Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I'm a Mom!

So, where have I been? Well, I have been rather busy. Up until about 3 months ago, I was incubating a life inside of me. I am now a very proud, happy as a clam Mom to the cutest, most adorable little boy ever. He's now 10 weeks old. He's the light of my life. He's an extension of my husband and I and I couldn't be more adoring of him. I fell in love the minute I met him and I fall more in love with him every day. I'm sad that my maternity leave is just about up. I go back next Monday. I have thoroughly enjoyed spending every waking minute with him since he was born. They grow so fast! We've already seen some amazing milestones achieved by him that truly make us think he's "advanced". I mean, he IS my husband's son! (my hubs is a bit on the smart side) But I think all parents think their kids are advanced & overly awesome, right? ;-)

I can't wait to update this blog with everything that's been going on in my life lately. Give me some time... I promise I'll try to get back into my routine!

Leave me a comment to let me know you're still out there!

~ April aka "new mama"

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Long Time No Post...

and for that I'm sorry!

I promise I will update in the next couple of days! I have SOOOO much to share!

Stay tuned...

:-)

Friday, January 13, 2012

I ♥ Redecorating!

I really do believe I redecorate every other month, at least! It's fun, don't get me wrong, but MAN is it some work! Especially if you tackle redecorating almost the entire house BY YOURSELF! Yup. I didn't want to wait until hubby came home. I'm very impatient.

I wanted to shift items around that I already had to make better sense of things. With my recent fixation on crafty things, I needed a space to work on my projects. The only space I really had was my formal dining room. Being that it had no actual dining room table, thus we weren't using it, voila... it became my craft space. But then a new dilemma. My desk/office at the time was stuck in the corner of our living room, which wasn't that close to the formal dining room. So, what's a girl to do? I brought my office to the dining room! I do have a really nice antique china/curio cabinet in the dining room, but it's not really in my way. In fact, I think I'll take the china out and use the inside for displaying my Etsy shop items! This way they're out of the way, safe & secure, and will be away from dust & doggie/kitty hair. A WIN!

What really bums me out about this shifteroo is that I literally JUST finished my mason jar pen/pencil holders, custom cork boards & magnet board projects above my desk. Ugh! Oh well, I will re-install them over my desk in my NEW, fabulous location!

I also used a little bit of brute strength, and a sheet against a wooden floor, to move a 2 door storage cabinet from our spare room (a family heirloom that we weren't really using) into the dining room my new office for storing all my jewelry making items, crafty tools, etc. It's fantastic!

I have just enough space left on one wall for my "prop" area for all my Etsy shop photos. I plan on buying some bright white craft paper soon and draping it along a wall, and then making a homemade light-box for more natural style photos. Another craft project! Yikes!

I love my new space! It will get cuter soon for sure, but for now I'm digging it alot! It's nice having all my stuff in one organized space. Yay!

Who knew redecorating could be so much fun? Oh, wait.. I DID! I think that's why I do it so often!

I'll post photos of my new office/craft studio soon, but for now check out how awesome & clean my living room looks now that my desk has been decluttered from the corner. ♥♥♥!

View from front foyer
I spy Nugget! The red couch & chair will be replaced soon as we're in the market for something more comfy, more mountain lodge like - like our living room! See that fireplace/stone on the left? That stone takes up an entire wall! It's pretty cool. So, overlook the retro look, for now. My desk/office used to be in the upper right hand corner, where the DVDs are in this pic. SO much more space! Notice the awesome coffee table? That's my thrifty Goodwill find I bought not too long ago - For $30!!


This shows my "Outdoor Adventures" wall collage that I made over my 12 day holiday vacation. Moving some furniture out really showcases this wall more! p.s. I do plan on adding more (smaller) pics to the wall soon, now that I have an awesome HP Photosmart printer that prints AWESOME pics at lighting speed! Notice that horseshoe shaped pillow? Curious what it is? It's actually a neck pillow I bought in a airport when I traveled to NYC a couple of years ago. I use that thing all the time! It's so comfortable. Trust me, when you fall asleep on the recliner or lounge chair the last thing you want is a crick in your neck. With this goofy looking thing, no neck cricks. It's kinda my security blankie. Don't judge me.

Wonder what I'll redecorate next?

Hmm....

Do you redecorate often? Tell me about it!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My New Interest/Passion = Designing Handmade Jewelry!

I couldn't just settle with general crafting... not this gal. I had to try something completely foreign to me. Something I never thought I'd do, much less enjoy! I have entered into the joyful world of jewelry making! I bought a couple of "beginner" sets a little over a week ago and even though it was later realized to be a crappy set, I found it to be fun & incredibly enticing! I may not have liked what I had created, but I loved that I was the one creating it! I had to try more.

You could say I was hooked instantly. I dived in head first like I always do with anything new & exciting and spent an incredible amount of $$$ on supplies and beads and organizers and just about everything I needed to get me started off right. Boy, was I overwhelmed! Yeesh! But, I was HAVING A BLAST!

Over the past several months, I have become quite fond of Etsy and the level of service that the artisans and sellers put into their shops and most importantly, their customer service. I have personally bought a few items on Etsy and truly was impressed with the entire process of shopping, buying & receiving an item. It's just not a feeling I get when I shop at national chain stores. So, a light bulb went off...

I have a friend/co-worker who has an Etsy shop, Stuck Together Magnets. She sells fabulous homemade magnets and she does pretty well for herself. I asked her some questions and after some careful thought, I said to myself, "Why couldn't I do that?" So I opened my very own Etsy shop!


I personally invite you to visit ~AnnLeigh Creations~ Homemade Jewelry & Crafts With A Purpose!

Rainbow Fluorite Beaded Charm Bracelet

As of right now, I only have 5 total items in my shop, but more items are coming very, very soon! Promise! There's nothing stopping me now! I purchased some incredibly wonderful beads & supplies from Etsy seller, "Simply Pie" to bulk up my depleted, starter level inventory. I can't wait to receive my goodies so I can make more beautiful creations!

Check out my store for more details on why I chose the name, my policies, my mission, etc. I'm super excited about my new crafting venture and I hope you are too! I can't wait to continue to learn new projects and share with you all! Your support would be greatly appreciated!!!

You can also "LIKE" ~AnnLeigh Creations~ on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/AnnLeighCreations

I've also added a widget in my sidebar that easily shows you the latest 4 items added to my shop. Check it out! And, you may notice there's now both Etsy & Facebook icons in my "Find Me Here" section at the top left. Easy ways to find me! 

I'd love to know what you guys think? So far that is. Leave me a comment to let me know!

Talk with you again soon!

Friday, January 6, 2012

DIY - Wall Mounted Pen Holders Made Of Mason Jars!

I'm no Martha Stewart, but maybe after thumbing through this book that my husband bought me for Christmas, I will be! Nah.. It's just given me a TON of cool ideas! And, I'm learning ALOT!

I'm loving this book so far!

Something I wanted to tackle over my 12 day holiday break was actually something I felt inspired to do before Martha Stewart became a part of my nightly routine. *She cuddles with me as I fall asleep* I wanted to find a way to mount mason jars above my desk for pens, pencils, highlighters, etc. I have somewhat of a small desk so space is an issue. I thought, given my recent homemade pin boards, and the magnet board I wanted to make, some sort of mounted board directly in the center above my desk would look great. I wasn't disappointed!


Here's what I did...

First, I hit up my local Lowes Home Improvement store for scrap pieces of wood. I wasn't expecting to hit the motherload, but that's exactly what happened! I was quite surprised at what I was able to score for FREE! Unless you plan on mounting more than 2 jars, you only need a piece of scrap wood about 10" wide, 1" in width and about 6" tall. If you're not lucky enough to score a perfectly smooth & even piece of wood, you could bat your eyelashes and ask the men in the lumber area to help you, or you can smooth it out at home. Your pick! ;-)

Items you'll need:
  • Scrap wood (estimated 10" x 1" x 6")
  • (2) pint size Mason Jars (I used the Kerr brand, but Ball can be used as well)
  • (2) #56 4" adjustable pipe clamps (found in the plumbing dept. of a hardware store)
  • (2) slotted-drive round-head wood screws, 6 x 1/2" 
  • (2) self-leveling picture hangers
  • (2) 1" nails (for attaching the finished product)
  • Fabric of your choosing
  • Spray paint color of your choosing
You'll also need a drill with drill bits, a hammer, razor or sharp knife, fine tip marker, flat-head screwdriver & a staple gun.

Once you have the wood piece you plan to use, you're ready to get started! I chose a quilted type fabric since it was a bit thicker than your typical fabric and I just really liked the simplicity of it. But, you can really use any kind of fabric you want as long as it covers the wood enough where you can't see through it. For that matter, you could skip the fabric altogether if you'd rather spray paint it, or even cover it with wallpaper, etc. Your choice! But for purposes of this post, I will explain what I did based on using fabric.  Also, I chose to spray paint the insides of the mason jar - only the insides. I felt this gave it a frosted look, but didn't completely take away from the elegance of the actual jar. Plus, it hides the barrels of the pens, pencils, etc. for that "clean" look. You can also skip this step if you choose to.

Step #1 is to cover your wood piece with your chosen fabric. I essentially just wrapped the fabric around the wood folding over the corners similar to how I wrap gifts. You may need to gently trim the fabric if it's too thick around the edges. I used a staple gun to attach the fabric. It doesn't really matter if your fabric doesn't cover the back of the wood completely - who's going to see it?! Once you have your fabric mounted the way you want it, you're ready for step #2, which is...

Line up exactly where you want the mason jars on the front of the board. I wanted my jars to be directly in the center, but you may want them lower. Honestly, the jars can be raised or lowered after you've mounted the clamps, however, the clamps themselves need to be lined up so you can be sure where on the jar they will be tightened to. So, with that said, adjust the pipe clamps down to the size just slightly bigger than what will comfortably tighten over the jar without the jar slipping through. This will give you an idea if you need to move the clamp up, down, or to the right or left. Remember, you're mounting two jars so make it as even as you can! While holding the clamp in place where you plan to mount it, use a marker to make a small dot where you'll need to make your pilot holes. And then...

The fun part! Not really - this was something I honestly had to get my hubby to help me with. But, if I tried harder I probably could have succeeded on my own. TIP: Always make your hubby feel needed!  You'll need to drill small pilot holes (about the size of the screws) in your metal pipe clamps exactly where you marked it. Be careful with this step. TIP: Open the adjustable pipe clamps up completely using a flat-head screwdriver.  This will help you to align the drill effectively. They're bendy - they'll go back in circular form. Press down on your garage floor, or a workshop table, but just be sure it's a steady surface. Once the pilot holes are made in the clamps, you can put the clamps back together in circular form. Set aside.

Because fabric can become frayed or twisted once you take a drill to it, especially quilt-like fabric with "stuffing", you'll want to make a small tear/hole where you want to mount the clamps. You can use the clamps with the pilot hole in them as a guide. This will help when you go to actually mount the clamps to the board, and there won't be any "twisting". But be careful, don't make the hole too big! You're almost ready to mount the clamps, but first...


You'll want to mount the picture hangers now, before the pipe clamps are attached. This is because once you actually mount the clamps it will be really hard to hammer down a hanger set if you have a clamp jutting out over 4" on the other side! Yeah, I goofed on this step myself. *live & learn* I used the typical self-leveling picture frame hangers. I used two sets, one of each side of the back of the board. Make sure they're level!

You're ready to mount the clamps! Again, you may want to open up the clamps to mount them, then close them again using a flat-head screwdriver.

Now that you have the wooden board covered in awesome fabric, hangers are mounted & the cool pipe clamps are anxiously awaiting your mason jars, you're ready to spray paint. To protect the outside and rim of the jar, I would recommend covering the jar completely with painters tape. Carefully spray the insides of the jar twisting the jar around as you go. Careful, don't put too much too soon - you may end up with a gooey pile of paint at the bottom of your jars! Let dry for a couple of hours, then gently remove some of the tape to see if you need to apply a second coat. Let your jars dry for several hours.



All you have left to do now is attach this awesomeness to the wall! For sake of just being too cumbersome, leave the jars out of the clamps while mounting. Once you have the board mounted where you want it, slip the mason jars into their forever homes! Adjust the clamps around the jars as necessary to get them exactly as you want them, tighten (but not too tight), and voila! You have an awesome, super crafty, nifty pen & pencil holder for your home office!



This was a really fun project that didn't take a lot of time - it honestly took me MORE time to write this up than it did to probably do the whole thing! Well, not including the paint dry time of course. It also wasn't very expensive to do either! I'd estimate only $12 worth of supplies total, not including the tools needed that I already had at home.

You like? Feeling inspired to make one for yourself? If you do, I'd love to see it! Let me know how it turns out! If you have any questions about this project, let me know - I'd be glad to help!

I gotta say, I ♥♥♥ crafting!

Feeling my own Etsy store isn't far away!!