Category Archives: tutorial

Family Tree Quilt: A How-To

Alright, you’ve seen the quilt, now it’s time to find out how you can do it yourself! The total cost was just under $50. I used an old sheet set for the backing and border, which really helped offset fabric costs. If you don’t have one to use (or are uncomfortable thrifting some) it will put the price up in the $70 range. I split up the tutorial into 2 hour chunks, which is all I could stand to do at once each day. You could probably sit down and conquer the whole thing in one day if you have the patience, but for me it was easier to do in the evenings a few nights a week. Here’s a list of my fabrics and supplies:
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Photo Keychains: A How-To

I posted a while ago about an adorable charm bracelet and necklace my mom gave me as a gift. She made charms featuring my favorite subject (my baby girl) and turned them into jewelry. This was totally up my alley, and it’s really versatile. So for Christmas, I made a few photo charm keychains using the Epiphany Craft line from Hobby Lobby

Each keychain took about 15 minutes to complete, and cost an average of $5 in supplies. Considering what a big impact they make, it’s a ton of bang for your buck! I didn’t include the cost of the punch itself in the budget, because I make a rule of not including the cost of the tool unless it’s a 1-time-use sort of thing. Since I’m positive I’ll be making a ton of charms in the future for different projects, the $20 for the punch itself isn’t a bad investment. But keep it in mind that there’s a “start up cost” to this project. Here’s how I made these suckers, without any other special tools:

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$10 Book Tower

So, I’m kind of a book fiend. Nothing beats a sunny afternoon on a porch swing with a good book. I love my Nook when it comes to reading “fluff”. You know, the stuff you read maybe once or twice and then have to take to the resale shop. But when it comes to my tried-and-true favorites like Harry Potter that I read and reread until the pages fall out, I need it in hardback. And these pretty hardbacks shouldn’t be hidden, they need something to make them center stage!

It just so happens that this little wall jut-out from my kitchen pantry is the perfect width for hardback books. Plus, it was just sitting there, calling my name to do something with it. I came up with the idea for this floating book tower after seeing this image on Pinterest:


Beautiful, right? But get this. It’s “price upon request” which in rich people speak, means “you’re outta your damn mind”! Um, one 2×4 is two bucks at Lowe’s. Even if you get super fancy wood, there’s no way the materials cost anywhere over $10. So you’re asking me to pay you in my lifeblood to chop up a stick of wood and hang it on my wall. No thanks! Besides, it looks a little skinny to me. Why not upgrade to a 2×6? One 8 foot board is just over $3, and you can get two shelves to a board. Here’s how!
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WordPress Tutorial: Thumbnail Archives

So a lot of folks blog these days. It’s no secret that WordPress is a powerful platform for building websites, especially blogs (duh!) Even though I went to college to get a degree in Graphic Design, surprisingly we only spent one semester learning Dreamweaver for the “web” portion of our program. I look back and think how strange that is, given that I started school in 2004 and the internet was already an established medium for designers. It wasn’t until after I graduated and accepted a job in print pre-production that I ironically got into websites. My boss had me invest all my free time in learning html and php via books and the universal teacher, Google. Anyway, this is a roundabout way of saying I have some self-taught experience in websites, and I think it would be fun and useful to post tutorials on how I use that on my blog. So for my inaugural post, I’ll cover my favorite feature, thumbnail archives!
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Faux Capiz Shell Screen: A How-To

So yesterday when I posted about my awesome laundry hutch, I showed some pictures of my faux capiz shell screen I made to hide the appliance hardware. Originally I wanted to find one of those beaded door curtains with black sparkly things, but it would have run me a minimum of twenty big ones. Since I am cheap (and impatient!) I came up with a free solution I could accomplish in a couple of hours. I’ve read tutorials for faux capiz shell chandeliers online, and they’re super easy and cheap to do. Here’s what you need:
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Perpetual Calendar: A How-To

I’ve been looking for ways to utilize my scrap wood pile, and today a perpetual calendar fit the bill! It’s easily a free project, and can add some rustic or even modern decor to you home. It’s all in the finishing. I’m really not a fan of the hand-painted lettering I did here, so I already am planning to print out my labels and mod-podge them on. It just looks a little too childish for my taste, not to mention that this scribbly looking art took me over 3 hours, and I didn’t even make it halfway through! It probably has to do with the fact that my handwriting totally sucks, and I can’t draw to save my life. That’s why I’m a designer!! I’m so much better with a computer than a pencil. Anyway, if you’ve got a few wood scraps lying around, here’s how you can make yourself a Perpetual Calendar:
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IKEA Hack: Lantern to Lamp How-To

I was using an IKEA Grono table lamp as a nightlight of sorts in the nursery for when I have to get up for late-night feedings. I had it perched on the window sill next to the trundle bed we had set up, and during a particularly vigorous romp with our heeler, the lamp shattered. Whoops! Not wanting the entire thing to go to waste, we improvised. We took an IKEA Borrby lantern that runs about eight bucks and with a few simple changes, made it into a lamp! If you want to do this easy hack on your own, but don’t have a broken lamp to work with, you could pick one up at a thrift store or use the Hemma cord kit IKEA offers for about $3. Here’s how we did it:
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Laminated Place Mats: A How-To

One project that’s taken me a ridiculously long time to get around to have been my high-chair place mats. I finished painting the chair weeks ago, and have had all the supplies. For some reason I just couldn’t get motivated to do this until today! It’s a super simple project, and you can use it for high-chairs (if you’re a mama too) or for traditional laminated place mats. All you need is a little scrap fabric, an iron, and some iron-on laminate. Ready to make your own? Here’s how!
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Build a Custom Frame: A How-To

Have you ever had a photo or piece of art that you needed to frame, but it’s not even close to a standard size? Custom framing at a specialty shop can get pricey fast. So save yourself a little cash, and build one yourself! You only need a few simple tools, and a little know-how. This is by no means a professional method, I made a lot of silly mistakes, and had to rig up a few things in an unconventional way. But, I finished, it looks great, and it cost me less than $10! Here’s how you do it.
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Sleeping Mask: A How-To

Yesterday was a rough day. I woke up after barely sleeping at all because of a horrible migraine that just wouldn’t quit. I had one last month, and not only could I not kick it after two days, it sent me into premature labor! I was kind of hoping this meant I’d start contracting again, but no dice. Anyway, I was pretty much just laid out all day, hiding in the darkest bedroom of our house (a converted garage room with no windows, score!) So early this afternoon when I finally started feeling better, I decided it was high time to make another sleeping mask. I’d made one before, but Rory and Juno ate it one day. Punks. So I took the time to whip up a quick tutorial on how to make one custom-fitted to your own face. No one-size-fits-all here!
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Map Heart Art

After posting my top 5 design loves and hates, I fell in love all over again with sweet little map hearts. So like any self-respecting DIYer, I ran straight for my local Hobby Lobby to get things started. Here’s how to do your own map art for only $3 each.
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Blue Barn Door: How-To

interior barn door

I’ve been lusting over interior barn doors for ages. Ever since I saw their rustic beauty, I knew I had to have one. When we moved into our new home and started living in a master suite with no door to the bathroom, I knew this door would be the perfect solution. After doing a little preliminary research, ordering the hardware would cost us upwards of $100, and waiting on shipping. Well, I’m cheap and impatient, so we came up with another solution. Want to see how to build your own barn door completely from scratch, all for $140, including the hardware? Read on! Continue reading

Rustic Cooler: A How-To

I’m smitten with rustic coolers. If you’re in the Southwest region, you’ve probably seen them at HEB or Cabelas, or pretty much any hardware store. They’re just awesome! Sadly, they retail from $100 and up (like this $279 beauty from Cunningham Living) and it wasn’t really in our budget to buy one. Yet when my dad was given a slew of barnwood from a neighbor that was moving and offered it to me, I leapt at the chance to build my own! Read more below to find out how we went from this:

To this!

All for only $30.

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Quick and Dirty Clock ReDo: A How-To

Last October, I bought this $4 Target clock for my little sister-in-law’s bedroom makeover. I had good intentions to give it a little facelift and put it in her room. Yet somehow time slipped away, and now it’s 8 months later and I had to finally do something with this clock. And if you’re interested in doing the same, it’s a really cheap and easy way to revamp a simple clock!


Outdoor Tiled Table: A How-To

Whew! It’s finished. This 3-day marathon build definitely tried my limits as a third-trimester giant preggo. The hubs and I built a fabulous, sturdy, solid tiled table that we can use for outdoor dining. The best part was that all the tile was reclaimed. The square tiles are from my parents’ old outdoor kitchen which was replaced with a concrete top, and the larger darker tiles were some that I scored for free at our local Habitat for Humanity. Total cost on this project was $70, but thanks to a $50 Lowe’s gift card that I snagged with my credit card rewards points, it only set us back $20. For those of you looking to build your own, I’d say that $70 would be a good cost estimate. I made a bad judgement call to use the adhesive/grout premixed stuff, and needed a ton more than I assumed. So save yourself $35 and buy the separate adhesive and grout that you mix yourself and perhaps buy some tile if you can’t find any remnants.

Alrighty then! If you’re looking to build your own table, here’s what you’ll need.


Upholstered Bucket Ottoman: A How-To

Sometimes when I see a project, it takes over my mind and body until it becomes an obsession to get it done. That’s what happened yesterday when I saw this image on Curbly.

These amazing bucket ottomans come from a fabulous shop in South Africa, Recreate. This particular one has sold, but there’s another fabulous white one available for about $150 us, if I did my math correctly. I don’t have $150 lying around, and if I did I would be buying an amazing antler chandelier I saw on Craigslist yesterday. I just so happened to have an old galvanized tub that sits under our water spigot outside, some spare MDF, and some fabric. All