It was last year when my family, and especially my then 1 yr. old son, welcomed a wide-eyed, blue fox named Fig into our home. From the time we started watching Tumble Leaf until we had devoured every last cinematic quality, wanderlust provoking frame, we were mesmerized. As a mother I was thrilled to finally see a television program geared for children that sparked out-of-the-box thinking. I don’t know how many kid shows I’ve seen that focus on left-brain thinking only and force children to memorize facts instead of teaching them how to think for themselves. Fig along with the many other beautifully crafted, colorful characters are warm and endearing. My son truly loves them and believes them to be his best friends. Luckily the Tumble Leaf series has brought home a myriad of awards since it’s debut and will be coming back with a second season. Yay! Sadly, merchandise has yet to be seen for this amazing series. Seeing as how much my son loves it, I knew it had to be the theme for his second birthday party. However, what to do, what to do? What would Fig do? (Haha) He would get creative and that’s exactly what I did. It turned out to be a lot of fun and it’s something everyone can do!
The show itself is very colorful and thus decided the color palette. I started with a fun backdrop which consisted of a white flat sheet from Walmart. With blue and green craft paint, I painted a sky and rolling hills. Once that was dry I was added all of the main characters from the show. The characters of the show are stop motion and I knew if I painted them they wouldn’t look the same. So I went to Michael’s and bought a couple packs of printable iron on sheets (for dark fabrics). I printed off some images I found of the characters, cut them out and ironed them onto my sheet where I wanted them to be in the seen. Pretty simple and took hardly any time to do.
Next while I was printing stuff off, I decided to make my son a special t-shirt. Using the transfers again, I printed out a picture of Fig (his favorite of course) and ironed it to the front. I then found an image of the iconic red leaf and wrote a special message. However I didn’t stop there. What Tumble Leaf shirt would be complete without Fig’s furriest and portable pal Stitch? So I added Stitch to the sleeve of his shirt to mimic how Fig carries his friend about.
My son’s birthday banner spelled out a simple HAPPY BIRTHDAY and his name. What makes it fun is that each letter is shaped like a leaf hanging from a rope by a clothesline pin. This is a nod of course to the hanging leaves outside of Fig’s bedroom. To add further interest I suspended a few light weight branches from my yard above the backdrop and banner to make it feel 4 dimensional (another detail I borrowed from the show). You will also notice the fuzzy balls over them. They represent the fun little barnacle creatures living on Fig’s boat. In the show Fig has a playful collection of odds and ends, mainly all sorts of keys, hanging from his branches. So, of course we needed those as well! Luckily Michael’s has a large assortment of metal keys in their scrapbooking section and wood keys (I quickly spray painted) in their seasonal section. Instead of crepe paper, I used multi colored yarn. As it zig zags across the ceiling you see it connects into the scene in the backdrop (as Auntie Pine is knitting with it).
As for the food and drinks I simply grabbed anything fun shaped and colorful to serve to our guests. The cake I made from fondant and modeling fondant/gum paste mixture. I’m not gonna lie this was a lot of work but I made the figurine days before the party and let him dry out (I painted him with food coloring and edible shimmer dust). The rest I did two days before and once assembled I left it in the fridge uncovered until the party.
To finish off the Tumble Leaf world I decided we needed a “Finding Place”. Which in the series is where our beloved blue hero finds his intriguing treasures. This to me made perfect since to have one for our birthday boy to find his presents in. You can create one too. It’s really simple and everything you need for it can be found at Michael’s.
I started with a plane wooden box they had on sale 40% off (check online for their coupons at michaels.com). I drilled two holes on each side about 3 inches apart for handles I added later. Then I stained the entire inside of it a mahogany finish (with a foam brush). Once dry, I closed the lid and spray painted the entire exterior gold. I also spray painted the latch gold as well. When all of that was dry I painted three blue rectangles (using blue craft paint) on the front and back and on the lid. I made sure they were about an inch apart from one another. On the sides I painted an arch and rectangle below leaving the same distance between as everywhere else. (This creates the look of straps) Finally, I added some small details. I attached the latch to the front using only a screw driver (no need to pre drill). I cute two ropes for the handles, fed them through the holes and knotted them off on the inside (I used the leftover rope from his banner), and lastly used finishing tacks (I found in the bedazzle section) along the sides.
If you’re viewing this and planning your own DIY Tumble Leaf party I hope this helps. Also, if you have any further questions on how I did something let me know! Until, next time…..
After many discussions between my husband and myself about needing a bedside light we finally agreed we did indeed need them. However, my only concern with them is that we have smaller nightstands. This is a HUGE problem for me because I don’t know how many times I have murdered an unsuspecting table lamp reaching to turn it on in my zombie-like state. My solution? Hanging pendants above each nightstand. I scoured the internet for inspiration and was inspired by Birch Lane’s Grantham Pendant Light for $169 (Picture below)
Creating a mercury glass effect: Turn your pendant shade upside down (on a protected surface preferably outside). Wrap the outside of the shade with paper attaching it to the rim with painter’s tape (as seen below). This will protect the outside from any over spray. Next, spray a mist of water on the inside of your shade. Whilst wet spray a light coat of silver spray paint. Let it dry and then repeat this step 3-5 times until you’re satisfied with the coverage. (TIP: If you want to invest a little more you can add warmth by alternating with gold spray paint. You can also give an aged effect if you add one very light mist of bronze spray paint. However, remember to always spray a mist of water before paint. This is what gives the mercury glass effect.)
While painting you will also want to spray paint the rod cap that came with your light socket.
Wood Table Leg: First, remove the dowel rod that came already in your wood table leg with pliers. Next, measure the diameter of the 6″ threaded rods you purchased. Choose a drill bit just big enough that the rod could slide through the hole. Then drill a hole through the center of your wood leg.
Now that your shade is dry remove tape/paper. Sit your table leg with the wide end up. Keeping your pendant shade upside down, hold it on top of the table leg and center it. Still holding it, take a pencil and trace around the outer and inner rim on the wood leg, and then remove the shade. This creates a template for you to use your router on your wood leg. By doing this it will allow the shade to sit up in the wooden leg.
Clamp your wood table leg so it doesn’t move on you (use and old rag to wrap around leg so the clamp doesn’t damage the leg). Use a small bit for your router and carve out your template, as picture below, but please excuse my lack of routing skills
Paint your wood leg with the two washes we’re going to make. First a white wash (create by using craft paint in a throw away bowl or cup and mix with water until you get the thickness consistency of milk). Paint the white wash all over. Once dry wipe away the parts of the leg that protrude outward with a wet paper towel. Then make a gray/taupe wash the same way you did with the white paint. Paint the gray wash anywhere you wiped away the white wash. Keep playing until you get a distressed look you are happy with.
Pex Pipe: Decide on low you want your pendant to hang and cut your chain accordingly. Whatever length you decide cut your Pex pipe (they will cut your pipe in Lowes and Home Depot for you) so that one link of your chain will stick out the top and bottom of your pipe. Once it is all cut, go ahead and run both your chain and your power cord (that came in your swag kit) through your Pex pipe. (TIP: You can use one link from your swag kit chain to attach to the top of your chain in your Pex pipe. This will not only keep your chain from sliding through your Pex pipe but it will also be roomy enough for your ceiling hook to fit through) Now attach your rod cap (that came with your socket) to the bottom link of your chain and run your power cord through the center.
Grab your roll of Jute and tie a knot on the first small link of chain at the top of your Pex pipe. Now, hot glue a half inch vertical line at the top of your Pex pipe moving downward (as seen below). While it’s still hot, quickly wrap your jute around the Pex pipe until all the glue is covered (keeping it pulled taunt). Continue gluing and wrapping your pipe all the way down to the bottom working in half inch or one inch sections (so the glue doesn’t dry on you before you can get to it). Once you make it to the bottom, simply cute the jute and glue down the end piece. Tuck the knot you started with up at top down inside the pipe, so it isn’t visible.
Assembly: Finish assembling in this order. Run the end of your power cord that is sticking out the bottom of your pipe, through your threaded rod. Next run them both (power cord and rod) through your wood leg, then through your glass pendant shade, then your large washer. Now take off the steel top to your light socket. Slide your power cord through your steel top and twist it on to the bottom of the threaded rod. (ALWAYS FOLLOW DIRECTIONS THAT COME WITH THE PRODUCTS AND ALWAYS TURN OFF ANY POWER BEFORE WORKING ON ANYTHING ELECTRICAL) Connect your power cord to the socket and screw it closed to its steel top. Now moving everything upward as far as will go twist the top of the threaded rod up into the rod cap (this is what holds everything together). The swag kit also comes with a switch you can install on the power cord (this is optional).
Lastly, hang your pendant using the ceiling hook that came in your swag kit and Enjoy!
Thanks Buddy 🙂
Hi there! My husband and I recently moved from a one-bedroom apartment into a 1930’s bungalow in Nashville. We loved our first little place, but let’s be real, this extra square footage is what dreams are made of. But what … Continue reading
Where do I begin? Ah yes, refinishing a wood porch floor is not for the faint of heart. Should you choose to take on this seemingly daunting task, and somehow make it through this long and tedious process, the results can be very rewarding. I recently conquered this mountain all while taking care of my demanding four month old and equally demanding husband. (Just kidding honey, I love you!) Apparently, I must be suicidal for taking on so much at one time. I am however happy to say I made it through alive and in one piece.
All joking aside, I found that the prep work is key to achieving amazing results. The best place to start is by pressure washing the wood. You want to remove as much of the old paint as possible and then allow for the boards to completely dry before moving on to the next step. (Be careful not to spray too closely to the wood or you will leave grooves). Next you will want to take a paint scraper and scrape away all the loose and flaky paint. Full disclosure, this part takes a while but is a necessary evil. Once you have successfully finished scraping you will want to sand the boards as best as you can. If you have large area to cover you might want to consider renting a professional drum sander for a couple hours to sand it down quickly (However, you will still need a handheld drum sander to get in all the tight spaces). Here’s a tip, don’t waste your time and money on a vibrating sander especially if your boards are in sad shape. The vibrating sander isn’t nearly as aggressive as the drum sander. Also, make sure you talk to the rental place about what grit you should use. You can also use a paint stripper (or make a home made wash using two parts water and one part bleach) to remove any excess oils or mildew but this is optional. (A word to the wise, and also your mother, don’t skip these steps. If you do, your paint might flake off, crack, blister from all the abuse it takes. There are still no guarantees but you stand a much better chance of having it last if you don’t cut corners.)
Shew! After all of that now you have a clean surface to work with and you can begin prepping for paint. First, you will want to tape off anything close to the floor you don’t want paint on (ex. brick on the house, the post on the screened in porch, rails, banisters on a deck) and it will help you go much faster. Okay, you are ready to begin painting! I would recommend starting with a great exterior primer (The bare wood will absorb a lot of the paint and primer is cheaper). With a brush you will want to trim out the perimeter where the roller will have trouble reaching.
Now that you finished with this step you will want to have ready a roller and preferably an extension poll (You want to paint your porch, not break your back!). At this point go ahead and roll on your coat of primer. ATTENTION: This is really important. When painting or staining a floor, ALWAYS leave yourself an escape route!!!!!! (Unless you’re a performer for Cirque Du Soleil or a ninja.)
Primer paint is on and now we wait, and wait, and wait some more (around two and three hours). During this time I would probably be running around like a crazy person trying to feed my baby, change poopy diapers, and squeeze in everything else I had to do that day. Anyways, getting back to our project here. Let’s talk paint! All paints are not created equal. Unfortunately, you cannot use just any ol’ paint. I used an exterior porch and floor paint and had it tinted to the hue that I selected. If you talk to a paint specialist at your local home improvement store I’m sure they will advise you to use the same. Seeing that porch and floor paint is specifically formulated for this type of application. The hue I selected was a gray with a brown undertone to marry together the cool tones of the house trim and warm tones of the brick. So, when selecting a hue remember to keep in mind that all the hues on your exterior need to correlate. Okay, got your paint? Great! Go ahead and trim out the perimeter like you did once before with a clean brush. Then, you guessed it, roll on the first coat of color with a fresh roller pad. Once dry, (again allow two to three hrs in between each coat) rinse and repeat! (Just kidding about the rinsing part.)
Now your floor should have evolved somewhat like this:
Normally, this would be the end of the process. However, being a designer I had to take it one step further. I just can’t help myself! Haha! So, I came up with the concept that would give the floor a warm and inviting appeal. I wanted it to look like the floor was actually a rug. After some much debating I decided to go with a moroccan theme and created a custom medallion stencil. I drew my stencil out on heavy duty paper and cut out the design with an exacto knife. I measured to find the center of the floor and taped my stencil down with painters tape.
(If you don’t want to fool with creating your own stencil you can always purchase a stencil with the design of your choosing.) After I taped it down I used a small one inch brush (you can also use a foam stencil brush) to paint with. Here is a tip to save a few green backs. Instead of buying more paint, simply mix a little of your leftover paint hue with some of the exterior primer paint you already have, to create a lighter tone of your hue. Pour it into your leftover paint tray, dip the tip of your brush in, and dab the brush on the upper part of the tray. This will knock off excess paint. You don’t want to load up your brush because too much will bleed under your stencil. Then in a dabbing, up and down motion, apply the paint to the open areas of the stencil. Note: You always want to work from the inside out. Once you have painted the entire stencil go ahead and remove it. I then used my stencil again for the corners of my floor by cutting it into four quadrants and placing one piece into all four corners. (Don’t forget to tape those down as well.)
(Always remove stencils slowly and with care.)
As I peeled off my last stencil I breathed a sigh of relief knowing I was finally finished. My design had come together and I could take comfort in knowing that unsightly porch I started with was a thing of the past. I can’t wait to invite the family over to enjoy it. Good luck to you on your own project! Check out the before and after photos below!!!
Mama’s little helper!