Today I have a special guest with a special holiday project. Laura is going to show you how to make those adorable tree branch ornaments! But, first, let me tell you a little about Laura.

This is Laura with one of her four fur babies!

Laura writes about making on her blog Laura Makes. She writes about a variety of projects including crafts from knitting to making mosaics (and everything in between), food & drinks (mainly vegetarian), baking, and home improvement projects with a focus on healthy living and environmentally friendly projects. She even faux tiled the concrete floors in her home using soy based concrete stain. The results are nothing short of amazing!

Laura's Stained Concrete Floors

Will you all please give Laura from Laura Makes a warm welcome!

Every year, I make some percentage of my gifts rather than buy them. At first I started out with grand ambitions and would pick one or two recipients to get a labor-intensive gift like a crocheted afghan. In the last few years, I’ve scaled my efforts back and now make small gifts for multiple recipients. I typically will make a handful of one style of gift to boost my holiday time efficiency.

This year I started thinking about what type of ornament I could make from materials I had lying around. I settled on ornaments made from branches we cut off our trees a few years back. Basically, I cut thin slices of the branches, added a painted Christmas design and a ribbon for hanging and they are ready to go!

So you’re probably wondering how you can do this too… Well, you’re in luck because I’m ready to share!

Step 1: Cut your wood slices

Find a branch with a diameter of 2 – 3 inches (or large enough to fit your design) and cut thin slices. I used a reciprocating saw with a 9” wood blade on it to cut slices about an inch thick.  I just have a photo of the saw, but remember to securely clamp your branch before starting to saw it and to wear safety glasses while operating the saw.

Step 2: Sand your wood slices

The reciprocating saw left a rough finish so I used sanding blocks to create a smooth surface. I first used a very coarse grain sandpaper to get the surface level and then a fine grain sandpaper to create a nice finish. The sanding blocks were very handy – I held the block still while moving the wood slice to sand the surface.

Step 3: Drill holes for small eyelets

This is as easy as it sounds. Use a small drill bit to drill a hole in the top of your wood sliced and then screw in a small eyelet. This will allow your gift recipients to hang your ornaments. You can pick up small eyelets at any home improvement store.

Step 4: Create your designs

I like to create my own linocuts (a print-making method) so I decided to create reproducible designs by basically making holiday stamps for my wood slices. You could also simply buy stamps or paint a design if cutting your own stamps isn’t your thing.

I started by drawing my designs on paper – a snowflake, a Christmas light bulb, and a Christmas tree. I traced the outline of my wood slices so that I would be sure to create designs that fit on the slices.

After that, I transferred the design onto my carving blocks.

And then I used my speedball cutter to carve out my designs.

Step 5: Get that design onto your wood slice!

Whether you make your own stamp, buy a stamp, or paint your design free hand, it’s now time to get the design on to your wood slice. Because two of my designs were meant to have two colors, I used a paintbrush to apply my paint to the stamp before stamping the wood slice. Of course, before doing any stamping I first tested my carved stamps to make sure they looked how I expected and also tested the amount of paint that need to be applied.

The snowflake design only used a single color so I used a small brayer instead of a paintbrush to apply the paint.

I found that it worked best to lay the stamp on the table, place the wood slice on top of it, and press down with firm (but not hard) pressure. This helped transfer the paint to the wood even if some small ridges remained after the sanding step.

The trick is getting the right amount of paint on the stamp so I recommend practicing on paper for a while before moving on to the wood slices. If I painted the paint on too thick, I would first lightly place the stamp on paper to absorb some of the extra paint. Of course if you are just painting directly on the slices you can just jump to that step! I made one freehanded design of a snowman for a particular snowman lover in my life.

Step 6: Embellish your designs

Because I felt that my Christmas bulbs and trees turned out a bit plain, I broke out some leftover red glitter glue to embellish them. For the red bulbs, I painted on the red glitter glue. For the trees, I added little dots to signify tree decorations.

Step 7: Seal your ornaments

I wanted to add some sort of sealant coat to my ornaments for protection. I settled on Mod Podge because I had some at home. Experimentation taught me that I couldn’t use a sponge applicator to brush on the Mod Podge or it would smear the paint even though it was dry. Instead, it seemed that using a paint bush to dab the Mod Podge on top of the paint worked the best.  When first applied, it looks somewhat white but it does dry clear.

Before drying:

After drying:

Step 8: Add a way to hang those ornaments

I used ribbon to create a small bow at the top of the ornaments and also to create a loop so that the ornaments can be hung. Hooray! They are complete and ready to be gifted!

Don’t you just love her ornament idea?! I was watching Celebrity Holiday Homes on HGTV last night. And one of the designers who was decorating Jo Dee Messina’s home, glued her family photos to the center of a wood cut out and turned them into ornaments. I bet Laura inspired him!

Thanks for sharing your tutorial with my readers Laura!

Do you want to be a guest on Pretty Handy Girl? Go ahead and submit your idea! I love having people over.


Brrrr! Anyone else experiencing the dipping temperatures? I really don’t like the cold unless it is going to snow. If it snows, I’ll put up with the sub-zero artic blast because I know we couldn’t have snow without the cold. But, if it isn’t going to snow, you can take your cold temperatures and get the heck out of here!

For this reason, I thought we needed to give Mother Nature a little hint, hint, nudge, nudge, and then a boldly displayed sign:

Cute garden flag, don’t you think?! Would you believe me if I told you that the flag is made from Dollar Tree placemats? Yup, I wouldn’t lie to you. I bought two because I wanted to decorate both sides and only one side of the placemat has a sheen to it. But, for $1 each, who can complain.

Stick around and I’ll show you how I made the flag. But, first, I have a confession to make…

…Do you secretly loathe glitter? Me, too!

When Pretty Handsome Guy sweeps up errant glitter from the kitchen floor, he’ll say, “The person who invented glitter never had children.” Then we both laugh. We were both in the camp of Glitter Haters Anonymous and detested any bedazzled art projects that came home from school. But, this week I snuck out of the camp under the radar and tried out a new product: Tulip® Fashion Glitter™ Shimmer Transfer Sheets and  Tulip® Fashion Glitter™ Shimmer Fabric Paint. Pretty Handsome Guy doesn’t know yet, but I think I’m changing my tune about glitter thanks to Tulip Shimmer products.

Why you ask? It is elementary, my dear Watson. The glitter stays put on the transfer sheets and in the fabric paint! No more sweeping up underneath the glittered project. No more random speck of glitter on the tip of my nose like a Rudolf wanna be. The shimmer products hold their glitter!

Materials:

Instructions:

Mark  a line 2″ from the top of the “flag” placemat using the chalk (this will be your stitching line for the rod pocket. Then draw your design below the pocket line.

Punch out snowflakes from the Tulip Fashion Glitter Shimmer transfer sheet. Because the sheets are thick, it is easier if you peel up the top sheet and only punch through the transfer sheet.

Cut out the rest of your design (you can leave the top sheet on if you are cutting with scissors.) After the designs are cut out, remove the top sheets.

It can be confusing to determine which pieces you removed the top sheet from, so look at the pieces from an angle and look for any reflection or shine on the top sheet of plastic.

If you pull the top sheet off too quickly, it can pull the glitter with it (see below.) Go slow, and if it does happen — don’t stress it — just cut a new one.

Position all the snowflakes and any other transfer sheet pieces on top of the flag. Pay attention to make sure the glitter side is up and the glue transfer side is down. 

Lay a clean rag on top of the pieces and iron the design onto the placemats according to the directions. (The placemats I used are polyester, so I used that setting on my iron. And it took about 30 – 40 seconds to get the transfer sheet glue to heat up enough to stick to the placemats.)

Remove the cloth and check to make sure that the design is adhered to the flag/placemat.

Before painting my snowman, I did a little test on the backside of my placemat to determine if the Tulip Fashion Glitter Shimmer fabric paint was transparent or opaque. It is transparent, so I chose the Tulip Soft fabric paint to fill in the snowman.

Paint your snowman, arms, hat, eyes and mouth using the Tulip Soft fabric paint. Using the smaller brush, paint the words too.

After the fabric paint has dried, dampen a clean cloth and gently wipe off the chalk.

Now is the time to add the Tulip Fashion Glitter Shimmer Fabric Paint magical glitter dust! I call it that because it really looks magical and the gel slowly disappears as it dries and leaves the glitter trail behind. Tinkerbell would be proud. Brush on curves and curly-q’s. You can brush on top of the words and the snowman because it will dry transparent.

Look at that beautiful magic glitter dust!

When the Tulip Fashion Glitter Shimmer Fabric Paint…ahem…I mean magical glitter dust has dried, pin your two placemats together rights sides facing out.

Stitch one line across the top. Stitch a second line across the marked pole pocket.

Leave the two sides of the pocket open and stitch down the sides and across the bottom (as shown.)

Thread the flag onto a standard sized decorative flag bracket.

And then challenge Mother Nature to “Bring it on!” (Be prepared, you might have to do a snow dance too. But that is a whole other tutorial!)

I have to tell you that the Tulip Fashion Glitter Shimmer products really surprised me. I truly loathe loose glitter, but these products really held the glitter in place. There might be a few pieces of glitter that are dislodged when you peel the transfer paper top sheet off, but honestly I didn’t notice and I never found any on me. I highly recommend these products. Especially if you have kids that love glitter!

You can find the Tulip product line at these retailers. Selections may vary per store.

 

 

 

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Tulip Products,  iLoveToCreate®, a Duncan Enterprises Company. I was sent some samples of the Tulip® Fashion Glitter™ Shimmer Transfer Sheets and Tulip® Fashion Glitter™ Shimmer Fabric Paint. I already owned the Tulip Soft Fabric paint. I was also paid a small fee in return for writing a post about my experience using the products. The ideas and opinions are strictly my own. I will never let any compensation (monetary or free product) keep me from giving you (the reader) a straight up and honest review.


I had so much fun at the Habitat ReStore talk this past weekend. My favorite holiday decorations were these adorable beveled glass ornaments. Would you believe me if I told you that they began life as a dated octagon brass light fixture?

Well, they did! And here is the best part, for $5 you can score one of these fixtures at your local Habitat ReStore and make 16 ornaments from the one light!

Materials:

  • Beveled glass octagonal light fixture (the flimsier the brass the better)
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Small flat head screwdriver
  • Gloves
  • Glass cleaner
  • Soft cloth
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Printed photos
  • Mod podge
  • Paint brush
  • Screw eyes
  • E-6000
  • Wax paper to protect work surface
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors

 

Instructions:

Put on your gloves for this first task! To free the beveled glass, you’ll need to poke, prod and cut at the brass surrounding the glass. Inserting a flat screwdriver will help to pry up the edges. As the edges come loose, cut into the metal with wire cutters, and pull it apart using needle-nosed pliers. All the while, use caution so as not to break the glass pieces.

After all the glass is free, clean both sides of the glass with windex and a soft cloth. Scratch off any dirt with your fingernail (or a razor blade).

Cut photos to fit inside the middle of the beveled glass piece.

Trace around the glass and cut a piece of scrapbook paper the same size as the glass.

Coat the back of the photo with mod podge and center it on the scrapbook paper.

Gently coat the front of the scrapbook paper border with mod podge (do not paint mod podge onto the photo or streaking can occur.)

Press the flat side of the beveled glass on top of the scrapbook paper/photo.

Flip the glass over and put a dollop of E-6000 at the top center of the scrapbook paper. Lay one screw eye into the glue, then cover the screw with a small dollop of E-6000 glue to secure the screw eye.

After the mod podge and E-6000 has dried, cut some pieces of ribbon and thread them through the screw eye. Make a loop with the ribbon and hang it on your tree!

Or give them as gifts to the Grandparents!

I made another ornament using scrapbook paper and stuck a monogram letter sticker on top of the glass. I also added a small quote on another ornament. The possibilities for this project are numerous!

I had to share with you a few other transformations that I showcased during the talk at the Habitat ReStore:

I took an old chandelier and flipped her over, coated her with primer, heirloom white spray paint and then added some distressing and finished with some antique gold Rub n’ Buff.

Now she’s a beautiful candelabra for our dining room table!

I used the canopy (round flat disk that attaches to the ceiling) as the base for the candelabra. When you take apart a light fixture, you can get creative by flipping and switching around parts and pieces.

Old lightbulbs became adorable little ornaments with a few stickers and a coat of spray paint. My favorite is this clear bulb that I added a heart sticker to. When I peeled off the sticker a little heart shaped window remained. Peek inside to see the filament.

If you’ve ever wrapped an easter egg with rubber bands before dying it, you’ll recognize this pattern.

A $2 cabinet door and some chunky cabinet handles partnered to form a holiday serving tray. The handles also got a little Rub ‘n Buff for shine.

I’m sorry I don’t have the tutorials for you right now. Most likely at a later date, I’ll post them for y’all.

I have two announcements:

#1 – The winner of the RIT dye giveaway is: Judi! She said,  “Dye WOOD –really !!!! Can’t wait to see what all else you (and I) can dye !! Loving it !!”

RIT Dye

#2 – My son let me paint his cast like a candy cane! I used KILZ Clean Start (zero VOC) primer and a flat brush to give his cast the stripes. One of my facebook fans had the genius idea of asking Santa to sign it!


Let’s just hope that he can keep this cast for more than a week!

 

 

 

Linking up to Home Stories A2Z Tutorials & Tips TuesdaysCentational Girl’s Holiday Home Craft Link PartyNot Just a Housewife’s Show Me What Ya GotFunky Junk Interiors SNS

 

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Holiday decorating is in full swing in my house. We bought our tree today and Pretty Handsome Guy and the boys decorated it today while I worked on the cute little scrap wood Christmas tree above.

When I saw the scrap wood DIY Christmas Tree made by Creative Chaos, I fell in love and knew I had to make one too.

Having an ever growing scrap wood pile also helped convince me to make it.

I decided to try dyeing the wood scraps! You read that correctly, dye the wood. Did you know that you can use RIT dye to color more than just fabric?! Check out the RIT Dye website to learn more about all the techniques and materials you can dye. You will be amazed! Plus, RIT created a RIT Formula Guide that will give you 500 formulas to mix your own custom colors!

Seriously, that is an amazing array of colors!

Building the scrap wood tree is a super easy project that doesn’t take much skill. There is a fair amount of waiting time (waiting for the wood to soak up the dye and waiting for concrete to harden) but I’m sure you can find something more productive to do than watching cement dry.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)


Cut your wood scraps to create a triangular form when stacked on top of one another. Cut one long strip to use as the tree trunk.

Dyeing the Wood:

Lay out three 5 gallon buckets (or mix the colors one at a time and use the same bucket.) Set out the dye colors (dark green, apple green & teal) and salt or vinegar onto a plastic sheet. RIT Dye works best when mixed with hot water. Our water heater is set on a safe hot temperature so as not to burn our boys’ hands. Therefore, I decided to add a little bit of boiling water to my mixture to increase the temperature.

Follow the directions on the RIT container. I added 1/2  bottle of RIT Dye to 3 gallons of water (1/2 gallon of which was the boiling water.) Then mix in 1 cup of vinegar (or salt) in each bucket. (I tried both and didn’t notice any major differences between using salt or vinegar, so you can use either for dyeing wood.)

Put on rubber gloves. Stir until the dye is well mixed.

Split up your wood and dip each into the desired color. Because the wood will float, you may need to clamp a piece of wood to hold your larger scraps below the liquid. Then flip the wood to dye both ends of the scrap. The smaller pieces can be floated right side down for color absorption on the side you’ll see.

After 30 minutes remove the wood and let it dry. (Look at that scrumptious color! And the cool thing is that the grain still shows through.)

While you are waiting for the dye to dry. Stain the tree trunk strip by dipping a paper towel into Minwax Early American stain and rubbing it on the wood. Alternatively, you could stain the trunk with RIT Dye in a brown color.

*A note about pre-painted or sealed scraps. The wood needs to be unpainted, unsealed, or unstained in order to accept the RIT dye color. I tried dyeing these two strips and obviously it didn’t work too well.

No worries though, I mixed up some green acrylic paint and some water and then painted them separately.


Building the Tree:

Position the scraps in the desired location on the trunk.

Gently hammer the scraps to the trunk strip with brad nails. Make sure the nails will go through the scrap and about halfway through the trunk.


Making the Cement Base:

*If you want to stake your tree in the ground, feel free to skip this step.

Wash out the plastic container. Fill the container with cement mixture from the stepping stones kit. Follow the directions on the package. (I ended up using only half the kit, so I halved the directions.) Slowly add water and stir the cement mixture until it is thick and heavy, but not crumbly.

When you have the right consistency, gently bang the container on the ground to get some of the air bubbles out and to level the top. Slide the tree trunk stake into the cement.

Level the tree from side to side and front to back. Then secure the tree with clamps (or other props) while it dries overnight.

In the morning, squeeze the sides of the container to release the cement base. Remove the container and brush off any cement crumbs from the base.

Cut a piece of fabric in a circle large enough to cover the base.

Gather the fabric up and tie it with a ribbon to secure it in place.

 

Adding the Star:

Trace a star shape onto a scrap of sheet metal (duct material) or a metal can. Cut out the shape using tin snips. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the sharp edges.

Position the star so it overlaps the top piece of scrap wood on the tree. Hammer two brad nails through the star and into the wood.

Decorate your tree with some holiday lights. (I found a set of battery powered LED lights at Target. They aren’t as bright, but it eliminates having to plug in a light cord and having a tripping hazard.)

I like the variety in color I got from using the three different colors of RIT dye. I am really loving my little table top tree. He kind of reminds me of a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, but I’m not sure why.


I have to tell you that I was so excited when I saw the color of the Teal RIT Dye, that I couldn’t resist throwing some old scarves into the bucket with the wood.

I had two scarves, one was light green and the other light blue. The green one never accepted the dye even after an hour of soaking. Obviously, the scarf was made of polyester, which will not accept dye. The light blue one came out beautifully. I attempted to recreate an ombré technique as described on the RIT Dye website, but didn’t read the directions until after the scarf had been sitting still in the dye for about 10 minutes. This gave me a sharp dye line, but it isn’t really noticeable when wearing it.  Next time I’ll know to keep dipping and moving the fabric.

This forgotten scarf has now been relegated to my wear almost everyday scarves!

 

 

 

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by RIT Dye. I was sent several bottles of RIT Dye and paid a small fee in return for writing a post about my experience using their product. The ideas and opinions are strictly my own. I will never let any compensation (monetary or free product) keep me from giving you (the reader) a straight up and honest review.

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I love a challenge. If you hold an object up to me and ask me how it can be transformed, I can usually name a few different things. So, when the Elmer’s #Look4Less Challenge was introduced, I jumped at the opportunity!

For this challenge I chose to recreate Pottery Barn’s Sliding Chalkboard Wall Organizer. I loved the idea of a sliding board and a bulletin board in the back. But, I especially loved the rustic wood look.

However, I wasn’t crazy about the price. (Obviously that didn’t stop the item from selling out!) So, if you want one for yourself, I’ll save you $100 and show you how to make your own!

My version cost approximately $30 (cost estimate based on materials used. If I used a 1/2 can of spray paint I calculated half the cost.) Personally, I spent about $10 out of pocket on this project because I had a lot of the supplies already. Plus, Elmer’s was kind enough to sent me some of the materials to make the project (shown as links below.)

Be sure to read the end of this post to learn how you can win your own Elmer’s materials!

In addition to the new art supplies, I bought an old drawer to use for the structure of my organization unit. I paid — are you ready for this — two dollars at our local Habitat ReStore! Seriously, only $2 for the main component of my wall organizer unit.

Here is a list of the rest of the supplies I used:


  • Krylon chalkboard spray paint
  • Drawer
  • Damp rag
  • Painter’s drop cloth
  • Batting
  • Wooden ruler
  • 1 Knob
  • Washers
  • Rustoleum brown spray primer
  • Behr glazing liquid
  • Valspar mocha glaze
  • Acrylic or latex paint (dark brown tester sample)
  • Acrylic or latex paint (light tan tester sample)
  • Wood putty
  • Saw
  • Hammer
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Handsaw
  • Brad nails
  • Finish Nail
  • Construction glue
  • Clamps
  • Pencil
  • Trim molding
  • 1″ x 1″ wood strips (or square dowels)
  • Duct tape

Prepping the drawer:

Remove any hardware from the drawer. Use a handsaw to trim off the sides of the face of the drawer. You want the sides to be flush with the sides of the drawer. The top and bottom of the face can extend beyond the drawer.

Orient the drawer so the face is now the bottom of the wall organizational unit. The rear panel of the drawer is now the top of the unit.

Add decorative trim molding to the top as shown:

  1. Cut decorative trim molding to the width of the top of the unit/drawer. (Check with your local Habitat Restore for inexpensive trim.)
  2. Choose a finish nail that is long enough to go through the molding and into the drawer. Drill a few pilot holes into the molding (to avoid splitting the wood when you hammer a nail into it.)
  3. Run a bead of construction glue on the top of the drawer. Lay the molding on top of the glue.
  4. Use finish nails to hammer through the pilot holes and attach the molding to the drawer.

Wipe off the drawer/unit with a wet rag.

 

Faux painting the unit:

If you are dealing with a mixture of wood finishes (some paint, some stain), you will want to prime and paint your unit. I decided to give mine a faux rustic wood treatment (because I love that rustic wood look!) Here are the basic steps:

  1. Use wood putty to fill any holes or cracks. After the putty has dried, sand it smooth. Wipe off any dust from the wood using a damp rag.
  2. Prime the entire box (minus the back) with Rustoleum brown primer.
  3. Mix 1 part glaze to 2 parts light tan paint.
  4. Brush the mixture onto the unit using a tattered paint brush. Keep the strokes in long lines to mimic wood grain.
  5. Let that layer dry. Mix 1 part glaze to 2 parts dark brown paint.
  6. Brush it on the unit using the same technique as step 4.
  7. Finish up by brushing a coat of Vaspar Mocha glaze over the entire unit.

 

Creating the bulletin board:

After the glaze has dried, cut a piece of Elmer’s White Foam Board the dimensions of the inside of the drawer/unit.

Cut a piece of batting the same size as the foam board.

Cut a piece of painters’ drop cloth 2-3″ wider (on all sides) than the foam board.

Layer the drop cloth, then the batting and top it with the foam board.

Wrap the edges of the drop cloth around the foam board and secure it with duct tape.

Add a few Elmer’s CraftBond Glue Spots Pop-up Medium to the back side of the foam board and press the board into the back of the unit. Instant bulletin board!

 

Adding a graphic letter to the bulletin board:

Print out a large letter, number or symbol. Cut out around the shape using an x-acto knife.

Position the cut out onto the bulletin board and trace around the edges lightly with pencil.Use an Elmer’s Painters gold paint marker to color inside the pencil tracing.

 

Creating the sliding chalkboard:

Cut the Elmer’s Black Foam Board the height of the interior of the drawer/unit and about 1/3 the width.

Spray the black foam board with the chalk paint. Add 1-2 more light coats per the directions on the can.

Measure the interior width at the top and bottom of the organizational unit. Cut two 1″ x 1″ strips of wood (or square dowels) for the top and 2 strips for the bottom. Drill a hole in each end of the strips.

Measure out 1″ from the bulletin board, on the bottom of the unit. Mark this location. Repeat for the top . Run a bead of construction glue onto the bottom of the wood strip and then adhere it to the bottom of the unit at the 1″ measurement mark.

Hammer brad nails into the predrilled holes. Repeat for the top of the cubby. (Two 1″ square strips are shown, but only install the back ones at this time.)

If the chalkboard paint has dried, rub a piece of chalk all over the board to season it. Wipe it clean with a dry cloth.

Drill a hole into the chalkboard where you want the handle. Feed the handle through. Add washers to the backside of the chalkboard if you need to take up some of the slack on the screw.

Insert the chalkboard into the wall unit and rest it against the first strip. Add the second strip in front of the chalkboard and attach it the same way you did above.

Be sure that the wood strips are not too snug against the chalkboard. The board should have enough freedom to slide back and forth freely.

 

Finishing touches:

If you want to give your ruler some age, rub a walnut stain onto the wood. Let it dry. Glue the wooden ruler to the front of the wood strip on the bottom using construction glue.

Clamp the ruler in place and let it dry overnight.

Add your pushpins and a message to the chalkboard and enjoy your efforts! You just saved yourself $100!!! Woot!

If you want instructions for hanging the unit, check out this post on hanging objects on the wall (the right way) the first time.

I’m pretty pleased with my Pottery Barn copy cat. Not to be mean or anything, but I like mine better because of the ruler,

the decorative crown molding,

and most of all for the price!!!


Do you like my Pottery Barn knock off? Or does it still look like an old discarded drawer to you?

 

 

Disclaimer: This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Elmer’s #gluenglitter #collectivebias #CBias. I was paid a small fee and sent some Elmer’s products. However, the ideas and opinions expressed in this post are solely mine.

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Things happen fast in my family. So fast that I can barely keep up. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably saw that I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in the hospital with my youngest son. I looked away for an instant and he managed to climb 6 feet up the outside of the slide. As I turned my gaze back to him I watched as his body fell to the ground. There was no doubt that he was broken and in severe pain. Hours later confirmed that he had broken three bones in his arm (one at his elbow, and both forearm bones at his wrist.) He ended up having surgery, five pins inserted into his arm, and an overnight stay at the hospital. Needless to say, my week has been fraught with worry and concern for him and his pain level. I think for Christmas I’m going to make him a bubble wrap suit!

Just last night my seven year old lost his first tooth! Yup, it has taken him a while to push that little baby tooth loose. But, low and behold he lost it last night in his sleep. Pretty Handsome Guy tracked the runaway tooth down this morning only to have it go missing again tonight when we needed to present it to the tooth fairy. We searched high and low but can’t find it. Do you think the tooth fairy came early to our home?

My son informed me 30 minutes before bedtime that I needed to sew a pouch for the tooth (and the money that comes with a lost tooth.) I said “okay”(because Mom always has to deliver when a little one has a request.) Then I asked how big and what color. He showed me with his hands and said that the pouch should be red.

After a quick scan of my craft supplies I grabbed a red sweater that I had already felted in the dryer, a piece of white craft felt and a red button. Then I whipped up a little tooth fairy pouch in 10 minutes!

Materials:

  • Felted red sweater
  • White craft felt
  • Red thread
  • Red button
  • Scissors

Cut the sleeve off the sweater at about 7″.

Turn the sleeve wrong side out and stitch the bottom of the sleeve together.

Turn it right side out and cut a “U” shaped notch out of the sleeve on one side.

Flip the sleeve over and round the corners of the longer side of the sleeve.

Cut a tooth shape out of the white felt.

Pin the felt tooth onto the center of the sleeve (on the long side.)

Carefully move the short side out of the way and stitch the tooth onto the sleeve using a blanket stitch or another decorative stitch. Leave a small opening at the top of the tooth.

Hand stitch a button onto the other side of the pouch.

Cut a small slit into the rounded flap of the long side and slip it over the button.

Slip your child’s tooth into the tooth pocket on the front.

The tooth fairy will dutifully leave money (and maybe a note) inside the red pouch while your child sleeps.

My son told me that he heard the tooth fairy leaves more money if you draw her a picture. I’m not sure how much she leaves for non-existant teeth though. I hope we find that tooth!

 

 
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Tip Junkie handmade projects


We had a great turnout at the Habitat ReStore demonstration on Saturday! Thank you to everyone who showed up. It was nice meeting some new friends. There will be another talk at 1 pm on Saturday, December 10th at the Cary, NC Habitat ReStore! I hope you can make it, because I’ll be showing how to turn some common ReStore items into holiday gifts and décor.

And now for the tutorial that you really wanted to see — but couldn’t make it to see — making a shoe storage bench out of an kitchen wall cabinet!

Wall cabinets that fit over your fridge or stove work really well for this shoe storage bench project. Ideally the cabinet will be 18″ in height (standard seat height). If it is shorter, you can build a base for your bench to raise it up a little.

It is more than likely that these cabinets will be coated with about 5 lbs. of grease. But, have not fear, I found THE BEST cleaner for removing grease. Hot water and ammonia! You must work in a well ventilated area when working with ammonia. Sponge on the ammonia and hot water concoction and wait about 10 minutes. Wipe off the cabinet and repeat until clean.

Materials:

  • Ammonia, hot water and a sponge or rag (to clean off grease)
  • Screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • Miter saw
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Wood putty
  • Sandpaper
  • Construction or thick wood glue
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint brush
  • 2″ finish nails
  • 1 and 1/4″ finish nails
  • Quarter round moulding for base of cabinet
  • Cove moulding for top of cabinet
  • 1″ thick board (cut to fit inside cabinet dimensions)
  • 1×4″ pine firring strips
  • Plywood or pine board cut to fit 3″ wider and 1.5″ deer than finished dimensions of the cabinet (after moulding is added.)
  • Optional: Thin plywood to use as a filler strip

 

Remove all the hardware and the doors. Remove any nails that are poking out or hammer them flush with the wood.

Measure the inside depth of the top of your cabinet.

Cut three 1×4″ boards to sit on top of the cabinet and use for the bench support and to give your nails something to grip when attaching the bench top. (Without these supports it would be very difficult to nail or screw into the particle board cabinet without it flaking and chipping.)

Use thick construction glue to attach the boards. (Glues that have a toothpaste consistency.)

Nail finish nails into the boards at an angle to secure them.

For good measure, nail two more finish nails through the back of the cabinet and into the ends of the support boards.

Measure your cabinet sides and front. Cut quarter round (convex shape) for the base of your cabinet and cove moulding (concave shape) for the top of your cabinet.

Here is a close up of the moulding I used for the base and crown of the cabinet.

If the face frame of your cabinet juts out past the side, you’ll have a gap (see below). No worries, we can fix that!

Slip a piece of thin plywood to fit behind the quarter round (and cove moulding). Draw a line at the top of your quarter round (and bottom of the cove moulding). Cut the plywood piece with a jig saw.

Glue the thin plywood strip onto the cabinet.

Rest your moulding on top of the filler strip.

Predrill holes in your trim moulding, then hammer finish nails to secure the trim. If you are using a finish nailer to secure the moulding pieces, you won’t need to pre-drill.

Fill any nail holes or cracks with wood putty.

Fill the seams of the filler strips with wood putty too.

Allow the wood putty to dry and then sand it smooth.

Your cabinet should look something like this:

For the top of your bench, cut a piece of wood that is 3″ wider and 1.5″ deeper than the top dimensions of the cabinet (be sure to measure to the edge of the crown moulding.) Sand it smooth. Stain or paint the bench top.


At this point, you can attach your bench top by screwing a few screws from inside the cabinet up through the support pieces and into the bench top.

*For demonstration purposes, the video will show how I attached the bench top with glue and finish nails from the top: Add some construction glue to the wood supports. Then, nail the top into the three support boards on top of the cabinet. Fill the holes left by the nails. And touch up the spots with stain or paint. Either way will work, but the screws from below will save you the work of adding wood putty and/or touching up the nail holes.

To install the shelf, level the board you cut to fit inside the cabinet (or shall I call it a bench since we are almost done!)


Use either “L” brackets inside the cabinet to hold the shelf or hammer nails from the side and into the ends of the shelf to secure it. Luckily shoes aren’t super heavy, so you can get away with using finish nails to hold the shelf in place.


Use a nail set to sink the nail below the wood surface.


Add a small amount of wood putty to the nail hole.


Gently sand the cabinet and shelf to scuff up the surface and give it a “tooth” for the primer to adhere to. Prime the cabinet and bench.


Paint the cabinet, shelf and bench.


Protect your bench with a few coats of polyurethane and you are done!


Room for about 8 pairs of shoes! If you wanted a larger bench or more storage, you could attach two cabinets side by side.


Here is the video from my Habitat ReStore talk. (I apologize about some of the background noise.)

By the way, thanks to my sponsors Bogs Footwear (boots) and Tomboy Tools (tool belt.) I need to lower that belt a little ;-). I was rushing in and just buckled it on me without adjusting it.

 

 

 

Sharing this tutorial with Home Stories A2Z Tutorials and Tips Link Party and The Shabby Creek Cottage’s Transformation Thursday

Happy Monday morning y’all! I’ve been working like a busy bee this past month. So many projects! I need to clone myself so one of us can work on the projects and the other can write the posts. (Luckily I had an extra hour yesterday thanks to switching back to standard time.)

One of the reasons I’ve been so busy is that I will be giving my first demonstration at the Raleigh Habitat for Humanity ReStore this Saturday at 1pm. If you are in the area, I’d love to see you. Here is the address and more information about the  ReStore. I will be demonstrating how I turned a truly nasty greased wall cabinet into this charming shoe storage bench.

I’m not the type who can throw something away, so when I removed the cabinet doors to make the shoe bench, I decided to salvage them and make message boards. The first one was transformed into a cute chalkboard frame.

The other one was turned into a — you guessed it — dry erase board!  And of course (because I love you), I’ll share with you how I made it.

 

Materials:

  • Cabinet door (pre-primed and painted)
  • Plexiglass cut to the interior panel dimension
  • Scrapbook paper (choose a light color that dry erase marker will show up on top of)
  • 4 Nail head trim tacks
  • 3 Cup hooks
  • X-acto blade
  • Metal ruler
  • Sharpie marker
  • Drill and bits
  • Scrap of wood
  • Hammer
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Dry erase marker
  • E-6000 glue

1. If you haven’t already: clean, prime and paint your door. It isn’t necessary, but if you want to give your cabinet door a new look, go ahead and paint it any color you like! The sky is the limit on color. I used American Accents Antique Black.

2. Cut your scrapbook paper to fit inside the cabinet door panel. As always, be sure you are using a fresh new x-acto blade and a metal edged ruler.

3. Mark a dot 1/2 inch from the corners of the plexiglass.

4. Drill a small hole through the plexiglass at each dot. Use a drill bit that is slightly larger than the nail on your nail head tack.

5. Lay your scrapbook paper into the panel, then rest your plexiglass on top of the paper. (I purposely didn’t glue the scrapbook paper so I could change it out when I want a décor change.)

6. Set a nail head into each corner hole in the plexi. Hold the nail with the needle-nosed pliers as you hammer each tack into the cabinet door.

7. If your tacks go through the back, flip over the cabinet door. Set the piece of scrap wood (red arrow) under the nail head and hammer the point of the nail to bend it to the side (so no one gets poked!)

8. Use a ruler to mark where you want your cup hooks mounted. Pre-drill holes for your cup hooks using a drill bit slightly smaller than the cup hook screw end. Then screw them into the holes.

9. Attach D-ring hooks to the back of the door.

10. Attach a dry erase pen to the board using string. Or if you find a marker with a magnetic cap, you can glue a magnet to the board using E-600o. Now you can hang the marker back on the board when you’re done writing a message.

11. Hang that cute little dry erase board up on the wall! Did you see this and this tip for hanging frames that have two hooks? Genius!

That is how you can make a custom dry erase board out of an old cabinet door! I love how it matches the bench colors and can match anything I want it to by changing out the scrapbook paper. Shoot, I could probably put photos behind the plexi too!


Okay, so who is coming out to join me on Saturday? Please don’t let me show up and give a talk to the crickets. 😉


My kids like to raid our recycling bin. They make the most imaginative things out of milk jugs, strawberry pints and toilet paper rolls. In fact, my five year old has been making his own Halloween costume from paper bags and tape. So, when #CollectiveBias sent out a challenge to make trick or treat bags with Elmer’s Craft Bond Glue Spots and Elmer’s Foam Board, I knew right where to head for supplies: Walmart AND the recycling bin! I hereby invite you to join me (and my escort) as we gather the supplies for this project.

Materials:


Instructions:

Start by removing the handles from the paper grocery bag and then cuff the top of the bag by rolling it under two times.

Pick out two sheets of newspaper (I used the obituaries. Truly Halloweeny don’t you think?!) and bring the paper bag and newspapers outside and spray them with spray adhesive.

It is important to wrap the paper bag with the newspapers as soon as possible for a maximum bond.

Wrap the bag neatly like a present with the newspaper. Use clear packing tape to tack any loose edges down. Also add a strip of packing tape to the inside of the bag cuff for extra support for the handle (should your child bring home pounds of candy!)

Take out your sharpie pen and draw lines in a spiderweb pattern on the bag.

Set the bag aside and collect the orange foam board, x-acto knife (with a fresh blade), pencil and the letter print out.

Set the letter on top of the foam board. I usually line the edge of the letter up with the edge of the foam board for less material waste.

Press firmly with the pencil as you trace around the letter. When you remove the print out you should see an indented outline.

Using the x-acto knife, cut out your letter shape. Use a metal ruler to cut straight lines. If your knife starts to tug and pull at the foam board, put a new blade in.

Clean up any ragged edges with the x-acto knife.

Use a few Elmer’s Craft Bond glue spots to affix the Elmer’s foam board letter to the bag.

To create a little spider, glue two pom-poms together with another glue spot. If you have black twisty-ties you are good to go aren’t you special, you don’t have to color them. (I only had white ties so I colored them with the black sharpie.) Wrap four twisty-ties around the middle to create the spider’s eight legs.

Use another glue spot to glue the spider to the bag.

Print out a bat silhouette downloadable template and layer it on top of black poster board. Cut out a few bat silhouettes.

Use a glue spot on the center of each bat to glue them to the bag. Fold the bats wings up for more dimensional interest.

Add stickers (or pre-punched paint chip stars using Elmer’s Glue-All multi-purpose glue) to the bag.

I incourage you to decorate your bag anyway you like. Bust out your craft supplies for inspiration.

If spiders and bats aren’t your thing. How about spooks and spirits?

To add the handles, follow the directions on your grommet kit. 1. Punch a hole in the bag at the top of the bag using a hole punch. 2. Insert a long grommet through the hole. Lay a short grommet on top. 3. Hammer the grommets together using the metal rod tool that came with the grommet kit.

Cut off the sleeves from a t-shirt. Cut two 2.5 – 3″ wide strips. Then stretch the sleeve loop in opposite directions. This will make the shirt material roll.

After you have stretched and rolled the sleeve loops, cut them at the seam. Then thread each end through the grommets on the bag and tie a double knot on the inside of the bag.

Now gather up your little trick-or-treater and give him this unique candy collection bag! My sons’ had the biggest smiles on their faces. Definitely worth the effort to make these bags.

This eency weency spider is my favorite!

Way more personalized than these generic plastic pumpkins, don’t you think?!

Which one is your favorite? I can’t decide, because I love them equally as much. Spook or Spider?

Eeeeeekkk, we can hardly wait for October 31st!

Disclosure: This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Elmer’s #gluenglitter #CollectiveBias #CBias. The ideas and opinions shared in this post are purely my own from my own crazy creative head.

Follow up: Well, my youngest loves his bag so much that he told me, “Mom, we should decorate every side with a different holiday.” And that is exactly what he did today during quiet time. I just want to stop time and keep him five forever!

“It’s a Party and I’ll Paint if I Want to…Paint if I Want to… Paint if I Want To…You Would Paint Too if you had Scotch Bluuuueee!”
I think I’m going to call 3M ScotchBlue right now and suggest this as their new jingle. Kind of catchy isn’t it?!

Check out my project tutorial on revamping an old cabinet door below.

Go ahead, grab your paint and brushes — and don’t forget a roll of ScotchBlue painter’s tape!

I have been using ScotchBlue painter’s tape for a while and I really like it. I am not being paid to say this (even though they did send me a few free rolls of painter’s tape.) You’d know I like ScotchBlue tape if you have read the backlit bookcase post, painting the bamboo rug post and the painting like a pro post (where I share some tips for using ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape!)

But, enough looking back, I want to share with you how to make something out of a disgustingly filthy grease covered discarded cabinet door. So, let’s hop to it! While building my mudroom bench, I took off the doors and kept them in the hopes of being able to use them another day. I’m working on a new bench for my Habitat ReStore demonstration, so I have more cabinet doors now! I devised a plan to reuse the doors in a creative way, a way that would be fun and yet help us keep track of our comings and goings. Meet my cabinet door turned into a chalkboard message board with hooks:

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions:

Clean the doors! If you have a cabinet that has finished it’s first life as a kitchen cabinet, and has so much grease on it that you could grease a pig…well, you need to clean it off. I experimented with several different techniques (GooGone, Dawn Detergent, Shakelee DeGreaser Spray, and Ammonia), but the one that worked best was inexpensive ammonia mixed with hot water.

 

I saturated the cabinet with the ammonia mixture. Let it sit for a few minutes and voila! The grease came off like butter (no pun intended.)

 

Dry the cabinets and gently sand all the surfaces to rough them up slightly. (Don’t rough ’em up too much boys, we need him to be alive. LOL! Spoken like a true Western character.)

 

Wipe off the door thoroughly with a damp baby wipe.

 

Use wood putty to fill in the wood grain on the middle panel of the cabinet. (You could also fill in the cracks on the frame of the cabinet too, but I have other plans for the frame.)

 

Let the putty dry for about 10 minutes. Sand the panel until it is smooth.

 

Wipe off the cabinet door again. Be sure to get all the sawdust off.

Spray your cabinet door with spray primer. One coat should be enough to cover the door. It helps to elevate the cabinet with a block or two underneath so it doesn’t stick to your drop cloth.

 

Mask off the middle of your door with newspaper and ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape. Press the edges down firmly by running a finger along the edge. (If your cabinet door is very textured, you can seal the edges by brushing matte medium where the tape meets the door.

 

Spray the frame with 2 even coats of the summer squash yellow color (allowing the paint to dry between coats.)

 

Remove the mask, now ooo and aaaa over that clean edge! Give the paint about an hour to cure before the next step.

 

Wrap newspaper around the back of the cabinet door and fold the edges up. Use ScotchBlue painter’s tape to tape the edges of the frame off (cover all the yellow with tape or newspaper.)

 

Spray the inside panel with 2-3 even coats of the chalkboard paint. Let it dry throughly before you remove the tape and newspaper mask.

 

It is starting to look rather purrrrdy, ya think?! Feel free to stop here and say that you are done…

 

…or if you are a perfectionist (like me), you will want to cover the woodgrain on the frame with scrapbook paper.

 

Simply measure your border and cut scrapbook sheets to that width. It is okay if your sheets aren’t long enough to fit on one length, you can tile them.

 

Brush one layer of mod podge onto the frame then lay the scrapbook paper on top of the mod podge. Press out all the air bubbles. Let the mod podge/paper dry for a few minutes.

 

Then brush 1-2 coats of the mod podge on top of the scrapbook paper borders to seal the paper.

 

If you want to embellish your chalkboard frame, you can rub on transfer decals (or paint some decorations using white acrylic paint.)

 

To make your chalkboard frame more functional, add 2 D-rings on either side of the back for hanging purposes. Then add some garment hooks to the front.

 

Don’t forget to season your chalkboard. (I prefer Old Bay seasoning…just kidding! I always wanted to say that.) Rub a piece of chalk on its side all over the surface and then wipe it off with a dry rag.

 

And that concludes the tutorial. Don’t you think the results are sweet! Especially because it is made from something that would have otherwise been discarded.

 

I envision a wall with several of these chalkboard frames lined up, one per family member. That way a message can be written to each person. I guess I better get busy and make 3 more.

 

I love how the hooks add additional storage! Be sure to use two picture hangers (one for each D-ring hook.) If you have good eyesight you might have noticed my fishing line that is hanging the cabinet above. This was for photography purposes only. Unless you want your frame to rip the drywall and land on the floor the first time your child wants to hang something heavy on the hooks, do as I say, not as I do.

 

Awww, isn’t she just a perfect little slice of sunshine on a blank wall? She makes me happy.



You made it through another one of my insanely long tutorials! Congrats!

 

 

Disclaimer: I was one of the bloggers chosen to host a ScotchBlue Painting Party. I was not paid or compensated for this post. I was sent a few rolls of ScotchBlue painter’s tape, but I honestly can’t remember if it was 2 or 3 or 5 because they promptly got added to the collection of ScotchBlue tapes I already own.