Just before my TIA, I started collecting materials for a new project – a THANKFUL sign. I wanted it large to sit above my entertainment center and I wanted the letters cut out of wood. Funny sidenote: when I showed up to the ER, I had my purse with me and as I was grabbing my wallet out, a pack of scroll saw blades came with it! I had just been that morning to the specialty wood shop to grab my last supplies. After my ER visit, I was feeling anything but myself. I felt out of place in my own body, I was tired and dizzy.
After two weeks passed and I could feel the depression start to wash over me and zero motivation to do anything, I pulled out my tools. At first, I was doing it somewhat reluctantly because I really didn’t feel like working with wood. But saws have healing properties for me and this jig saw project was just to trick to snap me out of a downward spiral. And what better message to be working on for me, right?
As I cut those letters, I had a distinct impression of gratitude that I was still able to do projects like this. That the numbness in my fingertips had subsided and I could feel the vibration of the saw. I had complete control over my fingers to move the wood in and out from the blade. I felt like myself more so than any other time in the previous weeks and it felt good. Project Kara is a happy Kara, even if they’re small projects.
Tonight as a family, we spent time talking about gratitude and a spirit of Thanksgiving. We all took turns sharing things big and small that we’re grateful for. I am beyond grateful for my health – a huge wake-up call for not only myself but also Steve. We often take our good health for granted and I recognize that. I am grateful to feel like myself again, its an uncomfortable to feel as though you don’t fit in your own skin and body. I am grateful for a loving and dedicated husband who takes care of me even when I don’t think I need it – he always knows how to help me. I’m grateful for those little humans who call me mom even when we’re in the thick of it and my patience is surface level – they’re always quick to forgive. I’m grateful for friends and family near and far who enrich my life on a daily basis. I have so much to be grateful for, I love a season dedicated to sharing our gratitude.
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.
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!
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.
This was the easiest and cheapest upgrade. All you need is a photo mat, some wrapping paper, scissors, tape and an exacto/craft knife.
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.
Use tape to secure the inside tabs to the mat and pull tight as you tape the outside edges.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s the wall I measured and prepped.
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.
It took me longer to set the level for every row than it did to place the decals in the right spot!
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)