Friday, May 19, 2017

The Easier Way to Make Placemat Pillows


So I was on my way to the check out at Target the other day, and I had a couple of $25 pillows in my cart. I passed by the placemats and cookware, and this pineapple placemat caught my eye!

Isn't it pretty?! The embroidery on it is gorgeous! And it was only $4! It was love at first sight. Except...I stink at cooking. And really anything to do with the kitchen and dining room. I have no business buying placemats to make my frozen fish sticks look prettier when I serve them. Ha!

I'd seen people make pillows out of placemats by sewing two of them together. But as I was looking at this one, it was already two really nice pieces of fabric sewn together! I was hoping I could just pick the stitch, stuff it, and sew up the small opening in a matter of minutes.  So I bought 8. lol

And when I opened it up, sure enough, it was perfect on the inside. Both front and back and nice, upholstery fabric, and both sides had interfacing!

I was really excited to use some of this filling from an old couch we had to destroy. It's been wasting away on one of our garage shelves, and my husband keeps trying to throw it away!

I packed it in super tight since I hate when my throw pillows lose their shape. This makes it really hard to stitch up on a sewing machine, but it was really easy to do by hand.

So less than 10 minutes later, I had some gorgeous new pillows for my bed. And my living room. And my outdoor chairs... ;)

Now run to Target and snatch up all the pineapple placemats before someone else uses them to drop food on!

And as always, I'd love to hear if you use this tutorial. Send me an email or tag me in an Instagram post!




Linking to these parties:

Remodelaholic - (Friday)
Chic on a Shoestring - (Friday)
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend

Monday, May 15, 2017

DIY Birthday Chart Sign for Mother's Day


Yep, I'm a little late to the party, but I wanted to share the gift I made for my mom for Mother's Day.

(For the tutorial on how I made this sliding perpetual calendar, click HERE.

I actually made one of these birthday calendar boards for my mother-in-law a few years ago, but I had taken a pause from blogging during that time, so I don't have a great pic of it. 

Anyway, my mom has had quite a few grandbabies born in the last few years, so I decided to make one for her, too!

For the actual sign, I used some scrap plywood I had. I kind of wish I had used better plywood since this left the surface rather bumpy, but oh well. My board was cut to 6"x24", but you can make it any dimensions you'd like. For the trim, I used 1x2's. The two side pieces are cut to 6", and the top and bottom are 25.5". 

You can see all the patching I had to do for the knots and bumps since the plywood I used was treated and for outdoor use. 

I painted the plywood white and stained the trim with dark walnut. Then I attached with wood glue and 1.25" brad nails.

For the name tags, I used paint sticks that I got for free from our local home improvement store. To make it easier to cut them all at once, I used a rubber band on each end to attach them all together. Then I cut them (turned on their sides) on my miter saw.

I cut off the handle, and then I cut it into thirds.  I also sanded them while they were still bound with the rubber bands! Big time saver.

Then I painted them all white and wrote the names and day of their birthdate of all the children, spouses, and grandkids. On the back I wrote out the full birthday just so she can keep track of how old everyone is and just in case they get on the wrong month accidentally! 

I drilled two holes near the top to thread my string through. I didn't want the holes to be too big, but this made it hard to thread the baker's twine through. I ended up using a needle with a large eye to thread them. 

In order to save myself from having to thread the needed 30 times, I cut a really long piece of the string, (maybe 3'?), and then I'd pull the stick almost all the way to the end. That way I could keep the needle threaded for the next one. 

Tie a knot in the end without the needle, and then pull it tight and through the back. From the stick to the last knot, I left my string at 3". I made a mark with a marker at 3" and then cut it at about 4", so I had enough room to tie the other knot. Make sure your knot lands right at the mark you made, so they all hang at about the same height.

I used vinyl to make a stencil to paint the letters. Again, because the wood was so lumpy, it created a bit of a mess. Definitely not my finest work here. I think I would have been better off painting it by hand. I had to go back and do lots of clean ups, and even then, it was far from perfect.

To hang the sticks, I screwed in some small hooks. They're tiny enough that I didn't even need to pre-drill holes. I just centered them on the months and twisted them in.

And that's it! A custom-made Mother's Day gift using supplies I already had at home! 




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

DIY Perpetual Calendar - Sliding Wood Calendar Tutorial

This post contains affiliate links


A couple weeks ago I shared a post about making a chalkboard countdown calendar to celebrate any occasion. Well, as I was preparing to build it, I was searching on Amazon for similar wood calendars, and I came across this one
It wasn't a countdown calendar, but I really fell in love with it. But at $58, I wasn't ready to make a commitment. I knew I could make it for a fraction of that, so I set to work.

Wood list:

1x4 - 1 piece cut to 19"
1x2 - 3 pieces cut to 18" for rails
         2 pieces cut to 10" for side pieces

I wanted my 1x2 rails to fit almost flush inside the side posts, so I laid all three rails on top of the posts and marked the width and where I wanted them to sit. Then I used my miter saw and set the depth to just over 1/2". I did both posts at the same time to save some time, but it was still a little tedious.

Then I stained my pieces since I wanted to make sure to get down in that notched area. Since I was using scrap wood, I knew my pieces might not match perfectly, and I was okay with that. I also distressed my pieces a bit before to give it more of an aged look and somewhere for the stain to really sink in.

I pre-drilled my holes and used 1" black screws to attach my rails in place. Be careful not to tighten them too much since it's right at the end of the wood. You don't want your wood to split!

And I just put one screw in the bottom on each side to keep the posts up. Your posts should be inset about 1/2" on each side.

And I'm pretty horrible at writing and painting, so I had to use my Silhouette to cut out a template for the lettering.

Be sure to inset the lettering at least 1/2" from the sides to allow for the glide to fit and not cover your words. And I used this paint pen to make the lettering a little easier.

And it was at this point that I was a little stumped. I wasn't exactly sure how to make the tabs like they use on card catalogs. I started researching a bit, and what did I find??  Yup...someone had already built one of these babies and done a tutorial for it.  DUH!

And it was so beautiful! Amber from Shades of Blue Interiors had written a post for EHow all about how she built one for about $20. She used some brass card label holders from Rockler, and I loved the look of them! I highly recommend visiting her tutorial to see how she made hers.

But alas, I'm impatient and didn't want to wait for anything to ship to my little island in the middle of the ocean. I also didn't really want to spend more money and wanted to try to use things around the house.

So here's what I came up with. I had some left-over flashing from a repair to our chimney. But I priced it out at our local Ace Hardware, and you can purchase it for $.75 for a foot. That's all you'll need for all three.

Since your lettering will be a bit different than mine, I'll just give a general description of the measurements. Each piece will need to be 5" in length, though, if you're using 1x2 wood.

To determine the width, measure 1/2" for each side, and then measure your longest word per line. My first row was just over 1", so I cut my piece to 2" wide and 5" long.

Then I drew lines using a square. One line will need to go straight across at 3" (if you've cut your piece at 5", that will give you a 2" side and a 3" side). On the 2" side, draw 2 vertical lines each 1/2" in from the sides.

Then cut out the center rectangle with tin snips. Be sure to wear gloves since the pieces can be really sharp. Once mine was cut out, I used sandpaper to sand all the edges as well.

Now line it up so the top of your cut out rectangle is at the front and top edge of your wood. Then bend your "legs" over the front and wrap them around the bottom.

You'll do the same over the back, so the finished bracket will look like this:

You don't want it to be too tight, or it will make it difficult to slide and will peel your wood as you slide it from side to side.

Once you have it how you want it, put a couple dots of hot glue on the "legs" and glue them to the inside of the back piece, so the back looks solid like this:

And there you have it. A simple and super cheap DIY'ed perpetual calendar. This project was free for me with scrap supplies. All in all, the supplies could be purchased for less than $5, though.

Not bad for a simple build!

This might even make a fun Mother's Day gift if you have a mom who loves unique items and home decor. :)




Linking to these parties:

Remodelaholic - (Friday)
Chic on a Shoestring - (Friday)
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend

Monday, April 10, 2017

DIY Chalkboard Countdown Calendar Blocks


Can you believe Easter is in 6 days?! I can't. These things have a tendency to sneak right up on me. I decided I needed to have something to keep these important holidays more "in-my-face" so to speak. But I didn't want to have to make a countdown calendar for every single holiday or occasion... enter the chalkboard countdown calendar! We can use it for birthdays, holidays, end-of-school, etc. I love a versatile project. 

It's another easy peasy build for the beginner builders out there. Or a 5-minute build for a more seasoned builder. ;)  And if you do any kind of woodworking you can probably find all the necessary pieces in your scrap pile! I love projects like that!



-1x6 scrap cut to 5"
-1x3 scraps (2 cut to 2.5" and 1 cut to 4")
-2x2 scraps (2 cut to 1.5")
-Wood glue
-Screws or brad nails
-Chalkboard paint (instructions included for making your own)
-Chalk ;)


Get all your pieces cut out. I've found that not all stores have their pieces milled to the same thickness, so make sure you cut your 2x2's to be exactly as long as they are wide to make a nice little cube. They're typically 1.5"x1.5", so ideally you'd cut them to 1.5" long. But measure just in case. They may actually be 1  9/16 or something really close. It won't make a huge difference, but you might notice it. See how my one on the bottom is slightly rectangular...? Should have measured before just assuming mine were 1.5". Oh, well.

STEP 2:  Prime.

I like to prime my pieces once before putting them together. I think it makes it just a little easier. You can do this step after putting together if you'd prefer.

STEP 3: Attach.

This step will depend on your supplies. If you don't have a nail gun, don't stress. You can easily use some screws. Just make sure to pre-drill your holes and then sink them and cover them with wood putty.

This cordless brad nailer a Christmas gift from my husband, and it's seriously made my life so much easier. I HATED getting our huge air compressor out every time I wanted to use the brad nailer. I highly recommend getting one if you've been on the fence.

I propped my arms on there next to the base, and then glued and nailed the back to both the arms and the base first.

Then I moved to the sides and also attached the arms to the base.

STEP 4: Paint

Now's where you'll want to fill your nail holes, sand really well, and paint.

STEP 5: Prep your chalkboard paint

I used a simple recipe I shared on my Attempting Aloha blog over 6 years ago! I love it because it uses basic (cheap!) acrylic craft paints that you can buy in any color!

Here's the original post, but I'll repeat the recipe here.

Here's what you'll need (you may want to half this recipe if only using it to make one calendar):

-Non-sanded grout. 1.5 t.
     I bought this at a local small home-improvement store for $2, and it will probably last forever. Ha!
-Acrylic craft paint in ANY color!  1/4 c.
-Old measuring supplies since it might be hard to get the paint off plastic...optional if you like to live on the edge.

Mix your unsanded grout and paint together. You can see here that it made quite a bit. I was going to make more than one, so that worked for me. As I mentioned above, I'd half it if you are only doing one calendar.

It will probably be really clumpy, and that's totally normal. Just mix it until they're combined, and there aren't any HUGE lumps.

Tape a small border around the edges of your calendar and paint away!  I did 3 layers just to be safe.

And I forgot to snap a pic of the last step, but it's important. Once your paint is dry, take a piece of chalk and turn it on its side and rub all over your painted area. After it's completely covered, erase it, and your chalkboard is ready to go!

And back to the actual calendar steps.

Step 6: Paint numbers.

For the two cubes, you'll be able to count down from 32. You will need to add a third cube if you want to go any higher than that. Or if you don't mind only using one number from 9 down (instead of 09, etc.), you can omit the 0 in the second cube and use a second 3. That will get you up to 39...

Cube 1 will need 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Cube 2 will need 0, 1, 2, 7, 8, 9/6 (make sure the font you use makes the 9 and 6 look the same if flipped, so they can be used interchangeably)

I have horrible handwriting, so I had to cheat and use my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the letters and paint them in.

I think they turned out pretty cute. And adding them to my DIY'ed "He is not here" and "for He is risen" signs, I think they're the perfect addition my our Easter decor.

Now I just have to go out and actually buy gifts for the kids! Oops... Procrastinator through and through.



Remodelaholic - (Friday)
Chic on a Shoestring - (Friday)
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend