Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Easy DIY: ouch-less hair bands

I have long hair, because, honestly who has time to make, much less, keep a hair appointment these days. My daughter has shoulder-length hair. Ponytails are a necessity, but they can be so painful.

I buy hair bands out the whazoo {spelling/actual word?}, as she mysteriously loses them in the playroom at preschool. Riding a tricycle indoors is pretty active stuff - those ponytail bands go flying apparently. Actually, I realized how true this statement is. I have a real photo of her zoooooming through the house on her new tricycle during the winter months. Her hair was much longer and her pigtails were parallel to the floor. My little speed demon.

It dawned on me when I was shopping that many of the hair bands boasting "pain free" and "ouchless" just looked like they were made out of old tights.

I had a couple pairs of tights sized 12 and 18 months sitting around, not sure if they could be donated now that my daughter has outgrown them. But I didn't want to just throw them away. She wore them once, maybe. No one I know has had a baby girl, though. So in a drawer they sat until today.

I decided to go about making my own ouch-less hair bands. Here is a very simple tutorial for DIY ouchless hair bands. Keep in mind that the various widths and styles in this tutorial are from one pair of  infant-sized tights.

Supplies you will need:

  • pair of old tights or panty hose
  • ruler ~ if you like straight lines :)
  • rotary fabric cutter ~ or scissors if you're free-handing this whole deal
  • self-healing mat ~ if you're using the rotary cutter - and you like your tabletop

*Tip: Start by turning your tights inside out. This enables the curl to go the right direction, so that the finished bands will actual have the right side facing out.

Easy how-to:

1. Cut off the waistband and tag if there is one. More recent pairs will most likely be wonderfully tag-free, but you will still want to cut off any brand name and sizing info that is printed directly onto the material.

2. Cut off the remainder of the tummy/bottom area. Then cut off toe seams.

3. Use a ruler to cut strips in desired widths. I cut 1/2" and 1" strips for variety. (As mentioned in supply list - you could totally eyeball this whole project with scissors, but depending on how sharp your scissors are, the material can stick or snag.)

4. Stretch your cut pieces. {Please don't judge my dry skin or terrible nails. I haven't had a manicure since my wedding - 10 years ago this month!}

5. If you are seeing portions that are not curling up all the way around, just stretch in every direction. It's actually very quick - a couple seconds for each piece.

By the way, I have GOT to look up directions on cleaning a self-healing mat! Between the tights and a fleece project, my mat is seriously fuzzy looking. 

Here are completed 1" and 1/2" bands side by side. I assume the wider one will be a bit sturdier, but the skinnier one will be good for wrapping several times like at the end of a braid.

Now, should you not want to waste any of the remaining tights from the tummy/bottom area, you can cut off the seams as shown above and knot the ends. I used 1" cuts for these bands.

Here is my collection of 27 ouchless hair bands from one pair of baby tights {FREE}:

  • 13  -  1/2" seamless bands
  •   6  -  1" seamless bands
  •   4  -  1/2" tied end bands
  •   3  -  1" tied end bands
  •   1  -  1/2" double tied end band
{Do you like my nod to the Olympics. I didn't mean to do that - it must be subconscious from watching swimming and gymnastics all weekend.}

Imagine the quantity and variety a pair of adult size tights would make. Headbands galore!

NOW... just picture how cute this would be with patterned tights! :)

For more creative {and just plain practical} ideas for repurposing tights and panty hose, click here.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mommy post

I know the other moms feel me here...

The words "enough already", which fly out of my mouth often around this house to the sibling rivalry. Rivalry sounds kind of medieval to me, which suits its purpose in that phrase just fine. Sometimes my two children are downright cruel to each other. Very primal, even. To find whatever is near them to use as a weapon. That's straight out of gladiator days.

I feel like nothing I say ever sinks in to my children's heads. I preach {and yes, try my best to practice} being sweet and gentle hundreds of times a day. It never seems to get through.

Then out of the blue, something happens...

My daughter, 3 years old and full of spit and vinegar, found a wasp in the family room this morning. She said, "Momma, I need something to pick it up." So I handed her a paper towel. 

She caught it! Without harming the poor little guy.

She proceeded to gently (not an word in her vocabulary or demeanor) pick it up and said, "I need to put him outside."
Watching the wasp escape to the bushes.

This same little girl of mine pulls the dog's tail in glee, and tells her, "I'm gonna poke your eye"...! She is ruthless to her big brother. She scares me with how developed her sense of humor and deception are at only three years old.

This transaction with the wasp lasted all of 2 minutes. But just that simple gesture she made, that was enough for me to realize that something, SOMETHING, is being absorbed into her little mind about being kind to others. I couldn't be more proud. And neither could she. ♥

So proud of herself!
{Yes, the hair in her eyes drives me crazy, too.}

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

My sister is a Pampered Chef consultant. This fact comes with perks for me!

We happened to babysit my nephews for her this past Saturday, and to thank me she gave me a stone muffin pan that I've been coveting. {All my other muffin pans get rust stains even washing by hand.}
Never seen that happen to stoneware. So... Lucky me!

I was so excited to try it out, and I just happened to have some pink lemonade cake mix I picked up on clearance at Target (summer is not over yet!). I knew just what I wanted to do with it.

You see, my 8 year old son has severe food allergies. He used to be allergic to everything on God's green Earth. The great news is that now he has grown out of all of his food allergies with the exception of eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. Baking is hard - eggs are in everything. And alternatives are not so tasty.

~ But, again, I count my blessings for what he can now have. ~

I have tried so many variations of eggless cupcakes/cakes for parties. Everyone sweetly eats them like they are yummy... Everyone, that is, but my son! :) He touches the tip of his tongue to it and declares it inedible.

He doesn't trust food. I don't blame him. Certain foods could cause him serious harm or even death. Again, I do NOT blame him for this. If anything I blame myself. {You know the "what if" game we mothers play.}

Anywhooo...on to my actual topic! I decided to try a quick recipe from Pinterest that was egg-free - and super duper easy. 'Cause that's how I roll.

Oh, and yes, I used a boxed cake mix. Don't hate me too much!

  • box Pillsbury Pink Lemonade cake mix
  • 1 cup greek yogurt 
  • 1 cup water

  • Mix the cake mix and greek yogurt until well blended (mine looked very crumbly like couscous)
  • Add water and mix until smooth and creamy (mine was thicker than typical cake batter)
  • Follow baking directions on box {I baked cupcakes, so I baked them for about 18 minutes at 350 degrees}
I realized after making my cupcakes that I didn't have frosting. So, back to Pinterest I went! I had been wanting to try this recipe for a quick frosting that, again, was sure to not have egg.

  • 1 pkg Jell-O instant pudding (any size, any flavor desired)
  • 1 container Cool Whip
  • 1/2 the milk called for on your pudding box

Directions for Frosting:
  • Mix pudding packet with 1/2 the amount of milk called for on the box. {Mine said to mix with 2 cups of milk, so I used just 1 cup.}
  • Fold in Cool Whip
  • Stand back and appreciate how simple that was! :)
Once your cupcakes are completely cooled, frost away.

I had some adorable strawberry cupcake liners waiting for the perfect opportunity. I even added a fresh, homegrown strawberry from my little deck garden.

Now, I can only imagine the amount of combinations/adaptations these two recipes could make. The greek yogurt is supposedly delicious combined with chocolate cake mix. And you could add flavored pudding to the frosting. This is fairly low-fat, but you could use sugar free pudding mix and Cool Whip Lite, to reduce calories, too. 

{I wish I had taken the time to pipe the frosting on, but hey, it was naptime - I do what I can with the time that I have!}

I even decided after all the cupcakes were eaten that it would have been SO cute to dip the rim of the cupcake frosting in Country Time lemonade powder.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Easy DIY: Wood Stain

So I've seen a lot of tutorials about DIY wood stain, and I knew I wanted to give it a try. I just found two natural baskets for a steal and figured now is the time. {I apologize in advance, as all photos are from my iphone - my camera was missing. Brother-in-laws, what are you gonna do?}

Here are the supplies I used:

  • Apple cider vinegar
  • empty jar
  • steel wool

A note about the supplies - I had the vinegar on hand. I read that apple cider vinegar creates a grey stain, and that's the result I was wanting. The steel wool came in a pack of 15 at the dollar store. It didn't say what grade it was {0000 was recommended in my reading}, but the dollar store isn't too specific in their packaging. :)

I placed the steel wool in the empty jar and covered with vinegar. I sealed the jar and left overnight. I have read that the steel wool will dissolve. Mine did not seem to at all, which is probably because it wasn't the recommended grade. It wasn't necessary, however, as the stain was still very effective.

Here is my natural woven basket. I used a cheapy foam brush to apply. I had read that it smells pretty bad, worse than just vinegar. So I set up outside on my deck table. I would highly recommend a well-ventilated area {aka - outside} to do this. And if you don't have a glass table that will rinse off, put down a dropcloth of some sort.

The reaction of the solution on the wood is very quick. This was after a quick layer. The right side has the stain applied, while the middle was just added. The time between starting and taking this photo was probably one minute total. It is VERY quick! And the longer I worked, the darker the stain got with only one coat.

The two baskets side by side. The left basket has only one layer of stain! The right basket is untreated.

You can sand down the wood after it is dry to reach the desired color. I just gave it a light sanding. I did not seal it with anything yet. And I think I will try the other basket adding water to the solution to see if it creates a lighter driftwood effect.

There you have it! A quick {and did I mention EASY} DIY wood stain with vinegar and steel wool.
All completed during naptime!

~All photos are my own.~

And, why yes, that is my new Dash & Albert rug under the baskets! I got it for 50% off! Woohoo!!

Linking up to the following wonderful parties...

The 36th AVENUE      Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special  
Thirty Handmade Days  SixSistersStuff.com  
Blissful and Domestic
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Monday, July 9, 2012

Treasures from Lil' Red Schoolhouse Antiques

My two part post featuring one of my favorite stores, Lil' Red Schoolhouse Antiques, is complete.
I decided to share my personal treasures, all found at this store - in their own post.

Now, here are a sampling of the special items I have gifted myself from Pat's lovely shop...

One of my favorite vintage blue pharmacy bottles was from my most recent trip. 
This one has a great label for German Syrup. The typography is so cool.

This giant pickle jar I picked up at my first trip to the store. 
{The oversized wooden rosary is from another shop nearby, sadly that store is closing.}

The antique clothespins inside this new pedestal fishbowl were originally purchased
in the pickle jar above. {I have big plans for them - a.k.a. - various projects in my brain.}

My other most recent purchase from Lil' Red Schoolhouse is this antique 48 star United States flag. 
How very timely! I picked up this piece of American history just weeks before 4th of July.
We already have one folded that is a family heirloom, so I thought this was perfect to hang 
on my big empty wall in the family room during the summer months - especially July!
I wanted to hang it even higher, but I am short and I was already on my tippy toes on my ladder.
You can see the fold marks, but I didn't want to iron it and have anything happen to it.
{Oh, and I might possibly detest ironing.}

I also picked up a great vintage blue suitcase, but don't have a photo yet.
Again, big plans, I tell ya!

You may recognize the photo above from the top of my blog. Two of the special vintage books in this stack are from Lil' Red Schoolhouse Antiques - Antony and Cleopatra and Romeo and Juliet

And now, for one of my most treasured finds ever - and discovered at Pat's shop...

This beautiful Corona typewriter {with floating shift key} even had it's case and manual!
The case has some scuffs, but the typewriter itself is in pristine condition.
When I brought it home, my son asked me if it was an old computer keyboard...
so we talked about how computers didn't always exist and how there was no delete button. 
And then he started typing on it {yes, it still works!} and thought it was so cool!

If it wasn't completely obvious to you yet,
I strongly recommend a trip to Pat's "Lil'" shop! :)

Just make sure you leave me some good stuff!

All info and opinions regarding Lil' Red Schoolhouse Antiques are solely my own.

~ All photos in the post are my own. ~
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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Lil' Red Schoolhouse Antiques, Part II

Continuing my photo heavy post about my first favorite featured shop...

At Lil' Red Schoolhouse Antiques, in historic downtown St. Charles, I felt so at home
to browse and chat. I have come back several times and it always looks different.
Pat continually rotates and fills the store with new finds. 

A large ship tops this corner cabinet filled with treasures. 
And look at that vintage wedding dress!

Other antique stores I have visited have a stagnant, untouched feel to them. 
Dust settled everywhere. Merchandise seems like it has been there since it opened. 
Sometimes this has an appeal, other times, it just seems tired. I never feel that way at Pat's.

Here's a great little Tonka truck - with mock wood veneers. :)

One point I forgot to make in Part I of this feature, is that Pat's prices are so reasonable!
There are times I go into local antique shops and see the prices and choose to walk out. 
It's not that I wouldn't pay good money for an item I would treasure - it just seems like the prices are marked up too high. Every visit to Lil' Red Schoolhouse Antiques reaffirms my opinion. 
Always reasonable!!

A larger display of Sassy Sparrow's product line on a fabulous shabby pink chair.

As mentioned before, Lil' Red Schoolhouse Antiques successfully pairs old with new. 
Showing us ways that these items can truly be timeless.

An eggplant clutch, new from Sassy Sparrow sits in an old wooden tray 
with vintage hand-written letters and other paper ephemera.

Space is utilized in every nook and cranny. This secretary desk is displayed in a small alcove in the hallway leading to two more rooms. The shield mirror fits like it was made for that wall.

And chandeliers are everywhere! Take a look at these two below. 

They are not a matched pair, but they compliment each other with their crystals.

Now, see this great little chandy. I tried to show a close up from inside the crystal shade. 
It made every crystal iridescent, bouncing colors everywhere inside it. Truly Unique!

There is a personal story behind this grand old cash register. 

Pat is such a sweetheart {and kindred spirit}. When I told her that I was having a vintage ice cream parlour & sweet shoppe theme for my daughter's birthday party {hopefully I can get the photos together for a post} - she offered to let me use this as a prop for the decor. How fabulous is that!
That's the kind of personal connection that keeps me coming back.

Great collector items can be found everywhere. I am particularly fond of old typewriters. 
Like this wonderful antique Smith & Corona typewriter.

I love the attention to detail at Lil' Red Schoolhouse Antiques. Aesthetics can be very influential 
as to whether customers purchase products. Take the kraft brown shopping/gift bags and boxes 
tied with red ribbon. When I leave this shop with a bag in hand, I feel like it is special - 
ready to be given as a gift. No new wrapping/packaging necessary. 

If it wasn't completely obvious,
I strongly recommend a trip to Pat's lil' shop!

If you stop by, tell them I sent you - 

Just make sure you leave some for me!

So, I mentioned in Part I that I would add some of my lovely finds from this shop.
But I have so many, I am devoting an entire post to them. Stay tuned... :)

~ All photos are my own. ~

Please note that store inventory is constantly changing, 
but if you would like to inquire about availability and pricing, give Pat a call! 

Once again, here is the store information: 

108 State Avenue ~ St. Charles, IL 60174
phone: 630-393-1040
Pat Arnott, Proprietor
Store hours: Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11 AM - 5 PM and Sunday Noon - 4 PM