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Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

I have jewelry boxes. Two of them, in fact. And you might think that would mean organized jewelry. Two words. Ha. Ha. The thing is, when my jewelry is hidden away in little drawers and cabinets, I don’t wear it. So I inevitably wear a pair of earrings, then take them off and set them on top of the jewelry box at the end of the day. Eventually, I have a little pile of earrings that I chose from when it comes time to adorn my ears in the morning, completely ignoring all the earrings tucked away inside the jewelry box, out of sight.

So all the inspiring jewelry displays on Pinterest got me excited. There are so many creative ideas to make functional art out of organizing jewelry. Ideas like this (originally from here):

And this (originally from here):

And this (originally from here):

And this (originally from here):

So a while ago, I picked up some old frames from a thrift store and got out the spray paint.

Valspar has spray paint in a color called “New Avocado.” It’s the same color that I used as the accent on the headboard that I painted, shown here. (Though I didn’t use spray paint for that application.)

Once the paint had dried, I grabbed some wire, some crimping beads (basically, I raided my jewelry-making stash), and a staple gun, and came up with this:

The crimping beads were to keep the earrings from all sliding to the center of wire. It actually worked pretty well. Here’s what it looked like with earrings on display:

I liked it pretty well for a while. But it was crowded. And it took a while to put together. I still had three more frames to make, but I had run out of time the day I made it, so the lone frame leaned against the wall. For months. And in that time, I realized a pretty major flaw in the design. Since the frame is completely open, if I missed the wire when I was hanging a pair of earrings back up, the earring would slip behind the frame and fall to the ground. Which happened far too often. I’m sad to say that I still have random earrings lost behind my dresser.

So I decided to call a redo when I saw this (originally from here):

I used a pair of needle-nose pliers to rip out the wire and staples. Then I went to the hardware store and got this:

It’s a sheet of decorative, laser-cut aluminum called Lincane. (Or maybe the design is called lincane? Not really sure about that, actually.) While I was at Lowe’s, I also picked up a pair of tin snips to cut the metal sheet down to size.

I basically just put the corner of the metal sheet into the corner of the back of the frame and marked the spot where it needed to be trimmed.

Then, I got to snipping. It was way easier than I thought it would be. I expected it to take a lot of effort to cut through the metal, but to my surprise, it was like a hot knife through butter. (Well, maybe not that easy, but pretty close.) I think it was partly because all the holes make the metal perforated. And the other thing the holes made easy was cutting straight lines. It was like a built-in guide. Nice.

See. Easy Peasy.

Then, I just slipped the metal into the back of the frame.

I used the staple gun to secure it in place. I didn’t staple through the metal, but rather into the wood like little tabs to block the metal from falling out the back.

Like this:

Pretty simple, huh?

Three more frames filled, and they went up on the wall. And so did all of my earrings.

I’m not totally sure about the configuration of the frames, but I like it, for now.

And now, I don’t have earrings falling behind the frames and down behind my dresser.

I kind of love it. And I kind of love the Pinterest Challenge for giving me the push I needed to get it done. If you don’t know what the Pinterest Challenge is, go check out Young House Love, Bower Power Blog, Ana White, and House of Earnest to see what all the fun is about. And if you’re participating in the Pinterest Challenge yourself, please feel free to link to your own projects in the comments. I’d LOVE to see what you all have been pinning and more importantly, what you’ve been making! Oh, and feel free to check out my boards on Pinterest, and don’t forget to follow me there, too.

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I’ve been a very bad blogger. I was starting to feel a little momentum with the blog and motivation to post semi-regularly, and then… I dropped the ball. I don’t have a good excuse, other than that I definitely get spurts of motivation separated by periods of slackerdom. And if I were to try to make excuses, I’d say that I’ve been busy with planning, not one, but two wedding receptions to celebrate my recent nuptials (which were in Mexico) with friends and family who weren’t able to make it to the actual wedding. One reception was in Ohio (where most of my family lives), and one was right here in St. Louis (where Chad’s family lives). But that’s not a good excuse anyway because, if anything, it gave me more projects to potentially blog about — which I intended to do. I wasn’t so diligent about photographing everything, so I’ll have to skip some of the projects, but I’ll show you what I can. Better late than never, right? (Sometimes, I feel like that should be my life slogan.)

Anyway, today I’m going to show you how I made the favors for the first wedding reception (in Ohio). Since most of the people who would be attending the reception weren’t able to attend the actual wedding, I thought they might like a photo from our wedding, but I wanted to do something a little more creative than just sticking it in a frame. So I used a method that I’ve used in the past to make coasters for our coffee table and art for our walls. It started with all this:

In case you can’t tell, that’s a box of white 4 inch X 4 inch ceramic tiles that I got from Lowe’s for about 12 bucks (for 80 tiles), some claw-style picture hangers, Mod Podge and a small paint brush that I had on hand, a bunch of prints of one of my favorite wedding pictures (that I got for 13 cents per print from Costco), and my paper-cutter that I used to trim the photos down to 4X4. Not pictured is a tube of clear kitchen and bath silicone that I used to attach the picture hangers to the back of the tiles.

The photos were 4X6, but I needed them to be 4X4, so I trimmed one side with my paper-cutter, then the other side, until they were all the appropriate size.

Then I laid out 50 tiles on my coffee table, with newsprint underneath the tiles to protect the surface of the table.

And I started painting Mod Podge on the tiles, then placing the photos in the center of each tile, making sure to press any air bubbles out from under the photo.

I worked down each column of tiles, painting Mod Podge on three or 5 tiles at a time, then going back and placing the photos before the Mod Podge could start to dry.

As with any project, it probably would have been a snap to do a small group of these, like say 5 or 10. But 50 is another story. It certainly wasn’t hard, but it definitely started to get a little monotonous by time I got to the last few rows.

But finally, I placed the last photo, and I was finished. Sort of. I was finished with that step, at least.

That’s Kiko looking up at me (and my husband’s foot). Cute huh? (The dog, not the foot.)

By the time I finished gluing the 50th picture on the 50th tile, the first tile was dry and ready for the next step, which was to seal the photos by painting over them with Mod Podge. I did this step twice. First, I went over each tile horizontally. After they were dry, I went over each tile again, but this time my brush strokes were vertical. This technique gave the finished product a linen-like texture that I really liked.

If you’ve never worked with Mod Podge, you might not know that the milky white glue dries totally clear. You can see in the next picture that the first column of tiles is almost completely dry already, while the fourth column is freshly painted and still quite wet.

This next picture is to show the dried horizontal texture, before I put the second coat of Mod Podge on using vertical brush strokes. You can see that the Mod Podge is clear, but there is a bit of a textured sheen to it.

Here, I’ve painted the second coat of Mod Podge on, and you can see the linen-like texture. This is still wet, but it’s easier to see the texture in photos that way.

Once all the tiles were good and dry, it was time to attach the picture hangers to the back. I used this kitchen and bath silicone because it adheres to both ceramic and metal. Plus, I already had it on hand. I’m sure you could use E-6000 or some other kind of heavy-duty glue, but I was happy to use the silicone because it’s low odor/low VOC.

The grid on the back of the tiles made it easy to center the picture hanger without doing any measuring.

I just squirted a couple dots of silicone in the appropriate places…

And pressed the picture hanger onto it.

I should mention that instead of putting picture hangers on the back, you could just as easily stick a little felt or cork pad in each corner to make a set of coasters. And you can use scrapbook paper or old maps instead of photos (or whatever else you like). Although, I can tell you from personal experience, Mod Podge isn’t totally waterproof. The coasters I made about a year ago using this method are a little worse for wear due to condensation and coffee spills. I might try using diamond glaze or something like that instead of Mod Podge if you are going to make coasters. But for something that is going to hang on a wall, Mod Podge certainly does the trick.

But back to the wedding favors: I just waited for them to dry and wrapped them up in pretty bags that matched my color scheme for the receptions.

That’s it! I really should have taken some photos of the favors at the reception, but I was busy catching up with family that I hadn’t seen in far too long. But I think everyone liked them. It was a fun project, and a cheap and creative way to give everyone wedding pictures. I think it worked out to about 44 cents per favor (before the bags and tissue paper — and about 80 cents per favor including the wrap job). Not bad, huh?

How about you? Have you ever gone two whole months between blog posts? Or made wedding favors for yourself or a friend? Feel free to link to a post on your blog in the comments (or a picture on Flickr or elsewhere). I’d love to see all the other creative favors that I know are out there!

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For a while now, I’ve been admiring the clever embroidery-hoops-as-circular-fabric-frames idea that is floating all over Pinterest these days. So much so that I bought a variety of embroidery hoops at Hobby Lobby several months ago, with the intention of completing this project. I just didn’t know, at the time, where in the house it would end up. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can see some examples here, herehere, and here. The image below was the first I saw (and pinned) that inspired me to incorporate this idea into my decor somehow.

How’s that for a giant wall-o-fabric-circles? My take on it = much, much smaller scale, but I do love the inspiration.

One of the saddest things about my bedroom before I painted it a while back was the lack of art on the walls. So I’m happy to say that I have begun to add art in the form of some cute fabrics that coordinate with the new duvet cover and gray walls (as well as coordinating with one another without “matching” exactly).

I actually completed this project while I was supposed to be cleaning in preparation for the arrival of my best friend and her boyfriend. Somehow I ended up on the floor next to my bed with a stack of fabric, some scissors and a bunch of embroidery hoops. I really don’t know how it happened, but once I started, I couldn’t stop.

I basically just placed the hoop on one of my fabric choices, cut around the circle, and stretched the fabric in the hoop.

You can see in the picture below that there were some pretty major creases in some of the fabrics. Did I bother ironing? Nope. (Mostly because I’m lazy.) Instead, I just stretched it good and tight and the wrinkles disappeared. Good enough for me.

Once I had all the fabrics in their respective “frames,” I had to deal with the excess fabric that peeked out from the back before putting them on the wall.

First, I trimmed the excess down to about a quarter- to a half-inch around the edges.

Then, out came the glue gun!

I just put a few inches of glue around the inside of the back of the frame and folded the fabric down to stick to the glue.

Until they all looked like this from the back:

Then, it was time to put them on the wall. I wasn’t too scientific with this stage. I just held one up at a time, marked the approximate spot I wanted the nail, put a tiny piece of scotch tape over the marking, and hammered a tiny nail in place. (I have plaster walls, and the tape helps to keep bits of plaster from crumbling when putting a nail in the wall.) Then I just placed the hoop on the nail and moved on to the next one. Easy-peasy.

I moved some of the smallest hoops from one nail to another a few times, but I think I ended up with my original layout in the end. Nope. I went back and checked and a couple are switched in the “final” layout. Now that I see it, I might like the original layout better. Maybe I’ll go switch it. Maybe.

I really love the pops of color, and the circles look like polka dots on the wall. So fun!

And a view from a little further away, so you can see how it looks with the rest of the room:

That last photo (and the next few) should probably have been part of a different post where I tell you about the headboard that I painted to match my new storage bed (see headboard before painting here), but I somehow lost all my photos of the process. I guess I haven’t quite mastered the organization that having a blog requires. Sad face.

But the headboard is fun, no? I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

And I really like how the fabrics in the hoops allowed my to bring in some other accent colors to the room. The green is the obvious star, but I really wanted to incorporate some turquoise accents, and the fabrics tie the colors all together.

Here are some more headboard pics for your enjoyment. I guess I’m a little photo-happy in this post. Oh well.

Oh, this next photo reminds me that there is another step that I have planned to really finish this project, but it was not in the cards for a procrastinating-from-cleaning-by-DIYing-some-art kind of project. Can you guess what it is?

If you guessed paint, you’re on the same page as me. I’m thinking that the “New Avocado” (by Valspar) paint that I used on the inside bookcase portion of the headboard is destined to end up on those embroidery hoop frames. I think that it will really bring everything together. But that’s a project — and a post — for another day. Until then, one last look at those cute little polka dots:

What do you think? Do you like the colors and fabrics? How about the headboard? Not bad for a $10 Goodwill snag, huh? And what about painting the embroidery hoops green? Should I skip it, or will the green unify the room like I think it will? Or maybe you think I should paint them, but not green. Do tell. I’m all ears.

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If you don’t know what Pinterest is, go request your invite now (unless, of course, you want to keep yourself from spending far too much time in front of a computer screen “pinning” and “repinning”). But seriously, it’s worth checking out. Here’s some info about it.

If you do know what Pinterest is, you are probably already an addict like me.  And maybe you already know about “The Pinterest Challenge” — the brainchild of Sherry and John over at YoungHouseLove.com, Katie and Jeremy from BowerPowerBlog.com, Joey and Lana from JoeyandLana.com, and HGTV’s Design Star, Emily Henderson at StyleByEmilyHenderson.com. If not, you can check out their posts about the idea here, here, here, and here, respectively (there’s even a funny little video to explain the whole shebang). And since they’ve invited all of us to join in the fun, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pull a project or two out of the inspiration I’ve been gathering for a while now.

Here’s the Pinspiration for my project:

One of the really nice things about Pinterest is that if you see something you like, you can just click on the image and go directly to the original link. If there’s a tutorial, you’re right there to see it. And you can repin the image as a reminder to yourself and a catalogue of ideas — no bookmarks necessary. (I should mention that, although I sound a bit like a Pinterest commercial here, I wasn’t paid or perked to talk about them; I just think it’s a cool concept and spend a fair amount of time pinning the hours away.)

This particular pin linked to a tutorial from MarthaStewart.com for making flowers to adorn some throw pillows. I wasn’t really interested (or shall I say, pinterested? Har, har.) in the pillows — just the flowers.

I had bought this felt from Felt On The Fly through Etsy.com a while back:

So I used the white piece of felt to attempt the flowers in question. I cut petals in a variety of sizes, including really teeny tiny ones (smaller than I thought would even work, but it did!). First, I cut strips of felt; then I cut the strips into tiny rectangles, like this:

Then, I cut the rectangles into little petals, like this:

I found that they really didn’t have to be perfect or all exactly the same, as long as I started with the same size rectangle. There’s a template on the link, but I just eyeballed it. I should probably mention, in case you hadn’t noticed, that I opted to make a five-petaled flower instead of the four-petaled variety shown in the original Pinspiration. I just liked it better that way, but I think you could do any amount of petals you’d like. Once I had the petals cut, it was easy to take a little length of thread and a needle and connect the petals like this:

Then, I just had to pull the thread tight and tie a knot or two in the end of it.

And it’s a flower! So simple.

You can see that I made a few different-sized ones. You can also see that the flowers look different in the center depending on how tight I pulled the thread before tying it off. I really like that they’re all a little different. At first I didn’t really know what I was going to do with them, so I just propped them up against some frames that I have waiting to become another Pinterest-inspired project.

But then I remembered another project that I had started. I decided a while back to make a wreath for our bare front door out of sticks I collected from our tree-covered backyard. This is how it started:

I didn’t have a wreath form sitting around, and I was anxious to get started, so I went searching around the house for something that might suffice. I found the long stems with thick wire inside — leftover from some silk flowers that I bought a few months ago for my wedding. The stems were super long, so I had cut them shorter, but saved the leftovers to be re-purposed — it turns out — into a wreath form. After bending two stems into half circles, I used the florist tape that I had leftover from the silk flowers wedding project to join and cover the two stems.

Then, I took a bunch of twigs and broke them into similarly sized pieces and plugged in the hot glue gun. Once they were all broken, I started gluing them on the circle.

There are lots of ideas on Pinterest that use sticks, but here’s an example of one that inspired this project; Let’s call it my twigspiration, originally from here:

I had a picture in my head before I started, so I arranged the sticks as close to that vision as I could.

But I quickly decided that I didn’t like the way it was looking. I might have been able to salvage it, but the angles were annoying me, so I ripped all the sticks off the circle on which I had just glued them. Fail. Or rather, try again.

I liked this a lot better than the first attempt. I felt like it definitely needed something else, as it was kind of scrawny. But I was out of time, so I stuck it on the door until I could figure out what to add to make it a little more fun.

Are you getting where I’m going with this? That’s right. Remember those felt flowers?

I just placed them around the wreath in little bunches.

I made quite a few more flowers once I decided to put them on the needs-something wreath. In fact, I just had the wreath in front of me and kept placing the flowers on the wreath as I finished making each one until I liked the way it looked, then put a little hot glue underneath them. I even made a tiny flower and glued it in the center of the largest flower, just because I thought it was cute.

Once the wreath was full of flowers, I put it back on the door. And rather liked it.

It’s still a little on the scrawny side, but I like the difference in texture between the rough sticks and the soft felt. Here’s another closeup, this time hanging on the door outside.

Another view of the whole door all fancied up with its new wreath.

And one more picture for good measure.

So there you have it. A couple Pinspired crafts, put together to make one new wreath for my previously bare door.

What do you think? Should I have just waited to make a wreath until I had the “proper” supplies? Or do you like that I re-purposed old stuff I had around the house? I’m pretty excited to see if others who’ve taken on “The Pinterest Challenge” have used old stuff to make cool new stuff. Feel free to share your projects here. Otherwise, I’ll see you over on Pinterest. Oh, and feel free to follow me, too.

Update: Don’t forget to check out the projects that the founders of “The Pinterest Challenge” dreamed up. YoungHouseLove’s clothespin chandelier, BowerPower’s shim mirror, JoeyandLana’s chalkboard fridge, and StyleByEmilyHenderson’s nailhead closet doors. They’re all pretty awesome. Go see.

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