The Craft Patch

The Craft Patch

The Craft Patch

Crafts, Home Decor, DIY's and Recipes

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Cutest Crochet Baby Dress You Ever Did See

I am so excited to show you the latest crochet project I've been working on. I crocheted my very first baby dress!

It might just be one of the cutest things I've ever made. I love how it turned out! *Squeal* 

As you can see, just the bodice part of the dress is crocheted and the bottom half is fabric. This solves a lot of the problems associated with crochet dresses: it's not see-through so it doesn't need a slip and little baby toes won't get stuck in the stitches!

For the bodice, I used one skein of Sugar and Cream in the color Tangerine [aff. link]. The skirt fabric is from Joann. It's the perfect vintage floral with a subtle polka dot background and the colors are divine. I am already scheming up another project because I want to use this fabric again!

The pattern says the dress is 6-9 month size, and I agree. The original pattern suggested making a circle skirt, but I chose to do a gathered skirt instead. It was just a personal preference (okay, okay... I'm lazy and thought a gathered skirt would be much easier).

Here's a little peak at the back:

I used two vintage pearly buttons from my stash to close up the neckline.

And here's the real showstopper... my adorable niece modeled the dress for me. GAH! She is so stinkin' cute!

If those pics don't make you want to crochet, I don't know what will. Ha!

The Folksy Flower Dress is available courtesy of Dewdrop Designs. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

DIY Farmhouse Shelf Tutorial + A Bathroom Refresh

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DesignedMega #CollectiveBias

Now that my kids are heading back to school (can I get a big hallelujah?!), I am going room by room through the house cleaning, organizing and decorating. Can you relate? Summer has been a whirlwind, so I'm excited to get things whipped back into shape around here.

Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom of the post... you don't want to miss the chance to enter the Target gift card giveaway!

Anyway, I'm really excited to share the building plans for a cute farmhouse shelf that I hung in my bathroom as part of a whole bathroom refresh.

Let's look back in time at this bathroom shall we? When we moved into the house, it looked like this:

Womp womp. It was just... so... sad.

After building a new mirror surround, refreshing the tile grout, changing out the hardware and painting, the bathroom looked like this:

So much better, right?

Well, since that photo was taken, my toddler spilled nail polish on the bath mat and my older kids broke one leg off the giant clock. I also realized that the blue shower curtain was too opaque to let any light from the window through, so I had to leave it open all the time, which bugged me. Life.

Time for a room refresh, wouldn't you say?

I'd been wanting a shelf in here, so I enlisted my in-house carpenter to build one for me. Once again, I came up with a crazy idea and he figured out how to build it. I sure did luck out in the husband department.

I love how it turned out. It's farmhouse perfection! Here's a little close up of that amazing barn wood:

Our shelf is 46" long, but you can easily customize yours to any length.

Farmhouse Shelf Tutorial

To build your own farmhouse shelf, you will need:

1" x 8" x 6' pine board
Two pieces of 1" x 4" x 8' barn wood
belt sander
table saw
wood glue
screws and screwdriver/drill
corbel template HERE
blue ceramic knobs (from Target)

Begin by cutting the 1" x 8" and the 1" x 4" in equal lengths.  We made our shelf 46" long.  Anything much longer and you may need to buy more wood

Next use the remainder of the 1" x 8" to cut two side pieces. The length of the side pieces is determined by the height of the remaining pieces. For us that meant 3/4" (the nominal thickness of the 1"x"8") plus the width of the 3 1"x4" pieces 10-1/2"(3 pieces each 3-1/2" in width equals 10-1/2"). Added together the length of the sides pieces is 11-1/4".

After cutting the side pieces to length we then used a dado blade set to rabbet two edges of each side piece. The rabbet was 3/8" in depth and 3/4" wide. Be careful during this step. It is a common mistake to make each side the same. Instead, the sides need to be mirror images. You do not want to end up with two left hand side pieces or two right hand side pieces.  You need one of each.

As you can see from all the pencil lines on the wood below, we experimented with several different designs before we arrived at a style we liked. If you have a french curve, or if you can freehand a pretty design, go for it!  If you would rather save time, just use the template from up above. Should you choose to do it yourself it is important to remember the curve must meet the bottom of the side with at least 3/4 of an inch remaining to allow for the back pieces.  Likewise, the front curve must leave at least 1-1/2" to allow for the front of the shelf. 

When cutting out the curves remember to cut just outside the line.  A jigsaw will leave the edge a bit rough.  After cutting out the curve use a belt sander to sand down to the line. (Quick tip: if you clamp the two side pieces together while sanding, you will end up with the exact same curve on both)  When using the belt sander hold the sander stationary and manipulate the wood to sand down to the line.

These next pictures show how the shelf is assembled.  Glue and nail each edge.  Wipe clean any glue with a slightly damp rag.  Any raised grain that results from the damp rag can be sanded later.

Next we used a scrap piece of wood to cut a 3/4" x 3/4" piece which we glued and clamped to the front of the shelf to create a little lip.  It isn't necessary, but we felt the thicker look added a little something extra.

Last we used wood filler on some holes and gaps and did some finish sanding.  Then the shelf was ready for a coat of white chalk paint.

Want to know something funny? We actually built this shelf thinking that we would hang it the opposite direction, like this:

I think it's super cute that way, but when it was all built, we realized we could add knobs to the barn wood part and hang the towels right on it instead of just mounting it above the towel bar that was in there. So we turned it upside down and wha-la! I love happy accidents! I think it's cute either way, so I guess you can choose which one works best for you!

To hang the shelf,  we screwed straight through the barn wood into the studs. Then it was time to get the rest of the room looking good. So I went to Target, naturally, because really... Target = Cuteness and you all know I'm right.

I picked out a shower curtain first and let it guide the rest of my choices.

Can I just say I love this shower curtain? It's like a giant vintage flour sack dish towel and I love the fringe.

A new rug, new soap dispensers and some cute accessories, and this bathroom is looking great again! I can't wait to send those kids off to school and enjoy some peace and quiet in here.

The final touch of luxury for our bathroom refresh was upgrading our toilet paper to Quilted Northern®. Their Ultra Soft and Strong Mega Rolls mean I change the roll 4x less often than a normal roll, and since no one else in this house knows how to change the toilet paper roll, that's luxury for me right there, baby. Sometimes it's the small things in life.

I picked up everything for this refresh (minus the lumber) from Target. The toilet paper was located in the health and beauty section, right on an end cap. Most everything else was in the home decor aisles.

I found this wooden trough bowl in the dish aisle at Target. Isn't it the perfect way to keep spare rolls handy? I love the look of it, even if it wasn't meant to be in the bathroom.

So there we go. A new-feeling bathroom without any major remodeling. Thank goodness for that! What are you working on now that the kids are back in school?

If you're headed to Target, there's a Cartwheel coupon available for Quilted Northern Ultra Soft & Strong Mega Rolls HERE. Boo-yah! 

And how about a little gift card giveaway to Target so you can refresh your bathroom too? Enter using the widget below. Good luck!

#DesignedMega Bathroom Refresh Quilted Northern Sweepstakes

Thursday, August 11, 2016

8 Places You'll Love Visiting on Your Trip to Boston

My husband and I had the fantastic opportunity to travel to Boston last Fall. It is a gorgeous city full of Revolutionary War history, quaint architecture and New England culture. We loved our Boston vacation!

If you're planning a trip to Boston, here are a few places you will definitely want to visit:

1. The Freedom Trail. This is the most popular tourist attraction in Boston. The walking trail begins in Boston Common and takes you past the main American Revolution historical sites.

Boston Common

The Freedom Trail is clearly marked by red bricks or red painted lines running down the sidewalk.

There is a ton of information available about The Freedom Trail, so I'll keep my review brief. It took us about 6 hours to see all of the sights. Most of the sites are free, but some require a few dollars to enter certain buildings. I really liked THIS and THIS site that go into all of the nitty gritty details about the trail. We did NOT get a tour guide and I don't feel like we missed out... we just looked up information on our phone as we went. My only advice would be to wear really really comfortable shoes because you will walk a ton.

Granary Burying Ground, Boston MA

Inside the Old North Church

Paul Revere Statue and the Old North Church

Paul Revere's Home

I do suggest taking time to tour the Massachusetts State House. Free tours are available on weekdays and are hosted by local volunteers. My tour guide had the best Boston accent and knew so many cool things about the history and architecture of the building. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip! For more info on taking a tour of the State House, THIS is the official website.

Massachusetts State House

Inside the Massachusetts State House

I would also suggest timing your walk along the Freedom Trail so that you end up in Little Italy near dinner time. We ate at Giacomo's, where they specialize in Italian seafood dishes. It's always busy and the dining area is super small, so people wait in line outside for a table. It was a memorable experience to be smooshed up next to complete strangers and the food was SO good.

2. Bunker Hill Monument. After touring the main sites on the Freedom Trail, you can continue along the trail walking across the bridge to the Bunker Hill Monument. You have the option of taking the stairs to the top and I recommend it whole-heartedly. My quads were burning and I was sweaty when we reached the top, but the views were unparalleled. So worth it!

Bunker Hill Monument

After visiting Bunker Hill, we walked back through Little Italy and snagged cannolis from Mike's Pastry and Modern Pastry to take back to our hotel. These two pastry shops both claim they have the best cannolis, so we decided to get a couple from each to see who we thought was better. The verdict? We liked them both! Ha!

3. Harvard Yard. (or should I say, "Hah-vahd Yahd") Harvard was founded in 1636 (that just blows my mind!) and is the oldest college in America. It is steeped with culture, history and tradition and is a really neat place to visit. I would recommend taking a free student-led tour to get the most out of your visit because there are so many fascinating stories about the buildings and people who graduated from Harvard. Get info on the tours HERE.

We got really lucky and happened to visit Harvard on a regatta race day. Talk about the ultimate preppy sport. It was SO cool and iconic to see the rowers racing down the Charles River.

We ate dinner at a local student dive called Pinocchio's Pizza. The pizza was amazing and the Italian family that has been running the joint for decades were really friendly and fun. We also heard a lot of good things about Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage and wanted to eat there, but it was closed the day we visited Harvard.

4. Salem, Mass. Another really cool thing we did on our trip was taking a ferry ride from Boston Harbor along the coast to Salem, Massechussetts. The ferry ride itself was gorgeous. We hugged the coast and saw so many beautiful scenes.

Boston from the Harbor

You can easily get to Salem using public transportation (for a small extra fee) if you don't want to splurge on a ferry ride.

Because we visited in October, Salem was in full-blown Halloween mode. Salem is famous for the Salem Witch Trials and so there's a lot of witch stuff there. At Halloween time, there are street vendors and a carnival-like atmosphere. The voodoo magic shops are strange and the people-watching is even stranger, but we're really glad we went. It was so interesting! Even if you don't have the unique opportunity to visit Salem during the Halloween season, it is still a charming seaside town full of quaint old buildings and was a major shipping port back in the day, so there is a lot of history and charm.

Witch House in Salem

We stopped to get a treat at Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie, the oldest candy company in America. They specialize in old-fashioned candy and it was a perfect place to get a little mid-day snack. I got a caramel turtle that was divine.

A view of the Custom House from the dock in Salem

For dinner in Salem, we asked a local where he would go to get the best burger in town and he suggested Major Magleashes Pub. It's a total dive bar with awesome burgers at awesome prices. Our burgers did not disappoint! They were thick and juicy and just what we had a hankerin' for. This restaurant is off the beaten path, but just a short walk from the main tourist areas. If dive bars aren't your thing, there are several upscale seafood restaurants along the water's edge that I thought looked fun to try.

5. Plymouth and Cape Cod. One of the days that my husband had to attend some meetings, I rented a car and drove myself to Plymouth and then on to Cape Cod.

When I was researching our trip to Boston, everyone said, "DO NOT DRIVE." So what did I do? I rented a car and drove! I will say that Boston is hands-down the hardest place I've ever driven. Do not even attempt it without a really good GPS system. If you do bring a car, know that parking is expensive. If you are staying in Boston and not venturing to outlying areas, you really don't need a car. Boston is a walking city! The public transportation, nicknamed The T, is really good, safe and cheap. We bought a week-long pass for about $20 and only had to catch a cab once, to the airport, because our flight left at the awful hour of 5am and the subway couldn't get us there in time. Get info about the subway HERE.

If you work up the nerve to rent a car and drive it through the crazy maze that is Boston, know that the white-knuckle driving will only last until you get out of the city limits. Then it's not bad at all. It's a scenic drive from Boston to Plymouth. Being a western girl through and through, I've never seen so many beautiful trees!

Once you safely arrive in Plymouth, you'll definitely want to visit Plymouth Rock, the site where the Mayflower landed. Then the rest of the sites are really up to you. There are a lot of Pilgrim themed museums and things to choose from. I dropped in at the Visitor's Center and the volunteers there were so helpful. I would recommend stopping in for a free map and a chat to help you decide what you want to see.

Plymouth Rock

Jenny's Pond, Plymouth Mass.

Beautiful church in Plymouth, Mass.

After visiting Plymouth, I kept driving to Cape Cod. Since it was October, it was the off-season and most of the touristy stores and attractions were closed, but it was still worth seeing.

Nauset Lighthouse, Cape Cod

Old Higgins Farm Windmill

Even though it was too cold to swim, the beaches were still beautiful and there were so many picturesque sights. I LOVED Cape Cod and want to visit again in the summer so I can go beach hopping and actually swim. I have heard that it can get very congested on the weekends in the summer, so plan accordingly.

Boardwalk in Sandwich, Mass

6. Copley Square. Copley Square is a historic area in Boston that features three main attractions: The Boston Public Library, Trinity Church and Old South Church. I was a little unsure about visiting the public library. After all, we have a public library back home. Well, not like THIS one! It is full of ornate architecture, gorgeous statues and surprises around every corner. Take a few minutes and wander around this amazing building.

Trinity Church is also an architectural wonder and was even named one of the ten most architecturally significant buildings in the United States. The stained glass windows were astounding and for $7 each we were able to take a self-tour of the building, which included a map that explained the stories behind each window. HERE is info on the tour.

Old South Church was a significant place during the Revolutionary War, thanks to the Sons of Liberty, whose meetings there were precursors to the Boston Tea Party. When we visited, someone was practicing the big, powerful organ in the chapel and the music was so beautiful it brought me to tears. There are no guided tours that I know of, but the building is open during normal hours and it is definitely worth stopping in to see (and hopefully catch an impromptu organ concert!)

7. Boston Museum of Fine Art. If you are an art lover, the Boston MFA was top notch.

When I visited, I was able to see paintings by the likes of Monet, Renoir, and Cezanne. There was a huge range of exhibits... everything from mummies to Roman statues to crazy modern stuff. The MFA also features a few recreations of historic rooms decorated according to certain time periods. They were one of my favorite parts of the museum! I spent about 6 hours there and saw pretty much everything. You could spend two or three hours there and just hit the highlights if you can't commit to an entire day. There is a cafeteria and a restaurant in the museum if you get hungry, but they were a little on the pricey side.

8. One last suggestion of something to do in Boston... take a walk through some residential neighborhoods. Even an "average" street in Boston is brimming with architecture, history and culture. One afternoon I decided to go on a little walk through the neighborhood behind our hotel. It was beautiful!

Beacon Hill is a fantastic place to meander through jaw-dropping neighborhoods. It's kind of fun to just walk around with no destination and be surprised by what you can find.

Acorn Street, Boston

Louisburg Square on Beacon Hill

I would whole-heartedly recommend Boston as a travel destination. I loved the rich history, the beautiful New England foliage, the architecture and the food. It was a wonderful place to visit!