Feb 28, 2011

River rock boot tray

Happy Monday, all! I hope you had a good weekend. Mine was busy busy and included lots of heavy lifting (helping my sister move). I'm still sore from it...I'm feeling old!

Anyways, a couple weeks ago, Apartment Therapy did a round-up of a simple yet attractive idea: a boot tray filled with river rocks. It's also functional -- water from snowy boots drains between the rocks to the bottom, so your boots don't sit in slush and dry out faster.

Inspired, I picked up a boot tray from Bed, Bath and Beyond for $7.99, then bought two containers of multi-colored river rocks from Target for $5 each. Then, I just dumped the rocks into the tray. Easy as pie!

(Yes, the hubs has two different colored laces on his boots. Classy. And I know my boots look giant-sized, but they are only a 7-1/2!)

It's definitely come in handy this week, as we've gotten even more snow (is it spring yet?? PLEASE??!). Target also sells really pretty copper boot trays that would be great for this project (but I wasn't interested in spending $20+ for the tray).

Here it is in our entryway, looking sharp with our slate tile.

No, we don't actually keep it in front of the door -- I just needed a spot with good light. Here it is where it actually lives -- plus a sneak peek of the other changes we've been working on in the entryway. More on that project next week!

Also, I'm linking up my DIY jewelry holders and paper daisies to The DIY Showoff's Project Parade. Stop by and get inspired to tackle your own DIY project!

Feb 25, 2011

Making my own spring

We got a little taste of spring here last week, when the temperatures hit 55 --- which is a big deal for Maine in February. The sun came out and the snow finally started to melt, and I started to dream about this...

And then, it got cold again, and today was like this:

SIGH. I thought we could finally put the snowblower away.

Since it'll be a while before we get some real flowers growing here (and since I don't have much of a green thumb), I decided to make my own. I found these paper daisy directions at Craft Stylish back when I was looking for fun DIY projects for our wedding but didn't end up using them. But they're cute and easy to make, so I decided to make some more.

Start with an assortment of scrapbooking or other speciality paper.

You can use anything to make your circles. I used a couple drinking glasses of different sizes. Trace around the glass twice to make two circles...

And cut them out.

Then, make about 6 or 8 slits in them like a pizza, but leaving about a 1/2-inch circle in the middle. These don't need to be exact -- I just freehanded mine.

Then, fold the edges of the slits downward. You can make big creases or leave them close to flat. I liked using fairly shallow creases, since the paper was a little thicker.

Put one of the paper circles on top of the other, staggering them so the bottom petals peek through the top ones. Hot glue them together and fluff the folds a little if you want.

Then, take some yellow cardstock and cut it into tiny strips. Again, it doesn't matter if you're exact here. I used my handy-dandy grid and rotary cutter.

Next, roll the strips as tightly as you can. This can be a little tricky (and cramp your hands!) 

With 12x12 cardstock, I found I liked the look of two strips the best, so once you roll through one, carefully stick the end of the second one into the roll and keep going. You can glue them together if that's easier. When you get to the end, use a dab of glue to hold it together. When you're doing, you'll have this:

Glue the circle to the center of the paper circles. Aww...cute!

I used green cloth floral wire and hot glued it to the underside of the flower.

You can arrange them in whatever you want. For vases, I took some old soup cans and covered them with paper.


You can do so much with these depending on what kind of paper you use and the colors. I picked pinks, greens and blues because they seemed springy, and used plain or lightly patterned paper. You could use tissue paper for delicate, serious blooms, or super-graphic paper for a more playful, bold statement. Rolling the centers more loosely would also create a cool, modern look.

I also made some really pretty ones using solid metallic card stock in grays and purples, but I ran out of floral wire, so those aren't finished yet.

You can also mix and match the paper circles for more color and interest. I layered a green striped paper circle and a pink one here.

I also grabbed the white teapot my mother-in-law bought us as a housewarming present to add to the arrangement.

And the best part? They won't die! That means they'll last me until the all the snow finally melts in April...

I'm linking up to At the Picket Fence's Inspiration Friday! I hope you swing by!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone! I may or may not be picking up a little something for our living room...if I can carry it. Stay tuned!

Daisy photo here. Blizzard photo here.

Feb 24, 2011

DIY jewelry holders

Hey all! I've been working on this DIY project for a while, but just wrapped it up over the weekend, so now I can finally share it with you. :)

I had an old DIY earring holder I made back in college that just wasn't cutting it in the new house (picture purple felt...eeeek), so I decided to upgrade. I bought a bunch of $1 white 4x6 and 5x7 picture frames from Target and very carefully removed the glass. (One piece did actually break on me, so I recommend doing this while you're holding the frame inside a plastic shopping bag, so if it breaks, the pieces will be contained. Oh, and wear gloves!)

I bought a roll of plain ol' window screen from Home Depot for $6 with the intention of just putting it in the frame and hanging the earrings off of it. 

But of course, it still looked like window screen. I contemplated painting it, but then I remembered some leftover fabric I bought to make pillows for the bedroom (another work in progress -- more on those later, I promise!). I cut the fabric and the screen to fit the frame, and glued them together. Then, I glued them inside the frame.

The earrings slide easily through the fabric, and the screen in the back helps to guide them in. I tried just using the fabric, and found the earrings slid better when the screen was also there.

I made three earring holders -- one 4x6 frame and two 5x7 frames -- and used some brown ribbon I had to make pretty bows to hang them from.

For the necklace holder, I found an 8x10 frame at Target on clearance for $3 -- woohoo! Now, I'm warning you, I kind of made this up as I went along. I knew I needed something to hang the necklaces from, and I contemplated screwing eye hooks into the wood frame, but was too lazy to buy the hooks or attempt that.

Instead, I cut a piece of cardboard the size of the frame and grabbed some regular paper clips. I bent them into hooks, and then stuck them into the cardboard to test the layout and "pre-drill" the holes. I removed them before gluing fabric over the cardboard.

(Reject paperclips are in the background, as is my ever-present cutting mat. Love that thing!)

To dress up the paperclips, I wrapped them in ribbon and hot glued it.

And, with no further ado, the end results!

No, my walls are not pink. Damn weird winter light!

The earring holders are easily accessible off to the side, but don't distract from the fabulous mirror (a HomeGoods find).

I decided not to hang the necklace frame, but prop it on the edge of my bureau.

What do you think? I think I'd like to paint the frames since I'm not really digging the white -- it clashes with the cream in the fabric. I had planned to spray paint them anyways, but I'm waiting for warmer weather and the ability to work outside. I'm thinking brown to match the mirror, and then maybe swap out the brown ribbon for something with more color. What are your thoughts?

(I know my bureau is a bit of a mish-mash...it's a work in progress. I'm thinking of ditching that tall, outdated jewelry box since I don't need it as much anymore, and getting some cute bowls and seashells to store things in instead. But my awesome touch lamp is staying!)

Since I used leftover fabric and ribbon, the total cost for this project was $12! I'm linking up to the 20 Below Thursday party at Christina's Adventures...stop by to see what everyone else is creating for less than $20.

And if anyone needs some window screen, I've got plenty!

And, in other news... I'm going to a "finish like the pros" workshop tonight at the Mill Stores. It's a New England chain of stores that sells wood furniture, including lots of unfinished pieces, and it's where we bought our dining room table. I'm hoping I'll get some good tips I can share with you all later this weekend. 

And I know I teased you last Friday about a project I'd be working on over the weekend related to coat hooks. Well, the project shifted gears a little, and I didn't get as much done on it as I anticipated, but I do plan to tackle it this weekend and hope to have the final reveal ready for you in about a week. Stay tuned! I know the suspense will make it hard for you to sleep at night until then.... :)

Feb 22, 2011

Taming the basement

A couple months after we moved into the house, one half of the basement looked like this:

Terrifying, no? As we worked to clear boxes from the living areas, we simply deposited them onto any empty floor space we could find in the basement, and very quickly it became a barely navigable maze of boxes, bins and other random objects.

We soon realized we needed some additional storage, so, the hubs and I took a trip to The Home Depot for some lumber, and walked out with this (for less than $100):

The next parts were mostly my husband's doing -- but I did help hold the wood while he screwed it in. And I took some mean pictures. :)

He put up studs for the shelves, attached directly to the wall and ceiling beams. He measured out the placement of the shelves, leaving some space underneath for sliding big boxes and some smaller shelves above perfectly sized for smaller plastic bins. 

He even put everything onto the shelves all on his own. When he called me back down to check it out, I found this:

LOVE. Let's see some before and afters, yes?

All that storage is perfect of getting almost everything off the floor. Plus, it cost way less than buying shelves that would have filled the same space. Okay, it's not quite as pretty -- but hey, it's a basement. Maybe if I feel inspired someday, I'll paint them a pretty color and buy some cute baskets and bins for storage. (Apparently Michaels is having a half-off baskets sale this week -- score!).

Organizing them is still a work in progress; we have boxes we need to sort through and other decluttering to do. And we still have a pile of other stuff that needs to be taken care of. 

But we'll save that work until the spring when the basement is warm enough to work in comfortably. I think so far, so good! (And yes, that's another set of shelves my husband built for our old apartment. They need some organimization too!).

Oh, and the other side of the basement? It's the hubs' brewery. Seriously, he uses it to home brew. And while it's not super neat, it did also get a good dose of declutter.

Not the same angle, but you get the idea. Someday we hope to finish this half and turn it into a fun hangout room. And the hubs would surely call me out if I didn't mention that the chest freezer in the background is his own DIY project: a homemade kegerator, complete with taps! It's the first beginnings of the man cave...

I'm linking up to Thrifty Decor Chick's Organize It party. Stop by and see all the clutter everyone is tackling! 

Have you tamed your basement lately, or are you waiting for spring cleaning?