burlap table runner

I made a new table runner! I wanted a burlap table runner that I could dress up or down and use for holiday decorations. I especially like the way that burlap looks with fancy glass (especially mercury glass). So I wanted to make a table runner.

Enter the problem. If you’ve ever worked with burlap, you know that it shreds all over. Which means that it looks great for a one-time event (aka wedding, dinner party) but will not stay together long enough for any other use. I needed a way to hem it. Obviously, traditional hemming would be ok, but I wanted something a little dressier. But I get ahead of myself.

First- buy some burlap the length of your table plus 6-12in on either side to hang off the table. I went with about 6in but if you like a longer tablecloth, make it longer. Then decide what width you want. Mine is about 14inches wide. It’s really just a matter of taste.

Here is the trick with burlap… it can kind of get out of whack rather easily and if you just cut, your table runner will end up looking super uneven. So, starting at one short end, decide where you want to make the cut. Then, pull that single string that runs parallel with the runner. Make sense?

Find the string. Pull.

Keep pulling as it gets scrunched up until the entire thread is pulled out.

This creates a perfect guide. Just cut in the space and then you’ll have a totally straight cut.

Ok so, instead of hemming, I decided I wanted to use trim. I picked out double-fold seam binding in a matching color. If you wanted to, you could use a decorative ribbon or even a contrasting seam binding, but I wanted it to be used for anything.

I folded the seam binding over the edge of the runner and hot glued it securely. (That’s the no-sew bit… if you really wanted to, you could sew the seam binding on. It might be faster… but you’d have to get your machine out…)

So I found it easiest to just glue on the back side, stick the burlap down and then glue the other side down. It helped to keep the lines straight. The corners I folded like the ends of gift wrap so they weren’t too lumpy.

All in all, the project was really simple AND really cheap- (two of my favorite things!) I like how it turned out and I especially like it with my autumnal pumpkin display.

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!

 

 

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!

Jersey Cotton Necklace

Well I am having a fabulous weekend with some of my craftiest friends! B Head and Egan are here and in between our bouts of “hoarders” marathons (which also brought on a few cleaning binges for me) we decided to get a little crafty!
After creating a few foam coozies… (which were def not blog-worthy) we moved on to greater things. B Head showed me an amazing necklace she made out of an old t-shirt. Because it’s made of jersey cotton, it is remarkably light-weight for large necklace. The best part is, of course, if you have an old t-shirt to re-purpose, the cost is FREE!

But mom! I just want to help!

Dislaimer: Tucker reallywanted to be our little “helper” for this project and pretty much attempted to chew everything we were working on, so he’ll be making quite a few guest appearances because we could not get him OUT OF THE WAY!

Ok back to the craft! First, find an old t-shirt. I used a plain one but you could try a patterned one as well. Lay the tee out on the floor. Cut off the hemmed edge on the bottom. Then, begin cutting 1-inch strips straight across. Do not cut the side seams– you’ll want to end up with loops of fabric.

Taking the loops in both hands, stretch out the strips of fabric, like so. Place the strips around your neck and arrange them how you’d like them to be. You can keep some longer and some shorter for variety or keep them the same length. Once you’ve got it figured out, wrap your fist around all of the pieces and take it off of your head to hold it in place. Using another strip of fabric, wrap it around the strips and tie it to secure. Then you’re done!

Here is B Head’s… in turquoise… which is awesome.
This project takes about 10 minutes and makes an eye-catching accessory. Save it for a rainy day or whip one up on your lunch break! Happy Crafting!

the not-so-dainty jewelry holder

If you are anything like me, you like your jewelry over-sized. I have quite the jewelry collection these days, and sadly, no where to hang them up where they are free from tangles and easily displayed for my perusal. What I needed was a jewelry holder as big and as bold as my favorite Anthro necklaces. Voila!

After dreaming up a number of different ideas for a jewelry holder that would be both stylish and capable of holding at least 10 lbs, I went to the thrift store for a scouting trip.
 At the store, I found this used picture. The frame measures just under 3’x3′, so I thought it could be big enough to handle my project. I bought the picture for $5 and brought it to the hardware store. The frame was a little dinged up, and I would have considered refinishing, but once I discovered it was actually particle board, painting became the necessary step.

At the hardware store, I found these molding strips. You could just use a thin plywood, but the molding had a nice beveled edge. I measured the inside of the frame, and cut the strips accordingly. (Did you know they have stations with saws where you can cut the wood yourself in the store! Awesome!)

I picked my color scheme to match my room. Since the piece is so big, I figured it could double as wall art (which my bedroom desperately needs… more on that later. I found a patterned wrapping paper I really enjoyed at a local shop called the Paper Merchant that sells specialty papers, then took the paper to Joanns for a perfect color match in an acrylic paint. I went with a matte finish, but you could go for gloss if you wanted to!

Once the frame and molding strips were painted blue, I measured and cut my wrapping paper to fit inside the frame. I also decided what heights to put the molding strips at and marked the spots on the picture with a pencil. I decided (after some epic failing) to cut the paper into 3 pieces and put each in separately. There was some slight gaping between the existing picture and the frame under which I was able to slide the wrapping paper for a more secure fit and total coverage.

I decided to use an acid-free double stick tape (after staring at the adhesive aisle for about 20 minutes). Because wrapping paper is so thin, I knew that any sort of glue would result in wrinkles in the paper. Placing some tape on the picture, I put the wrapping on in strips, tucking the edges under the frame. I used the pencil markers to make sure the seams in the paper were hidden under the molding.

After deciding how far apart to space the hooks for the jewelry, I marked every 3″ on the strips, staggering the middle strip by 1.5″. I made holes over the marks with a nail. If you try to screw the hooks straight in, you risk splitting the wood *no good.


The hooks I found at the hardware store were simple 5/8″ hooks, which was appropriate for the width of the wood. I screwed each one into the holes in the wood. (Please note: this is much easier to do with pliers, which we did not have and ended up with red, aching fingers.)

Once all of the hooks were good to go, I glued the strips to the edges of the frame with liquid nails. You’ll definitely want to use a similar product for this step to avoid the strips crashing down and breaking your project. Let the project sit and dry for at least an hour, and definitely over night before hanging anything from it. Once everything has set, mount it on your wall and fill it with your loveliest jewelry!

To make this project at home, you’ll need:
Old picture frame
Strips of plywood/molding cut to fit just inside the frame
Hooks
Paper for the background
Acrylic paint
Double stick tape
Liquid nails
Nail/Hammer
Pliers

You could try making this with a different frame shapes and color schemes. You could also opt to paint the background, rather than use patterned paper. Make sure to send a picture my way if you make your own!

Happy Crafting!

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!

long overdue…

Dear friends and readers,
Hello! I’m back!
I apologize for the unforgivably lengthy hiatus on this poor blog. I suppose I can sort it blame it on Tucker.

Yes, that’s right! We are now proud puppy parents and this our darling little boy. He is just over 3 months old and we’ve had him for about a month. He’s fabulous and we love him. However, I will never downplay the amount of work a new puppy requires! Here he is having his first bath.

Anyway, enough about the pup and on to craftier things!
While I’ve been gone, I’ve still been working on a project or two! Here is a gift I made for my friends for our trip to D.C. (which was fabulous of course).

I bought some little metal jewelry pieces from the hobs lobs for a buck thirty-four for a two-pack! Unbelievable! There were varying sizes, but I chose the 12mm to start because I think that small things are cute. So basically these little metal pieces have a pushed in center that is ready to be decorated with whatever you find and like the look of!

The cardboard that the piece came attached to had an “actual size” square printed on it, which served as a perfect template. I traced the template onto the background patterned paper. Then I cut teeny animals out of an old anthro catalog I had lying around. Using Mod Podge, Dimensional magic, I glued the animal to the background, initial stamped it and then pasted it into the metal piece. I filled in the rest with more dimensional magic, which looks cloudy while its drying.**Note: if you have bubbles in the glue, use a toothpick to drag them to the edge and then pop them.

This one actually had a small bubble, but since its above the mouth of the fish, I still thought it was slightly appropriate! I put a pearl on this one using my jewelry making tools. I think these square ones can also be turned sideways to make a bracelet. I prefer the necklaces myself, but there’s always room to experiment.

  If you want to try this at home, you’ll need:
Jewelry pieces found at hobs lobs
Old magazines or any sort of miniature pictures
Alphabet stamps, or even chopped up letters from magazines
Mod Podge Dimensional Magic
A little imagination!

All in all, I really liked the way these turned out, and proceeded to make quite a few more in different styles. I’m still trying to find a way to print high resolution animal pictures on such a teeny scale, but it’s proving to be difficult with my resources thus far. If you find a way, don’t hesitate to share with the rest of us!

I will take this moment to say I am rededicating myself to this blog and there will not be such a long wait for more splendid things in the future! I’m sorry and I love you all.

Happy crafting!

impromptu thank yous!

I have been seeing banners everywhere lately. First, in my paper crafts book, I found a project I intend to start shortly for a wall banner with different prints. A few weeks later, my friend B Head emailed me a project she found online for a banner necklace, but I am waiting for us to get together before I attempt that one.
Banners somehow just exude happiness to me. I think maybe its because they’re springy and bright and make me think of being outside in warm weather. So I decided to make up my own banner project!
Inspired as well by my ever-shrinking but still daunting pile of wedding thank-you notes left to complete, I wanted to make an extra-creative thank you for my cousin who is an artist. He gave me an original painting of his and I thought it deserved an extra thanks!
I recently acquired a set of alphabet stamps (future project coming soon) and wanted to do something with individual letters- huzzah! A banner that spells out thanks!
I started with some paint swatches that I had picked up a while back. They worked perfectly for a project like this when you need small pieces in a variety of colors. The best part is- paint samples are free!

So pick up some in a variety of colors. I went with pastels/dustier colors myself, but that also had a lot to do with the paint samples I already had.
I created a banner template on a piece of cardboard. Mine is about the size of a postage stamp. I traced on different colored paint selections and cut them all out. Then I laid out the flags and rearranged until it was just right. I stamped each one with each letter.

After the banner was laid out and stamped, I looked for a card for attach the banner too. The first card, a square shape, wasn’t wide enough for 6 letters (something to keep in mind if you try this yourself) so I found a wider card. I used a natural colored hemp string and glued each end to the back of the card, leaving a little slack in the string. I glued each letter to the string and glued down the bottom point as well for a little security.

Here is the final result:
 I think it looks pretty cute on the patterned card, but would also look great on plain card stock, or with a more natural background.
If you want to make this at home, you’ll need:
A blank card
Paint samples in coordinating colors
String (colored embroidery floss would also be cute!)
Alphabet stamps or a marker and good handwriting

Mod Podge or some other type of glue

This was a quick and easy project you can make with materials you probably already have at home, or those you can find for free/cheap. Try it at home! You could make one to express thanks, or love or maybe use it for an invite. Let me know if you come up with anything great!

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!

chiffon flowers

Welcome to the flowery goodness how-to! 
 

Fabric flowers are everywhere and that is because they are so darn cute. Whether you put them on a hair clip, headband or tank, they seem to automatically spruce up any outfit with their garden party charm. There are plenty of ways to make flowers, but I’m going to include instructions for what I consider to be the easiest! 
You can use any variety of materials for these, from standard cotton to chiffon to thick silk dupioni. I used chiffon this time, because I think that the flimsier fabrics add a bit of whimsy and character to the flowers.

 Find a perfect circle (a lid of any variety will work just fine) and use that as a tracing pattern. I usually fold my material in half and cut through 2 layers at once. You’ll want to put a straight pin through the pieces of material so they don’t slip and slide whilst you cut!
Cut a number of circles in the fabric (the amount varies based on how the petals expand/how full the petals ought to look). You will use one circle as the base for your flower.

Lay one circle down flat. Take another and fold it into quarters. Put a drop of hot glue in at the point and glue the folded chiffon to the center of the circle. Glue another folded chiffon quarter next to the first, and so on until you have four petals. 

Repeat this process again, staggering the petals slightly. 

 Once your flower is looking full and fluffy, take one more circle and fold it into eighths. Put hot glue in the corner of the fold and stick it in the center. This should, hopefully, complete the look of a full flower.
A note of caution: please be careful using hot glue with chiffon. The fabric is very thin and you can pretty easily burn your hand pressing the petals in. I suggest using a low intensity hot glue gun.

If you want to make this at home, you’ll need:
fabric (very little is needed to make just one flower, so a half yard makes quite a few)
fabric scissors (any sharp scissor should work- just remember the duller the scissor the more fraying! uneven cutting will definitely show on these)
hot glue sticks and a hot glue gun
fray check/ no sew glue if you concerned about the edges fraying
Variations: 
Instead of cutting circles, cut a 5-petal flowered shape
Try using 2 different colors, incorporating circles of both into the flower
Use buttons or beads for center decorations
The sky is the limit! Be creative!