Monday, December 31, 2012

Making A MEMOry Board

If you haven't noticed, I like making crafts.  Not only do I enjoy making things for myself, I get really excited when someone asks if I can make them something.  Even better…when I make someone for someone and they like it!  Last year for Christmas, my sister, Emily, asked for a memo board and this year, she wanted another one! 

I've made many memo boards, but surprisingly not one since I started this blog.  There are plenty of other tutorials on how to make a memo board, but I thought I'd still share mine. Everyone's is a little different.  Of course, you can find memo boards in the store, but they are usually over $15 or $20.  Not only can you do them on the cheap, you can make it just the way you want it!

  • Scissors
  • Staple Gun and staples
  • Needle
  • Pliers/wire cutter (to pull out staples if needed and to cut floral wire)
  • Ruler
  • 16 X 20 inch canvas (usually purchased at Michael's with coupon)
  • Quilt batting cut 16 X 20 inches or slightly larger
  • Choice of ironed fabric cut 21 X 25 inches or slightly larger (you can always cut smaller, but not make larger - it's always best to go larger)
  • White fabric (or whatever color you want for the back) cut 15.5 X 19.5 inches
  • Choice of ribbon - I use 3/8" in width for all my boards.  I usually buy a 6 yard roll.
  • 5 buttons - your choice of color
  • Thread
  • Tacky glue

First you need to layer the fabric, batting, and canvas.  Place the fabric (face down), then the batting, and then the canvas (face down) on top of the batting.

Then, fold the bottom part of the fabric up and over the canvas and staple it three times: in the middle and on each side.  Repeat for the top. 

  Then fold over and staple each side piece of fabric to the side of the canvas (three times).

Once you've done this, you can do the corners.  Here is a video that you might find helpful, but I do mine slightly different.  Once the corners are folded, you are ready for the ribbon.

I put a tiny dab of tacky glue on the top of each corner before placing the ribbon down.  This helps keep the ribbon in place.  Then I staple the first piece of ribbon on the back of the canvas from one corner to the opposite corner, creating a diagonal line.  Then I cut the ribbon and repeat for the next corner. You will have a big X now.

Take another piece of ribbon and staple it the top middle (imagine a line going straight up from the "X" you just made).  Then I measure six inches from the "X" to the new piece of ribbon to make sure that the new piece of ribbon is parallel to the "X" piece.  Once you've made sure its parallel, staple the ribbon on the side.

You will repeat this step three more times to finish the rest of the ribbon.  This is what it should look like once finished:

Now it is time for the buttons.  I cut a piece of thread about the length of the canvas - so about 20 inches, maybe a bit longer.  I start with the middle section of the memo board and place the button in the middle.  Then I just poke through the back of the canvas until the needle finds the button hole.  Then I just sew the button on, making sure it is pretty tight.  

Repeat for four other buttons.

After the buttons are sewn on, it is practically finished!  If you don't care how the back looks, you can skip putting on the white backing and go straight to stapling on the floral wire for it to be hung.  

I stapled the white backing on to the canvas and then I used the wire cutter/pliers and cut  the floral wire to about 26 inches.  I stapled the floral wire about 1/4 of the way down from the top like I do for my frames.  Done !

Here is Emily's Christmas present :

Here are some of my old memo boards I have made for family and friends in the past:

These are pretty simple to make.  I think sewing on the buttons takes the most time.  Now that you know how to make one, you can find any fabric to match any room decor, you could get college team colors and make one for a dorm, or find a cute baby pattern and make one for a nursery.  I've also made mini ones using an 11 X 14 inch canvas.  These make great gifts for Mother's Day, graduates going off to college, birthdays, baby showers, and housewarming parties.

I'd love to see your final products!  Please share if you make one.

What kind of DIY presents did you give for Christmas?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

One, Two, Box My Shoes !

Last week I was looking at my shoes in their respective shoe boxes and decided that it looked too disorderly:

It was time for some reorganizing.  Some of my shoes were already in plastic shoe boxes from Target, so I figured I'd keep them all the same.  

I went to Target and purchased a few more shoe boxes (about $2.50 each) and anxiously awaited my Christmas gift exchange with my friend Mary Rae who purchased the rest!  I really like the purple latch on the sides, but you can find simple and cheaper ones at the dollar store.


Even though the shoe boxes are clear, I wanted a way to label the front of each box.  I'll be looking at the boxes head on and not from the side, so it makes more sense to be able to read a description of the shoe than to pull each box down until I find the one I need.  

I remembered the self-stick chalkboard sheets that I used to make a chalkboard frame back in October and figured I could use those to label.  Then, I thought about using my Cricut to cut out a pretty shape.  Boom - idea complete!

I found the perfect shape on my Storybook cartridge.  It's called Marquee1.  

I tested it out on a piece of scrap paper first to determine the size that I wanted.  I tried 3.5 and it was perfect:

Then I stuck the chalkboard sheet (not peeled) onto the Cricut mat, set the speed to 3 and the pressure to 5, and cut away.

I carefully peeled off the marquee shapes, making sure not to peel it from the backing.  Once I had them off the mat, I peeled off the back and placed them on the shoebox.

So perfect !!!  I went upstairs, took out my shoes from their old boxes, labeled the new box according to the shoe, placed the shoes in the box, and the boxes in the closet.  Perfect and cute organization !!

The chalk will smudge when I touch it, so I have to be careful how I grab the box.  There are chalk markers that I will probably buy that won't smudge and only come off when wiped with water.  

Also, the new boxes take up a little more space because they are a bit taller than the old shoe boxes.  I was able to stack four old shoeboxes in a column, but now I can only get three.  But the new ones are waaay cuter and make the closet look more organized.  I love it !

How do you organize your shoes in your closet?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Framing the Keys

First off…I can't believe my blog has reached 200,000 views !  When I started this back in January, I wasn't expecting many people outside my family and friends to view the blog.  Luckily, I was wrong -  Thank you to all my readers!

Speaking of readers…I've been pretty bad at making posts in recent months.  November was such a busy month and December is no better.  However, I did have some time to complete a quick little project that I have been meaning to do for almost a year.

When we cleaned out my Grandmother's house over a year ago, I found some pretty cool skeleton keys bunched together on a book ring.  I nabbed those quickly and knew exactly what I wanted to do with them - place them in a shadow box!  Last weekend, I popped over to IKEA with my neighbor and purchased a white one (among lots of other things…don't tell Kerry!)

I dug through my endless supply of scrapbook paper and found just the perfect paper for the background of the shadow box. I grabbed some brown thread to match the keys and and my trusty scissors and went to work.

First, I placed the scrapbook paper behind the frame and also added some card stock to support the keys.  I arranged the keys…several times…until I found the design I liked.  This was my first layout, but I changed it up in the end.  

A little helpful hint:  Place some cork behind the matte to make it easier to push through the paper.  Using the needle, I made little holes around the tops and bottoms of each key.  This helped me to remember exactly where I wanted each key to be placed. 

Some people hot glue the keys, but I decided to go the thread route instead.  I took all the keys off and using the holes I just made, I sewed each key, one by one. I started from underneath the paper and sewed up and around the top, then pulled the thread down to tighten it, taped it, then sewed the bottom part of the key.  I didn't make a knot because I felt that might loosen the thread.  I just used a lot of scotch tape to secure it.  Repeat for each key.  

You can barely see the thread…even close up ! I attached the matte to the frame and jiggled it around a bit and they were pretty secure on the paper.  

Then I added some wire on the back of the frame so that I could hang it up (more on that here).

I hung it up in our stairwell hallway upstairs near the bedrooms with the other white frames.  This wall continues to be a work in progress as I find fun things to frame (like the caricature we had made at Kerry's company picnic last summer.  If you look closely, the bear is photobombing our camp fire shot).

This was pretty quick and easy and it adds a little more character to our "white frame wall."

What have you framed lately?  Heirlooms?  Kids' artwork?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !


Sunday, December 9, 2012

YHL Book Signing !

November 28, 2012 was my very first book signing.  It just so happened to be a book by the inspirational couple from YHL.  If you can have a blog crush, I have one - on Sherry and John.  Their blog is fantastic flippin' awesome! Let me tell you the short story of how I found Sherry and John...

Back in May of 2011 when Kerry and I purchased our first house, we were debating on where to put the area rug in our master bedroom.  Kerry wanted it fully under the bed, while I wanted it partially under the bed with more rug coming out the foot of the bed.  So, I googled "rug under bed," clicked on images, and I came across their post about the rug in their bedroom.  It was placed partially under the bed with more rug coming out of the foot of the bed.  I showed it to Kerry and he liked it.  I won ;)  But after that, I became obsessed (…like check every hour obsessed) at looking at their blog and how they DIY'd.

So fast forward to this year when they mentioned that they were coming out with a book.  When it became available online, I purchased it...immediately.  I was so excited when it came in the mail:

When I found out that they were having book signings and there was in on DC, I got giddy - like kid in the candy store giddy.  I couldn't pass it up so I signed up.  I figured, why-the-heck-not.  I've never been to a book signing and this is a book that inspires me.  They essentially inspired me to start my own blog (not that it'll ever compare to theirs) that I hope will inspire you.

So, on November 28th, Kerry and I (yes, my husband came with me !) made our way to Georgetown to a little carpet store called FLOR.

I would characterize YHL as the 'long line around the block' popular.  The book signing confirmed just that.  We waited three long hours in the cold…but cookies (seriously awesome cookies) and hot tea kept us warm.  After freezing our behinds off, we finally made it inside to get my book signed.  

Sherry and John were as friendly and amazing in person as they are online.

We chit-chatted for a little bit and they each signed my book.  I also brought a little tag tied to an old skeleton key that was my grandmother's.  I'll eventually take the tag off and scrapbook it on "My First Book Signing" page.  #DorkAlert!

Was waiting three hours in the cold worth it?  Yes.  Thanks John and Sherry for all of your inspiration!

What inspires you these days? 


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Fallin' For Tulle Wreaths

Pinterest is at it again.  While browsing Pinterest during my daily hourly look through, I found this pretty fall wreath:

Since it is on Etsy, I started to look for an online tutorial on how to make a tulle wreath.  I've never seen one before, so I wasn't sure where to start.  Google makes searching for things so easy and I quickly found this tutorial.  It was very helpful.

I got most of my materials at a store called WOW Outlets in Pennsylvania while visiting my family (yes, another trip to PA).  The foam ring is 11".  I originally started with a 12" ring, but felt it was too big.  I had almost the whole wreath covered with tulle, didn't like it, and took it apart for the smaller ring.

I got some of the tulle at the same store, some at the $1.00 section in JoAnn's, and had some cut from a bolt at JoAnn's.  I also purchased some gold ribbon as well.

The flower, leaves, and scarecrow are all from fall decorations I had lying around the house.

Each roll of tulle is 6 inches wide.  I cut the tulle to 28 inches long.  As I was making the wreath, I didn't like that length, so I cut it as I was making it.  Each piece probably ended up being about 22 inches long.  I would suggest starting long and cutting down.  You can always take length off, but can't put it back onunless you just cut a new piece of tulle.

Once I cut my pieces, I started to place them on the foam ring.  I didn't really follow any pattern of color, just whatever looked good.  Pictures are the best way to show how to put the tulle on.  I can't really explain it.  I have seen some tutorials that just tie the tulle in a regular knot.  That looks good, too.  I suppose whatever suits your taste.

Here is an "in progress" picture of making the wreath:

This is when the tulle was still slightly too long and it needed a 'tullecut'.  It was sort of like cutting hair so I had to make sure that all the tulle lined up so that it wasn't jagged around the edges.  

The more tulle you have, the better that it looks.  You want to make sure that the tulle is tightly scrunched up next to each other so that it looks fuller.

Just about finished:

Once the ring was completely covered and I cut the tulle to the length I wanted it to be.  Then it was time to hot glue on the decorations.  I added the leaves first, then the flower, and then the scarecrow.  I just used a hot glue gun to stick it to the tulle.
Almost done!

In order to hang it up, I just cut some brown ribbon that I had and tied it around the top to make a loop.

Now it is ready to hang on our front door.

It looks so cute up against our red door and I love it.  I like the cranberry/ wine-ish colors the most on the wreath.  I think it really makes the wreath pop.  I tried to look for a more golden/sunflower yellow tulle, but had to settle for a paler yellow.  Someday I'll switch out the pale yellow for a more golden yellow when I find it.  

What a fun way to fancy up a door for the fall !  It was a pretty easy, simple, and fun craft to make.  The hardest part was searching for all the tulle colors that I wanted.  

I hope you enjoy making this craft.  If you make one, please share.  I'd love to see your take on it.  Maybe a Christmas, Easter, or even a St. Patrick's Day tulle wreath (Kerry would love a St. Pat's one !).

How have you decorated your door for the fall?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !


Friday, October 26, 2012

Chalkin' Up a Frame

Another one of our weekend travels brought us a little further south in VA.  A few weeks ago, Kerry's brother was married. His brother and now wife asked us to help take photos of their wedding.  I like taking photos.  I am very far away from being a great photographer, but I like to try.  I just need more practice.  So I took this as an opportunity to practice and to test out some props that I had seen in other wedding photos - chalkboards.  Chalkboards are so popular now. I see them in paint form, frames, and labels.  I figured I could incorporate one into their photos.

I stopped over at my favorite craft store, Michaels's, and purchased an off-white frame and self-stick chalkboard sheets:

All I did was peel apart the back of the chalkboard adhesive and stick it to the matte of the frame.

Then I taped it to the back of the matte just to secure it.

And that was it ! Nice and easy framed chalkboard.  No painting necessary and it was pretty cheap.  I believe it was under $6 for the whole project.  And I still have three more chalkboard adhesives to use for some other future project.

I used it with Kerry's beautiful nieces:

And with his brother and his wife:

                                                 Congrats to Kerry's brother and his new wife !

How do you fancy up your photos?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Let There Be Light !

When I grew up and walked into any room in the house, I could flip a light switch and a light in the ceiling would turn on.  Light ! I love light.  However, our guest bedrooms did not have the luxury of ceiling lights, which bothered me.

I had been meaning, since January, to get some pendant lights hanging from our guest bedrooms, but just never got around to it.  Half, because I didn't get the lights put together, and half because our wonderful electrician friend wasn't able to help until recently.  So a couple weeks ago, our friend popped over and spent the morning adding light to our rooms.

Here's a before picture, taken right after our friend added the hole in the ceiling:

I wasn't there for most of the electrical work.  Kerry did most of the "supervising."  Electrical work is one thing that I won't DIY.  The most electrical work I've done and will probably ever do is changing a light bulb or switching out a switch plate. I'd suggest, for any electrical work or installation, to seek the advice of an electrician…or make friends with one like we did !

However, I did put together the pendant lights that are hanging in the rooms.  I purchased two Portfolio Pendant Fitters from Lowe's, a plain drum shade from Lowe's for $14, and a plain drum shade from Tuesday Morning for $12. Not too shabby for prices.  I got plain drum shades because I eventually plan to find some pretty fabric and redesign the shades.  

I just took apart the pendant fitter and connected the drum shade to it.  It was pretty simple, but sorry for the lack of photos.

Then our friend did the rest.  I also purchased a simple ceiling medallion to fancy up the pendant fixture.  He hung up everything and connected the switches.  Now we have ceiling lights !  I'm telling you, it's the little things that make me happy.  I love walking into the room and having lights turn on from the ceiling.  

My friend did the exact same thing to the other guest bedroom, just minus the ceiling medallion.  Love that room too !   Besides that actual electrical work, making the pendant lights were pretty simple and quick.  I love those types of projects.  

How do you bring light to your room? Corner lights?  Floor lamps?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !