Saturday, December 13, 2014

DIY Gifts for Christmas

I love to make Christmas gifts for my friends.  There's just something so personal about a handmade gift that a storebought gift can't compare to!  Since I make so many gifts, it sometimes gets a little hard to find new ideas.  Since I was looking for DIY gifts to make, I decided to make a round up and share it with all of my readers.  Enjoy!

DIY Christmas gifts to make.

Caramel Corn - Have you priced this in the stores??  Yikes!  Make your own with this recipe.  Guaranteed it will taste better than what you  buy at a fraction of the cost!

DIY Christmas gifts to make.
Christmas Pie Server - This is simple, functional, and adorable.  These would be great for just about anyone, but especially for church friends.

DIY Christmas gifts to make.
Days of the Week Hand Towels - You could also use the first initial of their last name or even a cute silhouette.  

DIY Christmas gifts to make.

Button Keyring - You could make these in her favorite colors or even school colors.

DIY Christmas gifts to make.
Lip Balm - Everyone needs this, especially in the winter.

DIY Christmas gifts to make.
Monogrammed Coffee Mug -  These are easy to make if you have a Cricut or Silhouette and some vinyl.  

DIY Christmas gifts to make.
Lemon Sugar Scrub - Inexpensive and luxurious!

DIY Christmas gifts to make.
Pumpkin Bread Mix - Homemade taste with minimal work!

DIY Christmas gifts to make.
Chocolate Peppermint Scrub - I can almost smell this through my computer!

DIY Christmas gifts to make.
Cinnamon Sugar Candied Almonds - Yum!

DIY Christmas gifts to make.
Magazine Coasters - I love upcycling and reusing!
Read More »

Friday, December 12, 2014

DIY Teacher Gift Guide

Every year, I make my kids' teachers gifts.  This year, my son has five teachers every day (yes, in fourth grade!), and my daughter has two.  They also have a bus driver and support staff that they really like.  I usually do altered clipboards or tumblers, but they are only two years apart, so I can't give the same thing two years later.  Here are some great DIY teacher Christmas gifts that he or she will surely love!  You can also use these for end of the year gifts or even for teacher appreciation week.

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make

Chocolate Covered Pretzels - Hello!  It's chocolate!  Who wouldn't love chocolate??

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make

Embroidered Frame - How cute is this?  My kids' teachers all have themes in their classroom, so you could make it match the theme or colors.

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make
Dried Fruit Potpourri - I love this idea because teachers are always so busy in December, but during her break, she can get that amazing holiday smell in her home.

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make
Organizer - Any teacher would love this supply organizer!  You can include supplies or not.  I think I would fill it with some candy and then let her fill it.

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make
Give Extra, Get Extra - These are perfect if you have a lot of teachers to buy for.  One year, we had more than 10 for 2 kids!  While I would love to get them all amazing gifts because they were amazing, it's just not in the budget.  This thoughtful gift is affordable and will be very appreciated.

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make
Candy Bouquet - My kids had a male teacher in first grade.  I really struggled with a Christmas gift for him the first year!  I ended up donating to the class gift, but I wish I had seen this!

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make
Stamped Tea Set - Customize this for soup, tea, coffee, or anything!

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make
Whipped Body Scrub - This smells amazing as is, or leave out the spices and use your favorite scent.

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make

Cute Potted Plant - I love this because it's simple and inexpensive, yet it looks great!

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make
Fabric Covered Flower Pots - Perfect for organizing a desk or planting flowers.

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make
Terra Cotta Apple - How cute would this be on her desk?

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make
Mason Jar - She can organize her desk with these adorable mason jars.

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make
Altered Clipboards - I've given clipboards several times, and they are always well received.

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make
Chalkboard Tags - She can label just about anything in the classroom.

DIY Teacher Gifts to Make
Altered Binder Clips - Cute and functional.
Read More »

Friday, December 5, 2014

De-Wrinkling With or Without an Iron

Some people love to iron.  They find it relaxing and look forward to it.  That's definitely not me.  In fact, the first time I ironed in my daughter's lifetime that she could remember, she had had no idea what the strange device was.  Of course, I was ironing plastic bags to melt them into a sheet of plastic, so she was really confused.

I don't like to iron, but I also don't like wrinkled clothes.  If you don't want to turn your dryer back on to get your clothes wrinkle-free, then try these tips!

Courtesy of: Alight
Read More »

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Santa's Beard Wreath

Thanksgiving is over, so I can finally post my Santa's beard wreath!  Miss Koti Beth and I watched Gilmore Girls on Netflix while we made our wreaths.  She made a smaller version with a 12" ring and Christmas ribbon that she hung in her room.

I made this with tulle so I could try one of the popular tulle wreaths.  This would be really cute on a 12" foam ring too.  The hat fit the smaller wreath really great, but I wanted a bigger wreath because I have a big blank wall that needs filled when I take down my fall owl wreath.  Yes, my wreaths hang inside since no one will see them outside because we live so far from the road.

Since I have a wreath up, now I better get the rest of my decorations out and my tree up!

How to Make a Santa Beard Wreath with Tulle

What You Need

  • Wreath
  • White tulle (I used about half of a 25 yard roll)
  • Red ribbon or  yarn
  • Santa hat
  1. Since I used a straw wreath, I first wrapped it with plastic wrap to keep everything from falling out.  You can use any type of plastic wrap or even packaging tape.  
  2. Next I cut a strip of tulle 12" long and tied it around the wreath to make sure it was the right length.  It was, so I cut several more strips.  There are a few ways to tie the tulle on the wreath, but I just tied it in a simple knot like the first step of tying shoes and double knotted it.
  3. Then I tried and tied and tied more pieces.  I kept holding it up to look at it and it, and when it looked full, I saved two pieces of white tulle and moved on to the next step.  When they were all tied on, I gave Santa a beard trim to even out the tulle.
  4. I took red ribbon and wrapped it around the top of the wreath.  You could use ribbon or yarn or anything else that will wrap around. After I got it all wrapped, I pinned the ends and tied the last two pieces of white tulle over the edge of the red ribbon.
  5. The hat needed to stand up by itself, so I laid it on cardboard -- I cut off the back of a cereal box.  I traced the hat and cut it slightly smaller.  I cut the top of the triangle off so the hat would flop over.  I used a small line of glue on the bottom of the cardboard to keep it in the hat.  Then I glued the hat on the wreath.  I liked it a little off center.
And here's my finished wreath!

Read More »

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cubby Turned Shoe Holder + How to Make Chalk Paint

I have three kids, so we should have five to ten pairs of shoes, right?  Not even close.  I bet we have more like 20 to 30 pairs around here.  We all have tennis shoes for every day, old tennis shoes for chores, dress shoes for church, mucking boots for working in the barn and mud, and winter boots.  My daughter also has cowgirl boots (not shown because she wears them every single day) and I have cute boots.  My husband also has several pairs of work boots depending on what he's working on.

You can image what my entry way looked like!  To make matters worse, my back door -- the door everyone uses -- is in my dining room.  People walked in and there were shoes and boots strung from one end of the room to the other end.

Oh, we tried telling them to keep their shoes on the rug.  We tried a hanging shoe organizer behind the closet door, which is across the room.  You can guess how that worked out.  I was done with the shoe pile, so I turned this old cubby in to a shoe organizer.  It's not the most attractive way to organize shoes, but it works.

The newspapers are for the fireplace.

I bought this cubby at our school's auction last summer.  I don't think I paid more than $5 for it.  My husband thought I was crazy because it had no less then a bazillion coats of paint on it, most of which was chipped off.  And it was a hideous mint green.  Yuck.  But I convinced him to load it up anyway, so it sat in the chicken house for several months until I lost it because of the pile of shoes.

I had used premade chalk paint before, but I wanted this in this specific shade of blue because I had an entire gallon of latex paint, and I knew that I would be painting more pieces.  There are several recipes, but I settled on using plaster of paris.  I used that recipe because Kathe and Cathy said to use it!  And I could buy plaster of paris locally.  When I want to do a project, I want it done right now and not have to wait for supplies!

This is what I started with.  It really looked awful because the many coats of paint were so thick and globbed on.  It was used in the classroom, so I don't think they really cared what it looked like.

First I sanded it with an electric sander.  I really like my mouse sander because it gets in the corners.  It did a great job smoothing out the rough paint.  

I wanted to distress it, but I knew I couldn't sand it down to the wood.  What little wood I did see was light, so it wouldn't have worked for the distressed look anyway.  I used brown acrylic paint on the edges and in random spots on the shelves and top.  Then I covered the brown with a thin layer of Vaseline so the paint would come off easier.  I took a pic for this blog post and so I could see where I put it.  

How to Make Chalk Paint

I took a clean plastic container (from butter actually) and mixed together 5 tablespoons plaster of paris and enough water to make a paste.  

Then I put 2 cups of my paint in a clean ice cream bucket and slowly added the plaster and water mix.  I stirred it really well and started to paint.  

This paint goes on great!  It sticks great and covers very well.  I did end up using two coats several hours apart.  I let it dry overnight and sanded it again.  I did this by hand and with the sander.  If you use a sander, go very light because it will take off the acrylic paint.  

See my fuzzy boots?  They are so warm!
There are random holes on the shelves.  I didn't fill them in because they will be covered.
When I distressed it, I got brown, green, and a little bit of the wood.

  To seal it, I rubbed Minwax Finishing Paste on it and wiped it off.  It protects the finish without making it shiny!

Ta da!

That's not even all of our shoes!

And here's a before and after for comparison.  I love it!

Read More »

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Owl Fall Yarn Wreath with Chicken Wire and Burlap Flowers

I started this wreath over two years ago before we moved.  We used to live in an allotment, so I had a nice porch and had pretty wreaths.  Now we live in a farm house 0.2 of a mile from the road and I don't have a porch.   That's partly why this wreath sat for so long, but the other part was because I had the wreath yarn wrapped and the felt owl, but it just would not stay glued to the wreath.  I was going to put it right on the wreath, but it kept falling off.  I finally set everything aside until I got another idea.

Since we have chickens now and my 8-year-old absolutely loves them, quite a few chicken decorations have made their way to our dining room.  I was looking around, moving stuff around, and it hit me.  Chicken wire!  Why can't I put chicken wire behind the wreath and attach the owl to that?  So I did.  And here's how I did it.

Owl Fall Wreath with Chicken Wire

I had already wrapped the straw wreath with yarn, so I don't have photos of that.  It's super easy though.  Just tie the yarn around the wreath and wrap it around.  Keep wrapping until your arm feels like it's going to fall off, then wrap some more to finish it.

Owl Fall Wreath with Chicken Wire

I found the felt owl at Pat Catan's.  I didn't know what I wanted to do with it, but I knew that I had to own it.  These are the easy burlap flowers that I made.

The first thing I wanted to do was attach the chicken wire to the back of the wreath.

I just laid the wire on top of the wreath and use wire cutters to cut the chicken wire.

Now I had a problem.  My chicken wire was curved because it's been on a roll forever.  No problem, I'll just staple it down.  Note: you can not staple chicken wire to a wreath.

On to plan B.  Hot glue.

The wire just kept bending again, so what I did was glue a spot and hold it until the glue was cooled.  The wire transfers the heat, so use a pencil eraser to push the wire down.

Once the first spot was stuck, I went directly across the wreath and did it again.  Then I moved around the wreath and glued.  I glued every 2-4 inches and held it down until the glue dried.

Once I had the chicken wire securely attached, I flipped the wreath over and put it on  silicon mat so I could attach the owl.  I glued around the edges of the owl and pressed it down until the glue dried.

Owl Fall Wreath with Chicken Wire

Then I placed my burlap flowers around it until I was happy with the placement.  I used hot glue to attach those too.

Owl Fall Wreath with Chicken Wire

I really liked the burlap, but I thought it needed a little something else.  I grabbed my box of buttons and found some fall colored ones and put them in the middle of the flowers.

Owl Fall Wreath with Chicken Wire

Perfect!  The buttons gave it just the right amount of color.  I added some burlap at the top for some balance and to hang it with.

Owl Fall Wreath with Chicken Wire
This is going to hang in my living room because no one will see it on my door, so I might as well enjoy it myself.  I have owls on my shelves and on a ledge near the ceiling, so it fits right in.

Read More »