Printable Lunch Box Notes

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BIC®. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's officially crazy holiday season around here. Just this week we have three holiday-related school events, a couple doctor's appointments, a 5-year-old's cowboytastic birthday party (why did I have a kid in Decemeber again?), a work Christmas party, and all the other regular hustle and bustle that Christmas brings. I've been yelling the words "hurry" and "c'mon" more than I'd like to admit. (Yep, that mom.) So when things get this busy, it's easy to forget the little things that really matter.

To celebrate this month of #BICMerryMarking, they created a downloadable booklet full of colorful, inspirational ideas for you and your family. From simple thank you notes to personalized gift tags to colorful pay-it-forward ideas, BIC's Merry Marking shares oodles of bright creations. Simple ideas that mean a lot when you're short on time but want to show others you care. Pretty much exactly how I've been feeling towrds the fam lately. 

BIC Mark-it™ permanent markerkers come in lots of bring colors plus metallics. Shiny! One idea that stood out to me as little way to show the kids I'm thinking about them, was lunch box notes. While she'd never admit it, whenever I have left a note in my daughter's lunch box, I find it several days later stuffed in her back pack. Awwww. So cute. (side note: that reaction is probably why she never tells me this kind of thing) 

I designed a few coloring-book-style notes this time and printed them out to color by hand.
Click here to download the free printable lunch box notes.

This time I used only #SummerMelon (sounds delish, doesn't it?) to color their notes, like the Merry Marking pages showed. I think it might be neat to choose a different color each time I try one of the ideas.

I backed each note with some colorful scraps of paper and tied a small ribbon in the corner.

So simple yet meaningful when days get rushed. Click here to get the booklet of merry marking and a coupon to start marking. What ideas will you be inspired to try? I'd like to nominate friends, coworkers, bosses, moms, students, and teachers to try some Merry Marking this month. You never know who's day you're making bright.
Visit Sponsor's Site


Free Motion Quilting Video Tutorial

So something like a hundred years ago I made my first quilt. Not really, it was more like 3 years ago, but same thing. I really didn't know what I was doing but thought hey, if other people can figure it out, so can I (that could really be my life motto). So I Googled a bit, read some blogs, bought some fabric, and went at it. The result was a crib-sized actual quilt for my nephew Levi. And while a few negative Nancys told me I didn't know what I was doing and that if I wasn't going to do it "right" why bother (so sweet, really), the majority of people "got it" and were excited to see a first timer get off her bum and just try. Yay you second group of people I mentioned!
Click here to read that whole lovely tutorial and maybe make your own quilt (and browse the comments to see if you can find any ridiculous ones). You can do it, I promise! 

Then like another million years later, I made my second quilt. This one was a bit larger and for myself. If you're wondering, it came out equally as amazeballs. (Amazeballs means it's a functioning blanket looking pretty much like I envisioned it looking without causing hives or rashes to its user.) Click here to see that masterpiece. One day I'll take it out of the drawer in the guest room.

In both posts I tried to describe what I was doing assuming the person I was talking to had very little sewing knowledge. Because let's face it, I had very little sewing knowledge while doing it. ha. The only thing is, even though my picture taking and descriptive skills were, ahem, incredibly stellar, like I'm headed for HGTV right now, I didn't take any video.... UNTIL NOW!

Drum roll.  Without further, incredibly informative and yet entertaining rambling, I have a video to show you which explains the whole free motion or meandering quilting technique I used. So sit back, grab your latte, and enjoy my real life self, slight lisp and all!


Make a Bed Skirt Using an Old Bed Skirt

Ta-dah!  I think the guest room is officially almost finished now that we are moving out in less than a year :) I say almost because the metal headboard I got off of someone's garbage (keeping it classy) is still just leaning against the wall behind the bed, not painted like I'm planning. I have a vision of a bright yellow metal headboard against a charcoal colored wall but since we are renting the charcoal wall is going to have to wait. And let's face it, the yellow headboard just isn't going to look the same against slightly dirty primer walls. But I'm getting off track. I finished the bed skirt!

This is one of those projects that actually turned out just like I was envisioning. Don't you love when that happens? I used the old mustardy bedskirt that we inherited with the bed, and sewed my new fabric right to it. Really, a pretty simple project. Not sure why it took me so long to get my butt in gear.

Basically, I made 3 panels of my new fabric. I hemmed them on 3 sides. You will be sewing one of the long sides to the old bed skirt so no need to hem that side. Measure the panels on the old bed skirt to see what size to make them. I ignored the pleats the old skirt had and just made straight panels. Remember to account for seam allowance on all sides. (The side you don't hem will still need a seem allowance since you need some room to attach it to the old bed skirt) 

Then, to attach my new panels to the old bed skirt I laid the bed skirt on top of the bed. (See my garbage headboard poking out there?)

Then I placed my new panels, wrong sides up on top of that and pinned along the seams on the edge. This way when you flip the panel down over the side of the bed, it covers the old skirt and you see the right side of the new fabric. I drew a little picture to help illustrate that...

Once it's all pinned, sew 3 straight lines along your pins and you're done. It's a lot of fabric to shove under your machine but not impossible.

And now it's done and less mustardy!
I just love the modern feel it gives the bed now and the extra layer of pattern and texture it provides.
Now I just need some guests. Who wants to come over?! I make some mean pancakes on the weekends.


Something's Gotta Give

Yeah. It's time. Time for that one odd post (I wrote one a while back when mom-stress was getting to me) that has nothing to do with DIY, or crafting, or some crap I dragged off the garbage and made into something fabulous. Time for me to just write and get some thoughts and confusion out and see if any of it starts to make sense.

I'm at a weird spot in my life and I really don't know what direction I'm going. I feel like I'm standing in the middle of an intersection dodging cars like mad and kind of wandering aimlessly at the same time. I don't have a clear direction and it's killing me. If you know me at all, you know I'm a planner. I like to know well in advance what's happening, where I'm going, why, who, will there be snacks... So to not have a clearly defined path is upping the anxiety levels a bit.

Let me explain. When we first got married, my roll was clear. My husband would be the breadwinner, and I would be the parent. That's not to say I didn't work and he didn't parent (he's always been a great dad for the record and I have always had a job) but mainly, I did the kids and he did work. He stayed late when he needed to, I always left right at 4pm on the dot, even if I was busy, because there were kids counting on me to pick them up and bring them to soccer practice. I have never worked 40 hours a week since we had kids (I went to 3 days a week after I had my first kid, then back to 4 days a week after I had my second... still at 4 days a week... roughly 30 hours at real work... that doesn't include blog work... did you follow that?), and it's not unusual for him to work 50 or more. And our careers are reflecting this. He's been promoted up the corporate ladder, and I'm still in the roll I've always been in. Let's face it, I'm not going to be promoted if I'm not there as much as everyone else. I get it.
Jamey and I out to dinner recently celebrating a late anniversary.

Don't confuse this for complaining. This is what we both wanted. I got to (and get to) spend way more time with my babies than most working mothers do. I like having a job and I like going to the park with my kid on a Monday afternoon when everyone else is working. I get to do both and I know that is rare. But right now my youngest baby is almost in kindergarten (and this baby factory is closed so don't get any ideas). He already goes to VPK 5 days a week for 3 hours. And come this summer, he will be at summer camp with his older sister 5 days a week, all day. My days of staying home with the kids are pretty much over. So what to do???

The hubs and my "baby" doing some moonlight fishing.

I know what you are thinking. Duh! Refocus on work and go into high-power career woman mode (like a beast). And that's an option. But you may have also noticed this little thing I have on the side called a blog. I have to admit, I really like it. You know when people say, "find you passion"? I think I found it. I love making things, and crafting things, and painting, and turning junk into awesome sauce, and telling you about it. I've been doing it my whole life. It is my dream job. If I could redo garage sale furniture all day long and still have that lovely auto deposit paycheck every Friday, I'd say I hit the career lotto. It's my passion, but unfortunately my passion doesn't do much for our savings account.
The day Kaley came to work with me for the entire day.

Now, I know you can make money blogging. I do make money blogging, but even during my best year I, when I worked my ass off, I only brought home roughly 20% of what my day job pays me. I essentially had 2 almost-full-time jobs. It was a ton of work and completely unsustainable. Making the leap from job to passion just seems impossible for me.

That's me and my bestie Jess. The day we thrifted all day. I think we even got brunch. Heaven.

So lately I've been kind of overwhelmed with it all. Real work has been picking up steam like crazy. I'm busy 100% of the time I am there. Gone are the days of any downtime. I feel like slowly my job is creeping into fast-paced career mode and shoving blog land out of the picture without me making that decision. I'm so mentally spent when I get home from work and kid's activities at the end of the day I don't even want to think about blogging. (After all, there's still dinner, laundry, homework, baths...) My friendships are suffering and they amount of to-dos rolling around my brain at all times has tuned me into a flake on occasion. I just can't get it all done! I've become one of those people that loves to get to work early and come in on off days because I know I'll get so much accomplished. When did this happen? All I want to do is sand that old dresser and give it a fresh coat of paint because I know it could be fabulous. Do I see myself with a calendar full of marketing meetings in 5 years? The short, hopeful answer is no, while the realist answer is, probably.
My regular seat... driving. I just need a mesh hat and a loud horn.

So I suppose I need to refocus. Find some balance. I've been juggling 20 different balls for months now and I'M TIRED. I want my blogging mojo back! (If you read WTS you know it's been a while since I've had a post that's really me)  But I also want to provide for my family and not regret missing time with my kids when they were little, down the road. Cake and eat it too anyone?

On Wednesday of this week we close on the building loan of our new home. (I'm secretly doing cartwheels inside... it's been a lonnnngggg road.) It's pretty much the perfect opportunity to really get some great projects done for the blog and myself. How often in life do you build a house from scratch? I think I will take this as a recharge for the blog, try to say "no" more often to less important things, and speak up at work when I'm getting overwhelmed. I can't wait to concentrate on things I really love about DIY and the creative freedom that brings. What do you know... I think I just leaned in a direction.

Maybe I'm nuts and I still won't have time to really focus on my non-salary making hobby/passion, but here's saying I'm going to actively try. I've missed you! Thanks for read/listening. I'm done. Now go back to browsing Pinterest for some awesome bloggers who are DIYing their creative butts off. They juggle a lot of balls to make that DIY genius happen.


DIY Memo Center - Recycling Flea Market Finds

Do you ever have a vision in your head of some awesome thing you're going to make and when the making part starts happening it becomes apparent that this thing you're DIYing is totally going to blow? Yup. That's been me for like the past two weeks on the memo center adventure. Come along!

You see, way back in July when I met up with some of my blogging BFFs, they thought I was cool enough to enter into their circle of trust (not really, I just thought it kind of sounded like a Fight Club thing if I put it that way) and asked me to participate in a Flea Market Swap. Basically, a bunch of us hit up a thrift store or Goodwill or something of the like and mail our finds to another blogger to see what they come up with.  

I got to send stuff to Charlotte from Ciburbanity and Jen from The Chronicles of Home got to send stuff to me. One day a fluffy manila envelope arrived amid the bills and junk. After explaining to the kids that not all packages can be for them I got to examine my loot. Here were the goods.

Yep. I'm pretty sure that terracotta pot started it's journey south as a whole pot but it appears to have not survived it's trip. Womp, womp. Besides the pot carnage, I got a few really pretty feathers and two packages of some sort of powder (and really cute wrapping, thanks Jen!). Even though the pot arrived broken, I was totally on board with using it that way and thought I could turn it into some sort of cool art thing.

The first idea I had was to frame everything (feathers, broken pot pieces) and sort of make a museum-esq gallery wall kind of deal out of them. I kit up IKEA for a few frames and went to work painting the mattes. I used a spray ink that's been in my craft stash forever but I'd never used before. It was bright yellow and I thought it would look fabulous in my guest room.

Me: "This is going to be awesome!" *spritz, spritz, spritz* "Ummm, maybe it just needs to dry? Keep spritzing..." *spritz, spritz, spritz* Ummmm. Crap.
Yeah, it looked horrible. A little bit like pee and a whole lot not like what I was envisioning. On top of that the mattes were soaked and really not savable (believe me, I tried).

So on to plan B (probably more like plan E, but I'm going to spare you all of the desperate attempts I made to save this thing). I moved onto the big guns and cut new mattes out of 1/4" plywood with a jigsaw. I just traced the frame backs and went to town. Went super quick. 

After they were cut out, I gave them both a quick sanding.

And stained them using Minwax Pre-stain and Wood Finish Cloths. Think wet-wipes soaked in stain :)

I used the Pre-Stain since I had some left over from the dresser project and it makes stain go on really even. 

It just wipes right on and sort of makes the wood a little wet.

Then I applied the stain. And since I couldn't figure out how to take pictures of myself staining whilst my hands were covered in stain, you're just going to have to imagine this part. It involves a hoarded-out hot garage, me in yoga pants, and a 4 year old begging me to help him find lizards.

Once the stain is applied, lean them against your child's bike to dry... like nature intended.

After they were dry, I traced the opening from the old matte on top in a pencil. (note the old matte is no longer yellow... that color is craft fail #2... I spared you the details. You're welcome.)

Then I taped off a boarder and applied glue with a brush in sort of a frame around where the matte opening would have been. My plan was to use the powder like you would glitter (it totally looked like glitter when I peaked in the package) and have it stick to the glue. I wanted crisp sparkle next to the rustic wood.

Houston, we have a problem. When I opened the packets of powder, they looked exactly like glitter. However, upon use, I realized I made a terrible mistake. It was totally more like baby powder and got everywhere... glue or no glue, it coated everything. Just call me Oscar the Grouch hands. While I love the color, I was hoping for a crisp line where I added the glue. That did not happen. It was more like a big smeary blob of shimmery green goodness. What to do, what to do...
I'm going to admit I totally cheated on this part. Like cheater cheater pumpkin eater, cheated. I just sanded off the green and restained the wood a bit. Technically the green powder is still part of the project, you just can't see it :)

Amidts my cheating guilt, I moved on to painting the actual frames. This went off without a hitch. Glam gold spray paint for the rounded corners.

After that I mixed up a little limey yellow green and painted about a third of each matte.

When that was dry, I attempted to arrange the broken pot pieces and feathers into some form of modern art. Seriously, you guys, in my head it was going to be awesome. In real life, not so much. 27 attempts later, I abandoned modern art and the memo center idea was born. :) To achieve memo center greatness, I decided the pot pieces needed to be smaller.
(Either that or I had some pent up frustration.)

Then I sprayed the pot pieces a mix of gold and teal.

I also painted on a little chalkboard paint and added smaller mattes from old frames with hot glue. (You can still see the green in this picture!) Then most of the feathers got turned into feather pens with a little hot glue and twine.

I used the tiny painted pot pieces like jewelry. I actually really love this "gem" from the stash glued on top of a screw to hold the pen on.

And there you have it. A semi recycled, almost craft fail, totally modern chic memo center. Even after epic fail after epic fail, it looks really great in our office.

My kids keep calling the pens, Harry Potter pens :)

So what flea market finds have you saved? Show us! Add your project below to the link up and enjoy the fun. I can't wait to see what you've made.