An Org-travaganza

I’ve been neglectful.  Well, really only of the blog… I’ve been totally rocking it in life and at work!  Mike, Phoebe and I went camping this weekend with his friends and their two insanely smart kids, while Gus went to play with his friends at Camp Bow Wow (he was on his best behavior there, unlike last time!).  It was so nice to have some time to de-stress, which is exactly what I did amongst all the corn.  Seriously, there was corn for miles!

photo-6And because I’ve been so busy this week at my new job, I’ve missed blogging.  So I’m jumping in with both feet this weekend to tackle a huge organization project… an org-travaganza, if you will.  But first, let me introduce you to the project at hand.  My craft room/closet.  My Achilles heel…

Please don’t judge me on the sheer craziness happening in this room.  I figured that cleaning before taking pictures and a video would constitute cheating.  So I snapped the room as/is.  Since I’ve kept this shame of mine hidden for so long, you might only recognize the dresser.  If you can’t watch the video above, just take a quick gander at the train wreck in picture form below:

What we have here is a catch-all room.  As in, anything that looks like it could be mine and doesn’t have a home just gets thrown in.  But it never gets viewed by friends, since it’s upstairs and the door is always kept closed.  So why bother fixing it up?  Well, it’s reached the point where it’s making me absolutely crazy.  I have no real designated place in the house to do schoolwork, craft/sewing projects, or to just get ready for the day.  And since we’ll be staying in the good ol’ Greater Akron area for the long weekend, now seems like the perfect time to get started!

I will update you this weekend on everything that goes down.  Whether I post 5 times a day, 1 time a day, or only once this weekend is still to be determined… I predict it’ll be based on how crazy this project ends up making me.  But either way, the big reveal will be on Monday, and I personally cannot wait to see how it’s going to turn out!

Anyone out there tackling organization projects this weekend?  I want to see some pics (bonus points if your “before” pictures are even more disorganized than mine!)!

Xo, Laura

Seriously, How Great Are Fridays?!

Can’t you just feel the happiness in the air today?!  Fridays are always amazing, but this Friday is particularly fantastic, as I have just transitioned into a new role at work, which I think will fit me like a glove.  And I get the whole weekend to celebrate with the love of my life! :-)

I’ve also just won this beautiful apron made by Katherine of Pillows A-La-Mode!

Can you believe that she sewed it on her own using a pattern from One-Yard Wonders??  And she did it with a recycled vintage dress, which she was able to transform into 5 amazingly crafty projects!

She took fabric from this:

…to all this!

 

The woman is so gifted it’s unbelievable!  Check out details on how she did it over on her blog.

I’m so happy the apron is now mine! :-)

Tell me in the comments what you are happy about this beautiful Friday!

Xo, Laura

P & B (No Jelly)

image (42) I am going to be quite honest… I am still stumped as to how to make this kitchen look decent (you can see me slowly improving it here, here, and here).  But in the meantime, I’ve decided to make it at least look like OURS.  So when I found some cardboard letters for 30% off at Hobby Lobby ($1.73 each), I decided to take the letters for a kitchen test spin.  In the above picture, you can see how great they look above the sink.  And in the below picture, you can see how great they look on their own! photo (11) Wanna know how I did it?  Follow along as I work on the ampersand! image (43) Step 1: Gather your materials.  For this project, you will need some cardboard letters, scrapbook paper, scissors, Mod Podge glue, and a brush for application.  I poured my glue into a bowl (I know, I know… not exactly eco-friendly, but it made clean-up so easy!).

Step 2 (OPTIONAL): Make sure you have a little dog on your lap to help with the project. image (45)Step 3: Apply a thin coat of glue to the largest flat surface on the cardboard letter.  Place the sheet of scrapbook paper on top and smooth in place. image (44) Step 4: This is the hard part.  And also the most slow-going.  You need to cut the paper in order to fold it down over the sides.  This is much easier if you’re working on a shape with straight edges, like L or E.  But with rounded edges, you just have to go slowly and make sure you smooth the sides out as carefully as possible.  With the ampersand, I found it easiest to cut the paper in about 1 inch increments, lay down some glue, and fold it over into place.  You’ll need to do the same with any holes (in letters such as P or B), and this may even involve adding separate scraps of paper.  For this reason, I was happy I chose a pattern that doesn’t really need to match up perfectly (this would be much more difficult with patterns like polka dots or stripes). image (39) Step 5: Once you’ve covered up the front, sides, and any holes with scrapbook paper, it’s your decision whether or not you want to completely Mod Podge over the whole she-bang (for instance, if you want it to be glossy).  I decided to skip this step, and simply left the letters out for 2 hours to dry. Step 6: Turn the dry letters over and put 3M velcro strips on the back. image (40) You can see in the above picture that I overlapped the scrapbook paper around to the back in order to leave the edges looking clean and smooth.

Step 7: Hang them in place, and you’re all set! image (41)But why did I chose ‘P’ and ‘B’?  They’re the initials of both mine and Mike’s last names.

And why did I decide to put something above the sink?  First of all, the wide-open strip is practically begging for some kind of decoration.  But more practically, SOMETHING had to go there, since there was a random 2-prong outlet embedded awkwardly right above the sink. image (38) The landlords had placed an ugly, awkward, non-working clock to cover up the outlet.  Even though its redness matched our tomato of a kitchen, the clock wasn’t working for me.  Take a look for yourself at how dingy and blah it is:

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Needless to say, it had to go.  And I am so much happier with the space above the sink now!  What do you think?

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Xo, Laura

Ruly Jewelry

My earring situation went from unruly earlier today to totally ruly tonight.

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Earlier today you heard about my failure of an earring wrangling system.  Well, tonight I remedied that with a cardboard box, cork board, hot glue, and tape.

Basically,  I started with a huge piece of metal sheeting.

Laura & Metal Sheet LoveBut I cut about 1/3 of it off to create this flop of a masterpiece:

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So tonight I was faced with the choice of either using the tiny piece of metal I had left over from earlier today, OR using the other part of the sheeting, which was much bigger.  I went with the latter.  This meant that I couldn’t use the same frame.  But I unfortunately didn’t have one on hand that would work… so I made one out of a cardboard box left over from a recent dress order.

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I started by cutting the outside flaps off, and then I folded them in half to cut evenly along that line.  I continued this process until I had 6 evenly sized pieces.  1 each for the top and the bottom of the frame, and 2 for each of the sides.  In order to make sure these were secured properly to the metal, I used a hot glue gun as well as packing tape.

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Here is my manly version of Vanna White modeling the new handmade frame against the rejected one (you can really notice the size difference in pieces):

Hot glue dries almost immediately, so I set to work cutting out pieces of cork.  I used fairly thin rolled cork that I have had forever.  I used it most recently on a map project for Mike.  It’s super easy to cut, but can also rip if you’re not carefeul… you just have to be sure to go slow and be steady.  I cut 4 evenly sized pieces that were so long they overlapped on the edges.  I wanted this overlap so that the frame would look bigger than it actually is, but also so that there was some room for error in case an edge ripped or needed to be evened out.  When all of the pieces were cut and laid out, I carefully attached them with hot glue.  Then I had Mike hold it up to make sure all of the sides were even and neat.

It looked great, so I attached 3M strips on the back.  As always, I cut bigger 3M strips in half to save money, but then I worried that the frame wasn’t thick enough to lay flat on the wall.  So I made sure there were 4 pieces to hold it on the wall (two 3M strips cut in half).

image (46)And then I hung it up!  I think it looks SO much better, but the best part is that it holds studs (in the frame) just as easily as dangly earrings!

Unruly Jewelry

This week has been insanely busy.  So busy that we have to keep farming out the dogs to doggie day camp, which they love.  Every night, Gus is so tired that he can barely keep himself from falling off the couch.

photoSince we’ve been so busy, today’s posts are going to be a little different.  This morning’s is all about how DIY projects can sometimes fail… and tonight’s post will be all about how I rectified the situation.  I guess these posts can be considered a metaphor for life – sometimes things don’t go as planned, but you have to take those lemons and make them into lemonade!  Or at least, that’s the situation with my earring storage.

My jewelry has always been out of control.  As in, constantly talking back, breaking curfew, and just generally being a hot mess.    I have to say that I at least TRIED to corral everything together by storing earrings in bowls, drawers, hanging them on ribbon… I even tried to use an old cheese grater, similar to this post that I found on Pinterest.

cheese grater

But no method was attractive and easy enough for me to maintain.  Until I saw this beautiful metal sheet for sale for $10.  And then I started brainstorming how it could hold my earrings.Laura & Metal Sheet Love

I thought it would look amazing hung behind an ornate frame I’d taken off a mirror (to use for another project).  I planned on spray painting the frame a fun color.

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But unfortunately, the metal sheet was a tiny bit too narrow for the frame.

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Luckily, I had a piece of plain white cardboard left over from one of my other frames.  You know, the white piece you can put between your picture and the glass?  It seemed like it would be perfect!

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The metal was surprisingly easy to cut with plain old scissors.  I trimmed it up and set it aside.  In the meantime, I turned my attention to the frame.

I love working with washi tape, as illustrated by my pencil-beautification project.  I’d purchased this beauty at Michael’s awhile back, and was so excited to use it, since it would coordinate perfectly with my green pencils without being too matchy-matchy.

See how pretty it is?

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See how well the color matches the green pencils?

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It took me about 10 minutes to tape up the frame.  In order to get neat edges, I made sure to always leave tape overlapping the edges, and then I cut a bit off to create a smooth corner.

Eventually I was left with a totally professional looking frame.

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I flipped it over and attached the metal sheet with clear packing tape.  I used a generous amount so that it would lay flat.  You don’t need to worry about the fact that the green washi tape looks messy on the back; it won’t show in the finished product.

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I wanted to hang it on the wall, so I cut some 3M strips in half, and attached them.  As I explained in this post, I like to cut them in half for light-weight frames in order to save money!

And then it was time for wall hanging!

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At this point, I started to slightly panic.  It’s too busy!  It’s too flimsy-looking!  But I thought maybe hanging some earrings would pull it all together.

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Nope.  Still too crazy.  I mean, what was I thinking?

And it’s not just the busy, clashing patterns.  Where do I hang the post earrings?  Major fail.

…But all is not lost!  Tune in tonight to see how I remedy the situation!  Leave your guesses in the comments :-)

–Laura

 

Broken Pencils Are Pointless

These pencils aren’t actually broken… And even though they aren’t sharpened, they’re not pointless!  They make an excellent office accent piece!

Basically, this project was started because I can’t sit still ever, and I therefore always need projects to do while watching TV.  I knew it was project fate when the Barnes & Noble on campus was having a 50% off sale on pencils.

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I grabbed two packs for a little over $1 total.  Using washi tape that I had laying around (if you don’t have any at home, you can usually find some at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s for around $1.50), I wrapped it around each pencil, starting near the eraser and working my way down.  The washi tape is easy to rip, and you can get a close edge by using a pair of scissors or a knife.  I wrapped 10 green, and 10 blue.

If the above photos confuse you a little bit, allow me to explain: the room was very dark when I tried to take photos.  And I was feeling very lazy.  So the photos are terrible.  My apologies!

Also, the green washi tape was snapped after I’d already finished the pencil project… And the blue one could  not be photographed since it was already in Gus’ belly.  Yup, he chewed up about half a roll of blue washi tape.  Didn’t seem to bother him one bit!  For the record, he also enjoys 3M velcro strips.  And he’s tried to go for the beaver skull quite a few times.  The boy will chew on anything.

Anyway, keep wrapping the washi tape around each pencil.  It’s fine if it overlaps.  And it’s also fine if some yellow pencil shows through.  It’s a very forgiving project.  And after all, they’re only pencils!

So after all 20 pencils were complete, I needed a vessel to put them in.  I found the perfect one, too!  A Classico pasta sauce jar, with the label removed.

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You might remember that I used the same type of jar (spray painted gray) as a vase back in this post.

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But alas, it was too tall.  It kept the pencils corralled too tightly together.  So I used an old canning jar:

image (28)It’s perfect!

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–Laura

 

His and Hers Artwork

This weekend M & L absolutely dominated the getting-stuff-done arena.  For starters, the living room is beginning to come together.  But more importantly, we made a teensy change in the bathroom that has really pulled the whole room together:

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Our homemade his and hers artwork was done late Sunday afternoon.  We spent the rest of the weekend completing a ton of projects around the house, all of which we will show to you throughout the week.  To name a few, the kitchen has been partially organized, we installed an under-the-counter trash/recycling system, the half bath has a new toilet seat to replace the puffy/padded one, and the dining room light underwent some beautification.  Like I said, lots got accomplished.  But the one I’m most excited about is our new homemade art.

It all started back in Mike’s old apartment.  The kitchen was so blah that I framed 3 teal scrapbook pages as a back splash.  I totally meant to stick them on the beige wall, but never got around to it.  Instead, I just propped them up against the wall.  And voila, a quick pop of color.  They were super low maintenance since they never fell over, were easily wiped down if any drips or splashes got on them, and they were incredibly easy to remove if I ended up needing extra counter space.  I definitely recommend them for anyone nervous about doing anything to their rental’s kitchen.  You can see two of the three leaning against the wall in this old picture from this post.  I wish there was a bigger picture of the whole kitchen, but you get the idea.

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As you can see, one of the three teal sheets has a vintage-looking chicken theme on it, similar to those on my favorite bowls, just barely visible in the background here (you can read more about the succulent plants on this post):

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Here are the weird chickens side-by-side:

Anyway, we carried these three frames pieces of scrapbook paper with us to the new house, but the teal didn’t really work with our crazy red backsplash.  Somehow they ended up in the bathroom, and sat around testing out counter space.  After I decided I didn’t fully appreciate them in this space, I just sort of tucked them away behind my makeup trunk.

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But on Sunday I was feeling positively inspired.  So I grabbed the two frames holding the plain teal paper (ignoring the one with the crazy chickens), some tape adhesive, gray paint strips, and a heart punch.  Since I had all of the materials on hand from previous projects, this craft session cost us $0.  I used the heart punch (purchased at Michael’s for around $10) to make a bunch of little hearts.  Mike grabbed some and immediately glued down a pile of hearts.  It took him all of two minutes.  Maybe he’s a creative genius, or maybe he just wanted to be done with craft time, since it’s not really his jam.  But either way, I think his looks absolutely adorable!

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Mine took a lot longer to do, only because I had no idea what I was going for.  I first tried a horizontal line of hearts, but I didn’t like it.  Then I tried some kind of gradient wavy thing.  Wasn’t really working.  What I needed was a different punch besides heart.  But I didn’t have one.  So I decided to cut the hearts in half and just sort of stumbled into this gradient design.

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Pinning down the exact order of the broken hearts and gluing them down took all of 3 minutes.  The reason I went with crafter’s tape was because it requires no dry time, so the pile of hearts and the lines of broken hearts were re-framed and ready to go within minutes.  I used 3M medium-sized velcro strips on all three frames.  The strips are perfect because they cause absolutely no damage to the wall or the frames, and when you move apartments/houses, the velcro side stuck to the frame can be re-used.  I also buy the medium strips so that I can cut them in quarters, which saves a ton of money.

This was a super simple project that only took about 15 minutes total, but makes the bathroom look much more complete!

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–Laura