How to make a DIY Valentine’s Day front door decoration

I’ve been so wrapped up with my freelance work and writing my book that I haven’t been updating you guys about the things I’ve been making or the new places I’ve explored! Last night it occurred to me that Valentine’s day is in just a couple of days, yet I haven’t let you in on this super simple DIY that I’ll likely leave up for the rest of February (though I’m not against leaving it up year round.) Luckily, you’ll need less than an hour (not including paint dry time) to crank one of these bad boys out.

Everything for this project I already had at home. You’ll only need a few things and less than an hour, not including paint dry times. If you’re looking to get your feet wet with using power tools, an easy DIY that’ll make you feel competent and confident enough to move onto bigger things.
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Try it cheaper: PVC Pipe Curtain Rod

When my mom visited us over the summer, she bought these adorable Emoji curtains for my son’s room. While I was out, she tried to rehang the rod herself, but…

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The droop made me crazy! I didn’t want to put another set of holes in the wall, so I decided I’d just buy another rod. I didn’t like the rod all that much to begin with, it was the cheapest one on Amazon and it showed.

But this is by far the cheapest curtain rod. $2.67 for 10 feet of PVC pipe, $0.38/each for two PVC end caps, some paint I already had at the house, one quick bit of sawing and voila!cheap-alternative-curtain-rod-pvc-pipe-3

I like the look of it, too. It looks much sturdier than what I had before and I prefer the understated end caps to the knobby finials.

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How to Combine Two Woven Rugs into One

Before I was living more deliberately, I made many shopping decisions that weren’t all the way thought out. This rug was one of those. At Homegoods, I determined that I liked it, but couldn’t think of where I “needed” it. When I overheard another woman looking at the second (out of two) I bought it. That store has such a quick turnover, I didn’t want to miss out!

I got it home and, of course, I still didn’t have a place for it. Maybe if it was bigger? A few days later, instead of returning it, I bought the second one! It was still there! It must be luck, right?

These are the methods of thought I now know to be incongruent with my values. Even as I continue to purge excess, I still try to see where things would fit, given the right project. In this case, my upstairs hallway was the perfect length for them to run top to bottom.

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They moved around a lot, and I wasn’t fooling anyone. If you have two traditional carpets you’d like to attach, head over and buy some fiberglass carpet seaming tape and follow the instructions over at Ugly Duckling House. But if, like me, you have two woven rugs that won’t give the illusion of being one with some tape, Continue reading

Guitar-Shaped Chalkboard DIY

I always admired Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie window displays. They’re always so creative. So once, back in Houston, when I saw that some things they used for displays were on sale, I jumped at the opportunity. One was a painted plywood troll that’s taller than the ceilings of my current house, and the other was a raw piece of plywood shaped like a guitar.

Something like a million years later, I decided to turn it into a chalkboard for Tobias’ room. I assume you don’t have a piece of plywood shaped like a guitar hanging around the house, but you can always mimic the idea with a plain rectangle, or try your luck at advanced jigsawing.

Materials:

Tools:

Steps:

1. Prep the wood surface by filling any holes and sanding. Then, paint. I liked this color so much that I bought it before I knew what project it’d be used for.
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2. Trace outer edges. I just rubbed the crayon’s side along the sides of the wood.diy-guitar-shaped-chalkboard-with-attached-chalk-2

3. Freehand draw inlay, cut out, trace onto craft plywood.diy-guitar-shaped-chalkboard-with-attached-chalk-3

4. Apply liquid nails, smooth over with a spackling knife.diy-guitar-shaped-chalkboard-with-attached-chalk-5

5. Use a vice or something heavy to keep it in place while the adhesive dries. During this time, I also planned out how the chalk would attatch to the board.diy-guitar-shaped-chalkboard-with-attached-chalk-6

6. Drill small holes for the strings.diy-guitar-shaped-chalkboard-with-attached-chalk-7

7. Use a pipe cleaner to help shove the twine through. diy-guitar-shaped-chalkboard-with-attached-chalk-8

8. I abandoned this project for several months, as I couldn’t figure out what to use so that the chalk would lay horizontal. During my craft clean up, I came across a business card holder that was left behind by our Houston real estate agent, Judy St. Julien. It was perfect! I used wood glue to adhere. diy-guitar-shaped-chalkboard-with-attached-chalk-12

9. When it came time to hang, I bought these guitar hooks and painted them black, to match my son’s room.diy-guitar-shaped-chalkboard-with-attached-chalk-9

10. All hung!diy-guitar-shaped-chalkboard-with-attached-chalk-10diy-guitar-shaped-chalkboard-with-attached-chalk-11

Tobias uses the chalkboard to make a mark every time he spends 10 minutes practicing his guitar. Once he reaches a certain amount of marks, he gets a treat! Though he’s the one who wanted to begin to learn the guitar, learning something new is tough. And it’s really tough to start new habits, practice something that you’re not quite good at yet, and stick with it. I don’t usually use incentives as a parenting technique, but once he’s in a habit it’ll be much easier (and far less painful) for him to keep going.

It looks cool and it’s practical.

7 Cheap (and FREE!) Wall Art Ideas

I mentioned in my 2017 Resolutions that I’m working toward “my version of minimalism.” What started as reading Marie Kondo’s book at the beginning of 2015 has turned into a process of weeding out all of the excess: from too many bookmarks on my browser, relationships that don’t serve me, cutting out social media accounts and slowly but surely dissipating many material items, I’m on the road to living with less.

When I say “my version” of minimalism, that means that though I subscribe to the “buy less, own less” method of thought, I have no intentions of living with the minimalist aesthetic. Minimalism to me means being surrounded by art, memorabilia from my travels, photographs, bright colors, whimsy and having a cozy, warm home while still having space in my life for experiences by the boatload.

That being said, I like to keep the things that go on my walls beautiful, useful, and inexpensive without looking like I raided a Bed Bath & Beyond sale section of generic reproduction art prints. (But if you’re into that, that’s cool, too!) The following are a few cheap and free ways I’ve added art into my home.

FREE Printables!

If you have a decent printer, downloading printable wall art is one of the cheapest ways to go about getting unique artwork for your walls. Many free printables can be found via Pinterest search. You can also find some higher quality ones for about $5 on Etsy. In my case, each printable serves a purpose. The Smart Kids Books printable from RedHillPrintables is the perfect parental propaganda to hang in my son’s room so that he can be constantly reminded of our values as a family. A sign in my mudroom advises guests to remove their shoes upon entering my home (though it rarely works), and I refer to the seasonal produce prints I have hung in my kitschy kitchen when picking out recipes to follow.

Banners

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I’m a little biased, but I think hanging year-round banners like my Roam Sweet Roam banner adds a little celebration to the every day. Make your own banner with the tutorial and printables in my archive.

Type it!

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More Parental Propaganda! When I saw a similar print from The Old Try, I knew I just had to have it for the kiddo’s room. Then I saw the price tag. After finding a similar font face and spending time on Photoshop getting it just right, I had a perfectly worthy reproduction.

Ads

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I’m leaning toward minimalism now, but I’m a recovering craft supply hoarder who had a habit of keeping random things with potential. This one worked out-a Kate Spade direct mailer that was just the right size for the logo to be out of the picture. A witty phrase above where I hang the dog leash, if I do say so myself.

Tapestries and Woven Art

You may remember my post about using a hula hoop for a grand scale weaving and how I finished it off. The flowered tapestry is one I bought from Peru, soon to be hung upstairs. Adding fabric art helps absorb some of the sounds that this old, tiny house doesn’t always muffle from room to room, and it adds cozy.

Public Records

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I love curating things that span many different decades (and even centuries!) as I pull together my eclectic home. This 1856 hand drawn map of Fairfield County will be soon on my living room wall,helping as I conquer all that it has to offer. I’m going to have it printed large, but with a large file of the map free on the Library of Congress website, I’ll only have to pay for printing.

Goal Reminders

I’m no lifestyle guru, but hanging my bucket list, vision board, and marked off map in my office help remind me of how far of come and keeps me focused on my goals and values. I often catch a glimpse of these items (that I put together six and two years ago) and reevaluate if I’m taking actions everyday toward my goals or just following the status quo.

There ya have it! Seven inexpensive things I’ve used to decorate my home. What are some inexpensive things you’ve done to decorate your house? Let me know in the comments!

Large Scale Circular Woven Art DIY

It all started with a hula hoop.

Remember the blog post about making woven art with a hula hoop? I had that piece hanging above my couch for all of these months, but there was one thing that was bugging me nonstop: the scale.

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It wasn’t big enough for the space. I’ve been studying styling small spaces for quite some time, and during that time, I’ve learned that larger scale items in a room, assuming they aren’t crowding it, make it seem less cluttered and larger. So that child-sized hula hoop wasn’t going to cut it.

I eventually found an adult sized hoop, and even wrapped the outside in yarn before second guessing going forward. The nearly-begun project sat in my basement for a month or so, before I saw this guy:

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Well, not with the artwork on it. This frame, originally gold, was found at a thrift store. On their once-a-season half price day, I snatched it up along with the most hideous beginner oil painting of a swan one has ever seen in it. Seriously–it was dreadful. Surely it lowered the cost of the high quality frame it was in, so THANKS :).

After painting it and stapling chicken wire to the back, I used it to display Tobias’ ever-revolving artwork at our first house. Lacking a hallway, and frankly, any unclaimed wall, it was in T’s room before I made that over, later finding its home in the basement, right next to the hula hoop.

So, one could almost say that this project found me.

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And it was simple enough!

Tools:

  • Scissors
  • Staple gun loaded with staples

Materials:

Steps:

  1. Decide where in your frame you’d like the hoop weave. I wanted to draw the eye up, so the center of mine is as high as it would fit with the existing weave.
  2. With the frame facing away from you, pull one end of basic yarn through the hoop, closest to the outer edge of the hoop. I suggest doing so near where the original warp thread was for a cohesive look.
  3. Keep pulling until the end of the yarn and the yarn closest to the ball are long enough to reach from behind the frame, through the hoop at its desired positioning, back to the inside of the frame, with an additional 2-4 inches.
  4. Staple yarn on back of frame.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 until you have as many warp threads as you did in your original weaving. It should look like this: large-circular-woven-art-diy-tutorial-6
  6. Get to weaving! Because my warp threads were so far apart, I didn’t do as many fancy weaving techniques as the last portion of the weave. I did do some finger weaving and traditional braiding off of the loom with different yarns.
  7. With each line of weaving, staple to the back of the framelarge-circular-woven-art-diy-tutorial-5
  8. When the weaving is complete, cut all excess threads.
  9. If you don’t want to be able to see the wall behind the weaving in open areas, and to prevent damage when hanging, cover the back with poster board and tape around the perimeter.
  10. Hang it up!

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The first portion of this project was far more time consuming than this was. It didn’t take long at all, and I think it’s 1000 times better now that it’s finished!

Cape Cod Style Sugar Cookie House (Gingerbread Alternative)

I’ve come to the realization that the only projects I do again and again are Halloween costumes and cookies. One is worn only once, and the other is EATEN, for crying out loud. I feel crazy for spending so much time on both because they’re  gone afterward, but I realized last night that it’s part of the appeal. I’m a perfectionist in many ways, so it’s fun to put a lot of work and creativity into something while at the same time not having the pressure of having to look at it forever.

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