It’s a wonderful life…

A while back, I saw this sign on etsy, It’s a Wonderful Life. Steve loves this movie and we find ourselves watching it every Christmas. I would’ve snagged the sign up in a heartbeat, but it was no longer available. I waited a couple months thinking that it might be restocked and it wasn’t. (Naturally, it was restocked at the beginning of the year, after I cut all but one letter!)

So I got familiar with the scroll saw again. It had been a year since I had made the Noah’s Ark set and I was a little rusty. I had all intentions to give it as a gift to Steve for Christmas as part of our traditional homemade Christmas presents. But as luck would have it, the saw broke on my very last letter and I was unable to get it finished and the saw was unrepairable. So it sat unfinished in a Wal-mart bag in the garage for far too long.

Only 8 months later, I was able to get the last letter cut, the letters painted and the sign complete. Merry late Christmas Steve. Or even better, merry early Christmas.

It's a wonderful life

It's a wonderful life

Wrapping paper photo mats…

Hallie has had these white Pottery Barn Kids frames in her room since she was a baby. Last year we did an overhaul on her room when I built her a new queen size bed and we learned that she had no insulation in her room!

Wrapping Paper Photo Mats

The pictures came off the wall and we leaned them against the wall – they stayed like that for 8 months until we finally got around to painting her room. We were putting the pictures back on the wall and they just didn’t seem to work anymore. The walls were a light gray and the pictures got lost. So the frames and mats got a little update with some gold spray paint and some wrapping paper.

Wrapping Paper Photo Mats

This was the easiest and cheapest upgrade. All you need is a photo mat, some wrapping paper, scissors, tape and an exacto/craft knife.

Wrapping Paper Photo Mats

Remove the mat from the picture frame and cut a piece of wrapping paper a little larger than the mat. Cut a large X in the photo cutout.

Wrapping Paper Photo Mats

Use tape to secure the inside tabs to the mat and pull tight as you tape the outside edges.

Wrapping Paper Photo Mats

We put the frames back together and hung them on the wall and Hallie and I both agreed the white frames needed a facelift. We found the perfect gold/bronze made by Rustoleum that matched her lamp perfectly. It was the perfect touch to her updated “tween” room.

Wrapping Paper Photo Mats

Wrapping Paper Photo Mats

Wrapping Paper Photo Mats

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

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I was at a DownEast Home one day when I found these plank shelves from West Elm for $10 a piece. I snatched up the three shelves they had and knew exactly how I wanted to use them.

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

I tend to like the industrial look -I like when metals mix with wood. Several years back I opted for industrial pipe for our curtain rods and I’ve loved the look and feel. Using the same material as the curtain rods, I made shelf brackets.

I used 1/2″ pipe and it comes precut in 8″, 10″ or 12″ lengths. You’ll also need a flange and a cap and spray paint in the color of your choice. I like the hammered spray paint by Rustoleum – it gives a durable finish.

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

My shelves aren’t very wide, so I only needed two brackets per shelf. I screwed the pipe directly into the wall through the flange. It would’ve been ideal to screw them into a stud – but there never seems to be a stud where I need it. So I used some strong mollies in the drywall to screw into to prevent them from ripping out.

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

The shelves are just sitting on the brackets. For safety, you can add a pipe bracket underneath that would screw into the wood to keep it in place.

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

I really don’t like the staging part of these projects, but after a year we finally have items sitting on the shelves. I ended up using his toys/books as the decorations. Not toys that were purchased to be cute on a shelf, but the toys he actually plays with, the robots, cars, wooden dinosaur and Baby Lit books. So it really only looks like this every week when I tidy up the room and put everything back in its place. The shelves ended up being more functional than decorative and they fit the space perfectly.

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

Easy Industrial Pipe Shelves

DIY Wall Decals

DIY Wall Decal

I love a fun and eye catching wall treatment. I’ve used wood treatments in two of the rooms – which is permanent in my mind and really takes some commitment. In my office, I used paint to create a herringbone pattern which took some time but I know the minute I’m bored with it I can paint over it. And now I have my decal wall.

I love the idea of wall decals. You can transform your space using a trendy shape or pattern and the next year when it’s out – you can buy new decals and be trendy again. I thought decals would be the perfect addition to the loft area. Then I priced out decals and I changed my mind. They were crazy expensive for a vinyl sticker and I decided it wasn’t worth it. But my mind was still stuck on the decals so I came up with DIY solution: use Silhouette matte vinyl and cut the shapes yourself. Now I know some shapes would be ridiculous to cut yourself and it wouldn’t be worth it. But what about some fun diamonds or triangles. Or a + sign. This was so easy and it cost me $20 for two rolls of vinyl.

I mapped out my wall and decided how many decals I wanted and how large I wanted them. I then started cutting vinyl to size with a straight edge and rotary cutter. And used the small exacto knife for the cut in portions.

DIY Wall Decals

DIY Wall Decals

DIY Wall Decals

Here’s the wall I measured and prepped.

DIY Wall Decals

I used a laser level to make sure everything stayed level. I taped the decals on the wall and then when I knew I measured right, I peeled off the backing and carefully placed them on the wall.

DIY Wall Decals

DIY Wall Decals

It took me longer to set the level for every row than it did to place the decals in the right spot!

DIY Wall Decals

DIY Wall Decals

I have an orange peel textured wall and I was worried they wouldn’t stick – After two years, its safe to say they worked just fine. I peeled a corner of one a while back just to see how it will be when I remove them and there was no residue. I could pull them off all tomorrow and put hexagons on the wall!

This would be a great technique for anyone that is renting or has issues with wall commitments. The only downside I see is that the vinyl comes in limited colors. But if you’re in the market for a basic color, and you’re willing to spend time cutting out a shape – you could save buckets of money with DIY wall decals.

DIY USA Wall Art Tutorial can be found here
The darling 50 States books (with great illustrations can be found here and here, same author)

Valentine’s Rag Banner…

Valentine's Rag Banner
It’s time to start dressing the house in red and pink! A while back, I showed a rag banner I made for Hallie’s birthday party in navy and gold. It was surprisingly easy and cheap enough that I’ve made it again for Valentine’s day.

Here’s how to make it:
1. Buy 1/4 yard of four different fabrics.
2. Cut 9 one inch strips of fabric. (I folded it and used a rotary cutter to make the process quick)
Valentine's Rag Banner
3. Take each one inch strip (which is the width of the fabric you purchased) and cut them into fourths. I take all the strips of one color and hold them in my hand – fold it over and cut and take each half and cut it again. This will give 36 strips of each fabric.
Valentine's Rag Banner
4. Choose what material you want to tie the fabric to. It could be ribbon, baker’s twine, string, etc. Fold a piece of fabric in half with the twine sitting on top of it. Take the ends and put them through the loop and this will create a knot.
Valentine's Rag Banner
5. Continue alternating fabrics, tying knots, pushing the fabrics together until you have the fullness and length you desire.
Valentine's Rag Banner
Valentine's Rag Banner
It really is that easy. This is a sit-on-the-couch-and-watch-a-movie project which is just what I need sometimes!

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