DIY Three Strand Beaded Statement Necklace

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***Update! This post has been edited to add a link to a competition that I have entered this project in! Specifically, Creating with the Starts hosted by East Cost Creative. Click on the link button below to find out more and check out all the great projects! 11 contestants will be chosen by the blog stars but the 12th contestant is chosen by popularity in the link party…so, please show your support and head over to the project submissions page and vote for me! I’m project number 241. Don’t forget to stay awhile and linger over all the DIY inspiration!***

I love DIY. Whether it be something for the house or something to wear. Creating makes me happy. In fact, it was a big part of my childhood. Many Christmases would bring gifts of craft supplies and endless projects to be completed. And I was always dabbling…I’d try my hand at painting, knitting, sculpting, drawing…you name it. While I would not classify myself as some artistic genius, I always managed to construct a reasonably decent project. And most of all…it was fun.

I’ve stifled this for a long time and this past year, this blog has helped reignite the creative side of me. It’s been serving as an outlet for all the stresses of adult life and I’m finding that creative kid in me again.

So, let’s set the scene…of course, I was at Michael’s craft store…and I happened to wander into the beading section. As you know, I love jewelry (hey, jewelry ALWAYS fits) and the desire to create something myself started brewing. Problem was, I had no idea what I was looking at…what materials to choose, what tools did I need, could I even construct something half decent? So, I just explored, I took mental note of materials that appealed to me and I found myself in the book section giving myself a crash course in jewelry construction over the course of about 30 minutes. I read pretty fast and have a pretty photographic memory so I flipped through a book (sorry, don’t recall which one) on basic jewelry projects to get a handle on basic tools, and materials. I mean, what the heck were crimp beads and jump rings anyway. Then, I went home and took a peak at some jewelry I already own for inspiration. In fact, I have a necklace or two from LOFT that is very similar in construction to this one that I crafted. Studying the piece, I got a general handle on construction and then was sort of able to make it up from there. I returned to  Michael’s, purchased my supplies, and hoped for the best. Here’s how:

DIY Three Strand Beaded Statement Necklace 

For this project, I chose jade green beads. Because I wanted the necklace to be cooler in tone, the metal accents I chose were silver.

Jewelry Chain

Monofilament Illusion Cord .012 in

Variety of Beads (I chose two sizes a slightly larger diameter for the bottom strand with matching smaller diameter beads for the other two)

Jump Rings

Crimp Beads

Spacer Beads (each package had two different sizes (one slightly larger and one smaller)

Lobster Clasp

Chain Nose Pliers

Flat Nosed Pliers

Wire Cutter

I also purchased a small storage case as I plan to make more jewelry in the future and wanted an inexpensive way to keep my tools organized.

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statement-necklace-beads

First, you’ll begin by stringing beads for each of the three strands. You’ll want three different lengths of monofilament, each progressively shorter, so the strands lay in a tiered fashion when worn. I cut each strand of monofilament at 20, 18, and 16 inches respectively.

To start a strand of beads, string one jump ring and one crimp bead onto the monofilment.

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Loop one end over the jump ring and back through the crimp bead for form a loop leaving about one inch of monofilament as a little tail. Using either chain nose of flat nose pliers (doesn’t really matter) squeeze the crimp bead tight to secure. You are now ready to begin stringing beads.

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(TIP: I found the monofilament to be at risk for sliding back through the crimp bead. I had to be sure to squeeze tight to secure. While I’m not an expert, next time, I may choose a very thin metal wire to string the beads as I assume it may provide a little more grip and security against the metal of the crimp bead. Thoughts? I’d love to hear your recommendations/experiences if you’ve done something similar.) Either way, it seems secure enough so I began stringing beads.

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I began with my larger green beads and alternated green with a silver spacer bead. I continued stringing until I had approximately 3 inches of monofilament left. Then, add another crimp bead and jump ring and repeat the first procedure to finish the strand. Be sure to pull the crimp bead and jump ring close enough to the last bead. You can then either string the remaining monofilament back through the beads or trim it off.

statement-necklace-tutorial-7Using the existing jump ring on one end of your complete strand, take the next shortest length of monofilament, string through the jump ring and secure with a crimp bead using the procedure above.

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All three strands of beads will be attached to the one jump ring on either end. Once secure, I completed the same beading pattern, this time, using my smaller diameter green beads and smaller spacer beads. Complete the strand, attaching to the opposite jump ring in the same fashion. Finally, complete your last and shortest strand in the same manner. For the shortest strand, I threaded my smaller diameter beads without the use of spacer beads. As you work. it’s helpful to lay the necklace out on your workspace or hold it up to you neck to be sure the lengths of your strands are laying in the desired fashion. It actually worked out very well and I hardly had to adjust measurements at all.Here are what your completed strands will look like.

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The next step is to attach some jewelry chain and your clasp. You will need 2, 4.5 inch lengths of jewelry chain (shorter or longer depending on how you would like your necklace to look), 3 more jump rings, and a lobster clasp. Also, you may need to use two sets of flat nosed pliers for this step…just raid your toolbox for an extra pair. Using wire cutters, trim your chain to the desired length.

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Gently pry open a jump ring with two sets of flat nosed pliers. Attach an additional jump ring to each ring on either end of your beads and then attach a loop of jewelry chain to the jump ring. Close with the pliers once again.

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Finally, on one side of the necklace, open a final jump ring and attach through the last loop of jewelry chain on that side along with a lobster clasp before gently closing using the pliers. The lobster clasp will easily attach to a loop of jewelry chain on the opposite side.

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I completed this project this past Friday and yesterday, I wore it most of the day to a bridal shower, church, and then out to dinner with the husband for an early Valentine’s Day date. It held up beautifully! I had visions of one of the strands breaking loose, beads flying everywhere, and slipping and falling on rogue beads. Luckily, no disasters occurred.

Overall, this project was super fun to make and I have all sorts of jewelry projects I’m designing in my head and would love to try. Overall, the materials cost me approximately $25.00. I downloaded the Michael’s App on my iPhone and had a 25% off coupon so I saved some money too! While I agree it’s just as easy to go out and purchase something similar for the same price, I get a lot of satisfaction creating something of my own and the process is very relaxing for me so for that reason alone, the project is worth it.

Of course, you know what I want…I wanna hear if you’ve tried a DIY jewelry project! Try your hand at some statement jewelry on a whim? Or, if you are a regular DIY jewelry master, lead me to your favorite resources, projects, you name it. I’m all ears!

Note: I was not compensated nor did I partner with any product or company mentioned in this post. I practically live at Michael’s because it is essentially the only craft store in my town 🙂

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New Years Eve Black and White Party

In the spirit of a holiday recap week…let’s saunter down (recent) memory lane in reverse chronological order, shall we?

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To begin, I’d like to share some details from our New Years Eve bash we hosted earlier this week with some close friends and neighbors. Andrew and I have really embraced the idea of hosting New Years Eve as a tradition and in that spirit, I wanted to host a fun night with our closest pals that was a bit special. We wanted to host a party that had a fun, cohesive element and allowed the gang to get dressed up with some purpose. Ultimately, I decided to keep it simple and went with a festive black and white theme. With a few tweaks to my holiday decor, and some fabulous internet finds, I was able to easily transform our entertaining space. Actually, I’m going to take a moment and brag…more for the fact that I still can’t believe I pulled off this party in literally 10 hours (oh, a big shout out to Andrew who did ALL the cleaning…go team.) The day before new years we returned from our trip to NJ but we were exhausted and I was battling a little cold so I didn’t even lift a finger to prep or decorate prior to 9am on the 31st. From 9am to 7pm I managed to take down 90% of my Christmas decor, procure supplies from Michael’s, craft and assemble the party decorations, and bake champagne cupcakes from scratch in addition to assembling a few other appetizers for our potluck appetizer bar. I felt like it was a design show elimination challenge! You be the judge…

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The mantel update was easy to accomplish. I began by removing most of my Christmas mantel decor, seen here. I left the mercury glass pillars and hurricane and one garland with silver berries in place as the look was appropriate to the theme of this mantel. The Michael’s floral department was 50% off so for about $15 I was able to add some white and black blooms. I found the banner from The TomKat Studio. I used my home printer to print it on cardstock and then punched two holes at the top of each flag with a small circular punch to thread the ribbon through. The silver ribbon was leftover from my wedding in 2011…apparently I purchased a lifetime supply.
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I have a stash of unused frames lying around and luckily, this black frame was the perfect size for this festive sentiment, also from the printable collection from The TomKat Studio. Again, I just printed on cardstock and placed in the frame. The glass hurricane above was a clearance find at Lowe’s a few days ago for about $5. I placed 4 strands of battery operated star lights I’ve had lying around for several seasons inside. They were from IKEA about 3 years ago.
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I purchased some silver tissue paper from Michael’s but otherwise I had the black and white tissue paper stashed in my wrapping supplies to make these tissue paper poufs. I hung them from the ceiling over the bar in our kitchen where the food was arranged.
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Some more blooms, a vase I transformed with some metallic spray paint, and some party horns for merry-making.

Some of our goodies…the food flags were also part of the printable collection linked above. new-years-eve-2013-food-1

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champagne-cupcakesFinally, we enjoyed some champagne cupcakes for dessert. Stay tuned for the recipe…they were delicious!

Overall, it was a really fun evening complete with sparklers and some real deal fireworks. Yes, that happened, in my backyard. And it was AWESOME. We have a basketball court in the backyard that has now been officially dubbed “the launch pad”…everyone walked away with their fingers so we’ll call it a success.

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(photo credit for these four snaps goes to our good friend John M. Thanks again for capturing some fun moments from the evening!)

How were your new years celebrations!? Did you spend a quiet night in or paint the town? If you hosted, did you opt for a theme or special decor or just some jammies, popcorn, and party horns? I’d love to hear about it!

Make Your Own Holiday Cards with PicMonkey and Shutterfly

It’s that time of year. Holiday cards have begun to arrive in the mail and I especially enjoy the cards that are photo cards. I love collecting all of the wonderful pictures of all of our loved ones. I love admiring the creativity of friends who decided to take special pictures just for their cards, or new babies who have joined the world this year, or even that really great shot of a couple who was married in the past year. Typically, and this may seem harsh, but I don’t keep cards, unless they are from my husband. For example, at Christmas, I’ll display the cards we receive for a few weeks and then into the recycling they go. Here’s where I get a little OCD but I don’t like collecting things. Stacks of paper and cards are one of those things that just eats at me. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF PHOTO CARDS! Those I most certainly keep. In fact, I’ve been collecting those for several years now and finally decided I should get my booty in gear and arrange them in some sort of album as I’ve intended.

On that note, I have never sent a photo card myself. Mostly because I just never felt we had any pictures that were worthwhile enough to share. Last year, I’d hoped to have my wedding photos back in time but that didn’t happen so I went the traditional route instead. No biggie…but it would have seemed silly to use those this season given that the wedding was over a year ago. Either way, as you know, Andrew and I have been on quite a few excursions this past year and have gotten some pretty great shots of the both of us if I do say so myself. Recently, I was culling through some photos and it dawned on me that one or two of these wouldn’t be too shabby to share as a holiday card. Maybe it’s self-centered but I thought family and friends might like a nice photo of us. As I mentioned, I know how much I appreciate receiving this type of card from others so why not join the fun?!

I could have gone the quick and pricey route and used a website such as Tiny Prints, or even CVS or Walgreens. They have some fantastic pre-designed cards but given that I needed 50 of them, it would have set me back about $70 (a quick glance reveals that the average pre-designed card is approximately $1.30 each.) If I had taken professional photos for the purpose of the card then I have to admit I might have gone this route however, I had a personal photo I was using and with a few little tricks up my sleeve, I was sure I could fashion my own card without breaking the bank.

Cue PicMonkey. In case you aren’t familiar, PicMonkey is a free online photo editing program and if you were curious about how I add text and graphics to some of my pictures around the blog, this is it. I have a pretty great photo editing tool call Pixelmator on my Mac but PicMonkey is user-friendly and fast. Don’t even ask if I have Photoshop. I don’t, but I hope to dabble in that someday once I get more comfortable manipulating images in these two programs.

With the tools available in PicMonkey, and the ability to print through a website such as Shutterfly, I was sure I could construct my own cards in a breeze.

Below, I’ve provided a tutorial on how I constructed our holiday card this year using Picmonkey.

My inspiration was chevron, monograms, and soft holiday colors.

Here’s how I made my own :

Go to the PicMonkey website. Click on Create a Collage. 

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 6.00.03 PMOn the left hand side of the screen, click layouts (the “boxes” icon), then click cards in the tool bar. From the drop down menu, choose 4×8, and the 2 boxes layout.

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 5.58.11 PMClick open from the toolbar on the top to choose the photo you would like to use from your computer and upload. Then, simply drag and drop the picture into the left or right box. I chose to add my photo to the right hand side.

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Looking back to the tool bar on the left, choose textures (looks like a grid). PicMonkey has several great holiday textures or backgrounds. When I saw the chevron pattern I was sold. Drag and drop your desired texture into the remaining box. At this point you will want to save this image to your computer in order to proceed to the next step.

Return to the PicMonkey homepage and click Edit a Photo. This will begin the step where you can add text and some more graphics, etc.

(By the way, you can use the Edit a Photo feature in PicMonkey to make any changes you may desire to your actual photo…such as adjusting exposure, tones, special color effects, etc.

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Those will be the first two icons on the left hand side (they look like chemistry symbols) for Basic Edits and Effects).

I then clicked on the snowflake icon to open themes. From there, I clicked winterize to open the holiday photo editing tools.

Screen shot 2012-12-08 at 6.00.35 PM

There are so many fun graphics and themes to play with and they change seasonally. After some experimentation, I chose graphics from the wreathery and holly option to make a template for my monogram.

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After opening these icons, simply drag around the screen to position. Then, click on “P” in the tool bar on the left to open the add text feature. You can choose from a wide variety of fonts. Again, you can drag the text box on the screen to position your message and also edit the text using the editing box. It allows you to change the color, size, contrast, etc.

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First, I chose the font I wanted for my monogram and typed a capital letter C. I adjusted the size of the font to fit within the wreath and positioned. Using the color editing tools, I clicked on the bar to the right of the color box to open the eye dropper. I then used this tool to pick up the color of the green in the wreath so my text would match. I then set the color. I used another font and a new text box to type my greeting and completed the same procedure with the eye dropper to match my text to the color of the wreath.

Finally, I checked my spelling, made sure everything was the way I wanted, and saved the image to my desktop.

The final product:

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I then proceeded to visit Shutterfly to locate a blank 4×8 card. I simply used the search bar at the top of the home page and typed in blank 4×8. It popped right up. Following the onscreen prompts, I was able to upload my photo, preview my card, and order the amount that I needed complete with envelopes for mailing.

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The best part, I used a coupon and received free shipping! While I haven’t done a formal calculation, I estimate that I saved at least 25% by making my own cards as opposed to ordering a pre-designed card.

Overall, I’m really pleased with how these turned out and I look forward to getting them in the mail!

By the way, I was in no was compensated or otherwise incentivized for using, featuring, or singing the praises of PicMonkey or Shutterfly. These are resources that I’ve used in the past and they have worked well for me so naturally, I returned to these to construct my cards. My opinions and experiences are entirely my own. You should also know that when I completed my Shutterfly order, there was an automated opportunity (they did not seek me out specifically) to feature my project in this post. I will be emailing a link to my post regarding this project to Shutterfly for the opportunity to receive a $10 gift card. Anyway, I like to keep things on the up and up with ya’ll so there ya go.

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

 

If you’ve made a great card or other photo gift using PicMonkey I’d love to hear about it or see your results!

Modern Gilded Glitter Trees

I’m all about the holiday crafts this year. Between items I have around the house, Christmas decor that I already own, and some deals I found on goodies to make a few projects, the house is looking quite festive if I do say so myself. I’ll have some updates to share all week regarding decor ideas and projects for the holiday season but for now I’d like to share this quick little project that I completed last night.

I was inspired by these adorable “trees” from Target.

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I love the modern appeal of this little “tree”. Rather than a more traditional interpretation of a mini tree, this type of decor lends a bold, graphic appeal. For my own decorating, I like a mix of more traditional and rustic elements contrasted with bold, modern styling. Rather than purchase a few of these trees, I thought it would be fun to make a few…plus the color scheme that I had in mind wasn’t something that was available. Off to Michael’s I went to gather my supplies.

I purchased three floral foam cones (small, medium, and large), 5 packages of glitter balls, and a can of spray paint. You’ll also need a glue gun. In case you judge the merit of a project based on whether or not it’s a bargain (let’s be honest, I do) the total cost to make 3 of the tree’s you’ll see below was approximately $12.00. Between sale items and coupons I saved a few dollars that made this a very wallet friendly venture.

The day before, I spray painted the cones brown. Inevitably, some of the green floral foam would have shown through the gaps between the balls so I chose a complementary spray paint color for a nice solid background. Obviously, choose a spray paint that complements your color scheme. I used Krylon Short Cuts spray paint. I then allowed these to dry overnight.

modern gilded glitter trees

modern gilded glitter trees

Construction was simple. The glitter balls were of varying sizes so I just sort of picked and chose and hot glued them to each cone. I wanted there to be a slightly uneven appearance for texture and interest.

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They then found their new home on my console table in the living room. My only complaint is that I wish they were a little taller. The proportion of these trees on the console seems a bit off but they look festive regardless. I may relocate them but for now they’ll stay put.

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Overall, I do love how these turned out. I’m particularly fond of the color scheme and I was happy to have found these glitter balls in that gilded bronze color. I’m all about jewel tones and non-traditional colors for the holidays. Red, green, and silver can be so overrated….don’t get me wrong, I definitely use those colors too…but pops of some unexpected colors go a long way.

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PS: I say balls a lot in this post. And it makes me chuckle. Grow up Caitlyn.

PPS: I linked up this project to share with the blogosphere…see below. Don’t forget to click through the image to check out the link party hosted by Hi Sugarplum! and take a peek at all the other Christmas crafts. Great stuff over there!

Holiday

 

Check out some more great projects here:
Weekend Bloggy Reading
 

Pinterest Party Success

As I mentioned the other day, the girls (Holly, Sam, Sara, Allison, Christine and I) descended upon my lovely friend Alexa’s lovely townhouse on Friday night to stop pinning and start doing. We had all agreed that this would be a fun way to get in some girl time, relax, and accomplish a festive Christmas project. We had also agreed to more or less complete the same craft so we could share materials and assistance as needed. Cue the burlap bubble wreath I mentioned in this post.christmas pinterest party

These wreaths were so easy to make and came out fantastic. We spent the evening cutting our burlap squares (go Alexa for doing this ahead of time!) and folding and pinning away (<- pinning with actual pins this time). We learned that burlap is REALLY itchy and kinda smells funny. I also learned that one should use pins with larger pin heads so they don’t pull through the open weave of the burlap fabric. It was taking me twice as long to complete my wreath and that’s because for every one pin the girls were using I had to use five to make my squares stay on. Grrr. Thanks girls for donating some pins to my cause!

burlap bubble wreaths

burlap bubble wreaths

As you can see in the photos, we added some trimmings to the wreaths to make them more festive for the holidays. These items are easily removed and can be replaced with other trim for other seasons…think flowers, etc.

burlap bubble wreath trim

My wreath.

burlap bubble wreath

I loved the color scheme of these bunches of faux berries. The white, green, and turquoise give a wintery/holiday appeal…a less literal approach to Christmas.

burlap bubble wreath

It’s new home on my front door.

burlap bubble wreath

Also, in case you were wondering about the cute berry monogram wreath, Samantha dared to be different and braved the hot glue gun to complete this project. How are the fingertips doing Sam? Also learned on this particular evening…hot glue is HOT. Anyway, the monogram was adorable and I’m looking forward to completing mine soon.

Finally, just in case you were worried about any of these crafters going hungry…definitely a non-issue. We love food. We love making food. We love eating food. We love looking at food. We love wine too. So, we had a festive spread of Pinterest inspired treats including jalapeno popper dip, baked brie with apples, s’mores crescents, and winter sangria.

holiday treats

I highly recommend organizing an evening like this. It was a great change of pace instead of going out to dinner, a movie, or a bar. We wore comfy clothes, it was low key, and we had a chance to catch up and kick back. Overall, it was a great night with great friends and what I think are the beginnings of a wonderful new tradition.

Have you organized any marathon crafting sessions inspired by Pinterest? I mandate everyone do this as it was loads of fun. Also, we’d love to see your finished projects so feel free to share any of your favorite Pinterest success stories!

PS: Recall I mentioned in my initial post about the Pinterest party that these projects were inspired by Pinterest. I did not come up with these projects myself nor devise the tutorials. We gladly followed along with the great tutorials provided on other blogs for each project so please visit this post, and link back to the original articles for instructions on how to complete these crafts.

A Very Pinterest-ing Christmas…

It’s official…the holiday season is here. In fact, I’m REALLY EXCITED that Christmas is right around the corner. I have to admit that the past year or two I haven’t been particularly energetic about Christmas. I think it’s because we were deep in wedding planning and then last year we had just come down from the high of our wedding several weeks prior to the holiday and I was BEAT. No to mention that the past few seasons have been generally hectic for a whole slew of reasons…it took all the energy I could muster just to get jazzed about getting the tree up.

But this year it’s different. I’ve made about 800 trips to Michael’s and have visions of tree skirts, handmade wreaths, and mantle decor dancing in my head. I’ve braved vicious crafters at Jo-Ann fabrics (seriously, those ladies are cray…to be clear, I mean the shoppers were crazy, not the employees…ya’ll were very helpful thank you) and I’m armed with a glue gun, glitter balls, burlap, and wreath forms…it’s go time.

Tonight is the holiday crafting kickoff at my friend Alexa’s. Of course, we are all obsessed with a capital ‘O’ with Pinterest and have been pinning inspiration and ideas for holiday crafting madness for weeks. Alexa came up with the brilliant idea of hosting a Pinterest party for a fun girls night activity. We will be convening at Alexa’s this evening with our materials to construct our Pinterest inspired projects.

This year, I’ve pinned a few projects I’d like to complete.

1. Burlap Bubble Wreath (pin, source)

Burlap Wreath 2

2. DIY No Sew Ruffle Tree Skirt (pin, source)

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and

3. Holly Berry Monogram Wreath (pin, source)

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For my project this evening, I’ve decided to make the burlap bubble wreath. I plan to add a few little baubles to mine to make it a bit more festive for the holiday season. Additionally, the beauty of this wreath is that extra decoration can be swapped out throughout the year and I can see this wreath looking adorable in the spring and fall as well simply by changing up the way to decorate the wreath.  More to come when I recap our crafting extravaganza tonight.

Also, if you would like tutorials on how to complete these projects, please click through links/images above to visit the source of my inspiration and their complete instructions. Given that I did not come up with these projects myself and I’m simply completing them for fun because they inspired me, I will not be offering step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish each craft.

Stay tuned for the complete recap of our first official Pinterest party and some eye candy of the completed projects!

Henrietta…

…is her name. Painting things yellow is my game. Isn’t she cute?

Huh? Yellow hens? Let’s go back to the beginning.

A few days ago I announced that I’d be participating in the Pinterest Challenge, hosted by Young House Love, Bower Power, and two other awesome blogs Centsational Girl, and Ten June.

Read here to get all up to speed on what the Pinterest Challenge is all about…got it? Good. So to recap, I decided to spiffy up Henrietta a la Young House Love style. (Real quick, Henrietta was my kitchen counter friend that I found on clearance at HomeGoods for $8.00…so I adopted her.) Anyhow, I LOVED the makeover Sherry’s rooster got as you can see here. Surely, Henrietta would look just as smashing with a little paint job as well. So, while the idea of this project wouldn’t exactly constitute a “challenge”, it was definitely a “stop ogling other peoples pretty poultry and paint your own” sort of thing. Here’s my official pin.

Here’s Henrietta pre extreme makeover…looking a little gangrene. Eww.

Then, she was bathed in a coat of spray primer to give the final color a little somethin’ somethin’ to grab on to. (I used Valspar Gray Spray Primer from Lowe’s).

Then I applied a few lightly misted coats of yellow spray paint. I used this beautiful color called Sunny Yellow, also by Valspar. Blondes really do have more fun.

So, she needs a few touch ups but you can’t really tell in the picture. Sherry over at YHL has some great spray painting tips that I definitely agree with. To summarize, keep the can moving and hold it 8-10 inches away from your project. This will prevent large splotches of paint build-up and drips and globs. Also, you may need several coats. Henrietta has full on stage make-up with three coats of spray paint. Also, do your lungs a favor and wear a mask. I did not have a mask. Sorry lungs. I’ll be nice to you next time.

Here’s another glamor shot:

Actually, I’m really excited about this picture just above because it’s a GREAT sneak peek regarding what I have planned color scheme wise for our open floor plan kitchen and den space. Henrietta is posing on one of our new West Elm modern windsor barstools with citron felt cushion. Behind the chair, you see one of our living room walls that was painted the lovely Benjamin Moore Moonshine. We plan on using this color in the kitchen/den as well. My white cabinetry and barstools will really pop against the gray and we plan on continuing to accent with shades of citron, yellow, turquoise and dark gray. I want it to be a more saturated, fun version of the living room which I chose to keep more muted and serene.

Stay tuned for more! The living room is FAR from completed and we haven’t even scratched the surface in the kitchen/den, let alone what we have ourselves into in regards to front yard landscaping and laundry room make-overing. We’re not decor schizophrenic  AT ALL. Wink.

Pinterest Challenge Time

It’s that time again! The Pinterest Challenge is the brainchild of two awesome blogs I follow, Young House Love and Bower Power. They challenged one another to “stop pinning and start doing”. Genius. I mean, what good are all those DIY pins if you’re never gonna try to make any of them!? I participated in one Pinterest Challenge a few months ago and it was a lot of fun! Refresh your memory here and here. Definitely felt a sense of satisfaction in bringing to life a project I’d admired on Pinterest. Now it’s time for another.

For the longest time, I’ve been smitten with a project completed over at Young House Love. I, like Sherry one of the authors over there, have a small obsession with ceramic animal figurines. When I saw that she took some spray paint to an otherwise ordinary ceramic rooster, it was love at first crow for me. Check at her post on the project here.

And a visual of the original project:

This morning, I’ve officially “pinned” this project to my DIY board and will be laquering up a similar rooster that has been chillaxin’ on my kitchen counters for a while. Come to think of it…it’s more “hen” than “rooster” but, whatever. Stay tuned because in a few days I’ll post the before’s and after’s!

P-P-P-Painting!

Well folks, the day recently arrived where we were actually, in all seriousness, for real this time, PAINTING!

Here’s a quick run through on some of the steps we took and a little picture progression from out of the gate through to the finish line.

Prepping the walls and priming:

After we completed our wall texture repair (read all about it here, and here) we prepped the walls for priming and painting by first washing the walls with a solution of water and Trisodium Phosphate (TSP). Actually, I should clarify that we use a phosphate free TSP (there are several kinds available at your local hardware chain). We’re trying to do our part to be environmentally friendly and not dump phosphates into the water supply. Anyway, this cleaning solution is fantastic for cutting grease, dust, mold and mildew, etc, that builds up on your walls and helps give you a great foundation to put all that expensive paint on.

We then applied primer. We like Kilz 2 latex primer. Which begs…to use primer, not to use primer…that is the question. We acknowledge there are loads of opinions on this but we stand in the “prime the walls” camp. For us, this has historically provided the best result. Just as an aside, I do not use primer before repainting the trim.

Below, walls are primed!

 

Painting:

First, awhile back we’d gone ahead and painted the ceiling. As above, we cleansed the ceiling with the TSP substitute solution and then just repainted it with your basic white ceiling flat. We like Behr Premium Plus Flat Interior Ceiling Paint available at Home Depot.

Anyhow, recall we chose Moonshine by Benjamin Moore (feel free to refresh your memory here). We had this color mixed in a Benjamin Moore base called Regal Select Waterborne Interior Paint in Eggshell.

I realized after the fact that this product is considered a paint and primer in one. However, a few years back we used a paint/primer product that we were so-not-pleased with. Oh well, we had already primed. BUT, this product was such a pleasure to work with I may go rogue and skip the priming step when we move onto painting the kitchen/den area with this same color and product. It provided great coverage and the application was so smooth.

As for trim, we chose to use the Benjamin Moore Ben line of latex paint.

This was a little cheaper than the paint we used for the walls. I figured since the trim wasn’t as gigantic in surface area as the walls, I’d go ahead and save a little green. You see, the Regal Select set us back $49.99/gallon and Ben was only $36.99/gallon. Given that we needed SO MUCH PAINT for the walls, saving some cash was definitely the way to go. By the way, we opted for the color Decorators White for the trim in a semi-gloss finish. It looks so crisp against Moonshine and really pops resulting in a serene, modern, yet classic look.

At this time, we have the crown molding and baseboards painted. Now, we only have to finish painting the trim around the doors and some doors themselves. Our bedroom door, the laundry room door, the coat closet door, and some pocket doors leading to the kitchen are visible when closed and definitely need a coat of paint to finish the look. We’ll plan on using Decorators White on those as well.

Here are some after shots (and another sneak peek at the very beginnings of tackling the decor in here…mind you, there’s a looong way to go on that).

Texturized: Part Deux

So, yesterday we left off with our dry run of drywall texturizing. Today, we have some info on how we completed the final product and got our walls looking ravishingly rough once again…no more bald spackle patches!

We sort of took some liberties with the application of the spray texture. Based on the fact that we couldn’t ultimately determine exactly what “pattern” the original drywall texture was applied in, we sort of did a mash-up, of sorts, of different texture patterns to perfectly blend our patches with the existing wall.

Based on the results from our dry run, it appeared that the best method was to spray the texture onto the wall surface.

(excuse the fact that I look a hot mess…I had just come back from a run…er…jog…hey, it’s somethin’)

Then using the drywall trowel, VERY lightly use the knockdown technique to begin blending the texture onto the wall.

Finally, we used the drywall texture brush to sort of mottle and feather the edges for a more blended look.

The exciting news is that this patch job turned out great and you can’t even tell now that we have paint on the walls.

Wait! What’s that!? We have paint on the walls?!? Yes, folks you heard it here first…we’ve been busy bee’s all week priming and getting our first coat of paint up. Second coat goes up tonight. Can’t wait to post pics. It looks AMAZING!