DIY

Link UP Week: Delightfully Inspiring Thursday

link up week The 2nd of today's link up comes from a blog that I recently {and happily} stumbled upon called Delightful Order.

It's a pretty basic link up, with tons of 'delightfully inspiring' shared projects. The host, DaNita focuses on four key lifestyle tips: Simplify, Create, Organize, Decorate. Sounds great to me! Be sure you pay her a visit and join in the link party by sharing anything related to decorating, crafting, party planning, gift ideas, organizing, or recipes!

This is a quick little project I did a while back when we moved our office out of our bedroom and into the corner of our living room. I have very little space for all of my craft and Etsy materials so I needed to improvise and create storage where there wasn't any. I had just purchased a number of spools of ribbon and wanted an easy way to access them that wouldn't leave me with a big box of tangled tentacles. I decided to make a hanging 'spool spinner' on the inside of my cabinet door.

What you'll need:

  • ribbon {duh}
  • small dowel rods {or something sturdy that will fit through the center hole of your spool}
  • twine or rope {ribbon will also work but I didn't want to have a ribbon overload}
  • craft glue
  • adhesive-backed hooks

What I did:

I first decided how low I wanted the ribbon to hang by measuring out my twine - which will be the main support for the spinner. I then doubled it over and made a loop knot so that I could secure it onto the end of the dowel rod. Then tightened and secured with craft glue.

DSC_0003

Once the glue dried I slid the ribbon onto the dowel, allowing the twine knot to act as a stopper. * I found it easier to make sure the ribbon is all facing the same direction, and hanging down from the front of the spool so it's easy to pull down and measure out.

I did end up having to shorten the dowel which was pretty easy. Just be sure {if you need to do the same} you sand off the ends so it's smooth. With the free end of the twine I made a simple bow on the opposite end of the dowel, closing in the ribbon. Be sure it's tight but don't secure this side with glue so it can be removed to change out ribbon in the future.

DSC_0008

Your twine should make a triangle above the ribbon, from which you can easily hang wherever you need. I used adhesive-backed hooks on the interior of my cabinet doors.

Hang and you're done!

DSC_0010

TA-DA. Simple and sweet. Just the way I like it!

Join the Delightfully Inspiring Thursday link up and be sure to hop around the other party participants to see some great new blogs and projects!

Until next time...

Link UP Week: Wow Me Wednesday

link up weekAnother Wednesday link up!Am I going overboard? Do I care? NO... I'm having too much fun!

This next link up is called Wow Me Wednesday and is coming to you from Ginger Snap Crafts. Here are the rules:

The “rules” are simple.
Please consider sharing this party on facebook, twitter, google+ or pinterest.
Link up to your post, not your main blog. Must be something made by YOU!
Visit other links, make new friends & most of all have fun! Check back every Thursday for features from the previous week’s party.
I shared a sneak peek of this project on instagram a while ago and am excited to share it with you now! I'd been wanting to make Keelin a set of alphabet magnets to play with on the frig while I'm cooking. With the help of my weekly JoAnn fabric coupons, I snagged a bag of wooden letters for super cheap! At first I considered painting them but then thought about her habits at this age {i.e. putting everything in her mouth} and decided I wanted to add color while still being safe IN CASE one of the letters happened to find itself between toddler teeth. My answer... food coloring!
After searching high and low for a reasonably priced set of primary colored food coloring {Seriously what's with all the pastels and neons. What happened to plain old red, yellow, and blue?} I finally grabbed a jumbo pack of Wilton gel colors and got down to business.
Here's what you'll need:
  • wooden alphabet letters {or shapes, whatever you are dying}
  • food coloring {I used gel but from what I've researched liquid should yield the same results}
  • white wine vinegar
  • boiling water
  • dying bowls/cups {I used solo cups so I wouldn't risk dying my dishes}
  • disposable gloves {your hands WILL turn all sorts of fun colors if you don't}
  • toothpick/fork/wooden skewer for mixing
  • adhesive magnets
  • paper towels
  • wax paper/parchment paper
Here's what to do:
I kept it simple with a repeating rainbow pattern by laying out the alphabet in front of their designated color like so:
DSC_0079
To prep the wood you'll want to sand all sides - this will allow the color to adhere better.
DSC_0089
As far as mixing the color, I disolved the gel color in boiling water and about a tablespoon of distilled white vinegar - which also helps the color bond to the wood.
*Note - be sure you test each color and whether or not the vinegar has an effect on it BEFORE you drop your letters. I learned that the vinegar turned my red a little too orange and my purple a little too blue. If you notice this happen, simply drop your sanded letters into a water/vinegar bath for a few seconds before dropping in the color. If you want to avoid the possibility of altering your colors all together you can keep the vinegar mix separate for all of your letters. Up to you!
Once your water is the desired color {I also recommend testing some small pieces of wood in each color to see if it's the shade you want. My pack of letters had a few extras of the vowels so I broke them up and tested them all before dropping the whole letter.} drop your letter and use a fork, skewer, toothpick, etc. to make sure it's fully coated. Don't let the letter sit for too long or it may get waterlogged. About 30 seconds for each should be fine.
DSC_0088
Remove the letter and place on a paper towel, on top of wax paper {to keep the color from bleeding onto your table or countertop}
Do this with all of your letters and let dry.
If you find that some of the color isn't as bold as you'd like it, drop the letters again until you get the color you want!
DSC_0092
I probably could have dropped some of them a few more times but I like the way they all turned out.
Once the letters are completely dry, attach adhesive magnets to the backs of each. I'd try one magnet toward the center of the letter, test it out on the frig to see where it could use more support and add as needed.
DSC_0096
Please ignore my orange fingernail in the photo above. Proof that some kind of hand protection is wise.
DSC_0097
Last but not least, tack them on the frig and watch your toddler swat them immediately on the floor. Hard work pays off, eh?
DSC_0102
Don't mind my filthy, dented frig.
SO, there you have it. A fun, inexpensive, and easy way to make toddler-safe alphabet magnets. {Obviously don't let your kid play with them unsupervised because they are still made of wood and magnets which don't BELONG in slobbery soggy mouths. Just know that if you happen to catch a quick chomp, you don't need to worry about the hazards of ingesting paint.
Thanks to Ginger for hosting such a fun link up. Please join the party by adding one of your recent projects to the list!
Until next time...

Link UP Week: Sew Cute Tuesday

link up week What the what? Three posts in one day? Yes, believe it folks... linking up has ignited an uncontrollable fire.  But this is that last link party of the day, I promise. I hadn't originally intended on doing another but when I found this blog and party I decided it had to be done. Especially since I'd been meaning to share a project that will fit in perfectly with the theme!

Better Off Thread

Welcome to Sew Cute Tuesday hosted by Better Off Thread {hello adorable blog name}. It's all about sewing or craft projects and it's about time I shared one that I did back before Christmas. The hubs and I were trying to budget our spending for the holiday and I wanted to make something special for my new nephew, Spencer. I already had the fabric, snagged a few extra rolls of ribbon, and was on my way to making a sweet lovie {tag blanket} for my sweet love!

His nursery has a nautical-lighthouse theme so I wanted to do something along those lines and I decided to use the fishy fabric from Keelin's 42 week onesie shoot. I had just bought some grey pop-dot fabric for the quilt I have still yet to finish, and decided it was the perfect soft back the blanket needed. I measured and cut the fabric to match and pinned them with the 'right' sides facing one another. You should know that I'm a terrible seamstress so my technique is terrible and probably WRONG in the grand scheme of things... but it gets the job done. In the photo below you can also see that I measured out 1/2" on each edge to help guide me on the sewing machine... yeah, rookie.

tag blanket

I then placed the ribbon tags where I wanted them. I didn't make any particular symmetry, just wanted enough on each side for him to really grab onto. Remove the pins in the area where you plan on placing a ribbon tag and slide between your pieces of fabric, making sure the end of the ribbon is lined up with the edge of the blanket.

tag blanket

Replace the pins {through the ribbon} and head to the sewing machine.

tag blanket

I assume since you found me on a sewing blog you can basically decipher the rest. I assume since you found me on a sewing blog you can basically decipher the rest. If not, sew each edge completely, making crisp, 90 degree corners. Leave a hole about 1" to 1 1/2" so you can flip the blanket right-side-out. I used the tip of my scissors to lightly press in each corner to make sure they were fully inverted. Close the hole and admire the cuteness.

tag blanket

It was a lot of fun to make and even more fun to see in a picture with my nephew!

tag blanket

Hopefully in the next week or so I can link up again to share progress on Keelin's onesie fabric quilt. It does exist, and there has been progress... but it's definitely not done. If you have a fun sewing project worth sharing, make sure you join the link party with Better Off Thread!

Until next time...

Igniting the Fire

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting the master minds behind my two favorite blogs: Young House Love and Bower Power. Here's the tail of how it all went down and how a relaxed and friendly 5 minute 'howdy-do' ignited the spark I've been needing The Petersik pair have been on the road and in the air on an EPIC book tour promoting their NEW YORK BEST TIMES selling book and Atlanta was their last stop. As soon as I learned they were coming to a flooring shop new me I registered and marked my calendar! It was the first book signing I'd ever been to and even though I had read about some of their earlier tour stops, I had no idea what to expect. Part of me was imagining it would be in a huge room with mingling moms and bloggers all eager top hop in line and get their books signed and photos taken. The YHL all-stars would be seated behind a table, possibly up on a small stage, ready to answer questions and rub their jaws from excessive smiling. My dreamed-up image was only partially true. There were plenty of eager moms and bloggers, even some adorable babes {including my very own bean} and a few four-legged friends. There was a book signing table, and two very sincere smiles coming from the stars of the evening. There was a room - a small one - but a room none the less.  There was also a line - a huge one. A line that not only wrapped out of the small room but down the block, looping around into the hall of a parking deck, then back lining the walls of not one, not two, but three rooms of an empty gallery. It was pretty comical watching new line-joiners walk into the cluttered and dimly lit rooms trying to find the end of the train. I'm sure people thought I was looney tunes walking in with a giant diaper bag and a squirmy bundled toddler who was constantly trying to run laps or find the next little piece of food buried in her bag. Thankfully I was not the only one who was looney tunes and Keelin was actually such a trooper.

Let me just add that I don't use the term "trooper" lightly in this situation because this "long line" I speak of took us 3 hours to get through, part of which was outside in the cold windy February night. Trooper is the understatement of the lifetime.

So, when we finally got into the small room, the WARM small room, I was ecstatic. The end was near, we were so close to meeting my blogger idols, and the time frame for a possible toddler meltdown was getting smaller and smaller with every swipe of  the Petersik's red sharpie. That's not the only reason I was ecstatic, but I should back up a little to fully explain. {geez this post is turning into that never-ending line, isn't it} When the line finally brought us to a point where we could see into the shop {Flor in Atlanta} I noticed there wasn't just a simple single-file stretch of people leading up to the signing table. There was another line leading away from them which I was convinced was where you would pay for your book if you hadn't brought one you'd already purchased. Then I saw a counter in the back where it was clear people were purchasing books so I was all sorts of confused and submitted to the fact that I'd have to wait and see what the 2nd line was for. So, fast forward once more to when the doors opened, the burst of heat welcomed us, and the 'end is near' excitement set in. As soon as I got IN the store I made a point to look around to see what people were waiting for. As I scanned the left side of the store I saw a quaint snack table with sweet treats and beverages, I saw a stand labeled "photobooth" where people were snapping away  making goofy faces {totally wish I'd gotten pictures with Keelin and I - mom fail}, AND THEN I saw the reason for the 2nd line. Chatting it up like the local celebrity she is was the lovely Kate Bower. Not only that, but her sweet hubby Jeremy and their adorable new baby boy Weston were flashing smiles as well! Jackpot. Seriously, my two favorite blogs come to life in one room. So worth the wait...

So, after buying my book, getting back into the line, fixing my feeble attempt at a Katniss-esque side braid, getting out the little gift I made for John and Sherry's daughter Clara {a custom creation from theKeenBean of course - nothing like a little self-promotion where I can get it!}, and keeping Keelin entertained enough to avoid a last-minute tantrum we finally got up to the table. Holy nicest-people-ever Batman. Seriously, such a sweet and genuine couple. They immediately thanked us for coming  and asked Keelin's name.  Sherry was stoked about the headband for Clara and we bantered a bit about how fast it normally takes our kids to rip them off their heads. Sherry gave a huge grin when she saw the name of my Etsy shop, "theKeenBean, LOVE the name!" and we jabbed about me being an (804) native. They were attentive and honestly interested in who we were, which was so incredibly comforting. Seriously I want to be best friends with these people. Keelin and I swung around the back of the table for a quick photo-op and ended our meeting by John telling me he'd "Say hello to the 804 for you" and me telling them to let me know how long it took Clara to rip the headband off her head! You know, just chatting it up with famous people like we were besties. No biggie.

Young House Love

Then we waited {and snacked on raspberry shortbread cookies} to see Kate. Yes, it was late and Keelin was getting cranky, but I decided we'd waited all this time we may as well. I'm so glad we stayed because Kate is such a sweetheart. She and her hubby both complimented Keelin on being sooo beautiful {true, true} and I oogled over little Weston and even got a smile from him! What a sweet boy! Kate joked that she nursed him in the car the last time he ate but was considering just feeding him there in the store - to which I encouragingly told her "go ahead, just pop it out girl!" I also got all gooey and told her how I loved reading her birth stories and was in the process of becoming a birthing coach and doula - which she was super encouraging about. After another compliment to the bean, an autograph from Kate {she has a featured project in the YHL book} and shared a few laughs when Kate said she really wanted a girl and might steal mine, we were done.

It was 10:00pm, we were finally headed home, and it was totally worth the wait.

Now it might seem silly for me to be drooling over people who, in the GRAND scheme of celebrities aren't exactly Ryan Gosling status, but being able to meet them and see how incredibly genuine and thankful they are for the support of a nobody like me, is incredibly encouraging. As you know I've recently put my own blog and Etsy shop on a bit of a pedestal and have decided to really 'go for it' to make them a success. Here in the last week or so I've been really down and unmotivated because I continuously see other bloggers {newer bloggers} who have greater fan-bases and a more solid interaction stream. I've made the mistake of comparing myself to those people and, as a result, have totally blown out my own flame. Getting to meet my 'blog heroes' helped me to remember that being a 'blogger' not about make money or being'popular'. It's about sharing bits of yourself in a way that makes you happy. It's about finding people with similar personalities to bounce ideas off of. It's about forming relationships with some random person across the world because you both had pimento cheese cravings while you were pregnant.

I can't have an 'end goal' when I take on the title of 'professional blogger'. Yes, getting sponsors and having people pay me to jot down my thoughts would be aces, but if that's all I'm doing this for... will I ever REALLY find success? Will the happiness that comes from sharing my thoughts and knowing some people out there appreciate them totally disappear when it becomes about money and 'fame'?

Last night's book signing really re-lit my fire. Not only did I learn what kind of patience {and muscle} it takes to hold a toddler for nearly three hours while wearing heels, but I learned that doing something because I love it is enough of a reward for me. I love blogging. I love sharing stories to keep friends and family updated on our lives and I love that I have gotten some more friends to share with along the way. I'm excited about moving forward thanks to my new flame and eager to see where it takes me. If you're willing to come along with me on the journey, I will be happy to have you! And on a final note I'd like to give a huge thank you to the Petersik's and the Bowers for being such wonderfully kind and inspiring people.

Until next time...

The Keen Bean

I am so incredibly excited that I FINALLY checked this long overdue item off my TO DO list this weekend. You've heard me talk about it for a while now and I finally sat down {while the hubs was off having bachelor party adventures with a friend of ours} and got it done. I had a neat little station set up, put The Avengers on repeat, and got down to business. I did it! YAY ME! I FINALLY OPENED MY ETSY SHOP, theKeenBean

The Keen Bean Etsy

 

I have always talked about opening an Etsy shop because I like to be crafty whenever possible. But it wasn't until after learning I was having a girl that I started really CREATING. What started off as buying a small quilting swatch to turn into a hair piece has turned into something I've really become passionate about. Seriously, all I want to do {besides hang with the fam} is make sweet things for sweet ones.

Currently the shop consists of one-of-a-kind hair accessories for little girls, and little girls at heart. I don't have a basic design that I make on repeat, each item is 100% unique and made with love. But hair accessories is not all you will find at theKeenBean, I have more ideas than I can fit in my brain {literally I have to write them all down each time a new one pops up so I don't forget it} and will be adding on SOON! Expect the expansion to include baby clothes {boys and girls}, home accents and decor, and plenty of do-dads for nursing moms. This is a big deal people! I'm going full speed ahead!

So, how bout that name?

When I decided that I was going to open an Etsy shop I knew I had to come up with a name that was cute, easy to remember, and gave a spotlight to my inspiration. Ergo, theKeenBean. I love it. It feels fun, happy, stylish, quirky, and everything else my own little love is to me. I would love for you to take a look around and tell me what you think! Since I'm new to the Etsy world I would love some feedback as well. You all are such wonderful loving readers and I really respect your opinions so I'm officially drawing a target on my head and saying bring it on! You like the pieces. You hate the pieces. You'd totally buy something. You think the name is stupid. You think I'm an absolute genius. You think I should adjust my pricing. Whatever it is... hit me with it!

Also... if you're on Etsy or have experience on Etsy, I'd love some tips on how to get noticed {and join my circle! I'll be happy to do the same}. How do you establish a solid selling relationship? What advice would you give me just starting out? Am I totally in over my head? Again... bring it on!

I'll be adding a new page to the blog featuring newly listed items and specials so be on the look out for that as well! FYI, I'm currently running a GRAND OPENING special for the month of October {Breast Cancer Awareness Month}that includes a free Breast Cancer Ribbon clip with every purchase. {they are also for sale as individual purchases}

breast cancer ribbon hair clip

 

So, I couldn't resist sharing this news with all of you, since I've been talking about it for long enough, and I hope you all visit, explore {buy things}, be happy and tell me what you think!

P.S. Some of my one-of-a-kind creations will be included in an upcoming giveaway. I know I've talked about this a lot too... but it is happening! Getting some final loose ends tied, because it has to be awesome, and then it's go time!

Until next time...