Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Before and After: Dining Room Furniture!

A few months ago we scored some pretty awesome furniture from Craigslist. It looked like 1987, but I thought it had good bones and great potential. And for $300 for a whole wall of storage, it was worth the gamble. Today I'm thrilled to show you the finished project!

This big project had many mini-projects, which I will outline in a few additional posts, including: updating those hideous glass doors with some framed wood ones; adding fabric panels to the back of china cabinets; painting the dining room walls; sanding, painting and glazing all four pieces; and updating all the hardware with something more modern.

And I know this blog is all about how you should try new things yourself and all, but I had some serious help from some extremely talented people to pull this all off. In fact, I'm pretty sure they did more of the work than I did. But part of doing something yourself is knowing when you can't!

So here's another look at the before. Notice the lovely glass doors, those supremely tasteful brass-ish drawer pulls, and that beautiful orangey-oak color. Lovely! But EIGHT drawers! FOUR closed cabinets! EIGHT additional shelves behind glass doors! SEVEN hard-wired lights! Not to mention that this baby was built to last a lifetime - just ask the wonderful people who had to move it!

And here is another look at the after. It's like a breath of fresh air, isn't it? I really could not be more thrilled with the finished look. It is exactly what I had in mind when I saw the Craigslist post back in February and dragged my wonderful husband an hour away to check it out.
So here it is again, before and after side by side. It's hard to believe it's the same thing! What do you think? 

Ahoy! It's a Boy!

 Earlier this month, we traveled to Oregon to spend some time with family and celebrate at a good friend's baby shower. She asked me to make the cake for her, and of course I agreed!

The shower had a nautical theme, so we decided on a cake with some waves and banners, and a boat topper. I again made my own fondant using powdered sugar and marshmallow. I used bunnywoman's recipe from the Wilton forum web site and I borrowed a KitchenAid mixer from a friend in town.

I did find that if you simply double the small batch recipe, it gets very sticky. In the future I'll halve the large batch recipe like I've done in the past. It works much better. So the dark blue was a little stickier than I would have liked and I think if it weren't so sticky, the waves would have been a little more crisp. Alas, I think it still looked pretty good.
The cake itself was lemon poppyseed, with a raspberry buttercream filling and a lemon buttercream frosting on the outside. I stacked three 10 inch rounds with filling in between each. I used some of my mom's raspberry jam in the filling and it was delicious! I put a little bit of clear vanilla in the fondant just to make it taste better.

The topper was made out of cardstock with white glitter stickers and attached to the cake using kabob skewers. The cake looked great, tasted even better and the shower was so much fun celebrating the baby boy coming in a few weeks!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

L is for Lucy!

We've had the pleasure of meeting quite a few new baby girls around here these days, which means lots of new reasons to do fun craft projects.  I saw a very cute yarn-wrapped letter on Pinterest and put one together for my friend Mary's new baby girl Lucy.

I used a cardboard letter from Hobby Lobby, one skein of turquoise yarn, a few pieces of felt, a couple buttons and some embroidery floss. The whole project was less than $10 and took 3-4 hours. Not bad at all!

To wrap the letter with the yarn, I started with the ends and the corner. I cut a bunch of strips of yarn and then used tacky glue to wrap them over the ends. Then, I started wrapping the longer portions, scrunching it all close together as I went along. I think I wrapped everything twice to ensure even coverage all around. I finished it by gluing the end of the yarn down on the back side.

For the flowers, I used a rolled flower technique. (Just google "felt flowers DIY" - there are tons of tutorials out there.) Basically you cut out a circle, and then cut a spiral into the circle piece. Roll up the strip, glue the end and that's it. I added a couple pieces of green felt for the leaves, and hot glued it all in place.

For the birdies, I created a paper template and then cut out pieces of felt. I stitched on the wings to the front piece first, and then used a blanket stitch to piece it all together. (I really appreciated the tutorial posted HERE.) I also put a layer of batting in the middle to give it some fluff, and then stitched on the eyes. I probably should have put the eyes on before putting it all together, but didn't think that far ahead.  I made an easy twig, and then another rolled flower to give it some more color. Then I glued it all together to the yarn.

I'm currently working on a red and purple on one for another beautiful new baby girl - I love how these come together and they look so cute in a new nursery!