Remember the frames from a few weeks ago? I had the most random shapes left over from cutting out the squares from the fabric I used for that project, but it seemed a shame to just toss it. Add to that random pile SO MUCH leftover yarn from the yarn animal project and a sadly used-to-be-white lampshade and I had quite the recycle solution: A fabric scrap lampshade.
You Will Need:
fabric scraps (don’t forget to iron them!)
Cut out the fabric pieces into squares and rectangles, iron them flat and spray with adhesive. Smooth the pieces over the lampshade until it’s completely covered. To make the edge where the fabric stops and the lampshade top and bottom edging begins a little more sleek, add three to four lengths of yarn, gluing the yarn as you wrap it around the shade. And that’s it! The scraps got used, the ugly shade got a new life, and a little more of my yarn found a purpose:
I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Plus, the scraps were SO easy to paste on. Have you ever tried covering a shade with one, big piece of fabric? The measuring and shaping to get the fabric not to pucker and bubble around the strangely shaped shade is too much for my mind to grasp. When haphazard DIY’s turn into a slick looking conclusion, I’m all over those.
Once you’ve reached the age where trundling baskets around the backyard to search for hard-boiled eggs hidden just out of reach so your parents can get a hearty laugh at the impossible scramble every year has grown a bit too youthful of a sport, the egg decorating tradition still retains some nostalgia that can’t be outgrown. This is where hand-painted eggs enter the tradition-story: I love these little eggs so much. They have such a sweet, vintage look and are absurdly simple yet look super chic and precise–perfect for the *slightly* grown-up egg decorator.
The original DIY blogger before “blogger” was even a catchphrase, Martha Stewart, did a project much like these Beatrix Potter-esque eggs a few years ago, but her version seemed too complicated for my if-it-takes-more-than-an-hour-that-DIY-is-too-difficult-for-my-brain rule so I did it my own way and it turned out absolutely perfect.
You will need
Beatrix Potter cut-outs (download the template here).
Paint and a brush
A wet cloth and a dry towel
After you blow-out your egg, cut a design from the template and place it on the egg. Completely soak the design with the wet cloth and then pat dry with the dry towel, making sure the edges of the design are adhered flat to the egg. It may wrinkle a bit but it’s ok as long as there’s no gaps for the paint to get under.
Paint around the design with whatever color you desire. Stroke away from the design so the paint isn’t pushed under the paper.
Allow to dry and then carefully peel off the paper.
You may need to do a little touch up work but unless I chose a design with a lot of intricate edges, all of my eggs turned out clean and perfect!
Aren’t they adorable? The whole project seriously takes about twenty minutes and I think they looks so expensive and un-homemade in the best of ways. Plus, if you’re careful, these guys can be re-used year after year:
I’m obsessed with these eggs, I think I’ve used almost every design from the template…in just as many colors…in every room of the house. Happy new traditions this Easter! You never can quite outgrow the egg-phase.
There’s something wonderfully nostalgic about handwritten recipes. Complete with jam stains, a coffee cup ring, embedded crumbs and fading ink, handwritten recipe cards can instantly transport you to another time and another kitchen. Of course, we now have a sort of digital recipe book with the wonderful world of endless online recipes and the Food Network’s monopoly on thousands if not millions of recipes available for almost any meal you’re craving at the click of a search button. Yet, after spending a recent Saturday afternoon clicking through 1036 Google results for a recipe I recently liked, made, and promptly forgot where I found the directions, I decided I was going to bring handwritten recipes back to my kitchen and end these ridiculous, time-sucking searches.
Of course keeping it simple is the whole point of this project. Modern options of endless creativity are fabulous but don’t you ever get sick of them? Don’t you ever just want to do it the old-fashioned plain way? In honor of simplicity, I was going to just use index cards but I remembered my Vintage Tea Party book had beautiful, free printables available (print them here) that were perfect to feature the title of whatever recipe I was working on, so I decided to get just a little fancy and use them as my template: A very wonderful friend gave me a vintage writing set complete with dipping ink and a fountain pen that I finally found a worthy enough project for, but of course that isn’t essential, a regular pen would be just grand. Write your title on the front of your card, add the ingredients and directions to the reverse, and you’ve instantly made your own memory that you’ll never have to Google again.
After I wrote my recipe cards, I reaffirmed to myself that I needed to keep doing this, I was rather saddened by my hideous modern handwriting compared to the old recipes in my box. Oh well, it’s a step in the right direction.
Etsy has hundreds of super cheap, vintage recipe boxes, both sophisticated and fun ones in case you’re searching for your own. They also have some great options for organizing your recipe box with handmade dividers in case you’re a bit organization obsessed. Whatever you desire though, simple, plain, fancy, or cute, write your recipes down! This generation is dangerously veering towards leaving nothing tangible behind when we take our laptops and go, and this is just a tiny way of changing that.
In the film You’ve Got Mail, there’s a short dialogue betweenTom Hanks and Meg Ryan after Tom Hanks’ character (Joe Fox) successfully puts Meg Ryan’s character (Kathleen Kelly) out of business. Joe tells Kathleen that there was nothing “personal” about the bookstore feud that ended in Joe’s triumph and Kathleen’s failure and Kathleen grows suddenly irritated about his attempt to smooth over their less-than-friendly business relationship:
Joe Fox: It wasn’t… personal. Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn’t personal to you. But it was personal to me. It’s *personal* to a lot of people. And what’s so wrong with being personal, anyway? Joe Fox: Uh, nothing. Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.
Sick of Joe Fox’s die-hard, killer-business-instinct, Kathleen Kelly lashes back at him for constantly reducing business into an only-the-facts, survival-of-the-fittest, world. To her, her business was a legacy from her mother, a thing that filled her life with joy, and gave her purpose–not something to only provide income, status, or power.
In the Victorian era, men and women of the upper classes never went anywhere without “calling cards.” Calling cards had multiple purposes: some were simply to notify a neighbor or friend that you were intending on making a visit, some were sent from single men seeking to break through the rigid Victorian rules of courtship in an attempt to get a little more personal with a lady who had caught his eye, and some were merely a sweet, concise summary of an individual’s occupation or contact information.
Regardless of the purpose of the calling card, each one was essentially a personal business card. Two people, often before meeting face to face, had to be able to sum up their personalities in 3 1/2 by 5 inches. Victorian society was much like a business. There were rules, procedures, and very specific ways people could and couldn’t interact. Calling cards were a small way to bring personality back into a very rigid realm of social rules. So, why not bring calling cards back? Why not make “business cards” personal? I think Kathleen Kelly might agree that business doesn’t have to be quite so serious and that a touch of personality can bring a bit of humanity back into any corporate realm.
In the beautiful book Victoria Calling Cards, there’s so many great ideas for making your own personal, business “calling” cards.
The one I chose is perfect for a sewing business, my inspiration artist attached her business contact information to a piece of “punchwork” which is a plastic-like embroidery tool used to create patterns by separating the thread:
It’s so fun because you can personalize the stitching on each and every card, and it also serves as a wonderful protector for the card during shipping of packages. Of course, embroidering your business cards isn’t appropriate for all businesses and it’s (trust me) a rather time-consuming technique, but, you get the point, right? Making a connection with a customer you may never meet in person is a really important way to gain trust and a little bit of an emotional connection between you and a potential, or current, customer.
Cut out a piece of punchwork a little bigger than whatever size business card you’re using.
Using embroidery thread, stitch whatever design you’ve chosen onto the top of the punchwork.
Attach the card to the punchwork with some superglue. If your stitching doesn’t look too pretty on the back, cut out a piece of cardstock the same size as your punchwork and glue that to the back to cover up any unsightly stitches. My heart design turned out super clean on the front and back of my punchwork though so I didn’t need that step.
Done! A personal and completely unique card that will definitely stand out from anyone else’s and will make a far bigger impact than an everyday piece of cardstock:
source: Victoria calling cards, hearst books, new york, 1992
Give your beautiful, Valentines bouquet about a week and even the best roses are looking rather pathetic even if they were given with love. This year though, don’t throw it out, upcycle it! At least your vase and stem holders, the roses still have to go…sorry.
I’m always looking for ways to organize my vanity table. Even after a “ok, I’m keeping this clean and organized” resolution, give me a few days and all my tubes, brushes, powders, and pencils are a heaping mess yet again. These stem holders are perfect though for keeping all my brushes (they even fit the fat, blush brushes) in line and keeping them up off my vanity surface. Plus, every time you get ready for the day you’ll remember your valentine and whatever flora he brought you back on the 14th.
Wrap the wire around each stem holder until you have four little circles in a square-like layout.
Wrap the wire around the center of the four circles for stability and then bring the long end down in a little curl. This is going to be what sticks into your vase.
Insert the stem holders through the wire circles.
Insert the wire with the stem holders into the empty vase and you’re done!
I think it’s pretty nifty and I’m almost certain this is going to cure my vanity-table mess…almost.
I’m sure you’ve seen the felt rose tutorial spreading across blog-world. But for the last day of heart-love, I thought I would put together three ways I figured out how to use these brilliant, simple, cheap DIY felt roses:
I got my inspiration here. She has a little bit different way of making her roses so you can decide which works best for you.
Start by cutting out your squares
Cut these squares into round “peels”
Roll the “peel” back up, beginning at the center of the rose
Dab some glue at the back to hold it together
My inspiration blog also made a felt heart wreath, so check out her version here. My version only needed a piece of poster board and 30 roses: 27, 4 inch by 4 inch ones, and 3, 5 inch by 5 inch ones for the very bottom. I used 6 pieces of felt at $0.29 cents per sheet to get the 30 roses, and I already had the poster board so I’d say this is a pretty cheap wreath! The final product is 18 inches wide by 15 inches tall, a perfect size for your front door.
Attaching a felt rose to the top of your Valentine gift is such a cute, personal touch of love. If you don’t like the red, you can pretty much buy felt in any color you can imagine. White, pink, or even black would be super classy.
Remember the Twelve Days of Christmas Advent Tree I made back in December? Apparently this little tree has become my seasonal tree because I think it looks super cute for V-day as well. Just glue on a piece of string to the back of your felt-roses, attach the rose to your sticks and you’ve got a DIY rose bush! I had some hearts I added to mine, but covering it only with the felt roses would be just as cute. I didn’t have any white felt but I think white would be a good option to take this tree into Easter-time as well…keep following, perhaps you’ll see this seasonal tree pop up in another season…yes, I’m obsessed.
That’s it for my Valentines post-inspiration, I hope you’ve gotten some good ideas for DIY’s, recipes, and gift ideas because today is the day! Happy Valentines Day to all of you!
Last February, the House That Lars Built blog did a DIY about a paper topiary for a handmade wedding and I instantly fell in love with the idea. Inspiration I suppose gives foundation for inspiration, and when I saw the wedding topiary, I thought how cute it would be to exchange the topiary leaves for paper-hearts and make it into a Valentines centerpiece. The steps are the same, the only differences are my “leaves” are paper-hearts and I added a little message to the topiary centers. It’s actually so much simpler than the end product looks, the project is super cheap, (yay! VMMV loves cheap!) and yet it looks oh-so Valentine classy without getting lovey-dovey-cheap-and-yucky:
And you will also need a little duct tape! I left it out of the picture but you’ll see it in the steps. So, I said earlier this was cheap, but how cheap was it? I already had the pots, the moss, wire, and tape, but none of those items are over about $2.00. The paper was $0.29 a piece, the embroidery hoops were $0.99 for the small size and $1.49 for the large size and, you get two topiarys per one hoop because I used both the inner and outer hoops. Not too pricey, yes?
For the pots, make sure you get ones that have skinny tops. The hoop needs to hit both sides of the pot without sinking too far in or else the topiary will look funny.
This portion sounds time consuming but it’s really not. Once you have a heart cut out for each size you want, just save one heart from each size as a template. Once you get going, the cut-outs really only take a few minutes, but, if you’re pressed for time, just make the hearts bigger, it would still look cute.
This part is really optional. In the original DIY by the House That Lars Built, she had two options for the topiary centers: silhouettes of the marrying couple, or, their initials. You could still do either of those for the Valentines topiary, but I thought the words were pretty cute. You could probably just buy some punch-out words that would make this step a lot quicker but I had a particular font in mind that I wanted so I elected to cut it out myself.
And that’s it! Like I said, it may appear complicated but I surprised myself by how quickly it went and it has quite the chic, overall effect for a holiday that can quite easily venture into the cheesy category.
February has given me a serious DIY obsession, I really truly can’t help it. Behind Christmas preparations, Valentines-Day-decking is my holiday fave. I love it because it’s sort of an under-dog holiday, we all trundle off to work and school just like any other day, but its the only day of the year that everyone pauses a moment to put a little more thought into an everyday “I love you.” Sometimes though, there’s too much pressure for a Valentines, so, if you have nothing planned, or don’t have time to do a special dinner, why not a tea for two? These hand-stitched place-cards are the perfect thing to say “I think you’re pretty special” to whoever you’re spending your valentines with without leaving you nursing your wallet-wounds after all the love is over:
You Will Need:batting, fabric scraps, embroidery thread, ribbon, thick-coated wire, embroidery needles.
Cut two 4 inch by 4 inch hearts out of whatever fabric you like (small prints are best for the monogram initial to show well)
Put the two RIGHT sides together and sew along the edge
Leave a little hole on one side so you can turn the heart right-side out again as well as a hole at the bottom for the wire to fit into later
Flip inside out (“right-sides” out) and iron flat
Add initials: this is the trickiest part. Only stitch through the FIRST layer of the heart otherwise you won’t be able to fill it with batting. If it’s easier for you, stitch the initial on one piece of fabric before sewing them together. I was worried I wouldn’t get my letter centered if I embroidered first though so that’s why I did it this way.
Stuff a little batting through the hole of the heart until it’s stiff
Stitch the side hole closed
Cut about ten inches of thick coated wire, shape into a heart and bring the long side up straight
Fit the long side of the wire into the heart until it looks like it will stand on it’s own
Secure the heart to the wire by adding a little ribbon tied in a bow and you’re done!
I’m pretty proud of this project. When DIY’s go well I feel so creatively charged and powerful. I think this must be how Martha Stewart feels everyday: just popping out beautiful things all over the place. Must be nice Martha Stewart, must be nice. If you don’t feel like feeling a bit like Martha though, you can buy these place-cards over at my Etsy shop. They turned out so well I thought I should probably share my success with the masses so they’re now up for sale! Enjoy!
Simple, yes? I love this DIY. It’s ridiculously easy but such a cute addition to a wall, a window, or a chandelier for a Valentine tablescape. Use any size, color, or type of bead in any sort of combination you can think of to get some variety in your hearts–you could even string these guys together and make a garland. This red heart was actually my biggest heart because I wanted it to show up well in pictures, but I actually prefer the smaller hearts and they hold their shape a bit better as well once they’re hanging. Just play around with the size and shape of your hearts. The wire makes it so easy to shape and re-shape until you get them to sit how you want. I added some crystals when I hung them in the window just in case I could catch the rare February sunlight when it at last decides to shine.
Happy February! This is just the beginning of lots of Valentines-lovin’ I have planned so stay tuned! I’m chock-full of optimism for this month, I’m convinced that I’m a slow-starter and can’t really expect much of myself until at the very earliest the second month of the year. I think I’m coming out of my winter-motivation-hibernation. I think…maybe…well, maybe not…we’ll just wait and see.
George Knightley, the hero of Austen’s most humorous novel, Emma, is the perfect mixture of wisdom, maturity, kindness, and fun-loving cheerfulness. For anyone who said love cannot spring from friendship, look no further than Emma’s relationship with Mr. Knightley and you will see enough evidence to prove otherwise. Knightley is often considered to be Jane’s most obvious spokesperson in her novels, often making social commentary on, and acting as a sort of moral compass for, the small town of Highbury, a village that represents a microcosm of the flaws and failings that Jane saw in the British class system. I decided my DIY Cohiba Cigar tray was a perfect match for Mr. Knightley. He is far more approachable than Darcy, yet not as jolly as Bingley, and I could definitely see him finding some humor in using otherwise unusable, empty cigar boxes in an unexpected, sophisticated, yet fun, way.
DIY cohiba cigar tray
You will need:
Clear resin or apoxy. The amount really depends on the size of your tray, read the bottle to see how much volume the bottles will fill. The tray I used was 16X9 and I needed two, 32 oz. bottles.
Tray: the style and type is totally up to you. I do recommend getting a tray without handles, otherwise you will have to stop the resin from rising up to the level of the handle-holes and pouring out of them. I didn’t realize this (duh) until I started pouring the resin and I had quite the mess on my hands! **pier one has a lot of online sales for some great trays** If you can’t find one without handles, stuff some styrofoam into the holes while you’re pouring the resin in.
Cohiba, metal cigar boxes. The number of boxes will depend on how big your tray is. I needed six for mine.
Super-glue the cigar boxes to the bottom of the tray. If you don’t, once you pour the resin in, the boxes will start to float.
Mix clear resin according to the directions and pour over the boxes. **when I poured the resin in, I didn’t anticipate the resin seeping into the empty boxes and I had to go get more resin in order to have enough to completely cover the boxes. Over-estimate a little bit how much resin you’ll need**
And that’s it! Let it dry over-night and you’ll have a tray fit for even the best men of Highbury.
It’s so easy, and it looks so masculine on a coffee table, a table centerpiece, or as a bedside, catch-all tray. Also, the resin makes a very cleanable surface that’s easy to keep clean no matter where, or how, you’re using it. Perhaps if Emma had thought of a Cohiba cigar tray, Mr. Knightley never would have uttered his famous, and painful line, “badly done, Emma!” But then, I guess we’ll never know about that.