Instagram-Inspired Valentines

How cute are these IG-inspired Valentines Day Cards I whipped up for the little’s school party?!

So, so cute, RIGHT?!  And, I’m sharing the FREE download, too!

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Zombie Ice Cream Parlor Costumes

Every few years, the Mr. agrees to a Halloween costume that requires me to paint him.  He complains every time, during the process, but seems to beam with pride when we walk into the party and folks dig all of the effort ‘we’ put into our outfits.  Funny how that works, right…

Now, we’ve fallen off of the outlandish adult costume wagon the last two years, and let our little guy be our focus on All Hallows Eve, but we are still ‘those’ parents that coordinate with our kid during Trick-Or-Treat.  And I think he really enjoys us participating with him!

2015  Top Gun

 

2014  Chef’s Special

Anyways, by the time Fall came around this year, my itch to get back into the spirit was driving me bananas!  I’ve binge watched countless episodes of Face Off (on SyFy) and one character has always stuck out amongst all 10 seasons.  On Episode 8 of Season 2, Matt Valentine created a Burton-esque Ice Cream Man and it was AMAZING!

I’ve been carrying this costume idea in my back pocket for years now!

 

The clothing was easy to come by and simple to alter to mimic Matt’s creation.  I just ordered white painter’s pants, a white button down from Amazon.  With some brown puffy paint (ahhh brings me back to my childhood!), brown fabric spray paint, real rainbow jimmies, and round sprinkles, I covered both outfits and did some additional distressing by burning the edges of his sleeves and ripped knee area.  For the red and white striped shirt, I simply purchased an additional pair of tights from Party City and cut the legs off at the top so he could slide one up each arm.  I used a bit of left over for the knee patch.

For all 4 of the ice cream cones, I used tan foam sheets from Hobby Lobby and squeezed on acrylic (paintable) caulking, from the hardware store, into a grid pattern.  Once dry, I spray painted the whole thing in a tan color, then went back and stippled on a darker brown craft paint and wiped off to create the shadowing on the cone ridges.  Rolling them into the cone shapes was the most daunting portion of this costume, I swear LOL.

All of the ‘chocolate’ is the dark brown puffy paint, which worked well to ‘glue’ the shoulder cones in place, too.

I purchased some No-Smudge white face paint from Halloween Express (thinking that it would be better than the white paint I’ve used in the past that smeared if you just looked at it).  Man, this stuff was terrible!  I applied it with a makeup brush and I struggled to blend it from the very beginning.  Then, as soon as it dried- like 2 seconds later- it began to crack with every facial expression he made.  Grrrr.  My hopes for his makeup were WAY higher than what I ended up achieving, thanks to the crap white paint.  The only product that would adhere to it was my Ulta brand bronze gel eyeliner pot, so all of the shading I had in mind went up in smoke.

Moving on… lol

Since there isn’t a ‘female’ version of this costume, I just created a similar look for myself.

I struggled to find a vintage Ice Cream Parlor/Waitress/Soda Jerk dress online like I had in my mind, so I ended up improvising with this modest nurse’s costume, also from Amazon.  I ditched the hat, pulled off the red felt hospital patches from the sleeves, and swapped out the cheap apron that came with it for a real waitress style with ruffled edges.

I attached my cone to a basic headband with hot glue and secured it with a few hairpins since it wobbled a bit.  And yes, those are real sprinkles on our faces.  I attached them with eyelash glue and they held all night through lots of laughing, eating and drinking!

  • Tights and gloves from Party City
  • Mint lace front wig from Bobbi Boss (MLF100 VENICE in TT1B/MINT)

I’d say it’ll be a few years until I can convince him to go this made up again, so I’ll enjoy this one for awhile (and the random sprinkles that I’m still finding around the house will help with that)!

 

PS- We won the Costume Contest at the party we attended!  Yay Team!

DIY- Industrial Chic Lighting Fixture

Back in February- yes, I’ve been sitting on this post for awhile- we churned out a pretty cool DIY project that I had my heart set on since choosing an Industrial Chic scheme for our Mancave project.  I love how it turned out and I’m excited to show you how to create one, too!

Industrial Light Fixture via AWellDressedLife

Like many of our home improvement projects, this one started out as an idea in my head- which grew into a sketch on paper (mainly so I could more adequately explain the inner workings of my brain to my not-always-so-enthusiastically-supportive ‘Handyband’ [handyman/husband]).  I wanted a statement lighting piece- since it’s hanging over the longest sectional on the planet- {seriously! It’s over 120″ long}- in hopes of making the sofa appear more anchored and intentional.

And, since this is in our bonus room with partially slanted ceilings, I wanted to play up on the slant instead of allowing it to run the show.  So, in lieu of attaching the light bar to the wall, we drilled right into the ceiling (nerves of steel!).  This raised the feel of that slanted portion and also allowed for longer pendant cords.

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I need to point out that this project could be done two ways- hardwired and plug-in.  I chose the plug-in route for saving time and money.  This tutorial is for the plug-in method.

Supplies Needed:

*Depending on the size of light bar you’re creating, the piping items will vary

Pipe- Long Runs (we used 2)

Floor Flanges (we used 3- 1 on each end and 1 in the center)

Nipples (for returns to the ceiling, 3)

90 degree Elbows (2)

Sekond Cord Sets (Ikea, 7)

Ottava Light (Ikea)

Assortment of Metal and Cage Shades (Lowe’s- I used thesethese and these)

Power strip (with enough plugs for the amount of pendants you have)

Zip ties

Spray Paint (optional)

Light Bulbs (Lowe’s- I chose these)

supplies

We started out by deciding how long we wanted the lighting bar to be- again, wanting it to be significant enough to anchor the sofa beneath it.  I went with 60 some odd inches, 1/2 the length of the sofa, and then found the center above it.  (That center mark will be where we cut into the wall to feed the cords- but we’ll get to that in a bit.)

Since galvanized pipe is only available “off the shelf” in certain lengths, we made it easier on ourselves by butting up two long runs with a T flange (that will be anchored into the ceiling at the center point).

pipe segments

After spray painting all of the piping pieces, we laid them all out on the floor and assembled them.  I used Rust-Oleum in Soft Iron Flat. Then, with the help of another set of hands, the fully assembled piece was held up to the ceiling while I marked the holes for the floor flanges.

Holes were drilled and anchors where installed. Notice the vacuum attachment used while drilling- HUGE mess saver! holes drilled

hung pipe

Once the bar was hung, we cut through the planked wall and into the attic space on the other side, creating an entry point for all of the cording (more on the technical stuff in a bit).

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Now it was time for me to get busy wrapping the excess cording of the light kits around the piping bar.  There’s really no right or wrong way of doing this, I suppose.  I just wrapped until I liked the appearance- you just need to ensure you leave enough loose ‘tail’ for it to reach the center, through the wall opening and plug into the power strip.cord wrapping details

I started on the far left end, wrapping pendant number 1 first.  When I got it hanging at the length I wanted- and the excess cord looking the way I liked- I ran the tail along the backside of the bar and zip tied it into place (just temporary until I get #2 started- I cut them off when finished).  I started wrapping #2 around the bar and tail of #1.  Once I had it at the varied height that looked right to me, I did the same zip tie method and moved onto #3.

After #3, I skipped the center pendant (#4) and moved straight to the opposite end, continuing with pendant #7, and working my way backward towards the middle.  Once all 6 of the side pendants were finished, I started hanging the center light.  I worked in this order so that the center cord would be used to wrap around all 6 other cords and secure them to the bar neatly.  Once finished, I fed each cord- one by one- through a wall plate (painted to match the plank wall) and then into the hole while the hubs was pulling from the attic side.

He went one step further and changed out the light switch on the room side, too and wired it up so that the one switch will control the power strip on the attic side (so it acts just like a hardwired lighting fixture- more about that below). 

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One thing I really wanted in this design was for my center pendant to be beefier than the others with lightweight shades.  I wasn’t able to find one (that I was willing to pay the big money for), so I flipped when I came across this Ottava light while shopping at Ikea (only $34.99!)!  The caveat is that it’s a true lighting fixture meant to be hardwired.  No worries, though!  Just dig the guts out and run a light kit through it!  It now appears just like the other pendants and no one is the wiser.

Just know that in order to get the electrical plug through the top part of an Ottava, you’ll need to use wire snips and it may not leave the pretties metal behind.  This wasn’t a big deal for me as mine is hung high and no one will ever see the top.  Just FYI.

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Ok, now this is were it gets technical…

Next to the attic access door, the hubs altered the wiring of the existing single light switch in order to create a dual switch.  This gives us the ability to turn the light bar on and off as if it were hardwired.

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On the attic side, we hung a 6-plug* power strip on the wall next to where we cut into it through the planks, and plugged it into a new outlet he ran from the new dual switch on the other side.  Luckily, my husband has been running electrical work for years, but if you’re not familiar with it, I’d recommend hiring a professional.

details of attic side wiring*I wasn’t able to find an 8-plug power strip so I opted for a 6-plug.  Obviously, with 7 pendants, this left me with one cord short so it earned it’s own spot on the new receptacle alongside the power strip plug (see the white and black cords in diagram 3 above) 

Further details…

  • In deciding the length of each pendant, make sure you double and triple check what it will be like while sitting underneath- you definitely don’t want anyone banging their heads while finding their seat.

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  • Also, I went with Edison-style bulbs in Amber to continue with the industrial-chic vibe in this room- they’re super cool IMO and give a nice warm glow.  PS- I found them in the pendant/shade aisle of Lowe’s- not in the light bulb aisle as I would have assumed.
  • The cage shades are originally a ‘French Bronze’ color so I spray painted them with Rust-Oleum Antique Nickle Flat.

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More reveals of the Bonus Room/Mancave coming soon!

Duke University Tree Base- DIY

Ok, so I’m apparently on a tree-base-making-binge… just roll with me- K?!

After finishing the urn base for our living room tree, and LOVING it! I decided to crank it up a notch and create one for the Duke tree we surprised hubby’s Uncle with.  This one was so much fun to make!

I purchased an outdoor planter from atHome for $59- EEK!  (Lesson learned- plan ahead and get them while they’re on sale in the Fall).

Duke University Tree

After wiping it down, I covered it in 2 good coats of white primer, followed by 3 coats of white satin spray paint (I always apply way more layers than I probably need to, but I like a rich finish).

Duke University Tree

 

My original plan was to mask off the interior boxes, that I wanted to leave white, while I spray painted the remaining surface royal blue.  However, I found that I was just too impatient for all of that.  So, I ended up painting the whole thing metallic blue and improvised from there. Rustoleum’s Metallic paint collection leaves a gorgeous finish in person!!

Duke University Tree

I, instead, masked off the blue area later with wax paper and painter’s tape and sprayed the interior boxes white.

Duke University Tree

 

Once everything dried overnight, I applied the decals that I found at a local sports memorabilia store.

Duke University Tree

I finished it off by outlining the edges of the planter with a silver metallic Sharpie and filled them in with matching acrylic paint.

Duke University Tree

 

What sports team would you deck your tree out in?!

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Duke University Tree

So we have a very special someone that is a diehard Duke fan.  He does so much for all of his family and friends everyday, we thought we would, in turn, do something special for him.

We snuck- (I just like it so much better than sneeked!) **tomAYto/tomaato** into his office this week and set up a tree- all decked out in blue, white and silver.  Go Blue Devils!

Duke University Tree

 

I created the base by painting an outdoor planter and adding Duke logos to each side- see my quick tutorial on that here.

Duke University Tree

I made the D-U-K-E letters from basic premade Chipboard and covered them in blue glittered cardstock- both from Hobby Lobby.

Duke University Tree Duke University Tree Duke University Tree

I chose four different ribbon styles- all wire edged for easy manipulation.

Duke University Tree
Duke University Tree

White Prelit Tree: HobbyLobby

Tree Base: DIY (see tutorial here)

All Ribbon, ChipBoard DIY “DUKE” Letters + Solid Ornaments: HobbyLobby

DUKE Trademarked Ornaments: St. Nick Nacks at Callahan’s of Calabash- Calabash, SC

Tree Topper Picks: HobbyLobby and atHome

Branches: My backyard 🙂 Spraypainted to match

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Upcycled Christmas Tree- DIY Urn Base

imageTo further the remix of our old, tired Christmas tree, and because I had to adjust its height anyways, I decided to dress up the base.

I love the look of trees with alternative bases such as urns and pots!  I’ve pinned several inspo photos over the years and referenced them in this project.

via Nell Hill's

via Nell Hill’s

via The Yellow CapeCod

via The Yellow CapeCod

Since our new ceilings are a full 2 feet shorter that in our last home (that’s a whole other topic I’ll touch on later), I either had to shorten our existing 9ft tree… or buy a new one.  Obviously, from my DIY Flocking post earlier, ya’ll know I chose the first option.  I asked the hubby to cut the 9 foot tree down to 7 1/2. It was a fairly easy fix with just the simple purchase of a metal saw blade. It took him no time to cut through the hollow metal rod that runs up the center of the tree!

Then, I grabbed an outdoor urn that I already had (just sitting in our garage begging to be used for something, anything!), and spray-painted it a beautiful brushed nickel.  I followed up later with a topcoat of white pearl- both by Rustoleum and purchased from Lowes.

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I purchased a run of PVC pipe and I For the bottom and a 50 pound bag of Quick Crete. I lined the bottom of the urn with plastic, placed the PVC in the middle and poured the Quick Crete around it (keeping the pipe leveled and centered the whole time). The 50 pounds of concrete will aid in creating a sturdy base for the tree and to give us a channel to slide the interior tree rod into for stability.

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I allowed the concrete to dry and set up for several hours- just to be on the safe side- then I brought it inside and positioned it in our room.  I sat the tree rod into the PVC and started adding the branches.

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*If your tree will be sitting on carpet like ours does, you may need to use shims to level it.  Because the front of my tree is always heavier than the back, mine leans forward a bit.  I just placed 3 shims under the front edge of the base and it did the trick!

As a tip- for unlit trees- I find it easier to add lights in small sections.  I start at the bottom of the tree and insert two rows of branches at a time.  I wrap two different types of bulbs around each branch and work my way up- two rows at a time.  (I use larger bulbs on the interior portion and smaller, LED mini lights along the outside of the branches for added dimension).

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Viola!  The easiest concrete project I’ve tackled so far!  What unique alternative tree bases are you planning for your holiday display this year?

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Upcycled Christmas Tree- DIY Flocking

I have always loved the look of a snowy white flocked tree!flocked-hunter

I’ve been fighting back the urge to replace our 9 foot, basic, Fraser fir with a beautiful flocked Alpine for the last few years- the huge investment just always got in the way.

oldtree

a truly terrible photo (but the only one I could dig up) of how dark and basic the tree was originally (circa 2010-ish)

With this being the first year in our new home, I had to make a decision because our ceilings in this house are 3 feet shorter than our last. So, I had to decide if I was going to make the investment, or work with what I had.
*Side note: Because of a side project I’m working on this year that required me to purchase a new tree and a full load of decor, I decided to wait until next year to invest in my own dream tree.

The more I scrolled through Pinterest and Instagram, the more I was dying for that beautiful white tree!
This is where the craftiness begins. I decided to ask the hubby to shorten the 9 foot tree down to 7 1/2. It was a fairly easy fix with just the simple purchase of a metal saw blade. Took him no time! Read about that process here!

To update the overall look of the tree, I applied Snow White glittered flock to every branch as well as the center rod. I searched high and low for professional grade flocking and found, by far, the best deal (and free shipping!!) from a retailer on eBay (Aquatic Reflection). I chose the 5lb bag and I had just enough to give the 7 1/2 foot tree a heavy coating.

bondingflockI started by covering my work space with a plastic drop cloth- our garage was the best area to work in.  I laid out all of the branches, right side up.  I worked on 3 or 4 branches at a time.  With a basic water bottle, I misted the areas I wanted to be flocked.  Immediately after, I sprinkled a handful of flock over the misted area.

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I continued this process until I liked the heaviness (um, yeah…) of the flock.  I went over each branch appx twice.  Then, because I wanted a ‘whiter’ tree, I flipped the branches over (once they were dry) and flocked the underneath edges of each.

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For appx $50, I upcycled a 7 year old basic tree into an updated, snow covered beauty! Compared to the $600-900 trees that I’ve been drooling over online, I’d say I came pretty close… and saved a car payment in the process!

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Stay tuned for the real fun… Decorating!

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