Browsing Category "DIY Projects"
6 Dec
2012
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Ribbon Ornament

ribbon ornament

Today’s ornament is a really simple one that adds some texture to a Christmas tree. I found some gold paper on clearance at Michael’s while I was picking up the clear glass ornaments. When I got it home I decided to cut it into quarter inch strips with my paper cutter.

quilled ornaments

Once you get the strips cut (I used a dozen per ornament) wrap them one at a time around a pen or in my case, a chopstick. I would wrap them tight at an angle and then let go for the effect you see in the photo above. Have some variety in how tight you wrap or at what angle. The goal is to have a bunch of little ribbons made of paper. Then just gently slide each strand into your ornament one at a time.

When they’re all in, give the ornament a little shake just so they all jumble together. Here it is on my tree with my marbleized ornament in the background. See how well they coordinate with the gold color in each of them? This is a great filler ornament to pick up some colors and make for a matching tree.

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29 Nov
2012
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Christmas Tree Ornaments

Last year a lot of people made homemade snowglobes with mason jars and little Christmas decorations. I was inspired by the idea but wanted to go even smaller. I again took some Michael’s clear ornaments and used them for this project. My other key supplies were fake snow (leftover from my snowman ornament), hot glue, a funnel, tweezers, and mini Christmas trees a little less than an inch tall.

Start by taking the top off your ornament and sliding the tree in with your tweezers just to check for fit and placement. When you find a look that works for you, pull the tree back out, plop a little hot glue on the bottom of the tree, and then quickly slide it back into your ornament, pressing firmly but not forcefully into the bottom of your ornament and hold in place just until the glue is set.

christmas tree ornament

Your next step is to take that fake snow and sprinkle some into your ornament. I found it easiest to push it in with a funnel but your mileage may vary. Just add a little at a time till you like your level.

You can mix this ornament up in a few ways. I added two trees in one of mine like the one at the top of the post. I also think adding in a mini house with some snow could be adorable too. The idea is just to make an Christmas ornament with a beautiful winter scene inside.

What does your favorite winter scene include?

Like this post? Check out all my Christmas ornament creations

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20 Nov
2012
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Marbleized Christmas Ornaments

marbleized ornaments

I’m sure all you Pinterest junkies have seen this tutorial on how to make marbleized nail polish designs.

When I was making my Christmas ornaments, I wondered if this would be possible to adapt onto the ornaments using paint. Sadly my acrylic paint was a major fail so I decided to go a little crazy and just try out some nail polish to see what would happen. My first experiment came out a little blah but it definitely showed promise. I rewatched the Youtube video and remembered to help spread my first drop of polish out a few inches and then gave it another shot.

marble water

You’ll want to start with a plastic container filled halfway up with water and at least 2 shades of nail polish. The key here is to drop 2-3 drops in the center of your last circle. I alternated a drugstore red shade and gold shade, dropping each in the center of the last drops. The next step is to dip your ornament into the center of your marble pattern. I dipped the ornament’s bottom in not realizing it wouldn’t be very visible that way. Try instead to dip the side of your ornament in.

dipping marble ornament

The polish will “catch” on your ornament and will stick to the curve of the design.

dipping marble ornament

Depending on how you pattern your water design (this one had 3 separate circles inside of one big circle) you will end up with ornaments that can look similar or completely different.

marbleized ornaments

I love how these came out. If you screw up, the effect is abstract so you can just pretend it was part of the look you were going for. These were the most complicated ornaments I made and also one of the most forgiving. I’d love to see these in different colors and designs and I’m already thinking I might have to go pick up some turquoise nail polish for my peacock-themed tree I do each year.

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18 Nov
2012
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Snowman Ornament

This year I wanted to challenge myself to create 5 different types of ornaments from those clear glass ornaments you can find at craft stores. I spent this past weekend trying to be creative and think of some new ideas. I wouldn’t normally share Christmas projects before Thanksgiving but I know Black Friday will have some deals at Michaels and other craft stores so I wanted to share some ideas with you before you hit the sales.

snowman ornament

Today’s idea is one perfect for having your grade school aged kids help you put together. Just fill a clear glass ornament with some fake snow. You might want to use a funnel to help pack it in. Set up some black and orange craft paint and let the kids go wild painting on a carrot nose and some eyes and a mouth made out of “coal”. Your end result will look something like this.

snowman ornament

It’s an easy way to dress up some ornaments. I’ll be sharing some more ideas for jazzing up clear ornaments over the next week or so. They’ll vary in difficulty so you can find a style at every skill level.

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6 Aug
2012
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Birthday Banner

I have this giant chalkboard in my kitchen that has at times had anything from a dart board drawn on it to shopping lists and meal plans and even a cock fighting ring drawn on it. (Yes, that really happened)

For summer I envisioned an actual theme to the board. I wanted a big banner with all my summer goals below it so I could try to do all the cool hipster things like picnics in the park, a drive-in movie, and music festivals. I had no clue my summer would have so many days over 100 degrees and my summer goals would shift from fun outdoor things to hiding inside with the air conditioning. Before that reality hit, I did manage to make myself a cute banner for free.

paint chip banner

To make this banner I took 16 paint chips, 4 in each shade I had laying around. It’s a good thing I went through a pastel phase last year but I wish I’d been into blues and purples too. Still, my color selection was pretty nice and coordinated with my walls very well.

I cut the labels off each paint chip and then cut each paint chip into 3-4 usable pieces vertically before cutting each color into its own strip. Don’t try to be perfect here, having some variation makes the banner have more character. I separated each color into a pile (so green, pink, orange, and yellow) and pulled 5 or so at a time randomly from each color stack. I started with my pink stack choosing 5 of the different shades and overlapping them while sewing slowly over the top. Then I added on orange, then yellow, and then green before returning back with yellow, orange and red. Just go slow while sewing through paper and you’ve got it.

I left long ends at both the beginning and end of my banner rather than cutting them off so I could easily hang them from my chalkboard.

paint chip banner tutorial

The banner hung for a month because I just couldn’t think of anything worthy of the fun design. Luckily, my husband is much more creative than I am. My birthday was at the end of July and I woke up on my birthday morning to see him designing a masterpiece.

I don’t talk too much about my husband Daniel but he’s a very talented man. He wanted to be an art major in college before settling on computer science instead. He’s really the creative talent in our home. I’m more abstract in my ideas but he can put anything to paper and make it happen. He designed the chalkboard and the artwork on it. Back when we made this room while I decided I wanted a room “full of sunshine” and I chose tile and paint to make it bright but I think he delivered the sunshine for my rainbow with his masterpiece.

happy birthday chalkboard design

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31 Jul
2012
Posted in: DIY Projects, Food, Life
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Happy Birthday Harry Potter!

Today is Harry Potter’s birthday! Someone out there, please reassure me you already knew that and I’m not alone in my love of all things Harry Potter. When book 7 came out I was on vacation with my family for a wedding out in California. I made sure to get in line to get early access to the book and I managed to finish the final Harry Potter book before the wedding that night.

reading harry potter

When the final movie was released I had a multi-day viewing party with a themed food for each viewing. The first thing I did was make some cups to drink my Harry Potter themed drinks in. Even a house like Hufflepuff deserves a mug.

hufflepuff mug

The mug itself was fun to design. I found some images for each Harry Potter house and used some software to edit them so I could cut them out with my Cricut. I placed a Cricut vinyl sheet into my Cricut and cut out the design with that so I could adhere the stencil to a Target-brand mug. Then I filled the gaps in the stencil in with some Armour Etch. You just dab the Armour Etch on with a foam brush and let it sit for a few minutes before washing it and the stencil off. The glasses are dishwasher safe and make great party favors- I made a batch for a group of friends for another themed movie night.

homemade butterbeer

The glass was a perfect container for my homemade butterbeer. I haven’t made it to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter but this is a tasty drink to make at home. I followed a recipe from Chica and Jo and had great success.

homemade pumpkin juice recipe

Drink #2 was some homemade pumpkin juice, this time displayed in a Slytherin mug. The recipe comes from Party Through the Parks, though I substituted Agave Nectar for Pear Nectar. I’m more of a butterbeer girl but pumpkin juice has a nice flavor to it. Speaking of butterbeer…

butterbeer cupcake

The butterbeer cupcakes from AmyBITES are amazing. They were my second favorite creation of the week (second to only butterbeer) and were excellent when paired with its namesake.

Movie night #4 featured a Bouillabaisse in honor of one of the dishes served during the welcoming feast for guests from Beauxbatons Academy. Every Harry Potter party needs a main course but it also needs an appetizer. Movie night #5 featured a sorting hat bread with several dips. Diamonds for Dessert has a great tutorial for making a shaped sorting hat. My version required more flour thanks to the Missouri humidity and it came out a little cranky but still recognizable.

sorting hat bread

And what’s a party without a dessert? For my Harry Potter themed dessert I made some Oreo truffles. Instead of dipping them in milk chocolate or dark chocolate I dipped them in some yellow candy melts. I also attached some white chocolate wings I had piped and made some flying snitches. I will admit that I only ended up making one with wings and the rest of the wings went straight into my mouth. They just tasted too good!

golden snitch dessert

Now you know one of my biggest secrets: I have a weakness for themed parties and celebrations. I’ve been known to have Election night parties, a luau where my dog wore a Hawaiian skirt, and even sparkly vampire parties. Parties are a great way for me to get together with friends and family and have fun with corny foods and props.

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21 Jun
2012
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Roll It Up

picnic caddy tutorial

As part of my picnic project week, I wanted to make some great supplies for an actual picnic. Last time I went on a picnic it was during a hike at Castlewood State Park with my husband. I had planned ahead, discovering that there were some tables next to the river right at the end of one trail and before we started our second trail. When we went to sit down, some workers told us they were moving the table, leaving us with nothing to sit on. So much for that idea! I also forgot to bring napkins so I was woefully unprepared for lunch.

Castlewood State Park

I wanted to be more prepared before our next hike or picnic in the park so I brainstormed a few ideas but nothing was as great as this picnic caddy I found on Snowy Bliss. As you can see above, I already had some cute blue and white plates from Target so I went back to the store to see if they had any placemats or napkins in the same line. Sadly the line was being discontinued but that meant I got the last 2 placemats on clearance. Score 1 for me!

mitered corner napkins tutorial

I didn’t manage to find any cheap napkins so I decided to make my own. I used some fabric leftover from my striped porch pillows and made two handy napkins. Jen Giddens has a great tutorial for making napkins if you’ve never done your own. I followed the same method using a 14 inch square when making my own. Jen has drawings of the process and technical details while I just have some pictures.

Now back to the picnic caddy. My first goal was to have all the items I wanted to place in my caddy. I now had the napkin, some plasticware (I’m hoping to upgrade to reusable items next time I’m at the store), a straw, and a plastic bag for trash or leftovers. Since I had those, I was ready to proceed with the actual construction of the caddy. You’ll want to turn your placemat short side up and fold your placemat up till you find a height you like. I did this to the placemat on the right in the photo above.

ribbon placement

Now the cool part about this picnic caddy is that it will roll up in the end. To help it stay put, you’ll want some ribbons to tie it shut. I used some 1/4 inch ribbon for this. I cut it 1 yard in length and then cut it into quarters. Take 2 of these 1/4 yard quarters and line them up together on the left side of your folded up placemat. When you find a position you like, pin it in place. Pin both the left and the right sides together.

topstitch

Now you’ll want to topstitch around the edges. Remember to sew only where there are two layers of fabric. Since you’re topstitching, sew about 1/4″ or 1/8″ from the edge. In the photo above I show you the path to follow when sewing. Make sure to sew right over where that ribbon is.

 picnic caddy

Lastly, find an arrangement you like for your napkins and other supplies you gathered at the beginning. Sew in straight lines to make holders for all the items. I took advantage of the pattern in my placemat to hide some stitches by stitching in the ditch (aka sewing inside of the seamlines already there).

rollup

Now just roll it up and you’re good to go! I love how tiny the picnic caddy rolls up to be so it won’t take up much room in my bag or a picnic basket. It also nicely matches my plates. As a bonus, should the parks crew every steal my picnic table again, I have an actual placemat to eat off of. That’s right, I will be dining in style on my next picnic.

eat-on-it

Linking up:

Whipperberry

Over on my facebook page I’ve asked everyone what their favorite picnic foods are and I wanted to ask it here too. I love a good fruit spread or even just an apple or an orange while my husband insists on pudding cups for every picnic. What’s your must have?

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12 Jun
2012
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Birdhouse

michaels birdhouse makeover

I had wanted to build a birdhouse for quite a while. And by “build a birdhouse” I really meant decorate one so when Michaels had a sale on their plain wood birdhouses, I picked one up and got started on the decorating part.

My goal was to make the birdhouse coordinate both with my house, which is red, white and blue, and my garden, which has a lot of copper pieces in it. First up was spray painting the house white. I wanted just a light coat to let the wood grain shine through so I used a spray primer. Next was my plan to tie in those copper influences. I found some kitchen backplash tiles at Lowes.

I bought a whole sheet and used only 2 panels so I have plenty leftover for another project up my sleeve. You see those extra inches on the left without any detailing on them? I used them to make a nice front for the birdhouse’s roof while I used the actual panels to cover the roof. I just used some scissors to cut and hot glue to adhere it all to the birdhouse.

I decided to paint some red accents on with some basic acrylic paint. I just painted the perch and the base. Now the next most important part was to drill a hole in the top of the birdhouse so I could hang it outdoors. I just drilled a hole directly across the top with a small bit. To help it stay more decorative, I added some grommets to cover the holes but I needed a larger bit to make sure it fit. I just hot glued them in place when I got the hole the right size.

Now I wanted to protect all my hard work so I sprayed on a clear lacquer before putting it outside. I let it dry 24 hours because of the high humidity here. I didn’t want any haze in my topcoat. Here’s the final look.

Don’t you just love how well it matches my new windchime? I also included a secret pop of red right at the entrance. While I don’t really expect many birds to make this their home, I do think I’ll drill some small holes in the bottom just in case so rain can drain out.

How have your projects been going?

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8 Jun
2012
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Shower Curtain Pillows

I recently bought some resin Adirondack chairs (in blue) for my front porch. My house is white and my front door is red so I wanted to tie the color palette together with some Americana influences. I decided that pillows would be the easiest way to do this. My shopping trip left me disappointed. I could only find really expensive pillows or those with an old fashioned feel so I decided I’d just have to make my own pillow covers. I bought some waterproof outdoor pillows from Michaels with a coupon but when I went to the fabric store I found myself in the same conundrum– everything was too old-fashioned or too expensive.

pillow tutorial

The solution: a Target shower curtain. The modern rugby stripes matched my color scheme, the size of the fabric meant I’d have fabric leftover for future projects, and the shower curtain would add some waterproofing making the pillows more durable. I also came up with a pillowcase design that resembles a sham. That way you get a seamless look from the front but you can just pop the cover off and throw it in the wash.

Supplies

This design can be made in under an hour. The main skills you need are measuring skills and the ability to sew in a straight line. You’ll sew 4 straight lines per pillow. You’ll need a flat surface, yardstick or ruler, a cutting device (rotary or scissors), washable fabric marker, an iron or pins (check under “making the hems” to see which you need), matching thread, and a fully stocked sewing machine.

Cutting the Fabric

First up, you’ll need to make the cut. Well, cuts. I have 2-16 inch square pillows so I used a simple bit of math to calculate the size of fabric I needed to cut out.

pillow height + 1 inch = fabric height
pillow width + pillow width + 8 inches = fabric width

If you want to cheat and avoid some grade school math, just get 16 inch pillows like I did. My fabric height was 17 inches (16+1=height) and my fabric length was 40 inches (16+16+8=40). I marked the first 17×40 inch section on the fabric and cut it with a rotary cutter, though scissors will work just fine.

pillowcase cuts

Since I was using striped fabric and I wanted the pillows to match, I cut off some excess fabric before cutting out my second pillowcase section so the stripes would start at the same position for both fabrics.

Making the Hems

You’ll want a finished edge on these pillows so step #2 is to hem some edges. If you use a normal fabric you can use your iron to hold your seams but since my polyester wasn’t holding an ironed hem, I used pins to hold the edge.

hemming pillows

Place your fabric right-side down. You’ll first want to fold over both of your short edges 1 inch and iron or pin it in place, then fold that same edge over 1 more inch and iron or pin this edge securely. You’ll want to sew each of these hems in place by topstitching through all three layers of fabric. I sewed about 3/4 of an inch from the right (folded) edge. Make sure to repeat this step for all the short edges on your pillows.

Creating the Pillow

Place your fabric right-side up. You should have something resembling a placemat in front of you right about now. You’ll want to measure out the halfway point on the long side of your fabric. I started with a 40-inch length of fabric and used up 4 inches making the seams (2 inches per side) so my fabric should be at 36 inches long now. I’ll want to make my center mark at 18 inches.

This next part is a little counter-intuitive so make sure to read it twice before attempting. My pillow is 16 inches in length so half of that is 8 inches. Place a ruler next to the edge with the 8 inch mark (or half the pillow length) of the ruler at the center mark on the fabric. Make sure your ruler is facing with 0 on the right end of the ruler for this part. Watch the images for clarification.

center of pillow

You’ll want to take the left (short) edge of your fabric and pull it toward the center. Pull the fabric until the folded edge lines up with the 16 inch mark (or your pillow’s length) on your ruler.

pillow fold-1

Now take the right (short) edge of your fabric and pull it toward the center. Pull the fabric until the folded edge lines up with the 0 inch mark on your ruler. Your fabric will overlap near the center.

pillow folds

Now you’ll need to pin the bottom raw edges together. Repeat with the top raw edges.

pinning pillows

Sew a half inch seam along the bottom edge. Then sew a half inch seam along the top edge. Repeat with your second pillow.

inside out pillow

Turn your pillow case inside out, pushing out the corners firmly.

pillowcase

Now you can just slide the pillows into the pillowcases and you are set! The hardest part of this project is just the measuring. With 4 straight lines even a beginner can sew these pillows. See how they add that pop of color my front porch needed.

porch pillows

porch

Linking up:

Thrifty Decor Chick
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8 May
2012
Posted in: DIY Projects, Gardening
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Rain Barrel Base

Part of my front flower bed makeover called for finding a home for my rain barrel. I have 65-gallon rain barrels that I bought from Amazon. The price has since increased but most hardware stores seem to be carrying rain barrels these days. We use rain barrels for 2 reasons, one to prevent water from collecting around the foundation of our house and the other is to water the plants.

rain barrel base

From our experience, we discovered that a rain barrel needs to be about a foot off the ground. The barrel uses a gravity based hose system and there’s a bottom spigot that needs to be raised to fit a watering can underneath. We wanted to build a base with pavers that was big enough to support the rain barrel without tipping over when it was full. We needed a bottom base that would hold the watering can without it falling over either.

rain barrel base

After we found a setup we liked, we mixed up some concrete and filled in the rain barrel base with it. That base will not be going anywhere. Then we adhered the bricks for the watering can base to the ground with more concrete. Then there was some mortar used to attach a flat surface to the rain barrel base. Finally we used some extra concrete to fill in the watering can base like a grout.

rain barrel base

After doing a test run to make sure everything fit, we let the blocks and concrete harden for 48 hours. We put the rain barrel onto its new home and decided to let the rain collect. We had several days of rain after that and the base held up beautifully, with our angled watering can base preventing rain from pooling up around the foundation, just as we’d hoped. Stick around this week and I’ll show you the full front flower bed makeover.

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