Today, I’ve been on a self-imposed bed rest as I recover from a second oral surgery ( braces are the worst! ) which gave me time to put together a list of some things I’m loving right now, but not including naps, ice packs, and dairy free ice cream, all of which are on my personal list! Cozy finds:
It’s classy, it’s feminine, it’s pink. It pairs well with the cover of the #GirlBoss book. It pairs perfectly with white and marble and even cement – like a boss who knows how to make stuff happen, but also have fun. Can you ever have too much rose gold? I think not.
So roll up your boss lady blazer sleeves and lets get to crafting.
September is the new January! I’ve told that to Brian so many times in the last week as he’s questioned why I’m de-cluttering, he now just rolls his eyes. Going back to school has permanently ingrained in me the feeling of fall being a fresh start, a time to refocus on old goals and make new ones. Maybe that’s why they say “turn over a new leaf,” because fall … leaves… MIND BLOWN.
Even though it’s still devilishly hot here in Arizona, I’m not going to let it get me down or chill my autumnal instincts. I’m preparing for one of my favorite fall traditions – the purge. Before I can cozy up for winter, I first have to get rid of all the stuff that’s creating disorder, stress, and holding me back from clarity and purpose by its mere existence.
This is a little different from my usual Friday Finds lists. As is probably obvious, I’ve never been too big on the whole Southwestern decor look, despite living in the Southwest.
But last month, as I looked for birthday party themes for Edison, I found so many lovely cactus/boho/southwestern decor items with a little feminine flair, and I just loved the contrast. I wasn’t on the cactus trend before, but now, I’m definitely stuck on it … too much?
I’m looking for creative ways to incorporate touches of it into our house, and put together this little inspiration board.
Once you’ve moved (and here’s 7 tips for making that easier) decorating your new place is the fun part. Unfortunately, that kind of comes last, after the clean-all-the-things stage, and the get-it-functional stage. Eventually, you reach the why-are-there-still-boxes-here stage, but somewhere in there, your house becomes a home. Once again, Casper was collecting these tips, and I decided to join in.
It’s almost a fact of life that once you move to a new place, some of your rugs will no longer fit your new rooms, or you’ll have new rooms with new floors to be covered. I hate carpet with a passion, so rugs are my friends. I choose my friends with great care, which is why it seems to take me years to pick out rugs. And even then, I’m guilty of chronically picking rugs that are too small. Here’s a guide for how your rugs should fit in any room, from Home Depot.
Nothing personalizes your new place like artwork, and when you’re ready to hang things on the wall, you know you’re really settling in. Etsy is one of my favorite places to find affordable art, and also Society6, but I also like finding unique paintings at craft fairs and antique stores, and then customizing thrift store frames for cohesive gallery walls.
But not artwork has to be purchased. In the gallery wall in the entry way, I have a blue jay painting by Brian’s great-grandmother, a framed cover of a catalog, and a free print I found online of eggs, mixed in with flea market and craft store finds, and a DIY moss covered letter.
3. New mattress, sheets, and pillows
When we moved into our first house, we took the opportunity to upgrade our mattress. Because we upgraded from a full to a queen, we also had to get all new sheets and a bedspread. I think we kept the same pillows, but if you’re moving, it’s a great time to evaluate how those are holding up too, and consider having your pillows shipped to your door.
These marble sheets from Urban Outfitters aren’t cheap, but I’m seriously in love with them and trying to figure out if there’s a good way to DIY them. How awesome would these look in a bedroom with rose gold accents?
4. Cleaning Kit
When you’re living in chaos, the last thing you need is to not be able to find where you packed the cleaning supplies, or lose them in the maze of boxes. One of the most useful wedding presents we received was a plastic caddy full of cleaning supplies, like this one. This has been invaluable during all of our moves, and still comes in handy for keeping cleaning supplies corralled and portable.
5. Inexpensive Organizing Solutions
While you’re unpacking and organizing your new closets and drawers is the perfect time to invest in some new containers. My favorite are clear plastic shoe bins. I use them for craft supplies, office cords of all kinds, and of course, shoes. You could also get a little fancy and try some of my painted paper Trader Joe’s bags for storage.
6. A Special Item to Mark the Transition
When we moved into our first house, our realtor bought us a wooden cutting board shaped like the state of Arizona. Regardless of whether you’re upgrading or downsizing, excited about your new place or dreading it, I think marking the transition with something special and celebratory is important. Some people frame keys or a photo of their old house, or you can have a custom portrait made of your new place. My DIY state art would be perfect if you’ve moved out of state. Find something that either pays tribute to where you’re leaving, or celebrates your new beginnings.
Here’s a handy graphic to pin for next time you’re moving:
For a #FridayFinds post a few weeks ago, I mentioned the new paper bag trend. Initially, I was confused. Why are white paper bags cool? Why are they all over Pinterest? And why are they selling all over Etsy?
If I had to guess, I’d say these are the new fabric cubes and bins. Maybe the reason they’re becoming popular is that storage solutions can be pricey, and this is a way to reuse what you already have. I’m still not sure why someone would buy one, but with some paint, I’m planning to DIY some Trader Joe’s bags and use them for storage in my closets. They do have a cool texture, and you can customize them easily.
Paint – I used white, gold, copper, and black to decorate mine
Step 1: Paint your bag white. I think the white paint on the craft paper texture almost looks like canvas when it’s dry.
Step 2: Decorate your bag. This is the fun part! I looked at paper storage bags on Pinterest, like the ones I included in this post above, for my inspiration. For my first one, I painted copper metallic crosses.
Step 3: Fold down the top of the bag. This is by far the hardest part – I couldn’t seem to do it without tearing the top of the bag a bit. My only advice is to roll slowly, giving it a good crease now and then, and use some tape if it tears too noticeably.
Step 4: Fill and display!
I had so many ideas for more bag designs – I made three more from Trader Joe’s bags, and then painted a few other smaller paper bags as well. I love how the metallic ones turned out!
The metallic ones are my favorite.
What am I going to use these for? What WON’T I use them for? Currently, I’m using two in the linen closet to hold washcloths and extra toiletries, and one to hold craft supplies. I might use some of the smaller ones for some plants. I’ll post it on Instagram when I find them all a home 🙂
So, what do you think of the paper storage bag trend? Are you in?
Every time I passed that Target end cap, the cute spring banners almost jumped into my basket of their own accord. But somehow, every time one thought compelled me to put them back on the shelf, the thought that “I could make this!”
It’s a thought that can often lead an enthusiastic crafter astray. But fear not – today’s project really is as easy as they come, and the end results can’t be beat! You can make these banners with any phrase of importance to you – honestly, that’s the hardest part, just narrowing down the quote options!
Once you’ve decided, you’ll be able to whip up a couple of these in one afternoon. Here’s what you’ll need:
White cotton fabric – or really, any color of cotton fabric! For your message to be most readable, I recommend keeping it a solid color.
Step 1: Make your pattern by marking the center of your piece of paper, and using your ruler to measure up the sides of the paper and connect the dots to mark the triangle sections you’ll cut off.
Step 2: Fold your fabric over so that you can cut out two identical pieces at the same time, and place your banner pattern on top. Then, cut out the two pieces.
Step 3: Glue the two pieces together, staying very close to the edges. Glue all the edges together except for the top – leave the top of banner open, so that when the glue dries, you can turn the whole thing inside out. Yes, you could sew the edges, but ain’t nobody got time for that.
Step 4: While the glue is drying, make some tassels! These are super easy. Just wrap some thread around your fingers until you have the thickness you’d like.
Slide the thread off your hand, and tie a small piece of thread around it, like so. This will be the top of your tassel.
Then, wrap thread around the tassel a small distance from the top, and tie the ends of the thread together to secure it.
Cut the loop at the bottom of the tassel, and fluff up the threads.
Step 5: Now that your glue hem has dried, turn the banner inside out to have nice finished edges. Add some glue to the top edge, and fold it over. This will be the back of the banner.
Step 6: Cut two 1 inch wide strips of fabric, and fold them in half. Then glue the ends down to the back of the banner.
Step 7: Now for the fun part! Write your message or draw your design on the front of your banner. I drew mine on paper first, and traced it onto the fabric with the light from a window. I used a water soluble pen, so I could just dab off the blue after I was finished with the painting.
I traced the letters on one banner with my copper fabric marker, and use my gold Sharpie paint pen on the other. I LOVE how both turned out!
Step 8: I did break out the needle and thread to sew on the tassels. Just a couple stitches through the top should do it.
Step 9: Then I slid one banner onto a wooden skewer, after cutting off the pointy end. I hung the other one from a stick from the backyard – a stick that had a previous life as a wizard wand. I tied some embroidery thread to the stick and the skewer for hanging.
This was so much more satisfying than just buying a cheap banner from Target! I’m officially hooked. I’d love to try embroidering on one next, or using navy blue fabric with white fabric paint, or experimenting with pompoms and tassels. There’s so many options, I just might need one in every room!
What did you think of this craft? If you liked it, pin it or share it!
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that when you purchase something, I made a little percentage. Thanks for supporting my craft habit!
Can I wax contemplative for a minute? Home is both where I’m from and also where I am now. My Midwestern roots feel less like home in some ways, now that I’ve lived in a major city for almost seven years. I’ve found that living in a city changes you – the way you see the world shifts to a wider angle lens as you come into contact with a vast variety of perspectives. At the same time, I’ve felt more homesick for the Midwest over the last couple years than I have in the entire time we’ve lived in Arizona, because once I had Edison, I realized just how important roots are for support. Sometimes I feel like a branch with a heavy burden tied to it, that’s just been stuck in the dirt, struggling to stay upright.
But as I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I’m working on this whole “rooted” thing by reading This is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live. One of the practical takeaways so far has been that people who love where they live act like they love it – just think of “Don’t mess with Texas” pride. People who love where they live do things to take care of their place and show a sense of ownership. I’m pretty sure that Texans are the only people to get tattoos of their state on their bodies.
I’m not ready for that level of commitment yet, but I did want to pay tribute to my roots as well as all the amazing experiences and adventures Arizona has brought me in the last seven years – pretty much all of which I’ve documented on this blog, in fact!
At a local mom-made craft and business fair (side note: another habit of people who love where they live is shopping locally) I bought this wooden outline of Iowa for about $6. As soon as I got home, I started kicking myself for not getting a matching one of Arizona. But then, I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to figure out how to DIY one – no scroll saw required! And, it only cost a few cents to make!
White paint for covering your wood or canvas background.
Sandpaper. This is optional, if you like the distressed farmhouse look.
Metal picture hanging bracket.
Super glue. I used Loctite 411 because it’s what I found in the garage.
Balsa wood – I got a piece large enough to make 5 or six states for $5 at Joanns.
Watercolor paint in black and brown (you’ll see why!).
Step 1: Paint your square piece of wood or canvas white and let it dry. I also painted the edges of mine copper, because … copper.
Step 2: Sand your piece of wood if you’d like a distressed farmhouse look.
Step 3: Use your super glue to attach the metal bracket to the back. I know what you’re thinking, but yes, this Loctite 411 glue will absolutely hold. It’s crazy strong, and this was much easier to me than trying to find little nails to attach the bracket, but you could go that route if you really wanted.
Step 4: Google “*Your state here* outline” and print off one of the options. I found one of Arizona that matched the size of the Iowa one perfectly.
Step 5: Cut out your state, and place it over your piece of balsa wood. Trace around it with a pencil, and cut it out with your craft knife. I cut out two, so that I could match the thickness of the purchased Iowa cutout.
Step 6: Carefully sand the edges if they’re a bit rough. Balsa wood is extremely soft, so proceed with caution. Glue your pieces together if you’re doubling up like I did. I used Elmer’s glue, and put a book on top of the state while it was drying so that it didn’t bow.
Step 7: Now it’s time to break out the watercolors. Make a dark brown mixture, and paint the edges of your state. This gives it a lovely wood-burned effect.
Smudge the edges with your brush to mimic the effect of wood-burning, basically allowing the super dark edges to bleed over a bit. Then, wet the surface of the state with your brush, and go over it with a light brown wash.
It looks a little dark initially, but it will dry lighter. Place a book, or something flat and heavy, on top to prevent bowing while it dries.
Step 8: Glue your states onto your canvas or wood background! I used good old Elmer’s for this again. Once it dries, you’re ready to hang your art!
Now this wall begins with where we’re from, ends with where we are, and has some aspirational locations in the middle.
I still have plenty of balsa wood left, and used mostly things I already had, so this project probably cost me less than a dollar to make!
If you were going to make state art, what state would you choose? Let me know in the comments below or on social media!
If you’re on Instagram, you know letterboards like this run from $50 for a small square to $80 or more. I found this one on Amazon for $36! I’m loving coming up with fun phrases for it!
2. My Bullet Journal
I’m hooked, you guys! After years of never finding that elusive perfect planner with the right amount of writing space, goal tracking, and calenders to keep everything organized, I finally peeked into the bullet journal trend. Then I fell down the rabbit hole and created a whole YouTube playlist of videos on this! Now instead of having three different notebooks, one for work, one for gratitude journaling, one for goal setting and tracking in my PowerSheets, I may be able to combine it all in one place!
As much as I loved many elements of the PowerSheets system, I found myself not using a lot of the pages and forgetting to log my progress on goals, because it just wasn’t portable. With the bullet journal, I can copy down the quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily goal trackers, while keeping everything small enough to tote around.
Trend alert – if you haven’t heard of “hygge” yet (not pronounced like “higgy,” but more like “hue-guy” or “hoo gah”… it’s Danish, and really hard to say!) you will soon. It’s a Danish word, and means something like what’s described above, but in home decor, relates to making spaces feel cozy and inviting. Apparently the Danes burn candles year around, like on average having 13 candles going on any given day, or some crazy high number like that. Of course – I have a bad track record of leaving them burning … so battery operated ones are probably the best way for me to go. I’ve also been drinking lots of hot tea, and taking time to read magazines for fun with a soft, fuzzy blanket after Edison goes to bed at night.
And maybe eating an occasional Cadburry Creme Egg. Totally hygge.
4. Paper bags
Yes, I know it sounds weird, and for a long time I was very confused by this trend. This one is popular in Europe, and just beginning to make it’s way over. Why are people decorating with paper bags? And why are they cool? And most importantly, why would I pay $20 for one?
If I had to guess, I’d say these are the new fabric cubes and bins. Maybe the reason they’re becoming popular is that you can reuse what you already have. I’m still not sure why someone would buy one, but with some paint, I’m planning to DIY some Trader Joe’s bags and use them for storage in my closets. They do have a cool texture, and you can customize them easily. They’re kind of growing on me.
Looking for something better than crappy candle to stuff an Easter basket? Mercy House has these fair trade Easter bundles that come with a handmade dishtowel, cross bangle, and crocheted chick for $35. This would make a great gift!
What have you found lately that you can’t stop recommending? Let me know in the comments!