Let your faith be bigger than your fear.

Last week’s “Grace” print making was in honor of one of my closest friends’ birthdays. This week’s was for one of the people who supports my creative endeavors most… and truly is one of the most encouraging and loving people I know: Pam Stevens.

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Pam is the wife of the wonderful couple who leads our small group. They open their house up to us each week and serve with their whole hearts. They also feed us delicious food and provide us with our weekly dose of root beer. Needless to say, we’re so thankful for Pam and Steve, her husband.

After finding this quote on her Pinterest board, I couldn’t help myself but to create something lovely for her. The best moment was when she looked at it and said… “Oh you painted this for ME!”

It really is a joy bringing joy to others…

The bench is finished!

Remember when I mentioned that Chip is following in his grandfather’s footsteps and beginning woodworking? Well, I’m a proud wifey, as his first project is officially complete!

Bench front

Doesn’t it look pretty darn awesome? I’d say for the first time with a jigsaw, he did a bang-up job. And in more ways than one. After it looked like this:

2012 Woodworking

He let me take a chain and hammer to it to beat it up. No offense to the perfect wood, but a little “distressed” is more my style.

I was having a hard time picking out fabric and paint colors, so we just followed the token Carnes’ colors and went with teal. It shows up in pretty much every room in our house, so we knew it would match anywhere. While at my home away from home (aka Hobby Lobby), we came across this lovely fabric, which matched oh so nicely with the teal and brown in our favorite living room chair.

Fabric with chair

After a fabric decision was made, we visited Home Depot for some friendly, neighborhood home store advice. Like I mentioned previously, decisions aren’t quite my thing, so getting help in the paint section is the way to go. Let’s be honest: too many color options for me.

We decided on a Glidden “Cappuccino White” color match to purchase a $3 color sample of the Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint. It didn’t seem like a lot of paint, but ended up being more than enough for our project!

We already had wood stain at home from this Christmas craft, so decided to save some moolah and use that as the undercoat before layering the paint.

Wood stain

After two coats of stain, the bench looked like this:

Stained bench

While the stain dried, I took to the seat of the bench for some upholstery. Now, the book I got for Chip for Christmas had details all about building the bench, but nothing about upholstering the top. I tried my hand at upholstering our dining room chairs, so figured I could do the bench without too much trouble. While it wasn’t terrible, the chairs were certainly much easier, as they already had all of the pieces, and I just had to recover them.

For the bench, I purchased foam & batting at Hobby Lobby (always use the 40% off coupon AND they recently created an app for it – oh happy day!!)

However, the foam wasn’t quite long enough, so after cutting it to size with an electric knife (who knew it had more use than just for carving turkey?!), we glued the two pieces together with… wood glue and hot glue. Not exactly what is suggested – spray adhesive is best – but when I get my mind set on a project, there’s nothing stopping me. Definitely not always the best thing.

Foam for bench

With extra batting, we created a sort of “band-aid” for the spot where the two pieces came together, and it worked pretty well. However, next time I’ll definitely be sure to have spray adhesive on hand.

Foam band aid

After cutting the layer of batting and fabric to size, Chip tried out the upholstery side of things and quickly decided he’d leave the finishing steps of the woodworking projects to me. His reaction was: “I’ve never been good at wrapping gifts…” That’s ok, Chipper, we understand.

Upholstering

After some tugging, staple-gunning and careful “wrapping” of the corners, the seat was finished!

Best suggestion: start with the corners and short ends – it will make your life a whole lot easier.

We beat the wood up some more with a chain and hammer and layered on a thin coat of the paint. It was a pretty good system. I’d paint, and Chip would follow with a rag and wipe down various spots to let the stain shine through. Finally, we both used sandpaper to sand the edges and other parts of the wood. We think the antiquey-ness worked out quite well!

Painted bench

After waiting a bit and screwing the piano hinges back onto the seat, we had a finished bench! Ta da!

Final Bench  Final Bench Side

I truly couldn’t be more proud of Chip. And now we have an awesome bench to store shoes, blankets, etc. The best thing (as cheesy as it may be) is that we made it together! I love to envision passing it down in our family one day. Yea, yea… cheeseball.

Here’s the real dilemma: now Chip needs a new woodworking job, as he’s already itching to make something else! Any easy suggestions? Do share!

A special (full) weekend!

This was a big weekend in the Carnes household and full of a lot of fun!

Chip finished his last exam of the semester on Friday, so there was no doubt it would be an awesome couple days. I always cherish the weekends in between rotations, but nothing compares to a weekend where Christmas break follows.

It began with a trip to Athens’ favorite brewery, Terrapin, and out for Mexican on Friday night.

Saturday morning (at sunrise, no less), I got a chance to take New Year’s card photos of this sweet couple:

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Marilisa and Taylor were such just the sweetest. Marilisa is a long-time friend of one of my college roommates and is a fellow Athenian. I love being able to keep up with her here. Pretty soon we’re determined to get our pups together for a play-date.

Immediately after that, we made our way up to Atlanta for something unbelievably special! It was MaMa’s surprise 80th birthday party at the Swan Coach House. MaMa is Chip’s grandmother on his mom’s side and super awesome.

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If she wasn’t about the cutest Birthday Princess that I’ve ever seen, then I don’t know who is…

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All of the ladies of the family were there to celebrate one of the best, loving, (and sassiest) women I know! Here’s one of my favorite moments of the day of the sister-in-law with MaMa right after the surprise.

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From there, Chip and I met up with our best Atlanta couple friends for the Inaugural Couples Christmas! We’re talking a full afternoon and night of fun. Ice skating at Park Tavern, with a stop at Piedmont Park for some photos and serenading from a friendly guitar man…

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After, we had a delicious dinner at Barcelona (taking us back to our Spain days!), a wine experiment with inspiration a la Freakonomics podcast (yea, we’re kind of nerdy – we admit it), some Secret Santa gifting and Elf viewing. Pretty perfect.

But the fun didn’t end there! Today we celebrated the mommy-to-be, Maria, with a fun, safari themed baby shower. As one of the gifts, the sister-in-law and I sewed a baby blanket based on these DIY instructions. It was absolutely the softest thing ever! I just love seeing how little details and crafts can really make a shower or party come alive.

Safari Themed Baby Shower

Overall, it was a pretty awesome weekend and I can’t wait for more fun in the next couple weeks with Christmas right around the corner!

What is your favorite way to spend this time of year?

DIY Chalkboard & Christmas Decor

Happy birthday to my best friend, Bethy! Not only are she and her husband some of our closest friends, but they also are kind of our “weekend roommates”. As huge UGA fans, they’ve come to almost every home game, which means we get to spend some QT with them in Athens! We love it!

Another thing I love is that she appreciates my crafting and creating and constantly encourages me to pursue it. We talked about some things that she would love for their new home, so I began searching on Pinterest and my favorite blogs for ideas. After coming across this awesome DIY chalkboard, I quickly decided that a DIY birthday gift was in store. Plus, I’d rather give a handmade gift 10 times more than a store bought gift.

I already had a plank of wood sitting in our garage from a previous project, so just took it to Lowe’s to have them cut it for me, got to staining, painting and adding a burlap flower in the corner. Wah-lah… a chalkboard!

Also, I’ve heard Beth say multiple times that her favorite word is “JOY”. It truly fits her, and she is absolutely in love with Christmas and Christmas decor. So to complement the chalkboard, I created this little number for their new mantle (that her dad is building her from scratch… amazing).

I am actually thinking I might make one for myself now too, I just love it so much. We can be twins:

The beauty of these boards is that it can be made into anything you like depending on what word you spell: Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, the opportunities are endless. Now, I’m ready to see it on their new mantle!

What is your favorite gift to give to friends?

Ethan is here!

Today was such an exciting day in the life of a couple in our small group, as their sweet baby boy, Ethan, was born! Congratulations to the King family!

I absolutely loved being able to meet him and visit with his mommy and daddy tonight. It was such a fun time for their growing family and we’re thankful to be a part of it!

Had a chance to snap a few photos while we were there. He couldn’t be cuter!

Already a heart breaker with his precious mouth:

We even got a peek at his little eyes for just a second:

And such a sweet time for Ethan and his mom:

King, party of 3:

Finally, last week while helping set-up Ethan’s bedroom, we decided he needed a monogram banner for his nursery. With some burlap, twine and paint, I put together this sign for him. Instead of waiting for their return home, we made the maternity room cozier by hanging it on the door!

Now, we just can’t wait to come visit Ethan in his super cute “coastal” nursery! So much fun!

Lovely wedding {and bridesmaid} dress hangers

Over the summer, one of my very best friends (and the person that I’ve lived the longest with other than my family members) got married! As her wedding day gift, I created a wedding hanger with her new last name scripted in wire.

My first attempt at bending wire into names was for our engagement shoot and my wedding dress.

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I love the look of the wire in photos and the elegance it brings to the wedding dress hanger. Who wants to find the perfect dress and then have it hanging on an ugly plastic hanger? No thanks.

Mrs. Hostetler’s dress was gorgeous, as you can see:

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Shortly after that wedding, a friend of her relative saw the hanger and asked if I’d be able to make them for her bridal party. Needless to say, I was pretty excited!

After getting the list of names and having nightly wire name critiques from the hubby, I crafted up this:

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I’m thrilled with how they turned out and think that the bride is so smart to give these as bridesmaids gifts! It especially helps when all of the dresses are the same and you can just look for your name instead of mixing up your dress with another. Love that.

After her group of hangers, I’ve been working on countless other wedding dress hangers, baby shower hangers, etc. and loving it!

If you or someone you know is getting married or having a little one soon, let me know and I’d be happy to chat about creating a hanger for them!

Stay tuned for a couple other wire creations I’ve got to show you!

Oh baby… bow tie onesies

With a bow tie wearing hubby, I’ve always loved the look of them. I think there is just something about bow ties that is sweet, southern and handsome. Anyone else agree?

Case in point – the hubby on our wedding day:

If you remember, I blogged earlier about our friends’ sweet little baby, Whit. Just days before he was born, we hosted a baby shower for the Fehrs and another couple in our small group who will be having a little boy in November.

Now, I’m decently well-versed in wedding showers, but baby showers are totally foreign territory for me, folks. I mean, I went to the baby aisle at Target for gifts ideas and was so lost it wasn’t even funny.

After thinking long and hard about what I’d like the decor and gifts to be for the shower and how I could put my own DIY spin on them, I came across this cute baby onesie garland! Inspired by the onesie on the right…

… I began hunting for some fun fabric and decided on leftover pear chevron fabric from our dining room chairs and this little polka dot pattern:

With sewing machine plugged in and scissors in hand, I set to town on making baby bow tie onesies! Let me just tell you, they are about the cutest little things.

Follow along on the play-by-play to create your own:

Needs:

  • For Bow Tie: 10″ x 5″ piece of fabric
  • For Center Piece of Bow Tie: 3″ x 2″ piece of coordinating fabric
  • Needle & thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Scissors
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Onesie

1. Cut your fabric in a strip about 10″ x 5″. Fold the fabric in half hotdog style (yea, hotdog style…), with the right sides facing each other and sew a seam along three sides, leaving one end open to turn the fabric right side out.

2. Once the fabric is turned right side out, fold the edge of the unsewn end in about 1/4″ and sew closed.

3. Fold each end toward the center of the strip to meet at the middle and sew a seam to attach the ends of the fabric at the center of the rectangle.

4. Pinch the center of the rectangle where you just sewed the seams to create a “bow tie” shape.

5. Sew through the “pinch” with a needle and thread to secure the bow tie shape. You should be able to let go of the center at this point and still retain the shape of the bow tie. Don’t be frugal on the stitching for this. The more you stitch, the more study the shape will stay.

6. For the center piece, fold the edges of the 3″ x 2″ piece of fabric in hotdog style again, and press with the iron. Fold in again to hide the raw edge of the fabric. Fold each side of the short edges in a bit and sew a seam to secure on both ends.

7. Wrap the center piece around the pinched and stitched part of the bow tie and stitch with a needle and thread until the center piece is securely attached to the back of the bow tie.

8. Admire your work!

9. Finally, sew the back side of the bow tie at each corner to the baby onesies and hang with clothespins on twine to create your baby bow tie onesie garland!

Isn’t it oh so cute! Each mom got to take home one of each of the colors for their sweet little ones. I just can’t wait to see some photos of the boys in their dapper onesies!

What are your favorite baby shower gifts for new parents? I’m thinking I’ll be needing to stock up on ideas for future friends’ kids!

Welcome to the world, Whit Fehr!

It’s official! Not only are all of our friends getting married, but now they are officially having sweet little ones!

This week (on 9/11/12 at 9:11 a.m. to be exact) our friends Stephanie and Dane welcomed their son, Whit, into the world.

I’ve been a little under the weather this week, so have not been able to go to the hospital to meet Whit, but was able to celebrate with his parents at a baby shower we hosted last weekend for the Fehrs and another couple in our small group due in November.

To welcome Whit home, I crafted up a fun something to go in his primary colors (teacher parents!) & monkey themed room.

I couldn’t be more excited about how it turned out and am already thinking about all of the possibilities for these. Scrapbook paper can work wonders, I tell ya.

However, the first attempt at a monkey looked like this:

Remind you of anything?

The hubs kindly notified me that it looked strikingly like Simba, but qualified that statement with: “It’s still cute!” Cute is key in a baby room, but I quickly realized that Simba wouldn’t do in a room full of Abus. Hence, the re-do of the monkey to create the tree-hanging one you see above!

More than anything, I just can’t wait to meet Whit and see him hanging out in his super fun nursery! Welcome to the world, Whit! There are big things in store for you!

Burlap Placemats for the Win

Remember the new chevron chairs I’ve been working on? Well, there is one other thing about the dining room set that I’d love to change. The wood is yellow. Not like bumblebee yellow, but definitely yellow.

And after finally giving in to my urge to by nice dinnerware/china (it’s been a long time coming), I knew we needed something to spruce up the table before placing this gorgeous setting down.

After seeing Pinspiration (Pinterest inspiration… see what I did there?) for burlap placemats, I decided I would give them a go to make the table a little less yellowy and a little more… well… burlapy.

Here’s the pathetic part. I received a sewing machine for Christmas about 4 years ago and have literally never made anything with it until now. I even had to have my mother-in-law remind me how to thread the bobbin. That’s how much I haven’t used it.

That college and working thing just kind of got in the way of some good, solid sewing time. But, that’s changing now!

And seriously, it’s awesome how easy it is to create these placemats. I’m loving it. Friends who are getting married and new homeowners, I’ll likely be crafting these for some great gifts. Get excited!

Check out this simple tutorial:

Begin by cutting the place mats to the desired size. For me, that was about 21 x 12 in.

After cutting your place mats, sew as close as possible to the long edges to prevent them from fraying.

Then, sew about 1 inch in from the edge on the short sides.

Finally, fray the short sides to create a shabby-chic edge.

Iron the burlap with a damp towel between the iron and the placemat.

And ta-da!

Aren’t they just lovely? I’m seeing endless opportunities for colorful napkins, too!

Also, must give credit to my other two sewing helpers. Without the help of the mom-in-law and these two sweet pups, I would have been singing along to the hum of the sewing machine (and no one wants that).

So, what are your favorite burlap uses? It’s just so versatile and easy!

Monogram Wreath

There are some pins on Pinterest that you just keep seeing over and over again and gush every time. For some reason, I always default to the “I could make that” mentality for the crafty ones. It’s a blessing and a curse, that’s for sure.

One of those images is this pin from Embellished Living on Etsy. I just absolutely love the jute, and what newlywed doesn’t want a couple monograms in her house?

One morning, I was fortunate enough to find this fabric covered C at a neighbor’s garage sale for a whopping $0.50. Heck yea!

I originally had the thought that I would spray paint it and spruce it up with a fun design. However, that quickly was replaced with memories of the monogram wreath when the spray paint was immediately soaked up by the fabric and batting.

With my “I could make that” hat on, I set out to Hobby Lobby to buy some jute twine to cover up the striped fabric and attempt at spray paint. While the husband studied away, I spent a couple hours wrapping and hot gluing the twine, and making paper flowers out of scrapbook paper.

Quickly, our front door went from empty and lonely:

Yep, there I am!

To being adorned with this:

I’m super pleased with how it turned out and think the price tag was well worth it! I am even thinking of possibly replacing the summery paper flowers with some more fall-like ones when the seasons change.

For now, this little lady brings a smile to my face every time I’m welcomed home!

So, do you have any pin obsessions out there you’d like to recreate? I’d love to check them out!