Pipe shelf tutorial

Make your own industrial-style shelves with this easy tutorial. Continue reading

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DIY wooden shim decoration

I’m ready for warmer weather. Really, really ready.

I’m in the mood to open all of our windows, clean out our closets and drop off a few Hefty bags full of stuff at the nearby thrift shop. I’m in the mood to dust every fan in our house, and maybe even the tops of the blinds and curtain rods, too. Forget the cowbell, I’ve got a fever that only a serious dose of spring cleaning will solve.

If you’re feeling feverish, like me, but cleaning isn’t your idea of a good time, check out this little project I just finished. It’s a super simple way to use up some creative energy, and the results are pretty cute, too.

I saw a decoration similar to this one at a store recently on sale for about $15, but you can make it for a fraction of the cost. It turns out it was so easy (absolutely no artistic skill required), I’m stocking up on wooden shims to use as a rainy day or summer/winter break project for the boys.

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Here’s what you need:

Wood shims
Wood glue
Stencil
Scissors
Pencil
Paint
Paint brushes

Pick up a package of wood shims at your nearby hardware store. You’ll find them in different sizes somewhere in the lumber area. They only cost a few of bucks, so I purchased a couple of different sizes since I wasn’t sure what I wanted.

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Stack your shims to whatever height you want your finished decoration. I wanted a rustic look, so I offset mine instead of lining them up for a clean, even edge. Use wood glue to attach a couple of shims to the back to serve as braces and hold all the little slats together. My braces were too long, so I pressed the shims against the edge of the table to snap off the extra length before attaching them. Let it dry.

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Flip your new wooden canvas over and paint it. I used random paint I had on hand, then allowed it to dry thoroughly before lightly sanding the brownish one a bit for a worn-out look.

Print a cute bunny from your computer (I used this one) and carefully cut out the shape with scissors. Position it on your wooden shim canvas and use a pencil to trace around the entire bunny. I found a stencil at Hobby Lobby of the one standing upright since I didn’t have much luck finding one that was the right size on the web. Tip: finding your stencil first and then gluing your shims to fit the stencil will save you much time searching for stencils. Live and learn.

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Paint the inside of the shape with a decent paintbrush. Nothing too fancy or expensive required, but a higher quality brush will be easier to work with and yield better results.

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Set the decoration against the wall or a stand it up in front of a few books for display; dab a couple of spots with hot glue on the back and attach a pretty ribbon if you’d rather hang it on the wall.

And since I know what you’ve been thinking since I referenced the cowbell, I thought I’d save you the time of searching for this classic SNL skit yourself.

Stop the hoarding madness!

My kids are savers. Not of money. Not of rare baseball cards. Not of any expensive collectible. Not of anything any sane person would look at and see value in, but savers of everything else. Paper airplanes they make. Sticks they find at the park. Plastic spider rings. Shoe boxes. Mini-heart-shaped, rainbow-colored plastic slinkies. Acorns. Temporary tattoos. Whistles. Pebbles. Deflated balloons. Obscure Lego creations (that were not built by following the instructions, for those who’ve seen the Lego Movie).  I could go on and on and on, but I’m thinking you get the picture. And chances are, if you have kids, then you’re living with your  very own miniature hoarder, too.

Knowing my kids don’t have the ability to sort through all of their meaningless junk by themselves and purge what is the most meaningless, I sift through their rooms with them once every month (or three) and help them get organized. In between our joint quarterly clean-ups, I secretly sneak in when they are away and toss out all the really useless, broken, and most likely toxic Made in China trinkets they’ve collected.

Though they all stash junk, my middle one is more of a hoarder of artwork he’s made and art supplies he uses. After my most recent organizing spree of tossing out all of his broken crayons, consolidating all his dulled colored pencils, bagging up his oil pastels, and sorting through his dried-out markers, I realized he needed a better system. I stumbled on some wooden crates not long ago and thought maybe I could make a unique storage system for his room, perfect for his art supplies, notebooks, and finished artwork. Well, I did, it works, and we’re both loving it.

Check out the step-by-step process in my most recent My Crafty Spot post if you’re in the market for a unique, new way to organize your stuff. It’s an easy project that’s less painful than a trip to Ikea, plus it has tons of creative possibilities.

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Yes, that’s the human body model he requested for Christmas.

DIY Christmas card display

Between all the regular stuff I’m responsible for in this little family and the extra work that Christmas requires, I’ve been a busy little elf the past couple of weeks. For the most part, I’ve been one of Santa’s happy-go-lucky helpers, with the exception of the time when of none of our lights worked on our pre-lit Christmas tree. That fiasco briefly turned me into an angry, South Pole elf. After 2 days of fidgeting and $60 of new lights,  I realized it was a classic kickoff to the Christmas craziness. ‘Tis the season.

Since my frustrating tree ordeal, I’ve done a complete 180 and now sit here admiring my manually lit pre-lit Christmas tree in eager anticipation of the arrival of all the presents I’ve ordered online.  I’m also eagerly awaiting all the Christmas cards from family and friends so I can display them on the new Christmas card holder I just created.

If you’re in the market for one, or looking for a unique way to display pictures or notes, check out my latest post on My Crafty Spot to see how I turned this thrift shop find

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Bought for $8 at a thrift shop. It was $10, but I signed up for their rewards program and got $2 off. Bonus bargain!

into this multi-purpose Christmas card holder.

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It’s a simple project and a fun way to take a break from the holiday stress. Plus, by using paint you already have and a frame you already own or finding one second-hand, it’s an amazingly inexpensive project to complete. Keep it up year round to display snapshots of your favorite people or brag about your kid’s accomplishments. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, for sure.

And if you haven’t watched the movie Elf yet this season, be sure to add that to your To Do list. It’ll help lighten your load.