Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Big Thank You!

I want to take a minute to thank all of the wonderful guest bloggers that so graciously shared their talents with us this month! In case you missed any of them I wanted to do a quick recap:

1. Lana's Fantastical Puppet Theatre

Tutorial here!

2. Carol's Intriguing Face-Hole Sriracha Bottle

Tutorial here!

3. Carinne's Awesome Holiday Gift for Lovers

Tutorial here!

Thanks again to all of these wonderful ladies, we look forward to having you back again soon!!! And if you want to check in with these ladies at any time be sure to click their buttons on the right hand side of the blog. 

PS. If you're interested in having your project featured be sure to contact me via email: 
missareilly (at) gmail (dot) com
I'm gonna try to make May and November guest/reader post months, because this would not be fun without your inspiration! 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday Gifts For Lovers XOXO

My, oh my!!! I have had sooo many wonderful guest bloggers this month and am super excited to introduce yet another awesomely talented and pretty lady! My good friend Carinne is so incredibly talented that I jumped at the chance to have her as a guest blogger!!! She's sharing some wonderful and  thrifty gift ideas with us! And what I love most is these gifts aren't just for Christmas, you can truly give them to anyone at any time of the year! 

Hey House at the Harbor followers! Like many of you, I feel so lucky to know Melissa and I just love to see her share her many talents. She inspires me. I am sure she inspires you too. I hope to add a little scoop of inspiration to her sandy harbor...Honey, Let's Grow Old Together! XOXO 

The Holidays are almost here and before you know it - Cupid will be shooting arrows! Let's face it - Life is expensive. Unless you are Athina Onassis you are probably not going to buy your husband a $285,000 cow (yes that really happened). So, if we are going to grow old together we had better start adopting some thrifty habits! I hope the following activity inspires you to make something for someone you love...

*1 sheet of Art paper (or paper you like) 
*Cheap frame or shadow box (5 inch by 7 inch work best for this)
*Stickers - Letters A thru Z
*Pennies or old game pieces
*Ketchup or tabasco sauce (to clean your pennies)

Select two pennies one from the year each of you and your lover were born. 

If needed clean the pennies with a small amount of ketchup (use caution if you use tabasco sauce - wear gloves if you touch it! Your eyes will thank me). The acid in the tomatoes cleans the pennies! Submerge in a small dish, scrub if needed, then rinse with hot water. 

Cut your art paper so it will fit into the frame you selected. 

Use the letter stickers to spell "You and me forever makes cents." 
Then attach the two pennies near you words. Secure paper in frame and you are done!

Use game pieces - use pieces with numbers to display your wedding date (example Rummikub in photo). 

Alter cards - use photos and glue them onto and old playing cards. Add your faces to the King Queen and/or Joker.
Use old puzzle pieces and write "You complete me." 
Legos - select two legos, glue them in a hand drawn heart, and write "I won't lego." 

I hope you all enjoy the gift giving process this year and forever more! Happy Holidays Everyone!!! xoxo, Carinne Baltzer

PS. Visit my Etsy shops and and

Monday, November 18, 2013

How to Build a Face-Hole Sriracha Bottle - Intriguing title isn't it?

I know it's been a while since I've done a DIY tutorial for you guys. I'm working on some stuff, I swear. I've just been sooo busy I'm starting to feel like the Walking Dead! So, while I try to not turn into a zombie, I'll leave you with a fun treat for today. One of my very best friends was forced has graciously offered to write a guest post on how she DIY'ed this fun Face-Hole Sriracha Bottle. This looks super easy and what a blast to have at any event!

Hey-O! I'm a very big fan of Melissa's ("Moo" to me) blog and all of her creative and thrifty endeavors and needless to say I'm super excited and honored to be able to contribute a guest post.
Now that all the mush is out of the way...
A friend of mine had just released his second Sriracha cookbook (The Veggie Lover's Cook Book by Randy Clemens) and as a Congratulations/Bday gift I drew the following picture ( the Sriracha rooster with his face on it).

It was from this picture that he got the idea of having a .........well, a ....that large piece of wood with a funny scene painted on it with holes cut out for people to place their faces and have their pictures taken. I did a decent amount of online research for the best way to build one of these things and was stumped at first and amazed to find they have NO official name. None whatsoever. I managed to type in enough random words to find what I was looking for. (Until someone can enlighten me I'm just calling it the "face-hole Sriracha bottle".) So, he got the idea of having a Face-Hole Sriracha bottle for LA’s very first Sriracha festival that he and Josh Lurie of FoodGPS were organizing. (They did an amazing job)

This is the biggest piece i've worked on to date. As a result there was a little bit of trial and error. I went with my fiance to Lowe's for some supplies and right off the bat my first tip is to be aware of your local store's hours of operation. We thought we had about a full hour to shop before closing but forgot they closed an hour early on Sundays. So, in reality we had 5 minutes. We like a good challenge and as we dashed into the store I looked back at my fiance, Seth's, car and asked, "Are you sure we'll be able to fit everything in the car?” He said, “Yes.” :I

The main part of the piece is 4’x8’ and I got three 2’x4’s for the frame along with a small box of screws, a couple large (CHEAP) paint brushes, and a small can of primer. Not bad for 5 minutes without any dirty looks.

We found the 4’x8’ plywood was just an inch shy of fitting into the car. If I had not been so scatter-brained and been more mindful of the closing time we could have easily wheeled the board back in and had them cut off that inch and then re-attached it later. Seeing as they locked the doors behind us that was not an option. We played Tetris with the plywood and the car for awhile….i’m pretty sure I gave Seth a small concussion from shoving a tad too hard. The important thing is we got it all home and I do not condone the means in which we got it there. Plan ahead and drive safely, folks.

The first bit of business was making the face hole. I had planned to make the face hole 10 inches high but after thinking of all the freakishly large heads out there I decided on 12 inches. I drew it out in pencil and then we drilled four holes along the circle and then proceeded to cut out the hole with a reciprocated saw.

Originally, I was going to get fancy and buy some fabric to make a cushion of sorts so nobody would get any splinters AND be comfy. Then I realized that was overkill and to my surprise a decent sanding job with some sandpaper was more than enough on the interior of the face-hole. In the back of my head I was also wondering if I would have to sand the whole front of the plywood to get it smooth enough to paint on. It had a slightly rough bumpy texture to it. I had always planned on painting the bottle in a cartoonish kind of way and after 2 layers of primer I decided NOT to sand it. It still had a bit of a rough texture to it but I liked the idea of it having a rustic look to it to keep it from being too cartoony.

I used a pencil and lightly drew the outline of the Sriracha bottle. Lightly is important because I had to redraw the cap and the pencil wasn’t the easiest to erase. I kept the primer as the white background and used red (Carmine) and green (Permanent Green Light) for the Sriracha bottle.

(Funny side story: While looking for the right shade of paint at my local art store they just randomly happened to have a bottle of Sriracha. The worker handed it to me and said, “Here! Why don’t you color compare with this?”)

I then mixed some black paint with the red paint to create some subtle shading on the bottle and as well with the green cap. I then repeated the process with some white paint for some subtle highlighting. Since the text was going to be different than on the actual bottle I went ahead and just free-handed the writing in a similar style.

The last bit of painting was the rooster.
For the base I decided to construct a wooden triangle shape on either side of the board, which is where the three 2x4’s came into play. I used a hand saw to cut the wood into the desired lengths and then used the reciprocating saw to cut angles on the ends. Since our friend was coming to pick the face-hole board up the morning of the festival (in a much bigger car) we all thought it would be best and easiest to transport if we only partly put the bases together and finished it at the event.

Now I might have remembered the exact angles that were used and much more specific details for the base but after some last minute scrambling the morning of…..they wound up not using the base at all! When we got to the event it turns out there was a conveniently placed set of stairs and they just leaned it against that. It turned out to be a sturdy arrangement (and I also had two, “Please don’t be pushy!” disclaimers on the back). Oh, yes! I also threw in some shameless self advertising on the back. I wrote a link to my website in sharpy and hot glue gunned an empty plastic paperclip package to the back to hold my business cards.

After that there was nothing left to do but eat, drink, and burn our mouths off with deliciousness...and enjoy strangers making goofy faces in my Face-Hole Sriracha bottle.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

How I Decorated for Thanksgiving 2013

Compared to Halloween I keep Thanksgiving fairly simple. We don't host Thanksgiving dinner so there's no need to put up more decor or have any sort of table setting. And since Jakey was born on Thanksgiving, this month has really become more about him.

In January I got some naturally made turkeys from Pottery Barn on clearance, they were ridiculousy cheap! I got the both of them for about $13 including shipping and before going on clearance the little one alone was $20. I've had the pumpkin and faux flowers for quite a few years so I have no idea where those even came from at this point.

I hope you all have a warm and cozy Thanksgiving filled with lots of family and good food!

Monday, November 11, 2013

DIY Puppet Theatre

My good friend and family photographer, Lana, has made the coolest puppet theatre. I think it's so cool that I wanted to feature it on the blog (especially as we get into the Christmas season) and I was THRILLED when Lana agreed to do a guest post. So without further adieu, the amazingly, crafty lady behind this amazing puppet theatre.

On the list of what makes me "me" my top 3 resurfacing traits have been the following: 
1.  Super Creative Crafty Mom
2.  Professional Portrait Photographer
3.  Borderline Hoarder*
Being the super creative crafty mom, I decided to make a puppet theater for my son. Being the professional portrait photographer, I could use the theater as a prop for my little ones. Being the borderline hoarder, I had 80% of the tools and materials needed to get the job done.

Here's what I used:
-3 abandoned dresser drawers (found while alley shopping, $0)
-2 slats of wood. The ones I used were both 11"x 41"x 3/4"
-paint (for outdoors) 
-chalk paint (optional)
-Red Velvet fabric approx. 30"x24"
-wooden rod with a 1" diameter, longer than the width of your puppet theater 
-drill and hole saw (I used a 1 1/4")
-wood trim for decor (optional)

Before I go into details on how I made the theater, I just want to put it out there that I didn't put much thought into measurements or pre-planning.  I do not recommend this method.  With that said: 

First, I built the frame of the puppet theater.  I stripped the 3 drawers from all metals such as the rollers on the bottom and the handles on the face.  Once I was left with the bare wood, I started with a complete drawer and put the face on the ground.  The bottom of the drawer faced the outside where the audience would be looking and where you would normally put clothes in, that side is where the puppet master will be.

I screwed in the slats of wood on the outsides of the drawer. The slats fit perfectly snug on top of the bottom drawer and against the sides of the drawer.  The top part didn't completely fit, but it didn't bother me.  It may bother you. I left the open end on the puppet master's side to keep the front side looking neat.
I took apart the last 2 drawers and used only the face parts to connect the free standing slats on the very top of the theater and in the front of the theater to create a taller barrier between puppeteer and audience.
I measured 2 inches from a corner on one side and marked a dot. I drilled a hole in the center with the drill and hole saw.  I did the same to the opposite side.  The holes should line up perfectly so that the wooden rod can sit level.

I didn't want the theater to tip over so I added, on the puppet master side, 2 little slats of wood on the base of the theater.  I put one on each side on the inside part.
I then painted everything one solid color.  I did two coats; One coat per day.

**This part is optional** I wanted to be able to write in chalk the names of my client's little ones so that I can make each shoot a little more personal.  On top of that, I liked the idea of my son being able to write the name of his show on his own puppet theater.  I decided to tape off a portion and use chalk paint on the audience side of the theater. I also used wood glue to add a trim at the front bottom of the theater.  It added that extra OOOMPH!

 In the end I sewed the red velvet fabric into to curtains that hang from the rods. I just sewed the ends to look neat and I made a pole pocket on the top. Viola!  
Overall, this was a tough project.  Even without being precise, it was very challenging.  My son really liked it and I just can't wait to take pictures with it!!!
I know I didn't give the greatest details, but the drawers you have might be different or you may find a better way altogether.  Whatever your method, don't forget to share! 

Thanks for stopping by! 
Lana Estrada
*Hoarding is a trait?  When you're in need for a vintage hand-crocheted lace baby blanket passed down for 3 generations for the perfect texture in a newborn baby shoot and your budget is $0, you betcha hoarding is a trait! 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Family Portraits

I have been busy busy for the last few weeks trying to get all sorts of projects done from Jakey's birthday party to Christmas gifts. Since I'm mid-projectsssss I thought I would show you some of our family portraits. For the last two years since Jakey's birth we have had family portraits taken in October. Why October? Well, Jakey's birthday falls in November so we can use a photo for his party invites, and for Christmas cards. Here are a few favorites from last year:

We used the above photo for our 2012 Christmas card.

I used the sock monkey photo's for Jakey's first birthday invites. The party was sock monkey themed.

And a few funny outtakes:

And here are the faves from this year:

The photo above will be our Christmas card this year!

Can you guess the theme of Jakey's 2nd Birthday from the pic above?

And some funny outtakes:


 No more pictures!
Jakey trying to ride into the creek, luckily, daddy was there to stop him! 

All of these pictures were taken by Lana Estrada of Lana Estrada Photography. I think Lana is soooo awesome that I gave her some space on the blog. If you scroll down you will see her logo on the right hand side, right under the links to my fave blogs. But for your convenience I have included her link here. If you're ever in the Los Angeles area, or if you know someone who is I highly recommend Lana. She is easy to work with and so much fun! And if you mention my name/blog name as a referral source, I would be much obliged!