Super Easy DIY: Baby Block Photo Holder

baby block photo holder

My little sister recently had a beautiful baby girl and I threw her a shower while I was back in Canada a few months ago. My other sister and I made these cute baby block photo holders as a party favors for the shower guests and I really like how they turned out!

You’ll need:

Wooden baby blocks
Wooden clothespins
Acrylic craft paint + paintbrush
Hot glue gun

Paint the clothespins with the craft paint in the color of your choice (I chose yellow). Let it dry (I pinned mine on a piece of cardboard to paint and dry, so I didn’t have to be holding onto it anywhere).

block back

Decide which side of the block you want facing outwards, and hot glue the clothespin to the back of the block.

It’s as simple as that!

The guests had a lot of fun looking for the letters of their choice. We also used them during the shower to hold baby pictures of the future mom and dad! They were a fun and budget-friendly party favor (less than $1 a block when you buy a set of blocks).

block with pic

I think a fun twist on this idea would be to use washi tape to decorate the clothespin instead of (or perhaps in addition to) the paint. If you wanted to make it fit your color scheme you could also paint all the blocks a uniform color. Can you think of other variations?

Sharing over at See Vanessa Craft!

Super Useful IKEA FILUR Bins

I was over at IKEA shopping with a friend the other day and I found these great organization solutions: the IKEA FILUR Bins. (This is not a sponsored post…I just enjoy sharing products I love!)

My issue was that I don’t have a small recycling bin inside our house, so I used to just keep the recycling in a brown paper bag that I would take out to the big bin outside every day. The baby was starting to get into it though, so the paper bag ended up on the dinner table most of the time. It’s not very appetizing to have a bag of garbage sitting on your dinner table all the time.

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The IKEA FILUR bin was an awesome way to corral the recycling, but it actually still looks nice, with it’s clean lines. It doesn’t look like a “trash” can. This one is the 7-gallon bin and it was $10.

I’m toying with the idea of stenciling a design on it but for now I’m enjoying how it’s just clean and white.

recycling bin

Never mind the weird peeling wallpaper behind the fridge. It’s one of those little things that comes with buying a fixer-upper that we just haven’t gotten to yet. Eventually Chris will finish adding a cabinet around the fridge and we’ll strip and paint that back wall.

I also got a 3-gallon bin for the bathroom.

IKEA FILUR Bin with Lid

You know, it really is the little things. Before, I just had a small open trash can and having it open was just unsightly. Stray tissues, hair balls, bits of floss….just not clean and inviting. So this little IKEA bin hides the mess out of sight and fits perfectly in our small and snug bathroom! This one was $5.

IKEA has a lot of nice-looking storage solutions that I never noticed before…and they’re super affordable. Often when I go there I get drawn into all the cute pillows and accessories and I don’t actually look at the “boring” storage containers. But these two bins have already made my life a little more streamlined and a little neater!

How do you store your recycling? Have you found any great storage solutions at IKEA lately?

Hello Sunshine! Painted Patio Table

I’m so happy that I finally finished this project! It took longer than I thought, not because it was difficult, but just because we had to go back to the store several times. Also, the baby has been majorly teething (4 molars at once, are you kidding me?!) and she has been pretty much a ball of misery the last few days so that has been occupying most of my attention.

yellow patio table

But I finally made over the patio table and I’m super happy with how it turned out! Spray paint is a wonderful thing.

spray painted yellow patio table

Remember, the patio table used to look like this:

old patio chairs

The paint was scratched up quite a bit and it was just a little dingy and sad.

We just polished off any loose bits of paint with some steel wool, wiped it down with a rag, and then primed with a medium primer.

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I like to be super cautious when using oil based paint, especially spray paint, hence the HEPA mask and long sleeves/pants. Not only are the VOCs not something I want in my lungs, but with spray paint the droplets get EVERYWHERE…and I definitely don’t want droplets of paint in my lungs. The HEPA filters are the pink ones, and this HEPA mask only costs$14 (and is surprisingly comfortable). Totally worth it for your health!

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An associate at Home Depot told me to use the medium primer (the gray primer), but I’m not sure that was a great idea. It took SEVERAL light coats of yellow (Rustoleum Sunburst Yellow) to cover it. I feel like a white primer might have been better. I used 3 whole cans of paint and realized I needed more coverage, so I had to go and get another can. Then I had to wait a whole 48 hours before I could re-coat the table.

After the table was finally painted I had to go back to Home Depot to get new hardware for putting it back together because the old hardware was all rusted out.

Although the process took a long time (about 4 days), actual spraying time was short — perhaps an hour in total. The table just sat out in the yard in pieces for a few days while it cured (and then was re-sprayed and cured again).

spray painted yellow patio table

I love how bright and happy it is, and I can’t wait to enjoy many summer dinners out on the patio.

yellow patio table

Don’t you just love spray paint? Have you spray painted anything lately?

Sharing over at TatertotsandJello, Suburbs Mama, A Stroll Through Life, Miss Mustard Seed and If It’s Not Baroque!

How Far We’ve Come – Backyard Updates

Chris and I spent an hour yesterday deciding what projects we’re going to make a priority this summer. The biggest obstacle to a DIY-er is time…there just aren’t enough hours in a day! We have all these projects going on but they all take time, something we don’t have a lot of between Chris’ work and me staying home with the baby. So we decided that while we have longer daylight hours, we should prioritize the exterior space. We’ve already come a long way.

This is what our side yard is looking like these days:

pool fence

There are definitely a few things we want to do. First, get rid of those hideous pipes on the roof. Chris put them up there as a project to make a solar pool heater, but it never got finished, and they’re just U-G-L-Y. I’ve convinced him they need to come down. Next, either paint/put siding up and paint the exterior of the house (your eyes are not deceiving you, the house is currently painted two different colors). I think we’ve decided to put siding up and then paint. These cheaply made houses were made of pre-fab wall panels and the exterior is just sheets of plywood + spray texture. It’s not even real stucco. So we’re going to add insulation + siding + pretty paint. It’s going to be a big project.

Still, it’s encouraging to know that we’ve come a long way from the day we moved in:

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The grass was dry and sparse. The white lattice fence was peeling and the wooden gate was sagging so badly it wouldn’t close, and it cut the house off from the yard. The paint on the fascias was peeling badly.

pool fence

Chris installed a pool fence (panels purchased at Home Depot, and welded together by my awesome hubster) and outward-swinging gate for the baby’s safety. We bought a gazebo, umbrella, and some cheap patio furniture at IKEA. Last summer, Chris painstakingly installed a brick paver patio (they’re actually concrete pavers that look like brick) using pavers he got for cheap on Craigslist.

gazebo from ikea

The gazebo is from IKEA and we like the faux-rattan on the sides. The outdoor sectional is from IKEA too (it’s pretty, but to be honest, not too comfortable), and the loveseat, coffee table, and ottomans were found for free on the side of the street. They are REALLY comfortable and I think are the best deal we’ve found for the house yet. I’d like to get some more exterior pillows and colorful accessories for this area, when the budget allows =).

landscaping with rocks

On the other side of the pool we’ve started doing some landscaping with citrus trees, shrubs (golden euonymus) and landscaping rocks that we found lying around the yard in random places when we moved in. I still need to get some more mulch and finish mulching the right side, and clean up the dirt on the concrete (this is definitely an in-progress post). Eventually when those trees and shrubs get bigger they’ll cover up more of the wall.

new patio chairs

You’ve seen the patio table, and I’ve got a project coming up with that table that I’ll post in the next couple of days. I think it will really add a lot to the space!

I’m so glad you’re following along with our DIY adventures! Please do take a minute to leave us any suggestions or comments!

Chive and Cheese Drop Biscuits

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Sometimes you just want a biscuit. Right? I made these the other day when I was at a loss as to what to eat for lunch. There was hardly any food in the house (at least, that I wanted to eat) but there were chives in the garden and a hunk of cheese, so I made these, and they were delicious. And fast, which is key. I mixed these up in the time it took to preheat the oven, all during my baby’s morning nap.

Speaking of chives in the garden, the garden is starting to explode with all manner of good things. None big enough to eat, yet, but we have a japanese cucumber that promises dozens of tender cukes, several tomato plants that are soon going to rival me for height, and a stunted, but recovering, summer squash that has a couple of yellow babies. And there are herbs. Oh delicious herbs. Delicate, oniony chives, pungent parsley, fragrant rosemary. Herbs are a gift of summer.

Chive and Cheese Drop Biscuits

1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cheese, coarsely grated (I like Gouda)
1 bunch chives
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp milk for brushing

Preheat oven to 400 F (about 200 C).

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour using your fingertips, until the mixture becomes a fine crumble, like cornmeal.

Hold the bunch of chives in your hand and use a pair of scissors to snip small pieces into the  flour mixture (about 1/6 inch). Add the grated cheese and stir into mixture.

Pour in the buttermilk and fold in gently with a spatula until mixture forms a sticky dough. Divide roughly into 8 and drop onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with milk.

Bake for about 12 minutes until golden.

Enjoy hot with butter!

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