Tuesday, July 30, 2013

$1 Chalkboard Frame Gift Idea

I had a few of these $1 wood frames from Michael's left over from my scrabble tile father's day frames (tutorial here) so I whipped up another easy gift for the kiddos to give my mom and step-dad.  When I made these months ago (again I'm a bad bad blogger but thankfully you are still hanging in there with me), both grandparents wanted an updated picture of the kids to sit on their desks at work and these seemed like the perfect fit.  

I sprayed the front, back and the little wood peg that holds it up.. all with spray chalkboard paint.  You don't have to spray the back but I like that it looks finished from all sides.  Then to "season" don't forget to rub a piece of chalk turned on its side all over the frame, dust that off with an eraser then write whatever you want or even better let the kids write it!! Since mine aren't quite there yet, I gave them a little help, "Grammy" and Grandpa or "Grumpa" as my kids pronounce it loved their frames.

And, in my opinion colored chalk makes everything better :) If you need a quick thank you or just a fun gift these could not be easier.. it took me longer to decide which color chalk to use than to actually make them.

And since it is chalkboard we can change the message with the pictures as we update them.  Maybe someday my kids will actually do the writing... but at the rate we are going I'm not holding my breath :)


Monday, July 15, 2013

Tiny Memorial Wedding Bouquet Frame Tutorial

This summer I had the honor of being in my cousins wedding, she was a beautiful bride and it was a great day.  I knew that I wanted make her a few special things for her big day, but I wasn't sure exactly what that would be, then while scouring pinterest trying to help with wedding ideas I came across a beautiful photo from a wedding where the bride honored a father who had passed away by having a tiny framed photo on her bouquet.  I thought it was the sweetest way to remember someone and carry them with you without making other people sad or uncomfortable on such a happy day.

I found these tiny frames in the jewelry making section at Michael's, but how to get the photos that small??? After a little trial and a lot of error I figured it out!  I'm sure there are other ways, but this worked really well and you don't have to have any fancy photo editing software. 

I have photoshop, but it is way smarter than I am and I usually end up just using Picasa, a free photo editing program.  You can download it for here for free, and it automatically transfers any photo you upload to your computer into Picasa for easy editing.  From there you can quickly fix colors, crop, brighten and add a bunch of fun effects.  We lost my grandmother several years ago, she was the most amazing shopping partner and grandma we were truly blessed, so when I came across this great old photo of her I knew that is the one I wanted to use.

Once you have the photo ready click print, when this pages pops up choose the wallet option in the top left corner under print layout and then go down to printer set up near the bottom left corner and click on it.

Now click on the tab that says page layout.

Then, click on the "By Percentage" circle and change the percentage to fit your frame.  

This took a few tries, but for my frames reducing to 20 percent fit the frames perfectly. 

Finally click print...

This is the 20% photo printed on regular 4x6 photo paper on my home printer. I used the photo insert that came in the frame as a guide to cut out my picture.

I made two one of our grandmother and one of her brother, so she could carry them both with her.

A little blue ribbon slipped though the loop on the frame gave her "something blue" and was an easy way to attach the frames to her gorgeous bouquet. I'm so happy with how it turned out and more importantly she loved it!!!  

If you are looking for a way to honor a loved one at your wedding, this is a great option. Plus, you could also use this same idea to make a photo charm bracelet even if you aren't getting married :)


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Reclaimed Pallet Wood Painted Photo Sign

I made these fun photo signs for Christmas.. yes I know it is now July, I'm a bad, bad blogger!!!  My procrastination and crazy life aside, I set out to make something easy to hold all the random pictures that I send of the kids.  Since we don't live in the same town as any of the grandparents I try to send recent pictures of the kids as often as possible so they can see how they are growing.  Instead of just stuck on the fridge or propped against something else, these are a easy alternative.  They turned out really cute and I think all the grandparents really liked them.  

These are just scraps I had left over from a pallet project, but any scraps you have laying around would be perfect.  I don't have a fancy cricut machine or special stencils, I just used the cheap paper ones from the craft section at Walmart and grabbed some craft paint in a bunch of different colors while I was there. 

To get the distressed look with several colors peaking through just go to town and paint a few different layers.  I wanted the sides of the board to match the lettering to tie it all together so I painted the entire board that color first then a few quick layers.  I did a black/tan, a light brown/blue/dark brown, a black/tan/red and brown/turquoise. There are so many combinations that would be great, just go with whatever you like!

I did the final layer with the lightest color.  This picture makes them look really white, but it was a really light layer.

For the black one I painted on the white and then wiped most of it off to give it a different look.  Then I just centered my paper stencils, and used a little painters tape to keep them in place.  I spelled out grandkids, but family or memories would be cute too!

To fill in the stencils I used a painters pen, you can also find these near the craft paint and stencils.  These are a few bucks and they make stenciling so quick and easy.

Once the paint is dry, rough it up a little with some sand paper.  

I also added stars on each end of "grandkids", and some silver upholstery tacks for a little rustic western touch. 

I added a simple claw hanger on the back, a piece of twine from the hardware section tied in a knot under the tack in each star gives you a place for the pictures and tiny clothes pins from the office supple sections hold the pictures on.  The tiny clips are adorable ad make it so easy to switch out when I flood then with yet another card filled with new photos :)

For a quick, personal gift on a budget with no fancy equipment required, this project is for you!


Friday, July 5, 2013

DIY Boys Play Kitchen and Bistro

I'm at it AGAIN!!! I know it's crazy, but after my first play kitchen (tutorial here) and then another smaller version for my niece (tutorial here) a year later, I still had another idea I wanted to try out.  My friends little boys love to play with ours when they visit, and usually all four kids end up playing "restaurant" taking turns being the customers and the waiters so I decided it would be the perfect gift.  But I wanted to make one that was not girly and more manly for these cool little dudes so I decided a "Boys Bistro" would be the perfect challenge.

To get started I found this old entertainment center on craigslist for $5.  

To move this easier when it's done and to help support the play kitchen I added four wheels to the bottom.  The wheels I had weren't tall enough so I cheated and used four small pieces of scrap wood screwed to the bottom of the entertainment center to make them tall enough. 

Then I took off the bottom right cabinet door and used wood filler to fill in the holes from the screws.  The door is moving to the other side to become the "freezer".

The tv area is now going to be the sink and stove top so I used the metal mixing bowl I bought to trace the circle for the sink, and marked the spots for the faucet and the stove knobs (that I got off a broken stove at a local thrift store) and then used my cordless drill to drill holes for each.  For the sink I used the hole I drilled just inside my circle as a starting point for my little jig saw to cut out the circle.

This is what it looks like cut out.  Because this entertainment center was not solid wood, I painted it first with primer then the turquoise so the paint would stick.  Under the sink I painted black for the "oven".

For the "oven" I used a tension rod and a piece of fabric to cover where the "sink" bowel drops down into the shelf area and then used the shelf as the top of the oven and a drawer front from an old end table as the oven door.  A couple hinges and a magnetic closure help keep the door closed (some light chain and hooks on the corners are a good idea as well to keep the door from slamming down and breaking).

Under the little curtain is also a perfect spot to store dishes.  I got these green cups, plates and bowls as well as some baskets (and a bunch of other accessories) at the dollar store.

For the "fridge" and "freezer" I mounted the other cabinet door that I took off early above it's mate on the left and painted then both with chalk board paint, perfect for the daily special at the bistro!!!  Since it's their birthday I thought cake was the perfect first special!

The sink is a large metal mixing bowl and the faucet is a cheap bathroom faucet from Walmart.  

The "burners" are no slip coasters from the dollar store that I glued down.  I used old mason jars as containers for the utensils and some flowers that along with the salt and pepper shakers all came from the dollar store.

Since it's a "restaurant" I thought they should have menus so last minute I cut up some card stock I had on hand and added some sticker letter to the top of each to spell out menu.

Sticky 3M hooks hold the measuring cups, pot holders and towels on these inside walls.

The same hooks also are perfect on the outside for hanging these cute little khaki kids aprons that I found at JoAnn's for a few bucks.

And no play kitchen is complete without food!!  So I got a good mix of play food in a cute basket and used the left over fabric for little matching napkins for the customers!

The last little basket, I put on a shelf over the freezer and filled with an eraser and colored chalk for future "daily specials".

The sign is just a scrap piece of pallet wood that I painted turquoise and then tan.  For the letters I used cheap paper stencils and then distressed it all to let some of the turquoise show through and tie in all the khaki towels and curtains.

Behind the sink instead of using a sold piece of bead board like I did on my daughters, I used a long tension rod and two pieces of a drop cloth to make curtain panels and then the last of the green and blue fabric for a little valance.

I hope our little buddies like their "Bistro", it sure was a lot of fun to make.

 If you have a little guy in your life, don't hesitate to make a play kitchen for him.. the boys love them just as much as the girls!!!  Just call it a "Bistro" and the dads won't fuss too much :)