Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Using Your Digital Photos To Make Magazine Covers, Jigsaw Puzzles, Pop Posters, Oh My!

I found a fun new site. It's called Big Huge Labs.  The first page entices you with
We have a lot of fun stuff to play with like our
Motivational Poster maker
, Magazine Cover maker, Warholizer, and much more!
Play as much as you like—everything is free. We also sell awesome custom-made posters.
You can use the color palette generator to find colors to match a painting or fabric. Look at this fun fabric - instead of having to decide on all of the complementary colors, this site does it for you.
Via Effortless Style

If you're color obsessed like I am you would spend lots of time trying to match a color EXACTLY.

And then, as if you're not spending enough non-productive time on your computer, you can make a mosaic from a photoset, favorites, tags, or individual digital photographs or images.

And then...make a jigsaw puzzle:
Convert any photo into a realistic looking jigsaw puzzle in seconds with just a few clicks of the mouse. And, as if that wasn't enough fun, you can even order a real, honest-to-goodness 10x14 inch, 252-piece puzzle in a custom box with your photo on top (with real pieces that need to be assembled and will get lost and everything).
And then... make an old-timey looking photo booth photo strip:
Create vintage photo booth strips from your digital photos. Four poses! Your photos are automatically aged for an authentic vintage look. For the best results, use really bad photos. You know, ones where your hair is doing something it shouldn't and the flash is going off right in your face and one eye is halfway closed and your mouth is open. Like that.
 And the list goes posters, magazine covers, Andy Warhol-style pop posters. Just too much fun.

Monday, March 26, 2012

How To Make Any Curtain into a Shower Curtain

Jenna, from Sas Interiors wrote this tutorial on how to make any curtain into a shower curtain. I always knew there had to be a way to do this without it looking like a window treatment hanging on your shower. I love the ingenuity of cutting the slot for the shower hooks in the back piece of fabric in the pocket rod, so it doesn't show. Read on...

I DIYed (technically not really a word, but you got it) my shower curtain using two window drapery panels (a.k.a. curtains), and now I’m going to show you how.

I had found these curtain panels a while ago and they were basically the inspiration for the space and everything I chose was set around these beauties.

When I originally purchased the window panels my intention was to simply put the shower curtain rod through the already created rod pocket of the window panel.  A problem arose when I went to hang them because the end of the rod was too big (2.5″ dia) for the rod pocket opening in the curtain.  (I hope I didn’t lose ya)…

My first thought was to create a bigger rod pocket on the curtain, but that would have involved sewing and shortening the height of the overall window panels. I nixed that idea right away because I envisioned the window panels as high as possible to heighten the room.  After some thought, I decided to use typical shower rings to create a ring top style panel. Take a look at my quick sketch.

So, here are the steps I took…

I had twelve shower hooks (which is typical for every shower), which I divided amongst the two window panels – 6 and 6.  Then I put a hook at the end of each panel and divided the remaining hooks (4) on the panel.

  1. My window panels were 54″ wide, times 2 = 108″, wider than a typical shower curtain – that’s okay.  Any width curtain should work and if you’re using this idea for a single shower stall, one window panel should be enough (the length might have to be altered).
  2. A ball-style shower hook would work best.  You can find them in most stores and they are one of the least expensive styles.
  3. As an added step which I have NOT DONE, you can make the cuts more secure by creating a sewn button hole with your sewing machine.
  4. I DID NOT sew the two panels together to create one large “shower curtain” panel, but it’s possible to do.   I left them as two panels in case I decide to use them someplace else in the future.
Once you’ve evenly spaced the shower hooks, using a scissor, cut a 1/2 – 3/4″ slit at each of the shower hook positions (ONLY CUT through the one layer of fabric, not both – the outside layer should look clean and uncut).

Before inserting the ball style shower hooks into the newly cut hole, first put on the shower curtain liner.  Because my window drapery panel was longer than a typical shower curtain, I had to get a longer plastic liner, which I found at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  It was a little more expensive than a typical plastic liner, but was a must because of the extra length.

Once the plastic liner is in place, put the shower hooks through the “button” holes (or simply the cut holes since I haven’t yet made actual button holes).

And it’s done.  This really is a simple and easy project that makes a huge impact!

Using the two window panels creates for a slightly more flow-y (not in a bad way) shower curtain style as you can see in the image below.  Because the curtain is hung from typical shower hooks, it opens and closes just as a regular shower curtain would.

And here is the overall bathroom space -

The taller than typical curtain really gives the space more height, which makes the overall feel of the room much larger.  Actually one reader left me a comment saying, “Wow, you have tall ceilings”.  But honestly, they are only 8′-0″ high – typical of most homes.  But again, the long panel makes the space feel elongated.  This same idea pertains to the window valance, which is hung at the ceiling plane. The higher the panels are hung, the larger the space.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Turning a Glass Vase Into a Lamp Tutorial

This tutorial is by Aaron at The Thrifty Abode:

I absolutely love finding a bargain or a knock-off that looks exactly like an item from Pottery Barn, West Elm, or ______________(fill in your favorite inspiring, but out of budget store here).   What's even better is creating the item from things I already own and a couple things I found at a hardware store.
That's exactly what I did with my glass jug and $18 I spent at Lowe's.

I turned this:

Into this:

I'd been working on refreshing my living room and looking for a cheaper version of one of these lamps.

Pottery Barn lamp
In all of my searching I never found one.  I'd had the glass jug pictured above for years and I started wondering how difficult it could be to turn it into a lamp.  The only difference between my $15 jug and the $100 + lamps was a hole and some wiring.

I knew that bottle lamp kits were sold at Lowe's so all I had to do was figure out how to put a hole in my jug.  With a little research I found out that I needed a ceramic cutting drill bit.  I made a trip to Lowe's and picked up the kit and bit (I got the 5/16") for $18.

I got my supplies home and got drilling!  I put some tape on the jug because I was nervous about it cracking.  Thank goodness it didn't crack, but it did take about five minutes of drilling to make a hole big enough for the cord to fit.  
After the hole was made, all I had to do was follow the instructions on the lamp kit packaging (it's surprisingly easy).  I only had to make one adjustment.  The stoppers that are included in the kit were all too small for the opening of my jug, so I used a little hot glue to create a seal so the stopper would fit.  The hot glue worked great and you can't even tell it's there.  
Here's the finished product again:
And here's what it cost me:
New money spent:
  • drill bit: $8
  • lamp kit:  $10
$18 is pretty good for a solid PB or West Elm knock-off.
Here's what it would cost if all the parts had to be bought new:
  • bit and kit:  $18
  • jug:  $10-$15  (The shelves of HomeGoods, T.J. Maxx, and Marshall's are littered with glass jug thingies.  Mine was $15, but I've seen ones the same size for $10.)
  • drum shade:  $15 from Wal-Mart's Canopy line
  • lamp harp and prongs:  $4 (you may need these depending on what kind of shade you have.  These are also sold at Lowe's)
$47-$52 is still about half of what it would cost to buy the Pottery Barn Eva lamp.
I hope you'll hop over to The Thrifty Abode and check out my other thrifty adventures in decorating.

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Walk On The Wild Side

I finally checked one thing off my to-do list. I bought these chairs online for cheap, and I believed the reviews which seems to be a mistake. Because when they arrived the quality was, to my mind, just not there. I called to send them back, and lo and behold they would give me a discount to keep them. OK. They were cheap when I bought them, now they're really cheap.

We had super comfy dining room chairs before. Lots of cushioning, but they sat very low and they were upholstered to match the salmon armed dining chairs. This was OK in a house where the dining room was separate from the other rooms and other colors. But now, with an open floor plan, the striped green, yellow and pink chairs were just too much conflict with the rest of the furnishings. The old chairs have found a new home with my daughter, which provided the opportunity to buy new ones. Yay! But then, not so much.

These are the chairs we received.

The generic beige seating had to go. I have black bar stools next to the dining room table, so my thought was to paint these chairs black and change the seat fabric to blend in better with the rest of the furnishings.

I bought some zebra print chenille fabric that I had been lusting for from Hancock Fabrics, using all the discounts and coupons of course. Covered them in batting so that they made nice little bundles of, hopefully, cushy seats.

Laid them out on my daring zebra fabric.

Only to realize I was about 6" short of sufficient fabric to reach around the backs for stapling. Aargh. Back to Hancock's for more fabric. What's the saying - penny smart, pound foolish? I scrimped just a scotsh too much and ended up paying even more for it. Even with coupons this is not the cheapest fabric. Retail is $36/yard but it's usually 50% off.

With plenty of fabric the cushions were ready for covering and final stapling. And here is the result.

I was playing with the leftover fabric to see how it would look as a runner. Since the chairs match the table, I don't think they're going to get painted. I was trying to tie in the salmon chairs, which we love but that color isn't repeated anywhere in the house, and the black bar stools with rush seats.

I think it looks better, don't you?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Magic Shell Chocolate Bowl Sundae

I was looking for recipes that showed Magic Shell Chocolate formed into a bowl. I thought it would be a cute way to serve pistachio pudding or ice cream for St. Patrick's Day. Or chocolate mousse during the other 11 months. 

But instead I tumbled onto this recipe and it wowed me. As in "I'm addicted to chocolate so let's make this Saturday night". How good does this look?

Directions to make chocolate "glass":  
Working over a bowl, drizzle 2 medium sized glasses with Smucker's Chocolate Magic Shell until the outside is completely coated. Place on small plates and freeze until the chocolate hardens.

Then fill to your heart's content:
Layer 3 scoops vanilla ice cream into each chocolate-coated glass.

Drizzle Smucker's Chocolate Magic Shell or other topping over ice cream sundaes.

Top each with whipped cream, pecans and a cherry. Serve immediately. 
You can thank me later.

Friday, March 9, 2012

More Organization Ideas...Cord-ination

I hate seeing masses of computer cords. There's no way you can appear the least bit organized if you have cords dangling all around your desk. While there are cable control systems you can buy, what fun is that?

These are the best diy computer cord solutions I have found.

Binder Clips 
File folder labels
Empty single toilet paper rolls. Take multiple empty toilet paper rolls, (or cut a few paper towel rolls into thirds), and fit into a shallow box or shoebox. Fold up each cable and push through the rolls, label each roll accordingly and place in the box.
Foam pipe insulation. Just cut the insulation to size, slice down the length, and insert your cables.
Feed all the cords behind the desk into a power-surge protector strip. Mount the power strip to the underside of the desk with strong adhesive backed strips such as Command picture hanging strips. Fit all the cords neatly into a wire basket from a housewares store and suspend or mount under the desk with hooks or screws.
Bread tags

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things...For Organizing

If you follow me on Pinterest, you know I have a board dedicated to ideas and products for organizing we seem to require. Here are a few of my favorites.

Tension curtain rods used to separate platters and cutting boards
Freezer storage labeling and organizing - look how tidy!
Ring storage using navy beans (or colored glass)
A piece of wood and some hooks make the ironing board look a little decorative, if not inviting.

Shoe organization using wood strips on the wall. First you have to find a wall though.
In cupboard pot holder, found at
Inside cabinet door organization for measuring cups and spoons plus conversion chart. This is blackboard paint painted inside the cabinet door.
Counter top dish detergent storage for easy cleaning. Use decorative bottles and either a cake stand or a diy cake stand made by gluing a plate to a candlestick and then spray painting.
A strip of wood and some decorative knobs to store jewelry.
Another freezer organization trick, keep track of contents using a dry erase marker. Comes off with rubbing alcohol, I promise!