Cork lamp base! Yay!

I made this lamp base out of cork contact paper (Target has everything!), a lightbulb socket kit, cardboard tube from a paper towel roll, and some pebbles to give it a nice, sturdy base. 

love the natural look of cork, so it's a nice touch I think. But if I ever decide to change it, I can easily pop the lightbulb socket out of the cardboard tube and re-use the cork contact paper (I didn't remove the backing or anything).

You can find a lovely tutorial for the cork lamp base that inspired this project, as posted on Design*Sponge, here

I'm linking to...


Tutorial: How to make a $2 version of the starburst mirror

$2 decorative mirror

So, remember this mirror that I referenced in a post earlier this month?

I found it on Crafty Nest, and it totally inspired me to make my own version. So, I popped over to Dollar Tree again, and I found some materials to make my own version. Mine is smaller and, admittedly, not as stunning as the starburst mirror. But for a mere $2 and 30 minutes (which hardly even counts because I was simultaneously watching a movie with the husband), I am pretty pleased with the results. :)

My version
  • Small mirror ($1)
  • Package of popsicle sticks ($1 - I'm going to say my package of sticks contained 100, but that's just a guess.)
  • Spray paint (I used some leftover white Krylon Fusion; it doesn't take much.)
  • Hot glue gun with glue sticks (Already had on hand, but for those who do not have one, I believe they run maybe $5.)

Grad school and DIYing aren't a good mix...

...but that won't stop me!

Books to help me get through my psych program, if possible...
Classes and research are back in full swing for the fall semester. That means lots of reading, writing, lab meetings, running sessions, attending classes...blah blah blah. I am very interested in the field I am in and everything, but the accompanying stress and lack of free time can be overwhelming sometimes, not to mention the detrimental impact they have on my crafting and DIYing. Nonetheless, I am dedicated to keeping up my hobby as well as sharing my projects on this blog. Yay! Plus, I can't resist checking out other people's blogs to see what new projects you and others have been working on, and consequently I will be so inspired that I will put down that journal article and hightail it out of the lab to go home and work on what truly makes me happy. :)


Thrifty find: Dollar store birds

After the spray paint makeover
I visited a Dollar Tree again this past weekend, and I have come to the conclusion that you can pretty much buy anything for $1. Okay, maybe that's not true, but it certainly feels that way after I raid that store. 

During this trip, I spotted these birds from across the room, and I was sort of disgusted and intrigued at the same time. I thought to myself, "Are these bird candle holders the ugliest things I have ever seen? Or can I look past their hideousness and find their potential?" I went with the latter and picked up all three of these beauts for a whopping $3. 

Anyway, just thought I'd share a quick before and after. I am pleased with the results.

The makeover took about 2 minutes of spraying time and 20 minutes of drying time. I used some leftover Krylon Fusion. Oh how I love spray paint! :)

Another after shot
By the way, I would love to hear other people's dollar store finds!


Tutorial: Handmade bookmarks make a great back-to-school gift

About a year ago, my mom decided to go back to school to get her master's and become a high school math teacher. (She will be an excellent teacher, by the way. I should know since she homeschooled me through the 6th grade. Thanks, Mom!) I'm so proud of her, and since the fall semester is about to start back up, I wanted to make her a little something - in particular, something she could use while in school. I wanted something practical but also handmade and kind of cute. How about a bookmark? Yes, that will work.

So, here are the bookmarks that I made. I'm going to pick out a few and send them to her. Hope she likes them!

(I don't know if Mom will look at my blog again before these bookmarks make their way to her, but if she does, sorry to spoil the surprise! Pinky love!)

Anyway, I think this makes a good little gift, so here are the ridiculously simple instructions in case anyone wants to make ones like mine.

Materials -
  • Clear beads ($1.99 for a huge pack)
  • Flower charms ($2.67 for a dozen)
  • Ribbon ($2 - you will need 6 inches for each bookmark)
  • Cute cardstock or paper (price varies - I just used some I had on hand); 
  • Paper box used to package food (e.g., cereal box)
  • Elmer's glue ($1)
  • Scissors ($1 - 2)
  • Hole punch (maybe $5?)

Time - approximately 10 minutes per bookmark


Tutorial: How to make my version of the petal pillow

Yesterday, I was searching for some inspiration when I stumbled upon this lovely pillow by Cluck Cluck Sew.

Immediately upon seeing it, I knew I HAD to make one for our couch. I was so eager, in fact, that I headed directly over to Joann's fabric...after I finished up my work in the lab, of course. ;) (Okay, so maybe I didn't complete everything on my list.)

So, here is my version:

Mine doesn't make quite the same impact, but I think my pillow fits in well with the rest of the decor. It has a quiet elegance about it, I think, and the flower is the fun twist that catches your eye but does not hold it there. 

I am super impressed that Cluck Cluck Sew was able to make her pillow in 30 minutes, because my pillow took much, much longer. Although I'm a basically a novice when it comes to sewing (I got my first real sewing machine a few weeks ago), it's still pretty embarrassing how long it took me. Four hours. Yeah, I know.

Maybe it would have helped if my doggers hadn't viewed my sitting on the ground (cutting and sewing, mind you) as an invitation to play.

But who can say no to these two cuties?!

Someone - and I'm not pointing fingers -  thought the felt fabric I had laid out was for her.

Of course, they weren't always a nuisance - sometimes they tried to help momma out. Heidz even took it upon herself to hold the petals in place while I sewed rather than make me go to the trouble of sticking pins in them.

Okay, getting back to the pillow, here are the materials you will need:
  • 1/4 yard of felt ($3)
  • around 1/2 a yard of home decorating fabric ($5 @ $9.99/yard)
  • cups of various sizes (already own)
  • pillow (preferably an old one that you already own)
  • fabric pen ($2.99)
  • sewing machine or needle and thread (cost varies)
  • scissors (already own)

And here are the steps to make a pillow similar to my toned-down version, if you will, of Cluck Cluck Sew's design…although her pillow is fabulous and her tutorial can be found here

FYI - The main differences between our designs is that, for better or worse, mine involved substantially fewer petal, three petal sizes as opposed to two, and I hand stitched my petals.


Tutorial: How to makeover a desk with paint

When we moved to NC last year so that I could attend grad school, my husband brought along his desk, which he has had for who knows how many years. It has had its share of damage from him leaving sweating cups on it as a teenager, but really it was the hunter green color that was preventing me from getting the look I was going for in the room. With that said, the desk has many good attributes as well: It has a nice shape, it hides the monstrosity that he calls a computer (it's from the early 2000s), and it is heavy and well-built. 

For about a year I have been talking about painting it, and I finally got up the courage to do it. J was even nice enough to help me! How lucky am I to have a husband who will help me with my projects?! Anyway, I am so glad we painted it because it has really lightened up the room (the dark green from before felt so heavy), and it has helped break up the row of large pieces of furniture that we have against one wall. It is quite pretty now. 

Here is an after pic:

Here it is before:

So, this is a really simple project. It just takes some guts (because the paint is permanent, ya' know) and a little bit of time.

Materials - Paint brush ($2 - $6); Foam rollers ($5); Sandpaper ($2.88); Paint (approx. $17)***

***Feeling a bit impulsive and with J's approval, I used some touch-up wall paint that we had on hand. I'm crazy, I know. We were on a painting high after finishing up the second coat of paint in the office/guest bedroom, which took 2 whole days, and so we figured we would give the desk a whirl. I think it was around $17 for a gallon of Valspar interior acrylic latex paint in Antique White Eggshell Finish at Lowes. But, hey, it all worked out.

Time - Approx. 3 hrs + drying time (30 min to an hr in between coats)

Note: Having someone to talk to while your painting makes the time go by faster and the process more enjoyable. :)


The list gets longer

The walls are still looking a little bare in our office/guest bedroom, and I can't cover all of the walls with wall decals made out of contact paper, right? I'm just afraid my love of contact paper is getting out of hand. :) Anyhoo, I found this awesome tutorial on how to make a Starburst mirror over at Crafty Nest. It is so awesome, in fact, that I felt the need to post it here. 
And the list gets longer
I will make this, or at least some version of this. I am thinking that I could make one that is less starry and more flowery, meaning a mirror that is framed in layer upon layer of soft petals of various sizes. Imagining it is easy, but executing the idea is the hard part. Well, we shall see... Stay tuned! I am super pumped about this project!


Thrifty find: Dollar store soap dispensers

Total cost to switch out 5 bottles = $5. Washing my hands with soap from a bottle with a fresh appearance and clean lines = Priceless.

During a recent trip to Dollar Tree, where everything is $1...seriously, everything, I stumbled upon some nicely shaped bottles filled with lotion. The wheels started turning and I realized that these chicer-looking bottles may be a nice substitution for the boring, generic soap dispensers that I am using now, so I bought 4 small lotion bottles and 1 big one. I felt guilty and wasteful dumping out all of the lotion, but there was no way I could use it because merely touching it made my skin start to itch and turn red (no surprise there - who knows what chemicals are in dollar store lotion?) Anyway, with a little bit of effort, I was able to rinse away all of the lotion and peel the labels off. Then, I simply filled the bottles with soap and voila!

Here is the after shot:
Much better!
And here is the before pic:
Because I filled some of the bottles with Dial White Tea soap, they were clear and, therefore, kind of plain, so I looked around for scraps of ribbon to dress them up. I found this ribbon stashed away in a drawer and taped it around the tops of these soap and lotion dispensers. I think it turned out nicely. 
Dressed up with a touch of ribbon
In sum, after trading out the boring bottles for these chicer ones, I realize how a small change can have a big impact. You can bet I will be raiding my local Dollar Tree for more thrifty finds!


Tutorial: How to make a birdie wall decal with contact paper

I've been looking around at my bare walls lately and thinking that they need some dressing up. So, what's the perfect solution? Wall decals, of course!
Birdie wall art, which is above the girls' dog bed next to my desk.
I have spent countless hours scouring the pages and pages of vinyl wall decals on Etsy, but I haven't been willing to part with $50 to $100 for something that I felt I could create myself. And the beauty of making it yourself is that you can make something that is unique and customized to fit with your space perfectly. And if you are impatient like I am, you can have this project up on your walls in a couple of hours from start to finish instead of waiting on the mail to deliver the one you bought online. Sweet. 

**First of all, just want to mention that I have seen this project idea before, but I cannot recall where.** 

Materials - contact paper (preferably a solid color) ($5.68); scissors ($2); X-Acto knife ($5)

Time - approx. 2 hrs

Step 1 - Draw your shapes onto the back of the contact paper. 

(Note: If you are interested in making the chick decal as shown here, then cut the shapes using the following dimensions (or adjust to make bigger or smaller while keeping the same height-width ratio): The big birdie is 21 cm wide x 13 cm tall, the medium sized birdie on the right is 16 cm x 10 cm, and the small one is 10 cm x 7.5 cm.)

Step 2 - Cut out the shapes.

Step 3 - Use the X-Acto knife to cut out the eyes. 

(Note: This was challenging, for me at least. If you find that you've accidentally given the little birdies angry expressions (ha ha), then just cut out some more contact paper and cover the eyes. It is hardly noticeable that you had to redo the eyes.)

Step 4 - Apply the contact paper shapes to the wall. The nice thing is that contact paper is removable, so you can reposition the shapes as many times as needed. 

Easy peasy!

Here is another decal I made for the half bath downstairs.

And here is a tree that I made to test out whether contact paper cutouts could pass as vinyl wall art.

Since I already posted one with my baby, Heidz, here is one of her sister, Jini, in front of the wall art. :)

I'm linking to...

Beyond The Picket Fence

504 Main

My wall decals were featured at Beyond The Picket Fence! Thank you!!!

Beyond The Picket Fence