Laundry Labels for the Littles

So, it doesn’t matter how many kids you have (well, I am not testing that theory, stopping at three), each one will come up with something new to keep you on your toes!

Our baby J has discovered how to (almost) outsmart his parents by hiding his socks all over the place, to avoid putting them in the laundry. Under the couch is a favorite spot, where I once found a full ten pairs! Under the sink also works…

While I play catch-up chasing him to get those stinky socks into the laundry hamper, I decided to make it easier for him by labeling our baskets with signs that a pre-reader can use.

The cute labels I originally made when I set up our laundry area wouldn’t work for J, since he hasn’t learned how to read yet. I thought of using pictures for the labels, but we are encouraging him to figure out his letters, so I thought these labels, with both letters and visual cues, would be perfect.

Laundry labels to help the littlest family members pitch in | Jewels at Home  Laundry labels to help the littlest family members pitch in | Jewels at HomeIn truth, I am not sure how much these labels will motivate our little monkey, but at the very least, they are brightening up our laundry room!

“Jewels”

Artsy Decoupaged Mirror Frame

As you know, since I read Marie Kondo’s book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (my review here), I have been busy clearing out and cleaning up our home. Ironically, once I removed a lot of the random piles of kids’ artwork and sports equipment from our foyer, it looks rather bare.

This space definitely needs a brighter and more colorful feel, and I decided to start by adding some pretty paper to our foyer mirror.

Artsy Decoupaged Mirror Frame | Jewels at HomeI originally had a plain mirror there, one that actually came with a bathroom vanity I ordered for our guest room. It was very simple and the perfect blank slate for something decorative. I had bought this pretty blue paper from Paper Source a while ago, and it has been waiting for a project! I used to use Mod Podge for decoupage, but I recently bought a tub of Yes All-Purpose Stik Flat Glue to try, and it has been working well, without the odor of Mod Podge.
Artsy Decoupaged Mirror Frame | Jewels at HomeHere’s how this splash of color and pattern looks in our foyer. It reminds me of the the pretty patterns from Serena and Lily. I think the next addition will be some more accessories and a rug. Hope to show those to you soon!Artsy Decoupaged Mirror Frame | Jewels at Home
Artsy Decoupaged Mirror | Jewels at Home

“Jewels”

DIY Notebook Bliss

Sigh, so work has been a bit stressful lately. The other night, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, so I escaped into my craft studio to play around with paper.

I have been doing a lot of tidying up after reading Marie Kondo’s book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (my review here) and I found a lot of scrap paper.

I wanted to make more of the little DIY notebooks I made a while ago. This time, I added some washi tape and a ribbon to tie it closed.

DIY Notebook Bliss | Jewels at Home
DIY Notebook Bliss | Jewels at Home

This little project definitely helped me feel calm and re-centered for a new day!

“Jewels”

DIY Wedding & Anniversary Art

It’s wedding season, which also means it is anniversary season!

A long-time friend of ours just tied the knot, and I wanted to make something special to help preserve the memories for the happy couple. It’s a perfect time to create something to celebrate Steve and my anniversary, too!

I used pictures from our friends’ wedding announcement to create this simple piece of paper art (I LOVE paper!!). DIY Wedding & Anniversary Art | Jewels at Home  DIY Wedding & Anniversary Art | Jewels at HomeThis year is the big 2-0 for me and Steve! Back in the olden days, when we got married, there were no fancy photo cards, but I combined some of my favorite pictures with more fun scrapbooking paper to create this piece of art for our room.DIY Wedding & Anniversary Art | Jewels at Home

DIY Wedding & Anniversary Art | Jewels at Home Another fun project I made using wedding invitations were these luggage tags. Nicola and her husband had stunning custom cards incorporating images of the Golden Gate Bridge and a San Francisco cable car. I repurposed some of them into these luggage tags, which are getting a lot of mileage!

  

You could apply this idea to other cards, too. One year, I took all the Christmas cards we received and created paper ornaments using the pictures to send back to our friends.

For now, I am looking forward to the next wedding invitation that comes to our mailbox, so I can create a memorable piece of art for someone special!

“Jewels”

Easy DIY Jewelry Display Board

Sometimes, every day feels like rush, rush, rush… get up, get ready, take the kids to school, work, back home, more kids and more work… I am very fortunate to love it all as much as I do, but the pace can definitely get to be a bit much!

Every once in a while, I have to remind myself to take a “time out.” All the work of home and job is never truly finished, and it’s okay to give yourself a few hours – or even minutes – to do something for yourself.

Tonight’s time out was sooooo easy and exciting.

I have been eyeing beautiful closet designs on Pinterest, planning out my own little spot of blingy bliss. One thing I knew I wanted to include was a way to display some jewelry. I ended up making this beautiful and super-easy magnetic display board that was ready in minutes!

The simple materials for this board were:

Easy DIY Jewelry Display Board | Jewels at Home

Easy DIY Jewelry Display Board | Jewels at Home

The rest of my closet nook is still coming together and will require a bit more elbow grease than this easy project, but I hope I can show it to you soon!

“Jewels” (no pun intended!!)

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party!

This year, L is turning 9, and since his birthday falls at the start of his youth baseball season, I thought it would be fun to celebrate with a retro baseball theme.

He wanted to hold the party at a trampoline place, which took care of the activities for the kids. This allowed me to have some fun putting together decorations, favors, and a ballpark menu.

Decorations:
Since we had a table in the middle of the trampoline space, I couldn’t make use of the walls for decorations.

I did find a little spot to hang our reusable birthday banner, customized for the baseball theme.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home
I also bought a set of these 12″ table number holders to display posters and signs. I found various retro-looking baseball posters and printed them with birthday messages and signs for the food and displayed them around the table.

Here are the sources for these great retro posters:Baseball player batting and Pitcher poster.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Menu:

We had a ballpark-inspired menu including:

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Party favors:

I decorated blank youth baseball jerseys for the boys with iron-on letters and numbers.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

Each boy also got Cracker Jack in old-fashioned packaging.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

I created these charming gift tags to go with the party favors.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game Birthday Party! Jewels at Home

What a fun time we had celebrating!

“Jewels”

The Ultimate Craft Studio – Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat

I have a lot to be grateful for with my job and family. They keep me busy, teach me, and make me happy every day. It’s equally wonderful, when I can steal a few minutes at the end of the day to do something that is just for me. And that something is usually something creative – sewing, cutting, gluing, or writing about my projects for Jewels at Home.

For those times when I need a little getaway, I love my creative retreat in the top corner of our house. A lot of really fun projects have been cooked up in this space. Did you stumble onto my blog through one of my DIY creations? Well, I’d love to show you where it all happens!

The Ultimate Craft Studio: Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat | Jewels at Home

Whether you have a little corner or a roomy studio, here are my five keys for a perfect creative retreat:

  1. Storage
  2. Work surfaces
  3. Lighting
  4. Beautiful colors and patterns
  5. Artistic inspiration

1. Storage

So, I’m lucky enough to have this room to myself for the moment, until the little boys decide they don’t want to share a room anymore.  For many years, we had our guest room in my studio, and that worked quite well also. We used a twin-sized daybed that didn’t take up much space, and there was a pop-up trundle that could be used to create a king-sized bed, when we hosted a couple.

Whether you have a whole room or just a corner for your projects, efficient storage is a must.  If you only get a few minutes in a day to work on your favorite projects, you don’t want to spend the whole time looking for your supplies! Most of my supplies and projects are stored on these Liatorp bookcases from IKEA.  I lined the back with a roll of gray sketch paper for a cleaner look.

The Ultimate Craft Studio: Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat | Jewels at Home

These IKEA Liatorp bookcases fit together neatly and hold lots and lots of supplies!

I have lots of small boxes and baskets to hold different materials, and they are all labeled, to make things easy to find. These Nickel Plated Card Holders are a big help!

Want more storage ideas? That’s a wicker laundry hamper in the right corner holding bolts of fabric.

The Ultimate Craft Studio: Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat | Jewels at Home

There’s more storage hidden in the big IKEA Pax closets we built in to the room (more about those in this post).

The Ultimate Craft Studio: Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat | Jewels at Home

The closets in this room, and all our bedrooms, are IKEA Pax units framed and built into the wall. There’s tons of efficient storage inside!

 

2. Work Surfaces

I have two work surfaces in the room – a desk for sewing or working on the computer and a big project table I created using the boys’ old dressers.

The Ultimate Craft Studio: Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat | Jewels at Home

The Ultimate Craft Studio: Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat | Jewels at Home

The Ultimate Craft Studio: Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat | Jewels at Home

I should actually say I have three work surfaces, since a lot of big projects like quilts are done on the floor. When we moved in, I was looking for a rug for this room, and now I’m glad I don’t have one, since I work on the floor all the time.

3. Lighting

I needed a lot of light in this room to help me work and also take photographs of my projects. The windows on two walls are a great source of natural light.

There is just one ceiling light fixture (you can see how I stenciled the shade in this post).

Stenciled lampshade | Jewels at Home

I added this plug-in Ikea Knappa Pendant Lamp over my big work table, and a little desk lamp also.

4. Beautiful colors and patterns

I live in a house of all boys, and I’m happy to keep our home’s decor pretty neutral. Since this is my room, though, I did allow myself to let go a bit more with the flowers and frills. The theme is shades of turquoise and green, and there are touches of color and pattern everywhere

The old Queen Anne chairs I painted and upholstered have a fun retro floral print.

Queen Anne chair makeover by Jewels at Home

Free Queen Anne chairs found through Craigslist: from worn and boring to fresh and elegant!

These fabric-covered magnet boards contain all the colors of the room.

Fabric-covered magnet boards | Jewels at Home

And the light shade I mentioned fits in with the rest of the room’s colors.

20120517-164139.jpg

The roman shades, with their green floral print, were sewn by Liz at SFSeamstress. She’s so talented and even managed to rescue a few pieces of this fabric that I had started cutting for another project. Magic!

5. Artistic inspiration

I love so many parts of this space. Since I’m in the southwest corner of our home, I even have great views to inspire me, including sunsets like this one!

The Ultimate Craft Studio: Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat | Jewels at Home

I also like having the magnet boards to keep ideas easily visible. I use one of my clothespin wreaths to keep a list of to-dos.

20120518-203641.jpg

The bamboo ladder in the corner is a good place to display a quilt-in-progress.

The Ultimate Craft Studio: Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat | Jewels at Home

I have a little inspiration wall in the corner, including paper art projects that I made and a cute printable from Isn’t That Sew.

The Ultimate Craft Studio: Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat | Jewels at Home

In another nook, I get inspiration from my wonderful family.  My mom made this quilt for my birthday one year.  The cross-stitch is from my sister-in-law, and the paper flowers are gifts collected over the years from my boys!

The Ultimate Craft Studio: Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat | Jewels at Home

 

Ready for a final look around to see how all these elements come together?

The Ultimate Craft Studio: Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat | Jewels at Home

The Ultimate Craft Studio: Five Keys to the Perfect Creative Retreat | Jewels at Home

 

I am really, really in love with my workspace! Is there anything else I could ask for? Some more company! For Christmas, my oldest gave me a “coupon” for a day spent doing crafts together, and I am looking forward to that!

I’m also planning to start a “Creativity Circle” with some friends this year. I’m thinking we can have an activity each month – some girls’ nights in, some art shows, some classes. All of us are working professionals, moms, or both, and we could use some time to connect with our creative sides, and each other.

This is my studio, but I love curling up in other parts of the house, too.  Steve has an office in the basement, and for him, the quiet spot, sheltered from the hub-bub of the day, is just what he needs to get his work done.  If you don’t have the space in your home, or you need to separate home and work, there are lots of options for artists and entrepreneurs to join a shared work space like WeWork. Where do you like to work?

Wishing you a creative moment each day,

“Jewels”

Gifts Made by the Boys

The fact that I’m writing this when it is already Christmas morning in most parts of the world tells you what kind of crazy-busy December we had this year. I’m definitely looking forward to a few days of downtime with the family.

We don’t do a lot of shopping for Christmas. The adults in my family have generally agreed to not exchange gifts, and our kids get so much from their grandparents and aunts and uncles, that at most, we pick up one or two little things for them. However, on the night of December 23, I realized that I really wanted to have something to give to my dad and brother-in-law who are both celebrating Christmas with us this year. There was absolutely no way I was going to go near a mall on Christmas eve, so I wracked my brain and scoured my craft supplies to come up with a few meaningful projects that we could make at home.

We reprised the mugs that we made for Steve’s birthday and Father’s Day last year, and the boys also made these fun picture collages. We enjoyed going through old pictures to find our favorites, and I also added some extra copies of Christmas cards from the last few years. The boys did all the cutting and gluing themselves, as evidenced by the fact that there are duplicates right next to each other and other quirky touches. I think that our family is going to love these!

Gifts made by the kids: Hand-painted mugs | Jewels at Home

Gifts made by the kids: Family photo collages | Jewels at Home

Gifts made by the kids: Family photo collages using old Christmas cards | Jewels at Home

And for me, being able to stay in on December 24 was the best present of all.

Red and White Christmas | Jewels at Home
Merry Christmas!
“Jewels”

“A” – You’re Adorable – Baby Shower Alphabet Crafts

A bit of Canadiana for you – Sharon, Lois, and Bram have the greatest kids’ albums – stuff you can totally get into as a parent, and if not, we’ll you didn’t hear it here. But really, please check them out. One of my favo(u)rites is actually a popular song from the 1940s, “A – You’re Adorable.”

You can listen, while you check out this sweet project we did for a baby shower last month. Since this was my friend Nicola’s second baby, we wanted a simple event, but of course, there had to be a craft project!

For baby E’s sister’s shower, we decorated onesies. For baby E, I gathered letter shapes, and we created an eclectic alphabet to decorate the room the sisters will share.

I loved seeing all the creative ideas, including some creations by the under-three set.

Here are some of the techniques we used:

  • Paint – we discovered some of our friends had a lot of talent!
  • Yarn – wrapping a letter took a little patience but turned out charming. I had fun with the multicolor yarn.
  • Scrapbook paper – you can paint the sides first; then add a coordinating paper. So many possible variations with this!
  • Craft tape – I couldn’t resist this cute tape with bicycles, since our friends are avid cyclists.

Here are some close-ups of the same letters I made before the party:

Baby shower idea: decorate letters to create a one-of-a-kind alphabet for baby's nursery! Jewels at Home

Creative baby shower idea: guests decorate letters of the alphabet to create a beautiful project for baby's nursery | Jewels at HomeAnd here is our finished alphabet!

Creative baby shower idea: guests decorate letters of the alphabet to create a beautiful project for baby's nursery | Jewels at Home

Creating the art made for a fun and relaxing afternoon!

Creative baby shower idea: guests decorate letters of the alphabet to create a beautiful project for baby's nursery | Jewels at Home

Baby shower ideas: decorate the letters of the alphabet to decorate baby's nursery! Jewels at Home
And, I got to come visit when the letters were mounted on the wall. I love how it looks!

Baby shower idea: decorate letters to create a one-of-a-kind alphabet for baby's nursery! Jewels at Home

I love watching my boys grow up, but you can never get enough of a new baby.  One of my favorite places to find special gifts for everyone from babies to big kids is the amazing sales at Zulily.com!

 

Congratulations to the beautiful family on sweet baby E’s arrival!

“Jewels”

Cool Tween Boy Room

Oh wow! I did not realize that a whole year has gone by since our oldest moved into his own room. This was formerly J’s nursery, so it is a small space. The bed I built out of IKEA Expedit shelves has been one of the most popular projects on the blog. I’m finally getting around to showing you the rest of the room, now that its occupant is away on a school trip.  He’s actually pretty neat for a fifth grader, but I still needed a little uninterrupted time to make the room blog-worthy.  Of course, this means I will be showing you the younger boys’ room in approximately… never?!

Because I wanted to make the most of this small space, I did buy a lot of the furniture new.  But when I look at the room, I realize there are also a lot of personal home-made touches.  I’ll list the projects at the end of this post.  Meanwhile, go ahead and enjoy looking at K’s room, which will look like this for exactly 13 more days, until he gets home.  I did update a few things, and I hope he’ll think they are a good “welcome home” surprise!

Cool and compact tween boy's room | Jewels at Home

Cool and compact tween boy's room | Jewels at Home

Cool and compact tween boy's room | Jewels at Home

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Cool and compact tween boy's room | Jewels at Home

Cool and compact tween boy's room | Jewels at Home

Cool and compact tween boy's room | Jewels at Home

Cool and compact tween boy's room | Jewels at HomeSome of the fun projects in K’s room include:

Boy, I miss my boy!

“Jewels”