Tuesday, August 23, 2011

House Tours

On the first day of June I shot a little video of my new house shortly after the drywall had been hung.  Today I shot another video now that the house in finished (construction of the house, at least) to see how far she's come!  I also thought it would be neat for my family and friends who live far away and probably won't have a chance to visit any time soon to see my place!

Here's the drywall tour from back in June:

And now here's the tour I shot today...enjoy!

Updated & Improved Crayon Roll Craft

Last year I used a tutorial from Skip to My Lou to make a couple crayon rolls as gifts for some well-deserving kiddos.  Well, I have another little one who just had a birthday so I made another crayon roll but with a few of my own updates.

One update was adding elastic instead of using ribbon to tie the roll up, which makes it easier for little hands to put away.  The second update was using iron-on vinyl on the back piece of fabric so that the waxy crayons don't mark up the fabric.

See how the material behind the crayons is shiny?  That's the iron-on vinyl!  It was really easy to use but a little tricky to sew...my needle didn't like the fabric!  I have to read more about how to fix this problem.  You could also use this product for making bibs, lunch bags, or reusable sandwich wraps!

The third addition was to make an accessory to go with the crayon roll.  I cut up some cardstock, punched a hole in each piece, then used a metal ring to secure them together.  This way, mom or dad can pop the crayon roll and the paper into their bags and easily pull them out when they need to entertain the kids (at a restaurant, for instance).

Creative and in expensive additions to this already cute and functional craft project!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Goodwill Hunting

The end of August brings the desire to buy back-to-school clothes to start the new year.  I am a teacher by profession which means that I perpetually have 'back to school' to prepare for!  Back when I was a pre-teen (or tween as they are known today) my dad would take my brothers and I back-to-school shopping at Goodwill.  Being a pre-teen, this was mortifying to me because 'second hand' clothes just weren't the fashion in middle school.  Still, my dad insisted that there were 'great deals' to be had at second-hand stores.

 I am happy to report that the 30-year-old me just spent the day hunting for bargains at 3 Goodwill stores and a Salvation Army! I am on a tight budget this year since moving into my new house but I was able to make my dollar stretch quite a bit by finding several key items that I can mix and match into my existing wardrobe.  Here's how the day went:

First I hit up the Salvation Army store off of Warren Ave. in Portland (Maine).  This is a really large store, but kinda dingy so bring your hand-sanitizer!  They definitely have lower prices than the Goodwill stores but the store itself isn't as nice.  I found a few cute skirts but alas, none of them fit!  I did, however, find a sturdy black coffee table priced at $20.  It definitely needed some TLC in the paint department but I really like the long, narrow shape as well as the shape of the legs.  I asked the manager if I could get a discount because of the rough paint situation and she took 50% off!  So, I walked out with what will now become a bench at the foot of my bed for only $10!

I'll refinish the surface and probably add a home-made cushion on top with some foam and fabric.

Next, I ventured to the Forest Ave. Goodwill, just down the street from the Salvation Army.  Again,  I found a few things to try on but only one item fit, a really cute cropped cotton jacket for only $4.99!  Actually, almost every clothing item at Goodwill is priced at $4.99, unless it is tagged with a colored barb that indicates it's 50% off.  Today, for instance, any item with a green barb was half-off.  I only found two items with green barbs :0(   Here's the cute jacket mentioned above paired with a strapless cotton dress from GAP that I found at the next stop!

The third stop was at the Goodwill in the Millcreek Shopping Plaza in SoPo.  Although this store was relatively small, it had TONS of items from J.Crew, Banana Republic, and GAP...I swear every third item was one of those brands!  I ended up buying a brand-new J. Crew cotton top that I sqeezed myself into because it is so darn cute!  Note: this top was marked up to $7.99, not $4.99 because apparently the people at Goodwill like to milk the brands for all they are worth!

I also bought a skirt and I bulletin board for $2.99 that will reside in my classroom!
I have big plans for turning this bulletin board into something fabulous!

The last stop on the Goodwill hunting tour was the new, and super large, Goodwill store out by the Maine Mall. There are so many racks of clothing in this store it's almost overwhelming.  Luckily, I was in no rush so I took my time slowly pawing through the racks.  I ended up trying on a ton of items, some of which made it home with me, some of which did not!

I bought the embellished pink skirt but the striped skirt didn't fit
This cute striped gray and yellow sweater was a winner!

Loved this sweater from Banana Republic but I have something already that's similar so back to the racks she went!

This dress is what I was wearing today but it's so cute I had to share!  I got it at WalMart for only $10 a few years ago!  I ended up getting 8 items of clothing at this Goodwill for only $35!

I also picked up a wooden apple and two wooden toys for $.99 each that are eagerly awaiting a fresh coat of spray paint in fun colors!

Here's the break down of what I bought:
-1 Jacket
-1 Sweatshirt
-1 Dress
-3 Skirts
-3 Sweaters
-3 Shirts
-3 toys
-1 bulletin board
-1 coffee table/bench
I think dad will be proud when I tell him about my bargain hunting!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Oh Hot Damn, This is My Jam!

Yes!  It's that time of year again...blueberry jam making time!  Let me first start by explaining the title of the post...as I was making the jam this song kept popping into my head:

Consider it the theme song for my jam-making festivities!  This year I didn't pick the blueberries but they are the next best thing...fresh, frozen blueberries from Wyman's that my mom picked up for me while on vacation in Milbridge (near Machias, the blueberry capital of Maine). So, they are Maine blueberries and they are delicious!

Please notice my brand-new food processor in the picture above, which was a housewarming gift from my friend Christina, who just so happens to be the #1 fan of my blueberry jam!  It made crushing the blueberries so much easier than my old way, crushing them by hand with a potato masher!  You can find a very detailed tutorial on how to make this blueberry jam here.

 As I don't yet have a canning system, I didn't put my jars in a water bath but simply ran the jars and lids through the sterilization cycle of my dishwasher then filled them, sealed them, and inverted them until I could no longer 'pop' down on the lid. They will stay fresh until they are opened but the jam should be eaten within a month to make sure it doesn't spoil.  I haven't found this to be a problem since I filled them into 4oz jars and people usually devour the entire thing in a day (you know who YOU are!).

After the jars cooled, I flipped them over and decided to add pretty labels.  I used Photoshop to design and print out a pattern onto cardstock.  Then I used a 2-inch punch to cut out circles to place between the lid and rim of the jar top. Although I didn't do this, another option would be to print the design on sticker paper and adhere to the top of the lids and/or use Modge Podge to seal the paper so that it is more moisture resistant. 

My favorite way to eat the jam is on warm drop biscuits!

But toast works, too!

I love making this jam because it's such a great treat to give away!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

T-Shirt Transformation

Now that my office is in order, I finally have time and room to craft!  I found this really easy tutorial on transforming a basic long-sleeve tee into a cute & ruffled short-sleeved tee!  I looked through my pile of items set to donate to Goodwill and found this:

I spent the afternoon following the tutorial (those darn ruffles gave me trouble!) and ended up with this: 

Sooo much more stylish than that basic plain long-sleeved tee! I'm thinking I will definitely have to make another, perhaps playing around with the ruffle and button placement.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Two and a Half Months

Here's a little video that shows my house progression from plans to reality!


Yup, this post is about the master bedroom!  Although I posted some pics after my 9-hour battle with a stencil, I haven't posted any since moving in the furniture (beware of wrinkled linens...not much for ironing my sheets!).

Much like the rest of the house, I still have some 'to do' items left in this room, including painting a solid-wood full length mirror that I scored for $20 at a yard sale as well as hanging art work and another mirror above my dresser.

Here's a resource list of some items in the room:
Paint Color on Walls: Cumulus Cloud (Martha Stewart, Home Depot)
White Dressers: Bob's Discount Furniture
Bedside Tables: Christmas Tree Shop
Bedside Lamps: Marshalls
Bed Linens: Ikea
Light Gray Pillows: Target
Silver Mirror: Target
Silver Curtains: Target
Chandelier: Ikea

I really love the soft color palette of blues and grays and this room is exactly what I was hoping for!  It is certainly MUUUUUUCH better than the bland and boring bedroom in my condo:

Yuck!  I'll leave you with this pretty image instead:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

August Frost

Thanks to a WalMart gift card I received for Christmas from my family, I was able to purchase a beautiful new TV hutch (and thanks to my parents I received a fab new TV for my 30th birthday which now resides on said hutch!!).  I love the overall look but wasn't in love with seeing all my junk behind the clear glass panes.

Having a place to store 'junk' is particularly important upon just moving in and needing time to slowly go through and organize each room.  The easy solution was purchasing a can of frosted glass spray!
After removing each pane from its respective door, I used about 5 coats to get as even a finish as possible. Now, you can only see slight changes in color behind the glass, but certainly can't make out what kinda junk I have behind those doors!

A little frost in August is a good thing!

Hot Mess

In anticipation of my house warming party this past weekend, I had one last room that desperately needed to be organized:

Yup, it's the office/craft room AKA 'dumping ground' for miscellaneous goods. The centerpiece of the room is a large 4x4 work table that I purchased 3 years ago from Staples.  In my condo, it served as a dining room table:

But in my new house, which has ample space for an actual dining room table in the dining area, the work table is now used for just that, work!  Here she is, all cleared and ready to be slathered in fabric, glue, and paper:

Please take note of the pretty black light...my dad came over and rewired the chandelier so that it is now long enough to swag over the center of the table, providing ample light for all my sewing and craft projects. 

Here are some more 'before' and 'after' pictures of the disaster zone from other angles...

I still need to deal with several boxes of books and frames that are under the table as well as hang some art work and curtains, but at this point, the room is certainly functional!