In which I paint stuff.

We have this marvelous open stairwell and entryway in our home.  It’s filled with light most of the day and was the first thing about this model that struck us as “home.”  While we love it, the height and volume of the space begs for some control.

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In the stairwell portion, I had the idea to paint the outer wall surrounding the window with a navy-to-white ombre.  I haven’t quite had the gumption to get that project off the ground, but I wanted something in the meantime to help anchor the space.  I’ve gotten excited about painting recently and decided to do a pair of large-scale paintings to add to the space and sort of test my ombre-paint theory.

Here’s the result!  The left is the navy to white I initially wanted, but feeling I wouldn’t be able to make a quality duplicate of it, I choose to go with a similar piece in yellow and white.  The yellow ties into some yellow highlights in the living room, and the two colors play nicely off each other.

I spent very little on this fun project!  The ‘canvases’ are simply thin MDF sheets that are readily available at your local hardware or home improvement store.  I ‘primed’ them with a little of the leftover house paint and simply used acrylics to smooth on the ombre.  They’re pushed away from the wall and given some additional structure by adding 1×2″ sections of wood to the back in an I shape – this also serves as the hanging mechanism.  I used E8000 glue, but with some foresight I would screw them on through the front then lightly patch any of the screw showing through the front before painting.

Do you make your own wall art?

Doggy Dining

I’m excited to share this fun little project I did this weekend.  More modern-style raised doggie feeders are kind of hard to come by, so I decided to make a set of my own!  We have two retired racing greyhounds, and it’s recommended to feed them from elevated dishes to make them more comfortable and possibly reduce bloat, a medical condition that can be quite serious.

All the materials came from Ikea, so I suppose this could also be considered an Ikea hack!  I do apologize for the lack of progress photos – I’d just gotten the rotary cutter and I was so excited about it I forgot to take pictures. XD

I started with one $4 Ekby Tryggve shelf and four (red!) Ekby Stodis brackets for $.50 each.  Since the shelf was more than long enough, I used a circular saw to cut it in half – one half for each diner.  Then I used a newly-purchased Ryobi Cordless Rotary Cutter to cut out circles – just big enough for the bowls to fit and catch on the lip.  I added the brackets to the shelves first – normally I’d put the brackets on the walls and then add the shelf, but this made more sense as they were small and going to be low on the wall.  I anchored each of the screw holes in the wall just in case a dog gets excited and decides to step up on the little ‘shelf’, and then everything was installed!

I like these because they’re easy to clean by just wiping them off, as well as keeping messes off the floor (mostly).  Even if they do make a mess, with the open space beneath it’s easy to just swipe under there with a towel or broom (or to pick up the rug under Zelda’s because she still thinks the wood floors are lava =p).

The shelves are ‘permanent,’ but no more so than a screwdriver and a little spackle will take.  And even though they’re attached to the walls, they have a lower profile than the other raised dishes we had.

Cute, modern, and tidy raised dog dishes for just $3 each?  I’ll take it!

Wedding dress up for grabs!

If anyone is in need of (or knows someone who needs!) a wedding dress, I’m selling mine!  My Claire Pettibone Clover was worn but once for just the period of the wedding and is in great condition!  You can check out the sale at Wedding Bee!  And a hilarious picture to round it out.

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Flowers from old patterns!

I don’t know about you guys, but I hoard patterns like they’re going extinct.  I even love to find vintage treasures once in a while.  But I also love the PURGE, cleaning out patterns I don’t need to make room for new.  I could recycle those old patterns in the bin with the rest, but here’s something much more creative and lovely!

Materials and instructions on how to make DIY Paper Flowers

Sewing Patterns, Ruler, Scissors, 24-gauge floral wire, Skewers (optional)

1. Stack 10 sheets of sewing patterns cut to 10″ square
2. Fold 1-inch wide sections of the stack, working into an accordion fold
3. and 4. Pinch, loop, and secure a 12-inch length of wire around the middle of the folded pieces. Round the edges using sharp scissors
5. Carefully unfold the layers of paper, fanning into a round bloom
6. A few gentle scrunches of the bloom will create the round “hydrangea” look that you want
7. If you will be arranging the flowers in a big bouquet using floral foam, wrap the remaining wire around a skewer. You can wrap up to three blooms around one skewers

Ta-da! And there you have it, a bouquet of stunning paper flowers!

Check out the rest of the article and more gorgeous pictures over at Wedding Chicks!

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But what if it is?  Can you fix it?  Is it worth the DiY?

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This rocker was left outside another teacher’s room with a sign saying it was broken.  It looked in good condition, but after sitting in it (not necessarily recommended…  Please don’t risk injury, haha!), I noted that the only flaw was a loose right armrest due to a missing screw.  An extra screw and 30 seconds later, the chair was good as new and sitting in a place of honor in my classroom!  I’d been hoping to have a rocking chair for reading, and now I got it!

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Then there was this little table, sturdy and in good condition, but the top was a mess.  Even after cleaning, it was patchy and stained.  My solution?  Paint that tabletop!  Now it’s a great extra addition for the classroom, useful for students to use as a group learning area (also it fits neatly under one of the other tables, storage win!).

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What DiY projects have really paid off for you?

Back to School?

Holy cow, is it really that time?  Sure is!  Most schools will be starting in just a few weeks, about halfway through August, and we sure are close to that!  In celebration, here are some fun projects to prepare for the big return.

source: Dollar Store Crafts

Rhonda of Dollar Store Crafts developed this adorable pencil cuff!  Great for teachers and kids alike, it’s a way to show off one of our favorite classic writing utensils.  Think of all the things you can do with pencils, wow!

source: Factory Direct Craft

This adorable burlap pencil case is printed with a little foam and some paint to create a block print.  Super cute and of course functional!  Thanks, Factory Direct Craft!

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Finally, our own speech bubble chalk boards take nothing more than foamcore, a knife, and some chalkboard paint.  Make any shape you want!  Fun first day photos, anyone?

What are some of your great projects for back to school?

Sparkle and shine!

Recently a purchased a FABULOUS pair of gold glitter shoes for a friend’s wedding (who doesn’t love a bride who asks you to wear GLITTER shoes?), and I am just SO in love with them!  Check out the finds I’ve made by continuing the search!

source: endless.com

These are similar to the Steve Maddens I bought, but the glitter here is darker and multi-colored!  The sparkle really makes this classic style exciting!

source: endless.com

Who doesn’t love the Dorothy-style magic of a pair of red glitter shoes?  I think the strap makes it that much more fun!

source: target.com

If you’re a little more budget-conscious, don’t worry!  Our friends at Target have a great collection of shimmering shoes to sate our appetites for sparkle.

source: target.com

No need for heels?  Try these super simple ballet flats – comfort and style all in one!

Which are your favorites?

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Hooked on papering!

A recent thrift store find had me excited about making a new project.  This simple wooden hook hanger was a plain rust-color when I picked it up, but I’d had this great bird printable on hand, and decided to use it to embellish the accessory!

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I started with the hook, a small mirror, the printed sheet, scissors, and a little glue.

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I folded the paper around the edges of the block to figure out where the corners would be.  Then I snipped them a little so there wouldn’t need to be any corner folds.

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Paper will of course tend to wrinkle because of the moisture in the glue, so I used a small paint bottle to roll out the bubbles and wrinkles.

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I added the mirror on with a little more glue once the base dried!  Exciting!

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Not wanting the bare edges of the mirror to show, I picked out a few pheasant feathers to glue around the edges.  I carefully overlapped the tips over the quills so they wouldn’t show.

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And the finished product!

What finds have inspired you lately?

Chalk it up to caffeine!

Continuing on my adventure with chalkboard paint, I thought one morning as I made Nick his coffee and me my tea that our respective morning beverages would be a fun place for some chalky application.  Not IN the cups, but ON them!

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I started with these plain coffee and teacups, purchased for a pittance at the local ARC.

I taped off my areas for painting.  This shows just the placement of the tape; I added more wax paper to cover the rest of the cups later.

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And the final results!

What are your plans for chalkboard paint?

Fun With Chalkboard Paint!

I happen to have a theme for this week, and it’s dun dun dun… chalkboard paint!  I started out using it for speech bubbles for our engagement photos.  After that, I made some boards into regular old chalk boards, also for use at the wedding!  Those are all fine and dandy, but I wanted to see what else I could do with this versatile paint!  So I grabbed a few jars that I’ve been collecting and a few other cans of paint and went to work!

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Wax paper and painter’s tape helped me seal off the areas I didn’t want getting paint on them.  I did each jar a little bit differently!  One jar got a complete coat on the outside (after a base coat of regular spray paint), another got an interior coat of white and a fabric cap.  These two others are my favorites!

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A little squat salsa jar got a coat of light brown paint inside, but the cap got a few coats of the chalkboard paint!  Since I couldn’t get all the adhesive off from the original sticker, I covered it with some cute cute lunch-themed fabric and there you are: lunch money jar!

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The other I added a little chalkboard ‘label’ to!  First I blocked out a base for the label and painted with the same beige as the lunch money jar.  Then I blocked out a slightly smaller space for the chalkboard paint using painter’s tape.  A few coats later, and there we are!

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The adventures will continue Friday with more chalkboard paint stories…  Stay tuned!