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 !

~Stephanie

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 !

~Stephanie

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Spooky Spools

Last year, before I found Pinterest, I tore out a photo of these adorable Halloween spools from a scrapbook magazine:
I thought that these were WAY too cute to pass up trying to make.  I already had the embroidery floss thread from when I used to make friendship bracelets (waaay back in the day) and all the paper.  I just needed to stop by Michael's and grab the wooden spools.  I can't remember the exact price, but they were definitely under $1.  

And I found the little corks for Frankenstein's head at Lowe's for cheap as well.  I never thought I'd find those and during one random trip to Lowe's, I spotted them in the hardware section with all the bins of screws and eye hooks and what-not.

I wrapped the floss around the spool until all the wood was covered.  I used tacky glue on the end of the thread to keep it from unraveling.  To make the little eyes for the mummy and Frankenstein, I used a hole punch.  Everything else I cut with scissors or a scrapbooking knife.  I also used tacky glue to glue on the paper pieces and the cork. 

These were very simple and easy to make - a cute way to decorate for Halloween.


Sooo spooky!  Now I just need to find the right place to put them.  Maybe near the front door so they can "spook" people as they walk in the door.

How are you decorating for Halloween?  

Now you can Do It Yourself To !

~Stephanie


Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Baskets Are At It Again !

I just can't help myself - I like love to hang baskets.  I like the simple look of it.  I like how practical baskets can be.  When we first moved in to our house, I stuck this little basket on the inside of our closet to hold random things - keys, gloves, etc.  It eventually became a holding place for our my sandals and flip flops:


The current basket is obviously WAY to small to hold the shoes (Did I mention I like shoes too !).  The basket has a little hoop on the top which is hanging on a picture hanger.  


The shoes were too heavy and they were starting to make the basket fall to the floor. Either I get rid of the shoes, or get a larger basket - I'm sure we all know the answer to that dilemma.  

So I started thinking about what I could do to hang a bigger basket - more nails, Command hooks, etc.  Then I thought about my bathroom baskets and this random IKEA towel rod I had lying around.  BINGO!

I got the basket from Target, the rod from IKEA, and the ribbon from my scrapbooking stuff. (You could, as one of my readers suggested, use S hooks or something else instead to connect the basket to the rod)


The rod required some minor assembly, as all IKEA stuff does, but nothing too difficult.  Then I placed the rod where I wanted it to go (leveling it and making sure it didn't interfere with the door handle), traced the holes where the screws would go, drilled some holes, and screwed in the screws.


I needed a "That was Easy" button from Staples for that one.


After the rod was fastened to the door, I just had to add the basket.  I pushed the ribbon through the basket and tied it around the rod to attach it.  


Voila - another hanging, functional basket !  And there is still room to spare for more shoes.  I think I might make the ribbon a bit longer so that the basket is more flush with the door, but for now, it works.


As a side note, I thought I'd share the other shoe holding piece in our closet.  When we moved in last year, we got this right away…from IKEA, of course.  It's called TRONES and it fits PERFECTLY in our closet.


It's functional and is completely out of the way for coats and other things in the closet.  It only holds about four pairs of adult shoes, but that is better than having them piled up on the floor somewhere.  Plus it's fairly cheap, at about $40 for three of them.

These are just two of the ways that I try to keep shoes from being piled up on the floor.  I'm sure one day when we have kids, I'll have to shuffle stuff around and find another way to store our shoes, but this works for now!

What ideas do you have to store your family's shoes?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !

~Stephanie

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Quick Candle Centerpieces

In my last few posts, I've mentioned that we've been pretty busy.  Well, it keeps on getting busier.  A few weeks ago I was in charge of providing some decorations for my ten year reunion.  The reunion was at a bar, so they didn't have to be too fancy. Pillar candles, ribbon, corsage pins, and chargers make simple, yet pretty centerpieces.


I made these centerpieces in the car on a way to a Pitt game (They were that simple !).  In fact, we were so busy that we didn't even have time to go to the game - we just tailgated.  Anyways, immediatly after the game was the reunion.  I told you I was busy!  

I cut the ribbon so that it was slightly longer than the circumference of the candle.  It needed to be tucked under so that you don't see the edge where it was cut and instead you just see the fold.  I centered the smaller ribbon to the bigger ribbon, wrapped it around, then folded the one edge and placed it over the other edge. 


Then I placed a corsage pin in the middle.  It is a VERY long pin, so push it in as far as it can go.


Then I placed the other two pins, above and below the middle pin. Done!


I got the chargers (big decorative plates) at Michael's craft store - on sale and with my teacher's discount.  I added the pillar candle and a few little ones to the charger and the centerpiece was complete.  



They added a nice touch to the decor of the place.  Kerry and I had a wonderful time at the reunion.  It was fun to catch up with some old friends.


What simple, yet cute centerpieces have you made lately?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too!

~Stephanie



Basement Change #2

When I posted about getting new carpet and tiling the bathroom, I mentioned that there were going to be TWO changes to the basement.  The bathroom floor was the first.  The second was being worked on simultaneously as I was working on the bathroom.

Our basement has a door that goes out to our back patio.  The old carpet went right up to the door.  We have an area rug in front of the door, but dirt and mud just can't seem to stay away.    To fix this, I wanted to put tile in front of the door.  My parents did this in their house (tile in front of garage door and back door to patio) and it works so well.  They don't have to worry about getting the carpet wet or mud soaking in.  If mud gets on the tile,they just wipe it up.  SO easy !


So before the carpet guys came to give us new carpet, I pulled up the carpet around the door and laid some tile down.  I just found a corner of the carpet and lifted.  It came right up.  Then I took a screw driver and pried off the tack boards.  Be careful if you ever have to do this.  There are nails everywhere!


Tiling this area was MUCH easier than the bathroom.  I purchased 15 12 x 12 in. tiles and used the same mortar and grout that I used for the bathroom.


I laid out the tiles on the floor to see how exactly to put them before I put the mortar on the floor.  I used different spacers this time.  I needed the spaces to be slightly bigger (1/4 inch this time around) in order for the tiles to cover the whole area.  Then I mixed the mortar and spread it on the floor using the flat side of the trowel.  Then I used the grooved side, and then laid down the tiles, placing spacers in between each one.  I prefer the circular ones I used for the bathroom over the cross shaped ones I used for this project, but both got the job done.


I made sure to add spacers in between the tiles and the frame of the door (Grout will go in there).  I didn't want the tile to go straight up against the frame. 


I waited a weekend to let the mortar dry completely.  Then my friend who helped with the bathroom, also helped me grout this as well.  We used a spackle knife to spread the grout into the cracks.  


After all the cracks were filled, we waited a few minutes before wiping away the excess grout.  We used a grout sponge and wiped at an angle.


We wiped down the tile numerous times.  Each time it started to dry, you could see a film of grout over the tile.  I probably wiped it at least 10 times before I felt all the grout was off the tiles.


Then, the grout just needed to dry and that was it.  Once the grout was dry, I sealed it using the same sealer process that I did when I tiled my fireplace

The carpet men came the next day and installed our new carpet.  Which, by the way, we saved some cash by removing the furniture ourselves.  That knocked off about $100.  Any little savings helps!  They installed the carpet right up to the tile, so I didn't need a transition piece.




I LOVE having the tile in front of the door.  The tile + the new carpet = an awesome basement floor.  Here's a before and after picture:


Any new additions to your house?

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !

~Stephanie