Thursday, November 29, 2012

Scrabble Coasters + Ceramic Mugs

You know you're a DIY-er when you've already warned your family members to STAY AWAY from your blog from now until Christmas. Reason being...I want to show off all of the presents I've made for them and still want some surprise Christmas morning. For my sister and her husband, I made a hot cocoa inspired gift set. This is their first winter in Wisconsin, and from what I've heard, it gets pretty chilly there.

So, I made them some personalized ceramic mugs.

And a set of those scrabble coasters floating around Pinterest. 

I made mine totally different than the typical idea. You see, my brother-in-law is something of a math genius and when I say math genius, I mean all-around genius. I knew that if I sent him a scrabble coaster with four vertically-spelled words that didn't combine to make real words in any other direction, they would drive him crazy. So, I found a site that lists every possible 4x4 scrabble square (or "magic square") and created a replica in scrabble tiles. Check it out HERE.

Along the way, I figured out a few things that must be mentioned if you wish to make some scrabble coasters of your own.

The How-To Gal Tips on Making Your Own Scrabble Coasters:

  1. Build your squares row by row. Don't try gluing all of the pieces together at once. Make one row of words at a time, let dry and then glue the rows together. You will end up with a much more symmetrical product.
  2. Coat with a water-resistant finish. Scrabble tiles are made of wood, and because of this, getting them wet is NOT a good idea. They will expand and your square will end up a rhombus with water rings. Kind of pointless if you want to use them as a coaster, right? To prevent this, you need to coat the tiles with a water-resistant finish. I applied four coats of polyurethane to my set. The poly will protect the scrabble tiles' wood and they will be easy to clean. PLUS it makes them really shiny.
  3. Back the coasters with something substantial. At first I thought I would simply back the coasters with a fun colored felt. But when you put the tiles together, you'll notice they feel very light and insubstantial. I decided to back them with cork (I found mine at Wal-Mart in the office supplies) and the cork really gives them a more "solid" feel.

I hope my sister and her husband love my hot cocoa inspired gift! 

Are you planning on giving handmade gifts this year? Check out my DIY Christmas Gift Guides.

Monday, November 26, 2012

DIY Christmas Gift Guide For Children - 2012

Well, Thanksgiving is over, so that means it's officially okay to start talking about Christmas! YAY! As in past years, I'll be sharing my top picks for DIY Christmas gift ideas each week until Christmas. This week is all about those cute kids in your life. Happy gifting!

Tutorials: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15

Want more ideas? Visit my DIY Christmas Gift Guides from past years!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

How-To: Infinity Scarf

I am loving infinity scarves right now. Especially on my little girl. It helps that they are SO easy to make. I made one last week for E (pictured above) from some knit fabric I scored at the LA Fabric District and she wants to wear it every.single. day. Want to make one for yourself? Visit Liz at Cotton & Curls; she just posted a great circle scarf tutorial.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

DIY: Side Table Transformed

Whenever I am considering purchasing a piece to makeover, it has to have some visual interest. I want something that will really pop once it is painted one color.

 I loved the hexagon shape, the little feet and the wicker panels on this side table.

 Faux wood design MDF is never a good idea. Who ever thought it was?

I covered up all the cheap looking MDF and plastic with Krylon Dual in white. Seriously people, this stuff is worth its weight in gold. Krylon Dual will cover up ANYTHING with its double-duty spraying power. I use the flat version when I'm simply priming.

Once the paint had dried, I went over the piece with a very fine grit piece of sandpaper to get rid of any rough texture on the surface.

To clean up the paint dust left behind from the sanding, I used some tack cloth.

I painted a final coat of Rustoleum's Gloss White oil-based protective enamel paint to finish it off. Krylon has a nice glossy white spray paint that would have worked as well - but I didn't have any on hand. USE what you have, that's my motto!

I reattached the original hardware and she sits in my living room, beautiful all shiny and white!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Techie Tuesday: Turning on the "Reply" Function for Comments in Blogger

For a really long time I've wanted to be able to directly reply to your comments instead of leaving an additional comment. Well, I finally figured out how to do it and am sharing my wonderful discovery with you. It really is quite simple.

Sign into your Blogger Dashboard. Click on Settings. Select Posts and Comments. On Comment Location, click the drop down menu and select Embedded. Save your newly changed settings.

That's it! Now you'll be able to directly reply to a reader's comment. Easy, huh? 

Monday, November 19, 2012

An Easy Update for a Metal Door

My stainless steel fridge is NOT magnetic. I don't know why...maybe it really isn't stainless steel? Instead, we use the metal door that goes from my kitchen to the garage to display wedding announcements, coupons, bills, etc. It isn't the prettiest sight.

Blech. You know me, I had to do something about it.

Better, right?? Not perfect...but better.

I had these letters leftover from my "EAT" Table:

I whipped out the E-6000 and glued some round magnets on the back.

Voila, an easy (and free) way to gussy-up a total eyesore.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pinterest Party: Ceramic Paint Pens

My friends and I had our first ever Pinterest party this weekend and we had a blast with ceramic paint pens. Everyone brought their own ceramic mugs, but you could do this project on anything ceramic. All of the mugs turned out so awesome, I made them pose for a picture. Friends, please forgive me!

Here was the inspiration board I made to get our creative juices flowing:

Sorry, don't have sources for all of these images. I simply searched for "Ceramic Mugs" on Pinterest and these were my favorite.

Want to make some of your own? Do it! Here's how easy it is:

Step One: Gather supplies. You'll need a ceramic paint marker and ceramic mugs. We found ours at the Dollar Store and Tai Pan. We used these Decoart Glass Paint Markers and were pretty happy with the results.

Step Two: Clean the surface you want to paint with a little windex.

Step Three: Start painting!

Step Four: Let dry for four hours (or whatever dry time your particular ceramic marker recommends)

Step Five: Bake!

It really is that easy. Have fun!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crushed Glass Glitter Decor

Glitter decor comes on a very large spectrum. There is the type of glitter that look like it belongs somewhere on the Vegas Strip and then there is glitter that appears very elegant. Crushed glass glitter is definitely on the gorgeous side of the spectrum.

My crushed glass glitter was purchased from Hobby Lobby and it took about 1 1/2 of the small jars to cover eighteen letters.

Start out with whatever you are going to cover with the glitter. I purchased these letters from Hobby Lobby. They periodically go on sale for 40 percent off. If you are doing a saying with a lot of letters, it might be worth it to watch for the sale.

Paint on Mod Podge to the surface of letters with a sponge brush and sprinkle with glitter. Make sure you have a thick enough base of glue for the type of glitter you are using. Crushed glass glitter is not fine and I did not use enough for my first letter "S".

 See the difference...

While I was putting the glitter on, one of the letters ended with a monochromatic ombre look I really like and would be fun to do.

Once you have glittered all your letters, you need to seal the glitter to reduce flake off. If you want a more matte finish, use the Mod Podge. I wanted to keep it shiny and glossy, so I sealed it with a coat of polyurethane.

Since my sign was going across two shelves, the letters needed to be attached to something substantial and heavy so there would be no chance of it falling over. I purchased a long piece of wood from Ace (around two dollars), cut it down to size and painted it white.

Next, I figured out the layout of my letters with some masking tape.

 Once it was aesthetically pleasing, I applied hot glue to the back and attached.

 This would be a great project to add some sparkle to your home for the Holidays.

P.S. Come visit me at the Bijou Market starting Friday!

Monday, November 12, 2012

DIY Mermaid Costume (Better Late Than Never)

This year my little girl decided she wanted to be a mermaid for Halloween. I'm not quite sure how we finally settled on mermaid - it was something different everyday- cat, witch, whale, rock star, mermaid. But, boy am I glad she decided on mermaid because I had a great idea on how to make the fins.

Before I started, I had three "musts" going into the creation of this mermaid costume:

  1. I wanted it to be comfortable for her to walk in it. There are a ton of mermaid skirt costumes out there, but I didn't want my three-year-old to have to walk around in a maxi dress all night long.
  2. The costume had to be something she could put on herself when she wanted to use it for future dress-up play.
  3. I didn't want to spend more than $5.
Want to see how I did it?

 For the fabric, I headed to my local thrift store to see if I could score some green sheets. Lucky me, they had the perfect shade of green and a purple one I thought would work great for the sea shell bra. Total spent: $4.

Step One: I rolled out some wrapping paper and made a pattern for the tail with a pair of her pants as a guide. A little below the knee, I made the tail's fin.

 Step Two: I cut out four tail pattern pieces out of the green fabric.

Step Three: I cut two pieces of batting (had on hand) in the shape of my fin.

Step Four: I placed two fin pieces right sides together with the batting on top and sewed it up, leaving a small opening on the side to turn right side out. Repeat for your second fin.

Step Five: I top stitched around the edges to sew up the hole and give it a finished edge.

Step Six: Quilt your fin. I found a curvy stitch on my machine, set it to the largest size it would go and then stitched straight across my fin.

Step Seven: I simply sewed an elastic band that fit my daughter's waist to both fin pieces. I didn't make a casing or bother to cover the elastic at all. It is a costume after all!

Step Eight: I sewed the sides up from about her bum up to the waist band to give the appearance of a fin, but still allowing her to walk.

Step Nine: I made the sea shell bra by cutting out two seashell shapes (with my Cricut) and sewing them over the cups of an old sports bra (fit to her size). I also covered the bra's elastic bottom with matching green fabric.

Step Ten: For finishing touches, I made a little purple belt and a seashell hair clip!

She had a blast in her costume and throughout trick-or-treating, she sang (her own versions) of Ariel's song:

Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin' free - wish I could be
Part of that world

Happy (late) Halloween!

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