Category: DIY

Beauty and the Beast Bell Jars

April 23
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Last week at work I had the opportunity to host an event for our volunteers. With the recent release of the new live action Beauty and the Beast movie I had the idea to tie the event to that theme. I mean Bell loves books, right? So of course I wanted to recreate the iconic rose for the centerpeoces.

After some searching around this is what I came up with. It’s super simple inexpensive which is great if you need several like I did. Read on to see how I made them.


Supplies:
2 liter soda bottles
1.5 in foam balls 
Black paint 
Black felt 
Roses
X-acto knife
Scissors
Goo Gone

Several hours before you need your completed project paint the styrofoam balls with the acrylic paint. You can use whatever paint you like except for spray paint as it ruins foam. I used the cheap little bottles of acrylic paint from the craft store.

Remove the label from the 2 liter bottle. I cut it off then used goo gone to remove the label. TIP:  If you are just buying the 2 liter for this project select one with a clear label as opposed to a colored one as they seem to leave less adhesive. Next saturate the adhesive reside with goo gone and let sit for a minute. After that use a coin or your nails to remove the goo. Wipe down the bottle to remove residual product.

Next grab an x-acto knife and puncture the bottle near the bottom.  You can then use the knife or good scissors to cut the bottom of the bottle off. I found that many bottles had a little seam there which made cutting easy. After you’ve removed the bottom set the bottle on a table to ensure it is fairly even. Remember that we are using felt on the bottom so if there is a small jagged part it is going to be alright.

Now that the jar is nice and cut it is time to make the lid. Remove the cap from the bottle and the plastic ring. I found that it was easy to use scissors to pry the plastic ring off.

Now you will want to cut your styrofoam balls. I cut mine about 1/3 of the way in. I then gouged out the insides so that it would fit on the top. I used an x-acto knife to do this, just be careful! Next carefully push the ball onto the top of the bottle. If you push too hard it could break.At this point I grabbed some windex and cleaned the inside and the outside of the bottle, removing any remaining fingerprints or debris.

Now it is time to grab your flower. Cut your flower so that it fit in the bottle with the bottom resting on the table and the flower appearing near the top of the bottle. If your flower has movable leaves feel free to move them around to your liking. The fuller the jar looks the better.

It is now time to grab the felt and cut a circle that is about 1-2 inches wider in diameter than your bottle and place the circle under the bottle.

You’re done!


I used these as centerpieces. The tables were decorated with red and dark blue tablecloths with book pages spread like a table runner for accent. Rose petals would look lovely as well.

What do you think? Share below!

 

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DIY Painted Kitchen Cart

March 8
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A few months ago my husband ran across this cute little kitchen cart at a yard sale. He knew that I was looking for something like this for a corner of our kitchen/dining room area and so he grabbed it for me. I loved the little cart, but I felt that it was a little lackluster and didn’t go with the room so I decided to fix it up a bit.  I recently got a new teal rug for the dining room so I decided to paint the base teal and use an antiquing wax to give it an interesting look. Our kitchen cabinets are a red oak so I purchased a stain for the top of the cart that matched this color.

Materials:
Minwax stain
Chalk paint
Antiquing wax 
Paint brush (These are supposed to be great)
Polyacrylic
Painter’s tape
Fine sandpaper
Electric sander (Optional, but totally worth the $30 investment if you’re going to be doing a lot of projects)

I purchased my paint and wax from Michaels however for simplicity I have linked to products at Amazon.

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The top of the cart is a butcher block and was a little worn so I went ahead and sanded the top down a little bit.  I used a fine grit sand paper. After sanding I wiped down the piece thoroughly so that it was nice and clean and then followed up with a dry cloth.

I chose to start with the stain as I knew I’d be doing several layers. The stain I used stays on for 15 minutes and then is removed with a cloth. Read the instructions on your can in case it is different. Use painter’s tape (or washi tape in a pinch) to keep the stain off unwanted surfaces.

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After staining I started painting the body of the cart. Originally I wanted the exterior of the drawer to be stained to match, however because the wood was different from the top of the piece the stain did not sink in well so I painted over it. I did two coats of paint and then did some touch up in a few places to make sure it was good.

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I chose to use an antiquing wax on this piece to give it a distressed finish. It also muted the color a bit which fit my room better. I found this YouTube video on how to use the wax very helpful.  Remember to read the instructions on your wax, with mine I went back the day after and buffed the piece to finish it.

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The last step was to apply a clear coat of Polyacrylic to the top. This is a clear water based sealant that will protect the surface. You may want to do two or three coats of this.

Overall this was a great project and a great deal. We spent way less on this piece and the supplies as we would a nicely painted new version of this product and we got it in the color we wanted which looks great in the dining room area.

DIY Calk painted kitchen cart. This piece was stained and waxed with an antiquing wax.

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DIY pumpkin face mask for fall

October 20
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DIY pumpkin face mask for fall. Make this autumn inspired diy beauty treatment today!

One of the things I love to do on my days off is an at home face mask. I often purchase these at Ulta or I make them myself. This year I had heard others in the blogosphere talking about pumpkin face masks and I wanted to try one myself. I came across this recipe for a mask and I tried it on a day off recently and really enjoyed it. It left with a smooth clean face but not overly dried out as can happen. Perfect for fall. I have noticed that as I get closer and closer to 30 my face is getting a bit drier and benefits from products geared toward dry and sensitive skin as opposed to the anti acne products of my youth. (Thank God that is over.) If you don’t know your skin type consider learning more HERE. Armed with this information you can make wise beauty purchases and get the most out of your products.

 

Anyways, I prepared the mask and applied to clean skin. Because of my dry skin I mentioned before, I chose to do this in the morning. I washed my face the night before so it was clean. You could get away with washing and applying directly after, it just depends on what works for your skin. :Let the mask sit for about 20 minutes and it will begin to harden.  This is fine.  I then removed it during my shower. You could also remove it with warm water and a washcloth.

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The recipe:
¼ cup pumpkin
1 tsp honey
1 egg

This makes enough for two or three masks so consider getting together with a few friends or sisters. Because this is made with raw egg I suggest using soon after making it and discarding leftovers immediately.

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Did you try this mask? What did you think?  If you have any other fall beauty suggestions share them below!

Six tips for saving money at Michaels

September 2
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If you’re anything like me, then you love craft stores. I am there all the time for planner supplies, personal craft supplies, work supplies, and sometimes just to get some inspiration.  However, if you’ve ever been in Michael’s then you know you can easily drop a pretty penny there. I am going to share with you here some of my tips for saving cash at Michael’s.

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1 Download the app:
The first thing you need to do to start saving at Michaels is to download their app.  The app is free and available for Andriod and iOS devices. With the app you have access to store locations, coupons, and sales flyers at the tip of your fingers.

2. Check the ad:
Michaels have items on sale all the time.  These sales very from 25%-60% off and BOGO Free and BOGO 1/2 off of items.  You may sporadically see B2Get1 Free and other sales throughout the store.  Most (But not all) coupons are for regular priced items.  If you plan to use a coupon you need to check if an item is on sale before you attempt to use the coupon.

2. Check your coupons:
Generally if you have the app all available coupons will show up there.  Of course you could have special coupon from an event, email, or other source. Michaels regularly puts out a 40% off one regular priced item coupon.  This can be found in the app, ad, or on a receipt from a prior purchase.  This coupon can be used over and over again, but is limited to once per day.  Because there is a Michael’s near my workplace, if I need more than one item I just go back the next day or have my husband go with me and buy it.  Be sure to check the wording on the coupon.  Some coupons only apply to one item, some coupons only apply to regular-priced items.  The wording matters.  Many items are regularly excluded from coupons.  These items (currently) include Silhouette, Circuit, Polaroid, and other brands as well as everyday value products and others.  Check out the entire policy here.  Keep in mind these are just the general exclusions, check the fine print on your coupon to see what exclusions apply.

3. Subscribe to emails:
New email subscribers receive a 20% off their entire purchase coupon.  This AWESOME coupon includes sale items. I suggest waiting until the items are want are on sale and then subscribing to the email list to get a coupon to use on top of the sale price.  Example:  Project Life albums are on sale 40% off.  You purchase on that is regularly priced $21.99.  With the sale is it $13.19 and then when you use the 20% off coupon it will come to $10.55.  That is half off.  Awesome!

NEW: Michaels has just started a new rewards program called Michaels Rewards.  This program is free to sign up for and members get exclusive coupons, early access to sales, and more.  Click HERE to register or visit your local store. 

4. Pay with gift cards:
Still want to save?  Pay with a discounted gift card.  Whenever I make a major purchase I check Raise for discounted gift cards to the store I am interested in.  Right now they have discounted cards up to 21% off.  Click here to get $5 off your first gift card.

5. Use competitor coupons:
Michaels, along with other craft stores, accept competitors coupons.  This means if you have a coupon to Jo-Anns for 60% off a regular priced coupon you can use it at Michaels.  Big Deal, I know.  They currently accept coupons from AC Moore, JoAnn Fabric and Crafts, Ben Franklin, and Hobby Lobby.

6. Be aware of sale cycles:
Just like at the grocery store, product lines and categories that go on sale do so on a regular basis.  As I already mentioned, I know that Project Life items regularly go 40% off every few weeks.  This means that instead of wasting my 40% off on one item coupon on an album, I’ll wait for it to be on sale and then use an email coupon or another coupon that includes sale items. Of course some items, like adhesives, never go on sale, so using that 40% off one item coupon on that would be a smart idea.

Have another tip? Share it below!

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase an item via a link on this page I will receive a small commission from the store.  This does not change the cost to you, in fact, I search for the best prices to share with you.  Any income earned via these links is used to support upkeep on this page.

Ideas for the new house

August 1
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Fun Diy Projects for the patio and garage

So as you may fave gathered, we are moving soon and we are finally to the place where I can start to get excited.  Although I don’t see any issues coming up before closing, you never know. Although I am holding off making big purchases for the home, I am starting to allow myself to daydream about new DIY projects for this house.  I figured I would share some of my favorite idea from Pinterest here.

The house has a lovely patio and pool and I want to focus most of my attention there in the beginning.  We have a plastic patio set that I spray painted but I want to get something new (or repurposed) for the new house.  I was about to purchase one when I realized we have a perfectly good extra table and chairs that we don’t need.  I am thinking that we should paint it white and it would look great in the patio, at least for a few years.

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I heart nap time- Painted table

Or maybe I could spray paint the set?

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In my own style- spray painted wood chairs

My husband recently got a nice saw and so I am thinking a few wood projects might be fun.  This little bottle opener seems perfect and useful!

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Shanty 2 chic- DIY bottle opener

 

And how cute is the grill tools holder?

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Lilluna- Grill tools set

This bench looks like an awesome project but we’d better get some easier stuff under our belts first.

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Ana White- storage bench

And lastly, how awesome is this upcycled file cabinet? I have an extra in my office and this would be perfect for our gardening tools. (I  would have never believed I’d be the person with so many gardening tools that I needed a special holder for them all.)

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Tttreasure blog- File cabinet into garage storage

Which project is your favorite? Have you done any of them?  If so share below! I will be sure to update with what I have done and how it went once we are settled!

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Cleaning Converse and Vans shoes

May 2
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How to wash and clean Converse and Vans shoes.  Wash your favorite shoes in the washing machine quickly and easily.

 FYI: The yellow Vans are from a limited edition collaboration with Liberty Art Fabrics from Spring 2015. 

So i’ve been wearing converse and vans for over 15 years now, but had never really considered washing them. As a teen and young adult pristinely clean shoes were not  popular or needed, so when super bright converse became popular I realized I’d need to figure out how to clean mine.

I watched a few Youtube videos on the subject and they all seemed to have way too many steps and more work than I’d want to do.  I thought back to my childhood and remembered that when our sneakers got dirty we’d just toss them in the washing machine.  Anyways, I figured what the heck, I’ll toss mine in the washer and see what happens.

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I went ahead and grabbed my gray Converse and printed Vans and pulled out the laces.  I then tossed them in the washer with some Tide and turned it to a small sized cycle.  After the load was finished I went took the shoes out and set them outside in the sun to dry.

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I washed the laces with my white laundry.  They still have a few stains on them, but I was able to lace the shoes up so that the stains were covered. In these case I was able to still use the same laces, but if they were any worse, (as they most likely will be at the end of summer) I will just go ahead and replace them.  These ones on Amazon seem good.  Check the length of your laces before ordering so you get the right size.

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After the shoes dried I replaced them and they were good to go.  I was very happy with how the printed vans turned out. I was worried about the possibility of fading or bleeding but it was great.

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$9 linen closet makeover

April 19
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I am blessed with an awesomely large linen closet in my master bath due to the addition that was added to our home.  (Years ago, prior to purchase.)   However, with great amounts of space come great mess.  So, its generally a disaster.  I store bed linens, towels, and all kitchen linens in this closet along with miscellaneous  extra beauty and personal care products.   You can only imagine. how crazy it was.

$9 Dollar Tree linen closet makeover with free printable.  organize your linen closet and more. AmberDowns.net

Anyways,  I saw these super cute pins on pinterest of these linen closets with cute baskets and ribbon and stuff and they were cute, but I wasn’t prepared to spend a few hundred dollars on baskets and ribbon.  Its just not happening.  Then I saw this super cute post by Erin at A Bird and a Bee and figured I could do something like that with the same bins I used to organize my freezer last year.

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Anyways, so I took my rear end to the Dollar Tree and grabbed these bins.  They are the same bins I used in my freezer so I can mix and match if needed.

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I went back to my closet and went through my things. (It was a disaster, I know.)  I went ahead and used this time to purge items that we no longer needed. (A little Konmari if you will.)  I got rid of sheets I won’t ever use and the ones that fit beds we don’t even have any more.

I then sorted the rest of the linens out into 5 separate categories.  Sheets, hand towels and wash clothes, kitchen towels, special kitchen linens (tablecloths and holiday stuff), and duvets.  I also used a larger laundry basket to hold a heirloom blanket so that it was held nicely and wouldn’t get messed up.  I used another basket to hold our beach towels, my husbands trunks, and a few other beach essentials.  This way we can toss this basket in the car on beach days and be ready to go.

I used Canva to whip up these cute little labels.  I made a blank set if anyone wants them.  You can download them HERE.  They would look great laminated or just printed on card stock like I did.

I chose to not mess with the bath towels.  I wanted to find a good basket for them but didn’t come across anything so I think they will be ok on their own.  With the extra space saved I was able to use a shorter basket for toilet paper storage.  We hadn’t stored TP in this bathroom before this so this will come in handy.  😉

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Overall we are pretty happy with this makeover.  I only spent  a few bucks and now I am no longer embarrassed when this closet is open. Also, hopefully this will be easy to maintain as the baskets are all labeled so can just toss item in the correct place.  (No, they are not folded, and that is 100% ok with me.)

How do you keep your linen closet neat?  Do you use a basket method or just folding and stacking?  Any other hints I could use?

 

Valentines DIY round-up

February 2
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Easy DIYs for a crafty Valentine's day. These crafts are a perfect way to spruce up your home for the holiday. Budget and kid friendly too!

Although I’m not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day, I do love me some DIY.  I went ahead and gathered up some of my favorite super simple Valentine’s Day DIY’s for the home.  If anything, it’s a great excuse to put up some pink and red around the house.

 

blue i style - ValentinesLoveScrabbleCoastersAre these coasters from Blue is Style not the coolest thing ever? I need a few coasters so I am going to use her idea for sure.

2321I love a good art print. These are perfect for any room or a gift. They are from A Night Owl.

candleI am in love with these candles from Artzy Creations. Also would make a great gift!

wrSeriously, why didn’t I think of this? I know I have a roll of burlap ribbon around here somewhere. Thanks Craftaholics Anonymous.

treeThis little recycled tree from Vicky Myers Creations is perfect for kids room.

 pillowThese pillows from Ribbons and Glue are awesome!

DIY-Book-Page-Flowers-3Not into pink? Try these book pare flowers from Busy Being Jennifer.

I hope some of these links inspired you to do a little holiday decorating.  Are you going to make one? Comment below or tag me in a photo on Instagram.  I’m @_amberdowns

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Office makeover part 1- DIY painted desk accessories

January 30
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DIY Spray Painted desk accessories

When we moved into this house three years ago I claimed what had been the formal dining room as my office and craft room. This was the only room in the house that was completely new. Yes, I had a desk but we had no additional furniture for the room. We’ve slowly been working on the room. We purchased awesome hutches and last year we got new desks and a storage cube. Now I am ready to take the final plunge and make this room awesome. I have decided I want to go with a simple gold theme. I am keeping the dark blue rug, but I want to be mostly neutral with the rest of the room. I had a pink trash can and pencil holder that just were not going to work with the new scheme but I was not ready to buy brand new ones, they were perfectly fine! So I grabbed a can of Krylon Metallic Gold spray paint and went to town.

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When you’re looking to paint items in your home take a second to consider how well the paint will stay.  I like to paint items that are accent pieces and not too large, and items that if I ruined them, would be ok.  I purchased these accessories on clearance and really could live without them if they don’t turn out well.  I also like to pick items that don’t get touched too much and don’t have moving parts. (That’s why I skipped the scissors and hole punch.)   These items were the perfect candidates.  Don’t have anything to paint? Check out a thrift store, yard sale, or other resale.  Ask your friend and family if they have old metal office accessories, chances are somebody, somewhere, is still holding on to the 70’s.   Not metal?  Plastic and wood are ok too. With wood make sure it’s sanded if its not finished or else it won’t look smooth.

This is after the first coat of paint.

This is after the first coat of paint.

As with any spray paint project find a nice spot outside out of the wind.  I like to lay paper down so that my grass isn’t colored for a week or two.  (If it’s too windy for paper it’s probably too windy to paint.)  Shake well and keep the tip at least a 8 inches from the object.  If you can see the paint puddle up on the object you’re too close.  You will be able to see it later and it will be likely to chip.  Instead of heavy close sprays do quick passes to give a light coat.  I like to do this process in three steps.  First I set the items up and do my first passes.

After the second coat.

After the second coat.

This is the longest step and where most of the painting happens.  I then go in  the house for 20 minutes and come out for another pass.  If the surface still needs more I go again, if not I will place it on its side or upside down and do another angle.  Depending on what you’re doing you may not need to do the bottom at all.  For these items I needed to do the curves of the bottom to ensure the pink was gone.  I then go back in and come back out one more time for a last coat.  Be sure to remove any grass that blows onto the items so that it does not get painted on.

Almost done!

 

So here we go. Not bad for $5.  Step one of my office makeover is complete!IMG_2097

 

This post was shared Costal Charm Show and Share #299.  Stop by and see what else bloggers are sharing!

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DIY menu board with free printable

January 27
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Free printable menu board sheet. Print- frame- hang in your kitchen and write on it with a dry erase marker. This super simple tool will make meal planning a breeze.

 

 

The other morning I posted my menu board on Instagram and after posting it I thought it would be a great printable to make.  I went ahead and made two options so you can pick the one that goes best with your kitchen.  Print it out on 8.5×11 paper or photo paper and then slip into an 8×10 frame. That’s it! (If you have a large format printer you can also print in onto larger paper for a larger frame.) Grab a dry erase pen and you’re good to go.  I have mine set up next to my refrigerator but you could also hang it up in your kitchen or dining area.

I use my menu board as a easy way for my husband and myself to see our meals at a glance.  When it comes to meal planning, I like to sit down on Saturday or Sunday and pick out the menu. I start by looking through my refrigerator, freezer, and pantry to get a feel for what I have on hand as well as if any produce is on its last legs.  (Tip: This is a good time to toss anything that has gone bad.)  I then sit down at my computer and check my Pinterest boards for some old favorites or a new recipe to try.  I also like to flip through my recipe book. I then make a shopping list and grab everything I need for the week.  After that I’m ready to go.  In the mornings before work I glance at the list and pull out any meat that needs to defrost and check for any prep work I can get done early.  (Peel potatoes, ect.)  Then when I get home I know exactly what I need to do and don’t have to make that frantic last minute run to the store.

As with everything, this menu is flexible.  If we want to change the days around that is fine.  When you make your menu for the week keep your evening activities in mind.  If you know that you have church or soccer practice on Tuesdays then make Tuesday an easy dinner.  Also, its ok to put a dinner out on the menu.  There is no sense in purchasing the items for a meal and then never getting around to making it.  Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself.  We all have nights when it just doesn’t happen.  Hot dogs are ok once in awhile.

 

Click the image to be redirected to the full size version.

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Are you using this printable?  Comment below or tag me in a photo of it on instagram!  @_amberdowns.  I’d love to see it!