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.

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.

Dish Detergent DIY

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It is hard to find dish detergent that is 100% natural, so I opted to make and try some homemade detergent to see if it worked just as well as my pods. I used a mixture of two recipes to make scoop-able lemon scented detergent. You can find the recipes here and here.

The verdict? It worked pretty well. The only dishes that were not clean were those that had not been pre-washed in the sink (i.e. P’s chocolate protein shake cup left in the sink for 4 days growing crusty).

 

Update (9/6/16): Our roommate forgot to put the lid on the container, and all the contents went hard! It was still usable, but a hassle to fish out each time. Make sure yours is in an airtight container and always sealed.

 

Cooler Painting DIY

[Originally published Summer 2013]
    

 

{Cooler I painted last summer}

      If you attended a southern college you know all about greek cooler painting traditions, however for those who did not and are still in the dark it is a whole other world.  Fraternities host a few events every year (i.e. Carolina Cup, Spring and Fall Form) where they invite a date and go somewhere with their fraternity usually for an entire weekend. The boys pay for the trip and the girls are expected to show up gorgeous, ready to party with a beautifully painted cooler, sometimes fully stocked depending on the occasion. The coolers are custom creations painted by the girl for her date, and are often made to represent the guy’s personality and interests. They host a collaboration of logos, lyrics and images of “fratty” things. The most common images are Jack Daniels, Southern Tide, Southern Proper, Vineyard Vines,College Mascots,  Natural Light, Ralph Lauren, etc. Obviously it us not just southern colleges that partake in this tradition, but it is considered taboo in the South to not partake under this greek protocol.  As a Junior in college, I have painted my fair share of coolers over the past three years— for a boyfriend, a couple friend’s dates and as a business on Etsy. I have also helped design and paint aspects of coolers for sorority sisters, however unless its special I usually pass since painting a cooler is time and effort consuming. 

 

                                                                         

 

Supplies:

Buy a cooler. (Depending on the event, the size will vary: Large coolers for Formals, small for summer or gifts) 

Primer. Use a white plastic sealer and make sure you cover the cooler entirely. 

Have an abundance of acrylic paint, paint pens and spackle if you want to cover cooler logo indents

Paint brushes of all shapes and sizes. None of those cheap black sponge brushes!!!

Sealer. I always use Waterproof Mod Podge and then cover that with Miniwax Polycrylic Spray 

TIME. Make sure you have planned enough time to paint the cooler. Priming and Sealing each take 1-2 days and then the time  painting it depends on how detailed and large the cooler is. 

 

How to:

1. Design your cooler. 

     You need to pick what you want to have painted on the cooler. A good source of inspiration is The Cooler Connection Group on facebook, or by finding images on Google, Etsy or Pinterest. If you know the person you are painting the cooler for well then it is easy to figure out what music, alcohol brands, clothing brands and other things they like. If you are painting the cooler for a date you don’t know very well, just ask him some general questions so you can choose from a list for the cooler. That way instead of him just telling you what he wants on the cooler it can still be a surprise. Of course, hints of the guy’s fraternity are always welcome as well as your own affiliation. Often it is fun to add the recipient’s name, the occasion and sometimes the location you are going for an event, or even the event title.  I draw it out beforehand like a diagram so I know exactly what will go where and so I can make sure it will all fit. 



2.Apply the primer. 

      Follow the directions on the can to prime your cooler.To make sure you can not see any of the original color of the cooler you might have to do 1-3 layers. Make sure you do not prime when it is humid outside, it will make the primer sticky and not dry properly. 

 

3. Paint your cooler.

   [As a general tip, it is easier to paint if you can remove the handle.] Prepare your work space  Acrylic paint does not come out of fabric and is hard to get off surfaces. Start by painting your background color. After this I usually draw on the outlines of my designs but it is perfectly alright if you want to freelance it. When that is dry move onto the big sections and then the details. It is easier to cover up mistakes and you won’t have to maneuver around wet paint all the time.  If there is something that you know you cannot paint, do not feel ashamed to modgepodge a printed out picture or a logo onto the cooler instead. I know plenty of friends who do it for monograms, beer labels and sports logos. Be sure to be careful!! The paint scratches off easily and the more layers you add the more likely it is to peel off. Sometimes the layers are necessary but beware.

 

4. Apply the Modgepodge and then sealer.

    Wait to make sure your paint is completely dry before applying the modgepodge. I usually do 2-3 coats depending on the location on the cooler.I am known to give an extra couple coats to the handles and the edges that meet the ground. After 24 hours, go ahead and apply the sealer. Make sure to follow all the directions on the teal can. 

 

Overall, unless you are super artistic keep it simple. It is better to be simple with pristine images, instead of having a hot sloppy mess, and know that your date will truly appreciate whatever you do make for him. If he doesn’t then find another guy who will. 😉

Everyday Cloth Napkins DIY

My mother always talked about how her grandmother had all these gorgeous table and kitchen linens that she made herself to match her kitchen colors. Of course, this is no surprise considering it was the mid-1930s and my grandmother was just lucky enough to have a working husband to take care of her and her two young children let alone buy frivolous kitchen linens. My mom did not follow suit in the trend even though easily could have with her sewing abilities-all her napkins are paper to match the season, and I saw her use christmas linens once in the past seven years.  I am lucky enough to have inherited all those vintage tablecloths, napkins and dishtowels from my great-grandmother, and am in awe at the details that were put into them. Of course I don’t dare take them out for use beyond special dinners, so I decided to make my own everyday cloth napkins.

Items you’ll need:

-Assorted Fabrics that you can cut down to about 15″ x 15″ for luncheon napkins or 22″ x 22″ for dinner napkins

-Sewing Machine or needle and thread

-Iron

-Scissors

The Steps:

1. Cut fabric down to  14.5″x 14.5″ or 21.5″x 21.5″.

2. Make a mitered corner (steps 2-5). Fold over ½” around each side and iron. Then fold in 1″ and iron again (a total of 1.5″).

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3. Unfold the last 1″ fold you made. Bring in the corners of the fabric so that your creases align. Your 1″ fold crease on the wrong side of the fabric should align with the same fold crease on the right side of the fabric. Iron.

4. Unfold the crease you just made. With the fabric right sides together, fold the napkin at the diagnal so that your corner is folded in half.  Pin near the crease you made in step 4 and stitch along that crease.

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5. Trim off the corner and iron open the border of the crease.  Repeat steps 2-5 for the remaining three corners.

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6. Flip border inside out and iron.

7. Finish by pinning in place and stitch along the inside of the fold edge.

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End Table Makeover DIY

[Originally published in July 2012]
Task: Make a $10 ikea endtable something special
Inspiration: Ikea Furniture hacks on pinterest.
Materials:
Table
Paint
Inspiration Photo
Paper
Pencil
Modge Podge
1. Apply Basecoat to table of a single color.
2. Draw on desired design
3. Paint in main colors. Let dry.
4. Paint in Details. Let Dry.
5. Modge Podge entire surface. Let dry for 20 minutes. Repeat 3 times.
6. Repeat steps 1-5 on legs and sides of table.
7. Display.