Just Like Goober

A working suburban mom, a curious baby boy, and a whole lotta life

Two weeks January 23, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 1:12 pm
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Is it possible I haven’t written in two weeks? That’s just sad. January has gone by so flipping fast, it’s making my head spin and I feel like I’m losing track of everything, this blog included. I have such grandiose ideas for things to do, to make, to craft and then all of a sudden weeks or even months have gone by without any progress on my goals, my to-do list, or even my good intentions. I should really work on that.

To get back into the swing of things, here’s some bullets of random stuff. Because transitions are hard.

  • Goober is talking so much my head is exploding. Hubby and I are astounded daily by the things he says. Particularly by the regular use of things that sound like full sentences. This is extra difficult because he still talks a lot in Toddler Babble, but sometimes he will sound so close to the real words that we’re left wondering if he’s saying a full grammatical sentence or if we just need our ears checked. I mean, he’s 19 months old. 19 month olds don’t speak in grammatically correct sentences. They should be working on two word pairings at best. So when we hear “ Iwanmy BLANKIE,” we’re not sure if we’re hearing a sped up toddler version of “I Want My Blankie” or if it’s really “Babble Babble Babble Blankie!” So I’m having an internal battle between my Practical Educated in Child Development self [“19 month olds don’t use sentences. It just sort of SOUNDS like a sentence. He must be mimicing speech, but with babble”] and my Obnoxious Parent self [“My baby is a GENIUS, somebody call MENSA!”]
  • While I haven’t gotten too far on that to-do list, Hubby and I have started doing a little walking in the evening on the treadmill. We moved it in front of the tv in the basement and we watch our show (Burn Notice) on Netflix while we take turns walking. I’m hoping to build my endurance up a little more before I attempt another round of Couch to 5K (Some day, damn it!) Currently I’m speed walking at a 4.0 for about 30 minutes. If anyone has any suggestions on how to avoid shin splints, I’d love to hear them. It seems to be unavoidable, even when I’m not running. Grrr.
  • Speaking of working out, now that we did our basement revamp, I’d like to break my long ignored Wii system back out and start using this program again. Once upon a time, that thing kicked my ass and I’m in significantly worse shape now, so I’m guessing it’ll kick it harder. I’m thinking about getting a Zumba program also for Wii, but I’d like some reviews first. Does anyone have anything like that that you love or that worked for you. I’d prefer something Wii over just a video. I need the interaction and feedback.
  • In keeping with #20 on my To-Do List, (Be a better housekeeper), Hubby and I tackled some long neglected things yesterday, including our bedroom (our typical reaction to our own messiness is to just shut the door), scrubbing out the refrigerator (disgusting), and using the self clean feature on the oven for the first time (shameful). My kitchen feels so luxurious now!
  • I’m considering trying to convert my BumGenius cloth diapers from velcro to snaps myself. I found this set of pliers and snaps and this tutorial and now I just have to take the leap. I need to do it, my velcro either needs to be replaced or converted, and it just seems silly to do another round of velcro when I know it’ll wear out in a year. I’d love it if someone could tell me about their own experience with converting!

So that’s what I got. Hope everyone had a good weekend and that everyone has a great week!

 

Who wants a Silhouette? December 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 1:10 pm
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Well, me for one. But probably you too. So here is a list of a lot of places giving one away this week. Good luck!

 

Ruffled Christmas Tree Slipcover December 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 1:04 pm
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Two craft posts in a row?? It’s like I have my act together or something. Crazy!

So when I first saw Linda’s Ruffle Christmas Trees, I knew I had to make them. They’re just so cute and fun. However I didn’t have a sewing machine, so these little beauties ended up being the final straw on the camel’s back. I had some Amazon gift cards I was saving for a Kindle Fire (which I still covet), but I decided I wanted a sewing machine more, so I cashed those puppies in for my lovely little Brother. While I was on Amazon, I decided that my life would be more complete with a ruffler, such as is suggested for the Ruffle Trees, so I threw that into my cart as well.

Step 1: Acquire sewing machine and ruffler foot. CHECK!

MAH PRECIOUS (channeling Gollum) new toys arrived within two days(!) but as I mentioned before, I had this little paper due that encompassed my entire grade for the class, so they sat alone in the basement, in their boxes for almost a week. While biding my time, I did read the entire sewing machine manual online in between paper research stints. Once I was able to break it open, it didn’t take me too long to get everything hooked up, threaded, and running. After making my felt bow, I felt I was ready to take on THE RUFFLER (spoken like a WWF announcer). Because I’m broke frugal, I bought the generic ruffler foot, which didn’t come with very clear instructions. A little Googling led me to this tutorial which I found very helpful and after a little more confusion (i.e., the fabric doesn’t actually work in the configuration that the ruffler box suggests) and a little trial and error, I soon had a lovely little ruffle.

 

Step 2: Create a ruffle. CHECK!

(it just occurred to me that I didn’t document the whole fabric cutting/piecing/ruffling process. Whoops. Just head over to Linda’s page, she shows it all, and with much better lighting.)

(also, since I keep calling her Linda, rather than Linda from Craftaholics Anonymous, it’s starting to sound like we’re besties or something. I should clarify, she has no idea who I am, except maybe that chick who keeps appearing on her Link Backs list. However, I would totally get a margarita with her if she were nearby and so inclined. She seems kinda awesome!)

Because I tend to jump the gun, I made my ruffle before I even had a tree to attach it to. Linda used a paper mache cone to create her ruffle trees, and after I read that they’re less expensive than the styrofoam, I was bound and determined to use those as well. Me=disappointed. Apparently they are NOT SOLD in St. Louis. Or at least anywhere I went: Michael’s, Joanne’s, Hobby Lobby. All failures. Rather than buying another styrofoam cone, I decided I would reuse the cones that I used for my Halloween Witch Hats. I made those following Cheryl’s instructions, which allowed for cone reuse. Using that same train of thought, I decided that I’d like to make a ruffle tree slipcover. Not only would I get to use my cones for future projects (remember, I’m broke frugal!), but when I pack them up after Christmas, they will take up no space at all.

Step 3: Find a cone. CHECK!

I will warn you, I have no idea how to make a ruffled slip cover. Here is my half baked method as it currently stands, which is partial at best.

Materials:
-White handkerchief

-Rotary cutter or scissors

-Pins

-Sewing machine or a willingness to sew by hand

-Previously created fabric ruffle of appropriate length

I started by rolling my cone in the handkerchief and then tracing around the cone. Not the most sophisticated way to measure, but it didn’t require math. Make sure you leave a decent length allowance along the cone for future pinning and sewing

Hey look! A non-phone picture! How refreshing!

Roll your cone back up in your fabric (wrong side out) and pin along the length of the cone. You want to make sure the fabric is snug enough to create a smooth slipcover, but loose enough that you’ll be able to get it on and off. Also, standard floral cones don’t come to a point. If you want a point on your tree (I did), you will either have to fashion some sort of tree-point-prosthesis (I’m open to suggestions if you have any!) or wing it when it comes to sewing the point of the fabric.

 

Pull the slip cover off of the cone and sew along your seam.

Cut off any excess fabric beyond your seam, then turn your slipcover right side out.

Here is where I am stuck. I haven’t figured out how to permanently attach the ruffle to the slipcover. I thought about hot glue, but I feel like that’s not as secure as sewing. I’m not sure how to sew the ruffle onto a cone. I don’t really want to do it by hand, but I might have to. The following steps are how I’ve rigged this up for now.

Take the ruffle and wrap it around the cone, overlapping the previous ruffle row just slightly. On the bottom row, I stuck a straight pin at the place where the ribbon first winds back to itself, just to stabilize the bottom row.

Continue wrapping and overlapping, adjusting for the look you want. 3/4 of the way up my cone, I ran out of ruffle and had to whip up an additional length of it. Where the two disconnected ruffles meet, I put another straight pin. Even if the ruffle was long enough, it might not be a bad idea to add some additional pins for additional ruffle stabilization.

Continue wrapping all the way up the cone. Since I haven’t found a suitable object to supplement the cone point on the styrofoam, I had to work with an empty point on my slipcover. For me, I just wound the ruffle around the slipcover, trying to avoid caving it in, and then pinned the ruffle to the slipcover to keep it from unwinding.

Step 4: Create a Ruffle Tree. CHECK!

You can’t really see the pins, but you can see the wonkiness that is the tree tip. I would love some suggestions from you guys on what to use as a cone point and also on how to permanently sew my ruffle onto my slipcover. I don’t want to have to re-wind the ruffle each Christmas!

Even with all the issues, I still really love this project. I love the ruffles, I love the fabric, I love everything about it. Now it’s starting to feel like Christmas!

Linking Up Here

 

DIY Felt Gift Bows December 15, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 12:04 pm
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These bows are such a cute addition to any gift box or even as a sweet ornament. Definitely reusable and they hold up much better than the shiny paper ones from the dollar store! I will tell you, I used this project as my inaugural sewing machine craft and, while fun, it was tedious and unnecessary to sew these. I think I’ll probably use hot glue next time. However, for the sake of honesty, I will tell you how I used my sewing machine on this project.

 

Materials:

Felt

Rotary cutter or scissors

Sewing machine

Upholstery needle

 

First, start by cutting your felt into (9) 3/4 inch strips as follows:

- (3) 11 inch strips

- (3) 10 inch strips

- (2) 9 inch strips

-  (1) 3.5 inch strip

 

 

Next, you need to twist and secure each strip into a Figure Eight, making sure that both ends of the 8 are point up

 

Do this with all your strips, except for the smallest. Take the 3.5 inch strip and sew it into a circle.

(I really need to stop taking these photos with my phone. I’m gonna try to work on that.)

Finally, you will stack these Figure Eights on top of one another, largest on bottom and smallest on top. Be sure to stagger the direction of the loops so that you don’t have any large gaps and that it looks uniform all together.

  

Here I used an upholstery needle, which is curved, to sew my loops together. A regular needle should work too, but the upholstery needle is nice to get into the middle of the bow without smooshing the loops too much. This step here is definitely one I would replace with hot glue. Felt by nature isn’t great with holding thread, so if you pull too hard, it can pull right out. Not that I have any experience with that or anything…

Finished product!

And here it is on my sewing machine, like a little present to myself!

 

Linking up here

 

When did it become December?? December 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 3:41 pm
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Well, I’ve returned, after apparently falling right off the face of the Earth. Happy December everybody! After Thanksgiving, our house was hit with one illness after another. Goober still has a runny nose and Hubby’s cough is only slightly terrifying. In addition to disease ravaging our household, I had to write a final paper for class that was due yesterday. I spent the entire, and I mean ENTIRE, weekend writing and revising until I couldn’t see straight. Unfortunately, my new sewing machine that I bought off Amazon with my birthday gift cards arrived last Wednesday. I knew if I opened that box, I would fail my class, so in the box it stayed until last night!

I’ve been collecting crafting supplies since around Halloween, when I decided to become crafty. Reading the creative blogs of folks like Cheryl, Linda, and the Real Housewives really inspired me to start crafting and creating and generally doing something other than collapsing into my television when Goober goes to bed. Hence my decision to forgo a Kindle Fire in lieu of a new sewing machine. (I still really want a Kindle Fire, in case lovely folks at Amazon are reading this) Our home is quite small though and while our basement remains unfinished, I decided I really needed to create some space down there for my new, and hopefully expanding, hobby.

Last night I finally was free to get downstairs and get my little space put together. I have a desk from a coworker that I want to eventually refinish, but it’s good for now. I set up my machine, pulled in a couple storage bins, hung a picture and voila! Instant crafting nook!

There’s my pretty new sewing machine!! My apologies for all future pictures down here. I have two hanging bare bulbs as my only light source in this windowless room. Also, please ignore the folded up ping pong table and the wall studs. Although, the straight studs work well for shelves and it’s really easy to drive a picture hanging nail…maybe if I get some cute wallpaper or some paint…

On the table top:

 

Basket: Glue, scissors, tape, stapler, rubber bands.

Letter tray: Sewing machine manuals, crafty coupons, office tray

Office tray: pens, markers, clips, post-its, hole punch, rotary cutter, rubber band ball

Under desk storage:

    

Top drawer: Sewing stuff (needles, thread, bias tape, elastic, pressure feet)

Middle drawer: Crafting stuff (paint, glue gun, glue sticks, glitter, googly eyes)

Bottom drawer: Stationary

Side storage:

On top: Box of ribbons, box of scrap fabric, basket of clothes to be mended

Top drawer: scrapbook paper, felt, fabric

Bottom drawer: cutting mat, ruler, big stapler, twine. This will probably be a depository for random stuff.

So there’s my Craft Nook. It’s not much, it’s not fancy AT ALL, but it’s mine all mine and I’m pretty happy about it.

 

Homemade(ish) Foaming Hand Soap November 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 7:30 am
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Question for you- Do you love foaming soap? You know, the kind with the weird pump and surprisingly watery soap inside that auto foams when you press the nozzle? Perhaps made by a brand that rhymes with Mile? (I don’t know what the rules are about blogging and brands, so to be safe, I’m going to with “rhymes with”) If you said yes, keep reading. If you said no, well, keep reading anyway. Question #2-Does the price of the foaming hand soap (especially considering how much quicker you go through it) grate on you? Maybe you’ve considered not buying it, even if you love it? If your answer here is no, well then, I can’t help you. If your answer is yes again, then you might just also love me. Feel free to tell me so if you feel inclined.

To make your foaming hand soap, you’ll need the following:

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Some liquid hand soap and an empty foaming soap pump bottle. Unfortunately I do not know how to get you out of paying the initial price to get the special pump. But buy yourself one (I think they even have them at Aldi’s now) and you’ll make up your pennies elsewhere. For instance, you could go to Costco and get two of these for $7.50

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That’s a lot of hand soap.

Put about this much soap into your foaming soap pump bottle

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Fill the rest up with water. (If you’re using a different sized bottle, the ratio should be about 1 to 5, soap to water)

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Shake it up

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TA-DA!!

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Hot damn! FOAM! And it feels and washes and smells exactly like the much more expensive store version.

I’m pretty sure my Costco set of liquid hand soap will probably last me until Goober goes to college. And then I’ll still get to send the second bottle with him!

Just for grins, let’s do some light math. A standard bottle of Rhymes with Mile foaming hand soap costs approximately $1.79 at your favorite BigBox store. A 64oz liquid hand soap refill bottle will cost about $4.00 at the same BigBox store (a little more than Costco). If I used approximately 1.5 oz of liquid hand soap to make my fabulous homemade foaming hand soap, then I should get about 42 homemade bottles of foaming hand soap from my one refill bottle. Ignoring the cost of the water out of my faucet, I will then determine that 1 bottle of homemade foaming hand soap costs approximately 9.5 cents. This brings my savings to just under $1.69/bottle, or $71.18 over the time it takes to go through 42 bottles of foaming hand soap. [insert happy dance]

Sharing the soapy love with:

Craft-O-Maniac

The Shabby Nest

Tatertots and Jello

A Bowl Full of Lemons

 

Monday Pinning October 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 11:46 am
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Happy Monday everyone! Did you have a nice weekend? I had a lovely weekend. Saturday was my birthday, and while I’m not too thrilled about aging, I love birthdays! My husband and I don’t usually do big gifts, mostly because we’re always broke, but this year he got creative and got me two things. The first was practical, a new set of everyday drinking glasses since we’ve broken about 80% of the glasses we got for our wedding. He picked up a set of 12 pint glasses, which are much heavier and durable than our previous choices. I like them. My second gift was disguised as a box from the Gap, but was actually a small slip of paper from Sappington Shoe Repair. That little slip informed me that the 5 pairs of broken, worn down shoes I’ve been holding onto for upwards of 5 years have been FINALLY taken to the cobbler for fixing and will be returned to me this coming Friday, good as new! This is probably the best gift ever. I’ve been telling myself, and him, that I would take these shoes to the repair shop for ages. I’m notoriously hard on shoes, so I generally render them unwearable in a relatively short amount of time. As it’s usually just a heel cap or something easy like that, I don’t want to throw my cute shoes away, but I obviously kept forgetting to do something with them. Now, come Friday, I’m going to have 5 good as new pairs of shoes to wear! YAY!

Sunday I finished some Halloween projects and finally took pictures of all my Halloween crafting and decorating. So today’s Monday Pinning theme will be named after my newest Pinterest board, From Pin to Reality!

So, first, as I tutorialized here, I made the hanging ghost lights. I found these cuties at That’s What Che Said and had pinned them to make for myself.

After making another batch last night, my porch ghosts now look like this:

Yay for symmetry!

Another pin that I recreated for my own is also from Thats What Che Said. Behold, my witch hats!

For the full tutorial, check out on Cheryl’s very helpful instructions.

Next up is a Pin that I loved from Sassy Sanctuary for a darling Halloween fabric wreath. I used the same fabric that I bought for my Halloween Banner and whipped this guy up one Saturday night.

My final project I did yesterday was pinned from OhHowPosh.com and was so compelling that it inspired my big bush removal project. The inspiration?

The final re-creation?

I think it’s pretty awesome. I’m debating whether or not to add the exclamation point that is shown in the original inspiration. Any thoughts?

So that is it for my recreations of my favorite Halloween pins. I’ll be back tomorrow (or maybe the next day) with the full run down of my Halloween decor, which I think is done for the year. Whew!

 

Ramblings October 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 10:39 am
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  • Over the weekend we had hired some random guy to come grind down the stumps left over from when we chopped down our front bushes. Ever since we left our yard dotted with stumps, we’ve had one guy after another drop flyers at our front door advertising their services. The $50 guy won out and Sunday morning he showed up to do the work. On Stump #4, the grinder hit a rock. That rock shot up and through our front storm door, shattering it. Today I’m supposed to call this guy with the replacement quote so that he can pay for the new door. Wish me luck that he actually returns my phone call.
  • Shattered door aside, our yard looks awesome. We mowed, pulled weeds, trimmed, picked up dog doo, and put away the hammock and all Goober’s summer toys. Our yard is officially winterized and ready to go!
  • I still keep forgetting to take pictures of my other two Halloween crafts to show you guys. I’m sure I’ll get to that eventually.
  • I still haven’t bought another package of cheese cloth to finish my ghost lights. I’m sure I’ll get to that eventually.
  • My inner homemaker reared it’s head again this weekend. While at Costco last week, I decided to pick up a whole rotisserie chicken. I generally don’t buy those because the ones they carry at the regular grocery store are puny and cost upwards of $7 or $8. But those Costco rotisseries, whoo, those things are fat and only run me $4.99! So I grabbed one and over the weekend I pulled every ounce of chicken off it and portioned it in 2 cup increments and froze the chicken. Then I threw the carcass (someone please give me a nicer word for that) in with some carrots, potatoes, vinegar, and a whole lot of water and simmered it for almost 5 hours. I portioned my newly created broth in 2 cup increments and froze that as well. So, anybody got any good idea for stretching that chicken (and chicken stock) into some LARGE meals that will last us through several meals? Maybe some kind of casserole? Do people still make casseroles, or is that so 80s?
  • My friend Miranda recently quit her job to stay home with her son. This was after much debate, as her husband is a full time pharmacy school student and she was their sole income. But after struggling to find good childcare, questioning the ethics of her employer, and being unable to find alternate work in the current economic climate, Miranda and her husband decided that Miranda would stay home with her son full time and they would just make it work however they could. It’s, in her words, a leap of faith. She’s started a blog chronicling her new journey called My Time At Home. Go say hi!
  • One last thing- my kid is damn cute

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Seriously. Cute.
 

Boo! October 13, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 1:58 pm
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That’s what a ghost says, at least, according to Goober. So what do 10 ghosts say? Nothing, they’re fake!

This is my really poor attempt to lead into my next craft. I got this idea from Cheryl at That’s What Che Said. A couple weeks ago she made these adorable little ghost lights for her house:

Cute, right? I know, that girl is too creative. Luckily, she doesn’t mind me pinching her ideas. Copying is the strongest form of flattery, right?

I did tweak mine just a tad. I knew I wanted mine to go outside, despite my fears that any precipitation might wreck them all to hell. I’ll take my chances. Since they were going outside, I decide to make them a little bigger. I didn’t have popsicle mold or Dixie cups, but I did have some disposable cups leftover from Goober’s birthday that I could use.

This is my living room. I like to watch tv when I craft.

So instead of the 7×7 squares, mine were about 10×10 or so. I didn’t measure, that might be way off. I also used two-ply cheesecloth and a 50/50 water/glue mixture. It was pretty simple. The hardest part for me was cutting out the faces. I kinda suck at that sort of thing. Also, waiting for them to dry! I actually couldn’t wait for that and used my tacky glue to stick the faces on while my ghosts were still wet.

Please excuse the mess, I had time to either clean or craft. I chose craft. I will always choose craft.

This picture was taken at the end of Parenthood, approximately 40-45 minutes after I decided to make these tonight. Pretty quick stuff. This is when I should have said, “Alright, bedtime! I’ll finish these tomorrow!” If you understand foreshadowing, then you already know that this is not what happened. Instead, I set these aside and started working on a couple other crafts, had an argument with my husband, ate some ice cream, and continued to not clean all the way until Jimmy Fallon came on. That is when I determined that my ghosts were dry enough. I removed them from their cups, poked holes in their cute little heads and strung them up!

Everybody say hi to Sophie dog in the window!

I’d love to say that was the end, but alas, it was not. When I got home from work last night, 6 of my 10 ghosts had fallen off their bulbs. It seems that their holes were too big (THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID! Ba dum, ching!) Per Cheryl’s suggestion, I righted this with a little hot glue. It’s rained the past two evenings and they are still holding their form, so so far the weather doesn’t seem to effect them too much. Granted, they’re under the awning, so that helps I’m sure.

So that’s it, that’s my cool craft of the day. I’ve got two more things in my crafting line up, but then I’m going to need some ideas, so send them my way!

 

Crafty Crafty October 12, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 3:00 pm
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Last week I posted about my desire to actually do some real live crafting and decorating for Halloween. Unlike the majority of my declarations, I actually followed through this time! For the past week I’ve been a crafting fool! Because I need to make this sudden burst of energy take me as far as I can, I’ll probably spread my little reveals out in several posts. The first craft I completed was extremely easy, although it was somewhat time consuming. However, that was my own fault, as you will see in a second. So here was my inspiration, the Fabric Banner from Craftaholics Anonymous.

The instructions call for about a million little strips of fabric. This was the time consuming part. What I didn’t do was go to Michael’s Crafts on Saturday, like I had planned to, with my 50% off coupon. If I had, then I would have purchased my new rotary cutter then, as opposed to purchasing it Monday night, after my project had completed and I was kicking myself. Don’t be like me.

Because this is my first foray into crafting, and likewise craft blogging, I didn’t take any pictures of the process. I was distracted with the project at hand, plus Linda does such a good job at mapping the whole thing out, you don’t need me to repeat it. That would be redundant. So instead, I’ll just give you a picture of my version.

TA-DA!!

Here it is from a straight on angle.

Please excuse my crappy cell phone photos.

Since I’m already showing you my mantle area, might as well give you a run down of the contents:

1.) My fancy dancy new fabric banner. I couldn’t find any thumb tacks, so it’s currently being held up with a pair of ugly old earrings. True story.

2.) The roses Hubby got me for our anniversary last week. They’re holding up pretty well.

3.) The tiny pumpkin that Goober picked out on our trip to the pumpkin patch Sunday. More to come later.

4.) Sketch of the Eiffel Tower I bought off a starving artist next to the Seine in Paris. I know, I’m so worldly!

5.) Yummy cinnamon scented pine cones purchased from Joanne Fabrics. Makes my house smell less like diapers, which is always appreciated.

6.) Ugly fireplace and fireplace front. Once I’m over the whole Halloween crafting, painting our fireplace and the cover is next on my list of to-dos!

7.) Picked up these heavy cardboard letters from Hobby Lobby for $0.99 each. Love that they were cheap, did not love that they sucked up a good 5 or more coats of black paint and they still are a little faded looking. Whatever, good enough!

So that’s my first Halloween craft, plus some extra info you probably don’t care about. Oh well, gave me a chance to play with Picnik on Flickr.

What are you making these days? Any crafts giving you a hard time? Any suggestions for de-uglifying my fireplace?