Category Archives: Crafts

DIY Painted Thrift Store Mirror

Real talk: I was pretty unproductive this weekend. Like, I didn’t even get out of my pajamas on Sunday. I did, however, manage to paint and hang a thrift store mirror in my living room. It’s been two months since we moved in, and we now have TWO things hanging on our walls. At this rate, the house might be fully furnished by the time we have to move into a nursing home.

I’ve been looking for a large mirror to hang above the couch in the living room for a while, so when I saw one in good shape for cheap at a local thrift store on Friday, I picked it up. Here’s what it looked like when I brought it home:

Thrift Store Mirror

And here’s what it looks like now:

Mirror After

I was pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially since I decided not to sand or prime it before painting.  I just dragged it out to the garage, where Dave had the excellent idea to prop it up on a couple of paint cans so I could easily paint under the edges:

10.28.13 Mirror on Cans

Next, I taped off the edges. I am the world’s worst paint taper, and of course there were a few spots where the paint leaked through.  Luckily, I was able to easily scrape it off with my fingernail once it dried.

10.28.13 Mirror Taped

Then I got started painting. I used two coats of Clark + Kensington Paint + Primer in a flat black shade that we had leftover from a previous project.

Paint

And here is the final product, which cost a grand total of $25:

Mirror 1

Attaching the wreath was super easy – I just looped a length of gold ribbon around it, and then duct taped the ends to the back of the mirror. Classy, I know.

Whiskers

Whiskers approves.

Ombre Crocheted Blanket Tutorial

DIY Ombre Blanket

When I was a sophomore in college I was too poor to buy Christmas gifts, so I had my grandma teach me to crochet. That year all my loved ones received poorly crafted rectangles of yarn that could barely be recognized as scarves.

I’ve kept at it over the years and slowly developed a little more skill, although I still mostly stick to simple scarves and blankets. Now that our nights are getting chilly, I’ve been spending my evenings camped out in front of SVU reruns while working on crocheting projects.

My life is so glamorous.

Earlier this week I completed this pink ombre blanket using a simple shell pattern. The shell is one of my favorite patterns because it looks a lot more complicated than it is – the only stitches you need to know are the single and double crochet.

Shell Stitch

Here’s how to do it (For this generous-sized throw, I used two skeins of regular-sized Red Heart yarn per color, and a size J crochet hook):

Starting Chain: Chain in multiples of 6 until you reach your desired length. Add two chains and turn your work.

Row 1: Single crochet in second chain from hook. Skip 2 chains, and do 5 double crochets in the next chain. Skip 2 chains, and do one single crochet in the next chain. Continue across the rest of the row. Chain 2 and turn.

Row 2: Do 2 double crochets in the next single crochet. Skip 2, then single crochet in the next double crochet. Skip two, and do 5 double crochets in the next single crochet. Skip 2, and single crochet in the next double crochet. Continue this pattern across. Do 3 double crochets in the last single crochet. Chain 1 and turn.

Row 3: Single crochet in the next double crochet. Skip 2, and do 5 double crochets in the next single crochet. Skip two, and do a single crochet in the next double crochet. Continue this pattern across, chain 2 and turn.

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until your blanket reaches your desired length.

Blanket and Chair

Right now this guy is hanging out on the pink armchair in the guest bedroom until the weather gets cool enough to require a lap blanket in the evenings.

And in case crocheting is not your thing, I found some really pretty ombre blankets for sale here, here, and here.

Pinterest Challenge: Animal Magnetism

Today I’m participating in the Pinterest Challenge, which is being co-hosted by my fabulous and stylish friend Emily at Sparkle Meets Pop.

I was traveling for work all last week and am now up to my ears in follow-up from my trip, so I didn’t have the time or energy to tackle anything too intense this time around. I settled on these simple DIY animal magnets from A Rose on the Moon:

animal-500

First, I found some plastic jungle animals at Wal Mart and picked several of my favorites to dismember:

05.08.13 Plastic Animals

Animal Lovin

(I swear, those two were stuck like that when I emptied the bag.)

The animals used in the tutorial I followed were hollow and mine were not, so I wasn’t able to cut them with scissors or a craft knife like she did. Thankfully, Dave was only too happy to step in and offer his services:

05.08.13 Saw

Hippo

Whiskers offered his services, too:

Whiskers Helping

The next step was painting the animals. I had just bought some acrylic paint in springy colors for a different project, so instead of buying gold paint in order to go with the color scheme from the original pin, I decided my animals would be springy.

Painting

The darker animals needed two coats, but the lighter ones were good with just one.

After the animals dried, I super glued magnetic buttons to their backs and they were ready to take their place on the fridge:

05.08.13 Elephant

It may not be the most impressive of DIY projects to showcase, but I like the touch of whimsy these little guys add to the kitchen.

Magnet row

Two Animals

Now I just need to figure out what to do with these:

Butts

You can follow me on Pinterest here.

No, he’s space doody

Last week I was filling out an insurance form and when it asked for my age, I couldn’t remember if I am 27 or 28. Luckily, my feeble mind still remembers the year I was born, so I subtracted that from 2012 to find that I am, indeed, 28, and maybe also legally brain dead. I’ve been worrying about getting old ever since, so last night I decided to recapture some of the magic of my youth by carving a pumpkin.

Spoiler alert: Carving that goddamn pumpkin did not help me recapture the magic of my youth. It did recapture the magic of a stiff drink and reaffirm my life decision to not have children, so I guess that’s good.

If I were to recap my pumpkin carving experience, it would look like this:

5:15 p.m. – Go to Walmart to buy pumpkin carving tools. Feel my blood pressure rise as we walk into the Halloween section, which is packed to the gills with unruly kids picking out costumes. Cackle when one trips and falls on the ground.

5:18 p.m. – Complain to Walmart employee that I can’t find the pumpkin carving tools. He sends me right back to the aisle I just escaped from.

5:19 p.m. Unruly kid stomps on my expensive boots with his muddy shoes. Consider putting on nearby Hulk costume and body slamming him into the pumpkin-scented candle display.

5:20 p.m. – Procure carving tools. Stand in Express Lane for 20 minutes while elderly man in front of us pays for each item with a different credit card.

5:50 p.m. – Finally home. Pour 100-proof peppermint Schnapps into hot chocolate.

6:00 p.m. – Scooping out seeds. Breathe in the smell of fresh pumpkin and feel the delightfully slimy texture of the flesh slipping through my fingers. Plan to roast the seeds later. This is great! Wonder why it’s been so long since I’ve carved a pumpkin.

6:01 p.m. – Remember why it’s been so long since I’ve carved a pumpkin.The template won’t lie flat; the crow outline I carefully poked through the paper looks like a Rorschach test; the tiny saw is freezing my hand into Ross Gellar’s misshapen claw.

7:00 p.m. – Pour whiskey into empty hot chocolate mug.

After an hour and several broken carving tools, this is what I have to show for it:

If you don’t see a crow sitting on top of a tombstone, you don’t have enough whiskey in your system.

I think next year I’ll stick to fake gourds.

Bagels and doughnuts … round food for every mood!

This weekend has been incredible.
It started on Friday when I handed my boss my letter of resignation, something my friends and family have been urging me to do for years. I guess they got tired of hearing me say, “I’d love to, but I have to work” every time they invited me somewhere.
My last day is June 15, and after that I’m taking two weeks off to do absolutely nothing. I mean, I’ll probably get up every so often to open a new can of Easy Cheese or to change out the Harry Potter DVDs, but that’s the extent of “work” I plan to do. And after those two weeks, I’m starting a new career path in marketing, something I’m seriously excited about. That excitement far outweighs any lingering feelings of dread I may have about having to work these last two weeks, and this is the first weekend I’ve truly felt relaxed, or even remotely creative, in such a long time. I decided to celebrate by making something pretty.
I pinned this like three months ago and this weekend I finally got around to actually trying it:
I’ll note that I try not to pin things I know I won’t make. If the words “chiffonade” or “julienne” or “cut in a straight line” are involved when I click the link, I close that shit right down. But this one looked super easy – all it involves is a glue gun, a bottle and some spray paint.
What has two thumbs and can screw up a project that only involves a glue gun, a bottle and some spray paint? THIS GIRL.
I started out by taking a couple of wine bottles and soaking them in warm, soapy water to get the labels to come off. This actually worked really well, giving me a false sense of confidence that I’d be able to complete this task without wanting to kill myself.
Next, I dried the bottles off and got out the glue gun.
You guys, the glue gun beat me. I was at least wise enough to know that I’d never get my handwriting to look as good as it does in the original pin, so I figured I’d do a pattern of vertical dots running up the sides of the bottle. The first two columns went OK until this happened:

I wish I could blame this on a hand tremor or major earthquake, but I just suck.

I was running out of glue so I put a new stick into the gun. It wasn’t getting hot immediately, so I looked at the T.V. for a second and got sucked into the Dawson’s Creek pilot. Dawson had just told Joey he slaps the clown to Katie Couric every morning when I looked down and saw that a huge blob of glue was streaming out of the gun* and forming on my bottle. Of course I tried to stop it from running with my fingers, and of course it hurt like hell because hi, it’s HOT GLUE, not pleasantly warm, finger-friendly adhesive.

Tip number one: Use puff paint if you want to make a design without burning your fingers off.

After the hot glue incident I still had two bottles left, so I decided to scrap the whole glue idea and just use the chalkboard paint. This leads me to tip number two: Wear gloves when you spraypaint:

Fun fact: I designed the newspaper behind this freshly ruined manicure.

That picture was taken after about 10 minutes of furious scrubbing. When I first came inside my entire left hand was covered in paint, so I tried to scrub it off, only it wasn’t working. At all. Just as I started to panic about what if it hardened and my hand was stuck forever as a chalkboard claw, I tried rubbing it with the back side of (my boyfriend’s brand new) sponge, and it (mostly) came off.
Feeling tired from that ordeal, I sat down at the kitchen table to kick my feet up for a few minutes while the paint dried, which leads me to tip three: Don’t wear a skirt while you spraypaint:

Bonus life tip: Use fake tan every day if there is even a remote possibility a picture of your legs will ever be posted on the Internet.

At this point I decided the wise thing to do was have a beer and not care about what the final product looked like. Which, if you’re wondering, is this:
The spray paint bottle said to wait 24 hours before using chalk on it. Hopefully by then I won’t be able to use chalk on my kneecaps or fingernails anymore.
* The irony was not lost on me

The original title of this was ‘A Lively Fisting’

I was feeling all proud after finding time to post yesterday until I pushed “publish” and WordPress bitch-slapped me with a little message o’shame:

Perhaps I’m overthinking it … maybe they just wanted to congratulate me? But that “Wild!” after telling me I’ve updated four times in almost two months seems a tad snarky. It’s the equivalent of when one of my staff members comes in late and before I can stop myself I’ve said to them, “Hey, you’ve only been late 14 times this month! FANTASTIC!”

I do not have a “World’s Best Boss” mug.

I know it’s super stupid to talk about work on your blog. I read Dooce. But this morning I got a rejection letter from what I thought was going to be my dream job (technically it’s my runner-up dream job, since nobody is offering to pay me to eat sandwiches and make out with a freshly-showered Colin Farrell, WHAT THE HELL, WORLD?) and I just don’t really care anymore. I may get fired and become homeless, but bums don’t have to wear pants so SCORE.

Because I’m not homeless yet, I thought I’d share with you how to make a super-awesome spraypainted clothespin mirror that is the perfect piece to display on your wall. Or to use as a bitchin’ rear-view mirror on your shopping cart full of possessions parked under the bridge, if you’re me. This project was featured on Design*Sponge a while back, so click here if you want to read how to make this from someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

Materials

Small round mirror with unfinished edges (I had to drive 80 miles to a Michael’s craft store in a whole other state to get mine, since the closest thing we have to a craft store is Walmart and when I asked if they had unfinished mirrors the guy was all “Ya mean a mirror without the shiny part on the front?”)

A couple packs of clothespins (Dollar store!)

Spraypaint

Ribbon

Hot glue gun

Find something round – I used my spool of ribbon – to place in the center of the mirror.  You’ll be using it to ensure the clothespins are placed in an even circumference (Confession! I took “math for idiots” and totally don’t know if circumference is the right word here. I have to have like five sheets of scratch paper just to figure out how much to tip my server).

Start clipping the clothespins around the item in the center of the mirror. This is mostly to figure out how many you will need to spraypaint. When you’re done doing this, promptly undo all the hard work you just did and take them all off, go outside, and spraypaint away. I had to rotate mine about four times to make sure each side was coated. While I was bent over on the front porch rotating my clothespins (that’s got to be a euphemism for something), I noticed the same truck drive by like six times. Which brings me to my next tip: Don’t wear a miniskirt for this portion of the project.

Once the paint is dry, repeat the first step and clip all the clothespins on around the round object again. Once you’re satisfied with how they look, remove the round object, fire up ye’ old glue gun and glue everything in place. Dab some glue on one side of the clippy-part of the clothespin and then open and shut it a few times to get glue on both sides, and then clamp it in place, holding it closed for a few seconds while the glue sets. Do this for what feels like a million hours until all the clothespins are glued and you are experiencing early symptoms of carpal tunnel. Be sure to loop your ribbon through one of the clothespins before gluing it down so you have something to hang it from. I forgot this step, and it’s a good thing I work out because it took all my strength to pry a clip off of the mirror once I had glued it. Hot glue: As strong as my love for Colin Farrell.

When you’re done with all this, you will have a quirky piece of homemade art to hang in your home and, if you did it right, a lingering contact high from all that spraypaint: