Chalkboard Kitchen Labels

In my quest for attractive organization I bought some glass containers for the kitchen.  They are simple, square jars that I thought could be useful for day-to-day items I didn’t want to keep in the pantry since our pantry isn’t actually inside our kitchen.  We’re insanely short on counter space in the kitchen, so as tempted as I was to have pretty labelled jars on the counter, the tiny space left on the shelf beside the microwave won!

Truth be told – I did this weeks ago, but it didn’t turn out the way I had hoped, and that was entirely my fault.  I tried too hard to make the writing on the labels seem like my regular handwriting, and I don’t even like my own handwriting, so naturally I hated the way it looked.  Of course I’m going to share that with you!

chalkboard jar CollageSo that’s what the shelf looked like for the last few weeks.  It only really bothered me for a few days, but every time I thought about other people seeing them, I felt uneasy.  Yes, I know how silly that may seem, but in this life we have control over very, very few things.  I am someone who likes to control everything, and suddenly this blog post has turned into a therapy session?  Anyway, I can control this, so I did!  I changed it.  Want to see how much better it looks?

chalkboard labels 2If you guessed that this is not my handwriting, you are correct!  I cheated… I found a font I really liked (2 actually) and I printed out the words and transferred them onto the labels (step 1).  How?  I cut them all out, rubbed chalk on the back of the paper (step 2), grabbed my labels (step 3), taped them onto the labels (step 4), and transferred the words by tracing around them with a pen (step 5).  Ever done this before?  I used to do this as a kid all the time when tracing wasn’t an option, but with lead rubbed on the back of the paper instead.  Anyway, what I’m saying is this is a tried and true method here folks!  Check it out:

chalkboard jar 2 CollageThen I sat back for a second and admired how amazingly this had worked (step 6)!!  I went over the writing with a marker because I don’t want these to rub off easily since they will be handled often.  The Dry-Erase Crayons I used the first time were actually pretty fantastic as well, but I’d rather use them for other projects, plus I would have had to sharpen them about 15 times to get through these.

chalkboard labels 3And that’s what the shelf looks like now.  It’s so much better I actually WANT to look at it all the time!  And I’m super happy with how the marker looks too.  This is going to be a technique I’m sure I’ll use a lot once the chalkboard I have been working on for the living room is complete.

I do love The Nester’s motto “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”, and this is by no means perfect, but it’s much closer to it now the words are at least straight, right?? (That was for you Cheryl and Jon, if you get to read this!)

🙂

chalkboard labelsLinking up at these awesome places plus Cheerios and Lattes, The 36th Avenue, Skip To My Lou, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths, WhipperBerry, Savvy Southern Style, and My Repurposed Life.

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Thrifted Cigar Box Turned Pretty

thrifted cigar box with painted herringbone patternA while back I decided to go to Goodwill on a whim, just to see what I could find.  It turned out there were a few little treasures there – remember the embroidery hoops I used in the book page wreath?  I also found a fantastic little cigar box from Nicaragua.  It was in great condition and it cost $1.25.  How could I say no?  I didn’t take any photos of the inside, but it’s a wonderful velvety red and smells sweet and woody all at once.  If you don’t already know this about me, I am a sucker for smells.  I think I have sniffed every single vintage book I have ever bought.  Too much information?  Sorry… I just like all things old and with history, and most importantly with a story, and sometimes smells tell us a story – or they at least help us to come up with one!

Truthfully this little box could have stayed exactly the way it was, but I wanted to spice it up a bit.  I kept seeing these beautiful wooden boxes at Chapters, so I had a bigger vision for this lovely $1.25 treasure.

Here is an example of the boxes I was lusting over at Chapters but did not want to pay $34.50 for (the one I really liked had a grey and white chevron pattern, but they don’t seem to have that one anymore):

882709054986_hiNow for the pièce de résistance:

cigar box pattern

I did a rough measure, taped it all up and made sure all ends of the tape were down really well.  I thought about taping the edges to make sure they were all perfect also, but perfection is overrated, right?

cigar box DIY

I started with just the blue and put on about 4-5 coats of it.  Yep… that many!  I used Martha Stewart paint in a Satin finish.  If I decide to have a shiny finish I might add a coat of clear shiny something to it…?  I don’t know yet.  We’ll see.  The paint colours were kind of Alex’s idea and it was a total coincidence that they both have “summer” in the name.  So that’s that… There are no real instructions per-say – like almost everything else I make these days, I just sort of went with it.  Hope you enjoy, and maybe this will inspire someone to paint an old wooden box somewhere!

cigar box DIY 2

Linking up at these awesome places plus Cheerios and Lattes, The 36th Avenue, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths, WhipperBerry, Savvy Southern Style, and My Repurposed Life.

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Book Page Wreath

Some of you may see this and think “been there, done that.”  In the blogging world, we see no shortage of wreaths made out of just about anything these days!  Does that mean the joy should be sucked out of me making my own?  As I always say, “No way José!”  I wanted to give another wreath a go – after all, circles are such a pleasant shape, aren’t they?  I’m finding we have more and more rounded edges around the house, and I have to say I like it!book page wreath

Here’s the story with this wreath: The more I see other bloggers putting up their tutorials, the more I see materials I do not seem to have/want to pay for.  The foam wreath structures are, as far as I’m concerned, a bit pricey at places like Michaels.  $12?  Really?  That just did not sit right with me.  After all, the goal is to make beautiful things at the lowest possible price, and $12 competes too aggressively with pre-made wreaths I have seen at Home Sense lately for around $15.  If I’m going to spend money, I’d rather not also spend time and if time is to be spent, well the cost best be low, right?  So here is what I used:

  • One of the 7-8 embroidery hoops I got a few weeks back for $2.25 at Goodwill.  (No, I do not do any embroidery – I bought them with wreath daydreams in mind!)
  • An unattractive old book I purchased this weekend for $3.  Never judge a book by its cover, right?  The pages were beautifully aged with rich copper tones at the edges AND there were some illustrations.  Perfection!
  • My trusty glue gun!

book wreath step 1

In the spirit of my usual candidness and honesty, I have to say this:  I HAD NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING!  Further honesty?  This is true in the beginning stages of most of my favourite artsy projects.  I just have a vision and I go with it… no instructions, no rules. What is now the front of this wreath originally started out as the back, so you can see in one of the pictures below that I had the leaves on the bottom, embroidery hoop sitting on top.  I still knew nothing about this wreath at that stage, obviously!

book wreath step 2

In the end, I am absolutely enamored with this wreath.  It’s up on our wall leading to the second floor for now, but I have bigger plans for this little project!  Stay tuned…

P.S. anyone catch some of the funny illustrations in the wreath? My favourites are the skeleton and the chickens!

photo 5

Linking up at these awesome places plus Cheerios and Lattes, The 36th Avenue, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths, WhipperBerry, Savvy Southern Style, Centsational Girl, The Nester and My Repurposed Life.

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Mini Winter Forest DIY

It has been an honest-to-goodness long, long time since I have posted, right?  I know… And for that I am sorry.  I have slacked off since my blogging marathon in October.  My feelings are almost entirely expressed in my blogger-friend Gillian’s recent post.  She seems to have read my mind when she mentioned feelings of anxiety over not knowing what to do next and feeling the pressure to fall into the niche the 31 Day Challenge created.  I LOVE what I blogged about and I intend to continue, but I was feeling like I ran out of steam, and that has much to do with the pest pet we adopted in October.  Talk about hard work… this little guy is making it his full time job to eat/chew on/make toys out of as many items in our house as possible!  He is a bundle of incessant and annoying wonderful energy!  All kidding aside, we have our ups and downs but we’re making our little family work!

Anyway, I mainly have not blogged out of fear that the content I have now is suddenly not good enough, and that I will let down the few of you that actually read this little tiny blog!  Silly?  Maybe… but aren’t most of our insecurities?  Leaving all negative thoughts behind, I’m happy to say that I am BACK!  I have a full month ahead with decorating an entire house (inside and out) for Christmas for the very first time ever and I intend to share all of my trials and triumphs here with you.  I hope that’s ok.

Let’s start with this little (and I do mean little) guy.  I’ve actually had this in the house for a few weeks now, and I can tell you I love it as much today as the day I made it.  It’s one of the few small projects I have actually finished on my giant blogging/decorating to-do list!  Here is the finished product:

miniature final

And here is how I did it:

part 1 - miniature forest diy

I used 3 miniature snowy trees I bought at Walmart for $1 each, a plate from my kitchen, cotton balls and the thrifted cloche I bought at Value Village a few weeks ago, which up until now had nothing but a few dead rose petals in it (don’t ask…)!  I loosened up the cotton balls a little to make them look less like what they are, and more like fluffy snow, plopped the trees on top, followed by carefully stuffing all loose bits into the cloche.  As far as my husband was concerned, the craft was finished at this point, but I was no fan of that messy/incomplete-looking edge at the bottom of the cloche.  It made the whole thing look too much like trees and cotton stuffed into a small space and less like a magical snowy forest.  Solution: cut some of the small pieces off of the pine branches I just happened to get that morning and place them around the plate.  Better?  I think so!

part 2 - miniature forest diy

And there you have it.  A very quick, inexpensive and easy way to add a little winter wonderland to your home!  I think this could be an adorable centerpiece, but for now it sits on a spot where I can see it as soon as we enter the house, which is a lovely sight!  It makes me think of fond memories of Whitehorse (which was B-E-A-utiful, BTW!).  The trees there were all gently covered with snow, and the mountains were so, so, so gorgeous.  The weather was, as expected, cold (understatement at -22° C), but the warm people definitely made up for that!

Here is where you’ll find me linking up, plus these awesome places: Cheerios and Lattes, The 36th Avenue, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths, WhipperBerry, Savvy Southern Style and My Repurposed Life

Terrarium #2

So remember when I tried that first terrarium in the round fish-bowl-like container?  Well I tried another one.  I promised my mom I’d give her one as a gift, and since my terrarium hasn’t died yet (though the ever-curious Luther did try to eat it one day), I thought it was about time to make her one.  For those of you who may not have seen the first attempt, here are the directions you need to follow.

Start with some rocks.  It may seem silly to purchase rocks, but it’s a balmy 3-5 degrees Celsius around here these days so I (guiltily) bought 2 bags at the dollar store.  At least it only cost me 2 bucks, right?  After rocks comes charcoal or carbon which you can find at pet stores or anywhere (like Walmart) that sells fish food or aquarium filters.  Then comes the soil – pretty straight forward.

I used only succulents for the terrarium.  They are (apparently) easy to maintain, and like I said, I haven’t managed to kill any yet, so fingers crossed!

Here is the finished product after I added the moss.

There you have it!  Easy peasy terrarium.  Here are some extra looks at the first terrarium and this one:

I’ve heard a lot of people say “Oh I want to make one.”  Well, I’ve made two.  And I am NO green thumb!  You can do it too!!

Linking up here.

Faves for November

I’m trying something new.  Every day it seems I find a new site that has tons of free goodies available and amazing DIY ideas.  Sometimes I love them for myself because I get to use them for fun projects around the house, and other times I just think they are great ideas/products that other people can potentially use.  So I’m going to share the goodness with you once a month in hopes that at least one person can make use of some of the amazing stuff out there!

Awesome ideas:

Wrapping paper/ribbon wall rack: This is so great (especially for this time of year) if you have an area you can dedicate to your wrapping paper.  I know some moms that would appreciate this for all the birthday parties their littles get invited to as well!  I just want one of these because I think for Christmas alone it’s totally worth it!  It’s super easy to make and this is a great tutorial.

from 33 Shades of Green

Paper goodies:

Vintage Place-mat: I love me some FREE printables! These are great and can be used for lots of different occasions.  With the upcoming holiday season we’re all bound to have lots of company.  Knowing you can print some cute paper place-mats to protect your furniture from crumbs (then throw them away guilt and laundry-free) and do it in a stylish way just makes it way better right?  I think these would be great laminated, too!

from The Pretty Blog

Round Labels: Here is something we can always use: more labels!  Some of you are rolling your eyes right now, but I’m serious!  These are so great and can be personalized for anything from pantry labeling to gift tags to just every day I-don’t-know-what’s-in-here labeling around the house!  Speaking of pantry, The Pretty Blog has some pantry-specific gorgeous labels right here.  An example of some adorable vintage-style labels:

from World Label

DIY Phone 5 Cover: My very favourite freebie find this month.  I purposely bought an iPhone case with a clear back so I can use this.  I haven’t yet, but I will!

from Jones Design Company

Photography:

Make a photo collage using Picasa: I swear by this one because I use Picasa for a lot all of my blog posts.  It’s a fantastic FREE tool, and this tutorial is great for showing you how to use it.  The tutorial is done on a PC, which will be great for some of you.  Don’t worry, if you’re a fellow Mac user it’s not too much different.

from Jones Design Company

Christmas:

Paper Ornaments: These are just too adorable!  And for those of you who have kids or work with kids, this would be an easy craft (minus the sewing) for any age – just use some fun washi tape like these! How cute?!

from Elsie Marley

I could have gone on with the Christmas thing forever, but I figured enough of what I posted was already loaded with Holiday ideas.

Lastly, I put together a list of my very own free fonts available online.  I picked 23 of them because I started with 20, and 3 more kind of happened to be sweet enough to share.  Since I seem to be advocating printables and paper goods today, this is no different – these fonts look great on all kinds of paper goods.  And you can take my word for it – I used a couple of them when I made my own wedding menus and programs (I’ll share how I went about creating them in the most difficult way possible another day).

1. KG Lego House, 2. Jane Austen, 3. Kayetan, 4. Retroactive, 5. The Mocking Bird, 6. Road Trip, 7. Lemon Chicken, 8. Dean Martin (& Dean Martin Swing), 9. Bluelmin Ralph, 10. The Toadfrog, 11. Unbalanced, 12. Castro Script, 13. KG What the teacher wants, 14. Foglihten No 06, 15. Janda Cheerful, 16. Cinnamon Cake, 17. Halo Handletter, 18. Springtime, 19. KG Eyes wide open, 20. Lobster Two, 21. Jellyka Delicious Cake, 22. A Morris Line, 23. Florum Ipsum

I hope you can make some use out of these great ideas and blogs (plus all the awesome fonts I handpicked!).

I gave in

So it turns out I can’t manage 31 straight days of blogging, but I can manage 2 posts in less than 12 hours.  Awesome right?  No… not so much.  I guess I still haven’t let it go!

So what did I give in to?  I made a wreath!  That’s right… and it’s NOT a Christmas one either!  HA!  Crazy right?  All my non-decorating/non-blogger friends are going “huh?”  Well you see, as soon as Halloween is over, we get started on Christmas decor, don’t we?  No…. not this gal!  I made a flowery, non-fall, non-Christmas wreath.  And I think I’m in love!  Here she is:

Not bad for my first ever wreath?  I kind of dig it! I even like it from the inside of our new door first thing in the morning!  One of the best parts about this little circle of goodness is that it cost me about $11 (before tax for all you fellow Ontarians) to make.  That may seem like a lot to you, but I had NO materials except some leftover spray paint, and my trusty hot glue gun so I think I did OK!  Let me break it down.

Grapevine wreath: $3 at Michael’s

Wooden letter “M” (pre-painted white): $2 on sale at Michael’s

White flowers and pussy willow branches: $2 at Dollarama

Purple hydrangea: $3.99 at Home Sense

And here is how I did it.  Simply put, I cut the branches for the flowers and started gluing.  The hydrangea was easy – the whole thing just came off at the top and the leaf was easy to remove also.  I did glue a few separate flowers in random spots to fill in some empty spots, but mostly the branches were just wrapped around the wreath and held with a little glue at the end.  My wreath was less of a circle and more of an awkward oval, so I really had to play with the placement of the letter and hydrangea… so silly!  I spray painted the “M” (which stands for our last name, of course) in the same shade as the thrift store lampshade.  Then I glue gunned the heck out of it!

This took very little time, little effort, and almost no thinking (minus the fact I had a faulty circle).  Just the kind of project I like!!

You may notice the wreath is slightly off center… Yeah, I didn’t account for the weight of the “M”, and it hangs funny!  I’ll fix it… eventually!  You can really see how well that privacy film works here though!

I also didn’t love the idea of a ribbon on this as it might be overkill unless it was something natural like burlap, so the wreath looks like it’s attached to the door.  I used a Command hook, so I can remove it from the outside of the door if I change my mind on the burlap/ribbon.  Though the door is not quite finished, I’m liking the colours the wreath adds to our entrance anyway.

Here’s a closer, final look.  It’s not perfect, and I love it!

Linking up at these awesome places plus The 36th Avenue, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths, WhipperBerry and My Repurposed Life

A little privacy, please?

We’re working on our brand spanking new door.  I haven’t shown you yet because we still need to fix the framing and get the new doorbell installed, but this is almost a separate project in itself, and you’ll see why!  The door is all glass with the exception of the 4 inch border around it.  She’s a beauty, and has totally changed the look and feel of our home already.  The light that comes into the house is gorgeous, but the glass leaves little to the imagination of passers by!  So in comes this lovely little invention. The privacy window film!

This is a picture (taken from the Lowe’s website) of what the before and after is supposed to look like.  The film we got is made by Gila, and there was enough in the roll for 2 of our doors.  Not bad for $22.97!  You need to make sure the glass is 100% clean inside and out… You don’t want to be left with dirt stuck between the glass and your pretty new privacy film.

The application was tricky, and that’s using a very nice word for it!  Luther, the relentless dog, did not help, of course.  His hair stuck to the film, which is SUPER staticky (I know… that’s not a word.  Whatever).  You have to spray the window AND the sticky side of the film with the special spray, which cost $4.97 as seen here.  Then you go on with applying.  Here’s what that looks like:

I (as usual) became slightly exasperated by the whole situation with the dog’s hair sticking to the film, and the bubbles and edges and so on… So guess who got to take over?  and he did a great job, of course!

Here is what the door looks like now versus then.  Kind of like that Lowe’s picture up there huh?

And here is the rascal doing what he does best – making everything into a toy!

And there you have it.  A little bit of privacy after over 3 weeks of having all of the neighbours see into our home night and day!!

Linking up here!

Terrarium #1

I have done it! I have finally used the plants that have been sitting on top of my fridge for 2 months, and the rocks sitting in the bookcase just as long, and the vases I bought at Home Sense 3 weeks ago for some good (this round one was a whopping $7.99).  I have made my very first terrarium!  Isn’t it pretty?

I’ve obviously been meaning to get to this for some time, and last night I just decided it was finally time.  I got the remaining ingredients needed and got to work.  Would you believe this only took me about 30 minutes to make?  And that was with taking photo breaks and petting the dog/getting him off the table breaks!  I quite love it.    The little round fuzzy plants are my favourite.  And the moss… love moss!  Ok show and tell time!  Here’s how I did it:

Step 1: Put rocks in.  I used 2 bags (purchased at IKEA) because my container is very wide.  The rocks are there for water drainage.  Wouldn’t want to drown your little plants!

Steps 2&3: Add charcoal/carbon.  I bought this little container in the pet section of Walmart.  This is an important step because it keeps the water clean in your pretty terrarium so your plants won’t die.  Now add the soil.  I just got some regular potting soil for this.  There are fancy schmancy soils out there, but my plants have been living in crummy IKEA soil on top of the fridge for 2 months – I didn’t think they needed fancy!

Step 4: Get your little pretties in there!  Here are my beloved.  You can also see the container with just soil in it.  I have 2-3 inches of soil.  You can use more, but probably not less.  Some of these little plants have lots of roots, so they need space to grow.  You can see I got my assorted succulents for $3.99 at IKEA.  Good deal?  Not sure… If they live I say yes!

Step 5: Moss.  I happen to think the little plants look nice with just the new fresh soil, but I did add some fancy moss (purchased at Michael’s for $9.99, which was the moss variety bag).  I like whatever that tan/brown moss is.  It’s different, and the texture is so great!  There’s some super fuzzy moss in there, but you can hardly see it.  I might move it over to the edges for some more visibility.

Step 6: Sit back and enjoy your little creation.  Then get real up close and look at your mini-forest in all its cuteness.  Awesome, right?

I moved the little forest from the kitchen to its new home – the living room.  I like where it is because being beside the candy, I know our visitors will always get a peek at it! (Sorry about the picture quality on these – it was late and dark… not a good photo-taking combo!)

One last look?  Ok 🙂

Here are the other 31 days of House to Home.

Linking up at these great places, including: The 36th Avenue, The Shabby Creek Cottage, House of Hepworths, WhipperBerry and My Repurposed Life

Featured on Home Stories A to Z

Home Stories A to Z

DIY Daydreamin’

All of this writing has made me look around the house a lot.  I already look around the house a lot on a regular day, but since starting this series I’ve been pushed to really look at everything, almost critically.  Well, maybe that’s an inappropriate word choice… I don’t mean I’m critical of my house, I mean I look at objects more critically and ask more questions about them like: Do I need this?  What can I use it for? How can I turn this into something that brings purpose into my home?

With that being said, looking and questioning and thinking have me daydreaming of DYI projects all day long!  Here are some of my current faves.  Just click the photos to be taken to the original sites these came from.

We have some pallets currently sitting in our garage, just begging to be made into something awesome… like these shelves!  With 100’s of pallet projects out there, I could do a blog post about them alone (and I probably will!)

Too Much Time on My Hands

Chalkboard anything is almost an obsession these days.  Let’s face it, it’s just so convenient to have a surface you can write on over and over , and personally it takes me back to elementary school – all kids ever seemed to want was to write on the chalkboard.  Holding chalk had power somehow!  So, why not use trays to have these magical surfaces on?

Signature Style Blog – link will take you to the home page. I can’t find this particular project anywhere!

We have this huge walk-in pantry at our house.  It’s magical, but it’s also a mess – as you can imagine, it’s the black hole, where everything goes!  It badly needs to be organized and I have dreams that it will someday look a little something like this, oh and it brings my love of organizing together with my love of the dollar store.  YES!

I heart Organizing

Now that we’re on storage and organizing… How awesome would it be to have a linen closet like this?  Doors are overrated anyway, right?  I would just change the labels for towels, sheets, etc.

Sweet Pickins

This is a little wishful DYI project for the office, or master bedroom (for my jewelry), or even the bathroom.  I think it’s just so darn cute, and looks like it’d be fun to make!

aka Design

Lastly, I contemplated whether or not to even post this because if I post one picture with a glass container and label I love, I thought I’d have to post them all!  And I have lots.  But I love the labels.  I love labels, period!  This has such appeal to me because of the phonetic component and the dictionary look.  Maybe it’s the teacher in me, or the fact that these are just plain adorbs!

The Painted Hive

This is it for now.  It’s a lot to do, but I think slowly we can achieve some of these goals, right?  It’s these kind of details, this care and time put into a place that help me nest and help me build a home for us.  I think it could be pretty great!

Check the full 31 day series here.