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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An awesome machine

Okay so have you seen this machine before??!!

It is a Silhouette Craft Cutting Machine. And it just seems fabulous! I HAVE to have one! It can cut out paper and do vinyl and glass etching and heat transfer and and... holy cow! Too many things to even list. That sounds fantastic, right? I can already think of all the ways I could use it to try out new crafty things. I have never owned any type of craft machine before but this seems like it would be easy enough to use. I know I definitely need to get a sewing machine and learn how to use one but at least for now my mom has one of those and is fabulous at using it and doesn't mind helping me with any sewing projects I have :)  More to come about some recent sewing projects at a later post.

Anyway, back to the Silhouette.. look at the cool things it can do. (All images are from Silhouette Blog)

There are so many things you could make with this 1 machine! It would be wonderful for scrapbooking too.

The good news is that a few of the blogs I love to read are giving them away to a lucky reader AND they also have some cool deals going on as well. So hurry over to Tatertots and Jello, Thrifty Decor Chick, and Just A Girl to check out the giveaway and the deals! Crossing my fingers hoping I win! I feel like I never win anything like these types of things and of course I'm sure everyone thinks that until they DO win. I guess it's just all a game of chance but I DO hope this time it's my chance :)  If not, I think I may just have to get a Silhouette anyhow (sorry sewing machine, you have been moved down on the list)!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Homemade Play Kitchen

At the beginning of this year, I decided I wanted to build a play kitchen for Eric's niece Abby who had just come to live with Eric's parents. Abby was turning 3 in late May so she was a great age for it and it gave me a few months time. I remember loving my play kitchen as a child which may have helped contribute to my love of cooking. (Although I think I may have also had a play vacuum and I certainly don't love vacuuming) I had seen a few homemade play kitchens around blogland that really helped with the process such as Out of the Crayon Box and I had a vision of what I wanted it to look like and I knew I wanted to be thrifty making it. So here is how I tackled my first DIY project :)

I took a $10 ugly but functional thrift store nightstand (honestly I probably could have found one cheaper than that but I went with it because I wanted to have plenty of time since I had no clue what I was getting myself into to get it just right).

And turned it into a homemade play kitchen!!! Complete with a magnetic chalkboard! And hooks for an apron, chef's hat, reversible shopping tote, and cupcake-shaped pot holder (these were sewn/made by my godmother Peggy because she is SUPER crafty and has the talent and sewing machine to make these)!

Here are some steps from along the way. I did leverage the blog referenced above because there is a great tutorial there although I think every play kitchen is different - dependent on what nightstand you start with.

The nightstand was a bit challenging to take apart due to its dovetailed and peg-like construction but it finally surrendered to my force... well perhaps the hammer helped.

First I had Eric cut a hole for the sink with his new jigsaw. We measured the dog bowl I bought at the dollar store to know how big to make it. He was happy to get a new tool out of my project and I didn't feel comfortable trying to use a saw for the first time to get the hole right (altho I did make him practice on a scrap piece of wood first). And it fits!

Next I primed all the pieces I wanted to use in some way for the kitchen. We had to buy a really thin piece of plywood to use for the bottom of the kitchen and for the bottom of the oven (separating the oven and the storage area)

I painted it a cotton candy pink color - Abby's favorite color is pink so that was a given. Did you know there is an Oops shelf at HD and Lowes with discounted paint where the color wasn't to the buyer's liking. This one was a gallon for $5 at Lowes and it happened to be oil based - a pain since it takes so long to dry but very durable. Before painting I had Eric cut a square one drawer front to be the oven "window" and to get rid of the ugly gold handle.

I painted the insides of the oven with black craft paint and painted the faucet-wooden letter J, sink knobs- wooden people, and burner knobs- diet coke plastic tops with silver craft paint. As you can see one board is only painted halfway - this is the back of the oven so the bottom half will be painted pink for the back of the storage area under the oven.

I painted the other half of the board pink and did some touchups.

Then we (Eric helped) put on the hutch piece secured with  little L brackets to the base and bracket for the shelf (unpainted at the time). The hutch was one of the nightstand drawers minus the drawer front and its shelf was a leftover piece of wood.

Next came the most challenging task of all: the oven door (one of the nightstand drawer fronts) We attached the oven door hinges probably at least 10 different times trying to get the door to fit and shut and open properly and we even tried bigger hinges. Many times the oven door would open too far, or not far enough, or there would be a big gap at the top. Finally we had to let the hinges guide where the door needed to fit on the kitchen at and needed to cut down the door by about an inch. There is a very small gap where the hinges are but I am OK with that. Thank goodness for wood filler!

After that I traced rolls of tape for the burners and painted them with gray craft paint.

Then the dowel and curtain and door handle were put on. My mom made the curtain out of cupcake material I picked out... it was a lighter shade of pink and perfect for a kitchen, who doesn't like cupcakes?! I also glued, well attempted to glue the sink in... because of the shape of the rim on the bowl the only thing that would work in the end was tape under the rim.

I added the faucet (glued), sink knobs and burner knobs (screwed in so they could turn).

I borrowedtook a clear plastic folder from work to put on the inside of the oven "window" and also secured top of the oven door with velcro dots. I glued on little cut up dowel pieces I had painted black to the burners for that real burner feel. It's kinda hard to see below but I also wrote H, M, and L on each burner knob for high, medium, and low.

Then I did a little more touching up, wrote Abby a message on the back of the hutch, and sprayed it down a couple times with a clear protective coat.

Meanwhile I had been also been working on the magnetic chalkboard. I bought small sheet of metal for like $4 at HD and sprayed it with a couple coats of Chalkboard paint. The corners were sharp so I covered them with sticky tack and added a hem tape/ribbon border complete with button bows made by my mom. I attached it to the left side of the kitchen with gorilla glue.. pretty strong stuff.

this is the strong stuff
gorilla glue- this is the strong stuff!

Since it had to travel in the car on its side, I attached the adhesive hooks to the right side of the kitchen once we got to Eric's parents for Abby's (belated) birthday dinner this past weekend - this was the first weekend that his parents, us, and Eric's brother Keith and his wife Megan could all get together. I hadn't told Eric's parents what I was working on in case it failed miserably so it could be a surprise. I did tell Keith and Megan about it so they could get Abby all kinds of kitchen items/play food for their present. Here are some pictures from the play kitchen revealing!

Here she is all dressed up in her apron and hat, PRICELESS! Peggy also made her a play cake that said Happy Birthday Abby and she LOVED it! Look out Top Chef 2030!

She had so much fun and I think I had just as much playing kitchen as she did! She made a shopping list and saut├ęd a donut, hamburger, and fries, delish! And she even let me be sous chef for awhile and wear her hat.

So Abby's homemade play kitchen and my first DIY project was a big success! I am really proud of this kitchen because I did it all by myself (minus a few powertool things) AND I had a vision for that old nightstand and I think it came out pretty darn fantastic! I did spend a lot of time on it but the nightstand and materials used for the kitchen were around$40 so pretty thrifty. I hope it's something she can play with and love for years to come. I had a great time making the kitchen even with some challenges and I would definitely make one again!

Now all Abby needs is someone to wash those dishes for her :)

I will be linking up here:

504 Main

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One Year Ago


Oh, they say when you marry in June,
You're a bride all your life.
And the bridegroom who marries in June
Gets a sweetheart for a wife.
Winter weddings can be gray
Like a Christmas holiday.
But the June bride hears the song
Of the spring that lasts all summer long.
By the light of the silvery moon
Home you ride, side by side
With the echo of Mendelssohn's tune
In your hearts as you ride
For they say when you marry in June,
You will always be a bride.

(From Seven Brides for Seven Brothers)

I cannot believe that almost 1 year ago (6/20/09) Eric and I tied the knot. Wow time has flown! That was such an amazing day for both of us and we had the best time with all our family and friends. Here are a few random snapshots from our big day!

I love looking at our wedding pictures (I have a some of our wedding pictures in various places in the house) and remembering everything from that day. It went by so fast that it is nice to think back about those fun memories. I can remember feeling so anxious/nervous right before the church doors opened and I walked down the aisle. Good thing my dad was there, if he isn't calm cool and collected then I don't know who is. Once I saw Eric's face waiting for me, all I could feel was so incredibly happy and blessed!

My dad, or dad-o as I call him, is a pretty funny guy. I guess this fits in nicely since Father's day is also this weekend.

There are so many things I loved about our big day besides marrying the man of my dreams of course (duh!). I loved my dress and especially the fun bow with the broach. I think I may put on my dress again this weekend and wear it every place I go just around the house for a bit, I mean what fun is an amazing dress you only get to put on once right? I especially love the way Eric looks in a tux too! I loved the atmosphere of our reception country club- one big open room ballroom with gorgeous windows overlooking a golf course and a large dance floor. Eric and I love dancing and we actually got to dance a lot. People had said we wouldn't get to eat or dance very much but we made sure to! All of our guests seemed to enjoy the dance floor so that was great. I loved the flower buckets my mom made filled with blue hydrangeas (swoon!) that lined the church aisle and were also on some tables at the reception. I loved my earrings that my mom and I designed and made. I loved how Keith, Eric's brother, made me laugh during the best man speech at his funny comments. We loved spending time with our close friends and family and seeing everyone so happy!

So many great memories that I hope I never forget anything about that day! Happy 1st anniversay to Eric and I!
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