12.29.2011

*Giveaway* This Old House Magazine Subscription

I’ve been wanting to do another giveaway for a while now, but was unsure what to do…until the fateful day about a month ago when one of my students approached me with—you guessed it—a fundraiser magazine.

She recommended the microwaveable bacon pan.

I balked at the 5 oz. of jelly beans for $21.99.

I was writing my rejection speech in my head when I turned the page and saw a reasonable purchase: a subscription to a magazine! Now, there was a fundraising investment that I could get behind. I immediately noticed the This Old House listing, because even though we already have a subscription, I thought it would be a great giveaway for my fellow DIYing bloggy friends and readers.

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This Old House is the one and only magazine that both Rick and I enjoy, because it’s full of projects that require power tools and muscles as well as inspiring ideas for DIY decorating. You don’t even need to own an old house for the articles to be relevant. Here’s a sample from a recent issue:

  • 10 new household uses for rubber bands (They do this every month! Vodka was the item of choice the previous month…)
  • A 5-page “All About” section on kitchen islands (Also a monthly feature—one time it was windows, another time it was vinyl flooring—super helpful and informative)
  • Before & after room makeovers on a budget
  • Handmade holiday d├ęcor ideas
  • Making a wine rack from a planter box
  • How to install wainscoting
  • The Top 100 Best New Home Products, as chosen by TOH
  • …and lots more!

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If you already have a subscription, that’s okay too…you can always give it someone else who would also find it helpful!

TO ENTER TO WIN A ONE-YEAR SUBSCRIPTION TO THIS OLD HOUSE MAGAZINE:

1. Leave a comment on this post. Make sure you include an email (either via your Blogger profile or in the comment itself) so that I can contact you if you win. Just for fun, you could also share: Are you an old house or new house person? What alternative uses for common household objects (like rubber bands) do you know of? What do your insides do whenever you approached by a fundraiser packet?

2. OPTIONAL: Earn an extra entry by linking to this giveaway on your blog and/or signing up to follow my blog via RSS or Google Friend Connect (for you non-commenting lurkers…). :) Make sure you leave an additional comment when you do either of these things! If you already follow, you can leave an additional comment saying so!

The particulars:
This giveaway is open to residents of US and Canada only and will end on Wednesday, January 4th. The winner will be chosen by Random.org and will be notified via email and a follow-up post on Friday, January 6th. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to the notification and claim their subscription. If they aren't claimed within 48 hours, another winner will be chosen via Random.org. The winner must provide a name and address to which the magazine subscription will be sent.


And that’s all you need to know! Happy (almost) New Year to everyone! :)

12.27.2011

Our Year in Review: The Top 10 List

I started this blog back in February, right after we closed on our house, so “Our Year in Review” is a little bit of a misnomer…but that’s okay, right? Is it also okay that I used the word “misnomer”?

We’ve definitely stayed busy this year, some projects being big and others being small, but we had fun—and learned something—with every single one. Here are some of my favorite projects from 2011, in no particular order. For more details, you can click on the project titles to be routed to the original post.

10. Love Letter Art

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9. Yard Sale Lamp Makeover

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8. DIY Stockings

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7. West Elm-Inspired Tray Makeover

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6. DIY Storage Ottoman

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5. DIY Gift Bow Pillow

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4. DIY Desk

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3. Applesauce Jar Sconces

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2. Curbside Dresser-Turned-TV Stand

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1. Half Bath Makeover

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Aside from these projects and buying our first home, though, one of my favorite things that happened in 2011 was this little furball:

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(Does anyone else think that a cat who is loved has a pretty sweet life?)

As we finish up 2011, Rick and I are spending time with family and also starting our master closet makeover, which I’ll share more about next week. My brother is home from Phoenix this week, so we’re having fun getting caught up. I’m hoping to get some pictures of us siblings that won’t qualify for Awkward Family Photos after the fails we ended up with at Thanksgiving time.

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Aaaaand that about sums us up. Don’t ask.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas! Be sure to come back on Thursday for my second-ever giveaway! :)

***I’m linking this up to Southern Hospitality and The Blooming Hydrangea!***

12.23.2011

Before the holiday rush began…

Before the holiday rush began, before gift wrap, inflatable Santas, and the general belief that if you are a recording artist you must do a cover of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”…there was a baby. And a mother. And a plan of redemption made real in the unsuspecting shadows of a simple manger. This is the reason for not only Christmas, but also the peace and hope that we’re blessed with in every season of the year.

So that’s why, as we celebrate Christmas this year, we’re remembering several things.

We’re remembering that this is the greatest Christmas story.

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We’re remembering that this is the greatest Christmas light.

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We’re remembering that this is the greatest Christmas gathering.

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And we’re remembering that this is the greatest Christmas present, sent with no gift expected in return.

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For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 

Merry Christmas to you and your family! :)

12.21.2011

Tutorial: Christmas Gift Bow Pillow

As promised here…it’s tutorial time!

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To make the Christmas gift bow pillow:

You’ll need:

  • Approximately 1/2 yard of fabric to make the bow, ribbon, and pillow back (you won’t need quite that much)
  • 16” square of another fabric for the pillow front
  • Small thin cardboard circle (think cereal box material)
  • Hot glue
  • Sewing machine

1. Prepare your loops. To make the loops on the bow pictured, you’ll need 15 fabric strips cut about 2.5” wide and 4” long. (I didn’t actually measure each. I just eyeballed it. As I’ve said before, I like to take shortcuts I strive for efficiency with my projects.) If you want a fuller or smaller bow, though, you can adjust the number of loops as desired. Once each one is cut out, fold them in half and sew shut.

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2. Hot glue the fabric to your cardboard circle. Again, no precise measurements going on here, and I just drew the circle freehand, but it took about 4 square inches of fabric to cover a circle that was roughly 3” in diameter. Better to have too much that you can trim off than not enough in the first place, though. You can use an old cereal box for the circle itself—it will be thick enough.

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This is what you’ll be left with:

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3. Hot glue the loops to the circle. I first had to manipulate the fabric strips so that the seam was on the underside as opposed to the edge:

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And then I hot glued them to the circle, starting with the outside edge. I hot glued one end of the strip to the underside of the circle, good side up.

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Then I flipped it over and looped the fabric around…

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…then hot glued it into place.

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Keep adding loops until the outer edge is full.

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Then fill in the middle with the remaining loops, all hot glued one end at a time. And ta-da! You have a fabric gift bow.

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4. Cut out the remaining pieces. You’ll need one 16”x16” piece of fabric for the front of the pillow, two 12”x16” pieces for the back (to make it removable), and two strips of fabric approximately 4” wide and 20” long for the “package ribbons.”

5. Sew the “package ribbons” to the pillow front. I first folded over and ironed the edges of the “ribbons” to make a clean edge, then pinned and sewed them to the white 16”x16” pillow front.

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5. Assemble and pin the pillow back to the pillow front, then sew it all together. I hemmed the edges of the pillow back that would be showing. Make sure your pieces are wrong side out. You can trim off the excess ribbon anytime; I waited until I had sewn the whole thing around the edges just to be safe. I do exercise caution occasionally with these projects.

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6. Turn it right side out and hot glue the bow to the middle, and you’re done!

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Victory for me on two counts here: one, Rick actually likes this pillow. This doesn’t happen every day. Two, I think I can finally sew in a straight line on the sewing machine. There was a day when the edges of my package ribbons would have looked more like a drunken sailor had stitched them, you know, in between whiskeys and swabbing the deck and battling the symptoms of scurvy.

Now that I’ve wrapped up (har har) this gift bow pillow tutorial, I better go get started on real wrapping…am I the only one who hasn’t started that yet?

***Linking this to the CSI Project!***

12.19.2011

Gift Bow Pillow: The Latest Addition to My DIY Pillow Collection

Somebody call the doctor. I think I have a serious problem. I made another pillow. At some point, we might not be able to find our furniture under all of our pillows. Heck, I lost Rick about an hour ago, and the whole time he was on the couch…

This time, I wanted to make a pillow that looked like a Christmas present, and this is what I came up with:

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The whole pillow was basically free, since I just used fabric scraps left over from other projects. The pillow cover is also removable so that I can store it easily during the non-Christmas part of the year, and use the pillow form for all of the future pillow covers that I’ll make in the unlikely event that Rick doesn’t hide the sewing machine on me.

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I’m working on the tutorial and plan to post it on Wednesday. It was really easy once I figured out how to make the bow.

Is there any type of recurring, irresistible project that you need to see the doctor about? Maybe you’re mod podging everything in sight, or spray painting anything that isn’t a precious family heirloom? Or maybe you’re on a frantic quest to upcycle all of your neighbors’ inflatable Santas? Do share…and have a happy Monday, too. :)

The other pillows I’ve made are here and here.

12.16.2011

Burning Questions This Blog Has Failed to Answer

I had fun writing my last keyword stats post, so thought I’d put together a sister post of sorts, sticking this time to the questions people have asked that have landed them on my blog. Sadly, I’m doubting that they’ve ever found the answers that they were looking for….until now. Until I took the time to answer these Burning Questions, once and for all. I’ve linked the questions to the landing post in case your personal Burning Question is “What on earth is the connection between this query and Erin’s blog?”

*          *          *

why don’t neighbors shut their curtains

Well, probably because they enjoy parading around in their skibbies and making onlookers squirm. They also know that they have onlookers and want to maximize on the awkwardness at the next neighborhood picnic. These are the most likely reasons.

 

how do you find a scissors thief 

First, call the police. When they laugh at you and hang up, take matters into your own nimble hands and read up on amateur sleuthing. Recommended literature: The Boxcar Children.

 

are pintucked comforters too girly

Never. There is no such thing as Too Girly. Unless the pintuck comforter is pink with sequins all over it, in which case it borders on A Slight Bit Too Feminine and May Offend Those With Mainly Testosterone.

 

can a spouse administer medication

If your spouse is millions of dollars in debt because he/she went to pharmacy school and successfully graduated, then yes. Otherwise, you’re out of luck. But you have more money, so all is good.

 

will a pharmacist work for cupcakes

YES. Well, no. He has millions in loans to pay off, remember? I doubt Sallie Mae would accept baked goods in lieu of accrued interest payoff.

 

are black lagoon pools popular

Only in the months since I posted about ours, naturally. Some things just catch on. Cabbage Patch Kids, Backstreet Boys, Silly Bands, Black Lagoon Pools…what will be next? Please tell me the Kardashians will not be responsible for it.

 

what year was the my size barbie made

No idea? Sorry. This is where my wisdom ends.

 

And my personal favorite:

 

should you cut a christmas tree with a circular saw

Absolutely not. Do not follow our poor example.

*          *          *

So. Now that I’ve enlightened you with these answers, are there any other Burning Questions you’ve been dying to ask? Fire away. The doctor is IN. And I have a Burning Question for you: have you found anything fun in your keyword stats lately? :)

Schulz Lucy Doctor Is In

12.14.2011

Dresser-Turned-TV Stand (Finally)

Seven layers of paint later, our curbside dresser is finally up and running. And by that, I mean:

A) It’s not blinding us with its blueness or making us seriously re-think our sanity.

B) It’s in its proper home in our living room as opposed to the circus.

When your sanity fails you, fear not: Benjamin Moore’s Ozark Shadows will come to the rescue.

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We started this project way back in the beginning of October, when the grass was still green, the leaves were still on the trees, and the fresh buds of naivety were blooming. (Okay, that sounds like the start to a bad romance novel. And I don’t even read those things. Better not quit my day job.)

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It was pretty obvious after our first coat of primer that the regular Olympic water-based stuff wasn’t going to cut it. The red stain from the wood just leaked its way through.

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We tried Kilz stain-blocking water-based primer next, but still no luck. So as nasty as it is, we turned to Kilz oil-based primer. That did the trick, and we were ready to put on our top coat. We used the leftover paint from our bedroom (a pale gray), and it seemed fine outside, but once we put the dresser in our living room, I knew the color wouldn’t work. It looked totally washed out against the white wainscoting. So then we jumped to the polar opposite: Benjamin Moore’s Bermuda Blue. Yes, it is scarier than the pictures make it look, especially when paired with the rest of our subtle gray-blue living room.

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Back to the drawing board. Err, the sander. Rick agreed to do the sanding if I did the painting. My upper arm muscles haven’t grown since I was approximately 5, so I am all for avoiding sanding, even the power-kind. And this particular paint didn’t go without a fight. We used Ben, the very reasonably priced Benjamin Moore line of paint-and-primer-in-one that is only a few dollars more than we were spending on crappy Olympic paint, and it’s so worth it for the extra coverage. It’s also sold at a local hardware store that frequently sends out coupons, so I’m a fan. But it’s like super-paint or something. Seriously, it dyed the paint brush bright blue.

After another coat of primer (we just used the Kilz water-based stain blocking stuff this time because Rick didn’t sand down to the wood) I put on two coats of Benjamin Moore’s Ozark Shadows, also of the super-paint Ben variety. Since it’s now December and was 22 degrees out on Saturday, unlike the balmy weather we enjoyed when beginning this marathon project, I had to paint in the kitchen. This proved to be slightly challenging in that certain animals we let live with us felt as though the dresser was their personal jungle gym.

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But despite the cats’ efforts to impede our progress once again, it’s finally done.

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This is the exact color I wanted from the beginning. At some point I’ll learn to listen to my instincts. In the meantime, I have officially learned that I love looking at rooms with a lot of color, but I don’t like living with lots of color. Sadly, I get tired of bold colors too quickly. So even if I had liked the color of the heinously blue dresser initially, chances are I woudn’t have in a few months. Better to bring in color in small ways that don’t require hours of our time when I want to change it. It’s really just a personal preference, I guess.

Happily, our DVD/VCR combo fits perfectly in the top right-hand drawer.

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To access it via remote we just…take the front of the drawer off. Rick sawed it off for that exact purpose then attached heavy-duty magnets so it stays put. See the magnet on the left side of the drawer?

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It’s Classy. The capital C is absolutely necessary, yes. It’s just that chic. Or Chic. Rick tried attaching a hinge, but then the drawer wouldn’t shut all the way. Oh well. But hey, no bulky electronics are on parade, so 99% of the time it just looks like a regular old dresser.

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The knobs are from Hobby Lobby and were $1.50 each. Combined with the cost of two separate quarts of paint, this project end up costing us $35, since the dresser was free. Not bad for a TV stand, I’d say, although I am cheap and don’t like that we bought unnecessary paint. Also, who in their right mind spends a million hours of their life working on a TV stand is beyond me. I told Rick that if this color didn’t work, I was putting it back out on the curb and then it would be someone else’s problem. Good thing it worked, and fits right into our living room. The wall color is off in here (it has morphed to a blue-purple, almost like cornflower, and was supposed to be gray) and I am anxious to get stuff on the walls, but the room as a whole has definitely started looking cozier and more complete.

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(Look! Our Christmas tree is standing once again!)

So: have you ever spent what seems like a million months on what should be a simple project? What’s the most marathon project you’ve ever unwittingly begun? Share, share. I love your stories. :)

***Linking this up to Primitive & Proper and Miss Mustard Seed!***

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