Thursday, December 20, 2012


Burlap Wreath Christmas Card Holder
This idea grew out of the leftover strips sewn for our burlap garland.  (The burlap garland was made to decorate the columns in our entryway.)  We needed a place for Christmas cards and my first thought was to hang this like garland elsewhere in our home and clip cards to it with clothespins.  After playing around with it for a little while – the project morphed into a wreath.  Here is what I did…
I made a round doughnut shaped base out of foam board and covered the base with three layers of quilt batting.  The strategy I used here was - use spray adhesive on the base, and then plopping it down on a piece of quilt batting – then cutting it out and repeating this process three times (spray-plop-cut). 

What I ended up with was a foam-board-doughnut topped with three layers of quilt batting.  All I had left to do was loosely wrap the burlap around the base overlapping an inch or two with each layer, and adhering the ends in the back with a hot glue gun.  I emphasize “loosely” wrapping so you have enough slack in the strips to easily clip your cards to the burlap.  I suggest mini clothespins as you don’t really need the big ones to hold cards (I found mine at Hobby Lobby).  The wreath hangs over a mirror using a large piece of red satin ribbon for contrast.
Burlap Wreath Christmas Card Holder
Burlap Wreath Christmas Card Holder
If you are a fan of burlap - the wall art around the mirror was made from potato sacks and can be found on my other post.  :o)


Silk Poinsettias, Burlap Base

This was an easy project for these silk poinsettias. They were originally outfitted with different colored foil, glued to the base of the pots (one gold, one silver and one red). This was festive, but not the look I was going for. Here is what I did: (1) Simply take a large circle of burlap. (2) Hem the edges on a sewing machine. (3) String ribbon through the burlap so you can gather it around the base of the pot and tie it off.
Burlap around flower base


Tree Branch Christmas Tree close up
This is one of my favorite new Christmas decorations.  The tree branch was picked up in the woods around our neighborhood and set up in a standard terra cotta pot and held in place with Quikrete.  Then I placed it inside this rustic wooden vase (purchased at Hobby Lobby) and then used dried moss (also purchased at Hobby Lobby) to cover the concrete base.  Especially sparkly ornaments were selected to contrast with the rustic nature of the branch and the vase.
Tree Branch Christmas Tree
Dried Moss Covering Concrete Base
(Dried moss covering Base of concrete filled pot.)
Note - The one down-side to this project is it takes up a lot of room in storage and is rather delicate - so keep this in mind when choosing a branch.  I suppose keeping it out year round is an option where you can replace the Christmas ornaments with other seasonal items throughout the year.

For more of my Christmas posts see the CHRISTMAS page...


Framed Art Before and After
The photo above shows the original framed art purchased from Hobby Lobby.  It’s a pretty Tuscan print, but rather dark and we were going for a lighter feel in the room.  Purchasing a different piece of art this large could be expensive, so my goal was to re-work what we already had.  The frame did not have glass on the front (the print had a reflective coating on it), so I had glass cut to fit the frame (about $30 at Hobby Lobby).  Some touch up was done on the frame to change the gold accents to silver.  This was done using a small paintbrush and silver metallic craft paint.
Framed Art over Mantel

The background is foil backed cork wallpaper by Candice Olsen.  I love this stuff as it reminds me of birch bark. (I used this wallpaper on anotherwall art project and so I had some left over and felt it worked perfectly here as an interesting background behind the leaves).  The wallpaper is expensive, but since it was leftover from another project I took the liberty to consider it free for budget purposes.  I had also considered using some leftover fabric for the background but I think the wallpaper was my best choice.

The leaves are quilted placemats purchased years ago at either a Marshall’s or a TJ Maxx.  They caught my attention and I had been holding on to them ever since looking for the perfect project.  I originally thought I would put them in three different frames and create a series, but I think fanning them out in one frame works quite well here.  They were bought so long ago, I have to guess on what I paid for them – probably about $3 a piece.  Since I had them for so long I also considered them ‘free’ within the budget for the room.

So…for about $30 we had a brand new piece of large art for over the mantle!
Check out my other upcyled framed art project using fabric and scrapbook paper...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


Faux Stone Painted Vase Series
This vase is part of a family room makeover I did for a friend.  We were challenging ourselves to stick to a strict budget, so I came up with some fun projects like this one.  The vase was free (part of a floral arrangement I received), the faux gems were leftover from last Christmas, and the can of faux stone spray paint was $9.99.  I realized I probably could have bought a cream vase for around the same price of the spray paint, but it would not have been nearly as fun   ;o)    (In my defense,  I still have half a can of spray paint left, so in theory I only used $5 worth and have enough for another project.)

I started with this plastic yellow vase.  The idea of this project was to embellish it for texture and paint it with a spray paint.  The result is a textured faux stone look.

Plastic Vase


1.       Plastic Vase (or a vase of any material that is easily paintable)

2.       Sand Paper

3.       Faux Gems (color does not matter – they are just for texture)

4.       Marker and Ruler to draw design on base.

5.       Glue (I used hot glue, but I recommend another adhesive so you don’t have to worry about the ‘strings’ from the hot glue gun mucking up your project)

6.       Spray Primer

7.       Spray Paint  (I used Valspar Stone purchased at Lowe’s).  You could go with a standard high gloss spray paint, but you would have to be really neat and clean when gluing on the faux gems.  As I mentioned above, if you use a hot glue gun, this could be really tricky.  The textured spray paint covers up a little bit of a mess with the glue.

1.       Lightly sand the vase first.  It will help primer/paint adhere

2.      I drew a few lines around the vase to give me a guide when gluing the faux gems.  Use the technique in the photo below – attach the marker to the ruler and spin the vase to draw a consistent line.

Drawing Consistant Lines Around Vase with Ruler and Pen
 3.       Glue the faux gems to the vase in whatever pattern you wish.  These were left over from my Christmas d├ęcor’ from last year.  Despite the volume I had used last season, I still had a bunch left in the container.   If you use a hot-glue gun be very careful to avoid leaving any ‘strings’.  As you can see from the end product – it does not matter what color gems you use as the end result will be covered in primer and paint.  They are simply used for texture.  With that in mind – I’m sure many different materials could be used to create texture here in a similar manner.
Plastic Vase with Faux Gems

4.       Prime the vase.  If you look closely at the photo below, you can see how I did not initially pay attention to the hot glue strings.  As a result you can see this when the primer was applied (Uggghh).  It really looked awful.  I spent a lot of time peeling off pieces of glue with tweezers to clean it up.  Next time I’ll use a different type of adhesive.  I should have stuck with my all time favorite 'Weld Bond Glue'. 
Primed Vase
5.      Paint the vase with the faux stone paint.  This will cover up the inconstancies with any adhesive (it worked quite well to conceal any remaining hot glue issues).   I used several light coats as recommended on the can.  I think I ended up doing about four coats.
 Faux stone painted vase

Faux stone painted vase

Here it is on the mantle filled with red berries... :o) 
Faux stone painted vase on mantel


Basket Flower Wall Art Close Up

These were made for my friend Heather’s little girl’s room.  She's the one who lets me play ‘decorator’ every once in a while.  This project came about quite by a mistake.  We had originally bought these baskets for another purpose for their home, but as I stared at them on the floor, I was taken aback by how much they resembled flowers.    I am very lucky to have a friend who lets me run with my crazy ideas!

Basket Flower Wall Art Group

This was an ‘on the fly’ project - we just made it up as we went along.  I love these types of projects and the collaboration with friends to come up with unique ideas and solutions.  My friend Heather doesn’t give herself enough credit on this one – she chose the leaf shape from the options I gave her, as well as the ultimate layout of the flowers and the stems.   Here is an explanation of the individual components…

Basket Flower Wall Art 1-5
(1)    Wooden dragon fly (and butterflies) painted and ‘bedazzled’ with faux gems.

(2)    Green Grosgrain Ribbon.

(3)    Cardboard leaves covered in quilt batting and cotton fabric.

(4)    Cardboard circles covered in quilt batting and pink burlap.

(5)    Baskets spray painted high gloss white.

Here are the supplies and steps we took to make them...

What you need

·         Baskets resembling flowers (we bought ours at Old Time Pottery)

·         Spray primer

·         White high gloss spray paint

·         Hot Glue Gun

·         Corrugated Cardboard (old boxes are fine) - enough for circles within flowers, and leave shapes

·         Fabric – enough to cover circles and leave shapes (we used pink burlap for the circles and a green and white dotted cotton for the leaves).

·         Quilt Batting – enough to put 2-3 layers between fabric and cardboard for circles and leaves

·         Grosgrain Ribbon – for stems

·         Nails to hang baskets and adhesive to apply leaves to wall (we used packing tape and it’s still holding strong).  3M might have some other options.

·          Wooden dragon flies and butterflies and faux gems.  Both were purchased a Hobby Lobby.

·         Acrylic paint for dragon flies and butterflies
Basket Flower Wall Close Up


(1)    Spray the baskets with primer.

(2)    Spray the baskets with white high gloss paint

(3)    Cut out cardboard circles to fit inside the baskets. 

(4)    Cut circles of the same size out of quilt batting (2 or 3 layers is good for each piece of cardboard), and lightly hot glue to cardboard pieces.

(5)    Cut fabric circles about 2” larger than the circumference of the cardboard pieces and wrap them around the cardboard and batting, securing with hot glue on the back side.

(6)    Repeat steps 3-5 for the leaves.

(7)    Cut the ribbon for the stems and hot glue the top of the ribbon stems to the back of the baskets.

(8)    Hang the baskets with nails. Adhere the stem to the wall with adhesive if necessary (ours hung behind the bookcase so it was not necessary).  Adhere the leaves to the wall with adhesive.

(9)    Paint and bedazzle dragon flies and butterflies.  Hot glue twist ties to back of each to attach to basket.

Friday, August 17, 2012


Custom Jewelry Storage Cabinet Built in Wall

Custom Jewelry Storage Cabinet Built in Wall

After moving into our new home, we hired a contractor to replace all the wire shelving in our closets with wood shelves and metal bars.  We also had a few custom shelves and drawers added to our master closets along with this recessed jewelry cabinet.    It’s great to be able to see everything all at once, and it’s super easy to keep it all organized.

Custom Jewelry Cabinet Built in Wall - Mirror Door

The jewelry cabinet is located behind the closet door – a space tough to make use of anyway.    Here is what they did… I started with the wall mirror and asked them to use it as the door (it’s one of those cheap wall mirrors you find just about everywhere).  They mounted the mirror onto a piece of thin board for added stability.  Then they cut a section of drywall out between two studs inside the closet (the mirror was just about the perfect width for a door to accommodate the space between the studs).  Next, they framed out the interior of this space to match the size of the door and attached the door with piano hinges.  So . . . what was left was a door covering an unfinished inset box in the wall.  The rest I did myself. . .

1.       To plan out the location of all the hooks – I started by measuring the size of the inset box in the wall and cut out a piece of paper the same size and laid it on the ground.    
2.       Then I took out all my jewelry and started organizing it on the paper to determine where I would need to hang hooks for rings, bracelets, and necklaces of various lengths.  It ended up looking something like this . . .
Jewelry Cabinet Plan

3.       Once I had a plan, I took scrap 1x2’s and cut them to size.  These 1x2’s are what hold the cup hooks. 

4.       I primed and painted the inside of the cabinet and the individual pieces of 1x2’s.  I used the same high gloss white paint used on the rest of the trim/shelving in the closet.  I’m a big advocate of using primer, especially on spaces that can use the added durability.  It’s an extra step, but will prolong the life of any painted area. 

Custom Jewelry Cabinet Cup Hooks

5.      I installed the cup hooks on the 1x2’s before mounting them inside of the cabinet.  I was sure to leave enough space between each hook (about 1 inch).  I would not recommend try to paint after applying the cup hooks - this would be very tedious work and would be difficult to keep the paint off the hooks. 

6.      Liquid Nails was used to attach the 1x2’s to the inside of the cabinet. 

7.       Finally, I caulked all the edges with white calk to give it a finished look (tedious but worth it).

I have seen cabinets like this that can be purchased and mounted on a wall.  (Perhaps you can even figure out how to recess these, I’m not sure.)  Either way, it’s wonderful having all your jewelry within view when getting dressed and choosing an outfit and accessories.  A later addition was a magnet clasp to keep the door completely shut.

This jewelry cabinet is just one of the elements I incorporated into my closet.  If you are interested in some of my other closet organization ideas - see my post here: CLOSET ORGANIZING TIPS

See my ORGANIZE page for more storage and organization ideas.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Laundry Room Storage and Oranization
I'm a bit obsessed about laundry, and I find laundry rooms are never quite big enough for all the tasks we use this space for.  This was one of the first spaces I tackled after moving into our new home.  In addition to adding extra cabinetry to our laundry room for storage, these three tips have helped out immensely in keeping it organized.  I focused on these three items because they are relatively inexpensive (low cost – high impact, my favorite kinds of solutions), and can help make the most of small spaces.
Laundry Room Wall Hooks

These two simple hooks have been a big help in our laundry room.  I installed one for my husband and one for myself.  The ‘ready-to-go-into-the-closet’ items hang here.  They keep finished laundry items out of the way, and if my husband passes by the laundry room and see’s clothes on his hook – he knows they are ready to be put away. Tip - install them on studs if you can - they will be more sturdy and able to handle a larger amount of clothes.


Laundry Room Storage - shoe rack and baskets

I used to have a catch-all laundry basket with shoes and shopping bags cluttering up the laundry room floor.   I had dreams of a custom piece of cabinetry with a shoe rack and shelves to hold baskets, but I’m pretty sure I would not have gotten ‘budget approval’.  Solution - a store bought shoe rack and stackable baskets.  Benefits – (1) we always know where our shopping bags are now that we have a place for them (2) I no longer have to be creeped-out by the dish towels mingling with the cleaning rags (3) When a basket is full – it’s easy to see when a load of laundry needs to be done.  (4) Shoes are out of the way and are not cluttering up the laundry room floor. (5) Random laundry items and dry cleaning also has a home of it’s own.
The tags on the baskets are: laundry, dry cleaning, shopping bags, dish towels, microfiber, and cleaning rags.  Note - the 'laundry' basket was not intended to hold all our laundry.  Most of it can be found in the hamper in our bedroom.  Here we place just random laundry items - socks picked up off the floor, the sweaty t-shirts I make my husband remove upon coming into the house...
The baskets were purchased from Target and the shoe rack was purchased from Lowe’s.  The tags are made from scrap pieces of white cardboard and tied with ribbon.

Laundry Room Hanging Bar

Every laundry room needs a hanging bar.  The dryer can be so rough on your clothes.  I hang dry a lot of items (with some of them getting warmed up just a couple minutes in the dryer to get eliminate wrinkles).  The use of this bar is somewhat limited, as only short items can fit directly over the washer/dryer area, but the sides provide enough space to hang shirts and pants.  I supplement this with a drying rack placed on the floor (for small items and others not suitable for hangers)
You can purchase these types of bars at Lowe's or Home Depot.

For more tips see my ORGANIZE page.


Hanging Table Frame on Wall - 3M Command Strips

Ever had a cute table frame you want to hang on a wall and found it had no hanger on the back?  I used to buy the saw-tooth hangers and tack them onto the back, but 3M has made this process much easier – 3M velcro-like strips.  There are a number of advantages to using these…

Hanging Table Frame on Wall - 3M Command Strips

·         No nail hole required = no damage to wall.

·         Easily removed from frame when you want to use it as a table frame again.

·         Easily removed from wall – no nail holes to fill.

·         Pictures stay put – no more re-leveling when pictures shift over time.

·         Forgiving when hanging – you have some leeway to make adjustments if the strips are not perfectly placed.

·         Also - these are great to hang items on doors.  If you put at least one strip on top and one on the bottom, it will prevent the frame from knocking when the door swings open/closed.   In addition – you don’t have to make a hole in your door with a nail.

Hanging Table Frame on Wall - 3M Command Strips

1.       Take the time to figure out the best place for the placement of the strip on the back of the frame – you want a flat surface.  Do this first – I made the mistake once of starting with the strip on the wall, only to find out the corresponding spot on the back of the frame was not a good place. 

Hanging Table Frame on Wall - 3M Command Strips

3-17-2013 I revised these next steps slightly after using this product some more.  My best advice is to follow the instructions on the package and be patient.  :o)

2.     Next, figure out where the corresponding spot is on the wall to place the frame exactly where you want it.    Again, this needs to be flat surface.  On a wall this is easy, but if you are applying to something like a paneled door - you need to make sure you are working with a spot with a flat surface.

3.     Put the strips together and expose one sticky side, and apply the 3M strips to the frame per the instructions.  This is important - you will need to apply pressure for a certain amount of time.  Be patient and don't just stick it on there.  They will fall off the surface if you don't take your time and do this right.

4.   Remove the other sticky side and apply to the surface (wall/door).  Apply a little pressure to make sure it is stuck and pull off your frame.  Then put pressure on just the strip per the instructions.  Don't apply the frame right away.  Follow the instructions and wait the specified period of time before hanging your frame.  Once again - be patient.

5.     When you apply the frame to the wall you will hear a ‘thunk’ when the strips are locked together.  Easy-peasy.

Hanging Table Frame on Wall - 3M Command Strips

(If anyone is curious, the photos were taken on our honeymoon in Cortona, Italy)    :o)

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Painting Glazed Ceramic Vase DIY Before and After

I purchased this vase for about $3 on clearance.  I wanted a table accessory to go with our newly painted avocado green accent walls in our bonus room.  Clearly this mauve pink was not going to work, but for the price, I thought spray painting it was worth a shot.

Bonus Room Accent Walls. Lowes - New Avocado Green

Painting Glazed Ceramic Vase DIY

Let me start by saying that this vase is used for decorative purposes only.  If you want something that will be waterproof or is durable enough to be handled regularly – perhaps this is not the right method for you.  To be honest, I’m not sure how this finish would stand the test of time if it was touched/used regularly.  But for decorative use (setting on a table or shelf) – I think this method works just fine.

I read information and posts all over the web on painting glazed ceramic vases.  The challenge is the glossy ceramic glazed finish will not accept paint very well.  I saw all sorts of suggestions ranging from using sandpaper or chemicals to break down the shiny finish, to using special paints, and also the idea of re-firing the piece after painting if you own a kiln (as if all of us have a kiln in our back pocket!).  I was looking for an easy option and the ability to use the regular spray paint I had already purchased to paint accessories for this room.  Here is what I did and what you need:

Painting Glazed Ceramic Vase DIY Before and After


·         Glazed Ceramic Vase
·         Cleaner and old toothbrush – I used Oxyclean
·         Spray paint – I would suggest satin or high gloss.  Matte paint is typically not as durable.
·         Spray primer
·         Spray varnish (optional)


1.       If you have any felt pads on the bottom of the vase remove them, and re-glue them onto the piece when finished painting.

2.       Clean the piece – I used a solution of powdered Oxyclean and water, and scrubbed the vase well with a toothbrush. I let this dry overnight.  I have also read that rubbing alcohol can be a good option for cleaning as well.  The point is the piece needs to be very clean for the primer/paint to stick.

3.       If you don’t want to overspray on the inside of the vase – stuff the vase with paper and cover the inside edges with tape.  I did this to make a clean line of paint inside the vase.

4.       Spray the vase with spray primer.  This is just regular spray primer made by Valspar purchased at Lowes.  Let dry completely.

5.       Spray the vase with multiple thin coats of spray paint, allowing it to dry between coats.  This is just regular spray paint in a satin finish by Valspar purchased at Lowes.

6.       Let the paint dry completely overnight before using.  This will allow the paint to cure and become more durable, and help avoid any inadvertent scratches.

7.       You can use a spray varnish if you are looking for a shiny finish.  I elected not to as I liked the somewhat muted satin finish of the paint.
UPDATE 2-6-2016
This post is one of my most popular posts, and the funny thing was I almost didn't write it.  It just seemed too simple to me, but clearly others have questions about this simple task, so I am very glad this post is a part of my blog.  Recently I was perusing pinterest and noticed this post here:
Cake Stands:
What caught my attention is that they used the frosted glass spray paint as a base for painting glass.  Given that this product is specifically for glass - it made me wonder if such a product would be a good base for ceramic pieces as well, and perhaps better than basic spray primer?
I confirmed that at least some spray paint designated for frosting techniques, can be used on ceramic as well (this link refers to Martha Stewart's product).
Although I have not tried this yet - I thought I would offer this as an alternative suggestion for the spray primer mentioned in this post.  If anyone tries this, I would love to hear about it in, so if you try it, please leave a comment.
This painted vase is just one example of how a simple coat of paint can transform a piece, and many times it is even easier because you are not dealing with a surface like glazed ceramic.  Here are some posts showing some examples of how paint can provide for significant change.  OK, I have to admit - some of these are a little more involved that a simple single coat of paint, but really - paint (whether it is sprayed or brushed on) is the primary source of these transformations...







For a general overview of some distressing techniques - see my post here: