Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Bug Shadow Boxes

The kiddo’s room is decorated in a jungle theme and aside from the large jungle mural on his wall he had no art work to hang. Well actually, he did have one piece of art, his giant birth stats print I bought off of etsy and framed. But just that one piece looked really silly on it’s own.  I struggled with what I wanted to hang in there because I wanted to keep with the theme but also did not want to spend too much money; I’m sure he won’t want a jungle themed room for the rest of his life. 

After hours of scouring ideas on the internet, in stores, and anywhere else I could gather inspiration I had just all about given up until I spotted the toy bugs at the dollar store. Originally, I grabbed three of them but ended up getting three more later on. Six frames I felt looked better than three.

Next, I went to Michael’s Craft Store (my go to for all crafts) and I picked up two four packs of shadow boxes that were 50% off. This is one of the reasons I always check Michael’s first, because they are always having big sales and if it’s not on sale, there’s a coupon!!! So for $20 bucks plus tax I walked away with 8 4X6 shadow boxes! 

Once I got the shadow boxes home I realized that they did not have a nice background so I got out the construction paper and cut some pieces down to size, which I just simply glued to the backing of the frame. 

After the paper dried I glued the bugs to the middle.

Finally, I hung all six next to his giant birth print and stepped back to admire! For less than $20 I created some custom artwork for his room, that if down the line he decides he doesn’t want anymore I won’t be at a loss for a bunch of money!

I'm actually going to switch out the bluish butterfly for a scorpion, when I eventually find one. I don't think the bluish one really matches too well and it doesn't look as real as the other bugs. I just need to find a scorpion bug, if you know where to get one let me know??? Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Wooden Slatted Doormats

This project was pre-blog so I am lacking in pics, sorry about that. I have been wanting to make these wooden doormats from Martha Stewart for years. 

Only I have always lived in apartments where my front door was in a carpeted hallway, so it never made sense to make the mat then. Now I live in a town home and this was one of the first projects I completed when we moved in. I actually made two of these mats, one for the front door and a matching one for the back patio. 

First, I measured my front door (I figured I would just do the back patio to match). I decided on how wide and how long I wanted the door mat to be. I came up with roughly 36 inches wide (3 feet) and 20 inches long. Next, I headed down to my local hardware store. Usually, I buy super cheap wood such as pine, poplar, or douglas fir. But seeing as this project would be sitting outside in the elements I decided to go with red oak. Thus making this project a lot more expensive but to me it was worth the added expense. 

I found the red oak 2x2’s pre-cut to 18 inches long, this was just two inches shorter than I had estimated I wanted the mats to be. I was ok with the missing 2 inches to save me from cutting larger pieces of wood down to size. I laid the 2x2 pieces of red oak directly on the floor in the store. Knowing that they would be tied with rope I left a tiny bit of space in between. I just kept adding pieces until I came to three feet. 
After getting home I drilled holes into each piece on both ends about 2 inches in from the end. And I drilled holes in the middle of each piece. 

Next, I stained each piece with Rustoleum’s Kona. I think this is one of the prettier colors I’ve ever used. After staining I used 4 coats of poly-coat. Since the mats would be outside I wanted the mats as protected as possible, especially in the rain. 

Now came the tedious part, tying all the pieces of wood together. I sat down with my rope (I used sisal rope) and all my pieces of wood and thread each piece of wood onto the rope. Between each piece I made a knot. I did the middle section last on each door mat. This process took about two hours and my fingers hurt afterwards, this was definitely the sit down in front of the t.v. and watch your favorite show portion of the project. 

When I first went to thread the rope into each hole I realized the rope was too big. But not to worry, after investigating the rope further I realized it was actually three pieces of rope intertwined into one. So I first untwined the rope into each individual piece, which ended up being the perfect width for the holes. I also want to mention the sisal rope made a big mess on my carpet because little pieces of the rope kept falling off, this is nothing to worry about, it’s just the nature of sisal rope, but be sure to have the vacuum handy after finishing with the rope. 

I finally have my Martha Stewart door mats, that I waited for all these years. I can also tell you that they’ve held up outside for about a year now. The only thing is because I used such a dark rich color you can see dust on the mats and from time to time I have to wipe them down with a wet rag. I think if you were to use a more medium to lighter brown you won’t have this issue. It’s kinda like having a dark colored car, it shows all the dirt. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wooden Wall Signs

Wall art can be so much fun! And so easy to make. I saw this sign on pinterest and decided to make my own version for I Heart Handmade. I also made my own version of the popular LOVE signs. This tutorial will show you the basics of both signs so you can have fun coming up with your own designs. I already have about fifty more ideas in my head of what I can do with these signs, but I wouldn’t have the space on my walls for all of them so let’s hope they sell like hot cakes! First I went to the hardware store and picked out some very lightweight poplar. Why poplar because it’s cheap. I can’t tell you what sizes of wood I specifically used because I just picked different sizes and put them together until I found a length and a width I liked. Once I got the wood home I picked out the nicer side for the front and attached the wood in the back like this. I used a thin strip, glued it to all of the boards and added tiny nails.

 Once the glue dried over night I got to stenciling/free handing the lettering. And then I painted it.

  Sorry the pencil markings are very light in the pic, but you can sort of see them.

 After the paint dried I stained right over. Then I sanded and beat up the sign. Finally I polycoated the sign and added a hanger to the back.


There you are. Easy, inexpensive, fun!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I Heart Handmade in Ventura, Ca

I am pleased to announce that I am collaborating with I Heart Handmade in Ventura, California. I Heart Handmade is an awesome boutique which features handmade items by local artists and entrepeneurs.

I have made several original pieces for the shop including some wooden subway signs, sunbursts mirrors, and driftwood art. I highly suggest you check out their Facebook page and the boutique as soon as possible!

 I Heart Handmade
 433 E. Main Street Suite #16
Ventura, Ca, 93001

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Baby Love

This project is super cute for new moms and since it's Mother's Day I figured I would share. I started with my son’s footprints. When he was in his high chair I got out the red finger paint and pressed his little feet into my paper. I used a book for leverage. Since I don't have pics of this I thought I would just add some cute pics of my son finger painting.   

Then once his feet prints dried I took them to Michael's and found some wooden letters about the same size. I also grabbed a shadow box while I was there. Although the backing only came in black and since I wanted to paint the letters black I stopped by the fabric store and picked up some white fabric. 

Next, I painted the letters black. After ironing the wrinkles out of my fabric, I removed the backing from the frame and covered it with the white fabric. I cut the corners at an angle to ensure no wrinkles. I used fabric glue to hold it in place. And then I used soup cans to hold the fabric until the glue dried. 

Once the glue dried on the fabric I glued the letters into place. Again I used soup cans to hold the letters until the glue dried. While the glue was drying I hopped online and printed out a heart template and traced it onto the paper with my son’s feet. Then I went over the pencil tracing with black marker. Lastly, I glued the heart between the letters. I put the whole thing back together and this lovely little memory is hanging on my stairs as you walk under.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Growth Chart

I’ve been seeing wooden growth charts popping up everywhere. Since my son is growing like a weed I thought I’d better get to making one. Once I saw the ruler I knew this was the growth chart for me. Whoever came up with this idea originally is a genius. This project is simple, fun, and a good starter project for anyone looking to get into DIY. First I went down to my local hardware store and picked up a 1x8x6 piece of pine. Why pine you ask? Because pine is the cheapest. I paid less than $5 bucks for the wood.


 I got home and pulled out a pencil and tape measure. I knew that I wanted the growth chart to hang six inches from the floor so I started my markings six inches up. I made the foot markings an inch and a half long, the next longest line an inch long, and the shortest lines half an inch long. I hope that makes sense. Then when I was done I traced over the lines with a ruler and sharpie. Next, since I already had some stencils on hand (that I think I originally purchased from Staples) I just taped those to the wood and colored the numbers in with my sharpie. Once I was all done with the markings, I took my growth chart out to the garage for staining. I used two coats of Minwax’s Early American.

 I chose not to poly-coat this project because I figured we would be making markings directly onto the wood as he grows. And in eighteen years if I want to poly-coat it then I can.

 Well, there you have it. Super easy wooden growth chart for about $6.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Jungle Wall Mural

Designing the nursery is one of the most fun things you get to do while pregnant. We actually moved when my son was two months old, so we didn’t have his nursery ready for a while. But I knew from the very beginning I wanted it to be green instead of the traditional blue. I also knew I wanted to do something fun on the walls, my theme was jungle, so I started searching for ideas. 

I’m not really a fan of the lifelike murals. They can look good, but it’s just not my style. 
I like this idea of doing some sort of animal print on the walls, but his room is kind of small and I didn’t want to be overwhelmed with pattern.

Then I came across this image. 

I loved it! I thought I would just paint the walls of his room green and do the mural in a chocolatey brown. I actually thought this was a stencil that you just buy, tape to the wall, paint and poof you’re done. That’s not at all the case. This is a paint by number deal. The company actually sells them in two sizes and believe it or not I bought the small size. I say believe it or not because it runs the width of an entire wall in his room. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I don’t have pictures of the process because this project was pre-blog, but I will do my best to walk you through it. 

The design came in four different sections that had to be taped to the wall. Just four sheets of giant white paper with the design on the front. Well connected to the back of each sheet was a piece of carbon paper. So once the four sheets were taped to the wall you had to trace the design and the carbon paper allowed the design to be transferred onto the wall. 

The taping was actually kind of hard because they kept falling, the papers were too heavy. Once we finally got them to stay we couldn’t get them to line up exactly so we did the best we could and hoped for the best. As it turned out you don’t need them to line up exactly as you can just match up the lines after tracing. 

The tracing went a lot quicker than I had anticipated. Within an hour I was done. Next came the painting, you would think this would be easy and quick. Wrong. At least in my case I didn’t find it easy or quick. The company sent directions on which types of brushes to use and advised me to paint the outside lines first and then fill in the inside. I should have listened. I didn’t have the brush to do the outside lines so I painted the inside, then traced the outside lines, then filled in the rest of the inside. Yup I created way more work for myself than was necessary. Also I didn’t anticipate needing three coats, but I certainly did. The good news about additional coats is it always gets easier with each additional coat. 

But in the end I couldn’t be happier with the results. My son now has a unique mural, painted by his mama in his room. And I will always have the joy of doing this project for my son!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

DIY Army Tripod Floor Lamp

I needed a lamp for my son’s room. We had this lamp in there until now and it just didn’t give off enough light. Also, the lamp shade isn’t very durable and my son could tear through it in a heart beat if he wanted to, which with a toddler could be at any given moment. 

So I set off to find a new lamp. I started by scouring the internet, light shops, and just anywhere you can buy a lamp. Unfortunately, every lamp I liked was out of my price range. Next, I turned to the thrift stores and I just couldn’t find anything I wanted. I definitely needed a floor lamp, there’s just not enough dresser space for a table lamp because we still need space to do diaper changes. The floor lamps at the thrift shops were all flimsy, falling apart, or were those weird lamps that looked like space ships from the 80’s. These lamps just weren’t going to work. So I decided I would do what any normal person would do; find a lamp that I like and make it! That’s normal, right? 

After looking at what felt like thousands of pictures of lamps I realized that I kept going back to these images of tripod lamps. I liked the look and feel of the lamp. I liked that they were unique, fun, and could grow with him as his style changes and grows. And if he decided he didn’t like the lamp as he got older I could move it into a new room because well, I like it. 

My next challenge was finding a tripod. I decided wooden would be best. First, I checked craigslist and there were some pretty contenders but all were out of my price range with the cheapest being $100. I finally hopped online to ebay. Oh ebay I hadn’t forgotten about you, I just get too stressed with the bidding! 
I started to watch several tripods and finally settled on an old vintage army tripod. The color was unique, kinda this army green, it had some cool markings and probably had a cool story. Also, this particular tripod had three different height settings! Could this tripod be any more perfect!!! After days of watching it, we came down to the wire and I bid with ten seconds to spare and won! I paid $35 for the tripod, which may seem like a lot, but most of these tripods start bidding at $50. 

Now that I had accumulated the most important piece to my lamp I had to figure out what kind of well lamp that I wanted. I decided to go with a clamp lamp. I liked the look and it felt sort of industrial which I thought would be cool for a little boy’s room. Best of all I wouldn’t have to wire anything, as the clamp lamp comes pre-wired. After looking around for a while I found the best priced clamp lamp to be from Home Depot for less than $15. 

Tripod=Lamp stand. Check.
Clamp Lamp= Light source. Check.

Now all I needed to do was attach it. After much speculation, debate, and well arguing my hubby came up with the idea of using steel straps. This is found in the bathroom/plumbing department of your local hardware store in various lengths and thickness. We easily bent it into place and just used the existing screws in the tripod and the clamp lamp to hold it. 

Voila, we have a one of a kind tripod lamp. 

My son was interested in it at first but now he just ignores it. And the tripod is sturdy enough that he hasn’t knocked it down yet, despite running into it several times. And if he does knock it down, no big deal, I don’t think any piece of it will break. Oh and if your wondering I looked up the serial numbers that were on the tripod and it said it was a land surveillance tripod but that’s all I know.

Sunburst Mirror

I have been seeing so many pretty sunburst mirrors around lately that I decided I had to have one. I didn’t even know where I was going to put it, so I held off until one day it hit me. I was in the downstairs bathroom staring at the blank wall in front of me thinking I really need to put something pretty there and that’s when two and two were put together. 
Once I knew where to hang it I set out to make it. I picked up some shims from the hardware store, they come in a pack of 42 for $4. And I picked up a 5 inch mirror from the Dollar Tree. You can find these mirrors in the candle section. 
Once I got home I practiced my lay out. I laid all the shims around the mirror and decided on two rows of 10. I next went to my paint stash and decided I would do ten shims in white and ten shims in Lake Fog by Martha Stewart craft paints. I like to buy a few paints whenever they are on sale at Michael’s you can get them for .50 cents a piece on sale!

After all the pieces were painted I glued the first row directly onto the back of the mirror using super glue. Then I glued on the second row onto the first row. I put soup cans on top of various sections, acting like clamps while the glue dried. I let the mirror sit over night. 

Once the glue was dry I added a frame hanger thingy and hung the mirror to the wall. 

This mirror is very forgiving because you can’t tell if it was hung crooked because there is no crooked. 

 For $5, I now have a pretty sunburst mirror to stare at every time I’m in the bathroom.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

DIY Wood Worker's Dresser

When we moved to our current home we needed a dresser to match our new bed. Without having the budget to go out and spend hundreds on a new dresser I started scouting both images of dressers I liked online and craigslist to see what was out there. One day I spotted it, the dresser of my dreams. Just Kidding. But the dresser I saw I planned on turning into the dresser of my dreams! So I shot a message to my hubby at work and convinced him to bring home this dresser.

I know what you're thinking, that's the junkiest dresser you've ever seen! But I knew it had potential and the price was right. My hubby thought I was crazy wanting him to bring this home for me, but being the loving man that he is, he brought it home anyway. Once we got it home we discovered it was a bit worse than anticipated. The drawer pulls were falling off just sitting in the garage, there was literally trash in all the drawers. The sellers must of thought we were suckers for sure. Well after getting the "your crazy but I love you anyway" look from my fiance I showed him a picture of what I wanted this dresser to be:

Yes I know you're giving me the your crazy look too! But I figured since the dresser was junk and we paid less than $30 bucks for it, it'd be ok if I had to trash it and start over with a different idea. And with that thought in mind, I dove right in. 
First we had to replace the top, it just couldn't be salvaged. That was simple we just bought a piece of plywood, had the store cut it and came home and switched them out. 
Next, the drawers. This gets a bit complicated because there was some math involved. I measured each drawer individually and then went to the store and measured the width of the strips of wood. I figured out I needed five from top to bottom on each drawer. This was good because the excess on the top and the bottom would cover the gaps in between each drawer and give me more of a cohesive look. My fiance came up with four different templates, that we would just alternate on all the drawers.  
After I had all of my strips of wood cut I laid them out on each drawer positioning them how they would eventually be attached. I then decided on four different stain colors and while the slats of wood were still laying on the drawers I assigned them a color. I stained each one. 

Next I laid them out onto each drawer again. Glued the slats to the drawer and once the glue dried, my fiance drilled a tiny hole through each side of each slat. 

After the hole was drilled, I followed him with a hammer and finishing nails. Originally we were going to fill in each hole, but decided we liked the look of the tiny finishing nails.

Sorry for the bad picture, I just couldn't seem to get a shot without a glare, but you can see the small finishing nails in each board.
After adding the finishing nails we got simple silver drawer pulls and voila! We were done. Alright so it's not exactly the inspirational dresser but for under $100 it certainly came close. And I like the mix and match of mine better.

Again sorry for the not so good pics, there's not a lot of room to get a good front shot because my bed is in the way and for some reason I get nothing but camera glare. I'll have to learn to take better pics for this blog!

Thanks for stopping by!!!