Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas crafting

I recently went on a Christmas crafting frenzy so I could stock my space at the shop with some cheerful goodies for those early-bird holiday shoppers. I gave you a sneak peak of some of them in this photo a couple of posts ago.

And today I'm going to give you a closer look.

I've said it before and I'll say it again- I am not terribly original but I can copy just about anything. Most of these projects were inspired by others, so I'll be sharing the links to them so you can try these projects yourself if you want.

These mason jar snow globes are an Anthropologie knock-off.

I made some more this afternoon and considered doing a full tutorial, but they're just so easy it seemed silly. So if you want to make some, here's a mini-tutorial.

You'll need:
mason jar (mine are from Hobby Lobby)
mini fake trees (got mine at Dollar Tree in a 2-pack with one big and one small)
any other little items you want inside, like mini pine cones
fake snow (any craft store)
hot glue gun and sticks
ribbon or rope to decorate

Hot glue your trees and other knick-knacks to the inside of the lid. While that dries put a little fake snow and some glitter inside the jar. Place some hot glue along the very inside edge of the top of the lid (where the top of the jar will touch once it's screwed on). DON'T put the glue on the threads of the lid. Carefully screw the lid on tight. Tie on some ribbon to decorate it a little further, shake and enjoy!

Moving on...

I really love old sheet music and have collected quite a few vintage hymnals. I found one recently that had the edges of the pages dyed red, which was perfect for these Christmas crafts. I used it to make some ornaments (inspired by Miss Mustard Seed).

And a couple of nice big wreaths.

These book page trees on timber bases look pretty cute clustered together. (Inspiration found here.) Instead of folding every page like the linked tutorial says, I just cute through the pages with an Exacto knife from the top inside corner to the bottom outside corner (or an inch or so in from the corner for a skinnier tree). Each tree also has a skewer glued inside the binding, which fits into a hole that I drilled into the base. That way the trees can be more secure on their bases for display but can come apart for storing.

Here's a closer look at the candles like in the photo above. The possibilities for these are endless! (Tutorial found here.)

Remember my thrifty finds from this post? Here's what I did with them.

These silver pieces were pretty cute as-is, but they got a little polish before going into my space at the store.

Did you know that plain old white toothpaste is a pretty good silver polish? That's what I've used on the last few pieces of really tarnished silver that I've cleaned up and it works great! Just smear it on, let it sit then, wipe it off with a clean, dry cloth.

This artichoke finial just needed a little spruce.

So I painted the base of it a creamy white, glazed and distressed it and then used some Antique Gold Rub 'n Buff on the center designs.

I forgot to take an "after" photo of the gold candlestick in the photo below, but it also got painted creamy white, then glazed and distressed. For now I'm keeping the silver photo holder.

The wooden box got some new rope handles and some lovely French typography on the side. (Oh, and there's that newly polished bud vase next to it!)

The typography was an image from The Graphics Fairy (of course) and I used my tutorial to transfer the image onto the wood.

I have to admit, even after all that Christmas crafting, I'm not really in the Christmas mood yet. It's after Thanksgiving and I have no desire to pull out my Christmas decorations. I hit a thrift store today and found a few boxes of vintage ornaments that prompted the cashier to ask me if I was setting up my tree this weekend. I felt kind of silly when I said no.

Still, I listened to Christmas music on my Pandora station while making snow globes. Hopefully the mood strikes soon! Are you in full-blown Christmas mode yet?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tutorial: DIY Vintage Sock Stretchers (Christmas decor!)

I was browsing through my "inspiration" photo folder the other day and came across an image that I'd forgotten about.

Aren't those vintage sock stretchers a-freakin-DORABLE?! Then I recently came across this photo of a child sized pair and decided I just had to try and make some of my own.

I've written up a little tutorial in case you'd like to try this project yourself.

DIY Vintage Sock Stretchers

sheet of 1/2" thick MDF or wood
2 C clamps (optional)
jig saw
electric drill
hole saw attachment (1" for child size stretchers, 1.5" for adult size)
electric sander and/or sand paper
sponge brush
ribbon or twine

First, draw your stretcher shapes onto paper to make templates and cut them out. I used my inspiration photos to mimic the shapes I wanted to cut.

If you have clamps, secure your sheet of MDF (what I used) or wood to a tabletop or saw horses to stabilize it while you cut. Let enough of the sheet hang over the edge of the table so you can cut out your shapes without cutting into the table.

Trace your sock shapes onto the wood, fitting them as close together as possible, then cut out with your jig saw.

Mark on your paper templates where you want your large holes to be, then poke small holes in the centers with your pencil and transfer these small marks onto each piece.

Here's a picture of the kind of hole cutting attachment you'll want to buy for your drill. You can buy them in individual sizes, or as sets. I bought a set of 4 from Home Depot for about $13. Just make sure the kind you buy is meant to be used on wood.

Using your small pencil marks as your guide, cut out each hole.

I found that if I cut about halfway through on one side, then flipped the piece over and came through from the other side, I got much neater results. The drill bit that's part of the mandrel will poke through the other side before the hole cutter does, so when you flip the piece over you can just place the drill bit right into that hole so you're cutting in the right place. (Hope that made sense.)

Next, smooth out the edges and the insides of the holes using a hand sander and/or sand paper. I used an electric sander for the outside edges then just folded a piece of sandpaper and curled it up to fit inside the holes and did that part by hand.

Now you're ready to paint!

I just used regular acrylic craft paint and a sponge brush, but you could also use spray paint if you wanted.

I did a pretty messy job, but I knew I'd be distressing them quite a bit later so I didn't care.

Once your paint is dry you can distress the sock stretchers as much or as little as you want. You could also use a little stain or glaze to antique them even further.

I also wiped mine with a little bit of polyurethane, but this isn't absolutely necessary.

When you're done, thread some ribbon or twine through the top hole (or drill a smaller hole closer to the top if necessary) to use for hanging. Here are a few of my finished ones.

This one is hung with a strip of cotton fabric that I tore off then frayed the edges.
They're not genuine vintage sock stretchers, but can you really tell the difference? Let me know if you give this project a try- I'd love to see the results!

Wouldn't these be cute as everyday decor? I really want to make a few wood ones and leave them natural. Or how about using those itty bitty ones in a nursery? *gasp! So sweet. But I really love the idea of using them as Christmas decorations.

Now if only I had a fireplace to hang some of these from...

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Before and After: Dresser/Sideboard

Are you getting tired of these long, low dresser projects of mine? I hope not, because they're just going to keep coming! I really had some fun with this one.

I found this poor, pathetic dresser sitting outside a thrift store with a price tag on it that might as well have said, "FREE". The back legs of this guy had somehow been so damaged that they were a good inch shorter than the front ones, which caused the whole thing to slope backwards terribly. But I knew I could rescue it, so home it came.

While my parents were in town for a visit I enlisted my Dad's help and had him cut off all 4 of the legs, leaving me with a nice even base.

Next I got on eBay and found a set of replacement legs in the right height and shape (and price range) and waited semi-patiently for them to arrive.

I'd been doing a project for a friend using Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White and decided to give it a go on this dresser, too. But knowing how plain and simple the style of the dresser was, I knew it needed something more than just a paint job. The Graphics Fairy provided me with a simple damask design, which I traced onto some of the drawers with my projector.

Next I used some antique gold Rub 'n Buff to fill in the damask. This was kind of tedious because Rub 'n Buff is rather thick and is kind of difficult to work with using a brush, but in the end I was glad I used it. I wasn't going for perfection, afterall, and it provided me with a nice metallic luster, which I was going for.

The smaller drawers kept their original hardware (remember the long ones I used on the last long dresser makeover?), but were given a thin layer of the same Rub 'n Buff to match the damask.

And here it is all done and set up in my space.

I added some clear glass knobs to the center drawers (from Hobby Lobby) for a little extra sparkle and distressed the whole thing to shabby it up a bit.

Did you notice some of my Christmas crafts on the top? I'll be giving you a closer look at those soon.
Thanks for visiting!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Before and After: Two-tone End Table and Some Thrifty Finds

A few weekends ago I ventured out to the high school that's just a few blocks away to see what I could find at the rummage sale they were having. Turns out the marching band had been invited to Washington D.C. to participate in an exhibition there and were raising money so they could go. I was in marching band for a couple of years my freshman and sophomore years, so it felt good to help out an organization that I have so many fond memories of being a part of myself.

Anyway, one of the things I came home with was this cute little end table.

Actually, it wasn't so cute and not all that little either, but I liked the unusual shape and it was nice and solid.

I gave this table a two-toned paint treatment with some dove gray on the body and pure white on the top and drawers.

The hardware got painted white as well and the whole thing was then distressed real good. I like how the white primer shows through the gray, plus little peeks of wood here and there. Now I can say that this is a cute table!

This morning the littlest and I hit a couple of thrift stores but only had any luck at one. But what luck I had! Check it out.

I don't really know what to call this thing, but I thought it looked cool. The aged gold artichoke on top is perfect, but I've already painted the base ivory and plan to glaze it in brown to bring out the details. I may even use a little bit of gold Rub 'n Buff to add some interest to that relief design.

I love finding old sterling items. That bud vase is just so pretty, and the cup that I thought was just a cup at first is in fact...

... a 34 year-old tennis trophy!

I also snagged a worn-looking wooden box, a silver photo holder (great for holding Christmas cards or for displaying favorite ornaments) and a chunky gold candlestick that has already been painted ivory.

I picked this terrarium up a few weeks ago on a yard saleing expedition. I just LOVE it! I haven't cleaned it up yet, but I kind of like how weathered it looks from being outside. This thing is H-E-A-V-Y. The lady who sold it to me said she used it as a planter in her backyard, but I could also see it housing lots of candles in various heights and hung from a tree.
I'll be back with another dresser Before and After later this week, so come back soon!