My Favorite DIY Projects of 2014.

It’s a new year so everyone is frantically sharing their favorites of the past year whether it be recipes, beauty tips or fitness routines. So it’s only fitting I recap some of my faves of 2014 in relation to DIY projects and crafts. I got a slow start the beginning of 2014, I mean I DID have my hands full with a newborn, but nevertheless, I had some goodies. I have spared you the craft fails, although that could be a fun topic too…perhaps another day.

One of Reed's first Father's Day gifts.

One of Reed’s first Father’s Day gifts.

Custom anniversary print for Reed's grandparents' 50th Wedding Anniversary.

Custom anniversary print out for Reed’s grandparent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary

Festive fall banner made of burlap.

Festive fall banner made of burlap.

Outdoor fall blocks.

Outdoor fall blocks.

Favorite project to date; Liam's first birthday party.

Favorite project to date; Liam’s first birthday party.

You can read more about Liam’s owl themed first birthday party here.

Collage board for Christmas cards.

Collage board for Christmas cards.

Christmas Sharpie bowls that were later filled with treats and passed out to daycare teachers.

Christmas Sharpie bowls that were filled with treats.

"Let It Snow" sign.

“Let It Snow” sign.

Ring Bearer Box Inside

Custom ring bearer box.

Custom ring bearer box.

And that’s it! I already have a few DIY projects and crafts under my belt for 2015 and cannot wait to share them. Cheers to a happy new year full of health, love and hot glue guns.

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Look whoo’s turning one!

It has been a few days since Liam’s first birthday and I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I have a toddler. Unbelievable. How did this happen? I know it is cliche, but it literally feels like yesterday that we brought him home. This whole parenthood thing is going by way too fast. Super fun. But too fast.

Anyway, let’s get to the point of this blog…the birthday party! I took planning Liam’s birthday party very seriously. Not only because it was his first party, but because I love to party plan and the only one in charge of everything was ME…I’m a bit of a control freak.

Before Liam was born, we had a series of onsies made for him. Each onsie had an owl with the message, “Look whoo’s (number) months!” And Liam’s nursery theme is owls, so it was only fitting that his birthday party would be owl themed as well.

With some assistance from Pinterest and the rest from my own brain, I got to crafting. I personally made everything from the invitations to (some) of the food. Take a look!

I designed these invitations myself. I’m not an InDesign user, so these were created in good old PowerPoint.
Owl Invitations

I wanted go get some guest participation so I thought a time capsule would be a great idea. I cut out owls, attached them to a string and added little bit of the outdoors into the craft by putting a few sticks in a rustic vase.
time capsule

There are so many clothes that I loved putting Liam in when he was itsy bitsy, so I added a clothes line of some of my favorites. Luckily the place we rented had a gorgeous fireplace so it worked out perfectly!
1st Birthday Clothes LineBaby Clothes LineBirthday Clothes Line

Birthday Clothes Line

Birthday Clothes Line

Birthday Clothes Line

Liam’s least favorite. outfit..socks.

 

We had an old frame that was just sitting in the basement so I took it apart, fixed the corner of the frame that was broken and made two boards from it. For the first board, I glued some yarn to the back of it and affixed Liam’s monthly pictures (in the owl onesies) with clothespins that were painted with his color scheme. For the second board, I took the backing of the frame, spray painted it with chalkboard paint and wrote all his stats (e.g. weight, height, number of teeth, etc). And voila! Two boards for less than $10.
birthday boards

I wanted something theme-ish for each table so I made some owls from felt to work as the weights for the balloons at each table. They were a hit! I made eight of them. They were a bit time consuming, but so worth it!

Felt Owl Balloon Weights

The cake table (and food tables, really) were complete with stuffed animals. For the cupcakes I made little cupcake toppers from toothpicks and completed the theme with ‘one’ and ‘owl’ shaped sandwiches.
Owl Birthday Cake Table

Owl Birthday Cupcakes

Owl Sandwiches

And who doesn’t love gift bags? With a little construction paper, brown paper bags and some goodies to put inside, all the kids at the party took home an owl gift bag.
Owl Gift Bags

And here he is! My little peanut is officially a toddler. He had a blast at his party despite missing every single one of his naps that day. Such a trooper! Owl Themed Birthday Party

Our inexpensive bathroom update.

It was March 2013 when I first learned we were expecting. It was also March when I went into turbo gear trying to get last minute household projects complete because I knew after Baby Battin was born, there would be little time to do anything.

We were in desperate need of a bathroom update. It has truly been the bane of my existence since we moved in. It started off as a room with chair rails, awful textured walls above the chair rails, green speckled paint and wallpaper border.

Before BathroomSince October of 2010, I’ve spent a lot of time in our bathroom – not doing doing the obvious, but painting. In the past three years, this room has been about three different colors. I just couldn’t get quite the right color that I wanted. But by golly, I think I’ve got it now!

Before we began our bathroom update, we established a budget. I didn’t want to spend more than $700 which was tricky because there was a lot I wanted to accomplish.

  1. Remove the chair rails
  2. Sand the walls
  3. Paint the walls
  4. Paint the vanity
  5. Remove medicine cabinets
  6. Replace light fixtures
  7. Replace floor
  8. Tile shower walls

Whew! That was a long list for our tiny budget. But I was confident that it was doable. My husband was in charge of removing the chair rails. While this would have been a simple project, the original homeowners thought it would be a fantastic idea to texture the top half of the walls above the chair rail. After a few days, and a nose full of dust, we had two items checked off our list.

Sanded wallsStill in need of my husband’s help, we both removed the two awful medicine cabinets that took up way too much space and replaced them with a large mirror we bought for $40 at Old Time Pottery. We also added in a new light fixture to complete the look.

 

Next up – paint (again)! We opted to play off the color of our shower curtain which is a variety of browns and tans.

Another eye-sore of our bathroom has been the marble counter top on the vanity. Because we wanted this bathroom update to be as inexpensive as possible, I thought I would give a Pinterest project a try and painted the counter top with a sponge and acrylic paint and then sealed it with Polycrylic from Minwax. To my surprise, it turned out pretty good. I did it in stages with four different colors. I’ve had to do a few touch-ups here and there, but for the most part I like it. Eventually, we will replace the entire vanity, but that wasn’t in our budget just yet.

Marble countertop

Marble counter top before paint.

After we accomplished all we could, we called in some help from my father-in-law to install tile shower walls. We saved money on the tile because we were given free tiles from my cousin. All we  purchased was the border, which wasn’t entirely necessary, but really completed the look. The original walls were an acrylic inlay that was cheap and cracking. It took about three full days to complete the project. At the time of this construction, I was about eight and a half months pregnant. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. Thank goodness our friends offered up their shower so I was able to feel somewhat human. We ran into a bit of a hiccup when our old piping wouldn’t fit the new fixtures we purchased. Because our house was built in the 50’s, there was no way around it – we had to call a plumber. This is when our budget was tossed into the shredder. $700 later, we had new fixtures. Just goes to show, nothing is ever easy! But I must say, it was all worth it!

I am saddened to say, we never got around to replacing the floor before our peanut was born, but we do have the tile in-hand. So while our inexpensive bathroom update isn’t 100% complete, at least now I can walk into it without cursing everything about it. And the final cost, without the unexpected visit from the plumber: $773.  Not too shabby!

What’s for dinner?

For quite some time now, I have been eying various menu planning techniques that people use in their homes to stay organized. While I found a lot of them in blogs and on Pinterest, not one of them worked completely for our family. Instead of replicating one of the plans I found online, I took bits and pieces of a bunch of them and developed my own. The best part – it cost me a total of $9.00, give or take a few cents for tax.

I started off needing a cookie sheet. Believe it or not, this was more difficult than it seemed. I couldn’t fine one that was large enough, and I didn’t want to spend a fortune on one. After visiting Target and Walmart, I ventured over to Ollie’s. I should have went there first! I found an awesome cookie sheet for $6.99. Rather than making a craft out of this sparkly new cookie sheet, I opted to keep this new one and use one of my old ones for my craft.

Once I got my cookie sheet, I was ready to craft! I searched through my craft cabinet for fabric, ribbon, magnetic tape, construction paper, ribbon and letters. To my surprise, I actually had everything I needed! I gathered it all together while my husband did this…..

dinner planning

I started by applying fabric to the back of the cookie sheet using Elmer’s Adhesive Spray. I absolutely LOVE this stuff!

Elmer's Adhesive Spray

Once that was accomplished I added the title, “BATTIN MENU” and days of the week. Because my husband and I would prefer to plan meals only two weeks in advance, I added two lines of ribbon to break up the weeks.

meal planning

Once this was finished, I started cutting,, cutting cutting squares! Each square includes a dinner that is often eaten in our home. The dinners with an * means there is a recipe to follow (I will get to this more later). On the back of each square, I taped a small strip of magnetic tape.

materials for meal planning
At this time it was back to the store for me! I wanted to have two small boxes on my board – one to hold all the dinner options and one to hold the recipes needed if one of the meals that week requires a recipe (remember the *)! I found the perfect size boxes in the One Spot at Target. They were actually band-aid boxes, but they worked! I brought them home, cut them up and origami-ed construction paper around them, added sticky letters and BAM I had my boxes.

meal planning boxes

The last step was to add a ribbon to the top of the board so that it could hang. Using my handy dandy hot glue gun, I secured this ribbon. Now our menu board hangs beautifully on the side of our fridge!

meal planning board

Here is the entire station – calender and shopping list included. Ahhhh I’ve never felt so organized! Now my husband has no excuse not to start dinner if he gets home before me!

meal planning station

A quack-tastic ducky themed baby shower.

If feels like forever ago, but really it was only last year this time that I was planning a baby shower for my cousin’s first child. I insisted on heading up the decoration committee since I love crafts and planning parties! As soon as I got the green light on the ducky theme, it was full speed ahead!

Up until delivery, my cousin had no idea what she was having, so we opted for a gender neutral theme – and what more neutral than a rubber ducky!
Here is a recap of the beautiful day!
Gift station complete with a ducky gift sign.
 sign and picture
Table filled with gift bags and green and yellow polka dot boxes full of M&M’s for baby bingo.
duckk themed game table

Giveaway bags that contained lotions, fragrances and all things nice for those who won baby bingo.

rubber ducky themed gifts

Here is the “guess how many kisses bottle” next to my all time favorite decoration – rubber duckies in a bowl of cotton balls! I should have gotten a close up, but I didn’t!

rubber ducky themed game

Dessert station.
rubber ducky desserts
For favors, everyone got to take home a bag of homemade ducky cookies complete with a “Thank you” stamped tag. Stamp was purchased at Pat Catan’s.
rubber ducky cookie
For the tables, we kept with the green and yellow polka dot color scheme with these super cute porcelain pots from the One Spot at Target.
rubber ducky decorations
And the silverware was all wrapped in yellow polka dot ribbon that we found at the The Dollar Tree.
party silverware
 Even the water bin got some ducky love!
rubber ducky water bin
 And finally, the cake!
rubber ducky cake
Me and the mommy-to-be (mommy now to a beautiful baby boy!)
rubber ducky themed shower

Not your grandma’s hutch.

My grandma pasted away several years ago when I was a teenager and after her passing, my mom inherited her china hutch. So naturally, when my mom decided to update her entire living room, she passed the hutch down to me. Enter new project: furniture update!

Hutch Before Paint

While the hutch was pretty and petite, it was not technically all wood. Parts of it were made of particle board. Right away I was ecstatic that this furniture update would not involve staining as I didn’t think it would be appropriate for the particle board. Instead, I decided that it needed to be transformed from a wood, stained hutch to a painted hutch.

I started off explaining the project to a coworker of mine who, luckily for me, also loves furniture update projects. I brought in one of the wood drawers that he took home to strip and sand for me. My original plan was to strip and sand the rest of the doors and sections made of wood, but then I came across this: Klean-strip Sander Deglosser. This product is perfect for those furniture updates that you don’t want to strip and sand.

Deglosser

The directions were so easy! Pour the deglosser onto a course rag and rub in a circular motion over the desired area. I repeated this method twice over every section of the hutch. From there, since I was planning on painted the hutch, I went back over the entire hutch with a light sand paper, followed by primer.

Finally, the fun part came – painting! I love this part because it is the first time that your updated furniture starts actually turn into something nice. After two full coats, some touch-up coats and new hardware, I had myself a painted hutch.

Painted Hutch

The last part was probably the most difficult. I really wanted this painted hutch to be different and unique to my style. Thanks to Pinterest, I came up with the idea to wrap fabric around the backing behind the glass. It was the perfect way to transform my updated furniture from old to modern! The hardest part was picking out a design that matched the living room and the dining room since these two rooms in our house are connected to each other. Surprisingly, I found the perfect design from Walmart!

Walmart Fabric

I wrapped the fabric around the back piece using Elmer’s Spray Adhesive from Pat Catan’s, asked my husband to nail it in place and voila! My new piece of updated furniture: a freshly painted hutch.

hutch before and after paint

hutch after paint

I image grandma is either really proud of me, or rolling over in her grave. I like to think it’s not the latter.

Do you have a question about my furniture update? Leave it below in the comments section!

Spring has sprung.

Looks like spring is deciding to make an early March appearance in Cleveland, Ohio! A colorful wreath is just what our front door needs to welcome the new season! With a combination of felt, beads, needle, thread, hot glue gun, Styrofoam wreath and yarn, I created this joyful spring wreath. The best part about it was it cost less than $10.00.

spring flowerr wreath

spring wreath