Chucks for Chancho:

‘Chucks for Chancho’ is for my son.  His favorite pair of shoes were black and white Converse.  He wore them every single day doing everything a small child does in a good pair of shoes.  In the end they were dirty, scuffed, worn down, and full of stories.  I started to wear my pair of black and white classic converse in his honor.  It is well-known the nickname for Converse shoes is “Chucks”.  My son’s nickname was given to him early in my pregnancy by my sisters,  “Chancho”.

For what would have been his 4th birthday earlier this year (2011), I wore my ‘chucks’ along with some family.  To my surprise when I arrived at work the following day, my dear friends and co-workers showed their support by also wearing a variety of converse shoes.  I am blessed to be surrounded with unconditional love and support that help me get past the lows.

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Entry Way Progress

I’ve had big dreams for our entry way.  It’s difficult to describe vaulted area that leads to 3 areas in our home.  I have been determined on adding features that would set this tiny area apart, we are 6 months into it now and it’s still haunting me.

This is the view as you enter the house… my craft room to the left, stairs to the front, and living room/kitchen to the right… the view usually includes Ivy.

entry way with black stairs

This is the BEFORE the paint and elevated chair rail

black stair

First thing we did earlier this year was add an old French door to act as a divider between the front room and entry area.  This door was hung using the same method we used for our “barn door” in the adjacent dining room.  I love that the glass panels allow the light to pass but still separate the area without making it feel closed off.  Plus I don’t want guests to feel like they come into our home and BAM, you’re in the craft room so get crafting!

door divider

This was my vision.  Fancy mirror and cool table.  I’ve been on the hunt for something to jump out at me but have been striking out.

door divider

 Since this photo was taken the door has been painted using Behr Stealth Jet to match the staircase handrails and sister door.

Here is a progress shot from the day we painted the entry way.  (Also a good overhead shot of doors). I brought out the nifty laser for this project.

elevated trim for high ceiling

After receiving an outrageous quote for a professional paint job, we decided the cheaper solution to the vaulted ceilings was to paint only part way up and add an elevated chair rail molding at the divide.  Worked perfect!

(excuse the crappy middle of the night pic)

elevated chair molding

Back to the mirror hunting….last week we hit the Alameda Antique Fair on a mission.  Just when I thought hope was lost, I spotted it from far away.  I picked up the pace and prayed no one would beat me to it, cus you know that happens in the antique world.  There she was, in all her quirky beauty.

antique mirror

The mirror itself had some minor damage but I liked how it added to the charm.  The wooden adornments at the top and bottom definitely needed some love.  I got the seller down to $35

 Scored a couple other unexpected items that day making Thrifty Sunday a huuuuge success!  The milk jug will be joining the entry way and serve as an umbrella holder.

milk can

I didn’t realize how “fairy tail-ish” the mirror actually looks.  Now I like it even more.  After carefully taping off the mirrored portion I brought out the spray primer and attempted the make over.

antique mirror

The wooden pieces proved extremely difficult to paint over.  I had heard of wood strain “bleeding” thru primer/paint but had never experienced it.  I layered on the coats of primer but the weird red streaks kept oozing thru.  This one day project was now turning into a week-long affair.  After a trip to the hardware store for some even stronger primer, I finally started seeing some stain coverage.

antique mirror

And up on the wall she goes.  The search continues for the elusive perfect table to go right under the mirror.  The sole driving factor is I want somewhere to put the Halloween candy bowl.  That’s important right?


Dog Chronicles

We did some much-needed yard clean up recently, and Ivy was there to “help”.  She enjoys the largest branches she can find and will claim them as new chew toys.

great dane

great dane

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Camo Bows and Hand Painted Baby Swaddlers

To celebrate this month’s holiday I’ve been working on some very ‘Merican projects.

I’ll never get sick of these little bows

crochet camo bow

I took the risky newbie challenge of hand painting fabric for a baby swaddle blanket.

Stars and Stripes SUCCESS!

hand painted baby blanket

These blankets are huge, 45 inch by 45inch.

So I did it again with an Equality baby blanket.

hand painted baby equality blanket

This pair of black gauze blankets is my new favorite thing.


Dog Chronicles

Ivy likes her toys, a lot. She still falls asleep with them. This is the look she shoots me when I try to sneak the toys away from her so she can be more comfy.

great dane



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DIY Camera Strap and the Miserable Cow

I’ve had the pleasure of experimenting lately with my first DSLR camera and its been a ton of fun.  Slowly learning how to use it and researching all the tips and tricks for great picture taking.  While searching for camera accessories I came across some amazing camera straps!  Some are leather, others made from colorful and vibrant fabrics….wayyy better than the stock brand strap that screams “tourist”.  Although these amazing camera accessories are very well made and worth every penny, the cost was simply not in my budget….no way I was going to justify a $100 strap for my brand spankin new camera.

After some insomniatic obsession (that’s a term right?) over the elusive camera strap…. I mustered up the courage to attempt to make my own!  After all, if I use what I have on hand it wont matter if I mess it up!

The most beautiful straps I found were scarf straps… made using beautifully printed fabrics meant for light and airy scarves.  I just so happen to have a collection of those lying around!  I decided on one and then proceeded to deconstruct my Nikon strap in order to re-use the hardware.  I also scoured my leather scraps for useful connecting bits.  I haven’t been scared of failing a sewing project in a long time, this one was up there on the stress level.  I was using a scarf I loved and butchering my only real camera strap.  If this didn’t work I was going to have to wait til Christmas to get a replacement!

After a gut wrenching hour of putting my skills to the test, this was my end result…

scarf camera strap

She’s beautiful and comfortable! Oh, and also washable! (sans camera of course).

I LOVE IT! Wanna wear it all the time type of love it.  I am now on the hunt for inexpensive and beautiful scarves to get a collection going.

This scarf strap was my happy project for the month.  June is a tough one for us with the birthday of my son being on the 2nd.  I am usually “ok” from January til Mothers day…then I become a miserable cow until after my son’s birthday.  Happens every year.  Ivy knows when those times come around, and wont leave my side.

great dane

My sister posted an inspiring quote on pinterest… so I printed it up and framed it…

typography miserable cow

Some days we all need a reminder.  This is the best one for me right now.  Here we are toasting up some smores after having spent the day with family visiting Chancho at his resting place.

great dane smores

Remember… no one likes a miserable cow.  Have some smores instead.


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Baby Teething Rings

I’ve been itchin’ to complete some sewing projects trapped in my mind.  Carved out some time I probably should have spent doing something else to make these amazing little guys.

baby wooden ring teether

Adorable right?!  I used a gender neutral “bumble bee” pattern for this one backed with absorbent chenille.

baby wood teethers

This one in a fun baseball print is perfect for little sluggers.

I found the wood rings from Alexa Organics and they were exactly what I was looking for!  They are  all natural maple and hand sealed with organic products.  Exactly what we should look for in baby products.  I’ve got more rings on order and can’t wait to play with different prints!


Dog Chronicles

This past memorial day weekend we did what millions of Americans do and spent time with family.  Ivy is a very important member of our small family and she even got all dressed up for the occasion.

great dane


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Air Plants and Vintage Drawer Pulls

Been loving the new chalk board wall in the family area of our home.  On Mother’s day I came down and was surprised to see my husband has also found his inner artist.

air plant

Notice the newest residents of the chalk board in the upper right corner…. AIR PLANTS!

I have been scouring the house looking for the perfect place to put some.  There are some beautiful air plant terrariums out there but I was hoping to keep this idea low-budget.  I found a great Etsy shop also located in California called CTS Airplants  which had exactly the plants I was looking for at very reasonable prices.  They had a great little pack of Mini Tillandsia and it arrived in just a couple of days.  During a spur of the moment trip to Restore and Rework earlier in the month I was on a hunt for any type of old hardware that would serve as a good home for tiny air plants.  Of course I found some!  I introduced the two to one another and here’s the result:

air plant

A perfect marriage between vintage copper handles and tiny 2 inch air plants.  I screwed the drawer pulls directly onto the chalk board and slid the plants right in to their cozy new homes.  Every few days I spray the plants with some water and they are happy!  Another project added to my own list of vintage revivals.

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Aviator Hat and Fancy Neck Tie

This month’s happy crochet projects yielded some pretty good results.  I have not forgotten about my crochet! (even though its 100 degrees out and the yarn is not very appealing right now).  These prototypes took a little work but I love how they turned out.

Baby Aviator Hat

crochet aviator hat

crochet aviator hat

Crochet Baby Neck Tie

crochet tie

These newest crochet items make great photo props for new babies.  So we added em to the Etsy shop!

Dog Chronicles:

Ivy has been quite dramatic about displaying her misery during this heat wave.  I found her on the staircase in her preferred cool and quiet spot.  *Notice the freshly painted staircase walls and dark railings…The white areas are going to take another weekend to touch up.

ivy great dane






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Chalk Board Wall

One of this week’s house projects was monumental.  When we first moved into our home I created a memo board section on a wall near the garage entry.  This awkward section of our family room was great for keys, bags, and mail.

entry way wall

Notice the boring beige paint (which I have sworn to vanquish from the house,  wall by wall).  We were using an Ikea frame as a ‘dry erase’ board…and yes, we do still have to spray the outside of our house for spiders.  The frame was convenient, cheap, and the background was interchangeable.  To the left were cork circles which were covered in my son’s old t-shirts.  The small bench at the base of the wall had also belonged to my son.  This wall had been good to us for the last 2 years but it needed a facelift in order to really represent our style.  Queue —> Chalk board wall idea!

I obsessed over the possibilities of a chalk wall for almost an entire week leading up to our weekend.  I decided I would take most of our existing functional wall items and place them on top of the completed chalk board.  This thing was gonna be huge!

photo 2

Our walls have a medium texture to them and there is no way putting the chalk paint directly onto the wall was going to give good chalk writing results.  This project was going to need an additional surface for the actual chalk board. But before we could start on the board portion, might as well start from scratch with a fresh coat of awesome paint on the walls.  I chose Valspar’s Crucibal which is a cool dark gray.

chalk wall


before wall

 During paint… already much much better!

chalk wall

With the wall waiting for a second coat, it was time to multitask and get started on the chalk board.  After a trip to Lowe’s for some MDF board (cut to size) I set up my painting party in the garage.  Unfortunately the MDF board was not pre-primed so had to start with 2 coats of that first.

photo 3

In between coats of paint on the MDF, I continued with the paint inside, and also started the paint on the trim we were going to be using to frame the board.  Told you, multitasking to the max.

chalk trim

Meanwhile…. also working very hard…

great dane

Then making sure to use a good mini roller, time for special guest… chalk paint.

chalk wall

Instructions called for 2 coats, but to be safe I did a total of 3.

chalk board

Slowly coming together

chalk board2All of the paint was finally dry at about midnight, but nothing was going to stop us from putting this bad boy up on the wall.

(Ivy was very curious of the power tools)

chalk wall

We got the molding pieces up around the border and it was turning out better than I had hoped.  Now time for the accessories!

This key holder has been with us from the beginning.  But it needed a pick me up.  So I prepped it in my ‘paint booth’ for a fresh coat of amazing copper paint.

copper key holder

Valspar’s metallic copper spray is the best!!

copper spray

Approx 10 seconds later…

copper key holder

Ok, 1 more copper make over before the final reveal…. I rescued this tin from its fate in the recycling bin, and was going to turn it into our new mail holder! Don’t see my vision yet?  Just wait…

almond roca tin


copper spray paint

The key looks brand new and the recycled chocolate tin is perfect for storage!! The copper looks ahhhh-mazing against the black chalk paint! Im obsessed with this color combo now.

Feels like a brand new space and all we did was add paint.  The small cork boards have their place on the lower right side now.  The top half of the board is for chalk art.

charlk board wall

It was grueling waiting for the chalk paint to cure the necessary time before writing on it!!

Just a couple more things to finish and my chalk board #rockwhatyagotparty will be complete!



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