Scotch Corner – Faux Fireplace

This was a little project inspired by Nick Offerman’s Christmas video, intended to warm up a cold office corner at work.

I started with Ana White’s beloved tutorial and adjusted to get the look I wanted. Following Ana’s cutting guide I had the guy at the hardware store cut all the piece for me when I bought them.

Shopping/equipment List: 

1 – 1×12 @ 8 feet long
1 – 1×10 @ 6 feet long
1 – 1×8 @ 6 feet long
1 – 1×6 @ 10 feet long
1 – 1×4 @ 4 feet long
3 – 1×3 @ 8 feet long

1 1/4 inch finish nails
2 inch finish nails
1 48″ square of plywood – This is an addition I made to Ana’s list to create the hearth.
White and black acrylic paint
Small can of dark wood stain
paint roller
paint tray or plate
painters tape
feather
sponge
wet rag
nail gun (you can use a hammer but this was way faster!)
I skipped the molding pieces Ana used for a harder look.
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Cut List:

1 – 1×12 @ 48″
2 – 1×10 @ 32 3/4″
2 – 1×6 @ 44″
4 – 1×3 @ 44″
1 – 1×4 @ 33 1/4″
1 – 1×3 @ 33 1/4″
1 – 1×8 @ 51″
4 – 1×6 @ 3/4″
2 – 1×6 @ 7″

I added a 34″ square cut from a 48″ piece of plywood which left me with a perfect 14″x 48″ remanent I used for the bottom to make more of a hearth.

 

Assembly

Following the Ana White instructions we just started nailing the pieces together. It went very fast from there. Nailing the back and bottom on it was important to measure where the 1×2 were behind it to make sure we centered the nails on them to avoid splitting or having the nails show through.

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we also took the risk on the bottom smaller pieces and nailed rather than gluing them and did not have any issues with splitting.

If your boards are bowed, you may want to grab some screws to press the board in flat, as the nails will not be strong enough for that.

Painting

This was the fun part!

I started with two coats of of a very dark brown stain. It took less than 5oz of stain for both coats. I used a cheap bristled stain brush.

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I wish I had more photos for the marble part but I will walk you through my steps. I watched several tutorials and then went with the following process:

First I prepared the area. Once the stain was dry I used painters tape to tape news paper around the edges and made sure my plywood was clean of dust and such.

For each of the paint mixing steps I started with white and added black little by little until I got the shades of gray I was looking for.

I started painting by adding just a couple drops of black to a good bit of white and using a foam roller to do a base coat all over the back and base. I did the few drops of black because I wanted the base color to be just a tad on the grey side. If you like the bright white you can skip that step.

Next I mixed my darkest grey – about 2/3 white and 1/3 black – and used the feather to draw the veins. I used the feather because it give the lines a lighter natural look than a paint brush. It is important your veins all move in the same general direction as this is how real marble would form. if you look I my photo you can see I went from top Left to bottom right generally.

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next I mixed a slightly lighter gray – maybe 1/4 or less black and 3/4 white. I got the sponge wet to help thin the paint and lightly sponged around the outsides of the veins. If it got too thick, I would use the wet rag and lightly dab or work in circular motions to lighten and add wispiness to the sponge paint.

The sponge part was the hardest part and I worked in layers, sponging on the original white base coat layer and then more of the lighter gray until I got the look I wanted.

Logs

For the logs I tried to follow this tutorial.

I used a box cutter and made random cuts in cardboard and then rolled the cardboard several times in both directions to add some wear and tear. I then took them outside and spray painted them with some leftover dark metallic spray paint, letting some of the brown show through to look like a smolder. I then taped two together and filled them with orange halloween lights. Finally, I used a couple remnants of wood from the cut pieces to prop them up in the hearth.

If I had thought of this earlier, I would have cut a notch for the light cord in the center back of my plywood before connecting it to the rest of the fireplace.

Finishing Touches

Once dry, I carried the fireplace upstairs and adorned it with some scotch glasses and a gold side table from goodwill and found a nice leather chair and some books from around other parts of the office to make it cozy.

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I really like the way it turned out. Skipping the moulding gave it that masculine Nick Offerman look and the lights, however costume-y actually make it feel warmer! I am on the lookout for something that will crackly and flicker a bit more but for now I think this is pretty good!

Happy Crafting!

Fling Before the Ring – Shirt Painting Tutorial

Going through all my old craft supplies in an effort to downsize and I found a huge collection of fabric paint!

Fabric paint and acrylic paint mixed with acrylic medium are around $1-$3 each, so it is really easy to amass a large stash quickly and I couldn’t bear throwing them away. It is a rule in my house that if you don’t use it (or know you have it) for over a year – out it goes! Being the hoarder that I am, I decided to paint shirts for a bachelorette party and hold onto the paint a little while longer. 

Fabric PaintWhat you need:

  • Fabric Paint (or Acrylic paint with Acrylic medium)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • cardboard or card stock
  • paper plate
  • Paint brushes (I use cheap $1 isle brushes, nothing fancy)

Note: If you use acrylic without the medium mixed in the paint will be very hard and stiffen the fabric. No bueno.

supplies

 

1. Make sure to put paper down or to work on a surface you don’t mind getting paint on. 

2. Lay your shirt out with a stiff piece of cardboard or card stock under the painting surface to prevent paint from bleeding to the other side.

3. Get out your pencil and ruler and lightly draw your design.

Note: It is very hard to get the paint to do clean fine lines on softer cottons, so remember to keep the designs bold.  Don’t draw the pencil too dark because it can take a few washes to come out of the fabric (found that out the hard way). You can see below how even with lettering, I made sure to keep the strokes nice and wide.

Maid of Honor

4. This is where the paint medium comes it really handy. When you pour your paint out onto the paper plate, give it plenty of room to spread out and mix with medium. I suggest going with a 1/4 to 1/2 medium to paint ratio. The medium helps thin the paint so you can smooth out your lines and keep the paint a uniform thickness across the fabric, so if you are struggling, add more medium. For some of my older fabric paints that were a little dry and stiff i added paint medium just to get the consistency. For these I went with a lighter ratio, but it is really up to you to find a consistency you like to work with. Also, the paint dries very quickly, so I suggest working with only one color at a time.

Bride

5. To set the paint, you have to steam iron it once it is dry to the touch. I left the paper in between the layers and placed a piece of pressing cloth on top to protect the iron in case the paint was still a little wet. Put the iron on the hottest setting and make sure it has plenty of water in it so you can just steam away! Since you have to iron anyway I added a few iron on gems to this one for a little extra bling. 

Fling Before the Ring

For the Maids of honor I ended up following a few T-shirt refashion tutorials on Pinterest.  I dyed these shirts pink before starting with rit dye. It is a great way to add color cheaply. I really like this ombre tutorial as well, I didn’t find it until after this project so I might have to try it next time. 

Shirt refashion

This project is so easy and perfect for a rainy day or a quick gift. It would be a great party craft for middle school or high school kids as well.  Next I think I will make some hand painted outdoor cushions. I think painting on duck canvas will be a bit easier than cotton.

I hope I have inspired you to dig through your old supplies and get a little crafty!

 

 

Pintastic Super Bowl Party

Sadly, the Broncos were massacred and our house of orange and blue turned to heavy drinking quickly, but I like to think the following recipes and printables kept spirits a little higher. I will definitely be turning these into party staples especially as we get closer to March Madness.

It all started when I came across this colored caramel corn recipe. I did not use koolaid, I simply mixed 15 drops of food coloring in with the baking soda on the side before mixing the soda into the caramel corn. Mixing the popcorn in the oven after it is coated is ESSENTIAL. I forgot about it and it was chewy. In hindsight, if you forget to stir just turn them into popcorn balls, don’t try and serve it loose.

The first caramel corn recipe is pretty, but not the best flavor, a little bland.  I mixed my blue caramel corn with the best caramel corn recipe ever (the darker corn pictured). This recipe has brown sugar instead of white and molasses which makes it a very dark caramel that is impossible to dye, but tastes oh so perfect.

mixed caramel corn

If there is a giant bowl of caramel corn there has to be a way for people to carry personal servings around and accidentally throw in the air when the Broncos score. Enter these perfect cone printable! Just roll and close with washi or clear tape and there you go. I printed them on blue and orange paper for the broncos, but you could do this with any team colors or no color at all.  The link also has a printable for cup labels. I used these for my party but found that people were not that into using them so I say don’t bother with that one.

http://snapcreativity.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/printable_party_superbowl.pdf

 

Another fun food dying project that was perfect for orange and blue (but again works with any color) were these swirled sugar cookies. I made the dough a few days in advance and just left them in the freezer until the day of. This is a great time saver for when you know you have a ton to do the day of and just want to throw them in the oven. Plus you still get the house smelling like cookies when everyone arrives.swirl cookies

I wanted to make wings because they are the quintessential football food, but I really don’t like the process so I made this buffalo dip instead. It has shredded chicken, franks, cream cheese and sour cream in it and everyone that ate it couldn’t stop talking about it. Some people even added it to their salad. YUM!

rolling out crackersThe dip suggests using carrots, celery and ritz, but instead of ritz crackers I decided to make my own jalapeno Cheeze-its.

I doubled this recipe and added 3 roasted jalapenos chopped up into tiny pieces. For extra fun I used a round cookie cutter twice on each piece to make them the shape of footballs and instead of a toothpick to poke air holes, I used a three prong fork so it was more like laces.  

My big note on the crackers is that I had to bake them longer than the recipe called for and after they cooled I baked them again to make sure they were nice and crispy. Two days later, the leftovers are stale so I am going to bake them again and see if I can get another round of crisp out of them. Another plus, their orange for the UNITED IN ORANGE theme!

cracker footballs

For decorations I found this blog and went all out with their free printables.  I used the water bottle labels around  blue dixie cups and scattered the other around the living room and food. Then I took this football field buffet table idea and spun it with butcher paper and paint pens. I made one end zone the vintage Broncos end zone and the other a more modern version with the current logo.

football table cover

 

Broncos Flags

vintage broncosHAPPY PARTYING! (and pinning)

 

Window Wallpaper

finished windows

I live on a busy downtown street with a busy alley running by my back door so I invested in pretty curtains early on.  However, I am sick of not being able to open the curtains without curious walkers by staring into my house – especially because I often forget to close the curtains until AFTER I get out of the shower.

The previous tenants had used diamond pattern frosted shelf lining on one of the windows in the kitchen.  It is only $8 a roll for sizable chunk but it looks old, has a sticky back which make removal an involved process and the tiny grooves make cleaning it a bit more difficult.

After a Pinterest search and a horrendous home depot experience I pulled my head out of my ass and zoomed over to McGuckin’s, my local hardware/we have everything store and discovered Etch Arts Wallpaper for windows! This will run you quite a bit more than the shelf lining, $20-$45 depending on how wide you need, but it is worth every penny.  Goes on with water, no adhesive, so while its wet you can easily move your pieces into place, no worries about bubbles or wasting sheets. 

This project ended up being SUPER easy – even those who consider themselves to have no crafting or artistic abilities should go for it!

I tried two different techniques for my windows, a stencil approach and a geometric shapes approach.

The stencils were really easy. I set my computer screen as bright as possible and was able to see right through and trace with pencil. I traced the utensils out on the paper side so there wouldn’t be any marks on the film, but then I didn’t want my words to be backwards so I traced those onto the film side.  After cutting the pieces out with an exact-o knife, the pencil erased right off with no marks so you can go either way. 

cut outs

What is awesome about this, is that anything you cut out can be used on other windows, as a computer or mirror decal – What?! AWESOME!

negatives

The geometric ones I went with because I wanted to see how far I could stretch the smaller sheets (ie spend as little money as possible) – the results were less privacy than the stencil technique, but work really well in the living room where we don’t need as much privacy.

I used my clear quilting ruler again and made a ton of pieces out of the scraps.

cut-outsThis is where it was really helpful to get the window really wet before placing the pieces. If there was plenty of water on the window I could easily slide the small pieces into place and play with how they fit in the frame.

triangles

The end result was better than expected!

Geometric

Getting Organized – Filing Your Fabric

Fabric stash disarray is an epidemic. Every seamstress I know has piles of folded fabric that inevitably fall over, yardage they lose of forget about and random bags, boxes and drawers of notions and pieces they have to dig through every time they start a project.

 With all of the sewing I have been doing lately, I was going crazy! Folding all of my fabric into bags, forgetting what I have and digging through like a dog looking for a bone every step of the way and ending up at the fabric store when I can’t find what I know I already have some where.

I started my solution search on Pinterest, as one does, and came across this.

The problem for me was that I don’t have extra closet or floor space in my 650 square foot flat for a filing cabinet, but what I do have are nine foot ceilings and shelves. I also wanted something clear so that I could easily see what I had stored, especially if it was going to live nine feet high – I want to know what I’m grabbing without opening every drawer.  So, I went to my local office supply store and picked up several clear vertical filing boxes, 100% recycled file folders (why not? They are the same price), an accordion folder and a stiff file folder with pockets.

SuppliesMy original intent was to use the accordion folder for my patterns, but I found that the hanging folders worked better for that.  I ended up using it to sort my notions, mostly ribbing, bias tape and elastic and I used the zip envelope for zippers and closures. I kept my sewing box to takes care of all my pins, scissors, needles, thread etc.  

I think deciding how to file your patterns and notions is going to be very personal depending on how big your collection and if most patters are for you or children or whomever.  Some ideas are to file by sex, or size or garment type.  Most of my patters are for me so I went with the latter.

The next step was just following along with the original tutorial. In the tutorial they suggest you cut the folders so you get two-for-one as it were, but I left mine intact in case I have smaller pieces I want to file with the large piece or a project I want to keep together. I  tend to have several projects going at once, (and by that I mean I have bought the notions and patters for them but not started) so I filed the zipper and patters in the hanging folders before draping the fabric over the top. I was able to fit a surprising amount of fabric in each box (the picture below is before the box was full).  You can also iron your fabric before filing it, but I did not because I end up ironing before I cut anyway.

filed fabricI don’t have a ton of fabric right now, so I organized by project type: a box for clothing, a box for quilting, patterns and notions, and a box for costumes and upholstery fabric.  The division worked out perfect. You can fuss and organized depending on the composition of your stash.  The good news is the files are so easy to pull out and move, changing your mind after you start is no big deal!

Now I just have to set up more shelves so I don’t have to stake them 😉

finished filed fabricand voila! filed fabric stash! But beware, this could lead to higher fabric stash capacity and corresponding fabric shopping sprees. Happy sewing!

 

 

 

Oil Cloth Bibs

My first two friends to have babies are about to reach the six month marker and the switch to baby food.  This coincides perfectly with my love for oil cloth and adorable sewing projects.  I found two basic patterns, one rounded and one squared and picked up some oil cloth and one laminated fabric I fell in love with.  

baby bib pattern

bib pattern rounded

Both of the original instructions on these patterns suggested sewing wrong sides together and using binding around the edges.  I chose to turn them inside out however, because both oil cloth and laminated fabric are not machine washable and I didn’t want any nooks and crannies for food to get stuck in places they couldn’t be easily wiped off with a sponge. If you wanted to use cotton on one side and fleece on the other it would also be uber cute and machine washable, so it’s up to you.

Bib pieces

oil cloth pattern pieces

After cutting the pieces out I sewed them right sides together.  You could sew the velcro onto the neck first so that the stitching doesn’t go through both pieces, but I found that it was worth the extra stability and as long as you choose matching thread, it is not much of a distraction.  

On the pattern, it shows a small area to leave open for turning out after you sew the pieces together.  I found that when using lamented fabric, and even more so with oil cloth, that more space is needed, so I chose to leave 3-4″ open at the bottom rather than the more narrow neck line to make the process easier.

Also, I found it looks much cleaner after turning out if you trim your seam allowance down to 1/8″ and press it open with your finger before turning.  This is especially helpful for avoiding creasing around the tight neck line.

Baby Bib

Finished oil cloth baby bib – Left side is the squared pattern,

For closures, you could also use snaps or even magnets for your closure, which I think I will try in the future, but I had velcro on hand so that was easiest.  

I cut the velcro to 1.5″ strips, I found that any shorter really didn’t provide enough strength to keep it from being tugged off too easily, and then I sewed them on in the top corners around the far edges.

Overall I love how they turned out and I can’t wait to make more!

Finished Duvet

After taking quite a long break from blogging and from many of my craft activities, I finally finished that Duvet I was working on in my first post.

Image

The difficult part was sewing the quarter circles to the outside section that makes it a square, but once I succumbed to the use of many, many more pins than usual, success was mine.  In an effort to make it a duvet appropriate for not just me, but my fiance as well, I backed it with a bright green solid cotton that really pops.  Finally, I decided no more of those annoying buttons at the top that come undone and get your hands caught in the gaps when your sleeping, no, instead I used a sleeping bag zipper put in with an overlap to keep it from scratching so it doesn’t matter if it’s at your feet or your head.  This has been my favorite part about the new duvet, and I will never go back to buttons again. 

If I can manage to dig up the pattern I made, I will post it for easy replication.