Sunday, May 19, 2013

Kid's Clothes Organizer for the Week

So while I love crafting to make cute things, I am also all about anything that will make my life easier. With kids, there are all of those little battles that take time and wear out your patience. When this idea came around, I thought it might help me both in saving time and sanity. I saw an idea where someone took a 4-peg  hanger that they put their kids outfits for the next few days. I loved the idea, but I wasn't a fan of the numbers and wanted to do the days of the week instead. I couldn't find a 5 peg hanger so I went with this 6 peg one and added wooden letters and the cute owl (the colors and owl go with my daughter's room theme). 
Here's the final result and the best part is my daughter is really excited about the idea. We mounted it at her height inside her closet so that she can not only pick out all 5 outfits for the week, but she can reach them herself to start getting dressed on her own (and maybe save more time!) Plus the added bonus of getting a better concept of time with the days of the week. I am loving this idea and if it works like I'm hoping, there will be another one of these for my son's room!

Friday, May 17, 2013

LOVE canvas with Hand and Foot prints

I literally cannot tell you how much I love this canvas project! All I did was order a canvas through Hobby Lobby and covered it in acrylic paint (I used Artist's Loft in Crimson). The hardest part was actually painting the canvas because achieving a real, true red takes A LOT of coats. I seriously used almost an entire 4 oz. tube of paint! After I was finally satisfied with the color, I used my 21 month old's feet to make the V and my 4 1/2 year old's hand for the O. Then I printed out the L and E using a typewriter font (which I enlarged to 500 pt font to get a 5 inch tall letter) and traced them, then filled in with paint. It should be noted that I used semi-gloss white house paint instead of acrylic because of the base color. When I first tested the acrylic, the first coat of white looked light pink after it dried and I obviously couldn't do multiple "coats" of hand or feet prints, so this was my solution. I love the result and it's such a personal, but clean and simple touch to add to the home. Plus this would make a great gift and you could do it on a smaller scale, but that would probably work best with infants. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Old Wooden Sewing Box Revamp

Last summer I found this old wooden sewing box at a garage sale for $5 but one of the handles was broken so she gave it to me for $4. It never hurts to ask for a deal! I recently started needing some extra storage for my new craft room and remembered this piece. I'm using the colors yellow, orange and pink in my craft room and I figure this is the best room where I can most enjoy the bright pops of color. I chose Painters Choice spray paint in sun yellow and as you can see I got a little happy with painting it before I remembered the before picture!

The remaining handle I just pulled right off with a set of pliers and then bought a set of silver drawer handles that I picked up at IKEA for less than $2.

The drawers were pretty dingy inside and even though I'm probably just going to fill these up with craft odds and ends, it's always nice to have a surprising detail inside. 

It may have taken a little while for me to put it to use, but if that's one thing I've found, you've got to strike while the deal is available!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Another Free Printable

My husband is out of town so I'm drowning in kids and chaos but wanted to share another free printable I've found on paper coterie. This one is great for gifts or parties and comes in several color combinations! Check it out:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Pirate Piggybank

I tweaked the original idea I found here and instead of the skull and cross bones I painted the ship. I love making personalized piggy banks as gifts and they are much easier than you may think. If you look for stamps or print out a small version of the preschool coloring pages that I have mentioned before, you really just have to color them in. No shading or complicated brush strokes required! I often use stickers or stencils for the lettering and you could even use rub-on letters and then seal them. This was a plain ceramic piggy bank from Michael's.
 If you look closely you can also see I personalized the ship by adding his initials to the flags and in the bottom left of the boat, I put his birth date. I love any extra details you can add, beyond just their name, to make the gift (for someone else or for you!) especially their own.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Family Tickets Shadowbox

I have always been a collector of odds and ends, especially when it come to memorabilia. This may be an inherent characteristic of all crafters, but I know I drive people (mostly my husband) when it comes to saving tickets. Ironically as part of my real job I work with people who struggle with hoarding tendencies and one of the things I am constantly encouraging is "Things are here to serve us, not the other way around". So if you want to keep these memories then don't shove them in a box and never look at them again, but figure out a way to incorporate them into your life. I loved the idea I saw here, but I wasn't a fan of the size or the color scheme. The great thing about this project is you can design the inner part of the frame any way you want. I wasn't able to find a tutorial online for how anyone made the slot in the top of the frame, so there may be an easier way, but this is what I chose.
First I started with a 10 x 10 shadowbox frame from IKEA for around $5 (LOVE me some IKEA!)
Then I took the glass and inner frame out and marked the length and width of the slot I wanted to cut in the top. 
Then we took a router with a round bit and cut into the wood. We didn't have any problems with splitting of the wood and it was fairly easy.
Then you have to repeat that process by doing it with the frame insert. Make sure the two line up well so the ticket stubs will go through without getting bent. I would suggest making the inner frame slot bigger than the outer frame slot so they don't have to line up perfectly. 
There was a touch of the finish curling up on the outer frame slot, but it isn't noticeable when hung on the wall.
Then I chose a paper scheme I liked with an accent paper to put behind my letters. I used metal brads with the decorative alphabet stamped on to spell out "Admit One". Many people are using these for movie tickets only, but I designed mine in mind for all family events like museums, sporting events and recitals. 
Then I put all of the pieces back together and here's the final result
I love the idea of having a reminder of all the fun outings we have gone on as a family out in the open, rather than shoved in the back of a closet. I also thought it would be fun to sit down with the kids as a family at the end of the year, open up the frame and talk about all of the fun events the ticket stubs represent. It's always fun to see how much kids remember from your family events and it would be an opportunity to review being appreciative of all of the experiences we were lucky enough to have throughout the year. 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Old Microwave Cabinet turned Laundry Room Storage

After moving into our new house that is well over twice the size of our old house, we quickly realized we had lots of empty space to fill and very little budget to fill those rooms. I've been going particularly crazy with our laundry room that has no cabinets, so I decided to try to revamp a very old microwave cabinet, that had been previously relegated to our garage because it was so old and tacky. We pulled off the shelf that was on top of the cabinet and filled in the holes with wood putty. (We did this awhile back so I don't have a before picture but it looked like this one. I can't imagine paying that much!) 
So I pulled off the handles, lightly sanded the rough parts and gave it a good scrub
I chose Rustoleum's Painter's Choice spray paint in spa blue because my husband isn't nearly as big of a fan as I am of bright colors. The laundry room seems like a great place of a pop of happy blue since I'm usually not super happy to be there.
I wanted to spend as little as possible, especially considering very few people are going to actually see this piece, so I used a hammered metal finish spray paint that I already had. The effect is very nice if you haven't used this paint before and you can only tell it isn't metal by touch. 
Since there were lots of imperfections in this cabinet due to lots of wear, I decided to do a distressed finish. Simply take a medium grain sandpaper and rub lightly around the edges and on the surface. If you want a more subtle distressed look you may want to use a fine grain. More pressure = more paint removed.
I love the look of distressed furniture pieces but I've never done one myself. It's a fabulous technique for a piece that's in a little rough shape like this was because it makes the flaws look purposeful. 
The knobs look more black in the pictures but have a mix of antiqued black metal with bronze undertones which makes the metal effect so realistic
I love the fact that I have some storage and organization to my laundry room and all it cost was a can of spray paint! I will definitely be looking more closely at garage sales this summer for other ways to upgrade outdated furniture to fill the rest of our rooms :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Baby Gift Basket and Ribbon Organizer

In putting together these baby gifts for a friend, I ended up using several types of ribbon. I know this has been all over Pinterest, but it took less than 5 minutes to do and has made my life easier (my main goal most days!). All you do is put your ribbon spools on a pants hanger. 
Then it's all right there - no more sorting through piles of ribbon spools, just pull the length you need, cut and back into the closet. Super easy! Even if you're not a huge crafter, this would be great for holiday or gift wrapping ribbons.

I love gift baskets - they are so much fun to put together and I love getting them too! I found a cute way to make the usual addition of diapers a little more fun. I took a pile and wrote little notes on them - some funny and some encouraged for those late night diaper changes. Some said things like:
*I'll sleep one day, I promise!
*You're doing a great job, Mommy (and one for Daddy)
*Sleep is over-rated
*Potty-training is not that far away :)
*I love you, I love you, I love you
I think they came out looking pretty darn cute! I originally thought of mixing them in between plain diapers, but didn't like a messy pile of diapers in the gift basket. So instead I chose a simple white bag.
I ran a ribbon through the top and then added a tag warning these were special "only after midnight" diapers
I got this basket at Michaels and I've used it before because I like the classic, neutral colors for either gender. Add in some diapers, diaper rash creme, soap, vapor bath, books, a small photo album, a sleep and play outfit and a lovey and we've got a fun welcome home baby gift! 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Washcloth Bouquet for New Baby

This was a cute twist on taking a "bouquet" to the hospital. All you need are 6-12 washcloths to use as "flowers", scrapbook paper and ribbon. The thicker terrycloth washcloths don't work as well as the thinner ones made for infants. Since I didn't know the gender of the baby I had to get gender neutral cloths and there weren't that many, so my flowers were a little muted. 
Lay out the washcloth flat and roll it up evenly
Then pull the center of the rolled up edge up so it resembles the bud of a rose
As I was rolling them, I found it easiest to hold my "stems" together with a large elastic hair tie
Then you made a paper cone out of your chosen paper and place the bouquet inside. I lined the bouquet holder with green tissue paper to give it some extra color and shape
Then add a few pieces of paper between a couple of the cloths like leaves and finish with a bow. Much more useful than traditional flowers and easier to pack when the new parents leave the hospital! This would be a fun way to do a larger bouquet with hand towels for a bridal shower. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Octopus Frame Print for a Pirate Room

I had a hard time getting a good picture of the final product with the frame but I love this technique. All you do is find an animal that you want to use as your focus. I'm currently working on my son's pirate themed room, so I found this great whimsical octopus. If you want to use a simple animal with a clean outline, google animal coloring pages for preschoolers and you'll find lots of options. 
 I just printed out the photo I liked - it was a very dark photo and I'm cheap with printer ink so I just lightened the photo until it was using less ink, which caused the weird coloring. 
Then I cut it out using an xacto knife
Here's the map I chose as the background, but you could use any type of paper. You can find tons of free maps through Google and even public government sites for most cities and states.
Place the cutout on top of the map and finish in a frame.If you look closely, you can see I kept a few of the cutouts from the mat that were between tentacles and added them to create some negative space as a detail. This would be a wonderful technique to use as a baby gift or for any kids' rooms! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Framed Wall Art with Free Letter Prints

I love the look of found letters from signs and in objects, that are being used in lots of crafts recently. I found a wonderful flickr account that you can find here where the owner has put thousands of letters for FREE (my favorite word)! I wanted to include one on the infamous wall and I let my daughter choose which letter A she liked the best. She loved this one and while it wasn't my first choice, I sometimes have to remind myself to let her develop her own tastes instead of imposing mine on her. She liked the yellow and I thought a fun frame would complete the print. I actually found this cheap plastic frame at the dollar store and just covered the horrible "antique" silver finish with Rustoleum Painters Touch Sun Yellow. This was a quirky piece of art for the home and I spent about a dollar total, since I had the spray paint leftover from another project. I would love to do a larger frame with some of these letters to spell our our name or just a mixture of initials. This would also make an easy and unique gift for anyone, but the affordability might make it good for a teacher gift. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Love Canvas

We have been hit by the stomach flu at our house and I'm working on some more time consuming DIY projects so I'm behind on posting, but here's one I did quite awhile back that I wanted to share. I apologize there are few step by step photos as the one of the tape on the blank canvas was accidentally deleted. I used an 11x 14 board from a value pack of blank canvas covered boards that I find to be more affordable for these projects with kids than the wrapped canvases. You can get them at Michaels or JoAnn and they are even cheaper if you save one of those 40 or 50% off coupons. I simply used painters tape to tape off the letters L, V, and E and made a heart shape for the O. You could cut out letters that are much more perfect or use enlarged stickers, but I really liked the effect of the rough outlines. After the painters tape is firmly in place, just let the kids go with finger painting in whatever way they want to do! One of my tips for truly messy projects (as this one could be with younger kids and certainly was for us) is letting the kids do the painting in the bathtub. Then afterwards all I have to do is spray down the tub and if they are a terrible mess, I don't have to worry about paint drips all the way from our kitchen table to the bathroom to clean-up! It also makes it easier for me to let them enjoy themselves rather than constantly reminding them to "be careful". 
I admit I always love seeing the little hand prints, so I convinced my oldest to do a few clear hand prints of
top of the masterpiece. Then comes the fun part: peeling off the letters!
As you can see the paint did bleed a little on the edges of the letters (my kids used LOTS of paint) but I thought the effect looked cool. Plus the quirky lettering and imperfections in finishing fits with the overall idea that even in the midst of the of chaos and mess that kids make, we find the very best thing.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Just Be You Sign

As part of my ever growing "wall" of art for Abby's room (yes it will be finished eventually!) I found the inspiration for a room sign that was simple but the ultimate message I hope to send to my daughter. 
You could use any size of wood depending on how large you want the sign to be. I chose these pre-cut boards from Michael's that came in a pack of 5 and were the exact size I wanted. Otherwise all I needed was paint, ribbon and my handy dandy mod podge.
I was able to talk my daughter out of painting her room pink, but the exchange for that is lots of pink accents. I chose the ombre effect, but after looking at the last two pinks for a while, I later repainted them a slightly muted tones you see below. 
Transferring letters to wooden surfaces can be a pain with cutting out letters and tracing, but I found this technique and it is SO much simpler! All you do is print out the words you want in your chosen font. Then trace the words with a pen, giving a fair amount of pressure. 
When you lift the paper, the outlines are there clear as day and then you just color them in with paint. Easy!
The impressions are a little tough to see, but they are clearly there, even with the 3 panel where I used a glossy paint. I was worried the glossy finish would make it tough to see the outline, but there was no difference.

After painting it in with white paint and sealing with mod podge I used this twine like ribbon to give it a finishing touch. You could use a piece of wood to adhere the four panels to for hanging, but since my sign was so small, I just glued them to a small piece of cardboard and then made a hanging hook with a ribbon on the back.