November 20, 2014

Make An Animal from the Muppets Costume

I know, it's way past Halloween.  I straight up missed the Halloween boat.  But I couldn't let the year go by without showing you our little Animal.

We decided a few months ago that our littlest man was born to be Animal, but finding a cute costume in his itty bitty size was nearly impossible.  You know how I love a good Halloween DIY (see last year's Infant Turtle and Ninja Turtle here,) so I decided to take on the task myself.  I also made a handy little downloadable template for anyone that wants to try this at home for the Animal in their life.
Download the PDF here.

I swear, the hardest part of any Halloween DIY is finding the blank base pieces.  Last year I struggled to find plain green sweatsuits, and this year the hardest part was finding a plain red hat.  After weeks of searching I settled on this guy, on sale at Target for $9.99.

In a moment of Mom triumph at the store (right in line with a full nights sleep or leaving the house without peanut butter in my hair,) I realized that when reversed, this hat was as plain red as I was going to find.

 Then I picked up five $.29 sheets of felt, a $1.99 small black boa and a spool of yarn that I stumbled across at Micheal's that was just perfect. All in I was under $20 for the hat, because I'm nothing if not cheap.

Using my template I cut out the various pieces out of felt, and then began stitching them onto the hat with an overcast (edging) stitch. It seems tedious, but the process really didn't take me that long, I just stitched a few pieces each evening while watching TV with the Hubs. (The Voice type TV, not Walking Dead type TV that requires all my attention and nervous nail chewing.)   Here's how it looked after the first night:

After the second night I finished the face, and on the third I began randomly attaching the yarn "fur"  around it.  Nailed it!

The rest of the costume I put together pretty quickly one evening with some scores from the clearance fabric bin at Joann's.  We had a orange, fleece jacket, so I just made a pair of pajama pants out of orange fleece material that was a pretty close match.  I used the same pattern to make a pair of shorts out of brown cotton, and then cut the bottoms ragged.  Then I used this pattern to make the yellow vest, just cutting the center of the Tshirt in half, and randomly cut and sewed on the red collar.  All of this sounds like a lot, but I swear it took about $7 and 1 hour's time. I wasn't looking to win quality awards here, and it helped that Animal by nature is supposed to look ragged and torn.

The chain was a last minute addition, but it turned out so perfect and made the outfit.   I found a lightweight, white plastic chain at Home Depot and sprayed with silver spray paint we had on hand.  I connected it to a scrap piece of felt that I used for the collar, with a velcro closure, so if it got caught or anyone pulled on it, it would come right off.  Safety first.

The kid totally loved it, and we could barely stop him for his constant sprinting to get a photo.  This one is my favorite, as it truly shows our little Animal in action.

I hope you and your family all had a great Halloween.  We've still got 2 huge buckets full of candy that we'll never eat, and I'm secretly taking large handfuls out of the buckets occasionally to trick the kids into thinking that they ate it. Which leads me to my favorite part of Halloween- Jimmy Kimmel.  You're welcome.

November 12, 2014

Tips for Decorating a Room on a Budget

I'm like a kid at Christmas you guys, we now have three new bedrooms up at the cabin that are all waiting to be decorated!  It's a super fun project that I can't wait to take on, but let's be realistic, decorating three full bedrooms can drain a wallet pretty quickly.  At least now we have a plan for each room, and I thought I'd start with a few details in the Knots Room.

When you don't have a big budget to work with, I find it helps to focus on a few items that will make a big impact. The biggest impact you can make quickly, I think, is in window treatments, so we started by giving these boring pull down shades the adios.

I had leftover white sheers at my house, so I brought them up and paired them with dark bronze curtain rods and textured woven shades.  Both were hung up higher and wider than the actual window so that they didn't take away from any of the view or light.  It makes the window look a whole lot more substantial. 
(In progress tool pile on the bed)
 The space is a little tighter on this wall, but the window now looks so much more finished.

Speaking of finished, the next biggest impact I think that you can make in a room is wall art.  The most affordable way to put art on the walls? Make it yourself! I love the way this set of sailor knot illustrations that I made turned out. 

I wanted these prints to have depth and texture, as well as feel uniform and crisp, so I had them printed on canvas by Tiny Prints.  There's nothing worse than uploading your art for print and then crossing your fingers that it will turn out right, but thankfully these turned out exactly how I wanted them to. One less thing for this Type A'er to obsess about.

The set of three coordinating pieces is a nice way to fill up a long space, (i.e. the dreaded 'above the couch' and 'above the bed' dead walls!) Although looking at my set now in pictures I might spread them out just a bit more.

My third tip for decorating on a budget is to apply a punch of color.  You don't need a lot of quantity of items, if you have bold, bright items that really fill up a space visually.  My plan is to make a punch with coral, navy and white pillows on the bed like these from my mood board.

Unfortunately, even though I felt like I couldn't go anywhere this past spring and summer without tripping over coastal inspired home decor, the season has past and it's now impossible to find.  Which leads me to tip #4- if you're going for a particular look or color scheme, wait for the right season and stock up.  I remember back in my first home I would always buy home decor in the fall, as that's when I found the biggest selection and lowest prices on the rust, caramel and brown colors that filled my home at the time.  That means I may have to be patient with the cabin decor and wait until next spring and summer when the beachy items and styles hit the shelves again.  (Not a strong suit of mine, but worth the wait.)

In the mean time, another tip for decorating on a budget is to work with what you have.  The bed in this room came with an old, glossy, gold head board that looked cheap and worn.

Spray paint is often one of the cheapest tools to make a big change in a room.  It took us about 7 light and even coats of oil rubbed bronze to transform our eyesore.

Who said those old plywood window valences weren't good for something?

 And now it looks aged and classy. 

We also dug through a bunch of old decor items to see what we could make work in this room.  Now admittedly, this "make it work" technique is a lot easier for us as we try to achieve an antique and well-lived vibe, and would be much harder for a modern or mid century approach. But even I was surprised with some of the old, antique items that we had laying around that actually work in this setting.  (I'm talking to you Wooden Fish.)

This oil lantern came with the cabin, and is a great example of decor that can look good but also provide functionality.  I know where right where to go if the cabin ever loses power and we're sitting in the dark.  A favorite snapshot of my parents as teenagers in a weathered frame completes the rustic look.

So the rest of the room was sort of coming together, but I was still left with this pretty boring blank wall on the left. 

The lamp and night stand in the corner helps a bit to bring height.  I love the rustic, old base of this lamp that came with the cabin.  I'm not sure that I'll keep the shade, but to replace it I'll have to find a new one with this height, or even taller.

To help fill my blank space, I went with one of my favorite tips for decorating on a budget, decorate with items that aren't traditionally decor.   I found a pair of old, wooden pullies that we had in the garage and some rope.  They were pretty heavy, so I removed a pair of old brass hooks I found in the closet to hang them.  It's not perfect, but it's gives an old an vintage feel, and it certainly works with the knots vibe.  I'll bring up some different rope to add to it on my next trip.

So here we are.  Definitely not done yet, but for very little money we've made a pretty big impact in the room.

And it's certainly better than where we started, no?

November 5, 2014

Portico Light

Did I mention that we got our new light in for the portico?

When I last left you we had all but finished the portico project, but we were still waiting on our special order light.  I looked at a bunch of different lights, and was trying to find the right combination of barn light and nautical.  Oh yeah, and low price.  Low price was a BIG priority.  Here were my favorites:

The top left and bottom right are both from Barn Light Electric, which I love, but they were both a bit too spendy for my budget.  I also really wanted 2 bulbs here to bring a lot of light which eliminated the top left, and I wanted a little bit of cover over and not just exposed bulbs, which eliminated the bottom right. 

My favorite was the bottom left, which I found at  A little bit rustic with the seeded glass, a little bit nautical with the cage.  Unfortunately it only had one bulb, and my parents convinced me that the seeded glass would fill each week full of dead bugs, and that we'd constantly be removing the glass to empty it.  They are right, there's a crazy amount of bugs up here, and there's nothing that ruins a good fixture more than a illuminated pile of dead insects.

That left the flush mount in the top right.  This piece definitely had a nautical feel and two bright bulbs. The slightly frosted glass helps to hide the bulbs and any bug accumulation.  But the best part, is that this light was the cheapest by far at only $39.99.  I love the stark black against the bright white ceiling.

I think it works well to fill the concave space of the portico, but it doesn't hang down too low that it takes away from it or would provide an opportunity to hit your head.

It looks just as good at night:


As it does at dusk:

We've had it up for a couple of weeks now, and I'm really happy with the choice.  I'm also thrilled that this door looks like a real deal, bonafide entry now. I mean, it wasn't that long ago that our new door was looking pretty sad with some make shift concrete block steps:

And now it looks intentional and beautiful with the new deck, portico and welcoming light. 

What a year it's been up at this cabin so far.  We've gotten SO much done!  I'm not going to lie, for awhile there it got pretty overwhelming, and every time we came up we were facing a new major project and challenge.  But I feel like we've made it over the hill now.  Not complete, but at least on the downward slope. We're coasting.  We get to take on projects when we want to and when we're ready, not because we have to.  And we have an amazing place to show for it.