Browsing "Crafts & DIY"
I stumbled across this Mug Cozy Pattern from Micah Makes while on Pinterest earlier this week and decided it was something I just had to try.
Micah’s pattern was easy to follow and ended up being the perfect project to keep me from feeling restless while watching the final Back to the Future movie with Chris this evening. (One of his birthday gifts was the Back to the Future trilogy, and we’ve been watching one movie every night.)
As for the pattern itself, I’m definitely going to want to give it another go (probably this weekend if I have time). When working from a new pattern, I have a tendency to crochet tighter than the pattern calls for, so the cozy I made this evening may have difficulty fitting larger mugs.
For round two, I’m planning to use a different color palette though – I’m thinking about teal with a black border in honor of my favorite football team. What do you think?
This is the first weekend I’ve had in the past six weeks or so that didn’t involve traveling or being away from home for an extended period, so I thought I’d make the most of it and celebrate the return of Spring (and Easter) with some crafts I discovered this week while I was “catching up” on Pinterest.
Project 1: Herb Garden
The return of an herb garden this year is a MUST. I’ve been reading too many recipes and teas that require fresh or freshly dried herbs that it’d simply be a crime not to include them in my weekend to-do. Last year’s challenges to my herb garden were torrential rains that over-soaked my herbs and pesky mites that devoured the leaves. To combat those challenges, I’m starting (and likely keeping) my herbs indoors this year. I’ll start from seeds, thin them as the sprouts appear, add a little plant food and hopefully watch them grow like weeds.
On this year’s grow list:
- Anise (for tea)
- Catnip (in the hopes that it will keep the cats from devouring my other plants)
- Cilantro (Coriander once it goes to seed)
- German Chamomile (for tea)
- Lavender (for tea and homemade sachets)
- Lemon Balm
- Lime Basil
- Peppermint (for tea)
- Rosemary (because I’ve been dying to try a home fragrance stove concoction)
- Wild Bergamot (for tea)
I’m also thinking about picking up some chocolate mint (already growing strong) that I saw at Home Depot last night. What herbs do you have (or plan to have) in your garden this Spring?
Project 2: Handmade Stationery Envelopes
With Sean recently returned to Afghanistan for his fourth tour since joining the Marine Corps, I ‘ve been wanting to do something extra special this time to let my brother know just how much he’s missed, especially with the birth of his first child just around the corner. So when I stumbled across this tutorial for how to create your own stationery envelopes using magazine pages, I knew it was just the thing I’d been searching for.
I’ve been scouring the pages of Jacksonville Magazine for uplifting images of Sean’s hometown to help wrap up the letters and photos I plan to send him in the coming weeks and months while he’s away. The focus this weekend will be on creating envelopes that can handle the 4×4 photos I plan to print from Instagram of his beautiful wife Bianca, their little girl Sofia who’s big debut (aka her birth) will hopefully take place next week, and Jackson, Sean’s energetic boxer-mix pup.
Project 3: Scalloped Wall Art
I’m a huge believer in mantle eye candy, so when I saw these strikingly cute scalloped wall art pieces on You Are My Fave, I knew I had to try to make them for our home. I haven’t decided on color palette or paper patterns yet, but Chris and I did make a last-minute trip to Michael’s yesterday so that I could pick up a circle punch. I’ll be sure to post about the finished piece(s) sometime next week!
Image Credit: You Are My Fave, guest post & craft idea from Brooke of Playing Grown-Up
Project 4: Food Passport
If you and your significant other are anything like myself and Chris, one of the most hotly debated topics each week is that dreaded topic, “What’s for [insert your meal of choice here]?” That’s why I love the idea I saw over on The Spotted Fox (a blog now sadly discontinued) about creating a Food Passport with all the restaurants you’ve been meaning to check out, but haven’t made the time to.
I’m accepting restaurant nominations in the comment section, if anyone has a few they think we should try out. :)
Project 5: Dyed Deviled Eggs for Easter Lunch & Dinner
Last but not least, the only truly Easter-themed project for the weekend, brightly dyed deviled eggs for Easter Lunch with my mom and her parents, and Easter Dinner with my dad and his mom. This tutorial from MomDot.com makes it easy to get vibrant hues for this traditional dish. While she used vinegar with her Easter egg dye to get the strong colors you see below, I’m planning to use water, so my eggs come out more pastel-y. Can’t wait to show you guys the results!
Thanks for checking out my Easter weekend projects – I’d love to hear what you’re planning in the comments below. Until next time, wishing you and your family a “Hoppy” Easter!
Be My Valentine Pattern from Red Heart
Now that our floors are complete (yes, I know I still owe everyone our “After” pictures), I’ve been ITCHING to get back into my crafting. Unfortunately, my craft room is still in disarray and many of my supplies are living in boxes scattered throughout the garage and attic. Despite that obstacle, however, I still managed to compile a pretty extensive list of Valentines-themed projects I’d like to tackle before February 14th. Not sure if I’ll get to all of them, but if I can at complete three or four, I’ll feel pretty accomplished.
The first (and consequently the most time-consuming), is this adorable “Be My Valentine” pattern from Red Heart. When I stumbled across the pattern on Pinterest earlier this week, I immediately created a V-Day themed board, printed off a .pdf of the pattern, and went out that night to pick up the appropriate yarn. I’m currently about four rows into the project (out of 82), and hoping that I can cross it off my craft to-do list by next Sunday, February 3. While that may seem like a pretty quick turn-around, I find that I’m always more successful with my crochet projects when I give myself a deadline.
I haven’t crocheted in awhile, and I’m definitely feeling a little rusty, but this project couldn’t have come at a better time, as one of my coworkers commissioned me for a smaller project earlier this week!
I think one of the reasons I’m so determined to jump into the deep-end with Valentines-themed crafting is that I was very disappointed by not being able to decorate much for Christmas this year. Because of the state our home was in due to the flooring project, and our trip to Seattle over the holidays, I wasn’t really able to get into the Christmas spirit other than hanging my stockings over the fireplace and putting a wreath on our door. I’m also getting ready to roll into an array of baby showers, bridal showers, bachelorette parties and weddings, so if I don’t craft now, I’m not likely to get the chance again until June!
Other crafts that I’d like to attempt are as follows:
Picture Me Valentine:
Because we missed out on even sending Christmas cards this year, I’ve been toying with the idea of sending out personalized Valentines greetings instead. I really love these valentine photo cards from delia creates, and am hoping I can talk Chris into posing with me to create something similarly cute (perhaps mimicking some of the poses from my “Cutesy Couple Photos” board on Pinterest).
Photo & craft idea credit: Delia Creates
DIY String Heart:
So, I saw this originally on More Design Please (which is a great compilation of art, design, crafting and more), but eventually traced the original tutorial back to Green Wedding Shoes. They put together a great post that walks you through each step of creating the string heart accompanied by stunning photos (courtesy of Katherine Elizabeth Photography) such as the one below.
What I love about this project is that it’s simple, but dynamic, and it’s also reminiscent of a project I did for geometry back in the fifth or sixth grade. While purchasing yarn for project number one, I went ahead and purchased pins and embroidery floss to ensure that this project made the final cut. Updates as soon as I have them!
Photo & craft idea credit: Green Wedding Shoes
Friendship Bracelet with Hearts:
My little sister LOVES making friendship bracelets, so I thought it would be neat to gift her one on Valentines using the pattern I found below. Because I know she’ll be wowed by the little hearts, I’ll be including the pattern when I give it to her, so she can in turn, impress her friends!
I found the pattern over on La Manufacture, and she includes a great video tutorial in addition to the graphic below.
Photo & craft idea credit: La Manufacture
The last time Chris and I were at Ikea, I scooped up a couple of frames that would work for a project like this quite nicely. Of all the Valentines crafts I’ve been collecting, this is probably the easiest, which strangely enough means that for some reason I’m likely to put it off to the point that it will never end up getting done (although I certainly hope that’s not the case.)
For some variations on the theme below, I definitely recommend checking out Pearls, Handcuffs and Happy Hour to see how she incorporated a variety of frames/layouts into her project. She was also brilliant – using sheet music scrapbook paper (when I first saw the image, I despaired because I didn’t have any sheet music handy, and was afraid I was in for a long search).
Photo & craft idea credit: Pearls, Handcuffs & Happy Hour
Heart-shaped Corner Bookmarks:
For all my book-lover friends, these little heart-shaped corner bookmarks are a MUST! I found the tutorial over on Craft and Creativity.
Photo & craft idea credit: Craft & Creativity
Fluttering Heart Wreath:
I still haven’t decided where I’ll hang this wreath if I decide to make it. Because it’s made out of paper, I’m not sure it would hold up very well outside on our front door. (Guess I’m kind of putting the cart before the horse here by worrying about where to hang something that hasn’t yet been created. Typical me.) ^_^
This heart wreath was embedded in a slideshow of more great Valentines ideas from Better Homes & Gardens.
Photo & craft idea credit: Better Homes & Gardens
In addition to the crafts I’ve listed above, I also have a secret craft I stumbled upon that I’m DEFINITELY going to be making, and since several of the people who occasionally trip across these pages may perhaps be a recipient of said-craft, I’m going to hold off on sharing what it is until Valentines Day.
What crafts have made their way onto your to-do list?
Okay, so the hardest part about our floor project was finished – Chris and I came to a consensus on what we wanted (no small feat, let me tell you), and found a person with the talent, tools and know-how to make it happen. He gave us solid instructions on how to prep the house (pointers on how to rip out carpet, break up tile, etc.). Nothing a little elbow grease and time couldn’t take care of, right? WRONG! But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
I can be a frustratingly confident person at times. I blame my dad. When I was a little girl, if he wasn’t at work or playing with me, he was working on our 100+ year-old Victorian home in Riverside. When he first purchased the house, it had been turned into apartments and was in SERIOUS need of a makeover and updating. Over the course of thirteen years, my dad poured his blood, sweat and tears into that house – ripping out interior walls and bringing the house back to its original floor plan, replacing the roof, redoing the kitchen, laying tile, putting up drywall, painting, putting up molding, fixing the fireplaces/chimney, etc.
Because he did most (if not all) of the work himself, and because he taught me that you can do anything you put your mind to, when it comes to house projects, I’m often of the attitude that I can handle it myself. (Exceptions to this rule cover anything electrical. Being shocked is not an experience I’m interested in repeating.) Chris finds this trait aggravating, and has trouble relating to my do-it-yourself mentality, but even he agreed that ripping out carpet and breaking up tile were projects we could easily handle. (I think he was just thankful that I wasn’t trying to make a case for doing the concrete stain myself, although I must admit that the thought had occurred to me).
Me & My Dad = Kindred Spirits
We started our demolition project by first cleaning out our garage, getting rid of things we didn’t use, and moving anything that made the cut into the attic. Because we were planning to have the concrete stain throughout the house (including closets, guest bathroom and pantry), we knew we’d need every spare inch in the garage to store furniture, appliances, items stored in our closets, and other miscellaneous items. From there, we moved on to the removal of carpet in our guest bedroom, hallway and craft room. I don’t think I can accurately convey the joy I felt in ripping up our horrible berber carpet, rolling it up and placing it on the trash pile outside, so I’ll simplify instead and just tell you that it felt AMAZING! And with Chris, myself and family helping out, the first third of the house’s demolition went by in a flash.
The plan for round two was to have my mother-in-law come by to help us remove the carpet from the dining room and family room. However, with her help, we got finished much more quickly than anticipated. It only ended up taking us about an hour and a half to finish both rooms. Since we were making such quick progress, Chris recommended that we go ahead and start working on the kitchen, a recommendation that he later regretted.
Because I had no firsthand experience in breaking up tile, I was a little nervous about jumping into the project without doing a little research, but with encouragement from Chris and his mom (a.k.a. peer pressure), I ended up agreeing to move forward. We started with the breakfast area, where we discovered that the previous owner had merely layered the tile over the existing linoleum. With a wedge and a hammer, I was able to make quick work of several rows of tile by sliding under both the linoleum and tile, popping them up (intact no less!) in quick succession.
As the tiles were coming up so quickly, Chris decided to tackle the kitchen entrance that bordered our dining room, encouraging us (me and his mom) to continue our foray into the kitchen from the breakfast area entrance, with the thought that we’d all meet in the middle. Unfortunately, the mortar that the previous owner and her boyfriend used to affix the tile to the linoleum in the kitchen was layered on in thick globs, making it impossible to use the same approach that had worked so well for the breakfast area. It was time to break out the sledgehammers.
After four hours of back-breaking work, and remarks from Chris and his mom about what a slave driver I was, we agreed to call it quits for the day. All the tile in the kitchen, as well as the linoleum underneath, had been removed, leaving small strips of tile underneath our refrigerator, washer/dryer and stove. Not bad for a days work (especially with the morning’s work of removing the carpet in the family and dining rooms).
The beginning of round three nearly killed the last vestiges of my easy confidence, as I began to worry for the first time that we’d never get the floors in the proper condition for the custom concrete stain. We enlisted the help of my little sister for this round, and she spent an entire day with us using solvent, metal scrapers, a belt sander and muscle to remove the linoleum glue that refused to come up during round two. Eventually, we got into a rhythm and were able to remove glue, tile and mortar from their respective areas. After what felt like an eternity, we called it quits, used a shop vac to suck up all the dust, and tried to soothe our animals’ frayed nerves.
The next day, we removed the last little bit of carpet from our master bedroom and master closet, then called in our expert to see about scheduling a time to get started with the installation. I’ll admit is was validating when he came in and inspected the floors, commenting on how well we’d done with the removal process. Suddenly all the hard work (and money we’d saved by doing it ourselves) seemed worth the hours and hours of sweat, sore muscles and stress.
This week we ran into delays with the shipping of the materials, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it gave us a couple of extra evenings to pack up the rest of the furniture, do a couple of last minute loads of laundry and vacate the premises. Floor reconstruction is slated to start tomorrow, with a tentative finish date of Sunday afternoon. Jackie and the rest of the crew weren’t quite sure of what to make of the emptying of the house last night, but as with all things, they’ve been marvelous about taking things in strides (the dog biscuits and catnip treats help).
I’ll admit at this point, I’m anxious to get on with the “putting things back together” phase. Christmas is right around the corner, and between parties, events, shopping and work, it’s been a challenge to get it all done. That being said, Chris and I are very fortunate (and thankful) that we have such amazing family and friends, all of whom have been willing to donate their time (and muscles!) to help this project along. Thanks to their help, my determination and Christopher’s patience, our floors will be done just in time for Christmas!
What challenging home projects are you tackling this holiday season? I’d love to hear what you’re working on in the comments below! And be sure to stay tuned for Part 3 to see how our finished floors turned out! :)
When Chris and I first began our house hunt in the summer of 2010, we put together a list of things we’d like to have, things we had to have, and areas we’d be willing to live. That list of requirements plus an added filter to include only potential foreclosures and short sales, pulled back a short list of houses, which we immediately went out to scout.
Four houses in, we came across one that had all of our must-haves, a few of our would-be-nice-to-haves, hadn’t been mutilated by the previous owner, and was about to make the transition from short sale to foreclosure. The yard was in desperate need of some TLC, the carpet and kitchen tile weren’t in keeping with our taste, but despite those minor cosmetic issues, it was love at first sight! Three months later the house was ours, and we were ready to begin adding our own personal touches to transform it from a house into our home.
Two years have passed, and in that time we’ve tackled personalizing the house room-by-room with small projects like paint color and artwork, while saving up for our biggest planned project – redoing the floors. In the fall of this year, thanks to some help from my mom, we were able to fast-forward our timeline and pull the trigger on the dreaded floor project, but were still trying to figure out what our solution would be.
The original flooring consisted of berber carpet that had been improperly installed, subjected to horrible stains via the previous owner and had runs along each seam due to her pets. Knowing we had long term plans for redoing the floors, I didn’t see a point in wasting money on pulling out and replacing the carpet as a temporary fix, so we held off, and added berber carpet to our list of never-agains.
For our new floors, we knew we needed something durable (think six pets, an active social life and a plan someday for children), but also something chic and modern. We also had my allergies to think of because despite frequent vacuuming and purchasing a furminator brush for the animals, the dander stored in the carpet was killing me. (Check out my fur kids below, and let me know if the fur/dander problem surprises you.)
With carpet off the list, that meant approximately 80% of our flooring was now on the list of needing a makeover, meaning that we might as well address my despise of the tile work in the kitchen, too. The previous owner’s boyfriend had laid the tile himself, and let’s just say his straight lines and leveling techniques left something to be desired.
After going through the list of flooring possibilities, we were left with tile, wood or wood laminate, and custom concrete. For some reason, I’ve never been a huge fan of all-over tiling, so we quickly took that off the list, and Chris and I were both a little hesitant of wood floors due to potential scratching from puppy claws, so we began doing a little research into the third option – custom concrete. I spent days looking at all of the variations possible with custom concrete stain, and fell in love with the idea of a marbled look. The idea that puppy claw marks, shoe scuffs and furniture shifts could all be buffed out? Yes please!
Upon deciding that this was the future of our flooring, I had difficulty tracking down anyone locally with this particular expertise. Thankfully, I have a friend who also happens to be an architect, so I asked him for recommendations. Turns out the guy that my friend recommended also did the floors for one of my parents’ friends, so with personal and professional recommendations on the books, I invited him to our home to talk pricing, timeline, and required prep.
After talking through what was necessary in order to prep the floors for the custom concrete stain, Chris and I decided that we could handle the demolition of the tile in our kitchen and foyers, as well as the removal of the carpet in our dining room, family room, guest bedrooms, hallway and master bedroom ourselves.
Check out Part 2 to see how it went!
Putting together my home office/craft room has been on my to-do list for almost a year, and I promised myself before Chris and I celebrated our second anniversary in our “new” house, that it was one item that would be scratched off the list. After scouring the paint samples at both Home Depot and Lowe’s, I settled on the color “Celery.”
Surprisingly, it was one of the first colors I was drawn to nearly two years ago when we were choosing colors for the kitchen. At the time, I was having trouble deciding between “Asparagus” and “Celery” and had consoled myself with the thought that if I used the darker color (“Asparagus”) in the kitchen, I could use “Celery” for another room in the house.
I have to pause here in my makeover tale to laud my husband for being so accommodating when it comes to color in our home, as I definitely have a knack for picking colors not for the faint of heart. Our dining room is the color of the table you see pictured above, our bedroom is in the same color family although significantly lighter, and our kitchen as I’ve already mentioned is a deeper version of my recently refreshed home office.
And since I’ve already halted the chronological progression of this makeover, I’d also like to take a moment and thank my good friend Caroline over at Clumsy Crafty Happy for inspiring me to tackle this project by posting about her own recent studio makeover. Caroline used to work with me as a social media manager at the Dalton Agency, but is now working with her beau, Jason, over at IWearYourShirt. If you enjoy crafting, I definitely recommend checking out her blog as she’s often posting about groovy DIY projects she’s working on or copycrafts anyone can enjoy.
All rambling aside, once the paint color was picked, the “makeover” was pretty straightforward. This room is the last unpainted canvas in the house, and with Chris and I both pitching in, it only took about an hour to prep, two hours to paint (including drying time between coats) and another thirty minutes or so to set back up. When we removed the outlet covers, I also took the opportunity to scrub and sand them so that I could spray paint them the metallic silver you see in the image above – an inexpensive way to embellish your outlet covers if you’d like to avoid spending the upwards of $7 a piece on actual metal covers.
I’m pretty excited about having a room to in which to both work (write) and play (craft). One of my annual traditions for the past three years has been participating in National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo for those in the know), and the second phase of this project will be moving my computer desk and all its accoutrements back into the office. Another benefit of my home office is that it also provides me with a quiet(er) place in which to “social my media” on evenings and weekends, because as much as I love my husband, cranking out content calendars or working on reports is difficult to do when I’m also listening to fascinating cut scenes from his latest video game (this weekend it was Uncharted 3).
In terms of next steps, my drafting table and about half of my drawing, painting, crocheting, sewing and scrapbooking supplies have made it back into the office – although many of the aforementioned are hiding in the closet so I could get a decent picture. Next weekend’s tasks will be to put the closet into some reasonable semblance of order (a task that I’m very much dreading), and working to get some artwork up on the walls as they’re looking pretty sparse.
Sorry for not having any “before” shots to feature, but this room was a hot mess, and I didn’t feel like showcasing my cluttered side to the interwebs. Stay tuned for Part Two!
I’m not quite finished with this project, but I’m SUPER excited about it, so I couldn’t help but post a teaser image of the work I’ve done thus far. It’s going to be a series of paintings, but I’ve got two left to go before I write out my tutorial and explain where my inspiration came from. If all works according to plan, the series should be finished by the end of the weekend. That being said, I would love to know what you think thus far!
If you ever feel as though your well of inspiration has dried up, or perhaps that pesky muse has indeed fled, I challenge you to spend five minutes on Pinterest. (And I’m betting you can’t spend JUST five.) Even if you don’t consider yourself crafty in any way, I GUARANTEE there’s something on this site for you.
That being said, I’ve been a little quiet on the web during the holidays because I decided to take a dose of my own advice, and have buried myself in the creative projects I’ve been dying to get around to for months. I kicked excuses to the curb and cranked out quite a few groovy little projects in between all the family gatherings, day trips and gorging.
Since I’m still stretching my writing muscles (which have been hibernating over the past few weeks as I stuffed myself silly with all my holiday favorites), I figured I’d share one of my simpler projects first – to warm up, as it were.
My hubs has been a driving force behind me returning to my crafty roots. We’ve been in our new house for almost a year and a half, and while I was a driving force in making it our own when we first moved in, I’ve been a little lax these past few months in finishing up the décor in some of the rooms. One of the things especially lacking has been artwork for the walls, which brings us to my first Pinterest project – the criss cross wall art you see below.
The example project you see above, I found on Pinterest and tracked back to the blog “Living in the Woods.” Taylor does a great job of explaining the process, and has included some step-by-step photos should you decide to try something similar, so instead of walking through the entire process myself, I’m just going to tackle some of the differences between her approach and mine.
- I decided not to put down a white base coat on the canvas. I could go into some lofty explanation about the fact that I prefer the texture of the canvas to the smooth, gloss of the white paint, but let’s be honest – I was impatient to try out the project and didn’t feel like driving to Home Depot once I realized that the white house paint we’ve had on-hand (that followed us to three houses and cities over the past four years) was no longer usable.
- Instead of using multiple widths of masking tape, I decided to keep it simple and use the one width. By limiting myself to one type of tape, I thought I might be able to save myself from adding too many layers. (I go a little overboard sometimes when excited.)
- Taylor used interior paint and a paint brush to coat the canvas and masking tape. I opted for some silver spray paint I had lying around for another project I’ll be sharing with you soon. I thought about using some of the interior paint we have left over from our latest painting projects, but I’m in love with the metallic silver spray paint and decided to give it a go.
The finished project is what you see below. Now the hubs and I just need to agree on a place to hang it!
- If you’re on Pinterest, I’d love to check out your boards! Let me know your username in the comments below! (Mine is MusesFled, if you’re interested in reciprocity.)
- Not a member of Pinterest, but looking for an invitation? Send me an invitation request below!
I’ve finally decided where to hang this! It’s going in my dining room (see photo below). And I’m already working on a new project for my kitchen. I can’t wait to show off what I’ve come up with! Stay tuned!
Among other things this past weekend, I managed to get the hats finished for Sean’s group in Afghanistan. I was pretty excited about how they turned out! ^_^
The Raiders, the group name of the guys in my brother’s vehicle unit in Afghanistan, will be getting some warm, woolen caps from me in the very near future. It’s my first project of the New Year and it’s pretty timely, based on the weather reports I’ve been getting from Kabul.
I’m using an oatmeal colored wool-ease blend (I was told straight acrylic might be dangerous to the guys) from Lion’s Brand Yarn Thick & Quick.
It took me about 2 ½ hours to finish the first one, so I’m hoping that with the weekend nearly upon me, I’ll be able to at least have four finished by Sunday evening. A pretty lofty goal considering Chris and I have some packing to assist with, but I’m pretty sure I’ll at least be able to finish the second and third.
The tricky part of these will be finding a place to do custom patches for the hats. The guys want their names on the hats as well as the name of their unit. While I’m flattered at their faith in me, I can’t embroider so I need to find someone who can create custom patches for me.
I’m going to be bugging the military surplus stores in Jacksonville as well as the seamstress who bustled my wedding dress.
Wish me luck!