Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Memoirs of Building Our Home- Part 5

Have you ever designed and built your own home, how did it go?  We started our journey in the Spring of 2007 and moved in the very end of January 2008 and what a journey it was.  This is my attempt to chronicle the progress we made and the variety of mini-projects we took on ourselves.

Here are some links to get you caught up if you'd like:

Part 1the basement is poured and the beams are in, time for framing to begin.
Part 2- framing is nearly done
Part 3- Windows and doors and a few small concrete projects
Part 4- Lots and lots of wiring and plumbing.  The guts of the project, and the drywall is up and painted.

Now the real fun begins.  Three main projects are going on right now:

Saturday, October 24, 2015

How To Make Your Own Hanging Light Orb

My husband made one of these last year on a whim and proceeded to fill our yard with six more last
winter.  We live in the country on a winding road, it makes me smile every time I turn the first corner and see the faint gleam of lights peeking thru the trees.  With each turn it becomes more clear what, and where the light is coming from.  Makes me smile every time.

Last night the lights were on when I got home, in honor of our first bon-fire of the year tonight, what an immediate "pick-me-up" as I turned into the drive.

The base is made from wire mesh used in concrete work that can be purchased by the roll at Home Depot/Lowe's (usually with the concrete mixes).  Be careful working with this stuff, it'll get you if you're not careful, it's very sharp and has a mind of its own. 
First, cut the wire mesh into 14' lengths, roughly 4" wide, our mesh is 4" square so one width, (these are large orbs, guessing roughly 5' in diameter, do your math, you know, the stuff we all said we'd never use, to change the sizing).  Don't worry, you're not alone, I had to look it up.  Here's a link to help if you're wanting to make varying sizes, Finding the Circumference of a Circle.   

Hint: have someone stand on the end as you unroll the mesh or it'll fling itself right back at ya'.  Once it's unrolled and cut to length flip it upside down to continue cutting.

You're going to lay your pieces out on the ground in a "star" crisscrossing each other in the center, evenly spaced using four strips and zip tie them together, that'll be the bottom of your orb.  Grab the other ends pulling them upward to form the top and zip tie them together to form the ball.  Hint: use a hanger of some sort as a second pair of hands to hold each strip as you pull it up.

To help them hold their shape use a straight piece of wire, form hooks on either end that'll grab the top and bottom, or zip tie to it,  and hold the ball in shape (so the bottom doesn't want to sag). 

Add your lights with little zip ties, hang it in the tree and grab your extension cord.  You're ready to light it up!

If you don't need them to be this large you can buy wire planters from your local hardware store, Cocoa Hanging Baskets, two per ball, and zip tie them together.  Add your lights and voila', you're done.  Just remember, you're limited in the size of a ball you can make.  With a little more time and effort you can customize them to your liking.

Either way you've got great new lights for your yard.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How To Make A Unique Kitchen Island With Concrete

When designing our home I had my heart set on a curved island wall. My husband did not!  He kept avoiding the wall thinking I'd change my mind.  Finally, when the time came he caved and started framing it out, cursing me under his breath I'm sure all the while.  We had a few issues when it came pour time, but all in all we both love the end result.

My love affair with concrete prompted me to add a new postcard to my Cheat Sheet Postcard Series, a collection of postcards to collect and reference on a variety of topics.   For your free Subscription to the series, click here:  10 Ways to Decorate Your Home with Concrete

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

How To Make Your Own Beaded Napkin Rings

For years my mom has been trying to get me interesting in jewelry making, I have laughed and scoffed and then a couple years ago she finally won me over. I love the creative expression and the ability to create "wearable art". There is too much to do to justify spending too much time on it for now, but I have found ways to incorporate a passion for beading into usable, decorative items for the home.

You can purchase wire at most hardware stores or craft stores. I buy it over the internet from Rio Grande in bulk. This is 18 gauge copper wire. Simply cut a length (about 3'), form circles on each end and start free forming your flower.

Monday, October 19, 2015

8 Fun Ways to Repurpose and Get Creative With Silverware

Adorable Door Handle
A few years ago I had to take care of my grandmother's estate and came across lots of plated silverware.  It has such a beautiful patina and I'd love to find a use for it.  The obvious use, as silverware, never crossed my mind of course.  I'm looking for something outside the box with a little "funk" to it.

Silverware is one of those things I always keep my eyes open for, whether its a single spoon or a box full of utensils its always a gold mine of opportunity.  For a quick reference quide of my top 10 Items to Grab for Unique Home Decor subscribe to my Postcard Cheat Sheet Series, today's postcard is entitled Thrift Store Gold.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

How We Created A Unique Patio Table Using Concrete

A few years ago I tagged along with my husband to a Concrete Show in Nashville, similar to World of Concrete but on a much smaller scale (and it's not Vegas, ugh, Vegas is not for me).   Anyhow, I took a couple classes.  One was with a man named Ben Ashby who developed a concrete countertop system that I absolutely fell in love with.  He really does some incredible stuff.  He also has wonderful edge forms for really amazing, unique finishes.  Fabulous stuff.  You can find out more about The Ashby System here:

My love affair with concrete prompted me to add a new postcard to my Cheat Sheet Postcard Series, a collection of postcards to collect and reference on a variety of topics.   For your free Subscription to the series, click here:  10 Ways to Decorate Your Home with Concrete

We came home from that trip completely inspired and started on our first piece using the Ashby technique.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

How To Make Cute Wall Art From Leftover Wallpaper

I fell in love with this wallpaper I was hanging for somebody else so I asked if I could keep some scrap. I had a plan. Well, it's been a couple years and I found this is the closet, I think it's about time I did something with it.

Scrap wallpaper and some ribbon is all you need. 

For a quick reminder of what to look for, where you might find cool paper products and how you could use them to uniquely decorate your home, click here: Decorating Your Home With Paper for a free subscription to my Cheat Sheet Postcard series.

Friday, October 16, 2015

How to Lengthen Store-Bought Panels

I usually can find pre-fab window panels that I like, my problem is that they are never long enough.  The standard 84" barely covers the window if you hang the pole right above the casings, and that's a no-no these days.  To add some height to your room you want to hang the pole as high as you can, within inches of the ceiling where possible.  That's not 84". 

What to do, what to do?  Custom window treatments can break the bank but there are ways to take store bought window panels and bring some life to them, making them custom for a fraction of the cost.  If you're looking for a no-sew alternative, sorry, this is not it.  I sew, that makes it too easy to spend the extra time (it's probably not a whole lot of extra time) and do it right.  Well, not right, that's not the best choice of words, but I don't do no-sew. 

BTW, this is the perfect thrift store find, there's always lots of window panels and it'd be so easy and inexpensive to grab a pair and make them your own.  For my top 10 Items to Grab for Unique Home Decor subscribe to my Postcard Cheat Sheet Series, today's postcard is entitled Thrift Store Gold.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

How to Make a Memory Quilt from Your Lost Loved Ones Clothing

My grandpa died a couple years ago and lately I've been thinking about him a lot, probably because I just came back from a trip visiting grandma.  All the wonderful memories of grampy are flooding back.

Here he is with his Harley-D (as he would call it).  Shortly after this he had to quit riding, he couldn't keep it upright anymore.  He got himself a little scooter and would ride that up and down the road in front of their house.  Didn't take long before that had to stop as well....

I had grandma save me some of his clothes so I could make a quilt.  Here's what I came up with:

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How To Fix An Ugly Retaining Wall With Vertical Carved Concrete

Recently I've received multiple questions regarding the decorative concrete finishes we've applied to various projects around the house so I thought I'd share with you a little more about the process.


Do you have an ugly concrete raining wall, we had two?  I hate looking at them. When we built the house I knew something would have to be done to hide them. I took a class or two and voila'.... a unique, OOAK carved rock wall. Much better.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How To Make Easy Table Place Mats for Cheap

These are so simple its scary, all you have to do is sew relatively straight lines.  First thing, pick out your fabric.  The amount you need will vary depending on how many placemats you want to make and if the pattern needs to be cut a special way.  Keep that in mind when picking fabrics. Repeats also vary drastically for every fabric, when in doubt ask at the fabric store.  If you're buying their fabric they'll gladly help you.  If not, gather your information (fabric dimensions and repeat, a picture of your fabric would also be helpful) and message me, I'll figure it for ya.

I chose a plaid that my grandmother gave me, FREE!  Can't beat that.  I am making six placemats.

One of the best places to pick up yardage for projects such as this is your local thrift store.  For my top 10 Items to Grab for Unique Home Decor subscribe to my Postcard Cheat Sheet Series, today's postcard is entitled Thrift Store Gold.

Monday, October 12, 2015

How To Use Paper In Unique and Creative Furniture Projects

Have you ever walked through a Home Decorating shop and found a single roll of wallpaper (wrapping paper works too) and passed because you just didn't know how you'd use it?  I know I have.  More often than not, these days, I grab it and figure out how I'll use it later.  

As you can imagine my paper stash is growing fast.  I really can't help myself, I just love paper and there's so many creative ways to use it.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

How To Decoupage a Piece of Furniture with Memories

I find myself becoming more and more sentimental as the boys are getting older.  One is a Senior now at Western Kentucky, recently engaged while the other is a Junior at SIUE and lives at home.  It won't be long and they'll be raising families of their own.  Amazing!

I have been throwing around multiple ideas for what to do with my coffee table in the living room, that I hate, and finally made a decision, my sentimentality won out!

I am well underway with the project and am really, really happy with my choice.  I'm thinking I'll be spending more time in the living room now.  Here's a picture from when we moved in (it's changed a little since then but this is the best before picture of the table).

One of my favorite thrift store finds are furniture pieces that have great bones but need a little personalization and TLC. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

How To Make A Unique, Inexpensive Paper Ball Garland

I am loving all the paper crafts I'm seeing on the internet these days. Beautiful stuff. One project in particular caught my eye.... paper ball ornaments.
They were beautiful. Put together using wire with little caps on the top and bottom using beads/buttons/ etc. Wow! Gorgeous! My only problem is money, unless you have a stash of supplies, it's gonna cost you a pretty penny to make them.

I thought, there's got to be a way of making them without any purchases needing to be made. Here's what I came up with. I've made a garland so far and would love to use them for ornaments on my tree this year. Who knows what else I'll come up with, any ideas?

For a quick reminder of what to look for, where you might find cool paper products and how you could use them, click here: Decorating Your Home With Paper for a free subscription to my Cheat Sheet Postcard series. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

How To Easily Make Your Own Square Jewelry Link

In this tutorial I would like to show you how to make this square jewelry component.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

How to Decorate Your Home with Paper on the Cheap

I recently saw an episode of "Flea Market Flip" where a dresser was transformed using old love letters.  It turned out beautifully and got me to thinking, outside the box, how about a kitchen accent wall or backsplash wallpapered with recipes?

 I purchased a couple boxes of recipes at an estate sale and am waiting for the perfect project to use them on.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

4 Quick and Easy Ways To Market Your Art and Gain Clientele

Over the years I've tried numerous marketing techniques and spend a butt-load of money on advertising that really didn't  bring in much business.

On the flip side, I have found 4 wonderfully easy and inexpensive ways to market myself and gain clientele without breaking the bank.  You will not believe how simple they are and yet I am constantly overlooking them.

For an easy printable of my  top 4 "Quick And Easy Ways To Gain Clients" and a subscription to my "Cheat Sheet PostCard Series" subscribe here.
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