Archive for the ‘ Household Helps ’ Category

Semi-DIY: Creating Coasters – Part 2

So yesterday you saw our first re-purposed item coaster attempt, today I”ll show you the latest additions and how they came about.

Back in June, the boy and I celebrated one glorious year of marriage with a fun little trip to Asheville, NC.  We took a couple days off from work, and the hubs planned out the where/when/how and kept it as a surprise destination until the morning we left.  He chose Asheville because 1)I had never been 2) it offered plenty of outdoor activities (which we both enjoy) 3) it offered nice lodging & dining options and 4) being at a high elevation that Atlanta it would be a nice relief from the oppressive heat that has plagued the Atlanta area this summer.

All I can say about reason #4 is HA!   Mother Nature definitely didn’t get that memo, and instead it was a sweltering mess of high temperatures mixed with humidity from the depths of places known for fiery torture.  Any of your familiar with Weddingbee might remember that Mrs. Snow was getting married in Asheville in June…yes, it was the same weekend and she blogged about the crazy weather swing as well.  So, we rearranged several of the things the boy had in his plans so we didn’t melt away in the oppressive heat…and in the midst of wandering around we realized that weekend was also the River District Artists Studio Stroll.

So we drove over and wandered around through several of the studio’s, not really looking for anything in particular.  Then right before turning around to make our way back to the car (and out of the heat) we walked into Michael Hofman’s Studio.  Michael makes beautiful pieces of porcelain pottery using antique lace to make impressions into his pieces.  Some of the lace he uses is centuries old, from things like christening gowns & wedding dresses.  It was quite interesting to meet him, and see part of his process in action.  He was even telling us about someone who brought in their grandmothers wedding dress to use to create their wedding china (incidentally the dress was not harmed in the process).  So we looked around thinking we might pick up a serving platter, but then the boy picked up these small square plates and said “hum? think they could be coasters?”

So, we picked up two of the square tapas plates.  Once home, we again brought out some felt pads from the local dollar store (the thinner of the selection this time) and added one to each corner of the plate.

Instant coasters, that once again provide a useful reminder of our anniversary trip!  Look at the lace details up close…aren’t they stunning?  Those lace details also provide a place for beverage sweat to pool, gotta love it when something is both beautiful and useful. 🙂

Can you tell we tend to purchase only mementos that have an actual use around our house?  We tend to buy art or handmade pieces to commemorate special trips or events…that and I buy magnets (which I still need to figure out what to do with since I’ve picked up magnets from my travels my entire life).  What do you pick up as mementos of special occasions or trips?

Semi-DIY: Creating Coasters – Part 1

We don’t like coasters.   There…I’ve said it out loud.  That’s not to say that we prefer to place our sweating beverage glasses or bottles directly onto surfaces, I’m just saying  we haven’t found any that we BOTH found aesthetically pleasing.  Then something happened…we stopped shopping for them and instead focused on things we could make into them.  This is the story about how we used these little guys from the local dollar store to solve our coaster dilemmas.

dollar store felt floor protectors

Last year while on a bit of a family vacation with the boy’s family we noticed this fun piece of flattened pottery on a deck side table in the house we were staying in.  It was the perfect size for a couple of glasses and still appealed to both our senses of design.  Interestingly enough we already owned a bowl in a similar pattern from the same pottery studio that the boy uses on his bedside table to store the contents of his pockets each night.  Do you see where I’m going with this?  Yep, we looked around the shops that weekend in search of a plate to use as a coaster on our living room end table. We ended up choosing the small triangular plate from The Good Earth Pottery, their stuff is great in not only is it appealing to the eye, it is also dishwasher and oven safe as well.

Then to keep our fun new find from scratching up our tables we just added one of the little felt pads to each corner.


Instant extra large coaster!  What’s really nice is when I am lazy and fill up a Nalgene bottle with water…it fits on the coaster with no worries as well.  As do ice cream bowls, large coffee mugs…you get the picture. You can see in the next photo how the colors in the plate match our rug, but sadly what you can’t tell is how nice it looks on our end table.

Overall, I’m really pleased with how our initial attempts to use something not originally intended as a coaster worked out.  The benefit we never considered when we initially picked this piece was how any sweat from glasses placed on top would pool in the small groves of the pattern , this means the bottom of the glass stays drier than if the piece were a completely flat surface.  Plus, the coaster also serves as a very useful reminder of our trip to Highlands, NC. 

Come back tomorrow and I’ll show you round 2 of our coaster experiment! 🙂

How have you re-purposed items to create the “thing” that seemed to elude you otherwise?  Was it a success?

DIY: Stamped Plant Marker

This is one of my final “envelope of doom“ projects, but it’s one you could use for many other things.  I’ve been wanting to try my luck at stamping metal objects with my letter punches I picked up a while back with a 50%  off coupon and this gave me the perfect excuse.  I think I still need to work on the pressure I “stamp” or hammer each letter with…but overall I was happy with how it turned out.  Since these items were intended to be gifts, I included this little guy in a SwapBot package (visit this post for more info on swapping).

Project 4 - Stamped Plant MarkersAnd yes, I realize that isn’t Basil.  My basil plant just died so this was my indoor option. 🙂

Supplies Needed:

Project 4 - Stamped Plant Markers

  • Letter Punches, I have the Making Memories Stamping Die Set
  • Metal item to use as plant marker
  • Large piece of floral wire (not pictured)
  • Hammer
  • Solid surface (in my case our sidewalk)
  • Black permanent marker or paint
  • Glue (like E6000) – optional depending on your item

Instructions:

1. Gather your metal item to stamp.  I’m using a metal pendant from my envelope of doom, but metal washers or even flattened spoons also look fun!  Use your imagination.

2. Find a solid surface that won’t scar, but also won’t give when you hammer the letter into the metal.  If you are worried about concrete marring the opposite side of the item and your set didn’t come with the little mat like mine did, you could always put down a thin layer of fabric to protect the item.

3. Measure to determine if your word will fit on the item

4. Start from the top, pick the first letter and align on the item.  Hit with hammer.  (sidebar: I was a bit frustrated with something the afternoon I attempted this project so it was great stress relief to hammer on something…although it might have caused to hit a few letters too hard.

5. Repeat with the letters down the length of the item.  You’ll get the hang of how much pressure you need after a few letters so having a test piece to work on first would be helpful to some.
Project 4 - Stamped Plant Markers

6. Next it’s time to make those stamped letters stand out a bit more.  Using a black permanent marker or paint quickly color in the first letter and then wipe the excess off so that only the groves are painted. Repeat for each of the letters.

Project 4 - Stamped Plant Markers

7. Now it’s time to attach your metal tag to the wire.  If you are using a flattened spoon, you can skip this step since you already have a stake on your tag!  This is also where your version will differ from mine…I had a loop on the top and two pieces on the bottom of each side. So I was able to bend each of these pieces towards the back of my piece.

8. This is also where your version will differ from mine…I had a loop on the top and two pieces on the bottom of each side. So I was able to bend each of these pieces towards the back of my piece.

9. Fold your wire in half and start to attach it to the back of your metal piece.  For a washer open the wire up much like I have below to form an inverted “V” and then glue to the back of the washer.  I was able to feed the wire up through the top loop and then secure it to the back by bending the sides down on top of it.

Project 4 - Stamped Plant Markers

10. Let glue dry, add to plant and enjoy 🙂

Project 4 - Stamped Plant Markers

Do you label your garden plant? We didn’t do such a great job of that this year, but next year I plan to create DIY plant markers.  If you’ve created your own please share your favorite garden marker project links.

PS.  I hope each of you has a wonderful Labor Day Weekend & War Eagle!

Ramblings: Office Relocation Progress

Well hello there….yes, I know it’s been quite a while.  Things are quite out of sorts these days in my little crafty corner of our house.  Several months ago hubby and I discussed the option of moving my home office/crafty area into the room that was currently our spare bedroom.  This is exciting because it means more natural light, so fewer headaches on the days I do my real job in there, AND more space!!

The kicker is our house came with a huge corner desk built-in the room I had previously been using, and several white shelves attached to the walls (the old owners loved their knickknacks).  So it wasn’t a quick change.  As of right now we have completed the process of removing everything from the old room and moving EVERYTHING from both rooms into the new one.  It’s crazy, and stressful because I can’t find anything! 🙂

However, I love my new desk hubby gave me for Christmas that I can finally use…and I’m still excited about the new rooms!  Want to see a bit of my mess (after a day of trying to organize)?  No laughing at my iphone photos…I’m afraid if I bring the nice camera in here, I’ll lose it in a pile of “stuff”!

See, it’s not that bad right?


Um, as long as I don’t turn around from the desk I don’t have to see this.
Or This…


I’m not sure why my ski boots were in the spare bedroom…and that big white bag on the bed?  Yep, that’s my wedding dress!  I really need to get that professionally cleaned and either sell it or package it up.  See that black shelf? Ikea… circa 1996…and basement bound once this is over!   I won’t even try to show you the wall in-front of the closet, because it’s piled high with boxes that spill into the closet so that I can’t even get into in the event I needed something out of it.  Sigh…..

Any great ideas out there on how to ignore the huge mess behind you so you can continue to work without it driving you crazy? 😉

DIY: Flower Arranging Simplified

I learned this trick from one of my high school friend’s mom years ago.  She is the quintessential southern mom and entertainer, so each time I have the opportunity to attend a shower,tea, or coffee that she is coordinating I make sure to take notes.  Want to see why….

This was from the Wedding Coffee they threw in my honor last Spring.  She just whips this up in a matter of moments.  It’s pretty amazing to watch!

I’m horrible at arranging live flowers.  It’s like I try to cram everything in the same place and end up with one side really over-weighing the other one…but using this little trick it’s a breeze to make sure you have things evenly placed.  It makes me *almost* look like I know what I’m doing….

Ignore the flowers in these photos, I used some leftover flowers my hubby gave me to get a bit more life out of them before they went into the trash and mixed in some of the knock-out roses & greenery from right outside our front door.

Supplies Needed:

  • Container to use for arrangement.
  • Floral Tape (or other waterproof tape)
  • Flowers & Greenery for arrangement
  • Snips or Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Take out your container and place it on a solid surface.  I like to use our milk glass leftover from the wedding, but a simple glass square from Dollar Tree would also work great.  Try to choose something with a wider opening so you can build your arrangement out with a bit more space.
  2. Use scissors to cut strips of your floral tape that stretch the width of your container opening.  If floral tape is wider you might need to snip it in half width wise for ease of arrangement.
  3. Starting at one edge of the opening carefully place tape strips across the mouth of the container making sure to evenly space them apart all the way to the other side of the container.
  4. Turn the container and repeat this process going the other direction to create yourself a grid of sorts.
  5. Trim the stems of your flowers to be the depth of your container.  Make sure to leave a couple that are a bit longer to use in the middle.
  6. Starting in the center, using slightly longer stemmed flowers, carefully insert one flower stem into one open square of your tape grid.
  7. Carefully add flowers to the grid working from the center to each edge to help create a rounded type of arrangement.
  8. Once finished with your flowers, feel free to go back and insert bits of greenery into the arrangement to fill it out a bit more.
  9. Display!

What about you, have you picked up any entertaining tips from your friend’s parents in your younger years that stuck with you?  If so, by all means share…

PS.  I just realized this was my 100th post!!  🙂

DIY: Folding Napkins into a Pocket

This post should kick off the beginning of our wedding DIY recaps. One of the projects I took on for our wedding was dressing up the table just a bit.  It seems that all too often with buffet dinners the tables can get “left out” of the decorating grand plan since it’s not really “necessary”.  I didn’t want to just go with rolled silverware/napkins to be picked up from the food line. Instead I wanted something a bit more formal, yet still in line with our not-so-shabby chic surroundings.  By setting each place setting with the silverware and folded napkin with menu, I think it gave our tables a bit more color and pop…even if my husband did call me crazy for obsessing over it! 😉


Since I’ve already posted our menu template that was created to fit inside a folded napkin, and the paper napkin wraps we used for seating cards, today we’ll go over how to easily fold your napkins into the pocket shape.  I know there are quite a few different methods out there, so I used bits and pieces and ended up with this one working best for me.

Items Needed:

  • Napkins (the ones we used for our wedding were purchased from Ikea)
  • Iron & Ironing Board
  • Something fun to put in the pocket 🙂

Instructions:

  1. For best display iron napkins flat before starting folding process.
  2. Place napkin front (or finished) side down
  3. Carefully fold the top horizontal edge (the one farthest away from you) down about 3/4 the length of the napkin.  Iron top portion of napkin for crisp edge.
  4. Fold the bottom horizontal edge up and over the previous fold.  This will create your pocket and again iron to create crisp fold.  (Hint:  This set controls the depth of the pocket, so simply adjust your fold size for larger/smaller pocket).
  5. Now, flip the whole napkin over so that the pocket it now face down on your ironing board.
  6. Fold each vertical side of the napkin into the middle so that they meet flush and form a square.  Once again press for crisper look.
  7. Finally fold the left side over on-top of the right side and press one final time.
  8. Add menu, favor, or other fun item into the pocket and set your table.

Afterthoughts:

This is where I’ll be honest and forewarn you that ironing and folding 100’s of napkins will take a WHILE.  I did the first 50 by myself over several nights and it seemed to be taking forever to fold, add the menus, & the name card wraps.  Then with the help of two wonderful friends was able to finish the second 50 in a few hours in an assembly line fashion.  If you are doing this for a larger event I HIGHLY recommend the assembly line approach skipping the middle ironing steps and only iron at the beginning to make sure the napkin is flat to start with.  All in all…I’m still really happy with how everything turned out.

If you are following along with our DIY wedding table scape so far we’ve (click for details):

ReUse – Powdered Drink Container Storage

Earlier today I posted about using old Crystal Light plastic containers to make cheap and safe “big girl” candles for my friend’s little girl.  Afterwards I remembered I had never shown you how I use these containers in my craft room/office for storage.  Before I had all my pens/pencils in a large flower pot on my desk, but I was NEVER able to find the specific type of writing utensil I was looking for.  Now, I know right where they are…and they look stylish sitting on the shelf as well.  🙂

Supplies & Materials:

  • Plastic Powdered Drink tubes (ex. Crystal Light)
  • Clear Address Labels
  • Computer & Printer
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Double-Sided tape or Xyron Machine
  • Scissors or Paper Cutter

Directions:

  1. Start out by cleaning the plastic container and removing all labels.  Dry throughly afterwards.
  2. Measure the height of your plastic container.
  3. Using your scissors or paper-cutter cut a piece of scrapbook paper to the correct height.
  4. Wrap paper around your container and make a small mark where the edges meet (adding .25 inch to allow for a better seal/overlap).
  5. Using your scissors or paper-cutter cut the piece of scrapbook paper to the correct width.  Use this piece as a template to cut other pieces for more containers.
  6. If using an Xyron machine run your pieces of cut scrapbook paper through the machine.
  7. Carefully remove the backing from the paper and carefully wrap it around the plastic container, taking care to smooth out to prevent any air bubbles. (If using double-sided tape run a piece down the height of the container and attach one end of the paper.  Then attach another piece of double-sided tape to the inside of the finishing edge and carefully smooth around so that the paper is smooth and the edges are sealed).
  8. Using your word processor of choice, print out your clear labels for each container
  9. Apply your labels and fill up your containers with their new contents. 

Cost Breakdown:

  • Plastic Powdered Beverage Containers – Free from recycle bin
  • Scrapbook Paper – Free, leftover from wedding
  • Clear Mailing Labels- Free, leftover from wedding

Total:  FREE

Bonus:  These are so easy to make they would make a fun crafty project for the kiddos as well!  You could also cut a small hole in the lid to make a stylish coin jar!

DIY – Shoe & Boot Bags for a Buck

A few weeks ago I opened a small etsy shop in an effort to help sell some of  my MIL’s clothing from the late 70’s & 80’s for her husband.  I started with 3 items that were easily posted just to see how well they’d do…and last week I sold my first item (cowboy boots).  It was really exciting (for both my step-FIL and I).   As I prepared to ship the boots to their new owner I realized that they needed to be wrapped to prevent the soles from scuffing the white leather, which made me realize that wasn’t necessarily just a shipping issue.  I started looking around the craft room for something stronger than tissue paper that would survive shipping and saw a couple of Flour Sack dish clothes from the local dollar store that I’d picked up to cut into templates for a quilting project currently running around in my head.  They were perfect, and with scissors and a sewing machine I had two dust bags in less than 10 minutes.   10 minutes + $1 = Winner!

Materials Needed:
– Flour Sack Dish Cloth from Dollar Store (1 per 2 or 3 bags depending on size)

Tools Needed:
– Sewing Machine with matching thread
– Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Measure shoes or boots to determine how large your bag(s) need to be.
  2. Remove tags and open dish cloth flat.
  3. Fold dish cloth in half horizontally with unfinished edges to the outside.
  4. Using measurements determine how many bags can be made from one cloth.  For this example of women’s cowboy boots we can make two bags.
  5. Using scissors or a rotary blade cut the cloth into desired widths.
  6. Align open sides of the cloth (pin in place if needed) and sew along the edges.  Repeat on other open side.
  7. Turn bag right-side out
  8. Insert boots and store for use (or shipping)

bootbags_003

For a more finished product you could also turn down the top edge including a draw string.  I plan to make several more of these for several handbags and seasonal shoes so they won’t get dusty between uses.  I also think I will attach leftover tags to identify what is in each bag.

Price Breakdown for 2 boot bags:
$1.06
(tax included)  – You just can’t beat that 🙂