Fabric “Wallpaper”

Posted on Apr 29, 2013 in Crafty, DIY | 3 comments

Fabric “Wallpaper”

Living in a rental house or apartment can be tricky when it comes to home décor. Of course you want to put a personal stamp on your living space, but within the confines of your lease and probably without spending too much money. In my current house there are a number of features I would love to change or update, but of course new kitchen cabinets or windows isn’t really possible.

 

However, I did find a solution to one of my biggest eyesores. My clothes closet happens to be located in my combination kitchen-dining room. That’s not the unfortunate part… the unfortunate part of this is that not only are the double closet doors hideous ancient puke brown but that a previous tenant also seems to have used them as a punching bag judging by the fist sized dent.

 

Luckily, pinterest brought me to a website where another renter found a way to adhere fabric to a wall in a non-permanent way, a much more inexpensive solution than temporary wall paper which can be quite pricey. I decided then and there to cover the doors in fabric as a way to not only hide their ugliness, but tie them into the color scheme of my kitchen.

 

So off I was to Joann to find the perfect fabric to bring the tones of light blue in a pretty pattern to my ugly closet doors. And I succeeded! Not only that, but I got the eight yards for 50% (yes I’m bragging). Depending on the area you want to cover, whether its just a wall decal or nearly a whole wall like me, you might need more or less fabric. I actually went with more fabric than I needed with the intention of eventually making matching pillows for dining chairs.

 

So here we go!

 Fabric Wallpaper

 

Materials:

paint brush

fabric, washed and ironed

iron

 

For the adhesive:

2 cups water, divided

3 tablespoons cornstarch

 

Materials for Wallpaper

 

Mix the corn starch with a ¼ cup of water. Put the remaining 1 ¾ cups in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling mix in the dissolved corn starch and whisk for about a minute. Remove the pot from heat and allow it to cool slightly before using.

While your adhesive is cooling, measure and cut your fabric to the appropriate size for your project, leaving about a half inch margin so you can fold the unfinished edges under.

 

With a paint brush, generously coat the surface to be covered, in my case the door, with the adhesive. If you are doing this over a carpeted area you may want to put a drop cloth down to catch accidental drips.

 

Starting at the top, line up the piece of fabric and gently press into place. Work your way down to the bottom and out to the sides, smoothing the fabric with your hands as you go. When you get to the bottom, tuck the fabric under itself, applying more adhesive if needed. Do the same for the sides working back up to the top. Once the entire piece of fabric has been adhered, gently iron it on low to medium to help dry the adhesive and smooth out any wrinkles.

 

Edge of Fabric

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Ribbon Sweater Embellishments

Posted on Apr 11, 2013 in Crafty, DIY | 1 comment

Ribbon Sweater Embellishments

Winter doesn’t seem to want go give up its hold on Wisconsin this year. I can’t help but daydream of warm spring days where I can wear a pair of cute capris or even a sundress! But judging by the weather forecast, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

 

So that leaves me with the task of finding a new way to wear the same tired, old sweaters. Once again I must thank pinterest for bringing me this tutorial for a ribbon shoulder sweater as inspiration. Following the idea, I attached a pretty robin’s egg blue ribbon to one shoulder of my sweater and made a corresponding flower for my hip. So far I’m loving the touch of spring on my boring  black sweater!

 

Please forgive the photography…with no one to help out I had to get a bit creative with my camera and lovely antique bathroom mirror!

 

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Materials:

Old sweater

50” ribbon

Small piece of felt

Scissors

Needle/Thread

Hot Glue Gun or fabric glue

 

Cut an eight inch slit down one shoulder of a sweater. Fold the edges over and sew them in place. Cut two fifteen inch lengths of ribbon and sew to each side of the sweater. Tie into a pretty bow.

 

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For the ribbon flower, cut a piece of felt (or fabric scrap) into a circle the size of the flower you want. Mine was about the size of a silver dollar, but you can definitely go bigger-just allow for more ribbon. Hold the end of your remaining ribbon in the center of the circle and glue into place. Twist the ribbon in an outward spiral, gluing as you go.Once the glue has dried, sew the flower onto your sweater using corresponding thread.

 

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DIY Composting

Posted on Mar 15, 2013 in Crafty, DIY | 1 comment

DIY Composting

The downside to not living in San Francisco anymore is the lack of free, city-wide composting services. The upside to not living in San Francisco anymore is that I not only have room for my own compost bin, but I have space to build a garden to use the compost in. Life’s full of trade offs I guess.

 

In anticipation of this year’s garden season, I decided it was time to build myself a compost bin. At first I looked into buying one, but the hefty price tags quickly deterred me. And by deterred me, I mean I almost had a heart attack.

 

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But worry not- if you’re like me there are other alternatives! I got a five gallon bucket from Menards for $3.97. From there, I drilled a few holes for aeration and drainage, added a lid, and called it a day. Stickers optional.

 

The reason I went with a five gallon bucket rather than a fifty gallon trashcan was that I wanted to make my compost in smaller, more spread out batches. Once my bucket starts getting full, I’ll go to Menards and start another one. Hopefully the smaller batches will also help the compost finish faster. I’m not 100% sure it works that way, but it seems logical to me. Check back in a month or two and I’ll let you know 😉

 

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And now for starting to compost…. I’ve read article after article about the appropriate balance of carbon (paper goods, dried leaves, etc) to nitrogen (food scraps, plant clippings, etc) in a compost bin, but no one seems to agree. The general gambit seems to run from 8:1 to 1:1.

 

As you may (or may not) be able to tell from my photo, I’m starting at the 1:1 route. If it starts to smell funky, I’ll adjust as I go. Luckily there are a bunch of websites that diagnose compost imbalances.

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Now that I’ve started, all that’s left to do is add stuff, make sure it’s moist, and periodically stir things up. T minus one month to beautiful compost! If you’re just getting started here’s a great, quirky list of things that can be composted. If you have a minute, read the opening story too, it’s one of my favorites!

 

Oh, as an added bonus, UrbanFarmOnline.com has a printable check list. I already have mine on the fridge! Happy composting everyone!

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Thrifty Kitchen Art

Posted on Feb 27, 2013 in Crafty, DIY | 2 comments

Thrifty Kitchen Art

Moving across the country and leaving my job behind so far has been a wonderful experience. I’m thrilled to be so close to family again and to be spending time with childhood friends. I’m just as thrilled to be living in a whole house after years of tiny apartments!

 

However there have been some downsides… Like the fact moving is expensive. And of course, living in a wonderfully big house means I want to decorate it. So given my budget is basically nothing and the moving company destroyed a ridiculous number of my things, I had to get crafty.

 

On a small side rant, don’t ever move, people! Or if you have to, donating your possessions might be less painful than hiring a company to ship them. Of my possessions, what wasn’t broken, scratched, or otherwise damaged got lost for two months! No joke.

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Back to the point…. I had to get pretty crafty. What to do with picture frames that had their glass smashed? Well this is what I came up with.

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I tried to look at the glass-less frames as an opportunity for something three dimensional. I decided to spray paint kitchen implements and glue them to framed scrapbooking paper matching my kitchen colors. The measuring spoons and spatula I found rummaging through my kitchen drawers and the silverware I bought for $0.20 at a thrift store.

 

I had white spray paint (Rustoleum White Glossy) so that’s what I painted everything with. I only applied one coat before drying them overnight and it worked beautifully. To give the scrapbooking paper some substance, I used a spray adhesive to attach it to cardboard, of which I had plenty from moving boxes! I then used craft glue to adhere the utensils and allowed that to dry overnight.

 

 

To give the series a little cohesion, I added letter stickers spelling out “measure,” “stir,” and “eat.” Sort of the steps to making diner, right? Not exactly perfect, but not bad given my only expense was the $0.20 spoon and fork. Plus, the vintage font and primary color palette give the pictures a fifties/pop-art-ish feel that definitely suits my personal style.

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The teapot pictures were even easier to make. I searched online for a teapot picture I liked then printed it out. I used my X-acto knife to cut around the outside to make a stencil.

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From there I traced the stencil on my favorite textured red paper and cut that out. Using a spray adhesive, I attached the cutout and the cutaway to blue paper (the same as in the spatula background). Both got framed with $4.00 Walmart frames and immediately hung on the wall. Easy-peasy.

 

 

This project would work with any stencil/silhouette of your choice, but I happen to adore teapots. If you go the teapot route, remember to cut out the interior piece of the handle as well as the pot. Happy crafting to anyone else who needed a little budget kitchen inspiration!

 

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Beer Box Coasters

Posted on Feb 15, 2013 in Crafty, DIY | 2 comments

Beer Box Coasters

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for present ideas for the men in my life. DIY or store bought, it seems like it is always easier to come up with presents for girls. Why is that? Is it because I am one?? Well, probably…

 

Anyway, when I initially saw this tutorial for mod podge tile coasters online, I thought hmm, that’s interesting, and filed it away for later. Then I saw this: beer box coasters. Eureka! Man gift.

 

So there are a lot of great tutorials out there on how to make these. But in case you’re curious, this is how I went about things. Feel free to mix and match alcohol types (for this guy I threw in a whiskey coaster) or experiment using different materials like scrapbook paper, wall paper, or wrapping paper. Have fun!

 

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Materials:

5 plain tiles from Lowe’s

Mod Podge

Foam Brush

Polyurethane Spray Sealant

5 squares cut from beer or other alcohol boxes

 

To start I traced a tile over the area I wanted to use from each box. Using an X-acto knife, I cut out the squares. From there, I used my scrapbooking slide cutter (feel free to use the X-acto knife or scissors) to trim each square down so that it was slightly smaller than the surface of the tiles to eliminate any overhang.

 

Using the foam brush, I applied mod podge to the back of the cardboard squares and adhered themto the tiles, pressing down firmly then rubbing to remove any air bubbles. I stacked some heavy objects on the tiles to weigh them down and let them dry for about two hours.

 

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Next, I applied mod modge to the surface of the cardboard running my brush in all four directions with each coat for even coverage. I applied a total of four or five coats allowing twenty minutes to dry in between.

 

To finish it off, I sprayed a layer of polyurethane sealant to give the coasters an extra layer of water protection. Still waiting for the verdict from the recipient, but here’s to hoping he loved them!

 

 

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