Monday, November 3, 2014

Whatcha doin' with that Washi Tape?

Every time I stop into a craft or office supply store, it's there.  Rows and rows of beautiful washi tape, the colors and patterns a visual feast for the eyes, whispering, "Take me home.  Please.  Just take me home."   For a few bucks, I'm more than happy to oblige their quiet longing.

If you're not familiar with washi tape, get on the bandwagon- you can use it to decorate just about anything!!  It's really just glorified masking tape, and it's pretty sad that TAPE makes me gleeful these days, isn't it?  I'm really getting old.

Let's just hop right to it- here's some fun things I did recently with washi tape!

Picture frames!  

I contemplated painting these cheap black frames that I've had since college, but a strip of gold tape did the trick!  (Prints are a greeting card print from Alaska, and a postcard of the Merchandise Mart Building in Chicago).

Computer monitor!  

Can you tell that I taped up my laptop screen, too?  There's too many big black boxes on my desk...they needed some cheap glamour.  I might have gone a wee bit overboard.
Linen Closet Shelves!
So much white in this needed a little visual eye candy surprise.

Lamp #1!

Lamp #2!
I've seen a bunch of lamps lately that have a mix of gold and silver on them, and as these Ikea lamps are PERFECTLY FINE, I added a wee bit of tape to jazz them up.  This *slightly* satisfies my urge to buy fun new lamps that have the vintage cloth cords on them- have you seen them anywhere?  They're adorable.

I also have decorated quite a few packages with the tape- it looks really cute around brown paper packages!  No one is ever upset to get a pretty package in the mail, am I right?

If you're a sad sack like me who gets excited by tape, go buy yourself some today.  It's fun, it's cheap, and it's not permanent.  Tape, tape, tape it up!

I really hope you're now singing, "Pump, pump, pump it up" repeatedly, because who knows any of the other lyrics, right?  Also, did anybody notice that my office is now white?  Woot's coming together!  I'll do my next post  on all of my office DIY's when it's cleaned up and dust free:)

Monday, October 13, 2014

No Power? No Problem.

This summer was a crazy one for SE Michigan.  We've had hail, wind, rain, and floods that have just been bananas.  BANANAS.  One day last month, the internet kept warning me that yet another storm was coming...yippee, right?

And storm did it ever.  We lost power on a Friday evening, and didn't get it back til Sunday night. Sooo, what to do with a weekend full of power outages?  Can't break out the sewing machine.  Can't break out the power tools.  Can't even cook because I don't have a gas stove, and the refrigerator has become a bacterial death trap.

Luckily, I had just cleaned out the fridge the week before, emptying bottles with expiration dates of 2011 stamped on them.  Yikes.  Apparently I didn't need a power outage for my fridge to be a death trap.  Anyone else clicking out of this blog to go check your condiment bottle expiration dates right now?  You might want to.

Let's wait a minute while people do that (insert Musak here).

Everyone back?  So, after the Great Fridge Cleanout of 2014, I bought a few plastic bins at Target, and labeled them with a few of the most commonly grouped items for easy reach.  Even though I have a small fridge, things still seem to get pushed to the back and lost for eternity, shriveling up and dying, only to be discovered weeks later with a, "Hey, I could have used that if I had known it was back there!" 

Lucky for my wallet, when the power went out, I hadn't yet gotten around to replacing all of those staples that I usually kept in the fridge.  Win for big grocery shopping procrastination!!

So, with an empty fridge, no power, and plenty of time on my hands, what is there to do?  Well, lots of things, but only one I'm going to actually write about in a public forum.  Get your minds out of the gutter, people...I'm talking about going to the movies, which no one wants to hear about.

After my last post detailing my lovely little Wine Sign for my sister, I thought I could just pull more wood scraps out of the garage and paint.  So I did.  I'm not really feeling a detailed instructional play by play on this, so I'll just show you a few pictures and then reveal the final product.

Can you spot me in the glass table reflection?
It's the blog version of Where's Waldo!

Add some tape in your favorite geometric shapes!

Slap on some mastic!

Layer on some paint!

Keep on layering!

Take a picture!

Then take a closeup!

I have no clue what I'm going to do with this.  I'm not even a huge fan of modern art pieces like this one, probably because when I see them hanging in a gallery, I think, "Why would I pay thousands of dollars for this when I could make it myself?"  Annnnd I think I just proved my point.

In honor of my Storm Happened, Lines are Down, DTE Can't Work Fast Enough, No Power weekend, this piece is titled, "Edison."

It's Electricity Appreciation Day in this house, peeps!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wine. It Does a Body Good.

Please don't sue me for stealing your slogan, Dairy Farmers of America!  Wine is much more fabulous than milk, though, isn't it? (and water. and every other beverage. right?)

Preach it!

My sister had a birthday in August, so it was time to DIY!  For those of you who like to say, "It takes too much time to DIY, I can just go shopping and buy something.", I officially challenge that statement.  All in, which included researching my sister's Pinterest boards for what to make, making the gift, and running it to the post office took a smidge over an hour (in bits and pieces, mind you).  Unless you live directly above a gift shop and your sister lives with you, I doubt you're clocking any less time in buying vs. DIY'ing a gift like this.  Plus, people LOVE homemade gifts.  Unless they don't.  Soooo, there's that, I guess.

Luckily for me, my sister appreciates what I DIY for her.  Either that, or she's just too nice to say otherwise.  I'm sure I've given her a few duds in my DIY days, but hopefully the good projects make up for it.

Today's project is an easy one!  Here's what you need:

Scrap of wood
Paint (the 99cent acrylic variety will do just fine)
Paper/pattern/sketch (or freehand it, whatevs.)

Here's the plan:

Take your piece of wood that most certainly DID NOT come from the garage attic covered in bird poop, and make sure it's clean and free of rough edges.  (Here's the spot where my sister will pause, never knowing if the above sentence is the truth, or just my way of freaking her out.  She'll live in the dark forever- I'll never tell.)

It's clean, I promise!!
(I used the tacks to hold up the backside of the board for quicker drying time)

Next up, paint the wood with your background color.  I chose to use a mixture of white and graphite paint with a smidge of water- I wanted more of a weathered gray wood look- something slightly opaque, but still rustic looking. 

Let the paint soak in for a  minute, and then wipe it softly
with a rag to let some of the wood grain show through.

While your paint is drying, start making sketches of your wine bottle.  Don't worry if it isn't perfect- it shouldn't be- it's not a photograph!!  When you think you have the template you want, slap it on your DRY wood piece, and trace around it.

I sketched a smaller version of the bottle first,
and then enlarged around it to make the process a bit easier.

Here's where you need to make sure you've got the right paintbrush- no dollar store paint by numbers brush here.  Get yourself a small angled brush- that's what'll work best for painting straight lines with a smart edge.  Use your angled brush to trace the outline of your wine bottle, and then fill it in.  I used the full strength version of my graphite acrylic paint that I mixed up earlier.  You could always use chalkboard paint here, as I was going for a similar look, but I did not feel like busting out and mixing up my pint of chalkboard paint when I wasn't going to use it as a reusable chalkboard. 

Ignore the shadows, please- my basement craft room needs some additional lighting.

While that dries, practice your handwriting.  You need to give it a few goes- work the kinks out!!

Practice makes (almost) perfect!

When you feel that your handwriting is sufficiently less sucky than when you started practicing, use a paint marker on your wood board.

Almost done!

Drill a small hole in the back to use as a hangar of sorts, and voila, you're done!

Easy peazy.

Instant gift!!

Hope you liked it, Jess!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Hammer Time.

Where has the summer gone??  I know I've been MIA for quite awhile- lots of weddings and visits to get in while the weather's nice!  Couple that with a crazy work schedule the past few weeks, and like sands through the hourglass, so are the nonexistent DIY sessions of my life.  (Days of Our Lives reference, anyone?) 

Annnnyway, here's a quick little DIY to do with little ones (because they can), or by yourself (because you can).  Either way, it'll turn out pretty!

Ooh la's art!!

I found this little gem of a summer DIY somewhere online, and thought I'd give it a go.  Of course I had a hammer, watercolor paper, and blue painter's tape hanging around- staples of a DIY'er, really.

Supplies.  Yeah, it's upside down.  Live with it.
If you can't tell that it's a pad of watercolor paper, you're blind.

Here's what you do:

Pick some fancy flowers and leaves.  Try to pick ones that aren't super thick and watery- they might just burst when you try to hammer them.  Or, pick exactly that, if you want to create a messy explosion of plant juices.  Your choice.


Yeah, that was kind of a mess.

Arrange your flowers artfully on your watercolor paper.  It's important to use watercolor paper and not just any old regular printer paper- the watercolor texture and absorbency is what you need for this project.

Or, arrange your one flower artfully.
These dang petals tend to stick in a clump!

Next, cover your flowers with painter's tape.  Make sure to cover the perimeter of the flower securely for best results.

Tape it down now!

Then, hammer away!  If you want to take a few quick hits and then pull the tape up a bit to check your progress, feel free!  The painter's tape comes up  easily, so you can see if additional hammering is necessary.

Looking good!

Use some fun stamps and a ribbon, and you've got a pretty little door hanger!
Too cute, right?

After you've done all this, mail the hammer and supplies to your sister for her 5 year old's birthday.  She'll really love you for it.  Promise.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wanna Get in my Drawers?

So, we're obviously talking about DRESSER DRAWERS today...geesh.  What kind of drawers were you thinking?

A few years ago, we had a contractor come in and bust out a wall in the attic bedroom (excuse me, Master Bedroom) of our bungalow.  He pushed the wall back into the eaves of the roof 4 feet, and created some much needed closet space.  In doing so, he also had to rip out one set of drawers that were built into the wall.  We were able to keep the second set, so we still have one built in dresser.  I love old houses and their quirks!

Drawer Skeletor.

Boxes o' beauty.

In the meantime, I had four large drawers to DIY into something fantastic.  What to do with them?  Turn them into bookshelves?  Attach casters and use as under the bed storage?  Burn them?  At the time, I was working on organizing the basement, and needed some extra storage space, so the decision was made...drawers to shelving it was!

Yes, I can count.  I know this is a picture of only three drawers, and I had four to work with.
Congratulate yourself on being observant.

Bun feet.  The name just makes me want to give someone a hug.
Weird, right?

Since I completed this project 2 years ago, I don't have any other pictures of the process, but it's pretty easy to create a picture in your head.  Here you go:

1.  Unscrew drawer handles.
2. Plop one drawer on top of the other with the drawer faces touching each other.
3. Screw a nut and bolt through each drawer handle hole in order to attach the drawers together.
4. Attach old wooden bun feet from another scrapped project onto the bottom of the lower drawer.
5. Have a nice young gentleman at Lowe's cut pegboard for you to attach to the inside of the drawers, screw up the measurements slightly, and offer you 15% off for his mistake.
6. Smile and take him up on his offer.
7. Paint drawers with an obnoxious color just for fun.
8. Attach pegboard to insides of drawers with nuts and bolts. (Don't forget to put small scrap pieces of wood behind the pegboard so it sticks away from the drawer a bit! You want to be able to actually use the pegboard!)
9. Use s-hooks and other fun organizing peg board pieces to create easy access to your most frequently used tools, painting supplies, etc.

Pea-green in all its glory.  Don't mind all of the paint on the floor
that has yet to find an organized home.

I never said it was pretty...just basement functional!
Presto chang-o!  Wasn't that fun?  If you have extra drawers lying (or is it laying?  Grammar police, come attack, please!)  around, don't toss them, reuse them! 

I still have 2 drawers leftover just waiting for a new life.  As I'm currently creating a fabulous basement craft room, they just might get their wish soon!!

And now, a picture of me dressed up as Where's Waldo?  Why, you ask?  Why the hell not?
Side note: this was Halloween 2011- there was school that day,
and I did call down several kids to my office to suspend them while dressed like this.
First and only day that nobody was pissed for being suspended.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Not yo' mama's Cross-Stitch

The first thing out of Dave's mouth when I started this project was, "Please don't show that to anyone."  Followed by, "Please tell me you're not hanging that in our house."  Then followed by, "As soon as you're done with that thing, I'm punching a hole in it." No sense of humor, this one.  The cause of this oh so serious marital strife?

Here ya go!

Oh yes I did.

(I jest on the marital strife.  If you know Dave, you know that the real message he was really trying to get across was, "Wife, I'm so proud of all of the DIY projects you do.  They really add to the beauty of our home, and they also keep you busy so I can enjoy a glass of whiskey in silence.'re beautiful."  True story.)

I can't really give you step by step DIY instructions on this piece, as I didn't create it, but I can give you the link on how to get it done yourself.  I came across this lovely little Etsy shop awhile ago, and wanted to make one of her pieces.  The shop is called GranniePanties, and the owner, Chrissy, creates templates/directions for various cross-stitch patterns.  My favorites include the 90's rap lyric patterns...they're cute enough to hang on your wall, but naughty enough to cause someone to do a double take when they read it.  Since most of her patterns only run around $5-6, they're super affordable to buy and make yourself.  Here's a link to the website:

GranniePanties on Etsy

And here's a breakdown of my costs to complete the project:

Pattern: $5
10" Embroidery Hoop: $1.79
Needles: Already had them, but they only run around $2 for a pack
Embroidery thread: .39 each (for 6 colors)
Cross-Stitch Fabric: $4.99 (but there's leftovers for another project!)

All in, if you need to buy everything, you're spending around $15 for hours of couch sitting fun.

Isn't your heart just going pitter-patter with excitement right now?
I're too excited to even think straight.

Be warned, this isn't a quick project.  But, it's also pretty mindless.  All you have to do is be able to count squares, and loop thread through holes in an X.  Plop your butt in front of the TV while there's nothing on during a summer full of re-runs while it's pouring buckets o'rain outside, and you've gotten yourself into a prime cross-stitching situation. 

I didn't follow Chrissy's instructions exactly, because, what fun would that be?  To be honest, I really just messed up and counted wrong.  Apparently counting squares isn't as easy as I thought.  Oh well, it still turned out nicely, don't you think?

Cross-stitching outside on a lovely summer afternoon.
Yes, that's the pattern on my iPad with a delightful oak tree glare.

I also didn't use the suggested thread colors, as I wanted the finished project to hang in my guest room.  So, I took an extra piece of the wallpaper I have in that room to Michael's, (the store, not someone's house, in case you were confused.  It happens.) and matched my thread accordingly. 

Oh yeah, look at that progress.  Fancy.
Beautiful lap picture, no?

If you're lucky (and if I'm motivated enough to do another cross-stitch/want to blind myself), you may just find yourself on the receiving end of one of these hilariously inappropriate pieces for Christmas. Send me your wish list promises. to finish this project off?

Option 1: Make into a lovely bed pillow.
Option 2: Make a hole in this wallpaper (GASP!)
to hang the piece in a square frame on the wall.
Option 3: Finish and hang in a round frame here.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

April Showers Bring JUNE Flowers

Wow...the weeks are flying by, aren't they?  Warm weather is finally here...woot woot!!  Not going to lie- instead of crafting, I've been doing an awful lot of laying around in my hammock in the backyard and reading books on the weekends. It's been pretty great! (and traveling...I've been quite the jet setter the past month or so!)

Here I am, though, back in the saddle to share my latest project.  Several years ago, I started making hairclips and pins out of silk flowers with semiprecious stones and pearls as the centers.  It was fun for awhile, and I even sold a few on Etsy, but each flower was just too time consuming for what I could charge for it. 

Now, I just make them on request for friends and family who have special events to go to- it's much more fun that way, anyway:)  Here's a few pictures of some of the flowers I've made in the past.  Take a gander, and then we'll get to the meat of how it's done!

I usually start off with some dupioni silk.  You don't need much to complete a flower- probably only a 12" square of fabric.  I've tried to use other synthetic fabrics, but I found that dupioni silk just works best.  Plus, it's pretty, and you can usually find it in quite an array of shades at your fabric store!

To begin, I cut petals out of my fabric by folding over strips and cutting "u" shapes along the fold.  You can make your petals more pointed on the ends, or fatter, depending on what shape of petals you want for your flower.

I cut a few smaller petals after I took this picture, but I only ended up using
about 25 petals.  It's ok to have extra left over!!

After cutting out petals in various sizes, ( I usually cut out about 30 petals, but it really just depends on my level of patience that day), it's time to bring out the rice.  That's right, I said RICE.  Yep, the kind you eat with your mu shu pork.   

Umm, just try not to spill the rice all over your counters and floors.  You don't need a 15 minute
delay while you clean up and try to stop the dog from licking dry rice off of everything.

The rice is going to be used to mold our petals.  We don't want flat petals, do we?  That wouldn't be realistic.  I sprayed the petals with fabric stiffener, and then plopped them in my containers of rice, mashing them down so that they were partially submerged and crinkled up a bit.

Stiffen Quik?

Then, I popped those babies into the microwave for 1 minute.  The directions on the fabric stiffener say that you can either wait an hour for the liquid to dry, or microwave it.  Through some trial and error, I've found that even microwaving the petals doesn't mean that they are ready to go any quicker than letting them air dry.  I still leave the petals in the rice until the whole bowl has cooled (about 20 minutes), before taking them out.  Otherwise, the petals won't hold their shape as well.

See those white petals stuffed in that white rice?  They're there, I promise!!

Once the petals have been formed, it's on to the fun step...beading!!  I have a pretty nice selection of glass beads, semi precious stones, freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals that I use to decorate the centers of my flowers.  You can definitely use the cheaper plastic beads from the craft store, but I think after spending the time to hand form petals out of silk, you might as well make the rest of your flower special too, am I right?

Molded petals.  Not to be confused with moldy petals.  These are perfectly clean.

As it's really not that fun to push a needle and thread through 30 layers of fabric in order to bead your flower, it's a good idea to just take the smaller, top layers of petals to attach the beads to.  Here we go.

Keep on beading.  When you think you're done, you're not.
Add a few more.
I'm really serious.

Once the beads are sewn tight, then it's time to sew the top piece to the rest of the loose petals.  Plop them together and sew a few double threaded stitches. 

It's coming together now!!

Almost done!!  After I'm finished with the flower itself, I cut a small piece of matching felt, and attach that to the back of the flower.  I've done this in two ways in the past:  sewn the felt on, and hot glued it.  Both methods work just as well.  I would not, however, recommend gluing all of the petal layers together.  That doesn't work out so well.

Alligator clip (chomp chomp), felt, back of flower

Last but not least, I attached an alligator clip to the felt with my glue gun.  This step is personal preference in what type of clip you choose to attach...there's lots of options of clips, barrettes, combs, and bobby pins that all work well.  Just choose what works best for you!


What do you think?  Worthy of a wedding or special event?  I think so!

Freshwater pearls, pink coral, and glass beads.  No plastic here, no sir!
This lovely flower has been sent to my dear friend Anne, who will be pairing it with a pinkish fuschia bridesmaid's dress and gold heels.  This perfect accessory will now complete the look!!