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Christmasses... Past:)

I'm a bit behind, but I thought it was still worth it to post about our little Christmas, and show you how things looked around here for the past month. Besides, I worked so hard to put it all up, that I think it deserves just a little air time. :)

Another reason for a belated Christmas post is- people, THIS is the week to score some seriously discounted decor for next year! work it!  I always buy my new decorations after Christmas (though I did break my own rule and get a few things early this year). Anything that's left over on the shelves at this point is usually 70% off, and that means a lot more change left in my pocket and a lot more stuff up on my walls. I get a nice surprise every November when I take down the boxes from the attic, and discover what I'd bought for this year, last year :)

And now, a few pics around the house-

Our tree :) My family's tradition was to give each of us kids an ornament for something important that happened that year. When I got married, I carried on the tradition. It's neat to unwrap the ornaments one at a time, and remember what that particular one commemorates. This was our ornament for this year, celebrating our Andrew boy! I made extra as gifts for the fam. Glass ball ornaments + baby hand print = priceless! :)

Our mantle got some Christmas cheer as well,

One of the ornaments I've bought when me and my sweetie were dating. He wrote me a song about making castles in the sand :) I love my musician husband <3 good times.

 Our stockings were hung by the fire stairs with care. Since we really can't get to the fireplace (the room stores all our music gear) the stockings go in the living room. I tied each one to the rail with some red ribbon. One for me, Jason, Andrew, and Cooper respectively.

My last bit of decoration to share:

He's gonna kill me when he's 20, but I don't care! :) My poser boy loves to be nakie lol.

Merry Christmas! Hope it was wonderful, and here's to the New Year!

Vinyl Wall Decals for cheap!

Wall art seems to be all the rage these days. I love the crisp look and that it's non-permanent.

Most nice ones are in the $40 range. I love the look, but not the price! So this is my version, which, may I say I think looks just as good, for FREE. :) 
From left to right: Heading South from urbanwalls, Falling Flowers by urbanwalls, and Floral Damask Motif Trio by Savvygalwalldecals.

I love my family. I have a group of frames in our Fire Place Room with each family unit, and I like to update it once a year as our nephews and nieces grow. I liked the idea of doing a modern family "tree", something simple and graphic, but still cute.

  • Painter's Tape
  • Black spray paint
  • Wax paper
  • Scissors
Step 1. Lay and Spray. I cut lengths of painter's tape and laid them down onto a sheet of wax paper. This way I could cut out the shapes without messing with the sticky backing. I guessed I'd need about 6 feet of tape, cut in 1 1/2 ft. lengths. It turned out to be plenty.

I sprayed the tape with two coats of black spray paint, the cheap kind. I was worried how the paint would adhere to the tape, or if it would bleed underneath it. But it works just fine, no smudging, bleeding, or peeling off. Yesss.

Step 2. Leaf Me Alone. Next I made a leaf template, totally freehand. If you don't trust your drawing skills or want something more difficult, there are a plethora of things online to print out and use as a template. This works for any image as long as it's no wider than the painter's tape. 

I made some "twigs" by cutting off narrow strips of tape. The trunk was also a freehand endeavor, along the lines of, "I have no idea what I'm doing.... this is going to look like crap...  why did I think I could do this?...wait... wait!... omg, it actually looks ok!" 

I had picked up this "Family" sign from Michael's a while ago for $1. Coat of black spray paint on that, and done :)


Step 3. Peel and Stick. And Peel. And Stick.What followed was lots of peeling and sticking. It was rather tricky to get the wax paper to separate from the tape. It reminded me of trying to find the end of a clear roll of masking tape, and feeling the blood pressure rise accordingly. Grrr. One way I can think to make this step easier is to leave a wax paper "tab" attached to every cut out. But that might be more trouble than it's worth.

I nailed up my "Family" sign, added a green mat to each frame for an extra dose of color, and stood back to survey my work. 

Just in time to add a picture of the latest addition to the tree, our Andrew :)

You can get a better idea of the size of my "tree" in this shot. I'm pretty happy with it, well worth my one dollar spent! 

I've dusted the frames a few times and taken a closer look at how the tape is holding up. So far, so good! I have a feeling it's gonna last and not peel back from the wall. You see, I have unwillingly conducted a sort of personal case study in painter's tape around our house. We have had a strip of it stuck on our vaulted bathroom ceiling for the past two years. No one wants to go get a ladder to remove it, and it drives me crazy every time I visit the commode and see it still up there, taunting me. To date it's still holding strong. Pretty sturdy stuff that, for good or bad I guess.

What's it Gonna Cost Me?
I had all the supplies on hand, hence the freeness. If you had to go out and buy all the supplies, you're looking at around $15 for this project. 

What do you think? Do you predict my pretty tree losing its leaves like the trees are doing right now outside? Anyone willing to try this on their own walls? 

<3 Alyssa

Click to:


Faux Capiz Shells

If you haven't already discovered the incredible world of Pinterest, I highly recommend you check it out! The site features virtual bulletin boards where you can collect ("pin") images of pretty much anything that inspires you. I'd say I get 95% of my ideas from browsing here. Check out my pin boards here. :)

This post features a rocking DIY tip I found, originally from Making faux capiz (a type of seashell) from....

...drum roll... are you ready for this?...

... bubble wrap. No way, I thought. Then I thought, that's rad :). I've had a clock I've been wanting to jazz up, and it was the perfect excuse to try out this madness for myself.

There were two phases to this project- painting the rim and face of the clock, and then creating the new numbers and bubble wrap "shells" and applying them to the face. I had all the supplies for Phase 1 on hand, so this part cost me zero.

Phase 1 Supplies:
  • "Very Fine" 220 grit sandpaper
  • Rag
  • Aluminum foil
  • Painter's tape
  • Rustoleum American Accent Gloss Spray Paint in Sour Apple
  • Rustoleum Semi Gloss Spray Paint in White

1.  Following "best practice" for repainting glossy surfaces, its always a good idea to buff with sand paper and wipe down with a rag.

2. Prep and spray the rim. I didn't bother cutting a circle out of paper, instead I folded a few pieces of aluminum foil into a circle and secured it with painter's tape, then applied a few coats of the Sour Apple.

I liked the shade of green, but after trying it out in the house with the rest of the colors, it was a little too neon. So I toned it down with a little white paint applied with a paper towel, and it did the trick!

3. Spray the clock face with Rustoleum Semi Gloss. Nothing to it, this took about 5 seconds.

Now comes Phase 2, creating the faux capiz shells from bubble wrap. I had no idea how to pronounce this word up until yesterday. KA-peez? KA-pis? ka-PEEZ? So I broke down and did the un-lazy thing and Googled it. The audio pronunciation from cracks me up! Turns out it's ka-PEEZ. These shells are used in swanky chandeliers that sell for up to 2k. This more affordable one is just over $300 from The Nature Company.
Or this gorgeous placemat, 2 for $148 from F L & B Fine Linen and Bath.
So here we go with ours for virtually $FR.EE
Phase 2 Supplies:
  • Bubble wrap (use the kind with the small bubbles). I used a 9.3 squ ft roll and had some left over, how much you need just depends on the size of your project.
  • Parchment paper
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Tacky glue
  • Silver spray paint
  • Something to cut out circles with (I used my spaghetti serving measurer! :)
All I bought for this phase of my project was the parchment paper, which was like $3, and the bubble wrap, which was like $2. So far so good on this diy!

    1. Pop all the bubble wrap.  I cut strips and wrung them out like a wet towel. It didn't pop every single bubble, but the ironing process should finish off any survivors. :)

    After all that popping, the strips should resemble a shed snake skin. You know, like the kind they made you touch in grade school. Side observation- I found that one either finds the sound/process of popping tons of bubble wrap extremely satisfying, or extremely irritating. Maybe a little of both.

    2. Iron the bubble wrap. Place 2 pieces of bubble wrap on top of each other. Put them between two layers of parchment paper. Set your iron to "wool" or medium and iron over the parchment-bubble wrap-parchment sandwich, holding for 30 sec. in each spot. Press firmly to pop any last bubble stragglers. 

    3.Wait for it to cool, then add another layer of bubble wrap and iron it to the stack, as in step 2. Continue until you've ironed together 7 layers of bubble wrap. It should look something like this:

    When I finished ironing I was pretty impressed! It actually looked a bit like shell, and the plastic gives it a shine like seashells have too!

    4. Cut out circles. I used my spaghetti serving size measurer, which was pretty effective. I made 3 different size circles, about 2 in. diameter, 1 in, and 3/4 in. You could also cut squares or rectangles and use them for a frame or any other surface that needs a little bling bling for that matter!

    5. Time to bust out the Tacky Glue. Apply glue to the back of a circle and place on your object. Wiggle the piece around a bit to make sure the glue spreads to every part of the circle. I layered my pieces like a dish of Potatoes Au Gratin, two rings of the large circles, 3 of the medium size, and 2 of the small ones.

    6. Paint the hands and numbers. I painted the existing clock hands gray. I tried a few options for the numbers and sprayed them silver. Can you guess what I used?

    Yes, that's "googly eyes" as in the kind you use in Kindergarten. I think I should win a prize for Most Creative Use of Googly Eyes, or maybe Any Use of Googly Eyes :) You can use whatever you like, I also considered scrapbook sticker numbers, house address numbers, or glass pebbles for the hour markers. Ultimately the googly eyes won out, and it just makes me happy like a little kid when people ask what its made of.

    Handy Tip!:
    After 3 failed attempts to put the hour markers in the right spot (* embarrassed ; / ), this possibly no-brainer but none the less brilliant idea hit me. When gluing the hour markers, set the clock hands in the "12" position and glue down the first marker. Then wind the clock so that the minute hand is at "12" and the hour hand will show where "1" should be. Repeat this all the way around the face for flawless time keeping!

    Here's the almost finished product, googly eyes and all:

    I have to say I was super stoked by how the faux capiz turned out! This is the essence of my blog: making something look like a million bucks with BUBBLEWRAP!!! winning! :)

    7. Assemble everything back together and hang where it can be admired by all, hehe.

    It's hung in the perfect spot, next to the front door. It adds the perfect amount of bling to the living room, and goes great with my curtains!

    This shot really shows the shine.  It's not this neon in real life, its more subdued. Sigh, time for that new camera already! So to recap- Phase one= $0, Phase 2= $5. Upcycled bubblewrap clock for $5? boo yah :) Of course if you don't have all the supplies it will cost more. My strategy is to do projects where I already have most of the supplies. What is that adage, "cheapness is the mother of resourcefulness"?

    Baby days :)

    I'm ba-aack!
    lol, I ended up taking a month-and-a-half break from blogging for a very good reason, our son Andrew Carter was born! I'm loving mommy life and seeing him change so fast before my eyes.

    Welcome to the world, Andrew! :) He's our little munchkin, and after 24 hours of labor, he arrived perfectly healthy. I can't believe how much he's grown just in the last month!

    I'm totally copying Sherri from Young House Love's idea of taking pictures all throughout the first year. She took them every week, I'm not that hard core, so I'll try to keep up with it every month! Check out her finished product here. Here's our first month installment:

    And another,

    Not sure which I like better yet. I'm hoping to get a better camera this month (thanks to my Sweetie!), I figure now that Andrew's here I don't want to be taking grainy, crap, out of focus shots anymore! I'm excited! :) I'll post when I actually take the plunge and make the purchase. 

    Looking forward to blogging more regularly from now on! Between feedings and changings and flirting with my little guy, I actually have managed to continue diy-ing. Tata for now,

    Just for Fun

    I'm in the middle of about 6 projects, and not finished with any of them yet ; ) So I thought I'd post some DIY slash Alyssa truisms that make me smile. Hope you enjoy!
    Definitely the random internet surfing! Mostly on Pinterest or Google image search.

    This is what makes me accomplish half of what I try. There is inevitably that moment in the middle of the project, where I look down and think, "Oh man, what am I doing?!" Then I have to tell myself everything will be ok, and it won't look like crap, or like a kindergarten project when I finish, haha :) And most of the time I'm at least half right, even if it's by pure determination :)

    Totally agree! Haha, therefore my mission in life is to make my space as beautimous as I can. After all, I am a Mistress of my Domain, and that is one of my functions :)

    Hopefully not entirely true. Let's just say projects often take long hiatuses in the office closet while I stew on exactly what I was thinking, or try to work up the will to dive back into something that was waaay more tedious than it looked. Like my toilet paper roll art for example... don't ask. A hint- dozens of pieces of toilet paper rolls, tacky glue, and not enough planning, lol. Maybe one of these days it will actually come to completion!

    Ok, now for the grand finale. 

    This pic just tickles my funny bone, and my hubby and I have spent more than one occasion looking at it, laughing like little girls, then looking at it again, and laughing more like girls. ;) All my DIYs that turn out like this definitely do not make the blog cut, lol, unless someday I do a blooper post of DIY's gone wrong. Hmm, that actually sounds entertaining...

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