Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Paper Pinwheels

I'd been meaning to try out this cute paper pinwheels idea I saw on Martha Stewart so one day during craft time Claire and I decided to give it a go.

First you cut out your paper into a square. Mine are 3.5". I was using left over scrapbook paper from Claire's circus party (almost 3 years ago) so my size options were limited. Then you fold it in half diagonally and then fold again.

Unfold it and you'll see the lines.

Using your scissors, cut on the lines about two thirds of the way to the point.

Then start folding in every other point.

Once the points are all in the middle poke a push pin through to hold them in place.


This is where I realized I didn't have the map pins I needed to add to the middle to make them spin. So we improvised. I hot glued the points together.

Added some buttons to the top...

and made a garland to garnish the old window I recently purchased.

Claire was disappointed they didn't spin so I still plan on getting the map pins to make some spinning ones for her. I think I'm gonna start making some for the guests at her Alice in Wonderland birthday party this year. Details to come!!!

Saturday, March 5, 2016

How to make an Upholstered Ottoman

Furniture is a necessity for every home. It's what makes a room comfortable and inviting and lets you express your style and personality through the style of furnishings you choose. But good quality furniture can be expensive.

Between my five year old using the furniture as her personal gymnastics equipment and my two year old expressing her artistic abilities (sharpie style) on the sofa my furniture gets a beating. So I hate spending a fortune on things that may or may not make it through the day. When my previous ottoman bit the dust I decided to get creative and build my own replacement. I built an ottoman like this one as a demonstration at the 2016 Ledger-Enquirer Home and Garden Show. It was pretty easy with the help of Home Depot.  Keep reading for the tutorial on how to make your own!


The first thing you'll want to do is decide on the measurements for your ottoman. Mine was going at the end of a chair so the finished product measures about 22" long by 17" wide by 16" tall.

Supplies List:
  • 1 box #8, 2 1/2" construction or wood screws
  • 1/2" thick plywood cut to 22" x 17"
  • 2 x 4 lumber cut to these measurements: two-14" long pieces and two -22" long pieces
  • 4 - 9" long wood legs
  • 4 - heavy duty top plates to mount legs
  • 3" high density foam- cut to the same dimensions as plywood (22" x 17")
  • Quilt batting-enough to wrap around the ottoman (2 layers)
  • 1 1/2 yards sturdy decorator fabric
  • 3/4 yard fabric for under ottoman
  • Spray adhesive
Other items needed:
  • Table or Miter saw (Home Depot can cut for you also)
  • Electric Screwdriver
  • Sanding block
  • Pencil
  • Sharpie marker
  • Serrated bread knife or electric meat carver
I had Home Depot cut the 2" x 4" down to size for me at the store. It was such a time saver and made it easier to transport everything in my car.

I had the 2 x 4 pieces cut to the following measurements:
2 pieces at 22" long
2 pieces at 14" long

The 1/2" thick plywood should be cut 22" x 17". You will have a left over piece from this you can use for another project. Below is a picture of the items I got from Home Depot to build the frame. I ended up just bringing the plywood home and cutting it myself using my circular saw.


Now to put the frame together. The 2 shorter 14" pieces will go in between the 22" pieces. Making the finished measurements 22" x 17".


Once I was sure everything lined up correctly I screwed my boards together one at a time using 2.5" construction screws. 


Once it's all connected it will look like this. I used the sanding block to smooth down the rough edges where the lumber was cut. You won't see it so it doesn't need to be perfect, you just don't want it to snag the fabric or anything while you're working.


I measured my plywood and marked where I needed to cut with a pencil. Home Depot can do this step for you if you prefer not to cut yourself.


Next I placed it on top of the frame and screwed it right into the base from the top. I put a screw in each corner. You want to make sure you don't screw on top of the screws used to hold the frame together. 


You don't need to put the legs on until after you have upholstered the ottoman but here is an idea of what it will look like with the legs on.

 
Now onto the upholstering. I purchased this 3" deep foam from Hobby Lobby. It was almost the exact dimensions I needed with the exception of one side.


I placed the top of the ottoman against the foam and drew a line with my marker where I needed to cut.


The best way to cut a big piece of foam is to use an electric meat carver. Unfortunately I didn't have one so the next best thing was a serrated bread knife. You want to make sure to cut straight up and down to get the best results. It will be a little rigid but you won't be able to tell after you wrap it with the batting and fabric.
 

Once the foam was cut I glued it down to the top of the plywood using spray adhesive like the one below.


Since it's a spray  you will want to put some old towels underneath it so it doesn't get everywhere. I sprayed the top of the plywood really well with the adhesive and the underside of the foam, let it dry to a tack for 1 minute and then lined up my foam on top of the plywood. Press down lightly for a few seconds and then I set it aside for a little while to make sure it was completely dry before continuing the upholstery process. There should be instructions on the can of adhesive as to how to bond so follow the instructions for your specific spray.
 

Next it's time to wrap the foam with quilt batting and fabric. Pictured below is the kind of quilt batting I used. This one is twin size so I just cut out what I needed. You need enough to wrap it up and around the sides of the ottoman. I like to wrap mine with two layers of batting so I cut out two pieces.   

I didn't have the legs or brackets on for this step. It's much easier to wrap everything around smoothly without them.


 You want to cut the bulk of the batting out of the corners and staple the ends to the inside of the ottoman.


Next, I wrapped the fabric around the batting. I chose an indoor/outdoor fabric for durability and so far it's been really easy to clean.



Pull the fabric tightly around the sides of the ottoman making sure to smooth out the fabric as you go along and staple it underneath. I cut off the excess fabric from around the edges once everything was stapled down.


For the corners, I pulled the middle section in tight and stapled it down.


Then I tucked the excess fabric into the folds on either side. Make sure to cut off excess fabric as needed to reduce bulk. You want it to lay as flat as possible so the brackets will lay straight.





Here is a look at the bottom with everything stapled down. I covered some cording with the same fabric and stapled it to the bottom to add a little something extra. Nail head trim would look really pretty around the edge also but this step is optional.



Now it's time to add your brackets and stain or paint the legs. Home Depot has a great selection of unfinished wooden legs and the brackets are located right beside them. I stained these with a coat of Rustoleum's weathered grey followed by a coat of Miniwax provincial. 




Screw on your brackets to the corner edges of the ottoman. You will need to leave a small space between the bracket and the end to staple the fabric onto the bottom of the ottoman.


Take the other piece of fabric for underneath the ottoman, turn under the raw edges and staple it to the bottom. You will need to poke a little hole where the leg screws into the bracket. They have specific fabric you can get that is designed to go under furniture. I just happened to have extra of this fabric so I used that instead. Any fabric you choose will work fine. 


Lastly, just screw the legs into the brackets and you are good to go! 


Wasn't that fun? The best part is when my toddler sneaks out of the kitchen with her smoothies or sharpies or the coconut oil hopefully this outdoor fabric will be a little more forgiving. And if not it's small enough that it won't be too costly or time consuming to recover. Now to switch out the flooring-kid resistant outdoor rugs here we come!



Sunday, December 6, 2015

Cranberry and Pecan Brie En Croute



Looking for the perfect appetizer to make for your next party? Look no further! This recipe is delicious and always gets rave reviews! And the best part is it's quick and easy to make. I made this for my sister's baby shower a few weeks ago. It's a little more fancy than your average cheese ball and looks great on a pretty platter!


Cranberry and Pecan Brie En Croute

Ingredients:
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 (8 ounce) wheel of Brie cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten

Directions: 
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Soak dried cranberries in a small bowl of water for one minute so that they are not hard.
  3. Lay thawed puff pastry sheet on a cookie sheet.
  4. In a small saucepan, melt butter. Stir in pecans and cinnamon and toast for about 3 minutes. 
  5. Place Brie in the middle of the puff pastry.
  6. Place pecan mixture on top of Brie.
  7. Place brown sugar on top of pecan mixture. The heat of the pecan mixture will help melt the brown sugar.
  8. Drain cranberries. Place them on top of brown sugar. 
  9. Bring the edges of the puff pastry up and press them together making sure to seal the dough. If you have excess dough you can cut a leaf or decoration to add to the top of the Brie.
  10. Using a pastry brush, brush the entire pastry with the beaten egg.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes in the oven or until the pastry is a golden brown. 
  12. Serve with crackers or just by the slice.
Note: For this shower I used a 14 oz brie wheel instead of an 8 oz. So I doubled the recipe and used two pastry sheets to cover it. I just placed the second puff pastry on top of the Brie and turned up the edges of the one on the bottom and sealed them together. 

Enjoy!


Recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything






Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Claire's Bake Shoppe Birthday

Hello there! Busy as usual over here but I just wanted to pop in and share some pictures of Claire's 8th birthday party. We decided on the bake shoppe theme a few weeks before the big day. I thought cake decorating would be a pretty easy activity to execute and fairly budget friendly since I already had a lot of the cake decorating supplies on hand.

 Making 24 cups of frosting was a bit time consuming though. I'll be adding one of those extra large commercial type Kitchen Aid mixers to my Christmas list this year. I'm sure once I tell my husband it's for mixing together large quantities of sugar to feed the bubbly little girls Claire invited to her party he'll jump right up, head to Williams-Sonoma and pick out a cute one with a glass bowl attachment in a super fun color. ;)



I started making the mini cakes a week or so in advance and froze them. The night before the party I pulled them out and frosted them so they were ready by the next day. You can find the mini cake pans at your local craft store.

I found these white chef hats on amazon and added the cupcake paper flowers to dress them up a bit. 



I made the banner using coffee filters and free printables from Pottery Barn Kids. You can view the tutorial here.

The name tag printables can also be found at Pottery Barn Kids.



I made their little aprons out of dish towels. They are inexpensive, washable and most importantly already hemmed -- making them a cinch to put together! I found the tutorial for these here





Since the guests were taking their cakes home we had strawberry shortcake cups for dessert instead of the traditional birthday cake.



The cake boxes are from Hobby Lobby but I also saw some cute ones in the Wilton aisle at Walmart after I had already purchased these. 

All packed up and ready to go! I'm sure the mother's all loved that I sent their kids home with 5 pounds of sugar, but the hate mail's subsiding now and hopefully they'll forget about it by next year and send their kids back for more! 

A lot of these photos were taken with my phone instead of my camera so they are a little blurrier than I would have liked but it got pretty busy during the party so I'm glad I managed to get a few anyway!!