Craft Room Tour

So a really wonderful thing happened a couple weeks ago. After much debating and waiting (anticipating) Brett and I decided to pull the trigger on an Ikea purchase we’d been lusting over. Some new office furniture for our workspace downstairs, specifically. I’ll probably show off some photos of this later, but what I’m most excited about is what I’m going to show you now. 
I love to craft. I like to sew and paint and gift wrap and crochet and make wreaths and do all sorts of other projects that are potentially messy and awkward to do on the living room floor. However, as you might know, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. The other caveat of being a crafter is that you start to accumulate lots of supplies. While this tends to be a good thing because you don’t have to buy everything new every single time you want to complete a project- it also becomes a bit of a storage issue. 
I’d tried to create a reasonable storage space in our second bedroom closet by putting up some extra shelves and setting up a TV table for my sewing machine, but I’ll be honest, that just was NOT hacking it. Anytime I wanted to get something out, I had to unstack a big pile of stuff and it was cramped and awful and really not at all functional. 
For a long time our second bedroom has also been barely functional. It’s a quasi guest room, man cave, storage space, and headache. While it’s still sort of all of those things, we’ve decided to make it do all those things a little better. Brett is good at piecing away at furniture and decor that improves his space and makes it more enjoyable. I decided to take a page out of his book and create a functional craft space that I could use and love.  With the addition of some extra furniture, I was able to have space in the second bedroom for crafting, but not intrude too much on the other functions we needed it to serve (guest room, storage, Brett’s man cave). 
One of the wonderful consequences (intended purposes actually) of getting a new desk downstairs was freeing up the table we had been using. We hauled that bad dad upstairs (it is heavy!) and with the addition of two new Ikea shelves, suddenly my craft room was in business. Shelves make all the difference people. 

My sewing machine is always accessible and is available on a big, clean worktable. I’ve got nooks for each type of craft supply on my shelves and a big bulletin board for ideas and inspiration. 
At this point, it’s not that beautiful aesthetically speaking. I don’t have any cutesy bunting hanging up, or cute jars for my brushes and pens, or adorable animal figurines and so I’m really missing the hipster mark that I usually like to achieve with my general living, but IT IS FUNCTIONAL. And so we have a start. (Stay tuned for bunting.) 
Bonus Content for Readers Who Hung in This Long: 
Look at this cutie patootie. 

He was totally scoping out that Crate and Barrel mailer. “Two deers and two houses!”  (He was really just fascinated by the gel adhesive, but it was still cute.)

Christmas Printable Round Up

Still looking for ways to inject a little holiday spirit around your house or office while spending virtually no money?

Might I suggest the Christmas Printable!

Here’s the one that I have on my mantel, available here. (In other color combos, I might add)

These printables are great because you can just transform a frame you already own, use it for the season, and then swap back.

Here’s the print that I’ve had in the frame I’m using now, a quote from Da Vinci which is one of my absolute favorites. (I’ve posted this once before, here.)

Created by  My Best Friend Jules

Free printables are a dime a dozen on Pinterest and in that case, I say “AWESOME!” You can find a printable in every possible color scheme so there’s no way you won’t find one that will make your Christmas decor at least a *pinch* more delightful.

 Here are some of my favorites, so you don’t have to dig. (Note, click on the photo to navigate to the post where these printables are found. Click on the caption to navigate to the homepages of these sites.)

From AKA Design
If you click through the design below, you’ll also find some pretty adorable Grinch printables I’m fond of! 
From The Letter 4
I’m super partial to these vintage-style Christmas prints available here. These are a couple of my favorites. (Looks like lots of printables on the entire site!)
From Paulo Viveiros 
From Paulo Viveiros
From eighteen25
Here are a few other very simple ones with nice, clean designs from Printable Decor. (These can be downloaded to a much larger size in the original post.) 
From Printable Decor

From Printable Decor
Chalkboard printables are SUPER popular and will definitely fit in with any color scheme. Here’s a fave: 
From My Fabuless Life
lemon squeezy has some adorable printables all handily rounded up in “24 Days of Christmas Printable” posts from this year and last year! Here’s a favorite:

From lemon squeezy 
BONUS! Download these gorgeous printable gift tags (If I haven’t convinced you to make your own, that is.)

From lemon squeezy 
Ultimately, if you want it (and you have a reasonably functional color printer) it’s out there for you for free. Prints, gift tags, invitations, cards and so much more! 

Day 3 and 4: Treats! Plus BBQ Beer Chicken

Days 3 and 4 were all about the treats. A Christmas coffee and donut one day, followed by s’mores the next. Yum. (PS, can you spot the sneak peek for my next Christmas Craft post?)
Very effective cooking method
This delicious treat was made complete with yummy hot cocoa. 

I also made something wonderful for dinner. Something truly amazing and fantastic. If there are three things I love in this world it is barbecue, beer, and my crockpot. This brought them all together. 

We had Schlafly Christmas Ale on hand so that’s what I used. Folks, I drank a beer at 10 am. I’m serious. You don’t just throw out perfectly good, unused Schlafly Christmas Ale. It doesn’t matter WHAT time it is! (Don’t worry, it was my day off.)

Sauce + Chicken. Simmer baby simmer.

 Shredded up and deliciously sauced.

I served it up the way the recipe recommended, with a serving of slaw on top! 

We demolished it. Exhibit A: 

I SERIOUSLY recommend this recipe. It’s pitched as a summertime recipe in the original post, and I know its December but it is like 70 degrees. Close enough.

Bathroom Bloggin

So my awesome cousin Katie (who blogs at Life with the Little R’s) suggested that I do a house tour for a blog post. At first I thought- great idea! The second thing I thought was- oh my gosh no, my house is a pit!

Ok, it’s not a pit, but Brett and I are constantly struggling to determine an overall aesthetic or design concept and to challenge things further, we are renters so we can never decide how much money or energy to even devote to our temporary setting. That said, we are people who need our outsides to match our insides and we try to keep our space clean, cute, and clutter free if possible.

We got lots of great decor items as wedding gifts and we’ve tried to make special places to showcase some of those awesome things. I’ve got some plans for a major switcheroo in the office nook of the kitchen and with our upstairs bedroom, and I want to do at least a little staging in each room before it’s picture worthy anyway! So the easiest option was to start small.

Thinking about Katie’s request for a house tour got me thinking about our upstairs bathroom. I thought to myself- I will never take pictures of this place. However, I decided to challenge myself. I decided to upgrade the bathroom using my crafty innovation, decorations on hand, and a teensy tiny budget.

Here’s what it looked like to start:

A very typical rental bathroom, and one we haven’t done much to improve. We’ve hung up a couple shelves and some hooks for my jewelry. I pulled in a nightstand that sort of floats around to different areas of our house to use for extra counter space (as you can see there is none.)

Our shower curtain is navy and cream and it’s a little nautical themed. At one point, we’d picked up some strange “nautical” decor- a lighthouse figurine and this old fisherman that hung on the wall (no, really.) They were too weird and kitschy and we ditched them. Now, we’ve got this barely functional, hardly attractive bathroom that I’m hugely impartial to.

So, here’s what I did.

Firstly, I made up a little frame for my broaches and earrings.

I had leftover fabric from the wedding and a square frame that wasn’t being used that I decided was perfect. I cut out cardboard to size, used a little felt for padding, and wrapped it with the blue fabric. I didn’t even end up gluing. I just used scotch tape!

I fit the cardboard into the frame, put on the frame backing (which made for a very tight fit!) and hung it up!

Simple enough. We are working with pretty much one wall to decorate, so naturally, I opted to create a small gallery with some prints (found here and here) and frames leftover and a couple other wandering decor pieces.

I’m so loosey goosey with when I hang pictures. These made for a pretty easy upgrade. (Except my printer OH MY GAWD MY PRINTER- but that’s a story for another time.)

The other little project I did for the bathroom was.. wait for.. to dye my bath mat. I know, I know, but go with me for a minute here. We have this basic white bath mat. It’s fine, but of course we put our grungy little feet on it every single day so it’s never clean and it bugs me endlessly. The bath mat market is a TOTAL RACKET so I figured, why not spend $3 and dye the damn thing?

So I did.

I used an old wooden spoon to do the mixings. 

Here’s the thing. It looked pretty stupid. I wanted it to be navy and it wound up more like cornflower. You know, cornflower. Also, a little splotchy. BUT WHATEVER OKAY. I have like a 95% success rate so I’m allowed a bomb every now and then.

I also swapped on some baskets, put out some flowers, did some “fluffing.”

So, here’s what it looks like now. It’s a long way from my dream bathroom, but considering that the only thing I had to buy was the $5 flower arrangement- it’s a pretty vast improvement!

My weird rug.

Welcome! Come inside! Fix your hair, brush your teeth, take a pee!

Well there you have it folks! My upstairs bathroom! Can’t wait to show you some more!

Super Simple Saturday Craft

This weekend I made one of my favorite, simple crafts- a wreath! To me, wreaths just reek of grown-up, put-together decor and they are so much more cost effective to make than to buy. (Want proof? Search “wreath” on Etsy.)  Best of all, it really only takes an afternoon to put most of them together.

I was at Walmart a couple weeks ago and found some really inexpensive straw wreaths for sale. I picked up two and finished one to hang for the autumn season. I didn’t want to get too holiday specific, but I chose some natural colors and fabrics to keep it cozy.

Depending on the material of your wreath and your technique, you have a few options in terms of how to get started. I did a yarn wrap wreath (that’s got to be the technical term for it) and my straw wreath form was already covered in plastic, so I just kept it that way so that it would be a uniform size. Foam wreath forms are already set for yarn wrapping too, but I’ve never used one because who wants to pay $7 when you can pay $2.50? If your wreath form is bumpy, you can wrap it in scrap fabric which I have done before also.

Here’s what my finished wreath looks like:

On the stairs inside.. 

The color of the blue yarn is much more accurate in this photo. It’s teal, not navy. 

And from the outside! 
I used 3 colors of yarn and made some fabric rosettes. These fabric embellishments are super easy and it’s tempting to put them on everything. They’re also the primary reason I can’t ever toss out scrap fabric! Here’s a tutorial to try for them. To be honest though, I never measure my fabric. I just cut a strip, twist, and glue! I used some leftover burlap from the wedding, some leftover polka dot fabric from the pet bed project, and picked up a fat quarter sample in a nice bright orange. 
Another wreath tip- if you have them, balls of yarn are quite a bit easier to use for this project than a big skein. You are literally wrapping the entire form in yarn and a skein can be a bit cumbersome, while a ball of yarn fits nicely in your hands. I used skeins for this one however, because I’m not entirely sure that you can find a store that sell balls of yarn anymore.  
The last wreath I made (with the “Moser” bunting) was from a mini-wreath form, so I’m happy to have more of a large-Marge wreath up on the door now. I’m confident this will take me all the way to November 23rd, which is the day after Thanksgiving and the first day I’m allowed to put up Christmas decorations, per Brett’s regulations. 
Anyway, these wreaths are a great afternoon project and it’s a super cheap way to add a nice touch to your door decor! 
PS- Happy Halloween! 

Suitcase Pet Bed

In case you sincerely couldn’t figure it out (that’s ok, don’t get down on yourself) Brett and I made a bed for our sweet pets from a vintage suitcase we used at our wedding!

My step-mom’s mom (Nanna!) found this adorable vintage Samsonite suitcase that we used for cards at the wedding. Brett and I loved it so much, we wanted to find a way to give it new life at our house. Since Fatty is drawn to a open suitcase like a moth to the light, we felt turning it into a bed was the perfect fit. Both Fatty and Stella are notorious snugglers, so we wanted to give them a cozy place of their own to enjoy . . . not that it will keep their furry butts off the couch or anything like that. 
I decided to do a bit of a photo tour of how we made it, in case you are so inclined to make one of your own! 
First, gather your materials and set them out like you’ve seen a bunch of other bloggers do. Then, once you’ve taken your photo, put it all away again and realize how inefficient blogging your projects truly is. 
For the cushion, I opted for an inexpensive bed pillow from Walmart. I decided to sew a simple envelope style pillowcase so that the material would be easily washable, and the pillow would be easily replaceable. Pet butts are not clean things people. 
I used this tutorial for my pillowcase. I promise it’s a real cinch. I never could have finished this project if it wasn’t. First, cut your fabric. You’ll notice my crochet magazine which I am using like a carpenter’s square because I couldn’t cut a straight line even if you paid me to. 
A rotary cutter makes this process a whole lot simpler. My step mom has this knack for getting me the best gifts that I didn’t even know I needed. 
You’ll be cutting 3 pieces of fabric. One that is just a bit larger than the full face of the pillow and two smaller pieces for the envelope “flaps.” The tutorial is for a square pillow, but if you use the formula for the size of your pillow, it will work fine. You’ll want to sew a hem on one side of each of the smaller “flap” pieces. My hem was about 1 1/2″ because it looked nice. 
Iron. Pin. Sew. My aunt Cheryl taught me that! 
This is what sewing looks like. 
Next, lay your pieces right side together and pin together your edges. Your two “flap” pieces should over lap one another, with the hemmed edges in the middle.
It’s at this point you will realize that your shape cutting skills have declined tremendously since kindergarten and the pieces don’t really match up and you’ll start to wonder if maybe you’ve gotten in a bit over your head here. You haven’t. Just keep pinning. 
When you’re done pinning, start sewing. You’ll have cut your material with an extra inch on each side. This will give you a half inch seam allowance. Since you cut your pieces of fabric all wonky, you’ll need it. 
This is also what sewing looks like. In case you didn’t know, always pull your pins just before you reach them with the needle. If you sew over your pins, you might break your needle and you’ll have a fit because you aren’t very confident in your ability to actually switch out a needle on your machine. You can, but it’s easier if you don’t have to. 
Trim your corners, flip it right side out, and enjoy your handiwork. You didn’t screw it up!

Then, stuff your pillow in and see how it looks. You can stop here if you want. In fact, Fatty was more than willing to start enjoying the comfiness right away.

What a good looking guy. However, you’ll notice that I’ve covered the back panel with fabric. We used hot glue to attach letters that said “CARDS” for the wedding and some residue was left behind. I just wrapped some of the extra fabric around the panel and used liquid stitch to secure it. Honestly, under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t have bothered. 
We also decided to add some legs! Kimberly was practically beside herself as I painted these because she thinks I’m bonkers. I prefer creative genius. 
 Once your short little legs are painted and dried, you’ll want to attach the hardware with your handy, dandy drill. God bless the drill, I say. 

I just screwed it right into the bottom of the suitcase. Simple. Then, screw in your legs. (Ok, just do it and don’t snicker.)

 Flip the whole thing over, put it somewhere cute, and take your finished project photos !

Stella is quickly becoming that blog dog who poses for me whenever I ask and quite honestly, I couldn’t love her more for it! 
Overall, this project probably cost under $40. The legs and hardware were about $2-2.50 each. The fabric was about $5 for a yard and a half. The pillow was less than $5. I also bought paint and foam brushes, but chances are you might have a color on hand that you like. The suitcase of course was free, but I’ve seen some really great options at thrift stores lately so keep your eyes open for a good deal! 
This project was a lot of fun and the pets are already battling it out for territory rights. Maybe I should have made suitcase bunk beds! 
A final, sleepy goodbye from Fatty: 

Pets as Inspiration

So I took a break from fanatically reading Game of Thrones so that I could start redoing a few spaces in our apartment. I have a little old and a little new and I’ve been eager to do some updating since we got back from the honeymoon.

For while, I was on this big “Fork and Spoon” kick for the kitchen. I had some cute prints and some antique wooden cutlery, but the design ended there. Eventually, it went out the door altogether. Since then, the one wall we have to decorate in the kitchen has sat blank. A few months ago, we moved a shelf into the kitchen that we’ve used for everything from DVDs to photo albums for our cookbooks, mixing bowls, pie pans, and so on. It’s functional and attractive (win!) but it doesn’t fill the space. We hardly ever sit at our kitchen table (confession) so I’ve sort of tucked it out of the way for the time being.

If you asked Amanda and Kimberly, they’d tell you we need a banquet size table with 10 place settings. I think they’re a little tired of pulling in patio chairs every time they come over for dinner. Anyway, here’s what it looks like now:

Big ole shout out to my Shana for the awesome cat and dog silhouettes. This girl blew me away with her awesome, handmade wedding gifts. I’m in love. 
Here’s what the “pet gallery” looks like as part of our kitchen: 

In case you’re interested, the artwork in the middle was a DIY of mine using this tutorial I found on Pinterest, naturally. Brett and I nabbed up the smaller canvases after a little bidding war at a silent auction fundraiser for our local no-kill animal shelter, Field of Dreams. The stinking things were painted by DOGS. We had to have them.

It’s no secret that we a major pet people, so it feels pretty natural to pay homage to them through our decor. In fact if you put a dog or a cat on it (put a bird on it!), I’ll pretty much fall in love!

A Photo Update

Here is but a brief photo update: 
1. We got some AMAZING wedding presents and several of them were these awesome decor items that I simultaneously couldn’t wait to get put up or decide what to do with. The easiest option of course was to update the mantel. Some new and some old, all awesome. Shout out to my parents for the gorgeous chiming clock. Something about it makes everything feel more like home.
2. The scarf is finished and naturally, it went straight to Brett. He makes a great guinea pig and an even better model. Look at this hunk: 

After I got him to pose normally, he insisted on picking up the cat- featured here as a black and white blur: 

 Then he went rogue and pulled out this little beauty:

The scarf looks nice, doesn’t it? Never a dull moment in the Moser House.

Cleaning the Burners

I feel like I’m carving a niche out for myself as the “stay-at-home-mom-with-no-children” type. I constantly gravitate towards blogs, planners, organization advice, etc like I’ve got 3 kids to keep track of. I think I just love the system of a well managed home and having kids usually results in that sort of thing. Who could say.

Anyway, it was become increasingly more imperative that I get the burners and drip pans of my stove cleaned. Every single time I cooked something my smoke alarm would go off! Seriously, I boiled a pot of water and it went berzerker. The burnt-on crustiness was becoming kind of a hazard. I saw this amazing idea on Pinterest that suggested putting the pieces in ziplock bags with a little ammonia and letting it set over night. The fumes clean the schmuck and you don’t even have to scrub. I was a believer.

Unfortunately, this one just didn’t work for me. It seemed to work well on my burners, but those weren’t terrible to begin with. But my drip pans were atrocious and the fumes just didn’t have the punch to really get the job done. Perhaps it’s because they were more at the burnt-to-shit level than the really-greasy level. I also suspect that my Aldi-brand ziplock bags didn’t have the tightest seal. At any rate, I couldn’t just leave them (which is generally my inclination if Plan A doesn’t work) because I couldn’t stand to hear that damn alarm go off another time.

So, because I’ve had moderate success with this at-home cleaner, I decided to bust it out. Between that cleaner and my magic eraser, I’m pretty satisfied with the results. Not perfect, but I probably won’t set the house on fire!

Before and After:

Not bad! Here’s the other side, post cleaning:

Don’t even ask me about that little guy down there at the bottom. He is just seriously beyond help. What a little asshole. At any rate, they are clean now (mostly.) I won’t say that my methods were even close to being “scrub-free” but they do appear to be effective!