Father’s Day Freebie

A friend shared a coupon code for a free 8×10 at Walgreens, just in time for dad’s day – so thought I would share it with you, too! I just put together a collage of recent Instragram pix of the boy and will pop it in a frame. Hope you find it useful, too!

Through 6/16, get a FREE 8×10 photo at  http://photo.walgreens.com/walgreens/home/?tab=photo_home  when you use coupon code PRINT8X10.  Choose in-store pickup for FREE shipping. 
Posted in DIY

Kitchen Labels

Martha, I love ya. You never disappoint.


These labels are beautiful, and thank you for the free download. Printing these on the clear decals for windows($8 for 3, avery.com) is brilliant! However, let me offer up a little bit of a different take for me and my beautiful readers. Enjoy!

Posted in DIY

Idea Created: Room Curtain Divider

I love using a three day weekend for a house project, and New Year’s day this year I created a room curtain divider between my son’s play room and bedroom. This makes a private spot for a play room turned guest room when needed, and makes for a cozier bedroom at night to encourage precious, precious sleep from my son (who seems to hate it.)

I had been considering doing something like this for a while, but when I saw this photo (posted by the always inspirational Brick House) of a room in the Ace Hotel, Palm Springs, I got inspired:

I love the clean lines, and the modern but comfortable feel. I am not a sewer, but decided to give it a whirl. I measured and then trekked to Joanne’s Fabrics. There I bought some clean, light cream canvas, along with some Stitch Witchery (no sew hem iron-on), some grommets, some red rope, and a couple of little hooks. Here’s my step by step progress.

1. After spraying the canvas on both sides with Scotch Guard, I hemmed both ends using the Stitch Witchery. (That stuff is cool!) The bottom of the two panels got a four-inch hem, while the top got a two-inch one.

2. I lined up the hemmed top two panels.

3. I laid out and studied the grommets.

4. I used the enclosed grommet stencil to trace my cut lines under the hem.

5. Then, I cut out the circles that I drew.

6. After that, it was just a matter of snapping the front and back of the grommets together. Really super easy.

7. Then I took my two pieces of red rope and needle and thread sewed the ends into loops. I am thinking of switching out the tie backs soon, but this is good for a start.

8. With the construction done, I hammered in five thick nails into the wall, and started hanging the grommets on those nails.

9. Once they were all up, I screwed the little hooks I bought into the wall on either side and hung the red rope tie-backs on those.

10. I then tied the curtains back, and sat back – very pleased with the results! (The panels are centered, I don’t know why the look a bit off in this photo.)

The cost of the entire project was about $85. (The canvas fabric was a little pricey.) The panels have been up for a week now, and they have served as a play stage, have made his room extra cozy and warm, and have made an excellent private spot for my mom, who is visiting right now helping nurse that little guy after his New Year’s tonsillectomy. A three day weekend project well done, if I might say so! I love crossing things off my Inspired to Create Pinterest board!

Halloween Birthday

October was a busy month for me and as such, no posts happened here. I have decided to stop beating myself up about that and understand that as a busy working mom, I can only do so much. But – that doesn’t mean that I don’t continue to collect ideas, and try to find time to create them offline. For the fourth year in a row this Halloween, I created a special costume for my son.

Halloween is a special day here in the Ci house, as it is my little guy’s birthday. Yes, just 4 little years ago, this happened:

photo by: kasey hund

First Halloween costume: a newborn’s onesie. 🙂 The next year he went as R2D2 – with my mom and I as Princess Leah and C3PO.  (Click on the photos to see how I DIY’ed some of these. Sorry about the awful pix on these, I am always too busy in the moment to get great ones.)

Then the following year, inspired by his love of Blue’s Clues he went as Blue – with the rest of us sporting a paw print as his clues. This is admittedly not my best work, but I was happy that it was handmade:

For that little guys’ third birthday – I wrapped him in white and he went as the cutest ghost I’ve ever seen. (Inspired by this guy.)

And lastly, for his fourth birthday this year, he was insistent that he be a race car driver. Inspired by this amazing DIY, I found a helmet and a  costume online, and embellished with Chicago flags, his name, and his number (4 of course). I was going to use patches, but with a 100% polyester costume – it worked well to use colored duck tape and stickers.

So – thanks for letting me share some these moments that have meant so very, very much to me. I hoped you enjoyed a little. 🙂

Weekend Projects: Teepee Tent & Shelves

Happy Friday! I can’t stop thinking about some fun projects I would like to accomplish this weekend. The first is a handmade Teepee tent. Here is the inspiration:

Isn’t that such a lovely little room? (I am also coveting that little vintage desk.)

Now, this amazing tent can be purchased from here, but where’s the fun in that? I want to try to DIY it before I get to that point. Here is the plan:

Next up – I want to try my hand at creating some picture ledges for the hallway. I have been thinking about this for quite a while. First, I am going to see what kind of wooden board scraps I can dig up in our shared basement, then get some wood glue, clamps, a slap of BM Decorator’s White paint, and wall fasteners. Then, I should be in business for something like this:

Among some art and photos that will be displayed on those ledges, I also want to make some Darcy Miller style some scrap boxes in that bad boy.

So off I go! Have yourself a wonderful weekend. I hope to someday post some results.

Homemade Ikat Fabric

Two things I think I am sort of late to the game with: Love of ikat fabric and Spoonflower.com where one can design, print and sell their own fabric designs – or purchase another person designs. I am looking to cover a bench in my hallway with something in the orange family. (Mood board seen here.)

When I discovered Spoonflower.com, my first thought was to find an already existing design. BUT, no perfect orange ikat patterns could be found. What’s a girl to do but to design her own? I am working on that now, but here are some ikat patterns to be truly inspired by:


Posted in DIY

DIY Art Inspiration Idea: Reusing The Crib

I have an idea. I shall collect it and I hope by doing so, I will soon be inspired to create it!

Here a bit of back story with me waxing on about what to do with some of the crib pieces when my son graduated to a toddler bed. This crib was a great purchase for us, an Ikea Gulliver in white – that converted to three different stages: infant, baby, and toddler – all in a modern clean form, and all for about $100 bucks.

But now, we have graduated to a big boy bed, and I have the rest of the crib to reuse or recycle. The always inspirational Chez Larsson wrote a post a while back that I have been saving up for this time. She came up with several awesome ideas for reusing a crib very similar to ours:

Photo from: Chez Larsson

I have been noodling with what to do with the heavy flat bottom part of the crib for a while, and I think I have it. I want to create a large art piece for our house. Yep, you read that right. I want to cover it in plywood or canvas (yet to be determined) and then create something fun on it. I have been thinking about this DIY piece every since I saw it way back when:

Photo from: Apartment Therapy

I love the graphic quality, the gray-scale, and the nod to my favorite state. I want to try to incorporate one or all of those things in my piece.

One idea I have is to DIY something using paint swatches, as I have been seeing a lot around the blog-o-sphere these days. (Like here.) Wouldn’t it be cool to use black, white, and shades of gray paint swatches to create something Chicago inspired, using Photoshop to pixalate an image into a mosaic. Something like this?

Or maybe something really simple and illustrative would be fun:

Or – how about creating some fun filters on Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel – then print, patch together and cover in matte finish Mod Podge?

What do you like, or do you have another idea altogether? I am torn (as usual) with a hundred indecisions, visions, and revisions.

French Door Coverage

This is a project that I worked on a while ago, but am just now finally posting. My son’s room has beautiful french doors. We inherited some jute blinds on those doors when we bought the condo so many years back. They worked very well when we use to use the room as mostly an office and occasional guest room. Now that our son is growing though, and those blinds have been bent and played with, they were looking a bit worse for the wear. Exhibit A:

How cute is our son in that little kitchen playing with his friend? Ok, but back to those blinds. Right now, like the rest of the country, we are on a pretty tight house budget – so I wanted a solution that was close to or entirely free. I saw the great Manhattan Nest do a treatment to his own French doors in his rental apartment – that was inexpensive and temporary, using beautiful fabric and cornstarch. Exhibit B:

Photo from Manhattan Nest

Gorgeous, right? You can find out his process by clicking though the photo above. I had some cornstarch in The Worthy Kitchen (that’s our new work in progress recipe blog, btw. More on that another time.) I also had those bent up jute blinds. I decided to use what I had on hand – and started cutting. And cutting. And cutting. Exhibit C:

And gluing, and gluing. It was the measuring and cutting that took the most time. But all in all, it really wasn’t that difficult. Plus, it started looking great from both sides:

We have been living with this for a while, and it has been working great! Now, I have been dreaming of changing out the jute for something different and fun. I wonder how this process would work with paper? Paper like a cool old map? What a cool learning tool for my son! Something like this? We’ll just have to see!

Balcony Garden

I generally try to grow a few things on the balcony once the spring Chicago weather starts springing – and have even turned it into my Mother’s Day treat. Plant the summer garden with my son! Last year I got a beautiful outdoor rug. This year, some new patio furniture! (Next year a new grill???)

The thing is, I haven’t been very good about advanced summer garden planning in the past, so I thought I would try to make it a great garden this year by planning it out properly. Here is the plan:

As you can see, there will be four planting stations:

1. The Hanging Station: To save room, and also to give the garden some depth, I thought I would shoot to create an inverse tomato garden, using something like this method.

2. Window Garden: All the most frequently used herbs right next to the window, so that one doesn’t even need to leave the kitchen to pick some fresh ones. (Basil, Rosemary, Parsley)

3. Upper Rail Garden: We love herbs around here, so there will herb over flow here (thyme, oregano, chives and sage) plus a radish and aloe experiment. (I have never attempted these, so should be interesting.)

4. Ground Garden: I have a couple of big pots to use for a leafy garden. This may contain some of the following: lettuce, kale, spinach, chard and/or collard greens. Also – I have to have just a few flowers around to round things out.

This will be fun! I will try to post updates as they get done.

Posted in DIY