Sunday, November 28, 2010

Dollar Tree... Trees!

So, yes... I dropped off the face of the crafting planet. Why? Carpal Tunnel. It hurts... therefore crafting is usually out of the question. BUT, I did manage to make something a few weeks ago and finally took pictures of it today.

I saw some cute glitter trees made from styrofoam trees about a month ago that I thought were super cute. Unfortunately, my husband has a no glitter policy that I kindly obey. I still wanted to make something similar, though. I headed to the Dollar Tree (in my opinion, the best dollar store out there... just ask my husband, I LOVE the Dollar Tree) and picked up 2 styrofoam trees, 2 packages of "decorative container filler" (small colored styrofoam balls; one red, one green), and 1 candle stick.

I painted my trees with some craft paint I already had on hand and let them dry. Then I hot glued away. On one of the trees I glued the candle stick to the base to add some dimension.

And here are my Dollar Tree trees. Not bad for a $5 project.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Anthro Inspired Lamp Shade Tutorial

This tutorial has been sitting as a draft for weeks now. I've been hesitant to post it because I had hangups about whether or not I liked the very tippy top of the shade... but I think I'm finally ok with it now.

Remember those lamp bases I painted black a bit ago? Well, they needed some shades. But I'm cheap. Like realllly cheap. So I bought some ugly lamp shades at the Goodwill for about $2/each hoping I could make them cuter. For a few weeks I was stumped on what to do with them. It hit me one evening to check out lamps at Anthropologie and once there I had my answer: the Mariemont Shade.

I knew I didn't want my shade to be identical but here is my version (that looks more like a slightly ruffled shade). I wanted my layers to have a clean finish and as little fraying as possible so this is what I did. If you don't mind the frayed look you could cut out a few of these steps and save yourself some time. 

First things first, I went through my fabric stash and found various shades of white, off-white, and creams. I cut them into various lengths but they were all 2 inches wide. As for how many to cut, your guess is as good as mine. I happened to be very lucky and cut the exact number I needed.

Then I spent some quality time with my iron. For each strip I ironed down about a half inch on the ends. Then I ironed the strips in half (hot dog style).

After that I sewed the strips shut (as close to the raw edge as possible) so they would be easier to attach to my shade. 

Then I went outside (because the spray adhesive I was using had a very strong warning about it being flammable and dangerous and yadda yadda) to start attaching my strips.

I'm not sure how many people have used spray adhesive before but be warned that it is sticky. Your fingers will be tacky for a bit (even after washing them). I had to peel and rub it off for about 5-10 minutes after I was finished. Because of how tacky and sticky it is, make sure to cover your work area completely or go outside (like I did!). 

Start at the bottom of the shade. For the first layer I grabbed 2 strips that would fit around the base with as little overlap as possible. I sprayed directly onto the base, a little at a time, and quickly attached the strips (overlapping the edge a little) by simply pressing the fabric to the shade.

After that it was easier to spray the back of each strip (one at a time) and attach as you go, randomly picking which color to use. I used my stitching as a guide of where the bottom of my next layer of strips should go. Don't be afraid of this part. The spray adhesive allows some flexibility so if you don't like where or how it attached just peel it back off (but you may need to respray it if it is no longer very sticky) and start over. 

You'll find that at some point you'll have an area with a gap and all of your strips are either too big or too small to cover the gap. Here is how I solved the problem. Once the gap has been closed, just continue to coil the layers up and around.

Soon, it'll look like this with only the very top left to cover.

For that I went back inside and cut a new strip of fabric 4 inches wide and long enough to wrap around the circumference of the top of the shade. I ironed down the ends like I did with the other strips but instead of ironing it in half, I folded the sides in to meet in the middle. Like so:

Then I went back outside and used my spray adhesive to glue my folded-in sides down (so they wouldn't flap about and would be easier to attach to the shade).

Now here was the part I wasn't so sure about. At first I just sprayed one entire side of the strip and folded it over the edge of the shade and pressed down.

Well, I finally finished the shades to my satisfaction. Instead of using a spray adhesive I used my glue gun and just glued down that last piece of fabric. Let me tell you, I sure am glad I didn't use my glue gun on the whole shade (using spray adhesive was a lot faster). But now I am happy.

And here are my completed lamps (not bad for $4 a piece eh?):

Friday, September 17, 2010

Candy Corn Hoops

Blank wall before:

The cute and festive after:

I love how quickly this project came together AND how it didn't cost me a thing. Luckily I had all the supplies on hand. It is probably easy enough to figure out on your own but I put together a tutorial anyway.

Grab a bunch of embroidery hoops (check thrift stores!) and various white, yellow, and orange fabrics (check your stash, thrift stores, and the remnants section). Lay out the fabrics until you get some combinations you like and cut (or rip like I did) fabric to size.

Iron the fabric (if it needs it... mine obviously did). Layer fabric in desired pattern over the bottom ring. Assemble hoop. Pull fabric taut.

Trim excess fabric (I left about a 1/2 - 1 inch).

Either hot glue (to the inner rim on the back of the hoop) or tape fabric to the back. I chose to tape because I want to reuse these hoops in the future. Yay for cute and noncommittal decor!
I used a few more pieces of tape after I took the picture... but you get the idea
Hang on wall and admire. I seriously love how fun, subtle, and festive this is. Even my husband loved it. To paraphrase him: "It works great for Halloween since it is candy corn but it can be left up for the rest of the fall because of the color scheme." So true! :)
Linked to Craftaholics Anonymous Fall Frenzy party.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Back when I was still blogging with Floral Showers, I started crocheting granny squares for a someday afghan/blanket. I was using yarn I already had on hand and thought I had enough to make a checked pattern baby blanket. Oh how little I knew about making a blanket from granny squares...

Fast forward to over a year later and I'm still not finished (part of that might be due to the fact that I stopped working on it for months and months). Oh, and I ran out of the pinkish color of yarn that is no longer sold (yeah... it had been in my yarn stash for a looong time before I started making my squares). My solution: change my desired pattern and buy more yarn. Here is basically where I'm at now:

It's progress. Plus, all the squares look really pretty in a basket.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Twiggy Inspiration

Being poor and unemployed, I have been trying to come up with completely free craft/decor projects. It isn't that easy for me but I have come across a few ideas that I love. It seems they all have one thing in common (besides being freeeee): sticks.

The first idea came from V and Co. She doesn't have a tutorial or anything for this bundle of sticks (that I know of) but I think it is adorable. I lurve it. But I also love pretty much everything about this photo.

Shortly after the bundle of sticks idea (very technical term, I know) I came across this Starburst Twig Wreath from The Painted Hive. Such a fun idea for the fall. Good thing I've already got some twine in my stash.

And then today, what popped up in my greader? This amazing Spooky Tree from Delia Creates. Seriously, how awesome is this? I can't wait for Halloween!!

So now that I have some free ideas up my sleeve, I just need to go collect some twigs in the wooded area down from my complex. That might take longer than expected, though. The last time we walked near there we discovered the domicile of a vagrant and now I'm too freaked out to go by myself and my hubby is busy studying for his first ever medical school exam... maybe over the weekend? :)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Give Me the Bird

Last night I was looking in my hall closet (I don't even remember why) and saw a random board from an old abandoned project and some cork I bought a few weeks ago. As my eyes went from one to the other, I had the sudden urge to put them together and make myself a cork board. So I did.

First I painted the edges of my board a pretty blue (I mixed North Sea blue with some white to get the color I wanted). It took 2 coats.
(This is not what the blue actually looks like... but you get the idea)

Then I grabbed some brown craft paper, drew a bird and cut it out.

I used some spray adhesive on the back of the paper to stick it to my cork.
(I decided to flip my image)

Then I grabbed my stencil foam brush and dabbed on my white paint.

I should have let the paint dry a little first before I peeled off my paper, but I didn't. Fortunately the paint didn't smudge much.

Once everything was dry, I pulled out my rotary board and ruler and an exacto knife (NOT my rotary cutter, I didn't want to ruin it by cutting cork) and carefully (and slowly) cut my cork to my desired size.

Then I used my glue gun and glued on my cork (I hear wood glue would also work well for this part). I worked from one side to the other so the glue wouldn't cool before I was able to attach the cork.

And ta-da! Here is my adorable new cork board.

To finish it off, you can always add some cute button push pins like I did.

Also linking to:Making the World Cuter, C.R.A.F.T., and Keeping It Simple

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Power of Spray-Paint

I love spray-paint. It can transfer something cheap and ugly into cute and updated. Here are a few before and afters of some of my recent spray-paint projects.

Napkin holder ($1)
It wasn't so much ugly before but that blue sure didn't match my kitchen decor. But now that it is black it is oh so perfect! 

Mail organizer ($.50)
We were in desperate need of something to organize our mail and this was just the right price. The problem: it was a very, very dated brown. Problem is now fixed (I might even mod podge some cute paper on it later).
Lamp bases ($2/each)
I love the shape of these lamp bases. Now that they look just how I want them too I need to get some cute lamp shades made. 

I guess I really like black spray-paint. Good thing it goes with basically everything! :)


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