Tag Archive for 'diy'

Embroidery Hoop Knick Knack Shelf

knick knack mantle

I finally installed my knick knack shelf over the mantel in a proper way.

Back story: Shortly after we moved into our house in 2011 I put these shelves up over the mantel but Matt did not like how they were all just leaning there. He said if I wanted them up I need to attach them properly and it took me a couple years to finally get that done. Since I want to regularly rotate out our mantel, so the decor never gets stale, I just used LOTS of 3M velcro strips.

knick knack mantle 2014

There are two shelves that are deeper than the type case shelves so they are sitting on the mantel. The shelf on the bottom left is by my friend Ann of a A Beautiful Party and I bought it at a show but I think she needs to make and sell these online, they are so wonderful. Because that shelf is painted a very pale aqua or teal and a different color than the rest of the wooden shelves, and because I had an empty spot on the top right I had the idea of making my very own little knick knack shelf.

I first saw this shelf by etsy seller Senkki and thought it would be great to make a small, round knick knack shelf but from an embroidery hoop, to balance out my own shelf wall. Easy Peasy.

Embroidery Hoop Knick Knack Shelf supplies

A quick craft store run later and I was on my way. I just picked up an wooden embroidery hoop, and then went to the wood craft section and picked out some balsa wood that was the same thickness as the hoop’s depth. I grabbed a pencil, an X-acto pen knife, a glue gun (you could use wood glue if you want and have more time), and a cutting board.

Embroidery Hoop Knick Knack Shelf

I just eyeballed where I’d like a shelf to go and marked it with a pencil. Since the balsa wood is so thin and soft I was able to just cut it with the pen knife, no power tools necessary! Dabbing a bit of hot glue on each end, I then put it into the hoop and let the glue cool while I worked on the next piece.

Embroidery Hoop Knick Knack Shelf

The whole thing took less than a half an hour.

embroidery hoop Knick Knack Shelf up

Also, since the wood is so light I was able to put it up with more 3m strips, tada! I think the next size larger embroidery hoop might look better, filling the space, so I might try that next. You may want to stain or paint your embroidery hoop shelf. I’d recommend doing that before beginning.

Other Crafty DIYs and Tutorials by Robayre

DIY quick, cheap and easy fresh floral necklace

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The other day I quickly whipped together some fresh floral necklaces. I was sitting in the backseat of a car, as some friends and I headed out for an evening. I posted a couple pictures on instagram and they seemed to be a hit, so I decided to make a real post for the blog.

Summer is here and I’ve been noticing that floral crowns are really popular. When I initially saw this DIY for a floral headband on Natalie Creates I was excited for a moment because, even though it is beautiful 1. I thought it was actually a necklace and 2. I thought it was using fresh flowers.

Wearing fresh flowers just really appeals to me. BUT, I’m not really a headband/crown type person. Plus, they’d be above your eyes and nose, so you can’t really benefit from it yourself.  When I think of wearing fresh flowers though, I think of a corsage or brooch, which conjures the image of teenagers at prom, or grandma’s being honored. When I did a quick search for fresh flower necklaces it seemed that it was only mentioned in reference to weddings, or little kids making daisy chains. Why not wear a floral necklace to work, or for a night out on the town?

The other night I was watching the movie The Details on netflix streaming. It’s kinda good, (comparitively speaking to the rest of the streaming movies that I haven’t seen or heard of before that Netflix recommends to me) so yeah, go watch it. Anyway, Laura Linney plays this kookie, neighbor and she goes on this little mini rant and in it she mentions wearing a basil leaf pinned on her lapel to purify the air. We’ve all heard that keeping plants in the home helps to purify the air and it got me thinking that there might really be something more to wearing a necklace of fresh flowers. I always wondered if that “purify the air” thing was really just a myth based on the fact that plants “breathe” carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, while humans breathe oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. But, apparently NASA spearheaded a study in the 80s and found it to be true. Plants actually remove poisonous contaminates from our air, other than just CO2.

Here are some different sites that offer different plants that help purify your air. 15 houseplants for improving indoor air quality, Breathe Easier: 12 Houseplants to Purify Indoor Air, and NASA Study House Plants Clean Air. Some of these plants are ones you can find in inexpensive floral bouquets from the store.

Now, this might all be for nothing because what I’m about to do with these plants and flowers is cut their heads off. We will all agree that flowers are pretty, and they smell great. Whether or not these blossoms continue to purify the air around you after they’ve been cut from the stem is beyond me, but I think you will still continue to enjoy their fragrance and appearance all the same.

Bought a bunch of flowers and made some fresh flower necklaces for myself and some lady friends.  Easy as cutting the stem off, threading florist wire through the base and then wrapping the two ends together, wide enough to fit over your head. #diy #flowe

It can really be as easy as this:


For $10 or less I went to the grocery store and picked out a bouquet with a wide variety of flowers. Some of the plants mentioned in the above articles include daisies and chrysanthemums, which may or may not purify the air around you while wearing this necklace.

For $2 at Michael’s I bought a little bit of florist wire.

With these 2 items you could probably end up making a dozen necklaces.

6.17.13 flowers

Cut off the heads of the flowers where the stem meets the base. Once you have all the blossoms you can organize and decide what flowers you want and in what order you want them on your necklace.

Using a pair of craft scissors cut a length of wire about 3 feet in length. This will allow for extra length to be trimmed away later.

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The end of the wire will be stiff enough (like a needle) to feed through the base of the flower.
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You can just thread them on, or loop the wire around like pictured above. I looped the wire and was able to play around with the placement a bit more than if the flowers were just threaded on.

fresh flower necklace

You can create extra loops to create rows and give the piece some depth. The wires on the back can be messy, no one will see it.

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Once the arrangement is complete you may decide to loop the wire around to make it into a necklace, or maybe you’d like to attach a ribbon to wear around your neck.

I wore my necklace out for an evening and it looked beautiful and smelled great all night long. If you end up making any fresh flower necklaces, I’d love to see your arrangement.

Read more tutorials on Inspiration Junkie

DIY Enlarged Photobooth Strip Print

Images above (left to right) Martha Stewart, Design Editor, and A Beautiful Mess

Well, another thing for the home, but I promise this is more of a designy-crafty-DIY type of a thing than home renovations. I’ve been seeing these large Debbie Carlos prints around for years, online and at renegade. I learned that blowing up your own pictures really big can make for some great artwork from all my years watching early Trading Spaces. A year or so ago people started posting about how you can get your own images blown up, in black and white, cheaply at copy stores, by just asking for blueprint or engineering copies. Brilliant!

Then a little bit ago I saw this great pin about making a life size photobooth strip from Today’s Creative Blog. I think that tutorial just pieced together 12×12 prints to look like they were all one strip, but I thought “why not take it a step further and just blow up a real photo booth strip?” I called up a local copy store and they said the largest size they print is 4’x3′ for only $5. The print is like a very large xerox and the paper is pretty similar weight to a nice copy machine paper. 4’x3′ is much wider than just one strip so I figured why not do a few strips side by side.

Working on a fun project idea. Some of my #photobooth strips from over the years.
just a few of my photo chemical photobooth pictures strips

While looking through my strips I realized I liked some pictures from a lot of the different strips and decided to piece together some of my favorites of Matt and I from over the years. I scanned 3 photobooth strips to get the background right, and then scanned all my strips for the individual pictures I wanted to place over the existing pictures. They are all real photobooth pictures, just not from the same strips. You could easily just scan complete strips and have them printed as is.

3.28.13 photobooth prints

Once again, I’m not a home decor photographer, but COME ON! Look how I was able to get two adorable kitties in the shot AND both are looking at the camera! I may have missed my calling to be a pet photographer. It’s like a family portrait of sorts above. Matt and I in the print, and the cats below. I said “too bad I didn’t remove the laptop from next to the couch” and Matt said “well, that’s part of the family too!”

A few extra ideas I had while doing this project:

I scanned the photobooth strips in at resolution of 1200 so that when they were printed out that huge they would still look pretty crisp.

The print is just stuck to the wall using wall tacky, which I’m not crazy about for the long run. I doubt I’d just find any picture frame that large that is in range for a $5 print. I need to look online for some framing ideas.

Think about what else you could print large. What about a face, Chuck Close style?! You aren’t limited to enlarging photographs either. It would be really cool to scan an object (fern leaf, needlework, heirloom lace, seeds, sequins) or photograph a sentimental object (wedding rings, baseball, keys, handwriting) you have and then blow up those images really big to display in your home.

You could get an even bigger impact by dividing your image up into parts, getting each piece printed out on the largest size paper and then piecing all the prints together on the wall.

Many years ago I remember finding the site rasterbator.net, and this project reminded me of that. I was glad to see the site is still up. Rasterbator allows you to upload a picture and then set the specifications (image dimension, as well as paper size) and the site will create a multi page PDF with your image blown up in half-tone. You can then print the pages from home and piece them together.

Last minute addition. I love this idea that MyCakies shared where she blew up a print of the Eiffel Tower and then let her children go to town painting it with watercolors. Instant Art!


Miniature Garden

I just saw this DIY on creating a moss photography background via the Craft Blog, and it reminded me of the dried sheet moss I used recently on my own miniature garden.
I was just looking through my blog and realized I never posted about it back in 2010, and since I just redid the garden, slightly, I thought I’d share it here.
finger hat man
Background… I’m pretty obsessed with things in miniature, and have been since I was a kid. I’m pretty sure that watching the Littles as a child had a lot to do with it. A lot of my pretend play centered around tiny people and animals, so of course finding small things that I could incorporate into that was great. I didn’t get a doll house until I was probably in middle school, but I still have it, along with all the miniature furniture. I remember my mom being wowed while packing it up once and finding all sorts of miniature things in it that I had made like tiny bowls of yarn and miniature knitting needles, along with tiny newspapers, etc. When I was in college I used to subscribe to a few literary/art/photography magazine/journals and (I wish I remembered who the artist was) but there was a feature on a photographer who built little “fairy houses” out in nature, made from nature (twigs, bark, rocks, etc.) and then photographed them. That was one of those “I wish I had thought of that” moments. I also liked imagining other people finding her sculptures afterward (possibly children) and wondering what they were all about. It was like Andy Goldsworthy but way before I’d ever heard of Andy Goldsworthy. Of course the miniatures at the Art Institute in Chicago were always a favorite. As an adult I’ve attended a couple of Miniature Shows (Tom Bishop) and naturally, I have a miniatures board on pinterest.

7.17.10 miniature garden

My sister signed us up for a miniature garden class at her local nursery, The Growing Place. More than two years ago, sheesh, talk about a late blog post. I had always wanted to make a little miniature garden, but just assumed that the class would be teaching us how to make one at our own home and then sell us little plants that would be suited for our own miniature gardens. I was delighted to find that we were actually building our very own gardens right there, ready to take back home. They had a variety of containers to choose from including old vintage dresser drawers! How clever, right? I built my little garden (above) but was kind of horrible about taking care of it. Since it was just in a drawer I had it on my front porch or patio, just sitting on the cement, so it was low and overlooked. It wasn’t until moving into our home last year that I found the perfect little nook for the miniature garden, near our front door, but once again it was just on the ground. By then the plants were all dead and I didn’t replace them. Finally I had a great idea that I should put legs under my dresser drawer and lift the garden up, like a table, so that it could be seen.
miniature garden at Bloomen Gardens in Sycamore
It wasn’t until last week when visiting our local nursery (Bloomen Gardens) that I remembered that plan. Turns out they have a whole little miniature garden section there as well, and their gardens are on table tops, pictured above.
10.17 little garden2
I left the nursery on a hunt to find something that could lift my “garden drawer” up and found just the thing, a little bench, at a resale shop for $6. I went home, lifted up my sad little garden and realized that it needed some desperate TLC. It’s a little late in the season to be buying plants but I remembered a bag of sheet moss I had purchased for little terrariums, so I brought it out and rearranged it a little bit.
10.17 little garden
I remembered a white picket fence I had picked up at Michael’s (I think) and dropped int into place real quick. I also remembered some bags of miniature items (garden statues, garden pots, watering can and stepping stones) I had bought years ago at the miniature shows, for when I finally made my little garden. The little bird house that I have in there definitely needs a coat of paint and when spring hits I’ll hopefully be able to put in some real plants again, as was pictured near the top. All the same, I’m glad that it is lifted off the ground and people can enjoy it when they come in and out of the house. I’ll continue to keep my eye out for miniatures that I could add to it.

A Necklace Display

9.17 necklace display

While living in rental units and before buying our home I had a dream list of things I wanted to do once I OWNED MY OWN HOME. There were things on that list like hanging a nice, full length mirror on the wall (as opposed to the cheap mirror that is stuck to the back of most apartment bathroom doors), having my very own hammock to swing in while enjoying my very own back yard and HELLO chalkboard paint wall. One of those list items was to have a nice and permanent display for all of my necklaces.

my favorite necklaces
(some of my favorite necklaces)

I consider most of my jewelry as wearable art, rather than just jewelry, and most pieces are not small or something that could easily be put away in a jewelry box. I’d like to have the pieces out and hanging in my bedroom. This way the pieces could be displayed as the artwork that they are, but also easily seen so I can decide which piece to wear each day.

In the past I’ve just hung all my necklaces from various random hooks, knobs and random nails that seem to be abundant in most rentals. I dreamed of a time when I’d have them all hanging on the wall, equally displayed. At first I pictured a straight line of nails, right into the wall. I think after renting for so many years I couldn’t even dream past the point of just owning my own walls that I could NAIL HOLES INTO IF I WANTED. It wasn’t until moving into our house that I started thinking beyond that and came up with this idea for a necklace display.

9.17 necklace display materials

Last weekend I finally finished it and thought it might be something other people would be interested in recreating for their own necklaces. It was really simple and other than some assistance from my dad and sister (mostly because I needed their expertise, support and assurance) it could have been done in a day or two.

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I went to the hardware/lumber store and bought a 2x10x8 and had them cut it down to 4 feet long and bought an a additional length of quarter-round, as seen above.

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Lightly sand the wood, stain it and then treat it.

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Using wood glue, glue the quarter round onto the edge and tape it into place and leave it to dry.

Mark the walls where the studs are and measure the height where the piece is to hang.
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Put screws into the studs at the correct height, leaving them to stick out about .5″-.75″.

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Place the piece up against the wall, directly under the screws and mark on the wood where the screws are located.
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Drill holes into the back, slightly larger than the screw heads in the wall, that match the location of the screws in the wall.
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Run two pieces of tape across the piece, horizontally, at 1″ and 4″ down. Then mark the tape every .75″, alternating on the 1 and 4 inch tapes.
With a hammer, nail penny nails into the board at the marked spots at a slight angle upward.

Voila, the piece is done. Match the holes in the back of the piece to the screws in the wall and it hangs beautifully.

9.17 room1 9.17 room
(Before and after, necklace display)

The purpose of the quarter round was to create a small ledge where I can place artwork and inspirational images.

I also chose to use penny nails. You might opt for hooks or decorative nails. I specifically wanted the penny nails because the necklaces can easily be pulled off, and they are less distracting from the necklaces.

If you click on any of the images in this post it should take you to the flickr image. If you go to to this picture of the close up, and hover over the picture I have given credit to all the different artists who’s work can be seen in this display.

DIY Paper Clay Bead Necklaces

display necklaces
Hello friends, I started a little craft project recently and made these colorful, chunky beaded necklaces. They were really fun, easy and inexpensive to make, so I thought I’d share a little tutorial on how you can make your own paper clay bead necklaces. If you do end up making some, I’d love to see how they come out.

A few years back I was at an Old Navy store and they had some necklaces that caught my eye. They were bright and colorful, big, plastic, chunky beads and I was tempted to buy one, but something stopped me. I can’t remember if it was because they were all monochromatic color schemes, or all the beads were the same shape, or what, but I thought to myself “I could make a necklace like that for myself, but even more AWESOME.” I envisioned a statement piece of jewelry, with a variety of big chunky beads in different color schemes, that were candy like. Occasionally I would remember the necklace idea and would check out the craft stores for some big, colorful beads, but every time, there were no BIG beads, let alone any with a variety of BRIGHT colors and shapes. The closest I could find were some wood beads for little kids to learn to count on and string for fine motor skills. Fast forward to earlier this year and I remembered some paper clay I bought from my expedition into scary doll making and decided to take a crack at making my own necklace.
Alyssa and Dacia
Here are the necklaces I made being modeled on my lovely sister in law, Dacia on the right, and her lovely sister Alyssa on the left, to show how long I chose to make my necklaces.

Paper Clay
Mark Making Tools for clay (pencil, mesh, string)
Acrylic Paint
Paint Brush
Colored Pencils (optional)
Cardboard Box
Florist Wire
Drill or needle/thin knitting needle
Clear Glaze Spray
Jewelry making supplies as needed for your taste
The idea to use Paper Clay came to me because it is easily malleable, light and air dries. You can buy it fairly inexpensively at craft stores for around $9 for a pack. Just make sure that you keep it sealed after you open it. However, even if it does dry out, just put it in a ziplock bag with a little bit of water and kneed it back into shape.

I wanted to make my beads big and chunky so I just rolled them out to size. Some beads I rolled out to be round, some beads were more cylindrical, some were more flat. I used various items, such as a pencil and some old pottery tools, as well as mesh, to give my beads unique texture. Be creative! You can do whatever comes to mind. The instructions said to let the paper clay dry for 24 to 48 hours. Since my beads were rather thick I actually waited 4 days. The clay goes from being light gray to almost white when dry. Don’t worry about the beads being perfect, you can sand and file them once they are dry.
Once my beads were dry I used my dad’s drill press to drill the bead holes. If you don’t have access to that, you could use a handheld drill, a dremel, or even poke a hole while the bead is still drying. If you decide to poke a hole through, I’d recommend letting the bead dry for a few hours first so that you don’t misshape the piece while pushing a needle through it. You need to think a little ahead at this point, when choosing a drill bit, or needle size. Think about how you want to thread your beads. At first I was thinking I would simply string them on a ribbon so I chose a fairly thick drill bit. After everything was said and done, I actually changed my mind and decided to use eye pins to give each bead a more finished look. My holes were then a bit too large for the eye pins so I had to widen the end ring a touch.
DSC_0939 DSC_0941

Here’s a little trick I learned taking metal and jewelry classes – when you drill a hole you’ll often get a bit of a rough edge on the back. Take a larger drill bit than the one are using and gently twist the tip into the hole as shown above. It will smooth away that edge and finish the piece.
From here I sanded my beads to give them a more smooth surface. I also used the sand paper to give some flat edges, and a file to groove edges on others for added texture and character.
When painting the beads I used a tool I had on hand to hold the bead so that I could paint the whole bead evenly. You could also use a pin/needle or thin knitting needle, etc. The paper clay is a very dry, porous clay and will take whatever you put on it very easily. Paint them solid or patterned. You could use acrylic paint, or let the translucent quality of watercolor work in your favor. Draw on the beads with colored pencils, sharpies, etc. You could even leave them plain for all white beads. The possibilities are endless.

P1010172  P1010183
After each bead was decorated, I put them in this make-shift box as seen above. I cut slits in the side of the cardboard and fed the wire through so all the beads would be evenly spaced. Then I sprayed the beads with the clear glaze spray. I used Krylon, triple-thick crystal clear glaze and I can’t recommend this stuff enough. No matter how thick I sprayed it on, it would dry clear and fairly quickly, in 10-20 minutes. Make sure you do this outdoors or a place with plenty of air circulation and ventilation because the spray’s fumes are very strong. After I sprayed the beads I had to rotate them and spray them again, doing this about 4 or 5 times to get an even, high gloss.

Once the beads are sealed with the spray they are good to go. You can assemble them however you like. Put them on a ribbon, a wire, or chain. Add different beads you have purchased. Have them close to the neck or hang low. Use your creativity. I’ve been wearing my necklaces now for a few weeks and they have held up against the test of Robyn Demolition, where in a I destroy most things I come in contact with. These were fun to make and I hope to see how you apply your own creativity to this project!

check out other diy/tutorials on Inspiration Junkie

Kid Made Modern – Charley Harper Birds

8.5.12 Kid Made Modern
Yesterday we were at Target and I was looking for wrapping paper when I happened down an office supply isle. This isle also happens to house the Kid Made Modern line and the Charley Harper Wooden Bird Kit caught my eye. It’s a kids craft, but I thought it might be a fun mindless craft, and I contemplated turning it into a mobile. Ya know, birds on a mobile, make sense, right?

Last night while Matt and a few friends played cards downstairs, I watched some bad 70s horror movie on Netflix and painted birds.  They came out great, and I put them on the top shelf of our TV stand (the TV hangs above with only about an 8 inch clearance). Matt really likes them there so I won’t be turning it into a mobile just yet.

Some late night crafting with #kidmademodern and #charleyharper
Kid Made Modern is a line of products for children carried at Target, based on the book Kid Made Modern by Todd Oldham. I’ve loved Todd Oldham ever since I first saw him on House of Style. He seems to have such a kind spirit and an approachable, everyday-man way about him. Also, he’s a designer, but really more of a renaissance man, doing everything from designing clothes, building furniture, publishing books and hosting TV shows. There was a great interview with him recently on Grace Bonney’s newish podcast After the Jump.

The birds are actually Charley Harper designs. Charley Harper was an American artist and  illustrator. His work is visually graphic and design stylized, but most often centered around nature.

If you are interested in this kit let me share a few tidbits of wisdom. The kits can be purchased at Target for around $13. If I were to do it again, I’d start by lightly sanding the edges of the birds, fronts and back, because the pieces are die cut from sheets of wood that you pop out. While the edges weren’t really bad, it would have just given the final pieces a more finished look. The instructions are very minimal. Basically it’s just a very rough, heavily designed, poster-like color chart, and the colors aren’t very accurate to the paints that were supplied. I ended up referencing the box cover more often than the instructions. Some of the paints are transparent and show the linework underneath, but most of the paints are pretty opaque. I just painted right over the linework and when I was done went back over the lines with a Micron. I used a Micron rather than a fine tip Sharpie just because Sharpies can sometimes get a pearlescent look to them, and I wanted a flat black. The color chart indicated a black paint, but my paints did not contain any black. I took that to mean I should use the dark gray, as seen on the wood duck. My white paint was already dried up when I opened the package, fortunately I had some white acrylic paint on hand and used that instead. After I was done with a few birds I realized they would look more finished if I wrapped the colors around the edges, so I went back and did that, this is where the sanding would have been helpful. I also painted the backs all solid black (once again with my own paint I had on hand).

I wanted my birds to look like the box, but if you get this for kids I would suggest a more loose interpretation and let them go wild painting.

Potholders – leave it to the experts

It’s the middle of winter. It’s freezing cold everyday. The sun is only out while I’m away at work, and then hides away the moment I get off for the day. I’ve been horrible about blogging, but only because I haven’t been working on much artwork at all, but being very crafty and domestic; Knitting, sewing, baking and the like.

Yesterday I saw this tutorial on Whip Up, on how to make patchwork potholders. In the kitchen I feel like I’m always desperately searching for something to pull out the hot stuff from the oven. The tutorial looked super easy and I was all excited to get home and start cranking these puppies out. Immediately upon starting I realized that it wasn’t going to be as fast and easy as I thought. I made the above potholder and it’s a real disgrace.

1.19.11 Treasury
Frustrated I realized that there are probably TONS of crafters who make quilted potholders on Etsy. I was inspired to make this treasury with some that caught my eye. I’m usually all about DIY, but It was one of those times where I realized I would be thrilled to support a handmade artist, and buy my future potholders online, rather than suffer through making another. And boy are they affordable! You can find lots of them for $2-$5 range. For a handmade item, that someone lovingly created, that is amazing.
And, a special note, I found this particular shop, Vintage Armoire, that takes old quilts and turns them into potholders. I love that.