Sunday, February 22, 2009

How to "Share the Love!"

Here is a great party idea!  If you have group of friends that you want a good excuse to share crafts and have a fun lunch you can "Share the Love!"
You can do this party for any occasion, Spring/Easter, summer, fall, Halloween, Christmas. etc. . .
Table Setting

Each place setting included a scrabble name plate personalized with a fun name!

Here is a goodie bag with fun magnets, some glass, a cute button and a fun Valentine button.
Click Here to learn how to make your own glass magnets.

These pastry stands are a great touch with all of the great tags.  All of the graphics were found on Esty.  Click Here to see these great Vintage inspired Valentine's Graphics.

Soup in bread bowls is a great lunch for a cold winter day.  A spinach salad with the strawberries cut like hearts is a great companion for the occasion.

These mini Cheese Cakes and Cupcakes (including red velvet, YUM!) are a great dessert.  Then you can take the large cupcake home in your pastry stand to share with your other sweet heart!
Here is what you would go home with:
Heart pocket CD holders to hold a CD full of a variety of love songs

A love box to share some of those special letters/notes that you don't want to part with.  
You can then have this box to open when you need a reminder of how much you are loved!

A heart topiary

A cute sign embellished with scrapbook paper

some "lovely" heart shaped pasta to make for your love(s) -your kids will love the pasta!
But when cooking it you MUST wear the included tiara and use the blinged out spoon.

A personalized heart bean bag and napkin

A Conversation Heart Wreath.  
These hearts were individually cut out of 1/4 plywood, painted and personalized with vinyl lettering.  Embellished with pastel berries.

These are some fun craft ideas, thanks for sharing!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Getting off Tract!

Yes, I live in a Tract home!

-Tract housing (also known as cookie-cutter housing) is a style of housing development in which multiple identical or 
nearly-identical homes are built to create a community. 

Unfortunately if you cannot afford a custom home or want to live in an older neighborhood in Arizona (and many other places), you live in a tract home. The beautiful shades of brown that all of the houses have just don't appeal to my pallet. In 2000 when we were ready to move up from renting we started looking for a house. I could not and would not live in a neighborhood where all of the houses were the same color and, to the untrained eye, identical. It really was a quite depressing venture. But then the compromise was found. At that time there was one builder who had the "different" style of tract home. They were perfect for me (or as perfect as I could get without building my own home) with the large front porch, shutters, smooth stucco, color, and some stone, brick, or shingles. It was the best I could find so we got it. It even had a decent back yard, for kids to play, a garden, trampoline, sand box. Yes, it was great. But then there was still a problem, all of the houses still looked the same from the inside. A sea of drywall: drywall accents, drywall niches, drywall entertainment centers, etc. . . It looked clean but had no personally. And the 2 1/4" baseboards were mostly hidden by carpet and painted the same color as the wall.
I will tell you at the time I was grateful to be out of a rental and to be in a house that the walls actually were clean when you washed them. The clean white was perfect for us then. So after a year had passed I needed color! The was the start of giving my house some personally and making it my own.  Going from Tract to Terrific!

Let me start of by saying that
giving a home personality is a process. I feel that you need to live in that home to get a feel for what you want. Most of us need to take our time and stay in a budget, especially now in this economy. So take your time and hopefully you can learn to do some of the easier projects yourself and get more for your money. (Also please recognize that there are times you need to call in the pros.) So when you walk into a home that looks perfect to you, remember it took time.

Color- picking a color is not as easy as finding a swatch at Lowes and just buying it. Here is some advice I was given and I will share it with you. If you are trying to match something (sofa, curtains, artwork) bring it into the store where you will buy the paint. It is easier to match paint to your item than to find an item that matches your paint. Get a minimum of 5 different swatches of the color you want. Take it home and tape those swatches to your wall. Watch the colors in different lights (all times of the day for the sunlight and your home lights) and start to eliminate the colors that just don't work. When I did this with my reds, I was so glad that I did. Some looked orange in the late afternoon, and some looked to rusty, so eventually I found the color that was perfect for my room. And be sure to do this on more than just one wall. Light hits different walls differently so location does make a difference.  One of my followers, Amanda has some great tips for picking color in your home that she said I could share and I will post that soon!
*cheapskate tip! always check the oops paint rack.  You may find what you need for a fraction of the price.

Find your style- I always loved the shabby chic, cottage, French country influence. How did I know what my style was? I didn't at first, so what I did was look through magazines and looked at decorations. I found that I gravitated toward the same things. Then I would rip out the things that I liked. Have you noticed that you do react to different styles? Well you do. You just need to notice the style you react to as well. You can appreciate many styles. I can go into many homes and appreciate the good decorating and style, but when you find a style that soothes your soul and you feel comfortable and at peace in, THATS YOUR STYLE! (complication alert!) You may have a significant other who has a completely different style than you and an actual opinion. That does make things hard. But try to come to some compromise or call design challenge and good luck! I do have a friend that her husband was very adamant against her longings for a french country inspired home, but after time and convincing she is able to slowly make her house how she has envisioned it. So significant others, put some trust in your love! (especially if they are decorators!)

Use the sidebar labels to direct you to some help and tips to personalize your home.  So to get yourself going start making your IDEA BOOK and you will find your style and make your home Terrific!  Good Luck!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Signs For Our Times

I love signs! I love old signs and old looking signs! When my friend Natalie at The Vintage Sparrow taught me how to make signs she opened up a whole new world to me. I have so many plans to make signs and all the wood in my garage to prove it.

This is the first sign that Natalie made with me. I love it and it has hung in my kitchen ever since.

With this sign I framed it out by nailing on some furring strips. Both were stenciled with 6" stencils.

Here is a sign that I made out of some barn wood that was perfect the way it was. I just free handed the letters to look more rustic. After a light sanding it needed nothing else. If you can find some wood that is perfectly distressed it makes your job a lot easier.

And this sign is my newest sign that I thought would be a perfect Valentine's Day decoration.

Now I will tell you that you can do the simple thing and use vinyl letters to make signs. And I will tell you why I personally do not like vinyl letters on my projects. DISTRESS. I need to have my signs look old and beat up. Then need to look like they have been through the elements and back to life. Vinyl is too clean and new looking. So if you like clean and sleek then you will love vinyl. To each his own right? So for the purposes of the Shabby Thing paint on your letters. You do not need to be artistic. If you can find the stencil you like you can just stencil on the letters (Very EASY) If you don't have the stencils you can trace on letters of you liking with carbon paper. Then you just need to stay in the lines! You can do it! And you will love it too!
Click Here to view/print out instructions to make your own sign.

Find your inspiration. If you see a sign you would love to replicate take a picture of it and just do it!

I have even used a cabinet door for a sign too. Those are great because they have a built in frame!
(both this sign and the roses sign were painted by tracing the letters on)

Now remember the sky is the limit with signs. Let your imagination run with this.
You can check out Al's Building Supply and Materials for some salvaged cabinet doors for cheap!
Here is a recent sign I made from some wood found at Al's
that was already painted with the great blue color with the red color showing through the chipping paint. All I needed to do was paint on the letters. It is a perfect easy sign that only cost me $1 and one hour of my time!