Wednesday, March 30, 2011

DIY: For Better or Worse Valances

In the midst of finishing Natalia's valance I was also working on decorating our front windows.
Remember that box from my sister? 
 She had picked up this lush fabric on clearance at Joann's and never found an occasion to use it.  
Once again, a beautiful freebie to work with!
I loved the contrast of the black, flocked flowers on a creamy background.  

I decided my sad bare windows could this bold pattern.
They were suspiciously tall and blank, like WIDE-eyed exclamation points.  
THOUGH, I can't show you just how bare because I didn't think ahead
 to take a Before picture.

Just take my word for it.

Back to the fabric.
We (my sister and I) decided I'd have JUST enough
 to cover the four windows in that room.  So I stalled for a few days until she could come over and hold my hand.  MAN, I was so scared to cut this beloved fabric!
But once we got going I got tunnel vision.  And that's what I'm blaming for my novice mistake. 
It wasn't until I cut the LAST piece of fabric that I realized the pattern should be running vertically.
Oops, I had mistaken those large tulips for Leaves.  
But when your Interior Designer sister tells you no one will notice,
you just believe her.

So stop noticing ;)

As for my methods....I stuck to what I was familiar with.  Only, this time I didn't even bother with the staple gun, I just I bust out my trusty glue gun.
 I wrapped the fabric around the 2x4 and then tried to tuck and glue the sides. 
However, there was an unfortunate pucker toward the middle. 
(sorry no picture of that either)
Then my sister suggested I make the valance in three parts.  Genius!
So I cut and glue-'hemmed' the front large piece of each valance
 and created two smaller pieces for the sides.  Here's a side view of the fabric covered wood.
Next, the backside.  
You can see how each piece has 'seams'....all glued not sewn.
Oh yeah baby ;)
If I can do it, you can do it.
We measured the length and marked it with a pencil, then I just folded the fabric along that line as I ran a bead of glue in between.  
The key was to measure and remeasure to make sure the hem stayed straight.
Aaaaand, even then you MAY goof.  I know I did.
But the cool part about these valances is how high up they would be.  
I'll also recommend you keep a matching Sharpie handy.  
I used a black one to camouflage any visible glue.  
Sssshhh, that's our little secret.
I highly doubt my work will be inspected.

Other than that, if I messed up I just pulled apart the two pieces of fabric and re-glued them.
All those glued seams perfected the stiff box shape I was looking for.  
The end result holds up well.
By the way, I'm sure it's obvious that I cut corners anywhere I can.  
Thus the one valance over the two windows. 
I was afraid that if I split them up,
the chance of them being uneven or mismatched
 would increase beyond my desire to even WANT to create.
And that's HUGE!
Thus, the unibrow.
I know, I know....the cords on my topiaries are ridonculously obvious.  
Just lift your eyes up kids....don't look down.
I'll work on those later.
Until then...enjoy the view.
PS- this little bookshelf is a favorite of mine. 
Our amazing Papi fashioned that bookshelf from a Pottery Barn ad I showed him.
The design is similar to this Martha Stewart one, only he backed ours with white bead board.
It's so simple and special, and perfect for our 'schoolroom.'
And that is all I have to share for today.

Stay tuned folks, there are plenty of spaces left to decorate around here!
And our next project involves this colorful fabric:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A New Type of Opening Day in 2011

Today started off bright an early in a high school gym surrounded by hundreds of uniform clad kids.
Their bright colors were accented with props and banners each being waved in the air as they circled the interior of our crowd.  
Though the rain kept us inside, our spirits were high as this was the start to our Baseball season!
And what a season it has turned out to be.  
Our first year being responsible for the organization of a team...which, with Jarrod being out of town almost every week, has proved to fall quite a bit in my court. 
Not that I mind.....I do Major in the Bossiness Business....but I know NOTHING about actually making better players out of these little guys!  Pay that no mind, we've been blessed with two other coaches that have MORE than pulled their weight.
But enough about us......all my joy lies in our little players.
Which Natalia and I decided to support with our fashion sense.
As I was saying.....This year has provided so many milestones already:
1) Ian moving up a division and being on a separate team from his brother
2) Jarrod managing a team as I already stated
3) Jarrod voted onto the Board for this League
4) Merrick walking
Oh yeah, that's no minor detail.
During today's parade, I remembered how last year we cajoled Merrick into participating.  He was barely 3 months post-op, and mostly hobbling with the help of a walker.
He couldn't support his weight alone.
In fact, here is a blurb I wrote a month prior to Opening Day 2010:
Merrick shuffle/walked for most of today.  I dared myself not to get over excited.  But with each halting step he proved his bravery.  Tomorrow we go back to Physical Therapy to check out his 'form.'  It's no longer an IF he will walk has progressed to a WHEN will  he walk smoothly again, and how can I help him?  From here improvements may be slow and laborious...Six more weeks the Dr. said, and of those two weeks need to be low no running.   

So last year, as we approached that huge high school track he acted like we were going to torture him,
Check out his sad face:
Go ahead, be sad with him.  I know I was.  But we had to keep setting up goals for him to achieve!
For challenging him I will never apologize.  I'll cry with him when it hurts.  But I won't back down
  (God balances us out though, Jarrod eventually pushed him part of the way around that track
 since the walker had wheels on it ;)
As for this year,
It's a night and day difference.
He is ready to go. In fact, he is far more excited about playing than Ian is this year. 
Which might be hard to believe:
Speaking of Ian, he missed out on today's festivities due to a sore throat.
He really tried to push through it this morning, even waking up and dressing in his uniform.
But then the thought of walking around in the parade exhausted him.
So I promised to take pictures of his team while he rested with Marmar.
Go River Bandits!
(Talia and I have black and white bandanas to match their theme.  Eeeee, how I love themes!
More on those at his first game :)

As a whole, Opening Day provided a celebration of strength and joy.
How could we not praise the Creator of such magnificent bodies? 
Bodies which are able to mend and grow and change virtually overnight? 
I'll give him three cheers....and add a few more for good measure!
Wanna join me?
Now let's do the WAVE~~~~~~~
It's going to be a great year in baseball folks.
YAY God!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's that time of year again....

...time for the animals to come out!
This year we have Cubs and Racoons...aka River Bandits.
We've been busy handing out uniforms, ordering banners, and coordinating snacks for the games that start next week.  
Tonight was more of a dress rehearsal.
Thankfully we got ALL the pieces for their never know what kind of scramble you might have to do before Opening Day.  But not THIS year!
Woo to the hoo! 
They boys are stoked and if I go by my old stand by of rooting for my favorite uniforms, I'd have to say we a couple of winners here!
I couldn't get a closeup of Merrick....but man they both look SO cute...
er,, slick?
Judge for yourself:
I can't wait for the first games.
Stay tuned.
Man, I love these boys!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Puppy Party

Are you a dog lover?  
I am converting.
But it's been a slow process. 
Our girl, though....she was born one.
It's no surprise that she asked for a Puppy Party for her 5th birthday.
And you may know by now, we just need a theme, and we'll run with it.
So she invited 5 of her favorite people and we played Pass the Paw.
Each time the puppy song stopped, the winner earned a Monopoly dollar. 
The girls were so excited about winning a dollar even though they had NO idea what they'd be buying!
And I have to give a special shout out to my boys....they were such great helpers.
I'm sure they'd tell you they are getting too old for this stuff.  But they were right in there with the girls the entire way!
Next they moved to the Adoption center...where they were entertained and informed by Ranger Dad.
He shared with them a ton of cute puppy dog facts and then quizzed them about taking 'care' of their new puppies.  Finally they girls were able to get their hands on their new furry little friend.
Thankfully everyone had a favorite and there weren't any conflicts between the new mommies.
Next the boys lead them on a scavenger hunt.
Growing up my mom would hide our presents and then we'd have to follow a series of clues to find them.
Well I thought I'd bring a little of that into the party. Also, I'll let you in on a little secret....I set every clue  on the opposite floor of the house, so the kids expended some energy running up and down, up and down those stairs.  Sshhhh, that's only for us grownups to know ;)
The hunt ended in the garage where the girls found their chow bowls:
(I feel the need to preface this gift by explaining that Natalia and some of her friends LOVE to 'play' puppies together.  They trade off on being the dog or the Princess who owns the dog.  And eating out of a dog bowl is like a dream come true....since it'd obviously be frowned upon in 'real' life ;)
So Natalia was thrilled that I bedazzled these Dollar Store chow bowls for the girls.
Ah, if only it could stay this easy in her teens!
Next we introduced the girls to our store.
Welcome to PetStart ;)
Here they could use their monopoly money to buy supplies for their puppies.
The Puppy Chow was a hit (who doesn't like Cocoa Puffs?)
There were also leashes, tags, collars, and crates for the girls to purchase.
My boys were more than happy to play store owner.
...SUCH good sports!
We spent some time placing jewels on the felt collars I had cut out....and the girls actually poured their Puppy Chow into their bowls for a snack.
Then Natalia brought out the Vet kit and examined the new adoptees.
Unfortunately, there must have been a bad case of kennel cough going around because ALL of them were given a sad diagnosis!  But nothing a little love wouldn't fix.
Next our family arrived for dinner. 
We served chocolate milk (Talia's favorite) and of course hot DOGS.
I gave myself a break on the cake making and bought ice cream cupcakes from Cold Stone.  
Greatest idea ever... I STRONGLY recommend them!
They have a chocolate cupcake shell, a small piece of cake, a scoop of ice cream and then colored whipped cream on top, YUM!
Whew...are you puppied out yet?
Feel free to take a break, but the rest of this post is dedicated to the gift opening :D
We try to have the gift giver sit next to the birthday person while their gift is being opened.
I love this arrangement because I get to shoot moments like THIS much easier:
I also adore Ms. Abby's face here...pure excitement for Natalia to see the clothes she gave her. Ahem, Barbie AND big girl clothes <3
Brielle gave Natalia a dress that matches a dress she has so they can be twins....
man, girls are something else! So sweet!!
The pictures of the other girls didn't turn out, but she LOVED each of her presents and responded accordingly!
a moment of silence while I revel in my family.  Oh, my loves:
Ah....thank you.
Now, "On with the show," as Natalia might say!
Her one great wish was for a Barbie this year. 
My sister and I researched and agreed on God's Girlz as a great option.
She didn't mind,
You can see her reaction with her Uncle Ryry here:
All in all, it really was one of the easiest birthday parties we've done.
We started at 3pm and I took the last friend home just after 7:30pm.
And that was only because the girls were having so much fun.
Special thanks to Marmar who sponsored this event  ;)
Without her I'd probably just fashion puppies out of old socks or something, ha.
And who knows if that would ellicit this response:
Our sweet girl is finally 5.....
And I'm not sure how we'll top this one, but for now, it will be one of the most memorable birthday parties for us all!