45 posts categorized "DIY"

May 1, 2016

DIY: Dresser Makeover

DIY Dresser A

When it comes to your baby’s room, it may seem to be the easiest room to decorate. There are, after all few design opinions coming from the tiny occupant, and as the parent, you get to design the room to your exact specifications. While for many, this ensures a no-brainer, done-deal project, there are those who need more information about the occupant in order to personalize their space.

I am in the latter group. For three years, Zoe’s room sat bare with the only décor being a coat of paint, a hand-me-down crib, a pink-and-white area rug and a ubiquitous white 6-drawer dresser. From the start, I was hesitant to impose my personal decorating ideas and essentially force her to live in a room that may not suit her personality.

After a handful of years, I know her much better and despite the fact she hasn’t exhibited any of her own color preferences, I can no longer starve her - or myself - of the visual delights of decorating.

First up, heading to Spoonflower for one-of-a-kind selection of wallpaper. Be forewarned, there are thousands of patterns and colors to choose from. The best strategy: find a favorite designer and stick with them.

DIY Dresser B

(Above) I chose Holli Zollinger and ordered five samples. Choose from smooth or woven texture, and water-activated or peel-and-stick. I ordered the samples in all the forms to feel the weight of the paper, and to determine which would be easier to apply.

DIY Dresser C

(Above) Holli Zollinger’s “Atrium Veranda Garden” woven wallpaper, #3856775 from Spoonflower. It comes in 2’ x 12’ rolls. The dresser was less than 5’ tall but you’ll need wiggle room for correct placement and any mistakes. The materials: cutting mat, Exacto knife, pencil, ruler and measuring tape. The roll comes with a squeegee to push out any air bubbles as you apply the paper.

DIY Dresser D

(Above) I chose the woven texture peel-and-stick. The paper has a heavier hand, rougher surface and is repositionable.

DIY Dresser E

(Above) Here, half the dresser is completed. Wipe down the dresser face and remove knobs. Measure the face of the dresser face down on the paper underside. I left an extra inch on the top and bottom because it’s better to cut too long than too short. Trim off the extra or curve it under the drawer.

DIY Dresser F

(Above) A 2’ width roll will get you only half way across the dresser front. Now begins the lining up and meticulous matching up of the seams. Once you’ve identified the general area of the perfect seaming, leave about 2” extra to begin slicing off thin strips until your pattern matches up.

DIY Dresser G

(Above) Here: tiny slice by tiny slice until it’s a perfect seam.

DIY Dresser H

(Above) Perfect!

DIY Dresser I

(Above) We’re on our way!

DIY Dresser J

(Above) After all the paper was applied, the next step was to give the dresser a finish worthy of an antique-y look. Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint is a decorative paint that is applied without the need to sand or prime the surface. A little goes a long way. I painted the top, sides and front frame in two coats with this sample pot. I bought her brush and clear wax finish. The wax was suppose to dry clear but it dried slightly darker, so I stopped because that wasn’t what I wanted.

DIY Dresser K

(Above) The sides of the drawers also got a little lipstick. The material was raw wood, however so I applied a coat of shellac first. Here, Annie Sloan’s Scandinavian Pink.

DIY Dresser L

(Above) The Distorted Faceted clear knobs from Anthropologie were the finishing touch!

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August 11, 2014

Try This! Flower Potluck


I recently came across a most beautiful idea that took place last year.  It was the brainchild of Kinfolk Magazine, which celebrates the simplicity of good food and good company seen through gorgeous photography.  The idea was a Flower Potluck, an event they hosted in 22 cities and towns.  A simple meal was provided, while the guests each came bearing bounties of florals, leaves, foliage and flowering branches: freshly picked, store-bought, flower crowns and floral bowties!   At the end, everyone took home a mixture of what everyone had brought.  Imagine going to a party, and being surrounded by beautiful blooms and nature?  I can’t help to think this is such a thoughtful, elegant and sincere way to host a social gathering with family and friends!  Here’s a guide on how to start your own.












{Photo credits: Brooklyn by Nicole Franzen; Lisbon by Rodrigo Cardosa; Athens, GA by Chrissy Reed & Kristen Bach; Charlotte by Anna Naphtali; Portland, OR by Laura Dart & Parker Fitzgerald; Fukuoka, Japan by Ayaka Noguchi; Istanbul by Dugme Film; Madrid by Monica Bedmar; Bridgewater, VA by Chelsea Diane Photography}

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June 17, 2014

Get ready, set, printables!


How great are printables?  From labels to gift tags to frameable prints, you can have product in your hands in an instant, straight from your own printer.  Many are free to download, which to me is generous and community-building.  The time and effort it takes to create graphics, and then to give it away for free is indeed a kind act.  Arm yourself with good thick printer paper, and you can end up with nice quality, functional products that are very useful.  Most projects can be printed from your home printer, while others require larger pieces of paper and a visit to your local copy center.  If you move the download file to a portable flashdrive, the copy center will get the job done!

Here are some of my favorite printables right now:

{ } Send a little note ~  tuck a written note in a floral printable that folds into a mini envelope

{ } Calendar ~ download June and visit again for the next month

{ } Proper placemat ~ outlines placement of plate, cup, fork on the left, knife on the right…

{ } Plastic utensil paper bag ~ tuck away unsightly plastic cutlery at your next picnic

{ } Pantry labels ~ give your pantry a coordinated and organized look

{ } Recipe cards ~ vintage-looking recipe cards.  Choose to handwrite the recipe or type it out in Adobe Acrobat

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June 2, 2014

Not Your Mom's Patches


I would know because I’m a mom, who used to wear patches on my oversized denim jacket in the 80s.  Many were odes to the hot bands of the day: Duran Duran, The Stray Cats, Blondie, Pat Benatar.  I hadn’t thought of that jacket in a very long time but I sure felt like a cool cat whenever I wore it.  

I thought of this jacket and its patches because I happened upon Paulette, who owns Dahlia Soleil at the Hester Street Fair one week.  She crafts some of the hippest iron-on/sew-on appliques I’ve seen in a long time.  She has this wonderful forward-thinking point-of-view: meshing the old crafts of embroidery and crocheting with Photoshop and the digital arts.  The details are wonderfully old-school and simple.

While there’s nothing in my “mom” wardrobe that calls for patches any more, I immediately thought of my toddler Zoe.  These designs are so relevant, streamlined in design and the topics are super fun.  I think a little denim jacket plastered with a few of these would put Zoe early onto the road to coolsville!  And maybe a Blondie one for mom’s good ol’ days.  

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May 14, 2014

Chalk Paint



This is the type of product that every DIYer should have in their craft pantry.  The color chart itself makes me giddy.  I’m a sucker for color swatches!  Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint is decorative paint and goes on with a soft matte, almost chalky finish.  Apply this to furniture, walls and floors.  You can also choose to do a distressed look, a wash or leave it as is.  I love the pure color of this paint line, which was inspired by color found on 16th-century European furniture.   The concentration of pure color reminds me of milk paint.  If you begin with a color from their line, you can mix in other shades to create a variation of hues.  From the example above, Antoinette is a mauvey-pink but add proportionate amounts of Old White, and you end up with a lovely selection of gradations.  Another plus is that you don’t even need primer!

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December 23, 2013

Your very own fort


DIY fort via A Subtle Revelry.  Click here for the how-to’s.

I remember my childhood fort when I was little.  I took my heavy handknitted blanket, and jerry-rigged it with yards and yards of masking tape.  I felt unbelievably cocooned, private and happy.  I loved it, and even though a fort can be in any shape or cobbled together with any material, mine was a novice compared to the forts shown here.   Oh, and they can be for anyone over the age of four.  That means you!







{Photo credits: Subtle Revelry; Rachel Denow; Mokkasin; Ruffled Snob; Love Nordic; Honestly WTF; Lila BlueLissyelle}

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December 20, 2013

Holiday wrap with love


If there’s ever a time for your craft diva to emerge, holiday gift wrapping is that time.  Here’s what you need: brown kraft paper, tissue paper, ribbon, dressmaker trim, miniature toys, stamp & pad, twine, parchment paper, dress pattern paper, foliage, needle & thread, label maker, craft scissors…in other words, anything goes!  There’s freedom in that, craft mavens.  It can be as simple as fastening a package with masking tape to sewing kraft paper in decorative shapes.  Here’s some inspiration!










{Photo credits: RobAndKrisCampbell, Fi-end, Odessa May, Stil Inspiration, Hello Naomi, Little Empty Room, Mrs Amber Apple, Chez Larsson, LauraTJ, The Penny Paper Co, The Party Studio, Pia Jane Bijkerk, The Sweetest Occasion}

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December 9, 2013

Advent calendars


I didn’t have Advent calendars during my childhood but I love how creative making one allows you to be.  The calendar is used to count down the days in anticipation to Christmas.  So, whether you’re counting 24 days or 30 days before, some kind of window or packet gets opened to reveal a poem, image or small gift.  Look at how elaborate or simple they can be.  

{Above} An empty wall becomes an instantly festive calendar with white paper bags hung with colored tape.  Chipboard numbers can be found at your local craft or party supply store.



{ } This forest of paper cones is not only simple to make but becomes a great display as a tabletop centerpiece or on a mantle with your gifts hidden under each.  Click here for directions and cone templates. { } I absolutely love this charming makeshift tree branch with wrapped packages tied to it.  A hiking trip or your backyard should find you a selection of good sturdy branches.  Mix the numbered gifts up, and make it a fun “seek ‘n find” game each night.


If you want to save time, this handmade Advent calendar set from Etsy comes with everything you need: assortment of 25 miniature envelopes, baker’s twine and 25 tiny clothespins. 


Do you know what makes up this calendar?  Twenty-four rolls of toilet paper!  I love the idea of punching through the paper to reveal the gift.  Click here for the complete how-to.  By the way, Erlend, who runs this DIY blog must dream in DIY technicolor.  Very talented and industrious!


Construct your own village as an Advent calendar, and then use them as a toy play set after the holidays.  Click here to download and print out the houses in your choice of color or black and white. 

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November 14, 2013

An Inspired Thanksgiving


I love the idea of putting your own spin on the holidays.  Easter doesn’t need to be about pastels, just as Christmas can be more than green and red.  I feel the same about Thanksgiving.  I’m inspired to bring in modern, simple elements into a holiday that leans towards the over-the-top, and frankly, a bit stuffy.  No pun intended.  

{Photo above} This cutlery display via Style Me Pretty looks so regal.  I almost feel like I’ve seen it stamped as some posh menu insignia.  Tying a velvet ribbon makes it more casual.  I’d definitely go with any color ribbon: mustard, robin’s egg blue, black.



If this flower arrangement is too hodge-podge, consider a mix of containers each filled with the same kind of flower or of the same color.  The informality adds a casualness to the inevitable eating marathon.

This is what I call an edible centerpiece.  You may need to keep refilling the taken pieces of fruit but not only is it visually beautiful but it makes the warmest of welcomes.  Notice that the colors move from light to dark!  Place a small card that reads, “Take one!” should nobody want to ruin this fabulous display.

{via Bleubird Vintage; A Subtle Revelry}


Cranberries take a walk on the wild side in this bourbon-infused sugar cranberry recipe via A Subtle Revelry.  Why not have an adult version along side the ubiquitous rated G serving?

This DIY honeycomb garland from Oh Happy Day can dress up any festivity.  However, I can see its potency for Thanksgiving bringing in bright colors other than the usual orange and brown.


A different kind of “calligraphy,” colorful string spell it out for your guests’ delight.   Sweet potatoes are a staple for the menu.  Step it up with a dash of vanilla.  Recipe here.

{via A Subtle Revelry; 101Cookbooks}


Black and white stationery is a classy color pattern if you’re thinking of a formal invitation.  Here’s an idea for your leftover pumpkins.  Give it a sweater!  Click here for DIY how-to directions. 

{via Jill Ruth; LemonsandLemonade}

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November 11, 2013

I Try It: Easy DIY Gift Wrap


It’s easy to buy pretty wrapping paper, tie a bow around it and move on to the next.  I know.  Sometimes, though a bit of personalization is in order yet going Extreme XL Crafting is not an option.  

Today, my friends, brown kraft paper is not only here to help but is hot, hot, hot in the world of holiday wrapping.  Its nondescript character is the perfect backdrop for whatever creative ideas you lay on its canvas.  I kid you not, it always looks good!  Kraft paper also exudes a nostalgic sense - your grandmother’s butcher, for instance – and doesn’t that feel good?

I saw a variation of this DIY gift wrap, and the directions were immediately obvious.  It took me less than 10 minutes to stamp.  Afterwards, I wrapped two rounds of metallic thread, and threaded two sequins and a name tag.

{Materials} Pencil with round, built-in eraser; roll of Kraft paper; stamp pad, thin black marker, anything with a straight hard edge.  

{What I Did} After wrapping the gift, I drew random branches with my marker and straight edge.  Dip the eraser top into the stamp pad pressing firmly onto the paper to make “berries” on the branch tips.  

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