Friday, November 30, 2012

Handmade Queen-Size Crochet Blanket

Today, Décor and the Dog, NewlyWoodwards, Two Twenty One and I are sharing our projects for next week’s Dare to DIY challenge: Dare to Give Handmade.

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I love handmade gifts. I love giving them, and I love receiving them. In fact, I did a series last Christmas all about special, meaningful handmade gifts people have received in the past or were giving to others as gifts that year. And I do have some handmade gifts planned for family members and friends this Christmas . . . I just haven’t started them yet. And while I was whining to Kim (of NewlyWoodwards) about not having completed a handmade gift yet in time for Dare to DIY, she gave me an important reminder: this whole shindig is supposed to be fun, and stressing out over it kind of defeats the purpose. Wise NewlyWoodwards. She knows what’s up.

So instead of cramming in a crappy, hastily-made handmade gift for this week’s challenge, I’m stretching the theme a tad and sharing a handmade item I made . . . for myself. And I guess it can count as a gift for me and Jeff since I made it around Christmastime, with the intention of keeping and using and treasuring it ourselves. So consider this my Dare to DIY: Give Handmade gift to myself. I made a big cozy queen-size crochet blanket for my bed.

Crochet Bedspread

I’ve tossed around the idea of crocheting a big blanket for a long, long time, but I’ve always wimped out. It’s such a large-scale project, and I wanted to be sure that when I did make one, it would be a style I loved and would be happy with for years. There’s nothing worse than spending tons of time on a DIY project that you end up not being crazy about, right? I’ve done that before, and it’s discouraging to have spent time and money on something you fall out of love with.

But this blanket pattern has been pinned to my Pinterest crochet board for over a year now, and I’ve revisited it many times and liked it more and more each time I saw it. I love that it has a classic, simple, timeless look, but also has tons of awesome texture and pattern to it. It’s not flashy or trendy, but it is simple and classic and lovely, and in the long run, that’s what I think I’ll prefer to look at and live with every day. I finally decided that if I’ve loved visiting the pattern and checking out pictures of it for a year, it’s probably a safe bet that I’ll keep loving it for a while longer.

The pattern is called Grandma’s Lacy Ripple (not really helping to change crochet’s old lady reputation with a name like that). It’s published in a book called Rippling Effects, which is available for a few dollars on Amazon.com, but I discovered after a quick google search that there is actually a PDF of the pattern available for free online. Score!

Grandma's Lacy Ripple bedspread crochet pattern

I expected to spend weeks and weeks and months and months on this blanket. And I honestly kind of wondered if this would be one of those never-ending projects that ended up living half-finished in a closet somewhere instead of on my bed. But the pattern works up surprisingly quickly—it's almost entirely double crochets, which makes it grow fast, and the pattern is very repetitive and easy to memorize, so it was easy to work on mindlessly while sitting in front of the TV. It only ended up taking a few weeks to finish. Gotta love a quick project. (Relatively quick, at least, for what a large project it was.)

Crochet blanket and DIY pillow shams

I love the texture and old-fashioned style it adds to my bed. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out—it’s a great pattern, written very well, easy to work on, grows fast, and came out beautifully. One of my favorite elements of the pattern was that it builds in its own scalloped border as you work. When I get to the end of making a blanket, I want to just be done with it already, not go back and spend hours adding a border. I loved that the border of this blanket was built right in, so when you’re done, you really are done.Bedroom

I’ve occasionally gotten complaints from a certain someone in the past about our bedroom being too girly, so I’m trying to keep a good dash of masculinity involved here. I think it’s working. Jeff tends to like design that’s very traditional, and kind of dark and heavy and manly. I usually prefer things really light and fresh and airy. I hope I’m reaching a decent middle ground in our bedroom—we painted the walls a soft, fresh green, but the furniture is all dark and the blanket and pillows and accessories and wall art (mostly on the side of the room not pictured here) are very traditional . . . nothing too girly or unusual or terribly modern. (And if the off-centered curtains and curtain rod are bothering you in that picture, you’re not alone; they bother me, too. It’s not just the curtains that are off-center. The whole window is off-center, so I tried to hang the curtain rod centered on the wall to hide it and give the illusion that the window is centered, but I was doing it all by myself and of course didn't do a great job. Fixing it is on my to-do list. My never-ending, constantly-growing to-do list.)

If you want to see more details on the blanket (like hook size, the yarn I used, etc.), feel free to visit my Ravelry account to read more about it. And if you want to read about how I made the pillows on the bed, check out my tutorial over here at The Bungalow Boutique.

I can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on to give handmade for Christmas this year! Come back Monday to link up your work.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

My 3 Favorites: Dare to Entertain

Once again, high fives all around for those who participated in the Dare to DIY challenge for this week: Dare to Entertain. There were so many awesome projects and tablescapes and fake parties! Maybe I ought to throw a fake party someday. I must have social issues. That kind of sounds more fun to me than a real party with real people.

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Here were 3 of my favorite projects.

I love this Scandinavian themed décor from Shannanigans. From the easy-does-it color scheme to the teensy wreath namecards to the log + candle centerpieces . . . so simple and so lovely.

I love this simple, classic Christmas table setup from Jenny Meier Events. She makes the traditional red and white looking so modern and fresh here. Beautiful!

Simple projects are almost always my favorite kind, so of course I really enjoyed this easy DIY centerpiece from Katherine of The Creative Collection. She jazzed up glass vases she already owned to add some winter glitz. Perfect centerpiece, quick and thrifty and beautiful.

Click on over to visit Décor and the Dog, NewlyWoodwards, and Two Twenty One to see their top 3 picks from the Dare to Entertain challenge. And come back tomorrow to see the hosts’ projects for the next challenge: Dare to Give Handmade!

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Dare to DIY: Entertain

Here we go, week 2 of Dare to DIY! I loved seeing your projects last week, and I can’t wait to see your entertaining projects this week.

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And don’t forget, I’m not doing this party alone. I’m co-hosting with Décor and the Dog, NewlyWoodwards, and Two Twenty One. And even if you didn’t sign up to participate at the start of the challenge, feel free to include your project here, as long as it’s related to the theme!

This week’s theme is Dare to Entertain--DIY something for your table. This could be something from last week's Thanksgiving table or a new Christmas look. Get creative and use things in new ways. Or go true DIY and make something totally new. Ideas include place mats, table runners, place cards or centerpieces.

I shared my Dare to Entertain project on Friday—a signed ‘grateful’ table runner for Thanksgiving.

Make a Grateful Table Runner for Thanksgiving

And my co-hosts created inspiring Christmas tableaus . . .

. . . from Décor and the Dog

. . . from NewlyWoodwards

. . . from Two Twenty One

Now, it's time to share your projects!


You can link up on any of our four blogs listed above. Link up as many projects as you wish, as long as the posts correspond with the theme of the week. The linky below will stay live through Wednesday. This Thursday, each of us will spotlight at least 3 projects we loved from the week on our blogs. We'll also pin those projects on our shared Pinterest board.


The only rules:
1. Please follow the Dare to DIY theme of the week (this week is Dare to entertain).
2. Please link back to Dare to DIY on one of our blogs.
3. Please go to at least one other blog and comment. This is a party. So get to know a few other bloggers.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

A ‘Grateful For’ Thanksgiving Table Runner (Dare to DIY)

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you Americans had a lovely holiday. And I hope all you non-Americans gorged yourselves yesterday and gained a pound or two anyway. It’s the American way!

I wanted to share my project for this upcoming week’s Dare to DIY theme: Dare to Entertain. Truth be told, I’m not much of an entertainer. I rarely offer to host parties/dinners at my house, and when I do, I keep them pretty low-key. And since we had Thanksgiving at my parents’ place this year, I wasn’t sure what I could contribute.

In yet another move that I thought was 100% original until taking the matter to Pinterest and finding that I am, yet again, not the first one to think of this, I came up with this COMPLETELY UNIQUE, NEVER BEFORE DONE idea: all the loved ones who sat around the table at Thanksgiving dinner signed a table runner I had sewn in advance, and wrote something they are grateful for this year. I think it is a great way to not only start some thought about gratefulness and blessings, but to also preserve a reminder of our lives this past year (many of the messages related to that person’s accomplishments or struggles this year), and of course, adorable handwriting from the little kids around the table.

DIY Thanksgiving Grateful Table Runner

I started by sewing a simple table runner (unfortunately, I don’t have instructions for this—I made it up as I went along). I used an orange paisley fabric for a center strip and ruffles at the ends, and a beige muslin for a wide border.

As we cooked the meal, we put the table runner out and asked all the dinner guests to sign it (with a fabric marker) and write down something they are grateful for this year. The kids were excited to think of something special to them and write it down:

Make a Grateful Table Runner

And by the time dinner was served, everyone had added a special thought along with their name to the runner.

Make a Grateful Table Runner for Thanksgiving

It was fun to see what everyone decided to write, and it’ll be a great tradition as we add to the runner next year.

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I can’t wait to see what you Dared to DIY on Monday! Have a great weekend!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My 3 Picks (Dare to be Thankful)

I’m not sure I can recall ever turning down or wanting to postpone a delicious meal, but I honestly wish there were a few more weeks before Thanksgiving after seeing all of your links on the Dare to DIY: Be Thankful link party this week. There were seriously dozens of projects I wish I had time to make and enjoy before tomorrow! But it is what it is . . . I guess they’re going on the to-do list for next year.

Here are three of my favorite projects from the link-up:

I love this autumn/Thanksgiving tree from Church Street Designs. Doesn’t it make a fantastic centerpiece on her table? Visit her tutorial to learn how she put it together.

No words for this perfect felted acorn door hanger from Shift Ctrl Art. So simple. So sweet. I love everything about it.

And this mini pods fall wreath from Hip 2 Thrift would be such a lovely addition to anybody’s fall décor. I love all the texture and the warm autumn colors. Beautiful!

 

Thanks to everyone who linked up—it was truly a pleasure to visit your blogs and check out your work. Make sure to visit Décor and the Dog, NewlyWoodwards, and Two Twenty One to see their features from the linkup. And check out our Dare to DIY Pinterest board for more features and favorites.

Are you hard at work for next week’s dare? The theme is Dare to Entertain . . . the ol’ wheels are turning over here.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Dare to DIY: Be Thankful

Here we go, folks—week 1 of the Dare to DIY link-up! (In case this is news to you, visit this post for more info.) Over 60 people signed up to participate, and I’m really excited to see what you’ve been working on.

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This week’s theme is Dare to Be Thankful—we challenged you to create a Thanksgiving-themed project to remind you to be grateful during this season.

Michelle of Décor and the Dog made a Thanksgiving sign to display in her home, Forrest and I made a Turkey Handprint shirt and dishtowels, Kim of NewlyWoodwards made a turkey gobble sign, and Chelsea of Two Twenty One decorated with a Give Thanks banner.

Each Monday, the link party goes live for that week's Dare to DIY challenge. You can link up as many projects as you wish, as long as the posts correspond with the theme of the week.

You can link up on any of our four blogs listed above. The linky below will stay live through Wednesday. This Wednesday, each of us will spotlight at least 3 projects we loved from the week on our blogs. We'll also pin those projects on our shared Pinterest board.

The only rules:

1. Please follow the Dare to DIY theme of the week (this week is Dare to be thankful).

2. Please link back to Dare to DIY on one of our blogs.

3. Please go to at least one other blog and comment. This is a party. So get to know a few other bloggers!

I’m excited to see what you’ve been working on!

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Make a Turkey Handprint Thanksgiving Shirt (Dare to DIY)

It’s Dare to DIY time! This first week’s theme is Dare to Be Thankful. Honestly, I struggled with this theme. I couldn’t think of anything. And the very few things that did finally come to mind, upon googlization, had been done a thousand times before. I don’t know if that’s a good sign (inspiration abounds at my fingertips!) or bad (I can’t even come up with one stinking original idea without Pinterest proving that someone else has already done it better than I ever could). Another possibility: I’m just an ungrateful person.

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I finally ‘thought up’ this ‘idea’ ‘all by myself.’ Seriously, I really thought I came up with this. Google/Pinterest searches (after I had already finished my project, of course) proved otherwise, but I truly don’t think I had seen this before, and I think it’s cute. Originality be damned! We had fun making it, I think it’s adorable, and so what if it’s already been blogged elsewhere. This is my version.

Turkey Handprint Shirt

Forrest and I worked together to make some turkey handprint Thanksgiving goodies. A shirt for wearing, a dishtowel for keeping, and another to give away. And get this—we sort of had fun together making them. Weird, huh? I’ll admit it right here, right now: I’m not a fun mom. I don’t really like to do crafts or lessons or activities with my child. Hopefully CPS won’t come and haul him away after admitting that I don’t particularly enjoy doing this kind of stuff with him. So doing a craft project together was a first for us, and you know, it went all right. Better than I expected. Minimal tears. Not no tears (this is Forrest we’re talking about, let’s be realistic), but minimal tears.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this:

Make a Turkey Handprint Shirt for Thanksgiving

- acrylic craft paints in fall-ish colors (I used brown, golden yellow, orange, and red)

- Textile Medium (this can be purchased at most craft stores—you mix it with the paint to help it stick permanently to the fabric, even through washes and wear)

- white shirt (I picked this up in the boys’ section at Walmart) and/or white kitchen towels (also from Walmart) or whatever else you want to put your turkey handprints on . . . maybe a canvas for Thanksgiving art? Or an apron to wear while you make your Thanksgiving dinner?

- foam brushes (I didn’t have any on hand, so I just cut a sponge into a few strips instead—worked just fine!)

1. Start by mixing your paint with the fabric medium—the bottle will let you know what the ratio should be. Mine says 2 parts fabric medium to 1 part paint (but make sure to read the instructions on your own bottle—it might be different). I’m never very exact with this. I just eyeball it, and it always works out fine.

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Put some newspaper down to catch any drips, and place cardboard between the layers of the shirt you’ll be ‘stamping’ onto, and underneath any other fabric you’ll be adding a turkey to.

(I’d definitely recommend doing a practice run first before going full throttle at your shirt or dishtowels. This will give you a chance to see how much paint is necessary, how hard your little one needs to press their hand down, and they can see what this is all about if they’re very young and don’t understand why their hands are being painted [lookin’ at you, Forrest].)

2. Use your foam brushes (or, in my case, sponge strips) to paint their palm and thumb brown, and use your other, brighter colors to paint their fingers.

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( ^ that’s why you should put newspaper down)

3. Press their hand down onto the shirt/dishtowel/apron/whatever—straight down, push, then lift straight up without letting them wriggle their fingers around or rock side to side.

Make Turkey Handprint Dishtowels for Thanksgiving

4. Admire that nice turkey!

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5. If you’re handprinting more than one item, you’ll need to repaint your child’s hand after each ‘stamp’. Forrest did not like getting his hand painted at first, but once he realized it left a cool print behind, he was very excited about our little project and held out his hand for more.

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6. Let your items dry for 24 hours. If you can be that patient. Then iron over the paint to set it. (Once again, make sure to read the instructions on your fabric medium—it’ll tell you exactly what to do to set the paint.)

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7. Add whatever embellishments you’d like to complete your turkeys—I hot glued a googly eye onto each one (hot glue on clothing sounds unstable to me, but I’ve used it before to put googly eyes on a shirt and it has held up just fine in the wash!), added a little beak with orange paint, and handstitched legs with embroidery floss.

Handprint Turkey Shirt

I also think it would be cute to stamp or applique something like “gobble” or “give thanks” or “happy Thanksgiving” onto it, but I got bored and stopped here. And also accepted the fact that this is a white shirt on a 2-year old boy. It’s only a matter of time until it’s completely stained and ruined, so I should probably spend as little time/effort on it as possible. Simplicity!

Forrest seems kind of excited about the “BOHD!!!” (bird) on his shirt, and he loved seeing his handprints stamped onto the fabric, so I’m declaring this Thanksgiving project a success.

Turkey Handprint Shirt-001

And in the interest of full disclosure (when have I ever lied to you?), I will not pretend this was all fun and games. I have a very contrary child. He loved the stamping. He did not love the modeling.

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I really wonder what it would be like to have one of those ‘easy’ children I keep hearing about. Do they cooperate? Do they do what they are told? Even when the instructions are as cripplingly overwhelming as “sit on this chair and look at mommy?”

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My only request is that you help me uphold the fragile façade of familial peace and tranquility in my household by refraining from pinning the above images. If word gets out that I, a creative blogger, am not pretending that my child is a perfect angel and our home is a proverbial heav’n on earth, I think I’ll be kicked out of the club.

Have you been working on your Dare to DIY project? I’m really excited to see all your links on Monday! Come back Monday to share your work. And make sure to swing by Two Twenty One, Décor and the Dog, and Newly Woodwards to see their Dare to DIY projects today!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday Tidbits

1. I made caramel dip with apple slices yesterday for a snack. It was amazingly delicious. I usually ruin homemade sauces, but the gods smiled upon this simple recipe and now I can’t stop eating it. Heaven forbid a season or holiday pass without me taking full advantage of the opportunity to gorge on seasonal baked goods. And in my mind, fall = spoonfuls of caramel sauce, with or without apple slices for dipping. Makes perfect sense! You can find the caramel dip recipe I used over here at The Bungalow Boutique blog.

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2. Lest there be any confusion, the little psycho (pictured above) and his triumphant glee (also pictured above) were not rejoicing over the caramel sauce . . . no no. He was that thrilled about the apples. Just the apples. He wouldn’t even try a taste of the sauce. I suppose I should be happy that he loves apples so much, but I’m kind of annoyed that he is such a firm believer in his list of 10 approved foods and absolutely refuses to vary from it, even to sample something as delicious as homemade caramel dip. Picky boy.

3. I’m really excited for the Dare to DIY series to begin. (If you haven’t signed up yet to join in, you can do so HERE.) I got started on my project for our first week’s theme this morning, and was not terribly surprised to find that Forrest inherited his father’s facial expressions and enthusiasm when faced with my craft ideas:

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(The line of doom that accompanies this reassuring, trustful face when it’s on my husband is usually something like, “I guess I can’t picture how this will turn out,” or “How much did you spend on those materials? Hmm.” Shame on them both for their lack of vision but heaping servings of skepticism.)

4. Did you all have a nice weekend? The highlight of mine was getting a manicure, something I rarely to never do because I’m such a cheapskate and can’t help feeling guilty for spending money on something so frivolous, but deeply love and want to do all.the.time.

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5. And the highlight of the manicure experience itself was a fellow manicurian (real word, just trust me) spending the entire appointment trying to figure out where she knew me from. We definitely did not know each other, but she rattled off no less than 30 different suggestions of places we could have run into each other or passed by or met briefly, none of which were very likely. She finally glanced around, leaned in toward me, and said softly, “Are you famous? And you just don’t want word to get out?” Imagine the temptation here, people, imagine it. I fought the good fight and answered no, but oh what a missed opportunity! I could have been famous. Even if just in her mind, just for a few minutes, but wouldn’t that have been nice all the same?

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Sharp Crochet Hook and pattern book giveaway

If you’ve been around for a while, you might remember my review and giveaway almost exactly one year ago of the Sharp Crochet Hook. Well, one year later, I’m happy to report that I still think this product is just as awesome as last time I talked about it. And I have another one to give away to you today!

In case this concept is new to you, I’ll fill you in: crocheting edgings through fabric (such as a cute border along a pillowcase) is often a big ol’ pain the booty. Up until now, your options were to pre-poke holes through the fabric before you could start crocheting, or try to jam a blunt-ended crochet hook through fabric. Neither way is fun. But the Sharp Crochet Hook is a great solution to this issue: it’s just what it sounds like—a sharp, pointed hook—and can glide straight through your fabric quickly and easily, eliminating the need to poke holes before you can start working. If you’ve ever wasted time poking holes or gotten frustrated trying to jam a regular rounded hook through fabric, you know what a great timesaver this can be.

(This little cutie is my nephew almost exactly one year ago, sporting the goodies his Auntie Rachel made for him—pay special attention to the blanket, which I used the Sharp Crochet Hook on to create a cute, cozy edging!)

The hook has even been redesigned recently to make it even easier to use through thicker fabrics without getting stuck or snagging, so now is the perfect time to try one out. I have a combo pack to give away to you today—a newly redesigned hook and pattern book in one.

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The book has so many cute ideas using the Sharp hook, and they’d make wonderfully personalized Christmas gifts! Some of my favorite patterns/projects in the pattern book:

Sharp Crochet Hook patterns

I love the idea of crocheting around the bottom of a handmade or storebought skirt to add a little more personality—and crocheting your own baby shoes through a leather sole ? adorable—and that blanket is one of the most unique designs I’ve ever seen. Love it.

So, are you interested? Want to give the Sharp Crochet Hook a try to help create handmade gifts for loved ones? Or maybe you love somebody who crochets and could give it away as a holiday gift? Enter below to win the pattern book + hook combo pack. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Some people report having trouble with the Rafflecopter widget on my last giveaway—it seems that using an older browser messes with the giveaway widget, so make sure you’re using the newest versions of explorer/firefox/whatever. I hope that helps!)

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Will you Dare to DIY?

This Thanskgiving and Christmas season is about to get a lot more fun and creative for me (and after you read this, I sure hope you’ll join in and make it be more fun and creative for you, too.)

Do you know Kim from Newly Woodwards? If you don’t, may I kindly suggest that you should?

Every December, Kim hosts a Dare to DIY series (this will be its 4th year) that helps motivate and challenge participants to tackle DIY projects through the Thanksgiving and Christmas season . . . and to do it all together, motivate each other, make new friends, and get things done that we might procrastinate or give up on if we didn’t have each other to help.

(Here are some of Kim’s projects from last year’s series! This makes me want to crank up some Christmas music. Jeff would be annoyed. I’ll do it after he leaves for work.)

Kim was sweet enough to  invite some friends to help host the series this year. And she’s sweet enough to include me in the list. This year, the series will be hosted by:

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards

Michelle @ Décor and the Dog

Chelsea @ Two Twenty One

. . . and me! @ here!

Here's the plan:

Each Monday, the link party goes live for that week's Dare to DIY challenge. You can link up as many projects as you wish, as long as the posts correspond with the theme of the week. You can link up on any of the four blogs listed above.

The linky will stay live through Wednesday. Later in the week, each of us will spotlight at least 3 projects we loved from the week on our blogs. We'll also pin those projects on our shared Pinterest board.

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The only rules:

1. Please follow the Dare to DIY theme of the week (see below).

2. Please link back to Dare to DIY on one of our blogs.

3. Please go to at least one other blog and comment. This is a party. So get to know a few other bloggers.

And here are the themes - starting in less than 2 weeks. Dare to do it, baby. Dare to do it.

Party Date: Monday, Nov. 19

(Link goes live Sunday night around 6 p.m.)

Dare to… be thankful!

DIY a thanksgiving project to remind you to be grateful during this season. Ideas include a Thanksgiving advent calendar, artwork and banners.

Party Date: Monday, Nov. 26

(Link goes live Sunday night around 6 p.m.)

Dare to… entertain!

DIY something for your table. This could be something from last week's Thanksgiving table or a new Christmas look. Get creative and use things in new ways. Or go true DIY and make something totally new. Ideas include place mats, table runners, place cards or centerpieces.

Party Date: Monday, Dec. 3

(Link goes live Sunday night around 6 p.m.)

Dare to… give homemade gifts!

DIY a gift made by you. Nothing is more special to give than something you created, so share projects that will be go in brown paper packages this holiday season. Ideas include bath and body items, kitchen gifts, hand-sewn clothing or home decor. 

Party Date: Monday, Dec. 10

(Link goes live Sunday night around 6 p.m.)

Dare to… deck the halls!

DIY something new to deck your halls. Did you find something in a catalog that you wish you had? Wreaths, stockings, pillows or advent calendars? Make it! Inspire us all to do the same.

So, what do you think? Will you dare to DIY with us this holiday season? I hope so. I’d love to have you involved!

If you want to participate, sign up below.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Free Feature on BB Daily Deals

Just a quick post to let you know about a cool promotion happening right now at my mom’s Boutique and its online deal site (if you aren’t familiar with her site, BB Daily Deals, you can read a full post about it here, but I’ll give you the sparknotes version: twice a week, subscribers are emailed awesome deals on boutique products from the Bungalow Boutique and other fantastic sellers, all at a sweet markdown from in-store/online prices. Check it out!)

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So here’s the deal for the cool promotion happening now: you can enter to win the chance to sell your product FREE on the site. No commission, no sales fees, nothing. Just an awesome free feature for you and your fabulous product, sent out to hundreds of subscribers who are searching for great items at great prices.

To enter to win, just head over to the Bungalow Boutique’s blog, use the linky list to enter YOUR product(s) that you’d love the chance to share and sell, then head back on Friday to vote for your favorite product that you’d like to see shared on BB Daily Deals.

The item with the most votes will win a completely free feature on BB Daily Deals—you won’t hand over any of your earnings. So if you make and sell handmade items, run an online store, or are interested in getting your foot in the door to sell a great product, go enter! You can link up an item from your online shop or blog, then tell your friends/fans/followers/etc. to vote for you to win!

Head over and enter your product! Go! GO!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Adding some color to my kitchen

When I wrote recently about our kitchen renovation, I mentioned that I really wanted to add some more color to it. I do love me some nice crisp neutrals, but it gets a little dull day after day to be surrounded by white and gray and brown without a hint of real color.

Since we all love a good before and after (or in my case: before, mid, and current. I’m starting to doubt that there is ever a true, completely finished ‘after’ in homeownership), and since I can’t resist the opportunity to show off, yet again, all our hard work, I’ll just walk you through the whole thing again.

When we bought the house:

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With the addition of new floors, counters, sink, and light fixtures, and after repainting the cabinets:

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And today:

Gray and Yellow Kitchen Renovation

Yay! Color!

The biggest project we undertook since the last time I shared pictures is the backsplash. Jeff and I installed this ourselves a few weeks ago, and were actually pretty surprised at how simple it was. This was our first time working with tile, and after about 3 months of staring at just one sample sheet of tile propped up against the wall, we finally worked up the courage to get started.

Backsplash Tile

This picture makes it pretty obvious that we’ve got some touch-up work to do. We used Tile Setting Mat instead of mortar, which was great in some ways (for tiling beginners like us who had zero experience/confidence, it completely eliminated one scary step of the process), and less great in others (since we didn’t measure and cut it 100% perfectly, we’ve got about 1/4-1/2” of empty, uncovered mat poking out between the top of the tiles and the bottom of the cabinets, which isn’t very pretty). But as you can see, we decided on a mosaic tile, which I really love. I think it adds a lot of texture and interest to our previously bland kitchen. The mosaic tiles came in 12x12” sheets (this isn’t the exact product—I can’t seem to find our tiles online—but here’s a very similar-looking one from Home Depot), and are a mixture of travertine and glass tiles.

But even with the nice new backsplash, I still wanted some more color. I figured the pantry door was a good place to start.

Here’s the view toward the pantry, mid-renovation:

DSC_0126

And now:

Yellow Pantry Door

It was such a simple, inexpensive way to add some personality and color to the room. I used Valspar Almond Glaze, and had the whole thing done before Forrest even woke up from his nap.

I sewed a quick little curtain (using leftover curtain fabric kindly sent to me by my buddy Kim of Newly Woodwards—thank you, Kim!) to carry the yellow across to the window, and hung a few decorative plates on the side of a cabinet to add a little more character.

Gray and Yellow Kitchen

(I’m posting at The Bungalow Boutique’s blog today with the curtain tutorial—head over there to see how I made it!)

My turquoise mirror (an old gold hand-me-down mirror that got a coat of spray paint) and a vase of (fake) forsythias pull the color across into the dining area as well:

Turquoise kitchen mirror

I can hardly believe this is the same kitchen that we moved into. I suppose it’s not, in many ways. But thank goodness for that. And I think I’m done with this room for a while. Just as soon as I decide if the big bay window needs some sort of treatment. And whether or not I should give my scratched up, worn-out table a makeover of some sort. Then I’ll be done. For a while.

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