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August 27, 2011

Drift Wood Plaque



I have been admiring this saying for a while
"If you want to know how much I love you, count the waves"
- which I originally found on Pinterest (don't you just love it!? (both Pinterest and the saying!)).

When we were recently visiting family in Oregon, we went to the coast and had a fun, cold time :)   With the help of my kids, we picked up some beautiful driftwood and flat rocks, because there are always neat crafts to do with these sorts of things, and the sentimentality of picking them up while on a vacation to my home state is an added bonus!

If I had had the space to pack it back, I would have picked up a bunch more driftwood to make something like this driftwood planter box.  But alas, this was about all I could fit home....


I made some fun rock art for my kid's room a while back, and I may do more of that at some point - to commemorate rocks we have picked up from different states.  I do have a few rocks left over from this trip.
But this was a really fun project, and it doesn't have to be for the girls' room only.  I think it is pretty sweet for any room in the house :)

Here's how I made it:
I printed the words in a font I liked, rubbed pencil on the back of the paper, and traced over the words to leave an impression on the wood...



I took some black paint and traced over the pencil lettering until it looked like this:
You could also use a sharpie I think - but I personally like the texture and shine of the paint on the wood.
I also drilled 5 tiny holes in the wood across the bottom - you can see them here in this picture - to put the wire through.

I took some nice round rocks, in different shades, and painted a wave on each one.  (By the way, whenever I talk about painting anything - I am always using acrylic paint unless I tell you otherwise.)

Here is the wire I picked up at the craft store...20 gauge. 

Leaving myself some length at the top, I wrapped the wire around the rock a few times until it was secure enough to hang.  I just tucked the end in the back so you can't see it when it hangs.  They are all different and I like that they aren't perfect...


Then, I stuck the wire through the holes I had drilled, from back to front, and twirled the ends into little spirals.  The spirals keep the wire in place in order to hold the rocks up, and add a nice decorative element...


Now, I just have to figure out how to hang it!  In this picture it is resting on a nail - and that seems to work just fine (although I would use 2 nails to make it less likely to tip).  I am sure I could add a sawtooth hanger on the back, but first I have to decide exactly where I want to put it. 

I do love the natural, beachy feel - and of course the saying is so sweet.  I am very pleased with the outcome of this quick project. 
If you lived near the coast, this would be a perfect addition to your decor...If not, a beachy summer mantle would love a little something like this :) 


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August 18, 2011

Roman Numeral Date Handpainted Sign



If you haven't noticed, I love making painted signs :)  And these ones with only 2 colors are SO EASY!
I have had this idea of writing my wedding date in roman numerals, and hanging it next to other wedding related pictures I have on the wall...
I love the way it turned out!


I used the same method here as I did on my washroom sign.  Head over to that post for a more detailed tutorial. 
Remember - You do NOT need a Silhouette to do this project!!
I have made many handpainted signs without using my Silhouette.  Here is one example.


I did go ahead and create a stencil with vinyl for this sign - and it took me about 20 minutes total to finish the project. 


I made a quick reference chart of all the roman numerals you would need to make a sign with a date.
If I had been married in the 1900's I definitely would have considered going with the year only.  But being married in the 2003 - MMIII is just to boring to have all by itself :)


For example: 1982 (the year my parents were married) is a womping: MCMLXXXII
That would look cool all by itself, without the month and day!

I am not going to explain how to read that roman numeral in this post, but it is not hard.  I am sure a quick google search could explain it to you.  Otherwise, feel free to just use my easy chart:) 

I'll do one more example for you, the year I was born, 1983:
Start with the 1000 (Roman Numeral = M), next comes 900 (Roman Numeral = CM), next comes 80 (Roman Numeral = LXXX), last comes 3 (Roman Numeral = III)...all put together 1983 is MCMLXXXIII.
Pretty simple, but let me know if you have any questions!

I think this would make a KILLER wedding gift!  Not to mention a fun birthday or anniversary gift.  I just love mine!


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August 11, 2011

Wooden Crate for fridge-top from Salvaged Wood (Tutorial)



The top of the fridge always seems to be the bane of my kitchen cleaning existence!  We live in a tiny little house, and have maxed out the cupboards.  This means that the top of the fridge is the only place left to store cereal!
A while back I decorated a cardboard box for the top of the fridge - to hold said cereal and other snacks... It worked great, but eventually started to sag.  A few weeks ago, I decided that I needed to create something sturdier...


When I saw these things below (whatever they are) sitting on the side of the road on trash day - I snatched them right up!  I am always looking for wood items, in good condition, on the side of the road.  Repurposing wood is so much fun!  It already has its own character - it is FREE (big bonus) - you feel good about saving something from the landfill...
And since I had known I wanted to make a crate for the top of the fridge, grabbing this wood was a no brainer (thank you New England for letting people put all sorts of trash on their curb!!) !


All I had to do was take out a few screws and I had all these beautiful pieces of wood....

I measured the width and height of the cardboard box that was currently on top of my fridge, and wouldn't you know it, I was able to cut each one of these long boards into two pieces, one that was the correct length for the top/back, and one that was the correct length for the sides!  (You can, of course, buy wood for a project like this.  These boards were 3.5" wide and .75" thick)

Now, I want you to be proud of me...my family was out of town, so I busted out the circle saw ALL BY MYSELF!  I also sanded the boards down a bit, to remove rough edges, and some water stains that I didn't like.

Below is a picture of the boards all standing in the positions I envisioned - before I nailed or glued anything together.
I made my crate with only 4 sides (back, 2 sides, top) because the fridge acted as the bottom, and I needed the crate opened on the front to get things in and out of course.  Plus, this was all the wood that I got out of those watchimathingies I picked up off the side of the road...  If I ever want to use the crate for something else though, adding a bottom would be easy.
So, in this picture below, the back is on the ground, the sides are on the left and right, and the top is the side farthest away in this picture (the boards for the top are stacked behind it).

You can also see that I needed boards to support the crate vertically, so I cut 4 boards to the height that the crate would end up.  To do this though, take into consideration:
1) any gap you want between your boards (I used half an inch gap), and
2) the thickness of the boards that make up the top.
This is why laying it out like this was really helpful for me.  I drew myself a picture, but then set it all on the ground before I cut the height pieces - to make sure I had calculated correctly...


So, once the boards are cut - start hammering and gluing!
Below, the picture shows the back, nailed and glued into one top piece and two height pieces.  Use tons of glue and tons of nails - it helps!  (basically the picture below is the same as the picture above, just without all the side pieces sticking up)

Then, I glued and nailed the right side boards on...


Then nailed and glued the left side boards on...


Here it is below, standing upright.  You can see that I attached two more height pieces at the front of the crate.  They provided the necessary support for all those side pieces sticking out.
This means, the only thing left is the top...

You guessed it!  Nail and glue the top boards on... and the crate is finished!

Now, I specifically made my crate tall enough to slide a skinny board between the gaps of the top side pieces (as seen below) to create an additional shelf.  I love this, because now granola bars, crackers, etc. can also have a place!  The fridge is only wide enough for a few cereal boxes, so that extra shelf is a life saver!
After my crate was built, I measured exactly the size shelf that I needed, went to Home Depot, and they cut it for me (this was about the only thing I spent money on for this project!)  Just a few dollars got me a perfect shelf.
It is called MDF - Medium Density Fiberboard - and I found it in the lumber aisle.




Here is a view from the side.  The vertical/height pieces not only add support, but add to the aesthetics as well. A cross (diagonal) piece would be kindof fun on the side, but I had run out of wood, and don't have the tools to cut at an angle easily... still, I love the way mine turned out!


From the beginning, I knew I wanted a cover for the front - because part of the appeal of this crate is covering up those mess of cereal boxes (in addition to keeping them from falling on the floor).

I used a canvas drop cloth (which I have used for many projects before this one (like here and here)) - they are so great!  Cheap, neutral color, sturdy...
I cut a piece to the correct size and sewed under the raw edges.

With my Silhouette, I cut pictures and words out of Freezer Paper (here is a great tutorial on using freezer paper as a stencil), and then I spray painted!

This is what I got once I pulled the freezer paper off... just the funky look I was going for.  And if it ends up being too funky for my taste, it is EASY AND CHEAP to make a new cover!  It might even be fun to make covers that correspond to the holidays.... we'll see :)

I screwed tiny little hooks into the crate on the four corners, to hold the round elastic loops that I had sewed to my cover...


And now, I have an over the fridge crate that will never sag, and has a nice neutral color...
I toyed with the idea of stenciling words onto the crate as well - but for now I am satisfied with the way it is.  A crate like this could be painted any color, of course, to match a room or kitchen decor.  
So, if you are like me, and need over the fridge space, try making yourself a cute little crate! 

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August 4, 2011

Vintage Style Painted Cafe Sign for Daughter #2



A few months ago I made this vintage style diner sign for my oldest daughter (pictured below), and hung it above her chair in the kitchen.  She loves it, and won't sit on the other side of the table, because she has to sit in "Jossy's Diner". 
I fully intended to make another for my younger daughter, but it has taken me a few months to get around to it, much to her chagrin.  She wants to sit under her own sign!


Part of the reason this one took me so long to get going, is because I had to cut it down, and I was afraid to bust out the skil saw.  I've had the square of wood, with my shape penciled on, for months, but it was only a couple of weeks ago that I finally took the plunge and used the saw. 
It isn't perfect, but luckily when you're going for a battered old sign, it doesn't need to be!

Here's the how-to:
Using acrylic paint, I painted the first coat antique white...

and the second coat orange.  Using my silhouette to cut out the vinyl words (to use as a reverse stencil), I put the vinyl on everything I wanted to stay orange....

Third coat of paint was brown...(paint over the vinyl).

 And then I put vinyl (and tape) on parts I wanted to keep brown...


Next was another coat of antique white...but only in specific places, as you see below...


I used vinyl to make a stencil of clock hands, which I painted in with black paint, one at a time...


I did a bit of distressing after painting the hands on...

Finally, I put down the vinyl stencil of the words "Kaija's Cafe" and painted them in blue...


And of course the fun part - pulling off all the vinyl!!...

I am very pleased with how it turned out!  You can see the hanging hardware I attached on the top...

I have to tell you, distressing a sign that you just lovingly painted is both fun and terrifying.  I am always so worried that I will hate it, and have ruined the project!
Luckily, this one turned out to my satisfaction :)



Here it is hanging on the wall with the other two signs I made. (The washroom sign tutorial can be found here).  In case you were wondering, my daughter was born in 2009, hence the Est. 2009.  Perhaps that was obvious - but there you go :)

I am toying with the idea of hanging silverware from the bottom of Kaija's Cafe sign...
I'm not quite sure how I would do it though.  Probably drilling holes in the silverware to hang with fishing wire from hooks screwed into the bottom (?). 
I will of course, let you know if I do any more to it.
For now, I get a smile on my face every time I walk through the kitchen!

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