Share the love

Hi friends! It’s been awhile.. I have been inspired by lots of love around me and am hoping to hop back on the blog bandwagon in the coming weeks.. so, come back for more!

Here’s a LOVE-ly tutorial on a gift I made my sister and her husband for Christmas.. great for any married couple, any time of year.

Supplies:

  • Old frame
  • Photo mat (available at craft stores, photo framing stores)
  • Maps of the places the happy couple met, got engaged and was married
  • Tacky glue or other adhesive like spray glue (be sure to read instructions!)
  • Exacto knife
  • Alphabet rubber stampers, optional

This idea was inspired by projects I had seen on Pinterest and I had a lot of old frames lying around from estate sales. It certainly took a bit of patience but was not time-consuming in any way.

  1. Cut your chosen matting to fit your frame with an Exacto knife, or have it cut at the framing shop (they’ll often do this for free and give you any matting that is leftover)
  2. Trace and cut out your three cities from the maps; choose a layout you are happy with and glue away! (I chose to trace my maps into a heart shape freehand, but use a heart cookie cutter or something similar if you want a specific shape.)
  3. On some scrap paper, stamp out or write out “We Met”, “We Married”, “We Live” and glue under the matching hearts.
  4. Pop your matting into the frame and enjoy!
  5. Optional: Go to your local frame shop and have them back the matting in the frame once you are done so it will stay securely in place; I did this because all I had was an empty frame with no backing.. essentially all you need is some strong core board or cardboard, hook and eyes and some wire and you can do it yourself. Take it one step further and have a piece of glass cut for the front as well at your local glass and window shop!

Share the love, friends.

A DIY Christmas

I’ve been tweeting all month and posting on Facebook about #DIYdecember, an idea that popped into my head at the end of November and I had a blast finding new projects and coming up with creative and alternative gifts.  The idea behind it all was simply to look around at all the things I already have and create meaningful & useful gifts that are low impact and high style.

I’ve been neglecting the blog and haven’t posted any DIY’s all week and so, to ring in a new year, here are all of the secret DIYs I put together for gifts and some that I received.. enjoy!

A daily calendar/journal, divided into months with postcards. My mom can write down one sentence or thing to remember every day over the years for the next 10, 20, 50 years.

Created out of maps and with an old frame and some matting, I cut out the places where my sister and brother in law met, married and live.

Using old Scrabble tiles, cork and glue, I made coasters for my brother to go along with his growler of beer from the local brewery.

For a few of my West Coast friends, I put together craft boxes out of old cigar boxes filled with supplies for creative freedom.

Using Scrabble tiles again, I made wine charms out of some old charms that had broken.. all we needed to do was drill holes in the tiles and assemble.

From my friend Farmer Al, I received a package of homemade/handmade goodies including soap, vanilla extract, chocolate bark, apple butter and carmelized onion jam.

My brother's girlfriend knit this headband for me from a pattern she found online, complete with polka dot ribbon to tie!

For a tutorial on the daily calendar, visit DesignSponge.  I’m hoping to post tutorials on the Scrabble coasters soon but feel free to comment on this post with any questions about the projects. Most of them are super simple and require just three to four materials, easy as that! A happy and crafty New Years’ Eve to you all.. cheers to 2012!

B is for Baby

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It was certainly a bookworm baby shower for Baby D and Mommy (my sister) this past weekend! An avid reader growing up, all I can ever remember my sister wanting to be when she grew up was a teacher and that is her vocation today. Her classroom and home are filled with children’s books, old and new and we thought it was only fitting to celebrate her baby shower for the new bundle of joy with a bookworm baby shower.

With a lot of help from mom, we transformed an open space into a DIY, crafty, bookworm baby shower. With 27 friends and family members attending, we had our work cut out for us. We baked and cooked all of our own food for the brunch, including three quiches, scones, french toast casserole, sticky buns, fruit and yogurt parfait. This made for a homier feel.. we also made favors for each guest; a button cookie and a bookmark to remember the day.

We spent a good amount of time on decorations and everything came together very nicely, without really needing to buy a lot of supplies. I was able to create bunting with leftover fabric and twine and blew up color copies of favorite book covers for wall decorations. I used burlap and fabric to create a “Baby” banner and took baby photos of Sam and Dan (mommy and daddy) and made them into enlarged posters. Table decor included old board books tied with twine and large confetti cut out of story books with a burlap table runner. Place settings were mismatched china from our own dish collection, one from an estate sale and my great-grandmother’s china.

Our major project at the baby shower was an alphabet book for Baby D. Each guest took a letter of the alphabet and created a page.. O for Owl, S for Safari, M for Monkey… 26 pages of love to pass onto Baby D!

Will share a tutorial on how to make one of our decorations, a bookworm made of leftover fabric, burlap and matting.. stay tuned for DIY December!

Treasure Hunting

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I have a passion for repurposing.  Whether its old jars, a metal rake, doorknobs or a vintage suitcase, everything can be given a second life with a little bit of elbow grease and imagination.  With a garage full tables, chairs, vintage toys, Ball jars and other treasures awaiting a new coat of paint, varnish or some serious reupholstery, we almost never need to buy anything new and have a constant flow of projects to keep our minds sharp.

Turn a banged up old pot into a planter or a luminary.  Use the head of a garden rake as a wine glass holder.  Clean up some old frames and install lace in them to hang jewelry or your child’s artwork.  We don’t need to go out and buy all of these things that commercials tell us will make our lives easier.  Our lives are complicated enough and we don’t need to get bogged down in stuff, though my garage is full of it.  The next time you see a garage or estate sale, take a look around.  Don’t be limited by what the object is conventionally used for.. what could you make it into?  Over the next few weeks, months, and years (?) I’ll share some how-tos of the projects that I’m working on.. stay tuned!

A Jarring Discovery

So in this interim that is my life, I’m attempting to keep myself occupied as I continue the job search and figure out what my next chapter will look like.  Today this means heading to the farmer’s market in the hopes of snagging some of those last vibrant red tomatoes and continuing the online journey of job hunting.  Blogging has been one of those things this year that has been genuine fun and a good outlet for me to share with all six of you who read this a little window into my strange, transitional life.  And recently, I’ve really enjoyed blogging about my little projects that keep me busy…

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Jars.  I’ve been pretty keen on Ball jars for a long time and my mom has been stockpiling them like crazy with all of her great garage sale finds.  This past weekend, she paid $4.50 for about 10 assorted jars, lids and bands.  Some are all glass with attached glass lids, some are tiny, some are probably 50 years old.  All are reusable and waiting for for their next project.  We’ve also been saving all glass jars, i.e. pasta sauce, salsa, relish and holding onto them until we figured out how to reuse them in a fun way.

I found this book by Susan Wasinger called Eco Craft at the library and have been leafing through it like crazy and jotting down ideas for re-purposing.  While not all of the ideas are necessarily do-able and worth the time they would take (baby jar chandelier?) it inspired another look around the house for things I could reuse.  I was able to clean out a few jars and with some painting tape and chalkboard paint, create some new storage containers with easy labeling.

  1. Using masking/painting tape to define the area of the jar you want to label, create a rectangular/square area.  Press all tape down securely.
  2. With a small paintbrush (I used a foam brush) apply the chalkboard paint to the area.  I did about four coats to cover evenly and smoothly, waiting a few minutes between coats.  The timing depends on the type of paint; I used PLAID Folk Art brand Chalkboard Paint.  I waited several hours before removing the tape but Wasinger says to remove it immediately to ensure clean lines.
  3. Optional: Using low-VOC paint (VOC’s are volatile organic compounds are carbon-containing compounds that react with other elements in the air and produce ozone, which creates air pollution) you can paint the lids of the jars funky colors.  Since you don’t need much paint, you can probably use leftover paint you already own or get some paint samples.  I might go crazy and cover my lids in fabric.  Oh the freedom of crafting…

These jars are great for storing knick-knacks like buttons or change, food items like bulghur or dried bay leaves, or perhaps creating a wish jar or a reward jar for random acts of kindness.