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!

m & z

A few months ago, my brother, Zac, married my friend, Melinda. Even though I was very annoyed at him for having stolen my friend when they first started up years ago, things really couldn’t have worked out better for me because my friend is now my sister-in-law and is stuck with me forever! yaaaaayyyyyy!

Anyway, as I love weddings, I ended up partaking quite a bit in the planning and designing of this absolutely gorgeous wedding. Someday, I’ll share some of the photos. In the mean time, I’ll show you the invitations I created for them (Zac also contributed quite a bit).

Disclaimer: I am not an artist. I am not a graphic designer. However, I do <3 art and graphic design. So I try. I make mistakes. I work around tools I don’t understand. And sometimes, cool stuff comes out of it.

For Zac and Melinda’s wedding, I was really inspired by Rifle Paper Co. which used to be sort of an obscure, Once Wed secret, but now is blowing up and can now be found at Anthropologie and all over Pinterest. Anyway, I love the rich botanicals of Rifle, and the almost cartoonish quality of their simplified art. So without ripping off their art too much, I set off to paint something similar. This is what turned out:

And, of course, the RSVP card:

This was the first time I physically painted something and tried to turn it into print. I would say it was mostly successful as a small amount of the detail was lost in the scanning process. All in all, it turned out pretty splendid, all things considered.

Stay tuned for more invites and designs!

Easy, Peasy Drink Tags

Life is crazy and busy and beautiful all at once, as per usual, but I am going to continue to strive to keep up these posts! I have been working on a few things lately waiting to be posted. I recently walked about 30 blocks checking out a super neighborhood-wide yard sale in Chicago hoping to find some gems, but alas, it was to no avail.
The good news is, there are a couple of weddings coming along that will hopefully involve some fabulous DIY projects to post.

The first wedding, my friend Beth’s, is set for July. And it is going to be fabulous.

The setting: a rustic farm in Oklahoma
The color scheme: turquoise and yellow
 The first project: adorable drink tags.
The basic set-up for the drinks at the wedding will be something like this: 4 different drinks in large pitchers (like this one that I found at Bed Bath & Beyond) all displayed on the table. We’ll put bunting on the edge of the table in turquoise and yellow. Because there will be a variety of drinks, we decided they needed labels!
I created a template on plain paper and after some drawing, folding and redrawing I had an even shape for the signs. This would maybe be easier if you had those tracable shapes they sell for scrap booking. I didn’t though, so as usual, I just made it up.
Once I had the shapes cut out, I made up an oval template that would fit nicely. Then I tested out a few sharpie and paint colors. In the end, I went with paint despite the fact that it’s more time consuming because the color match was more exact.
If you have awesome handwriting, you could just go for at this point. I, however, have what has been classified as “boy hand-writing” so I have my own little trick. I either pick a font I love, or find a free one online and download it. Then I type up everything that I need to write and use that to freehand. If you have terrible handwriting and you can’t freehand either, try printing your words with colored ink. Do a practice run first though in b&w just in case!
Once everything is pasted together, use a tiny hole punch for punch a hole in each side and string some embroidery floss or thin hemp through, securing the tags to the drink pitchers. Here is how ours turned out!
These are so quick and easy, you could totes throw them together for a casual yard party. Everyone knows that some cutesy decorations can immediately jazz up your average party!

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!

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!

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!