Archive for March, 2010

So sorry to everyone who has been waiting for a new post!  I had family in town and some pregnancy issues and just couldn’t get to my blog like I would’ve liked to last week.

First I want to show off how my baby boy nursery is coming along and the projects that have gone into creating it.  Heres a look at the nursery “BEFORE”:…and another:And heres what it looks like now:

(Remember the fabric artwork?  Doesn’t it look great in here!)And heres a close up of the little stuffed owl I made out of a hand towel and scrap fabric:And heres a better look at the easy DIY leaf lamp my little sis and I made out of polar fleece and an old lamp shade:The baby quilt was I made from a $4 bath towel, white polar fleece, and scrap fabric.  I just used the scrap fabric to applique birch trees that mimic the wall mural.  You can also get a look at the block printed bird pillow I made.And finally, heres the Alphabet Pillow that I will be showing you how to make right now.Theres still a lot I want to do in the nursery.  The drapes need to be hung (I’ll be using a tree branch as the curtain rod), I need to make the baby mobile (I’ll be using branches and wood craft cutouts of woodland creatures), once we pick out a name for this little guy I’d like to make some sort of name banner over the crib, and I’m in the process of crocheting a rag rug for the floor.  But, I’m loving the way its turning out so far.  My hubby was hesitant (I don’t get why he still doesn’t trust me) when he saw the aqua wall colors (he thought they were “too girly”), but once the mural was on the wall and the antlers were hung over the changing table, he was in love.  Now I catch him just sitting in the room with the lamp on, rocking in the chair.  Preparing the nursery has really made us both excited for baby boy #2.

Anyway, like I said, I’ll be showing you guys how to make the alphabet pillow today, but let me know if there are any other projects from the room that you’d like me to write a tutorial on and I’d be happy to share all of it with you.

So lets get started on this crazy easy pillow! Heres the breakdown:

Cost: Mine cost $0 to make since I had everything on hand already.  But if you don’t have everything I’d estimate the project will cost between $10-$15.


  • A white pillow (or pillow cover; check out Ikea for plain throw pillow covers in various shapes, sizes, and colors).  My pillows were actually pillow inserts that were meant to be covered but I just simply unstuffed them and then sewed them back up when I was done printing my letters on them.
  • Medium to large foam alphabet stamps.  I got mine at Michaels a while back and they are double sided with the capital letter on one side and the lower case letter on the other.  Any font will work as long as it is not TOO busy and easy to read.
  • Fabric paint in two colors that coordinate with the color scheme in the room.  I did this project obviously for my baby room which is in aqua and orange but I also think it would be smashing in a library or family room in more sophisticated colors.
  • Paper or cardstock to put inside the pillow case to prevent the paint from seeping through.
  • Foam brush to apply the paint to the stamp.
  • Iron to heat set the paint when dry.

And that is seriously it!  So easy and I bet you have a lot of this stuff on hand or you know a crafty friend who’d let you use hers.  Ready to go then?  Lets do this!

  1. Cut a hole big enough to get the stuffing out of the pillow along the seam of one of the sides of the pillow if you’re like me and using a pillow you already have.  If you have a pillow cover, simply lay it flat on the table and insert your pieces of cardstock.  Be sure to have enough cardstock in there to cover the entire portion that you’ll be stamping to prevent seepage (what a lovely word “seepage” is…ugh).
  2. Organize your stamps in alphabetical order so that you can work quickly and easily.
  3. Squirt your fabric paint colors onto your painting pallet (I use a plate covered in tin foil as my pallet).
  4. Okay, nows where you can decide how “perfect” you’d like your pillow to be.  Like I’ve said before, I like imperfect projects because I don’t have the patience to “perfect” them so I simply found the center of my pillow, decided how many letters I’d like on each row, and went for it.  But if you’d like something less “handmade” looking I suppose you could use a ruler and painters tape to tape off your rows like writing paper to insure that everything is straight.  If you are lacking the confidence to just “go for it”, I suggest that when you stamp your first pair of letters (a “pair” meaning the capital and the lower case) you do the pair that is going to be in the center of your pillow.  That will give you a good starting point to work the rest of your alphabet around.  Basically, step 4 is just to decide how you’d like to lay out your letters.  Heres my finished pillow again to give you a reference point:You can see I did 4 letters across and 6 letters down with the “Y” and the “Z” in the center at the bottom.  Based on the size of your pillow and the size of your stamps, you can play around with the layout to find which you’d like best.
  5. Once you got a plan of action you can now decide which letters you’d like to POP out by using the second accent color.  I was originally just going to choose random letters throughout the alphabet to paint in orange (my accent color) but then my little sister Jenna came up with the brilliant idea to spell “F-O-X” with my accent letters.  I thought it was great since the letters happened to fall in such a way that your eye read them as “fox” and that it was inkeeping with my woodsy theme for the room.  You can try doing a word like this or just accent random letters.  Whatever you decide, I love the look of just a few simple letters standing out on the pillow like this.
  6. Once you’ve decided, its time to get stamping!  Are you ready for this?  The trick is to wet the letter stamp with not too much and not too little paint and to quickly and firmly press straight down onto your fabric and pull up.  If you press at an angle or move you’ll smudge your letters so it might be a good idea to practice a few letters on some scrap fabric until you feel like you got the hang of it.  Heres my craft stamps I used to do this project.  (Sorry its kind of upside down but you get the idea).And heres a look at my pillow halfway complete.  A little skeewampus but I guess I’m a little skeewampus myself so its befitting.
  7. Once you have all your letters stamped onto your pillow, allow adequate time to dry (it took mine about 30 minutes but follow the instructions on the paint you have) and then heat set with a dry iron if your paint so requires.  Most fabric paints will.
  8. If you printed your alphabet on a pillow cover then YOU’RE ALL DONE!!! But if you’re like me, you simply need to restuff and fluff your pillow and sew the seam closed.

And thats it my friends!! So EASY and cute isn’t it!  Here are some more tips and ideas you can use for this same project:

  • Dye your plain white pillow case with teabags and use sepia tones for your letter colors to make a vintagey fun alphabet pillow for your home or office.
  • Use foam letter stamps in different sizes and fonts to create a oober-eclectic alphabet pillow.
  • Try to highlight your little ones name in the alphabet by stamping out the letters of their name in the accent color.

What do you think?  Can you do it!? Of course you can!!! Have fun and let me know how yours turn out!  Stay tuned for my next tutorial “How to Make an Antique Clay Rose Necklace”. Tata for now and happy crafting everybody!

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Hey everyone!  Hope you had fun making your custom DIY fabric art!  If you have done any of the tutorials for yourself I’d love to see how they’re coming together so post a pic!

A few days ago I asked you guys to vote on a project you’d like to learn how to do and I got several mixed responses so I’ve decided to start with the Mod Wall Mural and then teach the Clay Rose Necklace and the Baby Onesie Applique on other days so everyone’s happy.  I’m thrilled to see you’re all excited to learn and I promise that I will get to those tutorials asap!

I first created this mod looking painted wall mural in my little sister’s room in Idaho.  She wanted me do redecorate her room for her birthday to help her out of the “quilted and sweet” young room she had to a more mature and fun “teenagery” room.  We had to use her existing furniture and my parents didn’t want her to repaint her dusky blue walls so it was a bit of a challenge to combine her new tastes into her old stuff.  But, I really was pleased with how it all turned out and I think the wall mural really helped pull things together.  Heres her new room:And then heres the mod wall mural I did to tie it all together:

I think you’ll be surprised at how inexpensive and easy it is to create an impact like this with a little bit of paint.  Also, you don’t need to feel like you have to be a teenager to use this mural in your room.  Coordinate the colors to match your decor and make the blooms as big or as small as you’d like.  You could also do this same thing as a neutral just for a bit of an eye-catcher without being super powerful by simply painting it in the same color as your wall color but a few shades darker or lighter.  I used the same colors and design in my sister’s bathroom over her toilet on a smaller scale to make it look like flowers coming out of a vase.  So are you excited to learn how its done!?  Great!  Here we go:

Cost: $10-15


  • Blank Stencil Sheet(s). I bought 3 sheets to make 3 different stencils for my flower buds.  You can find blank stenciling sheets at crafts stores and some Walmarts.
  • Exacto Knife.
  • Sharpie.
  • Repositionable Spray Adhesive.
  • Craft Paint or leftover wall paint from other rooms, whatever you’d like.  I used 3 colors (pink, lime green, and white) for my sister’s mural.
  • Paint Brushes. A small one for the finer details like the grass and the stems and a medium one for the larger areas.
  • Stencil Brush or “Pouncer”. I just used a cheap foam pouncer and then refined the outline of my buds with the smaller paintbrush.

And thats it my friends!  Time to get it done!

  1. Determine where you’d like your mural to go.  When choosing a spot for your mural keep in mind that this is something to be proud of and chose a place that will showcase it like in between two windows, in an entryway, or even on a back door would be really sweet and fun.
  2. Determine what colors you’d like to use.  I used 3 colors that I picked based on the colors that were in my sister’s bedding.  Coordinate your colors to the room that the mural is going in.
  3. Like the last tutorial on fabric silhouette art, find an image (I often use google images) of any type of flower bud you’d like to use that has a distinct line keeping in mind that you will only be seeing the bud as a silhouette on the wall.  I actually chose 3 different bud images of the same kind of flower so I had more detail and difference to my wall mural “layers”.
  4. Again, like the last tutorial, blow each bud image up to as large as you’d like (as long as it fits onto your computer paper which is about an 8″x11″ sheet) and print them off to use as your mural image.
  5. Take a sheet of your blank stencil plastic and trace the outline of your bud onto the stencil plastic with a sharpie.  This can be done by simply placing the printed image behind the stencil plastic and carefully going along the outline of the bud.  You should be able to see through the plastic enough to see your image and trace it easily but if you need to you can take both layers to a window (as long as its light outside) and this will help backlight your image and make it easier to see where you need to be tracing.
  6. By now you should know where I’m headed with this…
  7. Using your sharp exacto knife, carefully carve out your newly traced image on your stencil plastic to create your bud silhouette stencil.
  8. Repeat the process for all 3 buds if you’re using different images per color/layer for your mural.
  9. Determine how you’d like to layer your mural…as in…which color you want in the back…which bud will coordinate with that color…and so on.  Are you following me?  I hope this is easy to understand, because it really is an easy project.  Basically just refer to the mural pic above to see what I mean.  For example, I started with my white painted flowers first, let those dry, then did my green painted flowers intersecting and overlapping the white ones and let those dry, and then ended with my pink flowers overlapping and intersecting with both the white and green last.  If you’d like a more simple version, just stick to one paint color and one bud stencil and overlap however you’d like.
  10. Once you have a “plan” in your mind you can either pencil it onto your wall, draw it out on a piece of paper, or just go at it (thats what I tend to do…I like to just dive into things…I’m impatient that way I guess).
  11. Take your first bud stencil and spray the backside with your repositionable spray adhesive to save you from having to try to hold it in place as you stencil.  Stick it to your wall wherever you’d like (keep in mind you want the buds to look random so some will be high and some will be tilted and some to one side and some low,etc…) and then with your “first layer” color stencil in the image.  If your walls are textured like my sister’s are you might get a little bit of seeping in spots, but you can take your small brush and even those areas out by hand after its all dry so don’t stress about it too much.
  12. Next continue moving the stencil around the mural area, placing buds randomly about.  You may need to re-apply the spray adhesive to get your stencil to continue sticking after a couple moves or so.
  13. Once you have the desired amount of buds in your “first layer” color, pull stems down from the buds to the floor in the same color with your small/medium paint brush.  Some can be bent to one side, some straighter, some a little wavy, it really doesn’t matter too much since this project looks a little sweeter if it is somewhat imperfect I think.  (I tend to like projects that look “intentionally imperfect” since they are less stressful and easier to be proud of.)
  14. Fill in the bottom of your mural area with some wispy blades of grass in the same color.
  15. OK! Sit back and look and take a break while that first layer dries.
  16. Once its dry you can start on the second layer, either using the same bud stencil or another that you made, (I made 3 different stencils for mine, one to go with each color I used) and repeat the last 5 steps with your last two colors.  Be aware of your NEGATIVE spaces (spaces in between each painted area) and try not to get too uniform in your flower placement (unless thats what you want…actually this would look pretty cute as a line of daisies in a row…).
  17. Step back and admire your beautiful wall mural!! FABULOUS!!!

And thats that!  I think that I might have “over-explained” this one a bit, but I try to write these in the most comprehensible way that I can.  Really though, once you know that all this is is a homemade stencil and some freehand painting, its pretty easy to get it done.  Have fun doing this in your own home.  I’d love to see pics of your projects so be sure to post them when your done!

Stay tuned for Friday’s tutorial on “How to Make an Antiqued Clay Rose Necklace”!!

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Yay!! I finally did the DIY wall art for my nursery and I’m lovin the way it turned out.  I was going for a mod take on baby wall art using some of the fabrics that I’ll be incorporating in the baby bedding and pillows.  Heres what it turned out looking like:This is a really easy and adorable art project that takes basically no artistic talent to pull together.   Heres the breakdown:

Cost: About $18-$30 depending on what you have on hand.


  • Sharp Scizzors that can cut somewhat intricate detail
  • Silhouette Images or images with a strong graphic line to them.  I knew that I was looking for “woodland creatures” and so looked up “woodland creature clipart” in google images to find my jackalope, owl, and squirrel.
  • Canvases either square or rectangular (or oval or round or whatever you’d like!).  I got my 3 12″x12″x1″ canvases at BigLots for $5 a piece.
  • Fun Coordinating Fabrics.  I used 5 different coordinating fabrics mixing prints with solids to make my art a little whimsical.  I find most of my fabrics in the “remnant” bins for up to 80% off at fabric and craft stores.
  • Adhesive Backed Felt. I got mine at Walmart in white for $0.99 per sheet.  It took 3 sheets to make 3 silhouettes.
  • Multipurpose Spray Adhesive. I love this stuff and use it a lot.  I get the Super 77 spray adhesive at Walmart for $6 a can or so.
  • ModPodge.
  • Craft Paint (if you’d like to paint the edges of your canvas).

It took me about an hour or so to do all 3 pictures and about another 5 hours to let them dry enough to hang.  I can ‘t wait to get the nursery painted so I can see how they look against my light aqua walls!  Alright, you got your stuff together?  Lets get started.

  1. Find some images you’d like to use for your silhouettes.  To do this, simply peruse google images around the category your looking for.  For example “woodland animals clipart” was what I typed in to find my 3 images, and they were basically already in silhouette form for me so that was great.  If your images aren’t in silhouette form its ok as long as they have a strong line to them that gives the detail you’d like when you make them into silhouette art.
  2. Print your images off on your home printer in as large a size as needed for your canvas.  For my 12″x12″ canvases I basically sized my images to a 3/4 sheet of computer paper to get the size I wanted.  This is important because you’re essentially making a stencil to use for your main image in your artwork.
  3. Cut your images out making sure to acknowledge that your image needs to primarily be one piece to work as a stencil.
  4. Next, grab your adhesive backed felt and turn it over to the waxy paper backed side.  Using a sharpie (or pen), trace your image onto the back of your felt.  I like using adhesive backed felt because it makes it easy to trace and cut, getting crisp edges and all the details.
  5. Now cut out your images going slowly and using sharp scizzors.  DO NOT remove the adhesive backing wax paper before you start cutting.  We’ll take that off later.
  6. Next its time to get creative and pick out your fabrics.  This is a lot like scrapbooking in that you want to create a fun backdrop to your main image which is your felt silhouette.  You can either do all 3 canvases the same or all different or (like in my case) the middle canvas different while still using coordinating fabrics.  I chose a main square of fabric for the backdrop, followed by a strip of coordinating fabric down the center vertically, and then layered my white felt silhouette onto another “outline” fabric.  This is up to you.  Have fun creating your “fabric scrapbook page” however you’d like!  Just don’t get TOO busy with it if you want your main image to stand out.
  7. Once you have your pieces cut out and have an idea for how you’d like to layer them onto your canvas, (my pieces are totally unkempt looking with crooked lines and frayed edges but you can get more precise if you’d like a more PERFECT look and feel.  I wanted to keep mine fun and “handmade” looking so I didn’t worry about cutting everything the exact same), now you can begin gluing them onto your canvas in your desired order.
  8. To do this, work with the bottom pieces first, spraying moderately the backside of your fabric piece and positioning it onto your canvas.  Smooth the bubbles and edges down, and repeat the process with your next pieces.  (Hold off on your main image, we’ll get to that in a sec.)
  9. Once you have that part done, get your silhouette(s) and remove the waxy backing.  You can either stick your image directly onto your layered fabric canvas or you can do what I did you give it an “outline” by layering it onto another coordinating fabric.
  10. If you decide to layer it like I said in the previous step, simply stick it onto your outline fabric and then cut around the image at your desired outline width.  I gave mine about 1/4 inch.
  11. Next, spray that back of your now outlined silhouette and stick it into place on your canvas.
  12. If you’d like, you can be done at this point or you can do what I did and finish the whole thing with a generous coat of ModPodge.  I like to “seal” my fabric art with ModPodge to make sure that all the pieces aren’t going anywhere and give it a little bit of a gloss.  Using a foam brush, apply the ModPodge over the entire canvas  covering each layer of fabric.
  13. If you’d like you can also use craft paint in a coordinating color to paint the sides of your canvas to make it stand out against your wall.  I used brown.

And there you have it!  Wonderful custom artwork thats easy to make and provides a POP to your decor!  What do you think?! Enjoy making your own fabric wall art and stay tuned for my next tutorial “How to Paint a Mod Wall Mural“!

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Sorry to those of you who checked this thing yesterday for the art project I’d promised.  I had a crazy night in the hospital Sunday night fearful that I was going into pre-term labor and spent the day at my in-laws yesterday sort of relaxing.  Not to worry though my friends.  Alls well and the baby and I are both just fine.  I just had a fever and some cramping but after an IV and a billion tests everything looks normal and I was sent home with strict orders for more R&R (rest and relaxation).  I’m really not a hypochondriac and I hate feeling like I’m always on the edge but thats how it goes when you have “high-risk” pregnancies I guess.  Anyway, so thats my excuse, but I promise to show you the art project today.

First though I want to show you my decorating plans for my DIY baby boy nursery.  The art project will be going into this room so I thought I’d let you take a peak at the BIG PICTURE before I showed you the art project itself.

My own personal decorating senses tend to lean more towards an “eclectic modern” look, even when it comes to kids rooms and baby nurseries.  I like to mix old and new pieces and prints and use bold accents.  (The baby’s getting excited, it keeps kicking me as I write).  🙂  So when I was trying to come up with my nursery plans I steered clear of the duckies and teddy bears and went a completely different way.  Not that theres anything wrong with duckies and teddy bears,  I’ve seen some pretty dang adorable nurseries that are very baby-ish and still chic, its just my prerogative.

Ok.  To be completely honest, I was SUPER disappointed when I saw little boy parts on the ultrasound screen.  I had been kind of collecting things for a little girls nursery and was SO thinking that “if I build it, she will come.”  But nope.  Of course I was silly for thinking I had any say in the matter.  In order to get myself more excited about having a boy, I instantly started putting together my nursery decor plans.  I came up with a plan that I’m very excited about and now am not feeling so disappointed about having another boy.  I drew a VERY rough sketch of 3 walls in the room to give myself some guidance and show you a “preview”.

I found this great vinyl wall decal mural on Etsy that inspired the “woodsy” theme of the room. I LOVED it and decided to “splurge” on it since I really had nearly everything else I needed for the room already from my first son.  I love that it is oober-graphic and a little whimsical and my hubby loves that its kind of “manly”.  To tone down the adult-ness of it, I chose a color scheme in aqua, white, brown, and orange painting the accent wall where the mural will be a darker aqua and the other 3 walls light aqua and using the orange as an accent.  The trees will be white against the dark aqua wall and I order the deer and the bird in orange.  I would like to find white blackout shade to put on the windows and plan to copy the graphic birch tree design from the wall mural onto the shade (as an outline only) in aqua sharpie.  I already have white curtains that I got from ikea a while back to soften up the windows and add more privacy and all the furniture is from my son’s old nursery so that was easy.  I am debating on whether or not to paint the white jenny-lind crib and changing table orange to make it pop more but I think I will wait to see if I want that much orange in there after everything else is in and done.  I’m currently in the process of figuring out how to make a rag rug which I’m sure I will post a tutorial on soon.  And then of course the artwork which will go to the left of the window will be done today and I’ll show it to you after this post.  I got a pair of antlers from a thrift store for $4 a while back and I spray painted them white and will put them in the room over the changing table.  I also plan on using a tree branch as the curtain rod and for a homemade woodsy baby mobile above the crib.  I had some fun fabric and bought a few extra fun prints in orange and aqua and brown to make the baby quilt, artwork, and accent pillows which I’m excited to post tutorials about as well.  Keep in mind, I don’t sew that great so my sewing tutorials will be super simple consisting of basics and lots of straight lines.   I’m hoping that the woodsy theme will keep it graphic and not so baby-ish but while the colors and fabrics add some charm and whimsy.  I’m so excited to put it together (don’t worry, my sis is coming into town to help, I’ll pretty much just sit int the chair and direct her), and I’ll be sure to show you everything as I go.  Heres a glance at all my supplies.And heres a look at the BEFORE pics of the room:And this is another angle:Pretty ugly right now but you just wait!! FUN FUN!! I’ll post the art tutorial later!

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After talking with some friends and family members about my new blog, I’ve decided that the general population (or at least the small part of the general population that I know) needs a little confidence when it comes to DIY.  Take my mom for example.  She is absolutely fabulous, very capable, smart, and hardworking, not to mention a ridiculously amazing cook and overall great person.  But there is one thing she lacks that keeps her from doing a lot of the things I think she’d enjoy.  CONFIDENCE.  Being a humble and caring person, she is always the first to criticize herself and to “dim her own light” so to speak.  When faced with a project that she is unfamiliar with she gets a little panicked and second guesses her own abilities, usually resulting in a phone call to me, my sister, or my dad whom of which she feels are all more “qualified” to takeover.  I’m not writing this to criticize her, quite the opposite actually.  I’m writing this to all of us out there who feel the same way my mom does.  So heres a quick question (forgive me for getting too “deep”):  Do you have CONFIDENCE in your abilities to create?

I have found, like I said before, that it seems like the general population in most situations answers a tentative “NO” to the previous question.  This flat out bugs me.  It bugs me with my mom, it bugs me with my friends, and if you’re feeling this way, well then that bugs me too.  It bugs me because I (call me an “idealist”) strongly feel that ANYONE can do ANYTHING that they put their mind to.  I don’t know exactly why I feel this way, it could be that I had amazing support from my parents anytime I wanted to give something a try, it could be something that I was just lucky enough to be born with, I don’t really know.  But I DO know that never in my life have I wanted to do something and thought that I COULDN’T do it (if I really wanted to).  Not to say I haven’t failed miserably at a billion things, but I really feel like my failures were a result of poor planning, bad execution, or lack of practice.  Never once have I thought I failed because I simply “couldn’t do it”.  Now I’m not completely devoid of doubt, I have come to the conclusion that there will ALWAYS be someone better than me at EVERYTHING.  But if being “the best” at something, be it crafts, art, cooking, motherhood, or even nuclear physics, is your goal and your only motivation to undertake a new project, then I can tell you congratulations on your ambitions, and good luck with that.  Okay…now I’m rambling.  Anyway, I just want to make it VERY clear that YOU (yes YOU) have the potential to be GREAT (or in my case, moderately good) at ANYTHING YOU WANT.  So please, Please, PLEASE don’t let your lack of crafting confidence stop you from your own potential.

For those of you out there who still don’t believe, I can only tell you what I know.  So heres a little bit about me.

I am 26 years old.  I am from a small town in the Idaho countryside.  My high school graduating class was 126 people.  I started college at a private university in Idaho but only got to about 60-something credits before I got married at 21 and was sent on a whirlwind of supporting my college student hubby and having a premature baby when I was 23.  Before I got married and had my son, I was working as a nursing aid for an in-home health care company for $7 per hour and going to school full-time for Art…then Interior Decorating (although I was never accepted into the program)…then Business…I really couldn’t decide and I REALLY HATED college.  But I LOVED learning and learned about everything inside my interests on my own through books, the internet, and talking to people who knew more than me.  I had some intentions of going back to school (although I think it was more out of not wanting to quit something I started than a real desire to get a degree), but when my son was born at 24 weeks gestation weighing a whopping 1 lb 7 oz things became solely revolved around helping him survive and being a good mom to this new angel baby of mine.  After he got well enough and came home from the NICU, I started doing some interior decorating here and there for some extra cash.  I had a little decorating experience from working at a furniture store as a “design consultant” but really was self-taught (thank goodness for Amazon and a lot of HGTV).  I also started making feather headbands and jewelry and sold those (quite successfully actually) at the craft fairs on my hubby’s college campus.  I am really hoping that this post doesn’t discredit myself, maybe I SHOULD pretend that I really know what I’m talking about and that I have loads of experience to back it up. 🙂  I just am trying to prove to you that if I can do it, you can do it.  And thats the truth.  I am not “successful” in terms of career and public standing, but I can tell you that I feel success every time I create something new or find an innovative way of saving money beautifying myself or my home.  So, have CONFIDENCE!  You’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish!  Anything I can do you can do…and probably better! 🙂  So get CRAFTING!

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I thought it might be fun, since I’m new at this and all, if I let you guys pick which project you want to learn for Wednesday’s post.  There are SO many things that I want to do and would love to show you but just to keep things from getting too complicated I’ll give you some options.  Here they are:

  1. Custom Kids Shirt with Applique:
  2. Antiqued Clay Rosebud Necklace:
  3. Simple Mod Wall Mural:
  4. Custom Silhouette Art:
  5. Vintage Inspired Cocktail Hat:So there you go!  5 things I can teach on Wednesday!  Which will you choose!?  Just post a comment to cast your vote for the project you’d like to see the most! 🙂

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Welcome back!  Well, my hubby is off to his brother’s wedding in Seattle, leaving me with a sick toddler and doctor ordered “bed-rest”.  Of course.  Not his fault though, just one of those things, but I am feeling much more positive after putting my son down for his nap and getting my hands on some feathers for this next tutorial.

Today I will be showing you how to make a vintage inspired feather hair clip for under $5.  If you have gone shopping, picked up a magazine, or turned on the TV in the past several months you may have noticed this trend of feathers in fashion.  You may have also noticed the steep prices of some of these feathered accessories (remember I’m cheap, so even $15 seems like a lot to me).  As I mentioned in a previous post, I love vintage fashion and started making feathered and flowered accessories for myself (and several friends and family members who saw mine) almost 2 years ago after looking up “pin up hair and makeup” on google.  (P.S. If you want to know how to do pin up hair and makeup check out my last few posts).  Since then, I have made hundreds and have sold quite a few at craft fairs and such.  But, I have a little secret, although I sold my accessories for a relatively low price (keep in mind, handmade is always better than mass produced so higher prices are to be expected), I really only spent about $3-$5 making each one.  And sometimes even less than that due to my dollar store finds and thrift store shopping.  Even my most “expensive” (if you want to call it that) custom piece only probably cost me around $10 to make.  So, now that you know you can have an expensive looking accessory for less than $5 aren’t you excited to find out how to do it yourself?!  Actually, I think you’ll be surprised at how EASY it is to make these and how little time it takes.  Yet, without fail, I guarantee that they will always IMPRESS.  So lets get started.  Heres the breakdown:

  • Cost: Between $3-$5 or so depending on what you already have on-hand.
  • Supplies: Felt (about $0.32 a sheet at Walmart or your local hobby store.), Feathers (about $2.00 for a bag of multi-colored feathers at Walmart), Peacock Feather (I get mine when they go half off at Hobby Lobby, a pack of 3 is about $4 or $2 on sale), Alligator Clip (beauty supplies stores sell these for less than $3 for a bag of 20 or so; I find this is a better deal than to buy them at the craft store), Vintage Looking Earring (I get a lot of mine at the Dollar Store or at thrift stores where they will sometimes have bags of old earrings or jewelry you can re-purpose), Hot Glue Gun (and hot glue).

This hair clip took me only 15 minutes to throw together so you can see with all the extra supplies you can crank out several in a couple of hours and give them out to your friends (since they’re bound to have “feather envy” once they see yours).  Alright then.  Lets do this.

  1. First off you want to pick out what feathers you’d like to use for your clip.  I usually base this decision on the type of earring that I’m using for my clip.  In this case I chose really bright green feathers to match the bright green colors in my earring.
  2. Next cut out a round piece of felt (try to match the felt color to your feather colors to make it cohesive looking and “polished”), a little bigger than the size of a silver dollar.  If you’re a real perfectionist you can trace a circle onto your felt and then cut.  But I’m a “get-her-done” kinda girl so I just eye-ball it since it will be the backing and no one will be able to tell if its not perfect.
  3. With the same felt, cut a small rectangular piece to use later when you need to adhere the alligator clip to the back of your feather pad.
  4. Lay out your pieces so you see what you’re working with.  I used 3 green fluffy feathers, and 1 peacock feather that I trimmed up a bit.  Have fun with yours!  Layer those feathers on anyway that seems appealing to you.
  5. Next, break the back off your earring.  This earring was a clip on and pretty easy to manipulate with just my hands, but you may need some pliers to get the back off of yours.
  6. Now you just need to layer your feathers on your round piece of felt to create your feather pad.  I usually start with the shortest feathers on either side of the pad and then layer the longer ones in toward the center to give your hair clip an oval shape.  But you can fan them out, make them go all the way around, there is really no right or wrong way.  So take your hot glue gun and put a thin line up the felt circle to and attach your first feather.  Keep in mind, these are feathers folks, so less is more with the glue.  If you get too much glue on there then your feather will become saturated and…not pretty.
  7. Continue this way until your base feathers have covered the felt.  Try to hide as much of the glued parts as possible by layering feathers from the outsides inward.
  8. Next, run a small line of glue about 1/2 the way up the center of your feather pad and attach your “fancy feather” (in my case its going to be a peacock feather).
  9. Now you’re almost done!  Put a pretty generous glob of hot glue at the base of your feather pad (but not TOO generous so where it seeps out around the edges of your earring).  Now firmly press and hold your earring into place until the glue sets up a bit.  Wait a minute or so before moving on to step 10.
  10. Once you feel like you can move your hair clip without the earring sliding off, flip your feather pad over and grab your alligator clip and little rectangular piece of felt.
  11. Pinch open the clip and slide the felt in between the prongs.
  12. Apply hot glue to one side of the felt while in between the prongs.
  13. Press the clip and felt (glue side down) to the back of your feather pad.

All done!! Isn’t she pretty!?  Just give it a couple of cool-down minutes before you clip it up into your hair and go to show it off.

Feather Hair Clip Tips and Suggestions:

  • Use buttons, beads, lace, ribbon, netting, scrap fabric, or anything else you can think of to create something fabulous!
  • Instead of an alligator clip, attach a pin back and use it as a brooch on a cute sweater, blouse, dress, or jacket.
  • Visit store sites like Anthropologie, ModCloth, and Etsy for inspiration.
  • If you’d like to purchase one of my feather pieces or order a custom piece for a special occasion, please visit my online shop BareBirdie.

Thats it!  Hope you had fun!  Come back for “Home Makeover Mondays” where I will be teaching you “How to Make Fabric Wall Art for a Hip Baby Room”.  Have a great weekend!

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Since I’m trying to jump start this blog of mine (and since my hubby is out of town for the weekend) you can see I’m trying to post as many tutorials as I can this week.  Once I fill up this blog a bit, I do plan on taking it down a notch to 3 posts per week on average.  But for now, my hubby is gone, my son is napping, and I really want to finish up this pin-up segment I got going on so here is the rest of it.

This post will teach you how to turn your pin up pics (or any pics you’d like for that matter) into creative gift ideas and custom artwork.

First we’ll walk through how to create a custom “Ace of Hearts” pin up pic using www.picnik.com.  You can either have this printed out and framed, or use the same technique to create an entire custom deck of pin up playing cards.  Here goes:

  1. Check out the last post about editing your pin up pics and signing in to picnik.
  2. Using your previously edited pic, click on the “Create” tab at the top of the picnik page.
  3. Find “Posterize” under the “Create” tab.
  4. Use the slide bars to create the effect you’d like.  For my playing card I set it to 7 for the “number of colors”, 62% “detail”, and 24% “fade”.  I wanted to simplify my pic but still leave enough detail and strong red color to create an impact.
  5. Next find “Film Grain”.  If you’d like a less vintage look, leave this step out.  But I like it and think its fitting for the pinup ace of hearts.  I set it to 76% “light” film grain.
  6. Now, go to the top of the screen and hit the “Text” tab.
  7. Write your letter (in this case an ‘A’) in the text box.  Then find the font you’d like to use for your text.  I used “Georgia” for my card.
  8. You can drag your letter to the top left hand corner and then change the color in the “Text Properties” box.  I tried to match the red in my pic as much as I could.
  9. When you’ve moved the ‘A’ into place, right click and hit “duplicate type” in the gray box.  This will save you the time of recreating the same letter in the same color and size for the bottom right hand corner.
  10. Drag your copied ‘A’ to the bottom right hand corner of your image.
  11. Next, in the “Text Properties” box hit the little vertical “flip” arrow to flip your ‘A’ upside-down.
  12. Reposition the ‘A’ in the corner.
  13. Now, the text is done so go back to the top of the page and click on the “Sticker” tab.
  14. Under the “Sticker” tab find “basic shapes”.  Click on the red heart.
  15. Drag and size the heart to be a little smaller than the ‘A’ in the upper left hand corner.  (Look at a deck of cards if it helps).
  16. Do the same thing with the heart as you did with the ‘A’, meaning duplicate it, drag it to the bottom right hand corner and flip it upside-down.

And there you have it!  You’re pin up Ace of Hearts!

There are several things you can do with this project but here are some of my ideas:

  • Create a full playing deck for your lucky guy.
  • Blow it up and frame it for a game room or “man cave”.
  • Use it as a Valentine’s Day card front.

Well folks, if you thought that was fun , just wait!  Now we’re going to take this same pic and turn it into Andy Warhol inspired artwork for your home!  Heres how:

  1. Using your original edited pic from the last blog post, go to “Posterize” under the “Create” tab on www.picnik.com.
  2. This time slide the “number of colors” bar all the way down to 2 so that your image becomes very mod looking in black and white (or black and gray like mine did).  In my image I took the “detail” all the way to 100% but you can play with what you think looks best for your image.
  3. Next, find “Duo-Tone” and pick out the two colors you’d like to use for your first pic.  I stuck with black for my image and did a teal for the background of my first image.  (I did a series of 3 with 3 different background colors).
  4. You’re going to want to save this image at this point.
  5. After you save the image, click “Continue Editing”, and undo the last step (the first color “duo-tone”) so that you’re back to your black and white image.
  6. Repeat step 3 and 4 choosing different background colors and saving your image in between the changes.
  7. At this point you can either choose to print your images out separately to frame or (as in my case) you can use the “Collage” feature on picnik to group the three prints together before you print them out.
  8. To use the “Collage” feature on Picnik return to the Home Page.  At the top of the page you will see “Collage: Mix all your photos together.” Click on it.
  9. The collage page will open and give you options of different collage layouts to choose from.  I had 3 images I wanted to use so I chose the tri-side-by-side collage template.
  10. Next, go to the bottom of the page and click “Get From Computer”.  A slew of options will pop up.
  11. Find the “History” option.  This will pull up all the past images that you’ve edited and saved on Picnik.  Your 3 Warhol-esque images should appear at the bottom of the screen.
  12. Now all you need to do is drag your images into place in the order you’d like them to go and hit “Done”.

Thats it!  Fabulous Warhol-esque pin up art to wow your friends and spice up your walls!  Heres how mine turned out:

You can use the “Collage” feature on Picnik to do as many color backgrounds in the series as you’d like.  This is also a great technique to create any kind of Warhol-esque artwork for your home decorating.  I recently used this same technique to create custom wall art for my son’s bedroom.  I simply found an image of a race-car off google images and used Picknick to “posterize” it and change the background color.  Then I simply printed off each image in a series of 3 different background colors and ModPodged each print to its own pre-painted canvas.  *SIDE NOTE* I get most of my artists canvases from BigLots for less than $10 per canvas.  The ones I used for my son’s room were $3 each.  This is what his car art looks like on his walls:

So there you have it!  Get creative and see what you can do with this new info!!

Stay tuned for my next tutorial “How to Make a Vintage Inspired Feather Fascinator for CHEAP” !

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In this tutorial I will show you how to edit your pin up photos that you took from the last tutorial (or any photos you want to edit) for free using www.picnik.com and a lot of creativity and playing around.  Picnik is my favorite online photo editing site.  It is pretty much all I use to edit my photos and I LOVE it!  I have upgraded to the “premium” kit for $25 for a year subscription but everything I’ll be showing you how to do is done under their basic package which is completely FREE.  But I warn you…YOU WILL BECOME ADDICTED to picnik and will soon want to purchase their premium package just to get more goodies.  Here are some examples of photos I’ve taken and edited using Picnik:

You get the idea?  There is just SO much you can do with picnik and basic photography skills its CRAZY FUN.  But, before I go off on a tangent, lets get back to this tutorial.  Today I will be showing you how to 1. Edit your pinup photos in an “Oh-So-GLAMOROUS” way, 2. Teach you how to use your newly edited photos to create some awesome gifts and custom artwork for yourself or your friends.  Heres some examples of what you’ll learn:

Basic editing:Turning your pin-up pics into a custom card deck or game room wall art:

Turning your pin up pics into Warhol style artwork:

Pretty crazy huh!  Heres the breakdown:

  • Cost: $0
  • Supplies: Your pin up pics from the last tutorial downloaded to your computer.  Access to the internet (which I assume you have if you’re reading this blog).  Photo paper, cardstock, or whatever you want to do to get your pics printed out for your viewing pleasure.

Are you ready? Lets do this!


  1. Log on to www.picnik.com.  You can sign in as “guest” or register for an account.  I recommend registering for an account since it is FREE if you sign up for the basic package and picnik will save your photo history for you for easy access. Heres what you’ll see when you log-in:
  2. Click on “Upload Photos” and choose the photo you would like to edit from your computer.
  3. Your photo will upload on the screen for you under the “Edit” tab.  In this tab you can play around for a bit rotating your image, resizing it, cropping it, sharpening it, etc.  For this tutorial I’ll show you how to adjust the exposure to create a bright backdrop and pop you subject out in a “postery” way.
  4. Click on “exposure” to pull up the slide bars.  Play with the slide bars under exposure and contrast to get it to a place where you like it.  For me, I like to click on the “advanced” tab within “exposure” to fine tune it a bit.  Heres what I did in the “advanced” tab under “exposure”.  I adjusted the “highlights” to 14, checked the “local contrast” box and brought the strength down to 20%.  Really you just gotta play around until you get it to where you like it for your pic, but the overall concept is to brighten the white background so it looks less like hanging sheets on a wall and more like a clean white canvas on which your subject matter sits.
  5. When you’ve done all the things you want to do on the under the “Edit” tab, click over to the “Create” tab.
  6. Under the “Create” tab you’ll find tons of cool effects that you can apply to your photo like sepia toned, black and white, film grain, posterize, etc.  We will be using several to build up our photos so get ready to follow along!
  7. First I like to hit “Boost”.  “Boost” amplifies the brightness and colors in your pics and it works well for pinup if you want to make the reds really red and the whites really bright.  Play with the slide bar till you find the right amount of “boostage”.  For my photo I set it at 9%.
  8. Next go down the row to “Vignette”.  I LOVE this effect for pin up photos since it creates a hazy frame around the subject.  In “Vignette” you can choose colors, size, and strength of the effect.  I set mine to black, 34 size, and 84% strength.  Be careful not to fade out your subjects head or face or any other part you want showing clearly.
  9. Next for my pic I hit “Lomo-ish” which is the same concept of “Vignette” but brightens the center of the photo as well as darkening the edges.  This is up to you.  I slid the “fade” bar to 89% and left “blur edges” at 50%.
  10. Now go down to “Ortonish”.  This is probably my favorite and most used effect.  It is hard to explain so you’ll just have to play with it to see why I like it so much.  For my pic I set the “bloom” to 0%, the “brightness” to 50%, and the “fade” to 20%.
  11. Lastly I went down to “Cross Process” and faded it to 87%.  This gives it just a bit of a yellow tinge and makes it more postery I think.
  12. If you’d like you can play around with the “Touch Up” tab which has things like “teeth whitening” and “eye bright”.  You can also play with the “Soften” button back under the “Create” tab and click on the little paintbrush to pull up the “advanced” slidebar.  I like to use this to soften lines in the backdrop fabric which you can do by checking the “reverse effect” box and using the paintbrush tool to soften those lines into the background.

Thats pretty much it!! Voila!! What a fancy pic you have created!  As a reminder heres how mine turned out.

Okay, so I’m sure just after that little tutorial you’re addicted so I’ll let you play a bit before we move on to the next couple art projects with our pin up pics.  Plus, my two year old really needs lunch and a nap so I’ll have to come back later.  Have fun picniking!

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*Click here to see my new and improved DIY Pin-Up tutorial with video! 🙂

This is going to be the first “how to” I write so I want it to be good!  My sis-in-law was kind enough to “expose” herself (in a rated PG kinda way) to you all in order to let me write this tutorial.  So thanks Courtney!! You look GORGEOUS!

First I want to show off the pics I took to get you all excited to do your own!  Keep in mind, I am by NO means a professional photographer, I have no training (aside from reading my camera’s manual and watching a few introductory photography tutorials online).  I “shoot” (look at me trying to sound all photog-y) with an Olympus DSLR that my hubby got for around $350 since it was a refurbished camera.  You don’t need to have a DSLR to take good pics.  Really, it is more in the poses and of course the editing which we’ll get to later.  Anyway, heres the damage we did during our little pin up session:

So FUN!!! If I weren’t fat and pregnant (baby boy #2 is due July 31st), I would’ve had her take some of me!  We actually took several more with a bunch of different “costumes” but those are intended for her hubby’s anniversary gift and WILL NOT be appearing here or anywhere else on the internet. 🙂

Well, are you ready!? Lets take some photos!

Here is the breakdown:

  • Cost: $0  (we had everything we used for these photos already on hand so we just went to it)
  • Supplies For Backdrop:
  • White or light colored fabric. We used some white curtains I had and some white fabric I had in my craft room.  You can use white sheets, or anything that will cover up a lot of wall and floor space.
  • A clip-on shop light or positionable lamp.  I have two clip-on shop lights I got at Walmart for about $6 each that I use with energy saver bulbs in “daylight”.  You can use any kind of light source, the goal is just to be able to point the light where you want it to be (usually on the model’s face) which is important for indoor shooting.
  • Thumb tacks or tape to tack up your backdrop to a wall.
  • Supplies For Costuming/Props: Heres where you can get really creative.  What I did was simply google “pin up girl photography” where a ton of photos popped up with all kinds of themes and ideas for poses and props.  But, just to save you that step, heres some stuff I like to use the most that you most likely have or can borrow or at least buy at the dollar or thrift store:
  • A Cute Bathing Suit. If you happen to have a vintage inspired suit already like I did thats great.  *SIDE NOTE* I got my red retro suit off of www.spiegel.com on sale last year for $30.  It was white when I bought it (it only came in black and white) and so I dyed it with RIT dye in red from Walmart.  I’ve gotten comments every single time I’ve worn it and no one can tell it was a home dye job.  Oh and if you like it, I just looked it up and they have it on clearance for $24.99 right now in white!  (UM…JEALOUS.  I think I’ll order one for my sis-in-law since she looked so SMASHING in mine).  Back to it then.  If you don’t have a “retro” suit, no worries, any suit will look great as long as it is basically a solid color (or has polka-dots or stripes…very pin up).
  • High Heels: This needs no expounding.  Stilettos and peep-toes are great.  Espadrilles work too.
  • Pencil Skirt and White Poplin Shirt: If you don’t happen to have a high waisted black pencil skirt, someone you know does.  Or you can just do what I do and hit the local thrift store.  I found mine (used in the pic above) for $4 at Goodwill.  This outfit works great for the “sexy librarian/secretary” look.
  • Big Flower/Cocktail Hats/Feather Fascinators: Stay-tuned to learn how to make some awesome vintage inspired accessories.  Or, steal a flower off of one of your homes arrangements and pin it in your hair.
  • Misc. Costuming Ideas: There are SO many!  Here are some I like most:  trench coats and umbrellas (for that “Singing in the Rain” vibe), feather boas, cat-eye glasses (I just found some yesterday at the dollar store), lots of drapey  jewelry and pearls (raid the little girls dress-up section or your niece’s closet), an american flag towel or blanket (to wrap up in for the “patriotic pin up”), fishnet stockings, knee-highs, plaid skirts, anything else that looks retro or fun to use.  And if you want to do something oober-sexy for that special guy, get bold and put on some cute lingerie!
  • A Bench/Table/Chair: For a lot of the pin up poses you’ll want to have your model sit on something.  I used a little ottoman I had in my house and a white Ikea end table.  Anything works, although simple seating is best since it doesn’t detract from the subject matter.
  • Misc. Prop Ideas: Beach bag, books, old telephone, hand held mirror, umbrella, you get the idea.

Questions?  Would you like more ideas?  Google it!  There are SO many fun pin up sites out there that you can steal ideas from!

So, you got your backdrop pinned up, your lights clipped on (I use a ladder so I can clip the light up and down as needed and so I can take shots from above if I want), and all the costume stuff piled up and ready to go.  Now what?  Time to play DRESS UP!! I personally love to experiment with makeup and hair and have taught myself to do some pretty basic pin up styles.  But, if you aren’t as confident in you makeover abilities check these two you-tube tutorials out to learn what you need to know quickly and easily.

Makeup: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syjnwqh9VD0 (I think its funny that the makeup artist talks about using this for Halloween when this is how I do my makeup on a regular basis! Ha!)

Hair: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rl3w6g1CGc

Once you got your face on and hair done up its time to start taking pics!  I would recommend reading your user manual for your camera so you get familiar with shooting pics indoors.  Like I said, you DO NOT need to be a pro.  You’ll be able to learn and adjust as you go.  Next, turn on some fun music and get going!  Its hard to get started at first, especially if your model is shy so the best thing to do is find some poses you want to try and have them either printed out to have on hand or up on the computer screen where you can instruct your model or just show her what you want her to do.  Pretty soon you’ll both loosen up and the original ideas will start flowing.  I actually really wanted to get a “Pose Book” to use in such cases but quickly found that professional photography pose books cost more than what I wanted to spend (which was $0) so I scowered the internet for poses and created my own book from the images I found.  Again, since I’ve already done the work for you (lucky you) here are some poses to get you started:

And thats it!! Easy breezy and SO MUCH FUN! Your friends and family are going to think you’re a genius and master photographer!  But, I do have to say, that in order to REALLY get your photos looking pin up and professional some editing is required.  I do almost ALL of my photo editing on www.picnik.com which I have found to be super easy and fun to use and offers a huge variety of editing tools to get your pics looking AWESOME.  I have bought the “premium” package ($25 for a years subscription) which offers some additional tools but the basic package is great and costs NADA and will do the job for your pin up pics.  Now, go take your pics, upload them to your computer, don’t freak out if they’re not perfect, and log on to this blog again for my next tutorial “How to Edit Your Pin Up Pics For Free Using Picnik”. Heres a preview.  

So you can see how important editing is (especially if you’re an amateur like me) in achieving that real pin up poster look.

Hope you enjoyed my first tutorial and are excited to go take some pics of your own!! I will be posting again soon step by step editing instructions, as well as great art and gift ideas you can make with your new pin up pics!  Thanks for reading! Have fun!

P.S.  If you like this tutorial click here for more of my pin up pics to be inspired by, here for that editing tutorial mentioned above, and here for some vintage pin up poster editing fun.

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