Christmas Mason Jars

Mason jars are as old as the hills but they never seem to lose their popularity as a household item. They are not only great for canning and drinking from, but they are great for decor in every season and for almost any event. At our house, they are used for all of the above! Honestly, I’m a fan of jars of all types, but mason jars just have that appealing country home look. 

This week I chalk painted these jars and gave them a little festive Christmas look. If you would like an easy diy chalk paint recipe, you can find it here. Before applying the chalk paint I spray painted the outsides of the jars with a nice Christmas red color so that I could distress them later and bring out the red on the lettering. The spray paint I used also doubles as a primer, which not only helps the chalk paint stay on, but it gives it a warmer undertone. Since I already had the red paint out, I decided to go paint happy and paint the little bells deep red to match. A few more little wood pieces and some twine embellished these jars just right with one single wreath accent piece sitting on top. It was a cheap and easy little project for making in bulk. I made nine of them for our church coffee shop tables.

His & Hers Accessory Tray Project

I hate unorganized countertop clutter, but I understand the need to keep certain items out for easy use. I thought these fun little accessory trays were a great solution for the small odds and ends that end up on the bathroom counter. The best part is that it only cost me a few dollars at the dollar store and a few minutes to make my designs using my Silhouette Cameo 3 cutter. If you use a Silhouette machine and would like to make your own set you can download my design files below.

The items you will need are obviously, the two trays. I chose to use two different styles just for fun but it would also look cute to use matching trays of either style. You will also need the drawer liners. This is the foam type of liner and again, I thought it would be cute to use a feminine style for hers, and a more masculine looking one for his. The hardest part of this project was cutting the liners into the right size and shape (which was not that hard). I did this by flipping over the trays, laying the liner over them and following the indent lines with my scissors. You will probably have to trim and even out your shape, unless you are better at cutting than I am! The last thing you will need is to cut out the designs on some adhesive vinyl. You can grab the free download files below, or create your own.

His Design File Download

Hers Design File Download

Enjoy!!

American Flag Wood Wall Art

Wood Art Displayed on My Hutch

With Independence Day coming up I decided to make a wall art project to display some patriotic song lyrics that are not commonly known but are very powerful. The lyrics I chose came from the third verse of America the Beautiful. The picture I posted makes the art piece look a little smaller than it actually is so the words may be difficult to read. Here are the words:

“O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife. Who more than self, their country loved and mercy more than life. America, America may God thy gold refine. ‘Till all success be nobleness and every gain divine.” 

What I really love about this stanza is that the value of character is placed ahead of the value of acquiring wealth or success. Personal sacrifice is honored above personal gain or comfort. This is how our country began and the sacrifice made for the greater good of others is honored so well in this verse.

The project itself was so simple that I made most of it within an afternoon using very inexpensive items simply because I was feeling lazy and I didn’t want to have to go drive anywhere to buy anything. I used my Silhouette Cameo 3 to type out the words and cut it out onto sticky vinyl. If you don’t have a cutting tool but you have a steady hand you could do this with paint, a permanent pen, or paint markers.

The wood I used to make this project was just a package of shims I had in my craft room. If you aren’t familiar with shims, they are slats of wood used for all kinds of home projects. They are about 1/4 ” thick on one side and they taper down to probably a millimeter. I took two pieces going opposite directions and used Elmer’s glue to turn the two pieces of wood into one even piece. I would have used the Elmer’s Wood glue, but it was dried out at the top, and well, laziness continues. Since I knew I had nine lines to the stanza I would be featuring, I did this process nine times. Then I stacked all of the glued slats into two piles and tied the ends with zip ties to keep the glued slats pressed together while drying. I had to move quickly and even reapply glue on a few of them because as the glue was drying, the pieces wanted to start warping in the opposite direction. *This probably wouldn’t have been a problem had I used the wood glue 🙂 The zip ties did a great job of keeping the pieces pressed together and all of my slats dried evenly overnight.

The next day I took the zip ties off and divided the slats unevenly (since I had 9 pieces) to be painted red or white. I had some old bottles of acrylic paint in my craft room with the perfect dull, rustic shade of barn red I was after. Unfortunately, my white acrylic paint was dried out so I found some off-white spray paint in a satin finish that I had from a previous project. I high-fived myself for still not having to go to the store for supplies. Yes! Laziness prevails. I wondered if the white pieces would have more sheen than the red pieces and decided it would actually be kind of a cool effect if it did. It didn’t end up having more sheen. Not noticeably anyway. While the paint dried I went swimming, played with my dog and watered my garden. About an hour or more later I came back to my Arizona sun-dried slat pieces and they were ready to assemble. I had a wood art wall hanging that I had previously picked up from the thrift store. It was the size and shape of a painting canvas and the previous art was just glued on paper so I peeled it off and glued my painted slats on in a striped pattern with gorilla glue. As the pieces were drying I also began transferring the vinyl cut words. Yes, I’m impatient AND lazy but I was so close to finished and I just wanted to see it all completed. I’m pretty happy with my project so I plan to make some other cool wood signs the same way.

 

Chalk Full of Paint Ideas

Chalk paint is a fun way to dress up almost anything with a little bit of charm and character by giving it an antique or distressed look. The appealing look about it is the very flat, lack of sheen on it. As odd and bland as that sounds, it makes bold colors look amazing and it means that you can put a fresh coat of paint on something without getting the cheesy look of a shiny new paint job. It’s a very simple and elegant look and allows some room for creativity to add detail where you want to draw attention.

There are name brands of chalk paint sold in craft and home improvement stores, but being the budget-friendly girl that I am, I’m always looking for the cheapest way to do things so this post includes a simple (and cheap) homemade recipe and some instructions. For those of you who would rather just buy the paint and follow the instructions, I’ve also included a few helpful links for some quality chalk paints and supplies.

The homemade chalk paint recipe is simple. I just buy the cheapest brand of paint in the color I want since I’m about to dump ingredients in it anyway. Don’t forget that the home improvement stores will color match any brand for you so you can choose any color from any paint brand and ask them to match it and make it with the cheapest paint brand they have in flat. Keep in mind you will be dumping plaster and water into your paint so I would not recommend spending a lot, but hey, that’s just me. This particular color is called “cottage white”. It’s my favorite white to chalk paint in for furniture. 

Chalk Paint Recipe

•8 oz paint
•2 tbsp. dry plaster paris
•2 tbsp. water

This is a very small portion and is actually the exact amount of paint in one of the $3 sample jars at Home Depot so if it is a small project I buy one of those and if it is larger I buy a whole can of paint and I just multiply out portions for my project. When you mix these ingredients together it should feel thinner than normal paint consistency, and of course, it will also feel grainy.

Before you paint

One of my favorite parts about chalk painting is that you don’t have to do a lot of prep work. You don’t have to sand down the wood or take off any other finish. You do need to check for any sticky labels, or substances to be removed. Goof Off is a great remover for that sort of thing. I remove any hardware and usually paint them in a contrasting metallic or black color. Last, I spray the whole piece with a primer. The primer serves three purposes.

  1. It gives the chalk paint an even, balanced surface to adhere to
  2. It ensures a balanced undertone beneath the paint
  3. It gives you a base color to draw out when you distress the piece. This feature is really fun when you use a contrasting primer color like red underneath a chalk paint color like white and then distress it enough that a lot of the red comes through.

Once your piece has an even coat of dry  primer, you are ready to paint! Paint using a brush, covering the whole piece in thin strokes. By the time you cover it all it will be time to go around the whole thing again. You will have to resist the temptation to paint with thicker coverage and just keep painting on the thin almost dry strokes around the whole thing. They will dry quickly and as you add more layers it will take on a full, rich tone. When it is completely dry you will want to paint on a wax sealer, or if you prefer a shortcut you can use a satin clear coat spray to protect it and seal the paint in when you are finished. This way you can wipe it down and dust it without disturbing the finish.

If you are not so much into the idea of making your own chalk paint there are a variety of chalk paint brands on the market varying in prices. Whether or not you choose to make your paint, you will need a few basic supplies to get you started on your first chalk paint project. Linked below are a few suggestions. Feel free to comment below if you’d like to share a favorite brand, technique, suggestion or brush type. There are so many ways to do this and I love hearing what other people do.




Tool Vanity DIY Project

Most people with tools have tool benches. This is my tool vanity. It’s a cute, but still sturdy and practical way to store and display my tools conveniently. My husband bought me these adorable pink tools for my birthday. Since I am constantly working on DIY and repurpose projects I really wanted them in an easy, hands-reach place, but I also really wanted to keep with the theme of my craft room.

I found an old nightstand and a large photo frame at a thrift store for super cheap so I decided to make my tool bench look dainty and cute like a makeup vanity, but just like my tools, all of that cuteness has to be matched with durability and reliability. After all, the point still is to have a sturdy reliable place for my tools!

I bought some peg board and some tool bench hooks and made some homemade chalk paint to give it that dainty look. Be sure to click on the page link at the bottom if you want to learn more about chalk painting or get the super easy recipe. (It is WAY cheaper than buying chalk paint but there are links to some supplies on that page if you so desire) The beauty of chalk paint is not only how it looks, but the fact that you don’t have to sand everything down before painting. 

There are still a few important steps to make sure the paint job looks nice. The first is making sure there aren’t any sticky substances on the surfaces. I use goof-off to take off anything that may be stuck to the surface and then wipe down the surface with a damp towel to make sure the oil is off. Next I take off the hardware and set it aside. Finally, I spray down the whole piece with a wood primer. There are tons of primers to choose from  depending upon the type of surface you are working with. If I plan to distress the piece, I choose a primer color that compliments the color I will be painting the piece.  I didn’t distress this piece initially so I won’t go into that here but be sure to check out the post below for more details about chalk painting.

Chalk Full of Paint Ideas

If you are interested in the cute pink tools I have pictured here you can buy them at the links below. I have had mine for just a short time now but so far I am very happy with the quality.



Thrifty Decorating

Craft Room Collage

One of my favorite things to do is shop thrift stores and find potential treasure. When the time came for me to set up and decorate my craft room, the challenge was on! I knew I wanted it super girly but very elegant. All of the furniture and décor pictured here (with the exception of my sewing desk and the cube drawers) was found at thrift stores, roadside bulk trash or craigslist freebies. I painted all of the furniture and LOTS of the décor items in an antique white chalk paint ( homemade for VERY cheap, of course). After all, when you’re cheap, uhhh “budget conscious” like I am, then Annie Sloan’s paint is just out of the question! Once I had established a nice matching theme I started adding splashes of light color on some of the items as accents but stayed with colors with a grey undertone to keep everything in the same color palette. My favorite part of this room is the purple bench seat next to my desk. This is the hang out spot for my kids and (just as often) my dogs while I’m in there working.

     

Update!! My son asked me to switch rooms with him so he could have the walk-in closet that my craft room had. If you follow me on Instagram you saw this makeover happen but this is my new craft room. I still have a similar setup with my bench seat so that my kids, dogs, birds (yes I have parakeets chattering away in here too) and even our new kitty can hang out with me in my happy place. My husband pokes his head in here but he is happy to spend time in manlier territory. He has a hunting/fishing outdoorsman room of his own, and well there’s the garage because that’s where the tools are. This is my husband’s man cave, which I also decorated with my super thrifty skills. My husband is a flyfisherman and he ties his own flies so this room has his fly-tying desk with all of his supplies in it.  This room is also used as our own cabin-like B&B for when our kids come home to stay with us. Feel free to admire the adorable ( I mean tough hunting dog) sleeping in the photo.

                   

      

Candle Holder Organizers

Candleholders For Art SuppliesI’m a wee bit obsessed with candles and candle holders and have found that my trips to the thrift store have more than accommodated my desire for one more candle holder. The trouble is running out of places to put them which is precisely what happened with this one. It sat in storage until I realized that it would serve as a great way to put those little bitty supplies at hands reach like safety pins, buttons, straight pins, push pins and countless other little items that we have to search for when we need them. Now it sits prominently on my craft desk and I will honestly tell you that I not only use these items often, but I have been able to direct my husband and kids to the exact location of a needed item without difficulty because it is sitting in plain sight. I will let you know when I find a similar solution to those items “hidden” from hubby in the refrigerator, but that is another post entirely!

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Shadow Box

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Shadow boxes are fun to decorate with and even more fun to make. Any old picture frame can be attached to any box of any depth to create the perfect scene for your project. My favorite place to find items is at thrift stores where you can hunt for boxes of all sizes, textures and shapes and there are always plenty of old frames to try to find a size match. Keep in mind that the color doesn’t matter because you can dress it up with paint later.  If you’re really feeling crafty, you can pick up some wood pieces from the hardware store and build one yourself.

Once you have your supplies, just paint or texturize the inside of your box and let your creativity go for it. Don’t forget to clean the glass of your frame before you take that final step of securing it to the box with glue!

Pool Towel Rack

 

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Repurposing items is a fun and inexpensive way to use things you already have laying around, or find at yard sales. I found this decorative plate display rack at a yard sale for $1 and thought it would make a great towel rack out by the pool. This is as simple as it gets since this required no changes in design. Only a change in purpose, and a handy husband to hang it up for me.

 

 

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