Category: DIY

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.


I heart nap time- Painted table

Or maybe I could spray paint the set?



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!


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.



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.)


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!


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.


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.





$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.

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.


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.


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.  😉


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


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.


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!


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.

Menu (1)



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

DIY BB-8 from a sock

December 3

DIY BB-8 (4)

So, in case you live under a rock, the new Star Wars movie comes out December 18th. If you’ve seen the previews, you’ve seen the super cute new droid, BB-8.  He captured our hearts when we first saw him roll across the screen and Disney has already made of a ton of money, including some from my husband, merchandising this cutie.

Anyways, we fell in love with BB and wanted to create our own soft version.  I’ve seen and made cute snowmen out of socks and I figured that I could make a BB using the same idea.  Below are the steps we used.  Enjoy!



1 clean sock.
Orange felt
Gray felt
Small piece of cardboard
1 button
1 brad or small button
Clear/white elastics
Glue (I used e6000)

Optional and not photographed:

So the first thing you are going to want to do is cut your cardboard into a circle.  This is going to be your template for the orange circles as well as your head.  Play around and see what you think will work. Mine is about two inches in diameter. After you have made your cardboard circle trace it 4 times onto your orange felt.


Next go ahead and cut the middles out of your circles and cut four nubs in the for corners like how BBs are. With your gray felt make some little pieces to fit inside your orange circles.  You can see mine below but feel free to design your own.


Look at BB and think about what else you’d like.  For this one I made a few extra pieces for the head, but do what you want.  My favorite part about this project is that we are making an artistic representation of BB.  It does not need to be exact at all.  Please note the BB-8 in the photos is my husbands droid/toy/thing.  Yes, it’s super cool.


Once you have your pieces cut its time to create your BB.  Take your sock and fill it with some poly fil.  Don’t have a bag laying around?  Borrow some from an old stuffed animal or something.  It’s recycling! Put enough in so that when you put the cardboard circle in you get a nice half sphere.  Play with it, and one you get it how you want it put an elastic around the bottom.


Now that the head is on go ahead and fill the body with the poly fil.  Like the head, you’re going to want to play with it so that it makes a nice circle.  For the next step you will have the option of adding a small bag of rice to the bottom.  This is a useful way to weigh down BB so that he sits nicely.


After you have added your rice close the sock with another elastic tightly.  Once you are sure you like the shape cut the bottom of the sock off.


Now its time to set our felt.  I placed mine on the sock where I wanted them and then glued them on using e6000.  You could also use hot glue, fabric glue or god tacky glue.

Next glue on your button for his main “eye” and the brad or smaller button for the secondary “eye.”  If you don’t have a black brad or small button you could paint a brass brad or use felt.


Ta da!  Here is my BB with his buddy.

If you make your own BB please link it in the comments or use #amberdownsbb8 on instagram so I can see it.


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Holiday Ornament exchange 2015 DIY Glitter Ornament

November 8



Make a super simple, super cheap, glitter ornament for yourself or for a gift. Come see this ornament made for the 2015 Pinterventures ornament exchange

This year I was honored to participate in the My Pinterventures 2015 Ornament Exchange.  Over 80 bloggers are exchanging ornaments they have either purchased or made and then they will share their shopping trip or DIY tutorial.


I was matched with Michelle, the lady behind Weekend Craft who loves DIY and pallets.  I wanted to take her decor style into consideration when making her ornament so I went with a red, gold, and burlap theme.  I wanted to keep the ornament simple and elegant to match her decor style.  While looking around pinterest, I found a cool tutorial for filling the inside of a glass ornament with glitter.  I thought this was the coolest idea ever as it would give an awesome glitter effect without making a huge mess. I then added a simple burlap and red bow to give the ornament a little more personality.  That was it!  I considered adding a monogram or date with my silhouette, but as i mentioned, I wanted to keep it simple and classy so I left it plain.

Here is a tutorial if you want to make one as well.




Glass ornament- I got mine in a 4 pack from Michael’s.  If you have littles, they also sell plastic ones.

Glitter- I used what I had on hand.

Ribbon-  I used leftover red ribbon from my wedding and some burlap looking ribbon I grabbed at Walmart.

Floor cleaner-  This can be done with a floor cleaner or wax   I purchased Favor because it was the cheapest one at Walmart.  I don’t know much about floor cleaners as I use vinegar for my tile, but I’d say most would work, maybe not pine-sol though, I think it is different.

Adhesive- I used e600 to glue the ribbon to the ornament but you could also use superglue or hot glue

Scissors- to cut your ribbon

Scrapbook tape- I used this to adhere the red ribbon to the burlap.  If you’re better at bows you might not need this, or you may decide to use only one ribbon.


step 2


The first thing you are going to need to do is add a little floor cleaner into your ornament.  I used about half a tablespoon.  Swish it around in the ornament until the entire inside is coated and pour out the rest.

step 3

Next pour your glitter into your ornament.  I used a plastic cup as a holder to keep mine stable.  I added about 1.5 tablespoons glitter.  You can always add more later.



More your ornament around so that the glitter touches all interior surfaces.  Move it around alot, but don’t be too vigorous or else it will come off before it dries.


step 4Once you’ve covered the entire interior set your ornament aside and we will work on the bow. I cut my ribbon into two long pieces.  I am not good at bows so I made mine extra long so that I can cut it down later.  Remember if you’re only using one ribbon you don’t need to cut two. I then glued the red ribbon onto the burlap and was good to go.


Make a simple bow with your ribbon and tie it closed with another piece of ribbon.


Then all you need to do is glue the ribbon onto the ornament and you’re good to go.  I used e600 glue, but you could use whatever strong glue you have on hand.


Also, as an extra touch, I added a matching ribbon to the top to hang the ornament on the tree from.  2015 ornament




Check out these other awesome bloggers who posted their ornaments today!



Garden Matter

Mama’s Journey

Recipe For a Sweet Life

Some of This and That

Toolbox Divas


Also don’t forget to check out Michelle’s post about what she made for me at Weekend Craft.

Decoupaged Dollar Store Pumpkin DIY

September 21
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Dollar store pumpkin DIY


So, as we have already realized, fall is here.  Although I have plenty of fall decor, I wanted to try something new this year with these foam pumpkins I found at the Dollar Tree.  They are super bright and really quite ugly on their own, but I felt like they had some hidden potential.  (And hey, they are only $1!)


After getting them home I decided that I wanted to decoupage them old book pages to display on top of my card catalog.  I found some old books that were going t0 be recycled and grabbed them for this project.


Decoupaged Dollar Store Pumpkin DIY


Supplies needed:

Foam pumpkins

Modge Podge  Recipe Here


Cut up old book pages

Newspaper to cover your workspace

Decoupaged Dollar Store Pumpkin DIY


Start by placing Mode Podge on your pumpkin.  Place a strip of book page on the Mode Podge and add more Mode Podge on top.  Press down so that the paper contours to the pumpkin.

Decoupaged Dollar Store Pumpkin DIY

Repeat this step all the way around the pumpkin, covering all of the orange.    Note:  Different thicknesses of paper will work differently on the pumpkin.  Thick pages will cover the orange color well, but won’t contour the pumpkin as well.  Thinner sheets, like from a paperback, will contour better but won’t cover the color as well.


Repeat this step all the way around the pumpkin, covering all of the orange.

After you have covered your pumpkins lets the dry.  Remember to move them every few minutes as the drying process starts so that they don’t stick to the newspaper.

DIY pumpkins from old books

After they have dried review and see where you want to do another coat.

I did’t love the green stems so I covered them in black tissue paper from my gift supplies.  You could keep it green, cover it in book pages or do whatever you think.


Here they are dry and on top of my card catalog.








Painting Craft Pumpkins

September 21
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Painting craft pumpkins

In case you live under a rock, fall is here.  Even here in Florida we are getting into the spirit of the season.  I decided that this year I wanted pumpkins on my front porch but was worried about them rotting as it is still pretty hot out.  So I had these lovely pumpkins for my front porch but they needed something.  I din’t have the time or energy to do a lot, and I wanted them to look real, so I painted them.  After glancing around the internet I realized I wanted to do something with chalkboard paint to give it a nice matte finish.  So I headed back over to my favorite place, Michael’s, and bought some paint.  I grabbed acrylic chalkboard paint as well as orange and gold.


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I decided to mix the chalkboard paint with the orange  a a little gold for my all over color.  I then did some accent strokes with the gold and orange and then just the gold.  These were to give the pumpkins some dimension so they looked real.

Easy craft pumpkin painting

The whole painting project took only 15 minutes and I left them to dry.

easy craft pumpkin painting

Here is my finished project.


easy painted craft pumpkin


Overall I am happy with the results.  My craft pumpkins look realistic and won’t rot in the hot Florida sun like the real thing will. I love the matte finish given by the chalkboard paint. The best part? This was so simple that if next year I want to do something fancy I can just paint over this and not feel bad about it.