Disclosure: I was compensated by Minted.com for sharing a review of their retail site. As always, my words, ideas, opinions, body, soul, etc. are my own.
I've discovered that having a child means being surprised on a daily basis - not just by random shrieks or mystery wetness but by how quickly these tiny humans become aware of the world around them. It seems like every day CC does something that I had no idea he could do yet.
For example, he began showing an interest in artwork when he was just a few months old. It started with a glossy stare at a colorful print, then later he became so excited by certain pictures or photographs that he would wave his arms and coo or chuckle. These days he can spend minutes (these are like hours in baby time) gazing at a picture in a book, tracing every line on a page and smiling when he finds one that is especially compelling.
Our friend, Tara, gave us a painting she made of a chimp before CC was born and it is by far is favorite piece of art in the house. He loves to rub his little hand over the chunky texture of the paint.
He seriously can't get enough of that chimp. He's similarly enthralled with every other piece of visual art in the house - so much so that I've had to move anything framed with glass or made of ceramic that his ever-growing arms can reach. The thing about kids and art is that it isn't enough for them to just look. They want to touch too. Some might even say that they need to.
I was really impressed when my sister (who blogs over at Scissorina) recently installed a miniature kid-friendly art gallery in my nephew's room. Sarah chose some prints and photographs that she knew he would love - including some artwork made by CC and a family portrait - and then framed them in simple frames made of wood and plastic. By removing the glass she made the pictures safe for the rough treatment of toddler hands, and sturdy enough to withstand all of his curiosity and appreciation.
The folks at Minted.com contacted me recently to see if I would like to try out some of their beautiful products which include prints, stationary, photo gifts, and even fabric by the yard - all featuring artwork created by independent designers. Many of their products can be customized too so you can make prints, cards, and party favors with your name on them. They even have a gorgeous line of wedding and party invitations.
After browsing their site, I knew this was the perfect opportunity to furnish CC with a little art gallery of his own. I picked out three prints for his room and personalized each of them. Minted.com's limited edition framed prints start at just $29.00 and use plexi-glass - a big plus if you are decorating a child's room.
Tips for Sharing Art With Little Kids
- Make It Safe - Avoid using frames with glass or breakable embellishments. Instead, choose simple sturdy frames with plastic to cover the print - or just remove the glass from a traditional frame. Artwork on canvas is a great option too. Use Command Picture-Hanging Strips instead of nails and metal hardware to hang the artwork and do your best to mount it flush to the wall. There is a great tutorial on this method of picture hanging here.
- Hang Art at Eye Level - Most of the time artwork is hung at the eye level of an adult. Try hanging the artwork where your child can enjoy it - at their eye level, two or three feet off the ground.
- Choose Artwork Your Kids Will Love - This might sound obvious but it is very easy to get caught up in the fun of interior design and forget that this particular project is about engaging your kid. Children tend to be drawn to colorful images with plenty of contrast and well-defined shapes. It can also be fun to look for artwork that reflects your child's interests. CC is obsessed with cats so I made sure at least one of his prints featured cute kitties. Kids also love to look at faces of people they know. Adding a family portrait is likely to delight your little one.
- Invest In Art That Grows With Your Child - If you'd like to keep the same artwork hanging for years try to avoid buying pieces that are overly babyish. Look for artwork that would appeal to both toddlers and older kids.
Another really fun option is to forgo buying prints and make your own art instead. You can even include your little ones in the project. Check out my Sharing Art With Little Kids Pinterest Board for tons of great ideas. Here are a few to get you started:
Scott and I picked up an unfinished dresser from Ikea for the nursery recently and decided to dress it up with a little paint and fabric. This project was pretty easy, taking just a few extra tools and materials to transform a plain piece of furniture into something more unique. Here's how we did it.
Upholstered Ikea Tarva Dresser
A few notes on the materials:
Lay out the pieces of the dresser on a large tarp or piece of cardboard. (We used the packaging from Ikea as a work surface.)
Mix one tub of paint with an equal amount of water, then use a rag to rub the color onto the bare wood. This technique is called white-washing, and you can learn more about it here. Paint all of the wooden parts of the dresser, then let them dry. To darken the color, repeat with a second or third coat of paint.
When the paint is completely dry, lay the fabric beneath one of the drawer fronts. Lay the fabric right-side down, and the drawer front inside-up. Use a pencil to trace the shape of the drawer front onto the back of the fabric, and mark the knob-holes with the pencil as well.
Set the drawer front aside, then cut the fabric about 3 inches outside of the lines traced from the drawer front. Repeat this with the rest of the fabric, cutting one panel for each drawer. Punch small holes into the fabric for each knob hole.
Set the drawer front back onto one of the panels of fabric, then use the staple gun to adhere the fabric onto the drawer. Fold the fabric under before stapling to avoid fraying. Be careful not to cover any of the grooves or holes in the drawer piece. You'll need those to be accessible during assembly.
Assemble the dresser according to the directions from Ikea. If you are using fancy knobs, simply install those instead of the wood ones when the time comes.
If you end up with drawers that are too thickly covered, they will stick. You can fix this, but it's kind of a pain in the butt. You'll need to remove the fabric from the bottom of each drawer front, then sand down the bottom edge of the drawer by 1/4 inch or more. Then, re-attach the fabric and try fitting them in again.
We are still waiting to add a few big things to the nursery, like curtains and a new mattress, but for the most part, we are awfully close to having it finished. I thought it might be fun to share a few shots of the details here while we are waiting for the last bits to come together.
This is the mobile that we have hanging over Babeleo's crib. It was the first thing I purchased for the nursery. I found it on Etsy, from a really neat artist who creates pretty things from driftwood. Check out Sunset Driftwood on Etsy to find more mobiles and art pieces.
The map in the background is a small one that I salvaged from my Travel Themed Baby Shower. I have dreams of replacing it with a much larger print, then tacking it with map pins for every place that our family has traveled.
I hung this teddy bear beach print toward the foot of the crib. This print hung in my own room as a child, as well as all of my sisters' rooms. It's from the Teddy Bear Shop in Newport, Rhode Island. I'm not sure if the shop exists anymore, but it was a favorite when we were kids. We spent summers in a little cottage on the beach back then, so this print brings back some really marvelous memories.
Above the print are my homemade Prayer Flags. They share some of my favorite Buddhist prayers and quotes from the Dalai Lama. In the corner is another seagull. My bestie, Melissa, bought me this mobile as a shower gift, and I love it. It's also from Etsy, from a shop called Mobile Art.
A little more Etsy art, this candle holder came from another shop that I am totally enamoured with, EarthSteps. In addition to the pretty mermaid and dolphin on the front, the back features a quote from my childhood hero, Jaques Cousteau. "I am the sea, and the sea is me." And just in case you were wondering, this candle holder contains an LED tealight - no pyrotechnics in Babeleo's future.
The little ceramic Earth next to the candle is one of my very favorite handmade posessions. My sister, Heather, crafted this little globe in art class way back when, and I have loved it ever since. The best part of the piece is hidden. It opens up to reveal a shiny molten core in red glaze. I am not 100% sure how it ended up in my posession. I may have stolen it. I'm certainly not in a hurry to give it back.
While I'm pretty sure that Babeleo is 100% clueless when it comes to fine art, I decided to add a little portrait of one of my own favorite artists to the room. I printed a coloring sheet of Frida Kahlo's portrait from the internet, dressed it up with some crayons, and displayed it in a frame that I scored from a recent trip to Goodwill. Fancy!
You can spot another tiny DIY project just below the frame. I covered the light switch plate with some travel themed craft paper leftover from my shower. Scott Bobleo thought this was pretty cool and asked me why all of our light switches weren't so well dressed. Good point, Bobleo.
This little collection of prints and shelves displays some of the international tchotchkes I've been collecting. There is a little pig from Peru, a cowbell from Switzerland, and a golden rooster from Taiwan. Up top are two scuba diving figures from my own childhood keeping watch over a giant Chinatown goldfish.
The story of Ping the duck, a print of Babeleo's own Chinese Zodiac animal, and a poster from the Willie Nelson Heartbreaker Banquet are all here to complete the slightly strange collection. I have to admit that it doesn't exactly scream "baby", but it does share some of my favorite memories of exploring our world. Since Babeleo is brand new here, I thought that might be nice.
Because I am a weirdo, and I love weird stuff, there had to be a certain element of weirdness involved in this room. My opportunity came along after my sisters sent me home with six cute animal jars from my shower. I cleaned the dill pickle popcorn out of them pretty fast, then set about finding tiny things to fill them with.
Each jar contains a different theme of tiny toy. One jar has sea creatures, another has mini kewpie dolls. There is a jar full of tiny paper flags, another with dinosaurs, etc. and so on and so forth. Scott thinks it's creepy. He's probably right.
But we also have some normal toys. The basket is filled with homemade softies, including the fabric beach balls I made and the cute bunny teether we got from Scissorina. Next to the basket is an adorable ABC Abacus from my friend, Mad Betty, and some classic plastic toys passed on to us by another blog friend, Elizabeth from Local Savour.
It's all coming together. I'm looking forward to sharing the rest with you soon. We've got a hacked Ikea dresser, DIY picture frames made from stock molding, and my Mom's custom made curtains all coming soon. By the time we get around to sharing the finished room there very well may be a baby in it.
As our budget gets pulled tighter and tighter, and Babeleo's arrival creeps closer, I'm being forced to rethink a few things when it comes to decorating our nursery. I had a truly lovely list of gorgeous handmade decorations going on Etsy. Several months ago, purchasing those pretty things seemed totally reasonable. Now, however, reality has reared her obnoxious head, and is making me realize that we just can't afford to blow a bunch of money on prettying up a baby room.
I had a "waaaaaah" moment there, but soon remembered that I am a very crafty person. Why on Earth would I need (or even want) to buy those things from other artists when I could make similar versions myself? Most of the things I had my eye on were very simple, after all. Beautiful, no doubt, but also totally re-creatable.
The first thing I decided to tackle was prayer flags. I'd had my eye on these, and these. So pretty! But how would I add words or pictures to my flags? Screen printing? Hand painting? Fabric stamps? After a quick look through my crafting stash I discovered three sheets of printable fabric. Hallelujah! This stuff is PERFECT for this kind of a project.
I hopped on InDesign and whipped up six little flags to print out on the three sheets of paper. I "borrowed" some illustrations from the internet, then downloaded two pretty handwritten fonts from Dafont.com (I used Dawning of a New Day and Sunshine in My Soul.) If you are looking for a good resource of Buddhist artwork, check out the Buddhist eLibrary.
I combined each picture with one of my favorite Buddhist prayers and quotes from the Dalai Lama. You could easily customize this project to suit any kind of sentiment or spiritual belief you like though. Bible verses, song lyrics, or famous quotes would all work nicely on prayer flags.
Next, I rummaged through my fabric stash to find six small pieces that looked nice together. I picked a few different quilter's cottons, and one random green knit. I also used some satin ribbon, a handful of jingle bells, and a little bit of embroidery floss.
How to Make Prayer Flags
I started by printing out my fabric. I used InDesign to make printable PDFs, but you could use any kind of Word or document program that you are comfortable with. Just make sure your page is formatted in a landscape position so that you'll have enough room to make two flags on each sheet. You can download a copy of the PDF I used here: Download Prayer Flags
After you print the fabric, cut out each flag individually. Try to make sure each one is well centered on its little rectangle.
Now it's time to cut the fabric for the back of the flags. Each flag needs two layers of fabric. I cut each flag at about the same size, a few inches wider and longer than the flags I had printed. Give each flag an extra two inches on the top so that it can be folded over later. I cut each of my flags into 8" x 11" rectangles.
Use an iron to adhere the printable fabric to the top panel of your cut fabric (according to the instructions that come with your fabric). I used the cotton setting with no steam to attach my printed fabric. After they cool, run a zig-zag stitch around the printed fabric to make sure it's totally secure. Using a contrasting colored thread also makes the flags extra pretty.
Lay the top and bottom panels of fabric for each flag together, wrong sides in, right sides out. Use the zig-zag stitch (or a serger, if you are so lucky as to have one) to bind them together. Again, I like using a contrasting thread for this part. Stitch all the way around all of the outer edges.
Fold the top edge over by about an inch, with the folded fabric on the back of the flag, the straight stitch across the bottom edge of the fold, leaving a good sized hold for you to thread a ribbon or cord through the top.
Get yourself a nice long piece of ribbon or flat cord, then thread it through the top of the flags. Run an inch or so of straight stitch over where to ribbon sits inside each flag. This will help stop them from moving around on the ribbon. Leave at least few inches between each flag, and be careful not to let the ribbon twist.
After all of the flags are attached, cut four six-inch lengths of embroidery thread. Use the thread to tie the jingle bells in the spaces between the flags.
Now hang your flags somewhere lovely! Here they are in Babeleo's room. (...which is coming along nicely. Don't you think?)
Our second bedroom has been used as my office and craft room since we moved in. About a year ago, we had a roomate move in to our third bedroom, so this room also started serving double-duty as a guest room. The room is changing purpose once again, and will soon become a nursery. I'm pretty excited about its current transformation, so I thought I'd share some of our plans and progress up to this point.
After our roomate moved out at the beginning of last month we started shuffling things up to make room for Babeleo. My office moved to the loft/den upstairs, and the guest room returned to its old home in the third bedroom. Moving all of this out and re-organizing it elsewhere was no small task, but we were fueled by nesting instincts and made pretty short work of it all.
How We Picked Our Flooring Material
We were left with a fairly bare room painted in grayish blue with a cream-colored carpet. The carpet had seen better days, and considering that this will be the child of two allergy-prone people, we thought swapping out the floor for wood would be a good idea. Which kind of wood flooring to use became quite the debate. Seeing as I knew pretty much nothing about flooring before this project, this was mostly a debate between my husband and himself, though I was often called in to mediate.
Having grown up in the Northeast, Scott and I both love wood floors. As pretty as they are, they can also be really expensive and somewhat difficult to install. Besides looks, another benefit of a real wood flooring is that you can refinish it in the future. When you consider the lifetime value of real wood, it might actually be a better investment longterm. However, if you are on a tight budget, like we are, that might not be an investment you are prepared to make!
After some serious deliberation, we went with a floating laminate. Specifically, we used Allen & Roth Laminate Flooring from Lowes. These are basically particle board slats topped with wood veneer. They lock together, and come pre-padded, which saved us a bundle on glue and padding, which we would have had to purchase with other kinds of laminate floors.
We waited around for a good amount of the stuff to go on clearance. Flooring gets returned pretty often, and it's frequently damaged. By seeking out damaged boxes we were able to save about 30-40% on the cost of the floor. Of course, we had to buy extra boxes of flooring to account for the damaged boards in each pack, but even with that cost in mind, the numbers landed in our favor.
Once we had our flooring we were ready to get to work. The first thing we needed to do (after cleaning out the room) was to remove the old carpet. In some parts of the country you can pull up an old carpet and find original wood floors beneath. This doesn't happen very often in Texas, and certainly not in houses that are less than thirty years old. We weren't surprised to find a bare concrete floor beneath the carpet and padding. That being said, I highly recommend checking before running out to buy a bunch of laminate. You never know.
After removing the carpet, Scott Bobleo used a couple of huge levels to check the floor's shape. If your floor is too un-level, you may need to pour down a special base to even it out. Luckily, our floor was level enough to skip that step. One step we couldn't skip, however, was giving the flooring forty eight hours to acclimate to our home's humidity. It's a good thing that Scott knows what he's doing, because I never would have guessed that such a thing was necessary. Apparently, if you don't give the flooring time to expand or contract to your home's climate it can cause the floor to buckle, crack, and junk up after installation. That could be a very expensive mistake.
How We Did It
On Sunday we were finally ready to start laying the floor. Before I describe that process, here's a quick list of things you need when installing a laminate floor:
We started by sweeping out the room really well, making sure not to trap a ton of dust and lint under the flooring. Next, we rolled out a tarp of plastic sheeting to cover the concrete floor. This stops moisture from seeping out of the concrete and into the wood. Draping a huge piece of plastic across a floor sounds easy, but getting it flat, cut properly, and sized properly was no piece of cake. I highly recommend using masking tape to anchor the plastic in place as you spread it out. You'll want to push the plastic up the wall by at least an inch on every side. (You'll cut it down to fit behind the trim later.)
Once the plastic was down, Scott started in on the biggest part of the job, laying down the boards! He placed spacers against the wall, laid down a board, and then used the mallet, spacer bar and block to tap each board firmly into place. Leaving those spacers is another important step that may not be obvious. Wood expands and contracts with changes in humidity, so it's important to leave a small space around the edge of the floor to allow for those changes. The gap gets covered later by trim. Who knew!
Scott spent all day tapping in those boards. As he went along he had to cut boards down to size with his tablesaw to make sure everything fit just right. He also used his undercut saw to make extra room under the door jams and door trim, another step I didn't see coming! As Scott went along it occurred to me that laying a floor is a lot like solving a jigsaw puzzle. Only with a floor it isn't very easy to go back and fix your mistakes. It's important to think ahead and create a strategy for how you will cut and lay each board, especially around closets and doors.
Gracie made herself a nice bed out of the extra sheeting. Oh, simple dog, you're so easy to please.
With the boards all in place, Scott cut away the extra plastic sheeting, removed the spacers, and installed the trim. A quick coat of paint later, and the floor was finished!
How Much It Cost
All in all, this project cost us a little over $200 including materials, tools, and extras. If you are thinking about laminate flooring, there are less expensive and more expensive types out there, so be sure to shop around and find the kind that suits your home and budget best. There are even types of laminate that can be refinished!
We are actually getting pretty close to finishing this up. You can see in that last photo that I re-painted the wooden shelves using a white-washing technique. We've already collected most of the furniture we need. We scored a great big blue Ikea Dresser and a pretty white glider from Craigslist. Scott's sister gifted us a crib (thanks, Jenn!), we bought a small unfinished dresser new from Ikea to paint, and just this weekend we picked up a chindi rug for 50% off at World Market.
We still have a closet to hack into a changing station and some touch-up painting and patching to do on the walls, not to mention adding all the little decorations that will make the room more special. My Mom has offered to make us some curtains, and I have been racking my brain on the easiest way to create an ottaman for my nursing chair. (Ottamans are expensive, y'all!)
In addition to all this, I've been keeping busy by sewing play mats, toys, and other little baby-sized things. We don't really NEED all of these things, but I suppose these projects all help make the waiting easier.
I shared some of my design plans and inspiration recently on my baby blog. You can check out that post if you are curious about where we'll be going with the room. I'll also be updating this blog with our progress as it all comes together. It's a good thing we have two more months before Babeleo arrives!
What is whitewashing?
Whitewashing is a really easy painting technique that allows you to apply sheer color over bare wood. Before you get started on your project, make sure that the wood you are painting is as naked as possible. You may need to sand the wood down before you start painting.
Check out my Whitewashing Pinterest board to see some examples of gorgeous whitewashed furniture:
What kind of paint do I use for whitewashing?
Any water-based paint will work for whitewashing, but when it comes to furniture, I like to use latex paint with a satin finish. This is the same kind of paint you would use to paint the walls inside your house, and it comes in a rainbow of colors. I usually purchase sample sizes of paint from Lowes for these kinds of projects.
Which colors work with whitewashing?
While the traditional color to whitewash with is white, you can use this technique with pretty much any color of paint. Bright colors will give you a more sheer effect, while whites and pastels will provide a little more opacity. Dark colors need to be watered down very well in order to achieve the desired effect. Experiment with different colors on different projects to get a feel for how each color performs.
You can learn more about whitewashing, and learn about alternative techniques by checking out the following blog posts:
One of the most fun parts of getting ready for a new baby is decorating the nursery. While I'm certainly excited to tackle this project, I'm trying not to let myself get too carried away. After all, Babeleo will be a baby, and probably won't care all that much about the decor in his/her little room, at least not for a while yet. I have to admit that for the most part, I'm decorating to indulge my own fancies.
Be that as it may, I chose the theme and vibe that I'm going for based on my hope and dreams for little Babeleo. I'd like to create a space that inspires curiosity, peace, and a connection to nature and spirituality. That's a tall order for a baby room, but I enjoy a good challenge.
The walls in the room we're planning to use are already a very peaceful shade of blue/grey. We were gifted with a white crib during Scott's sister's last visit, and we plan to furnish the rest of the room with second-hand dressers and bookcases as we find them. There is already some basic shelving in the room, and a wide, shallow closet.
We'll probably convert the closet into a changing area. My sister did something similar in her baby room, saving space, and making the room appear a little bit larger and more open.
If I had to sum up what I'm going for, I'd have to say it's a combination of world-travel, nature, and Bhuddism. Kind of an odd combo, I know, but I think it will come together in the end. I've been collecting little things, as well as pinning projects and ideas as I come across them. For the travel side, I'd like to have some things like sailboats, airplanes, maps and globes.
One specific project I am set on doing is a world map mural on one of the walls. I've been looking at decals, posters, and wallpaper, but depending on my ambition, I might just try painting it myself. We'll see. I plan on sticking the map with pins for all of the places that our family has been. Between my parents, sisters, and Scott and I, we'll need a whole lot of pins. I'd also love to collect some artwork from different places we've been.
For the Buddhist aspects, I'm thinking prayer flags, simple objects, and calming colors. I'll probably pop in a few choice prayers and quotes here and there for good measure.
And then there is nature. I've already collected a few pieces of artwork to reflect this aspect of the design. The first item I bought for the baby room was this mobile made from driftwood and decorated with little fabric seagulls. One of my best friends gifted me with this gorgeous seagull mobile as well. Birds, fish, animals, trees, and flowers will pop up all over the place in our little nursery.
I especially love the seagulls when I think of one of my favorite books, Jonathon Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. I would love to find an illustrated edition of that book to share with Babeleo. My family loves books, so I'm sure there will be no shortage in that department!
You can follow my nursery pinterest board to see the ideas I've been collecting. See any projects you think I'd like to check out? Send them my way!Follow Mary Makes Dinner's board World Themed Nursery on Pinterest.
My sisters all love naming things. Each of their cars is named with the same care that one might name a pet, or nickname a close friend. My husband, Scott, gets mad at me for "talking shit" to his car while we are driving, afraid that I'll offend the car (or maybe the car gods). If his aged Volkswagen suddenly keels over, he'll be sure it will have died from a broken heart. If only I'd been nicer to it!
Personally, I find this personfication of inanimate objects offensive to the living. The car does not have feelings. It does not care who drives it, what I say about it, or how it looks. It is not "happier" when it is clean or full of gas, and it does not have a personal preferences, biases, or desires. It is a thing.
Scott and I were freshening up on this argument the other day when the air conditioning system suddenly went out.
"It's HOT in here. What the hell is wrong with this car?", I complain.
To which Scott replies, "Don't talk to it that way! This is why it's having problems. Shhhhh. Don't listen to her. You probably just don't have the dials set right." He proceeds to push every button on the console, while hemming and hawwing over my insensitivity.
"I think it's broken."
"This is EXACTLY what I've been talking about. You are jinxing the car with your bad attitude. Mind over matter, Mary!!"
It's all a blur after that. Have you ever driven across town with hot air blowing at you on a 102 degree afternoon? I was seeing stars.
About forty-eight hours later we're sitting at the Nissan dealership, signing the next thirty-six months of our life away in exchange for a car that can turn climate control on before you even get inside. The dealer is setting up a smartphone app for the car and asks, "What would you like me to name the car?".
Name the car? Name the car?! Here we go again. Before Scott can come up with anything too humanized I shout out "KITTEN FINGERS".
"Kitten fingers?", he asks.
Kitten Fingers the electric car is sitting outside in our driveway, charging up for our next jaunt around town. It's pretty neat, actually. It never needs gas, oil, or spark plugs, and beyond windshield wiper fluid and an occasional tire rotation, it pretty much maintains itself. The car is whisper-quiet. So much so that the makers had to install beeping and sonar to alert pedestrians when the car is moving.
It also has plenty of pep. You can drive it in different modes for efficiency or performance, but even the eco mode is pretty zippy. The best part is that it still feels like a real car. It's nice and heavy, with comfy steering and big mirrors. It even has a fancy onboard computer and stereo.
Scott sometimes complains about how the car can only go 70 to 100 miles on a charge.
"Don't talk about my car that way!", I tell him. "Shhh. Don't listen to him Kitten Fingers. You're the best."
Lately I've been obsessed with planting itty bitty succulents in teeny-tiny planters, mugs, and glasses. Every time I look at something lately I imagine sticking a plant in it. I'm always looking for different kinds of succulents to work with, so I've amassed a small army of bulbous green minions. There are even some air plants and cacti tucked in among my growing collection.
I thought it might be fun to give you a peek, and share some of the reasons that I love these hearty little plants so much. Do you have succulents too? If so, I'd love to hear about them. Drop me a line, or better yet, take a photo on instagram and hashtag it with #MaryMakesPretty.
Do you love these little clay head planters? I got them from Clay Flower on Etsy. That shop is amazingly weird and wonderful.
Number One: Succulents are fairly inexpensive, so if you kill one or two (or ten) you don't have to feel completely awful. You won't have lost a fortune, just a little green-thumb cred.
Number Two: Succulents come in wondrous variety. Some are leafy and delicate, others are pudgy and round. There are succulents that are spiky, fuzzy, and even multicolored. Take a look at the most common types here, or totally geek out over every succulent ever here.
Number Three: You can make succulents from other succulents. In other words, they can usually be propagated from cuttings.
Number Four: Usually, succulents are easy to care for. Now and then I get a bum plant, and no matter what I do it keels over. But most of the time my plants do well with little to no maintenance. I can't say the same for the last six orchids I've murdered. Find out more about caring for your pretties here. (Or just put it in full sun, don't water it too much, and cross your fingers.)
Number Five: They look so cute! At least I think they do. In my opinion, succulents are far more adorable than ferns, ivy, or mini palms. African Violets come in a close second in my book, but they can't front to succulents when it comes to looking sweet in a vintage mug.
Number Six: If you kill too many, you can always replace them with fake succulents. It is unlikely that your secret will ever be found out, as most guests refrain from fondling houseplants out of common courtesy.
Number Seven: Did I mention their penchant for neglect? Succulents are the perfect pet for self-involved people. It's totally OK to forget they exist for days on end, maybe even weeks. I even have one that I sort-of tried to kill on purpose. Since it was so pitiful and teensy, I decided to stop bothering with it and let nature take its course. Two years later that little sucker is still very much alive.
P.S. If you want to gawk at even more succulent love, be sure and visit Say It Ain't So. She has some adorable pics on this post and this post. Or, if you want to die of cuteness, check out this list of planters I wish I had from Etsy.
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I've had this old guitar kicking around my garage for a while now. It belonged to a friend of mine that had asked Scott to check it out and see if there was any chance of salvaging it. Unfortunately, the neck was warped beyond repair, so I asked her if she'd mind my using it for an art project. She agreed, but it was still a while before I decided how to use it.
Tonight, I felt an urge to get crafty, so I pulled it out, drilled some holes in it, sanded it down, then gave it a quick paint job. I drilled a big hole in the back, then fed a rope light into the body. I cut a disk of silver glitter paper out, and fastened it over the center. Tomorrow, we'll find a home for it somewhere on one of our walls.
Update: I've received a lot of requests for more detailed directions on this project. I've been hoping to get my hands on a second guitar so that I can create a tutorial. For now, I'll try to sum things up as best I can without photos.
Upcycled Guitar Lamp Tutorial
You could use these directions to create a night sky scene like I did, or get creative and give it a totally different paint/light job. You could use the same method to create a city skyline, a map of constellations, an outer space scene, or something totally abstract.
That's it! I hope these directions help. Good luck with your project. I'd love to see it when you are finished.
In my house, kitchen cupboard space is precious real estate. Zoning is strictly regulated in these areas. If an item wants to make it into a prime kitchen neighborhood it has to be a part of either my daily or weekly routine. Specialty appliances, my crockpot and ice cream maker for example, are banished to somewhere less conveniently located.
In my old apartment, that was usually the top of the fridge, or the bottom of my pantry. Now that we are living in a house, I've decided to send these two appliances all the way to the garage. The only problem with that plan is that the garage is a pretty dank and dusty place.
I didn't want these little kitchen machines to get all squinky out there, so I constructed some cozies out of a couple of old t-shirts. These are pretty rudimentary cozies, basically just drawstring sacks, but they do the job well. Making them is also super cheap and extremely quick, both "wins" in my book.
Apparently, I can't get enough of Amy Butler crafting paper. After finishing off a tin of Green Tea the other day I got the bright idea to redecorate the can and give it a second life.
Your finished canisters can be used for about a million things. Try using them to hold any number of little doo-dads. Take the lids off and they can hold paint brushes, pencils & pens, silverware, or faux floral arrangements.
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