Easy Gift Idea – Pizza Lover Tote

I think it’s a safe assumption that everyone has a pizza lover in their life.

I know I do!  My bae Heidi loves pizza more than any person in this world.  I asked her for her favorite pizza quote, and she provided me with, “Pizza is the only love triangle I want.”


You could make this gift for ANYONE.  I would suggest snooping on their Pinterest boards for a quote or phrase they have pinned.

I’m joining up with my blog friends who are putting on a blog series called Dare to DIY.  Today’s theme is give handmade.  You can find more ideas over at Maybe Matilda.

dare to diy

After Heidi told me her favorite pizza quote, I designed it on picmonkey and printed it off.

pizza love triangleI very carefully cut out the letters with an xacto knife to make a stencil.  I realized this would be MUCH EASIER if I had a cutting machine.  Hopefully there’s one in my future, but right now, I’m going old school.



I centered the “stencil” on the tote, then taped it down.  I tried painters tape, but it wouldn’t stick to the bag.  So I used duct tape.  I taped down the middles of the letter for the stencil.


I mixed acrylic paint with textile medium to make fabric paint.


I used a stipple sponge brush to paint the tote bag.


Unfortunately, the middle of the letters on “Love Triangle” lifted up, so those got filled all the way in.


I free-handed a slice of pizza at the top of the tote.  In general, I was a little disappointed how the paint bled a little.  I was hoping for crisper lines.  But I guess I’m not surprised after using a piece of paper as a stencil.

I still think the bag is still pretty rad.  I think it works since the font I used already had a ‘handwritten quality’ about it, so the bleeds just kind of added to that.  I’m pretty excited to send it off and check something off my Christmas gift list!




DIY Ho Ho Ho Throw Pillows

The older I get, the more I realize what an overly-sentimental and nostalgic person I am.  There’s a quote from The Office that goes, “I wish there was a way to tell you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”  And sometimes that’s how I feel.

Lately, I’ve really been missing Christmas at our old house.  I LOVE our new house, but it just doesn’t feel the same.  Our old house was naturally Christmasy, with the fireplace, candles, banister and tree in the front window.  Christmas last year was an extra special time for me too as I really got to focus on getting Evelyn here safe and sound.  Everything was a lot more meaningful.  I wrote a personal blog post on our family blog about it here if you’re interested in reading my feelings.

Anyway, I decided it was up to me to make an effort to bring more holiday cheer into our home.  So I decided to stretch my creative muscles and do a SEWING project.  FYI, I DON’T SEW.

Since I didn’t want to dabble in zippers, I decided to sew envelope/pocket pillows.  The pillow forms were 20″.

JoAnn had their red linen on sale for $4 a yard, so that was my fabric of choice.  I cut 3 21″x21″ pieces, and 6 21″x15″ pieces.


Then I took my 6 smaller pieces and hemmed one of the 21″ sides.  I hemmed the width of the presser foot.


Pinning the pieces together is pretty simple.  Remember to lay the pieces inside out, in the following fashion:



Sew around all four edges.  Again, I did the width of the presser foot.

I wanted each pillow to say “ho,” so I made this template, and printed it off in an 8×10 size.

ho template

I cut it out, and traced it onto my glittery gold iron on paper.



Then it was just a matter of centering each ho and ironing it on (according to the iron instructions for whatever iron on paper you use).


Then stuff those pillow covers and you got yourself some ho pillows!  They will no longer be known as “throw pillows.”  Just ho pillows!


Are they perfect?  No.  Can I spot several mistakes?  Yes.  BUT, I love them.  They really do bring an element of happiness to our Christmas decor.  And, as a not-sewing-lady, I’m really proud of myself haha!

Also, a walking baby means the bottom third of the tree does not get decorated!



And as much as I loved this Christmas…

Easy Christmas Decor

I’m really grateful that this is where we’re at now.



I’m linking this project up with my friends doing dare to DIY over at Newly Woodwards.

dare to diy


Russian Nesting Doll Mobile

One of the things I’ve been DYING to share with you guys is the Matryoshka Mobile for Evelyn’s nursery.  It’s been a quick minute since we’ve talked about the nursery, so to bring you up to speed here’s the reader’s digest version of what I’ve done:

made a wingback rocking chair
mood board and design concept
stenciled a gold scallop wall
messed up the light fixture and got a pretty new one
hung & altered curtains and laid flooring (all by my pregnant self!)
painted some IKEA Billy bookshelves
that’s where we left off, and here’s where we pick up today:

Russian Nesting Doll Nursery Mobile


This was actually a really simple project.  I’m not much of a sewer.  I wish I could be like Kim or Michelle and whip out quilts like it’s nobody’s bidniz.  I’m much like the miller’s daughter from Rumpelstiltskin who wishes she could spin straw to gold, but really, I just have to trade my soul to get it done.

Lucky for me, trading my soul is a little less dramatic… I just resort to Etsy.  I found some Matryoshka Christmas ornaments, and I knew they would be perfect for the mobile.

One of my favorite things about ordering on Etsy, is that you can chat with store owners.  If you have something custom in mind, it never hurts to ask.  I asked the shop owner if she could do the dolls in purple, and nix the hangers and bells.  She was more than happy to.  I told her I was planning on turning it into a mobile, and she was excited.  The shop I used is called Indigostitch in Liverpool.

Once I received my package of nesting dolls, I went to the hardware store and picked up a 1/2 inch dowel.  I cut it in half with the miter saw and sanded the rough edge.  It took about 2 seconds.

I spray painted the dowels gold so they wouldn’t contrast too much against the scallop wall.  I didn’t want it to be too busy.

Russian Nesting Doll Nursery Mobile

Using a really skinny drill bit, I drilled holes in each end of the dowels.  (I’m a wretched blogger who didn’t pay attention to what bit size I used.  I just know it was skinny minny.)

Russian Nesting Doll Nursery Mobile

Using yarn I lashed the 2 dowel pieces together, then drilled the middle hole.

Russian Nesting Doll Nursery Mobile

I had a scrap of gray felt laying around, so I decided to cut out a few hearts to add to the mobile.

Russian Nesting Doll Nursery Mobile

I laid out how everything would go, before I connected them all together.

Russian Nesting Doll Nursery Mobile

Connecting them was a piece of cake.  I went through the top/back of the dolls, then stitched up the heart, and through the hole on the dowel.  Tie a knot, and that’s it.

Russian Nesting Doll Nursery Mobile

I installed a hook in the ceiling according to the directions on the package, centered over the crib.  Which again, is so easy.  You don’t even need to trade your soul to Rumpelstiltskin to do it.

Russian Nesting Doll Nursery Mobile

At first I wasn’t quite sure of it.  (Which seems to be my trend lately.)

Russian Nesting Doll Nursery Mobile

But of course, it grew on me so much.  It has so much natural movement.  I love the hand-made quality it has.  It’s a nice change from the “factory” look of the IKEA furniture surrounding it.

Russian Nesting Doll Nursery Mobile

Russian Nesting Doll Nursery Mobile

Russian Nesting Doll Nursery Mobile

Russian Nesting Doll Nursery Mobile

An update on the pregnancy front:
I’m miserable.  Throwing up.  Inconsistently contracting.  A 3 and 80%.  Doctor is shocked I haven’t gone into labor.
Tried every wives tale in the book:  prenatal massage with pressure points hit, spicy food, pineapple, walking, bouncing on a yoga ball, fun adult times, drinking castor oil, drives up & down the mountain to change elevation, jumping jacks, and more… then repeat.

The amazing and talented Jadie Jo Photography was able to come over and take some maternity pictures at the house.  You should check out some of her work and like her on Facebook!  I’ll have a post with more pictures later, but for now, here’s a peek.

Maternity Photos

How To Paint Curtains

I’m breaking away from nursery posts today to bring you a living room update!  Our big projects are coming to a close (more on that soon!), which means I have been focusing on decorating details.

One thing we’ve been living without since demo (late July) is curtains.  It’s like living naked for the world to see.  So exposed.  I mean, cool, if that’s what you’re into.  But um, I dig privacy.

Since we have so much neutral happening in our grand room, I wanted some curtains with a punch.  As it would turn out, punchy curtains are really hard to find unless you want to pay $50+ per panel from a fancy store or custom order on Etsy.  Pretty much all other curtains are simple and neutral.

For a good long while, probably since Avatar was the cool thing… I’ve been wanting to try making fabric paint with textile medium.  Painting curtains was the perfect experiment.

I started with a plain white set of IKEA LENDA curtains, drew out a design on a scrap paper, got some votes, then started taping.  Nothing is trustier than FrogTape for crisp lines.

How To Paint Curtains

I mixed regular latex paint with the textile medium in an old mixing bowl that I was planning on tossing.

How To Paint Curtains

The ratio is 2:1.  2 parts paint to 1 part textile medium.  The handle broke off my measuring cup, so I used this old one to measure out 2 cups of paint.

How To Paint Curtains

I was so worried that the textile medium would change the color of the paint, but it didn’t.

How To Paint Curtains

My preferred color of mustard was Sherwin Williams Kingdom Gold (6698).

How To Paint Curtains

I rolled on the paint to cover the curtains nice and saturated-ly.

How To Paint Curtains

I let it dry over night for good measure.  The next day, Buster watched while I joyfully peeled the tape off.

How To Paint Curtains

However, I made a HUGE mistake.  Michael, I’ve made a huge mistake…  Normally when I paint, I use these old sheets as a drop cloth, and it’s fine.  But I REALLY should have been wise enough to use a heavier drop cloth, or a tarp.  The curtains were completely fused to these sheets.  Peeling them apart was akin to what I imagine an exorcism would be like.  Very gripping.

How To Paint Curtains

But the trouble didn’t stop there.  Because it majorly bled through onto my floors.  It was like a school bus died all over my front room.  For anyone wanting to know how to get paint off floors, warm water with a little Dawn and some elbow grease does the job.

How To Paint Curtains

Luckily the only mishaps were with my supplies.  The painted curtains were more than perfect.  It’s the love affair of the century.  Move aside William and Kate, we have new things to gawk over.

How To Paint Curtains

The final step is to heat set the fabric paint.  You can iron, or tumble dry.  I tumbled of course.

I used this tip to hang the curtain rod.  Please disregard my swollen pregnant hand and robe sleeve.  Take some cardboard and make a template to mark the holes.  Flip the template, and use it on the other side of the window for a perfect match.

How To Paint Curtains

The curtains need to be hemmed, but I’m not sweating that chore until after Thanksgiving.  We have people to entertain!

How To Paint Curtains

They are extra beautiful at night.

How To Paint Curtains

And extraordinarily magical from the outside.  I’m sure all my neighbors think I’m the coolest 🙂

How To Paint Curtains

And for pinning convenience, here you are!

How To Paint Curtains

Now that you’ve read my adventures in painting curtains, are you going to paint some fabric of your own?

Nursery Design: Curtains and Flooring

Thanks to all you brave souls who chimed in with your DIY fails.  Did you know right after I wrote that post, Vintage Revivals posted about a contest where you share your DIY fails to win gift cards?!  You should go enter it if you’re interested, since we were on the topic.

The room we’re using for the nursery is as bright as the Christmas tree lit up on Rockefeller Plaza… but actually, a lot brighter, especially in day time.  The bay window catches so much light.  It’s one of the reasons I love the room so much.  But naps next to the surface of the sun are less than ideal.  Aaron and I agreed some sort of black out curtains were necessary for the nursery.

We found the MARJUN curtains at IKEA.  Those sisters are heavy duty to say the least.  No messing around there.  They also act as thermal curtains which is an added bonus.  They aren’t the cheapest of IKEA curtains.  One package was $60.  But luckily the 2 panels included in the package were enough to cover the area of the bay window.  However, not without modification.

I needed to cut each panel in half, ending up with 4 panels.  Not too hard.  I’m not the best seamstress.  Sewing a straight line for a hem isn’t so bad.

Ikea Marjun Curtains

Ikea Marjun Curtains

And when I hung them up, I had major mixed feelings.  Something was just off about them.  They were so thick and heavy that they wouldn’t draw open all the way.  I decided to reserve all judgement until everything was in the nursery.

Gray and Gold Nursery Curtains

We had so much extra flooring left over from the Great Room that continuing it into the nursery was the most logical decision.

Laying the flooring was a breeze (follow this tutorial if you need one!).  On a day I was feeling particularly good, it took me a few hours.  As always, if I can do it, you can do it!

Beautiful Laminate Flooring

Beautiful Laminate Flooring

Junky cell phone picture alert:  But see how heavy duty (and wrinkly) the curtains are?!

Beautiful Laminate Flooring

And with the help of my super dad, the baseboards went up without a hitch.  (Also, now would be a good time to note “surface of the sun.”)

Gray and Gold Nursery

Which means the next step is to fill this room up with FURNITURE!  Friends, I think we’re close to being ready for this baby!

My First Bunting & Baby Shower

My sister Gina is having a miracle baby!  We’re so excited for little Molly to join our big Greek Family.  Gina literally lives a block away from me, which is the most rad thing ever.

I got to host my first ever baby shower.  And normally, I LOVE throwing parties, but I gotta say, I was sweating chunks for this one.  Maybe it’s because a lot of family members who haven’t seen my house, and neighbor ladies from where I grew up (most of whom read my blog) would be there.

All you other bloggers, does it make you nervous when people who read your blog come to your house in real life?  Or am I the only weirdo out there that thinks people judge my house extra hard because I blog about it?

Anyway, we had a chandelier that did this:

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