Make Your Own Valentine’s Day Decor with Felt Hearts

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Having a mantle has been a lot of fun. Prior to the remodel, we didn’t have a mantle on our cumbersome rock wall fireplace, but I mostly only thought about it at Christmas when I had to improvise a place to hang our stockings. Now the mantle is a focal point, mostly because of the TV, but it allows an opportunity to add some color and fun.

A new mantle means a need for new decorations. For Valentine’s, I knew what I wanted and was disappointed when I found Target didn’t sell it. With that, I remembered some simple felt hearts on sticks that I’d seen on Pinterest about two years ago, and I made my own.

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For the mantle, I wanted a garland of felt hearts, then I wanted a few hearts on sticks to use in vases around the house. We had the supplies (felt, fluff, ribbon, embroidery floss, and craft sticks) on hand, except a plastic ribbon needle that cost about a dollar at the craft store. I found the colors I wanted and cut out a paper heart template in two sizes, then cut from various felt colors. I used the bigger hearts for the garland, and the rest for the sticks. While watching football, I did a blanket stitch around each heart, then stuffed them with fluff before finishing the final stitches. For the stick hearts, I put the sticks in place prior to the final stitches, and sewed around the stitch to give it some structure.

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photo (3)Stringing the garland was when I needed the plastic needle. Once the hearts were complete, I threaded the ribbon through the needle and gently mushed the heart to push the needle through, in between stitches.

The entire project was easy and I’m so happy with how it looks. The best part was that Rocket wanted to participate. He wanted me to teach him “stitching” to allow him to make his own hearts. This was my “very, very early” Valentine’s Day gift from him and I love it.

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Baby Favs: Ceiling Fans and Skylights

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If babies were in charge of home remodels, it would be all skylights and ceiling fans. I babysat my sweet niece for the first time and a majority of it was spent watching the ceiling fan in my room, and staring in awe at the skylights in the other rooms. She liked the ceiling fan when she first saw it, but when I switched it on, forget about it. It was love.

Remodel: How to Store Used Paint

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When the painters walked away from our house, they left us with about 30 cans of paint remnants. Like most people, we moved them into the garage and did our best to ignore them, but in such great number, it was impossible to ignore the paint forever. Last week, I’d had enough and tackled the problem.

We knew that storing the paint in their cans wasn’t the ideal solution. The paint is exposed to too much air, and everything separates and turns into a gross goop. After research, the best, most cost-effective solution was to transfer the paints to glass jars. I poured the paint into jars, topped each with plastic wrap to prevent air from touching the paint, and labeled the jars with the paint name, room, and gloss type, if other than flat.  It was as simple as that.

What I learned:

  • When hiring a painter, get them to order minimal amounts of paint. I understand the desire to over order because no one wants to waste time running back and forth to the paint store, but in our case, we had several colors with full gallons that were either unopened or barely opened. It was a waste of money.
  • When pouring into a wide mouth bottle, like a standard mason jar, you don’t need a funnel. No funnel means less clean up.
  • Keep a minimal amount of paint. My urge was to save as much of each color as I could, but really, it will only be used for touch ups, and I certainly didn’t need a gallon for that. If something happens that requires a major repaint, I’d want to buy fresh paint then, anyway.
  • Look for cute labels with a free download online. I found mine here. She has other colors, too, but I love uniformity. Print onto 8.5 x 11 white shipping labels found at any office supply store.
  • Freecycle what you don’t need. I posted on our local freecycle and it was snapped up immediately. Our paint ended up going to a community theater to paint their next set.

The leftover pyramid of paint cans had been bothering us for months as it took up prime garage space, but now it’s down to a few pretty jars on a shelf. The next post-remodel, garage challenge is selling our old bedroom set on Craigslist. Wish me luck!

Using the Nest Thermostat: Turned On for Winter

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It’s weird, but it started when I was a kid and my dad would argue with us whenever we used the heater. The heater was never to be turned on before Nov. 1, but even then, that day was only a baseline minimum. The goal was to try to hold out days longer before turning on the heater. This year, we’d been cruising along, cold, but not that cold, until this morning when I lost hope that the sun would eventually warm the house above 62 degrees. It was time to fire up the Nest.

Our Nest was installed six months ago at the end of our remodel, and our builder kept pushing me to relocate it to somewhere more visible because the interface was so pretty. He wanted it to go where our alarm panel is located, and while the Nest is prettier than the alarm panel, when entering the house with kids and groceries, I’d rather the alarm controls be in the easy to reach location. Because of that, our Nest is nestled into the dark hallway in the kids’ wing. (I’m using wing about as loosely as it can be used. Nook may be a more accurate word.)

I was certain the Nest was trying to cook us alive during the first few weeks while it got to know our schedules and temperature wants. I’d check and the heat would be set to say 69 degrees, but later after feeling flush, I’d see the Nest was cranked up to 90 degrees. It wasn’t the kids playing with it, even though I may have accused them of that. It was just the Nest figuring it out. After many temperature adjustments and cursing at it, it’s regulated itself. We turned it off in August when the air conditioner was no longer needed, but I changed that this morning, turning it back on and switching it to heat.

It is possible to have both hot and cold systems operating at the same time, but we overrode that option in the beginning when the a/c switched on a few times when the house temperature was low enough to require heat. Running the a/c needlessly bothers me more than turning on the heater before Nov. 1.

The Nest goes to sleep, but pops awake when someone walks closely by, displaying the temperature for all to see. I love to wave my hand near it to see the temperature appear. I just did it – the house is 77 degrees with the heat set to 64. The Nest heated the house to 66 degrees this morning, which was the target temperature until 3 p.m. The sun finally warmed us up the rest of the way, but if the hallway temperature dips below 64 degrees before 7 p.m., the Nest will kick on. The night time and overnight temperatures will be lower than 64. The worst thing about the learning curve is that the Nest will sometimes kick on during the night. We never had this with the a/c, but it happened with the heat in the spring. When I’m fast asleep and snug in my bed, I don’t want 90 degree heat blowing in my face. That’s when the cursing happens.

We’re happy with the Nest, especially now that I no longer think it’s trying to cook me.

Touring a Decorator Show House (Or Design Outside of My Reach)

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If you can’t say anything nice about someone, sit right here by me. More from the Decorator Show House in Woodside, where I admit that I announced my arrival by tripping over a wooden dog. A real dog would have moved in time.