Holiday Prep

This past week I’ve been working on the annual Christmas Tree I do for Michaels each year.  Most everything was handmade in some form.  I love how it turned out. Will share all the photos in just a few days. Here’s what I’ve been working on:

supplies

Rustic Scandinavian Christmas Decor - Dala Horse Print

Rustic Handmade Christmas Decor

It’s way too early to put up a Christmas tree though. I put the tree up last night, photographed it, and then took it back down.  It will be donated to a good cause.  We don’t really have room for a full sized tree anyways so we’ll have a miniature tree this year.  The Hemlock Inn puts up their own huge tree after Thanksgiving. Boo is so excited to help decorate that. She’s told every guest that asks about Christmas that “Mr. Mort (the innkeeper) has to take down the dining room’s ceiling fan for the big Christmas tree!”

How to Make Sharpie Owl Pumpkins

 

sharpieowlmain

I am a big fan of Mexican art…especially sugar skulls.  I used black and silver Sharpie markers to turn these faux styrofoam pumpkins into owl sugar skulls for my Halloween decor this year.  Michaels is challenging customers to “trick a pumpkin” this year and post the creations to Instagram. Make sure to read more at the bottom of this post on how to enter your own!
owlpumpkins15

If you do a google search for “sugar skull” you will come across a variety of images you can pull ideas from. I make up the doodles as I go along, but starting with the round eyes first:

Pumpkin Decorating Ideas without Carving - Sharpie Doodle Owl

Tip: If you mess up, use a damp Magic Eraser to lightly wipe the area until the mistake lightens or disappears completely!

I used 4 different size pumpkins and made them all their own unique version:

How to decorate a pumpkin without carving it ideas #diy #pumpkin

 

I used a silver sharpie on the black/chalkboard pumpkin:Decorating a chalkboard paint pumpkin with sharpie

 

The large pumpkin took around 30 minutes to complete: [Read more…]

Fall Table Decor: Mason Jar Firefly Lanterns

Easy Fall Table Decor: Mason Jar Lantern Lights using LEDs #wedding #fall #entertaining #masonjar

 

This month’s theme for Michaels Makers is fall decor.  Fall is always hard for me because I rarely buy anything orange, yellow or red…all classic fall colors. But…I love acorns and barn wood and moss….so I made these cute little “firefly” inspired lanterns using mason jars and Michaels’ LED string lights (found in the floral section of the store):

diy firefly mason jar lanterns

I also made the barn wood tray and the small rustic twig balls but I’ll follow up with a tutorial on those. The acorns were collected on the Hemlock Inn driveway tonight:

fall table decor ideas and wedding table decor #wedding #falltabledecor #entertaining

To make the lanterns I used a mason jar and a battery operated set of LED string lights from Michaels.  Each set of lights takes 3 batteries and the pack can be tucked nicely into the back of the jar.  I used dried moss to give the inside of the jar an earthy rustic look. The great thing about the lights is that you can leave them on “timer” and they will come on at the same time each night.

diy mason jar lanterns using LED string lights #diy #masonjar #wedding

 

An easy way to decorate a table for fall entertaining:

fall entertaining decor ideas using mason jars #masonjar #fall

 

[Read more…]

Recent Reclaimed and Upcycled Wood Projects

Brett’s been enjoying a new hobby of making stuff.  I look outside and he has headphones on, his shirt off….the chop saw and nail gun spread all over the driveway. He says it’s therapeutic. He’s constantly picking up discarded wood and old pallets to take apart to make containers, furniture and wood canvases.  A resourceful hobby/hubby:

DIY Upcycled Wood Projects - Rustic home decor ideas

I came home the other day and he had made us some new furniture from a few old wood pallets. He has since added arm rests but I’m too lazy to walk outside and take a new photo:

diy pallet furniture - furniture made from pallets

They are really comfortable! Here’s Boo watching the sunset from her new chair:

diy pallet furniture - pallet patio furniture

 

The signs and posts at the inn were in need of a fresh coat of paint so he spent some of the week working on those to help the innkeepers out a bit as they prepare for their son’s wedding.

Before:

woodysignbefore

After:

woodysign

The rocking chairs are also looking a little tired and are in need of paint.  This little chair is over 35 years old:

chair

I know that because of the photo my mother took of me in it when I was around 3:

chair1982

Inspired by a bench at the Biltmore, he made me this:

bench

These are just cows. Nothing to see here except that Brett took the photo. And I love these cows.

cows

He found an old table and some barn wood and used it to make…..

rustic home decor ideas - reclaimed table to computer desk

This awesome skinny computer desk for me:

DIY rustic home decor ideas - reclaimed old table to computer desk

The desk today:

rustic flea market style computer desk - DIY project

He’s cut me lots and lots of wood to make things with. Like this “Mountain Dew” painting:

How to make a hand painted rustic sign

 

And these “Mr and Mrs” signs for the inn’s wedding coming up:

mr and mrs handpainted barn wood signs for rustic wedding

And just one more for today….this old sign was rotting on one side and ready for the dump.  I saw a little potential in it:

oldsign

Brett cut it off and secured the remaining top pieces and now it hangs above our fireplace:

rustic industrial home decor

It feels good to get creative again.  I’ve been itching to do some painting again too and Brett has made me a ton of small wood pieces that are just sitting there waiting for me.  Now I just need the inspiration to hit.

How to Make An Oversized Wood Ruler

How to make a DIY oversized wooden ruler as home decor or for a growth chart #diy #tutorial #create2educate #backtoschool

It’s almost time for school to start back.  I’m actually really looking forward to having a schedule again.  We are still working on our small cottage here in the mountains and something I thought would be nice touch was a large rustic ruler.  We can use it as a growth chart for Boo and it also makes a great statement piece for the house.

How fun would this be in a classroom:

Large Wood Ruler Growth Chart Tutorial

 

First I started with a large piece of wood that I picked up from the local hardware store. It was an 8 foot long 2″x10″….and we cut off a foot to make it 7 feet tall.  I used ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape to create my inch marks along the wood.  I tore piece in half so I could get an approximate width for each notch:

Here’s the wood completely taped off:

I masked off all the areas that I didn’t want to paint. Then I took chalkboard spray paint and sprayed a few light coats over my masked off areas. I prefer chalkboard paint because it doesn’t bleed through the wood grain:

ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape project ideas: Oversized Wood Ruler Growth Chart

The best part is removing the tape to see the design left behind:

 

To make my numbers I just printed off some samples in Powerpoint and traced them over white transfer paper to leave behind a template:

How to easily paint letters and numbers onto wood #diy #painting

I carefully hand painted each letter with a small brush and some black acrylic craft paint:

How to easily transfer and paint letters and numbers onto wood #diy #painting

 

To make the ruler more realistic I wanted to add a hole and a metal ring. I was able to find these plastic snap together grommets that look just like metal from Michaels:

The grommets come with a template to cut the hole:

Adding a metal grommet to an oversized wood ruler

My husband used a 2 1/8″ hole saw drill bit to cut straight through the wood:

How to cut a hole into a piece of wood using a drill

2″ is pretty thick so he used a chisel to break out sections in between drills:How to cut a circle or hole into a piece of wood using a drill

I used Golden Fluid Acrylics in Raw Umber to make my own wood stain:

Golden Liquid Acrylics Project Ideas - How to make your own wood stain

To make an easy wood stain I mixed steel wool with white vinegar in a mason jar and let it sit overnight. The vinegar reacts with the steel wool to create a barn wood color.

How to make wood look rustic without all the toxi fumes!

 

I just squeezed drops of the Burnt Umber straight onto the damp wood and brushed it into the wood in different ways to make it seemed aged:

How to paint rustic wood

One the wood was stained and dry I glued on my grommet using E-6000.

How to add a grommet to the large oversized ruler

The finished grommet:

A realistic oversized ruler - How to add a grommet to the large oversized ruler

The finished ruler:

Vintage and Rustic Ruler Project Ideas

Great for an indoor decor piece in a classroom or any room of the house:

Rustic Home Decor Project Ideas

Or for outside decor:

Rustic Chic - A Giant Wood Ruler - Home Decor Project Ideas

 

Also, Michaels is inviting you to create your own back-to-school project and upload a photo to your Instagram using the #Create2Educate and #sweepstakes hashtags before August 15 for a chance to win a $50 Michaels gift card!

One winner will be chosen each day!

If you don’t have an Instagram account you can also submit your photo via www.michaels.com/create2educate, which will be live on August 1.

Michaels will highlight fans’ submissions on social and on Michaels.com throughout the two week entry period.

Have fun! And Happy Back to School!

Disclaimer: I do receive occasional product from Michaels in exchange for crafty ideas. All ideas are my own.

How to Cut Rounded Corners in Large Quantities

This is probably one of my most favorite tools.  It’s a bulk paper cutter. It cuts rounded corners, diamond corners, etc.  I use it to cut round corners on everything from postcards to business cards to invitations. It allows me to purchase the more economical square corners and round the corners myself.

I’m addicted to corner rounding.

 

The Akile Diamond Cutter:

How to cut your own rounded corners on photos, scrapbooking, business cards and invitations via Ashley Hackshaw / Lil Blue Boo #wedding #diy #scrapbooking

 

A stack of about 750 postcards took me about 10 minutes to cut:

DIY Die-Cut Rounded Corner Prints and Photos via Ashley Hackshaw / Lil Blue Boo

 

 

The cutter has guides that you can adjust so that the paper can be placed quickly into position each time for each stack:

Rounded Corner Prints and Photos via Ashley Hackshaw / Lil Blue Boo

 

Easy to press down (i.e. no blisters):

How to Round the corners of wedding invitations, holiday cards, photos etc with a DIY die-cut

 

The clippings fall into a small container underneath the cutter.  There’s a small drawer to hold different attachments and replacement rubber pads:

Use a Table Top Punch Corner Rounder to round corners on paper and plastic  via Ashley Hackshaw / Lil Blue Boo

 

I’ve saved an enormous amount of expense by ordering printed items in bulk with square corners and then rounding the corners myself:

(My “Year at the Hemlock” cards…brand new and so pretty. I hand these out when people want to read why we are moving…makes the posts easy to find.)

Order economical business cards and round the corners yourself with a DIY Corner Rounder that punches bulk die cuts

 

This is how I made my cute little “Lil Journal Project” prompts:

Journal Prompt Set - I made these using business cards and a DIY corner rounder

Cute quotes on the back: [Read more…]

How to Antique and Age Wood Instantly for a Weathered Look

How to Antique and age wood instantly with items you p (weathering wood with vinegar and steel wool)

This is one of my favorite tricks that I use with home decor….a simple solution of white vinegar and steel wool.  You can use it to age brand new wood to varying degrees depending on how the solution ages.

Supplies:
Wood
White Distilled Vinegar
0000 Steel Wool*

For the sign:
8″ Oil Board Stencils
Black spray paint

*I prefer the fine graded because it disintegrates faster.

Aging Wood: Vinegar & Steel Wool Solution (steel and vinegar wood stain directions) #diy #tutorial #distressed #antique

To make the mixture you pour vinegar into a bowl or jar and add steel wool (without the soap kind!):

How to faux paint barn wood or antique wood with Vinegar & Steel Wool Solution  #diy #tutorial #distressed #antique

The trick is figuring out how long to age it.  A solution left to age just 15 minutes will produce different effect than a solution left aging for hours, months or years.

Here is a solution left aging for 15 minutes where the vinegar has just started to disintegrate the steel wool.  One or two coats of the mixture leaves just a light gray barn-wood like finish:

Aging and Antiquing Wood (Faux Barn Wood) - 15 minute solution #diy #vinegar #barnwood

Leaving the solution to age a few more hours will produce a darker gray finish:

Leaving the solution to age a few more hours will produce a darker gray finish (steel and vinegar wood stain directions)

I keep varying solutions in jars because if you leave it long enough the steel wool disintegrates completely and the mixture is allowed to produce rust, adding a reddish brown tone.

Aging Wood: Vinegar & Steel Wool Solution  (if you leave it long enough the steel wool disintegrates completely and the mixture is allowed to produce rust, adding a reddish brown tone)

 

Here’s a ten minute sign I made using a pre-cut piece of wood from the hardware store and 8″ Oil Board Stencils:

Making a sign with pre-cut piece of wood from the hardware store and 8" Oil Board Stencils:

 

I spaced the letters out and taped them into place together: [Read more…]

How to Make Personalized Burlap Bags

Gift Idea for Bridesmaids, Wedding Party, Graduation Etc: How to Make Personalized Burlap Bags via Ashley Hackshaw / lilblueboo.com #burlap #diy #tutorial #wedding #rustic #diywedding

 

Love burlap…and I love these burlap bags from Dharma Trading. I thought they’d make great gifts or even stylish reusable grocery bags:

Use Blank Burlap or Jute Bags via Ashley Hackshaw / lilblueboo.com

 

Supplies:
Burlap or Jute Bags
Supersoft Transfer Paper
Ink Jet Printer
Iron

 

There are several ways you can personalize the bags:

1. Silk screening or freezer paper stencils. (see my Beach Bag Tote tutorial here)
2. Spray paint with stencils
3. Fabric applique
4. Transfer Paper

I chose transfer paper for these particular bags because I wante pretty detailed graphics and it takes way too much patience to hand cut a stencil for something like that.

First, I created this little “Groceries” graphic in Photoshop. If I’m making a graphic that prints out onto multiple pages I usually use Powerpoint to size and print it because it turns out easier to visualize and match up. I printed out the graphic onto Super Soft Transfer paper:

Use special iron on paper to transfer image via Ashley Hackshaw / lilblueboo.com

Transfer paper from Dharma Trading.

 

I carefully cut out my graphic and made sure the two sides matched up, placing them face down onto the burlap bag.  Pressing a hot iron for a few minutes (careful not to burn the paper or bag!) transfers the image to the bag: [Read more…]

Turn Children’s Artwork into Gifts

 

Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas: Turn Children's Artwork into meaningful handmade gifts with these ideas via lilblueboo.com #gifts #diy #tutorial

Looking for some special gift ideas for the holidays?  I’ve come up with a few ways to turn your child’s artwork into amazing gifts this year.  Boo has a new “how to draw cats” book that she’s so excited about. I asked her to draw me a cat that we could make into some handmade gifts:

Gifts from kid artwork via lilblueboo.com

So impressed by her cute little cat:

turn children's artwork into gifts via lilblueboo.com

Here’s what we made with that one simple drawing:

1. Printed Paper

screen print paper bags and paper via lilblueboo.com

 

2. Printed Pillow

turn kids artwork into stuffies and stuffed animals via lilblueboo.com

3. A Rustic Piece of Artwork

preserve children's artwork making meaningful gifts via lilblueboo.com

4. T-shirts with Matching Packaging

how to make your own t-shirts and print your own boxes via lilblueboo.com

Materials Needed: (click for source info)
Adhesive Shelf Paper or Contact Paper
Double Sided Tape or Glue Stick
Razor blade or Exacto Knife
Speedball Screen (reusable)
Screen Printing Ink for Fabric and Paper
Small Squeegee or use an old credit card

Things to Print:
T-shirt
Wood Cradled Panel Canvas
(use Minwax Driftwood Stain to make rustic)
Kraft Paper

[Read more…]

How to Make Chalk Paint Books

I love this decor from my sister’s house, probably because of my love for a muted palette:

How to Make Chalk Paint Books via lilblueboo.com #diy #decor #homedecor #anniesloan  (annie sloan chalk paint tutorial)

The books were purchased from the thrift store:

Ideas for using Thrift Store Books via lilblueboo.com

 

The dust jackets were removed, and the outsides carefully painted with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint:

Chalk Paint Book Tutorial via lilblueboo.com #chalkpaint

 

I love the matte, sueded look of them:

how to decorate book shelves via lilblueboo.com

 

These will go great with almost any type of decor too: [Read more…]

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