Patio Bench Makeover

Our back patio has been needing a little TLC as of late, and since we are trying to selling the house for my mother I thought giving it an easy and inexpensive makeover would be just the thing for this sad looking patio.

We decided to build an easy brick fire-pit for the middle of the patio and repaint the bench to match the house color better. The fence behind the bench was rusting and I honestly cannot remember the last time someone painted that old thing. Isn’t it amazing what a little paint can do?! Here are the before and after pictures.

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Now that is a bench more appealing to sit on! Time to break out the smores and have a party!

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Copyrights, trends, and creativity

HSH Vintage Sheet PJ Pants Refashion

A few days ago, I was surprised and a little unnerved to receive a comment on this Vintage Sheet PJ Pants Refashion blog post from about 5 years ago accusing me of copyright violation.  Although I feel that the writer probably had good intentions, they were under some incorrect assumptions, which I think are common, and I’m going to address them, if you’ll pardon my divergence from the normal content of this blog. Here’s the comment I received:

PEOPLE PLEASE BE AWARE THAT this post is an outright copy of a vintage sheets pants tutorial from this blog:http://duckyhouse.typepad.com/duckyhouse/2009/07/dont-get-out-of-bed-.html
I have reported you to the original author and to google for copyright violation. Her tutorial was clearly published before yours.

So, that’s kind of a serious accusation, and I want to talk about it, but first, let’s talk a little about copyrights. Specifically, how copyright laws apply to bloggers- especially sewing/ craft bloggers.  Just for a minute. :) As a brief refresher, owning a copyright basically means you own the right to publish, reproduce, distribute or alter a creative work. (Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, just what I understand after my own extensive research) Does this apply to bloggers? Absolutely- both in the legal sense and in blogging etiquette. It means that:

a) you cannot legally republish any part of someone else’s blog post as your own- either the writing or the pictures.

b) you should not post large parts of someone’s writing or more than a couple pictures in your post without permission, even if you post a link back- this goes for translations of someone’s site into another language,

c) when it comes to visual designs and sewing patterns and the like, the pattern itself is copyrighted and cannot be reproduced or distributed without the copyright owner’s permission, and

d) you should be careful about creating derivative works- that is, changing someone’s original pattern and making it your own- and publishing that. Derivative works are generally ok, but it is a good idea to always give credit to the piece that inspired your creation.

I take copyright issues seriously. I try to always give credit where credit is due, and I appreciate when others do the same for me. In my 8 years of blogging here on Home Sweet Homebodies, I have had my posts copied in their entirety and re-posted, both with attribution and without, in English and in other languages. I have had pictures stolen and re-posted elsewhere.  As a result I wrote a blog post (now somewhat outdated, as that technology has moved on) about how to go back and watermark your photos in past blog posts without having to replace the photos with new ones. I have had people sell items from patterns I created and shared for free- which is actually legal, as far as I understand, as long as you give credit to the designer. My point is that I have been on the other end, and have had my work stolen, and it’s really, really not cool.

So, why am I sharing this, and what does it have to do with trends and creativity?  Well, let’s return to the comment I received, accusing me of copyright violation.  At the time (2009-2010), vintage sheet refashions were kind of a popular thing. They were everywhere. I even saw a couple blog posts where people sewed other articles of clothing from the exact same sheet that I had found at a thrift store! However, I had never come across the blog post referenced in the above comment until a day or so ago. Even if I had, I used my own words, my own process, and my own pictures in the post on my blog. Of course, if my post had been inspired by the one on Ducky House, I would have given credit with a link to that post, because that’s good blogging etiquette.

So, is it possible for two (or more) different people to have the same “unique” idea independently? Well, yeah. There’s even a scientific name for it- “Multiple Discovery“. It has happened numerous times over the course of history. And honestly? All our “unique” creative ideas probably have a precedent somewhere else. Have you heard the phrase “There’s nothing new under the sun”?! So at a time where vintage sheet refashions were the “it” thing, multiple people went to the thrift store, bought some sheets (I bought several, and saw the same prints pop up on multiple blogs that year), and got to brainstorming what to make. Great minds…. 😉

I’m not the first blogger to notice this phenomenon either. I remember reading this post on the MADE blog in 2010. Dana had shared a photo of a pattern she had created, only another designer had previously made almost the identical article of clothing, and with the same fabric. She said,

“Just as in writing, there really are only so many original clothing construction ideas floating around so it’s all in the way you present it; your take. Of course, when two people both choose the same fabric for the same garment, that’s a little funny.” source

Deanna from SewMcCool also posted on this very topic, reminding us that “you can’t copyright an idea – you can only copyright the expression of that idea in words, photographs, illustrations, music, video, and the like.” She also shares an interesting discussion of legal and moral “copying” as it relates (or, maybe, doesn’t) to copyright.

So yeah, the Ducky House blog published their vintage sheet PJ pants post 8 months before I published mine. And  did a great job.  But not only did I never see the post, my idea was a completely original one- to me.

My suggestion for those who are concerned about what seems to be “duplicate content” on the blogosphere- first check to see if the writing or the photos are actually identical- that would certainly constitute copyright violation without the author’s permission. If they are, then by all means, take action. If not, and it seems to just be a similar idea, maybe consider that more than one person had the same great idea. Heck, maybe there are even several people who had the same great idea. Go ahead and shoot an email if you must, politely pointing out the similarities, before letting serious accusations fly if you’re not sure. You just never know. :)

 

Quick and Easy Patch Fix

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I have one son who wears out the knees on every. pair. of. pants.  I think that is pretty normal for little boys who like to play hard, but I know I’m not the only mom to get frustrated when her sweet boy busts a hole in another brand new pair of pants. :)  And since not every pair of holey pants can become cutoff shorts,  we have started to just patch the holes.  Luckily, there are plenty of versions of patched- knee pants that are in style right now, so it doesn’t look too backwoods.

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My son brought his favorite sweatpants to me yesterday and asked me to fix them so sweetly, that I couldn’t resist adding a couple patches during quiet time.

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I drew out the shape I wanted for the patches, then I cut out two ovals (since I was patching with knit fabric and I want to avoid the whole patching the patch scenario. Hopefully another layer will add even longer life to the pants.). I made one of the ovals a little larger just to give some color contrast.

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I pinned the patches directly on the knees, making sure to only pin through the front of the pant leg. It was a bit tricky to sew around the whole patch, but I sewed one pass around each patch. I think it could also be cute… er, cool- looking to sew some horizontal lines across the patch or do some thread sketching.

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Hooray for favorite sweats being fixed!

 

Meet Anna

You know when you’re the last one to the party (like hours late)  and the host kinda looks annoyed at you when you walk in, but then sees the extra cheesy avocado bean-dip you’re holding and decides to be happy you came at all? Okay maybe you don’t know. Actually I don’t know either, I just couldn’t think of a better way to explain my way late entrance to this awesome blog.

DSC_6989My name is Anna, and I’m the last and youngest of the Homebodies sisters. I’m currently 17 and going into my senior year of high school in Oregon. Like each of my sisters did in high school, I work for my Dad as a Veterinary Assistant at our Veterinary Hospital. I love working with animals and seeing the behind the scenes of a medical practice.   I love to paint, sing, act, and dance. I’m involved in many choirs (including an A Capella and show choir) and have participated and starred in many musicals like “Into the Woods”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, and “Once on this Island.” I’m really into fashion and wearing boring old clothes in new and exciting ways. The Earth is BEAUTIFUL and I love adventuring through its landscapes by hiking, backpacking, riding horses, or just exploring. My goal is to go to college and become a nurse. I love to help people and apply my knowledge of the amazing human body.

These are all things you might see me post about on this blog! So get excited! You will also frequently find me on Instagram @homesweethomebodies and @annaleachristensen. If you’re looking for a way to regain “hip”ness, find a way to wear that ugly old sweater you love but never took the tag off of, or just try a new painting style, I’m your girl. As your resident teenager my advice is to look at the world through a kid’s eyes, don’t be afraid to take a selfie (you’re beautiful), document your life, try new things, talk to the old and young, be bold, pray, make new friends, eat ice cream, do your self up fancy once in a while, have sweats/lazy days, and never let fear get in the way of trying something new.

I’m excited to be on the team!

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Bar Stool Re-Cover

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A few years ago (umm… maybe like 7), we bought some cheap- but- ok- looking counter height stools from Target (I think). They had a cushion covered in microfiber that I successfully kept clean for several years. Then 3 toddler boys happened. And mod podge. So, yeah,  fast forward to now, and they are filthy and un-cleanable.

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Instead of pulling the seat apart and re-upholstering the seat, which was a viable option, I chose to make a removable cover so that next time one of my darling, dear, stinkers wipes the rest of their dinner on the seat I can just throw it in the washer.

I had a ton of sturdy black fabric that used to be a futon cover, and I decided that fabric would work perfectly for this project- waste not, want not!

First I measured the diameter of the bar stools, added about 6 inches, and cut out one circle with the larger diameter for each stool.

Next, I serged around each circle and prepared to sew a casing by pinning the edge in at intervals around the whole circle. I learned of a better method afterward on On The Cutting Floor , that I would use if I had to do it again.Collages5

With the casing done, I threaded elastic through and sewed the ends together. The result looked a lot like a huge gothic shower cap. Haha. Until I put it on the barstool- much better, no?

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I think I will spray the covers with Scotch Guard or something similar to cut down on how often I have to wash the covers, but it’s so nice to have the option now!

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Ahh, much better, don’t you agree? And free isn’t a bad price for this “Make it do” project.

Baby TOMS Shoes Tutorial

One of my favorite things about being a mom is dressing my baby boy up in beyond adorable clothes. Lately I’ve been itching to get him some stylin’ shoes. I mean, what’s more fun than tiny baby shoes… correction–tiny baby TOMS!?! Yes, you read that right, baby TOMS. I saw them on Pinterest and about died from the overload of cuteness. I absolutely had to make them right away!

I found the original pattern and tutorial from Homemade Toast. She has got some amazing sewing talent!

1. Cut out the pattern

You can find it on the link above at Homemade Toast.

2. Cut out your fabric

I used minky fabric for my inner lining for extra comfort.

3. Sew the back part

With right sides together, sew 1/4″ seam allowance in a straight line.

4. Sew elastic in back part

Fold in half and press. Sew a little more than 1/4″ seam allowance in a straight line along the top. I used 1/4″ elastic to pull through. Be sure to leave a little extra elastic sticking out of the ends when you are done.

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Pull elastic from one side to tighten fabric to your desired stretchiness. Stitch in place to hold. I did a zigzag stitch along the side to make sure the elastic didn’t go anywhere.

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5. Sew the center part

Cut and fold the triangle shapes as shown by the pattern. Press folds well.

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Place right sides together and line triangle shapes up. Sew along the top with 1/4″ seam allowance.

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Turn it right side out and press.

Sew elastic by inserting along top of center strap and stitching with 1/4″ and 1/2″ seam allowances (the “V” shape design).

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Place center strap over toe piece. This part may get kind of confusing, but meet the bottom of the center strap with the middle fold of the toe piece. Stitch with 1/8″ seam allowance.

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6. Baste the toe piece

This part is tricky, but just follow the pattern as close as you can. Fold along the dotted lines to create a nice smooth curve around the toe. Pin and sew 1/4″ seam allowance. Don’t fret if you can’t get the pleats perfect. Personally, I don’t think it needs to be perfect.

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7. Sew front to the back

Sewing along the same two lines on the center strap, attach the front to the back.

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8. Attach the sole

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Before you start pinning, make sure the entire shoe is inside-out. Now pin the sole to the top and back. Pin like crazy. You can never have too many pins, in my opinion. The more you have the easier it will be to keep all the pleats and seams in place, especially since it is such a tiny shoe.

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Sew with 1/4″-1/2″ seam allowance.

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Now turn it right side out and admire your awesome work!!! The best part is putting them on your little baby’s feet! Enjoy the cuteness. :)

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Mandala Meditation for Anxiety

I love mandalas. I remember learning about them in Humanities in college. Basically, “mandala” is a sanskrit word that means “circle”. They are beautiful geometrical designs, often brightly colored, and usually in a circular shape, but more than their physical beauty, they represent a deep meditative and spiritual journey, with divinity being near the center of the design. Mandala derived designs are used in forms of worship in Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity.

Certain forms of meditation include studying a mandala, and letting it take you on an internal spiritual journey. Other forms include drawing or coloring a mandala.  Interestingly, this has been researched and results have been published in the Art Therapy Journal of the American Art Therapy Association (click the link to see a summary of the study results).  In a nutshell, the study found that “structured coloring of a reasonably complex geometric pattern may induce a meditative state that benefits individuals suffering from anxiety.” Basically, color a mandala when you are feeling stressed or anxious, and it might help you feel more calm and collected.

A few weeks ago, I printed off several coloring sheets (just google “free mandala coloring pages” for tons of options you can print at home). Last week, I pulled out my kids’ colored pencils, sharpened them up, and spent a few minutes each day working on the mandala pictured at the top of this post. I did feel a reduction in my stress after coloring for 10 minutes or so. (Although, I should note, it can be kind of addicting because it is fun, and they are really beautiful. So, some days I probably spent much longer than 10 minutes.) The mandala I colored above can be found here on Color Pages for Mom.

Hope you have fun coloring! If you have kids, now you have something you can be excited about coloring with them! :)

DIY Lego Birthday Party

Both of my sons have been very enthusiastic about Legos this year, so I wasn’t surprised when my oldest decided on a Lego theme for his birthday party.  And, being the crazy summer that it is, I gave myself only 6 days to plan and prepare everything from start to finish. I  wondered how it would all turn out, but everything was, in fact, awesome. Cue music….

It turns out that there are tons of free printable resources online that made my job pretty easy! We used a free, customizable Lego movie invitation, these minifig straw decorations that we used as cupcake toppers, a minifig coloring page, and free printable Lego cupcake wrappers.

The Prep

I tried to involve my son as much as possible in the party prep, and it was a fun bonding experience, plus he was actually pretty helpful.  We handed out invitations that we printed 4-on-a-page and mounted on bright cardstock paper that we already had.

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We printed the minifig coloring pages, and also the straw toppers and cupcake wrappers, and cut those out. The boys used double stick tape to attach the straw toppers to craft sticks for the cupcake toppers.

I collected and separated Lego pieces into individual bags for our Lego car- building activity (check garage sales and local classified ads, or use your own stash and don’t send them home as favors).

I did purchase a few things for the party. I bought these Lego favor bags pictured below, some lego brick candies which I added to the favor bags and also decorated the cupcakes with (see below), a silicone Lego candy mold (we made chocolates, but you could do ice cubes, other candies, crayons, etc.), and minifig crayon sets which we could have made on our own if we’d had time.

 

 

I had some Wilton Candy Melts on hand that I used to make the Lego candies by melting the chips in the microwave, pouring in the molds, and refrigerating for a few minutes. They set up pretty fast, allowing me to use just one mold to make many candies very quickly. I packaged them up in small bags that I also had on hand already that I had found at the grocery store.

I also bought a long green plastic table cloth, red square plates, yellow cups and silverware, and blue napkins from the dollar store ($5 total).  I drew the minifig faces on the cups with a permanent marker.  I didn’t want to worry about feeding the kids lunch, but I got a veggie tray and a fruit tray, and that went over pretty well with the kids.

The  Party

We invited 10 7- year- olds, and I was a little worried about chaos, so I planned enough activities to keep them busy for 2 hours and made an itinerary.  My sister Cara was gracious enough to come help the activities move along and stay organized. Here is what my itinerary looked like:

10am  Gathering activity- Minifig coloring/decorating (10 min)

10:10  Lego relay race (10 min)
10:20  Lego straw game (5 min)
10:25  Snacks (veggie and fruit trays) (10 min)
10:35  Build and race cars (25 min)
11:00  Lego bracelets (25 min)
11:25  Presents (15 min)
11:40  Cake (20 min)

 

We did the coloring as a gathering activity while we were waiting for all the kids to arrive, and in addition to crayons, I provided googly eyes, pom-poms, glue, etc. to decorate them with.

Next we did a relay race, Egg-on-a-spoon style, with a tub of legos, a spoon for each team, and a bucket for them to dump their Legos into. I set a timer for 4 minutes (you could adjust according to the age of the kids playing) and they got as many Legos as they could without dropping them.

After the timer went off, I had the kids count how many Legos were in the buckets, and the winners got a prize (I reassured the kids that every kid would get to win a prize by the end of the party).

We also played the M&M game with straws and Lego pieces instead of M&Ms. (The idea is to use the straw to create suction and pick up Lego bricks for a minute or two. The winner is the one with the most pieces when the timer goes off. Make sure the pieces are large enough to be picked up this way and won’t be a choking hazard!)

I combined the snack time with the Lego car activity. The kids spent more time doing these things than I expected, and really seemed to enjoy building their cars.  They all got relatively similar pieces, but the cars were very distinct and unique from each other.  I loved watching their creativity.  After they finished building, we went outside to the ramp my husband put together with some wood and sheets of plastic propped up on a sawhorse. Each child raced their car against another, and everyone got prizes.

I thought Lego friendship bracelets would be a fun craft that boys and girls would each enjoy, and although the kids needed a lot of help, they all seemed to think it was a pretty cool activity.  They even realized they could carry around their Lego cars stuck to the bracelets. :)  We followed this tutorial from The Centsible Life for Lego friendship bracelets. My husband went through our Lego stash and pulled a few pieces out, and drilled the holes pretty quickly.

I like to do cake and ice cream as the very last thing at birthday parties, so we sang “Happy Birthday and passed out the cupcakes after the presents were open. (I will share the delicious dairy- free recipes I used in a later post!)

My son was thrilled with how his party turned out, and all the kids stayed busy enough that there were no squabbles, and no chaos, so I was happy too!

How To Distress Paint Like A Pro {Vaseline Method}

I love distressing the furniture and decor in my home. It is one of my all-time favorite things to do, especially when I’m putting a fresh coat of paint on something. I’m obsessed with farmhouse, shabby chic, chippy, vintage and antique looking decor. They are so fun!

Before, when I would distress anything, I would use sandpaper to rub down the paint. But this usually required a lot of elbow grease. Plus, it was messy and sometimes hurt the raw wood if I sanded too much.

Well put down that sandpaper, my friends, because I have found a much better and easier solution to distressing… The Vaseline method! I know what you are probably thinking… “Vaseline, what? Are you crazy?” The answer is YES! Because believe it or not, this actually works like a charm. I, too, had my doubts at first. But the results will make you ooh and ahh for days, I promise!

I started with a boring old frame that I didn’t care too much for. I wanted to give it a pop of color and lately I’ve been adding this fun turquoise to our home. I applied a coat of Vaseline where I wanted the frame to look worn down {all the edges, all corners, and a few random spots}. Next I painted over it and the whole frame. Once the paint dried, I took an old rag and wiped down the entire thing. It wipes off the Vaseline and creates the ultimate distressed look.

If you want to protect the paint from chipping more, I would suggest applying a protective top coat to your project {polyurethane}. But since this is just a frame, I didn’t worry about it too much.

Now you can ooh and ahh over your masterpiece for days. :)

You can also check out what other fun projects I’ve been up to on my other blog Drill Bits and Oven Mitts!

                          

 

Meet Heather

Hey guys–Heather here! I’m another sister of the Homebodies. You may remember me from the amazing wedding cake/cupcakes Marissa and my other sisters made for my wedding, along with the beautiful rose bouquets and boutonnieres. You can view their post about it here.

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A little background about me… I’m a first time mommy of 1 {my precious little boy} and a wife to my handsome hubster. Tayler and I met and fell in love at Brigham Young University–Idaho in 2011, and were married 5 months later. We moved to Washington last year, had our baby boy, and are absolutely loving being parents.

I have always found joy in crafting and sewing… and pretty much all things “homemakey”. I have discovered, lately, that building furniture my passion. I love the feeling of making something from scratch with your own two hands, which is why I also love spending time in the kitchen baking. I love refinishing and distressing furniture and decor. I love my family, painting, vintage and farmhouse decor, and all things DIY.

Decorating on a budget is one of my ultimate goals. I’m not always perfect at it, but I love to look for good deals on ways to beautify my home. Turning old things into new again is one way I curb my hunger for buying new things.

I am nowhere near perfect at what I do, but I love attempting to be a good homemaker and striving to be the best mama I can be for my little munchkin. I also love learning and trying out new recipes and tutorials from other fellow bloggers!

You can also check out what other fun stuff I’ve been up to on my other blog Drill Bits and Oven Mitts! And when I’m not blogging, I also sell digital prints on Etsy. Check out my shop Christensen Digitals!