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Monday, April 30, 2012

Puppy Update

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any puppy pictures, so today I’m dedicating an entire post to Ringo and Abby!

I’m not going to lie…having 2 puppies is hard and can be really frustrating. BUT, the good always outweighs the bad and I can’t imagine not having these 2 in my life (even when I find my cell phone charger chewed up).

Ringo just turned 9 months old!

Oh, and don’t be fooled by that sweet face – he’s a hellion! I’m sure you remember when he chewed up the couch and cracked the tile floor/smashed a plant. He’s also broken a glass vase, a decorative glass bowl, and a drinking glass.

He’s calmed down quite a bit within the past few weeks though. I’m not sure if it’s from getting fixed a couple months ago, because he’s getting older, if playing with Abby wears him out or because it’s starting to get really hot…whatever the reason, I love it! He’s been so much sweeter lately. When he comes inside he’ll sit at my feet and let me pet him for a few minutes or he’ll just lay down and hang out– instead of acting like a wild thing at all times!
I can’t wait for him to be done with the puppy phase. Although, I’m sure he’ll always be a handful, but we love our crazy bear.

Abby is almost 4 months old and is getting bigger every day!

She is the sweetest, calmest puppy ever! She loves to snuggle with us and just lays around most of the day (except when she’s playing with Ringo).
She does have her puppy moments though - she’s the one who chewed up the cord on my cell phone charger! But she doesn’t bite and it’s wonderful. Ringo was such a biter as a puppy and my hands were always tore up, so it’s definitely a nice change. Life will be good once she’s fully potty trained!

And for everyone wondering how they get along:

They are best buddies! Look at them sleeping together!
They love playing together and just being around each other. The other morning I caught them just standing around licking each other’s face.

And now you know why it takes me forever to get anything done! It’s hard to say no when those sweet puppy faces want to play or cuddle (or when you are constantly cleaning up after them)!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Orleans Trip

Well, our vacation is over and I’m back at work…ugh! I finally have all my pictures edited, so today I want to recap some of the highlights of our trip! I have so many other stories and pictures, but I won't overload you with everything.

We left Phoenix Monday morning and arrived in New Orleans that evening. We had a layover in Houston and our flight was delayed an hour because of rain in New Orleans. But we made it!
We started off Tuesday morning with beignets from CafĂ© du Monde…and they were delicious! My mom said they were the best thing she ate the whole trip. While we were there I bought a box of mix to try to make them at home. We'll see how they turn out...

We spent the rest of the morning/early afternoon exploring the French Quarter,

Jackson Square,

and St. Louis Cathedral.

Oh, and we tried a muffuletta from Central Grocery...I didn't like the olive spread. 
Anyway, that afternoon we took a food tour through the French Quarter. It was really nice, except that it was pouring rain the whole time!
That night I had my favorite meal of the trip - BBQ Shrimp at Deanie’s. YUM, YUM, YUM!

Can you tell that we spent a lot of time eating?

The next day we went on an airboat tour through the swamp!

And it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. If you ever go there, I highly recommend it – it was the highlight of our trip! We went with The Louisiana Tour Company and had a great experience. Oh, and pay the extra $20/person to get on the smaller airboat. It’s definitely worth it! Airboats don’t have reverse, so the bigger ones can’t get into the same areas as the small ones…and that’s where we saw all the gators!

That’s Hercules. He’s about 14 feet long and about 50 years old.

Our guide was very knowledgeable (and ADORABLE). He told us all about alligators, the vegetation, the swamp and everything else you could want to know about the area.
The next day we took a walking tour through St. Louis Cemetery #1.

We took a group tour because reviews online said it wasn’t safe to go by yourself. And they said it’s a giant maze and you could easily get lost. I think that’s complete crap. It’s not that big and if you go during the day there are plenty of people and other tours around. You can get a self-guided tour booklet and walk through yourself. Maybe I’m just crabby because it was really hot and our tour guide was talking WAY too much. Regardless, the cemetery was definitely interesting and creepy.
And Friday morning we boarded our plane back to Phoenix. We had an amazing trip and all enjoyed our time in New Orleans. Let me know if you ever need recommendations. I’m definitely not an expert, but I can share a few things we liked/didn’t like.

Now that it’s almost summer, anyone else have any fun trips planned? I’m trying to convince my boyfriend that we need to go to Seattle for a few days this summer.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spring Into Action – Week 3

It’s here – the Spring Into Action finale! 12 bloggers and their final reveals…good or bad!

You can catch up on Week 1 here and Week 2 here

As a reminder, here’s what I started with:

And here’s how it looks now:

Doesn’t it look so much better?! I decided to lightly distress this piece to show off all of the details. You really lose sight of the details with such a dark color.
I bet some of you are surprised I didn’t paint it white – we all know I love me some white furniture! I decided to paint it black to go with my black dining room table. My entertainment center is white and I’ll eventually paint the china hutch white, so I didn’t want the dining room table to be the oddball piece of furniture.
And can we talk about the new hooks and the plant? Icing on the cake! 

Seriously, I think the hooks and plant really make this piece standout. Hopefully I don’t kill this plant. If I do, I’m buying a fake orchid. They make some very realistic looking ones nowadays.  

OK, let’s talk money:
Hall/Entry Tree – free (see details here)
Primer – leftover from previous projects
Paint – leftover from nightstands
Hooks – Home Depot $6.97 x 4 + tax = $30.39
Plant - Lowe's $8.98
Total $39.67

I want to thank Linda for inviting me to participate in this challenge. I wouldn’t have finished this piece so quickly otherwise. It’s amazing what a little peer pressure will do!

And don’t forget to stop by and check out the reveals from the other participants!

Suzy – Saved by Suzy
Tiffany – Living Savvy
Cathy – Room Rx
Carrie – Hazardous Design
Linda – My Crafty Home Life 
craftHookingupwithHoHFurniture Feature Fridays

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Into Action – Week 2

I’m back for another week of the Spring Into Action challenge!

Last week we announced our projects (see Week 1 here) and today we’re sharing our progress. Next Thursday will be the final reveal!

Before we start, I just realized that I never told you where I got this piece from. Well, you might already know if you’ve been following me since last February…which you probably weren’t because hardly anyone was back then. Anyway, last year my grandpa was getting remarried and his new wife was starting to move her stuff into his house. So, I got first dibs on everything he was getting rid of – including this entry/hall tree. You can see some of the other items I got from him and read my feelings on the situation here. Honestly, it’s over a year later and I still feel the same way. I don’t dislike his new wife, but I don’t know if I like her either. She’s nice, but there’s just something about her…

Anyway, let’s talk entry tree progress. I think I’ve made really good progress so far. It’s amazing what a little motivation will do for you!
So far I’ve removed the old hooks, filled the holes, and lightly sanded everything down.

I also primed the piece using some leftover gray primer (from the bathroom vanity makeover).

Oh, and I bought new hooks – no more eyeball hooks!

Can you believe these are from Home Depot?! They are exactly what I wanted for this piece. I couldn’t believe it when I saw them!

So that’s where I’m at right now. I still need to paint, install the new hooks, and buy a new plant. I definitely think I can get that all done by next Thursday!

Don’t forget to check out the progress from the other ladies participating! Progress is such a tease! Now I really can't wait to see the final reveals!
Suzy – Saved by Suzy
Tiffany – Living Savvy
Cathy – Room Rx
Carrie – Hazardous Design
Linda – My Crafty Home Life 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Diaper Cake Tutorial

Today I have a rare kid/baby-related post for y’all. One of the ladies I work with is pregnant with her first girl (they have 2 boys already), so we decided to throw her a baby shower. As part of the decorating committee, I was in charge of a centerpiece. So I decided to try my hand at making a diaper cake.
Most of the diaper cakes I found online are made by rolling each diaper and wrapping it in a rubber band. I thought about doing that until I saw this diaper cake.
They are so many beautiful diaper cakes out there, but I especially liked that one. Mostly because of something a lady wrote in the comment section.  She basically said that she liked this cake because it would be less work for the mom to deconstruct. It makes sense – taking off 80 individual rubber bands would be a pain and I don’t want my gift to be a chore!
Taking that into consideration, here’s my first ever diaper cake:

I’m so happy with how it turned out! And everyone at work loved it!

So, how about a diaper cake making tutorial? I started off taking lots of pictures and then completely slacked off…my bad. Just stick with me and let me know if you have any questions.


About 80 diapers (make sure they are white!)  
2 cardboard tubes
Large rubber bands
Coordinating ribbon
Safety pins
Scrapbook paper
Silk flowers
Stuffed Animal
Wood Letter

Wrap a diaper around a toilet paper tube (or paper towel/mailing tube cut to size).
* The first pack of diapers I bought weren’t white (FAIL), so I used those in the middle of the layers and covered them with a second package of white diapers (Pampers Swaddlers).

Continue layering and wrapping diapers in any direction.

Once the roll is large enough, secure with a large rubber band (I used an elastic headband because I’m too cheap to buy rubber bands)

Now the diapers will need to start being layered nicely. I tried to explain how-to in the picture below.

And this is what it should look like:

Continue layering until it’s the size you want. My bottom layer was about 12” in diameter.
Repeat process for next 2 layers…I didn’t use a cardboard tube for the top layer. Just roll a diaper and start wrapping around that.
Stuff the wrappers from the diapers in the cardboard tubes. I think it’s nice for the mom to know exactly what brand/size diapers are included in the cake. I used 2 bags of diapers, hence the 2 cardboard tubes.

Measure out a piece of ribbon and wrap tightly around the layer.

* You’ll notice in the final pictures that I ended up layering a larger ribbon under this one. Definitely go with 2 ribbons…it looks so much nicer.
Secure the ribbon with a couple small safety pins or hot glue.

Repeat for next 2 layers.
Now you can remove the rubber bands/elastic headbands.

Find something round that’s about the same size as the bottom layer (I used a mixing bowl) and trace it onto a piece of cardboard. Paint the cardboard – I just used cheap white acrylic craft paint.
If you don’t have any cardboard, you can buy cardboard cake rounds (usually in the craft aisle). They are already white, so no need to paint them.

Loosely trace the bottom 2 cake layers on coordinating scrapbook paper – don’t get pencil marks on the diapers.

Cut out the circle in a random-wavy pattern.

Hot glue the silk flowers (or you could make paper/fabric flowers) individually onto the ribbon to cover the safety pins.

And here’s where the pictures pretty much stop…
OK, time to layer – starting from the bottom:
Large diaper layer
Scrapbook paper
Middle diaper layer
Scrapbook paper
Small diaper layer

To secure the layers I used a wooden kabob skewer. Just work the skewer from the top down being careful not to stab through a diaper.

As you can see in the pictures above, I used blue diapers in the middle section of my layers. The blue diapers in the bottom 2 layers are covered by the scrapbook paper and the next layer, but the top layer is just hanging out there for the world to see. I solved this by adding an onesie to the top.

I topped the cake with a cute little stuffed hippo and stuck the left over flowers around the top layer. Just individually cut each flower leaving a little stem and tuck them in the diapers. Don’t hot glue them to the diapers!

And I think that’s about it…

Oh, later that night I ended up painting a wooden letter ‘A’ (for the baby’s name) and adding scrapbook paper with Mod Podge.

Sorry for the cell phone pic – I didn’t think to take a picture until I was on my way to work.

This is just what I did to create this specific diaper cake. There are hundreds of other tutorials out there and you can easy put your own spin on any of them (including this one).  
Have you ever made a diaper cake? Any other tips/tricks?

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