Design Mom » make something http://www.designmom.com The Intersection of Design & Motherhood Thu, 28 Aug 2014 22:09:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 DIY: Cereal Box Embossing http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/diy-cereal-box-embossing/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/diy-cereal-box-embossing/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 18:46:38 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=50206

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

cheerios box By Gabrielle. Photos & styling by Amy Christie.  //  This post is brought to you by Cheerios — makers of wholesome, sustainable products that families love!

 

 

When I was in fifth grade, my name written in bubble letters was how I personalized my notebooks. When I was in high school, I covered my textbooks in plain paper and filled them in with doodles — favorite band names and not-so-secret crushes. At the start of the school year, the clean surfaces of brand new school supplies offer such an inviting blank slate. For a sleek, modern twist on notebook personalization, I thought creating a DIY embossing plate from recycled cardboard would be a lovely way to add your mark to your school supplies.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

This idea came from a challenge I received from the good people at Cheerios. Cheerios has long had a focus on sustainability. Some of the sustainable features are straightforward — for example, their boxes are made from 100% recycled materials — and have been since the 1930′s!

Other sustainable features I had no idea about, but am impressed by. For example, their Minnesota milling plant uses a bio-mass burner that burns the oat hulls and creates the energy needed to run the whole plant. Then, the ashes from the hulls are returned to the oat farmers. Then, the farmers use the ashes to fertilize their crops. Circle of life! You can see more about their efficiency and sustainability on their website, or check out the graphic I included at the bottom of the post.

So their challenge to me was to create a project that uses their recycled cardboard cereal boxes — something most families have on hand at any given moment. I love a good challenge, and since we’re in the middle of back-to-school season, I immediately thought of this cardboard embossing technique and how it might relate to school supplies.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom DSC_0625-1

Making your own embossing plate out of cereal boxes offers so much variation and freedom. The sky is the limit on shapes and initials. And once the plate is made, you can emboss to your heart’s content — the cardboard form will last a long time!

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

I did a lot of experimenting to figure out best practices and have detailed them all in the tutorial below. Chances are you have everything you need in your home already  — just pull that Cheerios box out of your recycling bin and let’s get started!

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

Supplies:

- empty cardboard cereal boxes
- scissors or cutting blade
- hot glue or white glue
- letters/shapes
- bone folder
- spray bottle
- colored paper, card stock weight or thicker
- folders, notebooks, date books, etc.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom DSC_0617-1

Decide what letters or shapes you’d like to recreate. I chose a few letters, both serif and sans serif, and a few simple shapes.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

Cut them out of the cereal box cardboard. For these projects, you’ll need several layers of cardboard. Cut out the shape you want 3 or 4 times, then stick them together to make one form.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

Once the letter and shape stack is thick, attach it to a larger piece of cardboard, a ‘plate’, and prepare to emboss.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

To emboss, lightly mist a piece of paper and lay over the embossing plate. Damp paper has more give and stretch.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

Top the misted paper with a white piece of paper (printer paper will do) to protect it from the bone folder. Plain white paper is best so there is no color rub off. The white paper shields the paper below from getting shiny during embossing.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

Rub steadily around the embossing plate, making sure to hold the paper in place. Think of this process as slowly coaxing the paper to bend to your will. It’s best to work slowly, taking extra time to gently work into corners, around text serifs, on the edges and in any openings.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

When you feel like the paper is shaped well, remove the white paper and check. Some of the corners and edges might need a little more attention. Once the image looks good, remove the embossing plate and use the bone folder to smooth any wrinkles or crinkles around the shape.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

For folders, simply embossing the actual cover is all you need to do. But if you’d like to emboss the thicker cover of a composition book or date book, the technique is slightly different — emboss a blank sheet of card stock, then glue it to the thick cover of your notebook. Pictured above is a small date book with a blue piece of embossed cardstock glued to the cover.

When gluing it to another surface, add glue to all the areas outside the embossed shape (including openings in letters), then use the bone folder to smooth down the paper.

DIY Cereal Box Embossing - Customize all your school supplies!  |  Design Mom

A few tips:

- Thicker paper worked best for this project. Card stock, thick cotton paper (artist paper) and the folders worked exceptionally well.

- When the paper is thick, like the folders, spritz the under side of the paper, the side of the paper that will lay on the embossing plate.

- Instead of trying to get the paper embossed in one pass around the shape, it’s better to make a few passes around the shape gently and firming reshaping the damp paper.

- The paper around the shape may get a little pinched during the embossing process. Most can be rubbed out with the bone folder.

Hooray for back to school! I hope you have fun with this cereal box project. If you come up with other fun ways to use these cardboard embossing plates, please share your ideas in the comments!

P.S. — Like to make things? Check out these cool projects.

Print

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/diy-cereal-box-embossing/feed/ 11
DIY: Cement Pencil Holder http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/diy-cement-pencil-holder/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/diy-cement-pencil-holder/#comments Mon, 25 Aug 2014 15:00:49 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=50140

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie. // This post is brought to you by Office Depot. #TeachersChangeLives and so can you! Go here to find out more.

——-

It’s official: a new school year is upon us! And like many kids, my children have the itch to make something for their new teachers. A drawing, a little piece of origami, a sweet note. Of course, I always wonder if there’s something we can add, something to go along with the little note or drawing, that their teacher will find useful. A gift card so that their teachers can buy supplies for the classroom is always helpful, but if you’re in the making sort of mood (I am!), I thought this cement desk organizer fits the bill very nicely.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

The project incorporates two of my favorite things — fresh school supplies, and cement. Best of all, it’s not just for pens and pencils. This handsome + utilitarian item can be designed to hold any number and any size of desk accessories. The style and layout is all up to you!

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Don’t be anxious about working with cement for this project. Yes, it requires concentration and muscle (which surely you have in spades), and an odd combination of working fast and waiting. But the end product is worth it. These heavy duty holders would look handsome on any desk!

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Plus, there are lots of ways to include the kids on this project, from gathering supplies, to stirring cement, to decorating the dried organizer with Sharpies (we used silver).

Ready to get to work? Let’s go.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Supplies:

- cement
- cardboard/papier maché forms
- dowels, various sizes
- wax paper
- glue gun or tape
- sander, optional

We used Rapid Set Cement All because it sets up so quickly. Of course you can use any kind of cement that you’d like. With Rapid Set, you must work very quickly. It’s good because the project will be done sooner however, it does require fast moving and it’s a little sweat inducing. : )

After a couple of tests, we decided wooden dowels wrapped in wax paper were the easiest to prep, most cost effective option. Other ‘pencil slot making’ options include wide metal dowels (found in the rebar section), various sizes of knitting needles or PVC pipe.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

First, wrap the applicable dowels in wax paper and secure with hot glue or tape. The wax paper prevents the cement from sticking to the wood (because it really sticks!!).

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Before any cement is prepped, take some time to plan the layout of the pencil holder. You can sketch it, use a grid or just lay it out. This step is vital, especially if you use Rapid Set cement. Your time is limited to get things placed before the cement sets and it’s best to plan it in advance.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

When you have your layout decided, you can prepare the cement, according to the manufacturer’s directions. Pour the cement in your form, shake it to settle the cement into the corners and edges of the form.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Place the wax paper wrapped dowels into the cement. Watch the dowels because they might shift and lean and wiggle, especially when other dowels are added. As you place them, keep shaking the form to resettle the cement around the dowels.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

As the cement sets up, especially the Rapid Set, twist and wiggle the dowels. If you leave them still until the cement completely sets, the dowels will be stuck — this advice is based on experience! Hah! Once the cement is holding up on its own around the dowels, remove the dowels, even if the whole form isn’t completely dry.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

After removing the dowels, allow the form to completely dry.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Once the cement has completely dried, peel or cut away the outer form. An optional step is to use a sander to smooth out rough edges.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Lastly, we added some metallic doodles to the pencil holder with a silver Sharpies when the cement was dry. You could create patterns, add your teachers initials with a stencil, or even keep the cement organizer plain and simple.

DIY: Cement Desk Organizer and Pencil Holder   |   Design Mom

Then the funnest part, choosing the products to put in the slots! Fill it with colorful school supplies and tada!, you’ve made an awesome gift for your favorite teacher.

I teamed up with Office Depot for this project, because I love how they support teachers. They help spread the word about what teachers need in the classroom, and the reality of how much teachers spend out of pocket for classroom supplies.

As an extension of their #TeachersChangeLives program, Office Depot worked with Newell-Rubbermaid (the makers of Sharpie and Expo) to document the stories of two teachers and how they help students think outside of the box. Click here to find videos featuring those two teachers, plus a coupon for school supplies, so you can help your children’s teachers get what they need.

Here’s to a fantastic new school year!

P.S. — Like to make things? Find more cool DIY projects here.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/diy-cement-pencil-holder/feed/ 3
After School Snack Placemats – Free Printable! http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/after-school-snack-placemats-free-printable/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/after-school-snack-placemats-free-printable/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:00:17 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=49835

DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom

Photos and text by Gabrielle. // This post is brought to you by Blue Diamond Almonds.

BD Almonds Logo

It’s Back to School season! I love this time of year — really, I love anything that gives a feeling of fresh-starts and new chances and do-overs. One of the things I want to refresh as we head into fall is our snacks. Last school year we made great progress on cutting crappy food from our diet. But our efforts seemed to evaporate as summer came on. Popsicles and ice cold soda and ice cream sandwiches are hard to resist!

DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom

There’s no time like the present to reintroduce healthier snacks. Of course, I could just serve them up as is (and probably will on many days), but I thought it would be a fun option to make our after-school snack times a little more playful. So, I drew up some simple illustrations and had them laminated as placemats. A fox, a cat, a man and a woman.

DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom

The idea is basic as can be: the kids use their snacks to fill in the shapes. My hope is to provide different veggies and fruits and almonds each day. The kids will see them as fresh, new decorative options, and instead of reaching for the same old, same old, they’ll be getting more of a variety of foods than they might otherwise. Kids are happy. Mom is happy. Everyone is happy!

DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom

If you’d like to make your own set, it’s easy as can be. Download the free .pdf and save it to a thumbdrive, then head to your favorite copy shop. Have the .pdf printed on 11×17 paper and laminated. With printing and lamination, each placemat cost me less than $3.

DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom DIY Snack-time Placemats - Free Printable!   |   Design Mom

Do you have any fun after-school snack traditions at your house? We’re always looking for new ideas!

P.S. — When we shot these photos, we tried 4 different flavors of Blue Diamond Almonds, one on each placemat. Honey Roasted Cinnamon, Honey Roasted Vanilla, Honey Roasted, and Smokehouse. Oscar liked them all, but his favorite were definitely the cinnamon. As for me, I ate the whole can of Smokehouse. : )

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/08/after-school-snack-placemats-free-printable/feed/ 15
Personalized Clothes for Back to School http://www.designmom.com/2014/07/personalized-clothes-for-back-to-school/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/07/personalized-clothes-for-back-to-school/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 16:00:56 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=49427

Old Navy + PS I Love You01

Images and text by Gabrielle. // This post is brought to you by Old Navy + P.S. I Made This. Dream big and customize your clothes to match your dreams! #PSxOldNavy

——-

[ Update: the original post included an announcement about in-store events at Old Navy. Total bummer, but the events were cancelled. Sad face. Still want to get in on the clothes personalization action? Check out P.S. I Made This for the coolest ideas. ]

This is so fun! My friend Erica created P.S. I Made This — the popular blog full of DIY and craft ideas. I first met Erica when we were on a panel together at an American Made event. Then, we both worked on a holiday event last fall. And then, I invited her to come Alt Summit in January. Erica is talented and smart and brings the best kind of enthusiasm to everything she does. Her latest project? She teamed up with Old Navy to encourage kids to personalize their back-to-school clothes!

Old Navy + PS I Love You02

To show you what it’s all about, P.S. I Made This & Old Navy sent clothes for the kids plus a box of craft supplies.

Old Navy + PS I Love You03 Old Navy + PS I Love You04

The craft box was jam packed with materials — stencils, sequins, paints, iron-on letters, gems, ribbon, fabric glue, a tie dye kit, and on and on. So we went to the park and got our craft on!

Old Navy + PS I Love You20 Old Navy + PS I Love You19

Olive bedazzled a dress for June.

Old Navy + PS I Love You05 Old Navy + PS I Love You07

Oscar added “Oakland” to the side of a shirt.

Old Navy + PS I Love You14 Old Navy + PS I Love You15 Old Navy + PS I Love You16

Betty thought about ribbons and sequins and tassels.

Old Navy + PS I Love You10 Old Navy + PS I Love You11 Old Navy + PS I Love You18

Ralph tie-dyed a white polo in orange and red.

Old Navy + PS I Love You08 Old Navy + PS I Love You09

Maude stenciled the back pockets of a pair of jeans.

Old Navy + PS I Love You22 Old Navy + PS I Love You17

And painted an ombre shirt with June as well.

Old Navy + PS I Love You12 Old Navy + PS I Love You21

Pockets and cuffs were embellished. Messes were made. Clothes were personalized. Fun was had by all!

Want to get in on the action? Your kids can find instructions, and inspiration videos to customize their own kids from Erica and P.S. I Made This team. Now tell me, Friends, do you ever get an urge to personalize your clothes? Maude cut up a basic tee during Girls Camp and it looks awesome. Between that and the new season of Project Runway, we’re kind of on a clothes personalization kick. : )

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/07/personalized-clothes-for-back-to-school/feed/ 19
DIY: Leather Earrings http://www.designmom.com/2014/07/leather-earrings/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/07/leather-earrings/#comments Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:14:17 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=48892

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Have you seen the new trend in tiny leather earrings? I’m loving it. So I thought it would be fun to create my own — for myself and as gifts. I love the natural texture of the leather and the soft pop of color.

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

Leather is an easy material to work with. It’s soft, but keeps its shape. It doesn’t fray or wrinkle (unless you really, really want it to) and the texture and color options are endless.

I tried a ton of variations and always concluded that simple is better for this particular look.

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

With a few bucks and very little time, you can make yourself a whole new batch of accessories. They’re so simple and easy to make it’s barely a tutorial!

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

Come and check out this easy, satisfying project!!

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

Supplies:

- leather*
- earring posts
- strong adhesive or hot glue
- scissors

The leather for this project can be found at fabric stores. However, because the amount needed is so little, you can find what you need at thrift stores (purses, bags, belts) or garage sales — I’ve even picked up old leather purses at Goodwill and cut up the leather for craft projects like this.

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

Cut your desired shape. I experimented with circles, but found that sharp, geometric shapes were much easier to trim out. I also concluded that I liked smaller shapes best. Half an inch or smaller — basically, just enough leathers to cover the earring post.

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Mom

To finish up, use glue to attach the leather to earring post.

DIY: Tiny Leather Earrings. Easy and Inexpensive and Cute!   |   Design Momleather-earrings 4.2

Allow to dry completely and then wear! What did I tell? Simple as can be. I hope you make some. It would be a fun boredom fighter for your tweens or teens — you could host a jewelry making party!

P.S. — Like to make things? Here are a whole bunch of awesome projects.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/07/leather-earrings/feed/ 3
Welcome to Summer: DIY Sun-Dye Bandanas http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/welcome-to-summer-diy-sun-dye-bandanas/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/welcome-to-summer-diy-sun-dye-bandanas/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 18:38:05 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=48832

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

Images and text by Gabrielle. This post brought to you by Quaker Chewy — they’re all about fueling backyard fun. In fact, they’re offering free Nerf toys! Details at bottom.

———

Last week, I told you about the Welcome to Summer party we organized with Liz and Jordan — we had the cousins over for a fun afternoon in the sun to mark the end of the school year. Each family handled two activities, which made for a full, happy, party agenda and eliminated any chance of boredom. Hah! It turned out to be a really memorable event, and I’m sure the kids will continue to talk about it for weeks and years to come.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

I was in charge of Lemonade Toasts and Sun-dye Prints. I’m excited to tell you all about the Sun-Dye process today! Liz and Jordan are writing about their activities too — a Bubble Relay Race, and a Giant Water Balloon Slingshot.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

Let me start by telling you I’m kind of obsessed with sun-dyes. They are super cool and feel a little magical. Essentially, they are dyes that are colorless when you apply them, but turn vibrant colors when exposed to sunlight. My mom introduced sun-dyes to me when I was in college and I’ve been going through sun-dye phases ever since.

For this activity, we decided to dye bandanas. I couldn’t actually find plain white bandanas, so we used square cotton dishcloths instead. They’re a generous size and work as head wraps, capes, or can even be tied around the waists of little ones as a beach/pool coverup.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

The only brand of sun-dye that I’m aware of is called Inkodye. It doesn’t come in a ton of colors, but you could do a little color-mixing if you want to expand the palette. The main trick with sun-dye is you need both a low-light area and a sunny area to work in. The dye will start exposing as soon as there’s even a hint of sunlight, so you want to apply the ink, and add any objects that you want to use to block the sunlight, in low light.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

Adding objects creates a pattern — we used plants, leaves, even clothespins. Pretty much any opaque object could work. In fact, Jordan told me about a friend who painted a duvet cover with Inkodye, then took a nap on it in the sun, and when she woke up, the imprint of her body was on the duvet. So cool!

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

One of the nice things about this activity is that there is some downtime. After bubble relays and water balloon sling shots, the kids could sit and relax and have a snack while the sun did its work.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

One note: I would recommend having extra dyeable items on hand, because the process is super fun! And you’ll definitely want to dye more than one item. : )

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

I love this project! Even if your kids aren’t artsy, they’ll get a kick out of seeing the colors appear in the sunlight. And it’s pretty much no fail — no matter what objects you add, or even if you add none-at-all, the bandana is going to look fantastic.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

Tell me, Friends. Have you ever tried sun-dyes? Is your imagination running with objects you could use to create patterns? (Me too!)

quaker-chewy
Thanks to Quaker Chewy for sponsoring our Welcome to Summer Party and fueling backyard fun! Quaker Chewy gives kids the energy they need to play. That’s why Quaker and NERF are teaming up to fuel backyard fun, helping families get active together, right in their own backyard. When you buy three specially-marked boxes of Quaker Chewy, you can enter the codes online at http://fuelfun.quakeroats.com to get a free Nerf sports item.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

The materials for this project are pretty simple. I used:

- Inkodye
- Bandanas (really, dishtowels) — you could use anything you like! T-shirts, a bolt of fabric, a pillow cover, canvas shoes, sheets, etc.
- Sponge brushes
- Wide mouth jars (for dipping the brushes into)

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

It was such a sunny day that when we put the Inkodye into the empty wide mouth jars, the ink instantly started changing colors!

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

So we kept the jars in a paper bag to prevent exposure. Another option would be to paint the outside of the jars with an opaque black paint. Or, you could work inside, in a room with windows (or with good window coverings), and then bring your project outside for exposure once it’s prepped.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

The bottles of dye aren’t big, and I was afraid we would run out, so I diluted the ink with water. On one batch, I used too much water and the ink didn’t develop as vibrantly. But as long as I didn’t use too much, the final color still turned out as intense as it should have. That’s just a little trick to make the ink go further.

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

Be sure to gather your leaves/props ahead of time. The sooner you add them to the freshly applied ink, the more crisp your images will appear. Work quickly once you’ve applied the ink!

DIY: Sun Dye Bandanas. You've got to try this. Sun dye is awesome!  |  Design Mom

One other note: I would definitely recommend experimenting first before trying this with a group. You’ll want to figure out the best places to work as far as low-light and sun-light are concerned. Also, different fabrics will accept the dye in different ways. For example, our dishcloths were starched and when I first brushed on the ink it didn’t soak in well, so I had to use a spray bottle to dampen the cloth first, and then apply the ink.

I think that’s it as far as notes go. Please let me know if you have any questions. And if you try this project, I’d love to hear!

P.S. — Like to make things? Find more awesome projects here.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/welcome-to-summer-diy-sun-dye-bandanas/feed/ 25
Welcome to Summer: Lemonade Toasts http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/welcome-summer-lemonade-toasts/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/welcome-summer-lemonade-toasts/#comments Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:27:08 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=48691

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

Images and text by Gabrielle. This post brought to you by Quaker Chewy — they’re all about fueling backyard fun. In fact, they’re offering free Nerf toys! Details at bottom.

——–

Have you ever thrown a party at the end of the school year? We like to mark the change in weather with an outing or a get together. This year, we had the cousins over for a Welcome to Summer party. Jordan, Liz and I divided up the activities and turned a regular old Sunday afternoon into an epic event! There was lots of laughing, lots of mess, and everyone ended the day with big grins plastered across our faces.

I was in charge of Lemonade Toasts and Sun-dye Prints. I’ll tell you all about one activity today and another next week, in case you’d like try them out at your own parties this summer. Liz and Jordan are writing about their activities too — Fruit Kabob Sundaes and a Giant Color Fight!

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

Lemonade Toasts was Ben Blair’s brilliant idea. It’s simple, adorable, and was a great way to start the party and get people thinking about how much good stuff there is to look forward to in the summer.

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

We printed out a basic prompt on cardstock and cut it into strips. Then the kids filled out the strips. The wording of the prompt is: This summer, I want to ________. Here’s to ______ and ______!

The kids filled them in with things like: This summer I want to go to the beach. Here’s to surfing and sand! Or, This summer I want to read 50 books. Here’s to free time and no school!

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

Then, they took turns standing on a crate and reading their toasts to the whole family — with a fancy glass of lemonade in hand!

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

Things that are awesome about this activity:

1) It couldn’t be easier.

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

2) The kids LOVED it. It gave each child a chance to be in the spotlight. Each child could think about what they wanted to say, and each one received a round of applause when they were done. It feels good to be heard and acknowledged!

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

3) Sometimes, kids doing grownup things (like toasts) is the cutest thing ever. Seeing their faces get serious, so they could concentrate and read the words correctly, then clinking their glasses of lemonade with their cousins, was as charming as can be.

Start the summer off right with Lemonade Toasts! A great party activity where every kid gets a chance to shine.  |  Design Mom

4) It’s nice to find out what they’re looking forward to most about the summer!

I highly recommend this activity. Five stars! It really was a wonderful way to kick off the gathering, and was as fun for the grownups to watch as it was for the kids to participate.

Tell me, Friends. Anything fun you’re doing (or you did) to welcome summer vacation?

quaker-chewy
P.S. — Thanks to Quaker Chewy for sponsoring our Welcome to Summer Party and fueling backyard fun! Quaker Chewy gives kids the energy they need to play. That’s why Quaker and NERF are teaming up to fuel backyard fun, helping families get active together, right in their own backyard. When you buy three specially-marked boxes of Quaker Chewy, you can enter the codes online at http://fuelfun.quakeroats.com to get a free Nerf sports item.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/welcome-summer-lemonade-toasts/feed/ 23
DIY: Vintage Classroom Posters http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/diy-vintage-classroom-posters/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/diy-vintage-classroom-posters/#comments Wed, 11 Jun 2014 18:57:43 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=48602

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Remember the boys’ bedroom? To encourage Oscar’s love of marine biology, I hung posters of shark diagrams and catalogues. But instead of framing them, I turned them into old-school classroom-style, pull-down posters. I was so pleased with how they turned out, I promised to whip up a tutorial, and (hooray!) it’s ready to go.

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

There are a few reasons why I’m so pleased with this solution. 1) It’s inexpensive — far cheaper than framing a poster. 2) It’s easy to do and not-intimidating. 3) It looks great — and adds some fun texture to a wall. 4) It’s an appropriate solution for an inexpensive poster or a temporary hobby/interest.

With kids, sometimes their interests change from month to month. In June they love the Olympics, and in July they love antique cars. As parents, you want to encourage their interests, and hang up the latest poster they bring home, but it can be hard to invest in expensive artwork or frames, knowing that their interests will likely change sooner than later.

So for me, this is an ideal solution. It makes the poster look great on the wall, but isn’t a big investment of time or money. If Oscar’s passion for marine biology continues, the posters will continue to look good, but if he decides he’s into something else, it won’t feel like a big sacrifice to say goodbye to the shark posters. Does that make sense? : )

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

I think vintage-style posters work best for this project, because we’re going for a look that is similar to the old pull-down posters used in classrooms. Those posters are what inspired this project in the first place. Anything that has diagrams or notes, or looks like it could appear in a textbook, would work for this. Botanical prints. Biology drawings. Old maps. Stuff like that.

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

And the how-to process is as simple as can be. Once it is put together, it can go on the wall immediately. No waiting.

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

Ready to get started?

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

Supplies:

- vintage-style poster
- roll of craft paper — I used a blue wrapping paper that was craft on the backside.
- dowel, 5/8″ diameter, cut down to the width of the poster plus 4 to 6″
- paper tape or cloth tape
- tiny brass eye screws
- twine

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

Using the paper/cloth tape, attach the craft paper to the top of the poster. Use a strip of tape all the way across on both the front and back side. If you use paper tape, you have to wet the backside for the stickiness to become activated. You’ll want a wet sponge nearby to wipe across the tape. Get it nice and wet. Trim off the extra tape so that it’s the exact same width as the poster.

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

Next, cut another piece of tape, again, the same width as the poster. Use this piece of tape to attach the dowel to the craft paper. Put about half the tape on the poster and wrap the remaining half around the dowel — the tape won’t make it all the way around the dowel. The dowel is wider than the poster, so center is on the poster and let a few inches remain on each side.

Now, use the taped dowel to start rolling up the craft paper tightly around it. Roll toward the back of the poster. Stop rolling when you have 6 or 8″ of craft paper still showing.

DIY: Vintage Classroom-Style Posters. Better than a crummy frame!  |  Design Mom

Attach the second dowel using another strip of paper tape. Cut a strip of tape the same width as the poster. Lay half the thickness of the tape across the bottom of the poster and wrap the remaining overhanging portion around the dowel, again centering the dowel, with 2 or 3″ on each side.

To complete, screw a small brass eye screw on each side of the top dowel. I poked the dowel with a pushpin where I wanted each screw, then used my fingers to get the screw started, and  pliers to finish screwing it in.

Last, take a length of twine and knot the ends on each screw.

Like I said: so easy! Much less cost than a frame and looks great hanging on the wall. If you transform some posters at your house, be sure to let me know how it goes!

P.S. — Like to make things? Here are some fantastic projects.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/diy-vintage-classroom-posters/feed/ 13
Wooden Postcards with Image Transfer http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/wooden-postcards-with-image-transfer/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/wooden-postcards-with-image-transfer/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 13:00:27 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=48173

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

When I was in 6th grade, I got to take a trip to Hawaii with my dance group (it was called the Super Steppers, in case you’re curious). One of the main things everyone told me I must do in Hawaii is mail home a coconut in its husk. No box. No padding. Just write the address on the coconut with a marker and slap on the stamps. Of course, to my 11-year-old ears, this sounded like the coolest thing a person could possibly do. There’s something so fun and funny about getting a non-standard letter or package in the mail!

These postcards are admittedly not as extreme as a coconut. But. They are made of wood! And they are awesome to find tucked in between the bills and junk mail! I’m a huge fan of photo transfers — they’re practically magic. And I thought image transfers + wooden postcards sounded like the perfect storm of fun, useable, good-looking projects.

To up the charm even more, I used historical images from New York City (available here), and I love how they turned out so much!

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

I should note from the beginning, these handmade wooden post cards are not the same as paper post cards. Due to their width and weight, they are priced similar to a large envelope or a ‘flat’. But they’re worth the extra stamp — their unique, one-of-a-kind quality makes this snail mail more like art work.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

It takes some work and patience but the outcome is definitely worth it!

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

On to the postcard how-to!

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

Supplies

- gel medium – Golden Gel Medium in Regular Gel (Gloss or Matte)*
- smooth plywood, 1/4 inch thick
- sandpaper
- high resolution, toner-printed image/photo**
- foam brush
- spray bottle filled with water
- cotton rag, optional (saves your fingers a bit during the transfer)

*Gel Medium – I have only used Golden Gel Medium and since it’s worked well for me every time, I haven’t tried other products. I have used both the gloss and matte version with the same result. The medium also works to coat and protect the transfer when its finished.

**Image/Photo – A few notes:

I mention toner-printed above and that’s key. Most home printers are ink-jet and they won’t work for this project. You’ll need a toner-based laser printer — the kind you use in copy shops. So take your image into any Kinkos type place and you’ll be set.

The quality of the image or photo is the clincher for this project. Without a quality image, the transferred image will be lacking. You can use full color or black and white images.

Make sure the image is high resolution. The dimensions can be whatever you’d like but the resolution needs to be high. High resolution means a clearer picture and a clearer picture means a clear transfer. A typical high resolution for a printed piece would be 300 dpi at whatever dimensions you plan to print it.

Make sure to reverse the image. The transfer process flips it so flipping it initially (when you make your photo copy) will set it right. This is especially important for images with text.

Make sure the image is printed on 20lb paper. This is necessary. Weightier paper will inhibit the transfer process.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

First, cut the plywood down to your desired sizes. Any craft saw will work just fine. Sand the edges. For reference, the smallest ‘post card’ size pictured is 3 1/2″ x 5″ and the largest letter size is 6 1/8″ x 11 1/2″.

Prep the printed images by trimming down the paper.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

Use the foam brush to spread an even layer of gel medium on the surface of the wood. Not too thick, not too thin. Try to make it as even as possible and make sure the entire surface is covered. Bare spots or globs will cause problems with the transfer.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

Lightly spritz the printed side of the image and lay it down on the gel-medium-covered surface. Align the image to the edges of the post card.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

Smooth out the printed image using your finger, pressing from the center to the edges. The paper is damp which makes it easier to tear — so be careful. As the paper settles, more wrinkles can appear so you’ll need to keep watch, and press them out.

Allow the paper and post card to dry completely.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

When it is dry, use the spray bottle to wet the paper surface until the image is visible.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

Carefully begin to remove the paper. The first time through is typically larger pieces like the portions hanging over the edge and the first few layers of the paper. Be patient and don’t rush. Rushing can cause parts of the image to peel off leaving blank spots.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

Continue rubbing away the white areas. The wet paper will ball up and peel away. I used my fingers, and I used a damp rag to remove the paper. The rag has some texture and really helps remove the paper.

After you’ve removed as much as you can, let it dry a little. As it dries, the white paper will be more visible. Repeat until you are satisfied with the look.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

When it’s finished, top it with a clear coat if you’d like.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

A clear coat can give the image a lovely texture.

#DIY Wooden Postcards with Photo Transfers   |   Design Mom

I know. Kind of an involved process for something that looks so simple and lovely. But once you practice the technique, you’re set! And I’m betting you will become totally obsessed with photo transfer projects. Antique photos from your grand parents. The faded color photos from your childhood. They’re all packed with wonderful possibilities!

Happy making. And happy photo hunting, too!

P.S. — Like to make things? Check out these projects.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/06/wooden-postcards-with-image-transfer/feed/ 15
The Treehouse: Family Swing Project http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/the-treehouse-family-swing-project/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/the-treehouse-family-swing-project/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 19:02:01 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=47917

Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

Text and how-to images by Gabrielle. Family portraits by Sarah of Modern Kids. | This post is brought to you by Lowe’s Home Improvement — they have everything you need to tackle your own weekend projects, just in time for Memorial Day!  #springiscalling

——–

There are 3 reasons I’m super excited to share this project with you. 1) It’s awesome! I thought of it last fall, and the whole idea still makes me grin. 2) I’ve been sharing behind the scenes peeks on the Lowe’s Instagram stream for the last few days and it’s fun to get to finally share the finished photos. And 3) We haven’t had family photos taken since the Vintage Car photo shoot in France — 3 Christmases ago! We were long overdue and this was a great excuse/opportunity.

Sarah of Modern Kids did the portraits. She also did our French Greys portraits back in the day. She lives here in the Bay Area and it’s been wonderful to be able to work with her again!

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Betty Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

The idea for The Family Swing Project came to me last fall. We had just started to get to know our yard, and Ben Blair pointed out how pretty the view of the stream was from under this particular tree. He mentioned we should hang a swing so someone could relax and take in the view.

I loved that idea and looked up to consider where a swing should go. And when I looked up, it hit me that there were a ton of options — ten or more branches growing horizontally.

There was a lightbulb moment and all of a sudden I could picture our whole family spending a warm, lazy evening under the tree — each child in their own swing, and Ben Blair and I sharing a bench swing. We could sway and chat and listen to the stream, and just be together.

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Oscar Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

This vision has been stuck in my head for all these months, and this last weekend, we decided to bring the vision to life!

Ben Blair was the how-to master mind. He figured out how to build the swings and get them to swing properly. I’ve included a complete photo tutorial when you click through, so you can see what he came up with (and in case you’d like to build your own swings!).

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Ralph Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

They’ve only been hanging for a few days so far, but they are already a major draw for the kids, for their friends and for the cousins. It’s easy to see they are going to provide hours of entertainment, and a bucket full of memories for our family.

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Maude Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Flora June Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

We hung the swings at different heights — one particularly low swing was hung especially for June. And all but two hang from their own branch. The bench hangs from the sturdiest branch and we tried to sort of center it — with the other swings hanging around it.

The project turned out wonderfully, and it feels good to have made a bit more progress in the yard. I already said this, but the whole thing still makes me grin!

Blair Family Portrait in Swings   |   Olive Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom Family Portrait in Swings   |   Design Mom

Man oh man, I like those kids.

Would you like to learn how we built the swings? Keep reading.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Are you ready for a project? Here’s a photo tutorial of how we put together the swings. We started with redwood boards that we had cut to size at Lowe’s. We had some boards cut to 24″ and some boards cut to 20″ to accommodate the different sized people in our family.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

We measured in 1.5″ from each side.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Then we clamped the board to our work table. We used a scrap piece of plywood underneath the board that we could drill through, and we added an old rag to the top of the board to prevent an imprint of the clamp.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

We further secured the board with 2 more hand clamps.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Then it was time to drill. We used a 1/2 inch bit, because our rope is 1/2 inch thick.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Tada! Drilling done.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Next, we went over the edges of the board, and any rough spots, with a palm sander.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Now that the boards were prepped, we turned our attention to the ropes. To prep them for hanging, we used some very specific hardware — all found in bulk bins at Lowe’s (all but the carabiners, that is).

Adding metal inside the rope keeps the rope from fraying or wearing down from hours of swinging.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

And this hardware keeps the ropes in place and allows you to adjust for length.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Then, we added a carabiner (we ordered these online).

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

The carabiner then attaches to an o-ring screw.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

And the screw goes into a sturdy branch.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

This is what it looks like all put together.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Next, it was time to attach the ropes to the boards. We measured the rope, then taped it off with a piece of white duct tape. Then we cut the rope in the middle of the tape.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

We used a lighter to melt the rope ends, to prevent fraying. (This step is optional depending on what type of rope you are using — obviously, if you go with cotton rope, don’t burn it!)

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

We then threaded the taped + burnt end of the rope through the board.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

We tied a knot under one side of the board (we used a bow-line knot). Then we leveled the board, and tied the second knot.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Once we were happy with the leveling, we taped, trimmed and burnt the end of the ropes that hang below the knots.

That’s it! If you get this far, it’s time to start swinging.

DIY Swing Tutorial   |   Design Mom

Happy building! And hey, if you get a chance to make these, or try any modifications that improve the swings, we’d love to hear about it!

P.S. — Like to make things? Find lots of tutorials, projects and crafts here. For more posts about The Treehouse, go here.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/the-treehouse-family-swing-project/feed/ 66
Petit Collage Craft Book http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/petit-collage-craft-book/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/petit-collage-craft-book/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 19:01:36 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=47811

Craft Books09

Image and text by Gabrielle.

Another pretty craft book I wanted to tell you about. This one is by Petit Collage and it’s filled with happy projects for the home. So many cute ideas! I love the menu chart and the chalk family tree.

Craft Books11 Craft Books12

I’m a huge fan of the creator, Lorena Siminovich, and the whole line of Petit Collage products. I think Lorena is a creative genius — and I love watching her as a businesswoman as well!

When I first came across Petit Collage, it was a tiny online shop with a handful of sweet art prints. Now the line includes games, wall decals, mobiles, toys, prints, and the book! And each item is beautiful and made with attention to details and quality — the focus on design is so appealing to me! Plus, Lorena is a parent and creates her products with real kids and real families in mind — and yes, real kids really love them!

Is there a company out there you feel connected to that you’ve watched grow and thrive? It’s fun to witness!

Craft Books13

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/petit-collage-craft-book/feed/ 6
Painted Boxes http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/painted-boxes/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/painted-boxes/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 17:19:14 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=47445

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!

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

Supplies:

- wooden pencil or artist box (I used this one and this one from Amazon.)
- paint
- tape
- sealant, optional

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

Decide on a design and use the tape to create it. Make sure to stick down the tape well to keep the lines clean. Remember, the tape will protect the wood, leaving it without paint. I used blue painter’s tape for everything. I cut it down to narrow strips for the larger triangles. Worked great.

Add paint in your desired colors and allow to dry completely.

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

Peel away the tape to reveal the design. Add a sealant if you desire or leave it as is. I loved the flat color against the wood.

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

And that’s it! Can you believe how simple? The only time consuming part is deciding on a design and trimming the tape to create it — but that’s the fun part too!

If you decide to make one, let me know. I want to see a show-and-tell of all your pretty painted boxes.

P.S. — Like to make gifts? Click here for tons of ideas.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/painted-boxes/feed/ 10
DIY: Crate Shelves — Make a Set of 15 for $125 http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/diy-crate-shelves-make-a-set-of-15-for-125/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/diy-crate-shelves-make-a-set-of-15-for-125/#comments Fri, 02 May 2014 14:54:16 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=47351

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.

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

Project Overview & Tools

I would say this is an intermediate skill-level project. Ideally, you have access to a table saw (though anything from a skil saw to a table saw can work), a jigsaw, and a palm sander with 120 grit and 220 grit paper.

You’ll also need a measuring tape, wood glue, paper and pencil. If you want to make as many shelves as we have, plan on this project taking a couple of full days.

Instructions

To put them together, we bought 4 foot x 8 foot sheets of plywood. Then, had the lumber yard cut the plywood into 4 equal long strips that were 11.5 inches wide. We chose that width to minimize the plywood waste.

Note: I know 12 inches across seems like the easiest way to divide a 48 inch wide sheet into 4 pieces, but the saw eats up some of the wood, so if you go with 12 inches wide, the first 3 pieces will be fine, but the last one won’t be quite 12 inches. That’s why I recommend 11.5 inches.

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

Then, using a table saw at home, those long pieces were cut into smaller pieces for the 3 different box sizes. 18 inches, 15 inches and 12 inches — 4 pieces for each box.  If you don’t have a table saw, you can likely get these cuts made at a lumber yard as well.

Note: This part was a bit of a math game, figuring out how many pieces could be cut from each length of board. And depending on what size boxes you’d like to make, and how many of each you’d like, the math will change. So plan on pulling out paper and pencil for this part and sketching and measuring before you start cutting.

You can make the boxes in any size you like. I chose 18″, 15″ and 12″ based on what I was planning to store on the shelves, and based on the small loft where they were going to live. I studied our book collection, measuring several books as I went, to get a good idea of what would work. But if I was using these to hold toy bins, I would have measured the bins first and then designed boxes to fit around them.

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

For the next part, a jig saw is needed. You’ll cut out 1/2 inch notches that go halfway across, in opposite corners, from all four pieces of wood on each box. I know that’s hard to picture, so definitely study the photos to see what I’m talking about. : ) This is the longest part of the process, and you’ll have lots and lots of half inch scraps piling up.

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

Once you have each piece looking like this shot (I made a blue outline to hopefully make it really clear)…

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

… you can put the boxes together like a puzzle.

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

Then, to secure the pieces together, use a strip of wood glue wherever the pieces join, and 2 finishing nails on each of the uncut edges.

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

We used a nail gun because we happened to have one on hand, but a hammer would also work just fine.

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

The last step is to sand them. A good plywood will be fairly smooth already, but going over them with a fine grit paper, then an extra fine grit paper will ensure no slivers for little hands. With a palm sander, this goes really fast! I was able to sand all of our shelves, inside and out, in less than 2 hours.

Note: I thought I wanted a clear matte varnish to give them a little shine,  so we added one, but it didn’t work the way I hoped at all! It raised the grain of the wood in a rough way and yellowed the boxes. So I sanded it all off, and kept them plain and unfinished instead.

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

And that’s it! Our set has three of the 18″ boxes, five of the 15″ boxes and seven of the 12″ boxes — 15 crates total. (I don’t have instructions for you on the little triangle piece. Alex made that one with some trial and error from the shelving scraps. It’s so cute!) The whole set came under $125 for materials. Not bad for a full set of good-looking, flexible storage. If you make some, I hope you’ll tell me how it goes!

P.S. — Like to make things. Find all sorts of projects here.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/05/diy-crate-shelves-make-a-set-of-15-for-125/feed/ 14
DIY: Monogram Soap Bottles http://www.designmom.com/2014/04/monogram-soap-bottles/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/04/monogram-soap-bottles/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2014 19:05:56 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=47001

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.

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

Supplies:

- sticker-back vinyl
- cutting blade
- etching cream
- brush
- letters in your chosen font (Archer is the font pictured here)
- glass bottle*

*Test the etch cream on the glass you intend to etch. Glass that is coated in plastic (to make it more shatter resistant) or glass that contains lead will not etch. If you find the glass won’t etch with cream, try an “etching paint“.

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

First, cut the letters out of vinyl.

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

Remove the adhesive cover on the backside and place the vinyl on the bottles. I found it easiest to tear off the bottom 1/5 of the adhesive cover and place it where I wanted it to be. When I peeled the rest of the backing off and stuck the rest of it down. Make sure all the edges are firmly pressed down.

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

Apply the etching cream over the exposed glass. Follow the manufacturer’s directions regarding length of time and rinsing.

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

Add in a colorful soap and it’s set!

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

Can you believe how easy? The only time consuming part is cutting out the initials — keep that in mind when you choose a font (straight lines are easier to cut!).

I hope you have fun making these, and I hope you think of a happy way to honor the teachers in your life this year.

P.S. — As part of the #TeachersChangeLives program, Office Depot teamed up with Adopt A Classroom to highlight the stories of educators throughout the U.S. that go above and beyond in the classroom. These stories range from teachers in underprivileged and underfunded schools, to teachers that take innovation in the classroom to the next level, and everything in between. With teachers already doing so much with so little, think how much more they could do with support from the community. Go here and scroll down to see all the videos — they’re really well done, they had me in tears! Here’s one of my favorites:

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/04/monogram-soap-bottles/feed/ 20
Geometric Wire Bunny http://www.designmom.com/2014/04/geometric-wire-bunny/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/04/geometric-wire-bunny/#comments Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:30:12 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=46887

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.

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

Supplies:

- wire*
- pliers
- crimping sleeve (for stiffer, lower gauge wire)
- nails & board for little bunny sculpture, optional
- downloadable pdf of the bunny pattern (with one ear, and two ears — free!)

*For the large bunny, I used 12 gauge galvanized utility wire. It’s strong and holds its shape well. For the little bunnies, I used 18 gauge aluminum wire. I found both at a farm supply store.

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

First, the little bunnies. You can surely try to sculpt it with just pliers, shaping it to fit the bunny PDF, however, I think I found simpler route: a nail form. At each ‘corner’ of the geometric bunny, hammer in a 1 inch nail. As seen above, I used 31 nails. At first, I tried to keep the two-eared look for the little guys but it was too messy. 

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

Start by wrapping the wire around a nail. The starting place is up to you but I found it best to start right under the face in hopes to hide the beginning-and-end connection with a ribbon. From there, pull the wire tight and taut around the form. NOTE:  Whenever the wire needs to change directions, you must wrap the wire around the interior side of the nail.

For instance, above, see at the base of the ear how I pulled the wire around to the inside of the nail so the wire would stay in place when I continued around the ear. Again, at the base of the ear on the other side, the wire was looped on the inside of the nail before continuing around the body.

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

Continue around the bunny form, making sure to loop the wire around the nail when it needs to change directions. When complete, wrap the ends together. Gently pull to release from the nail form.

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

Make as many as you desire. Wrap with a length of ribbon and use as you wish!

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

For the big bunny, you are going to need some muscle and a friend. To make sure the bunny form stays a bunny, the wire gauge needs to be low. But, low gauge means more of a challenge sculpting. Maybe a little sweat. : )

First, enlarge the bunny sculpture to just about 3 feet. Then, using a strong set of pliers, bend the wire around the image. A friend comes in handy to hold the already sculpted wire in place.

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

Bend the wire at each ‘corner’.

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

To complete it, again because the low gauge wire is so strong, it needs something called a crimping sleeve. From the store I shopped in, I saw different sleeves for the various gauges (12 gauge wire with a 12 gauge sleeve, etc). Pinch it with pliers.

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

And that’s it! We dressed ours with satin ribbon in two colors for a more festive feel — you could pick any colors you like.

I hope this little project gets your imagination going. I’d love to hear if you make some — and how you put your creations to use!

P.S. — Like to make things? Find tons of great projects here. Looking for more Easter ideas? Go here.

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

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/04/geometric-wire-bunny/feed/ 2
Easy Cabbage Dyed Eggs http://www.designmom.com/2014/04/easy-cabbage-dyed-eggs/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/04/easy-cabbage-dyed-eggs/#comments Tue, 15 Apr 2014 03:32:12 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=46603

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!

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

Supplies for One Batch of Blue Dye:

- 1 head of red cabbage, chopped
- 4-5 cups of water, dependent on the size of the cabbage head
- 1 to 1 1/4 Tbsp white vinegar
- baking soda, optional
- eggs to dye
- big pot, colander, cups for dye, towels

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

Toss the chopped cabbage into a large pot with the water. Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for 20-30 minutes. When it is complete, add in the white vinegar.

White vinegar is an acid which helps with the dye process. In my observations, the white vinegar also act as a color lightener. When I added it to my first batch of cabbage dye, I was nervous because I noticed the tone lighten to a more purply hue. In my research for this project, I found that baking soda acts in the opposite way. I added a pinch of it to the dye and the tone quickly turned more blue. I am not a chemist and, for the most part, I chalk the whole process of dyeing up to magic.

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

So how do you get the different tones with just cabbage? Easy peasy. Simply vary the length of time the eggs spend in the dye bath. The deeper the tone, the longer the time. In fact, the deepest tones sat overnight! It was an easy process. I submerged the eggs and would just keep checking on them until I liked the tone.

All of tones pictured were achieved with cabbage — with one exception. The navy tone was achieved using a blueberry dye. Blueberries, crazy enough, make a reddish dye. I used a little of that with my blue dye to get the navy.

The blueberry dye mix I used was 2 cups water to 2 cups blueberries. I boiled them together for about 30 minutes and then I added 1/2 Tbsp of white vinegar.

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

And that’s it! If you’ve every wanted to experiment with natural dye, I highly recommend red cabbage as the perfect starting point — that one ingredient can create a full ombré look!

Tell me, Dear Readers, have you ever tried dyeing your eggs with plants or vegetables? Do you have a favorite technique? I’m especially interested in easy-to-find ingredients that I can pick up at 11:00 PM when I’m at the grocery store buying last minute lunchbox ingredients any way. : )

Also, I’d love to hear if you’re trying any special techniques to dye your eggs this year?

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/04/easy-cabbage-dyed-eggs/feed/ 34
Project Kid & Wise Craft http://www.designmom.com/2014/04/project-kid-wise-craft/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/04/project-kid-wise-craft/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 18:30:57 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=46525

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?

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/04/project-kid-wise-craft/feed/ 9
Book Report http://www.designmom.com/2014/03/book-report/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/03/book-report/#comments Thu, 27 Mar 2014 16:30:49 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=46114

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.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/03/book-report/feed/ 11
#GetMessyContest with Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day http://www.designmom.com/2014/03/getmessycontest-with-mrs-meyers-clean-day/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/03/getmessycontest-with-mrs-meyers-clean-day/#comments Mon, 17 Mar 2014 16:30:04 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=45687

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?

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/03/getmessycontest-with-mrs-meyers-clean-day/feed/ 17
A Perfect Gift: Hair Twists with Wood Beads http://www.designmom.com/2014/03/a-perfect-gift-hair-twists-with-wood-beads/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/03/a-perfect-gift-hair-twists-with-wood-beads/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 17:54:29 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=45324

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!

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

SUPPLIES

- Wooden beads (1/2-3/4″)
- 5/8″ fold over elastic (you can do a search for folded elastic to find tons of sources, Sunshine Shoppe is where the elastic pictured came from.
- wooden skewer
- scissors

INSTRUCTIONS

Measure and cut one 12 inch piece of fold-over elastic. (Optional: Once cut, seal the ends by singeing their edges over a candle.) Choose 2 wood beads. These beads can be raw wood or painted with hobby paint, if desired.

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

Carefully thread the elastic through the bead and pull close to the end. It’s helpful to coax the elastic through the bead by pushing it through with a wooden skewer.

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

Tie a knot about 1 inch in from the end.

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

Repeat this same threading and knotting of the elastic band on the opposite end.

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

Fold in half to estimate the middle…

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

… then gather the beads and knot the band together as close to the beads as possible. Once the elastics have been knotted, your beaded hair ties are ready for wearing and giving!

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

HOW TO WEAR

These hair twists are worn like traditional hair bands. Start by fitting the elastic around pony tail, keeping the beads on the outside.

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

Twist the elastic into a figure 8 and draw the second loop up and over the pony tail.

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

Adjust the double elastics that are now holding the pony tail into place so that the elastic is flat and so that the beads are on top.

Wear with a beautiful smile. : )

——–

THIS WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- Easter gifts.
- Classmate Valentines.
- A birthday party/slumber party activity.
- Party favors.

P.S. — Like to make gifts? Here are more ideas from our Perfect Gift series.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Kirtsy
  • StumbleUpon
]]>
http://www.designmom.com/2014/03/a-perfect-gift-hair-twists-with-wood-beads/feed/ 16