Sharing one way to customize your stockings this Christmas on A Beautiful Mess today. Head over to see how simple and inexpensive this little project was!
Sharing one way to customize your stockings this Christmas on A Beautiful Mess today. Head over to see how simple and inexpensive this little project was!
Last year I ordered Christmas cards from a fabulous company and got almost all of them sent out in early December. This year I wasn't sure if I was going to get a photo of the kids done in time to get them ordered so I went ahead and came up with an idea for making something a little special to go along with printed photos from our home printer.
I shared how to make a little more complicated straw himmeli mobile earlier this year but wanted to make a simple ornament to include in most of our Christmas cards. We had a lot of support from family and friends this year as we welcomed the excitement and challenge of baby number three on it's way during Brett's four month deployment so I wanted to send out a little thank you in our Christmas cards that they could add to their Christmas trees.
1. For one ornament you'll need: Three paper or plastic straws, bakers twine or embroidery thread, and scissors. I found my paper straws in the Target dollar spot but most hobby and craft stores carry them. You can find extra special ones on Etsy. 2. Cut three lengths measuring about 2.25" long out of the first two straws and two out of the last straw. Use the leftovers to create four even lengths that measure just under 1". You'll also need four strands of twine or thread measuring about 2' each. 3. Fold the four strands in half and tie a knot in the center. Then spread them out in four directions two threads at a time. String one of the 2" pieces of straw over each of the pairs of thread as shown. Separate the strands at the top of the straws. 4. String one of the shorter pieces of straw over the right strand of thread in each pair. 5.Take the left strand of thread and thread it through the shorter straws to the left of them so that each short straw has a strand entering and exiting on each end. 6. Pull tight to form a 3-D shape. 7. You now have four new pairs of twine/thread. Slip your last four straws over your four pairs of twine/thread. 8. Pull together at the top and adjust your straws. Tie a knot to secure things. 9. Trim the twine/thread about 1-2" from the knot for a little flair. This will be the bottom of your ornament. Attach more twine/thread at the other end to hang.
These ornaments will fold almost flat so they can easily be slipped into an envelope along with a note or photo and given as a little gift or added to a present to dress things up.
Need more himmelis in your life? Here's another way to crank out some last minute ornaments from sparkly pipe cleaners.
I was craving something different for our Christmas decor this year - a break from all of the vintage Shiny Brites in hot pink and teal that we've used the last six years - but didn't want to go out and buy a whole new set of ornaments and decor because, duh, baby on the way. Himmelis have been on my radar all year as seen here, here, and here. I love their shape and that they're new to me but rather traditional if you're Finnish. There's a long history of people making himmeli ornaments for Christmas or mobiles throughout the year from straws and brass but I wanted something sparkly and inexpensive that I could pump out in about an hour. Gold pipe cleaners! Yes!
1. Each ornament takes three pipe cleaners. You will also want yarn or twine to hang them. First, fold two pipe cleaners over each other to form an X. Don't just lay them on top of each other, they need to fold back so that they are two right angles that hook in the middle. 2. About 2" up from the center, fold each end up to the ceiling. 3. Take your third pipe cleaner and fold it around one of the bends about 1/4" as shown and then wrap it all the way around the next bend. Make it as tight as you can without bending everything out of shape. 4. Continue to bend that third pipe cleaner around each bend until you come back to the beginning. Fold over and trim extra if there's any. You'll want to make sure you're leaving an equal amount of space between each of the bends. 5. Take the shorter two pieces at the top of your open himmeli and fold over each other. 6. Then take the next two and fold over. Trim edges. Gently reshape any bends in the lines if you need to. Attach some yarn or twine to the top and hang.
I really love the way they look against the white tree. I've got no plans to get rid of any Shiny Brites but it's fun to have so many different colors in my collection that I can change things out every year or two. This year I added a finger-knit garland (only one half of it has been hung because I'm still working on the other half!), wrapped the tree in a thrifted afghan instead of fussing with yet another handmade tree skirt, pulled all of the gold bulbs from my stash, and made the tree topper out of leftover pipe cleaners. It was more of the same twisting and folding of pipe cleaners. I'll be sure to share more of our holiday decor in a future post.
Ruby got in on the pipe cleaner action while I was working and made herself a handful of candy cane pipe cleaner ornaments for the shorter white tree we have. We also made some twisty hearts and she climbed on top of that deer and hung them all near the top. It's quite charming.
The great thing about this kind of project is how versatile it is. You could string together a dozen or more himmelis to make a garland for your doorway, add them to a wreath, or make mini himmelis and attach them to presents. Feel free to link back to this tutorial to share your own!
The kids' room is getting a little makeover. If you've been following me on Instagram (@smileandwave) you've probably seen the slow progress of finally getting to IKEA, bringing home some new furniture, putting together a bunkbed, and piecing together new matching quilts for said bunkbed.
We spent most of two weekends ago clearing out and cleaning their room, switching dressers with them, rearranging both of our bedrooms to make sure things would accomodate space for the baby, and figuring out how to reorganize both rooms. Two full days of work still left us with a lot of work to do. My motto became 'worse before better'. This past weekend I hunkered down to start these two quilts for the kids while my sweet, sweet husband did loads of laundry and dishes, guided the kids in cleaning their room, took Sebastian out on a dude date, and never once rolled his eyes at my to do list. It's been weekends like these that I realize just how much I missed him while he was deployed!
Since we'll be in this two-bedroom rental with three children for about eight more months after this baby comes in March it's been important to me to rethink our limited space. The kids have shared a room since Ruby came along but the bedrooms here are a bit smaller than our last two homes so thinking about fitting a bassinet in our room and later on a crib in their room has been challenged me to think more creatively about how we utilize our square footage and storage options. We took care of most of that earlier this month so now the fun part of adding in new elements and reworking old ones has started.
Here's what we've tackled on the to do list so far:
* Switch twins out for a bunkbed.
* Switch dressers for more clothing space including a drawer for the baby.
* Switch shelving by adding an IKEA expedit unit and move old shelving to our bedroom to use for the baby's stuff.
* Add a rug.
* Bring in secondary lighting.
* Purge the toys and books they've outgrown that I don't want to save for the baby.
* Add a chair for bedtime reading or lounging.
Here's what I'm still hoping to accomplish:
* Finish matching quilts customized for bunkbeds.
* Possibly paint the bunkbed.
* Add purchased black and white artwork from online sellers.
* Possibly paint a chalkboard wall that we'll repaint white before we move.
* Add pully system and twinkle lights to the bunkbed.
* Give wooden dollhouse a face lift.
* Blow up a photo of the kids at Kinko's and use it as artwork.
* Adhere temporary white or patterned wallpaper to built-ins to lighten the space.
I'm planning their space to keep up with their current needs but I'm also making sure I can easily rearrange things once we add in a crib sometime next summer. The Expedit can double as a changle table area with at least one cubby for diapers and wipes underneath and baby clothes can be stored in one of the dresser drawers and in their closet. I'm also trying to coordinate the colors in their bedding without overly matching the kids' stuff to the baby's stuff but when things coordinate well even the messes are a little more tolerable, am I right?
Do I sound like a nesting mother? There's no rush to get this done before the baby comes but I do want to have it mostly finished before Christmas so we can go in to the new year with that under our belts. There are also other things on the horizon that will need much more of my attention so I'm trying to take advantage of this little window of motivation.
I'll be sure to share bits and pieces on Instagram and do a new room tour once it's all as it should be. There may even be a DIY or two involved. Of course there will be!
What's been taking up most of your to-do list lately? Lots of little projects, something big? Do you feel like you're just treading water trying to keep up with the essentials like dishes and laundry? By the way, I've never felt so buried in housework and unable to spend time on anything creative like I did during the time Brett was away. It's also made me appreciate how valuable that creative time is and all that it does for my spirit. I hope you get some of that time in soon!
I'm sharing an easy DIY on A Beautiful Mess this week. Head over to get the details on how to make your own color blocked mood board. Can we say renter friendly?
It's already helping me forget that my studio space is now in the basement!
Ruby's been the kid that colored on walls since she could first hold a crayon. I'm not sure why it took me this long to get her an easel but she wasted no time breaking it in. I made it out of scrap wood and a vintage chalkboard that happened to be the same length as my scrap wood. I wanted two sides so that she could share with Sebastian or a friend and use chalk on one and paint and color on the other. She loves it and I love that she has another opportunity to express her creativity without involving our walls.
1.Supplies: 2 cuts of wood measuring 1" x 18" x 24" ( I used one cut of wood and one vintage chalkboard but you could easily just paint the second cut of wood with chalkboard paint), 2 lengths of 1" x 3" x 8', 1 cut of scrap wood measuring 1" x 3" x 16" for the paint side to hold your cup, 2 hinges measuring 3.5" wide (mine came packaged with the appropriate short screws), 48 or so finish nails, 2 L-shaped metal corner brackets similar to this one measuring about 3", 10-3/4" wood screws, 2-3/4" flat washers, 2 large clips (found mine at Wal-Mart), 2 eye hooks, rope or chain to keep the easel from falling flat, hand saw, drill and drill bit, hammer, yardstick, pen, sand block and chalkboard paint (optional).
2. Have your larger wood pieces cut down to size at a major hardware store. Also have your 1" x 3" x 8' pieces cut into two 3' pieces and keep the extra 2' pieces. Place two 2' cuts parallel to each other about 18 apart. Then place two cuts of 3' wood on top of them as shown making sure the corners are flush. Nail together with three or four finish nails in each corner checking for right angles as you go. 3. Sand and paint your chalkboard side and nail it to your frame. Build your frame for the other side but leave off the bottom 2' plank. Sand your second cut of 1" x 18" x 24" and nail it to your frame. 4. Turn your frames over and align them. Measure in about 4" from each edge and place your hinges so that they are open like a book. Don't place them on upside down or it won't close properly. Trace the screw holes and set aside.
5. Screw pilot holes and attach your hinges making sure things are even and aligned. 6. Measure in about 6" from each side of the back of your non-chalkboard side and place your L-shaped metal corner brackets so that they're slightly lower than the bottom of that side. Trace your screw holes, drill pilot holes, flip them so that they're facing out, and screw in place. 7. Fold your easel in half so that the L-shaped bracket side is facing up. Center your piece of scrap wood over those L-shaped brackets and trace any screw holes that will fit. There may only be one. Drill pilot holes and add screws. 8. Add your eye hooks to right or left sides of your easel and attach a braided strand of rope or twine or chain. 9. Measure in about 6" from each side of the top of your painting side and drill a hole about 1" down. Place your clip over the hole, place your washer down, and then place your screw in. This will keep it from sliding off. Repeat for the other side. Tada!
There are obviously affordable easles out there but I know this one will be well-loved and hold up through the next few moves. As long as you have even cuts of wood this will be a pretty easy project - I finished mine in an hour.
I guess it's time to make some space for a gallery wall to showcase all of her masterpieces next!
Ever since seeing the woven stools at Target earlier this year I've wanted to try my hand at making something with the pretty rope selection from Lowe's. A few months ago I came across this wooden stool with a cracked and brittle seat and knew it was the perfect base for my project. I've turned this into a stool for my new studio space in the basement and have promised it to Sebastian whenever he gets his own room.
One thing I've learned when replacing something on a piece is to study things in their original form before taking them apart. This woven seat had a particular weave on top and I decided to go ahead and mimic it after trying a few other patterns. It's woven on the top side as wel as the bottom to create quite a sturdy seat.
1. Supplies: A sturdy wooden stool or chair with a woven seat that needs replacing. One bundle of para cord (found at Lowe's), scissors, hammer, nail. I preferred the natural wood finish but it would also look nice spray painted in a coordinating color. 3. Tuck the end of the rope under so that it's on the inside of the stool sticking up but not sticking high enough to poke through the seat. Nail two small nails in about half way and then bend them over to opposite sides to secure the rope to the stool. 4. Wrap your rope over an even number of times to fill in the stool space.
5. When you get to the corner at the top, wrap it under and to the right so that it wraps up onto the empty dowel of your seat or stool. 6. Weave over two and under two until you get to the other side and then repeat weaving over two and under two on the bottom side. 7. When you get to the next row, go under the first rope and then start your pattern again going over two and under two. With the third row go under two and then over two until you finish the top and bottom. With the fourth row go over the first cord and under two and continue as shown. Your fifth row you'll go over the first two cords and then under two, etc. Start over again. This will give you a nice pattern in the end. 8. When you get to the end, cut your rope so that it's about 1 inch from the end and burn it so it doesn't fray. Then weave it so that it's inside the seat where it can't be seen.
I've got about half a bundle of this rope left over so there are surely more rope projects on the horizon! Have you ever recovered a seat? What material did you use?
You can find a few of my other weaving projects below. If you're feeling really brave you can even make your own rug!
I finally found an air plant in our local nursery a few weeks ago and bought a little hanging terrarium to put in our kitchen. However, the terrarium had an accident involving a curious 3-year-old. I started thinking about another way to display it apart from just setting it in with another plant and went digging in my supply cabinet. I had some left over copper pipe from my original himmeli project and figured if I cut small enough pieces I could make something small and sturdy that would still show off the plant's fun silhouette. One thing that was brought to my attention is that copper is toxic to air plants so after I had already made it I took it apart, gave it three coats of poly, let it dry, and reassembled. I've added that step into the instructions for you.
1. Supplies: I had a leftover piece of copper pipe. You can purchase these at any major hardware store. They're soft so be careful not to bend them on the way home. You'll also need a small pipe cutter, a sharpie, a ruler, twine or yarn that will fit two at a time through your pipe, clear poly spray, scissors, gloves, cardboard, a well-ventilated area. 2. Measure out how long you want your pipe pieces to be. I cut three to be about 1.25" and three to be about 1.4" but they can all be the same length, too. Make small marks with your sharpie or just do it as you go and place the pipe cutter over the pipe. Gently twist it so it's applying a tiny bit of pressure and then twist your pipe so that the blade cuts all the way around. Then tighten a bit more, etc. Repeat.
3. Cut your twine or yarn so that you have three lengths measuring about 5' long. Tie them all together in a knot in the middle. 4. Spray your copper pieces using a glove and some poly. Follow spray paint instructions. I gave mine three coats with about 15 min. dry time between each. 5. Separate your strands two by two into three sections and thread each section through it's own piece of copper as shown. 6. Separate the two strands coming out of each copper piece and thread one through another piece of copper so that it comes out facing right. Then take a piece from the nearest copper pipe and thread it through the opposite direction so that it comes out facing left as shown. Repeat two more times. Pull the strands up at the top and adjust things. Tie a knot at the top and hang your air plant!
I love how tiny it is! You could easily substitute copper with plastic straws. They'd be just as sweet in a fun color.
I am thrilled to be a part of the new collaborative photography blog, Spilled Milk. It was created by Manda and Kaylan with some design help from Oana and was named by Ashleigh. There are 18 lovely women contributing photos with a new theme each week. Go see all the pretty pictures!
Not only am I excited about a new photography challenge, I'm eager to browse through the blogs of some inspiring women!
One of my favorite kinds of projects is one where I can repurpose something I picked up along the way either in a thrift store or, in this case, on the side of the road. I was coming home from the grocery store with the kids last summer and decided to take the alleys home just in case I came across anything shiny and metal. I lucked out with what looked like someone's garage sale leftovers. There was a busted treadmill from the 80's, lots of broken plastic pots, some odd bird cages, junky carpet, etc. In the midst of all that stuff were three vintage metal plant stands, a huge shop broom, metal plant hangers, and a metal basket for garden tools. I very happily plucked them from the wreckage and put them to use in our home.
I had been using this one as an actual plant stand in our bedroom until I realized it'd be really cute with a wooden top and utilized as an end table. I've had a few people ask where to get one and my best answer is to check your thrift shops and garage sales (when it's warmer). You may even find something similar at your locally owned hardware store or nursery.
1. Supplies: 16" round cut of wood (found at Lowe's), metal plant stand, sand paper, spray paint, wax or stain for the wood, power drill and bit, 6-10 1/2" screws, 3-5 two hole straps (found in electrical department), power drill and bit, screwdriver, cardboard, cloth, ruler, pencil or pen. In my photo I was going to hammer nails in and then bend them over the plant stand but that plan didn't work. Replace the hammer and nails with the screws and two hole straps. 2. Sand down your wood and plant stand if it's rusted. Wipe off with damp cloth and let dry. 3. Spray paint your metal stand. Be sure to protect your surface with a cardboard box or backdrop. 4. Apply stain or wax to your wood top according to manufacturer's directions. I used leftover stain from my dining table DIY. It's Briwax and may need to be ordered through Amazon. I love the richness it adds to the wood!
5. After your wax dries, flip it over onto a soft surface and center your metal stand on the bottom side of your wood cut. 6. Place 3-5 of your two hole straps evenly around your stand so that the inside hole is flush against the stand. This will secure the stand more than centering your straps and will hold it in place. Use more straps for more stability. Mark where your holes are and remove the stand. 7. This is a trick I learned from my friend, Ruthie. Tape your drill bit to mark how far down you want to drill so that you don't drill all the way through. My wood was about 1" thick and my screws ranged from 1/2"-3/4" long so I marked about 1/2" up from the end of my bit and drilled all of my holes. 8. Finally, I put my stand back in place and drilled my two hole straps on.
Although it's harder to tell in these photos, I used Krylon spray paint in Celery. It's my favorite minty color but can also look a little washed out surrounded by lots of white. I love the way it looks with the natural wood color. Very summery!
This size table is really versatile and can be repurposed as a plant stand (with more surface area for more plants!), an end table in our living room, or a side table to our platform bed.
Now I don't suggest junking up your house with stuff you find in alleys but this project is definitely a testament to how it can be profitable to see the potential in items you come across. If it's something I know I have the capacity, motivation, and time to transform and I've got the money (if applicable) and space to bring it home, I do. I now have a one-of-a-kind end table that cost me about $8 plus supplies I already had on hand. Holla!
Plus, it's kind of an excuse to buy more plants, right?
EDITED: Vivid has shared below that Big Lots carries very similar plant stands. You may also check the Dollar Store. Good luck!