Christmas 2016

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas! My toddler is super into the holidays this year and I have been taking a little time off from projects to spend as much time with my little munchkins as possible.  I always enjoy the holidays, but they are even more fun with little kids who believe in all the magic and stories you tell them!

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We visited the North Pole in Colorado back in July and while we were there we signed Hollis up to receive a letter from Santa. We didn’t do one for Bowen because he doesn’t really get it yet, but Hollis was so excited to get hers. I think I read it 40 times in the days leading up to Christmas.  It also helped with all of the threats I made to her that Santa wouldn’t bring her presents if she was naughty. She is so, so naughty these days (three-year olds, am I right?!),  I don’t know what I’m going to do the rest of the year when I can’t use Santa as leverage! We are definitely going to do Santa letters again next year (one for Bo too!) and as many years as they will let me.

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I have dreaded taking the kids to see Santa because of impending freak outs, and waiting in long lines with very small, impatient children. Hollis has never been up for it in the past anyways.  But when Brian’s uncle told us he was dressing up as Santa at the Fort Hays basketball game, we decided to brave it. I talked to Hollis about it for a couple of days prior, and she promised me that she would sit on his lap. When the time came, she was a little hesitant, but once she was on his lap, she was good to go. I think it really helped that Uncle Rich was our first Santa.  My little stoic man Bo just sat there and took everything in like a champ.

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We spread our Christmas across three days with four different celebrations. We got to spend time with lots of family and got spoiled with food and gifts. I usually spend lots of time stressing about what to get everyone and worrying about whether or not I got everyone equally awesome gifts. This year I took a different route and made some handmade gifts. It was a lot of fun creating things for people and doing my favorite thing, DIY/crafting. It’s not something I would do every year, but it was fun to do something a little different for a change. They were so much fun to make that I am hoping to make myself one, and when I do I will try to do a little tutorial on it.

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I still can’t believe that the holidays are already over, but I am looking forward to taking all the decorations down and putting things back in their normal place…like my coffee table I had to put the Christmas tree on this year to keep it away from my busy-body 10 month old! I have a long list of projects I want to get to this year and I can’t wait to get back in the groove and get started on them. Hope you all had a merry everything!

 

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Garage Sale Art Makeover

Garage Sale Art Makeover // thegoldbrickroad.comHollis’ room has been evolving little by little as she grows. I’m trying to get used to the idea that I have a toddler now and not a little baby anymore. (Sob!) We’ve been using her dresser as a changing table up until a couple of months ago. She is still in diapers, but just too big for the changing table. Lately, her bed or the floor are safer for her wiggly toosh to get changed.

I had a baby-friendly gallery wall above the dresser, but I also bought a mirror to go over her dresser one day when she was a little bigger. It’s a big, heavy-duty mirror, which I’ve been storing it in the bottom of my closet where it is just begging for me to drop something on it just right and shatter the thing. So I was really excited to finally get to hang it up where it actually belongs.

Of course after I got the mirror hung, my gallery wall just wasn’t feeling right anymore. It needed something. to help balance out the large, round mirror. So I dug through my latest garage sale haul of pictures and frames. Nothing I had would work as-is, but I did have a frame that was just the right shape and size. It just needed a makeover.

I went with this little gem. I had no hard feelings about painting over this masterpiece. Garage Sale Art Makeover // thegoldbrickroad.comI wanted something easy, but that would carry out the colors in Hollis’ room. I decided a quick abstract painting would do the trick. I took the beautiful picture out and just decided to paint over the heavy card stock that came with the frame. I like it when abstract pictures have some texture and a really easy way to cheat and easily add texture is to just Modpodge some tissue paper before you paint. I purposely let it wrinkle in some spots and ripped and layered it in other spots. It also provided a nice, white background to start with.

Garage Sale Art Makeover // thegoldbrickroad.comNext I grabbed a craft brush, I liked the sponge tip brush for spreading color around. I squeezed dots randomly in a couple different shades of pink and some white and then just brushed the dots around. Garage Sale Art Makeover // thegoldbrickroad.comThen I added some black, sparingly. I didn’t want it to be too girly with all the pink.Garage Sale Art Makeover // thegoldbrickroad.com Lastly, I grabbed a can of gold spray paint (which I ALWAYS seem to have on hand) and sprayed a few random spots. I really liked the shimmer from it and I went ahead and sprayed the frame gold too. Garage Sale Art Makeover // thegoldbrickroad.comHere you can see the texture from the tissue paper. Of course you can also create texture with paint, but I just have time for that. Garage Sale Art Makeover // thegoldbrickroad.comAnd here is my little 10 minute art project (not including drying time). It won’t win any awards or anything, but a big improvement and will work in Hollis’ room.

Garage Sale Art Makeover // thegoldbrickroad.com Garage Sale Art Makeover // thegoldbrickroad.com Garage Sale Art Makeover // thegoldbrickroad.com The wall is not done yet. I’d still like to add a couple little things to the wall, but it’s so nice to finally have that mirror hung up and some original artwork. Garage sales are my favorite place to snag cheap art and frames.

Feelin’ Crafty: No Sew Curtains

When I was redoing the playroom, I went back and forth on whether or not I needed curtains in there. The two windows in the room are large, original windows. One faces North and one faces West. The North facing window is surrounded by a line of trees and really doesn’t need any window treatment on it, while the West facing window gets some sun in the afternoon/evening.

I originally thought about something really simple like wood blinds or even a nice roller shade. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of really nice curtains that will probably get used and abused by my toddler. BUT, because the windows are not a standard size, I knew that nice blinds or roller shades would be pretty pricey. So I needed to come up with some cheap curtains that would diffuse some sunlight, but that don’t cost an arm and a leg in case they get destroyed or I change my mind and decide to go with something custom.

531675c17415b970c245ee57a4b61da9I found these curtains at Target a while back and immediately liked them. They were just what I wanted as far as the color, and they didn’t feel too grown up or too childish for our shared playroom/rec room. What I didn’t like about them was the length or the pocket top. I wanted them a little shorter, long enough to cover the entire window, but short enough that my child hopefully won’t be tempted to mess with. I also wanted a grommet top or to add clips to the top so that the curtains would slide open and closed easily over the curtain rod.

After much debate, I decided to pull the trigger and buy them, only to find out that Target no longer carries them….That’s what I get for thinking too much. But the good news is that they carry the exact same design only in the form of a shower curtain. My first thought was, ‘how ghetto would it be if I hung a shower curtain on my window?’. Then, I thought with a little modification, they might actually work.

A standard shower curtain is 72″ x 72″, so I ordered two curtains and planned on cutting them in half so that I would have two 36″ wide panels for each window. A standard curtain is 54″ wide, so these are significantly more narrow than a regular curtain would be, but my windows are less than 72″ wide, so I wasn’t too worried about it. I also ordered some brushed nickel shower curtain rings to match the curtain rods I had already bought.

Feelin' Crafty: No Sew Curtains // thegoldbrickroad.comI had to break out the iron and attempt to get out some of the major wrinkles out.

Feelin' Crafty: No Sew Curtains // thegoldbrickroad.comAs you can see, I didn’t get them ALL out. Then I folded it in half lengthwise and cut them in half. Feelin' Crafty: No Sew Curtains // thegoldbrickroad.comAfter I cut them, I folded over the cut edge about 3/4″ to match the already hemmed edge on the other side. I just needed it wide enough fit my 5/8″ wide Stitch Witchery under. If you’ve never used Stitch Witchery, it’s the greatest invention ever, especially if your sewing skills are questionable like mine are. It is also super cheap, I got mine at Wal-Mart for around $2.

0217151349aFeelin' Crafty: No Sew Curtains // thegoldbrickroad.comAfter I got the hem pinned and my Stitch Witchery under it, I ironed it flat.Feelin' Crafty: No Sew Curtains // thegoldbrickroad.comSuch and easy and quick project. All I had to do after ironing, is add my shower rings and hang them up. I love how easy they are to slide open and closed. We generally leave them open most of the time, but they are nice to have on an especially sunny day.

Feelin' Crafty: No Sew Curtains // thegoldbrickroad.comFeelin' Crafty: No Sew Curtains // thegoldbrickroad.comFeelin' Crafty: No Sew Curtains // thegoldbrickroad.comI wouldn’t recommend going this route if you really want to block out a lot of sunlight. If this was a bedroom, I would definitely have put up something heavier. I still may add a blind or shade of some sort behind the curtains at some point. Or I could sew or Velcro on a light-blocking panel to the back of the curtains. For now though, these curtains do the trick and take the edge off the sunlight we get and add some privacy.

Feelin’ Crafty: Jewelry Organizer

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com

I dislike clutter. Especially when it keeps me from finding my favorite pieces of jewelry.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been keeping my necklaces and earrings in a small jewelry box and a couple of small ceramic dishes that I’ve collected over the years. The problem is, I forget what pieces of jewelry I have when they are hiding away out of sight. Or I go to look for a necklace I really want to wear, and it’s tangled in a mass of gold and silver chains. In the end, I usually just give up and end up not wearing ANY jewelry out of frustration.

I came to the conclusion, that I could be better accessorized on a daily basis if I could organize my jewelry in way where I could easily see all of my options. So I came up with a really simple shelf that could hang on the wall and display all of my trinkets. I just used scrap wood from previous projects and leftover paint, which made this project really cheap too!

I cut my two pieces of scrap wood down so that they were the same length. I wanted one a little wider than the other because I’m wanting it to overhang to create a shelf.

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com I just screwed my two pieces of wood together to save time. You could easily use some wood glue and nails too if you prefer. I screwed the wider piece to the top of the slimmer piece to create my shelf.

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com After I attached my two pieces together, I measured and marked one inch increments where I planned on drilling my tiny holes.

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com I used a thin drill bit to make holes for my little gold hooks. I drilled two rows, one along the bottom of the overhang side of my shelf and one along the bottom of the base that will be up against the wall.  I stuck one in to make sure my holes were large enough. I also made two larger holes were I could screw my shelf into the wall.

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com These hooks have been sitting in my toolbox FOREVER. I don’t know why we had so many of them, but I was excited to put them to use.

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com Then I grabbed some leftover paint (from our bathroom) and applied two thin coats.

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com Next comes the fun part….just kidding. It’s kind of tedious, to be honest, but it’s super easy. I screwed all my little gold hooks into place.

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com Done! Now I just have to pick a spot to hang it. See, super easy?

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com You can see I got some navy up on the wall. I’m so in love with it, I can’t wait to finish and show you the ‘big reveal’! I chose to hang my jewelry over my dresser. It is so nice to free up some space on that bad boy.

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com I got my level out and screwed my shelf into the wall. I was able to screw it into the studs so I didn’t have to anchor it. I don’t plan on hanging anything too heavy on it anyway, but I definitely don’t want it falling down.

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com Of course the real fun part was sifting through and untangling all my lovely things and putting them on display.

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com That extra ledge is really handy, it allowed me to get even more crap stuff off my dresser.

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com

DIY: Jewelry Organizer // thegoldbrickroad.com I just love being able to see everything all at once. It’s like artwork and organization all in one. I love simple, quick projects that make my life easier!

Feelin’ Crafty: Growth Chart

There’s nothing like folding and putting away your baby’s clothes to make you realize how quickly they are growing. I seriously feel like I fill a tote of clothes my daughter has outgrown like every other day. It’s crazy. It also made me realize that I should probably be documenting these crazy growth spurts while she is still a somewhat tiny human.

So it dawned on me that I should make Hollis a growth chart. I had one when I was a kid and I loved that thing. I would eat my veggies and drink my milk and then go measure myself to see if those “super foods” really worked or if grown-ups were just lying to us all. I figure my child deserves the opportunity to question me as well.

I started with a pine board that I cut down to 6′. I’m sorry for the lack of pictures, I swear I took some, but they are nowhere to be found! So I will just use my words to describe what went on…

DIY Grown Chart // thegoldbrickroad.comThen I did nothing for a looooong time. This blank piece of wood sat against the wall waiting for me to figure out how to paint it. I knew I wanted something that Hollis would like, of course, but also something that wasn’t too babyish since I have to see it all the time too. Then I stumbled on this pattern which I really loved. I liked the simple geometric pattern (ie. something I can easily replicate with painter’s tape). And I also liked the color combo, I feel like it could work in pretty much any room in our house, which is good because I like to move things around constantly.

So here is where I’m missing some important pics. BUT, as you can see, I painted the board off-white. Then just imagine painter’s tape all over to create the triangles. I started my triangles 2″ over so that I could leave room to add my numbers, then I just followed one row of the pattern above.

DIY Grown Chart // thegoldbrickroad.comNext I printed off the size and font of the numbers I wanted. I’m starting with 2 because I’m hanging my board a foot off the floor.

DIY Grown Chart // thegoldbrickroad.comThen I flipped the paper over and scribbled the backside of each number. This is a little trick I learned from my 5th grade art teacher.

DIY Grown Chart // thegoldbrickroad.comI used my tape measure and ticked off each foot and then all the inches in between. Then I flipped over my paper and traced each number next to it’s tick mark.

DIY Grown Chart // thegoldbrickroad.comTa-da! I love this little trick, it definitely beats cutting each number out and tracing them.

DIY Grown Chart // thegoldbrickroad.comAfter I traced each letter, I went back over them with a paint marker. I also went over all my tick marks, making the foot measurements slightly more prominent than the inch measurements.DIY Grown Chart // thegoldbrickroad.comI still might add a little wood filler to that spot between the 2 and 3. Then I just have to decide where to hang it, and weep my eyes out as I watch my tiny human grow!

Feelin’ Crafty: Pom Pom Curtains

Hope everyone had a great holiday! I’m completely exhausted from ours…in a good way! All the decorating, baking, traveling, shopping, eating, present opening, finding a home for all those awesome new gifts….It’s just a LOT of fun crammed into one holiday. Now I’m feeling re-charged and ready to get back to work. I’ve already even removed all signs of Christmas from the house.

It’s been nice to focus on family and enjoy all the things that come with Christmas and take a little break from any big projects. Although, I have been sneaking little projects in here and there. Most of my projects have been centered around Hollis’ bedroom. I’ve even been stepping out of my comfort zone and trying my hand at new projects, like sewing….which is WAY out of my comfort zone. It’s like, around the block from my comfort zone.

I knew when I bought Hollis’ curtains, that I wanted to add something to them to jazz them up a bit. I really wanted black and white curtains, but never found any that I liked for a toddler’s room. Then I saw these on Pinterest and was inspired to try it myself.  Luckily my mom and grandma had come for a visit a few months ago and gave me a nice little tutorial on how to use my sewing machine. After a quick lesson from them, it all felt a lot less intimidating.

Seriously, if I can do this project, anyone can. Here’s how I did it.

DIY Pom Pom Curtains // thegoldbrickroad.com

I bought just plain white panels from Target (I think they were $10 a panel) and found some black pom pom trim at Hobby Lobby (for $1.99 a yard) to add to them.

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You should iron out the panels first, but somehow I missed this step. Then I pinned the trim in place where I wanted to sew it. I almost skipped this step too, but I’m so glad I didn’t because it really helped keep things lined up while I ran it through the sewing machine. Just remember to take your pins out as you go so they don’t mess up your machine’s needle.

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Then I just went for it. The prepping took a while but was totally worth it.  I had to use both hands, one to hold the pom poms out of the way of the needle and one to feed the curtain through. Once I got in a good rhythm, each panel only took about five minutes to sew.

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Not too shabby for my first time using a sewing machine. This was definitely a good project for a beginner. I just put trim on the inside of my panels, but you could put it on the outside or even both inside and out.

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I seriously love them. I kind of want to add pom poms to every curtain in the house. I think they are youthful without being too cutesy or childish. And the whole project only took one afternoon. I’m sure it would probably be even faster if you actually have some sewing experience!

 

Feelin’ Crafty: Coat Rack

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI’m loving this early Fall weather we are having! I’ve had the windows open to air out this old, stuffy house. My apple crisp scented candles are burning away. I already pulled out my favorite hoodies and cozy sweatshirts. I am in no way ready for Winter, but Fall, bring it on!

The only bad thing about this cooler weather is the mess it creates in my house.  Hoodies and jackets everywhere except where they are supposed to be….the coat closet. A closet dedicated to specifically hold coats, yet no one in this house is capable of putting their coat there. We had this same problem in our last house so I can only blame this problem on ourselves. I don’t know why it’s so hard for us to open the door and hang our coats on a hanger, but it is.

So instead of making myself crazy picking up hoodies and jackets all day, I decided to make myself a nice little coat rack. Something to hang right in the entry way that we could just throw our coats on instead of them ending up on the floor or kitchen table (why is the kitchen table a magnet for random clutter?). Could I buy a coat rack at the store? Of course, but what fun is that? I actually looked for a coat rack at many stores, but I just couldn’t find what I was picturing in my head. I wanted one that was the same length as the bench in our entry way and I wanted it to be sort of rustic. Nothing I found really fit the bill and I figured I could make one easily and save myself from having to look anymore.

I started with a 1″ x 6″ 3′ pine board. My bench is 3′ long so this was perfect and saved me from having to cut it down. (Although cutting it down would’ve been super easy too). I think it was about $3 at Menards.
DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI found a recipe for coffee stain online and decided to give it a try. I just used one part coffee grounds and one part white vinegar and mixed them in a glass container. Then I dropped a piece of steel wool down inside, closed up the container, and let it sit for about a day. Then I just pulled out the steel wool (while wearing gloves b/c it’s very icky) and started applying it to my untreated board. The steel wool leaves a little bit of a gray tint to the mixture which was perfect for the rustic look I was after. I’m sure if you didn’t leave the steel wool in as long, you would get less of a gray tint. Warning: this mixture is STINKY! It smells like hot garbage. You may need a mask.

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI applied one coat and then let it dry. It only took about 15 min to dry in the sun and then I was able to apply another coat. I only needed two coats for my rustic finish, but you could keep applying until you get the color you want.

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI wanted my board to look like an old piece of wood. So after both coats were dry, I started to sand down the edges. Then I lightly sanded the rest of the board. I sanded more vigorously in some spots to give it more of an aged look. The vinegar/coffee smell went away after I sanded everything down. (thank God!)

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comAfter I got my board the right color and roughed it up a bit, I added some hooks. I had room for 5 large hooks. I also got them at Menard’s for about $4 a piece. I spaced them out evenly and just drilled them into the board.

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comI used wall anchors and 2 screws on each side of my board to hang it so it would be nice and sturdy. I want it to be able to hold jackets and heavy coats as well as my super heavy diaper bag. I pre-drilled my holes for my anchors and made sure it was all level, then put my screws in.

DIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comDIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comDIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comDIY Rustic Coat Rack // thegoldbrickroad.comThis was such an easy project. I am already looking for other things I can stain with coffee…besides my teeth ;). The whole thing cost me $23 which is way less than what I would’ve spent if I had found what I was looking for in the first place.