Faux Gingerbread Ornaments DIY

[I had originally started this post in 2012 when I made these ornaments for my mother. I suppose in this case, late is better than never.]

I really enjoyed making these faux gingerbread like figures. On Pinterest the purpose of the figures are for gift decorations but instead I made them into ‘gingerbread’ ornaments.

Supplies needed (bakers twine for ornaments only ):

To make the figures–

Draw your designs lightly in pencil

Outline the designs with a polka dot outline with white puff paint

Fill in with lines and polka dots of puff paint in desired styles

Allow to dry for at least 3 hours before handling

To make the ornaments–

DIY Inspiration Board

What You’ll Need:

  • Cork Board
  • Acrylic/Wood/Fancy Push Pins
  • Assorted Pictures/Trinkets/ Art you don’t plan to frame/etc.

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  1.  Remove everything from the cork board. You need to start clean.

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2. Add the most meaningful larger pieces to the board. Use the Rule of 3 for the first placement (place at least 3 items in a triangle-like pattern).

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3. Fill in some of the negative space with the additional large to medium size images you have. It does not have to be balanced. Feel free to play around and move these new pieces about. Do not move the original pieces from step 2.

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4. Add personal photos. Feel free to overlap with some of the images from steps 2 or 3.

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5. Add in the smallest elements. In this step you will be looking for balance. I have enamel pins without frogs in the back, earrings with no mate, product tags I really liked, small worthless charms and broken jewelry, notes from friends and from class.

My inspiration board hangs over my desk and I usually start from scratch re-styling it every year. To create an inspiration board for an event use the images, words, phrases and colors you desire. If you don’t plan to restyle the board, invest in some foam board and glue instead of tacks and cork.

Book Detox

A downsize-needed area that I have been avoiding on purpose has been my overflowing book collection. I have been collecting these books since I was a child. Some were gifts, some mind blowing, and others an integral part of my education. It pains me to have to part with any of my old friends, but moving books is not only expensive but painful to both your back and storage. I decided to only keep those with extreme sentimental value to myself, and donate or sell the remainder.

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In an attempt to save my memories, I opted to create a Book Journal  and have an entry for each book I was parting with. In the future if I have the money and unlimited amounts of space, my plans will be to buy the books back in hardcover.

I bought Moleskins’s Square Pro Series Workbook, and used the format of Moleskine’s Book Passion Journal for guidance.

Unlike the official Moleskine Book Journal which only gave me six pages to fill in for each letter (156 books total), I was able to create a journal that allows me to write about 4 books per page for 6 pages (624 books total).

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My first couple journaled books:

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Faux Typography

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After offering some of my favorite tips about making faux calligraphy a few weeks back, I had multiple readers ask questions about how I made pretty lettering that was featured on my Instagram and Tumblr.  I remember learning some of the basics from my mom, but most of my pretty handwriting I would have to give credit to American Girl magazine.  I distinctively remember learning how to draw letters that were also palm trees.

Here are some of my favorite ways to add style and flair to any writing (cursive or print).

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1. Add dots

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2. Add Lines

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3. Make them bold (filled in or not)

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4.Turn them into block letters

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5. Add some different lines

 

 

Faux Calligraphy DIY

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My mother loved crafting and during my childhood in the 90s, there was not one craft that she did not tackle. Most of my resourcefulness and penny-pinching I can attribute to her. What I am most grateful that she taught me was faux calligraphy. This easily turns simple handwriting into something quite polished. I usually use this when I make my own cards, or on special messages. There are many tutorials out there that can teach you how to make amazing faux calligraphy but here are some of my personal tips.

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Choose a writing utensil you feel comfortable controlling. Ballpoint pens, gel pens, and sharpies work best.

Practice what you are writing and how you want it to look on scrap paper. Use your normal cursive if you feel most comfortable. If you want to play with some of the letters by adding more space between them or by making loopier Fs, gs and ps feel free.

Write your message. After you write it, go back and retrace over the downwards strokes of each letter. This will thicken those lines. Do not retrace the parts of the letters where your pen moves upwards.

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Samples and Mailing Station DIY

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{Top: Homemade Sample Bags. Bottom:Scissors, Sharpies, Gel Pens, Hole Punch, Colored Twine, and Gift Tags}

Being an Independent Consultant for Arbonne I constantly have samples to mail and pass out to potential clients. Often during the holidays and when Arbonne hosts specials, I buy extra items to giftware into amazing host presents for people wanting to host an Arbonne Get-Together in their home with their friends.

I used this Better Homes and Garden Article as inspiration for organizing my Samples and Mailing Station on the back of my bedroom door. I bought this storage system from Amazon and filled it with all my samples and mailing essentials, most of which tuck nicely into Mason jars. Prior to being an Arbonne Consultant, I used this system to store my gift wrapping supplies, and before then, art supplies.

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{Top: assorted samples. Bottom: various plastic gift bag sizes, sample nutrition facts, sample ingredient information}

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{Top: Stickers, Prize Bags, Arbonne Paper Bags, Paper Stuffing. Bottom: mailing envelopes, logo stickers, Sample bag supplies, pipe cleaners, butterfly decorations}

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Faux Earthenware Wooden Spoons DIY

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Paint Dipped DIY spoons are nothing new. A couple years ago, I created my own pair using gold paint. They were lovely, note were. There are now only four left out of the original set of six, and only two have all their gold paint left. I didn’t want to have the same exact set, so I decided to upgrade the color dipped spoons: introducing Faux Earthenware Wooden Spoons.

My inspiration.

What you’ll need:

  • Wooden Spoons
  • White Acrylic Paint
  • Brown Acrylic Paint
  • Grey Acrylic Paint
  • Two Paint Brushes (One small, one large)
  • Acrylic Paint Sealer Glossy Finish

1. Tape the tops of the spoons, and painted the uncovered portion white with two coats.  Use a shallow bowl to hold the spoons off your painting surface if you want to cut your wait time in half.  Make sure you don’t paint too close to the hollow end of the spoon, you don’t want to be cooking the paint into your food in the future.

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2. Once the white paint has dried, make a very watery mix of grey and brown paint and flick the small brush at the spoons, creating a splattered effect. Don’t forget to get the sides and the top of the spoon. You will need to wait for the first sides to dry before flipping it over the complete the next side.

3. After the paint has dried, coat the painted portion with a glossy sealer. Be sure not to get the sealer on the tops of the spoons.

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4. Display!

 

Indoor Kitty Garden DIY

 

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Transitioning my cats from indoor-outdoor cats to solely indoor city cats has been a hard on everyone. When P brought flowers home when I was sick, all the cats stuck their faces in them and chomped away. I realized that I needed to take action to give them their own natural space.

I was inspired by this article and this one to make my own Kitty Snack Spot.

I really did not want to commit to permanent fixture on the wall, so I opted for this set so I could individually pull plants that needed to be regrown without disturbing the whole garden and  I could place it on the floor near their food.

The three seeds I chose to grow were Catnip, Wheatgrass, and a mixture of wheat, oats, rye, barley and flax.

What you’ll need:

1. Soil

2. Pots/Containers. I used a Metal Picnic Caddy and Planter Set.

3. Choice of Seeds

4. Plant Food 

5. A Halved Q-Tip

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1. My containers had holes in the bottom, so to ensure there was no leakage into the bottom caddy, I boiled a wine bottle cork for 15 minutes, cut a portion off and glued it over the hole.

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2. Line 1/2 of the container with wet soil. Sprinkle the plant food across the top layer of the spoil.

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3. Pour dry soil in the remaining 2/3 of the pot. Keep 1/2-1 in rim from the top. Pat the soil down lightly with the back of your hand.

4. Take the halved Q-Tip and start creating holes in the top of the pressed soil. Depending on the size of the seed, either place one in each hole or multiple. Poke the seeds deep into the hole with the halved Q-Tip.

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5. Carefully water the soil with 1/4-1/2 cup of water. If you let all the water pour into one spot it will create a divot and dislocate the seeds. (I made two trays of each seed so I can rotate them out as the cats eat them allowing for regrowth.)

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6. Cover each pot with sedan wrap for 1-2 days to allow it to germinate. Once the wheat grass is 4-5 inches tall, feel free to start letting the cats feed.

7. Don’t forget to label which seed is in which pot! I wrote it on paper underneath, so I can always reuse the metal set later if I am not successful growing the garden.

Prepping for Color

[Originally posted January 2015]

Recently on Pinterest I saw this amazing DIY article that turns a classic straw bag into a fun summer statement piece. The bag featured was meant as a grocery bag but our local farmers markets are close enough that I rarely need to take a  carry-all bag, and I bring my reusable vera bradley market totes to the store. However, on hand I did have one of my mother’s old Talbots bags from the 90s that I had cast off as a has been and used only for the beach. Thanks to this inspiration, the bag has new life and despite the wear in part of it, no one will even notice thanks to the DIY wow factor and fun appeal. Now what to do with all the left-over tassels…