Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

Adulting: Tiny Powder Room Makeover

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Welcome to Adulting, which is me being an adult. You would think that because I am a 34-year-old woman with a mortgage and four children I might already be an adult. That’s possible, I guess. Technically I am an adult. But I am also someone who never puts away laundry, always has dishes in the sink, hides messes instead of dealing with them, and ignores all possible hard things as long as possible. In my mind, those are all things adults don’t do. Those are things trash people do when they are in college and live in crappy shared apartments.

My goal for 2017 is to stop being a trash person and start being an adult. I need to get my junk under control – all kinds of junk, both physical and mental. One of the ways I’ve started doing that is by fixing and changing things in our house that do not bring me joy. (If that phrasing sounds familiar, it’s because I’m reading The Life-Changing Art of Tidying Up, although I’m not ready to commit to it as an actual lifestyle.) I’ve hated our kitchen faucet since the day we moved in, but I’ve never done anything about it. Now we have a new faucet and I am 100% more likely to do the dishes.

The first room I decided to make more joyful is our downstairs powder room. It is a teeny, tiny little bathroom and I had a budget of approximately $50 so it isn’t as dramatic as a real bathroom makeover. I would love to replace the tile on the sink and the floor eventually. But there is plenty I can fix right now. And I did!

Here are the befores:

tiny powder room makeover

It really is teeny tiny. And whoever put in the tile used brown grout. I hate them.

tiny powder room makeover

I found that painting at a garage sale in our neighborhood years ago and plan to keep it forever.

tiny powder room makeover

This was a very misguided attempt at making the cheap plywood vanity look nicer. I messed it up and never fixed it.

tiny powder room makeover

At least the huge mirrors on this wall make the room feel a little bigger.

And here are the afters:

tiny powder room makeover

The wall color looks different in EVERY single picture. It’s a medium-dark green, not quite kelly green and not quite hunter green. I was going for emerald and it makes me very happy. It’s called Tournament Field and it’s Behr semi-gloss.

We have to have full coverage on that window because it looks right into our neighbor’s yard. But the curtain felt messy and the mini-blinds were always dirty, so this nice solid shade is a huge improvement. The kids still need their stool, but with the small trash can on the other side I can move the stool out of the way for grown ups.

tiny powder room makeover

The painting stays.

tiny powder room makeover

I painted the vanity the same color as the walls, so it looks more built in.

tiny powder room makeover

This container can hold my mascara, face lotion and wipes, a few bandages and other tiny things that used to just sit on the counter.
tiny powder room makeover

Tiny fake succulent from TJMaxx because I would kill a real plant but the green looks so nice in here.

tiny powder room makeover

This seemed like a good reminder to see several times every day.

tiny powder room makeover

Nice matching hand towels. I still need one more set so I can rotate when they’re in the wash, but the embroidered Christmas ones had to go ASAP.
tiny powder room makeover

Isn’t that color so much happier? I am definitely 110% less embarrassed to let people use my bathroom than I have been for the last decade.

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DIY Bunny Ears Flower Crown

Monday, March 7th, 2016

bunny ears flower crown headband-12

I got everyone’s Easter outfits last week. I’m not saying it’s super important to Jesus if the kids show up to church in coordinating spring finery, but if it was MY rise from the dead I’d definitely appreciate the effort. It just doesn’t feel like Easter in New England without everyone in pastel clothing and ruffle socks shivering under their winter coats.

easter throwback

Photo taken indoors, because it was probably snowing outside. I have both of those dresses upstairs in Caroline’s vintage dress collection.

While I did decide to forego forcing a hat on Lincoln, I managed to find one for Evan I expect will be worn daily almost all summer. I feel like the fact that he loves straw fedoras means I’m not completely screwing up this parenting thing. Caroline is still debating her sartorial options right now – the availability of Easter bonnets in the $1 section of Target makes it quite the decision – but I thought I might add an option and combine a couple of her favorites into one thing: A bunny ears flower crown headband.

  bunny ears flower crown headband-15

I got all my supplies at Michael’s Crafts and spent about $40 total, but that number is really high because I had to replace my missing glue gun. If you keep better track of your’s than I do of mine you should be able to get out of the craft store for under $20 and the supplies to make 8+ headbands. You could definitely get the same supplies at Joann or A.C. Moore.

DIY bunny ears flower crown headband

-Plastic Headbands (I found them with the party favors)
– Silver spray paint
– Fake flowers
– Glue gun
– Scissors
– Pipe cleaners
– Florist wire (I didn’t end up using it, but it was a pipe cleaner alternative in case they were too short)

I really lucked out with these headbands. I was looking for plain, one band plastic but these were even more perfect. Don’t go too thin or you won’t have enough space to glue down the flowers very well. These had holes that made attaching the pipe cleaner ears a piece of cake.

DIY bunny ears flower crown headband-2

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To make the ears, I just folded a pipe cleaner in half and creased it to make a point, then laced the ends through the headband. Then I twisted each ear around twice to secure it. I knew I’d be glue a bunch of flowers over them, so I didn’t add any glue just for the pipe cleaners. For the non-flower version, a dab wouldn’t hurt.

Then I chopped up the flowers into more manageable pieces. I kept some as stems to make a base and made some single flowers. I also pulled out a bunch of the leaves to mix and match among the flowers.

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The glue held surprisingly well. I burned my fingers a few times holding the flowers on while it dried but nothing tragic. I put a few bigger flowers up near the ears on each crown, but mostly did the smaller flowers.

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Evan requested a sparkly silver pair for himself, so I spray painted a couple of the headbands silver and used the sparkly silver pipecleaners.

DIY bunny ears flower crown headband-7

This was my final bunny ears flower crown (and non flower crown) collection after about 90 minutes:

DIY bunny ears flower crown headband-23

All three flower crowns match Caroline’s new Easter dress, so she’s going to have a hard time choosing. I guess we’ll just have to plan a few spring-themed photoshoots so she gets a chance to wear all of them. Today, Linc just really wanted to get in on the action.

bunny ears flower crown headband-11

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That wasn’t really much of a how-to because bunny ears flower crowns are really easy. The good part is hot glue is cheap and pipe cleaners bend, so even if Linc insists on grabbing them we can repair any missing flowers and reshape the ears. I recommend leaving an inch or so of headband at the bottom bare so the plastic parts of the flowers don’t poke anyone where it really hurts. Other than that it’s all personal decisions. A single color flower would look very chic – like all white or all peach. If you wanted bigger ears you could use the fuzzy floral wire and then you could get away with bigger flowers for a grown up. I should have bought more greenery to do a boy-friendly version (Evan vetoed the flowers, even though I tried) besides just the plain ones. But overall, I love how they came out. It’s so rare I have a crafty vision these days, it was wonderful to get a chance to be creative.

Let me know if you make any, I’d love to see pictures!!

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I Bleached My Hair And It Didn’t Fall Out

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

I am NOT a beauty or style blogger, but sometimes I do something and I want to talk about it so here I go.

I was chatting with my friend Amy about how I am old and boring and uncool (PSA: never watch the VMAs over the age of 25) and how I really needed a change. We have this chat a lot, and it usually ends up with one of us getting bangs. This time, I was complaining about how I really needed to get my hair done but couldn’t decide if what I needed was a color fix or if I should just do something fun like the pink I did a couple years ago. She mentioned bleach shampoo, which I had never heard of but from the name it seemed perfect.

Luckily, there’s an XOVain tutorial that was easy to follow and very thorough. My experience with coloring my own hair is limited. I’ve done lemon juice highlights from sitting in the sun, a couple of boxed dyes, plus the Manic Panic pink layer, but the rest of the time I either live with my natural color or use a salon. I had never even BEEN in a Sally Beauty Supply before, but I threw all 3 kids in the car to go stare at stuff in the hair dye aisle before settling on this:

bleach shampoo

I used L’oreal Quick Blue High Performance Powder Bleach, because the internet tutorial I found said blue bleach was better, plus the 1 oz package seemed easier than measuring. I used Blond Brilliance Creme Developer 5 Volume because I was really scared of frying my hair. I didn’t know much about developers besides they’re the thing you mix with the other thing when you buy a box of hair dye, so I took the internet’s advice and went with a super low level one – 5 barely does anything, 10 or 20 is average, 30 or 40 should probably be left to a professional. Since I’m naturally blond, it’s already pretty light from the summer, and my hairdresser once told me my hair “lifts really easily” I figured I’d start at the lowest and if it didn’t work I’d try again with a 10. The 5 turned out to be perfect.

I mixed the 1 oz of powder bleach with 1 oz of the developer and then a big squirt of the shampoo until it was a liquidy consistency that was easy to slop on my head. The shampoo made it a lot easier to spread around evenly than a box of hair dye and that one batch went a LONG way – I have a lot of hair and it covered all of it. I started at my roots in the front, since they were darkest and I wanted the front part to be lightest.

These pictures are: before, with wet hair, during with my sexy shower cap, right after in my bathroom’s yellow light and the next day in natural light.

iPhone Week 252

Here’s the official before and after no-make-up photos, taken by my 4-year-old:

collage

 

Looking at the pictures the change is subtle, but in person it looks really natural – it isn’t uniformly platinum or brassy. I think the biggest change is on the top of my head and in the back where my dark blond is now medium-light blond. I was on 3rd day hair when I bleached it, so my roots were extra oily, but that seemed to protect them from damage. The ends are a liiiiiittle bit fried but I am 4 months overdue for a trim so I think ANY color would have done that.

I give the whole process an A+ and I plan to do it again when my roots grow out. Maybe I’ll use a 10 developer next time and see if I can gradually bring my hair back to my childhood towhead blond. I’m still debating a fun color, especially after seeing the amazing options at Sally Beauty Supply – lavender! mint! teal! bright blue! I still can’t decide if I’m too old for “fun” hair. I mean, I still think I’m fun, but I also like going to bed before 10 pm.

p.s. I also dyed my eyebrows (!!!!!!!) which is something I’ve wanted to do for YEARS but was too scared to try. It was a piece of cake and I feel like it makes a huge difference in my face. I used a semi-permanent color and developer and did it twice in a row – 15 minutes, then wiped it off, then another 10 minutes because I wasn’t sure it was dark enough. Literally no one as has “What did you do to your eyebrows?” but people have said “You look really nice today!” and my desire to take selfies has increased 300%.

OK, that was more than enough talk about beauty stuff for a long time. Back to my yoga pants and top knot I go!

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DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

I bought this huge canvas at A.C. Moore a few months ago. They were running an great sale on canvases – I think I bought it for less than $20 – and I’ve been looking for something large to hang over the fireplace basically since the day we moved in 6 years ago. I’ve hung collections of things, put giant vases on the mantel, made banners and art before but nothing has ever really filled the space the way I wanted. I knew a 3×4 canvas would finally be the right size but it’s been sitting in my basement for weeks now while I brainstormed what exactly I should do with it. I am decidedly NOT an artist, and although I found some cool DIY art on Pinterest I wasn’t in love with any of the ideas (and wasn’t confident in my ability to execute them).

DIY Giant Silhouette

While I was talking with my IBFF (internet best friend forever) Amy, she suggested doing silhouettes of the kids. She actually made one and blogged it almost two years ago (and shouts me out in the post, because seriously IBFF!) so I used the same basic idea – took a picture of the kids’ profiles in front of a window, printed them and cut the shape out carefully. But because I wanted to make GIANT painted silhouettes I had to figure out the rest on my own.

Supplies:

Canvas
Spray paint
Craft paint
Paint brushes (at least 1 small and 1 large)
Cardstock
Printer
Scissors/craft knife
Box
Pen
Clothespin/tape/paperclip/whatever you need to get the angles right
Smartphone with flashlight app (or a very strong flashlight)

Instructions:

I took my canvas outside to paint it, which wasn’t the best choice because it was pretty windy and I ended up with spray paint on my back door. Eh, not the first time.

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

Ignore the tree shaddows

I picked blue for my background colors since I was hanging it in a blue room but any colors would work. In a kid’s room a whole rainbow would be really fun. If you were just doing 1 silhouette instead of two you could do it vertically.

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

 

From top to bottom: white base paint for a picture frame, kitchen stool, nursery project, picture frame, kid-size cabinet, and failed lamp shade project. All found in my basement with enough left for this project.

I lined them up from darkest to lightest and worked from the outside in on the canvas. Then I went back and used the white to lighten anywhere it felt REALLY uneven. This is what it looked like in the bright outside light:

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

I’m not going to win any painting contests but I like it (and E was surprised I had made it myself – he thought it was actual art). I let the spray paint dry for a few hours – there wasn’t a lot of paint so it didn’t take long – while I talked the kids into posing for their profile photos. They were both in cooperative moods so it didn’t take long.

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

Try to get a picture where your kid’s nose DOESN’T blend into the background. It still worked fine.

To make the cutting edges more distinct I lowered the blacks slider and converted the pictures to black and white in Lightroom (totally optional). Then I printed them out on cardstock (I happened to have brown, but the color doesn’t matter) and cut out just the silhouettes as closely and cleanly as possible.

painted silhouette artwork-6

Then came the hardest part: figuring out how to get that cut-out silhouette big enough to trace onto the canvas.

My first thought was I’d just hold one up next to a lamp and trace the shadow, sort of like a super-simple version of a projector. Unfortunately, a regular light bulb doesn’t direct the light strongly enough to make a crisp shadow. I tried to make a DIY projector with a cardboard box taped over the lamp but it still wasn’t clear enough.

I tried asking the internet and my husband and they both suggested I find an overhead projector so I called the library and after a lot of shuffling departments and waiting on hold they said yes they DID still have a projector and if I wanted to bring my canvas in they could set me up in one of the conference rooms on Wednesday. That would have been a good option if I hadn’t figured out an at-home solution. I got impatient waiting for Wednesday and during a little more Googling I found a tip that the flashlight app on a smartphone makes a really bright, direct light.

So I made this:

DIY Shadow Projector

That’s my iPhone with the flashlight app turned on, propped up against a book inside an empty box, with the silhouette clipped to the end with a clothespin. I set it on the coffee table and pulled it back until it the shadow was the right size on the canvas. You definitely need a dark room to make it work right, but luckily the sun goes down around 8 pm (I think it’s called “night”?) so I didn’t have to move the canvas.

DIY Shadow Projector

I traced it with a regular ballpoint pen, being careful not to move the canvas. I should have used a level and a measuring tape to space the two silhouettes exactly right, but I just guessed based on the color stripes on the canvas. Then I switched out Caroline’s silhouette for Evan’s, moved the canvas (it seemed easier than moving the light projector set up) and traced Evan’s. I adjusted the distance a little to make his silhouette slightly bigger than Caroline’s but not so much the finished product would look unbalanced.

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

I used black craft paint to fill in the silhouette shapes. I used a medium brush to do the major edges and a tiny brush to do things like their bangs and Caroline’s eyelashes. I filled everything in with a medium sized brush and went back over the edges to make sure they were colored in fully. I messed up both their noses a tiny bit and noses are very important in making a silhouette that looks like your child, so be extra careful. I did NOT wait long enough for it to dry before I propped it up on the mantel, so I got a black paint drip on Evan’s side. Luckily the cheap craft store brand of paint was easy to peel off the spray painted canvas so I fixed it. The other option would have been taping up the silhouette and spray painting over the mistake.

The last step was finally taking down the train station banner from Evan’s birthday party and putting a nail in the wall to hang it up!

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

Aaaand then take some pictures. I’m happy with how it turned out. High fives for easy, inexpensive artwork!

DIY Giant Painted Silhouette Canvas

Ta-da! I’m so excited to finally have something to fill that space after six years. Total cost: $25 for the canvas sinceI had everything else on hand and approximately 45 minutes worth of total work. Let me know if you try something similar, I’d love to see your spin on it!

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Stuff I Saw On The Internet And Actually Tried With My Own Hands

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

My computer is working, for now. But strangely enough, without a screen to stare at all day I was actually productive. I sewed not one, but TWO separate articles of clothing for Caroline – one of which I’ve had bookmarked since before she was even born. All that productivity gave me a raging migraine though (or maybe it was detoxing from a weekend full of cupcakes) so today I’m just going to bask in the glory of yesterday’s projects.

First, I hung up this play thet I made for the kids and it’s their new favorite hide out:

easy no sew play tent

I got the idea here, the embroidery hoop at Joann’s and 4 packs of sheer curtains from Target.

Then I sewed this out of some fabric I bought for $2 a yard:

pillowcase dress

The tutorial is from my friend Jill at Baby Rabies and even though it’s really simple I suspect I messed up the finishing around the armholes.

pillowcase dress

Caroline was too busy eating cheese to notice it wasn’t perfect though, and I am too in love with the print to care.

And finally, I whipped up a little circle skirt:

circle skirt

I used Chelsey’s tutorial here (with inspiration by Dana Made It). This was my least successful sewing project, but only because I misjudged Caroline’s waist measurement. I swear I measured it at least 4 times but forgot that even though her BELLY is 20 inches around, she wears her clothes lower, where she’s only 18 inches around. Throw in my last-minute modification to hide the elastic instead of having it exposed and this skirt is definitely too big. Eh, nothing a safety pin can’t fix now and it will fit for a long time to come.

It turns out I’m NOT terrible with my sewing machine if I practice often enough. My new plan is to sew something at least once a month so I don’t lose the little skill I’ve gained. FABRIC STORE, HERE I COME.

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