Showing posts with label Crafts. Show all posts


I’m not one to wear dangling earrings.  Not because I don’t like them but because 1) my kids are grabbers, 2) I feel like they make me look overdone and 3) sometimes I think they make my small head look even smaller.  I’m weird.  I know.  :) 

With that being said, there are a few exceptions to the rule and these are one of them.  Way back when Anthony and I scored big time at Dirt Cheap, amongst the treasure in the cart was a pack of four inch long, dangling, feather earrings.  Three pairs – blush pink, white, and black.  Not me.  At all.  So, I stowed them away for a raining day project and that day was Sunday, sans the rain. 

Here’s what I started with:
photo 1 (4) 
They’re tickle-my-collar-bone long which also translates to long-enough-for-Sebastian-to-get-a-good-grip long.  That’s a painful thought, eh?  So, my plan was to simplify and shorten.

(Note:  I did all of this using my fingernails but you could grab a couple of needle-nose pliers to make it a little easier or better yet, some jewelry tools.)

First, I separated the ring that held the chains to the fishhook by opening the tiny loop on the bottom of the fishhook just enough to slide the ring off.
  photo 2 (5)

Then I opened the ring and slid off all of the chains:
photo 3

Next I picked out two feathers that were the closest thing to twins and separated them from their chains.
photo 4

And last I attached the tiny ring at the top of the feather to the larger ring and then to the fishhook.
photo 5

Simple and short.  Short and simple. 


I did the same to the black and white feathered ‘rings so now I’ve got one for every outfit.  You can never have enough feathers in your nest, right?

Want to make some of your very own?  Check out these feather danglies for $1.79 on eBay, or these, or these.  Or there’s also the craft store route where all the supplies to make these from scratch live.  Or your unused/broken earring stash plus a down pillow.  Endless options.  ;)     

Peace Out…and In

I’ve always had a plan in my noggin’ to have the words “Pax Tecum” somewhere in our entry way.  The phrase means “Peace be with you” in Latin.  I like the idea of wishing our visitors peace as they enter and leave the main entrance of our home and so a-brainstormin’ I went to figure out how to get those words somewhere around there – a wooden plaque over the door, a framed printable… 

On the other side of my brain, I’ve been trying to think of something out of the ordinary that could fill the empty space above the hook system in the entry.
My first thought was to whip up some colorful abstract art but the roman shade has all the abstract that space needs.  More picture frames just seems too normal and another mirror or two would just be too much since there’s a mirror on the opposite wall.  Two issues; one simple solution.  Words + empty space = words in empty space. 

You might’ve already guessed that if you saw this picture when I wrote about painting the front door:   
IMG_4675Those letters are simply cut out of computer paper and sticky-tacked up.  I wasn’t sure about the size and layout I wanted so we sat around with those hanging for a good month. 

The end result looks a tad different:
I saw these paper mache letters at JoAnn Fabrics a while ago and thought they’d be perfect for this project only I didn’t know if I should just buy them or attempt to make my own.  At $2.99 each they’re not quite as cheap as some DIYed versions could be, but in the end I weighed the number of hours it would take me to DIY them vs. throwing them in a shopping bag and, well, you know, kids, very little free time…buying them won out.  But, I waited for a sale ($1 off) and used coupons so in the end I ended up only paying about $1.70 a letter.  They also have some huge letters of the same sort that would be amazing monograms anywhere in a home.  They’re around $10 ($5 if you can get your fingers on a 50% off coupon!) and I’m thinking maybe the girls’ room could use some.  :)

The letters are the color of cardboard (an obvious note) and I actually didn’t mind them sans any sort of paint or paper addition but up against the tan wall in the entry, they were blah.  So I pulled out some white primer and spruced them up a bit. 

First I painted the edges of each letter.  I had to do two coats for full coverage.
photo 1 (1)

I wanted a thin border around front edges of each letter so I used some painters’ tape to get straight edges.  This could definitely be free-handed and parts of the letters, like the curve in the P, had to be free-handed no matter what.
photo 2 (1)

To attach them to the wall I used these Command mounting strips.  They’re like velcro.
photo 3
I didn’t realize until I was unpacking these things that there were only four strips vs. the eight I had thought (says it right on the package…face palm).  So, I improvised by cutting them in half (vs. running to Walmart with three kids for one little thing).

I did a lot of thinking about how to use these strips in the days before I hung the letters, over-thinking that is.  In my head my process was to mark with a pencil where the wall strip would go right on the wall, hold the letter up, trace a part of the letter onto the wall…well, let’s just say all this thinking was completely unnecessary.  I’d blame it on lack of sleep but everyone in this house has been sleeping through the night so I’ll have to get back to you with another excuse later……….

Ehem, as directed on the package (which I didn’t read until it was go time…heello), I attached one side of the strip to the letter being hung…
 photo 1 (2)

then velcro’ed it’s counterpart to it…
photo 2 (2)

…peeled off the sticky backing to the wall strip, and stuck the letter to the wall.  I used our level to make sure all was on the straight and narrow.
photo 3 (1)

Even with the velcro strips holding them up, the letters still wiggled a bit (maybe because I used halfsies?) and even though no one’s going to be wigglin’ them, I added a couple of pieces of sticky tack to them for added stability. photo 4 (1)
Those letters ain’t goin’ nowhere.

Pax Tecum y’all.

.           .           .


How To Make Your Own Stencil

Well then, let’s get right back to regular programming, shall we?  Specifically, the how-to on the stencil I made for our new entry way rug.


I got the inspiration for this pattern via this rug I found on Pinterest:
[Link from Pinterest done broke so if anybody knows the original source, lemme know.]

The first thing I had to do was create the design from the rug on my comp to be printed out and turned into stencil form.  To do that, I put together the basic design in Pixlr (my favorite, free online photo-editing program).  It’s a little difficult to explain that process but basically I pulled the most basic part from the design which, in this case, was a large circle encompassing a square with notched-out corners that were connected by lines.  (Did I lose ya there?  It’s okay because I’ve saved you from all that leg work by including a free download to the design below so you can skip-to-my-lou right over it all this mumbo jumbo if you’d like.)  I had to pay close attention to the x and y values in my Pixlr document to make sure everything was centered and equal but once again, don’t worry if that’s completely foreign.  Once I had the basic circle and square shapes aligned, I copied and pasted the design multiple times in a row to reflect the entire pattern in order to draw in those lines that connected the squares.  This is what the design looked like after that:
I didn’t connect all the squares because all I needed was one circle to make my design but you get the point.

To get the design for my stencil, I simply cropped the above image down to this:

And, like I said, the good news is that you don’t have to understand or like any of that because you can download the design below, free and clear.

So, the stencil.  (P.S. This method will work for almost any kind of shape and design you want to turn into a stencil.)  To get it from computer to plastic I first had to print it out.  The only way I could get it to print at the size I wanted and without it being adjusted to “fit the page” was to open the .jpg in Microsoft’s Paint.  Using the ruler in Paint as my guide, I sized it until it was as big as I wanted it and hit print.  Using paint allowed me to print so that the design would print at it’s original size which, in my case, utilized four sheets of paper.
   photo 1 (4)

Once printed, I had to cut off all the extra paper surrounding the design.  To do this I used a ruler to draw lines at the designs edges and then I cut along the lines.
photo 2 (9)
First grade difficulty level here folks.
photo 3 (5)

Then I taped the four sheets together to get the design in one piece.
photo 4 (3)

At this point I realized that I wanted my whole design a little thicker so I widened the lines by drawing around them with a sharpie.
photo 5 (1)
If you download the design for yourself, you might want yours thicker too or you may not.  Whatever cooks your dinner I say.  If you do, a marker will help you get there.

The last thing I did was cut my design in half.  I found the halfway point by folding the design in half and holding it up to the light to make sure both sides looked like one side/on top of each other.  Got it?  Super scientific over here.  Somebody call Bill Nye.
photo 1 (8)The reason I cut the design in half was because the whole design was a little too large to fit on the stencil blank I found at Hobby Lobby.  My entire design measured 13.5 inches in diameter but the stencil plastic only measured 18 x 12 inches.  While painting the design onto my rug, I worked by stenciling half of the design at a time, flipping the stencil around each time to do each half. 

To get the stencil onto the plastic I taped the paper design upside-down onto my it.
photo 2 (10)

Then I flipped the whole thing over so that the paper was underneath the plastic and I traced the design onto the plastic using a sharpie.  (You might notice the design in the picture below shows the white lines throughout the black design whereas they’re missing above.  I painted those in after I realized I’d need them to hold the different parts of my design together in the plastic.  The download includes them so you won’t have to worry about them if you use my stencil.)
photo 3 (6)
(Also, I drew the intersecting diagonal lines in the middle of the stencil to help me determine the very center of the stencil.  I used that point while centering the stencil on the rug by placing it right over the center mark of my rug.)

Once I had the entire design traced onto the plastic, I simply cut it out with a craft knife.  I have this Westcott one (affliliate link) and really like it because it has a cushioned grip.  I used a ruler to cut along the lines to make sure they were nice and straight.
photo 4 (4)

And that’s it!  Here’s my stencil all ready to go:
photo 5 (2)

While I was cutting out the stencil I realized that it had a plastic film over one side so I removed it before I started stenciling.  At first I thought it was covering an adhesive but it wasn’t and the package didn’t say anything about it so it’s function is unknown to me.  Enlighten me if you know.
photo 3 (8)

So that’s how I made my very own stencil.  You can get the tutorial on how I painted it onto our entry rug by clicking here.  It might seem like a rather tedious and challenging project but I promise you, it’s really not as hard as it may seem.  If you can trace and cut along lines, you can do this! 

Cost?  Under two bucks.  I bought this stenciling plastic at Hobby Lobby for $2.50 ($3.99 with a 40% off coupon) but the package came with three sheets of plastic so I’ve got two more to file away for future stencils.  In case you don’t have a Hobby Lobby close by, here are a few affiliate links to some stenciling blanks I found on Amazon:
 Set of three 12 x 8 in. stencils
Set of two 18 x 10 in. stencils

Last, here is are the downloads of my stencil in case you want to use it:
Click here to download the whole design.
Click here to download half the design (what I used).

Per the usual, please let me know if you have any questions!  If you use my stencil or use my tutorial to make your own stencil, leave a link in the comments, on our Facebook page, or you can send me an email or tag me in a gram!  I’d love to see what you do with it!

Have a great rest of the week!  I’ll be working on this:
photo (7)

All the details to come.  Until then, say a prayer for me.  I’m positive that my time in purgatory will be spent sanding.  :/ 

Just Say ‘Yes’ to Rugs

I have a “figure it out” personality, also known as an “if you can’t afford it/it’s too expensive, make it yourself” personality.  You might’ve guessed that if you’ve been reading my blog for longer than a month.  That’s how this project came along…and pretty much every other project over here too.  I wanted a bigger rug with a cool geometric pattern in front of the door in our entry way but the budget wouldn’t give me much to work with.  So I made one and it only cost me $7.  Yep.  Only seven bucks.  Here’s the story.


*rug (mine measures 3 x 4)
*paint (I used latex paint)
*foam pouncer/stenciling sponge or stipple brush (I used one of these <- and that there is an affiliate link fyi)
*plate for paint

photo 2 (11)

First, I made my own stencil.  I’ll detail how I did that in another post lest I stretch this one to novel status.  I started my stenciling in the center of the rug and worked my way out so that the entire design would be centered over the expanse of the rug.  To find the center, I laid two tape measures across the rug; one diagonally from one corner to the opposite and the other diagonally between the other two corners.  Where they intersected was the middle (I’m smarter than a first grader!).  I had already marked a center point on my stencil so I just laid the center of the stencil right over the center of the rug.  To make sure that my stencil was straight, I measured the distance of each end of the square pattern on the stencil to the end of the rug and when they were equi-distant, I taped down the stencil.

Next up was painting.  Before I started, I watered down the paint so that it was a tad more runny and would soak down into the rug a little better.  I didn’t add much water though, maybe one part water to eight parts paint.  Then I poured some paint on a plate and went along dabbing my sponge into some paint and then sponging along the stencil.
photo 2 (12)
As I went along I made sure to hold down the stencil with my free hand as I sponged with the other for a little added support.  The stencil I made had to be turned around/flipped over to produce a full circle/square design like so:
photo 4 (5)
All I had to do was line up the edges of the just-painted design with the stencil and continue sponging away.  Then I continued flipping the stencil until I had stenciled the entire rug.

When all the stenciling was finished, I wanted to fill in all the small lines throughout the pattern created from the stencil (their purpose was to hold the stencil together but more on that in the actual stencil-making tutorial).  It’s not necessary to fill these in but I was going for more of a cohesive look so I did.  With a flat paintbrush, I just went around and painted over the lines and filled in some imperfect spots like some of the areas where the stencils met.  So, it went from this:photo 5 (3)

to this:
photo 1 (10)
It might seem a little tedious but it only took me about 15 minutes and, if you’re like me and need a little mindless work to suck you out of the daily humdrum, it’s therapeutical.  :)

The only lines I didn’t go over and fill in were the ones at the intersection of all the circles in the pattern.  Over those I placed a simple square stencil and painted right over them. photo 4 (6)

Here’s what the whole rug looks like finished:afterlight (1)

Sooo, let me deviate a little and tell you it’s cool and I love it but it’s not exactly what I was going for.  The lines connecting the squares were actually supposed to be straight.  The aqua lines in the pic below show what I mean.rugcorrected

In order for them to be straight, I should’ve laid my stencil out the same way each time like this:shouldve

But instead I laid it out like this… did
…not realizing until I was halfway done that I was going to have a variation from what I initially wanted.  Does that make sense?  Luckily, it doesn’t look bad because there was no turning back.  I’m only writing this out in case you try this very stencil.  Lay your stencil out the same way each time (width-wise every time or length-wise every time) unless you’d prefer the accidental variation which is perfectly fine too.  :)

The last thing I did to the rug was add a non-slip drawer liner to the back.  The girls run past the entry way area a thousand times a day and the plastic backing of this rug made it slide all over the place.  Running toddlers and a slip ‘n slide rug make for surefire accidents.  So, I simply cut a couple of rolls of liner up so that I c0uld fit three strips along the back of the rug and attached them with some liquid nails like so:
photo 5 (4)

I let the glue dry for 24 hours before setting the rug down and away we/they went.  It ain’t going nowhere and trips to the ER for brick floor collisions we will hopefully never have…or at least they won’t be caused by a sliding rug.

[Sources and/or tutorials for –> the globe chandelier, the hook system, the roman shade, and the mirror.]

Cost breakdown:
Rug:  $5 (Old Time Pottery on sale from $7)
Paint:  free (Lowe’s with a free paint sample coupon from Real Simple mag – color is
Cathedral Stone by Valspar)
Foam Pouncer:  already had (Martha Stewart from Michaels – came in a pack of seven and purchased last year with a coupon for this project)
Rubber drawer liner for backing:  $2 (Dollar Store)
Tape:  already had
Total:  $7

[BTdubs…if making your own stencil doesn’t sound fun, you can find some fairly cheap wall stencils at Hobby Lobby that’ll run you back about $10 with a coupon or there’s always Royal Design Studio where you can find tons of amazing stencils with a little higher price tag.  Also, Target has some flatwoven kitchen rugs that just happen to be blank on the opposite side and perfect for stenciling/painting (not listed online).  My original plan was to sew a few of them together for an entry rug but then I scored the one I used at OTP.]

Here’s the view from the hallway:
[Frame collage tutorial here.]

And a good ‘ole before and after/progress:

Don’t forget, like I mentioned above, I’ve got a whole tutorial coming on how to make your very own stencil (mine cost me about $1 to make!!!) and I’ll include a free download if you want to attempt this one.  :D 

Have a great week!