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Thanks, Little Bro

I've never been very patriotic. I'm not into parades or flag waving or Lee Greenwood.

That is, until my little brother joined the army.
I'm extremely grateful and proud of my bro, SPC Brian Donaldson for defending our country.

He made it through a tour in Afganistan, where he was awarded the Purple Heart for surviving an explosion when the vehicle he was riding in drove over an IED (road mine).  He was wounded, but not seriously, and is back to his good old normal self now. Way to go, Bro!
I'm so thankful God has kept him safe through it all!

I want to say THANK YOU to those who sacrifice their time and personal safety to protect our freedom. And also to their families. I know now how much the families of servicemen also give up so that their son/daughter/dad/mom/brother/sister/husband/wife can keep the rest of us safe!

Happy Memorial Day, everybody!

Yesterday we went to an all-church picnic where Andrew got to taste his first SnoCone. 


 Heck yes, Mom.

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Painted Tissue Flowers + Printable Template

Forget about mice. The Mrs. gets to play while the Mr.'s away.

It's a well known fact that wifey get more fun projects done when hubby's out of the house.

Nothing against hubby.

Jason's work takes him out of town a lot. We both get bummed when we have to spend a week apart. So to make the time go faster for me, it's become tradition to tackle a DIY project to surprise Jason with when he gets home!

<--- one of the backwoods places his company sends him.

 Gah, jealous.

What did I chose? Where do these pretty tissue paper flowers call home? This project is just the beginning of a mini bedroom makeover!

 Keep reading, and get the downloadable template! (if you just can't wait, see "step 1")

Our bedroom has been begging for my attention for some time. This is how it looked in the "progress" pics I took last summer.

I wanted to totally switch gears and go in a completely different direction, like this-

and this-

and this.

Cool, light, and vibrant! :) I love the energy that's just bursting from these pics! And I'm digging the gray, white, marigold, and aqua pallette. I want to bring some zing to the space we spend so much time in.

I call my inspirational style Sophisticated Eclectic. Sophisticlectic... eclecticated!! The kind of bedroom Emily Henderson would design.

To make a color transformation in any room, one easy fix is changing up the accessories, like my flower arrangement on top of the armoire.

Time for a change! I still liked the idea of flowers, but I was not prepared to spend $7.99  a piece(!) on nice faux flowers at craft stores. Doin' the math, that's about $70 for an arrangement the size of mine. heck. Break out the tissue folks.

I'd never tried making flowers out of tissue paper before, but got to say I love this craft! It's easy, fast, and tough to mess up. A few investigations on Pinterest and I was ready to go.

Tissue Paper Flower Supplies:
  • 9 sheet of Tissue Paper
  • 7 ft. of wire 
  • Scissors
  • Paint and Paint Brush

I uploaded the PDF on Scribd. If you don't already have a Scribd account, it will ask you to create a username and password to download or print the image.

Step 1. Square Up. Using template "A", or by eyeballing it, cut out 16 squares about 6" wide. Each of the flowers I made were a different size, ranging from 6" to 8" diameter. I think it adds a more organic feel and they look a bit more custom that way.

You can also vary how many layers you use. Less layers will make for a loser flower, and more layers a more compact one.

Step 2. Fold 'Er Up. Just like those paper fans we used to make in grade school, stack all the tissue squares together and fold into 1" creases (along the dotted lines if you're using the template).  

Step 3. Get Wired. Cut a 12" length of wire (or however long you want your stems to be) and tie the tissue fan around the middle. I used 26 gauge floral wire because that's what I had. It was way too flimsy to support the flower. I'd recommend using a thicker gauge wire for a low height arrangement like mine, or use  floral wire wrapped around a wooden skewer for a taller arrangement. 

Step 4. Petal your Papers. Cut rounded edges by freehand or using the second template ("B"). This makes the shape of each petal. This is very forgiving too, you can go more pointy or rounded, depending on your taste and what kind of flower you're going for.

Step 5. I'm not fat, I'm fluffy. Open up the tissue folds to resemble a bow tie. Take the top most layer of each side and gently pull it forward, separating it from the rest. I got a little carried away with how easy it was going and ripped a few : / so be gentle. Do this to every layer.

(don't worry about how the flower may look during this step, once the whole thing is fluffed, most imperfections disappear.)

Step 6. Painted {Flower} Faces. Brush a small amount of paint in the center of the flower. I used a bit too much on the first try and  got the tissue soggy. Use just enough paint to lightly dab on some color. I used Craft Smart in Bright Yellow for my sunny centers.

Congrats, we just saved ourselves $70! **applause

What's the end of the story? How did Jason react when he saw what I'd done?

I hadn't mentioned anything about my sneaky project while he was away. When he got home, I let him wander into the bedroom in his own time and "discover" my changes.

I heard a, "dude! this is awesome" from upstairs. 

My work here is complete.

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UPDATE: Thank you Katie at Creatively Living for featuring my tissue flower project!

Clever Nest gets the Leibster! (happy bday to meee!)

Clever Nest gets the Liebster!
What a great week it's been, and it's only Thursday! I'm soooper excited to share that Clever Nest has received it's first blog award ever, the Liebster! How's that for a sweet birthday present? (my birthday was Tuesday, more on that in a sec.) Maybe you've read about the Liebster given to your favorite blogs. What is it? what is it for? what does it do you ask?? I'm glad you asked.

What's this all about? 
The Liebster is a special kind of award. It's passed along from one blogger to another, to celebrate and promote up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followersLaurie at Laurie's Little Bits of Creativity
showed me some major love, and dropped me a line telling me that she had awarded me this awesome award! You need to meet this lady, she crafts, cooks, paints, scraps, and much more. She just wrote about repainting her deck, and it's a major improvement. Thank you, Laurie! Way to make a girl feel special :).

Le Official Rules 
Here is what to do once you receive a Liebster:
  • Write a post, thanking the person who awarded you and linking back to their site
  • Nominate up to 5 blogs you love that have less than 200 followers (I assumed this was referring to Linky and/or Google Friend Connect followers)
  • Comment on your awardees blogs, linking back to your post and letting them know you think they're the bomb!
Passing on the Love
Ok, are you ready? It's my turn to pass on the Liebster *nervous palm sweat. These are my favorite blogs with under 200 followers:

I'm a huge fan of Shara's work. Everything this girl does is so stinking creative, its a national tragedy she only has 25 members so far. Let's change that!!

Katie, I will never get over your bedroom makeover, or your mad staging skills, *jealous, sigh :)

aaaand my final award goes to-

Gloria just may be the next Furniture Whisperer, she can transform nearly any thrifted piece into a piece of art.

Congratulations to the newest recipients! Visit their sites and be inspired! If you were awarded, please link back here, and share the love to YOUR favorite blogs. :)

In other news-

I turned 28.

This was a different sort of birthday for me- the first since Andrew entered our lives, and the first where Jason was away traveling on business! yes, I pouted. But my bestie Jes took me out for an amazing day of antiquing, coffee, and cupcakes in downtown Riverside! My mom volunteered to watch Andrew, and we headed out for some much needed girl time. Here's some pics!

The bestie :), thanksfortakingmeoutohandforholdingmycoffeesoIcantakeapictureofyou.

 The Mission Galleria. I'd never been here before, it turned out to be 3 stories jam packed with thrift and antiquing goodness. There was everything from jewelry to lamps, to clothes to furniture. Just a bit overwhelming!

I am crushing on this glass snail container, sooo bad.

And of course we saw the occasional creepy/ disturbing must-have collectible.
"Looking for that final straw to complete your mantle? For just $149 this life size scarecrow head adds the fear of God drama and fear pizzazz you need! (Anybody with half a brain can see that.)" 

 "A little stumped what to do with Grandma's old shoes? You've stumbled on an amazing deal here. We'll sock it to you with this custom Feet Stool! Forget about paying an arm and a leg, prices now slashed half off (due to two lefties)!" I'll wait for you to absorb all those amazing puns. Hold the applause, please.

"Needing to spice up your drab old blender? With Senorita Margarita Blender Caddy (earrings included) the fiesta in your kitchen has only begun!!"

Seriously people, who buys this stuff?? Anyway, to transition, something a little easier on the eyes-

Queen of the Bargain!

I picked up a cute 60's gold filigree picture frame for $7.50 ($10 with 20% off, oh yes :). I've got plans to hang that beauty in our bedroom, it is in dire need of a mini makeover.

Afterwards we walked across the street to Casey's Cupcakes.

 This little chickadee won Food Network's Cupcake Wars, and has a shop right here in Downtown Riverside. The store is too cute- hot pink and lots of girly bling bling,  and the cupcakes... *sigh, yum.

Of course we had to get some. The red velvet is delish.

I had such a fun day! There's more pictures from my birthday outing on Clever Nest's facebook page here.  

How did you spend this Mother's Day weekend? I'll close with the Munchkin who puts the happy in my Mother's Day.
<3 Alyssa

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