3.26.2015

DIY Kindle Case



Ya'll. I'm going on a cruise. Like going tomorrow. I know, crazy. It's the kids' spring break and I've been in laundry and packing mode all day. Flip flops, bathing suits, shorts, sun block– all packed. The kids even packed their own backpacks with "carry on" stuff. Included in Kaley's bag is the Kindle. I never thought I'd see the day! Suddenly my budding 7-year-old reader is excited to read on vacation and asked if she could bring it. Wha what?! Um, yes.

I think she's finally hit that point where it's not work to read anymore and she's discovered that books can be funny, scary, happy, exciting... everything a movie can be. So we got a Kindle this month (It's National Reading Month too!) with Amazon Free Time Unlimited. Basically, for $2.99 a month, she can download thousands of chapter books specifically for her age without actually lugging them all around. Great for school since her homework is to read every night and we just can't get to the library weekly. Austin has even downloaded a few early readers for himself. We've only had the thing a few weeks and she's on her 5th book. I can't tell you how excited she was to find Mr. Popper's Penguins. (It's all the rage among 1st graders I tell ya.) They read it in her class a while back and now she's reading it to me at night. :)

So, since I knew the cruise was coming up, and since I had some pretty cute fabric in my stash, I decided to take a crack at making a case for her new Kindle. Maybe she'll be even more inspired to take it more places. Here's what I did.

Supplies:
  • 2 coordinating fabrics, approximately 20" x 10" each
  • Small scrap of fabric for pocket 
  • Interfacing, 20" x 10"
  • Double fold bias tape, 1 package
  • Small Button or Velcro

Step 1: 
Measure your Kindle and cut.
I'm sure you can find the actual specs for a Kindle online but my tape was handy so I went old school. A Kindle is about 4 1/2" x 6 1/2". So I guess this step should really be called trust me and cut your fabric. ha.


I did a bunch of scribbly math on an old birthday invitation that was within I-don't-have-to-get-up proximity to figure out how I wanted this thing to work. Don't worry, that should not make sense. I just think it's fun to see the process. Measurements are below.


Cut both pieces of fabric and the interfacing into 19 1/2" x 8 1/2" rectangles.
You'll also need a piece of fabric for a pocket. That should be 6 1/2" x 4".
Picture below shows everything except the pocket. My bad.

Step 2:
Measure and mark your folds. 
There are 3 folds along the case. Measuring from left to right on the fabric that you want to be the inside of the case (the long direction), mark the folds at:
  • 3"
  • 8 1/2"
  • 14 1/2"

I drew mine with a light pencil but you could use pins or chalk or whatever. 

Step 3:
Make your fancy flap.
This step is kind of optional but I wanted the closing flap to be fancy. Stack your lining fabric, interfacing and outer fabric on top of each other. Fabrics face right sides out. On the 3" section we marked out (shown in blue), I freehanded a shape (in yellow). I just started from the center, and ended at the pencil line I drew. Then I cut that out (through all 3 layers).


Then I folded the whole thing in half lengthwise and cut the other half so it was symmetrical.

Step 4:
Add bias tape to the pocket.
Just sandwich it around the 6 1/2" side of the fabric you want to be the top of the pocket and sew. Trim the ends even with the fabric.

Step 5:
Add the pocket.
For this step you just want to work with the lining fabric and interfacing. Ditch the outer fabric for a bit so the pocket stitching doesn't show through on the front of the finished case. Fold the sides of the pocket under 1/2" so the pocket fits nicely in the 5 1/2" section you have marked out on the case (second section, next to the fancy flap you just made). You don't have to hem the bottom, it will be sewn into bias tape soon :) Pin in place and sew around 3 sides.

This is what the back should look like.  Stitching showing on the interfacing, not the pretty outer fabric. Once you admire your work, stick all three layers back together again.

Step 6:
Add bias tape to the end.
This step is pretty simple. Sew a quick line of bias tape on the opposite end of the fancy flap :) Like so. All 3 layers should be in that bias tape.

Step 7:
Fold over the Kindle pocket.
This is the pocket that's going to hold the Kindle. This is the line we drew at 14 1/2". Fold and press. You might need to pin it in place.

Step 8:
Add bias tape around the whole thing.
Woo hoo, last step! I started at the bottom, just under the pocket and added bias tape around the whole thing. This is how I handle corners. I just kind of fold and crease until it looks neat and keep sewing.

I added a couple felt buttons for decoration and some Velcro to keep the thing closed (shhhh, don't tell, they're hot glued). Totally optional but I think they finish it off. 


I still can't get over the screen. When we first opened it I thought there was a sticker on it! haha It really does look like a book page.
So I hope you're inspired to try it yourself. It might just make your budding reader more eager to bring his or her favorite titles on your next vacation. Bon Voyage!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

3.16.2015

Adding Indian Inspired Color

This post is sponsored by World Market.

If we're secret BFFs via While They Snooze on Facebook then you might know the walls are up at the new house. And ever since I've been able to physically walk around in my shell of a house, I've been planning what furniture will fit where– including my $100 thrifted gem of a couch. The thing is, I love color. And, well, this lovely shade of yellow beige isn't exactly doing it for me.
So I had/have plans to completely reupholster the thing in navy blue velvet. Yes, one giant blue couch. 75% of me thinks it's going to be gorgeous. The other 25% is scared people. I'm scared. What if I get sick of it? What if my tastes change? What if blue suddenly turns into the hunter green and mauve of the 80's and in 5 years my living room looks like a scene from Family Ties?? I just don't know!

Just in case, I'm considering a plan B: Incorporating the saturated colors I love through decor and accessories and leaving the large pieces neutral. (Wimp) I know. But I think it could be awesome. I love the jewel tones of Indian clothing. My entire wedding was actually inspired by Indian sari's. It was bright green and hot pink... just ask my bridesmaids. I'm pretty sure those dresses never got worn again. :) I think I can pull the same thing off with Indian decor in my home without overwhelming the entire space (or my husband).

A few weeks back when I was shopping the International Food section at World Market for my Oscars party, I may have eyed some of the Indian-made items above. That geometric pillow at the top has my name all over it. Love it. I think even with the yellow-beige couch I could pull off the warm, jewel-toned look I have in my head. What do you think? Am I crazy? Need some inspiration?

I've got that, AND a contest for you. The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is in theaters now. It follows Sonny and his dream of opening a second hotel while planning a traditional Indian wedding to the love of his life Sunaina. The imagery is vibrant and warm and exactly what I'm hoping to translate into my home.

After you see the movie, enter to win World Market’s Best Exotic Marigold Sweepstakes. You can win an epic adventure to India inspired by the film. The Grand Prize Package includes:
  • Trip for 2 to India; 6-day trip includes airfare, accommodations and excursions
  • Free movies for two for a year, $1,000 WM gift card

I'll keep you posted on what I decide. Blue or no blue... that is the question. Either way, that pillow is will be there. ;)

3.03.2015

Flea Market Swap: Old Records and a Shower Curtain


Swap it like it's hot! It's here! Today is day 2 of the Flea Market Swap challenge where 33 lovely bloggers (whole list is at the bottom of the post) went out thrift store shopping and sent their finds to other bloggers to transform into something more than neglected nicknacks. I participated last go round and ran into quite the craft fails along the way. I think I pulled it out though in the end. I think. Anyway... this round was much more successful! :) Today the 7 blogs above show off their stuff... come see!


Emily from Two Purple Couches sent me my goods--> 4 old records and a striped shower curtain :) Try as I might, an idea combining the two items just didn't happen. So I tackled the records first.

I had this awesome idea for navy and gold candle holders that in my head was going to get Pinterest aflutter. Seriously. I was going to be famous. So, I hit up the garage and got some metallic gold spray paint and a flat navy that I used in my son's room. Normally I'm a Rust-Oleum fan but they just don't make this shade and finish of blue. Anyway, I crossed the streams and used both.

Turns out records sprayed metallic gold do look amazing. Records sprayed flat blue... not so much. The different records took the color differently and well, they just looked like poo. So, I tossed one that there was no coming back from and sprayed over the other with more gold. 

Then, I got a small pack of round mirrors from Hobby Lobby for like $3 and glued them to the center of the records. I can't decide if I like them better as chargers for my entryway table or if I'm going to stick them to the wall as mirrors. Either way they up the glam in here. (Just look past the play tent and plastic princess heals as you walk in... it's cool).
I got that clock at a garage sale and the vase at Goodwill... both $1! :) It's a thrift extravaganza really.

Now on to the shower curtain! Backstory: A couple weeks ago I chaperoned my daughter's 1st grade field trip to LEGOLAND. They discouraged the kids from bringing their full-sized backpacks on the trip for fear that they'd get sick of carrying them around and end up piled on the poor chaperones all day. (smart teachers) But, they were allowed to bring small bags to carry snacks and little stuff. Anyway, a lot of the kids had mini-sized backpacks. And, my kid did not. So naturally she's been asking for one ever since. Enter shower curtain transformation.

I probably only used 1/4 of the entire curtain and sort of made it up as I went. The entire project took about an hour and she loves it! I'll post the full tutorial later this week should you come across shower curtains that need new life too.

I used a shoelace for the drawstring closure, hot glued some wood beads on the ends, and added a pocket to the outside. It's now ready for juice boxes and squeeze apple sauce. Bring on the next trip.

Now that you've seen what I did with Emily's finds, head over to The Gathered Home to see what Brynne did with the crazy stuff I sent her! I'm going with you since I haven't seen what she did yet either! Let's hold hands.

2.18.2015

{Series Part 4} House Update: Dirt, Slab, and Plumbing


Hey! It's been a while since I gave you a run down of the great decade-long building adventure. Last we left off we were eyeballs deep in dirt. That has since been smoothed out and the actual construction is under way. In between there we also managed to get ourselves a building loan (in October) which is a post I've had in draft for months. It's coming, one day... but honestly, it's boring and what am I going to show you pictures of? Me signing papers? Maybe I can set the post to music and offer prizes and snacks at the end. That should jazz some people up. Anyway.

Here's the plan as a refresher.  Top pic is the front of the house and the bottom is the right side of the house, looking toward the face of the garage.

Soon after closing, our builder gathered up the plans and some other paperwork to submit to the county to get a building permit. And soon after that were were rejected like a pimply teen on prom night. Womp, womp. Seems that our plans were missing tiny things like a handrail for the couple of  stairs in the garage, a carbon monoxide detector, and some outlets were not labeled GFI (you know, the ones with the little red buttons). I mean c'mon! Can't we just pencil those things in? Nope. We had to get all new plans printed from the architect, get them sealed by the engineers, and resubmitted. Translation: delay. 

A few weeks later with new plans in-hand (Christmas happened to fall in-between), we were approved and got our permit. The first order of business was scraping all of the plants off of the pad that had grown up and digging the footers. Here are the kids working on their dance moves in the living room.

When I pulled up this day I was in disbelief. It had been years and years of visiting this property and only ever seeing the same tress and dirt; Never an indication of a house. But this day was different. It was actually happening! A tear almost made its way out. Almost (I'm not a cryer). On top of that, I could for the first time, see the actual size of the house. It's WAY different than staring at it on a piece of paper. My first impression was that the house is much wider than I was anticipating. We're a little closer to the neighbors than I pictured and did I mention one of them has a rooster? I guess we'll get used to that.

The footers get dug down a foot or so into the ground (I'm sure the depth is different depending on where you live) and then lined with rebar. This is essentially the perimeter of our house and what the outside walls will sit on. Once this was done, we had to have an inspection before moving on.

The same week that the footers went in our shallow well did too. This isn't the well that will act as the water source for the house but just a temporary one for the construction guys. You need water to make cement ya'll.

After the rebar part of the footers passed inspection, they filled them up with cement.

Then, once that's dry, a couple layers of cinderblock go on top of that (which I've learned is called a stem wall). There's Kaley running in from what will be the front door and Austin is no doubt burying some treasure (cement chips, rocks, a cigarette package) in what will be the master bedroom.


At this point we're almost ready to pour the slab. This is the garage.


And the kids have found numerous ways to entertain themselves while we visit the house. The all involve getting filthy, lots of laundry, and several wet wipes in the car. I'm also starting quite the cement rock collection. Just check the cup holders in the car. Beautifully curated I tell ya.


We also had to have a few more trees removed. :( Bummer. Once the footers were in place it was clear to see they were way too close to the house. Several people kept referring to them as "lightning rods". Always comforting. This is one of those unexpected things that causes delays and costs more money. I'm starting to understand why people say construction projects take twice as long and cost twice as much as planned. This is what the side yard looked like after tree removal.

And this is what it looks like now after some fancy dirt sculpting.

And finally, any plumbing and electrical that needed to go into the ground was done and inspected. They got the plumbing done in one day which I thought was impressive. How the heck do you look at a pile of dirt and know where to put the toilet? I guess that's why they're professionals. ;) It's fun to see where the kitchen sink and bathrooms will be. I'm expecting the slab to be poured tomorrow but not holding my breath. The theme of this project seems to be "delay" so if they do... I'll be pleasantly surprised and sure to post really thrilling cement photos for you on Facebook. Here's to flowing cement tomorrow!

1.29.2015

Rustic Chic Oscar Party with Free Printables

This is a sponsored post written by me for Cost Plus World Market... my BFF for new affordable home stuff.
So, are you going to watch the Oscars? Are you a movie lover and vowed to watch all of the Best Picture nominees before the show? Do you not care and just tune in for the clothes and an excuse to drink wine? ;) Whatever your Oscar style, The Academy Awards are a great reason to have some friends over, sip a few libations, and share a bite or ten.

Last year I designed some Oscar Party Printables in sort of a glam gold traditional Oscar style. This year I decided to change things up a bit. Lots of you know I'm in the midst of building a house. In my head, it's going to be a country chic modern farmhouse mixed with a little sparkle. In reality it's a pile of dirt and rebar at the moment... but not for long. In preparation for the day when I can finally paint and bring in the pretty stuff, I've been pinning my butt off and rustic chic is definitely the direction I'm headed. Needless to say, I've been rather inspired by rustic chic modern country design lately and decided to design this year's Oscar party to match.

Click the links ahead to download the invitations (these will print out 2 on a sheet), voting ballots (2 on a sheet also), and drink tags (6 on a sheet).

Once you've got your invites sent (I left space so you could add your par-tay info) head to World Market! For years I've been shopping there for home decor and furniture but they've got a really great selection for entertaining essentials as well. I headed out early on a Saturday morning and practically had the store to myself. Kid-free, coffee in hand, unhampered shopping– this could be what heaven looks like.


The hardest part was not filling my cart. These hand-stamped serving pieces really caught my eye. The imperfect hand-stamped lettering really gives them a rustic feel while still being fancy enough for a party. I put a couple in my cart and took pictures of the rest... because normal people do that.


After picking up a new cheese board, some napkins, and my gorgeous new butler's tray (more on that later) that I moved on to the ginormous food and wine section. I could shop here for hours. I settled on a few quick appetizer bites, like Volpi Prosecco Salami from Italy to pair with my cheese, some specialty chocolates for dessert, and wine.


To keep with the rustic chic theme, I tried to pair sophisticated/glam/sleek items with more textural and natural elements. Here the circular cheese board is paired with the sleek tasting plate and vintage-style serving tongs.


And I framed the pretty invite in a rustic Arabella Vintage Frame.

Serving a sparkling wine with store-bought appetizers always ups the glam factor too. I purchased Risata Moscato d'Asti because I like my bubbly on the sweeter side.



And my Pièce de résistance, the Gold Mirrored Butler Tray. If one item says both chic and rustic at the same time, this is it. The top is an antiqued mirror while the frame is a distressed gold finish.

I love the detail on the little metal frame around the outside and the fact that it's substantial enough to act as a side table also. And the best part?  Drumroll.... 


The tray part comes off the stand! Oh, the possibilities. Seriously, I can't wait for our new dining room to be done just so I can move this in. Also, if you're wondering, the lovely teal chair in the background is also from World Market. I might have treated myself a few months back :)


Last but certainly not least is the assortment of specialty chocolates I got for dessert. There were dozens to choose from. So far the strawberry one is my favorite but I plan to taste test every single one and report back... all for you guys of course.


So are you inspired to throw a rustic chic Oscar get together of your own? It really is the easiest of parties to throw. Late enough that you don't have to serve dinner, the entertainment is on TV, and it's on a weeknight so no one stays too late. It's a win- win- win if you ask me. haha. To help you get in the movie-loving spirit, World Market is hosting the Movie Lovers Sweepstakes. If you head over you can Enter to win one of 4 Weekly Grand Prize Packages:
  • Free Movies for a Year (2 tickets per week for 52 weeks)
  • $1,000 World Market gift card
  • 4 prizes available
Make sure to take pictures at your Oscar shindig and share them using the hashtag #MovieLovers so I can see what you did! :) Happy watching.