Winter Mantle Update and Metal Ladder Upcycle
Although this weekend was busy and hectic, I was able to change some of our fall decorations over to winter ones. The first part of the decor that I changed was the metal gutter than we put on the mantle. Remember how we decorated it for fall?
Here is the updated winter version!
To update this I was able to use a lot of the same materials. I kept the moss (I actually added a little more,) the twigs, the brown wicker balls, the burlap, pinecones, and deer sheds. Basically, I took out anything orange, red, or yellow, tossed out the squash and mini pumpkins that were in there and replaced it with extra moss. I also added berry sprigs found at Hobby Lobby. It was actually cheaper to purchase a strand of garland - only about $10 with the 50% off sale they had running - and use VERY sharp kitchen shears to cut the sprigs off the wire garland. The letters spelling "Merry" are just 99 cent chip board letters found in the scrapbooking section of Hobby Lobby. I didn't even paint them because I liked their original color!
|Here's a little bit more of a close-up so you can see what's going on in the gutter.|
Trash to Decor- Metal Gutter Fall DecorRemember how I was going to blog before Thanksgiving? Well, clearly that didn't happen, but hey! At least I was close!
Even though it's a little late, I couldn't resist sharing some cute fall decorating inspiration.
Before the Thanksgiving, about that time when pumpkin flavored everything is on the market and shades of burnt orange, mustard yellow, and cranberry are everywhere, I was looking for something to dress up the top of our fireplace. WHY was dressing up the fireplace so important? If you're interested, then read below, if not, skip the next paragraph....
Somehow, before, during, or after P and I moved from Tucson to Des Moines, we lost the stand for our TV. Don't ask me how, but we did. Since we have a strange little corner fireplace, mounting the TV like we had before just wasn't going to work, plus buying a new stand proved to be expensive and not that easy. Long story short, we ended up having to mount the TV on one wall with a swivel mount and the arm on the mount just isn't QUITE long enough to allow the TV to sit flush with the front of the fireplace. Although it will likely annoy me forever, what is a girl to do? Decorate to detract from the mismatched angles and cover up all of the ugly cords and boxes.
... Anyway... while searching for a way to decorate the top of our fireplace, I found some inspiration at an adorable little store in Valley Junction called Vintage No. 35. They simply have the BEST vintage/found
object/reworked junk pieces you can find. While I was browsing for a few other items there, I noticed that one of their display tables had a gorgeous Thanksgiving set up that used an old metal gutter filled with pumpkins, gourds, and other fall items. I purchased the gutter and started the quest to find items to fill the gutter to decorate our mantle.
After some searching, finagling, and fluffing, here is the end product:
I must say that I love the end product. I can't wait to decorate it for the other seasons.
Some of the items I used to decorate the gutter for fall included -
-a long burlap strip to decorate the front
-various gourds and small pumpkins
-small wicker and yarn covered decorative balls
-potpourri from World Market (the Mexican pumpkin had great leaves and berry-like elements)
-decorative moss from World Market and Hobby Lobby
-various sized sticks and twigs
For the banner in front I used 1/4" yellow satin ribbon, small clothespins (can be found at Archiver's or Hobby Lobby - generally in the scrapbooking section), laminated burlap cut into triangles, and a black fabric pen.
Here are a few more pictures of the finished product:
|After adding the deer sheds.|
|A close-up of some of the items...|
|Leaves and gourds galore!|
Zombie Mob in a Flash Tutorial
It's been a while since I've had a change to write a blog post because life has been crazy! Last week was homecoming week at my school and since I work as part of a residential program, my goal was to go all out and really make homecoming week special for the boys on my dorm. We had a blast bringing in clothes to help the boys dress up. My favorite day, by far, was walking dead Wednesday. Another teacher and I were faced with the task of making 32 teenage boys and 4 staff members into zombies in about the span of two hours. Our goal was to make each "zombie," or student, look a little bit different. After a lot of face paint, fake blood, latex, and a monstrous mess, we created our zombie mob.
Unfortunately I can't post a picture of my zombie clan and handiwork, but here's a list of what we used.
-Ben Nye face paint in three different colors of corpse-esque gray (found at a local theatrical store). This paint promised to be more hypoallergenic. (We thought this would help some of our acne prone kiddos not break out so much.)
-Target Halloween face paint (the $10 multi-color pack. You'll use the yellow, green, purple and blue from this palette a lot!)
-cheap black eye shadow (I used the Rimmel London brand)
-cheap makeup brushes ($1 E.L.F. brushes from Target) I bought several blush and eyeshadow brushes
-fake blood (either purchased or created)
-a squirt bottle
-a LOT of wedge shaped makeup sponges
-liquid latex (purchased from a Halloween store)
We followed these steps:
-Using one of the three colors of the Ben Nye gray face paint and a wedge shaped makeup brush, paint the subject's face. Don't worry about being neat - sloppy is fine, remember, you're likely in a hurry. The sloppiness kind of adds to the effect in the end, too.
-Take one of the E.L.F. eyeshadow makeup brushes and the eyeshadow and place black shadow all over the eyelid to the brow. Sweep the shadow under the eye to create the effect of a recessed eye socket.
-Using the blush brush, sweep the black eyeshadow under the subject's cheek bones to create a sunken effect.
-Brush the remainder of the black eye shadow from the brush and blend the face paint and the eyeshadow together.
-At this point, if you would like to add some structural detail, liquid latex may be used to quickly add a "rotting skin" type of texture. While the latex is still wet, you may add small bits of cotton from cotton balls to exaggerate the texture. Latex should be dabbed over the top of the cotton to create a more skin-like appearance. Allow the latex to dry for several minutes before adding face paint over the top to blend the latex into the skin. The cotton balls and latex can be shaped to create scars, open wounds, or peeling flesh features. I usually added green, yellow, purple, and blue face paint to these areas to create a more bruised or rotting color. FUN TIP: Place a few layers of latex on the skin, then use tweezers to rip blister-like semi-round holes in the latex. These holes can be filled in with red, purple, and black face paint then covered with fake blood to create a chemical burn/ blister effect.
-To make the subject's hair look gray, we rubbed a bit of flour in. The flour may be set with hairspray if you want to ensure that it will last for a little while.
-The last, but most fun part, is adding the fake blood. We asked all of our students to dress in clothing that could be ruined. We had several jugs of fake blood and a few squirt bottles. For each student, we chose to identify specific types of injuries, like gunshot wounds, slit throats, etc. The blood was placed depending on the wound. By letting the blood drip onto the clothes, the injuries seemed more realistic. The final touch was spraying all of the students down with fake "splatter" from the squirt bottles. FUN TIP: Coat the subject's arms with flour and then add the fake blood. If you rub the flour, the fake blood will clump in some places and create an even grimier, clotted texture.
I followed some slightly different steps for my own zombie makeup, however it will give you a better idea of some of the techniques that can be used with the latex.
The steps I followed as well as the materials and some pictures of the process are below:
|And, there you have it. Zombie makeup in a flash!|
Weekend Adventures and Design on a Dime
|A snapshot from my Monday night walk with Patrick and Iroh. There isn't a thing that I don't love so far about living in Des Moines.|
A bit of motivation for finishing a few decorating and DIY projects was the fact we had some friends coming over on Saturday for a Labor Day weekend grill-out. Plus, the more time I have away from work usually means at some point I'm going to start tinkering with some sort of DIY project. Amazingly, I've found that Des Moines literally the best junk/vintage/antique/found object stores I have ever seen. I'm pretty thrilled with the way our new house is becoming a home. Take a virtual tour of some of my favorite parts.
|A DIY chalkboard art project. My inspiration came from My Vintage Window's perfect "imperfect" tutorial "How I Letter In Chalk". I used a chalkboard marker for sharper detail. Chalkboard marker: Michael's, Frame: World Market.|
|The "bigger picture" of where I displayed the chalkboard art. Also, Patrick and I thought it was fitting to set up a cabinet to showcase the rest of our wedding wine. Liquor cabinet: Target.|
|What happens when Hobby Lobby has 50% off all their lanterns? You make terrariums! We picked up some small succulents at the Des Moines Farmers market and added some dried moss and rocks around the bottom to hide the plastic pots.|
|One of my newest obsessions- fairy gardens. This cute container was found at Earl May. We added some polished rocks Patrick found in the desert when we lived in Tucson. Can you spot the little gnome hiding in there?|
Well, there you have it! A few of the projects we've completed with the house so far. I can't wait to add more as we complete them! Relax and enjoy the last few hours of your Labor Day weekend!
|Hopefully your weekend was as relaxing as Iroh's!|
DIY Farmer's Market Totes
Everybody loves some homegrown produce. One of my favorite past times in Iowa City was perusing the local farmer's market and I was pleased to find that Tucson has some pretty great local markets as well. Since my summer is pretty much free (woohoo - the life of a teacher) and I had some extra blank tote bags lying around after making bridesmaid gifts for my wedding last year, I decided to draw up a few designs for farmer's market totes. I thought they were a little more stylish than the plastic grocery bags the vendors hand out - plus it never hurts to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Here are the materials you can use to make your own:
-Blank canvas tote bags (I purchased mine from Hobby Lobby, but you can find them at almost any craft store)
-Fabric markers (I used the black from a set of Marvy fabric markers I picked up at Michael's)
-A pencil (to draw your design)
-A lot of imagination
Let me know how your projects turn out!
State Pride Embroidery Tutorial
Let's be honest... when I mention Iowa, people either say "oh, the potato state," "where is that again?", or they make some joke about cows, pigs, and corn. Throughout the rest of the nation Iowa has a pretty bad rap for lacking diversity and being a whole lot of fun. How wrong people can be. Yes, Iowa does have a lot of cows, and corn, and pigs, but it's also pretty beautiful and there's a lot to do if you know where to look for it. I suppose Arizona has a lot of the same things, but I've really found that I have an attachment to grass, trees, and I suppose even humidity. And sidewalks... hello, Arizona? Where the hell are your sidewalks!?! Anyway, my homesick thoughts about Iowa inspired this little bit of hand stitched art. You can easily create one for your favorite state, too.
STATE LOVE EMBROIDERY TUTORIAL
A small hand embroidery frame
2 colors of embroidery thread
An embroidery needle
A pencil, fabric marker, or fabric chalk
The outline of your state
Black printer ink
An interesting font
1. Depending on your artistic abilities, you may have to take some different steps to complete this project. Since I didn't want to attempt drawing the outline of my state free hand, I googled an outline of the state of Iowa and copied and pasted the picture into a word document.
2. I then chose a font on my computer to place the word "home" inside the picture. I chose the font "English Essay" that can be downloaded for free from http://www.dafont.com. I created a small text box, typed the word, and changed the appearance of the text box by hiding the lines. This can be done in Microsoft Word by right clicking on the text box, scrolling down to "format shape," selecting "line color," then clicking "no line."
3. Print the stitching pattern you just created.
4. Cut around the edge of your pattern, leaving a margin around the edges. Place the pattern under your fabric If you find that your pattern is slipping, tape may be used to temporarily hold the pattern in place.
5. I used thin enough fabric that I could easily see the black outline created by my pattern. If your fabric is thicker you may need to use a light box or hold the fabric against a window so you can trace the outline on your fabric.
6. Place your fabric in your embroidery frame. Pick out your embroidery thread and start embroidering. I used a back stitch for the majority of the project, but you can use whatever stitch floats your boat. There are great stitch tutorials online and on Pinterest for your browsing.
7. Cut the excess fabric around the back of your frame if you wish to leave your project in the embroidery frame.
Enjoy your new hand-stitched art!
Showered With Love (and two easy peasy paper pinwheel tutorials)
First of all, I have some amazingly talented people that I hold close to my heart. They came up with games to entertain people of all ages, helped decorate to make everything absolutely gorgeous, pulled together food and snacks, and showered us with a lot a lot of love.
Because we didn't want to spend a whole lot of money on the bridal shower, we used a lot of items that we could re-use for the wedding. As you look through pictures, a lot of the wedding decorations were vintage thrift finds, Etsy scores, and DIY projects.
To cover the tables, I bought light blue plastic table cloths from Oriental Trading Company for about $1 a piece, then threw down lengths of burlap to act as a runner (purchased from Michael's) and used vintage handkerchiefs found at various thrift stores around town and on E-bay to add some color to the tables. Patrick and I spent a lot of time wandering around thrift stores in the Iowa City area collecting items that we would be able to use for the wedding. We found a TON of inexpensive glass and milk glass vases to use as our centerpieces for both the wedding and the bridal shower. Here's where I'll tell you something that definitely surprised me - sometimes buying your own items is cheaper than renting them. I was a little stunned to learn that it was cheaper for me to buy mason jars and own them than it was to rent them through our venue. What?! It certainly seems a little backward, but the best part is you can either make money off of selling them after your wedding, pass items along to your guests, or another person that might want to use the items at their wedding. So a word to the wise - definitely check out how cheaply you can find items elsewhere. In our case, it was cheaper to buy nearly everything, and we definitely lucked out that we were working toward a more vintage-y vibe to begin with. If you're looking for thrift stores in the Iowa City area, we had luck at Goodwill, Artifacts, Stuff Etc, Houseworks, Crowded Closet, and Decorum.
|Table cloths, paper plates, and napkins from oriental trading company for cheap, cheap, cheap! Also, a few of our thrifted cake stands and borrowed platters.|
A few days before the bridal shower, my mom and I started working on some paper centerpiece ideas. Again, if you haven't noticed, I'm all about strangely whimsical pieces, so we made a ton of paper pinwheels and flowers and tied everything together with paper flowers and vintage buttons my mom and I had hanging around. I also made a few banners using hearts from a paper pack I bought at Michael's, a white Sharpie paint pen, a single hole punch and some twine. Pretty simple, right? Since I've used the same idea with any paper I choose by making a cardboard heart template first - to date I've used the template to make birthday banners, graduation banners, and a going-away banner. It's a super quick and easy way to make a party a little more festive.
|A glimpse at one of the pinwheel centerpieces my mom and I made using paper from Hobby Lobby, paper flowers, and a few buttons. (A simple tutorial for how to make a traditional pinwheel is located at the bottom of the page.)|
|A different approach to the paper pinwheel. (Tutorial posted at the bottom of the page.)|
Like I mentioned before, I have a lot of talented friends, like Kelley, who made these scrumptious scones and cupcakes. We were certainly well-fed that day!
|Cupcakes made by Kelley|
|Amazing, savory brunch scones made by Kelley|
HOW TO MAKE A TRADITIONAL PAPER PINWHEEL
Decorative scrapbook paper (I found mine at Hobby Lobby)
A wooden dowel rod, straw, pencil or object to hold your finished pinwheel
Paper flowers (found in the scrapbook section at Michael's)
Scissors or a paper cutter
A high temp. hot glue gun
Hot glue sticks
1. Start with a square piece of paper. I used an 8 x 8 piece, but any size will work - just remember that the smaller your paper, the harder the project will be to work with. You will see both sides of whatever paper you use. Since the back of my paper was white, I chose to use adhesive scrapbook tape to tape two pieces together.
2. Using a straight edge and a pencil, faintly draw a line using pencil that connects two corners of the paper. Repeat on the other side. You should end up with a "x" across your paper.
3. Using a ruler, measure in approximately 1 inch from the center "x" on the paper. Repeat on each line. When you are done your project should look about like this.
4. Using scissors, cut along each of the lines from the corner to the 1 inch mark. Repeat on all four sides. Once you are done cutting, you will see four "flaps."
5. Put a small dot of glue in the center of your paper (where the x makes a cross.) Fold the left side of one of the flaps to the center. Hold the end of the flap on the glue with the tip of the hot glue gun for approximately 30 seconds or until the glue sticks. Repeat on each "flap," folding down just the left side. DO NOT fold down the right side. I don't worry about being too neat with the hot glue because I always decorate my pinwheels with flowers and buttons, which typically cover up any unwanted goobers.
6. Attach any buttons, paper flowers or other decorations to the center of your pinwheel. I find that these decorations dress up the project a bit more and also help hold everything together.
7. Because I wasn't worried about whether or not my pinwheel would spin, I hot glued the finished product to a wooden dowel rod. I did, however, recreate this project with a group of second graders using construction paper, straight pins, and cardboard straws. After completing the pinwheel, we used carefully poked the pin through the pinwheel and both sides of the straw. We then bent the end of the pin parallel to the straw. I hot glued the pin to the straw so the kiddos would not poke themselves. Make sure you leave a little space between the pinwheel and the straw and you should be able to make your pinwheel spin.
Enjoy your finished pinwheels!
HOW TO MAKE A ROSETTE PINWHEEL
Decorative scrapbook paper (I found mine at Hobby Lobby)
Paper flowers (found in the scrapbook section at Michael's)
A ruler and pencil OR a paper scoring board
A high temp. hot glue gun
Hot glue sticks
1. Create a square with decorative scrapbook paper. I used one that was 5 1/2" square. Using a paper scoring board (or a ruler and pencil) score the paper in an equal pattern. I chose to score the paper every 1/2", but depending on the size of your paper, you may choose to score the paper every inch or even two inches. If you are using a ruler and a pencil, make a mark with the pencil in the same pattern.
2. Following either the score lines or the marks you made with your pencil, fold the paper back in forth in an alternating pattern (just like folding a fan.) Your paper should look like this:
3. Once your paper is completely folded, fold both ends together.
4. Using your hot glue gun, glue the sides together to create a "fan" shape.
5. Repeat steps 1-4 to create another "fan." Depending on how squished or stretched you want your final rosette to be, you may need to create more than 2 fans. For this project I used only two.
6. Using your hot glue gun, glue the sides of the fans together to create one rosette. You will need to hold the paper for a few seconds to make sure everything sticks.
7. Decorate your fan using paper flowers or buttons.
Tackling Wedding Stationary Without Breaking the Bank
I am a Pinterest addict. Seriously, the number of pins that I have is embarrassing - well, maybe not for me, because I have no Pinterest shame, but I've been told that I have an embarrassing number of pins and all of this began when we started planning our wedding. My theory: if I think I might make it, be inspired by it, or use the pin later in some way, I pin it. Well, long story short, I fell in love with all the gorgeous letter press wedding stationary I saw on Pinterest and after a quick trip to a few places around Iowa City I decided that the letter press option was going to be WAY too stinking expensive. With everything else going on, I definitely was not going to have time to craft all of the invitations, save the date cards, and everything else you have to send out for a wedding, so I went with a suggestion from made by my sister-in-law, I checked out a website called Wedding Paper Divas. Wedding Paper Divas has great customizable templates at a variety of prices, plus I was really pleased with the fact that someone proofreads your invites before they start the printing process. In some cases, you also have the opportunity to make everything match. I wasn't too concerned with this, because we wouldn't be sending everything out at the same time. So, after we finished ordering everything, we ended up with thank you cards, save the date cards for the wedding, bridal shower invitations, and save the date announcements for a second ceremony we had the day after our wedding. Remember how I told you we got married on a Friday? We decided to have a second ceremony, the day after our wedding so anyone not able to come on Friday still had the option of celebrating with us that Saturday.
Here's a look what we used:
|Pictured above is our save the date card for the wedding.|
|Pictured is the design we used for our save the date for the second, separate reception.|
Although the prices on Wedding Paper Divas were pretty affordable, we opted to use kits we found at Michael's to make the formal invitations for the wedding and the separate reception the next day. We decided to use two different invitations so they would be easier to tell apart. Keep in mind that you can think outside the box a bit. We used different ribbon and fonts to make the invitations a little more unique. If you're looking for some great fonts that you can download for free, check out the cute ones posted on the blog Kevin & Amanda http://www.kevinandamanda.com/
If you're having a hard time getting those fonts to a useable point on your computer, there are quite a few handy tutorials on YouTube.
Here's a look at what we used. Let us know what you think!
|The wedding invitations we made from kits found at Michael's art and craft supply store.|
How to Take Engagement Pictures - the cheap way (and directions for how to make a wedding date banner)
|Photo taken at Wilson's Apple Orchard, Iowa City, IA.|
I'm pretty in love with the way they turned out, plus they didn't cost us a thing.
Below are just a few of the photos we ended up using. ( I won't bore you by posting all of them.)
|Photo taken at Mormon Trek Park, Iowa City, IA.|
For editing, we used a website called Piknik, which unfortunately no longer exists. Piknik allowed us to alter the appearance of our photos (to an extent), without having to pay for expensive software like Photoshop. Now, Piknik and Photoshop are miles apart from each other when it comes to editing capabilities, but for the few bits we wanted to alter, Piknik worked well. If you're looking for a similar option, Google + supposedly has similar editing options that Piknik once did. If you choose to try Google + for some of your photos, leave a comment to let us know how it worked!
|Photo taken at Wilson's Apple Orchard, Iowa City, IA.|
|Photo taken at Wilson's Apple Orchard, Iowa City, IA.|
HOW TO MAKE A WEDDING DATE BANNER
Ahhh... the joys of back blogging. Since I made this project almost a year ago, I unfortunately do not have any pictures to post of the process, however, the project is so simple, I doubt you will need them.
-High temp. hot glue gun
-Hot glue sticks
-Wooden numbers corresponding to the scheduled date of your wedding (I found mine at Michael's)
-Picture hanging hardware (The kind with the triangular loop at the top)
-Yarn, string, or twine
Optional first step: If you would like to paint your wooden numbers, do this first. I would suggest painting the front and the back to make sure you don't see any unfinished edges in your photos. I chose not to paint mine because I was comfortable with the natural color.
1. Plug in your hot glue gun and let the glue warm to a usable temperature.
2. While you are letting your glue gun warm, lay out your wooden numbers on a large, flat surface (I used my kitchen floor.) From right to left, lay your numbers backwards. (Imagine someone is facing you looking at the numbers.) Space the numbers out on the floor how you would like them to be spaced on your banner. Make sure you leave more space between numbers that need to be separated (where a comma would appear if you were writing the date.)
3. Use the hot glue gun to glue one picture hanger to the back of each of your numbers. Make sure you glue the hanger near the top so your numbers don't droop once you tie them onto your string.
4. Once you have glued a hanger to each of the numbers cut a piece of string long enough to hold all of your numbers and still give you space at the end to hold the banner.
5. When the glue attaching the hangers to the wooden numbers has dried, string your string through each of the picture hangers, tying a knot with the string around each hanger to keep the number in place.
6. Repeat typing a knot around each hanger until all of your numbers are tied to your string.
7. Take beautiful pictures with your new wedding date banner! Enjoy!