Under Construction

Do things look weird?  They might.  That’s because I’m switchin’ things up here at Crafting Crazy, and we are officially under construction.  So if things look weird, come back soon- then they will look totally.  Rad.  Soon.

Until then….

Mantel Makeover and Room Rearranged

(Pssst…. did you know you can spell it mantle OR mantel?  Which way looks right to you?)

I don’t know what came over me.  Perhaps because we were having a grown-up party and I wanted to have a grown up house to go with the grown up party.  Or perhaps because it was just time.   I was inspired by two things.

1)  My meeting with Jen at Feng Shui Jen’s Way (thanks again, Jen!)

and

2)  Seeing this and this from my blog-friend Brenda at Peek at My Paper made me realize that I had this whole mantle thing all wrong.

First things first:  I acknowledge that we need a full fireplace/mantel makeover.  This whole house needs one in several areas, but seeing as how we’re lacking the thousands of dollars to do a complete refurb right now, I’ll take what I can get. 🙂

Here’s where I started.  This is a horrible photo, but I started a few months ago by cleaning up the look with a cover I made on my own with some home-decor fabric.  It helps immensely.  And it has a secret pocket– who doesn’t love a secret pocket?  But I realized there were too many photos and not enough color.  And, following the advice from Brenda and company, I need some different shapes and levels going on, too.  So on a recent trip to Ikea… I splurged.

If $30 is a splurge, then yee haw!  I love Ikea for that.  They really help a lady out.  I bought a pretty vase, some reeds, and a round mirror.  Jen and I talked about how angular our house is- it’s full of straight lines.  So I thought a round mirror would help us out a bit.

Then I narrowed the photos down, pulled some other things out that I found during my Operation Organization time, and voila!  A new look.  I think it looks much better.  The only thing I have left is to update the photos of the kids.  Yikes!  The black rectangular piece is an etching of St. Cecilia, who is the saint of music.  My mom gave that to me- no idea where she got it, but I love it, and love having a place to put it.

Here’s a close up of the vase on the right.  It’s made of magazines from all over the world.  It really is a vase- it’s lined with resin- so in the past I did put flowers in it. But I loved the reeds from Ikea- so fun.  I had to trim them way down, though, or they would have hit the ceiling.  My sister (who inherited the most amazing gift-giving genes) gave us the vase for our anniversary (I think #1- paper)- it’s from a very fun site called Uncommon Goods.  I just checked and they don’t carry it anymore, but they do have tons of cool vases if you need something different.

During this whole process I realized that I hated the way the room was arranged.  It started to bother me when I had some girlfriends over a few weeks ago.  Everyone gathered in the kitchen, and no one would come sit on the comfy couches.  I mentioned this to Jen, and she said that having our brown couch where it was sort of closed everything off.  So while they kids were asleep I started shoving things around.  It makes a HUGE difference!

I removed the baby gate from the entertainment center.  Jack is almost 18 months, so it’s time for him to learn to leave things alone.  (We’ll see how that goes.) What I love the most is that the whole room is so open now- it’s a big room and it feels big now, but in a warm, “sit and stay a while” kind of way.

I’m curious, if you’ve read this far (thanks!) what you would do, if anything, to the mantel.  We do plan on getting a flat-screen TV someday, as well as a sectional, L-shaped sofa.  I’m in the market for a new coffee table, too, but not until we’re done having kids.  This one is too small, but it will have to do for a while!  Thanks for reading!

Fabric Inspiration

Oh my.  Oh my, oh my.

I went to the fabric store.  I had some coupons.  Oh dear.

I know- the white isn’t that exciting, but one has little polka dots on it- cute but simple.  The other white is flannel- lining for more crayon rolls so I can make them whenever I want, for whomever I want.  It’s all been washed.  It’s all ready for creating.  What shall I make?  Only time will tell.  I’m horribly excited and scared at the same time.  But I love it.  I stare at it.  I nearly drooled on it.

Here are a few close-ups.  I can’t wait to see where these babies pop up on this here blog- I wonder what they shall be….

Operation Organization

This post could also be entitled “I love you, Ikea.”  Or, “I love you, Mod Podge.”

The challenge:  organize the hall closet.

A few weeks ago I was visited by my wonderful and oh-so-easy-to-talk-to friend, Jen, from Feng Shui Jen’s Way.  Jen, you inspired me to get my house’s rear in gear (which I guess means my own rear in gear).  I hope this post makes you proud!

Here is the hallway- it’s quite long.  I apologize in advance for the photo lighting- there are no windows, therefore not a lot of natural light going on. You can kind of see the closet on the right in this photo- it’s one of those old-school, folding door closets with narrow shelves that don’t hold anything very conveniently.  Great for my type-A personality.

Here’s the closet “before” (embarassing, I know):

You may notice the white tubs with the lovely pink sticky notes on them.  This was my half-a** attempt at organization.  Downside to the sticky notes (aside from looking horrid) was that they fell off.  Often.  I don’t like baskets for things like this- they look nice for a while, then they collect dust, and then they fall apart.  I needed and wanted tubs.  Ikea rocks in the tub department- did you know?

Here are the tubs in their plain, boring format.  The big ones are 5.99 and the little ones are 2.99.  They are from the Slugis collection.  See their specs here.

I wanted to beautify them a little and also make them impervious to label-fall-offage.  So I went to my paper stash and picked some favorites.

I created a template and traced it on the back of the paper so I didn’t have to worry about marker showing through.  I used a nice thick permanent marker so I could cut precisely.

Then I started the Mod Podge process.  First I painted the face of the tub with a layer of MP.  I used a matte finish for this project because I didn’t want to be troubled with glaring labels whilst trying to find something.  Immediately after applying the first layer I put a piece of paper on top.  Then I slathered it up with some MP and let it dry.

I had a little bit of fun doing this- they were just so much nicer to look at after they were papered up.  Even Michael liked looking at them.  Aren’t they purty?!

Then I made labels for them.  I made them all 6 inches across to help them look uniform, and used the same font throughout.  I MP’d the labels on and then covered them with a layer of MP to finish.

The finished closet:

Can I say that I am in organization heaven?  I love opening this closet and knowing where everything is.  And the best part is that I didn’t fill them all up, so as we need to, I can put more labels on some.

BTW, this is the very first project where Mod Podge did exactly what I wanted it to.  The paper did not bubble, it went on nice and smooth- hooray!

I am so excited that this was featured on Amy’s Mod Podge Rocks Facebook page!  Yee haw!

I’m also going to link up to It’s a Blog Party’s Show Me How Party.  Yay for links!

Our Family Rules!

You could read that two ways:

A)  Our family RULES!  (As in, our family is totally rad- and it is)

or

B)  Our family rules (As in, here are our Family Rules).

You pick.

Up there in my header there’s a list of Things I’d Like to Make.  I need to add to it because I’ve seen some pretty awesome stuff in the last few days.  One thing this 31DBB Challenge is doing is getting me to click around incessantly on the internet.  Ridiculous.  Often it’s worth my while, and occasionally I have to smack myself upside the head and get crackin’ on something of my own.  In this case, it was the Family Rules.

I first saw this idea on one of my fa-fa-favorite blogs, The Pleated Poppy.  You can see Lindsey’s fabric version here, and her friend Nicole’s version here.  If you look at the comments on their blogs you will see that many others have made these and I am way late on this bandwagon.  But better late than never, I say.

What I like about these, other than the crafty part, is that it’s a great reason to sit and think about what you want for you family.  What are your core values?  Get ’em up on the wall where you can see them daily.  I collected ones I saw on the web and then altered and added to suit our tastes, and then showed them to Michael.  He added some more and off I went.  Actually, I didn’t have to get much- just the canvas and the orange paint.

Here is my finished Family Rules:

One thing I did differently is I totally copped out on the whole font thing.  Many of the other blogs I read did their fonts by hand.  For reals.  I’m toooo lazy, and I’m also lucky enough to own a Canon i9900, which will print on a 12×12 piece of paper.  Hindsight 20/20, I wouldn’t have done it quite the same if I were to do it again, but I am still pleased with the turnout.  (And I’d still be totally lazy and print those puppies rather than do them by hand.)

I learned, however, that white ink is not Mod Podge friendly, or at least the white ink I used is not.  See the one that says “Celebrate together”?  I wanted it to *pop* on the paper which, though it’s hard to tell in the photo, is a shimmery paper.  So I spent a ridiculous amount of time covering the blank ink from my printer with white ink, only to have it wipe off when I Mod Podged it.  (Can you use Mod Podge as a verb?  Not sure…)  For some reason the other one I did, “Say grace and clean up after yourself” did not have the same problem, so it must have something to do with the paper.  Oh well- it’s all shellacked now anyway.

Here are some close ups of the smaller ones- I had to get creative because I ran out of room, so this was my solution:

Here are all of our rules (they are not in this order on the finished product):

  1. Have fun, be silly
  2. dance, hug and snuggle often
  3. Celebrate together
  4. Say, “I love you” (lots and lots)
  5. Have an open mind
  6. Be kind and respectful
  7. Obey your parents
  8. tell the truth even if you might get in trouble
  9. share    listen    (these ended up as small ones so I separated them)
  10. Give your guest your best
  11. Mom & Dad:  remember your wedding day
  12. hands are for hugging not hitting
  13. encourage your siblings… share in their joy
  14. there’s no such thing as too much reading
  15. never give up
  16. act responsibly, choose wisely
  17. keep your promises
  18. Use your manners- say please and thank you
  19. Say grace and clean up after yourself
  20. Ask lots of questions
  21. Use your creativity
  22. Try another point of view
  23. Remember that God is Father of us all

If I get some requests I will be happy to post the names of the fonts I used- I am a total font junkie which is part of the reason I loved this project.  Such a nerd, I am.  I would do it now but I have consumed far too much BV Cab, and fear I would list them inaccurately.  🙂

I love this- it adds so much color to our kitchen, and is one of a bunch of things I’ve been doing this week to get organized and get homey before the school year starts.  I love coming home to a house with love and life, and I feel like I’m getting there.  Just wait until you see my other project from this week…. coming soon!

Day 7 of 31DBB: aaaarrrggghhh!

I am so overwhelmed.  I think my brain has hit its capacity.  Between figuring out Twitter, managing followers and somehow adding followers, joining BlogFrog, committing to the challenge, trying to craft/sew, evaluating my blog and where it’s going, completing the tasks in the challenge and wanting to accomplish EVERYTHING I am, well, overwhelmed (oh- and remaining a decent mother & wife, to boot.  And friend.).  You know that feeling you get when you’re reaaaaallly excited for an upcoming, happy event?  Like your wedding day, or the birth of a child (yours or someone else’s), or a big party or something like that.  You get that build up, that “something big is coming feeling,” or that, “crap- I have so much to do I hope I get it all done” feeling.  That’s me.  There’s so much I want to do, so much I want to accomplish.

Add to that the fact that I have just a few weeks left of summer and then I begin my final year of teaching.  I am dreading that on many levels.  I don’t want to teach anymore, but we need me to teach just one more year.  I am sure it will all be fine, everything will work out, and one year from now I will look at this post and laugh.  Hard.  But right now I am so excited, stressed, and, oddly happy about this summer.  I’m achieving so much, yet have so much more to do.  The best part is that I’m really excited about blogging.  True to my header, I really have no idea what I’m doing in several areas, but I love it.

That, my friends, is rad.

Whew!  Thanks for the vent.  On to Day 8!

p.s.  If you’re wondering what I did on Day 6- we had a ton of reading.  If you’re wondering what I did for today, Day 7, click here. Or look up above and note the new pages I’ve added to this here blog.  🙂

Day 5 of 31DBB: A Blog Confessional of Sorts

This blog challenge is great- it’s really helping me, step-by-step, understand this new world of blogging.  In my family blog I post about things mainly to help my distant family, both extended and immediate, keep up with what’s going on.  I also have a wonderful group of mommy friends who blog (check out my blog roll on my family blog).  We all read each other’s blogs, and I think (and hope) it will keep us in touch when all of our kids are in school and our lives get even crazier.

But this blog is different, and I want to make something of it.  And blogging to achieve and audience and perhaps, someday make some money off of it is a completely different ballgame.

Today’s task in the 31 Days to a Better Blog Challenge is simple:  email someone who comments on your blog.  It also talks about the importance of communicating with readers and writers of blogs you like.  Here’s where my confession comes in….

I’m a lurker.  (Is that a word?)  I lurk.

I LOVE to read blogs.  I LOVE to get ideas from them.  I LOVE to laugh at witty remarks and stories, to ache for bloggers who are going through hard times, to wonder at other people’s lives.  But I rarely comment.  I think this parallels my social life, too.  I’m really shy in situations where I don’t know people in gatherings.  I’ve had to work hard to extend a greeting or introduce myself to someone I don’t know.  My friend of 10+ years, Jane, is the exact opposite.  She doesn’t know a stranger.  I’ve benefitted from that for quite some time- 10 years in fact (thanks, Jane!).

When I read someone’s blog I am often in awe- there are so many wonderful writers.  And even some who don’t write well, necessarily, but their lives captivate me in a beautiful way.  I have a hard time thinking that my comment would add anything to their world.  I think I’m wrong, though.

So my confession is also going to turn into a conversion, I guess.  I need to start commenting more.  I started when I got into SITS a while back, and try to remember, but my new credo is going to be that if I visit a blog, I shall comment upon it.  It might be short and sweet (I really love the word “rad”!), but at least I’ll leave a comment.  When I think about it, it’s rather silly to want people to comment on my blog and not expect to comment on others in return.  What goes around comes around, right?  So here I go- off to comment.

I’m off to dig through my comments and email some peeps, because it truly is nice to receive comments on your blog.  You spend time putting it together, and when someone takes the time to read it’s amazing.