Tag Archives: Tutorial

January Blues Buster: Pretty Tile Coasters

9 Jan Tile Coaster in Action

Do you feel like your house is empty, now that you’ve taken down the Christmas decorations?

I do. It’s amazing how warm the garland and lights of Christmas can make a room feel and how cold it can become after they’re removed.

Since taking down my decor, I’m on a mission to bring the cozy back. One little way to do that is to take an everyday item – a coaster – and make it into something pretty and unique.

Best part? The whole project costs pennies.

Tile Coaster Supplies

First, gather your supplies. You’ll need:

  • 4 x 4 tiles, available at hardware stores (I found them for under a dollar at Home Depot.)
  • Scrapbook paper, cut into squares slightly smaller than the face of the tile
  • Mod Podge (This was my first time working with the stuff – I now understand why it’s so popular!)
  • Clear Acrylic Coating Spray (Matte or Glossy; I used Matte)
  • Self-adhesive felt
  • Foam brush (I’d grab a couple – they break easily and regular paint brushes aren’t as easy to work with.)
  • Scissors

Next, dip your foam brush in the Mod Podge and paint a thin layer of it on a tile. Then, place a cut piece of scrapbook paper on the tile, give it another layer of Mod Podge and set it aside to dry.

Once the tiles have dried (about 20 minutes or so), take them outside and spray them evenly with the Clear Acrylic Coating. I placed them all touching in a shallow cardboard box for this step to protect my driveway.

Let them dry overnight. I wanted to be extra-sure they were waterproof, so I sprayed my coasters once more with the Clear Acrylic Coating, letting them dry again for several more hours. You can test them out by dripping a bit of water on them and making sure it bubbles up.

Once dry, cut felt squares slightly smaller than the tiles, remove the adhesive backing and place on the bottom of the coasters.

Tile Coasters

Ready for Acrylic Coating

Tile Coaster in Action

Tile Coaster in Action

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These make great gifts too. I made a bunch as Christmas presents this year.

Tip: Don’t attempt this project after a manicure. You fingertips will be covered in Mod Podge. It’s a complete throwback to elementary school art class.

Most people wouldn’t think of cold square tile as cozy, but adding the pop of color through the scrapbook paper make these coasters a bright everyday item. You can even use photos! Follow the same process, but instead of scrapbook paper, use photos printed out on cardstock.

How are you making your home pretty after taking down the Christmas decor?

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Pretty Quick: Mason Jar Sewing Kit

6 Jan Mason Jar Sewing Kit

So Sherry tackled sewing a bean bag and I tackled something a bit more basic – a mason jar sewing kit! I was inspired by this pin on Pinterest (and my new found ability to attach a button to a coat). Thanks for featuring this little project in the Pinterest Challenge, Sherry, Katie, Cassie and Erin!

Y’all didn’t think I could keep my sewing supplies like this, did you?

Singer Sewing Kit

UG-LY.

As I proclaimed here, I can now sew. Kind of. As in, I can sew on a button. And nothing stops kind-of sewing like misplaced supplies or having to dig said supplies out of clamshell plastic packaging.

Enter, the Mason Jar. Oh, mason jar – is there any end to your possibilities?

I followed this tutorial  at the awesome Momtastic blog to make a cute little sewing kit. It took all of 15 minutes and it adds a pop of color to my desk/craft table.

This is one of those projects that isn’t at all necessary, but adds some pretty to a mundane thing – my favorite kind.

(Apologies for the iPhone photos.)

Mason Jar Sewing Kit

Mason Jar Sewing Kit 2

The fabric is cut from the backdrop used in my birthday party photo booth (so fun!). I also repurposed it as a Christmas tree skirt this year.

And…I didn’t have any batting and didn’t want to buy it for the small amount this project required, so I “borrowed” some stuffing from one of my pillows that had a tiny hole in the bottom. The pillow didn’t seem to mind.

There you have it – a pretty quick sewing kit made from items I had around the house. Now I’ll just have to wait for a button to fall off of something.

Do you have a sewing kit?

Adventures in Sewing

20 Dec

I have a confession:

I can’t sew.

I learned the basic needle and thread thing as a kid, but then I went through a mini-feminist stage. Whenever my mom tried to teach me something I deemed traditional “woman’s work” I rebelled. I thought I’d just become rich and have people do that sort of thing for me. Sensible, right?

Well, the irony…I now write a blog dedicated to homemaking. So there, Past Katie. Growing up has taught me that feminism and homemaking skills are not mutually exclusive. Follow your passion, as they say, and my passion is pretty things.

Want to know what’s not pretty? A coat and a sweater pushed to the back of your closet because they lost buttons, um, months ago.

Nothing like a wardrobe shortage to make a girl learn a new skill.

Sadly, my beloved no-sew iron-on tape does not work on buttons (I used it to make curtains in two rooms in my house, though – check out a tutorial here – Sherry is a fellow non-sewer!)

So (haha),I picked up this sewing kit for $8.99 at Target.

Singer Sewing Kit

Here’s what was inside:

Sewing Kit Content

  • Instant Hem Tape (know it)
  • Iron-On Hem Tape (know it, love it)
  • Needle Compact with Threader (I have no idea what a threader is, or why it has a Native American chief on it. Can anyone shed some light?)
  • Seam Ripper (Obvious, but I’ve never used one.)
  • Marking Pencil (It says it’s water soluble, so…that’s good?)
  • Thimble (how cute!)
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Gauge (no clue)
  • Straight Pins
  • 5 mini spools of thread

The subject:

Coat

I’ve sewn buttons before, but usually badly and not finishing before someone took the whole thing out of my hands and said, “Here, just let me do it.”

This time, I was determined to do it myself. With a little help from Mr. Hong.

Who’s Mr. Hong? Oh, just the angriest looking tailor I’ve ever seen, who stars in his own sewing tutorial on VideoJug (whose tag line is amusingly “Get Good at Life.”):

It won’t let me embed, but you can check out Mr. Hong here.

He doesn’t look happy about it, but Mr. Hong took me through the steps, and with much pausing and rewinding, I did it! I actually ended up sewing 3 buttons, two on the coat and one on a sweater. Here’s the coat:

Coat 2

I won’t be auditioning for Project Runway anytime soon, but it works!

If you’re equally clueless, take a look at Mr. Hong’s video. It explains it much better than I can.

I can now check button sewing off the life skills list. I know, I know, it should have been checked off around 10-years-old, but I was busy. Babysitter Club books don’t just read themselves, people.

I feel better thinking about that How I Met Your Mother episode where they discussed each of the characters’ knowledge gaps – things they should know how to do, but some reason, don’t. This was definitely my knowledge gap.

What’s something you should know how to do but don’t? (‘Fess up!)

Oh, and if you think this means I’m going to take a second look at that curbside sewing machine table and get inspired to go full-on seamstress, think again. I’m sticking to buttons.

Pinterest Fail

12 Dec

My love for Pinterest is well-established.

But sometimes even the best relationships hit a bump in road.

Meet my bump in the road, otherwise known as Pinterest Fail.

Here’s what it was supposed to look like:

scarf

Some friends and I thought it would be fun to try this t-shirt scarf at a Pinterest party recently. (We also all brought food we made based on our Pinterest pins – yum!).

The scarf seemed easy enough – cut up an XL t-shirt, do a little fabric stretching and voila.

Alas, it did not worked out as planned.

Scarf Fail

Scarf Fail 2

Mummy, anyone? Through a combination of strips cut too thin and overstretched fabric, I ended up with this sad heap of shredded t-shirt. Not exactly something you want to show off.

I’m blaming the good conversation – distraction certainly played a role.

In honor of my Pinterest Fail, I thought it’d be fun to look at a few others I found on Pinterest:

nails

This manicure fail comes from La Blondie Peruana. I’ve seen these marble nail tutorials on Pinterest and wondered…now we know they are harder than they look!

We’ve all seen those painted candles holders on Pinterest. The tutorials say to wrap the glass votives in rubber bands, spray paint and pull off the rubber bands once the paint dries.

Adriane from For the Love of Painting tried it and found out it was a bit more complicated. The paint seeped under the rubber bands and made all of the lines a bit messy. Good attempt Adriane!

painted candles

cookie monster cupcakes

This one might be my favorite. It’s been floating around Pinterest for awhile now and I can’t seem to track down the original, um, artist. It cracks me up because I could definitely see it happening. Poor Cookie Monster.

Have you made something from Pinterest lately? Pass or fail? Share below!

Merry and Bright! Christmas Cards

9 Dec Christmas Card

So I got my first tree this year AND it’s the first time I’m sending out Christmas cards.

If I didn’t know better I might just say I’m growing up.

I’ve always loved the idea of sending Christmas cards. After all, I’m the girl who can’t pass up pretty stationary and a good pen all year long.

But sending Christmas cards has always plummeted to the bottom of the list this time of year. This year, I made a plan.

In between handing out candy to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, I made Christmas cards!

Christmas Card

Christmas Lights Card

But you want to hear a secret?

If you want to make similar cards, no need to have started next to a bowl of fun-size Snickers in October. These are so easy, you can whip up a bunch during an episode of Glee. Promise.

You can probably figure it out by looking at the picture above, but here’s what I did:

Blank Christmas Card

I bought a pack of blank white cards from Michaels. They sell packs that come with matching envelopes for about $5

Christmas Card Line

I used a fine tip black Sharpie to draw a squiggly line diagonally across the card.

ChristmasCardPre

I picked five festive colors from my mason jars full of skinny Crayola markers.

Mason Jar Markers

Is there anything mason jars can’t be perfect for? I guess this is how dads must feel about duct tape.

Anyway, I picked five colors and bulbs at random spots along the line. Leave some room between the line and the ovals, and go back with your fine tip Sharpie and draw little squigglies (technical term) to finish off the bulbs.

Christmas Card

Tada! You’ve got a merry and bright Christmas card. I’m digging the simplicity of the bright colors against the white background and the retro feel of the big bulbs.

If you’re so inclined, you can add some glitter.

I did a few with “joy” stamped in the bottom right hand corner, but stuck those in the mail before I took a picture. Whoops.

Are you sending Christmas cards this year? Have you received any cool cards? Are you as enamored with mason jars as I am?

How To: Snowflake Garland

2 Dec Snowflakes

This year, I bought my first real Christmas tree.

Well, it’s fake, but real in the sense that it’s taller than me. And takes up significant space in my living room rather than a corner of a hallway table.

My Christmas Tree

I won’t be getting a knock on the door from the Rockefeller Center people anytime soon, but I like it. It’s charming. It’s sparkly. And is there anything better than a room aglow with a Christmas tree?

But see that wall behind the tree? During the rest of the year, there’s a bookcase there with some ever-revolving art propped up to fill the space. The wall feels complete.

But when I moved the bookcase and set up the tree, the wall felt empty. I needed something to pull it all together.

Let’s take a closer look.

Snowflakes

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Hmm…a wall to fill…at Christmas time…

Snowflake garland!

I’ve always loved the whimsical look of paper art, especially during the holidays. There’s just something about mixing a little homespun crafting into holiday decor that feels right.

So, I went back to kindergarten a bit. Except this time I used real scissors and I wasn’t wearing saddle shoes (although that would have been awesome.)

Snowflake supplies

Snowflake Garland Supplies

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I used coffee filters to make about 45 snowflakes. If you haven’t done this before, it’s really easy. Here’s a tutorial, but basically, fold your coffee filter in half. Then fold it again. And again. Then snip little shapes out of the sides of your triangle. Do whatever you like, as long as you keep the triangle intact.

Unfold the coffee filter and you’ll have a snowflake, straight up Buddy the Elf style.

You can stop there and use the snowflakes to decorate Christmas gifts.

Leftovers

You've heard of the Rachel Ray garbage bowl? This is the Every Day Pretty craft scraps bowl.

If you want to make the garland, grab some ribbon. I used gold curling ribbon that I had on hand. I liked it because it added a little sparkle to the garland.

Measure the length of your wall and cut the ribbon accordingly.

Tape

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Cut several thin strips of tape and carefully tape your snowflakes to the ribbon. You can play with the spacing – I kept stepping back to see how I wanted to position the “snowflakes.” Snowflakes Pin It

Once you’ve got your snowflakes attached to the ribbon, use a slightly larger piece of tape to affix the top of the ribbon to the top of your wall. (You could do this more permantly with a nail or even a Command strip, but the tape has held up for almost a week so it worked for me.)

Repeat until you have enough garland to cover your wall.

Snowflakes Wall

Snowflaskes Wall 2

Snowflakes Wall 3

Snowflakes Wall 4

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I like the way it turned out. Now I just need to add some wrapped gifts under that tree (working on it) and it will feel complete.

Don’t have a wall to cover? Try a mini-version with cupcake liner snowflakes in a doorway!

Have you reverted to kindergarten crafts lately? How’s your Christmas decor coming along? Share in the comments!