Tag: projects

Passion Projects Get Me Every Time

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Do you have a passion project? I thought I did. And then I didn’t. And then I thought it was something else. And now, I’ve finally realized what it was more than four years after I started searching for mine. We’ll get to that, but first, you may be wondering, “what’s a passion project?” From passionproject.co:

A Passion Project is a 30-day creative side project that’s connected with your passions, has tangible outcomes and you can complete it without quitting your job or your education. Examples include and are not limited to learning to play the violin, writing a book, creating a trailer for a documentary, prototyping a food app or even 30 days of random acts of kindness.

So, do you have a passion project? Maybe you knit blankets? Or make jewelry? Or build standing desks? Or grow tomatoes? Maybe it’s lasted longer than 30 days? While you think on it, here’s the roundabout way I figured out my passion project.

First, I started this blog. I enjoy writing and I was looking for a place to write just for me. So maybe writing was my passion project? I even joined a blogger group.* But, I’m not sure that writing is my passion project. After all, writing is my job. Not my long-term passion project.

So, I started Toyidermy. You remember. Those crazy toy-animal hacked up pieces that held business cards, pens, books, etc. Etsy shop, craft show, website. I took a huge order and almost lost my mind.**  Toyidermy is not my long-term passion project.

Then I started a dance blog. Then stopping writing the dance blog. Then returned to the dance blog only before abandoning it again. It’s on again/off again and it’s not my long-term passion project.

All of this led me to realize that my passion project was right in front of me. It has been since I was three years old. Dance is my passion project. It’s what I love to do with my free time. Take dance classes, teach dance classes, watch dance reality shows. Why am I fooling myself into thinking I needed a passion project. I’ve had one for almost my entire life. (thanks, Mom!)

OK. So, really. I want to know what your passion project is. While I’ve found mine, I’m always open to a one-off night of exploring something else. And, if you haven’t found your passion project, go and do. It’s fun, promise.

*One of the best moves ever.
**One of the worst moves ever.

A First Home Gets Me Every Time

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It’s been a while, yet again, since I’ve posted any updates here. I mean, the last few were huge though, so I felt like they probably carried you for a while. But, the reason for the delay, is because we’ve been so busy readying our home for our baby’s arrival. So, there’s a lot to share, but first, I want to take a moment to share more about our first home—a small, one-bed apartment in Brookline, MA, right outside of Boston, and pictured above.

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It wasn’t a glamorous place. A walk-up. Hadn’t been remodeled in years. Pink tile bathroom. No parking. Smelled a little funny. Packages got stolen. So, it’d be easy to remember it for those cramped quarters, slanted walls and noisy neighbors. But I’d rather remember it for everything else it stands for in our lives.

It was the first apartment we “picked” together, even though I was living there alone. It was where Mr. GMET first lived together after we got married. It was where we made decisions about purchasing our first home. Where we spent so many firsts as Mr. & Mrs., from Christmas to birthdays, etc. It was where I got an order for, foolishly accepted and made 500 business card holders with eyebrows.newart1I’m excited to turn our old home into new art, but I’m even more excited for all the memories we’ll make in our new home. “Old home, new art” is tucked behind our front door with our spare keys and not to be needed again address stamp. It’s a great reminder of where our family started and just how far we’ve come.

PS. The shortened version of how I made this: 1) take picture. 2) print out. 3) tape to window & trace. 4) scan and print on card stock. 5) frame with accessories (spare keys & address stamp.) 

 

A Little Llama Gets Me Every Time

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You know when you have that friend who is the hardest and easiest person to shop for. No. Not because they’re impossible. Hardest because they have great style but easiest because you know what they like and dislike? (likes=llamas & vegetables. dislikes=chocolate.) Well, in friendships such as those, I turn to handmade gifts that suit that style perfectly. And not to pat myself on the back too much, I think this one hit the nail on the head.
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Except… the present ended up being a little late because I stumbled on the pattern last minute. I knew I couldn’t not make it though. So, I trudged forward, making sure I got it finished within a few weeks. When her birthday rolled around, I mentioned I had something, but it wasn’t ready yet. Her response? “Is it a llama toyidermy?!” I kid you not. Can’t even make that up. I just smiled and said it was a secret.

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But here’s how it all went down. First, I found this pattern on Etsy. Then I took a trip to the craft store to pick up all the necessary supplies. I was even able to find the frame there too. Then it was a matter of cramming some needlepoint into the end of the day while I watched the Olympics. I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.

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And her response? Well she said it was a “great gift” and she couldn’t decide whether she’d put it on her work desk or her wall at home. Guess I should get started on Llama #2.

A Little Game Gets Me Every Time

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As promised. Here it is. A super simple DIY I gifted to my niece for Christmas. It’s a family memory game, with pictures of our family. I printed two sets of 12 3×3 inch photos then used a paper cutter, cardstock, some non-spray adhesive and colorful tape to make it all come together.

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I can remember spending hours playing memory games when I was kid, so I figured this was the perfect game to personalize as a Christmas gift.

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I also remember games like memory or Guess Who? being so rewarding, especially if (when) I beat my big brother or my mom.

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It’s only now, with nieces and nephews, that they must have been letting me win. Amiright? Well, except for my older brother. I’m sure I beat him fair and square.
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This was a fun and quick project. Aside from printing the photos, I think it only took about 1.5 episodes of The Big Bang Theory. So, not bad at all.

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A Travel Book Gets Me Every Time

Travel Book | Gets Me Every Time

I remember my first camera. It was neon pink. One of those rectangular ones with a simple trigger button and a level on the bottom that you pushed to advance the film on the spool. I got it for Christmas and I took more non-pictures than I actually took photos. Mostly blurry. Mostly out-of-focus close-ups of peoples’ faces and my dolls. But I loved that camera and my photos. And I’m sure I went through more film than my parents could have ever imagined.

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One of the best parts about getting film cameras was waiting to see what developed, don’t you think? I mean, there are few surprises in life. And that was definitely a fascinating one for me when I was a kid. Now, you’ve seen the bulk of our photos from Rome. And I saw them on the plane ride home. But there’s still a little magic in holding them in prints, or books, don’t you think?

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I wanted to create something similar to my Instabook, so I went with the same 8×8 style from Shutterfly. Once the book arrived, I grabbed our travel journal and a Zig pen and got to recalling all the details.

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On the back of my childhood prints, I’d write who was in the photo. Or what year it was. I think this is just an evolution of this. Spelling out how our days went. And making sure to mention how we managed to get around and find our way.

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Some pages get a lot of description. Some get little or none at all.

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And while I could elaborate on any one picture for a while, I tried to keep it top level enough that it’s easy enough to flip through and get the full story.

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I think our trip to Rome was one for the books. And I think this was the perfect way to commemorate our vacation.

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*Ps. I was not paid or perked by Shutterfly. I just really love the size and quality of their photo books.

A New Cabinet Gets Me Every Time

cabinet1Growing up my favorite color was purple. My clothes were purple. My nails were painted purple. Even the carpet in my bedroom was purple. (Yes, like I lived in a casino or something.) I could not get enough purple. Now, don’t get me wrong. I still like purple. But it was only my favorite color until green came into the picture. Probably somewhere around sixth grade. And I still love green. But now. Yellow is my color.

KitchenOriginal3Except, not on the kitchen walls, as seen here, prior to any of our painting. See that cabinet to the left of the sink. If you recall, we took it down.

KitchenRedo5And opened up that kitchen wall. But that cabinet. It was yearning for a second chance. And, much like me, wanted a chance to shine.

Cabinet_1pillowThe doors came off. This pillow from Target became the inspiration. And we hit the paint store for a pint of York Harbor Yellow by Benjamin Moore. Then, I got to work.

Cabinet_inprogressAnd I forgot to take many in-progress shots, so here’s the run down. Doors off. Cabinet cleaned. Prep work complete. (Same as we did for the kitchen.) I added these legs from Lowe’s. And this hardware to the doors. Drumroll please!

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Yes. And Louise likes it.

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And our games have a new home.

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The color. The plant. The games.

 

cabinet_3You guys. My name is Kelly and I’m in love with the color yellow and this yellow cabinet.

A Valancing Act Gets Me Every Time

So, this was our bathroom window before. A little sad, don’t you think?

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OK. Very sad.

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But now. Well, it’s better than it was. Let’s just say that. Note, this was an evening project, so the pictures are less than ideal. This was a no-sew project. So quickly, let’s review with Kelly’s “How-to make a no-sew modern valance in one evening.”

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First find a scrap piece of wood and cut it so it’s about 2 inches wider than the window frame. (It’s ok if there’s paint or imperfections, you’re going to cover it.)

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Speaking of, grab a scrap piece of some neutral fabric. Now, wrap your board in the fabric, just like a present, and staple it together. Make sure to staple it all on one side, so one side has staples, the other none. (The side with the staples faces the ceiling.)

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So, here, it’s worth mentioning that I used the bottom of an IKEA curtain that I had chopped off and hemmed from another project. I used one piece to wrap the board, and another piece for the next step.

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I measured how long I wanted the valance to hang and left enough to fold and staple to the top of the board. Then I carefully laid it out, making sure the bottom of the valance and the edge of the board were parallel. Then, staple in place, but not on the ends.

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Next, it’s time to carefully fold the corners, again like wrapping a present, to form a corner at the front edge of the board. Here’s where you staple the ends into place.

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Now, we’re ready to hang it. I got these fancy brackets at the hardware store and I used some highly scientific methods to mark those purple lines that needed to line up with the edge of the board. (Read: the Mr. held it up while I figured out how it would hang.) So, then, it was just a matter of screwing them into the board.

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And here’s a look from the ground, of the finished valance hanging over the window. An hour-long project that needs an extra set of hands for the last couple steps. Let’s take one last look at the window.

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We actually completed this project a few weeks back and have since hung some photos, a mirror and some small storage. I’ll give you guys the full tour (of this tiny half bath) soon, promise!

Kitchen Updates Get Me Every Time

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It’s ready for primetime—the kitchen! But more importantly, it’s ready for dinnertime. As you can see from the above “split screen” photo, the biggest change is paint. And lots of it. 
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We painted the walls Benjamin Moore Athena and the cabinets Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace. We also added new hardware including drawer pulls, cabinet handles and hinges. Let me tell you, those little guys start to add up quickly. Regardless, we love the look.

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If full disclosure, we did hire a painter to refinish the cabinets for us. BUT… he got a little sloppy and we were not happy with the results at all. So, we repainted them ourselves. Over many weekends and nights. (He had already gone over his timeline and we were beyond ready to have our house back.) I found a few resources online, but stuck pretty close to the step-by-step over at Young House Love. Especially since their cabinets looked pretty similar to ours.

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The other big change that we made was adding some more airiness to this side of the room. We removed that double cabinet to the left of the sink to allow more light to stream into the kitchen. The photos were taken at different times, so it’s not best to judge these two against one another in terms of natural light flooding in.

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We picked up the brackets at IKEA and had two pieces of wood cut to fit the space. Then, they all got a coat of Chantilly Lace paint and we mounted them on this little piece of wall.

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Here’s a closer look. There enough room for the glasses that we use daily, a big serving bowl and a cookie jar that’s just waiting to be filled with something sweet. We did a lot of holding up random pieces of cardboard and scrap wood to determine the depth, which is just under 8 inches.

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Another big change was filling that empty hole right there. The previous owner took the fridge, but that was OK with us.

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Because now we have a gorgeous stainless steel one. It’s lower profile than the previous owners. Plus, it’s got water and ice in the door! You guys, this is a first for me and I couldn’t be more excited.

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The other appliances are all staying the same for the time being. I mean, let’s talk about a serious expense. But we don’t mind. After living without a dishwasher for three years, I’m just happy there is one at all.

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This is the view from our “family room,” which a reveal of is coming soon, don’t you worry. We still need some art over there to the left of the cabinets too. All in time. All in time.

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Lastly, the floor. It’s not exactly our taste, but it’s in good shape, is durable and easy to clean. So, we’re sticking with it for now. Who knows what the future will hold. So, one last look. Above: before. And…

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After. Coffee brewing. Dishes cleaned. All is right in the world.

A Jewelry Box Gets Me Every Time

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A while back, before we knew how’d we furnish every space in our home, I found this apothecary chest at the Cambridge Antique Market, right outside of Boston. It was a steal at just $100–solid wood and all 18 drawers open and close easily. I knew I had to have it. And I quickly turned it into my new jewelry box in a few short steps.

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I knew it needed legs, but how could I drill into that beautiful wood. You’re right, I couldn’t. And I didn’t Instead, I measured, had a piece of wood cut to size and stained it a little darker than the chest itself. Then I ordered some 30″ Parsons wood legs and attached them to the bottom.

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Once I double checked that the wood fit snuggly under the chest, I took the “table” apart to stain the legs black. Our main chest of drawers of black, so it all coordinates. After a little drying time, the chest went back up on the legs and into the bedroom.Jewels5

And that’s it. It’s the perfect way to separate all my jewelry and a nice addition to our bedroom. I’m sharing more updates on our room this week. Stay tuned!

 

Replanting Gets Me Every Time

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This year I’m trying to use up all the craft supplies I have before I buy any more. It’s the Great #CraftUp2013, and you’re invited!

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Grow, plant, grow! Do you see that? It’s the plant I got when I picked up some succulents over the summer. I managed to kill the succulents right away, true story. But this guy? This guy is thriving! Just take a look at where he started. Maybe the pictures don’t do him justice. Regardless, he needed a new pot.

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I picked up a basic clay pot and decided, per my #CraftUp2013, that I would use supplies I had around the house to jazz it up a little bit. I started with a coat of metallic silver paint, but I thought it needed more color. So I thought I’d add some washi tape.

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But as soon as I put it on there, I realized two things. First, it didn’t look like it did in my head. And, it would be even cooler if I painted over it, then removed the tape to make some killer stripe pattern. Yeah. That didn’t work either. So much so that I didn’t even take a picture of an in between. The next picture is the final (for now) result.

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This was a layer of silver, some gold metallic spray paint, then more silver brushed over top since plan A didn’t work out so well.  And you know, I like the effect. I like that some of the clay pot is still showing through. I like the brush strokes of the gold mixed with the silver. And I especially like how the paint bubbles after I water the plant.

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This little plant of mine has taken up permanent residence in our kitchen window this winter, adding a hint of life to otherwise dreary winter days. How have you been keeping winter at bay?