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Fun tutorials, how-to projects, free downloads from jones design company

how to turn hand-lettering into a digital file

soshedid

Even wonder how to turn your hand lettered art into a digital file that you can use to overlay on a photo or have printed to display? Maybe you’d like to alter your original art – move things around, add more space, resize or recolor?

This post will show you just how to do it all.

NOTE: Get ready for A LOT of photos! I like to give as much detail as possible to show you just what steps to do and make things super clear. Follow along as you try this out and you’ll end up with a digital file you can save, print and share with others.

1. CREATE YOUR ART artworkspiral

I drew out this saying as a lesson in the Simplified Penmanship handwriting course using an art notebook and pen.

2. SCAN YOUR ARTWORK scan-the-art

There are so many different scanners on the market and you can use whatever works for you (even snapping a photo with your iphone can work!). I use a Fujitsu ScanSnap portable scanner. It is small and portable and I like that when it is not in use, I can just unplug it and store it in a basket. When scanning, you can change the settings to fit your needs. I like to scan at the highest resolution (600 dpi for color; 1200 dpi for black and white).

savefile

Rename your scanned image and save in appropriate file.

3. Adjust in Adobe Photoshop
2photoshop

You will use photoshop to clean up your artwork and remove the background. Open up the file in a new document.

1gray

Begin by changing your file into a GRAYSCALE image (if you did your lettering in color, the next two steps will not apply).

2bright

Next, open the BRIGHTNESS/CONTRAST tool and move your contrast all the way up. This will make you blacks blacker and whites whiter.

2brightcont

4. CLEAN UP YOUR ARTWORK 3erase

If there are any areas where pencil marks show through or you want to clean up lines, smudges, etc., now is the perfect time to do so.

I like to zoom in close and use the ERASER tool to remove the imperfections.
3erasefinish

Keep in mind, this is hand lettering, so no need to make it flawless!

5. REMOVE THE BACKGROUND

4newdoc

If you’d like to remove the background so that only the lettering on a transparent background remains, follow along with this step. This is not necessary (especially if you will be turning your lettering into a vector in Illustrator – see #7 . I do this mainly when I scan watercolor artwork and I want to isolate each item and remove the background – see this post for more on turning watercolors into artwork).

To remove the background, you’ll need to create a new document with a transparent background. Make your document the size of your scanned artwork.

7magicwanderase

Copy and paste your art to this new document.

magicwand

Using the MAGIC WAND tool, click on the background and click delete.

7erasebackground

You’ll see the white background removed and a transparent background. Inside the closed shapes the background will remain, so just click and delete each one.
7transparent

You’ll end up with your lettering on a transparent background. Go ahead and save as a PNG file (this will preserve the transparency. A JPG will not).

6. OPEN IN ADOBE ILLUSTRATOR 8illustrator

Start by creating an artboard at the correct size for your finished print (mine is 8×10 in).

9backgroundcolor

You can add a background (make a rectangle to the desired size and add a fill). If you are happy with your artwork, you can save as a pdf at this point and you’ll have a great artprint!

7. TURN YOUR ART INTO VECTORS

If you’d like to move, rotate, recolor or resize your lettering, you’ll need to make it into a vector. A vector is an image made of anchor points and paths (rather than pixels) that will allow you to alter your art without losing quality.

trace

You’ll use the IMAGE TRACE function which you can find in your top tool bar or from OBJECT>IMAGE TRACE. I like to use the black and white logo setting.

10-expand

Next click EXPAND.

10expanded

The result will be your artwork made up of tiny anchor points and paths (as seen with the blue marks) and a white background.

ungroup

To remove the white background, right click and select UNGROUP.

12-pullapart

Now pull that top white layer off and delete.

12erase

Go back through and delete the inside shapes to remove the extra white layer.

13vector

You’ll end up with individual vector images for each of the shapes in your artwork.

group

If you’d like to keep each word or line together, select the items, right click and GROUP. This will allow you to move and resize the words as a group rather than independently.

8. MAKE ADJUSTMENTS TO YOUR ARTWORK
14move

Now that you have vector images, you can make changes to your artwork. Go ahead and move words to reformat your design.

15recolor

Or recolor one letter at a time, whole words, or the entire phrase. To recolor, click on the art, open the COLOR PANEL and select a color. You can change the fill (the inside color) or the stroke (the outline color).

16resize

One of the best parts of turning your art into a vector is that now you can resize without losing any resolution. Group the whole thing together, hold down shift and pull the whole group out however big or move it in to make it small. You will not see blurry edges no matter how large or small you resize.

17-finish

When you are finished making edits, save your file!

If you are using it for printable artwork, save as a PDF.

If using for digital lettering, save as PNG.

If using as an image, save as a JPEG.

shebelievedwindow

Learning to turn your hand lettering into digital images opens up so many fun ways to use your art!

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Interested in learning more about the art of Penmanship + Lettering or how to use Adobe Illustrator? I’d love to teach you!

Simplified Graphic Design - Adobe Illustrator for Beginners / jones design company simplifiedpencover
Click the images to learn more about the online classes offered.

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DIY Bulletin Board

DIY Bulletin Board / jones design company

Slowly but surely, Audrey’s room is coming along.

The gallery wall really stepped things up a notch and it got me motivated to add some cuteness to the other walls. When you have one side of the room filled with art, it makes knowing what to do with the other walls a little tricky. Add more art? Leave them blank? I’ll do a full room tour soon so you can see the walls in context to each other, but I decided that more art would feel too busy and I just wanted one large piece to fill in the area opposite the gallery wall.

I had an extra frame that didn’t get used in the gallery – a vintage painting that I covered with music pages and wrote ‘twirl’ on a few years ago (you can see it in my old office here). It wasn’t anything special and so I decided to reconfigure it and turn it into a bulletin board for my girl.

Here’s how I did it:

bulletin-board-supplies

SUPPLIES

frame with backing / roll of cork / hot glue gun / scissors / fabric for covering (optional)

You could use any frame – brand new, from your storage closet or from a thrift store. The one I used was just a few dollars at the thrift store and was a painting that I wasn’t sad to cover up. I lucked out and the frame I used was just slightly smaller than the dimensions of the cork – you may want to measure the cork before purchasing the frame just to make sure it fits.

STEP ONE

pop-picture-out-of-frame

Remove the backer from the frame. It was easy to just bend the nails back to pop out the art (the back is pictured).

STEP TWO

trace-and-trim

Lay your backing on the cork and trace. Then cut to fit.

cut-out-cork

STEP THREE

hot-glue-cork

Starting from one side, add a bead of hot glue and press to hold. Continue for the rest of the cork.

You can stop at this point – pop it back in the frame and use as is. Or continue on to cover the cork with fabric.

STEP FOUR

cut-fabric

Lay the cork covered backing front-side down on fabric of choice (you’ll want the front of the fabric face down, too). I adore this sheet set from Target (it’s what I have on my bed) and found a set on clearance not too long ago. I debated … cut it up? Or keep it for a second set for my bed? I opted to cut it up.

Just cut it a few inches larger than your cork board on all four sides.

STEP FIVE

wrap-fabric

Pull taught and secure with a bead of hot glue. It helps to glue down one side in the center, then the opposite side to keep things lined up and smooth.

Fold in corners (I cut out part of the fabric to keep things less bulky) and hold with hot glue. It was super helpful to have a geometric print to follow so the lines stayed straight.

STEP SIX

put-in-frame

Pop the backing into the frame. Mine ended up tight enough to not need nails to hold it in place, but you could tap little nails into the sides if you need to.

Flip it over and admire the cuteness!

DIY bulletin board / jones design company

I added a few special things – artwork, photos, a flower garland (no longer available from Target) and a few of Audrey’s pretty necklaces – but my guess is that she’ll cover it with art and notes and little pieces of randomness that girls seem to collect. It will be a great place for her to display her special things.

DIY bulletin board / jones design company

This diy bulletin board was just the right touch for the big empty wall.

DIY bulletin board / jones design company

I have a few more projects to finish in her room and then it will be complete! Stay tuned for a simple window treatment diy and an unconventional pillow tutorial coming soon.

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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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simply embellished copper tags

embellished copper tags / jones design company
We celebrated my mom’s birthday this weekend. She is many wonderful things, but perhaps one of her best qualities is her completely authentic excitement over opening gifts. Every one is the best gift ever! which makes you feel pretty great as the gift-giver.

diy-copper-tag

Receiving gifts is not my love language, so I have to work a little extra to come up with something unique and meaningful to give to my mom who most definitely does experience love through gifts.  I may not be the greatest at gift purchasing, but I really do enjoy wrapping.

My go-to gift wrapping style consists of subtly patterned paper, a pretty ribbon, an embellishment – like a flower or ornament – and a tag.  My mom gave me a gift years ago (like for high school graduation maybe?!) with a copper tag and I’ve kept it all these years. When I came across these copper gardening tags, I knew I needed to grab a pack to use in wrapping up her birthday gift.

Because it’s such a simple and inexpensive embellishment for wrapping, I thought I’d show you how to make your own embellished copper tags.

SUPPLIES

copper-tags-supplies

4″ copper tags / stylus (or ball point pen)

HOW-TO

write-on-copper-tag-hand

Using a sharp-tipped stylus (or ball point pen), press into the copper as you write your message. Adding some extra padding underneath helps with the embossing (I just stacked up a few sheets of scrap paper).

write-on-copper-tag

It’s so pretty how the light reflects on the copper and makes the lettering stand out.

write-on-copper-tag2

Once your message has been written, simply tie on to the gift using the attached copper wire.

embellished copper tag for gifts / jones design company

Such an fun way to make a gift extra special.

copper-happy-birthday-tag
Do you have a favorite or unexpected way to embellish gifts?

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how to clean your keyboard

how to clean a keyboard / jones design company

Have you ever looked down at your keyboard and realized that in all the years it’s been sitting on your desk (or your lap, if you’re a laptop user) it’s never once been cleaned? How gross, right?

The computer in my office is what I mainly use to work – blogging, designing, emailing, etc. Once the kids get home from school, it’s also the computer they use for homework, time tests and youtube watching. I try to keep food away, and don’t let the kids snack while computer-ing (computing?), but that doesn’t always happen and inevitably the keyboard has gotten grimy. Three years of daily use without a single cleaning. Oops.

Well, I’m in full-on Spring Cleaning mode and all the little things that have been bothering me are no longer safe from my disinfecting ways. (Side note: as I get older, I become more grossed out by germs. Holding hands during prayer? No way. Hanging onto the escalator hand rail? Not a chance. I have never in my life been concerned with germs and now suddenly I’m becoming weird about things. We’ll chalk it up to maturity. Or something like that).

Okay, back to the keyboard.

This thing was in need of a wipe down. I like having a sleek white keyboard and the narrow depth of the keys keeps it from getting too dirty along the edges, but the tops of the keys were looking not-so-great.

how to clean a keyboard - before cleaning / jones design company

I discovered the perfect solution for how to clean a keyboard without removing the letters, having to take the keys off or worrying if it will mess up the electronics. And also, it only takes about 5 minutes, which is a super great bonus.

Here’s what you’ll need to clean your keyboard:

supplies-for-cleaning-keyboard
SUPPLIES: tide to go pen / cotton balls  

how to clean a keyboard in just a few simple steps / jones design company
1. Start by gently pressing down on the pen tip to release the cleaning solvent

2. If your keyboard is angled, you may want to prop it up to make it flat. I just stuck an eraser under the bottom and that worked great.

3. Add tide to go liquid to each key – just drawing over each one and let it soak for a few minutes.

4. After about 5 minutes, wipe clean with a cotton ball. Press the keys to wipe the in-between spaces with the damp cotton ball.

clean-keyboard

Instant gratification in the form of a sparkling clean keyboard.

how to clean a keyboard - after cleaning / jones design company

No more grimy keyboards around here. Thank goodness for the Spring Cleaning bug.

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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 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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how to organize your iphone screen (and make it look pretty)

how-to-organize-your-iphone-homescreen

My phone is basically an extension of my arm. I carry it with me everywhere and while I’m not so good at answering phone calls, I do love it for everything else: texting, checking the weather, setting an alarm, taking photos, reading email, posting to instagram, checking out at starbucks … you get the idea.

So, naturally, I want my phone to be organized, easy to use and pretty to look at. The best way to do that? Organize all those apps into folders and add a cute wallpaper.

use-wallpaper-or-photo

Here’s how I like to organize my iphone home screen:

Start by setting a custom image as the background. This cute arrow-on-kraft-paper design is part of our February Paper Works collection (each month we include a couple of wallpapers so you can trade them out each month!). Just save the image to your photo library, then open it up. To set it as your wallpaper, follow the steps below:

how-to-organize-your-iphone-1

Now comes the fun part of organizing all of your apps. Rather than having each one on its own, I like to organize them into folders. Here’s what that process looks like:

how-to-organize-your-iphone-2 how-to-organize-your-iphone-3

I find that having apps grouped together in folders makes my home screen much less cluttered and easier for me to find what I’m looking for. Here’s how I have my apps grouped:

p h o t o / all camera, photo editing and instagram related apps

d a i l y / these are my regular-use apps like the clock, weather, facebook, jdc, pinterest and starbucks

u s e / the more utilitarian apps of the bunch like maps, the app store, settings, calculator and facetime

b i b l e / my go-to collection of bible/bible study/devotion apps

m u s i c / itunes, my music library, pandora, spotify, sonos and podcasts

m o n e y / my banks, paypal and coupon apps

p l a y / my kids think I’m weird for not having more games on my phone, but there are a few. They live in this folder (current faves: 2048 and tsum tsum).

n o t e s / just the note app. I use it all the time.

t r a v e l / things like yelp and hotels.com

e x t r a / for everything that doesn’t have an obvious category

s o c i a l / social media apps I don’t use regularly, but want to keep like whatsApp and Line

g a m e s / just a few kid games – they each have a kindle, so they have their own apps on their devices, but these are for entertainment in a pinch (Endless ABC and 7 Little Words for Kids are favorites).

double-line-tiny

And that is how I organize my iphone home screen.

I’d love to know … do you have a different system that works for you? Do you have any favorite apps you’d like to share? Do tell …

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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.

paper-angel-wings-bedroom

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.

pom-pom-blanket-blue

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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bow pillow (tutorial)

bow-pillow-diy

A simple, understated pillow, with classic detailing and menswear-inspired fabric? Yes, please.

One of my favorite pillows I’ve made is an oversized bow pillow (which you can see in the background of this picture and in this post about pillows). The inspiration came from those silky bow blouses from the 80’s, but with a slightly more masculine feel with the gray plaid of the original pillow. It’s such an easy one to make that I thought maybe you would like one in your home, too. I’d love to show you how. Continue Reading →

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how to paint a piano

Furniture purists … avert your eyes. This is a post about how I changed our perfectly fine piano from glossy mahogany to white. Did I ruin it? Maybe. But do I love it 1000 times more? Yes. Yes I do.

how-to-paint-a-piano

I posted a mid-progress photo on instagram and was surprised by how many shared the desire to paint their piano and also questions about how to do it. So here it is – all my steps, tips and encouragement for painting your piano. Continue Reading →

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rolled MAGAZINE flowers + antler chalk art

During my ‘quieting the house‘ rampage, I finally convinced myself to get rid of stacks and stacks of old magazines. Why was I holding on to them? I can not tell you. But from the comments on the IG photo, magazine-hoarding seems to be a common problem among perfectly normal women.

All of those extra magazines got me thinking … what can all of us hoarders do with old publications that we’re truthfully never going to read again? We can make stuff. Cute rolled paper flowers, for example.

rolled-flower-antler-chalkboard

Add the rolled magazine flowers to a simple chalkboard project and you have an inexpensive and whimsical piece of art. Continue Reading →

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how I edit iphone photos for instagram

My iphone is like an extension of my arm – it’s by my side at nearly all times of day (and night). I love it for texting and checking the weather and asking siri important questions like ‘how many days until …?’ (asked by a certain second born who is slightly excited about his upcoming birthday) and watching cute youtube videos like this one and this.

Most of all, I love it for the camera.

Admittedly, an iphone does not take the same quality of photos as a real camera, but the fact that it is always with me, easy to use and quick to capture everyday moments works out just fine for me. It is fun to practice photography with my phone – looking for interesting angles or composition or finding the right light – and sharing those photos on instagram is a favorite, too.

I almost always do some editing before posting to instagram (I like a slightly dreamy, washed out look) and thought I’d show you what that looks like.

raw-and-edited-instagram

We’ll use this photo taken yesterday of a piece of my mom’s blackberry pie (yum).

Here it is straight from the camera: Continue Reading →

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