DIY: How to Make Fabric Pumpkins

It’s officially fall! Although, for me it was a little anti-climatic, since I started decorating for fall the first week of September. But now, we autumn-aficionados can revel in our favorite season and post too many photos of pumpkin spice lattes while wearing cozy sweaters and boots.

I shared in my Friday Finds post these adorable velvet pumpkins from Target (for $1!) but bemoaned that they only had one color left. After I brought them home, I remembered that I have yards of bright blue velvet in my fabric stash, thanks to the Ikea curtains we bought for our master bedroom that needed about a foot cut off of the bottom to fit our windows. I didn’t have any real pumpkin stems, so I DIYed a cute way of getting around that, so don’t despair if you don’t have any pumpkin stems either. I like the contrast of the hemp twine and velvet anyway; it’s very farmhouse chic.

Let’s get started!

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3 Rose Gold DIY Decor Ideas for Your Office

rose gold DIYs for #girlboss office
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.

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4 Steps to Up-cyle a Trader Joe’s Bag to a Trendy Paper Storage Bag

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. 

You will need: 

  • Trader Joe’s bags
  • Paint – I used white, gold, copper, and black to decorate mine
  • Foam brushes
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?

DIY: Make Your Own Tasseled Fabric Banner Wall Hanging in An Afternoon

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.
  • Scissors and a ruler
  • A piece of copy paper for your pattern
  • Craft glue
  • Sharpie paint pens, or fabric paint, or a metalic fabric marker, like the copper one I used, that I bought at Joanns. Here’s the closest paint I could find on Amazon.
  • A small stick from the backyard, or wood skewers, like you’d use for grilling
  • Embroidery thread for tassels and hanging
  • Pencil, or water soluble pen

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.

Super easy! Here’s another tutorial, just in case.

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!

DIY: Make Your State Wall Art

Home.

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!

You will need:

  • A square piece of wood, or a square canvas for your background. I happened to have some leftover square pieces of wood from our kitchen shelf project.
  • 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.
  • Craft knife.
  • 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!

How to DIY a Rose Gold Anthropologie Hurricane

I first saw these rose gold metal hurricanes in Anthropologie around Mother’s Day last year, and Brian bought me the tiniest one for a Mother’s Day gift. The largest ones cost $52, but they’re currently sold out.
If you, like me, can’t spend $52 on such an item and missed your opportunity to get it, this post is for you. Well, if you’re willing to put in the work to make it. But since you’re reading this post, I’m going to take that as a yes.
You’ll need: 

 This is what I started with: a $20 light fixture from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. I bought this originally for the insides of the light fixture, to DIY my own light fixture for the dining room, but I was able to put the glass to good use!

Step 1: Take out the innards. Brian helped me with this, because I was initially having a hard time figuring out how it came apart. When it’s done, you’ll have this: 
Set aside the light fixture innards for your future project. 
Then, Cover all the exterior glass with painters’ tape, like so. It’s tedious, but very important to get the glass well covered, with a good edge along the metal. It will save you a lot of time on the clean up!
After your glass is taped, Use a scrap of cardboard to block off the inside. You’ll have to cut it just a little larger than the opening, and fit it inside just below the rim. I neglected to do this, which as you’ll see, was not a good idea. I highly recommend learning from my mistake!

Put on a coat of spray paint primer. This will help the paint adhere to the metal. Notice in the photo above, the top of the glass is not covered. I didn’t realize how much spray paint would actually get inside, and guess what – it’s A LOT. So make sure you do cover the opening.

Also a tip I learned from watching DIY videos on YouTube – spray painting inside a cardboard box helps keep the paint contained, and protects what you’re painting from wind and dust.

Follow up with a coat or two of copper spray paint.

Once it’s dry to the touch, start carefully peeling off your painters tape. The sooner you remove the tape, the easier it will be to have a good clean edge. This step is super satisfying!

Clean off any paint on the glass with a scraper. This step took the longest for me, because I had to scrape down the entire inside of the thing, due to not blocking off the opening. 
The paint came off with the tape in a couple places, so that’s what you need the additional bottle of metallic paint for – just touch up areas that need it. 
Add candles, moss, stones, lights, succulents, flowers, or whatever suits you, and place it somewhere it can be admired by all. 
I’d guess this cost me $12 in paint, if I wasn’t using paint I already had, and $10 for the light fixture, since I’m using half of it for another project.
The tiny hurricane is the one I bought from Anthro, and I think the two of them together look like they were always meant to be!

3 Easy Upcycles You Can Make This Weekend

When you work full time and have a one and a half year old, crafting time happens in pockets at night and on weekends. Which means that projects I can start on a Saturday morning and actually complete by evening are super satisfying. Times that by three, and you’ll feel like you rule the craft world!

1. Marble Fridge Magnets

Up-cycle your old fridge magnets! For this super simple project, you’ll need:

  • A sheet of hexagon marble tiles. After looking at Home Depot, I bought these from Amazon. They were the perfect size, and the price couldn’t be beat!
  • A hot glue gun.
  • Magnets. I used my cheap old fridge magnets from Target. 

I hot-glued the old magnets to the back of the marble tiles. The one thing you’ll need to test is the strength of the magnets. I’d tried to upcycle some of those old flimsy old fridge magnets that have advertisements for restaurants, etc. on them, but they weren’t strong enough. 
Here’s the fridge before/during the magnet testing phase: 

 And after!

I love the little touch of elegance they add!

2. Paper Straw Diamond Mobile

This is one of those crafts I’d pinned ages ago, bought the supplies, made an attempt, and failed. The straws cluttered up my craft supplies drawer for months. Then one day, after watching some DIY videos on YouTube completely unrelated, I had a flash of inspiration and realized I could do this in an easier way – hot glue.

Here’s my original inspiration, from Sugar and Cloth:

This is what I started with – a tangled mess of straws tied together.

Here’s what you need:

  • Paper straws. I bought these at Target in the dollar section.
  • Hot glue gun.
  • Scissors, and string for hanging.

As described in the original tutorial linked above, for various sizes of diamonds, you’ll need different sized pieces. I ended up adding to the pieces you see here, so there were a total of:

  • five 6 1/4″ straws
  • five 5 1/2″ straws
  • ten 3 1/2″ straws

Here’s the premise: instead of stringing the straws together, we’re going to hot glue them. Hot glue dries so fast, and is malleable for a minute, it seemed plausible that this would work.

Start by gluing together a triangle with two long pieces and one medium piece.

Then we’re going to start to assemble the pentagon shape of medium pieces, with the long pieces forming triangles along the sides and connecting at the top.

Yay! The top section is done!

To add the rest of the diamond shape, it’s easiest to lay it on it’s side, and glue the pieces one by one. 
Clean up the glue by just breaking off any excess. 
Add some string for hanging, or use it as a decorative item!


3. Upcycled Lamps

Before:
Note the tiny lamp on the right in the first photo:  it, and the taller version, were a super cheap Walmart buys when Brian and I first got married and moved into our very first apartment. They’re nothing special, so I considered donating them and getting something with a little more flair. And then I had a light-bulb moment, and realized that they were perfect candidates for a spray paint upgrade! 
Now, spray painted lamps can go one of two ways – tacky, or awesome. There’s not much in between. So I did my research when it came to gold spray paint, and I decided to try two different types to see what the effects were. 
This paint was SO easy to use, I loved it! I had much more control over the paint, and my hand didn’t get tired and cramped. It was easy to get a super even and smooth finish, and I liked the final color of the gold, not too yellow or two orangey. 
This paint has your typical spray nozzle, and typical pitfalls – you have to be careful to control the amount of paint, not let it drip, etc. The hammered finish helps disguise any drips, and looks really cool.
As it turned out, I needed some lamps in my office at work, so I didn’t have to rely on horrible florescent lights. Here’s how the Universal Gold turned out: 

Here’s the Hammered Gold lamp: 

Between the two, I’d probably use the Universal Gold again before I’d use the Hammered Gold again. But for just the right project, the hammered gold could be the perfect effect. 
I also tried spray painting the lampshade on the small lamp – but if you’re going to attempt that, be sure to vacuum them off really well first. 
As far as actual steps for painting the lamps: tape off the cords, placing them in a plastic bag like I did, and taping off the top where the light bulb will go. Follow the drying instructions on your spray paint, but seriously, without priming, these turned out fantastic and were done in a day. 
And that’s it! Three easy DIY projects you can start, and probably complete, in a day. While you’re waiting for your first coat of spray paint to dry, you can be hot-gluing your magnets or straws!
Now you have no excuse – get crafting!

DIY: Moss Covered Letter Art

Sometimes, projects end up in a very different place from where you anticipated starting out. This was one such project. I had a specific plan for putting some bouquets of fake flowers to good use, and this project I’d pinned ages ago was too perfect. But in the end, I didn’t end up using any of the flowers, but some other craft supplies I already had, and still loving the finished product. That’s the creative process for you!

So if some of the photos below are a little confusing, it’s because the supplies for this project evolved over the course of completing it. Here’s what you actually need to complete the moss covered letter:

Supplies: 

  • Floral moss. I bought a bag of reindeer moss from Amazon. This is great stuff for terrariums too!
  • Hot glue gun.
  • A piece of cardboard. Mine is from the back of a print I purchased and framed, but any piece or thickness of cardboard could work.
  • Photo frame. I bought this one at Goodwill for a couple dollars, and painted it to give it new life.
  • Old book pages. I bought some old books at Goodwill also, and I’ve used them for many craft projects over the years.
  • A printer.

First, decide on the letter. I chose a “C” for our last name, which seemed fitting for the entry way. I tried drawing a “C” directly onto the cardboard, but I could not for the life of me get it to look good. So, take the time to type the letter into a Word document or Google Doc, and increase the font size to fill a standard 8×10 frame.

Print your letter, and cut it out. Trace it onto your cardboard, and cut it out.

Here’s where I resorted to Plan B. Plan A was to cover the letter with moss, mostly to fill any gaps between the flowers, which would go on top of the moss. But, my flowers were too large, or my letter too thin, for the flowers to fit. So, I kept it simple and just used the moss by itself.

With some little helping hands out of the way, I carefully hot-glued the moss to the frame, using generous amounts of moss to completely cover the cardboard. 

  

Now that your letter is ready, let’s start on the frame. I’d originally painted this frame what I’d thought would turn out a nice coral pink. Instead, I’d describe it as dusty 80’s rose. Not ideal. It was much improved with my favorite metallic finish gold paint

After I removed the existing artwork, I taped some old book pages to cover the back of the picture frame. You could use scrapbook paper, sheet music, or pieces of cool wallpaper, whatever fits with your entry way vibe.

Once the frame was reassembled, I used hot glue to attache the moss letter to the glass, on the front of the frame. Then it’s ready for hanging!
Of course, after I hung this up, I stopped to read the book page. I’d used some pages from one of the James Herriot books, which if you’re not familiar, are the adventures of Yorkshire country vet. The books are full of heartwarming stories, and they bring back many great memories of watching the TV series with my family on Sunday nights, drinking tea. They also sometimes very bluntly describe medical conditions and procedures, as the pages I just happened to select did. 
So yes, the words “ovarian,” “uterine,” and “pus-filled mass” are on display in our entryway.
 The creative process is messy, after all. 

DIY Christmas Decor: Marble and Gold Letters

So, I told you marble contact paper was addicting. 
Last week was Thanksgiving, and despite the contentions and deep divides around us, I hope you had peace around your Thanksgiving dinner table, and you were able to be truly grateful for those with you and your many blessings.
I think “peace” is especially applicable this Christmas season. As Advent begins, the season of expectant waiting, it’s a reminder that the Prince of Peace did come to this world as a baby, and live with us. He’s the Healer, and ultimate King.
Also, I’m writing this post before Thanksgiving, and I may or may not be listening to Christmas music. Ok, I’m definitely listening to Christmas music. 
Have you seen the Christmas decorations at Target? I fell in love with the marble Christmas trees. Marble matches everything, and is so classy.
I took that marble idea, and expanded on it for these marble and gold letters!
You’ll Need: 

Step 1: Fold your contact paper so that right sides are together, like it is in the image above. 

Step 2: Then trace and cut out your letters. You may need to use a craft knife to cut out some shapes, depending on what letters you choose. “JOY” would have been a bit easier!

Step 3: Peel and stick the contact paper letters to the cardboard letters. Smooth out any bubbles under the surface. This part is the most fun!

Step 4: Paint the edges of the letters gold. I’d tried to use my copper contact paper, but without success. Paint is much easier, and I love the finished result!
Now that Thanksgiving is over, it’s now acceptable for me to take down my fall decorations and bust out the Christmas stuff. These will find a new home on my mantle. 
(And if you like that painting … I made that too, and I can post a tutorial for that also. The premise behind it is so easy, anyone could do it.)
So bust out the Christmas music with no shame, and get to spreading that Christmas cheer! Peace on earth, good will to men!

DIY: Make A Faux Marble and Copper Mousepad

In the last post on our office, we were still using a kitchen table and black desk. Someday I’ll have the finishing touches ready and I’ll share the rest, but *spoiler alert* we now have white desks.

I can’t tell you how much I love my desk, but the white surface did create an issue with my computer mouse. For weeks, I couldn’t figure out why my computer would turn on, but the mouse wouldn’t respond. Finally, I mentioned it to Brian, and in five minutes he diagnosed the issue – no mouse pad. He let me use his, which is covered with lovely photos of car parts and Motocraft products. But I wanted something a little more me.

I was inspired by the lovely marble mouse pads I found on Etsy for $20, and figured out how to create my own.

You’ll need:

Step 1: Cut your craft foam to size. 

Step 2: Trace your craft foam onto your marble contact paper. We’re going to add a section of copper, so mark how far you want the marble to come. Then cut it out.

Step 3: Slowly, peel and stick the contact paper to your foam, smoothing out any bubbles.

Step 4: Trace and cut out a section of copper contact paper to fit, and repeat – smoothing out any bubbles.

And that’s really all there is too it!

Want other ideas for using your contact paper? You can trace your laptop and apply it to the back of the screen, use it to give an upgrade to a bland desk lamp, wrap your pencil holder, and add some pieces to your desk accessories, like your stapler or table dispenser. 
Soon, I’ll post a Christmas decor idea using the marble contact paper. But I’d love to hear from you, have you used contact paper in crafts? What other ideas do you have for cool uses for it? Share them with us in the comments below!
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