DIY Etched Leaf Coasters (and 24 other great fall projects!)

My aunt’s birthday was this month and I wanted to give her something inexpensive but thoughtful, more of an “I’m thinking of you” gift then a “big fancy happy birthday present,” you know?

Here’s what I came up with:

etched leaf coasters

I picked up 6 brown tiles at the Habitat Restore for 10 cents each, then put together a design for them in my Silhouette Cameo. Here’s a screen shot of what I ended up with:

etched tile outline

 

I went with 4 monogrammed tiles and two fall themed tiles (though I only ended up giving her 2 monogrammed ones and then the 2 with the leaves… I really need to work on centering my vinyl better).

I printed up the design on my Silhouette, placed the vinyl on my coasters, and used glass etching cream to etch them. I have this glass etching starter kit, which is super helpful because it comes with a hook and a scraper tool.

Because the ceramic tile is a bit more durable then glass, I let the cream sit for about 3 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. Then I was left with this:

etched coasters

 

It’s really subtle, but they came out very cute. With a little felt hot glued to the bottom they were good to go!

To gift them, I just added a little fall themed ribbon and a tag and called it a day. Easy peasy!

easy handmade gift - personalized coasters

 

At 10 cents a pop I feel like these could be easily adapted to any holiday… or just buy whatever color tile matches the decor of the home and stick with a monogram.

 

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Want to Check Out More Silhouette Projects?

My Silhouette Challenge friends and I are all sharing projects on our blogs today, so peruse the projects below for a wealth of Silhouette inspiration!

Paper Rosette Fall Wreath Hello Fall Sign Halloween Paper Bag Luminaries Spooky Mantle Ghost Town Dollar Store Placemat Jack O' Lantern Copper and Paper Embellished Pumpkins Ugly Sweater Wineglass Charms DIY Fall Leave Paper Wreath Starry Pumpkin Burlap & BOO Halloween Wreath Fall Paper Petals Fall Leaves Favor Tags 15 Minute Customized Halloween Buckets Gravestone Treat Bags with Free Cut File Beware of Zombies Halloween Shadow Box Welcome Sign Vampire Bat Specimen Boo-tiful Halloween Treats Little Turkey No Sew Thanksgiving Onesie Frozen Halloween Treats & Free Printable Fall Leaf Keychain Fall Lovin October Silhouette Challenge Punny #Hashtag Halloween Costume Still Falling For You Card DIY Etched Leaf Coasters

1. Create & Babble // 2. Lil Mrs. Tori // 3. unOriginal Mom // 4. Zanaree // 5. The Kim Six Fix // 6. One Dog Woof // 7. Cupcakes & Crowbars // 8. Living My Given Life // 9. Architecture of a Mom // 10. Put A Bird On It // 11. Just Add Paper // 12. Weekend Craft // 13. Silhouette School // 14. Minted Strawberry // 15. My Paper Craze // 16. McCall Manor // 17. Chicken Scratch NY // 18. Mama Sonshine // 19. Creative Ramblings // 20. From Wine to Whine // 21. Please Excuse My Craftermath… // 22. Dragonfly & Lily Pads // 23. The Thinking Closet // 24. Simply Kelly Designs // 25. Sandpaper & Glue //

Upcycled Media Cabinet

My husband is a high school English teacher and this semester he got assigned a film and literature course, which means his classroom needed something to store all the equipment as well as somewhere for the tv to go. But the school didn’t really have a budget for both electronics and furniture, so I took matters into my own hands.

We bought a 1980s media cabinet at the Habitat Restore for $17….

1980 media cabinet upcycle

 

Then, I turned the open section, meant for a big bulky square tv, into a bookcase with some plywood, hobby board, and 1×2’s….

bookshelf media cabinet

My plywood was kind of a weird shape so I had to Frankenstein it together (then spackle it smooth).  I added 1×2 pieces on the back and sides and fit a hobby board on top to create the shelf. To bulk up the hobby board I added a 1×2 lip in front of it, this also added a bit to the length which was helpful as well.

Next, I emailed my friends at Deco Art and asked if they would supply some Americana Decor Chalky Finish paint for the project. They sent me some carbon (black) paint as well as wax, which I partnered with some relique (gray) paint I already had on hand.  I chose chalky finish paint because there was no sanding required, and painted on two coats (without removing the doors, just opening them up and painting carefully).

black upcycled media cabinetWe haven’t moved it into Matt’s classroom yet so I just styled it up in my living room to share with you. And then it rained all week, so I apologize for the grainy pictures but you get the idea. :)

living room black painted furniture

love this thing. The wax helped maintain the nice matte look I was aiming for. The glass door cabinet is perfect for storing the blu-ray player and sound bar (when not in use), the slim build of the cabinet is just right for a flat screen to perch on, and the bookshelf is going to hold the classrooms’ dictionaries and thesauruses.

It’s been hanging in our living room for about a week looking super stylish and awesome, I’m going to be so sad to see it go!

tv cabinet upcycle

 

 

 

So next time you see this bad boys pop up on Craigs List, give them a second look! A little paint and some wood go a long way!

 

*Thanks to Deco Art for supplying the paint! (All other supplies were at my own expense.)

 

Healthy Life Update

At the end of July I posted 4 tips for a healthier lifestyle, and I’m feeling like this time of year is a good time to check in again. It’s the time of year where all we want is heavy, warm, delicious comfort food (carbssss!)

I’m going to break this down into categories….

Weight:

  • I’ve lost 13 pounds since July 1st and still have about 5 or 6 to go. This is genuinely because I’ve been eating a lot better, both diet wise and portion wise, and I exercise 3-4 days a week.
  • MyFitnessPal helped me figure out what 1200 calories a day actually looks like, and I tracked my food for about 2 months. Now, I get the picture and I don’t track nearly as often.
  • Today I’m wearing a dress that didn’t fit me this time last year! Huzzah!

Exercise:

  • Man, I hate exercising. I do. I always try to convince myself I like it, and then like a week later I’m way over it.
  • I did the alpha round of T25 full out once (which is a 5 week/5 days a week program), but now my work schedule is a bit hectic so I’m repeating the alpha round again only 3-4 days a week instead of 5. It works and honestly, I feel stronger and look better.
  • I exercise with my husband, because we motivate each other and T25 is only 25 minutes a day. If I was on my own, I probably wouldn’t do it.
  • I received a Victoria's Secret Sports bra and cropped Knockout pants to review-- and they are AWESOME. Seriously. If you know that you're going to stick to an exercise routine it's important to invest in gear that fits you right, makes you feel good, AND makes you look good. Victoria knows what's going on.

I received a Victoria’s Secret Sports bra and cropped Knockout pants to review– and they are AWESOME. Seriously. If you know that you’re going to stick to an exercise routine it’s important to invest in gear that fits you right, makes you feel good, AND makes you look good. Victoria knows what’s going on.

Also, if you’ve never been to a store to have someone measure you, you should do that. I was way off. WAYYY OFFFF. And the sales associate’s were lovely, despite how awkward I was about it.

Overall health stuff:

  • I’ve been getting allergy shots since January- once a week for 6 months, then worked my way down to once a month. My allergies were bad. This week I will stop taking my allergy pill (which I’ve been taking everyday for like, my entire life). In the spring I’ll stop taking my allergy nose spray (which I take everyday). I have about 5 years of shots left. It’s worth it.
  • I buy good stuff to put on my skin. I don’t work 2 full time jobs for nothing, TREAT YO’ SELF! I love Origins eye cream and have been using Carbon Beauty plant oil (this one) on my whole face.
  • I really try to eat natural organic food when I can. I mean, I ate a frozen pizza for dinner last night. But this morning I had homemade applesauce and my lunch today is a pita and some hummus and an apple… there’s a give and take there. Keep it realistic.

 

What are you doing to stay healthy these days? Any good tips? Or great success stories? I want to know it all!

DIY Football Shirt (and a $100 giveaway to Expressions Vinyl!)

This week I forayed into the world of HTV, which is fancy pants lingo for Heat Transfer Vinyl, with little push from Expressions Vinyl  and their #VinylNFL challenge. So far on my Silhouette I’ve done lots of paper cutting and decal vinyl printing, but I’ve never attempted to make clothes.

Expressions Vinyl challenged me and a few other bloggers to use HTV in a football themed project, so my brain went right to creating a football shirt for my 2 year old nephew.

diy toddler football shirt long sleeve

Since we’re in Massachusetts I used red, white, and blue as my colors (like the New England Patriots)… the front boasts the team logo, but that’s far too simple for a personalized shirt so I put a little quote and image on the back too. That little star in the football is the cut out from the logo on the front– waste not want not, people!

Don’t forget, when using HTV you always want to feed the vinyl shiny side down into your Silhouette and mirror the image. Here’s a screen grab of what the logo looked like in my Silhouette software:

new england patriots logo for tshirtSee- backwards. This is super important, because it gets flipped back to normal when you iron it onto the shirt. Everyone’s iron is different, but for me I used a low steam setting and pressed hard for about a minute/minute and a half on each section I transferred, with an old towel acting as a buffer between the shirt with the HTV and the iron. Once it was cooled I turned it inside out and ironed from there too- I don’t think that’s necessary, but it just gave me piece of mind that it was on there good and strong.

new england patriots toddler shirt

Can we talk for a quick second about how difficult it is to get a non-blurry picture of a 2 year old? Holy cow! This is the best I could do, and he had to have his goat. Then I caught the back when he went to “go get eggs” from his DIY play kitchen. I just want to squeeze his cute little face. This kid can bring me pretend eggs all day long.

new england patiors long sleeve toddler shirt

I think he’s ready for some nachos and a big foam finger, don’t you?!!

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AND NOW FOR THE BEST PART!!!

Want to win $100 to Expressions Vinyl so you can create your own project?

Click here a Rafflecopter giveaway !

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Want to see some more football inspired Silhouette projects? Click on any of the images below!

 

Morena Hockley @ Morena’s Corner

Morena Hockley @ Morena’s Corner

Vanessa Barker @ Our Thrifty Ideas

Vanessa Barker @ Our Thrifty Ideas

Melissa Viscount @ Silhouette School Blog

Melissa Viscount @ Silhouette School Blog

Staci Potter @ The Potters Place

Staci Potter @ The Potters Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lindsay Fekitoa @ Frenchie Wraps

Lindsay Fekitoa @ Frenchie Wraps

Heidi Kundin @ Happiness Is Home Made

Heidi Kundin @ Happiness Is Home Made

Kaysi Gardner @ Keeping It Simple Crafts

Kaysi Gardner @ Keeping It Simple Crafts

Sara Hoffman @ Major Hoff Takes A Wife

Sara Hoffman @ Major Hoff Takes A Wife

 

 

 

Formal Dining Room Mood Board

A few weeks ago Chairish (an exclusive curator approved, online marketplace for vintage furniture) contacted me to see if I’d be interested in designing a colorful room based around a chair, and it seemed like a fun challenge so I happily hopped on board.

First, if you’ve been around here long enough you know I have a deep love for chairs (check out my two tone chair redo, my herringbone chair redo, and my reupholstered chair update). Also, I have no rooms to start from scratch in sooooooo this seemed like a a good way to get that opportunity again too.

I chose to decorate using the Green High Back Tufted Broyhill Chairs and actually ended up with 2 separate boards because I found too much stuff to cram into one.

Here’s the first one (this is my first attempt at a design board, please be kind, :) ):

formal dining room mood board

 

1. Capital Lighting Hutton 3 Light Chandelier from Wayfair: This light is ever so slightly gold tinted and I think plays really well off the chairs. They’re a classic design and not demanding, so it leaves room for other pieces to be the focal point.

2. Hounds by James Jean wall art: I am more then a little obsessed with this artist. I think this large piece would be awesome above a buffet and really pulls in the wall color and chair colors perfectly. Plus it’s super weird and awesome so it’d be a great talking point at the table.

3. Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore wall color: I mean really, is there another wall color right now? I don’t think so. Move over Radiant Orchid, because Hale Navy is a serious crowd pleaser and definitely a favorite in the design world right now.

4. Green High Back Tufted Broyhill Chairs via Chairsh: The inspiration for the whole room!

5-7: All Chairish finds that would be awesome together as a centerpiece. I picture the deer antlers flanking the round wood cutting board with glass dome (which would be filled with succulents). The brass letter holder adds some glam and could hold silverware or napkins.

8. Flokati Rug via Chairish: This one is a little small, but it’s a very popular style right now so it’d be easy to find an 8×10. I think something lush and light would work really well with the darker wall color and heaviness of some of the rest of the room.

chairish collage 2

Now you know I had to go ahead and add a little DIY to this room too!

  • The table by Shanty 2 Chic is….wait for it…. only $125 for supplies! WOW. Check out the tutorial here.
  • The DIY Card Catalog Cabinet by Decor and the Dog would be awesome in the corner of the room looking all chic and like it’s full of tiny little things, but then opening up to hold realistically sized supplies  like table runners, servingware, etc.

And last but not least, I included these bamboo shades by Payless decor and these curtains by Ikea to frame out the room.

 

What do you think? Is this a room you’d want in your house? What else would you add?

Blogland Tour

Last week I was invited by Dorrie of Simple Southern Charm to take place in a little “get to know each other” tour of blogland. If you haven’t seen Dorrie’s site yet, you are missing out- be sure to stop by her “before and afters” section to get a feel for who she is and what she does (and prepare to be amazed!)

simple southern charmSo, if you’re new around here (or you’ve been here a while and noticed I don’t share personal stuff a lot), read on….

  • What are you working on right now?

Project-wise, I hop around quite a bit. Right now I’m thinking up some media console ideas (one for our bedroom and one for my husband’s classroom), as well as focusing on my garden. I’ve also had unfinished basement stairs for ooooooh about 2 years now, so maybe some day I’ll get on that. In the bigger picture, I was invited to a party at HGTV next month (!!!!!!) so I’ve been busy building up my social media presence and getting business cards and outfits together.

design and home decor quote

  • How does my work differ from others?

I focus on fixing up our house knowing that in 3-4 years we’re going to sell it. This means I do a lot of cosmetic updates and home decor projects and not big renovations, and I’ve always got an eye for return on investment. Here’s 3 of my most popular low budget/high impact projects:

how to paint faux molding on a door

painted tile back splash

painted tile back splash

painted bathroom tile

  • Why do I write/create what I do?

I started this blog as a way to let my family follow along with what I’m doing, but then it grew into a creative outlet and place to connect with other people with the same interests as me. I’ve made some awesome friends through this site, and gotten lots of amazing inspiration. I am a regular person that had literally zero experience in home updates/painting/DIY before I bought a house, and I hope this blog lets other women know that they can do literally anything they want to, even if they don’t know how and they’ve never tried before.

paint

  • How does your writing/creative process work?

That’s a surprisingly difficult question. I think I just see something, my brain clicks, and off I go to get my supplies and get to work. Some of my projects were done at 10 at night because I had an idea and I had to do it right this second, some of my ideas got mulled over for months until I found the absolute perfect way to do it. My pictures on the blog are always lacking because I get so into what I’m doing that I forget to stop and document the process, and my posts get written pretty quickly because I feel like I’m sort of a natural writer and I’d rather my posts show my train of thought then be articulately mulled over and updated.

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And now, let me pass off the torch to 3 of my real life blogging  friends …

colleen bio pic Colleen and I have been friends since high school and she very recently launched her site, Being Your Change all about her journey to fitness as a real actual woman with a real actual body. In 2012 she was diagnosed with melanoma and had surgeries and treatments, which led to fitness being not quite the priority anymore. In 2013 she found motivation to get in shape and now she’s sharing what works for her, what might work for you, and a big wide internet space  where it’s safe to share and talk about body image struggles.

 

  • be your own ladyAshlie is a college friend of mine that recently redesigned and renamed her site to Be Your Own Lady.  She wants to encourage women to do whatever it is that makes them shine, whether it’s sporting red lipstick or rocking potter’s clay under their fingernails or staying in tonight, thank you very much.  It’s  a spot that should never make you feel bad for doing things differently and will highlight  adventures in motherhood, education, marriage, family, and life.

     

     

    ann blog picI had the pleasure of working with Ann of Such a Mama about 4 years ago (has it really been that long?!) and we’ve stayed in touch ever since. Ann is a working Mama with serious Pinterest-Party execution abilities and a great eye for gardening. She shares lots of activities for pre-preschoolers and younger, great healthy recipes (and how to sneak good stuff into a picky kid’s diet), and is in a fantastic Wordless Wednesday Link up.

    Food Habits and Saving Dinner

    One of my friends asked me the other day, as I ate chopped up raw veggies with  hummus for lunch, if I was “still on a diet” to which I proclaimed it’s a lifestyle change, not a diet (unless you have cake, because then I will want that).

    lifestyle diet quote

    I mentioned in this post  that I am working on being healthier and losing weight and today I wanted to share some of the most best steps I took and a service that really helped:

    • GRADUAL change. I’ve known I wanted to change things for quite a while, but to make it a lifestyle change you’ve got to be careful.  I was a TERRIBLY picky eater, and I spent about 7 months forcing myself to try new foods and develop a palate before I even attempted a diet. I also had to ease off bread. Man, I love bread. But you just don’t need it at every meal.
    • INVOLVEMENT in the process. I go to the farmer’s market and pick out good stuff that’s in season, and I grow a bit of food myself, which forces me to stare at my choices a lot more then running through the grocery store and grabbing the regular go-to’s does. The compost bin system I started is a surprisingly help too- if I have nothing to throw in the bin, then I know I didn’t eat any fruits/veggies that day.
    • PORTION control. This is a huge thing that a service called Saving Dinner has done for me, because they give you weekly meals portioned out to just 2 people. And cooking for just 2 people is surprisingly difficult. (There’s options to choose a menu for more people, but it’s just me and Matt at our house.)
    • OUTSIDE help. This is the other thing that Saving Dinner did for me. Saving Dinner is a menu planning service, which is perfect during a lifestyle transition time. I’m super excited to cook healthy meals, but if you’ve never done that before then you just don’t know what to cook, and Saving Dinner will help.

    saving dinner logo

    Some of my favoritest new meals, to which Saving Dinner provided me the recipes for in their weekly menu mailer are:

    • Grilled Salmon with Cucumber Salsa (ps- omg. cucumber salsa. you neeeeed this)
    • Chicken with Avocado Sauce (you can make avocados into a sauce!!)
    • Turkey and Vegetable Omelet (breakfast for dinner, hooray!)
    • Chicken and Vegetable Kabobs (food on a stick is always fun)
    • Lemony Pasta (yes, I still eat pasta. I just can’t quit you, pasta.)

    So it’s nothing crazy or bland, it’s good whole meals that leave me full and happy. And it’s helpful to use a service because, for example, I just forgot that kabobs are a thing so I’ve literally never made them before. Then we had friends over for a bbq and made our own veggie and chicken kabobs instead of cheeseburgers and everyone was still happy.

    eat better feel better quote

    Here’s the run down on Saving Dinner:

    Saving Dinner offers Classic, Paleo, Low Carb, and Daytime menus delivered to you each week via email. Each menu contains shopping lists and nutritional information, and you get lots of emails in between with tips and tricks for things to add-in to your food and things to substitute with. And even more, you get your own log in to the site so you can  pick and choose which meals want each night and plan for the whole week ahead of time. It’ll even generate your shopping list for you once you do so! I highly recommend you give it a try.

     

    So tell me- what works for you when making big changes in your eating habits? Any good lunch and dinner suggestions? Are you a farmer’s market lover too?diet goal setting

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    saving dinnerSaving Dinner provided me with 3 months of access to their site, but all opinions (and bread-less stomachs) are mine- this is a service that I really do think is great.