Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DIY chalkboard gift tags: For Christmas and beyond

So chalkboard is all the rage, right? We're well aware of that by now especially if you're a Pinner. I love the idea of chalkboard reusable gift tags but I haven't found any that I fell in love with or that I was willing to pay outrageous bucks for. Enter a random stroll down the craft aisle. I found some wood laser cut tags for Mason jars and my head immediately came up with a brilliant plan. So I bought them. {Of course, it's probably not all that brilliant, in fact, I bet you could find a gazillion tutorials on this exact thing via Pinterest, but we'll just go with my crafty brilliant intuition, shall we?}

So here's what you really need:
chalkboard paint {I happen to always have the stuff lying around…}
painters tape or masking tape
chalkboard pen
wooden tags {I found mine at ACMoore, $1.99 for ten.}

{Ignore that white crayon, I thought it would be a genius idea to use a washable crayon but it hardly showed up on the tag at all. Genius to stupid in one quick stroke.}

Step 1:
Tape your tags where you want the chalkboard paint to end. I made mine simple but you can get fancier if you've got the time. These are fairly small so I wanted to get as much writing space as possible but still keep some of the wood showing. You can paint the whole thing if you want and skip this step entirely. Up to you.

Step 2:
Coat the top with your chalkboard paint. I found it really seeped into the raw wood, so I ended up doing three coats, which really didn't take me that long at all.

Step 3:
Remove the tape and decorate! I ended up using my trusty chalk marker. The crayon didn't show up, the Target chalk pens were too light for what I wanted, and I didn't dare try the white colored pencil since I've previously noticed they don't erase off. Also these were too small to use regular chalk, and I don't want the tags to get accidentally erased in transit, so chalk marker it was.

Ah, aren't they pretty?! And if you're like me and, you have everything else on hand, they only ended up costing me .20 cents a piece!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

DIY Mushroom Pincushions: a tutorial of sorts

You know you want to make one of these. Or maybe a few, for your sewing friends this Christmas…

The nice thing is they're boxes, so inside you could store measuring tape or extra pins or really anything you wanted. To get started you'll need a few things. First, the round box. I found mine at A.C. Moore for $1.00 each. How's that for inexpensive project? You'll also need stuffing, scrap fabric, scissors and hot glue/gun. Also you will need paint or wood stain, depending on what you choose to do with the bottom. The top pincushions have painted bases, the one at the end of this post has a stained base. Both were easy and quick, but the stained one did need to set outside for a night to get rid of the smell.

Step 1: Sandwich the stuffing in between the fabric and the box lid. Start hot glueing the four corners, keeping the stuffing in between and keeping it a little snug as you go. You want the fabric and stuffing to sit off the top a little to give it that mushroom shape. Once you have the four corners, start glueing the rest of the fabric to the lid.

Step 2: Once you've completed that, trim the excess fabric down, leaving enough to glue inside the edge.

Now here's the options part. You can go over and inside with the glue and fabric like I did, or if you don't have enough room when the lid is on the base {mine was fairly loose} then you may want to explore other ways to finish the edge. I tried cutting the fabric so there would be nothing glued to the inner portion of the lid.

I also tried glueing close to the top of the lid, trimming the fabric and then glueing on a piece of ribbon to keep everything hidden and snug. I honestly didn't like this option so much. It made things a little busier in my opinion. BUT if you want to do it that way, go ahead! Like I said, There are options at this point. What you do with them is up to you!

And then, you're pretty much finished! You can rework the stuffing a bit to get a better shape if you need to, but regardless it will look like a little mushroom when you're done.

PS: I do apologize for the photo quality. I was experimenting using my phone to capture the process and have come to the conclusion that I need to suck it up and pull out the big camera next time…

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hi, my name is Cheri, and I made two quilts.

There it is, quilt number two. Based on a woodland themed nursery that's going to be mostly neutral. Since we are expecting number two, I figured it would make sense to get this out of the way now. So three years from now there's limited fighting over the single quilt. I'm just ensuring an argument-free future by doing a little late-night sewing, that's all.

So here she is in all her glory:

Monday, November 18, 2013

DIY woodland tictactoe game: the finished product

Okay so I'm going to go a little backwards on this one. First I'll show you the project, then I'll break it down with tutorials on how to make each piece. Which works out great since I have a few to make for Christmas gifts.

I had this crazy idea pop into my head one day, and three days later I was finally able to get it out of my brain and into a tangible product. Sometimes creativity is a curse. I made the fox discs after some Target ornament inspiration, and the mushrooms were a design for the new nursery. Both were easy to make and I'll show you how in separate tutorials. The tictactoe board was a simple mini-quilt if you will, made up of 9 - 3.5" squares. Again, I'll do a separate tutorial for that as well.

For now you get to see how cute the end product is:

Friday, November 08, 2013

DIY Wooden Mushroom Ornaments: a tutorial

Well, last night was a crafting success. I instructed 20+ ladies on making these, and not a single one thought they were difficult! Everyones was completely different and they all wanted to make more. So here is a quick photo-guided tutorial in case you want to make some of these babies on your own. I warn you though, they're highly addicting...

First, some supplies you'll need are pictured below. Twine, wood glue, paint, brushes and of course the wood pieces. I've shot a close-up of the packaging of the two wood crafting shapes I've used so you'll know exactly what to look for. I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby.

The actual first step that I forgot to document is drilling a small hole in the top of the split ball in order to screw in the eyelet. The eyelets can also be purchased from Hobby Lobby for $1.99. Now start to paint your top and bottom. An easy way to hold the little guys while painting is by the eyelet for the top of the mushroom and by placing the bottom of the mushroom on the wood end of a paintbrush pictured below. 

Once you've finished painting your wood pieces, you will glue them together. Use a small amount of wood glue and smooth out with your finger. Don't use too much or it will get messy when you press the pieces together. Attach the bottom to the flat center of the top like this:

Now you can start to paint your dots/circles. One girl last night even painted stripes, which was adorable. You can really be creative at this part if you want, or like me just stick with small and medium size spots.

There is one additional step that is completely optional. I coated just the spotted tops in a layer of mod podge. It gave them a bit of a sealed look and feel. A little less matte if you will.

And there you have it. For ornaments, cut and attach a little bit of twine to the eyelet and you're done. If you want to use them for packaging, just attach them to whatever ribbon or twine you're wrapping your box with. You can also skip attaching an eyelet if you want to keep them for figurines or standing. They would make great pieces for a homemade tic tac toe game. So if you're anything like me, you'll go make about a million of these to use as you please. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

All that glitters is gold

I splurged on a clearance frame at Target with an idea in mind. If it didn't work out I figured I was only out $1.78. My bright idea? A gold accent frame. Something simple and subtle and to be honest, the result was exactly what I was looking for.

Start with a cheap frame, it doesn't need to be accented with a color like mine was, just have a bit of an edge so the gold paint actually shows up. Subtle but not invisible, right? Then buy yourself some gold metallic paint. You don't have to go with a tub of paint like I did, I was just saving myself a trip to the craft store since I already had plans for the home improvement store. I show a sponge brush, but really in the end I just ended up using a regular brush to avoid all the bubble/texture effect that I was getting using the sponge.

After a few coats, this is the result:

Ahhh, that's better. Simple, sweet and a touch of glam. {Sorry about the photos, they're iPhone pics!}

Friday, October 11, 2013

Hi, my name is Cheri, and I made a quilt.

Which to me, is the equivalent of running a marathon. Okay, maybe a half marathon. I finally decided enough was enough. I was going to make a quilt. I've started and schemed a few in the past, but I never actually finished them. I'm not very good at big time-consuming projects. I tend to have crafting ADD. If I can't sit down and finish something that day {or in an hour}, I lose interest and it gets lost in the closets of supplies. Sad unfinished projects haunt my craft room.

But this time would be different! And it turns out it was. Encouragement from quilter friends and instagram kept me going so much that I finished it within a few hours. Bravo me! Seriously, besides my desire for the kiddo to have a homemade quilt of her own, the reality of actually finishing a quilt is my craft success of the year. So the fact that I took so many photos to document it isn't a surprise. Here's some eye candy for you all on this chilly Friday morning. Enjoy! {Ignore the folding lines in the quilt, I'm new at this.}

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Fall for me

I headed down to the local museum/gardens to try to take some beautiful fall photos. Well, as it would turn out, the leaves aren't exactly peak yet and the kiddo didn't really want to have anything to do with it. So much for my big ideas. Here she is looking dismayed, until we found ourselves some fun rotten fruit to peel apart. She does love to destroy things.

After the meltdown was over, and the fun began, I was able to snap a few photos of her. Not too many of them looking at the camera of course.

Regardless, it was a beautiful autumn day, and we made the most of it. In our own separate ways.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

This old foreclosed home: a coat of paint covers all sins

So maybe a coat of paint doesn't cover all the sins of ignoring exterior maintenance, but it sure helps. This poor house sat sad and alone for who knows how long, so it's safe to say the exterior was ignored. Since we finished 98% of the interior build/projects, this summer has been all about the outdoors. We've taken back control of the landscaping, laid a bunch of rocks and torn out a lot of weeds, but we still have finish work to do like leveling out areas and planting grass.

Our shed and barn need a majority of the work as well, and at this point we're still trying to decide if we keep and repair the old, or we knock it down and replace it with something we really want, that functions the way we need it to. Tough decisions like that usually get weighed on the budget scale...

Another glaring problem was all the ignored wood around the place. Our back stairs off the sunroom were about to be replaced until we decided to try a product called 'Deckover' by Behr. You can find it at Home Depot. It's like painting with cake batter. Thick and stinky, but it goes on well and fills in gaps and holes. Once we did that, it seemed like the steps were fine! They'll last a few more years anyway, until we've stopped hemorrhaging money and a couple hundred dollars to fix some steps doesn't seem like a big deal.

Since that worked so well, I decided the front porch could use a coat. Plus, it was a nice color that matched our brown trim{not my favorite, but oh well}, Dark Walnut. After a good wire brush scraping to remove built-up mold and peeling old paint, I shopvacced the area, removed all the leaves and went to work.

Here's a quick before and after comparison. I should have taken a few close-ups to show the worn out state of the place, but this will have to do. Trust me, after your porch/deck has been ignored for probably ten years, it's going to look sad. So now we have this updated and clean porch to walk onto every day! I love that the exterior white primer/paint combo I used for the railings really makes them pop. You didn't really notice there was a porch there before! Another side thing happened during the project that affected the look as well. Our oil tank leaked and we had to have it replaced. At that time we decided to move it across the basement like we wanted {if we're paying for it anyway!} and remove the ugly stinky pipes from the front sidewalk. They're now lovely and tucked away on the side of the house behind a bush. Not sure why they were in the walkway in the first place anyway! For now my potted mums are hiding the patch of concrete and the chopped pipes that we'll have to fix.

Another quick project I decided to tackle while I had all the supplies handy was painting the front porch columns. It wasn't that time-consuming, but I think it makes the whole mix of white and brown trim look a little more planned. Plus, they were worn as well and needed a little tlc before they became too bad to save. So just an hour or so and a few coats of white paint freshened everything up a bit. Now the sidewalk just needs a good powerwashing and we'll be ready for winter...

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Play day project day

Yesterday was a stay home and play kind of day. Play for her, work for me anyway. God gave me one last week of nice weather to finish off all those exterior painting projects I've been procrastinating on. Thanks Lord, I'll get right on that.

We did, however, manage to play most of the time she was awake and save the majority of the painting for the nap hours. Turns out, giving a 2 year old a paintbrush and asking her to help isn't exactly smart. Especially if neither of you are wearing painting clothes.

So, after an epic meltdown when I took the brush and paint away, I decided it was time to have some inside {washable} painting time. This girl does love to paint. She gets that from me I suppose. Here's my little artist taking her work very seriously:

And a new tool. Everyone loves exploring new ways to create. I'd like to explore a nap right about now, but back to those gnarly outdoor projects! I'll have some before and afters for you soon. It's amazing what a coat {or two or three} of paint can do...

Delicious Desserts: Paleo-friendly crepes

So the switch to Paleo eating hasn't been easy. Mostly I find recipes that help me eat like I used to, without the guilt. Enter, the paleo tortilla. Easy to make if you can find the ingredients, and delicious to boot. I made mine all sweet like with fruit and maple syrup, but you could fill these with eggs and ham for breakfast or turkey and cheese for lunch. I also tried a few different combos: almond butter with bananas, drizzled with honey instead of maple syrup; almond butter with strawberries and honey; blueberry yogurt and bananas with maple syrup. All incredibly tasty.

I should mention, we're doing some dairy on Paleo, so don't judge ;) The whipped cream is probably frowned upon. Poor whipped cream. Is it a crime to be so delicious?

You can find the recipe here. Or PinIt here.

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