Polka Dot Picture Frame

Today I thought that I’d share a cute frame I made for Bug’s room.  We are personalizing her room with pictures and mementos, and I was trying to find cute frames for some of her favorite photos. It’s hard to find anything that wasn’t simply white, so I decided to make my own frames.

I started with a blank frame I bought at Michael’s years ago.  I think they still have them.  This particular one was MDF, but I’ve seen them in wood as well, which should work just fine.  I took the backing out and gave it a coat of white spray paint.

While the spray paint was drying, I used my hole punch and some leftover vinyl from another project and began making my polka dots.

Then I staggered the dots and began placing them all over the picture frame.  I liked the random look that hand placing them gave me, but you could certainly use a ruler or draw lines to line them up.  You could also make a striped or chevron pattern, if that’s what you are going for.

Then I gave the whole thing a couple light coats of lavender spray paint.  I knew I wanted to distress it, so I didn’t give it many coats or go too heavy.  If you like a crisper look, you would want to make sure the white paint doesn’t show through anywhere.

Then the fun part!  I peeled up all my polka dots and gave the whole frame a light sanding with a 220 grit sanding sponge.

You could leave your frame as is at this point, but I really wanted a frame-within-a-frame (my son calls it “Inception frame”) kind of look, so I went to Home Depot and grabbed some cheap molding.  This was in the decorative molding section, and it cost about $2 for a 4′ piece.  I used 2 pieces.  I simply mitered the corners and made a frame for the outside and one for the inside.  Then I gave them a couple of coats of white spray paint.

I attached my molding with some glue and finishing nails.  Once everything was in place, I touched up any nail holes and cracks with some white painter’s calk.  I think I could have simply glued it in place with E-6000 and skipped the nail gun, and I may do that next time.

And that’s all there is to it!  It is a perfect way to display some of her favorite pictures, and it took hardly any time at all to put together.  It’s a perfect afternoon project, and now that I have one made, I think I’ll let Bug make a few in different patterns herself.   :-)

Bug’s Lavender and Turquoise {Tween} Room

When we moved into the house on Harrison, the room Bug picked out was hideous.  The walls were painted with the most obnoxious shades of blue, pink and purple you could think of.  There were fairy stickers all over the walls.  The ceiling was bright blue, and the beautiful crown molding was painted hot pink.  Who does that?  It was so traumatizing, that we didn’t even take a before picture.  Bug’s room was one of the first to get a new coat of paint, Lavender Sparkle by Behr.  She picked it out before she had anything else decided.  That’s how much she loved this color.    Then I put off decorating her room for nearly a year.  Her bed was tucked in a remote corner of the garage, unpainted, so her mattress and box spring sat on the floor.  It was pathetic.

Then one day, while at Home Goods, Bug fell in love with this bedding from Cynthia Rowley.  I had other ideas, but she could not be dissuaded.   :-)   Plus, the quilt and shams cost us $40, so it didn’t take much convincing on Bug’s part.  We had our starting point at last.  So we went to the garage to dig out her bed.

This was how her furniture looked before a coat of paint.  We bought the nightstand and dresser off Craigslist because it matched the headboard we’d had for years.  I had originally intended to paint it all white, but Bug really wanted her bed turquoise.  After stalling for a few months, I got motivated.  I painted all her furniture white, all but the bed.  It was her room, after all, so Bug won out.

Once I had the furniture done and the bedding picked out, everything else fell into place.  We’ve been working long and hard on her room, and it really reflects her personality.  She’s made a lot of the big decisions, and this has taught me a hard lesson about letting go and letting her make her own choices.   ;-)    Being the avid reader that she is, Bug had to have a bookshelf, and she has packed it with books.

And every little bookworm needs a reading corner, so here’s the one we came up with.  We have  huge microfiber beanbags in the game room, and the kids love them.  Bug wanted a girly version for her room.  We found this one online at Wal-Mart and had it shipped to our local store.  It is a pretty large beanbag with a washable cover, and it only cost us $99.

We refinished her dresser with a latex white paint from Behr (primer first!) and finished it off with a light distressing and a water based poly coat.  The knobs were from Hobby Lobby (at 50% off), and we replaced all the knobs on the dresser and nightstand for a more girly look.

On Bug’s nightstand is a $3 Goodwill lamp that started out life as an ugly brassy thing.  I really wanted to give it a faux mercury glass finish, but again, Bug won this argument.  We gave it a coat of primer, lavender spray paint, and recovered the shade to match her bedding.  The rosettes were really easy to do.  I just ripped 2″ strips, knotted one end, and twisted and hot glued them into shape.  Then I hot glued them onto the shade.

Quite a few of the accessories in Bug’s room were done on the cheap.  This little bird started off as bright red plastic cardinal we picked up at the Dollar Store.  After a few coats of spray paint and glaze, he looks perfect in his new home.  The wire basket is from the dollar spot in Target.  Bug made the candlestick birdhouses for under $5, and we found many of the bottles and books at Goodwill.  We love that place!

The mirrored words came from Hobby Lobby (another place we love), and we placed one in a Goodwill frame we found for $2.  The frame around “laughter” we built out of leftover molding scraps.  I build the frame around the words, mitering the ends, and using glue and mending plates on the back side to connect each end to the next.  Then I gave it a quick coat of spray paint and hung it with a saw-tooth hanger.

But my absolute favorite feature in the room is the tree mural.  My super talented sister-in-law drew it on the wall freehand.  She used a bistro chalk marker so it was easy to erase mistakes.  Then I painted over it with some leftover paint and a brush.  It adds so much to the room.

In the end, I love how this room reflects Bug’s choices, and she loves it so much more because she had a say.  We still have a few more small finishing touches we are working on for this room, and I’ll share them with you as we go, but it’s nice to feel like we have checked this big project off the list!

Linking up to:

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies {& The Raven Boys}

Today, I will not step foot in the garage.  I probably won’t even get out my sewing machine.  Why, you ask?  Well, as much as I love crafting, I love reading just a smidge more.  And today, this arrived in my mailbox…

I have been waiting months for this book to come out.  Maggie Stiefvater is a brilliant author.  I have documented my love of all things Maggie here.  So, naturally, I preordered The Raven Boys ages ago, and have been anxiously awaiting its arrival.  Now that it’s here, I will probably do nothing but read… and eat cookies.  Which reminds me!  If you love cookies, I’ve got a fabulous cookie recipe to share today.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup cocoa

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 (8 oz.) bag Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis, frozen

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla with a mixer until light and fluffy.  Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt; stir (by hand) into butter mixture until well blended.

The secret to these cookies is these little guys.  They are so yummy.  I freeze them before I add them to my cookie dough, so they will hold their shape in the cookie.  So after your cookie dough is all thoroughly mixed, add your chocolate chips and your Reese’s PB Cups.  Yes, I use a whole bag.  These are not healthy in the least.

Then I roll my cookies into about 1 1/2″ balls and place them about 2-3 inches apart on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Bake them about 8-10 minutes (9 minutes is perfect in my oven).  You want the cookie to look done.  It shouldn’t still be doughy in the middle, but don’t overcook.  I wouldn’t go any longer than 10 minutes on these.

Then I remove them to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.  These are a little like brownies, so you can eat them hot, but you’d better do it on a plate.  They will fall apart pretty easily until cooled.

My kids love them warm with a big glass of milk.  Even Bug, who is not a fan of chocolate, loves these cookies.  So hopefully I’ve inspired you to bake up a batch of these amazing cookies, and possibly even read The Raven Boys.  I know that’s what I’ll be doing today!  ;-)

Quick and Easy Bed Skirt {From a Sheet!}

Bug has been needing a bed skirt for her bed for a very long time.  I had searched high and low for a white bed skirt with a long enough drop to hide all the stuff under her bed, but could only find bed skirts with a 14-15″ drop, and they were upwards of $30 to boot!  Bug’s bed needed a bed skirt with a 22″ drop, and since I couldn’t find one, I decided to make my own.

I started with a plain white flat sheet.  Bug’s bed is a full size, and the way her footboard sits, I knew that a bedskirt at the bottom of the bed would never show.  I decided to just make two skirts for either side of the bed.  I knew I wanted lots of fullness, so I chose a king sized sheet.  I just so happened to find a repackaged one for $13.31.  So I snatched it up, took it home, and gave it a washing on my machines hottest cycle.

Once it was washed and dried, I cut the top and bottom seams off of the sheet.  Keep the top part.  I used mine for another portion of the skirt.

Then I laid the sheet out on my dining room floor and folded it in half so the newly cut edges were together.  I pressed the crease to make a cut line and cut the sheet in half.  I did the same thing again with each half, until I was left with four equal pieces of fabric.  If you don’t need a 22″ drop, I suggest cutting your pieces about 4″ longer than your drop measurement.  You are going to want a little extra fabric later on.

Once I had four equal pieces, I sewed two together to make one long strip for one side, then I did the same thing for the other two pieces.  I was left with two VERY long pieces.  I serged all my seams, and then I serged the top and bottom of the pieces, as well.  Once my pieces were all finished, I gave them a good iron, and I hemmed the bottoms of both skirts.  Then I used my gathering foot to gather the top edge of each piece.  If you don’t have a gathering foot, just set your machine to your longest stitch length and gather by hand.

Remember the top piece from my king sheet?  Well, I used this to enclose my gathered edge.  I cut the stitching off the bottom and pressed the bottom and top under about 1/2″.  Then I cut it to the length of my box spring, adding an inch on each side, and folded each end in about 3/8″ and pressed it.  I didn’t actually have enough fabric left to make a topper for both sides, but I had another sheet I was using for pillows, so I used the top of that sheet for the topper of my other skirt.  If you don’t need a 22″ drop, you should have enough fabric leftover from your sheet to cut yourself another length of fabric about 6″ wide for the topper for the other side.

Once I had my topper ready, I opened it up and laid my gathered skirt inside.

With the gathered skirt sandwiched between the topper, I pinned it in place and top-stitched at the bottom and sides, enclosing the raw edge of my gathered skirt completely.

Once both pieces were top-stitched, I gave everything another good ironing.

To attach the skirt, I used these twist pins.  I picked them up at JoAnn’s, and they work so well.  I always get frustrated with bed skirts and the way they seem to shift when you make the bed… or climb in bed… or look at the bed sideways.   ;-)

I just twisted these pins in every couple of inches to keep the skirt in place, and that was it.  They held the skirt in the whole time I made Bug’s bed, and they haven’t budged.

It really was a simple project and only took a few hours.  For under $14, I got a custom skirt that fits my daughter’s bed perfectly.  I have a few more projects to finish for Bug’s room, and then I can check this room off the list.  Woo Hoo!

{Cabinet Door} Knock-Off Holden Desk

I love everything about baby’s first birthday–baby in the highchair eating fistfuls of cake; mom opening all baby’s gifts and baby playing with the wrappings; family cooing over the birthday baby, who is pretty much oblivious to it all.  I love it the whole thing–and I miss that time with my kids, too.  So, naturally, when we realized that my niece’s first birthday was coming up, we really wanted to do something special.

Pottery Barn Holden Desk

I absolutely fell in love with the idea of a floor desk.  We loved the Holden Desk from Pottery Barn Kids, but we didn’t love the price…  $54 on sale + shipping.  Ouch!  No thanks.  Then inspiration struck.  Remember those cabinet doors I rescued from the curbside trash pick-up?  You know, the one I made into our cute snack tray?

Well, I just happened to have a few more in the garage.  So, armed with some left over wood from the never-ending stash and my trusty Kreg Jig, I made a desk frame for one of those rescued cabinet doors.

I used 2×2′s cut at 18″ for the legs.  Then for the aprons, I used 1×2′s.  I measured the length of each side and subtracted 4″ (to account for a 1/2″ inset on each side and (2) 1.5″ wide legs).  So, for example, my cabinet doors were 22″x27″.  I cut my aprons at 18″ and 23″ respectively.

Then I drilled my pocket holes and used glue and screws to attach everything.  I used leftover wood from another project, so my pieces happened to be cheap pine.  Because I didn’t feel the legs were sturdy enough on their own, I added a brace to the bottom on three of the sides.  I left the front open so my niece could still slide her legs under it if she wanted.  If you used popular or a higher grade wood, you could probably skip this step.

And then, because I knew I wanted to make this a chalkboard desk, I had my husband (yes, I was too scared to do it myself) use the plunge router to make a recess to hold the chalk.

Then I sanded it up, gave it a coat of primer, taped off the center, and gave it a couple of coats of this cute pink color.  I love this spray paint from Rustoleum.  It covers really nicely, and it has a nice wide spray pattern.  Oh!  And it’s cheap!  Gotta love that!

After I painted it, I scuffed it up a bit.  Then I used a paint pen (Minwax Early American) to darken any exposed wood.  The raw wood on the legs was quite a bit lighter than the cabinet door, so this helped to even things out.  Just use a dry rag to wipe off any excess stain.

From here, I finished it the same way I did the snack tray.  I used Ralph Lauren glaze to distress it, and once that was dry, I applied Minwax Finishing Paste to get a nice hard topcoat.

Then I just taped off the pink frame and sprayed it with chalkboard paint.  Once you let the paint dry for 24 hours, you can season your chalkboard and draw away.

Now, I did have some of the white primer show through when I distressed the pink.  The stain pen helped to hide it somewhat, but there was still some white peeking through.  If that’s a problem for you, you may want to consider skipping the primer on the frame only.  The chalkboard will absolutely need to be primed first.

I’m thrilled with how it turned out.  Here’s the breakdown on what it cost me:

Cabinet Door:  Roadside find $0

Lumber:  Leftovers from other projects – $0

Primer:  Zinsser Cover Stain – $6

Paint:  Rustoleum Sweet Pea – $4

Chalboard Paint:  Leftover from other projects – $0

Grand Total:  $10

That’s a far cry from $54+shipping, and we were able to customize it to match Lucy’s room.  And that’s what I love so much about DIY.  I can do it MY way and save a little money while I’m doing it.  It’s like having my cake and eating it, too.  (…and now I’m hungry.  Good thing I know a good place for cake… :-)  )

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Wall Art for a Glamour Girl

I had grand plans today.  I was going to paint several projects I’d been working on, one of which is a present for my niece’s birthday–which is tomorrow.  Then it rained.  A lot.  For a really long time.  So I tackled a different–one I’d started a few days earlier and never finished.  It involved rhinestones.  Lots and lots of rhinestones.

Tater Tot’s room is bright pink and zebra.  It’s crazy loud, but it fits her personality.  She also has a love of all things Audrey Hepburn.  I don’t know why, but she just loves her.  So when we came across a large Audrey Hepburn print in Ross one day, we snatched it up.  I haven’t hung it up yet (shocker, I know), but I wanted to do a gallery wall or something with it.  I found a couple of quotes by Audrey Hepburn on Pinterest, and inspiration struck!  I knew they would be perfect wall hangings for the room.

So I took some leftover MDF from the garage and cut it into two 8″x10″ squares.  Then I gave each one a coat of spray primer and a coat of semi-gloss white spray paint.

While the boards were drying, I used my Cricut to cut out the quotes in vinyl.  I laid everything out on the boards and marked where I wanted everything to go.  Once you apply the vinyl, you may want to put a hanger on the back.

I just picked up a few sawtooth hangers at Home Depot and attached them to the back.  Then I started searching for something to frame them with.

On one of my many trips to Lowe’s, I picked up some stop molding.  I used one 7′ board to frame both pieces.  I simply measured and mitered the ends with my miter saw.

Then I sprayed the trim pieces with some black spray paint I had laying around.  I believe the finish on this one was satin.  You can’t even tell that I used two different sheens.  After the pieces were dry, I used some wood glue and my nail gun to attach the frame to the pictures.

It was at about this point that I realized I should have paid better attention in high school geometry.  (sigh)  I just used some wood putty to fill my nail holes and less than perfect mitered corners…

…and a foam brush and some black spray paint sprayed into a paper plate to cover my putty.  You can’t even tell where my nail holes are.  It worked like a charm, but it still needed some glamour.

I picked these little cuties up at Hobby Lobby for 40% off.  Each quote took one package.  I think that some people have fancy Silhouettes that do rhinestones for you or something.  I don’t have one.  :-(  My Cricut is way old school.  So I just cut apart the strips and applied them by hand.  A pair of small scissors and some tweezers come in really handy here.

It was actually kind of therapeutic.  I grabbed my tweezers and rhinestones and watched a couple of episodes of Downton Abbey while I worked.  I messed up a few times, and it was really hard to get those suckers off.  The adhesive works really well.  I didn’t even need to apply a clear coat or anything.

They are the perfect inspirational pieces of art for my little glamour girl.  Now let’s see how long it takes me to hang these babies up!  ;-)

The Perfect {Girly} Gift

One of the benefits of being crafty is that I always have a large stash of scrap wood in the garage.  When Bug told me she needed a gift for her bestest friend’s birthday, I knew just what to do.  My girls and all their friends are really into all things American Girl.  When Ana White posted her doll bed plans, I knew these beds would make perfect gifts.

I didn’t capture pictures of the build process, because we were in a hurry and forgot.  This bed is a quick and easy project, though.  It went together in an hour or so, and we gave it a coat of primer and two coats of Rustoleum brown spray paint, and it was good to go.

We added a scrap of trim to the headboard to make it a bit more “fancy.”  For the mattress, we picked up a 2″ thick foam chair pad at Hobby Lobby and cut it to fit the bed.  Then we used coordinating fat quarters to put together some bedding.

We also purchased a yard of coordinating minky (at 40% off) at Hobby Lobby to make a throw pillow and blanket for the foot of the bed.  I was very proud of Bug because she made the quilt topper and all the pillows.  This was one of her first big projects, and she did a fabulous job!

I love it when my kids give really meaningful gifts.  Bug’s friend loved the bed, and we were so excited to see her open it.  Now both my girls want doll beds to match their rooms.  :-)