From the category archives:

make something

Painted Boxes

May 8, 2014

DIY: Pretty Painted Pencil Boxes. Good looking on your desk, and they make a great gift!   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and Styling by Amy Christie

Sometimes, I’m just in the mood to make something, so I come up with a project just because. This is one of those projects. Happily, this project happens to be stunning, and would make an excellent gift!

The boxes themselves are pretty fantastic, but fill them with some poppy pencils or note cards, and they’re even better. Make one for your mother. For your child’s teacher. For your best friend. Or just keep one on your own desk — they’re so pretty, they’re hard to part with.

DIY: Pretty Painted Pencil Boxes. Good looking on your desk, and they make a great gift!   |   Design Mom

I wish you could all come to my house to see these because, believe it or not, they are even more beautiful in person. I was even surprised at how lovely they turned out to be. And the how-to is so simple!

DIY: Pretty Painted Pencil Boxes. Good looking on your desk, and they make a great gift!   |   Design Mom

With a little tape and your favorite color scheme, you’re set to begin making beautiful designs.

DIY: Pretty Painted Pencil Boxes. Good looking on your desk, and they make a great gift!   |   Design Mom

Come see this simple project unfold!

Click here for the full tutorial.

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DIY Crate Shelving - Make a set of 15 for $125

Images and text by Gabrielle.

As promised, here is a tutorial for the crate shelves we have in the Reading Loft. As you may remember, the inspiration for the shelves was this image. I liked that you can see through them and get a glimpse of the wall color behind. And I liked that there were various sizes.

DIY Crate Shelving - Make a set of 15 for $125

At first, I did a search to see if I could find a similar product to purchase — and these shelves from Design Within Reach seemed to be the closest thing. They’re gorgeous! But the price really added up fast when I considered how many I needed. Plus, I wanted more control of the exact dimensions of each box. So finally, I concluded making them was the way to go.

DIY Crate Shelving - Make a set of 15 for $125

We work with a handyman named Alex for some of the small projects around the house, and I hired him to help me with these as soon as I knew I wanted to make them. Alex is actually a sculptor (with an impressive portfolio) who does home projects on the side. It’s a huge bonus to me that he’s a sculptor, because it means he has an excellent eye for detail, and he’ll brainstorm solutions with me thinking as both an artist and a builder. And brainstorm we did!

I determined I wanted to use 3/8 inch thick plywood, but Alex was concerned because that was thin enough that the boards could split if we screwed them together. So I considered the thicker plywood, but it just didn’t look right — the proportions were off — too heavy looking. So we discussed ways to make the 3/8 inch plywood work. We looked at metal brackets and all sorts of fasteners. Then happily, Alex came up with this smart format.

DIY Crate Shelving - Make a set of 15 for $125

Notches were cut out of opposite corners of each box piece, then the pieces were fit together. Simple and brilliant! Interlocking the cubes this way adds stability.

DIY Crate Shelving - Make a set of 15 for $125

And I love that we don’t have to mess with the simple profiles of the boxes by adding protruding hardware.

DIY Crate Shelving - Make a set of 15 for $125 DIY Crate Shelving - Make a set of 15 for $125

Want to make some shelves of your own? Then, let’s get started.

Click here for the full tutorial.

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Easy & Pretty! Make an Etched Soap Pump for Child's Teacher   |   #teacherschangelives

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.  //  This post is brought to you by Office Depot’s #TeachersChangeLives program. Register your child’s classroom, so the students have the school supplies they need to succeed.

The end of the school year is approaching fast and I know you’re  thinking about something nice you can do for your child’s teacher. As you may remember, a couple of weeks ago, I wrote about teachers having to buy supplies for their classrooms out of their own pockets (you guys left the best comments!), so it won’t surprise you to hear that I think the best gift would be a donation for classroom supplies using Adopt A Classroom + Office Depot!

Final Infographic (new colors)

Teachers buy so many things for their students — from basic food, to warm coats, to field trips — and there are so many good, straight out of the box, practical items that would make great gifts. But I know sometimes it feels special to give a handmade gift, so I thought it would be fun to come up with something that would work at school or at home, and that could be personalized too.

Etched soap pumps fit the bill wonderfully! They’re easy to make, they look great, and you can pair them with a classroom donation, or give them as a stand alone gift.

Easy & Pretty! Make an Etched Soap Pump for Child's Teacher   |   #teacherschangelives

This is a smart, usable gift for teachers, but really, it will work for anyone on your list at any time of the year — a housewarming gift, a hostess gift, a neighbor gift at the holidays — or make some for your own house.

Easy & Pretty! Make an Etched Soap Pump for Child's Teacher   |   #teacherschangelives

The etching is so fun to do, you’ll want to etch every piece of glassware you have. Gather friends and have an etching party!

Easy & Pretty! Make an Etched Soap Pump for Child's Teacher   |   #teacherschangelives

Come and check out this simple project.

Click here for the full tutorial.

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Geometric Wire Bunny

April 18, 2014

DIY Wire Geometric Bunnies. Oversize and Mini. Perfect for Easter!    |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Okay you guys, can you handle one more fun little project before Easter is officially here? (Please say yes!) Today, let’s make modern geometric bunnies. It’s a simple idea — wire formed to make the shape of a bunny — but it can be used in so many fun ways!

It was a little bit of a challenge to find the right wire but now that the leg work is done, it won’t be as tough for you. Plus, there’s a free downloadable template to help you out. There are two bunny versions in the photos. One is small and simple — you could make a dozen of these fairly quickly. The other version is oversize. As in 3 feet wide! It’s a little more challenging, but still totally doable.

DIY Wire Geometric Bunnies. Oversize and Mini. Perfect for Easter!    |   Design Mom

The smaller one is pictured here as a napkin ring, but it would also be adorable as an accent on a gift. Or you could hang one sweetly from an Easter basket. Or you could attach a long ribbon and use it as a springtime bookmark!

The larger one is oversize and quite dramatic. Hang it on your door in place of a wreath. Or display it on the wall above the sofa. It looks good as both interior and exterior decoration — and you can customize the color with ribbons!

DIY Wire Geometric Bunnies. Oversize and Mini. Perfect for Easter!    |   Design Mom

Get ready to flex those muscles, the directions are below.

Click here for the full tutorial.

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Easy Cabbage Dyed Eggs

April 14, 2014

Dye Eggs with Red Cabbage for a Ombre Look. Easy and totally natural.   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

I love the look of eggs dyed with plants and flowers, but every time I’ve planned on attempting it in years past, I get intimidated sourcing dye ingredients and stop myself up. So instead of gathering a dozen different materials and spending too many hours experimenting, I decided that this year, I would focus on one easy to find plant and see what it could do.

The plant? Common red cabbage. Available in every produce department of every grocery store in the country. Yes, it looks purple or sometimes red, but did you know it makes a great blue dye? It’s one of those things that’s hard to believe until you try it yourself.

Dye Eggs with Red Cabbage for Gorgeous, Natural Look   |   Design Mom

I love how they turned out so much I even want to keep the broken shells.

Dye Eggs with Red Cabbage for Gorgeous, Natural Look   |   Design Mom

I felt so much happy anticipation checking and rechecking them to see how the colors were changing. I could hardly wait to see the final results.

Dye Eggs with Red Cabbage for Gorgeous, Natural Look   |   Design Mom

Get the details below!

Click here for the full tutorial.

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Project Kid & Wise Craft

April 8, 2014

Craft Books05

Images and text by Gabrielle.

I’ve got two really cool books to share with you. Both are craft books — one for kids, and one for grownups. Oakland has been a rain fest over the last couple of weeks so I’ve been pulling out the craft books for rainy day ideas, and I can heartily recommend both of these volumes. They are chock full of solid, creative ideas!

First up, a book for the little ones called Project Kid. It just came out today so it’s fresh as can be! The author, Amanda Kingloff, was the Lifestyle Director at Parents Magazine for ages and she comes up with the happiest things for kids to make. All the projects are really doable, and they focus on materials that are easily accessible — and that you probably already have at home.

Craft Books06

I think these needlepoint fly swatters are genius — I love crafts that have a practical application!

Craft Books08

And I think these silhouette pennants look so good. You can find more about the book, book related events, plus a cute intro video, at the Project Kid website.

Craft Books01

The second book is called Wise Craft. It’s full of truly useable projects that look chic and handmade in the best possible way. The clever creator, Blair Stocker, focuses on scraps, found materials and thrift store finds for her projects, which means you can make these idea without emptying your pocketbook.

These are more sophisticated projects you’ll enjoy making yourself, and you’ll enjoy keeping around the house for as long as possible.

Craft Books02

Like these handsome felt panhandle covers.

Craft Books03

Or these charming trinket bowls — I want a stack of them!

Tell me, Friends. What’s the crafting situation at your house? At our house, everyone likes to create — whether it’s writing stories, making movies, building forts, or baking cupcakes — but I would say Betty and Oscar are currently the most likely to get crafting (and they LOVE getting inspiration from the Project Kid book, by the way). As for me, my craft-making urges come in waves, and I find myself using holidays as an excuse to get out my scissors and glitter and glue. I can totally see myself using the Wise Craft book for gift giving inspiration.

What about you? Do your kids like to make things? Do you?

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Book Report

March 27, 2014

Super easy! This poster was made from postcards of book covers by Penguin. You can buy a whole box of them on Amazon. Search: Penguin Bookcover Box

Image and text by Gabrielle.

I’m writing this from JFK while I wait for my plane to San Francisco. It’s been a wonderful, jam-packed trip to New York full of get togethers and meetings. And I was able to fit in one more meeting this morning before I grabbed a taxi to the airport — a meeting with my editor at Artisan Books!

Earlier in the year I mentioned I would be giving updates about my book from time to time, and I think today is a good day for one of those updates. Because this very week, I’m handing in the manuscript. That is a big deal! No images yet, just text. An entire book’s worth of text. My editor, Lia Ronnen, will begin reading it this weekend and then the major editing begins.

In this morning’s meeting, we didn’t look at the manuscript at all. Instead, we talked about what size the book should be and looked at a dozen existing books for reference. We also talked about what style the photography should be, and even got into a little bit about what the book design should be — an aspect of this project that I am especially excited about.

We also talked and talked about all sorts of things because Lia is endlessly interesting.

Then I was introduced to 8 people on the Artisan team that will end up helping with my book in one way or another. It was wonderful for me to put names to faces, and being in the office was so reassuring. Artisan is responsible for some of the most beautiful, most useful books out there — like the Kinfolk book and the Remodelista book and the Young House Love book too — and I know they’ll make sure that what I create is remarkable.

One of the takeaways from today’s meeting that I was most excited to share with you is the amazing poster at top. It’s a DIY poster that was Lia’s idea and hangs in her office. She used postcards of book covers from the Penguin collection, and attached them to a posterboard. Simple, genius and beautiful! I love the idea so much. I think I should copy it for the reading loft. I thought you’d like the idea too!

That’s it for today’s book report. And hey, I’d love to hear if there’s anything you’re particularly curious about as for the book goes.

P.S. — If you’d like to see what I’ve been up to in New York, feel free to check out my Instagram stream.

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It's a Mrs. Meyer's #GetMessyContest! Win a custom-designed creativity center, fully stocked with arts & crafts supplies, PLUS a party for up to 30 friends, led by Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom.

By Gabrielle.

You Guys! I’m going to host a crafting party at your house! With up to 30 of your friends! For reals!

Here’s the story: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day is hosting a Get Messy Contest that encourages families to have fun getting messy together — then enjoy straightening up. And guess what the Grand Prize is? A custom-designed creativity center, fully stocked with arts & crafts supplies, PLUS a celebration for up to 30 friends, led by yours truly. (That’s me!)

Yes, indeed. Mrs. Meyer’s asked me to help host the party, and to come up with cool crafts the guests can make, and I responded instantly, “Yes, please!” So I’ll be at the party too! If you’re the Grand Prize Winner, I’ll be heading your way (by plane or by car, depending on where you live). I’ll come to your house, and I’ll lead the crafting, and I’ll chat up your guests, and I’ll Instagram the whole thing. Let’s take a selfie together at the party!

It's a Mrs. Meyer's #GetMessyContest! Win a custom-designed creativity center, fully stocked with arts & crafts supplies, PLUS a party for up to 30 friends, led by Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom.

Want to enter the contest? It’s a really fun one. Snap an image of a messy crafting situation at your house and upload it with the hashtag #GetMessyContest. Your friends and family can vote for your messy picture, and the top 10 finalists with the most votes will receive a Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Gift Bucket and will be entered for the grand prize. From there, the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day team (and me!) will come to the home of the Grand Prize Winner, install the custom creativity center and host a party!! You can find more details at GetMessyContest.com.

The last day to upload an image is March 28th, so you have just under two weeks left to enter. And I hope you do enter! Because I want to come to your home so we can get our crafting on.

I’m super excited about this contest, and happy as can be about working with Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. I’ve been using their products for years. I was first drawn in by the vintage vibe of their labels, and kept coming back for the amazing aromatherapeutic scents (lemon verbena! geranium!) and because the products are really hardworking. Bonus, the products are earth-friendly too — biodegradable, made from naturally occurring ingredients, packaged in recyclable bottles, and never tested on animals — for example, their dryer sheets are compostable!

I’m excited to see your messy photos — I’ll be watching the #GetMessyContest photo gallery. I hope you win, because I’d love to meet you! : ) Okay. Now I’m dying to hear what you think of the contest. Are you going to enter? Do you have any crafty messes at your house to take pictures of?

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DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photography and assistance by Gina Vide of Willowday.

My girls have worn their hair long — shoulder length or longer — for years now. It wasn’t always so, and I’m sure it won’t always be so. But for now, like many families, we keep a generous stash of hair bands in our bathroom drawer ready to secure hair into ponytails, braids, and buns as needed. So when my friend Gina from Sweden sent me a photo of wooden bead hair ties she’d made, I had to get in on the action too! They work just like a standard rubberband — you put them on with a typical figure 8 twist, then adjust them so the beads are on top. The beads are such simple accent, but they add loads of charming personality!

Of course, they remind me of the hair bobbles of my childhood — with colorful plastic balls at the ends. But these are much gentler on your hair and more modern looking. Plus, you can make them in any color you like!

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

I think a small box with 3 or 4 of these would make such a sweet gift. You could create them in springtime colors and include them in an Easter basket. Or they would be wonderful to make a birthday party — a happy little activity that guests can make and use right away.

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

I’m just crazy about the contrast of the glittery band or colorful shiny elastic against raw wood. If you prefer a glossier look, you could paint the beads to match or compliment the elastics. The combinations are endless. These hair twists are easy to make; fun to make alone or with friends on a craft night!

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

A special touch for the girls in your house — and for yourself as well. Let’s start making!

Click here for the full tutorial.

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Bargain DIY Concrete Floor

February 19, 2014

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

Photos and text by Gabrielle.

I’m pleased as punch to tell you about the concrete floor experiment that we tried in the reading loft of The Treehouse. I love how it turned out! The texture is wonderful. The floor looks layered and feels like it has depth — but the whole surface is barely 1/8″ deep! It’s easy to clean and maintain. It has the industrial look I am every drawn to. Plus, it was inexpensive and totally DIY-doable.

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

I originally thought we would put carpet in the loft, but then I changed my mind and thought I would rather install a sweepable surface with an area rug on top. I made some inquiries about concrete floors and was told the weight of true concrete would be too heavy for this area, so I shifted my attention to tiles. But about that time, Jenny Komenda published a blog post about resurfacing her laundry room counter with a thin layer of concrete and I wondered if I could try the same method on the reading loft floor to achieve a concrete look without the heavy weight.

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

I finally concluded: why not try? The space is small and a low-traffic area. The materials are a bargain, so if it failed it wasn’t too great of a loss. Plus, if it was a disaster, I could cover it with tile or hardwood and hide the evidence. : ) So I gathered the materials, and when Ben Blair was in France (and I was consequently bored)  I went for it!

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

Would you like to see how it came together?

Click here for the full tutorial.

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Donut Valentines

February 10, 2014

I Like You a "Hole" Bunch.  |  Donut Valentine's by Design Mom  #freeprintable

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Every year, I try to come up with a really good last-minute Valentine idea. Something you can whip up the night before, long after the craft store has closed. This donut valentine is perfect! It will work with a fresh batch of heavenly Krispy Kremes, but will be just as charming with a box of “donettes” from the grocery store (or the gas station!).

This I think we can agree on: everyone loves donuts. So, if you want to win over your Valentine, the odds are in your favor that a ribbon-clad donut will do the trick.

I Like You a "Hole" Bunch.  |  Donut Valentine's by Design Mom  #freeprintable

This might appear to be a very simple Valentine and happily, I can tell you it most definitely is. Bonus? A free printable of the tags!

I Like You a "Hole" Bunch.  |  Donut Valentine's by Design Mom  #freeprintable I Like You a "Hole" Bunch.  |  Donut Valentine's by Design Mom  #freeprintable

So grab a dozen donuts (plus some extras because I can’t resist), and let’s get started.

Click here for the full tutorial, plus the free printable.

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Felt Treat Boxes

February 7, 2014

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Let the countdown begin! Valentine’s Day is in one week. And I’ve got the perfect little project for you just in time. Present your Valentine with a handmade felt box, complete with a custom design cut out made just for them. Simple construction with a sophisticated look that can hide any number of sweet treats and gifts inside.

Make them for your kids, your honey, or even for classmates. In fact, Betty really wants to give these at her class party. We’ll see how ambitious we’re feeling!

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

I should note, these little gift boxes aren’t just limited to the heart-filled holidays. They can be modified and styled for any time you need to give a gift. Think birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s Day or a random Wednesday when you feel extra kind.

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

This project was adapted with custom lids from the excellent tutorial on How About Orange. I love how the top-cutouts add another dimension, more color options, and a whole different feeling to the boxes.

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

The gift recipient of these will have so many reasons to love you. It’s a kind gesture, includes a thoughtful gift and is encased in a beautiful gift box. Win, win and win.

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

Grab your scissors and glue gun and let’s get started.

Click here for the full tutorial.

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Etched Wooden Heart Key Fobs

February 3, 2014

DIY Valentines: Etched Heart Keychains   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Olive’s school is very into wholesome and handmade, and we’ve been thinking hard about what sort of non-plastic and non-commercial Valentines she can make for her classmates. And since I reignited my love affair with my wood burning tool while working with spoons, cutting boards and sliced birch, I’ve been on the look out for more opportunities to burn stuff — it’s just so fun!

So after some brainstorming and failed projects, we came up with this really cool project: wooden heart key chains!

DIY Valentines: Etched Heart Keychains   |   Design Mom

With store-bought wooden hearts, these little tokens of love are ever so easy, totally customizable, and sweet as can be. (Plus, inexpensive!) A perfect little project for Olive.

DIY Valentines: Etched Heart Keychains   |   Design Mom

So go grab your etching tool and let’s get started.

Click here for the full tutorial.

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How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

Images and text by Gabrielle.

I’ve got another Treehouse report for you today, all about our fireplace bricks and how I whitewashed them. Plus, I worked in a little story about the bricks in my childhood home as well (find it when you click through).

How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

When I started to consider whitewashing the bricks, I looked up as many tutorials as I could find. This one and this one seemed to have the most clear instructions, and both mentioned using leftover white wall paint they had on hand. They both showed examples of more paint coverage than I was looking for, but I figured I could just dilute the paint more and get less coverage.

As I read further, some commenters recommended using lime, or other natural paint products that would let the brick “breathe”. I didn’t know if I cared whether or not the bricks breathed, and whether or not it was worth looking for alternatives, when I already had spare latex wall paint I could use. But the more I read, the more I thought it was at least worth looking into.

How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

In the meantime, I decided I’d better do what I could to clean the bricks first, because the front of the fireplace was covered in soot.

Ready to see what the process was like?

Click through for the full story.

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A cute gift idea! Customize a fishbowl with these (free!) downloadable doodles. #DIY

This post is brought to you by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Donate $5 and give a miracle to a child in the hospital this Christmas.

CMNH Logo

By Gabrielle, created with Amy Christie for Design Mom.

As I mentioned last week, I’m working with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to raise awareness and encourage donations. This month, a million children will be spending the holiday in their hospital bed, and they could really use a miracle. So CMN Hospitals’ created a campaign where you can donate $5 to honor one of those children. They even have a real-time counter that tracks donations, and every time $5 is gifted, the counter goes down by one.

That warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you do something good is probably enough temptation to donate, but as a little extra encouragement, I mentioned I would personally send one of my favorite children’s books to 50 (that’s right, 50!) different readers who donate — I’ll randomly pick 50 people among all who donate, which means if 100 people donate, there’s a 50/50 chance of receiving a book. Just a $5 donation! And you could receive a book worth $20. Not a bad deal.

iPad Mini

BUT. Apparently books are not the temptation I thought they would be (hah!), and I’m hoping for a bigger response with this post. So I’m upping the prize. Way, way up. Fifty people will still receive a book, but there’s a new grand prize, too! Let me know you made a donation (by commenting below, or on the earlier post), and you’re automatically entered to Win an iPad Mini. Plus, I’ll donate the value of an iPad Mini, in the grand-prize winner’s name to CMN Hospitals!!!

Yep. A $5 donation (or more!) enters you to win. Once again, this is not a CMN Hospitals contest, it’s just me doing what I can to help. I really hope you donate — I’d love to send you a book, and I hope you win the iPad Mini! You have until December 25th, and as of this posting, your chances are good. : )

A cute gift idea! Customize a fishbowl with these (free!) downloadable doodles. #DIY

While you ponder donating, I thought it would be fun to share a fun DIY gift idea for those children cooped up in a hospital — a simple fishbowl customized with sea-themed doodles! I think watching a little fish paddling around its bowl could be a calming way to spend some time. And adding happy illustrations to the bowl is an easy way to make this simple gift into something special.

As you probably know, you have to be careful about what you bring into a hospital gift-wise — no latex balloons, fresh flowers, stuffed animals or used toys. I called our hospital and asked if a small fishbowl would be okay, and they said yes, but you might want to ask your own just in case, because each hospital has different guidelines.

A cute gift idea! Customize a fishbowl with these (free!) downloadable doodles. #DIY

Just think, a simple doodle can transform a plain fish bowl into a fun and interesting home for our finned friends — without having to buy (or clean) extra accessories.

If you’re worried about your doodling skills, we took care of that for you. With the help of illustrator Stephanie Frey, we have three underwater scenes you can print off and trace on your choice of fish bowl.

A cute gift idea! Customize a fishbowl with these (free!) downloadable doodles. #DIY

You can choose from a school of fish, the ocean floor (with pirate’s treasure!), and seaweed and coral — or choose all three!

Ready to find out how simple it is? Come see!

Click here for the full tutorial.

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DIY: Easy Profile or Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift!

By Darcy Miller. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

Note from Design Mom: This project is by Darcy Miller — you may know her as the long time Editor of Martha Stewart Weddings, and one of the most talented people on the planet. I met Darcy a couple of years ago and have loved exchanging emails with her and following her adventures on Instagram. When she reached out with photos of these charming pillows, I knew right away I wanted to share them here! Without further ado, here’s Darcy:

With Thanksgiving coming very late and Channukah coming very early, I was a little last minute on this year’s holiday gifts. But you’d never know it from what we gave my husband — it’s a personalized, handmade present that just happens to be easy enough to make quickly.

DIY: Easy Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift!

When it comes to gifts for my husband, my daughters and I are always big on making things. My middle daughter Ella, who is eight, loves to sew and takes lessons at a wonderful little sewing shop named Pins & Needles. Over Thanksgiving weekend we decided to make Daddy throw pillows for his office, inspired by pillows that Rachel (the owner of Pins & Needles) whipped up for her nieces. First, we went to B & J fabrics and picked put materials that would go with his couch — a rich black velvet and gray flannel and linen.  Then we spent a few hours sewing together at Pins & Needles (truth be told, Ella did most of the work — and even squeezed in making jeggings for her sisters!).

DIY: Easy Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift!

The pillows were a huge success, and seriously easy to do. Now we want to make more for our grandmother’s couch — one for each grandkid — but that’s 8 more pillows(!), so we might be waiting for Christmas break when Ella has more free time to sew. Along with being the perfect thing to give to grandparents, these profile pillows would be a great gift for a engaged couple or for newlyweds; how cute would it be to have the 2 silhouettes facing each other on the pillows?

Click here for the full tutorial.

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DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

Images and text by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Remember the Man in the Moon garland from a few months back? We loved their simplicity and cheeriness so much that we had to do to a variation for the holidays. The little sculpted faces were too cute to pass up!

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

 

For our holiday ornaments, we settled on Santa, Mrs. Claus and a pair of elves, but you can decide for yourself who you want to create. Instead of stringing them into a garland like before, we kept the integrity of the ornament ball, leaving the string loop so they could hang individually.

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

Again, to keep the mess to a minimum, the base of these ornaments are store bought papier maché ornament balls. With a little air-dry clay for facial features and some paint to give it color, these ornaments are much simpler than they appear. Seriously. You can make these.

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

Just think how darling these would be peeking out from the boughs of the Christmas tree! Or you could made a set as a fun gift. I break it down step-by-step below. Let’s get to making!

Click here for the full tutorial.

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Make It: Autumn Arrangement

November 25, 2013

Autumnal Arrangement for Thanksgiving. Step-by-step instructions.

By Gabrielle. Photography by N. Underwood.

Oh my goodness. It’s Thanksgiving week. It’s here! How are your plans coming along? Menu lined up? Linens decided? How about a centerpiece? If you’re looking for some inspiration, you’re in luck. The amazing Kiana Underwood, a talented florist here in the Bay Area, created a step-by-step tutorial for the gorgeous autumnal fruit-filled arrangement pictured above. And she is generously sharing it with us today.

Click through for easy, step-by-step instructions!

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DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

This project post is brought to you by Lowe’s Home Improvement. Create your perfect holiday setting with help from Lowe’s.

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Text and images by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Birch snowflake ornaments! This is the 3rd (and last) project in our mini-series of cool things you can make with a wood burning/etching tool. Project 1 is here. Project 2 is here. Birch trees are just lovely for the holidays. Paired with a slip of ribbon or twine, an evergreen bough or two, and these little ornaments will instantly give your home a rustic, woodsy, holiday feel, and have you ready to greet the first snowfall with a big grin.

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

The interior of the birch branch was soft so etching was very easy and the process was very quick.

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

And these couldn’t be more affordable to make! You could cover your tree with them. Or hang them on doorknobs around the house. You could give a set to your niece who’s just settling into her first apartment. Use them as gift toppers, or give them as holiday party favors!

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

Don’t worry if drawing snowflakes isn’t your thing — feel free to copy mine! The designs I made are totally easy and simple to mimic.

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

Flex those fingers and let’s do this.

Click here for the full tutorial.

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DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

Text and images by Amy Christie for Design Mom. Tree illustrations by Eloise Renouf.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve created a 3 part series of cool gifts you can make with a wood-burning or etching tool. Today’s project: cutting boards! (Find the first project here.) When the holiday season rolls around, I often wish I had a whole new collection of platters to set my table with, so I knew these would make great gifts! Just think, with a few strokes of a heat tool, wooden cutting boards can go from lacking to lovely.

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

As you whip up a couple of these as gifts for friends and family, be sure to buy extras for yourself! Serving ware never looked this good.

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

The technique is the same as it was for the spoons I shared yesterday, however the density of these cutting boards was different, more solid. The etching process changed for each board, but, as you can see, the result is the same.

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

Adding a simple design really personalizes something store-bought.

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

Ready for round two? Let’s go!

Click here for the full tutorial.

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