Monday, March 16, 2015

Art Cabinet Organization!

Hey folks!
Before and After shot!

When I first started blogging, a sweet friend of mine shared that she needed some ideas about how to clear up counter space in her kitchen.  I initially thought that I was probably the worst person to ask, but then I realized that this was just the motivation I needed to do something about it! So, I started wracking my brain, and with a little help from IKEA (of course!), I realized that if I maximized my cabinet space through careful organization I could clear up some counter space.

The counter madness...

So, I began with our art supply cabinet…. Here it is in all its chaotic glory before the organization began.... (Please don’t judge me…. )

That cabinet be cray-cray, yo

As you may of guessed by now, I’m a bit of a crafter and that translates into my stay-at-home mom life. So, our art stash is constantly growing and constantly in use, and the disorganization can be a bit…. Frustrating. So, Saturday night (after a delightful trip to Ikea), I got to work.

This is what I used:
Flyt Magazine File (IKEA) – comes in a 5 pack      = $1.49
Tupperware Bins (already had)                                   = $0.00
Wire File Folder Rack (already had)                           = $0.00
Total                                                                                  = $1.49

I simply put the file bins together and just started organizing the mess. I used the tupperware bins to store items that were alike and placed them all in one place: markers, crayons, paintbrushes, chalk, etc.  The file holders were used to sort activity/art books and craft paper. I also was able to use them for miscellaneous craft items like pipe cleaners, goggly eyes, play dough.  The wire rack holds sticker books, which I need pretty readily (I have a sticker fiend in my household!), and it also holds other things we use regularly- wipes for painting projects and her favorite crayon box. They're upfront and ready for use so I don't have to scavenge when my little crafter comes calling. 

As I continued to organize, it dawned on me that there’s more room than I realized.  So, I was able to fit more and more stuff. LOL! There is even space to store Nugget’s growing pile of artwork behind all the file holders, and that has been the biggest concern because she has a very healthy pile. For now, the plan is to reevaluate all my cabinets and start organizing more efficiently- I’ll keep you posted as I find more ideas, and please share any tips of your own in the comments below! 

Organization makes my heart happy

Finally a place for her previous projects! 

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. Happy organizing! I’ll be seeing y’all soon! Until then, take care!


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Wooden Initial Burlap Picture Frames

Hey folks!

I was SO in love with a reclaimed wood initial project that I had found on Pinterest (inspiration found here), but then I quickly realized that… I could not, for the life of me, get my hands on reclaimed wood, and in addition to that, I discovered that finding tin letters in a reasonable price range was out of the picture for me. So, back to the drawing board I went, and after wrangling my brain, I decided that I could make Wooden Initial Burlap Picture Frames with the materials I had on hand.

Here’s what I used:
13” Letters (Michael’s)                                            = $4.99 x 2     = $9.98
18” Wooden Ampersand (Hobby Lobby)            = $7.79x 1      = $7.79*
Wood picture frames (Goodwill)                          = $2.99 x 2     = $5.98
Spray Paint (Walmart)                                            = $3.99 x 2     = $7.98
Burlap (on hand)                                                      = $0.00           = $0.00
Glue Sticks (on hand)                                              = $0.00           = $0.00
Mod Podge (on hand)                                              = $0.00           = $0.00
TOTAL COST                                                                               = $31.73
Cost break down = $10.58 per piece
*Used 40% coupon from the Hobby Lobby App. Originally $12.99.

Here’s what I did:
1. Spray paint letters. I used Krylon CoverMaxx in Ivory/Gloss and Rust-Oleum Camouflage in dark sage color. (The Rust-Oleum Camouflage is made to be ultra flat. Just an FYI if this is not the finish you’re looking for. I will remedy this in steps to come!)

2. While my letters were drying, I decided to stain my ampersand a walnut color. For this, I used Varathane Wood Stain in dark walnut.

3. Since I had even more time with things out to dry, I cut pieces of leftover burlap to fit the backs of my picture frames and hot glued them in place.

4. After my letters were finished drying, I hot glued them to my burlap backings.

5. Because my green frames had turned out SO flat, I decided to add some gloss by using Mod Podge. (My only caution with this step is to apply lightly.  If you use it too generously, the excess won’t dry clear but white instead.)

6. When errrything was dry, I simply placed the backings back into the frames and voila!

This was a super fun project, and I absolutely love the end result!  

Well, folks, that’s all I’ve got to say for now. Happy crafting! I’ll be seeing y’all soon! Until then, take care!


Friday, February 27, 2015

Dining Area Feature Wall!

Hey folks!

It… is… finished… my dining area feature wall that is! Here it is in all its glory….

It has definitely been a process, but it has been a fun journey.  I had never done a feature wall before, and honestly didn’t have any plans to make that happen.  I had started a project based on utensils I found at Goodwill (link to that project inspiration here), and things just started to fall into place.

When I see this wall, it makes my heart happy.  It makes our little space just feel like home. Just wanted to share the progress on this fun little side project!

Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 3
The final product!

Well, folks, that’s all I’ve got to say for now. I’ll be seeing y’all soon! Until then, take care!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Don't get caught up in the "What If's"

Hey folks,

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’’
- Jeremiah 29:11

It took two years for me to get pregnant. It took two years of doctor’s appointments, ovulation plans, menstruation tracking, and rounds of medications.  It was two years of negative pregnancy tests, crying, disappointment, feelings of failure, and depression. So when that blue plus sign finally appeared, I KNEW in my soul that God had heard my broken heart and that little baby growing in my belly was a definite gift from Him.

A newborn Nugget

After my baby girl was born, life had, of course, changed dramatically.  My husband and I worked hard every day to get this whole parenting thing down, and somewhere around the 9-month mark, we had reached a parenting peak.  Let me tell you… We had the routine down pat. She was sleeping 12+ hours a night and still napped 2-3 times a day.  Not only that, she was hitting every milestone like a champ, and by this point, she was even walking! The house was clean. The dishes would get done. The laundry was even neatly folded (and sometimes put away…). We, as a family, were totally in sync, and at this point, life was great.

Nugget's first Halloween

Living off this new found high, on a drive to go shopping alone, I just started thanking God for the opportunity to even be a parent. There was a time in my life that I didn’t even believe it would be possible, and deep down in my heart, I wanted more children, and I felt like we were ready. So, I began to present this request to Him, and immediately, He brought the question to my heart, “What if there are no more?” My…. heart… broke…

I couldn’t stop the tears from streaming down my face. Just the thought that I might not be able to have another child was devastating, and in that moment, a thousand thoughts began to run through my mind: My husband and I were in a healthy and loving marriage. We were completely financially stable. We had an amazing support system of friends and family. We had more than enough room. We had every baby gadget available. We were (somewhat) experienced and knowledgeable. But most of all, our house was filled with so much love… Why wouldn’t we have another child??

Nugget's first trip to the Grand Canyon

Nugget's first trip to the San Diego Zoo
I knew that I was at a crossroads. I could either trust God’s plan for my life, or I could use this as a reason to be angry with Him and to add it to a list of obstacles that have been hindering my faith.  Truth is He gave me a child when I didn’t think it was possible. He gave me a beautiful, healthy, rambunctious bundle of joy. Truth is He gave me opportunities to be a “stand-in” mother and big sister for so many broken-hearted teenagers, who, now in their twenties, still love on me, call me, talk to me about their problems, and make it a point to come visit me when I come home to Georgia.  Truth is there is a bigger plan for my life, and although I have no idea what the completed picture looks like, I am promised that it’s filled with hope and prosperity.

If another child is in my future, rock on, but if not, I refuse to let that be a stumbling block for my faith.  I am thankful for the opportunities He has given me, and I won’t make my “what if’s” be a reason to be ungrateful for the blessings that are in my life now.  I KNOW there are plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a future, and I know there is still more to come.

Arg! Don't ye worry about ye future!

So, my friends, whatever you’re facing currently, know that you’ve got a future too, and it’s filled with hope. Don’t get caught up in what you may not have. Get caught up in what you’ve been given, and know that He’ll take care of the rest.

Well, folks, that’s all I’ve got to say for now. I’ll be seeing y’all soon! Until then, take care!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Baby Sign Language Resources!

Hey folks,

When I first heard about teaching your baby sign language, I honestly thought that it was nearly impossible.  How on earth could a wee babe possibly comprehend the mechanics of language and not to mention grasp the technicalities of sign language?? Since then, I’ve learned that I have completely underestimated babies everywhere, and baby sign language has become one thing that I am extremely passionate about.

Nugget at around 7 months

Our signing story begins when our Nugget was 7 months old, and we enrolled her in an 8-week “Wee Can Sign” class. For weeks, we steadily signed with her and seemed to get no response in return.  We were 4 weeks in and had nothing to show for it. In a moment of frustration, I finally turned to her and asked, “Do you know how to sign ‘milk’????” To my surprise, she waved.  So, I asked again….She waved again.  I decided to get daring and ask if she could sign “eat.” This time, she brushed her chin… My child was signing!!!!

7 month old Nugget
By the time she was 9 months, she could tell me that she wanted to drink or eat or if she wanted “more.”  By the time she was 10 months, she had a signing vocabulary of 25+ signs, and by 12 months, it was up to 50+ signs, and she could mix her verbal vocabulary and signs enough to almost form whole sentences (like “Mommy (verbal), milk please (sign)”).  It helped me understand what she needed, and it helped her to feel understood.

8 month old Nugget
When we started our signing journey, we received a lot of push back.  Some people questioned whether or not it would delay her ability to speak.  Some people, like me initially, thought infants were incapable of communicating so early and that we were wasting our time. (I had a complete stranger tell me this after she saw me signing to Nugget in public…) Or other people thought it was just plain weird.

My silly girl!

If you are remotely interested in teaching your child to sign, this is my advice to you:
#1. Be consistent! You’ll only reap what you put into it. If you make it a point to sign all the time, you’ll child will learn a lot quicker. If you make it a part of your daily routine, I guarantee you’ll see results. If you are part of a two parent household, you BOTH have to be equally consistent.

#2. Realize that infant’s signs may not look like your signs.  This was the biggest roadblock in our journey.  Remember, your 9-month-old doesn’t have the same fine motor-skill ability that you do! They may be trying to sign to you but just can’t make the gestures perfectly. To teach them ASL correctly, be sure to consistently use the “sign” for the word rather than reverting to what your child is signing to you.

#3. Signing does NOT delay your child’s ability to speak.  Speaking from experience, my Nugget said her first words around 10-11 months. As she learned the “signs” of things, she began to associate the verbal names to those things as she “signed” them.  Although she couldn’t physically formulate words, she understood what those words meant, and over time, I watched as her “signs” morphed into verbal words. One day, she would “sign” blanket, and the next, she could say “blanket” (or some derivative of it. LOL!).  Even more so, there is even some research that suggests signing to your child has lasting intellectual benefits.  Signing can do a lot of good!

#4. Don’t give up! Give yourself some time and give your child some time.  Teaching your child takes patience. So, don’t beat yourself up if it doesn’t happen overnight. Give yourself and your baby some grace. It will come with time!

Other great articles

 Baby Sign Language Resources

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. Happy signing! I’ll be seeing y’all soon! Until then, take care!


Sunday, January 25, 2015

IKEA Lego Table Fun!

Hey folks!

So, my family frequents our local Barnes & Noble often, and one of our favorite pastimes is none other than the (drumroll, please…..) LEGO TABLE! Woot! I know what you’re thinking… We are truly a family of party animals over here. :) 

Nugget and Daddy
During one particular trip, a light bulb instantaneously went off in our brains- we NEEDED a Lego table! I went home that day and did what any woman would do. I turned to Pinterest (queue angelic voices and light from heaven), and I found a plethora of choices.  In no time, I made my way to IKEA, found a LACK table, and then spent twenty gut-wrenching minutes pouring over hardware choices… I almost felt my inner shopping goddess throw her hands up in complete defeat. To add to my distress, the dollar signs kept wracking up in my brain.

To save you from potential heartbreak at your favorite IKEA location, here is exactly what you need and how much it will cost you.

Lego Table and a Nugget

Lego Table
Bygel Containers: $0.99 x 4                                    = $3.96
Bygel Rail: $2.99                                                        = $2.99
Lack Side Table: $7.99 (IKEA Family Price**)   = $7.99 ($9.99 w/o IKEA family)
TOTAL                                                                          = $14.94
**You can sign up for IKEA family and receive info on special sales and discounts! Visit the link here!

As far as Legos go, we went with Duplo’s because anything smaller would still be a choking hazard for our Nugget.  If you decide to go that route, the building plate only comes in one size (15” x 15”), and you’ll only be able to fit one plate on your table.  If you have older children and need regular Legos, you can purchase the 10” X 10” plate, and four of them will fit nicely.

Toddler-friendly Lego Duplo's!

Legos (Duplo for ages 2-5)
15” x 15” green Duplo building plate                   = $11.98
65 pcs Lego Duplo Set                                            = $29.99
TOTAL                                                                       = $41.97

To attach the base plate to the table, use liquid nails.  Instructables gives more detailed instructions that you can read here

We used 3M strips because we are anticipating our Nugget growing out of Duplo’s within the next year. If you choose to go this route, be warned that it will leave a small gap between the base and the table.  If that doesn’t bother you, then rock on.

I couldn't keep her away from it long enough to take a picture of just the table. :)

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now! Happy crafting! I can’t wait to see your Lego table creations! Follow me on instagram (@lovefaithandcrafts) and upload a photo of your Lego goodness with #lovefaithandcrafts.

I’ll be seeing y’all soon! Until then, take care!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Apartment Living: Aint No Shame!

Hey Folks,

In the sudden moves from Las Vegas, Nevada to Austin, Texas then to San Antonio, Texas, my husband and I thought it would be financially practical to rent an apartment before purchasing a home.  It would give us more time to understand the area and identify where we eventually wanted to live versus making a rushed decision and absolutely hating the location.  More than that, less money was needed for a deposit. You could move in relatively quickly, and the options were endless. So, renting an apartment was exactly what we did.  Little did we realize that there would be emotional ramifications to our decision…

                                    Picture of Living Room

There's something about moving from a house to an apartment that makes you feel like you're regressing in life, and if you’ve ever owned your own home (rather than just renting one), that increases this feeling by a 1,000%.  Personally, I felt myself being slightly embarrassed that we downsized from a 3,400 square foot home to a 1,300 square foot apartment.  It got to the point where I didn’t want to invite people over or I wouldn’t fully disclose where I was living or I had this overwhelming need to explain our whole situation before anyone even asked.  (Hey, I’m just being totally honest here…) I’m not sure when homeownership = full-grown adulthood, but I felt this growing conviction in my heart that I didn’t need to be ashamed. Fact is that I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, money in the bank, and a family that loves me.

                   Pictures of Entry Way

When I got over this stupid insecurity, I found apartment living as an opportunity to experiment for my future casa, hoard all the things for my dream-house layouts, and practice my personal interior-decorating style.  It takes creativity and vision to make any space feel like home. It takes imagination to make a small space feel inviting rather than suffocating, and it takes some elbow grease to make your home reflect your personality.  So, this has been my current mission, and it has been a blast!

                                    Pictures of Dining and Kitchen Areas

Here’s some advice that I would pass on to my fellow apartment dwellers:
  1. Use 3M picture hangers or hooks. They are a LIFESAVER. To date, we have not used a single nail in our apartment, and all our walls are almost fully decorated. They don’t leave damage on your walls either, which means, “hello, deposit money!”
  2. Start building your “home inventory.” Use this time to envision what your dream home would look like and start piecing it together.  The last thing you want when you purchase a home is to furnish it with your old college futon and poster collection. Start classing it up!
  3. Add color through accessories or fabrics. One challenge in living in an apartment is that you can’t paint the walls without some kind of repercussion.  If you’re my kind of lazy and aren’t into painting walls, go for bold rugs, pillows, or accent pieces.
  4. Look into temporary wall art like temporary wallpaper or wall decals that can add a little oomph without any damage. You can find them at big-box retailers like Target or Walmart or home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowe’s.
  5. Take ownership of your apartment. Temporary or permanent, your apartment is your little slice of home. You should make it feel that way.
Picture of Master Bedroom

        Well, folks, that’s all I’ve got to say.  There’s no shame in apartment living… Just plenty of opportunities to make it feel like home.

I’ll be seeing you soon! Until then, take care!