Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Showdown: Fabric Flowers

I know I know.  I can't ONLY post on Fridays.  I am doing what I can to remedy that.  Life has been quite good to me lately and keeping me busy.  My niece (the loveliest thing I've ever set my eyes on) arrived almost 2 weeks ago (wow the time really is flying) and I will be starting a new job on Monday that I am over the moon excited about.  In any case, back to business!

Today's craft tutorial features a fabric flower.  These little darlings seem to be popping up in all kinds of mediums from home decor to hair accessories.  There are a ton (almost literally) of methods to make fabric flowers - depending on the look and style you are hoping to achieve.  My original plan was to tackle three different varieties -see above paragraph about busy and awesome life - but I only had time for one.  Meh.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Showdown: Mason Jar Soap Dispenser

Welcome back for the 2nd Edition of Friday Showdown - glad you decided to show up!  Today we tackle another craft I have been itching to get to for several months - a soap dispenser made from a mason jar.  I, like many people, find the charm and versatility of a good ol' mason jar entirely irresistible.  I spent the better part of flea market season 2010 collecting blue mason jars in various sizes because I love them - and they are harder to come across than the clear varieties.  I have a "collection" of about 15 jars sitting in my china cabinet - just waiting for re-purposing.  One of the smaller (about 6" high) guys finally got some attention. 


Turning the above into a bathroom soap dispenser is a pretty easy job.  All you need is a drill, a 3/4 inch drill bit (or whatever size bit will make your soap pump fit snugly into the jar lid), aforementioned soap pump long enough to almost touch the bottom of your jar (mine snagged from an ugly dollar store number) and a little bit of patience. 

First, check the underside of your jar lid.  If there is any lining - remove it.  I learned this the hard way.  I thought the white lining on the underside of my lid was just a little plastic something or other and decided it would be no big deal to drill right through it.  It was glass.  It was a big deal... a big deal of mason jar lid shrapnel.  I learned the lesson for you, be glad.

Second, secure your lid to to a small wooden block that you won't mind messing up with the drill.  Put on some safety goggles while you're at it!

Third, line up your drill at the center point of your lid and apply firm, even pressure as you pull the trigger.  Depending on your familiarity with a drill, you may have to start and stop a few times.  That is fine.  No one ever ruined anything by taking their time with power tools! 

Fourth, screw the lid onto the jar and slide the soap pump securely into the hole you drilled and see how everything lines up.  If your soap pump is less than secure, a few wraps of masking tape around the top of the soap pump will do the job.  If the "straw" part of your pump is a bit too long for your container, a quick snip with regular old pair of scissors will make it perfect!

And voila! My very own mason jar soap dispenser!

                                                       ... After.

Gee I wish my bathroom re-fresh was already done.  The soft blue tint of the jar would look approximately 100 times better against the wall of my future bathroom... by my calculations anyway.  

Questions? Feedback?  Did you try this yourself? 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Married Life: Communication Breakdown

I love my husband.  More than I can explain, actually.  That doesn't make him exempt from doing things that make me want to sucker punch him - and I am sure he experiences a similar feeling on the RARE occasion that I'm less than awesome.  HA! 

If you know me, even a little bit, you understand why my goal of "not sweating the small stuff" is like a full time job.  But at least I'm trying! 

Exhibit A - Something that would normally get on my nerves for longer than any reasonable person would expect

Seriously - when I look at this days after the fact, I chuckle.  How can you not? Here's to laughing instead of sucker punching...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Showdown: Spring Rag Wreath

FRIDAY SHOWDOWN will be making regular appearances here at The Backyard Boutique, on, you guessed it, Fridays! I'll give a quick tutorial on a craft I've been wanting to try or an old favorite that has served me well.  This weeks' item: rag wreath.  I've been wanting to make one of these since Christmas... then Valentines Day, then Saint Patrick's Day... and now here we are; SPRING TIME!  So I finally decided "it's time" on my way home from work on Tuesday.  Here's how it went...

Equal parts a "trained monkey could do this E-A-S-Y" and "I want to stab my eyeballs out annoying".  You can find a million and one online tutorials for making a rag wreath.  I'll simplfy all that for you:

Step One: Cut about a million strips of fabric (about 1/2" to 3/4" wide and about twice the circumference of whatever you are tying the strips to).  I used a straw wreath base I picked up for 2 bucks.  I left the plastic wrap on over the straw because it was easier to work with. 

 Step Two: Tie strips in knots onto whatever you're using.

Step Three: Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. And then do it again.

I used about seven 18" x 21" pieces of fabric to make my wreath which has a 10" diameter.  I "cheated" and just purchased small scraps at a local fabric store on impulse because I decided the glittery shamrock hanging on my front door had to go.  The price tag is under $15 for materials and I know it could be cheaper if I spent some time bargain hunting and gathering fabric scraps over the course of a few weeks. Here it is:

my front door is now appropriately adorned.  
Easy peasy, folks.  Give it a whirl!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Planning: Laundry Room Makeover

So this past Saturday night, hubby and I went on a "shopping trip" to the home improvement store for the items we will need to tackle the basement project.  Yes, that is how a 25 year old married couple spends Saturday nights... and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

We didn't pull the trigger on any purchases yet, we just gathered information and prices on the products and supplies we'd need.  Did I mention we are planners?  I will spare you that mind numbingly boring breakdown and just say we will be coming in under budget - YAY! 

The shelving and organizational system for the laundry area will be coming from IKEA - their Antonius line to be exact - because it offers the flexibility we need for the small space (fold away wall mounted drying rack) and a very customizeable layout for shelving (remember the under the stairs issue?).

In any case, I need to pick the paint color for the wall of the laundry area.  There is some mechanical (venting, cords, etc.) yuckiness that I want to hide by way of a curtain.  The fabric for the curtain is already determined - I snagged a bolt of delightful apolstry grade fabric at a yard sale last summer so I use it whenever the need presents itself!  Here are your contestants:

So... what do ya think?  The minty green and light lilac are totally out of left field, I know - but as a native Philadelphian, I've got a soft spot for the underdog.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Monogram Madness!

I finished and shipped my first item to a "stranger" today!  Exciting!  A lovely woman ordered 50 sheets of personalized monogrammed stationary to write to her husband who is being deployed to Afghanistan.  It was my pleasure to work with her to design something her soldier could look forward to receiving in the months ahead.  Here is the finished product:

I am super pleased with how it all turned out - sophisticated with a touch of playful girly-ness.  I hope the customer is equally pleased!

Friday, April 15, 2011

I Heart Monograms

Darling mini 4-bar note cards for Kristen at Cupcakes are for Lovers. Need a little something for wedding party gifts? Birthday? Mother’s Day?  I’m your gal!

Laundry Room Lust

In the game of house hunting/ buying there is fine balance between “must haves” and “nice to haves”.  A second floor laundry room was on a list I like to call “OMG - that would be amazing if a house in our budget had that feature!”  So it wasn’t exactly a surprise when we ended up with a house that had laundry facilities in an unfinished basement. C’est la vie.  We recently “stumbled” upon a bit of “extra” (and I use that term very loosely) cash by way of hubby’s bonus check.  We decided we would save half and use half to tackle some projects we’ve been itching to get to.  We will be power washing and staining the front porch and deck (riveting, I know) and doing some general fixin’ up in the basement.  The bathroom project isn’t getting done with this round of financing (booo hoo) since it is more than perfectly acceptable in its current state.  Right about the time we got married in 2007 I conned my darling husband into trading traded the “naming rights” of our future children for the always coveted “man cave” in the basement of our future home.  We’re planners, what can I say.  All of that to say 90% the basement is his to do what he pleases with.  The other 10% is the laundry area which I have conned thoughtfully convinced my husband to let me handle.  Without further adieu here is my jumping off point:
Courtesy of The Crafty Hostess
My laundry area is tucked a bit under the basement stairs so I won’t be able to go as high with the shelving but that’s just fine.  At 5’ 1” I wouldn’t be able to reach it anyway!  I’m actually diggin’ the lilac color but not sure hubby would go for it.  Maybe an equally cheery, but gender neutral yellow? It will definitely be something light bright and airy.  A fold down drying rack and a nice folding surface are also in the works.  Any ideas on making the most out of the space under the stairs?

Bathroom Muse

This isn't really as awkward as that title would lead you to believe...

Bathroom Paint Colors

This is the start of my vision and inspiration for a bathroom “re-fresh” I am lusting after… as soon as I save up enough cash money.  I have a tiny bathroom with the most amazing claw foot tub that takes up way to much space.  Such is the roller coaster of awesomeness that goes with owning a home built in the 1920s.  Since the bathroom is a small space, and painting floor to ceiling in that pretty shade of blue would make it even smaller, I gotta go with the white bead board wainscoting on the bottom half of the walls.  Hense the need to save up!  What would you think about painting the outside of the tub the same color as the walls?  A la this image (courtesty of Apartment Therapy)- but of course in the Retro Colonial Blue that I’ve chosen…