life is always about the journey...

Monday, September 30, 2013

Thrifty Upcycle - Framed DIY Whiteboards

Dorm White Boards

These cool whiteboards are gifts for my daughter and her two BFFs to go in their College Bags they will each receive upon graduation in the spring that I'm filling up.  You can see other posts about those bags and what's inside HERE and HERE!

I love chalkboards, whiteboards, message boards...anything you can personalize and leave messages on basically.  Back in July we got a dorm-decor magazine in the mail since (save my life I cannot find it ugh) and we now get all kinds of college stuff in the mail since Alexa registered for schools LOL...enough to paper a village.  And they had the cutest dorm whiteboards in funky frames that I knew the girls would love!  Heck I love them for myself and plan on making one for me too :) 
PROBLEM was...they were $65-75 each...OMGeee..way too much!
But as I looked at them I realized how easy & cheap they'd be to make myself...or as Alexa says "You say that about everything"...well its true.  If its doable, not too hard and cheaper WHY NOT I say!

So I set out to do it the cheapest and best way I could!


My spray paint friend handle grip...this one was $2 at Lowes and is made by Rustoleum.
It slips right over your spray can and makes it so much easier...less stress on your hand muscles which for me is a HUGE blessing.  And it gives a nice even spray as well.

I got this frame for $3 at the local Thrift had the glass and back on it still and in perfect shape.
Thrift stores have the BEST deals on large, beautiful frames and I loved the oval shape.

I really love Rustoleum's 2x Ultracover---its good on metal, wood, plastic, wicker, etc.
And it covers great with only a few coats and you can put the can upside down and it STILL sprays..awesome.  
TIP: Hobby Lobby and other craft stores NOW sell spray paint and its around $4-5 retail..but use those 40-50% off store coupons from the paper, apps or online to get them cheaper.

Three coats was all this gold frame needed and its perfectly covered & shiny!
Love it!

For my boards you actually write right on the glass in the frames...yup dry erase markers work GREAT on glass too and wipe clean easily.
So I traced the oval onto white cardstock, cut out and added it behind the frame. And did the same for the other frame too.
You could use a fun print paper or different color if you choose too...its always up to you!

Remember this post?  See the framed picture in the lower left corner?
I got it for $3 because the back of the frame had a lot of damage...but I had OTHER ideas for it so I didn't care!

So I took it all apart and got rid of that nasty backing and cleaned the glass really good.
I traced the old backing onto thick black cardstock so the back is now streamlined and nice.

Tape your glass off really good or take it out if you can.

Then it got 3 coats of purty hot pink Rustoleum 2x spray paint.
Let it dry and peel off tape and clean glass if needed.
READ your spray paint can directions because each brand is different.
Some you need to add your extra coats within a minute or two.  Some require you wait.
If you don't follow directions you could get tacky or bubbly paint...I warned ya!

From a $3 Frame to a fun & funky whiteboard!!  And its EASY!

I used ribbon I had on hand (cost $0) and hot glued it to the inside of each frame before putting the back of the frame between the hot glue and the frame backing it clinches the ribbon tightly.  Then I tied the ribbon around each marker (under the clip) and used hot glue to add a dot to the underside to keep them more secure.  Easily peeled off when ready to switch them out though.

I picked up these mini whiteboard markers by "The Board Dudes" at Staples...with a coupon I got the pack for just under $3...great deal!  The are the perfect size for these whiteboards.  They are magnetic as well but I wanted the markers to hang from the whiteboard since they will be hanging on dorm room doors.  Too easy for kids to snatch the markers if they are only stuck on with magnets KWIM?

The gold frame has an easel back so it can be set up on a flat surface.  However these were meant to be hung up on walls or doors so I had to retrofit them a bit.  I bought picture hooks and added those to the back of both frames.  The one square frame had a different picture hanger on back that would not work with a Command Hook so that got taken off and a new hook added. Then I bought some 3M Command Hooks that are clear and medium sized so that the girls can put the boards on their doors or walls...they will easily come off with no damage when they need to be.  Make sure to buy hooks that can hold some weight...these will hold up to 2 lbs so they are perfect!

These would be cute on a desk, wall, name it!
Go for smaller frames and make mini versions.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

DIY Vintage Inspired Florals!

This fall arrangement speaks to me all wrapped up into a vintage bundle...well I'm not vintage YET!
I love antiques, items that were well loved and used so that they now show a sense history.  I also collect vintage tins and lunch boxes...I display them all around my house & like to use them in vignettes as much as I can.
This arrangement cost me a big fat $0 LOL..everything was FREE!
So use what you have in your yard and woods and see what you can create!

I have quite a few pics in this post...feel free to scroll thru.  But I'm learning how to use my new Canon Rebel T51 and so I'm having fun with it :)  Bear with me...I'm a picture kinda girl!

This is what some of my hydrangeas look like currently in my front beds.  I clipped bunches of them already to dry in the garage for later use. Tulips and Hydrangeas are my absolute favorite flowers...I ADORE them.  And hydrangeas look beautiful dried so I always dry bunches over the winter.  And when fall comes my bright blooms turn into these beautiful soft, muted colors...perfect for fall arrangements.

And the woods behind our house are starting to turn beautiful fall colors as well.  So I went forest foraging and found some great dried branches from felled trees, delicate wheat grass and golden leaves to use.  And they were all FREE, nothing better than free!

I've gathered all the elements I want onto my countertop and get started.
My kitchen countertops get a lot use for cooking AND all my projects.
My studio is for my papercrafting mainly and hubby's garage is my spray paint & painting command center!  Next house I want a HUGE studio where I can have many different areas...hubby laughs when I say that..but a girl CAN dream right?

I use small plasticware containers inside my tins to hold water so the blooms stay fresh for awhile longer.

I liken flower arranging to how I make my cards...layers...lots and lots of layers and textures.
Not that I'm a professional floral arranger by any means...but I can do enough to get by for what I like.
I knew I would set this on my family room coffee table so I wanted some height but not too much that it blocked the TV viewing...gosh forbid anyone cannot see the TV in my house ;)  Especially during football and hockey season..I mean "c'mon man"..repeating a phrase often uttered by the boys and ESPN!
So I wanted some graphic branches, some fall leaves and something a bit delicate to add to the arrangement.

I love the fall colors of the hydrangea blooms, so soft & vintage feeling.

A view of the arrangement against the fall afternoon sky..loved the background for this!

How can you not love hydrangeas?  Lil' blooms of four leaf clovers I used to tell the kids when they were young.  They so believed me that Riley brought me a bundle one day years ago and said they were "LUCKY" and he picked them just for me...out of my garden...sweet boy that he was is ;)

Here is what it looks like on my coffee table.  Those fab glass blown pumpkin & gourd came from 
Pier One the amber color.  The much LOVED tv is to the right in this picture.
PS--the arrangment gets put in the study at night or when no one is home...remember I have flower eating cats that see this as a great snack..arghhhh!

Playing around with the aperture on the camera a bit...and one of my ever present lit Yankee Candles o the table.  This coffee table is getting painted soon...stay tuned for that.
The ruler crate was a fun purchase from Hobby Lobby for 50% holds all my current magazines that I haven't read yet and catalogs neatly.

Just something comfy and cozy about warm colors, wood, antiques, fall blooms and candle light that gives me a good feeling.  I always want my house to feel comfy and cozy and hope people feel that when they visit.

And some fun with Photoshop of a middle range between sepia and black/white.
Not quite either but a nice blend for a different look.

I hope this post inspires you to look around your house, yard and woods for some elements that you can use inside this fall.  Nothing better than natural elements that cost little to nothing and put together lovingly by you!


I'm entering this into the following Linky Parties:

Its Fall Y'all
Or So She Says
Your Homebased Mom
What's Cooking with Ruthie
It's Overflowing-Share Your Creativity
Serenity You
Common Ground:  Be Inspired
Uncommon Designs: Monday Funday
Home Coming: The DIYers
Home Stories A to Z
A Bowl Full of Lemons- One Project at a Time
Give Me the Goods Monday
DIY Dreamer
Stone Gable - Tutorials & Tips
Centsational Girl
Thistlewood Farms


Friday, September 27, 2013

Ghoulish Delight!

I've always wanted to throw a Ghoulish Halloween Party for adults only.  I've thrown my share of kid & teen Halloween parties and pot-lucks but I want to do a more elegant, creepy themed party now.  I'm a BIG FAN of Halloween and the Haunted, Ghoulish Decoration....sooo that got me thinkin.....
I may not have a party this year BUT I can sure plan things and start making things for a party right?
Well I did it...and I couldn't be more happier with it!

This is a dual - blog post...more details on some of the craftier items using new SCACD releases are on my other BLOG HERE if you want to have a looksie at those too!


This is a photo intensive blog post..I I really don't...I took so many photos that I wanted to share...but lucky you, you can choose to breeze thru :)

First the Daytime Photos so you can see it in good lighting!

I chose to do a Ghoulish Pirates of the Caribbean of my fave rides and movies and inspired by one of the new SCACD stamps.  If you haven't followed my other blog over the past 6 years, well then you wouldn't know that I'm a paper crafter...but I that's why a lot of these things were created with paper!

Entering this into Stone Gables's Tips & Tutorials Linky Party
(hop over there for more great fall ideas--will blow your mind)

First things gotta have an invite...see more details on how I made this on my other blog.
Hint: Its part of a Cameo cut file, an SCACD stamp "Jellyfish Dreams" that I embossed, vellum and inks to distress a bit.
Inside info was typed on computer and printed out on vellum, then stamped with cobwebs and spiders and distressed with inks and a Zutter Distress machine (that I ADORE).

Any good party has some awesome Eats & Drinks yes?
I got these clear skull goblets at the party store for $0.69 cents each...SCORE!
Then I cut some cool Halloween-Swirly skull and bat images out of black adhesive vinyl with my Silhouette easy & quick to do.  And you can peel them off if you ever want to change them.
The black platter I've had for years but it came from the party store for only $2 and its plastic..who knew..shhhh!

Then you add in some chocolate...always a good party idea!
I made cookies-in-the-graveyard pudding snacks in individual sized serving cups.
I've been making versions of these since my kids were tiny...but pretty easy...chocolate pudding set in clear plastic cups, crumbled Oreos on top and then a Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie.  The RIP I painted on with a paintbrush and food can pipe it on in chocolate but I tried something new this time.  A spider attached to the brim adds the right touch ;)  Or you could add in gummy worms..that is STILL my teen son's favorite!

And to further the sugar rush you need some spooky sweets!
I bought these clear glass jars at Hobby Lobby at 50% each was $1.50..a deal that cannot be beat!
The taller bottles got some more vinyl creepies that I cut on my Cameo as well...a white skull-n-bones and a black spider.  Best thing about the vinyl is it peels off and you begin again!  If you don't have a way to cut your own vinyl, use stickers or pre-cut vinyl images are sold at most craft stores.

The tag on the last jar was made with a Paper Trey Ink stamp set, cut out with a die and then inked and tied on with bakers twine and a spider on top.  This jar is filled with blackberry cobbler candy corn...mmmmm yummy (from Wegmans).
(in the spring we will fill them up with sundae toppings for an ice cream bar for my daughter's graduation party...stay tuned)

These swirly candy sticks are actually fruit flavored but in cool black & white and only $3 for 24.
The little sparkly bucket is a score from the Target $1 bin years ago...I hoard $1 bin stuff because you NEVER know when it may come in handy.  And seeee I used two of them :)

The creepy branches came from the woods behind my house...then spray painted black.
You can buy them already done but whoo-whee they cost a lot...mine were free courtesy of the woods and black spray paint I had on hand.  I covered the glass vase in cobwebs and spiders to creep it out a bit more.  
I also like differing heights on my table and buffets...I use different sized boxes and stands to lift things to different levels and then cover them with material (in this case black muslin, mesh & burlap)...makes the whole set up more visually interesting.

Silver & black necklaces I got at the party store for $1.99/6 and hung them in the branches and draped them around the table.  Like the glass they sprinkle sparkle around the table and look pretty in the candlelight.

The large black bats I cut out of black foam with a die I had...I used foam to keep them light but could easily tuck into the branches.  You could also hang them from your chandelier with fishing line.

The skull luminaries I made out of vellum, cardstock and SCACD Skull stamps here, embossed in black and then grunged up a bit with ink and twine.  I put battery tea lights (or you can use battery pillars) in them...DO NOT USE a flame inside paper lanterns PLEASE!  Very easily made--took me about 5 mins to make each.  More details on them are on my other blog.

To wipe your ghoulish mouths I hand-stamped plain white paper napkins with the same stamp used on the invites in light gray ink...then folded and tucked them into a small chest.

SHOP YOUR HOUSE!  There are usually lots of things around your house displayed, in cabinets or stuffed in drawers that would be perfect for a party setting.  I pulled vases, mini chests and platters out..I even used some drinking glasses filled with necklaces & spiders and topped off with candles on my table.

You don't have to spend a fortune on a party!
*think outside the box and plan, plan, plan & set a budget
*Always shop your house first for treasures
*make it when you can, buy it when you can't I always say
*use coupons from the paper, internet & apps for stores you need items from
*have a pot luck theme to cut down on food costs
*have a drink menu and stick to it, no need for 100 varieties of alcohol & other drinks
*if its a large party search online for bulk deals for some items
*need more glassware, chairs or serving dishes? ask a friend or neighbor and borrow them!
*raid your children's toy chest for treasures to use
*hit up the Dollar Store & Target and Michaels $1 Bins for accessories
*scour your thrift shops for cheap buys that can be used for party
*employ kids, teens & family to help with planning & preparation
*most of all have fun & don't stress so much, otherwise what's the point?

Other items used on the table:
-black muslin and black mesh bought in rolls at Hobby Lobby ($11 for both)
-burlap runner I had on hand
-bags of faux cobwebs ( 99 cents)
-black cauldron that holds silverware ($2)
-white candles  (dollar store)
-bag of plastic spiders (99 cents)
-Silhouette Cameo and adhesive vinyl
-Memory Box dies and Cuttlebug machine
-Zutter Distress machine

Hop on over to my ScrapBitz Blog to see other crafty details!

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