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!
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?
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!
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.
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.
Isn’t this clever? Wonderful vintage 70s cappuccino cups turn into pincushions when paired with bright, cheerful fabrics. Available at Ants Accessories.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here’s another sweet floor, as found in a certain Mark’s home. Note the scrabble tiles inlaid in the 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.
Looking for a unique storage solution?
Ten Green is a modular shelving system that’s perfect for enterprising highbrow college students, almost everyone in their 20s, my mom, her girlfriend, my MIL… basically anyone who finds themselves with extra wine bottles lying around. Zero-Waste Design, in collaboration with Coach House Trust, designed shelves made from empty bottles and wooden planks, with no glues necessary. That means the shelves are adaptable, eco-friendly, easy to put together and take apart, and portable enough for those moving in and out of university apartments.
You can find the DIY instructions linked off of Zero-Waste Design’s web site — both the technical drawings and the assembly instructions are there. It’s up to you to find the wood and the bottles needed for construction, but a combined trip to Home Depot and the local package store should net you everything you require.
The shelving system is designed for very simple construction, appropriate to the Trust’s facilities such that it could in the future be produced through one of their workshops. It uses reclaimed bottles and wood, and no adhesives, thereby becoming extremely simple to disassemble and reconfigure or reuse for other means.
See pics of different permutations of the Ten Green wine bottle shelves here!
I just received the season’s first invitation to a Halloween party. I know, I was just as surprised as you no doubt are. Autumn won’t even begin for another twelve or so minutes. But now that I hang with mommas and babies more often than I hang with 20-something hipsters, I guess I’m going to have to get used to extreme advance warning when it comes to holiday parties. Fair enough.
The invitation did get me thinking about Halloween and Halloween decorations and especially Halloween candy, but mostly about decorations since I do write a home and living blog. A quick sweep of Amazon reveals just what I thought it would: goth coffins, bloody handprint cling film, angry cats, severed heads, and goofy grinning pumpkins. There are even Halloween trees and Halloween treesHalloween tree decorations, if you can believe it.
Luckily, decorating for Halloween and other holidays doesn’t have to mean throwing good taste out the window. Suzanna Frosch and Blake Tovin‘ of New York’s lower Hudson Valley demonstrate that you can get ready for a night of ghosts and ghouls without sacrificing your home’s exterior to the Great Pumpkin.
Following their lead involves little more than a pair of scissors and some paper. Country Living has great Halloween decoration templates from white chocolate spiderwebs to upscale jack-o’-lantern designs, and of course, spooky bat stencils.
Though to some extent they’re a dying breed in the U.S., glass bottles remain plentiful and easy to find. I only say that they’re on their way out because we use plastic soda bottles, you can buy champagne in cans, and plenty of jugs of gin are sold each year. In Costa Rica and elsewhere, soda is still sold in glass bottles and beach glass remains plentiful. Why am I bringing this up? Because decorating with bottles is easy and generally quite inexpensive.
For example, a few antique bottles (easy to find on eBay and elsewhere) get a chic makeover with papercraft labels and vintage jewelry, as created by Brenda Walton.
When mixing bottles and modern decor, try Jeff Crandall’s Poet’s Bottles, which are sandblasted with text that provides the user with contents and instructions like “Hope (warning: do not abandon).”
And if you’re decorating a beach house, think beach glass. Ballard Designs‘ Azure Beach Bottles Set is reminiscent of pale blue beach glass, which is (in my opinion as a long time collector) the rarest color of all.
Another modern take on the humble bottle repurposes wine bottles into sleek vases. Green Wine Bottles from David Guilfoose are an eco-friendly way to store loose collectibles, display flowers, or give your space a touch of green.
Finally, there are these. They’re not for everyone, but if you like them you can find the DIY instructions for them at Crafty Chica.