A space of my own

When we bought this house, I got very excited about all of the exciting possibilities the front office held.  I thought maybe it could be a studio someday but I’m not a huge fan of studio work so scratched that.  We decided to leave it an office for the time being but I had visions dancing through my head of a craft room as well.  5 months later, it had become more of a storage room for boxes I didn’t feel like dealing with at the time.  Our computer desk and filing cabinet were in there as well as some cube shelving that I needed to organize but had yet to find the time or desire to do so.  This week, I decided it was time for me to begin scrapbooking photos from our Disney World trip.  I began to rummage through boxes looking for paper, stickers, and trimmers but I soon became overwhelmed with the disorganization of it all.  I decided it was time to whip this space into shape once and for all.  So my friends, I began a 3 day extensive overhaul of this small room  to turn it into something fun and colorful yet inspirational and functional at the same time.  If you know me at all, you know I would rather spend a fortune on designer shoes, handbags, and children’s clothing than expensive home decor.  I get bored easily and I like knowing I can change the look of something on a whim and not worry about how much I spent on it.  Welcome to my new office and craft space.  Come on in and have a look around!

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I wasn’t even sure where to begin with this huge project but I knew I needed a craft desk to be the heart of the room.  A place where I could spread out whatever crafty project I was working on at the time and not worry about having to move it out of the way to eat or something like my current workspace (the kitchen table).  Years ago, before I married Dave, I did cakes out of my tiny apartment.  I needed more counter top space and so I built some using cube shelves and plywood.  I had seen this done on a larger scale many times on pinterest so figured it was probably my best bet.  This way I could make it the perfect size for my space and store craft supplies in the sides.  I moseyed on over to my friendly local Target and picked up two 9 cube shelving units.  These are super affordable normally but I was pleasantly surprised to find 2 on clearance for only $25.88 each!  They were easily enough assembled with detailed instructions and I probably only spent about 30 mins on both of them using only a screwdriver and a hammer!  I spaced them apart accordingly and then measured for the top.  At home depot I decided on a smooth piece of plywood for around $25 as well and had them cut it to a 3×5 tabletop for me.  I had to purchase the whole sheet so still have leftover wood for a future project!  I purchased black paint for the top to match the shelves but haven’t yet completed that task!

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I also knew I wanted easy access to my stickers, pens, ribbons, and other craft supplies and I thought pegboard would be a great option.  Craft stores sell pegboard and accessories specifically made for craft supplies but I wasn’t fond of the price tag on those!  Instead, while at Home Depot, I snagged 3 sheets of plain pegboard at $7.97 each.  I asked an employee to cut one of the sheets in half for me to fit a thinner space and they did so at no extra charge.  I also stocked up on pegboard accessories while there.  Each long peg was about 90 cents and then I purchased a package of baskets (2) for $9.99, and 2 packages of mixed hooks (probably about 15 per pkg) for under $4.  The assorted hooks and pegs also came with screws to mount the pegboards to the wall!  I swiped some colored paint samples from the paint section for under $2 each while I was there because who likes boring ole white pegboards?  I painted them with a small roller brush made for trim without incident.

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Then came the fun part of filling the pegs and organized my goodies!

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The little pails I actually stole from my children’s playroom closet.  They were from Easter or other holidays mostly purchased in the dollar spot at Target.  We later found some others at Michael’s as well for more storage fun!  I used the thinner cut pegboard to designate a special “kids section” of crafty supplies and goodies they’re actually allowed to touch.  I used the other half as a gift wrapping area with ribbon, tape, scissors, and gift bags.  I’ve been using this old upside down $2 garage sale stool as a wrapping paper caddy for years so it went perfectly over in the gift wrap corner!

Now it was time for some Wall decor.  I had this big ole black frame sitting in the garage.  My mother gave it to me a few years back.  It had a really old fashioned flower print in it originally but I saw potential in that frame.  I spray painted it lime green and then grabbed some rainbow ribbon trim, nails, and tiny clothespins to create a fun way to display my instagram photos.  Did you know Walgreens will print your instagram photos in an hour?!?!?  I don’t normally advocate supermarket photo printing services but they’re just insta photos not fine portraiture so I made an exception.  I nailed the ribbon trim to each side of the frame and then clothes pinned the photos across it.  I need to lift that bottom string a little but for now it’s fine.

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I found the giant buttons on clearance at Hobby Lobby for $4.  They were green and pink originally but it was nothing a coat of spray paint couldn’t fix!  The canvas my oldest daughter painted and I just used a paint pen to add the word “create” to it because I love the colors so much!

I found the turquoise bulletin board at goodwill for $1  brand new in the package and pinned some pages I cut out of an Anne Taintor coffee table book to it.   I looooooooove Anne Taintor!  I found this fabulous magnetic frame and the magnetic ransom letters at Tuesday morning and the little magnetic containers at Michael’s.  The frame was on clearance for $3, the letters were $3.99 per package, and the little containers were $1.50 each.

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I needed somewhere to keep myself organized with to do projects, calendars, etc.  I picked up these pizza pans at dollar tree for $1 each and spray painted them bright colors.  I secured a strip of ribbon to the back of each using E6000 and then nailed them to the wall.  I used sticky back magnetic paper to create some fun magnets of funny ecards and photos as well as some sticky notes and slapped them up there too.

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I had originally gone into goodwill looking for an old filing cabinet.  I saw one on pinterest somewhere that had been painted in chalkboard paint and I thought that would be a fun addition to the room.  I didn’t find one but I found something even better!  This large commercial type scrapbook organizer is structurally in great shape.  It was only $5.50!!!!!  So excited!  It needed a good cleaning and has a few chips in the top and bottom but they will easily be filled with wood filler later and then the whole thing will likely be painted.  I put the kids to work color coding my papers.  Solids on one side and the corresponding print on the other!  So in love with this!!!

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I found these 2 fun colorful artwork prints at Garden Ridge.  Each one was under $12 and I love them!

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I used this shutter by my garage door in the old house to store the girls backpacks and hang onto the many many party and event invitations that came our way.  Now that we have a hall closet for backpacks, I moved it into my office to hang my many many cameras.  The shutter was originally purchased for $4 at a thrift store and I added the hooks to the bottom and spray painted it.  The hooks were under $4 each.  The peacock I painted at a painting party with friends.  Artist I am not but it’s a fun little piece anyway.

On top of my scrapbook paper organizer, I have a plastic drawer system to catch still useable paper scraps and I added some fun things to the top.  LOVE these cameras and the pink lightbulb!  Got the camera on the black stand at Home Goods last year and that huge new metal camera at Ross yesterday for $10!  The pink glass lightbulb came from Michael’s as did the giant green clothespin.  Can’t wait to pin something on it!  The dream bigger block also came from Michael’s for only $3.  Last year I helped my mother’s friend with some computer work and she made me this cute little cross stitched “God is Love” sign as a thank you.  I switched it to a pink glittery frame and it’s perfect!

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I took my computer desk out of the room to use as an accent table in the front living area and decided I only needed a small area for my computer along the back wall.  I found this black unit at goodwill about 2 years ago in perfect condition for only $20.  It was a shelving originally but I found that if I removed the middle shelf it worked out perfectly as a small desk!  Got the small lamp and lampshade at Garden Ridge.  Under $15 for the lamp and the shade when it was all said and done.  Found the bronze camera at Ross yesterday for $7 and my sister bought me this cute little notepad at Pier1 years ago.  I found the porcelain paint buckets for 50% off at Michael’s yesterday and thought they would be great on my craft table to store brushes and pens.  I used a plastic storage basket that I already had to display 12×12 scrapbooks for easy access since they don’t fit in the cubes.

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I still need a fun colorful rug, a few finishing touches, and to paint the desktop and scrapbook organizer but this little room has come a loooooooooong way in the last 3 days.  Indeed I think I will be spending a lot of time in here!  When it was all said and done, I spent around $300 to transform this space.  Not to shabby at all!  It’s fun and it’s functional and I’m in love!  In conclusion, you don’t need a ton of money or anything fancy to create a cool place of your own.  You can do a lot with a little when you use some vision to step out of the box and sometimes a little goodwill hunting luck!  I may not be changing the world anytime soon but I’ve rocked my own space with a little spray paint, pegboard, and cube shelves!

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American Girl Bitty Baby House Party

If you know me, you know that I love throwing a good party and I tend to go overboard.  If you don’t know me, you probably could have figured that out all on your own!  I’m not someone who does things the easy way either.  Nope, store bought decorations, invitations, and favors have never been my thing.  Not that there’s anything wrong with store bought party stuff, just saying, it’s not my thing.  I know I have mentioned before that my children (and myself who am I kidding) love American Girl Dolls.  We share our house with several of them but one of our favorites is Lizzy, T’s Bitty Baby.  She loves to push her in her stroller, sit her in her highchair, and carry that diaper bag everywhere we go.  When baby sister got old enough to take an interest in baby dolls, she pretty much kidnapped Lizzy for good.  I had officially decided that A would be getting her very own Bitty for her 2nd birthday in December.  Now P says she wants one too of course!  Got to have 3 of everything in a house full of girls you know!  Anyhow, a couple of months ago we got wind that AG was planning to release their revamped line of Bitty Baby at the end of August.  T was ridiculous amounts of excited so we had to do a little internet research to see what changes were being made exactly.  We discovered that there would now be 11 bittys to choose from, a whole new line of story books geared towards the younger AG lovers, and lots of exciting new accessories.  We also stumbled upon the House Party website.  How on earth had I never heard of House Party before?!?!?!  My love for over the top parties and my love for free products combined into one fabulous website!??!?!  If you don’t know about House Party, you NEED to check them out at http://www.houseparty.com and sign yourself up to host your very own!  American Girl teamed up with House Party to select 1,000 or so lucky ladies to host a Bitty Baby tea party to introduce new Bitty to the world!  Naturally we signed ourselves up to be hosts and patiently waited for what seemed like forever to find out if we had been chosen or not.  I have to tell you I had pretty much psyched myself up for disappointment because I never win anything.  Seriously.  NEVER!  Imagine my joyful surprise when I checked my email on host picking day to discover that I had been selected!!!  So in about a month we will gather around with some of P & T’s favorite lil’ ladies and have a tea party to welcome our new Bitty home.

This is the new Bitty Baby.  Her face mold has been changed as well as her hairline.  She now comes with her own full color story book called “Bitty Baby and Me” and a cute little wishing star.  Her little sleeper outfit has changed too and is super cute with little ruffles.  Can’t wait to see her in person.  T is ridiculously excited!

F6254_main_2American Girl and House Party are sending us and our guests lots of goodies and naturally I had to start whipping up my own special touches immediately!  I don’t normally share my party plans pre-party because I like for my guests to be pleasantly surprised by my personal touches but I figure there are so many other host mamas who could probably benefit from my hours of computer design work too.  My husband always says nothing in this world is free but why I ask, WHY!?!?!  We mamas have braces, shoes, school, and dolls to pay for by golly.   Shouldn’t something be free from time to time?   So here you go fellow Bitty Baby House Party Hostesses some FREE downloadable printables for your own party!  I know I’ve already emailed several of you the water bottle labels and cupcake toppers but I’ve added a few other goodies for your printing pleasure here!   Just click on any of the links at the very end of this post to download whichever party goodies you would like.  When printing make sure you select “scale to fit (print entire page)” so that none of the design is chopped off.  Some printers may have you select to print at 90% instead of 100%.  Hope that make sense.

image-5To create the place cards, simply cut each one out around the solid black lines and fold at the dotted line.  I used the computer and a snazzy font for our names but you could easily handwrite them if your handwriting isn’t chicken scratch like mine.

photo-11The water bottle labels are pretty self explanatory.  Just cut them out and use tape to secure them.  If you plan to keep them in an ice bucket you may want to laminate the labels or cover them in clear tape to make them waterproof.

image-4You can cut the cupcake toppers out by hand or use a circle shape maker if you have one.  I used to have one purchased at Hobby Lobby but it was M.I.A. so I had to do them the old fashioned way.  Once they’re cut out just tape or glue a toothpick to the back.  If you’re feeling extra ambitious you can make them 2 sided by sandwiching the toothpick in between 2 circles!  I personally think the fact that I created them, cut them, and taped them at all was ambitious enough for me!

image-6To make the Bitty Baby scratch off lotto tickets you’ll need to print 1 copy of the page with the winning ticket and then a couple without.  You also need a small paintbrush, some clear packing tape or wide shipping labels, dishwashing liquid, and silver paint.  Cut your clear tape or clear shipping label to fit the scratch off area and place it over the print.  In a cup or bowl that’s okay to get paint in mix 1/2 dishwashing liquid and 1/2 silver paint (or any color of metallic paint you choose).  Paint over the labels or tape until you can’t see what’s underneath anymore.  Mix a little bit of black in your silver for a darker better coverage if you don’t want to have to do so many coats.  I did and still had to paint on 3 coats!  If you’re using the shipping labels it’ll probably be much easier to paint them before you cut them and stick them on.  It was tough to stay in the lines with the tape.

picstitch-2Once the paint has completely dried (overnight would probably be best but I was dying to try it so waited an hour), cut out the lotto cards and they’ll be ready for your guests!  You can pick anything you want big or small to be your door prize.  I will probably do one of the new Bitty books.  What a fun project!  I will definitely be doing these again!

I also created a party welcome banner to match and invitations too!  You’ll obviously have to add your own party information.  The invitations are formatted to a 5×7 size.

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Check out the new Bitty Baby line for yourself at

http://www.americangirl.com

and don’t forget to check out

http://www.houseparty.com

I love you because…

Positive reinforcement is such an important key when dealing with our children and spouses.  Sometimes just saying “I love you” isn’t enough.  Sometimes your significant other and those precious kiddos need to know WHY you love them.  Everyone needs an extra pat on the back and a sweet little reminder of the things that make them so special and so very loved!  I saw a post on Pinterest once with this idea and although it was just a photo that lead nowhere with no link, it looked simple enough so about a year ago, I designed 1 for each of my children and they got such a kick out of them I got to thinking we might need one in our bedroom too!

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Dave may not be very pleased that I used his most recent love doodle for my blog but I don’t get them often so I would like to forever embed it into internet history!  haha  Sorry honey! I made one for the baby’s room too but she’s not old enough to appreciate it yet so I change it less often than the others and it’s more for my sweet memory.  I leave a dry erase marker by each and although I don’t change them daily,  I try to change them at least once a week.  Every once in a while, I’ll find a sweet something written just for me too!  It’s no grand gesture, just a little something that says “Hey!  You’re pretty awesome and I love you for it!”

You can make your very own “I love you because…” sign too and remind the people you love what makes them extra special to you.  All you need is a picture frame, a dry erase marker, and a printer!  I’ve created a few downloadable printable signs for you but you can create your very own to match your child’s personality or decor.  These were created in a 5×7 size so all you need to do is select the image you like best and print! There’s a little something for everyone-even the boys with legos and camo hearts!  Just click on the link to view, print directly, or save and send to your favorite online print company.  They sometimes look a little blurry when you first open the file but they don’t print that way, it didn’t for me anyway.  Enjoy!  <3

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Smash booking

Before I had kids, heck, when I only had 1 kid, I loved to scrapbook. I had a bazillion shape makers, corner rounders, paper stashes, stickers, and other assorted awesomeness. I would spend hours cutting my pictures into shapes with my Creative Memories custom cutting system and then cut cute little papers for photo mats and decorative flair. P’s scrapbook is amazing with hand cut and drawn layered paper Oreo cookies to commemorate her first ever cookie. Years 1-4 are detailed, colorful, and organized. Then I had T and all my well made scrap booking plans went out the window and my bins upon bins of fabulous scrap booking tools sat and collected dust in the garage. After our 3rd little princess was born, I realized I wouldn’t have a chance to play with my scrap booking stuff again until they were all in grade school and I was all alone for a few hours daily in sweet blissful silence! But there’s still lots of stuff I want to remember in the meantime. Dates with my hubby, craft projects I made with the girls, etc.

Enter K&Company Smash books.

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They retail for around $15 but you can get them for less by using a Michael’s or Hobby Lobby coupon, I know I did!😃
What on earth is a smash book you might be asking…
A smash book my friends is sort of a journal, meets a scrapbook, meets a tangible pinterest! It’s a scrapbook for the creatively challenged or for those of us who are now too busy to sit down and let our creative juices freely flow! Each Smash book has a theme and is choked full of built in awesomeness and zany printed pages.
Here’s a peek at some of the many smash books I’m currently working on and some of my smash accessories stash too!
This is my own personally random, mish mash, quirky Smashbook. I doodled like a school girl on the front cover and all over the inside too and added some nifty little clearance chipboard items to the front for character.

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One of the features that makes the smash book so neat is the included smash stick which is a great felt tip marker on one end and a glue stick on the other end. This is great for dysfunctional, unorganized, on-the-go crafters like myself!

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K and Company offers a whole plethora of cute and unique accessories to give your book an added boost of fabulousness and provide some easy storage for those souvenirs and other assorted keepsakes. There’s pockets, and labels, and baggies oh my!

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They also have a vast variety of “smash pads” to choose from. Each smash pad is choked full of themed notes and journal prompts to help you remember every last detail of whatever event or project that you care to smash into your book.

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What do you put in a Smashbook? ANYTHING YOU WANT!!! I’ve got magazine clippings, random things I’ve printed from the internet, catalog clipping wish lists, ticket stubs, pictures, and other random tidbits in mine! The back of each book has a built on pocket for extra smash ability.

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K & Company sells fancy “smash tape” but I like a little glitter in my life so I bought a ton of Reflections brand tape at Michael’s on sale and cut slits in one of my children’s shoe boxes to make a handy little tape dispensing device. Smash tape (and other similar products) are super easy to use and add a decorative flare to items you may not want to permanently glue down. It does not tear paper and is reposition-able if you decide to move it around. It’s overall pretty darn awesome!!!

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I used the “wedding” themed book to create a way to store our wedding and shower invitations and momentos as well as keep a log of our anniversary celebrations over the years, special date nights, etc. I used several pockets to store pamphlets, postcards, hotel keys, and other assorted goodies I’ve collected over the years. I even had random Instagram photos printed to remember dates and venues. I love that on our 30th anniversary some day, I can look back and remember that we spent our second anniversary at the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and have the handwritten card the manager left in our room to prove it!

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This is just a tiny glimpse of the many memories, thoughts, and souvenirs I store in my Smash books. What will you smash into yours?

You can get your smash book in 3 different sizes at Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, Target, or Amazon.com if you’re an online shopper. In fact, if you’re in the market for one this week, I happened to notice that the books and lots of accessories are being featured on the discount site Zulily through Friday so go have a look!

http://www.zulily.com/e/k-and-company-smash-58074.html?pos=74

Happy smashing!