Archives For Crafty Goodness

Last winter when I was making a bunch of items using vintage book pages to sell in my shop I found myself with a pile of scrap pieces of paper that I couldn’t use. So I did what any sensible person would do-I put them in a jar, hoping that someday I’d find a use for them and maybe I’d just enjoy their prettiness in the meantime. Well, my friends, that day has come. I used some of the larger scraps to make these little paper tassels that you saw on my dining room frame wall yesterday.

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This project started on a whim while I was drowning my sorrows about LSU’s loss in a bottle of Abita Saturday night. It was only after I’d already completed the first two tassels that I thought, “hey, I should blog about this,” and snapped a few pictures with my iPhone. Step one: collect some long and thin scraps of paper. These were mostly the margins, which had too much white space to use for most other projects but worked just fine for this one.

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Stack them up nicely and pinch them firmly together.

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Then twist, baby, twist.

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Fold over in half. More pinching.

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Optional: use scissors to cut the ends into points, alternating the direction of the slant as you see fit.

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Use some thin string to tie a knot around the top and voila-you’ve got a tassel. I wanted three tassels clustered close together so I tied them accordingly.

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I stuck them up on the wall with a couple of brass tacks that I already had. I’ll be honest-I wasn’t at all sure how they would turn out (which is why I didn’t initially think to photograph their construction), but I’m really pleased! I think it’s sort of symbolic that there are three of them. One for each human who lives here.

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If you don’t have any scrap pieces of book paper lying around you can always find something worthy of destruction at a thrift store, but if that makes you squeamish you could use tissue paper, paper bags, or even fabric. Anything that doesn’t have a strikingly different reverse side should work. You can make them to any size just by cutting your strips shorter or longer. A whole garland of tassels in a warm neutral shade like this would be super cute for decorating a mantel or something of the sort for fall.

Thanks for reading, y’all, and I hope this Tuesday treats you well!

So two things happened recently to inspire this latest project. A) two commenters on this post reminded me that thrift stores are an excellent source for frames, and B) I read this post on another blog about using looking glass spray paint to create an antiqued-looking mirrored surface. The very day that this idea took hold in my heart I ran out to the Goodwill and picked up this beautiful work of art for only $12.99. I’ll admit that the art itself is not exactly my style-the frame is what I was looking for.

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Once I’d purchased my frame, I skipped next door to Hobby Lobby (how lucky am I that they are in the same shopping center?) and picked up a can of looking glass spray paint. It was only $7.19 after using a coupon via HL’s iPhone app.

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I pulled the backing and print out of the frame and brought it outside to lay face down on some protective paper. I was going to remove the glass from the frame, but I had a hard time getting it out so I decided to just leave it. I was also going to peel the price stickers off the front of the glass but by this point I was already outside and it was hot as balls so I decided to just deal with them later.

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Following the instructions I’d read online, I spritzed the back of the glass with a generous mist of a vinegar + water mixture and then sprayed on a coat of the looking glass paint.

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After waiting a few moments for it to dry a bit I wiped with a paper towel, leaving an intentionally spotty and uneven application behind.

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Then I just kept building up in layers-spritz, spray, wait, wipe, repeat.

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It was taking more coats than I’d anticipated to build up to what I wanted with this technique so I eventually just went for it and skipped the vinegar step so I could get full coverage. I had to go back to Hobby Lobby for another can of spray paint but since it was a different transaction I could use another coupon (total spent on spray paint = $14.38). When the glass was finally no longer see through I replaced the backing and used a heavy-duty picture hanging kit ($4 from Target and came with way more supplies than I needed) to mount it centered above the small sewing table in our dining room. This is one of the darker rooms in our house so the mirror is really nice to bounce some light around, plus I like having a spot to quickly slap on some makeup or check my outfit (if you think it would probably be easier to just step into the bathroom you have never lived with a toddler. Jack is really into toilets lately so bathroom doors stay closed at all times).

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I like how the surface has that hazy, spotty look that you find in really old mirrors and at the same time is still reflective enough to be somewhat useful. That’s exactly what I was going for. Please excuse the shameless selfie. I was having a good hair day.

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The wood tone on the frame is actually a thin veneer that’s peeling off in spots so I may strip and paint it down the line, but for now I’m leaving it be. I’m just so stoked that for under $30 and really very little time/effort I could get such a large, cool looking mirror. I feel like it’s the kind of thing that Anthropologie or Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware would sell for like a million dollars.

Thanks for reading, y’all, and I hope your week is off to a great start! Nick and I are having a date day today-lunch and a movie with no  babies allowed. So luxurious!

Frames are expensive. Even Target frames are like $15 each at the lower end and that sort of thing adds up when you’ve got a bunch of blank walls to fill. My go-to sources for inexpensive frames are Ikea and discount stores like Family Dollar or Dollar General. The only downsides are that 1) Ikea is 250 miles away, and 2) discount store frames look like they came from a discount store. Examples: these two extremely old photos of “art” that I hung in my bedroom using frames from Dollar General.

I mean, they’re alright. They’ve been there for like two years and I didn’t hate them enough to take them down, but when I was rearranging my room recently I decided to spruce them up a bit with some paint. It was done on a whim so I didn’t think to take any pictures of the process but I was so pleased with the results that I couldn’t resist sharing it with y’all. Mr. Pavo Real is now hanging behind the bed by himself.

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And the smaller locally-inspired print is still in the same spot above the dresser.

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I actually just mixed some black and white acrylic paint with a little bit of metallic silver-all craft paints that I already had-and slapped on two coats after taping off the glass. It was really easy to scrape any mistakes off the glass with my fingernail, so if you’ve got a steadier hand than me then you could probably get away without taping. And even if you don’t have any paint on hand a little tube of craft paint is only like a dollar. You could choose practically any color of the rainbow! I love that something so simple and completely free made these cheapo frames look way more expensive and custom. I think it’s the matte finish that I dig so much. Of course, if you were putting your frames anywhere that they might be bumped into or whatever you might want to use primer or some sort of protective coating, but like I said this was done on a whim so no such sensible measures here. If the paint gets scratched I guess I’ll just put my head into my hands and cry. And then touch it up with more paint that I already have.

I hope you each have a wonderful weekend! LSU is playing their first home game tomorrow and my husband is over-the-moon excited. It’s a non-conference game against an opponent we’re expected to smash so he actually was able to snag a ticket. He’ll be bringing Jack while I sit home and eat bon bons and take a staycation from motherhood. Color me delighted!

Next week Jack is going to start attending a Mother’s Day Out program. I went back to work part time when he was three months old but he’s always been in in-home care. This is our first time that he’ll be with a group of other kids in a daycare-like setting and I actually think he’ll really enjoy it. I always notice that he’s less clingy and more willing to play independently when there are lots of other people around. I guess there’s just so much to see and do! So anyway, one thing that kind of caught me off guard about this MDO program is that there’s a specific set of things I need to provide (crib sheet, blanket, etc.) and everything has to be labeled. I could just write his name everywhere with a sharpie and call it a day, but do you know me it all? It needs to be cute. Plus the idea of permanently altering baby items with monograms or handwritten names has always struck me as wasteful-it’s kind of awkward to consign, resell, or pass down something with your kid’s name on it!  So I brainstormed a method for attaching a cute fabric label that can be removed with a seam ripper. All you need is some fabric and iron-on transfer paper.

First, I created an image with his name in a grid. To do this I made a table in Publisher, saved it as an image, then used paint to flip it so it would print in reverse. If I’m being honest, I forgot to print it in reverse the first time and wasted an entire sheet of transfer paper. It happens to the best of us.

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Then I simply cut a rectangle of white muslin I already had (you could use any light colored fabric, even an old t-shirt) and followed the instructions that came with the transfer paper to iron the image onto the fabric.

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Then all that was left to do was cut out a label and sew it onto Jack’s blanket. I didn’t stress about sewing a perfect rectangle, I just tried to make a reasonably neat box around his name and then I cut off all the excess fabric around the outside. I actually love the way it looks.

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So for the cost of some transfer paper (I already had it but you can get some for less than $10) and some spare time on my Sunday afternoon I now have more than 70 labels that I can attach to anything fabric throughout the rest of his childhood. They can be washed and worn and as Jack grows I can use a seam ripper to remove them with no significant damage to the item. If you don’t have a sewing machine these would be easy enough to hand stitch or you could use some fusible web to iron it on if you’re not worried about wanting to remove it someday. Or maybe even fabric glue! I think that stitching is the best option though.

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I attached labels to his blanket, the crib sheet I bought just for MDO (I decided it was too stressful for me to have one of his two regular crib sheets clean and not on his bed every week), his little paci blanket thingie, and when the adorable little backpack I ordered him comes tomorrow I’ll put a label on that too. I also ordered some of these erasable food labels for his pacifiers and sippy cups-the pack of 70 is obviously way more than I need just for him but I figure I can use them in the kitchen, around the house, etc. Yay organization! I love having things neatly folded and labeled just so.

I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend. We attended a beautiful memorial service for my grandfather, enjoyed visiting with family, and finished season 1 of House of Cards. I can’t believe we have to wait until next year for season 2! Hopefully I can talk Nick into taking up Orange is the New Black with me. I love summer TV.