Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Handmade Christmas Gifts 2012

In the spirit of Christmas and St. Nicholas I decided to get started on my favorite thing. Making Presents!!! I love making gifts and giving them away.

These gift baskets are stuffed with my home made bath soak, body spray, salt scrub and soap. My deluxe basket! I finished it off with a basket and filler from the Dollar Tree and wrapped in in a clear basket bag and tied it up with simple blue ribbon.

This is another basket I filled with some home made bath soak and salt scrub. I finished it off the same way as the deluxe basket. I also do the little baskets with a scrub/body spray combo and a large scrub/small scrub combo. These are always well received around the holidays. After all the holiday shopping and traveling who isn't in the mood for some relaxing down time? These baskets provide just that!

These cute snowmen are chocolate candy bars we hand out to the kids in the neighborhood, the mail carrier or a delivery person dropping off Christmas packages. They are easy to make and affordable. Just take an 8 1/2x11 sheet of white paper and cut in half. Take a half of the paper and wrap it around the chocolate bar. Tape the back, add a cute little face to the front, tie on some ribbon and you have snowman candy bars! 

This I haven't started yet, but can you guess what I am going to make? You guessed it! Chocolate bars and truffles. These are for a cookie exchange party we are going to in mid December. Can't wait to taste test!

 Here are the soaps that I made this year. Rose scented for the ladies and Drakkar cologne for the men. They turned out quite fragrant. All I have to do is wrap them up and stuff them in a basket with other goodies.

These are the cards and matching box I made for my Mom's birthday. I chose a snowflake theme since she will most likely use them all before Winter ends and by Spring I will have a new boxed set for her!

Last I have these great gift bags for our neighbors. I bought a charger from the Dollar Tree and added a box of cookies and some hot chocolate. I finished it with a basket bag and festive bow. I think project cost me around $6. It's cute, festive and you really can't go wrong with cookies and hot chocolate on a cold winter night.

Do you make gifts for the holidays? What are they? Leave me a link to your blog in the comments and I will add you in an up coming blog post about more homemade gifts!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Two People Fell in Love Painting and Tutorial

I really fell in love with a painting I saw online of each family members hand print in descending order layered on each other with the saying "All because 2 people fell in love".

I love painting and drawing so I thought I would give it a try. I already had the canvas in the garage from a few years ago, I pulled it out dusted it off and got to work.

I used a gray Rustoleum spray paint I had left over from a project I did over the summer. I sprayed the entire thing gray, it took 2 coats.

After that dried I jumped on the computer and created a basic word doc in the font and size I needed. I am a font junkie so I had many to choose from. The font I picked was Amperzand and is free (awesome!!!) you can get it here.
I then printed it off  and cut it up. I played with the spacing and style. When I was happy with the look I got 2 things you most likely have laying around the house: a ball point pen and pastels. You might be able to use chalk (I haven't tried) but I personally like pastels since they don't smudge.

 Once you color the back of the paper with the pastel, I chose peach because the background was darker and I can barely see, so I thought a darker pastel would be hard for me to see when painting.

After the back is colored and working with one word at a time, take the ball point pen and begin to trace around the letters ( see pic below for reference).
This is how it should look so far.

The next part is really difficult if you have little ones that love to paint and craft too. They always want to help! I waited for them to go to bed the broke out the enamel paints and model brushes and got to painting. It took me about a half hour to complete the lettering.
I think it turned out rather well.

Now all I have to do is get everyone to get there hands dirty and layer our prints (before the kids are all grown up).
When it is totally complete I will add a new picture and update you!
Right now though I have it hanging in the foyer of the house, it doesn't look half bad.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Paper Bunting and Subway Art

Here is my cute paper bunting I made for the holiday season. I bought a scrap pack from Oriental Trading Company and decided that this would make a great project for the scrap pieces. I have this obsession with making these since I saw a few on Pintrest and they are so easy to make.
I might even add a tutorial son making this stuff, no sewing required. Just glue, scissors and paper.

Here is a close up. I recently purchased a Sizzix off Craigslist. It really did a great job at cutting the pieces out. I usually use my Cricut but it pissed me off while making some cards and I have put it in the closet for a while. Or until I forgive it for making me so darned mad.
Below is my Autumn bunting. It is my favorite so far. I love the colors and the font I used is really whimsical and adds some fun to it.

OK, as far as subway art goes I really wasn't a fan until Thanksgiving. We were at our families home when Aunt Helen pulled out a framed picture her daughter had given her. It was subway art of Christmas words.I fell in love.
That night I went on to (can you guess??) Pintrest and found some free printable subway art from eighteen25. I sent it over to Costco and had them blow it up to 16x20 which cost around $7, it turned out beautiful. They have many more I will be printing and framing.

As far as the framing goes I haven't made it out to the craft store. So I painted a cork board I had in my office and used brass tacks to secure it. I didn't go through the paper though, since I will frame it at some point. I just secured the edges with the side of the tack and pushed the pin into the board. I might go all the way around - just haven't decided.

So what are your holiday decorations? Do ya'll like subway art and paper bunting? Did you make any Christmas decorations this year?

Let me know, I would love to share them!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Decorating For Christmas

I have started and finished decorating for Christmas. I keep it very simple, basic. We live in a small house by today's standards so our tree is only 3 feet tall.
It makes for easy decorating. I stick to two colors, red and white and add a few pops of green, silver (because you have to have some sparkle) and maybe gold.
Side note: See that white wall. I painted that myself a few weeks ago. If you think that is no big deal, you are wrong. I have lived with a wood paneled wall behind our fireplace for 12 years and finally won an ongoing disagreement we have had about painting it. Not to mention we are remodeling the house in 6 months and taking this wall completely out. But that doesn't have anything to do with my WINNING! Does it?

You must excuse the photos. I love taking pictures and when I got sand in my camera at the beach this summer I ran out and bought a small point & shoot Canon camera that was in my budget. Well, I should have waited until I had more money because I cannot take a decent picture with this thing!

Anyway, my Christmas decor is simple. I love it and the kids think it looks lovely. This year I did add some subway art from Pintrest. It cost me all of $7 and I will post that tomorrow.

I also changed up the Advent calendar this year and made my own with small gifts and activities for the family to do.

It started out, I was going to decorate 24 mason jars and fill them with goodies. I got out 12, realized that It was taking up WAY too much space, and was going to be a lot more work than I anticipated so I bought a pack of brown paper bags at the Dollar Tree and there they sit in a bucket I wrapped in scrap Christmas paper left over from last year.

I will leave you all with one more little picture of our tree. A very bad picture but it will give you an idea of how I have decorated it and kept it simple.

Tomorrow I will spill the beans about my obsession with making paper bunting, subway art and some recent decorating I have done - not Christmas related.

Night All!


How do you decorate for Christmas??
Not at all???

Let me know.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

After the Hiatus

I have been on hiatus for some time. Enjoying time spent with family and rebooting. Dabbling in small business ownership (which sank), starting a NEW & BETTER small business venture that is slowly failing, and becoming a total Pinterest addict.

I also started other blogs to coincide with my businesses, so I have officially cheated on you Blog and I am sorry.

But on the bright side I will be importing all the great little decorating and household things from Azzurro Cancello (Blue Gate) blog here within the next few days. I am excited about that. I can close my accounts with Etsy (both of them, long story about how much I dislike Etsy).

I can now concentrate on making this blog better and I really do have A LOT to say, spill, gossip and bitch about.

But for now enjoy that I am back and I really have a lot of great things coming up in the next few weeks.

What have you been doing while I was away? What new blogs have you been reading?

I am out of the loop and would like some new stuff to read!!!

Make sure to check out the posts below. They have some of the great stuff I have been working on this last month...and it is about my decorating challenge!!!

It has been fun so far and I have so much more to post on decorating and renovating on a budget.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mind Changing

I have changed my mind. I knew I was going to. I have to give myself a few days before I make any major decisions or I will regret them, if I act on impulse.
I have decided to not buy the JENNYLUND chair from IKEA. Instead I am saving some money and buying a chair and a half or loveseat.
source Amazon

I was just thinking on rainy days, when the kids are home, we all might just want to cuddle up and read a good book together and a small white chair made for one will not accomplish that.

I also have changed the color of the shelves to white and we have almost decided on the couch. So maybe in  another month we will have the bulk of the furniture purchased and some painting done.

In 6 months, the major construction will begin.

I have not forgot about my challenge. I have a list for IKEA. And if I purchase the basics a bed, some shelves, a couple lamps, a plant (cause I really love indoor plants and I can't live with out a flowering plant that smells nice in the house) and I have to have a nice pot to put it in, and a couch, and the dining room chairs. I will be over budget by $200. Husband said he will go in halves on the couch. That will knock it down to I will be under budget by $200. Enough to spend on more accessories.

And I plan on having a yard sale soon. That money will be added to my budget and I might just buy a new mattress set. Or more decorations for the home.

What are you thoughts or ideas on what I should do for the master bedroom reading nook?

Until next time!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Simply Heaven

That is the name of the paint color we chose for our room. With white trim, ceiling, and crown molding, I think it will look beautiful. I can accessorize the room for the beachy feel or make it feel more modern with some grey thrown in.

I have also decided to purchase  a few things from IKEA.

We need dining room chairs like nobody's business. They were his grandparents chairs back in the 70's. They are olive green, metal, with rips and tears and stuffing falling out. And we only have 4, total. We have to use folding chairs if we have any guests.

I have decided on the STEFAN chair. They match our existing vintage table and they are only $25.00 each. I am getting 6.
STEFAN Chair IKEA Solid wood, a hardwearing natural material.
from IKEA
I also want the LERBERG ladder shelves for the room only $39.98 for 2.

LERBERG Shelf unit IKEA Shelves in different depths. Space for anything from collectables to books.
For the bed frame I chose the BRIMNES without the head board since we are using the Chippendale mirror instead. Eventually I will get some underbed storage boxes or baskets to hide my stash of things I just can't part with.

BRIMNES Bed frame IKEA Adjustable bed rails allow the use of mattresses of different heights.
And the last thing I want just for myself, kind of a splurge and the only white thing that I will own is the EKTORP JENNYLUND chair. In white. 
That will complete my cozy reading nook in the master bedroom. I am moving out the office and the craft stuff and creating a nice cozy relaxing bedroom. Where I can relax with a good book  and have some alone time.
EKTORP JENNYLUND Chair IKEA Easy to keep clean with a removable,machine washable cover.
That make a total of around $520.00 if all goes per plan and I don't change my mind on something or I don't find it cheaper on craigslist. That means the master bedroom will be almost complete except for a ceiling fan and new mattress and maybe some  accessories.

We looked at some couches and settled on one, I am chipping in for a portion of the couch so there goes another chunk of money. But that is the only major purchase we have left then the rest is painting and accessorizing.

Until next time!

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Hallway

Ok, so here is the dark hallway. I have a few family pictures to one side as you can see. The other side is the bathroom, an old heater closet that was transformed into a utility closet and the master bedroom door. The end of the hall is daughters future room.

This is the tiniest most useless closet in the house. When the house was first built in 1955 they must have had no idea how to get maximum storage capacity out of a closet. This is on my to do list. And please never mind the mirror the housekeeper must have missed that one ;)
Across from the mirror is a blank wall. What do you put there??? Art work, another mirror? I have an idea for later down the remodel road. Replace the door with a nice new one and hang a mirror on the blank wall. Genius Idea!!!
In the mean time it will stay blank, unless you have an Idea?

My plan for the hallway is to brighten it by painting the entire thing white. I will replace the original light fixture to something more modern and repaint the picture frames black and add more family photos. I might add some other art or photos I have taken in blank spaces. And the carpet is going. Original hardwood throughout.

Until next time!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Deep Aubergine

Ok, so the bedroom is quite a mess. The color is dated and the furniture is from a long time past. I think the only things we are keeping in this room are the dresser and the Chippendale mirror. The rest is either going to be sold for extra decorating money, repainted or moved somewhere else in the house. 
 I do work from our room also. At least that is what I tell myself. I am trying to eliminate the work area from there by creating a work space where the dining area is now.
 In the future, when our debts are paid off, we are putting in a master bath. The door to the bath will be where the window is above the desk.
 This is my very favorite piece of furniture we own, aside from the mirror. I love the look and the warm color. It's a keeper.
 Ahhh, the closet doors. dated and a brassy gold color. I am so happy that we can powder coat them to match our color scheme. Since I am going to move the Chippendale and use it as a focal point above the bed I need to come up with a way to either reglaze the existing with 1/4 inch tempered sandblasted glass or create a decal to go over the mirror or have the mirror etched and sandblasted with my design. I am so thankful my husband is a glazier.
 Now the armoire is just a storage spot for all my misc. craft things and sewing machine. I bought it with the intention of painting it shabby but have since lost interest in that style. So there it sits waiting to be refinished. I did pin something about an armoire someone used to hold all of her jewelry and makeup and accessories. I might do that and give it to daughter when she gets her own room.
I have an idea to replace the armoire and desk with a few ladder shelves, a wall sconce and a cozy chair for my reading nook.
There it sits. My Chippendale. Husband and I found it in the water heater closet of his mom's house 12 years ago. The gold leaf was completely gone and the bells were no where to be found. So we painted it black and put in a beveled mirror.
This thing is huge, about as tall as me 5' and heavy. It makes a bold statement and now I want it as a focal point when you walk in the room. We are keeping it black.
Black will be my accent color in this room. A light blue with white trim and black accent pieces. I think I can make that work.
We shall move on the the hallway tomorrow, nothing too exciting just a regular dark 1950's style hallway.
How would you decorate this space? What color scheme would you use?
I would love to hear your thoughts!
Until next time!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Decorating Challenge

Lately I have been bored, REALLY bored. I have accomplished most of my goals and have been feeling blah about what to challenge myself with. I love creating a home for my family and an inviting environment for friends, so I decided I am going to challenge myself to decorate the entire main living area, master bedroom, hallway and bathroom for $1000.

I have to re-purpose, recycle, reuse, repaint, reupholster, refinish existing furniture. All supplies have to be purchased on sale, or from HFH The Re-Store or off craigslist. All extra furnishings and accessories are going to be purchased on sale, from thrift shops, garage sales, flea markets or hand me downs from family. I also have the challenge of purchasing a new sofa that is reasonably priced.

We do have a few items that we will not buy used - like the sofa and the master bedroom mattress and bedding.
These pictures are of the first area to tackle. The living and dining room combined. You see a mixture of furnishings husband and I have received as hand me downs or IKEA furniture from our younger years. Nothing is new except the fireplace insert and the TV. The hardwood is also original to the house.

As far as decorating style, I am still working on that. I have a family of 4 that needs to live comfortably for the next 20 years. And each of us has a different style.
I would love to make it beachy with white and aqua and a splash of yellow.
Hubby would probably leave it as is (most men don not like change).
Daughter would have it pink and black and sparkly with a disco ball on the ceiling.
Son would have cars, toys and books everywhere (he's only 2).

First thing I know is that it needs paint and lots of it. 12 years is too long for that grey blue color of the walls. Oh, but wait till you see the master bedroom.
If you think the living room color needs updating wait till you see the master bedroom! I will give you a hint Deep Aubergine!

Until Next Time!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In Progress

Last weekend I took a trip with the kids to see the progress of my future work space. Working out of my house is very tight when you deal with large pieces of furniture.
 Here we are on the outside of the workshop. The interior is broken down into sections for all of us who use the space. Scott gets the far roll up door (small one) for the auto shop, Gloria has an interior dance studio (under construction) and I have the large roll up door area.
 This is the interior, so far. Scott is standing in the soon to be dance studio. Across the hall is an office and bathroom.
 Behind the stairs is the office. Up the stairs is the storage for all of the stuff in the picture below. Minus the truck and the furniture hidden in that pile of boxes. I am embarrassed to say that we have collected so much stuff that no longer fits in the house, but we have and we are in the process of organizing, boxing and tagging all that is out there.
Hope this gives you an idea of what Azzurro Cancello will become in the near future. For now I will work on the few small pieces of furniture I have and the cards and jewelry that I will be adding to the sight very soon. I had a closet renovation to finished before I had a picture studio to photograph in. Now that that is done I have pictures of my latest line of greeting cards and gift envelopes.
Please stop by soon and check those out.

Monday, May 21, 2012

No Internet

I am putting myself to a test.
I am giving myself a break from the internet for 1 week. I will check email once a day, and post any new products on Etsy, but other than that I am staying away.

I have been clouded by all the things I am obsessing. I need to get back on track and find myself. Come up with my own ideas and be creative in my own way...not like everyone else.

I might actually get some things done around here for a change.

This thing still needs to be painted. Maybe that will be #1 on my list, we shall see.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Making Cards and Other Stuff

I have found a new addiction Pinterest. Fun and awesome all at the same time. I would be on there all the time if I didn't have family or an artsy crafty hobby to tend to.

Anyway I have been busy in the garden since my green house blew over and I had to start my seedlings all over. It was worth the wait. I have so many chilies and tomatoes I will have to sell them so they don't get thrown into the compost.

Extra money never hurt a hobby!

I started dabbling in card making. I was inspired by Helen (Scott's aunt) who makes wedding invitations. They are so beautiful.
I am no way going to do wedding invites but basic card making I can do...I love glue and glitter and gluing little things together. And drawing. When I have more me time I might actually get back into drawing, I am pretty good.
I make basic blank cards for Thank You notes, love letters, break up threats...you can actually write whatever you desire because they are blank and well, I just decorate them for you. I sell them in sets of 7 cards with envelopes and each set has a theme. Allison (above) is photographing the theme pack "Thank God I'm a Country Girl.
You can get the cowgirl boot custom glittered in your favorite color!!!

Check out my Etsy shop to browse. I have many more things coming soon. Baby items, because I sew too. So maybe patch work baby quilts, pillowcase dresses...

My mind in over run with craft ideas (thank Microsoft for the post it notes on the desktop), just wish I had more time in the day, but then again, don't we all.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Is It Summer Yet?

While I was finishing up the post from earlier, my oldest woke up and snuggled next to me. "is it gonna be nice today?" she asked.
"Yes...almost 80."
"It's cold?"
"No, it's hot."
7:30 this morning she comes into the room wearing her bathing suit. I think she is ready for the warm weather.

Making Extra Money While Staying at Home

Right now I am sitting in bed watching the sun come up through the window. These quiet moments are few and far between. Soon the kids will be awake and I will be throwing laundry in the machine, making breakfast, and getting ready to work in the garden. I am fortunate to be able to stay home and raise my kids and play around with some of my hobbies. I am hoping to make a bit of extra cash so Scott could take a day or two off without it hurting our budget. My favorite idea so far is the micro farm produce stand. I really enjoy getting my hands dirty and growing something from seed. I enjoy feeding people and talking about the food I grow. The kids love being outside playing in the dirt, helping plant the seeds, learning about bugs and how things grow.

If all goes well, this will be my favorite job, aside from being a mom, that I ever had.
While this one is not a "money maker" unless you have time to market and advertise, I find making soap to be just as fun as gardening. I do have a few customers that come back time after time, which is nice. I like to know that I am providing all natural, good for your skin soap. And it also makes wonderful gifts, I call this one more of a hobby than a true money maker.
Lastly, I love sewing. I make a lot of the home decor things like throw pillows, pillow cases, seat covers and the likes. I have just started making pillowcase dresses. I know everyone and there mother makes them too, but if I find a few of the non sewers that are not Etsy customers then I will have some customers. Now if I make a few different sizes and sell them at the roadside market then I will probably make a bit more cash.
Turning a hobby into a money maker is not as easy as everyone makes it out to be. If you get a few loyal customers and make great products, eventually you be known by word of mouth and break even on your endeavors. If you have the time and money to market you could probably start making money, but in the mean time I am still considering them my hobbies and enjoying what I do.