from my chandelier sparkle enough to keep up the ambience.

Third, more sparkle: candles in mercury glass vases alternate with creamy, cast iron finials along the mantel, and vintage silver beads and my DIY glitter and paper stars hang along my built-in stocking hangers (we put stockings up for Christmas Eve only, a left-over protection mechanism for handmade stockings I used when my children were all tiny ones).

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*When I first built my book cases and mantel, I saved up for those gorgeous stocking holders; yet even lightweight stockings pulled them over, which worried me with dentable wood floors and little ones below.  After a year or two, I decided they weren’t practical.  I bought a 1/2″ diameter dowel at Walmart (for less than $1) chopped it into little stubs, and drilled holes into my mantel.  Painted white, they mostly blend into the mantel, yet I love the excuse to have something up most of the year anyway.  They create an easy way to drape garlands for every holiday.

Fourth, I wanted to focus on “JOY” this season, so I have “JOY” written everywhere to remind me where I need my priorities focused.

1)I had some cheapy chipboard “JOYS”  (poorly glittered, the dear things), so I gave them a coat of spray adhesive and dipped them in the good stuff (silver glass glitter)!  I hung one over a burlap ribbon, another in the middle of one of my evergreen wreaths, and the last over my newly chalkboard-surfaced silver tray. I could not find any chalk in the house, although I know it is here somewhere, so what else to use in its place?  Glitter. [Note: the silver tray is one I rarely used, and the Rustoleum chalkboard paint was a leftover from another project, so this one did not cost a thing either.]

2)Another giant JOY adds a backdrop to one of my main shelves on the left side bookcase (pictured a couple of rows above).  It is made of plywood.  I planned on glamming it up; however, I decided to cover it in plain, brown craft paper.  Now it matches the color of the burlap ribbons and our brown paper packages under the tree. (Yay!)

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3) I needed to do a little repair on my paper star wreath from last year, so I added a new “Joy” label while I was at it.

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4)I had another idea to mimic the foil-edged pendants I love so much.  I found this whimsical font in MicroSoft Word and printed JOY faintly on a piece of scrapbooking paper.  I used a toothpick and a Q-tip to spread a light coat of school glue over the printed letters before sprinkling them with German glass glitter.   Once it dried well, I framed it with a $1 picture frame.  I taped the edges with masking tape instead of foil, then painted well with one coat of black and one coat of silver acrillic craft paint to simulate leading.  (Minus the flash from the camera in the middle of the O, it looks darn cute hanging on my wall, if I do say so myself.)

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Fifth, I had more faux mercury glass balls than I needed on the tree, thanks to my mega project last year. I decided to use them on my shelves.  I scattered a few on other silver trays, lined with a sheet of moss intended for the woodland Christmas village I planned, and paired the ornaments with small, mercury glass votive holders containing battery-operated tealight candles.  Did you know Dollar tree sells them 6/$1.00?  I did not, until mid-December.  (Another, “yay!)  More mercury glass balls hung from ribbons.  I think placing the ornaments and candles in various locations tied the room together nicely, especially with the rest of my decor mixing styles and mediums.

IMG_1329[1]IMG_1346[1]IMG_1360[1]  IMG_1342IMG_1357[1]My tree this year is a combination of a couple of theme trees (e.g. stars, woodland elements, etc.) I have created in the past; so, while new, it boasts a comforting traditional appeal for my young ones.  I made most of my ornaments.  (My Pinterest page contains links to tutorials for my glitter glass stars and the faux mercury glass balls. ) Twelve wooden birdhouses have weathered through twelve years of little children’s Christmas seasons fairly well.  I bought them unfinished for less than a dollar each right after Christmas one year. (What a fun find that was.  Painting them is a happy memory.)  I found several bird nest ornaments the same day.  (“Yay” number three is for post-holiday clearance sales. )

I spent a bit of time on sewing Christmas dresses and gifts for my children this season. Although most of our gifts were simple, I wanted a nice presentation and I did not want to spend any money on wrapping.  I almost succeeded.   I became a little desperate one afternoon when I realized I did not have any wrapping paper on hand.  Because I have quite a few bits of burlap in my Christmas decor, wreaths, wide burlap ribbon on the tree, etc., I wanted to stick with cream, brown, and green.  All I could find was my stash of packing boxes. (I have only one “pack rat” tendency: I collect a moderate stash of tiny-to-mid-sized boxes in my garage for gifting and mailing because I hate buying empty boxes.)  Of course, the boxes sported packing labels and printed bleck; so, I took them apart at the seams and used hot glue to put them back together inside out.  I wrapped the boxes in burlap ribbon, which I can reuse on something else later on, followed by repurposed ribbons and tulle from past IMG_1352IMG_1353[1]IMG_1355[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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tree decor or packaging.  One fun side benefit was that my children began singing the chorus, “brown paper packages tied up with string….these are a  few  of my favorite things…” (We heard that a few times over the two weeks prior to Christmas and it was more than ok with me.)  I wrapped a few packages up in burlap or cotton broadcloth from my sewing fabric boxes.  I eventually found some oddly shaped packages like dollar store coloring books, which would not easily work in a box, so I spent $4 on brown wrapping paper; however,  I used only one roll, so I am all set for next year.

My requirements were 1)What would increase a sense of warmth, love, and joy in my atmosphere? and 2)What would make others glad without taking my joy from me?  The result: We had a warm, lovely Christmas.  What I chose to work on was purposeful and I avoided driving myself nuts on the typical holiday list of “shoulds” and “supposed to.” It was fun.

What I liked: I had stars and twinkle lights everywhere, which cheered up my shadowy, North-facing rooms.

What I would like to improve:  I still need more light and the larger arch of the fireplace dwarfs arched mirror above it.

The moral of this past-due tale: a little thought and rearranging can create some fun, relaxed, and familiar surroundings without spending a lot of money (or, dare I say, any); so when in creative mode, shop your own home first.

My next post highlights what I am doing this month to transition from Christmas to Anniversary/Valentine’s Day decor.  Until then,

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My new, not-so-shabby ottoman!

Hello, all!

I am definitely on the mend! The first clue to my return to health: I started and completed a project! (Yes, I am psyched!) I have looked high and low, hither and yon, for furniture pieces I could repurpose. The problem is I have not found the pieces I need at a price I could afford (near $0). Yesterday, I visited my local thrift store and a couple of consignment shops. The one of the consignments had a lovely queen-sized bed set I would have loved to remake into a sofa; yet, it was way out of my price range. It also had two great tables, I would love to get my hands on, but they were $150 each! Yikes! The thrift store had a very sturdy coffee table, with interesting feet, which sported three panels of smoky glass. The table, left that thrift store (minus the glass panels) in my hot, little hands for the snazzy price of $20!

Before:

My $20 Thrift store table. Like: 1) the size and shape (25″ X 50″). I have a long, narrow front room, so this shape fits my space. 2) this table is sturdy, the legs are solid, no wiggles! 3)The feet already have plastic protection on the bottom so my wood floor is safe and I do not need to purchase them new. Not-so-much: 1) The oak is fine; but, not impressive. 2) The pattern in the wood are sea shells; again, not bad, just not “my thing.”

My fist step: Gathering the rest of my supplies. Luckily, I have pale paint from another project.

Next, I had a slab of plywood in the garage. I could have lugged it out myself; however, I called in a favor and had my husband cut it for me. Awesome!

He also hooked me up with the proper nails and staples to go with his compressor-powered nail gun and stapler, so I didn’t spend a weekend nailing and stapling by hand. Very nice!

I found a large piece of foam at my nearby Home Depot. I found it while comparison price shopping online for another project. Wow! $19.99 for a 3″ thick, 30″ wide by 79″ long slab.

I used some cotton batting I purchased during the gathering phase for another project, which will need to wait a bit (but that is okay because I still have other things to gather and I may find batting for it elsewhere).

Then, I mixed up some chalk paint. (I found a DIY blog via Pinterest (the gist: 2 parts paint for 1 part plaster of paris, which makes a thick, matte paint with a shabby/country/rustic/vintage feel). This was my first experience with chalk paint. My verdict is still out. Pros: I like the texture and the aged, yet clean feel. Con: I think it lightened my “natural wicker” paint a little too much. I may opt to give it another plain-paint coat later…

I cut my upholstery from a natural canvas drop cloth. (<$20 for a piece 3 yards by 4 yards! I am using the rest in another project next week, so none will go to waste; although, a smaller drop cloth could be used if this was a lonely, solitary project.)

Last, a piece of sand paper, which was the first thing I used.

Next step: I sanded just the feet/legs, and just a bit higher up the frame to rub the varnish out. I wanted to make sure my paint would adhere to the wood well enough. I waited a few hours for it to dry, then sanded it very lightly, and added another coat before turning in for the night (which was really early morning-typical for me).

This morning, I woke up eager to go at it again! I plugged in the compressor and let it build up pressure while I fed my troops and said, “hello!” to the morning. By the time I was ready to get to work, so was the compressor. I used the nail gun to fix my plywood to the top of the table frame.

The plywood was left-over from an old twin bed. Now… it is mine! (Insert villainous laughter AND grin.) It’s sturdy, a little spattered; but, that will not matter in a matter of minutes!

I measured the length of HD (high density/ Home Depot) foam to match the table. (I just used a straight edge and a sharpie.) A sharp, old kitchen knife with a serrated edge made shortening it easy. (Some people use an old electric knife when cutting foam, but I found that even with projects always in play, I never used mine; so, I donated it to a thrift store a couple of decades ago. The regular knife worked just fine for me.) I am relieved to get the foam covered because my children pounced on it immediately when it entered the house!

Anything this wonderfully big, white, soft, and new HAD TO be made into a toy in my home! Sonnet (my “baby”) could not resist it! She climbed right in.

A Sonnet Sandwich!

My foam is a little wider than my table’s narrower measurement, so I just split the difference and placed the frame right in the middle. I made a couple of guide marks with my lovely Sharpie marker so it would not come to a crooked end. Then I covered it with two layers of the cotton batting.

Here’s Christian, my third-born and my champion! He’s manning the music library on my laptop (he is phenomenal about taking listener requests!), lending moral support, and once I was ready, he lent a hand for holding my rolled edges in place while I operated the stapler. Sonnet is pleased-as-punch in the foreground, showing off the dragonfly ring I put together for her last week.

I used the stapler gun to attach the cotton batting to the corners, creating a tuck on each side of the corner. I rolled the foam on the long edges down toward the edge of the plywood, and stapled the batting covering it to the under-side of that edge, keeping the tension on the batting and foam even along the way. I wanted the sides to look “fitted” without puckering. I worked from the middle of each side out to the corner each corner. The staples made attaching the batting easier, and less noticeable. Because I want the base of the piece to have a straight edge, rather than the shell scallop, I attached batting (4-ply) to that edge as well. I had to assure I pointed the staples at appropriate angles for each shot because some spots had less wood behind them than others and I needed to be sure each staple caught the backing.

The batting phase is complete! Tidy staples and smooth edges in the batting made adding the canvas upholstery easy! (There’s the canvas next to the foot of the table.) I followed the same, basic pattern in adding the canvas, except (because I created a straight edge at the bottom of the base to hide the scallop) I started with the sides (middle mark to corner, smoothing as I went), and then did the corners.

I ironed the canvas and laid it across the top of the batting. I made one staple in the middle of the first long side. Then, maintaining the tension I established with the batting, I spaced a row of staples up, under the edged of the wrapped plywood. Then, to create my new bottom line, I placed a diamond-pattern tufting (created with the staples). The lower points of the scallop beneath my batting allowed just enough low staple placements, and the diamond pattern reinforced them higher up in areas where I could not place them as low. Because I used a packaged drop cloth, two of my edges were stitched, two were raw-cut. I could have used my sewing machine to run a straight stitch around the other two edges; yet, I didn’t because I was about to cover them anyway. As I continued my straight edge of fabric along the bottom of the base, I tucked the raw edge in and stapled it in place. Along the corners, I developed a lower point of fabric as I created the tucks. I trimmed them a little lower than the neat edge, and followed the same, tuck-and-staple technique.

I considered placing a row of decorative upholstery tacks around the edge (fancy!), yet I decided that was unnecessary. I will return the two packs of tacks ($1.99 each) and recoup the cost. I did decide to wrap the base with a giant burlap ribbon (Hobby Lobby 15′ for $4.99- I waited for the store’s weekly sale in that department, and bought it at 1/2 price for $2.50 +tax). So,

Table ($20); Foam ($20); plywood (free); paint and sandpaper (free); cotton batting ($30- could use poly batting or reuse an old comforter next time for lower cost); staples and nails (on-hand); burlap ribbon (<$3.00); Canvas (used less than 1/4 of the cloth, about $5 worth. I will use the remainder on another project next week. Not a speck will be wasted)=

After:

My finished piece: A not-so-shabby ottoman! Cost: about $78. Response: My family loves it!

Well, although I adore days that end this way- a completed project always helps me relax, feeling satisfied with success for the day- I will sign off! I am stealing time from the wee, small hours of my morning. Later, I will be back to work, with a major project: repairing a damaged cupboard and replacing our old, laminate kitchen counter tops with concrete ones! I am SO excited, but it must wait until I have rested a bit. More on that before the end of next week… So, until next time,

Truth

I must admit that I began this post on 21 January, 2012.  Yes, my life filled with ups, downs, demands, children, exams, and illness for a bit.  Since 1 May, I have had the goal of finalizing my drafted posts and becoming more regular with this blog, yet I am finally doing so now.  I am saying this with gratitude, which is an improvement, as I have shown extreme impatience with myself in the past.  The last six months have been good months, tough months, physically challenging months; yet, rewarding months, as well.

I must also admit that I do not recall the reason why I began collecting these musings on the topic of truth; however, I am following through and posting them anyway.  I love the words of truth, advice, or perspective of those who surround me, or came before me.  I always feel I know the world a little better after hearing someone else’s view of it.  So, without further ado,

Perspectives on Truth:

It is hard to believe that a man is telling the truth when you know that you would lie if you were in his place.  ~Henry Louis Mencken, A Little Book in C Major, 1916

If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.  ~Mark Twain

Who lies for you will lie against you.  ~Bosnian Proverb

No man has a good enough memory to make a successful liar.  ~Abraham Lincoln

Make yourself an honest man, and then you may be sure there is one less rascal in the world.  ~Thomas Carlyle

A half truth is a whole lie.  ~Yiddish Proverb

A lie will easily get you out of a scrape, and yet, strangely and beautifully, rapture possesses you when you have taken the scrape and left out the lie.  ~Charles Edward Montague, Disenchantment

Those who think it is permissible to tell white lies soon grow color-blind.  ~Austin O’Malley

A truth that’s told with bad intent beats all the lies you can invent.  ~William Blake, “Auguries of Innocence,” Poems from the Pickering Manuscript

The least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold.  ~Aristotle

 

Oh, my stars!

As I said in my last post, I imagined my glitter hearts at Christmas as I was making some 3-D star ornaments.  Here’s how those went together:  First, I began with a slice of cardboard and a cookie cutter.  Chipboard is better, but I didn’t have anything large enough at the time.  I outlined the star and trimmed it out.  This became my template.  My cookie cutter came in a package of 3 sizes, so I actually made 3 sizes of stars.  Tiny, medium, and large.

Each 3-D star needs two matching cardboard stars.  Set one star aside, and work with the second for now.

scored star

On one side of the star, use a craft knife or utility knife to score from each tip to the center.  Cut through only one layer, not all the way through.  Flip the star over, and on the other side score from the inside corners to the center.

Scored and folded star

This scoring allows the star to bend, making the lines as straight as possible.  Make a fold at each score line, bending the scored edges away from each other.

Putting the star together

The folded star “pops” up.  Use a piece of craft wire (about 8″ long to make a loop.  Place a dot of hot glue about 1/2″ from one point of the flat star and adhere the wire loop to it.  Place the scrunched, folded star on top and hot glue the sides together.  trim excess cardboard from the flat side of the star.

Here is the finished star, ready to be sealed and decorated.

If the star will be painted or glittered, fill in the score lines with hot glue and smooth with a straight edge (like a spare piece of paper, knife, of popsicle stick).  If covering the star with paper, filling the line is unnecessary.  I made some covered with vintage book pages, left over from the woven star ornaments, and I made some covered with glitter.

A thin coat of glue and a sprinkle of ultra-fine glass glitter, or a gluestick, paper, and a coating of shimmery paint make these stars really sparkle!

This was a great way to keep my hands busy while I watched Christmas movies!  I even kept working on them once Christmas was over.  I want to decorate for New Year’s Eve this  year with TONS of stars!

For now, I’m going back to my Anniversary prep and Prince Charming!  Until later,

Hearts, glitter, and whimsy

I am having a lot of fun as I continue in my preparation for my anniversary with some crafty projects and with finding more quotes to inspire me.  I love pulling out my boxes of decorations after a year has passed!  I love the tradition of decorating (just like I do for Thanksgiving and Christmas) because it sets apart the time of year with visual reminders.  I like the familiarity of seeing old things, the novelty of things I haven’t seen in a while, and the mental shift that gets me thinking, “Yay, I get to celebrate my marriage!”

Several years ago, I made a garland to hang in my front room.  I used lots of glass glitter (it is shinier and prettier than regular glitter), cardstock, crepe paper, paper valentine doilies, glue, a grommet kit, heavy craft wire, and some vintage pictures out of a book I had on hand.  Its showing its age and I am in the process of remaking it.  I don’t know if I’ll finish it on time for my anniversary, but definitely before V-Day.  Just in case, I want to share this now.  If I get the new one done, I’ll post that, too.

I made this back in 2002. I love the red glass glitter and the vintage pictures. I definitely want to remake this, and I will make my new one more durable.

This is probably my favorite heart! I used the red glass glitter, two sizes of paper heart doilies- one metallic, one matte, some printed scrapbook paper, and some cream-colored cardstock, on which I printed the "ooh, la la!" I punched a hole in each side, and used a grommet kit to make them sturdy. Heavy gauge craft wire in black connected each heart. I wrapped each end around a pencil several times to make them curly cued.

I used the same basic method for each heart and just changed out the embellishments. This one- Eternal Courtship- I think is a cute idea. I have decided that I will replace the white glitter with silver in my new one though-- the white doesn't stay as sparkly over time as the silver will.

This one- Be still me heart- is a little different. I used smaller hearts, and overlapped them over the banner, which I printed and lined with ruffled crepe paper. Crepe paper can be found online in sheets, but I just cut a roll of party crepe paper in half, gathered it, and stitched it. The stitching isn't required, but I thought it made gathering it around the edges of the paper easier for me.

This "Sweetheart" heart is pretty cute! I used scalloped scissors to ruffle the white layer and crepe paper, again, behind that.

One mistake I made was I used cardstock for the hearts.  Cardstock isn’t sturdy enough and the glue warps the paper, so I will use chipboard when I remake it.  The grommets were a great idea, and in chipboard, they’s last forever.  (Eventually, two of them pulled out of the cardstock.)  Maybe my attachment to something made of paper and glue is a bit silly, but my joy, creativity, and celebration went into making it, and every time I put it up, I remember that.  I think that feeling is what the attachment is all about….

Next, I made some glitter hearts.  I had the idea at Christmas when I figured out 3-D star ornaments for my tree.  I did not post them!  I just ran out of time, but I’ll put up a separate post for them with how-to’s.

Each 3-D heart has a solid heart at the back (left) and a second heart at the right. I used the scoring blade on my paper cutter to make my fold lines straight. I made one fold right down the middle, folding right sides together, and one fold on each side (back sides together) along the dotted lines. Across each of the curves at the top of the heart, I made a fold (back sides together), and made a small snip into the heart where the bold lines are. The snips allow one side of the snip to overlap the other (held with hot glue), which made the curve 3-dimensional. Once the two top points were glued, I set that aside and clipped a piece of wire about eight inches long. I made a loop by twisting the edges together. I hot glued my heart (folded in an accordian-like manner) to the flat heart with the connected edges of the wire attached right in the middle between the two layers. The folded heart is a little smaller, so I let the hot glue set, and trimmed the edges. A good, even coat of craft glue and then one of glass glitter, and the heart was finished.  This is a real “close-up,” yet this star is about 2″ wide and 3″ tall.

I love to reuse things! I knew I wanted lots of small glitter stars, and since I can't buy much right now, I used my "thrifty gene"- My family loves using drink packets, and the boxes make great layers for my stars.

This is a template for the silver star above. I just free-handed a heart and played around until I got it.

Deep red glitter heart! This is just a larger version of the other one. It is about seven inches in width. I used a box from a recent book shipment. The deep red glitter is really bold, I think.

When I'm on a roll, I want to get whatever I can out of getting messy!

I made five 3-D hearts, then I decided to make some slightly larger flat hearts.  I used the same sized boxes as before, but made the hearts longer.  (I made about 15 of those.)  I could assemble the flat hearts much more quickly, so I don’t know which ones I like better.  For the flat ones, I inserted my wire loop between two layers, hot glued,and made a seal around the edge.  Smoothing off the edge allows the glitter to coat the edge without defining the line between the papers.  I only glittered the front (because I want to make my glitter stretch), but both sides could be glittered if the hearts would hang and be seen from both sides.  I also used the bottom of a candy box that my band was given at christmas.  The material was just as thick as craft store chipboard, so I like its sturdiness.  I cut one dramatically long, thin heart (picture above) from the center, and I found that the two angles left over were enough to give me a matching heart with a little hot glue splicing.  I have one hanging on each side of my mantle, which is still a work in progress.   I really love the silver glass glitter!

I believe I have mentioned previously that I adore ribbon…well, I do!  I hang ribbon every chance I get.  Autumn, Christmas, Anniversary, Spring, and Independence Day-  coordinating ribbons everywhere!  Even on the dining room chandelier.  I want to recover the shades, and if I get around to it, I’ll share, but for now- my fixture sports red and white polka dot ribbons, red grossgrain ribbon knots, and miniature heart ornaments.

My dining room is north-facing, so it doesn't receive a lot of natural light. I brighten it up with extra color. Silly? I know! 🙂

My favorite heart ornaments are vintage ones I've had for years- they're glass, deep red, and have a sprinkling of glass glitter just on the top, but these are just cheapy ones I picked up a couple years ago from Walmart or Target. They are plastic, so I don't need to worry about them being bumped off and breaking. They're still cute and shiny.

I have several projects to go; a couple are digital, and a couple hands-on!  The next I’ll start, even before redoing my banner is to make a Prince Charming for my Queen of Hearts!

Queen of Hearts by Nicole Sayre (2006) Retired.

I bought her back in 2006.  She was designed by Nicole Sayer and I think she’s great; however, she needs a man!  I had the idea three years ago, but I just couldn’t do it then.  My imagination has him patterened similarly to the Disney Prince Charming- black hair and blue eyes (that’s Steven) sash across the suit, etc., but all I have so far are some rough sketches.  I think I’ll make him of cold porcelain over a wire frame.   This may be my Friday night splurge, since I am all caught up on my studies….hmm!

Well, until I have more to share,

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