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how to camouflage outlet covers with wallpaper

Up in the studio (and throughout the whole house, actually), the outlets, light switches and wall plates are almond colored. I’m assuming this almond color was the standard back in 1992 when the house was built. Not a huge deal except that they look pretty grimy next to all of the white walls.

So on our very lengthy list of house projects is the tedious task of switching out not just the plate covers, but changing the actual outlets and light switches to white throughout the house.

Up in the studio, the outlets/switches/plates are also the almond color and they really do stand out against the walls.

The light switch in the above photo is the goofiest of all because in order to trim the window, we had to notch it out to fit the plate. Since it is right at my eye-level while I’m working, it’s been one of those things that I felt motivated to find a solution to.

Replacing all of the outlets/switches/plates in the studio falls very, very low on the project-totem-pole so an in-between fix was in order.

My answer: decoupage.

I did this same project five years ago in our old house. The issue then was that I had just painted the walls a dark color and the white plates stood out too much. Covering the plates with a pretty scrapbook paper was the prefect solution.

In this case, my goal was to make the plates look meaningful (and hopefully camouflage the almond-toned outlets and switches in the meantime).

This project is truly simple, fairly fool-proof and requires only a few dollars worth of materials.

Here’s how to decoupage outlet and light switch covers:

SUPPLIES

wall plate | pretty paper | Mod Podge (in matte finish) | paintbrush | scissors

A few notes:

  • No need to buy new wall plates – just take them off your wall and reuse them.
  • I prefer matte Mod Podge for this project so that you don’t get a glossy finish.
  • As for paper, the possibilities are endless. In our last house I used thick scrapbook paper. For the studio, I’m using a sample of the most gorgeous wallpaperWhatever you choose, go for something on the thicker side to reduce the puckering that can happen with thin paper.
  • I am not decoupaging the front of the paper for these outlets, but I did in our old house. It just depends on how durable you’re wanting them to be.

Okay, let’s get to it.

STEP ONE

Cut out a piece of your selected paper approximately 1/2″ larger on all sides than your plate.

STEP TWO

Coat the front with Mod Podge, flip it over and press to the center of the paper.

STEP THREE

Cut a notch in each corner.

STEP FOUR

Brush on glue and fold around edges.

If your paper doesn’t hold down, use a small clip to keep it in place while it dries.

Once the Mod Podge is dry, remove the clips and continue on (this only takes a few minutes).

STEP FIVE

Poke a hole in the center of the opening, then make several cuts around the circle.

STEP SIX

Brush on decoupage medium to paper, fold and press firmly to hold. Again, these little clips come in handy to hold it all in place as it dries.

After a few minutes, grab your cover, screw it in place, step back and admire your work.

Now I no longer cringe at the dingy looking outlets! The paper adds a subtle visual interest that looks purposeful.

The outlets are still clearly off-white, but look less out of place with the addition of the wallpaper.

And now I don’t mind looking at that goofy light switch anymore because it is covered in my favorite paper.

#itsthelittlethings

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get your free set of valentine note cards + envelopes

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to share a few freebie love note designs.

What’s not to LOVE about watercolor hearts, arrows, rain clouds raining down hearts?

My illustrations 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!

These cards and envelopes can be found in THE ARCHIVE along with all of our best free prints, templates and fonts.  If you are not an Archive member, simply add your email to the list and you’re in!

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS THE ARCHIVE

enjoy!

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When you can’t find the table lamp you want, you improvise

After all the back and forth and option-weighing, I decided the desk in the studio will stay as originally planned. We’ll adjust the chairs to raise them up a bit and call it good.

I actually feel very happy with the decision and can continue on with putting the studio together …

Next up is adding in more ambient light in the form of table lamps. The light of table lamps is nice to work by and will also anchor either side of the desk.

In my initial design board, I planned on using these white textured lamps from Target. I liked the simple shape, but when I went to order, there was only one available (what?!).

As a second option, I came across this handsome ceramic lamp from West Elm, which I also really liked. I just couldn’t justify spending $300 on lamps for my office.

While out shopping the other day, I saw a pair of these column table lamps on clearance in the kid section and snatched up both of them for $45.

The shape is great, I love the wood base, the color was definitely not right for my studio, but I had an idea of how to fix that.

Enter the good ole days of DIY-Emily.

(Side note: I have not done a DIY project in almost a year. Crazy for a crafty girl who loves a DIY project! I’m glad to be back, friends. Glad to be back).

By altering these lamps, I hoped to create a hybrid of the two inspiration lamps – combining the shape of the first with the chalky gray color of the second. And because I didn’t spend much, I figured it was worth the DIY risk.

After taping off the base and neck, I painted on two coats of basic black chalk paint.

As chalk paint does, it dried a nice matte gray-black.

I could have left the paint as is, but went with the next step of ‘seasoning’ the chalk surface.

Typically, you season a freshly painted chalkboard to cure the surface and allow for full erasing once you start writing on it. These lamps won’t function as writable chalk surfaces, but I still wanted that pretty mottled look that seasoning creates.

After rubbing chalk all over the lamp, I wiped it in with a dry cloth and blew off the remaining dust.

The finished color is just the chalky black I was hoping for.

The lamps are now flanking the desk and look so nice!

Even though I initially wanted a pair of white lamps, these lamps remind me that bringing a touch of black into a room is always a good idea.

This was about as simple of a DIY as could be and I’m happy to be back in the crafty game.

Have you created anything lately that you’re particularly proud of? I’d love to hear!

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5 favorite tricks & techniques in Illustrator AND details of the new class

Here we are on day five of a graphic-design-y week! I hope you’ve found beauty and inspiration in the posts so far.

In case you missed any, first I shared a handful of designs from my custom stationery designing days. Lots of cute projects and many examples of great print-at-home invitations, christmas cards and announcements. Next, I shared this adorable set of free clip art for you to download and use in your designs. For those who want more control over color and size of clip art, this video shows just how easy it is to turn a regular image into a vector graphic.  Then we talked about selecting the best printer for you and discovering thousands of fonts (can you ever have enough?!).

To wrap this week up, I made another video for you … this time sharing my top five favorite tricks and techniques in Adobe Illustrator. I didn’t begin designing using such a fancy program, but as I have spent the past several years learning and practicing, finding new tools and little tricks to make designing easier, I completely love it. I think you will, too.

So obviously I kinda enjoy designing. I never set out to be a graphic designer (my degree is in child & family psychology!) and even though I am self-taught and often do things the wrong way (did you see how I draw in the video?!) I feel so grateful for the creative outlet it has become.  I just adore what I do, am constantly learning and practicing and am so excited to share my knowledge with others.

About seven months ago, I began putting together a graphic design course that would focus on the basics I use for every day designing.  No techy language and super-advanced skills because honestly, I don’t think most of us are looking for that. I wanted the class to feel like it would if you came over to my house and I explained in regular terms and simple steps how to design your daughter’s birthday invitations yourself.  A friendly approach to learning a slightly intimidating program.  Well, after seven months, it’s finally ready.

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So here are the details:

about
Simplified Graphic Design is a course created for the beginner graphic designer who is new to Adobe Illustrator.  Illustrator enables you to create professional vector artwork (images that can be scaled to any size without losing quality) for both print and web graphics. While the program can be intimidating upon first glance, this course will walk you through the most essential and helpful tools showing you how to create your own designs and leaving you with a comfortable understanding and confidence in working in Illustrator.

This is a great class for those who love graphic design and want to learn how to create their own graphics. Whether you have no experience in Illustrator or a basic knowledge of the program, you will finish the course a more proficient designer with a handful of shortcuts that will make the process simple and enjoyable.  If you are well-acquainted with Illustrator, a professional graphic designer or looking for tips for creating a graphic design business, this course will not be a good fit for you.

format
Because most of us learn best by watching a task being done, this course is a series of eleven in-depth videos that cover all of the basic functions, most helpful tools and many tips and tricks in Adobe Illustrator useful for everyday designing.  You can watch and re-watch to learn new techniques and then pause the video to practice on your own.

The course covers:

  • familiarizing ourselves with Adobe Illustrator
  • using the most common functions for every day designing
  • how to create, transform and design with text
  • using clipping masks and digital paper to create art
  • turning hand drawn doodles into vector graphics
  • altering images using the live trace & paint functions
  • how to create shapes, templates and tags
  • printing and saving your work
  • the work flow of a start-to-finish invitation
  • the work flow of a start-to-finish web graphic
  • resources for tools, design elements and inspiration

The course and all its content takes place online in a password protected classroom.  Go at your own pace, moving from section to section as quickly or slowly as needed. You will have unlimited access to the class so you can always refer back to it as needed.

All questions can be asked in the comment section of each topic. This will act as our forum and helpful troubleshooting for all students.

register

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free Seaside clipart and how to use it

masonsea630 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.

underthesea-clipart I have 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.

register-yellow


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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The Making of the Illustrated Recipe (a video!)

You guys! I recovered the video!

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I tell the whole video saga at the end of this post).

Anytime I see a video – whether it’s a makeup tutorial, lettering sample, photo editing – I tune in. I love watching the creative process of an artist doing his/her thing. I look for tips that I can use and find I’m much more confident trying the technique out after I’ve watched someone else do it.

While creating the illustration for the Blueberry Muffin recipe art print, I video screen-captured while I worked. I did this once before with the Christmas Essentials print to show how I turn watercolor paintings into a digital print and this time I wanted to show how I create the drawings straight from the computer.

I use Adobe Illustrator – which I love so much that I teach two different classes on it (more below). Some graphic artists prefer a tablet to sketch with; I just use my regular wireless mouse. My drawing style is a little on the cartoony/not-realistic side, so precision is not a huge concern. If I needed to be more detailed, I would use my wacom tablet + stylus.

Okay! Ready to see how the Blueberry Muffin illustration was made?

 

Wasn’t that fun?!

Let me remind you of a few things:

  1. While art/drawing/creating has always been my thing, I really don’t think it takes special talent to illustrate using this technique. You can do it!
  2. I sped the video up by 900%. So basically, what looks like it happened really quickly actually took me over an hour. Slow and steady wins the race.
  3. There is so much more to share with you about designing using Adobe Illustrator. I want to teach you all the things to encourage and empower you to try it! If you’ve ever had the desire (or need) to make graphics, illustrations, logos, collages, art prints, invitations, (the list goes on), you’ll love the Simplified Graphic Design classes.  allthree

 Registration for the Spring 2016 session closes TONIGHT at 10pm pst.

You don’t have to start right away and there is no expiration for the class, so really, once you join you can begin when it works for your schedule.

I’d love to answer any questions you have about the classes or the illustration process or anything else graphic design related in the comments. Ask away!

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18 ways to use Adobe Illustrator in your everyday

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 (read more of my illustrator love story here)

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

digitize lettering

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

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

You can also turn your hand-lettering into a digital file you can overlay on photos.

shebelievedwindow

(see the full step-by-step process 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.

(Audrey’s 4th birthday invitations. See more here)

   

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 greeting or be more elaborate with a folded, double-sided or accordion 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. I love using this technique when creating artwork or a logo and wanting a concise color palette, but it is also great for coming up with a color scheme for a room you’re decorating in your house.

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 | happy entry

This method works great for putting together a visual source guide, too!

(living room source graphic as seen on this post)

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 basic collage.

You can also cut out photos into shapes (below) or even words (like this).

18 Letterers to follow on Instagram / jones design company

 

When I published this post about my favorite letterers, several people asked if I used a template to create the graphic. Nope. I just used the shape tool in Illustrator and cut out the image using a clipping mask. It looks complicated, but I assure you, this type of graphic is quite easy.

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 its 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. This post is fun with a video of the process.

   

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 patterns I designed)

   

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.

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. When creating wallpapers, just set your artboard to your phone screen size (google will tell you what it is) and save as a jpg. Email or airdrop the image to your phone, save the image and set as your wallpaper. You can do the same on your computer desktop or ipad.

ipadbike

   

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.

   

If you’d like to learn all the basics – seriously, even if you are a very beginning beginner – you will love the online Simplified Graphic Design classes.

allthree

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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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Balloon Invitations – a fun diy for birthday girls (or boys)

Balloon Invitations / jones design company

My baby turns six in a few weeks. Each year, we celebrate our kiddos with a party and this nearly-six-year-old has been counting down for the past several months. This girl is excited.

Sometimes we host parties at home, sometimes we let a party place run the thing for us, but I always make the invitations. I mean, it’s what I did for my business for years and so I feel like it’s just expected, what I should do, what I have to do.

But this year, I decided to take that pressure off myself. I don’t have to make my own invitations, I said. There are plenty of options for store-bought ones. Just make it easy on yourself and buy the invitations. 

So on Saturday after barre class and a quick stop by the nursery, I popped into Target determined to let myself off the invitation-making hook.

And you know what? I just couldn’t do it. I stood there in the stationery aisle with a handful of perfectly fine options and just couldn’t do it. I realized I actually like making invitations. It feels like one special thing I can do for my daughter to make her birthday feel even more exciting.

So instead of grabbing a pack of ready-made cards, I went one aisle over and grabbed a few craft things to make a very simple, yet extra fun party invitation.

Can we show you?  audreyballooninvite What little girl doesn’t love a few balloons? I just added a hand-written tag and voila! Easy as can be.

Here’s what you need:  balloon invitations supplies / jones design company

balloons (white, gold, teal) / string / confetti / helium tank / kraft tags / white pen

STEP ONE: stretch out a balloon and add a few pieces of confetti inside. This would be cute in clear balloons. Wish I would have thought of that beforehand.  balloonconfetti

STEP TWO: Fill up three balloons with helium.  blowing-balloon Note: let your nearly-six year old do this part. She/he will love it.

You can buy a small party tank that fills 30 balloons. It is around $25 and found in the party section at Target (or walmart or similar big box store). You could also have the balloons filled for you at a store like Hallmark or sometimes grocery stores will do it, but it’s usually about $1 per balloon (sometimes more?). Buying the tank felt like the easier and less expensive option.

STEP THREE: tie string to balloon.  string-to-balloon I tied a knot and let the balloon reach the ceiling, then cut the string. You could use curling ribbon, I just happen to have a humungous roll of baker’s twine and used that.  balloonsceiling Blow up as many balloons as you need. We decided to do one of each color per invitation. 

STEP FOUR: write details on tags
handwriting On one side of the tag I wrote Audrey is 6. On the back are the details for the party (made up for this example). tags

STEP FIVE: tie three strings together to make a little loop.

tie-string

STEP SIX: tie on the tag
tag Now go deliver!
balloontrio

waiting-at-the-door

The balloons tangle up easily, so don’t gather the whole bunch together and think you’ll be able to separate them easily. Not that I know anything about that …

We delivered the invitations to a few friends’ doors and the girls were so excited to receive them. This was a great alternative to store-bought invitations and nearly as easy. Plus, it was a fun project to do with my birthday girl.

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Want to see past invitations?

AUDREY’S FIRST BIRTHDAY

First birthday invitations / jones design company

details about invitations / details about party

AUDREY’S SECOND BIRTHDAY

Oops. Looks like we didn’t throw her a party. But this post is a sweet read about our girl.

AUDREY’S THIRD BIRTHDAY

details about invitations / details about party

AUDREY’S FOURTH BIRTHDAY

details about party

AUDREY’S FIFTH BIRTHDAY

details about invitations

What fun keepsakes. I guess I’ll just keep making invitations.

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sweet diy headbands

DIY headbands / jones design company Every day of Audrey’s baby life, I adorned her sweet head with a handmade headband (see photos here and here).  My baby girl turns six (SIX!!) next month and while she will still wear a headband from time to time, she’s mostly a ponytail or leave it down kind of girl.  DIY headbands / jones design company So when my sister and brother-in-law had a baby girl last summer, I was very excited about making sweet Ellie some headbands.  There’s nothing cuter than a baby girl in a headband. DIY headbands / jones design company Here we are, seven months later and I finally put together some pretty adorable headbands for the baby (and a few matching ones for Audrey, too).  DIY headbands / jones design company I bought the elastic, the fluffy teal trim and a few felt colors at Joanns. The good colors of wool felt came from BenzieDesigns – truly the best place to find great felt.
DIY headbands / jones design company For the bow headbands, I used this tutorial and downloadable pattern and this felt. The bows are very simple to make. For Ellie’s I glued it onto elastic cording; Audrey’s is on a 1/4″ elastic.
DIY headbands / jones design company The felt flowers are made using this tutorial from Purl Soho (such a fun resource for patterns and fabric crafts). The clustered one turned out so darling with the mixes of greens and flower colors. The pink and coral felt is from Joann’s, the melon and yellow are Benzie Designs. That ruffly elastic is found in the elastic aisle at Joann’s and comes in several different colors.

To package the headbands up for a gift, I cut a piece of cardstock to a 5×7 rectangle and clipped the corners using this punch.
DIY headbands / jones design company Just wrap the headband around the paper, fold the extra elastic and secure with washi tape.  DIY headbands. How to package / jones design company Look how precious our little Ellie-bean looks in her headband!

baby in felt headband / jones design company These headbands took an hour or so to make and were a great project to work on while watching football. If you have a baby girl in your life, perhaps she would love a new headband or two.

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Cozy Up with a Pom Pom Blanket

Do you follow Annie @zevyjoy on instagram? If not, you might want to. Her photos are bright, soft, cozy and full of glorious neutral texture.

zevy joy

About once per week, she tags me as the source when questioned about where she found the pom pom blanket that pops up in many of her photos (a very sweet and unnecessary thing to do. I appreciate the mention!).

Pom Blanket by Zevy Joy / DIY at jones design company

I did post a simple tutorial a little over a year ago about how to make a pom pom blanket. This is the tutorial that Annie used and I’ll share it again today just in case you missed it. If you’re in search of a doable project to work on this winter that turns out very cozy and stylish and looks fantastic strewn about on a chair, a bed, a big sofa bed, any surface in your house, this pom pom blanket is the right choice.

pom pom blanket tutorial / jones design company

The best part about this project 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. I made one with a gray throw  from IKEA (seen here), the teal geometric is from Target (no longer available). A cableknit throw like this would be great, or 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.

pom-blanket-cut-pom-pom

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

pom-blanket-make-pom-poms-2

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.

pom-blanket-trim-pom-strings

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-blanket-wrapped

So there you go. One simple project to try and a delightful instagram account to follow.

*Top photos by Annie at zevyjoy.com

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White Pom Pom Wreath DIY (for under $20)

Make a pom pom wreath for under $20 / jones design company

How festive is our stag in his new pom pom wreath?!

fireplace

Last year I made a bunch of pom pom garlands to hang around the house (see an example here). This year, I thought I’d take the yarn pom pom thing a step further and make a big, fluffy, wintery wreath to hang around the neck of the stag head hanging above the fire place.

About the stag head: it was an on-a-whim purchase by Ryan when we redid our fireplace and it is such a great statement piece. I know deer heads have been all the rage, but I’m still into this one. We bought it from Restoration Hardware. Good news! It’s on sale now for over $100 off.

So back to the pom poms. I made a bunch using two full skeins of chunky yarn (be sure to use your 50% off craft store coupon as each pack is about $9). I had a few leftover poms in a different shade of white from the garland that I added in and the slight variation in creamy white is nice.

To make the pom poms, I use this large pom pom maker. You can see the exact pom-making steps on this post. For this large wreath, I used about 35 large pom poms (I probably could have used more).

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

pom-wreath-supplies

large pom poms / styrofoam wreath form / chunky yarn / tacky glue / embroidery floss / needle

(PLEASE NOTE: I bought the 12″ styrofoam wreath form at my local craft store for $5.99. The link above is some outrageous price, so don’t buy from there, but I just wanted to link you to the product so you can see exactly what it is.)

STEP ONE: wrap the wreath form in yarn

tie-to-wrap

Tie a knot to hold and start wrapping, keeping the yarn taught. You can add drops of glue every once in a while to hold the yarn in place, but it is not necessary.

wrapyarn

I’m sure you’ve seen wreaths just wrapped in yarn – they look very modern and pretty, so go ahead and stop the project at this point if you’d like :)

STEP TWO: add the pom poms

supplies-for-poms

You could add your poms in a number of ways – hot glue would work or that tacky glue. I just wasn’t sure how well the pom poms would stay with glue, so I decided to stitch them on using embroidery thread and a large needle.

sewpom

Thread the needle with a long piece of thread and knot the end. Run the needle through the center of the pom so it goes through the center knotted part to hold. Now stitch it to the wreath either under the wrapped yarn (but not through the styrofoam) or by wrapping the thread around the wreath and back through the pom to secure tightly.

sewpom2

As long as your embroidery thread matches your poms, go ahead and be messy with your stitching method.

progress

I stitched poms to the front and outside edge because I knew it was going to be a tight fit around the stag’s neck. You could fill in as much as you prefer.

With space for about three more pom poms, I ran out of yarn (oops!). Not a big deal in my case since it was going around the stag’s neck and you can’t see the top. But if you are hanging yours, go ahead and finish the wreath.

finished

Once it was done (ish) I pulled the stag off the wall, put the wreath around his neck and hung him back up.

wreathclose

What a fun way to add color and texture for very little time and less than $20.

fireplacewithwreath

We’re slowly adding in Christmas decorations to our house (I’m trying to go with white, white and more white) and this pom wreath is a great start.

stag-with-wreath

Need an afternoon craft? Give this pom pom wreath a try!

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The Easiest Way to Update a Ho-Hum Bookshelf

The Easiest Update for your Ho-Hum Bookshelf / jones design company

Audrey’s room has been an in-process project for well over a year. (Please tell me I’m not the only one whose projects drag on way longer than expected?!)

We started with this design board idea, made the first updates, added a darling gallery wall and a cute diy bulletin board.  Things are going slowly, but coming along.

In my dream world, we would have built-in bookcases and a bench made for the entire wall with the window (sort of like this).  But reality kicks in and this is just not a project we’re going to tackle, so instead I borrowed two nothing-special bookshelves we had laying around and flanked the window with them. They are just your average dark wood pieces of furniture, but they fit the space and are a great stand-in for the dream shelves.

before

I had fleeting thoughts of painting the shelves white or gray or even something unexpected like minty-green, but once again, reality struck and painting furniture (and doing it well so that it doesn’t chip or scratch the first time she pulls the baskets out) is not a project this mama can take on right now.

So on to option B: add cute paper to the back and call it done. This is for sure the easiest way to update a ho-hum bookshelf.

supplies

I used a roll of wrapping paper I’ve been hoarding (I used some of it as the table runner for Audrey’s 4th Birthday party), scissors and poster putty.

bookshelf-process

I removed the middle shelf, then cut a piece of paper larger than needed. I could have measured the inside of the bookshelf and transferred the measurements to the paper and cut precisely, but I was going for ease. Instead, I pushed the too-big piece inside the shelf, smoothed it out and creased where it needed to be cut.

Next, I added a bunch of small dots of poster putty to the back of the shelf. You could use double-sided tape if you’d rather.

Then add in the paper and smooth down, making sure you press the paper to the putty dots to stick.

After a little bit of styling, here is the cute new shelf:

The Easiest Update for your Ho-Hum Bookshelf / jones design company

before-and-after

The Easiest Update for your Ho-Hum Bookshelf / jones design company

The Easiest Update for your Ho-Hum Bookshelf / jones design company

The paper gives the shelf a little more style and hint of color that’s just right for a little girl’s room.

And the best part is, it took me all of 10 minutes to complete the project :)

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DIY Pillow From a Favorite T-shirt

 

DIY Pillow from A Favorite T shirt / jones design company

Have you read the children’s book called I Had A Favorite Dress? It’s the cutest. In the story, the girl outgrows her favorite dress and turns it first into a new shirt, then a skirt, then a hair bow and so on. The illustrations are my absolute favorite, but the story is just as sweet.

Well, this is a story about Audrey’s favorite t-shirt that became much too small.

tshirt

We just couldn’t bear to pass it on, so instead we turned it into a pillow.

Full disclosure: this is one of the worst pillows I’ve ever made. And that includes the ones I tried to sew back in college for our first apartment that were misshapen and way too under-stuffed (sorry roommate). The photos make it look a little cuter than it is in real life, but not all projects turn out amazingly and rather than toss it to the side (which I almost did), I’m sharing a project fail in my eyes that my daughter happens to adore. So we’ll keep the wonky, crooked, way too over-stuffed pillow and just remember that sometimes the best project intentions just don’t come out how you imagined them.

I’ll leave some tips at the bottom for how you might improve if you choose to make a pillow out of a beloved t-shirt as well.

Here’s what you’ll need:

supplies

SUPPLIES

t-shirt / fabric for back (I used this from Minted) / piping / pins / scissors / sewing machine / pillow form

STEP ONE

Cut t-shirt into square (mine is 12×12)

cut-shirt

STEP TWO

Cut back fabric into square (again, 12×12)

cut-backing

STEP THREE: MAKE PIPING

make-piping

  1. Fold your fabric on the diagonal to cut a bias strip. I used a rotary cutter and straight edge on a cutting mat, but you could mark with a pencil and cut with scissors. Cut a 2 inch strip. The length depends on how large your pillow is. You may need to cut a few strips.
  2. If you need more than one strip length, sew right sides together of two strips to make one long one.
  3. Place you piping in the middle of the strip and pin to hold.
  4. Using a zipper foot (I think that’s what it’s called), sew along the edge of the cording to hold. This is where I didn’t do things quite right because my cording wasn’t super tight. Not sure if I used the wrong foot or what. But you just make it work.
  5. Pin piping to pillow back.
  6. Stitch piping onto the pillow back. You can snip into the corners to help make a nice edge.
  7. Over lap the ends and you’ll get this:

piping-sewed

STEP FOUR

Pin and stitch t-shirt to backing (right sides together and leave a gap in the bottom).

tshirt-to-pillow-backing

STEP FIVE

Turn the pillow right-side out and you’ll have this: made-of-awesome-pillow-

awesome-close-up

STEP SIX

Stuff pillow with pillow form (I used a 12×12)

stuff

This is where I went way wrong … I should have used a down pillow form because I always like them better and I should have used a smaller size since the shirt fabric is so stretchy and doesn’t hold it all together the way a normal cotton fabric would.  The piping feels a little too bulky for the pillow and I didn’t sew a perfect square. It’s just all a bit off.

But then I showed Audrey the finished product and she loved it.

audrey-awesome

So even though it’s not my best work, it sits proudly on Audrey’s bed declaring that she is made of awesome.

pillow-on-bed

Which she most definitely is. The pillow, however, not so much.

TIPS FOR DOING THIS PROJECT BETTER:

  1. Make your pillow an inch smaller than the square you cut from the t-shirt. You can’t see it in the photos, but I had to leave a tiny bit of the sleeve/shoulder seam on to get a 12×12 square. I should have gone smaller.
  2. Learn how to make piping the right way. I’m not exactly sure what that is, but it must have something to do with the sewing machine foot. I need my mom.
  3. Go for a smaller piping size if you’re doing a mini pillow like this. What I had on hand was a bit overkill and it would have looked better with a smaller piping.
  4. Use a down-filled pillow form. In a slightly smaller size than the finished pillow.
  5. Sew a straight line.

Lessons learned. I’m just glad my baby likes it :)

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Fun freebie: Back to school clip art

Fun Freebie: back to school clip art / jones design company

Well, it’s back to school season. We still have two weeks before our kids head back, but it seems like facebook and instagram are filled each day with smiling kiddos in new shoes wearing too-big backpacks starting off their new school year.

In honor of our kids and teachers and schedules returning and quiet houses (ahhh), I doodled a few back to school icons.

sketching back to school clip art / jones design company via instagram

And then I turned them into clip art (because why not?!).

free hand-drawn back to school clipart / jones design company

Use these for note cards, teacher gifts, scrapbook pages, photo overlays, bag tags, worksheets, etc. The files are .png with transparent backgrounds and you can alter, recolor and scale them using Illustrator with just a few clicks. I made a quick video showing how to edit the clipart HERE. And another video showing the techniques I use for turning black and white clip art into color-filled ones (like that polka-dot apple up there and the pencil below). See that one HERE.

Best of all, they are free!

To download the clip art, click the image below to log in or sign up for the archive where all of our freebies and downloads are stored for easy access.

Download back to school clipart button / jones design company

Enjoy!

NOTE: If the archive page is not loading for you, click here for the clip art. Sorry for the trouble!

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MARK YOUR CALENDAR:

The next session of the Simplified Graphic Design class opens September 2nd

registration-opens-92

CLICK HERE TO LEARN ALL ABOUT IT

For more free clip art, check out the celebration collection, halloween collection, easter collection and under the sea collection.

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How To Create A Gallery Wall

How to Create a Gallery Wall / jones design company
Audrey’s room has been in it’s incomplete state for well over a year. This seems to be a theme in my life – this starting and not finishing projects around the house – and I’m determined to wrap a few up.  I’ve been collecting art for her room and knew a gallery wall was in order. I finally put it together and I am IN LOVE with how it turned out.

I’ll show you the final wall at the end (it’s super cute!), but I wanted to walk you through my process for creating a gallery wall.

First things first, collect art and frames.

grab-all-art

I don’t know why we have so many frames laying around our house, but in this moment I was thankful for the abundant supply.  For Audrey’s room, I chose to do a combination of white, gold and black frames. I like a simple frame and while you can definitely do all matching frames, I find it more interesting to have a mix. Here’s an example of mixed frames from our Wall of L’s. All of the frames I used were from Target, Minted or IKEA, with exception of the vintage gold frames from my grandmother.

As for art, I’ve been collecting favorites for about a year, waiting to put them all together in a gallery. I’ll highlight my exact art below. When choosing art, try to keep to a similar color story and feel. Varying artists, sizes, mediums, dimension is great because it adds interest to your wall. And don’t forget to add in a few photos, too.

Next up is gathering the tools. Here’s the thing about me and hanging pictures: I’m not afraid of an extra hole in the wall. Which basically means, I eyeball it and if I mess up, I just pop in another hole. Therefore, a ruler, level and tape measure do not make it into my list of tools. If this is just too much for you, go ahead and add a measuring device to the list of tools.

Tools you need to hang a gallery wall / jones design company

A few notes:

* Poster Putty. Remember this stuff? It used to be blue and it held up a lot of magazine tear outs on my bedroom wall in my high school days). It now comes in white and is great for tacking up paper, photos and I even put a little ball under the bottom corners of frames to keep them from getting knocked around and crooked.

* Washi Tape. Super cute to use as an embellishment on frames or to hang photos/little notes (tip: you may need poster putty to secure them first and then add tape – it doesn’t hold well on it’s own).

* 3M Velcro Strips. Great for picture frames that don’t have hooks (like the vintage ones I used) and also if you want to avoid nail holes in your walls.

* Picture Hooks. These little ingenious things just poke into the sheetrock and use leverage so you don’t need wall anchors.

* Small Nails. Unless the art I’m hanging is super heavy, I just hang it with a small nail.

* Hammer. This fancy one was invented by Ryan’s uncle. It’s the most handsome hammer in all the land. If you need a gift idea for a man in your life, here are a few for sale.

* Pencil. For marking where to pop in the nail.

So once you’ve got your artwork and frames selected and your tools gathered, it’s time to layout your art.

layout-art-1

I start by laying it all out on the floor so I can see each piece and the sizes in relation to each other. I’m a symmetrical girl for most things in life, but prefer a loose, non-symmetrical gallery wall. This is a helpful wall layout guide if you need some ideas for arrangements, but again, most are pretty symmetrical and I think it’s okay to be relaxed and casual with art placement (i.e. not lining up perfectly, not equal spaces between all frames, etc.).  One thing I do like to do is to arrange the art in a rough square or rectangle. This keeps everything relating, but not perfectly lined up.

For the gallery wall in Audrey’s room, I started with the largest piece first (the floral paper – so darling, yes?!) and used it to anchor the left side. Then I just started moving pieces around a little bit like a puzzle. I tried to alternate the sizes and orientation (so not two horizontal 8×10’s next to each other) as well as the frame color. Then I took it one step further and spread out work by the same artist and colors. For example, the mermaid print, cake table and shoe prints all have that pretty teal/minty blue and I kept them separate so that the color was spread out and it keeps your eye moving around to take it all in. The same is true for the gold accents – I placed them throughout the arrangement rather than next to each other.

layout-art-4

Once you find an arrangement you like, now you get to mess up your walls and start poking holes in them! Yay! I know this can be scary, but my theory is that they are just walls and are very easy to patch and paint over if you decide to take down the art at some point. So don’t be afraid, let your walls be your canvas.

I pulled the artwork one at a time and followed the same layout I had on the ground.

How to Create a Gallery Wall in animation / jones design company
An hour or so later, here is what I ended up with:
How to create a gallery wall / jones design company

This wall now makes me so happy and Audrey loves it, too.

gallery-close

Each piece is meaningful and has been collected just for her. I just love how it turned out!

Sources for Artwork / jones design company

1. Mighty To Save by Fancy That Design House

2. No longer available. From Janet Hill Studios

3. Be you tiful. By me

4. Mini card by 1 Canoe 2 from She Reads Truth

5. Little Dresses by Julia Denos

6. Mermaid by Rifle Paper Co from Paper Source

7. Mini card by She Reads Truth

8. Cardboard covered letter

9. Twirl print by Lindsay Letters for Jones Design Company (we have just a few more on sale here)

10. Button flower bouquet (tutorial here)

11. Mint Floral Wrapping Paper by Rifle Paper Co for Paper Source

12. DIY Silhouette (tutorial here)

13. No longer available by Janet Hill Studios (but she has so many other great ones)

14. Flower Shop by Coco + Ollie

15. Paper Crown (tutorial here)

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Apparently I had some things to say about how to create a gallery wall! Hopefully the info is helpful and if you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment below.

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