Firefighter Birthday Party

“Baby” J is hardly a baby anymore. He’s 2! Yes, I am sad. But,whenever I think this idea through, whether it be about my kids progressing too fast through childhood or myself approaching middle age, the conclusion always seems to be that I am grateful that we have the chance to grow up or grow old. And of course, we are all only growing older, so I try not to let the sadness about the passing of each stage overshadow my enjoyment of it.

Now, enough philosophizing and onto the fun! J is in that stage of a young boy’s development that centers around all things with wheels, engines, and in the best cases, both. When I told Steve I wanted to throw J a firefighter birthday, in honor of his favorite vehicle, a firetruck, he commented that it was certainly a better idea than celebrating J’s second favorite, which is a garbage truck. True.

Invitations

I found these cute “Red Fire Truck” invitations on Shutterfly, which worked our perfectly for our party.

Red Firetruck birthday invitation from Shutterfly.  Perfect for a little boy's party!

Red Firetruck birthday invitation from Shutterfly. Perfect for a little boy’s party!

I also printed up this little note. As I mentioned, I like to try alternatives to birthday gifts to teach the children about giving and reduce clutter at home.  At J’s party we raised $80 for the San Francisco Firefighters Cancer Prevention Foundation. My colleagues and I have seen several firefighters at the Cancer Center where we work. These women and men are exposed to many dangerous substances in their work protecting others, and they often do not get all the financial support and services they need to address the risk of cancer, so this organization is a good way to fill that gap.

Instead of birthday gifts, collect donations for a meaningful charity.  From Jewels at Home.

Instead of birthday gifts, collect donations for a meaningful charity.

Decorations

We dressed up the house with red and white balloons and these birthday banners I customized.

Customized firefighter birthday banner.  Jewels at Home.

Customized firefighter birthday banner.

Customized firefighter birthday banner.  Jewels at Home.

Another customized firefighter birthday banner.

For the children to play, we had the play firehouse I made, as well as a pop-up firetruck made by Playhut. I found the best price on eBay.

Firefighter birthday with DIY playhouse and pop up firetruck.  Jewels at Home.

Firefighter birthday with DIY playhouse and pop up firetruck.

Sticking with my pledge to reduce plastic trinkets from birthday parties, I chose to buy real cotton baseball caps and add these firefighter badge stickers, rather than buy plastic hats that will break in a few days. The cotton hats were reasonably priced when bought in bulk, are very good quality, and blank, so they can be reused for any occasion. I wrote each child’s name inside with white puffy paint.

Firefighter birthday.  Buy cotton caps in bulk and add a sticker for a reusable and durable party favor.  Jewels at Home.

Buy cotton caps in bulk and add a sticker for a reusable and durable party favor.

Games

In case you are looking for game ideas for a firefighter birthday, I’ll include mine below, but I’ll also disclose that we didn’t end up playing most of them.  The kids were all so absorbed with each other and our toys that I didn’t manage to rally everyone in one place at one time for games…

These were inspired by some fire safety stickers I found. I wanted each child to get a sticker for completing an activity. I tried to make them things that kids from two to nine could all enjoy.

Dial 9-1-1

  • Lesson: Ask kids if they know the number to dial if there they need the police, ambulance or firefighters. Remind them that they should not call 9-1-1 for fun. It is only for a serious emergency.
  • Activity: Kids hop on a hopscotch pattern with the numbers 9, 1, and 1

Bee smart. Don’t let fires start & Fire safety starts with me

  • Lesson: Be aware of items that could be a dangerous and start a fire. Remind kids to stay away from these items.
  • Activity: Ask each child to name two things in a house that could start a fire. For the younger kids, name a few items and ask them to say if they could start a fire, eg. stove (yes), candles (yes), shoe (no!)

When fire strikes, Get out and stay out & Crawl low in smoke

  • Lesson: If there is a fire, get out of the building as quickly as possible. Do not hide inside. If there is a lot of smoke, crawl on the ground, where there it’s less smoky.
  • Activity: Make an obstacle course (ours started in a playhouse) that includes a crawling segment. To make it fun for the older kids, you can time them.

Happy Birthday, dear JJ!

I can’t take credit for the cake – we bought it – but I will take credit for eating several slices.

Firetruck birthday cake.

Firetruck birthday cake.

Birthday boy and his brother enjoying cake and their new firefighter caps.

Birthday boy and his brother enjoying cake and their new firefighter caps.

In the end, I think it was a fun birthday for baby J and his friends.  The occasion was made extra special, because Nicola came with her new baby (remember the bib and onesie bouquet I made?).  We are looking forward to many more family celebrations with them.

“Jewels”

 

 

Easy Customizable Birthday Banners

I often see beautiful birthday banners customized for a theme party. I love having something that matches the rest of the event and makes the birthday boy feel all the more like the day is made just for him. On the other hand, I don’t love the idea of something that can be used just once.

So, I’m very happy that I realized that you can adapt any banner to a theme… And then just as easily change it for the next party.

I can’t resist poking around the clearance shelves at Target and was excited to recently find a colorful birthday banner in red, yellow, and blue. The colors were perfect for our upcoming firefighter birthday, but the circus animals were not. But for just $1.54 (!!), I knew I couldn’t make anything like it myself, and it wouldn’t be a big project to cover up the circus animals with something new.

Here’s a picture of the original banner (top) and then the way it looks after I simply added yellow cardstock and a picture of a fire truck (bottom). I used painter’s tape to attach the new decorations, so they can be removed easily without damaging the banner underneath.

You can easily change the theme of a party banner to reuse it!  Why didn't I think of this before?  From Jewels at Home.

You can easily change the theme of a party banner to reuse it! Why didn’t I think of this before?

Firefighter birthday party decorations.  So easy to reuse this banner by changing from a circus theme to a firefighter theme.  Jewels at Home.

Firefighter birthday party decorations. So easy to reuse this banner by changing from a circus theme to a firefighter theme.

Once I changed the new banner, I got the idea to update another one I’ve has for years. It’s a very simple design that would go with anything. The original banner had stars between the letters didn’t have a lot of space for customization, so I decided to make extra pennants to add on the ends. I just cut triangles out of blue cardstock to match the rest of the banner and glued smaller triangles of a patterned paper. I covered the triangles with clear contact paper, so that things could be taped on the surface and then removed. I punched two holes in the top of the pennant and used a simple brad (an office supply “brass fastener”) to join it to the existing pennant.

Making pennants for a birthday banner.  Cover the paper with clear contact paper, so decorations can be switched out according to the party's theme.  Jewels at Home.

Making pennants for a birthday banner. Cover the paper with clear contact paper, so decorations can be switched out according to the party’s theme.

Add extra pennants to a ready-made banner, to give you more room for customizing your theme.  Jewels at Home.

Add extra pennants to a ready-made banner, to give you more room for customizing your theme.

For baby J’s party, I added firetrucks again, but these can be taken off and switched to something new for our next party!

Customize a plain banner with removable decorations.  This banner can be used over and over again!  Jewels at Home.

Customize a plain banner with removable decorations. This banner can be used over and over again!

A plain banner customized for a firefighter birthday using removable decorations.  This banner can be used over and over again for different parties!  Jewels at Home.

A plain banner customized for a firefighter birthday using removable decorations. This banner can be used over and over again for different parties!

Yes, this is a simple idea, but it’s a great addition to our party repertoire that I can now re-use and customize at the same time!

I’ll put together the rest of the firefighter party pictures to post soon.

“Jewels”

 

Elegant Painted Pumpkins for Fall Decorating

Well, I mentioned that I’m not particularly into Halloween per se, though I have had fun creating costumes like these Pokemon outfits, over the years. Rather, I like to embrace a fall theme that can last the whole season and feels appropriately festive for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and beyond.

Decorating with natural elements fits well with the spirit of the season, though I don’t always get out to pick up gourds, and I do worry about them rotting over a period of a couple of months. So, I ended up with a lot of “faux” (yes, fake, artificial, plastic) pumpkins. Rather than trying to pretend these are real, why not dress them up with paint, stencils, or decoupage?

It has been a busy season for us, so I did this project with things I hard around the house. I started with some plain orange pumpkins I bought a few years ago for less than a dollar each. To be sure, they are not perfectly convincing when inspected up close, but they look great on the mantel or table. By adding paint, these took on a much more elegant and inspired look!

DIY painted pumpkins in metallic hues.  Jewels at Home.

DIY painted pumpkins in metallic hues.

How to:

Start by spraying your pumpkins with a coat of primer, followed by a few coats of your base color. I used olive green, silver, and gold.

As you can see below, the solid color lacks dimension, so the next step is to brush on some thinned paint to bring out the details and tone down the color. On the gold pumpkin, I brushed diluted silver craft paint. On the green and silver pumpkins, I brushed diluted gold craft paint. The stems on all the pumpkins are a mix of green and black. Brush along the lines of the pumpkin, starting at the base of the stem, for the best effect.

Tutorial for DIY painted pumpkins in metallic hues.  Jewels at Home.

Brush on paint to soften the look and add detail to your pumpkins.

Tutorial for DIY painted pumpkins in metallic hues.  Jewels at Home.

Tutorial for DIY painted pumpkins in metallic hues.  Jewels at Home.

Here’s how the finished pumpkins look arranged in our living room.

Fall mantel with DIY painted metallic pumpkins by Jewels at Home.

Fall mantel with DIY painted metallic pumpkins.

Fall mantel with DIY painted metallic pumpkins by Jewels at Home.

Fall decorating with DIY painted metallic pumpkins by Jewels at Home.

Fall decorating with DIY painted metallic pumpkins by Jewels at Home.

Once the season winds down, I’d love to buy some more pumpkins on sale and try new ideas for next fall.  What’s on my wish list for next year? “Looking Glass” silver spray paint from Krylon to mimic mercury glass pumpkins seen at Pottery Barn and copper paint, which would have the perfect orange metallic glow for a stylish fall display.

Hope you are enjoying the brisk and beautiful fall days!

“Jewels”

Fire Station Play House

We are having a firefighter birthday for our youngest, and as part of the surprises and decorations for that day, I wanted to make him a fire station play house. I started by making a cardboard house that can be folded flat for storage and transportation. Then came the fun part of adding the fire station details – actually, making the house was pretty cool, too!

First, I painted the sides of the house grey, to match the duct tape. I had grey paint left over from painting the mid-century nightstand for our boys, and it matched well. For the roof, I picked up a deep red on sale at our local hardware store.

The details on the house were simple:

  • a few painted bricks to give the impression of a brick building
  • a fire hydrant painted on the side
  • a sign printed using Microsoft Word. The font is Castellan.
DIY fire station playhouse - it's foldable for storage!  Jewels at Home.

DIY fire station playhouse – it’s foldable for storage!

For the opening, I sewed two simple white cotton panels with velcro along the top and painted a fire engine. To draw the engine, I sketched half the truck on one panel and then used Sharpie marker to outline the drawing, and the marker went through to the second panel, so I got a symmetrical picture. I painted the design with acrylic craft paint and heat set it with an iron. The velcro is glued to the inside of the house with tacky glue. When the curtains are closed, it looks like the engine is inside, waiting for action!

DIY cardboard fire station play house.  Jewels at Home.

Curtains for DIY cardboard fire station play house. Draw your design on one panel using Sharpie marker, and the picture will transfer to the other panel in reverse.

As a finishing touch inside the fire house, I “hung” these charming firefighter scenes that J’s brother drew for him.

DIY cardboard fire station play house.  Jewels at Home.

I meant to keep the house as a surprise for J’s actual birthday, but it isn’t that easy to hide a giant play house, so the boys are already having fun with it!

DIY cardboard fire station play house - it can be folded flat for storage.  Jewels at Home.

DIY cardboard fire station play house - it can be folded flat for storage.  Jewels at Home.

DIY cardboard fire station play house - it can be folded flat for storage.  Jewels at Home.

Many happy returns, baby J!

“Jewels”

Renter’s Dilemma: Covering a Large Doorway

My friend Christine has a dilemma. She’s renting a charming studio apartment with a kitchen that’s open to the rest of the space through a large double doorway. This doorway creates great flow in the small space, but it also allows the kitchen smells to permeate her whole home. Well, I would never want to slow Christine down in the kitchen, as I have tasted her cooking, and it’s yum!

Here’s the opening she’d like to be able to close off when creating something delicious in the adjacent kitchen.

Renter's dilemma: how to cover a large doorway.  Jewels at Home.

Renter’s dilemma: how to cover a large doorway?

I love a challenge, so here are four ways to cover a large doorway, including several I want to try or have tried myself!

1) Install salvaged or new doors in the opening.

Christine mentioned she was thinking of using some antique doors, and I love that idea! I definitely have my eye out for ways to use those, too. Some great sources include local antique stores, antique markets, craigslist, eBay, and in San Francisco,Building REsources, a non-profit that sells salvaged building materials.

Using vintage materials is a beautiful way to honor an old home or bring character to a new one. I love the look of antique Chinese doors built into a new space, and I would like to incorporate something like this when we redo our kitchen and create a new opening to the dining area. Here’s a beautiful example spotted at Builder magazine.

antique Chinese door built into a new space.  Builders magazine.  Photo by Duncan Livingston.

antique Chinese door built into a new space. Builder magazine. Photo by Duncan Livingston.

Go to Builder magazine

My reservation about DIYing this beautiful idea is that it would require quite precise carpentry to make the doors fit and operate well. In a small space, swinging doors could also take up valuable space when open. If you are handy, check out these instructions from This Old House on how to fit those old doors.  I think I will be better off leaving that job to professionals.

2) Install salvaged or new doors as sliding barn doors.

Another way to use old – or new – doors is to hang them sliding on rails in front of a doorway.  I would like to incorporate this ideas when (if?) we renovate, perhaps in our basement or in a kitchen-great room transition. It’s particularly well-suited to a large opening and has a casual charming feel. The advantage of using doors on a sliding rail is that they will take up less space when open. There are plenty of resources online for building your own barn doors and setting up barn door hardware.  It’s still a pretty advanced DIY project, but perhaps more forgiving than installing hinged doors. Also, for Christine’s purpose, this arrangement would let more odors through, but it should be an improvement on the current set-up. Here’s a beautiful example of sliding vintage doors from Lavender and Lilies.

Salvaged doors installed to slide on a rail.  Shown at Lavender and Lilies.

Salvaged doors installed to slide on a rail. Shown at Lavender and Lilies.

3) Install tall shoji screens fixed in place.

Christine and I must be on the same wavelength! Well, we do have quite a few things in common, you know… and now you can add that black shoji screen to the list. I bought a couple of these screens in a taller height from Overstock.  These are harder to find and more expensive but available in various heights up to 8′, which makes them very versatile. I installed them as a “wall” in our basement, which has a small living space that was completely open to the garage. I wanted to separate the two areas while still allowing light through. I also wanted something that would be economical, since, as mentioned just a moment ago, I dream of someday renovating that space and possibly incorporating some stylish sliding barn doors.  Please excuse the completely blog-unworthy photo below, as I did not clean up at all before snapping this picture.  On the left side of the screen is a small rec room type space for Steve and the boys to play games, etc..  On the right is our garage, and I have set up a rough mudroom area at the entrance.

Shoji screens in extra-tall heights can be used to create a floor-to-ceiling room divider that lets light filter through.  Jewels at Home.

Shoji screens in extra-tall heights can be used to create a floor-to-ceiling room divider that lets light filter through.

For now, I have these screens fixed in place with L-brackets on the back side. I left some panels free, so we can fold the wall open in certain areas. Installing tall screens would be an easy change to make at Christine’s place, and while it also would be permeable, I think it would still create better separation than a standing screen.  These screens fold very flat, so that would be another advantage for city living.

Shoji screens in extra-tall heights can be used to create a floor-to-ceiling room divider that lets light filter through.  Install by using L brackets screwed into the screen and the top of the doorway.  Jewels at Home.

Install an extra-tall shoji screen by using L brackets screwed into the screen and the top of the doorway.

4) Hang a heavy curtain.

Perhaps the easiest improvement of all would be hanging a heavy curtain over this doorway. It would take up little space, require minimal DIY skills, and be economical, too. Something heavy, like these grommet blackout panels would definitely cut down on air flow. You could hang these on a tension rod in the doorway or on a regular curtain rod on either side. I like grommet panels for the way they stack neatly.

Well, there’s some food for thought. Please share any other ideas for Christine in the comments!

“Jewels”

Retro Travel Art and Accessories for Kids’ Rooms

Every time I walk into Lavish in Hayes Valley, I find a great piece of wrapping paper to use for a new project. At just $4 a sheet, these provide a lot of creative bang for the buck. First, there was the graphic red print I used to line J’s nursery bookcase. Next, I found a sweet hydrangea paper for my craft studio. Most recently, I was inspired by this retro air travel print from Cavallini & Co..

Retro air travel paper from Cavallini a& Co.

Retro air travel paper from Cavallini a& Co.

I didn’t originally plan a themed bedroom for our older boys, and I still want to keep it pretty neutral. The travel theme evolved first from these beautiful retro-style city posters by Karen Young of Loose Petals.

Retro-style city art prints by Karen Young of Loose Petals.

Retro-style city art prints by Karen Young of Loose Petals.

When I saw the wrapping paper, I knew it would tie in perfectly. I framed a section of paper as art – easy! – and then used more for DIY pencil tins and magnets for our DIY racing stripe magnet boards.

Upcycled DIY pencil tins with cool retro air travel paper.  From Jewels at Home.

Upcycled DIY pencil tins with cool retro air travel paper.

Upcycle advertising magnets with some fun paper.  Jewels at Home.

Upcycle advertising magnets with some fun paper. Jewels at Home.

Here are those new items pictured in the boys’ room.

DIY upcycled pencil tins with a cool retro air travel paper.  Jewels at Home.

DIY upcycled magents with a cool retro air travel paper.  Jewels at Home.

DIY upcycled magents with a cool retro air travel paper.  Jewels at Home.

 

Kids' gallery wall with retro travel art, DIY wall initials and DIY frames with clips to change art.  Click for details and tutorials.  {Jewels at Home}

Kids' gallery wall with retro travel art, DIY wall initials and DIY frames with clips to change art.  Click for details and tutorials.  {Jewels at Home}

And here’s a summary of the fun projects I did with this new paper: pencil tins, magnets, and framed art:

Ideas for fun wrapping paper projects: DIY pencil tins, magnets, and framed art.  Jewels at Home.

There’s still plenty of paper leftover. I’m thinking it would be perfect for luggage tags!

Yay! I’m excited to see the boys’ room slowly coming together!

“Jewels”

Fireplace Makeover: With a Little Help from my Friends…

This is one of those projects that I meant to do myself, but I’m glad that I didn’t. It had all the makings of dragging on for a ridiculously long time like our powder room, and I didn’t want dust, plaster, and paint to be lying about the living room and accessible by the kids for several weeks.

Many thanks to Joe and Jose, a painting team that do a great job and are enjoyable to have around the house, this job was done more quickly and better than I could have achieved myself. They worked on this at the same time they helped paint our stair risers.

The fireplace has been my bane since we moved in – with its cheesy faux finish and disturbing disembodied heads, it was impossible to ignore and clashed with everything I wanted to do with our living-dining room. On the other hand, we didn’t have the budget to completely redo it, and I felt it was a part of our 85 year-old house’s history and personality that I wanted to respect.

Updating an ornate fireplace.  Before and after.  From Jewels at Home.

Updating an ornate fireplace. Before and after.

Enter Joe and Jose with some saws and chisels, a bit of plaster, and a lot of paint, and this old eyesore became a unique focal point that doesn’t frighten young children (and their parents).

Updating an ornate fireplace.  Before and after. Jewels at Home.

Updating an ornate fireplace. In progress… excuse the severed head!

And here is the newly painted fireplace in Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray (HC-168).  The solid color really tones down this massive piece and allows us to appreciate the design, and I don’t miss those little heads at all!

Updating an ornate fireplace.  Before and after. Jewels at Home.

Updating an ornate fireplace.  Before and after. Jewels at Home.

And since the seasons are changing, I also took some pictures of the mantel decorated for fall.  I’d like to add some branches as well, but this is a good start.

Warm fall mantel with metallic pumpkin!  Jewels at Home.

Warm fall mantel with metallic pumpkin!

Warm fall mantel with metallic pumpkin!  Jewels at Home.

Fall mantel arrangement.

Doubtless, this new fireplace is a hundred times better than the way it was, but I am actually thinking of repainting it an even lighter shade of grey. I was inspired by this picture from House and Home magazine in January 2012.  WIth such a large and ornate fireplace, I think the color can be very subtle and still stand out.  What do you think?

Light grey mantel makes a subtle statement.  House and Home magazine January 2012.

Light grey mantel makes a subtle statement. House and Home magazine January 2012.

I’m glad we didn’t spend a ton of money nor throw out this historical piece… I’m also glad my hubby didn’t go along with Joe’s suggestion of putting one of the severed heads in our bed as a surprise! Eeeek!

“Jewels”

Chimchar and Monferno Pokemon Halloween Costumes

Halloween is not a major holiday at our house (when did it become a major holiday at all?), but of course, it’s fun to see the kids dressed up. I don’t make elaborate costumes every year, but there are a few I look back on with pride, including the fall the big boys wanted to be the Pokemon Chimchar and Monferno.  I lucked out finding good quality plain monkey costumes at Old Navy. They were fleece, so I bought fleece fabric to add the embellishments.

First, an overview of how the costumes turned out, next to the original characters.  Directly below is Chimchar and below him is Monferno.

Chimchar Pokemon costume.  From Jewels at Home.

Chimchar Pokemon costume.

Monferno Pokemon costume.  From Jewels at Home.

Monferno Pokemon costume.

Pretty good likeness, right?

And here’s a breakdown of how I altered the monkey costumes to make the Pokemon.  For Chimchar, I

  • removed the tail completely.
  • sewed the tip of the tail to the top of his head, to make his little cowlick.
  • used brown embroidery floss to embroider the curl on his chest.
  • made a large flame for the tail using yellow and red fleece, stuffed it and sewed it in place.
Chimchar Pokemon costume for Halloween.  From Jewels at Home.

Details on a Chimchar Pokemon costume for Halloween.

For Monfernon, I

  • sewed a white collar out of two layers of white fleece and sewed it in place.
  • cut blue and red fleece for the face mask and sewed these in place with embroidery floss.
  • cut small white teeth and sewed these in place.
  • cut yellow bands and sewed these on the arms.
  • used brown embroidery floss to sew the curl on the chest.
  • cut off all but the base of the tail.
  • sewed a yellow and red flame tail with a layer of batting in the center and attached it to the base of the tail.
Monferno Pokemon costume for Halloween.  From Jewels at Home.

Details on a Monferno Pokemon costume for Halloween.

Since I was on a roll, I also made these pokeball bags out of felt and ribbon for the boys to go trick-or-treating.

Pokemon pokeball bags for treats.  From Jewels at Home.

Pokemon pokeball bags for treats.

Steve and I dressed up as Ash and Misty, the Pokemon trainers.  I made this little Togepi Pokemon to carry around.

Togepi Pokemon doll.  From Jewels at Home.

Togepi Pokemon doll.

I don’t have detailed instructions here, but if you have any questions, please let me know.  I’d love to help you make your little Pokemon fans as happy as these guys!

Pokemon Chimchar and Monferno Halloween Costumes.  Jewels at Home.

Pokemon Chimchar and Monferno go trick-or-treating on Halloween.

Pokemon Chimchar and Monferno Halloween Costumes.  Jewels at Home.

Hope your October is full of treats!

“Jewels”

Folding Cardboard Play House

The kids love a playhouse, and so do I! I don’t like to perpetuate gender stereotypes, but there are some of the boys’ games that I simply can’t get excited about, so I’m glad we can all agree that play houses and play kitchens are great fun.

When I saw this collapsible playhouse by Jennifer Kirk at She Knows Parenting I was in love with the idea and just waiting for a way to use it. With baby J’s birthday coming up, I decided to make him a play fire station. The folding house was a perfect foundation for a fire station. I used the concept from She Knows Parenting but built my house differently, so here’s the tutorial.

I started with two big and sturdy boxes I had saved from some living room chairs I bought. I had deemed them TGTR (Too Good To Recycle) and they were taking up a lot of space, so this was a perfect use. They are very similar to the “dish pack” boxes used for moving, if you want to try to recreate this project more exactly.

Materials
Besides the boxes, you’ll also need

  • duct tape. I used two complete rolls.
  • box cutter or craft knife
  • long straight edge ruler or other tool
  • glue. I used tacky glue.
  • scissors are also handy for cleaning up the edges

Building Tutorial
Here’s a sketch of the basic design. You can assemble it in more than one way, depending on what pieces you have. As a general tip, I think the house will fold more smoothly of you leave a gap between the panels you tape together, so the joints have more flexibility.

DIY folding cardboard house tutorial.  From Jewels at Home.

“Plans” for a DIY folding cardboard house.

Since I had already broken down my boxes, I started with two pieces with two panels each. You could use a single whole box, opened flat. The two center panels will be the front of the house, and the side panels will form the side walls of the house. (shown below, top left)

Since the floor only connects to the sides of the house, I cut the bottom panels off the center panels. (shown below, top right)

I then taped together the center seam. This isn’t necessary if you are using a single piece, though you might still want to reinforce the seam. (shown below, bottom left)

For the front of the house, I cut a peaked roof and an opening for the door. My door is wide, because I am going to make it a fire station, but you could do a smaller and maybe add some small windows for a regular house. (shown below, bottom right)

DIY folding cardboard house tutorial.  From Jewels at Home.

DIY folding cardboard house tutorial. Forming the walls.

Next, I made jointed panels for the floor and roof. I spread glue on the bottom flaps of the house and attached the floor. I put some heavy objects on the floor of the house to make sure it was glued securely. After the glue dried, I reinforced the joints with tape. (shown below, left)

I attached the roof by spreading glue on the top flaps of the sides of the house and clamping the roof in place with binder clips, while the glue dried. (shown below, right)

DIY folding cardboard house tutorial.  From Jewels at Home.

DIY folding cardboard house tutorial. Adding the floor and roof.

I finished the house by gluing some cardboard to reinforce the front of the house above the door and then taping all the joints and raw edges.

Here are some pictures of the finished house. My floor doesn’t fold upwards very smoothly, and I didn’t want to force it, so it’s quite large when folded, but it is completely flat. I think it would fold more compactly if I had left bigger gaps between the pieces of cardboard, but then again, that could make the house less stable. Overall, it works well.

DIY folding cardboard house tutorial.  From Jewels at Home.

DIY folding cardboard house tutorial. Front view.

DIY folding cardboard house tutorial.  From Jewels at Home.

DIY folding cardboard house tutorial. Inside view.

DIY folding cardboard house tutorial.  From Jewels at Home.

DIY folding cardboard house tutorial. Tada!

The next step is decorating the house to look like a fire station. I hope I can pull it off this week!

“Jewels”

Fall Inspirations from Daily Life

I love having a camera on my phone, so I can snap a picture of beautiful things that cross my path. Here ate some the sights and vignettes that caught my eye recently.

Ribbon-embellished throw pillow

Love this throw pillow.  It reminds me of the ribbon-bordered curtains I made for our bathroom.  I would love to try doing this on some pillows for the bedroom.

Ribbon-bordered throw pillow.  Spotted by Jewels at Home.

Ribbon-bordered throw pillow.

Beautifully accessorized bedroom

This is the window display at Plantation on Hayes St. in San Francisco.  It is lucky that I usually walk by early in the morning, when they are closed, or we would be bankrupt by now!  I love everything in this store, including the pillows and nightstand accessories on this bed.  This will be my inspiration, as I work on my bedroom.

Beautifully accessorized bedroom.  Spotted by Jewels at Home.

Beautifully accessorized bedroom.

Elegant grey loveseat

I’m also on the lookout for some seating for our bedroom – a loveseat or a nice armchair and ottoman.  On the list is this Chloe loveseat (also comes in a chair) from Macy’s.  I like the elegant classic look that is still comfortable.  That’s our baby J modeling for me on the chair.  Yes, he insisted on taking his shoes off in Macy’s.

Chloe loveseat from Macy's.  Spotted by Jewels at Home.

Chloe loveseat from Macy’s.

Urban garden patio

I frequently bemoan the lack of space and greenery in our back “yard.”  I was lucky enough to go to an event recently at a lovely home in Laurel Heights, and I was inspired by the back patio, which is although small and paved over, still feels lush and inviting.  I snapped some pictures for ideas when we get around to working on our patio!

Lush urban patio.  Spotted by Jewels at Home.

A little fountain makes the space so calming.

Lush urban patio.  Spotted by Jewels at Home.

Potted trees add greenery to the patio. The warm colors in the stone pavers brighten up the space, too.

Lush urban patio.  Spotted by Jewels at Home.

A little cut-out for plantings softens up the corner.

Lush urban patio.  Spotted by Jewels at Home.

The vines growing up the wall are so lush. Beautiful fountain, river rock, and bench.

Lush urban patio.  Spotted by Jewels at Home.

Small trees in the corners give a sense of greenery and softness.

“Jewels”