Frosted Birch Window

If you’ve been to the flea market and love DIY projects, most likely you’ve bought and completed AT LEAST one window project. There’s unlimited ideas for reusing old windows online…. It truly seem endless.

This is actually my second window project - I haven’t shared my first one yet, as it’s still waiting to be hung up in Myla’s room. This window was actually given to me by someone who had quite a few sitting around after getting their windows replaced - free is always awesome… yay!!! It was originally white with a lot of chipping paint and I was almost going to leave it as is. But then I remembered I had bought some chalk paint - for what, I don’t remember anymore - BUT I had three colors and wanted to try some out. So I went with the green. I applied it after I did a light scraping and sanding to remove any large pieces of paint that were coming off. After two layers of green chalk paint, I went to town sanding and distressing it and finished it with a wax to seal it and give it a bit of a sheen.

The fun part wasn’t the painting of the window though… it was using a frosted spray paint and stencils to create a birch tree pattern on the glass panes on the back of the window. I made my own stencils using the same stencil film I used for this Ikea Table project. Unfortunately all the walls in our house are painted an off white color (picking paint colors is still on my to do list) because the frosted glass image definitely looks better against darker colors. But for now, it’s a subtle design that you’ll only be lucky enough to see if you happen to catch it in the right light - OR in the case below, just hitting it with a camera flash.

Once I hung the window, I decided to dress it up with some dried flowers I bought by wrapping hemp cord around the stems and adding a metal star (just like the ones from this ladder).

Burlap Mirror

I’m always on the lookout for good, antique frames at the flea market. There’s always a lot of junk frames (in my opinion - or at least not what I’m looking for) - ones without detail or ones that would need to be painted or made to look antique. Sometimes I do spot some interesting ones, but then the vendor is usually asking a fortune and many don’t budge on price, or at least to the price I’m willing to pay. So... I was kind of really excited when I found this old, framed mirror that the vendor seemed anxious to get rid of - seemed like they were anxious to make any kind of sale that day. A win for me! 

Back of the "ruined" mirror and panels I pulled off - love seeing how something that looks like trash can be turned into treasure.

The mirror itself was completely ruined. All the silver had been flaked off, but the frame itself was cracked and peeling in the perfect way (if that even makes sense to you). I contemplated replacing the mirror but decided to do something different with it. I had bought some pieces of printed burlap at JoAnn's a year or so prior - just because I liked it, not that I had a reason to buy it at that time. So, once I pulled off the back panels of wood and pulled out about a hundred mini nails, and pulled out the glass and cleaned it up - I framed a piece of that burlap. And after a few weeks of staring at it hanging on our wall, I thought I would make some mini burlap roses and add those for a little pop of color - and it would pick up on the wreath I made above our bed. My original thought was even to add some chicken wire on top of the burlap and use it as a place to hang photos or other little pieces of collected memories - but Justin vetoed that idea. So, it’s staying as is.

Framed Burlap hung on wall.

Closeup of the "perfect cracking and peeling".

Little Ladder

Here’s another flea market find that was a quick and easy project like the Barn Door - but first I must digress. Originally, I was in search of a ladder to go above our front door in our foyer where we have this pretty large, loft type space - it’s not usable space as you need a ladder to access it… it’s just a space to be decorated. Currently, I have this old trunk there which I also found at the flea market. I wouldn’t say it’s a ‘gorgeous’ trunk, I was just drawn to the color. You can certainly find some absolutely beautiful ones that have been restored to their original condition - which also cost a pretty penny - but that’s not what I needed. I have yet to do anything other than just clean this one up, which is fine as I’m not sure I really need to do anything else with it. But, it does need some other items to share that space with as it’s looking a little lonely. Interesting story behind this trunk though. It was found at the monastery where actress turned nun, Dolores Hart, Elvis’s supposed first onscreen kiss, now lives AND it supposedly belonged to her. Although, there is no proof of it, and I certainly didn’t pay what it would cost if there was proof. It does however, make for an interesting story and gets my imagination going of where this trunk has traveled to... as well as all the other pieces I pick up at the flea market.

Anyways, back to the little ladder. I thought that finding an old ladder might help fill the space above the loft if placed in one of the corners. I didn’t want a really tall ladder, but it turned out the one I found was ultimately too short for the space and looked lost when viewed from downstairs - BUT I still found a place for it. I just propped it up against an empty wall in our living room. But before doing so, I cleaned it up, waxed it with Briwax and added some grapevine garland I bought at Michael’s. It also came with the top rung cut in the middle where an old, rusted tin can was attached in between with two nails. I wasn’t sure I wanted to buy the ladder at first when I saw that, but then something about it I really liked. It gave me a good place to add some more decoration - a bit of moss and some hanging berries. And at Christmas I found these star ornaments, which I decided to just leave on there year round.

Now I just need to figure out what else will go up in that loft space. Good thing the flea market opens back up again this weekend!!! Although a part of me is fighting whether I want to go shopping at the flea market or hit up bootcamp... decisions, decisions...

Barn Door

This post will be short and sweet as I’ve been a bit of a stress ball this past week or so. Between packing up the kids for a short weekend trip and helping to run the book fair at Myla’s preschool, there’s been some extra to-do’s on my plate causing my anxiety to rise… also resulting in a little extra flowing of the wine. Because face it, packing the kids up to go anywhere, even for a short trip takes just as many days as the trip is long. And trying to help run a book fair for the first time ever is a bit mind boggling especially when you still have mommy-brain.

Anyways, back to it… I wanted to share with you a simple project, so simple that all it took was three steps… well, ok, maybe four. Rewind a little first… I’m always in search of items to hang on our walls. As I’ve mentioned in the past, our new house has a lot of wall space compared to our last house… along with high ceilings and even some cathedral ceilings. Finding pictures or decor that is big enough to fill the space and not look awkward can be quite a task. Which is why, when I came across this ‘barn door’ at the Elephant’s Trunk, I thought it would be perfect and had to have it. For what I believe was a measly $17 dollars, I took this big hunk of wood home. After some Briwax (1), a nail hammered into the center (2), an old, white berry wreath I had sitting around (3) and screwing in a really nifty wall mount bracket for super heavy objects (4)... I had a pretty interesting piece of work on my wall that fits in with the rest of my rustic decor that I’m trying to fill my home with. This may quite possibly be one of my most favorite finds at the flea market when comparing design, uniqueness and price.

Coffee Talk Table Piece

On another Sunday adventure to the Elephant’s Trunk, I found an old soda crate unlike others I had seen there before. What drew me towards this one in particular was the grayish-blue hue to the wood. Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m going to do with the piece I buy, but I know I must have it because I like something about it. In this case, it was the color. Plus, when it comes to old soda crates, there are a million DIY ideas out there, so I knew it wouldn’t be wasted. When deciding what I would finally do with it, I thought I’d make a centerpiece for my coffee table in the family room. The room is currently decorated in natural browns and grays with hits of bluish-turquoise and a toned-down lime green. I knew this piece would fit. 

Finished piece

I brought it home and cleaned it up - just had to figure out what to fill it with. One of the inside boards was broken so there was a double wide spot. I had seen a lot of books at “The Trunk” and thought it would be a nice idea to find some books with titles that “struck a cord” with me to fill that space. It took me a few trips to find the fours book in there. I also didn’t want to spend a lot as it was purely for decoration - not collecting purposes - so that made it a little more difficult. I searched for ones with titles that would represent each one of us… Me, Justin, Myla and Maddox - the inside content didn’t matter. 

The first book I found was “The Rainbow”… for Maddox, my rainbow baby. The next I found was “Eat and Be Healthy” - I thought it was appropriate for both me and Justin, but I leaned towards Justin on this one. After we started dating, he decided to begin eating a vegetarian diet when at home with me, and with that his health improved too. Next, I found “The World’s Best Poetry” - which I felt fit me and my never ending search for beauty in the world. And finally, I found “The City’s Perils”… for Myla. Ha! Our spirited, strong-willed, overly dramatic, crazy, hysterical, imaginative, little princess, tom-boy whose always on the move and upside-down. What other title could fit this little girl, who calls herself “Dangerous”, more appropriately? One day she may hit me for saying that. The best part, the books look good as a grouping.

Make sure to add felt feet to any piece that could potentially scratch your furniture - this piece has metal banding that wraps underneath the box.

Finally, I bought some old glass milk bottles from The Glass Guy at The Trunk and filled them with interesting moss and dried/wood flowers. I finished off the piece with four candles I picked up for a great price at Homegoods. To add some holiday spirit this past Christmas, I added some artificial poinsettias… and again, like my dining room table centerpiece, I forgot to get photos. Oops... next Christmas.

First Flea Market Find

Almost two years ago, about the time I was first pregnant with Maddox, a good friend of mine and her mother introduced me to the local flea market called The Elephant’s Trunk. I had wanted to check it out for many, many years, so I'm not sure why it took me this long to finally go. It was always a passing thought and I never made it a priority on my weekend schedule - but with their convincing, I was game... and it turned into my new weekly routine. It was also a nice break for some "me" time which up until this point, I never really took any, at least on a consistent basis. I looked forward to going each weekend (and when it got rained out, I was always totally bummed). The flea market is the perfect place to find a starting point for all sorts of DIY projects - and I've been known to get ahead of myself with purchasing stuff faster than I was able to work on them. But, we had also been living in our new house for several months by this point and I needed more decor to fill our space... at least I had a good excuse to go a little crazy. 

Anyways, one of my first project ideas was a new centerpiece on my dining room table. On our first trip, we found the perfect wood box - an old wood tool caddy of sorts - and at a pretty good price. It certainly helps to go with “flea market veterans” who also happen to be good negotiators. (My quiet/shy nature certainly doesn't help me in this arena). We also found some old mason jars from “the glass guy” who is there every weekend and specializes in... you guessed it - all sorts of old glass bottles and jars. The mason jars I found had glass lids and metal hinges and I bought them in two sizes which I planned to place inside the box. I brought home those pieces and got to work. 

Finished centerpiece

I started by using Briwax on the wooden box. Briwax is amazing - it brings out all the natural patina and color of the antiqued wood and gives it a natural sheen - the more you buff, the glossier it will get. Briwax comes in a variety colors/shades too so even if you wanted to darken a piece, it’s possible using this wax. 

Next, I wanted to figure out a way to put candles in the mason jars to keep them elevated and peeking above the rim instead of placing them on the bottom where they would be hidden once I added the moss and flowers I had in mind. I decided to use some heavy gauge metal wire we had in the basement and experimented a bit to make these little “candle holders” that wrapped around the edges of the mason jars. They keep the candles elevated at just the right height. As you can see, I bent the wire to make a platform for the candle, and then little arms that wrapped around the top of the jar. 

Supplies: Heavy Gauge Wire, Mason Jar, Wire Cutters, Pliers and Candle

Steps to make elevated candle platform

Finally, I used moss and artificial flowers and berries to fill in around the jars. By using moss as a filler, I made sure not to add any extra weight to the piece so it can easily be picked up and moved when setting out food on the table. The wood caddy alone is quite heavy and once adding the mason jars, I didn’t want it much heavier. As for the holidays this year, I switched out the white and cream flowers and berries for red ones to make it more festive. Only thing… I forgot to get some pictures. Maybe next Christmas I’ll update this post with new photos.

Fabric-Backed Bookcase

Now that we have a baby boy on the way, I decided it was time to re-do Myla’s room - giving her a “big girl” room - since we need the crib and other furniture for the nursery. Myla, super-lucky girl that she is, inherited my bedroom furniture from my young teen years. It’s a beautiful, white, vintage-country-esqe style. It’s much like what you see advertised for young girls and teens in Pottery Barn. (Glad I had such good taste so many years ago… wink, wink). It’s in pretty good shape and sure to grow with her throughout the years… which is exactly why I finally decided to finish her unfinished bookcase. 

Finished bookcase.

I actually got this bookcase years and years ago… it’s made its way through my many apartments and different rooms throughout our old house before it landed in her nursery. Since I knew the nursery was only going to last a few years, I decided to hold off painting it until now.

I thought it would look best if I painted it to match the furniture - PLUS I wanted to add a splash of color to her room. But, I didn’t want to paint the bookcase itself with a ‘pop’ color, but instead add a color backing to it that would be visible when viewing it from the front. And, I wanted to make sure that I could always change out that ‘pop’ of color if Myla decides that she wants to re-do her room down the road.

I started by filling in the screw holes on the bookcase with wood filler and painting the entire bookcase with a primer. I followed that up with two coats of paint that I matched to the furniture (an off-white, slightly creamy color) and finished it off with a spray clear, gloss coat. (Don't worry, I used the spray finish outside and wore a respirator to protect the lil' bub in my tum - it's probably a good idea to wear one even if you're not pregnant... those fumes were wicked). 

For the backing, I picked up some fabric that matched some colors in the quilt for her bed. A bright pink with polka dots seemed like the perfect fabric to not only add a ‘pop’ of color, but also some fun, to her room. Next, I went to the hardware store and bought a sheet of plywood which I had them cut down to size (slightly smaller than the actual width of the bookcase and long enough to cover the openings in the bookcase). 

Once I brought it home and tested it against the bookcase, I cut the fabric a bit bigger than the board. I mixed together Modge Podge and water (about a 1:1 ratio) so it looked like milk. I used a large, old paintbrush and spread it over the entire piece of wood. Then I carefully laid the fabric down on top, making sure there were no wrinkles or creases in the fabric. Once set in place, I brushed another layer of the Modge Podge mixture on top of the fabric making sure it soaked completely through. Once dry, I applied one more layer of the Modge Podge mixture. 

After I let that dry overnight, I used a piece of sandpaper to rub along the edge just enough to break the fabric fibers, while slightly tugging on the hanging fabric, leaving a perfect edge around the board. After that, it was simply a matter of laying the bookcase down, positioning the backer board (nailing in diagonal corners first to make sure it was square) and then nailing around the rest about every 6-8 inches. 

What I love about doing a bookcase this way, is that I can always pull the backer board off and apply a new fabric color on a new piece of plywood without ruining the painted part of the bookcase. I loved this bookcase so much that I just ordered one (although shorter) for baby boy’s nursery (from Wood Bin in Brookfield, CT). I will once again wait until his “big boy” room to finish it to match the furniture we buy for him then.

I also used the same fabric to make simple curtains for her windows (hung with tension rods - I love the wide molding too much to cover it). I still have extra fabric which I plan on using to make a few toss pillows or covering some frames for some artwork we created. We’ll see how far I can stretch the leftover fabric. 

Burlap Rose Wreath with ‘Pop’

In my last post I shared the large, burlap rose, grapevine wreath project I completed for our family room. I mentioned I had originally bought a smaller wreath which I found to be too small for the space above our fireplace and decided to keep it anyways. Since we recently redid our bedroom - new furniture and all new bedding - I needed to work on some decor for that room (and still do) and liked the idea of adding a wreath above our bed. And because our new bedding has fun colors in it like ‘desert rose’ and orange, I thought this would be a great opportunity to add a little ‘pop’ of color. (I believe I may be addicted to creating burlap roses.)

I used the same technique to make the flowers as I did with the first wreath. This time I used primarily white and gray with a few pops of orange and pink. To offset the flowers on the wreath and add a bit more detail, I cut a large rectangle of white burlap and created folds using hot glue on the ends - like making pleats. I then wrapped it around the wreath, tacking again with hot glue. I completed it with two strips of gray burlap that I wrapped at the top and bottom of the white burlap and tacked again with glue on the back. And that was it. Adding those bits of “pop” is a great way to add or tie in additional color around a room.

Burlap Rose Grapevine Wreath

I finally have a clear mind now that I’ve emptied my brain in my last post. I never thought of myself as much of a writer, or having the "need" to write - but writing really made me feel better. Now, I can finally focus on my crafty projects again. Yay!!! 

So back to it we go.... Months ago, I created a few burlap roses with stems and felt leaves for a fabric-covered, wine bottle vase I had sitting around. When I went shopping for burlap for that project (and the framed burlap art piece), I discovered the numerous colors and patterns available - both fabric by the yard and in “ribbon rolls”. I got carried away and purchased quite a few colors and patterns. However, to date, I’ve only completed two additional projects.

Since moving into our new house, one of my top priorities has been to decorate above our fireplace. We have a two-story family room with massive amounts of empty wall space. I found a wreath at Michael’s that was about 3 feet in diameter. I brought it home, but it still looked rather small for that area. I kept telling myself I need to think bigger. I decided to keep the wreath anyways as I got a good buy on it and I was sure I would find another place for it down the road. 

A month or so passed and I went back into Michael’s and found a wreath that was even bigger!!! This new one was about 4 feet in diameter. I brought it home and figured it would work pretty well. I still had wanted a bigger one, but that meant custom ordering it for some exuberant price and I wasn’t sure I was ready to do that especially if I discovered all my efforts to complete this project failed. 

I found this new tutorial on how to make roses from burlap, or any material for that matter, which allowed me to make the flowers as large or small as I wanted simply by changing the width and length of the burlap strips. (It’s a different method/tutorial than I used for the burlap roses I made for the vase - very similar, but I found this one to be simpler.) I couldn’t believe how easy it was, once I got the hang of it. It almost became second nature. I found it to be quite a relaxing process too… folding, twisting, gluing… repeat.

I wanted to keep the wreath pretty simple as we have other decorations along our mantel. My style is definitely about simplicity, firmly believing “less is more”. Therefore, I kept the roses to three colors: white, tan and dark brown. I did work on making leaves out of burlap as well (pictured below). I watered down some Modge Podge and covered the burlap with the mixture using a paint brush. Then hung it to dry - the glue dries clear and the fabric becomes stiff and moldable. Most importantly, the glue prevents shredding when you cut out the leaf shapes. However, after placing them around the wreath, I felt it was becoming too busy and removed them.

Burlap leaves which I decided to omit from this project.

I simply attached the flowers with a hot glue gun. Ditched my original plan of wiring them on… and that was it! Although I made this one pretty simple, there are so many other elements you can add such as the burlap leaves, or other materials, like lace, feathers, beads, pearls and roses in additional fabrics. (Something else to add to my craft to-do list.)

Making Burlap Beautiful

Burlap, burlap everywhere… or at least all over the craft stores, home decor stores and of course, Pinterest. I hadn’t really paid too much attention to the fabric until I bought some for last week’s project: Love is Simple. At the time, I also bought two other printed burlap fabrics which may become part of my “collage wall” I spoke about last week. Ah… the suspense. 

Anyways, one project on my craft to-do list is make a grapevine wreath with burlap flowers. I never attempted to make fabric flowers before like some of my other crafty momma friends, but wanted to give it a try. I figured there had to be directions somewhere out there. Low and behold - I found several tutorials on YouTube and decided to pick this one to try first.

Overall, they were pretty easy to make - although not as easy as she makes it out to be. One thing I learned is that you basically get two or three shots at rolling/twisting them up before all the threads become too unruly to work with. The one rose with a bead in the middle become just that - the center came unrolled and the threads were loosening up. I decided this would become an open rose showing its filaments. To do that, I glued a bead in the center and then took one thread from the burlap, wrapped it back and forth, and tucked it through the bead. Not too bad for a first try.

Years ago I was given a bottle of wine in this neat canvas gift bag tied with twine. It looked too pretty to just toss so once I finished the bottle of wine, I put it back into the bag. At our last house, I had been using it to display dried flowers. But once we got into our new home, I took those flowers and put them into another vase. The burlap flowers I just made were too pretty to go to waste and I knew they would look nice in the wine bottle vase. I just needed to figure out a way to get these flat-backed flowers onto stems. 

To keep this project simple, I used some green felt I already had. I only had to buy the brown flower stems (available at most craft stores). I cut two leaves from the felt for each flower as seen above and hot glued the stem between them. Once dry, I opened the leaves and hot glued the flowers to the leaves which I angled into a slight “V” shape. I was then able to cut and bend the stem wire to arrange them in the wine bottle vase.

Both the burlap and the red canvas match last week’s project - so on the console they now sit together.

Love is Simple

This isn’t going to be a mushy post about how much I love and adore my husband, Justin… although I do, a lot! He’s pretty amazing and makes what can be something complex (i.e. love) pretty simple. However, in this post I’m referring to the evolution of this project. How what I originally had planned as something more elaborate, changed into something pretty simple. Many of my projects evolve during the process and turn out differently than how I first imagined them… they just usually get more complex, not the reverse. 

I bought the frame, letters and heart for this project more than a year ago. Not that it was going to be an anniversary gift FOR Justin, but rather one for US - one I would make for our bedroom wall. My original intent was to take our vows or the words from our first dance song and either write, print, or paint them, along with our wedding date, on a board as the background behind the “T”, heart, and “J”. After briefly playing around with the words, I decided that I didn’t think it was going to work the way I had hoped. Most likely I needed a bigger frame or smaller letters and heart that could be tucked into the corner of the frame rather than fill the entire space. Since I already had the materials (as they were sitting around for a year without me doing anything with them) I decided to move forward and create something anyways. 

I stained the letters with wood stain I had in the basement. They were made of a very porous material, so I just dripped the stain on and let them sit out to dry on plastic plates. I soaked the wooden heart in beet juice until it evaporated which only took a few days (it just so happened I was eating Love Beets around that time - packaged with plenty of juice). Next, I cut a piece of plywood the exact size for the frame and covered it with burlap by folding the edges over to the back and using hot glue to tack it down. Then I glued that into the open back frame (no need for fancy framing tools like a point driver) and completed it by gluing the letters and heart on the front. I tried a few other ideas I had, but in the end, this project was screaming for me to stop - its beauty is in its simplicity. 

I was going to make this part of a larger project - such as a wall collage of photos and other burlap and wine cork art pieces. But, once I placed it on our dining room buffet console (in place of where our wedding guest signature plate was), I fell in love with it there. It just naturally found its home - and became the perfect update to our dining room. Whether displayed on a console table or paired with candles on the fireplace mantle - it’s simple design lends it to be used in various ways. I may still work towards a collage wall incorporating other burlap designs… but for now, I’ll just add those ideas to my craft list.

A Little Project to Celebrate a Birth

Here's a little project that's quick and easy enough for anyone, even the not-so-crafty momma. Although, I swear there's something about becoming a mother (or other exciting, life changing event like planning a wedding) that brings out the creative side in people who thought they never had a creative bone in their body. 

This simple shadow box displays a few of the items from Myla's birth: the hospital bracelets, the little hat she wore for those first few days and a small picture of her in the warming blanket and hat, with her cheeks still pink. This shadow box sits on her bookshelf and is a constant reminder of that amazing day and a reminder of how tiny she was. Sure, it may not be as "creative" as many of my other projects for her, but it's special and sentimental and something to be cherished.

In the beginning, I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do with these items but I knew that I didn't want a huge shadow box on her wall with many items, or to make a scrap book that would be put away and out of sight, or to pack them away in her Memory Box where I keep cards, her homecoming outfit, her pavlik harness and the Balloon Bloomers I made her, among other items. I wanted these few items to have their own place and to be easily displayed in her room, or other rooms in the future, without becoming a focal point. By keeping it small, it sits perfectly on a shelf and acts as a little surprise among the books, radio, toys and dolls.

Whoo Loves Their Mom

I do! She's one crafty lady always finding some of the best little projects around. And what I love even more is that she inspires me and gets crafty with me. She isn't the type of person to buy a lot of generic or store bought decorations and invitations when it comes to parties and showers. She either finds something unique or makes it. When it came to my baby shower, she was looking for something fun to make as a centerpiece that also fit with the season... and that wasn't overly "baby". As you can probably tell, I'm not into the whole light pink or light blue scheme - and if the entire shower was decorated in Pepto pink, you could be sure that I certainly wasn't feeling myself - or it was definitely not my idea.  

My mom had been searching for owl related crafts and came across these clay owls. Super easy to make and super cute - we just added a hole at top in which we threaded some ribbon through (and added some pretty eyelashes to about half of them). My baby shower was held in October when leaves were beginning to change. We collected some branches outside and glued some artificial maple leaves in red, orange and yellow to them. I arranged them in a flower pot with some raffia (one of my favorite craft materials when making anything "natural"), and hung the little owls with some ribbons. There are Mommy and Daddy owls along with girl and boy owls all perched around the branches. Since this centerpiece doesn't scream "baby", it also makes a cute decoration during the fall season - a nice little reminder of the birth of my baby girl.