Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chalkboard Cheats

Both of my SLP-A and SLP-CFY girls are pregnant so I decided to throw a little announcement party at school for them.  I wanted to make it look nice, but I didn't want to spend an hour writing, erasing, writing again, wringing my hands, erasing, writing......   Instead I did this little cheat.

I created my "chalkboard" in Publisher (you could use Pages, Photoshop or whatever program you use)   First I downloaded a bunch of free chalkboard fonts.  Just google free chalkboard fonts and choose your favorite site.  I then searched for chalkboard backgrounds in Google images and downloaded that.  Choose an image that is really smudgy to give it an authentic look.

I opened up a file in Publisher and started out by adding a picture of the chalkboard background I downloaded.  I enlarged it so it covered the entire page.  I then started adding text using a white color and in the various chalkboard fonts.  I added the designs by creating them or getting them from the internet and setting their color to white.   I printed it off and taped it in my frame.

Pretty cool.  You can't believe how many people complimented me on my handwriting.  Our secretary said she loved it but she could never write that beautifully.  I laughed and told her to take a closer look.

I am just one of those people that is never satisfied with my final product.  This was a much easier way to make a simple sign!


Chalkboards and Cheating

I do love the look of all the beautiful lettered chalkboards out there in blogland.

From the truly complex: 

to simple:

I decided to try one of my own.  Most of my looked like a third grader did it (and I sincerely apologize to third graders everywhere.)  I started to research and found out many people use a bistro chalk marker like this:  
That solved some problems, but it did not solve them all.  I improved to about the level of a fifth grader.   I still erased about about fifty times and had a definite downward slope.  I then decided to do the old pencil on the back transfer trick.

I created a template on Publisher that I liked thought I could do.  I printed it off and then took a pencil and covered the back with solid scribbles with a pencil.  I then placed the paper with pencil side down on my chalkboard and traced over my design.  I then a had a very faint line to follow with my chalk board.  Here is my finished product:
Not too bad.  I only erased three times and it lasted all season so I consider it a success.

However, if you think even this is too much work, stayed tuned, I have a really neat cheat for you.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Winter Scenes 2014

One of the most pinned things from our blog is our winter decor from two years ago.  I thought I would update it.  I never in my life changed out my decor until I started thrifting.  In fact I've had a strong loathing for knickknacks, gewgaws and tchotchkes since I was a child.  My mother never met a souvenir or memento that she didn't feel the need to display.  Dusting as a child was an unbelievable chore.  Consequently, I've never had a lot of stuff laying around.

Flash forward to getting bit by the thrifting bug and all of the sudden I have cupboards full of cake plates, vintage silver and vases.  Now, I change it up every season.  I get bored very quickly so things change a lot.

Right now we are in the middle of the endless snowpocolypse and polar vortex.  I have been out of school more than I have  been in.

I have a serious case of the winter blues and didn't really have a whole lot of inspiration this year.  I didn't even take down my outdoor Christmas decor because it was just too cold and snowy.
So my winter decor inside is not all that different except, I developed a slight obsession with pine cones.  I liked their rustic texture next to my tarnished silver.  Also, they are in abundance on our property so they are very cheap.   I am not in love with these looks.  I abhor crafty crafty stuff and all this feels a bit contrived to me, but it is what it is this year...winter is just not thrilling me this year.

 Everything on the mantle is from a thrift store or garage sale except the wooden reindeer.  My late father made it during his wood working phase.  When my mother was moving and cleaning out a few years ago, she had it in the "give away" pile, but my son rescued it saying that it could not ever be given away.  It has been stuck in a cupboard for about ten years so I decided to use it this year.
 I have quite a few blue mason jars.  I have been incredible lucky at finding them at thrift stores and garage sales.  My latest acquisitions were from a garage sale being run my a man (I don't think he knew what he was selling.)  They are harder to find now as everybody wants them.

I hope you are someplace warm and sunny.    By the way, my goal for this year is to learn to take better photographs!  I am not going to say my pictures are crappy because of the time of day or sunlight.  My pictures are crappy because I have a good camera that I have no idea how to use.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Grain Sack Pillows

I have always loved the look of vintage grain sack pillows.  The simplicity and clean lines are what I have love.  Every time I see this picture on The Lettered Cottage, I covet the pillows.

The burlap pillow came from Pottery Barn.  I couldn't find it anymore, but one very similar was on sale for $30.  That just makes me gasp....I think $10 for a pillow is pricey. (I, disgustedly cheap)  I decided to make my own.  It took two tried, but I am pretty pleased with my final product.   

But let me start at the beginning with try number one.  First I hunted and hunted for burlap.  I found it everywhere, but it was rough with a very open weave.  I just didn't see it making a great pillow.  However, I forged ahead.  I cut out my pillow, taped off some lines and painted some red stripes.  After sewing and adding buttons, I had a pretty good imitation....but like I predicted.... was rough... snagged easily...
...and was generally just too rustic for my tastes.

I thought I would look up vintage grain sack textiles and maybe invest in one or two to make a pillow, but holy cow are they expensive.  Nope, I could not do that when I knew my family was going to toss it around and my dog was going to sleep on it.  So back to the DIY drawing board.  This time I decided to use some leftover canvas drop cloth I had.  (Drop cloth is super inexpensive and you get tons.)  This time I decided to go at a different way.

After cutting out my material.  I cut strips of freezer paper in the widths I wanted.  (Tape was too thick and trying to thin the width by cutting it was impossible.)  I ironed the freezer paper onto the material.  (Did you know that freezer paper can be ironed onto material for a stencil?  It is awesome.)

I then used a red Sharpie to fill in the lines.  It went very fast.  I also learned not to stop but to work quickly to avoid stoppage marks.
 I peeled off the freezer paper and I had my imitation grain sack material.

I sewed it, stuffed and added some buttons.  I love how they came out.  I love the crispness of the strip and the clean look they have.  My family also loves how they feel.

Altogether I paid less than $5 for two pillows.  The drop cloth cost about $10 for about 12 feet of great material so material for these pillows was really just pennies.  I buy pillows for around -$1-$2 at thrift stores for the stuffing and pillow forms.  The buttons came from my stash.  I probably paid the most for the Sharpie marker ($3)   I have no idea if the Sharpie will fade if I wash it, but in all reality I will probably tire of the pillow before I need to wash it!


Back in the Game--Sort of

It has been well over a year (or two) since we last posted.  I have to give credit to all those bloggers out there who do this on a regular basis.  I don't know how they find the time.  I am too busy  tired lazy to do this.  Also I do not have near the talent, money or skills to even come close to what other people are doing in the blogosphere.

However, there has been a little thing going on with my Pinterest account.  People are pinning a lot of stuff from our old posts.  Hmmm...maybe we have a little more creativity than we think.  I have decided to start posting again for all you people who are in my class of DIY.   I don't think you are going to find any build from scratch plans like Ana White or wood plank walls like Layla and Kevin Palmer.  You are not going to find whole home renovations like Sherry and John from Young House Love because let's face it, my husband maybe a gifted public speaker, but he does not have one drop of DIY in his blood and I am just as dangerous with power tools.  Our tool box contains a drill (with one bit and one screwdriver attachment), a butter knife because that works well as a screwdriver and a hammer that really belongs to my daughter.

Also, you won't cute names for family members (too hard to remember them from post to post.) It is really  hard to be unbelievably funny all the time.  What you will find is the good, the bad and the ugly that my daughter and I do in the name of DIY (although in our case it is really because we are just too stinkin' cheap to pay full price for things.)  We really are thrifting junkies and there is not a pile of junk we won't dive into to find "treasures."  We will share these treasures with you and let you do with them what you will.

Here is what is coming up in future posts:

Fabric Bunting for Valentine's

 Chalkboards and chalkboard cheats

Grainsack pillows without the grain sack

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Anthropologie Knock-Off- Quick and Easy

A while back I saw these number tiles on Anthroplogie;s website.  I loved the bight red numbers on the colorful tile.
Unfortunately, they are no longer available and even when they were, they were way out of my price range.  Of course the DIY mantra began drumming through my head...."I could make that."   I finally tackled the project and loved how it came out.  I started with subway tile (16 cents a piece) and house numbers ($1.98 a piece) from Lowe's.
 I broke out the Sharpie Markers and started coloring away using Anthro's design as template.
 I sprayed the numbers red and glued them to the tiles.  I love how they turned out.  Since I intend to use them inside, I am done.  If I put them outside, I will give them a coat of poly. 

At the cost of $2.14 a piece, I consider this project a huge success.  Start to the finish the project took less than an hour.  Cheap, easy and that's the mark of a great project.

P.S.  The numbers 143 is our family code for I love you.

I am linking up at:
320 Sycamore

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Style Sunday- The Senator's Wife

Life in America is pretty casual these days.  Most of the time, people even wear jeans to church.  I don't have a lot of reason to dress event I really miss.  I still love a classy outfit and have been known to wear one for no reason at all.  It used to tick me off when in college people would say, "You won't dress like that when you are in the classroom."  Actually I will and do. 

The shirt and shoes both came from Goodwill.  A good black pencil skirt is a must have staple in any closet.  Now I just need to find a senator!

Thrift Chick