Tag: DIY project

DIY Ruffled Camera Strap

I am a documenter.

I save movie tickets. I have saved nearly every greeting card I have received in my lifetime. I scrapbook. Everything. From important things like weddings and births, to random life, like going to see Harry Potter with an eyeliner lightening bolts drawn on my face with a friend. (Don’t act surprised.)

I’m the “the picture-taker”. As soon as I had enough babysitting money I would ker-plunk down my $7.99 for one of those wind-up 35mm film camera and click away with my friends. I love the anticipation of how my photos would turn out when I picked them up from the store. The day I got a digital camera and I was no longer limited by those precious 24 shots… life was good.

Yep. I’m that friend. The one who makes you pose in front of funny road signs or with the parking lot attendant. My husband has learned to grin and bear it. Literally.

That being said, when I saw lots of people with tricked out camera straps, I knew I needed to make one!

When I am using my SLR camera for an extended period of time, I like to keep the strap around my neck as a safety precaution. Many of these swanky camera strap covers have extra padding in them for extra comfort. Sign. Me. Up.

This is NOT a tutorial. My goal is to become a better sewer this year, and I’m learning! I melded some basic principles from this tutorial at Tidy Mom and this one at Midwestern Sewing Girl for my finished product.

I didn’t have any interfacing on hand and I was too lazy to go to the store, so I used felt. And I like it. I think it adds even more cushion than interfacing would have.

This was my first ruffle! I don’t care to say how long it took me to attach it to the strap, but I did it. And that’s all that matters. :  )

I used a gray seeksucker fabric for the front and remnants of my dining room curtains for the backside.

Since seersucker is an inherently thinner fabric I doubled it over, so there are two layers.

This is why I can’t write tutorials yet. I’m usually a do-it-as-I-go kinda gal.

It can make for really messy instructions. : )

Now I can keep on snappin’ to my heart’s delight!

Check out more a step-by-step process at Tidy Mom or Midwestern Sewing Girl (for the ruffle).


On another note:

I recently saw this video and wanted to share. I wish I had seen this when I was 16. Love your skin! Say no to tanning beds and hello to sunscreen!


How to Make $0.24 Christmas Cards


One of my favorite things this time of year is receiving mail. Good old fashioned, stamped, icky tasting envelope sealant snail mail.

No one sends mail anymore these days. It’s all about the modern technologies called email and text message. My mailbox (not to be confused with my inbox) is usually full of credit card offers, landscaping company fliers and coupons for dry cleaning.

But not lately! The last few weeks we have opened up cards with sparkles and photos and flourish.

I’ve finally recovered from sending out wedding-related mail and we sent out a few cards this year. While there are tons of adorable online options (like Tiny Prints and Shutterfly), I wasn’t really feeling the price tag at $1.15 to $1.50 per card. Captain Cheap-o over here, remember?

We had a friend take our picture (free!) and I put together my card in Adobe Illustrator. Then I uploaded my file and ordered prints of my card from Shutterfly. Remember to leave extra room just in case of sloppy cropping so the words or photo didn’t get sliced off. I also choose the matte finish to prevent fingerprints and look more card-like.

I ordered 50 prints of our card from Shutterfly for .09 cents each and I had an email promo code for free shipping = $4.50

Then I went to Joann Fabric’s and purchased a pack of blank cardstock folded cards that came with the accompanying envelope.

A package of 50 blank cards for $9.99 (Mine were on sale for $7.50, or you could print out a 20% off Joann’s coupon) = $7.50

Then I used some rubber cement to adhere my “photo” to the front and all I had to do was write on the inside and ship them off.

If I has purchased my 50 cards from one of the internet resources I was looking at I would have spent: 50 x $1.30 = $65 (+ shipping) total

Since I only spent $4.50 for the prints and $7.50 for the cards I spent a grand total of $12.00, bringing my cost to $0.24 cents a card.

I saved $53.00 by making my cards rather than purchasing them online!!

Now if I could figure out a way to mail them for less than $0.42 cents each…

and I leave you with my favorite Christmas song:


Coffee Can Thanksgiving Centerpiece

As many good projects begin these days, I was perusing Pinterest and came across a photo of a twig vase. Lightbulbs flashed before my eyes and this project was born.

I saved a coffee can and went outside for some free twigs that are scattered all over our yard.

I tried to find twigs that were relatively straight and thin.

(While searching for twigs, you may come across a stick that strongly resembles Voldemort’s Elder Wand. You consider keeping it, but then think better of it and put it back down.)

Step 1.

Use gardening shears to cut the twigs all the same length. I used the height of the coffee can plus a centimeter or two. I also broke off any nodules or mini-twigs.

Step 2.

Like any good crafter, I went hot glue gun crazy.

First I removed the coffee can label and then I just started gluing on twigs as flat as possible. Some fit next to certain twigs better than others. It does NOT have to be perfect. Imperfection is charming.

Step 3.

After the glue was dry, I wrapped some twine and ribbon around the can a few times and tied a bow.

(I had purchased a fall-ribbon pack from the Target Dollar Spot earlier in the season.)

Step 4.

Fill ‘er up!

I opted to use some of my trusty rhododendron branches since I knew they lasted forever. I put a drinking glass in the can and filled it with water since I didn’t trust the coffee can not to leak or rust. Then I rubber banded my branches together and stuck them in the glass.

There are endless options – you could fill it with a potted plant, a chunky candle or even candy!


And that’s all! One hour and one dollar (ribbon) later, here we are.

Also, I can change out the ribbons and can stretch this project to last through Christmastime.

Hot glue guns are the best thing ever!


A few year’s ago I started attending my now-husband’s family reunions, where they served the most delicious coffee! After several of these reunions I had to ask them what type of beans they used. They just laughed at me and said they buy Chock-Full-O-Nuts Original. I have been buying it ever since.

What kind of coffee do you drink?

Last Minute Thanksgiving Decor

Like millions of other people this week, we are traveling to be with family on Thanksgiving day. However, that doesn’t mean I was going to let a holiday-related decorating opportunity to pass us by!

With the exception of Christmas, I tend to be a seasonal decorator rather than for specific holidays. I’ve had a bit of fall decor up for a while.

Per usual, I begin with what I have, like this orange book, black wire cake stand and white ceramic apples. Once I added a few fresh gourds, voila. Instant fall centerpiece. I actually bought these gourds before Halloween and they are still going strong.

My fall mantle, which I forgot to share with you (shame on me), consisted of the tin apple sign (Christmas tree shop), pumpkins and a wooden witch and ghost (castoffs from my Mom). I just traded them our for Mr. Scarecrow (another castoff from my Mom) and insta-Turkeyified the living room.

The greens in the middle are from our rhododendron in the front yard. The clippings last forever! I had them inside for a month before they started to turn yellow.

We still have up the Nearly No-Sew Autumn Bunting I shared with you earlier this fall.

Lastly, I put together a centerpiece that I will share with you next!

Like I said before, I like to use things that I already have.

For my fall decorations I spent $15 on pumpkins and gourds (highway robbery!) and the tin apple sign was $3 from Christmas Tree Shoppe.

I usually really like decorating for the fall, but lately I just want to get all my Christmas decorations out! One more week!!



A Gut Feeling

(Alternative title: “Vonderful Gut” – Mom, that’s for you.)

Kitchens and bathrooms. People on HGTV loves their kitchens and bathrooms.

When we bought this house, we knew we’d be heavily renovating our kitchen and both our bathrooms.

Want proof? Check out our groovin’ powder room. (For the record, this room is incredibly hard to take a photo of.)

The powder room—typically a main-floor half-bath with a sink, a toilet, and a mirror—is often the home’s smallest room, averaging just 4 feet by 5 feet. Yet, if you measure its worth by the amount of traffic a room gets per square foot, the powder room could be the most valuable space in your house.” – KOHLER: Planning Tips

Our powder room was riddled with issues.

  1. The sink was non-standard depth and the countertop is built into the doorframe molding.
  2. The toilet was wedged underneath the countertop and next to the sink making for a very comfortable seating arrangement. (Who wouldn’t want to rub shoulders with the handsoap while on the john?)
  3. Unused space to the left of the commode.

Not to mention the Barbie-flesh colored walls, enormous, broken medicine cabinet and shiny chrome light fixtures.

Right away we ditched the awkward extending countertop.We, er Moose, took it off with a Sawzall Reciprocating Saw.

We also knew we wanted to move the toliet. The current set up was making very poor use of the space. The current vanity was 14 inches deep and 23 inches wide. They don’t even sell vanities or sinks that small! After discussing our options with the plumbers, the floor structure gave us only one other option – to put it right beneath the window.

While I would have liked to put it on the weird angled wall, the floor joists were in the way (read: more $$$) so in front of the window we went.

Now, I love me some natural light, but why put a huge window in a powder room? Isn’t that the one room you’d like a little privacy in?

(Remember, no counter space, that’s why the tissues are TP are oddly sitting on top of the commode. We had a large group of friends over for a BBQ a few months ago and were trying to make the best of the situation.)

(I feel oddly uncomfortable posting this photo.)

Let it be known, this powder room is never used. Thus, our powder room has sat untouched like this for the last four months.

Moving the toilet left us with a dinner-plate sized hole into our basement. It was one classy powder room. Let me tell you.

Until this weekend.

Peace out powder room!

As you can see we, errr Moose while I was in Chicago, ripped out everything but the drywall. Which leaves us with a nice (not-quite-clean) slate.

We you can see, we (loosely) have the following projects to take on:

1. New flooring

2. Repair drywall

3. Install new vanity/sink/faucet

4. Install new toliet

5. Paint. New mirror. Install lights, TP bar and towel bar.

So far we have a vanity and sink. When we found one the right proportions (due to the wonky nonstandard sink depth) at Home Depot we snatched it right up.

We purchased this St. Paul Del Mar vanity. We were scoping it out at Lowe’s for a while where it was on sale, and then found it at Home Depot for a steal.

Most sinks have a minimum of an 18″ depth. We needed something no more than 15″ (or else the vanity would stick out past the door). This sink is the perfect solution! The vanity and starting point of the sink profile is 15″ deep, and the sink bows out to 18″ in the middle – giving us a substantially sized sink. Also, the vanity is 30″ wide, giving us a bit more counter (you know, so the tissues don’t have to sit on top of the toilet.)

As far as aesthetics go – that’s as far as we have gotten!

I think I’ll be taking Pinterest by storm and share whatever ideas I find. : )

Do you prefer the term “powder room” or “watercloset” or perhaps “the loo”?

Island Inspiration

Our kitchen renovation is continuing to progress slow and steadily. Emphasis on the slow.

While we aren’t making much visual headway, we actually have made quite a bit of planning progress.

We purchased our faucet last weekend (woot woot to the Lowe’s clearance rack!). I also went through our cabinets and windows with a tube of paintable caulk to fill in a few more cracks and leftover holes from my initial pass through.

We’ve also picked out a sink and (I think) our countertop. We’re going with a gray granite. And, those of you whom I am Pinterest buddies with will notice, I’ve been starting to look at backsplash tile as well. Because, you know, it’s not like I ever get ahead of myself or anything.

We’ve also got a lot of small projects like lighting, replacing the outlets, radiator painting and disposal replacing to do.

We’ve been looking at kitchen lights for months. You’d be surprised how little you can live with. I have one lonely, naked lightbulb in the middle of my kitchen ceiling for cooking dinner. Suffice it to say, we’re not purchase-this-for-the-interim kind of people.

On to bigger kitchen news, I think we’re killing our cabinet project. As in, we’re looking at getting new cabinet doors but keeping the cabinet bases.

When push comes to shove, when we sell this house (funny how all the decisions you make about your home have so much to deal with selling it), we will have made a much better investment in purchasing new cabinet doors. While we did put a lot of sweat equity into refurbishing the old cabinet doors, we didn’t make much of a financial investment besides wood filler, primer and paint. Also, since our house is in the potential lead paint era, we’d rather be on the safe side.

*Phew* I know how to ramble, don’t I? All this to say, that blue tape square you see on the floor is where we want to put a potential island.

I have a few things I’m looking for:

1. A nice drawer. Thanks to our custom 1950s cabinetry, we don’t have any drawers wide enough to fit a silverware organizer.

2. Seating. Since we opted NOT to make this an eat-in kitchen, I’d like to have a stool or two to sit on while I’m hanging out in the kitchen.

3. An open bottom. I think. Since we have a smaller kitchen, I’d like to maintain the visual flow of the room without creating a blockade in the center of the room.

Some inspiration images I’ve been pondering:


I love the combination of the homey, warm wood tones with the white cabinets. Although I think I’d want a straight, chunkier leg so it looked less like an end table.


Repurposing an old piece of furniture could be fun too! We could order extra granite if we wanted the countertops to match.


The white with white is also quite clean and pretty.


But, as much as I love the clean white look, I can’t seem to escape my love for color!

So many things to ponder, so little time.

I had Moose bring up a huge cardboard box (that contains a someday-to-be-installed bathroom vanity) to get used to the idea of an island in the middle of our kitchen before we commit. I love it so far!

Speaking of islands… on this cold, dreary and rainy day I’m thinking of other islands. Particularly a little place called Jamaica.

And wishing I was there! Is it time for honeymoon #2 yet?

Nearly No-Sew Autumn Bunting

This project begins like many others in my house. With two little words: Trash. Picking.

There is an interior designer who lives down the street from my parents. Every once in a while she weeds through her stash and puts lots of lovely items she doesn’t need anymore on the curb. In the case of this project, she was getting rid of a swatch book of designer fabrics. I’ve been saving them for eons and the right project finally came long.

I thumbed through it and cut out all the swatches that looks warm, cozy and all-things-autumn.

First, I folded them in half an cut them into rough triangles. Then I ironed them flat.

Then I folded over one “hem” by about 1/4 inch and ironed it down. Then I used dabs of hot glue to “hem” the first side of the triangle.

I let them dry for a few minutes and then I ironed the opposite sides of the triangles. You will want to take care not to press the iron on the hot-glued-hem, as the heat will cause the hot-glue to liquefy again.

When ironing the second side, be sure to create a nice point at the bottom of the triangle. You may need to trim the fabrics slightly to allow for this.

After I ironed down my hems of the second side, I dabbed them with hot glue to make them stay.

After they all had time to harden, I trimmed the corners of the topside. Since I would be hemming this side as well, I didn’t want the corners to peek out the sides. After I cut the corners off, I ironed and hot glued just like before.

Then I ironed each flag flat.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to iron in-between two pieces of fabrics. Otherwise you will get hot glue all over your iron face. Also don’t iron for too long or the hot glue will seep through the front of the flag.

Next I took all my flags and arranged them in the order I wanted them to hang – alternating the plaids, golds, reds and blues. I piled them in order and started to “sew”.

This could hardly be called sewing. If you can thread a needle you can do this part. I overlapped the corners and made a quick loop (by hand) and tied the knot in the back.

Once they were all connected I taped them up with painter’s tape (as to not ruin our freshly painted walls!).

I think it’s sweet. : )

Total Cost: FREE
Total Time: About 2 hours

Now I just need to pretend we have cabinet doors back on the cabinet bases (yep! my living room cabinet doors are also in the abyss of my basement) and get some window treatments up in here.

I already have my swatches picked out for my Christmas one! I can’t wait to make it. Perhaps next time I shall try sewing it.

DIY Felt Autumn Wreath

I’m plugging my nose and cannonballing into the pool of fall decoration with full force! Our spring was spent packing and our summer was spent unpacking, therefore I haven’t had any fun decorations up since Easter.

Fall decorations are going to abound this fall to make up for it! I love New England in the fall. It’s perfect.

To begin my autumnal adoration, I started with a natural wreath from Joann Fabrics ($3 plus a 10% off coupon!) and six sheets of felt (at 35 cents a sheet).

I made two different kinds of rosettes in various colors and sizes.

You will need a strip of felt 1 inch wide. The longer the strip the bigger the flower. You will just want to hot glue it as you roll it up. Then “foof” the flower with your fingers.

For the second type of “bloom” I cut a circle out of felt and then cut a swirl into the circle. By tightening the swirl, starting from the middle, a rosebud-shape begins to form. As with the “pom”, you will also want to dab little bits of hot glue along the way.

Then you will need to arrange your flowers as desired. I placed mine to look like they are creeping down the top and up from the bottom. Then I cut a few leaves out and glued them on too.

You will want to use plenty of hot glue to make sure the flowers stick!

I love the colors and coziness of it. Now it’s hanging by our front door on our porch!

Total Project Cost: $5.00
Total Project Time: About an hour

How are you decorating for fall?

DIY Autumn Bloom Belt

I came across this awesome tutorial on I Am Momma – Hear Me Roar and wanted to pass it on!

Cheri (aka Momma) has a lot of creative tutorials for DIY projects – a few of which are now on my task list!

When I came across her Autumn Bloom Belt, I knew I wanted to give it a shot.

Here is hers:

And here is mine:

Instead of buying 1/8 of a yard for each felt color, I bought felt squares for 35 cents each. That plus the ribbon set me back about a total of $3.00 and took about 30 minutes.

(I could have made 2 belts out of the 4 felt squares and spool of grosgrain black ribbon I purchased. In fact, it was so easy I think I will make one for a friend!)

Cheri gives a great photo tutorial. Check it out here:

 Autumn Bloom Belt from I am Momma – Hear Me Roar

Holy Moly Art

FIRST, Happy Labor Day Weekend!!

I hope your weekend is filled with lots of non-laborious activities.

(Also, Happy Birthday Dad!)


After seeing some greeting cards based on a similar premise, this idea of pushpin (or thumbtack if you prefer) art was born.

During a major session of magazine reading, I came across a pictures of a woman’s office. She had a poster on her wall that said “Ode to the Joy of Life” on it. I ripped it out and saved it (as we all did in the pre-Pinterest days). I’ve been saving it for years, but as soon as I was thinking about my pushpin idea I knew I wanted to use that phrase. And a project was born.

To start, I put together the letters in Adobe Illustrator. I knew I wanted a font with accentuated fat and thin sections to emphasize the pin holes (this is RiotSquad, for any other typophiles out there).  I reversed the text and turned the opacity levels down to 10% (or you could just print a light gray color). I printed it on white cardstock.

(Sorry for the wonky shadows. It’s that pesky dining room chandelier again.)

Then I grabbed a…. wait for it… pushpin.

You may not recognize it. It’s a highly unusual and expensive tool.

To begin, I used the complicated technique of poking through the paper. I outlined the letter first and then filled the inside.

It took a little while to determine the proper depth as the pinhole grows in size in accordance to the pin.

And that’s all there is to it. I wouldn’t plan on finishing this project in one night. Your hands start to cramp. It’s a good leave-near-the-tv-and-work-on-it-aimlessly kind of project.

My only advice?

1. Be gentle. You can tear through the paper in the delicate parts.

2. Don’t use a death grip on the paper. You will wrinkle it. (If I was to do this again, I might put a piece of cardboard underneath so I wasn’t holding it so tightly and the pin could push through into the cardboard.)

Now I just need to decide how to display it.

It could be cool with a bright colored paper behind it. It’s also fun to hold it up to a light and let all the light come through the holes.

Only time with tell.

Project Cost: I will round up to 5 cents.

Have you tried pushpin art before? Can you think of a less expensive project tool?

Recessed Refrigerator Progress

Once upon a time there was a house. In this house there was a little kitchen.

One day a (*cough* overly-ambitious) couple purchased the home with very big ideas.

While they loved the “personality” of the home, they wanted to make some changes.

They did some crazy things, like sacrificing the hall closet, in hopes of creating a bigger kitchen.

And after a very long search, found the right tool for the job.

And they all lived happily ever after…


I love looking at this series of photos! When I am feeling down-and-out about all the work we have to do in this house, reminders of how far we have come are very encouraging.

My mom is here this week and she is helping me “fiddle” with decorative items.

I love “fiddling”. Moving this vase here. This book there. This chair there. Fiddling makes a house a home.

We’re still working on that space above the fridge.

Still no cabinet doors… They are patiently awaiting me in the basement…

I’m not sure I can express how much space we gained by knocking out the closet. It’s hard to believe we were originally looking at refrigerator’s that would fit where the chalkboard is now.

In regards to the hall closet, it was pretty weak. It was hardly a hanger-deep. I don’t regret it one bit. (We have a coat rack anyways and will keep extra winter coats in an upstairs closet.)

By knocking down the wall, removing the door and molding, rewiring the electricity and moving the water line (all thanks to Moose. I just bought him ice cream sandwiches.) we had a new fridge spot! Then installing new molding and the back paneling, caulking the nail holes and painting (hey! I did that one!) we have a new recessed fridge.

It was a mighty big pain, but worth the effort.


Notes on buying a new refrigerator:

It’s not fun. We probably went to go look at refrigerators 25 times. (Hello! They don’t sell those on the clearance rack at Marshall’s. It’s got to be a well-thought-out decision.)

We needed it to be a counter-depth fridge and wanted it to be stainless steel and preferentially the french door/freezer bottom set up. We also didn’t want the ice-maker on the front door. We didn’t want cheap-o handles and we wanted nice sliding drawers inside. Oh, and if the sides were gray instead of black that would be great too.

That’s not a laundry-list of requests now, is it?

We looked at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sear’s, Sear’s Outlet, Best Buy, Online stores… so on and on and on.

We found this Kitchen Aid model that was NOT listed as a counter-depth fridge, but the actual size specifications were counter depth (tricky, tricky!). And (shocker!) it met all of our requirements.

To get the most bang for the buck, we purchased it from Lowe’s. However, we had them price-match to the Best Buy’s listing price for the same fridge and then (after lots of smiles) were able to use a 10% off coupon as well. Plus, since it’s a new energy star appliance there is a $50 government rebate.

It took three weeks to finally get here (and we bought a random fridge on Craig’s List for $40 in the mean-time) but we L-O-V-E it.


Don’t get too excited. We still need to re-drywall the entire back. When you’re standing in our hallway you are staring at the back of the refrigerator.

But we celebrate the little victories!

DIY Project: Cupcake Flags

Maybe you haven’t heard, but cupcakes are the new black.

You must be living under a rock if you haven’t experienced the cupcake fad explosion over the last few years. There are now whole stores devotes to selling cupcakes (Read about some tasty cupcakes I got for my birthday here) and The Food Network even has a new show, Cupcake Wars, devoted to the trend.

However, it’s “trend” status is morphing into “tried and true staple”. Many have questioned when the cupcake fad would end, but lately I’ve been reading how many event and catering specialists are now thinking it is here to stay. (Which I am personally quite glad to hear.)

Brides have been trading in the classic tiered wedding cake for trays of cupcakes in all colors and flavors. One wedding I went to this summer even had a “Cupcake Bar” (E – they were delicious by the way!).

Then the cupcake flag was birthed. See this beautiful example from (Hostess with the Mostess) below.

How did this begin? Perhaps hostesses wanted to combat the informality of the cupcake? Perhaps brides who had foregone the traditional “cake topper” wanted something special?

Just like “how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop,” the world may never know.

Martha Stewart has downloadable templates for these flags, which are fine and dandy if you find one that works for you. But, what if you want your name on it? Certain colors? A theme? You might get some strange looks if the cupcakes at Cindy’s baby shower have wedding rings on them.

What’s a gal to do? Custom flags of course!

Many vendors on Etsy can create custom beautiful flags for you. BUT, I would recommend trying to make your own.

I made my own flags for our wedding. Moose wasn’t feeling the cupcake suggestion, so we ended up serving cheesecake. But visions of wedding cupcake flags had already infiltrated my crazy bride brain, so I invented…. cheesecake flags!

The best part about making your own is that you can have as many different kinds as you want. An Etsy vendor will likely charge you per design. With color and text variations, I had about  27 different kinds of flags. (Overkill? Yeah. I know.)

The other, and probably more enticing, reason to make your own is the fact they they are very inexpensive!

I made 150 of these flags. Can you guess how much I spent?

Toothpicks = $3
Hot Glue = $3
Printing Costs = $5 (This is if you go to Staples and not print them yourself.)


I was able to fit 27 flags on a sheet by flipping half of the triangles around to create square shapes.

I used Adobe Illustrator. If you don’t have that you could probably use Microsoft PowerPoint or Publisher (it’s just triangles people! There are also lots of nice rectangle flags, like the one I posted above if triangles scare you.)

After that, I cut them out and hot glued a toothpick to the back. Bada boom. Three episodes of Smallville later, I had 150 cupcake (er, cheesecake) flags ready to go.

No one noticed that the back was blank. (*Seriously, wedding guests. Did you notice?) Heck, I wouldn’t have noticed. After I pulled that puppy out I would be eating that dessert with glee.

I hope this helps you make your cupcake involved event a little more celebratory and a little less expensive.

Cheers : )

Pssst… Images from (Hostess with the Mostess), and (FoodNetwork.com)