dil·i·gence:careful and persistent work or effort

Proverbs 13: 4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Custom Coasters

Let's make some coasters, shall we?

I found these homemade beverage coasters via pinterest here.  And, here's my take on the project.  In my typical skeptical manner, I wasn't sure that your basic ceramic tile would work that great for a coaster.  I was picturing water piling up and rolling off the tile onto my delicate table and making a water ring.  So, I picked up a preliminary 2 tiles from the home improvement store to test them out.  The tiles were nothin' fancy, since I wasn't even sure this project would be a go.  These puppies set me back 31 cents each.  Ouch.

I used the tiles as-is for several days and determined that yes- they do indeed succeed in keeping water up off the furniture.  I wouldn't say they exactly soak the sweat up, but they keep the furniture dry, and that's all I need.  So, once I determined the coasters were here to stay, I decided to gussy them up a bit.  I picked up 2 pieces of craft paper from HobLob for 44 cents a piece.  Except they were 50% off, so they were really only 22 cents a piece.  I spare no expense. 

Then, I cut the pieces of paper to size.  One sheet of the craft paper would actually be enough to make 9 coasters.  The tile I picked up has kind of slanted edges.  I wasn't sure if I should cut the paper to the exact size of the coaster or leave a border of tile where it starts to drop off, so I did one of each.  Once the paper was cut, I got out the mod podge.  I gave it several layers of mod podgey goodness.

 After the mod podge, I coated it with a couple coats of this stuff. 

I have never used this stuff before, but it says it provides a permanent, water-resistant coating, and that's what I'm after.  The last step was to put little felt feet on the bottom.  I already had these guys on hand from another project, but I think the whole pack of 24 of them was about $3.50.  Some other options are homemade felt circles or cork cut to size.

All in all, I am very happy with the result.  If I do this again, I might look for totally flat tiles.  Not only are mine slanted near the edges, the entire surface is kinda textured, which causes the craft paper to look like it's not lying flat even though it is.  I'm not sure anyone would notice, but still.  Cost wise, this project can't be beat.  I estimate a cost of less than 50 cents per coaster.  I had some of the supplies on hand, but even if you had to purchase the mod podge and the acrylic sealer, we're talking about a 10 buck investment with a lot of leftovers.  I especially like the project because it enabled me to make a totally custom coaster for my bedroom and one for my office/craft room.  Since the color schemes in those two rooms are quite deviant from those of the rest of my house, it just made sense to do something custom rather than having to buy a set of 4 or 8 in a very specific color scheme.



Behold the Mighty Drop Cloth

Have I mentioned my love for the Mighty Drop Cloth?

No, not just any drop cloth, but the pre-hemmed, fabric ones you can get from the home improvement stores.  I read about the drop cloth curtain rage that is all over the interwebs several months ago (yes, I am perpetually late on these things), and I immediately knew I needed to try my hand at this.  We have a large picture window in our living room, and I like to have several sets of curtains hung high and wide that I can change out with the seasons my moods.  I've got the light weight, white cotton set from Ikea that we use in the summer months, and the heavier, darker set for winter, but I knew a neutral pair of drop cloth curtains would be juuuust right (said in Goldilocks fashion) for the transitional seasons.

So, I marched right down to my local HD, and picked up 2 6' x 9', pre-hemmed drop cloths for 10 bucks a pop. 

The first thing I noticed was that the drop clothes are actually not 6' x 9'.  They're really only 5'9" x 8'9".   This wasn't an issue for my project, but it's a good thing to know depending on what you're using the drop cloth for.  Secondly, I noticed that the first two I grabbed were very different in color.  Almost like they were from totally different lots.  No biggie- a little digging, and I found two that were pretty similar.

So, once I got these babies home and ran them through a quick wash and dry, it took me about 10 minutes to have them hanging and done.  Remember- my hardware was already hanging, so I determined how long I wanted them, and folded the extra over- unfinished side out- and ironed.  Oddly, the hem and wrong side make a lovely header from which to clip your little ringie things.

 And, that's it, folks.  Your curtains are done-zo!  Stand back and admire your hard work.

I know those pictures aren't the best, but they were pre-painting of the book cases, and even pre-blog, so I was really just taking them for my own records.  Here's a better picture that shows how finished the curtains look in the room.
But, it doesn't stop there, folks.  There are a million other things you can do with your Mighty Drop Cloth!

Behold the drop cloth pillow,

the drop cloth table runner,

 the drop cloth napkin,

and, the drop cloth remnant turned table cloth.

I made all of those from one extra drop cloth.  You never know where a drop cloth will turn up in this house, and at 10 bucks a pop, the price is definitely right!



PS.  Um, this blogging thing around Christmas time is HARD.  I am doing tons of crafting and creating, but I cannot blog about it, because it's for gifts.  Gifts for people (the ONLY people) who read my blog.  Haha!  So, I'm doing my best to not drop off the face of the blog world.  Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving preparations

So, come tomorrow, we will have 7 adults, 2 teens, and 8 kiddos ranging in age from 10 years to 15 months all under our roof.  Some have affectionately referred to our home as cozy or quaint, but the bottom line is that our house is...well, smallish.  I think we're at about 1200 sq ft. above grade.  How are we hosting such a large Thanksgiving crowd, you may be wondering?!  A little creativity is all it takes!

We will have 3 separate areas for eating.  First, we have the kids table which will be in the kitchen.  I had a lot of fun deciding on these place settings.  The goal with this table was for it to be colorful and fun for the kids.  Yes, I decided to go with paper napkins, and I kept it casual with the clothes pin place cards.  I used simple white dishes and jelly jars for drinks.  Each kiddo also has a little pumpkin decoration to take home with them.

Next, we have the main table in our dining room.  I have been wanting to do an all white table for a long time, so I decided this was my chance.  I layered basic white Ikea dinner plates with some cream scalloped edged bread plates I've had forever.  Then, I added simple bowls in white as well and mason jars for our sweet iced tea.  I created a cream table runner out of a drop cloth and made 5 napkins to match.  I used twine as napkin rings and used neutral colored craft paper to make name cards.  Most of the centerpiece items I had on hand or picked up at the dollar store.  I have cream candle holders with white pillars, small glasses filled with beans and a votive, and miscellaneous fall decor in cream.  But, my favorite part of this table is the flowers.  I chose some gorgeous hydrangea blossoms in white with sweet baby's breath added for fun.

And, finally, we have the bonus dining area in our living room!  I set up a little card table, disguised it with another drop cloth remnant and used the couch and ottoman as well as two extra chairs for seating.  I made some more simple place settings, this time with a bit of color.  I kept things casual by again using mason jars for drinking glasses.

Here's a shot from the front door of the living and dining rooms.  And, see- there's room for all of this and still we can walk around!  Haha.

A dear friend of mine said that our home may be small in size, but it's massive in love.  And, that is truly the desire of my heart!



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy birthday to me!

This past week, I celebrated a birthday!  So, this weekend was jam packed full of fun!  I didn't get photos of all of the fun, but here's a snapshot of our festivities.  On Saturday, Colin and I met my mom, sister and sister's kids at Elizabeth & Co.'s tag sale.  I was SO EXCITED that this sale just happened to be on my birthday weekend.

I had stumbled upon this blog a while ago, and I have absolutely loved checking out all of their goodies at their past 3 tag sales.  Not only do they have adorable, vintage furniture and decorations, the ladies that run the blog and the sales are some of the warmest, friendliest, sweetest people!  I just love walking into their sweet old home to see their smiling faces and to discover what treasures are waiting for me.  Here's a bit of the things they tempted me with:

The word vintage spelled out in Scrabbled letters.  Why have I not done this yet??

A gorgeous Christmas wreath with a burlap bow (that's what I loved the most!):

Yarn scarves.  I plan on making these...

What I loved about this vignette the most are the colors.  I love me some aqua these days:

If I had unlimited space in my house, I would have gladly taken this beauty home with me.  And, everything on top of it!  :)  My love for grey is finally being realized.

This, I should have bought.  It's the perfect colors for my office with butter yellow walls and turquoise dresser.  Maybe it will still be there in the spring?

I WANT THIS!!  Did I not see it?  (Colin took these pictures.)  Was there a sold sign on it?  I'm not sure, but I love it.

These stocking were adorable.  I am a sucker for anything made of burlap, as some of them were.  The shape of the stocking is so whimsical and fun.

I am so ready for my house to start showing the signs of Christmas.  I loved all of the trees and decorations.

I am about to make one of these.  I have wanted to make an est sign for a while now.  Of course, if you follow me on Pinterest, you would know that.

How perfect are these for a front porch?!  There were two of them, and they did beg me to take them home, but I held strong.

We all had such a great time at the tag sale!

After the tag sale, we headed to an antique mall around the corner.  By the time we were done pickin', this is what came home with me:  a cute side table from Eliz & Co, and a cottage sign, a small barn star, and some jingle bells from the antique mall.

After that, we headed back to Main Street, Westminster to have lunch at this adorable little cafe:

It was so cute, and the food was delicious!

Then, this morning, I went to my happy place with Blake and Piper.

Piper was as happy to be there as I was.

And, yes, they went for a swim.

What a fun weekend it was!