DIY Desk Nameplate with Silhouette Cameo

As you can probably guess I have a day job. No I do not get to sit around all day dreaming about what to blog about unfortunately! I do have however a nice little office abode at work that I enjoy very much. Over the last 3.5 years I have tried to make my office a little more comfortable by hanging art, adding a lamp and now with a new nameplate I made. Now no this is not one of those fancy wood engraved nameplates your boss gives you when you achieve something fantastic. This is a nameplate that I whipped up with stuff I already had at home. I started with a 4×6 in white canvas and turned it into a maroon and white happy for my desk. I will say I have received the most compliments and comments about it than anything else in my office! I love getting compliments on things when people have no idea that I made it myself. That in itself is a compliment to me. You can totally style these up more but for my job in academia I wanted mine to be pretty vanilla!
What you’ll need:
  • Canvas(I bought mine for $2.50 for a pk of two at Michael’s on sale)
  • Craft paint and brush
  • Vinyl cutter or stencil
How to make
  1. Use your vinyl cutter to cut your name or whatever you’d like. Remove the holes from the letters.
  2. Transfer your vinyl name with transfer paper and add it to the canvas. Make sure you spend a while scraping the vinyl down when you transfer it to the canvas.
  3. paint over the entire canvas(I used maroon/white as they are the school colors here)
  4. Let dry at least one hour and paint a second coat.
  5. Let dry overnight
  6. Peel off sticker and viola you have your name on a colorful canvas! 
Are you feeling crafty yet?

DIY Letter Christmas Tree Topper

It seems to be that I can never find the perfect tree topper to my liking. Now I may just be picky or frugal as all of the ones I actually do like are out of my price range. Last year I was into burlap so I tied a big burlap bow on top of the tree with 6′ ribbon that was fun and different. But I am now over burlap so I wanted something a little different. I had seen some inspiration pictures on Pinterest of monogrammed tree toppers that I really responded to. I happened to have a large letter A that had just been lying around for about a year just waiting to be crafted! Here is what I came up with!

You’ll need:
  • A blank cardboard, chipboard, MDF or wooden letter
  • Craft Paint in the color of your choice
  • Paint brushes(I used foam and threw it away after)
  • Craft Bond Extra Strong glue stick
  • Glitter in the color of your choice
1.Start by spreading newspaper on your work surface to protect it.
2. Next paint your letter. I did two coats, letting it dry for a few hours in between.
3. After your paint is completely dry, draw your circles(or whatever shape) with your glue stick, really making sure that you have a lot of glue on your surface to hold the glitter.
4. Sprinkle glitter all over the spots where you applied the glue while making sure that you completely cover the glue. Shake off excess glitter and cover bare spots.

5. Affix topper to the apex of your tree. I used 20lb. test fishing line that my husband provided me with!

I really enjoyed DIY’ing my tree topper this year! I have gotten so many compliments so far. It is far from perfect but It looks so much better in person! My circles are a little less than round but even though the perfectionist in me is screaming I really love it!

2013 Pumpkin Decorating

With tomorrow being Halloween, I wanted to share with you the Arnold family pumpkins this year! I moved to Mississippi in October 2010 and one of the first things Mike and I did was carve a pumpkin(well he did more of the carving), so we have made it a point to try to do this every year! This year however, I wanted to try something a little different. I had been seeing painted pumpkins all over Pinterest and other blogs so I was thinking why not give something new a try this year! We purchased these pumpkins on our little outing last week that I wrote about here. I decided that I wanted to utilize my Silhouette Cameo that my MIL gifted me after the wedding! We wanted to each have a pumpkin for our favorite team and then one that was more unifying to the two of us. I was bad about taking pics as we went along so I will explain it in easy steps:
  1. Before you begin, cover your surface with newspaper or some kind of barrier between your table/floor/ground. We painted at the kitchen table so we covered it with newspaper. We used acrylic craft paint sold at any store that has a hobby section. 
  2. Paint each pumpkin with a base coat. Choose a color that you want your shape to be once you peel off your stencil(The MsState Pumpkin was pre-painted white). It may take several coats especially if you’re using a light color. Let dry one our between coats. Dry completely overnight
  3. Cut out stencil using vinyl and stick to pumpkin. Being careful and mindful of the paint
  4. Paint over the stencil and the entire pumpkin covering the entire under coat of paint(may take more than one coat) and let dry overnight.
  5. Peel away vinyl and reveal under color! At this point you can decide if you would like to add some dimension to your design(like above with the SC pumpkin, I traced around the edge with black to make it pop more). Finally, admire your beautiful pumpkin!

I will say that we did not paint The Arnold’s pumpkin. That is in fact just a vinyl sticker I cut and then adhered to the pumpkin. I love the simplicity and ease of that one!

We had a lot of fun decorating the pumpkins this year! Our dog, named Pumpkin, even got in on the action…
This is about 30 tries into it ha!
She’s a Ham!!
Pumpkin doing her Meerkat impression for a treat!
And you may ask how we got Pumpkin to pose and there is a good explanation for that it requires tons of patience and lots of treats! Look below I caught her as mid trick(roll over) to get said treats, the entire time I just wanted her to sit still. 
Pumpkin got her name for my love of fall and I wanted a constant reminder of my favorite time of year!

No Sew Monogram Pillow Update

This weekend I decided to get a little crafty and try to see how hard it would be to cut fabric with my Silhouette Cameo. So first, I did a little Googling on the subject, watched this video and read on a few forums about how the fabric would need to be interfaced before cutting it to make it stiffer and easier to cut. I read that Heat’n Bond was the best product to use so that’s what I went with.The bonding agent I bought was awesome as first you interface the fabric and then all you need to do is peel off the back layer and it becomes an iron on bond to another piece of fabric. It is a little more expensive than regular interfacing but since I wanted to iron on and no-sew this project it was actually cheaper, and done all in one step! 
For my first fabric project I decided that I wanted to monogram the throw pillows on our bed! We have had these pillows for about 18 months and I was ready for an update because I hear chevron print is on it’s way out! I first decided how large I wanted my monograms. I chose 8×8 inches as my pillows are 16×16 and I wanted to have a good size monogram but not too huge where it dwarfed the pillow. I wanted a circle monogram so I used the font I purchase from FontBros. After that I just cut my fabric and ironed it well and cut the correct size of the Heat’n Bond to adhere to it. Next I was ready to load it into my machine to be cut. It really was as easy as setting the Silhouette to the settings the software recommended and hitting cut! Out comes a perfect fabric monogram in about 60 seconds! Finally all you need to do is pick out the inner parts of the letters and then iron them onto your pillow case!! 
I am so excited to use this machine to cut fabric! I now have tons of ideas flowing through my head for the holidays and beyond! I am glad it was so easy and that it didn’t tear up the blade. I will say that there is a fabric blade for the Cameo that is recommended but I had a thin cotton fabric and there was no issue for the machine to cut it at all.
I have now cut paper, vinyl and fabric with my cameo. It really is an amazing tool and I think I have only scratched the surface of all that it can do! Stay tuned for more crafty ideas!
Stay southern,

Beach Trip and DIY

Us on the car ferry going from Ft. Morgan to Dauphin Island

Wow this year is flying by. Today marks the end of the first half of the year! I cannot believe it, although I really can as it is June 30 and it is 102 degrees outside. Mississippi heat is a phenomenon that cannot be explained only experienced. It is the hottest place I have ever been and I hope to ever go! I digress! A couple of weeks ago I got to take a business trip down to the coast! Mike accompanied me and we spend a wonderful four day weekend at the beach! We ate extremely too much and got too much sun but it was a blast! It was our first time at the gulf in Alabama and it was so alien to see the oil and natural gas rigs out in the water there. We had a very informative couple of hours visiting with one of the scientific collaborators down at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and that was the ‘business’ side of the trip! The rest of the time we spent relaxing, eating, shopping and exploring.

Fishing boat in the Mobile Bay 
Fort Gaines

Wicked storm on the Mobile Bay
Gulf Shores Beach
USS Alabama in Mobile
On another note, I have also been doing some more diy projects! I have many lined up at the moment but here are a couple that I have completed since my last post! 
First is the coffee table. There is kind of a funny story behind this. After I painted the nightstands and the TV table for our bedroom I had the painting/diy itch so I started looking for pieces of furniture that we did not have that I could transform from drab to fab on the cheap(most importantly) so one day as I was browsing craigslist I saw a coffee table located here in Starkville and I showed it to Mike and he told me to call about it. As I was putting the digits in my phone randomly it showed up as the number of one of my friends here in town. She and her husband were selling off all of their furniture before they moved back home to North Dakota. She was originally selling the table for $15 but offered me the friend discount so I scored it for $10!! In the picture you will notice that the table is missing a drawer so we knew we needed to figure something out. Mike and I made a fake drawer front for the table before painting and attached it with Gorilla glue(which btw is totally awesome). Next I painted the table and let it dry forever. It is now in our living room and even though I cringe we lounge our feet on it constantly! I already had the black paint leftover from the other tables and all I had to purchase was the wood for the drawer front and a drawer pull for about $6.00 for both. So I spent less than $20 on this table which I am super stoked about! I need some accessories to put on top of it but I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve about that for a later project!
After: close up
After: loving the new rug from Tracy!

The second project I did last weekend while Mike was out of town. I have been wanting lamps for our ‘new’ nightstands for quite a while. However they are super pricey as you have to buy the bases and then the shades and we are quite limited in the home decor department here in Starkville. So while browsing some diy sites on the internet I came across a couple of people buying thrift store lamps and painting them to match their own decor so I decided that this may be a way that I could have cool, funky lamps and not have to pay an arm and a leg for them! I went to the local Salvation Army and jackpot, there were like 20 sad and pathetic old brass lamps just sitting there waiting to be saved. I found two that were matching and when I checked if they worked and they did they were as good as mine. For $4 each I couldn’t say no. These two were wood as well as brass and although I hadn’t seen anyone online paint a wood lamp I thought what the heck, I’ll try it.  I also picked up a solid brass lamp for $2 for the living room that I will reveal later(when I find the perfect shade). I left there and immediately went to Lowe’s and picked up some spray paint and primer and went home and got to work. This took me all of about 30 minutes of total painting although I did have to wait 2 hours between priming and painting and that was the hardest part. I actually bought the white drum shades from Lowe’s as well which was my largest expense at $14 each. However the price of the shades were worth it because even if I decide that I don’t want blue lamps anymore I can repaint them and still use the white shades. I picked the blue as I was trying to have another color in the room besides the gray and yellow and I tried to match the blue color to the blue in the fish picture above the bed. I love the finished product and it makes me happy every time I walk into my bedroom! This was my favorite project so far!
Before: so sad and blah

After: so funky and fresh!
After: Pumpkin enjoying the new lamps and bedding!

Stay southern,

Second half of first project…

I am finally ready to reveal(yes I am humoring myself to think anyone cares) the second half of my first project. I am actually really happy how it turned out as it was one of the first things I attempted to paint. This table was given to me by my Grandmother. Before you gasp and think I am a terrible person for painting a table from Meme I will inform you that it is a particle board table that has been in her attic for I have no idea how long. It is far from an antique or special. It kind of fell into my lap. So when I moved here and brought my TV we decided that we could use this little dressing table as an impromptu television stand. It served its purpose but I hate the way it looked. I will say it I hate the light oak stain!! I always have. My mother loved her some light oak but although she and I are very similar we have different styles. I love deep stain with visible wood grain, black and cottagey style furniture. I cannot wait to have my own home to decorate and change! It is one of the things I look forward to the most! However I am living in the now and I am trying to make wherever I live the kind of home that I think of as beautiful! This table looks great now and totally matches our bedroom. I don’t really care for the huge TV that occupies it at this time. But it’s what I’ve got for now! I hope to one day use it as a cute dressing table with a framed mirror and have perfume and jewelry adorning it! Just girly enough for me 🙂

Before(terrible angle)
Hardware before
Primer Added
After! The Hardware looks fantastic up
close too! It looks like hammered metal!

I have a few more projects already on my to do list! I cannot wait to start them and have them adorn my home!

Stay southern,

New Hobby?!?

So I mentioned in my last post about my stress level and it being sky high right now. However I may have found a new hobby to help keep me busy and to be an outlet for my stress and creativity. A while back(like 1.5 years ago) when I moved here I brought down two little tables that were given to me. I wanted them to use as nightstands for our bed since we have such a low platform bed and these were little tables I thought why not. Well they serve their purpose well however they were unfinished wood. I have always wanted to paint them black to match our bed but I kept putting it off and saying to myself that I will do it when we are moved and settled(thinking that was right around the corner). Well I decided a couple of weeks ago that I need to stop waiting to live my life and just do it now. So as cheesy as this sounds the tables are what I decided to begin with! I figured it would be an easy enough start. I read all kinds of diy and home improvement blogs and they made it sound so easy. And you wanna know what? It was. If you know me at all then you know I am kind of prissy. I do not like getting dirty, sweaty or doing anything that could remotely ruin my clothing. However being outside sitting on the ground(gasp) sanding and painting(with paint on my clothes and body) I was totally not thinking about anything but the task at hand. I forgot about all my problems and just did what I set out to do. I turned something ordinary into something that I liked all in an afternoon! These tables aren’t anything special but they changed my mood and that makes them special to me 🙂 I also started another project that day which is not finished yet but I am excited to show you how it turns out! Here are some before and after pics(which I need to work on my technique for future projects). There is a learning curve to diy-ing and for blogging about it! I will learn though!

Before. Natural wood. I should have taken this at a different angle!
During. After a good sanding and 2 coats of Kilz primer(btw if you are using Kilz
spray primer work in a WELL VENTILATED area, yes I am speaking from experience)!

After. Finally dry and cured. I could have staged this better as well.
However I am so happy with the end result. Like I said these tables were nothing special
but now when I walk into my bedroom and everything matches like
I wanted for a long time I smile to myself!

I am so happy I did this(and the other project) that day. This may become a new hobby for me. I recently purchased a wood coffee table from Craigslist for $10, what a steal and I plan to paint it to match our home/style a little more. It’s funny what a little paint and a little elbow grease can do. The beauty of paint is that I can change it almost as quickly as I can change my mind 🙂

Stay southern,