Summer Porch Decor

It started with a chair from Goodwill that cost just $12. It reminded me of some chairs my parents had when I was little. It was in almost perfect condition. Even the paint looked good. It just needed to be cleaned. I kept walking but in the end, left the store with the chair.

I went from Goodwill to Home Depot to pick out the perfect color of  paint to fix this baby up. I left with  Krylon Bright Idea.

Two coats later, my pretty chair was good as new and a bright sunny yellow!
On to Hobby Lobby to find some things to add to my new chair.
A straw wreath, some fabric, buttons and yarn came home with me.

I already showed you my summer wreath tutorial a couple weeks ago. Besides the yellow paint, it was the inspiration for my summer porch makeover.

I had lots of extra fabric and a pretty yellow {but boring} chair. Hello, PILLOWS!

I added a simple square pillow and a monogrammed bolster pillow to complete my chair.
I’ve given you a full tutorial on how to make a monogrammed bolster pillow here.
Some bright {and of course, matching} flowers.
It ended with a welcoming porch that screams “Happy summer!”

Welcome to our home!

Monogrammed Burlap Bolster Pillow

Happy Monday!
I had a lot of comments about the pillows on my headboard bench. Particularly the monogrammed bolster pillow. If you don’t know what a bolster is, don’t worry, I didn’t know that is what they were called either until just a couple weeks ago when the first comment came in! I was like, “What?!” I had to turn to Google to find out what my reader was talking about when she said she loved the bolster! It’s basically a cylinder-shaped pillow {which is what I had been calling it – OOPS!}.

Here’s the one I made, that I used to decorate my headboard bench. M for McAliley {pronounced mac-uh-lilly} and our family was established in 2004 when the hubs and I were married. These are actually really easy to make. Here is what you’ll need.

         Fabric (I used burlap), freezer paper, acrylic paint and stencil brush and ribbon.
First I used my Cricut to make the monogram stencil. Simply place the freezer paper on the mat {shiny side down}and cut out whatever you want transfered to your fabric. If you don’t have a cutting machine, you can certainly trace or print a letter on the freezer paper and use an xacto knife to cut it out.

Once you have your letter cut, place it on the fabric and use a hot iron {steam off} to adhere the freezer paper to the fabric. *Note: the freezer paper did not completely stick to burlap. I used packaging tape around the edges to help keep it in place.
If you’ve never stenciled before, there is a technique to help ensure the paint does not bleed under the paper. Squeeze a small puddle of paint onto a plate. Dip your brush in the paint and use a rolling motion to cover bristles in paint. Dab off excess on the plate and gently apply to fabric using dotting and circular motions. 

Once the paint is dry, remove the freezer paper. {I had a little boo boo with one of my zeros. I used a wet tissue to try to remove some of the paint. Ooops, mistakes happen!}

Measure and cut your fabric to the desired size and sew a hem around all edges. If you do not have a sewing machine you could do this with hemming tape. {Because I used burlap, I added an extra layer of fabric so that it wouldn’t be see through. That is the extra “flap” you see.}
 Fold the fabric in half horizontally making sure your monogram is on the inside. Pin the edge and then sew. Invert the fabric so your monogram is now on the outside. 
Slide your pillow into the center of the sleeve leaving equal amounts of excess fabric on each side. If you do not have a pillow to use, you can use a sheet of Styrofoam or poly fil batting. Just roll it into a cylinder to fit inside your fabric.
Secure the ends of the pillow with ribbon.
Now proudly display your new bolster pillow in your home! And be sure to use that word so you sound super smart! Okay, maybe I’m just super dumb! ;)

Hope your week is off to a great start! I made it through to the final round of American Crafter at Nap Time Crafters! Thank you so much to all my readers who took the time to vote! This week’s challenge. . .


I have something that I’m so excited to share with  you! And I think you’ll be excited to see it. BUT, you will have to wait until Friday night! And please be sure to vote! This competition is so tough and these ladies are crazy creative!


My New Kitchen Canisters

{Sneak Peak}
If you are a regular reader of this blog you’ve probably seen these canisters in the background of many of my food-related posts. As you can see, one canister is missing. The largest of the three, which held flour, suddenly broke. The bottom just fell out last week while I was making cookies. ???? So I was on the hunt for some new canisters, which I wasn’t exactly happy about because I really liked these. 
Then I got happy again when I found these triplets at Wally World (Wal-Mart). And I was even happier that they were only $6.97 each! But they were kind of boring just like this and I needed to do something to jazz them up.

I thought about using chalkboard paint and doing something like Erin over at 3 Meadow Lake Cottage (her photo above). I even bought the paint. But then at the last minute, I changed my mind and decided to use black vinyl and my good ole friend the Cricut.

Here I’ve cut the vinyl and used contact paper to transfer it to my canister.
For a full tutorial on cutting and sticking vinyl, go here.

Peel away the contact  paper. . .

and viola! My sugar has a brand new home!

I know I said I loved my old canisters, but I love these even more
{Notice gallon-size canisters are a lot bigger than my old ones. Guess I need to buy more sugar and coffee just to fill them!}
Shall we add up the cost? 
I spent just under $21.00 for the canisters. The vinyl I already had, but if you want to include it, it was $7.99 for the roll and I used about 1/4 of the roll. So I think it’s fair to say 
$25.00 for these beauties!
I love decorating on a budget!

My Dryer Eats Our Socks!

I know I’m not alone when I say that my dryer’s favorite snack is a sock. Not a pair of socks, but one sock, leaving the other alone and without a partner.  Eventually I find the missing sock, but by then, it’s hard to remember what I did with the lonely one. I found a solution.
A place for misfit socks.
Here’s how I did it. . . 
My mom gave me this antique washboard a few years ago. I spray painted it black and it has hung in my black and ivory toile laundry room since. Plain and black, until now. 

I bought a few different black and ivory scrapbook prints .
I measured the length and  height inside the margin of the washboard frame, 

transfered the measurement to the paper,
and cut the paper to fit the measurements.

I grabbed my Mod Podge and a sponge brush.

I applied one coat of Mod Podge on the washboard then carefully laid the paper inside the margin and used a craft stick to smooth the paper over the board.
I put two coats of MP over the paper, letting the first coat dry 15 minutes before applying the second.
After another 15 minutes I laid the letters (which I cut using my Cricut) and applied one more coat of MP over the letters.

I took the clothespins apart and measured and cut the paper so that it would wrap around one side of each clothes pin. I used the same technique as described above to apply the Mod Podge, (1 coat under the paper, 2 coats on top with 15 minutes in between each coat) and wrapped the clothespin like a present.
After putting them back together they looked like this.

I used a hot glue gun to attach the clothespins to the washboard.
There ya have it! 
Lost and (hopefully) found.

Scrap Wood Becomes Valentine’s Decor

Hubby has tons of scrap wood in the garage. I was feelin’ kinda crafty one day and decided to go dig through his pile to see what I could fine. I came across these two pieces. Hmmmmm, what if I (well, hubby actually) cut them into blocks?
I had hubby cut them into 3″ cubes.
I painted the blocks with semi-gloss white paint which we always have in the garage.

Then, using really large grit sandpaper, I rounded the corners. After that I used a finer grit to distress the paint a bit.
I rubbed each block with some distressing ink.

Using my Cricut, I cut 3″ rounded-edge squares from scrapbook paper. I applied Mod Podge directly to the wood to adhere the paper then sanded the edges and corners of the paper to blend it. Then I applied one coat of Mod Podge over the paper.

Close up of the blocks after sanding. The one on the right tore a little, but once I applied the MP on top, it smoothed and wasn’t noticeable.

While the first coat of MP was drying I used my Cricut to cut the letters “I” and “U.” I placed them on the block and applied one more coat of MP. I glued a painted wooden heart I bought at Michael’s on the other block.

And. . .

.
here they are! My cute little Valentine’s blocks!

Renewing an Awkward Space in an Awkward Place

My Little Nook Makeover
Do you have one of these? Since moving into this house 4 years ago I’ve struggled with decorating this little wall nook. I’ve changed it several times. From flowers to candles to photo frames, this space has been changed so many times but each time there has been one thing in common. I never really loved it.  It’s just an awkward space in an awkward place. But, I’m happy to announce that I re-decorated (AGAIN)  and this time I like it! I really, really like it!

First I cleared the area for a fresh start. This makes it easier to see the space and envision what I want to do.

Then I chose frames to fit and fill the space. I love these black square frames. Very inexpensive at Garden Ridge.

These are nice frames, but kind of plain so I added some ribbon to jazz them up a bit.
Click here for the tutorial on making these frames.

Next, I used my Cricut to cut vinyl letters to stick above the frames.  For a tutorial on how to cut and stick the vinyl, click here.

I started with “family” but after placing the word I felt like there was too much wall space leftover. So I cut more letters  using  a different font to create “Our family est. 2004.”

So the wall was finished, now I needed to work on the shelf.

I started with my monogrammed apothecary jar (which I made in my fabulous MOPS group) and a framed 5×7 photo of hubby and I with Little Man #2 in the belly. 
Liked it, but didn’t love it.  So. . . .

I added our wedding photo (circa 2004) and changed the preggy photo frame to match the other (a little wider than the first so it fills in a little more space).  Finished! 
I have to say that, for the first time in four years, I really love this awkward little space! 

My First (but not last) Vinyl Wall Lettering

I cut my first vinyl lettering using my Cricut!
It was my first, surely not my last. In fact, I’m afraid in a few months my home might look like the Cricut threw up! But it’s fun and I have so many empty spots on my wall!

I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, I love my Cricut! I opened the box just a couple weeks ago and I think I’m addicted. A “Cricut Crazy!” There are so many things you can do with this thing! I’ve noticed (a lot) recently that many stores are carrying these vinyl quotes. I’ve picked up several and even thought about buying them, but never could find quite what I was looking for. But now that I have my machine, I can “write” whatever I want and make it as big or small as I want.

Here is how. . .
Materials you will need are:
1.  Vinyl – You can find vinyl like this at craft stores such as Hobby Lobby or Michaels but the colors are limited. You can also buy it in bulk on line and there are many more color choices.
2.  Transfer tape or contact paper. I used contact paper (because it is less expensive) which worked just fine. People swear by the transfer tape though. Maybe one day I’ll try it.
3. Craft stick.

I started with the word “family” using the  Opposites Attract cartridge. 
To create the letters: 
1. Cut the vinyl to fit the cutting mat.
2. Securely place the vinyl on the mat. Do NOT remove adhesive backing.
3. Load in the machine.
4. Type the letters to cut.
5. Be sure the settings are appropriate for cutting vinyl.
6. Press the cut button and let the machine do the work!
(It’s that easy)
Once the machine has finished cutting, unload the mat and and peel back the vinyl starting at one corner. Your letters will remain on the sticky mat.
1. Cut a piece of contact paper (or transfer tape) that is larger than the area of the cut letters.
2. Remove adhesive backing of contact paper and carefully place the sheet sticky side down on top of the letters.
3. Use the craft stick edge to smooth contact paper over letters pressing firmly over each letter.
4. Slowly peel the contact paper off mat. The vinyl letters should stick and the adhesive backing should remain on your sticky mat.
1. Place the sheet of contact paper on designated wall area. A penciled line on the wall can help ensure letters are straight.  Remove air bubbles under the sheet with the craft stick pressing firmly over letters to make sure they stick to the wall.
2. Slowly peel contact paper off the wall. Letters should remain on the wall as the contact paper is removed. If they do not, reapply the letter and contact paper and smooth over again with a craft stick and try again.
Finished product. . .

I love this thing!


I Love My Cricut!

I bought this baby about two months ago and it has remained in the box.
Not because I didn’t want to use it. I was so excited when I bought this machine. But between tinsel & twig, my blog, the holidays and the clean up, I haven’t had a chance to use it! So it’s been sitting in my room and every day, for two months. I’ve admired the picture on the unopened box.


Until today. Today I opened that box and pulled out this wonderful machine called the Cricut. 
And boy was it fun!
While working on Little Man #1’s scrapbook today I decided there was no better time than now to pull this baby out and give it a try. So here is what I did. 
Every May we pick strawberries locally. This is the page I was working on today. 
P.S. this was May 2009. I’m sooooooo far behind. I was pregnant with Little Man #2 in these pics!

This thing is so easy.

Load the paper (stuck on the sticky mat) enter your text and press cut.
Peel back the sheet of paper.
Using the spatula, remove your letters.
That’s it!


I arranged the letters on the paper and used a glue pen adhesive.
Love this thing!
BTW, if you have a Cricut and need cartriges, Michael’s had a bunch on clearance today for $9.99!! That’s marked down from $69.99!!