Super Easy, Super Chic Vase

SuperEasySuperChic

I’m not really a “chic” person.

I mean…we have really old green leather couches with holes in them.  We have deer heads on our walls and paintings of ducks alongside haphazardly hung family photos.  This isn’t so much due to my lack of taste (I hope) as it is the constant hoping that we will find a new home to move into soon, thus making decorating/painting/trying-hard-to-make-our-little-home-look-nice feel like a bit moot of a point.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t like chic things…especially since creating chic looking pieces is so easy to do on your own!

I was looking for something to do with all my cheap old vases from flower deliveries over the years when I became inspired by HGTV Magazine to make them look frosty and fun.

All you need is rubber bands, spray paint and a vase.

Basically, put the rubber bands on the vase and spray paint it.  Once the paint is dry, take off the rubber bands and…bada-bing-bada-boom…a chic new vase!
PaintedVaseSuccess5

For your educational purposes, I’m chronicling a tale of two vases today….because I messed up the first one horribly and don’t want you to do the same.

It’s not so shocking to discover that easy doesn’t always mean fool proof.  And since I’m usually in a hurry to make the most of my kids’ nap times and get things done quickly, I am usually the fool who finds out the wrong way first.

Curses!

For the second half of this project, I had quite the viewing party…pressure was on to do it right!PeanutGallery

First, do not make your vase look like a glass version of Anastasia from 50 shades of Grey.  No bondage scene needed for this craft project.  A few rubber band goes a long way.PaintedVase1 PaintedVaseSuccess1

Second, when painting, do not actually spray paint onto the vase.  It will run and drip and look so so gross.  As soon as you push the button on the spray can, let up.  Do one small spot at a time and don’t try to actually cover the vase with paint. You’re going for a frosty chic look here.

PaintedVase2PaintedVaseSuccess3

If you want slightly more coverage wait for the first coat to completely dry  (not tacky-ish to the touch, not mostly dry but dry dry). Hit the clear spots with a quick spot of spray.

PaintedVaseSuccess4

Let the vase dry completely.

*As a side note, if you are a multi-tasker like me and cannot simply wait for things to dry, I recommend using this time to check your dogs for ticks.  I found 2 huge ones and used the spray paint can to crush them.  An excellent use of stand-by time in my opinion!*

Once the vase is dry, gently pull off the rubber bands.  Hopefully, you don’t end up with a drippy, over exposed, harsh looking vase – as I did the first time!PaintedVase3 PaintedVaseSuccess6

You could use any color of spray paint you like here.  I think a sea foam green or turquoise would be equally ‘chic’ and fabulous as well.  Or perhaps do bold colors to pop with your white walls?  You could try different designs with the direction of the rubber bands, too.  Whatever mood you’re in, now you can have a vase to match!

Happy spray painting, everyone!

Garden Labels

If you have been following my blog, then by now you know that my ‘weapons of choice,’ when it comes to crafting, are wood and craft paint.  The possibilities are endless if you keep your craft room stocked with these 2 supplies.  Recently, I planted some herb seeds and realized that, *gasp*, I had no way of telling my pots apart. The solution: a craft, of course!  So, I made these cute little labels in only a few minutes.  Here’s how!

Supplies

Popsicle Sticks (3 for each label)

Hot glue gun and glue

Craft Paint

Paint Brushes

Clear Spray Paint

Begin by gluing 2 popsicle sticks together length wise.  First, make sure they are straight…sometimes they have a little bend to them.

Paint the sticks a color of your choice.

Once dried, use a pencil to lightly write the name of the plant you wish to label. A hint to keeping your lettering centered: Count the number of letters in the word and begin with the middle letter (or middle 2 letters if there are an even number of letters) in the middle of the 2 sticks. Work your way out, one letter at a time on each side, so you can monitor the spacing and ensure the label won’t be lopsided.

I'm switching back and forth between a couple different sticks here...hope the color changes don't throw you off!

Now, paint your lettering using a contrasting color.  Use block letters, cursive, puffy letters, skinny letters, or paint a picture.  Be creative!

While the lettering is drying, paint a single popsicle stick another contrasting color.  No need to paint the whole thing…you’re going to be shoving one end in the dirt.

Once all of the paint on all of the sticks is completely dry, glue the 3rd stick to the back of the 2 conjoined sticks (in the middle).  It’s important that all the paint is dry, otherwise the glue doesn’t stick well.

Now spray paint the entire project with a coat or 2 of clear spray paint.  This helps protect it from the sun and rain…and makes it shiny and finished looking.

Labels drying.

When everything is dry, label your plants and enjoy the extra color in your garden! 🙂

Kiddy Coat Hangers: A Tracing Tutorial

I started making these fun coat hangers a long time ago…like…pre-husband and pre-child.  It was back in a day when the most important things I needed to hang up were my purse and the coat that my dog Jimmy wears in the winter time (yes –  have a miniature horse sized coat that I put on my Black Lab/Doberman mix in the winter. He is, after all, my first child).  I’ve had several people ask me for personalized versions of these hooks and there is little more that I love than making things for other people.

Here’s how to make your own, should you feel inspired to do so (and I hope you do!)!

Start with a wooden craft plank.  This one cost me $3.99 at Michael’s.  You can also use scrap wood, like from old cabinets.  Using craft paint (I suggest Folk Art brand as it covers well), paint the base the color of your choice.  This wood typically drinks up a bit of paint, so don’t be afraid to lay it on thick over a few layers.  This will make the rest of the paint take more evenly.  Allow it to dry.

Drawing your own designs free hand is a creative fun way to color your board, but for this project, I decided to paint a clip art cow.  This is where it get easy (as if it wasn’t already).  Go online and find an image you want on your craft.  The key is to keep it pretty simple (or the K.I.S.S. theory, as my mom says -Keep It Simple, Stupid! Sorry…not calling any of you stupid.).  The more intricate and the more colors required, the longer this craft will take you.  You can see by my choice of artwork that I am not very ambitious today.

Once you have your artwork printed out, flip it over and scratch heavily with a pencil over the entire area you want traced onto the board.  Lay it on heavily so it transfers easily.  No need to be exact or precise…just scribble.  Brings out the Kindergartener in ya!

Once you have used up plenty of pencil lead and your wrist is tired, turn the paper back over and place it on the board where you want it to be. Secure the paper in place with tape.

*TIPS HERE*: Make sure to measure (don’t just eyeball it) as it’s a bummer when you get done and realize your image is too far to one side. Also, don’t forget to account for where your hook will be screwed in (I’ve moved my cow up on my board so the hook will sit underneath it).*

Now, simply trace the design.  Use your pencil to draw over the entire drawing.  Press firmly to insure the lead (or graphite, I should say) on the back of the page transfers to the wood.  Don’t be tempted to peek!  You risk moving the paper, causing the artwork to look misshapen after you’ve traced it.

Once you’re done, you should have a very faint outline of your image.

Now you’ve earned the right to paint (the fun part)!!  Start with the larger areas and move to the smaller.  I started with the white…

…then finished with the black.  Easy!

Once the craft paint is dry, hit your board with a coat or two (depending on how much wear and tear your craft will need to bear) of clear spray paint.

Lastly, it’s hardware time!  At your local Target or hardware store, you should be able to find a variety of hooks as well as picture hangers for the backside of the board.  Size small picture hangers suffice for this craft…unless you’re planning on hanging bowling balls from it. Most important thing here: measure, measure, MEASURE.

 Then, attach the picture hanger and hook.  Attach the picture hanger first, followed by the hook (much easier this way).  Depending on the hook you selected, you may need to purchase shorter screws, however most smaller hooks come with short enough screws that will not stick out the back.  And there you have it…a fun addition to your mud room, nursery or bathroom.

How To: Melted Crayon Art

Who loves colorful, easy artwork that’s fun to make?  This girl does!!  And I’ve been dying to take a stab at my own melted crayon art ever since the craze has become popular.  Let me break down the complicated steps of this highly difficult, skill-requiring craft: 1) Glue crayons to a canvas. 2) Use your hair dryer to melt them. 3) Hang it on a wall.

It’s pretty easy-peasy!  Here is a little bit more of a detailed break down for those of you who are wanting to do ‘the melt’ yourselves.

I started out with a 16×20 canvas and a box of 64 crayons.  The whole box won’t fit on the canvas, so pull out the colors you don’t want.  I suggest getting a smaller box of crayons as well, so you can double up on the colors you really want to pop (I didn’t do this…mine are strictly from the 64 count box, but I’m wishing I would have added more of the brighter colors).

You have a choice at this point; you can leave the wrappers on, or take them off.  Totally up to you what “look” you would like in the end.  If you decide to remove the wrappers, simply soak the crayons in a bowl of water until the wrappers slide right off.  Don’t try to peel them off dry…it’ll take you forever.

When you’re ready to assemble, use a hot glue gun to fasten the crayons to the canvas, tip pointed down.  Go ahead and snug the crayons up against each other.  No need to leave room between.Make sure to have your canvas propped up on a flat surface, placing plenty of aluminium foil (or newspaper, I suppose would work) around the area to catch splatters.

Using the highest heat setting and the lowest speed setting, fire up the hair dryer and make those crayons sweat!  The rest happens naturally…it’s a science I like to call “gravity.”

In no time at all, you’ll have a neat work of art!  This one is going to hang in Evan’s room.  I’d like to build a black frame to go around it, but that craft is for another day. 🙂

Christmas Card Hoarder

Hi. My name is Jenny and I can’t throw away anything sentimental.  It’s a terrible problem…one I must learn to deal with before Evan is old enough to doodle and color pictures.  Otherwise, I’m in for a world of clutter and paper scraps.  I guess the good news is that I’ll never have to clean the outside of my fridge again because it will be continuously covered in art.

But, anywho, since I can’t bring myself to throw things away, I am forcing myself to organize them.  Taking my Memory Boxes one step further, I decided to make a yearly Christmas card box.  Holiday cards are such neat snapshots of families as they grow and change…I love comparing them year after year.  Having a pile of holiday cards is like having a loose-leaf yearbook of our friends and family.  This post-Christmas craft is super simple, and it makes me feel organized, which is becoming increasingly difficult as time goes by.

I’ll save you the step-by-step process of this craft…it’s hardly a craft.  I just took an empty box with a lid and wrapped the top and bottom (separately) in wrapping paper, labeled the box “2011” and, boom…I’ve satisfied my need to hoard memories and organized at the same time!. Hope you find this trick useful!  (Gross…these pictures do an excellent job of dipslaying how badly I need to clean the grout in our kitchen.)

Painting A Childrens Tree

I love the new “fad” right now of having a giant tree painted on your child’s bedroom wall.  It’s awesome.  So, naturally, I wanted to have one in Evan’s room, but I was astonished to find out how expensive the wall stickers can be!  Plus, I have had the *pleasure* of putting up wall decals before…it’s a pain in the rear!  “Surely,” I thought to myself, “I must be able to do this myself.”  And thank goodness I talked myself into trying this because it was fun and it looks great!!

Before we start, I have 2 apologies. The first is that most of these pictures were taken with my HTC EVO phone…in a time I call, “Pre-Cannon T2i.”  Sorry about the blurry, yucky photos. The second apology is that I don’t have pictures of all the stages of this process.  I get so carried away when crafting that I tend to forget to pick up the camera (or phone in this case) and snap a few pictures.  Again…sorry.

Now, on with the tree painting.

Supplies

  • pencil (the old-school kind that you have to sharpen)
  • large eraser
  • craft paint (one color for the trunk, then as many colors for the leaves as you please)
  • 1 medium paint brush
  • small paint brushes
  • 1 sheet of paper
  • patience

Step 1: Do a Google Image search so you know what you want your tree to look like.  There are many types of tree ideas out there…go get yourself some inspiration!

Step 2: Practice drawing trees on paper.  It sounds silly, but having a little practice drawing those long, knobby branches is helpful when sketching out the full version.

Step 3: Using a pencil, draw the trunk of the tree on the wall.  Have a big eraser handy (not just the one on your pencil)…you’ll end up changing things quite a bit as you go along.  Make sure to take the time to step back and look at the big picture as you draw.  It will keep you from making the tree lopsided or off-balance.  This step takes a while, but do it right and you’ll be pleased.

Step 4: Paint the trunk.  Seeing your tree actually pop to life will make the annoying process of drawing-erasing drawing-erasing worth it.

Step 5: Draw the leaf design of your choice on a piece of paper.  Keep it simple…you’re going to be tracing the crap out of this leaf (excuse my French)!  Cut out the leaf and being tracing it onto your tree!  I did a pattern of 3 leaves on each branch, with the exception of areas I could only fit 1 or 2 leaves. 

Step 6: Paint your leaves!  Use a variety of colors or shades to give the tree dimension and life.  Get creative…get colorful!

Step 7: Take a good look at your tree and feel awesome about yourself!  If you want, you can go back and add more branches, leaves or detail to areas needing it. 

When you’re done, you’ve got a beautiful tree and it only cost you a few dollars worth of paint.  Plus, when your friends come over and ask who painted the tree in your nursery, you can either a.) brag about your skills or b.) pretend you paid someone big bucks to do such a personalized, fantastic painting. 

The only downside is that this paint isn’t the easiest to paint over once your ready to get rid of the tree.  You can see the texture through several coats of normal paint. So, before you try painting over it, use sand paper to gently remove some of the thicker areas of the tree.  Then paint over it with several coats of Kilz before painting over the tree.

Good luck!

Memory Box

At the end of every year we are faced with many huge messes (even more so now that we have a child receiving crazy amounts of gifts and cards).  I am somewhat of a sentimental person and just can’t bring myself to throw away the piles of Birthday cards (my husband and I both celebrate near-Christmas birthdays), Christmas cards, first Father’s Day/Mother’s Day card, and so on.  The result is that I have piles of cards from who-knows-when lying around, along with various photos that I’ve had printed for some reason or another.  This is just a small pile that we’ve accumulated over the past few weeks (let alone past year).

My solution: a yearly memory box that will allow me to save trinkets, photos and cards in an organized fashion.  Why didn’t I think of this easy idea before?  Here’s what I started with:

1 shoe box

Scrapbook paper

Scissors

Glue Stick

Pen/Marker

Of course, you can add things and embellish however you desire (hot glue ribbon or twine to the seams/corners of the box, add rhinestones or jewels, etc), but these are the basic things I used for my first, simple memory box.  You get the point.  Your’s will probably be much cooler than this one. 😉

Start by tracing the sides of your shoe box onto the scrapbook paper.

Cut the pieces out and glue them to the corresponding sides. 

 I used different patterned paper to hide the seams that didn’t match up.

Find a fun way to display what year the box of memories represents.  I also suggest stickers, stencils or printing out the year in a neat font from your computer.

Easy, cheap craft that helps you organize away your special moments.  I am going to start my 2012 box now, so I can quickly store cards and such from the upcoming year instead of piling them as clutter around the house for months on end (yes, I admittedly have too much clutter…and only myself to blame!).  I am really looking forward to the future when Evan is older and we can pull down the box from the year he was born, flip through the pictures and cards from his actual birth day, first christmas, etc.  Why didn’t I think of this earlier?