Tuesday, February 14, 2012

St. Patty's Day Project Part 2

 St. Patty's Day 4 Leaf Clover Wreath:
You will need:
Cardboard- big enough for the letter size you would like & thick enough to not be wobbly
Hot glue gun
Felt square(s)- I had to use two as my letter was slightly bigger than one.
About 30 little shamrocks/ four leaf clovers from the previous post

The first step is to figure out how big you want your letter, draw it on to the cardboard and cut it out.  I didn't take pictures of this step- oops!  If you want you can always use your computer to print out a letter and then copy it on to the cardboard, but I just used a pencil and drew it until I liked what I saw and then cut it out.  Notice my letter has a few little places missing on it- they just happened to be in box that I used! 

Next, you will lay it face down on the felt and then cut around it.  I glued it to the felt first and then cut it out, but I think it would be easier to use a sharpie and draw on the felt where you want to cut it- then cut it.  Notice that I cut tabs up to the edge of the letter.  That will help to make everything nice and flat when you start gluing them down.

Using a hot glue gun, you will glue down all the tabs working your way around the letter.  The corners can be cut out so that they will glue down easier:

Here is what it looks like from the front:  (Not very pretty and there is one little gap, but it will work!)

Then you will start gluing the shamrocks on to your letter:  (A little bit of hot glue goes a long way!)

I placed mine in a random pattern, but they also look nice all facing the same direction.  Here it is finished before the frame:

Next, I took a little bit of ribbon, looped it around the letter and duck taped it to the back of the frame.  I was glad I taped it, because since a "B" hangs a little bit off center it took a few tries to get it properly centered in the frame.  After this step, you can always throw a few staples in there to really hold it in place but it is so light that I doubt you will need them.

Here it is hanging on my door:

And another shot:
If you make one for your front door, you may need to stick a few pieces of tape between the letter and the door or it may blow in the wind! 

St. Patty's Day Project Part 1

Four Leaf Felt Clovers:

Here is what you will need:
Green felt squares- I bought mine 4 for $1 at the fabric store. 
Scissors- the sharper the better!
Needle and thread
 You will take one of the squares and measure out about 1.25 inches and draw a line.  I cheated and just put the ruler against the edge of the square and used it's width as the measurement.  You will continue to make lines across the whole square.
 Then you will mark every inch along the 1st line and then skip every other line and repeat.

Here is what my fist two lines looked like:  You only need the inches marked in every other line as you will find out.
Here is what your square should look like with all the lines.  I didn't mark the inch lines all the way through since all you need is to keep the ends of the clover leaves the same size.
 Then you will cut them out two lines at a time as shown:

Then you will fold it in half: 

Then start cutting out a scalloped edge using the lines as your guides. 

Here is what it will look like:

Here's what it will look like unfolded:  

Then you will cut them into individual leaves: 

Some how I missed getting pictures of the stems, but I drew a line on my felt that was 1.25 inches wide (the same as the leaves) and then cut it into stems about .25" wide.  The one in the picture below is a bit too wide, I ended up cutting that one in half and it was perfect.
The picture above shows the basic way you will sew them together.  You could do it that way and then pull your thread tight after adding the stem, but I found an easier way!  If you fold the leaves in half and stack them all together, you can run the needle through them all at the same time:
Much easier.  I also found that if you put the stem in the middle of the leaves, they turn out looking better.  I ran the needle through two times right down the center, then loosened it slightly before tying the thread.  After you tie it off, gently tug the leaves apart and you will end up with a perfect four leaf clover!

I made approximately 21 of these per felt square and found that was plenty in order to make a wreath and have some leftover to decorate with!  You can add them to clothes, headbands, tie one to a candle, stick a few on a frame, or use them to make a wreath as I will in the next post!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Ruler Growth Chart

I have been seeing these wonderful ruler growth charts on blogs and Pinterest.  The first one I saw was here:
Love it!  Easy to follow instructions and great pictures!  Of course I had to make my own and make it a little bit different.  Here is what you need:

A 6 foot 10"x1" or 8"x1" board (I used a 10"x1")
Printed off large numbers in different fonts.  (I made them the size of a printable piece of paper in Word.)
Printed off  smaller numbers for the ruler part.
Clear Sealer
Paint pen

Start with sanding down the board and the sides:
Wipe all the dust off and print off your numbers:

Here is a picture of my numbers 1-6, plus the smaller numbers.  I only printed the outline of the numbers in order to save ink. Then I measured out where I wanted the board to hang on the wall.  I wanted the top of it to be level with the door opening that it was next to, and that ended up being 7 inches off of the floor.  It is important to know this from the beginning so you know where to start your measurements and numbers!  Check and double check your measurements before you lay anything out on your board.  Next I laid out all the big numbers where I wanted them to be on the board:

Notice the tape measure laying on the floor next to the board?  This is so I could see what height to place the numbers.  I made sure they were all straight and then taped them down.  Now for the second part of the tutorial: Staining a design onto a piece of wood! 
After I laid out my design and taped down the pattern, I used a pen to trace the design onto the wood:

You need to press really hard, because you want to make an indention of the outline onto the wood.  The deeper the indention, the easier the next step will be:

Here you can see the number two that was traced onto the wood.  You can see where I ripped through the paper at one point and drew on the wood- you want to avoid that if you can!  After you get everything outlined, you can start carefully staining in your design:
You want to start on the inside of the design- (in my case the numbers) and gently push the stain to the edges:

One it gets close to the edge of the design the wood will absorb the stain up the indention.  Instead of using a brush with stain, you can also use a stain marker.  Just be sure to always start at the inside of your pattern and let the stain soak to the edges or it can bleed past the indention.  If you want the stain to be darker, you can go over it with a second or third coat.  I didn't want too much contrast, so I left it at one coat.  I used a dark cherry colored stain, but any color will work! After the stain dries, you want to seal the board:

I used a water based clear satin sealer.  I like to use water based whenever I can so that cleanup is much easier.  Once that is dry, you can start on the measurements:
Remember where you need to start at the bottom of the board based on where you want to place it on the wall.  Mine was going to be exactly 7 inches off of the floor, so I was able to start measurements one inch up and then mark every inch with the first foot marker being 5 inches up.  I overlapped my markings every time I moved the ruler to keep everything precise:
Once the board was marked in inches, I went back and marked where every foot and half foot was.  I decided to make the inch marks 3 centimeters long, the half foot mark 4.5 centimeters long and the foot markers 6 centimeters long.  I marked them all with a pencil first then used a paint marker to go over the lines:

You can buy the paint markers at most craft stores and sometimes Walmart carries them in their craft section.  I use them all the time in my murals- a great way to get a nice crisp and steady line!
 Notice the tip is white when first opened.  You will need to prep the marker by pushing down on the tip to get the paint to flow.  Do this on a scrap piece of paper or cardboard before using it on your project or you will end up with a little pool of paint on your project.  I am missing the pictures where I taped down the smaller numbers, traced them and filled them in with the paint marker.   I used the same method as with the big numbers and just placed them center at the end of each foot marker.  Here is another picture of the finished project:
Next, I added pictures of my sons at each of the different heights.  Since my boys range in size from 3' to 6' I was able to fill in the wall.  A fun way to look back at how they have grown over the years and also for the younger ones to look forward to getting their pictures added as they get taller!  You could also take pictures of different relatives or family friends who are a variety of heights and put their pictures on the wall.  I know my boys love looking forward to being as tall as or taller than their Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

$50 Mud Room Lockers & Bench

I have been wanting a nice landing area for all the things that are carried in and out of the house every day, and have been inspired by the many nice ones I've found online and seen in person.  I am a home stager, so I get to tour many homes and collect ideas for my own home.  We recently moved to a new home and finally had the perfect space for a mud room coming in from the garage.  Yeah! Here it is:
Here is a run down of the materials used and the costs:

2 lockers- $5 a piece at a garage sale
Wood for the bench- Free!  The previous home owners left an old water bed frame in the garage.
Wire shelf for the shoe rack- Free!  This was a builders leftover shelf from our last house.
Wood for the cubbies above the lockers- Free!  These were old closet doors from a closet we removed.
Bead board Wall paper- $20 It looks just like the real stuff and time will tell on how durable it is (Lowe's).
Paint- $5 from the oops pile at Lowe's.
Boxes for cubbies- $5 each (Ikea).
Hooks- Free!  They were on the wall when we moved in.
Trim- Free!  Leftovers from a friend's remodel.
Picture Labels on the boxes- Free!  They are actually shower hooks that were given to me a few years ago.
Total cost= $50 + tax!

We were blessed to have the materials to use to make this- rethink, reuse and recycle!  There are lots of freebies on Craigslist that you can use for your projects as well as cheap furniture that can be reused for other purposes.  I don't have any instructions for you on this since my DH is the mastermind behind the building.  I just drew him a bunch of pictures, gave him measurements and pointed out the supplies he could use.  Fortunately for me, he loves me and likes to play with his power tools!  Here is a picture of the project when my husband was done with it:

I guess this was before the last trim piece was added!  Then it was my turn to add wall paper, paint and pretty it up:
With 3 boys, 2 adults and a dog- there is no way it will stay looking this pretty though!  Here are a few more pictures:

The metal tab was already on the locker, as well as a circular indent.  I used photoshop to make tags for both, printed them on photo paper and just glued them on.  An up close look at the picture frame/shower curtain hook turned label:

One last picture:
My next project will be to paint the wood walls and install new lights.  Another adventure for another day!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Adding Faux Architectural Interest

My husband and I went to a party at our neighbor's house a while back and I loved what the builder did above their fireplace.  They had a nice inset cove that added a lot of detail to the fireplace.  I knew I wouldn't be able to talk my DH into building one in for me, so I decided to paint my own:
I taped off the area where the shadow would be and then using the wall paint mixed with a little bit of black, I painted in a shadow.  After that was dry, I taped off the shadow and added a highlight around it using watered down white paint.  The decor was a work in progress when the picture was taken!  Here is another view of it when entering the room.  People are seriously shocked when they find out it is not real.  When we sold the house, I mentioned that to the buyers during the closing and found out that they thought it was real as well!