2.26.2014

DIY Whale Art

Surprise! It's a virtual baby shower in honor of my friend Katie over at SewWoodsy.com and KatiesCucina.com. As some of you know, Katie and I are friends in real life and she's about to "pop" with her first bundle of joy. So, myself and several of Katie's blog buddies got together and are posting a virtual baby shower for Mr. and Mrs. Woodsy today. While Katie and Jon (Katie's husband) work wonders in the DIY world, Katie is also an accomplished cook and most of the blogs participating are from her food blog side. I hope you'll click around (links at the bottom) and enjoy the party. There's lots cooked up for you and a couple crafty projects thrown in.

Speaking of, since food isn't really my specialty, I went the crafty route and created a DIY version of Whale Art I saw on Katie's Nursery Inspirations Pinterest Board. While normally I wouldn't completely copy someone else's work, I knew Katie liked this print a lot and I didn't want to paint her something she wasn't so crazy about and then feel obligated to use it in her nursery. Know what I mean? Awkward.... So I stayed as close as I could to the original. The original is from Senn & Sons and is gorgeous. I just love how crisp, bright, and clean everything looks. They have several archival quality prints available in their shop here. You should go check them out.

For my version, I just bought 3 canvases at my local Michael's.

And painted one navy, one teal, and one light blue.

Remember to paint the sides for a finished look.

Then I free handed the whale (sorry, no short cuts this time) with a pencil and filled it in with white craft paint using a tiny brush.

The white didn't cover as well as I'd hoped so it took a couple coats.

And that's it. DIY whale art simple and sweet.
Can't wait to deliver the goods and meet the newest member of the Woodsy/Cucina household.

Now, have a stroll around and enjoy what everyone else has got cooked up. Lots of great ideas with busy families in mind.
Easy Broccoli & Cheddar Soup from The Little Kitchen 
Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Peppers from Cook the Story 
Individual Tortilla Caprese Pizzas from a farmgirl's dabbles
Easy Cheesy Potato Corn Chowder from A Little Claireification 
Slow Cooker Jambalaya from A Spicy Perspective 
Italian Style Stir Fry from Aggie's Kitchen 
Apricot Chicken from Bombshell Bling 
Easy Baked Spaghetti from Chocolate & Carrots 
Freezer-Friendly Quinoa Meatballs from Cooking with Books 
Baby Boy Subway Art Printable from H2OBungalow 
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Cake from Inside BruCrew Life 
Asparagus And Leek Quiche from Kokocooks 
Pesto Parmesan Chicken Salad from Shaken Together 
Coconut Cookie Butter Sandwich Cookies from Simply Southern Baking 
Easy Kofta Kebabs from Tasty Chomps 
Overnight Oatmeal from The Hungry Housewife 
Slow Cooker Italian Chicken Soup from The Lemon Bowl 
Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Tacos from The Nifty Foodie 
DIY Whale Art from While They Snooze 
One Pot Mexican Chicken and Rice from Yellow Bliss Road

2.16.2014

Oscar Party Printables

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of World Market, a brand I love. All opinions are my own.
Are you watching the Oscars this year (March 2nd)? Weather a movie lover or a red-carpet-who-are-you-wearing lover, the Academy Awards is a great excuse for a fun party with the gals. I've seen people even have their friends dress up Oscars-style too. Can you imagine having your BFFs show up in their best bridesmaid dress or leftover prom attire? Ha! Awesome! It doesn't have to cost a lot either. Since the Oscars are in the evening, you can totally swing a dessert and champagne soiree. No sweating in the kitchen.  I'll show you...

Let me start you off with some free printables. Pictured above are the invitations. Click here for the PDF. (or here if you want to save paper and get two on a sheet) Just print these suckers out and you're on your way.

I also came up with a quick ballot for 2014's awards. I thought it would be fun to have guests vote for their picks on a few select categories, then see who wins at the end of the night. Maybe offer a small prize? Click here for the ballot PDF.

Last but not least, a few tags. I glued them to a piece of ribbon and made my napkins look fancy, but they could also be used as drink tags or to decorate your table. Making things look fancy doesn't have to cost a lot. Click here for the tags. 

Next, I hit up World Market to stock up with fancy desserts without actually making anything. That's how I roll. It's so easy with their HUGE entertainment section. Not only do they have tons of fancy-looking treats for us to much on, they have great, inexpensive dishes and linens too so my table looks just as fabulous as the stars on TV.

Then I found a few fancy napkins from the clearance section (woo hoo) and a pack of gold buffet napkins to keep with the Oscars theme. Not a lot of money and I can use them forever.

I also got 2 8-packs of tasting spoons. These were really inexpensive and make any appetizer look special; homemade or not. When in doubt, add berries to chocolate and people get excited. :) I absolutely love these and am going back for more. Watch out family! Tasting spoons at every event from now on. The kind of look like little high heal shoes to me.

 Look how fancy pants. How could you not love them?

Then I found a few small appetizer plates and arranged my World Market biscotti neatly. Again, add berries and suddenly you're the hostess with the mostess. The plates cost just slightly more than themed paper products would have and I can use them forever. I'm seeing a theme here.

I thought these cone dishes were awesome too. Think about everything you can display in here and really get some height on your table. Pretzel sticks, chocolate, bread, etc.

Last but not least, open up the bubbly. World Market has a large selection of champagnes in a variety of prices and the staff was extremely knowledgeable and helpful when I described what I was looking for. "Something good with chocolate". I'm never disappointed in what they recommend. 


So print out your invitations and have a fancy night in with the girls. A few desserts and champagne and you're on your way. Being fabulous can be affordable.
For the ultimate Movie Lovers experience, head over to World Market and enter their Movie Lovers Sweepstakes. One grand prize winner will receive FREE Movies for a Year ($1600 Fandango gift card) and a $1,000 World Market gift card. What!? That's awesome. Also, 3 runner ups will receive a $500 Fandango gift card and a $500 World Market gift card. What are you waiting for?

2.12.2014

Toy Box Makeover

I redid my kids' toy box from Golden Girls chic to DIY cheap. Not sure that sounds all that appealing but it looks a whole lot better. I bought the giant wicker box about 5 years ago on Craigslist for $20 when we were just learning what it meant to have a baby with five million toys. I didn't really like it then but we were young, semi-broke, and it fit in the backseat of my Accord. Sold.

Then, a few weeks ago we were having some people over and it dawned on me how much I really didn't like it. On top of that, the wicker was falling off and leaving little pieces of straw everywhere that kept getting stuck in our socks. Time to intervene.


So, I drug it out to the garage and the kids and I went at it. We pulled off a lot of the wicker with our hands and switched to needle-nose pliers when we got to a nail. Red rain boots optional.

There were a ton of these babies to pull out. I worked my way around and pulled out as many as I could and then, it happened. 

I was yanking out a particularly large, rusty nail that used to be holding the handle on, and the pliers slipped. Ouuuuchhhh! I sliced my wrist quite badly. I probably should have been using a hammer to get that nail out. I had to stop, Google "tetanus", and then realized I should head to the doctor for a quick shot since I could not remember the last time I had one and the symptoms of tetanus seemed quite unpleasant. On top of that, because of the location of my laceration, they took a picture of it. Yes, the nurse got a camera, and took a photo of my arm. Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's going in my file for "psychiatric reasons". Good times. I tried to explain my DIY lifestyle. I'm not sure the believed me. Moving on!

After I was all bandaged up, we got back to work. Turns out, landscaping clippers work really well to cut wicker. :) A few cuts later, it pealed right off.


And then it looked like this. (I took the hinges off too) Wait, what? Zoom in.

Blehhh. Hang on a sec while I puke a little. Wow. Holy dust. Did you know how much dust wicker can hold???  I had no idea. Also notice the line of bent nails I had to pull out. I was more careful this time. Not to worry. I also vacuumed. A lot.

And put on one of these. Please excuse the crazy person eyes.


After the dust had cleared... ;) ... I cut two thin pieces of MDF. They were 1/4" thick. There's two leaning against the table saw there.

I glued one to the bottom of the box and one to the top.  The wood it was made of was quite thin so I wanted to reinforce it. Plus, the kids get in and on the toy box often. It needed some strength. This is the bottom.

Have one child apply said MDF while other child holds scrap piece on his head. That part is optional but it's how we roll.

See?! My weights do get some use sometimes!

I also put a few nails in around the edges using my RYOBI AirStrike. Love this thing. Battery powered, no chords, super convenient.

After the glue dried, I added casters to the bottom. I bought these about a year ago at a garage sale for $1!  Had no idea what I was going to use them for at the time but for $1, how could I not get them? I just drilled some holes and attached each caster with nuts and bolts from the hardware store.

After that all the nail holes got patched.

And I sanded and primed the whole thing.

After a couple coats of white paint, I added a little pattern to the top with a gold Sharpie.

I did the long horizontal lines with pencil first.

And this is what you get when your photography assistant is 4 years old. Best shot out of the 6 he took. Just paste the crazy eyes from the mask picture on this one and you'll almost have my whole face. :) Once the Sharpie part was done, I did a quick thin coat of Polycrylic on the top to protect it.

And done. After a smidge of toy purging, we even got the lid to close!

It looks so much better now and way more my style.

Now, the rest of this room just needs some paint!

And I left the inside the scratched up mess it was since I know it would just end up back that way anyway. Hope you like it and are inspired to work with what you've got to make something you love.