Sunday, November 3, 2013

Perfect Little Pumpkins

C'mon, does it really get any cuter than twins? I think not. A beautiful family, a pumpkin patch, and a warm autumn day. Perfection.

Brayden and Kieran are almost adorable enough to make me wish I had twins. Almost.... :)


Thursday, October 31, 2013

From Pine to Pretty

I've been back on a DIY kick lately because we are finally getting close to moving and I want to have some projects already completed for the new house.

Here's a few things I've been working on...

Console table makeover. This little gem was a discounted find on line. It cost me a whopping $30, plus about $20 in paint, primer and supplies. I have plenty of paint leftover for something else too.

I admit I went through a light colored wood phase sometime in the late 90's, but now I'm all about black or charcoal gray furniture. So this little table was destined for a Pottery Barn knock-off look. It took a coat of primer, 3 coats of black paint, lots of sanding, a stain pen for the distressed edges and a few coats of furniture wax. I'm glad I tried this on a small piece first because there was more work involved than I anticipated, but I love the end result.  I think it looks a lot more sophisticated and updated. BTW, I found a very similar table on line and it cost $900! Now, that's crazy talk. Props if you spotted the cat watching the progress! 

A few of the other DIY projects in this pic include the star bust mirror, the faux canvas print and the succulent terrariums.  

This mirror was made with a 10" round candle display plate from Michaels and about 50 paint sticks from Home Depot. Because I'm totally chicken, it actually took me 3 months to collect enough paint sticks to make this! I was totally embarassed about grabbing 50 sticks at once, so it took me several trips to grab handfuls at a time. When I finally had enough, I used the vinegar/steel wool approach to staining them. It didn't give me the dark gray color I desired so I added a coat of really strong black tea and they instantly turned this color! It was perfect and easy. The short sticks are trimmed to length and then they are hot glued to the back of the mirror. I recommend drawing a circle guide on the back to help keep you on track. It turned out bigger than I thought, but is so light weight that only one picture hanger glued on the back holds it up. 

My hubby thought I "messed up the edges" on the table. I guess he doesn't understand the distressed look! But I think it looks really good and is far more interesting than a straight black piece. I used a stain pen for the edges because the original pine was too light for my taste.  

The terrariums are glass vases from Goodwill, rocks, dirt and flea market succulents. They are probably the only plants on earth I can keep alive. No joke. 

The "canvas" is actually an 8x10" luster print from Costco glued (Mod Podge) to an artist canvas from Michaels with the edges painted black. It probably cost less than $4 to make, which is way cheaper than a real canvas! I made 3 total which will probably go on a gallery wall in the new house.

The new house walk-thru is next week. I'm excited to see everything installed, new and pretty. Moving day can't come soon enough! Happy Halloween!  


Friday, September 27, 2013

365 Days

2190 dirty diapers
1825 washed bottles
488 ounces of homemade baby food
6 airplane flights
2 runny noses
1 trip to urgent care

 And just like that, 365 days have flown by.

Happy first birthday, Lil' Bug. You are loved.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Sweet as apple pie

I could just eat this little girl up! Adorable Ava killed me with those big blue eyes and coy smile. She was such a pleasure to shoot.

Happy first birthday, doll face!


Friday, August 30, 2013

Baby Blues

This little guy is all boy! I had the pleasure of hanging out with him and his parents on a warm summer afternoon to snap these pics for his first birthday. Can you believe his eyes?

Happy First Birthday, Joaquin! 


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Snap Happy

I fell off the blogosphere for a couple weeks, but for good reason. I've been jet setting across the country. OK, it was just a quick trip to Seattle, but I had the honor of shooting the wedding of a dear friend, my first wedding gig ever! I was more than a little nervous, but I think I got a few keepers. 

The setting was intimate, the bride was glowing. It was a beautiful affair with a perfect couple. Congratulations Robyn and Louis. May you have many happy years ahead of you.

Beautiful couple.

Robyn and Isabelle, the sweetest flower girl ever!

Robyn has the BEST taste in shoes!

Now I'm on a photography roll! In preparation for a family/one year birthday shoot coming up, I've been location scouting. There are so many parks and nature areas in the Santa Clarita Valley that I never knew about. Today we visited Placerita Canyon Nature Park. Of course, my test model came along for the ride.  I wonder at what age she will say, "No more pictures, Mom!"

Other things that have been keeping me busy? Cleaning the garage (I found lots of fun vintage items I never knew we had!), packing up non essentials, collecting boxes (Trader Joe's is a fabulous free source!), purging junk, dreaming up my next DIY project, and planning a first birthday party for Lil' Bug.  Its been a crazy summer!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Bye-bye baby room

When we were two, our 1000 sq foot apartment was adequate. Two bedrooms, two baths, attached garage, in unit laundry, and walk in closets. Not too bad. Now we are three, and suddenly the walls seem closer, the carpet dirtier, the edges sharper. Moving day is fast approaching and so is the monumental task of packing 6 years of our life.

As I look around trying to decide where to start, I feel a little pang of sadness when I realized Lil' Bug's first nursery will be no more. What used to be our office/junk room, became a bright nursery with the help of my sister and good friends. I wish I could find the before picture, but its lost in the archives somewhere. So I want to share with you some of the DIY decorating moments I made before I pack them up.

 Ah, the crib. The crib that she didn't even sleep in until she was 6 months old! The dragonfly print bedding was made by my talented sister. I wanted something with a nod to our Asian heritage (she's 1⁄4 Chinese), but not overly so. I found some pagoda themed bedding in similar colors online, but wasn't willing to spend $400 for it! I took the color inspiration and pleaded with Auntie Em, and now we have a perfect bedding collection. Total cost was about $100. I made the "E" frame from the trusted IKEA Ung Drill, spray painted it white (the one that I got on sale for $19 was black), covered the backing with scrap fabric from the bedding, and hot glued an "E" from Michaels on it. Easy peasy!

As I mentioned before, we currently live in a rental. That means we aren't supposed to paint the walls. But as they say, don't ask permission, beg forgiveness! My sister and a friend helped me paint the walls, spouting something about an 8 month pregnant woman is not allowed to paint? Whatever! They painted 3 walls in a delightful turquoise blue, and the window wall has a stencil pattern (from Martha Stewart). When we told the apartment complex we were moving, and I mentioned the fact that we painted a room, we were strictly instructed to repaint the room white. So there's that...

The long wall needed a little something. I've had these 24" square canvases in the closet for 2 years because Michael's had and awesome buy one, get one for a penny sale I couldn't resist. The Martha Stewart stencil kit came with these patterns, add three bottles of color coordinated craft paint, and we have fun stenciled backgrounds. The white branch is made from sticky contact paper. Its easily removable and I think I will do something else with the pattern backgrounds in the new nursery.

This mobile is made from a wreath frame, fishing line, craft paper, dragonfly punch, and double stick tape. Inspired by all the ones I saw on Etsy ($70+!), I knew this would be an easy and cheap project. I think the total cost, including the punch, was $15. It hangs above the changing table. When I say, "where are the pretty dragonflies?", she knows exactly where to look. Too cute. 

The lamp was actually the very first thing I made for the room once I decided on a color scheme. The base and shade are both from Target, on sale of course! I've always loved the stacked acrylic ball bases because they don't take up too much visual space. Add ric-rac and hot glue and this little lamp is ready for late night diaper changes.

The lamp sits upon a small dresser I've had since my college days, back in the dark ages! No seriously, I've had it for 20 years, you do the math! I bought it unfinished for $150, which was a King's ransom to me back then. I painted it purple and green, because it was the 90's and I thought it was cool. Then I decided that a "shaker green" stain was even cooler. It stayed green for 15 years, and served mainly as storage for my handbags (before you judge, I worked at a designer handbag retailer, so I amassed an impressive collection with an employee discount!). Auntie Em actually did the last transformation into the corally-red that it is now. Its the perfect size for her little onesies, bibs, towels etc. The handbags found a new home in a giant storage bin.

Here are a couple wide shots of the room after 10 months of use. Real life happens, messes occur, clutter accumulates, but it will forever be Lil' Bug's first room.

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Saving and old friend

My hubby has had a hand-me-down couch since we met. It was one of those things that he wanted to hang on to because its the last remaining thing from his bachelor pad days. I, on the other hand wanted to set up a donation pick up for the stained eye sore. After some "discussion", we agreed to try and save the old girl so she can someday live in our loft, aka "Man Cave".

I wish I had a better before pictures, but I was so excited when the slip cover was delivered by Amazon, I forgot to take them! Here's a picture of a cushion, just so you can see what I was dealing with for the last 8 years!

This is actually the better of the two seat cushions. The other is totally thread bare and stained. Can you say years of two male roommates eating fast food, plus a lazy dog? Ick.

So one love seat slip cover, 5 pillows, lots of pulling and tucking later....

Good as new! I think it'll look nice in the "Man Cave", and it saved us spending $$$ on a new one. This quick make over cost less than $100, mostly for the slip cover. I made the purple and NAP pillows for a little extra zip and comfort. Hubby is happy his old friend was saved from the donation truck.


PS: Look for the NAP pillows to make a reappearance in a future give away!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Bistro Table v3.0

So, there's this table I've had for about 12 years. It was purchased at IKEA for a small studio I had for my invitation design business. I also used it in my booth at wedding expo's (what a mad house those were!). After that, it was my dining table when I was a single gal in a little one bedroom apartment. And finally it was a patio table in our California apartment. It sat in the scorching sun for 4 years before I decided to jazz it up a little. Here's the first make over, v2.0.

Sun faded and tired.  I wish I had better before pictures, but I didn't know they would end up on a blog!

A little more fun with a bright pop of color!

Fast forward 2 years, the red paint is faded, the legs are rusting, and the wood veneer is peeling up.  I had visions of making the table top a clock face, or replacing it all together with new wood.  Turns out its quite expensive to get wood for a 29.5" round table, and I don't like laying out type in a circle.  Then one night I found a fabulous site.  Its called Graphics Fairy, and she is has the most wonderful vintage images!  Inspiration strikes.

I was able do this project almost for free because I had the table (obviously), off-white latex paint, black acrylic paint, finishing wax, and sandpaper.  I did go to HD for black spray paint for the legs. Side note: Why do I always feel like a criminal when buying spray paint? Its locked in a giant cage and they ask for your birthday! Not to mention the pressure you feel to choose quickly because the nice lady is waiting for you to lock it all back up! But well worth the anxiety for the magic of spray paint!  So for about $4, I had made this, v3.0...

I love the new look. New but old! I don't know where it will live in the new house, but it will become an inside table because I don't think it can take the weather in its old age. One other quick note, I did flip the table top over to solve the peeling veneer problem. It doesn't have the cute detailed edges, but it is smooth and flat!

Need a tutorial to transfer images to furniture? I read this tutorial, but I used regular chalk and acrylic craft paint because I had them on hand. The lettering is hand painted, which didn't take nearly as long as it did to put three layers of wax on the table. My arms are still feeling the pain!

I bet you have something in your house that needs a new look. Go for it!

- Sarah

Sunday, June 30, 2013

My head might explode!

I have so many projects in mind for the new house that I actually had to start a Word document that detailed them room by room. Its a little overwhelming, but also exciting.  I love the thrill of the hunt for thrifted items and new ideas.  Here's only 4 of the many items I've already gathered.

1.  Vintage 1950's Samsonite suitcases. I have big plans for these! First off, someone painted over the awesome original blue with red, so I'll have to figure out how to get if off.  I'm thinking a side table and maybe a wall storage cabinet for craft supplies?  So many possibilities.

2.  Side table.  This little guy will get a Pottery Barn aged black treatment.  It will probably go in the in the entry way with some cool mirror over it.

3.  I'm obsessed with chevron!  This fabric will be toss pillows for the master bed.  I'm not usually one to put a bunch of pillows on the bed, mostly because I rarely make the bed, but I couldn't resist adding this pattern somewhere. 

4.  Family heirloom armoire.  This is a hand-me-down from my husband's family.  Once used to store fishing equipment in the garage, then linens and a TV in the bedroom, its now ours and needs some TLC.  My vision is either the Pottery Barn black again, or a dark espresso stain.  Its a big project so I will have to wait until the new house so I have garage space. 

I can't wait to show you the finished projects.  What to do first?


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My baby is a beaver!

EMERGENCY!  Little girl is sprouting her teeth. She already has two bottom teeth, and the front top two started to make their appearance. What better teething toy than the crib rails? Well, Grandma spent a pretty penny on the crib that will supposedly last her through high school graduation, so I didn't want tiny teeth marks forever embedded in the rails. Not to mention that paint and wood are probably not on the "baby's first food" list.  I had to act fast.

So I searched the Internet for possible solutions.  There's the stick on kind, which reviews show as not-so-sticky, and they ruin your paint. Then there's the fabric bumpers which are quite expensive, especially if you go to ETSY and look for a custom design. They can run you $100 for 3 sides!  Then I thought, "Hey, I have mad sewing skills now, I'll make it myself"!  I found this tutorial, and off to Jo Ann I went.

I tried to get a before shot of baby actually biting the rail, but she doesn't perform on demand, yet.  So here's a cute pic of her anyway.

$19 for materials, one evening, half a nap time, and this quickie was complete. The rails have been saved!

I think they came out nice, and will function as needed.  The only thing I might do differently, if there is a next time, is to use ribbon instead of making the ties. Those ties took me at least two hours to make! Ribbon would've been so much easier.  Live and learn. 

On to the next project.  I think I'll put away the sewing machine for awhile. 

- Sarah