Your Home is Your Canvas – Inspirations for Custom Art

I want each item in my home to be meaningful, and custom canvas art is a wonderful way to personalize a space. I’m sharing four custom canvas ideas that I’ve used in my home. This includes several original projects as … Continue reading

Cheery Warm Dining Room and Pattern Play with “Art Deco Swans” by Kate Rhees

A lot of people groan when they think about moving, and while I plan to stay put for many years to come, I actually love the excitement and challenge of arranging a new space. I’ve had a lot of fun … Continue reading

Dining Chair Makeover – Sewing New Box Cushion Covers

We moved twice in the last two years, and in the process, I gave away a lot of things. I feel like the universe has decided to reward me by sending me two great finds. First, I found this vintage … Continue reading

Elegant Patio Chair Makeovers

I am so excited for our new patio space and have already enjoyed time out here eating lunch, reading, or catching up on some work. I started looking for some lounge chairs, but I couldn’t quite find what I wanted – or more accurately, what I wanted was way too $$$. But this story has an happy ending! I found these used chairs and made them over for $ to complete our patio space!

It’s no secret that I love anything with the look of cane or faux bamboo and also that I have a weakness for Craigslist finds! I spotted this set on Craigslist for $50, and when I showed up, the woman said I could have it for free. She also let me take the chairs without the table, so my karma of giving things away when we moved last year came back to me! I also picked up the chairs near my old neighborhood hardware store, so I stopped by to get some supplies and painting tips.

Here’s how to do it:

  • I started by cleaning off as much rust as possible. I used an old screwdriver, sandpaper, and steel wool
  • I prepped the chairs with deglosser and metal primer
  • I then finished them off with white gloss spray paint
  • The cushions were in decent condition, just faded, so I found these new slipcovers to freshen them up!

Here are some more pictures of our “new” chairs.

I feel they came pretty close to my inspiration pics, and all with the satisfaction with saving some money and a good DIY!

Everyone loves a good before and after pic:

I look forward to many more hours enjoyed out here with friends, family, or curled up with a good book!

Julie AKA “Jewels”

A Boy’s Room in Blue Full of DIY Treasures

Sometimes, milestones are measured in unusual ways. I know my kids are getting big, because it’s finally possible to take a picture of JJ’s room that is not a total disaster! We (I) were focused on finding a new house … Continue reading

DIY Posts for Hanging Patio String Lights

I have been in love with patio string lights for so long. Unfortunately, our last house didn’t really have a respectable outdoor entertaining space, but our rental house last year and our new house both have great patio spaces! I have been waiting to do this project creating posts to hang our lights, and I am so excited that we finally did it! It’s not hard (you do need some muscles!), and I am excited to share the how-to and our results!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • String lights: I love these solar-powered lights
  • String light hanging hardware kit
  • 8′ Wood posts – I used cedar landscaping lumber that I found at the hardware store. I found them easier to handle than fence posts
  • Planters – I used these square plastic planters I already had
  • cement mix – I used Quickcrete, which is fast-setting and very easy to use. I used 1.5 bags per planter, but your quantity will depend on the planter that you use
  • gravel
  • soil
  • plants
  • Tools: drill, screwdriver, wire cutters, spirit level
  • Optional: exterior paint

Here’s how to do it:

  • Attach the hanging hardware to the top of your posts
  • Place a post in the center of an empty planter
  • Pour in the concrete mix and add water according to the instructions
  • Use the spirit level to check your post is vertical
  • With the fast-setting Quickcrete, we didn’t have to use any extra supports for the post. We did check the level a few times as it set, but it pretty much held in place on its own
  • Repeat for the other posts
  • I painted my posts black to blend into our patio decor
  • Drill drainage holes in the planters just above the line of the concrete
  • Add gravel, soil, and plants
  • Install the patio lights according to the instructions with your hanging kit

Of course, we had a warm spell last week and it’s cooled off again, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer to hang out here!

Julie AKA “Jewels”

DIY Botanical Print Ring Dishes

A couple of summers ago, when I was addicted to macrame, I started describing my crafting style as “serial crafting monogamy,” and that was definitely true with these little polymer clay ring dishes! My latest variation is botanical prints! If you want to look back at other versions, check out the stamped white and gold dishes and the marbled clay dishes. I am sharing this post in time for those of you looking for DIY holiday gift inspiration!

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Premo Sculpey in white (approximately 2oz per bowl)
  • Rolling pin or smooth glass jar
  • Plant cuttings. I used lavender, nasturtium, and crocosmia from our garden
  • Parchment paper or wax paper
  • Circle to trace (approximately 4″)
  • Bowl or other oven-safe mold
  • Optional: sandpaper
  • Paint brush
  • Gold paint
  • Paint to color plants
  • Clear glossy varnish

Here’s how to do it:

  • This white clay collects and shows dust and lint very easily, so try to keep your hands, tools, and work surface as clean as possible
  • Using a parchment or wax paper work surface, knead your clay and roll it flat – about 1/4″ thick
  • Place your plant cutting and roll over it to make an impression in the clay
  • Place your circle on your mold
  • Bake according to the instructions for the clay
  • Let it cool, and sand rough edges
  • Paint the leaf imprint green and lavender flowers purple
  • Paint rim with gold paint
  • Coat with clear varnish

This is what the bowls looked like out of the oven, before paint and varnish. I like the matte look, but I suspect they’d get dirty over time.

Next step: paint the flowers, add gold paint to the rim, and finish with clear gloss varnish!

I’ve got at least one more variation I want to try making!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Favorite Fall Decorating Ideas

Between the start of school, two boys’ birthdays, and Halloween costumes, I’ll confess that many years I skip right over any fall decorating. This year, we are in the middle of moving, so I’m not sure how much decorating I’ll do.

But when I do decorate for fall, I’ve found you can create a lot of atmosphere with a few changes. I set the mood with some pumpkins and candles, creating something neutral yet festive.

Here are some of favorite pictures from years past. Projects seen in this post include

Here’s to crisp fall days!

Julie aka “Jewels”

Marble-painted Christmas Ornaments

So, with this being a low-key Christmas, I wasn’t sure if I was going to do new craft projects – I mean, other than the pastel Christmas village I made way back in January (dorky!) But blame Pinterest, I got the idea for these pretty marble-painted ornaments!

I used the tutorial from the Creativity Exchange as inspiration, and I adapted it to some clear plastic ornaments I already had.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Clear glass or plastic ornaments. I had these two-piece ornaments in the house already, but if you are starting from scratch, this style with the opening at the top will be easier to use and give a more polished finished product
  • Craft paints. You’ll need the most of the white color. I used three different colors for each ornament – white, a color, and a metallic paint
  • skewer or toothpick to mix the colors
  • Ribbon or ornament hanger

Here’s how to do it:

  • Squeeze a small amount of paint into your ornament (I put some in each side of the two-piece ornaments) – mostly white, with a bit of a color and a bit of metallic paint
  • To create flecks of color, you can splatter some paint (mine happened naturally, when I was at the end of a jar of paint, and it came out in small amounts) and let it dry a couple of minutes before starting to swirl the paint
  • Use a wooden skewer or toothpick to swirl the paints gently – don’t overmix, as the colors will continue to marble in the next steps
  • For the two-piece ornaments, I closed the ornament and slowly rotated it to let the paint marble. To let the paint slowly fill the open areas, I rested the ornaments on top of my paint bottles, with the open area at the bottom. For the one-piece ornaments, after rotating a few times, you can rest it upside down over a paper cup to let the extra paint drip out
  • Once my two-piece ornaments were completely painted, I opened them back up to let the paint try, careful to keep the two matching halves together
  • Once your paint is dry, you can reassemble your ornaments and add a hanger!
  • I love that this is one of those projects where every result is different, and you can’t go wrong!

Here are some pictures of the finished ornaments. Looking forward to putting together our pastel-and-metallic Christmas decorations soon!

Julie aka “Jewels”