faux finish

I have been meaning to share a cheap DIY makeover with all of you, but haven’t had the chance yet! Today is the day.

I needed a piece of furniture to go against the wall near the entry to the apartment. I wanted it to be unobtrusive, but large enough to store my china… sort of like a mini-buffet. But, I didn’t really want to spend money on it.

Which brings me to a surprise garage sale at which I stumbled upon this gem:

2-shelf interior

The handles were kind of a nasty greenish color that matched the inside. Gross. I bought these old-fashioned looking blue glass handles for the cabinet door and small drawer.

Initially, I wanted to refinish it. (Surprise, surprise.) But alas, it was made of cheap particle board with laminate finish. But for $10, how could I pass it up? I decided to figure out a different finish. I decided on crackle paint.

Crackle paint gives a distressed look to any finish. I prefer real wood that has become distressed, but we can’t just have everything made out of historic, repurposed barnwood. Sigh.

I like the look of contrasting crackle paint. So my first step was to pick a bottom color. I chose a very dark, chocolate brown.

I painted the entire piece brown (minus the butcher block top… why would you mess with butcher block?) You have to let bottom coats dry for quite some time if you want to use crackle. This is the crackle medium I chose, by Folk Art:

Crackle medium is sort of a learn-as-you-go type of product. However, I can offer a few useful tips from my trial and error (mostly error).

Crackle tips:
* If you wait too long to paint the top coat, the crackle will just dry and offer hairline fractures only
*If you paint top coat too soon, the whole crackle/top layer will sort of melt downwards
*If you paint a thin layer of top coat, the cracks will be much smaller and appear in the direction of your brush stroke
*If you paint a thick layer of top coat, the cracks will be bigger and appear both vertically and horizontally (which is the look I prefer)
*You cannot paint another coat on top of the top coat or it all falls apart

So in summary- to achieve the best look:
*Paint the top coat when the crackle layer has become tacky (aka if you touch it, it should feel a little sticky, but you shouldn’t have the crackle medium on your finger)
*Paint the top coat with plenty of paint on the brush
*Brush in only one direction

I was pretty pleased with the result. As far as furniture goes… it’s not really that well-built, but it definitely works for our current needs and space. I imagine this being a piece that we have until we move out of our apartment, but I couldn’t keep it in such an ugly state for a few years! Especially when the whole thing cost about $15 (including the new knobs!)

Happy Thursday!

 

 

ode to my sugar bowl

To my sugar bowl:

Dainty, sweet, dimpled little sugar bowl
Gentle jay with downy feathers rests atop
Tiny, provence spoon brings sweet
Spreads a smile through my heart

Ok. In all seriousness. I LOVE my sugar bowl. It’s a tiny grapefruit! With a bird on top! And a cute little spoon to match!

While the sugar bowl was $18, which is more than I would normally wish to pay for this sort of thing, I had a gift card. And given the choice, I would buy it all over again. Because it makes me happy. In fact, it makes me happy in the morning, when I am rarely happy!

Someday, when I have a beautiful kitchen with plenty of light, open shelving and an apron-front sink (swoon) like this one:

I shall display my little sugar bowl front and center. (And hopefully find a way to hide the big, ugly keurig next to it. Love your coffee. Hate your look.)

And I shall love my little sugar bowl. Just like I love my bird tea-towel that was too expensive. And just like whatever I shall spend the rest of my gift card on (it takes me a reaallllly long time to spend gift cards).

Happy Wednesday!

welcome

Well guys. I got trendy and made a yarn wreath. I’ve been seeing them all over for a while now and decided to take a stab at it myself. My former wreath was… a bit of an embarrassment. It was nice when I first purchased it… sort of woven together with vines and tiny autumnal flower accents. However, every time someone walked through the door, it would fall off. The tiny flowers soon became no more. It became far more of a nuisance than anything. So I had to set my sights on something different.

I admit… I resisted the yarn wreath because of the trendiness factor. What can I say? I can be too cool for school sometimes. But I sorted out my priorities and realized how much more important it is to have a wreath that welcomes people, rather than sticks to their purses or sweaters and falls off the door every time.

So here is my new wreath:

Here is the bow at the top:

And here it is hanging on my janky apartment door:

Excuse the ugly flash but the janky apartment hallway also has janky apartment lighting…

Anyway. That is my new wreath. I hope that it helps people to feel welcome. And happy. And greeted. Come visit me and test it out!

 

love in a box

Greetings! Today, I am going to share a shadow box with all of you. I made this box for my brother and his lovely new bride, Melinda.

Their wedding was absolutely gorgeous!! For their gift, I wanted to make a shadowbox that was not only pretty to look at… but had significance to their day!

So. Here is how you make a Shadow Box.
Step 1: Purchase a Shadow Box. Mine looked like this:

I bought it from hobbs lobbs. I liked it because it looks like barnwood, which was, of course, a big part of this wedding.

Step 2: Create a backdrop. I used layer of weathered-wood printed paper, decorated with Rifle Paper floral accents (I scanned a journal, which was also part of the bridesmaid gift!) which as you might recall from this post was a big inspiration for the invites, etc. I overlaid the wood with swiss dot fabric from Melinda’s dress.

When creating a backdrop, think about mixing textures and patterns. Here’s mine:

up close detail

Step 3: Arrange, arrange and re-arrange. Take the elements and place them all over. Switch things out. Try again. I probably had this arranged 7 different ways, with different pieces that I ended up not using.
The best time to decide to make a shadow box is before the actual wedding. This way, you can take any items that you might be able to use (i.e. programs, or even table decorations once the wedding is over.) You will also be able to pay more careful attention to the ceremony (is there a verse you can use? a quote?) and the decor (can you replicate something on a smaller scale?) to have the most custom box you can create.

Here is a closer look at some of the details:

Inspiration pieces:
Gorgeous weathered barn.
Swiss Dot lace from the dress.
Clothespin details.
Wooden Signs.
A beautiful ceremony performed by Zac’s friend Reynolds.
Chalkboards.

A word of advice on adhesives:

Shadow boxes are created with multiple mediums. Different materials require different adhesives. For papers, use mod podge. Classic mod podge can wrinkle, so I recommend spray adhesive for a flat finish. I would not recommend glossy. A glue gun is ideal for heavier items, like the metal key and glass vase. If you were gluing wooden pieces, use wood glue. Proper adhesives ensure that your shadow box won’t fall apart upon arrival.

Anyway, there you have it: a shadow box tutorial. They’re all created differently and make a totally unique gift. If you have any questions about anything I made specifically, just ask!

Good luck and happy crafting!

patchwork shower curtain

Hi friends!

Today I am borrowing a tutorial I found online quite a while ago and sharing the love. If you’ve never checked it out… Design*Sponge is a great resource for decór inspiration, DIY projects and other types of lovely things.
In the DIY section a while back, I found this shower curtain tutorial. I followed it pretty closely, with a few tweaks.

Sometimes I really struggle with creating that perfectly unorganized, non-symetrical style (which is surprising, if you know me, since I am totally unorganized). So. I went to the fabric store and picked out some nice fabric choices. Then, I downloaded the picture and using paint (so technologically advanced!) I colored in the sections (with my advanced skill…) so I could gauge how the pieces would look together.

I changed the dimensions on a few pieces depending on the fabrics I had. I think its a good idea to mix large prints, small prints and solids. It can seem a little overwhelming at times. I recommend finding a large, multi-colored print and using those colors for inspiration. Pull solid colors as well as other prints in the same color family.

I followed the tutorial, figured out how to make a buttonhook! and then ironed it all out. Here is the end result. (Please excuse the ugly flash… our apartment is not classy enough for windows in the bathrooms.)

check out my sweet Meijer shower curtain hooks!

Try one with your own favorite patterns!

 

a bit obsessed with bunting…

I’m not sure what it is about bunting these days… but I just can’t get enough of those darling little flags!

 Since Kev and I aren’t exactly in the market for high-end art at this point in our lives, (let’s be real… even the sale section of HomeGoods can be a bit over-priced) I decided that it was going to be my undertaking to create/find fabulous decor for our little home.

My sister-in-law Emily gifted me this fabulous little book for Christmas this year. Her taste in decorating is amazing and she has created quite a few splendid things herself (guest blogging potential? I hope!). This is my first project from the book, but I’m sure I’ll be attempting others in the future.

Step one is finding some fabulous patterned papers from your local craft store, scrapbook store or specialty paper store. You’ll notice that I did not end up using all of these, but I’m sure they’ll find a crafty home somewhere.

Step two is collecting some thin card board; cereal boxes are a good source. Using a straight edge and ruler, cut a triangle out of the cardboard. Mine is as wide as it is tall, but yours doesn’t have to be as long as the angles are the same and the edges are straight! Using your pattern, create as many cardboard flags and you’ll want to use. I did eight flags, which made a decent-sized strand. When you have the cardboard ready, trace the shapes on to your paper, cut it out and paste it to the cardboard using modpodge. Use a hole punch to create holes about a half-inch in from the side in the top corners. This is the point at which I strayed from the book a little. Instead of using individual 5″ pieces of ribbon to connect the flags, I decided to string them on some jute so the flags would be spread out a little more.

I used leftover 3M hooks to put them up (I used the super cheap kind that come in a large pack for hanging Christmas lights). I put three on an angle to give the look a little dimension and break up the cornery-ness of that area of the room. You could easily just tack loops at the end of the string with nails if you wanted to hang them straight!
If you want to try this at home, you’ll need:
Thin cardboard
Ruler/straight edge
Patterned/colored paper
Hole punch
ModPodge
Ribbon/twine/jute
3M mini hooks/nails
First of all, yes, that is obviously Nick Stokes from CSI and I obviously did not want to turn it off to improve the picture because this part was clearly riveting. 🙂
Second of all, I was happy the result of the flags. I noticed a few flags that were on a sharper angle slid a little, but that is an easy fix with a little glue on the back of the flags.
I am using this a more of a permanent decorative item, but you could easily make these for a party because they are pretty quick and easy to make. They are also inexpensive because most crafters probably have most/all of the supplies at home anyway. Try making them for a party! You could also use contrasting patterned paper/solid paper to make letters and spell something out on your flags.
Let me know how your version turns out!

sprucing up the walls!

The problem:
My apartment walls were plain and boring and they needed a little excitement! I thought about a photo collage but was having difficulty figuring out how to make it happen. Then my thought process moved on towards wall decals. There are so many cute options out there for wall decals, but finding them on a large scale can be quite pricey. The ones I was interested in, mostly floor to ceiling trees, were running about $90 for a set, and none of the sets had the height of my peaked ceilings for enough trees to stretch across the wall space.
The solution:
I am a pretty decent free-hander (as long as I have something to copy) and can color in the lines with a paintbrush, so I decided to paint the trees on the walls.

I found a picture of some wall decals on Ebay (Etsy is another good place to look!) and created my design based off of that. I liked the simplicity of birch trees, because they look really awesome and it made the project less overwhelming. If you’re going to try this at home, pick a more simple motif if you’re not an ultra-skilled artist.
I traced the outlines of the trees in pencil (always pencil so you can erase!) and then headed out to Lowes. It ended up taking 2 sample size containers of paint to fill in all of my trees. $4 and 6 hours later, I ended up with these!

If you want to make this at home, you’ll need:
an idea! use a wall decal or something from your head
a pencil with a good, non-smudging eraser
paint in the color of your choice (I recommend buying a matte finish wall paint sample because the color selection is unlimited! match it to a favorite toss pillow or lamp shade- anything!)

Good luck and happy crafting!

monograms and buttons, oh my!

Our couch is massive. It sleeps 4… comfortably. So naturally, we have a serious need for throw pillows. I saw a cute idea I liked for a monogrammed pillow and thought, why not do it with buttons? I have a pretty substantial button collection that was passed down to me, so I already had most of the supplies at home.
I bought a pillow from Meijer. I totes dig the Katie Brown collection so I often check out the home goods section. I found a pillow I liked and traced a lower case g on it with a sharpie. If you are not a good free-hander, perhaps you should try chalk. I laid the buttons out and pinned a few down. A little rearranging was necessary to get a good shape.
Note: it will save time if you do not hot-glue the buttons to the pillow. It will be quick, but the buttons will fall off and you’ll just have to sew them on anyway… fail.

At this point, I just sewed the buttons on, one at a time. I did need to rip a hole in the seam to fit my hand inside the pillow, which I stitched back up when I was done. It might be easier to start with a pillow that zips.

It might be cute to try this idea with something other than a letter… geometric shapes? an animal? Or maybe it would be cute to try multi-colored buttons as well?

I think the end result is sort of cottage-y chic.

If you want to make this at home, you’ll need:
1 pillow, either one you’ve sewn or store bought
Buttons
Thread
Needle

Sharpie or chalk

I hope you learn from my mistake on this one and don’t waste time gluing, because you’ll also waste time peeling all of the glue off of the buttons before you can sew them back on. If your pillows are as well-used as ours, you’ll need them to be sturdy!

Happy sewing!

a place to hang your pretty things

Hello! 
This is my first blog post of my first blog. My basic plan is to post creative projects as they come to me, so that everyone can see what I’ve been up to. I’ll try to offer helpful hints as well, so you all can try the projects at home! Some ideas I find on other blogs (which I’ll include links to, naturally) and some ideas sort of just come to me. So, without further ado and jibber jabber, here we go!

The problem: I needed a place to hang coats near the shoe basket and key rack. I wanted something that would match the adorable key rack my Grandma gifted me, without being overly matchy. I found an unfinished coat rack at Joann’s and bought it (with my 40% off coupon, of course). I covered it in strips of newspaper mixed with a water/mod podge paste. In the end, I didn’t exactly like the way it looked. I took a very pale gray/blue paint, mixed it with water and white-washed the whole piece. Once it was dry, I pained leaves on it with a subtle gold paint. 

I loved the idea of the shelf on top, since it meant I could decorate the rack however I liked. I found directions for the paper mache birds in a magazine, which are made with cardboard and blown out eggs. I white washed those as well. The bottles were a thrift store find. The word home was unfinished wood that I painted blue, then gold, then sanded the edges so a little blue and natural wood would come through.

I really like the way it turned out, and once we stuck it on the wall, it was as utilitarian as it was welcoming!

If you want to make this at home, you’ll need:

unfinished coat rack (local craft store)
newspaper
paint (white-wash color and accent color)
paintbrushes (one for mod podge, one for paint)
mod-podge (I used matte finish instead of glossy)

Good luck crafters!