So Long For Too Long

Hey there!  It's been such a long time since I posted, but I have a good reason.  I'm actually right at the end of my school semester and things have been quite busy.  Also, Mr. M has had quite a few business trips that I tagged along with.  (We're newly married and hadn't spent any time apart yet, so I just had to go!)

I would really love to keep working on the blog, and hope to keep it going and get more readership.  I just hope that anyone who stumbles along on this website understands that it'll be sporadic until I'm done with school but still checks in here or there.

I've also got a separate idea for a blog: being a Catholic wife and woman under today's pressure.  I'll post a link to it once I've made it, probably in a few weeks to start off the summer.  I'd add it to this blog, but this is about making a sweet, fun and clean home, whereas that will be about maintaining my faith.

Have a beautiful day!

Wedding Card Shadow Box

Wedding cards are lovely, thoughtful, and extremely sweet, but what do you do with them afterward?  I've seen some on Pinterest that fill a shadow box with cutouts from each card.  I thought I'd make it my own with a couple of tweaks left over from my own supplies.

Shadow box (Already owned extra from prior gift)
Wedding cards (Free!  Don't forget to save them all for something like this.)
Heart punch (Already owned from prior wedding crafts)
Glue roller (Already owned from both scrap-booking and wedding projects)
 Step 1: Open up your frame.  Mine was a square maybe 1/4" or 1/3".

Step 2: You're going to use your hand punch to make hearts in each card.  I LOVE the punches like these where I can just squeeze the handles.  They're way more comfortable for me to use over long periods of time.

This was our stack of cards.  It was fun picking the best spots for the colors.

Step 3: Fold each punched heart in half so it'll have a bit of dimension.  Mr. M was nice enough to do this while I punched.  So sweet!

Step 4: Arrange your hearts on the backing of the shadow box to get ready.  You could use a backing of scrapbook paper but I actually liked the contrast of the black to keep it from being too sweet or cheesy.

Step 5: Glue them down.  I didn't actually take a picture of this step, but it's pretty simple you just roll the glue on one half of each heart.  I actually like how it looked with different sides of each heart glued down so it's a bit more chaotic.

 I didn't actually take a picture with the shadowbox frame on because of the glare.  The lighting wasn't great either, but you get the gist!

Have a beautiful day!


Chubby Lovebird Cake Toppers DIY

Hello!  Today I thought I'd pull out one of my wedding crafts.  My husband and I have large families who all wanted to help with our big day, but we knew that would mean they'd spend time preparing things instead of relaxing and enjoying the moment.  We chose to spend money for comprehensive catering and a full-service reception facility so they wouldn't have to worry.  This did, however, mean we were going to spend quite a bit.  I had a vision for our wedding that was already morphing due to larger-than-expected guest lists, so it was very important for me to hold on to any of my visions I could.  This meant I learned to DIY just about everywhere!

For about a year before Mr. M proposed, I already knew I wanted these cake toppers.

However, this shop was the seller.  I couldn't pay $145 for two small pieces of clay!  This was one of my first projects.  Michael's sold this clay that I thought would make sturdy, easy-to-mold  birds just like them.
If anyone has worked with this stuff, I must first say it's great if you want simple, air-dry products.  It'll even feature in a future wedding post for our favors.  However, it weighs about twice as much as play doh.  I made my first adorable little birds from about a quarter of one pack, just to find they each weighed about four pounds.  That'd sink straight into my cake!  Luckily, this awesome pack showed up the next time I stopped in to the store.
It cost about $3 for a pack, which easily made both of my birdies.  It's extremely light and super soft.  I absolutely loved forming them.  Unfortunately, like most of my wedding projects, I didn't take pictures of the forming process.  I just didn't think I would ever start a blog, so it didn't occur to me to document it.  This time, I don't think it takes away from anything.

  • Form the clay into a ball as smooth as possible.  You will get little wrinkles.  I didn't use water to smooth them out since it wasn't regular clay.  I just kept rubbing over them until they blended in enough that i was satisfied.  
  • Pinch a portion of the circle to make a beak.  It will morph the sphere you have made, so once you make the beak, reshape the rest of the ball back as smoothly as possible.
  • Follow a similar process for the tail.  This should be wider (of course) and much more flat.  This is where I had the most wrinkles, but since it's the tail, I didn't mind too much.  The paint will fill it in.
  • Push the birds onto a flat surface to make a flat base to stand on.  Be careful not to make marks on your pretty bird body.
  • Let dry for SEVERAL days.  Mine just wouldn't change for quite a while.  I touched them a few times before they were, and really regretted it.  I basically had to reshape all over again.
  • Once you're perfectly sure they're dry, paint.  I wanted a really smooth coat, so I worked on several layers to get it even without brush strokes.  It is still like clay, so it'll absorb the first couple and need thick paint.   I used this one in champagne for a lovely sheen.
    • Paint your face and details.  My bride had pretty eyelashes and a gold pearl necklace added on and the groom a sweet tie.  I took time to plan them out, and drew them in pencil so they would be symmetric.  I doubt it's super close, but either way, they're good enough for me.  For the details, I used gold from the same brand.  It took less than a quarter of the bottle.
    • Make a veil for the birdie bride.  She got a gold ribbon detail over some cheap tulle I had from another project.  It was actually a scrap cutting.
    • Mr. M has wire-rimmed glasses, so his groom birdie got some glasses as well formed from some floral wire.
    The veil was made and attached using scissors.  My veil has a scalloped lace patter, so I cut scallops into the tulle, which was very easy.  They weren't measured or anything, but no one was going to measure them the day of, so I didn't care.  If you want the cut the same way, this is the "pattern."  Cut along the dotted lines once you have a rectangle.
    Once you've done this, then you can gather the straight, long side to make the part that sits on the bird.
    Either pull the side with the dotted line together, or if you're fancy (unlike me), stitch a simple line here and pull the ends to gather properly and tie off the ends.  After you've done this, glue it to the bird head.  Finally, glue gold ribbon to the edges to make it pretty.  Some people might want a few rhinestones at the top like a headpiece, or maybe a sweet flower.  I did a pretty crappy bow, but to each her own.

    Here she is!

    The glasses really were easy, especially compared to the veil.  I took floral wire and wrapped it into two tiny rectangles.  Then I make a small connector piece that I wrapped around the short sides of each rectangle.  To glue them on, I actually used mod podge and held them on with my fingernails until they stayed.  Not smart... I'm not sure of an easier way to make it work.  A glue gun wouldn't work, because the hot glue would be too visible.  Let me know if you have ideas so I can update this!

    Attach the connector at these two points.  Try to make them the same height, but I don't think mine were...

    Here he is!  I was more excited about his little glasses than anything else!  Mr. M liked them too!  My brother, who I toss all these ideas to, said they looked like onions from the front, and my mom thought the pearl necklace looked like the teeth of a Cheshire cat or something.  I didn't care.  I learned early on that I would love certain things others wouldn't, and it was okay.  I made these and I'm proud of them.

    Total cost: $10
    Clay - $3
    Champagne paint - $3
    Gold paint - $3
    Paint brushes - $0.50
    Tulle - $0 (scrap)
    Gold ribbon - $0 (scrap)
    Floral wire - $0.50 (estimating)

    Not bad for a copy of a $145 set.  I like mine better, they're chubbier and much more like us -- a little rough around the edges but awesomely cute together!

    And here they are at the wedding!

    I will say that mine are really different from the gorgeous models, and if you have the funds, that Etsy shop makes gorgeous love birds.  Really gorgeous.  I just couldn't afford it.  Also, you could totally change these by using your own details.  You could make a little birdcage instead that came in front, or make them taller and more like the original.  Your groom could have a little vest with his tie, or a bowtie instead, maybe even made from fabric.  I just love the idea of customizing them.  If you do make some like this, let me know!  I'd love to see them!

    Have a beautiful day!


    $5 Dresser update!

    Hello!  I have another post on the heels of my vanity update.  Our bedroom is very nice, but quite plain.  We purchased this dresser when we realized we couldn't hold out any longer.  I don't know where you stand on the whole IKEA debate -- do you love it or hate it?  I absolutely love it, mostly because I'm in my first home, so I have no previous experience buying furniture.  It's all so expensive and still boring/ugly!  I love IKEA's colors, designs, and sturdy construction.

    My father and mother, God bless them, helped me put together almost all of our many IKEA purchases while Mr. M was at work.  My dad's one of those jack-of-all-trades, crafty, DIY repairmen types who's opinion I trust more than any other about craftsmanship and quality.  He says the designs are well-put together, especially for their price.  I'll probably keep buying their stuff for years to come!

    Anyway, the one drawback I see to IKEA is how popular they are!  Everyone has it, or knows when it is IKEA.  I don't want my home to look like every other newlywed couple!  For this reason, I decided to glam up our dresser for my starting improvement.  I've seen this hack but frankly didn't like how clear the lines were.  It was just too structured and cutesy for me.  However, it gave me ideas.

    I used to hate gold, but for some reason picked it as one of our wedding colors.  Since then, it seems it's back in style.  All the examples on Pinterest coalesced into my final product!


    Folkart acrylic paint (pure gold) - I owned left-over from my wedding, but it costs about $3 for a full bottle
    Sponge brush - I owned a whole pack, but I only used one, which couldn't have cost more than $1
    Tape - We bought this for about $2 on sale at Office Depot about a year ago

    We washi-taped our dresser immediately after we built it.  He had his side to decorate, I had mine.  It was nice, but clashed too much for me.

    There aren't really any!  I used the tape already on the dresser to tape off the edges, poured the paint onto the sponge box, and then dabbed it on!  I liked the brush effect I got--reminded me of a Rothko consistency.  You may want to do yours differently.  It also depends on the back color.  This dresser has a lovely, porous consistency, so it didn't need any sanding or prep, and really sank in beautifully.  The knobs were easy to change with the same paint.




    Have a beautiful day!

    Vanity Re-Do, Part 2

    Hello hello!  I've been out of town and busy with quite a bit of school work (grad school), so I honestly haven't had a chance until now to post the finished product.  I have to say, I've looked at my fair share of furniture renovations, and always thought they looked so simple.  This was manageable work, but now I possess new-found respect for all of these people who put their work out there for the internet to judge.  I'll look at all of their projects with much more humbled thoughts!

    First of all, I said I needed my husband to help me separate the frame from the stool padding.  He helped alright.  I didn't see the screws that attached through the bottom of the frame!  How silly!  Once I unscrewed them, it was SO much easier to pry off the rest of the staples and get that old lady fabric off!  Don't you love the mess?

    I found this fabric for a different project, but decided I'd rather use it here, because it'll go so well with the shade of the vanity.  I used quite a bit of coverage, because I didn't want to have any wood exposed.  My future children will use this eventually!

    With an extra set of hands, it was easy to use my new staple gun and attach the fabric as tightly as possible.

    My corners are REALLY ugly, mostly because, like I said before, I'm very impatient.  I am not fastidious about stuff like this...

    I also had to finish spray painting the actual frame.  It looks extremely streaky here, but that's just because it was still drying.  (This is a necklace compartment on the side.)

    Here's a view of all the mess while it was drying.  That's my husband walking out of frame in the background.  Excuse the messy garage.

    For finishing details, I actually used a cheap acrylic paint to "update" the hardware for now.  I'm putting the vanity in our bedroom, where I have already used the same paint on our dresser (the next post!), so I thought it would match.  Unfortunately, different hardware means different reaction.  The gold here is pretty cheesy-looking, but at least it matches.  To paint easily, take a paper plate or cardboard and poke the screws through so the knobs stand up fairly well.  This makes it easier to get all the exposed angles and let the dry evenly.

    Finally, here it is in all its glory!  I love it!

    Total Cost:
    Vanity                    $0           Already had it!
    Spray paint            $10         Approximately, since I needed three cans
    Sandpaper             $3           Approximately
    Cloth                     $0           Already had it!
    Breathing mask      $8            I got a nice one, so I can reuse it
    Drop cloth             $1            I bought a pack of three for $3, but only used one
    Screw driver          $0           Already had it!
    Acrylic paint          $0           Already had it!
    Staple gun             $14          I had to buy one, and the staples, but I'll definitely reuse it!
    Spray paint            $4            I provided a link to this one, which I LOVED!  Kept my hands happy!

    Final thoughts / tips:
    1. Don't cut corners.  I really tried to drop steps as I went along, including sanding less and less with each part.  This showed through, at least for the first spray.  I also realized later I could have removed the mirror from the frame and get a better coat, but didn't do it then.  This was a mistake.  I ended up having to anyway, because you could see the unpainted wood reflection at the edges.

    2. Let everything dry properly and cure.  I accidentally scratched off some paint about an hour after the first coat, but about 24 hours later, I couldn't make those scratches anymore because it had finished sealing.

    2. Spray a second coat.  The first time, you could see sanding marks.  Not cute.

    3. Have fun!  I am extremely proud of my first venture for the blog.  I feel like a real innovative, crafty person!

    Have a beautiful day!