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Two Fab Before and Afters

The first comes from Mod Podge Rocks:

mod podge table beforemod podge table after

Amy took a fairly boring end table and spruced it up with a little paint, some scrapbooking paper, and of course, her signature Mod Podge. Directions can be found here for those who have their own boring end tables in need of upcycling.

The second comes from Moneywise Moms:

mod podge dresser before
mod podge dresser after

Gina posted a dresser re-do how-to that looks slightly more advanced than the one above, but seems straightforward enough for the dedicated crafter. I think both are awesome, and super inspiring to people like me who want to spruce up their furniture but are always putting it off.

Pull a Tom Sawyer On the Neighborhood Kids

When I bought my house, I inherited an old, ugly fence. It’s sort of leaning over in some spots, and I’m ashamed to admit that a small (but rather unnecessary) portion of it fell in not too long ago. What really irks me about my fence is that the paint is peeling like a banana skin almost everywhere. We’ve been so focused on other things that the poor fence has been ignored for more than two years, most likely because it is a backyard fence and thus mainly visible only to us.

how to paint a fence

Perhaps I should do as Better Homes & Gardens says and invite the neighborhood children to a fence painting party? The recipe is easy… you need some willing youngsters (just don’t mention it’s a chore), some brushes, and a whole lot of paint. I’d also suggest adding numerous drop cloths to the mix unless you’re a fan of technicolor grass. Of course, a fence painting party will really only work for those who don’t mind a fence that looks like it was painted by children or less-than-talented adults, I suppose. But like I said, my fence is in the backyard, so I’m golden.

Drawer Clutter? Box It!

As drawer organizers go, most are pretty boring. You pay for a molded piece of beige plastic that, hey, is at least easy to clean and keeps forks or tea bags or whatever from migrating all over your drawers. Sharilyn of lovelydesign found this lack of pizazz distressing when she decided to find a drawer organizer for her little girl’s kitchen gear. What’s out there wasn’t pretty and it certainly wouldn’t inspire a wee one to keep plates and bowls and cups in good order.

drawer organizers

drawer organizers 2

drawer organizers 3

So what did Sharilyn do? She created her own drawer organizers and made them just as durable and as customizable as anyone could wish for using thick millboard and bookcloth. The best part? She posted the directions as a pdf so DIYers can craft their own drawer organizers… which don’t have to be pink or pretty, of course. Yours could be black and masculine or, um, green and neutral? It all depends on what sort of paper you use.

Happy Holidays From Never teh Bride and the Manolosphere!

gingerbread-house

Here’s wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays (including those that have come and gone) and a beautiful new year. My gift to you is a link to a tutorial for a sweet and sentimental gingerbread house from King Arthur Flour. While the instructions suggest using their gingerbread house kit, the many tips in the tutorial could easily be applied in the making of any gingerbread house. Enjoy!

The Lightbulb Goes Off! A Perfect DIY Party Decoration?

As long-lasting CFLs become the norm, we’re all starting to find ourselves with incandescent light bulbs we don’t need. There’s not much you can do with those burnt out light bulbs other than toss them (or recycle them in some locales), but what about all the unopened packages lingering in your basement or under your sink? If you’re not inclined to simply use them up since you’ve made the switch to CFLs or perhaps LEDs, why not get crafty?

light bulb vase

The Lauren Daversa Events blog has a great tutorial for DIY light bulb vases that seems to have been cobbled together from various instructionals that were less thorough. The list of supplies one would need seems fairly straightforward, and as long as you don’t have a fear of working with glass, the instructions look pretty straightforward as well. These light bulb vases would be wonderful for a party with a pretty floral theme, but might also look great on a covered porch that wasn’t subjected to a lot of rain or variations in temperature.

If you give this tutorial a try, let us know your light bulb vases turn out!

Needle In a Haystack

Anyone who’s ever tried to and/or succeeded at completing a sewing projects know that the use of pins frequently leads to dropped pins and lost pins and pricked fingers. Sewing is a dangerous game, best attempted with all the right tools. Tools like magnets for retrieving dropped pins from slippery floors that don’t allow for purchase and, naturally, the classic pincushion, which keeps pins corralled as well now as it did forever ago.

I’ve been told that making one’s own pincushion is easy-peasy, but not many people actually have time to sit down and whip up their own homemade pincushions *before* starting the sewing projects building up on their to-do lists. At least that’s how I feel! So for all the sewers like me, here’s a roundup of some totally gorgeous and not at all lame pincushions I found on Etsy.

vintage pincushions 4

These adorable pumpkin styled pincushions from Bondgirl Quilter are made from high quality cotton retro print fabrics and ultra suede trim. The final touch is the antique button that marks the center.

vintage pincushions

Isn’t this clever? Wonderful vintage 70s cappuccino cups turn into pincushions when paired with bright, cheerful fabrics. Available at Ants Accessories.

vintage pincushions 2

Here we have a sweet pottery dog egg cup with a pouf top for your pins from Sweet Scarlett. Yes, it’s cute, which is why I included it, but does it not look just a bit like the pins are sticking out of his exposed brain?

vintage pincushions 3

A delightful bird pin embellishes this pretty shabby chic pincushion created and sold by Sew Creatively Sweet. At just $4, you can’t beat the price, and if you were thinking of making your own pincushion, isn’t your time worth $4?

vintage pincushions 5

Coordinating ribbons and buttons turn tiny tin buckets into super itty-bitty pincushions. Chocolate Cupcake made this one using gorgeous red and white polka dot fabric for the pincushion, with safety filling inside.

vintage pincushions 6

A pincushion pair from Retro Mama is the perfect addition to the sewing room, table display, or play kitchen. With a classic retro shape, this plush pear features a gorgeous royal blue daisy bunch print by Denyse Schmidt, paired with a super retro orange Pez print by American Jane.

vintage pincushions 7

Finally, though they might be a tad dorkalicious, these prickly pear pincushions from Pretty Little Things are just too stupid cute not to include. They’re perfect for those of us whose black thumb kills everything from spider plants to the hardiest of succulents.

Making Time For a Good Book, Indeed

Er, you might not actually want to use a particularly good book for this sweet little DIY project from Ruffles And Stuff. Better to use a good looking book rather than one of your old favorites since the poor book is going to get gutted in the process of transforming it… into a clock!

book clock project

Overall, this DIY project won’t take that long to complete, though I recommend buying clock guts from the craft store as opposed to eviscerating a cheap clock from the discount emporium, if only to save time. Plus, it’s easy for those of us who don’t spend all of our waking hours gluing things to other things and refinishing furniture and sewing new drapes from old quilts.

A Potentially Drunken DIY

Need a way to illuminate those wine bottle shelves you slaved over? Drinking all that wine was *such* a trial, so I understand if you need some time to recuperate before starting your next wine-themed DIY project. I couldn’t resist, however, posting a link to Gerardot & Co.s wine bottle torch tutorial.

wine bottle torch

According to the instructions, making a wine bottle torch is easy and cheap at around $5 for materials. That doesn’t include the cost of the wine, but we all know you were going to have yourself a wee drop even if you weren’t planning on crafting something afterward. Actually, if you’re aiming to empty the bottle yourself, you may want to wait twelve hours or so before beginning this project.

DIY: Throw Pillow Covers

If you’re strapped for cash but desperate to update your living room, you can always start small, with something like new throw pillows or throw pillow covers like these from Ruby+Stella Home.

throw pillow covers

Twenty bucks or so won’t break the bank, and a burst of color where you park your butt might be just the thing to brighten a dark mood brought on by the American economy. Then again, why spend even that much if you happen to own a sewing machine and have easy access to fabric you like, whether already in your collection or at your local sewing shop? Personally, I’m partial to the Eames tribute fabric I found in the LA Times, but any fabric will do.

Slipcovering a couch may be too difficult / time-intensive / annoying to contemplate at this point in your life, but it takes hardly any time at all to whip up covers for square or rectangular throw pillows!

Here’s the DIY skinny: Choose your favorite fabric. Measure the pillow you want to cover, up and down and from side to side. Add a bit to both measurements since you need to account for a seam allowance, but don’t add too much since you want the end result to fit rather tightly on your pillow. Cut one piece of fabric that matches your measurements-plus-a-little-more, then two pieces that are as tall as your measurements-plus-a-little-more but only about 3/4 as wide.

You can probably see where I’m going with this… Finish one up-and-down edge on each 3/4 piece. Then, with right sides together sew your single side piece to your two pieces with those two pieces overlapping. Turn inside out and, voila! You have sewn your very own custom (and customizable) throw pillow cover. Once you have the hang of the basic cover, you can add embellishments like borders or buttons or whatever else strikes your fancy.

See a Penny, You Can’t Pick It Up

Looking for something to do with those thousands of pennies you’ve been stashing in coffee cans since you were wee? Coinstar machines take a cut of your jingly change, and rolling pennies just plain sucks. And saving those pennies for a rainy day might not be the best of ideas when some people want to kill the humble one cent piece. So what’s a thrifty guy or gal to do with all that copper (and zinc… mostly zinc, actually)? Lay a floor, of course.

penny floor

penny tiles

This penny floor can be found in The Standard Grill in the Standard Hotel New York. I imagine that laying a penny floor could take a lot of work, but hey, at least the materials will be cheap. Think about $1.96 per square foot, i.e., a 14×14 grid as calculated by Bridge Designs. Don’t forget about glue and all the other costs, however.

penny floor 2

Here’s another sweet floor, as found in a certain Mark’s home. Note the scrabble tiles inlaid in the wall.

penny backsplash

paul-smith-penny-wall

Then there are penny backsplashes and walls lined with pennies, like this one in a French shop from RB Architects. Neat, yeah?

For the longest wear and the most natural aging of the copper in your penny floor or penny wall, look for pennies minted between 1962 and 1982 since during this period pennies were comprised of 95% copper and 5% zinc. After that, the composition became 97.5% zinc with a mere 2.5% copper.

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