Luckily for my then-fiance and I, it was super easy to choose the minis for our wedding – our flower girl and ring bearer. There was only one little girl the right age and one little boy, each from different sides of the family. Josh had barely gotten the engagement ring on my finger when I was planning how I was going to ask them to be in the wedding!
On top of honoring the ring bearer and flower girl, we also wanted to take into consideration their siblings. Our ring bearer has a little sister and our flower girl, a big brother. We wanted to keep to tradition with just one flower girl and ring bearer, but we also didn’t want their siblings to feel left out or like they were less special.
Even better – I get to make FOUR gifts for the minis!
I decided pretty early on that I wanted to do puzzles. The flower girl (4) was just starting to read a little bit but the ring bearer (3) couldn’t read at all yet which was perfect! I could give them the puzzles to put together and they would be able to put together the whole thing before their parent could read them what it says, and why they did the puzzle to begin with.
I ended up making the puzzles in Adobe Illustrator.
What to do when making a puzzle:
Look for natural parts in the design you’re turning into a puzzle, then create the male/female attachment between those pieces.
What NOT to do when making a puzzle:
Grab an image of a puzzle pattern, overlay it on your design, then use that. It makes the edges very weird.
Unfortunately I didn’t make this discovery until the six-year-old tried to put it together, but he did it! Weird edges and all.
To go with the puzzles, I wanted to give a stuffed animal that somehow represented the event. This was when Toys R Us were going out of business (I know, I’m sorry if I pulled at a wound) but the nice thing was that I had my pick of the stuffies! I could afford them all! That said, ever hear of something called “overchoice” otherwise known as “analysis paralysis”? Basically, there were too many options! I sent this picture to the fiance for some help.
We finally ended up on the four little puppies because they had collars to which I could attach little licenses that said “Damon 03/17/10” to commemorate the event. I debated Sculpey Clay or laser cut wood licenses, but finally went with the wood because for me it was easier.
Finally, I wanted to do a little something extra for the ring bearer and flower girl since they were the ones putting in the work. I found a little bowtie to tie around the ring bearer’s pup’s neck and a little flower crown with some jewelry for the flower girl’s puppy.
In the end, these guys were a hit! The flower girl and ring bearer seemed excited to be doing a job they knew nothing about, and the siblings were happy not to be left out.
If I were to do this over, I would simply fix the puzzles to work a little better. I also might put the childrens’ names on the licenses, too.
Then again, if I were to do this again I’d probably do something entirely different just for the fun of it!
I’ll share how I made the flower girl’s dress (and the surprise in contains!) in a future post – stay tuned!
In its day, I think the basement in my new house was spectacular. There’s a rod iron handrail, green tile, shag carpeting, drop-ceilings, wood paneled walls, even a mirrored bar! Of course, it isn’t hard to figure out when this basement got its upgrade – the groovy 70’s!
Unfortunately as time went by, much of it fell into disrepair and began to fill with dust and grime.
You’ll have to excuse the terrible pictures, they’re from a video tour I took of the first time my husband and I walked through the house. I took video tours of all of the houses we visited because my grandmother liked to see them!
By the time Josh and I got our hands on the house, you couldn’t even walk down into the basement without shoes on. In fact, you literally couldn’t even make it down the stairs because they must’ve been covered in shag carpeting at one point and now they’re covered in carpet nails.
We figured that out the hard way.
A couple of times.
That said, it’s a poured concrete basement that’s nice and dry with high ceilings, so we wanted to make use of it! First thing was first: we cleaned.
We decided that the very first thing we had to fix was the floors. They were so gross and we couldn’t clean them to the point where we felt comfortable walking downstairs then back up into our clean first floor without fearing that we were tracking mountains of dirt with us. We got an enormous pick (digging bar, wrecking bar, no one seems to be able to agree on a name for these monsters). Actually it’s my pop’s pick, I have no idea why he has an enormous pick but I decided not to ask questions) and chipped up all of the tile! It was amazingly easy and totally fun.
Once we did that, we realized the glue that had been used to hold down the tile was just dirty. It wasn’t coming up per say, but every time we walked on it, our feet would get black. We needed a new floor in the basement.
But we didn’t want to spend a ton of time or money on it.
Or any money, really.
Plus, what kind of floor do you get for a working basement? Not carpet, we’ll be using some of the space as a shop. Not tile, we saw how that went before and it didn’t look to have lasted. Not laminate, too much mold risk.
We ended up finding the perfect solution: Epoxy paint! This isn’t a sponsored post, but if Rust-Oleum sees this, hook me up – I’ll speak your praises all day!
Truth is that we didn’t have to think to hard to figure out what to do, my parents did this to their basement years ago. But I remember how difficult it was to figure out what to do with their floor and once we heard about this stuff it was a no-brainer.
The first thing we had to do was scrub the floor with something really, really strong. We used Krud Kutter; it’s cheap and super effective.
Then, we used the hose.
Here’s how it went down: my cousin and I each had mops and we would scrub a small section of the floor with the Krud Kutter solution. My aunt would then come through with the hose and spray down the section while my mom used the wet/dry vac to vacuum the water up almost as quickly as it went down. It was quite the process. I never thought I’d be drowning my basement with a garden hose, but it worked! We then, and this is important, toweled off any wood that got wet and set a dehumidifier going which we emptied the second it filled constantly for about a week (even after we’d painted the floor). Even after all that, the floor STILL wasn’t terribly clean, but it was clean enough.
Back to the Rust-Oleum Floor Epoxy, have you ever painted a wall? If so, then you already know all that you need to know about how to use this stuff. Epoxies are two part solutions, that’s what makes them so effective. Instead of a regular paint, you get a Part A and a Part B and neither part will solidify on its own, but together they become rock solid. You pour one part into the other (which they thankfully leave space for so you don’t need a separate mixing bucket) and you’re off! Literally, you paint the floor like it’s a wall.
It’s important to note that the pattern of painting is slightly different. There are paint chips that you sprinkle onto the floor after you paint it which dry into the floor. Because of this, you don’t want to paint patches that are too big for you to be able to reach the edges to sprinkle the chips. We did about 4’x4’ sections which worked well.
Just like when painting a wall, you can also tape off areas where you don’t want paint.
A few tips:
Paint the edges first like you would a room. We painted the edges second for half of the basement and I don’t know why, but you can’t see the edges if you paint them first but you can if you paint them second.
Use a roller with at least a ½” nap. This will make the paint go on a little thicker which is good. In the instructions it lists different nap sizes for different surfaces, but for the DIYer I think a ½” nap is a good catch-all.
Don’t worry about the paint drying too quickly. I had it in my head that once you mixed the two parts together, you had to hurry and paint fast or it would dry, but that’s not the case. Don’t get me wrong, after you paint the floor it will dry in a day, but the “pot life” (how long you have to use the mixture before it hardens) is longer than they warn. I’d say we had it sitting out for at least three hours no problem. Plus, we sealed a can for a couple weeks with mixed epoxy and it STILL worked when we opened the can again.
Use the chips! The paint chips are what’s so brilliant about this! They add just a little bit of, I don’t know, eye confusion. In other words, it’s much easier to see dirt on a single-tone floor than it is to see when the floor is already covered in little pieces of stuff. We went light on the paint chips for fear of running out, but we had nothing to worry about and had a bunch left over.
Now, let’s remember what the floor looked like before:
And here it is after!
Crazy how different the whole basement looks, right??
Next we have to paint the walls, especially under that old coal stove exhaust pipe, but all in due time.
There are two basic paint colors, tan and grey, so we went with tan to brighten the basement as much as possible. We learned later that you can actually buy tint colors for something other than tan or grey if you want online. Honestly, though, I think the tan will look good with anything and I’m glad I didn’t have the option of a wackier color because I might have gone for it when I shouldn’t (hot pink basement, anyone?)
I’d rate this project as pretty simple if you’ve painted a room before, medium if you haven’t. You have to be okay with not getting it quite as perfect as a regular wall since it is a basement/garage/concrete. I don’t know about everyone’s basements, but when I was down and inspecting everything (as you inevitably do while you paint) I noticed that the lines between wall and floor aren’t as crisp as drywall and blue tape doesn’t stick as well to concrete and there are little holes everywhere, but once I pulled back I didn’t notice any of that in the final product. This is a good “do your best and don’t worry about the rest” type of project.
I hope someone finds inspiration from this post – I think all basements should get this done! Even if we decide to completely finish the basement later, we can still carpet or laminate over the paint and feel even more confident in the cleanliness.
I have skin that closely mimics the Sahara desert: pure crystal white and dry as heck. The whiteness I can’t do anything about (real tan, fake tan, nothing works) but I CAN do something about the dryness! I still remember in middle school when I discovered exfoliating and it was MAGICAL. I could get rid of all the flaky skin for like, a solid day! …before I had to do it again because my skin. Is dry. As heck.
So my love affair with skin scrubs is certainly not unwarranted, though I do go a little overboard I’ll be honest about that. There are just so many different kinds! Especially if you diy them! I’ve found scrubs recipes that include:
the list goes on and on.
Basically any sort of skin scrub comes down two two main ingredients:
Exfoliant: This is usually either sugar or salt
Lubricant: oil, honey, something like that
Now I’ve tried these scrubs a bunch of times and they always go wrong, and yet, I still keep making them over and over and over. I’m not sure what my addiction is but I promise you I have not yet made my last one!
Here are the three basic recipes I tend to deviate slightly on:
I started off by making a sugar scrub with equal parts white sugar and brown sugar and honey. According to the internet, white sugar has coarse granules that really schluff away skin, while brown sugar is a little bit less coarse for the finer bits. I’m honestly not entirely sure why I insist on using honey almost every time I make a scrub, other than the fact that it just feels kind of wholesome, don’t you think? The trouble with this scrub is that the shower inevitably becomes sticky as all get-out and leaves nasty residue all over the bottom of the bathtub, which, sure, if it’s your tub – go for it! But my mother wasn’t too thrilled about this recipe.
Next, I tried salt with olive oil. I don’t remember exactly but I’m sure I mixed other things in there, too. I’m never just satisfied with two ingredient recipes. I used the salt because I figured, you know, the ocean’s good for your skin, right? I don’t know, that sounds right. Then I used olive oil because it’s a little fancier than vegetable oil but coconut oil is too gosh darn expensive. Also, this is pre-coconut oil craze so it was even MORE expensive. This scrub had an even greater area of attack on the shower than the last one! You’re basically pouring oil into your bathtub… this recipe was thrown away quickly after I used it once NS my mom stepped into the tuB. I heard a huge THUNK, “EGINNY”. Our tub was a slimy, treacherous place for days.
The third sugar scrub recipe that I’ve made consists of coffee and honey with just a tiny bit of oil, maybe a little brown sugar. Theoretically, the coffee is an even milder exfoliant. Plus, I have it in my head that maybe if I scrub it on my legs enough it will start to stain them like some sort of wonky coffee suntan, and as somebody who’s skin is practically translucent (No, I’m not joking, the foundation color I use is actually called translucent)
I can’t help but hope for even a pathetic little tan.
This scrub seemed to do the least amount of damage as far as sticking to the bottom of my tub because I was very careful with the amount of honey and oil that I used. Then after using it, I sat in the tub watching it all swirl down the drain and thought that this is probably a really terrible idea and maybe I don’t want to have to call a plumber in a week after my tub stops draining due to buildup of coffee grounds.
As a concept I love skin scrubs. I use them after I shave to get off all the nasty dead skin and whatever moisturizer is in it also leaves my legs feeling like a baby’s butt. It’s pretty great. There’s something about them that just feels so luxurious and sensual. Even my cheap, crappy old homemade sugar scrubs tend to sit on the shelves of my bathtub for months because I see them as a sometimes luxury. That said, don’t leave a sugar scrub in your shower for months it will mold. I speak from experience. Ew.
So after I’ve nearly trashed my bathtub, given my mom a concussion, and stuffed the pipes up, do you think I’ll make another skin scrub? Heck yeah I’m going to make another skin scrub! I’m thinking my next recipe will be brown sugar, a little bit of white sugar, just a little bit of coffee grounds, a tiny amount of honey, and I might even swing for some coconut oil.
I love the feeling of freshly exfoliated legs, but exfoliating soaps on the market are so gosh darn expensive – I don’t know if I can spend that much money on my leg skin. Besides, they’re always so dainty! They say there’s exfoliant in it, but there’s maybe one grain of sand. I want something ROUGH. I want to rip up all that nasty dry skin on my legs and get it gone! Which, yeah, probably not so healthy for my legs, but it makes me feel real good.
Here’s another weird thing about my skin scrub addiction – every time I make a new one, I put it in a mason jar.
It’s in the shower.
Mason jars have metal lids.
What’s the sense in that?? They rust after one use and yet every time I make a new skin scrub, I put it in a mason jar with a metal lid. I don’t know if it’s just the ambiance of a mason jar with homemade sugar scrub in it or what but I just can’t get myself to put it in a regular plastic container. It just seems weird.
Also, I should mention that I would never make any of these scrubs as gifts. I make them for myself full well knowing that I may destroy my bathtub and I will take the blame for it if it happens, but I couldn’t bear to see anyone else use them without a full disclosure that they may need to find a local tub fitter when they’re done.
Who else has a DIY that they know they probably shouldn’t do but they do anyway?? I can’t be the only one…
Bonus tip: occasionally I’ll make mini versions of these scrubs for my lips (never with salt, gross) but occasionally with a little sugar and oil. The best mix in for that is a Kool-Aid packet! Makes it a pretty color and it tastes delicious. Warning, it does stain.
98% of my family is allergic to dogs, so one member got a standard poodle, and the rest of us got little tiny things so our holiday get-togethers look like doggie daycare for guinea pigs.
On top of all the dogs being knee-high to a grasshopper, we also constantly shave them to the bone to try and eliminate any potential shedding (even though they all have hair, not fur). All of this is to say that we have a large wardrobe for small dogs!
Meet Eloise – a Havanese which is a breed from Cuba (yeah, we’d never heard of one of those, either).
It was pure luck for us that she pawed her way into our lives! About four years ago, my brother (eight years my senior) and his then girlfriend found themselves on the dog hunt. They needed a hypoallergenic dog (shocker) but wanted a big dog personality! By that I mean loves to run, swim, chase, fetch, all that good doggy stuff. Through their searching, they came across the Havanese breed. When they went to meet one, it was love at first lap! They immediately found a breeder and set up to get a puppy who they named Riley.
They were, unsurprisingly, great dog parents. They kept in touch with the breeder to give her updates.
About two years later, my then boyfriend, Josh, and I decided we wanted a fur-baby as well and we knew it had to be a Havanese! We got in touch with my brother’s breeder and she told us that she had two mamas about to give birth – a tried and true, black and white mama dog named Layla, and a little red first-timer named Cinnamon. Hearing red fur got me excited because I have red hair so it sounded meant to be, but she insisted that Layla was the better dog to claim a puppy from so we reluctantly agreed.
For circumstances out of anyone’s control, we ended up not being able to get a puppy at all. Puppies are energetic and need focused training that we weren’t able to provide.
To help mitigate the total bleakness that our not being able to get a puppy left in our hearts, my parents let us “borrow” one of their dogs.
This little girl was my puppy. I bought her with my own money when I was in 8th grade but, of course, I had to leave her home when I wen’t off to college. Enter: Scruffy
He was my sister’s pup until, more circumstances out of our control, he went to live with my parents as well. Four years of living together and Scruffy and Heidi are now completely inseparable. When Josh and I borrowed Heidi, we think she had fun, but she was homesick – she definitely missed Scruff and he certainly missed Heidi too.
Meanwhile, my sister-in-law gets a call from her breeder that she has a dog who had one litter of puppies, but was really too small to become a breeder dog and did she know of any good homes for her?
Heck yeah! Josh and I were able to adopt a (mostly) potty trained dog without the puppy energy!
Any guesses what puppy the breeder needed a home for?
The little red head! Cinnamon ❤ She was named Cinnamon because she’s a Valentine’s Day Baby, but she never got to know her name so when Josh and I changed it (we like people names for dogs) it took her less than a day to get used to it.
The best part?
Riley and Ellie are half-siblings and they love each other!
Now that I’ve gotten to prattle on about my dog for a while (thank you for listening, I always love to talk about her) here’s the meat of the post! The coat pattern!
It’s a pretty simple pattern – you could make it sleeveless and it would be even simpler! If you’re a beginner sewer, here are a few tips:
Get fabric that doesn’t fray like fleece. That way you don’t even need to hem anything (turn over the neck and belly edges)
Take note of the places that say “cut on fold” that’s important!
IMPORTANT FOR ALL: This is a very looong coat because I designed it for Ellie who is dachshund in proportions. Be prepared to have to cut it shorter. It shouldn’t go past the base of your dog’s tail.
I created this pattern because like I said earlier, I shave my dog to the bone every few months, and I don’t want her to get cold! Here’s the result below.
My goal was to find a fabric that wasn’t itchy – she was constantly scratching her back when she wore her regular sweaters. It seemed to work until one day I brought her outside while she was wearing it and it picked up EVERY LEAF IN THE DRIVEWAY AND THEY NEVER CAME OFF. It was actually impossible to get all the leaves off. They were so stuck in the soft fabric! No matter, this coat was so easy, I’ll just make another one.
This pin on Pinterest had me completely starry-eyed:
I needed to make one.
Then I found out that chunky yarn is crazy expensive so I put the idea on hold until…
A SALE! My favorite thing. Michaels Craft Stores aren’t always the cheapest places, but they have some amazing sales and if you use their app with their coupons, you’re set. I picked up a couple skeins of chunky grey yarn, ordered me a rope of LEDs, and I was off!
Now, when I was on the dating scene, every guy I met I immediately saw red flags and ran – I was good at seeing red flags in men. But when I want to diy and I see red flags? My ability to ignore potential problems goes through the roof.
RED FLAG #1: Everywhere I read about this rug, people said not to walk on it! Heck, even the seller in the affiliate link from the diy page where I got my inspiration said not to walk on them!
RED FLAG #2: I didn’t know how to crochet.
But hey, not knowing how to do something never stopped me before! I sat down with my good friend YouTube and desperately tried to teach myself to no avail. I ended up shelving the project for a couple years.
Finally, years later, I found myself sitting at a desk job working with a girl who knew how to crochet! Whenever we had down time (which was a lot) we picked up our yarn. Again, I was off!
I learned two important things about crocheting:
It’s quick to do – having to rip out a round that you just crocheted because you messed up is far less upsetting than when you have to rip out a round of knitting.
You have to pay attention – on one hand, it’s mind numbing and relaxing. On the other hand, you mess up your count then, well, just remind yourself of the important thing above.
Honestly once I actually learned how to crochet, figuring out how to make the rug was fairly simple. The only snag I ran into was having to determine how many times I wanted to loop the yarn over the light so that ample light shined though but it didn’t look sparse. However because of that snag, I re-crocheted this rug. Three. Times.
All in all, I think it took me about about three years and two hours to make this rug: three years to find someone to teach me to crochet, and two hours to make the rug a few times until I was happy.
Admittedly, I was right! It was SO COOL! Now, please enjoy the pictures I took when I plugged it in exactly one time and my dog laid on it, before I shoved it up into storage because what the heck do you do with a rug you can’t walk on?
Maybe I’ll take it apart again and weave the lights into a piece of macramé… Anyone want to teach me macramé?
On September 9th, 2009, I walked to school with a tray a lemon flavored cupcakes because during the 15 minutes that my friends and I had before class began, my friend Amanda and I decided we would be married in the noisy, bustling cafeteria. Our friend Hanna stood before us and read those sacred words,
“Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.”
The Princess Bride
I was a self-proclaimed awkward kid when I was in Middle and High School, although honestly I didn’t need to proclaim it myself because everyone else was doing it for me. I ran into some bullying issues when I was in 6th grade, but I was lucky enough to have a mother who gave me the support and confidence that I needed to get through it – by which I mean make new friends.
Since lunchtime was the longest stretch of time that we had to socialize, I devised my plan of attack for then. Our cafeteria had this really weird layout to it – two large platforms on either side with tables on them and then more tables in the middle which was lower. My “friends” and I would sit at a table on one of the platforms and I could see across to a table on the other platform where there was a girl (who I’d later learn was Amanda) who was loud and commanding and everyone just seem to listen to her and want to talk to her all at the same time.
I thought, “you know, that kinda looks like a good bunch of weirdos over there so I’m going to go sit with them – but I’mma go ahead and sit as far away from that popular one as possible because every time I try to interact with anyone popular, it doesn’t go terribly well”
All this is not to say that I had a low self-esteem, I was just realistic.
So I picked up my tray and crossed the depths of the lower cafeteria to the other platform to find friends who didn’t just like totally leave me out of sleepovers (still kind of a dick move, Deanna).
Anyway, this diagram below depicts exactly how I (an introvert) became bffs with Amanda (an extrovert):
Thus a relatively elaborate story was set in motion when Amanda “proposed” to me in the water at a grandfather’s camp at her birthday bash. The story grew until my new friends and I had fabricated an entire extended family together complete with a mythical pet (our friend Gus), a set of triplets (who were not the ACTUAL triplets in the friend group), and a jar of SunButter as our grandfather. By the time we were seniors in high school, Amanda and I had to take a hard look at each other and decide that maybe we should pull it back a little bit – people might actually start to think we’re lesbians and we’re both really big fans of guys.
However, the endearing terms her being my “hubby” and me being her “wifey” never quite made it out of our vocabulary.
Now, 7 years later after mine and Amanda’s lives diverged both in culture and geographically, we’ve found that we’re the type of friends who can go months without speaking, yet come together like no time has passed.
At one of those together times, she told me her boyfriend proposed to her!
Now real talk, I love Amanda dearly but I never had a whole lot of faith in her taste in men. BUT. The man she’s now engaged to is the first man I believe is worthy of her and I’m SO freaking excited for them!
In my natural DIY way I decided that I would make them an engagement present because, you know, that’s what I do, and that the most appropriate gift would be to give those vows that Amanda and I made on 9/9/09, back to her.
So here it is – the outside shape is a heart because, you know, cheesy romantic love stuff, and the silhouette actually is a tracing I did of the actors in the movie. Ironically, in the movie the quote is what was said at the wedding ceremony of the evil guy and princess (who of course didn’t actually end up together), but who’s really paying attention to that fact…
Originally when I made this for her, it was just a personal use piece so I honestly just googled “The Princess Bride Font Free” and I got a bunch of results. Since The Princess Bride only really has a title to go off of for font, I just found one with a kind of swoopy, serify look to it. Eventually I decided I wanted to make it possible for other people to use my cut file so I ended up going back and searching for a “free for commercial use” font and I found another really nice one called Harrington.
For the lights, I just ordered some fairy string lights off of Amazon that had a small double A battery pack. They make them with button batteries, the really little 3 volt batteries, but I wanted it to last a little longer than such a small battery would allow. I hot glued the battery pack to the back of the heart, making sure that she could still open it to replace the batteries, then I just made a mess of the string lights and used little dots of hot glue to secure it all around the outer and inner edges. Finally, I added little legs made out of stacked, laser cut circles (essentially diy dowels) to the back of it that were just ever so slightly taller than the battery pack so that she could attach the legs to the wall and the battery pack wouldn’t be an issue.
I like to design my pieces with love, it’s more motivating.