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.

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.

 

Photo Frame Upgrade

 

Give a frame mat a little color or texture by using contact paper or even wall paper. In this photo, the mat I had was an off-white color and it looked horribly boring in contrast to the photo I was framing. I layed out a piece of corkboard, took a piece of wallpaper and placed the photo mat on top. I used an exacto knife to cut the inside portion out. Once out, I mixed some Elmer’s school glue and mixed it with a little bit of water to form a thin paste. I then painted the paste all over the matte, pressed the wallpaper down on top and trimmed the outer edges. Just like that my frame had a nice splash of color and texture to better compliment my photo. Continue reading →

Simple DIY Autumn Wreaths You’ll Fall For

 


I love fall and even though it’s still toasty warm here in Arizona, and my dogs are still swimming every day, I get excited as soon as October comes and I can start bringing out the fall decorations. We don’t see a lot of color change here since we are in the middle of the desert. With the exception of the few non-native trees that may have been planted in an occasional yard, or down the streets of our neighborhood, we don’t have any trees here that change color and shed their leaves so we literally have to create the look of fall with our decorations. I usually go crazy over sunflowers and all of the bright orange and yellow colors, but this time for my wreath I was captured by one single white flower, and all of the texture items so I built the entire look around that. I really loved the look of the creamy colors I was seeing in the stores and the way they brought out the beauty of the natural browns in the pinecones, acorns and sticks so I just grabbed a little variety of textures and a variety of tan and cream colors and. I chose the grapevine wreath because I knew I was going to leave some of it exposed intentionally since I love contrasting textures.

To make things easier I took wire cutters and trimmed just a small portion off the ends of the flowers. Just enough to separate the stems into individuals, but I left them long initially because some of them were much easier to work into the grapevine wreath by sliding the whole stem into the wreath. I just began pushing the stems into the wreath and moving them around until I liked the placement. For some of the flowers it was necessary to trim them all the way up to the head and then use a glue gun to place it where I wanted it to go. Just make sure you know for sure where you want it before you use the glue gun. While hot glue is easy to peel off of most things, it doesn’t do nice things to silk flowers.

The best part about picking a variety is that I had a lot leftover so I was able to make some mason jar flower arrangements.

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Wood Pallet Doggy Bunk Beds

Doggy Bunk Beds

I made this doggy bunk bed set out of one extra large sized wood pallet and one little half size pallet. I love working with wood pallets because of the rustic look. They are already framed out and built with universally sized pieces so this makes it so easy to use multiple pallets without a lot of cutting and redesigning. The only thing I really dislike about them is the disassembly part of the job. The nails in these pallets tend to be long, rusty and kind of wiry. They are not driven in straight so they tend to be really difficult to pull out of the wood without cracking the boards. Once the unwanted nails and staples are removed, the reconstruction process is easy and actually pretty fun. 

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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