Oct 30

DECOR8RgirlHi everyone! My name is Melinda Hileman (aka DECOR8Rgirl). You may know me from Dollar Store Crafts. I’m the one who posts things from Iron Craft and the crazy holiday roundups.

What you might not know about me is that I’m the owner of Hileman Design; a graphic/web design, public relations and desktop publishing company of one. I also have two shops – Grounding Stones Jewelry and DECOR8Rgirl on Etsy. Grounding Stones Jewelry has wire-wrapped earrings, necklaces, pendants and bracelets while DECOR8Rgirl has accessories, jewelry and office items. Check them both out!

On the personal side, I graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications focused in Public Relations, a focus in English and a certificate in Digital Arts and Culture. I live in the Jacksonville, FL area with my husband Ross and our rottweiler Kona. We don’t have any kids since Kona is enough of a handful. You’ll see her in some of my roundups and crafts since she’s a constant source of amusement around here.

I hope that I can bring you guys some awesome craft and DIY projects and I can learn as much from you as you do from me!

May 10

I am so bad at making my house a home. While I’m good at doing homey activities (like baking cookies and making homemade playdough for my kiddos), I am terrible at keeping order and decorating, and generally making the place feel cozy. I have a huge mental block when it comes to decorating.

So, I am very proud of myself for finally doing a little accessorizing in our new house (we moved in four months ago). First, I repainted this old bookshelf. It was built in by the original owner of our house, and then torn out when our landlords remodeled. It was stuck in the garage, but there’s this random little nook next to the fireplace that just looked odd without a shelf, so I repainted the old shelf (with this dark brown paint I had left over from another project). The shelf has been sitting on the porch for more than a week, being a general eyesore, so I finally dragged it in, put it back in its original corner, and moved all the DVDs onto it (I wanted to hide them in this dark corner).

I also added a couple random decorative knick-knacks that I made for Dollar Store Crafts. Honestly, they aren’t really my taste, but I don’t know if I actually have taste. I don’t have any other decorative items, so these will do! Anything intentional is better than nothing! I keep getting a happy thrill every time I see this put-together bookshelf, so I know that accessorizing must be a step in the right direction.

Here’s another little corner that is much improved. I put half a cheapo bookshelf (the bottom half broke, and I just kept the top – so Klassy!) near our front door so we’d have a place to keep shoes orderly (instead of in a nasty pile in the entryway). I hung up these two pictures my sister handed down to me in her last purge. Who cares what the pictures are of, like I said, ANYTHING is better than nothing. And, more dollar store knick-knacks (these are probably just temporary, though… don’t love them there like that).

Over at DSC, I wrote about my makeover of these midcentury mod chairs. Such a fun project! I stashbusted for the fabric, and I could not be happier about the red Moda cowboy fabric. For some reason I love cowboy stuff (okay, so I guess I do have taste… such random taste).

These small steps toward house decor have encouraged me greatly! I might actually have the courage to buy random stuff I like at Goodwill so I can put it around my house. Or, *gasp* clean up my clutter so I can enjoy a nicely-organized home. Let’s hope.

May 1

My experience with Stashbusting in April: I pretty much kept to the agreement, although I bought some Velcro and snaps on the 28th. The discipline of not buying helped me realize that sometimes I buy supplies as a form of escapism – I buy because I like to imagine myself making specific projects, but the actual work of making the projects is sometimes intimidating. (Not to mention the preparation and clean up of crafting).

Shopping from my stash: I’m a pretty lax person, so having a specific rule regarding purchasing was kind of refreshing! Disciplining myself to “shop” from my stash first was a good reminder that I should always shop my stash before heading to the store. I have so much fabric – I don’t know how I’ll ever use it all up! Also, I was able to reduce my stash a lot just by sending out ten super secret stash packages!

How I stashbusted
: I participated in a frugal swap on Craftster, so I channeled my stashbusting toward making stuff for my partner. She hasn’t received my package yet, so I’ll probably have at least one more stashbusting post in May so I can show off what I worked on.

Apr 29

Mother’s Day is such a different thing for me now that I’m a mom. Until you are a mom, you will never know how hard it was for your mom. This is a brutal job.

Having been on the kid end of Mother’s Day for over 30 years and recently stepping over the line onto the Mommy end of Mother’s Day, I have some new observations about this holiday!

As a kid, Mother’s Day was a day when I thought about what my mom meant to me, and tried to express it to my mom in one form or another, be it writing a note, making a card, or some other token of my love and affection. Kids love their moms, and Mother’s Day gives them a day to think about that fact.

Now that I’m a mom, Mother’s Day is a bittersweet day for me. Seriously. It’s a day of serious reflection — about things I do right, the millions of things I do wrong, the gravity of being the center of the universe for three little someones. I know my kids are loved and happy, which gives me hope that I’m not a total parenting failure, although I often feel like my parenting style is a constant stream of momfails.

Every person has a different experience, and there are different seasons in life, even when you’re a mom. I am in an intense time right now where I have three little boys, and the oldest is not even four years old yet! That’s a whole lotta little boy chaos going on!

I get frustrated because I spent a lot of years in my pre-kiddo adult life doing projects all the time. I like doing projects, and it is sooo hard to do them now. That doesn’t keep me from signing onto new projects, and creating new loads of unnecessary work for myself, of course. I guess I like a challenge. But, there is a huge list of things I want to do that I usually can’t squeeze into my day. I manage to write because I love it and it’s one of my primary driving forces, but many tasks go undone (cleaning house, cooking great meals, playing enough with the boys). Sometimes I’m not sure why I do that to myself!

I have never been a woman who has just wanted to be a mommy and that’s it.* I put off motherhood for the first almost-10 years of my marriage. Not because I didn’t want to be a mom, but because I wanted to make sure I was ready. For the record, I don’t think you can ever be totally ready! Being a parent is such an all-consuming, 24 hour-a-day, relentless job, and there is absolutely no way to prepare for it. It would make my life a lot easier, I think, if all I ever wanted to do was be a mommy. Being a mommy AND other things (writer, blogger, producer, crafter) is incongruous in a lot of ways, especially when your kids are small. I seriously fantasize about having a desk job so I can get stuff done!

Those of you on the other side of toddler town can probably tell me to hang in there. Don’t worry, I will. It’s just hard out there for a mom!

*It’s probably really unfair for me to assume that any woman out there only wants to be a mom. People aren’t that simple.

Mar 9

I came up with a couple more fun recycling ideas for you:

Thanks for sharing your favorite ways to reduce-reuse-recycle!

I have two winners for the color-coordinated scrap packs from SCRAP:

First number drawn was:

That’s Pam from Gingerbreadsnowflakes, the lady who sparked the whole Reducing post!

And, the second winner was:

Jenny, from Craft Test Dummies!

Thanks for participating. Even if you didn’t win, I really appreciate you entering and getting to know you a bit better! I can always use a few more crafty friends, can’t you?

Mar 8

If you’re a subscriber to this blog, you know I talk about the Knittn Kitten a lot – if you aren’t familiar, it’s a perfect mashup of Portlandness – a craft thrift store.

I stopped into the Kitten the other day to pick up some vintage ric rac (no better place to get it than KK!) and I saw that they have a good selection of St. Patrick’s Day fabric on their seasonal table.

My 3 year-old son had fun playing with the rack of to-play-with toys while I shopped.

Some lucky person can snag this Strawberry Shortcake purse for $4. Gothic lolita, yo!

And if I had a daughter, I would definitely want to pick this little poodle purse up for a dress-up box. I think it’s less than three bucks.

I was in and out of the store quickly, so I didn’t really take many photos, but I’m happy to report that the place was hoppin’ (and it was Wednesday afternoon). Hopefully the store’s business has picked up a bit.

I saw a new free pattern by Addie Pearl – a super cute sequined felt leaf.

If you are in Portland, check it out! If you’re not in Portland, come visit us, or download this free ebook of Knittn’ Kitten-inspired craft projects.

Mar 7
recycling at Burgerville – photo by MikZ

We’re used to recycling: paper, glass, aluminum, soda cans, plastic — we’ve even gotten used to the idea of composting (sometimes even at fast food restaurants). Reusing is easy — shopping at thrift stores isn’t a stretch, and we might even refill old yogurt containers with leftovers instead of using plastic wrap or a zip-top bag, or bring shopping bags to the grocery store to reuse again and again.

Some of us are more vigilant than others.

And most of us have forgotten the cardinal command of the 3 R’s: REDUCE. Sure, we reuse and recycle, but what about minimizing our need to do those things?

I'm giving away some recycled goodie packs for crafting goodness - see bottom of post for details

We’re Americans (I know not all of my readers are), and we do what we like to do and have been conditioned to do: consume! We buy things whenever we want them, usually with little regard to the waste generated by the simple process of unpackaging them, and without a thought to all the waste that went into making them and shipping them from factory to store.

So, reducing.

Pam at Gingerbreadsnowflakes has been saving her packaging for awhile. She is doing a series on making things out of trash, but she posted some photos of just how much she has saved and started a discussion on how much stuff we buy only to turn around and throw most of it (the packaging) away. Sure, we can reuse some of it, craft with some of it, but in all honesty, there’s more than we can reuse and we have to dispose of the rest.

Pam said it best:

And think about it – just how many oatmeal boxes, glass jars, tin cans, or plastic bottles can we realistically repurpose?

The answer seems to me to be – not very many and certainly not as many as pass through our hands in a years time.  Don’t misunderstand – I am all for repurposing!  But there is a limit to how many items even the most energetic among us can repurpose.

I’m not preaching to you because I’m as guilty as anyone. I have high intentions, but often my tiredness/laziness/need to just get it done outweighs my desire to be kind to the earth. Being idealistic doesn’t do anyone any good; action is what makes a difference.

There are a lot of things I do wrong. A lot of things I can change without much impact on my current lifestyle. And a few things I can do with a slight impact on my lifestyle. Not that I’m opposed to changing my lifestyle, but baby steps are usually more effective than making grand pronouncements that I have no chance of living up to immediately. You have to train before you can run a marathon.

Playset I made from recycled box

Things I currently do:

  • Recycling almost all packaging (cardboard, cans, plastic containers, glass)
  • Buy in bulk sometimes
  • Reuse some containers
  • Go out of my way to recycle plastic (it isn’t accepted in the recycling bins in our neighborhood)
  • Buy used if possible (no packaging)
  • Buy from local outlets (farmer’s markets, mostly)
  • Make crafts from recycled materials (sometimes)

Things I could do without even breaking a sweat:

  • Look in my recycling bin first before buying new (paper, cardboard, containers, or for craft supplies)
  • Design projects around recycled items instead of new
  • Buy less stuff (ask myself if I really need it – the answer will often be no)
  • Buy bulk more often
  • Cook from scratch with bulk items (instead of using readymade stuff: cookies, other baked goods)
  • Avoid buying overpackaged items or items with unrecyclable packaging
  • Reuse certain packaging I throw away (washing zip-top bags)
  • Buy toys and other items that are made from recycled materials

Thanks for your post, Pam, and for getting me thinking about reducing (instead of JUST reusing and recycling).

Fun ways to Reduce-Reuse-Recycle:

Thanks for sticking with me this far! I want to share some amazing scrap packs I got from SCRAP with two of my readers, so comment here with your favorite recycling crafty idea (with a link if you like) and I will choose a winner via random.org on Tuesday.

The giveaway booty:

I super-love these packages the kind folks at SCRAP have put together with random goodies for your crafting pleasure (LOVE those recycled labels they used to close up the bags).

Cute ingredients label.

Once again, to win one of these goodie bags, comment here with your favorite recycling crafty idea (with a link if you like) and I will choose a winner via random.org on Tuesday.

Nov 24

photo from here

I can totally get behind this contest from Scotch Tape: the National Tape Sculpture Contest. They aren’t paying me to say this: I love their tape. I used to work in college bookstores, and the only tape that was worth anything (to hold our sometimes 70 lb boxes together) was Scotch/3M’s clear packing tape. I use it to package up my CROQ orders, and I always have a bulk package of this tape on hand.

You can win up to $5000 and a year’s supply of tape.

About the contest:

From now through February they’re accepting photos of statuary and sculptures made from packaging tape, with the winners and runners-up receiving various cash prizes, and tape.

From Scotch: We’ve worked with tape artist Mark Jenkins (www.tapesculpture.org) to produce instructional videos on how to make sculptures out of tape which have been posted online – http://www.youtube.com/offtherollcontest – as a primer to those who are new to DIY decorating with tape. Details of the contest, and photos of Mark’s own amazing sculptures, are also available online at offtherollcontest.com, or, http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/3M-1071837.html

Apr 1

Dabbled is issuing an April challenge: Make Something Cool Everyday! I decided to participate, but upped the ante for myself. I will make something cool every day in April BUT I will use dollar store stuff to make mine! You don’t want to see the pile of dollar store supplies I have squirreled away in my laundry room right now (Organizers in Oregon: I need you!). So, I’ll use the MSCE challenge to bust into my stash!

I’ll post my project each evening on Dollar Store Crafts, if possible (and continue to bring you the awesome Dollar Store Crafts you’ve come to expect each morning).

If you want to participate, check out the Dabbled page or Dollar Store Crafts!

Mar 27

I participated in an Arrested Development (TV Show) theme swap on Craftster, and here is what I sent: a black t-shirt with a velcro strip on it and letters you can use to make it spell different AD-related stuff. The idea behind the shirt was from GOB’s Segway pouch that says “GOB” on it (and P/Resident in one episode, I think). I didn’t include all the letters, sadly, because I didn’t have them all…

I made this mug with a silhouette of GOB on his Segway (I wasn’t exactly aiming to focus on GOB & his Segway as a theme – ha ha!). I cut a stencil, spray-glued it on (that was a little much, by the way! I had to use Goo Gone to remove some of the adhesive!), and then used a Pebeo Porceleaine 150 Paint marker. You use the marker just like a regular marker, but then you bake the ceramic to fix the design.

Then, this is funky… it’s a needlefelted Buster finger puppet… Kinda creepy, but kinda funny!

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