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Black and Gold Plant Markers

22 Apr

This past fall Nate sold his house (with a yard and a garden) and bought a downtown condo. While I miss being able to use his yard for my gardening purposes, he’s really loving the downtown life and the fact that he doesn’t have a yard to mow.

My apartment doesn’t have any outdoor space, so I’ve decided to make the most of his 5′ x 10′ balcony. I’ll post more on the balcony garden later. Today I’m excited about the plant markers I finished this past weekend.

I’m always pinning cute markers that I think I could make myself, but never get around to making them.





I usually draw a few pictures to remind myself where things are planted, and by the time things start coming up I can usually tell what’s what. Since this garden is on a balcony rather than tucked in the back corner of a yard I’m trying to keep things looking clean and organized. I’m probably a ways from the balcony being magazine worthy or anything like that, but the markers really help to unify everything.

While some of the example I pinned are pretty fantastic I decided to keep my investment low and the style simple. Here are the ones I made and how I made them.

Black and Gold Homemade Garden Markers

Black and Gold Homemade Garden Markers

Supplies:

Craft sticks from Dollar Tree (I used wide ones)
Black paint (I already had some cheap chalkboard paint from Michael’s on hand)
Foam brush (also had on hand)
Gold (or whatever color you’d like) permanent marker (I found mine in the dollar section at Target a while back, but I think a sharpie style marker would be great)

Instructions:

Paint two coats of paint on each side of the craft stick also paint the edges. When they’re dry go crazy labeling them for all your plants. One note about your permanent marker. I tried several different paint pens and even a white grease pencil, but finally settled on my gold pen because it wasn’t too liquidy (which caused the paint to run in the groves of the wood) and had a fine enough point to look nice (I’d read some good things about the grease pencil, but decided against it in the end because the point was unreliable).

Now there’s no telling how well these will hold up outside, but I’m ok with that considering I spent $1 (even if I’d had to buy everything I still would’ve been under $5). I’ll report back at the end of the summer, but I also suspect someone in a traditional garden may experience more wear and tear on their markers than I will on a balcony.

 

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DIY Ornament Wreath

5 Jan

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I mentioned that my mom and I made our own ornament wreaths over Thanksgiving. It was really easy, but there’s a possibility that we didn’t really save any money from one we could’ve bought at the store. It was nice however to be able to pick any color combination we wanted. This is the perfect time of year to start gathering supplies because you can find wreaths and ornaments for cheap since it’s after Christmas.

I followed the instructions from this blog. I won’t go over the whole process since it already exists perfectly there, but here are my notes.

To make this wreath I used:

  • an 18 inch evergreen wreath purchased on clearance for $2-$4
  • a can of metallic spray paint to hide the greenery originally $8ish but got for 40% off at Michale’s
  • 4 sizes of shatterproof ornaments all bought on clearance last year and this year.
    – 70 large (my mom got some extra large and we decided those didn’t look that good so go for the regular big size)
    – 35 medium
    – 35 slightly smaller
    – a still to be determined amount of tiny
  • high-heat glue gun and lots of glue
  • pretty ribbon to hang the wreath with

WreathCloseUp

A few other notes:

  • I didn’t realize when I started, but I’m pretty sure the blog linked above is using glass ornaments. I’m torn because hers looks really fancy and mine, when you get up close, is a little cheap looking. Shatterproof ornaments all have seams around the middle (except glitter covered ones), and you can’t really hide them. On the other hand I wasn’t really concerned throwing it in the trunk of my car to transport it back from Kansas because it couldn’t really be broken. A friend also pointed out that I could potentially throw mine in the bath tub wash it if needed. Just something to keep in mind.
  • The other thought I had after finishing was this wreath is HUGE. My mom reminded me in a couple years I may have a house with a bigger front door and this will look just fine, but currently it’s completely taking over my narrow 1930s apartment door. So depending on your preference you may want a smaller wreath (it will also take fewer ornaments).

 

Christmas Wrap-up

4 Jan

I just pulled the last of my Christmas time photos off my camera and wanted to share.

Nate and I at our work Christmas party

Nate and I at our work Christmas party

We had a little ice in OKC the weekend before Christmas. Thankfully the roads were fine.

We had a little ice in OKC the weekend before Christmas. Thankfully the roads were fine.

I made all my girlfriends and co-workers little Oklahoma cinnamon applesauce ornaments. The ornaments are super easy (and with dollar store cinnamon and applesauce cost me under $5 to make a ton), and make your house smell fantastic.
OKOrnament
I also gifted them with Oklahoma cookie cutters filled with fudge.
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Wrapping took me so many hours. I’d purchased some cute polka-dot boxes ($1 for 3 at Target) and a white paint pen, so even though I finished the task exhausted I was pretty happy with the results.
PolkaDotBox PolkaDotWrapping
I was especially proud of this wrapping job. We got Nate’s nephew a Hot Wheels race track. I stumbled across the idea to put a road and car on the outside of the package, and I hear his 3 year old nephew loved it.
SamsCarPresent

My parents dog Zuzu posing with the Christmas tree and gifts.

My parents dog Zuzu posing with the Christmas tree and gifts.

Where I’ve Been World Map

8 Jul

I’ve had this project in the works for nearly two years, yikes! The family of one of my best friends growing up kept a map on the wall with pins of all the places they’d been. I always thought it was really neat, but as a 15-year-old I hadn’t been enough places to warrant a map. Now I’ve been a few places, and as I was putting pins in the places I’ve been I honestly couldn’t wait to add more!

worldmappins
This is a pretty cheap project. (Prices are estimates because I bought everything a year or more ago.)
World Map $6
Foam Core to fit your map and cut to size $5 (40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby and trimmed $1 at their framing counter)
Spray Mount $7 (at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby use a 40% off coupon)
Map Pins $1.50 (use a coupon again)

All of that comes out to under $20, and the spray mount which is the most expensive item will still have plenty left for another few projects.

worldmappins2I’ve actually made a few of these because the first one was ruined when my apartment roof leaked, I made Nate one (and really owe him another because I tried to make it without any help), and I made this one for myself. So a few tips:

-Have a friend help you! It’s not possible to wrangle a big poster over sticky spray mount without messing up and getting bubbles in your poster.
-Follow the spray mount instructions. Do it when the weather is right, and shake it the full amount of time recommend.
-Use something to squeegee the poster down and eliminate bubbles. Hands don’t work very well, but the edge of a binder or book works great.

worldmapI’m pretty thrilled with how it turned out!

Gender Neutral Baby Taggie

15 May

I attended a baby shower this past weekend, and the couple isn’t finding out what they’re having. I discovered that it’s kind of hard to find cute gender neutral baby fabric. When I make the taggies I like to buy the quilted fabrics because they end up looking really nice without too much work. I was fully prepared to make my own mini quilt, but luckily I found this cute animal print and brown set that hopefully is neutral enough.
BabyTaggieNeutral

She registered for some nice little bins, so I cheated on the wrapping.

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T-Shirt Blanket

2 Apr

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My super talented friend Elyse asked me late last summer if I would be interested in putting a bunch of their t-shirts together into a comfy blanket. I was hesitant at first, but she convinced me that they didn’t want anything too fancy and that I could take my time with it. I finished it all up last week (seven months to the day), and I love how it turned out! I kind of wanted to keep it for myself!

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T-shirt Quilt/Blanket tips and what I did:

  • Iron interfacing to the back of each shirt square. It takes some extra time, but is very helpful when sewing on the really thin shirts.
  • I used fleece for the back of the quilt, and I didn’t use any batting or extra layers of fabric on the inside. Elyse wanted it to be pretty lightweight (like a throw), and I would say it’s borderline heavyweight with the fleece alone.
  • After getting the quilt sewed together I added a stitch (see the detailed pictures above) around the entire outside edge of the quilt. It really gives the quilt a finished look since I didn’t use any binding.
  • I “quilted” down the seam of each column. The stitch is in the ditch, so unless you look really closely you don’t even notice it on the front. This holds the front and back securely together.
  • My steps for the front were: wash and iron shirts, outline a square that I want to cut, trim shirts a bit bigger than the square, iron interfacing to the back of each shirt, trim down to my outline, arrange squares in a good layout, sew squares together in rows, sew rows together.

When I delivered the finished blanket Elyse’s husband Ryan said, “Oh I’ve been looking for that shirt, and that one!” (Elyse reminded him that he’d okayed all the shirts included in the quilt.) After a weekend of spring weather it’s turned cold again today, so hopefully they’re enjoying their re-purposed shirts!

Painting Class

18 Mar

I finished up my painting class at the City Arts Center (now¬†Oklahoma Contemporary) way back in November. I had a good time, and I found myself at the end wishing it wasn’t already over! It was different than I expected, but I really learned a lot. Every week the teacher would give us a photocopy to paint from (you could do what you wanted, but I think he frowned on that a bit). The images were mostly women, either a portrait or a full body shot. In the past I’d generally kept away from figures because figure drawing isn’t something I excel at (we look at people everyday, so when something isn’t in pretty close to perfect proportion it’s noticeable). So all of the paintings really got me out of my comfort zone, but I feel so much better about painting people now! And I came out with 3.75 paintings that I’m pretty happy with (the yellow one needs some work still).DSC02342 DSC02337 DSC02339 DSC02340

Fireplace Mirror

11 Feb

I’ve got several mirrors in my apartment, but the one over my fireplace is a bit unique. When I first moved in my Grandma and I went shopping at a little antique store in Blair, OK to find some decorations. I ended up with this medicine cabinet. I was hoping to take the mirror off of its cabinet, but it ended up being too hard, so it’s still got a cabinet behind the mirror. If I wanted I could hide things in it! So here’s the before:

Mirror Before

I’ve been wanting to paint the frame black for AGES and finally got around to it last month. I’m wishing now that there was some way to make the frame have a little more oomph. Maybe a frame on top of the current frame to make it wider? Do you have any ideas? I printed out my heart diagram the other day to decorate for Valentine’s Day. It might be a little on the weird side, but I’m liking it!

Washi Tape

8 Jan

I love washi tape. I bought a roll of it when I was in Japan thinking it was really cute tape and I could use it to tape up a box to ship home. After trying to tape a box closed I thought man that’s some crappy tape! Now I know what washi tape is and I keep kicking myself for not buying more when I was in Japan, but back then I don’t think any of us Americans knew what it was!

I’ve been wanting to buy some rolls for a while now, but they’re so dang expensive and I’m cheap. Wandering around Target last month though I stumbled across Up & Up brand Paper Tape which is essentially the same thing (although I’ve heard not acid free). The best part about the Target Washi Tape is that it’s $4 for 4 rolls! They have a red/pink pack, an orange/yellow pack, a green/turquoise pack, and a blue/purple pack. I thought they were so fantastic that I bought a few packs and gifted some friends with a roll each. I’ve also been using them to fancy up Christmas and birthday gift wrapping.
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DIY Fancy Hair Ties

25 Dec

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As I write this it’s the beginning of September, however I’m going to have to wait until Christmas time to post this because it concerns Christmas presents. I love the Christmas season, and for quite a few years now I’ve been making gifts for friends, family, and co-workers. My rules are the gift ends up being fairly low cost and I make it. Among other things I’ve made jars of granola, little clutches, pies in jars, and my mom’s wheat bread.

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This year some friends and family will be getting sets of these little hair ties. Anthropologie sells sets of 5 for $12, but they are super cheap and easy to make. I think they look much cuter on your wrist than regular hair ties too.

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Fancy Hair Ties

Supplies
Fold over elastic (I bought mine from www.hobovian.com, but you can find it all over Etsy under fold over elastic or FOE)
Sissors
Lighter
Ruler

Directions
1. Cut the elastic into strips around 9″ long (5 yards will make you 20 hair ties).
2. Fold in half with the shiny side out and knot the end. Try and get the knot pretty close to the end of the elastic and pull it tight.
3. Run a flame over the cut ends of the elastic to prevent fraying.

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