Cutting Edge Stencil Review & Giveaway {or making a home}

**Giveaway now closed***

We've lived in our rental house for 20 months now. We're here through at least the end of next April. When we first moved in, I was frustrated about moving away from friends and family, pregnant and still getting all day "morning" sickness, and had just lost my mom. I just didn't have the desire or energy to really make this house into anything homey.

When I got the nesting bug, I had a nursery to decorate. Since Emma showed up a bit early, the nursery was the only thing to benefit from that particular bug. After we started sleeping a bit more, I started to slowly but surely make this house feel more like home. It's been a really slow process, but also a process that I've enjoyed.

When Cutting Edge Stencils contacted me asking if I would like to review one of their stencils, I did a highly undignified happy dance. Then I realized I have so many places that are in need of some love. I had such an awful time picking a stencil. Taking a look at our very busy schedule and realizing that we would only be able to stencil during Emma's nap or after she went to bed, we decided to go for a wall pattern kit rather than an all over stencil. I decided that the Parsley Blooms Wall Pattern Kit was just what our dinning room wall needed.

As apart of the decorating process, I have been slowly but surely putting together a gallery wall in our living room. We have an open floor plan that flows from kitchen to dinning room to living room. I decided to take the colors from a printable and fabric that are on the wall to use for the dinning room wall.

Before stenciling, I watched Cutting Edge's How To video and also read the instruction sheet. This was my first time stenciling and I found these resources very helpful. Make sure you follow the instructions about blotting off the paint onto a paper towel. It makes a huge difference. I'm also glad I practiced on a pizza box.

Our walls are both highly textured and poorly constructed. The dry wall was poorly hung, so there's not a flat wall in the whole place. I did have some bleeding while stenciling, but I attribute that to the oddities of the wall rather than a flaw with the stencil. I found making sure I had very little paint on my brush reduced the bleeding.

I did find the stencils hard to clean. Since I was using three different colors, I had to clean the stencils between colors. It was a bit annoying to do. It also took a long time. I wished I had a foam roller for each color. The instructions suggest it and having them would have made the whole process a bit quicker. However, this was user error and not an issue with the stencil itself.

Overall, I would defiantly use another Cutting Edge Stencil. I may or may not already be eyeing a couple of the craft stencils. The stencil itself is of great quality. The instructions were very helpful. Cleaning the stencil was a pain. However, this would not deter me from giving stenciling another go.

The kind people over at Cutting Edge Stencil have offered one very lucky person a stencil of their choice {up to a $50} value. They're also throwing in free shipping! This giveaway is only open to US residents. Use the Rafflecopter below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Come party with me!


Bow Clutch {or presents for a friend}

A couple of months ago, I got the itch to make a purse. Since I'm knee deep in purses {and only ever carry my diaper bag these days}, I got my best friend involved.

She settled on this cute little clutch that Whitney at Elm Street Life was kind enough to share a tutorial for. I quickly ran out and bought a fun burlap like fabric, some muslin for the lining, and a red zipper {per Liz's request}.

And then it sat in my stash. My research class decided to be way more work than it ever should have been. I all the sudden had a bunch of baby presents to make. And it just sat. And Liz was sweet enough to never nag me about it.

Well, the time has come. It's done, wrapped, addressed, and waiting to go to its new home.

The tutorial Whitney put together was wonderful. It was easy to follow and produced a great little clutch for date night.

I am terrible with zippers. They scare me. I hate them. They hate me. This one opens and closes, so I'm going to go ahead and call it a victory. It's a bit sticky, but I don't have to use it! ;)

I think I'll make more bags using this tutorial. It was really quick sew {like an hr and a half} for the kind of bag you get. However, If I use something as stiff {this fabric is like burlap and home decor weight fabric had a baby} I won't use interfacing. It was a beast to turn. I think that using quilting cotton and interfacing would have been a better plan. Even duck cloth might have been ok. But home decor would have been a bit of a pain, too.

Apparently, you can't ever give an empty purse of wallet. My mom was adement about this. So when I was at Target the other day I picked up these little cuties on 75% off clearance. I was sad they didn't have a set in my size!

Some scrap fabric and ribbon and it's ready to go. Gotta love destashing as wrapping!

Come party with me!


Monogramed Baby Blanket Tutorial {or girly cuteness}

{I originally shared this tutorial over at The Grant Life.}

One of my friend's just had her second child. She is now momma to two kiddo under two! Since she already had a boy, she was already set for the essentials. While she didn't want to spend a lot of money on new bibs and blankets, she did want some special girly things for her little Lila. {Want to see what I made the new big brother? Check out my tutorial for creating a Duck Counting and Matching Game!}

I was all too happy to oblige! Enter the super feminine, pink, pink and more pink monogramed baby blanket.

Want to make your own?

You'll Need:
* 2 one yard cuts of coordinating cotton fabric {or larger!}
* 1 yard of batting {not pictured}
* scraps for monogram
* iron on adhesive
* coordinating thread 
*sewing machine and other basic sewing supplies

Start out by pre-washing and ironing your fabrics. I know is tempting to skip this step. Don't! Cotton will shrink. Babies make lots of messes. This blanket will need a lot of washing!

Start out by evening up your fabrics and batting. Is it just me or is the cutting counter at Joann's getting worse by the day at cutting a straight line!

Next, you're going to cut out your monogram. I used my Silhouette and the Silhouette brand iron on adhesive. You DO NOT need a Silhouette {or any kind of craft cutter} in order to make your monogram. You can always trace your letters on the back of your iron on adhesive {something like Heat n' Bond} and cut them out with a craft knife or scissors.

Follow the instructions on the adhesive you're using to adhere the adhesive to the fabric. Make sure that you iron your scrap of fabric before adhering it. You don't want to end up with a wrinkly monogram!

If you are using a Silhouette, I've found it helpful to double cut. Also, turn the speed down by one. It will give you a nice, clean cut!

Once you have your pretty name all cut out, figure out where you want it on the blanket. I used my quilt ruler to make things nice and even. Since I wanted it near the bottom right corner of the blanket, I measured three inches up and two inches in. When you're deciding on name placement, don't forget to factor in seam allowances!

Follow your brand's instructions for ironing your name onto your blanket.

Use the shortest and smallest zig-zag stitch {or a satin stitch if you're luck enough to have one!} to permanently affix your monogram.

Then, stand back and admire your work!

Now, its time to get your blanket ready for sewing. Start of laying one of your fabrics right side up.

Next, place your other fabric right side down.

Finally, top it all off with your batting.

Pin, pin, pin! I am normally too lazy to pin. Trust me on this and take the time. The batting likes making things go wonky.

Sew your blanket using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Make sure you leave a 5 inch gap for turning.

Next, clip the corners and turn your blanket. Use a pen or chopstick to make sure the corners are turned all the way out.

Now, fold the raw edges into the gap and pin the gap closed. Top stitch all the way around your blanket. I like to use my presser foot width as a guide. 

I was going to add a second row of stitches. However, my flower pattern hides the stitches so I decided to skip that step. I think it could be fun to do three rows in different colors!

Next time, I'll use thread that matches my monogram color rather than thread that compliments it. Since my machine doesn't have any fancy stitches, I had to use a basic zig-zag stitch. With a satin stitch, the coordinating color would have looked really cool!

Now you have a cute, cuddly blanket that is perfect for tummy time. As the kiddo gets older, it will make a great stroller blanket. It's also the perfect size for the kiddo to drag all over the house!

I used scraps from squaring up the blanket to wrap it all up!

Come party with me!


Just Between Friends Review {or GIVEAWAY!}

One thing I love about the DIY blogging community is its excitement over a good deal. So often, I'm inspired by wonderful tutorials recreating fancy pants decor for not fancy pants prices.

Its this drive that sends many of us to the wonderful world of thrift stores and consignment sales to shop for our kids. Let's face it. They just keep growing. And they get things dirty. And they like an empty cereal box way more than the brand new toy the grandparents just sent them in the mail.

I do my best to avoid buying clothes new for my daughter. Besides the occasional splurge, I just don't have the budget for it. Instead, I try to buy most of my clothes at the bi-anual Just Between Friends Sale here in Fort Worth.

For those of you who haven't heard of JBF, its the mother of all consignment sales focusing on all things kid-related. You can buy and sell a wide variety of items ranging from kids clothes, toys, strollers, and books. JBF sales are locally owned and operated. They have them all over.

The JBF Fort Worth sale is HUGE. They say its over 75,000 square feet. I say its Costco sized {That makes way more sense to me than square footage!}. There are rows and rows of kids clothes separated by size and gender. Also, the sales are seasonal. No digging through tank tops at the fall sale when all you need is a rain coat.

Clothing items are inspected and are generally in great condition. Occasionally a dud slips through. The quality is way better than you would find at a Goodwill. All toys have to have all their pieces and must be in working order. They'll let you open up a box to check it out or plug a toy in to test it. Most items are at least 60% off retail. Many times, the toys are new in package and the clothes have tags on.

JBF is the best way I've found for keeping our spending on our daughter under control. Also, consigning let's me make money off of old toys or clothes that would just be sitting in our garage or filling up her closet.

Want to check out JBF Fort Worth? Well the sale is going on right now. Check out the calendar for hours of operation as well as when the 50% off sales are!

Want $15 to spend at JBF Fort Worth? The wonderful women who run this sale have kindly offered a $15 gift certificate to one of my readers. Since each sale is independently owned, this certificate is only good at the Fort Worth location. However, it will be good at the Spring Sale as well. Check out the Rafflecopter below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So, what did I score this time around? My favorite was defiantly this adorable Baby Gap raincoat. It's fleece lined, in fabulous condition, and it was only $5. That's right...$5!

$3 for these new, tag on pair of Levi jeans!

Now this guy was my splurge {at only $6}. Its new with tags. And I can't decide if its the cutest thing ever or the most ridiculous thing ever. Either way, it was a great deal.

I also picked up four pairs of footed, fleece Carter's pjs and three pairs of long sleeved shirts. Add to that a cute Carter's legging/top combo and a fun pink mega blocks set with wagon and I only spent $43. The wagon alone is $30 new.

*** JBF Fort Worth upgraded my volunteer pass {let me in at a super sweet early sale time} as compensation for posting this review. All opinions are my own. Check out my disclosure page for more info.***