I saw this cute animal matching game on amazon and thought it would be pretty easy to make something like it myself. I set out to find some cuter woodland creatures for my game and came across these on etsy. Adorable. I arranged them in photoshop elements so I could cut them out with my circle hole punch. I then used modge podge to adhere them to these 1.5″ wood rounds. Put a thin layer of modge podge on the round and then smooth on your paper. Once it is dry add another layer on the top for durability. It will dry clear so don’t worry if it looks hazy. I did the same with the backside with the brown gingham paper from the digital set.
I included 2 of each animal in each set as well as one of each of the animal name which I figured could be an advanced version. Match the 2 animals and the name.
For the bags I originally tried to print the fabric myself, which actually worked and was cute.For my test bag I sprayed adhesive on a piece of cardstock and smoothed muslin fabric over it. When it dried I cute the fabric to fit the paper and ran it through the printer. The bag turned out cute and I had no plans of washing it but my daughter somehow got some water on it and it started to smear a little. I looked up how to set the ink so it is washable and it seemed like a huge process. Then while working on another project I ran across spoonfower. They were having a sale so I ordered a fat quarter for $9 with my animals printed on it. I was really impressed with spoonflower. The print was vibrant and crisp.
I just kind of made up how to make the drawstring bags but you can find tutorials here and here……..or skip making them and just go buy them here.
Corner Fireplace Revamp: Board and Batten with Herringbone Marble tile
One of the things I didn’t really love about our house when we first looked at it was the fireplace. It was on an angled wall and had a cheap little mantle.
Corner fireplaces are always a bit of a pain to decorate around anyway. Do you arrange the furniture to face it and make it a focal wall? In our case the furniture just didn’t fit well facing the fireplace and we didn’t want the tv above it anyway. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with it, I just knew I wanted to do something…someday. Then the day came that we were getting hardwood floors and the day before the installers came I made a last minute decision to rip off the mantel and granite surround so they could remove the granite hearth and take the wood right up to the fireplace. It is just a gas insert and the floor doesn’t get hot in front of it so really no need for the hearth except to take up space. I thought I had a pic of this stage but I can’t find one so you will have to just picture it. A plain tan wall with ragged drywall edges around the firebox. It stayed like this for over 2 years! Then I finally decided to do something about it…a few days before having people over for my daughter’s 3rd birthday.
I bought some preprimed mdf and ran over to a coworker’s home for some table saw assistance. Her husband kindly cut some 45 degree angles on my boards so I could fit them into the corners of the wall so they would be flush. I wanted them flush so it would be easier to add crown molding down the road, plus I think it just looks nicer that way. First I painted the wall white. Next, I measured and measured some more and then started nailing boards to the wall. I did the top and outside boards first and then the cross ones to make sure they were secured in studs.
Take your time, measure often and repeatedly and use a level. This is doable without someone to hold the boards as long as you have a nail gun. I would have needed assistance if I had to hand nail them for sure. Once I had the cross boards in I cut some vertical boards and wedged them in to decide which pattern I really wanted. I had drawn them out on paper but seeing the design in person made it much easier to decide. I then measured again and nailed the rest of the boards in. I caulked all the seams and used the same white paint I had on the wall to paint the boards. So the tiling was not finished by her birthday or even Christmas, for that matter, but the wall at least looked more interesting than it had.
We chose honed marble herringbone tile for the surround with gray grout.
I’m not really a put stuff on the mantel person and with it being in the corner it just ate up space anyway so we decided to forgo a mantel completely for a more clean look.
One thing I did learn is to make sure you anyone you hire knows exactly what your vision is. I actually planned to have the tile run horizontally across the fireplace instead of vertically. At first I was really upset about this but it grew on me and now I love it.
I’m really happy with how it turned out especially since it is one of the first things you notice about the room when you first enter our home. I feel like our living room is slowly evolving into the room I want it to be.
Okay, I have been missing in action from the blog here lately. My obsessive mind has locked onto my photography hobby as of late and the thought of actually becoming a part time pro photographer has taken hold. So I have been reading books, doing workshops and shooting for my portfolio all in the hopes of feeling ready to hang my shingle come spring. So if you want to check out what I have been up to hop on over here to my photography site CaraDanielPhotography. It is a work in progress, I will be adding about me, session info etc pages once I am ready to go for it.
Anyway, that doesn’t mean I don’t still have projects at home, of course, I do. We are actually up to quite a few right now which I will be revealing in the next couple months. Anyway, let’s get to this woodland themed party. I had big plans and ideas for this party because I figured it was the last one my little jbug wouldn’t have a strong opinion about. I can’t believe she is three already. How did that happen! The woodland theme originated while looking through a Better Homes and Garden magazine and running across these adorable paper woodland animals.
I loved them and thus a huge list of ideas started making their way into my head. I kept thinking I have plenty of time, unfortunately that wasn’t true and many of the ideas didn’t make it off the paper but I will tell you a few so you can make your party even better than mine.
So here are the ideas that actually made it to the party.
A stump cake with super cute animal candles including acorn cookies. The acorns are just nutter butter bites with a hershey kiss on one side and a chocolate chip on the other. “Glue” them together with chocolate melts.
“Toadstool” Tomato and Mozzarella (which I didn’t get a pic of)
Pond punch, although the frogs and lily pads didn’t make it to the party. Ginger Ale, Blue Hawaiian Punch and Rainbow Sherbert. Super easy.
Hedgehog cookies. Mine weren’t quite as cute as the pinterest ones I saw but they tasted good. I cheated and used Pumpkin Spice Milano cookies instead of baking any from scratch. I then dipped them in chocolate melts rolled them in crushed pecans, added wilton eyes and a chocolate chip nose.
Store bought cupcakes with sugar animals (FYI Walmart has the best cupcakes, better than most specialty bakeries in my opinion. Check out the Kimberly’s Bake Shoppe brand. So Good!) Don’t look at the fat content though just enjoy.
A fox floor poof which she didn’t actually sit on to open gifts as planned. Post to come on this.
Woodland Memory Match Games with adorable storage bags (favors for the kiddos). Post to come on this as well.
I also found this cute owl plate for $2 at walmart
The 3 is a cardboard number from Hobby Lobby I wrapped in Yarn.
Of course, my paper animals!
I had a whole bunch of ideas for garlands and décor: Giant Yarn Pom Poms, small felt pompoms (which I made but didn’t get hung), Paper garlands, burlap ruffled garland. I even had Jocelyn paint on some burlap to make one of those triangle garlands. Anyway the only garland that made it up was a paper circle one which was super easy and fast.
I used a circle paper punch and jbug helped me punch a whole bunch of circles out of colored cardstock. I then put a line of hot glue on a circle and layered on the twine and another circle. Super quick and easy. It fell during the party and Jbug yelled, “Mom MOM help! My party fall down!” It was an emergency.
I had wanted to make a cupcake stand out of a round of wood, get some mason jars to use as glasses and have animal eye masks and tails for the kids. That didn’t happen so if you do a woodland theme party do that it would be really cute! The thing I wish I had done was the photo booth. I actually ordered the digital kit for the props from this etsy shop and printed them but didn’t get them cut out and glued to the sticks. How fun would these have been!
Anyway, the party turned out great and everyone had fun especially Jbug! I promise to be back soon to let you in on the details of the fox floor poof and the memory match woodland game. Hope all your holiday decorating and shopping is going well!
IKEA Hack: Floating Besta media center and desk with wood accented doors
Wow, I have been lazy on posting lately. I’ve been sidetracked by one of my many other hobbies (photography). I’m still very slowly working on transforming our living room into a space we not only love but that functions better for our whole family.
I’m not exactly sure how I decided I wanted a floating media center but once the idea seed sprouted I couldn’t let it go. After, a lot of frustration our floating media center/desk is here!
Our original plan when we bought our new furniture was to put the desk on the other side of the room. We could never get it to look right though so it ended up beside the tv stand. Two wooden pieces of furniture beside each other just don’t look good so something had to be done.
My criteria for the new media piece included it be floating (not sure why), have a desk area and closed storage and look like my inspiration piece.
Not too much to ask right? After a trip to IKEA I came home with some Besta cabinets, suspension rails, and plain doors. Then it sat in the basement for over a year and a half. I’m not kidding at all. It took that long for me to get started. At some point my brother and I did put them together but then the completed cabinets sat in the basement. So here we are a year and a half later and the media center/desk is complete….almost.
First I hung 2 single Besta cabinets and one double using the Ikea suspension rail. I left space between two of them where I wanted our desk to be. Getting them level was a bit of a pain but not too bad. The next part was when I started regretting making the thing floating. I had to cut holes EVERYWHERE to fit in all the media components and wires. I thought about the tv and power wires but not the surround sound, phone lines, etc. Why do we need surround sound anyway with those ugly speakers! Working my way through routing and hiding the cables took forever and made me very grumpy about the entire project. I did finally figure it all out though and was able to move on to the next step. Making a long table top. I did this by attaching 2 edge glued panels together and staining them with Minwax ebony stain. I’m not good with poly and there were some runs but overall it turned out pretty decently.
I ran a few screw up through the cabinet to secure it. Then we had to make a hole in the countertop to run the computer wires. Halfway through all the hole making I did buy a hole cutter and that made the job 1000% easier and prettier.
Next came the doors. I wanted to add interest to the plain doors but keep with the wood tone. I absolutely love the look of the inspiration piece but I’m sure it was WAY WAY out of my price range and not the right dimensions. So I decided to use pre glued wood edge banding to create a diamond pattern.
I of course thought this wouldn’t be that hard but of course, like always, it wasn’t as easy as I had planned. Measuring out and placing the first diamond was the worst. My first diamond was the one that touches all 4 sides since it was the easiest to measure. Things sped up once I figured out that the section under the overlap didn’t need to be cut perfectly since it is covered up. After I got the first diamond in place I just eyeballed the rest and didn’t measure. After the doors were finished I stained them with Minwax Red Chesnut and hung them. I’m thinking about adding another coat of stain to darken them up a little more.
Greg didn’t want a door over his media equipment which at first disappointed me but is actually for the best.
The media equipment doesn’t get too hot and I don’t need to make another door! My next step is to make floor puffs to store under it for extra seating (and hide the direct tv wire).
I like how it fills the whole wall but is lower so doesn’t seem too big. The wall actually looks longer now.
I don’t love the look of a ceiling fan but we use ours every day all year round so I really can’t replace it with a pretty chandelier as much as I would love to do just that! I wanted this fan from Del Mar so badly after seeing it at vintage revivals.
I just couldn’t wrap my head around spending $399 on a fan though so I kept my eyes open for modern, reasonably priced fans. Then the week before Labor Day I got an email from Home Depot saying ceiling fans were 25% off. Luckily, our fan had started making a ticking noise, so that was our excuse to get a new one. It probably just needed balanced but we wanted a new fan anyway. Greg and I both liked this Westinghouse fan but still preferred the look of the Del Mar fan. After reading reviews on both fans, the Home Depot one won out. It only ended up costing $103 and they shipped it right to us (quickly). After a couple frustrating hours Greg had it hung and we really loved the modern look and how it blended with the room’s decor.
Unfortunately, when we went to turn the fan on with the remote it also turned on our porch fans. The fans weren’t even by the same brand and were manufactured 9 years apart so we really didn’t expect them to interfere with each other. The thought of taking all the wiring apart again did NOT make Greg happy at all.. Luckily, after taking off the canopy I could reach the switches without messing with any wiring. It only took about 3 minutes. Now that we know how easy it is to change the frequency we need to do the same to our porch fans. One of them turns on at random and we think it must be on the same frequency as the neighbors’. So we were probably driving them completely crazy when we were installing and messing with the new fan. Anyway, for a ceiling fan I think this one is a winner and especially for the price. So what is your opinion on ceiling fans? Do you love them or would you rather have a pretty light instead?
The hall has not even been on my radar as far as decorating. So many other rooms and projects were on the list before it. Our hallway is narrow and boring and the only thing I have done to change that is adding these lights, which was a nice start.
Then one day I got an email from Joss & Main with really fun rugs and I couldn’t come up with a spot I needed a rug, except the hall. But with the no return policy I couldn’t pull the trigger. I really think the only way to tell if a rug works is to have it in your space so not being able to return is a no go for me. The idea seed was planted though and I turned into an obsessive rug runner shopper and ended up purchasing a rug similar to this one from overstock which I really liked. It added so much to the hall, was nice and thick and just so much fun. I had purchased the 12 foot rug because that is the longest they had. I thought it looked fine but Greg HATED the length. It stopped right before the hallway turned and he thought it needed to go all the way. Since he felt so strongly about it, I returned it and kept searching. I was disappointed when I realized it isn’t easy to find a colorful, fun, reasonably priced 14-15 foot runner. In Jbug’s room I had used rug tape to tape 2 rugs together and they had held up really well so I figured I could do the same for the hall. There were way more 7’ and 8’ rugs to choose from and I found this great one at overstock. They only had one in stock though so ended up ordering from ebay. I was soooo excited when I opened the rug and loved it and amazingly so did Greg. Unfortunately that excitement plummeted after I opened the second one. They didn’t match. Noooooooo!
Hmmm, I thought maybe I could order a third rug and it would match one of them. Oh and Greg still wanted it longer so I figured I would order an 8’ this time around. On to the next hurdle, I went to open the closet door and guess what? It can’t open because the rug is too thick. Are you kidding me! By this point I am in love with the pattern of the rug and just want it somewhere in my home. I thought about Jbug’s big girl room but I didn’t have a real plan for her room yet. I also thought it may work for my closet makeover BUT with all the clothes and shoes back in the closet this crazy of a rug may just be too busy. So I am back to the hallway. Just remember where there is a WILL there is a WAY! I ordered a 3rd 8 foot rug from overstock and wished for the best. You have to just go for it sometimes, you know. Apparently this rug was not meant to be for me. The one from overstock somehow got lost and it had been the last one in stock. I ended up sending my ebay rugs back which cost WAY too much in return shipping. Then about a week or more later the overstock rug appeared on my doorstep. I had to peek just to see if it would have matched one of my original rugs. It didn’t so I was glad it was so late and declared lost because overstock then paid the return shipping. So now 4 rugs have been sent back and I have learned to only buy a rug I know I absolutely want to keep or that I can return locally. I was kind of giving up on the rug idea when I ran across these rugs on clearance at urban outfitters. We do have an urban outfitters in town so there was no risk plus free shipping over $50. I didn’t expect to like this rug as much as I do.
It is light enough to brighten up the hall and I love the big scale print. Plus both rugs match each other AND it is thin enough for the door to open over it. Win, win. I did have to sew the 2 together which is not easily hidden on a flat weave rug but I think it turned out okay. For $39.98 I can’t really complain. To sew the two together I matched up the pattern as best I could, pinned and then just ran it through my sewing machine. I used a wide stitch since there was a lot of fabric. Next I trimmed off the excess. The patterns were a little off from each rug but I tried to match as best as I could.
I also got a thin rug pad from rugpadusa to keep it from slipping and to protect the floor. I think it adds a lot to our hallway.The seam does bother me a little so someday when I do something about the closet door (I’m thinking sliding barn door) I will look for a thicker, plush rug where I can hind the seam. If you are in the market for a rug RugsUSA has a great selection and is having a huge labor day sale. I just ordered this one for Jbug’s big girl room for 70% off.
Here is a quick WAY before and after.
I originally thought the hallway was too narrow for artwork but I couldn’t find anywhere else for this painting. I had it made for my husband as a wedding gift and the artist used a gloss coating. We have a lot of natural light in our home and everywhere we try to hang it there is always a huge glare across it. The hallway seems to be the only place it can actually be appreciated so for now that is where it lives. I’m trying to decide what I can add to the other wall to balance it out. Do you think the hall is too narrow for artwork?
One of my goals this year is to catch up with Jbug’s photo books. She isn’t even 3 yet so if I don’t catch up now I never will. As I was working on her first year book I realized that I am not in many pictures with her. Which is funny because she was pretty much glued to me 24/7 for the first 12 weeks of her life. She has always been a mommy’s girl and is still my constant shadow. But if you look at photos you would think she doesn’t even have a mom or maybe I work 100 hour work weeks and am never around. I think this happens to a lot of moms since we are usually the photographers of the family. Plus, I think the fancier your camera is the less likely dad is to want to use it. I have a few ideas if you find yourself missing from the pages of your family albums as well.
1. Get a tripod and a remote control
You can get a tripod or even a mini tripod for pretty cheap and the same goes for remote controls. Just make sure to get one that is compatible with your camera. You can also use the self timer on your camera if you don’t want to mess with the remote. It just makes it a little harder running back and forth and trying to get a natural, relaxed photo. Plus Jbug tends to run out of the frame after me so I have to get us both back in position before the camera clicks.
2. Take photos that show your relationship without showing your face
Take photos of your feet next to your child’s or hands or even shadows. Get creative. There are lots of fun ways to show a bond without faces. These photos are great for splurging on canvases or large prints too because they don’t get outdated quickly as your children grow.
3. Pass the camera to daddy
I think most husbands are more than willing to take some photos for you. You just have to ask and set up the camera so he just needs to push the button. Most guys don’t think photos are that important so I don’t think they are trying to leave us out. Just like many things- Men need it spelled out for them. TAKE MY PICTURE!
4. Have another friend with kids take photos for you
Next time you meet up at the park with a girlfriend plan to look cute and snap some pictures of each other with your kiddos. That way you both walk away with some cute pics and help each other at the same time. I haven’t done this yet but I plan to very soon. 5. Hire a pro
Hiring a photographer is completely worth it to me to get the whole family interacting and hopefully looking like they like each other. Make sure to get poses of just you and your hubby and each parent with the kids too. Those types of photos make really nice gallery wall groupings.
6. Most Important: Don’t be hard on yourself!
I think every woman is her worst critic. Don’t delete every photo that you feel you don’t look perfect in. Look at the interaction between you and your child and let the photo capture that memory for you. Think about what you look at when you look back at family photos of yourself as a child. Do you think “wow, mom should have turned her hips, they look huge” or “look at those double chins”. I’m guessing you don’t and you are just happy to have photos with your parents. Your children will feel the same way.
Sorry, no posts lately. I’ve been working on a biggish project which is almost finished and I will be posting it soon.