Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gracious Grad Gift

We always make leis around grad season in this household. I am half Polynesian and half Scandinavian. On my Scandinavian side you get a sailor's hat when you graduate. But on the Poly side its leis. I made some leis the other day for my sister so I figured I would snap a few pictures so you can make some too! You can color coordinate these with outfits, school colors, favorite colors or whatever you think is wonderful. First you pick your flowers. I almost ALWAYS make silk flower leis. They last longer and they give you more options on colors and styles. Fake carnations are a good option but you have to have many petals. At least 10 of those bunches from a store. So here is what I started with:

Well this is after I ripped off all the petals. Oh and save the greens too because you want some contrast! I decided to show you the other flower lei I did. I don't know the name of these fake flowers though here they are ripped off and they are usually pink when I see them:

Now I have made leis for years so I always try to keep a lei making kit on hand (since having kids I got rid of my lei making kit and now i am just starting up a new one) This kit should include:

Any silk flowers you find
Any awesome beads, pearls, straws you find on sale
a thick white string or floss
long needles or quilting needles
any silk leaves you find

Just keep adding to the kit (box) so that you can be ready at a moments notice to make a lei. I used to buy all the silk flowers I could find at thrift stores. I have started doing that again. Sometimes you can find old wreaths or garland full of the petals. The petals are what you want so if the flower arrangement doesn't have many petals you should skip it. If you buy from thrift stores make sure you throw all the petals in the wash and then lay them out to dry:

Oh and the more form the petal has the better (it just looks better) I have tried making leis with those petals that the party stores use and they just don't look very good (In my opinion) although you could use them as fillers.

Next you count up all the petals you have. Now I was boring on this lei and only used two similar colors and one type of flower. You can actually use more colors and different flowers on each lei. Here is all my stuff lined up:

I decided to use black beads in between and then fun beads every now and then as you will see in a later picture. The reason I put them all on the tray is to get inspiration. Just like any other thing you need a plan. So figure out what pattern you want. Then make sure you have enough for this pattern (I tend to run out but then I can change it up in the end to make it look great as I will show you) Then turn on your favorite show or a movie or whatever you like and set up your patterns on the floor or on a table or like me the couch:

I set them up to have nine of each color in a row going up and down (by looking at this picture) but I actually went from left to right (in the picture) for this pattern. I was pretty boring and did big blue, little white, little blue big white (the petals had two different sizes) black beads in between

and then one green leaf after each set of 9. You make your own pattern for this and after two repeats of your pattern stop and then look at it. Make sure it looks good to you and then either find a new pattern (if you hate it) or keep going. I like to throw in little extras for fun because you want the person to know you love them and think they are wonderful :) so I have a little jar of awesome beads that I would throw in after the greens

Like I said I have been making these for years for different occasions so I like to change things up. Typically you just keep on going and threading all your flowers and beads in your patter and then tie if off at the end and model it in the mirror and then pat yourself on the back. But I like to change the back part (almost like the back of a necklace) Here is the back I chose:

I wanted it to look like she was wearing pearls from the back (these pictures are horrible but I had to make these when the kids were in bed because well you know why) Oh and if you have every worn many leis you know its can be hard to see because they are around your face so this helps with that.

And there you have it. Thats how you make a personal fun little gift for a grad. I didn't get a good picture of the end result because I wasn't sure I was going to do this post and I sent it in the mail last week! Sorry about that!

Here is another lei I made a long time ago:

I really wish I knew the names of flowers. I had smaller white flowers as the main pattern and threw in the purple large ones.

The purple ones are Tulips! This design makes school colors easy, just find the right colored tulip. I used pretty wooden beads in this one and the greens were just rose leaves.

And thats it!


Use straws instead of beads. This cuts down the cost and its what many leis are made out of. If you find solid green colored straws BY THEM. They will look more natural almost like you used string made out of branches.

Tie a larger bead or pencil at the end of your string (I use floss because its pretty strong and waxy) If you don't your flowers might fall off all the time making it extremely frustrating

Have fun with it! If you have any questions just ask. I love making these! They allow you to be creative and also make the special person feel special.

These can be used for any occasion, weddings, birthdays anniversary's. I know people like the real flowers but they shrivel up and these don't. Plus there are ALOT less options on colors. A handy thing about these is they are extremely light so you could send one in a bubble envelope and it would be inexpensive to do so.

P.S I know how to make candy leis too, if you want to know just ask they are pretty simple

linking up with:

Clutch clutter

I used to be the kind of girl who bought every purse I loved. I had many many purses. Then I got married. This was no longer an option for my husband could not understand the need for more than one purse. His understanding grew to two purses when we had our first child (diaper bag) So I had to stop buying purses. Then we moved across the oceans to Guam. I got rid of all but three purses! I was a little sad but not really. Then when we moved back to the main land I only had TWO! I knew I could never justify building up my giant collection so I turned to an alternative. Clutches. Thats right now I buy any clutch I love. The problem with clutches is that they can usually only sit. With a handbag you can hang it on a bunch of hooks. So I found a solution. I am reorganizing my closet and i have been making and hanging curtains. We you do those two things at the same time this idea is born:

(excuse the photos, there is no natural light in my closet :( )

My wooden pole things can come out pretty easily so I just slide a bunch of these curtain hanging things on and there you go! I also did my belts. Now I love it and the clutches have a home. Problem is now I have an excuse to find more. My excuse is that I figured out how to keep them off the shelf so I can have more!


linking up with:

Organize your lif

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

thrift find

I found this at a garage sale for 50cents. I just love it. Now I need to figure out where to put it and what to put in it.


Monday, May 16, 2011

And so it begins

I have an appointment with my sander for the next hour. I wonder how many appointments I will have to make. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Our backyard

We are in the process of landscaping our backyard.
We started with this:

We pretty much live on a sand dune out here. The constant sand in the house without the ocean is getting old so my husband came up with the following.

This is prototype #1
That big round thing is a swimming pool. He drew this right after he saw some neighbors down the street with a pool on a hot day.Then he drew this:

There is a horse shoe pit in this one.

Then he drew this:

It is the one we are going with. The back left corner is for a playground for the kids. Now we are installing it and I can't wait until it is complete. I will show you the progress as it happens. Yay for spring and backyards.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rocker Style

I am not a fan of rockers. I needed one for my room when I had my son last August so I bought one just at goodwill for $20. It was really ugly and had wood glue all over it. Well I tried to us it and it was really noisy. I was also scared for my carpet because they tend to wear your carpet away. So it sat in my bedroom and was used as a clothes horse. I finally disliked it so much that I put it in the garage so that it could get a coat of white oil based zinser.

My husband asked me where it was going. My response OUTSIDE (that was on a whim, I hate buying things and never using them so I needed to find a purpose for this thing).

I figured cement was the only safe flooring for this very heavy rocker. I happened to be at walmart that night and found 2 cans on rustoleum spray paint on clearance. They were blue and perfect. I then sprayed the rocker and put it outside.

I like it now! I love the bright blue color and now it has a purpose in life: outdoor seating. We are currently landscaping our back yard. My husband seeded a month ago and we are slowly watching the grass grow (that picture is from a few weeks ago) I have seen rockers on porches and I love that look so now I am a fan of the rocker.

I am really excited about our outdoor space. Its not finished but its going to be fantastic! (I really lucked out because my husband is in the landscape business so I can get what I want! :) )

P.S its pretty windy in my town so somethings the rocker is out there creepily rocking all by itself. Creepy.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

My New Bench

I found this small coffee table at Savers a few weeks ago (I did not take a before, you can use your imagination it looked like a coffee table :) ). I LOVED the legs. So I brought it home and sanded it down. My husband looked at me like "What the heck is that" He is not a big or small fan of adding more furniture onto the "needs changing" pile. I was so disappointed when it SMELLED LIKE ANIMAL YOU KNOW WHAT. I was familiar with this smell because that was the lingering smell in our house when we bought it. However I got it out of the cement and floors upstairs so I knew this little coffee table would be a breeze. I cleaned it off (and threw the rag away because it now smelled) and then put two layers of kilz paint on it all. Then two coats of semi gloss white paint.

I did the smell test and No more smell. Anyway I wanted a bench for the entry way. So I ran to Joannes. They are currently having a 50% off all red tag fabric!! So I bought some outdoor fabric I liked for $3.50 a yard ( I have three small children so outdoor fabric is usually what I choose, they already licked some jelly beans and placed them on the bench. The little dye marks came right off with some water and a rag!!) I only used one yard. I bought some foam (EXPENSIVE) it cost me $18.00 with the 40% off coupon. It was 3 inches thick. I put it on top of the coffee table wood and then cut with scissors (my hand hurt after the fact) I didn't want to use the sewing machine on this so I didn't :) I used my staple gun. It worked (but my hand hurt even more).
It would look better with some sewing machine help but I don't want to :) So here it is in the front entryway. A really simple project (It would have been more simple without the animal smells).

love the legs, simple with a tiny bit of detail
Cost breakdown

$10.oo for the coffee table
$18.00 for the foam
$3.50 for the fabric
I had all the other things on hand so for me its was $31.50 not great but not bad! I want to try reusing foam for any future projects from chairs or something.

The great news is that the husband REALLY LIKES IT! YAY.

Here is a tip if you want to do this. Find a coffee table where the legs or frame can be removed from the table top, it makes covering a breeze (thing recovering a dining room chair)

linking up with:

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Stuff and Nonsense

Furniture Feature Fridays