Birthday Party In a Box

Let’s face it, no matter how old we get, we still love getting birthday cards in the mail. Well, I know I do at least. What if you didn’t just get a card this year? What if you received an entire birthday party in a box? Feelin’ like a kid again, huh?

My sister is one of the greatest people I know. She lives 9 hours from me, so I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be with her on her birthday this year. I decided to send her a party in a box, because I knew her three kids (ages 5, 3, and 2) would LOVE celebrating with her and it took a little less planning on her part and a little more enjoying! She deserves it!!

I tried to use all of the same theme of decorations. I found a wonderful colorful polka dot pattern so I used that as much as I could and then used other colorful patterns for everything else.

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Here’s what I included in her box:

-Brownie mix

-Candles

-Sprinkles

-A “Happy Birthday” Banner

-A table cloth

-Plates and napkins

-Party hats

-Noise makers

-A wrapped birthday gift and card

-A personal bottle of wine [her favorite part, I’m sure ;-)]

She loved it and had a fun party with her sweet little family! If you have a relative or friend you can’t be with on their birthday, maybe this is something you could do for them. Share your twists on this project, I’d love to see them!

diy tree stump side table.

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We are so close to being done with Isaiah’s forest-themed nursery. Now that I’m on bed rest, I have had time to work on many of the projects I wanted to do. It won’t be long before he is here so we don’t have much more time to get things ready. I’ll post pictures of the entire room once the curtains and crib skit (being made by a family friend) are complete.

I can’t take much credit for this project (other than the idea of it!), because my sweet, hard-working husband did most of the work…okay, all of the work. I am so thankful for his willingness to help! When we decided to make Isaiah’s nursery a forest theme, the first project I thought of was a tree stump side table to go next to the rocker for when we are in the nursery rocking him. My husband’s parents had a huge tree fall in their background during a storm in the fall so it worked out perfect to snatch a piece of the stump being cut up! We stored it away for a few months to let it dry out. This is really important, because it makes the process of removing the bark a bit easier. The longer it dries out, the easier the bark comes off.

The first step, as you can guess then, was removing the bark. My husband did a fine job at this by using a hammer and a pick. It took a bit of time  to do it this way, but it looks so great with the bark removed and I was very pleased it.

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Nerd alert with the glasses…but really kids, safety is no accident. Wear protection! 🙂

After all the bark was removed, we (sorry there I go again) he sanded it down to make a smoother looking finish. This is best done with an electric sander…doing it by hand would take much longer and just plain stink. So I suggest borrowing one if you don’t have one.

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The final step is optional, but something I feel really brings it all together…staining. Since all of the furniture in the nursery is a dark espresso color, I wanted the table to match. The stain is “English Cherry”, made by Minwax, a popular brand you can find almost anywhere. Whatever stain color you choose to use, it will look darker when you first put it on, but it will lighten up quite a bit as it dries. Don’t worry if it seems insanely darker than you wanted, it will look great!

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It took almost 3 days for the stain to really set in and dry completely. I waited almost a week to put it in the nursery, because I was afraid of stain getting on the carpet. Use your best judgement when deciding if it’s done or not. Every stump is different.

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Now I can’t wait for Isaiah to get here so I can rock him and use this adorable side table that cost practically nothing to make…except maybe some of my husband’s valuable time. 😉 But I absolutely love how it turned out! I’m obsessed and go into the nursery at least three times a day just to look at everything coming together finally!

Good luck if you decide to give tree-stump-side-table-making a try. It’s totally worth the effort!

bathroom vanity makeover.

Once you become a homeowner, every weekend is filled with projects to get it to look the way you want it. One of the first things I wanted to do to our new home once we were somewhat settled in, was to re-do the vanity in the master bathroom. The color of the wood was terrible and I knew I  didn’t want to have to look at it everyday, so I decided all it needed was a little TLC. I sanded and painted it, replaced the hideous gold and silver knobs with new ones from Lowe’s (our 2nd home now), and spray painted the hinges, so we didn’t have to buy new ones.

Here is the before and after picture of the vanity:

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Isn’t it so much more pleasant to look at it? Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I love it. My husband liked it so much that he asked me to do the guest bathroom vanity and the kitchen cabinets too. Yipee for me. Really though, I am happy to do it, because I can’t stand the look of them right now. Of course, I won’t do those in blue, too.

Here are the details and cost breakdown for the project:

  • Vanity paint: Blue Bayberry – Olympic ONE Interior Latex, Flat ($10 for a quart)
  • Knobs: Brushed Nickel ($1.50/each – $10.50 total)
  • Spray paint: Satin Nickel – Rust-Oleum ($7)

I spent a total of $27.50 and that is very reasonable for a quick DIY project that completely changes the look of a room. Now I just need to change out those ugly faucets and it will be just the way I want it.

I am hoping to post pictures of the entire house soon, once we get a few more minor projects completed! Stay tuned.

nightstand makeover.

When my husband’s grandmother passed away almost a year ago, his dad gave us a small table from her home. It’s an antique and very fragile. You can’t put a lot of weight on it and it isn’t in the best of shape. That all doesn’t really matter though, because it’s special to us. It means something to us and it’s been apart of his family for a long time.

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I didn’t have a nightstand at the time, so I put it on my side of the bed to hold my book and phone. Over this past year, it had gotten even worse. The top was chipping off more, it was almost two different shades of brown, and the legs were extremely shaky. I tightened the legs and added some glue to the base to make it sturdier, but I knew it still needed a little bit of a makeover.

I bought some white spray paint and had some ‘jade’ colored spray paint left over from a previous project, so I was set. I sanded the entire table down using a piece of 220 grit sand paper. I had an electric sander, but was afraid it’d be too rough on the old table, so I did it by hand.

After I was done sanding, I wiped it down with a damp cloth and let it dry for a few minutes. Then, I began to spray paint just the top of the table white. I did several coats and let it dry. Next, I painted the base ‘jade’. I did three coats before I decided it looked even all around. I let it dry for about an hour. Finally, I did one last coat of each color. I let it dry again, but this time for several hours to be safe, and as to not stink up our apartment with the smell of paint. We all know how awesome that is.

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It’s not much, but I love it! I’m very excited I was able to keep this sweet little table from my grandmother-in-law, but add a touch of modernism to it. It’s perfect!

side-by-side comparison

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yarn wrapped beer bottle.

There’s a really easy way to put any type of empty bottle to good use: wrap it in yarn! All you need is a bottle, ball of yarn, a hot glue gun, some flowers, and about ten minutes. That’s it! It’s a very simple, yet tedious process of wrapping the bottle with yarn. Start out by gluing the top of the bottle and wrap tightly until you reach the bottom. Glue again at the bottom of the bottle and cut the yarn.

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The type of yarn I used is my favorite. It has a blend of cream and tan colors and gives off a beautiful shimmer color from a distance.

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I absolutely love it on our mantel. It’s the perfect addition and sits next to the window pane mirror I made a few months ago.

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diy scrabble “love” letters.

On Tuesday, my husband and I celebrated our SECOND anniversary. Hooray! It’s hard to believe we’ve been married two years. It feels more like 20…kidding. Sort of.

I’m very thankful for my husband and the man that he has become. I truly didn’t think it was possible, but I love him more now than the day we said, “I do.” My husband is the perfect man for me and I thank God every night for such a wonderful blessing. I know, I’m getting too mushy. I’ll stop now.

Anyways, since I have this love theme going on in this post, I decided to share a little project I did soon after we got married that I never posted. This project fits perfectly for us, because we LOVE scrabble. We used to play all the time when we were dating and when we got married we asked for a nicer set for Christmas. We even (don’t judge) bought the Scrabble dictionary with a gift card to Barnes and Noble. Weirdos, I know.

I bought the four square pieces of wood at Hobby Lobby for $1/each. I already had black acrylic paint, so that was all the material I needed for this quick and easy project. I traced the letters on the wood and filled them in with the black paint. Then I added the numbers in the bottom right hand corner.

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Now, if you’re a Words with Friends player, you are probably thinking, “I thought L’s were worth 2 points”. They are…on Words with Friends, but in REAL scrabble it’s only 1 point for an L. So my advice….if you are going to make scrabble letters, make sure you check the real game points if you want them to be authentic scrabble letters.

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I hung the letters above the framed picture all of our friends and family signed on our wedding day. It’s perfect there, because it’s not only about the love between my husband and I, but the love we’ve received from friends and family as well. We are so thankful for the tremendous amount of love, encouragement, and support we get from them each and every day!

diy twine wrapped initial.

I finally decided it was time for a more spring/summer door decoration (about time, eh?) for our front door. I knew I wanted it to be pretty simple and not too girly for my husband’s sake, but what can I say? I am in love with peach right now, so for me, it was a must-have color for this project.

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I went with a thinner twine, because I like the look of it and if you must know…it was cheaper.

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Materials:

  • 1 wooden letter “L” from Joanne’s ($6)
  • 1 roll of twine ($1.50)
  • 1 roll of peach ribbon ($1.25)
  • 3 flowers from Hobby Lobby ($1)

Steps:

  • First, I wrapper the letter with the twine by hot gluing it at the top and then wrapping it all the way to the bottom, where I glued it again
  • Then I glued and wrapped the ribbon at each end to add more color
  • Next, I cut the flowers off of their stems as high as a I could and glued them down one at a time and added some of the greenery (technically yellowery) that came with the flowers to the center of them
  • Lastly, I glued the peach ribbon to the back of the letter at the top to create a cute way to hang the letter

Easy and under $10!

extreme makeover: desk edition.

Well, we are officially moved and settled in to our new city. I found a job and started last Monday. We’ve had a blast so far…meeting new friends, catching up with old friends, and exploring the town. So far, it’s a winner!

When my husband was in college, he made a simple desk for his room with his brother-in-law. In our new place, we have room for it now so we got it back from his parents. It was very plain and had not been stained or painted, but it was a free desk, nonetheless. I figured with a little TLC we could turn it into a nice looking piece of furniture in our bedroom.

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How to do the make-over:

1. Fill in any holes and gashes with wood putty.

2. Once the surface is dry, sand over the areas that have putty (either with an orbital sander or sand paper).

3. When you have a smooth surface, wipe down the entire desk with a damp rag.

4. Flip desk over so that the legs are in the air.

5. Apply paint to the legs and bottom of the base with the color of your choice. You’ll want two cans for this, to do at least 2-3 coats for a nice, even look.

6. After the paint has dried, flip the desk back over.

7. Next, you’ll stain the top with the stain of your choice.

8. Wipe the surface after applying the first coat with a dry rag, then apply a second coat without wiping it off.

9. Apply a coat of polyurethane for a finished look.

Stain color I used: walnut

Paint color I used: Satin (Valspar color)

diy window pane mirror.

Recently I was searching the web for some wall decor for our new place once we make our big move. I found an adorable window pane mirror on Target’s website and I knew it was perfect for us. The only problem? The price. This penny pincher was not about to drop $70 on some wall decor. I decided at that moment, in this DIY-world, I could make it on my own…for a lot cheaper.

The next day, I mosied on down to my local Habitat for Humanity Restore, where they sell used and donated household items such as doors, cabinets, furniture, and you guessed it…window panes. So I bought one for $3. The paint was chipping off and was uneven and needed some work. The glass in the frames had dried paint and nasty film over them. It needed an upgrade. But I left a happy customer, nonetheless.window pane mirror

The first step was sanding the frame down to an even base coat. This could have been done by hand, but we used an electric sander to get the job done quicker. Then my husband knocked out the glass frames using a hammer and made sure no extra pieces were stuck sticking out. After this, we applied 2 or 3 coats of spray paint. because I wanted it to be a pop of color in our apartment, we chose the color ‘jade’. It also happened to match material I bought to make curtains with. Double win. Once the paint dried, I took it to a local glass and mirror shop and they cut pieces of mirror to fit in the slots.

Now we have our completed project and couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out. After buying the frame, spray paint, and mirrors we still saved over $40. It really didn’t take a lot of time or effort either.

 

I cannot wait to hang it in our new place soon!! Do you have any cool make-over projects? I’d love to see them!

Homemade Bubbles.

I’m still recovering from a weekend of too much food, lots of family and not enough sleep. I’ll get there eventually though.

The weather ended up being pretty nice over the weekend, so on Saturday we made homemade bubbles with the nieces and nephews. It turned out to be a lot of fun. I think the adults may have even had more fun with them then the kids. But how could you not have fun making bubbles the size of people?

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DSC_0307To Make Bubble Mixture:

  • 4 Tbsp dishwashing liquid (Dawn or Joy is best)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp glycerin

Mix all ingredients in a 9×13 pan.

To Make Bubble Making Wands: 

  • string
  • two plastic straws

Loop the string through the two straws and tie it together. Place the straws at opposite ends from each other. This is a great outdoor activity that will keep kids (and some adults) entertained for an afternoon.

Happy Easter!

From The Leachmans

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