Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guest Post: Renee Marchol - Lights & Lamps

I'm excited to have Renee today to do a guest post from AffordableLamps.com she has some great insight for thrift shopping for lamps and tips when in the market for some new lighting. 

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I walk to the Jewish Council Thrift Store daily, during my lunch break, to check out home lighting. When I go thrifting, I pay close attention to advice from Babble.com’s top mommy blogs: MotherLode, DesignMom, and ParentHacks. Also, I think of Thrifting Pro Rashon Carraway of Mr.Goodwill Hunting as Mr. Miyagi, a great teacher.


As a home lighting specialist, this is my best tip. Bring light bulbs when you go thrifting. Specifically, carry 100 Watt  E 3-way and 150 Watt A21 Medium base 3-way incandescent bulbs. Vintage table lamps not be able to handle modern CFLs. Reputable thrift store clerks will let you test out the light fixture by plugging it into an outlet before you make your purchase.

Tips:
1. Bring light bulbs: 150 Watt A21 Medium Base 3-way bulbs and 3-Way E 100 Watt bulbs
2. Plug it in to inspect the fixture at the thrift store
3. For hanging lights, you may be better off buying new

What else do I have to share about decorating with home lighting? Use tall narrow table lamps called buffet lamps during the holidays so that your lighting doesn’t get in the way of vegan entrees or sugar-free desserts. Secondly, try pendant lighting for the kitchen bar. Thirdly, experiment with multi-pendant lights or drum pendants over a kitchen island.

I confess that I did a crazy standing ovation when I read that Thrifter Motherlode found a Vintage Lightolier Lamp from Japan for $15! It was also a win for the thrifting community when Rashon Carraway displayed his $2 upcycled table lamp.

What if you are unable to inspect a hanging light such as a chandelier at the store? Buy new pendant lighting fixtures on discount as a solution to your overhead lighting problem. Why buy new? Fewer problems. You have a two-year warranty through the manufacturer and retailer when you buy through our online lighting retailer. Exchange it, without paying shipping fees, if you receive a pendant light with a defective wire. Active, modern families can avoid dangling doodads for toddlers to grab if parents choose pendants over chandeliers. 


What if you want to serve Hot Toddy cocktails to the grown ups? Select vibrant glass monopoint pendant lights from our discount collection for your kitchen bar. This is a cheap way to create an upsclale-looking home bar.


What if you really miss the chandelier look? Multi pendant lighting fixtures give you the varying heights that chandeliers do, without toddler-enticing piece. You can use these or traditional kitchen island lighting. We sell a multi-color, multi pendant light by the well-known lighting manufacturer, Lite Source, for under $60. Julienne carrots safely under these direct lights! Decorate you eating areas with contemporary drum pedants and hang them 18” over your low Japanese style dining table or a standard Western kitchen table. I favor the drum pendants by Lite Source Lighting and Access Lighting with retro funk design, polished steel, acrylic and glass for less than $200 at AffordableLamps.com.


Happy Holidays!


Renee Marchol is a thrifter and home lighting blogger for Affordablelamps.com, an online lighting retailer.

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If you're in the market for some new lamps be sure to check out AffordableLamps.com & if you call in your order get 12% off your entire order through January 1st, 2012.  Mention discount code - "pbj"

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Guest Post: Design Build Love DIY Headboard!

I'm happy to have Ashley here today to show an amazing DIY tutorial!!! If you're in the market for a new headboard be sure to check this out for an a great step by step how to do your own.
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Hi y'all, I'm Ashley and I blog over at Design Build Love!


I'm super excited to be guest blogging for Pamela today! We actually decided to do a bit of a blog swap since we both have tons going on this month and thought it would be a great opportunity to share our blogs with other bloggers and introduce our followers to some amazing blogging friends! Her amazing post was part of my "Favorite Things" series and I couldn't believe the amount of favorites we shared- too crazy!!! Since Pamela's blog is known for its amazing tutorials, I thought I would share my most recent DIY build... a custom upholstered headboard for our guest bedroom/home office!

When I first saw upholstered headboards floating around the blogosphere, I thought... I want to make one of those! Then reality smacked me in the face... I literally didn't have the tools I needed to make the headboard, so as soon as I had the opportunity, I bought them! Nothing was going to stand between me and creating the headboard of my dreams! Just kidding... well, kinda...

After I bought a jigsaw and a staple gun, it was go time! We made a quick trip to the the fabric store to pick up some batting, and another stop at Lowe's to grab the plywood... and we were ready to go! This is what it took to git r' done:
  • fabric of choice (mine was actually an extra curtain panel from an Ikea set)
  • batting (or foam of your choice)
  • plywood
  • jigsaw
  • staple gun
  • tape measure
  • spray adhesive
  • pencil
  • string
  • mounting hardware (we opted for our personal fave... a Hangman system)
That's it! Not bad. I really thought it would take crazy supplies to create a headboard, but it really doesn't! And this was our process:

1. pick a headboard design that you love! I pinned a ton of inspiration on my Pinterest to help sort out all of the different headboards I loved! We finally settled on a simple but shapely design

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2. lay out your plywood and trace the desired design onto the plywood. For symmetry, we used a tape measure, string, and pencil, giving us a perfectly uniform design

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3. after the design is all drawn out, make your cuts!

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4. dust off all excess sawdust remaining on the plywood

5. lay batting on cut plywood to desired thickness

6. adhere batting to wood with spray adhesive

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7. trim batting down to size to allow for the batting to fold to other side and be stapled with fabric- this is a total pain in the butt if you don't have sharp scissors... so make sure you do!!!

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8. place batting covered plywood on ground

9. "arrange" fabric over the plywood and batting until pattern is aligned properly (if you have patterned fabric- if not, just make sure you have ample fabric on each side before you cut)

10. trim fabric, allowing for 2.5+ inches of extra fabric on each side. This allows for folding the fabric over the back and stapling to secure

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11. carefully flip headboard over so that fabric side is face-down, being certain not to shift the fabric

12. begin stapling one edge and work your way around the headboard (we started with the bottom and worked our way to the top

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13. make sure to trim away any excess fabric at the corners to ensure a more flush finish (I think he was attempting to "threaten" me for taking his picture one more time... buah hah hah!!!)

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14. once fully stapled, flip over the board to see your finished results!

Then, using our handy hangman system, we popped ours on the wall! And just like that, my headboard dreams became a reality! :)

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In the near future, I expect to be adding some button tufting to this bad boy! Here's the preliminary layout we're thinking... so stay tuned!

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Thanks to Pamela for letting me blog-crash! I hope y'all will stop by our blog for a visit and let us know that PB&J Stories sent ya! We'd love to have you!

~Ashley
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Absolutely LOVE it!  Thank you again Ashley for sharing!  Be sure to leave her some lovely comments and even head over to her blog and check out her other amazing projects and adorable blog.

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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Jackson's Corner {10} Christmas Memories

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

He was a minute old his first Christmas.

 And I was a tired new momma.
 
A year old and not a fan of his new winter hat.
 But he was a fan of all the presents!
 Two years old and our first Christmas in VA ... and we brought the snow from MN with us.

And he loved it.

This year will probably be my favorite with Jackson so far.  He screams Santa every time we see one, and has been asking for a snowman for the last month.  He sings the Christmas songs and can't wait to open all his presents.


I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas & holiday and being shared with loved ones and friends.  I am lucky to be back in MN with family and friends and surrounded by lots of love.  I am missing my husband terribly but we did get to Skype yesterday which was the best Christmas gift of all.
Merry Christmas to everyone! Happy Holidays!

Was Santa good to you?

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Guest Post: My Third True Love - Christmas Family Ornaments

Today we have one of my FAVORITE bloggy friends Ali from My Third True Love! Take it away Ali!
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Hi PB&J readers, I'm Ali and I blog over at My Third True Love! I love all things creative and crafty and Christmas is by far my favorite time of year. I'm actually going to share with you a craft I did last year, but I was reminded of how much I love the outcome when I was decorating my tree this year. Here's goes!!
"NEVER rip books! NEVER." I can hear my mom's voice echoing in my ears as I type those words. That was her mantra when I was growing up. "Books are precious gifts and they are NEVER supposed to be treated badly." Well, here I sit, a grown woman - BREAKING THE RULES!! Ha ha. Ok, in my defense, I got this stack of old children's book FREE at the library's used bookstore. FREE. So I gave myself permission to treat the books "badly" and give them a new life. Actually, I am not treating them badly after all. I'm saving these sad old books from the trash and reinventing them into holiday decor. You know, like Phoebe saving the dead trees from the chipper and letting them fulfill their X-mas destiny in her living room (ps, did you know that everything in life at one time or another relates to FRIENDS). Ok, getting way off track.

Apparently book pages and sheet music are "all the rage" this holiday season, so I thought I would get on the bandwagon. I decided to make ornaments, but I also think these would make really pretty gift toppers. As you continue reading, you will see the faint outline of a blog "tutorial." I put the word tutorial in quotes because I-am-awful at it. I see so many wonderful tutorials on various blogs like right here on PB&J and they make the instructions of their project look so clear and easy. For some reason, I can't get coordinated enough to make it work. So, you'll have to bear with me.
Ok. First, tear out the pages of the book that don't have illustrations on at least one side. It's ok if there are pictures on the back, you just need one side with only words. Next, fold the pages into little accordions. Some people are very precise about this and have a scoring-board and bone folder. Not me, I just wing-it.


To make a circle, I used 3 pages. Once they were folded into accordions, I folded them each in half.
Then I glued all of the ends together to make 3 fans. After that, I glued the 3 fans together to make a circle. I used my glue gun for this because it dries fast and holds well.
oooooohh. Aaahhhhhhhh.
A while back I bought this pack of white circles from Michael's. It was $1 and I knew they would come in handy for something. The small & medium sizes were perfect for this project.
Trace the circle on to a book page and cut it out (see people, in order to get this shot, I had to hold the pencil with my left hand and take the pic with my right. As you can see by the way I'm holding the the thing, I'm clearly not ambidextrous). Tutorials = HARD.


Next, I got a bit distracted and started making paper chains out of the extra pages. Isn't it cute!? This will look dandy on my X-mas tree. I know, I know. Focus.
Uh-oh. This is when my "tutorial" totally fell apart. I was so busy crafting I forgot to take pics of the remaining steps. The next thing I knew, my ornaments were done. At least it isn't rocket science and of course you know that you can always contact me if you have questions ;)


Taa-daa!!! Aren't they charming!? I really love how they came out. I basically printed out some pics of my kiddos on regular printer paper, mod podged them to the circles that were already covered in book pages (I will skip the mod podge next time. It's not really necessary and the colors from my pics ran a bit - just fyi), and hot glued the whole thing to the accordion circle. I added a bit of glitter glue around the edges of the pictures, and added a ribbon hanger to the back with hot glue. Wallah! Pretty pretties :)


 I made a bunch more and hung them on my pretty Christmas tree. I will LOVE these for years to come!!!
Here's a bigger shot of the tree :)

Pretty?? PRETTY!!!!
Thanks SO much Pamela for letting me guest post on your awesome blog! I hope you liked this craft, and if I don't seem too crazy for you, come on over and say hi at My Third True Love :)
Happy Holidays everyone!!!


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How great were those ornaments?! So cute!!! I just love her tree it's so colorful and full of life. LOVE IT. Thanks again Ali!
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Guest Post: Two Friends, Two Cities and TWO tutorials!

I'm so excited to have Carrie & Angie guest posting today!  These ladies are some of my favorite I've met in blogger world and love that they collaborate together on their blog. 
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Merry Christmas everyone! Thank you Pamela for inviting us over to your blog home for the day! We are the creative team behind Two Friends, Two Cities and our vintage shop, Lizzie + Luckett.

Carrie is a wife and mom to a 9 year old daughter and 3 year old son. I have a background in international marketing and textbook publishing, but when my precious daughter was born in 2002, I left it all behind. Now my days are filled with homework, driving to dance, playing Batman and cooking up easy family meals. When I'm not being ‘mommy’, you can usually find me taking pictures, painting something, or searching thrift stores for furniture. My love for vintage pieces has always been there, and I feel I’ve always been an old soul. Over the past few years, I’ve completely transformed my home from the ‘normal Texas home d├ęcor’ to an airy and vintage charmer that I love coming home too. Finding unique ways to refresh furniture and design crafts is my passion and somewhat of my obsession. It’s hard for me to look at something and buy it. I always tell myself “I can make that!” And in most cases, I do. My garage is proof...it is a disaster most of the time and I love it. I adore my husband, cherish my children, and love a good can of paint!

Angie just moved to San Antonio, Texas and is married to a tall handsome Mexican and mom to two fuzzy faced Havanese dogs named Oscar and Arnold. After having a successful career and owning an accounting business, I gave it all away 8 months ago for hopeful dreams of starting over in the design world. It was a scary decision but I decided life was too short to waste anymore years sitting in front of a computer 12 hours a day working on taxes and financial reports. I haven't regretted it. I now spend all my time in bliss working on furniture and crafts and looking quite sexy with paint on my face and wood chips in my hair. I couldn't be happier! I originally grew up in a tiny town that was known as the BBQ capital of Texas. I loved my little town and rural upbringing but life dramatically changed for me. Due to my husband's and my prior career, I have traveled significantly and even lived in many places including Los Angeles and Mexico. Because of that exposure I love and appreciate many different design styles including mid-century modern, Spanish, vintage, industrial and glam. My house is one big eclectic mesh of it all and it's my idea of perfect!

Two Friends Two Cities came about after a girls weekend several years ago. We began talking about things we were doing to our homes, furniture we were refinishing, and our dreams for the future. We started sharing our projects via text messages and on a random texting conversation, the idea of a blog came about. At first, the blog was mainly for us to share our ideas and projects in one place. It was really never meant for anyone else to see, let alone read. As the wheels starting spinning, Two Friends Two Cities came to life and we haven’t looked back. Sharing our projects and our lives has become one of our greatest joys. We have fun. We’ve met some amazing women who are encouraging, funny, and inspirational. And we have found ourselves along the way. This is our love, our fun, our lives and we are grateful to be able to share our different perspectives on life. We have varying design aesthetics yet we meet in the middle in the most perfect way. We think our blog is unique to the core for the simple reason: we are two friends who live in two different cities yet our love for creative and fun design brought us together. Our new project, Lizzie + Luckett, is a place to find vintage inspired pieces to fill your home. We hope you come by to say HI!

For the last minute holiday rush, here are 2 different projects that are super easy and would make great last minute gifts!

Angie's Reversible Fabric Wine Bag

Gift bags for wine bottles can be expensive so I started making my own. I discovered that it was easy and after the wine is gone, the bags can be repurposed for other things. I use one of my favorite wine bags as a cover for my flat iron when traveling. It keeps the hot iron from burning the contents of my luggage when packing in a hurry.

Making your own is not only easy but it's a great way to use up scrap fabric. This tutorial will illustrate how to make a completely reversible wine bag...


when flipped inside out, it has a completely different look.


Start with two pieces of fabric: one 15"x18" and the other 15"x14". I will refer to these two pieces as the long piece and the short piece.

I chose a piece of coffee bag for the short piece and a red printed canvas for the long piece.


Fold both pieces in half on the 15" side (with the good sides facing inside).


Sew each piece on two sides creating a pocket.


Then flip only the short piece, right side out.


Stuff the short piece inside the long piece until the raw edges meet up.


Sew the raw edges together only 2/3 of the way around the circle.


Now flip the burlap bag right side out, using the hole (the 1/3 portion of the circle that wasn't sewn together).


Then insert the long piece inside the short piece.


Blind stitch by hand the small remaining hole.

Now you have one wine bag holder with two different looks!


(If desired, a tie can be made by using a fabric strip 4.5"x 15". Sew two sides of the fabric with the good sides facing in. Then flip inside out and hand sew remaining end closed.)

Carrie's Chocolate Cookie Cutters

Who doesn't love good chocolate and a pretty cookie cutter?

Take chocolate bark, various cookie cutters, and candies:

chocolate cookie cutter treats gifts

Melt your chocolate either over a double boiler or in microwave. I chose the microwave, starting at 30 seconds, then stir, then 15 second intervals until melted:


Pour into cookie cutters that are on parchment paper:



Add your candies:


Let stand for a few minutes to set. Once set, the cookie cutters easily lift off the parchment paper. Parchment paper is God's gift to bakers!


Place in clear treat bags, add a ribbon and tag...and you have a simple yet pretty gift in literally less than 20 minutes. I made 2 dozen while my 3 year old napped.


Happy holidays everyone! We wish you a very Merry Christmas!

xoxo,
Angie and Carrie @twofriendstwocities

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I'm totally loving those wine bags and wanting some of those chocolates pronto!  Very cute!
Thanks again Angie & Carrie!  Be sure to check out their blog if you're not already a follower!
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