August 26, 2012

Teacher Wreath Gift

So, I mentioned that my oldest daughter starts Kindergarten in a couple of weeks.  (!)
As soon as we got her class assignment, she was anxious to write her teacher a note, and make her a gift.
I had pinned this idea from Think Crafts - and it seemed like the perfect gift for a Kindergarten teacher.

I used the foam tubing from the plumbing department of the hardware store to make a wreath form - just like I did for this Christmas wreath like a charm.  Just cut the tubing down to the size you want, and tape the ends together with packing tape.  Nice and inexpensive. 

Then, we wrapped and hot glued school themed fabric around the foam tubing:

Finally, we hot glued school supplies around the outside, with the word "Welcome!" cut out of cardstock, and the teacher's name and grade handwritten on the little notebook.  A bit of ribbon is tied around the top to hang it.  I plan to give the teacher a 3M hook to make hanging the wreath anywhere easier. 

I think it turned out really cute - and hopefully it will make a nice addition to the Kindergarten classroom that everyone can enjoy!

image signature

August 24, 2012

Quick Wall Mounted Thread Storage

Let me just say, I am envious of those who have the space for a dedicated craft room.  Okay, I covet.  Maybe someday :)
For now, I have a great little cabinet that I keep my sewing machine and craft items in, and it has a closing door to hide everything away when it's not in use (which is maybe once a year :) ).

Up until now, I have had this little plastic container for my thread - which has been a nightmare.  The lid does not stay on, and I have no place to set it.  So, every time it tips, the lid slides off, and thread falls out!  Don't buy one :)

I decided that I wanted to get my thread off the shelf and onto the wall.  I've discovered that these days, I need to start going up instead of out if I want to add more storage (Just take a look at my picture frame bookshelf and pallet shoe rack.  Both great examples of getting things off surfaces!)

I took a strip of scrap wood, about 1" wide, and cut it just shorter than the length of my cabinet.  I planned to use the pegs from my plastic thread holder, but this would work with little wooden dowels too.  Each peg is 2" long. 
Using a drill bit the same size as my pegs, I drilled holes along the wood at 1 & 5/8 inch intervals.  This allows each peg enough side to side space to fit even large spools of thread. 

My drill holes didn't go all the way through the wood - they are just deep enough to fit the peg a few centimeters down into the hole.  I used hot glue to secure them in, making them angle up slightly to help keep the thread on. 

I put sticky backed velcro on the back of the wood to secure the wood to the cabinet.

And here are the peg strips - nicely in the back of the cabinet!  Now my thread is easy to access, and doesn't take up shelf space.  Woo hoo!

image signature

August 21, 2012

Fairy Houses: A Fun Summer Project

With my daughter nearly off to her first year of school, we have been having fun doing things together before she is a big Kindergartner, and gone from me for most of the day :(  (Are you sensing my trauma??)
When we were at the craft store the other day, we spotted all these darling birdhouses on sale - on my mom had the brilliant idea to make them into fairy houses!

Each birdhouse cost $2 or $3, and the only other cost associated with the project was glue!  Very inexpensive, and my girls had so much fun!!

Below you can see the birdhouses pretty much as we bought them.
The girls painted them first with acrylic paint (because they absolutely love to paint, and it gave us a colorful base in case the wood showed through after we were done gluing.)

We went to the beach and collected a gigantic pile of shells and rocks.  We also collected sticks and leaves from around our house.  Pretty much anything earthy and organic made it into the pile. 

I picked up the super strong glue from the craft store that doesn't smell - so that the kids could use it without worry. 
I smeared a layer of glue on the first side, and let the girls stick shells and rocks to their hearts content.  I helped them push things close together, but they were really able to do most of this on their own.

We let each side completely dry before starting another side (sometimes for a whole day).  It stretched out the project, and allowed us to collect more items as the days went on. 

Here you can see that we have many more sides done.  Sticks for the roof, some twine, etc.

And here they are all done!
We finished some of the sections with raffia, beads, beans, fake flowers -- things that fit each space and covered all parts of the wood.

The girls are now having fun making "beds" and putting things inside. I think they look adorable in the garden!

image signature

August 11, 2012

Picture Frame Book Shelf

Is this a clever little project, or what?
I love to read.  Because I am a busy mom, I often read after the kids have gone to bed, and before I fall asleep - which means I keep my books by my bed. 
Usually I borrow books from the library, so I tend not to have too many at one time, but even so, I only have a tiny night stand by my bed that I have used to pile my books, lamp, phone, lotion, and a number of other things that find their way there :)

When I saw this pin on Pinterest, I think my jaw fell open a little bit.  I loved it!  So clever, so DIYable!

Lucky for me, I found this picture frame in the giveaway pile! (okay someone's garbage pile...along with some other home decor I didn't want...listen it is not as weird as it sounds!  People pick stuff up off the side of the road all the time here!) ;)

It is probably an 8x10 picture frame, wood, funky design...perfect for a bookshelf!

Using some scrap wood that I had, about 4" wide, I built a box frame the exact size needed to fit inside my picture frame.  I used wood glue and nails to put it all together, as seen below:

As you can see below, it fits perfectly inside my picture frame.

From here, I glued the box to the picture frame.  I would have used nails too, if I could have...but I couldn't get them to go in at the correct angle.  So, since I knew my books would not be resting on the frame itself, I used wood glue to attach the box and the frame, and weighed it down with some bricks until it was dry.  After all, wood glue bonds really strong, as long as it is held tightly together while it cures. 

Next, I painted it.  I could have stained the box for a natural look, but I decided to paint it.  I can always paint it a different color if I want - so I went simple black and white for now. 

I painted the whole thing white, and then taped off the inside to leave the box white and then painted the frame black:

Here it is all painted (above) and distressed a bit and sprayed with a clear coat (below).

I used 2 D Ring Hangers (click on the link to see what those are), attached to the back of the box, to hang it.  Then, I put mollies and screws into the wall to hang the D Ring Hangers on.  This method allows the box to hang flush against the wall, and it is very strong, so the books won't rip it off the wall.

I am so excited to have my books off the night stand, and in this handy frame!!  It is working great, and it looks pretty cool too. 

image signature

August 4, 2012

Pallet Style Shoe Rack {Tutorial}

When you live in a small house (and let's face it - what New England house isn't small?) you learn to utilize every available space :)
My husband loves his shoes - and because we have one tiny closet in our bedroom, he uses the closet in the kid's room.  So, his oft worn shoes are oft found lying around the bedroom floor - and my pregnant belly does not allow me to see them and so I end up tripping over them! :) 

Enter this handy, minimal space taking shoe rack!  We had this 16" of space beside the dresser and the heating coil, and it was enough!

I ravaged the scrap wood pile at the hardware store, and bought all the wood I needed for just a couple of dollars.  This would be a great project for any kind of scrap wood - so you can make one very inexpensively. 

I started by making something that looked a lot like a ladder.
The width of my space allowed for a 16" wide shoe rack, so each of my cross pieces is 16" wide.
My dresser is a little over 3' tall, so I made the rack approximately that height so that it would be hidden by the dresser. 

To calculate the exact height, I took the width of each cross piece (2.5" for me), plus the width of the gap (3" was a perfect gap to fit the shoes in), and added them together.  I did that until it added up to about the height I wanted.  (This was easier to do visually, on a piece of paper, so that I could see how many boards and gaps I would need to reach the approximate height I wanted).