Thursday, December 27, 2012

What A Merry Christmas It Was

I'm ashamed to say that when Christmas time comes around I sometime get a case of the Gimmes.  I really have no problems making a wishlist and have no shame in making one.  My mom asks for it.  It makes her life easier.  I don't spend a lot of money on myself save for the occasional new release DVD that I can't pass up, a really good sale at Old Navy, or new workout clothes.  So it's fun to fantasize about bigger ticket items like a Kindle or a Keurig. 

I got a lot of gifts this year.  Paul and I both tend to go overboard and my mom goes overboar every. single. year.  She loves buying gifts for everyone and seeing their faces when they open the perfect gift.  And every year she says she's going to cut back.  And she never does.  I guess I get it from her.

But this year, even though I got a ton of gifts (including the aforementioned Kindle and Keurig), those had nothing to do with this being one of the best Christmases I can remember.  It may even be better than the year I got a Fisher Price record player, but that was a really great year, so I'm not sure.

This year, for the first time since Paul and I have been Paul and I, he didn't work on Christmas OR Christmas Eve.  we were able to spend all our time with our families and each other and it was really nice.  After shifting some schedules we got to spend quality, non-rushed time with both our families and we were able to focus on the moment instead of rushing to get to our next destination. 

We got to open gifts together just two days early, which beats our previous record by about a week (This year we opened them on the 22nd at about 11 PM.  Last year Paul called me while I was at work at least a week before Christmas and told me I had to come home righ away because he just couldn't wait any longer.)
Paul loves me enough to encourage my mania and buy me a One Direction hoodie.
We got to watch our niece discover all her gifts from Santa (even if she was burnt out before she'd even made a dent. 

We got to discuss merits of eating ranch dressing with pizza. 

We got to see my cousin DeeAnn and her husband, Jac, who we hadn't seen in three years.

We got to watch the people we love open the gifts that we spent so much time picking out. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

12 Crafts of Christmas: Clay Pot Christmas Tree

I became obsessed with this project and decided I needed to do it when I saw it on Pinterest.  The inspiration comes from The O'Donnell Nest.  We approached the project in different ways, but I love both end results.
Clay Pot Christmas Tree
What You'll Need
Clay pots in varying sizes. The second smallest size will be used for the third tier of the tree and the base. I played with all the sizes in the store until I foun a combination I liked. That's right, I sat criss-cross-applesauce in the middle of that aisle stacking pots and it's okay if you do the same. 
Clay Dish. To find the right size, I turned all the dishes upside down and set the largest pot on them until I got to the one where the pot resing just outside the ring on the bottom.
Light green paint. Obviously I chose spray paint, but if you want a different color you can use acrylic.
Maroonish red paint
1-2 round sponge brushes. I used two so I could have size variation.
Brown Felt
 Wooden star. Mine is from the wooden craft section of Michael's.
Hot Glue
Yellow paint
Sponge brush
Dowel rod. It needs to be thin enough to fit into the hole in the bottom of the pot.
Knife or small saw
What You'll Do
1.  Paint your pots.  You're going to paint all the pots but the base and the dish.  I sprayed a coat of white paint first to lighten up the clay and cut down on green coats. I sprayed them upside down first and then right side up.
2.  Once all your pots are dry and looking snazzy, it's time to paint your "ornaments." Dip your round sponges in paint and polka dot the pots until you're happy.
3.  Once everything is dry, attach felt to the inside of the pot using hot glue.  I just did a strip around the top.  This will keep the pots from sticking to each other when you dismantle the tree for storage. It will also keep them from rubbing against each other when they next inside each other. the color doesn't matter because you can't see it once the tree is assembled.

 4.  Once the glue has dried, stack your tree.
5.  Put your dowel rod through the hole at the top of the tree and slide it through all the holes until it hits the plate that the larget pot rests on.  Use a pencil to mark the rod an inch above where it emerges from the pot.
6.  Using a saw or a knife that you don't plan on using again, saw off the end of the dowel rod. 
7.  Using a sponge brush, paint the star and the area of the dowel rod that will be visible.
8.  Once dry, hot glue the dowel to the star.
9.  Finally, assemble your tree.  Place the bare pot upside down, place the dish upside down on the bare pot, and then stack the rest of the pots on top.  Finally, slide your dowel with the star attached down the center of the pots. 
I may go back and add glitter to the bases of all the pots, but I haven't decided for sure yet. I was going to put it on the floor by the fireplace, but when I trie it out it was too small, so instead I put it on my hodge podge of a mantle. This cute little guy would also look great in a kid's room or an office that's in need of Christmas cheer.

12 Crafts of Christmas: Santa Planters

I was really on a roll this weekend with finishing up projects and actually writing about them.  That is probably due, in no small part, to the final paper deadline that is looming in my very near future.
I like to think that today's project could make a great gift for neighbors, teachers, coworkers...anyone! Also, like all my favorite projects, it's SUPER cheap to make.  I already had some of the items on hand (and you probably do too!) so I only spent about $5.
Santa Planters
What You'll Need
Clay Pot. Do you realize how cheap these suckers are?  Like, less than $2.  Crazy!
Red Paint.  If you've read any of my posts involving paint before, you know I spray paint everything and this was no exception. I use Krylon Fusion. You can get it at Walmart and it's the best I've found.
White paint or primer (optional)
Painter's tape
Black acrylic paint
2 Sponge brushes. You could just use one and wash between uses, but a lot of times you can find them for 20/$1 at Michael's, so I just stock up then and throw them away as I use them.
Metal Washer. I went to Lowes and got a pack of 4 for something like $1.50. 
Mod Podge
Gold or silver glitter
Hot glue gun
What You'll Do
1.  If you're using primer, apply a layer of it to the pot.  I just used .99 white paint to dull up the base color so I wouldn't need as many coats of red. Let dry.
2.  Paint the whole thing red.  I painted the inside too.  I applied 3 coats. I sat the pot upside down for the first coat and flipped it right side up for the rest.  Let dry completely between coats.
3.  Bring your pot inside.  Put painter's tape around the bottom of the lip of the pot. Mine wasn't perfect, but you can't really tell.

4.  Using a sponge brush and black paint, paint the area above the tape black, including the rim.  Let dry.
5.  Using a sponge brush, apply a layer of Mod Podge to one side of the washer. Immediately sprinkle glitter over the washer and shake off the extra glitter.  Set aside to dry.
6.  Once the first layer with glitter is dry, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge on top of the glitter and let dry. The top coat will help the glitter stick to the washer. 
7.  Apply hot glue to the back of the washer and attach to the pot's "belt."
I'm going to fill mine with homemade candy or cookies for a Dirty Santa party, but you could also put a plant in it (I'd get a plastic liner if this is the case), put some foam in it and make a cookie or cake pop bouquet, fill it with fresh oranges, or really anything that you can think of.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

12 Crafts of Christmas: Photo Coasters

Alright guys, I'm a slacker.  I promised you 12 crafts and I'm pretty sure I won't be able to deliver.  But that doesn't mean I'm not going to try.  Today's project is SUPER easy and anyone can do it.  And if you already have the basics on hand it will cost you less than $5!!
Photo Coasters

What You'll Need
Coasters.  Mine are tile and I got a set of four for $1 at Big Lots. You can also use cork. You could also make coasters out of tiles and cork.  Whatever floats your boat.
Mod Podge
Sponge Brush
What You'll Do
1.  Trace the coaster on the back of the picture, making sure the part of the image you want on the coaster is where you want it.
2.  Cut out the picture. You may have to do some trimming. Just eye ball things.
3.  Using your sponge brush, apply a layer of Mod Podge on the coaster.
4. Place your photo on the Mod Podge, smooth out any air bubbles, and let it dry. 
5.  Once dry, apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the top of the picture, brushing all in the same direction.
6.  Once dry, apply another thin layer of Mod Podge, brushing in the opposite direction from step 5.  I brushed horizontal first and vertical second.
7. Let dry completely.
I experimented with an already pretty blurry picture of my god son and I love the way it turned out.  I made a full set as a gift, but since the person I made them for may be reading, I'm not sharing those yet.  Although I did use the leftover coasters to make two more for Paul and myself.

I think the possibilities for these coasters are endless.  Along with photos you could use favorite passages from books, children's book illustrations, sheet name it! They would make great stocking stuffers or gifts for teachers. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

12 Crafts of Christmas: Inside Out Glitter Ornaments

So it looks like I've really dropped the ball on this 12 Crafts of Christmas thing. I had the best of intentions, but then school and work and life in general got in the way and I realized that I hadn't blogged or even crafted or baked as much as I should have.  Here we are a month away from Christmas and we're only on craft number 2.  But for craft number 2, I have an exciting one in mind for you. I love glitter, but I hate that it gets EVERYWHERE.  The other day I bought a new glittered treetopper.  By the time I got home, every other thing I bought, and my shirt, were also covered in glitter.  Now I said I love glitter, but I don't love it so much that I want it in my hair.  So that's why last year I made these Inside Out Glitter Ornaments from Greenbean's Crafterole that I found on Pinterest.  The glitter is on the inside so there's no mess.  This year I had the brilliant idea to make them with sprinkles instead, because how cute would that be?  But intea I ended up with this

They got all melty and gross and the entire ball took on a grey-pink appearance. So I scrapped that idea, broke out the glitter, and returned to the original plan. So, without further ado...
Inside Out Glitter Ornaments

What You'll Need

Clear ball ornaments. Never pay full price.  Download the Michael's or Jo-Ann Fabrics app or sign up for email coupons.  There's no reason to ever pay full price for anything crafty.
Glitter.  I prefer Martha Stewart. It's super-fine and I think that makes for a more finished look.
Floor Wax
Shot glass
Coffee Filter.  You're going to use this to dispose of excess glitter.  When you're done you can crumple it up and throw it away.  Much more convenient than using a plate or a bowl.
What You'll Do
1.  Remove the caps from one ball. 
2.  Squirt a small amount of wax into the ball and then roll it around so that the wax covers every bit of the ball. Roll, don't shake. If you shake you'll get air bubbles that are hard to get rid of.
3.  Turn the ball upside down onto the shotglass to drain away the excess wax.  
4.  Let the wax drain for about 3 minutes.  Then turn it upside down and place the funnel in the top.

5.  Add glitter  to the top of the funnel, remove the funnel, cover the hole with your thumb, and then shake, shake, shake until every inch is covered in glitter.
6.  Pour the rest of the glitter into the coffee filter. 
6.  Replace the cap of the ball immediately and set aside. 
7.  Repeat for all your remaining ornaments.

These are gorgeous on the tree and would be great to make for yourself or to give as gifts...or both!  Ornaments are one of my go-to Christmas gifts.  Since the ornaments come in a package it's easy to give a set, or you can put some tissue paper in a chinese  carryout gift box and add one to make them go further if you have to give gifts to a group.  I think this would be ideal for students or coworkers.  Plus, this is a really fast project so you can make a whole lot in a short amount of time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

12 Crafts of Christmas: No-Sew Burlap Bunting

I have a plan, guys.  I have a plan to make 12 things this Christmas season.  And blog about them.  That's 12 tutorials in just over a month and a half.  Can I do it?  We'll see!  I'm calling it my 12 Crafts of Christmas and I'm pretty excited about it.  We're going to have some ornaments, some wall decorations, and a lot of fun with clay pots.  I'm kicking things off with a project that I've been pretty excited about since I stumbled across it on a blog I follow pretty religiously, E, Myself, and I.  Last Christmas she blogged about her Christmas decorations and I saw this awesome bunting banner made of burlap.  I immediately pinned it to my Holidays and Entertaining a Crowd board.

There was no tutorial for this bunting (I'm pretty sure it's not homemade, but who knows?), but I decided that I could make it anyway.  So I went to a couple different crafting stores (it's all about the coupons, baby!) and came up with a plan. 

No-Sew Burlap Bunting
What You'll Need
Burlap. Mine came from a roll.  If you want your triangles to be bigger than mine, you might want to use a sheet of burlap instead.
Twine.  Go thin, but not too thin. 
Good scissors
Paint. I used white, but you don't have to.
Sponge paint brush
Round sponge
Stencils. Technically you don't have to have them, but I , trust myself to free-hand when it came to paint. I used one with a sticky backing.
Hot glue gun

What You'll Do

1.  Cut your burlap into triangles. I free handed a triangle on a piece of cardstock and used that as a guide.  They aren't perfect, but we're talking about burlap and twine, so they don't really need to be.  I do think it's important to make sure you have at least one finishe edge.  The top of each of my triangles had a finished edge.

2.  Cut out your stencils and place them on your triangles. Place the triangle on something on which you don't mind getting paint.  Using your brush, dab the paint over the stencil.  Don't use brush strokes because you might get paint under the stencil.

3.  Remove the stencil. I did this while it was still wet but I don't imagine you would have to.

4.  Useing the round sponge and paint, polka dot two of your triangles and then let dry. 

5.  Measure and cut a piece of twine.  I just unfurled mine form the spool and held it up to the doorway where my bunting will hang.

5.  After everything is dry, line your triangles up along the twine.  There are several ways you could attach your twine.  I decided that hot glue would be best.

6.  Using a hot glue gun, I applied a thin strip of glue along the top of the center triangle and then laid the twin on top.  I starte with my middle triangle and then worke my way out. 

7.  Hang up your country chic creation! 

My triangles aren't perfect, and neither is the spacing, but I really love this sucker.  The best part is that storage is going to be a breeze.  All the triangles fold over on themselves, so this is how much room it will take up:

How awesome is that?  I hate when Christmas decorations take up a lot of storage space so this one makes me really happy. I'm really excited for December now so I can hang this baby up.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Grownups Have Dining Room Tables

Growing up, there were a  few things that I felt all adults had in common.  Adults have matching plates.  Adults hae junk drawers that, at any given time, have scissors, matches, a black marker, and several different sizes of batteries.  And adults?  Adults have dining room tables.  This weekend Paul and I took one step closer to becoming adults.  We finally bought a dining room table.  For the past two years we have been using a small table that barely seats four, and forget about there being food on that table if four people are sitting at it. 

Paul is the manager-in-training at a furniture store and this weekend they were having a pretty big sale.  We picked up this beauty for an amazing price.

Paul brought it home that day and we ate at the table the next night to celebrate.  And we probably won't eat there again until there are other people here with us. 

After picking out the table I headed home to Wytheville.  My brother was playing in an alumni football game and I wasn't about to pass up an oppurtunity to sit in the cold and watch my brother play football like it was 2001.  Our team lost, but it was fun to see my brother in uniform again and I got to spend time with my parents and friends, which is always nice. Here's a few shots from the night thanks to Instagram. 

That last picture might be a little blurr, but I kind of love it.  Follow along with more Instagram fun. My name is tristayopp.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

UPDATE! DIY Bookends

Remember a few weeks ago when I taught you how to make these bookends?  

I knew at the time that they weren't exactly what I wanted, but I decided to live with them for a while and see if they grew on me.  Well I've spent the last few weeks looking at them and they were still just not right.  The elephants should be the star of the show, and then that block is so very big and yellow, I feel like the elephants are taking a back seat.  So the other day I went to Lowes in search of a fix and stumbled across these little guys.  I found them in the aisle with the wooden dowel rods and molding.  I actually saw them when I first started this project but thought they were too short.  But after seeing how bulky the larger blocks looked, I decided that they were exactly what I needed. There's no detailing on one edge, but I'm totally okay with that since it won't be visible anyway.

So I took those beauties home for a cool not-even-$2 each.  A few coats of spray paint (I think I ended up with 3, since the wood absorbed the paint pretty well) and some hot glue later, I finally have the look I was going for.

I am so obsessed with these little elephants.  The wood makes them look more polished and chic and it's just exactly what I needed. The blocks were the teensiest bit wider than before, so I had to really squeeze to get everything in, but I don't care.  It's worth it.  Have you ever made a small revision on a project that made all the difference?  And have you ever had to suck up your pride when you realized you passed up the right supplies the first time?  I'm telling you, I could have saved a solid $10 bucks if I'd have just gone with those wooden blocks in the first place!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

DIY: Repurposed Pickle Jars

I've got a lot of projects planned and a lot of supplies laying aroun my house, and, unfortunately, I've been procrastinating like a pro in getting started on any of them.  But thanks to Hurricane Sandy, I've had the last two days off, so somewhere amid the laying in bed and watching movies, and making grilled cheese sandwiches, I finally got around to finishing one project, albeit a simple one, but a completed project nontheless.  I got the idea from Pinterest, obiously, and was inspired by two different projects, both using pickle jars.  One from The Ivy Cottage Blog and the other from Creative Confetti.  I'm also participating in theFall Pinterest Challenge.  For more fun projects go to Young House Love,  Bower Power, Our Fifth House, and Ugly Duckling House.
Repurposed Pickle Jar

What You'll Need

Spray paint -- one color or two, your choice. You may also want some white spray paint or primer.
Pickle Jar.  I soaked mine in hot water and dish detergent for about 10 minutes and the label slipped right off.  Then I ran it through the dishwasher so that it didn't smell like pickles anymore.
Drawer Knob
Adhesive--I use epoxy, but you can use super glue or hot glue too.
Optional: Candlestick holder

What You'll Do

1. Go to a well-ventilated area to paint the lid and the drawer knob.  At first I went without white or primer, but the dark color was showing through the red.  So I sprayed the knob white and then used the red again and it was perfect. I also painted the candlestick holder because originally I had intended to use it as a pedestal, but then I changed my mind.

2.  Bring your pieces inside and, using your glue, attach the drawer knob to the lid.  The good thing about pickle jar is that they have the pop lid, so it's easy to eyeball the center.  If you're going to use the candlestick holder, attach it at this point as well.

 3. Fill that sucker up and throw it on a shelf!  Mine is holding buttons because I'm obsessed with the idea of a button jar.
There are tons of possibilities for this project.  At first mine was going to be a candy jar, but the different colors was more distracting than I wanted, so it's a button jar.  I see myself making a ton more for glue sticks and googly eyes and maybe even non-crafting odds and ends.  And I may make some for Christmas gifts by spraying the lid, knob, and candlestick the same color (probably a bronze) and filling it with candy.