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Covered Journal / a simple diy with Audrey

Covered Journal / a simple diy to do with kids

My go-to when my kids have nothing to do is to suggest crafts. This very simple covered journal was one such attempt to occupy a certain 5 year old who needed a productive activity (and probably some one-on-one mom time, too). Audrey is all about having her own notebook to write or draw in, so even though I wasn’t planning on using the sketchbooks for this, it was a fun 15 minute project to do with my girl.

A real quick note about the notebook: I found these at Aaron Brothers frame shop while I was in there for a different project (details to come). These were buy 1 get 2 free so I bought 3 pretty nice quality sketch books for $6. I probably should have bought more! The pages inside are blank and the back has a nice thick cover, but the front was not anything special, so I decided to cover it with pretty paper. I first made one for myself (seen in the photo here) and the next day made a second one with Audrey.

SUPPLIES:

covered-journal-supplies

spiral bound notebook / scrapbook paper / washi tape / scissors / double-stick tape (or glue stick)

STEP ONE

cut-paper

Cut paper 1/2 – 1″ larger than notebook cover on three sides. Any paper will work – I used thick scrapbook paper for this one and nice wrapping paper for the other.

STEP TWO

tape-cover

Add double-sided tape to the edges and center of notebook. If you don’t have double-sided tape or a fancy tape gun like this (which I actually use all the time), you can just use a glue stick.

STEP THREE

press-it-down

Line up the paper along the left margin and press to hold.

(look at those sweet baby hands)

STEP FOUR

notch-back

On the back side of the cover where the paper is overlapping, notch the corners as shown. This will allow for clean folds.

STEP FIVE

fold-in-sides

Add tape (or glue stick) to sides, fold and press to adhere.

STEP SIX

add-tape

Finish the edges with coordinating washi tape. Just run a strip along the front, and then finish the edges in the inside as well.

inside

And then let your little journaler journal away!

audrey-journal

I just adore how she writes her name backwards. I could probably correct her, but I know it won’t last long and she’ll figure it out. So for now, have at it, girl. And also, I find it strange that two out of four of our kids are left-handed. Neither Ryan nor I are.

covered-journal

So there it is … a super simple embellished journal you can make for yourself or with your kids.

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18 ways to use Adobe Illustrator in your everyday

Registration is open for my Simplified Graphic Design class where I teach you all the basics of Adobe Illustrator – the premier software used by graphic designers.

If you’re not familiar with Illustrator, you may think (based on it’s name, alone) that it is used primarily for illustrating.  And maybe to the professional user, that might be true. But for all of us who just need a program we can use to create for our everyday needs, Illustrator is the absolute best, too.

To show you just how versatile the program is and all the ways I use it on a regular basis, I’ve come up with 18 ways to use Adobe Illustrator in your everyday creating.  Here they are, in no particular order:

18 ways to use Adobe Illustrator in your everyday / jones design company

   

digitalize lettering

Turn your handwriting, calligraphy or fancy lettering into a digital image you can use for print with Illustrator’s Live Trace tool.

(Serve One Another in Love print available to download here)

   

make your own invitations

Save money and get exactly what you have in mind by creating your own invitations for parties, weddings, baby announcements and more. I spent the first 5 years of Jones Design Company creating custom invitations using programs other than Illustrator and I wish I had known the program then to streamline the process and open up more design options.

   

make your own holiday cards

Along the same line as making your own invitations is creating your annual holiday card. Give a simple photo an extra bit of personality with a printed design.

   

create color inspiration boards

When you are looking for colors that look great together, grab a favorite photo and use the Eyedropper tool to pick colors. You’ll end up with a set of beautifully coordinated colors.

colors-from-flowers

   

create design boards

This is great for those who are in the interior design business, but even if you’re just wanting to get a good idea of how a room will look put together (or what components you need to add), using Illustrator to compile design ideas on one board helps immensely.  I use a combo of Photoshop (for removing backgrounds from photos) and Illustrator to put the whole thing together.

nursery design board for the little lady / jones design company

See more inspiration boards: boys’ room | dream bathroom | Audrey’s room

   

Design Blog Graphics

I use Illustrator in nearly every blog post I publish. Adding arrows, creating collages, making title images (like the one above) that are good for pinning, numbering or just adding a simple illustration.

   

make collages

Grab a handful of photos and turn them into a collage. You can also cut out photos into shapes (like my profile photo up there) or words (like this) using clipping masks.

   

design logos + branding

Illustrator is a perfect program for creating logos + branding collateral (like business cards, postcards, stickers, shipping labels, packaging, invoices, etc).

JDC business card / jones design company

   

make infographics look good

Need an infographic for a project for school or work or on your blog? You can use Illustrator to create consistent, great looking graphics.

(Infographic from the 2013 Blogger Survey. I need to do another one soon!)

   

turn doodles into artwork

If you create a cute little drawing you want turned into artwork, Illustrator is the perfect place to do that. You’ll end up with a vector graphic that can be enlarged without losing it’s resolution.  This is also great for preserving sweet drawings your kids/grandkids/friends’ kids make. I’ve even turned one of my son’s pictures of our family into notecards (I wish I had a picture to show you. Maybe I’ll take one and post to instagram. They are the sweetest notecards).

(In this post, I show you the steps for turning your doodles into artwork in illustrator)

   

customize pre-made clipart

If you find cute clipart that you want to put your own personal touch on (like changing the colors or altering it slightly), you can do that by turning it into a vector and then adding digital papers or fills with the Live Paint Bucket. I walk you through the whole process in this video post.

customizing-clipart

(Easter Clipart found here)

   

design paper, fabric + repeat patterns

Illustrator makes it super easy to create patterns, borders, and even seamless repeat patterns you can use for blog backgrounds, digital paper and fabric. Someday soon, I’d love to create a pattern and have it printed on fabric or wallpaper from Spoonflower. Fun, right?!

(Tags created with my printable paper collection)

   

create pdf worksheets, calendars + charts

You’ve likely seen our Paper Works monthly product … well, everything you see there was created in Illustrator. Calendars, art prints, notecards, and charts can be designed and then saved as PDF files that make it easy for users to download and print.

june-packaged

   

access the extra glyphs and symbols in fonts

Did you know that many nicely designed fonts have extra characters, symbols, swashes and alternates that you can access from the Glyph panel in Illustrator? It truly opens up hundreds of new options with fonts you may already have on your computer. I show you how to find them in this video post.

   

create wallpapers + backgrounds

If you like to change out your computer wallpaper or phone screens, Illustrator is a great place to create pretty backgrounds for your digital needs. These make great freebies, too! So if you have a blog and make a few wallpapers for yourself, feel free to share them with your readers.

may-ipad-iphone

   

create silhouettes

There are a handful of ways to create silhouettes, but I’ve found Illustrator to be a convenient place to outline photos and turn them quickly into great looking silhouettes. Here is a video showing you how I make them in Illustrator.

(framed silhouettes up the stairway)

   

make templates, stencils + patterns

When I initially did my painted wallpaper in my office, I used Illustrator to take my rough, hand-drawn pattern and make it symmetrical.  It’s also great for creating envelope templates, sewing patterns and outlines of letters (for banners or monograms).

   

illustrating

And, of course, we can’t leave out illustrating. Drawing with Illustrator’s pen tool, pencil tool and blob brush tools make it enjoyable to make simple (or complex) illustrations. You can be fancy and use a wacom tablet, or just use your mouse.

download-ingredients

(Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe found here)

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Phew! See how amazing Adobe Illustrator is?! There are so many uses for the program and the more comfortable your get creating in it, the more times you’ll find uses for it.

   

How to get adobe illustrator:

Previously, you had to purchase the Adobe software to install on your computer. It was hundreds of dollars and then you had to buy the newest version every time they came out with an update.
   
Adobe has now switched over to a monthly subscription model where you pay monthly to receive the most updated versions of their programs. You can buy access to just one program (like Illustrator) for $19.99/month, or you can get all of the Creative Cloud (Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, InDesign, etc) for a little bit more. You can see the pricing plans and sign up here.

   
   

If you’d like to learn all the basics – seriously, even if you are a very beginning beginner – you will love the Simplified Graphic Design class. Registration is open for just a few more days, so come over here for all of the details and to grab your spot.

simplified-graphic-design-logo

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I’d love to know if you create with Illustrator and what your favorite uses are. Let’s chat in the comments!

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free Seaside clipart and how to use it

underthesea-clipart

Can one ever have enough clipart? I think not. Especially of the hand-drawn variety. Add a little drawing to a gift tag or invitation, use one in your logo or in an ad – nothing overboard (ha!), but just enough to make a visual impact. Fun, fun, fun.

I’ve got summer on my brain and with that comes the beach. So I doodled a few favorites from the sea – shells, sea creatures, waves and a few beachy words.

To make these clipart drawings, I first sketched with pencil, then over each one with my favorite fine-tip pen (this one), erasing the pencil marks with a good eraser (like this). I then scanned the drawings (with this scanner) and saved each one individually as a .png file with a transparent background.  You can totally use the clipart just in black and white (download it HERE).

Or for a great extra step, I gave the clipart color and texture which you can also download here.

Free Under The Sea Clipart / jones design company

I made a short video showing you a few of the techniques I used for turning the black and white clipart into colored artwork. All of this was done using Adobe Illustrator.

So fun, right?! If you’re totally lost OR if you loved it and want to learn in much more detail all about how I create in Adobe Illustrator, I’d love to have you join my class!

simplified-graphic-design-logo

I walk you through Illustrator from the very beginning steps of setting up your artboard and using the tools all the way to creating custom graphics using the best features and functions. Learn more about what you’ll learn, what past students are saying and for another great sample of the class by CLICKING HERE.

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To download the clip art, CLICK HERE to join or log in to The Archive. This is our library of all of our best freebies – artwork, templates, fonts and clipart.

Let me know if you have any questions or ideas for what you’ll do with this Under The Sea inspired clipart collection!

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diy stamped leather keychain

stamped leather keychain / jones design company

Getting mail is one of the best parts of my day. What is it about opening the mailbox and being surprised by what’s inside?! It’s often filled with junk mail or bills, but every once in a while a magazine comes or a note from my sister (she’s so good at sending cards!) and it just makes me smile.

Now I have one more thing to smile about while getting mail because our mailbox key now boasts a handsome leather keychain.

diy stamped leather keychain / jones design company

It was perhaps the simplest of all diy’s. But sometimes simple is the best. So just in case you’d like to adorn your keys with a new keychain, here are the steps for a diy stamped leather keychain:

supplies

SUPPLIES: key fob + ring leather kit (from here item #414913) / scissors

DIRECTIONS:

put-keychain-together

Put key fob together as directed on package. The instructions suggest using a rivet tool, which I don’t have, so I just pressed the two metal pieces together to hold and it’s fine. You could probably get a more secure fit with the right tool but here’s the deal: I’ve had this same keychain on my regular car/house keys for a few months and it’s stayed together just fine.

plain-keychain

Of course you could leave the key fob alone and it’s a cute petite circle. Or you could continue on and turn it into a skinny ribbon shape.

Here’s how to do that:

cut-keychain

Cut a straight line up both sides, then a small notch out of the bottom. Over time, the edges will wear down for a nice patina, so don’t worry to much about having the lines perfect.

keychain-and-key

Again, you could leave it as is, which is what I use for my main keychain. It’s crazy how much it has deepened in color and worn into this really pretty aged leather keychain. You can see it in the photo below:

lilacs-on-desk

Or if you’d like to add extra detail with a word, number or monogram, you can stamp it.

Here’s how to do that:

letter-supplies

SUPPLIES: metal letter stamps (from here) / jewelry hammer (like this) / sponge

mail-letters

Choose the letters you want to stamp. They are mirror image so they impress correctly, just fyi.

stamp-keychain

Start by dampening the leather slightly. Then hold the stamp in place and gently tap with the hammer.  If you have a scrap piece of leather, this is a great time to practice stamping. If you press too light, the letters won’t show up. If you press too hard, you’ll see the circle imprint of the letter stamp.

Tap out your message and you’re done!

diy stamped leather keychain / jones design company
diy stamped leather keychain / jones design company

Isn’t it a great little key chain? These would make great gifts (graduates? new home owners?) or even as labels on a backpack or bag.

like-this

 

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how to make a linen ruffle wreath

how to make a linen ruffle wreath / jones design company
One of the early projects shared on Jones Design Company was this linen ruffle wreath. The original tutorial had a sweet nest with glittered eggs and petite fabric flowers (see the full spring wreath tutorial here), but after a while I grew tired of the embellishments and took them off. What’s left is this classic ruffled linen wreath that adds a layer of neutral texture to the wall or door or wherever it hangs.

how to make a linen ruffle wreath / jones design company
I borrowed the images from the original post to show you the how to make a linen ruffle wreath perfect for decorating your front door or wall this spring.

SUPPLIES: foam wreath / linen (12″ x 72″) / scissors / sewing machine / hot glue gun

STEP ONE: cut strips of linen (2.5″ x 72″)

stack-and-cut-linen
tip: fold your fabric to make cutting strips easier

STEP TWO: wrap one strip of linen around wreath

wrap-linen-strip
hot glue to hold. glue-linen-to-wreath

STEP THREE: prepare ruffles stitch-ruffle
First, with right sides together, stitch two strips together end to end to make one long piece.

Next, with your sewing machine set to the longest stitch, sew alongside one edge (about 1/8″ in).

STEP FOUR: make ruffle pull-thread-to-ruffle
gently pull one thread to gather the fabric.

STEP FIVE: wrap wreath with ruffle wrap-ruffle
run a small bead of hot glue along first edge to hold in place, then wrap and glue to hold.

STEP SIX: finish finish-ruffle
Trim the end of the ruffle and glue cut edge to hold.

Such a simple and inexpensive project (my favorite criteria!) that gives a fun look for spring.

how to make a linen ruffle wreath / jones design company
And, of course, if you are wanting to embellish even more, go ahead an add some fabric flowers, moss, a nest and glittered eggs!

embellished-spring-wreath

(find the original spring wreath tutorial here)

Happy Spring!

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Springtime Succulents (planted in an unexpected way)

Try this unexpected springtime arrangement: plant a succulent in an eggshell / jones design company
Succulents are having a moment right now, and rightfully so. They are uniquely interesting, drought tolerant and rather inexpensive – a great combo if you ask me. When in Austin, Texas last month, we ate at this darling restaurant/flower shop and right away I was taken by the display of pretty succulents in brown paper. I wanted to try a similar arrangement at home, so I dropped by my local home depot and grabbed a bunch of little plants.

succulents Once home, I changed my mind. The brown paper – as cool as it looks – probably isn’t very practical for watering and I wasn’t sure how to get around that issue.

Then one day, I had this weird idea: plant the springtime succulents in eggshells! I know, strange. But I’ve seen wheatgrass grown in shells for spring and thought maybe my cute plants would be a fun twist on that idea.

planted-succulents The process is a bit self-explanatory, but I took photos as we planted with a few tips. I did this one with my No.2 and it was a great Sunday afternoon let’s-get-our-hands-just-a-little-bit-dirty activity to do with him.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’ll NEED: planting-succulents-in-eggs-supplies cracked eggs, washed out and dry / small pebbles / needle / small succulents

STEP ONE: poke hole in bottom of egg

poke-hole-in-egg-with-needle I just used a regular needle, but I remember doing this with my mom to blow eggs and we used a large upholstery needle. Whatever you have on hand will be fine. If you’re using a small needle, wiggle it around to open up the hole a little bit. Beware: the eggshells are thick at the bottom and so you may wreck a few while poking the holes. I suppose you don’t even have to do this step, I’m just assuming it’s a good idea for drainage. Up to you.

STEP TWO: add small pebbles to the bottom of egg

put-small-pebbles-in-bottom-of-egg This will help with draining (in theory).

STEP THREE: pull apart succulents

planting-succulents-in-egg The little plants usually come in groups of three or so in each small pot. Just gently pull them apart, keeping roots intact.

STEP FOUR: place plant in shell + fill in with soil

planting-with-kids succulent-in-egg And that’s it!

succulent-up-close

succulents-in-egg-carton It was fun to try out all the different shapes and textures of plants.

succulents-in-egg-carton2 I kept the original egg carton to display them in (I just lightly water the whole thing in the kitchen sink and the egg carton does fine), and also put a few in a ceramic egg carton (from Anthropologie). succulents-in-eggdish succulents-in-eggs-close

Cute, yes? And maybe a little odd. But I’m okay with that.

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Succulents are supposedly very low-maintenance, but I have a way with killing most plants that I bring into our home. I did a little research and here’s what I found to help us keep these beauties happy:

TIPS FOR KEEPING SUCCULENTS ALIVE INDOORS

1. Keep in sunny places – they are a desert plant and thrive in sun and dry climates.

2. Let them dry out completely before watering.

3. Bright green plants are easier to keep alive – steer clear of the purple, grays and oranges if you’re looking for indoor success.

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DIY watercolor wood blocks

wood-blocks

Need a super simple project to do with the kids? This watercolor wood block project is perfect.

It’s also great for an unexpected baby gift or fun party decorations for a birthday party or baby shower or thrown in a bowl for chic accessory on your coffee table. Multi-use diy’s that are inexpensive and simple to execute are my favorite.

Here’s how to make these watercolor wood blocks:

wood-blocks-supplies-and-steps diy-wood-blocks-instructions

When you’re done coloring, you will have so much fun playing with the blocks – arranging by color, stacking and sorting. This one might look like it’s for the kids, but believe me, these blocks are for grown ups too.

wood-blocks-in-bowl

They really do look pretty in a bowl (and make for an interactive coffee table accessory!).

Or of course, use them for actual play things.

diy-watercolor-wood-blocks

Keep in mind that if you are using these for babies, make sure you seal in the color with a spray sealant (or several layers of mod podge).

Just for fun, I created this color-mixing chart. It’s fun to try out different combinations of liquid watercolors to get as many pretty hues as you like.

watercolor-guide

SOURCES:

wood blocks small medium large / liquid watercolor / mod podge

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diy pom pom garland (two ways)

pom-pom-garland-by-jones-design-company

I made these pom pom garlands around Christmas and wasn’t going to do a how-to because I thought they were just for christmas season. And then I couldn’t bear to take them down with all of the other holiday decorations, so I just casually draped them on the kitchen chalkboard.

chalkboard-birthday-pom-pom-banner

And you know what? I decided pom pom garland is for all seasons. So here you go – a tutorial for how to make these year-round-put-them-anywhere-make-a-bunch-because-you’ll-love-them pom pom garlands.

Here’s what you’ll need:

pom-pom-supplies

chunky yarn (about 3 rolls) / pom pom makers (2 sizes) / embroidery thread / upholstery needle / scissors

TO MAKE THE POM POMS

wrap-yarn-for-pom

wrap the yarn round and round the first side / then the second

cut-pom-maker

trim the center yarn / cut a piece of yarn

tie-pom-and-pull-apart

tie yarn through center of pom maker / pull apart

trim-pom

trim long pieces of yarn and fluff

TO MAKE SMALL POM POM GARLAND

cut-string-for-garland

cut yarn to desired length

needle-and-thread-through-pom

thread needle and knot the end / stitch through center of pom and through yarn

stitch-through-pom

you can stitch a few times back and forth to make sure the pom is secure

stitch-through-yarn-garland

in between poms, run the needle through the center of the yarn, then stitch on the next pom

small-pom-garland

Then hang anywhere and everywhere!

small-pom-garland-hanging

small-pom-garland-on-shelf

TO MAKE THE LARGE POM POM GARLAND

how-to-make-a-pom-pom-garland

make large poms using this pom maker

braid-yarn-1

cut three long pieces of yarn (in desired finished length) / tie knot in top and tape to tabletop to hold

braid-yarn

loosely braid yarn / knot the end

stitch-large-pom

run the needle through the center of the pom

stitch-large-pom-to-garland

stitch onto braided yarn (a few stitches to hold securely)

needle-through-braid

in between poms, run the needle through the center of the braid. Then stitch on poms in desired spacing.

large-pom-garland

small-and-large-pom-garlands-shelf
enjoy!

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audrey’s 5th birthday invitations

audrey-birthday-party-invitation

My baby is turning 5. What?!

She’s just the best. She brings a girly flair to our family with her constant songs and dancing, she makes us all laugh and maaaybe has her daddy wrapped around her finger. Possibly her mommy and brothers, too.

The kids and I talk about our favorites all the time – favorite colors, favorite food, favorite memory. They all know that my favorite animal is a dolphin (I have been known to cry when I see sea life. I don’t know what it is, they are just so magical and majestic. Sea World is a teary place for me).

audrey-dolphin-birthday-party-side

So when Audrey told me she wanted to have a dolphin party for her 5th birthday, there may have been a few secret happy tears. She knows her mama loves them and so she likes them too. See? She’s just the best. (Well, except when she’s not.)

Since I’m kinda into designing things, I had fun creating this invitation for her upcoming party. There probably won’t be a lot of decorations or fancy party food since we’re having it at an indoor pool, but I love making invitations and couldn’t help myself with the dolphin theme.

One little trick I wanted to share with you is how I add the glitter details. The secret? Glitter glue. This one, to be exact.

add-glitter-glue-to-invitation

I used a free dolphin graphic and glitter digital paper to add to the invitation. The cards are printed on thick matte photo paper from home on this printer.

glitter-glue-dolphin

Then I filled in the outlines with the glitter glue.

spread-glitter-glue-on-dolphin

And filled in the 5 as well.

glitter-glue-5

glitter-glue-on-5

The glue dries in about 30 minutes and does not flake off like regular glitter, so it works well for these types of projects.

glitter-glue-finished

I also added a few gold dots to a diy envelope liner (plain paper cut to fit).

audrey-dolphin-party-invitation-top

audrey-dolphin-party-invitation-side

Didn’t they turn out cute?!

audrey-dolphin-birthday-party-invitation

We can’t wait to celebrate our dolphin-loving girl.

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Want to learn how to create invitations like the one above? You will love our Simplified Graphic Design class! CLICK HERE to learn more.

simplified-graphic-design

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free set of valentine note cards + envelopes

free-valentines-cards-and-envelopes With valentine’s day just around the corner, it seemed the perfect time to share a few freebie love note designs. Watercolor doodles were scanned and formatted into sweet little note cards with matching diy envelopes. Keep reading for the how-to and to download the files!

To make the envelopes, here’s what you’ll need:

free-valentine-and-envelopes templates printed on thick white paper / scissors / adhesive (like this) / washi tape (here’s my favorite source)

STEP ONE / cut template on dashed lines

cut-envelope

cut-out-envelope-template STEP TWO / fold in sides, press firmly to crease

fold-in-sides STEP THREE / fold up bottom, press firmly to crease

fold-up-bottom-flap STEP FOUR / use glue dots (or other adhesive) to attach bottom flap to sides

glue-dots-on-envelope STEP FIVE / write a love note and slip it in

card-in-envelope STEP SIX / fold down top flap and seal with washi tape

plus-envelope-taped Add a name to the front and send to your valentine!

plus-envelope-front

heart-card-and-plus-envelope

plus-envelope There are four designs with matching note cards + envelopes, but feel free to mix & match!

free-valentine-cards-and-envelopes

Enjoy!

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Want to learn how to create illustrations and graphics like the one above? You will love our Simplified Graphic Design class! CLICK HERE to learn more.

simplified-graphic-design

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DIY ribbon-wrapped wire words

diy-word-art

This is a very simple project you can do in just a few minutes and let your imagination run … diy wire words. I’ve made these before as gift toppers (see that post here), but this time I tried wrapping the wire in ribbon and love how it turned out.

I tacked my finished word up to a simple pin board (linen wrapped foam core, popped into a vintage frame) and it is the perfect sentiment for right over the bar cart in our dining room.

Here’s how to make one of your own:

wire-word-supplies

SUPPLIES //

hot glue gun / wire (a small enough gauge that you can easily bend it, but not so fine that it doesn’t hold the shape – mine is 24 gauge) / ribbon / scissors

STEP ONE // bend wire into cursive word

bend-wire

I like the freehand look, but you could also print out a template and use it as a guide if you need help forming the letters.

bend-wire-into-word-cheers

STEP TWO //   cut pieces of ribbon

cut-ribbon-in-pieces

Having 12-ish” pieces lets you wrap the ribbon easier than if it was still attached to the roll. Thin ribbon works best, or you could try yarn or twine.

STEP THREE // wrap wire with ribbon

wrap-ribbon-around-wire

wire-word-wrapped-in-ribbon

Use the hot glue to hold into place and wrap round and round.

When you’re finished, tack up to your pin board (or attach to a gift, or whatever you’d like to do with your cute word!) and enjoy.

cheers-wire-word

cheers-wire-word-over-bar-cart

barcart-with-cheers-sign

Simple embellishments that only take a few minutes and barely any money are the best. Cheers!

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craft night: book page angel wings

book-page-angel-wings

A few girlfriends came over this week for a Christmas craft night. A couple of us had seen book page angel wings and it seemed like a fun project to do together for the holidays.

There was nothing fancy or exceptional about my craft night … just a few treats (like trader joe’s dark chocolate covered peppermint marshmallows – yum!), hot cider and basic craft supplies.  One of my sweetest friends pre-cut all of the old book pages – mostly from a hymnal which we loved – and everyone brought a glue gun.

I don’t have accurate step-by-step photos because we really just made these up as we went, but I’ll run through the steps just in case you want to make wings for your home.

Start by cutting out a wing shape from cardboard. Some of us cut two separate wings, others cut one piece for both wings. We all just free-handed and made them different shapes and sizes (examples below).

paper-angel-wings-start

We used old hymnal pages cut to 5 x 5″ squares to make the cones, hot gluing them to hold. You have to make about 100 (depending on the size of your wings) so just keep rolling and rolling and rolling.

paper-angel-wings-roll

Then comes the fun/tricky part of arranging and gluing the paper cones to the cardboard. It was fun to see how everyone did them differently; some wrapped their paper into small cones, others a little larger. My friend Krista put her paper all in one direction (left) while others went around the perimeter, filling in the middle by cutting the tips of the cones to make them fit.

angel-wing-samples

Aren’t those great?! The only thing we all wished we had done before was to cover the cardboard in flat book pages before gluing on the cones just to make sure none of it showed at the end.

Here’s my end product: fluffy angel wings that maybe don’t look all that much like angel wings, but I like them all the same.

angel-wings-front-and-back

I looped a ribbon and hot glued to the back to hang.

Just for fun, I hung them above our bed. They look very pretty against the dark blue.

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Our girls night was refreshing, as always, and it was nice to start and finish a project in one sitting!

There are endless ways to recycle book pages into gorgeous pieces – wreaths (see two of mine here and here), ornaments, paper chains, taping the paper directly to your wall (my personal fave).

Have you made anything great with book pages? I’d love to hear your ideas …

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DIY Pom Pom Blanket

Here’s a tutorial that is months in the making! pom-blanket-tutorial

I made this blanket at the beginning of September, took photos of the process to share with you, posted the finished cutie on instagram and promised I’d show you how I did it. Then I uploaded the photos from my camera and they were terrible. Blurry and dark and not what I wanted to share. So I waited and waiting until I had a chance to make a new blanket and take new (and better!) photos of the steps and so here you go. The long-ago-promised Pom Pom Blanket tutorial.

The best part about this one is that you don’t have to have any crafty skills to do it. Just find a blanket you love, some coordinating yarn, a pom pom maker and you’re set.

pom-blanket-supplies

// SUPPLIES //

blanket – look for a throw that has plainly hemmed edges. My gray throw is this one from IKEA, the teal geometric is from Target. This plaid one would be cute, too.

yarn – I took the blanket in with me to the craft store and found the yarn that matched best. The teal was harder to match than the gray, but I ended up finding this nice Martha Stewart yarn and it was on sale (yay!). You’ll need lots of pom poms which means lots of yarn. I used almost two whole rolls (spools? skeins? I’m not sure what you call them) for one blanket.

pom pom maker – there are many methods for making pom poms, but this little tool makes it super easy and keeps them uniform in size and shape.

scissors, needle, thread

STEP ONE / make pom poms (about 30-40 for one blanket)

pom-blanket-make-pom-pom-1

Start by wrapping yarn round and round on one end of the pom maker. When full, move over to the second side and wrap. Close and trim the end of the yarn.

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Now cut down the center of the pom pom maker (make sure you keep both ends closed)

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Cut a small piece of yarn and wrap tightly (as tight as you can) around the center to hold pom pom together. Pull both sides of the pom maker apart and fluff the pom pom.

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Trim any uneven ends.

Keep going until you have a pretty stack of yarn pom poms (about 30-40 per blanket).

pom-blanket-pom-poms

STEP TWO / attach pom poms to edge of blanket pom-blanket-sew-on-poms

Start by spacing the pom poms out evenly and deciding how close you want them to be. Then, using a needle and coordinating thread, stitch through the center of the pom and sew onto hem of the blanket. Be generous with your stitches to make sure the pom pom is secure. Continue for the rest of the blanket and then on the second end.

For about $25 and a few hours of pom pom making, you end up with this cozy, funky, super cute throw blanket.

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Which might make the perfect little surprise for someone on your list this Christmas.

pom-blanket-wrapped

This tutorial is included in my brand new Handmade Holiday Gift Guide (have you grabbed your copy yet?!) along with nine other simple projects you can make and give.

handmade-gift-guide

You’ll get the full projects with printable tags/patterns/templates, helpful tips and inspiration.

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10 simple gifts to make + give

There is something just a little extra special about receiving a gift that’s been handmade. The thought, the time, the unique end-product … all of these things make a difference.

handmade-gift-guide It’s not always easy to come up with unique – yet do-able – homemade gift ideas. Just glance at pinterest and you’re sure to be overwhelmed with options! And then once you decide, there is nothing worse than attempting to do a project you find online and ending up with a big craft fail (believe me, I’ve been there).

If you’re going the handmade route this year and need a few tried and tested ideas, I have narrowed it down to 10 simple gifts (I promise you can do these!) to make and give this holiday season. Each one, with step-by-step photos and complete supply lists, are included in the brand new 51-page Handmade Holiday Gift Guide.

In it you’ll find super cute projects like these foot/hand/neck warmers:

warmer

handmade-gift-guide-warmer-steps

These darling modern wood blocks (for baby, of course, or toss them in a pretty bowl for an unexpected coffee table accessory):

handmade-gift-guide---blocks

handmade-gift-guide-wood-blocks-steps For book lovers, try making a few tassel bookmarks to tuck into a new novel:

handmade-gift-guide---bookmarks

or for the techie, sew up a padded ipad cover (the little x stitch on the closure is my favorite):

handmade-gift-guide-ipad-case

What teacher wouldn’t love some precious jewel magnets to use on their whiteboards (hint: they are not actually precious):

handmade-gift-guide-jewel-magnets

and a cozy pom pom blanket is a great choice for your mom or sister or teenage daughter who is impossible to shop for:

handmade-gift-guide-pom-blanket

(I made my first pom blanket with a solid gray throw from IKEA, added the pom poms and it looks so chic! See it in action here)

Get all 10 projects with full steps, supply lists, sources, helpful tips and printable templates in one downloadable 51-page pdf. Your friends and family with love you for it!

handmade-gift-guide-book

grab-your-copy

May your weekend be filled with inspiration and creating!

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diy thankful string art

string-art-diy

This year, our thankful tree sits on the bar cart in the dining room. I thought it would be fun to have some sort of interesting art to hang nearby and decided to try a technique I’ve seen and loved all over the web. Here are a few of my favorite string art examples (1 / 2 / 3). My version is subtle and the white string and linen backing look pretty next to the vintage gold frame.

thankful-string-art-bar-cart

Want to see how I made it?! Continue Reading →

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